GRATSIANSKIY M.V., NORKIN K.V. In the Service of the Empire: Pope Zosimus and the Roman Synod of 417

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.1 

Mikhail V. Gratsianskiy

Candidate of Sciences (History), PhD, Leading Researcher,

Ecclesiastical Institutions Research Laboratory, St. Tikhons Orthodox University for the Humanities,

Likhov Lane, 6/1, office 408, 127051 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6981-3216 

Konstantin V. Norkin

Junior Researcher,

Ecclesiastical Institutions Research Laboratory, St. Tikhons Orthodox University for the Humanities,

Likhov Lane, 6/1, office 408, 127051 Moscow, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2725-345X 


Abstract. Introduction. The brief pontificate of Pope Zosimus (417–418) was marked by the Roman Synod in September 417, the decisions of which were of great importance both for the subsequent church-administrative development of Southern Gaul and for the development of the concept of papal primacy.

Methods. The task of the authors of the article is to analyse the church-political actions of Pope Zosimus in the broad historical context of the early 5th c. and to determine the degree of his independence in decision-making.

Analysis. The article analyses the measures of the Ravenna court to restore control over the region of Southern Gaul in the situation when the imperial administration lost this control as a result of mutinies and the arrival of barbarian tribes, as well as the role assigned to the Roman bishop in this process. In this context, the article investigates the events of the Roman Synod of September 417, at which church-political and church-administrative affairs related to Gaul and Africa were examined. There were considered two groups of cases, related to one another due to the involvement of same persons, who, in their turn, had been involved into ecclesiastical politics in Gaul during the usurpation of Constantine III. These persons, former bishop of Arles Heros, former bishop of Aquae Sextiae (Aix en Provence) Lazarus and bishop of Marseille Proculus, became subjects of conciliar condemnation. At the same time, within the framework of the same process, the Synod undertook the rehabilitation of Pelagius and Caelestius, who had previously been condemned by the African Synod and pope Innocent I (401–417). The latter circumstance actually implied the undermining of the authority of both Innocent and the papacy.

Results. The authors conclude that the agenda of the Synod was entirely dictated by state interests and aimed at eliminating the consequences of the usurpations in Southern Gaul and reintegrating this region into the administrative system of the Western Roman Empire.

Key words: emperor Honorius, Flavius Constantius, pope Zosimus, papal primacy, local primacy, Roman Synod of 417, Caelestius, Pelagius, Pelagianism, Southern Gaul.

Citation. Gratsianskiy M.V., Norkin K.V. In the Service of the Empire: Pope Zosimus and the Roman Synod of 417. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 6-23. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.6.1.

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In the Service of the Empire: Pope Zosimus and the Roman Synod of 417 by Gratsianskiy M.V., Norkin K.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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