The Greek text reproduced below is that given in Migne, Patrologia Graeca vol. 141, cols. 1019B-1028C. The English translation is my own, and is copyrighted.
ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ ΤΑΠΕΙΝΟΥ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ ΕΠΙΣΗΜΕΙΩΣΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΥΤΟΥ ΑΠΑΣΩΝ ΒΙΒΛΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΓΡΑΦΩΝ ΣΥΜΦΩΝΙΑΣ.
John, humble bishop of Constantinople : Notes on the harmony of his various books and writings.
|α´. Καὶ τὴν παροῦσαν δέξαι δὴ βίβλον, φίλον μοι /C/ ψυχῆς ἐνδιαίτημα, Κῦρι Θεόδωρε, ἣν ἡ μὲν τοῖς ἐκκλησιαστικοῖς ἐπισυμβᾶσα ταραχὴ καρπὸν τῆς ἐμῆς ἀνέδειξε διανοίας, ἡ δὲ διὰ ταῦτα ἐξορία καὶ φυλακὴ καὶ τῶν ἐμῶν χειρῶν πόνον εἰργάσαντο. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ πρεσβυτικοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς, καὶ χερσὶν ὁμοίαις ἀπᾷδον ἦν τὸ ἐγχείρημα, ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ πολλή τις ἀνάγκη τὸ τῆς βίβλου ἀπῄτει ἀντίγραφον, τοῦτο δὲ ταῖς τῶν ἐξ ἔθους ὑπηρετούντων ἡμῖν χερσὶν ἀνυστῆναι οἷόν τε οὐκ ἦν (καὶ πῶς γὰρ, εἴγε παρὰ τῶν τῆς ἀληθείας ἐχθρῶν, μηδὲ θέας τῶν ἁπάντων οὐδενὸς πλὴν τῶν φυλάκων μόνον ἐπαξιούνεθα;) Θεῷ, ὑπὲρ οὗ ταῦτα πάσχομεν, τὸ πᾶν ἀναθέμενοι, καὶ ἐπικεχειρήκαμεν τῷ ἔργῳ, καὶ τοῦ τέλους οὐκ ἠστοχήκαμεν. Δέξαι οὖν ταύτην τὴν πρὸς τὴν αὐτουργίαν τοῦ ἀντιγράφου ἀνάγκης τὸ αἴτιον, τὴν πικρὰν καὶ ἀπάν- /1021Α/ θρωπον εἰδὼς φυλακήν. Εἰ δὲ καὶ τὸν τῆς ἀντιγραφῆς αὐτῆς λόγον ἐθέλεις μαθεῖν, τοῦτο μεταποίησιν γίνωσκε εἶναι πολλῶν τῆς πρωτοτύπου βίβλου μερῶν. Ἵνα τί γένηται; Ἵνα τινὰ τῶν οἰκονομικωτέρων ἡμῖν ἐν τῇ πρωτοτύπῳ βίβλῳ διαληφθέντων ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν ἀντιγράφῳ ἀκριβεστέρων σχείη τὴν διόρθωσιν.||§1 Receive also this present book, honored Theodore, a beloved pastime of mine which the unrest that has befallen ecclesiastical affairs has exhibited as the fruit of my reflections, and which the exile and incarceration thereby incurred, and the labor of my own hands, have crafted. For even if the task were ill-suited to an old man’s eyes and hands, and this were not the sort of thing that our unpracticed hands were likely to bring to completion (and how could they, since, owing to the enemies of the truth, we are deemed unworthy of seeing anyone at all except our guards?), nevertheless, since there was great need for a copy of the book, we put all into God’s hands, for whose sake we suffer these things, and both attempted the work and have not failed of the goal. Accept it therefore, knowing that the cause of the book’s needing to be written out in my own hand has been my bitter and inhumane imprisonment. But if you would like to learn also the rationale behind this copy, know that it constitutes a rearrangement of many of the sections of the original book. Why is this? So that certain things which, in the original, we treated more in line with a principle of economy might, in the new copy, be set right by a more exact treatment.|
|β´. Ἐπεὶ γὰρ τὸ διὰ παντὸς τοῦ κατὰ τῶν τῆς ἀληθείας ἐχθρῶν ἀγῶνος ἡμῖν περισπούδαστον, ἐκεῖνό γε ἦν, τὸ πάντα τὰ παρ’ αὐτῶν ἐπὶ διαβολῇ τοῦ ὀρθοῦ προτεινόμενα δόγματος μὴ ταῖς οἴκοθεν, ἀλλὰ ταῖς ἐκ τῶν πατρικῶν θεολογιῶν ἐννοίαις ἀνατρέπειν καὶ διαλύειν, κἄν που καί τινος ἡμῖν οἰκονο- /Β/ μίας δεήσῃ, καὶ ταύτην μὴ ἂν ἄλλως ἢ κατὰ μίμησιν τῶν ἐκεῖνοις οἰκονομηθέντων μεταχειρίσασθαι (ὡς γὰρ ὁ τῆς θεολογίας ὅρος τε καὶ κανὼν ἄντικρυς Γρηγόριος, ἡ τοῦ πνεύματος ἀνάπαυλα, ἔφη, οὐδὲ τὰς ἐλαχίστας πράξεις εἰκῇ σπουδασθῆναι τοῖς ἀναγράψασι γέγονε, καὶ μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος μνήμη διασωσθῆναι, ἀλλ’ ἵν’ ἡμεῖς ἔχωμεν ὑπομνήματα καὶ παιδεύματα τῶν ὁμοίων, εἴ ποτε συμπέσοι καιρὸς διασκέχεως, οἷον κανόσι τισὶ καὶ τύποις τοῖς προλαβοῦσιν ἑπόμενοι παραδείγμασιν) οὔτε τὸ οἰκονομικῶς εἰπεῖν τινα κατὰ καιρὸν παρελείπομεν τὸν προσήκοντα, οὔτ’ αὐτοῦ καιροῦ τὴν ἀκρίβειαν ἀπαιτοῦντος, ταύτην παρείδομεν.||§2 For because the battle we have constantly waged with the enemies of the truth has been most intense, that is to say, our endeavor to overturn and obliterate all that they have set forth in their slandering of right doctrine, and in this battle we have made use, not of our own ideas, but of the ideas of the Fathers and Theologians of the Church, still, here and there we have been obliged to make use of a certain economy — and, in doing this, we have acted no otherwise than in imitation of the Fathers’ own acts of economy (for as Gregory, that definition and canon of theology, that resting-place of the Spirit, said: It was not for nothing that those who wrote paid attention to the smallest details, and kept them in remembrance to the present, but this was done so that we might have reminders and patterns of such things, so that, if ever a time for consulting them should occur, we might follow the examples received from former times as though they were canons and paradigms ) — for all these reasons, neither have we avoided speaking certain things in an economic way when this suited the times, nor have we been negligent when the moment demanded strict accuracy of speech.|
|γ´. Αὐτίκα τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς πρώτην οἰκονομίαν ἔδοξε /C/ μετελθεῖν, ὅτι γε οἱ τῆς ἀληθείας ἐχθροὶ τὰ μωρὰ καὶ ἄλογα πλήθη ἐξ ἀρχαίας εἰδότες προλήψεως, ἐπὰν ἀκούσειαν ἐκ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐκπορευόμενον, καὶ πρὸς μόνην δυσχεραίνοντα τὴν φωνὴν, αὐτοὶ μὲν ὡς τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ ἐκπόρευσιν τοῦ Πνεύματος λέγοντας ἡμᾶς, καὶ διδάσκοντας διαβάλλοντες, τοῦτο δὴ τὸ πρόχειρον τῆς καθ’ ἡμῶν ἐποιοῦντο σπουδῆς. Ἡμεῖς δὲ δέον ὃν τῆς φωνῆς ἡμᾶς ταύτης ἀντέχεσθαι, καὶ ἐπὶ συστάσει ταύτης ἀντιπροτείνειν ὁπόσα ὁ ἠγαπημένος καὶ ἐπισήθιος Εὐαγγελιστὴς ἐν τῇ Ἀποκαλύψει ἐκ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ δηλῶν τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐκπορευόμενον, ἔφη, ἀλλὰ δὴ καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα τῆς Γραφῆς ῥητὰ τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοῦ ἐκπόρευσιν ἀριδήλως διατρανοῖ, ἃ πάντα εἴσεται ὁ ζητητικὸς, ἐν οἷς ἡμεῖς /D/ τὴν ἀντίρρησιν τοῦ δεκάτου ἕκτου τῶν τοῦ Μοσχάμπαρ ἐσχεδιάσαμεν κεφαλαίων, τοῦτο μὲν οὐχ ἑτοίμως ἥμεν ποιοῦντες, τὸ δὲ πρὸς τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς δι’ Υἱοῦ ἐκπόρευσιν ἀναντίρρητον κατανοοῦντες αὐτῶν, καὶ ταύτην μηδὲν τῆς ἐξ ἀμφοῖν διαφέρειν εἰδότες ὡς ἀκριβῶς, αὐτοὶ μὲν τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς δι’ Υἱοῦ ἐκπόρευσιν στέργειν, καὶ πρεσβεύειν, τὴν δὲ καταλλαγὴν τῶν ἐξ ἀμφοῖν λεγόντων αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ τῆς ἐξ καὶ διὰ ἰσοδύναμον, ἀνεπιλήπτως ποιήσασθαι, πλατεῖ τῷ στόματι ἐπαρρησιαζόμεθα· ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ καὶ ὁ μέγας Ἀθανάσιος παρὰ τῶν τὰς τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις λεγόντων διενοχλούμενος, ὡς μὴ καλῶς δῆθεν τὴν πρὸς τοὺς μίαν ταύτην φρονοῦντας καταλλαγὴν μετερχόμενος τοὺς διενοχλοῦντας πάντας ἐμφράττειν εἶχεν, ὡς αὐτὸς μὲν τῆς τῶν τριῶν ὁμο- /1024A/ λογίας ὑποστάσεων ἀντεχόμενος, τὴν δὲ καταλλαγὴν τῶν μίαν λεγόντων ὑπόστασιν διὰ τὸ ἀπὸ τῶν σημασιῶν τῆς ὑποστάσεως ἐπὶ συνδρομῇ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φρονήματος σύμφωνον ἀνεπιλήπτως ποιούμενος.||§3 Right from the very start, it seemed good to pursue a first kind of economy. For since the enemies of the truth, because of their inveterate prejudice, would call to mind a crowd of foolish and irrational notions when they heard that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son,” and took offense at the very sound of this, these people made this an excuse for their campaign against us, slandering us for speaking and teaching about the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. But, as for us, it made sense for us to avoid using this expression, and instead, in its support, to put forward those things which the beloved evangelist who rested on Jesus’ breast said in the Apocalypse where he indicates that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son , not to mention all the other scriptural statements that make such a procession manifestly clear, all of which the inquisitive reader will find in those writings we devoted to refuting chapter 16 of Moschabar’s book. And we continued in this manner, not because it was really our preferred way of speaking; but, because we knew full well that they could not deny the procession from the Father through the Son, and we had an exact comprehension that this procession through differed in no way from a procession from both, because of the equivalence of “from” and “through,” we continually spoke openly and freely; on the one hand, we cherished and honored the procession from the Father through the Son, on the other hand we made it clear that, because of the equivalency of “from” and “through,” this incontestably effects a reconciliation with those who say “from both.” In just this way, Athanasius the Great, when he was being harassed by those who employed the expression “three hypostases,” who took offense at his pursuing reconciliation with those who held to a teaching of “one hypostasis,” was able to stop the mouths of all his critics; for he himself subscribed to the confession of three hypostases, but, by moving from the different senses of “hypostasis” to the underlying agreement of thought, he succeeded in reconciling those who spoke of “one hypostasis.”|
|δ´. Πρώτην μὲν οὖν ταύτην οἰκονομίαν οἱ τῆς πρωτοτύπου ἡμῶν βίβλου ἔχουσι λόγοι· δευτέραν δὲ τῆς πρώτης ἀποδέουσαν οὐδαμῶς, ὅτι γε τὴν ἐκ Πατρὸς δι’ Υἱοῦ, καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐξ ἀμφοῖν ὕπαρξιν τοῦ ζωαρχικοῦ Πνεύματος, ἐξ ὧν οἱ ἀντιδικοῦντες αὐτοὶ γραφικῶν ὡμολόγουν ἀποδεικνύντες ἡμεῖς, κἀντεῦθεν τὸ τῆς Ῥωμαϊκῆς Ἐκκλησίας συνάγειν ἔχοντες ἀνεπίληπτον, ἐξ ἑνὸς αἰτίου τοῦ Πατρός τε καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τὸ Πνεῦμα λεγούσης εἶναι τὸ ἅγιον, οὐχὶ τρανῶς τὴν τοιαύτην ἐλογογραφοῦμεν φωνὴν, ἀλλ’ ἐν πολλοῖς τῶν ἡμετέρων γρα- /Β/ φῶν μέρεσι τὰς εἰρημένας καταστρωννύντες γραφικὰς ῥήσεις συμπέρασμα πανταχοῦ τοῦ ὡς ἐξ ἑνὸς ἐποιούμεθα Θεοῦ, ἅτε δὴ πάντας τὴν τοιαύτην ὁρῶντες ἱλαρῶς προσιεμένους φωνήν. Τί τοῦτο ποιοῦντες; Τὴν οἰκονομίαν μετιόντες, ἣν ὁ τῆς θεολογίας ἐπώνυμος τῷ μεγάλῳ Βασιλείῳ προσμαρτυρεῖ ἐν οἷς περὶ αὐτοῦ φησιν·||§4 The arguments of the original copy of our book, therefore, exhibit this first kind of economy, as well as a second kind, quite independent of the first. For when we demonstrated, by texts which our own opponents accepted, the existence of the life-giving Spirit from the Father through the Son, that is to say also, from both, and when because of this we were able to infer that the Roman Church is blameless when it says that the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son as from a single cause, we did not express that statement in our writings overtly, but, scattering throughout our writings the aforementioned citations, we drew the conclusion everywhere that it is as from one God that he proceeds, so that all who come across such a statement might accept it favorably. Why did we act in this way? We were following economy, a practice the Theologian ascribes to Basil the Great in the passage where he says of him :|
|«Ὣς οἰκονομεῖν τοὺς λόγους ἐν κρίσει τῶν δικαίων ἐνόμιζε, μικρὸν ὅσον τὸν τοῦ πολέμου διαφέρων καιρὸν, καὶ τὴν τῶν αἱρετικῶν δυναστείαν, ἕως ὁ τῆς ἐλευθερίας καὶ τῆς αἰθρίας ἐπιλάβῃ καιρὸς, καὶ δῷ τῇ γλώσσῃ τὴν παρρησίαν.»||“He held it necessary to guide his words with discretion, and to endure for a while the time of war, and the ascendancy of the heretics, until it should be succeeded by a time of freedom and calm, which would admit of freedom of speech.”|
|Ἐπεὶ γὰρ διαφέρει μηδὲν ἐξ ἑνὸς Θεοῦ, ἣ ἐξ ἑνὸς αἰτίου, τόδε τι εἶναι εἰπεῖν, εἴγε πᾶν τὸ ἐκ Θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶναι λεγόμενον /C/ κατὰ μόνον τὸν τῆς αἰτίας, ἥκιστα κατὰ λόγον ἕτερον λέγεται· καὶ τῷ λόγῳ ἤδη προστίθημι τὸ τῆς θεολογικῆς ἐπίλοιπον ῥήσεως, ὥσπερ ὁ μέγας Πατὴρ, ἡμῶν Βασίλειος ὁ πολύς·||For it differs not at all to say that such and such a thing is “from one God” or to say that it is “from one cause,” if indeed everything that is said to be “from God” and “through God” is said to be so only on account of cause and not for any other reason. And to what is said above I add the rest of the Theologian’s statement about our great father, the remarkable Basil :|
|«Τῶν τῆς ἀληθείας ἐχθρῶν ζητούντων λαβέσθαι γυμνῆς τῆς περὶ τοῦ Πνεύματος φωνῆς, ὡς εἴη Θεὸς, ὅπερ ὄν ἀληθὲς ἀσεβὲς ἐκείνοις ὑπελαμβάνετο, καὶ τῷ κακῷ προστάτῃ τῆς ἀσεβείας, αὐτὸς ἐν ἄλλαις μὲν φωναῖς γραφικαῖς, καὶ μαρτυρίαις ἀναμφιλέκτοις ταυτὸν δυναμέναις οὕτως ἦγχε τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας, ὡς μηδ’ ἀντιβαίνειν ἔχειν, ἀλλ’ οἰκείαις συνδεῖσθαι φωναῖς· τὴν δὲ κυρίαν φωνὴν τέως ὑπερετίθετο, μηδεμίαν εἶναι ζημίαν ἡγούμενος, εἴγε μικρὸν τῶν λέξεων ὑπαλλαττομένων, φωναῖς ἄλλαις τὸ ἴσον διδάσκεται· ὅτι μηδ’ ἐν /D/ ῥήμασι μᾶλλον ἢ πράγμασιν ἡ σωτηρία ἡμῖν»·||“The enemies of truth were on the watch for the unqualified statement ‘the Spirit is God,’ which, although it is true, they and the wicked patron of their impiety imagined to be impious; accordingly, by the use of other terms, and by statements which unmistakably had the same meaning, he so overpowered his antagonists, that they were left without reply, and involved in their own admissions. He postponed for the time the use of the exact term, considering it no loss if, the terms being delayed for awhile, the same truth were taught in other terms. For our salvation is not so much a matter of words, as of realities.”|
|οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς, οἱ ὡς μαθηταὶ καὶ δοῦλοι τῷ διδασκάλῳ καὶ δεσπότῃ Βασιλείῳ ἑπόμενοι, τὸ ἐξ ἑνὸς Θεοῦ προτείνοντες, διὰ τὸ εὐπαράδεκτον, τὸ ἐξ ἑνὸς αἰτίου ἀνεβαλλόμεθα πρὸς καιρὸν, ἐκεῖνο πάντως καλῶς λογιζόμενοι, ὡς, ἐπὰν ὁ προσήκων ἡμῖν ἐνσταίη καιρὸς τὸ τῶν λέξεων ἰσοδύναμον παράσχοι ἂν ἡμῖν τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ ἀκριβεῖ τοῦ δόγματος παρρησίαν.||Thus we too, as disciples and servants following in the steps of our teacher and master Basil, put forth the more acceptable phrase “from one God” and deferred for a time the phrase “from one cause,” deeming it altogether proper that, when the right occasion should come, the equivalency of the terms might provide us freedom of speech, to declare the doctrine with all exactness.|
|ε´. Ὅπερ οὖν, ὡς προσεδοκᾶτο, καὶ γέγονεν. Οὐ πολὺ γὰρ τὸ ἐν μέσῳ, καὶ καιρὸς μὲν ἀληθῶς αἰθίας καὶ ἐλευθερίας ἡμῖν ἐπέστη οὐδεὶς, ὃν ὁ τῆς θεολογίας ἐπώνυμος καιρὸν εἶναι παρρησίας ἡγεῖτο, ἐπέστη δὲ ὅμως ὁ μάλιστα ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ χειμῶνος, καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτῷ δυναστείας αὐτὴν ἀπαιτῶν.||§5 That very thing, then, which was expected took place. For it was not long afterwards that, truly, the time of freedom and fair weather, that time which the Theologian deemed most suitable for free speech, came to an end for us — though it was, nevertheless, a time that demanded free speech because of the tempest and tyranny that were found in it.|
|/1025Α/ Ὅτε μὲν γὰρ τὰ περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἐλογογραφεῖτό μοι πρώτως εἰρήνης, ἐλπίς τις ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀντιλέγουσι περιθάλπουσά με μεταβολῆς. Ὁ γὰρ ἀγαθῷ συνειδότι οὐδὲν οὕτω ῥᾴδιον ἔχων εἰς τὸ πάσης ἐθελοβούλου ἰδιορρυθμίας τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀνταλλάττεσθαι, τί ἂν ἄλλο περὶ τῶν ἄλλων διανοηθείη ποτέ; ὥσπερ τις ἀγαθὴ ἀνέπειθε σύμβουλος τῶν, ὡς εἴρηται, πατρικῶν μεμνῆσθαι οἰκονομιῶν, καὶ παντὶ σθένει τὰς πρὸς τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας ὁμιλίας ἐξομαλίζοντα, δι’ ἐκείνων ταύτας τῶν λόγων ποιεῖσθαι, οἷς ἱλαρώτερον οὗτοι τὰς ἀκοὰς προσέχουσι μάλιστα. Μέντοι γε καὶ τοὺς ῥηθέντας οἰκονομικοὺς μετῄειν λόγους ἐγώ.||For when I initially wrote on the subject of ecclesiastical peace, I had nourished some hope that my opponents might come to a change of heart. For when a person of good conscience finds nothing more congenial to him than to exchange self-willed intransigence for the truth, what else would he ever think about other people? Like some good counselor he advises his hearers to bear in mind, as we said before, the fathers’ own acts of economy, and, with all his ability, he tones down his language towards his opponents, to make it possible for them to give what he is saying a fair hearing. At any rate, it was the aforementioned principles of economy that I followed.|
|ς´. Ὥτε δὲ τῶν πραγμάτων ἀλλοιωθέντων, τὰ /Β/ ἑκκλησιαστικὰ τὴν, ὡς ἅπασιν ἔγνωσται, φαυλοτάτην σύγχυσιν συνεχύθη, καὶ οἱ τοῦ ψεύδους ἡγεμόνες καὶ ἀρχηγοὶ μετὰ τὴν ἐν μέσοις ἀνακτόροις ἀντιπρόσωπον ἡμῶν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἅμιλλαν, τόσον τοῦ ἀληθοῦς κατηναιδεύσαντο δόγματος, ὥστε καὶ γραφαῖς τὰ πρόδηλα τῆς αὐτῶν αἱρέσεως παραδοῦναι, καὶ τόμους ἐκθέσθαι, ἢ στήλας ἀναστῆσαι τῆς αὐτῶν ἀσεβείας, εἴποι τις ἂν κυριώτερον καιρὸν εἶναι τοῦτον τῆς ἐπὶ τῇ ἀκριβείᾳ τοῦ δόγματος παρρησίας ἡμεῖς λογισάμενοι, ἐν ἰδίῳ τε τόμῳ τὰ ῥηθέντα δόγματα διελάβομεν, καὶ ὁ τόμος τὸν τρίτον τῶν τοῦ Κυπρίου αἱρέσεων ἀναπληροῖ ἔλεγχον, καὶ τὴν βίβλον ἀντιγραφῇ παραδοῦναι τῶν δεόντων διέγνωμεν, ὡς ἂν ὁ τόμος οὗτος, τῆς ἀντιγράφου /C/ γεγονὼς μέρος, τὸ ἱκανὸν πρὸς ἐπισημείωσιν ἕξει, ὧν ἡμεῖς μεταποιήσεων ἐπὶ πολλοῖς τῶν προτέρων λόγων ἡμῶν ἐποιησάμεθα μέρεσιν. Ἔστι μὲν οὖν τῶν οἰκονομικωτέρως εἰρημένων λέξεων τὰς ἀκριβεστέρας ἀνταλλαττόμενοι, ἔστι δὲ οὗ καὶ περικοπὰς ὅλας αὐτῶν διαγράφοντες.||§6 But when the situation changed, and the state of the Church became confused, as everyone knows, with a most miserable confusion, and the guides and leaders of falsehood, after our face-to-face colloquy with them in the midst of the imperial palace, became so shameless towards the true doctrine as to give plain documentary evidence of their heresy, and to publish Tomes, or rather, set up monuments of their own impiety — then, since we reckoned it might be said this was an especial time for speaking plainly about doctrine, with all exactness, we treated of the aforesaid doctrines in a tome unto itself; and the tome furnished a third refutation of the heresies of Cyprius, and we resolved to commit the book to a revision because of the things which were needed. For this reason, this volume, which constitutes a part of the revision, includes a fitting notification of the rearrangements and changes which we have made to many parts of our earlier treatises. There are places where expressions that were given in a more economic manner are exchanged for more exact ones, and places where whole passages have been crossed out.|
|ζ´. Σὺ γοῦν, τὴν βίβλον ταύτην δεξάμενος, ἐπεὶ τὰ προηγησάμενα τῆς πρωτοτύπου ἀντίγραφα ἐς τόσον μέτρου προελθεῖν οἶδας, ὡς ἐν πολλαῖς τῶν ἡμετέρων γενέσθαι αὐτὰ πόλεων, ἴσθι μὲν τῇ νέᾳ ταύτῃ ἐπιψηφιζομένους ἡμᾶς τὰ πρωτεῖα, μὴ μέντοι γε καὶ ἀργίαν ἁπασῶν καταψηφιζομένους ἐκείνων. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ τῶν ἀκριβεστέρων περιληπτική ἐστιν αὔτη, ἀλλ’ ἡ ἐν αὐτῇ ἐπισημείωσις τῶν ἐν ἐκείναις οἰκονομικώτερον εἰρημένων κἀκείνας ἐπικυροῖ. Ἐπεὶ καὶ πολλὰ τῶν /D/ ἐκταδικώτερον ἐν ἐκείναις διειλημμένων πρὸς τὸ συνεσταλμένον ἐν ταύτῃ ἔστιν εὑρεῖν·||§7 So then, when you have received this book, since you are aware that earlier copies of the original have been produced to such an extent that they may be found in many of our cities, understand that, while we give our preference to this new version, we do not reject all the other copies as useless. For even if, for reasons of its exactness, this is the one to accept, nevertheless the notification given in this version to the things spoken in an economic way in the others sanctions and confirms the others. For the fact is, many of the things which were treated more diffusely in those versions are to be found in a more concise form in this one.|
|καὶ οὐ δεῖ πάντως τὴν συστολὴν ταύτην εἰς ἀργίαν λογίζεσθαί τινα τῶν ἁπάντων, ἀλλὰ τὸν λόγον εἰδότα τῆς συστολῆς τῆς ἡμετέρας καρπὸν διανοίας ἡγεῖσθαι, ἐπ’ οὐδεμιᾷ ἐναντιοφωνίᾳ, καὶ τὰς ἐν αἷς ἡμεῖς τὸ πλατυκώτερον τοῦ λόγου δεδώκαμεν. Ὁ δὲ τῆς συστολῆς λόγος, ὅτι μετὰ τὸ τὰς κατὰ Φωτίου, καὶ τοῦ Μεθώνης, Φουρνῆ τε, καὶ τοῦ Βουλγαρίας, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τῆς τοῦ Καματηροῦ βίβλου ἰδίως, καὶ αὖ παρὰ μέρος μετὰ τὸ τὰς κατὰ τοῦ Μοσχάμπαρ λογογραφῆσαι ἡμᾶς ἀντιρρήσεις, ἄλλων πάλιν ὥσπερ ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς πολεμίων τῆς ἀληθείας ἀναφανέντων, ὁ Κύπριος οὗτος, καὶ οἱ περὶ τὸν Κύπριον, /1028A/ ὁ κατ’ αὐτῶν ἀγὼν ἡμᾶς δικαίως ἀπῄτησε διὰ πολυστίχων καὶ αὐτοὺς ἀνατρέψαι τῶν ἀντιρρήσεων.||And, by all means, let no one construe this abridgment as implying that anything of the whole has been disowned; but whoever knows why the abridgment has occurred should regard it as the fruit of our own mind, in no way at odds with those copies in which we gave a lengthier version of the argument. But the reason for the abridgment is that, after we had written refutations of Photius and Nicholas of Methone, Phurnes and Theophylact of Bulgaria, as well as a separate refutation of Camaterus’s book, and likewise (except for a certain part) after our refutations of Moschabar, when other, new enemies of the truth appeared as at the beginning, namely, this Cyprius and those of his party, the struggle against them justly demanded of us that we counter them, too, by many lines of refutation.|
|η´. Καὶ ἐπεὶ ἐν μιᾷ τῇ ἄρτι σοι ἐγχειριζομένῃ νέᾳ βίβλῳ πάντα ὁμοῦ τά τε πρότερα τά θ’ ὕστερα διαλαβεῖν δεῖν ἔγνωμεν, τὰ πολλὰ ἐν αὐτῇ παρείδομεν ἐξ ἀνάγκης, ὧν τῇ ἐπιτομῇ οὐδένα ἐνεῖναι συνεωρῶμεν ἐμποδισμὸν εἰς τὴν τοῦ ἀληθοῦς κατανόησιν. Εἰ γὰρ τὰς κατὰ Φωτίου, καὶ τοῦ Μεθώνης, Φουρνῆ τε, καὶ τοῦ Βουλγαρίας βραχυλογήσαντες ἀντιρρήσεις, οὐδὲν τῶν ὅσα τὸ ἀναγκαῖον τῆς ἀποδείξεως εἶχον παρείδομεν, τίς ἡ ἐντοῦθεν τῆς ἀληθείας κολόβωσις; Εἰ δὲ καὶ τῆς τοῦ Καματηροῦ βίβλου τὴν ἀντίρρησιν μετιόντες τὰ πρῶτα, τότε /B/ μὲν καταστρωννύντες αὐτολεξεὶ τὴν διάλεξιν, ἣν ἐκεῖνος τὸ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος ὑποδυσάμενος πρόσωπον, ὡς μέσον δῆθεν προβᾶσαν αὐτοῦ τε ἐκείνου τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος, καὶ τῶν περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς εἰρήνης ἐπιδημούντων τότε τῇ Κωνσταντίνου Καδδηναλίων ἐπλάσατο, πλατυκώτερον αὐτὴν ἐλογογραφήσαμεν. Εἰ δέ γε τὰ νέα τῆς βίβλου ἀντίγραφα πᾶσαν ταύτην παραιτησάμενοι μόνων τῶν γραφικῶν ἡμεῖς ῤήσεων, καὶ τῶν ἐπὶ ταῖς ῤήσεσι πεφροντίκαμεν ἐπιστασιῶν· ὡσαύτως δὴ καὶ εἴ γε τότε μὲν ἑκάστην περικοπὴν γραφικῆς ῥήσεως, ὡς αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξέθετο, ἐκτιθέμενοι, καὶ ἣν ἐφ’ ἑκάστην τῶν ῥήσεων εἰκείαν αὐτὸς προσῆπτεν ἐπιστασίαν τὸν ἡμέτερον ἐπήγομεν ἔλεγχον, ἐσύστερον δὲ τῶν περικοπῶν τινας ἐπετέμομεν, ἐν οἷς δηλονότι, μέ- /C/ ρεσι περιεῖχόν τι αἱ τοιαῦται, μετὸν τῆς προκειμένης ἡμῖν σπουδῆς οὐδαμοῦ, τίας ἂν τῶν βίβλων καταγνοίη ἐναντιότητα; Τὴν αὐτὴν δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς κατὰ τοῦ Μοσχάμπαρ Ἀντιρρητικοῖς ἐβαδίσαμεν, πᾶσαν μὲν ἡμετέραν ἀντίρρησιν ἀπαραποίητον ἐν ἑκατέρᾳ τῶν βίβλων τετηρηκότες, ὡς ἐν τοῖς τοῦ Καματηροῦ, ὁπόσα δὲ μέρη τῶν αὐτοῦ κεφαλαίων μόνην τὴν ἐν ματαίῳ εἶχον πολυλογίαν, ἐφ’ οἷς οὐδὲν εἶναι καίριον διεγνώσκομεν εἰς ἀντίρρησιν, ἐπιτεμόντες.||§8 And since we considered it necessary to incorporate in one new volume (that is, the one you now have in hand) all of these treatises, both the earlier and the later, we have, of necessity, disregarded in it many things which, in the shorter version, we saw as constituting no barrier to the recognition of the truth. For if, in abridging our refutations of Photius and Nicholas of Methone, of Phurnes and Theophylact of Bulgaria, we overlooked none of the material necessary for a demonstration, where in all this is there an impairment of the truth? But if, in our refutation of Camaterus’s book, we earlier wrote a more extensive refutation and kept more closely to the original text, interspersing verbatim the dialogue which he wrote, wherein he assumes the character of the emperor, as though this were a discussion that occurred between the emperor himself and those cardinals who at that time were sojourning in Constantinople for the sake of ecclesiastical peace — whereas, in our new copies of the book, declining all this, we have paid heed only to the original citations, and to Camaterus’s scholia upon them; and, again, similarly, if, earlier, we set forth each portion of written text that he himself did, and, for each of his own observations appended by him to those texts, we added our own refutation, but afterwards we cut away some of these portions of text, in those parts, namely, in which they contained something superfluous that in no way pertained to the object we had set for our study: — who in all of this would judge the editions to be discordant? And we followed the same procedure in our refutations of Moschabar, preserving all our refutation unrevised in both of the books, as in those of Camaterus, while excising only such parts of his chapters as contained longwinded talk of no importance, which we figured were not worth the trouble to refute.|
|Ἔχεις ἐντελῶς ἤδη ἀπαγγελθέντα σοι τὸν τῆς ἀντιγραφῆς ἅπαντα λόγον, ὃν ἡμεῖς ἰδίας τῆσδε τῆς πρὸς σὲ γραφῆς ἠξιώσαμεν, ἱκανὴν τοῦ μηδὲν τὰς ἡμετέρας βίβλους ἐναντιοφωνεῖν, πραγματευσάμενοι τὴν ἐπισημείωσιν.||So now you have had explained to you the whole rationale of this new edition, a rationale which we saw fit to explain in this separate writing, addressed to you. This should suffice for the notification we intended to make, that, among our books, there is no discrepancy.|
 Gregory of Nazianzus, or. ii, 105; PG 35, 504C-505A.
 Cf. Rev 22:1.
 Gregory of Nazianzus, or. xliii, 68; PG 36, 588A.
 Ibid., 588A-C; Bekkos has abridged the passage. It is not clear what is his source for the phrase “the enemies of the truth”; perhaps his text of Gregory’s oration differs slightly from the version in Migne.
The foregoing short writing by John Bekkos, presented here to the public for the first time in English translation, is often referred to by the abbreviated Latin title De libris suis, “On his own works.” A more literal translation of the full Greek title would be “A notification concerning the internal consistency of all his books and writings.” As is clear from the work itself, it takes the form of a preface to an edition of Bekkos’s own works, written out by Bekkos by hand while he was in jail and sent to a friend of his named Theodore (which Theodore this was is unclear; it was not Theodore the bishop of Sugdaea, an ally of Bekkos’s who had died in the year 1282). In all probability Bekkos wrote this work, and the edition of his writings which it accompanied, sometime during the latter part of the decade of the 1280’s, perhaps while Gregory of Cyprus was still patriarch (he stepped down in June of 1289; one might suppose that, if he had already been forced out of office, Bekkos might have alluded to that fact; also, Bekkos’s conditions in prison are said to improved somewhat after the Cypriot’s departure, whereas in this work he describes himself as being in virtually solitary confinement — which raises the interesting question of who supplied him with writing materials and who smuggled out the book). There is an allusion in the work to Gregory of Cyprus’s Tome, which came out late in the year 1285, after the Second Synod of Blachernae had condemned Bekkos and his two friends, Constantine Meliteniotes and George Metochites (it is translated in Aristeides Papadakis, Crisis in Byzantium: The Filioque Controversy in the Patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyprus (1283-1289), 2nd ed. [Crestwood, NY, 1997], pp. 209-229). My guess would be that this short preface was written around the year 1288 or 1289.
The De libris suis gives essential information for any attempt to reconstruct the history of John Bekkos’s writings. That attempt has unfortunately never gotten very far, and will never go far until a serious attempt is made to produce a critical edition of Bekkos’s opera omnia. But any critical edition will need to take account of the things Bekkos tells us here, and compare these statements with the actual state of the manuscripts as we find them. In this preface, Bekkos tells his friend Theodore that the edition of his works that he is sending him is a slightly abridged one; he is at pains to point out that none of the essential content, however, has been lost; also, that there has been no essential shift in his opinions, even though, as he states it, this newer edition is somewhat more explicit on the theological issues, and, for this reason, he prefers it to the previous versions. He describes how, in the earlier editions, he was obliged to employ what he describes here as a “two-fold economy.” Apparently what he means by this is that, in some early writings, he avoided both any reference to the Spirit proceeding “from the Father and the Son” (the first economy) and any reference to Father and Son being, for the Spirit, “one cause” (the second economy). He states that, in hedging his language in this way, he was following the practice of the fathers of the Church, in particular, St. Basil, who, when confronted with the sect of the Pneumatomachians, avoided applying the term “God” to the Holy Spirit, not because he denied the deity of the Spirit but because he wanted to persuade the Pneumatomachians of the truth of the orthodox doctrine without offending them beforehand by employing language to which they had already conceived a settled dislike. So likewise, Bekkos says, he initially argued in favor of the Union of Lyons without employing the characteristic language of the Second Council of Lyons and its Constitutio de summa Trinitate et fide catholica, which asserts that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son tanquam ex uno principio, “as from a single principle.” Bekkos thinks that this sort of language, however alien it might sound to Greek ears, is consistent with what the Greek fathers actually said about the Holy Spirit. Whether he is right about this is, of course, a huge and still highly contentious question. At the very least, one would want to read Lyons’ Constitutio de summa Trinitate in conjunction with the 1995 Vatican “Clarification” on the Filioque, which emphasizes the role of the Father as the initial, unsourced source in God, and states that “the two traditions recognise that the ‘monarchy of the Father’ implies that the Father is the sole Trinitarian Cause (Aitia) or Principle (Principium) of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The De libris suis raises many questions. In particular, one must ask, if Bekkos produced a revision of his own writings during the last decade of his life, is the currently-available text of his writings, as edited by Leo Allatius in the seventeenth century and reprinted by Hugo Laemmer and J.-P. Migne in the nineteenth century, the earlier version or the revised one? Allatius based his edition on a sixteenth-century manuscript in the Vatican Library: Barberini 415. According to Vitalien Laurent (“Le cas de Photius dans l’apologétique du patriarche Jean XI Beccos (1275-1282) au lendemain du deuxième concile de Lyon,” Échos d’Orient 33 , 396-415, p. 400), the Barberini 415 manuscript, at least for its first 147 pages, is closely based (“très apparenté”) upon an earlier manuscript, the Laurentianus graecus VIII.26, which Laurent, arguing on paleographical grounds, dated to the late thirteenth century; Laurent believed that this volume, a handsome book written in a skilled hand, was an official copy of Bekkos’s writings that was produced during the time when Bekkos was patriarch; it is not the sort of volume that would have been written by an old man in jail, nor the sort of volume that would have been made of the writings of someone who was now in official disgrace (op. cit., pp. 398 f.). If Laurent has correctly dated the Laurentianus graecus manuscript to the time of Bekkos’s patriarchate, this would imply that the published text of works like the De unione ecclesiarum is the earlier edition, not the edition written out in Bekkos’s own hand when he was in prison. Yet, having read and translated the De unione ecclesiarum, I have to say that I do not find in it any traces of the “two-fold economy” of which Bekkos speaks here in this short work: he is quite explicit in arguing the compatibility of the Greek and Latin theological traditions. So I am left wondering in what works he employed this “two-fold economy.” Probably the question cannot be answered until Bekkos’s still-unpublished works finally see the light of day; some of them, e.g., the work Against George Moschabar to which Bekkos refers in these Notes on his own writings, are contained in the aforementioned Laurentianus graecus VIII.26. (I obtained a microfilm of this manuscript some time ago, and tried to locate the passage Bekkos refers to here, where he speaks of Rev 22:1, but was unable to find it.)
Again, the version of the work Against Andronikos Kamateros contained in the Laurentinian manuscript is, if I am not mistaken, essentially the same as the version published by Allatius and reprinted by Migne. But it is clear that this published version is what Bekkos, in the De libris suis, describes as his revised version, not the original, longer one: it gives only Kamateros’s patristic citations and comments and Bekkos’s animadversions thereon; it does not relate any part of the dialogue that was included in Kamateros’s Sacred Arsenal. That would indicate that the Laurentinian manuscript in fact contains the revised text of Bekkos’s works, the abridged text written out by him by hand while in prison, not the earlier text in which he exhibited a “two-fold economy.” In other words, either Laurent’s reasons for dating the Laurentianus graecus VIII.26 to the period of Bekkos’s patriarchate are unsound, or else Bekkos had done some preliminary rewriting of his works already, even while he was patriarch.
An important piece of information, for the chronology of Bekkos’s writings, is given by the historian George Pachymeres. Early in his account of Bekkos’s patriarchate, Pachymeres relates that Bekkos, while convalescing in a monastery from some illness, made a promise to a friend of his, the grand economos Theodore Xiphilinos, not to reply in writing to the scurrilous attacks that were being made against the Union in various anonymous tracts that were then circulating. (See Pachymeres, De Michaele Palaeologo, V.28; Bekker ed., pp. 415-416; Failler ed., pp. 528-531.) Later, after Xiphilinos’s death, Bekkos is reported to have gone back on this promise (Pachymeres, op. cit., VI.23). Is it possible that Pachymeres, perhaps basing his account on information supplied by Xiphilinos himself, interpreted this “promise” in one way, and Bekkos interpreted what he had said to Xiphilinos in another way? Perhaps what Bekkos had understood himself to be saying was, not that he would not write about doctrine at all (since he was Patriarch of Constantinople, one would think that speaking about matters of doctrine was part of his job), but that, when writing and speaking about doctrine, he would use “economy”; and later, when the situation changed, he decided that more unqualified language needed to be used. It should be noted that there is no mention in any of Bekkos’s works of a promise not to write in response to attacks against the Union; if Bekkos did make such a promise, his language here about “economy” may provide some indication of what he in fact meant by it.