Thursday, June 25, 2009

The 360s (PTT)

Ayres (167-178), Behr (95-104)

Feb 360
Julian, appointed Caesar by Constantius, is proclaimed Augustus by his troops in Gaul.
During 359-61 Athanasius writes his De Synodis (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia), designed in large part to sway Homoiousians who were disgruntled about the events of the twin councils, and bring them back to homoousios as the only suitable expression of homoiousios.
Around this time Hilary is completing his De Synodis as well, trying to outline Eastern developments to Western bishops, and show the orthodoxy of the Homoiousians. Before his death he will also compile his De Trinitate (I will treat Hilary in some future posts).

Nov 3, 361
Constantius, falling ill, appoints Julian as his successor, thus averting almost certain civil war. Julian ('the Apostate') will have a brief but influential impact on the course of the controversy. As part of his policy of causing strife among Christians, he allowed exiled bishops to return home. Athanasius returned to Alexandria Feb 21, 362, and held a council within a few weeks, which produced an Epistle designed to effect reconciliation and re-establish communion on a basic affirmation of Nicaea; the council also produced the Tome to the Antiochenes, seeking to reconcile Paulinus' and Meletius' factions in Antioch, again with an appeal to Nicaea. The Tome was ineffective in achieving that reconciliation.

Oct 24, 362
Meanwhile, realising that his policy was not having the desired effect, Julian sent an edict exiling Athanasius once again. Athanasius didn't go far, and news of Julian's death reached him on June 26, 363.
Aetius was recalled during Julian's reign, and ordained to the episcopate. Within the next few years Aetius and Eunomius start ordaining their own bishops, which will soon form an alternative hierarchy of Heterousian churches.

Feb 364
Athanasius returned from seeking audience with Jovian (Julian's immediate successor).
Meletius meanwhile held a council in Antioch, affirming Nicaea though understanding homoousios to mean 'like in essence', and interpreting the whole creed in an anti-Anomoian sense. The cracks in the Homoian 'consensus' of 359 begin to appear.
February 16, two days after Athanasius return to Alexandria, Jovian died. Valentinian was proclaimed emperor, and March 28 appointed his brother Valens as Augustus to the East.

Under Valentinian, the Western bishops revoked Ariminum, and instead subscribed to Nicaea. Hilary was unsuccessful in having Auxentius deposed from Milan, and ordered to return to Gaul.
Valens prohibited a similar Eastern council, exiled Athanasius again in 365, before recalling him in 366 in an attempt to gain Egyptian support in opposing the usurper Procopius, who held Constantinople.

Hilary dies.

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