Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Ecumenical, Isaiah 1:10-20, Psalms 50:8-23, Matthew 23:1-12, St Alexander of Alexandria, First Council of Nicaea, The Mystical City of God Book 5, Chapter 2, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 2 Article 7:2 To Judge the Living and the Dead

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Ecumenical, Isaiah 1:10-20, Psalms 50:8-23, Matthew 23:1-12, St Alexander of Alexandria, First Council of Nicaea, The Mystical City of God Book 5, Chapter 2, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 2 Article 7:2 To Judge the Living and the Dead

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012

Heed the Solemnity of Lent! This Lent instead of "Giving Up" something, why not "Give" by volunteering time to a worthy cause, or extending a simple act of kindness!  

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’(Matthew 25:34-40)


Prayers for Today: Tuesday in Lent


 Prayer For the Holy Election of Our New Pope

Sadly Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement on the Feast Day of our Lady of Lourdes. We must pray together for Pope Benedict XVI retirement and our New Pope, yet to be elected, as well as all of Gods Shepherds.

May the Lord preserve the sanctity of the enclave as they embark on electing our new Holy Father, give him life, and make him blessed upon earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, in Thy mercy look down upon Thy servant, (Our New Pope), whom Thou will appoint to preside over Thy Church, and grant we beseech Thee that both by word and example he may edify those who are under his charge; so that, with the flock entrusted to him, he may attain life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


February 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
“Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God. Thank you for having responded to my call.” 

February 2, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children, love is bringing me to you - the love which I desire to teach you also - real love; the love which my Son showed you when He died on the Cross out of love for you; the love which is always ready to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. How great is your love? My motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts. You are not ready to submit your will to God's will out of love. You cannot help me to have those who have not come to know God's love to come to know it, because you do not have real love. Consecrate your hearts to me and I will lead you. I will teach you to forgive, to love your enemies and to live according to my Son. Do not be afraid for yourselves. In afflictions my Son does not forget those who love. I will be beside you. I will implore the Heavenly Father for the light of eternal truth and love to illuminate you. Pray for your shepherds so that through your fasting and prayer they can lead you in love. Thank you."

January 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Today's Word:  Ecumenical   ec·u·men·i·cal  [ek-yoo-men-i-kuh]

Origin: 1835–45;  < Late Latin oecumenicus  belonging to the whole inhabited world (< Greek oikoumenikós,  equivalent to oikoumen-  (stem of passive present participle of oikeîn  to inhabit) + -ikos -ic) + -al1

1. general; universal.
2. pertaining to the whole Christian church.
3. promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world.
4. of or pertaining to a movement (ecumenical movement)  especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern.
5. interreligious or interdenominational: an ecumenical marriage.
6. including or containing a mixture of diverse elements or styles; mixed: an ecumenical meal of German, Italian, and Chinese dishes.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23

8 'It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault, those burnt offerings constantly before me;
9 I will not accept any bull from your homes, nor a single goat from your folds.
16 But to the wicked, God says: 'What right have you to recite my statutes, to take my covenant on your lips,
17 when you detest my teaching, and thrust my words behind you?
21 You do this, and am I to say nothing? Do you think that I am really like you? I charge you, indict you to your face.
23 Honour to me is a sacrifice of thanksgiving; to the upright I will show God's salvation.'


Today's Epistle -  Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

10 Hear what Yahweh says, you rulers of Sodom; listen to what our God teaches, you people of Gomorrah.
16 wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease doing evil.
17 Learn to do good, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.
18 'Come, let us talk this over,' says Yahweh. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth.
20 But if you refuse and rebel, the sword shall eat you instead -- for Yahweh's mouth has spoken.'


Today's Gospel ReadingMatthew 23: 1-12

Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus said, 'The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do and observe what they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people's shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader headbands and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted respectfully in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi. 'You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.

• Today’s Gospel presents the criticism of Jesus against the Scribes and the Pharisees of his time. At the beginning of the missionary activity of Jesus, the Doctors of Jerusalem went to Galilee to observe him (Mk 3, 22; 7, 1). Disturbed by Jesus’ preaching, they had based their calumny saying that he was possessed (Mk 3, 22). All along the three years the popularity of Jesus grew. And at the same time, the conflict between he and the religious authority also grew. The origin of this conflict was the way in which they placed themselves before God. The Pharisees sought their own security, not so much in God’s love toward them, but rather in the rigorous observance of the Law. Before this mentality, Jesus insists on the practice of love which makes the observance of the law relative and gives it its true significance.

• Matthew 23, 1-3: The root or origin of the criticism: “They say but they do not do”. Jesus recognizes the authority of the Scribes and of the Pharisees. They occupy the chair of Moses and teach the law of God, but they themselves do not observe what they teach. So Jesus tells them: “You must, therefore, do and observe what they tell you, but do not do as they do, because they say but do not do!” This is a terrible criticism! Immediately, like in a mirror, Jesus shows some aspects of the incoherence of the religious authority.

• Matthew 23, 4-7: Look in the mirror in order to make a revision of life. Jesus calls the attention of the disciples concerning the incoherent behaviour of some doctors of the Law. In meditating on this incoherence, it is convenient to think not in the Pharisees and the Scribes of that time already past, but rather in ourselves and in our incoherence: they tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but will not lift a finger to move them; they do their works in order to be admired; they love to take the first places and to be called doctors. The Scribes liked to enter into the houses of the widows and to recite long prayers to receive money in exchange! (Mk 12, 40).

• Matthew 23, 8-10): You are all brothers. Jesus orders that we have the contrary attitude. Instead of using the religion and the community as means for self-promotion in order to appear as being more important before others, he asks not to use the title of Rabbi or Teacher, of Master, Father and Guide because only one is the Guide, Christ; only God in Heaven is Father, and Jesus is the Master, the Teacher. You are all brothers. This is the basis of the fraternity which comes from the certainty that God is our Father.

• Matthew 23, 11-12: The final summary: the greatest must be the servant. This phrase is what characterizes both the teaching and the behaviour of Jesus: “The greatest among you must be your servant; the one who raises himself up, will be humbled” (cfr. Mk 10, 43; Lk 14, 11; 18, 14).

Personal questions
• In what does Jesus criticize the Doctors of the Law and in what does he praise them? In what would he criticize me and in what would he praise me?
• Have you already seen in the mirror?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Alexander of Alexandria

Feast DayFebruary 26

Patron Saint:  none


Pope Alexander of Alexandria
Pope Alexander of Alexandria (died 326 or 328) was the nineteenth Patriarch of Alexandria from 313 to his death. During his patriarchate, he dealt with a number of issues relevant to a church's positions on issues facing the church. These included the dating of Easter, the actions of Meletius of Lycopolis, and the issue of Arianism among them. He was the leader of the opposition to Arianism at the First Council of Nicaea. He also is remembered for being the mentor of the man who would be his successor, Athanasius of Alexandria, who would become one of the leading Church fathers.[2]

Comparatively little is known of Alexander's early years. During his time as a priest he experienced the bloody persecutions of Christians by Emperors Galerius and Maximinus Daia. Alexander became patriarch on the passing of Achillas of Alexandria, whose own remarkably short reign was thought by some to have been brought about by his breaking the command of his own predecessor, Peter of Alexandria, to never readmit Arius into communion.[3]

Alexander himself faced three primary challenges during his term as patriarch. The first of these was a schismatic sect, led by Erescentius, which was disputing the timing of Easter. Alexander found himself put in the position of writing a special treatise on the controversy, in which he cited earlier statements regarding the matter by Dionysius of Alexandria. Alexander's own efforts, while they did serve to quiet the dispute, were not enough to quiet the controversy themselves, although the First Council of Nicaea, held during his tenure, did resolve the matter.[3]

Meletius of Lycopolis

His second major concern was the matter of Meletius of Lycopolis, who continued to slander Alexander, as he had earlier done to Achillas. Meletius went so far as to lodge a formal complaint with the court of the Emperor Constantine I, although no unusual attention was given it.[3]

More important, however, was the fact that Meletius had seemed to establish some form of working alliance with Arius. Meletius also consecrated bishops of his own, without his superior's consent. This controversy would continue unabated until the Council at Nicaea, where Alexander allowed Meletius to return to the church, effectively ending Meletius' alliance with Arius.[3]


The last, and most important, of the problems Alexander faced was the issue of Arius himself. Alexander's predecessor, Achillas, had not only allowed Arius to return to the church, but had given him the oldest church in Alexandria, a position which allowed him to exercise a great influence on the Christian community of Alexandria. In fact, Arius was even a contender for the post of patriarch of Alexandria at the death of Achillas.[3]

The conflict between the two began in earnest when Alexander declared the unity of the Trinity in one of his sermons. Arius immediately responded by labeling Alexander's statement Sabellianism, which had already been rejected by that time. The controversy quickly escalated, and Arius developed ever increasing support for his position, winning over a number of deacons, and at least one presbyter, who started to ordain presbyters of his own. Arius continued to draw even more attention and support, to the point that Alexander found himself having to summon two separate assemblies of his priests and deacons to discuss the matter. Neither of these assemblies, though, reached any firm conclusions, or helped to limit the spread of Arius' beliefs.[3]

Alexander then called a synod of the church of Alexandria and its neighboring province of Mareotis in 320, for the specific intention of deciding what action would be taken regarding this increasingly problematic matter. At the synod, thirty-six presbyters and forty-four deacons, including Athanasius of Alexandria, agreed to a condemnation of Arianism and signed a document to that effect. Arius remained successful in spreading his new belief elsewhere, particularly in Mareotis and Libya, where Arius convinced the bishop Secundus of Ptolemais and Thomas of Marmarica to join him. Arius' success in dividing the leaders of the church made the chance of a formal schism a very real one.[3]

In 321, Alexander called a general council of the entire church of the nation. The council gathered no less than one hundred participants. At this council, Arius continued to argue his earlier position, that the Son could not be co-eternal with the father, and even went on to say that the Son was not similar to the Father in substance. This last statement was received with horror by the assembled council, who placed Arius under anathema until he recanted his positions.[3]

Arius left for Palestine, where he received support from a number of bishops, who expressed their opinion of the matter to Alexander. One of these supporters, Eusebius of Nicomedia, had close connections with the imperial court in Byzantium, and helped to spread Arius' ideas further. The widespread growth of this movement, and the reaction to such from the established church, led to the emperor himself writing a letter to the involved parties calling for the return of unity to the church and an end to this protracted dispute about what he characterized as petty arguments over unintelligible minutiae.[3]

Arius' followers in Alexandria began to engage in violence in defense of their beliefs, prompting Alexander to write an encyclical to all of his brother bishops in Christendom, in which he related the history of Arianism and his opinion of the flaws of the Arian system. In doing so, he was obliged to indicate to them the actions of Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had assembled a provincial council of the church of Bithynia to discuss Arius. This body reviewed the actions that Alexander and his predecessors had taken, and, based on their review, formally admitted Arius to the communion of the Syriac church. Other figures, including Paulinus of Tyrus, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Patrophilus of Scythopolis, also indicated their support of Arius, allowing his followers to assemble for the Divine Office as they had earlier done in Alexandria.[3]

Arius is believed to have written his Thalia at around this time, which gathered even more support for his cause. This book, combined with Arius' other works and Alexander's opposing works, exacerbated the dispute between the supporters and opponents of Arius. In this atmosphere and on the advice of his deacon Athanasius, Alexander wrote in defense of his own position a confession of faith. He sent this tome to all the bishops of Christianity, asking them to endorse his position by placing their own signatures on the copies. He received about 250 signatures to his work, including about 100 from his own diocese, as well as 42 from Asia, 37 from Pamphylia, 32 from Lycia, 15 from Cappadocia, and various others. He also maintained individual correspondence with Alexander of Constantinople, protesting the violence of the Arians and promulgation of Arius's views on the influence of females, as well as with Pope Sylvester I, Macarius of Jerusalem, Asclepius of Gaza, Longinus of Ashkelon, Macarius of Ioannina, Zeno of Tyrus, and many others on the issues of Arianism.[3]

The dispute over Arianism had become a serious problem, which threatened to damage the peace and unity of the church and of the empire. Constantine, now sole claimant to the throne after the execution of Licinius, wrote a letter "to Athanasius and Arius". Constantine wrote the letter from Nicomedia, so some have concluded that Eusebius of Nicomedia, the bishop of Nicomedia and a supporter of Arius, may have been involved in the composition of the letter. The letter was given to Hosius of Córdoba, a respected older bishop, to deliver to the disputants in Alexandria. In the letter, Constantine requested that Alexander and Arius end their dispute.[3]

Shortly after receiving the message from Constantine, Alexander requested another general council of the diocese, which seems to have confirmed its agreement with the profession of faith Alexander had earlier circulated an agreement to the use of the theological term "consubstantial". It also reaffirmed the excommunication of Arius and the condemnation of the followers of Meletius, which, of course, angered the Arians of Alexandria even more. Arius himself formally complained to the emperor over his treatment by Alexander. In response, Constantine called for Arius to plead his case before an ecumenical council of the church, to be held at Nicaea in Bithynia on 14 June 325, the first such council ever called into existence.[3]

First Council of Nicaea

Alexander came to the council with a party which included Potamon of Heraclea, Paphnutius of Thebes, and Alexander's deacon, Athanasius, who acted as his spokesman. Alexander was himself supposed to preside over the meeting, but felt that he could not serve as both presiding official and chief accuser. On that basis, he turned over the presidency to Hosius of Cordova. After lengthy discussion, the council issued a decision which, among other things, confirmed the anaethema of Arius, authorized Alexander, at his urging, to allow Meletius to retain his episcopal title, but not be able to exercise any episcopal powers. Those Meletius had appointed could also retain their titles, but would only be elevated to the status of bishop on the death of one of the bishops consecrated by Alexander. It also gave Alexander the right to decide the timing of Easter on his own, asking him only to communicate his decision to Rome and the rest of Christendom. It also issued a statement that the Egyptian church would be allowed to retain its traditions regarding clerical celibacy. In this regard, Alexander followed the advice of Paphnutius of Thebes, who encouraged him to allow priests to be married after taking holy orders.[3]

Five months after returning to Alexandria from Nicaea, Alexander died. One source places his death on the 22nd of Baramudah, or April 17. As he was dying, he is said by some to have named Athanasius, his deacon, as his successor.[3]


Several of the works which we are told to have been written by Alexander have not survived. History mentions a collection of letters he wrote regarding the Arian controversy. Only two of these letters survive to this day. There is also an extant homily, De anima et corpore (On the soul and the body) which is attributed to Alexander in a Syriac version. The Coptic version however attributes the homily to Athanasius.[3]

Another work, the Enconium of Peter the Alexandrian, is attributed to him. This book survives in five codices. The work can be reconstructed based on the extant fragments and a translation in the History of the Patriarchs. It contains the biblical allusions, traditions, and portrayal of the martyrdom of Peter. It has been said to be one of the best examples of the literary style of the time, based on its complex literary structure, the competency of its theology, and general literary style.[3]


Alexander is venerated as a saint in the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox church. Alexander is described by the Roman Catholic Church as "a man held in the highest honor by the people and clergy, magnificent, liberal, eloquent, just, a lover of God and man, devoted to the poor, good and sweet to all, so mortified that he never broke his fast while the sun was in the heavens." [4]


    1. ^ http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-alexander-of-alexandria/
    2. ^ Christie, Albany James (1867). "Alexander of Alexandria". In William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 111–112. http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/0120.html.
    3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Atiya, Aziz S.. The Coptic Encyclopedia. New York:Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991. ISBN 0-02-897025-X.
    4. ^ St. Alexander, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913.
    •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Compan
    1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia gives a fuller list.


    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



    Today's Snippet I:  First Council of Nicaea

    Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicea
    The First Council of Nicaea (/naɪ'si:ə/; Greek: Νίκαια /'ni:kaɪja/) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This first ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.[5][6]

    Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the nature of The Son and his relationship to God the Father,[3] the construction of the first part of the Creed of Nicaea, settling the calculation of the date of Easter,[2] and promulgation of early canon law.[4][7][8]

    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 Creed of Nicaea. 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.

    The council settled, to some degree, the debate within the Early Christian communities regarding the divinity of Christ. This idea of the divinity of Christ, along with the idea of Christ as a messenger from God (The Father), had long existed in various parts of the Roman empire. The divinity of Christ had also been widely endorsed by the Christian community in the otherwise pagan city of Rome.[9] The council affirmed and defined what it believed to be the teachings of the Apostles regarding who Christ is: that Christ is the one true God in deity with the Father.

    Derived from Greek oikoumenikos (Greek: οἰκουμένη), "ecumenical" means "worldwide" but generally is assumed to be limited to the Roman Empire in this context as in Augustus' claim to be ruler of the oikoumene/world; the earliest extant uses of the term for a council are Eusebius' Life of Constantine 3.6[10] around 338, which states "σύνοδον οἰκουμενικὴν συνεκρότει" (he convoked an Ecumenical Council); Athanasius' Ad Afros Epistola Synodica in 369;[11] and the Letter in 382 to Pope Damasus I and the Latin bishops from the First Council of Constantinople.[12]

    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, or created as the other creatures out of nothing.[13] St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius claimed to take the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, is said to have taken 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).[14] The emperor's threat of banishment is claimed to have influenced many to sign, but this is highly debated by both sides.

    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.[15]
    Historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom,[5] the Council was the first occasion where the technical aspects of Christology were discussed.[5] 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.

    Character and Purpose

    Add caption
    The First Council of Nicea was convened by Constantine the Great upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of Córdoba in the Eastertide of 325. This synod had been charged with investigation of the trouble brought about by the Arian controversy in the Greek-speaking east.[16] 

    To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were heretical and dangerous to the salvation of souls. In the summer of 325, the bishops of all provinces were summoned to Nicea (now known as İznik, in modern-day Turkey), a place easily accessible to the majority of delegates, particularly those of Asia Minor, Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace.

    This was the first general council in the history of the Church since the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, the Apostolic council having established the conditions upon which Gentiles could join the Church.[17] 

    In the Council of Nicea, "the Church had taken her first great step to define doctrine more precisely in response to a challenge from a heretical theology."[18]


    Fresco depicting the First Council of Nicea.
    Constantine had invited all 1800 bishops of the Christian church (about 1000 in the east and 800 in the west), but a smaller and unknown number attended. Eusebius of Caesarea counted 220,[19] Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318,[20] and Eustathius of Antioch counted 270[21] (all three were present at the council). Later, Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300,[22] and Evagrius,[23] Hilary of Poitiers,[24] Jerome[25] and Rufinus recorded 318. Delegates came from every region of the Roman Empire except Britain. In Ethiopic Christian literature including both the Fetha Negest and the Kibre Negest, the First Council of Nicea (Niqya) is traditionally referred to as "the three hundred and eighteen Orthodox Fathers".

    The participating bishops were given free travel to and from their episcopal sees to the council, as well as lodging. These bishops did not travel alone; each one had permission to bring with him two priests and three deacons; so the total number of attendees could have been above 1800. Eusebius speaks of an almost innumerable host of accompanying priests, deacons and acolytes.

    A special prominence was also attached to this council because the persecution of Christians had just ended with the Edict of Milan, issued in February of AD 313 by Emperors Constantine and Licinius.

    The Eastern bishops formed the great majority. Of these, the first rank was held by the three patriarchs: Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Macarius of Jerusalem. Many of the assembled fathers—for instance, Paphnutius of Thebes, Potamon of Heraclea and Paul of Neocaesarea—had stood forth as confessors of the faith and came to the council with the marks of persecution on their faces. This position is supported by patristic scholar Timothy Barnes in his book Constantine and Eusebius.[26] Historically, the influence of these marred confessors has been seen as substantial, but recent scholarship has called this into question.[27]

    Other remarkable attendees were Eusebius of Nicomedia; Eusebius of Caesarea, the purported first church historian; circumstances suggest that Nicholas of Myra attended (his life was the seed of the Santa Claus legends); Aristakes of Armenia (son of Saint Gregory the Illuminator); Leontius of Caesarea; Jacob of Nisibis, a former hermit; Hypatius of Gangra; Protogenes of Sardica; Melitius of Sebastopolis; Achilleus of Larissa (considered the Athanasius of Thessaly)[28] and Spyridion of Trimythous, who even while a bishop made his living as a shepherd.[29][30] From foreign places came John, bishop of Persia and India,[31] Theophilus, a Gothic bishop and Stratophilus, bishop of Pitiunt of Georgia.

    The Latin-speaking provinces sent at least five representatives: Marcus of Calabria from Italia, Cecilian of Carthage from Africa, Hosius of Córdoba from Hispania, Nicasius of Dijon from Gaul,[28] and Domnus of Stridon from the province of the Danube.

    Athanasius of Alexandria, a young deacon and companion of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, was among the assistants. Athanasius eventually spent most of his life battling against Arianism. Alexander of Constantinople, then a presbyter, was also present as representative of his aged bishop.[28]

    The supporters of Arius included Secundus of Ptolemais, Theonus of Marmarica, Zphyrius, and Dathes, all of whom hailed from the Libyan Pentapolis. Other supporters included Eusebius of Nicomedia,[32] Eusebius of Caesarea, Paulinus of Tyrus, Actius of Lydda, Menophantus of Ephesus, and Theognus of Nicea.[28][33]
    "Resplendent in purple and gold, Constantine made a ceremonial entrance at the opening of the council, probably in early June, but respectfully seated the bishops ahead of himself."[17] As Eusebius described, Constantine "himself proceeded through the midst of the assembly, like some heavenly messenger of God, clothed in raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light, reflecting the glowing radiance of a purple robe, and adorned with the brilliant splendor of gold and precious stones."[34] He was present as an observer, and did not vote. Constantine organized the Council along the lines of the Roman Senate. Hosius of Cordoba may have presided over its deliberations; he was probably one of the Papal legates.[17] Eusebius of Nicomedia probably gave the welcoming address.[17][35]

    Agenda and procedure

    The agenda of the synod included:
    1. The Arian question regarding the relationship between God the Father and Jesus; i.e., are the Father and Son one in divine purpose only or also one in being?
    2. The date of celebration of the Paschal/Easter observation
    3. The Meletian schism
    4. The validity of baptism by heretics
    5. The status of the lapsed in the persecution under Licinius
    The council was formally opened May 20, in the central structure of the imperial palace at Nicea, with preliminary discussions of the Arian question. In these discussions, some dominant figures were Arius, with several adherents. "Some 22 of the bishops at the council, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia, came as supporters of Arius. But when some of the more shocking passages from his writings were read, they were almost universally seen as blasphemous."[17] Bishops Theognis of Nicea and Maris of Chalcedon were among the initial supporters of Arius.

    Eusebius of Caesarea called to mind the baptismal creed of his own diocese at Caesarea at Palestine, as a form of reconciliation. The majority of the bishops agreed. For some time, scholars thought that the original Nicene Creed was based on this statement of Eusebius. Today, most scholars think that the Creed is derived from the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, as Hans Lietzmann proposed.

    The orthodox bishops won approval of every one of their proposals regarding the Creed. After being in session for an entire month, the council promulgated on June 19 the original Nicene Creed. This profession of faith was adopted by all the bishops "but two from Libya who had been closely associated with Arius from the beginning."[18] No historical record of their dissent actually exists; the signatures of these bishops are simply absent from the Creed.

    Arian controversy

    The synod of Nicea, Constantine and the condemnation and burning of Arian books, illustration from a northern Italian compendium of canon law, ca. 825
    The Arian controversy was a Christological dispute that began in Alexandria between the followers of Arius (the Arians) and the followers of St. Alexander of Alexandria (now known as Homoousians). Alexander and his followers believed that the Son was co-eternal with the Father, and divine in just the same sense that the Father is. The Arians believed that the Father's divinity was greater than the Son's, that the Son had a beginning, that he shared neither the eternity nor the true divinity of the Father, but was rather the very first and the most perfect of God's creatures.[36]

    For about two months, the two sides argued and debated,[37] with each appealing to Scripture to justify their respective positions. According to many accounts, debate became so heated that at one point, Arius was slapped in the face by Nicholas of Myra, who would later be canonized.[38]

    Much of the debate hinged on the difference between being "born" or "created" and being "begotten". Arians saw these as essentially the same; followers of Alexander did not. The exact meaning of many of the words used in the debates at Nicea were still unclear to speakers of other languages. Greek words like "essence" (ousia), "substance" (hypostasis), "nature" (physis), "person" (prosopon) bore a variety of meanings drawn from pre-Christian philosophers, which could not but entail misunderstandings until they were cleared up. The word homoousia, in particular, was initially disliked by many bishops because of its associations with Gnostic heretics (who used it in their theology), and because it had been condemned at the 264–268 Synods of Antioch.

    Position of Arius (Arianism)

    Arius maintained that the Son of God was a Creature, made from nothing; and that he was God's First Production, before all ages. And he argued that everything else was created through the Son. Thus, said the Arians, only the Son was directly created and begotten of God; and therefore there was a time that He had no existence. Arius believed the Son Jesus was capable of His own free will of right and wrong, and that "were He in the truest sense a son, He must have come after the Father, therefore the time obviously was when He was not, and hence He was a finite being,"[39] and was under God the Father. The Arians appealed to Scripture, quoting verses such as John 14:28: "the Father is greater than I", and also Colossians 1:15: "Firstborn of all creation."

    Position of St. Alexander

    Alexander and the Nicene fathers countered the Arians' argument, saying that the Father's fatherhood, like all of his attributes, is eternal. Thus, the Father was always a father, and that the Son, therefore, always existed with him. The Nicene fathers believed that to follow the Arian view destroyed the unity of the Godhead, and made the Son unequal to the Father, in contravention of the Scriptures ("I and the Father are one"; John 10:30). Further on it says "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me"; John 17:21.

    Result of the debate

    The Council declared that the Son was true God, co-eternal with the Father and begotten from His same substance, arguing that such a doctrine best codified the Scriptural presentation of the Son as well as traditional Christian belief about him handed down from the Apostles. Under Constantine's influence,[40] this belief was expressed by the bishops in the Nicene Statement, which would form the basis of what has since been known as the Nicene Creed.

    The Nicene Creed

    Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine and the bishops of the First Council of Nicea (325) holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
    One of the projects undertaken by the Council was the creation of a Creed, a declaration and summary of the Christian faith. Several creeds were already in existence; many creeds were acceptable to the members of the council, including Arius. From earliest times, various creeds served as a means of identification for Christians, as a means of inclusion and recognition, especially at baptism.

    In Rome, for example, the Apostles' Creed was popular, especially for use in Lent and the Easter season. In the Council of Nicea, one specific creed was used to define the Church's faith clearly, to include those who professed it, and to exclude those who did not.

    Some distinctive elements in the Nicene Creed, perhaps from the hand of Hosius of Cordova, were added. Some elements were added specifically to counter the Arian point of view.[41] [42]
    1. Jesus Christ is described as "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God," proclaiming his divinity.
    2. Jesus Christ is said to be "begotten, not made", asserting that he was not a mere creature, brought in to being out of nothing, but the true Son of God, brought in to being 'from the substance of the Father'.
    3. He is said to be "one in being with The Father". Eusebius of Caesarea ascribes the term homoousios, or consubstantial, i.e., "of the same substance" (of the Father), to Constantine who, on this particular point, may have chosen to exercise his authority. The significance of this clause, however, is extremely ambiguous, and the issues it raised would be seriously controverted in future.
    At the end of the creed came a list of anathemas, designed to repudiate explicitly the Arians' stated claims.
    1. The view that 'there was once that when he was not' was rejected to maintain the co-eternity of the Son with the Father.
    2. The view that he was 'mutable or subject to change' was rejected to maintain that the Son just like the Father was beyond any form of weakness or corruptibility, and most importantly that he could not fall away from absolute moral perfection.
    Thus, instead of a baptismal creed acceptable to both the Arians and their opponents the council promulgated one which was clearly opposed to Arianism and incompatible with the distinctive core of their beliefs. The text of this profession of faith is preserved in a letter of Eusebius to his congregation, in Athanasius, and elsewhere. Although the most vocal of anti-Arians, the Homoousians (from the Koine Greek word translated as "of same substance" which was condemned at the Council of Antioch in 264–268), were in the minority, the Creed was accepted by the council as an expression of the bishops' common faith and the ancient faith of the whole Church.

    Bishop Hosius of Cordova, one of the firm Homoousians, may well have helped bring the council to consensus. At the time of the council, he was the confidant of the emperor in all Church matters. Hosius stands at the head of the lists of bishops, and Athanasius ascribes to him the actual formulation of the creed. Great leaders such as Eustathius of Antioch, Alexander of Alexandria, Athanasius, and Marcellus of Ancyra all adhered to the Homoousian position.

    In spite of his sympathy for Arius, Eusebius of Caesarea adhered to the decisions of the council, accepting the entire creed. The initial number of bishops supporting Arius was small. After a month of discussion, on June 19, there were only two left: Theonas of Marmarica in Libya, and Secundus of Ptolemais. Maris of Chalcedon, who initially supported Arianism, agreed to the whole creed. Similarly, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nice also agreed, except for the certain statements.

    The Emperor carried out his earlier statement: everybody who refused to endorse the Creed would be exiled. Arius, Theonas, and Secundus refused to adhere to the creed, and were thus exiled to Illyria, in addition to being excommunicated. The works of Arius were ordered to be confiscated and consigned to the flames while all persons found possessing them were to be executed.[14] Nevertheless, the controversy continued in various parts of the empire.[43] The Creed was amended to a new version by the First Council of Constantinople in 381.

    Separation of Easter computation from Jewish calendar

    The feast of Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, as Christians believe that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus occurred at the time of those observances.

    As early as Pope Sixtus I, some Christians had set Easter to a Sunday in the lunar month of Nisan. To determine which lunar month was to be designated as Nisan, Christians relied on the Jewish community. By the later 3rd century some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with what they took to be the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar. They argued that contemporary Jews were identifying the wrong lunar month as the month of Nisan, choosing a month whose 14th day fell before the spring equinox.[44]

    Christians, these thinkers argued, should abandon the custom of relying on Jewish informants and instead do their own computations to determine which month should be styled Nisan, setting Easter within this independently computed, Christian Nisan, which would always locate the festival after the equinox. They justified this break with tradition by arguing that it was in fact the contemporary Jewish calendar that had broken with tradition by ignoring the equinox, and that in former times the 14th of Nisan had never preceded the equinox.[45] Others felt that the customary practice of reliance on the Jewish calendar should continue, even if the Jewish computations were in error from a Christian point of view.[46]

    The controversy between those who argued for independent computations and those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar was formally resolved by the Council, which endorsed the independent procedure that had been in use for some time at Rome and Alexandria. Easter was henceforward to be a Sunday in a lunar month chosen according to Christian criteria—in effect, a Christian Nisan—not in the month of Nisan as defined by Jews. Those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar (called "protopaschites" by later historians) were urged to come around to the majority position. That they did not all immediately do so is revealed by the existence of sermons,[47] canons,[48] and tracts[49] written against the protopaschite practice in the later 4th century.

    These two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the Council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. (See also Computus and Reform of the date of Easter.) In particular, the Council did not decree that Easter must fall on Sunday. This was already the practice almost everywhere.[50]

    Nor did the Council decree that Easter must never coincide with Nisan 15 (the first Day of Unleavened Bread, now commonly called "Passover") in the Hebrew calendar. By endorsing the move to independent computations, the Council had separated the Easter computation from all dependence, positive or negative, on the Jewish calendar. The "Zonaras proviso", the claim that Easter must always follow Nisan 15 in the Hebrew calendar, was not formulated until after some centuries. By that time, the accumulation of errors in the Julian solar and lunar calendars had made it the de facto state of affairs that Julian Easter always followed Hebrew Nisan 15.[51]
    "At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement? And in the first place, it seemed very unworthy for us to keep this most sacred feast following the custom of the Jews, a people who have soiled their hands in a most terrible outrage, and have thus polluted their souls, and are now deservedly blind. Since we have cast aside their way of calculating the date of the festival, we can ensure that future generations can celebrate this observance at the more accurate time which we have kept from the first day of the passion until the present time...."
    Emperor Constantine, following the Council of Nicaea[52]

    Meletian schism

    The suppression of the Meletian schism, an early breakaway sect, was another important matter that came before the Council of Nicea. Meletius, it was decided, should remain in his own city of Lycopolis in Egypt, but without exercising authority or the power to ordain new clergy; he was forbidden to go into the environs of the town or to enter another diocese for the purpose of ordaining its subjects. Melitius retained his episcopal title, but the ecclesiastics ordained by him were to receive again the Laying on of hands, the ordinations performed by Meletius being therefore regarded as invalid. Clergy ordained by Meletius were ordered to yield precedence to those ordained by Alexander, and they were not to do anything without the consent of Bishop Alexander.[53]

    In the event of the death of a non-Meletian bishop or ecclesiastic, the vacant see might be given to a Meletian, provided he was worthy and the popular election were ratified by Alexander. As to Meletius himself, episcopal rights and prerogatives were taken from him. These mild measures, however, were in vain; the Meletians joined the Arians and caused more dissension than ever, being among the worst enemies of Athanasius. The Meletians ultimately died out around the middle of the fifth century.

    Promulgation of canon law

    The council promulgated twenty new church laws, called canons, (though the exact number is subject to debate[54]), that is, unchanging rules of discipline. The twenty as listed in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers are as follows:[55]
    1. prohibition of self-castration
    2. establishment of a minimum term for catechumen (persons studying for baptism)
    3. prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of a younger woman who might bring him under suspicion (the so called virgines subintroductae)
    4. ordination of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the Metropolitan bishop
    5. provision for two provincial synods to be held annually
    6. exceptional authority acknowledged for the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome (the Pope), for their respective regions
    7. recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem
    8. provision for agreement with the Novatianists, an early sect
    9–14. provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius
    15–16. prohibition of the removal of priests
    17. prohibition of usury among the clergy
    18. precedence of bishops and presbyters before deacons in receiving the Eucharist (Holy Communion)
    19. declaration of the invalidity of baptism by Paulian heretics
    20. prohibition of kneeling on Sundays and during the Pentecost (the fifty days commencing on Easter). Standing was the normative posture for prayer at this time, as it still is among the Eastern Christians.[56]
    On July 25, 325, in conclusion, the fathers of the council celebrated the Emperor's twentieth anniversary. In his farewell address, Constantine informed the audience how averse he was to dogmatic controversy; he wanted the Church to live in harmony and peace. In a circular letter, he announced the accomplished unity of practice by the whole Church in the date of the celebration of Christian Passover (Easter).

    Effects of the Council

    The long-term effects of the Council of Nicea were significant. For the first time, representatives of many of the bishops of the Church convened to agree on a doctrinal statement. Also for the first time, the Emperor played a role, by calling together the bishops under his authority, and using the power of the state to give the Council's orders effect.

    In the short-term, however, the council did not completely solve the problems it was convened to discuss and a period of conflict and upheaval continued for some time. Constantine himself was succeeded by two Arian Emperors in the Eastern Empire: his son, Constantius II and Valens. Valens could not resolve the outstanding ecclesiastical issues, and unsuccessfully confronted St. Basil over the Nicene Creed.[57]

    Pagan powers within the Empire sought to maintain and at times re-establish paganism into the seat of the Emperor (see Arbogast and Julian the Apostate). Arians and Meletians soon regained nearly all of the rights they had lost, and consequently, Arianism continued to spread and to cause division in the Church during the remainder of the fourth century. Almost immediately, Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian bishop and cousin to Constantine I, used his influence at court to sway Constantine's favor from the orthodox Nicene bishops to the Arians.[58]

    Eustathius of Antioch was deposed and exiled in 330. Athanasius, who had succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria, was deposed by the First Synod of Tyre in 335 and Marcellus of Ancyra followed him in 336. Arius himself returned to Constantinople to be readmitted into the Church, but died shortly before he could be received. Constantine died the next year, after finally receiving baptism from Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, and "with his passing the first round in the battle after the Council of Nicea was ended."[59]


    The biblical canon

    A number of erroneous views have been stated regarding the council's role in establishing the biblical canon. In fact, there is no record of any discussion of the biblical canon at the council at all.[60][61] The development of the biblical canon took centuries, and was nearly complete (with exceptions known as the Antilegomena, written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed) by the time the Muratorian fragment was written.[62] In 331 Constantine commissioned fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople, but little else is known, though it has been speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists. In Jerome's Prologue to Judith[63][64][65] he claims that the Book of Judith was "found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures".

    The Trinity

    The council of Nicea dealt primarily with the issue of the deity of Christ. Over a century earlier the use of the term "Trinity" (Τριάς in Greek; trinitas in Latin) could be found in the writings of Origen (185-254) and Tertullian (160-220), and a general notion of a "divine three", in some sense, was expressed in the second century writings of Polycarp, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. In Nicaea, questions regarding the Holy Spirit were left largely unaddressed until after the relationship between the Father and the Son were settled around the year 362.[66] So the doctrine in a more full-fledged form was not formulated until the Council of Constantinople in 360 AD.[67]

    The role of Constantine

    While Constantine wanted a unified church after the council for political reasons, he did not force the Homoousian view of Christ's nature on the council, nor commission a Bible at the council that omitted books he did not approve of, although he did later commission Bibles. In fact, Constantine had little theological understanding of the issues at stake, and did not particularly care which view of Christ's nature prevailed so long as it resulted in a unified church.[68] This can be seen in his initial acceptance of the Homoousian view of Christ's nature, only to abandon the belief several years later for political reasons; under the influence of Eusebius of Nicomedia and others.[68]  Despite Constantine's sympathetic interest in the future of the Church, he did not actually undergo the rite of baptism himself until some 11 or 12 years afterward. Christianity at this point had been legalized (by Constantine's predecessor, Galerius, on his deathbed), but was not to become the official state religion of Rome until 380. Constantine's coinage and other motifs, until the time of this Council, had affiliated him with the pagan cult of Sol Invictus, and only four years before Nicea, Constantine had declared Sunday to be an Empire-wide day of rest in honor of the Sun, which led to its replacement of Saturday as the sabbath in European Christendom.

    Disputed matters

    The role of the Bishop of Rome

    Roman Catholics assert that the idea of Christ's deity was ultimately confirmed by the Bishop of Rome, and that it was this confirmation that gave the council its influence and authority. In support of this, they cite the position of early fathers and their expression of the need for all churches to agree with Rome (see Ireneaus, Adversus Haereses III:3:2).

    However, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox do not believe the Council viewed the Bishop of Rome as the jurisdictional head of Christendom, or someone having authority over other bishops attending the Council. In support of this, they cite Canon 6, where the Roman Bishop could be seen as simply one of several influential leaders, but not one who had jurisdiction over other bishops in other regions.
    "Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail: that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges..."[69]
    According to Protestant theologian Philip Schaff, "The Nicene fathers passed this canon not as introducing anything new, but merely as confirming an existing relation on the basis of church tradition; and that, with special reference to Alexandria, on account of the troubles existing there. Rome was named only for illustration; and Antioch and all the other eparchies or provinces were secured their admitted rights. The bishoprics of Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch were placed substantially on equal footing"[70]

    There is however, an alternate Roman Catholic interpretation of the above 6th canon proposed by Fr. James F. Loughlin in contradistinction to the above interpretation; an interpretation which is in line with the above reference from Ireneaus. It involves five different arguments "drawn respectively from the grammatical structure of the sentence, from the logical sequence of ideas, from Catholic analogy, from comparison with the process of formation of the Byzantine Patriarchate, and from the authority of the ancients"[71] in favor of an alternative understanding of the canon. The understanding of the canon according to Fr. Loughlin can be summarized as follows:

    "Let the Bishop of Alexandria continue to govern these provinces, because this is also the Roman Pontiff's custom; that is, because the Roman Pontiff, prior to any synodical enactment, has repeatedly recognized the Alexandrian Bishop's authority over this tract of country".[71]

    According to this interpretation, the canon shows the role the Bishop of Rome had when he, by his authority, confirmed the jurisdiction of the other patriarchs- an interpretation which is in line with the Roman Catholic understanding of the Pope.


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    43. ^ von Padberg, Lutz (1998) (in German), Die Christianisierung Europas Im Mittelalter [The Christianization of Europe in the Middle Ages], Leipzig: Reclam, p. 26, ISBN 978-3-15-017015-1, retrieved 16 January 2013
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    45. ^ "On the fourteenth day of [the month], being accurately observed after the equinox, the ancients celebrated the Passover, according to the divine command. Whereas the men of the present day now celebrate it before the equinox, and that altogether through negligence and error", Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, quoted in the Chronicon Paschale
    46. ^ A version of the Apostolic Constitutions used by the sect of the Audiani advised: "Do not do your own computations, but instead observe Passover when your brethren from the circumcision do. If they err [in the computation], it is no matter to you...." Epiphanius, Panarion 3.1.10 (Heresy #70, 10,1), PG 42,355-360. Frank Williams, ed., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis Books II and III, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1994, p. 412. Also quoted in Margaret Dunlop Gibson, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac, London, 1903, p. vii.
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    50. ^ The Quartodeciman practice recorded by Eusebius in the late 2nd century, if it still existed at the time of the Council, is not known to have been followed outside the Roman Province of Asia. The Pepuzites, or "solar quartodecimans", held Easter on the Sunday falling in the week of April 6th, Sozomen, Church History, 7.18.
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    56. ^ In time, Western Christianity adopted the term Pentecost to refer to the last Sunday of Eastertide, the fiftieth day. For the exact text of the prohibition of kneeling, in Greek and in English translation, see canon 20 of the acts of the council.
    57. ^ "Heroes of the Fourth Century".
    58. ^ Leo Donald Davis, S.J., "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787)", 77, ISBN 0-8146-5616-1
    59. ^ Leo Donald Davis, S.J., "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787)", 77, ISBN 0-8146-5616-1
    60. ^ Ehrman, Bart. Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, pp. 15-16, 23, 93
    61. ^ Nicea Myths: Common Fables About The Council of Nicea and Constantine. Retrieved on 2010-08-20.
    62. ^ McDonald & Sanders' The Canon Debate, Appendix D-2, note 19: "Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage." "Two books of Esdras" is ambiguous, it could be 1 Esdras and Ezra-Nehemiah as in the Septuagint or Ezra and Nehemiah as in the Vulgate.
    63. ^ http://www.bombaxo.com/blog/?p=224
    64. ^ CCEL.ORG: Schaff's Nicene and Post=Nicene Fathers: Jerome: Prologue to Tobit and Judith
    65. ^  "Book of Judith". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.: Canonicity: "..."the Synod of Nicaea is said to have accounted it as Sacred Scripture" (Praef. in Lib.). It is true that no such declaration is to be found in the Canons of Nicaea, and it is uncertain whether St. Jerome is referring to the use made of the book in the discussions of the council, or whether he was misled by some spurious canons attributed to that council"
    66. ^ Fairbairn, Donald (2009), Life in the Trinity, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, pp. 46–47, ISBN 978-0-8308-3873-8
    67. ^ Zenos' translated edition of Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 41.
    68. ^ a b "What Really Happened at Nicea?". Equip.org. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
    69. ^ Prof. John P. Adams, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures (2010-01-24). "The Ecumenical Council, Nicea A.D. 325". Csun.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
    70. ^ Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, pp. 275-276
    71. ^ a b Fr. James F. Loughlin. American Catholic Quarterly Review (volume 5, 1880), pages 220-239 -- copyright (c) 1997, Classica Media, Inc


    Primary sources

    • Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry, eds. (1890). The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series. 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.: Eerdmans Pub Co.. ISBN 0-8028-8129-7
    • Eusebius of Caesarea, Letter of Eusebius of Cæsarea to the people of his Diocese Account of the Council of Nicea; The Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine Book 3, Chapters VI-XXI treat the First Council of Nicea.
    • Athanasius of Alexandria, Defence of the Nicene Definition; Ad Afros Epistola Synodica
    • Eustathius of Antioch, Letter recorded in Theodoret H.E. 1.7
    • Socrates, Of the Synod which was held at Nicæa in Bithynia, and the Creed there put forth Book 1 Chapter 8 of his Ecclesiastical History, 5th century source.
    • Sozomen, Of the Council convened at Nicæa on Account of Arius Book 1 Chapter 17 of his Ecclesiastical History, a 5th century source.
    • Theodoret, General Council of Nicæa Book 1 Chapter 6 of his Ecclesiastical History; The Epistle of the Emperor Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the Council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present Book 1 Chapter 9 of his Ecclesiastical History, a 5th century source;
    • Philostorgius, Epitome of the Church History.


    • Ayres, Lewis, Nicaea and Its Legacy, 2004, ISBN 0-19-875505-8
    • Carroll, Warren H., The Building of Christendom, 1987, ISBN 0-931888-24-7
    • Davis, S.J., Leo Donald, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787), 1983, ISBN 0-8146-5616-1
    • Kelly, J.N.D., The Nicene Crisis in Early Christian Doctrines, 1978, ISBN 0-06-064334-X
    • Kelly, J.N.D., The Creed of Nicea in Early Christian Creeds, 1982, ISBN 0-582-49219-X
    • MacMullen, Ramsay. Voting About God in Early Church Councils, Yale University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-300-11596-2
    • Newman, John Henry., The Ecumenical Council of Nicæa in the Reign of Constantine from Arians of the Fourth century, 1871
    • Rubenstein, Richard E., When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight Over Christ's Divinity in the Last Days of Rome, 2003, ISBN 0-15-100368-8
    • Rusch, William G. "The Trinitarian Controversy", Sources of Christian Thought Series, ISBN 0-8006-1410-0
    • Schaff, Philip The first ecumenical council includes creed and canons of the council.
    • Tanner S.J., Norman P., "The Councils of the Church: A Short History", 2001, ISBN 0-8245-1904-3
    • Williams, Rowan. Arius: Heresy and Tradition, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, 1987, ISBN 0-232-51692-8


      Today's Snippet II:  The Mystical City of God,

      The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God

      Book 5, Chapter 2


      I have already said in former chapters, that our Lady was the first and specially privileged Disciple of her most holy Son, chosen among all creatures as the model of the new evangelical law and its Author, according to which He was to mould all the saints of the new evangelical law and judge of all the results of the Redemption. In regard to Her the incarnate Word proceeded like a most skillful artist, who understands the art of painting and that pertains to it most thoroughly; who, throwing all powers into one chosen work, seeks to gain from it alone renown and fame as from the full exposition of his art. It is certain that all the holiness and glory of the saints was the result of the love and merits of Christ: (Eph. 2, 3) but in comparison with the excellence of Mary they seem insignificant and as it were only rough sketches; for in all the saints are found defects (I John 1, 8). But this living image of the Onlybegotten was free from all imperfections; and the first strokes of his pencil in Her were of greater beauty than the last touches in the highest angels and saints. She is the model for all the perfection of holiness and virtues of all his elect, and the utmost limit to which the love of Christ can proceed in mere creatures. No one received any grace or glory that most holy Mary could not receive, and She received all that others were incapable of receiving; and her most blessed Son gave to Her all that She could receive and that He could communicate.

      The multitude and variety of the saints silently enhance the Artificer of their great sanctity, and the greatness of the highest is made more conspicuous by the beauty of the lowest: but all of them together are a glorification of most holy Mary. For by her incomparable holiness they are all surpassed and they all partake of so much the greater felicity as they imitate Her, whose holiness redounds over all. If the most pure Mary has reached the highest pinnacle in the ranks of the just, She may also on this very account be considered as the instrument or the motive power through which the saints themselves have reached their station. As we must judge of her excellence (even if only from afar), by the labor which Christ the Lord applied for her formation, let us consider what labor He spent upon Her and how much upon the whole Church. To establish and to enrich his Church He deemed it sufficient to spend only three years in preaching, selecting the Apostles, teaching the people, and inculcating the evangelical law by his public life; and this was amply sufficient to accomplish the work enjoined upon Him by the eternal Father and to justify and sanctify all the true believers. But in order to stamp upon his most holy Mother the image of his holiness, He consumed not three years, but ten times three years, engaging in this work with all the power of his divine love, without ever ceasing hour after hour to add grace to grace, gifts to gifts, blessings to blessings, and holiness to holiness. And at the end of all this He still left Her in a state, in which He could continue to add excellence after his Ascension to his eternal Father as I will describe in the third part. Our reason is unbalanced, our words fail at the greatness of this incomparable Lady; for She is elect as the sun (Cant. 6, 9); and her effulgence cannot be borne by terrestrial eyes, nor comprehended by any earthly creatures.

      Christ our Redeemer began to manifest his designs in regard to his heavenly Mother after they had come back from Egypt to Nazareth, as I have already mentioned; from that time on He continued to follow up his purpose in his quality as Teacher and as the divine Enlightener in all the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. After they returned from Jerusalem in his twelfth year, the great Queen had a vision of the Divinity, not an intuitive vision, but one consisting of intellectual images; one very exalted and full of the new influences of the Divinity and of the secrets of the Most High. She was especially enlightened in regard to the decrees of the divine Will concerning the law of grace, which was now established by the incarnate Word, and concerning the power, which was given to Him in the consistory of the most blessed Trinity. At the same time She saw for this purpose the eternal Father consigned to His Son the seven-sealed book, of which saint John speaks (Apoc. 5, 1), and how none could be found either in heaven or on earth, who could unseal and open it, until the Lamb broke its seals by his Passion and Death and by his doctrines and merits. For in this figure God wished to intimate, that the secret of this book was nothing else than the new law of the Gospel and the Church founded upon it in this world.

      Then the heavenly Queen saw in spirit that, by decree of the most blessed Trinity, She was to be the first one to read and understand this book; that her Onlybegotten was to open it for Her and manifest it all to Her, while She was to put it perfectly into practice; that She was the first one, who was to accompany the Word, and who was to occupy the first place next to Him on the way to heaven, which He had opened up for mortals and traced out in this book. In Her, as his true Mother, was to be deposited this new Testament. She saw how the Son of the eternal Father and of Herself accepted this decree with great pleasure; and how his sacred humanity obeyed it with ineffable joy on her account.

      She issued from this ecstatic vision and betook Herself to her most holy Son, prostrating Herself at his feet and saying: "My Lord, my Light and my Teacher, behold thy unworthy Mother prepared for the fulfillment of thy wishes admit me anew as thy disciple and servant and make use of me as the instrument of thy wisdom and power. Execute in me thy pleasure and that of thy eternal Father." Her most holy Son received Her with the majesty and authority of a divine Teacher and instructed Her in most exalted mysteries. In most persuasive and powerful words He explained to Her the profoundest meanings of the works enjoined upon Him by the eternal Father in regard to the Redemption of man, the founding of the Church and the establishment of the new evangelical law. He declared and reaffirmed, that in the execution of these high and hidden mysteries She was to be his Companion and Coadjutrix, receiving and enjoying the first-fruits of grace; and that therefore She, the most pure Lady, was to follow Him in his labors until his death on the Cross with a magnanimous and well prepared heart in invincible and unhesitating constancy. He added heavenly instruction such as enabled Her to prepare for the reception of the whole evangelical Law, the understanding and practice of all its precepts and counsels in their highest perfection. Other sacramental secrets concerning his works in this world the Child Jesus manifested to his most blessed Mother on this occasion. And the heavenly Lady met all his words and intentions with profound humility, obedience, reverence, thanksgiving and most ardent love.

      WORDS OF THE QUEEN. (The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain.)
      The Most High who in sheer goodness and bounty given existence to all creatures and denies his providential care to none, faithfully supplies all souls with light by which they can enter into the knowledge of Him and of eternal life provided they do not of their own prevent and obscure this light by sin or give up the quest of the kingdom of heaven. To the souls whom according to his secret judgments, He calls to his Church, He shows himself still more liberal. For with the grace of Baptism He infuses into them not only those virtues, which are called essentially infused and which the created cannot merit by its own labors and efforts; but also those, which are accidentally infused and which it can merit by its own labors and efforts. These the Lord gives freely beforehand, in order that the soul may be more prepared zealous in the observance of his holy Law. In other souls, in addition to the common light of faith, the Lord, in his clemency grants supernatural gifts of knowledge and virtue for the better understanding of the evangelical mysteries and for the more zealous practice of good works. In this kind of gifts He has been more liberal with thee than with many generations; obliging thee thereby to distinguish thyself in loving correspondence due to Him and to humble thyself before Him to the very dust.

      In order that thou mayest be well instructed and informed, I wish to warn thee as a solicitous and loving Mother of the cunning of satan for the destruction of these works of the Lord. From the very moment in which mortals begin to have the use of their reason, each one of them is followed by many watchful and relentless demons. For as soon as the souls are in a position to raise their thoughts to the knowledge of their God and commence the practice of the virtues infused by Baptism, these demons, with incredible fury and astuteness, seek to root out the divine seed; and if they cannot succeed in this, they try to hinder its growth, and prevent it from bringing forth fruit by engaging men in vicious, useless, or trifling things. Thus they divert their thoughts from faith and hope and from the pursuit of other virtues, leading them to forget that they are Christians and diverting their attention from the knowledge of God and from the mysteries of the Redemption and of life eternal. Moreover the same enemy instills into the parents a base neglectfulness and carnal love for their offspring; and he incites the teachers to carelessness, so that the children find no support against evil in their education, but become depraved and spoiled by many bad habits, losing sight of virtue and of their good inclinations and going the way of perdition.

      But the most kind Lord does not forget them in this danger and He renews in them his holy inspirations and special helps. He supplies them with the holy teachings of the Church by his preachers and ministers. He holds out to them the aid of the Sacraments and many other inducements to keep them on the path of life. That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number, is due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. For that saying of Deuteronomy is very true: "As the days of thy youth, so also shall thy old age be" (Deut. 33, 25). Hence the demons gain courage and increase their tyrannical influence over souls in the early years of man's life, hoping that they will be able to induce men to commit so much the greater and the more frequent sins in later years, the more they have succeeded in drawing them into small insignificant faults in their childhood. By these they draw them on to a state of blind presumption; for with each sin the soul loses more and more the power of resistance, subjects itself to the demon, and falls under the sway of its tyrannical enemies. The miserable yoke of wickedness is more and more firmly fastened upon it; it is trodden underfoot by its own iniquity and urged onward under the sway of the devil from one precipice to another, from abyss to abyss (Ps. 41, 8): a chastisement merited by all those, that allow themselves to be overcome by evil-doing in the beginning. By these means Lucifer has hurled into hell so great a number of souls and continues so to hurl them every day, rising up in his pride against the Almighty. In this manner has he been able to introduce into the world his tyrannical power, spreading among men forgetfulness of death, judgment, heaven and hell, and casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and bestial errors, such are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels. Do thou therefore beware of this terrible danger, my daughter, and let not the memory of the law of thy God, his precepts and commands, and the truths of the Catholic Church and the doctrines of the Gospels ever fail in thy mind. Let not a day pass in which thou dost not spend much time in meditating upon all these; and exhort thy religious and all those who listen to thee the same. For thy enemy and adversary is laboring with ceaseless vigilance to obscure thy understanding in forgetfulness of the divine law, seeking to withdraw thy will, which is a blind faculty, from the practice of justification. This, thou knowest, consists in acts of living faith, trustful hope, ardent love, all coming from a contrite and humble heart (Ps. 50, 19).


      Catechism of the Catholic Church

      Part One: Profession of Faith, Sect 2 The Creeds, Ch 2 Art 7:1


      Article 7

      II. To Judge the Living and the Dead

      678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgement of the Last Day in his preaching.Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3: 19; Mt 3:7-12. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.Mk 12:38-40; Lk 12:1-3; Jn 3:20-21; Rom 2:16; I Cor 4:5. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned.Mt 11:20-24; 12:41-42 Our attitude to our neighbour will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.Mt 5:22; 7:1-5 On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."Mt 25:40

      679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgement on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. The Father has given "all judgement to the Son".Jn 5:22 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.Jn 3:17; 5:26 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31

      IN BRIEF
      680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. the triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

      681 On Judgement Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

      682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.