Council of Chalcedon
Overview
 
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

 (a city of Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

 in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

), on the Asian side of the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th century. It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical.

The Council of Chalcedon was convened by Flavian
Patriarch Fravitta of Constantinople
Fravitta was the patriarch of Constantinople . He is regarded as a saint, and has a feast day of February 18.-Biography:...

's successor, Anatolius
Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople
Saint Anatolius was Patriarch of Constantinople . He became Patriarch through the influence of Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria with Emperor Theodosius II, after the deposition of Flavian by the Second Council of Ephesus, having previously been the apocrisiarius or representative of Dioscorus with...

, at Pope Leo I's urging, to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus
Second Council of Ephesus
The Second Council of Ephesus was a church synod in 449 AD. It was convoked by Emperor Theodosius II as an ecumenical council but because of the controversial proceedings it was not accepted as ecumenical, labelled a Robber Synod and later repudiated at the Council of Chalcedon.-The first...

, better known as the "Robber Council
Latrocinium
Latrocinium which meant primarily a mercenary, or hired soldier, had the same meaning as miles. Latrocinium applied to a war that was not preceded by a declaration of war under the Roman laws; it was also applied to the guerrilla warfare used by the enemies of Rome...

".
Encyclopedia
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

 (a city of Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

 in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

), on the Asian side of the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th century. It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical.

The Council of Chalcedon was convened by Flavian
Patriarch Fravitta of Constantinople
Fravitta was the patriarch of Constantinople . He is regarded as a saint, and has a feast day of February 18.-Biography:...

's successor, Anatolius
Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople
Saint Anatolius was Patriarch of Constantinople . He became Patriarch through the influence of Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria with Emperor Theodosius II, after the deposition of Flavian by the Second Council of Ephesus, having previously been the apocrisiarius or representative of Dioscorus with...

, at Pope Leo I's urging, to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus
Second Council of Ephesus
The Second Council of Ephesus was a church synod in 449 AD. It was convoked by Emperor Theodosius II as an ecumenical council but because of the controversial proceedings it was not accepted as ecumenical, labelled a Robber Synod and later repudiated at the Council of Chalcedon.-The first...

, better known as the "Robber Council
Latrocinium
Latrocinium which meant primarily a mercenary, or hired soldier, had the same meaning as miles. Latrocinium applied to a war that was not preceded by a declaration of war under the Roman laws; it was also applied to the guerrilla warfare used by the enemies of Rome...

". The Council of Chalcedon repudiated the idea that Jesus had only one nature
Monophysitism
Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

, and stated that Christ has two natures in one person. The Chalcedonian Creed
Chalcedonian Creed
The Confession of Chalcedon , also known as the Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union or the Two-Nature Doctrine, was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in Asia Minor. That Council of Chalcedon is one of the first seven Ecumenical Councils accepted by Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and many...

 describes the "full humanity and full divinity" of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, the second person of the Holy Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

. The council also issued 27 disciplinary canons governing church administration and authority. In the famous 28th canon passed by the council, the bishops sought to raise the See of Constantinople (New Rome) in stature, claiming that Constantinople enjoyed honor and authority similar to that of the See of (the older) Rome. Pope Leo's legate opposed the canon but in 453, Leo confirmed all the canons, except the 28th.

The Council is considered by the Roman Catholics, Eastern Catholic Churches, the Eastern Orthodox, the Old Catholics, and various other Western Christian groups to have been the Fourth Ecumenical Council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

. As such, it is recognized as infallible in its dogmatic definition
Dogmatic definition
In Catholicism, a dogmatic definition is an extraordinary infallible statement published by a pope or an ecumenical council concerning a matter of faith or morals, the belief in which the Catholic Church requires of all Christians .The term most often refers to the infallible...

s by the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Eastern Orthodox Churches (then one church). Most Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 also consider the concept of the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 as defined by these councils to be orthodox doctrine to which they adhere. However, the Council resulted in a major schism, with those who refused to accept its teaching, now known as Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, being accused of monophysitism
Monophysitism
Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

. The Oriental Orthodox churches reject the "monophysite" label and instead describe themselves as miaphysite
Miaphysitism
Miaphysitism is a Christological formula of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and of the various churches adhering to the first three Ecumenical Councils...

.

Relics of Nestorianism

In 325, the first ecumenical council (First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

) determined that Jesus Christ was God, "consubstantial
Consubstantiality
Consubstantial is an adjective used in Latin Christian christology, coined by Tertullian in Against Hermogenes 44, used to translate the Greek term homoousios...

" with the Father, and rejected the Arian contention
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 that Jesus was a created being. This was reaffirmed at the First Council of Constantinople (381) and the Council of Ephesus (431).

After the Council of Ephesus had condemned Nestorianism
Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

, there remained a conflict between Patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

s John of Antioch
John of Antioch
John of Antioch was Patriarch of Antioch and led a group of moderate Eastern bishops during the Nestorian controversy. He is sometimes confused with John Chrysostom, who is occasionally also referred to as John of Antioch. John gave active support to his friend Nestorius in the latter's dispute...

 and Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries...

. Cyril claimed that John remained Nestorian in outlook, while John claimed that Cyril held to the Apollinarian heresy. The two settled their differences under the mediation of the Bishop of Beroea, Acacius
Acacius of Beroea
Acacius of Beroea, a Syrian by birth, lived in a monastery near Antioch, and, for his active defense of the Church against Arianism, was made Bishop of Berroea in 378 AD, by Eusebius of Samosata....

, on April 12, 433. In the following year, Theodoret
Theodoret
Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria . He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms...

 of Cyrrhus
Cyrrhus, Syria
Cyrrhus, or Kyrros was a city in ancient Syria founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals. Other names for the city include Hagioupolis, Nebi Huri نبي حوري, Khoros . Its ruins are located in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. It lies about 70 km northwest of Aleppo...

 assented to this formula as well, apparently putting a rest to Nestorianism forever within the Roman Empire.

However, the works of two deceased Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

ean theologians, Diodorus of Tarsus
Diodorus of Tarsus
Diodore of Tarsus was a Christian bishop, a monastic reformer, and a theologian. A strong supporter of the orthodoxy of Nicaea, Diodore played a pivotal role in the Council of Constantinople and opposed the anti-Christian policies of Julian the Apostate...

 and Theodore of Mopsuestia
Theodore of Mopsuestia
Theodore the Interpreter was bishop of Mopsuestia from 392 to 428 AD. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate...

, were at this time translated into Syriac. By the intervention of Archbishop Proclus of Constantinople
Archbishop Proclus of Constantinople
Saint Proclus was an Archbishop of Constantinople. He is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.-Biography:...

, the two theologians were condemned throughout the East, but this situation would later provide the material for the Second Council of Constantinople
Second Council of Constantinople
The Second Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Fifth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was held from May 5 to June 2, 553, having been called by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian...

 some hundred years later.

Eutychian controversy

About two years after Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries...

's death in 444, an aged monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 from Constantinople named Eutyches
Eutyches
Eutyches was a presbyter and archimandrite at Constantinople. He first came to notice in 431 at the First Council of Ephesus, for his vehement opposition to the teachings of Nestorius; his condemnation of Nestorianism as heresy precipitated his being denounced as a heretic...

 began teaching a subtle variation on the traditional Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 in an attempt (as he described in a letter to Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy...

 in 448) to stop a new outbreak of Nestorianism
Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

. He claimed to be a faithful follower of Cyril's teaching, which was declared orthodox in the Union of 432.

Cyril had taught that "There is only one physis, since it is the Incarnation, of God the Word." Cyril had apparently understood the Greek word physis to mean approximately what the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word persona (person) means, while most Greek theologians would have interpreted that word to mean natura (nature). Thus, many understood Eutyches to be advocating Docetism
Docetism
In Christianity, docetism is the belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die...

, a sort of reversal of Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

—where Arius had denied the consubstantial divinity of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, Eutyches seemed to be denying his human nature. Cyril's orthodoxy was not called into question, since the Union of 433 had explicitly spoken of two physeis in this context.

Leo I wrote that Eutyches' error seemed to be more from a lack of skill on the matters than from malice. Further, his side of the controversy tended not to enter into arguments with their opponents, which prevented the misunderstanding from being uncovered. Nonetheless, due to the high regard in which Eutyches was held (second only to the Patriarch of Constantinople in the East), his teaching spread rapidly throughout the east.

In November 447, during a local synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 in Constantinople, Eutyches was denounced as a heretic by the Bishop Eusebius of Dorylaeum
Eusebius of Dorylaeum
Eusebius of Dorylaeum was a 5th-century bishop who spoke out against heretical teachings, especially those of Nestorius and Eutyches, during the period of Christological controversy. He was bishop of Dorylaeum which is located in Phrygia . The name Eusebius may also be found as Eusebios which...

. Eusebius demanded that Eutyches be removed from office. Patriarch Flavian of Constantinople preferred not to press the matter on account of Eutyches' great popularity. He finally relented and Eutyches was condemned as a heretic by the synod. However, the Emperor Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 and the Patriarch of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Dioscorus
Dioscorus of Alexandria
Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria was Patriarch of Alexandria from 444. He was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 but was recognized as Patriarch by the Coptic Church until his death. He died in Asia Minor, on September 17, 454...

, rejected this decision ostensibly because Eutyches had repented and confessed his orthodoxy. Dioscorus then held his own synod which reinstated Eutyches. The competing claims between the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria led the Emperor to call a council which was held in Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 in 449. The emperor invited Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy...

 to preside. He declined to attend on account of the invasion of Italy by Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
Attila , more frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign he was one of the most feared...

. However, he agreed to send four legates to represent him. Leo provided his legates, one of whom died en route, with a letter explaining Rome's position in the controversy. Leo's letter, now known as Leo's Tome, confessed that Christ had two natures, and was not of or from two natures. Although it could be reconciled with Cyril's Formula of Reunion, it was not compatible in its wording with Cyril's Twelve Anathemas. In particular, the third anathema reads: "If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema." This appeared to some to be incompatible with Leo's definition of two natures hypostatically joined. However, the Council would determine (with the exception of 13 Egyptian bishops) that this was an issue of wording and not of doctrine; a committee of bishops appointed to study the orthodoxy of the Tome using Cyril's letters (which included the twelve anathemas) as their criteria unanimously determined it to be orthodox, and the Council, with few exceptions, supported this.

"Latrocinium" of Ephesus

On August 8, 449 the Second Council of Ephesus
Second Council of Ephesus
The Second Council of Ephesus was a church synod in 449 AD. It was convoked by Emperor Theodosius II as an ecumenical council but because of the controversial proceedings it was not accepted as ecumenical, labelled a Robber Synod and later repudiated at the Council of Chalcedon.-The first...

 began its first session with Dioscorus presiding by command of the Emperor. Dioscorus began the council by banning all members of the November 447 synod which had deposed Eutyches. He then introduced Eutyches
Eutyches
Eutyches was a presbyter and archimandrite at Constantinople. He first came to notice in 431 at the First Council of Ephesus, for his vehement opposition to the teachings of Nestorius; his condemnation of Nestorianism as heresy precipitated his being denounced as a heretic...

 who publicly professed that while Christ had two natures before the incarnation, the two natures had merged to form a single nature after the incarnation. Of the 130 assembled bishops, 111 voted to rehabilitate Eutyches. Throughout these proceedings, Roman legate Hilary
Pope Hilarius
Pope Saint Hilarius was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to February 28, 468. He was canonized as a saint after his death....

 repeatedly called for the reading of Leo's Tome, but was ignored. Dioscorus then moved to depose Flavian
Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople
Flavian was Archbishop of Constantinople from 446 to 449. He is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church....

 and Eusebius of Dorylaeum on the grounds that they taught the Word had been made flesh and not just assumed flesh from the Virgin and that Christ had two natures. When Flavian and Hilary objected, Dioscorus called for a pro-monophysite mob to enter the church and assault Flavian as he clung to the altar. Flavian was mortally wounded. Dioscorus then placed Eusebius of Dorylaeum under arrest and demanded the assembled bishops approve his actions. Fearing the mob, they all did. The papal legates refused to attend the second session at which several more orthodox bishops were deposed, including Ibas of Edessa, Irenaeus of Tyre (a close personal friend of Nestorius), Domnus of Antioch, and Theodoret. Dioscorus then pressed his advantage by having Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries...

's Twelve Anathemas posthumously declared orthodox with the intent of condemning any confession other than one nature in Christ. Roman Legate Hilary, who as pope dedicated an oratory in the Lateran Basilica in thanks for his life, managed to escape from Constantinople and brought news of the Council to Leo who immediately dubbed it a "synod of robbers" — Latrocinium
Latrocinium
Latrocinium which meant primarily a mercenary, or hired soldier, had the same meaning as miles. Latrocinium applied to a war that was not preceded by a declaration of war under the Roman laws; it was also applied to the guerrilla warfare used by the enemies of Rome...

 — and refused to accept its pronouncements. The decisions of this council now threatened schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

 between the East and the West.

Convocation and session

The situation continued to deteriorate, with Leo demanding the convocation of a new council and Emperor Theodosius II refusing to budge, all the while appointing bishops in agreement with Dioscorus. All this changed dramatically with the Emperor's death and the elevation of Marcian
Marcian
Marcian was Byzantine Emperor from 450 to 457. Marcian's rule marked a recovery of the Eastern Empire, which the Emperor protected from external menaces and reformed economically and financially...

, an orthodox Christian, to the imperial throne. To resolve the simmering tensions, Marcian announced his intention to hold a new council. Leo had pressed for it to take place in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, but Emperor Marcian instead called for it to convene at Nicaea
Iznik
İznik is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea...

. Hunnish invasions forced it to move at the last moment to Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

, where the council opened on October 8, 451. Marcian had the bishops deposed by Dioscorus returned to their dioceses and had the body of Flavian brought to the capital to be buried honorably.

The Emperor asked Leo to preside over the council, but Leo again chose to send legates in his place. This time, Bishops Pachasinus of Lilybaeum and Julian of Cos and two priests Boniface and Basil represented the western church at the council. The Council of Chalcedon condemned the work of the Robber Council and professed the doctrine of the Incarnation presented in Leo's Tome. Attendance at this council was very high, with about 370 bishops (or presbyters representing bishops) attending . Paschasinus refused to give Dioscorus (who had excommunicated Leo leading up to the council) a seat at the council. As a result, he was moved to the nave of the church. Paschasinus further ordered the reinstatement of Theodoret and that he be given a seat, but this move caused such an uproar among the council fathers, that Theodoret also sat in the nave, though he was given a vote in the proceedings, which began with a trial of Dioscorus.

Marcian wished to bring proceedings to a speedy end, and asked the council to make a pronouncement on the doctrine of the Incarnation before continuing the trial. The council fathers, however, felt that no new creed was necessary, and that the doctrine had been laid out clearly in Leo's Tome. They were also hesitant to write a new creed as the Council of Ephesus had forbidden writing down any "new faith" other than the Nicene faith. The second day of the council ended with shouts from the bishops, "It is Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 who says this through Leo. This is what we all of us believe. This is the faith of the Apostles. Leo and Cyril teach the same thing." However, during the reading of Leo's Tome, three passages were challenged as being potentially Nestorian, and their orthodoxy was defended by using the writings of Cyril. Nonetheless due to such concerns, the Council decided to adjourn and appoint a special committee to investigate the orthodoxy of Leo's Tome, judging it by the standard of Cyril's Twelve Chapters, as some of the bishops present raised concerns about their compatibility. This committee was headed by Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and was given five days to carefully study the matter; Cyril's Twelve Chapters were to be used as the orthodox standard. The committee unanimously decided in favor of the orthodoxy of Leo, determining that what he said was compatible with the teaching of Cyril. A number of other bishops also entered statements to the effect that they believed that Leo's Tome was not in contradiction with the teaching of Cyril as well.

The council continued with Dioscorus' trial, but he refused to appear before the assembly. As a result, he was condemned, but by an underwhelming amount (more than half the bishops present for the previous sessions did not attend his condemnation), and all of his decrees were declared null. Marcian responded by exiling Dioscorus. All of the bishops were then asked to sign their assent to the Tome, but a group of thirteen Egyptians refused, saying that they would assent to "the traditional faith." As a result, the Emperor's commissioners decided that a creed would indeed be necessary and presented a text to the fathers. No consensus was reached, and indeed the text has not survived to the present.

Paschasinus threatened to return to Rome to reassemble the council in Italy. Marcian agreed, saying that if a clause were not added to the creed supporting Leo's doctrine, the bishops would have to relocate. The bishops relented and added a clause, saying that, according to the decision of Leo, in Christ there are two natures united, inconvertible [natures], inseparable [natures].

Confession of Chalcedon

The Confession of Chalcedon provides a clear statement on the human and divine nature of Christ:

Canons

The work of the council was completed by a series of 27 disciplinary canons
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

:
  1. States that all canons of previous councils shall remain in force; specific councils were clarified by Quinisext Council
    Quinisext Council
    The Quinisext Council was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is often known as the Council in Trullo, because it was held in the same domed hall where the Sixth Ecumenical Council had met...

     canon 2.
  2. Forbids simony
    Simony
    Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

     (paying for ecclesiastic office).
  3. Prohibits bishops from engaging in business.
  4. Gives authority to bishops over the monks in their dioceses, with the right to permit or forbid the foundation of new monasteries.
  5. States that travelling bishops are subject to canon law.
  6. Forbids the clergy from changing dioceses.
  7. Forbids the clergy from serving in the military.
  8. Places the poorhouses under the jurisdiction of the bishop.
  9. Limits the ability to accuse a bishop of wrong doing.
  10. Prevents clergy belonging to multiple churches.
  11. Regards letters of travel for the poor.
  12. Prohibits provinces from being divided for the purposes of creating another church.
  13. Prohibits clergy from officiating where they are unknown without a letter of recommendation from their bishop.
  14. Regards wives and children of cantors
    Cantor (church)
    A cantor is the chief singer employed in a church with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir; also called the precentor....

     and lector
    Lector
    Lector is a Latin term for one who reads, whether aloud or not. In modern languages the word has come to take various forms, as either a development or a loan, such as , , and . It has various specialized uses:...

    s.
  15. Requires a deaconess
    Deaconess
    Deaconess is a non-clerical order in some Christian denominations which sees to the care of women in the community. That word comes from a Greek word diakonos as well as deacon, which means a servant or helper and occurs frequently in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. Deaconesses trace...

     to be at least 40.
  16. Forbids monk
    Monk
    A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

    s and nun
    Nun
    A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent...

    s from marrying on pain of excommunication
    Excommunication
    Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

    .
  17. Forbids rural parishes from changing bishops.
  18. Forbids conspiracy against bishops.
  19. Requires bishops to conduct a synod
    Synod
    A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

     twice a year.
  20. Lists exemptions for those who have been driven to another city.
  21. States an accuser of a bishop shall be suspect before the bishop.
  22. Forbids seizing the goods of a dead bishop.
  23. Allows the expulsion of outsiders who cause trouble in Constantinople.
  24. Asserts that monasteries are permanent.
  25. Requires a new bishop to be ordained within 3 months of election.
  26. Requires cathedrals to have a steward from among the clergy to monitor church business.
  27. Forbids carrying off women under pretense of marriage (eloping).


Canon 28 grants equal privileges () to Constantinople as of Rome because Constantinople is the New Rome
New Rome
The term "New Rome" has been used in the following contexts:* "Nova Roma" is traditionally reported to be the Latin name given by emperor Constantine the Great to the new imperial capital he founded in 324 at the city on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, known as Byzantium until then and...

 as renewed by canon 36 of the Quinisext Council
Quinisext Council
The Quinisext Council was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is often known as the Council in Trullo, because it was held in the same domed hall where the Sixth Ecumenical Council had met...

. The papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s were not present for the vote on this canon, and protested it afterwards, and was not ratified by Pope Leo in Rome.

According to some ancient Greek collections, canons 29 and 30 are attributed to the council: canon 29, which states that an unworthy bishop cannot be demoted but can be removed, is an extract from the minutes of the 19th session; canon 30, which grants the Egyptians time to consider their rejection of Leo's Tome, is an extract from the minutes of the fourth session.

In all likelihood an official record of the proceedings was made either during the council itself or shortly afterwards. The assembled bishops informed the pope that a copy of all the "Acta" would be transmitted to him; in March, 453, Pope Leo commissioned Julian of Cos, then at Constantinople, to make a collection of all the Acts and translate them into Latin. Most of the documents, chiefly the minutes of the sessions, were written in Greek; others, e.g. the imperial letters, were issued in both languages; others, again, e.g. the papal letters, were written in Latin. Eventually nearly all of them were translated into both languages.

The status of Constantinople

The Council of Chalcedon also elevated the See of Constantinople to a position "second in eminence and power to the Bishop of Rome
Diocese of Rome
The Diocese of Rome is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. The bishop of Rome is the Pope, who is the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church...

".

The Council of Nicea in 325 had noted the primacy of the See of Rome, followed by the Sees of Alexandria and Antioch. At the time, the See of Constantinople was yet of no ecclesiastical prominence but its proximity to the Imperial court, gave rise to its importance. The Council of Constantinople in 381 modified the situation somewhat by placing Constantinople second in honor, above Alexandria and Antioch, stating in Canon III, that ""the bishop of Constantinople... shall have the prerogative of honor after the bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome". In the early 5th century, this status was challenged by the bishops of Alexandria, but the Council of Chalcedon confirmed in Canon XXVIII:
And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (ἴσα πρεσβεῖα) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her.


In making their case, the council fathers argued that tradition had accorded "honor" to the see of older Rome because it was the first imperial city. Accordingly, “moved by the same purposes” the fathers “apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome” because “the city which is honored by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equaling older imperial Rome should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her.” The framework for allocating ecclesiastical authority advocated by the council fathers mirrored the allocation of imperial authority in the later period of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The Eastern position could be characterized as being political in nature, as opposed to a doctrinal view. In practice, all Christians East and West addressed the papacy as the See of Peter or the Apostolic See rather than the See of the Imperial Capital. Rome understands this to indicate that its precedence has always come from its direct lineage from the apostle Peter rather than its association with Imperial authority.

After the passage of the Canon 28, Rome filed a protest against the reduction of honor given to Antioch and Alexandria. However, fearing that withholding Rome's approval would be interpreted as a rejection of the entire council, in 453 the pope confirmed the council’s canons with a protest against the 28th.

Status of Jerusalem

The metropolitan of Jerusalem was elevated to the status of "patriarch", bringing the number of patriarchies to five.

Consequences of the council

The near-immediate result of the council was a major schism. The bishops that were uneasy with the language of Pope Leo's Tome repudiated the council, saying that the acceptance of two physes was tantamount to Nestorianism. Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, advocated miaphysitism and had dominated the Council of Ephesus. Churches that rejected Chalcedon in favor of Ephesus broke off from the rest of the Church in a schism.

Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 attempted to bring those monks who still rejected the decision of the Council of Chalcedon into communion with the greater church. The exact time of this event is unknown, but it is believed to have been between 535 and 548. St Abraham of Farshut
Abraham (Copt)
Abraham is an abbot and saint of the Coptic Church. His feast day in the calendar of saints of the Coptic Church is February 12.He was born in Farshut, near the modern city of Hiww. His parents, who were Christians and locally important figures, died when Abraham was twelve...

 was summoned to Constantinople and he chose to bring with him four monks. Upon arrival, Justinian summoned them and informed them that they would either accept the decision of the Council or lose their positions. Abraham refused to entertain the idea. Theodora
Theodora (6th century)
Theodora , was empress of the Roman Empire and the wife of Emperor Justinian I. Like her husband, she is a saint in the Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14...

 tried to persuade Justinian to change his mind, seemingly to no avail. Abraham himself stated in a letter to his monks that he preferred to remain in exile rather than subscribe to a faith contrary to that of Athanasius. They were not alone, and the non-Chalcedon churches compose Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, with the Church of Alexandria
Patriarch of Alexandria
The Patriarch of Alexandria is the Archbishop of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation of Pope , and did so earlier than that of the Bishop of Rome...

 as their spiritual leader. Only in recent years has a degree of rapprochement between Chalcedonian Christians and the Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

been seen.

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