Chalcedon 451

The emperor Marcian (regn. 540-7), with the support of his wife, Pulcheria, summoned a council in Nicaea in 451, but the council soon reconvened in Chalcedon, where it would be closer to Constantinople and the emperor. Leo I (sed. 440-61) opposed it because he considered his Tome to Flavian sufficient, believed recalcitrant bishops should repent and endorse it and thus avoid further bickering, and feared that more debate might further fracture the church. For him, the only business of the council should be bringing home exiled bishops. He was also greatly preoccupied by Attila the Hun ravaging the West. Yet Marcian's decision was made before he knew of Leo's misgivings. So Leo sent legates: the bishops Paschasinus, Lucentius and Julian, along with the priests Boniface and Basil. Paschasinus, Lucentius and Boniface eventually presided while Julian sat with the bishops.56

The Eastern Mediterranean bishops were the large majority, numbering between 500 and 600; entire Christian regions (such as Armenia and Ethiopia) were not represented.57 In the sixth session, the 'definition of faith' was agreed upon and was declared as in force in the presence of the emperor and his retainers. Leo's Tome against Eutyches was specifically noted in the definition. Creeds from both Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) were confessed; letters of Cyril and the repudiation of Nestorius were once again ratified. The addition of some phrases in their confession in particular (e.g., 'the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity') were seen as supporting the faith already expressed at Nicaea and Constantinople. Dioscorus of Alexandria, who was one of the planners for

56 Decrees of the ecumenical councils, ed. and trans. Tanner, i: 77-82.

57 See chapter 4, below.

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