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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Heraclian epoch (610-717)

Religious Policy of the dynasty

The Sixth Ecumenical Council and religious peace   -Cf. Acts of the Sixth Ecumenical Council


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It cannot be said that the agreement reached with Rome on the Sixth Ecumenical Council lasted very long. Even in the reign of Justinian II, the successor of Constantine IV, relations between the Byzantine Empire and Rome became strained again. Desirous of completing the task of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, Justinian II summoned in 691 a synod in Constantinople, which was held in the Domed Hall. This council was called Trullan, from the place of its meetings, or Quinisext (Quinisextum), because it completed the task of the two preceding ecumenical councils. This synod called itself ecumenical. Pope Sergius refused to sign the acts of the council by reason of certain clauses, such as the prohibition of fasting on Saturdays, and the permission to priests to marry. Following the example of Constans II, who had exiled Martin to the Crimea, Justinian ordered Sergius to be arrested and brought to Constantinople. But the army of Italy protected him against the imperial commissioner, who would have lost his life had it not been for the intercession of the pope. During the second reign of Justinian II (705-11), Pope Constantine came at the invitation of the Emperor to Constantinople, the last pope to be summoned to the capital of the Byzantine Empire. He was treated with highest honors by Justinian, who, the papal biographer claims, prostrated himself before the pope with the imperial crown upon his head, and kissed his feet. Justinian and the pope reached a satisfactory compromise, but there is no exact information on it. Pope Constantine, as the German church historian, Hefele, pointed out, had by this time undoubtedly attained the fair middle path which Pope John VIII (872-882) subsequently followed by declaring that he accepted all those canons which did not contradict the true faith, good morals, and the decrees of Rome. Pope Constantine returned safely to Rome and was welcomed by the people with great joy. Religious peace seemed finally established within the greatly reduced boundaries of the Empire

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