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III

 HISTORY OF MONTANISM

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.
Where?
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 AD 386.

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 It (dove)

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 Father God.   

The anonymous opponent of the sect describes the method of prophecy (Eusebius, V, xvii, 2-3):

First the prophet appears distraught with terror (en parekstasei),
then follows quiet (
adeia kai aphobia, fearlessness);
beginning by studied vacancy of thought or passivity of intellect (
ekousios amathia),
he is seized by an uncontrollable madness (
akousios mania psyches).

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 man",
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.

BEFORE CHRIST 
Till AD1>>>>>>       

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 message.   

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

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 the opponents.

 

“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 Encyclopaedia)

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 rebaptism.

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 Montanism, writes:

“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).
(
http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/montanism.htm#.WMCKBBratkg “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 several centuries.   

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. 11).

“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 and cheese.” 

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, 14).

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:

Sabellians in their idea of the Trinity,

as forbidding second marriage,

as observing three Lents "as though three Saviours had suffered".

Above bishops they have "Cenones" (probably not koinonoi, but a Phrygian word) and

patriarchs above these at Pepuza.

They close the door of the Church to almost every sin.

They 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).

According to Philastrius (Hær., xlix) they baptized the dead.

Sozomen (xviii) tells us that they observed Easter on 6 April or on the following Sunday.

Germanus 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 Encyclopedia portions)

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 sources:
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

170s AD.    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' proconsulship.
                  Around 170: Pope Eleutherus expresses favourable thoughts concerning the
                  Montanists.
        

177 AD.      Irenaeus (then a presbyter) brought a letter from the Church in Gaul to
                Eleutherus the Roman Bishop, advocating peace concerning Montanism.   
                 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

2002 AD Reports of a Montanist group in Rome.
c. 207 AD.   Tertullian converts to Montanism
                 3rd century: Montanism becomes an important sect in Carthage.

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)

250 AD.      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.

431 AD.      Council of Ephesus

483 - 565 AD   Persecution under Justinian

Middle 6th c:  Byzantine emperor, Justinian 1, imposes strict regulations on the Montanists
and other groups deemed heretical. He sends an expedition to Pepuza
todestroy the Montanist shrine there.

722 AD Byzantine emperor, Leo 3, orders that Montanists, as well as Jews, shall be
baptized by force if necessary

C 800s:AD. 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.

9th century:  Last records of Montanists, then only living in isolated communities.

 

 

 

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