Carthage Constantinople and Rome

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di Stanislaw Adamiak

Miscellanea Historiae Pontificae 68

2015, pp. 194

IMPERIAL AND PAPAL INTERVENTIONS IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN BYZANTINE AFRICA (533-698)

The Byzantine period in North Africa was a point of convergence for three different conceptions of Church governance: the imperial administration was aiming to exercise full control over the ecclesiastical hierarchy

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di Stanislaw Adamiak

Miscellanea Historiae Pontificae 68

2015, pp. 194

IMPERIAL AND PAPAL INTERVENTIONS IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN BYZANTINE AFRICA (533-698)

The Byzantine period in North Africa was a point of convergence for three different conceptions of Church governance: the imperial administration was aiming to exercise full control over the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the popes were intent on treating African bishops as suffragans, whereas the bishops, them selves, were most eager to preserve the autonomous and conciliar character of their Church. Conflicts were also always in the offing as a result of deep theological differences: the African clergy was Latin speaking and very determined to defend strict Chalcedonian orthodoxy, whereas the emperors sometimes proposed more compromising solutions in the many Christological debates.
Dramatic events, such as the Vandal and Berber wars, the Three Chapters quarrel, the Monothelete crisis and the Arab invasions, inevitably have been more prominent in the annals of history, however, the history of the Church in Byzantine Africa was written not only in the dust of galloping cavalry squadrons and in the clamor of mutual anathemas in Christological quarrels. The proceedings and canons of the councils, the exchange of and canons of the concils, the exange of letters with Rome and Constantinople, and imperial rescripts have provided us with some valuable insights into the everyday problems of the African Church, and especially into the concerns that preoccupied her higher clergy. We saw long disputes over episcopal precedence and arguments over the issue of clerical appeals. Questions concerning matters of ecclesiastical propriety and the admittance of former heretics and schismatics into the clergy have been examined.

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