Christian Heresy - First Millennium - Ecumenical Councils

Ecumenical Councils

Several ecumenical councils were convened. These were mostly concerned with Christological disputes. The councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (382) condemned Arian teachings as heresy and produced a creed (see Nicene Creed). The First Council of Ephesus in 431 condemned Nestorianism and affirmed the Blessed Virgin Mary to be Theotokos ("God-bearer" or "Mother of God"). Perhaps the most significant council was the Council of Chalcedon in 451 that affirmed that Christ had two natures, fully God and fully man, distinct yet always in perfect union. This was based largely on Pope Leo the Great's Tome. Thus, it condemned Monophysitism and would be influential in refuting Monothelitism.

  1. The First Ecumenical Council was convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine at Nicaea in 325 and presided over by the Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria, with over 300 bishops condemning the view of Arius that the Son is a created being inferior to the Father.
  2. The Second Ecumenical Council was held at Constantinople in 381, presided over by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, with 150 bishops, defining the nature of the Holy Spirit against those asserting His inequality with the other persons of the Trinity.
  3. The Third Ecumenical Council is that of Ephesus in 431, presided over by the Patriarch of Alexandria, with 250 bishops, which affirmed that Mary is truly "Birthgiver" or "Mother" of God (Theotokos), contrary to the teachings of Nestorius.
  4. The Fourth Ecumenical Council is that of Chalcedon in 451, Patriarch of Constantinople presiding, 500 bishops, affirmed that Jesus is truly God and truly man, without mixture of the two natures, contrary to Monophysite teaching.
  5. The Fifth Ecumenical Council is the second of Constantinople in 553, interpreting the decrees of Chalcedon and further explaining the relationship of the two natures of Jesus; it also condemned the teachings of Origen on the pre-existence of the soul, etc.
  6. The Sixth Ecumenical Council is the third of Constantinople in 681; it declared that Christ has two wills of his two natures, human and divine, contrary to the teachings of the Monothelites.
  7. The Seventh Ecumenical Council was called under the Empress Regent Irene of Athens in 787, known as the second of Nicaea. It supports the veneration of icons while forbidding their worship. It is often referred to as "The Triumph of Orthodoxy"
  8. The Fourth Council of Constantinople was called in 879. It restored St. Photius to his See in Constantinople and condemned any alteration of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.

However, not all of these Councils have been universally recognised as ecumenical. In addition, the Catholic Church also has convened numerous other councils which it deems as having the same authority, making a total of twenty-one Ecumenical Councils recognised by the Catholic Church. The Assyrian Church of the East accepts only the first two, and Oriental Orthodoxy only three. Pope Sergius I rejected the Quinisext Council of 692 (see also Pentarchy). The Fourth Council of Constantinople of 869–870 and 879–880 is disputed by Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Present-day nontrinitarians, such as Unitarians, Latter-day Saints and other Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses, reject all seven Councils.

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Other articles related to "ecumenical councils, councils, council, ecumenical council":

Catholic Ecumenical Councils
... Catholic Ecumenical Councils include 21 councils over a period of 1700 years ... in today's Roman Catholic understanding Ecumenical Councils are assemblies of Patriarchs, Cardinals, residing Bishops, Abbots, male heads of religious orders and other juridical ... Council decisions, to be valid, are approved by the popes ...
Theological Definition (Catholicism) - Theological History - Ecumenical Councils
... the declaration by Pope Gregory I (590–604) that the first four ecumenical councils were to be revered "like the four gospels", because they had been "established by universal consent ... concluded that a pope could change the disciplinary decrees of the ecumenical councils but was bound by their pronouncements on articles of faith, in which field the authority of a ... Unlike those who propounded the 15th-century conciliarist theories, they understood an ecumenical council as necessarily involving the pope, and meant that the pope plus ...
Foundational Elements of Anglican Doctrine - Scripture, Creeds and Ecumenical Councils
... The first four ecumenical councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon "have a special place in Anglican theology, secondary to the Scriptures themselves." This authority is ... limit the authority of these and other ecumenical councils, noting that "they may err, and sometimes have erred." In other words, their authority being strictly derivative from and accountable to ...
Orthodoxy - Christianity
... The Roman Emperor Constantine I initiated a series of Ecumenical Councils, also known as the First seven Ecumenical Councils, to try to formalize these doctrines ... which defined Jesus as both God and man with the Hypostatic union of the 451 Council of Chalcedon, won out in the Church and was referred to as ... await") the original form of the Nicene Creed developed at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, referred to as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed ...
Orthodox Church - Organization and Leadership
... writings, are found in the canons (regulation and decrees) of the first seven ecumenical councils the canons of several local or provincial councils, whose ... deemed it necessary to convene a general or "Great" council of all available bishops throughout the world ... The Church considers the first seven Ecumenical Councils (held between the 4th and the 8th century) to be the most important however, there have been more, specifically the Synods of ...

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