MHFM : Refuting Eastern Orthodox
As I said to you on the telephone, Ephesus II (the heretical monophysite council in 449) had almost exactly the same number of bishops as Constantinople I (150 bishops). “Eastern Orthodoxy” would say one must accept Constantinople I under pain of heresy, while one must reject Ephesus II!
In fact some Eastern Orthodox consider Ephesus II as totally correct: supporting Chalcedon in doctrine, but rejecting culpability of the condemned persons. On Eutyches it said "male locutus est", which seems to be correct since on at least one occasion Eutyches admitted Our Lord was homousios te metri - of same nature as the Mother. Thus indirectly admiting Chalcedon.
Rejection of Ephesus II is thus linked to the claim that the Church is not only infallible on Dogma of Faith and Morals, but also on Dogmatic Facts - such as this one being really Pope or that one really stating a condemned heresy. Or such a Council being a real Council, of course.
But if we apply the principles of Eastern “Orthodoxy,” the two councils are on the same level, both being backed by the authority of equal bishops. Unless there is a supreme bishop to make one council binding, it’s a farce to say that one council is definitely dogmatic while the other with the same number of bishops is definitely heretical! Equal vs. Equal results in a draw…
Except that apart from the number of bishops on the Council there is also the number of bishops accepting it afterwards. Ephesus II, unlike Constantinople I, was rejected by Pope (St Leo, I think?) and all Western Bishops in agreement with him.
Furthermore, if Christ said He would be with His Church all days until the end of the world (Mt. 28), why did the Church suddenly stop having councils in 787? Doesn’t it strike you as a bit ridiculous that many other councils were held after 787, which the Eastern “Orthodox” arbitrarily reject as “not accepted by the Church,” even though these councils which they reject had more bishops than those which they accept?
No Orthodox Theologian would say there was no possibility of Councils after Nicea II. They would for instance gladly say that if Catholics rejected filioque, accepted divorce and remarriage by dispensation of ordinary bishop (only!), rejected papal juridical primacy and infallibility, then all Catholic Bishops who did so might be very welcome to the next Panorthodox Council if such one were to be held.
Then there is not absolute unity of whether it is only Seven Councils that are Ecumenical.
After Nicea II, Latins recognise historically speaking Constantinople IV of 869. Some Orthodox say that Constantinople IV was really Ecumnical Council VIII, but the real Constantinople IV was 879, after a Greek Pope had rescinded that of 869 (which on Photian grounds they consider more rejectable than Ephesus II), others say that Greeks accepting 879 and Latins 869 make an even draw and that therefore it is impossible to know which council is really Ecumenical VIII, and therefore dropping both. As a favour of dialogue with Latins = Roman Catholics.
If you want to be really at the lack of logic of Eastern Orthodox, why not suggest it was terribly Papist of Photius to ask a Pope to rescind a whole Ecumenic Council without asking the signataries to 869. That was of course very Papist. As Papist as a Sedisvacantist hoping a future Pope will rescind Vatican II.
Those who say 879 was Constantinople IV and Ecumenical also often recognise Constantinople V - the third version, the one favouring Gregory Palamas.
Note that Constantinople V was partially condemned by Rome - but not on the main issue. Rome did not back then condemn hesychasm as such. Rome in criticising Constantinople V did condemn "even in Heaven the saints will not see God in His nature, but only in His energies." But Rome did not condemn the Jesus prayer. Other parts of Constantinople V were in fact confirmed by Vatican I.
What about the Council of Florence (1438-1442), which saw reunion of the East with the Catholic Church when Patriarch Joseph of Constantinople accepted Florence, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, and Florence’s teaching against all who would deny it? How on Earth could you logically say that Florence was not accepted “by the Church,” while other councils were?
One bishop kept herocically up the Orthodoxy of the Catholic Church against a pseudocouncil signed under political pressure. Have we heard the pseudo-council part about Vatican II? Have we heard the political pressure part about Communism in relation to Vatican II? Have we heard Monseigneur Lefèbvre and Monseigneur Castro Mayer claim the "one bishop" role? Well, same things are said about Florence, Latins making aid against Turks depend on Florence and filioque, and Purgatory, and - in the role of One Heroic Bishop refusing to sign, we have heard Markos Evyenikos of Ephesus.
But for Markos Evyenikos refusing to sign, I think his colleague Bessarion who did sign might be taken as a witness.
The first three Sundays of Lent are dedicated to Defenders of Orthodoxy: Photius, Palamas, Mark of Ephesus.
I was heartily thankful to Mark of Ephesus, back in my Roumanian days, for not making Feeneyism dogmatic, though that was not his main reason and I did not in fact share his main reasons.
But those who say that Florence was no Council do not say the capability of Councils and Synods ceased in Nicea II. Jerusalem and Iasi - the "Trentine Councils of the Orthodox" - condemn little of Trent (notably its rejection of all divorce) and nearly all of Protestantism. Not Ecumenical - but still normative. As in excluding acceptance of Protestant Doctrine (which the Skirzhal of 1666 or 1667 sinned against by lately rejecting Immaculate Conception, for confessing of which Avvakum was burned as a Heretic).* Such value is placed on Jerusalem and Iasi.
Much as Catholicism traditionally values the Councils of Toledo/Braga and Orange.
Now, here is my two cents about why I feel no need to get back to them:
Florence was convoked by all five Patriarchs, and thus exactly in the manner prescribed by Nicea II.
The Councils of Toledo do not start teaching filioque from after the Visigothic Conquest, but already from I:st Council of Toledo.**
And if filioque is not a heresy, the Latin filioquist bishops who accept certain things not accepted by the Orthodox cannot be discounted as "heretical anyway".
But the criterium MHFM asked for is simply "acceptance as Council by all Orthodox" (i e Non-Heretical) Bishops.
BpI, Georges Pompidou
St Moses, Legislator and Prophet
or Prophet and Godseer
* Trento - Philaret (Catechisms) : Mone hagne, mone eulogemene / Moni agni, moni evloyimeni
** Trento - Philaret (Catechisms) : Filioque far older than III Council of Toledo