Monday, November 4, 2013

The Ecumenical Councils

The Ecumenical Councils, which are accepted by both East and West, and that are adopted by a large part of the Christian World, defined and defended the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Church. Here we see, in a laconic version, the main themes, dates and locations of these Councils, which formed the Church as we perceive it today.

I. Nicaea 325
Main Teaching: formulated the first part of the Symbol of Faith, known as the “Nicaean Creed,” defining the divinity of the Son of God
II. Constantinople 381
Main Teaching: formulated the second part of the Symbol of Faith, defining the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The “Nicaean-Constantinopolitan Creed” remains unchanged in the Orthodox Church since the fourth century. It is recited at every baptism and repeated during each Divine Liturgy
III. Ephesus 431
Main Teaching: proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word of God and Mary as the Theotokos
IV. Chalcedon 451
Main Teaching: proclaimed Jesus Christ as fully divine and fully human, two natures in one person
V. Constantinople 553
Main Teaching: confirmed the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ
VI. Constantinople 680–681
Main Teaching: affirmed the full humanity of Jesus Christ by insisting on the reality of His human will
Penthekti (or Quinisext) 692
Main Teaching: completed the doctrinal teaching of the fifth and sixth Ecumenical Councils
VII. Nicaea 787
Main Teaching: affirmed the use of icons as genuine expressions of the Christian faith in the doctrine of the divine Incarnation

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