The fracturing of the Christian religion into various churches and doctrines with different beliefs started in the early centuries of Christianity.
Trinitarianism was based in part on Matthew 28:19, a line in the Bible which says:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
In the fourth century A.D., some Christian leaders used this verse and others in the Bible to develop the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or Trinitarianism.
This doctrine maintains that, although there is only one God, he has three forms: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Ghost, also called the Holy Spirit.
However, another early Christian leader in Alexandria, Egypt, named Arius (c. 250-336 A.D.), disagreed. He and his followers believed that, despite being the Son of God, Jesus was human and not divine like God.
In the year 325 A.D., Roman Emperor Constantine I, who had converted to Christianity, convened a meeting of more than 300 Christian bishops in Nicaea, a city in Turkey (now called Iznik). This came to be called the First Council of Nicaea.
On August 25, 325, after two months of discussion, the Council issued The Nicene Creed. This established the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as official Christian doctrine and it was adopted by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and several other Christian faiths.
The Council also condemned Arianism as heresy and ordered Arianist writings to be burned. Arius was banished from the Roman Empire and took refuge in Palestine. Nonetheless, some Christians refused to reject his teachings and Arianism has continued in one form or another to the present day.
In 336, Arius was pardoned by Constantine I and invited to come to Constantinople. Before he got there, he died unexpectedly under suspicious circumstances.
According to a contemporary account “his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood.”
Some historians theorize that Arius was poisoned by anti-Arianist Christian zealots.
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