Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963; the main aim was to achieve greater lay participation in the Catholic Church's liturgy. The title is taken from the opening lines of the document and means "this Sacred Council"; the numbers given correspond to section numbers within the text. Introduction General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy General Norms Norms Drawn from the Hierarchic and Communal Nature of the Liturgy Norms Based Upon the Didactic and Pastoral Nature of the Liturgy Norms for Adapting the Liturgy to the Culture and Traditions of Peoples Promotion of Liturgical Life in Diocese and Parish The Promotion of Pastoral-Liturgical Action The Most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist The Other Sacraments and the Sacramentals The Divine Office The Liturgical Year Sacred Music Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings Appendix: A Declaration of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican on Revision of the Calendar As is customary with Catholic documents, the name of this constitution, "Sacred Council" in Latin, is taken from the first line of the document: 1.
This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful. The Council therefore sees cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy. One of the first issues considered by the council, the matter that had the most immediate effect on the lives of individual Catholics, was the renewal of the liturgy; the central idea was. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations, demanded by the nature of the liturgy; such participation by the Christian people as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people, is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. Popes Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII asked that the people be taught how to chant the responses at Mass and that they learn the prayers of the Mass in order to participate intelligently. Now the bishops decreed that: "To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, psalmody and songs."
Composers should "produce compositions which... for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful."After centuries when, with the Mass in Latin, Catholic piety centred around popular devotions, the bishops decreed that "Popular devotions... should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its nature far surpasses any of them."On 24 August 2017 Pope Francis emphasized that "the reform of the liturgy is irreversible" and called for continued efforts to implement the reforms, repeating what Pope Paul VI had said one year before he died: "The time has come, now, to leave aside the disruptive ferments pernicious in one sense or the other, to implement according to its right inspiring criteria, the reform approved by us in application of the decisions of the council." The council fathers established guidelines to govern the renewal of the liturgy, which included and encouraged greater use of the vernacular in addition to Latin for the biblical readings and other prayers.
Implementation of the council's directives on the liturgy was to be carried out under the authority of Pope Paul VI by a special papal commission incorporated in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and, in the areas entrusted to them, by national conferences of bishops, which, if they had a shared language, were expected to collaborate in producing a common translation. Magnum principium Mass of Paul VI Musicam sacram
Second Vatican Council
The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965. Several changes resulted from the council, including the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, the universal call to holiness, which according to Pope Paul VI was "the most characteristic and ultimate purpose of the teachings of the Council". According to Pope Benedict XVI, the most important and essential message of the council is "the Paschal Mystery as the center of what it is to be Christian and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons". Other changes which followed the council included the widespread use of vernacular languages in the Mass instead of Latin, the subtle disuse of ornate clerical regalia, the revision of Eucharistic prayers, the abbreviation of the liturgical calendar, the ability to celebrate the Mass versus populum, as well as ad orientem, modern aesthetic changes encompassing contemporary Catholic liturgical music and artwork.
Many of these changes remain divisive among the Catholic faithful. Of those who took part in the council's opening session, four have become popes: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding John XXIII took the name Pope Paul VI. In the 1950s, theological and biblical studies in the Catholic Church had begun to sway away from the Neo-Scholasticism and biblical literalism which a reaction to Catholic modernism had enforced since the First Vatican Council; this shift could be seen in theologians such as Karl Rahner, Michael Herbert, John Courtney Murray who looked to integrate modern human experience with church principles based on Jesus Christ, as well as others such as Yves Congar, Joseph Ratzinger and Henri de Lubac, who looked to an accurate understanding of scripture and the early Church Fathers as a source of renewal. At the same time, the world's bishops faced challenges driven by political, social and technological change; some of these bishops sought new ways of addressing those challenges.
The First Vatican Council had been held nearly a century before but had been cut short in 1870 when the Italian Army entered the city of Rome at the end of Italian unification. As a result, only deliberations on the role of the papacy and the congruent relationship of faith and reason were completed, with examination of pastoral issues concerning the direction of the Church left unaddressed. Pope John XXIII, gave notice of his intention to convene the Council on 25 January 1959, less than three months after his election in October 1958; this sudden announcement, which caught the Curia by surprise, caused little initial official comment from Church insiders. Reaction to the announcement was widespread and positive from both religious and secular leaders outside the Catholic Church, the council was formally summoned by the apostolic constitution Humanae Salutis on 25 December 1961. In various discussions before the Council convened, John XXIII said that it was time to "open the windows and let in some fresh air".
He invited other Christians outside the Catholic Church to send observers to the Council. Acceptances came from both the Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestant denominations as internal observers, but these observers did not cast votes in the approbation of the conciliar documents. Pope John XXIII's announcement on 25 January 1959 of his intention to call a general council came as a surprise to the cardinals present; the Pontiff pre-announced the council under a full moon when the faithful with their candlelights gathered in St. Peter's square and jokingly noted about the brightness of the moon, he had tested the idea only ten days before with one of them, his Cardinal Secretary of State Domenico Tardini, who gave enthusiastic support to the idea. Although the Pope said the idea came to him in a flash in his conversation with Tardini, two cardinals had earlier attempted to interest him in the idea, they were two of the most conservative, Ernesto Ruffini and Alfredo Ottaviani, who had in 1948 proposed the idea to Pope Pius XII and who put it before John XXIII on 27 October 1958.
Actual preparations for the Council took more than two years, included work from 10 specialised commissions, people for mass media and Christian Unity, a Central Commission for overall coordination. These groups, composed of members of the Roman Curia, produced 987 proposed constituting sessions, making it the largest gathering in any council in church history. Attendance varied in sessions from 2,100 to over 2,300. In addition, a varying number of periti were available for theological consultation—a group that turned out to have a major influence as the council went forward. Seventeen Orthodox Churches and Protestant denominations sent observers. More than three dozen representatives of other Christian communities were present at the opening session, the number grew to nearly 100 by the end of the 4th Council Sessions. Pope John XXIII opened the Council on 11 October 1962 in a public session and read the declaration Gaudet Mater Ecclesia before the Council Fathers. What is needed at the present t
Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was one of thirteen children born to a family of sharecroppers who lived in a village in Lombardy, he was ordained to the priesthood on 10 August 1904 and served in a number of posts, as nuncio in France and a delegate to Bulgaria and Turkey. In a consistory on 12 January 1953 Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca in addition to naming him as the Patriarch of Venice. Roncalli was unexpectedly elected pope on 28 October 1958 at age 76 after 11 ballots. Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by calling the historic Second Vatican Council, the first session opening on 11 October 1962, his passionate views on equality were summed up in his statement, "We were all made in God's image, thus, we are all Godly alike."John XXIII made many passionate speeches during his pontificate.
He made a major impact on the Catholic Church, opening it up to dramatic unexpected changes promulgated at the Vatican Council and by his own dealings with other churches and nations. In Italian politics, he prohibited bishops from interfering with local elections, he helped the Christian Democratic Party to cooperate with the socialists. In international affairs, his "Ostpolitik" engaged in dialogue with the Communist countries of Eastern Europe, he reached out to the Eastern Orthodox churches. His overall goal was to modernize the Church by emphasizing its pastoral role, its necessary involvement with affairs of state, he dropped the traditional rule of 70 cardinals, increasing the size to 85. He used the opportunity to name the first cardinals from Africa and the Philippines, he promoted ecumenical movements in cooperation with other Christian faiths. In doctrinal matters, he was a traditionalist, but he ended the practice of automatically formulating social and political policies on the basis of old theological propositions.
He did not live to see the Vatican Council to completion. His cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by his successor, Pope Paul VI, who declared him a Servant of God. On 5 July 2013, Pope Francis – bypassing the traditionally required second miracle – declared John XXIII a saint, based on his virtuous, model lifestyle, because of the good which had come from his having opened the Second Vatican Council, he was canonised alongside Pope John Paul II on 27 April 2014. John XXIII today is affectionately known as the "Good Pope" and in Italian, "il Papa buono". Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born on 25 November 1881 in Sotto il Monte, a small country village in the Bergamo province of the Lombardy region of Italy, he was the eldest son of Giovanni Battista Roncalli and his wife Marianna Giulia Mazzolla, fourth in a family of 13. His siblings were: Maria Caterina Teresa Ancilla Francesco Zaverio Maria Elisa Assunta Casilda Domenico Giuseppe Alfredo Giovanni Francesco Enrica Giuseppe Luigi Luigi His family worked as sharecroppers, as did most of the people of Sotto il Monte – a striking contrast to that of his predecessor, Eugenio Pacelli, who came from an ancient aristocratic family long connected to the papacy.
Roncalli was nonetheless a descendant of an Italian noble family, albeit from a secondary and impoverished branch. In 1889, Roncalli received both his First Communion and Confirmation at the age of 8. On 1 March 1896, Luigi Isacchi, the spiritual director of his seminary, enrolled him into the Secular Franciscan Order, he professed his vows as a member of that order on 23 May 1897. In 1904, Roncalli completed his doctorate in Canon Law and was ordained a priest in the Catholic Church of Santa Maria in Monte Santo in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on 10 August. Shortly after that, while still in Rome, Roncalli was taken to Saint Peter's Basilica to meet Pope Pius X. After this, he would return to his town to celebrate mass for the Assumption. In 1905, Giacomo Radini-Tedeschi, the new Bishop of Bergamo, appointed Roncalli as his secretary. Roncalli worked for Radini-Tedeschi until the bishop's death on 22 August 1914, two days after the death of Pope Pius X. Radini-Tedeschi's last words to Roncalli were "Angelo, pray for peace".
The death of Radini-Tedeschi had a deep effect on Roncalli. During this period Roncalli was a lecturer in the diocesan seminary in Bergamo. During World War I, Roncalli was drafted into the Royal Italian Army as a sergeant, serving in the medical corps as a stretcher-bearer and as a chaplain. After being discharged from the army in early 1919, he was named spiritual director of the seminary. On 6 November 1921, Roncalli travelled to Rome. After their meeting, Pope Benedict XV appointed him as the Italian president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Roncalli would recall Benedict XV as being the most sympathetic of the popes he had met. In February 1925, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri summoned him to the Vatican and informed him of Pope Pius XI's decision to appoint him as the Apostolic Visitor to Bulgaria. On 3 March, Pius XI named him for consecration as titular archbishop of Areopolis, Jordan. Roncalli was reluctant about a mission to Bulgaria, but he would soon relent.
His nomination as apostolic visitor was made official on 19 Marc
Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. Calvinists broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Calvinists differ from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, the use of God's law for believers, among other things; as declared in the Westminster and Second Helvetic confessions, the core doctrines are predestination and election. The term Calvinism can be misleading, because the religious tradition which it denotes has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. In the context of the Reformation, Huldrych Zwingli began the Reformed tradition in 1519 in the city of Zürich, his followers were labeled Zwinglians, consistent with the Catholic practice of naming heresy after its founder. Soon, Zwingli was joined by Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, William Farel, Johannes Oecolampadius and other early Reformed thinkers.
The namesake of the movement, French reformer John Calvin, converted to the Reformed tradition from Roman Catholicism only in the late 1520s or early 1530s as it was being developed. The movement was first called referring to John Calvin, by Lutherans who opposed it. Many within the tradition find it either an indescriptive or an inappropriate term and would prefer the word Reformed to be used instead; some Calvinists prefer the term Augustinian-Calvinism since Calvin credited his theology to Augustine of Hippo. The most important Reformed theologians include John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, John Knox. In the twentieth century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Karl Barth, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, R. C. Sproul were influential. Contemporary Reformed theologians include J. I. Packer, John MacArthur, Timothy J. Keller, David Wells, Michael Horton. Reformed churches may exercise several forms of ecclesiastical polity.
Calvinism is represented by Continental Reformed and Congregationalist traditions. The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches with more than 100 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. There are more conservative Reformed federations such as the World Reformed Fellowship and the International Conference of Reformed Churches, as well as independent churches. Calvinism is named after John Calvin, it was first used by a Lutheran theologian in 1552. It was a common practice of the Catholic Church to name; the term first came out of Lutheran circles. Calvin denounced the designation himself: They could attach us no greater insult than this word, Calvinism, it is not hard to guess. Despite its negative connotation, this designation became popular in order to distinguish Calvinists from Lutherans and from newer Protestant branches that emerged later; the vast majority of churches that trace their history back to Calvin do not use it themselves, since the designation "Reformed" is more accepted and preferred in the English-speaking world.
Moreover, these churches claim to be—in accordance with John Calvin's own words—"renewed accordingly with the true order of gospel". Since the Arminian controversy, the Reformed tradition—as a branch of Protestantism distinguished from Lutheranism—divided into two separate groups: Arminians and Calvinists. However, it is now rare to call Arminians a part of the Reformed tradition. While the Reformed theological tradition addresses all of the traditional topics of Christian theology, the word Calvinism is sometimes used to refer to particular Calvinist views on soteriology and predestination, which are summarized in part by the Five Points of Calvinism; some have argued that Calvinism as a whole stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things including salvation. First-generation Reformed theologians include Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, John Oecolampadius, Guillaume Farel; these reformers came from diverse academic backgrounds, but distinctions within Reformed theology can be detected in their thought the priority of scripture as a source of authority.
Scripture was viewed as a unified whole, which led to a covenantal theology of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper as visible signs of the covenant of grace. Another Reformed distinctive present in these theologians was their denial of the bodily presence of Christ in the Lord's supper; each of these theologians understood salvation to be by grace alone, affirmed a doctrine of particular election. Martin Luther and his successor Philipp Melanchthon were undoubtedly significant influences on these theologians, to a larger extent Reformed theologians; the doctrine of justification by faith alone was a direct inheritance from Luther. John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Wolfgang Musculus, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Andreas Hyperius belong to the second generation of Reformed theologians. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion was one of the most influential theologies of the era. Toward the middle of the 16th
Nostra aetate is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on 28 October 1965 by Pope Paul VI, it is the shortest of the 16 final documents of the Council and "the first in Catholic history to focus on the relationship that Catholics have with Jews." It "reveres the work of God in all the major faith traditions." It begins by stating its purpose of reflecting on what humankind have in common in these times when people are being drawn closer together. Pope John XXIII had conceived it as an expression of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews. Over the course of several substantial revisions, the focus of the document was broadened to address relationships with several faiths. Opposition from conservative elements in the Church was overcome and support was gained from Jewish organisations. Nostra aetate was intended to be about the relations between the Catholic church and Judaism.
Some objected, including Middle Eastern bishops. Cardinal Bea decided on a less contentious document that stressed ecumenism with all non-Christian faiths. While coverage of Hinduism and Buddhism is brief, two of the five sections are given to Islam and Judaism; the first draft, Decretum de Iudaeis, was undertaken by Cardinal Bea, head of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, at the direction of Pope John XXIII on 18 September 1960. It was never submitted to the Council; the question arose of whether this should be a separate document of the Council, included in a document on the Church or on ecumenism among Christian religions, or a separate declaration on the Church's relations with non-Christian religions. Five drafts were to be produced and amendments to the declaration before its final adoption; the first draft, entitled Decretum de Iudaeis, was completed in November 1961 fourteen months after Pope John XXIII tasked Cardinal Augustin Bea, a Jesuit and biblical scholar, with its composition.
This text was not submitted to the Council, which opened on 11 October 1962. It read: The Church, the Bride of Christ, acknowledges with a heart full of gratitude that, according to God's mysterious saving design, the beginnings of her faith and election go as far back as to the Israel of the Patriarchs and Prophets, thus she acknowledges that all Christian believers, children of Abraham by faith, are included in his call. Her salvation is prefigured in the deliverance of the Chosen People out of Egypt, as in a sacramental sign, and the Church, a new creation in Christ, can never forget that she is the spiritual continuation of the people with whom, in His mercy and gracious condescension, God made the Old Covenant. The Church, in fact, believes that Christ, who "is our peace," embraces Jews and Gentiles with one and the same love and that He made the two one, she rejoices that the union of these two "in one body" proclaims the whole world's reconciliation in Christ. Though the greater part of the Jewish people has remained separated from Christ, it would be an injustice to call this people accursed, since they are beloved for the sake of the Fathers and the promises made to them.
The Church loves this people. From them sprang Christ the Lord, who reigns in glory in heaven. Furthermore, the Church believes in the union of the Jewish people with herself as an integral part of Christian hope. With unshaken faith and deep longing the Church awaits union with this people. At the time of Christ's coming, "a remnant chosen by grace", the first fruits of the Church, accepted the Eternal Word; the Church believes, with the Apostle that at the appointed time, the fullness of the children of Abraham according to the flesh will embrace him, salvation. Their acceptance will be life from the dead; as the Church, like a mother, condemns most injustices committed against innocent people everywhere, so she raises her voice in loud protest against all wrongs done to Jews, whether in the past or in our time. Whoever despises or persecutes this people does injury to the Catholic Church; the first draft was reworked as a supplementary fourth chapter of a "Decree on Ecumenism". Debate on this document, "On the Attitude of Catholics Toward Non-Christians and Especially Toward Jews", although distributed to the Council's Second Session on 8 November 1963, was postponed until the Third Session.
This draft was notable for addressing the "deicide" charge against the Jews directly, saying "it is wrong to call them an accursed people... or a deicidal people". The third draft, "On the Jews and Non-Christians", took the form of an appendix to the "Schema on Ecumenism", it deleted the word "deicidal" and added material on other religions Muslims. In presenting the document to the Council on 28 September 1964, Cardinal Bea encouraged the Council Fathers to strengthen it, they discussed this draft on 29 September. The publicly recorded debate on the third draft took place on 28 September 1964 and on the following days. Since the Vatican Council archives are still "substantially inaccessible", it is difficult to measure the impact of the public and the behind-the-scenes initiatives. Participants included Cardinals Joseph Ritter of St. Louis, Richard Cushing of Boston, Albert Meyer of Chicago, Lawrence Shehan of Baltimore, Lercaro of Bologne, Liénart of L
Vicar of Christ
Vicar of Christ is a term used in different ways and with different theological connotations throughout history. The original notion of a vicar is as an "earthly representative of Christ", but it's used in the sense of "person acting as parish priest in place of a real person." The title is now used in Catholicism to refer to the bishops and more to the Bishop of Rome. During the history of Christianity, the title of Vicar of Christ was used in different ways, with implications for theological, pastoral or different time; the first record of the concept of the Vicar of Christ is mentioned in the Epistle to the Magnesians of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, a disciple of both John the Apostle and Saint Peter, with a pastoral sense, written between the years 88 and 107 AD "your bishop presides in the place of God". Although Ignatius did not explicitly use the term Vicar of Christ, he sets out the concept. More the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium noted that bishops are "vicars and ambassadors of Christ," and the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that each bishop governs his diocese "s Christ's vicar."The second recorded use of the term "Vicar of Christ" is found in the epistles of Tertullian in the 3rd century, with a different theological slant to refer to the Holy Spirit, that is, as Christ is not physically performing miracles in the Church, Holy Spirit acts as his Vicar on his behalf, performing miracles and preventing the Church err.
It is unknown whether this term was used in the early Church, or whether it was a personal theological observation of Tertullian. The third use of the term Vicar of Christ appears in the 5th century, in a synod of bishops to refer to Pope Gelasius I; the theological connotations of the title got a pastoral sense, evoking the words of Christ to the Apostle Peter, regarded by the first Catholic Pope in John 21:16-17, "Feed my lambs... Feed my sheep", so Christ made Peter his vicar and pastor with the responsibility to feed his flock in his own place. However, the use of the title to refer to the popes in the early Church was unstable, several variants of the use of Vicar were used for the Pope, as "Vicar of Peter", indicating that they were the successors of St. Peter, "Vicar of the Prince of the Apostles" or "Vicar of the Apostolic See", among other variants; this title is used by the Roman Missal in their prayers for a dead pope, the oath of allegiance to St. Boniface to Pope Gregory II. Since 1200, Popes have used this title.
Insisting that he - and he alone - had the right to remove bishops from office, Pope Innocent III appealed to the title of Vicar of Christ. Popes like Nicholas III used "Vicar of God" as an equivalent title) The 2012 edition of the Annuario Pontificio gives "Vicar of Jesus Christ" as the second official title of the Pope. Another use of the title, with a different meaning, appeared in the Eastern Churches, in use between the century fifth and sixth, the term was used to refer to the Byzantine emperor, showing the apex of caesaropapism. Though decisions on doctrine and spirituality were left to the bishops, the Emperor had tremendous influence on the church, charged with tasks in the service of the crown, such as supervising temporal authorities. Supreme Governor, the closest Anglican equivalent Vicarius Filii Dei for Saint Peter Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Vicar of Christ". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Hosius of Corduba, one of the papal legates, may have presided over its deliberations, its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the divine nature of God the Son and his relationship to God the Father, the construction of the first part of the Nicene Creed, establishing uniform observance of the date of Easter, promulgation of early canon law. The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.
Derived from Greek, "ecumenical" means "worldwide" but is assumed to be limited to the known inhabited Earth, at this time in history is synonymous with the Roman Empire. One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been'begotten' by the Father from his own being, therefore having no beginning, or else created out of nothing, therefore having a beginning. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly. 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, stated:We send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question 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.
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 canons; this council is considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity. The First Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of Córdoba 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. To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were dangerous to the salvation of souls. In the summer of 325, the bishops of all provinces were summoned to Nicaea, a place reasonably accessible to many delegates those of Asia Minor, Armenia, Egypt and Thrace; this was the first general council in the history of the Church summoned by emperor Constantine I.
In the Council of Nicaea, "The Church had taken her first great step to define revealed doctrine more in response to a challenge from a heretical theology." Constantine had invited all 1,800 bishops of the Christian church within the Roman Empire, but a smaller and unknown number attended. Eusebius of Caesarea counted more than 250, Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318, Eustathius of Antioch estimated "about 270". Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300, Evagrius, Hilary of Poitiers, Dionysius Exiguus, Rufinus recorded 318; this number 318 is preserved in the liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Delegates came including Britain; the participating bishops were given free travel to and from their episcopal sees to the council, as well as lodging. These bishops did not travel alone. Eusebius speaks of an innumerable host of accompanying priests and acolytes. A Syriac manuscript lists the names of the eastern bishops which included twenty two from Coele-Syria, nineteen from Palestine, ten from Phoenicia, six from Arabia, etc. but the distinction of bishops from presbyters had not yet formed.
The Eastern bishops formed the great majority. Of these, the first rank was held by the patriarchs: Alexander of Alexandria and Eustathius of Antioch. Many of the assembled fathers—for instance, Paphnutius of Thebes, Potamon of Heraclea, Paul of Neocaesarea—had stood forth as confessors of the faith a