Early Church Fathers
7 Protestant Controversialists, as well as others, have curious ways of stating historical events without any regard to the facts of the case. A notable instance of this is fonnd in Dr. Salmon's Infallibility of the Church (p.426 of the 2d Edition) where we are told that "the only one of the great controversies in which the Pope really did his part in teaching Christians what to believe was the Eutychian controversy. Leo the Great, instead of waiting, as Popes usually do, till the question was settled, published his sentiments at the beginning, and his letter to Flavian was adopted by the Council of Chalcedon. This is what would have always happened if God had really made the Pope the guide to the Church. But this case is quite exceptional, resulting from the accident that Leo was a good theologian, besides being a man of great vigour of character. No similar influence was exercised either by his predecessors or successors." This sentence is not pleasant reading, for it is an awe-inspiring display of one of two things, neither of which should be in the author of such a book. We need only remind the reader that Celestine had condemned Nestorius and his teaching before the Council of Ephesus; that Honorius had written letters defining the question with regard to the will or wills of the Incarnate Son before the III Council of Constantinople (which excommunicated him as a heretic for these very letters) ; that Pope Vigilius condemned the "Three Chapters" before the II. Council of Constantinople; and that Gregory II. condemned the iconoclastic heresy before the Seventh Synod, if the letters attributed to him be genuine (which is not quite certain, as will be shewn in its proper place). Thus the only two great questions not decided, one way or another, by the See of Rome before the meeting of a General Council were Arianism and Macedonianism, and some have held (though mistakenly as is generally thought) that Arius was condemned by a synod held at Rome before that of Nice.
8 See Michaud's brillant answer to Hefele, Discussion sur les Sept conciles Oecuméniques, p. 327.
9 The reader may easily satisfy himself on this natter by reading the somewhat extensive works of Aloysius Vincenzi, published in Rome in 1875 and thereabouts.
10 Epistle XXIV. of Lib. 1.
11 As one of the few books of the Eastern Church ever translated into a Western tongne, the reader may be glad to have its full title. Compendium des Kanonischen Rechtes der einen heiligen, allgemeinen und apostoliochen Kirche verfaszt von Andreas Freiherrn von Schaguna. Hermannstadt, Buchdruckerei des Josef Droklieff, 1868.
12 According to the Eleuchus, in the beginning of this volume, both of these writings are found in the First Part and not in the Second Part of the volume.
13 Schoell says that the text is not accurately given.
14 I am indebted to Hefele, History of the Councils. Vol. I.. p.67 et seqq., for this acconut of Merlin's Collection, as also for most of the statements that follow. Hefele says (footnote to page 67): "The longest details on Merin's edition are found in a work of Salmon. Doctor and Librarian of the Sorbonne, Traité de l'Etudes des Cinciles et de leurs Collections, etc. Paris, 1726."
15 Hefele, Hist. Councils, vol.1, p.69.
16 Salmon, l. c., pp. 315-331, 786-831.