The Council of Nicea in 325 proclaimed the Son to be of one essence with the Father, the great dogmatic work of the Fathers gathered there embraced as the very Symbol of the Faith. Yet it also had other questions to resolve: how should the date for the celebration of Easter be determined? How should apostates be readmitted to the Eucharist? How should bishops be consecrated? Should kneeling be allowed on Sunday? All questions of varying weight, indeed, but some obviously still relevant and which nettle us to this day. And then there were others that seem, well, a bit more obscure: should a eunuch be allowed to be a priest, and if so, under what circumstances? It immediately becomes clear that the disciplinary (as contrasted with the dogmatic) decisions of the Councils require careful interpretation based on changing conditions of culture and time. Other canons that originally fell into disciplinary or administrative categories later emerged as cogent points in doctrinal debates, perhaps the most well-known being Canon 3 of the Second Council, which designated Constantinople as ''the new Rome'' and the prerogatives of its bishop second only to Rome -- thus implying that Rome's primacy was strictly practical and based on custom, not a divine institution. This book examines each of the first four Councils in order, describing the occasions of their calling and providing detailed historical background of the canons they promulgated and the ways they were transmitted and interpreted in Greek East and Latin West. The immense significance of the Trinitarian and Christological decisions of these Councils lends analogous importance to their canonical work and makes the value of this book self-evident.
An Eighth Day View:
The first four ecumenical councils defined trinitarian and christological dogma. Translates each canon into clear and readable English, exploring the historical circumstances which gave rise to them, and some of the ways they have been reinterpreted (and misinterpreted) in later centuries. Includes index.