Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fr. Bernard Basset, S.J. On The Council Of Nicea

The Nicean Creed in Greek
The year 325 is accepted without hesitation as that of the First Council of Nicaea. There is less agreement among our early authorities as to the month and day of the opening. In order to reconcile the indications furnished by Socrates and by the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, this date may, perhaps, be taken as 20 May, and that of the drawing up of the symbol as 19 June. It may be assumed without too great hardihood that the synod, having been convoked for 20 May, in the absence of the emperor held meetings of a less solemn character until 14 June, when after the emperor's arrival, the sessions properly so called began, the symbol being formulated on 19 June, after which various matters - the paschal controversy, etc. - were dealt with, and the sessions came to an end 25 August. The Council was opened by Constantine with the greatest solemnity. The emperor waited until all the bishops had taken their seats before making his entry. He was clad in gold and covered with precious stones in the fashion of an Oriental sovereign. A chair of gold had been made ready for him, and when he had taken his place the bishops seated themselves. After he had been addressed in a hurried allocution, the emperor made an address in Latin, expressing his will that religious peace should be re-established. He had opened the session as honorary president, and he had assisted at the subsequent sessions, but the direction of the theological discussions was abandoned, as was fitting, to the ecclesiastical leaders of the council. The actual president seems to have been Hosius of Cordova, assisted by the pope's legates, Victor and Vincentius. (here)

Listen (here part 1) and (here part 2) to a wonderful reflection on the history leading up to the First Council of Nicea by Fr. Bernard Basset, S.J.,


Katy Anders said...

I was amazed that those early councils (and various synods during the Arian controversy) were not only not called by ANY of the powerful bishops (including the bishop of Rome), but in many cases, the bishop of Rome wasn't even there.

Reading about the decades after Nicea, it is truly amazing hat the Church arose out of it the way it did.

Those emperors were pretty awful.

marie therese 1 said...

However, the Bishop of Rome sent his representative.

Katy Anders said...

Marie Therese: I don't think I realized that. Good deal.

What amazed me in all of these 4th century councils and synods was how out of the loop Rome was. The whole Arian thing seems like it was very much an Alexandria vs. Antioch thing... To some degree, Rome didn't even seem to understand the problem - since some of the problem was specific to the Greek language.

Anyway, thanks for catching that!