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Johannine Themes in the Early Church Councils
by David Arias


First Seven Ecumenical Councils - Icon from Holy Transfiguration MonasteryThe purpose of the research on these pages is to locate, examine, and comment on some of the explicit and implicit Johannine themes in the first seven Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, along with an eighth doctrinally important council:

  • Nicea  (325)

  • Constantinople I  (381)

  • Ephesus  (431)

  • Chalcedon  (451)

  • Constantinople II  (553)

  • Constantinople III  (680-681)

  • Nicea II  (787)

  • and the Second Council of Orange  (529). 

All eight of these Councils are foundational for Catholic Dogmatic Theology insofar as they all define central doctrines on such matters as Trinitarian Theology, Christological Theology, Original Sin, Grace, Predestination, etc. Another commonality among these early Church Councils is that they all exhibit either explicit or implicit Johannine themes. In other words, some of the Councilsí documents evidence a clear and explicit reliance upon various teachings and themes present in the Fourth Gospel. Other documents evidence Johannine teachings and themes in a more implicit way, such that the Councilsí teachings logically imply (e.g., they presuppose) certain Johannine teachings and themes. My research locates these themes, examines them closely, and comments upon the various ways in which these Councils have appropriated the teachings of St. Johnís Gospel.

This website contains the following pages:

The Early Church Councils

  • What is an Ecumenical or General Council?

  • A short introduction to each of the first seven Ecumenical Councils and the Second Council of Orange, describing the main people and theological issues involved at each.

  • Links to online texts of the first seven Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church.

Conciliar Citations of St. Johnís Gospel

  • A chart listing the direct citations of St. Johnís Gospel in all of the twenty-one Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, highlighting the citations in the first seven councils.


Johannine Influence on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

  • A brief commentary on some of the chief Johannine themes in the creed defined by the Council of Constantinople.

Bibliography and Resources

  • Brief lists of some important books and websites that address the Ecumenical Councils, patristic commentary on St. Johnís Gospel, and Johannine themes in Catholic Dogmatic Theology.

The Johannine Literature Web was created and is maintained by Felix Just, S.J.
This page was last updated on 9/24/05
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