The Political Triumph of Nicene Catholicism in North Italy

Daniel H. Williams

in Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Arian-Nicene Conflicts

Published in print May 1995 | ISBN: 9780198264644
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682735 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Political Triumph of Nicene Catholicism in North Italy

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This chapter traces the events leading to the ultimate triumph of the Nicene Church. Ambrose was keenly aware that the recent withdrawal of imperial soldiers from the Portian basilica was a temporary measure. Even if there was a cessation of open aggression, the religious and political conflict between Nicenes and Homoians in north Italy was far from over. Two important events in 386/7 gave Ambrose the defenders he was looking for and completely reversed the political situation in north Italy. The first was the discovery of the relics of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius. But the actual demise of western Homoianism as a ecclesio-political force came about with a second event — the sudden invasion of Italy by Maximus in the summer of 387. With this invasion all political patronage of Homoianism was withdrawn never to return, as the defeat of Maximus in the following summer brought the stringent enforcement of anti-heretical laws in the person of Theodosius. In order to see how the cumulative effect of the above events brought about the triumph of the Nicene Church, the chapter examines each of the stages.

Keywords: Ambrose of Milan; Nicene–Homoian conflict; Homoianism; Maximus; Nicene Church

Chapter.  6901 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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