First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

These seven events represented an attempt by Church leaders to reach an orthodox consensus, restore peace[1] and develop a unified Christendom.[2] Eastern Orthodox Christians, Oriental Orthodox Christians, the Church of the East, Anglican, Old Catholic, and Roman Catholics, all trace the legitimacy of their clergy by apostolic succession back to this period and beyond, to the earlier period referred to as Early Christianity.

This era begins with the First Council of Nicaea, which enunciated the Nicene Creed that in its original form and as modified by the First Council of Constantinople of 381 was seen by all later councils as the touchstone of orthodoxy on the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church accept all seven of these councils as legitimate ecumenical councils. The Oriental Orthodox Churches accept only the first three, while the Church of the East accepts only the first two. There is also one additional council (the Quinisext Council), which was held between the sixth and seventh ecumenical councils (in AD 692), and which issued organizational, liturgical and canonical rules but did not discuss theology. It is accepted as ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church alone, however the Eastern Orthodox do not give it a number, but rather count it as a continuation of the sixth council. The Catholic Church does not accept the Quinisext Council,[3][4] but both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church consider that there have been more ecumenical councils after the first seven (see: Eighth ecumenical council, Ninth ecumenical council, and Catholic ecumenical councils).

Nicaea icon
Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine (centre), accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

The councils

These seven ecumenical councils are:

Council Date Convoked by President Attendance (approx.) Topics
First Council of Nicaea 325 (May 20-June 19) Emperor Constantine I Hosius of Corduba (and Emperor Constantine) 318 Arianism, the nature of Christ, celebration of Passover (Easter), ordination of eunuchs, prohibition of kneeling on Sundays and from Easter to Pentecost, validity of baptism by heretics, lapsed Christians, sundry other matters.
First Council of Constantinople 381 (May-July) Emperor Theodosius I Timothy of Alexandria, Meletius of Antioch, Gregory Nazianzus, and Nectarius of Constantinople 150 Arianism, Apollinarism, Sabellianism, Holy Spirit, successor to Meletius
Council of Ephesus 431 (June 22-July 31) Emperor Theodosius II Cyril of Alexandria 200–250 Nestorianism, Theotokos, Pelagianism
Council of Chalcedon 451 (October 8-November 1) Emperor Marcian A board of government officials and senators, led by the patrician Anatolius 520 The judgments issued at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449, the alleged offences of Bishop Dioscorus of Alexandria, the relationship between the divinity and humanity of Christ, many disputes involving particular bishops and sees.
Second Council of Constantinople 553 (May 5-June 2) Emperor Justinian I Eutychius of Constantinople 152 Nestorianism
monophysitism
Third Council of Constantinople 680-681 (November 7-September 16) Emperor Constantine IV Patriarch George I of Constantinople 300 Monothelitism, the human and divine wills of Jesus
Second Council of Nicaea 787 (September 24-October 23) Constantine VI and Empress Irene (as regent) Patriarch Tarasios of Constantinople, legates of Pope Adrian I 350 Iconoclasm

First Council of Nicaea (325)

Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 1000 002
Emperor Constantine presents a representation of the city of Constantinople as tribute to an enthroned Mary and baby Jesus in this church mosaic. Hagia Sophia, c. 1000).

Emperor Constantine convened this council to settle a controversial issue, the relation between Jesus Christ and God the Father. The Emperor wanted to establish universal agreement on it. Representatives came from across the Empire, subsidized by the Emperor. Previous to this council, the bishops would hold local councils, such as the Council of Jerusalem, but there had been no universal, or ecumenical, council.

The council drew up a creed, the original Nicene Creed, which received nearly unanimous support. The council's description of "God's only-begotten Son", Jesus Christ, as of the same substance with God the Father became a touchstone of Christian Trinitarianism. The council also addressed the issue of dating Easter (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy), recognised the right of the See of Alexandria to jurisdiction outside of its own province (by analogy with the jurisdiction exercised by Rome) and the prerogatives of the churches in Antioch and the other provinces[5] and approved the custom by which Jerusalem was honoured, but without the metropolitan dignity.[6]

The Council was opposed by the Arians, and Constantine tried to reconcile Arius, after whom Arianism is named, with the Church. Even when Arius died in 336, one year before the death of Constantine, the controversy continued, with various separate groups espousing Arian sympathies in one way or another.[7] In 359, a double council of Eastern and Western bishops affirmed a formula stating that the Father and the Son were similar in accord with the scriptures, the crowning victory for Arianism.[7] The opponents of Arianism rallied, and the First Council of Constantinople in 381 marked the final victory of Nicene orthodoxy within the Empire, though Arianism had by then spread to the Germanic tribes, among whom it gradually disappeared after the conversion of the Franks to Christianity in 496.[7]

Constantine commissions Bibles

In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius (Apol. Const. 4) recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known, though there is plenty of speculation. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles.[8]

First Council of Constantinople (381)

Hagia Irene2
Hagia Irene is a former church, now a museum, in Istanbul. Commissioned in the 4th century, it ranks as the first church built in Constantinople, and has its original atrium. In 381 the First Council of Constantinople took place in the church. Damaged by an earthquake in the 8th century, its present form largely dates from repairs made at that time.

The council approved what the current form of the Nicene Creed as used in most Oriental Orthodox churches is. The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the council's text but with the verbs expressing belief in the singular: Πιστεύω (I believe) instead of Πιστεύομεν (We believe). The Latin Rite of the Catholic Church also uses the singular and, except in Greek,[9] adds two phrases, Deum de Deo (God from God) and Filioque (and the Son). The form used by the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, has many more additions.[10] This fuller creed may have existed before the Council and probably originated from the baptismal creed of Constantinople.[11]

The council also condemned Apollinarism,[12] the teaching that there was no human mind or soul in Christ.[13] It also granted Constantinople honorary precedence over all churches save Rome.[12]

The council did not include Western bishops or Roman legates, but it was later accepted as ecumenical in the West.[12]

First Council of Ephesus (431)

Theodosius II called the council to settle the christological controversy surrounding Nestorianism. Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, opposed use of the term Theotokos (Greek Η Θεοτόκος, "God-Bearer").[14] This term had long been used by orthodox writers, and it was gaining popularity along with devotion to Mary as Mother of God.[14] He reportedly taught that there were two separate persons in the incarnate Christ, though whether he actually taught this is disputed.[14]

The council deposed Nestorius, repudiated Nestorianism, and proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos.

After quoting the Nicene Creed in its original form, as at the First Council of Nicaea, without the alterations and additions made at the First Council of Constantinople, it declared it "unlawful for any man to bring forward, or to write, or to compose a different (ἑτέραν) Faith as a rival to that established by the holy Fathers assembled with the Holy Ghost in Nicæa."[15]

Council of Chalcedon (451)

The council repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, described and delineated the "Hypostatic Union" and two natures of Christ, human and divine; adopted the Chalcedonian Definition. For those who accept it (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and most Protestants), it is the Fourth Ecumenical Council (calling the Second Council of Ephesus, which was rejected by this council, the "Robber Synod" or "Robber Council").

Before the council

In November 448, a synod at Constantinople condemned Eutyches for unorthodoxy.[16] Eutyches, archimandrite (abbot) of a large Constantinopolitan monastery,[17] taught that Christ was not consubstantial with humanity.[18]

In 449, Theodosius II summoned a council at Ephesus, where Eutyches was exonerated and returned to his monastery.[16] This council was later overturned by the Council of Chalcedon and labeled "Latrocinium" (i.e., "Robber Council").[16]

Second Council of Constantinople (553)

This council condemned certain writings and authors which defended the christology of Nestorius. This move was instigated by Emperor Justinian in an effort to conciliate the monophysite Christians, it was opposed in the West, and the Popes' acceptance of the council caused a major schism.[19]

Three Chapters

Prior to the Second Council of Constantinople was a prolonged controversy over the treatment of three subjects, all considered sympathetic to Nestorianism, the heresy that there are two separate persons in the Incarnation of Christ.[20] Emperor Justinian condemned the Three Chapters, hoping to appeal to miaphysite Christians with his anti-Nestorian zeal.[21] Monophysites believe that in the Incarnate Christ there is only one nature (i.e. the divine) not two[18] while miaphysites believe that the two natures of Christ are united as one and are distinct in thought only.

Eastern Patriarchs supported the Emperor, but in the West his interference was resented, and Pope Vigilius resisted his edict on the grounds that it opposed the Chalcedonian decrees. [21] Justinian's policy was in fact an attack on Antiochene theology and the decisions of Chalcedon.[21] The pope assented and condemned the Three Chapters, but protests in the West caused him to retract his condemnation.[21] The emperor called the Second Council of Constantinople to resolve the controversy.[21]

Council proceedings

The council, attended mostly by Eastern bishops, condemned the Three Chapters and, indirectly, the Pope Vigilius.[21] It also affirmed Constantinople's intention to remain in communion with Rome.[21]

After the council

Vigilius declared his submission to the council, as did his successor, Pope Pelagius I.[21] The council was not immediately recognized as ecumenical in the West, and Milan and Aquileia even broke off communion with Rome over this issue.[19] The schism was not repaired until the late 6th century for Milan and the late 7th century for Aquileia.[19]

Emperor Justinian's policy failed to reconcile the Monophysites.[21]

Third Council of Constantinople (680–681)

Third Council of Constantinople (680–681): repudiated monothelitism, a doctrine that won widespread support when formulated in 638; the Council affirmed that Christ had both human and divine wills.

Quinisext Council

Quinisext Council (= Fifth-Sixth Council) or Council in Trullo (692) has not been accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. Since it was mostly an administrative council for raising some local canons to ecumenical status, establishing principles of clerical discipline, addressing the Biblical canon, without determining matters of doctrine, the Eastern Orthodox Church does not consider it to be a full-fledged council in its own right, viewing it instead as an extension of the fifth and sixth councils. It gave ecclesiastical sanction to the Pentarchy as the government of the state church of the Roman Empire.[22]

Second Council of Nicaea (787)

Second Council of Nicaea (787). In 753, Emperor Constantine V convened the Synod of Hieria, which declared that images of Jesus misrepresented him and that images of Mary and the saints were idols.[23] The Second Council of Nicaea restored the veneration of icons and ended the first iconoclasm.

Subsequent events

In the 9th century, Emperor Michael III deposed Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople and Photius was appointed in his place. Pope Nicholas I declared the deposition of Ignatius invalid. After Michael was murdered, Ignatius was reinstated as patriarch without challenge and in 869–870 a council in Constantinople, considered ecumenical in the West, anathematized Photius. With Ignatius' death in 877, Photius became patriarch, and in 879–880 another council in Constantinople, which many Easterners consider ecumenical, annulled the decision of the previous council.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ "They renounced their false opinions and died in peace with the Church." (Russian: "отказались от своих ложных мнений и скончались в мире с Церковью.") Slobodskoy, Serafim Alexivich (1992). "Short Summaries of the Ecumenical Councils". The Law of God. OrthodoxPhotos.com. Translated by Price, Susan. Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville, New York). ISBN 978-0-88465-044-7. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019. Original: Слободской, Серафим Алексеевич (1957). "Краткие сведения о вселенских соборах" [Short Summaries of the Ecumenical Councils]. Закон Божий [The Law of God]. Православная энциклопедия Азбука веры | православный сайт (in Russian) (published 1966). Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ Diehl, Charles (1923). "1: Leo III and the Isaurian Dynasty (717-802)". In Tanner, J. R.; Previté-Orton, C. W.; Brooke, Z. N. (eds.). The Cambridge Medieval History. IV: The Eastern Roman Empire (717-1453). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 9785872870395. Retrieved 2016-02-01. ... Tarasius ... skilfully put forward the project of an Ecumenical Council which should restore peace and unity to the Christian world. The Empress [...] summoned the prelates of Christendom to Constantinople for the spring of 786. ... Finally the Council was convoked at Nicaea in Bithynia; it was opened in the presence of the papal legates on 24 September 787. This was the seventh Ecumenical Council.
  3. ^ Schaff's Seven Ecumenical Councils: Introductory Note to Council of Trullo: "From the fact that the canons of the Council in Trullo are included in this volume of the Decrees and Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils it must not for an instant be supposed that it is intended thereby to affirm that these canons have any ecumenical authority, or that the council by which they were adopted can lay any claim to being ecumenical either in view of its constitution or of the subsequent treatment by the Church of its enactments."
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica "Quinisext Council". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 14, 2010. "The Western Church and the Pope were not represented at the council. Justinian, however, wanted the Pope as well as the Eastern bishops to sign the canons. Pope Sergius I (687–701) refused to sign, and the canons were never fully accepted by the Western Church".
  5. ^ canon 6 Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ canon 7 Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c "Arianism." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  8. ^ The Canon Debate, McDonald and Sanders editors, 2002, pages 414-415, for the entire paragraph
  9. ^ See official Greek translation of the Roman Missal and the document The Greek and Latin Traditions about the Procession of the Holy Spirit by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which states: "The Catholic Church has refused the addition καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ to the formula τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον in the Greek text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol, even in its liturgical use by Latins"
  10. ^ Armenian Church Library: Nicene Creed
  11. ^ "Nicene Creed." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  12. ^ a b c "Constantinople, First Council of." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  13. ^ "Apollinarius." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  14. ^ a b c "Nestorius." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  15. ^ "CHURCH FATHERS: Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431)".
  16. ^ a b c "Latrocinium." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  17. ^ "Eutyches" and "Archimandrite." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  18. ^ a b "Monophysitism." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  19. ^ a b c "Constantinople, Second Council of." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  20. ^ "Nestorianism" and "Three Chapters." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Three Chapters." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  22. ^ "Pentarchy". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 14, 2010. "Pentarchy. The proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees under the auspices of a single universal empire. Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527–65), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem".
  23. ^ "Iconoclastic Controversy." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  24. ^ "Photius", in Cross, F. L., ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (New York: Oxford University Press. 2005)

External links

Apollinaris of Laodicea

Apollinaris the Younger, also known as Apollinaris of Laodicea, (died 382) was a bishop of Laodicea in Syria. He is best known, however, as a noted opponent of Arianism. Apollinaris's eagerness to emphasize the deity of Jesus and the unity of his person led him so far as to deny the existence of a rational human soul in Christ's human nature. This view came to be called Apollinarism. It was condemned by the First Council of Constantinople in 381.

Caelestius

Caelestius (or Celestius) was the major follower of the Christian teacher Pelagius and the Christian doctrine of Pelagianism, which was opposed to Augustine of Hippo and his doctrine in original sin, and was later declared to be heresy.

Cyrus of Alexandria

Cyrus of Alexandria (Arabic: المقوقس‎ al-Muqawqis) was a Melchite patriarch of the see of Alexandria in the 7th century, one of the authors of Monothelism and the last Byzantine prefect of Egypt. He died in Alexandria on March 21, 642.

Eunomius of Cyzicus

Eunomius (Εὐνόμιος) (died c.393), one of the leaders of the extreme or "anomoean" Arians, who are sometimes accordingly called Eunomians, was born at Dacora in Cappadocia early in the 4th century.

He studied theology at Alexandria under Aetius, and afterwards came under the influence of Eudoxius of Antioch, who ordained him deacon. On the recommendation of Eudoxius, Eunomius was appointed bishop of Cyzicus in 360. Here his free utterance of extreme Arian views led to popular complaints, including those from a number of contemporary writers such as Andronicianus. Eudoxius was compelled, by command of the emperor, Constantius II, to depose Eunomius from the bishopric within a year of his elevation to it.

During the reigns of Julian and Jovian, Eunomius resided in Constantinople in close intercourse with Aetius, consolidating a dissenting party and consecrating bishops. He then went to live at Chalcedon, whence in 367 he was banished to Mauretania for harbouring the rebel Procopius. He was recalled, however, before he reached his destination.

In 383, the emperor Theodosius, who had demanded a declaration of faith from all party leaders, punished Eunomius for continuing to teach his distinctive doctrines, by banishing him to Halmyris in Scythia Minor. He afterwards resided at Chalcedon and at Caesarea in Cappadocia, from which he was expelled by the inhabitants for writing against their bishop Basil. His last days were spent at his birthplace Dacora, where he died about 393.

His writings were held in high reputation by his party and their influence was so much dreaded by the orthodox, that several imperial edicts were issued for their destruction. Consequently, his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, mentioned by the historian, Socrates Scholasticus and his epistles, mentioned by Philostorgius and Photius, are no longer extant.

His first apologetical work, written probably about 360 or 365, has been entirely recovered from the famous refutation of it by Basil of Caesarea. A second apology, written before 379 exists only in the quotations given from it in a refutation by Gregory of Nyssa. The exposition of faith, called forth by the demand of Theodosius for the "council of heresies" in 383, is still extant, and has been edited by Valesius in his notes to Socrates of Constantinople, and by Ch. H. G. Rettberg in his Marcelliana.

The teaching of the Anomoean school, led by Aetius and Eunomius, starting from the conception of God as Creator, argued that between the Creator and created there could be no essential, but at best only a moral, resemblance. "As the Unbegotten, God is an absolutely simple being; an act of generation would involve a contradiction of His essence by introducing duality into the Godhead." According to Socrates of Constantinople (24) and Theodoretos Kyrou (PG 83 420), Eunomius carried his views to a practical issue by altering the baptismal formula. Instead of baptizing in the name of the Trinity by immersing the person in water thrice, he baptized in the death of Christ with only one immersion. This alteration was regarded by the orthodox as so serious that Eunomians on returning to the church were rebaptized, though the Arians were not. The Eunomian heresy was formally condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381. The sect maintained a separate existence for some time, but gradually fell away owing to internal divisions.

After Eunomius died, Eutropius ordered that Eunomius' body be moved to Tyana and his books be burned.

Eutyches

Eutyches (Greek: Εὐτυχής; c. 380 – c. 456) was a presbyter and archimandrite at Constantinople. He first came to notice in 431 at the First Council of Ephesus, for his vehement opposition to the teachings of Nestorius; his condemnation of Nestorianism as heresy led him to an equally extreme, although opposite view, which precipitated his being denounced as a heretic himself.

Evagrius Ponticus

Evagrius Ponticus (Greek: Εὐάγριος ὁ Ποντικός, "Evagrius of Pontus"), also called Evagrius the Solitary (345–399 AD), was a Christian monk and ascetic. One of the most influential theologians in the late fourth-century church, he was well known as a thinker, polished speaker, and gifted writer. He left a promising ecclesiastical career in Constantinople and traveled to Jerusalem, where in 383 he became a monk at the monastery of Rufinus and Melania the Elder. He then went to Egypt and spent the remaining years of his life in Nitria and Kellia, marked by years of asceticism and writing. He was a disciple of several influential contemporary church leaders, including Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Macarius of Egypt. He was a teacher of others, including John Cassian and Palladius.

First Council of Constantinople

The First Council of Constantinople (Greek: Πρώτη σύνοδος της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως commonly known as Greek: Β΄ Οικουμενική, "Second Ecumenical"; Latin: Concilium Constantinopolitanum Primum or Latin: Concilium Constantinopolitanum A) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and dealt with sundry other matters. It met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon.

Macarius I of Antioch

Macarius I of Antioch was Patriarch of Antioch in the 7th century, deposed in 681 for professing monothelitism.

Macedonius I of Constantinople

Macedonius (d. after 360) was a Greek bishop of Constantinople from 342 up to 346, and from 351 until 360. He inspired the establishment of the Macedonians, a sect later declared heretical.

Nestorius

Nestorius (; in Greek: Νεστόριος; c. 386 – 450) was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June.

His teachings included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos, "Mother of God", for Mary, mother of Jesus, and they were considered by many to imply that he did not believe that Christ was truly God. That brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who accused him of heresy.

Nestorius sought to defend himself at the First Council of Ephesus in 431 but instead found himself formally condemned for heresy by a majority of the bishops and was subsequently removed from his see. On his own request, he retired to his former monastery, in or near Antioch. In 435, Theodosius II sent him into exile in Upper Egypt, where he lived on until 450, strenuously defending his orthodoxy. His last major defender within the Roman Empire, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, finally agreed to anathematize him in 451 during the Council of Chalcedon.

From then on, he had no defenders within the empire, but the Church of the East never accepted his condemnation. That led later to western Christians giving the name Nestorian Church to the Church of the East where his teachings were deemed Orthodox and in line with its own teachings. Nestorius is revered as among three "Greek Teachers" of the Church (in addition to Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia). Parts of the Church of the East's Eucharistic Service, which is known to be among the oldest in the world, is contributed to with prayers attributed to Nestorius himself.

The Second Council of Constantinople of AD 553 confirmed the validity of the condemnation of Nestorius, refuting the letter of Ibas of Edessa that affirms that Nestorius was condemned without due inquiry.The discovery, translation and publication of his Bazaar of Heracleides at the beginning of the 20th century have led to a reassessment of his theology in western scholarship. It is now generally agreed that his ideas were not far from those that eventually emerged as orthodox, but the orthodoxy of his formulation of the doctrine of Christ is still controversial.

Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy (from Greek ὀρθοδοξία orthodoxía "right opinion") is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. In the Christian sense the term means "conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church." The first seven ecumenical councils were held between the years of 325 and 787 with the aim of formalizing accepted doctrines.

In some English-speaking countries, Jews who adhere to all the traditions and commandments as legislated in the Talmud are often called Orthodox Jews, although the term "orthodox" historically first described Christian beliefs.

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria

Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria, 25th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 but was recognized as Patriarch by the Coptic Church until his death. He died on the Island of Gangra, Paphlagonia, in September 454. He is venerated as a saint by the Coptic and other Oriental Orthodox churches.

Pope Honorius I

Pope Honorius I (died 12 October 638) was Pope from 27 October 625 to his death in 638.Honorius, according to the Liber Pontificalis, came from Campania and was the son of the consul Petronius. He became pope two days after the death of his predecessor, Boniface V. The festival of the Elevation of the Cross is said to have been instituted during the pontificate of Honorius, which was marked also by considerable missionary enterprise. Much of this was centered on England, especially Wessex. He also succeeded in bringing the Irish Easter celebrations in line with the rest of the Catholic Church.

Pyrrhus of Constantinople

Pyrrhus (? – 1 June 654) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 20 December 638 to 29 September 641, and again from 9 January to 1 June 654.

He was a supporter of Monotheletism, a christological doctrine propounded by the Emperor Heraclius. In 638, with the support of Heraclius, he was elected to the patriarchal throne. In the unrest following the death of Heraclius, he was accused of plotting against the life of Constantine III with Empress Martina to favor her son, Heraklonas. The army and the populace rose in revolt and the powerful Valentinus deposed and banished Pyrrhus to Africa. Soon after, Martina and Heraklonas were also deposed and exiled; Constans II, Constantine's son, was proclaimed the sole Emperor.

While in exile, in 645 he conducted with Maximus the Confessor a public discussion on faith (Disputatio cum Pyrrho), after which he rejected Monothelitism, and visited Rome in 647. From there he continued to Ravenna and returned to Constantinople, where he again reversed his position and re-embraced Monothelitism. He was excommunicated by Pope Theodore I as a consequence, but succeeded in becoming again Patriarch in early 654, holding the office until his death on 1 June of the same year.

He was posthumously cast out as heretical by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680/1.

Second Council of Constantinople

The Second Council of Constantinople is the fifth of the first seven ecumenical councils recognized by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. It is also recognized by the Old Catholics and others. Protestant opinions and recognition of it are varied. Some Protestants, such as Calvinists and Lutherans, recognize the first four councils, whereas most Anglo-Catholics accept all seven. Constantinople II was convoked by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I under the presidency of Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople. It was held from 5 May to 2 June 553. Participants were overwhelmingly Eastern bishops—only sixteen Western bishops were present, including nine from Illyricum and seven from Africa, but none from Italy—out of the 152 total.The main work of the council was to confirm the condemnation issued by edict in 551 by the Emperor Justinian against the Three Chapters. These were the Christological writings and ultimately the person of Theodore of Mopsuestia (died 428), certain writings against Cyril of Alexandria's Twelve Anathemas accepted at the Council of Ephesus, written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus (died c. 466), and a letter written against Cyrillianism and the Ephesian Council by Ibas of Edessa (died 457).The purpose of the condemnation was to make plain that the Great Church, which followed a Chalcedonian creed, was firmly opposed to Nestorianism as supported by the Antiochene school which had either assisted Nestorius, the eponymous heresiarch, or had inspired the teaching for which he was anathematized and exiled. The council also condemned the teaching that Mary could not be rightly called the Mother of God (Gk. Theotokos) but only the mother of the man (Gk. anthropotokos) or the mother of Christ (Gk. Christotokos).Justinian hoped that this would contribute to a reunion between the Chalcedonians and monophysites in the eastern provinces of the Empire. Various attempts at reconciliation between these parties within the Byzantine Empire were made by many emperors over the four centuries following the Council of Ephesus, none of them successful. Some attempts at reconciliation, such as this one, the condemnation of the Three Chapters and the unprecedented posthumous anathematization of Theodore—who had once been widely esteemed as a pillar of orthodoxy—causing further schisms and heresies to arise in the process, such as the aforementioned schism of the Three Chapters and the emergent semi-monophysite compromises of monoenergism and monotheletism. These propositions assert, respectively, that Christ possessed no human energy but only a divine function or principle of operation (purposefully formulated in an equivocal and vague manner, and promulgated between 610 and 622 by the Emperor Heraclius under the advice of Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople) and that Christ possessed no human will but only a divine will, "will" being understood to mean the desires and appetites in accord with the nature (promulgated in 638 by the same and opposed most notably by Maximus the Confessor).

Second Council of Nicaea

The Second Council of Nicaea is recognized as the last of the first seven ecumenical councils by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, it is also recognized as such by the Old Catholics and others. Protestant opinions on it are varied.

It met in AD 787 in Nicaea (site of the First Council of Nicaea; present-day İznik in Turkey) to restore the use and veneration of icons (or, holy images), which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Leo III (717–741). His son, Constantine V (741–775), had held the Council of Hieria to make the suppression official.

Sergius I of Constantinople

Sergius I (Greek: Σέργιος Α΄, Sergios I ; d. 9 December 638 in Constantinople) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 610 to 638. He is most famous for promoting Monothelite Christianity, especially through the Ecthesis.Sergius was born of Syrian Jacobite heritage. He first came to power as Patriarch of Constantinople in 610. He was also a known supporter of Emperor Heraclius, crowning Heraclius as Emperor himself in 610. Sergius also provided support to Heraclius throughout his campaign against the Persians. Sergius also played a prominent role in the defense of Constantinople against the combined Avar-Persian-Slavic forces during their invasion of Constantinople in 626. Sergius' connections to both political and religious authorities gave him to his influence in both the religious and political communities to further Monothelitism as the primary formula of Christ within the church. This was met with much opposition, especially from that of the Chalcedonian supporters, Maximus the Confessor and Sophronius. In response to their resistance to accept the ideas of Monothelitism, Sergius responded with the Ecthesis, a formula which forbade the idea that the Person of Christ had two energies in favour of the idea that the Person of Christ had two natures that were united by a single will. The Ecthesis was signed by Heraclius in 638, the same year that Sergius died.

The Ecthesis would only be seen as an accepted doctrine for two years; the death of Pope Honorius I resulted in a significant reduction in Monothelitism support. The Ecthesis was condemned in 640 by Pope John IV. Additionally, both Sergius and Pope Honorius I were condemned as heretics by the church in 680-681 by the Third Council of Constantinople.

Synod of Gangra

The Synod of Gangra was held in 340. The synod condemned Manichaeans, and their practices. The concluding canons of the Synod condemned the Manichaeans for their actions, and declared many of their practices anathematised.

The canons of the synod condemned and anathematised, (in order), the practices of: the condemnation of marriage, forbidding the eating of most forms of meat, urging slaves to flee their masters, arguing that married priests could not perform valid sacraments, condemning normal church services and holding their own, distributing church revenues without the consent of the bishop, remaining celibate for reasons other than holiness, reviling married persons and the celebration of Christian love-feasts, wearing certain types of ascetic clothing "as if this gave him righteousness" and condemning others who didn't, women wearing men's clothing under the pretense of asceticism, women leaving their husbands, parents abandoning their children, children leaving their parents, women cutting off their hair "from pretended asceticism," fasting on a Sunday under the pretense of asceticism, and refusal to honour Christian martyrs.Although merely a local synod, its decisions were later ratified by the Council of Chalcedon, which is of immense importance in the early history of Christianity, see also First seven Ecumenical Councils. Most modern Christian groups, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox, accept the Council of Chalcedon's decisions, while some Eastern Christians, including the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrians, reject it.

Third Council of Constantinople

The Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, as well by certain other Western Churches, met in 680/681 and condemned monoenergism and monothelitism as heretical and defined Jesus Christ as having two energies and two wills (divine and human).

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