Series - Theology Thursday; Arian Controversy

Theology Thursday - The Story of Nicaea

Emperor Constantine and the Bishops

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

Constantine Summons the Council of Nicaea1

That here is nothing more honorable in my sight than the fear of God is, I believe, manifest to every man. Now because it was agreed formerly that the synod of bishops should meet at Ancyra of Galatia, it hath seemed to us on many accounts that it would be well for a synod to assemble at Nicaea, a city of Bithynia, both because the bishops from Italy and the rest of the countries of Europe are coming, and because of thee excellent temperature of the air, and in order that I may be present as a spectator and participator in those things which will be done.

Wherefore I signify to you, my beloved brethren, that all of you promptly assemble at the said city, that is at Nicaea. Let every one of you therefore, regarding that which is best, as I before said, be diligent, without delay in anything, speedily to come, that he may be in his own person present as a spectator of those things which will be done by the same.

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Theology Thursday - The Council at Antioch Weighs In (325 A.D.)

Bishop Alexander, of Alexandria

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

About the Council at Antioch (325 A.D.)

The Council at Antioch was a regional synod held in, well … Antioch, probably in the early portion of 325 A.D. It was a local affair, in preparation for the great ecumenical Council of Nicaea which took place later that same year. Astonishingly, this council was completely unknown to history until a scholar discovered records of it in a Syriac codex in 1905. It was written from the President of the Synod to Alexander, of Thessalonica.1

The Letter from the Council to Alexander, of Thessalonica

The catholic church throughout the world resembles the parts of a body, in that it is one body even if it has diversely located places of assembly. It follows naturally that our love for you would lead us to inform you of what I and all our holy brothers with me have done, setting events in motion. This way you may be present with us in a united spirit, and speak together with us as you make rulings according to the common decisions and actions which we have taken according to church law.

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