Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Concerning the Synod held at Nica in Thrace, and the Confession of Faith drawn up there.
Chapter XVI.—Concerning the Synod held at Nica 554 in Thrace, and the Confession of Faith drawn up there.
After this letter they 555 irritated the emperor, and got the majority of the bishops, against their will, to a certain town of Thrace, of the name of Nica. Some simple men they deluded, and others they terrified, into carrying out their old contrivance for injuring the true religion, by erasing the words “Substance” and “of one Substance” from the Creed, and inserting instead of them the word “like.” I insert their formula in this history, not as being couched in proper terms, but because it convicts the faction of Arius, for it is not even accepted by the disaffected of the present time. Now, instead of “the like” they preach “the unlike 556 .”
Unsound Creed put forth at Nica in Thrace.
“We believe in one only true God, Father Almighty, of Whom are all things. And in the only-begotten Son of God, Who before all ages and before every beginning was begotten of God, through Whom all things were made, both visible and invisible: alone begotten, only-begotten of the Father alone, God of God: like the Father that begat Him, according to the Scriptures, Whose generation no one knoweth except only the Father that begat Him. This Only-begotten Son of God, sent by His Father, we know to have come down from heaven, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death; begotten of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, as it is written, according to the flesh. Who companied with His disciples, and when the dispensation was fulfilled, according to the Fathers will, was crucified, dead, and buried, and descended to the world below, at Whom Hell himself trembled. On the third day He rose from the dead and companied with His disciples forty days. He was taken up into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, and is coming at the last day of the Resurrection, in His Fathers Glory, to render to every one according to his works. And we believe in the Holy Ghost, which the Only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, both God and Lord, promised to send to man, the Comforter, as it is written, the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit He Himself sent after He had ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father, from thence to come to judge both quick and dead. But the word the Substance, which was too simply inserted by the Fathers, and, not being understood by the people, was a cause of scandal through its not being found in the Scriptures, it hath seemed good to us to remove, and that for the future no mention whatever be permitted of Substance, on account of the sacred Scriptures nowhere making any mention of the Substance of the Father and the Son. Nor must one essence 557 be named in relation to the person 558 of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And we call the Son like the Father, as the Holy Scriptures call Him and teach; but all the heresies, both those already condemned, and any, if such there be, which have risen against the document thus put forth, let them be Anathema.”
This Creed was subscribed by the bishops, some being frightened and some cajoled, but those who refused to give in their adhesion were banished to the most remote regions of the world.
At or near the modern Hafsa, not far to the S. of Adrianople.82:555
i.e. the Arians.82:556
“The Eusebians, little pleased with the growing dogmatism of members of their own body, fell upon the expedient of confining their confession to Scripture terms; which, when separated from their context, were of course inadequate to concentrate and ascertain the true doctrine. Hence the formula of the Homœon, which was introduced by Acacius with the express purpose of deceiving or baffling the semi-Arian members of his party. This measure was the more necessary for Eusebian interests, inasmuch as a new variety of the heresy arose in the East at the same time, advocated by Aetius and Eunomius; who, by professing boldly the pure Arian text, alarmed Constantius, and threw him back upon Basil, and the other semi-Arians. This new doctrine, called Anomœan, because it maintained that the usia or substance of the Son was unlike (ἀνόμοιος) the Divine usia, was actually adopted by one portion of the Eusebians, Valens, and his rude occidentals; whose language and temper, not admitting the refinements of Grecian genius, led them to rush from orthodoxy into the most hard and undisguised impiety. And thus the parties stand at the date now before us (a.d. 356–361); Constantius being alternately swayed by Basil, Acacius, and Valens, that is by the Homousian, the Homœan, and the Anomœan, the semi-Arian, the Scripturalist, and the Arian pure” (Newman, Arians, iv. §4).82:557
Next: Synodical Act of Damasus, Bishop of Rome, and of the Western Bishops, about the Council at Ariminum.
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