COUNCIL, ECUMENICAL - (Sl. Sobor, Vselensky) Assembly of representatives of the Church legally convoked for the settlement of ecclesiastical or doctrinal disputes, and to legislate regarding matters of doctrine, discipline and worship. An assembly of the Pastors and Doctors of the Catholic Church of Christ, as far as possible, from the whole world, for the confirmation of true doctrine and holy discipline among Christians.
The Orthodox Church acknowledges seven Ecumenical Councils:
- Nicea in 325. Lasted over two months. 318 Bishops present. Condemned the heresy of Arius. Declared Christ to be of the same nature or substance with the Father. Gave the Church the first seven articles of the Nicene Creed. Fixed the date of Easter, and defined 20 Canon Laws.
- First of Constantinople in 381 with 150 Bishops present. Against the followers of Mace-donius who denied the deity of the Holy Ghost.
Added five articles to the Creed, and added seven Canon Laws.
- Ephesus held in 431 with 200 Bishops present. Against Nestorians. Declared the Blessed Virgin Theotokos (Mother of God). Added 8 Canon Laws.
- Council of Chalcedon in 451 with 150 Bishops. Against the heresy of Monophysism. Defined the two natures (divine and human) in Christ. 30 Canon Laws.
- 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553 with 165 Bishops. Confirmed the preceding Councils against heretics. Condemned the errors of Origen and the Three Chapters, i.e., books written by Theodoret, Theodore of Mopsuostia and Ibor.
- 3rd Council of Constantinople in 680. Condemned Monothelism. Defined two wills (divine and human) in Christ as distinct. Decreed 102 Canon Laws.
- 2nd Council of Nicea in 787 with 367 Bishops present. Condemned iconoclasm and provided for veneration of icons. 22 Canon Laws.