Arius in Roman Biography
A-ri'us or A-rei'us, popularly called A'rl-us, [Gr.
"Aohoc,] the founder of Arianism, and author of the
greatest schism that ever divided the Christian Church
before the Reformation, was born at Cyrene, in Africa,
shortly after the middle of the third century. He was
ordained a deacon at Alexandria by the patriarch Peter,
and promoted to the highest rank among the clergy by
the patriarch Alexander.
The controversy which arose between Alexander and
Arius about 318 A.D. caused Constantine to summon
the first general council, which met at Nicaea (or Nice) in
325 A.D., and condemned with great unanimity the doctrines
of Arius, who denied that the Son is coeternal
and coessential with the Father. Arius, who had attended
this council, was exiled to Illyricum by Constantine,
but this sentence was revoked two or three years
later. Arianism spread rapidly in Syria and Asia Minor,
and was approved by the Synods of Tyre and Jerusalem
in 335 a.d.
Soon after this date he returned to Alexandria; but
his presence excited there so great a disturbance that
Constantine recalled him to Constantinople, where the
Arians were numerous and powerful. According to
some writers, he avowed his submission to the creed
adopted by the Council of Nice, and was about to be
restored to communion, when he died suddenly near
336 a.d. Authorities differ respecting the place of his
death and many events of his life. Arianism was patronized
as the religion of the state by the emperor Constantius,
and by Valens. The contest between the
Arians and Athanasians (see Athanasius) raged for
more than two centuries and carnal weapons were resorted
to by each party to enforce its arguments. The
Goths, Vandals, and Suevi of the fifth and sixth centuries
were nearly all Arians.
The sect became divided into two portions, called
" Hetero-ousians" (who were strict or ultra-Arians) and
Semi-Arians or "
Homoiousians," who admitted the
" similar essence" of the Son with the Father.
The followers of Arius were often called Eusebians,
from Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia.
See Neandf.r," History of the Christian " Church;"
Histoire de 1'Arianisme , Stark,
Essay on Arianism," fin German,)
1783; G. M. Travasa, "Storia critica della Vita di Ario,"
Vita Constantini ;" Sozombn,
" Panarium :" Theodoret, "
Reuterdahl, "Memorabilia Arii ejuaque Hx-reseos," 1813.