The following is my translation of a homily from collection “Before the Eyes of God's Truth” by Hieromonk Methodius, which is on the web at http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/russian/sermons_ierom_methodij.htm)
On the first Sunday after the Ascension of the Lord, the Church prayerfully remembers the god-bearing fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.
We know from Church history that the Emperor Constantine the Great, the Equal-to-the-Apostles, called this council in 325 AD in the city of Nicea because of his care for the Christian faith.
The subject of discussion at this council was the heresy of Arius. This is the false teaching that the Son of God is not of one essence with the Father, that is that He is not one with the Father in His divine nature, but is merely the highest of His creations.
Every blow directed against the Son of God is directed also at the entire Church, since He is the focus, the center, of the entire christian life, and every false thought about Him is a distortion of that life at its very foundation.
The holy fathers of the Nicean Council understood this. They confirmed the truth that the Son of God is of one essence with God the Father, and as the fruit of their dogmatic labors they gave us the first and largest part of the Symbol of Faith, the Creed.
In our time, the fathers of Nicea present us with a very instructive lesson. Contemporary christian society has almost completely lost any understanding of the importance and overarching significance of the church dogmas, of the truths of the faith.
Truth has become for us something distant, far removed from our life. We no longer love Truth. We have forgotten that every real Truth must manifest itself in life and that every church dogma has moral significance, feeding not only our mind but also the our heart.
The beauty of the Church's authority has been closed to us. We have expelled ourselves from this treasury by our own actions. How often do we see in our days cultured and educated people who are altogether unconcerned with everything having to do with the life of the church? Truly, many of us have become “prodigal sons”, not knowing how to preserve the Father's inheritance and leaving for a land afar off.
And so, in celebrating the memory of the beloved sons who loved Christ's Truth, the Holy Church calls us to the struggle to preserve that Truth. “The days are evil…” Temptations of the mind, heart and will face us on every step of the journey of life.
So so we must remain close to the Church, we must rely on Its unassailable strength.
Christ is in the Church.
And Christ is the way and the truth and the life for everyone who loves the light and who conquers the spiritual iciness and religious indifference in his heart.