In 2013, archeologists in the Cappadocian region of Turkey made an astounding find: a series of underground churches buried under a Byzantine-era fortress. These small chapels contained icons and ancient frescoes, giving archeologists a glimpse into a fascinating and integral chapter in the story of Christianity, when a trio of church leaders known as the “Cappadocian Fathers” helped shape a foundational tenet of our faith that to this day is still spoken aloud in millions of churches around the world.
The Cappadocian Fathers were Basil the Great, his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa, and their close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus. These three young men set out to prove that their Christian faith could hold its own against the intellectual ideals of the Greeks. They dedicated themselves to a life of academic rigor and monastic devotion to biblical truth. Their diligence as scholars paid off at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381, where they articulated a concrete conception of the Trinity still used today: we know it as the Nicene Creed. See if you recognize it:
“We believe in one God, the Father, almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
light from light, true, God from true God,
begotten not made,
of one substance with the Father, through whom all things came into existence,
Who because of us men and because of our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man,
and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and was buried,
and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures
and ascended to heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father,
and will come again with glory to judge living and dead,
of Whose kingdom there will be no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver
Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is together worshiped and together glorified
Who spoke through the prophets;
in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We confess one baptism to the remission of sins; we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”
Their clarification helped settle once and for all the heretical beliefs of Arianism and acted as the church’s statement of faith regarding the Trinity. Here at GCI, we’re thankful for the legacy these church fathers have passed on. We want to make sure that this important doctrine is never buried or forgotten again. For more information on the Trinity, visit our website GCI.org. We hope you stop by and check us out!
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.