by father John S. Romanides
I. The cure of the sickness of religion and the Nine Roman Ecumenical Councils and the General Church Councils since 1453.
1. Religion is a neurobiological sickness with a specific cure which has been handed down by the prophets and apostles of the Old and New Testaments and preserved by the Fathers of Church whose tradition of cure was defended by the Nine Roman Ecumenical Councils. These Councils were convened by the Roman Emperor, beginning with Constantine the Great, in coordination with the Roman Patriarchates of Elder Rome, New Rome added by 451, Alexandria, Antioch and finally Jerusalem also by 451. These Councils are (1) Nicea 325, (2) Constantinople 381, (3) Ephesus 431, (4) Chalcedon 451, (5) Constantinople 553, (6) Constantinople 680, (7) Nicea 786/7, (8) Constantinople 879 and (9) Constantinople 1341. We have here Eight Ecumenical Councils which were promulgated as Roman Law by the signature of the Emperor after their minutes had been signed by the Five Roman Patriarchates and their Metropolitans. and bishops. Then we have the Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1341, whose minutes were signed by only Four Roman Patriarchates and countersigned by the Roman Emperor. Gone was now the Patriarchate of Elder Rome which had been forcefully captured by the Franks, Lombards, Germans and with the help of the Normans. This struggle began in intensity in 983 and was consummated in 1009-1046. After 1045 the Popes of Rome, except for Benedict X (1058-9), were no longer Romans, but members of the Franco-Latin nobility who enslaved the Roman population. At the time of the Revolution of 1789 the Gallo-Roman slave population of France was 85 % of the total.
2. The leadership of the Roman Empire had come to realize that religion is a sickness whose cure was the heart and core of the Christian tradition they had been persecuting. These astute Roman leaders changed their policy having realized that this cure should be accepted by as many Roman citizens as possible. Led by Constantine the Great, Roman leaders adopted this cure in exactly the same way that today’s governments adopt modern medicine in order to protect their citizens from quack doctors. But in this case what was probably as important as the cure was the possibility of enriching society with citizens who were replacing the morbid quest for happiness with the selfless love of glorification (theosis) dedicated to the common good.
3. The current idea among many Orthodox that an Ecumenical Council becomes finally official when it is recognized by a subsequent Ecumenical Council has no basis in Roman Law. Each such Council became Roman law the moment when its minutes were signed on the spot by the participating Patriarchal and Metropolitan Synods and countersigned by the Emperor himself. Heretics and their heresies were condemned on the spot and not at a subsequent Ecumenical Council. Their Creeds and Horoi became Roman law on the spot. The Creed of 381 became the Orthodox Creed on the spot in 381and not in 431 which simply repeated the Creed of 381 as did each subsequent Ecumenical Council.
4. The Emperor convened these Ecumenical Councils in conjunction with the Five Roman Patriarchates of a) Elder Rome, b) Constantinople New Rome, c) Alexandria, d) Antioch to which e) Jerusalem was added in 451. But between 1009 and 1046 the Franco-Germans created a serious crisis in this Roman tradition when they captured and took over the Patriarchate of Elder Rome during a struggle which began in 983 and was consummated in 1009. The Patriarchate of Constantinople New Rome was obliged to take the place of Elder Rome in the order of “Seniority of Honor” which she held legally anyway since 451 “equally with and after Rome,” having become New Rome in 330.
5. There are no primacies nor primates according to Roman Orthodox Canon Law, but only bishops with “Seniority of Honor” since all bishops are doctrinally equal. The Franco-Latin and Protestant translations of “Seniority of honor” by “primacy of honor” is theirs, not ours.
II. Charlemagne condemned the Roman Empire as heretical and Greek in 794 and 809.
His so-called Greek Empire was made over into a Byzantine Empire by the British, French and Russian Empires as part of their plans for Balkanization of the European part of the Ottoman Empire still being called ‘The Land of the Romans’ i.e. Roumeli.
6. Charlemagne condemned the Romans as heretics on the question of Icons and as “Greeks” (the latter meaning pagan at the time) at his Council of Frankfurt in 794, indeed in the presence of the legates of Pope Hadrian the staunch supporter of the Seventh Ecumenical Council on Icons. Charlemagne repeated his condemnation of the Romans, now being called “Greeks,” and still meaning pagan since 794, at his Council of Aachen in 809. Believe or not, this illiterate barbarian had the gall to condemn the Romans as heretics for refusing to accept his Filioque which he had added to the Roman Creed which had been composed at the Roman Second Ecumenical Council by some of the greatest Fathers of the Church in 381. At the time Charlemagne’s so-called specialists knew not one Father whose writings influenced the First and Second Ecumenical Councils. They knew only the writings of Augustine who should have known at least one Father of either the First or Second Ecumenical Councils. However; the Filioque of Augustine, like that of Ambrose, is in any case Orthodox. But it cannot be used in the specific creed of 381 because there the term ‘procession’ means the hypostatic individuality of the Holy Spirit, whereas in the West Roman Orthodox Filioque ‘procession’ of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son means ‘communion’ of the uncreated common essence. In the Creed of 381 the term ‘procession’ means only ‘hypostatic individuality.’
III. Roman Orthodoxy after 1453
7. After the Roman Emperor and Empire fell in 1453 the Four Roman Patriarchates of Constantinople New Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem continued to convene Church Councils which continued the tradition of the Ecumenical Councils. The only reason why these Councils are not called “Ecumenical” is simply that this title means “Imperial” since the decisions of these Ecumenical Councils became part of Roman Law. In other words the decisions of the Roman Councils after 1453 are part of Church Law, but no longer part of Imperial law. There was no longer a Roman Empire and Roman Emperor to enact Roman law. So these Nine Ecumenical Councils are at the same time both Church Law and Roman Law. The Councils convened after 1453 are part of Church Law and with no less authority than Ecumenical Councils, except in the imagination of modern Orthodox misled by the Russian Orthodoxy of Peter the Great.
8. So there are now Orthodox who even called themselves the Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Most Orthodox are in a state of limbo about the Eighth and Ninth Ecumenical Councils. The Eighth Ecumenical Council of 879 simply condemned those who either “add to” or “subtract from” the Creed of 381 and also those who have not yet accepted the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council about Icons. The Franks condemned were not mentioned at the time in order to allow them to reconsider.
9. The Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1341 condemned the Platonic mysticism of Barlaam the Calabrian who had come from the West as a convert to Orthodoxy. Of course the rejection of Platonic type of mysticism was traditional practice for the Fathers. But what the Fathers of this Council were completely shocked at was Barlaam’s claim that God reveals His will by bringing into existence creatures to be seen and heard and which He passes back into non existence after His revelation has been received. One of these supposed creatures was the Angel of The Lord Himself Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. For the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils this Angel is the uncreated Logos Himself. This unbelievable nonsense of Barlaam turned out to be that of Augustine himself. (see e.g. his De Tinitate, Books A and B) and of the whole Franco-Latin tradition till today.
10. The legal acts of Ecumenical Councils were taken within the context that religion is a sickness with a specific cure. The political aspect of the decisions of Church Councils can be compared to what modern states are doing with medical science and related fields. Within such a context heretics are to be compared with quack doctors who promise cure but do not produce. From this perspective heretics are simply quack doctors. The reason that Catholics and Protestants do not understand this Roman tradition is that they are quack doctors themselves like most Orthodox today. For these three groups heresies are supposedly teachings which are not biblical simply because they do not agree with their prevailing Augustinian understanding of Scripture and Tradition. Unfortunately this is true about many, if not most, Orthodox so-called Biblical scholars today.
IV. Patristic and Biblical Theology
10. In sharp contrast to this Augustinian tradition is that of the Old and the New Testament as understood by the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. The “spirit” of man in the Old and New Testaments is that which is sick and which in the patristic tradition became also known as “the noetic energy” or “faculty.” By this adjustment in terminology this tradition of cure became more intelligible to the Hellenic mind. Now a further adjustment may be made by calling this sick human “spirit” or “noetic faculty” a “neurobiological faculty or energy” grounded in the heart, but which has been short circuited by its attachment to the nervous system centered in the brain thus creating fantasies about things which either do not exist or else do exist but not as one imagines. This very cure of fantasies the very core of the Orthodox ascetic tradition These fantasies arise from a short circuit between the nervous system centered in the brain and the blood system centered in the heart. The cure of this short circuit is noetic prayer (noera proseuche) which functions in tandem with rational or intellectual prayer of the brain which frees one from fantasies which the devil uses to enslave his victims.
11. In sharp contrast to this tradition is that of Augustinian Platonism which searches for mystical experiences of supposed transcendental realities by liberating the mind from the confines of the body and material realities for imaginary flights into a so-called metaphysical dimension of so-called divine ideas.
12. After the Fall of New Rome to the Ottoman Turks this tradition of the cure of the sickness of religion was continued by the Roman Patriarchates of Constantinople New Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Missing now from the original Five Roman Patriarchates was that of the Patriarchate of Elder Rome which had become a Teutonic and unrecognizable institution. The last ethnically Roman Pope was Benedict X (1058-9) who had given the pallium to the last Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury Stigand (1052-1070). But he and all his fellow native bishops of England were condemned by the foreign bishops of William the Conqueror to prison as schismatics and heretics where they all died. In any case it would seem highly unlikely that one receives apostolic succession by murdering Orthodox predecessors.
13. Orthodox Fathers of the Church are all those who practice the specific Old and New Testament cure of this sickness of religion. Those who do not practice this cure, but on the contrary have introduced such practices as pagan mysticism, are not Fathers within this tradition. Orthodox Theology is not “mystical,” but “secret” (mystike). The reason for this name “Secrete” is that the glory of God in the experience of glorification (theosis) has no similarity whatsoever with anything created. On the contrary the Augustinians imagine that they are supposedly being united with the uncreated original ideas of God of which creatures are supposedly copies.
14. In this regard Augustine’s teaching on original sin, i.e. his understanding of Rom. 12;5, and therefore related questions like mysticism, were first condemned by the Council of Orange in 529 and also by the Ninth Roman Ecumenical Council of 1341 in the person of Barlaam the Calabrian. The Fathers of this latter Council were not aware that the heresies of Barlaam they were condemning stemmed from Augustine. Also in 1957 the faculty of the University of Athens approved the doctoral thesis on “Ancestral Sin” of John S. Romanides which had proven that the very presuppositions of Augustine’s theology based on analogia entis and analogia fidei has nothing in common with the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. Augustine had not been in the Calendar of the Church of Greece. He was added during the period of the dictatorship of the colonels who uncanonicaly appointed Father Jerome Kotsonis as Archbishop of Athens (1968-1974) who was known for his non patristic orientation. It was he who added Augustine to the Church Calendar of the Church of Greece.
15. Up until the 14th century only the last three chapters of Augustine’s De Trinitate had been translated into Greek. These chapters are completely orthodox. He tells us himself that he wanted to rewrite his De Trinitate which the Archbishop of Carthage Aurlean wanted to examine. But finally corrected what he could. Having in mind these three Orthodox chapters of Augustine the Roman Emperor and his bishops at the Council of Ferrara and Florence (1438-1442) became completely confused by the theological method being used there by the Frankish theologians and concluded that the Franks had tampered with the works of Augustine.
16. Gennadius Scholarius, the first Patriarch of Constantinople New Rome after the Turkish takeover in 1453, had been at the Council of Ferrara/Florence (1438-1442) as a layman. He had brought back to Constantinople manuscripts of Augustine and concluded the following about his positions on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity which are clearly not due to tampering. He takes Augustine to task as follows: “To say that the Hypostasis of the Spirit comes or proceeds from the Son, that is to say that It holds its existence from him, not only as cause of the love for us, or of love in itself, but also as the love of the Father and the Son for each other, emerging from one to go to the other, the Father being the first giver and receiving in turn the Son, all this is insupportable grossness. Where does one find clearly exposed, in the sacred books, that the Holy Spirit is the reciprocal love of the Father and the Son, Who love each other, and Who derives his existence from the Two. In which sacred treasure has this sacred dogma been hidden? And how did it escape the notice of the other Fathers who, nevertheless have examined all with great care?”
17. Indeed some centuries earlier the Lombard Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm (1093-1109) was not happy with Augustine’s use of procession in his De Trinitate XV, 47, i.e. that the Holy Spirit proceeds principaliter from the Father or from the Father per Filium. (See Anselm’s own De fide Trinitate chapters 15, 16 and 24.) This West Roman Orthodox Filioque, which upset Anselm so much, could not be added to the creed of 381 where “procession” there means hypostatic individuality and not the communion of divine essence as in Augustine’s Filioque just quoted. Augustine is indeed Orthodox by intention by his willingness to be corrected. The real problem is that he does not theologize from the vantage point of personal theosis or glorification, but as one who speculates philosophically on the Bible with no real basis in the Patristic tradition. Furthermore, his whole theological method is based on happiness as the destiny of man instead of biblical glorification. His resulting method of analogia entis and analogia fidei is not accepted by any Orthodox Father of the Church. In any case no Orthodox can accept positions of Augustine on which the Father’s of Ecumenical Councils are in agreement “against” him. This website is not concerned with whether Augustine is a saint or a Father of the Church. There is no doubt that he was Orthodox by intention and asked for correction. However, he can not be used in such a way that his opinions may be put on an equal footing with the Fathers of Ecumenical Councils.
V. The Byzantine Empire Lie.
18. Between 330 and 1453 Constantinople New Rome was the Capital of the Roman Empire. She was not the capital of any Byzantine Empire which never existed. Those who say and write such nonsense are either intentional liars with a hidden agenda or else brainwashed by the creators of this Byzantine Empire which never existed. Those who hide the Roman reality of this Empire are either agents of the Frankish propaganda of Charlemagne who decided in 794 that the Roman Empire is a “Greek” Empire in order to hide it from West Romans enslaved to the Franco-Latins. Then this so-called “Greek” Empire had to become a “Byzantine” Empire in order not to confuse the Modern Greek State with the Greek Empire invented by Charlemagne in 794.
VI. So-called Neo-Chalcedonianism.
19. Theologians of the Vatican have been supporting their position that Leo of Rome and his Tome became the basis of the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of 451 which, according to them, supposedly corrected the monophysitic and theopassian tendencies of the Cyril of Alexandria. But the reality of the matter was that some 50 bishops refused to sign Leo’s Tome claiming that it did not agree with the Synodical Letters of Cyril against Nestorius which were the basis of the decision of the Third Ecumenical Council in 381. They were given five day to examine the Tome of Leo with the said letters of Cyril. They all agreed that Leo indeed agrees with Cyrill. Their statements to this effect are individually recorded in the minutes. So Cyril and not Leo was the key to the Council of Chalcedon. Evidently the Vatican has been keeping this fact quiet since it makes a mockery of so-called Papal infallibility. Contrary to these minutes of Chalcedon are the scholars who claim that the Council of Chalcedon modified the Monophysitic tendencies of Cyrill and supposedly de-emphasized the theopassianism of his Twelve Chapters. But Cyril’s Two Synodical Letters to Nestorius and his 383 letter to John of Antioch are included the Horos of Chalcedon “to which have been adapted the Tome of Leo…” In spite of these facts scholars of the Vatican propose that Leo, and not Cyril, is “the” Great Father of the Council of Chalcedon. As these scholars see things strict Cyrilians refused to accept the Council of Chalcedon because of Leo’s victory. So in order bring these Cyrilians back to the Imperial Church Emperor Justinian convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council in order to supposedly “reinterpret” Chalcedon within strict Cyrilian categories. This imperial Justinian reinterpretation is called Neo-Chalcedonianism. That no such thing ever happened is supported by studies on this website. What is especially strange is that the Latin positions on Neo-Chalcedonianism are text book taught at the theological faculty of the University of Athens as historical reality. Sometimes part of this myth is the idea that Cyril became fully Orthodox when he accepted John of Antioch confession of Christ’s two natures. It was not Cyrill of Alexandria who adjusted his terminology to John, but John to Cyril.
[ 1 ] John S. Romanides, “Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine,” Holy Cross Orthodox Press 1981, p. 18.
[ 2 ] This is evidently not a Greek term which was given to these Arcadians by those who came to their area by those who came after them.
[ 3 ] “But the most learned of Roman historians, among who is Porcius Cato, who compiled with the greatest care the genealogies of the Italian cities, Gaius Semporonis and many others, say they are Greeks, part of those who once dwelt in Achaia, and migrated many generations before the Trojan war.” as quoted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, I, XI. It is in the light of this that we read Livy’s remarks about the Aborigines in his “From the Founding of the City,” I, 5-II, 6.
[ 4 ] Dionysius, Ibid I, xvii-xxx, 5.
[ 5 ] Plutarch’s Lives, Romulus, XVI “Now the Sabines were a numerous and war like people, and dwelt in unwalled villages, thinking that it behooved them, since they were Lacedaemonian colonists, to be bold and fearless.”
[ 6 ] Dionysius of Halicarnassus, RA I.LXXIII, 1. These “hierais deltois”(sacred tablets) are usually understood to be the annales maximi kept each year by the Pontifex Maximus. The foundation narratives about Rome’s beginnings do not vary substantially from the final tradition. The names involved in the final Roman foundation tradition are basically the same as in the earliest 3 traditions quoted by Dionysius as follows: 1) “Some of these say that Romulus and Romos, the founders of Rome, were the sons of Aeneas, 2) others say that they were the sons of a daughter of Aeneas, without going on to determine who was the father; they were delivered as hostages to Latinus, the king of the Aborigines, when the treaty as made between the inhabitants and the new comers, and that Latinus, after giving them a kindly welcome, not only did them many other offices, but, upon dying without male issue, left them his successors to some part of his kingdom. 3) Others say that after the death of Aeneas, Ascanius, having succeeded to the entire sovereignty of the Latins, divided both the country and the forces into three parts, two of which he gave to his brothers, Romulus and Romos. He himself, they say, built Alba Longa; Romos built cities which he named Capua, after Capys, his great-grandfather, Anchisa, after his grandfather Anchises, Aeneia (which was afterwards called Janiculum), after his father, and Rome after himself. This last city was for some time deserted, but upon the arrival of an other colony, which the Albans sent out under leadership Romulus and Romos, it received again its ancient name.”
[ 7 ] Just quoted.
[ 8 ] H. G. Liddell and R. Scot, “Greek-English Lexicon,” at name “rome.”
[ 9 ] Ibid, at verb “roomai.”
[ 10 ] Ibid, at verb “ronnyni.”
[ 11 ] Ibid, at name “kouretes.”
[ 12 ] Diosysius, RA X, 2ff.
[ 13 ] Livy, Ibid, IV, 1f.