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Council of Nicaea
The council condemned Arius and, with reluctance on the part of some, incorporated the nonscriptural word homoousios (“of one substance”) into a creed (the Nicene Creed) to signify the absolute equality of the Son with the Father. The emperor then exiled Arius, an act that, while manifesting a solidarity of church and state, underscored the importance of secular patronage in ecclesiastical affairs.
The council also attempted but failed to establish a uniform date for Easter. But it issued decrees on many other matters, including the proper method of consecrating bishops, a condemnation of lending money at interest by clerics, and a refusal to allow bishops, priests, and deacons to move from one church to another. Socrates Scholasticus, a 5th-century Byzantine historian, said that the council intended to make a canon enforcing celibacy of the clergy, but it failed to do so when some objected. It also confirmed the primacy of Alexandria and Jerusalem over other sees in their respective areas.
Learn More in these related articles:
Christianity: Early controversies
…The first four ecumenical councils—at Nicaea (ad 325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451)—defined the consensus to be taught and believed, articulating this faith in the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Definition, which stated that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, true man, and true God, one…Read More
Christianity: Eastern controversies
…is beyond all suffering. The Council of Nicaea (325) condemned Arianism and affirmed the Son of God to be identical in essence with the Father. Because this formula included no safeguard against Monarchianism, a long controversy followed, especially after Constantine’s death (337). Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria (reigned 328–373), fought zealously…Read More
Christianity: Restatement: respecting language and knowledge
…single linguistic area. Thus, the Council of Nicaea in 325 commandeered the nonscriptural term homoousios (“of one substance”) in order to safeguard the essential relation of the Son to the Father that had been denied by Arius. During the 4th century the vocabulary in which Christian belief in the Holy…Read More
Christianity: The alliance between church and empire
…when Constantine presided at the Council of Nicaea, which addressed the Arian controversy (a debate between Arius and Athanasius and their followers over the nature of the Son of God); the council provided the definition of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son that is still accepted…Read More
ancient Rome: The reign of Constantine
…mind he convened the general Council of Nicaea, or Nicene Council, in 325. He condemned Arius and declared, in spite of the Easterners, that Jesus was “of one substance” with God the Father. Nevertheless, the heresy continued to exist, for Constantine changed his mind several times; he was influenced by…Read More
More About Council of Nicaea
31 references found in Britannica articles
- affirmation of ecumenism
- condemnation of Arianism
- establishment of metropolitan
- In metropolitan
- practice of celibacy
- suppression of paganism