Roman persecution of Christians officially ended when the Edict of Milan was issued by the new emperor, Constantine in 313 A.D. This document stated that everyone had the right to practice his own religion.
Without the threat of persecution, people began to propose various theories as to who Christ really was. Some believed that he was only divine because with a fleshly body he would be inferior and less than perfect, however this idea created difficulties. Others were certain that Christ was merely a good human, who because of his great act of love to suffer death on the cross to redeem humanity, so pleased God the Father that he was raised up to be God's divine son as a reward.
Constantine agreed that something had to be done, and supported the pope in sponsoring a general council of the universal bishops and the pope. He hoped that its conclusions would end not only the religious confusion, but also the associated political unrest. The meeting was held in the city of Nicaea in 325 A.D., and was called the Council of Nicaea. After much discussion, the bishops prepared a statement of faith which identified that Christ, being a Divine Person with a Divine Nature, also shared in our humanity through his Human Nature. Several years later, in 381 A.D., the Council of Constantinople made other contributions to this Creed, all of which were approved by the pope. To this day this Nicene-Constantinople Creed is recited by Christians throughout the world
Terms to help understanding:
Divine Person - A supreme, transcendent Being, able to direct itself by its intellect and will.
Divine Nature - Complete and total perfection.
Human Person - Not only body and not only soul but the rational being arising out of the substantial union
of both. (Not possessed by Christ since this was overshadowed by his Divine Personhood).
Human Nature - A collection of cells, matter, which grows and has particular characteristics and
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.