- Arius is ordained a presbyter by bishop Achillas of Alexandria,
successor to Peter, who was martyred in 311.
- Sometime between 311 and 318, Eusebius of Caesarea becomes bishop of
- Alexander becomes bishop of Alexandria.
Asia Minor - Eusebius, a follower of Lucian of Antioch, becomes bishop
319 AD: Egypt
- In an informal discussion on the Trinity between Bishop Alexander and
his presbyters, Arius accuses Alexander of Sabellianism. He goes on to
frame his adoptionist views following the theology of Lucian of
Antioch. Afterwards, Alexander of Alexandria convenes a council that
condemns and exiles Arius. Arius then writes his Letter
to Eusebius of Nicomedia in which he complains of being
unjustly persecuted. The letter mentions that Eusebius of Caesarea and
many other Eastern bishops have also been condemned. Arius then travels
at the invitation of Eusebius, after which Eusebius advances a letter
writing campaign to the bishops of Asia Minor
in support of Arius. Due to his rigorous support of Arius, Eusebius “transform[s] what might have remained an Egyptian dispute into an
ecumenical controversy” (Quasten III, 191).
Sometime during the same year, Alexander writes his Catholic
Epistle in which he informs his fellow bishops that Eusebius of
Nicomedia is also spreading the Arian heresy. He warns his colleagues
not to follow Eusebius, lest they too fall into apostasy.
Asia Minor - (c) While in Nicomedia, Arius writes his Letter
to Alexander of Alexandria in which he presents another summary
of his views. About the same time, Arius writes The Banquet (or
the Thalia), perhaps in an attempt to popularise his doctrine.
Only fragments of this work survive, mostly in the form of quotations
in the writings of Athanasius.
- Alexander writes a Letter
to Alexander of Constantinople that is also sent to bishops
outside of Egypt. In this letter, Alexander warns his fellow bishops of the danger of
the Arian threat. He also names Lucian of Antioch and Paul of Samosata
as the true originators of this heresy.
- Hosius, a representative of the Emperor Constantine, presides over an
anti-Arian council in
sometime during the early months of this year. This council condemns
Eusebius of Caesarea for being an Arian sympathizer and formulates a
doctrinal creed in favour of Alexander’s theology.
Asia Minor - Constantine
convenes the Council of Nicaea in order to develop a statement of faith
that can unify the Church. The Nicene
Creed is written, declaring that the Father and the Son are of
the same substance (homoousios), thereby taking a decidedly
anti-Arian stand. Arius is exiled to Illyria.
??? - Arius and Euzoius write a Letter
to the Emperor Constantine. This letter includes a creed that
attempts to show the orthodoxy of Arius’ position and a petition to be
restored to the Church.
recalls Arius from exile in Illyria.
328 AD: Egypt
- Alexander of Alexandria dies on April 17th. Athanasius becomes bishop
on June 8th.
- A Pronouncement
of the Synod of Tyre and Jerusalem restores Arius and his
friends into communion with the Church. Both Eusebi us of
and Eusebius of Nicomedia have leading roles in this synod. Athanasius
is deposed and so goes to complain to the Emperor Constantine, whom he
encounters mid-road. After Athanasius persists in requesting an
audience, Constantine agrees to he ar his complaint. The Emperor then writes his Letter to
the Bishops Assembled at Tyre (LNPF ser. 2, vol. 2, 278) requesting
that they meet in his presence to discuss the matter. Some of the
bishops flee home, but Eusebius of Nicomedia and his conso rt go to
??? - The Emperor agrees with the findings of the council concerning
Athanasius, and so in February, he exiles him to Trierg the Nicene theology, but
was considered a Sabellian by his opponents.
- Arius dies suddenly in Constantinople
on the evening before a formal ceremony was to restore him to his
Asia Minor - Eusebius of Nicomedia baptizes Constantine, who dies on
May 22nd in
. His eulogy is delivered by Eusebius of Caesarea. The empire is
divided among his three sons: Constantius in the east, Constantine II
and Gaul, and Constans is over
. On June 17th, Constantius, orders the return of Athanasius to Alexandria.
338 AD: Greece - Eusebius of
is installed as bishop of
338 AD: Palestine
- A council at
deposes Athanasius and orders a second exile.
- Athanasius flees Alexandria
in anticipation of being expelled. Gregory, a man from
(not Gregory of Nazianzus or Gregory of Nyssa), takes over as bishop of
??? - Eusebius of
dies late in 339 or early in 340.
??? - After the death of Constantine II, Constans becomes sole ruler of
the west. He supports the Nicenes and Athanasius, while his brother in
the east, Constantius, as we know, opposes the Nicene theology. Also, Julius
I, bishop of Rome, receives Marcellus and Athanasius into communion with the Roman
341 AD: Palestine
- Two Arian councils are held in
during this year, the first on the occasion of the dedication of a
church which was begun under the direction of Emperor Constantine. Of
the ninety-seven bishops present, none are from the West and most are
hostile to Athanasius. During this council, the First,
Arian Confessions are written, thereby beginning the attempt to
produce a formal doctrine of faith to oppose the Nicene Creed. (The Second
Arian Confession is also known as the Creed of the Dedication.)
Arian Confession is written at the second council of the
year. The bishops of the east deny being Arians, issuing the famous
statement, “How, being bishops, should we follow a priest?”
(The priest that they refer to is, of course, Arius.).
??? - Eusebius of Nicomedia
dies in the winter of 341-342.
or 343 AD: ??? - Constans convenes a council in Sardica in an attempt to
restore unity to the Church. The council is a fiasco. The western
bishops and eastern bishops separate and denounce each other. The west
release a statement claiming to be an attack on Arianism, the East
retire to Philippopolis and release a statement, dated from Sardica,
which justifies the deposition of Athanasius and Marcellus and condemns
Julius I and others. To this is appended the 4th creed of Antioch
with additional anathemas directed at Marcellus.
??? - Another Arian council is held in Antioch. Here, the council writes the Fifth
Arian Confession (or Macrostich), which is notably longer
than the confessions written at
in 341. The Macrostich is the Eastern creed of Sardica plus
eight paragraphs addressed to the western bishops.
- A council is held in Milan. Western bishops read the Macrostich.
345 AD: Egypt
- Gregory, bishop of Alexandria, dies in June.
346 AD: Egypt
- Athanasius is restored to the Alexandrian see.
347 AD: Italy
- A second council is held in Milan.
??? - The rebel Magnentius murders Constans.
??? - A second council is convened at Sirmium under the supervision of
Basil of Ancyra. The Sixth
Arian (or First Sirmium) Confession is written, which seems
to be an expanded revision of the Fourth Arian Confession written in
??? - A council is held at
during autumn that is directed against Athanasius.
??? - Constantius defeats Magnentius and becomes sole ruler of the
empire; with Constans, who supported the Nicenes, gone, he works to
eliminate the Nicene theology.
- A council is held in
. Athanasius is again condemned.
356 AD: Egypt
- Athanasius is deposed on February 8th, beginning his third exile.
- George is named bishop of
. Aetius, who claims that the Son is unlike (anomoios, hence the
title Anomoeism) and cannot be of the same or similar essence as
the Father, is an influence on George.
357 AD: Palestine
- Eudoxius, another theologian influenced by Aetius, becomes bishop of
??? - The third Council of Sirmium is convened during the summer. The
Arian (or Second Sirmium) Confession (also called “The
blasphemy”) is written. The Western bishops move as close as they
will to finding a compromise with the Arians. Both homoousios (of
one essence) and homoiousios (alike in essence) are
avoided as unbiblical, and it is agreed that t he Father is greater
than his subordinate son.
??? - A council held at
, under the leadership of its bishop, Basil, releases a statement using
the term homoiousios. The bishops attending are labelled “Semi-Arian.”
??? - The fourth council of Sirmium is convened on May 22nd. The
Fourth Sirmium Confession (or the Dated Creed?) is written. It
proposes a compromise formula, which is not technical, and is designed
to please everybody (though it is too watered-down to do any good).
??? - Constantius summons two councils to finish what
had started, that is, to develop a unifying creed for Christianity. The
Synod of Ariminum (Rimini) is held in the West during May and is
attended by more than 400 bishops. The Synod of Seleucia is held in the
East during October (or December?) and is attended by about 160
bishops. Here, the Ninth
Arian Confession is written, which affirms that Christ is “like the Father” while, at the same time, anathematizing the
Anomoeans. In the end, both councils agree to this semi-Arian statement
of Faith, even though it does not specify how the Son is like
the Father. However, the a greement seems to have been coerced at
Ariminum, which may have otherwise ended in favour of Nicaea.
360 AD: Greece
- A council is convened in January to review the conclusions of
from the year before. The Tenth
Arian Confession is written. Commenting on this council
from a perspective of twenty years later, Jerome writes that the world “awoke with a groan to find itself Arian.”
??? - Constantius’ armies are facing difficulties and meeting defeat.
The Gallic forces declare Julian, Constantius’ cousin, emperor, rather
than giving their support to the failing Constantius.
??? - Constantius dies on November 3rd after naming Julian as emperor.
361 AD: Palestine
- A council is held in
during the installation of Euzonius as bishop of
. (Euzonius had been excommunicated with Arius in 318 and 325 and
restored with him in 335.) During this council, the Eleventh
Arian Confession is written. This creed is strongly Anomoean,
leading Athanasius to remark that the Arians have reverted back to the
first doctrines framed by Arius.
??? - Athanasius dies on May 3rd.
381 AD: Greece
- The First Council (Second Ecumenical) of Constantinople is convened
to review the controversy since Nicaea. Under the direction of Gregory of Nazianzus, the Nicene Creed is
re-evaluated and accepted with the addition of clauses on the Holy
Spirit and other matters.
??? - The findings of the First Council of Constantinople are reviewed.
383 can be identified as the year that the Arian controversy ended,
provided that we take this to mean that the orthodox Church finally
accepted a non-Arian statement of faith that went uncontested by
further Arian confessions. Though Arians continue to exist long after
this year, the theological agenda of the Church turns from the Trinity
and headlong into another controversy, the Christological Controversy
of the fifth century.
with additions by