Presbyter and director of the asylum for strangers, maimed, and incapable,
in Sebaste in Pontus in the fourth century. He was one of the progressive
men of the time who protested against the legalistic and hierarchic tendencies
of the Church. Supporting his contention by the Scriptures, he objected
to the inequality of presbyters and bishops, denied the value of prayers
for the dead, and opposed strict ordinances concerning fasting, which he
wished to leave more to individual judgment. About 360 he resigned his
position. He had many followers, who constituted a party of "Aerians";
they were severely persecuted and soon disappeared. The only source is
Epiphanius (Haer., lxxv.; cf. Gieseler, Church History, i.,
section 106, note 3), who treats him in a very partizan spirit.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. G1as, Monograph on the Heresy of Aerius,
Perth. 1745; C. W. F. Walch, Historie der Ketzereien, iii., 321
sqq., Leipsic. 1766.