The Council of Nicea

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The great Council of Nicea met from May to the end of July in 325. It was the first attempt to summon a general council at which the churches from every part of the Roman Empire should be represented. Constantine sponsored the event, with the government providing all transportation, food and lodging for the bishops and their entourages. No records were kept which identified all of the attendees, and varying accounts from that time placeing the number of attending bishops somewhere between 250 and 320. A majority of the bishops who attended the council were not aware of the conflict raging between the Arians and the partisans of Alexander of Alexandria. Debate consumed several weeks. Once the Creed in its final form was written and presented to the bishops, Ossius (the chairman of the proceedings) signed the Creed. It was then taken around to the bishops to be signed, but seventeen refused. Eustathius and his allies tried at this point to get the so called Arians expelled from the church, only to discover that even though nearly all of the bishops in attendance were willing to endorse the Creed, there was little support for this action. When Constantine assured the dissenting bishops that they could avoid being deposed (as well as avoid any other punishment) merely by signing the Creed, all but two agreed Two bishops remained steadfast in their refusal to sign the Creed of Nicea: Secundus of Ptolemais, and Theonas of Marmarike. Both were deposed by the council and exiled by Constantine, along with Arius. A complete translation of the Creed of Nicea follows, standing in sharp contrast to Arius' statement of faith excerpted earlier: We believe in one God, the Father, the ruler of all, the maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ the Son of God, begotten as the only Son out of the Father, that is, out of the substance of the Father’ God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made,...
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