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HERESIES


 

 

 

THE ARIAN HERESY

Before the reign of Emperor Constantine, the Catholic Church was persecuted and Christians were hunted like criminals.  Then Constantine stopped the persecution and even made Christianity a privileged status.  He built churches and supported convents and monasteries;  he passed laws honoring Sunday as the Lord's day and declared church holy days as civil holidays. 

To many, this event in history seemed a great blessing for the Catholic Church. But it was not; because in the absence of persecution, the church became lax, preparing the grounds for heresy.  What persecution could not achieve, heresy was able to accomplish, i.e. the weakening of the Christian spiritual life. 

It was not Arius that hurt the Church; it was the bishops who quarrelled and took sides in the Arian controversy.  It was not Arius who attacked St. Athanasius; it was an Arian bishop who persecuted the saint.  And these Arian bishops, in turn , convinced emperors to discredit the Catholic Church, prompting St. Jerome to say:  "The entire world awoke and groaned to find that it had become Arian."   

 

 

 

 

(07-24-05)

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