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Church History (Patristic Era, Ecumenical Councils, the Papacy, and Saints): Church Councils

The historical development of the Church...Within 400 years after Jesus' passion, Christianity developed from an illegal, persecuted, and underground religion into the sole, official, dominant faith of the Roman Empire.

First Council of Nicea -- 325 AD

Councils of the Church

The earliest Councils are recognized by almost all Christians; later Councils are recognized by different branches of Christianity; and some Councils are specifically held by other denominations to be only of and for the Roman Catholic Church, though the Church thinks otherwise.  Some of the tools available for this area are:

The Vatican Web site (The Holy See) has a page of links to the Documents of Vatican II in English -- and also in Byelorussian, Czech, French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili.

Both the first and second editions of the New Catholic Encyclopedia cover Church councils and synods.  You can use the articles to get started, and for brief bibliographies of additional source materials. 

For more books on the Councils, try using the Subject Heading Councils and synods, Ecumenical to get started.

For journal and magazine articles on specific topics, use keyword and/or subject searching in our online theological databases, or find older articles using the print version of the historic Catholic Periodical & Literature Index (CPLI) kept in Ireland Library's Reference Room.


Second Vatican Council -- 1962–1965

Council of Trent -- 1545–1563

The Council of Trent opened on December, 13, 1545, and closed December 4, 1563.

Its main object was the definitive determination of the doctrines of the Church in answer to the Protestant Reformation; a further object was a thorough reform of the inner life of the Church.

Councils of the Church

Selected resources include: