Tag: theology proper
Melito of Sardis – The Impassible Suffered
Doctrinal Development and the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
While much of the first four centuries of Church History concern the deity of Christ, His relationship with the Father, the nature of the union of God and Man, and even the generation of the Son, less attention was paid to the development of the Holy Spirit, or the 3rd Person of the Trinity. For most of the formative years, the Holy Spirit was not seen as a separate person, and indeed, during the great debates of the 4th century, was pushed to side as a topic. It was only after the council in 381 that a doctrine of the Spirit as an entity separate and distinct from the Father and the Son began to develop.
4th Century Christianity: Marcellus’ Fight
Continuing our look at the 4th Century and doctrinal development.
Athanasius and Proper Contemplation of the Father and the Son
The Son is in the Father because his whole being is proper to the Father’s essence…so that whoever sees the Son sees what belongs to the Father and understands that the Son’s being, because it comes from the Father, is therefore in the Father. The Father is in the Son, because the Son is what is from the Father and belongs to him. They relate to one another as the radiance to the sun, the word to the thought expressed and the stream to the fountain. Whoever contemplates the Son like this contemplates what belongs to the Father’s essence and knows that the Father is in the Son. (Discourses Against the Arians 3.23.3 ACD vol 1 pg72)
Fragments of a letter from Alexander of Alexandria to Sylvester of Rome
We are continuing our look at the Arian documents of the Fourth Century. For those of just joining us, this is an exercise for me, although I hope others feel free to join in.
This Sylvester was the Bishop of Rome during Nicea. He didn’t attend, but did send legates. It is rightly said that the Arian controversy concerned the East, rather, played out in the East, but Rome kept an eye on it, and eventually would be the See which offered the compromise which because standarized in 381.
Irenaeus and the only Son of Adam Who is God
Those who claim that Jesus was a man…have not yet been joined in the Word of God the Father. I have demonstrated from Scriptures that there is not one son of Adam who is called God or Lord in an absolute and universal sense. But Jesus is God himself, by his own right, beyond any human being who has ever lived. He is the Lord, the eternal King….and the incarnated Word… He is the only Lord, the wonderful , the counselor, the one who is beautiful in appearance and the Almighty God. (Against Heresies 3.19.2 ACD vol 1 pg 68_
Letter of Alexander of Alexandria Sent to Melitius and All Bishops
As the debate intensified across the Empire, Alexander began to appeal to more for help in stemming the tide of Arianism.
Letter from Alexander of Alexandria to his Clergy
The Fourth Century is the most interesting time in the development of Christian doctrines. For me, we can find heroes of the Faith, Athanasius, Marcellus, Julius, and evil scoundrels – Arius, the various Eusebius’, the Roman Emperors. Here is a short letter from the great Bishop of the city of Alexander to his clergy. By this time, the local church had evolved from the house church in Acts, to actual church buildings, to a central building with satellites throughout the city or area. What had evolved from a few in leadership, with one surrounded by a council gave away to the council having their own independent parishes.