Theodosius I., by the edict of Feb. 28, 380, [1] to which Gratian's name was prefixed with his own, had "willed that all the people subject to the empire should adhere to the religion which had been delivered by St. Peter to the Romans, and which was known to be followed by the bishop (pontificem [2]) Damasus and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of Apostolic


sanctity:" and he proceeded to describe this religion as a belief in the Triune God. Was this religion, then, thus imposed simply on the ground that it was held by the Roman bishop? The terms of the law refute that supposition. And when, in the next year, Theodosius assembled a Council at Constantinople, for the purpose, mainly, of abating religious dissensions in the East he did so without reference to Rome. Now Damasus, in the character of a Western primate or patriarch, would have no direct responsibility in such a matter; but on the modern Papal hypothesis he was very much more; and it is obvious that Eastern prelates who met and acted, in order to the establishment of orthodoxy, without his sanction or assent, could not have so much as heard of the doctrine that as bishop of Rome, he was the pastor and teacher of all Christians, the sovereign ruler of all prelates and their flocks. The Council, as is well known, passed four canons: we are now concerned only with the third, which assigned to the bishop of Constantinople "the precedence of honour (ta presbeia ths timhs) after the bishop of Rome, because Constantinople was New Rome," implying that the precedence enjoyed by the bishop of Rome was


due to the fact that his city was Old Rome, and so, to a great extent, though not wholly, it was. It is attempted to discredit this enactment as not strictly a canon at all, but an arrangement agreed upon by the bishops who remained at Constantinople after the departure of the Egyptians, who would never have assented to the deposition of the see of Alexandria from ancient rights as next in rank to that of Rome. But, as Hefele says, resentment at the recent Alexandrian interference in favour of the wretched impostor Maximus might well have caused the adoption of this canon by the majority of the prelates; and another objection, based on the authority of the "Prisca Versio," is also disposed of by the same writer. [3] Socrates himself is boldly claimed in support of this very intelligible Roman contention: because he emphasises this oros (as he significantly calls it) by introducing it before the "confirmation" of the Nicene creed, and the prohibition of extra-diocesan intervention, therefore, it seems, he assists the conclusion that "it was slipped in amongst the canons" without due warrant! And when we are told that "certain writers," who "speak of


the third canon as though it possessed the authority of the Church, need to be confronted with St. Leo's determined accuracy in calling it only the decree of 'certain' bishops," [4] we "need" only answer that Leo (as will presently be seen) was much more likely to be determinedly inaccurate, when "confronted" by facts which crossed his own theory and programme. In the next year, 382, another Council met at Constantinople, and a letter was addressed to Damasus, Ambrose, and other Western bIshops or "fellow~ministers," [5] who had invited the Easterns to meet them in Council at Rome. An attempt has been made to extract some testimony to Papalism from the suave language of this document, as if the words, "You invited us as your own members," suggested that the writers looked to Rome as their "head;" [6] as if the expression of a wish to "be at rest" among the Latins implied that Rome was their acknowledged "mother,"


whereas that title is expressly assigned to Jerusalem; as if, by accepting a "tome" or doctrinal formulary which they describe as proceeding from a Council at Antioch, but which was in fact originally framed at Rome, and which they associate with the "tome" of "the last year's Council," [7] they had implicitly submitted themselves to a Papal magisterium, whereas they describe both tomes as deserving acceptance on account of their intrinsic orthodoxy: as it when they hoped that the Westerns would be "well pleased with the arrangements which they had made, as having been lawfully and canonically settled among them," [8] they were in fact requesting a Papal confirmation of their action, whereas they expressly describe their own proceedings as definitive, and request the Westerns' acquiescence on the ground of "spiritual love, and the fear of the Lord controlling human prepossessions."


[1] "Cunctos populos:" Cod. Theod. xvi. 1,2.

[2] Mr. Rivington ventures to claim this phrase as making Damasus more than a "bishop," as if he were "the pontiff of the Christian religion" (p.245).

[3] Hefele, ii. 352, 5. 98.

[4] Rivington, p. 258. Cf. Leo, Ep. 106.5.

[5] Theod. v. 9. Besides Damasus and Ambrose, five others are addressed by name. The address runs, "To the most honoured lords, and most religious brethren and fellow-ministers ... and the other bishops assembled at Rome."

[6] Rivington, p. 270. In the text, "It might perhaps be freely argued;" in the note, "The context suggests the above meaning."

[7] This document is referred to in the so-called fifth canon of Constantinople (belonging, as Mr. Rivington rightly says, to the council of 382) as "the tome of the Westerns." It is observable that this council in the letter before us ignores its Roman origin.

[8] Mr. Rivington abbreviates thus, "They express a hope that Damasus and the West will 'congratulate' them on what they had done - a courteous ecclesiastical formula to request confirmation" (p. 276). No, their object is "unanimity."