late 14c., Arrian, "adhering to the doctrines of Arius," from Late Latin Arianus, "pertaining to the doctrines of Arius," priest in Alexandria early 4c., who posed the question of Christ's nature in terms which appeared to debase the Savior's relation to God (denial of consubstantiation). Besides taking an abstract view of Christ's nature, he reaffirmed man's capacity for perfection. The doctrines were condemned at Nice, 325, but the dissension was widespread and split the Church for about a century during the crucial time of barbarian conversions. The name is Greek, literally "warlike, of Ares."
updated on March 14, 2018