CONSTANTINOPLE, COUNCILS OF. Of the numerous ecclesiastical councils held at Constantinople the most important are the following: (I.) The second ecumenical council, in 381, which was in reality only a synod of bishops from Thrace, Asia and Syria, convened by Theodosius with a view to uniting the church upon the basis of the orthodox faith. No Western bishop was present, nor any Roman legate; from Egypt came only a few bishops, and these tardily. Yet, despite its sectional character, the council came in time to be regarded as ecumenical alike in the West and in the East. The council reaffirmed the Nicene faith and denounced all opposing doctrines. The so-called "Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed," which has almost universally been ascribed to this coun cil, is probably a Jerusalem baptismal formula revised by the interpolation of a few Nicene test-words. More recently its claim to be called "Constantinopolitan" has been challenged. It is not found in the earliest records of the acts of the council, nor was it referred to by the council of Ephesus (431), nor by the "Robber Synod" (449), although both of these confirmed the Nicene faith. At all events, it became the creed of the universal church, and has been retained without change, save for the addition of filioque.
(2.) The council of 553, the fifth ecumenical (acknowledged to be so in 68o), grew out of the controversy of the "Three Chap ters," an adequate account of which, up to the time of the council, may be found in the articles JUSTINIAN and ViGILIVs. It was utterly subservient to the emperor. The "Three Chapters" were condemned, and their authors, long dead, anathematized, without, however, derogating from the authority of the council of Chalce don, which had given them a clean bill of orthodoxy. The ortho dox faith was set forth in fourteen anathemas with special refer ence to Nestorians (q.v.). Opinion is still divided as to whether Origen was condemned. His name occurs in the eleventh anath ema, but some consider it an interpolation; Hefele defends the genuineness of the text, but finds no evidence for a special session against Origen, as some have conjectured. A smaller council was held in Constantinople in 543 to which the anathemas against Origen probably belong.
(3.) The sixth ecumenical council (68o-681) was convened by the emperor Constantine Pogonatus to terminate the Monothelite (q.v.) controversy. All the patriarchates were represented, Con stantinople and Antioch by their bishops in person, the others by legates. The council approved the first five ecumenical councils and reaffirmed the Nicene and "Niceno-Constantinopolitan" creeds. Monothelitism was unequivocally condemned; Christ was declared to have had "two natural wills and two natural operations, without division, conversion, separation or confusion." Prominent Monothelites, living or dead, were anathematized, in particular Sergius and his successors in the see of Constantinople, the former pope, Honorius, and Macarius, the patriarch of Antioch. An im perial decree confirmed the council, and commanded the accep tance of its doctrines under pain of severe punishment. The Monothelites took fright and fled to Syria, where they gradually formed the sect of the Maronites (q.v.) .
(4.) The "Quinisext Synod" (692), so-called because it was regarded by the Greeks as supplementing the fifth and sixth ecumenical councils, was held in the dome of the Imperial Palace ("In Trullo," whence the synod is called also "Trullan"). Its work was purely legislative and its decisions were set forth in 102 canons. The sole authoritative standards of discipline were de clared to be the "eighty-five apostolic canons," the canons of the first four ecumenical councils, of the Eastern Fathers and of Cyp rian, and also of a number of Eastern synods. They proceeded to add a series of disciplinary canons which became a recognized part of the canon law of the Eastern church. The council was confirmed by the emperor and accepted in the East ; but the pope protested against various canons, chiefly those respecting the rank of Con stantinople, clerical marriage, the Saturday fast, and the use of the symbol of lamb; and refused, despite express imperial command and threat, to accept the "Pseudo-Sexta." So that while the synod adopted a body of legislation that has continued to be authoritative for the Eastern Church, it did so at the cost of aggravating the irritation of the West, and by so much hastening the inevitable rupture of the church.
The iconoclastic synods of 754 and 815, both of which promul gated harsh decrees against images and neither of which is recog nized by the Latin Church, and the synod of 842, which repu diated the synod of 815, approved the second council of Nicaea, and restored the images, are described under the "iconoclastic controversy" in the general histories of the Eastern Church, to which the reader is also referred for details of the synods of 869 and 879. The former, regarded by the Latin Church as the eighth ecumenical council, condemned Photius as an usurper and restored Ignatius to the see of Constantinople; the latter, which the Greeks considered to have been the true eighth ecumenical council, held after the death of Ignatius and the reconciliation of Photius with the emperor, repudiated the synod of 869, restored Photius, and condemned all who would not recognize him.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.-Darwell Stone, art. "Councils, early Christian" in Bibliography.-Darwell Stone, art. "Councils, early Christian" in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. iv.; Hauck, "Synoden" in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopaedie, vol. xix.; Wilhelm, "Councils" in Catholic Encyclopaedia, vol. iv. ; Rackham, "The Posi tion of the Laity in the Early Church," in Essays in Aid of the Reform of the Church, ed. Gore (1888) ; Report on the position of the Laity (Canterbury Convocation Committee, 1902) .