BackContentsNext

JERUSALEM, SYNOD OF, 1672: By far the most important of all the synods held in Jerusalem after the meeting of the apostles (Acts xv.; see APOSTOLIC COUNCIL). From the time of Cyril Lucar (q.v.), the Eastern Church had lain under the suspicion of Calvinistic tendencies, and not altogether without cause. But Cyril's violent death sealed the fate of the movement he had led. His successor, Cyril of BerrhoŽ, condemned his teaching at a synod in Constantinople in 1638, and so did his successor, Parthenius, four years later, in a synod at Jassy. Peter Mogilas, the Russian metropolitan of Kiev, put together a confession of faith in 1843, for which he obtained the sanction of Parthenius and of the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Moscow. Meantime the Roman Catholic and the Protestant parties in the West were trying to support their respective sides by adducing Eastern testimony, not always, if the Greeks are to be believed, quite accurately. Thus the French Calvinist preacher, Jean Claude, in his controversy on the Eucharist with Nicole and Arnauld, appealed to the older Eastern writers, whose teaching seemed to have been revived by Cyril and his adherents; the Jansenists, supported by the French court, to the orthodox profession of the Greeks. Nectarius (q.v.), patriarch of Jerusalem, published a book against Claude; and his successor Dositheus (q.v.) considered it necessary to take still more formal action, not without pressure from the French ambassador, Olivier de Nointel, who influenced him to call a synod at Jerusalem to refute these accusations of Calvinism. This synod was attended by most of the prominent representatives of the Eastern Church, including six metropolitans besides Dositheus and his retired predecessor, and its decrees received so universal a sanction as to make them more truly an expression of the faith of the Greek Church than any later synod could claim for its own. Its occasion is seen in the fact that the first part of its discussions is directed to the refutation of the "shameless" attempts of the Calvinists to support their teaching by Eastern authority. This part contains the acts of the councils of Constantinople and Jassy, and reviews the recent history with the purpose of showing the freedom of the patriarchate from error, while at the same time anathematizing the heretical writings and propositions which bore the name of a patriarch. The second part contains the declaration of orthodox faith which Dositheus, in the name of the assembled Fathers, set forth in opposition to the rejected tenets of Cyril. It follows them point by point, adhering as far as possible to their structure, but changing their substance into an orthodox content. It contains eighteen decreta and four quaestiones. The former deal with the Trinity; Holy Scripture and its exposition by the Church; predestination; the origin of evil, and the relation to it of divine providence; original sin; the incarnation; the mediatorial office of Christ and the saints; faith working by love; the Church, its episcopate, its membership, its infallibility; justification by faith and works; the capability of natural and regenerate man; the seven sacraments; infant baptism; the Eucharist; and the condition of the soul after death. The questions cover the canon of Scripture, whether it can be understood by all, the matter of images, and the cultus of the saints. Taken as a whole, the "Shield of Orthodoxy," as the entire pronouncement

140

was entitled, is one of the most important expressions of the faith of the Eastern Church.

(RUDOLPH HORMANN.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A good edition of the Acts is in Harduin, Concilia, xi. 179-272, and a critical edition in E. J. Kimmel, Monumenta fidei eccleeiae occidentalis, Jena, 1850; they are in English in The Acts and Decrees . . . transl. from the Greek . . . containing the Confession . . . of Cyril Lukar, with Notes by J. N. W. B. Robertson, London, 1899. Consult: W. Gass, Symbolik der griechischen Kirche, pp. 79 sqq., Berlin, 1872; F. Kattenbusch, Vergleichende Konfessionskunde, p. 145, Freiburg, 1890; KL, vi. 1359-1360.

BackContentsNext


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely