This doctrine, rather political than theological, was a survival of the errors which had come into being after the Great Schism, and especially at the council of Constance; its object was to put the Church above its head, as the council of Constance had put the ecumenical council above the pope, as though the council could be ecumenical without its head.
The minority, among whom were prominent Ca" "pals Rauscher and Schwarzenberg, Hefele, bishop of Rotterdam (the historian of the councils) Cardinal Mathieu, Mgr Dupanloup, Mgr Maret, &c., &c., did not pretend to deny the papal infallibility; they pleaded the inopportuneness of the definition and brought forward difficulties mainly of an historical order, in particular the famous condemn ion of Pope Honorius by the 6th ecumenical council of Const: ntinople in 680.
COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON, the fourth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, was held in 451, its occasion being the Eutychian heresy and the notorious "Robber Synod" (see Eutyches and Ephesus, Council Of), which called forth vigorous protests both in the East and in the West, and a loud demand for a new general council, a demand that was ignored by the Eutychian Theodosius II., but speedily granted by his successor, Marcian, a "Flavianist."
Bishop, provincial synod, exarch of the diocese, patriarch of Constantinople (obviously the council could not here have been legislating for the entire church); forbidding clerics to be running to Constantinople with complaints, without the consent of their respective bishops; (7) confirming the possession of rural parishes to those who had actually administered them for thirty years, providing for the adjudication of conflicting claims, and guaranteeing the integrity of metropolitan provinces; (8) confirming the third canon of the second ecumenical council, which accorded to Constantinople equal privileges ('oa 7fp€ose7a) with Rome, and the second rank among the patriarchates, and, in addition, granting to Constantinople patriarchal jurisdiction over Pontus, Asia and Thrace.
Leo I., although he recognized the council as ecumenical and confirmed its doctrinal decrees, rejected canon xxviii.
BL.) Gibbon's literary art, the sustained excellence of his style, his piquant epigrams and his brilliant irony, would perhaps not secure for his work the immortality which it seems likely to enjoy, if it were not also marked by ecumenical grasp, extraordinary accuracy and striking acuteness of judgment.
SYNOD OF LAODICEA, held at Laodicea ad Lycum in Phrygia, some time between 343 and 381 (so Hefele; but Baronius argues for 314, and others for a date as late as 399), adopted sixty canons, chiefly disciplinary, which were declared ecumenical by the council of Chalcedon, 451.
As an ecclesiastical title it was used to imply, not universal (ecumenical), but a great and widespread jurisdiction.
The consciousness of being in the line of apostolic succession helped the English clergy to revert to the principle Ecclesia est in episcopo, and the great periodical conferences of Anglican bishops from all parts of the world have something of the character, though they do not claim the ecumenical authority, of the general councils of the early Church (see Lambeth Conferences).
Among these numerous synods the most prominent are those which the tradition of the Roman Catholic church has classed as ecumenical councils.
The first Lateran council (the ninth ecumenical) was opened by Pope Calixtus II.
The second Lateran, and tenth ecumenical, council was held by Pope Innocent II.
At the third Lateran council (eleventh ecumenical), which met in March 1179 under Pope Alexander III., the clergy present again numbered about one thousand.
The fourth Lateran council (twelfth ecumenical), convened by Pope Innocent III.
The fifth Lateran council (eighteenth ecumenical) was convened by Pope Julius II.
In order to restore peace in the church, Constantine summoned an ecumenical council (the sixth) at Constantinople, which held its sittings from the 7th of November 680 to the 16th of September 681.
Meanwhile the emperor Theodosius died, and Pulcheria and Marcian who succeeded summoned, in October 451, a council (the fourth ecumenical) which met at Chalcedon.
He displayed his freedom from ecclesiastical prejudices, if also his utter ignorance of ecclesiastical history, by agreeing, on the payment of a large bribe, to grant to the patriarch of Constantinople the title of an ecumenical bishop, but the general indignation which the proposal excited throughout the church compelled him almost immediately to withdraw from his agreement.
The Greek Church rejects as heretical, because contrary to the teaching of the first seven ecumenical councils, the Roman dogmas of the papacy, of the double procession of the Holy Ghost, the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, and the infallibility of the Pope.
More interesting historically is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in 1514-1539, and the scene of the sessions of the famous Ecumenical Council (as to which, see below) which lasted, with several breaks, from 1545 to 1563; near it, in the open, a column was erected in 1845, on the occasion of the three hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Council.
This gradually led to the idea of " An Ecumenical Council of Congregational Churches," broached in 1874, and first realized in 1891, in the London International Council under the presidency of Dr R.
In the 15th century it received its classical expression in the resolutions of the ecumenical council at Constance; its principles were developed and amplified by Gallicanism, and, finally, in the 18th century, was restored in a modernized form by " Febronius" (Nikolaus von Hontheim, q.v.) and in the Punctation of Ems (see Febr0nianism).
The struggle between these two systems continued well into the 10th century; and, though episcopalism was not infrequently proscribed by the curia, it still survived, and till the year 1870 could boast that no ecumenical council had ventured to condemn it.
Convoked an ecumenical council at Ephesus, to which Celestine sent his legates.
In 325 the first general or ecumenical council, representing theoretically the entire Christian Church, was held at Nicaea.
Other councils of the first period now recognized as ecumenical by the Church both East and West are Constantinople I.
As a result the ecumenical council came into existence especially for the purpose of settling disputed questions of doctrine, and giving to the collective episcopate the opportunity to express its voice in a final and official way.
At the council of Nicaea, and at the ecumenical councils which followed, the idea of an infallible episcopate giving authoritative and permanent utterance to apostolic and therefore divine truth, found clear expression, and has been handed down as a part of the faith of the Catholic Church both East and West.
Under the Empire the ecumenical council had been looked upon as the highest representative organ of the Catholic Church; but the earlier centuries of the middle ages witnessed the convocation of no ecumenical councils.
A compromise was arranged by Sigismund, who had been crowned emperor at Rome on the 31st of May 1433, by which the pope recalled the bull of dissolution, and, reserving the rights of the Holy See, acknowledged the council as ecumenical (15th of December 1 433).
Scholars like Langenstein, Gerson and Zabarella, evolved a new theory as to ecumenical councils, which from the point of view of Roman Catholic principles must be described as revolutionary.
The council declared that it was canonically convened, ecumenical, and representative of the whole Catholic Church; then proceeded immediately to the trial and deposition of Benedict XIII.
All eyes were consequently turned to the energetic German king, Sigismund, who was inspired by the best motives, and who succeeded in surmounting the formidable obstacles which barred the way to an ecumenical council.
Thus, in the third, fourth and fifth general sessions it was enacted, with characteristic precipitation, that an ecumenical council could not be dissolved or set aside by the pope, without its consent: the corollary to which was, that the present council, notwithstanding the flight of John XXIII., continued to exist in the full possession of its powers, and that, in matters pertaining to belief and the eradication of schism, all men - even the pope - were bound to obey the general council, whose authority extended over all Christians, including the pope himself.
But these declarations as to the superiority of an ecumenical council never attained legal validity, in spite of their defence by Pierre d'Ailly and Gerson.
Emanating from an assembly without a head, which could not possibly be an ecumenical council without the assent of one of the popes (of whom one was necessarily the legitimate pope) - enacted, in opposition to the cardinals, by a majority of persons for the most part unqualified, and in a fashion which was thus distinctly different from that of the old of John councils - they can only be regarded as a coup de XXIII.
- [ED.] By consenting to this, the synod indirectly acknowledged that its previous sessions had not possessed an ecumenical character, and also that Gregory's predecessors, up to Urban VI., had been legitimate popes.
It was an impressive moment, when, on the 4th of December 1563, the great ecumenical synod of the Church came to a close.
The " Ecumenical Missionary Conference," held at New York in April 1900, was an astonishing revelation to the American public of the greatness of missions generally and of the missions of their own churches in particular.
In his controversies with the bishops of Ravenna concerning the use of the pallium, with Maximus the "usurping" bishop of Salona, and with the patriarchs of Constantinople in respect of the title "ecumenical bishops"), contributed greatly to build up the system of papal absolutism.
The conference of Anglican bishops from all parts of the world, instituted by Archbishop Longley in 1867, and known as the Lambeth Conferences, though even for the Anglican communion they have not the authority of an ecumenical synod, and their decisions are rather of the nature of counsels than commands, have done much to promote the harmony and co-operation of the various branches of the Church.
COUNCIL OF VIENNE, an ecclesiastical council, which in the Roman Catholic Church ranks as the fifteenth ecumenical synod.