Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The Waldenses and Albigenses by Lewis Spence 1920
The Waldenses and Albigenses by Lewis Spence 1920
From: An Encyclopædia of Occultism: A Compendium of Information on the Occult By Lewis Spence
See also Waldenses, Huguenots, Albigenses & Hussites - 120 Books on DVDrom
Albigenses: A sect which originated in the south of France in the twelfth century. They were so called from one of their territorial centres, that of Albi. It is probable that their heresy came originally from Eastern Europe, and they were often designated Bulgarians, and undoubtedly kept up intercourse with certain secretaries of Thrace, the Bogomils; and they are sometimes connected with the Paulicians. It is difficult to form any exact idea of their doctrines, as Albigensian texts are rare, and contain little concerning their ethics, but we know that they were strongly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, and protested against the corruption of its clergy. But it is not as a religious body that we have to deal with the Albigenses here, but to consider whether or not their cult possessed any occult significance. It has been claimed by their opponents that they admitted two fundamental principles, good and bad, saying that God had produced Lucifer from Himself; that indeed Lucifer was the son of God who revolted against Him; that he had carried with him a rebellious party of angels, who were driven from Heaven along with him; that Lucifer in his exile had created this world with its inhabitants, where he reigned, and where all was evil. It is alleged that they further believed that God for the re-establishment of order had produced a second son, who was Jesus Christ. Furthermore the Catholic writers on the Albigenses charged them with believing that the souls of men were demons lodged in mortal bodies in punishment of their crimes.
All this is, of course, mere tradition, and we may be sure that the dislike of the Albigenses for the irregularities then current in the Roman Church, brought such charges on their heads. They were indeed the lineal ancestors of Protestantism. A crusade was brought against them by Pope Innocent III., and wholesale massacres took place. The Inquisition was also let loose upon them, and they were driven to hide in the forests and among the mountains, where, like the Covenanters of Scotland, they held surreptitious meetings. The Inquisition terrorised the district in which they had dwelt so thoroughly that the very name of Albigenses was practically blotted out, and by the year 1330, the records of the Holy Office show no further writs issued against the heretics.
Waldenses: The name of a Christian sect which arose in the south of France about 1170. They were much the same in origin and ethics as the Albigenses (q.v.), that is, their religious system rested upon that of Manichaeism, which believed in dualism and severe asceticism. It undoubtedly arose from the desire of the bourgeois class to have changes made in the clerical discipline of the Roman Church. Its adherents called themselves cathari thus demonstrating the eastern origin of their system. There were two classes of these, neophytes and adepts,— the perfecti only being admitted to the esoteric doctrines of the Waldensian Church. Outwardly its aim and effort was rationalistic; but the inner doctrine partook more of the occult. It was in 1170 that Peter Waldo, a rich merchant of Lyons, sold his goods and gave them to the poor, and from him the sect was named. The earliest account of Waldensian beliefs is that of an enemy, Sacconi, an inquisitor of the Holy Office, who wrote about the middle of the thirteenth century. He divides the Waldensians into two classes, those of Lombardy, and those north of the Alps. The latter believed that any layman might consecrate the sacrament of the altar, and that the Roman Church was not the Church of Christ; while the Lombardian sect held that the Roman Church was the Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse. They also believed that all men were priests. As their opinions became more widespread, persecution became more severe, and the Waldensians latterly withdrew themselves altogether from the Church of Rome, and chose ministers for themselves by election. Papal bulls were issued for their extermination, and a crusade was directed against them; but they survived these attacks, and so late as the time of Cromwell were protected by him against the Duke of Savoy and the French king. Their ministers were later subsidized by the government of Queen Anne, and this subsidy was carried on until the time of Napoleon, when he granted them an equivalent. Latterly they have received much assistance from various Protestant countries of Europe, especially from England; and at the present time number some 12,000 to 13,000 communicants.
During the Middle Ages, it was strongly held by the priesthood of the Roman Church that, like the Albigenses, the Waldensians had a diabolic element in their religion and they have been from time to time classed with the various secret societies that sprang up in mediaeval Europe, such as the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, and so forth; but although they possessed an esoteric doctrine of their own, there is no reason to believe that this was in any way magical, nor in any manner more "esoteric" than the inner doctrine of any other Christian sect.
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