A synod (/ˈsɪnəd/) is a council of a church, usually convened to
decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word
synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning
"assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word
concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of
bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism,
1 Usages in different Communions
1.3 Anglican 1.4 Lutheran 1.5 Presbyterian 1.6 Reformed 1.7 Church of Christ in Congo
2 Some notable synods 3 See also 4 Collections of synodal decrees 5 References 6 External links
Usages in different Communions
Vladimir's Sobor in 1276
Stoglavy Sobor (Sobor of a Hundred Chapters) in 1551
The Moscow Sobor of 1666–1667, to deal with disputes surrounding the
ecclesiastical reforms of
A bishop may also call a sobor for his diocese, which again would have
delegates from the clergy, monasteries and parishes of his diocese, to
discuss important matters. Such diocesan sobors may be held annually
or only occasionally.
In Roman Catholic usage, synod and council are theoretically
synonymous as they are of Greek and Latin origins, respectively, both
meaning an authoritative meeting of bishops for the purpose of church
administration in the areas of teaching (faith and morals) or
governance (church discipline or law). However, in modern use, synod
and council are applied to specific categories of such meetings and so
do not really overlap. A synod generally meets every three years and
is thus designated an "Ordinary General Assembly." However,
"Extraordinary" synods can be called to deal with specific situations.
There are also "Special" synods for the Church in a specific
geographic area such as the one held November 16-December 12, 1997,
for the Church in America.
X "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST for the hope of the world" 1998 XI "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church 2005 XII "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" 2008 XIII "New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" 2012 Extraordinary General "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization" 2014
Councils Meetings of bishops in the Roman empire are known from the mid-third century and already numbered twenty by the time of the First Council of Nicaea (325). Thereafter they continued by the hundreds into the sixth century. Those authorized by an emperor and often attended by him came to be called ecumenical, meaning throughout the world (as the world was thought of in Western terms). Today, Council in Roman Catholic canon law typically refers to an irregular meeting of the entire episcopate of a nation, region, or the world for the purpose of legislation with binding force. Those contemplated in canon law are the following:
An ecumenical council is an irregular meeting of the entire episcopate in communion with the pope and is, along with the pope, the highest legislative authority of the universal Church (can. 336). The pope alone has the right to convoke, suspend, and dissolve an ecumenical council; he also presides over it or chooses someone else to do so and determines the agenda (can. 338). The vacancy of the Holy See automatically suspends an ecumenical council. Laws or teachings issued by an ecumenical council require the confirmation of the pope, who alone has the right to promulgate them (can. 341). The role of the pope in an ecumenical council is a distinct feature of the Catholic Church. Plenary councils, which are meetings of the entire episcopate of a nation (including a nation that is only one ecclesiastical province), are convoked by the national episcopal conference. Provincial councils, which consist of the bishops of an ecclesiastical province smaller than a nation, are convoked by the metropolitan with consent of a majority of the suffragan bishops.
Plenary and provincial councils are categorized as particular
councils. A particular council is composed of all the bishops of the
territory (including coadjutors and auxiliaries) as well as other
ecclesiastical ordinaries who head particular churches in the
territory (such as territorial abbots and vicars apostolic). Each of
these members has a vote on council legislation. Additionally, the
following persons by law are part of particular councils but only
participate in an advisory capacity: vicars general and episcopal,
presidents of Catholic universities, deans of Catholic departments of
theology and canon law, some major superiors elected by all the major
superiors in the territory, some rectors of seminaries elected by the
rectors of seminaries in the territory, and two members from each
cathedral chapter, presbyterial council, or pastoral council in the
territory (can. 443). The convoking authority can also select other
members of the faithful (including the laity) to participate in the
council in an advisory capacity.
Meetings of the entire episcopate of a supra-national region have
historically been called councils as well, such as the various
Councils of Carthage
Diocesan synods are irregular meetings of the clergy and laity of a particular church summoned by the diocesan bishop (or other prelate if the particular church is not a diocese) to deliberate on legislative matters. Only the diocesan bishop holds legislative authority; the other members of the diocesan synod act only in an advisory capacity. Those who must be invited to a diocesan synod by law are any coadjutor or auxiliary bishops, the vicars general and episcopal, the officialis, the vicars forane plus an additional priest from each vicariate forane, the presbyterial council, canons of the cathedral chapter (if there is one), the rector of the seminary, some of the superiors of religious houses in the diocese, and members of the laity chosen by the diocesan pastoral council, though the diocesan bishop can invite others to attend at his own initiative. (can. 463)
National Episcopal Conferences are another development of the Second
Vatican Council. They are permanent bodies consisting of all the Latin
rite bishops of a nation and those equivalent to diocesan bishops in
law (i.e. territorial abbots). Bishops of other sui juris churches and
papal nuncios are not members of episcopal conferences by law, though
the conference itself may invite them in an advisory or voting
capacity (can. 450).
While councils (can. 445) and diocesan synods (can. 391 & 466)
have full legislative powers in their areas of competence, national
episcopal conferences may only issue supplementary legislation when
authorized to do so in canon law or by decree of the Holy See.
Additionally, any such supplemental legislation requires a two-thirds
vote of the conference and review by the
A synod as a local administrative region is similar to a diocese in
other denominations, such as the
Minneapolis Area Synod
EKHN's 10th Church
A synod as a legislation comprising deputies to be elected by all enfranchised members of a church and competent for the entire church is similar to a general assembly in Presbyterianism, e.g. called with regional Protestant church bodies (Landeskirche) in Germany Landessynode (i.e. regional or land synod) or Generalsynode (general synod). A synod only competent for an administrative subunit of a church body, such as a city synod (Stadtsynode; comprising synodal deputies of congregations of one denomination within one city) or provincial synod (Provinzialsynode; comprising synodal deputies of congregations within an ecclesiastical province).
Synods of Antioch, 264-269
Synods of Carthage
Ancient church councils (pre-ecumenical) – church councils before the First Council of Nicaea College of Bishops Conciliabulum, the diminutive used for an irregular council Council of Bishops Council of Jerusalem Ecumenical council, representing the universal episcopate First seven ecumenical councils Katholikon Moscow Sobor of 1666–1667 Sobor on the Blood Sobornost Station days Stoglavy Sobor
Collections of synodal decrees
The Canons of the first four general councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon (in Ancient Greek). Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1880. Benson (1893). The six œcumenical councils of the undivided catholic church: Lectures delivered in 1893 under the auspices of the church club of New York. New York: E. & J.B. Young. Dubose, William Porcher (1896). The ecumenical councils. New York: Christian Literature Co. Percival, Henry Robert (1900). Schaff, P.; Wace, H., eds. The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: Their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees, Together with the Canons of All the Local Synods which Have Received Ecumenical Acceptance. Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Parker. Schwartz, E. (1914–1940), Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum [The Acts of the Ecumenical Councils]  Schroeder, Henry Joseph (1937). Disciplinary decrees of the general councils: Text, translation, and commentary. St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co. Straub, J. (1971), Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum [The Acts of the Ecumenical Councils]  Alberigo, Giuseppe; Ioannou, Periclīs-Petros; Leonardi, Claudio; Jedin, Hubert (1962). Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta. Basilae: Herder. Alberigo, Giuseppe; Dossetti, Joseph A; Jedin, Hubert (1973). Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta. Bologna: Bologna Institute for Religious Sciences. Tanner, Norman P. (1990). Decrees of the ecumenical councils. 2 Volumes. Sheed & Ward ; Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-0-87840-490-2. Alberigo, Giuseppe; Melloni, Alberto, eds. (2000–2017). Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta: Editio critica. Corpus Christianorum. 4 Volumes. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.
^ a b c Sobor in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine online
^ In English "
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Pope Benedict holds first synod
"Synod" at the Catholic Encyclopedia