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Photinus

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This article is about the 4th century bishop Photinus. For the beetle genus, see Photinus (beetle).

Photinus (died 376) was a Christian theologian and bishop of Sirmium in Pannonia. He was deposed on charges of heresy.

Photinus grew up in Ancyra in Galatia, where he was a student and later a deacon of bishop Marcellus. Marcellus, a staunch opponent of Arianism, was deposed in 336 but reinstated by the Synod of Serdica in 343, which also made Photinus bishop of Sirmium.[1] In 344, the Synod of Antioch deposed Marcellus and drew up the Macrostich, a creed which listed their beliefs and objections to Marcellus' doctrines (among others).

At the time Photinus voiced his own theological system, according to which Jesus was not divine and the Logos did not exist before the conception of Jesus.[2]

The church historian Socrates Scholasticus identifies Photinus' beliefs with those of Sabellius, Paul of Samosata and Marcellus.[3][4]

Synods held in 345 and 347 excommunicated Photinus, but Photinus remained in office, due to his popular support. A synod at Sirmium was held and Hilarius of Poitiers quotes some of its Arian propositions.

Photinus appealed to emperor Constantius II. At another synod in Sirmium in 351, Photinus argued with the semi-Arian Basil of Ancyra and Photinus was deposed on charges of Sabellianism and Adoptionism.[5][6] He was anathematised and sent into exile, where he wrote several theological works.[7][8]

In about 365, a letter from Liberius, bishop of Rome, to several Macedonian bishops lists Photinus among the latter.[9]

He returned to his see during the reign of Julian, but was exiled again by Valentinian I, according to Jerome. He settled in his native Galatia and his doctrines, Photinianism, died in the West. By the time of Augustine, a "Photinian" was anyone who believed Christ was a mere man.

References

  1. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 18.
  2. Sozomen, Church History, book 4, chapter 6.
  3. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapters 18 & 19.
  4. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 29.
  5. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 29.
  6. Sozomen, Church History, book 4, chapter 6.
  7. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 29.
  8. Sozomen, Church History, book 4, chapter 6.
  9. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 4, chapter 12.

This article incorporates text from the entry Photinus in Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.sv:Photinianism

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