OECUMENICAL, a word chiefly used in the sense of belonging to the universal Christian Church. It is thus specifically applied to the general councils of the early church (see Council). In the Roman Church a council is regarded as oecumenical when it has been summoned from the whole church under the presidency of the pope or his legates; the decrees confirmed by the pope are binding. The word has also been appHed to assemblies of other religious bodies, such as the Oecumenical Methodist Conferences, which met for the first time in 1881. " Oecumenical " has also been the title of the patriarch of Constantinople since the 6th century (see Orthodox Eastern Church).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)