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scelestissimus) had occupied his church; declaring that the Roman see will never consent to this injustice; and ordering them, by his apostolical authority, to work for the expulsion of Photius and the restoration of Ignatius.1 At the same time he indited epistles to the Emperor and to Photius, asserting with stronger emphasis than before the authority of Rome as head and mistress of the churches,2 and declining to condemn Ignatius or to recognize Photius.
The ambassadors of the Pope, during their visit to Constantinople, had heard only one side. The authorities had taken care to prevent them from communicating with Ignatius or any of the Ignatian party, and they also attempted to hinder any one from repairing to Rome in the interests of the Ignatian cause. Theognostos, however, who was an ardent partisan of the deposed Patriarch, succeeded in reaching Rome in disguise, and he carried with him a petition setting forth the history of the deposition of Ignatius and the sufferings which he endured, and imploring the Pope, who was humbly addressed as "the Patriarch of all the thrones," to take pity and arise as a powerful champion against injustice.*
1 Ep. 4, 168.
2 The words in which he asserts that the laws and decrees of the Roman see must not be set aside by subject churches, on the plea of different customs, are strong: "Et ideo consequens est ut quod ab huius Sedis rectoribus plena auctoritate sancitur, nullius consuetudinis praepediente occasione, proprias tantum sequendo voluntates, removeatur, sed firmius atque inconcusse teneatur." Ep. 6, 174.
3 He was an archimandrite of the Roman Church, abbot of the monastery of Pêgê, skeuophylax of St. Sophia, and Exarch of the monasteries of Constantinople. See the title of the Libellus Ign.
4 The Libellus, stating the case of Ignatius, was written by Theognostos, but in the name of Ignatius, with whom were associated fifteen metropolitan bishops, and an "infinite number" of priests, monks, etc. Perhaps, as Hergenrother suggests (i. 462), it was the knowledge of this despatch to Rome that prompted the government to make another attempt to force Ignatius, this time by reading
aloud his sentence in the ambo of St. Sophia. Soldiers surrounded his house on the eve of Whitsunday, May 25, 862; but Ignatius escaped, disguised as a porter, and wandered for some months from island to island in the Propontis, eluding_the_pursuers who were set on his track. In August and September Constantinople was shaken by terrible earthquakes for forty days, and the calamity was ascribed by superstition to the unjust treatment of Ignatius. To calm the public, the Emperor caused a declaration to be made that Ignatius would be allowed to remain unmolested in his cloister. Ignatius revealed himself to Petronas, the brother of Bardas, who gave him as a safe-conduct an enkolpion (probably a jewelled cross) which the Emperor wore on his breast. He then had an interview with Bardas and was dismissed to his monastery. See Vita Ign. 241 sqq. The earthquake referred to is probably the same as that described in Cont. Th. 196-197. It did great damage in the southwestern part of the city (Hexakionion). The earthquake in Vita Ign. 249 seems to be different.
It was probably the influence of the representations of Theognostos and other Ignatians who had found their way to Rome, that moved Nicolas a year later (April A.D. 863), ) to hold a Synod in the Lateran. Neither the Emperor nor the Patriarch had vouchsafed any answer to his letter, and as it was evident that they had no intention of yielding to his dictation, he punished the Church of Constantinople by the only means which lay in his power. The synod deprived Photius of his ecclesiastical status, and excommunicated him unless he immediately resigned the see which he had usurped ;) it pronounced the same penalty upon all ecclesiastics who had been consecrated by Photius; and it restored Ignatius and all those bishops who had been deposed and exiled in his cause.2 A copy of the proceedings was sent to Constantinople.
It was impossible for Constantinople to ignore the formal condemnation pronounced by the Lateran Synod, and Photius was prepared to assert the independence of his see, by dealing out to the Pope the same measure which the Pope had dealt out to him. In August 865, Nicholas received a letter from the Emperor assuring him that all his efforts in behalf of Ignatius | were useless, and requiring him to withdraw his judgment, with a threat that, if he refused, the Emperor would march to Rome and destroy the city. The document, which was evidently drafted under the direction of Photius, must have been couched in sufficiently provocative terms; but the threat was not seriously meant, and the writer did not expect that the Pope would yield. The real point of the letter was the repudiation of the papal claim to supreme jurisdiction, as the real point of the Pope's long reply was the assertion of the privileges of the chair of St. Peter. The Pope indeed makes what may be represented as a concession.
He offers to revise
his judgment at Rome, and demands that the two rivals shall appear personally before him, or if they cannot come, send plenipotentiaries. The concession was as nugatory as the Emperor's threat, and it assumed, in an aggravated form, the claims of the Papacy as a supreme court of appeal.3
The quarrel between Rome and Constantinople was soon augmented by the contest between the two sees for the control 1. of the infant church of Bulgaria,1 and Photius judged that the time was ripe for a decisive blow. He held a local synod for the condemnation of various heresies which Latin clergy had criminally introduced into Bulgaria.2 These "servants of Antichrist, worthy of a thousand deaths," permitted the use of milk and cheese in the Lenten fast; they sowed the seed of the Manichaean doctrine by their aversion to priests who are legally married; they had the audacity to pour anew the chrism of confirmation on persons who had already been anointed by priests, as if a priest were not as competent to confirm as to baptize. But above all they were guilty of teaching the blasphemous and atheistic doctrine that the Holy Ghost proceeds not only from the Father, but also from the Son.
The eloquent Patriarch can hardly find words adequate to characterize the enormity of these false doctrines, in the encyclical letter which he addressed to the three Eastern Patriarchs, inviting them to attend a general council at Constantinople, for the purpose of rooting out such abominable errors. Other questions too, Photius intimated, would come before the council. For he had received from Italy an official communication full of grave complaints of the tyranny exercised by the Roman bishop in the west.
The document to which Photius refers seems to have emanated from the archbishops of Köln and Trier, who were at this time leading an anti-papal movement. The occasion of this division in the western Church was the love of king Lothar II. of Lothringia for his mistress Waldrade.* To marry her he had repudiated his queen, and his action was approved by a synod at Metz, guided by the influence of the two archbishops. But the Pope embraced the cause of the queen, and in a synod in the Lateran (October 863), annulled
phemiis, tota iniuriis plena." One of Michael's demands was that the Pope should hand over to him the Ignatians who were at Rome.
1 See Chap. XII.
2 Photius, Ep. 4, § 27, p. 176. Hergenrother assigns the synod to Lent, 867 (i. 648).
3 Ep. 4.
4 For this affair and its consequences see Hergenrother, i. 540 sqq.; Hefele, iv. 240 sqq. The documents will be found in Mansi, xv. 611 sqq., 645 sqq., to which must be added the Vita Nicolai, and the chronicles of Regino and Hincmar (Ann. Bert.).
the acts of Metz, and deposed the archbishops of Köln and Trier. These prelates received at first support from the Emperor Lewis II., but that vacillating monarch soon made peace with the Pope, and the archbishops presumed to organize a general movement of metropolitan bishops against the claims of the Roman see. They distributed to the bishops of the west a circular Protest, denouncing the tyranny, arrogance, and cunning of Nicholas, who would "make himself the Emperor of the whole world." They sent a copy to the Patriarch of Constantinople, imploring him to come to their help and deliverance.2
This movement in the western church was well calculated to confirm Photius and the Imperial government in the justice of their own cause, and it led the Patriarch to a far-reaching scheme which it required some time to mature. It is certain that during the years A.D. 865-867, there were secret negotiations between Constantinople and the Emperor Lewis. It is improbable that any formal embassies were interchanged. But by unofficial means—perhaps by communications between Photius and the Empress Engelberta-an understanding was reached that if the Pope were excommunicated by the eastern Patriarchs, Lewis might be induced to drive him from Rome as a heretical usurper, and that the court of Constantinople would officially recognize the Imperial dignity and title of the western Emperor.3
Constantinople carried out her portion of the programme. The Council met in A.D. 867 (perhaps the late summer),* and the Emperor Michael presided. The Pope was condemned and anathema pronounced against him for the heretical doctrines and practices which were admitted by the Roman Church, and for his illegitimate interference in the affairs of the Church of Constantinople.
1 "Dominus Nicolaus qui dicitur Papa et qui se Apostolum inter Apostolos adnumerat totiusque mundi imperatorem se facit." The text is given Ann. Bert. 68 sqq.
2 Photius, op. cit. σvvodiкý TIS ÈTIOTOXỲ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀναπεφοίτηκεν, ib. μὴ παριδεῖν αὐτοὺς οὕτως οἰκτρῶς ἀπολλυμένους κτλ.
3 Previous negotiations, though not mentioned in the sources, are presupposed by the actual acclamation of
The acts of the Synod were
Lewis and his wife.
4 The date is inferred from the fact that Zacharias, bishop of Chalcedon, who was deputed to carry the acts of the Council to Italy, was still on his journey in September, after Michael's death, and was recalled (Vita Ign. 257), Hergenrother, i. 349.
5 And probably Basil with him, as Hergenröther ib. admits. Metrophanes, op. cit. 417.
afterwards burned,1 and we know of it only from the brief notices of the enemies of Photius. They insinuate that the signature of Michael had been appended when he was drunk; that the signature of his colleague Basil, had been forged; that the subscriptions of almost all those who were present, numbering about a thousand, were fabricated.2 These allegations are highly improbable, and the writers themselves are inconsistent in what they allege. It is obvious that if the Emperors had disapproved of the purpose of the Council, the Council could never have met; and it is equally clear that if the overwhelming majority of the Council, including the Emperors, had disapproved of the decrees, the decrees could not have been passed. But there seems to have been some chicanery. At the Eighth Ecumenical Council, the metropolitan bishops whose signatures appeared, were asked whether they had subscribed, and they said, "God forbid, we did not subscribe." Are we to suppose that they consented to the acts and afterwards refused to append their names?
The scandal about the legates of the Eastern Patriarchs is hardly less obscure. It is stated that Photius picked up in the streets three evil men whom he foisted upon the synod as the representatives of the Patriarchs. They pretended to be Peter, Basil, and Leontios. But the true Peter, Basil, and Leontios appeared at the Eighth Ecumenical Council, where they asserted that they had not been named as legates by the Patriarchs, that they knew nothing about the Synod, had not attended it, and had not signed its acts.5 It is impossible to
1 By the explicit and emphatic instructions of Pope Hadrian.
2 Vita Hadriani II. 811, and Anastasius, Praef. Hergenrother, i. 652, admits that there is great exaggeration in these Latin sources. In the Vita Hadr., it is said that the signatures were fabricated by hired persons, who used fine and coarse pens to vary the handwriting. In regard to the signature of Basil, the Pope was officially informed that it was spurious (evd@s évyρapyvaι): cap. 4 of his Roman Synod, in Act vii. of the Eighth Council, Mansi, xvi. 380.
* Act viii. οἱ ὑπογεγραμμένοι ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ ἐκείνῳ μητροπολῖται (which must mean, exclusive of the Photians). Anastasius says (loc. cit.), that only
twenty-one really signed, but this can hardly be true, and the same writer gives the total number of signatures as "about 1000" which is absurd. No Ecumenical Council had nearly so many members, and why (as Lebedev asks) should Photius have taken the trouble to forge so many?
4 See the 6th Canon of the Eighth Council, Mansi, xvi. 401 Vηρoús τινας ἄνδρας ἀπὸ τῶν λεωφόρων ἀγυιῶν.
5 See their examination by the Council, Act viii. pp. 384 sqq., also of Leontios, George, and Sergius, Act ix. p. 397. Peter, etc. who are brought before the Council are described as τοὺς ψευδοτοποτηρητὰς οὓς ὁ Φώτιος προσελάβετο κατὰ τοῦ . . Νικολάου. But if we are to make any sense of