Fifth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople II (553)

In order to provide some background material for the Orientale Lumen Conferences in 2010, with the help of Father Michael Hayduk, I prepared a summary of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils that I post here.

SITE: Constantinople
YEAR: A.D. 553
POPE: Vigilius, 537 – 555
EMPEROR: Justinian I, 527 – 565
ACTION: Effectively called by Justinian I and eventually ratified by Pope Vigilius, Constantinople II condemned a collection of statements known as the “Three Chapters”: 1) the person and the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Master of Nestorius, originator of that heresy; 2) the writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus; 3) the writings of Ibas of Edessa. The last two friends of Nestorius had been restored to their sees by Chalcedon when they no longer opposed the teachings of St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) and of Ephesus. Chalcedon was not discredited here (as the Monophysites had hoped) since it had been concerned with men. Constantinople II was concerned with their writings, although a hundred years after they had died.
NOTE: Two important local councils condemning heresies: Carthage (416) solemnly approved by Pope Innocent II, (401 – 417), and then in 418 by Pope Zosimus (417 – 418), condemned Pelagianism (Pelagius, a British Monk), which heresy denied original sin calling it only “bad example.” Orange (429) France, solemnly approved by Pope Boniface II (530 – 532), condemned Semi-Pelagianism (an over-reaction to St. Augustine on grace), which claimed man needed grace only after his first supernatural act. St. Augustine made it clear that God’s grace is first.
NOTE: Council referred much to St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d. 444).

The Second General Council of Constantinople, of 165 bishops under Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian I, condemned the errors of Origen and certain writings (The Three Chapters) of Theodoret, of Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia and of Ibas, Bishop of Edessa; it further confirmed the first four general councils, especially that of Chalcedon whose authority was contested by some heretics.