College Notes
Church History
Lecture 15

Waldensians Lucius III

I. WALDENSIANS 1170S - 1500S
A. In 1200's, Inquisition began because of Waldensian movement.
B. Origin of name Waldensian:
1. Wald = French for forest; place where the people lived.
2. The man Peter Waldo - the leader of the movement.
3. In French, the church was referred to as the Vadois meaning "valley dwellers".
4. Also called - 'the poor men of Lyons'
     a. Located in Lyons, France
     b. Refers to vows of poverty
C. Church still extant today primarily in Northern Italy.
D. Leader Peter Waldo (Valdez, Valdo, valdus, waldes)
1. "Conversion" in 1170.
     a. Broke away from Catholic teachings
     b. Tried to work within confines of the church
     c. Moved by knowledge of his sins
     d. Death of close friend caused him to look into doctrine of the immortal soul
     e. Troubled by Simony, corruption and wealth in the Catholic church
2. Large amount of information available. Bulk found in 1200 - 1300's.
3. Best sources are:
     a. Jones' Church history
     b. J.P. Perrin's Historie the Waldenses and Albigenses
     c. Comba's History of the Waldenses of Italy
4. Controversy whether or not founder of Waldensians.
5. Waldo earned his wealth from usury (as a merchant).
E. Conversion:

The account is told in Comba's History of the Waldenses

"One day, while in the company of some of the leading citizens (of Lyons), one of Waldo's friends fell lifeless at his side. Terrified by the event, he said to himself: If death had stricken me, what would have become of my soul? Waldo, a Catholic, asked a theologian what is the perfect way? 'Ah!' answered the theologian. 'Here is Christ's precept: 'if thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come take up thy cross and follow me.”

             b. Distributed wealth to his family and the poor
     c. Remainder of monies spent on translating Bible into the vernacular - language of the people
     d. He only translated parts of the Bible into French, the translation and printing of the entire bible in French was in 1535

Comba says:

"He brought to the study of the Scriptures that practical common sense which had guided him in his business transactions...The word of Christ was clear enough; for Waldo it was simply a question of furnishing a literal translation." P. 26O

  In A History of the Vaudois Church, by Antoine, Monastier shows how he operated:

"This citizen (of Lyons) having often read these sentences and engraved them in his memory, determined to seek after that evangelical perfection which the apostles had practiced. Having sold all his goods in contempt of the world, he distributed the money he had gained to the poor, and dared to usurp the office of the apostles, preaching the gospel and the things he had committed to memory, in the streets and public places. He encouraged men and women to do the same, whom he collected around him, and confirmed in the knowledge of the gospel. He sent men of all trades, even the meanest, into the surrounding country, to preach. These men and women, ignorant and illiterate, running over the country, gaining admission into town-halls; and preaching in public places, and even in churches, excited others to do the same.

"Detachment from the world, and zeal for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ according to the gospel, were the characteristics of the religious movement that was abetted by Pierre, the merchant of Lyons." p. 55

F. Concept on the Sabbath:
1. Appears most Waldensians did not keep it...
     a. Sketchy evidence
     b. Conclusions hard to reach

William Jones, in History of the Christian Church, says:

"Investigators made a report to Louis XII, King of France that they had visited all the parishes that they (Waldenses) dwelt and had inspected their place of worship and found no images nor signs of the ornaments belonging to the mass not any of the ceremonies of the Roman church.... On the contrary, they kept the Sabbath Day, observed the ordinance of baptism according to the primitive church, instructed their children in the articles of the Christian faith and the commandments of God." p. 260

Persecutions and Atrocities on the Vaudois, says:

"They observed the seventh day of the week according to the commandments, immersed for the believers baptism, and kept the Passover or the Lord's Day, once a year in the first month." p. 348-349

    2. Reference: Jones' Church History Refers to Waldensians as 'insabbati,' or 'inzabbati'.
     a. Some say called this because they kept a 7th day Sabbath
     b. Others say that "in" means against so these were against sabbaths, or more likely against the Roman Church festivals.
     c. Others say term comes form 'Sabots,' meaning 'wooden sandals'. (lean more toward this definition)
G. Had a coat of arms - indicates may have been part of true church.
1. Pictures a candle with seven stars surrounding it.
2. May refer to 7 candles in Revelation.
3. Forth star above candle may indicate forth era of the church - Thyatira.
4. "Lux Lucet in Tenebris"- mg. a light shines in the darkness.
5. Published the 'Herald of Truth' magazine (similar to the Plain Truth).
H. His work:
1. Tried to work within the RCC
2. His original aim was to reform the corruption of the clergy
     a. Authorities disturbed by his lack of training
     b. They also opposed non-Latin translation

Newman relates in his Manual of Church History:

"The Archbishop of Lyons forbade his preaching on the ground that he was a layman. Waldo replied: 'Judge you whether it be lawful before God to obey Him who has said, Go you into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.' Waldo said he could not be silent in a matter which concerned the salvation of his is probable that Peter Waldo had been to some extent affected by the evangelical life developed in connection with the labors of Peter DeBruys and Henry of Lausanne, though there is no evidence that he entered into any relations with these." P.571

        c. He was banished from Lyons
     d. He appealed to the Third Lateran Council for papal approval
     e. Pope Alexander III approved his living in poverty but rejected his preaching
     f. He and his followers continued to preach
     g. Waldo and his followers were expelled from Lyons
     h. In 1184, Lucius III banned them with a papal Bull

"Therefore we lay under perpetual anathema...those who falsely call themselves Poor men of Lyons...We include, in the same perpetual anathema, all who shall have presumed to preach, either publicly of privately, either being forbidden, or not sent, to not having the authority of the Apostolic See, of the bishop of the diocese; as likewise all those who are not afraid to hold or teach any opinions concerning the sacrament of the body and blood of out Lord Jesus Christ, baptism, the remission of sins, matrimony or any other sacraments of the church, differing from what the Holy Church of Rome doth preach and observe...And we likewise declare all entertainers and defenders of the said heretics, and those that have shewed any favor, or given countenance to them, thereby strengthening them in their heresy, whether they be called Comforted, Believers, or Perfect, or with whatever superstitious names they dignify themselves, to be liable to the same sentence. Whosoever shall be...convicted of these errors, he shall be immediately deprived of all prerogative of the church- orders, and so being divested of all office and benefice, be delivered up to the secular power to be punished according to demerit, unless immediately upon his being detected, he voluntarily returns to the truth of the Catholic faith, and submits publicly to adjure his errors...But those who after having abjured their errors, or cleared themselves upon examination...shall be found to have relapsed into their abjured heresy; we decree, that with out any further hearing they be forthwith delivered up to the secular power, and their goods confiscated to the use of the church..."

        i. Humiliati joined the Waldenses at this time
     j. Because of the scarcity of Bibles, large portions of the scriptures were learned by heart

 A. W. Mitchell, M.D., in his The Waldenses of Piedmont, says:

“Where copies of the Bible had, by incessant seizures, become too few to supply the wants of each, societies of young persons were formed, for the purpose of learning the scriptures by heart, thus preserving it in their memory at least, from the menaced confiscation." p. 64

Jones' Church History says:

"Jacobus de Riveria, who published a work entitled, 'Collectionos of the city of Toulouse,' and who, in his time, assisted in persecuting the Waldenses nevertheless acknowledges, that they were so well instructed in the Holy Scriptures, that he had seen peasants who could recite the book of Job verbatim, and others who could perfectly repeat all the New Testament....

"In the time of a great persecution of the Waldenses of Merindol and Provence, a certain monk was deputed by the Bishop of Cavillon, to hold a conference with them, that they might be convinced of their errors, and the effusion of blood prevented. But the monk returned in confusion, owning that in his whole life he had never known so much of the Scriptures, as he had learned during those few days that he had been conversing with the heretics. The bishop, however, sent among them a number of doctors, young men, who had lately come from the Sorbonne, which, at that time, was the very center of theological subtlety at Paris. One of these publicly owned, that he had understood more of the doctrine of salvation from the answers of the little children in their catechisms, that by all the disputations which he had ever before heard." 16-N-2-h

In Bompiani's A Short History of the Waldenses, we read:

"Long before the German Reformation they were an evangelical people, loving the Bible above all things: making translations of it into the vulgar tongue; spreading it abroad in Bohemia, in Germany, in France and in Italy. They taught their children to memorize whole chapters, so that whatever might befall the written copies of the Bible, large portions of it might be secure in the memories of their youths and maidens. In secret meetings, when they went by night barefooted, or with shoes bound with rags, so that they might not be heard in passing, it was their custom to listen to the Gospels recited in turn by the young, each one responsible for a certain portion."

        k. They had a college founded in the Angrogna Valley of the Cottian Alps
     l. Preachers went out two by two clad in a simple woolen robe, barefoot of wearing sandals.
     m. New preachers were to travel for years in the company of an experienced man
     n. The general superintendent of the Waldenses was usually appointed for life.
     o. The fruits of his work show he was an Apostle
     p. Ministry were appointed and consecrated, at their annual meetings usually held in Lombardy

Monastier con't.
"To attain this object, the church has pastors who direct it. Great care is exercised, so as not to consecrate any to this office but true believers. In fact, the aspirants to this important charge were required to give proof of their humility and sincere desire to consecrate themselves to the work of the ministry. The pastors, trained their successors: 'We give them lessons', they say in their Discipline; 'we make them learn by heart the whole of St. Matthew and St. John, and all the canonical Epistles, a good part of the writings of Solomon, of David, and the prophets. And afterwards, if a good testimony is borne to their character, they are admitted by the imposition of hands to the office of preaching.' The right of consecrating them was vested in the pastors. 'Among other powers which God has given his servants, he has given them power to choose leaders (pastors) who may govern the people, and to appoint elders to their offices, according to the diversity of their employments, in the unity of Christ, as the apostle proves in his Epistle to Titus 5" p. 8

        q. The movement spread rapidly to Spain, northern France, Flanders, Germany, southern Italy, and even reached Poland and Hungary. They eventually existed in nearly every part of Europe, and numbered in tens. If not hundreds of thousands

A History of The Vaudois Church says Waldo ended up in Bohemia:

"It was in Bohemia that Valdo himself terminated his admirable and useful career. He found a Christian church there, which, like all those of the Sclavonian race, had received Christianity through the medium of the Greek church, and which, like all her sisters, abhorred the yoke and errors of Rome. Attached to the Holy Scriptures, which she read in an excellent Sclavonian translation, the language of the country, the church of Bohemia had welcomed, with a cordial feeling of Christian brotherhood, Pierre Valdo and his friends, who had been persecuted for their fidelity to the word of God." p 149

        r. They published articles and small booklets copied by hand
     s. They strongly opposed the Cathars who believed in war

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