from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sabellius was a 3rd century priest and theologian. Presumably he came from Libya or Egypt.

A sophisticated form of modalist monarchianism is said to have been represented by Sabellius in Rome in the early third century . The term Sabellianism did not become tangible until the fourth century in the theological debates about Marcellus of Ancyra , who postulated the idea of ​​the so-called economic trinity , according to which God is indivisible. But Father (Creator and Lawgiver), Son (Redeemer) and Holy Spirit (the divine presence among people) are three temporally successive forms of salvation history or ' persona ' ('modi') of the 'Monas', the divine unity of Father, Logos and mind. Apparently Sabellius himself tried to preserve monotheism and probably represented the modalism typical of the time in Noet's version . Noet interpreted salvation history without the inclusion of the Holy Spirit, whose theological or salvation historical significance and importance only reached God the Father and Son in the course of the 4th century.

Sabellius himself was expelled from the Roman parish in Rome around 220 by the Roman bishop Calixt I , but so was Hippolytus of Rome , both spokesman for the factions of opponents and supporters of monarchianism . Like Hippolytus, Sabellius was not excluded because of a heresy , but because of the violent, uncompromising arguments in Rome.

In later Trinitarian disputes of the fourth century, the term 'Sabellianism' was used disparagingly for this and similarly divergent positions that did not adequately express the difference between father and son. In the Eastern Churches , Sabellianism was used to denote that variant of monarchianism that merely emphasized an identity of father and son in favor of differences. Opponents of Sabellianism were, besides Hippolytus, Tertullian and Dionysius of Alexandria , but also Arius . In history, there are Sabellian ideas in the spiritual theology of Joachim von Fiore . Sabellius also continued to work in the reform Catholic theology of the early Jakob Frohschammer .


  1. Franz Dünzl : Brief history of the Trinitarian dogma in the old church. Herder Verlag, Freiburg (Breisgau) et al. 2006, p. 78ff. ISBN 3-451-28946-6 .
  2. ^ Hermann J. Vogt , Noet of Smyrna and Heraklit. Comments on the presentation of their teachings by Hippolytus , in: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum , Volume 6 (2002), Issue 1, pp. 59–80, here p. 60.
  3. Simon Gerber, Calixt von Rom und der monarchianische Streit , in: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christianentum , Volume 5 (2001), Issue 2, pp. 213-239, here pp. 226f.
  4. ^ Wolf-Dieter Hauschild , Volker Henning Drecoll : Textbook of Church and Dogma History. Volume 1. Old Church and Middle Ages . Gütersloher Verlagshaus , Gütersloh 2016, p. 60f. 5th, completely revised new edition.