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Council of Aquileia, 381

Council of Aquileia, 381

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The Council of Aquileia in 381 AD was a church synod which was part of the struggle between Arian
Arian
Arian may refer to:* Arius, a Christian presbyter in the 3rd and 4th century* a given name in different cultures: Aria, Aryan or Arian...

 and orthodox ideas in Christianity. It was one of five councils of Aquileia
Councils of Aquileia
In the history of Christianity and later of the Roman Catholic Church, there have been several Councils of Aquileia. The Roman city of Aquileia at the head of the Adriatic is the seat of an ancient episcopal see, seat of the Patriarch of Aquileia....

.

The council was held in September 381 AD and summoned by Gratian
Gratian
Gratian was Roman Emperor from 375 to 383.The eldest son of Valentinian I, during his youth Gratian accompanied his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers...

, the Western Roman Emperor, explicitly to "solve the contradictions of discordant teaching" was in fact organized by Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

, though it was presided over by Valerian, Bishop of Aquileia. The council was attended by thirty-two bishops of the West, from Italy, Africa, Gaul and Illyria, among them St Philastrius of Brescia and St Justus of Lyons, deposed from their offices two bishops of the Eastern province of Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

, Palladius of Ratiaria
Palladius of Ratiaria
Palladius of Ratiaria modern Archar Bulgaria was a late 4th century Arian Christian theologian, based in the Roman province of Dacia in modern Bulgaria....

 and Secundianus of Singidunum, as partisans of Arius
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

.

Palladius had applied to the Emperor of the East for an opportunity to clear himself before a general council of these charges concerning the nature of Christ
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 and was unwilling to submit to a council of the Western bishops only, for Ambrose had previously assured the Emperor of the West that such a matter as the soundness or heresy of just two bishops might be settled by a council simply consisting of the bishops of the Diocese of Italy alone. Politics and Christology were inextricably entangled in the 4th century: "You have contrived, as appears by the sacred document (Gratian's amended convocation) which you have brought forward, that this should not be a full and General Council: in the absence of our Colleagues we cannot answer", was Palladius' stand.

Ambrose proposed that Arius' letter from Nicomedia to Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, should be read in detail, and Palladius be called upon to defend or condemn each heretical proposition that disputed Catholic orthodoxy. Arius had said that the Father alone is eternal; the Catholics insisted that the Son was co-eternal. Palladius quoted Scripture, which Ambrose skirted. Ambrose rested upon the verbal formulas recently agreed upon by authority of the Church, while Palladius refused to admit the legitimacy of the proceedings. The other bishops unanimously pronounced anathema
Anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

 on all counts, and the matter was settled. The surviving partial transcript of the proceedings reveal the character of Ambrose and the manner and technique of his argument. Of Palladius it is said by Vigilius, a late 5th century bishop of Thapsus
Thapsus
Thapsus was an ancient city in what is modern day Tunisia. Its ruins exist at Ras Dimas near Bekalta, approximately 200 km southeast of Carthage. Originally founded by Phoenicians, it served as a marketplace on the coast of the province Byzacena in Africa Propria...

 in Africa, that after Ambrose's death (397) he wrote a reply to Ambrose's writings against Arianism, which Vigilius in turn wrote to counter.

This council also requested the Emperors Theodosius and Gratian to convene at Alexandria a general council of all bishops in order to put an end to the Meletian schism
Meletius
Meletius may mean:*Meletius I of Alexandria, Patriarch*Meletius II of Alexandria, Patriarch*Meletius III of Alexandria, Patriarch*Meletius II, Patriarch, patriarch of Constantinople*Meletius III, Patriarch, patriarch of Constantinople...

 at Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

that had been ongoing since 362.

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