hand to work out a theological position that adequately defended Nicaeno-Chalcedonian orthodoxy without succumbing to 'Nestorianism' or conceding too much to the radical Miaphysites. Imperial edicts were the vehicles for his theology, and he obliged the bishops to subscribe to them. In 544 /5 the emperor published a dogmatic treatise condemning the 'Three Chapters'.45 This treatise circulated among the Eastern churches and in Africa, and was presented to the papal ambassador. The four Eastern patriarchs subscribed, despite strong misgivings. Rome's ambassador in Constantinople protested and suspended communion with Menas. Justinian ordered Vigilius to Constantinople. After being arrested by Roman soldiers, the pope departed Rome on an imperial ship on 22 November 545, just before the Ostrogoths started a second (and ultimately successful) siege of the city.

Vigilius had been informed about widespread opposition in Rome, Africa, Sardinia, Greece and Illyria to Justinian's condemnation of the 'Three Chapters'. Accordingly, the negotiations that began after his arrival in Constantinople on 25 January 547 were unsuccessful. The pope and the patriarch excommunicated each other; but six months later they were reconciled and the pope secretly communicated to the emperor his willingness to condemn the 'Three Chapters', which may indicate that his earlier resistance to the emperor's religious policy was ambivalent at best.46 He convened a meeting of seventy bishops, chiefly Westerners, to sound out their opinions, but quickly broke off the talks. Justinian's magister officiorum requested the bishops' opinions within a week. One of the bishops, the formidable African Facundus of Hermiane, hastily prepared his defence of the 'Three Chapters' from excerpts of a larger treatise.47 Facundus eventually returned to Byzacena (Africa), went into hiding and from there continued resisting Justinian for the next fifteen years. Meanwhile, Vigilius sent Menas a letter (the so-called Iudicatum, dated 11 April 548) that condemned the 'Three Chapters' while insisting on the validity of Chalcedon.48

The Iudicatum precipitated open schism in the West. Did Vigilius concede too much to Chalcedon's enemies? The primate of Dacia, Benenatus, was deposed for supporting it; an African synod formally excommunicated the pope; the bishop of Arles and papal vicar in Gaul, Aurelian, demanded an explanation. The emperor tried to suppress the resistance and summoned

45 The treatise is not extant, but the quotations are collected by E.Schwartz, Kirchenpolitik, 73-81. For the 'Three Chapters', 4.

47 Facundus, Defence of the Three Chapters, pref. (SC 471: 140-3).

48 For fragments of the Iudicatum, see ACO 4.1:11-12; Collectio Avellana 299-303 (CSEL 35:

0 0

Post a comment