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Chalcedon, Council of

(952 words)

Author(s): Ritter, Adolf Martin
1. Historical Importance The Council of Chalcedon (modern Kadiköy, a district of Istanbul on the eastern shore of the Bosporus) holds a place of preeminence among the imperial or ecumenical councils of the early church that dealt with Christological questions (Christology). Made possible by a change in the leadership of the Roman Empire, according to the plan of the new rulers (Marcian and Pulcheria), it had the main purpose of reversing the decisions of the Council of Ephesus of 449, which had pro…

Ephesus, Council of

(352 words)

Author(s): Ritter, Adolf Martin
The Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus—the first of which we have records (published by the contending parties)—was called on Pentecost (June 7) 431 by Emperor Theodosius II (408–50), mainly to settle the doctrinal dispute between Nestorius (d. ca. 451) and Cyril of Alexandria (bishop 412–44; Christology 2). But it could not be opened either at the appointed time or even actually at all; there were simply separate sittings of the majority, which supported Cyril and which was later joined by the Roman delegates, and the minority,…


(19,949 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Roloff, Jürgen | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Papandreou, Damaskinos | Döring, Heinrich | Et al.
1. Subject, Tasks, and Problems of Ecclesiology 1.1. The Church of Faith The early confessions, following the NT, relate the church to the Holy Spirit as an object of the faith that is the Spirit’s work (“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy church …”). The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed characterizes the church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, while the Apostles’ Creed ¶ speaks of “the holy catholic church, the communion of saints.” Theological reflection in dogmatics develops these statements of faith into the doctrine of the church (ecclesiology). According to the insight of faith, dogmatics defines the church variously as the mystical body of Christ, a divine-human organism, a sacramental fellowship, a fellowship of faith, a fellowship of experience and communicating, a fellowship of discipleship of Christ, and more. This ecclesiological development finds it…