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From the Greek monos, "one," and arche, "source" or "principle," monarchianism is a teaching about God which flourished in the second and third centuries. It stressed the unity (or monarchy) of God rather than the three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. Monarchianism occurred in two forms. Dynamic monarchianism, more properly called adoptionism, held that God was a single Person (Greek, prosopon) and Christ a "mere man" on whom the power (Greek, dynamis) of God descended. Modalistic monarchianism presented the unity of God as an underlying essence and the three persons as successive manifestations. See Modalism. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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