I do not think it comes as a surprise to any of you that I am angry with the outcome of the third council session. Brethren. I admonish and implore you to heed my plea for unity for a few reasons:
First. My rule and authority will not be mocked. Need I remind you that at this time in Ancient Rome, the Emperor stands in the minds of the people as a god? While we do not believe in pagan gods, and therefore, where the pagans view me as an actual god you will not, bare this level of honor and praise in mind. I demand such respect. You must heed my words. My call for unity will not be ignored.
Second. I am not calling for compromise and unity for my own sake. My armies can conquer and conquer again. I call for it because I understand that you, my brothers in God, want to spread the wonderful good news of Christ to all of the world. Have we forgotten that Christ is good news? Have we forgotten that, whether Homoousios or Homoiousios (a matter that is not big enough to cause such strife), Christ is our Savior? That His teachings are true and full? That whether He is created or not, that He is the Son of the Father and that He is wonderful?? THIS, my brethren, is the message to spread. We all agree on this matter, and we ultimately hope to spread that message to the entire world. For now, we work to convert the Empire. My Empire. God sees that, when we cannot find unity, we are separating the one and only true church and preventing its growth. To separate — to allow Arius to leave — is to inflict the wrath of God upon us, and to doom our great faith to dwindle and be destroyed. We have this council so that we can create a creed for the Christian faith. So that the Christians now, in each of your cities and towns, and the Christians to come, will understand the most essential parts of our faith. If we do not come to agree on a creed, all the faith that we have, all of our similarities, will be for naught.
Hopefully this makes my call for unity a little more clear.
I worry that many of you have turned to the leadership of other bishops to determine what to do and what not to do. Let me be clear. Simply because your theology agrees with one person does not mean you need to agree with everything that person says. Nor will you be punished by that person if you choose to do something that he wouldn’t do. You must make your decisions based on your own understanding of the good of Christianity and God’s will for unification, not on your vague associations with other humans.
I will remind you that, as the Emperor, I have the option to exile you. If you are working in direct opposition to my purpose for this council, I will not hesitate to do so. Tread carefully.
The issue of not reaching a majority consensus will be handled as follows:
All votes about the Son will, from here forward, be anonymous to other council members. They will be read by myself and Bishop Ossius, and tallied with regards to number of votes by the Gamemaster/Scribe. Hopefully this will discourage you from making a decision based on the popular vote or the intimidation of other bishops. If I see that this type of pressure continues into other votes, I will not hesitate to enforce the same anonymity into votes about the creed or canon. Your vote will not become visible to anyone besides the three stated above until after the final council day and the passing of the creed.
We cannot take anymore council time to discuss the matter of the Son. You will have until Thursday (3/31) at 8:00am to discuss the matter on our blog site. I will post a copy of the section of the creed that was voted upon in the third council day. In the comments of my post, you will reach an agreement on a modified creed. Those that voted “nay” are expected to discuss AND COMPROMISE the matter until they find a creed that can be accepted by the majority and not result in the schism of Christianity with the leaving of the Arians. Those that voted “yay” should monitor and comment so that they may maintain some sort of satisfaction with the creed. Feel free, if you can, to meet outside of class across factions in order to discuss the matters. Make sure there is ONE creed prepared for use by 8:00 am on Thursday.
(You will still be expected to post on the blog as is assigned in the syllabus. This is additional work as a result of not receiving a majority vote last council.)
At the beginning of the fifth council session on Thursday, we will take another straw vote on the Son section of the creed. This will be passed by the majority and it will not result in Arius leaving the church.
On Tuesday (3/29) we will briefly discuss and vote on the Holy Spirit section of the creed before proceeding to the discussion on Lapsed Christians and Metropolitan Bishops. Be prepared and alert for the discussion that day so that we can quickly and efficiently move through the different canons. Realize this now: Some people will not get the compromise they wish during the canons section. It will be left to the majority to vote, and to each individual will be expected to accept that canons as they are passed and use these principles from this point on as part of Christianity. That is to say, do not belabor a point in such a way that we are prevented from proceeding forward in a logical and timely manner.
Everything else will continue as has previously been discussed.
Any questions or concerns may be directed to myself of Bishop Ossius of Cordoba.
May God be with you, brothers.