NICAEA – THE RISE OF THE IMPERIAL CHURCH
A 69,956 Word Historical Fiction Novel by William Speir
Early in the 4th century, a new religious doctrine threatens to split the Christian churches apart. The Roman Emperor grows tired of the debate. He needs a unified church to control his empire in ways that his legions can’t. In 325 AD, he summons all Christian bishops throughout the empire to meet at Nicaea and end the debate once and for all. The Council of Nicaea creates the blueprint for the Christian churches going forward, but is it the blueprint for an institution dedicated to the salvation of mankind, or for a tool of statecraft to benefit the Emperor?
ARIAS, the priest of the church at Baucalis near Alexandria, Egypt, is a devout follower of The Way, which has been the doctrine of the Christian churches for almost three hundred years. He serves his congregation with a deep sense of commitment, and he lives his faith every minute of the day. But a new doctrine is gaining popularity in the churches of the eastern empire – a doctrine that has little in common with The Way. ARIAS leads the opposition to the new doctrine, which is championed by ALEXANDER, the Bishop of Alexandria and ARIAS’ immediate superior. The two men cannot find common ground, and their disagreements threaten to tear the churches apart.
EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I is weary of the debate. At the urging of his lifelong friend, HOSIUS, the Bishop of Hispania, CONSTANTINE ends the persecution of Christians throughout the empire. But there is a price: CONSTANTINE needs a church to help him control the citizens of his empire. HOSIUS is tasked with delivering a unified church to CONSTANTINE, but the disagreements between ARIAS and ALEXANDER threaten to make that task impossible.
HOSIUS convinces CONSTANTINE to call a council of bishops to resolve the issues. ARIAS welcomes the chance to present his arguments before the council, not realizing that the council is just for show. HOSIUS and CONSTANTINE have already defined the new doctrine for the Christian churches, and the bishops are only attending the council meeting to publically give their agreement.
ARIAS attempts to convince the bishops to turn away from the new doctrine, but will he be able to stand against the Emperor and his supporters? When faced with choice of either accepting the new doctrine or being exiled from the empire, will ARIAS and his supporters choose exile, rather than sacrifice their principles and betray their faith?
NICAEA – THE RISE OF THE IMERPIAL CHURCH is a stand-alone novel.