- CHRISTIANITY'S most troublesome schism named after its principle exponent ARIUS who was a thorough-going Greek RATIONALIST who inherited the almost universally held LOGOS CHRISTOLOGY of the Eastern Roman Empire. He contended that GOD was immutable and unknowable therefore CHRIST had to be a created BEING made by God as the first in the created order. The ORTHODOX counter-attack on Arianism pointed out that Arian THEOLOGY reduced CHRIST to a demigod and in effect reintroduced POLYTHEISM into Christianity because Christ was worshipped among Arians. Politically, Arianism has been accused of seeing the Emperor as a semi-divine BEING and promoting the sacralization of the State. In February 325, Arius was condemned as a heretic at a Synod in Antioch. The Emperor Constantine, who was sympathetic to Arianism, then called the first ECUMENICAL council--known as the Council of Nicaea--which met in May 325 and also condemned Arius and his teachings, but instead of resolving the issues, the Council launched an Empire-wide Christological debate during which it often seemed that Arianism would triumph as the dominant form of Christianity. Only after a hundred years of heated debate did ORTHODOXY emerge triumphant. Today, a FORM of Arianism has been revived among UNITARIANS and the JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES. Wild claims are also made by various OCCULT groups about Arianism as a persecuted source of occult knowledge.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.