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In: Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum
In: Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum
Author: Heinz Ohme

Abstract

The protest of a single monk, the Jerusalem Abbot Sophronios against the union agreed in 633 between Patriarch Kyros of Alexandria and the opponents of the Council of Chalcedon is usually regarded as the beginning of the so-called monenergist-monothelete controversy. This protest against the formulation that, albeit in in two natures, it is one and the same Christ and Son who effects the divine and the human through one divine-human energy led to the so-called Ekthesis, a law composed by Patriarch Sergios of Constantinople and signed by the emperor Herakleios. With this law a supposedly heretical majority, holding the reins of power, wished by means of a prohibition to silence the orthodox minority and their confession of two modes of action and two wills in Christ. In contrast, this paper makes clear that, with the consent of this very minority – including Sophronios –, already in 633 a synodically secured agreement was made to refrain in future from numerical statements about action in Christ. Because Sophronios, since 634 Patriarch of Jerusalem, challenged this agreement, there ensued in 636 a synod on Cyprus with almost ecumenical representation, which was later consigned to silence and has been known only since 1973. Even though the majority at this council rejected the position of Sophronios and Maximos the Confessor on action in Christ, there was a general agreement to appeal to the emperor as arbitrator, who then promulgated the Ekthesis, which was approved by all the churches represented at the Synod, including those of Pope Honorius and Sophronios! An in-depth analysis will show how these facts were reinterpreted or concealed by Maximos in the 640s; for they told against the campaign he initiated in 641 for the anathematization of the Ekthesis and of the patriarchs Sergios and Kyros, which was then brought to accomplishment at the Lateran Synod of 649.

In: Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum