This Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. This week we remember and celebrate the day that St. Constantine gathered 318 Fathers of our Church in Nicaea in 325 A.D., to discuss the issues threatening the unity of the Church. The biggest issue was the threat and heresy of Arianism. Arius, a priest in Alexandria, began to speak against Jesus, claiming that He was not equal to God. Jesus was just His son, a lesser being than God. This thinking began spreading throughout the Christian world, creating a divide in the Church. The Council declared the teachings of Arius to be heresy. And to clarify the true beliefs of our Christian faith, the Fathers of our Church wrote the Nicene Creed. All together, they declared that the Son and the Word of God is in one essence with the Father. The Nicene Creed was modified into our current version at the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 381 A.D.
Here is the translation of the original Nicene Creed, written at the First Council:
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
By whom all things were made in heaven and on earth;
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;
He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heave;
From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
And in the Holy Spirit.
But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’- they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.”
Today, almost 2,000 years later, we have successfully maintained our unity and faith through the guidance of our Holy Fathers and our Creed. Let us continue to have faith and trust in our Fathers so our Church can continue to thrive for generations to come.