“We have no creed by Christ,” so many people say – and it’s true that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, but throughout the centuries, Christianity has seen many sects. Check out this simplified list of leaders through the ages.
The first emperor of Byzantium, the Eastern Roman Empire split off from the West, Constantine was converted to Christianity and baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia. Constantine used the political power of the Empire to unite the Church, and the spiritual authority of the Church to unite the empire. It was during his reign that the Council of Nicea was called to respond to two key heresies: Arianism that taught Jesus was not eternal, but a created being by the Father, and Sabellianism, which taught that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were just manifestations, aspects or visions of one God rather than distinct persons.
Another Byzantine Emperor, Marcian sought to resolve questions about Jesus’ divinity once and for all. After Arianism had begun to leak into the Church once more, it came with new ideas about Jesus not being man (Nestorianism) or that his manhood was absorbed all the way into his Godhood or that the two comingled to form a brand new thing (Monophysitism). Marcian called the Council of Chalcedon, which defined Jesus as the orthodox 100% man and 100% God but only one person. This led to a split with the Oriental Orthodox Church, who followed Nestorius.SKM: below-content placeholder