During a special audience on the 1st October 1962, a yellow 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 Institute for the Religious Sciences of Bologna. They prepared the volume ‘Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta’ a few days before the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The volume was later published by Herder. 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 side-by-side translations in languages such as Italian, English, German, French and Korean.
Early in the 21st Century and inspired by the research and international debates generated by this publication and project the Foundation for the Religious Sciences, decided to produce a new edition of the 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 collaboration from the most eminent scholars in the world. Such an international and unprecedented research program was offered to and adopted by Brepols. It was inserted in the most prestigious collection of sources, the Corpus Christianorum, as a special series under the direction of the late Giuseppe Alberigo and Alberto Melloni.
This new series includes the decrees of the Councils and synods recognised as ecumenical by one or more churches, general Councils of the churches of one or more traditions, and Councils that have a greater importance in the history of the churches themselves. Canonical reception, theological effect, and the consensus of the scholars are therefore applied as the main criteria. The work is based on scientific parameters and on philological principles: just as each scholar needs a definitive edition, theologians too can trace out the proper approach for his or her discipline and denomination.
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) – were 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.