First Ecumenical Council of Nikea Icon (1)

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Orthodox icon of the First Ecumenical Council.

Commemorated May 29.

The first Ecumenical Council was held in Nicea, Asia Minor in 325 under Emperor Constantine the Great. 318 Bishops were present. It was called to deal with a controversy about the nature of Christ called the Arian controversy. Arius was a presbyter who denied the divinity of Christ.He taught that if Jesus was born, then there was time when He did not exist. If He became God, then there was time when He was not.

The Council defended Apostolic Tradition and declared Arius' teaching a heresy, unacceptable to the Church and decreed that Christ is truly God as well as truly human. He is of the same essence "homoousios" with God the Father.