Exoucontians

EXOUCONTIANS

One of the more extreme groups of Arianists that surfaced during the last five years of the reign of Constantius II, at the time of the third exile of ATHANASIUS (356-361).

Socrates  Scholasticus’  Ecclesiastical  History,  (2.45),  written about 440, is the main source for information about this group of Arians. They asserted that the Son was altogether unlike the Father, “not merely in relation to his essence but even as it respected his will.” In particular, they emphasized that “he was made out of nothing” (ex ouk onton) hence their name Exoucontians. They were strong in Antioch, but George of Cappadocia, Athanasius’ supplanter in Alexandria (356-361), leaned toward their point of view. His theology was outspokenly subordinationist. He believed, according to Socrates, that the Son was “of God,” but in the same way that “all things” were “of God” (1 Cor. 11:12), and explained that it was for this reason that the words “according to the Scriptures” were added to the draft of the creed (of /Seleucia).

The Exoucontians died out as a force within a few years of Athanasius’ return to Alexandria following the of Emperor Julian in 363.

W. H. C.