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Quinisext Council

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Council in Trullo (Quinisext Council)
Date 692
Accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy
Previous council Third Council of Constantinople
Next council Second Council of Nicaea
Convoked by Emperor Justinian II
Presided by Justinian II
Attendance 215 (all Eastern)
Topics of discussion discipline
Documents and statements basis for Orthodox Canon law
Chronological list of Ecumenical councils


The Quinisext Council was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is often known as the Council in Trullo, because it was held in the same domed hall where the Sixth Ecumenical Council had met. Both the Fifth and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils had omitted to draw up disciplinary canons, and as this council was intended to complete both in this respect, it took the name of Quinisext (Latin:Concilium Quinisextum, Koine Greek:Penthekte Synodos), i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council. It was attended by 215 bishops, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Illyria, however, belonged to the Roman patriarchate and called himself papal legate, though no evidence is extant of his right to use that title.

Many of the canons were reiterations of previously passed canons. Several of the regulations passed were attempts at eliminating certain festivals and practices, in many cases because they were ascribed a pagan origin. [1] As a result, the proceedings of the Council give some insight to historians regarding the prevalence and nature of pre-Christian religious practices in the Eastern empire.[1]

In addition to recording earlier decisions and attempting to curb pagan practices, many of the new regulations were aimed at settling differences between the Eastern and Western church regarding ritual observance and clerical discipline.[1] Being held under Byzantine auspices, with an exclusively Eastern clergy, these regulations overwhelmingly regarded the customs of the Church of Constantinople as the orthodox practice.[1] Many seemingly trivial differences in Western observance were condemned; the practice of celebrating Masses on weekdays in Lent (rather than having Pre-Sanctified Liturgies); of fasting on Saturdays throughout the year; of omitting the "Alleluia" in Lent; of depicting Christ as a lamb. Larger disputes were revealed regarding Eastern and Western attitudes toward celibacy for priests and deacons, with the Council affirming the right of priests to marry and prescribing excommunication for anyone who attempted to separate a clergyman from his wife, or for any cleric who abandoned his wife.

Pope Sergius I protested the council, and refused to sign the canons. At Sergius's refusal, Justinian dispatched a military delegation to Rome to induce Sergius to sign; the imperial army at Ravenna, however, composed mainly of native Italians, rallied to support the Roman Pontiff, marching on Rome. Meanwhile, in Visigothic Spain, the council was ratified by the Eighteenth Council of Toledo at the urging of the king, Wittiza, who was vilified by later chroniclers for his decision.[2] Fruela I of Asturias reversed the decision of Toledo sometime during his reign (757–768).[2]

The Eastern Orthodox churches hold this council be part of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, adding its canons thereto. In the West, Bede calls it (De sexta mundi aetate) a "reprobate" synod, and Paul the Deacon an "erratic" one.[3] For the attitude of the Popes, in face of the various attempts to obtain their approval of these canons see Hefele.[4] However, Pope Hadrian I did write favourably of the canons of this council.[5]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ostrogorsky, George; Hussey, Joan (trans.) (1957), History of the Byzantine state, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, p. 122-23, ISBN 0813505992 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Collins, 19.
  3. Paul the Deacon, Hist. Lang., VI, p. 11.
  4. "Conciliengesch." III, 345-48.
  5. Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (1900). "Introductory Note: Council in Trullo". Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. XIV. Charles Scribner's Sons. http://web.archive.org/web/20060217002240/www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-14/Npnf2-14-134.htm#TopOfPage. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 

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