Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Third Council of Constantinople - 681 AD

Third Council of Constantinople - 681 AD


The sixth of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church Orthodox was summoned by St. Constantine the New circa 680-681 AD to address the heterodox teaching of the Monothelites.

The Arians were becoming less and less significant in the heretical playing field; essentially they were becoming obsolete. Several of the Arians by this period had reconciled with the Church. But that did not stop the attacks on the Person of Christ. Monothelites emerged, claiming that Christ had only one will because he is one Divine Person although with two natures (human and divine). The Hierarchs of the Council considered this erroneous and a limitation on the humanity of Jesus since it de-humanized him. A human nature without a human will? This is a natural and theological schizophrenia.

The Second Person of the Trinity became man in the Incarnation. God took on human nature. Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of God, who remaining from all eternity a divine Person, embraced fully human nature. Being fully divine and fully human, the Council Fathers definitively declared that he possessed a divine will and a human will in the one divine Person. To deny the fullness of his humanity was to deny his Incarnation. The heresy of the Monothelites was condemned as heterodox.

St. John the Damascene taught that the 'divine will permits the human will to will, and to manifest fully what is proper to humanity,' (St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxis, III, 15', 1060 BC). 

Constantinople III not only condemned the heresy of Monothelites but also the heretics that perpetrated it. The following were anathematized as heretics by the Ecumenical Council:

1. Pope Honorius I of Rome
2. Sergius I of Constantinople
3. Cyrus of Alexandria
4. Paul II of Constantinople
5. Peter of Constantinople 
6. Theodore of Pharan

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