In pre-search-engine days, I once found a volume in the library that documented the outcomes of many church councils. At the time, I was particularly interested in the doctrine of the soul, and I seem to recall finding several relevant pronouncements, e.g., one that said that if anyone says that the soul has parts, or is divisible, let him be anathema.

Unfortunately, I do not recall which book it was where I read this, and Googling around has proved frustratingly ineffective. Does anyone recognize what I'm talking about? Where can I find a list of official or semi-official documents pertaining to the doctrine of the soul?


2 Answers 2


I am not sure what you mean by "semi-official", but here are some writings of the Church Fathers that may be of interest:

  • John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, II.12
  • Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection
  • Anathasius the Great, Against the Heathen, II.30-34
  • Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, Vol. 4
  • Diadochus of Photike, Philokalia, Vol. 1

The first three references can be found at CCEL.

I don't think that any anathema would have been issued against a doctrine of the soul having parts, as that is stated clearly in some of the above (e.g. that the spirit is the higher part of the soul). Origen was anathematized for professing the pre-existence of souls, but that doesn't sound like what you recall.


There's a Kindle version of a book on Amazon which details the outcomes of the seven ecumenical councils. It may have what you're looking for and it's fairly inexpensive. The link is here.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .