The Definition of the Eighth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (879)
A translation of the Horos of the Eighth Ecumenical Council.
The following translation from the Greek Horos of the Eighth Ecumenical Council is provided under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal(CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication.
The sacred and divine teaching of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, founded on unwavering intellect and faith, preserved in purity, and upheld by the holy disciples and apostles, along with the sacred ordinances and canonical norms, harmoniously preserved and upheld by the most just judgment, including the seven ecumenical councils, directed and energised by the same Holy Spirit, honouring and safeguarding the proclamation and the unchangeable canonical decrees with utmost sincerity and unwavering commitment. We reject those who have been excommunicated but cherish and receive those who are worthy of acceptance, such as those who are in agreement with us in faith and those who are deserving of honourable respect as teachers of piety. Thus, being mindful of these matters and proclaiming them with fervour in thought, speech, and every vocal expression, we neither subtract nor add anything, nor do we adulterate in any way. For the removal or addition, instigated by the evil arts of heretical movements, introduces condemnation of the uncondemned and reproach against the Fathers that is unjustifiable. But exchanging deceitful words for the pronouncements of the Fathers is much more difficult. Therefore, this holy and ecumenical council, embracing and sanctifying the original standard of faith with divine ardour and intellectual rectitude, establishes and strengthens the foundation of salvation in it, thus declaring to all to think and preach accordingly. "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty," (and so on until the end.)
Thus, with this confession of faith, we were baptised, and through it, the word of truth has demonstrated the complete destruction and overthrow of every heresy. We inscribe ourselves as brothers, fathers, and fellow clergy of the heavenly citizenship to those who hold this conviction. But if anyone, departing from this sacred symbol handed down from our blessed and holy fathers until our time, should dare to write and designate a creed, attempting to diminish the authority of the confession of those divine men and to include it within their own fabricated doctrines, presenting this common teaching to the faithful or even to those who are returning from some heresy, and thereby adulterating or falsifying the antiquity of this sacred and venerable standard, let them be boldly condemned in accordance with the already pronounced verdict of the holy ecumenical councils before us. If such a man is a cleric, we utterly reject and cast him out; if he is a layman, we consign him to anathema.
Regarding those who were condemned by Rome, so it is also the case with Constantinople.
This holy and ecumenical Council has decreed that so far as concerns any clerics, or laymen, or bishops from Italy that are staying in Asia, or Europe, or Africa, under bond, or deposition, or anathema imposed by the most holy Pope John, all such persons are to be held in the same condition of penalisation also by the most holy Patriarch of Constantinople Photius. That is to say, either deposed, or anathematised, or excommunicated. All those persons, on the other hand, whom Photius our most holy Patriarch has condemned or may condemn to excommunication, or deposition, or anathematisation, in any diocese whatsoever, whether clerics or laymen or any of the persons who are of prelatical or priestly rank, are to be treated likewise by most holy Pope John, and his holy Church of God of the Romans, and be held in the same category of penalisation, with no regard for the altogether newly-invented honours pertaining to the most holy throne of the church of the Romans and to her presider—neither now, nor in the future.
That bishops who become monks are deprived of their rank.
Though hitherto some bishops, having descended to the habit of monks, have been forced nevertheless to remain in the height of the prelacy, they have been overlooked when they did so. But, with this in mind, this holy and ecumenical Council, with a view to regulating this oversight, and readjusting this irregular practice to the ecclesiastical statutes, has decreed that if any bishop or anyone else with a prelatical office is desirous of descending to monastic life and of replenishing the region of penitence and of penance, let him no longer cherish any claim to prelatical dignity. For the monks’ conditions of subordination represent the relationship of pupilship, and not of teachership or of presidency; nor do they undertake to pastor others but are to be content with being pastored.
Wherefore, in accordance with what was said previously, we decree that none of those who are on the prelatical list and are enrolled pastors shall lower themselves to the level of the pastored and repentant. If anyone should dare to do so, after the delivery and discrimination of the decision hereby being pronounced, he, having deprived himself of his prelatical rank, shall no longer have the right to return to his former status, which by actual deeds he has vitiated.
Concerning those who strike and imprison bishops.
If any layman, after becoming a man of authority, and conceiving a contempt for divine and imperial injunctions, and laughing to scorn the dread statutes and laws of the Church, shall dare to strike any bishop, or to imprison one, without reason or cause, or for a fictitious reason or cause, let such a one be anathema.