Arianism is a Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt.Arian theology holds that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father and is distinct from the Father (therefore subordinate to him).
The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son . The deep divisions created by the disputes were an ...
Arianism. Arianism is a doctrine that came from Arius, a priest who taught in Alexandria. To many Christians, the teachings of Arianism are heretical and are not the correct Christian teachings. For this reason, Arianism has stopped being practiced today, but Arians were a powerful part of Christianity from the 4th to the 7th centuries AD.
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Although Arianism carries Arius's name, its doctrines did not entirely originate with him. Lucian of Antioch, Arius's teacher and mentor, was accused by Bishop Alexander of Alexandria of being the source for Arius's heretical teachings—not so much that Lucian had taught Arianism per se, but rather that he held certain heretical tendencies which he passed on to his pupil, Arius. Indeed, the noted Russian historian Alexander Vasiliev refers to Lucian as "the Arius before Arius". According to Church historian Socrates Scholasticus, Arius entered into a dispute with Bishop Alexander in 318 over his teachings about God's divine Sonship and substance. Alexander had endeavored to instruct his clergy on the unity of the Holy Trinity, but Arius—whether through misunderstanding, or from a "love of controversy", as alleged by Socrates—opposed his bishop's teaching as smacking of Sabellianism. Arius proffered his own syllogism: If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning o...
As stated above, Arius denied the full deity of the preexistent Son of God, the Logos who became incarnate as our Lord Jesus Christ ("the Word (Jesus Christ) became flesh" John 1:14 - NKJV). He held that the Son, while divine and like unto God, was created by God as the agent through whom He created the universe; thus that there was a time when the Son "was not". In explaining his actions against Arius, Alexander of Alexandria wrote a letter to Alexander of Constantinople and Eusebius of Nicomedia(where the emperor was then residing), detailing the errors into which he believed Arius had fallen. According to Alexander, Arius taught:
While Arius developed a following among some Syrian prelates, an Alexandrian synod of some 100 bishops summoned by Bishop Alexander condemned him in 321. He was excommunicated, and fled to Palestine. There he entered into a friendship with Eusebius of Nicomedia. Arius, a proficient writer, produced many compositions in both prose and verse defending his belief, including a poem that he called the Thalia. Most of these writings were destroyed as being heretical, though portions of the Thaliaand a few other Arian texts survive. The Roman emperor Constantine the Great, desiring the restoration of peace and unity to the Church, publicly called upon Arius and Alexander to settle their dispute; however, the issue was such that no genuine compromise was possible. As the debate continued to rage between supporters of each man, the emperor finally decided to call a great council of all Church bishops to resolve the dilemma. This First Ecumenical Council, held at Nicea in 325, was led in its...
Although the ecumenical council had spoken, Arianism continued to exert itself in the Church long afterwards, almost to the end of the fourth century. This was often the fault of the Roman emperors, including Constantine (who vaciliated between Arius and his opponents to the end of his life), and most notably Constantius, who succeeded him. During this period Arianism fragmented into a number of sects: 1. The Anomoeans continued Arius' heresy, led first by Aëtius then later by Eunomius. This heresy continued to preach Arius's animoios(unlike) doctrine and maintained the strict position that Christ was not of the same essence as the Father. 1. The semi-Arians, led by Eusabian, took a middle ground that challenged the Nicean Creed's homoousios with a middle position of homoiousios, that is, "of similar essence". 1. The Acacians, led by Acacius, took a position not that different from the semi-Arians, by preaching that Christ was homoios: "similar to"—not identical in essence—with the...
Today, a so-called "Holy Arian Catholic and Apostolic Church" in England claims to proclaim Arius's teachings, even "canonizing" him in 2006. However, this body differs with its namesake on several crucial points, including its rejection of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Christ, which Arius himself never questioned. The Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormon sects are often accused (especially the former) of being Arian; while both certainly exhibit doctrines which tend toward Arianism—which are rejected by the Orthodox Church as being heretical, along with many other teachings—each sect's Christologydiffers somewhat from classic Arian doctrine. Mormon theology, for example, rejects the Trinity as Arius did but teaches that Jesus was/is Jehovah and is an eternally existing being. No remnant of any of the Arian sects established in Western Europe or elsewhere is known to exist today. Some forms of modern Protestantism appear to espouse a form of Arianism, referring to Jesus Christ as e...
Dec 16, 2019 · Arianism considers Jesus distinct from God the Father, having been created by him, but nonetheless describes him as Lord or Master, while denying that he can know the Father fully. The Arian viewpoint on the Holy Spirit is that it is a "sanctifying power," subordinate even to the Son.
Christianisation of the Germanic peoples. The Germanic peoples underwent gradual Christianization in the course of late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. By AD 700, England and Francia were officially Christian, and by 1100 Germanic paganism had also ceased to have political influence in Scandinavia .
- The Council of Nicea and Its Aftermath
- The Theological Debates Reopen
- Nicene Christianity Becomes The State Religion of Rome
- Arianism in The Early Medieval Germanic Kingdoms
- "Arian" as A Polemical Epithet
- See Also
- External Links
Because most contemporary written material on Arianism was written by its opponents, the nature of Arius' teachings are difficult to define precisely today. The letter of Auxentius, a 4th century Arian bishop of Milan, regarding the missionary Ulfilas, gives the clearest picture of Arian beliefs on the nature of the Trinity: God the Father ("unbegotten"), always existing, was separate from the lesser Jesus Christ ("only-begotten"), born before time began and creator of the world. The Father, working through the Son, created the Holy Spirit, who was subservient to the Son as the Son was to the Father. The Father was seen as "the only true God." I Corinthians 8:5-6 was cited as proof text: 1. "Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as in fact there are many gods and many lords — yet for us there is one God (theos), the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord (kyrios), Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through wh...
In 321 Arius was denounced by a synod at Alexandria for teaching a heterodox view of the relationship of Jesus to God the Father. Because Arius and his followers had great influence in the schools of Alexandria — counterparts to modern universities or seminaries — their theological views spread, especially in the eastern Mediterranean. By 325 the controversy had become significant enough that Emperor Constantine called an assembly of bishops, the First Council of Nicaea (modern Iznik, Turkey), which condemned Arius' doctrine and formulated the Nicene Creed, which is still recited in Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant services. The Nicene Creed's central term, used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son, is homoousios, meaning "of the same substance" or "of one being". (The Athanasian Creedis less often used but is a more overtly anti-Arian statement on the Trinity.) Constantine exiled those who refused to accept the Nicean creed — Arius himself, the deacon...
The Council of Nicea had not ended the controversy, as many bishops of the Eastern provinces disputed the homoousios, the central term of the Nicene creed, as it had been used by Paul of Samosata, who had advocated a monarchianist Christology. Both the man and his teaching, including the term homoousios, had been condemned by synods in Antioch in 269. Hence, after Constantine's death in 337, open dispute resumed again. Constantine's son Constantius II, who had become Emperor of the eastern part of the Empire actually encouraged the Arians and set out to reverse the Nicene creed. His advisor in these affairs was Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had already at the Council of Nicea been the head of the Arian party, who also was made bishop of Constantinople. Constantius used his power to exile bishops adhering to the Nicene creed, especially Athanasius of Alexandria, who fled to Rome. In 355 Constantius became the sole Emperor and extended his pro-Arian policy towards the western provinces,...
In the 4th century, the Christian Church in the Roman Empire was wracked with controversy over the nature of the Trinity. In 325 AD, the Council of Nicea had condemned the teachings of the theologian Arius: that Jesus was a created being and inferior to God the Father, and that the Father and Son were of a similar substance (homoiousion in Greek) but not identical. The Council of Nicea had formulated the Nicene Creed, which declared that Jesus and God the Father were of the same substance (homoousion in Greek, a term which was condemned at the Council of Antioch in 264-268). The Council of Nicea did not settle these controversies, and by the time of Theodosius' accession, there were still several different church factions that sought to impose their views on Christianity as a whole. While no mainstream churchmen within the Empire explicitly adhered to Arius or his teachings, there were those who still used the homoiousion formula, as well as those who attempted to bypass the debate...
However, during the time of Arianism's flowering in Constantinople, the Goth convert Ulfilas (later the subject of the letter of Auxentius cited above) was sent as a missionary to the Gothic barbarians across the Danube, a mission favored for political reasons by emperor Constantius. Ulfilas' initial success in converting this Germanic people to an Arian form of Christianity was strengthened by later events. When the Germanic peoples entered the Roman Empireand founded successor-kingdoms in the western part, most had been Arian Christians for more than a century. The conflict in the 4th century had seen Arian and Nicene factions struggling for control of the Church; in contrast, in the kingdoms these Arian Germans established on the wreckage of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, there were entirely separate Arian and Nicene Churches with parallel hierarchies, each serving different sets of believers, the Germanic elites being Arians and the majority population being trinit...
In many ways, the conflict around Arian beliefs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries helped firmly define the centrality of the Trinity in mainstream Christian theology. As the first major intra-Christian conflict after Christianity's legalization, the struggle between Nicenes and Arians left a deep impression on the institutional memory of Nicene churches. Thus, over the past 1,500 years, some Christians have used the term Arian to refer to those groups that see themselves as worshipping Jesus Christ or respecting his teachings, but do not hold to the Nicene creed. Like the Arians, many groups have embraced the belief that Jesus is not the one God, but a separate being subordinate to the Father, and that Jesus at one time did not exist. Some of these profess, as the Arians did, that God made all things through the pre-existent Christ. Some profess that Jesus became divine, through exaltation, just as the Arians believed. Drawing a parallel between these groups and Arians can b...Athanasius of Alexandria, History of the Arians Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIIIIvor J. Davidson, A Public Faith, Volume 2 of Baker History of the Church, 2005, ISBN 0801012759J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 1978, ISBN 006064334XWilliam C. Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy, (Sources of Early Christian Thought), 1980, ISBN 0800614100
- Historical Background
- Arian Catholic Ministry
- See Also
Arian Catholicism claims to be based on the early Catholic Church, and especially some of the teachings of Arius, who taught, among other things, that Christ was not of the same substance, i.e. not co-substantial, with God and therefore was not God, and did not exist before he was born on earth and therefore was not co-eternal with God, seeing the pre-incarnate Jesus as a divine being but nonetheless created by (and consequently inferior to) the Father at some point, before which the Son did not exist. Arius concluded that Jesus Christ was not an eternal being ('Once there was a time when he was not'). Other theologians and bishops have argued along similar grounds resulting in the religious concepts of Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism/Eutychianism and Monothelitism. The most important holiday to Arian Catholics is the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6.
The Arian Catholic Church's Internet site states that it has an active clergy base and maintains a Global Internet Diocese, which serves people around the world through the Internet.
Anomoean, an extreme sect of pure Arians Arianism Arius (Presbyter of Alexandria 256 - 336 A.D.) Jehovah's Witnesses Nontrinitarianism Non-Trinitarian churches Primitive Apostolic Christianity (Sabbatarian) Semi-Arianism Unitarianism
- Homoian Arianism
- Struggles with Orthodoxy
- Among Medieval Germanic Tribes
- from The 5th to The 7th Century
- from The 16th to The 19th Century
Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian’s private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata. He taught that God the Father and the Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, and that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father. A verse from Proverbs was also used: “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work” (Proverbs 8:22–25). Therefore, the Son was rather the very first and the most perfect of God’s creatures, and he was made “God” only by the Father’s permission and power. Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century. It involved most church members—from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops, emperors, and members of Rome’s imperial family. Two Roman emperors,...
Reconstructing what Arius actually taught, and why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own work survives except in quotations selected for polemical purposes by his opponents, and also because there is no certainty about what theological and philosophical traditions formed his thought. Arians do not believe in the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. The letter of Arian Auxentius regarding the Arian missionary Ulfilas gives a picture of Arian beliefs. Arian Ulfilas, who was ordained a bishop by Arian Eusebius of Nicomedia and returned to his people to work as a missionary, believed: God, the Father, (“unbegotten” God; Almighty God) always existing and who is the only true God (John 17:3). The Son of God, Jesus Christ, (“only-begotten God” John 1:18), Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6); begotten before time began (Proverbs 8:22-29, Revelation 3:14, Colossians 1:15) and who is Lord/Master (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Holy Spirit (the illuminating and sanctifying power, who is neither G...
Arianism had several different variants, including Eunomianism and Homoian Arianism. Homoian Arianism is associated with Akakius and Eudoxius. Homoian Arianism avoided the use of the word ousiato describe the relation of Father to Son, and described these as “like” each other. Hanson lists twelve creeds that reflect the Homoian faith: 1. The Second Sirmian Creed of 357 2. The Creed of Nice (Constantinople) 360 3. The creed put forward by Akakius at Seleucia, 359 4. The Rule of Faith of Ulfilas 5. The creed uttered by Ulfilas on his deathbed, 383 6. The creed attributed to Eudoxius 7. The Creed of Auxentius of Milan, 364 8. The Creed of Germinius professed in correspondence with Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursa 9. Palladius’ rule of faith 10. Three credal statements found in fragments, subordinating the Son to the Father
First Council of Nicaea
Main article: First Council of Nicaea In 321, Arius was denounced by a synod at Alexandria for teaching a heterodox view of the relationship of Jesus to God the Father. Because Arius and his followers had great influence in the schools of Alexandria—counterparts to modern universities or seminaries—their theological views spread, especially in the eastern Mediterranean. By 325, the controversy had become significant enough that the Emperor Constantine called an assembly of bishops, the First...
Aftermath of Nicaea
The Council of Nicaea did not end the controversy, as many bishops of the Eastern provinces disputed the homoousios, the central term of the Nicene Creed, as it had been used by Paul of Samosata, who had advocated a monarchianist Christology. Both the man and his teaching, including the term homoousios, had been condemned by the Synods of Antioch in 269. Hence, after Constantine’s death in 337, open dispute resumed again. Constantine’s son Constantius II, who had become Emperor of the eastern...
Council of Constantinople
Main article: Theodosius I It was not until the co-reigns of Gratian and Theodosius that Arianism was effectively wiped out among the ruling class and elite of the Eastern Empire. Valens died in the Battle of Adrianople in 378 and was succeeded by Theodosius I, who adhered to the Nicene Creed. This allowed for settling the dispute. Theodosius’ wife St Flacilla was instrumental in his campaign to end Arianism. Two days after Theodosius arrived in Constantinople, 24 November 380, he expelled th...
During the time of Arianism’s flowering in Constantinople, the Gothic convert and Arian bishop Ulfilas (later the subject of the letter of Auxentius cited above) was sent as a missionary to the Gothic tribes across the Danube, a mission favored for political reasons by the Emperor Constantius II. Ulfilas’ translation of the Bible in Gothic language and his initial success in converting the Goths to Arianism was strengthened by later events; the conversion of Goths led to a widespread diffusion of Arianism among other Germanic tribes as well (Vandals, Longobards, Svevi and Burgundians). When the Germanic peoples entered the provinces of the Western Roman Empire and began founding their own kingdoms there, most of them were Arian Christians. The conflict in the 4th century had seen Arian and Nicene factions struggling for control of Western Europe. In contrast, among the Arian German kingdoms established in the collapsing Western Empire in the 5th century were entirely separate Arian...
Much of south-eastern Europe and central Europe, including many of the Goths and Vandals respectively, had embraced Arianism (the Visigoths converted to Arian Christianity in 376), which led to Arianism being a religious factor in various wars in the Roman Empire. In the west, organized Arianism survived in North Africa, in Hispania, and parts of Italy until it was finally suppressed in the 6th and 7th enturies. Visigothic Spain converted to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo in 589. Grimoald, King of the Lombards (662–671), and his young son and successor Garibald (671), were the last Arian kings in Europe.
Following the Protestant Reformation from 1517, it did not take long for Arian and other nontrinitarianviews to resurface. The first recorded English antitrinitarian was John Assheton, who was forced to recant before Thomas Cranmer in 1548. At the Anabaptist Council of Venice 1550, the early Italian instigators of the Radical Reformation committed to the views of Michael Servetus, who was burned alive by the orders of John Calvin in 1553, and these were promulgated by Giorgio Biandrata and others into Poland and Transylvania. The antitrinitarian wing of the Polish Reformation separated from the Calvinist ecclesia maior to form the ecclesia minoror Polish Brethren. These were commonly referred to as “Arians” due to their rejection of the Trinity, though in fact the Socinians, as they were later known, went further than Arius to the position of Photinus. The epithet “Arian” was also applied to the early Unitarians such as John Biddle, though in denial of the pre-existence of Christ th...
The teachings of the first two ecumenical councils – which entirely reject Arianism – are held by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East and all churches founded during the Reformation in the 16th century or influenced by it (Lutheran, Reformed/Presbyterian, and Anglican). Also, nearly all Protestant groups (such as Methodists, Baptists, and most Pentecostals) entirely reject the teachings associated with Arianism. Modern groups which currently appear to embrace some of the principles of Arianism include Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although the origins of their beliefs are not necessarily attributed to the teachings of Arius, many of the core beliefs of Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses are very similar to them.Alexandria, Athanasius of (2013). History of the Arians. London. ISBN 978-1-78336-206-6.Alexandria, Athanasius of. History of the Arians. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIIIAyres, Lewis (2004). Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. New York: Oxford University Press. nicaea and its legacy.Belletini, Mark. Arius in the Mirror: The Alexandrian Dissent And How It Is Reflected in Modern Unitarian Universalist Practice and Discourse. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007. Retrie...
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