First Council of Nicaea

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The first Oecumenical Council, summoned by the Emp. Constantine, mainly to deal with the Arian controversy. After an Arian creed submitted by Eusebius of Nicomedia had been rejected, Eusebius of Caesarea presented the Baptismal Creed of his own Palestinian community, and this, supplemented by the word ‘homoousios’, was received by the Council as orthodox. The Creed promulgated by the Council, however, was not this, but another, probably a revision of the Baptismal Creed of Jerusalem. With four anti-Arian anathemas attached, it was subscribed by all the bishops present, except two. It seems that Athanasius was the leading champion of orthodoxy in this struggle. The Council also reached decisions on the Melitian Schism in Egypt and the Paschal Controversy, and issued 20 canons. The traditional number of bishops present (318) is probably only a symbolic figure; between 220 and 250 is more likely. See also Nicene Creed.

Subjects: Christianity.

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