Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs

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The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs was a letter sent in May, 1848 by the patriarchs of the Orthodox Church in reply to Pope Pius IX's Epistle to the Easterns (1848). Rather than being a private letter to Pius IX, it is addressed to "All the Bishops Everywhere, Beloved in the Holy Ghost, Our Venerable, Most Dear Brethren; and to their Most Pious Clergy; and to All the Genuine Orthodox Sons of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

This should not be confused with the "Encyclical To the Eastern Patriarchs" (866), which treats of related doctrines.

The encyclical explicitly denounces the Filioque clause added by Rome to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as a heresy, censures the papacy for missionizing among Orthodox Christians, and repudiates Ultramontanism (papal supremacy). It also describes the Roman Catholic Church as being in apostasy, heresy, and schism.

In the course of all this, it notably makes reference to the Eighth Ecumenical Council (879-880), in contrast with the opinion of many modern Orthodox Christians that there are only seven Ecumenical Councils accepted by the Orthodox Church.


  • The Holy Synod in Constantinople
  • The Holy Synod in Antioch
  • The Holy Synod in Jerusalem

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