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Council of Frankfort

Convened in the summer of 794

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Frankfort, COUNCIL OF, convened in the summer of 794, “by the grace of God, authority of the pope, and command of Charlemagne” (can. i), and attended by the bishops of the Frankish kingdom, Italy, and the province of Aquitania, and even by ecclesiastics from England. The council was summoned primarily for the condemnation of Adoptionism (q.v.). According to the testimony of contemporaries two papal legates were present, Theophylact and Stephen, representing Pope Adrian I. After an allocution by Charlemagne, the bishops drew up two memorials against the Adoptionists, one containing arguments from patristic writings; the other, arguments from Scripture. The first was the “Libellus sacrosyllabus”, written by Paulinus, Patriarch of Aquileia, in the name of the Italian bishops; the second was the “Epistola Synodica”, addressed to the bishops of Spain by those of Germany, Gaul, and Aquitania. In the first of its fifty-six canons the council condemned Adoptionism, and in the second repadiated the Second Council of Nicaea (787), which, according to the faulty Latin translation of its Acts (see Caroline Books), seemed to decree that the same kind of worship should be paid to images as to the Blessed Trinity, though the Greek text clearly distinguishes between latreia and proskunesis. The remaining fifty-four canons dealt with metropolitan jurisdiction, monastic discipline, superstition, etc.


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