The Arius Factor
Patrick Henry Reardon on the Dynamics of Dogmas & Anathemas
Although the popularity of The Da Vinci Code has recently made the Council of Nicaea familiar to a greater number of people, it has also caused that ancient council to be more generally misunderstood. Indeed, many folks nowadays seem to have accepted at face value the notion that the bishops at Nicaea in 325 actually debated and “voted on” the divinity of Jesus and that the “ayes” carried the day by only a slim majority. Until that point, The Da Vinci Code would have us believe, the Church did not believe in the divinity of Christ, or it was at least a disputed question. Nicaea, we are told, settled the matter, giving Christianity a new direction in history.
In fact, nothing of the sort happened at Nicaea. There was no debate about—or vote on—the divinity of Christ at that council, because the conciliar fathers recognized that the divinity of Christ was already established in the common teaching of the Church and recorded in the pages of the New Testament.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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