Chalcedon Rejects Primacy Of Rome

Rome is a Sect

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

Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD


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  1. The council of Constantinople in 381 said practically the same thing. The bishop of Rome didn’t even know about that one. He wasn’t invited, that’s what an afterthought the early “papacy” was. Even though the emperor called the council.

  2. Are you aware there is a LOT more to the story than merely quoting Canon 28? Consider just a few important details:

    (1) Session 3 of the Council records the excommunication of the heretic through a decree of Leo’s legates:

    “Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties.”

    That’s Roman primacy in black and white.

    (2) The Council begged Leo to ratify Canon 28, which is odd if the Council saw itself as not needing the Pope’s approval.

    (3) Leo’s response to the Council was that Canon 28 violated Canon 6 of Nicaea, which put Rome in front, Alexandria in second, and Antioch in third rank.

    (4) Constantinople of 381 was not seen as an Ecumenical Council until after the Council of Ephesus, which only mentioned Nicaea. But even Constantinople of 381 in Canon 2 says Rome is first, and in Canon 3 it recalls Canon 6 of Nicaea and specifies the territorial limits of Alexandria and Antioch but does not mention any territorial limits of Rome.

    (5) If you read carefully the power-grabbing claims of Constantinople, you will see they are based on political motives, since it has no apostolic roots to appeal to. Constantinople says it should be on par with Rome because it is the new imperial capital. That’s not how Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were established.

    • 1. The council wanted all the bishops to agree. That’s not primacy. That’s parity.

      2. The (ecumenical) Council evidently disagree with Leo and ignored him, which puts the papist in a pickle doesn’t it. We know how Vatican I resolved it but that conflicts with Constance. More papist problems.

      3. Constantinople political but Rome was not? Be quiet.

      • Hello Dr Clark,

        (1) The Council was not looking for all the bishops to agree in the sense that a true consensus rallied against Rome. This is because this Council actually caused a major schism in the Church, the Coptic schism, with the Patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria rejecting Chalcedon. As a result, Constantinople installed hand-picked Greek clergy and installed them as Patriarchs for Alexandria and Antioch. So there was no agreement of “all the bishops” since the Orientals were not on board. On top of this, Constantinople was already mistreating Alexandria and Antioch by acting as if it had the authority to confirm their candidates. So the “consensus” that rose against Rome was really rigged jury by Constantinople more than anything.

        (2) Why did the Council beg Leo to ratify Canon 28 in the first place if they felt their “majority” is all that mattered? Consider this Letter they sent to Leo (Epistle #98):

        And we further inform you that we have decided on other things also for the good management and stability of church matters, being persuaded that your holiness will accept and ratify them, when you are told. The long prevailing custom, which the holy Church of God at Constantinople had of ordaining metropolitans for the provinces of Asia, Pontus and Thrace, we have now ratified [Canon 28] by the votes of the Synod, not so much by way of conferring a privilege on the See of Constantinople as to provide for the good government of those cities… Accordingly vouchsafe most holy and blessed father to accept as your own wish, and as conducing to good government the things which we have resolved on for the removal of all confusion and the confirmation of church order. For your holiness’ delegates, the most pious bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius, and with them the right Godly presbyter Boniface, attempted vehemently to resist these decisions… For we duly regarding our most devout and Christ loving Emperors, who delight therein, and the illustrious senate and, so to say, the whole imperial city, considered it opportune to use the meeting of this ecumenical Synod for the ratification of your honour, and confidently corroborated this decision as if it were initiated by you with your customary fostering zeal, knowing that every success of the children rebounds to the parent’s glory. Accordingly, we entreat you, honour our decision by your assent, and as we have yielded to the head our agreement on things honourable, so may the head also fulfil for the children what is fitting. … But that you may know that we have done nothing for favour or in hatred, but as being guided by the Divine Will, we have made known to you the whole scope of our proceedings to strengthen our position and to ratify and establish what we have done.

        Does this sound like a Council that had no concept of Papal Supremacy? They’re at the Pope’s mercy here to ratify the decisions.

        And what was Leo’s response? Consider (Epistle 104):

        Let the city of Constantinople have, as we desire, its high rank, and under the protection of God’s right hand, long enjoy your clemency’s rule. Yet things secular stand on a different basis from things divine: and there can be no sure building save on that rock which the Lord has laid for a foundation. He that covets what is not his due, loses what is his own. Let it be enough for Anatolius that by the aid of your piety and by my favour and approval he has obtained the bishopric of so great a city. Let him not disdain a city which is royal, though he cannot make it an Apostolic See; and let him on no account hope that he can rise by doing injury to others. For the privileges of the churches determined by the canons of the holy Fathers, and fixed by the decrees of the Nicene Synod, cannot be overthrown by any unscrupulous act, nor disturbed by any innovation.

        Leo says Constantinople is a man-made political See without any Apostolic roots. The Nicene Synod (Canon 6) plainly said the “ancient custom” confirmed by Rome was that Rome was first rank, Alexandria (founded by St Mark) second, and Antioch (founded by Peter) third.

        (3) It’s a matter of simple history to see that Constantinople didn’t exist until around 330 AD. No Apostle stopped there or founded a Church there. On the other hand, Rome was established by Peter and Paul, the two most glorious Apostles. It’s a mistake to think that Rome’s authority derived from purely political foundations such as being the imperial capital.

        • Nick,

          The more you write. The deeper the hole. Facts are facts. Your comments are a brilliant example of the rationalist Romanist a priori. You know what the facts must be so voila! There they are.

          Thanks for illustrating my point.

    • I think he meant “established a church there”, not “established the city itself” (though obviously if there isn’t a city it’s impossible to establish a church there).

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