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Audianism was a fourth-century Christian heresy, named after the leader of the sect, Audius (or Audaeus).

History

Their heretical beliefs included both anthropomorphism (holding that God has human form) and quartodecimanism (honouring the death of Christ on the same day as the Jewish Passover).

In 325 the First Council of Nicaea, which attempted to unify the early church, finally outlawed quartodecimanism. The Audians, however, continued this practice.

Epiphanius of Salamis called attention to the Audian heresy (as well as other heresies) in his Panarion. He wrote of the Audians' claim that the church had "abandoned the fathers' Paschal rite in Constantine's time from deference to the emperor, and changed the day to suit the emperor" (Panarion, Book III, Haer.70, Chap.9).

Roman Emperors Constantine I the Great and Theodosius I legislated against the Audians, but the sect was still practicing quartodecimanism in Syrian Antioch in the 380s.

The Church Father Theodoret wrote on this heresy the following, as Chapter IX of his Ecclesiastical History (Book IV), titled "Of the heresy of the Audiani":

The illustrious emperor thus took heed of the apostolic decrees, but Audaeus, a Syrian alike in race and in speech, appeared at that time as an inventor of new decrees. He had long ago begun to incubate iniquities and now appeared in his true character. At first he understood in an absurd sense the passage "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." From want of apprehension of the meaning of the divine Scripture he understood the Divine Being to have a human form, and conjectured it to be enveloped in bodily parts; for Holy Scripture frequently describes the divine operations under the names of human parts, since by these means the providence of God is made more easily intelligible to minds incapable of perceiving any immaterial ideas. To this impiety Audaeus added others of a similar kind. By an eclectic process he adopted some of the Manichean doctrines of Manes and denied that the God of the universe is creator of either fire or darkness. But these and all similar errors are concealed by the adherents of his faction.

They allege that they are separated from the assemblies of the Church. But since some of them exact a cursed usury, and some live unlawfully with women without the bond of wedlock, while those who are innocent of these practices live in free fellowship with the guilty, they hide the blasphemy of their doctrines by accounting as they do for their living by themselves. The plea is however an impudent one, and the natural result of Pharisaic teaching, for the Pharisees accused the Physician of souls and bodies in their question to the holy Apostles "How is it that your Master eateth with publicans and sinners?" and through the prophet, God of such men says "Which say, 'come not near me for I am pure' this is smoke of my wrath." But this is not a tithe to refute their unreasonable error. I therefore pass on to the remainder of my narrative.

Sources and references

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