I must ask, are you here to learn or argue?
Both. It is my sincere belief that the best way to acquire the Truth is to marshal the strongest argumentation possible on all sides. It is not my intention to be adversarial, or to convey an impression of holding a particular view. I have mine own thoughts on the matter, as suggested earlier in the thread, and obviously if I were hardline on all the arguments I'm making, I'd be Catholic.
I'm just trying to apply enough pressure to the various propositions that the essentials are tempered therefrom.
Perhaps the ludicrous issue here is to demand a standard, your own, apart from what was admitted/used.
My objection is twofold:
1. Having read the acts of several ecumenical councils, and a fairly good smattering of the Fathers, I have seen not a whit of evidence that subsequent conciliar ratification was intended pre facto
or post facto
to operate as the standard by which to determine a given council's ecumenical authority.
2. Additionally, the fact that non-Orthodox councils have been subsequently ratified, and Orthodox councils have been subsequently denied, I am doubtful as to the historical tenability of this proposition within the Orthodox milieu.
That said, I would be delighted to find out that I'm wrong. If you can cite the Fathers or the Councils to me to establish that this is indeed the principle of authority "admitted/used," or if you can refine the basic proposition such that it becomes historically consistent, I would give you a big sloppy kiss.
(Of peace, of course.
The conciliar acceptance (your ratification - are you a PoliSci major or a lawyer?) is but one hallmark.
(Guilty as charged. Pepperdine University School of Law.
From the above statement, I deduce either one of two things:
1. Different ecumenical councils have different standards by which we are to verify their ecumenicity. I'm not sure I would buy this view, because it smacks of overly-convenient pick-and-choose apologetics. Pentarchy sign off on Florence? No problem! The standard for Florence was actually
laity acceptance! Massive laity rebellion after Chalcedon? No problem! The standard for Chalcedon was having tons of bishops! And so forth. The only way this view could work is if the patristic literature made clear, pre facto
which standards were most important for which councils.
2. Alternatively, perhaps you mean there are multiple simultaneous "hallmarks" of ecumenicity that check and balance one another on sort of a sliding scale multiple-factor test. This is the view I presently believe to be the only one reconcilable with an Orthodox view of history. This is ultimately a little bit unsatisfying, compared with bright-line rules like "papal sign-offage," but it ultimately works. I would feel a lot happier about this particular proposition if there were any patristic, synodal, or patriarchal texts that endorsed it.
You seek to impose a legal absolute in all (apparently) instances. In that era there was no separation of church and state. 'Ecumenical" (Imperial) councils were called to resolve issues in the Church and produce canons to be added to the Code of Roman Laws. Acceptance was a big factor, but not the only. A strict standard such as you seem to demand (no subsequent acceptance) would probably lead to your being Byzantine Catholic or Roman Catholic as the councils of 1270 and 1439 become "Ecumencial"?
Why should the standard not be a firm and consistent one? A loose standard produces relativity, and makes it look an awful lot like we Orthodox are simply trying to fudge history to justify schism with Rome, rather than honestly attempting to hold ourselves to "the Faith delivered once for all unto the saints."
Some councils were intended to be 'ecumenical' at their outset, and failed.
And are thus not considered ecumenical. But on what grounds did they fail, and what did they lack that the true ecumenical councils possess?
Others (like the Seventh) were not at first intended to be,
How do you mean? The Imperial Sacra of Constantine and Irene reads:All our Christian people... earnestly entreated our peace-making and pious Sovereignty that an Ecumenical Council might be assembled. To this their request, we gave our hearty consent...
The Decree of the council also describes itself as:The holy, great, and Ecumenical Synod which by the grace of God and the will of the pious and Christ-loving Emperors, Constantine and Irene, his mother, was gathered together for the second time at Nicea...
Note that the bishops call it "ecumenical," and specifically connect it with the First Ecumenical Council by saying they are gathered for the second time
In addition, the sessions of the council repeatedly report the various bishops saying they stand before the "holy ecumenical synod."
and resulted indeed in an ecumenical council (the 7th was 'ratified' by not being rejected (in East or West)
This seems problematic. How long must a council go unrejected before it counts as unchangeably binding and ecumenical?
and producing canons. Of course the last council is not closed by another or there would be no end to councils!
Indeed, the infinite causes problem so dear to Aquinas.