I have heard the term "Consensus of the Saints" come up before. What exactly does that mean? I have also read that it is described at the mind of the Church, but again, what does all this mean? Does it mean the unified belief and teaching on a certain issue by the fathers and bishops of a particular Synod? Or is there an "active" role played by the Saints and Jesus too (ie, there is the word "Saint" in "Consensus of the Saints" so I am curious how they play a role)? Thank you for the help.
It's a theoretical standard by which, some believe, a doctrine is Orthodox in spite of not actually having been ratified by an authoritive synod because all the saints believed it. In practice, the question of whether or not the 'consensus of the saints' (also 'Patristic Consensus') would make a doctrine authoritive is moot since in reality such a consensus is never really found, even with doctrines that were defined and defended by Oecumenical Synods, if you go back far enough you can generally find saints who would disagree; so, obviously, the 'consensus of the saints' isn't necessary to make a doctrine authoritive either. More often than not the term is used when someone doesn't have a good argument, but want to claim their opinion is founded in the Patristic Tradition of the Church.