Most of what is known about the early development of what is called “Arianism” comes from the sources given below. These texts were collected in the original languages by H.-G. Opitz in the third volume of his edition of Athanasius’ Werke (1934). Information on the revised 2007 edition is available here. We have collected for the first time a complete set of English translations of these early writings.

Patristic scholars today warn against lumping together as “Arians” all the early theologians who had reservations about granting the Son full equality with the Father. They argue that it was the opponents of Arius who created this persona of Arius as the leader and arch-heretic of this theological tendency. Even his role as originator of the open controversy has been questioned, with men such as Eusebius of Caesarea, Asterius the Sophist and Lucian of Antioch offered as the true instigators. Arius and those with similar ideas are seen as continuing an already existent theological trajectory which emphasized the Son as “substantially different” than the Father. On the other hand, the key role of Arius in both the theological and public debate is clearly seen in the writings below.

Chart:
urk.: provides the document number (Urk.) in Opitz’s Early Arian Documents (German: Urkunden)See the contents of this volume by page number.
date- Opitz: the date assigned by Opitz. Click here to see the issues related to chronology.
ancient source: gives the location in the sources from which we have taken the document.
translations: gives the location of translations. FCC translations may be accessed by clicking the link
doc: the document number in the 2007 edition of Athanasius’ Werke.
CPG: Clavis Patrum Graecorum reference number.
extra space
urk. date-Opitz description ancient source translations doc. CPG
1 c. 318 Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia Epiphanius, Panarion 69.6;Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.5(1.4 in the NPNF) FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 283; Sections 2-8: Hanson, p. 139, Sections 4-5: Hanson, p. 6; NPNF2 vol. 3, p. 41
15 2025
2 c. 318 Fragment of a letter from Eusebius of Nicomedia to Arius Athanasius, De synodis 17.2 FCC;
Hanson, p. 31;NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 459
16 2046
3 c. 318 Eusebius of Caesareato Euphration of Balanea Sections 1-3: Council of Nicaea, Session 5:Labbe vol. 7, col. 365; Sections 1-2: 2nd Council of Nicaea, Session 5: in Mansi vol. 13, col.176, 317;Sections 4-5: Eusebius of Caesarea, Contra Marcellum1.4.40-41, 57; Athanasius,De synodis 17.3 FCC 10 3500
4a 318/9 Alexander of Alexandria to his clergy Athanasius, De decretis 34 FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 69
2.1 2001
4b c. 318 Alexander of Alexandria’s encyclical letter on Arius’s deposition, to all bishops Athanasius, De decretis 35;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.6.;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 2.3.1-21 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 282;
NPNF2 vol. 4, pp. 69-72;
NPNF2 vol. 2, pp.3-5;
Sections 2-3:Hanson, p. 16
2.2 2000
5 c. 320 Summary of letter of a Council in Bithynia Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica 1.15.10 FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 252
3 -
6 c. 320 Arius and his followers to Alexander of Alexandria Athanasius, De synodis16;Epiphanius, Panarion 69.7;Hilary, De Trinitate 4.12 FCC;
CLA no. 22;
Hanson, pp. 7-8;NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 458;

NPNF2 vol. 9, p. 74;

New Eusebius, no. 284

1 2026
7 c. 320 Eusebius of Caesarea to Alexander of Alexandria 2nd Council of Nicaea:Labbe, vol. 7, col. 496 and Mansi, vol.13, coll. 316-7 FCC 9 3501
8 c. 320 Eusebius of Nicomedia to Paulinus of Tyre Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.6(1.5 in the NPNF) FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 3, p. 42
4 2045
9 c. 320 Fragment of a letter of Paulinus of Tyre Eusebius of Caesarea, Contra Marcellum 1.4.18-21, 49-51 FCC;
Hanson, p. 45
5 2065
10 c. 321/2 Summary of letter of a council in Palestine reinstating Arius Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica 1.15.11 FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 252
8 -
11 c. 322 Athanasius of Anazarbusto Alexander of Alexandria Athanasius, De synodis 17.4 FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 458;
Discussed Hanson, p. 42
11 2060
12 c. 322 Priest George to Alexander of Alexandria Athanasius, De synodis 17.5 FCC;
Hanson, p. 44;NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 459
6 3555
13 c. 322 Priest George to the Arians in Alexandria Athanasius, De synodis 17.6 FCC;
Hanson, p. 44;

NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 459

7 3556
- - Part of a letter of Athanasius of Anazarbus Codex Vaticanus lat. 5750, p. 275 FCC 12 2061
- - Parts of 2 letters of Theognis of Nicaea Codex Vaticanus lat. 5750, p. 275-76 FCCa,

FCCb

13 2070
14 324 Alexander of Alexandria to Alexander of Byzantium Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.4(1.3 in the NPNF) FCC;
CLA no. 21;NPNF2 vol. 3, pp. 35-41; Discussed in Hanson, p. 141-2

Discussed on New Eusebius, no. 285

17 2002
15 324 Fragment of a letter from Alexander of Alexandria to all bishops Greek: Schwartz, pp. 265-7;Syriac: Pitra, vol. 4, pp. 196-7 FCC 14 2003
16 ? Fragment a letter of Alexander of Alexandria to Sylvester of Rome Section 1: Richard, p. 82;Section 2: Hilary: CSEL vol. 65, part 4, pp. 91-92; FCC 18 -
17 Oct. 324 Emperor Constantine to Alexander of Alexandria and Arius Eusebius of Caesarea, Vita Constantini, 2.64;Sections 6-15: Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.7;Sections 6-15: Gelasius, Historia Ecclesiastica 2.4 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 287;Coleman, no. 47;NPNF2 vol. 1, pp. 515-8;

Sections 6-15: NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 6-7

19 2020
18 early 325 Letter of the Council of Antioch (325) Greek and Syriac: Schwartz, pp. 271-9;Syriac: Schulthess, pp. 160-2 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 288; Sections 8-11: Hanson, p. 149
20 8509
19 325 Fragment of a letter of Narcissus of Neronias to Chrestus, Euphronius and Eusebius of Caesarea Eusebius of Caesarea, Contra Marcellum, 1.4.39 FCC 21 -
20 Spring 325 Emperor Constantine’s letter calling the Council of Nicaea Greek: Schwartz, p. 289;Syriac: Schulthess, p. 1 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 289; Coleman, no. 48
22 8511
21 June 325 Fragment of a letter from Eusebius of Nicomedia to the Council of Nicaea Ambrose, De fide 3.15 FCC;
Hanson, p. 31;

NPNF2 vol. 10, p. 260

23 2047
22 June 325 Eusebius of Caesarea to his church explaining his actions at the Council of Nicaea Athanasius, De decretis33;Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.12(1.11 in NPNF);Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 2.35;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica 1.8(section 16 omitted) FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 291;NPNF2 vol. 4, pp. 74-76;NPNF2 vol. 2, pp. 10;

NPNF2 vol. 3 p. 51 (partial);

Sections 3-6: Hanson, p. 159;

Section 7: Hanson, p. 165;

Section 16: Hanson, p. 166

24 3502
23 June 325

Letter of the Council of Nicaea to the Egyptian church

Athanasius, De decretis 36;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.9;Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.9.2(1.8.2 in NPNF);Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 2.34.2 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 292;
NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 12;NPNF2 vol. 3, p. 46
25 8515
24 19 June 325 Creed of the Council of Nicaea Athanasius, De decretis 37 FCC;
NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 75
26 8512
25 June 325 Emperor Constantine to the church of Alexandria Athanasius, De decretis 38;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.9.17;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 2.37; FCC;
Coleman, no. 53;
New Eusebius, no. 293;

NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 13

29 8517
26 June 325 Emperor Constantine to the churches on the Nicene decision concerning Easter Eusebius of Caesarea, Vita Constantini 3.17-18;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.9.32;Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.10(1.9 in NPNF);Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 2.37.10 FCC;
Coleman, no. 52;NPNF2 vol. 1, p. 524-5;

NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 14-16;

NPNF2 vol. 3, p. 47-8

30 8518
27 Nov. – Dec. 325 Emperor Constantine to the church of Nicomedia Athanasius, De decretis41;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica3. appendix 1;Sections 9-17:Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 1.20(1.19 in NPNF) FCC;
Coleman, no. 50;Sections 9-17:
New Eusebius, no. 294;

NPNF2 vol. 3, p. 56

31 2055
28 Nov. – Dec. 325

Emperor Constantine to Theodotus of Laodicea

Athanasius, De decretis42;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 3.appendix 2 FCC;
Coleman, no. 51;New Eusebius, no. 305
(1957 edition only)
32 2056
29 27 Nov. 327 Emperor Constantine to Arius Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica 1.25.7 FCC;
Coleman, no. 58;NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 28
33 2040
30 late 327 Arius and Euzoius to the Emperor Constantine Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.26.2;Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica 2.27.6-10 FCC;
NewEusebius, no. 295;

NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 28;

NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 277

34 2027
31 late327 Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis of Nicaea, recanting in order to be reinstated Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.14.2;Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica2.16.3-7;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 3.13 FCC;
New Eusebius, no. 296;NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 20, vol. 2, p. 68
36 2048
32 early 328 Fragment of a letter from Emperor Constantine to Alexander of Alexandria Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica 3.15.1 FCC 37 2021
33 333 Part of an edict against Arius and his followers Athanasius, De decretis 39;Socrates, Historia ecclesiastica1.9.30;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica2.36.1Syriac: Schulthess, pp. 1-2 FCC;
Coleman-Norton, no. 66;NPNF2 vol. 2, p. 14
28 2041
34 333 Emperor Constantine to Arius and his followers Athanasius, De decretis40;Gelasius, Historia ecclesiastica3.19.1;cf.: Epiphanius, Panarion69.9 FCC;
Coleman-Norton, no. 67;Sections 14-15: Hanson, p. 189
27 2042

The following are not found in Opitz’s Urkunden, but can be found in the 2007 edition:

12 Part of a letter of Athanasius of Anazarbus (listed in chart above)

13 Parts of 2 letters of Theognis of Nicaea (listed in chart above)

35.1 Synod of Antioch (327) on its decisions against Asclepas of Gaza

35.2 Synod of Antioch (327) on its decision against Eustathius

38 Conflicts about the restoration of church unity in Egypt

39 Writings of the Synod of Jerusalem of the year 335

40 Synods in Constantinople against Marcellus of Ancyra

41 Correspondence and synods in Rome and Antioch during the years 340 and 341

41.1 Letter of Julius of Rome to the eastern bishops with the request to appear at a synod in Rome

41.2 Reports on the Dedication Synod of Antioch in the year 341

41.3 Explanation of Theophronius of Tyana (3rd Antiochene formula)

41.4 Confession of the Synod of Antioch in the year 341 (2nd Antiochene formula)

41.5 Fragment of a cyclical letter of the Synod of Antioch in the year 341 (1st Antiochene formula)

41.6 Report on a letter of the Synod of Antioch in the year 341 to Julius of Rome

41.7 Letter and confession of Marcellus of Ancyra to Julius of Rome

41.8 Letter of Julius to the bishops gathered in Antioch

42 Confession of an Antiochene synod (4th Antiochene formula), 341

43 The Synod of Serdica, 343

43.1 Cyclical letters of the western bishops

43.2 The theological explanation of the western bishops

43.3 The list of the signatures under the theological explanation of the western bishops

43.4 Letters of the western bishops to Emperor Constantius

43.5 Letters of the western bishops to Julius of Rome

43.6 Fragments of the letter of Hosias of Cordova and Protogenes of Serdica to Julius of Rome

43.7 Letters of the western bishops to the church of Alexandria

43.8 Letters of Athanasius of Alexandriato the priests and deacons of Alexandria and Parembole

43.9 Letters of the western synod to the priests and deacons in Mareotis

43.10 Letters of Athanasius of Alexandriato the priests, deacons, and church people in Mareotis

43.11 Cyclical letters of the eastern synod

43.12 The theological explanation of the eastern synod

43.13 The list of the signatures under the theological explanation of the eastern synod

44 Macrostich Confession (Ἔκθεσις Μακρόστιχος), Fifth Arian Confession, 344

Three additional pages are devoted to alternative chronologies of the period:

For a simpler table comparing the alternative chronologies side-by-side, click here.

Created by JDW

Last updated: 1-30-2012

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