At another interview, Arius is asked to recite one of his songs.  He is happy to do so.

“…And so God Himself, as he really is, is inexpressible to all.
He alone has no equal, no one similar [homoios], and no one of the same glory.
We call him unbegotten, in contrast to him who by nature is begotten.
We praise him as without beginning in contrast to him who has a beginning. 
We worship him as timeless, in contrast to him who in time has come to exist.
He who is without beginning made the Son a beginning of created things.
He produced him as a son for himself by begetting him.


He [the son] has none of the distinct characteristics of God’s own being [kat’ hypostasis]
For he is not equal to, nor is he of the same being [homoousios] as him.
God is wise, for he himself is the teacher of Wisdom -
Sufficient proof that God is invisible to all:
He is invisible both to things which were made through the Son, and also to the Son himself.


I will say specifically how the invisible is seen by the Son;
by that power by which God is able to see, each according to his own measure,
the Son can bear to see the Father, as is determined
So there is a Triad, not in equal glories.
Their beings [hypostaseis] are not mixed together among themselves.
As far as their glories, one infinitely more glorious than the other.

The Father in his essence [ousia] is a foreigner to the Son,
because he exists without beginning.
Understand that the Monad (a single unit) [eternally] was;
but the Dyad (two of similar nature) was not before it came into existence.
It immediately follows that, although the Son did not exist, the Father was still God.


Hence the Son, not being [eternal] came into existence by the Father’s will,
He is the Only-begotten God, and this one is alien from [all] others.”  
“Wisdom came to be Wisdom by the will of the Wise God.
Hence he is conceived in innumerable aspects. He is Spirit,
Power, Wisdom, God’s glory, Truth, Image, and Word.
Understand that he is also conceived of as Radiance and Light.

The one who is superior is able to beget one equal to the Son,
But not someone more important, or superior*, or greater.
At God’s will the Son has the greatness and qualities that he has.
His existence from when and from whom and from then -- are all from God… 16

Clearly there are points we would not agree, however, if we were  speaking  to Arius  we  might  find  he  meant  something different from what his words convey.

The words, “For he is not equal to, nor is he of the same being [homoousios] as him” must be considered in the light of the meaning of the Greek word homoousios and its Trinitarian understanding.

The words “made the Son a beginning of created things” are not saying the Son was created when you connect them with “He produced him as a son for himself by begetting him.”  We can see from his writings that to Arius the words ‘created’, ‘made’, ‘begotten’ all mean the same.The non-Arians at the council find the songs novel and objectionable.  Athanasius, in his writings, calls them “light and effeminate poems”, a “sort of pleasant, jesting performance, a piece of profane buffoonery.” 17


The bishops, on hearing the songs, raise their hands in horror, and wishing to express their disgust at blasphemous words, put their hands over their ears and keep their eyes shut.  Martin Luther also faced ridicule for his songs from the tavern.  The tunes were catchy and well-known, and Arius took advantage of them, as did Luther in his day, when he used melodies from the taverns.

On hearing the song, Bishop Marcellus rises to his feet.  ‘I move that the council declare this song as heretical.  I also move that the man who wrote it be expelled from the church.’   Bitter denunciations follow.

Immediately another bishop stands.  ‘Tell me’, he says, ‘What is wrong with the song?  Isn’t Jesus the only-begotten Son of God?’

Eusebius of Nicomedia replies, ‘Bishop, the song is for those who are simple-minded and illiterate.’  18

Athanasius walks up the dias to where Hosius sits next to the Emperor.  ‘Hosius’ he asks, ‘Can you read the creed again and look at every word.  There must be a way it can be worded to make our point clear.  We cannot allow the heretical view to be seen in the creed.’

A hum of voices sounds around the great hall.   Some say they see nothing wrong with the creed and are willing to sign it.   Others believe Bishop Alexander and his archdeacon must have good reason for objecting.  They wait expectantly.

Hosius then says, ‘I have a letter I wrote some time back regarding the word homoousios  as relating to the Father and the Son because it meant that the Son was ‘of one substance’ with the Father. I condemned this position because it was evidently absurd.’

He finds the letter and shows it to Athanasius.  ‘Give it to Bishop Alexander.’  


When it is read by the bishop, he smiles and says, ‘Yes, this should be added.’

As he shares it with the men, they are jubilant.

‘Yes, this is the word’, exults Macarius.  

‘It isn’t a Bible word’, says Athanasius.

‘It doesn’t matter’, replies Alexander. ‘The Church has an obligation to express the truth of Scripture logically and systematically, especially against heresy.  At this time it requires non-Scriptural terminology.’

‘Yes’, says Eustathius, ‘If Scripture was to be limited to any particular meaning, we must go outside Scripture for technical terms to define that which was not clear.’   23   

The men in the party all agree, ‘Yes, add it to the paper’.

But will Constantine approve the creed now?

“The Athanasian party were not only convinced, but they were united,  and this,  with the additional fact  that  they  possessed the apostolic seats – Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome – must have at length made an impression on the majority and on the Emperor.”   24   

The Emperor had made up his mind.   He has decided to “gain the assent of the Orthodox”.  25 

‘Yes, insert the word’, says Constantine.  

Alexander, Athanasius, and the other orthodox bishops are now confident they can depend on Constantine to support them.  They continue to search the paper for other ways to make the creed more ‘orthodox’, which in turn is more objectionable to the Arian party.  Words and phrases are added, including anathemas of Arian beliefs. 

The Emperor approves them all.

The Creed is read in Greek by Hermogenes.

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the  only begotten [γεννηθέντα] of the Father, that is, of the substance [ὁμοούσιον, consubstantial] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance [ὁμοούσιον] with the Father, through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and  cometh to judge the living  and the dead.  And in the Holy Ghost.” 

Continuing, “Those who say:  There  was a time when He was not,  [ἤν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν]  and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made out of nothing [ex ouk onton];  or  who  maintain  that  He  is of another hypostasis or another substance  [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes.”  26

I rejoice at the mere sight of your assembly;  but the moment that I shall consider the chief fulfilment of my prayers will be when I see you all joined together in heart and soul, and determining on one peaceful harmony for all, which it should well become you who are consecrated to God, to preach to others. Do not then delay, my friends;  do not delay, ministers of God, and good servants of our common Lord and Saviour, to remove all grounds of difference, and to wind up by laws of peace every link of controversy.   Thus will you have done what is most pleasing to the God who is over all, and you will render the greatest boon to me, your fellow-servant.”  4

An interpreter now repeats the speech in Greek.

With the council formally opened, the emperor gives permission to the presidents of the assembly to commence their proceedings.  As these begin, the flood-gates of debate are opened wide. Recriminations and accusations, without regard to the Imperial presence, fly from one side of the room to the other. 

Constantine’s face remains unmoved, but inside he is disappointed with the attitude of these men.  Turning from speaker to speaker, he gives his whole attention to the questions proposed. 

“He condescends to lay aside his stately Latin,  and  addresses them in such broken Greek as he could command, still in that sweet  and  gentle  voice,  praising  some,  persuading others, putting others to the blush, but directing all his energies to that one point, which he has himself described as his aim – a unanimity of decision.”  5

The Emperor rises from his seat and stands before the assembly.  He puts his hand in his mantle and brings out a mass of petitions written on papyrus or parchment. He puts them before him, bound and sealed with the Imperial ring.

He then declares with an oath that he has not read a single one.  Calling for a brazier, he picks up the parchments and throws them into flames.  While they are smouldering, Constantine says, “It is the command of Christ, that he who desires to be himself forgiven, must first forgive his brother….” 6

As the papers vanish into ashes he urges, “Never let the faults of men in their consecrated offices be publicly known, to the scandal and temptation of the multitude.” 7

The opening meeting is closed, and the Emperor rises from his throne. The assembly stands and Constantine leaves the council.   

In the following days many discussions take place.  The most important is an ancient controversy between the East and the West on when to celebrate Easter.   Having two ‘Easters’ in one year is against the very idea of Christian unity. 8 

The debate is very heated as there are strong views on both sides.  The churches of the East – Syria, Mesopotamia, Cilicia and Asia favour the 14th (as in Passover) for Easter, while the churches of the West, headed by Rome, including the Eastern Churches of Egypt, Greece, Palestine, and Pontus favour celebrating Easter on the following Sunday after the full Paschal moon. 

Eventually, the council decides that the date of Easter will be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal (or Spring) equinox.  Not all agree, but some readily come across to the new date, either at the council or not long after.  The rest continue to celebrate Easter on the 14th and 16th Nisan. 9

The council also dealt with other important subjects, passing them as Canons of the Church.   Some of the Canons dealt with ordination; excommunication; dwellings of clerics; sins after ordination;  usury  by  clerics.   One  Canon  placed  penance  upon apostates who had upheld Licinius in his war on Christians. 

Others prevent bishops, priests and deacons from passing from church to church; forbidding bishops from ordaining clerics belonging to another diocese. Deacons were reminded of their subordinate position to priests. The last Canon ruled that prayers during the Paschal season should be said standing.

                                     <><><><><><><><><><><> 

n.  soumela_nicaea_ - _from_Livius.org.jpg
commons.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons…

Old engraving  Two Republics 1891

Two  other  bishops  –  Theonas  of  Marmarica  in  Libya  and Secundus of Ptolemais in Galilee -- absolutely refuse to subscribe, and both are banished.  They leave the council.   Arius cannot be found, but anathemas are pronounced upon him and he is banished to Illyria, across the Adriatic Sea.

The book ‘Thalia’ is put to the flame, no doubt in the same brazier that reduced the complaints of the bishops to ashes.  

The council meetings have concluded, but for the bishops, there is a surprise.

While the Empire celebrates Constantine’s 20th year with games and festivities, the Emperor puts on a sumptuous banquet for the assembly of bishops.  Not one of the 314 is missing. 31

The Imperial guards, who have not entered the chamber during the council, are now drawn up around the vestibule in a colonnade.  Their swords are drawn and the bishops pass between them into the hall.

Instead of seats and benches in a semicircle as before, couches and chairs are placed along each side.  In one area is a table for the Emperor and the favoured few.   The sight is spectacular.

When everyone is seated, Constantine rises from his chair and announces to the bishops, ‘The kingdom of God has come’.   32

The Emperor himself presides at the feast. 

The bishops are called, one by one.   As each man rises to meet the Emperor, he is loaded with rich gifts.  

When this repast is over, Constantine gives a departing exhortation for peace, recommending every bishop to be “diligent in the maintenance of peace, to avoid contentious disputations among themselves and not to be jealous if any one of their number should appear  pre-eminent for wisdom and eloquence,  but  to  esteem the excellence of one a blessing common to all… the more gifted should forbear to exalt themselves to the prejudice of their humbler brethren, since it is God’s prerogative to judge real superiority.

Rather should they condescend to the weaker, remembering that absolute perfection in any case is a rare quality indeed.  Each then should be willing to accord indulgence to the other for slight offenses, to regard charitably and pass over mere human weaknesses; holding mutual harmony in the highest honor, that no occasion of mockery might be given by their dissensions to those who are ever ready to blaspheme the word of God:  whom indeed we should do all in our power to save, and this cannot be unless our conduct seems to them attractive..” 33 

In conclusion Constantine begs the bishops to pray diligently to God on his behalf.  34

Everyone leaves the hall filled with satisfaction, determined that unity will prevail. The Emperor warmly bids each bishop goodbye, according to rank. Letters are given to many for delivery to those bishops who were not present at the council.

The following day, the bishops and deacons meet together to pray for safety on their homeward journey.  

A hymn of praise is sung.  “We glorify Him who was before all ages, adoring the Holy Trinity, and the one only Divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Now and for ever and ever, through ages of ages.  Amen.”  

The Council of Nicaea is over.

                                             <><><><><><><><><><><> 

To the bishops it would have seemed that truth prevailed, after all the vote was 316 – 2.   35

The Emperor’s desire for a united World Church could only be achieved with the acceptance of a creed that was altered by men who were determined to crush a belief contrary to their own.  They  stood  their  ground, and  the  quest  for  truth,  where every man is free to search, to believe, and to decide for himself, was set aside.

Only in this way could Constantine claim a victory for Nicaea.

It is now the day of the main discussion.   The Emperor is again seated upon his throne.  He anticipates a joyous occasion of harmony and unity among believers.

Excitement is high.

There are three parties – the orthodox party, represented by the bishop of Alexandria.  He has strong support.  His chief deacon Athanasius is as usual by his side.  Among this group is Marcellus of Ancyra, vehement for the belief of the bishop;  Macarius of Jerusalem is the most distinguished member; Eustathius of Antioch in Syria is one of the chief debaters.  This group is impressive.  10

The Arian party is small in comparison.   Arius has no seat in the council, but 25 bishops are present who support him.  Some of these are Longianus, Lontius and Eulalius of Cappadocia, Maris of Chalcedon, Paulinus of Tyre, Narcissus of Irenopolis, Theonas of Marmarica, Secondus of Theuchira and others.  11

The third party is made up of the great mass of assembled bishops who occupy a position between the two extremes.   The majority have a belief similar to Arius, a semi-Arian view, but not through any contact with Arius or his people.

A few lean on the orthodox side.  Others are on the Arian side, but not openly. Eusebius of Caesarea and Eusebius of Nicomedia are two in this category. 12   

Another class of men who make up the middle group are philosophers, and not a small number by any means.  On the subject of the debate, they are non-committal.

The minutes of the meeting have been lost, however, there were four eye-witnesses, and these have written of their experiences at the council. All records come from these reports.

The discussions are based on the principle of free inquiry, and not on authority. “The duty, so hateful to theological adversaries of ‘hearing both sides’ is repeatedly and expressly mentioned, both in the narratives and documents of the Nicene assembly.”  13

The speakers at the assembly are aggressive in their presentations.   Many call out when they do not agree with the speaker. Some threaten to walk out, but are detained by legionnaires.  Finally everyone settles down. 

Arius is called into the assembly.  

His lean, tall figure has a striking appearance.  When asked to explain his beliefs, he replies in quiet tones.  His  discourse  is long and eloquent.  He uses his powers of presentation to the utmost.  His meaning is clear to all – Jesus Christ is the begotten Son of God, a separate and distinct Son of the Father,  and not an unbegotten, begotten Son.

The confessors of the Faith are stricken with horror and stop their ears.   Soon it seems the whole assembly is in an uproar.   Bishops call out unceremoniously, ‘Heretic’. Their voices are loud and angry. 

The Arian party is concerned. 

‘Arius has been too outspoken’, they say to each other.

‘Yes, he has stated his opinions too frankly.’

Arius

Chapter 7

The Council of Nicaea

 
The seats are all filled and not a sound breaks the stillness.

Presently an officer of the court appears, then another.   Soon a column of men stand at the entrance of the hall.   Not a shield or spear is in sight as the room will be consecrated for the council.  

A voice is heard, ‘The emperor is here.’  

The whole assembly rises to its feet as Emperor Constantine enters the door.   He moves slowly between the colonnades of guards.  All eyes are on the Emperor.  His towering stature and strong-built frame are impressive.  His eye is bright.  He has an expression of fierceness, but there is gentleness too. 1  

Every man in the hall is struck with the dazzling magnificence of the Emperor’s dress.  His shoulder-length hair is crowned with the Imperial diadem of pearls.  His purple robe, decorated with precious stones and gold embroidery, flows gently as he walks.  Most of the bishops have never seen such finery and they are awed.  

But it is not only on the side of the assembly.  Constantine is also moved.  It is a solemn moment to find himself for the first time in the midst of representatives of the great community of which he has so recently professed allegiance.

“Whatever sacredness had before in his eyes attached to flamens and augurs, now in a still higher degree he transferred  to  the  venerable  men who stood before him, and whose very looks, whose very disfigurements, bore witness to the earnest-ness and energy of their young and vigorous faith.” 2 

The colour rushes to the Emperor’s cheeks, a genuine expression of excitement and emotion. 

As Constantine advances the length of the hall, he casts his eyes down.  His steps falter and when he reaches the throne, he stands motionless.  The bishops beckon him to be seated and when he sits, everyone follows his example.

If still anxious to see so many strange faces, he is reassured to see Hosius of Cordova on his right and Eusebuis of Caesarea on his left.  3

Silence reigns as Eusebius rises from his seat to deliver an oration in honour of the Emperor.   When he has concluded, a hymn of thanksgiving is sung for Constantine’s final victory over Licinius.  

The audience is in great expectation. All eyes are upon the Emperor, as he will now speak.

Constantine rises and stands before the people.  He is silent for a moment.  Then he begins his speech in Latin, the Imperial language.   Very few understand, but there is a gentleness and sweetness in his voice that arrests the attention of everyone in the hall.  

“It has, my friends, been the object of my highest wishes, to enjoy your sacred company, and having obtained this, I confess my thankfulness to the King of all, that in addition to all my other blessings He has granted to me this greatest of all, I mean, to receive you all assembled together, and to see one common harmonious opinion of all. 

“Let then, no envious enemy injure our happiness, and, after the destruction of the impious power of the tyrants by the might of God our Saviour, let not the spirit of evil overwhelm the Divine law with blasphemies;  for to me far worse than any war or battle is the civil war of the Church of God;  yea, more painful than the wars which have raged without. 

As then, by the assent and co-operation of a higher power, I have gained my victories over my enemies, I thought that nothing remained but to give God thanks, and to rejoice with those who have been delivered by us.  But since I learned of your divisions, contrary to all expectations, I gave the report my first consideration; and praying that this also might be healed through my assistance, I called you all together without delay.

Nicea.jpg   commons.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons…

The men in the middle group who were lukewarm or undecided when they entered the council, unwittingly find themselves drifting more and more to the side of the Athanasius party.

At one of the interviews, Nicolas, bishop of Myra, gives his blow to the ear of Arius.   Tradition says Nicolas is deprived of his mitre and pall, but they are restored to him later by the intervention of angels. 19

Menologion_of_Basil_024_—_Second_Council_of_Nicaea       commons.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons…

Nicaea and the World

Voices are heard all over the hall. 

Some bishops are concerned, others well pleased. 

Constantine suggests everyone needs time to make a clear decision.

‘Meeting adjourned until tomorrow.’

The Arians meet together to discuss the Creed.  ‘My brothers, Arius does not believe some things they have written in the creed, and neither do I.’

‘That’s true, and to put anathemas in it is way beyond a creed.’

‘I am not going to sign’, says one.

‘Neither am I’, says another.

All the Arian bishops decide they will stand by Arius, even if it means banishment or death.

In the morning Hermogenes reads the Creed to the assembly, after which each bishop is given opportunity to sign.   Of the 316 present, 299 sign it.   Seventeen have abstained.  The Arians refuse on the grounds of the word ‘homoousios’, as well as the anti-Arian anathemas at the end.

The Emperor waits until everyone is quiet.

He then commands the Arian bishops sign under penalty of banishment.  Ten bishops walk to the front and sign.  Another walks to the front and signs.  The remaining six refuse to move from their seats.

The centre party has hardly confirmed the Creed before they become alarmed at what they have done.  The new word is not in the Scriptures.   ‘We have signed the decree, but do we really agree with it?’

Eusebius of Caesarea needs more time, and for many hours he thinks and prays about it.    In his deliberations he consults the Emperor as to the meaning of the word homoousios.   Constantine replies that he understands the word to be the same as homoiousios, and adds,  “The  word  involves  no  such material unity of the persons of the Godhead.”  A few close by hear the Emperor’s words and laughing among themselves, call him a heretic.  27

Eusebius decides that in this sense, he can adopt the text.   He signs the Creed.

Eusebius of Nicomedia, with two other Bithynian bishops, think and pray about it all day.   Finally they decide to ask Princess Constantia, Constantine’s sister and widow of Licinius, who was then living at Nicomedia.  

Even though she is an Arian, she persuades the men to sign, urging them to be willing to put individual scruples aside, rather than cause an extra controversy. 

She adds, ‘Gentlemen, this debate has already caused Constantine much anxiety.  He wanted the church to be united.  I am afraid it might have an effect of driving him back to his original paganism in disgust.’   28

Eusebius and his friends are willing to sign, but refuse their assent to the anathemas on the ground that they are not the opinions held by Arius.  This partial assent does not satisfy the Emperor and sentence of banishment is pronounced upon them.  

Eusebius  again  appeals  to  Constantia.   Tradition  says  she suggests  to  subtlely  insert  an  ‘i’  into  the  word  homoousion, then sign with good conscience. 29   This would be impossible.

The men finally agree to comply, but with an explanation of the difficulties. 30  

Suddenly Athanasius, archdeacon of Bishop Alexander, stands to his feet.  His eyes flash like a sword.  His words are sharp, and he tears the speech of Arius to pieces

‘Who has deceived you, O senseless one’, he asks.

‘Do you call the Creator a creature?’

The assembly is speechless.  They watch in silent amazement.  

“The bishops marvel at his words, which are as of one inspired; they thank God who has raised up so strong a bulwark against error. Alexander’s eyes are aglow; it is for this that he has lived; he knew how it would be. His long life’s work is nearly at an end; he can go now in peace. Athanasius is at his post...” 14 

Arius responds.   ‘I do not call the Creator a creature.   I have always taught that the Son is not unoriginated, but that by the will and purpose of God he was brought into being before time, perfectly divine, and that before his generation he was not.   God alone is everlasting and unoriginated.’

‘Hast thou not taught that there was a time when the Son of God was not?’

‘Nay.    The  word  ‘time’  is  your  own,  not mine.   I have said that ‘before he was begotten he was not’, otherwise how could God beget Him?  But this was before ‘time’.

‘Hast thou not taught that the Father was superior to the Son?’

‘Not at all.  The words ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ are not applicable to the divine nature.  God is the Father. This means He was before the Son, and only in this way is He ‘superior’.  The Son is in no way ‘inferior’ to His Father.

Athanasius defends the cause with an energy that awakens the jealousy and admiration of all who hear him.

‘Do you not teach that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three and not one God?  This is polytheism.’

‘Nay.   I have taught that the three are not one person and that the three are one family.   The Father is a dual Being, as Father-Mother.   He is the Father-Ghost if you like, or Father-Spirit who begat a Son.’

‘So you do not believe in the holy Trinity?’

‘I will not deny the Trinity.  God, the Spirit, and the Son are a family, a Triad family.   We have refused to profess faith in the teachings of Bishop Alexander that ‘as God is eternal, so is His Son’ or ‘the Son is present in God without birth’. No, these are not the teachings of Scripture.  Or ‘ever-begotten’, or ‘an Eternal God, and an Eternal Son’.   No, these are not what I believe.’ 15 

There is no dispute about there being a Trinity.  Everyone at the council is a Trinitarian.  It is the nature of the Trinity that is in dispute, especially relating to the Son. 

Arius is frequently called upon to express his opinions.   Each time he answers the questions put to him, there are bitter denunciations. 

‘Heretic’, calls a bishop.

Others pick up the strain.   ‘Yes, heretic.’  

‘Heretic’.

The words of Arius are abhorred by the orthodox party and they cannot remain quiet.  Bishops in favour of the orthodox view among the main body of the council join them in calling out. 

 ‘He is the Libyan serpent’.

‘He is a Polytheist.’ 

‘Away with him.’

‘Yes, he is a heretic.’

While Arius is at the council, the draft of a creed is brought in and read to the assembly.  The Arian bishops nod in agreement.  

Immediately the orthodox party breaks into a wild uproar.  

A bishop rushes across to Hermogenes who is acting as secretary, and grabs the document from him.  He tears it to pieces.

“The frenzy of argument was too vehement to be restrained.  Heretics and Orthodox alike felt themselves compelled to advance.”  20 

Arius is expelled from the council.  He leaves without a word.

Constantine is almost moved to tears.  “Restore me my quiet days and untroubled nights, that the joy of undimmed light, the delight of a tranquil life, may henceforth be my portion.  Else must I needs mourn, with constant tears, nor shall I be able to pass the residue of my days  in  peace.   For  while  the  people  of  God, whose  fellow-

servant I am, are thus  divided  amongst  themselves  by  an  unreasonable and pernicious spirit of contention, how is it possible that I shall be able to maintain tranquillity of mind?”  21 

His main object in convening the council is not to widen divisions, but to secure a unanimous signature.  He regards the points at issue of less importance than the formation of one compact Imperial Church.   In this he is like Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain, who wanted unity of the Empire.

Eusebuis of Caesarea leans across to the Emperor.  ‘I have a creed that may bring the parties together.’  Permission is given to present it to the assembly.  With the creed in his hand, Eusebius rises and begins to speak.  22

‘This creed was the confession of faith I learned in my childhood from the Bishop of Caesarea’, he says, ‘and one which I accepted at my baptism and taught my whole career, both as a presbyter and as a bishop. It has been approved by the Emperor, the beloved of heaven, who has already seen it.’

When it has been read to the assembly, the party of Arius all signify their willingness to subscribe to it. Alexander and Athanasius consult with Marcellus of Ancyra.  He shakes his head. 

‘No’, they cry out.   ‘It is not suitable.’

Constantine is concerned. There is nothing he can do. The orthodox party is too powerful.  Obviously they will not give up the fight.   If harmony cannot be gained he reluctantly decides to satisfy the prominent ones. 

The Emperor sits quietly and waits.

Bishop Alexander and Athanasius ask for the creed to be read again.  Speaking quietly they ask Marcellus, ‘Can you think of a Bible word we can add to show that the Son is God?

He shakes his head.  

‘Eustathius, what do you think?’

‘The Arians are too willing to sign it.  We must have something in it to deter them.’

‘Yes, but what?’

‘Macarius, do you have any ideas?’

‘No, I don’t.’

Athanasius looks around the group.  

‘Does anyone have the answer?’   They all shake their heads.

‘Why don’t we ask Hosius’, suggests Eustathius.