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How the Council of Nicea Changed the World

How the Council of Nicea Changed the World

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Published by Stack A. Brown
Una síntesis sobre la cuestión principal que motivó que Constantino convocara a reunirse a los obispos cristianos en el verano del 318.
Una síntesis sobre la cuestión principal que motivó que Constantino convocara a reunirse a los obispos cristianos en el verano del 318.

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Published by: Stack A. Brown on Apr 01, 2008
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01/11/2013

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How the Council of Nicea Changed the World
By Heather Whipps, LiveScience's History Columnistposted: 31 March 2008 ET
 
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Each Monday, this column turns a page in history to explore the discoveries,events and people that continue to affect the history being made today.
 When Constantine became the first Christian leader of the Roman Empire inthe 4th century, his vast territory was populated by a hodgepodge of beliefsand religions.Within his own young religion, there was also dissent, with one majorquestion threatening to cleave the popular cult — as it was at the time — intowarring factions: Was Jesus divine, and how?It's hard to imagine riots in the streets, pamphlet wars and vicious rhetoricspawned by such a question, but that was the nature of things in A.D. 325,when Constantine was forced to take action to quell the controversy.That summer, 318 bishops from across the empire were invited to theTurkish town of Nicea, where Constantine had a vacation house, in an attempt to findcommon ground on what historians now refer to as the Arian Controversy. Itwas the first ever worldwide gathering of the Church.The Christianity we know today is a result of what those men agreed uponover that sticky month, including the timing of the religion's most importantholiday, Easter, which celebrates Jesus rising from the dead.
Young religion
 Christianity was young and still working out the kinks when Constantine tookpower over the Roman Empire in A.D. 306. Christian doctrine at the time wasmuddled and inconsistent, especially when it came to the central question of Jesus' relationship toGod.Jesus was as eternally divine as the Father, said one camp led by theArchbishop Alexander of Alexandria. Another group, named the Arians after
 
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.
Savvy move
 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

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