|« Prev||Conflicts and Conquests of the Latin Patriarchate||Next »|
§ 59. Conflicts and Conquests of the Latin Patriarchate.
But this patriarchal power was not from the beginning and to a uniform extent acknowledged in the entire West. Not until the latter part of the sixth century did it reach the height we have above described.532532 This is conceded by Hefele, i. 383 sq.: “It is, however, not to be mistaken, that the bishop of Rome did not everywhere, in all the West, exercise full patriarchal rights; that, to wit, in several provinces, simple bishops were ordained without his coöperation.” And not only simple bishops, but also metropolitans. See the text. It was not a divine institution, unchangeably fixed from the beginning for all times, like a Biblical article of faith; but the result of a long process of history, a human ecclesiastical institution under providential direction. In proof of which we have the following incontestable facts:
In the first place, even in Italy, several metropolitans maintained, down to the close of our period, their own supreme headship, independent of Roman and all other jurisdiction.533533 Aὐτοκέφαλοι, also ἀκέφαλοι, as in the East especially the archbishops of Cyprus and Bulgaria were called, and some other metropolitans, who were subject to no patriarch. The archbishops of Milan, who traced their church to the apostle Barnabas, came into no contact with the pope till the latter part of the sixth century, and were ordained without him or his pallium. Gregory I., in 593, during the ravages of the Longobards, was the first who endeavored to exercise patriarchal rights there: he reinstated an excommunicated presbyter, who had appealed to him.534534 Comp. Wiltsch, i. 234. The metropolitans of Aquileia, who derived their church from the evangelist Mark, and whose city was elevated by Constantine the Great to be the capital of Venetia and Istria, vied with Milan, and even with Rome, calling themselves “patriarchs,” and refusing submission to the papal jurisdiction even under Gregory the Great.535535 Comp. Gregory I., Epist. l. iv. 49; and Wiltsch, i. 236 sq. To the metropolis of Aquileia belonged the bishopric of Verona, Tridentum (the Trent, since become so famous), Aemona, Altinum, Torcellum, Pola, Celina, Sabiona, Forum Julii, Bellunum, Concordia, Feltria, Tarvisium, and Vicentia. The bishop of Ravenna likewise, after 408, when the emperor Honorius selected that city for his residence, became a powerful metropolitan, with jurisdiction over fourteen bishoprics. Nevertheless he received the pallium from Gregory the Great, and examples occur of ordination by the Roman bishop.536536 Baron. Ann. ad ann. 433; Wiltsch, i. 69, 87.
The North African bishops and councils in the beginning of the fifth century, with all traditional reverence for the apostolic see, repeatedly protested, in the spirit of Cyprian, against encroachments of Rome, and even prohibited all appeal in church controversies from their own to a transmarine or foreign tribunal, upon pain of excommunication.537537 Comp. the relevant Acts of councils in Gieseler, i. 2, p. 221 sqq., and an extended description of this case of appeal in Greenwood, Cath. Petri, i. p. 299-310, and in Hefele, Concilien-Gesch. ii. 107 sqq., 120, 123 sq. The occasion of this was an appeal to Rome by the presbyter Apiarius, who had been deposed for sundry offences by Bishop Urbanus, of Sicca, a disciple and friend of Augustine, and whose restoration was twice attempted, by Pope Zosimus in 418, and by Pope Coelestine in 424. From this we see that the popes gladly undertook to interfere for a palpably unworthy priest, and thus sacrificed the interests of local discipline, only to make their own superior authority felt. The Africans referred to the genuine Nicene canon (for which Zosimus had substituted the Sardican appendix respecting the appellate jurisdiction of Rome, of which the Nicene council knew nothing), and reminded the pope, that the gift of the Holy Ghost, needful for passing a just judgment, was not lacking to any province, and that he could as well inspire a whole province as a single bishop. The last document in the case of this appeal of Apiarius is a letter of the (twentieth) council of Carthage, in 424, to Pope Coelestine I., to the following purport:538538 Mansi, iii. 839 sq. “Apiarius asked a new trial, and gross misdeeds of his were thereby brought to light. The papal legate, Faustinus, has, in the face of this, in a very harsh manner demanded the reception of this man into the fellowship of the Africans, because he has appealed to the pope and been received into fellowship by him. But this very thing ought not to have been done. At last has Apiarius himself acknowledged all his crimes. The pope may hereafter no longer so readily give audience to those who come from Africa to Rome, like Apiarius, nor receive the excommunicated into church communion, be they bishops or priests, as the council of Nice (can. 5) has ordained, in whose direction bishops are included. The assumption of appeal to Rome is a trespass on the rights of the African church, and what has been [by Zosimus and his legates] brought forward as a Nicene ordinance for it, is not Nicene, and is not to be found in the genuine copies of the Nicene Acts, which have been received from Constantinople and Alexandria. Let the pope, therefore, in future send no more judges to Africa, and since Apiarius has now been excluded for his offences, the pope will surely not expect the African church to submit longer to the annoyances of the legate Faustinus. May God the Lord long preserve the pope, and may the pope pray for the Africans.” In the Pelagian controversy the weak Zosimus, who, in opposition to the judgment of his predecessor Innocent, had at first expressed himself favorably to the heretics, was even compelled by the Africans to yield. The North African church maintained this position under the lead of the greatest of the Latin fathers, St. Augustine, who in other respects contributed more than any other theologian or bishop to the erection of the Catholic system. She first made submission to the Roman jurisdiction, in the sense of her weakness, under the shocks of the Vandals. Leo (440–461) was the first pope who could boast of having extended the diocese of Rome beyond Europe into another quarter of the globe.539539 Epist. 87; Mansi, vi. 120. He and Gregory the Great wrote to the African bishops entirely in the tone of paternal authority without provoking reply.
In Spain the popes found from the first a more favorable field. The orthodox bishops there were so pressed in the fifth century by the Arian Vandals, Suevi, Alani, and soon after by the Goths, that they sought counsel and protection with the bishop of Rome, which, for his own sake, he was always glad to give. So early as 385, Siricius, as we have before observed, issued a decretal letter to a Spanish bishop. The epistles of Leo to Bishop Turibius of Asturica, and the bishops of Gaul and Spain,540540 Ep. 93 and 95; Mansi, vi. 131 and 132. are instances of the same authoritative style. Simplicius (467–483) appointed the bishop Zeno of Sevilla papal vicar,541541 Mansi, vii. 972. and Gregory the Great, with a paternal letter, conferred the pallium on Leander, bishop of Sevilla.542542 Greg. Ep. i. 41; Mansi, ix. 1059. Comp. Wiltsch, i. 71.
In Gaul, Leo succeeded in asserting the Roman jurisdiction, though not without opposition, in the affair of the archbishop Hilary of Arles, or Arelate. The affair has been differently represented from the Gallican and the ultramontane points of view.543543 This difference shows itself in the two editions of the works of Leo the Great, respectively: that of the French Pasquier Quesnel, a Gallican and Jansenist (exiled 1681, died at Brussels 1719), which also contains the works, and a vindication, of Hilaryof Arles (Par. 1675, in 2 vols.), and was condemned in 1676 by the Congregation of the Index, without their even reading it; and that of the two brothers Ballerini, which appeared in opposition to the former (Ven. 1755-1757, 3 vols.), and represents the Italian ultramontane side. Comp. further on this contest of Hilarius Arelatensis (not to be confounded with Hilarius Pictaviensis, Hilarius Narbonensis, and others of the same name) with Pope Leo, the Vita Hilarii of Honoratus Massiliensis, of about the year 490 (printed in Mansi, vi. 461 sqq., and in the Acta Sanct. ad d. 5 Maji); the article by Perthel, in Illgen’s Zeitschrift for Hist. Theol. 1843; Greenwood, l.c. i. p. 350-356; Milman, Lat. Christianity, i. p. 269-276 (Amer. ed.); and the article “Hilarius” in Wetzer and Welte’s Kirchenlexic vol. v. p. 181 sqq. Hilary (born 403, died 449), first a rigid monk, then, against his will, elevated to the bishopric, an eloquent preacher, an energetic prelate, and the first champion of the freedom of the Gallican church against the pretensions of Rome, but himself not free from hierarchical ambition, deposed Celidonius, the bishop of Besançon, at a council in that city (synodus Vesontionensis), because he had married a widow before his ordination, and had presided as judge at a criminal trial and pronounced sentence of death; which things, according to the ecclesiastical law, incapacitated him for the episcopal office. This was unquestionably an encroachment on the province of Vienne, to which Besaçon belonged. Pope Zosimus had, indeed, in 417, twenty-eight years before, appointed the bishop of Arles, which was a capital of seven provinces, to be papal vicar in Gaul, and had granted him metropolitan rights in the provinces Viennensis, and Narbonensis prima and secunda, though with the reservation of causae majores.544544 “Nisi magnitudo causae etiam nostrum exquirat examen.” Gieseler, i. 2, p. 218; Greenwood, i. p. 299. The metropolitans of Vienne, Narbonne, and Marseilles, however, did not accept this arrangement, and the succeeding popes found it best to recognize again the old metropolitans.545545 Comp. Bonifacii I Epist. 12 ad Hilarium Narbon. (not Arelatensen), a.d.422, in Gieseler, p. 219. Boniface here speaks in favor of the Nicene principle, that each metropolitan should rule simply over one province. Greenwood overlooks this change, and hence fully justifies Hilaryon the ground of the appointment of Zosimus. But even though this appointment had stood, the deposition of a bishop was still a causa major, which Hilary, as vicar of the pope, should have laid before him for ratification. Celidonius appealed to Leo against that act of Hilary. Leo, in 445, assembled a Roman council (concilium sacerdotum), and reinstated him, as the accusation of Hilary, who himself journeyed on foot in the winter to Rome, and protested most vehemently against the appeal, could not be proven to the satisfaction of the pope. In fact, he directly or indirectly caused Hilary to be imprisoned, and, when he escaped and fled back to Gaul, cut him off from the communion of the Roman church, and deprived him of all prerogatives in the diocese of Vienne, which had been only temporarily conferred on the bishop of Arles, and were by a better judgment (sententia meliore) taken away. He accused him of assaults on the rights of other Gallican metropolitans, and above all of insubordination toward the principality of the most blessed Peter; and he goes so far as to say: “Whoso disputes the primacy of the apostle Peter, can in no way lessen the apostle’s dignity, but, puffed up by the spirit of his own pride, he destroys himself in hell.”546546 Leo, Epist. 10 (al. 89) ad Episc. provinciae Viennensis. What an awful perversion this of the true Christian stand-point! Only out of special grace did he leave Hilary in his bishopric. Not satisfied with this, he applied to the secular arm for help, and procured from the weak Western emperor, Valentinian III., an edict to Aetius, the magister militum of Gaul, in which it is asserted, almost in the words of Leo, that the whole world (universitas; in Greek, οἰκουμένη) acknowledges the Roman see as director and governor; that neither Hilary nor any bishop might oppose its commands; that neither Gallican nor other bishops should, contrary to the ancient custom, do anything without the authority of the venerable pope of the eternal city; and that all decrees of the pope have the force of law.
The letter of Leo to the Gallican churches, and the edict of the emperor, give us the first example of a defensive and offensive alliance of the central spiritual and temporal powers in the pursuit of an unlimited sovereignty. The edict, however, could of course have power, at most, only in the West, to which the authority of Valentinian was limited. In fact, even Hilary and his successors maintained, in spite of Leo, the prerogatives they had formerly received from Pope Zosimus, and were confirmed in them by later popes.547547 The popes Vigil, 539-555, Pelagius, 555-559, and Gregory the Great conferred on the archbishop of Arles, besides the pallium, also the papal vicariate (vices). Comp. Wiltsch, i. 71 sq. Beyond this the issue of the contest is unknown. Hilary of Arles died in 449, universally esteemed and loved, without, so far as we know, having become formally reconciled with Rome;548548 At all events, no reconciliation can be certainly proved. Hilarydid, indeed, according to the account of his disciple and biographer, who some forty years after his death encircled him with the halo, take some steps toward reconciliation, and sent two priests as delegates with a letter to the Roman prefect, Auxiliaris. The latter endeavored to act the mediator, but gave the delegates to understand, that Hilary, by his vehement boldness, had too deeply wounded the delicate ears of the Romans. In Leo’s letter a new trespass is charged upon Hilary, on the rights of the bishop Projectus, after the deposition of Celidonius. And Hilarydied soon after this contest (449). Waterland ascribed to him the Athanasian Creed, though without good reason. though, notwithstanding this, he figures in a remarkable manner in the Roman calendar, by the side of his papal antagonist Leo, as a canonical saint. Undoubtedly Leo proceeded in this controversy far too rigorously and intemperately against Hilary; yet it was important that he should hold fast the right of appeal as a guarantee of the freedom of bishops against the encroachments of metropolitans. The papal despotism often proved itself a wholesome check upon the despotism of subordinate prelates.
With Northern Gaul the Roman bishops came into less frequent contact; yet in this region also there occur, in the fourth and fifth centuries, examples of the successful assertion of their jurisdiction.
The early British church held from the first a very isolated position, and was driven back, by the invasion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons, about the middle of the fifth century, into the mountains of Wales, Cornwallis, Cumberland, and the still more secluded islands. Not till the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons under Gregory the Great did a regular connection begin between England and Rome.
Finally, the Roman bishops succeeded also in extending their patriarchal power eastward, over the praefecture of East Illyria. Illyria belonged originally to the Western empire, remained true to the Nicene faith through the Arian controversies, and for the vindication of that faith attached itself closely to Rome. When Gratian, in 379, incorporated Illyricum Orientale with the Eastern empire, its bishops nevertheless refused to give up their former ecclesiastical connection. Damasus conferred on the metropolitan Acholius, of Thessalonica, as papal vicar, patriarchal rights in the new praefecture. The patriarch of Constantinople endeavored, indeed, repeatedly, to bring this ground into his diocese, but in vain. Justinian, in 535, formed of it a new diocese, with an independent patriarch at Prima Justiniana (or Achrida, his native city); but this arbitrary innovation had no vitality, and Gregory I. recovered active intercourse with the Illyrian bishops. Not until the eighth century, under the emperor Leo the Isaurian, was East Illyria finally severed from the Roman diocese and incorporated with the patriarchate of Constantinople.549549 Comp. Gieseler, i. 2, p. 21 5 sqq.; and Wiltsch, i. 72 sqq., 431 sqq.
|« Prev||Conflicts and Conquests of the Latin Patriarchate||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version