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ST ANDREW’S GREEK ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE ADULT FAITH OPEN LEARNING, APRIL 6, MELBOURNE “INTRODUCING THE CREED” The Historical Context of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan.

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Presentation on theme: "ST ANDREW’S GREEK ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE ADULT FAITH OPEN LEARNING, APRIL 6, MELBOURNE “INTRODUCING THE CREED” The Historical Context of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan."— Presentation transcript:

1 ST ANDREW’S GREEK ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE ADULT FAITH OPEN LEARNING, APRIL 6, MELBOURNE “INTRODUCING THE CREED” The Historical Context of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed Mario Baghos Associate Lecturer in Patristic Studies and Church History, SAGOTC PhD Candidate in Studies in Religion University of Sydney

2 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Contents Introduction Background to the First Ecumenical Council The First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (325 AD) and the Formulation of the Creed Background to the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (381 AD) and the Completion of the Creed Concluding Remarks

3 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Background to the First Ecumenical Council From the Gospel according to St John “… that they may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (17:21) “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (18:20). - All scriptural quotes from NRSV

4 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Background to the First Ecumenical Council From the book of Acts “unless you have been circumcised according to the Law of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). “… it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication (Acts 15:28-29).”

5 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Background to the First Ecumenical Council ‘Ecumenical’ has double meaning: a) historical – the Eastern Roman oikoumene (ο ἰ κουμένη) or empire (conventionally known as Byzantium) b) spiritual – ‘universally’ valid for all Christians (the modern definition of ecumenical)

6 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Background to the First Ecumenical Council Some examples of councils before Nicaea in 325 AD. the council of Hierapolis (after 150 AD) the council of Carthage (251) the council of Arles (314) The former two convoked by bishops, the latter by emperor Constantine.

7 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed Ancient civilisations, mythologies, philosophies – all sought oneness, unity. Especially the case in Rome – the Tetrarchy.

8 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed The rise of Constantine The Edict of Milan in 312 New relationship between Church and state – a mixed blessing.

9 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed Arius - “there was once when he [i.e. God the Son] was not.” - From the anathema against Arius and his followers at the end of ‘The profession of faith of the 318 fathers’ in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Nicaea I- Lateran V, ed. Norman P. Tanner (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 1989), 5 Antithetical to Church’s experience of Christ as eternal God Opposed by St Alexander of Alexandria - the Son of God is Proper ( ἴ διος) to the Father

10 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed Constantine convoked council of Nicaea in 325, but was presided by Ossius bishop of Cordoba Church and state – mutual autonomy Main doctrine of Nicaea, that Christ is “of one essence with the Father” ( ὁ μοούσιον τ ῷ Πατρί).

11 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed The Creed of Nicaea We believe in one God the Father almighty, make of all things seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten from the Father, that is, from the substance of the Father ( ἐ κ τ ῆ ς ο ὐ σίας το ῦ Πατρός), God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one essence with the Father ( ὁ μοούσιον τ ῷ Πατρί); through whom all things were made, both in heaven and on earth (Con >)

12 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed Who for us humans and for our salvation came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, and is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit. - My translation of the Greek text found in ‘The profession of faith of the 318 fathers’ in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Nicaea I- Lateran V, 4.

13 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The First Ecumenical Council and the Formulation of the Creed St Athanasius advocated the spirit of Nicaea “…if the Son were a creature, man had remained mortal as before, not being joined to God.” - Thesaurus Linguae Grecae (TLG) Oratio II Contra Arianos 69. Fr Dr Doru Costache’s translation. that the Son assumed humanity as Christ Jesus so that “we might become gods.” - From the Greek text of his On the Incarnation in Patrologia Graeca (PG) 25, 192B.

14 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed Background to the Second Ecumenical Council and the Completion of the Creed The Arians, or “Eusebians,” persecute the Nicene Orthodox The spread of more heresies - the Macedonians or Pneumatomachians

15 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The Second Ecumenical Council and the Completion of the Creed Convocation of the second ecumenical council in Constantinople in 381 by Theodosius the Great Additions to the Creed: Chris is “begotten from the Father before all ages” (τ ὸ ν ἐ κ το ῦ Πατρ ὸ ς γεννηθέντα πρ ὸ πάντων τ ῶ ν α ἰ ώνων). Christ’s “kingdom will have no end.” The Father is “maker of heaven and earth.” - Text from The Divine Liturgy of our Father Among the Saints John Chrysostom, trans. Committee on the Translation of Liturgical Texts (Sydney: St Andrew’s Orthodox Press, 2005),

16 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The Second Ecumenical Council and the Completion of the Creed Additions to the Creed: The Holy Spirit is “Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, and who spoke through the prophets” Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and “crucified under Pontius Pilate.” - Text from The Divine Liturgy of our Father Among the Saints John Chrysostom, trans. Committee on the Translation of Liturgical Texts (Sydney: St Andrew’s Orthodox Press, 2005),

17 The Historical Context of the Nicene- Constantinopolitan Creed The Second Ecumenical Council and the Completion of the Creed Additions to the Creed: On the people of God, who belong to: one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection from the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen. - Text from The Divine Liturgy of our Father Among the Saints John Chrysostom, trans. Committee on the Translation of Liturgical Texts (Sydney: St Andrew’s Orthodox Press,2005),


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