Online Encyclopedia

COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 803 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON, the fourth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, was held in 451, its occasion being the Eutychian heresy and the notorious " Robber Synod " (see EUTYCHES and EPHESUS, COUNCIL oF), which called forth vigorous protests both in the East and in the West, and a loud demand for a new general council, a demand that was ignored by the Eutychian Theodosius II., but speedily granted by his successor, Marcian, a " Flavianist." In response to the imperial summons, five to six hundred bishops, all Eastern, except the Roman legates and two Africans, assembled in Chalcedon on the 8th of October 451. The bishop of Rome claimed for his legates the right to preside, and insisted that any act that failed to receive their approval would be invalid. The first session was tumultuous; party feeling ran high, and scurrilous and vulgar epithets were bandied to and fro. The acts of the Robber Synod were examined; fraud, violence and coercion were charged against it; its entire proceedings were annulled, and, at the third session, its leader, Dioscurus, was deposed and degraded. The emperor requested a declaration of the true faith; but the sentiment of the council was opposed to a new symbol. It contented itself with reaffirming the Nicene and Constantinopolitan creeds and the Ephesine formula of 431, and accepting, only after examination, the Christological statement contained in the Epistola Dogmatica of Leo I. (q.v.) to Flavianus. Thus the council rejected both Nestorianism and Eutychianism, and stood upon the doctrine that Christ had two natures, each perfect in itself and each distinct from the other, yet perfectly united in one person, who was at once both God and man. With this statement, which was formally subscribed in the presence of the emperor, the development of the Christological doctrine was completed, but not in a manner to obviate further controversy (see MONOPHYSITES and MONOTHELITES). The remaining sessions, vii.–xvi., were occupied with matters of discipline, complaints, claims, controversies and the like. Canons were adopted, thirty according to the generally received tradition, although the most ancient texts contain but twenty-eight, and, as Hefele points out, the so-called twenty-ninth and thirtieth are properly not canons, but repetitions of proposals made in a previous session. The most important enactments of the council of Chalcedon were the following: (I) the approval of the canons of the first three ecumenical councils and of the synods of Ancyra, Neo-Caesarea, Changra, Antioch and Laodicea; (2) forbidding trade, secular pursuits and war to the clergy, bishops not even being allowed to administer the property of their dioceses; (3) for-bidding monks and nuns to marry or to return to the world; likewise forbidding the establishment of a monastery in any diocese without the consent of the bishop, or the disestablishment of a monastery once consecrated; (4) punishing with deposition an ordination or clerical appointment made for money; forbidding " absolute ordination " (i.e. without assignment to a particular charge), the translation of derics except for good cause, the enrolment of a cleric in two churches at once, and the performance of sacerdotal functions outside of one's diocese without letters' of commendation from one's bishop; (5) confirming the jurisdiction of bishops over all clerics, regular and secular alike, and punishing with deposition any conspiracy against episcopal authority; (6) establishing a gradation of ecclesiastical tribunals, viz. bishop, provincial synod, exarch of the diocese, patriarch of Constantinople (obviously the council could not here have been legislating for the entire church); forbidding clerics to be running to Constantinople with complaints, without the consent of their respective bishops; (7) confirming the possession of rural parishes to those who had actually administered them for thirty years, providing for the adjudication of conflicting claims, and guaranteeing the integrity of metropolitan provinces; (8) confirming the third canon of the second ecumenical council, which accorded to Constantinople equal privileges (to•a 7rpev/3eia) with Rome, and the second rank among the patriarchates, and, in addition, granting to Constantinople patriarchal jurisdiction over Pontus, Asia and Thrace. The Roman legates, who were absent (designedly ?) when this famous twenty-eighth canon was adopted, protested against it, but in vain, the imperial commissioners deciding in favour of its regularity and validity. Leo I., although he recognized the council as ecumenical and confirmed its doctrinal decrees, rejected canon xxviii. on the ground that it contravened the sixth canon of Nicaea and infringed the rights of Alexandria and Antioch. In what proportion zeal for the ancient canons and the rights of others, and jealous fear of encroachment upon his own jurisdiction, were mixed in the motives of Leo, it would be interestingand " cerachates." By modern mineralogists the name chalcedony is restricted to those kinds of silica which occur not in distinct crystals like ordinary quartz, but in concretionary, mammillated or stalactitic forms, which break with a fine splintery fracture, and display a delicate fibrous structure. Chalcedony maybe regarded as a micro-crystalline form of quartz. It is rather softer and less dense than crystallized quartz, its hardness being about 6.5 and its specific gravity 2.6, the difference being probably due to the presence of a small amount of opaline silica between the fibres. Chalcedony is a translucent substance of rather waxy lustre, presenting great variety of colours, though usually white, grey, yellow or brown. A rare blue chalcedony is some-times polished under the name of "sapphirine "—a term applied also to a distinct mineral (an aluminium-magnesium silicate) from Greenland. Chalcedony occurs as a secondary mineral in volcanic rocks, representing usually the silica set free by the decomposition of various silicates, and deposited in cracks, forming veins, or in vesicular hollows, forming amygdales. Its occurrence gives the name to Chalcedony Park, Arizona. It is found in the basalts of N. Ireland, the Faroe Isles and Iceland: it is common in the traps of the Deccan in India, and in volcanic rocks in Uruguay and Brazil. Certain flat oval nodules from a decomposed lava (augite-andesite) in Uruguay present a cavity lined with quartz crystals and enclosing liquid (a weak saline solution), with a movable air-bubble, whence they are called " enhydros " or water-stones. Very fine examples of stalactitic chalcedony, in whimsical forms, have been yielded by some of the Cornish copper-mines. The surface of chalcedony is occasionally coated with a delicate bluish bloom. A chalcedonic deposit in the form of concentric rings, on fossils and fragments of limestone in S. Devon, is known as " orbicular silica " or " beekite," having been named after Dr Henry Beeke, dean of Bristol, who first directed attention to such deposits. Certain pseudomorphs of chalcedony after datolite, from Haytor in Devonshire, have received the name of " haytorite." Optical examination of many chalcedonic minerals by French mineralogists has shown that they are aggregates of various fibrous crystalline bodies differing from each other in certain optical characters, whence they are distinguished as separate minerals under such names as calcedonite,pseudocalcedonite,quartzine, lutecite and lussatite. Many coloured and variegated chalcedonies are cut and polished as ornamental stones, and are described under special headings. Chalcedony has been in all ages the commonest of the stones used by the gem-engraver. See AGATE, BLOODSTONE, CARNELIAN, CHRYSOPRASE, HELIO> TROPE, MOCHA STONE, ONYX. SARD and SARDONYX. (F. W. EM to know. The canon was universally received in the East, and was expressly confirmed by the Quinisext Council, 692 (see CONSTANTINOPLE, COUNCILS OF). The emperor Marcian approved the doctrinal decrees of the council and enjoined silence in regard to theological questions. Eutyches and Dioscurus and their followers were deposed and banished. But harmony was not thus to be restored; hardly had the council dissolved when the church was plunged into the Monophysite controversy. See Mansi vi. pp. 529-1102, vii. pp. 1-868; Hardouin ii. pp. 1-772; Hefele (2nd ed.) ii. pp. 394-578 (English translation, iii. pp. 268-464); also extended bibliographies in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopddie, 3rd ed., s.v. " Eutyches " (by Loofs) and s.v. " Nestorianer (by Kessler). (T. F. C.)
End of Article: COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON
[back]
CHALCEDON
[next]
CHALCEDONY, or CALCEDONY (sometimes called by old w...

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.