How can we be sure of Peter's Supremacy?

How can we be sure that Christ left Peter in charge through superiority, the Catholic stance, and not one amongst equals, the Eastern Orthodox stance?

It’s pretty clear in Scripture.

He gave Peter the keys. John deferred to Peter who went into the tomb first. Peter stood up and talked to the crowds at Pentecost. Peter spoke multiple times on behalf of the Church when the Sanhedrin questioned the disciples.

Seems pretty clear to me.

-Tim-

Scriptural evidence and the structure of the primitive Church make it absolutely undeniable.

In the Gospels, Peter is mentioned 195 times. The closest is John (the beloved disciple) at just 29 times. The rest even less.

Jesus gave Peter the keys to the gates of Heaven.
Jesus declared Peter to the the rock.
Jesus made Peter shepherd.
Jesus told Peter to strengthen his brothers
Jesus paid the Temple tax only for Himself and Peter.
Jesus preached from Peter’s boat.
Jesus told Peter to “Follow me”
Jesus called only Peter to Him across the water.
Jesus predicted Peter’s three-fold denial.
Jesus predicted Peter’s repentance and three-fold affirmation.
Jesus prophesied only Peter’s death.
Jesus taught Peter forgiveness 70 times 7 times.
Jesus spoke only to Peter at Gethsemane.
Peter is always listed first.
Peter was first to confess Jesus as Messiah.
Peter alone spoke at the Transfiguration.
Peter pointed out the withered fig tree.
Peter entered the tomb first - John deferring to him.
Peter decided the manner of replacing Judas.
Peter spoke for the eleven at the Pentecost.
Peter was released from prison by the Angel.
Peter spoke for the eleven before the Council.
Peter held sin bound to Ananias and Saphira.
Peter’s shadow healed.
Peter declared the sin of Simony.
Peter explained the salvation of the Gentiles to the Church at Jerusalem.
The Angel told Cornelius to call for Peter.
The Holt Spirit fell upon the Gentiles as Peter preached to them.
At the empty tomb, the Angel said, “Go tell His disciples, and Peter.”
Mary Magdalene ran to tell Peter and the beloved disciple.
The vision of all foods being clean was given only to Peter.
Peter’s words silence the first council in Jerusalem.
Paul went to Peter to affirm that his Gospel was not in vain.
And on and on and on.

So, one can deny that Peter was primary, but it takes an amazing disregard of scripture and history to do so.

First among equals is still… FIRST!!!

Here is a passage that helped me that gets lost in the translation mix.

Your translation may read this:

Luke 22:31-32New American Standard Bible (NASB)

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has [a]demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

But ****THIS ****is the correct translation:

Luke 22:31-32Amplified Bible (AMP)

31 “Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift [all of] you like grain; 32 but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers [in the faith].”

Satan wants to sift you all(plural) But I have prayed for YOU(Singular) so that YOU(singular) can strengthen your brothers.

That passage screams PRIMACY for anyone paying attention, IMO.

Pax

Are you sure you are stating the Eastern Orthodox stance correctly? Don’t they say that Peter and his successor, the bishop of Rome, hold a ‘primacy of honor’ in the Church and are not just ‘one among equals’ but ‘first among equals’?

The Catholic Answers tract, Peter’s Primacy, includes quotes from some Eastern Fathers.

Who held the first, the foremost, the chief position among the Apostles? The Bible says, “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first (protos), Simon, who is called Peter…” (Matthew 10:2) The word *protos *translated here as “first” also means “foremost” and “chief.” This is even clearer in the non-Catholic translation, God’s Word, which has, “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first and foremost, Simon (who is called Peter)…” (source), and in the King James Version translation of Matthew 20:27, “And whosoever will be chief (protos) among you, let him be your servant.”

Basing pope’s supremacy on Bible is kinda Sola Scriptura, nor Rome is the only diocese st Peter found. Some will say, well st Peter died in Rome, if we follow that logic, Lord Jesus Christ died in Jerusalem, let’s give Patriarch of Jerusalem supremacy.
For the first 1000 years of the Church, i am afraid, pope did not have universal jurisdiction nor pope was bishop of bishops, and pope was elected locally. Since 4 Eastern Patriarchs left the communion with Rome, there was no one to challenge in the west pope’s authority, and then Rome was able to build it’s papacy that we know today.

Truth is Rome finds some arguments in praises Pope of Rome used to get when addressed by world wide bishops, but if we look deeper in to this, other Patriarchs used to get the same thing, it was the culture of conversation that Church developed at that time.

**ECF – The Supremacy of Peter

Origen**

“*f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens” (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven.’ And again He says to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’ On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4 [A.D. 251]).

Ephraim the Syrian

“Simon, My follower, I have made you the foundation of the Holy Church. I betimes called you Peter [Kefa, or Rock, in the original text], because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for Me. If they would wish to build upon what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in My institution, and so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of the kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures.”

John Chrysostom

He saith to him, “Feed my sheep”. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If anyone should say “Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?”, I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world. [St. John Chrysostom, Homily 88 on John, 1. Cf. Origen, “In Ep. ad Rom.”, 5:10; Ephraem Syrus “Hymn. in B. Petr.” in “Bibl. Orient. Assemani”, 1:95; Leo I, “Serm. iv de natal.”, 2].

“God allowed [Peter] to fall, because he meant to make him ruler of the whole world, that remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future”

Pope Leo I

“Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head” (ibid., 14:11).

Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons (ca. 440)

“First He committed to him [Peter] the lambs, then the sheep; because H constituted him not only shepherd, but the shepherd of shepherds. Therefore, Peter feeds the lambs, he feeds also the sheep; he feeds the offspring, he feeds also the mothers; he rules both subjects and prelates. He is the shepherd, therefore, of all, because, besides lambs and sheep, there is nothing in the Church.” (Serm. De Natal. SS. Apost. Petri et Pauli) in Charles F.B. Allnatt, ed., Cathedra Petri – The Titles and Prerogatives of St. Peter, (London: Burns & Oates, 1879), 45-46.*

Eastern ECF on Universal Jurisdiction of Peter

John Chrysostom (c. AD 349 – AD 407)

At all events the master of the whole world, Peter, to whose hands He committed the keys of heaven, whom He commanded to do and to bear all, He bade tarry here [Antioch] for a long period. Thus in His sight our city was equivalent to the whole world. But since I have mentioned Peter, I have perceived a fifth crown woven from him, and this is that this man [Ignatius of Antioch] succeeded to the office after him. For just as any one taking a great stone from a foundation hastens by all means to introduce an equivalent to it, lest he should shake the whole building, and make it more unsound, so, accordingly, when Peter was about to depart from here, the grace of the Spirit introduced another teacher equivalent to Peter, so that the building already completed should not be made more unsound by the insignificance of the successor.” (Homily on St. Ignatius, 4)

He saith to him, “Feed my sheep”. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren…If anyone should say “Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?”, I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world. [St. John Chrysostom, Homily 88 on John, 1]

“God allowed him to fall, because He meant to make him ruler of the whole world, that, remembering his own fall, he might forgive those who should slip in the future. And what I have said is no guess, listen to Christ Himself saying, ‘Simon, Simon, how often hath Satan desired to sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy strength fail not, and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren’.” (Hom quod frequenter conveniendum sit, 5, vol XII, 466[329])

“When he is told, ‘Thou canst not follow Me now,’ he says, ‘Though all should deny Thee, yet will not I deny.’ Because, then, it appeared likely he would be puffed up even to madness, since he practiced contradicting, He warns him not to rebel. This is what Luke refers to when he says that Christ said: ‘And I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not,’ viz. that it may not be lost to the end, throughout teaching him humility, and proving that human nature is nothing by itself. For since his great love made him contradictory, He moderates him, that he might not in the future have the same fault, when he should receive the government of the world, but that remembering his fault he might know himself.” (Hom 73[72] in Joann 1, vol VIII, 395[429])

Admittedly I have not read Against Heresies yet. May Irenaeus’ statement be used for support?

  1. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

**

Here’s an explanation from Fr Ambrose, an Orthodox priest

If one is 1st all aren’t equal and if all are equal no one can be 1st.

**
#129

Using that same passage from Luke said in different ways

#153 , #616

Papal primacy over East and West has pretty much already been established in the shared Ravenna statement of 2007. Supremacy on the other hand is really what is at issue. Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox) explains the issue of universal Papal primacy and the Ravenna statement in plenary three of the Orientale Lumen conference of 2011.

And if you listen closely and read the transcript, you’ll understand that Met. Ware is not just describing a primacy of honor, but a “unique pastoral mission” to the Pope.

Most Orthodox view the Pope as a unique successor of Peter in a unique and privileged way, but, it’s also true that all bishops are successors of Peter. Taken from the Plenary linked directly above:

“Then he appeals to catholic and apostolic tradition, and tradition would mean for the Orthodox, above all though not exclusively, the seven Ecumenical Councils. Then he mentions the unique position of Rome as par excellence the see of Peter. I say par excellence because many Orthodox take the view that all bishops are successors of Peter, and that’s an idea you can find in Cyprian’s day, Unitate, but most Orthodox would concede that the bishop of Rome is successor to Peter in a special sense.”

So, many Orthodox believe that the Pope indeed has a unique pastoral mission and that the early Church recognized this from the very beginning. Many Orthodox find this line of reasoning wholly orthodox. We Orthodox even concede that Rome enjoyed appellate jurisdiction in the first millennium Church (albeit with strict restrictions). Again, the issue at hand is not primacy, but, rather supremacy; and in particular the current Papal claims as defined at Vatican 1.

The arguments you guys throw here are long abandoned even by Vatican.

Testimony from a protestant Convert:

calledtocommunion.com/2014/10/does-the-center-hold-the-story-of-fr-albert-scharbachs-journey-from-westminster-theological-seminary-to-catholic-priest/

The more I understood Catholic doctrine, the more I could appreciate the need for the Church and the magisterium. Clarity of theology and ecclesiology go hand-in-hand. This was first true for the Early Church. Back to that moment when the papacy made sense in the Westminster library. One interesting observation I found was that a greater understanding of the significance of the papacy developed alongside the development of Christology. As we study Early Church history, we find that writings in the first two centuries paled in clarity when compared with Scripture. But doctrinal clarity in the writings of the Early Church Fathers dramatically increased as questions of Christology were resolved in the fifth century. This happens to be at the same time that ecclesiology became more defined through the strengthening of the papacy. The broad parallels suggest that this is no mere coincidence. In order to define the faith in the early Church, the center had to hold. That was found through the papacy in the Catholic Church. The need today is no different–both for the broader Church and in our individual lives.

to that point

Just to bring attention to the note at the top of the document

(emphasis mine)

[FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]“The following is the original English text of the ‘Ravenna Document’ which was discussed and unanimously approved by the members of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church during the tenth plenary session of the Commission held in Ravenna from 8-14 October 2007. Thus,*the document *represents the outcome of the work of a Commission and should not be understood as an official declaration of the Church’s teaching.The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has provided translations of the text in Italian, French and German.”

I’m only showing that because someone could use that to submarine the point. There are other materials better to use IMV
[/size][/FONT]

this note was on that page

“Please note that while Ancient Faith Radio is extremely pleased to make these recordings available to our listeners, we do not necessarily endorse all of the conference speakers and/or their talks.”

:hmmm: thinking out loud, It would be nice to know who they don’t endorse

Yes, I’ve read some of Met Ware’s works.

when did that idea come to be?

yet Catholic and apostolic tradition has 21 ecumenical councils.

Who determined there is only 7 E councils for the Orthodox?

100 yrs after council 7 came

Council VIII. The FOURTH COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Year: 869
Summary: The Fourth General Council of Constantinople, under Pope Adrian II and Emperor Basil numbering 102 bishops, 3 papal legates, and 4 patriarchs, consigned to the flames the Acts of an irregular council (conciliabulum) brought together by Photius against Pope Nicholas and Ignatius the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople; it condemned Photius who had unlawfully seized the patriarchal dignity. The Photian Schism, however, triumphed in the Greek Church, and no other general council took place in the East.
Further Reading: www.newadvent.org/cathen/04310b.htm

The Church is still together in the East. The schism wouldn’t occur till 1054.

again, when did that view show up?

Back in 2002 Card Kasper, wrote in

*The Crisis of Ecumenism, According to Cardinal Kasper
[snip]

“We are increasingly conscious of the fact that an Orthodox Church does not really exist,” he contends. “At the present stage, it does not seem that Constantinople is yet capable of integrating the different autocephalous Orthodox Churches; there are doubts about its primacy of honor, especially in Moscow*”
*
[snip]
[FONT=&quot]http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=17658[/FONT]*
*

Your thoughts?

Now in 2016, how do you see it?

Again Church held a Council in 879-880 which restored st Photius, Council also had papal recognition and 4 Eastern Patriarchs present, Council was accepted by Rome until 11th century.

Schism happened because Rome wanted more power and because Rome introduced Filioque without the Council, and then accused East for not having Filioque in their Creed.

The point was, that before the split there were 8 Ecumenical councils not 7.

and in the Catholic and apostolic tradition, there are 21 ecumenical councils.

Be specificabout what you mean by “more” power

[quote=O]*

and because Rome introduced Filioque without the Council, and then accused East for not having Filioque in their Creed.*
[/quote]

that topic has had many conversations already

Debate : Latins made up the filioque

Filioque Debate

The Filioque, canon 7 of Ephesus, and the DoF at Chalcedon

First off, Moscow doesn’t challenge Constantinople’s primacy of honor nor its authority on the whole. It only challenges some of its claims of authority as uncanonical, some of which I think are purely legitimate challenges, such as the idea that only Constantinople has the ability to grant autocephaly. So Cardinal Kaspar is talking nonsense.

As for the Photian Schism, the New Advent article is terribly out-of-date. Please read Francis Dvornik’s The Photian Schism for any accurate data on the matter. There was no second Photian schism, nor did it triumph in the East. Anyone who supports that notion is ignorant of the current historical consensus on the matter. Oktava seems to have read some of it since the info he speaks is largely the fruits of Fr. Dvornik’s research, whom was a highly respected Catholic priest.

As for the matter of primacy itself, I’m hesitant to say anything. This is the Apologetics section afterall, so I would rather restrain myself out of respect for the Catholics having their own section dedicated to their own apologetics. I’m not sure what the OP was looking for, but if it was for a debate about the merits of Catholic claims rather than solely Catholic answers, then perhaps another forum section would have been more appropriate.

It is true that the document should not be understood as an official declaration from the Orthodox perspective. But, it is true that the commission reflects a large and growing constituency within Orthodoxy. This commission is nothing to scoff at, thankfully. These men aren’t your arm chair internet Catholodox ecumenists drafting the document.

It would be, but Ancient Faith has to make that statement out of respect for their credibility to the larger Orthodox communion - those Orthodox not in agreement. Note that they are “extremely pleased” to make the recordings available. :slight_smile:

At Met. Kallistos Ware stated; it was found as early as St. Cyprian’s day.

From the 33rd Epistle of St. Cyprian:

“Our Lord, whose precepts and warnings we ought to observe, determining the honour of a Bishop and to the ordering of His own Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter, I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:18-19). Thence the ordination of Bishops, and the ordering of the Church, runs down along the course of time and line of succession, so that the Church is settled upon her Bishops; and every act of the Church is regulated by these same Prelates.”

St. Optatus:

“For the sake of unity, Peter was made the first among all the apostles, and he alone received the keys, that he might give them to the rest.”

St. Gregory of Nyssa:

“It is through Peter that Christ gave to bishops the keys of their heavenly prerogative.”

St. Pope Leo the Great:

*“If our Lord willed that there should be something common to Peter and the rest of the princes of His Church, it was only on this condition, that whatsoever He gave to the rest, He gave it to them through Peter.” Yes, the episcopate is most sacred, for it comes from the hands of Jesus Christ through Peter and his successors. Such is the unanimous teaching of Catholic tradition, which is in keeping with the language used by the Roman Pontiffs, from the earliest ages, who have always spoken of the dignity of bishops as consisting in their being “called to a. share of their own solicitude …” *

For a council to truly be ecumenical the whole Church must be present and agree, East and West. So, since we’ve been out of communion, we have not truly had an ecumenical council - only local synods. The Catholics say that the “Fourth Council of Constantinople” in year 869 is the 8th council, however, the Orthodox contend that the “Fourth Council of Constantinople” in year 879 overrode the council of the 869. We contend that the council of 879 would be a true ecumenical council if Rome had not decided in the 11th century to go back and disavow it. We thought we had ecumenically decided the true council of 879 when Pope John VIII approved it. Why did the Roman Church approve it as the 8th ecumenical council until the 11th century?

We still have the same issues with the Russians. This is a recent innovation in thought. I suspect for political reasons…

By your definition, how are there more than three ecumenical councils?

First, how do the Orthodox convene a council? Fact is, you can’t, because you have no mechanism by which the “whole church” determines whether or not the decisions of the Council will be accepted. According to the EO, this could take centuries…in which case, what is the point of attempting to solve doctrinal questions if the decisions of the fathers cannot be implemented for hundreds of years? :shrug:

These questions and more were the subject of another thread, and I’ll begin by posting the following taken from OrthodoxWiki:

[INDENT]Ecumenical Councils

Ecumenical Councils are extraordinary synods of bishops which primarily decide upon dogmatic formulations, especially in the face of heresy. Secondarily, they also issue canonical legislation which governs the administration of the Church.

Ecumenicity

An ecclesiological theory which has been popular since the time of the Slavophile philosopher Alexis Khomiakov first defined it is that ecumenicity—the idea that a particular council is of universal, infallible significance for the Church—is determined by the reception of the whole body of the Church. That is, while a particular council may declare itself to be ecumenical, it may later be regarded by the Church as being a Robber Council, that is, a council which did not declare the truth but rather heresy. Likewise, a council may properly teach the truth but not be of universal significance for the Church. Such councils are usually termed local. That a council must be “received” by the Church before it can be considered ecumenical is sometimes termed receptionism.

Receptionism was formed primarily in opposition to Roman Catholic viewpoints on the same question. For the Roman Catholic Church, a council’s ecumenicity is primarily determined by its ratification by the Pope of Rome. Orthodoxy does not have the same ecclesiological structure as Rome, however, and so Khomiakov and others attempted to formulate another model by which the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils may be determined.

A form of receptionism (or, at least, language which is conducive to receptionist thought) may also be found in the 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, which proclaims against papism that the guardian of the truth is not the office of the pope, but the whole people of God.

Theologians such as Fr. John S. Romanides have argued, however, that the councils universally regarded as ecumenical within the Orthodox Church seemed of themselves to have no sense of requiring a reception by the Church before they went into effect. Their texts do indeed include self-declarations of their ecumenicity, and in most cases, their decrees immediately were written into Roman imperial law. No condition of later reception is reflected in the councils’ texts.

**Further, the question of when exactly one may say that the Church has received or rejected a council is not answerable by receptionist theory. Another ecclesiological problem is also created by receptionism: Why is it, for instance, that the Fourth Ecumenical Council may be said to have been “received by the whole Church” while significant numbers of Christians apparently within the Church rejected it, leading to the schism which even now persists? Such reasoning is circular, because whoever accepts a council is therefore inside the Church, but any who reject it are outside. In other words, such councils are ecumenical essentially because those who hold to their decrees declare themselves exclusively to be the Church. **

The practical needs of the historical circumstances of the councils also bear out Romanides’ analysis. Dogmatic decisions were needed right away when the councils met. The idea that one could wait for decades or even centuries to know whether a council was truly ecumenical would have radically changed the character of such a council. The councils’ fathers regarded their decisions as immediately binding.

At the current time, the episcopacy of the Church has not as yet put forward a universal definition as to what precisely lends a council its ecumenicity. What is generally held is that councils may be regarded as ecumenical and infallible because they accurately teach the truth handed down in tradition from the Church Fathers.

Well, that certainly raises lots of questions, doesn’t it?

How exactly does a member of one of the many Eastern Orthodox churches know with certainty whether a decree or doctrine is from a valid council or not?

As Orthodox Bishop Timothy “Kallistos” Ware, has said:

“All Orthodox know which are the seven councils that their Church accepts as ecumenical, but precisely what it is that makes a council ecumenical is not so clear.”[/INDENT]

Second, do you accept the fourth Council, the Council of Chalcedon?

The Oriental Orthodox do not, so by your own definition, there have only been three truly Ecumenical Councils attended by all of Christendom.

Alternatively, you might consider that ther have been 21 Ecumenical Councils that were attended or approved by the Bishop of Rome - regardless of whether the EO or the OO chose to participate or not.

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