Quinisext Council

The Quinisext Council (often called the Council in Trullo, Trullan Council, or the Penthekte Synod) was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is often known as the Council in Trullo, because like the Sixth Ecumenical Council it was held in a domed hall in the Imperial Palace (τρούλος [troulos] meaning a cup or dome). Both the Fifth and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils had omitted to draw up disciplinary canons, and as this council was intended to complete both in this respect, it took the name of Quinisext (Latin: Concilium Quinisextum, Koine Greek: Πενθέκτη Σύνοδος, Penthékti Sýnodos), i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council. It was attended by 215 bishops, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Crete, however, belonged to the Roman patriarchate and called himself papal legate, though no evidence is extant of his right to use that title.

Many of the Council's canons were reiterations. It endorsed not only the six ecumenical councils already held (canon 1), but also the Apostolic Canons, the Synod of Laodicea, the Third Synod of Carthage, and the 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius (canon 2).[1]

The Council banned certain festivals and practices which were thought to have a pagan origin. Therefore, the Council gives some insight to historians about pre-Christian religious practices.[2]

Many of the council's canons were aimed at settling differences in ritual observance and clerical discipline in different parts of the Christian Church. Being held under Byzantine auspices, with an exclusively Eastern clergy, these overwhelmingly took the practice of the Church of Constantinople as orthodox.[2] It explicitly condemned some customs of Armenian Christians – among them using wine unmixed with water for the Eucharist (canon 32), choosing children of clergy for appointment as clergy (canon 33), and eating eggs and cheese on Saturdays and Sundays of Lent (canon 56) – and decreed deposition for clergy and excommunication for laypeople who contravened the canons prohibiting these practices. Likewise, it reprobated, with similar penalties, the Roman custom of not allowing married individuals to be ordained to the diaconate or priesthood unless they vowed for perpetual continence (canon 13), and fasting on Saturdays of Lent (canon 55). Without contrasting with the practice of the Roman Church, it also prescribed that the celebration of the Eucharist in Lent should only happen in Saturdays, Sundays, and the feast of the Annunciation (canon 52). Grapes, milk and honey were not to be offered at the altar. Whoever came to receive the Eucharist should receive in the hand by holding his hands in the form of a cross. The Eucharist was not allowed to be given to dead bodies. During the liturgy the psalms were to be sung in modest and dulcet tones, and the phrase 'who was crucified for us' was not to be added to the Trisagion. Prelates were to preach the gospel as propounded by the fathers. Priests received special instructions on how to deal with those who were not baptized and they were also given rubrics to follow on how to admit heretics to the faith. [3]

In addition to these, the council also condemned clerics that had improper or illicit relations with women. It condemned simony and the charging of fees for administering the Eucharist. It enjoined those in holy orders from entering public houses, engaging in usurious practices, attending horse races in the Hippodrome, wearing unsuitable clothes or celebrating the liturgy in private homes (eukteria) without the consent of their bishops. Both clergy and laity were forbidden from gambling at dice, attending theatrical performances, or consulting soothsayers. No one was allowed to observe the Pagan festivals of Bota, the Kalends or the Brumalia. No one was allowed to own a house of prostitution, engage in abortion, arrange hair in ornate plaits or to promote pornography. It also ordered law students at the University of Constantinople to no cease wearing "clothing contrary to the general custom", which some have interpreted as a reference to transvestitism.[4] [5]

While the Orthodox Church widely considers this council an addendum to the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, adding its canons thereto, the Roman Catholic Church has never accepted the council as authoritative or in any sense ecumenical. In the West, Venerable Bede calls it (in De sexta mundi aetate) a "reprobate" synod, and Paul the Deacon an "erratic" one.[6] For the attitude of the Roman bishops, in face of the various attempts to obtain their approval of these canons see Hefele.[7] However, Pope Hadrian I did write favourably of the canons of this council.[8]

The Pope of the time of the council, Sergius I, who was of Syrian origin, rejected it, preferring, he said, "to die rather than consent to erroneous novelties": though a loyal subject of the Empire, he would not be "its captive in matters of religion" and refused to sign the canons.[9] Emperor Justinian II ordered his arrest and abduction to Constantinople by the notoriously violent protospatharios Zacharias.[10] However, the militia of the exarchate of Ravenna frustrated the attempt.[11] Zacharias nearly lost his life in his attempt to arrest Sergius I.[12][13] Louis Duchesne suggests that it was in protest against the Council's banning of representations of Christ as a Lamb that Pope Sergius introduced the singing of the Agnus Dei at the breaking of the host at Mass.[14]

In Visigothic Spain, the council was ratified by the Eighteenth Council of Toledo at the urging of the king, Wittiza (694 – probably 710), who was vilified by later chroniclers for his decision.[15] Fruela I of Asturias (757–768) reversed the decision.[15]

Council in Trullo (Quinisext Council)
Accepted byEastern Orthodoxy
Previous council
Third Council of Constantinople
Next council
Second Council of Nicaea
Convoked byEmperor Justinian II
PresidentJustinian II
Attendance215 (all Eastern)
Documents and statements
basis for Orthodox Canon law
Chronological list of ecumenical councils
Facial Chronicle - b.13, p.443 - Council in Trullo


  1. ^ Canons of the Council in Trullo
  2. ^ a b Ostrogorsky, George; Hussey, Joan (trans.) (1957). History of the Byzantine state. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. pp. 122–23. ISBN 0-8135-0599-2.
  3. ^ Andrew Ekonomou. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington Books, 2007
  4. ^ Canon 71
  5. ^ Andrew Ekonomou. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington Books, 2007
  6. ^ Paul the Deacon, Hist. Lang., VI, p. 11.
  7. ^ "Conciliengesch." III, 345-48.
  8. ^ Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (1900). "Introductory Note: Council in Trullo". Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. XIV. Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  9. ^ Andrew J. Ekonomou, Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes (Lexington Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-73911977-8), p. 222
  10. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 223
  11. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 224
  12. ^ Ekonomou (2007), p. 44
  13. ^ Walter Ullmann, A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (2nd edition, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 978-0-41530227-2), p. 64
  14. ^ Hugh Henry, "Agnus Dei (in Liturgy)" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1907)
  15. ^ a b Collins, 19.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

See also

Agape feast

The Agape feast or Lovefeast is a communal meal shared among Christians.The Lovefeast originated in the early Church and was a time of fellowship for believers. The Eucharist was often a part of the Lovefeast although at some point (probably between the latter part of the 1st century AD and 250 AD), the two became separate. Thus, in modern times the Lovefeast refers to a Christian ritual meal distinct from the Lord's Supper. The Lovefeast seeks to strengthen the bonds and the spirit of harmony, goodwill, and congeniality, as well as to forgive past disputes and instead love one another.The practice of the lovefeast is mentioned in Jude 1:12 of the Christian Bible and was a "common meal of the early church." References to communal meals are discerned in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34, in Saint Ignatius of Antioch's Letter to the Smyrnaeans, where the term "agape" is used, and in a letter from Pliny the Younger to Trajan, in which he reported that the Christians, after having met "on a stated day" in the early morning to "address a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity", later in the day would "reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal". Similar communal meals are attested also in the "Apostolic Tradition" often attributed to Hippolytus of Rome, who does not use the term "agape", and by Tertullian, who does. The connection between such substantial meals and the Eucharist had virtually ceased by the time of Cyprian (died 258), when the Eucharist was celebrated with fasting in the morning and the agape in the evening. The Synod of Gangra in 340 makes mention of them in relation to a heretic who had barred his followers from attending them.Though still mentioned in the Quinisext Council of 692, the agape fell into disuse soon after, except among the churches in Ethiopia and India. At the end of the 18th century the Carmelite friar Paolino da San Bartolomeo reported that the ancient Saint Thomas Christians of India still celebrated the love-feast, using their typical dish called appam. In addition, Pietist groups originating in the eighteenth-century, such as the Schwarzenau Brethren and the Moravian Church, celebrate the Love feast. Methodist Churches also continue the practice.The practice has been revived more recently among other groups, including Anglicans, as well as the American "House Church" movement.The Lovefeast has often been used in ecumenical settings, such as between Methodists and Anglicans.

Agnus Dei (liturgy)

In the Mass of the Roman Rite and also in the Eucharist of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church, and the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church the Agnus Dei is the invocation to the Lamb of God sung or recited during the fraction of the Host.

Anastasius II of Jerusalem

Anastasius II of Jerusalem was patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem from an unknown date until 706 as the see of Jerusalem came under control of their Muslim conquerors and church life was disrupted by the Monothelite controversy.The records for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem after the reign of Patriarch Sophronius are sparse and tempered by Muslim interventions. After the death of Patr. Sophronius in 638, Bishop Stephen of Dora was Patriarchal Vicar assisted by John of Philadelphia (Amman). During the same period, the Muslims attempted to seat the Monothelite Bishop Sergius of Jaffa as the patriarch, but the Orthodox clergy, including Stephen of Dora, would not recognized him.

To strengthen the position of the Orthodox, Stephen of Dora traveled to Pope Martin in Rome who on Stephen's recommendation assigned Bp. John of Philadelphia as Patriarchal Vicar for the Church of Jerusalem. Pope Martin also sent letters that announced his decision and asked that John be recognized. From this time on there are no records about the patriarchate until 705. During this period it is only known that Anastasius had signed the decisions, probably as the patriarch, of the Quinisext Council of 692 in Constantinople during which the decision was made that the Jerusalem patriarchate occupied fifth position in the ranks of the patriarchates.

Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which has sometimes abbreviated its name as the B.A.O. Church or the BAOC, is a religious body in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

Byzantine Papacy

The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna.

With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as monothelitism and iconoclasm.

Greek-speakers from Greece, Syria, and Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy.

Christianity in the 7th century

The Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) divisions of Christianity began to take on distinctive shape in 7th-century Christianity. Whereas in the East the Church maintained its structure and character and evolved more slowly, in the West the Bishops of Rome (the popes) were forced to adapt more quickly and flexibly to drastically changing circumstances. In particular, whereas the bishops of the East maintained clear allegiance to the Eastern Roman emperor, the Bishop of Rome, while maintaining nominal allegiance to the Eastern emperor, was forced to negotiate delicate balances with the "barbarian rulers" of the former Western provinces. Although the greater number of Christians remained in the East, the developments in the West would set the stage for major developments in the Christian world during the later Middle Ages.

During the 7th century an Arabian religious leader named Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh began to spread the message of the Qur'an (Koran), which includes some traditions similar to those of the Christian and Jewish faith. This new faith, called submission or الإسلام (al-’islām) in Arabic, proclaimed the worship and obedience of a purely monotheist God or Allah in Arabic as the purpose of life, and Islam would ultimately prove to be the greatest challenge that the Christian Church would face during the Middle Ages. By the 630s Muhammad had united the entire Arabian peninsula under Islam, including the formerly Christian kingdom of Yemen. Following Muhammad's death a Muslim empire, or caliphate, emerged which began efforts to expand beyond Arabia. Shortly before Mohammad's death the Roman Empire and Sassanid Persian Empire had concluded decades of war, leaving both empires crippled.

Church of Crete

The Church of Crete (Greek: Εκκλησία της Κρήτης) is an Eastern Orthodox Church, comprising the island of Crete in Greece. The Church of Crete is semi-autonomous (self-governing) under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The current Archbishop of Crete is, since 30 August 2006, Irinaios Athanasiadis.

Comba (Lycia)

Comba or Komba (Ancient Greek: τὰ Κὀμβα) was a city in ancient Lycia.Comba lay inland, near Mount Cragus, and the cities Octapolis and Symbra.Its site is located near Gömbe in Asiatic Turkey.Comba appears as a bishopric, a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Myra at a relatively late stage: it is not mentioned in the Notitia Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius, composed during the reign of Emperor Heraclius (c. 640), and its bishops appear only in the second half of the 7th century. The first is John, who participated in the Quinisext Council of 692. Bishop Constantine was at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, while another Constantine was one of the fathers of the Council of Constantinople (879) that rehabilitated the patriarch Photios I of Constantinople.A Notitia Episcopatuum of the 12th century still reports the presence of this diocese, even if it is not certain that at that time it still existed; the diocese certainly disappeared with the Turkish conquest of the next century.No longer a residential bishopric, Comba is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.

Council of Constantinople

Council of Constantinople can refer to a church council (synod) convened at Constantinople:

Council of Constantinople (360), a local council

First Council of Constantinople, the Second Ecumenical Council, in 381

Council of Constantinople (383), a local council, rejected teachings of Eunomius

Council of Constantinople (394), a local council, produced several canons

Synod of Constantinople (543), a local council which condemned Origen

Second Council of Constantinople, the Fifth Ecumenical Council, in 553

Third Council of Constantinople, the Sixth Ecumenical Council, in 680

Council of Constantinople (692), also called in Trullo or Quinisext Council

Council of Constantinople (754), the Council of Hieria

Council of Constantinople (815), a local council that restored Iconoclasm

Council of Constantinople (843), a local council, restored the veneration of icons

Council of Constantinople (861), a local council, confirmed the deposition of Ignatius and election of Photius

Council of Constantinople (867), a local council convened by Photius to discuss Papal supremacy and the Filioque

Fourth Council of Constantinople (Catholic Church), also called the Photian Council, in 869

Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox), considered the Eighth Ecumenical Council by some Orthodox, also called the Photian Council, in 879

Council of Constantinople (1082), a local council convened to deal with John Italos

Council of Constantinople (1094), a local council convened to deal with Leo of Chalcedon

Council of Constantinople (1285), a local council that rejected the Union of the Churches at Lyons

Fifth Council of Constantinople, considered the Ninth Ecumenical Council by some Orthodox, concerning Hesychasm, in 1341-1351

Synod of Constantinople (1484), condemned the Council of Florence

Council of Constantinople (1583), decided not to accept the Gregorian calendar

Council of Constantinople (1593), approved the creation of Moscow Patriarchate

Council of Constantinople (1722), condemned all forms of catholicisation

Council of Constantinople (1756), affirmed rebaptism for Roman Catholics converting to Christian Orthodoxy

Council of Constantinople (1848), issued the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs

Council of Constantinople (1872), condemned Phyletism, as a schismatic movement

Council of Constantinople (1923), a major council, introduced several reforms

Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom

The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is the most celebrated divine liturgy (or "mass") in the Byzantine Rite. It is named after its core part, the anaphora attributed to Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople in the 5th century.

It reflects the work of the Cappadocian Fathers to both combat heresy and define Trinitarian theology for the Christian Church. This liturgy was probably used originally by the School of Antioch (John having been a deacon and priest in Antioch) and, therefore, most likely developed from West Syriac liturgical rites. In Constantinople, it was refined and beautified under John's guidance as Archbishop (398–404). As a divine liturgy of the Church of Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, it became over time the usual divine liturgy in the churches within the Byzantine Empire. Just two divine liturgies (aside from the presanctified), those of Saints John and Basil the Great, became the norm in the Byzantine Church by the end of the reign of Justinian I. After the Quinisext Council and the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Theodore Balsamon, the Byzantine Rite became the only rite in the Eastern Orthodox Church, remaining so until the 19th and 20th Century re-introduction by certain jurisdictions of Western Rites.

First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

These seven events represented an attempt by Church leaders to reach an orthodox consensus, restore peace and develop a unified Christendom. Eastern Orthodox Christians, Oriental Orthodox Christians, the Church of the East, Anglican, Old Catholic, and Roman Catholics, all trace the legitimacy of their clergy by apostolic succession back to this period and beyond, to the earlier period referred to as Early Christianity.

This era begins with the First Council of Nicaea, which enunciated the Nicene Creed that in its original form and as modified by the First Council of Constantinople of 381 was seen by all later councils as the touchstone of orthodoxy on the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church accept all seven of these councils as legitimate ecumenical councils. The Oriental Orthodox Churches accept only the first three, while the Church of the East accepts only the first two. There is also one additional council (the Quinisext Council), which was held between the sixth and seventh ecumenical councils (in AD 692), and which issued organizational, liturgical and canonical rules but did not discuss theology. It is accepted as ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church alone, however the Eastern Orthodox do not give it a number, but rather count it as a continuation of the sixth council. The Catholic Church does not accept the Quinisext Council, but both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church consider that there have been more ecumenical councils after the first seven (see: Eighth ecumenical council, Ninth ecumenical council, and Catholic ecumenical councils).

George II of Antioch

George II of Antioch was Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in the 7th century. Little is known about him except that he attended the Quinisext Council in 691–692. It is speculated that he died of heat exhaustion caused by a long period of being outdoors. After his death the period of Arab tolerance that had allowed the continued existence of Christianity in regions under their domination ended. George II of Antioch's reign was one well known for peace, due to his love of many religions. The Byzantine Empire, it is thought, worked alongside him to be able to better the Empire altogether.

John II Platyn

John Platyn or Platinus was an Exarch of Ravenna (687-701 or 702).

John replaced Theodore II as exarch in 687. That same year, he took an active role in a disputed papal election. Bribed by the archdeacon Paschal, he demanded that the latter should be made pope. Conflict with another papal candidate, Theodore, seemed inevitable, but then a compromise candidate, Sergius I, was made pope. Paschal did not give up hope, however: he promised John a hundred pounds of gold in exchange for the papacy. John quickly came to Rome, but found that it would be too difficult to go against the majority. He therefore recognized Sergius, but demanded from the pope the hundred pounds of gold that Paschal had promised. Sergius protested, saying he had made no such agreement; when John did not give up his demands, he took the holy vessels of St. Peter's Basilica, claiming they were all he possessed. The local populace, becoming increasingly angry at the exarch, rallied to the pope and paid the sum demanded.In 691 the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II sent Pope Sergius a series of canons approved by the Quinisext Council for his signature. Jeffrey Richards notes that Justinian had believed this would be a matter of routine, since his apocrisiarius had signed them. Since several of them were counter to the interests of the papacy, Sergius refused, and forbade them to be read out publicly. Negotiations over the canons failed to solve anything, so Justinian retaliated by sending a certain Zacharias to arrest him, as his predecessors Justinian I and Constans II had done with earlier popes. The result was disastrous for the exarchate. The imperial armies in Ravenna and Rome not only refused to cooperate, the army of Ravenna marched to Rome to defend Sergius, and were joined by soldiers of the Pentapolis. The soldiers reached Rome, surrounded the papal residence, and demanded to see the pope. Zacharias is said to have cowered under the pope's bed until Sergius himself allowed him to escape; in any case, the Pope was safe. The entire affair was an embarrassment to Byzantine authority in Italy, and undermined John's power.

John was followed as exarch by Theophylactus around 702.


Magydus (in Greek Μάγυδος, Magydos) was an ancient settlement and bishopric on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Asia Minor (Asian Turkey), which remains a Latin Catholic titular see.

Its site was probably at modern Lara (Antalya province), where there are ruins of a small artificial harbour.

Mass of the Presanctified

The Mass of the Presanctified (Latin: missa præsanctificatorum, Greek: leitourgia ton proegiasmenon) is Christian liturgy traditionally celebrated on Good Friday in which the consecration is not performed. Instead, the Blessed Sacrament that was consecrated at an earlier Mass and reserved is distributed.

The liturgy had developed by the time of the Quinisext Council (Second Trullan Synod, 692). In the Roman and Anglican Rites it is used only on Good Friday, and in some Old Catholic Rites, it is used on both Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

In the Roman Rite, the term "Mass of the Presanctified" is no longer officially used in the Missal and other liturgical books, the ceremony having been retitled Solemn Afternoon Liturgy of the Passion and Death of the Lord (Solemnis actio liturgica postmeridiana in Passione et Morte Domini) in the 1955 revisions of Pope Pius XII. It is also called the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion.

The Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is used in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite only on the weekdays (Monday through Friday) of Great Lent, and on Monday through Wednesday of Holy Week. At each of these Presanctified Liturgies, the Sacred Mysteries (Blessed Sacrament) would have been consecrated the previous Sunday.


Nepsis (or nipsis; Greek: νῆψις) is an important idea in Orthodox Christian theology, considered the hallmark of sanctity. It is a state of watchfulness or sobriety acquired following a long period of catharsis.


Pentarchy (from the Greek Πενταρχία, Pentarchía, from πέντε pénte, "five", and ἄρχειν archein, "to rule") is a model of Church organization historically championed in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It found its fullest expression in the laws of Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire. In the model, the Christian church is governed by the heads (patriarchs) of the five major episcopal sees of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.The idea came about because of the political and ecclesiastical prominence of these five sees, but the concept of their universal and exclusive authority was firmly tied to the administrative structure of the Roman Empire. The pentarchy was first legally expressed in the legislation of Emperor Justinian I (527–565), particularly in Novella 131. The Quinisext Council of 692 gave it formal recognition and ranked the sees in order of preeminence. Especially following Quinisext, the pentarchy was at least philosophically accepted in Eastern Orthodoxy, but generally not in the West, which rejected the Council, and the concept of the pentarchy.The greater authority of these sees in relation to others was tied to their political and ecclesiastical prominence; all were located in important cities and regions of the Roman Empire and were important centers of the Christian Church. Rome, Alexandria and Antioch were prominent from the time of early Christianity, while Constantinople came to the fore upon becoming the imperial residence in the 4th century. Thereafter it was consistently ranked just after Rome. Jerusalem received a ceremonial place due to the city's importance in the early days of Christianity. Justinian and the Quinisext Council excluded from their pentarchical arrangement churches outside the empire, such as the then-flourishing Church of the East in Sassanid Persia, which they saw as heretical. Within the empire they recognized only the Chalcedonian (or Melchite) incumbents, regarding as illegitimate the non-Chalcedonian claimants of Alexandria and Antioch.

Infighting among the sees, and particularly the rivalry between Rome (which considered itself preeminent over all the church) and Constantinople (which came to hold sway over the other Eastern sees and which saw itself as equal to Rome, with Rome "first among equals"), prevented the pentarchy from ever becoming a functioning administrative reality. The Islamic conquests of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch in the 7th century left Constantinople the only practical authority in the East, and afterward the concept of a "pentarchy" retained little more than symbolic significance.

Tensions between East and West, which culminated in the East–West Schism, and the rise of powerful, largely independent metropolitan sees and patriarchates outside the Byzantine Empire in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Russia, eroded the importance of the old imperial sees. Today, only the sees of Rome and of Constantinople still hold authority over an entire major Christian church, the first being the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the second having symbolic hegemony over the Orthodox Church.

Pope Constantine

Pope Constantine (Latin: Constantinus; 664 – 9 April 715) was Pope from 25 March 708 to his death in 715. With the exception of Antipope Constantine, he was the only pope to take such a "quintessentially" Eastern name of an emperor. During this period, the regnal name was also used by emperors and patriarchs.

Selected as one of the last popes of the Byzantine Papacy, the defining moment of Constantine's pontificate was his 710/711 visit to Constantinople where he compromised with Justinian II on the Trullan canons of the Quinisext Council. Constantine was the last pope to visit Constantinople until Pope Paul VI did in 1967.

Pope Sergius I

Pope Sergius I (c. 650 – 8 September 701) was Pope from December 15, 687, to his death in 701. He was elected at a time when two rivals, the Archdeacon Paschal and the Archpriest Theodore, were locked in dispute about which of them should become pope.

His papacy was dominated by his response to the Quinisext Council, whose canons he refused to accept. Thereupon the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II ordered Sergius' abduction (as his predecessor Constans II had done with Pope Martin I), but the Roman people and the Italian militia of the Exarch of Ravenna refused to allow the exarch to remove Sergius to Constantinople.

(five ancient sees
ordered by the
Council of Ephesus
in 431)
First seven ecumenical councils
Recognized by the
Catholic Church
Partly recognized by the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Partly recognized by the
Oriental Orthodox Church

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