Salpy - would you give a brief explanation?
I know quite a bit of Eo converts on the west coast that view the councils as (although they are tied to them through their particular churches) historical points of reference which even some of the Ec. Councils were predominantly Councils of value to the west and Byzantium...These friends I speak of would also, I'm sure, back me up in saying that the Saints of the church who Anathematized this or that, were still just men. Granted they lived saintly lives but that does not mean that the proclamations made at these Councils were some how Infallible.
Forgive me for over-generalizing.
I do think, however, that the EO's view the concept of an Ecumenical Council and what it is in the life of the Church a little differently than the OO's view it. I think that may why the OO's tend to be a little more positive toward the idea of ecumenical dialogue. The difference in how we view ecumenical councils was touched on in a thread in the OO section, but I can't recall where it is.
This is taken from a post by Fr. Peter in another thread:
"I think the whole issue of ecumenicity is different in the OO, and indeed that the EO view is one which developed later during the controversial period as a response to criticisms.
It does not seem to me that the OO tend to say simply 'accept only three councils', in the way that many EO just state 'accept the seven or eight or nine councils'. This is because it seems to me that the OO Fathers have been more concerned to deal with the substance of faith rather than using the councils as either a polemical tool, without reference to their substance. Chalcedon is rejected because it is not considered Orthodox, the issue of ecumenicity is not the main one. Indeed all Imperial councils were called as being ecumenical, this did not mean what it has later come to mean within EOxy.
I do consider Ephesus II important within the OO tradition, but ecumenicity is not understood in the same way. Indeed I believe that it is in modern times that the EO has come to consider the councils an infallible authority over and above the Church, in the same way that the Roman Catholic Church have defined the Pope as the infallible authority over and above the Church, and Protestants have defined the Bible as the infallible authority over and above the Church. I believe that OOxy preserves the teaching that it is the Holy Spirit alone who is over and above the Church and who is the only infallible foundation of the life of the Church.
This allows OOxy to recognise both the human and divine aspect in all conciliar activity, while EOxy seems to me to be truly monophysite or docetic in its view of some councils by eliminating the human aspect and making the council little different to the means by which the Koran was apparently produced. I do not say this polemically, but because it does seem to me that this is the case.
Within OOxy I believe that councils are accepted as authoritative in so far as they expound the truth, in so far as they are Orthodox, and that which is not Orthodox is passed over and that which is Orthodox is simply a re-iteration of that which has always been true. It is quite possible for me to find some things to criticise in the Acts of the Second Council while also considering it essentially Orthodox and authoritative. It is even possible for me to find those things with which I agree in Chalcedon and pass over the rest, or understand it within a context. This is because the Holy Spirit does not overwhelm human activity but works through human agency.
Yet it seems to me, from over 15 years discussion with many EO, that it is much harder for the EO to be reflective in regard to the councils since they must either be entirely true (though no-one can tell me authoritatively what that includes) or are false. This seems to me to be a wrong attitude towards the councils, indeed any conciliar activity and stands in the way of unity and agreement. It is even necessary to show that if Chalcedon must be accepted entirely as a divine work in all of its statements, and if to reject any part of it is to fail to be Orthodox (and many EO have said this to me) then Pope Leo is not Orthodox because he always rejected Canon 28 of Chalcedon.
This does not seem to me to be absolutely problematic in an OO context, since the OO Fathers, it seems to me, would want to ask what a person did believe about the issue in view, not what they thought about something that a council had said. It was not so important to St Cyril, that John of Antioch accept that Ephesus I was 'ecumenical', it was more important that he thought in an acceptably Orthodox manner about the issue that Ephesus I tried to deal with. This seems to me to be different to the modern EO view which I have often met with, which says 'accept the seven councils' even while the person insisting on this does not actually have a clue what the seven councils stand for.
it seems to me that the OO would see that the Holy Spirit can work in such situations, but it does not seem to me that such events should be set up as infallible and above the Church. What does infallible mean? Surely we should be asking only how far the councils represented that which is true, that is all that matters. If the label of infallible is added in modern times simply to mean that no questions can be asked, then it seems that there is something wrong and that there is a difference in view between the EO and OO..." http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21726.msg330316.html#msg330316
See also reply 13 here:http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15195.msg336034.html#msg336034
"I think that the case of Constantinople 381 allows us to see that ecumenical first had the meaning of a universal gathering of bishops from across the Empire to deal with a matter of concern to the whole Church and Empire. That it then came to mean a council which had a lasting authority throughout the Empire, and then finally to the concept that it was infallible in every word and aspect and must be received as a divine fiat.
in my opinion the OO preserve the middle concept in which a council has authority because it is true and because it represents the mind of the universal Church. I don't see that the OO have developed the later concept in regard to councils, though this does not mean that those councils which are considered authoritative are not greatly respected, especially Nicaea and Ephesus I, and then at some time between the 4th and 6th centuries also Constantinople 381. (I don't know when we started using the Nicene-Constantinopolitan version of the creed). But they are understood as events within the life of the Church and as manifestations of the conciliar activity in the Church seen in a continuum from the humblest local synod of a minor bishop, through metropolitan synods, up to universal councils of bishops from the whole empire. It is the same Holy Spirit at work, and the same humanity which sometimes obscures and confuses the work of the Spirit. Yet when there is that which is seen to be true then it is recognised by the Church and has the authority of the truth, no further authority is needed."