Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Condemnation of Arianism at Nicea (325)

The Arian heresy was decisively fought at the First Ecumenical Synod, which was summoned at Nicea in Bithynia in the summer of 325, at which Athanasius was present, accompanying his spiritual master Alexander of Alexandria. Although he was merely a deacon, Athanasius was active in the deliberations of the Synod.(16) His later successor, the resourceful Patriarch Cyril, relates that: Athanasius was so brilliant and celebrated and was admired by all even in that holy and great Synod, the one of Nicea, which was summoned in critical times. He did not yet hold the office of the bishop, but rather belonged to the class of the clerics, and yet, because of his sagacity and gentleness besides, and because of his exceedingly subtle and incomparable mind, he was at that time, taken as his companion by Alexander, the bishop of blessed memory. He was as close to the old man as a son is to his father, leader in everything helpful, and the one who showed the way right well in all things, which were to be done.(17)

Athanasius himself explains the argumentation of the Arians in his letter on the Synod of Nicea and the objections of the Fathers. The Arians put forward biblical words and phrases in order to cover up their particular viewpoint. The Fathers, however, stressed the meaning of the biblical data and did not hesitate to make use of literally non-biblical terms, just as the Arians did, in order to clear up the orthodox meaning of the former. Thus, the fathers clarified the biblical statement that The Son was From the Father, saying that, He was from the essence (being) of the Father, over against the Arian claim that, The Son was out of nothing and, therefore, a creature; and in order that the phrase From the essence might not imply division, the Fathers also added the term Co-essential (Homoousios) to the Father in order to specify the unity of the one and undivided Essence of the Father and the Son. The Great Athanasius was, through his writings, the defender and supporter, par excellence, of these dogmatic decrees of the Synod of Nicea, i.e. of the From the Essence and Co-essential.

Pages 196 - 197 from the book Saint Athanasius of Alexandria: Original Research and New Perspectives (Patristic Theological Library) by ProtoPresbyter George Dion. Dragas

Friday, October 19, 2012

St. Alexander’s Letter to Alexander of Constantinople

Patriarch/Pope Alexander of Alexandria from 313 A.D. to 328 A.D.

Most of the Theology of the original Nicene Creed can be seen in the works of Saint Alexander of Alexandria(most of which was probably written by Saint Athanasius on his behalf). Also, a form of numeric unity as seen in the Nicene-Constantinople-1 Creed can also be seen in his works when he stresses how the Father and Son are inseparable. In another work before the time of the council of Nicea, Saint Athanasius wrote on his behalf a letter that stressed the doctrine of perichoresis between Father and Son. Also, the idea of Will being a function of Nature can also be seen in some of his letters.

The link:

 The hypothesis that the Son came into being “out of nothing” is clearly impious: the Father must always be a father. He is always Father of a Son who is present, on account of whom he is called Father. Only if the Son is always present with him is he always a completed Father, lacking in nothing good. He could not, therefore beget his only Son in time, or in any interval of time, nor out of that which had no previous existence. (27.) Is it not then impious to say, “There was a time when the wisdom of God was not?” The very Wisdom who says, “I was by him as one brought up with him: I was daily his delight?” [Prov 8:30] Is it not also impious to say that at one time the power of God was not, or his Word, or anything else by which the Son is known, or the Father designated? To assert that the brightness of the Father’s glory [Heb 1:3] “once did not exist,” destroys also the original light of which it is the brightness. If there ever was a time in which the image of God [2 Cor 4:4] was not, it is plain that God, whose image he is, is not always. (28.) No, if the express image of God’s Person did not exist, then he was separated from the one of whom he is ever the express image. Hence it may be seen, that the sonship of our Savior has not even anything in common with the sonship of men. (29.) It has been shown that the nature of his existence cannot be expressed by language, and infinitely surpasses in excellence all things to which he has given being. So also his sonship, naturally partaking in his Father’s Divinity, is unspeakably different from the sonship of those who, by his appointment, have been adopted as sons. He is by nature unchangeable, perfect, and all-sufficient, whereas men are liable to change, and need his help. (30.) What further advance can be made by the wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24]? What can the very Truth, or God the Word, add to itself? How can the Life or the True Light [John 14:6; 1:4, 9] be bettered in any way? And is it not still more contrary to nature to suppose that wisdom can be susceptible to folly? That the power of God can be united with weakness? That reason itself can be dimmed by unreasonableness, or that darkness can be mixed with the true light? Does not the Apostle say, “What communion has light with darkness? And what harmony has Christ with Belial?” [2 Cor 6:14-15] and Solomon, that “the way of a serpent upon a rock” [Prov 30:19] was “too wonderful” for the human mind to comprehend, which “rock,” according to St. Paul, is Christ [1 Cor 10:4]. Men and angels, however, who are his creatures, have received his blessing, enabling them to exercise themselves in virtue and in obedience to his commands, that thus they may avoid sin.

To read the rest please visit the link!





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