ARIUS – ARIANISM

ARIUS ARIANISM. Alexandrian, born ca. 260, Arius was for a time a disciple of Lucian of Antioch, or at least in contact with him. At the time of Peter of Alexandria 300311 he initially adhered to the Melitian schism, then returned to the Catholic Church. Around 320, as an influential priest in charge of the church of Baukalis, he began to spread his own ideas about the Trinity, provoking controversy, the intervention of bishop Alexander, a public debate and finally Arius’s condemnation, endorsed some time later by a council of Egyptian bishops. To this phase of his activities we can refer fragments of the Thalia Banquet, an exposition of his doctrine in verse and in prose?, and two letters to Eusebius of Nicomedia and Alexander of Alexandria. Some years later he also sent a profession of faith to Constantine. We know his doctrine from these texts and from those of his partisans Eusebius of Nicomedia, Asterius the Sophist, etc. Arius’s point of departure was the Origenian trinitarian doctrine traditional to Alexandria, which considered the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three hypostases i.e., individual subsistent realities distinct from and subordinate to one another, though participating in one divine nature. He stressed this subordinationism radically, probably in reaction to Sabellianism and certain overly materialistic conceptions of the Son’s generation from the Father. According to Arius, the Father is a monad, absolutely transcendent in relation to the Son, who is distinctly inferior to him, other than him by nature and by hypostasis: God, yes, but of inferior rank, authority and glory. Whereas Origen, and Alexander after him, asserted the Son’s coeternity with the Father his source ontologically but not chronologically Arius was convinced that for the Son to be coeternal with the Father he must, like him, be ungenerated. Since there cannot be two ungenerated beings, the Son, though existing before all times and all creation, came after the Father, from whom he derived his being: there was a time when the Son did not exist. Neither did Arius accept the Son’s generation from the Father’s substance = nature, since this would imply the division of the divine monad: initially in a letter to Eusebius he claimed that the Son was created from nothing by the Father’s work; later he avoided this expression as too scandalous, and spoke of the Father’s generation of the Son, though he continued to think of this generation as a creation: the Son is the only creature ktisma, poiema created directly by the Father, while the whole rest of creation is the direct work of the Son by the Father’s will. Arius, who paid little attention to the Holy Spirit, supported his doctrine with a number of passages of Sacred Scripture which, in referring to the Son, use expressions such as make, create and the like Pr 8:22; Acts 2:36; Col 1:15. Condemned at Alexandria, Arius found supporters in the East outside Egypt in some bishops who had been Lucian’s disciples, among them the influential Eusebius of Nicomedia, and in others like Eusebius of Caesarea who, while not sharing Arius’s radical subordiantionism, held an intermediate doctrinal position between him and Alexander. This led to a bitter controversy, which Constantine tried to end through his envoy Ossius of Cordoba. This mediation failing, he summoned, perhaps on the advice of Ossius and Alexander, an ecumenical council at Nicaea in Asia Minor in spring 325. Some months before, a local council at Antioch presided over by Ossius condemned Eusebius of Caesarea and other partisans of Arius. At the Council of Nicaea, which was attended by more than 250 bishops, nearly all from the East, Arius’s few supporters were overwhelmed by the coalition of moderate Origenians, led by Alexander, and monarchians of the Asiatic tradition, led by Marcellus of Ancyra and Eustathius of Antioch. A formula of faith was imposed in which the fundamental Arian positions were condemned and the Son was defined as homoousios of the same substance, consubstantial with the Father. Almost everyone accepted and subscribed the profession, with the exception of Arius and two Libyan bishops, who were condemned and exiled to Illyria. Soon after, Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea, who continued to support Arius’s partisans, were deposed and exiled to Gaul. The Nicene Creed stressed Christ’s unity with the Father to the maximum degree: homoousios, given the many meanings of ousia, could mean that the Son is not only of the same nature as the Father but also of the same hypostasis, a claim so contrary to the doctrine of the three hypostases prevalent in the East as to be considered Sabellian. The formula thus met the aspirations of monarchians like Marcellus and Eustathius halfway, but was not agreeable to many others, anti-Arian but also antimonarchian, who had subscribed only because of Constantine’s pressure. This discontent favored the reaction of Arius’s supporters, esp. when in ca. 328 Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea were recalled from exile and reinstated: Eusebius had influential support in the imperial family, and Constantine himself, convinced that religious peace could be assured only by a broad concentration of moderate elements, was as averse to some of Arius’s more radical opponents as he had been to the radicalism of the Arians. Already in 327 a council at Antioch presided over by Eusebius of Caesarea had condemned and deposed Eustathius, for reasons not clear to us but certainly disciplinary rather than doctrinal. He was exiled to Thrace, and we hear no more of him. Eusebius of Nicomedia’s return from exile intensified this policy, which aimed to remove Arius’s best-known opponents through deposition and exile under various accusations but without reopening the doctrinal question. Minor characters like Asclepas of Gaza and Lucius of Adrianople were attacked, along with Athanasius of Alexandria, Alexander’s successor since 328, and Marcellus of Ancyra. Athanasius, hard-pressed by the Melitian schismatics, fell prey to their collusion with the proArians headed by the two Eusebiuses and, at the Council of Tyre in 335, was condemned for violence against the Melitians; Constantine had him exiled to Gaul. Marcellus of Ancyra was accused of heresy and condemned in 336 at Constantinople because of his radical monarchianism, which was assailed by Eusebius of Caesarea. Arius, who had returned from exile some time before but had not been admitted to Alexandria, sent a general profession of faith to Constantine and was rehabilitated shortly after Athanasius’s condemnation but died before reentering Alexandria. Constantine’s death 337 and the division of the empire between Constans West and Constantius East fundamentally altered the political situation, with strong repercussions on the course of the controversy. At first the bishops exiled in the West, including Athanasius and Marcellus, were authorized to reenter their sees; but Constantius took up a position in favor of Eusebius of Nicomedia and the antiNicene rather than specifically pro-Arian establishment then dominant, again forcing those bishops to leave their sees and take refuge in the West. Here Rome, which under Constantine had been denied any chance to interfere in the conflict, sided with the exiles: in fact the Nicene Creed caused no difficulties at Rome, given the traditional Roman sympathies for monarchianism; Athanasius and Marcellus therefore easily convinced Pope Julius that their Eastern adversaries were all genuine Arians. Accepting this simplistic presentation of the Eastern situation, in 341 a Roman council cleared Athanasius and Marcellus of all charges and accused the Easterners of being Arians. They responded with a council at Antioch later in the same year which rejected the imputation of Arianism, confirmed the condemnation of Arius’s radical theses and approved a formally orthodox formula of faith which ignored the Nicene homoousios, reaffirmed the doctrine of the three hypostases and strongly emphasized Christ’s divinity. This formula remained dominant in the East until 357, and Eusebius of Nicomedia assembled a wide front around it, ranging from a traditional Origenian-type orthodoxy to a disguised Arianism. The reaction against Roman encroachment, ill-tolerated in the East, also favored the designs of Eusebius of Nicomedia, who died soon after the Council of 341. The ecumenical Council of Serdica now Sofia in Bulgaria in 343, which Julius had intended to reach an understanding, ended in complete failure, with Easterners and Westerners reciprocally excommunicating each other; while the former confirmed the Antiochene creed of 341, the Westerners published a document of belief with clear monarchian tendencies, asserting a single hypostasis of Father and Son. A long formulation of faith Ekthesis makrostichos presented to Constans at Milan in 345 by an Eastern delegation was not well received; and though in 346 Constantius, pressed by Constans, authorized Athanasius to return to Alexandria, where he was triumphantly received, the situation remained static both politically and doctrinally. It was reopened when, following the murder of Constans 350 and the defeat of the usurper Maximus 351, Constantius reunited the whole empire under himself and thought to unify it religiously as well as politically. Councils held at Arles 353, Milan 355 and Bziers 356 compelled the Western episcopate to condemn Athanasius, with the exception of a few bishops who were deposed and exiled Eusebius of Vercelli, Lucifer of Cagliari, Hilary of Poitiers and some others: even Pope Liberius, who protested these decisions, was exiled to Thrace; in early 356 Athanasius was forced to abandon Alexandria and find refuge among the monks of the desert. Meanwhile, ca. 355, doctrinal activity was resumed: while Athanasius reintroduced the Nicene homoousios as a distinctive term of Catholic belief in Christ’s perfect divinity and his equality and unity with the Father, Aetius and then Eunomius, protected by Eudoxius of Antioch, systematically proposed the thesis of radical Arianism, earning the name anomoians since they considered the Son unlike anomoios the Father. In their judgment the Father, being ungenerated, is the only supreme God, while the Son, not participating in this prerogative, is extraneous to him by nature and radically inferior, a minor god created by the Father to provide for the creation of the world. As a result of these events, in 357 Valens of Mursa, Ursacius of Singidunum and Germinius of Sirmium, pro-Arian Illyrian bishops and inspirers of Constantius’s religious policy, met at Sirmium with a few others and published a formula of faith that, without clearly asserting the anomoian theses, passed over them in silence and instead proscribed the use of homoousios and of homoiousios, a term then starting to be discussed, in a doctrinal context that stressed the Son’s inferiority and thus denied his unity with the Father. This formula blasphemia Sirmiensis aroused violent reactions in both West and East. In fact many bishops, esp. those of Asia Minor, worried by the resurgence of radical Arianism in its anomoian dress, were already seeking a middle way between this doctrine and that of the Nicene homoousios, which they considered Sabellian. In spring 358 a small council at Ancyra published a long synodal letter under the names of Basil of Ancyra, Marcellus’s successor, and George of Laodicea, affirming the Son to be coeternal with the Father, really generated by him and therefore fully God; they defined him as homoiousios, i.e., like the Father according to substance ousia, thinking that this formula avoided the risk of Sabellianism which they saw in the homoousios, and safeguarded the full divinity of the Son. The homoiousian reaction had immediate success with Constantius, who was also worried by anomoian propaganda: a small council at Sirmium 358, where the emperor was then residing, sanctioned the Antiochene formula of 341, interpreted in the light of homoiousian theology, and deposed many pro-Arian bishops, including Eudoxius; for his part the emperor decided to summon a new ecumenical council to bring definitive peace to Christianity. After various uncertainties, this council was called for summer 359: the Westerners were to meet at Rimini, the Easterners at Seleucia in Caria. Constantius, meanwhile, distanced himself even from Basil and supported a group of Eastern bishops, incl. Mark of Arethusa and Acacius of Caesarea, who sought a more neutral formula of faith around which to gather assent from various directions. Thus at Sirmium, 22 May 359, a new formula of faith was published which was to serve as a basis for the work of the impending councils: the term ousia was proscribed and the Son defined in general terms as like the Father in everything and according to the Scriptures. The defenders of this formula are known as homoians, from homoios, like. The Council of Seleucia opened on 27 September 359: after a few days of bitter discussion the homoiousians prevailed and again imposed the Antiochene formula of 341 on a homoian and pro-Arian minority led by Acacius and Eudoxius, who had proposed a formula like that of Sirmium a few months before. The Council of Rimini, on the other hand, opened at the end of May with an initial preponderance of supporters of the Nicene homoousios, still greatly in vogue in the West. Despite this, long and confused events inspired by Valens and Ursacius and favored by the emperor resulted in the council approving a formula of faith that defined the Son as like the Father according to the Scriptures, and proscribed as unscriptural the use of ousia in doctrinal contexts. All of the bishops present at Rimini were forced to subscribe to this formula. It was confirmed by a new council held at Constantinople early in 360, which saw the deposition and exile of all the main homoiousian proponents and the triumph of Acacius and Eudoxius. Shortly thereafter Eudoxius was transferred to Constantinople and replaced at Antioch by Meletius, a friend of Acacius. The radical Arians anomoians were also attacked in a show of the winning party wishing to distance itself from any extremism, whether Arian or anti-Arian. The imprecision of the formula of Rimini meant that it could be approved in part by everyone, but it took no account of the theological intrigue that had taken place on all sides during those years: its fortunes were tied to those of Constantius, and he died soon afterward, in 362. Constantius’s successor Julian, being a pagan, had no interest in the dispute, so he recalled all those whom Constantius had exiled for religious reasons. While this measure gave the anomoians freedom of action, it also gave it to the anti-Arians, both homoousian and homoiousian, the latter being much stronger than the former. In the West, where the Arians were very weak and the anti-Arians strong and united in observance of the Nicene faith, the reaction began in Gaul under Hilary’s leadership and quickly prevailed everywhere, helped by the moderate measures taken against the many bishops who had yielded to pressure at Rimini: they were required only to subscribe to the Nicene formula and condemn Arianism. Valentinian I, emperor from 364, was not interested in the religious aspect of the controversy, which made it possible for the Arians to keep several positions they had already acquired. At Milan, e.g., the Arian Auxentius remained bishop until his death 374, despite an attempt by Hilary to expel him 364: his successor, however, was the Nicene Ambrose. Similarly, upon Germinius of Sirmium’s death 376, Ambrose imposed Anaemius, another Nicene, as his successor. At this time in the West the Arians controlled only a few Illyrian sees. In the East things went differently, not so much because the Arians were stronger though divided between moderates, with Eudoxius and Euzoius, and radicals, with Eunomius, but above all because the anti-Arians were even more divided. In 362 Athanasius called a council at Alexandria which, as Hilary had done, approved moderate measures against the many who had yielded to the Arians through fear or political interests, and again proposed the Nicene homoousios as a formula of faith around which to unite all the anti-Arians. In 363 a small group of homoiousians and homoians, meeting at Antioch around Meletius, subscribed to the Nicene formula but interpreted homoousios in the sense of homoiousios. But the anti-Arians at Antioch were divided into two communities: a small group of Nicenes led by Paulinus were opposed by a more numerous community with homoiousian or at least more moderate leanings, led by Meletius. He had connections with Acacius and circles still hostile to Athanasius, and despite the acceptance of the homoousios, he avoided any settlement with the Alexandrian bishop, who consequently entered into communion only with Paulinus’s small Nicene community. This aggravated the schism of Antioch, since the West followed Athanasius’s example and favored Paulinus, while the whole of the East except Egypt stood firm for Meletius. The divisions among the anti-Arians were complicated by the rise, ca. 360, of the question of the Holy Spirit: the problems previously limited to the FatherChrist relationship were gradually extended to this as well. Homoousians and anomoians had no doubts: the former considered the Holy Spirit homoousion with the Father and the Son, God with them, equal in power and dignity; the latter considered the Holy Spirit inferior to both Father and Son, not God but a creature. The homoiousians, however, found themselves in difficulties: many of them did not consider the Holy Spirit to be God in the same way as the Father and the Son, but didn’t know how to define it; others considered the Spirit only a creature: these were initially called pneumatomachi and then Macedonians from Macedonius, a homoiousian who was bishop of Constantinople ca. 360 and whose connection with the question of the Holy Spirit remains obscure. This politico-religious picture was further complicated by a number of personal questions. Faced with the situation, Valentinian’s brother Valens who took command in the East in 364 partly influenced by Eudoxius, took a stand in favor of the moderate Arians and was merciless, with new depositions and exiles, toward homoousians and homoiousians: Meletius and Athanasius were both banished from their sees. The homoiousians, who at Lampsacus in 364 had reaffirmed the Antioch formula of 341 and were especially targeted by Valens’s measures, sent a delegation to Rome to seek help and solidarity from Pope Liberius, but he would not receive them into communion until they subscribed to the Nicene Creed 365366. A council of homoiousians at Tyana in Cappadocia in 366 ratified the delegation’s actions, but a group of them disagreed: meeting at Antioch in Caria, they rejected the homoousios and once more reasserted the Creed of Antioch of 341. This confused situation began to clarify between 370378 thanks to the work of Basil of Caesarea in Cappadocia. On the political level he sought to reunite all the Easterners around Meletius: for this he risked a falling out with the West, where Pope Damasus and Ambrose supported Paulinus. On the doctrinal level he sought a conciliatory formula between the Nicene homoousios and the trinitarian doctrine of the three hypostases, assuming ousia substance to mean the substance or divine nature common to the three subsistent and mutually distinct hypostases. Thus, one ousia and three hypostases: this formula, parallel to the Western formula of one divine nature or substance in three persons, prevailed at the Council of Constantinople of 381, when the accession of the Nicenes Gratian and Theodosius I to the leadership of the empire resulted in the triumph everywhere of the Nicene faith, supplemented in the Creed of Constantinople by a clause on the divinity of the Holy Spirit and accepted in the East according to the Basilian interpretation. In the East, tenacious conventicles of Arians, though divided among themselves, remained active beyond the mid-5th c. but presented no real problem. In the West, however, where the Council of Aquileia of 381 seemed to have liquidated the remains of Arianism, it took on renewed vigor with the barbarian invasions. The Christian Goth Ulfilas had spread the Christian faith among them in the form of radical Arianism, and they sought to preserve this faith as a distinctive mark of their nationality when they installed themselves as rulers of the West. At the same time, in the late 4th c. and the first decades of the 5th, we witness a flowering of Arian Latin literature and exegesis Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum, Tractatus in Lucam etc., tending to radicalism. The impact of the Arian invaders on the Catholics was particularly violent in the Vandal invasion of Africa, where Catholics were persecuted, at times ferociously, under Genseric 428477, Huneric 477484 and Thrasamund 496523; elsewhere the relationship was much less violent. But the final conversion of all the barbarians to Catholicism did not come about until the end of the 6th c. and even later for the Longobards. CPG II, 2025-2042 writings on Arius: H.G. Opitz, Urkunden zur Geschichte des arianischen Streites, Berlin 1934; G. Bardy, Recherches sur S. Lucien d’Antioche et son cole, Paris 1936; E. Boularand, L’hrsie d’Arius et la foi de Nice I-II, Paris 1972- 1973; Alessandro e Ario: un esempio di conflitto tra fede e ideologia. Documenti della prima controversia ariana, It. tr. ed. E. Bellini, Milan 1974; M. Simonetti, La crisi ariana nel IV secolo, Rome 1975; R. Lorenz, Arius judaizans? Untersuchungen zur dogmengeschichtlichen Einordnung des Arius, Gttingen 1979; M.L. West, The Metre of Arius’ Thalia: JTS 33 1982 98-105; H.C. Brennecke, Hilarius von Poitiers und die Bischofsopposition gegen Konstantius, II, Untersuchungen zur dritten Phase des arianischen Streites 337361, Berlin-New York 1984; M. Simonetti, Ancora sulla datazione della Thalia di Ario: SSR 4 1984 349-354; W.A. Lhr, Die Entstehung der homischen und homusianischen Kirchenparteien: Studien zur Synodalgeschichte des 4. Jahrhunderts, Bonn 1986; R. Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition, London 1987, 2 2001: contains an appendix surveying studies since 1987; R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318381, Edinburgh 1988; A. Martin, Les relations entre Arius et Melitios dans la tradition alexandrine. Une histoire polmique: JTS 40 1989 401-413; A.M. Ritter, Arius redivivus? Ein Jahrzwlf Arianismusforschung: Theologische Rundschau 55 1990 153-187, bibliography of recent works on Arius; B.M. Palumbo Stracca, Metro ionico per l’eresia di Ario: Orpheus n.s. 12 1990 65-83; L. Perrone, Da Nicea 325 a Calcedonia 451. I primi quattro concili ecumenici: istituzioni, dottrine, processi di ricezione, in G. Alberigo ed., Storia dei Concili Ecumenici, Brescia 1990, 19- 45; K. Metzler, Ein Beitrag zur Rekonstruktion der Thalia des Arius mit einer Neuedition wichtiger Bezeugnungen bei Athanasius, in K. Metzler – F. Simon, Ariana et Athanasiana: Studien zur berlieferung und zu philologischen Problemen der Werke des Athanasius von Alexandrien, 1991, 11-45; A. Pardini, Citazioni letterali dalla QALEIA in Atanasio, Ar. I,5-6: Orpheus n.s. 12 1991 411-428; M.R. Barnes – D.H. Williams eds., Arianism after Arius: Essays on the Development of the Fourth-Century Trinitarian Conflicts, Edinburgh 1993; R.D. Williams, Arius, Arianismus: LTK3  1, 981-989; G.Ch. Stead, Arius in Modern Research: JTS 45 1994 24-36; M.F. Wiles, Archetypal Heresy: Arianism Through the Centuries, Oxford 1996; M. Simonetti, Teologia e cristologia dell’Egitto cristiano, in A. Camplani ed., L’Egitto cristiano. Aspetti e problemi in et  tardo antica, Rome 1997, 11-38; H.C. Brennecke, AriusArianism: RGG4 , I, T¼bingen 1998, 738-743; G.F. Hernndez, El Sinodo de Alejandr­a ca. 320 y sus consecuencias: Cathaginensia 14 1998 403-405; G.C. Stead, Philosophy in Origen and Arius: Origeniana Septima, Louvain 1999, 101-108; H. Strutwolf, Die Trinit¤tstheologie und Christologie des Euseb von Caesarea. Eine dogmengeschichtliche Untersuchung seiner Platonismusrezeption und Wirkungsgeschichte, Gttingen 1999; A. Camplani, Studi atanasiani: gli Athanasius Werke, le ricerche sulla Thalia e nuovi sussidi bibliografici: Adamantius 7 2001 115-131.A world full of Arians travelquaz

ARIUS – ARIANISM Photo Gallery




ARIUS ARIANISM

This Is Arianism All Over Again, and We Must Fight It |Blogs … travelquaz

ARIUS ARIANISM

Arianism | Ximene travelquaz

ARIUS ARIANISM

Arianism | Christianity | Britannica.com travelquaz

ARIUS ARIANISM

Maybe You Like Them Too

Leave a Reply

80 + = 84