Montanism /ˈmɒntəˌnɪzəm/, known by its adherents as the New Prophecy, was an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century, later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus /mɒnˈteɪnəs/.

Montanism held similar views about the basic tenets of Christian doctrine to those of the wider Christian Church, but it was labelled a heresy for its belief in new prophetic revelations. The prophetic movement called for a reliance on the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit and a more conservative personal ethic. Parallels have been drawn between Montanism and modern-day movements such as Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement.[1]

It originated in Phrygia, a province of Asia Minor, and flourished throughout the region, leading to the movement being referred to elsewhere as "Cataphrygian" (meaning it was "from Phrygia") or simply as "Phrygian".[2] It spread rapidly to other regions in the Roman Empire before Christianity was generally tolerated or legal. It persisted in some isolated places into the 6th century.


Scholars debate as to when Montanus first began his prophetic activity, having chosen dates varying from c. AD 135 to as late as AD 177.[3][4] Montanus was a recent convert when he first began prophesying, supposedly during the proconsulate of Gratus in a village in Mysia named Ardabau; no proconsul and village so named have been identified, however.[5] Some accounts claim that before his conversion to Christianity, Montanus was a priest of Apollo or Cybele.[6][a] He believed he was a prophet of God and that the Paraclete spoke through him.

Montanus proclaimed the towns of Pepuza and Tymion in west-central Phrygia as the site of the New Jerusalem, making the larger - Pepuza - his headquarters.[8] Phrygia as a source for this new movement was not arbitrary. Hellenization never fully took root in Phrygia, unlike many of the surrounding Eastern regions of the Roman Empire. This sense of difference, while simultaneously having easy access to the rest of the Mediterranean Christian world, encouraged the foundation of this separate sect of Christianity.[9]

Montanus had two female colleagues, Prisca (sometimes called Priscilla, the diminutive form of her name) and Maximilla, who likewise claimed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Their popularity even exceeded Montanus' own.[10] "The Three" spoke in ecstatic visions and urged their followers to fast and to pray, so that they might share these revelations. Their followers claimed they received the prophetic gift from the prophets Quadratus and Ammia of Philadelphia, figures believed to have been part of a line of prophetic succession stretching all the way back to Agabus (1st century AD) and to the daughters of Philip the Evangelist.[11] In time, the New Prophecy spread from Montanus's native Phrygia across the Christian world, to Africa and to Gaul.


The response to the New Prophecy split the Christian communities, and the proto-orthodox clergy mostly fought to suppress it. Opponents believed that evil spirits possessed the Phrygian prophets, and both Maximilla and Priscilla were the targets of failed exorcisms.[12] The churches of Asia Minor pronounced the prophecies profane and excommunicated New Prophecy adherents.[13] Around 177, Apollinarius, Bishop of Hierapolis, presided over a synod which condemned the New Prophecy.[14] The leaders of the churches of Lyons and Vienne in Gaul responded to the New Prophecy in 177. Their decision was communicated to the churches in Asia and Pope Eleuterus, but it is not known what this consisted of, only that it was "prudent and most orthodox".[15] It is likely they called for moderation in dealing with the movement.

There was real doubt at Rome, and its bishop (either Eleuterus or Victor I) even wrote letters in support of Montanism, although he was later persuaded by Praxeas to recall them.[16][17] In 193, an anonymous writer found the church at Ancyra in Galatia torn in two, and opposed the "false prophecy" there.[18]

Eventually, Montanist teachings came to be regarded as heresy by the orthodox Church for a number of reasons. The clash of basic beliefs between the movement's proponents and the greater Christian world was likely enough for such conflict to occur. Additionally, in the opinion of anti-Montanists, the movement's penchant for dramatic public displays by its adherents brought unwanted attention to the still fledgling religion. Thus, fears concerning the appearance of Montanist practices to their non-Christian rulers fueled anti-Montanist sentiment.[19] The imperial government carried out sporadic executions of Christians under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, circa AD 161-180, which coincides with the spread of Montanism.

There was never a uniform excommunication of New Prophecy adherents, and in many places they maintained their standing within the orthodox community. This was the case at Carthage. While not without tension, the church there avoided schism over the issue. There were women prophesying at Carthage, and prophecy was considered a genuine charism. It was the responsibility of the council of elders to test all prophecy and to determine genuine revelation.[20] Tertullian, undoubtedly the best-known defender of the New Prophecy, believed that the claims of Montanus were genuine beginning c. 207.[21] He believed in the validity of the New Prophecy and admired the movement's discipline and ascetic standards. A common misconception is that Tertullian decisively left the orthodox church and joined a separate Montanist sect; in fact, he remained an early-catholic Christian.[21][22]

Although what became the orthodox Christian church prevailed against Montanism within a few generations, inscriptions in the Tembris valley of northern Phrygia, dated between 249 and 279, openly proclaim allegiance to the New Prophecy. Speros Vryonis considers these inscriptions remarkable in that they are the only set of inscriptions which openly reveal the religious affiliations of the deceased before the period of toleration, when Christians dared not to do so.[23]

A letter of Jerome to Marcella, written in 385, refutes the claims of Montanists that had been troubling her.[7] A group of "Tertullianists" may have continued 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.[24] He was obliged to flee after the victory of Theodosius I.

In his own time, Augustine (354 – 430) records that the Tertullianist group had dwindled to almost nothing and, finally, was reconciled to the church and handed over its basilica.[25] It is not certain whether these Tertullianists were in all respects "Montanist" or not. In the 6th century, on the orders of the Emperor Justinian, John of Ephesus led an expedition to Pepuza to destroy the Montanist shrine there, which was based on the tombs of Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla.

A sect called "Montanist" existed in the 8th century; the Emperor Leo III ordered the conversion and baptism of its members. These Montanists refused, locked themselves in their houses of worship, set the buildings on fire and perished.[23]


Because much of what is known about Montanism comes from anti-Montanist sources, it is difficult to know what they actually believed and how those beliefs differed from the Christian mainstream of the time.[26] The New Prophecy was also a diverse movement, and what Montanists believed varied by location and time.[27] Montanism was particularly influenced by Johannine literature, especially the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse of John (also known as the Book of Revelation).[28]

In John's Gospel, Jesus promised to send the Paraclete or Holy Spirit, from which Montanists believed their prophets derived inspiration. In the Apocalypse, John was taken by an angel to the top of a mountain where he sees the New Jerusalem descend to earth. Montanus identified this mountain as being located in Phrygia near Pepuza.[29] Followers of the New Prophecy called themselves spiritales ("spiritual people") in contrast to their opponents whom they termed psychici ("carnal, natural people").[30]

Ecstatic prophecy

As the name "New Prophecy" implied, Montanism was a movement focused around prophecy, specifically the prophecies of the movement's founders which were believed to contain the Holy Spirit's revelation for the present age.[31] Prophecy itself was not controversial within 2nd-century Christian communities.[32][33] However, the New Prophecy, as described by Eusebius of Caesarea, departed from Church tradition:[34]

And he [Montanus] became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.[35]

The Montanist prophets did not speak as messengers of God but were described as possessed by God while being unable to resist.[15] A prophetic utterance by Montanus described this possessed state: "Lo, the man is as a lyre, and I fly over him as a pick. The man sleepeth, while I watch." Thus, the Phrygians were seen as false prophets because they acted irrationally and were not in control of their senses.[36]

A criticism of Montanism was that its followers claimed their revelation received directly from the Holy Spirit could supersede the authority of Jesus or Paul the Apostle or anyone else.[37] In some of his prophecies, Montanus apparently, and somewhat like the oracles of the Greco-Roman world, spoke in the first person as God: "I am the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."[38]

Many understood this to be Montanus claiming himself to be God. However, scholars agree that these words of Montanus exemplify the general practice of religious prophets to speak as the passive mouthpieces of the divine, and to claim divine inspiration (similar to modern prophets stating "Thus saith the Lord"). That practice occurred in Christian as well as in pagan circles with some degree of frequency.[39][40]

Other beliefs

Other beliefs and practices (or alleged beliefs and practices) of Montanism are as follows:

  • In On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Tertullian wrote that the Holy Spirit through the New Prophecy cleared up the ambiguities of scripture.[41][42] The new prophecies did not contain new doctrinal content, but mandated strict ethical standards.[43] To the mainstream church, Montanists appeared to believe that the new prophecies superseded and fulfilled the doctrines proclaimed by the Apostles.[15]
  • The power of apostles and prophets to forgive sins.[44] Adherents also believed that martyrs and confessors also possessed this power. The mainstream church believed that God forgave sins through bishops and presbyters (and those martyrs recognized by legitimate ecclesiastical authority).[45]
  • They recognized women as bishops and presbyters.[46]
  • Women and girls were forbidden to wear ornaments, and virgins were required to wear veils.[47]
  • An emphasis on ethical rigorism and asceticism. These included prohibitions against remarriage following divorce or the death of a spouse. They also emphasized keeping fasts strictly and added new fasts.[48]
  • Montanus provided salaries for those who preached his doctrine, which orthodox writers claimed was promoting gluttony.[49]
  • Some of the Montanists were also "Quartodeciman" ("fourteeners"), preferring to celebrate Easter on the Hebrew calendar date of 14 Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it landed on. Mainstream Christians held that Easter should be commemorated on the Sunday following 14 Nisan.[50] However, uniformity in this matter had not yet been fully achieved when the Montanist movement began; Polycarp, for example, was a quartodeciman, and St. Irenaeus convinced Victor, then Bishop of Rome, to refrain from making the issue of the date of Easter a divisive one.[51] Later, the Catholic Church established a fixed way of calculating Easter according to the Julian (and later the Gregorian) calendar.

See also


  1. ^ Claim made in Dialogue Between a Montanist and an Orthodox (4.4) and possibly alluded to by St. Jerome[7]


  1. ^ Robeck, Cecil M, Jr (2010), "Montanism and Present Day 'Prophets'", Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, 32: 413, doi:10.1163/157007410x531934.
  2. ^ Speros Vryonis, The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor: and the process of Islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century, (Berkeley: University of California, 1971), p. 36
  3. ^ de Labriolle, Pierre (1913). La crise montaniste. Bibliothèque de la Fondation Thiers (in French). 31. Leroux. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ Trevett 1996, p. 2–7.
  5. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 12; 19 note 8.
  6. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 19 note 2.
  7. ^ a b Jerome 385, Letter 41.
  8. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 15–18.
  9. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 44.
  10. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 89.
  11. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 37, 40–41 notes 6–8.
  12. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 31–32.
  13. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 25.
  14. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 21–23.
  15. ^ a b c Chapman, John (1911). "Montanists". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 10. Robert Appleton. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  16. ^ Tertullian, Adversus Praxean, c. 1.
  17. ^ Trevett 1996, pp. 58–59.
  18. ^ Quoted by Eusebius 5.16.4
  19. ^ Trevett 1996, p. 43.
  20. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 128.
  21. ^ a b Tabbernee 2009, p. 98 note 1.
  22. ^ Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Present Day, Prince Press, 1984, Vol. 1, pp. 159-161• Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, The University of Chicago Press, 1971, Vol. 1, pp. 181-199
  23. ^ a b Vryonis, Decline of Medieval Hellenism, p. 57 and notes.
  24. ^ Tertullian, Praedestinatus, v. 1 c. 86.
  25. ^ Tertullian, De haeresibus.
  26. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 1–3.
  27. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 118 note 5.
  28. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 20 note 21.
  29. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 67.
  30. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 110.
  31. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 68.
  32. ^ Ash, James L, Jr (June 1976), "The Decline of Ecstatic Prophecy in the Early Church", Theological Studies, 37 (2): 236.
  33. ^ Jerome 385, Letter 41.2: "we tell them [Montanists] that we do not so much reject prophecy—for this is attested by the passion of the Lord—as refuse to receive prophets whose utterances fail to accord with the Scriptures old and new".
  34. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 12, 37.
  35. ^ of Caesarea, Eusebius, "16", Ecclesiastical History, Book 5.
  36. ^ Epiphanius, Against Heresies, 48.3–4.
  37. ^ Placher, William C. A History of Christian Theology: an introduction. Westminster John Knox Press, 1983, p. 50.
  38. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 12.
  39. ^ Pelikan 1956, p. 101.
  40. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 93.
  41. ^ Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 63.9.
  42. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 111.
  43. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 129.
  44. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 123.
  45. ^ Tabbernee 2009, p. 91.
  46. ^ Epiphanius, Against Heresies, 49.2.5.
  47. ^  Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Montanism" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company.
  48. ^ Tabbernee 2009, pp. 13–15.
  49. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 5, 18
  50. ^ Trevett 1996, p. 202.
  51. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 5, 23-25.


  • Jerome, Schaff (ed.), To Marcella (Letter) (xli), CCEL
  • Labriolle, Pierre (1913), La Crise Montaniste (in French), Paris: Leroux.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav (1956), "Montanism and Its Trinitarian Significance", Church History, Cambridge University Press, 25 (2): 99–109, doi:10.2307/3161195.
  • Tabbernee, William (2009), Prophets and Gravestones: An Imaginative History of Montanists and Other Early Christians, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, ISBN 978-1-56563-937-9.
  • Trevett, Christine (1996), Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophecy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-41182-3
  • Thonemann (ed), Peter (2013), Roman Phrygia: Culture and Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-107-03128-9CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

Further reading

  • Groh, Dennis E. 1985. "Utterance and exegesis: Biblical interpretation in the Montanist crisis," in Groh and Jewett, The Living Text (New York) pp 73–95.
  • Heine, R.E., 1987 "The Role of the Gospel of John in the Montanist controversy," in Second Century v. 6, pp 1–18.
  • Heine, R.E., 1989. "The Gospel of John and the Montanist debate at Rome," in Studia Patristica 21, pp 95–100.
  • Metzger, Bruce (1987), The Canon of the New Testament. Its Origin, Development, and Significance, Oxford University Press, pp. 99–106, ISBN 0-19826954-4.
  • McGowan, Andrew B (2006), "Tertullian and the 'Heretical' Origins of the 'Orthodox' Trinity", Journal of Early Christian Studies, 14: 437–57, doi:10.1353/earl.2007.0005.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav (1977), The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Christian Doctrine, I The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, 100–600, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Tabbernee, William (1997), Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism, Patristic Monograph Series (16), Georgia: Mercer University Press.
  • Hirschmann, Vera-Elisabeth (2005), Horrenda Secta. Untersuchungen zum fruеhchristlichen Montanismus und seinen Verbindungen zur paganen Religion Phrygiens (in German), Stuttgart: Franz Steiner
  • Butler, Rex (2006), The New Prophecy and "New Visions": Evidence of Montanism in The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas, Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.

External links


Apollinarism or Apollinarianism is a Christological concept proposed by Apollinaris of Laodicea (died 390) that argues that Jesus had a normal human body but a divine mind instead of a regular human soul. It was deemed heretical in 381 and virtually died out within the following decades.

Apollonius of Ephesus

Apollonius of Ephesus (Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος; fl. 180–210) was an anti-Montanist Greek ecclesiastical writer, probably from Asia Minor.

He was thoroughly acquainted with the Christian history of Ephesus and the doings of the Phrygian Montanists. The unknown author of Praedestinatus says he was a Bishop of Ephesus. However, the lack of support from other Christian writers makes this testimony doubtful. He undertook the defense of the Church against Montanus, and followed in the footsteps of Zoticus of Comanus, Julian of Apamaea, Sotas of Anchialus, and Apollinaris of Hierapolis.

His work is cited by Eusebius, and is praised by St. Jerome, but has been lost, and not even its title is known. It most likely showed the falsity of the Montanist prophecies, recounted the unedifying lives of Montanus and his prophetesses. It also gave currency to the report of their suicide by hanging, and threw light on some of the adepts of the sect, including the apostate Themison, and the pseudo-martyr Alexander.

Themison, having evaded martyrdom by means of money, posed as an innovator, addressing a letter to his partisans after the manner of the Apostles, and finally blasphemed Christ and the Church. Alexander, a notorious thief, publicly condemned at Ephesus, had himself adored as a god.

Based on Eusebius, it is known that Apollonius spoke in his work of Zoticus, who had tried to exorcise Maximilla, but had been prevented by Themison, and of the martyr-Bishop Thraseas, another adversary of Montanism. He likely gave the signal in it for the movement of opposition to Montanism which the reunion of the first synods developed.

At all events, he recalls the tradition according to which Jesus had advised the Apostles not to go far from Jerusalem during the twelve years immediately following His Ascension, a tradition known to Clement of Alexandria from the apocryphal Praedicatio Petri. Moreover, he recounts the restoration to life of a dead man at Ephesus by the Apostle St. John, whose Apocalypse he knew and quotes.

He takes rank among the opponents of Montanism with the "Anonymous" of Eusebius, with Miltiades and with Apollinaris. Eusebius says his work constituted "an abundant and excellent refutation of Montanism". St. Jerome qualified it as "a lengthy and remarkable volume". It did not therefore pass unnoticed, and roused some feeling among the Montanists since Tertullian felt it necessary to reply to it.

After his six books peri ekstaseos, in which he apologized for the ecstasies into which the Montanist prophetesses fell before prophesying, Tertullian composed a seventh especially to refute Apollonius; he wrote it also in Greek for the use of the Asiatic Montanists.


Bekilli is a town and a district of Denizli Province in the inner Aegean region of Turkey. Bekilli district area neighbors the district areas of Çal and Çivril, both also depending Denizli to the west, south and east, and those of two districts of Uşak Province to the north, namely Ulubey and Karahallı.

The town of Bekilli is located midway between the province seats of Denizli and Uşak, at a distance of 82 km (51 mi) from the first and 86 km (53 mi) from the second.

The town has 11 villages. They are Bükrüce, Çamköy, Çoğaşlı, Deşdemir, Gömce, İkizbaba, Köselli, Poyrazlı, Sırıklı, Üçkuyu and Yeşiloba (also known as Medele).

The town is renowned for its vineyards and celebrates an annual wine festival. Viticulture is a principal constituent of local culture.

Until the confirmation of its site slightly north of the town and south of the present-day neighboring district center of Karahallı, at a very short distance from Bekilli, the location of Bekilli was one of the leading candidates matched with ancient Pepuza (as well as its neighboring Tymion), associated with Montanism. Nevertheless, there are interesting and yet largely unexplored traces dating from Phrygian, Lydian, Roman and early Christian and Byzantine periods within Bekilli district area itself.

Christianity in the 3rd century

Christianity in the 3rd century was largely the time of the Ante-Nicene Fathers who wrote after the Apostolic Fathers of the 1st and 2nd centuries but before the First Council of Nicaea in 325 (ante-nicene meaning before Nicaea).

In the Edict of Milan (313 AD) the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius legalised the Christian religion.

Diversity in early Christian theology

Traditionally in Christianity, orthodoxy and heresy have been viewed in relation to the "orthodoxy" as an authentic lineage of tradition. Other forms of Christianity were viewed as deviant streams of thought and therefore "heterodox", or heretical. This view was challenged by the publication of Walter Bauer's Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum ("Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity") in 1934. Bauer endeavored to rethink Early Christianity historically, independent from the views of the current church. He stated that the 2nd-century church was very diverse and included many "heretical" groups that had an equal claim to apostolic tradition. Bauer interpreted the struggle between the orthodox and heterodox to be the "mainstream" Church of Rome struggling to attain dominance. He presented Edessa and Egypt as places where the "orthodoxy" of Rome had little influence during the 2nd century. As he saw it, the theological thought of the "Orient" (in this case the Eastern Roman Empire) at the time would later be labeled "heresy". The response by modern scholars has been mixed. Some scholars clearly support Bauer's conclusions and others express concerns about his "attacking [of] orthodox sources with inquisitional zeal and exploiting to a nearly absurd extent the argument from silence." However, modern scholars have critiqued and updated Bauer's model.


Karahallı is a town and district of Uşak Province in the inner Aegean region of Turkey. Karahallı district area neighbors those of two other districts of the same province to the north, namely Ulubey and Sivaslı, and to the south those of two districts depending Denizli Province which are Çivril and Bekilli.

Karahallı center is at a distance of 62 km (39 mi) from the province center of Uşak lying to its north. The district has fourteen depending villages, namely; Alfaklar, Buğdaylı, Beki, Çoğuplu, Çokaklı, Delihıdırlı, Dumanlı, Duraklı, Külköy, Kaykıllı, Kırkyaren, Kavaklı, Karayakuplu and Paşalar.

The district area is crossed by Banaz Stream and is divided roughly equally between agricultural lands and woodland, mostly oaks.

The name of the town makes reference to its founder, the 14th century Turkmen bey Kara Halil. The township was made into a district in 1953, simultaneous to the separation of Uşak Province from Kütahya Province, and Uşak's becoming a province seat.

There is a recently built dam and its reservoir, which is arranged into a recreational area that stands out notably by the presence of an ancient bridge, possibly associated with the Lydians and the Persians, and the Royal Road, although research specific to the bridge is yet to be made. It is built over Banaz Stream (Banaz Çayı) which later joins Büyük Menderes River and the locality is called Clandras or Klandras.

The ancient site of Pepuza, proclaimed as new Jerusalem in the traditions of Montanism, sometimes referred to as the lost sect of Christianity (mid-2nd century) is located within the boundaries of Karahallı district, and is an important visitor's attraction.

Another important ancient construction is Cılandıras Bridge over Banaz Stream.

In Ottoman times, the township was an important center for textile products, made especially of wool woven following Turkish traditions. Weaving activity is still pursued in an intensive manner with the presence of more than a thousand electric power looms across the district.

Cultivation of grapes intended for production of wine in the nearby center of Bekilli is also an important economic activity.

The region of Karahallı experienced considerable levels of outside immigration in recent decades, both towards other centers of its region and towards Europe. People who originate in Karahallı and live outside the district now outnumber those living in Karahallı.

Among notable natives is Azra Akın, Miss World in 2002, herself born in the Netherlands, but whose father, the former Eskişehirspor player Nazmi Akın, is from Karahallı.

List of early Christian writers

Various Early Christian writers wrote gospels and other books, some of which were canonized as the New Testament canon developed. The Apostolic Fathers were prominent writers who are traditionally understood to have met and learned from Jesus' personal disciples. The Church Fathers are later writers with no direct connection to the disciples (other than the claim to apostolic succession). Apologists defended Christianity against its critics, especially Greek and Roman philosophers. Dates given, if not otherwise specified, are of their writings or bishopric, not of their lives.


The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and church tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."


Maximilla was a prophetess and an early advocate of Montanism, a heretical Christian sect founded in the third century A.D. by Montanus. Some scholars believe that Maximilla and Priscilla, another prophet, were actually the co-founders of Montanism. Other scholars dismiss this as unproven. Either way, it generally agreed upon that Maximilla and Priscilla provided the primary prophetic content and some of the oracles for the movement.According to the anti-Montanist polemic written by an anonymous author and preserved in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Maximilla and Priscilla were pawns of the devil who spoke and acted in “a frenzied manner.” According to their followers, Maximilla and Priscilla were prophetesses like early Christian prophetesses.While Maximilla was claiming to prophesy in Pepuza, Zoticus of Comana became resistant to her teachings and tried to refute what she said. However, he was stopped by her followers and fellow Montanists. Apolinarius of Hierapolis also claimed that a person named Julian of Apimea rebuked her.

New Jerusalem

In the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, New Jerusalem (יְהוָה שָׁמָּה, YHWH-shammah, or YHWH [is] there") is Ezekiel's prophetic vision of a city centered on the rebuilt Holy Temple, the Third Temple, to be established in Jerusalem, which would be the capital of the Messianic Kingdom, the meeting place of the twelve tribes of Israel, during the Messianic era. The prophecy is recorded by Ezekiel as having been received on Yom Kippur of the year 3372 of the Hebrew calendar.In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, the city is also called the Heavenly Jerusalem, as well as being called Zion in other books of the Christian Bible.

Passion of Saint Perpetua, Saint Felicitas, and their Companions

The Passion of Saint Perpetua, Saint Felicitas, and their Companions is one of the oldest and most notable early Christian texts. It survives in both Latin and Greek forms, and contains a first person prison diary of the young mother and martyr Perpetua. Scholars generally believe that it is authentic although in the form we have it may have been edited by others. The text also appears to contain, in his own words, the accounts of the visions of Saturus, another Christian martyred with Perpetua. An editor who states he was an eyewitness has added accounts of the martyrs' suffering and deaths. It was catalogued by the Bollandists as BHL 6633–6636. BHG 1482Perpetua and Felicity (believed to have died in 203 AD) were Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. Vibia Perpetua was a married noblewoman, said to have been 22 years old at the time of her death, and mother of an infant she was nursing. Felicity, a slave imprisoned with her and pregnant at the time, was martyred with her. They were put to death along with others at Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.

According to the passion narrative, a slave named Revocatus, his fellow slave Felicitas, the two free men Saturninus and Secundulus, and Perpetua, who were catechumens, that is, Christians being instructed in the faith but not yet baptized, were arrested and executed at the military games in celebration of the Emperor Septimius Severus's birthday. To this group was added a man named Saturus, who voluntarily went before the magistrate and proclaimed himself a Christian.


Pepuza (also spelled Pepouza) was an ancient town in Phrygia, Asia Minor (in today's Turkish district of Karahallı, Uşak Province, Aegean Region). Coordinates of the central terrasse of the settlement: UTM 35 S 0714926/4253954 (WGS-84), 38.408˚ N, 29.4615˚ E.

From the middle of the 2nd century CE to the middle of the 6th century, Pepuza was the headquarters of the ancient Christian church of Montanism, which spread all over the Roman Empire. The Montanist patriarch resided at Pepouza, and the Montanists expected the heavenly Jerusalem to descend to earth at Pepouza and the nearby town of Tymion. In late antiquity, both places attracted crowds of pilgrims from all over the Roman Empire. Women played an emancipated role in Montanism, becoming priests and also bishops. In the 6th century, this church became extinct.

Since 2001, Peter Lampe of the University of Heidelberg has directed annual archaeological campaigns in Phrygia, Turkey. During these interdisciplinary campaigns, together with William Tabbernee of Tulsa, numerous unknown ancient settlements were discovered and archaeologically documented. Two of them are the best candidates so far in the search for the identification of the two holy centers of ancient Montanism, Pepuza and Tymion. Scholars had searched for these lost sites since the 19th century.

The ancient settlement in the Karahallı area, near the village of Karayakuplu, discovered and identified as Pepuza by William Tabbernee and Peter Lampe, was settled continuously from Hellenistic times to Byzantine times. In Byzantine times, an important rock-cut monastery belonged to the town.


Phrygian can refer to:

A person from Phrygia

Phrygian cap once characteristic of the region

Phrygian language

Phrygian mode in music

Phrygian Valley, a historic location in northwestern Turkey

A follower of Montanism, an early Christian movement that originated in the region of Phrygia

Pneumatic (Gnosticism)

The pneumatics ("spiritual", from Greek πνεῦμα, "spirit") were, in Gnosticism, the highest order of humans, the other two orders being psychics and hylics ("matter"). A pneumatic saw itself as escaping the doom of the material world via the transcendent knowledge of Sophia's Divine Spark within the soul.

They conceive, then, of three kinds of men, spiritual, material, and animal . . . The material goes, as a matter of course, into corruption. The animal, if it make choice of the better part, finds repose in the intermediate place; but if the worse, it too shall pass into destruction. But they assert that the spiritual principles which have been sown by Achamoth, being disciplined and nourished here from that time until now in righteous souls (because when given forth by her they were yet but weak), at last attaining to perfection, shall be given as brides to the angels of the Saviour, while their animal souls of necessity rest for ever with the Demiurge in the intermediate place. And again subdividing the animal souls themselves, they say that some are by nature good, and others by nature evil. The good are those who become capable of receiving the [spiritual] seed [and becoming pneumatic]; the evil by nature are those who are never able to receive that seed [and become hylic].

In the New Testament a contrast is made between the psychikoi and the pneumatikoi, in the former of whom the mere animal soul predominates, the latter exhibiting the working of a higher spiritual nature (Jude 19; 1 Cor. 2:14-15; compare also 15:44-46). In the Valentinian system this contrast is sharpened, and is made to depend on an original difference of nature between the two classes of men, a mythical theory being devised which professed to account for the origin of the different elements in men's nature; the psychic element being something higher and better than the mere material element, but immeasurably inferior to the pneumatic. It may well be believed that in the language of the Gnostic sects, the "pneumatici" are "spiritual men who have attained to the perfect knowledge of God, and been initiated into these mysteries by Achamoth" herself (Adv. Haer. I. 6, 1), ordinary Christians being branded as "psychici."

Such was also the use made of the latter word by Tertullian, who in his latest works, written after his Montanism had involved him in complete separation from the church, habitually uses the word Psychici to designate those from whom he had separated.

Prisca (Prophet)

Prisca, often written in the diminutive form Priscilla, was a 2nd-century C.E. foundational leader and prophet of the religious movement known today as Montanism based in the Phrygian towns of Pepuza and Tymion. She, along with the prophets Montanus and Maximilla, proselytized a form of Christianity in which the Holy Spirit would enter the human body and speak through it.

With the exception of Tertullian, all historical information concerning her life, as well as the movement of which she was inextricably entwined, comes from extremely hostile sources written more than a century after her death.

Catholic writers in the 4th century condemned Montanism as a heresy and its female leaders as seductresses.No information exists concerning her life before her entrance into the movement. In joining the sect she was said to have abandoned her husband. Though the 4th century polemicists portrayed Montanus as the head of the sect, modern scholars debate the extent to which the three prophets shared power. In Epiphanius of Salamis’ Panarion, he subdivided adherents of the New Prophecy into many smaller categories, one of which was Priscillianists. Epiphanius defined a Priscillianist as having particular reverence for Priscilla as a spiritual leader but treated it and Montanism as interchangeable labels. In the early 3rd century, Priscilla likely took over leadership with Quintilla after the deaths of Montanus and Maximilla.

Serapion of Antioch

Serapion was a Patriarch of Antioch (191–211). He is known primarily through his theological writings, although all but a few fragments of his works have perished. His feast day is celebrated on October 30.Serapion was considered one of the chief theologians of his era.

Eusebius refers to three works of Serapion in his history, but admits that others probably existed: first is a private letter addressed to Caricus and Pontius against Montanism, from which Eusebius quotes an extract (Historia ecclesiastica V, 19), as well as ascriptions showing that it was circulated amongst bishops in Asia and Thrace; next is a work addressed to a certain Domninus, who in time of persecution abandoned Christianity for the error of "Jewish will-worship" (Hist. Eccles, VI, 12).Lastly, Eusebius quotes (vi.12.2) from a pamphlet Serapion wrote concerning the Docetic Gospel of Peter, in which Serapion presents an argument to the Christian community of Rhossus in Syria against this gospel and condemns it.Eusebius also alludes to a number of personal letters Serapion wrote to Pontius, Caricus, and others about this Gospel of Peter.

Serapion also acted (Pantaenus supported him) against the influence of Gnosticism in Osroene by consecrating Palut as bishop of Edessa, where Palut addressed the increasingly Gnostic tendencies that the churchman Bardesanes was introducing to its Christian community. He ordained Pantaenus as a Priest or Bishop in Edessa.

Serapion was succeeded as bishop of Antioch by Asclepiades (Eusebius Historia ecclesiastica VI, 11, 4).


Tymion was an ancient town in Phrygia, Asia Minor (in today's Turkish district of Karahallı, Uşak Province, Aegean Region). Its site is located at the Turkish village of Şükranje.

From the middle of the 2nd century CE to the middle of the 6th century CE, Tymion was an important town for the ancient Christian church of Montanism. The Montanists, whose church spread all over the Roman Empire, expected the New Jerusalem to descend to earth at Tymion and the nearby town of Pepuza; Pepuza was the headquarters of Montanism and the seat of the Montanist patriarch. One of the founders of Montanism, Montanus, called both towns "Jerusalem." In late antiquity, both places attracted crowds of pilgrims from all over the Roman Empire. Women played an emancipated role in Montanism. They could become priests and also bishops. In the 6th century CE, this church became extinct.

Since 2001, Peter Lampe of the University of Heidelberg has directed annual archaeological campaigns in Phrygia, Turkey. During these interdisciplinary campaigns, together with William Tabbernee of Tulsa, numerous unknown ancient settlements were discovered and archaeologically documented. Two of them are the best candidates so far in the search for the identification of the two holy centers of ancient Montanism, Pepuza and Tymion. Scholars had searched for these lost sites since the 19th century.

The archaeological site at Şükranje (Karahallı area) that Peter Lampe identified as Tymion was already settled in late Bronze and early Iron Ages. It flourished in Roman and Byzantine times as a rural town where predominantly tenant farmers lived. They worked on an imperial estate and were often oppressed by travelling magistrates or imperial slaves. In a petition, the farmers asked for help from the emperor. The emperor Septimius Severus wrote back that his procurator would support the farmers. The imperial rescript is preserved on an inscription.


Ultramontanism is a clerical political conception within the Catholic Church that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the Pope.

Middle Ages
Early modernity

Middle Ages

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