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The Triumph Of The New Nicene Or





The Arian controversy was the most important series of events in the
internal history of the Christian Church in the fourth century, without
reference to the truth or error of the positions taken or the rightful
place of dogma within the Church. It roused more difficulties, problems,
and disputes, led to more persecutions, ended in greater party triumphs
than any other ecclesiastical or religious movement. It entered upon its
last important phase about the time of the accession of the Emperor
Julian. From that time the parties began to recognize their real
affiliations and sought a basis of union in a common principle. The effect
was that on the accession of Christian emperors the Church was able to
advance rapidly toward a definitive statement. Of the emperors that
followed Julian, Valentinian I (364-375), who ruled in the West, took a
moderate and tolerant position in the question regarding the existence of
heathenism alongside of the Church and heretical parties within the
Church, though afterward harsher measures were taken by his son and
successor ( 69). In the East his colleague Valens (364-378) supported the
extreme Arian party and persecuted the other parties, at the same time
tolerating heathenism. This only brought the anti-Arians more closely
together as a new party on the basis of a new interpretation of the Nicene
formula ( 70, cf. 66, c). On the death of Valens at Adrianople,
378, an opportunity was given this new party, which it has become
customary to call the New Nicene party, to support Theodosius (379-395) in
his work of putting through the orthodox formula at the Council of
Constantinople, 381 ( 71).





Next: The Emperors From Jovian To Theo

Previous: Julian The Apostate



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