At this point I am going to ask you to stop obfuscating or trying to divert attention from Fr Chris's questions and to respond to them in a forthright and courteous manner. (That is, don't respond to his post with a question about Chalcedon when his post concerns the Council of 879-80.) Also, please do not suggest that the Orthodox do not have the means to determine what is or what is not an Ecumenical Council, especially not on an Orthodox forum. Please respond to Fr Chris's posts to the best of your ability within 48 hours or further action may have to be taken. If you feel that you are in over your head then there is no shame in saying so, but I will not tolerate slights against a site administrator (or any other poster, for that matter) who has gone to great lengths to present a cogent and coherent argument to back up his (courteous) assertions.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
I certainly didn't mean to offend. I was (and am still trying) to answer the question from Father Chris. Perhaps I am still missing the question he is trying to ask.
My use of the question of Chalcedon was to attempt to give an analogous example to the question at hand. My question on the determination of ecumenicity is not to take a jab at Orthodoxy, but I wanted to know how do the Orthodox determine if a Council is Ecumenical or not - because I really don't know. And reading accounts of various groups of Orthodox having different determinations (i.e., is the Council of 879 Ecumenical or not) adds to my confusion. But, I think that this is an important question - since if the Council of 879 is not Ecumenical, its decisions from my perspective are far different than if it is.
Again, I'll try to answer Father Chris' question.
From this Catholic's perspective, it doesn't matter what the Council of 879 decided. Neither the Council of 869 or 879 were determined Ecumenical at the time. Later, the Council of 869 was determined by the Catholic Church was determined to be an Ecumenical Council. Of course, no Council can undo the dogmatic proclamations of an Ecumenical Council nor demote an Ecumenical Council to non-Ecumenical status.
So how do Catholics know if a Council is Ecumenical or not. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Ecumenical Councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians. The condition of papal confirmation is important, for as Lumen Gentium (22)
states - there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor.
It is also very possible (most likely) that the Council of 879 was accepted by the Pope (then Pope John VIII). As far as I can tell, the main purpose of the Synod and its acceptance was to heal the schism that had ripped apart the Church. But never was the Council of 879 accepted as Ecumenical by the Catholic Church nor by the majority of the Orthodox Church (again, various Orthodox have different determinations of the Ecumenical Councils).
Does this answer it? Have I understood your question correctly?