The Ecole

The Ecole Glossary


Arianism, a Trinitarian doctrine promoted by Arius (c. 250-536 CE), denied the divinity of Christ and focused on the dissimilarity between the Father and Son. The Son had a beginning unlike the eternal Father who always existed. Therefore, the Son was subordinate to the Father; he earned his rank from participation in grace or adoption by God. Around 320, Arius' beliefs were questioned by Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. Later, Arius was excommunicated by the entire Egyptian episcopate. Athanasius, successor to Bishop Alexander, also protested against Arianism. Despite these setbacks, Arius gained support from Eusebius of Caesarea and Eusebius of Nicomedia during his travels to Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor. The Arian controversy led to a serious division between the East and West. The Emperor Constantine succeeded in suppressing Arianism for a brief time by summoning the Council of Nicaea I (325). After Constantine, the popularity of Arianism rose again because of support from emperors Constantius II (337-361) and Valens (364-378). After Valen's death, the threat of Arianism subsided with Theodosius, who summoned a council in Constantinople (381) that sealed the faith of Nicaea for all the Church.

Elise M. Bender

Copyright © 1995, Anthony F. Beavers. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.
Toxic Doctrines