Did Rome Have Universal, Ordinary, and Immediate Jurisdiction at the Council of Ephesus? | Part I | Rebuttal to Catholic Apologist Erick Ybarra


The Council of Ephesus

Mr. Ybarra wrote an article (found here) stating Pope St. Celestine exercised universal, ordinary, and immediate jurisdiction in his condemnation of Nestorius. It is an attractive theory and one you could believe if all you read were quote mines and you had an agenda but we will analyze Mr. Ybarra’s claims in separate posts (parts II and III of this series are found here and here). 

There is quite a bit to unpack in Mr. Ybarra’s article but there are three main points:

  1. His main thesis is that the act of the Roman Synod condemning and deposing Nestorius was an act of universal ordinary papal jurisdiction as defined by Vatican I in Pastor Aeternus and that it was recognized as such by the Fathers at the Council of Ephesus.
  2. That Pope St. Celestine “paused” or “extended” the ten day sentence against Nestorius on word of an ecumenical council being called.
  3. That the Council of Ephesus was obedient to the Pope and simply accepted the judgement from Roome without question.

To the contrary, it will be argued that:

  1. The Roman Synod condemning and deposing Nestorius was not an act of universal ordinary papal jurisdiction but was a standard act for synods in general.
  2. There was no pause or extension for any reason to the ten day period allotted to Nestorius by the Roman Synod.
  3. The council was not characterized either as ‘pope vs. the council’ or ‘council obeys pope’ but rather as analogous to the role of a metropolitan working with his synod and was exemplified in the courteous back and forth requests for ratification from the pope and Roman legates on the one hand and the bishops present on the other.

All quotations from Mr. Ybarra are given in blue italicized script to differentiate them from other block quotations, which I have provided.

After Mr. Ybarra’s initial summary of events, he provides a quotation which he cites from Migne but, like most of his material he does not acquire from NewAdvent, he actually acquired from E. Gile’s work “Documents Illustrating Papal Authority” page 239. He does not reference the translation despite stealing it wholesale from said book. This is important because Mr. Ybarra reads neither Greek nor Latin yet he is referencing a collection entirely in those languages so he is not only unaware of what is between those ellipses but if the translation is actually accurate in the first place. The quotation follows:

Erick: Cyril sends greetings… It would be more agreeable if we could keep silence, but God demands of us vigilance, and ancient church custom requires me to inform your holiness… I have hitherto observed a profound silence… I was unwilling openly to sever communion with him until I had laid these facts before you. Deign therefore to decide what seems right, whether we ought to communicate at all with him, or to tell him plainly that no one communicates with a person who holds and teaches what he does. Further, the purpose of your holiness ought to be made known by letter to the most religious and God-loving Bishops of Macedonia, and to all Bishops of the East, for we shall then give them, according to their desire, the opportunity of standing together in unity of soul and mind, and lead them to contend earnestly for the orthodox faith which is being attacked (St. Cyril to Pope St. Celestine, PL 77.80)

There really is nothing controversial here. The Pope, being the highest ranking bishop is, as St. Cyril affectionately refers to him later on, “the archbishop of the world”[1] and in such a high profile case, it would be necessary to muster support for one’s cause, especially considering the history of poor relations between Alexandria and Constantinople. This is buffeted by the fact that Cyril does not say he has not severed communion with Nestorius but that he simply has not done so openly.

Erick: Notice that St. Cyril felt obliged to inform the Pope by the ancient custom of the Church. This is a Bishop of the pre-eminent See of Alexandria (First of the East) who is accusing another Bishop of an Eastern See (Constantinople) with heresy, and he senses the obligation to inform the Western Bishop of Rome. That right there is striking. One might ask, if St. Cyril is writing in 430, what precedent could there have been prior to this point that would motivate him to refer to this on the principle of “ancient” church custom? What precisely is this ancient thing, and what makes it ancient by St. Cyril’s time? […] In any case, it seems well established by his time that Rome is the final arbiter on any and all disciplinary and even doctrinal cases, and he simply felt the obligation to act accordingly.

“Final arbiter” or simply the head of the bishops and so must be involved just as a metropolitan is involved in the disciplinary matters going on within his synod?

Erick: “If he, Nestorius, persists, an open sentence must be passed on him…and so, appropriating to yourself the authority [auctoritate] of our See, and using our position, you shall with resolute severity carry out this sentence, that either he shall within ten days, counted from the day of your notice, condemn in writing this wicked assertion of his….or if he will not do this he will know that he is in every way removed from our body….We have written the same to our brothers and fellow Bishops John, Rufus, Juvenal, and Flavian, so our judgment about him, or rather the divine sentence of our Christ, may be known” (ibid.)

This is no vote-of-one from the West, as some skeptics of Papal authority might be tempted to say. This is not a motion from someone under the impression that they have a wonderful primacy, yet one of mere honor or moral influence. On the contrary, this Pope insists that his motion had the authority to carry out an “open sentence” of excommunication, by the “divine sentence” of Jesus Christ, upon the Bishop of Constantinople.

Pope St. Celestine


The term Pope St. Celestine uses for “authority” is “auctoritas” and for further information on it, read Prof. Pollman’s article on its usage in Latin Patristics found here. It has nothing to do with an juridical power (“potestas”) but in this case, aside from simply referring to prestige, it refers to the ability to confirm others in their exercises of power. In this case, St. Celestine is simply saying he pre-approves whatever it is St. Cyril needs to be done and he has the full backing of Rome.

Further, this decision to excommunicate Nestorius comes not from Pope St. Celestine alone but from the Roman Synod headed by him.[2] In other words, if Mr. Ybarra wants to prove an instance of universal immediate and ordinary papal jurisdiction, he will need to provide an example of a pope excommunicating a prelate without the assistance of a council because synods deposing, not just breaking communion but actually condemning and deposing, clerics both within their realm and outside of their realm were exceptionally common. Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria deposed Patriarch Domnus of Antioch, Bl. Theodoret of Cyr, Patriarch St. Flavian of Constantinople, Ibas of Edessa, and other clerics at the Robber Synod of Ephesus in 449 and despite Pope St. Leo claiming to have undone the depositions, those depositions were considered valid enough that no small time was spent within the Acts of Chalcedon to canonically reversing them [3], which begs the question: if the depositions are outside of the rights of the synods issuing them, there is absolutely no reason to canonically undo them as canonically undoing them would simply lend credence to their validity in the first place. Even in the case of Domnus of Antioch, St. Leo accepted communion with his successor, Maximus of Antioch and therefore accepted the deposition as valid and this is how the papal legal, Paschasinus, argues. (Acts of Chalcedon, 10:144)

Other examples include the famed Origen of Alexandria who, years after leaving Alexandria and being ordained by a bishop in Caesarea, was deposed from the priesthood by the Synod of Alexandria [4]. Much the same, St. John Chrysostom deposes many bishops throughout what is now Turkey for corruption and simony [5] long before that area was considered part of Constantinople’s patriarchate. We even have an instance from the Acacian Schism in which Pope St. Damasus, supposedly a proponent of papal supremacy, tells Faustus that any bishop in any place and at any time could have deposed Bl. Acacius for heresy [6]. This was not limited to bishops either as Pelagius and Celestius, two laymen, were condemned for heresy by a council in Carthage years after they had left North Africa in 418. In fact, in the seventh session as of the Council of Ephesus and again in the letter of the Council to Pope St. Celestine, the bishops mention Patriarch John of Antioch bringing metropolitans with him who were currently deposed from their sees. Had Patriarch John been the one to depose them, he would not have brought them, which means they were Antiochian bishops deposed by someone other than the Patriarch of Antioch [7]. The examples go on and on but this was nothing specific to the Roman pontiff.

Erick: This particular Pope of Rome happens to be venerated by not just Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but also the Coptic Orthodox Church. And yet, it is of this Pope that Anglican Patristics scholar, J.N.D. Kelly, describes in the following terms:

“In his correspondence and through his legates at the Council Celestine repeatedly asserted, with an unprecedented insistence, the Pope’s claim, as successor and living representative of St. Peter, to paternal oversight of the entire Church, Eastern no less than Western“ (Oxford Dictionary of Pope, Pg. 42)

But this begs the question: what exactly is “paternal oversight”? Mr. Ybarra just uncritically assumes it means “universal immediate jurisdiction.” St. Celestine himself describes it as “solicitude,”[8] a word commonly used by the Popes of Rome to describe their role and it is really simply analogous to the care a metropolitan would have over his synod. The term means “uneasiness of mind, care, disquiet, anxiety,…” Nothing about universal ordinary and immediate papal jurisdiction.

Erick: We can tell from the context here that the St. Celestine believed it was well within his authority as the successor of St. Peter to exercise immediate jurisdiction in the matter with Nestorius. What do I mean by “immediate”? I don’t mean that he decided to isolate himself from his brother Bishops in the process. Quite to the contrary, Pope St. Celestine, just after receiving that first letter from St. Cyril cited above, as already alluded, convened a Council in Rome, and it was through a synodal process that they reached the conclusion that Nestorius’s beliefs were heterodox. Only after this does the Pope write to St Cyril dispatching him with the authority of the See of Peter to carry out the open sentenc eof excommunication. But that also does not mean that the Pope’s authority is not flattened with the Bishops. As president of the Apostolic See, he has the authority to convene and ratify what is even synodally reached, making his primacy of significance.

Here, almost comically, he reveals he does not understand what it takes to prove his point: just as if you wanted to prove that pigs can fly, you need to present a pig that can fly, Mr. Ybarra needs an example of a pope, without a synod, deposing another bishop to prove that the pope can, without a synod, depose another bishop. Simple, right? Apparently not. If you cannot provide that example, it is simply another synod (albeit with more prestige) deposing another bishop. In order to show us that the Pope has always had immediate, as opposed to a mediate or an appellate, jurisdiction in the Church, he has to show examples of the Pope doing the type of things immediate jurisdiction allows him to do, such as circumventing synods to depose clerics. This was one of the key tenets of the 11th century Dictatus Papae and what made is so shocking to the rest of the Church: that the pope does not require the assistance of other bishops to depose a bishop[9].

In addition, Mr. Ybarra shows he does not know what “immediate” means in Catholic canon law when he writes: “What do I mean by “immediate”? I do not mean that he intended to isolate himself from his brother bishops in the process….it was through a synodal process that they reached the conclusion that Nestorius’ beliefs were heterodox.” That would constitute “mediate jurisdiction” as it is mediated via a synod. “Immediate jurisdiction” means the pope has the same type of access to a believer that a person’s local bishop has and the pope can exercise it without hinderance. When the pope decides not to take an immediate channel to that person (say they are a raging heretic) but goes through that person’s bishop, he is exercising mediate jurisdiction. On the other hand, in his failed attempt to define “immediate jurisdiction,” Mr. Ybarra accidentally gives a hat tip to the fact that the Pope is the president of the synod and his ratification is, under normal circumstances (i.e. that he is not in heresy) required just as the ratification of the other patriarchal sees.

Erick: The 10 day stipulation which the Pope gave for Nestorius to recant of his error expired on December 17th. However, before notice of this had reached the Emperor Theodosius II, the latter had issued a summons for a Synod to be assembled in Ephesus on November 19th for the examination of Nestorius’s doctrine against the standard of the holy fathers. Thus by the time the letters sent by St. Cyril and St. Celestine reached Constantinople, by four messengers, the Imperial summons to convene at Ephesus had already been spreading abroad. Of course, Nestorius himself had not heeded the threat of excommunication from the Pope, believing the Council could afford him opportunity to defend himself. John, Bishop of Antioch, urged him to submit to the Pope’s letter. Also, when Nestorius reached Ephesus, the Bishop of Ephesus, Memnom, locked the doors of the churches to Nestorius. Apparently, they understood the Papal letter of St. Celestine to have been effective.

Mr. Ybarra leaves out several details here. First, after the Roman Synod met and issued a condemnation of Nestorius, they sent out letters to various sees. Second, Mr. Ybarra leaves out that the Alexandrian Synod then met and added its own condemnation to that of Rome’s so it is a double condemnation they are reacting to and in a city (Ephesus) that stands for what Nestorius refuses (the veneration of the Mother of God) so there is far more at play than just “Rome spoke.” Third, St. Cyril, without asking anyone, attached his famous “12 Anathemas” to the sentence of the Alexandrian Synod and then added that to the dossier that included the sentence from Rome [10]. As J.N.D. Kelly points out:

“After holding a synod at Alexandria, he dispatched a third, more lengthy epistle to Nestorius appending twelve anathemas which he required him to subscribe […] Cyril’s action in promulgating these [the 12 anathemas] was most ill-judged. The Pope had never asked for a fresh definition to be drafted, and the form he gave them could not fail to shock and alienate moderate Antiochenes.”[11]

McGuckin follows him:

“When the Roman verdict was communicated to Alexandria, it was the occasion for Cyril to convoke his own synod of Egyptian bishops. They formally repeated in November of the same year, the condemnation of Nestorius’ doctrine, and whereas the Roman synodical letter had not made a Christological exposition, Cyril remedied the defect and ensured that his own church would supply one.

“This he did in two forms. The first amounts to his Third Letter to Nestorius, which is a general statement of the Alexandrian position to which Rome itself had given its assent. The second was to raise storms of controversy, for he appended to the letter a list of twelve propositions to be formally renounced by Nestorius (the Twelve Chapters, or Anathemas) if he wished to avoid the sentence of condemnation from the churches of Rome and Alexandria. Cyril made acceptance of the anathemas a condition of Nestorius’s readmission to communion, and therefore designed the exposition of Alexandrian Christology propositionally in the most direct fashion, in primary colours as it were, specifically determined to deny the major premises of Nestorius’ thought, and to allow him no room for verbal manouevring.

“Rome’s vague desire that Nestorius should recant his opposition to the Theotokos doctrine and profess a consonant faith, had left the door open to a large measure of possible adjustment between the different theological positions, given that a broad agreement on single-subject Christology had been secured.”[12]

So no, Pope St. Celestine, St. Cyril, and their allies did not consider the council as “extending” the ten day sentence, they saw it as in force. It was only the heretics who saw it as extended and Mr. Ybarra has oddly decided to accept the view of heretics, we should not be surprised, though because, well… 

Erick: In any case, when St. Cyril came to find out that Nestorius procured an Imperial summons to an Ecumenical Council in Ephesus, he wrote a letter to the Pope inquiring whether the hammer of excommunication is to be considered to have dropped, or should the Council examine Nestorius afresh? A copy of this letter is actually lost, but we have the response of the Pope to St. Cyril’s question:

“We are replying briefly to your holiness…You ask whether the holy Synod [of Ephesus] ought to receive a man who condemns what it preaches; [emphasis mine] or, because the time of delay has elapsed, whether the sentence already delivered is in force. Concerning this matter let us consult the Lord in whose worship we are united. Will he not answer us straightway through the prophet, ‘I do not desire the death of the one who dies’; and through the apostle Paul that he ‘willeth all men to be saved and come to know the truth’? Never is a quick repentance displeasing to God in any man” (Celestine, Epistle 16; E. Giles, Pg. 244)

This shows that St. Cyril himself did not know whether to understand the convening of an Ecumenical Council to have annulled the excommunication of the Pope and allowed for a fresh trial. Unfortunately, the Pope’s letter which makes clear that he intended a fresh trial to be allowed for Nestorius, although on the same criteria already laid down, did not arrive to St. Cyril until it came with the Papal legates to the Council of Ephesus in Session II (they were delayed in travel). Thus, Session I of the holy Synod was convened without knowing whether the Pope was willing to extend the time for the allowance of Nestorius to recant or not.

Not quite. First, St. Celestine never indicates anywhere that he intended a fresh trial and this contradicts what Mr. Ybarra has stated elsewhere in his article. In fact, he and his legates state quite the opposite [13]. Second, the translation Mr. Ybarra is using is actually incorrect. E. Giles obtained the quotation from the Catholic apologist Dom Chapman (the footnotes on the page Mr. Ybarra cites indicate this) and Giles uncritically passes it on. Chapman mistranslates the first sentence of the quotation to try and obscure an embarrassing point: everyone considered condemnation from Rome to have gone through and to be in force. To Rome and Alexandria, Nestorius was already a persona non grata and the council was a chance for more bishops to weigh in on the dispute. The Latin of Celestine is clear and he repeats St. Cyril’s question before he answers:

“Etenim qaeris utrum sancta synodis recipere debeat hominem a se praedicta damnatem: an quia iuduciarum tempus emensum eat, sententia dudum lata perduret.”[14]

Lest I be accused of bias in my own translation, the official translation from the Vatican as contained in Pope Pius XI’s encyclical “Lux Veritatis” follows[15]:

“[You ask] whether the holy Synod ought to receive the man on his condemning the things which he had preached, or whether, because the appointed time had now run out, the sentence long since passed must abide.”

St. Celestine then continues that God never rejects a repentant sinner and that if he repents, he should be accepted by the upcoming council. In the translation Mr. Ybarra’s uses, there is the nonsensical situation of Nestorius somehow condemning what the council teaches (present tense) prior to the council even convening and issuing a dogmatic statement. There is no mention of “pausing” or “postponing” the sentence as Mr. Ybarra asserts. It had gone through and, with the condemnation from Alexandria, was in force until Nestorius recanted and those opposed to Nestorius took full advantage of this while those who sided with him simply ignored it. As McGuckin points out:

“Nestorius must have had great cause for misgiving; from the moment of his arrival the local bishop had refused to communicate with him, and barred his churches to him, treating him like a canonical defendant (as he technically was since the Roman synod had found against him) who had to be heard in council before he could be rehabilitated. On Cyril’s arrival this was the policy the latter also adopted.”

“Memnon [of Ephesus] was undoubtedly hostile to all that Nestorius stood for, but his closure of the churches to him was in strict accordance with ecclesiastical protocol once the results of the Roman synod had been publicly notified…”

“Cyril lobbied extensively himself, but refused to communicate in any way with Nestorius, a public sign that he regarded the Roman verdict as having already settled the matter in hand.”

“The Council then moved on to enquire what was Nestorius’ response to these canonically delivered sentences against him. The Emperor Theodosius, Nestorius relying on him, might well have regarded the decision of the two synods as having been ‘set aside’ by the subsequent convocation of a general council to adjudicate the matter. As all the other bishops knew, however, although it was within the purview of a council to set aside the condemnations if it saw fit, it was not within the right of the Emperor to nullify them in advance, in the way he had presumed.”[16]

Again, it is clear there was no extension to the Roman verdict in the eyes of Pope St. Celestine, St. Cyril, and their allies. For them, the up and coming council would simply be a place to add names to the condemnation of Nestorius and his teachings and it is to that which we turn to next. 

To be continued in Part II (here).

[1] Patraologia Graeca 77, 1040

[2] St. Cyril’s Third Letter to Nestorius “Behold, therefore, how we, together with the holy synod which met in great Rome, presided over by the most holy and most reverend brother and fellow-minister, Celestine the Bishop, also testify by this third letter to you, and counsel you to abstain from these mischievous and distorted dogmas,” and “The holy synod of Rome and we all agreed on the epistle written to your Holiness from the Alexandrian Church as being right and blameless.

[3] “The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon” Translated and Edited by Fr. Richard Price

[4] “Finally, at a much later period, under Pontian of Rome and Zebinus of Antioch (Eusebius, VI, xxiii), he journeyed into Greece, passing through Caesarea where Theoctistus, Bishop of that city, assisted by Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, raised him to the priesthood. Demetrius, although he had given letters of recommendation to Origen, was very much offended by this ordination, which had taken place without his knowledge and, as he thought, in derogation of his rights. If Eusebius (VI, viii) is to be believed, he was envious of the increasing influence of his catechist. So, on his return to Alexandria, Origen soon perceived that his bishop was rather unfriendly towards him. He yielded to the storm and quitted Egypt (231). The details of this affair were recorded by Eusebius in the lost second book of the “Apology for Origen”; according to Photius, who had read the work, two councils were held at Alexandria, one of which pronounced a decree of banishment against Origen while the other deposed him from the priesthood (Biblioth. cod. 118). St. Jerome declares expressly that he was not condemned on a point of doctrine.”

[5] Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, Book VIII, Ch. VI: “John having been informed that the churches in Asia and the neighborhood were governed by unworthy persons, and that they bartered the priesthood for the incomes and gifts received, or bestowed that dignity as a matter of private favor, repaired to Ephesus, and deposed thirteen bishops, some in Lycia and Phrygia, and others in Asia itself, and appointed others in their stead. The bishop of Ephesus was dead, and he therefore ordained Heraclides over the church. Heraclides was a native of Cyprus, and was one of the deacons under John: he had formerly joined the monks at Scetis, and had been the disciple of the monk Evagrius. John also expelled Gerontius, bishop of the church in Nicomedia. This latter was a deacon under Ambrosius, of the church of Milan; he declared, I do not know why, either with an intention to invent a miracle, or because he had been himself deceived by the art and phantasms of a demon, that he had seized something resembling an ass (ὀ νοσκελίς) by night, had cut off its head, and flung it into a grinding-house. Ambrose regarded this mode of discourse as unworthy of a deacon of God, and commanded Gerontius to remain in seclusion until he had expiated his fault by repentance. Gerontius, however, was a very skillful physician; he was eloquent and persuasive, and knew well how to gain friends; he therefore ridiculed the command of Ambrose, and repaired to Constantinople. In a short time he obtained the friendship of some of the most powerful men at court; and, not long after, was elevated to the bishopric of Nicomedia. He was ordained by Helladius, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who performed this office the more readily for him, because he had been instrumental, through his interest at court, in obtaining high appointment in the army for that functionary’s son. When Ambrose heard of this ordination, he wrote to Nectarius, the president of the church of Constantinople, desiring him to eject Gerontius from the priesthood, and not permit him and the ecclesiastical order to be so abused. However desirous Nectarius might have been to obey this injunction, he could never succeed carrying it into effect, owing to the determined resistance of the people of Nicomedia. John deposed Gerontius, and ordained Pansophius, who had formerly been preceptor to the wife of the emperor, and who, though a man of decided piety and of a mild and gentle disposition, was not liked by the Nicomedians. They arose in frequent sedition, and enumerated publicly and privately the beneficence of Gerontius, and on the liberal advantage derived from his science, and its generous and active use for the rich and poor alike; and as is usual when we applaud those we love, they ascribed many other virtues to him. They went about the streets of their own city and Constantinople as if some earthquake, or pestilence, or other visitation of Divine wrath had occurred, and sang psalms, and offered supplications that they might have Gerontius for their bishop. They were at length compelled to yield to necessity, and parted with grief and groans from Gerontius, receiving in his stead a bishop whom they regarded with fear and aversion. The bishops who had been deposed and all their followers declaimed against John, as the leader of a revolution in the churches, and as changing the rights of the ordained, contrary to the ancestral laws; and under the influence of their grievance, they condemned deeds done by him, which were worthy of praise according to the opinion of most people. Among other matters, they reproached him with the proceedings that had been taken against Eutropius.”

[6] Pope St. Damasus, Ep. IV Found in “Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova Et Amplissima Collectio Tomus Octavus” p. 17. He states: “Quod non solum praesuli apostolico facere licet, sed cuicumque pontifici, ut quoslibet et quemlibet locum, secundum regulam haerseos ipsius ante damnatae, a catholica communione discernant.”

[7] Letter of the Council to St. Celestine:
“For as soon as he had come to Ephesus, before he had even shaken off the dust of the journey, or changed his travelling dress, he assembled those who had sided with Nestorius and who had uttered blasphemies against their head, and only not derided the glory of Christ, and gathering as a college to himself, I suppose, thirty men, having the name of bishops (some of whom were without sees, wandering about and having no dioceses, others again had for many years been deposed for serious causes from their metropolises, and with these were Pelagians and the followers of Celestius, and some of those who were turned out of Thessaly), he had the presumption to commit a piece of iniquity no man had ever done before.”

[8] “Out of our solicitude, we have sent our holy brethren and fellow priests, who are at one with us and are most approved men, Arcedius, and Projectus, the bishops, and our presbyter, Philip, that they may be present at what is done and may carry out what things have been already decreed be us (quæ a nobis antea statuta sunt, exequantur).” Letter of St. Celestine to the Council of Ephesus.

[9] Decree III “He alone can depose or reinstate bishops.” and decree XXV: “He may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.”

[10] St. Cyril of Alexandria’s “Third Letter to Nestorius.” McGuckin “St. Cyril and the Christological Controversy,” p. 262

[11] J.N.D. Kelly “Early Christian Doctrines.” p. 324-5

[12] McGuckin “St. Cyril and the Christological Controversy” p. 44

[13] One glaring example is when the Roman legate Bishop Projectus says “Let your holiness consider the form of the writings of the holy and venerable pope Caelestine, the bishop, who has exhorted your holiness (not as if teaching the ignorant, but as reminding them that know) that those things which he had long ago defined, and now thought it right to remind you of, you might give command to be carried out to the uttermost, according to the canon of the common faith, and according to the use of the Catholic Church.”

[14] Letter 16 of Pope St. Celestine. Patrologia Latina 50. 501

[15] “Thus, when Cyril asked the Pontiff how he was to act in this matter, that is to say, “whether the holy Synod ought to receive the man on his condemning the things which he had preached, or whether, because the appointed time had now run out, the sentence long since passed must abide,” Celestine answered as follows: “It is for your holiness, together with the venerable council of brethren, to see that the disturbances that have arisen in the Church may be repressed, and when by the help of God the matter is finished, We may learn this from the correction which has been decided. We do not say that We are absent from your assembly; for We cannot be absent from those with whom, wheresoever they may be, We are joined together by one faith. . . We are there because We are thinking that which is being done there for all; We do that spiritually which We seem not to do in a bodily manner. We yearn for Catholic peace; We yearn for the salvation of him who is perishing, yet so if he will but confess his sickness. We say this that We may not seem to be wanting to one who is willing to correct himself. May he prove that We do not have feet swift to shed blood, when he knows that a remedy is offered also to him.”

[16] McGuckin “St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy” p. 57, 58, 59, and 84Fodd


5 thoughts on “Did Rome Have Universal, Ordinary, and Immediate Jurisdiction at the Council of Ephesus? | Part I | Rebuttal to Catholic Apologist Erick Ybarra

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