THE FIRST SEVEN ECUMENICAL COUNCILS
AND THEIR DOCTRINAL ACHIEVEMENTS
compiled by Marcellino DíAmbrosio, Ph.D., Catholic theologian & speaker
1. 325 - 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicaea condemns Arius and clarifies the dogma of Christ's divinity by expanding Creed's 2nd stanza
2. 381 - 1st (Ecum) Council of Constantinople expands 3rd stanza of creed defining the divinity of the Holy Spirit and also condemns Apollinaris's heresy that Jesus lacked a complete human soul
3. 431 - Council of Ephesus defines Christ as the incarnate Word of God and proclaims Mary Theotokos ("God-bearer" or "Mother of God") after deposing Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople
4. 451 - Ecum. Council of Chalcedon defines Christ as having both a divine and a human nature in one person
5. 553 - 2nd (Ecum) Council of Constantinople confirms christological & trinitarian doctrine against the Nestorians
6. 680 - 3rd Ecum. Council of Constantinople affirms that Jesus had a truly human will as well as a truly divine will against the Monothelites
7. 787 - 2nd Ecum Council of Nicaea vindicates the veneration of images
Catholic theologians recognizes a total of 21 Ecumenical councils (there is no officially binding list) the last fourteen of which took place in the West. The Eastern Orthodox recognize only these first seven as being truly ecumenical or universal since they happened before the eastern and western patriarchates were rent by the thousand-year schism which has yet to be healed. For Catholic theologians, a council is deemed ecumenical if it is approved and recognized by the pope to be such. The Orthodox require that a council be approved by the Patriarchs of Rome (the Pope), Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem to be authentically ecumenical. This is known as the theory of the Pentarchy, or government by the five ancient patriarchates. These ancient councils, besides their important doctrinal definitions, also promulgated canons or laws governing the discipline of the churches (e.g., liturgical laws, etc.).
To read an overview explaining how various writers qualify for the title "Early Church Father" and the nature of their authority, click here.
The Early Church Fathers
A society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?
The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!
Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus
Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine
Early Church Fathers 2 VHS Setó$44.00
Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Setó$44.00
Early Church Fathers 2 CD Setó$18.00
Early Church Fathers 2 Audio Setó$16.00
The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter
In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers. Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most important questions of our day. In this talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us today.
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