Reference Dok. 1; Urk. 6; CPG 2026
Incipit Ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν
Date 318-320
Ancient sources Athanasius, De Synodis 16.2-6
Epiphanius, Panarion 69.7-8
Hilary, De Trinitate, 4.12-13, 6.5??
Modern editions AW  2.7:243-244; AW 3.1:3
Holl, Epiphanius, 3: Ancoratus und Panarion. GCS 37. (1933): 158-159.

The documents that survive from this early period are difficult to date or even to place in order. At some point early on, however, it seems that Arius sent the letter below to Alexander to clarify in writing what he did and did not teach. Already he has a following in Egypt, and he is able not only to say “This is our faith,” but to append the names of 5 presbyters/priests, 6 deacons, and several bishops.

A portion of the creed given in this document is quoted also by Eusebius of Caesarea in his letter to Alexander of Alexandria (Dok. 9). Lewis Ayres points out the difficultly in dating this document: “The question here turns on whether or not one reads this letter as conciliatory! (Nicaea and its Legacy, 17 n. 16). Rowan Williams (Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 96) notes that the similarity of the creed to the creed of the council of Antioch (Dok. 20) supports the claim of Arius that he is drawing on earlier statements of faith and teaching.

The letter has been preserved both by Athanasius and Epiphanius with only minor differences. The text given below is from AW 3.1:12-13 as edited by H.-G. Opitz. He provides the concluding greeting from the Panarion since the De synodis omits it (AW  2:244). Hilary gives a Latin translation of the creed twice (also without the concluding greeting) in his De Trinitate 4.12-13 and 6.5-6. The translation is that of G. Thompson (See also D. Robertson in NPNF2 4:458).

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Athanasius, De Synodis 16.2-5. (AW 2:7:243-4)

2. Μακαρίῳ πάπᾳ καὶ ἐπισκόπῳ ἡμῶν᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ οἱ διάκονοι ἐν κυρίῳ χαίρειν. 2.The priests and deacons to our blessed father and bishop, Alexander; greetings in the Lord.
Ἧ πίστις ἡμῶν ἡ ἐκ προγόνων, ἣν καὶ ἀπὸ σοῦ μεμαθήκαμεν, μακάριε πάπα, ἔστιν αὕτη: οἴδαμεν ἕνα θεόν, μόνον ἀγέννητον, μόνονἀίδιον, μόνον ἄναρχον, μόνον ἀληθινόν, μόνον ἀθανασίαν ἔχοντα, μόνον σοφόν, μόνον ἀγαθόν,μόνον δυνάστην, πάντων κριτήν, διοικητήν, οἰκονόμον, ἄτρετττον καὶ ἀναλλοίωτον, δίκαιονκαὶ ἀγαθόν, νόμου καὶ προφητῶν καὶ καινῆς διαϑήκης τοῦτον θεὸν γεννήσαντα υἱὸν μονογενῆ πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, δι᾽ οὗ καὶ τοὺς αἰῶνας καὶ τὰ ὅλα πεποίηκες, γεννήσαντα δὲ οὐ δοκήσει ἀλλὰ ἀληθείᾳ, ὑποστήσαντα ἰδίῳ θελήματι ἄτρετττον καὶ ἀναλλοίωτον κτίσματοῦ θεοῦ τέλειον, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὡς ἕν τῶν κτισμάτων·Our faith from our forefathers, which also we learned from you, blessed father, is this:  We acknowledge One God, alone unbegotten, alone eternal, alone without beginning, alone true, alone having immortality, alone wise, alone good, alone sovereign, judge of all, governor, and provider, unalterable and unchangeable, just and good, God of the Law and the Prophets and the New Testament; he begot an only-begotten Son before time and the ages, through whom he made both the ages [Heb 1:2] and all that was made; who begot him not in appearance, but in reality; and that he made him subsist at his own will, unalterable and unchangeable, the perfect creature of God, but not as one of the creatures;
3. γέννημα, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὡς ἕν τῶν γεγεννημένων, oὐδ᾽ ὡς Οὐαλεντῖνος προβολὴν τὸ γέννημα τοῦ πατρὸς ἐδογμάτισεν, οὐδ᾽ ὡς Μανιχαῖος μέρος ὁμοούσιον τοῦ πατρὸς τὸ γέννημα εἰσηγήσατο, οὐδ᾽ ὡς Σαβέλλιος τὴν μονάδα διαιρῶν υἱοπάτορα εἶπεν, οὐδ᾽ ὡς ῾Ιέρακας λύχνον ἀπὸλύχνου ἢ ὡς λαμπάδα εἰς δύο, οὐδὲ τὸν ὄντα πρότερον ὕστερον γεννηθέντα ἢ ἐπικτισθένταεἰς υἱόν, ὡς καὶ σὺ αὐτός, μακάριε πάπα, κατὰ μέσην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἐν συνεδρίῳ πλειστάκις τοὺς ταῦτα εἰσηγησαμένους ἀπηγόρευσας, ἀλλ᾽ ὥς φαμεν θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸ χρόνων καὶ πρὸ αἰώνων κτισϑέντα καὶ τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὸ εἶναι παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς εἰληφότα καὶ τὰς δόξας, συνυποστήσαντος αὐτῷ τοῦ πατρός. 3. offspring, but not as one of the other things begotten; nor as Valentinus pronounced that the offspring of the Father was an emanation; nor as the Manicheans taught that the offspring was a one-in-essence-portion of the Father; nor as Sabellius, dividing the Monad, speaks of a Son-Father; nor as Hieracas speaks of one torch [lit] from another, or as a lamp divided into two; nor that he who existed before was later generated or created anew into a Son, as you yourself, O blessed father, have often condemned both in church services and in council meetings; but, as we say, he was created at the will of God, before time and before the ages, and came to life and being from the Father, and the glories which coexist in him are from the Father.
4. οὐ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ δοὺς αὐτῷ πάντων τὴν κληρονομίαν ἐστέρησεν ἑαυτὸν ὧν ἀγεννήτως ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ πηγὴ γάρ ἐστι πάντων. ὥστε τρεῖς εἰσιν ὑποστάσεις. καὶ ὁ μὲν θεὸς αἴτιος τῶν πάντων τυγχάνων ἔστιν ἄναρχος μονώτατος, ὁδὲ υἱὸς ἀχρόνως γεννηθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ πρὸ αἰώνων κτισθεὶς καὶ θεμελιωθεὶς οὐκ ἦν πρὸ τοῦ γεννηθῆναι, ἀλλὰ ἀχρόνως πρὸ πάντων γεννηθεὶς μόνος ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑπέστη. οὐδὲ γάρ ἐστιν ἀίδιος ἢ συναίδιος ἢ συναγέννητος τῷ πατρί, οὐδὲ ἅμα τῷ πατρὶ τὸ εἶναι ἔχει, ὥς τινες λέγουσι τὰ πρός τι δύο ἀγεννήτους ἀρχὰς εἰσηγούμενοι, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς μονὰς καὶ ἀρχὴ πάντων, οὕτως ὁ θεὸς πρὸ πάντων ἐστί. διὸ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ υἱοῦ ἔστιν, ὡς καὶ παρὰ σοῦ μεμαϑήκαμεν κατὰ μέσην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν κηρύξαντος. 4. For when giving to him [the Son] the inheritance of all things [Heb 1:2], the Father did not deprive himself of what he has without beginning in himself; for he is the source of all things. Thus there are three subsisting realities. And God, being the cause of all that happens, is absolutely alone without beginning; but the Son, begotten apart from time by the Father, and created and founded before the ages, was not in existence before his generation, but was begotten apart from time before all things, and he alone came into existence from the Father. For he is neither eternal nor co-eternal nor co-unbegotten with the Father, nor does he have his being together with the Father, as some speak of relations, introducing two unbegotten beginnings. But God is before all things as monad and beginning of all. Therefore he is also before the Son, as we have learned also from your public preaching in the church.
5. καθὸ οὖν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ εἶναι ἔχει καὶ τὰς δόξας καὶ τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὰ πάντα αὐτῷ παρεδόθη, κατὰ τοῦτο ἀρχὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ὁ θεός. ἄρχει γὰρ αὐτοῦ ὡς θεὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ πρὸ αὐτοῦ ὦν. εἰ δὲ τὸ“ἐξ αὐτοῦς” καὶ τὸν “ἐκ γαστρὸς” καὶ τὸ “ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐξῆλθον” καὶ ἥκως ὡς μέρος αὐτοῦ ὁμοουσίου καὶ ὡς προβολὴ ὑπό τινων νοεῖται, σύνθετος ἔσται ὁ πατὴρ καὶ διαιρετὸς καὶ τρεπτὸς καὶ σῶμα κατ᾽ αὐτοὺς καὶ τὸ ὅσον ἐπ᾽αὐτοῖς τὰ ἀκόλουθα σώματι πάσχων ὁ ἀσώματος θεός. 5. Therefore he thus has his being from God; and glories, and life, and all things have been given over to him; in this way God is his beginning. For he is over him, as his God and being before him. But if the expressions “from him” [Rom. 11:36] and “from the womb” [Ps. 109:3 (LXX), 110:3 English] and “I came from the Father,” and “I have come” [John 16:28], are understood by some to mean that he is part of him [the Father], one in essence and as an emanation, then the Father is, according to them, compounded and divisible and alterable and material, and, as far as their belief goes, the incorporeal God endures a body.
Epiphanius, Panarion (GCS 37: 159).
Ἐρρῶσθαί σε ἐν κυρίῳ εὔχομαι, μακάριε πάπα. Αρειος, ᾿Αειθαλῆς, ᾿Αχιλλεύς, Καρπώνης, Σαρμάτας, Ἄρειος πρεσβύτεροι. διάκονοι Εὐζώϊος, Λούκιος, ᾿Ιούλιος, Μηνᾶς, Ἑλλάδιος, Γάϊος. ἐπίσκοποι Σεκοῦνδος Πενταπόλεως, Θεωνᾶς Λίβυς, Πιστός [ὃν κατέστησαν εἰς ᾿Αλεξάνδρειαν οἱ Αρειανοί]. 6. I pray that you fare well in the Lord, blessed father. Arius; the priests Aethales, Achilles, Carpones, Sarmatas and Arius; the deacons Euzoios, Lucius, Julius, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius; the bishops Secundas of the Pentapolis, Theonas of Libya, and Pistus whom the Arians [later] set up [as bishop] at Alexandria.

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