We continue our examination of Anglican vocabulary. My plan is to examine a word or two to help you learn some of our “Anglican-isms”. I believe they will help enrich your experience of following Christ as an Anglican Christian. This week we move to the “E”s,

Ecumenical Councils

From NT times the church has relied on the decisions of councils called by recognized authority to settle disputes over doctrine and discipline. When a council involves representative bishops from the whole church, it is called “general.” When the decisions of a council are recognized by the whole church, it is called “ecumenical” (from the Greek oikoumen’, “inhabited world”). The terms “general” and “ecumenical” are not quite synonymous. Seven councils are recognized as ecumenical by both eastern and western churches: Nicaea (325), which dealt centrally with the divinity of the Logos;

Constantinople (381), which established the formula for expressing the Trinity and dealt with the divinity of the Holy Spirit; Ephesus (431), which decided against Nestorianism and promulgated a definition of the person of Christ; Constantinople II (553); Constantinople III (680-681); and Nicaea II (787). The latter three councils did refining work on the person of Christ and defined the role of images in worship.

Ex Opere Operato

From the Latin, meaning “by the work done.” In sacramental theology, the objective reality and effectiveness of the sacraments when validly celebrated, regardless of the subjective attitudes or qualities of the ministers or recipients. For example, the real presence of Christ in the eucharist is not diminished by the lack of faith of one who receives the eucharist. Similarly, the validity of sacraments does not depend on the worthiness of the ministers