Quinisext Council

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Council in Trullo (Quinisext Council)
Date 692
Accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy
Previous council
Third Council of Constantinople
Next council
Second Council of Nicaea
Convoked by Emperor Justinian II
President Justinian II
Attendance 215 (all Eastern)
Topics discipline
Documents and statements
basis for Orthodox Canon law
Chronological list of Ecumenical councils

The Quinisext Council (often called the Council in Trullo or the Penthekte Synod) was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is often known as the Council in Trullo, because it was held in the same domed hall where the Sixth Ecumenical Council had met. Both the Fifth and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils had omitted to draw up disciplinary canons, and as this council was intended to complete both in this respect, it took the name of Quinisext (Latin: Concilium Quinisextum, Koine Greek: Πενθέκτη Σύνοδος, Penthekte Synodos), i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council. It was attended by 215 bishops, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Crete, however, belonged to the Roman patriarchate and called himself papal legate, though no evidence is extant of his right to use that title.

Many of the canons were reiterations of previously passed canons. Several of the regulations passed were attempts at eliminating certain festivals and practices, in many cases because they were ascribed a pagan origin. As a result, the proceedings of the Council give some insight to historians regarding the prevalence and nature of pre-Christian religious practices in the Eastern empire.[1]

In addition to recording earlier decisions and attempting to curb pagan practices, many of the new regulations were aimed at settling differences between the Eastern and Western church practices regarding ritual observance and clerical discipline. Being held under Byzantine auspices, with an exclusively Eastern clergy, these regulations overwhelmingly regarded the customs of the Church of Constantinople as the orthodox practice.[1]

Practices in the Church in the West that had got the attention of the Eastern Patriarchates were condemned, such as: the practice of celebrating Masses on weekdays in Lent (rather than having Pre-Sanctified Liturgies); of fasting on Saturdays throughout the year; of omitting the "Alleluia" in Lent; of depicting Christ as a Lamb. Larger disputes were revealed regarding Eastern and Western attitudes toward celibacy for priests and deacons, with the Council affirming the right of married men to become priests and prescribing excommunication for anyone who attempted to separate a clergyman from his wife, or for any cleric who abandoned his wife. The council also endorsed these lists of canonical writings: the Apostolic Canons (~385 CE), the Synod of Laodicea (~363 CE ?), the Third Synod of Carthage (~397 CE), and the 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius (367 CE).

Pope Sergius I, who was of Syrian origin, rejected the council, preferring, he said, "to die rather than consent to erroneous novelties": though a loyal subject of the Empire, he would not be "its captive in matters of religion" and refused to sign the canons.[2] Emperor Justinian II ordered his arrest and abduction to Constantinople by the notoriously violent protospatharios Zacharias.[3] However, the militia of the exarchate of Ravenna frustrated the attempt.[4] Zacharias nearly lost his life in his attempt to arrest Sergius I.[5][6] Meanwhile, in Visigothic Spain, the council was ratified by the Eighteenth Council of Toledo at the urging of the king, Wittiza, who was vilified by later chroniclers for his decision.[7] Fruela I of Asturias reversed the decision of Toledo sometime during his reign (757–768).[7]

The Eastern Orthodox churches hold this council be part of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, adding its canons thereto. In the West, Bede calls it (in De sexta mundi aetate) a "reprobate" synod, and Paul the Deacon an "erratic" one.[8] For the attitude of the Popes, in face of the various attempts to obtain their approval of these canons see Hefele.[9] However, Pope Hadrian I did write favourably of the canons of this council.[10] The Catholic Church has never accepted the council as authoritative or ecumenical.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ostrogorsky, George; Hussey, Joan (trans.) (1957). History of the Byzantine state. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. pp. 122–23. ISBN 0-8135-0599-2. 
  2. ^ Andrew J. Ekonomou, Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes (Lexington Books 2007 ISBN 978-0-73911977-8), p. 222
  3. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 223
  4. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 224
  5. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 44
  6. ^ Walter Ullmann, A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (2nd edition, Routledge 2003 ISBN 978-0-41530227-2), p. 64
  7. ^ a b Collins, 19.
  8. ^ Paul the Deacon, Hist. Lang., VI, p. 11.
  9. ^ "Conciliengesch." III, 345-48.
  10. ^ Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (1900). "Introductory Note: Council in Trullo". Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. XIV. Charles Scribner's Sons. Archived from the original on 2006-02-17. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 

References[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

See also[edit]