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All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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Again, the very remoteness of Rome from the imperial court was favorable to the development of a hierarchy independent of all political influence and intrigue; while the bishop of Constantinople had to purchase the political advantages of the residence at the cost of ecclesiastical freedom.

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POPE Felix II, or, according to another reckoning, III, (483-492), continued the war of his predecessor against the Monophysitism of the East, rejected the Henoticon of the emperor Zeno, as an unwarrantable intrusion of a laymen in matters of faith, and ventured even the excommunication of the bishop Acacius of Constantinople. Acacius replied with a counter anathema, with the support of the other Eastern patriarchs; and the schism between the two churches lasted over thirty years, to the pontificate of Hormisdas. 

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We concluded our preceding article with the observation that the bishop of Rome began to occupy the leading position in the whole church, and that this was not difficult to understand. Various circumstances united to bring this to pass. It is now our purpose to trace this amazing phenomenon, the rise and development of the papacy, as set forth by Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian church. However, before we begin with this a few general observations may be in order which will throw considerable light upon this amazing development. 

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But thus, at the same time, was roused the jealousy of the bishop of Rome, to whom a rival in Constantinople with equal prerogatives, was far more dangerous than a rival in Alexandria or Antioch. Especially offensive must it have been to him, that the council of Chalcedon said not a word of the primacy of Peter and based the power of the Roman bishop, like that of the Constantinopolitan, on political grounds; which was indeed not erroneous, yet only halt of the truth, and in that respect unfair. 

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To follow now the ecclesiastical legislation respecting this patriarchal oligarchy in chronological order (having discussed the rise of the organization of the hierarchy and the rise of the patriarchs, Philip Schaff now proceeds to discuss the synodical legislation on the patriarchal power and jurisdiction—H.V.): 

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We were discussing in our previous article the idea of the sacrament as entertained by the early Church Fathers during the first three centuries of the Church of God in the new dispensation, and we were about to quote from Cyprian to show that this Church Father used the term “sacrament,” with respect to prayer and the Trinity.

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The principal sees of the East were directly founded by the apostles—with the exception .of Constantinople—and had even clearer title to apostolic succession and inheritance than Rome. The Greek church took the lead in theology down to the sixth or seventh century, and the Latin gratefully learned for her. All the ecumenical Councils were held on the soil of the Byzantine empire in or near Constantinople (the church councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon—H.V.), and carried on in the Greek language.

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Lau (we concluded our last article by quoting from a few men who state their opinion of Gregory the Great, and we wish to quote from a few more—H.V.) says (in his excellent monograph: “The spiritual qualities of Gregory’s character are strikingly apparent in his actions. With a clear, practical understanding, he combined a kind and mild heart; but he was never weak.

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