A letter to the Church of Alexandria

From Athanasius to the devoted members of the Church of Alexandria,

The Council of Nicaea has come to a close and there is much to look forward to in our church. We have established a creed that will unite our religion across the empire. In creating this creed, we have been successful in removing Arius and his heresy from the Church as we all know first hand the strife he has caused, and with his removal, the Church will become much stronger. Creating this creed did not come with ease. Instead, the Arians fought with all of their might to create a creed that would estrange a majority of the followers of the Church. On the last day, I along with my fellow Alexandrians were successful in eliminating all Arian language from the creed as well as include that Christ was uncreated. The creed implicitly states that God and Christ are co-eternal, I would have hoped for the creed to say this explicitly, but with our changes, I was able and willing to sign our creed.

Unity comes not only from our creed, but also from our cannons that instruct how the Church should function. In our council, we have put for several different cannons. The first of which was a cannon stating that lapsed Christians have to be rebaptized in order to reenter the Church. I could not vote for this as I oppose it. It is Christ’s message of forgiveness that we should listen to and we are not to judge our fellow man. By making the lapsed wait, they are prolonging their time away from the Church when they need to be in the Church with Christ’s message. By making the lapsed wait, we also make it so the expansion of our church is slowed. We want to reach all of the citizens of the Roman Empire with Christ’s word and not prevent our growth. Even though I disagree with this portion of the cannon, I am pleased that no additional restrictions or punishment will be imposed on lapsed clergy returning to the clergy.

The council discussed the role of women in the church where I proposed a cannon that prevents women from being ordained and in the clergy. I am pleased to say that this cannon passed with only a slight opposition. It is not out of the disrespect to women that we have this cannon, but rather instead to the practicality of functioning within the Roman society where women are of lesser status than men and we should and could not defy societal norms if we wish to continue to spread the word of God.

The council also ruled in favor of Metropolitan bishops having authority over local bishops. I advocated for this cannon as I see a system where all bishops are equal will result in the disunity of the church due to disagreements with no one to settle the disagreement. We also established that we will have the Metropolitan bishops of Rome and Jerusalem see over all the other Metropolitan bishops and have final say in doctrine. As an extension of this cannon, we established that there will be no need for future councils as future councils will limit the Metropolitan bishops and will not guarantee local bishops voices to be heard as well.

Our final cannon passed was concerning the day of the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection. The celebration will be held on the Sunday after the 14th day after the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. I was a strong advocate for this day as it still recognizes that Jesus died and was resurrected in relation to the Jewish Passover, but also does not rely on the Jewish calendar to calculate this date. This date may seem very complicated to calculate, but we are from Alexandria, the home of the most brilliant astronomers who can make these calculations with ease.

I return home pleased in the outcome of the council, knowing that our Emperor Constantine’s goal of uniting the empire in Christianity is under way as we have come together to unite in our theology. I am excited to be on this journey with all of you.

May God be with you,

Athanasius

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