2.5.1 Therefore, when the emperor saw that the church was in disorder, he convened an ecumenical council, sending letters urging bishops from all parts 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 for ecclesiastical peace.1

2.5.2 Bishops came from many provinces and cities. Eusebius Pamphili says the following about them in the third book of his Life of Constantine: “The foremost ministers of God had gathered together from all the churches throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.

2.5.3 One house of prayer, as if enlarged by God, held Syrians, Cilicians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Palestinians, Egyptians, Thebans, Libyans, and Mesopotamians. A Persian bishop was present at the council, nor did the company want for a Scythian. Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia sent their finest men. Moreover, Thracians, Macedonians, Achaeans, and Epirotes, who live far away, attended the meeting. Even the highly celebrated Hosius of Spain himself, acting in the place of Bishop Silvester of great Rome together with the Roman priests Vito and Vincent, sat in council with many others.

2.5.4 The bishop of the current capital city [Byzantium], Metrophanes, was absent due to his old age, but his priests were present to represent him. One of those priests was Alexander, who became bishop of that city after him.

2.5.5 Since the beginning of time, Emperor Constantine alone presented such a crown, woven with a bond of peace, to Christ his Savior as a divinely suitable offering of thanksgiving for victory against his enemies in the war, bringing together this image of the apostolic company in our own time.

2.5.6 For it is said that also in the days of the apostles ‘God-fearing men from every nation under heaven’ gathered together, according to the Acts of the Apostles, among whom were ‘Parthians, Medes, and Elamites’ [Acts 2:5, 9], but their gathering was lacking in that not all of them were ministers of God. In the case of the present company, however, the number of bishops exceeded three hundred, and the number of priests, deacons, and many other attendants who accompanied them was beyond reckoning.

2.5.7 Some of these ministers of God were renowned for their wise words; others were renowned for their strict lifestyle and patient endurance; still others possessed a mild manner. Some of them were respected because of their many years; others radiated with youth and high spirits; still others had just begun their ministerial service.

2.5.8 The emperor ordered that food should daily be supplied to all of them in abundance.”2 This is what Eusebius Pamphili reported 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

Updated by RR 6-7-21

  1. Constantine’s accession could be dated to various events from 306 to 310, making the dating of this claim uncertain but well within the range of reasonable dates.
  2. The quotation from 2.5.2-8 is taken from Eusebius, Vita Const., 3.7-9.

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