January 31, 2023

Arianism again …

by Interfaith

muhammad_isa said:

Got any particular emperor in mind?

Not really … they’re all cut from the same cloth, more or less.

You want to see Arius = Good, Athanasius = Bad, that’s up to you.

For me, history is never quite black or white. I think the miracle of orthodoxy is that it managed to avoid total corruption by the Roman state.

Constantine I – promoted Nicene, baptised by a relative, Eusebius, pro-Arianism.
After Constantine I’s death, his sons arrange the slaughter of an uncle, father-in-law and various cousins, by the army. The three brothers then divide the empire among themselves.

Constantine II 337-340 (Arian) receives Gaul, Britannia and Hispania, killed fighting Constans.
Constantius II 337-361 (Arian) receives the East.
Constans 337-350 (Nicene) gets Italia, Africa and Illyricum.
Magnentius 350-353 assassin of Constans, killed by Constantius II
Nepotianus 350
Vetranio 350
Julian 361-363 (greco-Roman polytheism).
Jovian 363-364 (Nicene)
Valentinian the Great 364-375 (Nicene)
Valens 364-378 (Arian)
Gratian 367-383 (Nicene)
Magnus Maximus 383-388 (Nicene)
Valentinian II 375-392 (Christian)
Eugenius 392-394 (Christian)
Theodosius 379-395 (Nicene)
By the close of the century, Arianism was old news, surviving beyond the borders …

Brief history:
The Council of Nicaea did not end the Arian controversy, and after Constantine’s death (337), open dispute resumed again.

Constantius II – Eastern Emperor – actively set out to reverse the Nicene Creed, advised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. Exiled bishops and executed martyrs. In 355, becoming sole emperor, he extended his Arian policy toward the western provinces, frequently using force, exiled Pope Liberius and installed Antipope Felix II.

Attempting an acceptable formula, three camps evolved among the Nicene opponents – semi-Arians, all invoking Arius. Constantius wavered between the first two while harshly persecuting the third.

After Constantius’s death (361) Julian favoured neither faction.

Valens revived Constantius’s anti-Nicene policy, exiling bishops and often using force.

The continued use of force by the emperors united moderate Nicenes and Arians, so they were more inclined to seek a peaceful solution. It becomes increasingly evident the church is seeking a solution of its own, not one imposed by force. Arianism was failing because of internal argument.

Valens died 378 and was succeeded by Theodosius I, a Nicene Creed. He and Gratian had published an edict that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria (ie, the Nicene faith), or be handed over for punishment for not doing so.

Although much of the church hierarchy in the East had opposed the Nicene Creed, at the second Council of Constantinople, a group of mainly Eastern bishops assembled and accepted the Creed of 381, which was supplemented in regard to the Holy Spirit. This is generally considered the end of the dispute in the empire.

Thomas 22/01/2023

Visit thread: https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/20509/

FEATURE: Roman Religion

Explore the core beliefs of Roman Religion, beyond the mythology, in our section Roman Religion.