Early Church Fathers
1 Vide Apostolic canon LXXV., and Ancyr. Canon XIX.
2 This was until the division of the East and West the definition accepted by all the whole Christian world. But since the Church has been divided, while the East has kept to the old definition and has not pretended to have held any Ecumenical Conncils, the Roman Church has made a new definition of the old term and has then proceeded to hold a very considerable number of synods which she recognizes as Ecumenical. I say "a very considerable number," for even among Roman Catholic theologians there is much dispute as to the number of these "Ecumenical Synods," the decrees of which, like those of Trent and the Vatican, have never been received by about half of the Christian world, including four of the five patriarchtaes and of the fifth patriarchate all the Anglican communion. According to modern Roman writers the definition of these non-ecumenically received Ecumenical Synods is "Ecumenical councils are those to which the bishops and others entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world under the Presidency of the Pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received Papal confirmation, bind all Christians." Addis and Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary, s.v. Councils. The reader will notice that by this definition one at least (I. Constantinople), probably three, of the seven undisputed Ecumenical Synods cease to be such.
3 Vide Vasquez, P. III., Disp. 181. c. 9; Bellarmin., De Concil., Lib. II., cap. xvij.; Veron, Rule of the Cath. Faith, Chap. I., §§, 4, 5, and 6.
4 See Hefele's answer to Baronins's special pleading. Hist. Councils, Vol. I, pp. 9, 10.
5 It should be stated that at the Sixth Synod it was said that I. Nice was "summoned by the Emperor and Pope Sylvester," on what authority I know not.
6 Cf. Theod. H.E., Lib. I., e. 6.