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NPNF2-14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils
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Historical Introduction.

The Laodicea at which the Synod met is Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana, also called Laodicea ad Lycum, and to be carefully distinguished from the Laodicea in Syria.  This much is certain, but as to the exact date of the Synod there is much discussion.  Peter de Marca fixed it at the year 365, but Pagi in his Critica on Baronius’s Annals172172    Pagi:  Crit. in Annal. Baron., a.d. 314, n. xxv.  Baronius’s view that this synod was held before that of Nice because the book of Judith is not mentioned among the books of the O.T., and because its canons are sometimes identical with those of Nice, is universally rejected. seems to have overthrown the arguments upon which de Marca rested, and agrees with Gothofred in placing it circa 363.  At first sight it would seem that the Seventh Canon gave a clue which would settle the date, inasmuch as the Photinians are mentioned, and Bishop Photinus began to be prominent in the middle of the fourth century and was anathematized by the Eusebians in a synod at Antioch in 344, and by the orthodox at Milan in 345; and finally, after several other condemnations, he died in banishment in 366.  But it is not quite certain whether the word “Photinians” is not an interpolation.  Something with regard to the date may perhaps be drawn from the word Πακατιανῆς as descriptive of Phrygia, for it is probable that this division was not yet made at the time of the Sardican Council in 343.  Hefele concludes that “Under such circumstances, it is best, with Remi Ceillier, Tillemont, and others, to place the meeting of the synod of Laodicea generally somewhere between the years 343 and 381, i.e., between the Sardican and the Second Ecumenical Council—and to give up the attempt to discover a more exact date.”173173    Hefele:  Hist. of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 298.

But since the traditional position of the canons of this Council is after those of Antioch and immediately before those of First Constantinople, I have followed this order.  Such is their position in “very many old collections of the Councils which have had their origin since the sixth or even in the fifth century,” says Hefele.  It is true that Matthew Blastares places these canons after those of Sardica, but the Quinisext Synod in its Second Canon and Pope Leo IV., according to the Corpus Juris Canonici,174174    Gratian:  Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xx., c. 1.  It is from Leo’s letter to the British Bishops. give them the position which they hold in this volume.


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