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Council of Nicaea concludes

Council of Nicaea concludes


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The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concludes with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as heretical, thus resolving an early church crisis.

The controversy began when Arius, an Alexandrian priest, questioned the full divinity of Christ because, unlike God, Christ was born and had a beginning. What began as an academic theological debate spread to Christian congregations throughout the empire, threatening a schism in the early Christian church. Roman Emperor Constantine I, who converted to Christianity in 312, called bishops from all over his empire to resolve the crisis and urged the adoption of a new creed that would resolve the ambiguities between Christ and God.

Meeting at Nicaea in present-day Turkey, the council established the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity and asserted that only the Son became incarnate as Jesus Christ. The Arian leaders were subsequently banished from their churches for heresy. The Emperor Constantine presided over the opening of the council and contributed to the discussion.


Blog Post 6: Council of Nicaea

Why is the Council of Nicaea one of the most critical events in the history of the Christian Church?

The Council of Nicaea was a meeting of bishops that took place in the year 325 AD. It was different than councils that had come before it, for a two reasons. One, it was not called by the bishops. No, this council had been called by Emperor Constantine. Secondly, it dealt with a particularly dangerous heresy that dealt with Jesus’ equality with the Father. The way the council dealt with both of these issues makes it a game-changing event in church history.

Let’s look at the heresy first. The teachings of a man named Arius of Alexandria were being debated at the council. Arius taught that Jesus was subordinate to God, and “proved” it with syllogisms. He thought that since Jesus was he Son of God, than God must had existed before him. And since God existed before him, then God must have made Jesus, and made him less powerful than himself. His theory relies heavily on syllogisms, not so much on Scripture. It does, however, site some Scripture, including John 14:28, “. . . for the Father is greater than I [Jesus.]” He also said that Jesus was of a different substance than God. While this may sound the same as the the previous statement, it is actually different, and very wrong. He is basically saying that Jesus is different from God, and less than God. When presenting at the Council to Constantine, he said, (well, sang,)

“The uncreated God has made the Son, a beginning of things created, and by adoption has God made the Son into an advancement of himself. Yet the Son’s substance is removed from the substance of the Father: the Son is not equal to the Father, nor does he share the same substance. God is the all-wise Father, and the Son is the teacher of his mysteries. The members of the Holy Trinity share unequal glories.

The rest of the bishops were quick to see the danger in his teachings, and sought to refute them at the Council. They pointed to John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” and to the fact that God is the one needed to pass salvation onto us, so for Jesus to pass salvation onto us, he would have to be God, just as much as the Father. They attempted to counter the spreading influence of Arianism, which the public enjoyed, due to the fact that Arianism was often spread through songs. To do so, the Council created the first version of a creed that is still used in churches today: the Nicene Creed.

The Council of Nicaea was called for by Emperor Constantine. The bishops who gathered at Nicaea gathered there at Constantine’s command. This raises questions still relevant today. If the government is a Christian government, how much power does the government have over the church, and vice versa. If you know anything about church history, or even the Middle Ages, you know how the church was a political power almost as much as a religion. Was this the proper role for the church, or should it have stayed out of politics? The separation of church and state is still a hot topic today. When Constantine called the council, he gave the appearance that he had authority over the church. This led to a debate a few emperors down the road who wanted control over the church. Emperor Constanius (a few emperors after Constantine,) even said “Let whatsoever I will, be that esteemed as a canon.” (Canon, in this case, refers to official church statements, not of books of the Bible.) Eventually, the church was granted some freedom from the Emperor, with the Emperor being treated as “just another Christian.” This freedom led up to the Pope becoming so powerful, as we see throughout history.

So the Council of Nicaea was a momentous occasion for Christianity because it defeated a dangerous heresy and it immersed the church into the political realm. While defeating the heresy was large, on a secular level, the church turning political made a bigger shift in history than the defeat of Arianism. But on a Christian level, I would argue that defeating Arianism was a greater achievement. If we today saw Jesus separate from God, where would we be? What other heresies would this have led to? So I think from a historical standpoint, the church entering politics was the bigger impact of the Council of Nicaea. But from a theological standpoint, defeating Arianism, as well as the creation of the Nicene Creed, were a bigger deal.


68- The Council of Nicaea Part I

You can find more information about the council here.

  • Athanasius of Alexandria
    • Letter on the Decrees of the Council of Nicaea (De decretis)
    • Letter Summoning the Council of Nicaea
    • Letter to the Church of Alexandria
    • Letter to the Churches on the Date of Easter
    • The Nicene Creed and Anathemas
    • Canons of Nicaea
    • Conciliar Letter to the Churches of Egypt
    • Letter to Church of Caesarea
    • Life of Constantine
    • Fragment on the Council of Nicaea
    • Gelasius of Caesarea
    • Pseudo-Gelasius of Cyzicus
    • Rufinus of Aquileia
    • Socrates of Constantinople
    • Sozomen
    • Theodoret of Cyrrhus
    • Ayers, Lewis
      • Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitrian Theology
      • Constantine and Eusebius
      • Constantine: Dynasty, Religion, and Power in the Later Roman Empire
      • The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine
      • Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance
      • The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381
      • The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils
      • The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine. Rev. Ed.
      • Constantine and the Christian Empire 2nd Ed.
      • Marcellus of Ancyra and the Lost Years of the Arian Controversy 325-345
      • Arius: Heresy and Tradition Rev. Ed.

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      Love your podcast. Excellent work. I ‘ve learnt a lot.

      After so many episodes, I think I’ve finally found something I can disagree with, although it may just be splitting hairs.

      I agree the canon was not a key issue at the Council of Nicaea. However, Jerome’s comment in his prologue to Judith implies it was at least discussed:
      “But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request, indeed a demand, and works having been set aside from which I was forcibly curtailed, I have given to this (book) one short night’s work translating more sense from sense than word from word.”

      Yeah, unfortunately I just didn’t have the space to address Jerome’s comments about the Council in his introduction to the Book of Judith. I don’t put much stock in Jerome’s statement though. The silence of all the contemporary eye-witness sources (Eusebius, Constantine, Athanasius, etc.) must, in my mind, weigh heavily against Jerome’s claim, who wasn’t even born yet when Nicaea took place. It’s possible Jerome confused Nicaea with another council or simply got his information wrong. If the Fathers at Nicaea really did make some official statement about the canon, we have no record of it and no one ever mentioned it in the subsequent decades when other councils make their own statements on the canon.

      “But since the Nicene Council is considered to have counted this book among the number of sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request…” Jerome, Preface on the Book Judith

      I think we also need to be careful not to overread Jerome here. He simply says the Council considered Judith to be counted among the scriptures. To jump from this to the notion that a wholesale evaluation of the Biblical canon occurred is really a stretch. If Jerome’s information is correct, its far more likely Judith was invoked at some point during one of the debates, prompting a discussion about whether or not it was authoritative.

      Andrew Henry of ReligionForBreakfast has an excellent video on this topic. Definitely worth a watch!


      Who was included in the council?

      Emperor Constantine invited every Christian bishop to attend the council. Of the 1,800 bishops scattered across Rome, only a fraction of them made the trek to Nicaea, but we don’t know for sure how many came.

      Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria, and Eustathius of Antioch all attended the council, and they each recorded a different number of bishops in attendance. Later church historians used Athanasius’ count of 318 (he gave the most precise number).

      Not everyone who attended the council was a bishop. Constantine allowed each bishop to bring up to two priests and three deacons, so using Athanasius’ count, there could have been as many as 1,908 church leaders, plus Constantine and whoever accompanied him.

      Key figures in the First Council of Nicaea

      Obviously, there were hundreds of prominent leaders at the council, but some played much larger roles than others. Here are a few of the biggest players.

      Alexander of Alexandria (also known as Saint Alexander I) led the opposition to Arianism. Prior to the council, Alexander had spent years trying to demonstrate that Arius’ beliefs were heretical and damaging to the church. He even officially excommunicated Arius, but other Christian leaders reinstated him. Alexander’s conflict with Arius is what ultimately led to the council’s formation.

      Arius was a priest in Alexandria whose teachings about Christ largely led to the formation of the council. Arius argued his position that Christ was created by God and therefore not equal to God. The council deemed his teachings to be both heretical and incredibly harmful, so they exiled him to Illyria along with the only two council members who supported him. All of his writings were burned after the council, so we only know about his teachings from others.

      Athanasius of Alexandria was a deacon and assistant to Alexander of Alexandria. After the council, he succeeded Alexander as archbishop of Alexandria, and spent most of his life trying to stamp out the remains of Arianism.

      Hosius of Corduba (also known as Osius) was an influential bishop who supported Homoousion, the theological belief that Jesus is “one in being” and “of a single essence” with God. He supported Athanasius for years after the council, and was eventually excommunicated for it. (A future council ruled against the leaders of the Council of Nicaea.)

      Eusebius of Caesarea, dubbed the Father of Church History, was present at the council and felt that the church was too hard on Arius. While he didn’t support Arius’ views himself, he was concerned about the divisiveness among the church’s leaders, and he was eventually excommunicated for being too sympathetic to Arius’ cause. He recorded details of the council in Life of Constantine.

      Constantine the Great (also known as Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus) was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, and he called together the First Council of Nicaea. Constantine oversaw the proceedings but did not cast a vote.

      Notably absent from the council was Pope Sylvester I. Unable to attend himself, the pope sent two representatives. Afterward, he supported the decision of the council.


      History of the First Council of Nicaea – FREE Ebook of the Week!


      The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of bishops (synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

      One purpose of the Council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been ‘begotten’ by the Father from his own being, and therefore having no beginning, or else created out of nothing, and therefore having a beginning. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The Council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).

      Another result of the Council was an agreement on when to celebrate Easter, the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar, decreed in an epistle to the Church of Alexandria in which is simply stated:

      We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you.


      Historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, the Council was the first occasion where the technical aspects of Christology were discussed. Through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt creeds and canons. This Council is generally considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity. (via Wikipedia)

      History of the First Council of Nicaea by Dean Dudley

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      (PDF and other formats via Archive-dot-org )


      On This Day: Council of Nicaea concludes

      The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concludes with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as heretical, thus resolving an early church crisis.

      The controversy began when Arius, an Alexandrian priest, questioned the full divinity of Christ because, unlike God, Christ was born and had a beginning. What began as an academic theological debate spread to Christian congregations throughout the empire, threatening a schism in the early Christian church. Roman Emperor Constantine I, who converted to Christianity in 312, called bishops from all over his empire to resolve the crisis and urged the adoption of a new creed that would resolve the ambiguities between Christ and God.

      Meeting at Nicaea in present-day Turkey, the council established the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity and asserted that only the Son became incarnate as Jesus Christ. The Arian leaders were subsequently banished from their churches for heresy. The Emperor Constantine presided over the opening of the council and contributed to the discussion.


      1. What is the Council of Nicaea?

      In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea—the first worldwide religious council—was convened by Constantine I, the 57th emperor of the Roman Empire. The council marked an important point in Church history, where a public authority intervened and made decisions about the teachings of the gospel, resulting in a dark chapter in the history of Christianity and the world.

      The Council of Nicaea—the first worldwide religious council, held in A.D. 325 1)


      325 The First Council of Nicaea

      July 4, 325, was a memorable day. About three hundred Christian bishops and deacons from the eastern half of the Roman Empire had come to Nicea, a little town near the Bosporus Straits flowing between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

      In the conference hall where they waited was a table. On it lay an open copy of the Gospels.

      The emperor, Constantine the Great, entered the hall in his imperial, jewel-encrusted, multicolored brocades, but out of respect for the Christian leaders, without his customary train of soldiers. Constantine spoke only briefly. He told the churchmen they had to come to some agreement on the crucial questions dividing them. &ldquoDivision in the church,&rdquo he said, &ldquois worse than war.&rdquo

      A New Day

      The bishops and deacons were deeply impressed. After three centuries of periodic persecutions instigated by some Roman emperor, were they actually gathered before one not as enemies but as allies? Some of them carried scars of the imperial lash. One pastor from Egypt was missing an eye another was crippled in both hands as a result of red-hot irons.

      But Constantine had dropped the sword of persecution in order to take up the cross. Just before a decisive battle in 312, he had converted to Christianity.

      Nicea symbolized a new day for Christianity. The persecuted followers of the Savior dressed in linen had become the respected advisers of emperors robed in purple. The once-despised religion was on its way to becoming the state religion, the spiritual cement of a single society in which public and private life were united under the control of Christian doctrine.

      If Christianity were to serve as the cement of the Empire, however, it had to hold one faith. So the emperors called for church councils .

      To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.


      Appendix G:The Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds

      Here is the text of the Nicene Creed as reported by the primary sources. You may see modern renderings that include extra wording. This is because there were additions approved by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which they attributed to the Council of Constantinople in 381. That creed is known as the Nicaeano-Constantinopolitanum Creed, and it is given below. Also, a version of the creed known as the Apostles Creed, which is the official creed of the Reformed churches.

      The anathemas at the end of the Nicene Creed were included by the Council of Nicea, but they are not part of later creeds.

      The original creed was written in Greek. This translation is from The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series 2, volume I. I have made minor updates to the punctuation, and I have formed sections for easier memory.

      The Nicene Creed

      We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

      And [we believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father.

      That is, of the substance of the Father God of God and Light of light true God of true God begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.

      By [him] all things were made, both which are in heaven and on earth: who, for the sake of us men and on account of our salvation, descended, became incarnate, and was made man suffered, arose again the third day, and ascended into the heavens, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

      [We] also [believe] in the Holy Spirit.

      But the holy, catholic, and apostolic church anathematizes those who say, "There was a time when he was not" and "He was not before he was begotten" and "He was made from that which did not exist," and those who assert that he is of other substance or essence than the Father, that he was created, or is susceptible of change.

      The Nicaeano-Constantinopolitanum Creed

      This is a slightly expanded version of the Nicene Creed that is still the official creed of the Roman Catholic Church. It is found in the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, [55] where they attribute it to the Council of Constantinople. There is no evidence that it was formulated or approved there, but it remains known as the Nicaeano-Constantinopolitanum Creed.

      If you ever see a version of the Nicene Creed published in modern times, it will usually be this one, though that is changing as the internet becomes more popular.

      We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

      And [we believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, was made man, and was also crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead. His kingdom shall have no end.

      And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified and who spoke by the prophets.

      And [we believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.ਊmen.


      Blog Post 6: Council of Nicaea

      Why is the Council of Nicaea one of the most critical events in the history of the Christian Church?

      The Council of Nicaea was a meeting of bishops that took place in the year 325 AD. It was different than councils that had come before it, for a two reasons. One, it was not called by the bishops. No, this council had been called by Emperor Constantine. Secondly, it dealt with a particularly dangerous heresy that dealt with Jesus’ equality with the Father. The way the council dealt with both of these issues makes it a game-changing event in church history.

      Let’s look at the heresy first. The teachings of a man named Arius of Alexandria were being debated at the council. Arius taught that Jesus was subordinate to God, and “proved” it with syllogisms. He thought that since Jesus was he Son of God, than God must had existed before him. And since God existed before him, then God must have made Jesus, and made him less powerful than himself. His theory relies heavily on syllogisms, not so much on Scripture. It does, however, site some Scripture, including John 14:28, “. . . for the Father is greater than I [Jesus.]” He also said that Jesus was of a different substance than God. While this may sound the same as the the previous statement, it is actually different, and very wrong. He is basically saying that Jesus is different from God, and less than God. When presenting at the Council to Constantine, he said, (well, sang,)

      “The uncreated God has made the Son, a beginning of things created, and by adoption has God made the Son into an advancement of himself. Yet the Son’s substance is removed from the substance of the Father: the Son is not equal to the Father, nor does he share the same substance. God is the all-wise Father, and the Son is the teacher of his mysteries. The members of the Holy Trinity share unequal glories.

      The rest of the bishops were quick to see the danger in his teachings, and sought to refute them at the Council. They pointed to John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” and to the fact that God is the one needed to pass salvation onto us, so for Jesus to pass salvation onto us, he would have to be God, just as much as the Father. They attempted to counter the spreading influence of Arianism, which the public enjoyed, due to the fact that Arianism was often spread through songs. To do so, the Council created the first version of a creed that is still used in churches today: the Nicene Creed.

      The Council of Nicaea was called for by Emperor Constantine. The bishops who gathered at Nicaea gathered there at Constantine’s command. This raises questions still relevant today. If the government is a Christian government, how much power does the government have over the church, and vice versa. If you know anything about church history, or even the Middle Ages, you know how the church was a political power almost as much as a religion. Was this the proper role for the church, or should it have stayed out of politics? The separation of church and state is still a hot topic today. When Constantine called the council, he gave the appearance that he had authority over the church. This led to a debate a few emperors down the road who wanted control over the church. Emperor Constanius (a few emperors after Constantine,) even said “Let whatsoever I will, be that esteemed as a canon.” (Canon, in this case, refers to official church statements, not of books of the Bible.) Eventually, the church was granted some freedom from the Emperor, with the Emperor being treated as “just another Christian.” This freedom led up to the Pope becoming so powerful, as we see throughout history.

      So the Council of Nicaea was a momentous occasion for Christianity because it defeated a dangerous heresy and it immersed the church into the political realm. While defeating the heresy was large, on a secular level, the church turning political made a bigger shift in history than the defeat of Arianism. But on a Christian level, I would argue that defeating Arianism was a greater achievement. If we today saw Jesus separate from God, where would we be? What other heresies would this have led to? So I think from a historical standpoint, the church entering politics was the bigger impact of the Council of Nicaea. But from a theological standpoint, defeating Arianism, as well as the creation of the Nicene Creed, were a bigger deal.


      Watch the video: Ντοκυμαντερ Ανουνάκι πατηστε υποτιτλους βγαινουν ελληνικα (May 2022).


Comments:

  1. Verne

    Very funny phrase

  2. Ashwin

    And what is the result?

  3. Brandeis

    I apologize for interrupting you, but could you please describe in a little more detail.

  4. Norman

    In my opinion, you admit the mistake. Enter we'll discuss. Write to me in PM.



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