The Corpus Christianorum of Brepols publishes the decrees of the ecumenical and general councils, including those of the Eastern and Western churches, in a new critical edition. Furthermore, the Istituto per le scienze religiose started with the digitalization of the sources of all councils of all churches of all times collected in a data bank which, starting from the eighteenth century edition of G. D. Mansi, integrates the enormous material unknown to him. Moreover it continues the work on synodality as liturgy in different historical and cultural contexts. The research, promoted by a consortium of council cities, was presented to the specialists at the World Expo of Shangai.
The new edition of Conciliorum œcumenicorum generaliumque decreta
During a special audience on the 1st October 1962, a ellowellow volume was presented to Pope John XXIII. It was the result of work undertaken between 1959 and 1962, by a small group of researchers (Giuseppe Alberigo, Pericles Joannou, Claudio Leonardi and Paolo Prodi, with the invaluable help of Giuseppe Dossetti and Hubert Jedin) at the Istituto per le Scienze Religiose of Bologna. They prepared the volume Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta which was then published by Herder, a few days before the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
It included texts of the decrees of the first seven ecumenical Councils, the fourth Council of Constantinople, the five Lateran Councils, the two Councils of Lyons, those of Vienne, Constance, Basel-Florence, Trent and the First Vatican Council (1870). In the third edition (1973) some of the texts belonging to the first Councils were corrected and the decrees of the Second Vatican Council were added. At the end of the 20th Century, it was republished with the addition of facing page translations in different languages, such as Italian, English, German, French and Korean.
Early in the 21st Century the Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose, inspired by the research and international debates generated by this publication and project, decided to produce a new edition of COD and a collection of conciliar documents, a new Mansi, in the form of a digital library. The new series Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta was intended to offer a better critical edition for the Councils’ decrees, with the cooperation of the best scholars in the world. Such an international and unprecedented research program was offered to and adopted by Brepols in the most prestigious collection of sources, namely the Corpus Christianorum as a special series, under the direction of the late Giuseppe Alberigo and Alberto Melloni.
This new series has includes the decrees of Councils and synods recognised as ecumenical by one or more Churches, general Councils of the Churches of one or more traditions, as well as Councils which have a greater importance in the history of the Churches themselves. Canonical reception, theological effect, the consensus of the scholars, are therefore applied as the main criteria of a work based on scientific parameters and on philological principle: however, as well as each scholar who needs a definitive edition, also the theologian can trace the proper approach of his discipline and confession.
The series is composed by seven volumes. The first three volumes, – with the ecumenical Councils of the first millennium (COGD I), the Councils of the Latin Christendom (COGD II.1-2), and of the Roman Catholic Church (COGD III) – have been published between 2007 and 2012. Three more volumes – with the Council of the Orthodox Churches (COHD IV), the Councils of the Armenian, Syriac and Coptic Churches (COGD V), and the Synods of the Churches of and after the Reformation (COGD VI) – will be published between 2012 and 2014 with a volume of indexes and studies.