Aerius

fourth century. Companion of Eustathius* in pioneering monasticism in Pontus, he was appointed presbyter to supervise a hostel for the poor when Eustathius became bishop of Sebaste in Armenia Minor about 355, but, thus frustrated in his own episcopal ambitions (according to Epiphanius, Heresies 75), quickly assumed hostility towards Eustathius. He abandoned the hostel about 360, and his propaganda campaign issued in ostracism and heretical condemnation for himself and numerous followers. He was still active when Epiphanius wrote about 375. Viewed in later controversy as anticipating Reformation protests, he advocated the parity of bishops and presbyters, and the rejection of Easter, of prescribed fasts as relics of Jewish bondage, and of prayers and almsgiving for the dead as futile and detrimental to sanctification during life. Like Eustathius, he was Arian in inclination, but was not condemned as such. Philaster (Heresies 72) wrongly confuses the Aerians with the Encratites.*