Arius püspök.jpg
Arius arguing for the supremacy of God the Father, and that the Son had a beginning as a true Firstborn
Died336 (aged 80)
ResidenceNorth Africa, Levant, Antioch, Egypt
OccupationTheologian, Presbyter
Notable work
Theological work
Era3rd and 4th centuries AD
LanguageKoine Greek
Notable ideasSubordinationism

Arius (i-/; Koinē Greek: Ἄρειος, 250 or 256–336) was a Libyan presbyter and ascetic,[1] and priest in Baucalis in Alexandria, Egypt.[2] His teachings about the nature of the Godhead in Christianity, which emphasized God's uniqueness and the Christ's subordination under the Father,[3] and his opposition to what would become the dominant Christology, Homoousian Christology, made him a primary topic of the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325.

After Emperors Licinius and Constantine legalized and formalized the Christianity of the time in the Roman Empire, Constantine sought to unify the newly recognized Church and remove theological divisions.[4] The Christian Church was divided over disagreements on Christology, or, the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God. Homoousian Christians, including Athanasius of Alexandria, used Arius and Arianism as epithets to describe those who disagreed with their doctrine of coequal Trinitarianism, a Homoousian Christology representing God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son as "of one essence" ("consubstantial") and coeternal.

Negative writings describe Arius's theology as one in which there was a time before the Son of God, when only God the Father existed. Despite concerted opposition, Arian Christian churches persisted throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, especially in various Germanic kingdoms, until suppressed by military conquest or voluntary royal conversion between the fifth and seventh centuries.

The Son's precise relationship with the Father had been discussed for decades before Arius's advent; Arius intensified the controversy and carried it to a Church-wide audience, where others like Eusebius of Nicomedia proved much more influential in the long run. In fact, some later Arians disavowed the name, claiming not to have been familiar with the man or his specific teachings.[5][6] However, because the conflict between Arius and his foes brought the issue to the theological forefront, the doctrine he proclaimed—though not originated—is generally labeled as "his".

Early life and personality

Reconstructing the life and doctrine of Arius has proven to be a difficult task, as none of his original writings survive. Emperor Constantine ordered their burning while Arius was still living, and any that survived this purge were later destroyed by his Orthodox opponents. Those works which have survived are quoted in the works of churchmen who denounced him as a heretic. This leads some — but not all — scholars to question their reliability.[7]

Arius was of Berber descent.[1] His father's name is given as Ammonius. Arius is believed to have been a student at the exegetical school in Antioch, where he studied under Saint Lucian.[8] Having returned to Alexandria, Arius, according to a single source, sided with Meletius of Lycopolis in his dispute over the re-admission of those who had denied Christianity under fear of Roman torture, and was ordained a deacon under the latter's auspices. He was excommunicated by Bishop Peter of Alexandria in 311 for supporting Meletius,[9] but under Peter's successor Achillas, Arius was re-admitted to Christian communion and in 313 made presbyter of the Baucalis district in Alexandria.

Although his character has been severely assailed by his opponents, Arius appears to have been a man of personal ascetic achievement, pure morals, and decided convictions. Paraphrasing Epiphanius of Salamis, an opponent of Arius, Catholic historian Warren H. Carroll describes him as "tall and lean, of distinguished appearance and polished address. Women doted on him, charmed by his beautiful manners, touched by his appearance of asceticism. Men were impressed by his aura of intellectual superiority."[10]

Though Arius was also accused by his opponents of being too liberal, and too loose in his theology, engaging in heresy (as defined by his opponents), some historians argue that Arius was actually quite conservative,[11] and that he deplored how, in his view, Christian theology was being too freely mixed with Greek paganism.[12]

Other Languages
العربية: آريوس
asturianu: Arriu
български: Арий
brezhoneg: Arius
català: Arri
čeština: Areios
Cymraeg: Arius
dansk: Arius
Deutsch: Arius
eesti: Areios
Ελληνικά: Άρειος
español: Arrio
Esperanto: Ario (teologo)
euskara: Arrio
فارسی: آریوس
français: Arius (prêtre)
Frysk: Arius
galego: Ario
한국어: 아리우스
հայերեն: Արիոս
hrvatski: Arije
Bahasa Indonesia: Arius
interlingua: Arius
íslenska: Aríus
italiano: Ario
עברית: אריוס
Kiswahili: Ario
latviešu: Ārijs
lietuvių: Arijus
magyar: Arius
Malagasy: Arius
മലയാളം: അരിയൂസ്
مصرى: اريوس
Bahasa Melayu: Arius
Nederlands: Arius (theoloog)
日本語: アリウス
norsk: Arius
Piemontèis: Ario
Plattdüütsch: Arius
polski: Ariusz
português: Ário
română: Arie (preot)
русский: Арий
Scots: Arius
Simple English: Arius
slovenščina: Arij
српски / srpski: Арије
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arije
suomi: Areios
svenska: Arius
Tagalog: Arius
Türkçe: Arius
українська: Арій
اردو: آریوس
Tiếng Việt: Arius
中文: 阿利烏