their leader Arius the preacher, saw Jesus as a remarkable leader, but inferiorto the Father and lacking in absolute divinity.Supporters on both sides scrawled graffiti on town walls in defiance whilebishops from across the empire entered into a war of words as thecontroversy simmered to a head in 324.Fearing unrest in his otherwise peaceful territory, Constantine summoned thebishops to his lake house in Nicea on June 19, 325.
In a savvy move that would put today's shrewd politicians to shame, thecompromise proffered by Constantine was vague, but blandly pleasing: Jesusand God were of the same "substance," he suggested, without delving toomuch into the nature of that relationship. A majority of the bishops agreedon the compromise and voted to pass the language into doctrine.Their statement of compromise, which would come to be known as "TheNicene Creed," formed the basis for Christian ideology. The bishops also usedthe Council of Nicea to set in stone somechurchrules that neededclarification, and those canons were the reference point after which all futurelaws were modeled.As a final order of business, the bishops decided upon a date for the holiestof Christian celebrations, Easter, which was being observed at different timesaround the empire. Previously linked with the timing of Passover, the councilsettled on a moveable day that would never coincide again with theJewish holiday — the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernalequinox.
Nicene legends still circulating
While the Council of Nicea had important consequences, its significance hasbeen exaggerated into legend by a few conspiracy theorists, documentariesand books such as Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," historians say.Contrary to popular belief, the council had nothing to do with selecting whichverses andgospelswould be included in the Bible, nor whether Christianity