The Fifth Ecumenical Church Council in Constantinople (Istanbul) (AD 553)

The fifth Ecumenical Church Council was convened by emperor Justinian in 553, more than a century after the Chalcedon Ecumenical Church Council held in 451. Approximately sixty bishops, primarily from the East, met together in the upper chamber of Constantinople’s Church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) from May 5 to June 2.

In 551, Justinian attempted to appease Monophysite bishops by condemning the writings of three dead theologians—Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Ibas of Edessa (d. 457)—who had inspired, or had identified with, the teaching of Nestorius.

Led by Constantinople’s bishop Eutychius, the primary purpose of the council was to support Justinian’s edict of condemnation, which became known as the “Three Chapters.” Although the council supported Justinian’s Nestorian condemnations, it created deeper divisions in the church. Those who rejected Justinian’s condemnations were accused of teaching Nestorianism, and those who supported the condemnations were accused of supporting Eutyches’ Monophysite teaching.