Posted by: ken98 | September 20, 2011

Henotikons, Trisagions, Justinians – Being A Christian Gets More and More Dangerous

Day 739 – Ken here (T)(9-20-2011)
(DEF II, v.4, Ch.47, pp.960-970)(pages read: 2020)

Christians Persecuting Christians

An illustration of Christian martyrdom - what you don't realize is this is how Christians reacted to other Christians disagreeing with them - they killed them in the Roman Empire, gangs of Christians fought and killed over the wording of hymns in the Late 400's - as the Emperor Julian (the Apostate, raised an Arian) said - No one persecutes Christians like Christians

Still grouchy, still getting grouchier.

I have no patience with the long Christian chapters in Gibbons – this is the 3rd one. It really just does make me irritable and difficult to be around. And you get to read the result below. Lucky you.

We continue with the end of the Council of Chalcedon, resulting in a century of religious rioting and murder in the East, the compromise of the Zeno’s Henotikon (which satisfied no one), the Crisis of the Trisagion which culminated in the Religious Wars of the emperor Anastasius, which he lost. We then look at Justinian and his many interventions in the church to enforce universal belief including the literal eradication of Christian sects (ex. Montanists, Arians), eradication of Pagans, and eradication even of Jewish sects (the Samaritans).

Tomorrow we hit even more – Justinian’s own tussle with the Three Chapters, and Justinian’s own solution (like Zeno’s) to finding a North/South compromise theological position that Constantinople, Egypt, and Rome could embrace, also we look at Heraclius’s Monothelitism – One-Will, which only opened up a whole new bag of worms, and just added yet another shade of complexity to everyone’s religious beliefs.

Basically for the 400’s, 500,’s, 600’s, 700’s, 800’s, 900’s you JUST DID WHAT THE EMPEROR DID, and possibly your neighbors lynched you and burnt you out – the alternative was the governor lynching you (well, a figurative “lynching”) and burning/enslaving/exiling/taking-all-your-money-and-family – that sort of thing. Not much of a choice huh? And you had to go to church every Sunday and WALK THIS MINEFIELD – you had no choice. NOT being a Christian was as almost as bad as being a heretic.

A fun time to live…

But on with Henotikons, Trisagions, and Justinians…

The Story
Council of Chalcedon – Triumph of Politics (451)
  • Dioscorus (Southerner, Monophysite) is deposed, NOT for his theology, but for his personal behavior
  • Chalcedon uses ambiguous phrases to make it acceptable all – Christ was formed OF or FROM two natures
  • The East is not fooled (that is the SOUTH)
  • Its interesting to note that the NICENE creed (the one everybody knows)(324) wasn’t made obligatory until this Council (451)

    Rioting in Palestine, Egypt for the NEXT THIRTY YEARS – DISCONTENT of the SOUTH (451-482)
  • Romans observe with satisfaction that BOTH THE NESTORIANS (North) and CYRIL-ITES (South) HATE CHALCEDON
  • Jerusalem is occupied by an army of monks – pillage, burn, murder, churches filled with blood
  • Proterius, b. of Alex (imp candidate-Dyphysite) is only allowed to take office by the protection of 2000 imperial troops

    Henotikon of Emperors Zeno and Anastasius (482)
  • Refuses to name if the nature of God is double or single or which came first
  • Anathematizes both Nestorius and Cyril
  • ALL BISHOPS IN THE EAST forced to sign by imperial troops
  • Doesn’t work

    Trisagion and Emperor Anastasius Religious Wars (508-518)
  • HOLY HOLY HOLY – the words in Greek are thought to be exactly what the angels are singing before the throne of God – exactly – this is an old hymn of the church
  • The passionate, WILD citizens of Antioch add: Who Was Crucified For Us – in the mid 400’s – which is seen as a monophysite addition
  • Of course this raises the question – which one of the trinity was crucified – OR ALL – ie dyphysite or monophysite
  • Emp Anastasius barely escapes from losing his throne and his life by allowing the addition
  • more rioting, govt changes, officials executed

    JUstinians addition to the pot
  • Just. persecutes minor heretical sects, pagans, jews samaritans
  • And comes up with his own formula to make peace, but ends up making things worse – see tomorrow – the Monothelites – ONE WILLED


    Last Word…



    Illustration of the Trisagion - angels singing before the throne of God - Holy Holy Holy - part of the songs used in certain Christian services - in the late 400's they added 4 more words to it and inadvertently re-opened the violent dispute between mono and dyphysite Christians - a dispute which continues to this day

    The Trisagion


    The Trisagion controversy has been raising eyebrows for 16 centuries, and is still going strong.

    And this from Wiki:

    Greek and Latin

    Interestingly, the Gallican Liturgy refers to it as being sung both in Greek and in Latin: Incipiente præsule ecclesia Ajus [that is, Agios] psallit, dicens latinum cum græco, as also previously in Greek alone, before the Prophetia. Benedict XIV thought that the Greek formula was joined with the Latin in allusion to the divine voice heard at Constantinople.

    But the explanation seems hardly necessary, in view of the retention of Kyrie eleison in the Roman Liturgy, as well as such Hebrew words as Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, Sabaoth. It is true that the Kyrie eleison is not joined to a Latin version; on the other hand, it is so simple and occurs so frequently, that its meaning could easily be learned and remembered – whereas the entire Trisagion might well receive a parallel version into Latin.

    Modifications in history
    Various additions or modifications made to the Trisagion at certain points in history have been the subject of considerable controversy. The phrase ‘who wast crucified for us’ was added to it by Peter the Fuller, in order to advance the teaching of the Theopaschites (who asserted that the divine nature suffered upon the cross). While susceptible of an orthodox interpretation, and for this reason used in some regions, this is still considered a controversial insertion.

    Traditionally, the Trisagion has always been understood as addressed to the Holy Trinity (cf. Isaiah 6:3). But in light of widespread adoption of the hymn with the above addition (‘who wast crucified for us’), Calandion, Bishop of Antioch, sought to allay the controversy surrounding it by prefixing the words ‘Christ, King’. This had the effect of making the hymn refer directly to the incarnate Word: Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, Christ, King, who was crucified for us, have mercy on us. Though perhaps well intended, this effort at emendation was ultimately rejected.

    Later Severus, Patriarch of Antioch (deemed heterodox by those who recognise the Council of Chalcedon), wrote to prove the correct ascription of the hymn to the Son of God, and made the use of the emended version standard in his diocese. It is this form Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, crucified for us, have mercy on us that is in use in the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
    In the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085) wrote to the Armenians, who still used the emended formula, instructing them to avoid all occasion for scandal by removing the additions, which Pope Gregory argues (incorrectly) that neither the Roman nor any Eastern Church (save the Armenians themselves) had adopted. The injunction appears to have been ignored. When, centuries later, Roman Catholic union with the Armenians was again discussed, a question was addressed (30 January 1635) to the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, as to whether the Armenian Catholics might still use the formula ‘who suffered for us’. The request was answered in the negative. Nevertheless, Armenian Catholic continue to use the traditional formula.

    Variations of the traditional formula and Trinitarian ascription are found also in the Armenian Orthodox Liturgy. In these the hymn is addressed to the Redeemer, and versions vary with the feast or office. Thus, the formula of Peter the Fuller (above) is used on all Fridays; on all Sundays: ‘risen from the dead’; on Holy Thursday: ‘betrayed for us’; on Holy Saturday: ‘buried for us’; on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos: ‘who came to the death of the Holy Mother and Virgin’, etc.
    The Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and their daughter Churches also use the formula ‘crucified for us’, with minor seasonal variations from the Armenian use.

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