Objective: Students should be able to give date and name to all seven councils, to name the major players in each and to understand the major debates and heresies, and to discuss the decisions reached and their importance.


The teacher can divide the councils into weeks as fits the schedule of the class, since this 3-week unit is really a single lesson. One method would be to have each student research a single council and report to the class. Another would be to present the material in class, with much drill and quizzing. This is “boring” material but absolutely essential to understand the Orthodox Church even today. And, while many of the details argued about seem "obvious" to us, many centuries later, in that day people really cared about the truth. Many people today don't even believe there is a truth! The Church has always been the source of truth, unchanging, sometimes having to be sought for, but solid rock instead of the shifting sand of public opinion.


 First review the two councils already studied: the Council of Jerusalem in the first century and the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Who presided over each? Who was present? What was decided? Do Christians always agree about everything? Even as early as the first century there was disagreement – but one Church. Look again at the decision-making process, a council of all bishops, protecting the Church from the thoughts of any one man.


Historical background: Each of these councils did not occur in a vacuum.  What was happening in the world and in the Church at the time of each council? Be sure to have maps handy for discussion of the various cities and nations.