From an examination of the history of the Sabbath-keeping
Churches, we are able to draw some important conclusions about them and also
trace a system of observance, which shows that the biblical model as
established by Christ has never ceased. There are a number of significant
examples, which show a sequential history of the Sabbath-keeping Churches
throughout the early Christian world and in Europe, before and during the
Middle Ages. These continue on into, and through, the Reformation. The
Sabbath-keeping churches, termed also Sabbatati,
have existed at one stage or another over the greater part of the planet. These
Churches also appear to have, in their central core, from the earliest stages,
kept the Holy Days.
Sabbath observance was widespread and appears to have been
opposed from Rome. It was kept in Egypt as the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus (c. 200-250
Except ye make the sabbath a real sabbath [Gr. sabbatize the
Sabbath], ye shall not see the Father (The
Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Pt. 1, p. 3, Logion 2, verso 4-11, London: Offices of
the Egyptian Exploration Fund, 1898).
Origen also enjoined Sabbath-keeping:
After the festival of the unceasing sacrifice [the crucifixion]
is put the second festival of the Sabbath, and it is fitting for whoever is
righteous among the saints to keep also the festival of the Sabbath. There
remaineth therefore a sabbatismus, that is, a keeping of the Sabbath, to the
people of God [Hebrews 4:9] (Homily on
Numbers 23, para. 4, in Migne, Patrologia
Græca, Vol. 12, cols. 749, 750).
Similarly the Constitution
of the Holy Apostles (Ante-Nicene
Fathers, Vol. 7, p. 413; c. 3rd century) states:
Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased
from His work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a
rest for meditation of the law, not for idleness of the hands.
Sabbath-keeping, the original position of the Church, had
spread west into Europe and from Palestine, it spread East into India (Mingana Early Spread of Christianity, Vol. 10,
p. 460) and then into China. The introduction of Sabbath-keeping to India
caused a controversy in Buddhism in 220 CE. According to Lloyd (The Creed of Half Japan, p. 23) the
Kushan Dynasty of North India, called a council of Buddhist priests at
Vaisalia, to bring uniformity among the Buddhist monks on the observance of
their weekly Sabbath. Some had been so impressed by the Old Testament writings
that they had begun to keep the Sabbath.
The Sabbatati of Europe were not an inconsiderable force.
The Church established in Milan kept the Sabbath.
It was the practice generally of the Eastern Churches; and some
churches of the West ... For in the Church of Millaine [Milan]; ... it seemes
the Saturday was held in a farre esteeme ... Not that the Easterne Churches, or
any of the rest which observed that day were inclined to Iudaisme [Judaism];
but that they came together on the Sabbath day, to worship Iesus [Jesus] Christ
the Lord of the Sabbath (Dr. Peter Heylyn History
of the Sabbath, London 1636, Part 2, para. 5, pp. 73-74; original spelling
The western Churches under the Goths had allegedly fallen
into neglect of the Sabbath, because of the influence of Rome, even though the
Goths themselves were not Catholic, but Subordinationist or so-called Arians.
Sidonius says that under Theodoric in 454-526:
It is a fact that it was formerly the custom in the East to
keep the Sabbath in the same manner as the Lord's day and to hold sacred
assemblies: while on the other hand, the people of the West, contending for the
Lord's day have neglected the celebration of the Sabbath (Apollinaris Sidonii
Epistolæ, lib. 1,2; Migne, 57).
However, the West Goths, who moved into Southern Gaul and
Spain, were adoptionist and were termed Bonosians
allegedly from Bonosus of Sardica, who taught that Joseph and Mary had
children. He was classified with Marcellus and Photius, thus indicating that
they were of similar mind regarding the Sabbath and the law.
That appears to be supported also by the fact that
Marseilles was the headquarters of the western predestinationists (Massilians), which erupted there and was
finally condemned as Pelagianism (probably incorrectly) at Orange in 529 (ERE, Sects,
Vol. XI, p. 319).
From canon 26 of the Council of Elvira (c. 305), it appears
that the Church in Spain had kept the Sabbath. Rome had introduced the practice
of fasting on the Sabbath to counteract Sabbath-keeping. Pope Sylvester (314-335)
was the first to order the Churches to fast on the Sabbath, and Pope Innocent
(402-417) made it a binding law in the Churches that obeyed him.
Innocentius did ordaine the Saturday or Sabbath to be always
fasted (Peter Heylyn, History of the
Sabbath, Part 2, Ch. 2, London, 1636, p. 44).
Canon 26 of the Council of Elvira held
As to fasting every Sabbath: Resolved, that the error be
corrected of fasting every Sabbath.
The city of Sabadell in north-eastern Spain near Barcelona
draws its name from the Sabbatati or Valdenses (or Vallenses). The age of the
name and the antiquity of the terms Sabbatati and Insabatati
mitigate against the case for Waldo to have founded the Vallenses, but rather
their distribution shows that he was converted by them, and took his name from
them as we will see.
The Sabbath-keeping Churches in Persia underwent forty years of
persecution under Shapur II, from 335-375 specifically, because they were
They despise our sun-god. Did not Zoroaster, the sainted founder
of our divine beliefs, institute Sunday one thousand years ago in honour of the
sun and supplant the Sabbath of the Old Testament. Yet these Christians have
divine services on Saturday (O'Leary, The
Syriac Church and Fathers, pp. 83-84, requoted Truth Triumphant p. 170).
This persecution was mirrored in the west by the Council of
Laodicea (c. 366). Hefele notes:
Canon 16 - The Gospels along with other Scripture be read on
the Sabbath (cf. also canons 49 and 51, Bacchiocchi, fn. 15, p. 217).
Canon 29 - Christians must not Judaize by resting on the
Sabbath, but must work on that day honouring rather the Lord's day by resting,
if possible, as Christians. However if any shall be found judaizing, let them
be anathema for Christ (Mansi, II, pp. 569-570, see also Hefele, Councils, Vol. 2, b. 6).
Socrates the Historian says:
For although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate
the sacred mysteries [assumed by Catholics to be the eucharist or Lord's Supper
so-called] on the Sabbath of every
week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and Rome, on account of some ancient
tradition, refuse to do this (Socrates, Ecclesiastical
History, Bk 5, Ch. 22, p. 289).
The Sabbath was observed into the fifth century by Christianity
(Lyman Coleman Ancient Christianity Exemplified,
Ch. 26, Sec. 2, p. 527). Certainly, as at the time of Jerome (420), the devoutest Christians did ordinary work
on Sunday (Dr. White, bishop of Ely, Treatise
of the Sabbath Day, p. 219).
Augustine of Hippo, a devout Sunday keeper, attested that the
Sabbath was observed in the greater part of the Christian world (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF),
First Series, Vol. 1, pp. 353-354) and deplored the fact that in two
neighbouring Churches in Africa, one observed the seventh day Sabbath, while another
fasted on it (Peter Heylyn, op. cit., p. 416).
The Churches generally held the Sabbath for some time.
The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of
Saturday, or the seventh day ... It is
plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world,
observed the Sabbath as a festival ...
Athanasius likewise tells us that they held religious assemblies on the
Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the
Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same (Antiquities of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Bk. xx, Ch. 3, Sec 1,
In the last half of the fourth century, the bishop of the
Sabbath-keeping Abyssinian Church, Mueses, visited China. Ambrose of Milan
stated that Mueses had travelled almost everywhere in the country of the Seres'
(China) (Ambrose, De Moribus,
Brachman-orium Opera Omnia, 1132, found in Migne, Patriologia Latina, Vol. 17, pp. 1131-1132). Mingana holds that the
Abyssinian Museus travelled to Arabia, Persia, India and China in 370 (see also
fn. 27 to Truth Triumphant, p. 308).
The Sabbath Churches were established in Persia and the
Tigris-Euphrates basin. They kept the Sabbath and paid tithes to their Churches
(Realencyclopæie fur Protestantishe und
Kirche, art. Nestorianer; see
also Yule, The Book of Ser Marco Polo,
Vol. 2, p. 409). The St. Thomas Christians of India were never in communion
They were Sabbath-keepers, as were those who broke off
communion with Rome after the Council of Chalcedon, namely the Abyssinian, the
Jacobites, the Maronites, and the Armenians and the Kurds, who kept the food
laws and denied confession and purgatory (Schaff-Herzog, The New Encyclopædia of Religious Knowledge, art. ‘Nestorians’ and ‘Nestorianer’ above).
In 781 the famous China Monument was inscribed in marble to
tell of the growth of Christianity in China at that time. The inscription of
763 words was unearthed near the city of Changan in 1625 and allegedly now
stands in the Forest of Tablets at
Changan. The extract from the tablet states:
On the seventh day we offer sacrifices, after having purified
our hearts, and received absolution for our sins. This religion, so perfect and
so excellent, is difficult to name, but it enlightens darkness by its brilliant
precepts (M. l'Abbe Hue, Christianity in
China, Vol. I, Ch. 2, pp. 48-49).
The Jacobites were noted as Sabbath-keepers in 1625 in India (Pilgrimmes, Pt. 2, p. 1269).
The Abyssinian Church remained Sabbath-keeping and in Ethiopia
the Jesuits tried to get the Abyssinians to accept Roman Catholicism. The
Abyssinian legate at the court of Lisbon denied they kept Sabbath in imitation
of the Jews, but rather in obedience to Christ and the Apostles (Geddes, Church History of Ethiopia, pp. 87-88).
The Jesuits influenced king Zadenghel to propose to submit to the Papacy in
1604, and prohibiting Sabbath worship under severe penalty (Geddes, ibid., p.
311 and also Gibbons, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
The Sabbath in Italy
Allegedly, Ambrose of Milan kept Sabbath in Milan and Sunday in
Rome, hence giving rise to the saying when
in Rome do as Rome does (Heylyn, op. cit., 1612). Heylyn identifies the
Church at Milan from the fourth century, as the centre of Sabbath-keeping in
the West (ibid., part 2, para 5, pp. 73-74). It is thus not surprising that the
Sabbatati had their school there, as recorded under the Vallenses at the time
that Peter Waldo joined them. The Sabbath had been observed in Italy for
centuries and the Council of Friaul (c. 791) spoke against its observance by
the peasants at canon 13.
We command all Christians to observe the Lord's day to be held
not in honour of the past Sabbath, but on account of that holy night of the
first of the week called the Lord's day. When speaking of that Sabbath which
the Jews observe, the last day of the week and which our peasants observe
... (Mansi, 13, 851).
thus a nucleus of Sabbath-keeping tradition in Europe between Milan and Lyons,
which became the centre of The Poor Men of Lyons, a branch of the Sabbatati or
Insabatati, later termed Waldensians. The Milan-Lyon nexus was facilitated by
Pothinus and Irenæus (c. 125-203). Both were disciples of Polycarp, disciple of
John and both were Sabbath-keepers. Irenæus became bishop of Lyons after the martyrdom
of Pothinus in 177 under the persecution of Marcus Aurelius. The Church at
Lyons and Vienne, reporting on their persecution in 177 and probably as a
result of that persecution, argued for clemency for the Phrygian Montanists (but they themselves were
prudent in their views and not Montanist (The
Catholic Encyclopedia (C.E.), art.
‘Montanists’, vol. X. pp.
522-523). (Montanus and the prophetesses Maximilla and Prisca or Priscilla
prophesied with ecstatic utterances probably from the influence of the cult of
Cybele in Phrygia. They and their followers were condemned).
Irenæus was a Unitarian, as was Justin Martyr and all the
Ante-Nicene Apologists. He stated that the Church held one constant belief,
i.e. that there was but one Creator of the world, God the Father (ANF, Vol. 1, Against Heresies, Bk. II, Ch. IX, p. 369). He stated that the Church position was that:
Perfect righteousness was conferred neither by any other legal
ceremonies. The decalogue however was not cancelled by Christ, but is always in force: men were never released from its
commandments (ANF, Bk. IV, Ch. XVI,
He quotes Ezekiel (Ezek. 20:12) and Moses (Ex. 21:13) referring
to the Sabbaths as the sign between God and His people. The Sabbaths were given
as a sign, which was also symbolical. The Sabbaths taught that we should
continue day by day in God’s service. Man was not justified by them, but they
were given as a sign to the people (ibid., p. 481).
Ignatius, bishop of Antioch at the time of Trajan (98-117 CE),
argues against the Judaizing tendencies of his territory. The tenacious
survival and veneration of Jewish institutions, such as the Sabbath, are
explicitly mentioned by this author (Epistle
to the Magnesians, see also Bacchiocchi, p. 213). It is then hardly
conceivable that a radical break from Sabbath-keeping had already taken place
(ibid., p. 214). It is obvious that Ignatius was combating Jewish traditional
practices on the Sabbath, which was kept by both parties.
Justin Martyr, himself a Unitarian, introduces the concept of
Sunday worship (ANF, Vol. 1, First Apology, LXVII, pp. 185-186) and
attempts to convince his Jewish friend Trypho of the correctness of this
practice (e.g. see ANF, Vol. 1, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. XII, p. 200).
Bacchiocchi (perhaps the authority
on the transition from Sabbath to Sunday worship; cf. From Sabbath to Sunday, Pontifical Gregorian University Press,
Rome, 1977) deals with the failure of Justin to cite any previous examples in
justification for the practice. Justin’s argument presupposes that in his time Sunday observance was alien to both Jews
and Jewish-Christians (p. 156). The Nazarenes also did not observe Sunday,
as is supposed by Epiphanius (ibid.). The Nazarenes, whose existence in the
fourth century is attested to by Jerome, appear to be the direct descendants of
the Christian community of Jerusalem who migrated to Pella (Bacchiocchi,
The intent of the Sabbaths was understood by the early writers
to be spiritual, whereas the Jews tied to the physical and this is the essence of
the debate. The removal of the Sabbath and the substitution of Sunday would
have been abhorrent.
The Church at Lyons under Irenæus intervened in the
Quartodeciman Passover dispute (see Butler, Lives
of the Saints, pp. 196-197; and also Passover
papers). He spread early Christianity through much of Gaul and dealt a
death-blow to the forms of Gnosticism being entrenched there. Lyons in the time
of Pothinus and Irenæus was the centre of the Church in Gaul and was the centre
for the conversion.
The account of the persecution in Lyons and Vienne was given to
the brethren in Smyrna in a letter, which is preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., V, i-iv). Vienne was dependent upon Lyon and perhaps was
administered by a deacon (C. E., art.
‘Gaul, Christian’, Vol. VI, p.
The Churches in Gaul appear to have been facilitated by the
heavy concentration of Jews around Marseilles and Genoa, over the period
100-300 (see Gilbert, Atlas of Jewish
History, Dorset Press, 1984, map 17). These communities were obviously in
contact with the heavy concentrations of Jews in Ephesus and Smyrna. The
movement up the Rhone from Marseille to Lyons the Metropolis and centre of
communication for the whole country, is no doubt a result of the Jewish
participation in commerce. The demands of the community are probably what
prompted the dispatch of Pothinus and Irenæus to Lyons, from Polycarp in
Smyrna. Thus there was a Sabbath-keeping Church established in Lyons prior to
the persecution of Marcus Aurelius in 177. Lyons was the centre of the Churches
in Gaul when Irenæus was bishop. The Churches of Gaul wrote to Rome over the
Quartodeciman controversy (see Eusebius,
Hist. Eccl., V, xxiii) in support of the Asian bishops concerning the
introduction of Easter.
Gregory of Tours (Historia
Francorum, I, xxviii) alleges that in the year 250 Rome sent seven bishops
to found Churches in Gaul. Gatianus allegedly founded the church of Tours;
Trophimus that of Arles; Paul that of Narbonne; Saturninus that of Toulouse;
Denis that of Paris; Stremonius (Austremonius) that of Auvergne (Clermont); and
Martialis that of Limoges (see Lejay C.
E., art. ‘Gaul’, ibid.). As
Lejay says this is questioned by serious historians. It is more likely a record
of Roman intervention in the affairs of the nation. Regardless of the motive
and facts, Cyprian records that by the middle of the third century, there were
a number of Churches organised in Gaul. They suffered little from the great
persecution. It appears that Constantius Chlorus, the father of Constantine, was
not hostile to Christianity. It is probably from his exposure to the
Subordinationists at Lyons, that Constantine refused to become an Athanasian (a
quasi-Trinitarian, later termed Catholic) and was in fact baptised a
Subordinationist Unitarian (or a so-called Eusebian or Arian) prior to his
death (see C.E., ibid. and also vars.
articles re Constantine). The Council of Arles records that there were a number
of dioceses established at that time (c. 314) coinciding with the Edict of
Toleration (of Milan). The signatories of the bishops still in existence prove
the following sees: Vienne, Marseilles, Arles, Orange, Vaison, Apt, Nice,
Lyons, Autun, Cologne, Trier, Reims, Rouen, Bordeaux, Gabali, and Eauze. The
sees of Toulouse, Narbonne, Clermont, Bourges and Paris must also be admitted
(see C. E., ibid., p. 396).
Monasticism did not enter the Gaulish Churches until introduced
by Martin (d. c. 397), who founded Marmoutier near Tours, and Cassian (d. c.
435), who founded two churches at Marseilles (c. 415). By and large
Christianity was confined to the cities, among the more educated and perhaps
Jewish influenced groups. The rural people were pagans, with infusions of the
Gallo-Celt and Roman superstitions. The conversion of the Goths, Vandals,
Suevi, Alans etc. to Unitarianism (incorrectly termed Arianism) from the
beginning of the fourth century, ended the Roman Trinitarian and Sunday keeping
ambitions for some time. The episcopal sees of Gaul, became objects of
aristocratic greed under Roman influence. Honoratus founded a monastery on the
island of Lérins (Lerinum). From there the episcopates were taken over and the
so-called orthodox graduates of Lérins placed in many diocese. Honoratus,
Hilary and Cæsarius were placed at Arles; Eucherius at Lyons, and his sons
Salonius and Veranius at Geneva and Venice respectively; Lupus at Troyes;
Maximus and Faustus at Riez.
Lérins too became a school of mysticism and theology and spread
its religious ideas far and wide by useful works on dogma, polemics and
hagiography (C.E., op. cit.).
Thus the monastic schools introduced mysticism into the simple
religion of the early church in Gaul. There was significant resistance to the
monastic mysticism and many of the priesthood were married. It was the
Merovingian dynasty, which finally introduced the Roman system at the point of
Until 417, when Pope Zosimus made Patrocles, bishop of Arles,
his vicar or delegate in Gaul, all disputes had been referred to Milan where
the Council of Milan decided the matter (see C.E., p. 397). Thus it is easy to see the relationship of Milan to
the extended area of the Sabbatati or Vallenses. The Churches in Gaul were in
dispute as to the nature of God on an extended basis. The Churches were
The Church of Gaul passed through three dogmatic crises. Its
bishops seemed to have been greatly preoccupied with Arianism; as a rule they
clung to the teaching of Nicæa, in spite of a few temporary or partial
This is perhaps an understatement. The Sabbatati were
Subordinationist Unitarians, from the time of the founding by Pothinus and
Irenæus over a century before Arius was heard. Sabbath-keeping had spread over
Europe. Hefele says of the Council of Liftinæ in Belgium in 745 that:
The third allocution of this council warns against the
observance of the Sabbath, referring to the decree of Laodicea
(Conciliengeshicte, 3, 512, sec, 362).
Sabbath-keeping was extant in Rome under Gregory I (590-604).
Gregory wrote against the practice (Ep. 1, Nicene
and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF), Second Series, Vol. XIII, p. 13).
Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons,
the Roman citizens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have
disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the Holy faith, so that
they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath. What shall I call
them except preachers of anti-Christ (Epistles,
Gregory pronounced against a section of the city of Rome,
because it kept the Sabbath. He held that when anti-Christ would come, that he
would keep Saturday as the Sabbath (ibid.).
The Sabbath Church in Asia
The Church located in Asia Minor was termed Paulicians. The
Paulicians had developed there for some hundreds of years. C. A. Scott was to
say, of the Paulicians, that they were:
… an anti-Catholic sect which originated in the 7th century
(possibly earlier), experienced many alternations of imperial favor and
ruthless persecution, remained influential till the 12th cent., and is not
without descendants in Eastern Europe today. Making its appearance first on the
eastern borders of the empire, and having its natural home in Armenia,
Mesopotamia and N. Syria, it spread, partly through propaganda and partly
through the transplantation of its votaries, westward through Asia Minor, then
into Eastern Europe to establish new centres in the Balkan peninsula. The
specific opinions which have been ascribed to it include a dualistic conception
of the government if not the origin of the world, an Adoptionist doctrine of
the Person of Christ, a vehement and stubborn rejection of Mariolatry and the
worship of saints and images, a similar rejection of sacramental symbolism, and
a special emphasis on adult baptism as the only valid form. The basis of these
opinions is found in a concentration on Scripture as the sole and sufficient
authority to the exclusion of tradition and the 'teaching of the Church' (ERE, art. ‘Paulicians’, Vol. 9, p. 695).
The Paulicians increased greatly in numbers under Sergius
Tychicus and they were found chiefly among the hardy mountain people of the
Taurus. Scott says that
… alike as defenders of the empire and as objects of imperial
persecution, they showed the greatest stubbornness and courage (ibid., p. 697).
They were protected by Constantine Copronymous (741-775) and
invited to settle in Thrace. Nicephorus (802-811) employed them in the
protection of the empire on its eastern frontier. Michael and Leo V ruthlessly
But the Paulicians were too numerous, too warlike, and too well
organised to be dragooned into orthodoxy. They resisted, revolted, and even
retaliated by raiding Asia Minor from their mountain fastness. After twenty
years of comparative tranquillity they were exposed to still more violent
persecution under Theodora (842-857), which under Basil developed into a war of
extermination (see Krumbacher, p. 1075). The Paulicians were driven into the
arms of the Saracens, and with some assistance from them, under the leadership
of an able ruler Chrysocheir, they not only successfully resisted the imperial
forces but forced them back and pillaged Asia Minor up to its western shores
This demonstrates two aspects of the Paulicians. Firstly they
used arms and secondly the Muslims regarded them as a separate group to
Trinitarian Christians and rendered them assistance and protection. This
protection was not confined to Asia Minor, but also extended into Spain. The
distinction between the groups was known and preserved in the Koran.
The comment by Christ against the Pergamum Church, which might
be identified with this sect, is thus made more intelligible when he says in
Revelation 2:16 that he will fight against [those holding false doctrines among
them] with the sword of his mouth.
Scott records that a second deportation of Paulicians from
Armenia to Thrace was carried out, on a large scale, by John Tzimiskes (970)
(ibib.). Latin crusaders found the sect in Syria in the eleventh century and
Lady Mary Montagu, found them in the neighbourhood of Philippopolis, in the
eighteenth century (Scott, op. Cit.).
In Europe they developed into or amalgamated with the Bogomils
(q.v.), and their views and
influences were propagated throughout the Middle Ages by various anti-Catholic
sects - e.g., Cathari, Albigenses -
whose filiation with the Paulicians is probable, though difficult to trace.
Their name, like 'Manichaean,' became in turn a generic description of any of
these movements which opposed the development of Catholic hierarchy and
doctrine (Scott, ibid.).
Scott says it is impossible to decide whether the Pope-licani,
the Piphles of Flanders, or the Publicani, who were condemned and branded at
Oxford in 1160, were directly descended from the Paulicians, or bore their name
as a term of reproach. Scott says the Paulicians are best understood as a
section, in that continuous stream of anti-Catholic and anti-hierarchical
thought and life, which runs parallel with the steam of 'orthodox' doctrine and
organisation, practically throughout the history of the Church (cf. Krumbacher,
p. 970, the Paulicians' setzten einer verweltlichen Reichsorthodoxie ein echt
apostolisches Biblechristentum entgegen).
F.C. Conybeare (The Key
of Truth, Oxford, 1898) holds they were Adoptionist in their Christology;
held three sacraments of repentance, baptism and the Body and Blood of Christ
(see also p. 124), declared infant baptism invalid, denied the perpetual
virginity of Mary, and rejected the doctrines of purgatory and the intercession
of saints, and the use of pictures, crosses and incense.
Thus the movement of the Church from Asia Minor into Europe
took place over several centuries and as can be seen above, was effected by
word of mouth and the relocation of peoples. The denigration of the doctrines
of the groups is undertaken by the orthodox that by and large have written the
histories of the matter.
East European Sabbath-keeping
It is evident, that the main works of the Sabbath-keeping
Church, did not take place in Europe, until the works of the churches initiated
from Smyrna (termed the Smyrna era) and those initiated from the Paulicians in
Asia Minor (termed the Pergamos era) had run their course. Indeed it is obvious, that the work in Gaul
was commenced from and was in contact with the Church in Smyrna, until after
the death of Irenæus. The work was disjointed and uncoordinated, until the
relocation of the Paulicians into Europe.
The spread of the Sabbath-keeping Christian faith had been
noted (below) to move from Thrace into Albania and Bulgaria, with the
Paulicians. In the ninth century this dispute had erupted in Bulgaria. It is
Bulgaria in the early season of its evangelization had been
taught that no work should be performed on the Sabbath (Responsa Nicolai Papæ I
and Con-Consulta Bulgarorum, Responsum 10, found in Mansi, Sacrorum Concilorum
Nova et Amplissima Collectio, Vol. 15; p. 406; also Hefele, Conciliengeshicte,
Vol. 4, sec. 478).
Bogaris, ruling prince of Bulgaria, wrote to Pope Nicholas I on
a number of questions regarding this matter. In answer to Question 6 re bathing
and work on the Sabbath, he replied:
Ques. 6 - Bathing is allowed on Sunday. Ques. 10 - One is to
cease from work on Sunday, but not also on the Sabbath (Hefele, 4 346-352, sec.
Nicholas was declared excommunicated by a counter synod in Constantinople.
Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, accused the Papacy
Against the canons, they induced the Bulgarians to fast on the
Sabbath (Photius, von Kard, Hergenrother, 1, 643).
The Sabbath question became a bitter dispute between the Greeks
and the Latins. Neale commented on this in regard to the split in 1064 (A History of the Holy Eastern Church,
Vol 1, p. 731).
The Athingians (or Athingani) of the ninth centure, were held
by Cardinal Hergenrother, to have stood in intimate relation with Emperor Michael
II (821-829) and he states that they held the Sabbath (Kirchengeschicte, 1,
527). The Athingani were a sect in Phrygia and were referred to as
Melchizedekites by Timotheus of Constantinople in his Reception of Heretics
(see ERE, art. ‘Sects’, Vol. XI, p. 319b). Whitley
says here that they:
… observed the Sabbath day; as they touched no one, they were
popularly called Athingani. This
reads as if they observed the Jewish rules of cleanliness, but the information
is too scanty to trace their origin and tenets (ibid.).
After the defeat of Chrysocheir, leader of the Paulicians in
the ninth century, and the destruction of Tephrike, their stronghold, they were
decimated and dispersed. They existed in scattered communities in Armenia, in
Asia Minor and especially in the Balkan Peninsula. In the middle of the ninth
century, they experienced revival in Armenia under Smbat, who according to
Conybeare may have been the author of the Key
of Truth (see ERE, art. ‘Paulicians’, Vol. IX, p. 697).
Headquartered at the town of Thondrak, they received the name of Thondrakians.
Another branch from the same root is probably to be found in
the sect known as 'Athingani' referred to by Theophanes (Chronographia, 413), and yet another in the 'Selikians.' The
biographer of the patriarch Methodius claims for him the credit of having
converted to orthodoxy one Selix and his followers, who held 'Manichæan
opinions - opinions which in detail correspond with those charged against the
Paulicians in Cod. Scor. (Ibid.).
The second deportation under John Tzimiskes (970) then
It is thus seen that these sects are all interrelated and are
attacked as having heretical doctrines, by the Trinitarians and broken up into
different sects by name and persecuted where possible. The Paulicians were also
iconoclasts and that appears to be consistent with what we know of the
Sabbatati and Cathari in Europe.
The Paulicians always objected to their rivals worship of the
Cross (Armenian, Chazus); therefore
the term Chazitzarii, Chazinzarians (Staurolatræ)
seems to denote no small sect, but the Established Church of Armenia as viewed
by the Paulicians (Whitley, ERE,
art.’ Sects’, p. 319).
Troitsky in his article on the Greek Orthodox Church (ERE,
Vol. VI, p. 427), notes that the Athingani were linked to Judaism. They are
grouped with, but not specifically identified as Paulicians. Troitsky seems to
group the Paulicians as having a belief of a mystic character, which we know to
be incorrect, from the extant works. There seems little doubt that the
Paulicians and the Athingani, or the sects in Asia Minor, kept the Sabbaths and
the food laws and carried these practices into Europe.
One of the first groups to emanate from the Paulicians directly
in Europe appears to have been the Bogomils (see above) who occurred amongst
the Slavs and particularly the Bulgars (Powicke, ERE, Vol 1, p. 784).
The term Bogomil is perhaps derived from Bog Milui meaning God have
mercy, or perhaps the Bogumil or beloved of God. Two early Bulgarian MSS,
which confirm each other, state that 'pope' Bogomile was first to present the
'heresy' under Bulgarian Tsar Peter (927-968). Thus the name may be derived
from a prominent representative of the sect, in the tenth century.
The Bogomils are described as a neo-Manichaean sect by N. A.
Weber (C. E., art. ‘Bogomils’, Vol. II, p. 612). The sect
is noted as being found in the later Middle Ages at Constantinople and in the
Balkan states. The Bogomils held that both Satan and Christ had the power of
creation, under the will of God. The Bogomils held that God the Father had a
human appearance, but was incorporeal. The Sons of God included Satanel (or
Azazel), who sat at the right hand of God, and Jesus or Michael. Satan was
endowed with creative power, but he rebelled. Together with the angels who
followed him, he was cast out of heaven. Satan was held to have created a
second heaven and a second earth, and formed man out of earth and water. Satan
could not give man a living spirit. Thus the Father bestowed life on man at
their request. From the seduction of Eve, Satan lost his creative power, but
still retained rulership of the planet. God sent another Son, Jesus, to assume
bodily form through Mary. Thus Satan was judged by the actions of Christ.
Satanel lost the divine name or El rank and thus became known merely as Satan.
Now this history is written by the orthodox "enemies"
and thus is somewhat garbled in relation to the biblical structure it purports
to explain. Nevertheless a student of the Bible will see the structure of the
texts that are being expounded. The concepts actually are more in accord, with
what we now know of first century cosmology, but garbled if the notes by
Powicke (below) are correct.
The concept is that ultimately, the only surviving person in heaven,
is God the Father, both Christ and Satan being absorbed. This is the concept of
God becoming all in all. The concept is perhaps explained away in simplistic
terms by the orthodox, because it does not comply with the soul doctrine.
The claim by Weber, that the Bogomili rejected the Old
Testament other than the Psalter and the Prophetical books, appears to be based
on Euthymius (PG, Vol. cxxx) (see
also Powicke, op. cit.) where there are 52 heads of belief, the main listed by
Powicke and summarised as follows.
The rejection of the Mosaic books.
Christ's history was symbolic of a higher knowledge.
They taught a Sabellian concept of the Godhead saying
that all three names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit apply to the Father. In
the end all three spirits having done their work will flow back to the Father.
(The concept of all flowing to the Father is not just confined to a Trinity as
Euthymius would assert from the concept of the union of the host).
The Satanic creation was extended to the law which begat
sin. God intervened in the world and despatched the Archangel Michael as the
logos which became Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit was held to be only in the elect (which
they equated with the Bogomili).
The elect cannot die.
The temples of the Church were the temples of demons
but they permitted worship there out of expediency.
They are alleged to have held that John the Baptist was
a servant of the Jewish God Satanel.
The claim that the sect rejected water baptism holding only
spiritual baptism (by the laying on of hands), is perhaps derived from the
intrusion of the sect into the monastic orders. The sect denied the doctrine of
transubstantiation. Weber held that the sect condemned marriage and prohibited
the eating of meat. The Bogomils extended over several centuries, as a monastic
order. As their writings were burnt, what is known of them seems to be derived
from Euthymius Zigabenus (died after 1118) in Chapter xxvii of Panoplia Dogmatike in which he refuted
some twenty-four of their alleged heresies (under 52 heads cf. Powicke).
Weber considers that the Bogomili may have developed from the
Euchites (probably from the dualistic nature of their doctrine). They were also
called Messalians, from where they derived their asceticism. This aberration of
unknown date seems to set them apart from the other groups. They came into
prominence in the twelfth century. They were first mentioned by name at
Philippopolis (European Turkey) in 1115 (note the continued occupation by the
Paulicians here as above). Their leader Basil, a monk and physician, who had
appointed twelve apostles, was seized and imprisoned (1111) (after being
tricked) by Alexius I, Comnenus (1081-1118) who demanded retraction of the
errors. Some retracted, some died in prison (Weber ibid.). Basil was condemned
to death (1118) and burned (1119 Powicke). A synod of Constantinople in 1140
ordered the destruction of its writings, and in 1143, two bishops of Cappadocia
were deposed for embracing its tenets. The synods of Constantinople in 1316 and
1325 again condemned the sect. The Bogomili remained until the conquest of the
Balkans by the Turks in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (Weber ibid.).
Powicke says (op. cit., p. 785) their influence is traceable, in the smaller
societies into which they separated, to much later times. What appears to be
the case is that the Paulician doctrines not only existed in the societies to
which they were transported and in the Slavic communities, which surrounded
them but also they were adopted within monastic orders, where they became
distorted, by the monks, but nevertheless, anti-Catholic. The Bogomil doctrines
as presented, represent a divergence from the other sects, derived from the
Paulicians and indeed from the doctrines of the Paulicians themselves.
It is thus incorrect, to assert that the sect found among the
monastic orders, as Bogomils, were in fact the general groups of that name,
which spread among the Slavs and across Europe. The mean view of the doctrines
can be best found from a comparison between the Paulicians and the European
sects, which were influenced by them.
The Subordinationist or anti-Trinitarian sects were to spread
across Europe. The sects were known by various titles.
The Waldensians or Waldenses
Lentolo is the author of the earliest history of the
Waldensians and the chief authority for that of the persecution of his own
times. This history was virtually unknown till in 1897 Comba called attention
to a copy of it in the Berne Library (W. F. Adeney, art. ‘Waldenses’, ERE, Vol 12, p. 669).
Thus the history by Muston (L'Israel
des Alpes, Paris, 1851 or Eng. tr. and reprint Israel of the Alps NY 1978) must be viewed against it. The Roman
Catholics assert that the Waldensians are merely the followers of Peter Waldo
of Lyons. The name is given in French as Valdes, in Latin as Valdesius,
Valdenius, Gualdensis and in Italian as Waldo. He was allegedly converted in
1173. The Waldensians themselves deny this assertion, which in effect attempts
to label them Protestant, and trace their ancestry back to earliest
The earliest record of this claim is by a Dominican monk at
Passau in 1316 (Contra Valdense in Maxima Bibliotheca veterum Patrum,
Lyons, 1677-1707, xxv, 262 ff.), noting that they claim to have existed at the
time of the fathers (duravit a tempore
patrum). The next time it is recorded, is from a letter of Barbe Morel to
Oecolampadius in 1530 (A. Scultetus Annalium
Evangeli ... decades duo, Geneva, 1618, pp. 295,306). The text was adopted
by Robert Olivetan and published in the preface to his translation of the Bible
in 1535. Thus the Protestants came to honour the Waldenses, as the one Church
that had preserved the NT faith. The sect termed its clergy Barbe or uncle, because of the biblical injunction against calling anyone
father, teacher or leader (Mat. 23:9-10). The title Father was a rank of the Mithras system and is forbidden to
Christians (see for example C. K. Barrett, The
New Testament Background: Selected Documents, rev. ed., SPCK, London, 1987,
p. 133). There is no evidence that the sect existed, unchanged, in the Alpine valleys. Given the acceptance of that
fact, a second theory to explain the sect was developed. This theory holds that
it arose in Rome, during the episcopate of Sylvester. Sylvester allegedly,
after baptising Constantine (which we know is incorrect as Constantine was
baptised a Unitarian (incorrectly called Eusebian or Arian) by Eusebius of
Nicomedia) put the Church under the power of the emperor. A bishop allegedly
broke away and went to the Vaudois Valley, hence founding the Waldensians.
There is, however, the possibility that the Arian Goths, who had a Bible in
Gothic from c. 351, may have influenced the area. The origin of the Church in
fact, stems from the Church at Lyons, under Irenaeus and his successors (see
above). The beginnings of the influence are still found in the time of Claude,
bishop of Turin in the eighth century, under Charlemagne and Louis the Pious.
Claude revived the Augustinian doctrine of predestination, but ignored the High
Church aspect of Augustine's teaching,
… according to which the Church was the appointed medium of
communication between God and man, resisting the papal claims and denying that
St. Peter had received power to bind and loose. He had crosses as well as
images removed from his churches, in all these matters anticipating the Reformation (Adeney, ibid.).
The Churches of the Vaudois, are understood to have been
included in Claude's diocese. Accordingly Leger, Muston and other Waldenses,
held that if their derivation could not be traced to apostolic times, then it
should be attributed to him. However, there is no evidence of their existence,
as a significant Church, for centuries after Claude. The statement by Muston
(ibid., Paris, p. xxxii, n. 2) that in the year 1096 Urban II described the
Vaudois as infected with heresy,
Adeney says (p. 665), is founded on a mistake, since no such reference to these
people, is to be found amongst his Bulls (cf. Comba, p. 154). The spread of the
doctrines, however, are down-played by the Athanasians, as the evidence
indicates. The fact is that a Unitarian Church existed there for centuries.
Adeney holds that the Waldenses repudiated indulgences,
purgatory, and masses for the dead, and denied the efficacy of the sacraments
administered by unworthy priests (p. 666). But he thinks that the full
doctrines are still obscure. The literal application of the teachings of
Christ, contained in the gospels, was its chief theme, as they were of Peter
Waldo, the person from whom he alleges their name derives. Waldo died in
Bohemia in 1217. Adeney says that the Waldensian Church grew out of a fusion of
the work of Waldo and the Poor Men of Lyons, with the movements of Arnold of
Brescia, Peter of Bruys, and 'Henry of Cluny' (ibid.). Thus Waldo superimposed
his system on the pre-existing groups already in the Vaudois and elsewhere and
gave them a new dynamism. The movement of Peter of Bruys named Petrobrusians, is only described in a
treatise against him by Peter the Venerable and a passage in Abelard. Thus the
information is suspect. Peter began to teach in the dioceses of Embrun, Die,
and Gap between 1117-1120. He was an iconoclast, who burnt crosses. He was
burnt as a heretic some twenty years later, in St. Gilles near Nimes. He gained
adherents at Narbonne, Toulouse and in Gascony. The Clunaic monk Henry of
Lausanne allegedly adopted the Petrobrusian teaching about 1135 and modified it
after Peter of Bruys was martyred. The doctrines included adult baptism and it
is alleged that the sect taught a relative importance of the biblical texts in
the NT, i.e. Subordination of the epistles to the gospels and the rejection of
the Old Testament. It is difficult to be an absolute iconoclast and reject the
Old Testament. Both Testaments are interlinked for iconoclasm.
Allegedly, they rejected the Mass and Eucharist, because the
repetition of the sacrifice was not possible. They held that the Church was the
community, not the buildings and they thought Church buildings should be
destroyed. The assertions regarding these people stem from their enemies. The
record in the Catholic Encyclopedia is by N. A. Weber (art. ‘Petrobrusians’, Vol. 11, p. 781) the
same author of the article ‘Waldensians’.
The ideas found in these areas were alleged to have been in the air. However the ERE
(articles ‘Paulicians’ and ‘Waldenses’) makes note that there was
a general progression of ideas across Europe from the East. We have seen that
this source was the Paulicians that were resettled in Thrace. These Churches no
doubt linked up with sympathisers in the west.
The Waldensian Sabbatati
The Waldenses, or Vallenses, are alleged to have obtained the
name Insabathas or Insabbatati, because they observed no
day of rest, but the Sabbath. They were termed Insabathas, as though they observed no Sabbath (because they did
not keep Sunday) (Luther's Fore-Runners,
pp. 7-8 (incorrectly cited and see also Gui,
Manuel d' Inquisiteur)). The Waldensians did not obtain their name from
Peter Waldo but rather the reverse. Catholic historians write as to give the
impression that the Waldensians were a late innovation and try to create the
impression that they, the Catholics, have apostolic authority with all other
Churches being later offshoots.
This propaganda was swallowed by some Protestants because of
the nature of the early history of the Vallenses, which was Subordinationist
Sabbath-keeping. Peter Allix says of this:
It is not true that Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of
the valleys: they were called Waldenses, or Vaudes, before his time, from the
valleys in which they dwelt (Ancient
Church of Piedmont, Oxford, 1821, p. 182).
Allix continues on to say that:
Some Protestants, on this occasion, have fallen into the snare
that was set for them. ... It is absolutely false, that these churches were ever
founded by Peter Waldo. ... It is pure forgery
(ibid., p. 192).
William Jones (History of
the Christian Church, Vol. 2, p. 2) states that he:
… was called Valdus, or Waldo, because he received his
religious notions from the inhabitants of the valleys.
When one examines the evidence of the texts and the writings of
the Catholic apologists such as N. A. Weber, there is no evidence presented
other than the fact, that the two barbe
(meaning Uncles or Elders) of the
Waldensians were called Vallenses for
the first time, by Raymond of Daventry in his condemnation of 1179 and Bernard
of Fontcaude took up the title in his condemnation of 1180 (Adversus Vallenses et Arianos). Adeney
notes this in his work but Weber does not. It is alleged that the term
Vallenses was derived from Waldo at this time. However, that is by no means
certain, as the name itself refers to the valleys and not to Waldo. Thus while
the assertion is made by Weber and seemingly by Adeney, the conclusion can be
rejected as supposition.
It seems that the reorganisation in Milan, stemmed from the
infusion of the Sabbatati from Austria, and the north-east, given what we can
piece together of the movements. Thus the establishment of the college in Milan
with a strong base in Austria mitigates against any foundation by Waldo. Indeed
Blair, in his History of the Waldenses
(Vol. 1, p. 220), says that:
Among the documents, we have by the same peoples, an
explanation of the Ten Commandments dated by Boyer 1120. Observance of the
Sabbath by ceasing from worldly labours is enjoined.
Thus the Waldensians were Sabbath-keeping Subordinationist
Unitarians well before Waldo was on the scene, according to Dugger and Dodd, A History of the True Religion, (3rd ed.
Jerusalem, 1972, p. 224ff.).
Benedict in his history of the Baptists says of the Waldenses:
'We have already observed from Claudius Seyessel, the popish archbishop, that
one Leo was charged with originating the Waldensian heresy in the valleys, in
the days of Constantine the Great. When those severe measures were emanated
from the Emperor Honorius against rebaptizers [Anabaptists], they left the seat
of opulence and power, and sought retreats in the country, and in the valleys
of Piedmont (Italy) which last place in particular, became their retreat against
Rainer Sacho, a Roman Catholic author, says of the Waldenses:
'There is no sect so dangerous as Leonists, for three reasons: first it is the
most ancient; some say it is as old as Sylvester, others, as the apostles
themselves. Secondly, it is very generally disseminated; there is no country
where it has not gained some footing. Third, while other sects are profane and
blasphemous, this retains the utmost show of piety; they live justly before
men, and believe nothing concerning God which is not good.'
Sacho admits that they flourished at least five hundred years
before the time of Peter Waldo. Their antiquity is also allowed by Gretzer, a
jesuit, who wrote against them. Crantz, in his "History of the United
Brethren," speaks of this class of Christians in the following words:
'These ancient Christians date their origin from the beginning
of the fourth century, when one Leo, at the great revolution in religion under
Constantine the Great, opposed the Innovations of Sylvester, bishop of Rome.
According to Allix:
The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about
120 A.D., from which date on they passed down from father to son the teachings
they received from the apostles. The latin Bible the Italic, was translated
from the Greek not later than 157 A.D. We are indebted to Beza, the renowned
associate of Calvin, for the Statement that the Italic Church dates from 120
A.D. (Allix, Churches of Piedmont,
1690 edn, p. 177, and Wilkinson, Our
Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 35, and Scrivener's Introduction, Vol. II, p. 43, cf. Dugger and Dodd, A History of the True Religion, pp.
The formation in 120 is consistent with the dispatch of the
disciples of Polycarp from Smyrna (and Ephesus) as we have dealt with the
persecution of the Church at Lyons, under Marcus Aurelius in 177, where
Photinus, disciple of Polycarp, was martyred, and the passage of information
back to Smyrna. The Churches in Gaul were subject to the Council in Milan for
centuries, as is established herein until Papal interference.
Dugger and Dodd also note (p.
Atto, bishop of Vireulli, had complained of such people eighty
years before [before the year 1026 A.D.] and so had others before him, and
there is the highest reason to believe that they had always existed in Italy
(cf. Jones, Church History, p. 218)
Thus the establishment of the Waldensian College in Milan, is a
natural extension of this orientation. Dugger and Dodd go on to quote Mosheim
In Lombardy, which was the principle residence of the Italian
heretics, there sprung up a singular sect, known, for what reason I cannot
tell, by the denomination Passaginians. ... Like the other sects already
mentioned, they had the utmost aversion to the discipline and dominion of the
Church of Rome; but they were at the same time distinguished by two religious
tenets which were peculiar to themselves.
The first was a notion
that the observance of the Law of Moses, in everything except the offering of
sacrifices, was obligatory upon Christians; in consequence of which
they ... Abstained from those meats, the use of which was prohibited under the
Mosaic economy, and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath. The second tenet that
distinguished this sect was advanced in opposition
to the doctrine of three persons in the divine nature (Eccl. Hist., Cent 12, Part 2, Ch. 5, Sec. 14, p. 127: as quoted by
Dugger and Dodd, emphasis retained).
Dugger and Dodd go on to say:
That the Cathari did retain and observe the ancient Sabbath, is
certified by Romish adversaries. Dr. Allix quotes a Roman Catholic author of
the twelfth century, concerning three sorts of heretics - the Cathari, the
Passiginians, and the Arnoldistae. Allix says of this Romish writer that -
'He lays it down also as one of their opinions, 'that the law of Moses is to be kept according to
the letter, and that the keeping of
the Sabbath ... and other legal
observances, ought to take place. They hold also that Christ, the Son of God,
is not equal with the Father, and that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, these three ... are not one God and one substance; and as a
surplus, to these errors, they judge and condemn all the doctors of the Church
and universally the whole Roman Church ... (Eccl.
Hist. of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, pp. 168-169, cf. Dugger and
Dodd, pp. 227-228).
Thus it can be seen that the Cathari, Waldensians and
Passiginians, were branches of the same group. They could be differentiated,
because they were never an hierarchical church. They were organised on New
Testament lines and that is one reason why they were never completely wiped
out. More particularly they are seen to be specifically Subordinationist and
definitively Unitarian. Thus the original Churches in Europe were neither
Ditheist/Binitarian, nor Trinitarian, but were Unitarian.
Dugger and Dodd also note (pp. 228-229) that they bore another
name: that of Paterines, which seemed
to stem from the fact that, in Liman, where it was first used, it answered to
the English equivalent of vulgar or common and was used of the lower orders of
men, who derived their income from manual labour. Dugger and Dodd allege Gazari to be a corruption of Cathari, or Puritans, however, there is another application. They do not at all
address the question of the influence of the Khazari or Khazars, as noted
There is no doubt that the Waldensians were a Subordinationist
sect prior to and at 1179 just prior to the Lateran Council (this is not even
mentioned by Weber). Their two barbes Olivier and Sicard, fell into dispute
with the bishop Montperoux between 1175-76 and two or three years later, Pope
Alexander III sent the cardinal of St. Chrysogone, Henry of Citeaux, and
Reginald, bishop of Bath, then on his way to the Lateran Council, accompanied
by the monk Walter Mapes and the priest Raymond of Daventry, to Toulouse to
inquire into the matter. Two barbes of the Vallenses
came there under safe conduct, Bernard of Raymond and Raymond of Baimiac, to be
examined by John of Bellesmains, bishop of Poitiers. They then went to Narbonne
to be examined by Bernard of Fontcaude, under the presidentship of the English
priest Raymond of Daventry. It is this priest Raymond of Daventry, who first
uses the name of Vallenses or Waldenses. Thus they were named by their
inquisitors for one of their leaders. The two barbes were condemned as heretics
in 1179 by Raymond of Daventry who then proceeded to the Lateran Council.
Naming sects for major leaders has been the usual practice for centuries and
gives a false impression as to the stream of thoughts and groupings they
In 1180 Bernard of Fontcaude wrote the book entitled Adversus Vallenses et Arianos (see Gay, Hist. des Vaudois, p. 16, n. 1 and also
Adeney, ibid. p. 667). Adeney says that:
It seems that these discussions arose out of the union of the Petrobrusians
and Henricians with the Poor Men of Lyons in Provence. About the same time
Waldo's followers united with the Arnauldists in Lombardy. Thus the Waldensians
of France and Italy were united, and their union was cemented by persecution. A
sentence of excommunication by the Council of Verona cleared the remaining
followers of Waldo out of Lyons and drove them to Provence, Dauphine, and the
valleys of Piedmont, Lombardy, and some even to Germany. So numerous had they
become that Innocent III sent his best legates to suppress them in the years
1198, 1201, and 1203.
There is no doubt, however, that we are dealing with a
Subordinationist Unitarian doctrine, which was classed as and with Arianism. In
the suppression of 1203, the legates included a Spanish bishop and Dominic
(called saint) the founder of the Dominicans, who then took part in the
Inquisition with the Benedictines. They conducted a succession of disputations
lasting until 1207, when the legate Peter of Chateauxneuf was killed. Two years
later the Pope declared the crusade. Adeney merely refers to the crusade as a
crusade but it was in fact the Albigensian crusade and the Waldensians were the
subject of this crusade in the same sense. In 1210 the Emperor Otho ordered the
archbishop of Turin to drive the Waldenses out of his diocese, and in 1220 the
Statutes of Pignerol forbade the inhabitants to harbour them. Some fled to
Picardy, and Philip Augustus drove them on to Flanders. Some came to Mayence
and Bingen, where 50 were burnt in 1232. (Adeney, ibid.)
They were seen early in Spain, condemned by Church Councils and
harried by three of the Kings (ibid.).
This period is over the Inquisition and the Albigensian
crusade, which extended into Spain from France (see below). These people were
aggregations of varying groups of Christians. At least some of these groups not
only appeared to be Sabbath-keepers in these early times but also were
persecuted for keeping the biblical Holy Days. This must be inferred from the
edicts about them, as only the confessions obtained under torture survive. Thus
the accounts are suspect. However, there is direct evidence for some (e.g. the
Hungarian) Churches. It is important to note that the crusade spoken of above
as commencing in 1209 was in fact the Albigensian crusade, which lasted until
1244 and was the subject of the most ruthless suppression. The authorities
whipped up the most extreme hatred against the so-called heretics and then put
them to the Inquisition (see C. Roth, Spanish
Inquisition, pp. 35-36 for comments). The extent of the Waldensians over
the same period shows that we were dealing with all of these groups of people
over the same distribution as the Albigensians. The Waldensians were biblical
literalists, who were Subordinationists termed (incorrectly) Arians.
The non-Trinitarians in Spain were identified with the Jews in
their habits and non-Trinitarianism, although, by the later inquisitorial edict
of 1519 by Andres de Palacio, the Christian sects were largely dispersed, or
completely underground (see Roth p. 77 for the edict). The Waldensians
elsewhere in Italy, after the reformation, on the other hand, appear to have
become Trinitarian and the later history, written by Protestants and somewhat
self-justificatory, seem to deny the earlier history of biblical literalism.
In 1237 Pope Gregory IX
… sent a bull to the archbishop of Tarragona which resulted in
fifteen of the heretics being burnt, King Ferdinand himself casting wood on the
fire. In course of time these Spanish Waldensians were exterminated (Adeney,
The Waldensians were as widespread as Germany, where their
Churches sent candidates for the ministry to a Waldensian College in Milan. The
head of the college was John of Ronco who was appointed head for life, despite
It was this fact that resulted in the division between the
French group and the Italian and German Group. The Lombards appointed their own
chief pastor (proepositus). He and their ministry held office for life, while
Waldo and the French Waldenses on his authority, elected annual leaders to
administer the Lord's Supper and serve as pastors. Thus, we can establish that
we are dealing with a group, which at the thirteenth century, were keeping the
Lord's Supper on an annual basis. The suggestion that they were Sunday
worshippers at this time is impossible to sustain.
The extraordinary problem faced in this matter is, that of the
existence of the Albigensians in the northern and French side of the Alps. The
southern and Italian valleys were occupied by the Waldensians. From the
division mentioned above, it is most probable that the names being conferred by
the Catholic Inquisitors assumed a reality of their own. The edicts in Spain
however show that we are dealing with the same sect. The subsequent division
would have assumed a different reality, when the sect became Protestant
Trinitarian. Bohemia, 40 years after Waldo died, according to the Inquisitor of
Passau, had 42 so-called nests of heresy (Adeney, op. cit.). The king Otakar
started persecution, which was most severe under Pope Benedict XII in 1335. The
rise of the Hussite movement resulted in a fusion of some of the two groups,
under the name Taborites. Adeney holds that the most famous of these was the
barbe Frederic Reiser. After 25 years, among the Waldensians of Bohemia and
Austria, he was burnt at Strassburg in 1458.
There are thus at least four groups over some eight countries,
some of which were integrated with Protestants. There were Subordinationists,
or Unitarians, in Austria in the thirteenth century and the Inquisitor of Krems
denounced 36 localities in 1315, burning 130 martyrs. The bishop of Neumeister
was burnt as one of these heretics in Vienna. He is said to have declared, that
there were some 80,000 Waldensians in the duchy of Austria. At the end of the
fourteenth century there was a terrible persecution in Styria. There was an
organised mission into Italy from Austria where the missionaries travelled as
pedlars (Adeney, ibid.). The movement had a college in Milan when Waldo was alive.
From these points it is difficult to assert, as Adeney seems to, that the
Subordinationists in Austria were Waldenses, given that the evangelism was from
Austria into Italy. The bishop was more likely of the same group, being later
named Waldenses. The group were also called Sabbatati
and subsequently Insabbatati, which
allegedly is derived from the wooden sabots
or shoes that were worn. It is more likely a corruption of their views on the
Sabbath, turned into ‘a play on words’. This then developed into the terms Sabotiers and then Sandaliati. Weber (C. E.,
art. ‘Waldenses’, Vol. XV, p.
528) fails to note the linguistic distinction between the words and in fact
intermixes them in their order so as to confirm his position. He also asserts
that the sect was derived from Waldo, ignoring almost completely the evidence
mentioned by Adeney. Perhaps more information was available to Adeney, but the
bias in Weber's work is noticeable and understandable given the history.
The Waldenses had been forbidden to preach by the archbishop
and they are alleged to have appealed to the third Lateran Council, under
Alexander III, although they had been condemned, from above, before the Council
in 1179. They had been summoned to the examination. It must be remembered, in those
days that the medieval system ensured that the states were the property of
their Lords, under direction from Rome and that it was not possible to hold any
belief, not in accordance with Rome. Hence they had to appear as summoned, even
though they accorded no allegiance to Rome. Not to do so, was to be burnt in
Another vital division among the Waldensians, occurred from the
teaching of the Italian Waldensians that the sacraments administered by
unworthy priests were of no effect. The French did not accept this view. The
Italians repudiated all the sacraments of the Roman priests and at the same
time insisted on close adhesion to NT teachings. This division was discussed at
a conference in May 1217, the year of Waldo's death (Adeney, ibid.). The two
branches of Waldensians established contact over time, but we clearly have
extensive divisions and the existence in France of one group co-existing with
In the fifteenth century, Inquisition records reveal there was
a large and influential number of Waldensians in central Italy. In Calabria,
the Waldensians from Piedmont won over most of the district. They flourished
for 250 years, after which they were almost exterminated by wholesale
persecution (Adeney, ibid.).
The French system of Church government, despite Waldo, was
episcopal, whereas the Italian was presbyterian, being comprised of a Church
government of a council, with a head pastor and a council of laymen. The annual
synod comprised elders and laity in equal numbers (Adeney, ibid.).
The Waldensians gradually became centred on the valleys on the
Italian side of the Cottian Alps. Thus Vaudois was asserted to be a
geographical name. Adeney denies this and admits that the name Waldo
derives from the Poor Men of Lyons and thus the early stages are,
without doubt, admitted to be general across the Alps and thus exposed to and
associated with the Albigensians. It is highly improbable that the
Subordinationist sects, incorrectly termed Manichaeans by the Catholics, could
have spread from the Balkans, across Austria and into France and Spain, and
somehow bypassed the Alps and the Waldensians, who occupied similar regions.
The most likely solution, is that the Waldensians changed under
persecution and became Protestant to survive. After they ceased to be
Subordinationist, it is little wonder that they held Sunday worship. Indeed
their later historians claim that they were always so. In the fifteenth century
the valleys came under intense persecution from the Duke of Savoy, with large numbers
being forced to emigrate in 1434. In 1475 the Inquisitor Acquapendente, after
visiting the Luserna valley, compelled the overlords to suppress the religion
there and obey the Inquisition. There was a consequent rebellion, which led to
the intervention of Duke Charles I in 1484. The first serious attack, with
armed forces occurred under Philip II (Regent of Savoy in 1490 and Duke in
1496) in 1494, whereupon Philip was so disastrously defeated, that he made
peace with them for 40 years. Adeney admits that it is not easy to be clear, as
to the theological views of the Waldenses during this period.
When we do meet with a Waldensian statement of belief, this is
subsequent to the Reformation and characterized by doctrines and phrases
distinctive of that movement. The earlier Protestantism was partly negative, in
the rejection of Roman Catholic teachings and practices which could not be
justified by the NT, and in so far as it was positive, a return to the
simplicity and spirituality of worship believed to have been characteristic of
the primitive Church (Adeney, p. 668).
When the Reformation broke out, the only organised groups on
the continent were the Waldensians and the later Hussites or Bohemian Brethren,
both of whom the Protestants and Roman Catholics designated Waldensians
(Adeney, ibid.). Thus the application of these names is inaccurate, even as
late as the Reformation. The doctrines of the early periods cannot be
established with certainty. However, there is no doubt that they were
Subordinationists Unitarians, classified as Arians and that they kept
the Lord's Supper. This practice normally was associated with Sabbath-keepers.
It is however, the practice of Sunday worshipping Protestants, to sometimes
refer to the eucharist as the Lord's Supper. Assuming that the practice was
used in its usual reference, then logically the understanding of the Sabbath is
prior to that of the Passover/Lord's Supper. The texts above identify them as
Sabbath-keepers. Adeney would probably not have misunderstood the term Lord’s Supper.
The Waldensians held a synod in Piedmont in 1531, to discuss
the report of the Protestant doctrines by George Morel. They divided over the
issue of whether to accept Protestantism. The two groups were termed
Conservators and Innovators (see Adeney, note p. 668). There is thus no doubt,
that their original doctrines were not Protestant. From this time onwards they
merged with the Protestants. The denial of Rome and Medieval ritual, which was
regarded as idolatrous, spirituality of worship, and the use of Scripture in
the vernacular, were Waldensian views which found welcome support from the
powerful new Protestant reformers. From 1532 and the synod of Chamforans at
Angrogna a number of reforms took place
1. the adoption of public worship by the Waldensian Churches
instead of secret meetings;
2. an absolute condemnation of the custom of some Waldensians
of attending Roman Catholic services (there seems little doubt that this grew
out of fear of persecution (see also Rev. 2:20-22));
3. an acceptance of the reformers views on predestination, good
works, oaths, the denial of obligatory confession, Sunday fasts, marriage of
the clergy, and the two sacraments.
The matters were voted on by the assembly and carried by the
The Waldensians on the French side of the Alps, who were mostly
conservators, were fused into French Protestantism. Persecution in Bohemia and
Southern Italy nearly exterminated the Churches of the Waldensians in those
parts, leaving only Piedmont and the Italian valleys of the Cottian Alps,
termed the Vaudois country, as the only
important habitat (Adeney, p. 669) although many were scattered among the
Swiss and German Protestants.
In 1536, Piedmont came under the dominion of the French Francis
I, which lasted until 1559. William of Furstenburg, a resolute Protestant, was
appointed governor and was friendly to the Waldensians. He left the brother of
the reformer Farel in charge of the Luserna and the Waldensians prospered, but
they were nevertheless, by this time, well and truly Protestant. It is thus
very misleading, to say that they were always Sunday-worshippers, because they
were not even Trinitarians until after the fourteenth century and only then on
persecution. In fact, that may not have occurred until the Reformation. The
practice of meeting in secret, no doubt was prompted by intense persecution.
The inherent flexibility with which they viewed their religious life and their
strictness regarding the biblical simplicity of it no doubt reflected this
also. Similarly, the history is written by Sunday-worshipping Trinitarian
Protestants, who were attempting to develop a continuous Protestant lineage
back to the Apostles. They did not want a Subordinationist organisation keeping
the Lord's Supper, which was the fact of the matter. But also, the earlier
manuscripts were not available to Muston, for example.
The Waldensians were persecuted for many years. The worst
period was from 1540-1690. In 1534 in Provence there was a wholesale
destruction of the Waldensian Churches of Provence. The Italian side of the
Alps was subjected to intense warfare by della Trinite the army commander for
Philibert, duke of Savoy. The Waldensians won and were granted peace on
5 June 1561.
The Calabrian Waldensians were persecuted by Spanish troops
under the Inquisitor Michele Ghislieri later Pope Pius V. The descendants of
those not wiped out in the wholesale slaughter of the thirteenth century were
persecuted. 2,000 were put to death and 1,600 imprisoned. In the Piedmont,
under Jesuit and Capuchin friars, with the aid of soldiers, several local
persecutions occurred, with seizure of Church buildings and fines resulting in
the bloody war of 1624, in which both sides suffered. Peter Gilles was the
leader at this time.
There was a great persecution under Louis XIV, when the young
Charles Emmanuel II became duke of Savoy. His mother Mary de Medici was
daughter of Henry IV and grand-daughter of Catherine de Medici, the author of
the Massacre of Saint Batholomew. A Council for the Propagation of the Faith
was established at Turin. Five years later the Decree of Gastado was issued, ordering all the Waldensian families
on the plain, back into the mountains within 20 days, unless they would
renounce Protestantism. In the depths of winter, they endured much suffering
with great courage. It seems that it was a tactical ploy as some 15,000 troops
were despatched to la Torre, in spite of the fact that the Waldensians took to
the mountains. The Catholic forces offered to treat with them and they opened
the mountain passes to them. They were subjected to wholesale massacre and
there were some 1,712 martyrs numbered by Jean Leger, the author of a history
of the Waldenses (noted by Adeney, p. 670). This massacre, before the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes (in 1685) shocked Europe. Cromwell proclaimed
a fast. He had Milton draw up a letter to the king of France and to the
Protestant princes. He sent Sir Samuel Morland to the duke of Savoy in protest.
Cromwell's intervention had an effect. Mazarin directed the duke to put an end
to the persecution and grant the Protestants amnesty.
In 1686, the year after the Edict of Nantes, Louis XIV sent a
letter to his cousin, Victor Amadeus II duke of Savoy, requesting that he
persecute the Waldensians, as he was persecuting the Huguenots, as they were
taking refuge among the Waldensians. When the persecution commenced, the Swiss
Protestants at Basle intervened, offering the Waldensians exile in Switzerland.
The Swiss envoys managed with great difficulty, to persuade the Waldensians to
accept this exile. On 9 April 1686 the duke signed a decree, permitting the
exile. However, in spite of this, some who had accepted exile were seized and
imprisoned. The Waldensians resisted after this breach of the terms. War
commenced and by the end of the year, 9,000 were killed and 12,000 were taken
prisoner, many of whom died in the Piedmont dungeons. There were some 200 left
in the mountains and they conducted such persistent guerilla warfare, that they
finally obtained the release of all the surviving prisoners and their safe
conduct to Switzerland. 3000 survivors were released in 1687. They set off
across the Alps for Geneva (an average twelve-day journey), and many perished
in the snow. This was done despite the Swiss protest and children under twelve
were detained, to be educated as Roman Catholics. They were dispersed as far as
Brabdenburg, Prussia, Wurtemberg and the Palatinate, to prevent their attempts
The Waldensians regained control of their homeland by an
invasion, mounted from Switzerland with some 1,000 men on 16 August 1689. In
the valley of the Jaillon, after six days march, they defeated a force of some
2,500 French troops under the Marquis de Larry. The French lost 600 and the
Waldensians lost 15 and 12 wounded, although they lost 116 on the way. The
Waldensians fought from La Basiglia and carried out mountain warfare over the
spring of 1690.
On 23 May 1694 they were granted religious liberty, by decree
of Victor. Pope Innocent XII denounced the edict, whereupon the senate in Turin
repudiated the Papal decree and forbade publication of it in the duchy, under
penalty of death. They would have been in severe hardship had it not been for
the assistance of England and Holland. William and Mary and later Queen Anne,
assisted them warmly as Cromwell had done in previous years (see Adeney, p.
671). The history of the Waldensians is one of severe and intermittent
oppression over the remaining centuries. They are of little relation to the
Churches of God in that they had long since given up the distinctive
Subordinationism and other characteristics of the Church. But they are of
interest in noting how the papacy dealt with non-Catholics, when they had the
power to act. Had they been able, they would have killed every single
Waldensian, until they had exterminated them from the face of the earth.
The Albigensian Crusade
The Cathars, Albigensians or Waldensians were persecuted after
first being protected by Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, perhaps an Albigensian
himself. Raymond was excommunicated by Pierre de Castelnau, legate of Innocent
III in 1207. An equerry of the Count later killed de Castelnau. The Pope
immediately deposed Raymond and he, frightened into submission, expelled the
Albigensians from his dominions, doing public penance on 18 June 1209
before the Church of St Gilles. When the crusaders, who were assembled in the
north of France, invaded Langeudoc, Raymond assisted the crusade and assisted
in the siege of Beziers and Carcassone in 1209. Returning to Toulouse, he
avoided his obligation and was excommunicated by the Council of Avignon.
Raymond went to Rome and was received by Innocent III, but his estates were
overrun by Simon de Montfort in his absence. In 1212 he held only Toulouse and
Montauban. His brother-in-law Peter, king of Aragon, came to his aid, but was
killed in the battle of Murat in 1213. In 1215 Simon de Montfort besieged
Toulouse and Narbonne. Raymond did not resist, but accepted humiliating terms
from the Papal legates. He was deprived of his estates and retired to England,
later seeking Innocent III's favour at the Lateran Council of 1215. From exile
in Aragon, Raymond VI reassembled his troops and took Toulouse on 7 November
1217, later defending it against Simon de Montfort, who was killed 25 June 1218
(C.E., Vol XII, art. ‘Raymond VI’, p. 670).
Raymond VII tried to fend off a new crusade, by offering
obeisance to the assembly at Bourges in 1226, but a new crusade was decided
upon. Louis VIII (ceded rights in the south by Amaury de Montfort) seized
Avignon and occupied Langeudoc without resistance, but died on his return north
at Montpensier on 8 November 1226. Blanche of Castille did not press the war
against Raymond who then took several places from Imbert de Beaujeu, seneschal
of the king of France. In 1228 new bands of crusaders
began pillaging Toulouse. Soon Raymond lost nearly all of his strongholds and
had to sue for peace from Blanche of Castille. After the conference of Meaux,
Raymond returned to Paris and did public penance on 12 April 1229 in the Church
of Notre Dame. He pledged to demolish the walls of Toulouse and gave his
daughter Jeanne in marriage to Alphonse of Poitiers, brother of king Louis IX.
He returned to Toulouse and keeping the promise extracted from him, he allowed the
establishment of the Inquisition (Bréhier, C.E.,
Vol XII, ‘Raymond VII’, ibid.).
Thus the protection afforded the Sabbath-keeping Albigensians, or Waldensians,
was forcibly removed. Every vagabond knight and opportunist in Europe was
encouraged to entrain on Toulouse and the south of France. The district was
attacked from all sides and when the allies could not be induced to do so, they
were themselves harassed. The whole object of the crusade was to allow the
Inquisition into the south of France and Spain, to exterminate the Sabbatati.
With the effective removal of the only favourable overlord, the Unitarian and
Sabbath-keeping faith was persecuted into virtual extinction, or into apostasy.
These people committed no crimes. They were an asset to their overlord and
virtuous towards their God. For that reason alone, they were hunted and
destroyed. The Council of Toulouse of 1229 published canons against the
Canon 3 - The lords of
the different districts shall have the villas, houses and woods diligently
searched, and the hiding- places of the heretics destroyed.
Canon 14 - Lay members
are not allowed to possess the books of either the Old or the New Testaments
(Hefele 5, 931,962).
H. C. Lea was to speak against the Inquisition and its
persecution of the Vaudois (History of
the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, Vol. I, esp. p. 96). Thousands were
tortured to death by the Inquisition, or killed in the crusades. It is alleged
While devastating the city of Biterre the soldiers asked the
Catholic leaders how they should know who were heretics; Arnold, Abbot of
Citeaux, answered: 'Slay them all, for the Lord knows who is His’ (p. 96).
It can be seen, that there was a more or less continuous
tradition of Sabbath-keeping Subordinationism throughout southern Europe up
until the thirteenth century. These bodies were named Paulicians, Petrobusians,
Pasaginians (Passaginians), Waldensians, Sabbatati or Insabbatati. The Roman
Inquisitor Reinerus Sacho writing c. 1230 held the sect of the Vaudois to be of
great antiquity, thus long preceding Waldo by centuries.
The Sabbatati were known also by the name Pasigini. In reference to the Sabbath-keeping Pasigini, Hahn was to
The spread of heresy at this time is almost incredible. From
Bulgaria to the Ebro, from Northern France to the Tiber, everywhere we meet
them. Whole countries are infested, like Hungary and southern France; they
abound in many other countries; in Germany, in Italy, in the Netherlands and
even in England they put their efforts (Gesch.
der Ketzer, 1,13,14).
Bonacursus is also quoted
against them thus:
Not a few, but many know what are the errors of those who are
called Pasigini. ... First, they teach that we should obey the sabbath.
Furthermore, to increase their error, they condemn and reject all the church
Fathers, and the whole Roman Church (D'Archery, Spicilegium I, f, 211-214; Muratory
Antiq. medævi. 5, f, 152, Hahn 3, 209).
The priests allegedly (Hahn) answered the charge to keep the
fourth commandment, by declaring that the Sabbath symbolised the eternal rest
of the saints.
Traces of Sabbath-keepers were found in the times of Gregory I,
Gregory VII, and in the twelfth century in Lombardy (Strong's Cyclopædia 1,
680). This general application extends from Italy through Europe.
Robinson gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps,
who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Inzabbatati, but more frequently
Inzabbatati. 'One says they were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath because
they kept the Saturday for the Lord's day’ (General
History of the Baptist Denomination, Vol. II, p. 413).
In fact, it was because of the inability to stamp out the
Subordinationist Sabbatati, that the crusades of the thirteenth century were
implemented. In Spain the persecution is specifically directed at the
Alphonse, king of Aragon, etc., to all archbishops, bishops,
and to all others. ... We command you that heretics, to wit, Waldenses and
Insabbathi, should be expelled away from the face of God and from all Catholics
and ordered to depart from our kingdom (Marianæ,
Præfatio in Lucam Tudenæm found in Macima
Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, Vol. 25, p. 90).
After the crusades, and in spite of the Inquisition, the system
was still extant.
Louis XII, King of France (1498-1515), being informed by the
enemies of the Waldenses, inhabiting a part of the province of Provence, that
several heinous crimes were laid to their account, sent the master of Requests,
and a certain Doctor of the Sorbonne, to make inquiry into this matter. On
their return they reported that they had visited all the parishes, but could
not discover any traces of those crimes with which they were charged. On the
contrary, they kept the sabbath day, observed the ordinances of baptism,
according to the primitive church, instructed their children in the articles of
the Christian faith, and the commandments of God. The King having heard the
report of his commissioners, said with an oath said that they were better men
than himself or his people (History of
the Christian Church, Vol. II, pp. 71-72, third edition, London, 1818).
The extent and distribution of the sects termed
Cathars and Albigensians
The groups extant at the time of the Waldensians, particularly
in Southern France and Spain were termed, as we have seen, Cathars and
Albigensians. Cathari, as they were termed, comes from the Greek katharos or pure. They were thus, literally, puritans. We see however, that the Waldensians are extant at the
same time and place having the same doctrines. We are thus dealing with
branches of the same faith. The term Cathari
is ancient. The Novations of the third century were known as Cathari and the term was also used of
the Manichaeans. Weber states:
Cathari was a general designation for the dualistic sects of
the later Middle Ages. Numerous other names were in vogue to denote these
heretics. Without speaking of the corrupted forms of 'Cazzari', 'Gazzari' in
Italy, and 'Ketzer' in Germany, we find the following appellations: 'Piphli'
'Piphles' in Northern France and Flanders; 'Arians', 'Manicheans', and
'Patareni' owing to real or alleged doctrinal similarity; 'Tesserants',
'Textores' (Weavers), from the trade which many of the members followed.
Sometimes they were erroneously styled 'Waldenses' by their contempories. From
the demagogue Arnold of Brescia and the heretical bishop Robert de Sperone,
they were called 'Arnoldistae' and 'Speronistae'. To their geographical
distribution they owed the names of 'Cathari of Descenzano', or 'Albanenses'
from Descenzano between Brescia and Verona, or from Alba in Piedmont, Albano or
perhaps from the province of Albania; 'Bajolenses' or 'Bagnolenses' (from
Bagnolo in Italy); 'Concorrezenses' (probably from the Concorrezo in Lombardy);
'Tolosani' (from Toulouse); and especially Albigenses from Albi. The
designations 'Pauliciani', of which 'Publicani', 'Poplicani', were probably
corruptions, and 'Bulgari', 'Bugri', 'Bougres', point to their probable
Oriental origin (N. A. Weber, C. E.,
art. ‘Cathari’, Vol. III, p.
Weber seems to attempt to completely divorce the Waldenses from
these sects and wrongly. He admits that:
Eastern Europe seems to have been in point of date, the first
country in which Catharism manifested itself, and it certainly was the last to
be freed from it. The Bogomili, who were representatives of the heresy in its
milder dualistic form, perhaps existed as early as the tenth century and, at a
later date, were found in large numbers in Bulgaria. Bosnia was another
Catharist centre. Some recent writers make no distinction between the heretics
found there and the Bogomili, whereas others rank them with the rigid Dualists.
In the Western contemporary documents they are usually called 'Patareni', the
designation then applied to the Cathari in Italy.
There is a readily identifiable pattern in the movement of
these peoples. The source is easily identified as the Paulicians, who were
settled in Thrace. The first settlements were thus Albania and Bulgaria. From
there it spread into Bosnia. The Bulgars embraced Catharism which by definition
enjoined the sanctity of marriage and was practiced as such by all puritan
sects. The Bogomils appear to have developed a perverted form of the system,
among the monastic orders and orthodox clergy. This system appears to have
caused a serious controversy among the Bulgars and also in the Balkans. There
is no doubt that all the groups were married and bore children over centuries,
in all of the general areas in which they settled. To assert that they enforced
celibacy is absurd.
The reason the Cathari were called Pauliani (or Paulician) was
because they embraced those doctrines. The assertion that the epistles were
relative is a supposition.
The sects were biblical literalists, as statements of their
doctrines indicate. The reason that they were called Cazzari and Sabbatati is
also not difficult to follow. The Khazars or Cazzars had been converted to
Judaism c. 740. They occupied the area from the Crimea, eastwards past the
Caspian to the Aral and the Oxus River. They extended north up the Volga to south
of Bulgar and were overlords for the areas north of Bulgar and both east and
west. They ruled north-west to the Ukraine. They kept the Sabbath and Holy Days
and followed the food laws as the Paulicians seem to have done. The Khazars
gave military aid to the Magyars in their invasion of Hungary. The Magyars
appear to have been one of their allied tribes, in the establishment of their
empire. The Khazar Jewish kingdom lasted from approx 700-1016. The Jewish
fugitives fled to the Khazars from Greece in 723. The maps of their
distribution and influence are found in Martin Gilbert Atlas of Jewish History, 3rd edition, Dorset Press, 1984, pages
25-26. These Khazars invited Rabbis into the kingdom and had correspondence
with the Spanish Jews. They were identified by Koestler (The Thirteenth Tribe, Popular Library, New York, 1976) as the
descendants of Ashkenaz the descendants of Gomer (Gen. 10:3). Ashkenazi means
the people of Ashkenaz. Zvi Ankori's attempted refutation of Koestler in Genetic Diseases Of Ashkenazi Jews is
The Ashkenazi centre was the Pale of Settlement, which extended
from the Crimea, north-west to the Baltic (see Atlas of Jewish History, p. 43). The area can be seen as more or
less a reorientation of Khazaria. This occurred from the Russian attacks, which
commenced from 970. In 1016 a joint Russian-Byzantine expedition finally
destroyed the Khazar kingdom. This ultimately weakened the area, relocated the
Khazar Jews and opened the way for the Mongol invasions of 1215. This forced
the Khazars even further west. There were Jewish movements out of the Crimea
from 1016 (south to Constantinople, Trebizond and Alexandria and north-west to
Kharkov and Chernigov) and in 1350 (to Kiev) and 1445 (to Lithuania).
Persecutions in Hungary between 1349 and 1360 drove the Jews north to Tarnapol
(see Atlas of Jewish History, pp.
45-46). Thus it is no surprise that some would have converted to a form of
Christianity, which held the doctrines akin to Judaism and also had been
persecuted with them, over a similar time scale. Some went into Russian
Orthodoxy. Most remained Ashkenazi Jews and became absorbed into Judah, although
the Ashkenazi are still distinct to this day, being physiologically different
to the Sephardic Jews of Spain, Britain and the east. The persecution of the
Jews was severe in Europe generally, especially in Spain and also Portugal.
This accorded by and large, with the persecution of the Puritans, under their
The Bosnian Cathars
In the twelfth century Kulin, the ban or civil ruler of Bosnia, embraced Catharism with 10,000 of his
subjects. The Catholics under Innocent III, Honorius III and Gregory IX, tried
to exterminate them without success. Pope Nicholas IV (1288-92) sent
Franciscans to Bosnia. The Hungarians were stated to have tried to suppress the
Cathari in Bosnia, but the Cathari identified their religion with their
independence. The Bosnian King Thomas was converted to Catholicism in the
fifteenth century and issued severe edicts against his co-religionists. They
were 40,000 in number. They left Bosnia for Herzegovina in 1446. The heresy
disappeared after the Turks conquered the area. Several thousand became
orthodox while many more became Muslim. That of itself indicates that the
movement was Unitarian. Weber's comments (C.E., p. 437) regarding the enforced celibacy
of the Cathari are scarcely to be credited. One cannot maintain a populace over
centuries without breeding, as they were not free to proselytise. The practices
found among the Bogomil monks, are scarcely indicative of the practices of a
general populace, which does not practice monasticism and indeed condemns it.
The remnant of these people is most likely to have gone north into
Transylvania, where the Sabbatati emerged. The conversion of members of the
Khazar Empire was accompanied also by the movement of the Puritan sects into
Hungary and into Trans-Carpathia/Romania. The sects in Hungary were called Sabbatharier
in the German, because they were Sabbath-keepers.
The history of these sects remained more or less intact
until the end of the nineteenth century, when it was written by Dr. Samuel
Kohn, Chief Rabbi of Budapest Hungary. The work is DIE SABBATHARIER IN SIEBENBURGEN Ihre Geshichte, Literatur, und
Dogmatik, Budapest, Verlag von Singer & Wolfer, 1894; Leipzig, Verlag
von Franz Wagner. The text has been translated and
published by CCG with a foreword by W.E. Cox and is available from CCG
Publishing at www.ccgpublishing.org
Kohn says that: “As the ideal continued step by step to go
toward original and true Christianity, Jewish religious customs and statutes
prescribed by the Old Testament, which were originally judged and rejected by
Christianity, were actually taken over and practiced.” He seems to have no idea
of the extensive Waldensian era prior to the Reformation from which these
Sabbatarians had emerged.
According to Kohn, they were similar to the Ebionites and
other Judaic-Christians of the first few centuries after Christ (Kohn tr. p.
10). The Sabbath-keepers of the Carpathians formed a loosely knit structure
before 1588, when Andreas Eossi became their leader. The two main
concentrations were in the towns of Szekely-Keresztur (today the Romanian town
of Cristuru-Secuiesc) and Korospatak (today Bodoc). The main villages where the
Sabatharier or Sabbath-keepers resided, toward the end of the sixteenth
century, were the Hungarian residences of Nagy Solymos, Kis Solymos,
Uj-Szekely, Szent-Demeter, Ernye, Ikland, Bozod, Bozod-Ujfalu, and the home residence
of Andreas Eossi. Soon after Eossi's death in 1599 an apostasy set in.
... authors of some of the literature were Enok Alvinczi,
Johannes Bokenyi, Thomas Pankotai, and Simon Pechi (Eossi's closest associate)
Also, in 1579, the Unitarian Church split into two parts –
Sabbath-keepers and Sunday worshippers. They differed from Protestants in three
1. disbelief in the Trinity and were called Anti-Trinitarians;
2. disbelief in baptising children;
3. disbelief in Christ's divinity.
Francis Davidis was held to be the founder of the Unitarian
Church in Transylvania in 1566. It was at the death of Davidis in 1579 that the
Unitarian church split. In 1568 and 1569 Davidis had held the common view of
the Sabbatarians that the Holy Spirit was not God (but the power of God) and
that it does not need to be worshipped “because the prophets and the apostles
do not teach such worship anywhere” (Kohn, tr. p22). In 1571 he published a
treatise on the difference between the “adoration and worship of God and Jesus
(ibid.).” In 1578 he published the four theses on the non-worship of Jesus
Eossi accepted the Unitarian faith in 1567. Doctrines under
his administration are almost identical to the present day.
1 The New Year, the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets covered as a New Moon, Day of Atonement,
Feast of Tabernacles, the Last Great Day.
2.The Ten Commandments.
Food and Health Laws (no eating of blood, pig, strangled animals).
4. The Millennium to last 1000
years. Christ will return at the
beginning and gather Judah and Israel.
5.The use of God's sacred calendar as per the Temple
6.There are to be two different
resurrections: one to eternal life at Christ's coming; the other to
judgement and correction at the end of 1000 years.
7. We are saved by grace, but
God’s law still
needs to be kept.
8. It is God who calls people into His truth. The world in
general is blinded.
9 Christ was the greatest of the prophets, the most holy of all
people, the "crucified Lord", "the Supreme Head and King of the
real believers, the dearly beloved and holy Son of God."
On pages 62-67 of Kohn’s work (pp. 54ff. of the translation)
the Old Sabbath Songbook is discussed. The hymnal was written in
Hungarian and only eight songs show the name of the author in an acrostic.
There were Eossi, Enok Alvinczi, Janos Bokenyi, Thomas Pankotai and Simon Pechi.
The Old-Sabbatarian Hymnal this
contains altogether a hundred and two hymns for diverse devotional occasions, among
which not less than 44 are for the Sabbath. In addition there are five songs
for the New Moon, 11 for the Feast of the Passover [and Unleavened Bread], 6
for the Feast of Weeks, 6 for the Feast of Tabernacles, 3 for the feast of the
New Year, 1 for the Feast (sic) of Atonement, 26 for the different occasions of
everyday life (Kohn tr. p. 55).
There is thus no doubt that the Church kept the Sabbaths and
New Moons and the Holy Days in that order of importance. The Day of Trumpets is
not listed as it was covered by the hymns for the New Moons, which took
precedence. Thus in the early stages they did not observe Rosh Hashanah. The
Feast of the New Moon listed in the sequence by Kohn is considered to apply to
the actual New Year in Abib. Its relocation to the position of Trumpets (also
the later observed Rosh Hashanah) is considered a late Judaising innovation.
The error of the limited ongoing role of the sacrifice of Christ asserted by
Kohn is a late Judaising error and was never held by the Sabbath-keeping
churches over time (Kohn tr. p. 78).
Simon Pechi took over the Sabbatarians in Transylvania in
1623 and the Sabbatarian faith took a specific Judaising bend until 1638. The court session at Des in 1638
broke the strength of the so-called Judaising movement. From the trial in 1638
to the 1869 a Judaising progression resulted in the conversion of one element
to Judaism, which formed the basis of Kohn’s work. There were other elements
still in existence that kept the original faith by keeping the Sabbaths, New
Moons and Feasts and the Foodlaws with the same theology as we do today.
By 1637 there were believed to be between 15,000 and 20,000
Sabbatarians in Transylvania. At the end of the seventeenth century, the
Sabbatarians were still represented in at least eleven towns and villages in
Transylvania. The 1867 declaration by the Hungarian Parliament of religious
freedom to all religious confession, including the Jews, enabled the
Sabbatarians to leave their Christian denominations and reveal themselves and some
(not most as Kohn tries to assert) became Jews. The foreword for the
translation explains the circumstances in which Kohn wrote and the errors he
The likelihood of most going over is not likely as Kohn admits
that as of his day (c. 1894):
The largest group of Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania today -
and they number in the thousands - are situated in the areas of Oluj and Sibiu.
The bishop of Cluj - Rumania's second largest city - keeps the Sabbath.
These people were present in Trans-Carpathia and Romania until
this century, when they went under Communist domination and have emerged
recently as two unrelated groups of Sabbath-keepers, one of which is keeping
all other aspects, as they did centuries before. Thus the European Church,
which might perhaps be termed the Thyatiran era, still lives as Christ promised
to them at Revelation 2:25-26.
Sabbath-keeping was extant in England from the initial
conversions. Britain was certainly introduced to Christianity very early and
Tertullian of Carthage (a rhetorical writer) in Against the Jews
boasts that 'parts of Britain inaccessible to the Romans were
indeed conquered by Christ'. That was written about two hundred years after the
birth of Christ (Edwards, Christian
England, Vol. I, p. 20).
The area of Glastonbury was kept under control of the British
until Ine, King of the West Saxons (688-722), occupied it. He found a wooden
Church there already revered as ancient. He gave extensive lands to its clergy
and it survived until it was burnt down in 1184. The earliest Christian martyr
recorded under the Romans in Britain is Alban. He seems to have been a Roman
soldier, who sheltered a Christian priest escaping from Gaul and was baptised
by him (Edwards, p. 21). Gildas and Bede tell us also, of the martyrs Aaron and
Julius at Caerleon. Aaron's name suggests that he was a Jew (Edwards, ibid.).
There were five British Christians, including three bishops at
the Council of Arles in 314. Eborius, bishop of York, Restitutus, bishop of
London, Adelfius, bishop of Lincoln (but this is not certain since the scribe
wrote Colonia Londoninensium rather
than Colonia Lindensium), a priest
and a deacon (Edwards, ibid.).
The emperor Constantine had been declared Augustus or emperor
at York on 25 July 306, on the death of Constantius, his father.
Constantius had been sympathetic to the Christians in Gaul, who
were Subordinationist Unitarian. Constantine had facilitated the Council at
Nicæa in 325 and Athanasius records the British bishops there as agreeing with
its decrees. Edwards considers that it is probable, that the Church in Britain
remained a minority concentrated in the towns (p. 22). It is more probable,
that the elements which were sympathetic to the Athanasian position, were so
concentrated and in the abject minority. The remainder were Sabbath-keeping
Subordinationists, who extended from Ireland to Scotland. It is worthy of note
that Pelagius, the well-known theologian, was born in Britain about 380 and so
the doctrinal links with the Churches in Gaul, is not accidental. He emphasised
the freedom and ability of man to co-operate with the grace of God (Edwards, p.
23). This doctrine conflicted with the doctrine of Augustine of Hippo, on the
complete sinfulness of man, who must rely totally on forgiveness and redeeming
power, exemplified by the Augustinian prayer
Grant what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt (ibid.).
Rome fell in 410 to the so-called barbarians. The Vandals, who
came to occupy Rome, were in fact iconoclastic Unitarian Sabbath-keeping
Christians, so-called Arians. Vandalism
comes from the fact that the Vandals destroyed the graven images of the
idolatrous Romans and were then subjected to a bad press by later historians.
It is a matter of record, that their occupation of Rome was exemplary. Pelagius
went to live in Africa, somewhat stupidly near Augustine his enemy. This later
resulted in his excommunication and death in Palestine. His choice of locality
perhaps indicates, that Pelagius was not in accord with the doctrines of his
northern forebears, or perhaps did not like the cold. It is asserted by the
contemporary chronicler Prosper that the Pelagian heresy is alleged to have
been spread there by Agricola, a bishop's son. Bishop Germanus was summoned
from Auxerre in Gaul in 429, and was accompanied by the neighbouring bishop
Lupus of Troyes. It must be remembered, that Lupus of Troyes was a monk of
Lérins. This was the centre from which Gaul was redirected to the Roman system.
Thus we are dealing with Athanasian mystics, using the Roman force to overcome
the British system, which is accused of Pelagianism. They did this allegedly not only in churches but at cross roads and
in field and lanes (Edwards, ibid., p. 23). The preaching at cross roads
was used, because the cross roads were seen by the Romans and the Europeans as
being centres of the goddess Hecate, from which the significance of the cross
is developed. It was for this reason that the Subordinationists, or Unitarians,
were iconoclasts, particularly in relation to crosses. The bishops accompanied
a military expedition against the Picts and the Saxons in the north. Germanus
had been a dux or military commander,
before his ordination. The Church and the bishops of Gaul under the Roman
system took on a strange new shape as a power.
Britain was weakened by the movement of forces outside of
Britain. In 383, the Spanish born Christian, general Magnus Maximus, married to
the British girl Helena, took his troops to the mainland and declared himself
emperor. From then on the defence was inadequate. In 407 another Constantine
led his troops to the mainland to do the same. No Roman coins later than this
date, have been found in Britain. Rome was then cut off in the great barbarian invasions of Gaul and Italy in
410. The British then invited the Saxons in. The Roman-British Church was only
a very small part of Christian Britain and was confined to the Romanised and
urbanised south and south-east from the Wash to Exeter, with the second area
being from York, north-west to Carlisle and the Cumbrian coast or the western
end of the military zone (Edwards, p. 25). The Celtic Church on the other hand
was acknowledged to be the centrality of a fervent Christian faith (Edwards, p.
27). The Celts acknowledged the holiness of the Bible, taking it literally and
obeying it wholeheartedly; even the food regulations in the Old Testament were
received as the law of God. The Celts were organised as tribes, which seem to
have been of mixed racial origins.
What united them was not an army and an administration with
urban centres, as in the Roman civilization, but a strong common culture based
on their shared faith (Edwards, p. 27).
Thus, it is easy to see why the Roman bishops had to go to the
countryside, in order to argue against the so-called Pelagian heresy, if indeed
that is what it was. It is hard to imagine a refined argument on the doctrine
of grace and predestination taking place among pagans. Thus we are dealing with
two Christianities extant in Britain, and with that of the British or Celts, the
superior and the more biblical. It was only suppressed where the Romans could
Catholicism was not established in Britain, until the
conversion of the Angles by Augustine of Canterbury. Ethelbert king of Kent,
was converted to Catholicism at Pentecost 597 (according to Butler, Lives of the Saints, ed. Walsh, concise
edn., p. 158) and many (some 10,000) subjects were baptised at the pagan
midwinter Christmas festival of 597. The Christians of Britain were up until
that time, predominantly, if not exclusively, all Sabbath-keeping
Subordinationist Unitarians, who kept the food laws and the Holy Days. They
were not dominated by Rome until the Synod of Whitby in 663 at Hilda's Abbey,
where they submitted under duress. Columba of Iona kept the Sabbath and
foretold his death on the Sabbath, Saturday 9 June 597 (Butler, Lives of the Saints, Vol. 1, art. St. Columba, p. 762). Butler says in his
footnote, that the practice of calling the Lord's day the Sabbath did not
commence until a thousand years later (Adamnan, Life of Columba, Dublin, 1857, p. 230. This was also commented on
by W.T. Skene in his work Adamnan's Life
of St. Columba, 1874, p. 96).
The Catholic historian Bellesheim (History of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Vol. 1, p 86) comments
regarding the Sabbath in Scotland.
We seem to see here an allusion to the custom observed in the
early monastic Church of Ireland, of keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or
James C. Moffatt (The
Church in Scotland, p. 140) says that:
It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early
times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as
a day of rest from labour. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon
the seventh day of the week.
Flick (The Rise of the
Mediæval Church, p. 237) says that:
The Celts used a Latin Bible unlike the Vulgate (R.C.) and kept
Saturday as a day of rest, with special religious services on Sunday.
In Scotland until the tenth and eleventh centuries it was
They worked on Sunday but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner
... These things Margaret abolished
(Andrew Lang, A History of Scotland from
the Roman Occupation, Vol. I, p. 96; see also Celtic Scotland, Vol. 2, p. 350).
The Scots were Sabbath-keepers up until Queen Margaret,
according to Turgot (Life of Saint
Margaret, p. 49)
It was another custom of theirs to neglect the reverence due to
the Lord's day, by devoting themselves to every kind of worldly business upon
it, just as they did upon other days. That this was contrary to the law, she
(Queen Margaret) proved to them as well by reason as by authority. 'Let us
venerate the Lord's day,' said she, 'because of the resurrection of our Lord,
which happened on that day, and let us no longer do servile works upon it;
bearing in mind that upon this day we were redeemed from the slavery of the
devil. The blessed Pope Gregory affirms the same.'
Skene also comments (Celtic
Scotland, Vol. 2, p. 349) regarding Queen Margaret and her activities
against Sabbath-keeping in Scotland:
Her next point was that they did not duly reverence the Lord's
day, but in this latter instance they seemed to have followed a custom of which
we find traces in the early Church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to
be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours.
Lewis (Seventh Day
Baptists in Europe and America, Vol. 1, p. 29) says:
There is much evidence that the Sabbath prevailed in Wales
universally until AD 1115, when the first Roman bishop was seated at St.
David's. The old Welsh Sabbath-keeping churches did not then altogether bow the
knee to Rome, but fled to their hiding places.
Sabbath-keeping enjoyed a revival in Elizabethan England.
In the reign of Elizabeth, it occurred to many conscientious
and independent thinkers (as it previously had done to some protestants in
Bohemia) that the fourth commandment required of them the observance, not of
the first, but of the specified 'seventh' day of the week (Chambers Cyclopædia, article ‘Sabbath’, Vol. 8, 1837, p. 498; quotation blurred).
James I of England dismissed Chief Justice Coke in 1616,
putting an end to the attempt to limit the power of the king via the courts.
There were a series of persecutions of Protestants during this time. On the
publication of the Book of Sports in
1618, a violent controversy broke out among English theologians, as to whether
the Sabbath of the fourth commandment was in force and, secondly, on what
ground the first day of the week was entitled to be observed, as the Sabbath (Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, art. ‘Sabbatarians’,
p. 602). Mrs Traske, a teacher, was imprisoned in 1618, for fifteen or sixteen
years, at Maiden Lane, a prison for those in disagreement with the Church of
England. She had refused to teach on the
Sabbath and would teach for only five days a week (Pagitt's Heresiography, p. 196).
Meanwhile, in mainland Europe, the battle for Catholic
domination and control of the continent was in force. This war, commencing in
1620, was effectively a Catholic/Protestant conflict. The Hapsburgs sought to
impose Catholic and Imperial control of Europe. In 1618 the Bohemians had
rebelled against Ferdinand of Hapsburg, shortly to become German Emperor. The
Bohemian crown was given to the Protestant Elector Palatine. This effectively
precipitated the Thirty Years War. In 1620 the Hapsburgs regained control of
Bohemia and Sabbath persecution resumed.
In 1628, despite English attempts to stop him Cardinal
Richelieu, Louis XIII's chief minister, took the French-Protestant stronghold
La Rochelle and destroyed the power of the Huguenots.
In 1639 Scots Covenenters,
uncompromising Protestants rebelled against Charles I, who was attempting to
impose a new prayer book on them (McEvedy, World
History Factfinder, Century, London, 1984, p. 88).
In 1642 the Civil War began between King and Parliament. From
this time onwards, the religious divisions saw the emergence of Unitarian
theology in people such as Milton, Isaac Newton and others. Cromwell became the
symbol of those opposed to Catholic domination and persecution.
In 1647, Charles I queried the Parliamentary Commissioners and
asserted that Sunday worship proceeds directly from the authority of the
For it will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is no
longer to be kept, or turned into the Sunday wherefore it must be the Church's
authority that changed the one and instituted the other (R. Cox, Sabbath Laws, p. 333).
The assumption here is, that to reject the papacy necessarily
involves the changes that rest entirely on the Councils of the Church for
authority, such as Sunday worship. The logic places Protestantism on a
dangerous footing. Milton identified this logic and said:
It will surely be far safer to observe the seventh, according
to express commandment of God, than on the authority of mere human conjecture
to adopt the first (Sab. Lit. 2,
In 1648, the treaty of Westphalia brought the Thirty Years War
in Europe to an end. After the Thirty Years War, hostilities continued between
the French and the Spanish. The riot in Paris marked the beginning of the long
period of civil disorder, known as the Fronde.
Also, in 1648, George Fox founded the Society of Friends (termed Quakers
first from 1650).
At about this time Dr. Peter Chamberlain, physician to King
James and Queen Anne and King Charles I and Queen Katherine, was baptised (according to his monument: cf. Telegraph Print,
Napier as per SDA notation to document of Sabbath references of unknown
publication, p. 25).
In 1649, Charles I was executed, England declared a
Commonwealth and Cromwell crushed the Irish rebels at Drogheda.
Religious tolerance for Sabbath-keepers during this period was
much greater, however, the restoration of Charles II, in 1660, after promising
an amnesty and religious toleration (McEvedy, ibid.) saw Sabbath-keeping again
in disfavour. Thomas Bampfield, Speaker in one of Cromwell's parliaments, wrote
on behalf of seventh day Sabbath observance and was imprisoned in Ilchester
jail (Calamy 2, 260). According to Stennet's letters, 1668 and 1670, there were
about nine or ten churches that keep the
Sabbath, besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved
(R. Cox, Sabbath Laws, ibid., Vol. I,
By and large, from this period, Sabbath-keeping incurred an
almost enforced migration to America. According to Jas. Bailey, Stephen
Mumford, the first Sabbath-keeper in America came from London in 1664 (J.
Bailey, History of the Seventh Day
Baptist General Conference, pp. 237-238). In 1671 the Seventh Day Baptists
had broken from the Baptist Church in order to keep Sabbath (see Bailey History, pp. 9-10). However, the Pilgrim
Fathers were from a Sabbath-keeping tradition (cf. the paper The Dutch Connection of the
Pilgrim Fathers (No. 264)).
Sabbatarianism had been persecuted in Norway, from at least the
Church Council in Bergen, 22 August 1435 and the conference in Oslo in
1436. People in different places of the kingdom had commenced to keep the
Sabbath day holy and the archbishop forbade it on the grounds that:
It is strictly forbidden - it is stated - in the Church-Law,
for anyone to keep or to adopt holydays, outside of those which the pope,
archbishop, or bishops appoint (R. Keyser, The
History of the Norwegian Church under Catholicism, Vol II, Oslo, 1858, p.
Also at the Catholic Provincial Council of Bergen 1435, it was
We are informed that some people in different districts of the
kingdom, have adopted and observed Saturday-keeping.
It is severely forbidden - in holy church canon- [for] one and
all to observe days excepting those which the holy Pope, archbishop, or the
bishops command. Saturday-keeping must under no circumstances be permitted
hereafter further that the church canon commands. Therefore we counsel all the
friends of God throughout all Norway who want to be obedient towards the holy
church to let this evil of Saturday-keeping alone; and the rest we forbid under
penalty of severe church punishment to keep Saturday holy (Dip. Norveg., 7,
The Church Conference at Oslo in 1436 stated:
It is forbidden under the same penalty to keep Saturday holy by
refraining from labour (History of the
Norwegian Church etc., p. 401).
In 1544 the warning was reissued.
Some of you, contrary to the warning, keep Saturday. You ought
to be severely punished. Whoever shall be found keeping Saturday, must pay a
fine of ten marks (History of King
Christian the Third, Niels Krag and S. Stephanius).
Thus it is evident, that Sabbath-keeping had become entrenched
in Norway, over the period of at least one hundred years.
Sabbatarianism and at least the understanding of the seventh
day Sabbath, was also extant in Norway from the reformation, according to
comments made in notations or translations: for example see Documents and Studies
Concerning the History of the Lutheran Catechism in the Nordish Churches,
Christiania, 1893; and also Theological
Periodicals for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norway, Vol. 1, Oslo, p.
184. Sabbath-keeping spread also into Sweden and was suppressed continuously.
This zeal for Saturday-keeping continued for a long time: even
little things which might strengthen the practice of keeping Saturday were
punished (Bishop Anjou, Svenska Kirkans
Historis, (after) Motet i Upsala).
The practice extended into Finland and King Gustavus Vasa I of
Sweden wrote to the people of Finland.
Some time ago we heard that some people in Finland had fallen
into a great error and observed the seventh day, called Saturday (State Library
at Helsingfors, Reichsregister, Vom. J., 1554, Teil B.B. leaf 1120, pp.
Sabbath-keeping Churches, however, remained extant in Sweden up
until current times.
We will now endeavour to show that the sanctification of the
Sabbath has its foundation and its origin in a law which God at creation itself
established for the whole world, and as a consequence thereof is binding on all
men in all ages (Evangelisten (The
Evangelist), Stockholm, May 30 to August 15, 1863: organ of the Swedish Baptist
The forms of Sabbath-keeping in the north, had however,
degenerated into a form of Trinitarian Protestantism, with Subordinationism
being wholly gone. The Protestants had begun to simply adopt the Sabbath,
rather than the purity of the biblical concepts. Pastor M. A. Sommer began observing
the seventh day and wrote an article on the true Sabbath in his church paper Indovet Kristendom, No. 5, 1875. He
wrote in a letter to the Adventist Elder John G. Matteson.
Among the Baptists here in Denmark there is a great agitation
regarding the Sabbath commandment ... However, I am probably the only preacher
in Denmark who stands so near to the Adventists and who for many years has
proclaimed Christ's second coming (Advent Tidente, May 1875).
The remnants of the original Church were still in the
south-east, however. Luther had also noted (Lectures
on Genesis, 1523-27) that Sabbatarians existed at that time in Austria.
These appear to have been the remnants of the earlier Waldensian Sabbatati. He
in fact advocated Sabbath-keeping.
God blessed the sabbath and sanctified it to Himself. God
willed that this command concerning the Sabbath should remain. He willed that
on the seventh day the word should be preached (Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1, see pp. 133-140).
Sabbath-keeping in Germany and Holland was suppressed
vigorously and many were martyred. Barbara of Thiers was executed in 1529.
Another martyr Christina Tolingen, denied the veracity of Catholic holy days
and held to the seventh day Sabbath (Martyrology
of the Churches of Christ, commonly called Baptists, during the era of the
Reformation, from the Dutch of T. J. Van Bracht, London, 1850, 1, pp.
Sabbath-keeping in Germany was not stamped out and was adhered
to by such as Tennhardt of Nuremburg, who was a strict Sabbath-keeper (Bengel's Leben und Werken, Burk, p. 579). He
appeared to hold that Sunday was appointed by Antichrist (K. I. Austug aus Tennhardt's "Schriften", 1712, p. 49).
We had noted above the suppression of Sabbath-keeping in
Belgium, centuries before the reformation. The Sabbath-keepers found refuge in
Lichtenstein from about 1520, on the estate of Lord Leonhardt of Lichtenstein
… as the princes of Lichtenstein held to the observance of the
true Sabbath (J.N. Andrews, History of
the Sabbath, p. 649).
This practice in Lichtenstein was attacked by Wolfgang Capito.
The Sabbatarians teach that the outward Sabbath, i.e. Saturday,
must still be observed. They say that Sunday is the Pope's invention (Wolfgang
Capito, Refutation of Sabbath, 1599).
Sabbatarianism had penetrated Russia prior to the Reformation
and was condemned at a Council of Moscow in 1503.
The accused [Sabbath-keepers] were summoned; they openly
acknowledged the new [sic] faith, and defended the same. The most prominent of
them, the secretary of State, Kuritzyn, Ivan Maximow, Kassian, archimandrite of
the [Bury?] Monastery of Novgorod, were condemned to death, and burned publicly
in cages, at Moscow: Dec. 19 1503 (H. Sternberg Geschichte der Juden [in Polen], Leipsig, 1873, pp. 117-122).
But the majority moved to the Crimea and the Caucasus, where
they remain true to their doctrine in spite of persecution until this present
time. The people call them Subotniki, or Sabbatarians (Sternberg, Geschicte der Juden in Polen, p. 124).
There is little doubt that the Sabbatati or Waldensians, were
significant in Bohemia as late as 1500.
Erasmus testifies that even as late as about 1500 these
Bohemians not only kept the seventh day scrupulously, but were also called
Sabbatarians (from R. Cox, The Literature
of the Sabbath Question, Vol. II, pp. 201-202; requoted in Truth Triumphant, p. 264).
The quotation from R. Cox appears to say:
I find from a passage in Erasmus that at the early period of
the Reformation when he wrote, there were Sabbatarians in Bohemia, who not only
kept the seventh day, but were said to be ... scrupulous in resting on it (Dr.
R. Cox, Literature of the Sabbath
Question, Vol. II, pp. 201-202)
Armitage and Cox (ibid.) note the existence of the Bohemian
Sabbatati, as well established in 1310.
In 1310, two hundred years before Luther's theses, the Bohemian
brethren constituted one-fourth of the population of Bohemia, and that they
were in touch with the Waldenses who abounded in Austria, Lombardy, Bohemia,
north Germany, Thuringia, Brabdenburg, and Moravia. Erasmus pointed out how
strictly Bohemian Waldenses kept the seventh day Sabbath (Armitage, A
History of the Baptists, p. 318;
and also R. Cox, ibid.).
In Moravia some Sabbath-keepers were led by Count Zinzendorf in
1738 where he wrote of keeping the Sabbath.
That I have employed the Sabbath for rest many years already,
and our Sunday for the proclamation of the gospel (Budingache Sammlung, Leipzig, 1742, Sec. 8, p. 224).
The Moravians under Zinzendorf moved from Europe to America in
1741, where Zinzendorf and the Moravian brethren resolved with the church at
Bethlehem USA, to observe the seventh day as rest day (ibid., pp. 5,1421,1422).
Their doctrine of the Godhead is not clear. Rupp observes that before
Zinzendorf and the Moravians at Bethlehem began the observance of the Sabbath
and prospered, there was a small body of German Sabbath-keepers in Pennsylvania
(Rupp, History of Religious Denominations
in the United States, pp. 109-123). The history of the Bohemians and
Moravians, from 1635 to 1867, is described by Adolf Dux. He says:
The condition of the Sabbatarians was dreadful. Their books and
writings had to be delivered to the Karlsburg Consistory to become the spoil of
flames (Adolf Dux, Aus Ungarn,
Leipzig, 1880, pp. 289-291).
The suppression of Sabbath-keeping continued in the areas of
Romania, Czecho-Slovakia and the Balkans. In 1789 it was continued and Joseph
II's edict of tolerance did not apply to the Sabbatarians, some of whom again
lost all their possessions (Jahrgang 2, 254). Catholic priests, aided by
soldiers, forced the Sabbatarians to accept Roman Catholicism nominally,
working on Saturday and attending services on Sunday, over a period of two
hundred and fifty years. The exclusion of the status of Churches to Sabbath
Churches in the edicts of toleration, in particular that of the Hungarian
Parliament of 1867, is also noted by Samuel Kohn SABBATHARIER IN SIEBENBURGEN
op. cit., and noted in Gerhard O Marx's notations of the work op. cit. (see
above); (cf. Kohn, The Sabbatarians in
Transylvania, trs. T. McElwain and B. Rook, ed. W. Cox, CCG Publishing, USA, 1998).
The Church in Romania and Hungary, under Andreas Eossi, from
1588, was denied use of the printing press and had to publish its material by a
system of hand duplication. This Church existed in Trans-Carpathia and Romania
(chiefly in Oluj and Sibiu) c. 1894 and was Sabbatati, termed Sabbatharier
(the suffix arier seems to indicate
Aryan [perhaps because they were non-Jewish Sabbath-keepers, or perhaps it was
a mistaken term for Arian] Sabbath-keepers). These people are extant now in the
Ukraine and the areas to the north of the 1894 locations. They were Unitarians.
Other Christian tradition
A notation made by Brady's Clavis
Calendaria (I-II, London, 1812, pp. 313-314) holds that the early
determination of the birth of Christ was held by the early Church to have
occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles. The early Christians, who were noted as
being Hebrews, although conforming to the Roman year with the nativity as 1
January, on the Feast of Tabernacles, ornamented their churches with green
boughs, as a memorial that Christ was actually born at that time, the same way
the Jews erected booths or tents. Brady holds this to be the origin of the
decoration of the nativity scene with boughs at Christmas.
The Empire of 1260 Days
It can be seen, that there is a continuous strand of
Subordinationist, or Unitarian Sabbath-keeping, throughout the centuries in the
Christian world, which runs side by side with the Catholic Church and which the
Catholic Church has spent years trying to suppress. At times it has been very
close to extermination. In virtually every situation where the Orthodox Church has been in a position
of power, it has used every means at its disposal to introduce an Inquisition,
using the technology of its day to exterminate this system.
The period of the Holy Roman Empire commenced in 590, with the
declarations of Pope Gregory I. The Papacy became the effective ruler of Rome,
with the decay of East Roman power in Italy (see McEvedy, ibid., p. 41). This
system remained as an image of the Roman beast for 1260 years. In 1846 the last
Inquisition came to an end. It lasted for 23 years, from 1823 to 1846, and
200,000 people were sentenced to death, life imprisonment, exile or the
galleys, in the papal states alone. Another 1.5 million were placed under
continual police surveillance and harassment.
There was a gallows permanently in the square of every town and
city and village. Railways, meetings of more than three people, and all
newspapers were forbidden. All books were censored. A special tribunal sat
permanently in each place to try, condemn and execute the accused. All trials
were conducted in Latin. Ninety-nine percent of the accused did not understand
the accusations against them. Every pope tore up the stream of petitions that
came constantly asking for justice, for the franchise, for reform of the police
and the prison system (see Malachi Martin, The
Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, Secker and Warburg, London, 1981, p.
Revolts were put down with wholesale executions, lifelong hard
labour, exile or torture, using Austrian troops (ibid., p. 254). Pope Gregory
XVI put down one revolt by wholesale butchery of the rebels. The end of the
empire of 1260 years was commenced by the revolutions in Italy and Europe of
1848 (see McEvedy, p. 151). The Pope, Pius IX, was restored by French troops to
Rome on 12 April 1850. He was without power, however. Garibaldi's army
surrounded Rome on 19 April. There was a vote taken for independence from the
Papacy, for the papal-states by joining the Republic. The vote in Rome alone
was 46,785 for and 47 against. Throughout the papal-states the result was
132,681 for and 1,505 against (Martin, p.255). It was a total rejection of
papal rule. Eight months later the Italian parliament passed the Law of
… the pope is an independent sovereign, the parliament
acknowledges; he has personal inviolability and immunity, and liberty to come
and go, to hold conclaves, councils, consistories, as he wills. He owns the
Vatican, the Lateran, the Papal offices, and Castel Gandolfo. He will have an
annual revenue of 3,225,000 lire.
Pius tore up the copy of the law saying: “We will be a prisoner"
(Martin, p. 255).
Thus the empire came
to its primary or great conclusion. There was a minor resurgence, which was
ended in 1871, when the Pope lost all temporal power again completely. The
Sabbath Churches were safe for the time being, but they were all but dead.
Sardis reigned (Rev. 3:1 ff).
In China it appeared that the end of the 1260 years was
celebrated in the Taiping Revolution of 1850. Hung Hiu-Tsen proclaimed himself
Emperor and took Nanjing and Shanghai (McEvedy, p. 151). Sabbath-keeping was a
major factor and stimulus. According to one of their officers (Lin-Le), under
Hung all opium, tobacco and all intoxicating drinks were prohibited and the
Sabbath religiously observed (Lin-Le The
Ti-Ping Revolution, Vol. I, pp. 36-48,84). When asked why they observed the
seventh day Sabbath, the Taipings said that firstly, the Bible taught it and
secondly, their ancestors observed it as a day of worship (A Critical History of the Sabbath and the Sunday noted also in SDA
publication, p. 27).
The empire of the 1260 years is derived from Revelation 12:6
and Revelation 12:15, where the woman was given the wings of the great eagle
(Christ as per the Exodus), that she might fly into the wilderness, where she
is to be nourished for a time, times and half a time. From the prophetic times
system, this is based on the 360 day prophetic year or 360 years. Thus there is
a duality possible for this prophecy. However, the main meaning is that the
duration is 1260 years (360 x 3.5). The start point from this prophecy is that
of 590 CE. The assertion that the 1260 years began with the Roman battles at
Busta Gallorum and ended with the deposition of Napoleon in 1814 is completely
false. Belisarius took Sicily and Italy from 535-540 from the Ostrogoths, but
they successfully counter-attacked in 540. In 568 the Lombards overran Italy.
They were displaced from Hungary by the Avars. The end of the system was not in
1814. Waterloo was fought in 1815,
not in 1814.
Napoleon had in fact disbanded or abolished the Holy Roman
Empire in 1806. All Hapsburg estates became part of the Austrian Empire, with
German as the official language. Napoleon had annexed the papal estates in 1808
(McEvedy, p. 135). In 1815 the Conference of Vienna produced a settlement,
which redrew the map of Europe. The conference restored the Austrian and
Prussian monarchies. The Holy Roman Empire was reconstituted as a German
Confederation, under Austrian Presidence. Sweden gained Norway from Denmark,
but lost her last foothold on the Continent (McEvedy, p. 140). Between 1815 and
1848 there was only one boundary change within the area covered by the congress
and only two in the whole of Europe. The first was simply to recognise that the
attempt by the Congress to unite Belgium and Holland had failed (the Belgians
threw out the Dutch in 1830). The second was the independence of the Serbs from
the Ottomans in 1817. The Greeks made a bid for total independence in
Thus the assertion that the Holy Roman Empire finished in 1814
is a fiction of propaganda emanating from churches in the USA. The basis appears
to stem from the fact that the Americans were ignorant of Continental politics.
The Adventists in the USA attempted to proclaim the advent of Messiah from
1842. The assertions of the 1842-44 advent could not be made if the prophecy of
Revelation concerning the 1260 years were still in progress. Thus the
Adventists conveniently ignored the 1806 disbandment and the 1815
reconstitution of the Holy Roman Empire and conveniently ceased the period in
1814. This lie has been accepted by American Adventists and other offshoots of
the Church of God to this very day. The end result of this date error is that
the assertions of Adventism regarding 1842-44 are false. Nothing could have
happened whatsoever, as the prophecies could not have been fulfilled at that time.
1850 was the earliest that they could have applied the end of the 1260 years
and there are others that the Adventist-Millerite offshoots in the USA did not
apply, and have still not applied. The result was disastrous for Sabbatarian
Another date of significance was that of 663, when the Synod of
Whitby was held at Hilda's abbey in England and the British Churches, and all
of the western Hebrews, were forced to accept Roman dominion at the point of
the sword. Effectively this placed all of the Christian West under the dominion
of the erroneous Church system. This began another period of prophecy, which
will be detailed elsewhere. The end result was that the obedient Christians
endured hardship over the period. There is yet another test in the last days
(Rev. 6:9-11) and then Messiah will come.
(Note: There were some important quotes that were obtained from an
indeterminate SDA paper which had some incomplete citations. Some were
extremely old or rare. Two were difficult to decipher. The quotations were
authenticated where possible. One was corrected and another supplemented. The
scholarship is regretted but the notations are considered important).