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Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council

On this day, the Church commemorates the memory of the 318 Fathers who participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325). At this council, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was defined. Arius (280-336), an archpriest of Alexandria, had taught the heresy that the Son was not equal to the Father, being neither of the same essence nor eternal; consequently, Mary, His mother, could not be the Mother of God (Theotokos). Arius also taught that the Holy Spirit was a creature, the most perfect creature of God, but not God. Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, opposed these errors with all his might. He eloquently upheld the true teaching, that the Word of God was indeed God in reality, and that through the Incarnation He became a real man. Athanasius also reaffirmed that the Holy Spirit was true God.

The controversy had raged throughout the Roman empire, throwing it into a state of turmoil. Emperor Constantine decided to submit the matter to the judgement of the universal Church, and so he called for an Ecumenical Council that convened in Nicea; The council, in response to Arius' teaching, upheld orthodox doctrine in the following words:

"I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only-begotten, born of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one substance (essence or being) with the Father through whom all things were made!"



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