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One of several forms of Modalistic Monarchianism that appeared in the 3d and 4th centuries AD, Sabellianism was a Christian heresy named after Sabellius, a priest excommunicated by Pope Callistus I in 220. Denying the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, Sabellius contended that God is three only in relation to the world, in so many "manifestations" or "modes." The unity and identity of God are such that the Son of God did not exist before the incarnation; because the Father and the Son are thus one, the Father suffered with the Son in his passion and death (a view called Patripassionism).

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Eusebius of Caesarea and Athanasius were adversaries of Sabellianism, along with Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, and Dionysius of Alexandria. The heresy was condemned by a synod of Rome in 262.

Agnes Cunningham

Kelly, John N. D., Early Christian Doctrine (1958).

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The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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