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Episcopal Elections 250-600Hierarchy and Popular Will in Late Antiquity$
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Peter Norton

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207473.001.0001

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Imperial intervention

Imperial intervention

(p.81) 4 Imperial intervention
Episcopal Elections 250-600


Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the participation of the emperors in elections. That they did intervene is obvious from even the most cursory reading of the church historians, but not all sees were equal, and on balance, the emperors were concerned only with the major sees. Granted, there were occasional wholesale depositions of bishops by the emperor, and other ‘block’ methods of controlling the composition of the episcopate: for example, in the establishment of Nicene orthodoxy in 381, the emperor, Theodosius, made communion with certain key bishops the test as to whether or not a bishop could keep his throne, and this was done not by a conciliar canon but by an imperial edict. On balance, however, intervention seems only rarely to have penetrated down below the top layers of the episcopate.

Keywords:   emperors, episcopal elections, sees, Nicene orthodoxy, Theodosius

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