After toleration of the religion is established under the reign of Constantine, the emperor declares for a convention of bishops in Nicaea, modern day Iznik, Turkey, on A.D. 325 after heavy recommendations by Hosius of Corduba, a Spanish bishop and one of Constantine's closest Christian advisors, to constitute a consensus of doctrine and theology in order to facilitate what is deemed the Arian struggle, as the website with the Catholic Encyclopedia states ("Hosius"). Adolf M. Ritter also states in Early Christianity: Origins and Evolution to A.D. 600 of the intentions to formulate a standard of orthodoxy in the following:
The council of the '318 Fathers of Nicaea' in 325, convened to overcome doctrinal disputes, took an existing 'declaratory' creed of Syro-Palestinian provenance and inserted a number of qualifying phrases, e.g.: 'that is, from the substance of Father'; 'true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father'... To all intents and purposes, this revised formulary was intended to be used henceforth as a test of orthodoxy. In this respect, the Council of Nicaea does represent a turning-point or 'great revolution'… (97-98)
The main agenda of the First Council of Nicaea, as the Britannica Encyclopedia Online states, is to debate whether Jesus Christ co-existed with Father, which was the Nicene's fathers point of view, or if Jesus Christ came into existence after Father had created him, as Arius's theology had observed ("Arianism"). As Arius continued to expand upon his beliefs, Nicholas of Myra walked across the room and slapped Arius across the face, as many sources confirm as Ted Olsen states ("Real"). The great Edward Gibbon states in the fifth volume of his work, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire of the failures of the council regarding the means in which it conducted itself with the following:
The incomprehensible mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation, instead of commanding their silent submission, were agitated in vehement and subtile controversies, which enlarged their faith at the expense, perhaps, of their charity and reason. From the council of Nice to the end of the seventh century, the peace and unity of the church was invaded by these spiritual wars… (Gibbon)
Although the argument that the First Council of Nicaea's purpose was to help in distinguishing the truth for believers is present and to be acknowledged, the questioning of the nobility of the motives and purpose behind the ecumenical council is to be acknowledged as well, especially if history further details the outcomes of the event in regards to the means in which these ecumenical councils ascertain whose group’s view is orthodox and the precedent set forth for future conventions.
Perhaps the most violent, gruesome, and contradictory event within the Christian churches' history occurs in Ephesus during 449 when expert theologians and bishops convened in order to discuss the nature of Jesus Christ. The story of this ecumenical council makes the questionable actions Nicholas of Myra towards Arius an itch in comparison to the gangrenous event that happened in Ephesus. Philip Jenkins explicates on the violence his book, The Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years with the following:
In 449, the leading Fathers of the Christian church met in Ephesus, in Asia Minor, to debate pressing theological issues. At a critical moment, a band of monks and soldiers took control of the meeting hall, forcing bishops to sign a blank paper on which the winning side later filled in its own favored statement. The document targeted the patriarch of Constantinople, Flavian, one of the three or four greatest clerics in the Christian world. Yelling "Slaughter him!" a mob of monks attacked Flavian, beating him so badly that he died a few days later. So outrageous was the..