As you begin these lessons, and with each lesson, please, I implore you say a prayer for guidance to read, heed and imprint your heart, mind, and soul with these truths that you are about to study as regards the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church…
Met. +Joseph Thaddeus the Repentant Unworthy One and Fool for Jesus Christ
Part IIIa of:
A Basic Primer of Orthodox Catholicism and its difference with the heretical Roman Jurisdiction
Nicaea, Council of (325)
The first ecumenical Council of the Church, called by Emperor Constantine to settle the doctrinal dispute between the Arians and the Orthodox on the person of Christ.
History: (Gr Areios)
Founder of Arianism, born in Libya. He trained in Antioch, and became a presbyter in Alexandria. He claimed (c.319) that, in the doctrine of the Trinity, the Son was not co-equal or co-eternal with the Father, but only the first and highest of all finite beings, created out of nothing by an act of God's free will. He won some support, but was deposed and excommunicated in 321 by a synod of bishops at Alexandria.
The subsequent controversy was fierce, so the Council of Nicaea (Nice) was called in 325 to settle the issue. Out of this came the definition of the absolute unity of the divine essence, and the equality of the three persons of the Trinity. Arius was banished, but recalled in 334, and died in Constantinople.
Nicaea, Council of
Nicaea, Council of (325)
One who by reason of age or
distinction is entrusted with shared authority and leadership in a community. In
the ancient Biblical world, the elders of Israel exercised both religious and
civil influence from the tribal period onwards; and city elders were active at a
local level. Jewish synagogues were also governed by elders, but the title is
reserved for scholars in the Mishnaic period.
In the New Testament, elders were church officials (Gr presbuteroi, 'presbyters') with a collective authority for general oversight of a congregation, and are sometimes even called 'bishops' (Gr episkopoi; Acts 20.28, Titus 1.5-7) but not yet in the monarchical sense. In Reformed Churches, elders are officers ordained to 'rule' along with the minister (a 'teaching' elder), to exercise discipline, and to oversee the life of a congregation and its individual members.
worship, and life of the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (nearly 1000
million members worldwide in 1997). A direct line of succession is claimed from
the earliest Christian communities, centring on the city of Rome, where St Peter
(claimed as the first bishop of Rome) was martyred and St Paul witnessed. After
the conversion of the Emperor Constantine (4th-c), Roman bishops acquired
something of the authority and power of the emperor.
Surviving the fall of Rome in the 5th-c, the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church was the only effective agency of civilization in Europe, and after its creation for the 11th-c schism from the Orthodox Catholic Synods, commonly then being called the "Byzantine" or "Eastern Church," it was the dominant force in the Western world, and thereafter called itself the Holy Roman Empire.
Reformation of the 16th-c inspired revival, and the need to restate doctrine in
an unambiguous form and to purge the church and clergy of abuses and corruption
was recognized. The most dramatic reforms were enacted by the two Vatican
Councils of the 19th-c and 20th-c.
The Second Vatican Council signalled a new era, with a new ecumenical spirit pervading the Church. Although the doctrines of the faith remained largely untouched, there was a new openness to other Christian denominations - indeed, other world religions. Great emphasis was placed on the Church as the 'people of God', with the laity being given a much more active part in liturgy (eg the Mass being said in the vernacular instead of Latin).
Doctrine is declared by the pope, or by a General Council with the approval of the pope, and is summarized in the Nicene Creed. Scripture is authoritative, and authoritatively interpreted by the magisterium or teaching office of the Church. The tradition of the Church is accepted as authoritative, special importance being attributed to the early church fathers and to the mediaeval scholastics, notably St Thomas Aquinas.
Principal doctrines are similar to those of mainstream Protestant and Orthdox Churches - God as Trinity, creation, redemption, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the place of the Holy Spirit - the chief doctrinal differences being the role of the Church in salvation, and its sacramental theology. Modern liturgies reflect a cross-section of historical inheritance, cultural environment, and social factors.
Ancient traditional practices such as the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the Saints, or the Stations of the Cross, are still regarded as valuable aids to devotion. At the other extreme, Roman Catholic priests in South America, preaching liberation theology, have assumed a political role, for which they have been rebuked by Rome.
The hierarchy of the Church includes cardinals, bishops, priests, and several minor orders. Many religious orders, male and female, exist within the Church. The vast and complex organization of the Church is controlled by the Vatican, an independent state in Rome which, under the direction of the pope, implements Church policy, and administers property and finance. In predominantly Catholic countries, the Church maintains a degree of political influence, and extends canon law into the realm of civil law, notably on moral issues (ei: birth control).
INSTRUCTIONS for Testing…
It is asked that read through the material again… Underline or highlight what you, personally, feel are important for understanding. Then go on to the next lesson and do the same thing…
Before taking any test, try to review the material of each lesson… Then, proceed, as you feel fit, to take the OPEN BOOK test.
However, might we remind you that for some it is highly important and therefore suggested that you re-read these lessons as often as possible because you will more than you think, pick up on something rather significant and important which will then take up residence in your mental molecules (brain cells)…
DO NOT RUSH THROUGH… Take time… Pick a place away from distractions where you can “feel the spirit” and catch the wave of understanding that will flow through you… For it is these things that you will need to know when taking not only your CLOSED BOOK TESTING… but will need to know when a member of either your congregation or parish ask a question that just might depend on what you learn in these pages…
If you have any problems or need answers to questions you may have, it is also suggested that you write down your question, no matter how ridiculous you might think it may be… for it is often times the ridiculous that becomes a most important… for you, for your congregations, for your parishioners, for you family and friends too… Believe me, I know this one so well that as I grow older and the mental molecules deteriorate… that which sticks is that which you’ve taken to heart through the suggested methods above written which I’ve had to employ for myself…
Metropolitan +Joseph Thaddeus
A Repentant Unworthy One and fool for Jesus Christ!
Next - Lesson 3b Holy Things For those struggling to become Holy