A strongly ascetic movement, known also as Ortlibenses, that owed its name to Ortlieb of Strasbourg (c. 1200). An example of lay protest against institutional religion, they are mentioned in 13th-century documents with the Cathari and waldenses, and lesser sects as well, thus underscoring the confusion about their teaching in the minds of their contemporaries. For example, a constitution issued by Emperor frederick ii on May 14, 1238, proscribed the Ortolevos with a number of other heresies (Monumenta Germanica Historica [Berlin 1826—] Leges 4: Const. 2:284–285). According to albert the great's judgment of the heretics of the Swabian district of Ries (Diocese of Augsburg) c. 1270, the Ortlibarii had been condemned by Innocent III for holding "that man must abstain from externals and follow the spirit that is in him." They were reminiscent, on the one hand, of the pantheism of the amalricians centered in Paris (according to Jundt and Preger), and on the other, of the dualism of the widespread Gnostic-Manichaean stream (Haupt). However, significant differences set them apart from these movements as well as from the Waldenses with whom Müller was anxious to establish a relationship. The Ortlibarii espoused a cause that not only aimed to dissolve the visible Church but sought also to undermine essential tenets of the Christian tradition. The principal source for their teachings is the so-called Passau Anonymus (Pseudo-Rainer ), begun c. 1260. The sect did not accept divine creation of the world, which they considered eternal. Its members reopened the Christological question with an attack on Trinitarian doctrine. Turning to the Sacraments, they rejected the Eucharist and adjudged infant Baptism useless since conscious adherence to their movement alone was efficacious. To the Catholic hierarchy they opposed their own Perfect Ones who, they claimed, could bind and loose. They recognized no obligation to pay tithes, asserting that the clergy ought to earn its livelihood by manual labor. The papacy was identified with the harlot of the Apocalypse. Once the pope and emperor were converted to the sect, the Last Judgment would be imminent. Failure to be numbered among the sectaries merited damnation. Although they denied the resurrection of the body, they assumed the perfection of the spirit. Of particular interest to civil government was their rejection of oaths and capital punishment. While unlike the Cathari they countenanced marriage, they enjoined continence. The Ortlibarii did not survive the 13th century; presumably they were absorbed by the Brothers and Sisters of the Free Spirit of the 14th century.
Bibliography: s. m. deutsch, j. j. herzog and a. hauck, eds., Realenzyklopädie für protestantische Theologie, 24 v. (3d ed. Lepzig 1896–1913) 14:498–501. w. preger, Geschichte der deutschen Mystik im Mittelalter, 3 v. (1874–93) 1:191–196. a. jundt, Histoire du panthéisme populaire au moyen âge et au seizième siècle (Strasburg 1875) 36–41. h. haupt, "Waldensia," Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschte 10 (1888) 316–328. k. mÜller, Die Waldenser und ihre einzelnen Gruppen (Gotha 1886) 130–132, 169–171. h. grundmann, Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter (2d ed. Hildesheim 1961). j. j. i. von dÖllinger, Beiträge zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, 2 v. in 1 (Munich 1890; repr. New York 1960) 2:299, 301, 317, 330, 400, 703.
[e. w. mcdonnell]