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Emperor Constantine IV

Rock of the Church, Chief of the Apostles, St. Peter, Shepherd

“These are the teachings of the voices of the Gospels and Apostles, these the doctrines of the holy Synods, and of the elect and Patristic tongues; these have been preserved untainted by Peter, the rock of the faith, the head of the Apostles; in this faith we live and reign… “ (Emperor Constantine IV writing to the Council, giving his acceptance of the decrees [Mansi 11.698]).

“The letter of Pope Agatho, who is with the Saints, to our Majesty having been presented by his envoys…we ordered it to be read in the hearing of all, and we beheld in it as a mirror the image of sound and unsullied faith. We compared with the voice of the Gospels and Apostles, and set beside it the decisions of the holy ecumenical Synods, and compared the quotations it contained with the precepts of the Fathers, and finding nothing out of harmony, we perceived in it all the words of the true confession unaltered. And with the eyes of our understanding we saw it as it were the very ruler of the Apostolic choir, the chief Peter himself, declaring the mystery of the whole dispensation, and addressing Christ by this letter: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God…. We received it willingly and sincerely, and embraced it, as though it were Peter himself, with the arms of our soul. Macarius alone, who was prelate of Antioch, with those whom he dragged after him, divided from us, and drew back from the yoke of Christ, and leapt out of the sacerdotal circle [i.e. unity]; for he refused altogether to agree to the all -holy writings of Agatho, as though he were even raging against the Head Peter himself…

“And since he so hardened his heart and made his neck a cord of iron, and his forehead of brass, and his ears heavy that they should not hear, and set his heart unfaithful that is should not obey the law, for the law goeth forth from Zion , the teaching of the Apostolic height, for this cause the holy ecumenical Synod stripped him, Macarius, and his fellow heretics, of the sacerdotal office. In a written petition all of one accord begged our serenity to send them [i.e. the heretics] to your blessedness [for judgement]. This we have done…committing to your fatherly judgment all that concerns them….Glory be to God, who does wondrous things, who has kept safe the faith among you unharmed. For how should He not do so in that rock on which He founded His church, and prophesied that the gates of hell , all the ambushes of heretics, should not prevail against it? From it, as from the vault of heaven, the word of the true confession flashed forth, and enlightened the souls of the lovers of Christ, and brought warmth to frozen orthodoxy. This we have completed happily by God’s help, and have brought all the sheep of Christ into one fold, no longer deceived by false shepherds and the prey of wolves, but pastured by One good Shepherd, with whom you have been appointed to join in pasturing them, and to lay your life down for the sheep…” (Emperor Constantine IV to Pope St. Leo II, Mansi 11.713)

“You yourself were present with your ecumenical chief Pastor [Agatho], speaking with him in spirit and in writing. For we received, besides the letter from his blessedness [Agatho], also one from your sanctity. It was produced, it was read, and it detailed for us the word of truth and painted the likeness of orthodoxy…..We did not neglect to compare them with care. And therefore, in harmony of mind and tongue we believed with the one and confessed with the other, and we admired the writing of Agatho as the voice of divine Peter, for nobody disagreed, save one [Macarius]” (Emperor Constantine IV, letter to a Roman synod).

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