That They All May Be One:
Councils and Ecumenical Councils
Father John F. Bockman
That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me,
and I in Thee. That they also may be one in Us;
that the world may believe that Thou
hast sent Me. (John 17:21)
The mystery of Pentecost is
the Church through the ministry which Orthodox bishops share in
the Holy Apostles. Of course, no one can fathom the mystery of the Holy
Spirit’s operation in councils, but the appropriate action of hierarchs
councils is quite well understood from Scripture and Tradition. Bishops
council should act very much as the Apostles did at the first Pentecost
tells us that for ten days before Pentecost, the Apostles and disciples
continued in prayer and supplications, having one and the same mind,
secluding themselves in the upper room (Acts 2:2;12;14). Then when the
Pentecost had fully come, a sound as of a mighty rushing wind suddenly
the whole house. Divided tongues as of fire appeared to them, one
each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began
with other tongues. And they continued thereafter steadfastly in the
doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts
purpose of this paper is to examine the function and type of councils,
summarize the experience of the Church in the numerous councils held
the First and the Second Ecumenical Councils, A.D. 325 to 381. This
will focus on the doctrine stated by the term homoousios
(of one essence with the Father), an excellent example
of what it means to speak in another tongue under the inspiration of
Spirit in clarification of the Gospel (concept of Father John
meaning of this term became the most controversial issue then
Church. Following this course through councils will show us how a
issue was worked through successfully by the Church acting in its two
as teacher, and as the faithful being taught, under the guidance of the
The prime operating goal of every true council of the Church is adherence to and maintenance of collegial and conciliar interaction based in Scripture. At the acme of such an endeavor, superbly fulfilling the goal, stand the Seven Ecumenical Councils. To be judged ecumenical, a council must fulfill certain rigorous criteria:
*It must be convoked by command of an emperor or king.
*It must set forth a dogmatic definition concerning faith, and ordain or prescribe things which are pious and orthodox and agreeable to the Holy Scriptures and to previous ecumenical councils.
*All the patriarchs and prelates of the catholic Church must agree to accept its ordinances and prescriptions either by their personal presence or by proxy, or, in the absence of these, by means of their letters and signatures.
Every ecumenical council that
characteristics is in fact the very Church itself, One, Holy, Catholic,
Apostolic, which we profess to believe in when we recite the Symbol of
Furthermore, it is ever- living and imperishable; for “He will give you
Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. And lo, I am with
you always, even unto the end of the age” (John 14:16; Matt. 28:20; cf.
John 14:26); it is infallible and sinless; it has the supreme and
office, not only as proposing what is right and just and true by way of
and compelling those opposed thereto to yield submission, by inflicting
them proper ecclesiastical penances, and examining and judging them
including Popes and Patriarchs and all prelates, clergymen, and laymen
part of the world whatsoever; and it sets a limit and termination to
question and matter of any kind that may arise or grow up, whether it
an individual or have a common effect, and settles every quarrel and
heretics and schismatics (SS. Nicodemus and Agapius, 156–7). A council
does not entirely meet the above requirements is a local council. What
as an anticipated ecumenical council may become in the end and in its
merely a local council.
Over the centuries numerous councils have been controlled, not by pious and orthodox hierarchs, as we would expect, but by men weak in the faith, with no consistent alternative to the Apostolic faith, misguided, arrogant, and self-serving, who have subverted this holy process and tried to put it to their own self-serving use. Despite that, it will be found that the Holy Spirit, guiding the Holy Church, has ultimately turned the disruptive efforts of such men around to bring concord out of discord. All ecclesiastical assemblies, even when misperceived by men as representing the Church, hhave historically been called Church councils. The most notorious of false councils are called cabals. Eight classes of Church councils throughout history have been identified (Hefele II, 2–5), of which the most important for modern consideration are these:
*ecumenical councils, of which there have been only seven
*general councils or synods which were never finally recognized as ecumenical
*national, patriarchal, or primatial councils, which are sometimes called universal or plenary councils and involve the bishops of one nation, patriarchate, or primacy
*provincial councils held by a metropolitan of a province with his suffragan bishops
*councils of several dioceses in which the bishops of several contiguous provinces meet
*diocesan councils which a single bishop holds with his own clergy.
Since Priestmonk Justin has
written in The True Vine on councils before the
First Ecumenical Council and creeds before the Nicene Creed (The
True Vine, 15:3 (1992), 14-29), we
will not dwell at length on the historical councils before Nicaea.Excluding
the Apostolic Council of ca. 52 A.D.,
the written history of Church Councils begins in the second century
series of councils against “the strange and impious doctrines” of
his followers, a schism of Phrygia which spread to the West and
great Tertullian; and with a series of councils regarding the
celebration of Pascha.
The precise dates of these sets of early councils are uncertain. Given
Church’s mandate for assembly, however, we must assume that conciliar
interaction has been an integral part of Church life since the earliest
Apostolic times and has occurred with unfailing regularity.
The Council of Nicaea (325) and Its Creed
learn with some surprise that the great Western champion of orthodoxy
St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, born 300 A.D., confesses that until
adult life he was ignorant of the very existence of the First Council
(325 A.D.). He acknowledges that he had not even seen the text of the
Creed until the eve of his exile in 356 A.D., thirty-one years after
Council had taken place and when he was fifty-six years old (St.
Hilary, De Synodis, 91). In orthodox Gaul the
truths that were being enunciated at far-away Nicaea were so obvious to
believers that there was little reason to note or pay strict attention
writes that without knowledge of the Nicene Creed, he had learned what
behind the new terms generated at Nicaea, that is, their true meaning,
the technical terms, but from the Gospels and Epistles. The Scriptures
quite sufficient to support the integrity of his faith. This is an
observation — namely, that a perfect orthodox understanding of the
identity of the Son of God is and always has been possible without the
technical terminology through which the Church, guided by the Holy
found it advisable, even necessary, to preserve for the ages the
regarding the relationship of the Father and the Son.
when the Fathers of Nicaea actually sought to avoid all nonscriptural
and limit their use of terminology in their decisions to that which was
scriptural, they found their opponents “whispering to each other and
with their eyes, that ‘like,’ and ‘always,’ and ‘power,’ and ‘in Him’
scriptural terms) were common to both men and the Son of God, so that
found no difficulty in agreeing to such terms (St. Athanasius, NPNF, 4, 163). Thus it ultimately proved
necessary for the Fathers to adopt specific terminology which was not scriptural in order to achieve the
exactness and precision of language required by the problems
This nonscriptural language could
come only out of some context known
at the time, even if it were that of pagan philosophy. The source,
not, was immaterial as compared to the criterion: terminology that
finally be fixed with an absolutely unmistakable denotation
integrity of the doctrine in question. As St. Athanasius put it, the
“were compelled on their part to collect the sense of the Scriptures,
and to resay
and rewrite what they had said before, more distinctly still”
NPNF, 4, 163).
challenge met at Nicaea arose from a misapplication of Aristotelian
the brilliant Presbyter Arius of Alexandria to the old theological
“Who do men say that I, the Son of God, am?” After the rationalistic
had made his opening statements at the Council in the presence of the
and later Saint Constantine, the so-called Eusebian party undertook his
defense. It was immediately evident that the weight of sentiment was
and the number of his supporters gradually dwindled to a very few. A
letter of Eusebius
of Nicomedia (leader of the Eusebian party), together with a formal
of the Arian faith, were then laid before the Council. These were also
rejected by the Council. It remained only to learn how the Arians and
cause could escape complete condemnation, and how far they could accept
action of the Council and remain within the Church.
point, the learned Eusebius of Caesarea (not to be confused with
Eusebius of Nicomedia)
and what has been called the “conservative party of compromise” stepped
with a creed which they thought would unite all parties, even the
would have been able to sign it. It employed only scriptural language
appeared to be well in accord with all prior traditions and creeds used
Church. In fact it was the very creed used in the orthodox diocese of
Creed of Caesarea had going for it that it was traditional; the
scriptural. But as clear heads recognized, the issue would be not what the Scriptures and Tradition
said, but what they meant. It was
disagreement about meaning which had occasioned the Council in the
truly orthodox party now came forward to take up the true business of
Council. The controlling spirit and genius of the Council, though not
nominal head, was revealed to be a simple deacon of Alexandria,
name, who had accompanied his bishop, Alexander, to Nicaea. The
proceeded to allow Arius and the Arians all the time and exposure they
to destroy themselves. As good teachers, the orthodox also listened to
words of the compromisers, and made it clear that they had no issue
except in the matter of the clear expression of the common truth. As
wrote later in reference to another Council: “The bishops were not
about a word if the meaning were secure.”
critical term turned out to be: homoousios
to patri, “of the same essence with the Father.” This, the only
the Creed brought forward by Eusebius of Caesarea, was proposed by the
himself, perhaps coached by his friend, the great Hosius of Cordova. It
that without the Emperor’s support, the homoousios
to patri could not have passed through the Council. It passed, and
certain that no other definition would have succeeded then or
surprisingly, however, the term homoousios
presented serious difficulties, and wrestling with them filled the
between the First and Second Ecumenical Councils. Homoousios,
it was said, is a word “coined by Gnostic heretics,
dictated by an unbaptized emperor, jeopardized by naive defenders of
but eventually vindicated by its orthodox opponents” (Pelican I, 210).
vindication was achieved finally in the third quarter of the fourth
through the formulation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit by the
beginning of the turbulent fourth century, the Church was faced with
heretical threats, Sabellianism and Arianism, which stand at opposite
from the orthodox faith concerning the relationship of the Father and
From the very beginning the Church has been conscious of two divinely
principles concerning this relationship: the Son’s very real divinity
equality with the Father, and His personal distinction from the Father.
principles are clear from the gospels, and have always been believed by
faithful. Many of the early Fathers both understood and expounded the
of these principles correctly.
Fathers, however, who understood them perfectly well, employed less
ways of expressing them, even sometimes using uncertain and indefinite
and expressions that might have led others eventually to heresy. Thus
St. Gregory of Neocaesarea, and St. Methodius, among others, “did not
choose their expressions carefully” (Hefele I, 232). The Apologists
to make themselves understandable to the pagans, often brought the
concept of the Logos close to that of
Plato and Philo (Hefele I, 231–239).
an early aberration which grew out of linguistic imprecision and
of expression, taught the Son and the Holy Spirit “as aspects and modes
as emanations from, the one Person of the Father” (Bright, 85). It
the unity of the divine principle by denying any distinction in it,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one person as well as one nature.
on the other hand, extended the distinction of persons into one of
attributing real divinity only to the Father. The Age of Constantine
favorable for “the rise and rapid propagation of the doctrine
Son, Who is begotten, to the Father, Who is unbegotten, thus making
or less one of the creatures, because after the Edict of Milan many
pagans became Christians without complete conversion, tending to retain
pre-baptismal understandings that often militated against correct
task of the Church throughout the fourth century was to steer between
antithetical heresies, to define and preserve precisely what it was
been handed down as truth from the Holy Apostles, and to teach this
the universal Church. In effect, the Church was forced to become a
linguist and language teacher. This proved difficult, as we note in the
St. Athanasius. Although his name is certainly identified with the
faith, even he was reproached by some for “holding views which made too
distinction between the Persons of the Trinity, thus reviving
minds among the bishops soon came to realize that errors of expression
arose, not from an unsoundness of faith, but from “personal inaccuracy
natural ambiguity of language” (DuBose, 92). It is understandable that
misstatements were often seized upon as evidence of heretical faith
was nothing wrong with the faith, but only with the language used to
it. Fortunately, a disposition arose among wiser heads to refrain from
premature condemnation, and to allow reflection by those who were
with unclear language and ambiguous definition. This disposition to be
and understanding played an important role in the unfolding of the six
of councils which thrashed out the language problems introduced by the
Once the Council of Nicaea was
over, it now
became the larger task of the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit,
teach the council’s decisions, steering them slowly to universal
through the ark of the Church. This occurred against terrible odds.
few years, councils that contradicted Nicaea would also be favored by
Emperor’s presence and support. Such antinomy prevailed that Arian
were granted the power to misdirect much of the conciliar effort that
place. Furthermore, who could be immediately certain that the decision
had not gone too far in the direction of heretical Sabellianism, as
orthodox hierarchs conscientiously believed?
process of teaching the Nicene Creed to the Church went on for over a
century against formidable opposition, and it was only in the second
Council that Arianism within the Church was effectively overcome.
that a certain tentativeness surrounded the expression of the Nicene
between the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, the First Canon of
Ecumenical Council declares that the Holy Fathers “decided not to set
faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who met in Nicaea,
and let it remain sovereign.” Even the entirely orthodox St. Cyril of
(fl. ca. 315–386), who preferred to
use “like to the Father according to the Scriptures” or “in all
language also used by St. Athanasius, especially in his earlier
“tacitly objected” to the expression homoousios
as “of human contrivance” and containing latent Sabellianism.
as good, patient, and effective teachers the orthodox Fathers had a
desire to meet objections and to face the thoughts which the
aroused. They were ready to appeal to Scripture as the document of
they were disposed to choose, if possible, Scriptural language; to find
very words of the Apostles the central point of doctrinal unity
Bright, The Age of the Fathers).
Also, as good teachers, the Fathers would not compromise with truth, but continued to press for the use of the term homoousios as the most appropriate, perhaps the only appropriate, way to give competent expression to the full truth in the prevailing environment and one that would stand the test of all future time. It would be terribly wrong, however, to see in this an example of so-called doctrinal development and argue that the Fathers were adding a new idea to the doctrinal treasury of the Church by their choice of this word. Homoousios may have been a new term, but it did not support a new concept.
Emperor Constantine, who had rendered such invaluable service to the Church, who had proposed the felicitous term homoousios to clinch what we now know to be the orthodoxy of the Nicene Creed, would not permit any one party thereafter to separate from the Church and become a sect with its own distinct worship. Thus those whom the Council had anathematized as heretics were for some decades not only able, but required, to sit in council with the orthodox. There, often possessing many advantages over the orthodox, they were able to argue their heretical, anti-Nicene version of orthodoxy. As we look back upon this anomaly, we see that bishops who were heretics were found sitting on an equal and often superordinate basis with bishops who were orthodox in one Church council after the other for the fifty-six years between the First (325 A.D.) and the Second (381 A.D.) Ecumenical Councils, and even later.
Throughout those six decades, heretical bishops worked diligently to increase their numbers by illegal ordinations, and to have councils of bishops called and creeds devised to overthrow the Council and creed of the Church established at Nicaea. They used their own councils, which we may justly call cabals, to destroy, cast out, and depose both true bishops and one another (Pusey, 118). Moreover, heretical emperors Constantius and Valens used their power to corrupt bishops in order to establish competing creeds as “orthodox” substitutes for the Nicene. They repeatedly called councils, packed or divided councils, deposed and exiled orthodox bishops through cabals, and replaced such bishops with heretical bishops who did their bidding. The teaching authority of the Church became seriously fractionalized.
through all this the Holy Spirit protected the doctrine of the Church.
and bishops, orthodox and heterodox, did whatever they did with an eye
the canons and outward forms of the Church. Even when willy-nilly
the Church, they felt constrained to submit to its canons and forms
118). Their every act of doctrine or Church order was ascribed to the
decision of men called bishops. Councils, heretical or orthodox, were
composed of men called bishops. What was done in them was done by men
bishops. And what they did they did with an assumed complete authority,
no farther for confirmation of their actions than to men called bishops.
result, the Emperor simply wouldn’t allow the Arians in
Alexandria and elsewhere, despite their defeat at Nicaea, to withdraw
from the Church. Furthermore, St. Constantine expressly demanded of
his followers that they submit to Nicaea and confess their assent to
Creed. Their agreement, genuine or fraudulent, would either restore or
appearance of restoring them to the ranks of the orthodox. But only
falsehood and equivocation was Arius able to submit and assent,
emperor as to the nature of the doctrines he continued to espouse.
while Arius and his heresy were being publicly rehabilitated, the
St. Athanasius, the unquestioned champion of the Nicene faith and its
theological solutions, were now able to represent him to the emperor as
disturber of the peace. He was calumniated by his enemies
“Defense Against the Arians,” NPNF2,
4, 105), and even his orthodoxy came to be called more and more into
for the suspicion was growing that his views did not make sufficient
distinctions between the Persons of the Trinity. Thus he was reproached
reviving Sabellianism, and could conceivably have ended up classified
with the Sabellian
the exile of Arius and others, and the burning of Arius’s books —
attempted obliteration of the very name, Arians — the heresy did
to an end. Some eighty councils ensued in which Arianism, while for a
growing stronger, attempted in its various contradictory forms to
Nicene decisions only to fall eventually of its own inconsistencies.
despite the errors of Arian principles and objectives, the fact that so
these councils were convened by heretics or their sympathizers and
pressure from the civil authorities illustrates the truly complex and
nature of the conciliar instrumentality that the Holy Spirit made use
St. Hilary of Poitiers, speaking from the viewpoint of his own participation in some of these councils, characterizes the vacillation and abuse of the collegial function, and the manic nature of the anti-Nicene councils in this fashion:
We determine yearly and monthly creeds concerning God; we repent of our determinations; we defend those who repent; we anathematize those whom we have defended; we condemn our own doings in those of others, or others in us; and gnawing each other, we are well nigh devoured one of another.
handful of influential bishops superintended this vacillating and
behavior. Without being out-and-out Arians themselves, they held views
subordinating the Son to the Father that were incompatible with the
established at Nicaea. They were skilled,
crafty, and often unscrupulous politicians who misunderstood the
doctrine of the Son’s consubstantiality with the Father,
suspecting it to be damaging to the personality of Christ. As the
the Eusebian party, these bishops had not joined in the anathema
against Arius, but accepted the Nicene Creed without admitting that
taught error. They continued to attempt to rehabilitate him as a
member of the Church. As a party of compromise, they desired a creed
orthodox and Arian could accept. Their leaders, including Eusebius of
came openly to regret having signed the Nicene creed and were
The Eusebians hoped that Constantine could be persuaded to accept a creed in place of the Nicene, paving the way for the victory of Subordinationism in the Church, and forcing the supporters of the strict homoousios to withdraw. Seeing that St. Athanasius worked to keep the Nicene faith even stronger, the Eusebians objected to his election as Pope of Alexandria in 328, and sought to poison the Emperor against him by accusing him of great crimes and of the heresy of Sabellianism.
cause was greatly strengthened by another influential Eusebius
(Pamphili), bishop of Caesarea,
the historian and confident of the Emperor. He thought he recognized
views in a Bishop Eustathius, who had played a
distinguished role at Nicaea, and he also thought St. Athanasius
bordered on Sabellianism.
The dispute between Eustathius and Eusebius of Caesarea occasioned the
convocation of a Council at Antioch in 330 where Eustathius was deposed
sent by Constantine into exile. This and other machinations
hand of the other Eusebius (of Nicomedia), who believed that the time
to repudiate the doctrine of the Son’s consubstantiality
with the Father and to restore Arius to the communion of the Church.
without difficulty, St. Athanasius succeeded in persuading the Emperor
was impossible for the Church to receive heretics into communion, and
for the reinstatement of Arius was delayed at least for a time. The
however, would not decide the matter concerning Arius’s orthodoxy,
up to the council. Thus St. Athanasius stood in the way of the
plots, and they brought fresh charges against him.
In one year alone, 335 A.D., St.
called in succession three councils: Tyre, Jerusalem, and
of them controlled by the Eusebians and highly favorable to Arius. The
thrust of all three was to counteract Nicaea and to admit Arius back
fold. All three councils assembled bishops representing Egypt, Libya,
Europe. The council at Tyre deposed St. Athanasius. That at Jerusalem
that Arius’s profession of faith to the Emperor was satisfactorily
And at the Council of Constantinople Constantine exiled St. Athanasius.
and his strong supporter Marcellus of Ancyra came under increasing
preeminence of St. Constantine and his willingness to force dissidents
remain nominally within the Church so long as they were willing to give
appearance of assent to the Nicene Creed set a pattern which tended to
stabilize an increasingly unstable situation throughout the remainder
life and through the reigns of his successors up to Theodosius the
gave the orthodox time to consolidate and teach their position which
identical with that of the Apostles, and for many Semi-Arians to learn
understand that the homoousios was
completely orthodox, being a way of making the Apostles’ position clear
fourth century, and bearing no taint whatsoever of Sabellianism. It
the Arians time to teach the full implications of their theory that the
God had not existed from eternity, and that He differed from other
degree, and not in kind, though they continued to worship Him as God,
baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
this time for sorting out, the several competing “orthodoxies” might
immediately have gone their separate ways. The imperial tactic required
all parties participate in discussion and be allowed to present and
cases vigorously. The result was that patiently and persistently true
converted the largest part of Christendom to the Nicene creed, while
gradually receded from its dominance in the East and finally dissipated
As we have seen, Arianism was at first very strong, but its strength lay mostly in its Subordinationist allies, usually called Semi-Arians. Around 339, St. Constantine’s son and successor in the East, Constantius, who supported Arius, called a council at Constantinople. This Eusebian- dominated council with Arians in control gave the Arian party in Alexandria their own bishop, a deposed priest named Pistus, who had been deposed at Nicaea on account of Arianism. The installation of an Arian bishop in Alexandria was, of course, a direct attack upon St. Athanasius. But the Eusebian councils did not teach with a single voice. Although they did not themselves hold extreme Arian views, the Eusebians’ usual habit of protecting the interests of the Arians resulted in vacillation and indecisiveness among them when an extreme Arian group became strong and active while splitting off from opposing Arian groups. In opposition to the extreme Arians, the moderate Eusebians began to appear under the common name of Semi-Arians or Homoiousians — the latter because they chose to replace the Nicaean homoousios (of the same substance) for the like-sounding homoiousios (of like substance), a term, however, that the orthodox could not but reject.
in 339 St. Athanasius, armed with the Mareotic Acts provided him by
of Rome and contradicting charges against him, called a council of one
bishops of Libya, Egypt, Thebes, and Pentapolis, in which the orthodox
control. And two years later, in 341, Julius called an orthodox council
that included St. Athanasius, Marcellus of Ancyra, many bishops from
Phoenicia, and Palestine, as well as envoys of the orthodox party in
These councils strengthened the voice of a united Nicene orthodoxy.
the Anti-Nicene forces took advantage of the Arian leanings of the
and had a council convened at Antioch, which came to be called in Encaenis (i.e., at the dedication of
the “Golden” Church). This was principally a council of the
Patriarchate of Antioch
with representatives from Cappadocia and Thrace. None came from the
council sought to supplant the Nicene Creed with new forms, and
deposition of St. Athanasius.
impress the orthodox, the Semi-Arians at the beginning of this council
submitted a creed which appeared to be quite orthodox, but avoided the
term homoousios. They argued that the term homoousios
was a disguise for Sabellianism
and was capable of being understood as dividing the divine essence into
parts (Hefele II, 77). In all, this council proposed four different
of which approached the Nicene Creed as closely as the competing groups
without accepting the homoousios.
While not strictly Arian, neither were they strictly orthodox. However,
orthodox bishops were able to receive them as containing nothing
as directly refuting the main points of Arianism. St. Hilary of
the second of these creeds favorably. St. Athanasius did not call them
heretical, but he did not judge them as favorably as did St. Hilary.
about 335, the orthodox had further strengthened their position to the
functioning with greater focus and energy at the Council of Sardica,
called jointly by Constans and Constantius, emperors of the Western
Empire. According to St. Athanasius, ninety-four orthodox and
bishops attended. Its goals came to be to remove dissensions,
concerning St. Athanasius and other orthodox bishops under suspicion;
out all false doctrine; and to create universal acceptance of the true
Dissension over St. Athanasius and the machinations of the Eusebians
particularly threatened the peace of both Church and State. Drawing up
distinct creeds within a few months was seen as destroying security and
The Council of Sardica is especially known for its canons restoring Church order. Because of the decisiveness of the orthodox, the division with the Eusebians became greater than before. With the aim of forcing universal recognition of Semi-Arianism, the Eusebians went into open opposition to the Church and removed themselves from the Council of Sardica, betaking themselves to a cabal at Philippopolis. Since the Eastern bishops stood in greater numbers on the Eusebian and Arian side than on the Nicene and Sardican, the Council of Sardica was not able to attain the ecumenical status that was hoped for. Sardica came close, however, to providing the basis whereby the Holy Spirit might unite bishops in declaring the true faith unambiguously.
a Eusebian council assembled at Sirmium at the desire of Emperor
This council published a sixth ambiguous creed together with
called the first formula of Sirmium, ostensibly directed against the
It also published two additional creeds, one distinctly Arian (Pusey,
stability of orthodox adherence to the Nicene creed and the instability
their adversaries who were unable to make up their minds about a single
ultimately strengthened the orthodox while weakening the dissident
years later when Constantius became sole Roman Emperor, he called a
Arles in 353 to convince the bishops of the West to agree with those
thought it orthodox to refer to the Son as homoiousios
(of like substance). Condemnation of St. Athanasius was thought to be
to securing this agreement. By a strange twist, presumably in order to
the heresy of the Arians, the Westerners offered to condemn Athanasius
if the Arians
would condemn the heresy of Arius. The Arians, of course, did not agree
this, but urged that the Westerners at least deprive Athanasius of
in keeping with the prior judgment of Eastern bishops (Pusey, 156). A
persistent Constantius was able to extort signatures from all the
bishops for the condemnation of Athanasius (Hefele II, 204).
were also successful in securing their ends at a Council of Milan,
355. In calling this council, Constantius intended to exhaust the
bishops, and “through deceit to compel them to consent to the Arian
promising the condemnation of Athanasius as a most mighty obstacle”
158). The upshot was that the whole of the West was forced by imperial
manipulation to hold communion with the Arians. Pope Liberius and the
Spanish bishop Josius “after noble resistance” were banished. St.
fled into the desert, and his see was occupied by an Arian.
through the vigorous efforts of the emperor, the Semi-Arians, and the Arians, the homoousios
was, humanly speaking, almost completely suppressed. To
get the upper hand, the Arians kept themselves hidden behind the
front. Yet by this time the original virulent version of Arianism
be gone, and no influential person any longer openly supported it. On
hand, the Eusebians had increased in number and strength, embracing all
any reason whatsoever for opposing St. Athanasius and the Nicene
Even some completely orthodox bishops must be included among them, for
continued to accept the misrepresentations of the Eusebians, namely
had crept into the Nicene party with the homoousios.
Many critical terms had not yet been adequately defined for the
distinction between hypostasis
(person) and ousia (essence) had not
yet been duly determined, and the term homoousios could easily be misunderstood
as Sabellian and therefore anti- trinitarian (Hefele II, 217).
The second great Council of Sirmium was held in 357 with only Western bishops attending. Its formula, the Second Sirmium, which St. Hilary termed blasphemous, reads in part:
As the [terms] homoousios and the homoiousios have raised scruples in the minds of some, no more mention [of the point involving these terms] shall be made, and no one shall teach [this point] any more, because it is not contained in the Holy Scriptures, and it is beyond human knowledge; and no one, as says Isaiah (liii.8), can declare the generation of the Son. There is no doubt that the Father is greater than the Son, and surpasses Him in honor, dignity, dominion, majesty, and even by the name of Father, as the Son Himself confesses in St. John xiv.28: “He who sent me is greater than I.” And all know that the Catholic doctrine is this; there are two Persons, the Father and the Son, the Father greater, the Son subject to Him, with all that the Father has made subject to the Son. But the Holy Ghost is through the Son, and came according to promise, to teach and sanctify the apostles and all the faithful (Hefele II, 227).
great Hosius, approaching one hundred years of age, after being worn
the emperor’s violence and a year’s imprisonment into signing the Arian
173), soon thereafter again anathematized the Arian heresy. Yet the
this second Council of Sirmium was seconded by a Council of Antioch in
after being rejected in Gaul immediately upon its appearance.
Meanwhile, the Semi-Arian bishops of Asia organized a council at Ancyra in 348. This council took pains to draw up stricter and more accurate declarations concerning the Trinity, for example:
The very expression “Father” shows that He is the Cause of a Substance like Himself; the idea of creature is thereby excluded, for the relation of Father and Son is quite different from that of Creator and creature, and if the likeness of the Son to the Father is abandoned, the idea and expression “Son” must also be given up. For if from the idea of Son all finite characteristics are removed, there remains only the characteristic of likeness, as alone applicable to the incorporeal Son. That other beings, in no way like God, are called in the Holy Scriptures sons of God, forms no objection, for this was spoken figuratively; but the Logos is Son of God in the proper sense (Hefele II, 229).
called Pope Liberius to this council to persuade him to renounce the homoousios. With a collection of
decisions against the leading acknowledged heretics of the day, Paul of
and Photinus of Sirmium, and the symbol of the Antiochian Council of
persuaded Liberius that the homoousios
was just a cloak for heretical views, and at last brought Liberius to
the document. In doing so, however, Liberius attempted to defend his
declaring that one who did not allow that the Son was like the Father
things including substance should be shut out from the Church (Hefele
The declaration of the Council of
Ancyra was followed by eighteen anathemas,
mostly placed two-by-two, so that one anathematizes the extreme Arian
separation of Father and Son, and the other the Sabellian
identification of the
Father and the Son.
the Double Council of Seleucia and Ariminum (Rimini) was called as an
Constantius to restore peace among the Arian parties. Two great
protagonists coming to the defense of the First Ecumenical Council of
works titled De Synodis (Concerning
Councils), recorded in detail their reactions to this double Church
which followed the Nicene Council by a generation. St. Athanasius, now
of Alexandria, writing in 359 A.D., represented the Eastern half of the
and St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop of Poitiers, represented the Western
reported by St. Athanasius in his De Synodis
(written in 359 and added to in 361), letters from the pro-Arian
and the prefects were circulated far and wide in 359 A.D. for the
of a Church council. This was at first set to take place at Nicaea.
council could be held, however, a second edict went out, splitting the
council into a doublet, one in the east and one in the west, to occur
simultaneously. Therefore, as it turned out, the bishops of the Western
Empire were convened at Ariminum in Italy and those of the Eastern
Empire at Seleucia
in Isauria. As alleged by a group of bishops of the Arian party who had
of Constantius, the professed reason for such a meeting was “to treat
faith pertaining to our Lord Jesus Christ.” The aim of the Arian
however, was to discredit the First Council of Nicaea and establish
theology throughout Christendom.
The heretical Constantius, of course, had his own reasons for calling a council and then doubling it according to the the principle of “divide and conquer.” He was guided by a desire for religious compromise in the interest of peace in the realm. By isolating the predominantly orthodox bishops of the West, he gave the Arians almost completely free rein in the East.
activity most characteristic of these councils was the continuous
rewriting of confessions of faith, largely because the Semi-Arian
fearful of the lurking extreme Arianism that proclaimed the Son unlike the Father, yet also suspicious
of the Nicene term homoousios, wished
a final doctrinal settlement.
council at Seleucia, an Arian bishop had dared to assert that since the
Creed had been altered once and “many times since,” there was no reason
bishops assembled at Seleucia should not dictate “another faith.”
However, a Semi-Arian
bishop protested that this council had been called, not to learn what
not know, and not to receive a faith which it did not possess, but to
the faith of the Fathers,”meaning the decisions of the Council of the Dedication in 341 A.D. A growing part of
the Semi-Arian party wished to safeguard the orthodoxy of Nicaea by
substitute for the hated term homoousios,
while the Arian party still wished to overthrow Nicaea completely.
in a deeply influential council at Alexandria called by
who had dared to return to Alexandria without imperial authorization,
twenty-one bishops decided on the matter of the reentry of former
communion with the orthodox: those who without being Arians had sided
with the Arians
for strategic reasons should receive pardon and return to their
offices upon repentance. Those who had espoused the heresy, if
should also be received back but excluded from office. Both groups,
were required to anathematize Arianism, accept the Nicene faith, and
acknowledge the Nicene Council as being of the highest authority. This
was communicated to churches in both east and west. Meanwhile the
Gaul, Spain, and Greece passed the same decree.
orthodox council also succeeded in determining the precise meaning of
terms in the controversy: ousia and hypostasis.
Many, both Latins and
Greeks, believed that the two terms were synonymous, and that whoever
the three hypostases was an out-and-out Arian. On the other hand, those
spoke of only one hypostasis were suspected of the heresy of
Some assumed that the Latin term persona
was synonymous with the Sabellian prosopon.
As a result of this confusion, many regarded those as heretics who
only in their mode of expression. St. Athanasius, who knew both Latin
Greek, conferred “in his gentle and sympathetic way with both parties,”
brought both to declare their orthodox faith in such a way as to
and put an end to misunderstanding. According to St. Gregory of
thenceforth both sides were free to keep their own form of expression
being accused of heresy (Hefele II, 278; St. Gregory of Nazianzen, “On
Great Athanasius,” NPNF, 7, 279).
tremendous advantage of this council under the supervision of the
orthodox teacher Athanasius was that hundreds of bishops who were not
had been Arian, but who by their own weakness or the mendacity of the
had been driven to the Arian side, now returned to the Church,
due to linguistic confusion they had been ignorant of the heretical
the creed of Ariminum that they had signed. Arianism now almost
disappeared in the West, and strongholds of Arians remained only in the
supported, not surprisingly, by the Emperor Julian the Apostate.
after being officially restored to his see under the Emperor Jovian
another council at Alexandria in 363. By its direction and under its
name, St. Athanasius
composed a Synodal Letter to the Emperor, commending to him the Nicene
the true faith that had always been preached in the Church from the
time of the
Apostles, and was still accepted all but universally. The small number
opponents could be no argument against it. Appended to the letter was a
statement of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Spirit, declaring that
Spirit must not be separated from the Father and the Son, but should be
glorified together with them for there is only one Godhead in the Holy
The new emperor was receptive and acted upon this letter.
bishop, Acacius of Caesarea, who had always tried to be on the winning
joined twenty-five other fellow Arian bishops in responding to the new
emperor’s preference by gathering in Antioch formally to sign and
the Nicene creed. However, they inserted a clause explaining that they
understood that “the Son is born of the substance of the Father, and is
respect of substance similar to Him.” By this they intended to
the homoousios (Hefele II, 283).
the premature death of Jovian in 364, Valens became emperor and
persecution of the orthodox in the East. Among his most cruel acts of
repression was his banishment of eighty orthodox ecclesiastics who had
to him for a milder policy, sequestering them in two boats on the Black
then ordered the boats burned on the open sea, thinking to destroy
his crime. The boats were indeed set afire, but strong wind carried
them to Bythinia
where the imperial crime soon became known (Hefele II, 284).
repression awoke the Semi-Arians to the danger to the Church of their
stubbornness and caused them to hold various councils throughout the
they decided to contact the orthodox emperor Valentinian and Pope
the West, offering to unite in faith with the orthodox. At Rome, both
and in writing, they made a solemn anathematization of the Arian and
heresies raging in the East. Received back into communion with the
they returned to the East and assembled in 367 at Tyana in Cappadocia.
there with joy by the people, they intended to meet in a great Eastern
at Tarsus in Cilicia to cause the Nicene faith to be universally
accepted, but Valens
forbade the holding of such a council (Hefele II, 287).
reposed on May 2, 373, and the Arians again took possession of the See
Alexandria and visited terrible persecution upon the orthodox. In 375
special letter to the bishops of Asia, Valentinian commanded that the
term consubstantial with the Father should be
taught universally, but his death in the same year prevented
his order, and the Arians, supported by Valens, held a council at
deposed several orthodox bishops, including St. Gregory of Nyssa.
series of councils in Rome from 374 to 380 worked to strengthen the
position against all current heresies.
Finally, with the elevation of Theodosius the Great as Emperor of the East in 379, the thirty-year Arian hold on Constantinople was broken by imperial decree. Churches were returned to the small but faithful remnant of orthodox of the city, and all heretics were forbidden to hold divine services. Arrangements were made immediately for the Second Ecumenical Council which met after Pascha in 381 A.D.
we have examined a fifty-six year segment of Church council history
First and Second Ecumenical Councils, 325 to 381 A.D. The Arian and
heresies most often appear triumphant over orthodoxy in the thirty or
councils which have captured the attention of secular history and are
considered here. At least fifty others met in the same period of time,
likely many more than that, if we recall that the canons and Tradition
each bishop to be diligent in teaching his flock every year.
human level at least, this essential, diligent, regular recourse to
bishops at the local level could be, I think, the factor that slowly
tide against Arianism and finally overcame the resistance to the homoousios of the more orthodox among
the Semi-Arians. We can only speculate about these unknown local
without them it would be difficult to account for the rather sudden
events favoring the Nicene faith after it had seemed almost completely
suppressed by 355 A.D. as a result of the machinations of the Eusebeans.
suggested in this paper that by introducing such terms as homoousios,
ousia, and hypostasis into the
language of the
Church, the orthodox bishops were in some sense prophesying and
tongues under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We do not read in the
the Apostles of fabricated, non-meaningful speech as the Gift of
Tongues. It is
reported that every man heard the Apostles speak in his own
tongue the wonderful works of God. St. Peter immediately linked
this linguistic phenomenon with that which was spoken by the Prophet
will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy.”
in tongues and prophesying have not died out in the Church, because the
Spirit has not departed from it. Whoever is guided by the Holy Spirit
interpret successfully the deep meaning of the Scriptures has spoken in
and has prophesied, that is, spoken for God in the tongue peculiar to
listener. Some critical differences may prevail from person to person
those who hear the message — differences in the time required for
hear it, in the time required for them to understand what they have
in the time required for them to accept what they have understood.
In the fourth century, as the Church emerged from severe persecution and vigorously entered the public life of the Roman Empire, embracing countless of erstwhile pagans in another Pentecost, it became necessary to speak not only in the language of the Scriptures, but also in the meaning of the Scriptures. That was the purpose of the homoousios: To tell the world that the Son of God Who said, “I and the Father are one,” is of one essence with the Father. Which Evangelist could have foreseen that homoousios, a word composed of elements of the Greek tongue, would some day express most clearly to denizens of the philosophically sophisticated Greek world what was expressed so well and clearly in Hebrew to the Jews of their world?
St. Athanasius have possibly had an inkling that some day the term homoousios would be rendered in tongues
which did not even exist in his day — for example, in English, the Son is of one essence with the Father?
The language is different, but the underlying meaning has remained
the same from Apostolic times, and that is all that matters, as the
endeavors throughout this historical period show.
can be no doubt that time is required for hearing, and time is also
for comprehending. In the modern understanding of education, the time
for learning is measured by the term aptitude.
Every individual and perhaps every society has a different aptitude for
tasks, that is, requires a different amount of time to achieve mastery.
time is also required for believing is a good question. I would not be
surprised if it is, but I don’t think it would be proper to speak of it
way, since God, acting outside time, gives the grace.
an inclination to see parallels between this confused fourth- century
and the religious environment of our time, where the real linguistic
are much more complex and confused. In the fourth century, as far as I
participants in councils did not question that the Gospels contained
words spoken by the Saviour. Today there are those, such as members of
Jesus Seminar, who deny that the Saviour spoke any but a small fraction
words that are attributed to Him. They read the words reported in the
Testament as those of a self-serving Church. Others today do not just
paraphrase the Scriptures. They metaphrase the Saviour’s words to
meaning to accord with their own modernist ideologies. In such an
the very words lose relevance and the concept of meaning loses
The genius of the Church in the Constantinian era, which to a large extent reflects the genius of St. Constantine himself, was its unlimited patience with those who needed an almost unlimited amount of time to come to believe correctly. While orthodoxy’s patience was unlimited, its insistence upon truth was absolute and uncompromising. This great patience and great resolve was finally rewarded in the triumph of the Nicene Creed. The combination of unlimited patience and uncompromising resolve for truth was truly a mark of great love, whereby all Christendom became one in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. No doubt the same qualities of long- suffering patience and uncompromising demand for truth will again need to mark the great love of the Church for man at the end of the age.
NPNF2 = Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series
ANF = Ante-Nicene Fathers
Athanasius, St. “De Decretis.” NPNF2, 4: 150-172.
Athanasius, St. “Apologia Contra Arianos.” NPNF2, 4: 100-147.
Auxentios, Archbishop. “Encyclical from Archbishop Auxentios on the Reception of the Faithful in Tennessee.” The True Vine, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1992: 18-24.
Azkoul, Michael, Fr. Anti-Christianity: The New Atheism. Montreal: Monastery Press, 1981.
Bright, William. The Age of the Fathers. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903.
Bright, William. Notes on the Canons of the First Four General Councils. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1882.
Clement of Rome, St. “The Clementine Homilies.” ANF, 8: 251.
DuBose, William P. The Ecumenical Councils. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1909.
Ephraim, Bishop. “An Encyclical to the Clergy Regarding the Holy Eucharist and the Mystery of Baptism.” The True Vine, Summer 1989: 2-7.
Ephraim, Bishop. “The Form of Holy Baptism.” The True Vine, Summer 1989: 8-29.
Gelsinger, Michael G.H., Rt. Rev. “The Creed.” The True Vine, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1992: 43-64.
Gregory Nazianzen, St. “On the Great Athanasius,” NPNF2, 7: 269-280.
Gregory Nazianzen, St. “On the Holy Spirit.” NPNF2, 7: 316-328.
Hefele, Charles Joseph. A History of the Councils of the Church, Volume 1. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896. Volume 2.
Hilary of Poitiers, St. “De Synodis.” NPNF2, 9: 4-29.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery, compiler, “The First Ecumenical Council . . . compiled from the Books of Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Theodoret, and Socrates.” The True Vine, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1992: 30-41.
John XXIII, Pope. Journal of a Soul. New York: McGraw Hill, 1965.
Justin, Priestmonk. “The Historical Setting for the Creed.” The True Vine, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1992: 14-29.
Metallinos, George D. I Confess One Baptism. Holy Mountain: St. Paul’s Monastery, 1994.
Nicodemus and Agapius, Saints. The Rudder of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Chicago: The Orthodox Christian Educational Society, Reprinted 1953.
Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971.
Pusey, E. B. The Councils of the Church. London: John Henry Parker.
Thiede, Carsten Peter, and Matthew D’Ancona. Eyewitness to Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 1996.
Lecture given at the 1996 Toronto Orthodox Conference, “By This Conquer: The Constantinian Era”
July 25–27, 1996
1 We note the abiding conviction that the Holy Spirit lives in the Church, guiding and protecting Her from error. Yet prior to the Second Ecumenical Council, the Church had not yet pronounced definitively on the deity of the Holy Spirit. St. Gregory of Nazianzen, accounting for the fact that the Scriptures are relatively silent about the precise identity of the Holy Spirit, proposed that the Holy Spirit since becoming resident in the Church “provides us with a clearer demonstration of Himself.” It is only in and through the Church that the Holy Spirit identifies Himself, an identity formulated in the Second Ecumenical Council in 381 A.D., using a creed already in use at least ten years before the Second Ecumenical Council.
2 This occurred, for example, at Sardica in 334 (or 337) A.D., and again at Ferrara- Florence in 1438–45 A.D. In the latter, about 700 Orthodox delegates joined Roman Catholic delegates in an effort to reach agreement on doctrinal differences between the two groups and to reunite East and West. The Church subsequently rejected the decision of this council.
3 One of the most flagrant examples of a false council, the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church, occurred not centuries ago but thirty years ago (1962–65). It was convoked unilaterally in 1959 at an apparent whim, so to speak, of Pope John XXIII, who had just been elected to the monarchical papacy in 1958 at age seventy-seven. His announced purpose was “to bring the church up to date.” In this we recognize an inappropriate goal for a church council. While the Orthodox cannot recognize it as a true Church council by the criteria specified above, the world mistakenly regards it and proclaims it in that light.
4 From 1925 to 1941, the then-Cardinal Angelo Roncalli had served the Roman Catholic Church as a diplomat in countries off the beaten path of Roman Catholicism, where he came into close contact with Eastern Orthodoxy — Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece. He met officially with the Patriarch of Constantinople, with the Metropolitan of Bulgaria, and with Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos of Greece who had yielded to State pressure in 1924 to approve the new calendar for Greece.
5 The new pope’s precipitous decision shocked the Roman Curia whose members saw absolutely no reason for an “ecumenical council,” only risk and danger in implementing one. They sought unsuccessfully to delay the council until Pope John’s anticipated early demise. John, however, envisioned the times as favorable for a reunion of churches, especially the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He caused the Vatican II “fathers” to pledge to be consistently positive in all their deliberations, to abandon all anathemas and condemnations, and to ignore all political hostilities. While old doctrines and dogmas were to be re- examined, no new dogmas were to be pronounced. John insisted he was seeking a “New Pentecost,” a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
6 Except for the Russian Patriarchate, the Orthodox Churches simply ignored the Pope’s invitation to participate. The Russian Metropolitan Nikodim came, assumed an embarrassingly active role in ecumenical activities in Rome, and expired one day in the very arms of Pope Paul VI, Pope John’s successor.
7 Vatican II was pledged to avoid the very functions which an Orthodox Church Council would have been expected to discharge. Instead of teaching the world the faith that had been handed down unchanged from the Apostles, Pope John XXIII intimated that the modern world had something critically important to teach the Church. That, at least, is what millions upon millions of Roman Catholics heard him say. As a result, Roman Catholic bishops and their flocks in many countries are seeking closer and closer accommodations with the world and are in virtual schism from the Papacy. To all appearances, Vatican II has been a great disaster for the Roman Catholic Church from which, it has been predicted, it may never recover, and one no longer hears of a move to “canonize” Pope John XXIII.
8 Despite absence of historical evidence, there was plenty of good cause for councils between the Apostolic period and the middle of the second century. Heretical gnosticism seriously threatened the unity of the Church, a threat well appreciated by such writers as St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen. According to the anonymous author of a document called Praedestinatus, which Hefele discounts as of doubtful validity, three councils did take place between 125 and 160 A.D. against gnostic sects. In homilies attributed to St. Clement of Rome (ca. 96 A.D.) we read of the Christian duty to assemble frequently, even hourly: “Before all else, . . . come together frequently, if it were every hour, especially on the appointed days of meeting. For if you do this you are within the wall of safety. For disorderliness is the beginning of perdition. Let no one therefore forsake the assembly on the grounds of envy toward a brother. For if any one of you forsake the assembly, he shall be regarded as of those who scatter the Church of Christ, and shall be cast out with the adulterers” (ANF 8:251). Furthermore, early Christians were not as isolated from each other as one might suppose. Communication techniques in the first century were quite remarkable, even by modern standards. Imperial mail moved messages from Corinth to Puteoli in Italy in five days. A letter from Rome could reach Alexandria in three days under favorable weather conditions.
9 Homoousios was adopted as expressing neither more nor less than this, that the Son of God was God’s true Son, and Himself strictly and properly God, “literally in and of the essence,” and not outside that essence, i.e., not a creature.
10As late as 404, for example, St. John Chrysostom was pronounced deposed by a majority of the Council of Constantinople which met in that year, a council whose authority he challenged because it was an Arian one (Hefele II, 438–9).
11S. Hil. ad Const.ii.5; Pusey, 116. St. Athanasius confirms this observation: “Every year, as if they were going to draw up a contract, they meet together and pretend to write about the faith, whereby they expose themselves the more to ridicule and disgrace, because their expositions are rejected, not by others, but by themselves” (Letter to Eg. Lib., p. 6; Hist. Tr., p. 131; O.T., cited by Pusey, 117).
12 “They dissent from each other, and, whereas they have revolted from their Fathers, are not of one and the same mind, but float about with various and discordant changes. And as quarreling with the Council of Nicaea, they have held many councils themselves and have published a faith in each of them, and have stood to nine; may, they will never do otherwise; for perversely seeking, they will never find a wisdom which they hate” (Compunc. Arim. & Seleuc. 14, p. 92, 3; O.T., cited by Pusey, 24), Ibid.
13Subordinationism is the theory, which endeavors to preserve the personal distinction between the Father and the Son by subordinating in glory and in dignity Him Who is begotten (the Son) to Him Who is unbegotten (the Father), thus making the Son like one of the creatures.
14In his own day, some held Eusebius of Caesarea to be completely Orthodox. Others considered him an Arian, and this dispute about him has persisted to the present. His true position may have been to seek a middle way between Arianism and Orthodoxy. His suspicions concerning the heretical leanings of Eustathius and St. Athanasius were shared by the Eusebians.
15Bishop of Antioch who had played a distinguished role at Nicaea. Eustathius had broken off all communion with the Arians and had combated the Arianizing views of Eusebius (Pamphili) of Caesarea as well as every deviation from the strict definition of the homoousios.