The Œcumenical Synods of the Orthodox Church: A Concise History

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by Protopresbyter James Thornton
Publication Data: Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 2012
Format: softcover
Number of Pages: 193
Dimensions (l × w × h): 21.3 cm × 13.8 cm × 1.4 cm
ISBN: 978‒0‒911165‒63‒0

Second Edition

by Protopresbyter James Thornton

“[...T]he Œcumenical Synods[...]occupy a place of paramount importance in the Orthodox Church. [...]Held between 325 and 787, they were summoned by the ruling Roman (Byzantine) Emperors to defend the Church when the fundamentals of Christian belief and teaching came seriously under threat. It often happened that certain heresies, all involving directly or indirectly the Person of Jesus Christ, loomed so large in the Christian world that they required a decisive response on a scale that encompassed the whole of Christendom, one that made crystal-clear to everyone precisely where the True Church of Christ stood and why She stood there. The dogmatic theology that derives from Œcumenical Synods[...has] ‘direct consequences for man’s salvation’ because each system of belief dictates its own unique way of life. [...]Thus, the debates about theology that seem (for example, to some secular historians) as quibbling over minor or abstruse questions were not quibbling at all, and the questions were neither minor nor abstruse. The debates involved issues of life versus death.”
—“Introduction: The Œcumenical Synods”


   Selected Hymns to the Holy Fathers of the Seven Œcumenical Synods
   Preface and Acknowledgements
   The Œcumenical Synods
Chapter 1
   The First Œcumenical Synod
      The First Synod of Nicæa, May 20–August 25, 325
Chapter 2
   The Second Œcumenical Synod
      The First Synod of Constantinople, May 22–July 9, 381
Chapter 3
   The Third Œcumenical Synod
      The Synod of Ephesus, June 22–July 22, 431
Chapter 4
   The Fourth Œcumenical Synod
      The Synod of Chalcedon, October 8–31, 451
Chapter 5
   The Fifth Œcumenical Synod
      The Second Synod of Constantinople, May 5–June 2, 553
Chapter 6
   The Sixth Œcumenical Synod
      The Third Synod of Constantinople, November 7, 680–September 16, 681
Chapter 7
   The Seventh Œcumenical Synod
      The Second Synod of Nicæa, September 24–October 13, 787
Chapter 8
   Other Synods of Œcumenical Importance
      The Quinisext Synod of 692
      The Synod of Constantinople of 879–880
      The Palamite Synods of 1341, 1347, and 1351
      The Synods of Constantinople of 1583, 1587, and 1593
      The Synod of Iaşi of 1642 and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672
      The Synod of Constantinople of 1819
      The Synod of Constantinople of 1872
Appendix A
   Saint Gregory Palamas on the Œcumenical Synods
      A Confession of the Orthodox Faith
Appendix B
   Saint Nicholas of Žiča on the Œcumenical Synods
      A Reflection for July 16
Appendix C
   Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina on the Œcumenical Synods
      A Compilation of the Œcumenical Synods
   Index of Names
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