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Waldensians

Waldensians

The name of a proto-Protestant Christian sect that arose in the south of France late in the twelfth century C.E. Peter Waldo, a prosperous merchant from Lyon, appeared about 1170 as a wandering preacher. He soon built a substantial following in the same region in which the heretical Albigensians had their centers. However, the Waldensians were a Bible-centered, theologically orthodox group. The Albigensians had adopted a Gnostic religious system that rested somewhat upon that of Manichaeism, with its extreme dualism (a belief that God and evil exist as two equal and opposing forces) and severe asceticism. Waldo's complaints were against much of the undisciplined behavior of priests, and a number of "unbiblical" practices such as pilgrimages, worship of saints, and church wealth, all of which arose as items on the agenda of protestants in the sixteenth century.

Waldensianism's adherents were divided into two classes: "Christ's paupers," who left their secular lives behind; and the "friends" who accepted Waldo's teachings but remained in their secular lives. This division was similar to the two levels of membership among the Cathari. As the movement spread to Italy and Germany, it was carried by wandering preachers who went out in pairs.

After a generation in which the church attempted to win them back to the fold, the Waldensians began to experience persecution about the second decade of the thirteenth century. A number were burned in southern France and Germany, but in Italy they were able to survive by retreating into the Alpine mountain valleys. The group survived primarily in Italy, where they aligned themselves to the sixteenth-century reformation. In the last half of the twentieth century, they emerged as a recognized group in Italy and the Methodist Church of Italy recently merged with them.

During the Middle Ages the spokespersons of the Roman church believed that, like the Albigenses, the Waldensians had a diabolical element in their religion, and from time to time they were classed with the various secret societies that sprang up in medieval Europe, such as the Templars and the Rosicrucians. Although the Waldensians possessed an internal doctrine and disciple accepted by the inner core of adherents, their beliefs and practices were more of an ethical nature and were in no manner associated with the occult or magic.

Sources:

Westin, Gunnar. The Free Church through the Ages. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman, 1958.

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Waldensian

Waldensian pert. to the Waldenses adherents of a religious sect which originated through the preaching of Peter Waldo of Lyons, France, c.1170. XVII. See -IAN.

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"Waldensian." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Waldensian." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/waldensian-0

Waldensian

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•Carthusian, Malthusian, Venusian

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"Waldensian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Waldensian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/waldensian