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The Jurist 67 (2007) 72-88 PATRIARCH PHOTIUS AND POPE NICHOLAS I AND THE COUNCIL OF 879 Clarence Gallagher, SJ* Some years ago research for a series of lectures I was invited to give led me to realize that there were two councils of Constantinople that seemed to have been forgotten by the Latin Church, and another council of Constantinople that has been forgotten by the Church of Constantino­ ple but remembered by the Latin Church. The two councils forgotten by the Latin Church are the Council in Trullo of 692, and the Council of Constantinople of 879-880. The council forgotten by the Church in Con­ stantinople, but included by the Latin Church in her collections of coun­ cils, was the council held in Constantinople in 869-870. The Oriental Institute in Rome organized a symposium to celebrate the thirteenth centenary of the Council in Trullo in 1992. This resulted in the publication of The Council in Trullo Revisited, which, together with a collection of studies by modem scholars, reissued Joannou’s edition of the Greek canons of Trullo, together with a revised edition of the Latin translation and a new English translation of the canons.1However, much remains to be done concerning the council of 879-880. So I thought I would try to see if there was some way of reminding the Latin Church of its significance and importance. This paper is the result. Another factor that influenced me was the approach now being taken in the West to Patriarch Photios. After centuries of denigration by western authors—Photios embodied what were seen by them as the evils of the Orthodox Greek East—the modem appreciation of Photios is almost overwhelmingly positive. According to Paul Lemerle, Photios must be ‘counted among the greatest [figures] in the history of Byzantium... who perhaps most truly represents Byzantine civilization.’2Obolensky called him the ‘greatest theologian and philosopher of his age’, and ‘One of the greatest Byzantine scholars of all time.’3For Nigel Wilson, Photios was * Campion Hall, Oxford 1 It is interesting to note that the Council in Trullo is now cited as a source in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1990. 2 Paul Lemerle, Byzantine Humanism, the First Phase. Notes and Remarks on Edu­ cation and Culture in Byzantium from its Origins to the l(fhCentury. (Canberra: Aus­ tralian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986) 205. 3 Dmitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson ,1971) 103; 119. 72 PATRIARCH PHOTIUS & POPE NICHOLAS I & THE COUNCIL OF 879 73 ‘the most important figure in the history of classical studies in Byzan­ tium.’41was aware too that Patriarch Photios is venerated as a saint by the Greek Orthodox Church. So something had gone wrong somewhere!5 Photios is also a most interesting character for the student of law. What is called the ‘Photian’edition of the Nomokanon in 14 Titles, was published in Constantinople in 882, with a preface by Patriarch Photios. Photios played an important part in the publication of the radically new collection of laws, the eisagoge, published around 780. It was also Photios who sent the missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, to Moravia in 863. Clearly, Pho­ tios was a dominant personality in ninth-century Constantinople. For the Acts of the 879/880 Council, I consulted Mansi and used the Ultramontane edition of the Jesuit Jean Hardouin (1646-1729).6 The headings are revealing: Pseudo-Synodus Constantinopolitana. Conciliabulum Constantinopolitanum Oecumenicum Pseudo-Octavum. These headings show at a glance how this council was regarded in the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The editor finds confirmation for the condemnation of Photios and this council in the writings of Cardinal Baronius and others. Photios is seen as a cunning manipulator who was capable of falsifying papal documents to suit his own purposes. Cardinal Bellarmine thought that the talk of Pope John VIII rescinding the acts of the 869-870 council was pure fabrication. The fact that the council of 879/880 was successful in restoring unity be­ tween Rome and Constantinople and within the Church in Constantino­ ple, that its acta were signed by the Roman legates, and that...


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