The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649

BookThe Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649

The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649

Translated Texts for Historians, 61


June 16th, 2014

Access Token


Other Formats



The Lateran Synod of 649 was a major event in the ‘monothelete’ controversy of the seventh century over ‘wills’ and ‘operations’ in Christ. It represented a determined attempt by the papacy to frustrate and reverse the ecclesiastical policy of the emperor and patriarch at Constantinople. It represented the boldest challenge to imperial authority by churchmen that late antiquity had seen. The theology adopted by the synod and its expression in a series of speeches was the work of a team of Greek monks under the leadership of St Maximus the Confessor. This translation will add to the still limited body of material available in English for the study of a writer who is widely held to have been the greatest of all Byzantine theologians. The Acts of the synod have been a major puzzle ever since their editor, Rudolf Riedinger, demonstrated that the Greek version, not the Latin, is the original, even though the council must have conducted its business in Latin. This edition offers a new explanation of this anomaly, which restores authenticity to the synodal sessions, without denying that the Acts, as published, were not a straight factual record but propaganda intended to convince the Roman world of the orthodoxy and authority of the papacy.


'The three authors of this instalment in the Translated Texts for Historians series - Richard Price, Phil Booth, and Catherine Cubitt - set out to provide a manual for the study of the Lateran synod of 649, the monoenergism and monotheletism that the synod addressed, and the decades of political and theological controversy that gave rise to these 'heresies'. They accomplish all this in a volume that pairs a surprisingly compact introduction with an expert translation of the synod's voluminous acts, the first such translation into any modern language ... Each chapter is heavily referenced and effectively orients itself within the dialogue of recent scholarship. And the authors' arguments appear eminently plausible, if not entirely convincing. Price's translation of the Greek acts is superb, and little more need be said of it than that it and indeed the volume as a whole constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of seventh-century religion and politics in the Mediterranean Basin.'
Michael Elliot, Early Medieval Europe

Author Information

Richard Price is Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, Heythrop College and Honorary Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London. His many previous publications include The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553 (Liverpool 2009), The Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649 (with P. Booth & C. Cubitt, Liverpool 2014), The Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea (Liverpool 2018), The Council of Ephesus of 431 (with T. Graumann, Liverpool 2020) and Canons of the Quinisext Council (691/2) (Liverpool 2020). Phil Booth is Leventis Lecturer in Eastern Christianity at the University of Oxford. Catherine Cubitt is Professor in Early Medieval History at the University of York.