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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The empire from Constantine the Great to Justinian

The Church and the state at the end of the fourth century 


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Page 5

Because information about this council is so inadequate, some western European scholars are dubious as to the creed of Constantinople, which became not only the dominant creed, but the official symbol as well, for all Christian denominations, in spite of their divergence as to dogma. Some scholars have affirmed that this new creed was not and could not be the work of the second council, that it was apocryphal; others have tried to prove that this symbol was composed either before or after the second council. The majority of scholars, however, especially the Russian church historians, agree that the creed of Constantinople was actually framed by the Fathers of the second council, though it became widespread only after the victory of orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon.

The second council also established the rank of patriarch of Constantinople in relation to the bishop of Rome, The third canon of the council declares: The bishop of Constantinople shall rank next to the bishop of Rome, because Constantinople is New Rome, because of the political pre-eminence of the city as the capital of the Empire. Patriarchs of older eastern sees objected to this exaltation of the patriarch of Constantinople.

Gregory the Theologian The see of Constantinople was at that time occupied by Gregory of Nazianzus, the Theologian, who had played a very important role in the capital during the first years of the reign of Theodosius. He was unable to manage the numerous dissenting parties represented at the council and was later forced to withdraw from his see, leave the council, and depart from Constantinople. His place was taken by Nectarius, a man of the world, one of limited theological attainments, who knew how to keep on good terms with the Emperor. Nectarius became president of the council, which in the summer of the year 381 closed its sessions.

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