Henoticon

A decree of union issued by Zeno* in 482. Monophysite bishops had succeeded to the sees of Alexandria (Timothy, 457) and Antioch (Peter, 470), and with Basiliscus's usurpation in 475 there was a Monophysite emperor on the throne. Basiliscus's encyclical anathematizing the Council of Chalcedon, however, had so enraged the Greeks that he had been forced to withdraw it. When Zeno regained the throne in 476 his policy, therefore, was one of conciliation between the orthodox and the Monophysites.* With the aid of Acacius he issued the “Henoticon.” It took the form of a letter addressed by the emperor “to the bishops, clergy, monks, and faithful of Alexandria, Libya and Pentapolis,” declaring the sufficiency of the creeds of Nicea and Constantinople (381) and the Twelve Anathemas of Cyril. It denounced any contrary doctrine to these “whether taught at Chalcedon or elsewhere,” and in particular denounced the doctrines of Nestorius and Eutyches. But by tacitly setting aside Leo's Tome* and the Chalcedon Definition,* the Henoticon had made an important concession to the Monophysites which the Western Church could not accept. After an angry controversy Pope Simplicius excommunicated Acacius, Peter of Alexandria (Timothy's successor), and Zeno himself. Thus began the first ecclesiastical schism between East and West.