Beginning of Christianity
Christianity, which started as a small sect in Judea, grew up in the cosmopolitan world of Greco-Roman pagan cults, shaking off its Judaistic origins. As it followed its natural course, numerous Christian sects appeared, including Donatists, Novatians, Paulinists, Marcionites, Docetists, Montanists, Meletians, and Arians, among others.
Although some of these faded away without becoming widespread heresies, others shook the foundations of Christianity. The latter group’s disagreements stemmed from the idea of worshiping a being who was also a man, a concept that had become more complicated with the inclusion of the third divine aspect, the Holy Spirit.
7 Ecumenical Councils
There were seven of these Ecumenical Councils until disputes between Latin (Western) and Greek (Eastern) Christians stopped any more councils from being accepted by the whole Church. The main topic of the councils, with the exception of the last one, which dealt with iconoclasm, was to answer questions about the Person of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or to reassert the already established dogma against heretical views.
However, in addition to such major issues, Church discipline laws were enacted. Other than these Ecumenical Councils, the Roman Church considers some to be ecumenical because it considers itself to be the only valid Christian communion in the world, but members of the Greek Orthodox Churches were not present at these later councils, and neither those Churches nor the Anglican Church consider them as truly ecumenical.
The church in the Middle East was founded on the principle of unity, i.e. catholic or ecumenical. The idea of unity in the early Christian cultures was one in which the church communities agreed to a doctrinal view of Christianity.
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