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Chapter IX.—Decrees of the Second General Council. Maximus, the Cynical Philosopher.

After these transactions, Nectarius and the other priests assembled together,15321532    Soc. v. 8; cf. Theodoret, H. E. v. 8, 9. The latter chapter gives the text of the letter of this Synod to the Synod of Rome. Soz. is here independent. and decreed that the faith established by the council of Nicæa should remain dominant, and that all heresies should be condemned; that the churches everywhere should be governed according to the ancient canons; that each bishop should remain in his own church, and not go elsewhere under any light pretext; or, without invitation, perform ordinations in which he had no right to interfere, as had frequently been the case in the Catholic Church during the times of persecution. They likewise decreed that the affairs of each church should be subjected to the investigation and control of a council of the province; and that the bishop of Constantinople should rank next in point of precedence to the bishop of Rome, as occupying the see of New Rome; for Constantinople was not only already favored with this appellation, but was also in the enjoyment of many privileges,—such as a senate of its own, and the division of the citizens into ranks and orders; it was also governed by its own magistrates, and possessed contracts, laws, and immunities in equal degree with those of Rome in Italy.

The council also decreed that Maximus had not been nor was now a bishop; and that those individuals whom he had ordained were not of the clergy; and that all that had been done by him, or in his name, was null and void. Maximus was a native of Alexandria, and, by profession, a cynical philosopher. He was zealously attached to the Nicene doctrines, and had been secretly ordained bishop of Constantinople by bishops who had assembled in that city from Egypt.

Such were the decrees of the council. They were confirmed by the emperor, who enacted15331533    Cod. Theod. xvi. 3. that the faith established at Nicæa should be dominant, and that the churches everywhere should be placed in the hands of those who acknowledged one and the same Godhead in the hypostasis of three Persons of equal honor and of equal power; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. To designate them still more precisely, the emperor declared that he referred to those who held communion with Nectarius, at Constantinople, and with Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, in Egypt; in the churches of the East with Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus, 382and in Syria with Pelagius, bishop of Laodicea, and in Asia with Amphilochius, president of the churches in Iconium; to those in the cities by the Pontus, from Bithynia to Armenia, who held communion with Helladius, bishop of the church of Cæsarea in Cappadocia; with Gregory, bishop of Nyssa; and with Otreinus, bishop of Melitine; and to the cities of Thrace and Scythia, who held communion with Terentius, bishop of Tomi, and with Martyrius, bishop of Marcianopolis. The emperor was personally acquainted with all these bishops, and had ascertained that they governed their respective churches wisely and piously. After these transactions, the council was dissolved, and each of the bishops returned homewards.


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