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In Catholicism, one can discern between a robber Council and a true Ecumenical Council: the Pope gives his ratification of one and not the other. Therefore we know that the correct Council was adopted.

Question

In Eastern Orthodoxy, on what basis is one Council accepted (an orthodox Council) and another rejected (a 'robber' Council)—which doesn't strip an Ecumenical Council of its binding authority to teach and inform (i.e. place judgement of Councils on something below the authority of an Ecumenical Council)?1

Thanks in advance.


1 Catholicism rejects the notion that an Ecumenical Council is above the authority of the Pope, which is called the Conciliarist heresy.


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  1. There are Ecumenical councils of which there have been seven and local councils of which there have been many.
  2. Ecumenical councils affirm previous Ecumenical councils as Ecumenical.
  3. Councils have to be accepted by the Body of Christ as a whole to be considered Ecumenical.

As such, it is impossible to say directly at or immediately following an attempt at an ecumenical council whether it will be accepted as such.

  • 1
    This is not an answer to an epistemological question (my question), just as 'the people of God 'accepted' (i.e. in retrospect) the canon 'over time' doesn't answer how we know what the canon is. "As such, it is impossible to say directly at or immediately following an attempt at an ecumenical council whether it will be accepted as such" Is this backed up by Orthodox dogma or theology or doctrine? – Sola Gratia Jan 15 at 16:17
  • @SolaGratia Eastern Orthodoxy can be frustrating for those from a Western mindset who want well-defined doctrinal statements and black and white canon law. Orthodoxy offers little here (although some will tell you it does - all part of what I mean). Instead, you will find a mystical and sacred theology that points the faithful towards partaking of the divine nature. But the seven ecumenical councils are explicitly affirmed. – Dan Jan 19 at 17:09

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