In the mid-second century AD, a man named Montanus, who had once
been a Galli, one of the eunuch priests in the Cult of Cybele, got
converted to Christianity and formed a Christian sect. When?
Scholars debate as to when Montanus first began his prophetic
activity. They date it between c. AD 135 to as late as AD 177.
The exact place is also uncertain. Their
Catholic opponents daubed them the "Cataphrygians," ("those among
the Phrygians" (oi kata Phrygas), then as Montanists, Pepuzians, and
(in the West) Cataphrygians.) expressing their place of origin as
Phyrgia. It is said to be in Phyrgia in a village in Mysia named
Ardabau during the proconsulate of Gratus. Phrygia (
Φρυγία) was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what
is now Turkey, centered on the Sakarya River. But we have not been
able to identify either the Proconsul Gratus nor the village Mysia.
But Montanus proclaimed the towns of Pepuz, Tymionand Ardabau as the
capital New Jerusalem at the second Advent of Jesus. Pepuza may have
been somewhere east of Philadelphia
in western Turkey..
Place of Phyrgia in Turkey
From Eusebius, V, xvi, 7, we learn that this was during the
proconsulship of Gratus. But we do not have any historical record of
such a proconsul of Asia. But tread "Quadratus", there was a
Quadratus who was proconsul in AD 155, and another in 166, so that
one of these years was the real date of the birth of Montanism. But
we do not have any record of a Christian group called Montanists
anywhere until Cyril of Jerusalem documented it. Cyril died in
Coming from the worship of a female goddess, Montanus made no
difference in the position of male and female within the Church.
This was interpreted as the influence of Cybele cult. On the other
hand the Greek and Roman Churches had been a male dominated church.
Pauline Christians completely cast off the feminine aspect of God.
The Holy Spirit – called Ruah which is feminine in the original
tongue of Hebrew – was even translated a sexless being or in some
cases as a male. All Bible translations refers to the Holy Spirit as
“He”. Yet the Holy Spirit was the life giver. Women were forbidden
from the Priestly status until recently. In this context came
Montanus who came out of the worshiping community where their
Supreme God was a Goddess.
Trinity as three male forms, Three in One Trinity, Father, Son and
Montanus’ Church granted women equal authority with men, and it
actually allowed them to become priests. This probably was the
first Christian Church that allowed the women to become priests. But
as it appears that it did not become the norm within the Christian
communities elsewhere. The noisy prophetess were there before,
starting with Phillip’s daughters. But they were all silenced in
the Roman world of Christianity in accordance with the Greco-Roman
culture. (1 Timothy 2:12).Epiphanius informs us that the Montanists
used Galatians 3:28 in this regard: "In Christ there is neither male
nor female" (Medicine 49.2).
Montanus was joined by two women Prophets named Priscilla, and
Maximilla after leaving their husbands to join the cult. We are not
told whether they left their marriage because of their faith or not.
Their popularity even exceeded Montanus' own. "The Three" spoke in
ecstatic visions and urged their followers to fast and to pray, so
that they might share these revelations. They claimed their
succession fom the prophets Quadratus and Ammia of Philadelphia,
stretching all the way back to Agabus (1st century AD) and to the
daughters of Philip the Evangelist. Acts 21:8, 9
Coming from a pagan religion, his actions were taken with
suspicion.by the established church of the period. However their
moral standards had been very rigid everywhere even to the extent of
forbidding second marriages at all cost even for widows and widowers
Montanus began his career innocently enough through preaching a
return to penance and being filled with the Holy Spirit and being
empowered. His movement also emphasized the continuation of
miraculous gifts of the Apostolic period such as speaking in tongues
and prophecy. After all speaking in tongues and prophecy were part
of the early unorganized church. Pentecost was indeed the beginning
of the Christian Church. Being filled with the Holy Spirit should
still be the beginning of Christian life of every believer.
The last disciple of Jesus had just passed away. Jesus did promise
to come back and take back to heaven all who put their trust in Him.
Did not Jesus in Matthew 24:34, declare, “This generation shall not
pass” until a series of events transpire–including the second
coming–did Jesus mean “this generation will not pass away” The
imminent return of Jesus to gather his elect was expected almost
immediately and every generation was expecting that imminent return
soon, as was guaranteed. Even today in the 20th century
we are waiting for this to happen. Montanus evidently also was a
student of the Bible. Based on the understanding of the imminent
return of Christ to earth he began to teach Christ’s imminent return
into his home town in Phrygia.
They adopted the name "New Prophecy" for their movement. The
essential statement of the new movement was that the revelations and
prophecy through the promised Paraclete is still going on and that
it gives direct revelation to His people preparing Christians to the
coming of Jesus. It is generally agreed that the movement was
inspired by Montanus' reading of the Gospel of John— "I will send
you the advocate [Paraclete], the spirit of truth" (Heine 1987,
1989; Groh 1985).
Eusebius of Caesarea, "the Father of Church History," (260-340 AD)
who was an opponent of this movement quotes a second century source,
dubbed "Anonymous," (He is quoted everywhere as such in all document
as though it is his name) who tells us that Montanus as "a recent
convert to the faith ... gave the adversary access to himself ...
and began to speak and prophecy strange things" (Ecclesiastical
History 5.16.7). Cybele prophets prophesied in ecstasy in the same
way as the Christians. The difference was in the nature of the
spirit. The ecstatic prophecies of Montanus were given as though
from the Paraclete – the Holy Spirit – in first person as is usual
in every prophecy given under the spirit, which led the belief that
he claimed to be the incarnation of Paraclete. He never really made
that claim. Apparently he even prophesied in first person as the
The anonymous opponent of the sect describes the method of prophecy
(Eusebius, V, xvii, 2-3):
First the prophet appears distraught with terror (en
then follows quiet (adeia
beginning by studied vacancy of thought or passivity of intellect (ekousios
he is seized by an uncontrollable madness (akousios
The prophets did not speak as messengers of God in the Old
Testament, with the familiar beginning: "Thus saith the Lord," but
described themselves as possessed by God and spoke in His Person.
"I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete," said Montanus;
and again: "I am the Lord God omnipotent, who have descended into to
and "neither an angel, nor an ambassador, but I, the Lord, the
Father, am come".
And Maximilla said: "Hear not me, but hear Christ" ;
and: "I am driven off from among the sheep like a wolf ; I am not a
wolf, but I am speech, and spirit, and power."
This possession by a spirit, which spoke while the prophet was
incapable of resisting, is described by Montanus:
"Behold the man is like a lyre, and I dart like the plectrum. The
man sleeps, and I am awake" (Epiphanius, "Hær.", xlviii, 4).
This gives the theology of the prophecy of Montanus that humans by
yielding themselves to God become an instrument in the hands of God
to bring the messages to the hearer.
These are expressions of total taking over of a person by the Spirit
that is speaking through the person. Even today that is the way the
people with spirit possession speak in all religions. Is there a
difference between the taking over of the Holy Spirit and a common
spirit? The great point was the manner of prophesying. But Montanus’
method was denounced as contrary to custom and to tradition.
A Catholic writer, Miltiades, wrote a book to which the Anonymous
author refers, "How a prophet ought not to speak in ecstasy". It was
urged that the phenomena were those of possession, not those of the
Old Testament prophets, or of New Testament prophets like Silas,
Agabus, and the daughters of Philip the Deacon; or of prophets
recently known in Asia, Quadratus (Bishop of Athens) and Ammia,
prophetess of Philadelphia, of whom the Montanist prophets boasted
of being successors. To speak in the first person as the Father or
the Paraclete appeared blasphemous.
The older prophets had spoken "in the Spirit", on behalf of the
Spirit, but they were always conscious of themselves. According to
St.Paul 1 Cor 14:32 "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the
prophets." or according to NIV “The spirits of prophets are subject
to the control of prophets.”
Montanus declared: "The Lord hath sent me as the chooser, the
revealer, the interpreter of this labor, this promise, and this
covenant, being forced, willingly or unwillingly, to learn the
gnosis of God."
The Montanists appealed to these bible verses:
Genesis 2:21: "The Lord sent an ecstasy upon Adam";
Psalm 115:2: "I said in my ecstasy";
Acts 10:10: "There came upon him [Peter] an ecstasy".
Dispensation Theology of Montanus.
Montanus actually proposed a new dispensation theology - the first
dispensation theology of Christendom.
Montanus claimed that “As the dispensation of the Father had given
way to the dispensation of the Son, so the dispensation of the Son
had now given place to the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, for [he
maintained] Christ’s promise of the Paraclete had now been
fulfilled.” He taught that God's supernatural revelations did not
end with the apostles, but that even more wonderful manifestations
of the divine energy might be expected under the dispensation of the
Paraclete. Thus prophecy and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in
man did not end with the Apostolic period, but continues henceforth
in the later periods in much more efficient and spectacular ways
afterwards. Christ can return in glory only at the end of the
dispensation of the Paraclete.
DURING THE LIFE OF CHRIST
AND TILL PENTECOST
AFTER THE PENTECOST
From AD 33>>>>>>
In the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit deals,
speaks and act directly because as a spirit She can possess her
mediums. What differed was simply the manner of delivering the
Reaction of Traditional Churches
Most churches found this new movement very disturbing. The response
to this continuing revelation split the Christian communities, and
the orthodox clergy fought to suppress it. Bishop Apollinarius
found the church at Ancyra torn in two, and he opposed the "false
prophesy" (quoted by Eusebius 5.16.5). But there was real doubt at
Rome, and Pope Eleutherus (c 174 to 189 .as his period of Papacy)
even wrote letters in support of Montanism, although he later
recalled them (Tertullian, "Adversus Praxean" c.1, Trevett 58-59).
Tertullian, the Christian writer rejected mainstream Christianity
and converted to Montanism. Trevett affirms, "It is generally agreed
that Tertullian had migrated to the Prophecy by the year 207 at the
latest" (Christine Trevett:
Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophecy Cambridge
University Press, 1996 ). He turned out to be the only defender of
Montanism who left his writings to clear them of many accusations of
“But Tertullian is the most famous of the Montanists. He was born
about 150-5, and became a Christian about 190-5. His excessive
nature led him to adopt the Montanist teaching as soon as he knew it
(about 202-3). His writings from this date onwards grow more and
more bitter against the Catholic Church, from which he definitively
broke away about 207. He died about 223, or not much later. His
first Montanist work was a defense of the new prophecy in six books,
"De Ecstasi", written probably in Greek; he added a seventh book in
reply to Apollonius. The work is lost, but a sentence preserved by
Prædestinatus (xxvi) is important: "In this alone we differ, in that
we do not receive second marriage, and that we do not refuse the
prophecy of Montanus concerning the future judgment." In fact
Tertullian holds as an absolute law the recommendations of Montanus
to eschew second marriages and flight from persecution. He denies
the possibility of forgiveness of sins by the Church; he insists
upon the newly ordained fasts and abstinences.” (Catholic
Tertullian became in the year 201 or 202, the influential advocate
of Montanism while remaining within the Catholic Church which he
defended against all heresies. Later he joined them leaving the
mother church. Augustin relates that Tertullian left the
Montanists, and founded a new sect, which was called after him, but
was, through his (Augustin's) agency, reconciled to the Catholic
congregation of Carthage.
Evidently Tertullian believed that it was genuine, accordingly
mentioning it and defended it strongly in his later works.
Unfortunately his work in defence of it, De ecstasi, in 7 books
are lost. We know them today only from others who quoted him to
oppose them. (Jerome, mentions this work in his biography of
Tertullian, De viris illustribus, ch53.) Tertullian fiercely attacks
those who condemned the new prophecy, and in attacking the church
authorities as more interested in their own political power in the
church than in listening to the Spirit.
They were however very popular in the region within the community as
shown by the vast expansion of the movement. From Pepuza, Tymion
and Ardabau in Phrygia, the New Prophecy under Montanus, Priscilla
and Maximilla and others spread to various parts of Asia Minor. It
reached Italy, and especially Rome, and the hub of North Africa,
Carthage. The martyrs in Lyons and Vienne in southern Gaul (c. 177)
may well have been Montanists (Eusebius of Caesarea: Ecclesiastical
History 5.1.3-63; 5.3.2f.).
Other key leaders in the history of Montanism include Theodotus,
who, like Montanus, was both a prophet and a trustee (epitropos;
Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 5.16.14; 5.3.4), Themiso
and Miltiades, who were among the leading figures after the death of
the Three (Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 5.18.5;
5.16.3; 5.17.1) viz. Alexander, Proclus and Praxeas.
Apparently the montanists were a very well organized independent
church with administrators and trustees. The existence of such an
officer shows that the Montanists formed a compact organization at
an early date, and that much stress was laid upon it (cf. chap. 18,
2). According to Jerome (Ep. ad Marcellam; Migne, Ep. 41. 3) the
Montanists at Pepuza had three classes of officers: first,
Patriarchs; second, Cenonæ (The Administrators), third, Bishops.
However, the spread of Montanism was not without controversy and
conflict. The ‘Anonymous’ states that, though some followed Montanus
when they first heard his prophecies, others were irritated and
ascribed it as inspired by devil and evil spirits Some bishops
stood up to rebuked him and forbid him to speak, and considered them
as the expected false prophets [cf. Matt. 7:15] (Eusebius of
Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 5.16.8).
Serapion of Antioch tells us of a bishop who (unsuccessfully) tried
to exorcize one of the prophetesses: "The blessed Sotas in Anchilus
wanted to cast out the demon of Priscilla, and the hypocrites did
not permit it" (Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 5.19.3).
We should have expected them to permit such a devastating act if
they believed it was under demonic possession they were prophecying.
Eusebius records that another bishop, Zoticus, sought to exorcize
Maximilla (Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History5.18.13).
However this attempt to exorcise extended only against the women and
not against men. Even in later period when they tried to rejoin the
mainline churches, the women had to undergo exorcism prior to
When Anonymous arrived in Ancyra, and found it "deafened" with this
New Prophecy (or "false prophecy" as he preferred to call it), he
proceeded to teach against it. "With the Lord's help," he writes,
"we lectured for many days in the Church both concerning these very
people and also on the particulars of the things put forward by
them." His work was not without success and his "opponents" and
"adversaries" were "repelled for the present." On his departure, the
elders requested him to write a book on the subject and send it to
them (Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 5.16.4-6).
Claudius Apollinarius, Bishop of Hierapolis, in about 172, also
composed a book against Montanism, as did another churchman from
Asia Minor, Apollonius, in about 210. Publius Julius, Bishop of
Dbeltum in Thrace and a large number of other bishops signed a
public letter condemning the heresy. Serapion, Bishop of Antioch (d.
211), affirmed, "This false order of the so-called new prophecy has
been abhorred by the whole brotherhood through out the world"
(Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History5.18.1; 5.19.1-4).
Some of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne and two female martyrs of
Carthage, Perpetua and Felicitas, were probably (early) Montanists.
They were, however, members in the Catholic Church also and were
esteemed very highly amongst Catholics for their fortitude.
Irenaeus of Lyon was sympathetic towards the movement. In 177,
Irenaeus (then a presbyter of the Catholic Church) brought a letter
from the Church in Gaul to Eleutherus the Roman Bishop, advocating
peace concerning Montanism (Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical
History 5.3.4). Whether it was Eleutherus who counselled peace, we
do know that one Bishop of Rome was not ill-disposed towards it. In
the beginning of his work against Praxeas (a modalistic monarchian
and an anti-Montanist), Tertullian, the powerful advocate of
“For the same man [i.e., Praxeas], when the bishop of Rome at that
time had already acknowledged the prophecies of Montanus, Priscilla
and Maximilla, and on the basis of that acknowledgment had brought
peace to the churches of Asia and Phrygia, by making false
assertions about the prophets themselves and their Churches, and by
bring forward the views of his predecessors, forced him both to
recall the letter of peace which had already been sent and to desist
from his intention of admitting the gifts” (Against Praxeas 1).
The anonymous writer admits that he has only an uncertain report
for the story that Montanus and Maximilla both hanged themselves,
and that Themison was carried into the air by a devil, flung down,
and so died. "The Anonymous" says:
“They say, at least, that this happened thus. But not having seen
them ourselves we do not claim to have any knowledge of such things,
my friend, for perhaps Montanus and Theodotus and the above
mentioned woman died in this way, but perhaps they did not”.
Evidently the opponents of Montanus heaped up gossips and hatred
which was generated by the church authorities against the new
phenomena in the church. We could probably see the same reaction
even today towards the neo-montanists and charismatics. These
statements remain as the expression of prejudice against Montanians
by the main church people.
Themiso seems to have been the head of the Montanists after
Montanus. Before the end of the 2nd cent. Montanist teachers had
made their way as far as Antioch; for Serapion, the bishop there,
wrote against them, copying the letter of Apolinarius. It is through
Serapion that Eusebius seems to have known this letter.
For the following years, "it may be reasonably supposed" that at
Rome the New Prophecy "remained in an ambiguous position, disowned
and yet not formally and officially condemned." The debate
concerning the acceptability of Montanism continued to the time of
"pope" Zephyrinus (199-217). After a sharp controversy between the
Montanist, Proclus, and the churchman, Gaius, in which the two men
debated in writing, Montanism was officially rejected in Rome
(Eusebius of Caesarea:Ecclesiastical History 2.25.5-7; 6.20.3).
“Was the Church Right to Condemn Montanism?” by Angus Stewart)
An inscriptions in the Tembris valley of northern Phrygia, dated
between 249 and 279, openly proclaim their allegiance to Montanism.
Eventually Montanism was condemned by the bishop of Rome, and the
Montanists were pushed out. They lingered on in Asia Minor for
Early in the 3rd cent. the church had made converts enough from
Montanists born in the sect for the question to arise, On what terms
were converts to be received who had had no other than Montanist
baptism? Matter and form were perfectly regular; for in all
essential points of doctrine these sectaries agreed with the church.
But it was decided, at a council held at Iconium, to recognize no
baptism given outside the church. This we learn from the letter to
Cyprian by Firmilian of Caesarea in Cappadocia. This council, and
one which made a similar decision at another Phrygian town, Synnada,
are mentioned also by. Dionysius of Alexandria (Eus. vii. 7).
Firmilian speaks as if he had been present at the Iconium council,
which may be dated c. 230.
So entirely had the Catholics ceased to regard the Montanists as
Christian brethren that, as stated by the Anonymous, when
persecution by the common enemy threw confessors from both bodies
together, the orthodox persevered till their final martyrdom in
refusing to hold intercourse with their Montanist fellow-sufferers;
dreading to hold any friendship with the lying spirit who animated
them. Epiphanius states that in his time the sect had many adherents
in Phrygia, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Cilicia, and a considerable
number in Constantinople.
The formal rejection of Montanism by the Roman church was followed
by a public disputation between the Montanist teacher Proclus, and
Caius, a leading Roman presbyter. Eusebius, who read the record of
it, says it took place under Zephyrinus.
In AD 250 Emperor Decius ordered everyone in the Roman Empire to
perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the
Emperor. The edict ordered that the sacrifices be performed in the
presence of a Roman magistrate, and a signed and witnessed
certificate be issued to that effect. It was the first time that
Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between
their religious beliefs and death. Till the time of the Decian
persecution starting AD 250 they could meet for worship, and, even
when few in number, keep together; but Constantine's edict killed
all the weaker sects, and among them the Montanists, everywhere
except in Phrygia and neighbouring districts, where they were still
numerous in Sozomen's time. Unlike Scythia, where one bishop ruled
over the whole province, among these Phrygian heretics every village
had its bishop. At last the orthodox zeal of Justinian took measures
to crush out the remains of the sect in Phrygia, and the Montanists
in despair gathered with wives and children into their places of
worship, set them on fire, and there perished (Procop. Hist. Arc.
“Tertullianist sect survived him and its remnants were reconciled to
the Church by St. Augustine (Hær., lxxxvi).
A group of "Tertullianists" continued to exist at Carthage. The
anonymous author of Praedestinatus records that a preacher came to
Rome in 388 where he made many converts and obtained the use of a
church for his congregation on the grounds that the martyrs to whom
it was dedicated had been Montanists. He was obliged to flee after
the victory of Theodosius I. Augustine records that the
Tertullianist group dwindled to almost nothing in his own time, and
finally was reconciled to the church and handed over their basilica
About 392-4 an African lady, Octaviana, wife of Hesperius, a
favorite of the Duke Arbogastes and the usurper Maximus, brought to
Rome a Tertullianist priest who raved as if possessed. He obtained
the use of the church of Sts. Processus and Martinianus on the Via
Aurelia, but was turned out by Theodosius, and he and Octaviana were
heard of no more.
In the sixth century,
at the orders of the emperor Justinian, John of Ephesus led an
expedition to Pepuza to destroy the Montanist shrine there, which
was based around the tombs of Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla.
The sect persisted probably
into the eighth century.
The Columbia Encyclopedia claims that “in isolated areas of Phrygia,
where it [Montanism] continued to the 7th cent.”
Epiphanius distinguished a sect of Montanists as Pepuzians or
Quintillians (he calls Priscilla also Quintilla). He says “they had
some foolish sayings which gave thanks to Eve for eating of the tree
of knowledge. They used to sleep at Pepuza in order to see Christ as
Priscilla had done. Often in their church seven virgins would enter
with lamps, dressed in white, to prophesy to the people, whom by
their excited action they would move to tears. These heretics were
said to have women for their bishops and priests, in honor of Eve.
They were called "Artotyrites", because their sacrament was of bread
Evidently they made up imaginary stories to belittle them. One such
story is that the Montanists (or at least the Pepuzians) on a
certain feast took a baby child whom they stuck all over with brazen
pins. They used the blood to make cakes for sacrifice. If the child
died it was looked upon as a martyr; if it lived, as a high-priest.
This story was no doubt a pure invention, and was especially denied
in the "De Ecstasi" of Tertullian. An absurd nickname for the sect
was Tascodrugitoe, from Phrygian words meaning peg and nose, because
they were said to put their forefinger up their nose when praying
"in order to appear dejected and pious" (Epiphanius, Hær., xlviii,
It is interesting to take St. Jerome's account, written in 384, of
the doctrines of Montanism as he believed them to be in his own time
(Ep., xli). He describes them as:
in their idea of the Trinity,
forbidding second marriage,
observing three Lents "as though three Saviours had suffered".
bishops they have "Cenones" (probably not koinonoi, but a Phrygian
above these at Pepuza.
close the door of the Church to almost every sin.
say that God, not being able to save the world by Moses and the
Prophets, took flesh of the Virgin Mary, and in Christ, His Son,
preached and died for us. And because He could not accomplish the
salvation of the world by this second method, the Holy Spirit
descended upon Montanus, Prisca, and Maximilla, giving them the
plenitude which St. Paul had not (1 Corinthians 13:9).
St. Jerome refuses to believe the story of the blood of a baby; but
his account is already exaggerated beyond what the Montanists would
have admitted that they held. Origen ("Ep. ad Titum" in "Pamph.
Apol.", I fin.) is uncertain whether they are schismatics or
heretics. St. Basil is amazed that Dionysius of Alexandria admitted
their baptism to be valid (Ep., clxxxii).
to Philastrius (Hær., xlix) they baptized the dead.
(xviii) tells us that they observed Easter on 6 April or on the
of Constantinople (P.G., XCVIII, 44) says they taught eight heavens
and eight degrees of damnation.
The Christian emperors from Constantine onwards made laws against
them, which were scarcely put into execution in Phrygia (Sozomen,
II, xxxii). But gradually they became a small and secret sect. The
bones of Montanus were dug up in 861. The numerous Montanist
writings (bibloi apeiroi, "Philosophumena", VIII, xix) are all lost.
It seems that a certain Asterius Urbanus made a collection of the
prophecies (Eusebius, V, xvi, 17).” (Catholic
Montanus was eventually condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431
AD. But isolated churches of Montanism survived even upto 8th century
AD. Did they really die there?
Most of our information on the movement is through three major
Eusebius of Caesarea, Epiphanius Bishop of Salamis, and Tertullian.
The first two were very negative and wrote on them in total
vitriolic terms while Tertullian defended them.
TIME LINE OF MONTANISM
c. 157 AD.
Montanus begins prophesying that the Heavenly Jerusalem will soon
descend in Phrygia, in Asia Minor
Montanism develops ecstatic and ascetic practices. Eusebius fixes
the rise of the movement in the year 172, and it is possible that
this statement was based upon a knowledge of the time of Gratus'
Around 170: Pope Eleutherus expresses favourable
thoughts concerning the
Irenaeus (then a presbyter) brought a letter from the Church in Gaul
Eleutherus the Roman Bishop, advocating peace
Around 177: Church leaders chose to excommunicate
the Montanists, making
Montanism a separate sect with its seat of
government at Pepuza.
c. 190 AD .
Montanism condemned by church councils in Asia Minor
Reports of a Montanist group in Rome.
c. 207 AD.
Tertullian converts to Montanism
3rd century: Montanism becomes an important sect in
c.220 AD Tertullian
breaks with the Montanists, founding his own sect, that would
survive into the 5th century.
c 230 AD. Iconium
council, Synod of Synnada (rejection of Baptism of Montanists)
Emperor Decius Persecution
c. 400 AD.
Montanism wanes but survives in pockets
Around 400: According to St. Augustine, Montanism sees a rapid
decline, many congregations loosing members, abandoning their
buildings to the Roman Catholic Church, and reconciling with it.
Still, some congregations would survive.
Council of Ephesus
483 - 565 AD Persecution
Middle 6th c:
Byzantine emperor, Justinian 1, imposes strict regulations on the
and other groups deemed heretical. He sends an expedition to Pepuza
todestroy the Montanist shrine there.
Byzantine emperor, Leo 3, orders that Montanists, as well as Jews,
baptized by force if necessary
Montanism survived into the 800s in various pockets throughout
Europe and Middle East. It may have been a powerful force in the
formation of Sufism at the time of Islamic expansion.
Last records of Montanists, then only living in isolated