List of ecumenical councils

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First Council of Nicaea (325): Emperor Constantine unrolls the text of the Nicano-Constantinopolitanum , as it was reformulated at the first Council of Constantinople (381), with the exception of the first word, changed from πιστεύομεν to πιστεύω, as in the liturgy.

This list of ecumenical councils includes the generally recognized councils. Ecumenical (Greek: οἰκουμένη oikoumene "the (whole) inhabited (sc. Earth)", "world") means in this sense a worldwide acceptance of the Council's resolutions. The generally recognized ecumenical councils are accepted by the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church . The Protestant churches generally do not have a fixed list of recognized councils, but recognize the results of the first four councils from the first five centuries.

This list also includes the councils of the Roman Catholic Church that were no longer accepted by the Orthodox Church. Since they apply to the entire global Roman Catholic Church, these are also called ecumenical councils.

The Eastern Orthodox churches only recognize the councils up to Ephesus or Chalcedon.

Generally recognized ecumenical councils

year place subjects people Resolutions / Consequences
325 Nicaea I. Trinity , deity of Christ, Arianism or Arian conflict Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Caesarea
Alexander of Alexandria
Confession of Nicaea : Identity of the Father and Son (ὁμοούσιος (homoousios)), regulation of the Easter date
381 Constantinople I Trinity, deity of the Holy Spirit , Arian quarrel Gregory of Nazianzen
Gregory of Nyssa

Nicano-Constantinopolitanum : "true God of true God"

431 Ephesus Christology , Christ only one person, Mary as the bearer of God Cyrill
Coelestin I.
Ibas of Edessa
Condemnation of Nestorianism , secession of the Assyrian Church of the East
451 Chalcedony Christology Eutyches
Leo the Great
Doctrine of two natures : Jesus is "truly God and truly man", namely "unmixed and unchanged, undivided and undivided"

Separation of the ancient oriental churches

553 Constantinople II Three chapter dispute , possibly origins dispute Vigilius
Justinian I.
Condemnation of the Three Chapters
680 Constantinople III monotheletic dispute Maximus Confessor
Constantine I.
Splitting off of the Maronites
787 Nicaea II Byzantine iconoclasm Leo III.
Hadrian I.
Icon worship recognized as orthodox under certain conditions

Further ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church

year place subjects people
869 Constantinople IV Photius schism Nicholas I.
Photios I.
1123 Lateran I Investiture controversy , crusade Calixt II.
1139 Lateran II Arnold of Brescia Innocent II
1179 Lateran III Albigensians , Waldensians Alexander III
1215 Lateran IV Crusade, dealing with heretics,
marriage obstacles , church wedding,
schism , analogy
Innocent III.
1245 Lyon I Friedrich II. , Crusade Innocent IV.
Baldwin II.
Louis the Saint
1274 Lyon II Union Council, d. H. Attempted reconciliation between the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church:
two points of contention were the poenis purgatoriae / purgatorium , which was named magisterial for the first time in the Council, and the emergence of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son ( Filioque ).
Gregory X.
1311-1313 Council of Vienne Abolition of the Knights Templar , confirmation of Corpus Christi Clement V
Philip IV.
Edward II.
Jacob II.
1414-1418 Constancy Jan Hus , Wyclif
End of the Great Western Schism through the election of Martin V.
Gregory XII.
Martin V.
Sigismund (HRR)
1431-1449 Council of Basel / Ferrara / Florence Religious peace with the supporters of Jan Hus
Theological Union with the Greek Orthodox Church, which was not accepted
Eugene IV.
Nicholas Cusanus
1512-1517 Lateran V Reform proposals to expand episcopal power over the papal. The council served as a concession to the conciliar movement . Julius II.
Leo X.
1545-1563 Trent Counter-Reformation and Catholic reform , decree on original sin, decree on justification (divine grace and human cooperation, contrary to the Reformation principle sola gratia ),
decree on the sacraments, residence obligation for bishops, establishment of seminaries.
Plan to develop a uniform missal (Roman Missal from 1570)
Paul III
Julius III.
Marcellus II.
Paul IV.
Pius IV.
Charles V
Ferdinand I
Karl Borromeo
1869-1870 Vatican I. Infallibility and primacy of jurisdiction of the Pope Pius IX
about 700 Council Fathers
1962-1965 Vatican II Liturgical reform
Dialogue with people of different faith
Apostolate of the lay
Church in today's world
Freedom of religion
Paul VI
a total of around 2500 Council Fathers, as well as 315–450 theological advisors , and observers from other churches

See also


  • Klaus Schatz: General Councils - Focal Points of Church History, Paderborn ²2008.

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Denzinger-Hünermann 125
  2. DH 150
  3. ^ DH 302
  4. ^ DH 856
  5. ^ DH 850