To All Participants of the Rare Card (L)Earning Program,
First off, before we begin with this essay, I want to thank everyone for your support and patients over this winter. Things have gotten so much better since I returned, and they are still getting better for me medically. While I was away, I realized that I should be a better example to all our players, especially those in the Rare Card (L)Earning Program so I have written an essay for the program on the much delayed and last card of last year. So here he is, the dissenter of Nicaea.
Raised in his Christian faith, he grew to find his profession in his religion. In his later years he was given the privilege to serve as a priest in both Libya and Egypt. Now most of his childhood, early adulthood, and writings were destroyed, outlawed, and even hidden for many years due to what I am about to explain.
Around 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had converted to Christianity and desired to stop the many divisions that had grown within the church. These groups were divided over doctrines that were in his mind distorted. He assembled a council in Nicaea to vote on a unified message that all the churches in the land would teach. During this council there were many arguments over the doctrine of Christ but none more volatile than the relationship of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Many believed that they were all one distinct being but others believe in the literal translation that they were all distinct individual beings with Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God.
Arius was one of many who believed that God, Jesus Christ (the Son of God), and the Holy Ghost were distinct individuals and would not conform to the belief of the Trinity. For his leadership role and to make him an example Constantine exiled Illyricum, never to return.
Many years later after the belief that Arius held, then called Arianism after his own name, could not be stopped, Constantine invited him back to meet in private councils with the church leaders. Arius would not denounce his beliefs but instead agreed to not voice them publicly. As he was leaving one of these councils, he dropped dead. Many of the church leaders pronounced this as a miracle and that God had struck him down blasphemy but many believed that he was poisoned. We may never know what happened to him, but Constantine decreed that his writing should be destroyed. Many of his explanations of his beliefs and history were destroyed but many of his followers hid what they could and continued to teach it.
Wiles, Maurice, 1923–2005. (1996). Archetypal heresy: Arianism through the centuries. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 5.
Williams, Rowan (2002) . Arius (Revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans. p. 98.
Constantine the Great Rules - National Geographic - Retrieved 23 September 2014.