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Synod


In Christianty, a local or provincial assembly of bishops and church officials, convened to solve questions of theology, discipline or administration.
The word comes from Greek, synodos, meaning "assembly". The usage of the words "council" and "synod" often overlaps, and there is no clear distinction between the two. Often council is used for a larger and more influential assembly, but there are many examples of the opposite.
In the history of Christianity, the 7 ecumenical councils rank as among the most important; in this context, synod denotes an assembly of lesser importance. Still, some writers use "synod" even for these councils. In addition to the councils, there are many synods having great impact on the development of Christianity.
In modern times, in the Roman Catholic Church bishops from all regions regularly meet to discuss important matters. Such councils represent an advisory body to the Pope. There are also synods with the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches as well, serving about the same purpose as the synod within the Roman Catholic Church itself.
In Orthodox churches, a synod is a meeting of bishops appointing new bishops and making decisions for the autonomous church. Here a synod's decisions are not only advisory to the Pope.
A synod can also be the daily administration of a patriarchate or archbishopric.
Close to this is the usage of synod in many Protestant churches, the term synod has come to signify an organizational unit, often as national organizational bodies.

History
90 CE: The selection of texts for the Old Testament is decided upon at the Synod in Jamnia.
335: The Synod of Tyre banishes the Arian Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, from the church.
431: A synod rivalling the Council of Ephesus, under the leadership of John of Antioch, is set up, making its own decisions. The synod had both the Bishop of Ephesus and the Bishop of Alexandria excommunicated, but this came to have no real impact.
449: The so-called Robber Synod of Ephesus promotes ideas in accordance with the Monophysite orientation. The Council of Chalcedon, two years later, came as a reaction to this.
518: Byzantine Emperor Justin 1 begins persecutions of Monophysite Christians, following a synod at Tyre this year.
754 February: Byzantine Emperor Constantine 5 convenes a synod at Hieria attended only by bishops sympathetic to his Iconoclast line, which brings forth decisions he can use to continue his programme to destroy icon worship.
815 March: After a period of promoting icon worship, Byzantine Emperor Leo 5 convokes a synod at Constantinople that reimposes iconoclast decrees.




By Tore Kjeilen