Armenians, Decree for

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The decree Exsultate Deo, published in the Council of Florence on Nov. 22, 1439, by Pope Eugene IV, in an attempt to bring about the union of the Armenian Church with the See of Rome. The decree constitutes a compendium of Christian doctrine concerning especially the unity of the divine essence and the Trinity of Divine Persons, the humanity of Christ, and the nature of the seven Sacraments. It contains the Constantinople Creed, the definitions made at the Council of Chalcedon about the two natures in Christ and at Constantinople III about the two wills and operations of Christ, a decree about accepting the authority of Chalcedon and the Letter of Pope Leo I, an instruction concerning the Sacraments, the Athanasian Creed, the decree of union with the Greeks, and a decree about the common celebration of certain feasts.

It is best known for the lengthy instruction on the Sacraments that constitutes its fifth section, taken almost verbatim from the opusculum of St. Thomas Aquinas entitled De articulis fidei et ecclesiae sacramentis. This instruction enumerates the seven Sacraments and indicates how they differ from the sacraments of the Old Law. The distinction between Sacraments for the individual and social Sacraments is made, and the essential elements of matter, form, and intention in the Sacraments are treated. Mention is made of the indelible character of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Orders. Each Sacrament is then taken up in particular, with a consideration of its form, matter, and minister.

Bibliography: j. gill, The Council of Florence (Cambridge, England 1959). n. valois, Le Pape et le concile, 14181450, 2 v. (Paris 1909). a. balgy, Historia doctrinae Catholicae inter Armenos unionisque eorum cum Ecclesia Romana in Concilio Florentino (Vienna 1878). z. obertynski, Die Florentiner union der polnischen Armenier und ihr bischofskatalog (Rome 1934). l. s. kogian, Hayots' ekeghets'in mindzeio P'lorentian zhoghoue [=L'Église Armenienne, jusqu'au concile de Florence] (Beirut 1961).

[w. f. hogan/eds.]

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Armenians, Decree for

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