Second Council of Nicaea

During the period of Byzantine history known as Iconoclasm, Emperors Leo III and Constantine V had banned the worship of religious icons and figures, believing these to be in direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments and in support of idolatry. The Council of Hieria, convened in AD 754 under Emperor Constantine V and initially claimed to be the Seventh Ecumenical Council, had decreed that the veneration of religious icons should be banned, ushering in the Iconoclasm which saw many displays of religious art destroyed. The Iconoclasm also enforced persecution of those who worshiped religious icons as well as monks on a general scale.

When Patriarch Tarasius had succeeded Paul IV in AD 784, he attempted to enter into communion with other churches and believed that religious imagery should be reestablished. In order to overturn one Ecumenical Council, another would need to convene. Pope Adrian I responded to the Patriarch’s request and sent a legate to attend this council, though it would be interrupted by Iconoclastic soldiers in 786. The locale for the council would be moved to Nicaea in AD 787, assembling in the Hagia Sophia.

By the end of the proceedings, the Second Council of Nicaea had overturned the proceedings of the Council of Hieria by declaring that figures such as Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, angels and all other manner of religious figures existed as symbols and embodiment not dissimilar to the cross in terms of their importance to Christianity. Thus, they deserved to be revered and venerated in a similar manner as the cross itself, although they were explicit in reserving worship for the Divine Being. The Council also found that the Council of Hieria was not ecumenical in its nature, as representatives from the Western parts of the Empire had not been present to convene, and all of its decrees and rulings were effectively null and void.

The papal legates did not hesitate to support the findings of the Second Council of Nicaea, and a full transcript of its proceedings were sent to Pope Hadrian I. This gathering is regarded as the true Seventh Ecumenical Council and is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Despite the Second Council of Nicaea being regarded as the last of the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, its efforts at reinstating veneration and adoration of holy figures to counteract Byzantine Iconoclasm were short-lived. Under Emperor Leo V in AD 815, Patriarch Theodolos ordered to convene at the Hagia Sophia regarding the reinstatement of the rulings found in the Council of Hieria. This event had brought the beginning of the Second Iconoclasm. The ruling as well as the Iconoclasm itself was maintained through the rule of Leo V, his successor Michael II, and finally through Theophilus. Upon the death of Theophilus, however, the throne passed to his heir, Michael III. Acting as regent on her son’s behalf, Empress Theodora called for and presided over a gathering in AD 843 that was meant to reinstate icon veneration and the rulings decreed in the Second of Council of Nicaea, this time for good.

Macedonian Dynastry

Starting in AD 867 and continuing until 1056, the Byzantine empire was ruled under a stretch of emperors known as the Macedonian dynasty. Initiated by Basil I the Macedonian, this period of rule saw the Byzantine empire expand its territory to its greatest point since the Muslim conquests of the early 7th and 8th centuries. It also ushered in what was regarded as the Macedonian Renaissance, which caused a profound interest in classical scholarship and utilizing motifs of the same nature within Orthodox Christian artwork.

Though there is controversy as to his ethnic origin, the influence that Basil I had on Byzantine history is undeniable. Born a peasant in AD 811 and persevering through a series of fortuitous events, he eventually came into the favor of Emperor Michael III, esteemed as a confidant, bodyguard, and even co-emperor, a title he received in AD 866. When he learned of Michael’s intent to grant the Imperial title to another courtier, Basiliskianos, Basil orchestrated the assassination of both me and came to rule the Byzantine empire, undisputed.

Ruling as emperor for the next 19 years until his death in AD 886, Basil oversaw great expansion of the Byzantine empire and developed it into what was regarded as a great world power with its territories stretching as far as the eastern Mediterranean. Despite possessing no formal education, he maintained amicable relations with the Holy Roman Empire despite historical schisms that separated the East from the West in many religious aspects, even allying with Rome in battle against Arab forces. In domestic policy, he was regarded as the second Justinian, codifying laws within the empire that lasted until its downfall to the Ottoman empire. His reign solidified the foundation of the Macedonian dynasty in Byzantine archives.

The crowning event during the Macedonian dynasty was its nurturing of scholastic achievements and, led by the examples of Basil I, a reform in law, education, and artistic endeavors during the Macedonian Renaissance. Where artists were banned from depicting religious figures, icons and classical themes thrived under the Macedonian dynasty. Some believe this even gave inspiration as far as Italian artists before the Italian Renaissance even took place. Along with art, website literature saw a great revival. Works such as De Ceremoniis outlined government, diplomacy and major customs of the time, Chronographia written by the scholar Michael Psellus documented the histories of fourteen separate Byzantine rulers. Education flourished in the University of Constantinople and Magnaura, the latter overseen by Leo the Mathematician. Law reform further protected the citizens of the Byzantine empire, some laws regulating growth through the use of trade guilds headed by the state to counter large land owners’ efforts to monopolize growth opportunity.

The line of the Macedonian dynasty ended in AD 1056 with the death of Theodora, who had assumed sole power for one year after the death of Constantine IX, despite the efforts of his advisers to convince him to grant the title to the Duke of Bulgaria. Theodora had supposedly retired to a convent by this point, following the death of her sister, with whom she co-ruled as empress for two months in 1042 before Zoe’s marriage to Constantine. Upon the news of Constantine’s illness, Theodora returned and asserted her authority to rule, followed quickly by the dismissal of several high-ranking officials, most of whom were speculated to oppose Theodora’s rule. When she became ill and passed, the Macedonian line was broken and the Byzantine empire fell into turmoil as rising houses within the nobility attempted to stake their claim for the Imperial throne. This matter would not see itself settled for another 25 years, when the beginning of the Komnenian dynasty took root.

What Is The Archimedes Palimpsest?

Only one of the great “overwrites” in world history.

We all get the look of despair in the computer world when we don’t save a file and it gets overwritten by some other information and we lose the original file. Or if there is a hard drive that crashes, wiping out all of your important photos and documents. That would be considered an “overwrite” into nothing.

But just as technology has greatly mitigated the file overwrite that so terrified us back in the day (thank you AutoSave!), technology has also gone a long way toward restoring the original “file” that is known as the Archimedes Palimpsest.

The Archimedes Palimpsest is one of the most well-known “overwrites” ever. It is a manuscript originally written by Archimedes, the famed Greek mathematician in the 3rd century B.C., and compiled in the 10th century, during the Byzantine Empire. It is a manuscript that is believed to be the only copy of two Archimedean works, known as The Method of Mechanical Theorems and Stomachion.

In the 13th century, however, this manuscript was “overwritten” by some monks who turned it into part of a prayer book.  For centuries, it seemed that some of Archimedes’ work was going to be legend or a full-out myth. That is, until 1906, when a Danish expert on Archimedes’ work, Johan Heiberg, discovered the book and noted some of Archimedes’ writing under the prayer texts – the previous work had only been partially “erased.”  He could only read bits and pieces of the work, and then the prayer book went missing for more than 90 years, until it showed up at a Christie’s auction in 1998.

An anonymous American made a $2 million bid for the book, and a short time later it found its way to a museum in Baltimore, Md., where it has continually been studied and researched. A variety of technologies have been employed to try to extract more and more of the original Archimedean text. Ultraviolet, infrared, raking light as well as X-rays have been used to dig under the Christian prayers to find these original works.

Isidore of Miletus is credited with the first full compilation of Archimedes’ works, but the fu;l Method and Stomachion had been lost over the centuries. What has also been missing was the original Greek copy of On Floating Bodies, another mathematical treatise. The Palimpsest also contains On the Equilibrium of Planes, Measurement of a Circle, Spiral Lines, and On the Sphere and Cylinder.

One of the highlights of the recent scholarly work has been the revelation that Archimedes seems to postulate a concept of what is called actual infinity in math, which was a concept that had only been known in the 19th century, though Archimedes was working 22 centuries earlier on an idea that essentially set the tone for the field of calculus.

The value of the information being culled from this work seems to far outweigh the $2 million bid, and interest in the Palimpsest over the last 15 years has grown within the math world and curiosity has continued to expand in science and in art.

Greek Fire

The Byzantine Empire was under pretty constant assault for most of its existence, mainly from native Turkish and eventual Ottoman forces that continued to try to take out the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey).

Considering the excellent seaside location and its relation to the Mediterranean Sea, it was a vitally important port that saw its share of navies aim at the mighty walls.  Most of the time, however, Constantinople withstood the barrages. Part of it was the training of the men in battle, and the solid walls and how they were built. But a key role in the protection and defense of the city came from a weapon that wreaked a lot of havoc among the ships in the water outside the city’s walls.

This technological marvel was begun in the seventh century and was never truly duplicated, though various other cultures and empires tried to emulate it because of its crippling power. It had several names, but it was most commonly called “Greek fire.” The first known use of the weapon was late in the seventh century and was an important key in saving the city of Constantinople from a couple of massive Arab sieges prior to the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Greek fire was a flammable liquid, which had a chemical composition that is still unknown today, and it was shot out of what were called siphons, or tubes, that were on some Byzantine naval ships as well as a shot from some of the towers along the wall of Constantinople that faced the sea. What made this weapon so dangerous to navies was that it was on fire as it traveled through the air toward the ships, but it did not extinguish once it hit the water; ships were still vulnerable if the weapon missed in the air but still could catch the wooden vessels ablaze if they got too close.

Believed to be a petroleum-based concoction, Greek fire was supposedly developed by a Jewish Syrian refugee named Callinicus of Heliopolis for Emperor Constantine IV. It was used against an Arab fleet in 673 under Constantine, another Arab siege in 717 under Leo III, and in the 10th century under Romanus I against a Russian attack fleet.

Even after some of these Byzantine weapons were captured by enemies and they investigated Greek fire and its sipons, no one could determine the exact composition of the mixture, nor could anyone fully duplicate the weaponry that fired the sticky liquid. Several tried their own combinations, including the Chinese, Mongols and Arabs.

There had been combustible and incendiary weaponry dating back hundreds of years before the Byzantine Empire, but Greek fire (also called “liquid fire” or “sea fire”) was perhaps the most effective such weapon, as some variant of it was used for hundreds of years.

The concept, in fact, has even carried forward into more modern warfare, as it could reasonably be an inspiration for the modern-day flamethrowers that are used in some war zones. But again, the actual composition of the original Greek fire was so secretive that even today we don’t really know what was in it and in what proportions. But it was perhaps the most feared weapon in naval warfare for a millennium.

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Who Is Isidore Of Miletus?

The Byzantine Empire, much like its predecessor the Roman Empire, had its share of wise and able men serving in great fields of astronomy, physics, mathematics, philosophy and architecture.

One of the great architectural marvels of the Byzantine Era is a church (now a mosque) called the Hagia Sophia, located in present-day Istanbul, Turkey. Built in the 4th century, it has been one of the technological marvels of the day; in fact it was ahead of its time for several centuries.

Emperor Justinian I commissioned the church to be rebuilt for the sake of state-sanctioned Christianity, approaching well-known mathematicians called Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Thalles, who created a building that even 15 centuries later is still considered one of the great architectural models of all time with its design, its symmetry and overall beauty.

Neither Isidore nor Anthemius were known as architects, but they were known for their work with stereometry (measuring of area and volume of solids) and physics, and were accomplished in the logistics of moving people and materials around the Empire to construct such a building, which was one of the largest of the day and one of the largest ever built in the Middle East – a main hall that was a 70-by-75 meter rectangle (more than 50,000 square feet).

Who is Isidore of Miletus? Honestly, other than the Hagia Sophia (which still stands today and is a prominent mosque of the Islam faith), there is not much written about this man. The only other part of his legacy was that he was the first to compile all of the works of the great Archimedes. Only one copy of that, however, survived into the modern age, and it was highly valued in furthering scientific discovery through the Renaissance and beyond.

Isidore was a noted mathematician of the time, as there was evidence that he had a school in which math and physics were studied, and he had some commentaries in several of Euclid’s works, suggesting that the works came from his school and teachings.

The Hagia Sophia was supposedly designed to withstand earthquakes, which were prevalent in the area, but a massive quake collapsed the dome of the church in 558, about 20 years after the church’s dedication. While there is no recod of Isidore passing away, when the re-building of the dome was requested, it was Isidore’s nephew, Isidore the Younger, who came to do the renovation.






Leo VI The Wise: Was He Really?

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In the ninth century A.D., the Byzantine Empire was experiencing some of its best days during its 1,000 years of existence. But with the dictatorial connotation of the words “

In the ninth century A.D., the Byzantine Empire was experiencing some of its best days during its 1,000 years of existence. But with the dictatorial connotation of the words “emperor” and “empire,” it’s possible that the reign of Leo VI the Wise might have been the catalyst for that connotation.

During the Roman Empire and the first couple centuries of the Byzantine Empire, emperors did have a lot of executive power, but there was an imperial legislature, called a senate, which debated and passed much legislation that ran the Empire as a whole, Emperors were mostly left for proclamations and executions of the laws which the senate passed. But much of that changed when Leo VI rose to power in 886 A.D.

Leo, whose lineage was questioned (it was unclear of his father was Emperor Michael III or his direct predecessor, Basil I, as Basil’s wife took a lover), rose to the throne upon Basil’s death in 886, and he reigned until 912. Leo developed the name Leo the Wise or Leo the Philosopher because he was more educated than many of his contemporaries at the time, and he was known more as a scholar-emperor than a soldier, which was the more common background of past rulers.

Leo was prolific in much of his more scholarly work, as he codified and collected much of the past Roman and Byzantine codes and developed some of his own treatises that would bring the past more in line with the realities of the current-day Empire. He wrote much about virtually all aspects of imperial society, from the military to Roman law to precedent order to even the guilds. He addressed much of the past (sometimes exaggerated, by some claims) and re-constituted traditions to meet the changes of the Empire during that period.

Usually known as a mighty army in the world, the Byzantine military suffered a string of defeats under Leo’s watch, most notably a war with the Bulgars which resulted in Byzantium paying an annual tribute to the Bulgars following defeat. While Leo made an impression and a legacy with his writings, he was most known for two things – imperial ruling changes and a battle with the Church.

For centuries, the senate in the Empire was the main governing body in terms of developing laws for the Empire. But during Leo’s reign, he was able to massage more power away from the senate to when, by the time he dided, the senate was not much more than a legacy entity, having lost most of its tradition and powers, which essentially led to a benevolent dictatorship where more legislative and executive power resided with the emperor and his appointees.

The second legacy for Leo was the battle with the Church over his marriages. Determined tohave a male heir to his throne, Leo had three different wives and intended to marry a fourth, but Church patriarch Nicholas Mysticus declared it illegal according to church law (though even the third was considered illegal as well). Leo then took a mistress called Zoe, who gave birth to a son named Constantine. Because of this birth, Leo was allowed to marry Zoe in 904 (when Constantine was 3 years old), but with such pentalties as not being allowed to declare his wife empress to the empire and to not be in the line of succession.

Leo VI died in 912, and his son, Constantine VII, ascended to power at age 11. Thanks to his dad, there was an emphasis on “power.”

Nika Revolts

Upon the death of his uncle and adopted guardian, Justin, in AD 527, Justinian I came into power as emperor and sole sovereign of the Eastern Roman Empire at the age of 45. Justinian was well-known for his grand ambitious as emperor, some popular within the empire and some less so. Historically, he was well-known for campaigns to reclaim former Roman territory in the reaches of the Mediterranean Sea and re-establish the borders of the Roman empire to its former glory. He also championed ambitious architectural projects that revitalized passion for the Byzantine arts, and he was responsible for the commission of the cathedral known as the Hagia Sophia. Above all that, however, Justinian was most historically famed for his revision and complete reform of Roman law and the formation of the Corpus juris civilis, a compilation of his body of legislature that stands as the basis for many modern states. Some of these laws that were exercised even went as far as to protect women from abuse and exploitation and gave them some greater influence in Byzantine society.

However, despite all of this innovation and reform that came to the Byzantine empire, there were many of those that were skeptical or outright opposed to Justinian’s rule. Justinian was known to have originally come from poor parentage, which led many in the Byzantine aristocracy to believe they had a stronger claim to the throne than he did. Compounded with the fact that several of Justinian’s top advisors, counsel and military generals weren’t well-liked by the general public, there were many who sought to overthrow Justinian as well as these men in power.

During Justinian’s reign, many citizens associated their political and social points of view with various factions of chariot racing, as they had no other outlet by which to do so. Prominently known in circles were two such factions known simple as the Blues and the Greens. When rioting broke out in AD 531, some members of these factions had become connected to murders and were set to be executed. However, when they escaped and sought refuge in a church, mobs broke out and surrounded the building. At the same time, Justinian was conflicted with resentment over taxes as well as attempting to make peace with the Persians and put an end to the Iberian War. In order to calm the hordes, he ordered another chariot race in early 532 and ordered that the two escapees be imprisoned instead of executed. This led supporters of Blues and Greens alike to demand from Justinian their complete pardon. As the races were ready to begin in the Hippodrome, tensions increased dramatically and hostility began to brew toward Justinian. By the end of the 22 races in the Hippodrome, crowds began chanting “Nika!” (“Win” or “Conquer”) instead of the typical support of their respective chariot factions. More riots broke out and fires swept the city, leaving a wake of destruction in Constantinople that lasted for nearly a full week.

Senators who opposed Justinian for his tax revisions and his lack of support for the nobility decided to act in an attempt to overthrow him by influencing the mob to demand the dismissal of several of Justinian’s advisors and that a new emperor be crowned. Justinian eventually carried out a plan that, in the midst of the death and destruction within the Hippodrome, effectively bribed leaders of the Blue supporters into abandoning their cause.  The Blues left wealthier for their desertion, and Justinian’s generals and Imperial troops stormed into the Hippodrome and slaughtered the remaining Greens.

Historians estimate 30,000 rioters killed at the end of the Nika revolts. In the wake of the destruction and the rebuilding process to follow, Justinian set to erecting great monuments. One of them was the rebuilt and completely renovated Hagia Sophia that would stand as the largest Christian cathedral for near the next 1,000 years.


First Council of Nicaea

By the early 4th century AD, Christianity had gained a foothold in the Roman Empire and was spreading into its far reaches, including Constantinople, courtesy of the deeds of then-emperors Constantine and Licinius in the formation of the Edict of Milan in AD 313. This edict had legalized Christianity and its practices throughout the Roman empire and prevented Christians from further persecution by Roman forces as well as re-established any losses in the form recompense. However, despite its relative formation as it overtook Roman polytheism, several divides still existed within Christendom that led to several conflicts. Many of them stemmed from conflict of doctrine that spawned from a lack of universality throughout the religion within the Roman empire at this time, as many regions were overseen separately by powerful, but remote, bishops who had little interaction with each other. However, in AD 325, Emperor Constantine called religious officials from across the empire to convene in the city of Nicaea, a congregation that would grow between 250 and 300 strong with bishops from all over the empire. This gathering, known as the First Council of Nicaea, would also become the first of seven Ecumenical Councils to determine a path for all of Christendom and Staten Island.

The First Council of Nicaea was called mainly for two purposes: to unite the Christian faith under one universal doctrine that would be determined by its highest officials and to combat the growing ideological threat known as Arian doctrine. At the time, teachings were torn on the belief of the divinity of Jesus Christ the Son as it was related to the Father. Some believed that the Son shared eternity and, thus, divinity with the Father as His “begotten” without beginning while others (particularly Arius, the founder of “Arianism”) believed He was created from nothing and therefore did not share eternity with the Father.

This difference of opinion eventually led to Arius’ banishment into Illyria and the formation of the Nicene Creed, which affirmed for all of Christianity that the Son and the Father were consubstantial, that they existed as one being, inseparable and immutable.

The First Council of Nicaea also discussed and finalized matters regarding a time to celebrate Easter as well as several smaller matters relating to canons, such as the Church’s hierarchy and structure, the standards of the clergy with regard to dignity and behavior, and the formation of liturgical practice among others.

While this unification was a great step toward establishing Christianity as a globally widespread religion, conflict arose to stir unrest. Constantine, the emperor who saw to convene in Nicaea, was succeeded by two Arian Emperors, one of which attempted to confront the bishop of Caesarea, St. Basil, regarding the Nicene Creed. Nicene Christianity, while successfully unified in many of its beliefs, would not become the state religion for another 55 years. During this time, Arianism went through a process of revival and remained the subject of great debate for much of the remaining 4th century. Paganism also attempted a revival, seeking to restore its place as the state religion through the Seat of the Emperor. Even Constantine himself was subject to persuasion for a time by an Arian bishop named Eusebius of Nicomedia.

Council of Chalcedon

In AD 431, the Council of Ephesus (the Third Ecumenical Council) had condemned the teachings of Nestorius that asserted that Christ was separate as man and divine. After the council, unrest still remained between the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, Cyril and John respectively. Cyril accused John of maintaining beliefs in Nestorianism. John argued that Cyril held to Apollinarism, another heretical belief that Christ did not possess a human mind and was entirely divine in all but body. Many believed this was an overcompensation for the earlier Arian belief system which asserted that Christ was not divine in any respect whatsoever. Their differences were eventually settled with the moderation of Bishop Acacius of Beroea.

Two years after the death of Cyril in AD 444, Eutyches, a monk of Constantinople began to spread teachings that he perceived as similar to Cyril’s original interpretation of the nature of Christ (that being one nature) to combat another uprising of Nestorianism in the Byzantine empire. However, his teachings were regarded as Docetism, a belief system that effectively denied the human nature of Christ and believed him to be entirely divine, regarded as the exact opposite of Arianism. Though many, including Pope Leo I, interpreted Eutyches to spread untrue teachings more out of a lack of base knowledge than out of any attempt to supplant Nicene Christianity and its belief in Christ as both man and divine, Eutyches’ influence proved surprisingly great. He was branded a heretic in AD 448 and called for his removal from office. However, due to his popularity among the people, Emperor Theodosius II personally opposed this due to Eutyches later repenting.

However, this did not quell controversy between the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria. A second Council of Ephesus was called in 449, with Pope Leo invited to preside.  The pope declined, but sent representatives and documents outlining the Papacy’s position on the matter. He wrote that Christ was indeed of two natures, both human and divine. This definition conflicted with Cyril’s Twelve Anathemas that had been put forth years before. Studies to determine the compatibility between “Leo’s Tome” and the Twelve Anathemas took place leading up to the Second Council of Ephesus.

However, Leo’s Tome would not be addressed at this council, and the presiding Pope Dioscorus of Alexandria, in a series of events that left representatives beaten and threatened, declared that the Twelve Anathemas were orthodox, maintaining that Christ originally had two natures that merged into one nature after incarnation. When Pope Leo received news of this, he declared it a “synod of robbers” and ignored any and all of its pronouncements as a result. The conflict threatened a great schism between Western and Eastern belief.

Despite Leo’s insistence to Emperor Theodosius to reconvene, the emperor continued to install supporters of Dioscorus up until his dramatic death, whereupon an orthodox Christian named Marcian assumed the throne. He agreed with Leo to reconvene, insisting it take place in Nicaea, though it needed to be relocated (due to invading Huns) to Chalcedon in AD 451.

This Council of Chalcedon discussed with finality the matter of the Incarnation and the nature of Christ. The council came to agreement that Leo’s pronouncement was in accordance with Cyril’s teachings, and would be used as orthodoxy. Christ was recognized with two natures, both of man and of divine. This would come to be known as the Chalcedonian Definition.


First Council of Constantinople

As per Randy Rogers Law:

After the First Ecumenical Council that took place in AD 325 to establish the foundations of the Nicene Creed and bring a unified doctrine to Christianity, the Roman empire was struck with turbulence regarding the official state religion. Despite bishops from across the empire gathering and agreeing upon a single doctrine regarding the Father and the Son, the First Council of Nicaea never addressed the third element of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. Along with this newly-rising debate that threatened the stability of Nicene Christianity, believers belonging to other factions attempted to assert their power by influencing those within power. Arianism, Meletism and paganism all attempted to revive their standing before Emperor Theodosius I campaigned to establish Nicene Christianity as the official state religion in AD 380. With the 55-year struggle at an end, Theodosius called to convene the First Council of Constantinople, the second Ecumenical Council in the history of Christianity, to reconfirm the Nicene Creed that was established in the First Council of Nicaea.

While attempts to overturn Nicene Christianity had failed, for the most part, the events leading up to the First Council of Constantinople were tumultuous at best. Even despite recognizing Nicene Christianity as the state religion, many high-ranking officials within Constantinople were still of Arian belief. Gathering supporters from Alexandria and Antioch together was also considered a gamble, as Nicene and Meletian supporters were at odds with each other. Spurred on as well by a conspiracy to seat a bishop that would allow Alexandria to maintain control of the Eastern Churches, the conspiracy was discovered, and the issue ultimately brought before Pope Damascus who issued a decree to the Emperor to summon a council to settle the matter and instate a bishop worthy of the position.

In the proceedings that followed, the consecration of Maximus, the bishop that conspired to seize the open position in Constantinople, was declared invalid and Gregory Nazianzus was instated by Theodosius. Despite this installation, Gregory surprisingly offered his resignation when he lost the support and the confidence of the fellow bishops. When his resignation was granted, an unbaptized civil official named Nectarius was set to succeed him, and power over the churches transferred in Constantinople despite the efforts of Maximus and Alexandria, though this would be corrected later by Pope Damascus.

Apart from this matter, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed was also instated. A more structurally sound revision to the original Nicene Creed, though it clarifies confusion regarding the Holy Spirit as a definitive part of the Trinity. It also addresses separate matters regarding the Church itself, baptism and resurrection of the dead. This particular portion of the First Council of Constantinople has come under scrutiny, however, and many historians believe that the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed was simply a decree from the bishops within the empire and not necessarily a part of the official delegation of the council. Despite this debate, it further solidified the position of Nicene Christianity within the Roman empire.

Many minor canons were also discussed by the gathering, though much debate surrounded the Third Canon that prioritized power of the Eastern churches in Constantinople and made the bishop there second only to the Bishop of Rome. Pope Damascus would address this the following year (AD 382) and historians assert that, while this council was regarded as ecumenical, the Pope is likely to have only approved of the revision of the Nicene Creed. Some believe, however, that the aftermath of this council is evidence that power between the Western and Eastern portions of the churches was reaching a breaking point, and the West was beginning to lose its influence as Constantinople began to establish itself as a great seat of power within Christianity.