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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Ephesus, Robber Council of

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(σύνοδος λῃστρική, latrocinium Ephesinum), the so-called second general council at Ephesus, A.D. 449. Eutyches (q.v.), whom Flavianus, bishop of Constantinople, had in the, preceding year deposed on account of heretical opinions, appealed to a general council, at which the patriarchs of Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Thessalonica, and other heads of the Church should be present, and prevailed upon the emperor to convoke the council immediately. Theodosius wrote to Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria, desiring him to attend at Ephesus on the1st of August, with ten metropolitan and as many Egyptian bishops, and no more, in order to inquire into a question of faith in dispute between Flavianus and Eutyches, and to remove from the Church the favorers of Nestorius. In the same manner he wrote to other bishops, always fixing the same number of metropolitans and bishops, and especially forbidding: Theodoret to leave his diocese. He sent his own officers, Elpidus and Eulogius, with authority to provide such troops as they might deem necessary, in order to carry into effect what might be required. The bishops who had sat in judgment upon Eutyches at the council held by Flavianus at Constantinople in 448 were present at the council, but were allowed to take no part in the debates, and Dioscorus was allowed to take the lead in everything relating to the council.

The council met August 8, and about 130 bishops attended. Dioscorus and his party ruled throughout; Eutyches was declared orthodox, and re-established in his priesthood and office of abbot; and sentence of deposition was pronounced upon Flavianus. Flavianus appealed from this decision to the bishop of Rome, whose legate, Hilary, boldly opposed the sentence; at; the same time many of the bishops on their knees implored Dioscorus to reconsider the matter, but he, determined to carry it through, cried out for the imperial officers, upon which the proconsul Proclus entered, followed by a band of soldiers, armed with swords and sticks, and carrying chains, who by threats and blows compelled the bishops to sign the sentence of deposition. This, at last, ninety-six of them did, many, however, being first severely wounded; Flavianus himself was treated with such excessive violence that he died of the injuries he had received within three days; it is said that Dioscorus jumped upon him as he lay upon the ground, and that Barsumas and the monks kicked him with the utmost brutality. To the condemnation of Flavianus that of Eusebius of Dorylaeum was added, which ended the first session; after which the legate Hilary, dreading fresh scenes of violence, fled secretly to Rome. In the following sessions Theodoret of Tyre was deposed, also Domnus of Antioch .and Ibas of Edessa; after which Dioscorus departed, and the bishops withdrew from Ephesus. Thus ended the σύνοδος λῃστρική, as the Greeks justly named this disgraceful assembly, in which violence and injustice were carried on to the utmost excess. Landon, Manual of Councils, page 236; Mansi, Concil 6:588 et al.; Neander, Ch. Hist. 2:509 sq.; Gieseler, Ch. Hist. § 89; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, 2:350 sq.; Schaff, Church Hist. 2:348; 3:738; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, 1:278; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 4:81; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 3:610; Lewald, Die sogenannte Raubersynode, in Illgen's Zeitschriftfiir d. histor. Theol. 1838, page 39. (See DIOSCORUS).


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ephesus, Robber Council of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/e/ephesus-robber-council-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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