Council of Ferrara-Florence

General Information

The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-45), held successively at Ferrara, Florence, and Rome, was an ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic church convened for the primary purpose of ending the schism between that church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Officially, it was the second part of a council transferred from Basel, although a group of dissident churchmen remained in Basel and continued a rival council until 1449. Both the Byzantine emperor John VIII and the patriarch of Constantinople Joseph II were present at Ferrara-Florence, in part to seek aid from the West against the Turks. After much discussion of their theological differences, the two churches were formally reunited in 1439. The Orthodox leaders had difficulty, however, winning approval from the clergy at home, and all semblance of unity dissolved after the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

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The council also negotiated reunion with several smaller eastern churches (the Armenian Church, Nestorian Church, Jacobite Church, and Eastern Rite Churches) and challenged the conciliar theory (see Conciliarism) enunciated at the councils of Constance and Basel.

T. Tackett

Halecki, Oscar, From Florence to Brest, 1439-1596, 2d ed. (1968).

Also, see:
Ecumenical Church Councils

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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