OL EuroEast I Conference, May 2004
Visit to Nicea
At the conclusion of the Orientale Lumen EuroEast I Conference, many of the participants traveled by charter bus to the city of Iznik, ancient city of Nicea, where the first and seventh Ecumenical Councils were held. The site of the first council, the imperial palace, has been covered by the rising waters of the lake over the centuries and cannot be seen. The site of the seventh council which condemned iconoclasm was a small church named Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), like the one in Constantinople. Its ruins can be visited and the group walked through the walls imagining the gathering of the bishops at that council. Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia gave a short talk on the importance of the first councils, and the development of the Symbol of Faith, the Nicene Creed. He spoke from the synthrenon, an area of circular benches behind the altar. The group then recited the creed together as an ecumenical prayer for church unity.