Council of Nicaea Church Found

Okay, this is very cool!

Archaeologists have found remains of the church they believe to be the site where the First Council of Nicaea was held in the years 325. The ruins are submerged under the waters of Lake Iznik in Bursa, Turkey.

The First Council of Nicaea was called by Constantine I, Emperor of a united Roman Empire from 324-337. Constantine converted to Christianity and, in 313, promulgated the Edict of Milan, which declared tolerance for Christianity throughout the Empire. (It is a common misconception that Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. He did not. That distinction belongs to the Emperor Theodosius and the Edict of Thessalonica in the year 380).

The First Council of Nicaea was called to address the controversy triggered by the teaching of Arius, an Alexandrian priest who taught that Christ was a creation and, therefore, not God. More than 300 bishops from around the Christian world gathered in Nicaea to hammer out a response to Arius. Pope St. Sylvester I sent his representatives, making it officially a universal Council of the Church.

According to St. Athanasius, who attended as a deacon of the Church of Alexandria and kept a record of its proceedings, there were 318 bishops who attended the Council and all but two embraced the creed written at the Council that affirmed the divinity of Christ. That creed, with a few additions by the First Council of Constantinople in 381, is the creed recited each Sunday at Mass in every Catholic parish in the world.

Mustafa Şahin from Uludag University in Bursa led the team of archaeologist who found the church, which was destroyed and sank into the lake during an earthquake in 740. They hope to build a museum that allows visitors to view the church from a tower on the shore, a walkway that extends over the lake, and even an underwater chamber over the nave where visitors can pray.

Like I said, very cool!

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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