THE FIRST ECUMENICAL COUNCIL
Held in Nicea, Asia Minor in 325. Under Emperor Constantine the Great.
318 Bishops were present.
The Arian Controversy
Arius denied the divinity of Christ. If Jesus was born, then there was
time when He did not exist. If He became God, then there was time when
He was not. The Council declared Arius' teaching a heresy, unacceptable
to the Church and decreed that Christ is God. He is of the same essence
"homoousios" with God the Father.
The first part of the seven articles of the Creed were ratified at the
First Ecumenical Council. The text reads as follows:
We believe in one God. The Father Almighty.
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten,
begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of
true God; begotten not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom
all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down
from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin
Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius
Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose
again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and
sits at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again with
glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no
Defenders of Orthodoxy
St. Athanasios the Great (297-373)
Fearless champion of Orthodoxy; spent sixteen of his forty-five
years as Bishop of Alexandria in exile; one of the most profound
theologians; Father of the Church
St. Basil the Great (330-379)
A natural leader and organizer; spoke and wrote against Arianism;
Founded hospitals, orphanages, welfare agencies; revised and updated the
Divine Liturgy; made a great contribution to Monasticism (East and
West); one of the famous Cappadocian Fathers (together with St. Gregory
of Nyssa; his younger brother and St. Gregory of Nazianzus the
Theologian; his close friend). The Cappadocians, along with St.
Athanasius the Great, laid the pattern for formulating the doctrines
related to the mystery of the Holy Trinity. St. Basil the Great, along
with St. Gregory of Nazianzus (the Theologian) and St. John Chrysostom
are called the Three Hieararchs.