How Arius the Heretic Died in a Bathroom Before Receiving Holy Communion

There heretic Arius is one of the most interesting characters on the stage of history. Every December I write a tribute post to Saint Nicholas about the tradition of Saint Nicholas h-slapping (heretic slapping) Arius at the Council of Nicea in AD 325.

My friend Joseph Reidy told me about another great story about Arius the heretic. As you know, Arius divided the Church and Empire of the fourth and fifth century by claiming that the Divine Logos, Jesus Christ, was not of the same substance of the Father and not co-eternal with the Father.

Arius was condemned as a heretic but over time, he was able to regain imperial favor. The orthodox enemy of Arius, Saint Athanasius was exiled by the bogus Synod of Tyre in 335, and the Synod of Jerusalem in 336 had the audacity to restore Arius to full communion with the Catholic Church.

Arius, the Heretic Who Died of a Wretched Bowel Problem

The Heretic Arius Dies in a Bathroom

The Byzantine emperor then directed Patriarch Alexander of Constantinople to receive Arius and give him Holy Communion in the city’s cathedral. Patriarch Alexander objected and was put between a rock and hard place. So Alexander prayed that Arius might die before the appointed day on which Arius would present himself for Holy Communion and thereby commit sacrilege with the Body of Christ.

The historian Socrates Scholasticus then tells us how on that weekend Arius experienced loose bowels and had to run to a nearby bathroom. There, there heretic’s bowels came loose and he died in a most dishonorable way. Here’s the account:

It was then Saturday, and Arius was expecting to assemble with the church on the day following: but divine retribution overtook his daring criminalities. For going out of the imperial palace, attended by a crowd of Eusebian partisans like guards, he paraded proudly through the midst of the city, attracting the notice of all the people. As he approached the place called Constantine’s Forum, where the column of porphyry is erected, a terror arising from the remorse of conscience seized Arius, and with the terror a violent relaxation of the bowels: he therefore enquired whether there was a convenient bathroom nearby, and being directed to the back of Constantine’s Forum, he hastened thither. Soon after a faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died. The scene of this catastrophe still is shown at Constantinople, as I have said, behind the shambles in the colonnade: and by persons going by pointing the finger at the place, there is a perpetual remembrance preserved of this extraordinary kind of death. 

The Ecclesiastical Histories of Socrates Scholasticus

Professor Reidy tells me that this bathroom in Constantinople was constantly the butt of jokes who saw the terrible death of Arius as divine retribution. Finally, an Arian supporter, purchased the bathroom and destroyed it.

The moral of the story – don’t be a heretic.

Holy Fathers and Saints, pray for us.

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  • Peter

    Very interesting story. I was doing some reading on Arius and the state he brought upon the Roman Catholic Church with his heresy, but towards the end it never mentioned how Arius died. I found my way here and see that Alexander prayed for Arius death, but I had just read that Bishop Alexander had already died even before Emperor Constantine tried to reinstate Arius to communion with the Church. Could it possibly been his protege deacon that succeeded him Athanasius would you are talking about?

  • teebeekahuna

    Why do you worry about tommorrow,? Today has enough problems

    • sharbel23

      God wants us to benefit from prophecy that He inspires in holy souls.

      It is not to make us worry, but to encourage us, help our faith and guide us in difficult times. The times we are in have become worse than the time before the flood, when, as scripture tells us, people were bent on evil day and night. Because these times have become so bad, God has provided a great wealth of prophecy to His Catholic children to help them. I encourage you to read the revelations which I mentioned in my above post. They are very holy, beautiful and encouraging, but also very sober and very sorrowful, because they describe how terrible are the crimes of this age and how dreadfully they wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus.