The Orthodox Pages

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  TALK ON THE HISTORY OF

MANKIND AND THE CHURCH
PART 7

17th January 2008

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 FROM THE END OF THE PERSECUTIONS

TO THE SIXTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

 
Last week we saw that three events played a decisive role in shaping the outcome of the Church. The three events were: The edict of Milan, The Christian Capital of Constantinople and the First Ecumenical Council. They are a landmark in the history of the Church and paved the way for the Church’s transformation from the persecuted religious sect that it was, into the only recognized religion of the Roman Empire. The age of martyrs was over, and thousands were being converted to Christianity. About the same time that the age of martyrdom ceased, a new martyrdom began to take form. Not a blood martyrdom, but a martyrdom of strict and disciplined monastic life. Anchorite Monasticism existed within the Church from the very beginning. There were men that withdrew from the world to live strict ascetic lives practicing chastity, celibacy, poverty; prayer and fasting in isolated hard to reach places. They were men called by Christ himself to a life in the world without being in the world. “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world”. (John 15:19)
With the beginning of the fourth century, these anchorites started to increase. St. Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism is a great model of the eremitic life. He fled the world [c. 285] and established himself in a deserted fort in the Egyptian desert living in total solitude for about 37 years. His fame spread to the cities and the stream of visitors that followed forced him to abandon this life of strict enclosure. Others wanted to imitate him and so went and lived close to him. Soon a group of disciples gathered round him each living by himself in huts and small houses to form a village called “lavra.” St. Anthony became their spiritual father and guide. The anchorites, although living by themselves in their own huts, began to have a common life, practicing daily evening and morning prayers together, working together and having common meals. They even began to wear the same identical monastic garb. This garb consisted of a linen tunic and belt, a white goat or sheep skin coat and belt, a cone-shaped hood called a koukoulion and a linen scarf (maforion).

At this stage of monasticism, monks were still considered lay people. No religious ceremony was required, and no monastic vows were taken. Monks were if fact prohibited from becoming clergy. Monasticism began to thrive, especially in Egypt, and soon more monastic centres were founded. Two important monastic centres, were the ones founded by Abba Ammoun in the desert of Nitria by the western bank of the Nile and by St. Makarios of Egypt in the desert of Skete, south of Nitria. These monks were anchorites, following the monastic ideal of St. Anthony. They lived by themselves, gathering together for common worship on Saturdays and Sundays only. St. Pachomios of Egypt who started as an anchorite himself in the Thebad, Upper Egypt is the founder of the so-called “Cenobitic monasticism” Cenobitic comes from the words Koinos+bios meaning common or communal life. This then was the first “monastery” as we know it today. St. Pachomius wrote the monastic rule which was later to be used by St. Benedict in the west. Monks lived together under the guidance of the Abbot, living everything in common, daily prayers, meals, revenues and expenditures. Organized monasticism soon spread to other places like Sinai, Palestine and Syria. Two monks from Egypt, St. Hilarion and St. Epiphanios, later bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, brought organized monasticism to Palestine. A third kind of monasticism also developed with was a combination of the Anchorite and Cenobitic life called semi-eremitic. Here instead of a single highly organized community there is a loosely knit group of small settlements, each settlement containing perhaps between two and six brethren living together under the guidance of an elder. In a very short time, Monasticism became a strong movement in the life of the Church. The monks could not be ignored or considered to remain as lay people. Thus they were officially ordained as a special class of Christians higher than the laity, but subordinate to the clergy. A special religious service was formed were they subscribed to monastic vows.
With the monks now officially recognized by the Church, they began to involve themselves in writing books on the spiritual life, many which have survived to this day. They also became involved with the various heresies especially those concerning the Christological dogma. Most of the monastics were the defenders of the Orthodox faith and we see their teachings against heretics in the Ecumenical Councils that followed. We saw last week the First Ecumenical council. It was summoned by St. Constantine the Great to deal with the Arian heresy which taught that Christ was not equal to the Father: that he was not God, but merely a creature. The Council condemned this teaching and summing up the Christian faith, gave us the Nicene Creed. To show that the Son was in all things equal to the Father, the word Ομοούσιος was adopted into the Creed. The English equivalent of the word is as we say in the Creed: “Being of one substance with the Father” or Consubstantial.
The Second Ecumenical Council was held during the reign of Theodosius the Great at Constantinople in 381. A total of 150 Bishops were present including Sts. Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, and Meletius of Antioch. Not one bishop from the west attended it. Later, however, they agreed and acceded to the things it decreed and even to this day the whole of the Western Church accept and recognize this Council as a truly Ecumenical Council. At first the Pope of Rome did not acknowledge the authority of the third canon of the Council which dealt with the ranking of the Ancient Patriarchates. Up until then, Rome was ranked as first in honour, then Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. This present canon stated: “Let the Bishop of Constantinople have the priorities in honour after the Bishop of Rome, because of it being the New Rome.” The rankings had nothing to do with the holiness of the cities; if that were the case then Jerusalem would have been ranked as first in honour. The Patriarchates were ranked in order of the importance of their cities. Rome which was the capital of the Roman Empire naturally was ranked as first. Constantinople, the New Rome was now the Capital of the Empire. The canon did not mean that the patriarch of Constantinople was to be second in honour, but only second in order. He was to have the same honour and privileges as the Pope of Rome. If this seemed unclear to some, it was made very clear at the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451 that the Patriarch of Constantinople was to enjoy the same and equal privileges in a manner as has the Patriarch of Rome.
The main reason the Second Ecumenical Council was held was of course not to sort out who was first and second, but to deal with the heresy led by Macedonius, who blasphemously taught that the Holy Spirit was a thing constructed of created by the Son. The Council also dealt with other heresies. The first Canon of the Council reads: “The holy Fathers assembled in Constantinople have decided not to set aside the faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who met in Nicaea, Bithynia, but to let it remain sovereign, and that every heresy be anathematized and especially and specifically that of the Eunomians, including that of the Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians, including that of the Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians and that of the Apollinarians.” We will explain what these heresies are shortly.
Macedonius, somewhat like Arius, who taught that Christ was a creature, now taught that the Holy Spirit was not a person ("hypostasis"), but simply a power ("dynamic") or energy of God. Therefore the Spirit was inferior to the Father and the Son. The Council condemned Macedonius' teaching and defined the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Council decreed that there was one God in three persons ("hypostases"): Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The holy fathers of the Council added five articles to the Creed. They read as follows: “And (We believe) in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father: who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified: who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
Most heresies fall under one of three groups: the Monophysites, the Monothelites and the Pneumatomachi. The Monophysites were heresies that had to do with Christ’ nature. Either Christ was made less than God or his manhood was so divided from his Godhead that he became two persons instead of one. The Monothelites argued that although Christ has two natures, yet since he is a single person then he only has one will. In other words Christ does not have a human will but only a divine will. The Pneumatomachi meaning “Spirit fighters” were those who did not recognize the Holy Spirit as God, they did not recognize than he was one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Macedonius’ heresy is therefore a Pneumatomachi heresy. Many of the heretic Churches that exist today are not new heresies but revivals of the many heresies that developed in the first four centuries. There were two groups called Millenarians or Millennialists. They misinterpreted the Book of Revelations where it says that Satan was shut up and bound for a thousand years, and that the righteous who participated in the first resurrection reigned together with Christ as kings for a thousand years. Many imagined that when after the second coming and judgement take place, the righteous are to reign here on earth as kings for a thousand years together with Christ, and thereafter to ascend to heaven. During those thousand years they are to enjoy every enjoyment and bodily pleasure. This heresy first appeared in the first century by a certain Cerinthus and a similar heresy appeared in the second century by Marcian. Today the Millenarians are the Jehovah Witnesses who also belief that they will reign with Christ for a thousand years. In Greek they are called “Χιλιαστές” in other words Millenarians.
Earlier I mentioned some other heresies, the Eunomians, the Eudoxians, the Semi-Arians, the Sabellians, the Marcellians, the Photinians and the Apollinarians. They are named after the people that taught these heresies. What then was their belief?
Eunomius was bishop of Cyzicus, he use to re-baptize people with a single immersion, holding their feet up and their head down. He also asserted that there was no hell, but that hell was used to install fear as a threat. Like Arius, he rejected that Christ was equal and of one substance with the father, but whereas Arius said he was like the Father, Eunomius said he was unlike the Father, thus his followers are also called Anomians meaning the “unlike”.
Eudoxius was sympathetic to the Anomians, but as Patriarch of Constantinople, he felt it necessary to discourage them. He again subscribed to the Arian heresy and used the word “like the Father” without saying whether this likeness was supposed to be just a likeness or something more.
Others were called Semi-Arians because they entertained half the heresy engendered by Arius. They said the Son was like the Father in all respects and coessential with the Father, but they refused to admit the word coessential or consubstantial in the creed in spite of the fact that it had been in use among the ancient Fathers even before the First Ecumenical Council. Their leader was Basil the bishop of Ancyra. A third group called the Son neither like nor unlike the Father, but took a view midway between that of the Arians and that of the Semi-Arians.
Sabellius had served as a bishop of Ptolemais in Pentapolis. He asserted that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit were three names for one and the same person, and that that person was called at times the Father, and at times the Son, and at other times the Holy Spirit according to the diversities of that person’s activities and operations.
Marcellus was bishop of Ancyra. He asserted that the Logos was not a divine Person but only an impersonal divine power which was issued to him in the act of creation and entered into relations with the human person of Jesus, who thus became God’s Son. He also taught that after the second judgment the Logos would retire from Jesus and his body would have to be thrown away, and to go into non-being, and that consequently His kingdom will come to an end.
Photinus, had served as bishop of Sirmium. He didn’t recognized the Holy Trinity as a God, calling it only a Spirit creative of the universe, and declaring the Logos to be only the oral word, serving as a sort of mechanical instrument, nor did he call Christ a God, but only a mere human being who had absorbed the oral word from God and had received existence from Mary.
Apollinaris, who became a bishop of Laodicea, Syria, embraced the heresy of Arius, and asserted among other things that the Logos (or rational faculty) served the body of Christ instead of a soul. At times he used to say that the Logos received a body without a soul, while at other times, being ashamed of his ignorance or want of knowledge, he would say that He received a soul, but a mindless one and an irrational one, separating, in accordance with the Platonists the soul from the mind. He made Christ a middle being between God and man, in whom, as it were, one part divine and two parts human were fused in the unity of a new nature. He even ventured to use created analogies to explain his theory such as the mule, midway between the horse and the ass, the grey colour, a mixture of white and black, and spring, in distinction from winter and summer. Christ he said, is neither whole man nor God, but a mixture of God and man. On the other hand he regarded the Orthodox view of a union of full humanity with a full divinity in one person – of two wholes in one whole – as an absurdity.
We see that all these heresies started with bishops or priests who belonged to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They were Christian in origin, but introduced blasphemies into the true teaching of the Church. The Church, to protect the true teaching on the Person of Christ the God-man, the Person of the Holy Spirit and in general the Holy Trinity, responded by anathematizing and excommunicating them from the Church. Heresies, no matter how trivial they might appear to the layperson were always seen by the Church as extremely dangerous. They impair the teaching of the New Testament and set up barriers between man and God, making it impossible for man to attain full salvation. The New Testament teaches that man is separated from God by sin and cannot through his own efforts break down the wall of separation which his sinfulness has created. God has therefore taken the initiative: He became man, was crucified, and rose from the dead, thereby delivering humanity from the bondage of sin and death. This is the central message of the Christian faith, and it is this message of redemption that the Councils were concerned to safeguard. In Saint John’s Gospel, Christ states that He has given His disciples a share in the divine glory, and He prays that they may achieve union with God: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17:22-23) The Greek Fathers took these and similar texts in their literal sense, and dared to speak of man’s deification (theosis). They argued that if man is to share in God’s glory, he is to be perfectly one with God, this means in effect that man must be deified: he is called to become by grace what God is by nature. Accordingly Saint Athanasius summed up the purpose of the Incarnation by saying: God became man that we might be made god. Now if this theosis is to be possible, Christ the Saviour must be both fully man and fully God. No one less than God can save man; therefore if Christ is to save, He must be God. But only if He is also truly a man, as we are, can we men participate in what He has done for us. A bridge is formed between God and man by the Incarnate Christ who is both. Christ must be fully God and fully man. Each heresy in turn undermined some part of this vital teaching. Either Christ was made less than God (Arianism); or His manhood was so divided from His Godhead that He became two persons instead of one (Nestorianism); or He was not presented as truly man (Monophysitism, Monothelitism). Some of these heresies are not so easy to understand especially when the person does not have knowledge of the true teaching of the Church, but what it all boils down to is that any teaching that makes Christ less than true God and true man at the same time teaches that man cannot become one with God and therefore cannot be truly saved.
Today many of these old heresies still exist but with variations. We often hear people say that it doesn’t matter which church you belong to as long as we are all Christians which makes us all God’s children. From time to time we have heard this even from our own group. Can we really say such a thing and believe it? If there is no difference between one church and another then why are there so many different denominations? Of course we are all God’s children, whether we be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, but that does not mean that we all believe that we will be saved in the same way. Orthodoxy believes that man can obtain deification through grace, a complete salvation by becoming one with God. This is the teaching that Christ himself teaches us in the Gospels. Should I then expect anything less than this? And if I believe that the Orthodox Church contains the complete truth then should I be sympathetic to another church’s teaching which if it doesn’t contain the complete truth is in reality a lie? Each person should answer these questions and others similar to them by himself. The question of whether other Christians from other churches can be saved is not our concern, that is up to God’s righteous judgement, our main concern should be if and how I will be saved. This is not a selfish act. It does not mean that we do not love all people, but that it is not in our power to save anyone, not even ourselves. We only can pray and hope for salvation, for ourselves and for others, but only God saves. For most Orthodox lay people it is dangerous to attend prayer sessions offered by other denominations. Apart from the fact that they might be enticed into their lair so to speak, they are also participating in a lie and probably a blasphemy against the Person of Christ or the Holy Spirit. St Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
The next Ecumenical Council, that is the Third, was held in Ephesus in 431. It was called to hear the charges made against Nestorius the Patriarch of Constantinople who in his teaching had divided the person of Christ into two and was unwilling to call the Blessed Virgin Theotokos – Mother of God. He said that Mary could only be called Christotokos - the mother of Christ the man for she did not give birth to the pre-existing, pre-eternal Son of God, who already had a Father with whom He shared His divine nature. The Pope St. Celestine had heard reports about Nestorius and asked Cyril the Patriarch of Alexandria to send him a detailed report of Nestorius’ doctrine. After examining the report he gave Cyril the power to act on his behalf and send letters to all the bishops informing them of his judgement on the case. Nestorius was to be given ten days to denounce his heresy otherwise he would be deprived of the Episcopate and Communion.
But what the Pope and Cyril didn’t reckon on was the power and influence Nestorius had. He was the Bishop of the royal city and had gained many friends among the bishops and the young Emperor Theodosius and the important great men of the Empire. Almost all the bishops in the east, especially the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Patriarch John himself, were ill disposed to Cyril, and seemed to favour Nestorius. Feelings were divided, and the whole Empire of the East seemed to fluctuate between Cyril and Nestorius. There was therefore the need of an Ecumenical Council. The Emperor, thus wrote to Cyril, saying” It is our will that the holy doctrine be discussed and examined in a sacred Synod, and that be ratified which appeareth agreeable to the right faith, whether the wrong party be pardoned by the Fathers or no.” We see that the Pope’s judgment on the matter was not enough to remove Nestorius from his Episcopal duties. According to the Ecclesiastical Canons, another judgment, that of a council was still required and that judgment would be decisive and final. So Cyril, with more than 200 bishops and Nestorius, came to Ephesus for the Universal Council. Cyril was president, representing Celestine, as being appointed by the Pontiff himself to execute his sentence. Nestorius was summoned three times to take his seat with the other bishops in order to answer to what was charged against him, but he refused to come, and chose to have his doors besieged with an armed force, that no one might approach him. The emperor therefore commanded the proceedings to begin. The charges against Nestorius were read and examined without him being present. He was found guilty of blasphemy, was deposed from his throne and excommunicated.
Nestorius was not the only bishop deposed by this Synod. During the proceedings, about 30 bishops who were loyal to the Patriarch John of Antioch walked out. John as we mentioned before was a close friend of Nestorius. He delayed coming to the Synod. The first session of the Council commenced on June 22. John arrived in Ephesus on the 27th. After being informed that the council had condemned Nestorius without his side being heard, he held his own council at his residence with a total number of 43 bishops. At this council they turned the tables on Cyril and Memnon, the bishop of Ephesus, accusing them of Arian and Apollinarion heresies. John then proceeded to carry out the sentence and had Cyril and Memnon deposed. All those who approved and signed the decree of the pseudo-council were deposed from office by the officially recognized Council of Ephesus.

The Council also dealt with a problem concerning Cyprus. The Church of Cyprus was and is one of the oldest autocephalous Churches. The island at the time was under the secular administration of the Duke of Antioch. The Bishop of Antioch thought this gave him the right to have the authority over the ecclesiastical administration of Cyprus which was contrary to the Apostolic canons. The Council decreed that Cyprus was Autocephalous, in other words self-governing and was not subject to any Patriarchate. Later in 478AD, the Archbishop of Cyprus Anthemius, after seeing a vision, found the tomb and relics of St. Barnabas. Upon his breast was a copy of St. Matthews Gospel. The Archbishop offered the Gospel to the Byzantine Emperor Zenon who in turn gave the Archbishop of Cyprus the right to three imperial prerogatives which continue to this day. They are to write in red ink, to wear a purple cloak and instead of the usual bishop’s staff to hold an imperial sceptre.
All the Ecumenical Councils were summoned to condemn the many heresies that troubled the Church and the true faith. In spite of the condemnations from the Councils, the heresies continued or similar ones sprouted that needed to be rooted out. The fourth Ecumenical Council was held in Chalcedon, near Constantinople in 451 under Emperor Marcian. A total of 630 bishops were present. Once again the Council was concerned with the nature of Jesus Christ. The new heresy was led by an archimandrite called Eutyches and his aid Dioscorus who was now Bishop of Alexandria. Whereas the previous Council dealt with the Nestorian controversy which denied that the person of Christ who was born of Mary was both God and Man and divided him into two persons and two natures, this new heresy taught exactly the opposite. Eutyches and Dioscorus confused the two natures into one. They said that Christ’s human nature which was less perfect, dissolved itself in His divine nature which was more perfect, thus Christ only had one nature the Divine. This heresy is called Monophysite a composite word from ‘mono’ meaning one and ‘physis’ meaning nature. Hence, the term Monophysitism overemphasized the divine nature of Christ, at the expense of the human. The Council condemned Monophysitism and formulated the dogma that Christ has two complete natures: the divine and the human, as defined by previous Councils. The dogma reads as follows: “Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that He is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, consisting of a reasonable soul and [human] body, consubstantial with the Father as touching His Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching His manhood; made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of the Father before the worlds according to His Godhead, but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to His manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning Him, and as the Lord Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us.”
The Fifth Ecumenical Council was held in Constantinople in 553 under the Emperor and Saint Justinian the Great. The Monophysite controversy still continued even after the condemnation of Eutyches and the issuing of the Chalcedonian Statement of Faith. The council was asked to examine the writings of three Antiochian Bishops and renowned teachers who were already dead for over a century, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Ibas of Edessa. The Monophysite-accusers wished all three to be condemned even though they were dead. The Council presided by the Patriarch of Constantinople Eutychios were in full agreement that the writings of the three famous teachers were heretical. Thus their writings were condemned and they themselves were anathematised. During the Council a quarrel erupted between Eastern and Western bishops as to anathematising the dead, and for a time the name of the Pope was erased from the diptychs. But as a result of Justinian's efforts, a permanent rupture between East and West was prevented.

The Council also examined another famous writer who died in 254AD. His name was Origen and came from Alexandria. He was a brilliant scholar and Theologian and his writings are still studied and quoted by many theologian to this day. Origen became more famous than anyone else in word and deed and was greatly admired for his mode of living as well as for his great intelligence, his learning, his ability and his experience. However his renown did not remain untarnished because his experience proved in the end to be his great blunder. Wishing to leave nothing uninterpreted in the Holy Scriptures, he tripped himself into error and sin through his interpretations. Among the things he wrote was that the souls of people pre-exist and that they are spirits and holy powers. Upon the death of one body the souls then enter another. He believed that hell was not eternal and that there would be an end to all punishment. To this he also believed that the demons would recover their original dignity of angelic grace which they used to have before they fell. This would come about because Christ in a future time would be crucified for the demons as he was for men. He believed that the bodies of the sun, moon and stars have souls and are reasonable beings. He was condemned with a total of 15 anathemas against his teachings. Origen is also well known for taking the Gospel word in the literal sense. Where Christ says “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” Origen took this in the literal sense and because he couldn’t control his bodily desires castrated himself.
A little should be said about the Emperor Justinian. He was a major figure in the history of the Byzantine state and a great champion of Orthodoxy who worked not only to protect its dogmatic teachings, but also to elevate the spiritual and moral stature of its representatives.” He built many churches; his finest structures being the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai and the great Church of Agia Sophia in Constantinople. He concerned himself with the education of clergy and monks, ordering them to be instructed in rhetoric, philosophy and theology. He also put his hand to Church writings and composed the hymn “O Only Begotten Son and Word of God” which is sung to this day at the Divine Liturgy after the second Antiphon.
The Sixth Ecumenical Council met in Constantinople in 680 AD and was convened by Emperor Constantine IV (Pogonatos) and was attended by 170 bishops. It was held in the domed hall of the imperial palace called Trullo. The Council was called to examine a new teaching that was spreading in regard to the Person of Christ. The previous Councils concerned themselves with the Monophysite heresy, this new heresy was called Monothelitism. It said that although the God-man Christ had two natures, yet since He is a single person, He has only one will only and subsequently only one mode of activity: the divine. In other words Christ didn’t have a human will or his human will was totally absorbed into his divine will. The Council replied that if Christ has two natures, if follows that He also has two wills and two operations. In each act of Christ one can see two distinct operations, for Christ acts in conformity to both natures, and by both natures. Each nature acts according to its own properties: the human hand raises the young girl, the divine restores her to life; the human feet walk on the surface of the water, because the divinity has made it firm. “It is not the human nature that raises Lazarus, it is not the divine power which shed tears before the tomb,” said St. John of Damascus. The two wills proper to the two natures are different, but He who wills is one, though He wills in conformity with each of the two natures. Each nature exercises its own free will". Christ's divine nature had a specific task to perform and so did His human, without being confused nor subjected to any change or working against each other: the divine performing miracles and the human performing the ordinary acts of daily life.
The next Council is not called the Seventh but the Quinisext in Latin and Penthektis in Greek – both meaning fifth and sixth. It is also known as the Trullan Council because in was held in the domed hall of the imperial palace. It was not called the Seventh Ecumenical Council because it was regarded as a supplement to the Fifth and Sixth Councils. The Council was called by Justinian II in 692. Both the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils fully occupied their time with the Christological problem and issued no canons pertaining to ecclesiastical government and order. This Council was therefore called to supplement the two previous Councils by supplying disciplinary canons for the correction of evils and the regulation of the internal policy of the whole Church. The Council set down a total of 102 canons. The disciplinary canons of the Quinisext, however, were not accepted by the Pope, and even though most of them were not completely observed in the East, they contributed appreciably to the widening of differences between East and West. For example, Rome practiced celibacy among the clergy, and if someone who was married wished to enter holy orders then he had to promise that he would not enter into intercourse with his wife after ordination. Canon 13, of this Council disagreed with this practice and stated that marriage ties should continue and remain solid and inseverable. Other canons also were contrary to established practices in the West and the Roman See did not wish to change on directives from the Quinisext Council. We can see then that the problems between East and West began long before the Great Schism of 1054.
The Seventh Ecumenical Council will be dealt with next week as it was called to condemn the Iconoclast Controversy and is worth looking in detail at the problems that caused so much tension and hate within the Church.