The greatest creed of the Christian Church has been the whipping boy for revisionist intepretation for long enough. With the completion of the 2021 A.D. update, the AIC Christian Education Video series, The Nicene Creed, I discuss how and why the Council of Nicea came to meet at the resort town of Nicea in 325 A.D. According to Church historian Eusebius, it was the Emperor Constantine himself who rescued the First Ecumentical Council from failure. The 318 bishops and priests in attendance gave the world the definitive explanation of the most essential doctrines of the Church Universal (amended only at the Council of Constantinope, 381 A.D., which is discussed in Episodes 7 and 8.

In the series, I point out that the Nicene Creed is not the cause of heresy but the Church’s answer to the most common heresies of the 1st through the 4th C. The theme music, performed on his Church organ in England by Richard M. S. Irwin, is Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty,” written in 1826 by Reginald Heber and arranged to Nicaea, composed by John B. Dykes in 1861 A.D.

The Nicene Creed series is now available in eight episodes. The 2021 Edition includes many changes and enhancements, including illustrations from the 3rd through the early 20th C. and cross-references to Other AIC Resources, including video and podcast series and publications from the AIC Bookstore. Viewers will find additional information about the images used in the series, many of which were not explained in the earlier versions. Some images are displayed in different versions than those found in the earlier version, including a more complete history of one of the most famous images, Christ Pantokrator, found in the South Gallery of the Hagia Sophia.

The title image is a 17th C. tempera and gold on panel icon in the Russian Orthodox tradition in which the doctrines are illuminated by scenes in the life of Jesus Christ. Segments from the icon are used in the explanation of the images in the top row, which include God the Father, “maker of heaven and earth” seated enthroned surrounded by ten colored circles filled with angels. Note that the Orthodox have remained faithful to the early Church prohibition against depictions of God the Father in human form. He is shown as a duplicate image of God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ), based on John (“He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me” John 12:45). The Lord Jesus Christ occupies the center of the top tier and, at right, is Christ Emmanuel, also surrounded by colored circles.

In these eight revised episodes I have incorporated a wide range of images from both the Western and Eastern Church traditions, including frescoes, icons, engravings, watercolors, paintings and documents from the 2nd-3rd C. through the 20th C., plus a scattering of material from the early 21st C. All eight episodes are linked from the Digital Library page, where they are found at the bottom of the page under the heading Christian Education Videos. Podcast versions of these and other video episodes produced this year will be created and linked from the Podcast Archive page during April.

Episode One
the historical background and identity of the major actors
Episode Two
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth”
Episode Three
“and of all things, visible and invisible.”
Episode Four
“In one Lord Jesus Christ” through “being of one substance with the Father”
Episode Five
“by whom all things were made” through “He suffered and was buried.”
Episode Six
“And the third day He rose again” through “And whose kingdom shall have no end.”
Episode Seven
“And I believe in the Holy Ghost” through “worshipped and glorified.”
Episode Eight
“who spake by the prophets” through “Amen.”

The next video updates are changes and improvements in The Lord’s Prayer: Phrase-by-phrase (2 episodes); The War on Christianity (7 episodes); The Great “O” Antiphons (7 episodes); and the single episode program Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve.

As always, thank you for your interest and support. Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

Unique Themes, Details, & Events in the Gospel of John

Episode Thirty-nine (2nd half) through Episode Forty-five in New Testament: Gospels are now available using links on the Bible Study/New Testament pages. Publication of these episodes completes the Fourth Edition in the series. Topics included in these episodes, in the order in which they are discussed in the series, are:

Spiritual Themes
including Light vs. Darkness; Good vs. Evil (or in different contexts True vs. False/Truth vs. Falsehood); Life vs. Death (or Heavenly vs. Earthly

Four Details
The Emotions of Jesus; the Use of Numerology; Meaning of “the Jews”, a phrase used often in the Gospel of John but with different meanings; Prophecy spoken by Jesus.

Unique Mentions of Places and People
Samaria and Cana; the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob; Nathanael, Thomas, Philip, Andrew; Peter, Nicodemus, Judas Iscariot, and Mary Magdalene.

Unique Details
The Plotting of the Pharisees and Chief Priests; the announcement of a New Commandment; the frequent use of “abide” (Greek: meno); the Final Discourse with the Disciples; References to the Son of Man being “lifted up”; the Divine Economy; Jesus’ References to Concepts of Time; References to the Kingdom of God and the fate of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Five Unique Events
the Visit of Nicodemus; Restoration of the Woman Taken in Adultery; Foot Washing on Maundy Thursday evening; the Scriptural Origin of the Sacrament of Confession/Penance; and Jesus’ Breakfast with the Disciples on the Sea of Tiberias/Sea of Galilee.

As noted above, these final episodes bring to a close the updating of the Bible Study Video series on the New Testament Gospels. Every slide in the series was adjusted or changed in some way, with a new logo for the Fourth Edition, many new illustrations, and enhanced cross-reference to “Other AIC Resources,” the latter as part of the Learn More Your Way: WATICH/LISTEN/READ initiative.

The next series to be upgraded is The Nicene Creed, an eight-episode production originally issued in 2016 A.D. The revised version also includes more cross-references, many new illustrations chosen from the archive used for the AIC Bookstore Publications: the four illustrated books in The Gospel of… series.

Updates to the AIC Web Site continue with the objective of creating a more user-friendly, that is, more functional in implementing the WATCH/LISTEN/READ initiative.

The Seven Signs in the Gospel of John

Episodes Thirty-six to Episode Thirty-nine in the AIC Bible Study Video series, New Testament: Gospels, are now linked from the Bible Study/New Testament pages. They are focused on the Seven “Signs” in the Gospel of John. In the series I explain a possible reason St. John called these seven incidents, five of which are unique to his Gospel, instead of the “miracle” preferred in other accounts.

The seven examples of signs reflect the spirituality of John the Evangelist and Theologian. It comes down to a simple question: What Do They Mean, or Signify? rather than what they are. All seven, the first five recorded only by St. John, are questionably miraculous. More importantly, what they signify, that is of what are they the sign, is the Divinity of Jesus Christ, for no man, no matter how gifted as a thaumaturg, the Greek term for one who heals by touch, could have turned water into wine, raised Lazarus from the Dead, or fed more than 5,000 people with a few few and loaves of bread.

The seven signs in the Gospel of John are, with those unique to the Gospel of John listed first and in order:

The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
The Healing of the Nobleman’s Son (John 4:46-54)
The Healing of the Paralytic Man (John 5:1-15)
The Healing of the Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41)
The Raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44)

Two events also mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels:
The Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14)
Jesus Walking on the Sea (John 6:15-21)

These seven events are richly illustrated in The Gospel of John: Annotated & Illustrated, available using the Virtual Bookstore link on the Home page.

Episode Thirty-nine also includes the first of seven presentations on Unique Themes, Details and Events in the Gospel of John, beginning with three spiritual themes: Light vs. Darkness; Good vs. Evil (or Truth vs. Falsehood) and Life vs. Death (or Heaven vs. Earth). The remaining episodes will be discussed in blog posting tomorrw.

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

The Divine I Ams

In Episode Twenty-nine through Episode Thirty-five in the AIC Bible Study Video series, New Testament: Gospels, now linked on the Bible Study/New Testament page, I explore twelve examples of Jesus’ use of the Greek ego eimi, I Am, to demonstrate that He is the same I Am who spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 3:13, 14: “I Am the Existing One” (SAAS text). Based on Greek sources, in these seven episodes I go beyond the traditional Western Church recognition of the number of I Am declarations. Early Church context and commentary is provided for each usage. The Fourth Edition of the series includes new illustrations and expanded commentary and cross-reference to Other AIC Resources, including the new book, The Gospel of John: Annotated & Illustrated, which is the first of four Gospel books to be published in the AIC Bookstore.

I Am [He] Who speaks to thee (to the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob) – John 4:26
I Am. Fear Not (calming words to the Disciples at Sea) – John 6:20 (Greek text 6:27b)
I Am the Bread of Life – John 6:35, 48
I Am the Living Bread – John 6:51
I Am the Light of the World – John 8:12
I Am from Above – John 8:23
Before Abraham was, I Am – John 8:58
I Am the Door – John 10:7, 9
I Am the Good Shepherd – John 10:11, 14
I Am the Resurrection & the Life (to Martha of Bethany) – John 11:25
I Am the Way, the Truth & the Life (to Martha of Bethany) – John 14:6
I Am the True Vine (to the Disciples on Maundy Thursday) – John 15:1

In the next group of episodes, Thirty-six to Thirty-nine, I explore the Seven Signs in the Gospel of John, five of which are unique to the Gospel of John.