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Even so, the emperor's ambitious policy of ecclesiastical reunification reached its planned climax with the double synod of Rimini (Italy) and Seleucia (Cilicia) in 359, one of ancient Christianity's largest councils. In the first session, a majority of the over 400 assembled bishops rejected the proposed 'Homoian'13 creed and endorsed the Nicene faith - the first time this was done by a large number of Western bishops. In the second session, political pressure and the desire to end the schism ofSerdica prevailed and Western bishops were moved to rescind their previous opposition. They re-established union with the Eastern churches by unanimously accepting the new, 'Homoian', formula of faith,14 supplemented by a series of anti-Arian anathemas. A Western delegation from Rimini confirmed this outcome by accepting a (slightly variant) Homoian creed in Constantinople during a meeting with Constantius himself on New Year's Eve.15 And yet, significantly, the see of Rome was not involved at Rimini.

Hilary of Poitiers, whose pamphlet warfare had attacked Constantius' policy, sharply blamed the emperor and his episcopal advisers for pressurising Western bishops at Rimini to relinquish Nicene orthodoxy and embrace Arian heresy. Liberius of Rome sent letters to other Western bishops concerning the acceptance of Homoian baptisms.16 Die-hard clergy in Spain, Gaul and even Rome (such as Lucifer of Calaris - after whom they were dubbed 'Luciferians' - and Gregory, bishop of Elvira) broke communion with fellow bishops who participated in the reversal at Rimini. Jerome famously commented on the Council of Rimini-Seleucia-Constantinople: 'The whole world cried in anguish and was bewildered that it should be Arian!'17 For Jerome, as for Hilary, Homoian orthodoxy had been imposed by deceit on the Western episcopate.18

This first attempt at an empire-wide creedal orthodoxy soon faced problems. Constantius died in 361 and after the interlude of Julian's reign (361-3) the few defenders of Homoian orthodoxy in the West - such as Auxentius of Milan, Germinius of Sirmium, Valens of Mursa and Ursacius of

13 The 'Homoian' creed says that the Son is 'like' (Greek: homoios) the Father; it rejects the Nicene position that the Son is of the same substance as the Father (homoousios topatri).

14 This formula had first been accepted by a delegation of fourteen Western bishops at Nicaea, Thrace on 10 October 359; the bishops had been sent by the council to Constantinople in order to ask the emperor for the dismissal ofthe council.

15 See W A. Lohr, Entstehung; H. C. Brennecke, Studien.

17 Jerome,AltercatioLuciferianietOrthodoxi 19 (SC 473:158), 'ingemuit totus orbis, et Arianum se esse miratus est'.

18 See Y.-M. Duval, 'La manœuvre frauduleuse de Rimini'.

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