Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XIV/The Fourth Ecumenical Council/Extracts from the Acts 2
Extracts from the Acts.
(L. and C., Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 338.)
When all were seated before the rails of the most holy altar, the most superb and glorious judges and the great (ὑπερφυὴς) senate said; At a former meeting the question was examined of the condemnation of the most reverend bishop Flavian of blessed memory and Eusebius, and it was patent to you all with what justice and accuracy the examination was conducted: and it was proved that they had been cruelly and improperly condemned. What course we should pursue in this matter became clear after your deliberations. Now however the question to be enquired into, studied, and decided, is how the true faith is to be established, which is the chief end for which this Council has been assembled. As we know that ye are to render to God a strict account not only for your own souls in particular, but as well for the souls of all of us who desire rightly to be taught all things that pertain to religion, and that all ambiguity be taken away, by the agreement and consent of all the holy fathers, and by their united exposition and doctrine; hasten therefore without any fear of pleasing or displeasing, to set forth (ἐκθέσθαι) the pure faith, so that they who do not seem to believe with all the rest, may be brought to unity through the acknowledging of the truth. For we wish you to know that the most divine and pious lord of the whole world and ourselves hold the orthodox faith set forth by the 318 and by the 150 holy fathers, and what also has been taught by the rest of the most holy and glorious fathers, and in accordance with this is our belief.
The most reverend bishops cried; Any other setting forth (ἔκθεσιν ἄλλην) no one makes, neither will we attempt it, neither will we dare to set forth [anything new] (ἐκθεσθαι). For the fathers taught, and in their writings are preserved, what things were set forth by them, and further than this we can say nothing.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol said: The matters concerning Eutyches have been examined, and the most holy archbishop of Rome has given a form (τύπον) which we follow and to his letter we all [i.e. those in his neighbourhood] have subscribed.
The most reverend bishops cried: These are the opinions of all of us. The expositions (ἐκτεθέντα) already made are quite sufficient: it is not lawful to make any other.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, If it pleases your reverence, let the most holy patriarch of each province, choosing one or two of his own province and going into the midst, and together considering the faith, make known to all what is agreed upon. So that if, as we desire, all be of one mind, all ambiguity may be removed: But if some entertain contrary opinions (which we do not believe to be the case) we may know what their opinions are.
The most reverend bishops cried out, we make no new exposition in writing. This is the law, [i.e. of the Third Synod] which teaches that what has been set forth is sufficient. The law wills that no other exposition should be made. Let the sayings of the Fathers remain fast.
Florentius, the most reverend bishop of Sardis, said, since it is not possible for those who follow the teaching of the holy Synod of Nice, which was confirmed rightly and piously at Ephesus, to draw up suddenly a declaration of faith in accordance with the faith of the holy fathers Cyril and Celestine, and of the letter of the most holy Leo, we therefore pray your magnificence to give us time, so that we may be able to arrive at the truth of the matter with a fitting document, although so far as we are concerned, who have subscribed the letter of the most holy Leo, nothing further is needed.
Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said, The faith has been well defined by the 318 holy fathers and confirmed by the holy fathers Athanasius, Cyril, Celestine, Hilary, Basil, Gregory, and now once again by the most holy Leo: and we pray that those things which were decreed by the 318 holy fathers, and by the most holy Leo be read.
The most glorious judges and great Senate said: Let there be read the expositions (ἐκτεθέντα) of the 318 fathers gathered together at Nice.
Eunomius, the most reverend bishop of Nicomedia read from a book [the Exposition of faith of the 318 fathers.]
The Exposition of faith of the Council held at Nice.
“In the consulate of Paul and Julian” etc.
“We believe in one God,” etc.
“But those who say,” etc.
The most reverend bishops cried out; This is the orthodox faith; this we all believe: into this we were baptized; into this we baptize: Blessed Cyril so taught: this is the true faith: this is the holy faith: this is the everlasting faith: into this we were baptized: into this we baptize: we all so believe: so believes Leo, the Pope (ὁ πάπας): Cyril thus believed: Pope Leo so interpreted it.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let there be read what was set forth by the 150 holy fathers.
Aëtius, the reverend deacon of Constantinople read from a book [the creed of the 150 fathers.]
The holy faith which the 150 fathers set forth as consonant to the holy and great Synod of Nice.
“We believe in one God,” etc.
All the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of all of us: we all so believe.
The reverend archdeacon Aëtius said, There remains the letter of Cyril of holy and blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city Alexandria, which he wrote to Nestorius, which was approved by all the most holy bishops assembled in the first Council at Ephesus, called to condemn the same Nestorius, and which was confirmed by the subscription of all. There is also another letter of the same Cyril, of blessed memory, which he wrote to John, of blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city of Antioch, which likewise was confirmed. If it be so ordered, I shall read these.
The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let the letters of Cyril of blessed memory be read.
Aëtius, the Archdeacon of the imperial city Constantinople read.
To the most reverend and most religious fellow-priest Nestorius, Cyril sends greeting in the Lord.
[Καταφλυαροῦσι μὴν κ.τ.λ. Lat. Obloquuntur quidem, etc. This letter is found among the acts of the Council of Ephesus.]
Likewise the same Archdeacon Aëtius read [the letter of the same holy Cyril of blessed memory to John of Antioch, on the peace].
[This letter begins, Εὐφραινέθωσαν οἱ οὐρανοὶ κ.τ.λ.; and in the Latin Lætentur cæli.]
- Added in the Latin acts.