04 June 2003, 04:22

Pavlikians

Pavlikians (Greek Paulikianoi, probably coming from the name of apostle Paul) - participants of a big medieval heretic movement in Christianity.

The heresy of Pavlikians appeared in the middle of the VII century in the east of Byzantine empire (in Western Armenia). The founder of the movement was an Armenian Constantine, later he took the name Sylvan.

In the beginning of the VIII century Pavlikian movement spread in the Eastern Armenia as well, and in Asia Minor of Byzantium. The main part of Pavlikians were farmers and partly the lower strata of urban population. The movement was anti-feudal, was against enslavement, against the pressure of the state. By the middle of the VIII century in Armenia Pavlikian movement was also a liberation movement against the Arab Caliphate.

Maniheism, mazdakism influenced the formation of the religious-philosophical doctrine of Pavlikians. Pavlikians are dualists by their philosophical theory. They had the god of good (heavenly father) and the god of evil (Satan), Christ was considered to be one of the angels and the son of the god of good.

According to the Doctrine of Pavlikians after the god of evil is destroyed (the creator of the visible world and the people), the power of the god of good will spread in the world. Pavlikians rejected the cult of the Virgin, prophets and saints, church and the clergy and especially the monkhood. They considered the Holy book only the New Testament ( without the gospel of Apostle Peter). The doctrine of Pavlikians was formed in the 1st half of the IX century by heresiarch (the head of heretics) Sergi-Tikhik.

Since the middle of the IX century Pavlikians switched to open struggle, to an armed uprising against Byzantian power; at that period the military leaders of Pavlikians were Karveas and Khrisokhir. Pavlikians formed their state with a capital Tefrika In Asia Minor on the Arab-Byzantian border. With Karveas and Khrisokhir at the head they invaded the inner districts of Byzantium, got up to Nikea and Nikomedia, Efes. In 872 Byzantian army defeated Pavlikians near Vafiriak, Khrisokhir perished in battle; in 878 Byzantians occupied Tefrika. Surviving Pavlikians found safety in Armenia, there Tondrakis became their followers (in Byzantian sources they are often called Pavlikians). In the VIII-IX centuries Pavlikians were often moved to the Balkans by the government of Byzantium (mainly to Philippopol). There they played an important role in forming of the so-called Bogomilstvo.

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