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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Topic: What Happened at the Nicea Council?
    Posted: 26 March 2008 at 3:58pm
The First Council of Nicea in 325 was an important turning point in the history of Christianity
 
Can any of our Christian friends explain in brief:
 
a) What were the main issues debated?
 
b) What were the official decisions taken?
 
c) And what is the non-official version of what happened?
 
Thanks
 
 
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Squeegie  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Squeegie Replybullet Posted: 26 March 2008 at 9:37pm
When Constantine defeated Emperor Licinius in 323 AD he ended the persecutions against the Christian church. Shortly afterwards Christians faced a trouble from within: the Arian controversy began and threatened to divide the church. The problem began in Alexandria, it started as a debate between the bishop Alexander and the presbyter (pastor, or priest) Arius. Arius proposed that if the Father begat the Son, the latter must have had a beginning, that there was a time when he was not, and that his substance was from nothing like the rest of creation. The Council of Nicea, a gathering similar to the one described in Acts 15:4-22, condemned the beliefs of Arius and wrote the first version of the now famous creed proclaiming that the Son was "one in being with the Father" by use of the Greek word "homoousius."

There were some three hundred bishops gathered at the Council of Nicea from all around the world. It should be remembered that many of those present had, because of the recent persecutions, suffered and had faced threat of death for their faith. These were not wishy-washy men. It might also be remarked, that they were extremely sensitive to details of doctrine. As evidence of this, the second major concern of the Council of Nicea was to address the hotly debated question of what the proper day was to celebrate the resurrection.

The bishops of the Council stopped their ears on hearing the words of Arius and immediately rejected his teaching as distant and alien from the belief of the Church. They tore to pieces a letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia containing Arius' teaching, as well as an Arian confession of faith .

Originally seventeen of those bishops gathered at the council were unwilling to sign the Creed penned by the Council, and all but three of these were convinced to sign by the end. It is thus apparent that the Arians were a distinct minority among the bishops. Initially there was some resistance to the Nicene Creed, not because of what it said but because of how it said it. Many objected to the use of the word "homoousias" in an official document because it was not used in Scripture, despite their agreement with the meaning it conveyed.

The Council interrogated Arius using Scripture, only to find that he had a new way of interpreting every verse they brought before him. Finally, they used the argument that Arius' view had to be wrong because it was new. Athanasius says, "But concerning matters of faith, they [the bishops assembled at Nicea] did not write: 'It has been decided,' but 'Thus the Catholic Church believes.' And thereupon confessed how they believed. This they did to show that their judgement was not of more recent origin, but was in fact of Apostolic times..." (Volume 1, Faith of the Early Fathers, p338). 

It must be concluded, then, that the controversy was between a great majority who held the belief that the doctrine expressed by the Nicene Creed was ancient and Apostolic, and a minority who believed that Arius' new interpretation of the faith was correct .

Yes, this is a copy/paste, but it is a copy and paste from an internet source of a book on my bookshelf (Writings of the Early Church Fathers, Harvard Press, 1958). And I only pasted what I felt were the pertinent portions. A full copy of the proceedings of the CoN would have put the next person's post at the top of page 2. Hope my laziness won't get me in Dutch.


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Giovanni  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Giovanni Replybullet Posted: 26 March 2008 at 10:02pm
   I don't mind giving those who want to know something to read.


The First Council of Nicaea

First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of Arius (Arianism). As early as 320 or 321 St. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, convoked a council at Alexandria at which more than one hundred bishops from Egypt and Libya anathematized Arius. The latter continued to officiate in his church and to recruit followers. Being finally driven out, he went to Palestine and from there to Nicomedia. During this time St. Alexander published his "Epistola encyclica", to which Arius replied; but henceforth it was evident that the quarrel had gone beyond the possibility of human control. Sozomen even speaks of a Council of Bithynia which addressed an encyclical to all the bishops asking them to receive the Arians into the communion of the Church. This discord, and the war which soon broke out between Constantine and Licinius, added to the disorder and partly explains the progress of the religious conflict during the years 322-3. Finally Constantine, having conquered Licinius and become sole emperor, concerned himself with the re-establishment of religious peace as well as of civil order. He addressed letters to St. Alexander and to AriusArian controversy. Hosius of Cordova, his counsellor in religious matters, bore the imperial letter to Alexandria, but failed in his conciliatory mission. Seeing this, the emperor, perhaps advised by Hosius, judged no remedy more apt to restore peace in the Church than the convocation of an ecumenical council. deprecating these heated controversies regarding questions of no practical importance, and advising the adversaries to agree without delay. It was evident that the emperor did not then grasp the significance of the

The emperor himself, in very respectful letters, begged the bishops of every country to come promptly to Nicaea. Several bishops from outside the Roman Empire (e.g., from Persia) came to the Council. It is not historically known whether the emperor in convoking the Council acted solely in his own name or in concert with the pope; however, it is probable that Constantine and Sylvester came to an agreement (see POPE ST. SYLVESTER I). In order to expedite the assembling of the Council, the emperor placed at the disposal of the bishops the public conveyances and posts of the empire; moreover, while the Council lasted he provided abundantly for the maintenance of the members. The choice ofNicaea was favourable to the assembling of a large number of bishops. It was easily accessible to the bishops of nearly all the provinces, but especially to those of Asia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace. The sessions were held in the principal church, and in the central hall of the imperial palace. A large place was indeed necessary to receive such an assembly, though the exact number is not known with certainty. Eusebius speaks of more than 250 bishops, and later Arabic manuscripts raise the figure to 2000 - an evident exaggeration in which, however, it is impossible to discover the approximate total number of bishops, as well as of the priests, deacons, and acolytes, of whom it is said that a great number were also present. St. Athanasius, a member of the council speaks of 300, and in his letter "Ad Afros" he says explicitly 318. This figure is almost universally adopted, and there seems to be no good reason for rejecting it. Most of the bishops present were Greeks; among the Latins we knowHosius of Cordova, Cecilian of Carthage, Mark of Calabria, Nicasius of Dijon, Donnus of Stridon in Pannonia, and the two Roman priests, Victor and Vincentius, representing the pope. The assembly numbered among its most famous members St. Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, Macarius of Jerusalem, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Nicholas of Myra. Some had suffered during the last persecution; others were poorly enough acquainted with Christian theology. Among the members was a young deacon, Athanasius of Alexandria, for whom this Council was to be the prelude to a life of conflict and of glory (see ST. ATHANASIUS). only

The year 325 is accepted without hesitation as that of the First Council of Nicaea. There is less agreement among our early authorities as to the month and day of the opening. In order to reconcile the indications furnished by Socrates and by the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, this date may, perhaps, be taken as 20 May, and that of the drawing up of the symbol as 19 June. It may be assumed without too great hardihood that the synod, having been convoked for 20 May, in the absence of the emperor held meetings of a less solemn character until 14 June, when after the emperor's arrival, the sessions properly so called began, the symbol being formulated on 19 June, after which various matters - the paschal controversy, etc. - were dealt with, and the sessions came to an end 25 August. The Council was opened byConstantine with the greatest solemnity. The emperor waited until all the bishops had taken their seats before making his entry. He was clad in gold and covered with precious stones in the fashion of an Oriental sovereign. A chair of gold had been made ready for him, and when he had taken his place the bishops seated themselves. After he had been addressed in a hurried allocution, the emperor made an address in Latin, expressing his will that religious peace should be re-established. He had opened the session as honorary president, and he had assisted at the subsequent sessions, but the direction of the theological discussions was abandoned, as was fitting, to the ecclesiastical leaders of the council. The actual president seems to have been Hosius of Cordova, assisted by the pope's legates, Victor and Vincentius.

The emperor began by making the bishops understand that they had a greater and better business in hand than personal quarrels and interminable recriminations. Nevertheless, he had to submit to the infliction of hearing the last words of debates which had been going on previous to his arrival. Eusebius of Caesarea and his two abbreviators, Socrates and Sozomen, as well as Rufinus and Gelasius of Cyzicus, report no details of the theological discussions. Rufinus tells us only that daily sessions were held and that Arius was often summoned before the assembly; his opinions were seriously discussed and the opposing arguments attentively considered. The majority, especially those who were confessors of the Faith, energetically declared themselves against the impious doctrines of Arius. (For the part played by the Eusebian third party, see EUSEBIUS OF NICOMEDIA. For the Creed of Eusebius, see EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA.) St. Athanasius assures us that the activities of the Council were nowise hampered by Constantine's presence. The emperor had by this timeEusebius of Nicomedia, and was under that of Hosius, to whom, as well as to St. Athanasius, may be attributed a preponderant influence in the formulation of the symbol of the First Ecumenical Council, of which the following is a literal translation:
escaped from the influence of

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heavenliving and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made our of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Churchanathematizes. and cometh to judge the

The adhesion was general and enthusiastic. All the bishops save five declared themselves ready to subscribe to this formula, convince that it contained the ancient faith of the Apostolic Church. The opponents were soon reduced to two, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, who were exiled and anathematized. Arius and his writings were also branded with anathema, his books were cast into the fire, and he was exiled to Illyria. The lists of the signers have reached us in a mutilated condition, disfigured by faults of the copyists. Nevertheless, these lists may be regarded as authentic. Their study is a problem which has been repeatedly dealt with in modern times, in Germany and England, in the critical editions of H. Gelzer, H. Hilgenfeld, and O. Contz on the one hand, and C. H. Turner on the other. The lists thus constructed give respectively 220 and 218 names. With information derived from one source or another, a list of 232 or 237 fathersknown to have been present may be constructed.

Other matters dealt with by this council were the controversy as to the time of celebrating Easter and the Meletian schism. The former of these two will be found treated under EASTER CONTROVERSY; the latter under MELETIUS OF LYCOPOLIS.

Of all the Acts of this Council, which, it has been maintained, were numerous, only three fragments have reached us: the creed, or symbol, given above (see also NICENE CREED); the canons; the synodal decree. In reality there never were any official acts besides these. But the accounts of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Rufinus may be considered as very important sources of historical information, as well as some data preserved by St. Athanasius, and a history of the Council of Nicaea written in Greek in the fifth century by Gelasius of Cyzicus. There has long existed a dispute as to the number of the canons of First Nicaea. All the collections of canons, whether in Latin or Greek, composed in the fourth and fifth centuries agree in attributing to this Council only the twentycanons, which we possess today. Of these the following is a brief résumé:

The business of the Council having been finished Constantine celebrated the twentieth anniversary of his accession to the empire, and invited the bishops to a splendid repast, at the end of which each of them received rich presents. Several days later the emperor commanded that a final session should be held, at which he assisted in order to exhort the bishops to work for the maintenance of peace; he commended himself to their prayers, and authorized the fathers to return to their dioceses. The greater number hastened to take advantage of this and to bring the resolutions of the council to the knowledge of their provinces.
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Janet Waters  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Janet Waters Replybullet Posted: 26 March 2008 at 11:22pm
http://www.reference.com/search?r=13&q=Homoousis

The Origin of the Formula

The basis for the doctrine of the Trinity is found in New Testament passages that associate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Two such passages are Matthew's Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and St Paul's: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" ().

In 325, the Council of Nicaea adopted a term for the relationship between the Son and the Father that from then on was seen as the hallmark of orthodoxy; it declared that the Son is "of the same substance" (ὁμοούσιος) as the Father. This was further developed into the formula "three persons, one substance." The answer to the question "What is God?" indicates the one-ness of the divine nature, while the answer to the question "Who is God?" indicates the three-ness of "Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Council of Nicaea was reluctant to adopt language not found in Scripture, and ultimately did so only after Arius showed how all strictly biblical language could also be interpreted to support his belief that there was a time when the Son did not exist. In adopting non-biblical language, the council's intent was to preserve what the Church had always believed: that the Son is fully God, coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

"The Confession of the Council of Nicaea said little about the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit was developed by Athanasius (c 293 - 373) in the last decades of his life. He both defended and refined the Nicene formula. By the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine had reached substantially its current form.



"Opposing nontrinitarian positions held by some groups include Binitarianism (two deities/persons/aspects), Unitarianism (one deity/person/aspect), the Godhead (Latter Day Saints) (three separate beings, one in purpose) and Modalism (Oneness)."




Edited by Janet Waters - 26 March 2008 at 11:24pm
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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2008 at 1:09am
Thanks for the background, though it was meant to be a brief summary for all people to understand without going into too many details
 
Is it true that the 4 "official" Gospels were chosen at the Council of Nicea from among many Gospels?
 
If that was the case, what were the criteria set by the Church in selecting what was to be the official Bible?
 
And how many Gospels were considered?
 
Thanks
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote LtTony Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2008 at 12:51pm
 
What point are you trying to make, Al?  If there is something you want to say then just say it.  How would you answer your questions?
 
You write, "though it was meant to be a brief summary for all people to understand without going into too many details," then ask for some details:
 
Is it true that the 4 "official" Gospels were chosen at the Council of Nicea from among many Gospels?
 
If that was the case, what were the criteria set by the Church in selecting what was to be the official Bible?
 
And how many Gospels were considered?
 
Following: a) What were the main issues debated?  b) What were the official decisions taken?  c) And what is the non-official version of what happened?

Are we to answer briefly, then you will provide some details?




Edited by LtTony - 27 March 2008 at 12:55pm
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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2008 at 2:28pm
I'm learning the Christian point of view, not giving details
 
To copy and paste a long article with too many details doesn't give a clear picture of the Council of Nicea, which seems to have been a major turning point in the history of Christianity
 
Were there more than 4 Gospels considered by the Council?
 
If so, what was the criteria followed in confirming these 4 gospels as being the official Gospel?
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Damo808 Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2008 at 4:23pm
Originally posted by Al-Cordoby

I'm learning the Christian point of view, not giving details
 
To copy and paste a long article with too many details doesn't give a clear picture of the Council of Nicea, which seems to have been a major turning point in the history of Christianity
 
Were there more than 4 Gospels considered by the Council?
 
If so, what was the criteria followed in confirming these 4 gospels as being the official Gospel?
 
 
 
 
 Hi Al
 
  There were many manuscripts outwith the gospels, though the ones cannonised by the Church were at the time  the most commonly referenced, and contained the centrality of what was essential in terms of Jesus' nature, His teaching, His significance and His ministry. The other texts (from THAT time) held no contradictory elements in them which contradicted the Gospel accounts, only they were not believed to be 'inspired'. Many were works which glorified him homilies etc. It
out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:5
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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2008 at 1:42am
Thanks Damo
 
Were the number of gospels considered at the Council of Nicea in the tens or in the hundreds?
 
Also, it was mentioned that some Christian sects at the time were being persecuted for their beliefs
 
Which sects were they?
 
And who did the persecution?
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Damo808 Replybullet Posted: 29 March 2008 at 7:40pm
Originally posted by Al-Cordoby

Thanks Damo
 
Were the number of gospels considered at the Council of Nicea in the tens or in the hundreds?
 
Also, it was mentioned that some Christian sects at the time were being persecuted for their beliefs
 
Which sects were they?
 
And who did the persecution?
 
 
 
 
As far as i'm aware i think there were around 20 texts which could be classed as gospels, including those of the 4 Biblical accounts. Ofcourse there was as i said , in existence other literature though more homilies rather than gospels, though do not conflict with that of biblical accounts. The other gospels are the gnostic texts, which date to a time considerably later than the biblical cannons.
 
 As for Christian percecution, after the Edict of Milan there was freedom of religious practice for all not only christians.
out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:5
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