Marcellus of Ancyra

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Bishop and controversial figure in the Trinitarian debate after Nicaea; b. c. 280; d. 374. As bishop of Ancyra he attended the council there in 314 and that of nicaea in 325, where he strongly opposed arianism. He published a major work against asterius the Sophist c. 330, in which he not only attacked both Eusebius of Nicomedia and Eusebius of Caesarea but also laid himself open to the accusation of sabellianism. Consequently he became one of the main targets of the anti-Nicene party. eusebius of caesarea attacked him in his Contra Marcellum and De ecclesiastica theologia. At a synod of Constantinople, Marcellus' book was condemned, and he was deposed and exiled. After the death of Constantine I in 337, when all exiled bishops were repatriated, Marcellus regained his see but was soon forced to leave again. He took his case to the West, where both a synod in Rome (340) and the Western assembly of sardica (343) declared his doctrine orthodox.

The Eastern Councils of Antioch (341) and Sardica (343), however, reaffirmed their condemnation in strong terms. The openly heretical doctrines of Photinus of Sirmium, a disciple of Marcellus, finally induced athanasius of alexandria and his Western allies to sever communion with Marcellus. Nothing is heard of him after 345, but many continued to write against him. epiphanius of salamis included him in his list of heretics (Panarion 72.1), as did the first canon of the Council of Constantinople I in 381.

Although Marcellus' treatise against Asterius is no longer extant, the numerous citations in Eusebius prove that his trinitarian doctrine was definitely unorthodox and closely related to a pre-Nicene type of dynamic monarchianism. While he admits the eternity of the Logos as such, he denies an eternal generation in God, holding that the Logos became Son at the Incarnation only. Similarly, at the consummation of the world, both the Son and the Spirit will reenter the Godhead, and there will be the absolute Monad again. Hence the affirmation against Marcellus in many creeds: " of Whose Kingdom there will be no end."

According to St. Jerome (De vir. ill. 86) Marcellus wrote several other volumes against the Arians, but nothing remains of them, unless one agrees with F. Scheidweiler, who recently defended the Marcellan authorship of the pseudo-Athanasian treatises Sermo maior de fide and Expositio fidei. Also, a small treatise, De sancta ecclesia, formally attributed to Anthimus of Nicomedia, has been restored to Marcellus by M. Richard.

Bibliography: j. quasten, Patrology 3:197201, with bibliog. f. loofs, Sitzungsberichte der Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 764781. j. j. herzog and a. hauck, eds., Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie 12 (1903) 259265. m. d. chenu, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 9.2:199398. j. m. fondevilla, Ideas trinitarias y cristologicas de Marcelo de Ancyra (Madrid 1953); Estudios Eclesiasticos 27 (1953) 2064. Eusebius Werke, ed. e. klostermann, Die greichischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte 4 (1906) 183215. f. scheidweiler, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 47 (1954) 333357. m. richard, Mélange de science religieuse 6 (1949) 528.

[v. c. de clercq]

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Marcellus of Ancyra

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