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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 be Christians.


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 year.


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 regarding baptism.


256 AD. Repeated decisions made earlier in year, rejecting Pope Stephen's teaching. Declared there were no sacraments outside the Church.


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. Forbad icons.


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 (Nicene Creed).

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.


Nicene Creed .

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 made.
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 was buried.
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 of Orthodoxy.

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 come. Amen.


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 Bishop Aurelius.

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' is condemned.


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.


Statement .

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,


Statement .

... 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 writers.

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 (the Great)

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.
No canons 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 Ecumenical Councils, 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 so called 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.


Statement .

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 called 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 Michael's successor.


Council at Constantinople local Council, 1285 AD

Convened regarding the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Clarified the teaching on the Holy Spirit's origin.


Statement .

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 communicated.


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 general council.


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 Last Supper;
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'. Explicitly listed Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, The History of the Dragon, Susanna, Maccabees, and Sirach as 'genuine parts of Scripture'. Denied unregenerate man is totally depraved.


Statement .

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 works. ...

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 Baptism.


Council at Constantinople local Council, 1772 AD

Convened regarding Purgatory. Condemned the innovation of purgatory.


Statement .

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 ... 
None of 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 rationalism, etc.)

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 area.

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


Also, see:
Ecumenical Church Councils Roman Catholic listing

Nicene Creed (Symbol of Faith)

Athanasian Creed
Apostles' Creed

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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