Archive for May, 2010

Third Ecumenical Council: Ephesus (431)

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

In order to provide some background material for the Orientale Lumen Conferences in 2010, with the help of Father Michael Hayduk, I prepared a summary of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils that I post here.

SITE: Ephesus (S. of Smyrna in SW Asia Minor).
YEAR: A.D. 431
POPE: St. Celestine I, 423 – 432
EMPEROR: Theodosius II, 408 – 450
ACTION: Called by the Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, influenced by his pious sister, St. Pulcheria (Emperor in the West was Valentinian III, 425 – 455), and ratified by Pope Celestine I, 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. Nestorius was deposed as bishop of Constantinople. This council also briefly affirmed the condemnation of the Pelagians (see local Council of Carthage, A.D. 416).
NOTE: St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d.444), was the bishop presiding.
HERESIARCH: NESTORIUS.

The Council of Ephesus, of more than 200 bishops, presided over by St. Cyril of Alexandria representing Pope Celestine I, defined the true personal unity of Christ, declared Mary the Mother of God (theotokos) against Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, and renewed the condemnation of Pelagius.

Second Ecumenical Council: Constantinople I (381)

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

In order to provide some background material for the Orientale Lumen Conferences in 2010, with the help of Father Michael Hayduk, I prepared a summary of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils that I post here.

SITE: Constantinople (near Bosporus, a strait in today’s Turkey).
YEAR: A.D. 381
POPE: St. Damasus I, 367 – 384
EMPEROR: Theodosius I, the Great, 379 – 395
ACTION: It appears that Pope St. Damasus I was not contacted in regard to this council attended by about 186 bishops. Called by the emperor, it was not attended by the pope or his legates or any bishops from the West. Nevertheless, it is listed as a General Council of the 4th century by papal decrees of the 6th century, by which time its doctrinal definitions were accepted throughout the Church (Murphy, pg. 41). 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.” The council also reaffirmed the faith of Nicaea.
NOTE: St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church (d. 389), was the bishop presiding. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church (d. 386), was also in attendance.
HERESIARCH: MACEDONIUS.

The First General Council of Constantinople, under Pope Damasus and the Emperor Theodosius I, was attended by 150 bishops. It was directed against the followers of Macedonius, who impugned the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. To the above-mentioned Nicene Creed it added the clauses referring to the Holy Ghost (qui simul adoratur) and all that follows to the end.

First Ecumenical Council: Nicaea I (325)

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

In order to provide some background material for the Orientale Lumen Conferences in 2010, with the help of Father Michael Hayduk, I prepared a summary of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils that I post here.

SITE: Nicaea (in N.W. Asia Minor)
YEAR: A.D. 325
POPE: St. Sylvester I, 314 – 335
EMPEROR: Constantine I, The Great, Western Roman Emperor 306-337; Sole Emperor 324 – 337
ACTION: 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.
NOTE: St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), Bishop of Alexandria, was present as deacon and peritus at Nicaea; exiled five times and excommunicated by the Arians. St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), deacon, was also present at Nicaea as peritus.
HERESIARCH: ARIUS.

The Council of Nicaea lasted two months and twelve days. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, assisted as legate of Pope Sylvester. The Emperor Constantine was also present. To this council we owe The Creed (Symbolum) of Nicaea, defining against Arius the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios), and the fixing of the date for keeping Easter (against the Quartodecimans).