From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
PAULICIANS, an evangelical Christian Church spread over Asia Minor and Armenia from the 5th century onwards. The first Armenian writer who notices them is the patriarch Nerses II. in an encyclical of 553,1 where he condemns those "who share with Nestorians in belief and prayer, and take their breadofferings to their shrines and receive communion from them, as if from the ministers of the oblations of the Paulicians." The patriarch John IV. (c. 728) 2 states that Nerses, his predecessor, had chastised the sect, but ineffectually; and that after his death (c. 554) they had continued to lurk in Armenia, where, reinforced by Iconoclasts driven out of Albania of the Caucasus, they had settled in the region of Djirka, probably near Lake Van. In his 31st canon John identifies them with the Messalians, as does the Armenian Gregory of Narek (c. 950). In Albania they were always numerous. We come now to Greek sources. An anonymous account was written perhaps as early as 840 and incorporated in the Chronicon of Georgius Monachus. This (known as Esc.) was edited by J. Friedrich in the Munich Academy Sitzungsberichte (1896), from a lothcentury Escorial codex (Plut. 1, No. 1). It was also used by Photius (c. 867), bk. i., chs. 1 -io of his Historia Manicheorum, who, having held an inquisition of Paulicians in Constantinople was able to supplement Esc. with a few additional details; and by Petrus Siculus (c. 868). The latter visited the Paulician fortress Tephrike to treat for the release of Byzantine prisoners. His History of the Manicheans is dedicated to the archbishop of Bulgaria, whither the Paulicians were sending missionaries. Zigabenus (c. 1100), in his Panoplia, uses beside Esc. an independent source.
The Paulicians were, according to Esc., Manicheans, so called after Paul of Samosata, son of a Manichean woman Callinice. She sent him and her other son John to Armenia as missionaries, and they settled at the village of Episparis, or "seedplot," in Phanarea. One Constantine, however, of Mananali, a canton on the western Euphrates 60-70 m. west of Erzerum, was regarded by the Paulicians as their real founder. He based his teaching on the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul, repudiating other scriptures; and taking the Pauline name of Silvanus, organized churches in Castrum Colonias and Cibossa, which he called Macedonia, after Paul's congregation of that 1 In the Armenian Letterbook of the Patriarchs (Tiflis, 1901), p. 73.
2 Opera (Venetiae, 18 34), p. 89.
name. His successors were Simeon, called Titus; Gegnesius, an Armenian, called Timotheus; Joseph, called Epaphroditus; Zachariah, rejected by some; Baanes, accused of immoral teaching; lastly Sergius, called Tychicus. As Cibossa, so their other congregations were renamed, Mananali as Achaea, Argaeum and Cynoschora as Colossae, Mopsuestia as Ephesus, and so on.
Photius and Petrus Siculus supply a few dates and events. Constantine was martyred 684 by Simeon whom Constantine Pogonatus had sent to repress the movement. His victim's death so impressed him that he was converted, became head of the sect, and was martyred in 690 by Justinian II. About 702 Paul the Armenian, who had fled to Episparis, became head of the church. His son Gegnesius in 722 was taken to Constantinople, where he won over to his opinions the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian. He died in 745, and was succeeded by Joseph, who evangelized Phrygia and died near Antioch of Pisidia in 775. In 752 Constantine V. transplanted many Paulicians from Germanicia, Doliche, Melitene, and Theodosiupolis (Erzerum), to Thrace, to defend the empire from Bulgarians and Sclavonians. Early in the 9th century Sergius, greatest of the leaders, profiting by the tolerance of the emperor Nicephorus, began that ministry which, in one of the epistles canonized by the sect, but lost, he describes thus: "I have run from east to west, and from north to south, till my knees were weary, preaching the gospel of Christ." The iconoclast emperor Leo V., an Armenian, persecuted the sect afresh, and provoked a rising at Cynoschora, whence many fled into Saracen territory to Argaeum near Melitene. For the next 50 years they continued to raid the Byzantine empire, although Sergius condemned retaliation. The empress Theodora (842-857) hung, crucified, beheaded or drowned some Ioo,000 of them, and drove yet more over the frontier, where from Argaeum, Amara, Tephrike and other strongholds their generals Karbeas and Chrysocheir harried the empire, until 873, when the emperor Basil slew Chrysocheir and took Tephrike.
Their sect however continued to spread in Bulgaria, where in 969 John Zimiskes settled a new colony of them at Philippopolis. Here Frederick Barbarossa found them in strength in 1189. In Armenia they reformed their ranks about 821 at Thonrak (Tendarek) near Diadin, and were numerous all along the eastern Euphrates and in Albania. In this region Smbat, of the great Bagraduni clan, reorganized their Church, and was succeeded during a space of 170 or 200 years by seven leaders, enumerated by the Armenian Grigor Magistros, who as duke ,of Mesopotamia under Constantine Monomachos harried them about 1140. Fifty years later they were numerous in Syria and Cilicia, according to the Armenian bishops Nerses the Graceful and Nerses of Lambron. In the Loth century Gregory of Narek wrote against them in Armenian, and in the 11th Aristaces of Lastivert and Paul of Taron in the same tongue. During these later centuries their propaganda embraced all Armenia. The crusaders found them everywhere in Syria and Palestine, and corrupted their name to Publicani, under which name, often absurdly conjoined with Sadducaei, we find them during the ages following the crusades scattered all over Europe. After 1200 we can find no notice of them in Armenian writers until the 18th century, when they reappear in their old haunts. In 1828 a colony of them settled in Russian Armenia, bringing with them a book called the Key of Truth, which contains their rites of name-giving, baptism and election, compiled from old MSS., 1 we know not when.
1 That this is so, is proved by the presence of a doublet in the text of the rite of baptism, the words "But the penitent" on p. 96, as far as "over the person baptized" on p. 97, repeating in substance the words "Next the elect one" on p. 97 to "am wellpleased" on p. 98. This rite therefore was compiled from at least two earlier MSS. In the colophon also the compiler (as he calls himself) excuses the errors of orthography. and grammar on the ground that they are not due to himself but to earlier and ignorant copyists. The division (often inept) of the text into chapters, the references to chapter and verse of a printed N.T., and sundry pious stanzas which interrupt the context, are due to a later editor, perhaps to the copyist of the existing text of 1782. The controversial introduction is later than the Crusades; but the rituals, as far as Regarding Paulician beliefs we have little except hostile evidence, which needs sifting. Esc. gives these particulars: 1. They anathematized Mani, yet were dualists and affirmed two principles - one the heavenly Father, who rules not this world but the world to come; the other an evil demiurge, lord and god of this world, who made all flesh. The good god created angels only. The Romans (i.e. the Byzantines) erred in confusing these two first principles. Similarly the Armenian writer Gregory Magistros (c. 1040) accuses the Thonraki of teaching that "Moses saw not God, but the devil," and infers thence that they held Satan to be creator of heaven and earth, as well as of mankind. The Key of Truth teaches that after the fall Adam and Eve and their children were slaves of Satan until the advent of the newly created Adam, Jesus Christ. Except Gregory Magistros none of the Armenian sources lays stress on the dualism of the Paulicians. John IV. does not hint at it.
2. They blasphemed the Virgin, allegorizing her as the upper Jerusalem in which the Lord came in and went out, and denying that he was really made flesh of her. John IV. records that in the orthodox Armenian Church of the 7th century many held Christ to have been made flesh in, but not of, the Virgin; and Armenian hymns call the Virgin mother church at once Theotokos and heavenly Jerusalem. It is practically certain that Paulicians held this view.
3. They allegorized the Eucharist and explained away the bread and wine of which Jesus said to His apostles, "Take, eat and drink," as mere words of Christ, and denied that we ought to offer bread and wine as a sacrifice.
Such allegorization meets us already in Origen, Eusebius and other early fathers, and is quite compatible with that use of a material Eucharist which Nerses II. attests among the Paulicians of the early 6th century, and for which the Key of Truth provides a form. The Thonraki, according to Gregory Magistros, held that "Jesus in the evening meal, spoke not of an offering of the mass, but of every table." We infer that the Paulicians merely rejected the Eucharistic rites and doctrine of the Greeks. According to Gregory Magistros the Thonraki would say: "We are no worshippers of matter, but of God; we reckon the cross and the church and the priestly robes and the sacrifice of mass all for nothing, and only lay stress on the inner sense." 4. They assailed the cross, saying that Christ is cross, and that we ought not to worship the tree, because it is a cursed instrument. John IV. and other Armenian writers report the same of the Armenian Paulicians or Thonraki, and add that they smashed up crosses when they could.
5. They repudiated Peter, calling him a denier of Christ, and would not accept his repentance and tears.' So Gregory the language is concerned, may belong to the remote age which alone suits the adoptionist Christology of the prayers.
2 In a fragmentary Syriac homily by Mar Jochanis, found in a Sinai MS. written not later than the Loth century and edited by J. F. Stenning and F. C. Burkitt, Anecdote oxon. (Clarendon Press, 1896), the same hostility to Peter is expressed. Compare the following passages: "O Petros, thou wast convicted of fault by Paulos thy colleague. How do men say that upon Petros I have built the church? .
" The Lord said not to him, upon thee I build the church, but he said, upon this rock (the which is the body wherewith the Lord was clothed) I build my church.. .. Behold, I have made thee know from the N.T. that that rock was the Messiah. .
"0 Petros, after that thou didst receive the keys of heaven, and the Lord was seen by thee after he rose from the dead, thou didst let go of the keys, and thy wage is agreed with thy master when thou saidst to him, Behold we have let go of everything and have come after thee. What then shall be to us? And the Lord said to him, Ye shall be sitting on twelve thrones and judging the tribes of Israel. And after all these signs, 0 Petros, thou wentest away again to the former catching of fish. Wast thou ashamed of me, 0 Petros?" Yet the same homilist "concerning the one who is made a priest," writes thus: "Lo, thou seest the priest of the people, with what care the Lord instructed Peter ! He said not to him once and stopped, but three times, Feed my sheep." The Syriac text is rendered from a Greek original of unknown age, which from its complete correspondence with the Key of Truth may be judged to have been a Paulician writing.
Magistros reports the Thonraki as saying, "We love Paul and excrecrate Peter." But in the Key of Truth there is little trace of extreme hostility to Peter. It merely warns us that all the apostles constitute the Church universal and not Peter alone; and in the rite of election, i.e. of laying on of hands and reception of the Spirit, the reader who is being elected assumes the ritual name of Peter. An identical rite existed among the 12th century Cathars, and in the Celtic church of Gildas every presbyter was a Peter.
6. The monkish garb was revealed by Satan to Peter at the baptism, when it was the devil, the ruler of this world, who, so costumed, leaned forward and said, This is my beloved son. The same hatred of monkery characterized the Thonraki and inspires the Key of Truth. The other statements are nowhere echoed.
7. They called their meetings the Catholic Church, and the places they met in places of prayer, lrpoo-euxai. The Thonraki equally denied the name of church to buildings of wood or stone, and called themselves the Catholic Church.
8. They explained away baptisms as "words of the Holy Gospel," citing the text "I am the living water." So the Thonraki taught that the baptismal water of the Church was "mere bath-water," i.e. they denied it the character of a reserved sacrament. But there is no evidence that they eschewed waterbaptism. The modern Thonraki baptize in rivers, and in the 11th century when Gregory asked them why they did not allow themselves to be baptized, they answered: "Ye do not understand the mystery of baptism; we are in no hurry to be baptized, for baptism is death." They no doubt deferred the baptism which is death to sin, perhaps because, like the Cathars, they held post-baptismal sin to be unforgivable.
q. They permitted external conformity with the dominant Church, and held that Christ would forgive it. The same trait is reported of the Thonraki and of the real Manicheans.
io. They rejected the orders of the Church, and had only two grades of clergy, namely, associate itinerants (ovvEK8fuot., Acts xix. 29) and copyists (voraptot). A class of Astati *7 -of) is also mentioned by Photius, i. 24, whom Neander regards as elect disciples of Sergius. They called their four original founders apostles and prophets - titles given also in the Key of Truth to the elect one. The Synecdemi and Notarii dressed like other people; the Thonraki also scorned priestly vestments.
Their canon included only the "Gospel and Apostle," of which they respected the text, but distorted the meaning. Gregory Magistros, as we have seen, attests their predilection for the apostle Paul, and speaks of their perpetually "quoting the Gospel and the Apostolon." These statements do not warrant us in supposing that they rejected i and 2 Peter, though other Greek sources allege it. The "Gospel and Apostle" was a comprehensive term for the whole of the New Testament (except perhaps Revelation), as read in church.
13. Their Christology was as follows: God out of love for mankind called up an angel and communicated to him his desire and counsel; then he bade him go down to earth and be born of woman.... And he bestowed on the angel so commissioned the title of Son, and foretold for him insults, blasphemies, sufferings and crucifixion. Then the angel undertook to do what was enjoined, but God added to the sufferings also death. However, the angel, on hearing of the resurrection, cast away fear and accepted death as well; and came down and was born of Mary, and named himself son of God according to the grace given him from God; and he fulfilled all the command, and was crucified and buried, rose again and was taken up into heaven. Christ was only a creature (KTiaµa), and obtained the title of Christ the Son of God in the reign of Octavius Caesar by way of grace and remuneration for fulfilment of the command.
The scheme of salvation here set forth recurs among the Latin Cathars. It resembles that of the Key of Truth, in so far as Jesus is Christ and Son of God by way of grace and reward for faithful fulfilment of God's command. But the Key lays more stress on the baptism. "Then, it says, he became Saviour of us sinners, then he was filled with the Godhead; then he was sealed, then anointed; then was he called by the voice, then he became the loved one." In this scheme therefore the Baptism occupies the same place which the Birth does in the other, but both are adoptionist.
The main difference then between the Greek and Armenian accounts of the Paulicians is that the former make more of their dualism. Yet this did not probably go beyond the dualism of the New Testament itself. They made the most of Paul's antithesis between law and grace, bondage to Satan and freedom of the Spirit. Jesus was a new Adam and a fresh beginning, in so far as he was made flesh in and not of his mother, to whom, as both Esc. and the Key insist, Jesus particularly denied blessedness and honour (Mark iii. 31-35), limiting true kinship with himself to those who shall do the will of God. The account of Christ's flesh is torn out of the Key, but it is affirmed that it was at the baptism that "he put on that primal raiment of light which Adam lost in the garden." And this view we also meet with in Armenian fathers accounted orthodox.
The Armenian fathers held that Jesus, unlike other men, possessed incorruptible flesh, made of ethereal fire, and so far they shared the main heresy of the Paulicians. In many of their homilies Christ's baptism is also regarded as his regeneration by water and spirit, and this view almost transcends the modest adoptionism of the Thonraki as revealed in the Key of Truth. What was the origin of the name Paulician ? The word is of Armenian formation and signifies a son of Paulik or of little Paul; the termination -ik must here have originally expressed scorn and contempt. Who then was this Paul ? "Paulicians from a certain Paul of Samosata," says Esc. "Here then you see the Paulicians, who got their poison from Paul of Samosata," says Gregory Magistros. They were thus identified with the old party of the Pauliani, condemned at the first council of Nice in 325, and diffused in Syria a century later. They called themselves the Apostolic Catholic Church, but hearing themselves nicknamed Paulicians by their enemies, probably interpreted the name in the sense of "followers of St Paul." Certain features of Paulicianism noted by Photius and Petrus Siculus are omitted in Esc. One of these is the Christhood of the fully initiated, who as such ceased to be mere "hearers" (audientes) and themselves became vehicles of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus anointed by the Spirit became the Christ, so they became christs. So Gregory of Narck upbraids the Thonraki for their "anthropolatrous apostasy, their selfconf erred contemptible priesthood which is a likening of themselves to Satan" (= Christ in Thonraki parlance). And he repeats the taunt which the Arab Emir addressed to Smbat their leader, as he led him to execution: "If Christ rose on the third day, then since you call yourself Christ, I will slay you and bury you; and if you shall come to life again after thirty days, then I will know you are Christ, even though you take so many days over your resurrection." Similarly (in a iothcentury form of renunciation of Bogomil error preserved in a Vienna codex 1) we hear of Peter "the founder of the heresy of the Messalians or Lycopetrians or Fundaitae and Bogomils who called himself Christ and promised to rise again after death." Of this Peter, Tychichus (? Sergius) is reported in the same document to have been fellow initiate and disciple.
Because they regarded their Perfect or Elect ones as Christs and anointed with the Spirit, the medieval Cathars regularly adored them. So it was with Celtic saints, and Adamnan, in his life of St Columba, i. 37, tells how the brethren after listening to St Baithene, "still kneeling, with joy unspeakable, and with hands spread out to heaven, venerated Christ in the holy and blessed man." So in ch. 44 of the same book we read how a humble stranger "worshipped Christ in the holy man" (i.e. St Columba); but such veneration was due to every presbyter. In 1837 we read of how an elect one of the Thonraki sect in Russian Armenia addressed his followers thus: "Lo, I am the cross: on my two hands light tapers, and give me adoration. For I am able to give you salvation, as much as the 1 Cod. theol. gr. 306, fol. 32, edited by Thalloczy, in Wissensch. Mittheil. aus Bosnien (Vienna, 1895).
cross and the saints"; and by the light of this we ought perhaps to interpret section ix. of Esc. "They blaspheme the precious cross, saying that the Christ is a cross." The Christ is an elect one, who, as the Cathars (q.v.) put it, having been consoled or become a Paraclete in the flesh, stands in prayer with his hands outspread in the form of a cross, while the congregation of hearers or audientes adore the Christ in him. The same idea that the perfect ones are christs as having received the Paraclete is met with in early Christian documents, and still survives among the Syriac-speaking shepherds on the hills north of Mardin. These have their christs, and Dr E. A. Wallis Budge, to whom the present writer owes his information, was shown the stream in which their last christ had been baptized. In modern Russia also survives a sect of Bogomils called Christowschtschina,' because one member of it is adored by the rest as Christ. It was because they believed themselves to have living christs among them that the Paulicians rejected the fetish worship of a material cross, in which orthodox Armenian priests imagined they had by prayers and anointings confined the Spirit of Christ. It is also likely enough that they did not consider sensible matter to be a vehicle worthy to contain divine effluence and holy virtues, and knew that such rites were alien to early Christianity. The former scruple, however, was not confined to Paulicians, for it inspires the answer made by Eusebius, bishop of Thessalonica, to the emperor Maurice, when the latter asked to have relics sent to him of Demetrius the patron saint of that city. It runs thus: "While informing your Reverence of the faith of the Thessalonicans and of the miracles wrought among them, must yet, in respect of this request of yours, remark that the faith of the city is not of such a kind as that the people desire to worship God and to honour his saints by means of anything sensible. For they have received the faith from the Lord's holy testimonies, to the effect that God is a spirit, and that those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." 2 Manicheans, Bogomils, Cathars and Paulicians for like reasons denied the name of church to material constructions of wood and stone. Among the later Cathars of Europe we find the repudiation of marriage defended on the ground that the only true marriage is of Christ with his bride the Virgin church, and perhaps this is why Paulicians and Thonraki would not make of marriage a religious rite or sacrament.
Did the Paulicians, like the later Cathars (who in so much resembled them), reject water baptism? And must we so interpret clause ix. of Esc? Perhaps they merely rejected the idea that the numen or divine grace can be confined by priestly consecration in water and by mere washing be imparted to persons baptized. The Key of Truth regards the water as a washing of the body, and sees in the rite no opus operatum, but an essentially spiritual rite in which "the king releases certain rulers a from the prison of sin, the Son calls them to himself and comforts them with great words, and the Holy Spirit of the king forthwith comes and crowns them, and dwells in them for ever." For this reason the Thonraki adhere to adult baptism, which in ancient wise they confer at thirty years of age or later, and have retained in its primitive significance the rite of giving a Christian name to a child on the eighth day from birth. It is hardly likely that the Thonraki of the 10th century would have rejected water-baptism and yet have retained unction with holy oil; this Gregory Magistros attests they did, but he is an unreliable witness.
1 "dass einer der Sektierer von den andern als Christus verehrt werde," K. K. Grass, Die russischen Sekten (Leipzig, 1906), Bd. 1, Lief. 3. From Monuments of Early Christianity, by F. C. Conybeare (London, 18 94), p. 349.
The term "rulers" appears to be derived from Manichean speculation, or from the same cycle of myth which is reflected in Cor. ii. 6, 8., The title "elect one," used by the Armenian Paulicians also has a Manichean ring. It may be that under stress of common persecution there was a certain fusion in Armenia of Pauliani and Manicheans. The writings and tenets of Mani were widely diffused there. Such a fusion is probably reflected in the Key of Truth. It is then on the whole probable that the Paulicians who appear in Armenian records as early as 550, and were afterwards= called Thonraki, by the Greeks by the Armenian name Paulikiani, were the remains of a primitive adoptionist Christianity, widely dispersed in the east and already condemned under the name of Pauliani by the council of Nice in 325. A renegade Armenian Catholicos of the 7th century named Isaac has preserved to us a document which sums up their tenets. 4 He adduces it as a sort of reductio ad absurdum of Christians who would model life and cult on Christ and his apostles, unencumbered by later church traditions. It runs thus: (1) Christ was thirty years old when he was baptized. Therefore they baptize no one until he is thirty years of age. (2) Christ, after baptism, was not anointed with myrrh nor with holy oil, therefore let them not be anointed with myrrh or holy oil. (3) Christ was not baptized in a font, but in a river. Therefore, let them not be baptized in a font. (4) Christ, when he was about to be baptized, did not recite the creed of the 318 fathers of Nice, therefore shall they not make profession of it. (5) Christ when about to be baptized, was not first made to turn to the west and renounce the devil and blow upon him, nor again to turn to the east and make a compact with God. For he was himself true God. So let them not impose these things on those to be baptized. (6) Christ, after he had been baptized, did not partake of his own body. Nor let them so partake of it. (7) Christ, after he was baptized, fasted 40 days and only that; and for 120 years such was the tradition which prevailed in the Church. We, however, fast 50 days before Pascha. (8) Christ did not hand down to us the teaching to celebrate the mystery of the offering of bread in church, but in an ordinary house and sitting at a common table. So then let them not offer the sacrifice of bread in churches. (9) It was after supper, when his disciples were sated, that Christ gave them to eat of his own body. Therefore let them first eat meats and be sated, and then let them partake of the mysteries. (io) Christ, although he was crucified for us, yet did not command us to adore the cross, as the Gospel testifies. Let them therefore not adore the cross. (II) The cross was of wood. Let them therefore not adore a cross of gold or silver or bronze or stone. (12) Christ wore neither humeral nor amice nor maniple nor stole nor chasuble. Therefore let them not wear these garments. (13) Christ did not institute the prayers of the liturgy or the Holy Epiphanies, and all the other prayers for every action and every hour. Let them therefore not repeat them, nor be hallowed by such prayers. (14) Christ did not lay hands on patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops and presbyters and deacons and monks, nor ordain their several prayers. Let them therefore not be ordained nor blessed with these prayers. (15) Christ did not enjoin the building of churches and the furnishing of holy tables, and their anointing with myrrh and hallowing with a myriad of prayers. Let them not do it either. (16) Christ did not fast on the fourth day of the week and on the Paraskeve. Let them not fast either. (17) Christ did not bid us pray towards the east. Neither shall they pray towards the east.
LITERATURE. - Beside the works mentioned in the text see J. C. L. Gieseler, Ecclesiastical History, ii. 208 (Edinburgh, 1848) and "Untersuchungen fiber die Geschichte der Paulicianer" in Theol. Studien u. Kritiken, Heft I. s. 79 (Jahrg., 1829); Neander, Ecclesiastical History, vols. v. and vi.; Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, Century IX. ii. 5; G. Finlay, History of Greece, vols. ii. and iii.; Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. liv.; Ign. von Dellinger, Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, chs. i. - iii.; Karapet Ter-Mkhrttschian, Die Paulikianer (Leipzig, 1893); Arsak Ter Mikelian, Die armenische Kirche (Leipzig, 1892); Basil Sarkisean, A Study of the Manicheo-Paulician Heresy of the Thonraki (Venice, San Lazaro, 1893, in Armenian); F. C. Conybeare, The Key of Truth (Oxford, 1898). (F. C. C.)