Reflection on Council Day 4

Emperor Constantine and fellow Bishops,

I am very pleased that we were able to attain unanimous votes on both canons that were presented today and also that we were able to resolve the issue of jurisdiction over Palestine. Despite some confusion, I believe that today was incredibly productive.

In regards to the canon on the authority of Metropolitan Bishops, I am very pleased with it and believe that it is the first step in establishing order for the Church. Even though this will diminish my own power and make me a subordinate of the Bishop of Arelate, the Metropolitan of Western Europe, I think it is important for the Christian world to have a hierarchal structure to maintain order and guard against heretical thought and practice. Such a structure has served the Roman Empire well in many contexts, and so I believe it will do the same for the Church.

Although I voted in favor of the second canon on the role of future councils, I believe that future councils should be the ultimate authority of doctrinal matters. I am in favor of having a single authoritative Bishop to rule over the rest because it strengthens the hierarchal structure established in Canon 1. However, I believe that councils provide a stage for all Bishops to air their concerns and thoughts to reduce the possibility of heresy arising. If future councils have no authority, the authority of the council we are currently conducting is diminished. How can we say that this council is the final authority if no council in the future will have the same authority? What if another major heresy, akin to what we have seen with the Arians, arises? Can we truly trust one Bishop, however fair he seems, to make decisions that will maintain the unity we have worked to achieve? Unfortunately, I do not believe many others considered this. Alas, only time will tell whether we made the right decision.

Blessed be,