On this page you will find all the ancient descriptions of the Council of Nicaea in two formats. In the first format, the account of the council by each ancient writer is accessible via the links under the heading Accounts of the Nicene Council by Individual Writers; these documents include an English translation as well as the original Greek or Latin.  The excerpts selected for each writer are those which pertain to the Council of Nicaea and may or may not be continuous sections.  For example, we have selected excerpts from three letters of Athanasius in which he speaks about the council but have not provided the complete letters. 

Below the individual writers you will find links to seven multi-source tables in which the accounts by all the writers have been arranged alongside each other, so that the reader can see how their accounts compare.  More information, along with links to access these tables in PDF format, is given below the heading Multi-Source Accounts of the Nicene Council. These documents are available in both English and Greek/Latin. 

Finally, we have created a page with the names of all the known subscribers to the creed at the Council of Nicaea (provided primarily by Socrates). That page can be accessed here.

Accounts of the Nicene Council by Individual Writers

Eusebius (Life of Constantine)









Anonymous Church History

Multi-Source Accounts of the Nicene Council

The following charts display English translations of the Greek and Latin texts by various ancient writers concerning the Council of Nicaea. We also offer the charts with the original Greek and Latin texts.  Because we desired to place the various accounts side-by-side when they address the same topics or events, the texts of individual writers had to be divided, sometimes in the middle of sentences. We have maintained the numbering for each document from the sources of the Greek texts (see the bibliographical information below). When two or more of the writers present the exact same Greek text, we have used the same English translation to denote this and have applied the translation for a single writer to the other writers. We have not applied this principle in places where Rufinus’ Latin and another writer’s Greek appear to be presenting an identical text. Athanasius is the only writer from whom we have included selections from several works, so the Athanasius text being referenced is introduced in the headings.  Everything that follows that heading comes from the same text until a new heading appears. The shaded headings introducing sections of the table are our own. The documents can be accessed in PDF format via the links below:

Nicaea Table 1 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 2 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 3 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 4 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 5 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 6 (English) (Greek/Latin)

Nicaea Table 7 (English) (Greek/Latin)


The following table displays the major subdivisions of the ancient texts in our seven tables. The organization of the English tables is identical to that of the Greek and Latin tables. The abbreviation ACH is used to refer to the Anonymous Church History. A column has not been included for Jerome, since he is cited in only one location (Table 2, Bishops debate with Arius).

Table 1Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
Constantine summons a council in Nicaeaxxxxxxxxx
Notable bishops and confessors attend the councilxxxxxxxxx
The most noteworthy bishops in attendance  xx x  x
A philosopher debates with the bishops before the council begins  xx xx x
Debate with Arius before the council begins      x  
Table 2Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
Council officially begins when Constantine arrivesx x  x xx
Constantine’s opening address       xx
Constantine addresses the bishops’ grievances against each other   xx xxxx
The bishops debate Arius xxx   xx
The praiseworthy conduct of Constantine during the debatex    xxxx
Table 3Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
The council makes its decision xxx xxxx
The Arians resist the Council’s decision  x     x
Some of Arius’ former supporters abandon his position x  x  xx
The Creed of Nicaea x x xx x
Reception of the Creed and exile of dissenters  xxxxxxx
Eusebius of Caesarea explains his subscription to the Creed  x  x xx
Table 4Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
The Council condemns Arius’ Thalia     xx  
The Council’s decision regarding the celebration of Easterx    xx  
Constantine rebukes Acesius over his refusal to readmit the lapsed to communion     xx x
The Canons of the Council of Nicaea   x  x x
Table 5Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
The issue of Melitius     xxxx
The council’s letter to the church of Egypt  x  x xx
Paphnutius convinces the council not to impose celibacy on married clergy     xx x
Various ecclesiastical rulings         x
The conclusion of the councilx  x xxxx
Table 6Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
Constantine writes letters concerning the council     xxx 
Constantine’s letter to the church of Alexandria     x  x
Constantine’s letter concerning Arius and Porphyry      x  x
Constantine’s letter concerning the date of Easterx    x xx
Constantine institutes imperial allowances for the church       xx
Table 7Eus.Ath.Gel.Ruf.Phil.Soc.Soz.Theod.ACH
The duration of the council     x  x
Athanasius’ letter to the African bishops xx    xx
The decisions of the council are transmitted throughout the world         
Eustathius’ account of the Nicene Council       x 
The reliability of Eusebius     x   

* The Anonymous Church History preserves an expanded version of the debate with the pagan philosopher. Since it is unique to the ACH, the full version is not included in the table but can be accessed in English as a PDF here.

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Sources Used

A bibliography of English translations and Greek and Latin sources is included on the first page of each document.

Created by AGC. Last updated on 02-02-2024.

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