Council at Elvira local Council, never accepted by Orthodox 300-306 AD
Imposed celibacy on clergy. Established canon forbidding converts
from heresy to ever become clergy.
Orthodox Church Listing of Synods and Councils
- Council at Jerusalem (not counted in the Councils) 48-51 AD
About Judaisers. Saints James, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas were involved.
Described in the Acts of the Apostles [15:6-29]. Led by Saint James
("the brother of the Lord"), bishop of Jerusalem.
Determined that Gentile converts did not have to embrace Judaism to
- Council at Carthage local Council, 251 AD
About the lapsed. Novatianism was defended by Navatius,
condemned by Saint Cyprian.
Set requirements for readmission to Church of those who had lapsed
during persecutions. Declared baptisms by heretics were worthless
(no "baptisms" outside the Church). Required baptism for
entry into the Church by those "baptised" by heretics (outside the
Church). Forbade re-baptism of those who had received Church baptism,
then fallen into heresy who sought readmission.
252 AD. Reduced requirements for readmission of lapsed who showed
serious penance. Repeated decisions regarding baptism of previous
255 AD. Repeated decisions regarding baptism of 251 and 252.
Determined that clerics falling into heresy should be received back into the
Church as laymen.
256 AD. Rejected decisions by Pope Stephen regarding
"baptism" outside the Church. Re-affirmed previous decisions
256 AD. Repeated decisions made earlier in year, rejecting Pope
Stephen's teaching. Declared there were no sacraments outside the
Council at Ancyra local Council, 314 AD
About the lapsed. First synod following the end of persecutions. Condemned
as liars, those who publicly proclaimed adherence to the national religion
(paganism) in order to receive an official document that allowed them to
avoid persecution. Established punishments for these lapsed. Also established
punishments for various types of sexual immorality.
Council at Neo-Caesaria local Council, c. 315 AD
Established punishments for various types of sexual
immorality. Established qualifications for clergy.
First Council at Nicaea - First Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 325 AD
Convened regarding Arianism, Paulianism, defended by Arius, condemned by Saint
Athanasius. Condemned the teaching of Arius who claimed the Lord Jesus
Christ was created by God, denying His divinity. Virtually all those
assembled were horrified upon hearing Arius' teaching, but debate arose
over terminology. Despite resistance because it was an unbiblical word,
the Fathers embraced the philosophical term homoousios
('of the same essence') as the only term the Arians were unable to
distort into compatibility with their heresy. Established Symbol of Faith
Determined formula for determining Pascha (Easter). Condemned
mandatory celibacy for all ranks of clergy. Established regulations on moral
issues and church discipline. Required Paulianists to be baptised upon
entry to Church, even if baptised by Paulianists. Determined prayers on
Sundays should be offered standing.
I believe in one God. The Father Almighty. Maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten,
begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God;
begotten not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was
incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures.
And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead;
whose Kingdom shall have no end.
Synod at Gangra local Council, 340 AD
The synod of Gangra dealt with a local sectarian group. The group
condemned marriage altogether (rather like the Cathari, several centuries
later). They also condemned eating meat, refused to be obedient to lawful
authorities (considered their own authority the only thing to be obeyed),
they encouraged women to dress as men (clothes and haircuts), they encouraged parents to abandon
their children (to go live the 'pure' life) and children to abandon their
parents (for the same reason). It was this group that the synod
condemned. The other notable thing the synod did was to condemn fasting
on Sundays (which became a major issue later).
Council at Antioch local Council, 341 AD
Reinforced Nicaea I's ruling on Pascha. Established regulations
regarding clergy, the organisation of the local churches, church discipline,
and use of canonical letters (used by travelling Christians as proof
of being Christians in good standing).
Council at Sardica 347 AD
Established canons concerning church order and discipline. Reaffirmed
the Symbol of Faith from Nicaea I.
Council at Laodicaea local Council, 364 AD
Established canons concerning church order and discipline.
First Ecumenical Council at Constantinople - Second Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 381 AD
Convened regarding Macedonianism, Apollinarians, Eunomians, Eudoxians,
Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians.
Macedonius defended the issues, and Saint Gregory the Theologian
(aka St Gregory of Nazianzus) and Saint Gregory of Nyssa were champions
Condemned Arianism. Condemned Macedonianism which denied divinity of
the Holy Spirit. Defined the Holy Trinity as one God in Three Persons, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each fully God of the same essence.
Expanded Symbol of Faith from Nicaea I into what is now commonly
labelled 'Nicene Creed' but is more properly known as the
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. As expanded, this Symbol of Faith
has remained the basic proclamation of the Christian Faith. Condemned
Apollinarianism which taught the Lord Jesus Christ possessed the divine
Logos in place of a human mind and was therefore fully divine, but
not fully human. Condemned Eunomians (an extreme form of Arianism), the
Eudoxians (semi-Arians), the Sabellians (who taught the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit were three modes of manifestation of the one God,
denying the distinction of Three Persons), the Marcellians (who taught
the Logos was an impersonal divine power that issued from God and
entered into a relationship with Jesus to make him the Son of God),
and the Photinians (who taught that Jesus was a mere man upon whom
the Logos rested).
Ranked relative importance of the five
patriarchates with Old Rome first and New Rome (Constantinople) second.
Established regulations for church discipline, including
standing during prayer on Sundays and the days of Pentecost.
Established manner in which heretics were to be received into the Church.
Addition to the Nicene Creed
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds
from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and
glorified; Who spoke by the Prophets.
In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge One Baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to
Council in Constantinople local Council, 394 AD
Established various regulations, including the requirement of at
least three bishops to ordain a bishop.
Council at Carthage local Council, 419-424 AD
Convened regarding Pelagianism and Donatism, which were defended
by Pelagius, Celestius, and Donatus. Orthodoxy was championed by
Established regulations for clergy, including excommunication for
clerics lower than bishop who appealed decisions outside of Africa
(specifically mentioning 'across the sea', i.e.
the pope of Rome). Denied jurisdiction of pope of Rome in African
church. Enumerated canon of Scripture (OT & NT). Set requirements for
Donatists received into the Church, including
prohibition of rebaptising those baptised as Donatists.
Established canon requiring baptism where proof of previous baptism was not
available. Condemned beliefs of Pelagians: that Adam was
created mortal, that infants need not be baptised because they are
not subject to the consequences of Adam's sin, that grace is not needed to
avoid sin, and that grace only enables us to
recognise sin but does not assist us in avoiding sin.
Council at Ephesus - Third Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 431 AD
Convened regarding Nestorianism, defended by Nestorius, and condemned
by Saint Cyril of Alexandria
Condemned Nestorianism which taught a separation between the Lord
Jesus Christ's divinity and humanity. Nestorianism manifested this in the
rejection of the traditional term 'Theotokos'
(literally, 'God Birth-Giver'), claiming Mary only gave birth to the
Lord's humanity and should thus be called 'Christotokos'. Defined that the
Lord Jesus Christ was a single person
who was fully God and fully human and that since mother's give birth
to persons (not natures), Mary should be known as 'Theotokos', thus insisting
on the unity of the two natures in the one
person of Christ. Upheld Christology of Saint Cyril of Alexandria.
The Symbol of Faith (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) was affirmed and
changes to it were forbidden with punishment of
deposition for clerics and excommunication for laity prescribed.
Established that the rights of each province should be preserved and
inviolate (i.e. bishops from one province have no rights
over other provinces).
Council at Constantinople local, 448 AD
Convened regarding Eutychianism (Monophysitism), which was defended
by Eutyches and condemned by Saint Flavian.
Eutyches, who rejects the 'union'; of 'two natures' in 'one person'
Council at Ephesus Heretical (known historically as 'Robber Council' 449 AD
After Eutyches appeals to the patriarch of Alexandria (Dioscorus) who
exonerates him (although it was against canon law to do so), a council is
called which restricts the number of
Flavian's supporters allowed to attend whilst augmenting the number
of Eutyches' supporters, is chaired by Dioscorus who refuses to allow Flavian
to speak in his own defence, refuses to hear
Saint Leo of Rome's Tome of Leo (his response to reports of
the Synod of 448). Eutyches is exonerated, Saint Flavian deposed (and shortly
thereafter beaten to death by supporers
of Eutyches), all who confess 'two natures' in the Lord Jesus
Christ's Person are declared anathema.
Council of Chalcedon - Fourth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 451 AD
Convened regarding Eutychianism (Monophysitism), which was defended
by Eutyches and Dioscorus, and condemned by Saint Leo (the Great) of Rome.
Annulled and invalidated 'Robber Council' of 449 in Ephesus.
Condemned Eutyches and Dioscorus. Affirmed canons of previous three
Ecumenical (Imperial) Councils. Condemned Monophysitism.
After examination of the Tome of Leo affirmed it as 'the
faith of the Fathers'. Affirmed completeness of the two natures of the Lord
Jesus Christ: divinity and humanity (perfect
God and perfect man). Condemned Nestorianism and those 'who divide the
one and only-begotten Son'. Condemned simony, reaffirmed prohibitions of
bishops acting outside their territory,
reaffirmed New Rome (Constantinople) as second in honour (following
Old Rome) of the patriarchates.
Therefore, following the Holy Fathers, we all with one accord teach
men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once
complete in Godhead and complete in manhood,
truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and
body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the
same time of one substance with us as regards his
manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his
Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his
manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation,
of Mary the Virgin, the Theotokos, one and the same Christ, Son,
Lord, only-begotten, recognised in two natures, without confusion, without
change, without division, without separation;
the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but
rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together
to form one person and subsistence,
not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son
and only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from
earliest times spoke of Him,
and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us, and the creed of the
Fathers has handed down to us.
Council of Orange local Council, never accepted in East, 529 AD
Convened regarding Pelagianism.
Condemned various beliefs of Pelagianism: that humans are unaffected
by Adam's sin, that a person's move towards God can begin without grace, that
an increase of faith can be attained apart
from grace, that salvation can be attained apart from the Holy
Spirit, that man's free will can be restored from its destruction apart from
baptism, that 'merit' may precede grace, that man can
do good and attain salvation without God's help,
... we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as
follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that
no one thereafter can either love God as he ought
or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of
divine mercy has preceded him. ...
According to the catholic faith we
also believe that after
grace has been received through baptism, all baptised persons have
the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labour faithfully, to
perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ
what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their
soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the
power of God, but even state with utter
abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a
thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in
every good work it is not we who take the
initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God
himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any
previous good works of our own that deserve
reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism,
and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him.
The complicated background to Constantinople II
Large areas of the Empire were under the influence of Monophysitism.
The Monophysites strongly rejected Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of
Cyrus, and Ibas of Edessa as Nestorian heretics.
The orthodox emperor, Justinian, seeking to placate the Monophysites,
issued an edict condemning the person and writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia,
certain writings of Theodoret of Cyrus,
and the letter of Ibas to Maris. The Christology of Justinian's edict
was perfectly orthodox.
Since the three writers were long dead and
their writings had not been condemned by the
Council at Chalcedon, there was great reluctance to agree to
Justinian's edict. Moreover, there was no heresy arising from these writings
and condemning them was to side with the Monophysites
who were opposed to Chalcedon. After not a little coercion, the
bishops in the East did agree with Justinian and condemned the three
Pope Vigilus was unwilling to accept
Justinian's edict for the same reasons it had been resisted in the
East. Justinian summoned Vigilus to Constantinople. Due to learning more
about the writings condemned by Justinian's edict
and/or persuasion/coercion of Justinian, Vigilus agreed to accept the
edict. This about-face prompted a synod in North Africa to excommunicate
Vigilus, for the metropolitanates of Milan
and Aquileia to break communion with Rome, and for criticisms to be
issued by the bishops of Gaul. Faced with such strong opposition in the West,
Vigilus withdrew his agreement to
Justinian's edict. This second about-face by Vigilus created great
confusion and compelled Justinian to call an Ecumenical (Imperial) Council.
Initially, Vigilus rejected the legitimacy
of the council, but later relented, accepted the condemnation of the
three writers, and was reconciled to the Church.
Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople - Fifth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 553 AD
Convened regarding Monophysitism (Nestorianism) and Origenism.
Nestorius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Eutyches, and Origen defended
these issues, which were condemned by Emperor (Saint) Justinian
Condemned the person and writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, who had
been Nestorius' teacher and declared the Logos to be a different God than the
one called Christ and who taught
the Lord Jesus Christ was troubled by desires of human flesh and
passions of the human soul. Condemned writings of Thedoret of Cyrus which
rejected Saint Cyril of Alexandria's Christology.
Condemned Ibas of Edessa's letter to Maris the Persian for its
Nestorian tone. Condemned writings of Diodorus of Tarsus as Nestorian.
Repeated condemnations from previous councils of Arius,
Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, and Eutyches. Condemned
Origen, Didymus, and Evagrius for teaching the pre-existence of souls,
re-incarnation, the ultimate salvation of demons,
that heavenly bodies possessed souls, and other errors.
No canons were produced by this Council.
Council of Todelo (Spain) heretical, local Council, 589 AD
In an effort to combat Arianism in Spain by making the Son like the
Father in all things (specifically, being a source of the Holy Spirit's
procession although this subordinated the
Holy Spirit), added the additional phrase 'and the Son' (the
Filioque) to the Nicene-Constantinoplitan Creed despite declarations
of previous Ecumenical (Imperial) Councils
that no changes were to be made in perpetuity. It was this belief in
a 'double procession' of the Holy Spirit that led to the eventual separation
between Orthodoxy in the East and Roman Catholicism in the West.
Third Ecumenical Council of Constantinople - Sixth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 680-681 AD
Convened regarding Monothelitism, representing Sergius, Pyrrhus,
Paul, Peter, Pope Honorius, and Cyrus.
Condemned Monothelitism (a belief that the Lord Jesus Christ had only
one will and one energy). Condemned as Monothelite heretics Sergius, Pyrrhus,
Paul, and Peter (Patriarchs of
Constantinople); Pope Honorius; Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria, and
others. Affirmed that the Lord Jesus Christ, though but one person, after His
incarnation possessed two natural wills and
two natural energies, just as He possessed two natures.
were produced by this Council.
Council in Trullo (Constantinople) - Conclusion of Sixth Council
(aka 'Quinsext' to indicate it was a summation of Fifth & Sixth
Councils., 692 AD
This Council was held in Constantinople (aka in Trullo,
literally, 'under the dome' because of the building used)
It was convened due to the lack of canons from Fifth and Sixth
Called by Emperor to promulgate canons necessary to correct issues
still outstanding from the previous Councils. Professed faith in all the
previous Ecumenical Councils and anathematised
those who did not 'hold and embrace' the dogmas promulgated by these
Councils. Prohibited ordination of man married more than once or married to
previously married woman; deposition of
any clergy discovered to be guilty of same or marrying after
ordination (although approving marriage before ordination to diaconate or
priesthood and ordering that deacons or priests who
separated from his wife to be deposed). Declared the patriarch of
New Rome (Constantinople) should have equal privileges as the patriarch of
Old Rome. Established monastic regulations.
Enacted canon permitting only the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified (a
vespers service where communion is received from that which was previously
consecrated) on days of Lent because
these are days of fasting (Saturdays, Sundays, and the Feast of the
Annunciation excluded). Enacted canons regarding fasting (prohibition of
fasting on Saturdays or Sundays, except
Holy Saturday; prohibition of eggs and cheese). Enacted canon
mandating excommunication for one week for laymen administering the Divine
Mysteries when a bishop, priest, or deacon
present. Condemned soothsaying, fortune-telling, casting of spells,
superstition, etc. Prohibited marriage to heretics. Made assisting in
abortion or having abortion equivalent to murder.
Established procedures for accepting heretics into the Church.
Council in Constantinople heretical Council, 754 AD
After many years of persecution by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo III and
his son, the Iconoclast Emperor Constantine V, a council was called to
'determine' if images were proper.
The patriarchates of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem refused
to participate. The bishops who were compelled to attend, accepted the heresy
of Iconoclasm under pressure
from the emperor. This false council anathematised Saint John of
Damascus and Saint Germanus of Constantinople for idolatry of images.
Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea - Seventh Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 787 AD
Convened regarding Iconoclasm.
The decisions of the council of 754 were never accepted by the
faithful and was resisted by the monasteries (despite fierce persecution from
the government). Upon the death of the
Iconoclast Emperor Leo IV (son of Constantine V, grandson of Leo III)
and the beginning of the regency of Empress Irene, the reign of Iconoclasm
came to an end. This council annulled
the council of 754 and condemned Iconoclasm. Affirmed veneration (but
not adoration, which was for God alone) of images. Germanus and John of
Damascus proclaimed saints.
Condemned simony. Decreed that those secretly keeping Jewish customs
(e.g. keeping the Sabbath) but pretending to be Christians should live as
Jews openly, but be excluded
from the Church. Established monastic regulations.
We define that the holy icons, whether in colour, mosaic, or some
other material, should be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on the
sacred vessels and liturgical vestments,
on the walls, furnishings, and in houses and along the roads, namely
the icons of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, that of our Lady the
Theotokos, those of the venerable
angels and those of all saintly people. Whenever these
representations are contemplated, they will cause those who look at them to
commemorate and love their prototype. We define
also that they should be kissed and that they are an object of
veneration and honour [timitiki proskynisis], but not of real
worship [latreia], which is
reserved for Him Who is the subject of our faith and is proper for
the Divine Nature. The veneration accorded to an icon is in effect
transmitted to the prototype; he who
venerates the icon, venerated in it the reality for which it stands.
Council in Frankfurt heretical, local Council, 794 AD
Opposed decisions of Nicaea II, denying it had been an ecumenical
council. Pope Hadrian condemned for supporting Nicaea II. The worship of
images, under the terms worship,
adoration, and service of any kind, was forbidden. Destruction of
images was also opposed, inasmuch as the synod did not condemn depictions as
decorations or tools for
instructing the illiterate, only the worship or adoration of depictions.
Council in Aachen heretical, local Council, 809 AD
Decreed that belief in the Filioque was necessary for salvation.
Council in Constantinople local Council, 861 AD
Established regulations for monasticism, including requiring local
bishop's permission to build monastery. Condemned castration. Established
regulations for clergy.
Council in Constantinople local Council, 867 AD
Tension begun by Frankish missionaries in Bulgaria, acting as Pope
Nicholas' emissaries, began to introduce the Symbol of Faith with the addtion
of the Filioque. Escalated by
desire on part of Rome and Constantinople to have jurisdiction in
Bulgaria. Triggered by Pope Nicholas, who in 865 for the first time put
forward the never-before-heard claim
that the Pope had authority 'over all the earth, that is, over every
Church.' This council, convened by Saint Photius and including archbishops of
Treves, Cologne and Ravenna from the West,
excommunicated and anathematised Pope Nicolas
Council in Constantinople considered a heretical Council by the Orthodox Church, 869-870 AD
Only 12 bishops attended at first, and attendance never exceeded 103.
The legates of Pope Adrian II presided. Saint Photius had already been
condemned, without a hearing, at a
Roman synod and Pope Adrian, taking advantage of political changes in
Constantinople, pressed for a council. Saint Photius' defense was cut short,
and when he refused to sign his own
condemnation, he was excommunicated. The result of these councils was
to intensify the bitterness between East and West. Not regarded as
'Ecumenical' by Roman Catholicism until 11th or
12th century, it has never been accepted by Orthodoxy.
Fourth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople - Eighth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council 879-880 AD
Resolved scandals between East and West regarding Bulgaria. Expelled
those who did not recognise Nicaea II as Seventh Ecumenical Council. Outlawed
and repudiated local councils of
Rome and Constantinople against Saint Photius. Established that the
Symbol of Faith from Constantinople I (the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed)
was to be forever 'un-innovated' and
'immutable'. Required those excommunicated by Rome to be treated as
such by Constantinople and vice-versa. (Accepted by all five patriarchates,
including Pope John VIII)
Council in Constantinople local Council, 1082 AD
Convened regarding John Italus.
Condemned those who seek to discover exactly how the Word was joined
to His human substance; Greek doctrines of the soul, heaven, earth, and
creation; the destruction of the soul
after death; those who say that creation is eternal or immutable;
those who do not accept the miracles of Christ, the Theotokos, and all his
saints; those who think Greek philosophy
true; that creation is not the result of God's free will; the
pre-existence of souls; those who deny that creation is created ex
nihilo; those who say that hell is temporary
or that all of creation will be restored; and those who understand
the Kingdom of Heaven to be temporary.
Synod of Blachernae, in Constantinople local Synod, 1157 AD
Convened regarding Basilakes and Soterichus.
Condemned those who say Christ offered His sacrifice to the Father
alone, and not to himself and to the Holy Spirit; those who say the sacrifice
of the Divine Liturgy is only
figuratively the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood; those who deny
that the sacrifice in the Liturgy is one and the same as that of Christ on
the cross; those who say men were
reconciled to the Son through the incarnation and to the Father
through the passion; those who think the deification of Christ's humanity
destroyed his human nature; those who
deny that his deified human nature is worthy of worship; those who
say that, since the human nature of Christ was swallowed up into Divinity,
his passion was an illusion;
those who say that characteristics of Christ's human nature
(creaturehood, circumscription, mortality, and blameless passions) exist only
hypothetically, when one considers Christ's
human nature in abstraction, and not really and truly.
Council in Constantinople local Council, 1166 AD
Convened regarding Constantine the Bulgarian.
Condemned those who maintain that 'My father is greater than I'
refers only to Christ's human nature, taken in abstraction and who explain
the statement in various ways, one of which
is that the statement refers to the fact that Christ's human nature
retained its properties in the hypostatic union.
Second Council of Lyons Failed 'reunion Council', 1274 AD
Motivated by a desire of popes to gain recognition of primacy and by
a desire of emperors to receive material and martial aide. Emperor Michael
basically compelled the few Orthodox
bishops in attendance to rubber-stamp papal claims. Rejected
throughout the East and regarded as meaningless. Emperor Michael's sister
stated: 'Better my brother's empire should
perish than the purity of the Orthodox faith.' Repudiated by
Council at Constantinople local Council, 1285 AD
Convened regarding the Procession of the Holy Spirit.
Clarified the teaching on the Holy Spirit's origin.
It is recognised that the very Paraclete shines and manifests Himself
eternally by the intermediary of the Son, as light shines from the sun by the
intermediary of rays ...;
but that does not mean that He comes into being through the Son or
from the Son.
Council at Constantinople - Ninth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 1341, 1349, 1351 AD
Convened regarding Barlaam the Calabrian and Acindynus.
Condemned Barlaam the Calabrian and
Acindynus. Condemned those who think the light of Christ's Transfiguration
was an apparition, or the essence of God and those who do
not believe the divine light is the uncreated grace and energy of God which
proceeds from God's essence; those who do not
recognise the undivided distinction between God's essence and his energy;
those who deny the energy of God is uncreated; those who
say the distinction between energy and essence implies that God is not simple
and uncompounded; those claim the term 'Godhead' should
only be applied to the essence of God, and not to the divine energy; and
those who maintain the Divine Essence can be
Council of Constance Roman Catholic Council, 1414-1418 AD
It deposed John XXIII and Benedict XIII whilst the third pope,
Gregory XII, resigned. This settled the division of mutliple claimants to the
papacy and cleared the way for the Council's
election of Martin V. Taught that a general council was highest
authority (higher than pope) and required regular meeting of bishops in
Council of Basel Roman Catholic Council, 1431 AD ff
Met in accordance with decree of Constance. Re-affirmed that a
general council was superior in authority to a pope. Pope demanded the
council be transferred to Ferrara, but only a minority
of bishops complied with most continuing to meet in Basel.
Council of Ferrara Failed 'reunion Council', 1438 AD;
moved to Florence, 1438 - 1443
Motivated by a desire of popes to gain recognition of
primacy and by a desire of emperors to receive material and military
assistance. Began in Ferrara, was subsequently
transferred to Florence. Primary focus: Filioque. Ended
with most Orthodox bishops accepting addition of Filioque, claims of papal
primacy, and accepting
Latin notion of Purgatory. Upon return to East, most
bishops renounced agreement which had been forced on them by Emperor
John. Soundly rejected by Orthodox
faithful throughout Roman Empire and Slavic areas.
Officially repudiated by Constantinople Patriarchate in 1472.
Served as model for Roman Catholicism's Uniates.
Ending of Ferrara-Florence in Rome 1443-1444 AD
Conclusion of Ferrara-Florence after Orthodox departure (1439)
Synod of Jerusalem Pan-Orthodox Council, 1583 AD
Convened regarding various Roman Catholic beliefs.
The 1583 Synod of Jerusalem condemned the following:
1. those who do not believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone
in essence, and from Father and Son in time;
2. those who believe the Lord Jesus Christ used unleavened bread at the
3. those who believe in Purgatory;
4. those who believe the pope, rather than the Lord Jesus Christ is head
of the Church;
5. those who use the Gregorian calendar and its new Paschalion.
In addition, this synod re-affirmed adherence to the decisions of Nicaea I
(Ecumenical/Imperial #1 (AD 325)).
Council at Iasi (Romania) local Council, 1642 AD
Re-affirmed as 'genuine parts of scripture': 1 Esdras (3 Esdras in
the Vulgate), Tobit, Judith, three books of the Maccabees, Wisdom,
Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira),
Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah. Approved revised version of
Confession of Peter of Moghila corrected for its Roman Catholic
errors (purgatory, the claim that the change
in the eucharistic bread and wine occurs at the 'words of institution'.
Council of Jerusalem - Pan-Orthodox Council 1672 AD
Convened regarding Cyril Lukaris.
Condemned Calvinism of Cyril Lukaris. Re-affirmed procession of the
Holy Spirit from Father alone. Condemned 'justification through faith alone'.
Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, The History of the Dragon, Susanna, Maccabees,
and Sirach as 'genuine parts of Scripture'. Denied unregenerate man is
We believe a man to be not simply justified through faith alone, but
through faith which works through love, that is to say, through faith and
But we regard works not as witnesses certifying our calling, but as
being fruits in themselves, through which faith becomes efficacious, and as
in themselves meriting,
through the Divine promises, that each of the faithful may receive
what is done through his own body, whether it is good or bad.
Council at Constantinople local Council, 1755 AD
Convened regarding Baptism.
Decreed that all Westerners -- Latin or Protestant -- had invalid
sacraments and were only to be admitted into the Orthodox Church through
Council at Constantinople local Council, 1772 AD
Convened regarding Purgatory.
Condemned the innovation of purgatory.
We the godly, following the truth and turning away from such
innovations, confess and accept two places for the souls of the dead,
paradise and hell, for the righteous and sinners,
as the holy Scripture teaches us. We do not accept a third place, a
purgatory, by any means, since neither Scripture nor the holy Fathers have
taught us any such thing.
However, we believe these two places have many abodes ...
the teachers of the Church have handed down or taught such a purgatory, but
they all speak of one
single place of punishment, hades, just as they teach about one
luminous and bright place, paradise. But both the souls of the holy and the
righteous go indisputably to
paradise and those of the sinners go to hades, of whom the profane
and those who have sinned unforgivably are punished forever and those who
have offended forgivably and
moderately hope to gain freedom through the unspeakable mercy of God.
For on behalf of such souls, that is of the moderately and forgivably sinful,
there are in the Church
prayers, supplications, liturgies, as well as memorial services and
almsgiving, that those souls may receive favour and comfort. Thus when the
Church prays for the souls
of those who are lying asleep, we hope there will be comfort for them
from God, but not through fire and purgatory, but through divine love for
mankind, whereby the
infinite goodness of God is seen.
Council at Constantinople local Council, 1819 AD
Endorsed the teaching of the Kollyvades monks (frequent communion,
the empirical experience of hesychasm against metaphysical speculations and
Council at Constantinople local Council, 1872 AD
Convened regarding Phyletism.
Condemned Phyletism, the heresy that the organisation of the Church
should be along racial (ethnic) lines in the same geographical
Council at Constantinople Inter-Orthodox Congress, 1923 AD
Authorised local churches to use the Revised Julian calendar whilst
maintaining the traditional Paschalion.
Information provided by T R Valentine
Ecumenical Church Councils Roman Catholic listing
Nicene Creed (Symbol of Faith)
Council of Basel
Council of Chalcedon
Council of Constance
Council of Constantinople
Council of Ephesus
Council of Ferrara-Florence
Council of Nicaea
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