College Notes
Church History
Lecture 11


A.  Quarto-Decimen:
    1.  The controversy over whether or not Passover should be kept on the 14th.
    2.  Had to do with the Eastern church keeping Passover on the 14th and the Western church keeping Easter.
    3.  The word means fourteen.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers...The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed, and became the Christian Easter...Generally speaking, the Western churches kept Easter on the first day of the week, while the Eastern churches followed the Jewish rule, and kept Easter on the fourteenth day. St Polycarp, the disciple of St John the Evangelist and bishop of Smyrna, visited Rome in 159 to confer with Anicetus, the bishop of that see, on the subject; and urged the tradition, which he had received from the apostle, of observing the fourteenth day... About forty years later (197) the question was discussed in a very different spirit between Victor, bishop of Rome, and Polycrates, metropolitan of proconsular Asia. That province was the only portion of Christendom, which still adhered to the Jewish usage, and Victor demanded that all should adopt the usage prevailing at Rome. This Polycrates firmly refused to agree to, and urged many weighty reasons to the contrary, whereupon Victor proceeded to excommunicate Polycrates and the Christians who continued the Eastern usage...The few who afterwards separated themselves from the unity of the church and continued to keep the fourteenth day, were named QUARTODECIMANI, and the dispute itself is known as the QUARTO-DECIMAN controversy." p. 828

An article by Britannica entitled, Christian Groups Which Have Followed Jewish Religious Observances, shows the Christian understanding:

"...In the second century of our era there were many churches in Asia which kept the fourteenth day  (i.e. the full moon) of the first lunar month after the spring equinox as their Passover. They were called ‘Quartadecimans,’ which means the keepers of the fourteenth day of the lunar month.   Among the observers of the quartadeciman festival are counted Polycarp of Smyrna, Melito of Sardes, Blastus in Rome; one of the traditions in the Syriac Didascalia and the Epistle of the Apostles.   In 194- Bonner published a newly discovered homily on Passover by the quartadeciman Bishop of Sardes, Melito.  In this homily it is told that Chapter 12 of the Book of Exodus is first read in Hebrew, and then translated,  ‘how the sheep is sacrificed and how the people is saved. Therefore hear ye beloved: Thus the mystery of Passover is new and old, eternal and transient, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal... This passage makes it incontrovertibly clear that the quartadeciman Christians celebrated 'Passover.' The name and the date of the festival are the same as in the Israelite calendar...(In addition) it has been suggested that the quartadeciman Christians commemorated only the Death of the Lord Jesus, and not his Resurrection."

The Britannica article brings out an interesting point to show that it is the 14th day Christ died:

"So there was in the early Church a Christian observance of Passover. However, it seems that there was a difference of opinion as to what happened at Passover according to the Gospels. The general opinion was that Jesus was crucified on this festival. But did he die on the fourteenth day or on the fifteenth day of the first month? Were there not only 'quartadecimans', but also 'quintadecimans?"

    4.  The controversy continued for a long time

The Apostolic Community to Constantine, by Karl Baus, reads:

"The Quartodeciman minority remained faithful to their previous practice throughout the whole of the 3rd century, and the Novatians in Asia Minor followed them in this. The first canon of the synod of Arles in 314 imposed the Sunday Easter, and the Council of Nicea expelled the Quartodecimans from the ecclesiastical community. Thereafter, their numbers continually declined, though even into the fifth century the great Church had to deal with them on occasion." p. 271

B. Mithraism:
    1.  Pagan Persian religion.
    2.  First century A.D.
    3.  Fades out as oriental mystic religion of the East.
    4.  Involves sun worship.
    5.  Appealing to the soldiers.
    6.  Spread throughout the empire.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"MITHRAS, a Persian god of light, whose worship, the latest one of importance to be brought from the Orient to Rome, spread throughout the empire and became the greatest antagonist of Christianity...Because light is accompanied by heat, he was the god of vegetation and increase; he sent prosperity to the good, and annihilated the bad; he was the god of armies and the champion of heroes; as the enemy of darkness and of all evil spirits, he protected souls, accompanying them on the way to paradise, and was thus a redeemer. Animals and birds were sacrificed and libations poured to him, and prayers were addressed to him by devotees who had purified themselves by ablution and repeated flagellation...Its popularity remained unimpaired after the fall of Persia, and it was during the ferment following the conquests of Alexander that the characteristics, which mark it during the Roman period, were firmly fixed. Mithraism was at full maturity on its arrival at Rome, the only modifications it ever suffered having been experienced during its younger days in Asia...From the end of the 2nd century the emperors encouraged Mithraism, because of the support which it afforded to the divine right of monarchs...The beginning of the downfall of Mithraism dates from A.D. 275, when Dacia was lost to the empire, and the invasion of the northern peoples resulted in the destruction of temples...The aggression of Christianity also was now more effective. The emperors, however, favored the cult, which was the army’s favorite until Constantine destroyed its hopes...Its legitimate successor was Manichaeism, which afforded a refuge to those mystics who had been shaken in faith, but not converted, by the poleics of the Church against their religion." p. 622

C.  Manichaeism
    1.  Founded in 2nd century and existed though the 14th century.
    2.  Replaces Mithraism.
    3.  Augustine fought against it - 4OO's A.D.
    4.  Grew to be very large.
    5.  Often connected with Paulicians and Bogomils.
    6.  Austere practices.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

“Professor Franz Cumont has traced the progress of Mithraism all over the Balkan Peninsula, Italy, the Rhine-lands, Britain, Spain and Latin Africa. It was peculiarly the religion of the Roman garrisons, and was carried by the legionaries wherever they went.  It was an austere religion, inculcating self-restraint, courage and honesty; it secured peace of conscience through forgiveness of sins, and abated for those who were initiated in its mysteries the superstitious terrors of death and the world to come. In these respects it resembled Christianity...This new faith was that of Mani which spread with a rapidity only to be explained by supposing that Mithraism had prepared men’s minds for its reception. Mani professed to blend the teachings of Christ with the old Persian Magism... Manichaean tradition relates that Mani received revelations while yet a boy, and assumed a critical attitude towards the religious instruction that was being imparted to him... It was only when Mani had reached the age of twenty-five or thirty years that he began to proclaim his new religion... According to the ACTA ARCHELAI, his missionary activity extended westwards into the territory of the Christian church; but from Oriental sources it is certain that Mani rather went into Transoriana, western China, and southwards as far as India...Mani himself composed a large number of works and epistles, which were in great part still known to the Mahommedan historians, but are now mostly lost...The   Manichaean system is one of consistent, uncompromising   dualism, in the form of a fantastic philosophy of  nature. The physical and the ethical are not distinguished, and in this respect the character of the system is thoroughly materialistic, for when Mani co-ordinates good with light, and evil with darkness, this is no mere figure of speech, but light is actually good and darkness evil...redemption consists in a physical process of freeing the element of light from the darkness. Under such circumstances ethics   becomes a doctrine of abstinence in regard to all elements which have their source within the sphere of darkness...It is very difficult to determine what was the extent of Mani's knowledge of Christianity, how much he himself borrowed from it, and through what channels it reached him. It is certain that Manichaeism, in those districts where it was brought much into contact with Christianity, became additionally influenced by the latter at a very early period." p.572-576

A.  378 A.D. - Title of 'Pontifex Maximus' bestowed on bishop at Rome.
B.  476-554 A.D. - years Roman Empire wounded:
    1.  476 A.D. - defeated.
    2.  554 A.D. - restored.
    3.  France grew to importance.
C.  500 A.D. - Clovis - first Frankish king.
    1.  Bestowed papal states to Catholic church.
    2.  Church became property owners.
D.  550s A.D. - Justinian.
    1.  Council of Laodicea reaffirmed.
E.  600s A.D. - in East was a rising to power of the Arab kingdom.
    1.  Establishment of Islamic religion.
    2.  Middle east not so much Catholic.


The History of the Christian Church, by George Fisher, reads:

"While the Christian world, as it has been the fashion to call it, 'was thus sunk into an awful state of superstition--at a moment when darkness seemed to cover the earth, and a gross darkness of the people'--it is pleasing to contemplate a ray of celestial light darting across the gloom. About the year 650, a new sect arose in the east, under the name of Paulicians, which is justly entitled to our attention.

A.  Key of Truth
    1.  Important manual by the church of Armenia on the Paulicians.
    2.  Translated by Fred Conybeare.
    3.  Preservation of writings of the Paulicians in the 800s A.D.

From George Fisher's History of the Christian Church, we read:

“In this manuscript called Key of Truth, we find many of their beliefs. Conybeare says he had at last  '...Understood who these Paulicians really were. All who had ‘written about them’ had been misled by their Calumnies (slanders). I now realized (he said) that I had stumbled on the monument of a phase of the Christian Church so old and so outworn, that the very memory of it was lost...'Their system (he continues) was like the European Cathars, in its basal idea and conception alien to persecution; for membership in it depended upon baptism, voluntarily sought for, even with tears and supplications by the faithful and penitent adult. On the contrary, the whole purpose of the scrutiny, to which his heart and intelligence were won, and to guard against that merely outward conformity, which is all that the persecutor can hope to impose…

B.  Origin.
    1.  Predominate Christian group that is non-Catholic.
    2.  Best guesses of establishment begin in about 650 A.D.
    3.  Location: In Asia Minor, Armenia.

Newman explains how the earth helped the woman in his book A Manual of Church History:

"It was the huge recess or circular dam formed by the Taurus mountain range that furnished a comparatively secure abiding place for this ancient form of Christianity." p. 201

Broodbent explains that the Paulicians were the descendants of the original church in his book The Pilgrim Church:

"The persecutions to which they were subjected, and the systematic destruction of their literature, hide from us all but occasional glimpses of their history, though what remains is sufficient to show that there were in those wide regions of Asia Minor and Armenia, around Mount Ararat and beyond the Euphrates, churches of baptized believers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, who kept the teachings of the apostles received from Christ and contained in the scriptures, in an unbroken testimony from the first."  p. 43-44

3.  Location:  In Asia Minor, Armenia.

4.  Possible founder:  Constantine of Monanali.
    a.  Wealthy, educated merchant
    b.  Given gift of portion of N.T.
    c.  Found he understood it differently from the traditional way
    d.  Began to preach - movement grew rapidly

Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, says:

"In his humble dwelling of Mananeli, Constantine entertained a deacon who returned from Syrian captivity and received the inestimable fight of the New Testament, which was already concealed from the vulgar, by the prudence of the Greek an perhaps of the gnostic clergy. These books became the measure of his studies and these books of the New Testament became the rule of his faith and the Catholics who dispute his interpretation, acknowledge that his text was genuine and sincere. He attached himself with peculiar devotion to St. Paul. The name of the Paulicians is derived, by their enemies, from some unknown and domestic teacher, but I am confident that they glorified in their affinity to the apostle of the Gentiles.  His disciples, Titus, Timothy, Sylvanus and Tychicus were represented by Constantine and his fellow-laborers. The names of the apostolic churches were applied to the congregations in which they assembled in Armenia and Capadocia.  In the gospel and the epistles of St. Paul, his faithful followers investigated the creed of primitive Christianity." pp. 57-63

C.  Attempt to stamp movement out by Byzantine Emperor.
    1.  Sent Simeon to destroy church Constantine had started.
    2.  Church was told to stone their own leader - Constantine.
    3.  They succumb & Constantine is stoned.

D.  Simeon (man sent to destroy the church):
    1.  Became church leader in the 680s.
        a.  Replaced Constantine who he had killed
    2.  His name was later changed to Titus.
    3.  No reason to dispute this information.

From Gibbons Decline and Fall, we read

"So Simeon, like the apostle Paul embraced the doctrine which he had been sent to persecute. He renounced his honors and fortunes and acquired among the Paulicians the fame of a missionary and a martyr. They were not ambitious of martyrdom, but in a calamitous period of 150 years, their patience sustained whatever zeal could inflict, and power was insufficient to eradicate the obstinate vegetation of fanaticism and reason. From the blood and ashes of the first victims, a succession of teachers and congregations repeatedly arose." pp. 57-63

E.  Persecution and extinction of...

Their persecutors wrote of them:

"With how many lies your vanity has been entangled and that your teachings maintain by certain venomous poisons, so that through you the healthy are driven to disease and living to perpetual death. Haters of truth, enemies of life, counselors of destruction, all things among you are opposed to the truth... therefore, since it is no longer possible to bear this plague of your utter destructiveness, by this law we order publicly that none of you may dare to assemble hereafter. And besides, this is enter into the Catholic Church and share in its holiness, through which you will be able to also attain to the truth."  p. 7

    1.  Later stamped out by Empress Theodora between 840 & 860 A.D.
2.  Severely persecuted.
3.  As many as 100,000 martyred.
4.  Set stage to development of European church.
        a.  Bogomils into Europe

From the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, we read:

"The empress Theodora and the emperor Michael in 845 did oblige them to be converted or to quit the empire, upon which several of them were put to death, and more retired among the Cericans, but they were neither all exterminated nor banished. During these sad commotions, the Paulicians toward the conclusion of this century spread abroad their doctrines among the Bulgarians."  p. 417-419

F.  Thoughts on their doctrine...

From Conybeare’s The Key of Truth, we read a confession of their teachings from one who has recanted:
    1.  Convinced me that Christ is not God.
    2.  Made me blaspheme the cross, as being nothing.
    3.  Told me that the baptism and body are of the Armenians is false and that
    4.  We must rebaptize all of us on whose foreheads the          sacred oil of the wild beast is laid;
    5.  The Mother of God is not believed to be a virgin but to have lost her virginity;
    6.  We reject her intercession also;
    7.  Whatever saints there be they reject their intercession;
    8.  They reject the mass and communion and the confession but say to the Orthodox confess to your sticks and stones and leave God alone;
    9.  Those who choose to communicate eat the morsel and drink down the wine upon it, but do not admit the communion (transubstantiation) of the mass;
    10.  They say that we are the only true Christians on earth.
    11.  On our faces we make no sign of the cross.
    12.  Genuflexions are false if made superstitiously;
    13.  During (Roman) fasts, they eat;
    14.  The canon-lore of the holy patriarchs they reject; and say that the councils of the patriarchs were false, and that their canons were written by the devil.

    1.  Condemned "blessed" virgin Mary - didn't believe in Mary worship.
        a.  Came to believe Gabriel fathered Christ
        b.  Believed Mary lost her virginity
2.  Refused to celebrate the Eucharist.
3.  Refused the doctrine of Transubstantiation.
4.  Loathed the cross of Jesus Christ.
        a.  Condemned use of the cross as a sign
        b.  Felt object of Christ’s death shouldn’t be simulated

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"(1) Christ was thirty years old when he was baptized. Therefore they baptized no one until he is thirty years of age.(2) Christ, after baptism, was not anointed with myrrh nor with holy oil, therefore let them not be anointed with myrrh or holy oil. (3) Christ was not baptized in a font, but in a river. Therefore, let them not be baptized in a font. (4) Christ, when he was about to be baptized, did not recite the creed of the 318 fathers of Nice, therefore shall they not make profession of it. (5) Christ when about to be baptized, was not first made to turn to the west and renounce the devil an blow upon him, nor against to turn to the east and make a compact with God. For he was himself true God.  So let them not impose these things on those to be baptized.   (6) Christ, after he had been baptized, did not partake of his own body. Nor let them so partake or it. (7) Christ, after he was baptized, fasted 40 days and only that; and for 120 years such was the tradition, which prevailed in the Church. We, however, fast 50 days before Pascha. (8) Christ did not hand down to us the teaching to celebrate the mystery of the offering of bread in church, but in an ordinary house and sitting at a common table.  So then let them not offer the sacrifice of bread in churches.  (9) It was after supper, when his disciples were sated, that Christ gave them to east of his own body. Therefore let them first eat meats and be sated, and then let them partake of the mysteries. (10) Christ, although he was crucified for us, yet did not command us to adore the cross, as the Gospel testifies. Let them therefore not adore the cross.  (11) The cross was of wood.  Let them therefore not adore a cross of gold or silver or bronze or stone. (12) Christ wore neither humeral nor amice nor maniple nor stole nor chasuble. Therefore let them not wear these garments. (13) Christ did not institute the prayers of the liturgy or the Holy Epiphanies, and all the other prayers for every action and every hour. Let them therefore not repeat them, nor be hallowed by such prayers. (14) Christ did not lay hands on patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops and presbyters and deacons and monks, nor ordain their several prayers. Let them therefore not be ordained nor blessed with these prayers. (15) Christ did   not enjoin the building of churches and the furnishing of holy tables, and their anointing with myrrh and hallowing with a myriad of prayers. Let them not do it either. (16) Christ did not fast on the fourth day of the week and on the Paraskeve. Let them not fast either.  (17) Christ did not bid us pray toward the east.  Neither shall they pray towards the east."

Beliefs continued

    5.  Didn't believe Peter was the only one given the keys to the kingdom (we believe Peter was given leadership responsibilities and leadership given to all 12 apostles in general).
6.  Didn't believe the Pope was a representative of God.
7.  Didn't believe in saints or the worship of them.
8.  Doctrine of Baptism:
        a.  Condemned method of the Catholic church
        b.  Paulicians granted baptism to those of full age (3O) after coming to realization of one's sins.
        c.  Only way to become baptized - through study, prayer, faith, repentance, and practice in living the right way of life.

From Albert Newman’s A Manual of Church History, we read:

“For they taught; secondly, asked for faith; thirdly, induced to repent; and after that, granted holy baptism to those who are of full age, and in particular were cognizant of their original sin. Again ye, the elect ones, must observe the utmost care that they     receive before baptism instruction, both of body and soul, as Paul saith: 'Practice thyself in godliness.' So must ye without delay bring those who come unto faith, hope, love, and repentance, and with extreme care and testing practice them, no matter who they be." p. 382-383

From Conybeare's Key of Truth, we read:

"First, it is interesting to note that the Paulicians adhered to the words of Acts 2:38 and other basic scriptures relating to real Christian conversion: 'for membership in it (the Church) depended upon baptism, voluntarily sought for, even with tears and supplication, by the faithful and penitent adult. 'Continuing in another section:  'Now their repentance lay in turning from their evil works and believing in Christ Jesus; in receiving the holy baptism of the Spirit of the heavenly Father...’ The emphasis on deep repentance and faith, the two conditions that must be met before baptism and the receipt of the Holy Spirit...." p. xii & 73

        d. Taught baptism by emersion, and laying on of hands - this may later have been watered down
     e. Were not considered part of the body until baptized
9.  Believed church was not a building, but a body of people.
1O.  Believed gospel of the kingdom of God.

From The Paulician Heresy, by Nina G. Garsoian, we read:

"They also claimed each man could be accepted as the Son of God, which caused much   scandal among the Orthodox Armenian ecclesiastics. Apparently this belief dated from the earlier period." pp. 161-162


        a.  Dualism sometimes applied (evil body, good soul)

        b.  No evidence that they believed the concept that Satan was the god of this world

        c.  Kept commands

From Conybear's The Key of Truth, we read:

"The Paulicians were also characterized by their obedience to the Ten Commandments, which is necessary for a newly begotten Christian's growth. 'How are we to define a Christian?  Thus -- one who know our Lord Jesus Christ, what he is, and keeps his commandments.' p. 117


    11.  Observed Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.
        a.  Kept Passover on the 14th of Nissan like the Jews
        b.  Called "Agape" - Love Feasts
        c.  Manner - observed as a meal

From Conybeare's The Key of Truth, we read:

"The Sabbath was perhaps kept, and there were no special Sunday observance... Wednesday and Friday were not kept as fast days. (And) Of the modern Christmas and of the Annunciation, and of the other feasts connected with the life of Jesus prior to his thirtieth year, this phase of the Church knew nothing. The general impression which the study or it leaves on us is that in it we have before us a form of Church not very remote from the primitive Jewish Christianity of Palestine." p. 193

    12.  Evidence that they may have kept the Sabbath.
13.  Did not accept the doctrine of the Trinity.
14.  Had higher standard of conduct

Even their enemies noted their high standard of conduct. The Key of Truth reveals the opinion of one enemy of the Paulicians:

"Lozar particularly distinguishes the heresy of Armenia (the Paulicians) from others....   (He says of the Paulicians)  these have lapsed into incurable errors in matters of faith, but have erred in word only and not in act. For as regards personal chastity, there is no sort of self mortification in which they are not conspicuous, and especially in matters of food and drink and abstinence from pollutions. "This they did while at the same time remaining hostile to 'the overstrained asceticism' of monks of St. Basil in Armenia" p. 123

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