الأحد، 5 أبريل، 2015

Pierre vogel - Worte fürs Herz, Disco Muslime

Buddha Said Meat & Fish Are Pure

Buddha Said Meat & Fish Are Pure

Please Check What the Gautama Buddha Said About Eating Meat 
(Buddha said Monks,I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in 03 respects)

Since the very beginning of Buddhism over 2500 years ago, Buddhist monks and nuns have depended on almsfood. They were, and still are, prohibited from growing their own food, storing their own provisions or cooking their own meals. Instead, every morning they would make their day's meal out of whatever was freely given to them by lay supporters. Whether it was rich food or coarse food, delicious or awful tasting it was to be accepted with gratitude and eaten regarding it as medicine. The Buddha laid down several rules forbidding monks from asking for the food that they liked. As a result, they would receive just the sort of meals that ordinary people ate - and that was often meat.
    
Once, a rich and influential general by the name of Siha (meaning 'Lion') went to visit the Buddha. Siha had been a famous lay supporter of the Jain monks but he was so impressed and inspired by the Teachings he heard from the Buddha that he took refuge in the Triple Gem (i.e. he became a Buddhist). General Siha then invited the Buddha, together with the large number of monks accompanying Him, to a meal at his house in the city the following morning. In preparation for the meal, Siha told one of his servants to buy some meat from the market for the feast. When the Jain monks heard of their erstwhile patron's conversion to Buddhism and the meal that he was preparing for the Buddha and the monks, they were somewhat peeved:
       
"Now at the time many Niganthas (Jain monks), waving their arms, were moaning from carriage road to carriage road, from cross road to cross road in the city: 'Today a fat beast, killed by Siha the general, is made into a meal for the recluse Gotama (the Buddha), the recluse Gotama makes use of this meat knowing that it was killed on purpose for him, that the deed was done for his sake'..." [1].
    Siha was making the ethical distinction between buying meat already prepared for sale and ordering a certain animal to be killed, a distinction which is not obvious to many westerners but which recurs throughout the Buddha's own teachings. Then, to clarify the position on meat eating to the monks, the Buddha said:
       
"Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you." [2]
    There are many places in the Buddhist scriptures which tell of the Buddha and his monks being offered meat and eating it. One of the most interesting of these passages occurs in the introductory story to a totally unrelated rule (Nissaggiya Pacittiya 5) and the observation that the meat is purely incidental to the main theme of the story emphasizes the authenticity of the passage:

    Uppalavanna (meaning 'she of the lotus-like complexion') was one of the two chief female disciples of the Buddha. She was ordained as a nun while still a young woman and soon became fully enlightened. As well as being an arahant (enlightened) she also possessed various psychic powers to the extent that the Buddha declared her to be foremost among all the women in this field. Once, while Uppalavanna was meditating alone in the afternoon in the 'Blind-Men's Grove', a secluded forest outside of the city of Savatthi, some thieves passed by. The thieves had just stolen a cow, butchered it and were escaping with the meat. Seeing the composed and serene nun, the chief of the thieves quickly put some of the meat in a leaf-bag and left it for her. Uppalavanna picked up the meat and resolved to give it to the Buddha. Early next morning, having had the meat prepared, she rose into the air and flew to where the Buddha was staying, in the Bamboo Grove outside of Rajagaha, over 200 kilometres as the crow (or nun?) flies! Though there is no specific mention of the Buddha actually consuming this meat, obviously a nun of such high attainments would certainly have known what the Buddha ate.

   However there are some meats which are specifically prohibited for monks to eat: human meat, for obvious reasons; meat from elephants and horses as these were then considered royal animals; dog meat - as this was considered by ordinary people to be disgusting; and meat from snakes, lions, tigers, panthers, bears and hyenas - because one who had just eaten the flesh of such dangerous jungle animals was thought to give forth such a smell as to draw forth revenge from the same species!
    Towards the end of the Buddha's life, his cousin Devadatta attempted to usurp the leadership of the Order of monks. In order to win support from other monks, Devadatta tried to be stricter than the Buddha and show Him up as indulgent. Devadatta proposed to the Buddha that all the monks should henceforth be vegetarians. The Buddha refused and repeated once again the regulation that he had established years before, those monks and nuns may eat fish or meat as long as it is not from an animal whose meat is specifically forbidden, and as long as they had no reason to believe that the animal was slaughtered specifically for them.

   The Vinaya, then, is quite clear on this matter. Monks and nuns may eat meat. Even the Buddha ate meat. Unfortunately, meat eating is often seen by westerners as an indulgence on the part of the monks. Nothing could be further from the truth - I was a strict vegetarian for three years before I became a monk. In my first years as a monk in North-East Thailand, when I bravely faced many a meal of sticky rice and boiled frog (the whole body bones and all), or rubbery snails, red-ant curry or fried grasshoppers - I would have given ANYTHING to be a vegetarian again! On my first Christmas in N.E. Thailand an American came to visit the monastery a week or so before the 25th. It seemed too good to be true, he had a turkey farm and yes, he quickly understood how we lived and promised us a turkey for Christmas. He said that he would choose a nice fat one especially for us... and my heart sank. We cannot accept meat knowing it was killed especially for monks. We refused his offer. So I had to settle for part of the villager's meal - frogs again.

   Monks may not exercise choice when it comes to food and that is much harder than being a vegetarian. Nonetheless, we may encourage vegetarianism and if our lay supporters brought only vegetarian food and no meat, well... monks may not complain either!

    May you take the hint and be kind to animals.
    References:
        [1] Book of the Discipline, Vol. 4, p. 324
        [2] ibid, p. 325

Islam the perfect religion

Islam the perfect religion

Allah the All Mighty Says (what means): "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Quran 5:3]
This was one of the last verses revealed chronologically to Prophet Muhammad , marking the completion of the Quran and the perfection of Islam. Islam is complete and perfect and is not thereafter susceptible to addition or abrogation. Being eternal and universal, the Islamic Law, which was made by God (Allah) Himself, Who knows what is best for us under all circumstances, is resilient and adjustable to the changing conditions of time and place.
The perfection of Islam is manifest in the fact that God (Allah) has made it reign supreme and prevail over other religions. Allah’s favor upon the Muslims is manifest in the fact that He granted them true guidance, support and honor in this world and in the Hereafter. He has also chosen for them Islam as their religion because it is the Truth, and it is for this reason that He will not accept any other religion but Islam.
The Quran says (what means): "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the life to come he shall be among the losers.” [Quran 3:85].

Islam gives its followers happiness in this world and eternal bliss in the life to come. Islam simply means total submission to the Will of Allah. Therefore, it is the same in essence, whether given to Nooh (Noah), Ibraaheem (Abraham), Moosaa (Moses), 'Eesaa (Jesus), may Allah exalt their mention, or to Muhammad . For the message it calls to is the same, and the source of unity is the revelation from Allah (which means): "He has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He enjoined on Noah, and that which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: namely that you should remain steadfast in religion and be not divided therein.” [Quran 42:13]

After the corruption of the older Scriptures, the Quran came with a twofold purpose -- to confirm the true and original message of Islam, and to stand as a witness to it, by confirming the truth and rejecting the falsehood, which over time came into the older Scriptures. Muslims are required to believe in the revealed Scriptures and to make no distinction between any of them, or the Messengers who brought them, may Allah exalt their mention, because they all come from the One True God.
The Quran says (what means): "Say (O Muhammad to the Jews and Christians): 'We believe in Allah and that which has been sent to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and to Al-Asbat, (the offspring of the twelve sons of Jacob) and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).” [Quran 2:136]

These Scriptures have not been retained in their original form, due to the human omissions and additions that have crept into them. The Quran is the only Divine Scripture, which has stood the test of time without any change, because it is the Truth from God (Allah), and the Truth never fades or diminishes. The Quran says (what means): "That which We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) of the Book (i.e., the Quran) is the Truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it.” [Quran 35:31]

The Truth contained in the Quran will never be compromised because Allah has taken upon Himself the responsibility of preserving it, as stated in the Quran (which means): "Verily We have sent the Reminder (i.e., the Quran), and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” [Quran 15:9]
And also (what means): "Verily, it is an honorable well-fortified book of exalted power (because it is Allah's Speech, and He has protected it from corruption). No falsehood can approach it from before or after it: it is sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.” [Quran 41:41-42]

The revealed Scriptures before the advent of Prophet Muhammad such as the Torah and the Injeel, were written long after the demise of the Prophets to whom they were revealed. The entire Quran, on the contrary, was completely written in the lifetime of the Prophet on pieces of palm trees, parchments and bones. Besides, tens of thousands of the Prophet's Companions committed it to memory while it was being revealed.

The Quran is still memorized and read in its original language

(Arabic) and taught to millions of people around the world. In fact, with every succeeding generation of Muslims, the number of those who have committed the entire Quran to memory has increased. There is no other book, religious or otherwise, which has been given this unparalleled care in recorded history.

The care with which the unadulterated teachings of Islam have been authentically recorded and preserved throughout the ages, is a clear evidence of the universality of the message of Islam and the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad . The Quran is now available in its original form without change of any kind. The perfect preservation of the Quran signifies the preservation of Islam.
That is why Allah Says in the Quran (what means): "Verily the only acceptable religion to Allah is Islam." [Quran 3:19]

Oneness of the Lord

Islam calls to the belief that the Creator of the universe is One and Unique without any partners. His nature is so sublime that it is far beyond our limited conceptions. He is not a mere abstract of philosophy. All the creatures testify to His Existence, and none is comparable to Him. The unity of design and the fundamental facts of creation and existence of the universe proclaim His Oneness.
He is Eternal, without beginning or end, the Absolute, Who is not limited by time or place or circumstance. He is the Creator, the Sustainer and the Planner of the whole universe. None has the right to be worshipped except Him. He has the most Beautiful Names and the Loftiest Attributes. His Knowledge extends to everything seen and unseen, present and future, near and far. His Grace and Mercy are unbounded. He is the All Mighty, the All Wise.
The Quran says (what means): "Say: 'He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; and there is none equal or comparable to Him.” [Quran 112:1-4]
And also (what means): "There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” [Quran 42:11]
And also (what means): "He is the First (nothing is before Him), the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him) and Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He has full knowledge of all things.” [Quran 57:3]
And also (what means): "He is Allah, besides Whom none has the right to be worshipped, the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. He is Allah besides Whom none has the right to be worshipped, the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above what they associate as partners with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Quran 59:23-24]
And also (what means): "And they attribute falsely without knowledge sons and daughters to Him. Be He Glorified! (For He is) above what they attribute to Him! He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have a son when He has no wife? He created all things, and He has full knowledge of everything. Such is Allah, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone). And He has the power to dispose of all affairs. No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle, Well-Aware.” [Quran 6:100-103]

Tawheed, or monotheism, constitutes the essence of the teachings of Islam. It signifies that there is One Supreme Lord of the universe. He is Omnipotent and the Sustainer of the world and humankind. Unity pervades the whole universe. All of Allah's creatures testify to His Oneness. This can be seen in their complete submission to His Will.
The perpetual succession of day and night in the most orderly manner; the fixed course of the sun and the moon; the mighty stars; the ceaseless alternation of the seasons -- the functioning of the whole universe including its most subtle elements in a most precise and systematic manner tell us about the Wisdom, Power, Greatness and Divine skill of this Great Creator, Who is Allah.

JESUS DENIED DIVINITY

JESUS DENIED DIVINITY
[Please Check The Authentic Narrations of The Scripture for Better Clarity]

Book of Mark 10:17-18

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

Book of Luke 18:18-19

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

These verses are highlighted because they are most indicative of Jesus' position and real nature. The verse in Mark reads: "As he [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

" If you analyze this verse in truth you will see that Jesus, quite simply, is not God. If he was, why then would he say "No one is good but God alone"? Jesus did not want to be called "good" because he was not God. That title, as Jesus admits, belongs to none but God.

Jesus and The Da Vinci Code

Jesus  and The Da Vinci Code
[Peace be upon him]

This article has been adapted and additional footnotes have been added to it by the editor

�Say (O Muslims), �We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibraheem (Abraham), Isma�eel (Ishmael), Issaquah (Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Yaqoob], and that which has been given to Moosa and Iesa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).� [The Nobel Quran Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 136]

�(Remember) when the angels said, �O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word [�Be!� - and he was! i.e. Iesa (Jesus) the son of Maryam] from Him, his name will be the Messiah Iesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah.� [The Nobel Quran Soorah aal-Imran (3): 45]

We believe in all the prophets and messengers of Allah. We respect and honor all of them without any discrimination. We believe that all prophets preached the message of Tawheed (oneness of Allah) and all of them invited human beings to worship Allah alone and to live righteous lives.

Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was not the only prophet of God, but he was the last and final prophet of God. Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of Islam; all prophets submitted to God and followed the way of submission to God (Islam). We believe that Jesus was one of the great prophets of God.

In the Qur�aan, Jesus is called Isa. He is also known as al-Masih (the messiah) and Ibn Maryam (son of Mary). He has many other honorable names and titles in the Qur�aan. Every Muslim believes in him, honors and loves him. His mother Mary is also highly respected, loved and honored. There is a big controversy going on all over the world at this time about Dan Brown�s novel, The Da Vinci Code. Many Christians, especially Catholics, are outraged with this novel. Some Muslims and non-Muslims are asking for our reactions to this book.

We stand for the respect of all religious figures of all religions. Furthermore, Jesus (alaihis-salaam) is also a blessed prophet for us. We believe in him and honor him. We also have something to say about this novel and movie.
There are two things that I would like to say about The Da Vinci Code. One is positive and the other is negative. The positive thing is that it says that for the first four centuries, Jesus was known only as a prophet of God, and not God. At the Council of Nicea around the year 325 CE, the Emperor Constantine and some bishops changed the true teachings of Jesus (*1).

The Da Vinci Code also says that Jesus (peace be upon him) married one of his female disciples, Mary Magdalene, and had children and that his descendants still exist today. Although the Qur�aan does not say anything about Jesus's marriage, his wife, or his children (neither does the New Testament), there is nothing wrong, from the Islamic point of view, if he were married and had children. Allah says in the Qur�aan, �We did send Messengers before thee, and appointed for them wives and children�� [The Nobel Quran Soorah Hud (13): 38]

Some Christians consider this story about Jesus to be blasphemous. According to them, to say that Jesus was married means that he is not God. Although they say that God had a son, they say that Jesus could not have had a son. However, as Muslims, we say that just because Jesus wasn't married doesn't make him God. Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist), who was Jesus' contemporary, was not married, yet no one considered him to be divine.

Celibacy does not make any person divine. If Jesus were married, then this does not take away his honor because there were many prophets who came before and after him who were married and had offspring. It is interesting to see a number of books produced today by Christian writers that also say that Jesus was not crucified and that he never claimed to be the son of God. This is what the Qur�aan said a long time ago.
There is, however, a negative side of The Da Vinci Code, that we as Muslims should criticize. The Da Vinci Code is a novel, a work of fiction. It does not present facts about Jesus's life in a serious and respectful manner. It has fictionalized his life and story, and in this sense, it has downgraded this great messenger of Allah.

The author of The Da Vinci Code took some historical facts and then spun a mystery story to thrill and chill his readers. Allah's Prophets and His Messengers should not be treated in this manner. They are entitled to receive utmost honor and respect from us. It is for this reason that Islam forbids making pictures of Allah's prophets and messengers and also forbids creating fictitious stories and movies about them. Islam teaches us that we should present the prophets' life stories with great care, respect, and the utmost authenticity. Narrated Abdullah bin Amr, �The Prophet said, �Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.� [Saheeh al-Bukharee (56/667)]

We hope that more and more truth will come out about the life and teachings of Jesus (alaihis-salaam). We totally reject those who abuse his person through fiction and falsehood. We as Muslims should use this opportunity to inform others about the Islamic position regarding Jesus (alaihis-salaam). Ameen.

Footnotes1. From Ibn Katheer: Altering the Religion of Isa: Allah said, �And purify (save) you from those who disbelieve� by raising you to heaven, �And I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve, till the Day of Resurrection.� This is what happened. When Allah raised Isa to heaven, his followers divided into sects and groups. Some of them believed in what Allah sent Isa as, a servant of Allah, His Messenger, and the son of His female-servant. However, some of them went to the extreme over Isa, believing that he was the son of Allah. Some of them said that `Isa was Allah Himself, while others said that he was one of a Trinity. Allah mentioned these false creeds in the Qur�aan and refuted them. The Christians remained like this until the third century CE, when a Greek king called, Constantine, became a Christian for the purpose of destroying Christianity. Constantine was either a philosopher, or he was just plain ignorant. Constantine changed the religion of Isa by adding to it and deleting from it. He established the rituals of Christianity and the so-called Great Trust, which is in fact the Great Treachery. He also allowed them to eat the meat of swine, changed the direction of the prayer that Isa established to the east, built churches for Isa, and added ten days to the fast as compensation for a sin that he committed, as claimed. So the religion of Isa became the religion of Constantine, who built more then twelve thousand churches, temples and monasteries for the Christians as well as the city that bears his name, Constantinople (Istanbul)� When Allah sent Muhammad, those who believed in him also believed in Allah, His Angels, Books and Messengers in the correct manner. So they were the true followers of every Prophet who came to earth. They believed in the unlettered Prophet, the Final Messenger and the master of all mankind, who called them to believe in the truth in its entirety. This is why they had more right to every Prophet than his own nation, especially those who claim to follow their Prophet's way and religion, yet change and alter his religion�. Therefore, Muslims are the true believers in Isa.

2. Allah says about Himself in the Qur�aan, �He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife He created all things and He is the Knower of everything) (6:101)

3. And because of their saying (in boast), �We killed Messiah Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of Isa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not (i.e. Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam.� [The Nobel Quran Soorah an-Nisa (4): 157]





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“I and the father are one.” Many Christians use this verse of the Bible as proof that Jesus is God

“I and the father are one.” Many Christians use this verse of the Bible as proof that Jesus is God

God and Jesus Are Two Separate Beings

(Many people use certain verses of the Bible as proof that Jesus is God ....... “I and the father are one.” John 10:30)

(Peace be upon him)

Many people use certain verses of the Bible as proof that Jesus is God. However, all of these verses, when understood in context, prove the opposite!

For example, in Matthew 9:2, Jesus said to a certain man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Because of this, some say that Jesus must be God since only God can forgive sins. However, if you are willing to read just a few verses further, you will find that the people “...praised God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8). This shows that the people knew, and Matthew agrees, that Jesus is not the only man to receive such authority from God.

Jesus himself emphasized that he does not speak on his own authority (John 14:10) and he does nothing on his own authority, but he speaks only what the Father has taught him (John 8:28). What Jesus did here was as follows. Jesus announced to the man the knowledge Jesus received from God that God had forgiven the man.

Notice that Jesus did not say, “I forgive your sins,” but rather, “your sins are forgiven,” implying, as this would to his Jewish listeners, that God had forgiven the man. Jesus, then, did not have the power to forgive sins, and in that very episode he called himself “the Son of Man” (Matthew 9:6).

John 10:30 is often used as proof that Jesus is God because Jesus said, “I and the father are one.” But, if you read the next six verses, you will find Jesus explaining that his enemies were wrong to think that he was claiming to be God. What Jesus obviously means here is that he is one with the Father in purpose. Jesus also prayed that his disciples should be one just as Jesus and the Father are one. Obviously, he was not praying that all his disciples should somehow merge into one individual (see John 17:11 and 22). And when Luke reports that the disciples were all one, Luke does not mean that they became one single human being, but that they shared a common purpose although they were separate beings (see Acts 4:32). In terms of essence, Jesus and the Father are two, for Jesus said they are two witnesses (John 8:14-18). They have to be two, since one is greater than the other (see John 14:28). When Jesus prayed to be saved from the cross, he said: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).

This shows that they had two separate wills, although Jesus submitted his will to the will of the Father. Two wills mean two separate individuals.

Furthermore, Jesus is reported to have said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). If one of them forsook the other, then they must be two separate entities.

Again, Jesus is reported to have said: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). If the spirit of one can be placed into the hands of another, they must be two separate beings.

In all of these instances, Jesus is clearly subordinate to the Father. When Jesus knelt down and prayed he obviously was not praying to himself (see Luke 22:41). He was praying to his God.

Throughout the New Testament, the Father alone is called God. In fact, the titles “Father” and “God” are used to designate one individual, not three, and never Jesus. This is also clear from the fact that Matthew substituted the title “Father” in the place of the title “God” in at least two places in his Gospel (compare Matthew 10:29 with Luke 12:6, and Matthew 12:50 with Mark 3:35). If Matthew is right in doing so, then the Father alone is God.

Was Jesus the Father? No! Because Jesus said: “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9). So Jesus is not the Father, since Jesus was standing on the earth when he said this.

The Quran seeks to bring people back to the true faith that was taught by Jesus, and by his true disciples who continued in his teaching. That teaching emphasized a continued commitment to the first commandment that God is alone. In the Quran, God directs Muslims to call readers of the Bible back to that true faith. God have said in the Quran:

Say: “O people of the Book (Christians and Jews)! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords beside God.” (Quran, 3:64)

How Did 1(ONE) God Become 3 (THREE)?

How Did 1(ONE) God Become 3 (THREE)? 
Excerpts and Quotes From The Catholic Church History

We all know the Bible says 'God is One' and, "Thou shalt not have any 'gods' beside God.
Yet somehow today Christians are presenting a vast variety of terms and explanations on how God can actually be "One and Three at the same time."
Some attempt to resolve the issue by saying "Jesus is Lord!" or even "Jesus is God." (May Allah save us from any blasphemy, ameen).
According to the priests of the Holy Roman Catholic Church there is more to the belief in God than simply saying, "God is One."
Jews had no problem with the concept of "Unity of God."
The problem was with the Greeks and other pagans who had become quite used to the notion, that their 'gods' in some way resembled the creation around them.
Arius, the bishop from Egypt, like many of the early Christians, believed in God as One and Jesus, peace be upon him, as one subservient to God. That is to say, in a lessor position than God.
This concept is still held today by more than 1.5 billion Muslims, who adhere to the teachings of the Quran and the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Simply put, "There is no God worthy of worship, except the One True God. He has no partners."
This aligns nicely with the belief of the early followers of Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon, peace be upon them all.
In an effort to resolve this issue once and for all, Emperor Constantine ordered the bishops from the different factions to assemble in His land.
What took place next was to change the way most Christians think of God for many centuries to come.

To offer the reader the opportunity to read what the Catholic Church claims took place in the year 325 under the direction of the pagan-turned-Christian-emperor Constantine, we have attempted to faithfully reproduce from their own writings, exactly how they view what took place 1,680 years ago during the Council of Nicaea.

[begin quote]
Arianism Versus the Council of Nicaea
By Brother John Raymond

Introduction
Arianism with its fundamental Trinitarian controversy must not be looked upon as an isolated theory by its founder Arius.

Its appeal, which began in Alexandria and spread through the whole Empire, must be seen in the context of the times. The Church emerged in a Jewish and Greek world. The question occupying this non-Christian world was the contrast between the "One and the Many, between the ultimate unity that lay behind the visible universe and the incalculable variety that exists in the world (Ward 1955, 38)."
The relationship between God and the world had to be solved. The Jews proposed a supreme God who created by His word. It was an idea of a mediating "Word or Wisdom - the Word which is pronounced, the Wisdom which is created - whereby the Father communicated Himself to man and took possession of him (Guitton 1965, 81)."

The Greeks could not see how a finite and changeable world could come from an eternal and changeless God. They proposed the idea of a "mediating Intelligence or even Word, a first emanation of the first principle which reduced the distance between God and the world (Guitton 1965, 81)."
The primitive Church had to "reconcile the notions they had inherited from Judaism with those they had derived from philosophy. Jew and Greek had to meet in Christ. They had to find an answer that would agree with the revelation they had received from Christ as recorded in the scriptures (Ward 1955, 39)."
This struggle for a reconciliation of thought reached its climax with the Arian controversy. The Church responded with the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea that brought together Scriptural and philosophical thought to explain the Trinity. The Council did triumph over Arianism but only after fifty years of bitter battling. Imperial support and confusion in theological terminology were the principal reasons for such a long drawn out battle as we will see.

Arius and His TeachingArius, who was born in Egypt in 256 A.D., was a parish priest in Alexandria. He had studied under St. Lucian of Antioch, the founder of the school of Antioch, who had earlier been condemned for holding that Christ was only a man; although he was later reconciled. He is called the "Father of Arianism" because "Arius and almost all the 4th-century Arian theologians were his students.
Calling themselves Lucianists and Collucianists, they developed his adoptionist and subordinationist tendencies into a full heresy (Harkins 1967, 1057, 1058)."
With this background Arius struggled with the question of the Trinity. His teaching in Alexandria was the following: "Personal distinctions were not eternally present within the nature of God. . . the Godhead Himself was responsible for them. . . Identifying the eternal Godhead with the Father and regarding the Logos ('Logos' is simply a Greek word for 'word') as no more than a power or quality of the Father, he said that before time began the Father had created the Son by the power of the Word to be His agent in creation.

The Son was not therefore to be identified with the Godhead, He was only God in a derivative sense, and since there was once when he did not exist He could not be eternal. Arius stressed the subordination of the Logos to such an extent as to affirm His creaturehood, to deny His eternity and to assert His capacity for change and suffering (Ward 1955, 41)." This teaching of Arius "drove the distinctions outside the Deity and thus destroyed the Trinity. It meant solving the difficulty of the One and the Many by proposing a theory of one Supreme Being and two inferior deities (Ward 1955, 43)." The Person of Christ "belonged to no order of being that the Church could recognize. . . He was neither God nor man (Ward 1955, 42)."
Arius Versus the Alexandrian BishopArius' views began to spread among the people and the Alexandrian clergy. Alexander the Bishop called a meeting of his priests and deacons. The Bishop insisted on the unity of the Godhead. Arius continued to argue that since the Son was begotten of the Father then at some point He began to exist. Therefore there was a time when the Son did not exist. Arius refused to submit to the Bishop and continued to spread his teaching. Alexander called a synod of Bishops of Egypt and Libya. Of the hundred Bishops who attended eighty voted for the condemnation and exile of Arius. After the synod Alexander wrote letters to the other Bishops refuting Arius' views. In doing so the Bishop used the term "homoousios" to describe the Father and Son as being of one substance. Alexander "used a term which was to become the keyword of the whole controversy (Ward 1955, 43, 44)."

With the decision of the synod Arius fled to Palestine. Some of the Bishops there, especially Eusebius of Caesarea, supported him. From here Arius continued his journey to Nicomedia in Asia Minor. The Bishop of that city, Eusebius, had studied under Lucian of Antioch. He became Arius' most influential supporter. From this city Arius enlisted the support of other Bishops, many of whom had studied under Lucian. His supporters held their own synod calling Arius' views orthodox and condemning Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. Arius seemed to have good grounds for this condemnation. The term homoousios was rejected by Alexander's own predecessor Dionysus when arguing against the Sabellians (who claimed the Father and Son were identical). All this controversy was taking place just as the Church was emerging from Roman oppression.
Constantine and Ossius

With the rise of Constantine to power Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine had politically united the Empire but he was distressed to find a divided Christianity. Constantine, certainly not understanding the significance of the controversy, sent Ossius his main ecclesiastical adviser with letters to both Alexander and Arius. In the letters he tried to reconcile them by saying that their disagreement was merely just a matter of words. Both of them really were in agreement on major doctrines and neither were involved in heresy. The letters failed to have an effect.
In 325 A.D. Ossius presided over a Council of the Orient in Antioch that was attended by fifty-nine bishops, forty-six of whom would soon attend the Council of Nicaea. This Council in Antioch was a forerunner of the latter Council in Nicaea. Under the influence of Ossius a new Church practice was inaugurated - that of issuing a creedal statement. At this Council Arianism was condemned, a profession of faith resembling the Alexandrian creed was promulgated and three Bishops who refused to agree with the teaching of this Council were provisionally excommunicated until the Council of Nicaea.
Roman Emperor Calls Council of his Church (Universal or Catholic Church of Rome)
It was the year 325 AD in what is now Turkey and in the summer of that year, probably under the suggestion of Ossius, Constantine called for a general council of the Church at Nicaea in Bithynia. That an Emperor should invoke a Council should not be considered unusual since in Hellenistic thought he "`was given by God supreme power in things material and spiritual (Davis 1987, 56).'"
The Council of Nicaea

The General Council was well attended by the major sees of the Eastern Empire. Also some Western Bishops were present. Because of old age and sickness Pope Sylvester did not attend but sent two papal legates. The total number of Bishops who attended the Council has been disputed. Eusebius of Ceasarea who attended it claimed 250; Athanasius also in attendance mentioned 300; after the Council a symbolic number of 318 was used; modern scholars put the number at 220.

If there were minutes taken of the Council proceedings they are no longer in existence. We know from the writings of Rufinus that "daily sessions were held and that Arius was often summoned before the assembly; his arguments attentively considered. The majority, especially those who were confessors of the Faith, energetically declared themselves against the impious doctrines of Arius (LeClercq 1913, 45)."
Concerning the Creed that was drafted at the Council "Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria and Philostorgius have given divergent accounts of how this Creed was drafted (LeClercq 1967, 792)." But from one reconstruction of the events Eusebius of Nicomedia offered a creed that was favorable to Arian views. This creed was rejected by the Council. Eusebius of Caesarea proposed the baptismal creed used in Caesarea. Although accepted it does not seem to form the basis of the Council's Creed. Attempts were made to construct a creed using only scriptural terms. These creeds proved insufficient to exclude the Arian position. "Finally, it seems, a Syro-Palestinian creed was used as the basis for a new creedal statement . . . The finished creed was preserved in the writings of Athanasius, of the historian Socrates and of Basil of Caesarea and in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon of 451 (Davis 1987, 59)." When the creed was finished eighteen Bishops still opposed it. Constantine at this point intervened to threaten with exile anyone who would not sign for it. Two Libyan Bishops and Arius still refused to accept the creed. All three were exiled.

The Creed and an Analysis
Some parts of the literal translation of the Nicaea Creed are as follows:
"We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance (ousia) of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance (homoousios) with the Father, through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth . . . Those who say: `There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten;' and that `He was made out of nothing;' or who maintain that `He is of another hypostasis or another substance,' or that `the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change,' the Catholic Church anathematizes (LeClercq 1913, 45)."
The Arians were very clever in twisting phrases in creedal statements to reflect their own doctrine. The Son being "begotten of the Father" was seen by them as saying that the Son was created from nothing. But to counter their doctrine the phrase "begotten not made" was added to the creed that totally ruled out their position of the Son having a beginning. Another Arian teaching was that the Son was God by grace and name only. The creedal statement "true God of true God" was an affirmation that the Son was really truly God against this Arian position. The most important statement in the creed that affirms "that the Son shares the same being as the Father and is therefore fully divine" was the phrase "of one substance (homoousios) with the Father" (Davis 1987, 61). This statement totally destroyed the Arian view of the Son as an intermediary being between God and Creation.

In case the creed was not enough to end the Arian controversy anathemas were attached directly condemning Arian positions. The Arian denial of the Son's co-eternity with the Father is expressed in the two phrases "there was when the Son of God was not" and "before He was begotten He was not." The Arian belief in the Son being created out of nothing is expressed in the phrase "He came into being from things that are not." The Arian doctrine that the Son being a creature was subject to moral changeability and only remained virtuous by an act of the will is expressed in the phrase "He is mutable or alterable." Finally the Arian position of the Son as subordinate to the Father and not really God is expressed in the phrase "He is of a different hypostasis or substance." With these specific anathemas against them the Arians and their heresy seemed to be finished.
Terminology Problem

With the Eastern Church using Greek and the Western Church using Latin misunderstandings were bound to arise over theological terminology. Once instance of confusion is the statement "He is of a different hypostasis or substance." The two words in the Eastern Church were seen to be synonymous. In the West hypostasis meant person. So for a Westerner the Council would look as if it was condemning the statement that the Son was a different Person from the Father, which would clearly be erroneous. Only later would the East come to distinguish hypostasis from substance (ousia) as in the West. This instance of confusion "points up the terminological difficulty which continued to bedevil Eastern theology and to confuse the West about the East's position (Davis 1987, 63)."

A second and very important termed used by the Council was homoousios. At that time this word could have three possible meanings. "First, it could be generic; of one substance could be said of two individual men, both of whom share human nature while remaining individuals. Second, it could signify numerical identity, that is, that the Father and the Son are identical in concrete being. Finally, it could refer to material things, as two pots are of the same substance because both are made of the same clay (Davis 1987, 61)." The Council intended the first meaning to stress the equality of the Son with the Father. If the second meaning for the word was taken to be the Council's intention it would mean that the Father and Son were identical and indistinguishable - clearly a Sabellian heresy. The third meaning gave the word a materialistic tendency that would infer that the Father and Son are parts of the same stuff.
Along with these possible misunderstandings of the meaning of the word homoousios the history of the word is closely associated with heresies. The word was originally used by the Gnostics. The word had even been condemned at the Council of Antioch in 268 regarding its use by the Adoptionist Paul of Samosata. Another factor making the word unpopular was that it was never used in Sacred Scripture.
The Council's defeat by Arianism

It is not surprising that with its use of the word homoousios the Council could be called into question. Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia gained the confidence of Emperor Constantine. He convinced Constantine that the Council's use of the word homoousios was Sabellian (Father and Son were identical). The Emperor now favored the Arians. With the death of Constantine the Empire was divided between his sons. Constans who ruled in the West favored Nicaea while his brother Constantius who ruled the East was anti-Nicaea. Supporters of Nicaea in the East especially Bishop Athanasius were deposed and excommunicated by the Dedication Council of Antioch. This Council directly attacked the Nicaea Council by promulgating its own creed that omitted the phrases "from the substance of the Father" and "homoousios." Some attempts were made to find a substitute word for homoousios. As many as fourteen Councils were held between 341 and 360 "in which every shade of heretical subterfuge found expression . . . The term `like in substance,' homoiousion . . . had been employed merely to get rid of the Nicene formula (Barry 1913, 709)." Not all Arians, or their new name of Semi-Arian, agreed with this new word. One group emphasized that the Father and Son were "dissimilar" or anomoios. Another group used the word "similar" or homoios to describe the Father and Son relationship.

With the death of Constans in 350 his anti-Nicaea brother Constantius became sole ruler of the Empire. The new Emperor demanded that all the Bishops of his Empire should agree with the homoios formula. In 359 he summoned two Councils, one in the East at Seleucia and the other in the West at Rimini. Both Councils, under the Emperor's threats and with rationalizing arguments aimed at calming consciences, were induced to sign the homoios formula. "This Homoean victory was confirmed and imposed on the whole Church by the Council of Constantinople in the following year" which condemned the terms homoousios, homoousios and anomoios (Ward 1955, 57). It seemed that the Arians had triumphed over the Nicaea creed.
The Final Battle

The seeming triumph of homoeism was short lived. First it gained its popularity solely by imperial imposition. With the death of Constantius in 361 it collapsed. Second by persecuting both homoousios and homoousios supporters alike "it brought about better understanding and, ultimately, reconciliation between the two groups (DeClercq 1967, 793)." Athanasius an ardent defender of the homoousios position and following the Alexandrian train of thought had begun his reasoning with the unity of God. From their he had concluded that the Son and Spirit Who shared that unity must have the same essential substance. The Cappadocian Fathers Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa were associated with Homoiousians. The point of departure for them as well as the Antiochenes had been the individual aspect of the divine personality. With the help of Athanasius they came to the realization that the three Persons as God must share the same identical substance also. By using the term homoousios the Cappadocian Fathers "had never meant to deny the unity but only to preserve the distinction of persons (Ward 1955, 58)." Both came to the conclusion that although they used different terms what they meant to say was the same. The Cappadocian Fathers came to accept the term homoousios. Athanasius, on the other hand, accepted the Cappadocian formula for the Trinity - one substance (ousia) in three persons (hypostaseis).
At about the same time as Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers were reaching an agreement another development was taking place. The East and the West were arriving at a better understanding of each others theological terminology. At the Synod of Alexandria in 362 the Nicene Creed was re-affirmed, the terms ousia and hypostasis were explained and Macedonianism (sometimes referred to as another form of Semi-Arianism in its subordination of the Holy Spirit) was condemned. Under the Eastern Emperor Valens (364-378) homoeism still had imperial favor.

In the West Ambrose of Milan led the fight for the Nicene Creed. At the Council of Sirmium in 378, with the support of the Western Emperor Gratian, six Arian Bishops were deposed. A series of laws were passed in 379 and 380 the Emperor prohibited Arianism in the West.

In the East with the succession of Valens by a Nicene sympathizing Emperor Theodosius I all exiled Bishops under Valens to return to their sees. In 381 he convoked a regional Council at Constantinople. The first canon from this Council states that "`the faith of the 318 fathers who assembled at Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be made void, but shall continue to be established (Davis 1987, 126).'" In 380 the Emperor Theodosius outlawed Arianism. The last victory over Arianism came in 381 with the Council of Constantinople in the East and the Council of Aquileia in the West. Both of them "sealed the final adoption of the faith of Nicaea by the entire Church (DeClercq 1967, 793)."
Conclusion

The Council of Nicaea was victorious in the end. It took over fifty years of bitter battling between the upholders of the Council of Nicaea and those against it. The Arian heresy seemed finished when the Council so specifically anathematized their teachings one by one. The Arian doctrines condemned were the following: The Son was created by the Father out of nothing. Thus the Son was not God in the strict sense but by grace and in name only. The Father and Son did not share the same substance. The Son being a creature was subject to moral changeability and only remained virtuous by an act of the will.
Terminology difficulties had kept the door open for the Arians to continue after the Council. This was especially true with the term homoousios (of the same substance) used by the Council to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son. The Arians took advantage of one of the term's other meaning, that of identity, to claim that the Council said the Father and Son were identical thereby invalidating the Council. The Arians then started producing their own creeds either eliminating this term or substituting another for it. This lead to the breaking up of the Arians into diverse groups according to which term they supported - anomoios (dissimilar), homoios (similar) or homoiousion (like in substance).
It is obvious that Imperial involvement in the controversy determined at any given moment whether the Council of Nicaea or the Arianism was dominating the controversy. With the imposition of the term homoios on the Church by the Emperor Constantius the work of the Council of Nicaea seemed doomed. But the popularity of this term died with the Emperor. The persecution of both the Homoiousians and the Homoiousians forced them to begin to dialogue. With the two great representatives of these positions, St. Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers, finding theological grounds for their eventual agreement the way was paved for the triumph of the Council of Nicaea. This incident later coupled with Eastern and Western Emperors who were pro-Nicaea led to the final Arian downfall.

Works Cited:
The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967. New York: McGraw-Hill
         Book Co. Vol. 1. Arianism, by V.C. Declercq.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967. New York: McGraw-Hill
         Book Co. Vol. 8. St. Lucian of Antioch, by P. W. Harkins.
Davis S.J., Leo D. 1987. The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787):
         Their History and Theology. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, Inc.
Guitton, Jean. 1965. Great Heresies and Church Councils. New York:
         Harper and Row.
Herbermann, Charles G., Edward A. Pace, Conde B. Pallen,
         Thomas J. Shahan, John J. Wynne, eds. 1913. The Catholic
         Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press. Vol. 1,
         Arianism, by William Barry.
Herbermann, Charles G., Edward A. Pace, Conde B. Pallen,
         Thomas J. Shahan, John J. Wynne, eds. 1913. The Catholic
         Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press. Vol. 11,
         Councils of Nicaea, by H. Leclercq.
Ward D.D., Bishop J.W.C. 1955. The Four Great Heresies. London: A.R.
         Mowbray and Co. Limited



Nicaea Council of 325 A.D. What Was It All About? - How DidIt Change Christianity?

Nicaea Council of 325 A.D.
What Was It All About? - How DidIt Change Christianity?
Many people today, even Catholics, do notknow the Holy Roman Catholic Church was already in business several hundredyears BEFORE Jesus,peace be upon him, was even born. It was a pagan church established by theRoman government in an effort to control the subjects of Rome by having themall participate at least to some extent, along with other Roman citizens insome kind of common worship practices and beliefs.
Read what the Catholic ChurchSays About Itself
The year was 325 A.D. according to the Roman calendar. A councilwas convened by order of Constantine, the Roman emperor. He had been a leaderin the cult known as Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) and now wanted to unite theChristian sects in the empire under his existing church; the Universal Churchof Rome. Many changes to the religion of Christianity were about to take placeat that council, including:
·        Formulation for wording concerning the Trinity based on Anthanias (description of theformulation is mentioned below)
·        Changing Verses of Bible
·        Eliminating certain verses and books from the Bible
·        Declaring Arian's "unitarian" (beliefin the Unity of God) as heresy
·        Changing the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday
·        Changing the date of Jesus' birthday to December 25th
·        Introduction of Easter (pagan worship called "Feast ofIshtar")
·        Church of Roman "officially" became the"Universal Church of the Holy Roman Empire" (the word 'Catholic'means 'universal'
The Roman Catholic Churchtook on a new face.
What follows is a quote from the Roman Catholic Church. It istheir explanation behind the many changes occurring during the Nicaea Council.

[Begin Quote]
Council of Nicaea, First Ecumenical Council -325 A.D. (Christian Era)
The Nicene Council is considered by allas the first Ecumenical Council of the Church (Roman Catholic Church). It was occasioned bythe Arian heresy which in effect denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. The majorproduct of this council was the Creed, the "Nicene Creed"; but italso addressed the date of Easter, and the place of the Patriarch ofAlexandria.

"Arianbelief in One God - meant Jesus was not God or a part of God. Therefore, theRoman Catholic Church could not accept this.
Easterneeded to be added as well.

"Heresy" was theterm now being used to describe what many fomer priests and bishops had beenteaching.
"Godis One, without partners" seems to be the theme throughout the OldTestament. But now suddenly when the pagan Romans are about to makeChristianity the offical church of the Holy Empire, the need to rethink theconcept of God arises.
AGod-Man and Man-God seem to fit right in with the "former pagan"concept of their 'gods on earth.'
Couldthis explain the source for "Trinity?"
"Trinity"does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
Eventhe phrase, "And these two are one" (First Epistle of John, Chapter5, verse 7) is fabricated and based on the verse prior to it.
[see: Revised StandardVersion of the Bible, 1952 and Historyof Translations of Bible to the English Language, F. F. Bruce)
Occasion for the Council 
The Arian heresy had infected parts of the Church all the wayfrom Alexandria through Palestine, Syria, Asia minor to Greece. It was badenough that it viciated the very heart of Christian doctrine from within, butthere was also danger that it would weaken the Empire itself, and soConstantine, who was trying hard to consolidate the Empire, took an active partin trying to solve the matter. He called for a council of bishops of theChurch. At first it appeared that he had in mind only the Eastern bishops sincehe first designated Ancyra in Galatia (Ankara in Turkey) as a place for thebishops to assemble. Arianism had particularly divided the Church there. Butthis would make it difficult for himself to attend, and besides it might begood for other bishops to attend, those not necessarily involved in thecontroversy. Hence Nicaea in Bithynia was finally selected; it was close to thesea making it easier for more bishops to attend, he had there a large palacecompound, both to house the bishops and with a great hall in which they couldassemble, and he could keep an eye on them from nearby Nicomedia.
Constantine himself was strongly influenced bycertain Arian bishops, particularly by Bishop Eusebius of the capitol city ofNicomedia, and if he did not actually have Arian leanings himself, he had beeninformed by them that a council of the Church would show that the teaching ofArius was correct. It would be to Constantine's credit that when the bishops incouncil voted the opposite way, condemned Arianism and overwhelmingly affirmedthe traditional doctrine, that he got behind them 100% and promulgated theirdecisions.
The Council Called
He announced the council (a command-performance for important bishops) by theimperial post, heretofore reserved for civil administration and urgent militarymatters. Of course the bishops wanted to settle matters too; the heresy andschism were tearing the Church apart, but Constantine's calling for a generalcouncil and the manner in which the council was conducted shows us to whatgreat extent there was almost a union between church and state. Constantine putthe imperial transportation system at the disposal of the bishops. This meantthey could travel on his boats free, that they could go by cart or wagon,horse, whatever means the Empire had to offer, all under the protection of theRoman army (travel was not only difficult, but brigands made it dangerous).Constantine housed the bishops, fed them and provided his own palace as a placeto meet.
The Council Assembled 300 bishops were present(Ambrose of Milan and Hilary of Poitier report 318, but this may be a symbolicnumber representing the 318 servants of Abraham, Gen 14:14) most of them fromthe East. Not a few of the bishops attending were maimed or their predecessorshad been killed by the very soldiery which now guarded them; they winced asthey paraded into the council chamber, the soldiers with their swords andshining armor now forming an honor guard on either side of their procession.There is no doubt but what the bishops had every freedom of discussion and vote(at this council at least) because that was the rule of the Roman senate afterwhich a council is patterned, and yet to these bishops at least so shortly outof persecution, the soldiers who stood guard inside the chamber, both to assuregood order and prevent any intrusion from outside, must have been a symbol ofimperial power and influence, formerly unleashed against them.
Constantine himself opened the council with animpassioned plea for unity and peace, and his good friend Bishop Eusebius ofCaesarea (a suspected Arian or at least an Arian sympathizer) gave the openingaddress. According to the pattern of the Roman senate the council was actuallypresided over by another good friend of Constantine, Hosius, bishop of Cordoba,Spain, who had presided over a local council in Elvia, Spain, some 30 yearsbefore. Hosius was assisted by the delegates from Pope Sylvester, the simplepriests, Vitus and Vicentius, all in true senatorial style. The history at thetime does not explain why the delegates of the Bishop of Rome held such aprominent place in the Council. Catholics like to stress that it was becausethe pope has some position of authority or leadership over the other bishops.Others maintain it was because Rome was the seat of the civil government (butit had just been moved from there to Constantinople). Anyway this pattern wouldbe followed at many succeeding councils.
The Nicene Creed 
The big thing which happened was the Nicene Creed, but in this way:
Most held out at first for a Scriptural languageand expression to make clear against the Arians what the catholic doctrine hadbeen, but as the discussions progressed it became evident that there was noScriptural vocabulary which would correctly express the orthodox teaching. Theylighted on a philosophical term, homoosios (same substance as) toexpress what they meant and what had always been the catholic teaching, butthere was still needed a formula to summarize and convey their meaning. Of allbishops, Eusebius of Caesarea, who had been clobbered by the synod at Antiochthe year before, produced a creed he used in his church. As far as it went, itwas acceptable to the rest of the bishops, but they made additions in order tomake it very clear that Arius' position was not what they espoused. This creedwould be further amended by the First Council of Constantinople, and hence istechnically known as the "Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed", but maybeit should be known as the Caesarean-Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
Here it is beneficial to explain somethingcouncils do, almost as a byproduct. Primarily a council's purpose, at least adogmatic council, is to proclaim with unmistakable clarity a doctrine already apart of the teaching of the Church. But at Nicaea there were not a few bishops,well-intentioned and open to the Spirit, who actually would have been hardpressed themselves to give a clear explanation of the relationship of the Sonto the Father. But because they had humility and good will they learned fromthe discussions of the Council, at the same time that they were a part of thecouncil process. Hence a council can also teach bishops. All of the bishopspresent signed the Creed, except two, Secundus of Ptolemais and Theonas ofMarmarica. Constantine banished them along with Arius (whom he later recalled).
Date of Easter
Among other things they also settled(they thought) was the date of Easter. While most celebrated Easter on a Sundayto commemorate the resurrection, there were a few who celebrated on weekdays(even Good Friday) according to a Jewish reckoning (the Quartodecimancontroversy  addressed by Pope Victor, 189-198), and those who did observeSunday did not all observe on the same Sunday. Constantine wanted, as did mostbishops, a universal observance. To this very day it is disputed what thecouncil fathers meant by their decision, and Easter is still observedvariously, but the points of their decree supposed by most are: 1) Eastershould be celebrated on the same day by all (a point all agree was contained inthe decree); 2) Jewish custom was not the criterion to be followed (a pointwhich is not cited by the Greeks, but strongly mentioned both in the writings whichpreceded the council and in Eusebius' report of it); and 3) that the practiceof Rome and Alexandria (then West and Egypt) should remain in force, namely theSunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox (the Creeks do not citethe first half of this point, only the second). But even Alexandria and Romedid not agree for a long time, due to calculations (miscalculations) as to thedate of the vernal equinox. Rome celebrated the equinox on March 18, andAlexandria on March 23. Since this is something scientific, that is, half waybetween the shortest and the longest day of the year, it could be and waseventually solved by the devising of various cycles, so that a fixed day in thelunar calendar (14th of Nisan) would occur according to a predetermined patternin the Julian calendar. Today Greeks and other Orthodox maintain that the Romandate of Easter is wrong, saying that the Nicene Council stipulated that theResurrection must always be celebrated after the Jewish Passover.
Now it must be remembered that only incompleterecords of canons and decrees exist from the Council at Nicaea. What weactually have is the Creed, the disciplinary action against the Arians, 20disciplinary canons, a letter to the Alexandrian church, and a list of thebishops present (a list which varies from language to language).
The rest of the canons (if authentic at all)have been garnered from other sources, including Arabicwritings. In thus citing Nicea about Easter coming after the Jewish Passover,the Greeks must have sources which are not commonly known, and stronger sourcesthan the west is aware. For example, Eusebius of Caesarea writing just afterthe Council quotes from the letter of Emperor Constantine to all who were notpresent at the Council,
". . .relative to the sacred festival of Easter. . . it was declared to beparticularly unworthy for this holiest of all festivals to follow the custom ofthe Jews. We ought not therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews. Wedesire to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews for it issurely shameful for us to hear the Jews boast that without their direction wecould not keep this feast. In their blindness, they frequently celebrate twoPassovers in the same year. . . How then could we follow these Jews. . . for tocelebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible ."
Alexandrian Patriarchate 
Another important question (Canon 6) the council took up was the position ofthe ancient see of Alexandria because there were problems of jurisdiction downthere due to the Melitian schism. The Council's purpose was to bring order tothe Church in Alexandria, but in so doing they gave evidence to something whichwas developing in the Church, namely, listing the metropolitan centers ofChristianity and putting them in order of their importance. Not a few have seenthis as a sort of ambitious clamoring on the part of some sees to "lord itover" less important places. Perhaps there was some of this (later therecertainly was), but it would seem that the intention of Nicaea was merely toestablish order and place responsibility of keeping order and orthodoxy onstrong and capable centers of Christian teaching. In brief, the council statedthat Alexandria had under its jurisdiction the whole of Egypt, Libya, andPentopolis. But in solving this problem with regard to Alexandria, almost as abyproduct and as if it went without saying, they mentioned that Alexandria wassecond only to Rome which had similar rights in the West. It mentions Antiochbeing in the third place but does not define its territory.
They remind all, however (Canon 7) of theimportance of the See of Jerusalem but still left it under the jurisdiction ofCaesarea. (Remember Jerusalem had been destroyed in the year 70 by Titus and ittook a while for Christians there to make a come-back.) Of course there was noConstantinople yet. We speak nowadays of the "Patriarchates" of Rome,Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, as being established or recognized by theCouncil of Nicaea, but it is important to stress that at this juncture Nicaeadoesn't use this term at all. It does use the term "Metropolitan",but mostly it just refers to the "Bishop of Alexandria", or the"Bishop of Rome" etc. (Canon VI). Of the remaining canons, allinteresting, none really apply to the question of East-West relations or thechurch-state problem we are addressing. Constantine himself (who apparently hadattended many sessions, though neither he nor the Roman presidents voted)brought the council to a close with another talk on unity but in it he callshimself a "fellow bishop", showing howclosely he associated himself with the work of the Church.