What was Arianism? Definition, history and characteristics

What was Arianism? Definition, history and characteristics

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Arianism it is a series of doctrines christianthat arose from the Bishop Arius's interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and the theories ofPablo from Samosata, bishop of Antioch.

Arius considered thatJesus was not part of atrinitarian unity withGodIt was just another human.

For this reason Arianism was condemned as a heresy, especially since the Church concluded that this belief should be a dogma of faith.

Orthodoxy always revealed that Christ was God incarnate in a man, although it is true that in the so-called «Christological disputes»There was always a debate between the true relationship betweenthe father and the son.

Biography of Arrio

Arrio was born inLibya in 256 and died in 336.

Was formed in Antioch as a disciple ofLuciano He was confronted by the role he gave to Jesus as the Son of the Father. He was a priest ofAlexandria.

He did not believe in the Trinity of God, but that God was only one, the Father.

Arius' doctrine was declared heretical by the Council of Nicaea, in which the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son was declared, so they formed the same divine entity.

The death of Arius took place in strange circumstances, just when the Church was going to return to accept Arius within the orthodoxy of Rome after an act of reconciliation.

Many believe it could bepoisoned.

History of Arianism

Belief inconsubstantiality of the Father and the Son was not dogmatized untilCouncil of NicaeaUntil then, many Gospel scholars and exegetes debated the relationship between Jesus and God.

In these Christological disputes there were two opposing positions:


It consisted in believing that Jesus had been an envoy of God, a mortal Messiah who spread the message of God. This idea prevailed in Eastern Europe and disputed power with Western doctrine.


God descended to Earth incarnating in a man to redeem humanity. This idea had more diffusion in Western Europe.

This thought had more problems to take root in the educated classes, since they implied an act of faith greater than the more "rational" adoptionist point of view. Although it is true that he had more support from the ruling classes.


Arius took sides with adoptionist ideas, and some members of the Church closer to incarnationism tried to stop him.

In the year 320, the Synod of Egypt and Libya excommunicated Arius.

Emperor Constantine and his sympathy for Arius

Faced with pressure from the Church to clarify the issue, it was convened through the emperor Constantine the Council of Nicaea in the year 325, in which it was inspired that Jesus was God and part of the Holy Trinity and therefore it was considered that the position defended by Arius and his supporters of adoptionism could be susceptible to heresy.

Saint Athanasius was the main promoter of Trinitarian creed and the one who was most opposed, therefore, to Arius.

Constantine himself is said to have been baptized an Arian, more as a policy of approaching the emerging Christian movement than out of true faith.

Despite this, the most orthodox and majority position was that of Saint Athanasius.

Although Arianism was condemned at the Council of Nicea from 325, Constantine had always shown sympathy for him and he demonstrated it even more in the last years of his life.

When he died, his son and successor, Constantius, openly embraced Arianism Through the mediation of his wife and his advisers related to the doctrine of Arius and under his auspices, councils were convened that drove the leaders of ecclesiastical orthodoxy into exile.

Arius ended up being forgiven by the Church, despite the fact that his death has always left many doubts and arouses suspicion.

The spread of Arianism

Despite Arius's death, Arianism continued its expansion, especially among underprivileged classes in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

Constantius, as main supporter of Arianism after Arius' death, he promoted the barbarians and soldiers of the Empire to be indoctrinated in the Arian Christian faith.

For this reason, Arianism found its way among the warrior Germanic peoples, converted by Bishop Ulfila.

Arianism as heresy and its adoption by barbarian peoples

It wasn't until Council of Chalcedon from the year 381, when Arianism was officially declared heresy.

But nevertheless, the Goths and the Vandals kept Arian chieftains in their monarchies after abandoning paganism.

Under the auspices of the Visigoths, Arianism became the most influential form of Christianity in its domains, at that time almost all of the province ofHispaniaand the southern part of Gaul, although a great majority of the population would follow the doctrine of Rome.

The conversion of the last Arians

It was not until 587 that the King Recaredo converted to Catholicism, to gain popular support, Catholic, although displeasing the arian aristocracy.

Behind the conversion of the Visigoth king Recaredo to the Roman doctrine of the Church, many Arians tried to rebel against the monarchy.

Revolts in Mérida, Toledo or Narbonne were put down throughout the second half of the 6th century.

The The only Arian stronghold without persecution was Lombardy, but in the early 7th century it was also converted to Roman Orthodoxy.

Arianism in hiding

There are many theories that seem to be true that point out that Arianism continued somewhat clandestinely in Visigoth Hispania, especially in the south.

The 6th century Arian revolts They seemed to have a double religious and political component, since there was a discontent with the Visigothic monarchy that was not very well seen by Hispanics when they considered the Visigoths as a foreign domain and, above all, by the Arian Hispanics who also considered them some traitors to their religion.

These theories believe that Arianism was consolidating a latent power in the south and at the beginning of the 8th century they hired mercenaries from North Africa to overthrow the Visigoth monarchy and impose from the new monarchy resulting arianism.

In the year 711 Arianism, according to these theories, was already closely linked to Islam, although they are just that, theories.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.

Video: What is ARIANISM? What does ARIANISM mean? ARIANISM meaning, definition u0026 explanation


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