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Early Christianity


Doctrines Monarchianism derives from the Greek word monarchia meaning "uniqueness of first principle". The term monarchia was used by Christians who were concerned that certain interpretations of the doctrine of the Trinity were inconsistent with true monotheism. They sought to explain the person of Jesus in such a way that it preserved the unity of God.

History Monarchianism emerged in Asia Minor and came to Rome in about 190. The first group, sometimes described as adoptionist monarchians, was led by Theodotus of Byzantium. They claimed that Christ was a man, born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, who was adopted by God at his baptism and deified after his resurrection. The second group, led by Noetus of Smyrna, claimed that there was no difference between the Father and the Son. It was God the Father who was born of the Virgin Mary and suffered on the cross. This position later came to be known by its critics as "Patripassianism".
A more developed form of monarchianism was taught by Sabellius, a Christian who lived in Rome in the early part of the 3rd century. According to Sabellius the terms "Father", "Son" and "Spirit" did not represent distinct realities but three modes in which God reveals himself. This view of the Godhead has come to be known as "modalistic monarchianism".
The claims of the monarchians were addressed by the church councils of the 4th century which affirmed the distinctness of the persons of the Trinity.

Symbols The monarchians had no distinctive symbol system.

Adherents No contemporary adherents.

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