(or Oecumenical Council) - A gathering to which all of the bishops of the whole inhabited world (in Greek, " oikumene") are called to address the common needs and concerns of the entire Church militant here in earth. To date, there have been seven ecumenical councils: Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople (553), Constantinople (690), Nicea (787). There have, of course, been no ecumenical councils since the schism between the Eastern and Western churches in 1054; certain councils of the Western church (including four held at the Lateran Palace in Rome) are sometimes, but inaccurately, called "ecumenical."
An assembly of representatives of the Church legally convoked for the settlement of ecclesiastical affairs, formulating dogmas and making rules of faith and morals. Seven Ecumenical Councils are recognized by the Orthodox Church.