The Council at Serdica

Hamilton Hess

in The Early Development of Canon Law and the Council of Serdica

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780198269755
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601163 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

 The Council at Serdica

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The failure of the attempted settlement of the dispute over the teachings of Arius by the Council of Nicaea in 325 resulted in intense turmoil within the Church during the decades to follow, and this was greatly exacerbated by the division of the Empire after the death of Constantine and the differing ecclesiastical policies of his heirs. Following the deposition of Athanasius and other bishops by the partisans of Arius and their restoration by a council at Rome in 341, a council to resolve the doctrinal differences and personal grievances was convened by permission of the emperors to meet at Serdica in 343. Upon arrival at Serdica, the Eastern bishops, largely sympathetic with the anti‐Nicene party, refused to meet with the Westerns, and two rival councils were held. The Western council confirmed the restoration of Athanasius and his companions at Rome in 341, considered but rejected a new creed, wrote an encyclical and other letters, resolved a dispute over the dating of Easter, and enacted the canons that we are here considering; the Eastern council reapproved the Fourth Creed of Antioch, drafted a paschal cycle, wrote an encyclical condemning Athanasius and his associates and all who had entered into communion with them. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of the life of Ossius of Cordova, who presided over the Western council and was also the leading figure in the framing of the Serdican canons.

Keywords: Arius; Athanasius; Constantine; Council of Nicaea; Council of Rome; dating of Easter; Fourth Creed of Antioch; Ossius of Cordova; Paschal Cycle; Serdica

Chapter.  8846 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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