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Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church

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Over the history of the Catholic Church there have been meetings or councils which have convened to deal with matters of faith and morals and other important topics. These councils started in Eastern locations as reflected in the first eight councils and Western locations of the last thirteen councils.

21 facts:

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This council condemned the heresy of the Abbot Eutyches, MONOPHYSITISM, which claimed that there existed only “one nature” (the divine) in Christ from the Incarnation onward. Held in Chalcedon north of (Constatinople) Istanbul, Turkey.
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This council condemned the heresies of: 1) John Wycliffe, who rejected the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, emphasized scripture as the sole rule of faith, subscribed to Donatism, asserted the Pope is not the head of the Church, and bishops have no authority; and, 2) John Huss, who preached the above after Wycliffe’s death. Held at Constance, Germany.
Constantinople I
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This council condemned the heresy of Macedonius by clearly defining the divinity of the Holy Ghost: He is not created like the angels no matter how high an order is attributed to such a “creature.” Held in Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, Turkey.
Constantinople II
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This condemned a collection of statements known as the “Three Chapters”: 1) the person and the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Master of Nestorius, originator of that heresy; 2) the writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus; 3) the writings of Ibas of Edessa.
Constantinople III
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This council condemned the heresy of the Monothelites (Mono -one thelema -will), which attributed only one will, to Christ (the divine), instead of two wills (divine and human), which two are in perfect accord within the one divine person, Jesus.
Constantinople IV
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This council condemned and deposed PHOTIUS (820 — 891), the patriarch of Constantinople and author of the Greek schism. PHOTIUS attacked enforced clerical celibacy, the addition by the West of the “FILIOQUE” to the Creed, and the crowning of Charlemagne in the West.
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This council condemned the heresy of Nestorius by clearly defining the Divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are two natures in Christ (Divine and Human), but only one Person (Divine). Mary is the Mother of this one Divine Person, the eternal Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Held at Ephesus in SW Asia Minor
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This council was held in three places Basel, Switzerland, Ferrara, Italy and Florence, Italy during the 14 yrs of the council
Lateran I
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This council dealt with the subject of clerical marriages. It was decided that once ordained, a priest may not marry in either Latin or Eastern Rites. Originally called this council confirmed the Concordat of Worms (1122) between Emperor Henry V and Pope Callistus II, which secured that all elections of Bishops and Abbots should be made freely by the proper ecclesiastical authorities (electors). Held at The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Lateran II
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This council voided the acts of the deceased antipope, Anacletus II (d. 1138), ending the Papal schism of the time. It also condemned the heresies of: 1) Peter Bruys (Bruis) and his NEO-MANICHEANS, who denounced the Mass as a “vain show,” opposed the Eucharist, marriage, and the baptism of children — all this leading to Albigensianism (“Material things are evil in themselves”); 2) Arnold of Brescia, who contended that the Church was an “invisible body,” not of this world, and should own no property. Held at The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Lateran III
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This council regulated the election of popes (two-thirds majority vote by the College of Cardinals was required for the Pope to be elected, and the emperor was excluded from voting). Held at The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Lateran IV
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This council prescribed at least annual confession and communion for all the faithful and made official the use of the word, “TRANSUBSTANTIATION.” It reformed discipline and condemned the heresies of: 1) ALBIGENSIANISM (NEO-MANICHEANISM), which opposed marriage and all sacraments and belief in the resurrection of the body; 2) WALDENSIANISM (anti-clerical heresy), which claimed that laymen living an apostolic life could forgive sins, while a priest in the state of sin could not absolve. Held at The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Lateran V
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This council was called to discuss the "Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges." Held at The Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Lyons I
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This council excommunicated Emperor Frederick II, grandson of Frederick Barbarossa, for his contumacious attempt to make the Church merely a department of the state. Held at Lyons, France.
Lyons II
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This council declared the double procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son: “Qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.” Held at Lyons, France.
Nicaea I
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Called by the emperor and ratified by the Pope, this council condemned the heresy of Arius (priest of Alexandria, d. 336) by defining the CONSUBSTANTIALITY of God the Son with God the Father. The Son is of the “same substance,” homo-ousion, as the Father (St. Athanasius); not merely a “like substance,” homoi-ousion (as with the semi-Arians); nor is He (as Arius taught) some sort of super-creature. Held in Nicea in NW Asia Minor
Nicaea II
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This council condemned Iconoclasm. Held in Nicea, NW Asia Minor.
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This council condemned the heresies of Luther, Calvin, and others. Held at Trent, Italy
Vatican I
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This council defined the INFALLIBILITY of the Pope when, as Supreme Pontiff, he speaks from the Seat of Peter (ex cathedra), on a matter of Faith and Morals, pronouncing a doctrine to be believed by the whole Church. Held at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
Vatican II
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This council was a Pastoral Council (not dogmatic) with 16 documents emphasizing ecumenism understood as religious fellowship, rather than emphasizing Catholic missionary enterprise for the conversion to the Faith. Held at the Vatican in Rome, Italy
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This council suppressed the Knights Templars (Master: Jacques de Molay) for crimes charged by King Philip IV of France. The council also declared that anyone who obstinately holds “that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body in itself and essentially, must be regarded as a heretic.” The council also condemned the Beghards (males) and Beguines (females), who so stressed “inner union with God”. Quietism, that prayer and fasting became unimportant. Quietism taught that the “spiritual” person is so perfect that he or she can give free reign to fleshly desires. Held at Vienne,France

Facts contributed by:

Allan R. Matthes

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