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L<oi- IM 

The Condemnation of 
Pope Honorius 

The Condemnation of 
Pope Honorius 



69 Southwark Bridge Road 

London, S.E. 


Reprinted by permission from 
The Dublin Review, 








PAUL. 43 


649 49 


POPE 58 




















COUNCIL . . . . . . 108 


COUNCILS . . 112 

The Condemnation of 
Pope Honorius 

i i. The Point of the Difficulty. 

MUCH ink has been spilt in the cause 
of Pope Honorius. Some writers have 
been chiefly occupied in defending or 
assailing the authenticity of the docu- 
ments, others in attacking or supporting 
the orthodoxy of Honorius. But the 
inner sequence of events as described 
in the following sketch has never been 
given in all this voluminous literature. 

Though it will, I hope, be made clear 
in these pages that much has been mis- 
understood or only half understood, yet 
the work of so many distinguished writers 
has no inconsiderable value. Certainty 
has been attained on some points. The 
authenticity of the documents is now 
above suspicion. It has been made clear 
that Honorius' meaning was far better 
than his expression, and that his real 
mind was confused rather than un- 


This is not, however, a very important 
point, since at the present day no one is 
likely to teach that Honorius published 
his famous letters ex cathedra. The real 
difficulty has been worded with admirable 
precision by Bishop Gore in his Roman 
Catholic Claims. He says : 

" Once again, whatever strong language 
may be quoted from a few later Oriental 
writers on behalf of the Roman See, as 
from St. Theodore the Studite in the 
8th century, nothing can override the 
evidence of the formal action of the sixth 
General, Council in 689, when it con- 
demned Honorius the Pope among the 
Monothelite heretics. 'With them we 
anathematize/ says the Council, ' and cast 
out of the Catholic Church, Honorius, who 
was Pope of the elder Rome, because we 
found that he followed Sergius' opinion 
in all respects and confirmed his impious 
dogmas.' Roman Catholic writers may 
endeavour to justify the actual language 
of Honorius, they may protest that the con- 
temporary Pope never intended to assent 
to his condemnation except for negligence 
in opposing heresy we are not concerned 
at present with these contentions but no 
one can possibly, with any show of reason, 
contend that the insertion of the name of 
the Pope in a list of formal heretics by an 


oecumenical Council does not prove that 
the Bishops who composed the Council 
had no, even rudimentary, idea of the 
papal infallibility" (pp. 103, 104). 

As the history of Pope Honorius has 
been written up till now by Catholic 
apologists, this indictment is unanswer- 
able. Bishop Gore's admission with re- 
gard to St. Theodore the Studite might 
have suggested to him that his conclusion 
was not certain, had not so many Catholic 
writers made it seem that the Council in 
condemning Honorius was resisting the 
Pope of its own day, and that the latter 
explained away a decision which he was 
afraid of refusing to confirm. 

In reality, as the history will appear 
from the original documents, there is no 
difficulty at all. The Pope and the 
Council were in agreement as to the 
necessity of condemning Honorius, and 
they were certainly right in doing so 
under the circumstances. 

It will also be made clear that there 
was no difference between Rome and the 
East with regard to the force of papal 
decisions. We do not of course look 
for the enunciation of the Vatican decree 
in set words by Eastern Bishops of the 
yth century. But evidence will be sup- 
plied to enable us to judge the degree 


of development which the doctrine of 
papal infallibility had reached in those 
times, and the whole history will stand 
out as an interesting and curious page in 
the history of the evolution of the dogma. 
I shall avoid controversy either with 
Catholics, Gallicans, or Protestants. The 
facts will best speak for themselves, and I 
leave the comparison with the views of 
former writers to be made or not by the 
reader as he chooses, so as to avoid 
burdening these pages with tiresome 

2. The Beginnings of the Heresy. 

The origin of Monothelitism is thus 
told by Sergius. 1 The Emperor Heraclius, 
in a disputation held before him in 
Armenia in 622, had spoken of *'' one 
operation " in Christ, and had later asked 
Cyrus, Bishop of Lazoe in Phasis, whether 
this was correct. 2 Cyrus replied that he 

1 Mansi, xi. 529. 

- A few words will explain the theological 
question. Monothelitism bears the same relation 
to Monophysitism that the Spanish Adoptionism 
of the next century bears to Nestorianism. Those 
who embraced it held firmly the doctrine of 
the Council of Chalcedon that our Lord's two 
natures, divine and human, are united in Him 
without confusion, so that His humanity remains 
perfect and complete, just as the Adoptionists held. 


did not know, and referred the question 
to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople. 
Sergius was in favour of the expression, 

firmly the doctrine of the Council of Ephesus that 
the two natures belong to one divine Person. But 
the Adoptionists did not see that adoption is not of 
a nature but of a Person, and therefore they 
wrongly taught that our Lord in His human nature 
might be called the adopted Son of God. And, 
conversely, the Monothelites could not see that 
activity and will belong to the nature and not to 
the Person, so that they held Christ to have but 
one motive power ivfpytta, energy, activity, opera- 
tion and one will, whereas in truth there must be 
a perfect operation and will of each nature. As in 
the Trinity of three Persons in one Nature there is 
one operation, ad c.v/m, and one will, so in the two 
natures of the one Person of Christ there are two 
operations and two wills the divine will common 
to the Son with the Father and the Holy Ghost, 
and a human will, without which the human 
nature taken by the Son of God would be 

The danger and the attractiveness of this wrong 
argumentation lay in the fact that it went half way 
to meet the Monophy sites. These heretics called 
the orthodox Nestorians, and declared that they 
divided Christ in two. The unity of will and 
operation was placed before the Monophysites as 
a proof that those who accepted the Council of 
Chalcedon safeguarded the oneness of the Person 
of Christ. The expression " one operation " was 
indeed a surrender of the perfect distinction of the 
natures, and therefore was not far off from the 
more moderate Monophysites, who professed 
simply to follow the doctrine taught by St. Cyril 
against the Nestorians, 


and sent him a letter said to have been 
addressed by the Patriarch Mennas, his 
predecessor, to Pope Vigilius, in which 
" one operation " was mentioned. Sergius 
declared that he intended no absolute de- 
cision on the matter. Cyrus, however, 
was satisfied. About 630 he became 
Patriarch of Alexandria, one of the 
strongholds of the Monophysites. These 
were very much divided among them- 
selves, and Cyrus induced one consider- 
able section of them to be reconciled with 
the Catholic Church by a sort of compro- 
mise, which was nicknamed " the watery 
union." The doctrine agreed upon was 
summed up in nine propositions, which 
profess to render the teaching of Chalce- 
don, but express themselves in Monophy- 
site phraseology, borrowed indeed from 
St. Cyril, but meant in a wrong sense by 
the heretics. The seventh of these pro- 
positions anathematizes all who do not 
confess that the same one Christ works 
both the divine and human works by 
" one theandric operation." This ex- 
presses the main thesis of Monothelitism. 
Nothing could be more pleasing to the 
Emperor and Sergius than such a union, 
and the latter wrote a joyful letter of 
congratulation to Cyrus. But the Pales- 
tinian monk, Sophronius, was in Alexandria 


at the time, and he disapproved of 'the 
teaching of " one operation " as contrary 
to the Chalcedonian doctrine. His reputa- 
tion for sanctity was great, and Cyrus pro- 
posed that he should lay his objections 
before Sergius. Sophronius accordingly 
proceeded to Constantinople, and so far 
persuaded Sergius that he withdrew the 
u one operation " for the sake of peace, 
and Sophronius promised to say no more. 
It is evident that Sergius now distrusted 
this formula, but could not formally with- 
draw it without imperilling the union of 
the Alexandrian heretics. 

In this dilemma he took the obvious 
course of laying the whole matter before 
the Pope. 

3. The Letter of Honorius. 

His famous letter to Honorius T begins by 
saying that he would desire, were it pos- 
sible, to bring all his actions day by day 
to the Pope's cognizance and receive his 
advice. He relates the circumstances, 
how very hard it seemed to destroy the 
recent joyful union effected by Cyrus, with 
all its promises of peace, " of those who 
once would not hear the name of the 
divine Leo and the Council of Chalcedon, 
but who now proclaim them in a loud voice 
1 Mansi, xi. 529. 


in the holy mysteries." Sophronius, he 
says, was not able to quote explicit testi- 
monies of the ancients for two operations ; 
but it seemed that the term " one opera- 
tion " was novel, and he, Sergius, had there- 
fore written to Cyrus to permit neither one 
nor two operations to be spoken of, when 
once the union of the Monophysites with 
the Church had been effected. Sophronius 
had agreed to this. At the end of the 
letter Sergius quotes the celebrated words 
of Pope Leo, Agit enim utraque forma cum 
alterius communione, which obviously imply 
two operations ; and he seems to have 
been orthodox enough in meaning, though 
his expressions are incorrect. He has 
started from the Chalcedonian doctrine, 
but has made a sorry conclusion. He 
does not openly support one will, which 
he only mentions in connection with the 
supposititious letter of Mennas to Pope 
Vigilius, but he thinks " two operations " 
to be a misleading expression. He con- 
cludes : 

"We have thought it fitting and also 
necessary to give an account to your 
Brotherhood and concordant Blessedness, 
by the copies which \ve are sending, of 
what we have partially related above ; and 
we beg your Holiness to read the whole, 
and, following its meaning with your God- 


pleasing and full charity, if there be any- 
thing wanting in what has been said, to 
rill this up with the chanty which God has 
given you ; and with your holy syllables 
and with your desirable assistance, to 
signify your opinion on the matter." x 

The letter of Honorius, in reply, 2 praises 
Sergius for his circumspection in dis- 
approving the new expression, u one 
operation." So far so good. But he goes 
on to admit one will, because our Lord 
took to Himself a human nature free from 
the curse of original sin. The reason 
given implies that our Lord has a human 
will, only not also a corrupt lower human 
will. This is in ansxver to Sergius, who 
had argued that if two operations were 
admitted there would follow two contrary 
wills. The Pope declares that to teach 
one operation will seem Eutychian, \vhile 
to teach two will seem Nestorian. Both 
expressions are consequently to be 

1 Hefele says (p. 27, note) : " One can see he 
was a Monothelite, and wanted to mislead the 
IV>pe." I think it clear, on the contrary, that he 
was puzzled by an involved problem, and wished 
to get the Pope's help. He seems to have done 
his best to think and act rightly, but he was no 
more exempt from error than were a Cyprian or an 

- Mansi, xi. 537. 


Honorius is thus logically and theologi- 
cally as much astray as Sergius, though 
both are orthodox in intention. It would 
no doubt be uncharitable to regard either 
the Pope or the Patriarch as a " private 

Unfortunately these letters were after- 
wards treated as if they were definitions 
of faith. As definitions they are obviously 
and beyond doubt heretical, for in a 
definition it is the words that matter. 

It is, of course, absurd to regard the 
letter of Honorius as a definition ex 
cathedra, as was done by Hefele, Pennacchi 
and others. It was natural to exaggerate 
at the time of the Vatican Council, but to- 
day the decree is better understood. If 
the letter of Honorius to Sergius is to be 
ex cathedra, a fortiori all papal encyclicals 
addressed to the whole Church at the 
present day must be ex cathedra, quod est 
absurdum. 1 

1 The Vatican decision explains ex cathedra to 
mean : Cum [Papa] omnium Chrisiianorum pastoris 
et doctoris munere fungens, pro suprema sua 
Apostolica auctoritate doctrinain de fide vel moribits 
ab universa ecclesia tenendam dcfinit. In this case 
not even the first condition is certainly fulfilled, for 
Honorius addressed Sergius alone, and it is by no 
means evident that he intended his letter to be 
published as a decree. Further, he docs not appeal, 
as Popes habitually appealed on solemn occasions, 
to his apostolic authority, to the promise to Peter, 



The decision of Honorius was nothing 
more and also nothing less than an 
approval given to the disciplinary arrange- 
ment suggested by Sergius. Both believed 
that " one will " had been said, and said 
in an orthodox sense, by the orthodox 
Mennas, unrebuked by Pope Vigilius, and 
neither was aware that ''two operations" 
and " two wills " could be shown to have 
been consecrated by the usage of the 
Fathers. Sergius was at least doubtful, 
and set the matter before the Pope. 
Honorius had a higher responsibility ; he 
decided in haste to agree with the con- 
duct of Sergius, and he decided wrongly. 
The result of his letter was the so-called 
heresy of Monothelitism, which up to this 
point can scarcely be said to have as yet 
existed, except as an opinion under dis- 

i 4. St. Sophronius of Jerusalem 

At the time when these two letters 
were written, St. Sophronius had already 
been promoted to the patriarchal Chair of 
Jerusalem, and on the occasion of his en- 
thronization had published the defence of 

to the tradition of his Church. Lastly, he neither 
defines nor condemns, utters no anathema or warn- 
ing, but merely approves a policy of silence. 



two operations and two wills which Sergius 
had demanded from him, but which the 
latter had not yet received when he wrote 
to the Pope. It is a long document, 1 
afterwards read and approved by the sixth 
Council, and it has the remarkable merit 
of being the first complete exposition of 
the orthodox doctrine of the two wills and 
natures. It was sent to all the patriarchs, 
and Sophronius declares that he is ready 
to 'receive corrections. For our present 
purpose his reference to St. Leo as speak- 
ing with Peter's voice is of interest. 

After' detailing his assent to the five 
General Councils, he adds that he accepts 
the divine writings of Cyril and the letters 
of Eastern prelates which were received 
by Cyril. 

" And also equally with these holy 
writings of the all-wise Cyril I receive as 
holy and honoured together with them, 
and as propagating the same orthodoxy, 
the God-given and inspired letter of the 
great and illustrious and saintly Leo, the 
light of the Roman Church, or rather of 
the Church beneath the sun, which he, 
moved clearly by the Holy Ghost, wrote 
against the wicked Eutyches and the 
hateful and perverse Nestorius to the 
praiseworthy Bishop of the royal city, 
1 Mansi, xi. 461-509. 


Flavian, which I denominate and define 
to be the pillar of orthodoxy (following 
the holy Fathers, who rightly called it 
thus) as teaching us all orthodoxy and 
destroying all heresy and driving it away 
from the God-protected halls of our holy 
Catholic Church. And together with 
these inspired syllables and characters, / 
accept all his letters and teachings as pro- 
ceeding from the mouth of Peter the 
Coryphcviis, and I kiss them and salute 
them and embrace them with all my soul. 
Receiving these, as I have said, the five 
holy and divine assemblies of the blessed 
Fathers and all the writings of Cyril the 
all-wise, and especially those against the 
madness of Nestorius and the letters of 
the Oriental Bishops, written to the same 
most divine Cyril, and by him acknow- 
ledged to be orthodox, and whatever Leo, 
the most holy pastor of the most holy 
Church of the Romans, has written, and 
especially what he composed against the 
Eutychian and Nestorian abomination, I 
recognize the latter as definitions of Peter 
and the former as those of Mark, and 
besides all the heaven-taught teachings 
of all the chosen mystagogues of our 
Catholic Church," &c. 

If St. Sophronius extends the idea of 
Peter speaking by Leo to St. Cyril, so 


that he embraces the words of that doctor 
as the words of St. Mark, this does not 
detract from the importance of his testi- 
mony as an Eastern Bishop that the words 
of a Pope are to him as the words of a 
greater than Mark of the Coryphaeus of 
the apostles. 

The Saint lived only until 638. Before 
his death a memorable scene occurred 
which has been vividly described for us 
by 'the other actor in it, Stephen, Bishop 
of Dora in Palestine, within the Saint's 
patriarchate. He speaks as follows in a 
document which he presented in person 
to Pope St. Martin at the Lateran Council 
of 649. T He is speaking of the troubles 
brought upon the patriarchate of Sophro- 
nius by Monothelitism. 

"And for this cause, sometimes we 
asked for water to our head and to our 
eyes a fountain of tears, sometimes the 
wings of a dove, according to holy David, 
that we might fly away and announce 
these things to the Chair which rules and 
presides over all, I mean to yours, the 
head and highest, for the healing of the 
whole wound. For this it has been 
accustomed to do from of old and from 
the beginning with power by its canonical 
or apostolical authority, because the truly 
1 Mansi, x. 893. 


great Peter, head of the apostles, was 
clearly thought worthy not only to be 
entrusted with the keys of heaven, alone 
apart from the rest, to open it worthily 
to believers, or to close it justly to those 
who disbelieve the Gospel of grace, but 
because he was also first commissioned to 
feed the sheep of the whole Catholic 
Church; for ' Peter,' said He, 'lovest 
thou Me ? Feed My sheep ' ; and again, 
because he had in a manner peculiar and 
special, a faith in the Lord stronger than 
all and unchangeable, to be converted 
and to confirm his fellows and spiritual 
brethren when tossed about, as having 
been adorned by God Himself, incarnate 
for us, with power and sacerdotal 

Nothing could be more confident 
than this beautiful exposition of the 
writer's faith in the promises of Christ 
to Peter. It is noticeable that all the 
three principal Petrine texts are quoted, 
showing that then as now they were 
recognized as the loci classic! upon the 
point. And Stephen goes on to assert 
that this was the faith of St. Sophrcnius 
himself, as, indeed, was indicated by the 
words of that saint. 

u And Sophronius of blessed memory, 
who was Patriarch of the holy city of 


Christ our God, and under whom I was 
Bishop, conferring not with flesh and 
blood, but caring only for the things of 
Christ with respect to your Holiness, 
hastened to send my nothingness without 
delay about this matter alone to this 
Apostolic and great See." 

Sophronius had nobly resisted the 
heretics while he lived, but only suc- 
ceeded in raising against himself a storm 
of -detraction. But for all this he was 
confident as a lion : 

u Being full of divine zeal and courage, 
he took me unworthy, and set me on holy 
Calvary, where for our sakes He who by 
nature is God above us, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, voluntarily deigned to be crucified 
in the flesh, and he bound me with bonds 
not to be undone, saying : ' Thou shalt 
give an account to the God who was 
crucified for us in this holy place, in His 
glorious and awful advent, when He shall 
come to judge the living and the dead, if 
thou delay and allow His faith to be en- 
dangered, since, as thou knowest, I am 
myself let, on account of the invasion of 
the Saracens which has come upon us for 
our sins. Swiftly pass, therefore, from 
one end of the world to the other, until 
thou come to the Apostolic Sec, ivhcrc arc 
the foundations of the holy doctrines. Not 


once, not twice, but many times, make 
clearly known to all those holy men there 
all that here has been done ; and tire 
not instantly urging and beseeching, until 
out of their apostolic wisdom they bring 
forth judgement unto victory. . . .' 

u I, therefore, trembling and confounded 
at the tremendous adjuration laid on me 
in that venerable and awful spot, and 
considering the episcopal dignity which 
by God's permission was mine, and be- 
cause I was urged by the requests of 
almost all the pious Bishops of the East, 
in agreement with the departed Sophro- 
nitis (I being the first in the jurisdiction 
of Jerusalem), I gave not, to speak gra- 
phically, sleep to mine eyes, nor slumber 
to mine eyelids, nor rest to my temples, 
for the sake of the fulfilment of this 
beloved command. Without delay I 
made this journey for this purpose alone ; 
and since then thrice have I run to your 
apostolic feet, urging and beseeching the 
prayer of Sophronius and of all, that is, 
that you will assist the imperilled faith of 
Christians. . . ." 

Such is the witness of Stephen to the 
belief of the patriarchate of Jerusalem. 
We shall hear more of him presently. 

The synodal letter of Sophronius does 
not appear to have had any effect upon 


Sergius, but we have no further knowledge 
of his conduct. Of Honorius we have 
two fragments of a letter which were 
produced and read at the sixth Council. 
He writes to Sergius telling him that he 
has informed Cyrus of Alexandria that 
the new expressions " one or two opera- 
tions " are to be dropped, the use of such 
expressions being most silly, vaw ^araiov. 
This was naturally condemned as heresy 
bythe Council. But in this second frag- 
ment, Honorius implicitly teaches two 
operations, for he says rightly that the 
two natures work each what is proper to 
it, thus stultifying his own decision. The 
fragments read as if, after seeing the 
arguments of Sophronius, the Pope was 
trying to bolster up his wrong decision 
with orthodox arguments. 

5. The " Ecthesis " of Heraclius. 

In one of the last four months of 638 
the Emperor Heraclius issued the famous 
u Ecthesis," composed for him by Sergius. 1 
It enforces the decision of Honorius. All 
the Emperor's subjects are to confess one 
will of our Lord, but to avoid the ex- 
pressions " one or two operations." We 
have seen that Sergius was in doubt when 

1 Mansi, x. 991. 


he wrote to the Pope. Now, having 
received the reply, he causes the teaching 
of the See o^ Rome to be proclaimed 
by the Emperor. 1 Before his death, in 
December of the same year, he further 
held a great Synod at Constantinople. Its 
decision has been preserved, in which 
the cclhesis is acclaimed as a truly agree- 
ing with the apostolic preaching." This is 
apparently a reference to its being based 
upon the letter of Honorius. u These are 
the doctrines of the Fathers, these are the 
supports of the Church," &c. The de- 
cisions were sent to absent Bishops, and 
Cyrus received them with great rejoicings. 
The See of Antioch w r as occupied by a 
Patriarch who had been uncanonically 
appointed by Sergius himself. St. 
Sophronius was dead, and his Chair was 
usurped by a supporter of the edhesis. 

1 Hefele says, " The agreement of the ectlicsis 
with the two letters of Honorius is only apparent " 
(v. 64). It may, indeed, be said that the reasons 
given in the edhesis are less clearly orthodox, 
but at least it was simply modelled on the first 
letter of Honorius. Catholic writers have not 
been willing to see this, for the sake of the Pope's 
honour, while Gallicans and Protestants have been 
equally blind, because they did not choose to 
admit that Sergius and the Emperor were in 
intention only giving effect to the Pope's decision 
and would never have thought of publishing such 
a proclamation without his authority. 


Pope Honorius had also died before its 
publication. The new Pope, Severinus, 
who only reigned two months, is said to 
have had time to reject it. 

On the arrival of the envoys from Rome 
to ask for the Emperor's confirmation of 
Severinus's election according to custom, 
the clergy of Constantinople (there was 
as yet no new Patriarch) presented them 
with the ecthesis, declaring that they would 
give them no assistance in the matter for 
which they had made so long a voyage, 
unless the envoys would promise to per- 
suade, the new Pope to subscribe the 
document without delay. St. Maximus 
tells us that he was informed of the event 
by his friends at Constantinople. He 
writes : 

u Having discovered the tenor of the 
document, since by refusing they would 
have caused the first and mother of 
Churches and the City [ecclesianun princi- 
peni cl malrem d urban] to remain so long 
a time in widowhood, they replied quietly : 
4 We cannot act with authority in this 
matter, for we have received a commission 
to execute, not an order to make a pro- 
fession of faith. But w r e assure you that 
we will relate all that you have put for- 
ward, and we will show the document 
itself to him who is to be consecrated, 


and if he should judge it to be correct, we 
will ask him to append his signature to it. 
But do not therefore place any obstacle 
in our way now and do violence to us by 
delaying us and keeping us here. For 
none has a right to use violence, especially 
when faith is in question. For herein 
even the weakest waxes mighty, and the 
meek becomes a warrior, and by comfort- 
ing his soul with the divine word, is 
hardened against the greatest attacks. 
How much more in the case of the clergy 
and Church of the Romans, which from of 
old until now, as the elder of all the Churches 
which arc under the s////, presides over all ? 
Having surely received this canonically, as 
well from councils and the apostles, as from 
the princes of the latter, and being numbered 
in their company, she is subject to no writings 
or issues of synodical documents, on account 
of the eminence of her pontificate, even as in 
all these things all are equally subject to hct 
according to sacerdotal law. 1 

li And so when, without fear but with all 
holy and becoming confidence, those 
ministers of the truly firm and immovable 
rock, that is of the most great and Apostolic 
Church at Rome, had so applied to the 
clergy of the royal city [Constantinople] 
it was seen that they had conciliated them 
and had acted prudently, that the others 


might be humble and modest, while they 
themselves made known the orthodoxy 
and purity of their own faith from the 
beginning. But those of Constantinople, 
admiring their piety, thought that such 
a deed ought rightly to be recompensed ; 
and ceasing from offering them the docu- 
ment, they promised to procure by their 
own care the issue of the Emperor's order 
with regard to the episcopal election. 
When this was accomplished, the apo- 
crisiarii dear to God thankfully returned 

" Of 'this document, divinely honoured 
Father, a copy has been sent to me also. 
They have explained in it the cause for 
being silent about the natural operations 
in Christ our God, that is in His natures, 
of which and in which He is believed to 
be ; and how in future neither one nor 
two are to be mentioned. It is only to 
be allowed to confess that the divine and 
human [works] proceeded from the same 
word of God incarnate and are to be 
attributed to one and the same " (Mansi, 
x. 677-8). 

This evidence with regard to the papacy 
is very remarkable as proceeding from the 
Saint's orthodox friends at Constantinople. 
The Roman envoys claim absolute im- 
munity from all synodal decisions, and 


declare that their Church is above all 
others, propter pontijicatus provectionem. 
These rights are from Councils, from 
apostles, and from the princes of the 
apostles. Such claims we expect from 
Rome. But the clergy of Constantinople 
so amply admit them that they are even 
touched by the boldness of the envoys. 
St. Maximus and his friends are exultant : 
the Church of Rome is truly the immov- 
able rock. We see then that it is a 
doctrine of Constantinople, as well as of 
Jerusalem, that '' in Rome are the founda- 
tions of the holy doctrines. " 

? 6. The Apology of John IV. 

Severinus was not able to be conse- 
crated until May, 640. He was succeeded 
in December by John IV. The new Pope, 
before the death of Heraclius (February, 
641), held a Synod against Monothelitism. 
He informed the new Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, Pyrrhus, of his condemnation 
of the ecthesis, and the Emperor before his 
death excused himself, laying the blame 
on Sergius, and wrote to John IV a letter, 
in which he disowned his own ect/iesis. 1 
The Pope sent an epistle to the elder son 
of Heraclius, declaring that he was sure 

1 Munsi, x. 9, in Acts of Maximus. 


the ecthesis would now be withdrawn, and 
that the whole West rejected the new 
heresy. This document has become well 
known as the Apology for Honorius. 1 

The Pope says that he hears the new 
patriarch Pyrrhus has been confusing 
men's minds with his novel teachings, and 
supporting them by the name of Honorius. 
The defence which follows is a very lame 
one. It points out quite truly that both 
Se'rgius " of reverend memory " and 
Honorius only used the expression " one 
will" because they would not admit con- 
trary wills. 2 But the whole argument of 
the letter of John IV shows that his pre- 
decessor was wrong in admitting the ex- 
pression. What is most remarkable is 
that not a word is said about the pro- 

1 Mansi, x. 682. 

2 St. Maximus uses the same arguments in his 
letter to Marinus, and he tells us that he had heard 
from the holy Roman abbot, Anastasius, that he 
had heard the Abbot John Symponus, the writer 
of Honorius' letter, affirm that he never made any 
mention in it of the abolition of the natural human 
will in our Lord, but only of the lower will of the 
flesh, adding that the letter had been corrupted 
by the Greek translators. This seems to be untrue 
of the version read at the sixth Council, as it was 
examined and approved by the papal represen- 
tatives. St. Maximus has perhaps slightly exag- 
gerated the testimony of Abbot John in repeating it 
(Mansi, x. 695). 


hibition by Honorius of both one and two 
operations, the very point for which St. 
Maximus and Pope St. Martin were to lay 
down their lives. 

It is clear that Pyrrhus taught one will 
in the heretical sense. But, after the death 
of Constantine and the exile of his younger 
brother, Heracleonas, Pyrrhus was himself 
exiled to Africa, and a successor, Paul, 
was set up uncanonically in his stead. 

John IV died on October u, 642. 
Theodore I, his successor, wrote to Paul 
refusing to confirm his election as he had 
requested, until Pyrrhus had been properly 
deposed by a Synod to be held in presence 
of two papal representatives, "why has 
he allowed the ecthesis to remain on the 
wall, though it had been disowned by the 
late Emperor and condemned by the late 
Pope ? " The heresy of Pyrrhus is made 
manifest by his praise of Heraclius, and 
by his signing, and causing others to sign, 
the ccthesis. 1 

1 Mansi, x. 702. 

\Ve possess an interesting letter to this Pope 
from a Synod held in Cyprus, May 29, 643, in 
which the Bishops say (Mansi, x. 914) : 

To the most holy and God-confirmed Father of 
Fathers, Archbishop and oecumenical Patriarch, 
Lord Theodore, Sergius, least of Bishops, greeting 
in the Lord : 

" Christ, our God, has instituted your apostolic 


7. The Recantation of Pyrrhus. 

Pyrrhus was now in Africa, and being 
no longer at court, had no temptation to 
remain in heresy, for the Africans were 
orthodox. In July, 645, probably at 
Carthage, a great disputation took place 
in presence of Gregory, the governor, 
and of many Bishops, between Pyrrhus 
and St. Maximus Confessor, who had 
become, since the death of St. Sophronius, 
the protagonist of orthodoxy in the East. 
This illustrious saint, born at .Constanti- 
nople, - had been the first secretary of 
Heraclius, but, leaving the world, had 
betaken himself to a monastery at Scutari, 

chair, O holy head, as a God-fixed and immovable 
foundation. For thou, as truly spake the divine 
Word, art Peter, and upon thy foundation the 
pillars of the Church have been fixed, and to thee 
He committed the keys of the heavens, He ordered 
thee to bind and to loose with authority on earth 
and in heaven. Thou art set as the destroyer of 
profane heresies, as Coryphaeus and leader of the 
orthodox and unsullied faith. Despise not then, 
Father, the faith of our Fathers, tossed by waves 
and imperilled ; disperse the rule of the foolish 
with the light of thy divine knowledge, O most 
holy. Destroy the blasphemies and insolence of 
the new heretics with their novel expressions. 
For nothing is wanting to your orthodox and 
apostolic definition and tradition for the aug- 
mentation of the faith amongst us. For we (O 
inspired one, you who hold converse with the holy 


where he became abbot. The minutes of 
the disputation are interesting. 1 Pyrrhus 
was eventually convinced, his quotations 
from the Fathers being refuted by Maxi- 
mus, who declared further that the letter 
of Mennas to Vigilius was a forgery. 

Pyrrhus gives up Vigilius. But what 
of Honorius, who plainly taught one will ? 
(p. 740). Maximus replies that his letter 
must be interpreted by the writer of it, 
who was the same as the writer of the 
apology of John IV, viz., John Symponus. 
Pyrrhus can only reply: "My predecessor 
accepted it too simply, considering the 

Apostles and sit with them) believe and confess 
from of old since our very swaddling clothes, 
teaching according to the holy and God-fearing 
Pope Leo, and declaring that ' each nature works 
with the communion of the other,'" &c. 

They are ready to be martyred rather than for- 
sake the doctrine of St. Leo. 

" May God, the Creator of all, preserve for many 
years our all holy Lord for the stability of His 
holy Churches and the orthodox faith, the good 
Shepherd, who lay down your own life for your 
spiritual sheep, and who chase away the ravages 
of the wolf with your pastoral staff." 

At this time Cyprus was a province ecclesiasti- 
cally independent of the Patriarch of Antioch. 
The recognition of the Pope's primacy could hardly 
be stronger. But, when persecution arose, Sergius 
was on the side of the heretics, not of the martyrs. 

1 Mansi, x. 709. 


wording alone." Maximus answers that 
what he dislikes about Sergius is his 
changeableness : " You never know where 
to have him." Pyrrhus then renounces 
the "one operation," and asks pardon for 
himself and his predecessors, as having 
failed by ignorance. "Is there no way 
of saving their memory while rejecting 
their doctrine?" " There is no other 
way," Maximus answers, " but to keep 
silence as to their persons, yet to anathe- 
matize the heresy." Pyrrhus laments that 
so the great Synod he had held will be 
condemned. Maximus replies that it was 
no Synod. 1 

" Pyrrhus : If there is no other way than 
this, I am ready to place my own salva- 
tion before everything else ; and to do 

1 " I marvel that you call that a Synod which 
was not held according to synodical laws and 
canons and ecclesiastical sanctions. For the en- 
cyclical epistle did not receive the consent of the 
Patriarchs, nor were the place and day of meeting 
fixed, and there was neither introducer nor ac- 
cuser ; those who assembled had no letters of 
commendation, neither the Bishops from their 
Metropolitans, nor the Metropolitans from their 
Patriarchs, nor were there letters or representa- 
tives sent by the other Patriarchs." The Synod was 
thus clearly intended as a kind of General Council 
of the East, no doubt at the Emperor's wish, and 
Bishops not subject to Constantinople were present. 
Hefele (p. 89) should not have called it Pyrrhus's 
own " Patriarchal Synod." 


this with completeness, I only beg that 
I may in consequence be deemed worthy 
of [approaching] the apostolic seats, or 
rather the princes of the apostles them- 
selves, and of seeing the face of the most 
holy Pope, and of presenting him with a 
libellus with respect to the absurdities 
which have been committed. 

" Maxim us and Gregory the Patrician 
said : Since your proposal is good and 
useful to the Church, so be it." 

Thus end the Acts. A contemporary 
has added the note : 

" Therefore, when he was with us in 
this famous city of Rome, he fulfilled his 
promise, and condemned the dogmas of 
the impious ecthesis, and joined himself 
to the Catholic Church by a right pro- 
fession, by the grace and co-operation 
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ, to whom be glory for ever and 
ever. Amen." 

In the following year the Bishops of 
Africa and the adjoining islands held 
Synods against the Monothelites by the 
counsel of St. Maximus. According to 
rule they sent their decisions to Rome, 
and four of their letters are still extant 
in the Acts of the Lateran Council, at 
which they were read. The first of these 
is a joint letter from the Primates of 


Numidia, Byzacene, and Mauritania, in 
the name of three provincial Councils 
which they had respectively held. 1 
They have heard that the heresy is 

1 Their introduction is modelled on the well- 
known letters of Popes Innocent and Zosimus to 
the African Councils of 417-18. " No one can doubt 
that there is in the Apostolic See a great and 
unfailing fountain pouring forth waters for all 
Christians, whence streams do richly proceed, 
bountifully irrigating the whole Christian world ; 
to which See also, in honour of B. Peter, the rules 
of the Fathers have decreed all special reverence in 
searching out the things of God which ought by 
all means to be carefully examined, and above 
all and justly by the Apostolic Head of Bishops, 
whose care it is of old as well to condemn what 
is evil as to approve what is laudable. For it is 
sanctioned by the ancient rules that whatsoever 
is done, even in remote and distant provinces, 
shall neither be discussed nor accepted, unless it 
be first brought to the knowledge of your good 
See, so that a just sentence may be confirmed by 
its authority, and that the other Churches may 
thence receive the original preaching as from its 
native source, and that the mysteries of the 
faith of salvation may remain in incorrupt purity 
throughout the various regions of the world. 
Wherefore most humbly doing obeisance to your 
"Apostolic Headship, with tears we inform you of 
that concerning which we cannot be silent with- 
out groaning of heart that some time ago a hateful 
invention at Constantinople was brought to our 
notice. If we have been silent until now, it is 
because we believed that it had been destroyed 
by the most serene examination of the Apostolic 


spreading, and have read the libellus 
which Pyrrhus had presented to the 
Pope ; and in consequence they have 
decided to send a remonstrance to Paul, 
the Bishop of Constantinople, beseeching 
him with tears to remove from his Church 
and himself the new heresy which Pyr- 
rhus had already rejected, and to have 
the ecthesis taken down from the doors 
of the churches, where it scandalized the 
orthodox people of his city. Since the 
conference of Maximus with Pyrrhus, 
the patrician Gregory had revolted and 
made himself Emperor of Africa. In the 
next year he was vanquished by the Sara- 
cens, and for this reason the Africans 
were afraid to write directly to Constan- 
tinople. They therefore enclose their 
letters to the Pope. 1 

?' 8. The Condemnation of Paul, and 
the Relapse of Pyrrhus. 

In accordance with the desire of these 
Councils Pope Theodore addressed a 

1 The enclosures are a letter to the Emperor 
Constantine and one to the Patriarch Paul. In 
the latter are many quotations from Ambrose 
and Augustine. A fourth letter is from Victor 
of Carthage, who had become Bishop after the 
other letters were written. He therefore adds 
in his own name this letter, replete with rather 
fulsome compliments to Pope Theodore, 


letter to Paul of Constantinople, which 
has not been preserved. The reply of 
Paul x commences with professions of the 
love of union, of charity, of humility, of 
silence. He relates that the Papal envoys, 
after much discussion, at last begged him 
to write his explanation of the will of 
Christ, and to send it to the Pope. He 
therefore exposes his views, which are 
those of the ecthesis. He quotes in his 
own favour Gregory Nazianzen, Athana- 
sius and Cyril, u with which testimonies 
Sergius and Honorius of pious memory 
are in agreement and accord, who adorned 
respectively the Sees of new and elder 
Rome." Paul seems to be more settled 
in his heresy than were Sergius and Pyr- 
rhus. Upon receipt of this letter Pope 
Theodore pronounced a sentence of 
deposition against him. 

Meanwhile Pyrrhus had returned, as 
St. Martin says, like a dog to his vomit. 
It may have been in this year, 648, 2 that 

1 Mansi, x. 1020. 

2 We learn from the report handed in to St. 
Martin at the Lateran Council by Bishop Stephen 
of Dora, that about this time he was appointed by 
Pope Theodore to be Vicar Apostolic of Palestine, 
in the absence of an orthodox Patriarch of Jeru- 
salem. Sergius, Bishop of Joppa, had usurped 
that dignity, after the retirement of the Persians, 
who had invaded the country ; and he had pro- 


St. Maximus wrote a letter to a high 
official in the East, called Peter, of which 
parts have been preserved. In it he de- 
nounces the ecthesis as worse than the old 
Monophysite doctrine. Yet he defends 
Honorius once more : 

a In this regard the wretches have not 
conformed to the sense of the Apostolic 
See, and, what is laughable, or rather 
lamentable, as proving their ignorance, 
they have not hesitated to lie against the 
Apos-tolic See itself ; but as though they 
were in its counsel, and as if they had 
received a decree from it, in the acts they 
have composed in defence of the im- 
pious ecthesis, they have claimed the 
great Honorius on their side." 

He appeals to Sophronius, to Arcadius 
(the late Metropolitan of Cyprus and pre- 
decessor of Sergius, whose letter had been 
cited in a note), and to the Popes : 

"What did the divine Honorius do, and 

ceeded to consecrate bishops. These intruders 
agreed to the ecthesis, in order to get the support 
of Paul of Constantinople, who seems to have 
claimed even to give the necessary confirmation 
of their election. Stephen, as papal legate, re- 
ceived back those of them who presented a petition 
(libcllus) of repentance. We gather that the 
orthodox Bishops of Palestine were at one with 
Sophronius as to papal Authority, and obeyed 


after him the aged Severinus, and John 
who followed him ? Yet further, what 
supplication has the blessed Pope, who 
now sits, not made ? Have not the 
whole East and West brought their tears, 
laments, obsecrations, deprecations, both 
before God in prayer and before men 
in their letters ? If the Roman See recog- 
nizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate 
but a heretic, it is certainly plain that 
every one who anathematizes those who 
have rejected Pyrrhus, anathematizes the 
See' of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the 
Catholic Church. I need hardly add that 
he excommunicates himself also, if indeed 
he is iri communion with the Roman See 
and the Catholic Church of God. I beseech 
you, therefore, blessed Lord, to order 
that no one should speak of Pyrrhus as 
sanctissimus or almificus, for the holy 
canon does not allow him to be so styled. 
For he who has wilfully separated from 
the Catholic Church has fallen from all 
holiness. For it is not right that one 
who has already been condemned and 
cast out by the Apostolic See of the city 
of Rome for his wrong opinions should 
be named with any kind of honour, until 
he be received by her, having returned 
to her, nay, to our Lord, by a pious 
confession and orthodox faith, by which. 


he can receive holiness and the name of 
holy. Therefore, if he wishes neither to 
be a heretic nor to be accounted one, 
let him not make satisfaction to this or 
that person, for this is superfluous and 
unreasonable. For just as all are scan- 
dalized at him when one is scandalized, 
so also, when satisfaction has been made 
to one, all without doubt are satisfied. 
Let him hasten before all things to 
satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satis- 
fied, all will agree in calling him pious 
and orthodox. For he only speaks in 
vain who thinks he ought to persuade 
or entrap persons like myself, and does 
not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of 
the most holy Church of the Romans, that 
is, the Apostolic See, which from the incar- 
nate Son of God Himself, and also by all 
holy synods, according to the holy canons 
and definitions, has received universal and 
supreme dominion, authority, and power of 
binding and loosing over all the holy 
Churches of God which are in the whole 
world. For with it the Word who is 
above the celestial powers binds and 
looses in heaven also. For if he thinks 
he must satisfy others, and fails to implore 
the most blessed Roman Pope, he is act- 
ing like a man who, when accused of 
murder or some other crime, does not 


hasten to prove his innocence to the 
judge appointed by law, but only use- 
lessly and without profit does his best 
to demonstrate his innocence to private 
individuals, who have no power to acquit 
him from the accusation. Wherefore, 
my blessed Lord, extend yet further the 
precept which it is known that you have 
made well and according to God's will, 
by which Pyrrhus is not allowed to 
speak or mis-speak with regard to dogma. 
But discover clearly his intention by 
further inquiry, whether he will altogether 
agree to the truth. And if he is careful 
to do this, exhort him to make a becoming 
statement to the Roman Pope, so that 
by his command the matter concerning 
Pyrrhus may be canonically and suitably 
ordered for the glory of God and the 
praise of your sublimity." 1 

The doctrine of this passage is explicit 
enough. We have already seen that 
Maximus was not the only Constantino- 
politan who held it. Indeed, he clearly 
assumes it to be well known and admitted 
by all. 

Consequently we can understand that 
the rejection by the Pope of Paul's con- 
fession of faith was felt by him as a 
serious blow. At first, indeed, the sup- 
1 Mansi, x, 692. 


planter of Pyrrhus showed nothing but 
anger, and wreaked his wrath on the 
Roman apocrisiarii who had brought the 
papal sentence of deposition to the East. 
He revenged himself by destroying the 
altar in the chapel which belonged to 
the Holy See in the palace of Placidia at 
Constantinople, " in order that the envoys 
should be unable to offer the immaculate, 
adorable, and spiritual sacrifice, and be 
partakers of the divine and life-giving 
sacraments." In reply to their admonition 
to him to renounce his heresy, u he per- 
secuted them together with other orthodox 
men and venerable priests, casting some 
of them into prison, sending others into 
exile, and subjecting others to stripes." 
This information we have from the speech 
of St. Martin at the Lateran Council a 
few months later. 1 

ig. The " Typus " of Constans and 

But Paul did not intend to break 
with the Holy See and with Catholicity 
altogether, as we learn from his next 
move, which was nothing less than the 
final withdrawal of the ecthesis, which 
his appeal to the name- of Pope Honorius 

1 Mansi, x, 879, 


had not availed to defend. Up to this 
time the great objection to the ecthesis on 
the part of the orthodox of St. Sophro- 
nius, of St. Maximus, and especially of 
successive Popes had been its assertion 
of the one will. It had been confidently 
asserted that the meaning of Honorius in 
acknowledging one will had been mis- 
understood and that his secretary was 
alive to establish his real intention. This 
point therefore Paul simply withdrew. 
But the main idea of the ecthesis was not 
so 'much its half-hearted defence of one 
will as its prohibition of both the ex- 
pressions u one operation " and " two 
operations," and here at least it could 
not possibly be said to misrepresent the 
teaching of Honorius. It was indeed 
logically necessary to apply the same pro- 
hibition to " one will " and u two wills," 
for it was inconsistent to permit " one 
will " but to forbid " one operation." 

Paul therefore persuaded the Emperor 
Constans to substitute for the ecthesis or 
exposition of faith an imperial decree, 
approving neither doctrine, but forbidding 
the naming of one or two wills equally 
with one or two operations. 

" We declare [says the Emperor] to 
our orthodox subjects that from the 
present moment they no longer have 


permission in any way to contend or 
quarrel with one another over l one 
will ' and ' one operation,' or ' two opera- 
tions ' and ' two wills.' No one is to add 
anything to the usages or words of the 
holy Fathers, but the form of doctrine 
is to be preserved everywhere as it was 
before the rise of the said controversies, 
as though no disputes had arisen, and no 
blame is to attach to any one of all those 
who have up till now taught one will and 
one operation, or two wills and two opera- 

For the sake of the union of all, 
Constans has ordered the ecthesis to be 
removed from the narthex of Sta Sophia, 
where it was still posted. 

This document is known to history as 
the typus of Constans. Severe penalties 
were attached to its contravention : 

" Whosoever ventures to transgress the 
command now given is subject before all 
to the judgement of God, but he will also 
be liable to the punishment of the de- 
spisers of the imperial commands. If he 
is a Bishop or cleric, he shall be deposed ; 
if a monk, excommunicated and banished 
from his monastery ; if he is a civil or 
military official, he shall lose his office 
and dignity ; if he is a private person, he 
1 Mansi, x. 1029. 


shall, if of the upper class, be mulcted in 
his property, if lowly, be chastised with 
corporal correction and permanent exile." 
Thus heresy is to go without blame, 
while the truth is to be forbidden. It 
was clearly impossible for the Holy See 
to accept the typus. Theodore, John IV, 
and probably Severinus, had all asserted 
the two operations and had made the 
expression a term of communion. But 
the Patriarch's move was a subtle one. 
He did not oblige himself to unsay any- 
thing that he had said, yet he withdrew, 
so that he could appear to have some 
deference to the papal censure. He 
seemed in effect to say : u I am afraid 
there is a misunderstanding. These con- 
troversies are fruitless ; let us be united 
as we were before they arose." If then 
the Pope should try to insist on the two 
operations and wills, the answer was 
ready : " Your predecessor pointed out 
that we had misunderstood the words of 
Pope Honorius about the one will. I am 
willing to admit this. Hence the Em- 
peror has issued this disciplinary measure, 
absolutely according to the true mind of 
Pope Honorius, and he has withdrawn 
the 'exposition' of Faith. No man's 
conscience is bound by the new docu- 
ment ; the Emperor merely follows the 


papal decision in imposing silence for 
the sake of peace." I 

It is certain that at Rome it was well 
understood that Paul had scored heavily. 
From this time forward not a word is 
ever again said in defence of Honorius. 
Until now even Sergius had not been 
condemned. Maximus had indeed ac- 
cused him of shiftiness, but he had lived 
and died in communion with the Holy 
See. Honorius had approved his letter, 
and John IV had called him "Sergius of 
reverend memory." Now this was all 
necessarily to be changed. It was not 
imperative to condemn Honorius at once 
by name, but Sergius is no longer spared. 
The typus is condemned, and Sergius with 
it, and by implication Honorius also. The 
issue of the typus falls in the Constantino- 

1 The typus refuses to condemn those who spoke 
of "one will," for had not Honorius been defended 
by his successors ? It refuses to condemn " two 
wills," for those successors preferred this expres- 
-i>n. Therefore peace is only to be reached by 
-ilence, after the manner in which "two opera- 
tions " and " one operation " were equally dis- 
couraged by Honorius. Yet none of the four 
expressions is condemned or approved. Let us 
take note that no one who accepted the typus could 
be called a Monothelite, since he must treat the 
Monothelite and the Catholic formula? with equal 
disdain, as unnecessary and liable to misunder- 


politan year between September, 648, and 
September, 649. Pope Theodore died 
May 5th, either before he could see the 
typusj or at least before he could take 
action against it. He was succeeded on 
July ist or July 5th by the illustrious saint 
and martyr, Martin I. The grave state of 
affairs demanded that Rome should at 
last give a solemn and final decision. The 
preceding Popes had indeed supported 
the orthodox in every part of the world ; 
they had condemned the ecthesis, and had 
deposed its partisans. But no Pope had 
yet issued a definition to the world, or 
had given a formal exposition of the true 
answer to the questions that had arisen. 
The evil had ever grown, and the new 
decree of the Emperor, intolerantly en- 
forcing mutual toleration, made a protest 
unavoidable. We are not surprised to 
find that St. Martin determined to call 
a Council at Rome at the earliest oppor- 
tunity. Just three months after his 
accession he opened in the Lateran 
Basilica a Council in importance the 
rival, in authority the equal, of oecu- 
menical Synods, and in interest the 
superior of many of them. A hundred 
and five Bishops were present, chiefly 
from Italy and its dependencies. 


j 10. St. Martin's Lateran Council 
of 649. 

The proceedings were inaugurated by 
the u chief notary of the Apostolic See," 
who in a set speech invited the Pope to 
declare his reasons for " summoning the 
holy Bishops here assembled and pre- 
siding, above whom you shine forth by 
your great and Apostolic Presidency over 
the Bishops who are in the whole world." r 

St. Martin then exposed the Catholic 
doctrine of two wills and two operations, 
relating how it had been denied in the 
u nine propositions" of Cyrus of Alexandria, 
how these had been approved by Sergius, 
who afterwards composed the ecthesis, 
fixed it at his church door and deceived 
Bishops into signing it ; how Pyrrhus 
imitated him, but repented and offered a 
libellus with his signature to the Apostolic 
See, condemning his own acts and writ- 
ings ; how he went back to his vomit and 
was justly deposed ; finally, how Paul for 
his letter to the Apostolic See was also 
deposed. "This last, to cover his error, 
imitating Sergius in this also, deceived and 
persuaded the Emperor to publish a typns 
which destroyed the Catholic dogma. For 
in this typus he cast out all expressions of 
1 Mansi, x. 870. 



the holy Fathers, together with those of 
the unspeakable heretics, since he decreed 
that neither one nor two wills were to be 
confessed." He had destroyed the altar 
of the Holy See at Constantinople, and 
had insulted the papal envoys. St. Martin 
adds that many of the orthodox from 
various parts of the world had made 
complaints to the Pope in person or by 
writing, that by apostolic authority the 
sickness of the Catholic body might be 

a Our predecessors have not been 
wanting both with and without writing 
at divers times in sending to these afore- 
said men with due prudence, both en- 
treating them and canonically rebuking 
them, and by envoys admonishing them 
and adjuring them," &c. 

And now he has thought it needful to 
call this Council together for common 
consultation and decision. 

The speech is a fine one. It is remark- 
able for what it says and for what it leaves 
unsaid. The ecthesis is condemned, and 
so are Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and 
the typus. Sergius is condemned for his 
letter approving the nine propositions of 
Cyrus, but the letter to Honorius in which 
Sergius withdrew the worst part of the 
other the letter which Honorius ap- 


proved is passed over. The ecthesis is 
represented rather unfairly as implying 
not merely one will, but even one opera- 
tion, and as thus going beyond the words 
of Honorius. But of Honorius himself 
not a word is said. To defend him would 
necessitate the acceptance of the typus, 
since its only fault rightly called heresy 
was its prohibition of the orthodox 
together with the heretical formula, after 
the example of Honorius. 

The Pope betrays his consciousness 
that he was implicitly condemning one 
of his predecessors, when he declares 
that these had repeatedly besought and 
rebuked the heretics, for he does not 
give the names of those who had done 
so : it would have been too striking to 
mention Severinus, John, Theodore, and 
omit Honorius. Throughout the Council 
the same conspiracy of silence on this 
awkward subject is maintained. None 
of the documents mention Honorius, 
none of the speakers breathe his name. 

We are manifestly half way between 
the apology of John IV and the con- 
demnation by Leo II. 

The second session commenced with 
the reading of the memorial of Stephen 
of Dora. After the Pope had accepted 
the document with words of sympathy, 


a deputation of thirty-seven Greek abbots, 
priests, or monks residing in Rome was 
introduced. Apparently the irruption of 
the Saracens had driven them from their 
own countries. One abbot was from 
Jerusalem, another from a Greek Laura 
in Africa ; one was an Armenian, another 
a Cilician. A memorial signed by them all 
was read : it demanded an anathema on 
Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Cyrus, the 
condemnation of the typus,-and the solemn 
assertion of two wills and two operations. 
The words as to the papacy alone concern 
us here. The petition is addressed to the 
holy Synod " assembled according to the 
holy , command and request of him who 
by divine choice is the President and 
Exarch of you all, the Bishop of bishops 
and Father of fathers, our Lord Martin, 
the thrice-blessed Pope." For the con- 
fession of the faith they have of necessity 
appealed, together with every province 
and city, to the apostolic and head See 
against the heretics ; they implore the 
Fathers of the Synod, that is, the apostolic 
and head See, not to despise the prayers 
of all Christians. They ask that the typns 
may be anathematized as the work of 
Paul, u who has already been deposed by 
your Holiness's predecessor, Theodore." 
The letters of the African Councils 


above mentioned were also read. 1 In 
the third session, October lyth, were read 
passages from a letter of Theodore of 
Pharan, the seventh proposition of Cyrus, 
the letter of Sergius to Cyrus (but not his 
milder letter to Honorius) ; all these were 
disapproved. Next came the ecthesis, some 
excerpts from Synods held by Sergius and 
Pyrrhus, and the approval of the ecthesis 
by Cyrus, which was considered parti- 
cularly damning. The Pope remarks 
that Sergius and Pyrrhus were disap- 
pointed, " for the ecthesis [exposition] of 
their impious and presumptuous novelty 
was not accepted or acknowledged by 
any means according to their vain ex- 
pectation, but was rather anathematized 
and condemned by apostolic authority." 
The fourth session contains a long 

* On the letter of Victor of Carthage the Pope 
observed that the Bishop had shown his zeal and 
also his humility, "since he most properly does 
not consider Paul to be excommunicate, but calls 
him fellow-Bishop until he shall learn the judge- 
ment about this matter of our Apostolic authority, 
or, which is the same thing, of Peter the Prince of 
the Apostles, since he alone was deemed worthy 
to be entrusted and to receive from the King of 
kings, Christ our Lord, the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven, to open it justly for those who believe 
orthodoxly in the Lord Himself, or to shut it 
to all heretics who remain in their heresy " 
(Mansi, x. 950). 


speech by St. Martin, in which he shows 
the heretical nature of the documents 
already read. Some of his strong language 
against the ecthesis applies, as he surely 
was aware, just as well to the letter of 
Honorius (p. 1012). Afterwards the letter 
of Paul to Pope Theodore is read. The 
appeal by Paul in this letter to Sergius 
arid Honorius, quoted above, is the only 
occasion on which that Pope's name was 
pronounced in the Council. The Bishop 
of Cagliari pointed out that Paul had been 
admonished by preceding Popes in writing 
and by messengers and asked for the typus 
to be read. 

The Synod on hearing it declared that 
its contents are not consonant with its 
good intention (this was to spare the 
Emperor while condemning Paul) ; it is 
good to cut short altercations and dis- 
cussions, but not to destroy the good 
with the bad ; the heretics had begun 
by declaring one will and one operation 
(Cyrus), then they changed and said 
neither one nor two operations (Sergius), 
now they go further and say neither one 
nor two wills (Paul), and there is no 
knowing what they hold ; against this the 
truth of two operations and two wills 
must be asserted. Again not a word of 
Honorius, though the whole story had 


depended on his declaration. The symbols 
of Nicaea and Constantinople and the de- 
cisions of the third, fourth, and fifth 
Councils were read. Then Maximus of 
Aquileia sums up the condemnation of 
Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul. 

In the fifth session (October 3151) a 
quantity of excerpts from the Fathers 
were read, teaching two wills and two 
operations, and after these a series of 
excerpts from older heretics, teaching one 
will and one operation. After the former 
series, the Council points out the fallacy 
of the appeal of the Monothelite leaders 
to the Fathers ; after the second series 
St. Martin shows the parallel between 
the teaching of the modern heretics with 
that of the older heresiarchs. After 
several long speeches comes a resolu- 
tion and a set of twenty canons. The 
eighteenth of these condemns Theodore 
of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Sergius 
of Constantinople and his successors 
Pyrrhus and Paul, also the ecthesis of 
Heraclius and the typus of Constans. 

The signatures of the Pope and all 
the Bishops follow. A letter to the 
Emperor was also signed by all. 1 

1 Mansi, x. 789. 


ii. Publication of the Lateran 

The encyclical letter sent with the Acts 
throughout Christendom is addressed 
by St. Martin and his Council to " all 
our spiritual brethren, bishops, priests, 
deacons, abbots of monasteries, monks, 
ascetics, and to the entire sacred ful- 
ness of the Catholic Church." Thus 
at last was an infallible decision of 
Rome on the subject published to the 
world. 1 

After the Lateran Council St. Martin 
wrote to John, Bishop of Philadelphia, in 
Palestine, who had been highly recom- 
mended by Stephen of Dora, appointing 
him his Vicar in the East in all ecclesias- 
tical functions and offices, bidding him, 
" stir up the grace of God that was in him 
by the imposition of the sacerdotal dignity 
and of our Apostolical Vicarship." He is 
to appoint bishops, priests, and deacons 
in all the cities subject to the Patriarchates 

1 The Pope wished ' to get Prankish Bishops 
deputed by Synods to accompany the papal 
envoy to Constantinople. He wrote to St. 
Amand of Tongres on the subject, with regard 
to the Austrasian kingdom. The Neustrian 
deputies were to have been St. Eloi and St. 
Ouen of Rouen, but they were prevented from 


of Jerusalem and Antioch. The Sees are 
to be filled at once. The Holy See had 
intended this to be done earlier by 
Stephen. But those who were to inform 
him of the powers conferred upon him 
had only told him of the right to depose 
bishops, and had kept back from him the 
injunction to nominate the successors as 
well. The Pope wrote also " to the 
Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch/' in- 
forming these two Patriarchates that he 
had condemned the five heretics, and had 
appointed a papal Vicar, the appoint- 
ments of Macarius of Antioch and of 
Peter of Alexandria being null. 

The Pope also wrote to the illustrious 
Peter, St. Maximus's correspondent, to 
support his Vicar. It should be re- 
membered that Alexandria had been in 
the hands of the Saracens since 640. At 
the same time St. Martin deposed John, 
Archbishop of Thessalonica. 

It was probably soon after the Lateran 
Council that St Maximus wrote from 
Rome a letter, part of which has been 
preserved in Greek : 

" For the extremities of the earth, and 
all in every part of it who purely and 
rightly confess the Lord, look directly 
towards the most holy Roman Church 
and its confession and faith, as it were to 


a sun of unfailing light, awaiting from it 
the bright radiance of the sacred dogmas 
of our fathers, according to what the six 
inspired and holy Councils have purely 
and piously decreed, 1 declaring most ex- 
pressly the symbol of faith. For from the 
coming down of the incarnate Word 
amongst us, all the Churches in every 
part of the world have possessed that 
greatest Church alone as their base and 
foundation, seeing that, according to the 
promise of Christ our Saviour, the gates 
of hell do never prevail against it, that it 
possesses the keys of a right confession 
and faith in Him, that it opens the true 
and only religion to such as approach 
with piety, and shuts up and locks every 
heretical mouth that speaks injustice 
against the Most High." 

The scene now changes, and the era of 
persecution begins. 

12. Persecution and Martyrdom 
of the Pope. 

The Emperor did not confirm Pope 
Martin's election, but sent his chamberlain 
Olympius as Exarch to Rome, with orders 

1 It is not likely that Maximus counted the 
Lateran Synod as a sixth Council, so that "six" is 
probably a stupid correction for five by a tran- 
scriber who wrote after 680 (Opp. S. Max. p. 72). 


to force the Pope to accept the typus. 
The Liber Pontificalis tells the well-known 
story how the Exarch plotted to have the 
life of the Pontiff taken while he was 
giving him Holy Communion. The 
assassin's eyes were held so that he could 
not see the Pope as he offered the sacred 
Host to Olympius. He published the 
miracle, and the Exarch did not dare 
to try again. On June 15, 653, a new 
Exarch, Theodore Calliopas, arrived with 
an army. The Pope, who was sick, had 
his bed set in the Lateran basilica before 
the high altar. But the holy place was 
no protection, and the Saint was torn 
from the sanctuary at midnight by an 
armed force. Within a few days he was 
put on board ship and removed from 
Rome. After a year's delay in Naxos, 
and after grievous sufferings, the Pope 
arrived in Constantinople on September 
17, 654. For the whole of the first day 
he was lying sick in the ship, subjected to 
the jeers of the passers-by, until he was 
carried to prison. It had been declared 
at the time of his seizure that he had 
been uncanonically elected and was no 
true Pope, but a heretic and a rebel. 
When after three months he was brought 
to trial, he was too weak and ill to stand 
without assistance. He was exhibited to 


the. people, stripped of almost all his 
garments and loaded with heavy chains, 
and then dragged through the city to be 
confined in another prison. He suffered 
terribly from the cold, and in the evening 
some food was brought to him lest he 
should succumb. At the same time the 
Patriarch Paul was dying. On being told 
next day by the Emperor what had taken 
place, Paul begged the latter to proceed 
no further. 1 

In March, 655, St. Martin was exiled 
to the Crimea, near Inkerman, and there 
he died on September i6th. We still pos- 
sess an account of his sufferings in his 
own letters, 2 which show the heroism of 
his soul. The mistake of Honorius had 
been nobly expiated. If in any way the 
prestige of Roman purity of faith had 
suffered, the unconquered constancy of 

1 On the death of Paul, Pyrrhus once more 
became Patriarch. It was now said that Pyrrhus 
had been constrained by force to go to Rome and 
make his recantation, and that he had been im- 
prisoned there. This lie must have been put 
forward by Pyrrhus himself. 

2 See Mansi, x. 849 foil, or the Collectanea of 
Anastasius Bibl. (Migne, P.L. 129, 585). St. Martin's 
feast is kept by the Greeks as that of a confessor, 
by the Latins as a martyr. The place of his suffer- 
ings in the- Stadium at Constantinople is still 
shown, and a cave at Inkerman, where he died. 


St. Martin had more than made up for 
the incautiousness of his predecessor. 

13. The Trial of St. Maximus at 

The cruelty of the : Emperor to the 
Pope who had condemned his typus was 
naturally extended against Abbot Maxi- 
mus, the leader of the orthodox in the 
East. He was brought to Constantinople 
in 653, about the same time as St. Martin, 
but his examination was delayed till 655. 
He was accused of having conspired with 
Pope Theodore and the African usurper 
Gregory against the Emperor, and it was 
said that Egypt, Alexandria, Pentapolis, 
and Africa had been lost through his 
means. When asked about his doctrine, 
the Saint replied that he had none but 
that of the Catholic Church. 

u ' Dost thou communicate with the See 
of Constantinople ? ' ' I do not.' < Why 
not ? ' ' Because they have cast out the 
four holy Councils by the propositions 
made at Alexandria, by the ecthesis per- 
petrated in this city by Sergius, and by 
the new typus, . . . and because the 
dogmas which they asserted in the pro- 
positions they damned in the edhesis, and 
what they proclaimed in the edhesis they 


annulled in the typus, and on each occa- 
sion they deposed themselves. What 
mysteries, therefore, I ask, do they cele- 
brate, who have condemned themselves, 
and have been condemned by the Romans 
and by the [Lateran] Synod and stripped 
of their sacerdotal dignity ? ' " z 

This was not conciliating. He is told 
that envoys who had come from the new 
Pope Eugenius would communicate with 
the Patriarch on the morrow. 2 He replies 
that this will cause no prejudice to the 
Roman See, for the envoys brought no 
letter to the Patriarch. His judges insist : 
u But what will you do if the Romans do 
unite \vith us?" He answers: "The 
Holy Ghost anathematizes even angels, 

1 The acts are in Mansi, xi. 3, and in Ada SS., 
Aug. I3th, in Latin only. In P.L. 129 (Coll. of Anast. 
Bibl.), in Gallandi, vol. xiii., and in Combefis's ed. 
of St. Maximus (P.G. 90) they are given in Greek 

2 The Emperor having declared that the election 
of Martin was null, the Roman clergy, after holding 
out for a year, at last elected an excellent and 
perfectly orthodox Pope in his stead, Eugenius 
although St. Martin was still alive and in his 
exile had declared such a thing impossible. From 
the Chersonese St. Martin (though complaining 
that he has received no relief from the Roman 
clergy in his dire want) recognized the new Pope, 
but we have no record of his having made any 
formal abdication. 


should they command aught beside the 
faith." ' 

The holy Abbot managed to write to 
his disciple Anastasius 2 the monk, that 
the Patriarch had sent him a message : 
"Of what Church are you? Of Con- 
stantinople, of Rome, of Antioch, of 
Alexandria, of Jerusalem ? Behold, all are 
one and united, together with their subject 
provinces." He had replied that God had 

1 On another day he is accused of anathematizing 
the Emperor by rejecting the typus. He replies 
that he has condemned no more than the docu- 
ment. "Where was it anathematized by the 
Roman Synod ? " he is asked. " In the Church of 
the Saviour [the Lateran], and in that of the 
Mother of God," he answers. He is asked again : 
" Why do you love the Romans and hate the 
Greeks ? " The servant of God said : " We are 
commanded to hate no man. I love the Romans 
because they have one faith with me, and the 
Greeks because they speak the same tongue as I." 
When the conversation turned to the Roman 
Synod, Demosthenes cried : "The Synod has no 
validity, since he who celebrated it [St. Martin] 
has been deposed." " Not deposed," said Maximus, 
"but expelled." "What Synod," he goes on, 
" had deposed him ? " And anyhow the canonical 
decisions previously made would not be annulled, 
" and with these the writings of the holy Pope 
Theodore are in agreement." 

2 The two disciples who shared the Saint's 
^ulYerings were Anastasius, a Greek monk, and 
Anastasius, a Roman cleric and papal envoy 


declared the Catholic Church to be the 
true and saving confession of Himself, 
when He called Peter blessed for his good 
confession. What then was the confession 
by which this union had been consum- 
mated ? He was told, u We confess two 
operations on account of their diversity, 
one on account of the union." This St. 
Maximus rejects on the ground that the 
union is not a substance, and cannot have 
an operation of its own. 

.'"Therefore hear/ said they, l it has 
been decided by the Emperor and the 
Patriarch, by order of the Roman Pope, 
that you shall be anathematized unless you 
obey, and shall suffer the death to which 
they have condemned you.' ' Let that 
be consummated,' I replied, ' which has 
been predestined by God before the 
ages.' " 

St. Anastasius, on receipt of this letter 
was able at once to write privately to the 
monastery of exiled Greek monks at 
Cagliari in Sardinia, whose Abbot had 
been present at the Lateran Council, in- 
forming them of the new phase of affairs. 
He shows that the change from the 
" neither two nor one " of the typus to 
u both two and one " is absurd. He states 
that the Roman envoys had been forced 
into agreeing, and were being sent back to 


Pope Eugenius with deceitful letters. By 
this the whole Catholic Church was set in 
great peril. Anastasius begs the monks if 
possible to cross over at once on some 
other pretext u to the men of elder Rome, 
firm as a rock, who indeed together with 
you are ever our patrons and most fervent 
defenders of the truth," and beseech them 
with tears that they may deserve the 
Lord's reward for preserving the orthodox 
faith. The letter referred to was from 
the new Patriarch, Peter, and the Liber 
Pontifical is tells us that it was very obscure, 
and made no mention of two operations. 
The Roman people was indignant at it, 
and made a tumult in Sta Maria Maggiore 
at a Papal Mass, not allowing the Pope to 
commence until he had promised not to 
accept the letter, 

^ 14. Exile and Death of St. Maxi- 
mus and his Companions. 

On the day following the second ex- 
amination of Maximus, a council of clergy 
was held, and the Emperor was persuaded 
by them to condemn him to exile at Byzia 
in Thrace, and his disciples to other 
regions. They suffered greatly from cold 
and hunger. 

On September 24, 656, Theodosius, 
Bishop of Caesarea in Bithynia, visited St. 



Maximus by command of the Emperor, 
accompanied by the consuls Theodosius 
and Paul. The discussion turned chiefly 
on the authority of the Fathers, and 
Maximus had the best of it. At last he 
knelt down and said : u Do your worst 
with your servant ; I will never communi- 
cate with those who receive the typus." 

" And as though they had been frozen by 
this speech, they bent their heads and were 
silent for a long space. And raising his 
head and looking at Abbot Maximus, the 
Bishop said : ' We declare to you in 
response, that if you will communicate, 
our master the Emperor will annul the 
typus.' " 

Maximus replied that the ecthesis itself 
had not been disowned, though it had 
been taken down. The canons of the 
Roman Council must be formally accepted 
before he will communicate. The Bishop's 
reply is characteristically Byzantine in its 
unblushing Erastianism. a The Synod is 
invalid, since it was held without the order 
of the Emperor." Maximus retorts with 
vigour : u If it is not pious faith but the 
orders of the Emperor that validate Synods, 
let them accept the Synods that were held 
against the Homoonsion at Tyre, at Antioch, 
at Seleucia, and the Robber Council of 


Eventually St. Maximus takes up the 
acts of " the holy and Apostolic Roman 
Synod," and proves from them that the 
Fathers spoke of two wills and two 
operations. The Consul Theodosius reads 
the testimonies for himself, while the 
Bishop declares that whatever the Fathers 
say he says. He is ready at once to write 
down two wills and two operations. Will 
not Maximus then consent to communi- 
cate ? The Saint replies that he is but a 
monk and cannot receive the Bishop's 
declaration ; the Bishop, and also the 
Emperor, the Patriarch and his Synod 
must all send to the Pope, supplicating 
that if it be possible he should make terms 
with them. The Bishop says : " If I am 
sent to Rome, promise to come with me." 
Maximus replies that his exiled disciple, 
the Roman Anastasius, would be a more 
suitable companion, as knowing the 

" Then all arose with joy and tears, and 
knelt down and prayed. And each of 
them kissed the holy Gospels and the 
precious Cross and the image of our God 
and Saviour Jesus Christ and of our Lady 
who bare Him, the all-holy Mother of God, 
placing their own hands on them to con- 
firm what had been done." 

Maximus then further instructs them in 


the faith. Finally, they all embrace, and 
the Consul Theodosius asks : " But do you 
think that the Emperor will make a suppli- 
cation to Rome?" "Yes," replies the 
Abbot, " if he will humble himself as God 
has humbled Himself." " I hope," adds 
the Consul, u that God will assist my 
memory, that I may repeat this speech to 
him." The Bishop presented Maximus 
with money and a tunic and a cloak. But 
when they were gone, the Bishop of Byzia 
at once seized the tunic. Thus the holy 
Abbot had won a greater victory in his 
cruel exile than in his famous conference 
with, the insincere Pyrrhus. An extreme 
anxiety is shown to win over a man 
so influential by his sanctity and his 
writings. The typus even might be sacri- 
ficed, and it had evidently been already 
dropped in the arrangement made with 
the envoys of Pope Eugenius. But the 
Lateran Council had set down the typus 
as heretical. Would the Emperor and the 
Patriarch humble themselves so far as to 
accept this ? It is probable that Maximus 
had little hope that Rome would modify 
the personal censures passed on former 
patriarchs ; but much would be gained if 
Peter would at least admit two- operations, 
withdraw the typus, and open negotiations 
with the Pope. 


But Bishop Theodosius had not reckoned 
with the obstinacy of Constans and Peter. 
On September 9th Maximus was honourably 
sent to Rhegium, and next day two patri- 
cians arrived in state with Bishop Theo- 
dosius, and offered the Saint great honour, 
'if he would accept the typus and com- 
municate with the Emperor. The Abbot 
turned to Theodosius, and solemnly re- 
minded him of the day of judgement. 
The Bishop in a low voice gave the 
characteristic reply : u What could I do 
if the Emperor took another view ? " 
" Then why did you touch the Gospels ? " 
asked the Saint ? All present then struck 
him and spat upon him, in spite of the 
remonstrance of the Bishop. The patrician 
Epiphanius admitted that all agreed to 
two wills and two operations, and that the 
tvpns was but a compromise. Maximus 
reiterated the Roman view that to forbid 
an expression was to deny its truth. 

Thus the Emperor adhered to his policy. 
He had still H on onus for his warrant. 
He admitted the Catholic doctrine defined 
by Rome, though he chose to deny the 
validity of the Lateran Council. We see 
that the ecclesiastics obeyed him through 
fear alone. The mind of the new Pope 
was known ; the verdict of the Fathers 
was not doubtful. No one at Constanti- 


nople ventured to support one will or one 

Next morning, September ioth,the Saint 
was stripped of all the money he possessed, 
and even of his miserable stock of clothes, 
and was conveyed to Salembria. The 
officers told him that if only there were 
repose from the wars, they would deal 
with Pope Eugenius and all his adherents 
and with Maximus himself and his two 
disciples as they had dealt with Pope 

In 662 the three confessors were brought 
to Constantinople. A trial was held. 
Maximus, his two disciples, St. Martin, St. 
Sophronius, and all the orthodox were 
anathematized. The Prefect was ordered 
to beat the accused, to cut out their tongues 
and lop off their right hands, to exhibit 
them thus mutilated in every quarter of 
the city, and then to send them into per- 
petual exile and imprisonment. A letter 
of the Roman Anastasius has preserved the 
details of their barbarous treatment. Each 
was confined in a different fortress in 
Colchis. The monk Anastasius died on 
July 24, 662, and Maximus on August i3th. 
The Roman Anastasius lived on until 666. 
They have always been revered in East 
and West as saints. 

When St. Jerome spoke tremendous 


words about the Pope, we are asked to 
believe that he was exaggerating, or even 
that he was sarcastic. When the Council 
of Chalcedon wrote in a like strain to St. 
Leo, we are to put down its w r ords as 
empty Oriental flattery. Whatever may 
be thought of such comments, they can- 
not be applied to the words in which 
we have heard St. Maximus again and 
again set forth the privileges of Rome. 
Men do not shed their blood to blunt a 
sarcasm or to justify a compliment. 1 

1 Pope Eugenius was succeeded in 657 by 
Vitalian. The election was well received by the 
Emperor. The Pope wrote to Peter in a concilia- 
tory tone, and the Patriarch wrote back a letter 
full of garbled quotations from the Fathers. This 
was probably rejected. The Emperor left Con- 
stantinople on account of the unpopularity he had 
incurred by his cruelty and want of orthodoxy, 
and came "to Rome in the guise of an orthodox 
son of the Church. It may have been politic on 
his part to conciliate the Monophysites in the 
East ; it was certainly politic to be at peace with 
the Pope in the West. Though the mutilation 
and exile of St. Maximus had been carried out but 
a few months before, yet now the typiis was 
buried in silence. The Pope received his sovereign 
with all honour, and accepted his presents to the 
churches. He did not even venture to protest 
against the spoliation of some churches by the 
tyrant. The Emperor had the name of Vitalian 
inscribed on the diptychs of Constantinople. 


15. The Convocation of the Sixth 
CEcumenical Council. 

The murderer of Martin and Maximus 
was himself murdered in 668. His son 
Constantine Pogonatus was desirous of 
uniting East arid West once more. The 
peoples of the East were orthodox ; and 
if their Bishops were silent under the 
whip of the typus, it was not that they 
were Monothelites. But it was not till 
678 that the Emperor made peace with 
the Saracens and was able to turn his 
attention to ecclesiastical affairs. It is 
probable that the typus had been a dead 
letter since the death of Peter in the same 
year as Constans. 1 

The Emperor determined to summon a 
Council, and wrote to Pope Bonus on the 
subject. But Bonus was already dead. 
The new Pope, St. Agatho, collected a 
preliminary Synod at Rome, and ordered 

1 The successor of Peter, Thomas, addressed an 
orthodox libdlus to Pope Vitalian, but the incur- 
sion of the Saracens prevented its being sent to 
Rome during his short episcopate of two years 
and seven months. The Emperor's countenance 
may have been needed in order to enable the 
Patriarchs John (669-74) and Constantine (674-6) 
to communicate with Rome, or again the wars 
may have been the preventing cause. These three 
orthodox Patriarchs were succeeded by a heretic, 


others to be held in the West. 1 This 
caused a considerable delay, so that the 
papal legates to the General Council of 
Constantinople were unable to arrive until 
October, 680. This interval of two years 
caused the heretical Patriarch Theodore 
and the equally heretical Macarius of 
Antioch to complain to the Emperor that 
the Pope despised the Easterns and their 
monarch, and they asked that the name of 
Vitalian might be removed from the 
diptychs. This he refused to do. 

Constantine's letter had been written 
under the influence of the heretical Patri- 
archs. 2 He declares before God that he 
will show no favour to either side, and if 
no agreement is reached, the papal com- 
missioners shall be allo\ved to depart in 
peace. He clearly regards the matter as 
a quarrel between the two Romes rather 
than as a question of faith. 

Before the Council met the Patriarch 
Theodore was sent into exile. Perhaps 

1 We know of one held by St. Theodore of 
Canterbury, of another in Gaul, and another at 

2 The Emperor suggested that the Pope should 
send at least three representatives from Rome, 
twelve archbishops or bishops from the West, and 
four monks from each of the Greek monasteries 
in the West (perhaps to interpret). The Emperor 
would see to their conveyance to Constantinople, 


the Emperor had found out that he 
would be an obstacle in the way of peace. 

The first session of the sixth oecumeni- 
cal Council took place on November 7, 
680. The proceedings were opened by 
the papal legates, who sat in the place of 
honour on the left hand of the Emperor, 
who was the president, the legates being 
the ecclesiastical presidents. 1 They say 
that they have been sent, together with 
two letters, at the Emperor's request. 
For some forty-six years four successive 
Patriarchs of Constantinople, Sergius, 
Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, and also Cyrus 
of Alexandria, Theodore of Pharan, and 
others, have greatly disturbed the world 
by new and unorthodox expressions, in 
spite of frequent remonstrances " from 
your servant the Apostolic See." Those 
who are on the side of Constantinople 
must explain the origin of this novelty. 

The new Patriarch of that city did not 
budge. But Macarius, with his disciple 
Stephen, priest and monk, and two 
Bishops, arose on behalf of Antioch and 
protested : 

" We did not publish new expressions, 

1 Mansi, xi. 207. At the first session only forty- 
three Bishops and representatives of Bishops are 
enumerated as present. The last session \vas 
signed by 174. The numbers in the different 
sessions are various. 


but what we received from the holy and 
oecumenical Synods, and from holy ap- 
proved Fathers, from the prelates of the 
royal city, that is from Sergius, Paul, 
Pyrrhus, and Peter, and also from 
Honorius, who was Pope of old Rome, 
and Cyrus, who was Pope of Alexandria, 
with regard to the operation and will. 
Thus we have believed and do believe 
and preach, and we are ready to offer 

This was a nasty hit. Macarius quotes 
the same names as the legates, and adds 
to them that of Honorius ! 

The Emperor replies : " If you mean 
to prove this, you must do so, as you have 
said, from the oecumenical Synods and 
approved Fathers." This Macarius tried 
to do. The acts of the third, fourth, and 
fifth Councils were read. The letter of 
Mennas to Pope Vigilus, and two letters 
of the latter, to which Macarius had 
appealed, were shown to be forgeries. 
So far Macarius had always had the 
worst of it. George, the new Patriarch 
of Constantinople, seems at last to have 
made up his mind. He comes forward 
with all his suffragans and asks that the 
letters from Rome be now read. This 
was accordingly done on November 15th, 1 
J Mansi, xi. 233. 


16. The Letter of Pope Agatho to 
the Sixth Council. 

The dogmatic letter of St. Agatho is 
very long. It goes into the whole ques- 
tion, and adds quotations from the 
Fathers. 1 He emphasizes two points. In 
the first place, he makes it clear that he 
is declaring the faith as it is to be held, 

1 The Pope praises the Emperor's idea of calling 
a Council, and of sending the notices of it through 
the ministry of the Pope to all peoples and 
tongues, and not directly, lest it should seem the 
Emperor was using compulsion. Agatho instantly 
obeyed ; but the distance to which he had to send 
had caused a long delay. He sends, as the Emperor 
had asked, three Bishops (these represented the 
Roman Council), two priests and a deacon (repre- 
senting the Pope himself), and also a priest repre- 
senting the Church of Ravenna. From all these 
not learning but simplicity of faith is to be 
expected, for they live among barbarians. He has 
entrusted to them extracts "from the Fathers 
whom this Apostolic Church receives," in order 
that they may be able to explain what " this 
spiritual Mother of your heaven-protected power, 
the Apostolic Church of Christ, believes and 
preaches," not by worldly eloquence, but by 
simple faith. They have been ordered not to 
presume to add or take away or change aught, 
but sincerely to expound " the tradition of this 
Apostolic See, as it has been taught by our apos- 
tolic predecessors." On bended knee the Pope 
beseeches Constantine to receive them kindly, and 
send them back safe, according to his promise. 


and as the Roman Church holds it, and 
that there is no room for discussion. In 
the second place, he repeatedly insists 
that the Roman See has never taught any 
other doctrine, but has kept the truth 
undented. This was necessary when the 
heretics were quite sure to appeal to 
Honorius as having explained the faith of 
the Roman Church. 

" In order that we may briefly explain to 
your divinely instituted piety what is the 
vigour of our apostolic faith, which we 
have received from apostolic tradition, 
and from that of apostolic pontiffs and 
that of the five holy general Synods by 
which the foundations of the Catholic 
Church of Christ have been strengthened 
and confirmed, this then is the condition 
of the evangelical and apostolical faith 
and the regular tradition, that believing 
one, holy, and indivisible Trinity," &c. 

After asserting two natures and two 
operations, the Pope continues : 

"This is the true and undefiled pro- 
fession of the Christian religion, which no 
human cleverness invented, but which the 
Holy Ghost taught by the Prince of the 
Apostles. This is the firm and irreprehen- 
sible doctrine of the apostles, &c. 

u And therefore, with a contrite heart 
and flowing tears, prostrate in spirit, I 


beseech you, deign to stretch forth the 
right hand of your clemency to the apos- 
tolic doctrine which the co-operator of your 
pious labours, Peter the Apostle, has handed 
down, that it be not hidden under a 
bushel, but be proclaimed more loudly 
than by a trumpet in the whole world : 
because his true confession was revealed 
from heaven by the Father, and for it 
Peter was pronounced blessed by the 
Lord of all ; and he received also, by a 
threefold commendation, the spiritual 
sheep of the Church from the Redeemer 
of all to be fed. Resting on his protection, 
this Apostolic Church of his has never turned 
aside from the way of truth to any part of 
error, and her authority has always been 
faithfully followed and embraced as that of 
the prince of the apostles by the whole Catholic 
Church and all Councils, and by all the 
venerable Fathers who embraced her doc- 
irine, by which they have shone as most 
approved lamps of the Church of Christ, and 
has been venerated and followed by all 
orthodox doctors, while the heretics have 
attacked it with false accusations and hatred. 
This is the living tradition of the apostles 
of Christ, which His Church holds every- 
where, which is above all things to be 
loved and cherished and faithfully 
preached. . . . 


"This is the rule of the true faith, which 
in prosperity and adversity this spiritual 
Mother of your most serene Empire, the 
Apostolic Church of Christ has ever held, 
and defends ; and she, by the grace of 
almighty God, will be proved never to 
have wandered from the path of apostolic 
tradition, nor to have succumbed to the 
novelties of heretics ; but even as in the 
beginning of the Christian faith she 
received it from her founders, the princes 
of the apostles of Christ, so she remains 
unspotted to the end, according to the divine 
promise of our Lord and Saviour Himself, 
which He spake to the prince of His 
disciples in the holy Gospels : Peter, 
Peter, saith He, behold Satan hath desired 
to have you, that he might sift you as he 
who sifts wheat ; but I have prayed for 
thee, that thy faith fail not, and thou 
one day being converted, strengthen thy 
brethren. Let your clemency therefore 
consider that the Lord and Saviour of all, 
to whom faith belongs, who promised 
that the faith of Peter should not fail, 
admonished him to confirm his brethren ; 
and it is known to all men that the 
apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my 
littleness, have always done this with con- 
fidence. These my lowliness desires to 
follow, though unworthy and small, yet in 


accordance with the ministry which I have 
received by the divine mercy." x 

Again he explains at great length the 
doctrine of " the Apostolic Church of 
Christ, the spiritual mother of your God- 
founded authority." He adds a few 
instances both from Greek and Latin 
Fathers, and shows that " one operation " 
is a Monophysite phrase. Cyrus and 
Theodore of Pharan, and Sergius in his 
letter to Cyrus, had used the expression. 

' x " For woe is me," he goes on, " if I neglect to 
preach the truth of my Lord, which they preached 
with sincerity. Woe is me, if I cover the irnth in 
silence, ,when I am bidden to deliver it to the money- 
changers, that is to instruct the Christian folk 
therewith. What shall I say in the future judge- 
ment of Christ Himself, if here, which God forbid, 
I should be ashamed to proclaim the truth of His 
words ! . . . Wherefore also the predecessors of 
my littleness, of apostolic memory, being furnished 
with the teachings of the Lord, ever since the pre- 
lates of the Church of Constantinople have been 
trying to introduce heretical novelties into the 
immaculate Church of Christ, have never neglected 
to exhort them, and to warn them with entreaties 
to desist from the heretical error of the false 
teaching, at least by silence." 

The words "at least by silence " may be taken 
as a lame reference to Honorius, for he had recom- 
mended silence as to one or two operations ; and 
this was not quite so bad as the interdicting by the 
typus of both expressions under terrible penalties. 
But it is more probable that if Agatho had intended 
to apologue for Honorius, he would have done so 


Sergius inserted " one will " in the ecthesis. 
Pyrrhus confirmed the ecthesis, but after- 
wards confessed two wills and two opera- 
tions in the libellus which he offered in 
the confession of the Prince of the 
Apostles. Paul declared for one will in 
his letter to Pope Theodore, and then in 
the typus forbade the mention of either 
one or two. Peter, writing to Pope 
Vitalian, professed to hold " one-two 
wills" and li one-two operations." See 
how they contradict themselves and one 
another ! 

17. The Pope gives his orders 
to the Council. 

Agatho continues : 

u Consequently, the holy Church of God, 
the Mother of your most Christian 
Empire, must be freed from the errors of 
teachers like these, and the whole number 
of prelates and priests, and clergy and people, 
in order to please God and save their souls, 
must confess with us the formula of truth 
(i ml Apostolic tradition, the evangelical and 
Apostolic rule of faith, which is founded 
upon the firm rock of blessed Peter, the 
Ft ince of the Apostles, which by his favoui 
remains free from all error." x 

1 St. Agatho goes on to say that it was in deep 
grief, not in pride, but in desire for the truth and 



He concludes by declaring that, " if the 
prelate of the Constantinopolitan Church 
shall elect to hold with us, and to preach 
this irreprehensible rule of the Apostolic 
teaching of the Holy Scriptures, of the 
venerable Synods, of the spiritual Fathers, 
according to their evangelical interpreta- 
tions, by which the formula of the truth 
has been shown to us through the revela- 
tion of the Holy Ghost," then there will 
indeed be peace. But if he should refuse, 
" let him know that of such contempt he 
will have to make satisfaction to the 
divine judgement of Christ before the 
Judge 'of all, who is in heaven, to whom 
we ourselves shall give an account, when 
He shall come to judgement, for the 
ministry we have received." 

Later Councils (as, for instance, that of 
Trent), have had the office of defining the 
faith. In the present case it is certain 
that the Pope has no idea of permitting 

the salvation of souls that his Apostolic predecessors 
had warned, begged, entreated, rebuked, besought, 
refuted, and had used every manner of exhortation. 
Even after many years of error they had still 
opened their spiritual arms to embrace the erring, 
" that they might not make themselves aliens from 
our fellowship, or rather that of St. Peter, whose 
ministry, though unworthy, we fulfil, and the form 
of whose tradition we declare." He begs the 
Emperor to continue the zeal that has already 
given much reason for thankfulness. 


any such thing. He writes as St. Leo 
wrote to Chalceclon, and as Hadrian was 
to write to the seventh Council at Nicaea. 
St. Agatho leaves no deliberation to the 
assembled Fathers. All are to accept his 
ruling at their peril. 

The way in which he appeals to his 
infallibility is the ancient way, so often 
used by his predecessors. He speaks of 
the tradition from St. Peter, of which 
successive Popes are the witnesses and 
the exponents. To-day, a Pope would 
rather speak of the tradition of the whole 
Church. It is obvious that in the 7th 
century a way of speaking which had 
been natural in the 2nd had already 
become somewhat strained. When for 
many ages the Church has received its 
faith from Rome, there can evidently no 
longer be any peculiar tradition at Rome 
which is not known and accepted by the 
Church at large. It is true that the East 
had so often been divided from the West, 
that the antique formula was still not 
wholly inapplicable. But the inerrancy 
of the Roman prelates in declaring the 
Petrine tradition was already really the 
main point, then as now. 

It should be noticed how St. Agatho 
insists, again and again, on the continued 
appeals made by his predecessors. It is 


as much as to say : " The heretics have 
followed some passing expressions impru- 
dently set down by one Pope, who made 
no appeal to his papal authority, nor to 
tradition from St. Peter. Against this I 
put the repeated, the continuous protest 
of Pope after Pope, authoritative, grave, 
deliberate. Their voice was intended to 
be, and was, the voice of the infallible 
Roman Church." 

Thus the claims made on behalf of 
Rome by the orthodox in the East, by 
Stephen of Dora and the Palestinians, 
by Maximus and the Byzantines, are fully 
taken ' up by Agatho. He does no less 
than they would have expected of him. 
He proposes no terms, and will have 
nothing but unconditional surrender. 

The letter of the Roman Council is 
similar to that of the Pope, but shorter. 1 

1 The letter of the Roman Synod is signed by 
Agatho and 125 bishops, among whom were St. 
Wilfrid of York representing the English Synod, 
and two representatives of a Synod of Gaul. They 
say to the Emperor : " What has been granted 
rarely and to few has been conceded by God to 
your God-crowned Empire, that by it the light of 
our Catholic and Apostolic true faith may shine 
with splendour in the eyes of all, which from the 
fountain of true light as from a ray of life-giving 
radiance, by the blessed ministry of Peter and Paid, 
the princes of the Apostles, by their disciples and 
Apostolic successors, Jias by the help of God been pre- 


It concludes with the expression of the 
hope that the Emperors will show them- 

sen>erf, step by step dawn to our littleness, obscured 
by no foul darkness of heretical error, nor polluted 
by the mists of falsehood, nor overshadowed by the 
clouds of heretical wickedness as with murky fogs, 
but pure and clear and transparent. For in this 
the Apostolic See and our littleness have toiled not 
without dangers, now taking counsel with the 
Apostolic Pontiffs, now making known to all by a 
synodical definition the rules of truth, and defend- 
ing the boundaries which cannot be transgressed 
even to the loss of life. . . ." Here St. Martin is 
meant. The painful situation of the West in the 
midst of the wars of the barbarian nations is given 
as a reason why learning and eloquence must not 
be expected to flourish there, but only hard work 
and poverty. " Our only substance is our faith, 
to live with which we count the greatest of glories, 
and to die for which is eternal gain. This is our 
consummate science, to guard with all the strength 
of our minds the boundaries of the Catholic and 
Apostolic faith, which the Apostolic See holds with 
us and has handed down." There follows a sort 
of creed : " This ice beliere. Tltis ice hare received 
by the Apostolic tradition, icliose authority in all ice 
follow. So the Council under Pope Martin taught. 
. . . We, though most humble, strive with all out- 
might that the commonwealth of your Christian 
Empire in which the See of blessed Peter is 
founded, whose authority all Christian nations 
with us venerate and revere out of reverence for 
St. Peter himself may be shown to be higher 
than all nations." The reverence of the inde- 
pendent nations of the West for the Apostolic See 
is intended to suggest to the Emperor that he 
should be proud of possessing it in his dominions. 


selves to be like their predecessors who 
patronized the preceding Councils Con- 
stantine, Theodosius, Marcian " who 
embraced the tome of the holy Pope Leo, 
which by his words Peter the Apostle had 
published " and Justinian, greatest of all, 
and will succour the Catholic Church, 
u so that it may be more perfectly united 
in the unity of the true and Apostolic 
confession which the holy Roman Church 
now preserves with us " (Mansi, xi. 
285 foil.). 

18. The Council deposes Macarius 
of Antioch. 

The fifth session of the Council was 
held on December yth. Macarius con- 
tinued his defence. He had tried the 
Synods, now he tries the Fathers, and 
produces two volumes of quotations, 
which were read but not entered in the 
acts. In the next session a third volume 
of testimonies was read. The three tomes 
were sealed by the Emperor's assessors, 
by the papal legates and Constantino- 
politan deputies, in order that they might 
be compared with the originals in the 
Patriarchal Library. The legates declare 
that some of the citations are falsified and 
curtailed : they have themselves brought 


dav in the seventh session. The legates 

Pope Agatho." ie that 

* Ge^-e then asked the Emperor's leave 
cessor, Theodore, in spite of the bin 


peror's promise to the contrary. To this 
the Emperor agreed. So in this session 
the union of Rome and Byzantium was 
consummated. The Council proceeded 
to make acclamations to the Emperor, 
" The new Constantine, new Theodosius, 
new Justinian" (taking these titles from 
the letter of the Roman Synod), and also 
acclamations to Agatho and George. 

It was now the turn of Macarius to 
reply to the Emperor's question. His 
answer was categorical and bold enough : 
" I do not say two wills or two operations 
in the economy of the Incarnation of our 
Lord J-esus Christ, but one will and a 
theandric operation." Macarius, there- 
fore, does not take his stand on the 
compromise of the ecthesis or the typus, 
but goes in for undiluted Monothelitism. 
He is almost the only certain representa- 
tive of this heresy since the nine proposi- 
tions of Cyrus. 

The Synod resolved : "Since the most 
holy Macarius does not consent to the tenor 
of the orthodox letters sent by Agatho the 
most holy Pope of Rome, which have been 
already read to your piety, we judge that 
he arise from his seat, and make reply." 

Four of the Bishops of Macarius' own 
province of Antioch then rose, and 
adhered to the letter of Agatho. The 


testimonies given in by Macarius were 
unsealed. He read his profession of 
faith, in which he identified the teaching 
of two wills and operations with Nestori- 
anism. When in his enumeration of the 
heretics whom he anathematizes he 
arrives at Theodore of Mopsuestia, he 
calls him " the accursed teacher of the 
heresy of Maximus " ; and he adds " to 
all these heretics the ill-named Maximus, 
who lately joined their number, with 
all his impious disciples, who taught 
Manichaeism and the tearing of the 
humanity of Christ, and his dogma of 
division which was rejected before our 
time by our blessed Fathers, I mean 
Honorius and Sergius and Cyrus, and the 
subsequent leaders and exarchs of this 
Church, and Heraclius of pious memory, 
your great grandfather." In answer to 
the Emperor, Marcarius declares that he 
will never acknowledge two wills or two 
operations, even if he is to be cut limb 
from limb, and cast into the sea. 

His testimonies are then read and shown 
to be unfairly quoted. He can only reply 
that he quoted them in such a way as to 
prove his own view. Upon this the Synod 
cried out : " Anathema to the new Dios- 
corus, the new Apollinarius ! " He was 
stripped of his omophorion, and made to 


stand in the midst. On the next day the 
reading was concluded, and Macarius was 
deposed, together with his disciple, Abbot 

The patristic testimonies brought from 
Rome and (at the request of the deputy 
of the Patriarch of Jerusalem) the synodical 
letter of St. Sophronius were also read. 

Then the Emperor asks the legates if 
there is any more business. They ask for 
certain writings of Macarius and Stephen 
to be examined, and parts of these are read. 
One excerpt speaks of the opposite party 
(the Lateran Council ?) as having " anathe- 
matized absolutely all those who held one 
will of the Lord, of whom one was 
Honorius of the Romans, who most clearly 
taught one will." Thus Honorius is ap- 
pealed to for the third time by Macarius. 

$ 19. Pope Honorius is condemned 
as a Heretic. 

In the twelfth session, March 12th, 
other documents were introduced, which 
had been sent by Macarius to the Emperor, 
but had not been read by the latter. The 
seal of the packet was broken, and the 
documents read. The first was the letter 
of Sergius to Cyrus, then came the sup- 
posed letter of Mennas to Vigilius. Then 


for the first time appeared the letter of 
Sergius to Honorius (which had not been 
read at the Lateran Council) and that 
Pope's reply. The Emperor had no 
knowledge of the contents of the packet, 
.so that the reading of Pope Honorius's 
letter was doubtless unexpected by the 
papal legates who presided, though 
Macarius had thrice appealed to its 
authority, and had already been con- 
demned as a heretic. All these pieces 
were now sent to Macarius, in order 
that he might acknowledge them as his, 
and this he did. It was decided that 
Macarius could not now be restored, even 
if he repented, but that a new Patriarch 
of Antioch must be made. 

On March 28th the decision was given 
on the letters previously read. First, 
those of Sergius to Cyrus and Honorius 
are condemned as alien from the ortho- 
dox faith, and as following the false 
doctrines of heretics. Then, " I hose whose 
impious dogmas we execrate, we judge that 
their names shall also be cast out of the 
holy Church of God, that is, Sergius, 
who was prelate of this God-protected 
and royal city, and was the first to 
write about this impious dogma, Cyrus 
of Alexandria, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, 
who presided on the throne of this God- 


protected city, and who held the same 
views as the others, and also Theodore, 
who was Bishop of Pharan ; all which 
persons were mentioned by Agatho, the 
most holy and blessed Pope of elder 
Rome, in his letter to the most pious and 
divinely strengthened and great Emperor, 
and were cast out by him, as holding 
views contrary to our orthodox faith ; 
and these we define to be subject to 
anathema. And in addition to these we 
decide that Hononus also, who was Pope of 
elder Rome, be with them cast out of the 
holy Church of God, and be anathematised 
with them, because we have found by his 
letter to Sergius that he followed his 
opinion in all things and confirmed his 
wicked dogmas." 1 

1 The fifth Council under the influence of 
Justinian had set the example of censuring the 
dead. It had not only condemned certain 
writings of Theodoret and Ibas, but it had con- 
demned the person of Theodore of Mopsuestia, 
though he had died in full communion with the 
Catholic Church. The Lateran Council had fol- 
lowed this lead, and had condemned Sergius and 
Cyrus by name. The sixth Council now follows 
the letter of Pope Agatho, and necessarily adds to 
his list the name of Pope Honorius, who had been 
easily passed over in silence at the Lateran, but 
had been dragged in by Macarius at Constantinople. 
To have condemned Sergius and to have spared 
Honorius would have been grossly unfair. No 


The words of the Council are accurate. 
The Roman legates raised no objection. 
It is clear that St. Agatho had not wished 
to provoke the condemnation of his pre- 
decessor ; but the resolution must have 
been proposed to the Council by his 
legates, who were its presidents, and they 
must have known that he would not 

On the other hand the condemnation 
of Honorius might never have been pro- 
posed or deemed needful, had not his 
letters been read among the documents 
presented by Macarius to the Emperor, 
and which the Emperor had not looked 
at. It was almost an accident, but so 
far as justice was concerned, a happy 
accident, however we may regret the un- 
fortunate controversial uses to which the 
condemnation has been put in modern 

The representatives of the Emperor 
now had other writings of the heretics 
read, though the Council declared it to be 

doubt it would have been preferable to condemn 
the writings only of those who had never shown 
themselves ob-tinate or been excommunicated, 
serving the personal anathema for Pyrrhus, Paul, 
and Peter. But the lines had been drawn by Popes 
Martin and Agatho. If Sergius had begun the 
heresy, its continuance was due to the approval 
given by Honorius. 


unnecessary, since Pope Agatho "in his 
letter had revealed their contrary view, 
or rather had made it plain that they 
agreed with Sergius. . . . Wherefore the 
holy Pope cast these out by his own 
letter." The fragment of Honorius's 
second letter was among these addi- 
tional documents. The Council ordered 
the whole lot to be burned " as agree- 
ing in one impiety and hurtful to the 

On Easter Day, April i-j-th, the papal 
legate, John, Bishop of Portus, celebrated 
Mass according to the Latin rite in the 
Churdi of Sta Sophia, in the presence of 
the Emperor and the Patriarch. 

A curious incident enlivened the pro- 
ceedings at the fifteenth session on 
April 28th. A priest named Polychronius 
promised to restore a corpse to life by 
placing upon it his confession of one will 
and one operation. A corpse was pro- 
vided ; but after much whispering in its 
ear in the presence of a great throng of 
people, he failed ignominiously, and was 
thereupon deposed and anathematized. 

During the summer the meetings of the 
Council were in abeyance. On August 9th 
the sixteenth and last session took place. 
In it George of Constantinople, together 
with a few of the bishops subject to 


him, made a petition "for an 'economy,' 
that, if it were possible, the persons be 
not anathematized by name, that is, Sergius, 
Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter." 

He names only his own predecessors, 
since for them alone was it his place to 
'speak. But the same indulgence must 
necessarily have been extended to the 
rest of the condemned. Here was an 
obvious opening to save Honorius, had 
the legates had any desire to do so. But 
the Synod replied simply in the negative. 

The final acclamations follow, first to 
the Emperor, as before, the " new Con- 
stantine, Marcian, Theodosius, Justinian." 
Then "many years" to Agatho, George, 
Theophanes (the new Patriarch of An- 
tioch). Anathema to Theodore the 
heretic, to Sergius the heretic, Cyrus the 
heretic, Honorius the heretic, Pyrrhus the 
heretic, Paul the heretic, Peter the heretic, 
Macarius the heretic, Stephen the heretic, 
Polychronius the heretic, Apergius of 
Perga the heretic. 

< 20. The Council's Formal Decree 
accepting the Pope's Letter as 
he had demanded. 

It has been said of this Council that it 
condemned a Pope against the wish of 


Rome. At least not, we saw, against the 
will of the Roman legates. 

It has also been said that the Council 
accepted the dogmatic letter of the Pope 
only after having examined it and com- 
pared it with the Fathers, We saw, it is 
true, that the Pope's book of citations 
from the Fathers was carefully verified. 
But this was inevitable, as the same had 
been done to those of Macarius. The 
real question is rather : Did the Council 
ratify merely the dogmatic decision of 
Agatho, or did it accept his whole letter, 
including the reiterated statements of 
Roman inerrancy and the right of the 
Pope to declare the faith, and the duty of 
all to accept the faith of Rome ? 

As the Council made no distinctions, 
raised no protest, and did exactly what 
the Pope demanded, we should a priori 
presume that it agreed with all St. Agatho's 
pretensions. Further, the analogy of a 
former reunion of East and West that 
under the Emperor Justin in 519 suggests 
that an explicit assertion of Roman iner- 
rancy would not be out of place. 

But we are not left to a piiori con- 
siderations. A series of documents 
emanating from the Council and the 
Emperor exhibits the views of the 
Council on this subject with entire 


clearness. They echo the words of 
Agatho as to the unfailing faith of Rome. 
They repeat after him that he spoke with 
the voice of Peter. They represent the 
whole work of the Council as consisting 
merely in accepting his letter. 

The first of these is the final and 
solemn decree of the Council which was 
read on September nth, and adopted 
in the last session, September 16, 681. 
This decree begins by accepting the five 
general Councils and the creeds of Nicaea 
and Constantinople. It condemns the 
heretics, including Honorius, 1 and goes 

"And this holy and (ecumenical Svnod, 
faithfully and with uplifted hands greeting 
the letter of the most holy and blessed Pope 
of elder Rome, Agatho, to our most faithful 
Emperor Constantine, which casts out by 
name those who have preached and 
taught, as we have said, one will or one 
operation in the dispensation of the In- 
carnation of Christ, our true God ; and 
likewise embracing the other synodical 
epistle to his divinely taught serenity from 

1 "But the devil raised up Theodore . . . Sergius, 
Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter . . . ami aho Honorius, 
ic'//L> u'tjs Pope of elder Rome ... to teach one will 
and operation after the fashion of the impious 
Apollinarians, Severians, and Themistians." 



the holy Synod of 125 God-beloved bishops 
subject to the same most holy Pope, as 
being in harmony both with the Council 
of Chalcedon and with the tome sent to 
the sainted Flavian by the most blessed 
Pope of the same elder Rome, Leo, whom 
the said Council called the pillar of ortho- 
doxy, and also with the synodical letters 
written by the blessed Cyril against the 
impious Nestorius "... (an exposition 
of doctrine follows). 1 

This decree was signed by the whole 
Council, first by the legates, and last by 
the Emperor. At the moment of his 
signing, anathema was again exclaimed 
against all the heretics, including Honorius. 
The decree clearly implies that the 
whole work of the Council had been the 
acceptance of the two letters from 
Rome as embodying the teaching of the 
Fathers. They are evidently received 
eye animo in the sense in which they were 

21. The Council describes the 
Pope's Authority. 

The next document is the customary 
\6yoQ 7rpo(T(f)u)rrjTiK(')g addressed to the Em- 
peror by the whole Council, and signed 

1 Mansi, xi. 632 foil. 


by the Legates and by all the Bishops. 1 
The Pope is spoken of as the u most high 
priestly prelate of elder Rome and of the 
apostolic acropolis," b T>JQ irpEafivrdrvQ 
PvprjG mi caroffroXucijs o/cpOTroAfwf ap\iepu- 
ra-wraroe Tipoecpoc. When the five general 
Councils are enumerated, it is said that 
against Arius 

" ' Constantine ever Augustus and the 
famous Silvester immediately assembled 
the great and illustrious Synod of Nic^ea.' 
. . . Similarly against Macedonius ' the 
great King Theodosius and Damasus the 
adamant of the faith, immediately resisted 
him.' . . . Against Nestorius arose ' Celes- 
tine and Cyril' . . . and against Eutyches 
' the trumpet of Leo, like the mighty roar- 
ing of a lion echoing from Rome,' . . . 
and lastly 'Vigilius agreed with the all 
pious Justinian.' " 

This description of the Councils as 
depending on the Emperors and Popes 
is a most remarkable testimony to the 
Eastern view in the yth century, and 
all the more, because in the case of the 
first two Councils it is not obviously his- 
torical. After such a witness to the rela- 
tion of Pope and Council, we are not 
surprised at other passages which deal 
with the sixth Council itself. 
1 Munsi, xi. 657. 


The Bishops praise the Emperor for 
restoring the integrity of the faith : 

"Therefore, in accordance with the 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and in 
agreement with one another, and assenting 
to the letter of our most blessed Father and 
most high Pope Agatho, addressed to your 
Majesty, and also to that of his holy Synod 
of 125 Bishops, we glorify our Lord Jesus 
Christ as one of the holy Trinity," &c. 
The two natures are then professed, and 
Theodore, Sergius, and Paul, Pyrrhus 
and Peter and Cyrus are anathematized, 
"and with them Honorius, who was Pre- 
late of- Rome, as having followed them 
in all things," and Macarius, Stephen, and 

" And lest any one should reprehend the 
divine zeal of the all-holy Pope or the present 
angelic assemblage, we have followed his 
teaching, and he the Apostolic and Patristic 
tradition, and we have found nothing that 
was not consonant with what they have 
laid down. . . . Who has ever beheld 
such wondrous things ? The spiritual 
lists were arrayed, and the champion of 
the false teaching was beforehand disarmed 
[i.e., by the Pope's letter], and he knew 
not that he would not obtain the crown 
of victory, but be stripped of the 
sacerdotal crown. But with us fought 


the Prince of the Apostles, b 
TrpwraTTooroXoc, for to assist us we had his 
imitator and the successor to his chair, who 
exhibited to us the mystery of theology in his 
letter. The ancient city of Rome proffered to 
you a divinely written confession and caused 
the davlight of dogmas to rise by the Western 
parchment. And the ink shone, and by 
Agatho Peter spoke ; and you the autocrat 
king, did vote with the Almighty who reigns 
with you . . . and the wicked Simons who 
had flown aloft, fell down with the wing 
of contempt, and their statue was brought 
to ruin." 

The allusion is of course to Simon 
Magus, who was said to have flown into 
the air in the Roman Forum, but to have 
fallen at the prayer of St. Peter. This 
flowery language is addressed to the 
Emperor, not to the Pope, and cannot 
therefore be discounted as flattery. The 
victory over the heresy is attributed to 
the Pope, and Agatho's own claim to 
be the mouthpiece of Peter is adopted 
by the Council. It is, therefore, proved 
that the acceptance of the Roman letters 
by the Council was full and whole-hearted. 

A third document is the letter, which 
the Council, in accordance with precedent, 
addressed to the Pope himself. It begins 


u The greatest diseases demand the 
greatest remedies, as you know, most 
blessed one. Wherefore, Christ, our true 
God, has revealed your Holiness as a 
wise physician, mightily driving away 
the disease of heresy by the medicine 
of orthodoxy, and bestowing health on 
the members of the Church. We there- 
fore leave to you what is- to be done, 1 since 
you occupy the first See of the universal 
Church, and stand on the firm rock of the 
faith, after we have dwelt with pleasure 
upon the writings of the true confession 
from your paternal blessedness to the 
most pious King, which also we recognize 
as pronounced by the chiefest head of the 
Apostles, and by which we have put to 
flight the dangerous opinion of the heresy 
which lately arose. . . . Those who erred 
concerning the faith we have slain by our 
anathemas in the morning without the 
precincts of the courts of the Lord (to 
speak like David), according to the pre- 
vious condemnation pronounced on them 
in your holy letters we mean Theodore 
of Pharan, Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, 
Paul, Pyrrhus, and Peter, and besides 
these . . . Macarius . . . Stephen . . . 
and Polychronius." 

' This means that Macarius and other heretics 
were committed to the Pope to be dealt with at 
his discretion. 


The rest of the letter is in a like strain. 
Finally the Pope is requested to confirm 
the decision " by an honoured rescript. 
This epistle is signed by all the Fathers 
of the Council. 1 

< 22. The Emperor describes the 
Prerogatives of Rome. 

Effect was given to the decrees of the 
Council by the Emperor in an edict of 
considerable length. 2 I quote one pas- 

1 Honorius is here numbered among those whom 
the Pope had already condemned, though in the 
original condemnation he had been rightly set 
down as an addition made by the Council. Here 
it seems to be the chronological order which has 
determined the inclusion of Honorius in the wrong 
division. Hefele (Eng. trans., v. p. 187) has sug- 
gested that it was this passage which misled 
Hadrian II, when in an allocution which was read 
in the eighth Council in 870 he declared that the 
other bishops would never have judged Honorius, 
who was their superior, "unless the authorization 
of the consent of the Pontitf of the first See had 
preceded." But Hadrian does not say, " Unless 
the Pope had first himself condemned.' I take 
it therefore, that he is referring to a permission 
presumed to have been given in previous mstruc- 

il ?\le menUonsTlie heretics who had infected the 
Church : "That is to say, Theodore . . . Sergms 
and also Honorius, who was Pope of eldei 
Rome, the confinncr of the heresy and contra* 
dicier of himself, and Cyrus . . . Pyrrhus, &c. 


sage, which is an official declaration of 
the inerrancy of Rome by the head of the 
State : 

" These are the teachings of the voices 
of the Gospels and Apostles, these the 
doctrines of the holy Synods, and of the 
elect and patristic tongues ; these have 
been preserved untainted by Peter, the rock 
of the faith, the head of the Apostles ; in this 
faith we live and reign/' &c. 

The Emperor wrote also to the Pope. 
He recounts how he had invited the Pope 
to send representatives to a Council and 
the other Patriarchs to send their subject 
Bishops^ on account of the inroads of 
heretics. This is not quite the same 
as his view before the Council, when 
he had spoken as if there was but a 
quarrel between Rome and Byzantium, 
in which he would be an unbiassed arbiter. 
The letter must be somewhat later than 
that of the Council to Agatho, as it is ad- 
dressed to Leo II. St. Agatho had died 
soon after the end of the Council, on 
January 10, 682. I cite one striking 
paragraph from the letter : 

And further on : " We mean Theodore . . . and 
Sergius . . . and also Honorius, who was Pope 
of elder Rome, who in all things agreed and ac- 
cepted and confirmed their heresy, and Cyrus . . . 
Pyrrhus, Paul," &c. (Mansi, xi. 697 foil.). 


"The letter of Pope Agatho, who is 
with the saints, to our majesty having 
been presented by his envoys ... we 
ordered it to be read in the hearing of 
all, and we beheld in it as in a mirror the 
image of sound and unsullied faith. We 
compared it with the voices of the Gospels 
and of the Apostles, and set beside it the 
decisions and definitions of the holy oecu- 
menical Synods, and compared the quota- 
tions it contained with the precepts of 
the Fathers, and finding nothing out of 
harmony, we perceived in it the word of the 
true confession [i.e., of Peter] unaltered. 
Ami with the eyes of our understanding we 
saw it as it were the very ruler of the Apos- 
tolic choir, the 7rpw7-o/,-a0ec )0 oc Peter himself, 
declaring the mystery of the whole dispensa- 
tion, and addressing Christ by this letter : 
' Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living 
God ' ; for his holy letter described in 
word for us the whole Christ. We all 
received it willingly and sincerely, and 
embraced it, as though it were Peter him- 
self, with the arms of our soul. Macarius 
alone, who was Prelate of Antioch, 
with those whom he dragged after him r 
divided from us, and drew back from 
the yoke of Christ, and leapt out of 
the sacerdotal circle ; for he refused alto- 
gether to agree to the all-holy writings oj 


Agatho, as though he were even raging 
against the coryphaeus Peter himself. . . . 
And since he so hardened his heart and 
made his neck a cord of iron, and his fore- 
head of brass, and his ears heavy that 
they should not hear, and set his heart 
unfaithful that it should not obey the law, 
for the law goeth forth from Sion, the teach- 
ings of the Apostolic height, for this cause 
the holy oecumenical Synod stripped him, 
Macarius, and his fellow heretics, of the 
sacerdotal office. In a written petition 
all of one accord begged our serenity to send 
them , to your blessedness. This we have 
done . . . committing to your fatherly 
judgement all that concerns them . . . 
Glory be to God, who does wondrous 
things, Who has kept safe the faith among 
you unharmed. For how should He not do 
so in that rock on which He founded His 
Church, and prophesied that the gates of hell, 
all the ambushes of heretics, should not prevail 
against it ? From it, as from the vault of 
heaven, the word of the true confession 
flashed forth, and enlightened the souls 
of the lovers of Christ, and brought 
warmth to frozen orthodoxy. This we 
have completed happily by God's help, 
and have brought all the sheep of Christ 
into one fold, no longer deceived by false 
.shepherds and the prey of wolves, but 


pastured by the one Good Shepherd, with 
ivhoni yon "have been appointed to join in 
pasturing them, and to lay down your life 
for the sheep " * (Mansi, xi. 713 foil.). 

The Emperor also addressed a short 
' letter to the Roman Synod, in which he 


"You yourselves were present with 
your oecumenical chief pastor, rw 

1 He continues: "Wherefore be strong, play 
the man, and gird on the sword of the Word, and 
whet it with divine zeal, and stand firm to fight 
for pietv, and be bold to cut off every rumour or 
introduction of heresy, as erst Peter cut off the 
sense of hearing of the Jew ; foreshadowing the 
destruction of the legal and servile synagogue. 
Stretch forth the axe of the Spirit, and every tree 
that bears the fruit of heresy either transplant by 
instruction or cut it down by canonical penalties, 
and cast it into the fire of the future gehenna, in 
order that by the universal destruction of those 
who injure the faith, the body of the Church may 
be strong and whole, being connected and com- 
pacted by the peace of the Spirit. When this 
remains firm, the attack and resistance of the 
enemv is confounded and the throne of our 
scrcnitv rests upon the rock of the fa ith, counsels 
and motions are directed for the benefit of our 
power, and the State of the whole Roman Empire 
is set at peace with the peace of the faith. We 
urge your all-holy headship to send without delay 
znApocrisiarhis appointed by yourself to dwell in 
our royal and God-protected city, to represent the 
person of your Holiness in all matters that may 
arise, dogmatic, canonical, or simply ecclesiastical. 


oiKovpeviky apxtirotpivty, speaking with him 
in spirit and in writing. For we received T 
besides the letter from his blessedness, 
also one from your sanctity. It was pro- 
duced, it was read, and it detailed for 
us the word of truth and painted the 
likeness of orthodoxy. . . . We did not 
neglect to compare them with care. And, 
therefore, in harmony of mind and tongue 
we believed with the one and confessed 
with the other, and we admired the writ nig 
of Agatho as the voice of divine Peter, for 
nobody disagreed, save one " (p. 721). 

23. Papal Infallibility and the 
Sixth Council. 

These letters may help us to decide 
whether "the Bishops who composed the 
Council had no, even rudimentary, idea 
of Papal Infallibility." The Pope im- 
posed terms of communion. The Council 
accepts the letter in which the Pope 
defined the faith. It deposes those who 
refused to accept it. It asks him to con- 
firm its decisions. The Bishops and the 
Emperor declare that they have seen the 
letter to contain the doctrine of the 
Fathers ; Agatho speaks with the voice 
of Peter himself ; from Rome the law had 
gone forth as out of Sion ; Peter had 


kept the faith unaltered. The Council 
holds the same traditional views about 
Rome which we have heard from Con- 
stantinople, from Palestine, from Africa, 
from Cyprus. 

All this is not the Vatican definition, for 
it is not definite. But the very least that 
is implied is that Rome has an indefectible 
faith, which is authoritatively promulgated 
to the whole Church by the Bishops of 
the Apostolic See, the successors of Peter . 
and the heirs at once of his faith and of 
his authority. 

How was it possible to assert this, and 
yet in the same breath to condemn Pope 
Honorius as a heretic ? The answer is 
surely plain enough. Honorius was 
fallible, was wrong, was a heretic, pre- 
cisely because he did not, as he should 
have done, declare authoritatively the 
Petrine tradition of the Roman Church. 
To that tradition he had made no appeal, 
but had merely approved and enlarged 
upon the half-hearted compromise of 
Sergius. The Roman tradition had been 
asserted with authority by Popes 
Severinus, John IV, Theodore, Martin, 
and their successors ; and Martin had 
sealed his testimony with his sufferings 
and death. Neither the Pope nor the 
Council consider that Honorius had com- 


promised the purity of Roman tradition, 
for he had never claimed to represent it. 

Therefore just as to-day we judge the 
letters of Pope Honorius by the Vatican 
definition, and deny them to be c.v 
cathedta, because they do not define any 
doctrine and impose it upon the whole 
Church, so the Christians of the 7th 
century judged the same letters by the 
custom of their own day, and saw that they 
did not claim what papal letters were 
wont to claim, viz., to speak with the 
mouth of Peter, in the name of Roman 
tradition. The grounds of both judge- 
ments are in reality the same, viz., that 
the Pope w r as not defining with authority 
and binding the Church. 

It is true that in the East, as we have 
seen, the whole of the continued resistance 
to the true doctrine had been built upon 
the authority of Honorius, and that with- 
out his unfortunate letters in all probability 
no Monothelite troubles would have dis- 
turbed the page of history. But even in 
a case where no appeal was made by the 
Pope to the apostolic tradition, and where 
no penalties were threatened by him, 
there could be no anticipation that any 
incorrect mandate should issue from a 
Church whose faith was so pure, nor that 
such a letter as that of Honorius could be 


disowned by his successors. It was 
natural for the Byzantines, therefore r to 
treat it as giving the Roman view, natural 
that it should be followed by Sergius 
(whom in fact it bound since it was 
addressed to him), natural that it should 
remain a tower of strength to heretics 
until it had been authoritatively declared 
by Rome to be no embodiment of her 
tradition. Such a disavowal had be- 
come absolutely necessary as the com- 
plement of the Roman condemnation of 
the edhesis and the typus, which had both 
been founded on Honorius, as we saw. 

But once disowned by Rome, the words 
of Honorius were harmless against Rome. 
They were instantly reduced to their true 
value, as the expression of his own view. ' 

1 Infallibility is, as it were, the apex of a pyramid. 
The more solemn the utterances of the Apostolic 
See, the more we can be certain of their truth. 
When they reach the maximum of solemnity, that 
is, when they are strictly ex cathedra, the possi- 
bility of error is wholly eliminated. The authority 
of a Pope, even on those occasions when he is not 
actually infallible, is to be implicitly followed and 
reverenced. That it should be on the wrong side 
is a contingency shown by faith and history to be 
possible, but by history as well as by faith to be so- 
remote that it is not usually to be taken into con- 
sideration. There are three or four examples in. 
history. Of these the condemnation of Galileo is 
the most famous, and the mistake of Honorius. 


The infallibility of the Pope is for the 
sake of the Church. Wherever his fall 
would necessarily involve the Church in 
the same error, he is infallible. There- 
fore he is infallible whenever he binds the 
Church by his authority to accept his 
ruling, and only then. It is a matter of 
history that no Pope has ever involved the 
whole Church in error. It is a matter of 
history that Pope after Pope has solemnly 
defined the truth and bound the Church 
to accept it. It is a matter of history 
that Pope after Pope has confirmed the 
Councils which decided rightly and has 
annulled those which decided wrongly. 
It is a matter of history that Rome has 
always retained the true faith. If this 
was wonderful in the 7th century, it is 
more wonderful after thirteen more 
centuries have passed. 

24. The Condemnation of Pope 
Honorius is confirmed by nume- 
rous Pontiffs and by two CEcu- 
menical Councils. 

The confirmation of the sixth Council 
by Pope Leo II is contained in a long 

makes a good (or rather bad) second. But in this 
-case the mistake \vas rectified within a few months, 
and after that, no one followed Honorius in good 


dogmatic letter to the Emperor, dated 
May 7, 682. The central paragraph is as 
follows : ,. 

" My predecessor, Pope Agatho ot 
apostolic memory, together with his 
honourable Synod, preached this norm ot 
the right apostolic tradition. This he 
sent by letter ... to your piety by his 
own legates, demonstrating it and con- 
firming it by the usage of the holy and 
approved teachers of the Church. And 
now the holy and great Synod, celebrated 
by the favour of God and your own, has 
accepted it ami embraced it in all things 
with us, as recognizing in it the pure teaching 
of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles 
and discovering in it the marks of sound 
piety. Therefore the holy and universal 
sixth Synod, which by the will of God 
your clemency summoned and presided, 
has followed in all things the teaching 
of the apostles and approved Fathers. 
And because, as we have said, it has 
perfectly preached the definition of the true 
faith which the Apostolic See of blessed Peter 
the apostle (whose office we unworthy hold] 
also reverently receives, therefore we, and by 
our ministry thi* reverend Apostolic See, 
whollv and with full agreement do consent to 
the definitions made by it, and by the autho- 
rity of blessed Peter do confirm them, even 


as we have received firmness from the Lord 
Himself upon the firm rock which is Christ" 

St. Leo thus enumerates the heretics 
condemned : 

a And in like manner we anathematize 
the inventors of the new error, that is, 
Theodore, Bishop of Pharan, Sergius, 
Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, betrayers rather 
than leaders of the Church of Constanti- 
nople, and also Honorius, who did not 
attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with 
the teaching of apostolic tradition, but by 
profane treachery permitted its purity to be 

It has been sometimes said that St. Leo 
in these words interprets the decision of 
the Council about Honorius in a mild 
sense, or that he modifies it. It 
is supposed that by " permitted to be 
polluted" Leo II means no positive 
action, but a mere neglect of duty, grave 
enough in a Pope, but not amounting to 
the actual teaching of heresy. If Leo II 
had meant this, he would have been mis- 
taken. Honorius did positively approve 
the letter of Sergius, as the Council 
pointed out. Further, the merely negative 
ruling of the typus had been condemned 
as heresy by the Lateran Council. * 

1 In a letter to the Bishops of Spain, St. Leo has 
the similar phrase, " With Honorius, who did 


As a fact the words of Leo II are 
harsher than those of the Council. He 
declares that Honorius did not publish 
the apostolic doctrine of his See, and he 
represents this as a disgrace to the Church 
of Rome itself, as a pollution of the un- 
spotted. This no Eastern Bishop had 
ventured to say. 

The anathemas on Pope Honorius have 
been again and again continued. A few 
years later he is included in the list of 
heretics by the Trullan Synod, a Council 
whose canons were not, however, and 
could not be received by Rome and the 
West. But the seventh and eighth 
oecumenical Councils did the same, 
although the eighth Council formally 
declared that the Church of Rome had 
never erred. It is still more important 
that the formula for the oath taken by 
every new Pope from the 8th century till 

not, as became the apostolic authority, extinguish 
the flame of heretical teaching in its first begin- 
ning, but fostered it by his negligence." He means 
that Honorius did not detect the error latent in 
Sergius' expressions. To King Erwig he says : 
" And with them Honorius of Rome, who allowed 
the immaculate rule of apostolic tradition, which 
he received from his predecessors, to be tarnished." 
A mere omission to rebuke would not have caused 
a tarnish. The Emperor had apologized more 
efficaciously for Honorius when he said that 
Honorius contradicted himself. 


the nth adds these words to the list of 
Monothelites condemned : " Together 
with Honorius, who added fuel to their 
wicked assertions " (Liber diimius, ii. 9). 
Unquestionably no Catholic has the right 
to deny that Honorius was a heretic 
(though in the sense that Origen and 
Theodore of Mopsuestia were heretics), 
a heretic in words if not in intention. 

Finally Honorius was mentioned as a 
heretic in the lessons of the Roman 
Breviary for June 28th, the feast of St. 
Leo II, until the i8th century, when the 
name , was omitted as liable to cause 
misunderstanding. In the Middle Ages, 
u to lie like the second nocturn " was a 
proverb, and no doubt the Breviary is 
still full of historical errors. Nevertheless, 
the persistence of this reading through 
many centuries at all events shows that it 
was not found scandalous by our fore- 
fathers, and was perfectly well understood 
until controversy with later views, Galilean 
and Protestant, suggested difficulties.