The Trinity Delusion An examination of the doctrine of the Trinity

Nicean Controversy Timeline




DATE PLACE EVENT
ca. 180-190 Alexandria, Egypt Catechetical School of Alexandria founded by Pantaenus who was a Stoic philosopher. He sought to reconcile Christianity with Greek philosophy. He was succeeded by Clement. The Alexandrians favored allegorical/philosophical interpretations and the School of Antioch favors a more literal approach emphasizing the practicalities of the Christian life. This difference of opinion creates a theological rivalry between the two schools. Other notable personalities connected to the Alexandrian tradition are Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Heraclas, Dionysius, and Didymus the Blind.
212 Africa Tertullian writes that there was a time when the Son was not one hundred years before Arius is chastized for the same.
ca. 215   Sabellius taught that God was indivisible, with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being three modes or manifestations of one divine Person. Calixtus (Callistus), the bishop of Rome, is believed to have been a Sabellian. It also appears that Sabellians used the term homoousian.
220 Rome Sabellius is excommunicated by Callixtus.
249-251 Roman Empire Decian persecution.
ca. 264-269 Antioch The Synods of Antioch, about 70 bishops, reject the use of the term homoousios due to its basis in Greek philosophy and that the term seemed to conflate the Father and the Son which also nullified any real purpose in Jesus' humanity. Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, was deposed on the basis of these decisions.
269 Palestine Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch is deposed on charges of monarchianism. Paul taught that Jesus was born a mere man, but that at his baptism he was infused with the divine Logos or word of God. Hence, Jesus was seen not as God-become-man but as man-become-God. However, he refuses to give up his position as bishop and he is under the protection of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Three years later he is forced to step down under the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
ca. 297 Egypt Athanasius born, apparently in Alexandria.
Feb 23, 303 During an ancient Roman festival, Terminalia, Diocletian and Galerius posted an edict banning Christian worship and ordering churches throughout the empired to be pulled down. Church officials were ordered to hand over their sacred writings for burning. Ritual objects were to be confiscated by the imperial treasury. Christians who refused to abandon their faith were deprived of privileges, and in the case of upper class Christians, that meant immunity from torture. Christian slaves could not be freed and those that had been were order to return to servitude. No one had recourse to courts of law unless they had sacrificed to the gods which meant Christians were defenseless against all kinds of assaults against person and property. (Rubenstein, p.33).
303 Roman Empire Diocletian Persecution. This is the worst persecution in Christian history. Christians were killed, and their churches and writings were to be destroyed.
306 Alexandria Arius ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Alexandria.
311 Roman Empire The Donatist controversy begins. Bishops and presbyters who had given up the sacred writings, or abandoned the faith, or had exposed brethren, were considered traitors. The Donatists considered this to be total apostasy and disallowed these people to be restored to ecclesiatical positions of authority.
311 Egypt Arius is ordained presbyter of the Baucalis church at Alexandria by bishop Achillas of Alexandria, successor to Peter, who was martyred in 311.
312 Bythnia Lucian, priest of Antioch is martyred at Nicodemia in Bythnia.
312 Egypt Alexander became bishop of Alexandria
312 Africa Caecilian elected bishop of Carthage. He was lax toward the Traditores, who had saved themselves by handing over scriptures during the Diocletian persecution and he appeared unenthusiastic about the martyrs. Protestors reject Caecilian's election on the grounds that he was ordained by a traditore and elected a rival bishop named Majorinus.
312 Rome On the basis of a vision, Constantine attacks and defeats Maxentius near the Milvian bridge over the Tiber near Rome and becomes leader of the Western Roman Empire.
313 Italy Edict of Milan by Constantine in the West and agreed to by Licinius in the East legalized the practice of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Constantine's sister is wed to Licinius on this occasion.
315 Africa Majorinus dies, Donatus is his successor. The party becomes known as the Donatists.
316 Africa The Donatists appeal to Constantine, but he rules against them and banishes them in an effort to unite the church.
317 Asia Minor Eusebius, a follower of Lucian of Antioch, becomes bishop of Nicomedia
318 Palestine Eusebius of Caesarea becomes bishop of Caesarea sometime between 311 and 318.
318 Egypt Athanasius writes On the Incarnation of the Word.
319 Egypt In a public synod, Arius accuses Alexander of Sabellianism and the controversy erupts. Arius explains his views following Lucian of Antioch. Alexander later excommunicates Arius in an assembly. Political or partisan motives embitter the strife on both sides.
319 Egypt Arius writes a letter to Eusebius of Nicodemia in which he protests his unjust persecution and briefly outlines opposing theological opinons indicating why he and others are persecuted for believing the Son had a beginning. He notes that several men from the East have been condemned and Eusebius of Caesarea is among them. Eusebius writes several letters to bishops of Asia Minor supporting Arius.
319 Egypt Alexander responds by writing his Catholic Epistle condemning the teachings of the Arius and his colleagues.
320 Asia Minor Arius writes his Letter to Alexander in Alexandria summarizing his beliefs. In his letter he makes is plainly clear the Son is not among the created things of creation but was begotten before creation.
321 Alesxandria Alexander calls the bishops of the region together at a Synod in Alexandria and excommunicates Arius.
323 Rome Constantine builds a church to Peter on the site of his cemetary.
324 Egypt Alexander writes the Letter to Alexander in Constantinople, copies to other bishops, warning him of the Arian teaching.
324 Roman Empire Constantine defeats Licinius, executes him, and becomes sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.
325 Palestine Hosius (Ossius), Bishop of Cordova, representative of Constantine, presides over an anti-Arian council in Antioch that was attended by fifty-nine bishops, forty-six of whom would soon attend the Council of Nicaea. Eusebius of Caesarea is condemned for being an Arian sympathizer and a creed is formulated favoring Alexander's theology.
325 Nicea Constantine calls and presides over the first ecumenical church council at Nicea in Bythnia. It was attended by about one sixth of all the bishops in the empire. The Council of Nicea becomes the foundation of a state church, called by the Emperor and attended by ecclesiastical representatives in his empire. Athanasius attends as an attendant of Alexander. Constantine is said to have proposed the statement "of the same substance of the Father" himself. The Nicene Creed is drafted by Eusebius of Caesarea. The original contains the phrase "substance (ousia) of the Father" and "same substance (homoousios) of the Father." The Nicene Creed does not promote the same idea as contemporary Trintarianism but still emphasizes the belief in "one God" identified as "the Father Almighty" and that the Son of God is divine in the same sense that God the Father is divine. Eighteen bishops opposed the creed. Arius is exiled to Illyricum along with Tehonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais. Arius' writings are ordered to be destroyed and burned.
???  Eusebius of Nicodemia withdraws his support from the Nicene Creed and convinces Constantine it is Sabellian, teaching that Father and Son are the same person with the term homoousios. The confusion results from ambiguities in the definitions of the terms hypostasis and ousia and a concept that homoousia could be take to mean the same person as the Father where homoiousia would be taken to mean the Son is like the Father but not the Father. Just as Arius accused Alexander of Sabellianism, the entire episode is driven by a fear of falling into Sabellian teaching.
327  Arius and Euzoius write the 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 which contains the phrase, "His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten from Him before all ages, God the Word, by whom all things were made."
328   Constantine recalls Arius from exile.
328 Egypt Alexander dies and is succeed by Athanasius
330 Greece Constantine moves his capital to Byzantium (Constantinople).
330 Danube Region Constantine grants land to the Vandals in Pannonia along the Danube.
330 Greece Constantine writes to Athanasius. saying that the Arian view presented by Eusebius of Nicodemia had been distorted and was persuaded that those willing to submit to the Nicaean definitions should be readmitted into the Church. Athanasius refused this saying that no fellowship could exist between the Church and "the one who denied the divinity of Christ."
333   Christian Jews ordered by Constantine to abandon all ties to Judaism or be killed
335 Palestine Led by Eusebius of Caesarea and Eusebius of Nicomedia, the Pronouncement of the Synod of Tyre and Jerusalem restores Arius and his colleagues into communion with the Church. Although he had arrived with forty nine bishops from Egypt who professed the faith of Nicea, they were not permitted to enter. Athanasius is deposed and immediately appeals to Constantine who agrees to hear his complaint. The Emperor then writes his Letter to the Bishops Assembled at Tyre requesting to meet over the matter.
336   Constantine meets with Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesareas, Ursacius, and Valens. Constantine agrees with Eusebius and the council's findings and exiles Athanasius to Trier. Athanasius has also been accused by them of scheming to hinder the capital's supply of corn. He is in exile for two and a half years.
336   December 25th is established as the date for Christmas.
336   Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, is deposed by a council at Constantinople for Sabellianism after writing a treatise in 335 defending the Nicene theology.
336 Greece On his way to a formal ceremony to be restored as presbyter in Constantinople, Arius suddenly dies suspiciously. His friends claim he was poisoned. The account of his death matches their claims.
337 Roman Empire Constantine is baptized shortly before his death by Eusebius of Nicodemia, an Arian. His eulogy is delivered by Eusebius of Caesarea.
337 Roman Empire The Roman Empire is divided among Constantine's three sons, Constantius in the east, Constantine II takes Britain and Gaul, and Constans is over Italy and Illyricum.
337 Roman Empire Constantius, orders the return of Athanasius to Alexandria.
338 Constantinople Eusebius of Nicomedia is installed as bishop of Constantinople.
338 Palestine A council at Antioch deposes Athanasius and orders him exiled. Athanasius flees Alexandria and is replaced by Gregory of Cappodocia.
339   Eusebius of Caesarea dies.
339 Rome Julius I, bishop of Rome, receives Marcellus and Athanasius into communion with the Roman church where Athanasius appeals to the Nicene position.
340 Germania Ulfilas converted to Arian Christianity. He takes it to the Germanic tribes, gives them an alphabet, and translates the Bible into their language. Most of the Germanic tribes became Arian Christians.
340 Roman Empire Constantine II dies and his brother Constans becomes sole ruler of the West. Constans supports Athanasius while his Eastern brother opposes him. The Church of Rome is in the West.
340 Italy Constans summons Athanasius to Milan.
341 Palestine Two Arian councils are held in Antioch. Of the ninety-seven bishops present, none are from the West and most are hostile to Athanasius. During this council, the First, Second and Third 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.) The Fourth Arian Confession is written at the second council of the year. The bishops of the east deny being "Arians" because the name insinuates they follow a priest and are teaching new innovations.
342   Eusebius of Nicodemia dies.
343 Sardicia Constans, ruler of the West, 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.
344 Palestine Arian council is held in Antioch. the council writes the Fifth Arian Confession (or Macrostich), which is notably longer than the confessions written at Antioch in 341. The Macrostich is the Eastern creed of Sardica plus eight paragraphs addressed to the western bishops
345 Italy A council is held in Milan and the Fifth Arian confession is reviewed.
345/346   Gregory dies and Athanasius is restored as bishop of Alexandria.
347 Italy A second council is held in Milan.
350   The rebel Magnentius murders Constans.
351   Second council is convened at Sirmium under the supervision of Basil of Ancyra. The Sixth Arian (or First Sirmium) Confession is written.
353   A council is held at Arles that is directed against Athanasius.
353   Constantius defeats Magnentius and becomes sole ruler of the Roman Empire and works to elimate Nicene theology.
355 Italy When told that it was the church’s policy that someone could not be condemned without a formal hearing, Constantius responded, “My will also is a canon of the church.” Afraid, many bishops signed the condemnation of Athanasius. Those who refused were banished from the church
356 Italy Constantius sent a letter to Athanasius granting him an audience. He answered that there must have been an error, for he did not request one. The Emperor then ordered troops to be sent to Alexandria.
356 Egypt Athanasius is forcefully removed and replaced by George who was influenced by Aetius who taught the Son is unlike (anomoios) the Father and cannot be the same or similar essence as the Father. Athanasius spends his exile among desert monks where he writes Apology to Constantius, Apology for his Flight, Letter to the Monks, and the History of the Arians.
357 Palestine Eudoxius, another theologian influenced by Aetius, becomes bishop of Antioch.
357   Third Council of Sirmium. The Seventh Arian (or Second Sirmium) Confession is written also known as The Blasphemy. The Western bishops move as close as they will to finding a compromise with the Arians. Both homoousios (of the same essence) and homoiousios (of similar/like essence) are avoided as unbiblical, and it is agreed that the Father is greater than his subordinate son.
358   Council at Ancyra. Under the leadership of its bishop, Basil, releases a statement using the term homoiousios.
359   Fourth council of Sirmium. The Fourth Sirmium Confession is written which proposes a compromise formula
359   Constantius summons two councils to develop a unifying creed for Christianity. The Synod of Ariminum (Rimini) is held during springtime in the West and is attended by more than 400 bishops. The Synod of Seleucia is held in the East during autumn and is attended by about 160 bishops. The Ninth Arian Confession is written, affirming 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
359 Gaul Julian battles and defeats the Franks.
360 Greece A council is convened in January to review the conclusions of Ariminum and Seleucia. The Tenth Arian Confession is written. At these councils the term ousia was rejected and it was argued that although both homoousios and homoiousios had no Scriptural warrant the term homoios did, and meant the same as homoiousios. The term anomoios is also condemned as unscriptural. By 360, bishops in both East and West had completely rejected the term homoousios as being unscriptural. Commenting on this twenty years later, Jerome writes that the world "awoke with a groan to find itself Arian."
361   Constantius' rule weakens, he dies, and is replaced by his pagan cousin Julian as emperor. Julian is an Apostate from Christianity and indifferently allows Athanasius to return from exile but was exiled again a short time later.
361 Palestine A council is held in Antioch during the installation of Euzonius as bishop of Antioch. During this council, the Eleventh Arian Confession is written. This creed is strongly Anomoean (the Son is not like the Father), leading Athanasius to remark that the Arians have reverted back to the first doctrines framed by Arius.
November 361 Constantius the Emperor dies and is replaced by his nephew Julian.(Rubenstein, p. 3)
November 361 Alexandria The Arian bishop of Alexandria, George of Cappadocia, is imprisoned by Athanasius and his supporters. He had also been a teacher of Emperor Julian. (Rubenstein, p. 3)
Dec 24, 361 Alexandria The Arian bishop of Alexandria, George of Cappadocia, who had been imprisoned, was murdered by a riotous mob. (Rubenstein, pp. 1-3)
362 Alexandria At a Synod in Alexandria, the Cappadocians and Athanasians reach an agreement to define the word hypostasis as a term distinguishing individual subsistences (person) of the Trinity and the word ousia as a term distinguishing the common essence (substance) of the Trinity. About this time, Athanasius has also been developing the concept that the Holy Spirit is the third person sharing the same ousia. This paves the way to accept the term homoousia at the later Council of Constantinople.
362   Athanasius is exiled by Julian.
363   Athanasius quietly returns from exile and is welcomed by Emperor Jovian.
364   Council of Laodicea anathematizes Christians who keep a 7th day Sabbath.
365   Valens, an Arian, exiles Athanasius but returns a short time later unchallenged. He was exiled a total of five times.
370   The Huns invade Europe and force the Visigoths to settle inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire.
373   Athanasius dies.
378 Sirmium Six Arian bishops are deposed.
378   Gratian, Emperor of the West, issues an edict of religious toleration.
378 Thrace Battle of Adrianople west of Constantinople. Goths crush the Roman army udner Valens.
379   Young Emperor Gratian proclaims Theodosius as "Augustus" and grants him the Eastern dominion.
379   Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire and Damasus, Bishop of Rome, hastens to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see.
380 Roman Empire From Thessalonica, and published at Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius declares Christianity to be the state religion in his edict, "The Catholic Faith" advising that all subjects of the Empire should profess the faith of the Bishops of Rome and Alexandria, and the conventicles of the heretics were not to be called churches. He decreed that the title of “Catholic Church” should be exclusively confined to those who rendered equal homage to the three persons of the Trinity, and that those individuals who entertained opposite opinions should be treated as heretics, regarded with contempt, and delivered over to punishment. Theodosius began expelling Arians from his dominion beginning at his capital Constantinople with the Arian bishop Demophilus of Constantinople who is replaced with Gregory of Nazianzus, a Nicean. Trinitarianism becomes the official teaching of the church by order of the state.
381 Roman Empire Theodosius orders all churches should be surrendered to Nicene bishops and banned Arianism by law. He issued 18 edicts in all against various dissenting Christian sects including a prohibition against building new churches to replace those taken from them. Nicene-Athanasian bishops were granted full control of the church in the Roman empire.
 
Arian Christianity is now illegal to practice in the Roman Empire and Arian history becomes closely tied to the history of the Germanic Arian Christians.
 
      
 
380-700 Germania Arianism continues to flourish, mostly in Germanic territories outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire. These Arian nations include the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Alemanni, Suevi, Lombards, and Burgundians. Jewish communities also find Arians more hospitable toward them than Athanasians.
381 Constantinople The Second Ecumenical Council is convened by Theodosius to review the controversy since Nicaea and affirm Nicene formulation. 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.
385 Spain Priscillian is condemned by civil authorities for heresy and/or magic and becomes the first man executed for heresy. He, or his Bishop friend Instantius, apparently quotes 1 John 5:7 in Liber Apologeticus.
386   Augustine converts from Manicheanism to Christianity. He is baptized by Ambrose of Milan.
391 Africa Augustine ordained a priest at Hippo (near Carthage).
395 Africa Augustine ordained bishop of Hippo.
409 Spain The Vandals settle in Spain after marauding through Gaul.
410 Rome Rome is sacked by the Arian Alaric and the Visigoths.
416 Spain The Visigoths overrun the Vandals.
429 Africa Arian Vandals cross into Africa under King Genseric (Gaiseric) with 80,000 followers.
431 Ephesus Nestorius denounced and the church affirms Mary is the Mother of God [the Son].
439 Africa King Genseric of the Vandals makes Carthage his capital.
451 Chalcedon Affirmation that Christ had/has two natures and two wills.
451 Gaul The Huns invade and establish themselves in Gaul.
455 Rome King Genseric of the Vandals plunders Rome over a two week period and then leaves.
462   The Vandal kingdom includes Africa, the islands of the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands.
476 Rome The Germanic King Odoacer deposes Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Roman Empire.
476 Rome Theodoric, Arian King of the Ostrogoths, invades Rome and eventually kills Odoacer. He considered himself a protector of Arian Christianity.
493   Clovis marries Clothilda, a Burgundian Christian. Burgundians are typically Arian but Clothilda is Athanasian.
494   Clothilda and Bishop Remi attempt to convert Clovis to Christianity. One day when he is battling the Alemanni and is greatly outnumbered he vows to convert if he wins. He does win and keeps his vow.
496   Clovis, King of the Franks converts to the Christian faith. This significant event paves the way for the end of Arian Christianity in Europe through political means.
 
      
 
533 Africa Belisarius under Justinian attack and defeat the Vandals and the Vandal Kingdom comes to an end.
551 Spain The Visigoths establish their Kingdom centered at Toledo.
597 Spain The Visigoth King is converted from Arianism.
711 Spain The Moors invade Spain from Africa and the Kingdom of the Visigoths comes to and end.
Last Revised: January 17, 2011
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Nicean Controversy
Trinity on Trial An in-depth examination of Trinitarian doctrine
Nicean-Arian Controversy: Timeline

Theological or Political Conclusion?

DATE PLACE EVENT
ca. 180 Egypt School of Alexandria founded. Alexandrians favor allegorical interpretations and the School of Antioch favors a more literal approach. This difference of opinion creates a theological rivalry between the two schools.
212 Africa Tertullian writes "there was a time when the Son was not" one hundred years before Arius is persecuted for the same.
ca. 250 Africa Arius born of Libyan descent.
269 Palestine Paul of Samosata is excommunicated for his monarchian teachings. The presbyter Lucian appears to have refused to assent to Paul's condemnation and is also excluded from communion with the church under three successive bishops but later restored to fellowship. Lucian, and his associate Dorotheus, appears to have founded the School of Antioch about this time or may have simply headed up the school earlier started by Paul of Samosata. Arius may have been a disciple of his during this time period. Eusebius of Nicodemia and Asterius were also Lucian's disciples.
ca. 297 Egypt Athanasius born, apparently in Alexandria.
303 Roman Empire Diocletian Persecution. This is the worst persecution in Christian history. Christians were killed, and their churches and writings were to be destroyed.
306 Alexandria Arius ordained deacon by Peter, bishop of Alexandria.
311 Roman Empire The Donatist controversy begins. Bishops and presbyters who had given up the sacred writings, or abandoned the faith, or had exposed brethren, were considered traitors. The Donatists considered this to be total apostasy and disallowed these people to be restored to ecclesiatical positions of authority.
311 Egypt Arius is ordained presbyter of the Baucalis church at Alexandria by bishop Achillas of Alexandria, successor to Peter, who was martyred in 311.
312 Bythnia Lucian, priest of Antioch is martyred at Nicodemia in Bythnia. Arius followed his teachings.
312 Egypt Alexander becomes bishop of Alexandria
312 Africa Caecilian elected bishop of Carthage. He was lax toward the Traditores, who had saved themselves by handing over scriptures during the Diocletian persecution and he appeared unenthusiastic about the martyrs. Protestors reject Caecilian's election on the grounds that he was ordained by a traditore and elected a rival bishop named Majorinus.
312 Rome On the basis of a vision, Constantine attacks and defeats Maxentius near the Milvian bridge over the Tiber near Rome and becomes leader of the Western Roman Empire.
313 Italy Edict of Milan by Constantine in the West and agreed to by Licinius in the East legalized the practice of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Constantine's sister is wed to Licinius on this occasion.
315 Africa Majorinus dies, Donatus is his successor. The party becomes known as the Donatists.
316 Africa The Donatists appeal to Constantine, but he rules against them and banishes them in an effort to unite the church.
317 Asia Minor Eusebius, a follower of Lucian of Antioch, becomes bishop of Nicomedia
318 Palestine Eusebius of Caesarea becomes bishop of Caesarea sometime between 311 and 318.
318 Egypt Athanasius writes On the Incarnation of the Word.
319 Egypt In a public synod, Arius accuses Alexander of Sabellianism and the controversy erupts. Arius explains his views following Lucian of Antioch. Alexander later excommunicates Arius in an assembly. Political or party motives begin to embitter the strife on both sides
319 Egypt Arius writes a letter to Eusebius of Nicodemia in which he protests his unjust persecution and briefly outlines opposing theological opinons indicating why he and others are persecuted for believing the Son had a beginning. He notes that several men from the East have been condemned and Eusebius of Caesarea is among them. Eusebius writes several letters to bishops of Asia Minor supporting Arius.
319 Egypt Alexander responds by writing his Catholic Epistle condemning the teachings of the Arius and his colleagues.
320 Asia Minor Arius writes his Letter to Alexander in Alexandria summarizing his beliefs. In his letter he makes is plainly clear the Son is not among the created things of creation but was begotten before creation.
321 Alesxandria Alexander calls the bishops of the region together at a Synod in Alexandria and excommunicates Arius.
323 Rome Constantine builds a church to Peter on the site of his cemetary.
324 Egypt Alexander writes the Letter to Alexander in Constantinople, copies to other bishops, warning him of the Arian teaching.
324 Roman Empire Constantine defeats Licinius, executes him, and becomes sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.
325 Palestine Hosius (Ossius), Bishop of Cordova, representative of Constantine, presides over an anti-Arian council in Antioch that was attended by fifty-nine bishops, forty-six of whom would soon attend the Council of Nicaea. Eusebius of Caesarea is condemned for being an Arian sympathizer and a creed is formulated favoring Alexander's theology.
325 Nicea Constantine calls and presides over the first ecumenical church council at Nicea in Bythnia. It was attended by about one sixth of all the bishops in the empire. The Council of Nicea becomes the foundation of a state church, called by the Emperor and attended by ecclesiastical representatives in his empire. Athanasius attends as an attendant of Alexander. Constantine is said to have proposed the statement "of the same substance of the Father" himself. The Nicene Creed is drafted by Eusebius of Caesarea. The original contains the phrase "substance (ousia) of the Father" and "same substance (homoousios) of the Father." The Nicene Creed does not promote the same idea as contemporary Trintarianism but still emphasizes the belief in "one God" identified as "the Father Almighty" and that the Son of God is divine in the same sense that God the Father is divine. Eighteen bishops opposed the creed. Arius is exiled to Illyricum along with Tehonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais. Arius' writings are ordered to be destroyed and burned.
???  Eusebius of Nicodemia withdraws his support from the Nicene Creed and convinces Constantine it is Sabellian, teaching that Father and Son are the same person with the term homoousios. The confusion results from ambiguities in the definitions of the terms hypostasis and ousia and a concept that homoousia could be take to mean the same person as the Father where homoiousia would be taken to mean the Son is like the Father but not the Father. Just as Arius accused Alexander of Sabellianism, the entire episode is driven by a fear of falling into Sabellian teaching.
327  Arius and Euzoius write the 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 which contains the phrase, "His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten from Him before all ages, God the Word, by whom all things were made."
328   Constantine recalls Arius from exile.
328 Egypt Alexander dies and is succeed by Athanasius
330 Greece Constantine moves his capital to Byzantium (Constantinople).
330 Danube Region Constantine grants land to the Vandals in Pannonia along the Danube.
330 Greece Constantine writes to Athanasius. saying that the Arian view presented by Eusebius of Nicodemia had been distorted and was persuaded that those willing to submit to the Nicaean definitions should be readmitted into the Church. Athanasius refused this saying that no fellowship could exist between the Church and "the one who denied the divinity of Christ."
333   Christian Jews ordered by Constantine to abandon all ties to Judaism or be killed
335 Palestine Led by Eusebius of Caesarea and Eusebius of Nicomedia, the Pronouncement of the Synod of Tyre and Jerusalem restores Arius and his colleagues into communion with the Church. Although he had arrived with forty nine bishops from Egypt who professed the faith of Nicea, they were not permitted to enter. Athanasius is deposed and immediately appeals to Constantine who agrees to hear his complaint. The Emperor then writes his Letter to the Bishops Assembled at Tyre requesting to meet over the matter.
336   Constantine meets with Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesareas, Ursacius, and Valens. Constantine agrees with Eusebius and the council's findings and exiles Athanasius to Trier. Athanasius has also been accused by them of scheming to hinder the capital's supply of corn. He is in exile for two and a half years.
336   December 25th is established as the date for Christmas.
336   Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, is deposed by a council at Constantinople for Sabellianism after writing a treatise in 335 defending the Nicene theology.
336 Greece On his way to a formal ceremony to be restored as presbyter in Constantinople, Arius suddenly dies suspiciously. His friends claim he was poisoned. The account of his death matches their claims.
337 Roman Empire Constantine is baptized shortly before his death by Eusebius of Nicodemia, an Arian. His eulogy is delivered by Eusebius of Caesarea.
337 Roman Empire The Roman Empire is divided among Constantine's three sons, Constantius in the east, Constantine II takes Britain and Gaul, and Constans is over Italy and Illyricum.
337 Roman Empire Constantius, orders the return of Athanasius to Alexandria.
338 Constantinople Eusebius of Nicomedia is installed as bishop of Constantinople.
338 Palestine A council at Antioch deposes Athanasius and orders him exiled. Athanasius flees Alexandria and is replaced by Gregory of Cappodocia.
339   Eusebius of Caesarea dies.
339 Rome Julius I, bishop of Rome, receives Marcellus and Athanasius into communion with the Roman church where Athanasius appeals to the Nicene position.
340 Germania Ulfilas converted to Arian Christianity. He takes it to the Germanic tribes, gives them an alphabet, and translates the Bible into their language. Most of the Germanic tribes became Arian Christians.
340 Roman Empire Constantine II dies and his brother Constans becomes sole ruler of the West. Constans supports Athanasius while his Eastern brother opposes him. The Church of Rome is in the West.
340 Italy Constans summons Athanasius to Milan.
341 Palestine Two Arian councils are held in Antioch. Of the ninety-seven bishops present, none are from the West and most are hostile to Athanasius. During this council, the First, Second and Third 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.) The Fourth Arian Confession is written at the second council of the year. The bishops of the east deny being "Arians" because the name insinuates they follow a priest and are teaching new innovations.
342   Eusebius of Nicodemia dies.
343 Sardicia Constans, ruler of the West, 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.
344 Palestine Arian council is held in Antioch. the council writes the Fifth Arian Confession (or Macrostich), which is notably longer than the confessions written at Antioch in 341. The Macrostich is the Eastern creed of Sardica plus eight paragraphs addressed to the western bishops
345 Italy A council is held in Milan and the Fifth Arian confession is reviewed.
345/346   Gregory dies and Athanasius is restored as bishop of Alexandria.
347 Italy A second council is held in Milan.
350   The rebel Magnentius murders Constans.
351   Second council is convened at Sirmium under the supervision of Basil of Ancyra. The Sixth Arian (or First Sirmium) Confession is written.
353   A council is held at Arles that is directed against Athanasius.
353   Constantius defeats Magnentius and becomes sole ruler of the Roman Empire and works to elimate Nicene theology.
355 Italy When told that it was the church’s policy that someone could not be condemned without a formal hearing, Constantius responded, “My will also is a canon of the church.” Afraid, many bishops signed the condemnation of Athanasius. Those who refused were banished from the church
356 Italy Constantius sent a letter to Athanasius granting him an audience. He answered that there must have been an error, for he did not request one. The Emperor then ordered troops to be sent to Alexandria.
356 Egypt Athanasius is forcefully removed and replaced by George who was influenced by Aetius who taught the Son is unlike (anomoios) the Father and cannot be the same or similar essence as the Father. Athanasius spends his exile among desert monks where he writes Apology to Constantius, Apology for his Flight, Letter to the Monks, and the History of the Arians.
357 Palestine Eudoxius, another theologian influenced by Aetius, becomes bishop of Antioch.
357   Third Council of Sirmium. The Seventh Arian (or Second Sirmium) Confession is written also known as The Blasphemy. The Western bishops move as close as they will to finding a compromise with the Arians. Both homoousios (of the same essence) and homoiousios (of similar/like essence) are avoided as unbiblical, and it is agreed that the Father is greater than his subordinate son.
358   Council at Ancyra. Under the leadership of its bishop, Basil, releases a statement using the term homoiousios.
359   Fourth council of Sirmium. The Fourth Sirmium Confession is written which proposes a compromise formula
359   Constantius summons two councils to develop a unifying creed for Christianity. The Synod of Ariminum (Rimini) is held during springtime in the West and is attended by more than 400 bishops. The Synod of Seleucia is held in the East during autumn and is attended by about 160 bishops. The Ninth Arian Confession is written, affirming 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
359 Gaul Julian battles and defeats the Franks.
360 Greece A council is convened in January to review the conclusions of Ariminum and Seleucia. The Tenth Arian Confession is written. At these councils the term ousia was rejected and it was argued that although both homoousios and homoiousios had no Scriptural warrant the term homoios did, and meant the same as homoiousios. The term anomoios is also condemned as unscriptural. By 360, bishops in both East and West had completely rejected the term homoousios as being unscriptural. Commenting on this twenty years later, Jerome writes that the world "awoke with a groan to find itself Arian."
361   Constantius' rule weakens, he dies, and is replaced by his pagan cousin Julian as emperor. Julian is an Apostate from Christianity and indifferently allows Athanasius to return from exile but was exiled again a short time later.
361 Palestine A council is held in Antioch during the installation of Euzonius as bishop of Antioch. During this council, the Eleventh Arian Confession is written. This creed is strongly Anomoean (the Son is not like the Father), leading Athanasius to remark that the Arians have reverted back to the first doctrines framed by Arius.
362 Alexandria At a Synod in Alexandria, the Cappadocians and Athanasians reach an agreement to define the word hypostasis as a term distinguishing individual subsistences (person) of the Trinity and the word ousia as a term distinguishing the common essence (substance) of the Trinity. About this time, Athanasius has also been developing the concept that the Holy Spirit is the third person sharing the same ousia. This paves the way to accept the term homoousia at the later Council of Constantinople.
362   Athanasius is exiled by Julian.
363   Athanasius quietly returns from exile and is welcomed by Emperor Jovian.
364   Council of Laodicea anathematizes Christians who keep a 7th day Sabbath.
365   Valens, an Arian, exiles Athanasius but returns a short time later unchallenged. He was exiled a total of five times.
370   The Huns invade Europe and force the Visigoths to settle inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire.
373   Athanasius dies.
378 Sirmium Six Arian bishops are deposed.
378   Gratian, Emperor of the West, issues an edict of religious toleration.
378 Thrace Battle of Adrianople west of Constantinople. Goths crush the Roman army udner Valens.
379   Young Emperor Gratian proclaims Theodosius as "Augustus" and grants him the Eastern dominion.
379   Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire and Damasus, Bishop of Rome, hastens to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see.
380 Roman Empire From Thessalonica, and published at Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius declares Christianity to be the state religion in his edict, "The Catholic Faith" advising that all subjects of the Empire should profess the faith of the Bishops of Rome and Alexandria, and the conventicles of the heretics were not to be called churches. He decreed that the title of “Catholic Church” should be exclusively confined to those who rendered equal homage to the three persons of the Trinity, and that those individuals who entertained opposite opinions should be treated as heretics, regarded with contempt, and delivered over to punishment. Theodosius began expelling Arians from his dominion beginning at his capital Constantinople with the Arian bishop Demophilus of Constantinople who is replaced with Gregory of Nazianzus, a Nicean. Trinitarianism becomes the official teaching of the church by order of the state.
381 Roman Empire Theodosius orders all churches should be surrendered to Nicene bishops and banned Arianism by law. He issued 18 edicts in all against various dissenting Christian sects including a prohibition against building new churches to replace those taken from them. Nicene-Athanasian bishops were granted full control of the church in the Roman empire.
 
Arian Christianity is now illegal to practice in the Roman Empire and Arian history becomes closely tied to the history of the Germanic Arian Christians.
 
      
 
380-700 Germania Arianism continues to flourish, mostly in Germanic territories outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire. These Arian nations include the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Alemanni, Suevi, Lombards, and Burgundians. Jewish communities also find Arians more hospitable toward them than Athanasians.
381 Constantinople The Second Ecumenical Council is convened by Theodosius to review the controversy since Nicaea and affirm Nicene formulation. 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.
385 Spain Priscillian is condemned by civil authorities for heresy and/or magic and becomes the first man executed for heresy. He, or his Bishop friend Instantius, apparently quotes 1 John 5:7 in Liber Apologeticus.
386   Augustine converts from Manicheanism to Christianity. He is baptized by Ambrose of Milan.
391 Africa Augustine ordained a priest at Hippo (near Carthage).
395 Africa Augustine ordained bishop of Hippo.
409 Spain The Vandals settle in Spain after marauding through Gaul.
410 Rome Rome is sacked by the Arian Alaric and the Visigoths.
416 Spain The Visigoths overrun the Vandals.
429 Africa Arian Vandals cross into Africa under King Genseric (Gaiseric) with 80,000 followers.
431 Ephesus Nestorius denounced and the church affirms Mary is the Mother of God [the Son].
439 Africa King Genseric of the Vandals makes Carthage his capital.
451 Chalcedon Affirmation that Christ had/has two natures and two wills.
451 Gaul The Huns invade and establish themselves in Gaul.
455 Rome King Genseric of the Vandals plunders Rome over a two week period and then leaves.
462   The Vandal kingdom includes Africa, the islands of the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Islands.
476 Rome The Germanic King Odoacer deposes Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Roman Empire.
476 Rome Theodoric, Arian King of the Ostrogoths, invades Rome and eventually kills Odoacer. He considered himself a protector of Arian Christianity.
493   Clovis marries Clothilda, a Burgundian Christian. Burgundians are typically Arian but Clothilda is Athanasian.
494   Clothilda and Bishop Remi attempt to convert Clovis to Christianity. One day when he is battling the Alemanni and is greatly outnumbered he vows to convert if he wins. He does win and keeps his vow.
496   Clovis, King of the Franks converts to the Christian faith. This significant event paves the way for the end of Arian Christianity in Europe through political means.
 
      
 
533 Africa Belisarius under Justinian attack and defeat the Vandals and the Vandal Kingdom comes to an end.
551 Spain The Visigoths establish their Kingdom centered at Toledo.
597 Spain The Visigoth King is converted from Arianism.
711 Spain The Moors invade Spain from Africa and the Kingdom of the Visigoths comes to and end.
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