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The Council of Constantinople 869

Papal Supremacy, Apostolic See, Keys, Rock of the Church, Papal Authority, Chief of the Apostles, Papal Infallibility, Peter's Faith, Prince of the Apostles, Validating a Council, The Roman See

“Because the sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be past by, who said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’, these words are proved by the real effect which has followed; because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has ever been kept immaculate, and holy doctrine celebrated there. Wherefore, by no mens desiring to be separated from its faith and doctrine, and following in all things the constitutions of the Fathers, and chiefly of the holy Prelates of the Apostolic See, we anathematize all heresies…Condemning particularly, Photius and Gregory of Syracuse, parricides, that is, who have not feared to put out their tongue against their Spiritual father [Pope Nicholas of Rome]. Since, following in all things the Apostolic See, and observing in all things the Apostolic See, and observing in all things its constitutions, we hope that we may be worthy to be in one communion which the Apostolic See sets forth, in which is the complete and true solidity of the Christian religion. But this my profession I have written with my own hand, and delivered to thee, most holy Hadrian [the Pope current] Supreme Pontiff and Universal Pope” (Papal legates asked that every Bishops should sign this profession of faith, Mansi XVI, 27 [ Ybarra: “Church Fathers & Papal Infallibility”]).

“Of the wounds and sores of human members, art has produced many physicians; of whom one has treated this disease, and another tha, using in their experience amputation or cure. But of these, which are in the members of our Saviour Christ and God, the Head of us all, and of His spouse the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Supreme Chief and most powerful Word, Orderer, and Healer, and Master, the God of all, hath produced one singular pre-eminent and most Catholic physician, your fraternal Holiness, and paternal goodness. Wherefore He said to Peter, the great and supreme Apostle, ‘Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’, and again, ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom, and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven’. For such blessed words He did not, surely, according to a sort of lot, circumscribe and define to the prince of the Apostles alone [to exclusively Peter], but transmitted by him [Peter] to all , who, after him, according to him, were to be made supreme pastors, and most divine and sacred Pontiffs of OLDEN ROME. And, therefore, from of old, and the ancient times, when heresies and contradictions have arisen, many of those who preceded there your Holiness and supreme Paternity, have many times been made the pluckers-up and destroyers of evil tares, and of sick members, plague-struck and incurable: being, that is, successors of the prince of the Apostles, and imitating his zeal in the faith, according to Christ: and now in our times, your Holiness hath worthily exercised the power given to you by Christ.” (Patriach Ignatius of Constantinople, Letter to St. Pope Nicholas the Great, Mansi, XVI, 47).

“That headship of divine power, which the Maker of all things has bestowed on his elect Apostles, he hath, by establishing its solidity on the unshaken faith of Peter, prince of the Apostles, made his see pre-eminent, yea, the First. For, by the word of the Lord it was said to him, ‘Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’. Moreover, Peter so entirely ceases not to maintain for his own people the structure of the Universal Church unshaken and rooted in the strength of faith, from the firmness of the Rock, which is Christ, that he hastens to reform by the rule of right faith the madness of the wandering. For, according to the faithful maintenance of the Apostolical tradition, as yourselves know, the holy Fathers have often met, by whom it has both been resolved and observed, that without the consent of the Roman See and the Roman Pontiff no emergent deliberation should be terminated” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to Emperor Michael, Mansi XVI, 59).

“Because the whole number of believers seeks doctrine, asks for the integrity of the faith, and those who are worthy the deliverance from crimes — from this holy Roman Church, which is the head of all churches, it behoves us, to whom it is entrusted, to be anxious, and the more fervently to be set on watch over the Lord’s flock…” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to Photius, Mansi XVI, 69).

“Wherefore, because, as your wisdom knows, we are bound by the care of all Christ’s sheep, holding through the abundance of heavenly grace, his place, to whom is especially said by God, ‘Feed My sheep’, and again ‘And thou, when thou are converted, confirm they brethren’ we could not dissimulate or reglect, but that we should visit our sheep dispersed and scattered, and confirm in the faith and good conduct our brethren and neighbors” (St. Pope Nicholas the Great to all Archbishops, Metropolitans, and Bishops subject to Constantinople, Mansi XVI , 101).

“Obey those set over you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your souls, as those that shall give account: thus Paul the great Apostle commands. Therefore, holding the most blessed Pope Nicholas for the organ of the Holy Spirit, as too, most holy Pope Hadrian, his successor, we decree and approve that all things, which by them at different times have been set forth and promulged synodically, as well for the defense of the Church of Constantinople, as for the expulsion of the Photius, be kept and maintained” (Canon 2, Mansi XVI, 160).

“We believe that the saying of the Lord that Christ addressed to his holy apostles and disciples, Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever despises you despises me, was also addressed to all who were likewise made supreme pontiffs and chief pastors in succession to them in the catholic church. Therefore we declare that no secular powers should treat with disrespect any of those who hold the office of patriarch or seek to move them from their high positions, but rather they should esteem them as worthy of all honour and reverence. This applies in the first place to the most holy pope of old Rome, secondly to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Furthermore, nobody else should compose or edit writings or tracts against the most holy pope of old Rome, on the pretext of making incriminating charges, as Photius did recently and Dioscorus a long time ago. Whoever shows such great arrogance and audacity, after the manner of Photius and Dioscorus, and makes false accusations in writing or speech against the see of Peter, the chief of the apostles, let him receive a punishment equal to theirs.

“If, then, any ruler or secular authority tries to expel the aforesaid pope of the apostolic see, or any of the other patriarchs, let him be anathema. Furthermore, if a universal synod is held and any question or controversy arises about the holy church of Rome, it should make inquiries with proper reverence and respect about the question raised and should find a profitable solution; it must on no account pronounce sentence rashly against the supreme pontiffs of old Rome.” (Canon 21, Mansi XVI, 174).

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