Specialized Themes

The Councils and the Churches: History of an Institution between Texts, Ideas and Practices
Session code
Date Time
Thursday, August 25th / 09.00-12.30
Alberto Melloni
Collegium Minus, XVII

The History of the Councils celebrated by the Christian Churches is a truly interdisciplinary field. Philology and critical editions on one side are since the 16th Century a fundamental tool for the definition and the development of the discipline. At the same time, this long-standing institute of Christian governance has developed categories that have been relevant in political theory and in the field of its application practice. Indeed, representation, vote, procedures are all part of the history of the Churches as well as of the history of Parliaments. As a result, the deliberations taken in the councils are precious sources for social history in all its scope and for the understanding of theologies and doctrines (including the doctrine on the Council and the relationship between the Konizilsidee and its Pragmatik, both in functional and textual terms). This whole framework is nurtured by the research conscience coming from the Corpus Christianorum series Conciliorum Œcumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta, directed by the Foundation for religious studies and published by Brepols. The new series, directed by Alberto Melloni and offers a comprehensive panorama of how conciliarity was adopted and shaped into different confessional framework: what this huge critical effort demonstrates is that all the Churches, whatever the conciliar theory may imply, synodality finds a way to be celebrated, dividing and unifying the positions which entered the conciliar process. The panel, developing a permanent workshop of at the European Academy of Religion, reflects on the different understanding of the Councils in some confessions and ages of the Christian Churches in order to shape a possible Global History of Christian Councils in the near future.