A Letter to the Arians–Arius

My Dear Followers,

As I embark on my journey home from this Council, I wish to share with you the news I bring from all that transpired in Nicaea. I left you all to partake in this Council, graciously called together by our mighty Emperor, as one under conditional excommunication. I am returning to you all as a newly ordained bishop, with much thanks to the mighty Emperor Constantine on granting me the Imperial Boon that which allowed me to secure my ordination. This was one small victory among others, but unfortunately not all that transpired was in our favour. However I ride in my caravan with my head held high, knowing I thwarted Alexander and Athanasius’ intentions to see me and my faction excommunicated from this beautiful Church.

Concerning the Creed, I am pleased to inform you that I was able to sign onto it, for the language agreed upon, unanimously by the Council, is vague enough to allow our interpretations to be accepted—specifically that of Jesus Christ and the Almighty God not being one in being, the former lesser than the latter. The Creed states that Jesus Christ was “only-begotten before all time”, which is crucial to our understanding of Him being made by the Father before the ages, but not eternally existing with Him. Furthermore, in the statement of beliefs about the Almighty God, I was able to secure the phrasing that He is a “single unchangeable divine power”, which we can safely interpret as Him being One, true divine power without Christ being considered His equal.  I was able to appeal to the Council upon this language on the terms of unity, the very matter that Emperor Constantine saw fit to call the Council in the first place. I knew very well that Alexander and Athanasius wished to specify the language in order to force myself and my allies—Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Meletius of Lycopia, on these matters—to walk out of the Church and accept excommunication under a Creed that which we could not simultaneously sign onto and remain steadfast to our beliefs. I am overjoyed to inform you all that such was not the case—the Arian tradition is free to live on in us, under the Creed that now stands as the Church’s official statement of beliefs.

On the fourth day, following the final additions to the Creed, I admit I suffered a crushing defeat. Metropolitan bishops have been granted full authority over the churches in their regions. Alas! Apparently those advocating for this canon did not learn of the chaos that can erupt from the corruption of the metropolitan bishops. On that day, I unfortunately saw all my allies abandon me, although I knew very well that they disagreed to the superior power of metropolitan bishops. This would not be the last time one or more of them would turn their back on me. For the sake of unity and in order to preserve my standing with Emperor Constantine, I signed on to that canon. I grieve to recall, though, that the Council failed to give any regard to my presented speech against the power of metropolitan bishops. However, in the following canon, I agreed to the authority of a primary bishop—now Vito, to whom I both congratulate on his new position and offer my condolences too, as Sylvester has passed on into the next life with God—who will be able to check the power of the metropolitan bishops. There will be no need for future councils, so the calamity that was the Council of Antioch is ensured to never happen again. Even in this recent Council, I was forced to compromise more than I had wished I needed to. I can only hope that he will respect the beliefs of the smaller churches, such as that of our own, and help defend us against any unjust attacks on our faith that I pray we will not have to experience in the future after the resolutions in this Council.

I do bring joyous news to you all, in that we will be celebrating the Resurrection of Christ on the first Sunday after the beginning of the Passover feast. I was able to place strong arguments for the symbolic significance of that date—Jesus Christ was the equivalent to the sacrificial lambs in the Exodus story; He was the Sacrificial Lamb of God slaughtered for the salvation of our sins. Just as the blood of the lambs during Passover saved those from the Angel of Death, so too did the blood of Christ save us from sin and death. I am pleased that I was able to win that canon to our beliefs.

The matters that transpired from then on were of no primary concern to me. I was able to hear out all arguments for each side and offer my own say whenever I felt the need to do so.

I voted for the celibacy of the clergy, as I feel that it is only right for incoming clergy to devote their entire lives and selves to God. For the sake of unity, I also agreed that clergymen presently married should not be stripped of their power, but that if their wives were to pass away, they should remain celibate from thence on. I also voted positively for further matters on the clergy, involving male members of the Church at least 25 years of age being allowed to be ordained with the approval of metropolitan bishops after completing schooling regarding his faith; furthermore, I voted for there to be no minimum waiting period for membership into the clergy after completing their schooling. Again, these matters were of little significance to me, therefore I do not regard those canons as of great importance to our congregations.

Concerning the apostate, I would have liked to have seen a required period of penance before their re-admittance into the Church, but I was able to settle for a period of repentance that which will be greatly encouraged by current members of the Church.

The final canon, to which I voted against, was proposed by one who I had previously thought to be an ally of mine: Eusebius of Caesarea. After taking me in after my expulsion from Alexandria, and after he himself was one of the bishops to ordain me after my reception of an Imperial Boon, the grovelling swine proposed to the Council that I and Eusebius of Nicomedia should be re-baptised in order to remain a part of the Church, as he deemed us “illegitimate” because we had formerly been students to Paul of Samosata. The two-faced scoundrel was able to convince enough of the Council to sign on to that canon, and I was left with no choice but to be re-baptised in order to retain my position in the Church. I to this moment can remember the hunger in the eyes of Alexander and Athanasius as they awaited my response to whether or not I would accept to be re-baptised. They so dearly wished to see me excommunicated, and I was able to take some small satisfaction in thwarting them yet again. Mayhaps the Caesarean was in league with them, but that is no matter anymore.

Although I lost dignity in that moment, I am still pleased with the outcome in which I was able to secure our faith in the Church. There were setbacks and betrayals, yes, but I am satisfied with what I was able to accomplish for you all.

I eagerly wait to reunite with you all; the road is long and hard, but I have the winds of victory at my back.

Grace and Peace,

Arius

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