Council of Nicaea

This document briefly discusses The First Council of Nicaea (AD. 325), which was the formation of “The Catholic Church”, and HOW it has affected the way the world defines the term “Christianity”
Please note that this is not a Text-Study, but rather an information document, to assist in better understanding the terms Nicene Creed and Nicene Doctrine

COUNCIL OF NICAEA – The Birth of The Catholic Church (source taken from encyclopedia):


– Most significantly, IT RESULTED IN THE FIRST UNIFORM CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, called the Creed of Nicaea. ((my own note: it is called “The Nicene Creed”)) With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy- the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

– One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to God the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was the literal son of God or was he a figurative son, like the other “Sons of God” in the Bible. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius claimed to take the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, is said to have taken the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria[13]). The emperor’s threat of banishment is claimed to have influenced many to sign, but this is highly debated by both sides.

– Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate Easter, the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar, decreed in an epistle to the Church of Alexandria in which is simply stated,
“We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East WHO HAVE HITHERTO FOLLOWED THE JEWISH PRACTICE will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who FROM ANCIENT TIMES HAVE KEPT EASTER together with you.[14]”.

Note: The comment above, “it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine”, is not true since The Church under the chosen Apostles’ guardianship- as designated by Christ Jesus- DID hold to ONE COMMON DOCTRINE; this may be easily verified by a sincere study of the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of The Apostles of our Lord.

Secondly, you may take note of what was said in this important decree:
“ALL the brethren WHO HAVE HITHERTO FOLLOWED THE JEWISH PRACTICE” – this is referring to the church practices BEFORE the council’s decisions.

The churches were noted here as having been following a “Jewish practice”.

What was that practice?
Paul confirms for us what THAT practice was that these Churches were following- we don’t need to speculate.
Here is what the apostle of our Lord, Jesus Christ said to a church of Gentile believers (non-Jews):
1 Cor. 5:7-8 (KJV)
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] THEREFORE LET US KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

“All the “brethren in the east who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice” (that is- “The Passover” of Christ Jesus, as prescribed in The Bible by Paul, Christ, and God’s Law of Exod. 12; Lev. 23), “will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans…”.
The Eastern custom at that time was still to keep The Feast of Passover on the prescribed day by GOD IN HIS WORD- The Holy Day of “Passover” in Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23…
Worthy of noting is that it appears here that the churches “in the east” had not (up to this point) yielded to the idea of trading away The Commandments of God for the doctrines and traditions of men– at least not when it came to The Passover service, in Christ Jesus.
From that point on, however, things would be done differently- the practices would openly change in all of those churches (this was a great victory for The Roman churches)…
Mark 7:6-13 (KJV)
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: [11] But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. [12] And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; [13] Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Also, note the comment made concerning “Easter” being kept “from ancient times“… This was true in the sense that the Roman pagans worshipped of many gods, and had for a long time kept the rituals of Easter in their spring festival.

Let’s remember that this council was a mere 230 years after Apostles of The Lord were leading His Church- the Apostles’ time was not “ancient” to these people… “Easter” had for ages been embedded in the Roman culture (tradition)- as pagan rituals.
“Easter” would now be made a Roman holy day for all the “Christian” churches, though it was not at all a Holy Day of Jehovah, God (The Father of Jesus Christ).

Historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, the Council was the first occasion where the technical aspects of Christology were discussed. Through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt creeds and canons.


The First Council of Nicea was CONVENED BY CONSTANTINE I upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of C…rdoba in the Eastertide of 325. This synod had been charged with investigation of the trouble brought about by the Arian controversy in the Greek-speaking east.[15]
To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were heretical and dangerous to the salvation of souls. In the summer of 325, the bishops of all provinces were summoned to Nicea (now known as Iznik, in modern-day Turkey), a place easily accessible to the majority of delegates, particularly those of Asia Minor, Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace.

This was the first general council in the history of the Church since the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, the Apostolic council having established the conditions upon which Gentiles could join the Church.[16]
In the Council of Nicea, “the Church had taken HER FIRST GREAT STEP TO DEFINE DOCTRINE more precisely in response to a challenge from a heretical theology.”[17]

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
It is the internal ecclesiastical LAW GOVERNING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (both Latin Rite and Eastern Catholic Churches), the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of churches.
The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches.
In all three TRADITIONS, a canon was originally A RULE ADOPTED BY A COUNCIL; these canons formed the foundation of canon law”

The Nicene Council would be a turning point in Christianity- this would be the “first great step to define doctrine” by the many leaders in the church at that time. This marked the first time the Church teachers would take it upon themselves to create Doctrine that was not in accord to what God had written in HIS Word, by HIS chosen Prophets and Apostles, and establish it as one common teaching for ALL “Christianity” (a “Christianity” that MAN would define from this point forward).

Notice “Canon Law” is doctrines and precepts of men (a rule adopted by a Council), rather than The Word of God – “what is written”; as The Lord’s apostle, Paul wrote [1st Cor. 4:6],
“…that in us you might LEARN NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS WRITTEN, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.”

And Jesus, our Lord’s words:
Matthew 15:2-9 (NASB)
“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” [3] And He answered and said to them, “And why do you yourselves TRANSGRESS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR TRADITION?
[4] “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him BE PUT TO DEATH.’
[5] “But you say, ‘Whoever shall say to his father or mother, “Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,” [6] he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And thus you INVALIDATED THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR TRADITION.
[7] “YOU HYPOCRITES, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
[9] ‘But IN VAIN do they worship Me,

John 15:10 (NASB)
IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, you will abide in My love; just as I HAVE KEPT MY FATHER’S COMMANDMENTS, and abide in His love.
1 John 5:3 (NASB)
For THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Codex Theodosianus
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Codex Theodosianus was a compilation of the laws of the Roman Empire under the Christian emperors SINCE 312.
A commission was established by Theodosius II in 429[1] and the compilation was published in the eastern half of the Roman Empire in 438.[2]
One year later, it was also introduced in the West by the emperor Valentinian III.Contents
1 History
2 Context of Code
3 Sources
4 Notes
5 References
6 External links

On March 26, 429, Emperor Theodosius II announced to the senate of Constantinople his intentions to form a committee to codify all of the laws (leges, singular lex) from the reign of Constantine up to Theodosius II and Valentinian III. Twenty-two scholars, working in two teams, worked for nine years starting in 429 to assemble what was to become the Theodosian Code.[3] Their product was a collection of 16 books containing more than 2,500 constitutions issued between 313 and 437.
John F. Matthews illustrates the importance of Theodosius’ Code when he said, “the Theodosian Code was the first occasion since the Twelve Tables on which a Roman government had attempted by public authority to collect and publish its leges.”[4] The code covers political, socioeconomic, cultural and religious subjects of the fourth and fifth century in the Roman Empire. [5]

A collection of imperial enactments called the Codex Gregorianus had been written IN 291 and the Codex Hermogenianus, a limited collection of rescripts FROM 293-294, was published.

Theodosius desired to create a code that would provide much greater insight into law during the later Empire (321-429). According to Peter Stein, “Theodosius was perturbed at the low state of legal skill in his empire of the East.” He apparently started a school of law at Constantinople. In 429 he assigned a commission to collect all imperial constitutions since the time of Constantine. [6] The laws in the code span from 312-438, so by 438 the “volume of imperial law had become unmanageable”[7] During the process of gathering the vast amount of material, often editors would have multiple copies of the same law. In addition to this, the source material the editors were drawing upon changed over time. Clifford Ando notes that according to Matthews, the editors “displayed a reliance on western provincial sources through the late fourth century and on central, eastern archives thereafter.”[8]

After six years an initial version was finished IN 435, but it was not published, instead it was improved upon and expanded and finally finished IN 438 and taken to the Senate in Rome and Constantinople. Matthews believes that the two attempts are not a result of a failed first attempt, but instead the second attempt shows “reiteration and refinement of the original goals at a new stage in the editorial process.”[9] Others have put forth alternate theories to explain the lengthy editorial process and two different commissions. Boudewijn Sirks believes that “the code was compiled from imperial copy books found at Constantinople, Rome, or Ravenna, supplemented by material at a few private collections, and that the delays were caused by such problems as verifying the accuracy of the text and improving the legal coherence of the work.”[10]
Context of Code

The Code was written in Latin and incorporated the terms Constantinopolitana and Roma for Constantine’s capital and for the original capital in Italy.[11] It was also concerned with the imposition of orthodoxy – the Arian controversy was ongoing – within the Christian religion and contains 65 decrees directed at heretics.[12]

Notice that the “Arians” were only one sect of many that would be considered as “heretics” after The Council of Nicaea…
Anyone considering themselves to be a Christian, who would dare adhere to the teachings of The Bible- (i.e. Seventh Day Sabbath and Holy Days of The Law of God, The Father of Jesus Christ) would from this point be labeled as “heretics” as well:
Rev. 12:17 (NASB)
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, WHO KEEP the commandments of God AND hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Originally, Theodosius had attempted to commission leges generales beginning with Constantine to be used as a supplement for the Codex Gregorianus and the Codex Hermogenianus. He intended to supplement the legal codes with the opinions and writings of ancient Roman Jurists, much like the Digest found later in Justinian’s Code. But the task proved to be too great, and in 435 it was decided to concentrate solely on the laws from Constantine to the time of writing. This decision defined the greatest difference between the Theodosian Code and Justinian’s later Corpus Juris Civilis.

John F. Matthews observes, “The Theodosian Code does, however, differ from the work of Justinian (except the Novellae), in that it was largely based not on existing juristic writings and collections of texts, but on primary sources that had never before been brought together.”[13] Justinian’s Code, published about 100 years later, comprised both ius, “law as an interpretive discipline”, and leges, “the primary legislation upon which the interpretation was based.”[14] While the first part, or Codex, of Justinian’s Corpus Civilis Juris contained 12 books of constitutions, or imperial laws, the second and third parts, the Digest and the Institutiones, contained the ius of Classical Roman jurists and the Institutes of Gaius.

While the Theodosian Code may seem to lack a personal facet due to the absence of judicial reviews, upon further review the legal code can give us insight into Theodosius’ motives behind the codification. Lenski quotes Matthews as noting that the “imperial constitutions represented not only prescriptive legal formulas but also descriptive pronouncements of an emperor’s moral and ideological principles.”[15] Apart from clearing up confusion and creating a single, simplified and supercedent code, Theodosius II was also attempting to solidify Christianity as the official religion of the Empire, begun under Constantine’s rule. In his City of God, St. Augustine praised Theodosius the Great, Theodosius II’s grandfather, who shared his faith and devotion to its establishment, as “a Christian ruler whose piety was expressed by the laws he had issued in favor of the Catholic Church.” [16]

Books 1-5 lack the level of manuscript support available for books 6-16. The first five books of the surviving Codex draw largely from two other manuscripts. The Turin manuscript, also known as “T,” consists of 43, largely discontinuous folios.[17] The second manuscript is a Breviarium, and a good part of the Breviarium that is included in book 1 actually contains the original text of the respective part of the original codex.[17] The latter part of the Codex, books 6-16, drew largely from two texts as well. Books 6-8 of the Codex were preserved in the text of a document known as Parsinus 9643.[18] The document circulated early medieval French libraries, as well as the other formative document for the latter part of the code, a document held in the Vatican (Vat. Reg. 886), also known as “V”.[18] Scholars consider this section to have been transmitted completely.[18]

The Council of Nicaea was THE BEGINNING of “The Catholic Church” defining “Christianity” for the world. The results have been clear, in the form of today’s Sunday, Christmas, Easter- keeping churches. They all stem from this council, and follow its doctrines.

Over the next 1700 years the term “Christian” would become linked to anyone who confessed the name of Christ and followed A CATHOLIC doctrine (the Nicene Creed), RATHER THAN the Keeping of The Commandments of God

It is interesting to consider that in today’s definition of “Christian”, keeping The Ten Commandments has become something that would be considered “heresy“. For one to follow the practices of the Church during the Apostles’ time- that of observing “The SEVENTH Day as Sabbath”, along with The Holy Days commanded and ordained BY GOD- this by the decree of Nicaea would be considered “Judaizing”, and “heretical”.

There were many more Catholic councils, after this first held in Nicaea. In the six major councils that followed, The Nicene Churches would confirm many things as accepted doctrinal stances, such as: praying to departed saints, Mary as Queen of Heaven, and the acceptance of crucifixes and other images of representation before which to bow oneself.

It is “The Love of The Truth” (The Word of God) that will guard anyone from the errors of this false-Christian practice of ANNULLING The Law of God in order to keep the traditions (laws) of MAN.

For a defining of the term “Christian” BY GOD’S WORD (“The Truth”), and for other relative text-studies, you may refer to the following:

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