From Ctesiphon to Toledo: A Comparative View on Early Church Councils in East and West

The 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea in 325 is approaching, and the importance of the first ecumenical council for the doctrinal and institutional development of the Christian Churches is manifest. Unfortunately for historians, Nicaea itself remains badly documented, but in late antiquity church councils became one of the instruments for ruling the church. For some general church councils, such as the Council of Chalcedon in 451, even the minutes survive, and in recent years, many of these conciliar acts have been made available in translation. This has led to increased interests in church councils, and particularly during the last decades, not only theologians but also historians have started contextualizing conciliar texts.



Thursday, October 12 2023


13.00: Registration

13.15: Volker Menze, Opening remarks



Chair: Richard Price

Uta Heil, Which council counts? Strategic evaluations of Athanasius, Hilary and Sabinus

Jennifer Berry, Remembering Shadow Councils: Athanasius of Alexandria and the Problem of Tyre


15.00-15.15: Coffee



Chair: Uta Heil

Craig Caldwell, Rival Reenactments of Nicaea at the Councils of Serdica (343)

Mark DelCogliano, Coordinating the Double-Council of Ariminum and Seleucia: Ideals and Reality


16.45-17.00: Coffee break


17.00-18.00: Evening Lecture

Richard Price, The Lateran Synod of 649 and the Council of Constantinople of 680/81: concord and striking divergence


19.00: Dinner



Friday, October 13 2023



Chair: Thomas Graumann

Christie Pavey, The African councils under Augustine and Aurelius: The key to understanding Late Antiquity?

Cristian GaşparSpoken like a Bishop? Sociolinguistic Notes on Linguistic (In)competence and the Dynamics of (Extra)ordinary Communication in the Greek Acts of Fifth-century Councils


11.00-11.15: Coffee break



Chair: Volker Menze

Ephrem Isaac, Nicaea in the East and West Syriac Synods

Madalina Toca, Epistolary Canons and the West Syriac Reception of Early Church Councils


12.45-14.30: Lunch break



Chair Sabine Panzram

Thomas Graumann, Council Acts between East and West

Paulo Pachá, The General Councils of Toledo between Theory and Practice

Sebastian Scholz, The Problem of Church Property in the Frankish Synods of the 6th and 7th Century


16.45-17.00: Coffee break



Chair: Sebastian Scholz

Claire Fauchon-Claudon, Accommodation during Church Councils: Logistical Challenges, Issues and Tensions

Sabine Panzram, The Making of a Conciliar City: The Case of Toletum


18.30-18.45: Closing remarks


19.00: Reception


Call for Papers