THE TWENTY-ONE ŒCUMENICAL COUNCILS OF THE CHURCHA COUNCIL
is an assembly of the Prelates of the Church called together by their lawfulhead in order to decide questions concerning Faith, or Morals or ecclesiastical discipline. Thefollowing are the chief kinds of Councils:—
1. A General or Œcumenical Council,
being one to which the Bishops of the wholeworld are lawfully summoned by the Pope, or with his consent, and presided over byhim or by his legates. Its decrees must also have the approval of the SovereignPontiff.
General Councils are Infallible — that is,
they cannot teach us anythingwrong in Faith or in Morals.
A Provincial Council,
which is a meeting of the Bishops of one province.
A National Council,
which is a gathering of the Bishops of one country.
A Diocesan Council,
which is a Council composed of the Bishop and clergy of adiocese, and is usually called a
The following are the names of the General Councils which have been held up to thepresent time. The first eight were held in Asia, or the
part of Christendom; and theremainder in Europe, or the
1. First of Nice
, A.D. 325, condemned heresy of Arius.
2. First of Constantinople,
A.D. 381, condemned heresy of Macedonius.
3. Council of Ephesus,
A.D. 431, condemned heresy of Nestorius.
4. Council of Chalcedon,
A.D. 451, condemned heresy of Eutyches.
5. Second of Constantinople,
A.D. 553, condemned books of Theodorus favouringNestorian heresy.
6. Third of Constantinople,
A.D. 680. condemned heresy of Monothelites.
7. Second of Nice,
A.D. 787, condemned heresy of Iconoclasts.
8. Fourth of Constantinople,
A.D. 870, condemned and deposed Photius, author of Greek Schism.
9. First Lateran,
A.D. 1123, regulated rights of Church and Emperors in election of Bishopsand Abbots.
10. Second Lateran,
A.D. 1139, condemned heresies of Peter of Bruys and Arnold of Brescia.
11. Third Lateran,
A.D. 1179, condemned heresies of Waldenses and Albigenses.
12. Fourth Lateran,
A.D. 1215, for general legislation.
13. First of Lyons,
A.D. 1245, decreed a general crusade.
14. Second of Lyons,
A.D. 1274, decreed the double procession of the Holy Ghost.