2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The origins of the Paulicans, a dualist sect that arose in Armenia in the middle of the VII Century, are obscure. The group itself claimed to take its name and teachings from St. Paul, whose writings they admired. (Many Paulicans took the names of the saint's disciples and were itinerant missionaries, who established churches which they named for the churches Paul founded.) Some say the group takes its name from Paul, the son of a legendary Manichee missionary, Kallinke, sent to convert the Armenians. Modern scholars prefer to believe the group's name and doctrines come from Paul of Samosata, who denied the divinity of Christ, because Constantine Silvanus, the first known leader of the Paulicans, came from Samosata.
The Paulicans believe that both a good God, who created the world to come, and an evil god, who created this world, exist. Jesus, the son of the good God, could not have been the son of Mary; the Incarnation was merely an illusion. Redemption is found in the teachings of Christ. Paulicans reject the Old Testament entirely. Admirers of Marcion, they adopted his estimation of Sts. Paul and Luke and had a canon of the New Testament similar to that of Marcion. Iconoclasts, the group also rejected the sacraments of baptism, eucharist, and marriage, as well as all church observances of fasts and feasts. They may have believed in the pre-existence of souls, and they taught that Christ came to release souls from matter into the light.
Paulicans rebelled against the Byzantine church and empire. Between 668 and 698, Constantine III and Justinian II sent two expeditions to suppress the movement. Constantine Silvanus and his successor Simon Titus died during these military operations. Some Paulicans supported Arab invasions of the empire. In the mid-IX Century, the Paulicans revived and had a separate state with Tephnike as its capital. Basil I broke their power in 872. He exiled a group to Thrace, from which they are thought to have influenced groups like the Bogomils and the Cathari. A number of Paulicans converted to Islam.
Karen Rae Keck
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