"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Councils of the Orthodox Churches

Some publishers have the luck of timing on their sides. In this year leading up (one hopes!) to the much-promised and much-delayed "great and holy synod" of Orthodoxy, we will see published in April a hefty edited collection, part of the Corpus Christianorum Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta (CCCOGD 4) series from Brepols Press: Alberto Melloni, ed.,The Councils of the Orthodox Churches in the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Era (approx. 900 pp.).

About this volume the publisher tells us:
This volume comprises the critical edition – sometimes the very first critical edition – of the Councils of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, namely those sharing the professoin of faith defined in the first seven Ecumenical Councils (COGD 1). Among them one may find the Protodeutera (861), the Council of Constantinople of 879, the Tomos Unionis (920), the Local Synods of Constantinople against the Syro-Jacobites (1030) and against John Italos (1082), the Council on ‘My Father is greater than me’ (1166), on the Filioque (1285) and on Palamas (1341-1351), the Synod of 1484, annulling the so-called union of Florence (COGD 2), the Synods about Lucaris, the Panorthodox Synods of Jerusalem (1672) and Constantinople (1872), the Local Synods of Constantinople (1691 and 1755), and additional materials, like the Patriarchal decision of annullment of the Excommunications between Rome and Constantinople (paralleled in COGD 3).

It also includes the first publication of five synodika of Orthodoxy: Georgian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian and the Greek synodikon with a new edition of the oldest surviving version of the latter (eleventh century), which was the basis for the subsequent translations. Moreover the volume will represent the Conciliar tradition of the Patriarchate of Moscow and of all Russias, including the Stoglav (1551), and the Councils of Moscow of 1666/7 and 1917/8 and more recent Councils of the 21st Century.
Among the editors of the critical editions Hilarion Alfeeev (Moscow), Frederick Lauritzen (Venice), Bernadette Martin Hisard (Paris-Rome), Giovanni Guaita (Moscow), Vassa Kontouma (Paris), Kirill Maksimovič (Moscow), Riccardo Saccenti (Bologna), Michel Stavrou (Paris), Tatijana Subotin Golubović (Belgrade), Anna Maria Totomanova (Sofia). The editorial staff includes Frederick Lauritzen, Georghios Vlantis, Cyril Hovorun, Davide Dainese.

Melloni is no stranger to editing such collections of this. I have on my shelf his invaluable 2005 collection which he co-edited with Silvia Scatena, Synod and Synodality: Theology, History, Canon Law and Ecumenism in New Contact.

That collection was very useful when I was giving no little thought to the questions of synodality and patriarchal structures in the life of the Church, East and West, in my Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity.

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