Orthodox "Ecumenical" Council

I keep hearing in the news about the autocephalous Orthodox Churches and their respective Patriarchs convening for an Ecumenical Council soon.
I was under the impression that for a council to be considered Ecumenical, the bishop of Rome must be included as a “fellow worker” in the council, according to the canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787.
I know the media gets things wrong a lot but I’m seeing this everywhere from a lot of liberal and conservative religious news sources.
Am I missing something here?

They’re pulling together a pan-orthodox council next year for the EO churches in order to hash out some serious issues.

Only the media is calling it an ecumenical council.

I was under the impression that for a council to be considered Ecumenical, the bishop of Rome must be included as a “fellow worker” in the council, according to the canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787.
I know the media gets things wrong a lot but I’m seeing this everywhere from a lot of liberal and conservative religious news sources.
Am I missing something here?

Historically, there has been no need for the Bishop of Rome to be present for a Council to be Ecumenical. There have been instances where Popes have “ratified” entire or portions of Councils later to determine them as Ecumenical or at least as binding on Latin Church and/or all Catholics.

This is a different case than this Pan-Orthodox Council that is being convened. Will it later be termed “ecumenical”? Only time will tell.

Is the presence of the Pope of Rome required? From the Orthodox perspective, no, since he is no longer in full Communion with the Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch HH Bartholomew replaces the Pope of Rome in what would have been the Pope’s role - again from the current Eastern Orthodox perspective.

Yet according to many Eastern Catholics on this forum, no council of the Catholic Church can be ecumenical without the participation of the Orthodox Churches. We need them but they don’t need us?

Yes but, unfortunately for the EO, their theory doesn’t work historically thanks to the Second Council of Ephesus (aka the "Robber Council) in AD 449.

Second Ephesus declared that Christ had but one nature (monophysitism). This, of course, directly contradicted First Ephesus. But, both were ecumencial councils (according to the EO criteria laid out above) so a council of the Church, either Ephesus 1 or 2, would have taught error. This isn’t a problem for Catholics because Ephesus 2 was rejected by Rome. The Pope’s legate declared at the closing of the Ephesus 2 “contradicitur” and with that one word Ephesus 2 was declared invalid. Neither the EO nor Catholics nor Protestants consider Ephesus 2 valid today, but only Catholics have any reason to hold up Ephesus 1 and denounce Ephesus 2, they were the same in all ways except Rome accepted one and rejected the other.

I’d also note that while the pope need not be present himself, he at least has a representative present for a council to be ecumenical.

Fr. Harrison gives an excellent and brief treatment of the issue of Orthodoxy and Ecumenical councils in his article “Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy”, here: catholic.com/magazine/articles/why-i-didn%E2%80%99t-convert-to-eastern-orthodoxy

Second Ephesus declared that Christ had but one nature (monophysitism).

Where in the minutes or canons of the original council can this declaration be found? I have Rev. S.G.F. Perry’s 1881 volume on the council translated from Syriac documents preserved in the British Museum, and do not recall any such declaration actually found in the minutes of the Council.

Rmills, when the Orthodox speak of Ecumenical Councils, they mean Ecumenical in the old sense, not a meeting with a heterodox bishop.

Great article! Thanks for that. :thumbsup:

It was the whole point of Ephesus 2. From OrthodoxWiki (an Eastern Orthodox site):

The Robber Council of Ephesus was convoked by Emperor Theodosius II on August 8, 449 for the purpose of adjudicating the findings of the council of November 448 chaired by Flavian of Constantinople that had deposed and excommunicated the Archimandrite Eutyches for refusing to admit the two natures of Christ. The council, under the chair of Dioscorus of Alexandria and support of Emperor Theodosius II, found in favor of Eutyches and deposed Flavian of Constantinople.

Figures. More Chalcedonian baloney, not even related to original sources but instead taken from the Byzantines’ Wikipedia. Are you serious? :rolleyes:

I would say ‘try again’, but really, don’t bother. There are millions of ignorant demagogues out there willing to repeat their equally ignorant forefathers’ accusation that it was a “Robber Council” without actually looking into the substance of the council itself. Typical. Garbage, but typical.

You do realize the Eastern Orthodox also consider 2nd Ephesus to be a Robber Council. No one, East or West (perhaps aside from yourself), disputes that heresy was taught. I gave you OrthodoxWiki because it is not a Catholic friendly site. If you have a serious counter-argument, feel free to present it.

And you likewise realize that the Chalcedonians include both the Roman communion and the Eastern/Byzantine Orthodox, right? Making your choice of “Orthodoxwiki” an inherently insufficient and biased source from which to draw conclusions about anything outside of the Eastern Orthodox view of things?

Again, typical Chalcedonian garbage. If you can’t actually substantiate your belief about the Council, why bring it up? Or are we all now supposed to pretend that a Wikipedia (and an inherently Chalcedonian-baised one at that) can stand in place of a translation of the Council itself?

You’re the one without a serious argument, only more biased and irrelevant trash that you’ve brought up for reasons God only knows.

Pietro, you have failed to differentiate between EASTERN Orthodox (Byzantine Orthodox) and ORIENTAL Orthodox (pre-Chalcedonian Orthodox).

Either way, Second Ephesus contradicted First Ephesus (and Chalcedon later) and can only be ruled out as ecumenical by the repudiation of said council by the legate of Peter. Whether or not you care for OrthodoxWiki (attacking the site commits the genetic fallacy) the historical facts, uncomfortable as they might be to you, stand.

Good Lord, the ignorance!

Thank God you are light years away from saying anything even remotely relevant to the topic, else I might be embarrassed for the rest of your communion on your behalf, PietroPaolo. As it is, sorry SyroMalankara. As you might guess, I understand why that’s the relevant distinction to be made with regard to this matter. :smiley: It’s a pity that so few of your coreligionists do.

Good Lord, the ignorance!

Thank God you are light years away from saying anything even remotely relevant to the topic, else I might be embarrassed for the rest of your communion on your behalf, PietroPaolo. As it is, sorry SyroMalankara. As you might guess, I understand why that’s the relevant distinction to be made with regard to this matter. :smiley: It’s a pity that so few of your coreligionists do.

Actually, to the Oriental Orthodox, the opposition seems to be holding to Nestorianism, i.e. Theodoret.

Have we moved from the genetic fallacy to argumentum ad ignominiam? That’s okay. The historical facts still stand.

Which is still heresy and still leaves you in the same difficulty as monophysitism.

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