Constantinople, Councils of

Constantinople, Councils of.

I. General Synods. — The following are regarded as oecumenical by the Latin or by the Greek Church, or by both:

1. The First OEcumenical Council of Constantinople (or the second in the list of oecumenical councils) was convoked at Constantinople in 381 by Theodosius the Great. There were present 150 orthodox bishops (mostly Elstern), and 36 followers of Macedonius, who left Constantinople when their doctrine was rejected by the majority. The council condemned, besides the Macedonians, the Arians, Eunomians, and Eudoxians, and confirmed the resolutions of the Council of Nice. It assigned to the bishop of Constantinople the second rank in the Church, next to the bishop of Rome, and in controversies between the two reserved the decision to the emperor.

2. The Second (Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (the fifth in the list of oecumenical councils), held in 553 on account of the Three Chapters' controversy, by 165, mostly Oriental, bishops. This council excommunicated the defenders of the Three Chapters, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ibas, and others, and the Roman bishop Vigilius, who refused to condemn the Three Chapters unconditionally.

3. The Third (Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (the sixth in the list of oecumenical councils), held from 680 to 681 in the Trullan palace, and attended by 289 bishops, among whom were three Oriental patriarchs, and four legates of the Roman bishop Agathon. The opinions of the Monothelites were condemned, especially through the influence of the Roman legates, as heretical.

4. The General Council convoked in 691 by the emperor Justinian II, and also held in the Trullan palace. As it was regarded as supplementing the fifth and sixth oecumenical councils, which had given no Church laws, it was called Quinisexta (Synodus) or Quinisextum (Conciliun). It gave 102 stringent canons on the morals of clergymen and ecclesiastical discipline. It is recognized as an oecumenical council by the Greeks only.

5. The fifth OEcumenical Council, held in 754, and attended by 383 bishops. It passed resolutions against the veneration of images, which were repealed by the second OEcumenical Council of Nice. It is not recognized by the Latin Church, but only by the Greek.

6. The sixth OEcumenical Council (by the Church of Rome regarded as the fourth OEcumenical Council of Constantinople, or the eighth in the list of oecumenical councils), held in 869. It deposed patriarch Photius, restored patriarch Ignatius, and gave laws on Church discipline. It is, of course, not recognized by the Greeks.

7. In 879 another General Synod was held at Constantinople, attended by 380 bishops, among whom were the legates of pope John VIII. Photius was recalled, the resolutions of the preceding council against him repealed, and the position of the patriarch of Constantinople to the pope defined. The Greeks number this council as the Eighth OEcumenical.

8. The ninth OEcumenical Council of the Greek Church was held in Constantinople, under the emperor Andronicus the younger, in 1341. It condemned the opinions of Barlaam as heretical.

II. Particular Synods. — The most important of the particular synods are: 1. and 2. In 336 and 339, two Arian synods, under the leadership of Eusebius of Nieomedia. The former deposed and excommunicated Marcellus of Ancyra; the latter deposed and expelled bishop Paulus, of Constantinople, and appointed Eusebius his successor. 3. A semi-Arian synod against AEtius, who was banished. 4. In 426, a synod held against the Messalians; in 448, 449, and 450, synods against the Eutychians. 5. In 495 and 496, Eutychian synods, condemning their opponents, and recognizing the Henoticon of Zeno. 6. A synod in 516, condemned the resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon. 7. In 536, against Severus, Anthimus, and other chiefs of the Acephali. 8. In 541 (543?), against some views of Origen. 9. In 815, two synods on the question of veneration of images, the one, attended by 270 bishops, in favor, and the second against the-images. 10. In 861, introducing patriarch Photius, and approving the veneration of images. 11. In 1170 (according to others in 1168), a synod, attended by many Eastern and Western bishops, on the reunion of the Eastern and Latin churches. Similar synods were held in 1277, 1280, 1285, all without effect. 12. In 1450, a council convoked by the emperor Constantine Palseologus deposed the patriarch Gregory, put in his place the patriarch Athanasius, and declined to accept the resolutions passed by the Council of Florence in favor of the union of the Greek and the Latin churches. 13. In 1638 and 1642, two synods held against the crypto- Calvinism of the patriarch Cyril Lucaris. — Pierer, Univers. Lex. 4:397; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 2:838; Christian Rememb. April, 1854, art. 1; Schaff, Hist. of the Christian Church, 2, 3; Landon, Manual of Councils; Hefele, Concil.-Geschichte; Edinburgh Review, July, 1867, p. 49.

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