Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Council of Nicaea

This last week has been very busy for me. I moved back to school, and will actually start my senior year tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast four years of college have gone, and am even more surprised that in a few short months I’m going to have to start looking for a real job.

But besides all of this, I’ve looked into this week in history, this week that will be the last first weeks of my college undergraduate career. I did find some very interesting things, but the Council of Nicaea caught my eye over other things.

In 324 Emperor Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. After having four Emperors ruling the Roman Empire for several years, this was a break from the recent tradition. Also making him that much different, Constantine was the first Roman Emperor who converted to Christianity.

During the early years of Christianity there was a major debate between church leaders about the divinity of Jesus because he was born and had a beginning. This thought eventually spread to all Christians, and the religion faced a possible schism with religious leaders debating both sides.

Because of his interest in the religion, Constantine called a meeting between the religious leaders to discuss this ideology. This council of the religious leaders became known as the Council of Nicaea, named after its meeting place in Nicaea, Turkey, and it concluded on August 25, 325.

At this council, the members worked to define Christ and ultimately established the Holy Trinity, and determined only the Son became incarnate as Jesus Christ.

Another key part of the council I remember from class is the importance the decision held for Constantine. As a single ruler taking control after several years of the heptarchy where four emperors ruled together, this would place him as the most influential and important person in the Empire. On Earth, the Roman Emperor was the most important person, even more important than a key religious figure.

The decision was very controversial, and did cause a split in the Church, forming the modern day Easter Orthodox religion. Ultimately, this council helped form some of the founding stones of the Christian Religion, surviving to the present day. Without the decisions of this council, the Christian religion may not have even survived.

I hope everyone enjoys their week, and as always, Happy History!

1 comment:

  1. Little correction. The Council of Nicea can be called controversial. Most bishops there, all but five or so, were in agreement, but the controversy raged on for decades after.

    However, that did not split the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics. They did not split until 700 years later (1054), and that was over an issue concerning a change to the Nicene Creed concerning the Holy Spirit.

    (It was also over whether the bishop of Rome had the authority to make such changes on his own.)