Council of Nicea
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Constantine convened the Council of Nicea in CE 325 in his effort to consolidate his power and influence by making Greco-Roman Christianity the religion of the Roman empire and to eliminate the major controversies in the Greco-Roman Church concerning the question over the deity of Christ and the celebration of Easter. The Council, which did not include Judeo-Christians or other Jewish Christians, was anti-Semitic and took a harsh approach toward Jews, Judeo-Christians, and other religious groups. Whether Judeo-Christians did not join the Council as they preferred to maintain their own autonomy or they were otherwise excluded by the Gentile bishops, remains to be seen.

The Council of Nicea was the first such ecumenical council and the group made the Sunday observance of Easter universal through its imposition on all orthodox Christians. Harsh discriminatory decrees followed such as Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea which stated:

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. (.)

Concluding the 381 Council of Constantinople Emperor Theodosius I  ordered the immediate surrender of all churches to the orthodox bishops "who confess that the father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of one majesty and power, of the same honor and dominion." Such harsh intolerance led many Jews, Judeo-Christians, and others to move out of the cities into the country and the mountains in an effort to preserve some form of religious freedom.

The emerging Greco-Roman Church ostracized Judeo-Christians, lumping them together with Ebionites, considered them as followers of Arius (the Arian Heresy). The continued persecution by the Greco-Roman Church and the Roman state resulted in the general migration of members of these groups, out of the effective reach of the Roman empire, in the West primarily into the Alps and in the East into Armenia.


Page last edited: 02/02/06 08:08 PM

 


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