Ulfilas

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Ulfilas : biography

310 – 383

For several reasons, modern scholars depend more heavily on the Arian accounts than the Catholic accounts. Auxentius was clearly the closest to Ulfilas, and so presumably had access to more reliable information. The Catholic accounts differ too widely among themselves to present a unified case. Debate continues as to the best reconstruction of Ulfilas’s life.

The Creed of Ulfilas

The creed of Ulfilas, which concludes a letter praising him written by his foster-son and pupil Auxentius of Durostorum (modern Silistra) on the Danube, who became bishop of Milan, distinguishes God the Father ("unbegotten") from God the Son ("only-begotten"), who was begotten before time and who created the world, and the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son:

I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) and again "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ … subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father … (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.Heather and Matthews, Goths in the Fourth Century, p. 143.

Maximinus, a 5th-century Arian theologian, copied Auxentius’ letter, among other works, into the margins of one copy of Ambrose’s De Fide; there are some gaps in the surviving text.Heather and Matthews, Goths in the Fourth Century, pp. 135-137.