Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Sixth Ecumenical Council. The Third Council of Constantinople.: The Prosphoneticus to the Emperor.
p. 347 The Prosphoneticus to the Emperor.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VI., col. 1047 et seqq.)
[This address begins with many compliments to the Emperor, especially for his zeal for the true faith.]
But because the adversary Satan allows no rest, he has raised up the very ministers of Christ against him, as if armed and carrying weapons, etc.
[The various heretics are then named and how they were condemned by the preceding five councils is set forth.]
Things being so, it was necessary that your beloved of Christ majesty should gather together this all holy, and numerous assembly.
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Thereafter being inspired by the Holy Ghost, and all agreeing and consenting together, and giving our approval to the doctrinal letter of our most blessed and exalted pope, Agatho, which he sent to your mightiness, as also agreeing to the suggestion of the holy synod of one hundred and twenty-five fathers held under him, we teach that one of the Holy Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ, was incarnate, and must be celebrated in two perfect natures without division and without confusion. For as the Word, he is consubstantial and eternal with God his father; but as taking flesh of the immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, he is perfect man, consubstantial with us and made in time. We declare therefore that he is perfect in Godhead and that the same is perfect likewise in manhood, according to the pristine tradition of the fathers and the divine definition of Chalcedon.
And as we recognize two natures, so also we recognize two natural wills and two natural operations. For we dare not say that either of the natures which are in Christ in his incarnation is without a will and operation: lest in taking away the proprieties of those natures, we likewise take away the natures of which they are the proprieties. For we neither deny the natural will of his humanity, or its natural operation: lest we also deny what is the chief thing of the dispensation for our salvation, and lest we attribute passions to the Godhead. For this they were attempting who have recently introduced the detestable novelty that in him there is but one will and one operation, renewing the malignancy of Arius, Apollinaris, Eutyches and Severus. For should we say that the human nature of our Lord is without will and operation, how could we affirm in safety the perfect humanity? For nothing else constitutes the integrity of human nature except the essential will, through which the strength of free-will is marked in us; and this is also the case with the substantial operation. For how shall we call him perfect in humanity if he in no wise suffered and acted as a man? For like as the union of two natures preserves for us one subsistence without confusion and without division; so this one subsistence, shewing itself in two natures, demonstrates as its own what things belong to each.
Therefore we declare that in him there are two natural wills and two natural operations, proceeding commonly and without division: but we cast out of the Church and rightly subject to anathema all superfluous novelties as well as their inventors: to wit, Theodore of Pharan, Sergius and Paul, Pyrrhus, and Peter (who were archbishops of Constantinople), moreover Cyrus, who bore the priesthood of Alexandria, and with them Honorius, who was the ruler (πρόεδρον) of Rome, as he followed them in these things. Besides these, with the best of cause we anathematize and depose Macarius, who was bishop of Antioch, and his disciple Stephen (or rather we should say master), who tried to defend the impiety of their predecessors, and in short stirred up the whole world, and by their pestilential letters and by their fraudulent institutions devastated multitudes in every direction. Likewise also that old man Polychronius, with an infantile intelligence, who promised he would raise the dead and who when they did not rise, was laughed at; and all who have taught, or do teach, or shall presume p. 348 to teach one will and one operation in the incarnate Christ.…But the highest prince of the Apostles fought with us: for we had on our side his imitator and the successor in his see, who also had set forth in his letter the mystery of the divine word (θεολογίας). For the ancient city of Rome handed thee a confession of divine character, and a chart from the sunsetting raised up the day of dogmas, and made the darkness manifest, and Peter spoke through Agatho, and thou, O autocratic King, according to the divine decree, with the Omnipotent Sharer of thy throne, didst judge.
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But, O benign and justice-loving Lord, do thou in return do this favour to him who hath bestowed thy power upon thee; and give, as a seal to what has been defined by us, thy imperial ratification in writing, and so confirm them with the customary pious edicts and constitutions, that no one may contradict the things which have been done, nor raise any fresh question. For rest assured, O serene majesty, that we have not falsified anything defined by the Ecumenical Councils and by the approved fathers, but we have confirmed them. And now we all cry out with one mind and one voice, “O God, save the King! etc., etc.”
[Then follow numerous compliments to the Emperor and prayers for his preservation.]
Next: Letter of the Council to St. Agatho.
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