Skip to comments.MAJOR COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH - 1st Council of Nicaea - 325 A.D. (1st in a series)
Posted on 05/19/2007 3:06:54 PM PDT by NYer
This council opened on 19 June in the presence of the emperor, but it is uncertain who presided over the sessions. In the extant lists of bishops present, Ossius of Cordova, and the presbyters Vitus and Vincentius are listed before the other names, but it is more likely that Eustathius of Antioch or Alexander of Alexandria presided. (see Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner S.J.)
The bold text in the profession of faith of the 318 fathers constitutes, according to Tanner "The additions made by the council to an underlying form of the creed", and that the underlying creed was most likely "derived from the baptismal formula of Caesarea put forward by the bishop of that city Eusebius" or that it "developed from an original form which existed in Jerusalem or at any rate Palestine". "A direct descent from the creed of Eusebius of Caesarea is manifestly out of the question." Vol 1, p2)
The figure of 318 given in the heading below is from Hilary of Poitier and is the traditional one. Other numbers are Eusebius 250, Eustathius of Antioch 270., Athanasius about 300, Gelasius of Cyzicus at more than 300.
We believe in one God the Father all powerful, maker of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten begotten from the Father, that is from the substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia] of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten [Gr. gennethenta, Lat. natum] not made [Gr. poethenta, Lat. factum], CONSUBSTANTIAL [Gr. homoousion, Lat. unius substantiae (quod Graeci dicunt homousion)] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both those in heaven and those in earth; for us humans and for our salvation he came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the holy Spirit.
these the catholic and apostolic church anathematises.
The bishops assembled at Nicaea, who constitute the great and holy synod, greet the church of the Alexandrians, by the grace of God holy and great, and the beloved brethren in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis.
Since the grace of God and the most pious emperor Constantine have called us together from different provinces and cities to constitute the great and holy synod in Nicaea, it seemed absolutely necessary that the holy synod should send you a letter so that you may know what was proposed and discussed, and what was decided and enacted.
Against all this the holy synod pronounced anathemas, and did not allow this impious and abandoned opinion and these blasphemous words even to be heard.
Of that man and the fate which befell him, you have doubtless heard or will hear, lest we should seem to trample upon one who has already received a fitting reward because of his own sin. Such indeed was the power of his impiety that Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais shared in the consequences, for they too suffered the same fate.
But since, when the grace of God had freed Egypt from this evil and blasphemous opinion, and from the persons who had dared to create a schism and a separation in a people which up to now had lived in peace, there remained the question of the presumption of Meletius and the men whom he had ordained, we shall explain to you, beloved brethren, the synod's decisions on this subject too. The synod was moved to incline towards mildness in its treatment of Meletius for strictly speaking he deserved no mercy. It decreed that that he might remain in his own city without any authority to nominate or ordain, and that he was not to show himself for this purpose in the country or in another city, and that he was to retain the bare name of his office.
It was further decreed that those whom he had ordained, when they had been validated by a more spiritual ordination, were to be admitted to communion on condition that they would retain their rank and exercise their ministry, but in every respect were to be second to all the clergy in each diocese and church who had been nominated under our most honoured brother and fellow minister Alexander; they were to have no authority to appoint candidates of their choice or to put forward names or to do anything at all without the consent of the bishop of the catholic church, namely the bishop of those who are under Alexander. But those who by the grace of God and by our prayers have not been detected in any schism, and are spotless in the catholic and apostolic church, are to have authority to appoint and to put forward the names of men of the clergy who are worthy, and in general to do everything according to the law and rule of the church.
In the event of the death of any in the church, those who have recently been accepted are thereupon to succeed to the office of the deceased, provided that they appear worthy and are chosen by the people; the bishop of Alexandria is to take part in the vote and confirm the election. This privilege, which has been granted to all others, does not apply to the person of Meletius because of his inveterate seditiousness and his mercurial and rash disposition, lest any authority or responsibility should be given to one who is capable of returning to his seditious practices.
These are the chief and most important decrees as far as concerns Egypt and the most holy church of the Alexandrians. Whatever other canons and decrees were enacted in the presence of our lord and most honoured fellow minister and brother Alexander, he will himself report them to you in greater detail when he comes, for he was himself a leader as well as a participant in the events.
The following is not found in the latin text, but is found in the greek text :
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. Rejoicing then in these successes and in the common peace and harmony and in the cutting off of all heresy, welcome our fellow minister, your bishop Alexander, with all the greater honour and love. He has made us happy by his presence, and despite his advanced age has undertaken such great labour in order that you too may enjoy peace.
Pray for us all that our decisions may remain secure through almighty God and our lord Jesus Christ in the holy Spirit, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This thread, and future ones, are open to all Christians for discussion! This the history of YOUR Church.
Its really nice to have statements of authority by eminent bishops.
Too bad the bishops are testifying about things where there is no physical evidence, and where there can be no physical evidence.
Over the last few weeks, Mormonism Apologists at FR have been contending that the council was not of God since Apostolic Authority ended or was suspended on Earth with the death of the last apostle of Christ, dircetly, and that the Authority had to be re-established with Joseph Smith and successive ‘prophets’ of the Mormonism doctirnes. In that regard, thank you for posting this thread addressing the First Council of Nicaea under Constantine.
Orthodox Ping. I figured the Council of Nicaea was an Orthodox Ecumenical Council that we shared. God Bless You.
Great Post, gotta love Church history. Wrote my History Thesis on the role of the Roman Catholic Priest in Elizabethan England. I considered posting a chapter or two of it here, but decided against it, too boring, lol.
Ironically, one of the stated pillars of "Sharia Compliant Finance."
would love to see a history of the Roman Catholic Church in the development of America.
Latin Mass Magazine had something along that line, I remember reading it when it was sent to me in Iraq.
Wow! I would love to read it. But then I love to read biographies too ... is your Thesis available on line?
No, I might post a chapter or two eventually (I wrote it back in June 05), I just need to re-read it and correct typos and the like. It’s from the long ago days of undergrad.
Yeah, I know what you mean. I ran across my designated papers written for my BA in Humanities, circa ‘68. One was on the Gnostic religions ... I still find it hard to believe I wrote that thing!
Because they believe the Church established by Christ 2,000 years ago fell completely away from his teachings within a century or so of his death, Mormons argue that only a thorough "restoration" (and not a simple "reformation") of the true Church and its holy doctrines would lead man to salvation. Joseph Smith organized this "restored church" in 1830. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints preaches a belief central to most religions: one must know the true nature of God. "It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God" (Teachings of Joseph Smith, 345ff).
No Christian disputes the absolute necessity of knowing the nature of God (to the extent our reason, aided by grace, can apprehend this great mystery). Indeed, the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations have been united in a constant belief in the supreme God as almighty, eternal, and unchanging. Mormons have not been favored by similar clarity from their self-described "prophets" who receive "direct revelation" from the gods.
You may wish to ask these Mormons to consider the following authoritative statements by their earlier and present prophets.
1. In an early book of "Scripture" brought forth by Joseph Smith, the creation account consistently refers to the singular when speaking of God and creation: "I, God, caused . . . I, God, created . . . I, God, saw. . . . " The singular is used 50 times in the second and third chapters of the Book of Moses (1831).
2. In another of Smiths earlier works, the Book of Mormon (1830), there are no references to a plurality of gods. At best, there is a confusion, at times, between the Father and the Son, leading at times to the extreme of modalism (one divine person who reveals himself sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son) or the other extreme of "binitarianism," belief in two persons in God. The Book of Mormon also makes a strong point for Gods spiritual and eternal unity (see Alma 11:44 and 22:10-11, which proclaims that God is the "Great Spirit").
3. Another early work of Smith is the Lectures on Faith (1834-35). There is continual evidence that the first Mormon leader taught a form of bitheism: the Father and the Son are separate gods. The Holy Spirit is merely the "mind" of the two.
4. At about the same time, we begin to see a doctrinal shift. Smith had acquired some mummies and Egyptian papyri. He proclaimed the writings to be those of the patriarch, Abraham, in his own hand, and set out to translate the text. His Book of Abraham records in chapters four and five that "the gods called . . . the gods ordered . . . the gods prepared" some 45 times. Smith thus introduces the notion of a plurality of gods.
5. The clearest exposition of this departure from traditional Christian doctrine is seen in Smiths tale of a "vision" he had as a boy of 14. Both the Father and the Son appeared to him, he wrote; they were two separate "personages." This story of two gods was not authorized and distributed by the church until 1838, after his Book of Abraham had paved the way for polytheism.
6. Readers will notice that the Father is said to have appeared, along with his resurrected Son. In his final doctrinal message, Smith showed how this was possible.
In the King Follett Discourse (a funeral talk he gave in 1844), Joseph Smith left his church with the clearest statement to date on the nature of God:
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens[.] That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visibleI say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in formlike yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man. The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, As the Father hath power to himself, even so hath the Son powerto do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obviousin a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it."
As the Mormon church has taught since that time, God the Father was once a man who was created by his God, was born and lived on another earth, learned and lived the "Mormon gospel," died, and was eventually resurrected and made God over this universe. As such, he retains forever his flesh-and-bones body.
7. Aside from some temporary detours (Orson Pratt said the Holy Ghost was a spiritual fluid that filled the universe; Brigham Young taught that Adam is the god of this world), the Mormon church has constantly taught that God the Father is a perfected man with a physical body and parts. Right-living Mormon men may also progress, as did the Father, and eventually become gods themselves. In fact, fifth president, Lorenzo Snow, summed up the Mormon teaching thus: "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be." Snow frequently claimed this summary of the Mormon doctrine on God and man was revealed to him by inspiration. (See Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian?, 60, note 1.)
8. "Thou shalt not have strange gods before me." What is stranger than a God who starts off as a single Spirit, eternal and all-powerful; who then becomes, perhaps, two gods in one, and then three; who never changes, yet was once born a man, lived, sinned, repented, and died; who was made God the Father of this world by his own God; and who will make his own children gods someday of their own worlds?
That all believing Christians are shocked and disturbed by this blasphemy mayjust maybe nudging the Mormon leadership to soften their rhetoric (if not actually change their heresy). A case in point is an interview with current church prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, published in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 13, 1997. When asked: "[D]ont Mormons believe that God was once a man?" Hinckley demurred. "I wouldnt say that. Theres a little couplet coined, As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become. Now, thats more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we dont know very much about" (3/Z1).
A surprising admission, as Hinckley seems to disparage the constant teaching of all his prophetic predecessors.
Choose, if you like, any one of these three attacks: on Christians; on the sanctity of life; on God. Ask your Mormon listener to explain the contradictions of his church. Dont be satisfied with a personal, subjective, emotional "testimony." Demand clarification of confused and contradictory teachings.
When they arent forthcoming, be prepared to offer the truth.
I'm sorry but I can't follow your logic here. Could you please be more specific? Thank you.
When it comes to Ecumenical Councils it’s not important who presides but rather that the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, who ultimately decides that such a council is to be considered ecumenical and also to approve its documents!
I’ll have to figure out how to post footnotes. There are a lot, about 20 per chapter or more.
“When it comes to Ecumenical Councils its not important who presides but rather that the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, who ultimately decides that such a council is to be considered ecumenical and also to approve its documents!”
And just which Ecumenical Council decided that one? The fact of the matter is that it is very important who presides and that the Pope or his legate be present, though that isn’t absolutely necessary. The fact that the Pope and the other Patriarchs of The Church have been in schism for the past 1000 years is what has prevented there from being any Ecumenical Councils since the Great Schism. The Pope has absolutely no role in deciding whether or not a council is Ecumenical and it is entirely up to him if he approves or disapproves its declarations. That determination only has meaning when made in the negative and then only in his own Patriarchate, as history makes abundantly clear.
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