In 357 AD, The Third Council of Sirmium Nullified the Nicene Creed
Constantine the Great died in 337, leaving Constantius II, who favored Arianism, as emperor in the East, and Constans, who favored Nicea, as emperor in the West. A church council held at Antioch in 341 issued an affirmation of faith that excluded the homoousion clause (the Son being of the same substance as the Father). Antioch’s affirmation was counter to the Nicene creed that previously included it. Constantius, who had a residence in Sirmium, convened the first Council of Sirmium in 347. In 350, Constantius became the sole Emperor of both East and West, leading to a strengthening of Arianism against proto-trinitarian factions.
The Creed of Second Sirmium (357 AD), based on Athanasius, De Synodis, 28. LPNF, ser. 2, vol. 4, 466, is as follows:
“Whereas it seemed good that there should be some discussion concerning faith, all points were carefully investigated and discussed at Sirmium in the presence of Valens, and Ursacius, and Germinius, and the rest.
It is held for certain that there is one God, the Father Almighty, as also is preached in all the world.
And His One Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, generated from Him before the ages; and that we may not speak of two Gods, since the Lord Himself has said, ‘I go to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’ (John 20:17). On this account He is God of all, as also the Apostle taught: ‘Is He God of the Jews only, is He not also of the Gentiles? yea of the Gentiles also: since there is one God who shall justify the circumcision from faith, and the uncircumcision through faith’ (Rom 3:29-30); and everything else agrees, and has no ambiguity.
But since many persons are disturbed by questions concerning what is called in Latin ‘Substantia,’ but in Greek ‘Usia,’ that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to ‘Coessential,’ or what is called, ‘Like- in-Essence,’ there ought to be no mention of any of these at all, nor exposition of them in the Church, for this reason and for this consideration, that in divine Scripture nothing is written about them, and that they are above men’s knowledge and above men’s understanding; and because no one can declare the Son’s generation, as it is written, ‘Who shall declare His generation’? for it is plain that the Father only knows how He generated the Son, and again the Son how He has been generated by the Father. And to none can it be a question that the Father is greater for no one can doubt that the Father is greater in honour and dignity and Godhead, and in the very name of Father, the Son Himself testifying, The Father that sent Me is greater than I’ (John 10:29, Ib. 14:28). And no one is ignorant, that it is Catholic doctrine, that there are two Persons of Father and Son, and that the Father is greater, and the Son subordinated to the Father together with all things which the Father has subordinated to Him, and that the Father has no beginning, and is invisible, and immortal, and impassible; but that the Son has been generated from the Father, God from God, Light from Light, and that His origin, as aforesaid, no one knows, but the Father only. And that the Son Himself and our Lord and God, took flesh, that is, a body, that is, man, from Mary the Virgin, as the Angel preached beforehand; and as all the Scriptures teach, and especially the Apostle himself, the doctor of the Gentiles, Christ took man of Mary the Virgin, through which He has suffered. And the whole faith is summed up, and secured in this, that a Trinity should ever be preserved, as we read in the Gospel, ‘Go ye and baptize all the nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matt. xxviii. 19). And entire and perfect is the number of the Trinity, but the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, sent forth through the Son, came according to the promise, that He might teach and sanctify the Apostles and all believers.”
- This was an ecumenical council and not just a conference of a few leading Arians. (Sirmond, De Marca, and Valesius (in Socr. ii. 30), after Phœbadius (From the Oxford Translation of Athanasius, p. 160.))
- Constantius, the Emperor of both the Western and Eastern Roman Empire was there in addition to Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius who were prominent Church leaders. (Soz. iv. 12. Vide also Hil. Fragm. vi. 7. (From the Oxford Translation of Athanasius, p. 160.))
- Pope Liberius signed it and consented to what was later called the Arian misbelief. (S. Hilary speaks of the latter as “perfidia Ariana,” Fragm. 6. Blondel (Prim. dans l’Eglise, p. 484), Larroquanus, &c., are of this opinion. And the Roman Breviary, Ed. Ven. 1482, and Ed. Par. 1543, in the Service for S. Eusebius of Rome, August. 14, says that “Pope Liberius consented to the Arian misbelief,” Launnoi, Ep. v. 9. c. 13. Auxilius says the same, Ibid. vi. 14. Animadv. 5. n. 18. Petavius grants that it must be this, ifany of the three Sirmian (Animadv. in Epiph. p. 316) (From the Oxford Translation of Athanasius, p. 160.)
- Pope Liberios was Pope from 352 till his death in 366. He is not mentioned as a saint in Roman Martyrology. That makes him the earliest pontiff not to be venerated as a saint in the Roman Rite and one of only two popes to be omitted from Roman Catholic sainthood in the first 500 years of church history. (Wikipedia)