Cambrai, Sect in

Cambrai, Sect In.

In the early part of the 11th century a Christian sect was discovered in the diocese of Cambrai, in the districts of Arras and Liege, which was supposed to have had its origin in the teaching of Gundulf, an Italian, and from some of its strange doctrines was thought to have some connection with certain Oriental sects. They rejected marriage, and, held that a state: of celibacy was indispensable to a participation in the kingdom of heaven. They alleged that the disciples of Christ, both male and female, ought to live together only in spiritual fellowship. They also held the utter inefficacy of mere outward sacraments to purify the heart. Neander says, "To show the inefficacy of baptism they pointed to the immoral lives of the clergy who performed the ceremony, to the immoral lives of the persons baptized, and to the fact that in the children whom baptism was performed not one of the conditions was to be found upon which such efficacy must depend- no consciousness, no will, no faith, no confession. The tenets which they had received from Gundulf agreed in all respects, as they affirmed, with the doctrines of Christ and of the apostles. They were as follows: to forsake the world, to overcome the flesh, to support one's self by the labor of one's own hands, to injure no one, to show love to all the brethren. Whoever practiced these needed no baptism; where these failed, baptism could not supply their place. They were also opposed to the worship of saints and relics, and ridiculed the stories told about the wonders performed by them. But it is singular to observe that they at the same time held to the worship of the apostles and martyrs, which probably they interpreted, however, in accordance with. their other doctrines, and in a different: manner from what was customary in the Church." They were opposed to the worship of the cross. and of images, and had no reverence for churches as such, claiming that "the church is nothing but a pile of stones heaped together; the church has no advantage whatever over any hut where the divine Being is worshipped." Those who held these views were early arrested and brought to trial, but succeeded in explaining their faith to the satisfaction of the bishop. After this they increased to considerable numbers, and the archbishop assembled a synod at Arras in 1025, before which the arrested members were compelled to appear. Here they were obliged to subscribe a recantation on the cross, but the only effect was to make them more cautious in their teachings. Towards the end of the 11th century a sect of this kind. once more made its appearance in the same locality. Their leader, a man named Ramihed, although it was impossible to convict him of heresy, was burned to death in an old hut, for charging the priests with immorality. The persecution to which the leaders of the sect were subjected tended greatly to increase its numbers, and to give it such importance and permanence that in the 12th century it was still found in many towns of the district. .See Neander, Hist. of the Church, iii, 597 sq.

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