the 318 Fathers of the 1st Council of Nicea

Holy Fathers with St. Constantine

Holy Fathers with St. Constantine

Virtually all of them, Marutha says, “were more or less maimed…Some had the nails of their fingers or toes torn out; some were otherwise mutilated.” Thomas of Marash, he says, had been imprisoned for 22 years, and each year his captors had cut off a finger, put out an eye, or wounded him some other way in an attempt to make him deny Christ. . . .

text from Khorea Frederica Mathewes-Green’s The Voice Beneath the Altar [from A Faith and Culture Devotional, Zondervan, 2008]

A fuller quote, from 

…  The General Council having thus received authority from the king, the fathers directed that there should be gradations in the assembly and that each Bishop should sit in his place according to his rank. Chairs were there made for all and the king entered and sat with them. He kissed the spots which were the marks of Christ in their bodies. Of the 318 fathers, only 11 were free from such marks, whose name were Absalom, Bishop of Edessa, and son of Mar Ephrem’s sister, Jonah of Raikson, Mara of Dora, George of Shegar, Jacob of Nisibis, Marouta of Mepairkat, John of Goostia, Shimon of Diarbekir, Adai of Agal, Eusebius of Caesarea and Joseph of Nicomedia. But all the others were more or less maimed in their persecutions [15] from heretics. Some had their eyes taken out; some had their ears cut off. Some had their teeth dug out by the roots. Some had the nails of their fingers and toes torn out; some were otherwise mutilated; in a word there was no one without marks of violence; save the above-named persons. But Thomas, Bishop of Marash was an object almost frightful to look upon; he had been mutilated by the removal of his eyes, nose and lips; his teeth had been dug out and both his legs and arms had been cut off. He had been kept in prison 22 years by the Armanites [Armenians] who used to cut off a member of his body or mutilate him in some way every year, to induce him to consent to their blasphemy, but he conquered in this fearful contest to the glory of believers and to the manifestation of the unmercifulness of the heretics. The fathers took him with them to the Council and when [14] the king saw him, he fell down upon the ground and worshipped + him saying, “I worship thee, O thou martyr of Christ, who art adorned with many crowns.”

Icon from TheoLogic Systems, Inc. (

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”( Revelation 6:9-10)

The disabilities of the confessors of the first Ecumenical Council at Nicea are ornaments of honor in the Kingdom of God, indications of their participation in the sufferings of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nicene Creed, A.D. 325 & AD. 381 (2nd Ecumenical Council at Constantinople:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.  . . .

And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

see the Orthodox Church in America’s website listing on the Nicene Creed:


5 Responses to “the 318 Fathers of the 1st Council of Nicea”

  1. 1 Horatio March 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Auf Zypern, in der Ortschaft Archemandria ist eine Grotte, in der eine Kopie der Ikone der 318 Fathers ausgestellt ist.


  2. 2 armsopenwide March 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Translation into English of comment above:

    In Cyprus, in the village Archemandria is a cave where a copy of the icon of the 318 Fathers issued.

    Photo by photographer Arnold Schott can by accessed here:


  3. 3 jazzgoat10 June 16, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Reblogged this on Musings of the Jazzgoat Blog and commented:
    Some profound background the Council of Nicea


  4. 4 Anonymous July 19, 2014 at 7:07 AM

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  1. 1 Posts about Holy Spirit as of March 27, 2009 | PRAYtheREVOLUTION Trackback on March 27, 2009 at 11:19 AM

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