of Saint Ambrose with a scourge symbolizing his exercise of ecclesiastic
in Museo del Duomo,
Unknown Lombard author, early 17 century.
Just as it was the controversey between the Arian strict monotheism and
Trinitarian concept of oneness of God in three persons was the reason for
his election and annointing as the Bishop of
Milan, the controversey and its final
determination of faith within the Western Churches wa
finalised under the leadership and the whip of
One of the major wars Bishop
Ambrose was to face was the heresy of Arianism
which saw Jesus as a man and not as God.
The Arian controversy was a series
of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius
of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most
important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between
God the Father and God the Son
Tertullian presented the faith as
he had received it, holding that there is only one God, but that this God
has a son, and that the son has also sent from the father a helper – the
Holy Spirit – who is himself of equal status with the Son and the Father.
The son does not have a beginning, nor does the Holy Spirit. They are
distinct from the Father, yet one with Him, each called God. Tertullian’s
formula eventually became the standard explanation of the faith throughout
the whole of the church.
Arius was a disciple of Lucian of Antioch and the teaching of Lucian and
Arius came to be known as Arianism. Lucian held
that Christ was not eternal, but had a beginning; he was not a man like
Paul of Samosata had held,
nor was he created in the same way as man or any other creation – He was
Arius' explanation was before time began there was only one reality which
is God. Time begins only with change
and properties begin only with multiplicity. So the first existence was when God
became the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. See my study on Trinity and Arianism.
The Nicene explanation is that they are three persons, but one God which is
it is claimed that the original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, slapped
Arius (main supporter of Arianism) on the ear
at one point at the Council of Nicaea.
controversy had raged in the Eastern Church since the early 320s. The
central issue was whether belief in Christ as being fully God could be reconciled
with strict monotheism. The orthodox answer to this question was
affirmative, an answer that was finally ratified in the East at the Council
of Constantinople in 381. In the same year a Western council met at the
Italian city of Aquileia with Ambrose as president.
Arian Catholic Creed
IN ONE GOD, Creator of Heaven and earth, And of
all things visible and invisible.
And in his Spiritual Son,
Yeshua the Messiah,
Whom was born of Mary and Joseph,
Was not consubstantial nor co-eternal with God the Father almighty,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was
crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day His Spirit was
resurrected. He ascended into Heaven, And sitteth
at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. Whence he shall come again
to judge the living and the dead, Of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.
believe in the Holy Spirit, The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, The
communion of saints, The forgiveness of sins, The resurrection of the
Spirit, And life everlasting. Amen.
In this theology Jesus was not a God but was his Prophet with the Spirit
if God in him. This teaching is
still with us through Islam.
believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of
all things visible and invisible.
one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was
incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And
the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into
heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with
glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who
with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke
by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the
resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
How do we
reconcile monotheism with the God in Three Persons.
beginning God alone existed. But
such an isolated God cannot be defined nor has any purpose since it is the relationship that define properties. God is love. But how can God love if he is just
that. In such a situation time does
not exist since time is nothing but a measure of change. Thus inorder to
God to exist, and to love and be within time this abosolute
point and source which does not have space or time has to create space and
time. This is done when the God essence
expands to create a space - which is defined by an existing body, and start
existing within time - that is when change take
place within the existence. Both
these happens when the essence of God appears in different persons having
the same essence and oneness within multiplicity. Thus when God first came
into existence he appears in three persons.
Here is how we define the Trinity as God.
is the appearance of the Person of the Son of God, taking human form
through Mary, a human woman and enter into the
limitations of human form, laying down his God privileges.
You can read this aspect of
theology and its history in my book
studied theology with Simplician, a presbyter of
Rome. Using his excellent knowledge
of Greek, which was then rare in the West, to his advantage, he studied the
Old Testament and Greek authors like Philo, Origen, Athanasius, and Basil
of Caesarea, with whom he was also exchanging letters. He applied this knowledge
as preacher, concentrating especially on exegesis of the Old Testament, and
his rhetorical abilities impressed Augustine of Hippo who was a manichaen, who hitherto had thought poorly of Christian
confrontation with Arians, Ambrose sought to theologically refute their
propositions, which were contrary to the Nicene creed and thus to the
officially define orthodoxy. The Arians appealed to many high level leaders
and clergy in both the Western and Eastern empires. Although the western Emperor
Gratian supported orthodoxy, the younger Valentinian
II, who became his colleague in the Empire, adhered to the Arian creed.
Ambrose could not sway the young prince's position.
had presided in his see about eleven years at the time when the the controversy took a serious turn for absolute
decision and definition on these matters of faith, in the western
was dead, as well as his eldest son Gratian. His second son, who bore his
own name, Valentinian was Emperor of the West,
under the tutelage of Justina, his second wife. Justina was an Arian, and brought up her son in Arian
East, even though Emperor Theodosius I professed the Nicene creed; there were many
adherents of Arianism throughout his dominions, especially
among the higher clergy.
contested state of religious opinion, two leaders of the Arians, bishops Palladius of Ratiaria and Secundianus of Singidunum,
confident of numbers, prevailed upon Gratian to call a general council from
all parts of the empire - a council of Eastern and Western bishops to
decide the issue once and for all. This request appeared so equitable that
he complied without hesitation. Ambrose, worried that the Arians would pack
the council with their own supporters if both the Eastern and Western
Churches bishops are invited, cleverly connived and convinced
Gratian to invite only Western bishops.
Ambrose' stand was that this was simply a matter as to the soundness
or heresy of just two bishops and that this might be settled by
a council simply consisting of the bishops of the Diocese of Italy alone.
Others could attend if they wished.
a synod composed of thirty-two bishops of Western Churches was held
at Aquileia in the year 381explicitly to "solve the contradictions of
discordant teaching" was
organized by Ambrose, 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.
Secundianus declined even to be present and present their case; Palladius alone was present disputing the legitimacy of
the council due to the absence of any Eastern bishop.
Arianism was voted to be in conflict with
the Orthodox church in their absence and without anyone to present or
defend the case. The two bishops of the Eastern province of Dacia, Palladius of Ratiaria and Secundianus of Singidunum, as
partisans of Arius were deposed from their episcopal
offices. Even in this case it would seem that the Record is incomplete,
as the number of Bishops who gave their decision was only 25, even though
32 were present and the account of Secundianus' case, ends abruptly without recording any decision.
retort of Palladius was: "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: and in the absence of our Colleagues we cannot
Arians seperated themselves from the main stream
of the Orthodox faith but continues as a seperate
Church. Jehovah's Witnesses are modern Arians.
detailed account of this council can be read from