The nature of the early Christian prayer circle may be described by letting the oldest documents speak for themselves, beginning with the latest and moving backwards to the earliest. The rite was depicted for the last time in a document read to the assembled churchmen of the Second Council of Nicaea in A.D. 787 and condemned by them to the flames. Their objection was to parts of the text that proclaimed the Gnostic doctrine of the total immateriality of Christ; on the subject of the prayer circle, which was strange to them, they preserved a discreet silence. Actually that part of it was an excerpt taken from a much older writing, the Acts of John, being the earliest apocryphal Christian Acta, dating at least to the early third century. The further back we go the more prominent becomes the rite in the church.