Third Council of Constantinople

680. The sixth ecumenical council. With the rise of Islam in the middle of the seventh century, there was a marked attempt by the Eastern emperor to bring about unity and to induce the Monophysites back into the Orthodox Church. One of the ways by which this was attempted was through the emphasis called Monothelitism.* This was put forth by Emperor Heraclius in 638 along with the support of Patriarch Sergius. It stated simply that in Christ there were two natures, but not two wills. Christ was a single person and therefore acted with one will.

A few of the leaders in Egypt favored this new interpretation, but most of the Eastern Christians rejected the compromise. This council wanted to bring religious unity between Rome and Constantinople. Thus it rejected Monothelitism and restated the Chalcedonian definition, adding the interpretation that Christ had two wills as well as two natures. The council went on to anathematize the leaders of Monothelitism and reestablish the Orthodox faith. It also condemned the then dead Pope Honorius because he had sanctioned Monothelitism. Because of these decisions and the fact that Islam had taken over much of the Middle East, the Nestorian* and Monophysite* wings of the church became permanently separated from the Orthodox Church.