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Liberius(lībēr`ēəs), d. 366, pope (352–66), a Roman; successor of St. Julius I. At the beginning of his pontificate, the status of AthanasiusAthanasius, Saint
, c.297–373, patriarch of Alexandria (328–73), Doctor of the Church, great champion of orthodoxy during the Arian crisis of the 4th cent. (see Arianism).
..... Click the link for more information. was still disputed, and Liberius requested Emperor Constantius IIConstantius II,
317–61, Roman emperor, son of Constantine I. When the empire was divided (337) at the death of Constantine, Constantius II was given rule over Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, while his brothers, Constans I and Constantine II, received other portions.
..... Click the link for more information. to call the Council of Arles (353). Subdued by imperial favor toward ArianismArianism
, Christian heresy founded by Arius in the 4th cent. It was one of the most widespread and divisive heresies in the history of Christianity. As a priest in Alexandria, Arius taught (c.
..... Click the link for more information. , the papal legates signed against Athanasius, but Liberius refused to be coerced or bribed. He was banished to Thrace by Constantius, who set up an antipope, FelixFelix,
Roman deacon, antipope (355–56). Emperor Constantius II, an Arian, set him up to replace Liberius. He is wrongly known as Felix II.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 358, Liberius was permitted to return to Rome after signing a vaguely worded creed and repudiating communion with Athanasius. Felix was forced to retire. After Constantius died, Liberius openly avowed his orthodox position and reasserted the primacy of Rome as arbiter in matters of faith.