Eunomianism

A theological heresy propagated by Eunomius (d.395). Born in Cappadocia, he went to Alexandria where he became a follower of Aetius,* the Anomoean, who carried the principles of Arianism to their logical limit, asserting the complete unlikeness of the Son and Father. The extreme Arianism of Eunomius remained latent until he became bishop of Cyzicus in Mysia. Here, after openly expounding his heresy, he was forced to resign his see and return to Cappadocia. But later, after the death of Aetius (370), he became the leader of the Anomoeans.* Through lecture tours and by means of books he ardently propagated his views. His chief work was an Apology which was answered by Basil the Great. He also wrote a commentary on the epistle to the Romans.

For Eunomius, God was the ungenerated Being, the single, supreme, ultimate, and simple Substance. He held that the “Son of God” was actually created by the Father, and though possessing creative power was not of His essence; further, the “Holy Spirit” was created by the Son in order to be the Sanctifier of souls. Putting great emphasis on doctrine, he depreciated the value of the sacraments and the ascetic life. His teaching had no permanent success, and it was refuted by Gregory of Nyssa in Contra Eunomium (c.382).