EUNOMIUS, yu-nō'mî-us, EUNOMIANS: A heretic of the fourth century and his party. Eunomius was born at Oltiseris, in the district of Korniaspa, in Cappadocia, close to the Galatian boundary (Gregory of Nyssa in MPG, xlv. 281D; cf. W. M. Ramsay, Historical Geography of Asia Minor, London, 1890, p. 264 and map p. 197); d. at Dakora in the district of Cæsarea (Sozomen, VII., xvii. 1; Ramsay, ut sup., 306-307) c. 393. His father seems to have been a man of education, who took care to give his son the same advantages. There is, however, no very definite information as to his life until 356 or 357, when he came to Aëtius in Alexandria, recommended, according to Philostorgius, by the Arian teacher Secundus, who was then in Antioch, whose secretary he had been. He gained the favor of Eudoxius, bishop of Antioch (see EUDOXIUS of GERMANICIA), who made him a deacon. When Eudoxius was suspended but not yet banished, Eunomius was sent to the emperor in his behalf, but was taken prisoner by the Homoiousians on the road and banished to Midæa in Phrygia in the autumn of 358. After the Synod of Seleucia, with Aëtius, he followed the semi-Arian bishops to Constantinople, and took a prominent part in the theological disputations there which ended in the defeat of the semi-Arians.
Bishop of Cyzicus. Early in 360 Eunomius was made bishop of Cyzicus by Eudoxius, accepting the office, it would seem, partly in the hope of facilitating the recall of his old teacher Aëtius, while Eudoxius may have hoped to win Eunomius for his conciliatory type of Arianism. Complications followed, but they are hard to trace in detail. According to Theodoret, whose account is followed by Tillemont and Klose as well as by most modern scholars, the people of Cyzicus succeeded in inducing Eunomius to emerge from his doctrinal reticence and declare himself; they then accused him before Eudoxius, who, after long hesitation, deposed Eunomius from his bishopric, and thus determined him to found a party of his own at first in Pamphylia, whither he retired. Philostorgius knows of the accusation of the Cyzicenes, but asserts that Eunomius was wholly cleared; that nevertheless, being unwilling to assent either to the condemnation of Aëtius or to the decrees of Rimini, he voluntarily resigned his bishopric and retired to his birthplace; that Acacius then calumniated him before Constantius, with the result that he was cited to appear at the synodal negotiations at Antioch in the winter of 360-361; that Acacius did not press his charges, and the matter was thus postponed to a larger synod, the convocation of which was prevented by the emperor's death. On the whole the latter account seems preferable in that the probably independent narrative of Sozomen is more easily reconcilable with it than with Theodoret's.
Breach with the Semi -Arians. Under Julian the Anoman party was able once more to raise its head. Eunomius went to Constantinople, and there, in concert with Aëtius, attempted to establish an Anoman church. Euzoius of Antioch and even Eudoxius, now bishop of Constantinople, seemed, now that court influence was no longer to be considered, not indisposed to join the more radical Arians; but under Julian's successors they perceived the danger of such sympathies and drew back. Eunomius and his friends were thus driven to the formation of an independent ecclesiastical organization. They consecrated bishops for Lydia, Ionia, Palestine, and Constantinople. From this time (about the end of 363) dates the definitive breach between the conciliatory Arians (Homans) and the Anomans. Eudoxius seized with avidity the occasion offered by these proceedings and refused to acknowledge the consecrations, strengthened in his policy by the favor which Valens showed him in the first period of his residence at Constantinople; and Euzoius recognized the logic of events. Aëtius and Eunomius left the representation of their cause in the capital to Florentius, and retired, the former to the neighborhood of Mytilene, the latter to Chalcedon. Here they lived for a while without exercising ecclesiastical functions. On the proclamation as emperor of Procopius, Eunomius, with whom he had previously had friendly relations, returned to Constantinople with Aëtius before the downfall of Procopius (May 27, 366), and remained there after the death of Aëtius, which can not have occurred before the next spring. In the winter of 367 Eunomius was banished to Mauretania on account of his relations with the usurper; but influence was brought to bear upon Valens, which resulted in his recall in the autumn of 369.
His Later Life. After this he lived apparently at Chalcedon; but little is known of the last years of his life. Socrates relates that when Theodosius called a conference of the leaders of various religious parties in Constantinople (June, 383) Eunomius represented his associates there. But his cause was hopeless. Immediately before the accession of Theodosius, Gratian had expressly excluded the Eunomians, with the Photinians and Manicheans, from the toleration which he proclaimed. The edict of Theodosius on Feb. 27, 380, had indirectly proscribed them, and that of Jan. 10, 381, directly. On July 25, 383, after the conference mentioned above, the emperor issued a similar edict against a wider range of heresies. Eunomius, the only leader to incur personal punishment, was banished once more. He resided for a time at Chalcedon, still exercising a certain influence in Constantinople, was then sent to Halmyris in Msia, and when this place was taken by the barbarian invaders, to Cæsarea in Cappadocia. He was finally allowed to retire to his estate at Dakora.
His party did not long survive him. Imperial edicts ordered the banishment of their leaders and the burning of their books, and denied them the right of testamentary disposition. And divisions occurred within their own ranks, apparently connected with baptismal customs. The Eunomians did not recognize the baptism or ordination even of the Arians, and substituted single for trine immersion.
Works. The importance of Eunomius may be measured by the number of antagonists he found on the orthodox side, including Apollinaris, Didymus, Andronicianus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Sophronius, Basil, and Gregory of Nyssa. Of his own works only five are known besides a lost commentary on the Romans and collection of letters, a small apologetic book (the one controverted by Basil, Apollinaris, and Didymus), written probably soon after 360; a rejoinder to Basil, written just before the latter's death; and an "Exposition of the Faith," probably taken from the last-named to some extent, about 383. Epiphanius says that Eunomius and his followers went more widely astray than Arius; but this is a mistake. Arius was an Anoman; and the agennēsia [denial of the generation of the Son and insistence on his creaturehood] which was the essential mark of the Eunomian doctrine of God was taught also by Arius in the same way. The thought of Eunomius is clearer and supported by closer metaphysical and epistemological reasoning; but this involves no essential variance.