Arius ( Arios ) [ ari ʊs ː ] (* 260, † 336 in Constantinople Opel ) was a Christian presbyter from Alexandria. According to him the doctrine of Arianism is named.

Life and Teaching

According to Epiphanius of Salamis Arius came from Libyia, so probably the ancient Roman province of Cyrenaica was meant. Arius ' family was already Christian, and also quite wealthy. Arius, who was well versed in Platonism, probably studied under Lucian of Antioch, who was a priest in Antioch on the Orontes.

At the start of Diocletian's persecution of Christians Arius was already living in Alexandria, where he was later ordained by Petros of Alexandria as a deacon and presbyter by Bishop Achillas.

Arius represented, starting from its religions and philosophical education, the following teachings regarding Christology:

  • That the Logos and the Father were not of the same essence ( consubstantiality )
  • That the Son was a creature of the Father
  • That there was a time when the Son did not exist; he had ( defray the beginningless DC eternity of father and son ) a beginning.

Arius held the doctrine that there is only one true God and that Jesus Christ was a ( very excellent ) creature. The essence of the Father is unknowable to him, in short: God the Father and Jesus were not of the same essence.

Around 318, there was a dispute between the bishop Alexander of Alexandria ( 313-328 ), and Arius, with Arius accused Alexander of Sabellianism. From a council, Alexander summoned then, Arius was condemned and banished. However, Arius had many followers, and the controversy spread from Alexandria throughout the East, while Arius took refuge with Eusebius of Nicomedia.

Because Emperor Constantine had a political interest in a unified Christianity, he convened the First Council of Nicaea of 325. Since his victory over Maxentius 312 tolerated and he privileged Christianity. The doctrine of Arius was finally condemned at the Council as heretical. Following the closing words of Constantine put it finds that Father and Son are consubstantial ( homoousios ).

Arius himself was banished, but already 328 banishment was repealed by the influence of the bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia again - in the same year in which Athanasius was Bishop of Alexandria. Especially in the East, the Nicene Creed was rather badly received. The teachings of Arius were mitigated, and soon won the " Arians " in the east the upper hand. However, the term " Arians " is very blurred as including in the following period people were also detected, which had little to do with the teachings of Arius something.

335 Arius should be fully rehabilitated by imperial order. He agreed to sign the result of Nicaea, which he had then rejected. However, before he could receive the Communion in Constantinople Opel, he died very suddenly. Other sources believe that he was poisoned by his enemies. According to the report of Socrates Scholasticus have the Metropolitan Alexander of Constantinople Opel ( 314-337 ), brought by the imperial command in a crisis of conscience, praying that either he or Arius would be removed from the world before Arius was admitted to communion.

However, the conflict did not break off with the death of Arius. The so-called Arian controversy should rather employ the imperial church nor the entire 4th century. In the following period, there was also a fragmentation of the " Arians ": The Homoiousians who had practically hardly anything to do with Arius, and the Homöer that were favored by the emperors Constantius II and Valens, and sometimes in the research as "radical Arians " designated Anhomöer, see Aetius.