ARIUS THE HERESIARCH AND HIS FALSE TEACHING (1)
Being an “Antiochian”, Arius chose Alexandria as his field of activity, where he was ordained a presbyter. Here he entered into a dispute with Bishop Alexander and began to preach about the Son of God that He was not born of eternity from the being of God the Father, but was created in time. If He also represents the highest creation of God, through Whom the world was created, but is not equal and is not eternal to the Father, and although He is called the Son, then this is not in essence, but in adoption.
Mikhail Posnov synthesized the heresy as follows: The teaching of Arius was largely determined by the general preconditions of the Antioch school of Aristotle’s philosophy. At the beginning of theology was the situation of God’s transcendence and (as a conclusion) his non-involvement in any emanations – or in the form of an outpouring (προβολή, prodatio), or of division (διαίρεσις, divisio), or of birth – εός άγεννητος. From this point of view, it could not be a question of υίός Θεοΰ, as eternal to God; the idea of the birth of the Son by the Father would also be in sharp contradiction, albeit in time. We can speak of the Son only in a time that appeared and did not originate from the essence of the Father, but was created from nothing (κτίσμα έξ ούκ δντων). The Son of God, according to Arius, came by the will of God, earlier than time and centuries, precisely when God wanted to create us through Him.
Arius (256-336) was one of the most famous heretics, brought up under the guidance of St. Lucian; presbyter in the Alexandrian church. His main work, “Θαλια” (“Feast”), is a defense of his teaching in a semi-poetic, semi-prose form; with the exception of a few fragments in the works of St. Athanasius the Great, it has not reached us. The letters of Arius to the bishops Eusebius of Nicomedia and Alexander of Alexandria are preserved. The main sources of information about the heresiarch are, in addition to fragments of his own writings, the works of St. Athanasius, 68 and 69 chapters from the work of Epiphanius on heresies, the church stories of Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret and Philostorgius.
Prot. S. Bulgakov, considering the doctrine of Wisdom in St. Athanasius the Great and other fathers of the Church, in his attempt for a dogmatic interpretation of certain features in the Orthodox veneration of the Mother of God, analyzes the Arian heresy and parallels with Neoplatonism: “Arianism raises a double question, fueled by two sources of doubt. The first refers to the doctrine of St. Trinity, the second to the doctrine of God as the Creator of peace now. With regard to the first Arianism, there is essential anti-Trinitarianism. He understands God as one-person, and the thought of a three-person God seems foreign and unacceptable to him. God himself is only the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit are in themselves His powers, degrees of His revelation. This is the trinity of Neoplatonism with its gradual gradation, where there are no equal and equal divine hypostases. Arianism imagines God as one in the sense of a one-person monad: The one-person and monadity of the Deity is the starting point for him. ” One of the central biblical passages on which Arius bases his arguments is the word of the Wisdom of God from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs 8: 22-31.
22. The LORD hath been with me in the beginning of his way, before his creation, from everlasting;
23. I have been anointed from the beginning, before the earth was created.
24. I was born when there were no abysses, when there were no springs, abundant with water.
25. I was born before the mountains were set, before the hills,
26. When the LORD had not yet made the earth, nor the field, nor the first dust of the universe.
27. When He prepared the heavens, I was there. When he drew the circle on the face of the abyss,
28. When he established the clouds above, when he strengthened the fountains of the deep,
29. When he gave the law to the sea, that the waters might not pass over its borders, when he laid the foundations of the earth,
30. I was with Him an artist, and I rejoiced all the day long, rejoicing before Him all the time,
On the occasion of the heresy of Arius, Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, in one of his conversations with the clergy, stated that “St. Trinity is in trinity one ”, ie expresses the idea of the unity of all persons of St. Trinity. Presbyter Arius, who was present at this talk, objected that if the Father gave birth to the Son, then the Born One, as such, has the beginning of his being: therefore, there must have always been a time when the Son was not and He has his being in non-existence. This is how the church historian Socrates tells us about the beginning of the heresy of Arius. According to Sozomen, Arius repeatedly expressed the view that “the Son came from the non-existent,” that “He is of his own accord capable of evil as well as of virtue,” that He is a creature and a creature. Those who listen to these reflections require the bishop to forbid Arius from committing such a mistake, because God did not create the creatures from his Divine essence, God created the world from nothing. It is characteristic of creatures in relation to God that they are not one with Him. It is in the realm of the ears, in the realm of nature, that the gap between the created and God is impassable. The head of the Alexandria Cathedral, Alexander, organized a competition in this subject, after which he joined the opinion that “the Son is eternal and one in essence with the Father,” and then forbade Arius to spread his teaching. Arius, already having several elders and even bishops on his side, disobeyed the ban and continued to preach his teaching, which soon spread far beyond Alexandria. Then ep. Alexander, with the consent of the ecclesiastical Egyptian, Tivaid, Syrian, Libyan bishops, excommunicated Aria, who in turn appealed against Bishop Alexander to the bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius, with whom he studied theology at the famous St. Lucian in the Antioch school. Bishop Eusebius instructed Arius to preach on the subject: “What happened was not before the moment it happened.” Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and Arius were joined by five other bishops, including the most famous scholar of the fourth century, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, addressed the bishops of various cities with messages in which he expounded and refuted the teachings of Arius; Arius, on the other hand, spreads his work “Waist”, in which, partly in verse, partly in prose, he formulates his ideas in more detail. Jacob Latham, a professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, presents the Mediterranean city, performed in pompous processions, where social rituals are the focus of ancient urban life, which is the main reason for the fierce Christian controversy against traditional spectacles, which they call pompa diaboli. In the fourth century in the Mediterranean, churches developed their own forms of public ceremonialism to build their own civic identity. One such example from Alexandria is Presbyter Arius, who composed easy-to-remember verses performed by his supporters in processions organized by them in the city. The Alexandrian Melitian schismatics, in turn, exhumed the bodies of the martyrs and marched through the streets to the parish temples. St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Bishop of Constantinople, 379-381) organized a solemn liturgical procession for the return of a church occupied by the Arianists, and his opponents lined up in the procession and abused Gregory’s Nicaean supporters. As early as the beginning of the next century in Constantinople, intra-Christian rivalry led to duels between the religious processions of the late Aryan followers and those of the Nicene Creed.
At the first information about Arianism, Emperor Constantine took a neutral position between the disputing parties, advising them to stop “arguing” and “to keep their special opinions in the secret of their souls.” Finally, the emperor decided to convene a council of bishops of the whole church.