Apostolici, or Apostolic Brothers

Apostolici, or Apostolic Brothers

1. a sect of heretics mentioned by "St. Augustine (De Haeres. 40), who says that they arrogated to themselves the title of apostolici, because they refused to admit to their communion all persons using marriage, or having property of their own; not that they were heretical he says, for abstaining from these things, but because they held that those persons had no hope of salvation who did not do so. They were similar to the Encratites, and were also called Apotactite.

2. A sect with this name arose in the twelfth century, who condemned marriage and infant baptism, also purgatory, prayer for the dead, the invocation of saints, the power of the pope, etc. Many of them were put to death at Cologne (Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 12, pt. 2, ch. 5, § 15).

3. Another apostolic brotherhood was founded by Gerhard Segarelli, of Parma, about A.D. 1260. This brotherhood Pope Nicolas IV endeavored to suppress by various decrees of 1286 and 1290. No heresy of doctrine was proved against the founder; and his only profession was a desire to restore apostolic simplicity in religion. He was imprisoned and banished, but nevertheless his adherents spread through Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. They went about accompanied by women singing, and preaching especially against the corruptions of the clergy. In 1294 two brothers and two sisters were burnt alive at Parma. Segarelli abjured his heresy, but was burnt in 1300 for having relapsed. From, this time Dolcino of Milan became the head of this party, who predicted the sudden downfall of the Romish Church. Dolcino, in 1304, fortified, with 1400 followers, a mountain in the diocese of Novara, and plundered, for his support, the adjacent country. In 1306 he fortified the mountain Zebello, in the diocese of Vercelli, and fought against the troops of the bishop until he was compelled by famine to surrender in 1307. Dolcino and his companion, Margaretha of Trent, were burnt, with many of their followers. SEE DULCINISTS. These Apostolici rejected the authority of the pope, oaths, capital punishments, etc. Some Apostolic Brothers are mentioned, A.D. 1311, near Spoleto, and A.D. 1320, in the south of France. The Synod of Lavaur, 1368, mentions them for the last time. The sect continued in Germany down to the time of Boniface IX. Mosheim published an account of them in three books (Helinstadt, 1746, 4to). — Murd. Mosheim, Church Hist. cent. 13, ch. 5; Landon. Eccl. Dict. 1, 455; Hase, Ch. Hist. § 294.

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