Constantinople, Second Council of

Constantinople, Second Council of,

553, regarded generally as the fifth ecumenical council. It was convened by Byzantine Emperor Justinian IJustinian I
, 483–565, Byzantine emperor (527–65), nephew and successor of Justin I. He was responsible for much imperial policy during his uncle's reign. Soon after becoming emperor, Justinian instituted major administrative changes and tried to increase state
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 to settle the dispute known as the Three Chapters. In an attempt to reconcile moderate Monophysite parties to orthodoxy, Justinian had issued (544) a declaration of faith. The last three chapters anathematized the writings of Theodore of MopsuestiaTheodore of Mopsuestia
, c.350–428, Syrian Christian theologian, bishop of Mopsuestia (from 392). Together with his lifelong friend, St. John Chrysostom, he studied at the school of Antioch, adopted its exegetical methods, and became a diligent writer and preacher.
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, TheodoretTheodoret
, c.393–c.458, Syrian churchman and theologian. He was a monk of Apamaea and a lifelong friend of Nestorius. In 423 he went unwillingly to be bishop of Cyrus, Syria, where he furthered the work of the church in a difficult see.
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 of Cyrus, and Ibas of Edessa for NestorianismNestorianism,
Christian heresy that held Jesus to be two distinct persons, closely and inseparably united. In 428, Emperor Theodosius II named an abbot of Antioch, Nestorius (d. 451?), as patriarch of Constantinople.
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. While the charge was true of their writings to a certain extent, the Council of Chalcedon had cleared those men of any personal heresy. Justinian's edict had the effect of slighting the council and encouraging MonophysitismMonophysitism
[Gr.,=belief in a single nature], a heresy of the 5th and 6th cent., which grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. It was anticipated by Apollinarianism and was continuous with the principles of Eutyches, whose doctrine had been rejected in 451 at Chalcedon
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; it was deeply resented in the West. Pope VigiliusVigilius
, pope (537–55), a Roman; successor of St. Silverius. Empress Theodora exiled Silverius and made Vigilius pope in the expectation that he would compromise with the Monophysites. After Silverius' death Vigilius' pontificate was legalized.
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, resisting at first, was constrained to support the edict. Under pressure from the Western bishops he then reversed himself. In retaliation, Justinian called a council at Constantinople; it was attended by only six Western bishops, boycotted by Vigilius, and dominated by Justinian and the Eastern bishops. The council approved the imperial edict and seems to have censured Vigilius. The pope was forced to ratify the council's work the following year. The West, in general, was slow in recognizing it as an ecumenical council, though ultimately it was accepted, chiefly because of the orthodoxy of its pronouncements.
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