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


Drake Shelton said...

68 Theses Against Jnorm’s Eastern Orthodox Theology Proper: Case Studies in Ad Hoc Reasoning





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