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Arius, c. 260–336 CE

Remembered as the great heresiarch of the 4th-cent. Church. Probably Libyan by birth, he became a leading presbyter at Alexandria (1), but in 318 or 320/1 came into conflict with his bishop Alexander for teaching the subordination of the Son to the Father within the Trinity. He was expelled from Egypt and, although supported by several prominent bishops including Eusebius of Nicomedia and Eusebius of Caesarea, Arius was condemned at the council of Nicaea (1) (325). Although rehabilitated in c.335, Arius died shortly afterwards in a Constantinople latrine. The heresy of ‘Arianism’ is named after him, but in fact Arius and his teachings exerted little influence on 4th-cent. theological debates after Nicaea. Only a few letters and some fragments of his Thalia (verse and prose popularizations of his doctrines) survive, confirming that Arius did not deny the Son’s divinity, but reduced Him to a created being inferior to God the Father.


R. D. Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (1987, 2nd edn. 2001).Find this resource:

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