Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Photian Robber Council of 879-880

Mirror link

Pope John VIII mercifully reinstated Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, but this was the extent of his approval of the acts of the 879-880 Council of Constantinople (Mann 270).{1} I don't know how people like Fr. George Dion Dragas can seriously maintain that this fraud-riddled council is a fully binding ecumenical council.

1. False Legates
(1) There were Eastern "legates" from sees unmentioned in any other council (266-267). (2) There is extreme doubt as to whether Cosmas and the other purported legates of the Eastern Patriarchates were duly credentialed representatives of those sees (267).

2. Alterations to Pope John VIII's Letter to Basil
(1) Photius embellishes Pope John VIII's praise of the emperors and changes the letter to say that the emperor consults Rome merely "for the sake of union" (Mann 258). (2) Photius omits everything about St. Ignatius and "the circumstances of the time," pretends Pope John VIII was yearning to restore him, and pretends that he was unwillingly restored by the emperor (259). (3) He eliminates the letter's statements that he has to ask for forgiveness before a council, and omits Pope John VIII's mention that he, as the supreme pastor with the plenitude of power, absolves Photius and all those condemned with him (259). (4) Photius adds self-praise and makes John condemn all the councils, including the Eighth Ecumenical Council, that condemned him (259). (5) Photius palliates John's conditions that after Photius dies, a Constantinopolitan cardinal priest or deacon (but not layman or court member) is elected Patriarch, that clerics are not to be speedily elevated, and that Photius relinquishes his pretensions to have jurisdiction over Bulgaria (260). (6) Photius omits John VIII's threat to excommunicate him should he receive any bishops the pope has condemned (260).

3. Alterations to Pope John VIII's Letter to Photius
(1) The Patriarch changes Pope VIII's praises of God to praises of Photius (261). (2) Photius makes Pope John VIII explicitly condemn the Eighth Ecumenical Council of 869-870 (261).

4. Alterations to Pope John VIII's Instructions to the Legates
(1) Photius changes the instructions to simply require Photius to appear in a council to be acknowledged by everyone (262). (2) Photius pretends that Pope John VIII recommends that the Ignatian bishops consecrated before the first Patriarchate of Photius should retain their sees, while the Ignatian bishops consecrated during the second Patriarchate of St. Ignatius should only get support from the bishops in possession (262). (3) Photius pretends that Pope John VIII instructed the legates to have Photius to preside along with them (262). (4) Photius pretends that the legates are to ask Photius not to interfere with Bulgaria (262). (5) Photius pretends that the legates are to annul the anti-Photian councils, including the Eighth Ecumenical Council (262).

5. Broken Promises
Photius and the council promised they would obey Pope John VIII's instructions on the Bulgarian jurisdiction, but later said that the boundary-marking was up to the emperor (268).

6. Absurd Statements About the Primacy of Constantinople
(1) The first of three canons from the council's fifth session said that the council did not mean to innovate concerning the prerogatives of the See of Rome, but this same canon and the rest of the acts of the council refer to the pope as a mere patriarch of the West with the same rank as the rest of the patriarchs (267). (2) In session five, Metropolitan Basil of Martyropolis, who allegedly represented the See of Antioch, said that Photius was the highest bishop by divine right (267). The acts record no one, not even the papal legates, protesting at this novelty (268). (3) The seventh session said that Photius "had the spiritual priority over the whole Church" (269). Where is the protest of the legates here?

7. False Quotes
In session one, the papal legate Eugenius says, "The soul of the Pope was so intimately united to that of Photius as to form, as it were, but one soul with it; and just as he desired to be united with God, so he desired to become one with Photius" (268). It is incredible that Eugenius would have said that (268).

8. Association with an Entirely Forged Letter
A forged anti-Filioque letter ascribed to Pope John VIII was added to the acts of the 879-880 council (269).

9. Very Limited Papal Approbation
Pope John VIII said that he does not approve of whatever his legates have done against his instructions (270), yet, if the acts of the council give a reliable record of what the papal legates did, they in fact acted against his instructions (270).

10. Later Actions of Photius Inexplicable if Rome Annulled 869-870 Council
In his ca. 885-886 letter to Emperor Basil I, Pope Stephen V says that Photius was still trying to have the 869-870 Council annulled, which would not make sense if Pope John VIII in fact abrogated the 869-870 Council.{2}

Notes & References
{1} Mann, Rev. Horace Kinder. The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages vol. III, 2nd ed. London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., 1925. 1 Nov. 2009 <http://www.archive.org/details/livesofpopes03mannuoft>. Although the Rev. Mann of pious memory wrongly says, like the very learned Dr. Philip Blosser, that Pope John VIII excommunicated Photius in 881 (Fr. Francis Dvornik effectively disproves this), his other points about the atrocious fraud of the 879-880 council remain valid.
{2} Venance Grumel, "La Lettre du pape Étienne V à l'empereur Basile Ier," Revue des études byzantines 11 (1953) 129–55.

No comments: