Key Facts:

Date 20 May-25 July 325
Location Nicaea
Number of Participants 250-300
Summoned by Constantine
Chaired by Hosius of Corduba
Key Participants Hosius of Corduba, Eusebius of Caesarea, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Alexander of Alexandria, Arius
Key Issues Arianism, Melitians, and the date of Easter
Key Events Most of the bishops subscribed to the Nicene Creed, while those who refused were exiled. The Council also resolved the issue of when to celebrate Easter and drew up twenty canons on various aspects of church order.
Ancient Descriptions Anonymous, HE 2.5-11, 25-35; Athanasiusde Decretis, de Synodis, ad Afros; Eusebius VC3.4-24; GelasiusHE, F11-F13; Jerome Dial. con. Luciferanus 20(18), 183; PhilostorgiusHE 1.7-10; Rufinus, HE 10.3ff; Socrates, HE 1.8-13; Sozomen, HE 1.17-24; Theodoret, HE 1.7.1-9, 18;       


For the background of this council see:  Documents of the Early Arian Controversy


Ancient Descriptions of the Council of Nicaea

We have provided the accounts of the Council of Nicaea preserved by ten ancient writers (Athanasius, Eusebius, Gelasius, Jerome, Philostorgius, Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and the Anonymous Church History) in seven tables, displaying the parallel accounts side-by-side.  These tables are available in English and in the original Greek and Latin.  We also have downloadable PDFs for each of the ten sources with the Greek/Latin and English in parallel columns. Access all these documents via the link above. The documents produced at Nicaea are included in these tables but can also be accessed below.

Surviving Documents:

Several of these documents are posted below only in English.  To access the Greek text side-by-side with the English, see the linked PDFs for each document, or see our Ancient Descriptions tables.  Only Constantine’s summons to the Council is not available in PDF format or in the tables, since it survives only in Syriac.

Constantine’s Summons to the Council


Eusebius’ Letter to his Congregation

Canons (Greek/Latin/English PDF)

The Council’s Letter to the Church in Egypt

Constantine’s Letter to the Church of Alexandria

Constantine’s Letter concerning the Date of Easter



Hanson, R.P.C. The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (New York: T&T Clark, 1988) pp. 152-163.

Kannengiesser, C. “Nicaea” in The Encyclopedia of the Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Ayres, Lewis. Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Kim, Young Richard, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).


Created by JCB, PSAM, and AGC

Last updated 8-4-2024 by GLT

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