Christian Cyclopedia

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Is. in the Indian ocean W of Sumatra. See also Indonesia, 4; Sundermann, Wilhelm Heinrich.

Nicaea, Councils of

(modern Iznik, NW Turkey in Asia). 1. The 1st Ecumenical Council (Nicaea I). Convened by Constantine* I; probably began May or June and ended ca. August 25, 325; ca. 300 bps. present; chief concern: doctrinal issues, esp. Christology. Arians (see Arianism) proposed a creed that was rejected. Eusebius* of Caesarea proposed a creed, probably that which was used at baptism in his ch.; it found gen. approval but was found to lack necessary precision against Arianism; clauses were added (ek tes ousias tou patros, “of the substance of the Father”; gennethenta, ou poiethenta, “begotten, not made”; homoousion to patri, “of one substance with the Father”). The 3d art. has the statement “and in the Holy Spirit” and then anathematizes those who hold Arian propositions. The “Nicene Creed” as we know it is a later modification of the creed adopted 325 at Nicaea; see Constantinople, Councils of, 1; Ecumenical Creeds, B See also Homoousios. The Council also fixed the date of Easter (see Easter Controversy). See also Agapetae.

2. The 7th Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II). Convened by Byzantine Empress Irene (ca. 752–803; b. Athens, Greece; wife of Emp. Leo IV [the Khazar; ca. 750–780; m. Irene 769; E Roman emp. 775–780]; coruler with her son Constantine VI 780–797; sole ruler 797–802; deposed) in the name of Constantine VI; met August 786–October 787; opened in the basilica of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople; disrupted by iconoclastic soldiers; transferred to Nicaea, where it met September 24–October 23, 787; est. legitimacy of veneration of images as opposed to latria*; declared belief in efficacy of prayers of saints. See also Mariology.

See also Councils and Synods; Doctrine, Christian, History of, 3.


(ca. 750/758–ca. 828). Represented Leo IV at 2d Council of Nicaea*; patriarch Constantinople 806; founded monastery on the Propontis (Sea of Marmara); defended veneration of images; deposed 815. MPG, 100, 9–1068.

Nicephorus Callistus

(Xanthopoulos; ca. 1256–ca. 1335). B. perhaps Constantinople; hist. Works include ch. hist. from time of Christ to death of Phocas (E Roman emp. 602 till his death 610). MPG, 145, 549–1332; 146; 147, 9–632.

Nicephorus Gregoras

(ca. 1295–ca. 1359). B. Heraclea Pontica, NW Turkey in Asia, on Black Sea; hist.; opposed hesychasm.* Works include Roman hist. 1204–1359.


(Nic[a]eus of Dacia; perhaps ca. 340-after 414). Bp. Remesiana (Civitas Romatiana; modern Bela Palanka, Yugoslavia) perhaps ca. 366/367. Works include Explanatio symboli (contains first known use of the term communio* sanctorum); Competentibus ad baptismum instructionis libelli sex.

A. E. Burn, Niceta of Remesiana (Cambridge, Eng., 1905).

Nicetas of Chonia

(Khonae; Khonas; Nicetas Choniates; incorrectly called Akominatos [Acominatos; Acominatus]; perhaps ca. 1140/50–ca. 1212/13). Theol., hist.; b. Chonae (Khonae; Khonas; ancient Colossae), Phrygia; fled to Nicaea when Crusaders took Constantinople 1204 (see Crusades, 5). Works include a hist. covering 1118–1206.

MPG, 139, 287–1444; 140, 9–292.


(1222–82). B. Kominato, prov. Awa, Jap.; founded Hokkes, or Nichiren, a Buddhist sect.


(“True Nichiren sect”). Sect of Nichiren* Buddhism. In the US the lay organization equivalent to the Soka* Gakkai is called Nichiren-sho-shu of Am. See also Nichiren Buddhism.

Nichiren Buddhism.

School of Jap. Buddhism founded by Nichiren.* Holds that all life may become a Buddha by repeated transmigrations and that salvation is attained by prayer and obedience to the law. See also Nichiren-sho-shu; Soka Gakkai.


(Nicolaus Kemph de Argentina; 1397–1497). B. Strasbourg, Ger.; studied in Vienna; Carthusian; mystic theol.

Nicholas, St.

(fl. 1st half of 4th c.). Bp. Myra, in Lycia, Asia Minor; patron saint of Russ., sailors, and children; acc. to legend, provided dowries for 3 maidens; stories of his secret gifts to children on his feast, December 6, came to be connected with Christmas* and his name was corrupted in Am. into Santa Claus. See also Church Year, 17.

Nicholas of Amiens

(fl. 2d half of 12th c.). Probably wrote De arte sea articulis catholica fidei, formerly ascribed to Alain* de Lille.

MPL, 210, 595–618.

Nicholas of Basel

(d. ca. 1395). Beghard (see Beghards and Beguines); claimed inspiration; became prominent through preaching in the area around Basel; held that his followers were sinless and need not obey any authority; at one time identified as the “Great Friend” of the Friends* of God; burned at stake under the Inquisition.*

Nicholas of Clémanges

(Nicolas de Clémanges; Nikolaus von Clémanges; Clamenges; Clamanges; Nicolaus de Clemangiis; originally Nicholas Poillevillain; ca. 1360/67–1437). Theol.; Christian humanist; b. Clémanges, Champagne, NE Fr.; educ. Paris; rector U. of Paris; tried to help heal the papal schism that began 1378 (see Schism, 8); secy. to antipope Benedict XIII (see Benedict XIII, 1) 1397; resigned 1407; lived with Carthusians; later taught again in Paris. Works include De corrupto ecclesiae statu; Disputatio super materia concilii generalis.

Nicholas of Cusa

(Nicolas; Cues; Nikolaus Cryftz; Khrypffs; Kryfts; Chrypffs; Nicolaus Cusanus; name originally Nicolaus Krebs of Cues or Cusa; 1401–64). B. Kues or Cusa, on the Moselle, in the archbishopric of Trier (Treves); educ. Deventer (?), Heidelberg, and Padua; mem. council of Basel; supported first the conciliar, then the papal party; cardinal 1448; bp. and reformer Brixen (Bressanone), NE It. Doubted scholastic proofs of theol. truths; extolled “learned ignorance”; held that God is the coincidence of opposites; tried to give intuition cognitive meaning in mathematical terms; anticipated Copernicus with a theory of the rotation of the earth on its axis; proposed calendar reform; said the world would end 1734. Works include De docta ignorantie; De coniecturis; Apologia doctae ignorantiae; De visione Dei; De concordantia catholica; De auctoritate praesidendi in consilio generali; De pace fidei. Works pub. Paris 1514, Basel 1565, Leipzig 1932-. See also Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals.

F. A. Scharpff, Der Cardinal und Bischof Nicolaus von Cusa als Reformator in Kirche, Reich und Philosophic des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1871); E. Vansteenberghe, Le Cardinal Nicolas de Cues