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4.12 The Heresies—“Spirit-fighters” & the Aftermath of Nicaea

By Dr. James Papandrea ( bio - articles - email ) | May 08, 2024 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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After the Council of Nicaea, all the same questions that had been asked of the Son of God, were now asked of the Holy Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit divine, and worthy of worship? Does worship of the Holy Spirit compromise monotheism? Some who reluctantly accepted the divinity of the Son still refused to accept the divinity of the Spirit, and so they continued to reject the doctrine of the Trinity—these were called “Spirit-fighters.” This controversy led to the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in the year 381 AD, and to the completion of the Nicene Creed.


To listen to Mike Aquilina’s episode 29 on Basil of Caesarea:

To listen to Mike Aquilina’s episode 30 on Gregory of Nazianzus:

To listen to Mike Aquilina’s episode 31 on Gregory of Nyssa:

To listen to Mike Aquilina’s episode 2.3 on The Council of Constantinople:

To read On the Holy Spirit by Basil of Caesarea:

To read the Letter to Ablabius “On Not Three Gods” by Gregory of Nyssa:

To read On the Holy Trinity by Gregory of Nyssa:

To read The Fifth Theological Oration, On the Holy Spirit by Gregory of Nazianzius:

For more on the “Spirit-fighters” and the Cappadocians in their historical context, see the book:
Reading the Church Fathers: A History of the Early Church and the Development of Doctrine:

And if you want a deep scholarly dive into the Arian Controversy with all its factions, and the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea, the best book to read is Nicaea and its Legacy, by Lewis Ayres.

To connect with Dr. James Papandrea, On YouTube—The Original Church:
Join the conversation in the Original Church Community on Locals:

Dr. Papandrea’s Homepage:

Theme Music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed:

Dr. James Papandrea is a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a Catholic member of the faculty at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. A theological consultant for EWTN’s series The Heresies, he is also the writer and presenter for The Original Church series on YouTube. See full bio.

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