An alternative theory of
Article 54: The Council of Nicaea - Rufinus of Aquileia
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Book 10, Part 1
A presbyter of Alexandria named Arius, a man religious in appearance and aspect rather than in virtue, but shamefully desirous of glory, praise, and novelties, began to propose certain impious doctrines regarding the faith of Christ, things which had never before been talked about.
He tried to sever and divide the Son from the eternal and ineffable substance or nature of God the Father, something which upset very many in the church. Bishop Alexander, by nature gentle and reserved, desired to recall Arius from his impious enterprise and teaching by unceasing admonitions, but did not succeed, because by then the contagion of his pestilential doctrine had infected so many not only in Alexandria, but also in the other cities and provinces to which it had spread.
He therefore, thinking it would be disastrous to ignore the situation, brought it to the notice of very many of his fellow priests. The dispute became widely known. Word of it reached the ears of the religious sovereign, since he was making every effort to look after our affairs.
He then, in accordance with the mind of the priests, summoned a council of bishops to the city of Nicaea, and ordered Arius to present himself there to the 318 bishops in attendance and to be judged on the teachings and questions he had brought forward.
Book 10, Part 2
For when the bishops had come together from almost everywhere and, as usually happens, were submitting complaints against each other arising from various causes, he was constantly being importuned by each of them, petitions were being offered, wrongdoings were being brought up, and they were giving their attention to these matters rather than to the purpose of their gathering.
But he, seeing that these quarrels were hindering the most important business at hand, set a certain day on which any bishop who thought he had a complaint to make might submit it.
And when he had taken his seat, he accepted the petitions of each. Holding all the petitions together in his lap, and not opening them to see what they contained, he said to the bishops,
Now when the issue concerning faith had been discussed in the bishops’ council for many days, and quite a few there put forward different views and vigorously supported Arius’s initiative, there were still more who abhorred the impious enterprise.
And since there were at the council a large number of priest-confessors, they were all opposed to Arius’s novelties. But those who supported him were men clever in disputation and therefore opposed to the simplicity of faith.
Book 10, Parts 3,4 and 5
And thus the philosopher became a Christian and rejoiced at last to have been vanquished.
During that time the council met each day, and it did not dare to proceed carelessly or recklessly to a decision about such a serious matter.
Arius was often summoned to the council, his propositions were discussed in painstaking detail, and the most careful consideration was given to the question of what position or decision to take against them.
Finally after long and detailed discussion it was decided by all, and decreed as though by the mouth and heart of all, that the word homoousios should be written, that is that the Son should be acknowledged to be of the same substance as the Father, and this was most firmly declared by the vote of them all.
There were then only seventeen, it is said, who preferred Arius’s creed and who affirmed that God’s Son had been created externally from nothing existing and had not been begotten from the Father s very divinity.
The decision of the council of priests was conveyed to Constantine who revered it as though it had been pronounced by God and declared that anyone who should try to oppose it he would banish as transgressing divine decrees.
Six only there were who suffered themselves to be expelled with Arius, while the other eleven, after taking counsel together, agreed to subscribe with hand only, not heart. The chief designer of this pretence was Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia.
During that time, then, the subscriptions were written in whatever way, some sincerely and some not, as later events proved, particular regulations were made concerning each of several church customs, and so the council dissolved.
There is here inserted a copy of the exposition of faith of those who had assembled.
Book 10, Part 6 - Creed of Nicaea
Book 10, Part 6 - Additional 22 creeds
[NOTE: After the above (Nicean) creed are a list of 22 additional creeds, as follows ...]
II. No one recently admitted to baptism from paganism and its way of life is to be made a cleric before being carefully examined.
III. No bishop or other cleric is to live with women who are not relatives, but only with his mother, sister, aunt, or persons related in this way.
IV. A bishop is if possible to be ordained by the bishops of the whole province. If this is difficult, then certainly by not fewer than three, but in such a way that either the presence or the authority of the metropolitan bishop in particular is involved. Without him they consider the ordination invalid.
V. A bishop is not to receive anyone, whether a cleric or a layman, whom another bishop has expelled from the church. Lest however there be no remedy for something which has been unjustly done because of some quarrel or bad temper, as sometimes happens, they decree that twice each year councils are to be held in each province by all the provincial bishops and judgment passed on such matters, so that if by chance something was done unjustly by one of them, it may be put right by the others, or if rightly, it may be confirmed by all.
VI. The ancient custom in Alexandria and the city of Rome is to be maintained whereby [the bishop of the former] has charge of Egypt, while [the bishop of the latter] has charge of the suburbicarian churches.
VII. If by chance in ordaining a bishop two or three should disagree for some reason, the authority of the rest of them, and especially that of the metropolitan with the rest, is to be considered more valid.
VIII. The prerogative of honor given of old to the bishop ofJerusalem is to be preserved, the dignity of the metropolitan of that province being maintained nonetheless.
IX. As for the Cathari, whom we know as Novatianists, if they should repent and return to the church, having confessed the doctrines of the church: the clerics should be received into the clergy, but only after receiving ordination. Of course if one of their bishops comes to one of our bishops, he should sit in the place of the presbyters, but the title of bishop should remain with him alone who has ever held the Catholic faith, unless he has freely decided to honor him with that title, or if he has decided to look for a vacant bishopric for him. That is up to him.
X. There are not to be two bishops in one city.
XI. Those who are incautiously advanced to the priesthood and afterward confess some misdeed they have done, or are convicted by others, are to be deposed. Those also who are among the lapsed and who by chance have been ordained through ignorance are to be deposed when recognized.
XII. Those who although not tortured have lapsed during the persecutions and do penance sincerely are to spend five years among the catechumens and for two years after that are to be joined to the faithful in prayer alone, and in that way are afterward to be taken back.
XIII. Those who in order to confess the faith have left military service and then have once again sought to enter it are to do penance for thirteen years and afterward to be taken back, provided they do penance sincerely. It is also however in the bishop’s power to adjust the term if he sees that they are giving careful and fruitful attention to their penance.
XIV. But as for those penitents who are dying, they decree that no time must be spent [doing penance]. If someone who has received communion recovers, however, he is to complete the times set or at least do as the bishop determines.
XV. As for catechumens who have lapsed, they have decreed that for three years they are to be separated from the prayer of the catechumens, and afterward to be taken back.
XVI. No one, whether a bishop or even another cleric, is to attempt to move from a lesser city to a greater church.
XVII. No cleric who for no good reason has left his church and roams about among the other churches is to be received into communion.
XVIII. No one is to steal away someone who belongs to someone else and ordain him a cleric in his own church without the consent of the one to whom he belongs.
XIX. No cleric is to charge interest, or an augmentation on grain or wine, the original amount of which when let out customarily yields a return of half again or even twice as much; if he does so, he is to be deposed as guilty of filthy lucre.
XX. Deacons are not to be given precedence over presbyters, nor are they to sit where the presbyters do or distribute the Eucharist when they are present; they are simply to assist while the others do that. But if there is no presbyter present, then only may they distribute as well; those that do otherwise are ordered to be deposed.
XXI. The Paulianists, also called Photinians, are to be rebaptized.
XXII. Deaconesses likewise, because they do not in fact receive the imposition of hands, should also be placed among the laity.”