Who Came to the Council of Nicaea?

Judging from what little we know about the identity of those who attended, the council was overwhelming Eastern. Only six or seven bishops are recorded as having come from Western churches, among them were Ossius (or Hosius) of Cordoba, Caecilianus of Carthage, and two representatives from the church of Rome. The small number of bishops from the West reflected the general ignorance among Western churches of those theological issues that had embroiled the East.

Of the bishops from the East, Asia Minor (presentamp;mdash;day Turkey), Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were best represented. Several came from Arabia, Persia, Libya, and Greece. One even came from Armenia [see p. 46]. Bishops from almost all of the oldest and major sees of the East were present: Alexander of Alexandria, Antiochus of Memphis (Egypt), Macanus of jerusalem, Eusebius of Caesarea, Eustathius of Antioch (Syria), Magnus of Damascus, Januarius of Jericho, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eutychius of Smyrna, Menophantes of Ephesus, Artemidorus of Sardis and, of course, Theognis of Nicaea.

But the most esteemed personalities at the council were Paphnutius of Upper Thebes and Spyridon of Cyprus. Paphnutius was a confessor, having had his eyes put out for confessing the faith during the last persecution of Christians, and Spyridon was well known for his life of selfamp;mdash; denial and miracle working. The emperor himself was said to have greeted them personally and sought their prayers.

By D. H. Williams

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #85 in 2005]

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