The Epiclesis Debate at the Council of Florence is the first in-depth investigation into both the Greek and the Latin sides of the debate about the moment of Eucharistic transubstantiation at the Council of Florence. Christiaan Kappes examines the life and times of the central figures of the debate, Mark Eugenicus and John Torquemada, and assesses their doctrinal authority. Kappes presents a patristic and Scholastic analysis of Torquemada’s Florentine writings, revealing heretofore-unknown features of the debate and the full background to its treatises. The most important feature of the investigation involves Eugenicus. Kappes investigates his theological method and sources for the first time to give an accurate appraisal of the strength of Mark’s theological positions in the context of his own time and contemporary methods. The investigation into both traditions allows for an informed evaluation of more recent developments in the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in light of these historical sources. Kappes provides a historically contextual and contemporary proposal for solutions to the former impasse in light of the principles rediscovered within Eugenicus’s works. This monograph speaks to contemporary theological debates surrounding transubstantiation and related theological matters, and provides a historical framework to understand these debates.
The Epiclesis Debate at the Council of Florence will interest specialists in theology, especially those with a background in and familiarity with the council and related historical themes, and is essential for any ecumenical library.
The Historical Origins and Theological Significance of the Florentine Debate on the Epiclesis
- The Life and Times of Mark of Ephesus
- The Status Questionis of Mark’s Theology and Works, and Preliminary Debate at Florence
- John Torquemada and His Cedula as Gleaned from the Sermo prior and Sermo alter
- Mark of Ephesus’s Libellus as Refutation of the Cedula and Sermo prior
- Torquemada’s Sermo alter and Reunion: A Refutation of the Libellus
- Scholarius and Solutions to the Impasse
- Greek Solutions for Contemporary Problems
- Toward Greco-Roman Ecclesial Reunion
"In this book Christiaan Kappes lays before the reader the genesis of an important, albeit often neglected, ecumenical stumbling block. Although the filioque, papacy, and azymes are traditionally considered the three great causes of the Catholic-Orthodox split, for many today the epiclesis debate remains a significant unresolved issue dividing the two churches. By detailing the theology, setting, and personalities of the first stage of that debate, along with the translation of relevant texts, Kappes has indeed provided an invaluable service to all liturgists, ecumenists, and interested historians of dogma." —A. Edward Siecienski, Clement and Helen Pappas Endowed Professor of Byzantine Civilization and Religion, Stockton University
"Christiaan Kappes brilliantly recreates the setting of the debate on the epiclesis at the Council of Florence in 1439, analyzing how the two main actors, Juan de Torquemada, O.P. and Mark Eugenicos, forced to work out their arguments and counter arguments in the compressed span of a couple of weeks, crafted responses that would affect the stance of the Catholic and Orthodox churches respectively not simply at the Council but no less importantly for centuries to come. Kappes’ book is a must read for anyone interested in the Council and the issue of the epiclesis, and all the more so because he ends by drawing on the results of his research to propose a solution for the present dialogue between the churches concerning the epiclesis." —John Monfasani, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, O'Leary, University of Albany, SUNY
"The book can and should be profitably read by theologians, liturgists, and church historians alike. That's no mean thing: The Epiclesis Debate is nothing less than an exercise in hastening Mark of Ephesus's dying prayer for 'the reformation of [God's] church.'" —Anglican Theological Review
"Kappes's integrative study effectively draws together the historical and the theological, the practical and the doctrinal, the descriptive and the normative, the medieval and modern." —Reading Religion
"One can only be thankful to Christiaan Kappes for this brilliant and challenging study on the epiclesis debate at the Council of Florence. His study not only highlights the recent ecumenical achievements reached on this topic, but will undoubtedly be very helpful for further developments of the theological dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics." —The Thomist
Salient aspects of Mark’s youth may convince us that he was disposed toward ecclesiastical union and Latin theology before he arrived upon the shores of Italy. Mark was educated in an extremely pious family. Evidence for polemics is entirely absent from Eugenicus’s family’s preconciliar literary production. Mark’s family tree attests to three generations of religiosity. First and foremost, his grandfather Manuel Eugenicus (fl. 1384–92) made a name for himself as an iconographer. His notoriety was such that he was commissioned to paint in Iberia (present-day Calendzhiha, Georgia). Thereat, he was hired to decorate the Church of St George in that ancient cradle of Christianity. Unlike Mark’s father and brother, his grandfather did not prove to be well-educated. This is evidenced by the fact that Eugenicus has been found to make notable orthographic errors among his iconographic productions. Mark’s biological father George evinced his family’s religious piety by composing ecclesiastical offices and dedicated himself to the education and formation of youth as an abecedarian. Mark’s own education was anything but narrow, for he studied under the most lettered minds of his age. Initially, Mark was placed under the yoke of John Chortasmenos (c. 1370–c. 1437), who was a logician and patriarchal notary. Thenceforth, Mark undertook a liberal education from the famed humanist, George Gemistos Plethon (c. 1355–1452/4). Plethon taught him to read Homer, Plato, and other authors of antiquity. Thenceforward, after his father’s untimely death, Mark took up the reigns of his father’s school in 1410. At some later point in Mark’s formation, he likely had theological exchanges with one of our aforementioned theologians, whom he designated as a “champion of Orthodoxy”; namely, Makarios Makres. Again, Makres was a preliminary negotiator for the upcoming council. In his own works, Makres had traced out a philo-Latin course whereby he positively (if latently) employed wholesale passages of Demetrius Cydones’ translation of Thomas Aquinas into his own theology. Unprejudicially, Mark praised Makres for his genuine Orthodoxy and excellence. A talented philologist in his own right, Mark would have effortlessly uncovered latent passages of Aquinas in the works of yet another eminent figure, whom he also admired, namely, Joseph Bryennius (c. 1350–c. 1431). Though never an understudy of Bryennius (who was in Cyprus during the years of 1402 to 1412), Mark and Bryennius collaborated in theology. Bryennius likely gave Mark an initial flare for anti-Thomistic apologetics. Though chronological precision is wanting, Mark’s quasi-tutelage under Bryennius predates his formal study (1437) of Neilus Cabasilas. In his preconciliar, preparatory period Mark did his research under the aegis of Emperor John VIII. Within the tomes of Makres and Bryennius, Mark’s acute intellect had long accustomed itself to read Scholastic parentheses, which typically departed from classical vocabulary and syntax. Though precise dates are wanting for his studies with Makarios and Bryennius, Mark only took up theological studies after leaving the eremitical state on the isle of Antigone in the Sea of Marmara (c. 1420–22). Thereafter, upon his transfer to the Monastery of Mangana in Constantinople (1422), he took formal monastic vows and incessantly researched within the monastery’s vast library. Notably, Mark’s first period of literary production can be controversially categorized as totally irenic (c. 1426–31), that is, prior to formal negotiations for the Council of Ferrara-Florence under the auspices of Pope Eugene IV (fl. 1431–39). Mark’s only hint of interest in theological controversies at that time stems from a congratulatory letter to Patriarch Joseph II (1422). Similar to his model Makres, Mark simply professed his faithful adherence to the long-standing Greek opposition to innovations to the creed with respect to the filioque. As Makres’s opposition to the filioque had not inhibited him from negotiating with Latins for a new ecumenical council, neither did Eugenicus assume the posture of an anti-unionist for encouraging his patriarch to press for the traditional Byzantine position. In effect, this epistle is the only piece of preconciliar literature that hints at Mark’s distraction from his hesychastic bliss from about the time of his move to Constantinople (1422) until his encounter with Dominican anti-Palamite apologetics (1430s). In his second (apologetic) period, after profound study (c. 1427) of the works of Gregory Palamas, Mark likely came upon contemporary anti-Palamitical literature, which inspired Eugenicus’s own apologetic works in the 1430s. Mark focused his energies on Manuel Calecas. Because of Mark’s acquaintance with Bryennius, who was long familiar with Demetrius Cydones and Manuel Calecas, Mark probably came to know anti-Palamite theology. In short, Mark’s early biography only gives the impression that he was a well-educated, well-rounded scholar, who embraced a peaceful monastic life until the time at which he came across Calecas’s polemical works. Since no one had adequately refuted the latinophrôn Thomist-become-Dominican, Mark obliged himself to respond.