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Panayiotis Christou

Testimonia neglected by the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum / Internationale Zeitschrift für Konziliengeschichtsforschung

Chapter A

John Damascence and the Vatopedi Florilegium used three testimonies from Dionysios Areopagites,(6) which, though of a theoretical nature, are of great value, and would be even more so if they really dated from the Apostolic age. Such testimonies are also found in the Patriarch Nicephoros, Theodore Studites, and Cod. Paris. 1115. Yet the second Council of Nicaea did not use any of the sayings of Dionysios. What is the most likely reason for this? It is known that the monophysite representatives presented the writings of Dionysios for the first time at the conference of Constantinople in 533, and cited then as evidence in support of their positions; Hypatios, the Bishop of Ephesos, however, questioned their authenticity. Although some eminent theologians such as John Scholasticos and Maximos the Confessor defended and commented the writings, they were for some centuries yet viewed with reservation in the East. Not only did these two men interpret Dionysios by their comments, but they also clarified his thoughts, which is an indication that there was something doubtful in his writings. The main bone of contention was, of course, the identity of the author. The silence οf Photios οn this subject is indicative of this doubtfulness. It may be, then, that this lack of certainty, together with the suspicion of a Neoplatonic background, were the reasons why this great Council could not use these writings as evidence. Other, minor councils would later do so, however.


6. a) Letter 9, PG 3, 1108 C, in John οf Damascos, Περί εικόνων Ι, 28, and Cod. Vatop. 594, ch. 40, 1. b) Οn diνine names 1 PG 3, 592 Β, in John of Damascos, Περί εικόνων Ι, 30, Cod. Vatop. 594, ch. 40, 2. c) Οn ecclesiastical hίerarchy 1, PG 3, 373 ΑΒ, in John of Damascos, Περί εικόνων Ι ,32, Cod. Vatop. 594, ch. 40, 3.

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