Another important document on the decrees of the Council of Nicaea and early Arianism, authored by Emperor Constantine and addressed to Arius, is The Wicked Interpreter – Message of the Decrees of the Council of Nicaea, incipit: Κακὸς ἑρμηνεὺς (The Wicked Interpreter; dating: 333. The document ends with the words “Performed by Syncletius and Gaudentius, magistrates, when Paterius was prefect of Egypt, and was read in the palace.” (43.) And on the other hand: May God protect you, beloved.
It is curious that in the heated dogmatic disputes the Arianis themselves do not refer to the founder of their false doctrine and even deny it. As early as the Council of Antioch of 341, in preparing the First Antiochian Creed, the church bishops denied that they were followers of a priest (Arius). The Omani bishops of Nike, 359, deliberately swear that they were not Arians. Bishop Auxentius of Milan, although he himself began his clerical ministry in the Church of Antioch under the Arian bishop George of Cappadocia, responded to the accusations of Arianism made to him by Bishop Hilary of Poitiers that “he had neither heard of Arius nor seen him personally.” teaching ”. When, at the Council of Aquileia in 381, Bishops Palladius and Secundian were accused of Arianism, they publicly denied belonging to the Arian sect. Indeed, Emperor Constantine the Great ordered the writings of Arius to be burned, and they themselves were most likely circulating in a small number of titles and copies, which explains this general silence of his opponents and followers.
In 328, Arius was returned from exile, and in 336 he was to be solemnly accepted into the clergy, but died unexpectedly when he left the imperial palace after meeting the emperor. Constantine, to whom both in writing and with an oath he renounced his false teaching. The oath of Elder Arius to Emperor Constantine was most likely performed in the likeness of New Testament oath formulas and with a hand on the gospel.
Socrates Scholasticus describes in detail in his “Church History” the last moments of the heresiarch: Soon after his fainting, and with the evacuation, his intestines protruded, followed by heavy bleeding and the exit of the small intestine; In addition, parts of his spleen and liver were brought out (rectum) in a hemorrhage, so he died almost immediately. ”
In the old dining room of the Bachkovo Holy Monastery we find an image from a later era of Archbishop Arius, near the diocesan center of Plovdiv-Philippopolis. This is a series of scenes with the Seven Ecumenical Councils on the north wall in the interior of the dining room above the entrance to it. The frescoes are from the 16th century. Each of the Ecumenical Councils is depicted, using the same formula as in the writing of the First Ecumenical Council, the Council of Nicaea of 325: The emperor presides over the council, which is located in a semicircular room, sitting on the same level with the bishops . Two imperial officers are seen in the background behind Caesar. Also in the background are many buildings. In the foreground on the ground is Arius wearing a turban. An inscription in Greek explains that this is the First Ecumenical Council, held during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. The next scene is different: It depicts the First Council of Constantinople. Two bishops hold books, and the hierarch to the emperor’s right wears a crown. There is no image of a heretic, which is almost the only difference between the two scenes. The inscription explains that it refers to the Second Ecumenical Council during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great. The scenes representing the other Ecumenical Councils follow the model described above. The scene with the First Ecumenical Council can be found in the exo-narthex of the church “St. Nativity of Christ ”in the village of Arbanassi in the Diocese of Veliko Tarnovo: The bishops-members of the council are located around the figure of the emperor in a semicircular hall. Two bishops, to the left and right of the emperor, carry a miter and hold the ends of an unfolded parchment scroll on which the first words of the Creed are written in Greek. Behind the emperor are two guardsmen, and behind the Orthodox hierarchs we see clergymen of various degrees.
The far right of the stage depicts a fallen figure without a halo. The inscription clarifies that he is a heretic. In the foreground, in front of the emperor is Arius in a position of proskinisis, but with his head raised. The explanatory inscription reads: “Arius, the accursed heretic.” In the background is the Vision of St. Peter of Alexandria.
Many church writers refer to the Vision of St. Peter of Alexandria to denounce the Arian heresy or heresy in general – such are St. Herman of Constantinople (beginning 730/742) in his homily “To Deacon Antim”, Eutychius of Alexandria (877-940), Theophanes Kerameus (XII century) in his fifth homily, as well as Manuel Philes , which dedicates an epigram to the Vision of St. Peter of Alexandria. In all the medieval images of the subject in the monumental painting, Christ is depicted with a torn chiton, as he appeared to St. Peter. In this way he symbolizes the schism in the body of the church, which Arius caused with his teaching, which undressed the Lord from His divinity, and down through the altar table Arius covered his head with his hands, as seen in the fresco of the prosthesis of the church “St. Our Lady of Peripleptos ”(1294/1295) in the city of Ohrid.
Although we have a small number of preserved fragments of the works of the heresiarch, it is possible to reconstruct his dogmatic postulates. It can be summarized that the Alexandrian priest-heretic Arius taught about the inequality of the Son of God with God the Father, in the sense that God is inexpressible to the Son: “Wisdom became Wisdom by the will of the Most Wise God. Because He thinks in countless aspects. He is Spirit, Power, Wisdom, glory of God, Truth, Image and Word. Understand that He thinks of Himself as Light and Light. ”