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THREE CHAPTERS

A sixth-century controversy involving Pope Vigilius and Emperor Justinian. The emperor had condemned three subjects: 1. the person and writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia; 2. certain writings of Theodoret against St. Cyril of Alexandria; and 3. the letter of Ibas of Edessa to Maris. Since all three were pro-Nestorian, the Emperor hoped in this way to conciliate the Monophysites. The Pope at first refused to ratify the Emperor's condemnation, but under compulsion later approved it. This was interpreted in the West as an act of weakness, and the Pope withdrew his approval. Soon after, the Second Council of Constantinople condemned the three chapters, and in 554 Pope Vigilius confirmed the council. The case of Pope Vagilius does not involve a breach of papal infallibility, but historians agree that the Pope allowed himself to be maneuvered by political powers.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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