The Troubling 28th Canon of Chalcedon

I was wondering if some Catholic apologists here could help me get a proper perspective of the 28th canon of Chalcedon and the “problem” it poses to Catholic ecclesiology:

Following in every way the decrees of the holy fathers and recognising the canon which has recently been read out—the canon of the 150 most devout bishops who assembled in the time of the great Theodosius of pious memory, then emperor, in imperial Constantinople, new Rome — we issue the same decree and resolution concerning the prerogatives of the most holy church of the same Constantinople, new Rome. The fathers rightly accorded prerogatives to the see of older Rome, since that is an imperial city; and moved by the same purpose the 150 most devout bishops apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome, reasonably judging that the city which is honoured by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equalling older imperial Rome, should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her. The metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, but only these, as well as the bishops of these dioceses who work among non-Greeks, are to be ordained by the aforesaid most holy see of the most holy church in Constantinople. That is, each metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses along with the bishops of the province ordain the bishops of the province, as has been declared in the divine canons; but the metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, once agreement has been reached by vote in the usual way and has been reported to him.

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/CHALCEDO.HTM#3

Even though Pope St. Leo the Great rejected this canon, why did the bishops at the council nevertheless see fit to pass this resolution in the first place if the Early Church held to the same ecclesiology we hold today as Catholics?

Thoughts are greatly appreciated for this toddler in the Catholic Church.

They passed it before it was presented to him and subsequently rejected by him. Therefore it has no effect what so ever and should simply be ignored.

Just like the part of Article 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution that gave the King or Queen veto power over all legislative acts of the House and the Senate.:confused: (It never made it to the final draft)

And I am troubled… Not really. I did have a question. I know this was years ago… but the Council of Chalcedon was a lot longer ago, and we’re still talking about that…

…Anyways, I was just thinking about how the 28th Canon of Chalcedon could be understood in a way as could be considered in line with the First Vatican Council, and in line with its initial rejection, and any further historical developments, for the purpose of the reconciliation of the Eastern and Western halves of the visible Christian world into perfect and henceforth indissoluble unity, as we walk in faith in the Divine Providence of God over the whole of the History of the Church, and understand all happenings, whether good or ill, in the history of the Church, as being for the good of the Beloved and Elect People of God and for the sake of His Purpose of Salvation which He set forth in Christ in the dawning of time and brings to fruition by means of the Same Christ, who by His Life, Death, and Resurrection has renewed the life of all things, and by His Ascention has made clear His Supremacy over all human judgements and presuppositions concerning the nature of things human and divine.

… The as of yet unrecognized 28th Canon of the Council of Chalcedon. Let us together theorize by whatever faith, grace, and holy wisdom God should grant us to consider these things with by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spiritual Leaven of our souls who leavens us and through the procession (Latin [Greek word for procession means, “to make to come forth”, whereas the Latin word pertains only to the coming forth]) of the Holy Spirit through Christ in the Eucharist renders the Host by all means Leavened, and renews our leavening by that same Leaven, though the Sign of the bread itself should appear as unleavened bread in the consecrated element.

The historical backdrop is this: The Council began with Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. There was disagreement about terminology the Council used, so Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem went into schism and never accepted the Council. This leaves Rome and Constantinople as the “Catholic Church” at the conclusion of the Council. With those 3 seats left empty, Constantinople passed this resolution to take the place of Alexandria/Antioch.

This was a band-aid solution that didn’t really have good foundation behind it, and Leo rejected it for a few reasons, including the hope that Alexandria/Antioch would come back soon.

The way Canon 28 is worded, Constantinople was not yet a Patriarchate (and Rome never was a Patriarchate). Constantinople was not founded by an Apostle, as the others were, so Constantinople had to invent a new basis as to what makes a certain city special. Their solution was to elevate bishops of cities that were more politically powerful, with Constantinople being the largest political authority at that time. The resolution didn’t even grant Constantinople that much land area, but from then on they would base church authority upon political authority, which has led to many problems.

As Pope Benedict notes, the West has always held that Church authority is based upon Apostolic foundations, whereas the East from then on held Church authority to be based upon political clout. The result is two different ways of seeing ecclesiology.

There simply must be a way to understand that apart from earthly politics. It certainly does not imply or grant any sense of infallibility or inerrancy when speaking as Bishop of Constantinople as history would go to show… but how could what is written be reinterpreted in a way in which it can be accepted in a way that is useful for the future of the Church? What you have shared is helpful, and it only encourages me all the more to see what is written understood in a new way for the very purpose of restoring the understanding of the Eastern Orthodox to being required to think about ecclesiology in a solely Apostolic and non-political way. I have friends that I have grown up with who are Bosnian, whose parents and siblings had to flee their country because of a political so-called Orthodoxy… that nasty two-headed eagle. What happened there cannot be allowed to be repeated. The Church must undermine violence for the sake of peace and unity in Christ in Herself. If the city of what historically was and to some extent still is Constantinople is to be in any way “retaken“, it must be by peaceful means… or if violence is necessitated, it must not be in any way incited by Christians. I want Christians in Turkey, and in all the world, to have their basic human rights recognized. One of the best ways for this to happen is for a positive development in attitude and purpose when it comes to the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the relationship between the Church and the State in the contemporary world, understanding the needed separation of Church and State, which in their case is primarily for the benefit of the Orthodox Church… and the sanctification of the Orthodox and revitalization of their communities, not on the basis of politics or ethnicity, but upon the foundation of Faith in Christ and loyalty and service to His Kingdom… not living for any earthly city, but for the Eternal City which is to come, as they live in pilgrimage upon the earth. They are in exile in Babylon, and ought to (and indeed do) pray to the Lord our God on its behalf, for in its welfare they will find their welfare. In their doing that, the Name of Christ will be blessed forever, and they will be a blessing to all of the nations that they are in, as they strive to serve their communities, and instead of fantasizing over violent conquest, fantasizing about what good things they can do for the people around them in the charity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Unity of God the Father in the Glory of God in the Trinity, a wellspring of life and love, overflowing in good things in all the world, as many are drawn to Faith in Christ and greater love of neighbor (and Eternal Life). I believe that the Book of Haggai, what is written there is a prefiguring of things to come in the Church… and that Zechariah 2-4 has yet to be fullfulled, but that it shall be fulfilled in the Church in greater glories yet to come according to the purposes of Christ who works all things for our good (Romans 8:28), and who is Author of the Metanarrative of History, and has great stories to tell in the future of impossible reconciliation and deliverance to prove that He is the God of the Impossible. Jesus Christ is worthy to receive the Reward of His Suffering — a Church, not only in fullness of Faith, but also in fullness of measure and stature—to the Stature of Christ. The Bride will be ready for the Wedding. It will be a Glorious Thing. Let us begin the preparation. The Wedding will only happen once in all of Eternity, let us spend as many centuries in preparation as we need to as we await the Blessed Hope and the Returning of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to visibly rule and reign over all of humanity, most especially the People known by His Name, from that point forth and forever.

Now, the 28th Canon. How can this be reunderstood by Rome in order for it to be accepted? Can we speculate? For any steps towards reunion must simultaneously both be on Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox grounds. (Peter Kreeft did a good lecture on Ecumenism with Protestants… you’d have to read it yourself before making any judgements (the title of the lecture is “Ecumenism Without Compromise” [not at all meaning that Protestants wouldn’t have to come to accept all of the Teachings of the Catholic Church to be truly restored to unity with the Church… He argues that the best reason for being Catholic is for the same reason Protestants are Protestant… and that is a relationship with Christ and service of His Kingdom on earth in fulfilling the Great Commission.]

(Sorry for the extra reply. I just exceeded the limit for number of edits… bummer.)

*Church… He argues that the best reason for being Catholic is for the same reason Protestants are Protestant… and that is a relationship with Christ and service of His Kingdom on earth in fulfilling the Great Commission.] I feel that the same kind of principle could also hold with regards to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox relations, that the best reason for coming back into reunion with Rome is for the sake of being the best Orthodox Church, the best manifestation and expression and living Body of Christ on the earth that we can be. {And that fills me with hope… and passion… and commitment to seeing the best outcomes that there can possibly be. For we serve a God who does not allow bad things to happen unless through it to work some greater good that would not otherwise happen for the sake of the manifestation of His Glory… this most especially holds true in large narrative things, I think… the big picture of what God is doing in the Church in History. For we serve a God of the Impossible… and impossible things in His Name shall be done, for He is the Unstoppable God. :highprayer: })

(Oh… um, yes, how can this be accepted without also undermining relations with Alexandria and Antioch? Can it be applied in any different ways? The Church’s different Churches sui juris are already dispersed throughout the world and in all territories… this reality has already been accepted (at least by us). I wonder if there’s more richness and diversity of traditions and history that the Catholic Church could benefit from in this? … It’s something worth thinking about.)

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