Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Dana Iuliana Viezure - The Fate of Emperor Zeno's Henoticon: Christological Authority After the Healing of the Acacian Schism (484-518)

Justin I’s accession to the imperial throne in 518 marked the end of a schism between East and West that lasted over 30 years. During this period of schism the West continued to uphold the Council of Chalcedon strictly, but the East adopted different standards for Christological correctness. These standards were epitomized in an official document issued in 482, the Henoticon. This text modified the Christological canon in significant ways: it declared the Nicene Creed to be the only valid profession of faith, it included barely veiled criticisms of Pope Leo’s Tome to Flavian and of the Council of Chalcedon, and it endorsed Cyril of Alexandria’s controversial Twelve Anathemas.
The healing of the Acacian schism in 518 took place on Roman terms. Recognition of the Pope as unique authority in matters of doctrine and acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon in the East were among the key requirements for reconciliation.   
But the restoration of Chalcedon to the canon of orthodoxy was not understood uniformly in Constantinople. To some it meant an unconditional return to the period before the publication of the Henoticon and a complete erasure of the independent Eastern developments of 484-518. To others, however, the period of the Acacian schism was one in which Christological orthodoxy had been meaningfully redefined in Constantinople along the lines of the Henoticon, and Chalcedon could be interpreted satisfactorily only within this framework. Among the latter was a group of monks from the province of Scythia Minor, chief players in the so-called Theopaschite controversy (519-521).
This paper argues that the Henoticon, even though abandoned as an official document on Christology, influenced the writings of the Scythian monks. Far from disappearing after the first few troubled years following the healing of the schism, the same influence can be discerned in later texts, most remarkably in Justinianic edicts from the 530s.
Further, the paper explores whether the influence of the Henoticon on the Scythian texts was deliberate and polemical, or whether key elements of the Henoticon, e.g., the canonicity of Cyril’s Twelve Anathemas and the rejection of a problematic sentence from Pope Leo’s Tome, had simply become de rigueur in the Constantinopolitan baggage of Christological statements by 518.

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