Volume III - Church History

Seventh Century

Relations with Rome

No doubt due, to a great extent, to the canons of the Quinisext Council mentioned above that show some of the differences in ecclesiastical practices between the Roman and the Eastern Churches, the Roman Church did not accept this council, and never has to this day. To the Roman Church, these canons represented an independent spirit on the part of the Eastern Churches that conflicted with her desire to bring all the Churches of the world under her authority.

Perhaps sensing this desire on the part of the Roman Church, the Fathers of the Quinisext Council felt obliged to reaffirm the independent position of the Patriarchate of Constantinople vis-à-vis the Church of Rome. This they did in Canon 36, which basically repeats Canon 3 from the Second Ecumenical Council and Canon 28 from the Fourth Ecumenical Council:

Renewing the enactment by the 150 Fathers assembled at the God-protected and imperial city, and those of the 630 who met at Chalcedon, we decree that the see of Constantinople shall have equal privileges with the see of Old Rome, and shall be as highly regarded in ecclesiastical matters as that is, and shall be second after it.

The Sixth Ecumenical Council had restored communion between Rome and the Eastern Churches, but Rome’s rejection of its sequel, the Quinisext Council, reveals that there were still major tensions between the two great halves of Christianity. These tensions will be very much exacerbated in the next century with the rise of Iconoclasm in the East, and with the rise of the Carolingian dynasty, and the Roman Church’s alliance with it, in the West.