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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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Second Ecumenical Council.

 

Prolegomena.

The holy and ecumenical Second Council was held during the reign of Theodosius the Great, A.D. 381, and is also referred to as the First Ecumenical Council in Constantinople. Of the Fathers attending it the most notable were Nectarius the bishop of Constantinople, Timothy the bishop of Alexandria, Meletius the bishop of Antioch, Cyril the bishop of Jerusalem, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa; and many other bishops from the East made up a total number of 150. Not even one bishop from the West attended it; nor did Pope Damasus in person or by a legate, nor does even a conciliar letter of his appear therein.[38] Later, however, they agreed and acceded to the things it decreed, including Damasus and the whole Western Church, and even to this day they accept and recognize this Council as a truly ecumenical council. It was held primarily against Macedonius, who was blasphemously declaring that the Holy Spirit was a thing constructed or created by the Son, secondarily against Apollinaris, and against the Eunomians, including the Eudoxians and the Sabellians, and against the Marcellians, and against the Photinians,[39] and in general anathematized every heresy that had risen during the reign of Constantius, of Julian, and of Valens, emperors preceding it. After correcting the glorification and adoration of the Holy Trinity which had been altered by the Arians,[40] it renewed the doctrine of the Nicene Council, on the ground of its being thoroughly Orthodox in all respects. Hence, in order to let it appear that it professed the same beliefs as the Council held in Nicaea, it did not draw up a creed of its own, but, by simply making a small change in the Creed adopted by the Nicene Council, and adding the clause “of whose kingdom there shall be no end,” on account of the heresy of Apollinaris the millenarian,[41] and by developing the meaning of Article 8 in reference to the Holy Spirit, and also by supplying what was missing in the remaining four articles to the end,[42] it made identically the same as that which is now read by all Orthodox Christians, as it is seen in this Second Council (p. 286 of vol. i of the collection of the Councils) and in the fifth act of the same council (p. 155 of the same volume). Nevertheless, although this Second Council did make these additions to and changes in the Creed adopted by the First Council held in Nicaea, yet the Councils held thereafter accepted the Creed of the First and Second Councils as a single Creed. As to why this Council made these additions, see the Footnote to c. VII of the Third. In addition to all these things, it also adopted and promulgated the present seven Canons pertaining to the organization and discipline of the Church, indefinitely confirmed by c. I of the 4th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th and by c. I of the 7th. (See Dositheus, p. 222 of the Dodecabiblus.)[43]

 

 

Canons.

 




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