A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. An ecumenical council is so named because it is a synod of the whole church (or, more accurately, of what those who call it consider to be the whole church).
The word comes from the Greek συνοδος meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium - "council". Originally synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Sometimes the phrase general synod or general council refers to an ecumenical council. The word synod also refers to the standing council of high-ranking bishops governing some of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. Similarly, the day to day governance of patriarchal and major archiepiscopal Eastern Catholic Churches in entrusted to a permanent synod.
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