A Handbook of Church History
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A Handbook of Church History

Chapter II:


Church In Wilderness

   As a result of the Council of Nicea, 325 A.D., the great false church commenced 1,260 years of tribulation against God's Church (Rev. 12:6). The true church fled into the valleys and mountains of Europe and Asia Minor. So it isn't going to be as obvious as it was when we read about the Nazarenes that they were Jewish Christians; that they kept the Sabbath; they kept the laws of Moses; they kept other basic traits which would designate them as Judaizing Christians. But the true church, beginning in 325 A.D. fled into the valleys and mountains of Asia Minor and Europe. It is going to be much more difficult to trace some of the minute points of doctrine. You will not find any other church that would agree with the doctrine we are going to read of the Paulicians.

Bible Description

   Notice what John wrote to the next age of God's Church...the church at Pergamos:
   I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is; and thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith.
   Pergamos was Satan's seat of worldly human government for that province. It was the capital city of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire of that province, of the Eastern Roman Empire. Just as the local church at Pergamos was situated in a city where Satan swayed human politics, so the next work of God's Church occurred within the bounds of Satan's government, the Eastern Roman Empire where a small body of God's people was found. In reading about the Paulicians, you read that 100,000 of them were martyred by one ruler. Yet you read in the later history of the Paulicians that they were fighters; that they joined the Turks in war. That is the thing you have to trace in the Pergamos age of the church when the Paulicians ceased being the true church. When they went back to the basic doctrines, the basic truth that marked them as God's Church, when they began to go astray, when they began to drift from the Truth, then God began to use another group to become the true church. It is very easily traceable, as I will show you.
   It was about 650 A.D. that God, as if by a miracle, raised up among the scattered remnants of His Church at Capadocia and Armenia, a man who revitalized His people and spread the Gospel. This welleducated man, by the name of Constantine of Mananali was given a gift of portions of the Bible.


   We learn from the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, article Paulicians:
   An evangelical Christian church spread over Asia Minor and Armenia from the 5th century onwards.
   Notice the date ties in exactly with the ending date of the Nazarenes. They lasted until the end of the 5th century. They were an evangelical Christian church. They were in Asia Minor. That's where the Nazarenes removed to at the time they were beginning to be infiltrated by the Elkasites.
   The first Armenian writer who notices them is the patriarch Nerses II in an encyclical of 553 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."
   This man first wrote the history, or had a comment about the Paulicians, in 553 so that they must have been there earlier than this.

Fellowship With False Church

   Notice, this church wasn't pure the way the church at Smyrna was. It wasn't pure in the way the church at Philadelphia was. This church, as you will notice a little later, had fellowship with the universal church. Rather than be martyred, they allowed their children to be baptized and allowed things like that to be done by the universal church. He says,
   I have a few things against you.
   You have among you people at Pergamos, among the true church, those who were holding the doctrine of Balaam. Of course, the big argument at this time in history in the 5th century was whether idols should be allowed in the universal church worship, or whether they shouldn't be. One of the main ways to trace the Paulicians is by their objection to idols and images, because that is the main thing that is mentioned. He doesn't mention the synagogue of Satan. That was already formed in the days of the Smyrna age. He doesn't talk about the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, because that was already formed in the days of the apostles, in the days of the Church at Ephesus. By now, he is emphasizing the doctrine of idolatry, the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel. This is the error, the fault, he found with the Paulicians. They ate things sacrificed to idols! They committed fornication spiritually, with the universal church, the false church around them! That was the doctrine of Balaam idolatry.
   You also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which, of course, is the universal church. Some of them even went along with some of the doctrines of the universal church, which thing God hates. He told them to repent or He would come quickly and fight against them with the sword of His mouth, which He did. He condemned them and actually disqualified them from being the true church and had to remove the church, which was in the same area, up into another area.
   The two churches mentioned here changed right in the middle of their own stage, as you will notice in the Thyatira stage. He mentions two separate stages in the Thyatira church. He does the same thing in Pergamos because He said He would come to them with the sword of His mouth and would judge them unworthy of being the true church any longer when they began to get disgruntled, unhappy and aggravated with all the martyrdoms and began to fight. Yet we read here in the beginning that the Paulicians opposed war and bearing arms. Yet, later they were warriors, fought against the Romans and joined other armies. One of their so-called religious leaders was one of the top generals of the Turks.

First Noted In 553

   With that to look for, let's read about what he says about the Paulicians:
   The first Armenian writer who notices them is the patriarch Nerses II in an encyclical of 553, 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 (in 728) states that Nerses, his predecessor, had chastised the sect, but ineffectually; and that after his death (in 554) they had continued to lurk in Armenia, where, reinforced by Iconoclasts who were people opposed to images and idols 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 (in 950).
   By that time (950), they had already ceased being the true church, as we will see later.
   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. Frederich in the Munich Academy...It was used by Photius in 867 bk. i, chs 1-10 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 in 868. The latter visited the Paulician fortress Tephrike to treat for the release of Byzantine prisoners.
   This is the later history, when they had ceased being the true church, because as long as they were the true church, they didn't fight or take prisoners.

Missionaries To Bulgaria

   His history of the Manicheans is dedicated to the archbishop of Bulgaria, whither the Paulicians were sending missionaries.

Notice that!

   The Paulicians were, according to Esc., Manicheans, so called after Paul of Samosata [there we must be careful, because he never was the leader of the true church] son of a Manichean woman, Callinice. She sent him and her other son, John, to Armenia or "seedplot" in Phanarea.

Founded By Paul or Constantine?

   This is one idea of how the Paulicians began. It isn't the true idea. This is trying to tie the Paulicians into an earlier day. They didn't want to tie them in with the Nazarenes of the 5th century, so they tried to trace them back to Paul of Samosata who lived in 250 A.D.
   One Constantine, however, of Mananali, a canton on the western Euphrates 60-70 miles west of Erzerum, was regarded by the Paulicians as their real founder.
   Notice the Britannica says that by the Paulicians themselves, they regarded Constantine of Mananali as their real founder. So, be careful when reading about the Paulicians that you don't get Paul of Samosata in as one of the founders of the church.
   After 1200, we can find no trace 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.
   This source states that they kept the Days of Unleavened Bread and the Passover on the 14th.
   Regarding Paulician beliefs, we have little except hostile evidence, which needs sifting. They anathematized Mani [so, any book you read that states they were Manicheans is totally in error].


   The KEY OF TRUTH teaches that after Adam and Eve sinned and their children, they became 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!"
   Number 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.
   They allegorized the eucharist and explained away the bread and wine.
   They denied that we ought to offer bread and wine as a sacrifice. It is just symbolical. It is not offered as a sacrifice and it is not transferred into the literal Christ, either.
   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.
   So, they considered it merely an allegory...the Passover...that it was symbolical, it was a material eucharist, literal material wine and bread, and that is all, and that it just reminded us of something. It was not a sacrifice, but reminded us of something. This man attests that it was held among the Paulicians of the early 6th century, which would put it in the 500's A.D.
   This is the most accurate account of the Paulicians, because it was written by Paulicians and God caused it to be lost in history until 1828 when it was uncovered in Armenian Russia.
   The Thronraki, according to Gregory Magistros, hold 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 doctrines of the Greeks. According to Gregory Magistros the Thronraki 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."
   Number 4.
   They assailed the cross. 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 Thronraki, and add that they smashed up crosses when they could.
   So Gregory Magistros reports the Thronraki as saying, "We love Paul and execrate 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. The Thronraki equally denied the name of the church to buildings of wood or stone, and called themselves the Catholic Church.
   They explained away baptisms as "words of the Holy Gospels," citing the text, "I am the living water." So, the Thronraki taught that the baptismal water of the church was "mere bathwater," that is, they denied the character of a reserved sacrament. But there is no evidence that they eschewed water-baptism. The modern Thronraki baptize in rivers and in the 11th century, when Gregory asked them why they did not allow themselves to be baptized, they answered: "You do not understand the mystery of baptism. We are in no hurry to be baptized. Baptism is death."
   They permitted external conformity with the dominant church and held that Christ would forgive it. The same trait is reported of the Thronraki and of the real Manicheans.

Notice this! Their justifying reasoning went:

   You didn't do it in your heart...it's alright to go ahead and let them dunk you. That's just a pool of bath water anyway. It doesn't hurt you as long as you are pure in your heart.
   They rejected the order of the church, and had only two grades of clergy, namely associate itinerants and copyists.
   Remember, by that time they are not the true church any longer, so we should no longer trouble ourselves with what they say about the Paulicians in the day of Sergius.
   They called their four original founders apostles and prophets, titles given also in the KEY OF TRUTH to the elect one.


   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.
   But, according to their own historians, they claim that their head and leader, the founder, was Constantine of Mananali.
   They were thus identified with the old party of the Pauliani, condemned at the first council of Nice in 325.
   The Nazarenes lasted all the way to the 5th century, so the true church were never the Pauliani. They never were followers of Paul of Samosata. They never were known by these close, similar names. Satan tried to hide the history of the true church, just like he tried to hide the history of the founding of his church. But these Pauliani and the Paul of Samosata have nothing to do with the Paulicians.
   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."
   That is why they thought people called them Paulicians, not because of any Paul of Samosata. That is a true quote. That is why the Paulicians say that others called them Paulicians.

Christ Rose The Third Day

   Certain features of Paulicians 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" 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 repeats the taunt which the Arab Emir addressed to Smbat their leader, as he led them to the execution: "If Christ rose on the third day..."
   Notice that! They stated this against this one leader, Smbat, who was leader of the Paulicians. This Arab leader, when he was martyring Smbat said,
   If Christ rose on the third day, and you call yourselves Christ, I will slay you and bury you; and if you shall come to life again after thirty days, then I will know that you are Christ even though you take so many days over your resurrection.

Spiritual Worship-Not Images

   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 the city. Eusebius said: "While informing your reverence of the faith of the Thessalonicans of the miracles wrought among them, I must yet, in respect of this request of yours, remark that the faith of the city is not of such a kind 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 those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.

Church Not The Building

   Manicheans, Bogomils, Cathars and Paulicians, for like reason, denied the name of church to material constructions of wood and stone.

Water Baptism

   Did the Paulicians [like the Cathars who in so much resembled them] reject water baptism? And must we so interpret the 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 of the body, and sees in the rite no opus operatum, but an essentially spiritual rite in which "the king releases certain rulers 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 forever."

Doctrines In 600's

   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 Pauliani, 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. 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.
   Notice that! This historian in the 600's A.D. listed their doctrines and adduces it as part of Christians who would model their 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 those things on those to be baptized. (6) Christ, after He had been baptized, did not partake of His own body. Let them not 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.
   This, of course, was not a fast, but was another of the pollutions, along with Lent abstaining from certain things for 50 days. There is quite an argument in history about people who did so for 40 days, and others for 50 days.
   (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 the common table. So, then let them not offer the sacrifice of bread in churches. (9) It was after supper, when His disciples were seated, that Christ gave them to eat of His own body. Therefore, let them first eat meats and be seated, and then crucified for us, did not command us to adore the cross, as the Gospel testifies. Let them, therefore, not adore the cross. (11) The cross was 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 prayer. (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."1

Remove Into Thrace

   In Witnesses For Christ, by Backhouse and Tylor, we read in the 11th edition that these Paulicians were transplanted into Thrace. Let's notice something about them.
   Transplanted from Thrace, the Paulicians gradually made their way into Western Europe. Taking their course from Dalmacia, they spread into Italy, a soil prepared to receive their tenets. A craving for spiritual knowledge and more soul satisfying food then the ephite church was able to supply had arisen and many of the clergy even were ready to welcome a protest against the ecclesiastical corruption. Some of the sects which now made their appearance sprang up independently of Oriental influences.

Condemned War

   This is where the Manicheans came in and the Samonians which followed Simon Magus with the Babylon mysteries. Notice what this text says.
   Some of the sects made their appearance, sprang up independently of Oriental influences.

Notice some of these he lists that had no Oriental influence.

   Many of the Cathari derived no more from the Paulicians than their first impulse and their acquaintance with the Bible. All, however, agreed in disclaiming those dogmas which had been engrafted in the primitive faith.
   Notice that both the Cathari and the Paulicians agreed in that they disclaimed dogmas that had been engrafted into the primitive faith together with the hierarchal system.
   They seem to have rejected or wildly distorted the whole old testament revelation and yet at the same time to have accepted precepts of Christ in their faithful and literal sense, condemning war.
   Notice that! Condemning war! That isn't the only history which proves that because the Paulicians were originally martyred and condemned because they would not fight.
   Condemning war, the shedding of blood, and all of these oaths, beyond the simple Yea and Nay.
   Notice that distinguishing trait, that he mentions here about the Paulicians, as well as the Cathari, who had moved up into Europe. They condemned war, shedding of blood and all oaths beyond a simple Yea and Nay.
   There must, then remarks Meander, have been something peculiarly effecting and animating in the private assembly of these heretics.
   Notice, they had private assemblies. They didn't welcome the public. Meander says here that there must have been something peculiarly effecting and animating in their assemblies.

Picture Of Meeting

   The doors were closed and the walls hung with lights. The brethren in devout silence, formed a circle into which the president, holding a copy of the gospels in his hand, introduced a novice. After a short discourse in which he exhorted him to ground his belief and hope of eternal salvation on God alone.

Not on any priest, ritual or physical rigamarole.

   He set the book on his head, prayed the Lord's prayer and uttered over him the first words of the gospel of John. The new member then gave to the president and to all in succession, the kiss of brotherhood. They united in prayer and he was henceforth regarded as a brother. For awhile, these sects were suffered to increase without being regarded as heretical, for they waged no open war with the church. They frequented the public worship in order to escape suspicion and if questioned about their faith, they would even repeat the apostles' creed.
   We expected that, did we not? Did you not expect that from what we read in Revelation 2? They frequented the public worship to escape suspicion and if questioned, they would repeat the apostles' creed. In their heart they did not believe it anyway. God would not condemn them to spare their life, so therefore it was okay.

Beliefs Recorded By Enemy

   It was only in secret that they sought to disseminate their tenets and their inobtrusive piety and active benevolence had won for them the love and esteem of men before the discovery of their heresy. The new opinions first made their appearance in Italy in 945. Otto, bishop of Versali, first wrote to his flock, "There are amongst you many persons who despise the divine service of the church. These men who utter only words of brute ignorance and simplicity, you forsaking your holy mother the church and the priests called prophets. Besides agreeing with the Cathari, in regard to the sacraments and the unlawfulness of oaths and of taking of life, they maintain that man cannot be saved by faith without works, and that the church has no authority to persecute anyone, even the witches. They are reported to be decent in thei deportment, modest in their dress and discourses and irreproachable in their morals. Their bishops and deacons were mechanics who maintained themselves by their industry. By the year 1040, they had become very numerous at Milan which was their chief center. At the time of Heriburt, archbishop of Milan in 1028, there was a sect whose headquarters were at Castle Montfort near the town of Osti in Piedmont. Many of the clergy, as well as laity, were numbered amongst its adherence and it was protected by the nobles. If the account which their enemies give are at all to be relied upon, these enthusiastics were of a mystical kind, resembling those of the Ukites and Bogomils.

Cross Or Flame

   The archbishop dispatched a military force against the castle which was taken and a number of prisoners were conveyed to Milan. They were led into the market place on one side of which was a cross. On the other side was a pile of burning wood. They were told to take their choice either to bow before the cross and confess the Catholic faith or to plunge into the flames. A few chose the former but the greater number covered their faces with their hands and rushed into the fire and were consumed.2
   These were the real Paulicians. Not the battling, bickering Paulicians who became politicians in Armenia.

Name Origin

The Catholic Encyclopedia, article Paulicians:

   Dualistic, heretical sect derived originally from Manichism. The origin of the name Paulician is obscure. Gibbon, "Decline and Fall" says it means disciples of St. Paul. Their special veneration of the apostle and their habit of re-naming their leaders after his disciples lend some color to this view. On the other hand, the form and the name seems to have been used only by their opponents who held that they were followers of Paul of Samosata. The birthplace of the founder evidently suggested this. But there is no connection between their doctrine and his.
   This Paul of Samosata used to be a Catholic bishop. Do you think he was the founder of the Paulicians? The Catholic Encyclopedia says there is no connection between their body of doctrines.


   They thought all matter bad physical flesh, wood, stone. It seems therefore, obvious to count them as one of the many new Manichean sects.
   So that's why they are called Manicheans...
   It seems, therefore, to be obvious...
   It doesn't seem obvious to me. Just because they thought there were two powers in the world, one the god of darkness and the other the God of light, one the God of heaven and the other the god of this world, he says therefore it is obvious that they had to be called new Manicheans. It isn't. They weren't.
   In spite of their own denial, they were Manicheans and in spite of moderns who said they were not Manicheans.
   So, this Catholic writer says it seems to have been obvious in spite of what they claim they weren't, in spite of what other historians and modern writers said about them, it seems obvious to the writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia they were just Manicheans.
   The true baptism and Eucharist consisted in hearing his work. Many Paulicians nevertheless, let their children be baptized by the Catholic clergy.
   That's the truth. The Bible said they did. So do the history books.

Summary Of Beliefs

   They honored not the cross. They were iconoclasts, rejecting all pictures. The whole ecclesiastical hierarchy is bad, as also all sacraments and all rituals. They had a special aversion to monks.

Organization! Co-Workers

   Their own organization consisted first of the founders of their sect in various places. These were apostles and prophets. They took new names after people mentioned by St. Paul. Thus Constantine called himself Sylvanus. Under the apostles and prophets were co-workers, fellow workers under the apostles and prophets, who formed a council and notaries who looked after the holy books and kept order at meetings. Their conventicles were called, not churches, but prayer houses. They maintained it was lawful to conceal or even deny their ideas for fear of persecution. Many of them lived exteriorly as Catholics.

That's their condemnation. That's what God had against them!

   Their ideal was a purely spiritual communion of faithful that should obliterate all distinction of race. They would recognize no other name for themselves than Christians.
They would recognize no other name for themselves. The Catholics were Romans. They weren't Christians. They never did call them Christians.
   Farnak sums them up as "dualistic Puritans and individualists and as an anti-hierarchal Christianity built upon the gospel and apostle with emphatic rejection of Catholic Christianity."

Early Pure Christianity

   Since Gibbon, the Paulicians have often been described as a survival of early and pure Christianity.
   Notice the one who establishes their purity above anyone else Gibbon, an agnostic! He was impartial.
   A survival of early and pure Christianity, godly folk, who clung to the gospel, rejecting later superstitions, who were grossly calumniated by their opponents. Conybeare thinks they were a continuation of the adoptionists. Dr. Adenea calls them, "in many respects Protestants before Protestantism."
   This idea accounts for the fact that the sect has met, among modern writers, with more interest and certainly more sympathy than it deserves.


   Constantine of Mananali, calling himself Sylvanus, founded what appears to be the first Paulician community at Kybosa, near Colonia, in Armenia. He began to teach about 657.
   How did a previous text get this quote about the Paulicians in 550 from the early literature? Notice!
   The Catholic Encyclopedia authors know they weren't founded by Paul of Samosata. They know that Constantine of Mananali was the original founder. These dates are inaccurate, however.
   He wrote no books and taught that the new testament as he presented it should be the only text used by his followers.
   You don't need any key to the Scriptures, or books to interpret the Bible!
   The other Paulician apostles after Constantine were...
   Notice! The other Paulician apostles. But there was no other apostle as long as Constantine was alive.
   But when he was martyred, the next apostle after Constantine was Simeon called Titus sent by the emperor Constantine Pogoatus, 668 to 685, to put down the sect but converted to it. Then, after him Gegnesius an Armenian, who was surnamed Timothy; Joseph, surnamed Epaphroditus; Zachary, who was rejected by many and called a hireling.
   Is that going to give us a key to when they ceased being the true church? Or when the Paulicians were moved up into Bulgaria?
   Then Baanes and then Sergius. They founded six congregations in Armenia and Pontus. Constantine Sylvanus, after having preached for 27 years, and having spread his sect onto the western part of Asia Minor, was arrested by the imperial authorities by Simeon, tried for heresy and stoned to death. In 690, Simeon, himself, having become a Paulician, was also executed with many others.

Division Begins

   The history of these people is divided between their persecutions and their own quarrels. An Armenian Paul thought by some to have given his name to the sect, set up a congregation of Episparis in the Armenian district of Thanaria in 715. His two sons, Gegnesius and Theodore quarrelled about his succession. Gegnesius went to Constantinople in 717 and persuaded the emperor, Leo III and the patriarch Germanus I that he was orthodox. Armed with an imperial safe conduct, he came to Mananali and succeeded in crushing Theodore's operation. After his death, his son Zachary.
   See which one this Zachary descended from? From the one who got approval from the emperor and came back as orthodox. What happened to the other son? We shall prove they drove him up to Bulgaria!
   After his death, his son Zachary, the hireling, and his sonin- law, Joseph Epaphroditus, again quarrelled, as to which would succeed. Zachary's party went under. Many of them were destroyed by the Saracens. Joseph founded communities all over Asia Minor. Then came Baanes. Under him, the sect decreased in numbers and influence. But certain Sergius Tychicus, who made a new schism, reformed and strengthened the movement in his party. The Paulicians were now either Baanites, the old party, or they were Sergites, the reformed sect.
   Neither of them was the true church! It had already been transplanted.
   Sergius was a zealous of the heresy. He boasted that he had spread the gospel from East to West, from North to South. The Sergites, meanwhile, fought against their rivals and nearly exterminated them. From the imperial government, the Paulicians met with alternate protection and persecutions.

This was after they ceased being the true church.

   Constantine IV and still more, Justinian II, persecuted them cruelly.

Pergamos & Iconoclasts

   Notice why the Bible waits until the Pergamos era before it forecasts the doctrine of Balaam, and idolatry. Because they didn't have idols in the days of the church when it was at Smyrna. They didn't try to bring idols into the Catholic Church until this time.
   The first iconoclast emperors were Leo III and his successors.
   They protected the Paulicians, because they also objected to idols and images.
   Conybeare counts these emperors as practically Paulicians themselves. Niceferus I tolerated them in return for their service as soldiers in Fyrgia and Lycoania.
   But these were not the Paulicians who were the True Church any longer.
   Michael I began to persecute them again and his successor Leo V, though he, himself, was an iconoclast, tried to refute the accusation that he was a Paulician by persecuting them furiously. A great number of them at this time rebelled and fled to Saracens. Sergius was killed in 835. Theodora, regent for her son Michael III, continued the persecution; hence, a second rebellion under one Karbeas, who again led many of his followers across the frontiers. These Paulicians, now bitter enemies of the empire, were encouraged by the colepa. They fortified a place called Tephrike and made it their headquarters. From Tephrike, they made continual raids into the empire, so that from this time, they formed a political power to be counted among the enemies of Rome. We hear continually of wars against the Saracens, the Armenians and Paulicians.
   They are not the same Paulicians that were the true church. In reading about the Paulicians, be careful as to how late it is quoting from history.

False Paulicians

   Heretics, but not rebels, they lived in groups throughout the empire. Constantine V had already transferred large numbers of Paulicians to Thrace. John I sent many more to the same part to defend against the Slavs. They founded a new center at    Philippolos, from which they terrorized their neighbours.
   Any time you read of Paulicians of Philippolos, they are not the true Paulicians.
   In Armenia, the sect continued in the Thonrakitesi, founded by a certain Smbat in the 9th century. Conybeare attributes to this Smbat a work, the KEY OF TRUTH.
   Notice! This is in a different area. These are not the same Paulicians up in the area defending against the Slavs and against the Romans, but these are a totally different group. This Smbat was not a descendant of any of this line of the so-called apostles of the Paulicians. He wasn't in that line whatsoever, and he wrote the KEY OF TRUTH. It accepts the Old Testament, so when you read they rejected the Old Testament, it is not so. Right in the KEY OF TRUTH, which is their own statement of their belief, they accept the Old Testament, and the sacrament of baptism. It states even in the KEY OF TRUTH, itself, that they keep the Passover on the 14th and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Bogomils From Paulicians

   This work especially has persuaded many writers that the Paulicians were much maligned people, but in any case, it represents a very large stage of their history. From this time, the Paulicians practically disappear from history, but left traces of their heresy in Bulgaria, the Bogomils sect which lasted through the middle age, but spread to the West.3
   Now notice what happened to the Bogomils. This says the Paulicians left traces of their doctrines in Bulgaria, where the Bogomils were the same people. It even says the Bogomils spread to the West in the form of the Albigenses, and the other Manichean heresies, which is the continuation of the Paulicians.

The New International Encyclopedia adds:

   Paulicians: Representing the contemporary usages and beliefs of the Paulicians in Armenia, survivals of ancient baptismal and ordination forms are found.
   I thought they didn't believe in baptism. I thought they didn't believe in the ritual baptism. They didn't believe it was a physical ritual.
   Ancient writers like Petrus Siculus and Photius in the 9th century say that Paulicianism arose in Armenia some 200 years before their time.
   Notice that! They are men who lived in the 9th century! They say the Paulicians arose 2 centuries before the 9th century, which would be in the 7th century. It didn't arise in the days of Paul of Samosata in 260. That's a cinch.

Ancestored Bogomils & Albigenses

   In the 8th century and again in the 10th century, some of them removed from Asia Minor to the upper part of the Balkan Peninsula to serve as an outpost against the Slavic tribes of the North and thus a considerable Paulician population was established in Europe. Their influence penetrated into Bulgaria and here, no doubt, is one source of those Medieval movements, generally classed as Manicheans, which included the Bogomils and Albigenses.4

The Chosen Messenger Of Truth

   In his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon gives unprejudiced facts:
   Under the grandson of Meraclius, in the neighbourhood of Samosata, more famous for the birth of Lucian than for the title of Assyrian kingdom, a reformer arose esteemed by the Paulicians as the chosen messenger of truth.
   What a title for God's apostle of any era, as even today. The chosen messenger of truth.
   In his humble dwelling of Mananali, Constantine entertained a deacon who returned from Syrian captivity and received the inestimable gift of the New Testament, which was already concealed from the vulgar, by the prudence of the Greek and perhaps of the nostic clergy. These books became the measure of his studies and these books of the New Testament became the rule of his faith and the Catholics who dispute his interpretation, acknowledge that his text was genuine and sincere. He attached himself with peculiar devotion to St. Paul. The name of the Paulicians is derived, by their enemies, from some unknown and domestic teacher, but I am confident that they glorified in their affinity to the apostle of the Gentiles. His disciples, Titus, Timothy, Sylvanus and Tychius were represented by Constantine and his fellow-laborers. The names of the apostolic churches were applied to the congregations in which they assembled in Armenia and Capadocia. In the gospel and the epistles of St. Paul, his faithful followers investigated the creed of primitive Christianity and whatever might be the success, a Protestant reader will applaud the spirit of inquiry. He spoke against the spurious gospels, the epistles and the acts, which in the first age had overwhelmed the orthodox code. He spoke out against the theology of Manis.
   Were they Manicheans, if he spoke out against the theology of Mani?
   He spoke out against the authors of kindred heresies of the Manicheans. The early separation of the gnostics had preceded the establishment of the Catholic worship. And, he spoke out against the gradual innovations of discipline and doctrine. They were strongly guarded by habit and aversion as by the alliance of St. Paul and the evangelists. The objects which had been transformed by the magic of superstition, appeared to the eyes of the Paulicians in their genuine and naked colors.


   An image made without hands was the common workmanship of a mortal artist, to whose skill alone the wood and canvas must be indebted for any marital value. The miraculous relics were a heap of bones and ashes as far as they were concerned. They were destitute of life or virtue or of any relation perhaps with the person to whom they were ascribed. The true and vivifying cross to them was a piece of sound or rotten timber. The body and blood of Christ to them was just a loaf of bread and a cup of wine, the gift of nature, and the symbols of grace. The mother of God was degraded from her celestial honours and immaculate virginity. The saints were no longer solicited to exercise the laborious office of mediation in heaven and mystery upon earth. In the practice, or at least in the theory of the sacraments, the Paulicians were inclined to abolish all visible objects of worship and the words of the gospel in their judgment were the baptism and communion of the faithful. We cannot be surprised that they should have found in the gospel the Orthodox mystery of the trinity. But instead of confessing the human nature and substantial sufferings of Christ, they amused their fancy with a celestial body that passed through the virgin like water through a pipe.
   See, that's the way they explained the virgin Mary and the birth of Christ. That Christ came through Mary like water passing through a pipe. He wasn't part of the pipe, but just passed through the pipe. Mary wasn't immaculate, didn't have any immaculate conception, and that's for sure.
   With a fantastic crucifixion, they eluded the vain and impudent mouths of Jews. Their belief and their trust was in the Father and Christ, of the Father of the human soul and the Father of the invisible world. But they, likewise, held a stubborn and rebellious substance, the origin of a second principle of an active being who has created this visible world and exercises His temporal reign till the final condemnation of death and sin. The apostolic labors of Constantine Sylvanus soon multiplied the number of his disciples. Many catholics were converted or seduced by his arguments.

Spiritual Power

   He preached with success in the region of Pontus and Capadocia which have long since imbibed in the religion of Zoroaster. The Paulician teachers were distinguished only by their scriptural names, by the modest title of fellow pilgrims, by the austerity of their lives, by their zeal or knowledge and the credit of some extraordinary gifts of the holy spirit.

Maybe they were healers, or maybe they spoke in languages?

   But they were incapable of desiring or at least of obtaining the wealth and honors of the Catholic prelacy.
   They didn't want it. He says they were unable to acclaim that much money, prestige and power.
   Such anti-Christian pride they bitterly censored and even the rank of elders or presbyters was condemned as an institution of the Jewish synagogue. The new sect was loosely spread over the provinces of Asia Minor to the Westward of the Euphrates. Six of their principle congregations represented the churches to which St. Paul had addressed his epistles and their founder chose his residence in the neighborhood of Colonia.

The Giant Of Heresy

   After a mission of 27 years, Sylvanus, who had retired from the tolerating government of the Arabs, fell sacrifice to Roman persecution. The laws of the pious emperors, which seldom touched the lives of less odious heretics, prescribed without mercy or disguise, the tenets, the books and the persons. The books were delivered to the flames and all who should presume to secrete such writings or to profess such opinions were devoted to an ignominious death. A Greek minister, armed with legal and ministerial powers, appeared at Colonia to strike the shepherd and to reclaim if possible, the lost sheep. By a refinement of cruelty, Simeon placed the unfortunate Sylvanus before a line of his own disciples, who were commanded as the price of their pardon and the proof of their repentance, to massacre their own spiritual father. They turned aside from the impious officer, the stones dropped from their filial hands and of the whole number, only one executioner could be found, a new David, who, as stated by the Catholics, "boldly overthrew the giant of heresy." This apostate, Justus, again betrayed his unsuspecting brethren and a new conformity to the acts of St. Paul may be found in the conversation of Simeon.
   Even Gibbon mentions this is a new conformity to the way Paul was martyring true Christians. On the way with a decree to martyr many of the true Christians, Paul was converted himself.
   So Simeon, like the apostle Paul embraced the doctrine which he had been sent to persecute. He renounced his honors and fortunes and acquired among the Paulicians the fame of a missionary and a martyr. They were not ambitious of martyrdom, but in a calamitous period of 150 years, their patience sustained whatever zeal could inflict, and power was insufficient to eradicate the obstinate vegetation of fanaticism and reason. From the blood and ashes of the first victims, a succession of teachers and congregations repeatedly arose.

Of the later Paulicians Gibbon bears witness:

   The neighboring hills were covered with the Paulician fugitives who now reconciled the use of the Bible and the sword.5
   They did not earlier. As he says, they now reconcile the use of bible and sword. Schaef-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, article Paulicians:
   A dualistic sect from the Orient, whose name was derived for their respect for the apostle Paul rather than from their third leader, the Armenian Paul, as Phodius and Petrus Siculus affirm in history. The founder of the sect was a certain Constantine who hailed from Mananali, a dualistic community near Samosota. Upon the basis of the former, he vigorously opposed the formalism of the church, regarding himself as called to restore the pure Christianity of Paul.

Beliefs Of Paulicians

   Doctrines: Little is known of the tenets of the Paulicians as we are confined to information in respect of their opponents.
   That is why so many errors are imputed to them. Their history was written by this one man who went down to destroy them, as well as other opponents.
   Their society was dualistic. There are two principles, two kingdoms.
   Do you believe that? The Bible says there are two kingdoms. Have you ever read in your Bible about Satan's kingdom being divided against itself? Do you read in your Bible that Satan has ministers, about his churches? You certainly do. Read II Corinthians 11.
   The evil spirit is the author of and the lord over this present visible world. The good spirit of the future world. Of their views about the creation of man, little is known. The Paulicians accepted the four gospels, the 14 epistles of Paul, epistles of John, James, Jude, epistles of the Laodiceans which they profess to have, which was really written by Polycarp. [It isn't a part of the true Bible, because it wasn't of the Bible days, but it was written by a true minister, Polycarp.]
   They rejected the title "mother of God," they refused all worship to Mary. Christ came down to emancipate man from the body and from the world which was evil. The reference for the cross was looked upon as heathenish. [The Baptists wouldn't admit that, would they? The Adventists have crosses on their churches, yet both trace their history through these same Paulicians.] Their places of worship they called places of prayer, and they did practice marriage. [So whatever you read contradicting that, just disregard.] The Paulicians were not a branch of the Manicheans! They even condemned Mani's comparing them to Budhas? [Remember that!] Mertoi, Mersheim, Gibbon and others regard the Paulicians as the forerunners of the Cathari, the Albigenses. In the 7th Council of Twin of 719, the Catholic Church forbade all intercourse with Paulicians.6
   That was in 719! Their history did not begin in 800 or 900 then, if they were condemned by Catholic letter in 719.
   In the Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, by Sanford, we read about Paul of Samosota and find that Paul of Samosota was not a Paulician. We will show you where they drew the line between the two.
   Paul of Samosota, a heretic bishop of Antioch in 262 A.D. denied the distinction of three persons in the trinity.
   This is why they called the Paulicians descendants of Paul of Samosota then. He was a dualist, he denied three persons in the trinity. Reading further about the Paulicians.

Attend Catholic Churches

   A dualist sect which originated about the middle of the 7th century. It is uncertain from whom they derived their name; whether from one Paul of Samosota or the second of the name, from Paul of Armenia. The second man of the same name was a predominant member of the sect at the beginning of the 8th century.
   He was their third apostle. He could not name a sect after the third apostle when they were known by that name even before the first apostle.
   Or they got the name from the Apostle Paul himself, whose teachings they pretended to follow. They were the exponents of reformed and scriptural religion. They rejected the sacraments, they attacked the use of images and the growing [Notice that; the growing!] veneration for the virgin Mary.
   That was not even heard of up until 800 or 900 A.D. but notice that! This says it began top be a growing veneration for the virgin Mary.
   They considered it allowable to attend Catholic churches and allowable to conceal their true views by equivocation and deceit.
   We read that in Revelation 3! It said they committed fornication. It couldn't be adultery, because if you are a member of the true church, you're a virgin. You are not married, yet. And if you're not married, you cannot commit adultery, because adultery is committed after you are married. That's why it is called fornication.

Sect's Originator

   The originator of the sect appears to have been a certain Constantine, a man of Manichean family.
   Maybe his parents were Manichean, but that doesn't mean he was Manichean and everyone who was one of his students.
   He lived about the year 653 at Mananali, a village near Samosota. It happens that a copy of the gospel and Pauline epistles came into his possession.
   Therefore, some claim he didn't believe in anything, but the gospels and Paul's writings. See why? Because that's what came into his possession. How is he going to read the book of Revelation, if he doesn't have one? How can he read I and II Peter if he was only given the book of Pauline writings and the gospel?
   He diligently studies. His reading led him to denounce some of his hereditary belief.
   Notice that! He renounced some of the errors he inherited from his father.
   The new doctrine soon gained converts. Constantine settled at Carbosa in Armenia and assumed the name Sylvanus where he remained for 27 years until the year 684 when the emperor having heard of the progress of the sect, made an attack upon it. The emperor's officer, Simeon, captured Constantine, and a number of his followers and ranging the latter in line, ordered them to stone their leader. All, but one, refused, but by the hand of that one, his adopted son, Justus, the heresiarch fell.
   The officer, Simeon, however, struck with their constancy, began to inquire into their Paulician doctrines, with the result he was converted and he succeeded Constantine as leader of the sect, under the name of Titus.
   Justus, Simeon and many others were burnt and the remainder disappeared, but Paulicianism was not stamped out. A new leader arose in the person of Armenian Paul under whom it soon recovered its strength. After his death, the sect grew corrupt.7
   We learn from the Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, by Blunt, article Paulicians:
   We find the Paulicians, while retaining characteristic errors of Manichean dualism, both renounced the dangerous dogma of the apostleship of Mani and explained or rejected the more odious portion of his teachings. The precise origin and date of the title Paulician is wrapped in some obscurity, but at any rate, the name is not older than the 7th century and the reign of Constance II.
   Yet some try to tell you it goes back to Paul of Samosota, or someone else.
   Its origin is attributed to one Paul, the son of a Manichean woman, named Callinice. This story rests, however, on no solid foundation and is probably a Western invention. Even if such a person as this Paul did exist, his name has been eclipsed by the more fruitful labors of Constantine, who must be looked upon as the real founder of the Paulician sect.


   For 27 years, from 660 to 687, this Constantine, or Silvanus as he was afterwards called, labored to erect the Paulician church starting from Mananali near Samosota. He preached throughout Armenian Pontus and the success of his missionary enterprise was so great, that it at length provoked the interference of Constaninople.
   An imperial commissioner, by name Simeon, was dispatched by Constantine Pocodonius, IV of the Heraclean emperors to Colonia, the scene of this preacher's latest success. But the conduct of the Paulicians, [Remember what we read before...their diligence, their persistency, their unwaveringness] so favorably impressed him that he exchanged the role of persecutor for first the role of convert, subsequently, for that of martyr. An apostate, Justus, betrayed his former brethren and enabled the Byzantine government everywhere to detect and punish the heresy.
   Notice how they were detected and punished by Justus, an apostate who betrayed his own former brothers, Remember what it said in Matthew 24.
   Because the love of many shall wax cold, they shall betray one another.

That happened!

   Whatever was the origin of the Paulician name, it is certain the heretics claimed the special protection or a monopoly of the pure doctrine of the apostle of the Gentiles, but notwithstanding this claim and notwithstanding the invariable assumption by their leaders of names which like Silvanus, Tychicus, Titus and Timothy are peculiarly connected with the mysteries of St. Paul, the tenets of the Paulicians were distinctively Manichean and by no means Pauline.

What is meant by Pauline theology? Is there any such thing?
They, however, repudiated the apostleship of Mani.

   Then follows a quote from the original Greek statement right out of their persecutor Photius, who came down and wrote the history, when he was persecuting them and lived among them about 80 years.
   Except that they rejected his original inspiration, they differed as to dogma from the old Manicheans. They despised the cross and the Valentinian doctrine that the spiritual Christ passed the body of the virgin like water through a pipe. They were naturally accused of insulting the memory. They excluded their ministers or scribes from all government in their communities, who bore the humble title of fellow voyagers. Above all, they were iconoclasts and placed the scriptures in the hands of the laity.

Transplanted As Bogomils

   From the close of the 7th century to the middle of the 9th, the Paulicians suffered continuous and unremitting persecution.
   Notice, when they began to conform and become like the politicians of the government, they were no longer persecuted. From 800 on, they weren't the true church.
   Even heretical emperors were unable to afford them much protection because as iconoclasts they were too unpopular to venture the open tolerance of an odious heresy, and the orthodox princes had no temptation to be lenient.
   The close of the 10th century is marked by a rise in Bulgaria of an obscure body of dissenting heretics, circumstances strongly testifying to the robust condition of Paulicians.8
   Brown's Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge draws the distinction between the Paulianists and the Paulicians. The Paulianists were the followers of Paul of Samosota. This is what is said about the Paulianists:
   A sect so-called from their founder, Paulus Samosatenus, or Paul of Samosata, a native of Samosata, elected bishop of Antioch in 262. His doctrine seems to have amounted to this that the son of the holy spirit exist in God in the same manner as the faculties of reason and activity do in man. Christ was born a mere man, but that the reason or wisdom of the Father descended into him and by him, wrought miracles upon earth and instructed the nations, and finally that on account of this union of the divine word with the man Jesus, Christ might, though improperly, be called God. It is also said that he didn't baptize in the name of the Father and the Son, which is the reason the council of Nice ordered those baptized by him re-baptized. Being condemned by Dionysus Alexandrynus, in a council, he objured the errors to avoid disposition, but soon after, resumed them, and was actually deposed by another council A.D. 369. He may be considered as the father of the Cicinians?

The Encyclopedia defines the Paulicians as:

   A numerous body of Greek Protestant dissenters, in the 6th and following centuries.

Remove To Bulgaria

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

Notice that!

   Many of them either from a principle of zeal for the propagation of their opinions or from a natural desire of fleeing from the persecution which they suffered under the Grecian yoke, retired about the close of the 11th century from Bulgaria and Thrace and formed settlements in other countries.
   Now notice what happened! When did the Bogomils leave Bulgaria? We find here about the close of the 11th century, from Bulgaria and Thrace. They retired and formed settlements in other countries. I wonder where. Where were the Waldenses? In Italy.
   Their chief migration from Bulgaria was to Italy, whence in process of time, they sent colonies into almost all other provinces of Europe.

From Peter Waldo out of Italy, to Carlstad in Germany! They

   formed a considerable number of religious assemblies, adhered to their doctrine, and afterward were persecuted with the utmost vehemence by the Roman pontiffs.

Patarini Means Sabbath Keepers

   In Italy, they were called Patarini. This name means "Sabbath keepers." Well, if these Patarini came from the Bogomils, I wonder if the Bogomils kept the Sabbath? If the Bogomils came from the Paulicians, I wonder if they kept the Sabbath? According to the KEY OF TRUTH, they kept the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. But, I wonder if they kept the Sabbath? We will find out.
   In Italy, they were called Patarini, from a certain place called Patarini, being a part of the city of Milan, where they held their assemblies.
   Didn't we just read that is where they fled? That was one of their strongholds Milan.
   In France, they were called Albigenses. They have been accused of Manicheism, but it is believed this is only a slanderous report raised against them by their enemies, and that they were for the most part men who were disgusted with the doctrines and ceremonies of human invention.
   They refused to worship the virgin Mary and the cross, which was sufficient in those days to procure for them the name atheist. They also refused to partake of the sacraments of the Greek and Roman churches, which will account for the accusation that they rejected them altogether.9

His ending statement is:
See Waldenses.

Bible Reading Unlawful

   Continuing from Brown's Encyclopedia, article Constantine of Mananali:
   Constantine, also called Silvanus: An eminent reformer and martyr of the 7th century, and founder of the sect of Paulicians. Born in Mananali an obscure town in the vicinity of Samosota. His conversion is thus related: A Christian deacon, who had been a prisoner among the Mohammedans about the year 660, returning from Sycia, was entertained by Constantine. From this stranger, Constantine received the precious gift of the New Testament in its original language. But even at this early age, it was so concealed from the people that Peter Sibulus [remember, he was the one sent down to martyr them and exterminate them, so we have to be careful when we read anything he says about them] to whom we owe most for our information on the history of the Paulicians, tells us the first scruples of a Catholic, when he was advised to read the Bible was "it was not lawful for us profane persons to read those sacred writings, but for the priests only."

   That is the way they explained it.

   Indeed the gross ignorance that pervaded Europe at that time rendered the generality of people incapable of reading that or any other book. But even those who could read were dissuaded by their religious guides. Constantine, however, made the best use of his present. He studied the New Testament with unwearying diligence and more particularly, the writings of the apostle Paul, from which he endeavoured to deduce the system of worship and doctrine divinely revealed. He investigated the creed of primitive Christianity, says Gibbon. The knowledge thus attained Constantine gladly communicated to others around him.

Miracles Performed!

   A Christian church was collected and several rose among them, qualified for the work of the ministry. New churches were formed and Christianity in its primitive simplicity and power revived.
   Did they do miracles, have healings, speak in languages? What else would you call "extraordinary gifts of the Spirit" as Biggon called it, or as Brown calls it, "primitive simplicity and power."
   Was widely diffused through Armenia, Pontus and Capadocia. Constantine, who had assumed or received the name Silvanus, was at length seized at Colonia by the arm of persecution. By a refinement of cruelty he was placed before a line of his disciples who were commanded, as a price of their own pardon and proof of their repentance, to massacre their spiritual father. They turned aside from the impious officer, the stones dropped from their hands and of the whole number, only one man named Justus could be found base enough to become his executioner. Thus, after the evangelical labor of 27 years, this venerable leader of the Paulicians fell a martyr to the truth of the gospel.10

From Chambers Encyclopedia, we glean the following:

   Paulicians: An ancient sect of the Eastern empire who by the Catholic writers are reckoned an offshoot of the Manicheans.

Modern Historians Testimony

   It is proper, however, to notice that a very different view of the character and doctrines of the Paulicians had been advocated by such modern writers on ecclesiastical history as Giesler and Neander, according to whom they had their origin from one Constantine of Mananali, an Armenian who had received two volumes as a present, one containing the four gospels and the other the epistles of Paul and who afterwards assumed the name of Paul in testimony of his great veneration for that apostle.
   Notice the modern historians on the grounds of archaeology and other books, which had been uncovered, and the KEY OF TRUTH was already uncovered in 1828, have proven that the Paulicians were not descendants of Paul of Samosota. They were not those people at all. They were founded by Constantine of Mananali. Apparently God allowed the Catholics to hide this until 1828, when the KEY OF TRUTH was discovered.
   The distinctive characters of his doctrine and that of his followers were the rejection of the worship of the virgin, the saints and the cross, the denial of the material presence of Christ in the eucharist and the assertion of a right freely to search the scriptures and that the charge of Manichean was falsely brought against them by their persecutors.11

Origin Of Soul & Body

Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia clarifies the following points:

   Paulicians: A dualistic sect of the Eastern church, originated in Armenia in the middle of the 7th century in the village in Armenia, of Mananali near Samosota, where lived Constantine Silvanus, its founder, who preached in that locality from 657 to 684 when he was stoned for heresy. Our knowledge of the sect comes from their enemies and is defective as well as viciated by prejudice but it seems to be proved they were dualists. They held that the soul proceeded from God, but the body from the evil one.
   Paul said the spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit and these are contrary the one against the other.
   They denied the perpetual virginity of Mary and they opposed Mariolatry, the doctrine of the atonement and the church view of the sacraments. The founder had put an inordinate value on the Pauline epistles and so did his followers.

Devout Bible Students

   They were zealous for the scriptures and they were held in honor by those among them who were their copiests and circulated the copies of the Bible. They had no sacridotal casts, but pastors and teachers and they were devout Bible students.
   After it had spread quietly in Armenia for about two centuries and now and then persecuted by the Byzantine emperors, the empress Theodora martyred 1,000,000 of them.
   But by the time of Theodora, they had begun to bear arms and the true church had been removed from among them.
   And in Bulgaria, remnants of the sect were found as late as the 16th century. In the 13th century, Paulician ideas were introduced to Europe by those who returned with the Crusaders and such sects as the Cathari and Bogomils had Paulician elements.12
   They did not have Paulician elements. They were truly descendants of the Paulicians.

Public Worship Free From Ritual

In the Encyclopedia Americana, article Paulicians:

   A different view has been taken by modern ecclesiastical historians. According to these writers, the sect was founded by one Constantine of Mananali, who conceived a great a veneration for the apostle of the Gentiles, that he assumed his name. They rejected the adoration of the virgin and they rejected the adoration of the saints, rejected homage to the cross, did not recognize any priestly dignity and their public worship was altogether free from ritual.13

Name Origin

In Kurtz's Church History, article Nostic and Manichean Heretics:

   The Catholics, this sect called Romans, gave them the name Paulicians.
   See how they received that name. The Catholics, whom this sect called "Romans." All right, if you are going to call us Romans, we will label you for what you are. You are Paulicians. They did not give themselves that name.
   But they designated themselves Christians.
   Yes, the Bible had said they had not denied His name. And when you read about the Paulicians, that is one thing that is mentioned quite often. They were named Paulicians by the Catholics. They considered themselves Christians and they would not call the Romans "Christians." They called them Romans.
   They gave their leaders and congregations the titles of the companions of Paul and of the places he labored. Their form of worship was very simple and their church government modeled after that of an apostolic time.
   They protested against the many ceremonies of the Catholic Church and against the honor they paid to the images, relics and saints. They also enjoined diligent study of the scriptures. They attached great importance to fasting. Later investigations fail to discover any traces of Manichean tenets in their system.
   See, later investigations show that it was a Catholic farce to try to hide the real foundation of that church.
   The only historical fact established is that the sect was founded by Constantinus of Mananali who took the name of Silvanus.14

Hallam relates in his History of the Middle Ages:

   A sect denominated Paulicians. Their tenets are not to be collected with absolute certainty. There seems, however, to be sufficient evidence that the Paulicians, though professing to acknowledge and even to study the apostolic writings, ascribed the world to be an evil deity.
   They said the world was Satan's. Satan is the god of this world, but it doesn't mean he created it (2 Cor. 4:4).
   These errors exposed them to a long and cruel persecution during which a colony of exiles was planted in Bulgaria. The Paulicians may be traced up the Danube River, through Hungary and Bavaria or some times taking the route of Lombardi into Switzerland and France, and Northern Italy.
   In the last country, especially in its Southern and Eastern Provinces, they became conspicuous under a variety of names such as Paterins, but above all, Albigenses. It is beyond a doubt that many of these sectaries owed their origin to the Paulicians.

Notice how many historians say this.

   The appellation of the Bulgarians was distinctively bestowed upon them and according to some writers, they acknowledged a patriarch or primate resident in the country of Bulgaria. Though the derivation of these heretics called Albigenses from Bulgaria is sufficiently proved, it is by no means to be concluded that all those who incurred the same imputation either derived their faith from the same country or had adopted the Manichean theory from the Paulicians. Those who were absolutely free from any taint of Manicheism are probably called Waldenses, a name perpetually confounded in later times with the Albigenses. The distinguishing of the sects probably was of separate origin, or at least different tenets.15


1. "Paulicians," Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. IX, pp. 959-962

2. Edward Backhouse, Witness for Christ, (London: Hamilton Adams & Co., 1885) Vol. II, p. 428

3. "Paulicians," Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, pp. 583-585

4. "Paulicians," New International Encyclopedia,

5. Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), Vol. II, pp. 57-63

6. "Paulicians," Schaef-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, pp. 417-418

7. "Paul of Samosata," Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 830

8. "Paulicians," Dictionary of Sects and Heresy

9. "Paulicians," Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VIII, pp. 417-419

10. "Constantine of Mananali," Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 410

11. "Paulicians," Chambers Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, pp. 118-119

12. "Paulicians," Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia

13. "Paulicians," Encyclopedia Americana, 1909

14. W. Robertson Nicoll, Kurtz Church History, (London: Nodder & Stoughton, 1844), p. 423

15. Henry Hallam, History of the Middle Ages, (New York: D. Appleton & Co.), Vol. II, p. 820

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Publication Date: 1973
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