9. First General Council of the Lateran, Rome, 1123
Ended the custom of investiture - the State could invest bishops and abbots with symbols of temporal authority, but had no right to invest them with spiritual authority.

10. Second General Council of the Lateran, Rome, 1139
Condemned the anti-pope, Anacletus II.

11. Third General Council of the Lateran, Rome, 1179
Decreed that the votes of two-thirds of the Cardinals were required for the election of a pope.

12. Fourth General Council of the Lateran, Rome, 1215
This was one of the most important councils before the Council of Trent. It declared the necessity of yearly Confession and Holy Communion, the doctrine of Transubstantiation, the wearing of specific attire by Muslims and Jews.

13. First General Council of Lyons, France, 1245
Discussed the Schism with the Byzantines, morality of the clergy, and deposed Emperor Frederick II because of sacrilege, suspicion of heresy, perjury and disturbing the peace.

14. Second General Council of Lyons, France, 1274
Attended by 500 bishops, and such dignitaries as St. Bonaventure and St. Albertus Magnus. St. Thomas Aquinas died on his way to the Council. The Council established union between Eastern and Western Churches.

15. General Council of Vienne, France, 1311-12
Suppressed the order of Knights Templar, and dealt with matters related to the clergy.

16. General Council of Constance, Germany, 1414-18
Ended the Great Schism - three were claiming to be the pope, and it was causing division in the Church. Condemned John Wycliffe and Jan Hus (John Huss) for heresy.

17. General Council of Florence, Italy, 1438-45
Reunited eastern and Western Churches. Unfortunately, the agreement was not supported by the clergy and people in the east. It declared the authority of the Pope to be superior to that of a General Council.

18. Fifth General Council of the Lateran, Rome, 1512-17
Declared that the teachings of the Council of Pisa were invalid since it did not have the Pope's approval. Expressed concern for abuses in the Church, and pointed out the need for reform.

19. General Council of Trent, Italy, 1545-63
A very important Council. It clarified the Church's teaching, refuted the errors of the Protestant Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli), and set reform of the Church in motion. The decrees were signed by 6 cardinals, 3 patriarchs, 25 archbishops and 169 bishops. They were confirmed by Pope Pius IV.

20. First General Council of the Vatican, Rome, 1869-70
About 800 prelates attended. This Council declared the infallibility of the Pope, and reaffirmed the teachings of the Church.

21. Second General Council of the Vatican, Rome, 1962-65
Attended by 2540 prelates. One of the most important Councils of the Church. Its purpose was to renew and update the Church, and promote unity among Christians.

The Western General Councils
(1123 - 1965)

The eight General (Ecumenical) Council in 870 was the fourth that took place at Constantinople and the final one of the first millennium. It was also the last to be held in the East. The subsequent ones up to and including Vatican Council II were all held in the West.

A summary is given below of each of the western general councils. For a detailed discussion, click on the associated hyperlink.