The Possible Influence of Arianism on Nestorius and Nestorian Teachings

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of History, Turkey

Approval Date: 2020

Thesis Language: English

Student: Murat Kaya

Supervisor: Richard Dietrich


The controversy of Arius was one of the clearest and significant examples of the discussions regarding the divinity and humanity of Christ. These topics were discussed during the council of Nicaea in 325 which was also accepted as the first ecumenical council in the history of Christianity. As a result of this council, Arius was declared a heretic. However, many Arians who had been already declared as a heretic could continue to practice their Arian teachings throughout Byzantine territories. In the 5th century, the discussions related to the nature of Christ, and the concept of Logos has continued and these discussions that emerged during the Arian controversy turned to an explosion by Nestorius and Cyril of Alexandria. It was claimed that Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople always said in his speeches that he has disagreed with Arians and Arian theology. Although Nestorius saw himself as a defender of Christian faith against the heresies, however, the truth was different. In other words, Nestorius who has been said to be strictly against Arians seemed to v have practiced similar dogmas or teachings with Arians at certain points. During the fifth century, Arians were the group of people whom the public has not liked and during this century, being an Arian or having Arian title or belonging any Arian groups was not a comfortable position for any person. Therefore, in society, there were many people who could hide their Arian sides in case they might be charged and excommunicated. I think that Nestorius was one of those who was successfully able to hide his Arian sides as it is understood from sources. If Nestorius did not hide his Arian sides, it is accurate that, he could not become the Patriarch of Constantinople. Therefore this thesis, examines whether there were possible influences of Arius and Arianism on Nestorius and his teachings by comparing them with each other and by examining their interactions with each other.