Sunday, June 12, 2011

Onuphrius of Thebais, Hermit; Basilides and His Companions, Martyrs; Ecumenical Council of Nicea, AD 325

Today we commemorate Onuphrius, Basilides, and the Council of Nicea.

In reference to Onuphrius, Butler says:

HE lived some time in an austere monastery of one hundred monks, near Thebes in Egypt. A desire of imitating the solitude of St. John Baptist moved him to seek a retreat in the most solitary wilderness of that country. He for some years struggled with grievous temptations; but by perseverance overcame them, and by the exercises of holy solitude prepared his soul for the closest communications with God, in which he found the repose of his heart, the comfort of his earthly pilgrimage, and a kind of anticipation of the eternal enjoyment of heaven. He spent in this retirement sixty years, unknown to the world; but by his prayers never ceased to implore the divine mercy in its behalf, and for the protection of the church under the persecutions of the two Arian emperors, Constantius and Valens. A date-tree and a palm-tree which grew near his cell furnished him with food. He died on the 12th of June.

Basilides and his companions were soldiers in the army of Maxentius. They were tortured for the faith and beheaded by the command of Aurelius.

The Council of Nicea was the first ecumenical council and settled disputes over the divinity of Christ. After much debate, the Council eventually adopted the teaching handed down by the Apostles that Jesus is true God, begotten not made and of the same substance of the Father. Here is the Creed that came out of this Council:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father, through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made out of nothing; or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance, or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, the catholic church anathematizes.

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