in Christianity, the key term of the Christological doctrine formulated at the first ecumenical council, at Nicaea in 325, to affirm that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance. The Council of Nicaea, presided over by the emperor Constantine, was convened to resolve the controversy within the church over the relationship between the persons of the Trinity. The council condemned Arianism, which taught that Christ was more than human but not fully divine. The use of homoousios (Greek: "of one substance," or "of one essence") in the Nicene Creed was meant to put an end to the controversy, but Arianism revived within the church and was supported by Constantine and his family. In 381, Emperor Theodosius I, however, summoned the second ecumenical council (first Council of Constantinople), which produced a creed (also containing the word homoousios) that became the definitive statement of orthodox belief.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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