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Acacian Schism

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The '''Acacian Schism''' was short break in communion between the Churches of [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] and [[Church of Rome|Rome]] during the late fifth and early sixth centuries, caused by the publication of the ''[[Henoticon]]'', an attempt by Emperor [[Zeno (emperor)|Zeno]] of the Eastern Roman Empire to force a reconciliation between the Orthodox and the [[Monophysitism |Monophysites]] after the [[Fourth Ecumenical Council]]. The [[Henoticon]] was prepared by the [[Patriarch]] of Constantinople [[Acacius of Constantinople|Acacius]] at the request of the Emperor in the late fifth century. Acacius’ name was applied to the [[schism]] as he became the center piece in the resulting dispute among [[Zeno (emperor)|Zeno]], [[Acacius of Constantinople|Acacius]], and Felix III of Rome.
While the Council of [[Chalcedon]] of 451 established the Orthodox position in regard to ''Monophysitism'', and establishing it as a [[heresy]], the issue remained a divisive issue in the Church due to imperial political considerations for many decades. The heresy was popular in Syria and Egypt and grew in other parts of the Eastern Empire where Constantinople was not popular. Patriarch [[Proterius of Alexandria|Proterius]] of Alexandria was murdered in 457 and replaced by a [[Timothy II Aelurus of Alexandria|Timothy II Aelurus]], a Monophysite, who after he died in 477 was replaced by the Orthodox, Bishop John I Talaia, who after he offended Zeno, was replaced in 482, by the Monophystic leaning Peter Mongus. The thrones of [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]] and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]] were also occupied by Monophysites: Peter Gnapheus (Fullo) and Theodosius respectively.
Thus, by the time Emperor Zeno came to the throne in 474, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were in the hands of [[hierarch]]s who were disposed to Monophysitism. While Zeno was a friend of Peter Gnapheus and sympathized with the Monophysites, he came to the throne as a defender of Orthodoxy. His defense of the Orthodox position was also forced by his rival for the throne, Basiliscus, who had made himself the protector of the Monophysites. Confronted with a severely divided empire, Zeno looked for a means to reconcile the parties and unify the Church. Zeno took the side of the Orthodox bishops, but he also wanted to placate his friends in Egypt and Syria.
The letter endorsed the decrees of the [[First Ecumenical Council|First]] and [[Second Ecumenical Council]]s held in [[Nicea]] and [[Constantinople]] respectively and the position followed by the Fathers at the [[Third Ecumenical Council|Third Council]] at Ephesus. The [[heretic]]s [[Nestorius]] and [[Eutyches]] were condemned and the twelve Chapters of [[Cyril of Alexandria]] were endorsed. The Henoticon stated that Christ is God and man, one, not two. His miracles and Passion are the works of one (but it did not say whether person or nature) and those who caused division or confusion, or introduced a phantasy, that is affirm an appearance, were condemned, and that one of the [[Holy Trinity|Trinity]] was incarnate. The text of the letter was meant to satisfy everyone. Yet the Henoticon carefully avoided speaking to the nature or person of Christ, ignoring the Orthodox position of ''one Christ in two natures'', and used the expression of Peter Gnapheus that ''one of the Trinity was incarnate''. Further the letter only named the first three councils with honor and did not mention the decrees of Chalcedon, as a concession to Monophysitism.
The Henoticon did not accomplish what Zeno had hoped. Zeno was able to persuade Acacius to accept the Henoticon which was remarkable as Acacius stood firmly for the Orthodox faith during Zeno’s confrontation with Basiliscus, although his dispute with John Talaia and support for [[Peter III of Alexandria|Peter Mongus ]] makes his Orthodox leanings appear weaker. The Henoticon offended many by its omissions rather than by its assertions. Some of the Monophysites accepted it, notably Peter Mongus, which thereby secured him the position as Patriarch of Alexandria, while his Orthodox rival, [[John Talaia]], was exiled, having refused to sign it. John went on to appeal his dismissal to Rome. Peter Gnapheus of Antioch also accepted Zeno’s new law. The extreme Monophysites rejected the Henoticon outright. The Church of Rome found the document unacceptable and completely rejected it. Even in the face of these objections Zeno published the Henoticon in 482 and deposed the Orthodox bishops and extreme Monophysites who refused to accept the compromise.

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