decrees of the council by an imperial edict (CTh 16.1.3). The Roman bishop, however, withheld his assent. The first president, Gregory of Nazianzus, was an ardent Nicene, but resigned after he was found to be in breach of the Nicene canon against episcopal translation. He revenged himself by writing against the futility of councils,23 and it was seventy years before the church reclaimed the most enduring legacy of Constantinople - the addition to the Nicene Creed of clauses on the Spirit, and an assurance that Christ's reign would have no end. In the following year the Eastern bishops assembled again in Constantinople and confirmed their theological teaching in a letter to a Roman synod that had been convened by Pope Damasus at the same time.
Records of the Latin-speaking councils were preserved with more minuteness and tenacity. Africa was singularly rich in this as in other forms of literature, even if it did not succeed in holding a council every year as Aurelius, primate of Carthage, had urged at Hippo in 393. In fact the next session of which any acts survive was the Second Council of Carthage in 397, which confirmed the decrees of Hippo and established the African canon of the scriptures.24 Catholicity - more pragmatically, opposition to the Donatists - was the sieve that determined membership of the councils whose proceedings have come down to us; and catholic they were, to judge by the frequency with which they are commended in the Decree of Gratian, and the fact that its rulings were cited among the canons of the Byzantine Council in Trullo in 692.25 Yet the Donatists too held regular conventicles, which anathematised not only the Catholic party but the malcontents within their own communion. Both sides agreed in one thing, that the question should be tried within the province, and on 1 May 418 a Catholic session at Carthage put into words the longstanding principle that no appeals should be made outside of Africa.26 This maxim was put to the test as early as the council of 419, which was convened after Apiarius, a presbyter convicted of numerous felonies, appealed to Rome and Bishop Zosimus overruled the verdict of the province. When the Africans claimed their rights, he adduced a 'Nicene' canon that empowered the bishop
23 Gregory of Nazianzus, Carmen 2.1.7-9 (PG 37: 1024-9).
25 Munier, 'La tradition littéraire', 1 and C. Munier, 'Canones Conciliorum Africae', 3-10.
26 Council of Carthage (525), citing the council of 418 (CCSL 149: 227); cf. the citation from the council of 424: 'Ut nullus ad Romanam ecclesiam audeat appellare' (ibid.), on which see also C. Munier, 'Un canon inédit'.
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