Florence, Council of

Florence, Council of:

see Ferrara-Florence, Council ofFerrara-Florence, Council of,
1438–45, second part of the 17th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church; the first part was the Council of Basel, canonically convened but after 1437 schismatic (see Basel, Council of).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Florence, Council of


(Council of Ferrara-Florence), an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church convened by Pope Eugene IV to counteract the Council of Basel. (The Council of Florence is sometimes considered a continuation of the Council of Basel.) The council met in 1438–39 in Ferrara, from 1439 to 1442 in Florence, and from 1443 to 1445 in Rome.

Most of the participants in the Council of Basel refused to participate in the Council of Florence; the invited rulers of Western Europe also declined to attend. The council was attended by a large delegation from the Eastern (Orthodox) Christian church, including the Byzantine emperor John VIII Paleologus, the patriarch of Constantinople Joseph II, and the Russian metropolitan Isidor.

The chief goal of the Council of Florence was to reconcile dogmatic differences between the Western (Catholic) and Eastern churches and to conclude a union between them. The pope was relying on the union to extend the influence of the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe. Dogmatic quarrels flared up at the council regarding the Filioque, the sacraments, purgatory, and the supreme authority of the pope. The growing Turkish threat and pressure from the pope forced the Byzantines to sign the Union of Florence (July 1439) in the hopes of obtaining help from the Western European countries against the Turks. The union provided for recognition of the supremacy of the pope and the acceptance of Catholic dogmas, while retaining only the rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The union, however, did not take effect either in Byzantium or in the Russian state.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.