Julius I | Free Online Biblical Library

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Julius I

d. 352. Pope from 337. Elected to the Roman see in the year that Constantine died, he had the task of presiding over the Western Church in the difficult years of the Nicene theological crisis, which cannot be separated from the equally trying conflicts by which the church was ensnared in the imperial division among the sons of Constantine. That the West had from the outset found the homoousion position more acceptable than the East helps to define Julius' stance. He provided refuge for Athanasius* during the latter's second deposition (339-46), presiding over the synod in Rome (341) which went on record supporting that Nicene position represented, not only by Athanasius, but also by the more extreme Marcellus of Ancyra who had also been deposed from his see. Letters to Julius from both these men survive, as does Julius' letter of support for them, which arose out of the synod and was sent to the Eastern bishops. When the Arians responded by their own synod at Antioch (341), Julius prevailed upon the Western emperor Constans to summon a general council at Sardica (343). But the session split between West and East over the seating of Athanasius, and the two halves met separately-the Eastern within Constantius's jurisdiction-and produced opposing decisions. Within Rome, Julius was responsible for building two new churches.