2.5.1 Now then, when the emperor saw that the church was in distress, he summoned an ecumenical council and sent letters encouraging bishops from everywhere to meet at Nicaea in Bithynia. It was in the sixth month of the sixteenth year of his reign when he zealously undertook these efforts on behalf of ecclesiastical peace.

2.5.2 And bishops came from many provinces and cities. Eusebius Pamphili says these exact words about them in the third book of his Life of Constantine: “So, the foremost ministers of God from all the churches which fill all of Europe and Africa and Asia had gathered together.

2.5.3 And one house of prayer, as if enlarged by God, contained at the same time Syrians and Cilicians, Phoenicians, Arabs, and Palestinians, as well as Egyptians, Thebans, Libyans and those coming from Mesopotamia. In fact, even a Persian bishop was present at the synod, and a Scythian bishop was not absent from this company either. Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia each sent their finest men. What is more, even Thracians, Macedonians, Achaeans, and Epirotes, who live even farther away, came to meet. And also the highly celebrated Hosius of Spain himself, who was also taking the place of Silvester, the bishop of the greater Rome, together with Vito and Vincent, the priests of Rome, attended the council together with many others.

2.5.4 However, the head bishop of the present-day imperial city [Byzantium], named Metrophanes, was unable to come on account of his old age, but his priests were present and carried out his duty. One of those priests was Alexander, who became bishop of that city after him.

2.5.5 Constantine is the one and only emperor of all time who wove this kind of crown for Christ with the bond of peace, and he dedicated to his Savior a divinely-fitting thank-offering for the victory against his enemies by bringing together this picture of the apostolic company in our own time.

2.5.6 For the Word says that also in their time, ‘God-fearing men from every nation under heaven’ [Acts 2:5] were gathered together, just as in the Acts of the Apostles, among which were ‘Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. . .’ [Acts 2:9] Except their gathering was not quite as good because not all who came together were ministers of God. But in the case of the present company, the crowd of bishops exceeded three hundred in number. And the number of priests and deacons and the very many other attendants who accompanied them is beyond comprehension.

2.5.7 And some of these ministers of God were renowned for their wise words; others were renowned for their strict lifestyles and patient endurance; and still others were gifted with a mild manner. Some of them were highly respected because of their many years; others radiated with youth and high spirits; and still others had just entered into the course of ministerial service.

2.5.8 The emperor ordered that food should daily be supplied to all of them in abundance.” This is what Eusebius Pamphili related about those who assembled there.

 

Next Chapter – 2.6 The emperor takes part in the council with the bishops

Previous Chapter – 2.4 Emperor Constantine’s letter to Alexander and Arius, which was sent through Hosius, the Bishop of Cordova

Click here to read Book 1 in its entirety.

 

Created by NJ 7-6-17

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