Council of 879 - Eighth Ecumenical Council?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
The Eastern Orthodox Church currently recognizes 7 Ecumenical Councils, the last one being held in Nicaea in 787. However, it seems that this was not always the case. Namely, it seems that in the past, the Orthodox Church considered the 879-80 Council of Constantinople as the 8th Ecumenical Council. For example, 12th century Patriarch of Antioch, Theodore Balsamon calls the 879-80 council an Ecumenical Council. The same thing was done by Dositheos II, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Other Church figures like Symeon of Thessalonika and Gennadius Scholarios also call the 879-80 Council the 8th Ecumenical. These were no ordinary priests, but Church leaders. It is unlikely that they would have made a mistake about the number of Ecumenical Councils. It seems that those participating at the Council thought they were participating in an Ecumenical Council as documents from the Council itself do call it an Ecumenical Council. Perhaps the biggest clue that this council was seen as an Ecumenical Council comes from January 1848 when the Orthodox Patriarchs of the East published an epistle that explicitly calls the 879-80 Council an Ecumenical Council.

So, should we consider this Council an Ecumenical Council? What was the consensus of the Orthodox Church on this issue in pre-modern times? I know there are members here that are well acquainted with Byzantium so they might clarify this topic.