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MAXIMUS


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MAXIMUS


make a profession of faith. But we assure you that we will relate all that you have put forward, and we will show the document itself to him who is to be con- secrated, and if he should judge it to be correct, we will ask him to append his signature to it. But do not therefore place any obstacle in our way now, or do violence to us by delaying us and keeping us here. For none has a right to use violence especially when faith is in question. For herein even the weakest waxes mighty and the meek becomes a warrior, and by com- forting his soul with the Divine Word, is hardened against the greatest attack. How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from of old until now, as the elder of all the Churches under the sun, presides over all? Having surely re- ceived this canonically, as well from councils and the Apostles, as from the princes of the latter, and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writ- ings or issues of synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate, even as in all these things all are equally subject to her according to sacer- dotal law. And so when without fear but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers of the truly firm and immovable rock, that is, of the most great and Apostolic Church at Rome, had so replied to the clergy of the royal city, they were seen to have eon- ciliated them and to have acted prudently, that the others might be humble and modest, while they made known the orthodoxy and purity of their own faith from the beginning. But those of Constantinople, ad- miring their piety, thought that such a deed ought to be recompensed; and ceasing from urging the docu- ment on them, they promised by their diligence to pro- cure the issue of the emperor's order with regard to the episcopal election ... Of the aforesaid document a copy has been sent to me also. They have explained in it the cause for being silent about the natural opera- tions in Christ our God, that is, in His natures, of which and in which He is believed to be; and how in future neither one nor two are to be mentioned. It is only to be allowed to confess that the divine and hu- man (works) proceeded from the same Word of God incarnate, and are to be attributed to one and the same (person)." This passage does not call the prohibi- tion of "two operations" yet by the name of heresy, and does not mention the " one Will " confessed in the Ecthesis. But it gives very clearly St. Maximus's view that the smallest point of faith is to be held at the risk of one's life, and it demonstrates the ample admis- sion made at Constantinople, before the struggles be- gan, of the prerogatives of Rome.

When in 641 John IV wrote his defence of Pope Honorius, it was re-echoed by St. Maximus in a letter to Marinus, a priest of Cyprus. He declares that Hono- rius, when he confes.sed one will of our Lord, only meant to deny that Christ had a will of the flesh, of concupiscence, since he was conceived and born with- out stain of sin. Maximus appeals to the witness of Abbot John Symponus, who wrote the letter for Hono- rius. Pyrrhus was now Sergius's successor, but on the accession of the Emperor Constans in 642 he was exiled. Maximus then sent a letter to the patrician Peter, apparently the Governor of Syria and Palestine, who had writtento him concerning Pyrrhus, whom he now calls simply abbot. Pyrrhus was in Palestine, and Peter had restrained him from putting forward his heretical views. Pyrrhus had declared that he was ready to satisfy Maximus as to his orthodoxy. The latter says he would have written to Peter before, "but I was afraid of being thought to transgress the holy laws, if I were to do this without knowing the will of the most holv see of .\postolic men, who lead aright the whole plenitude of the Catholic Church, and rule it with order according to the divine law." 'The new Ecthesis is worse than the old heresies; Pyrrhus and his predecessor have accused Sophronius of error; they persuaded Heraclius to give his name to the


Ecthesis: "they have not conformed to the sense of the Apostolic see, and what is laughable, or rather lamentable, as proving their ignorance, they have not hesitated to lie against the Apostolic see "itself . . . but have claimed the great Honorius on their side. . . . What did the divine Honorius do, and after him the aged Severinus, and John who followed him? Yet further, what supplication has the blessed pope, who now sits, not made? Have not the whole East and West brought their tears, laments, obsecrations, dep- recations, both before God in prayer and before men in their letters? If the Roman see recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus, anathematizes the see of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he he in communion with the Ronuin sec and the Church of God. ... It is not right that one who has been condemned and cast out by the .\postolic see of the city of Rome for his wrong opinions should be named with any kind of honour, until he be received by her, having returned to her — nay, to our Lord — by a pious confession and orthodox faith, by which he can receive holiness and the title of holy. . . . Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman see, for if it is satisfied all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore tlie blessed pope of the most holy Church of the Romans, that is, the Apos- tolic see, which from the incarnate Son of God Him- self, and also by all holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions, has received universal and supreme dominion, authority and power of binding and loo.sing over all the hoiyC'hurolicsof God which are in the whole world : fur wii h it I lir Word who is above the celestial powers binds and luo.ses in heaven also. For if he thinks he must satisfy others, and fails to implore the most blessed Roman pope, he is acting like a man who, when accused of murder or some other crime, docs not hasten to prove his innocence to the judge appointed by the law, but only uselessly and without profit does his best to demonstrate his inno- cence to private individuals, who have no power to acquit him."

Pyrrhus thought he might regain his see by the help of the pope. He came to Africa, and in July, 64.5, a public disputation took place between him and Maxi- mus, in the presence of the Governor Gregory (called George in the MSS. of St. Maximus), who was a friend and correspondent of the saint. The minutes are in- teresting. Pyrrhus argues that two wills must imply two Persons willing; Maximus replies thai in that case there must be three wills in the Holy Trinity. He shows that the will l)elongs to the Nature, and distin- guishes between will as a faculty and will as the act of the faculty. Pyrrhus thru admits two wills, on ac- count of the two natures, 1 i\it ac 1( Is t hat we should also confess one will on account of the perfect union. Maximus replies that this wotild lead us to confess one nature on account of the perfect imion. He then cites many passages of Scripture for t wo wills and two oper- ations. Pvrrhus puts forward Honorius and \igilitis. Maximus defends tlie former from the ciiarge of teach- ing two wills, and denies that the latter ever received the letter of Mennas, the authcntieily nf which is assumed. He complains of the eliiiiigeableness of Sergius. La.stly the famous "new Iheandrie opera- tion" of the P.seuilo-Dioiivsius is discus.sed, and is explained and defended l)y St. Maximus. Then Pyr- rhus gives in, and consenis to go to Rome, where in fact he condcTiiiicd his former teaching, and was recon- ciled to the Church by the pope. Hut the revolt of Gregory, who made himself emperor in .\frica, but was defeated in 647, brought Maximus into disfavour at court, and destroyed the hope^of restoring Pyrrhus ag