Hypsistarians (worshippers of the θεὸς ὕψιστος, or "Most High God," as such), a sect mentioned by Gregory of Nazianzum, whose father was a member of it before his conversion to Christianity. They are represented as combining. in their doctrines the elements of Judaism and paganism. They assigned a place to fire and light in their worship, but rejected circumcision and the worship of images; they kept the Sabbath, and abstained from the eating of certain kinds of meats. Gregory of Nyssa also mentions the Hypsistarii, to whom he gives the surname ῾Υψιστιανοί. He says that, like the Christians, they acknowledge only one God, whom they call ὕψιστον or παντοχράτορα, but are distinguished from them in not considering him as Father. All that subsequent writers have said of this sect is derived from the above statements. The Hypsistarii do not appear to have extended outside of Cappadocia, and they seem to have existed but a short time there, for no mention is made of them either before or after the 4th century. Contrary to the statement of the ancient writers, who described them as Monotheists, Bohmer concludes from the remark made by Gregory concerning his father, ὑπ᾿ εἰδώλοις πάρος ἠεν ζώων, that, though the Hypsistarii worshipped but one God, they did not formally deny the existence of more. It is not to be wondered at, in view of the scanty information we possess concerning this sect, that very great differences of opinion should exist in regard to them. Mosheim considers them as belonging to the Gnostic school; J. J. Wetstein (in Prolegom. I., N.T. p. 31, 38) and D. Harenberg consider them as identical with the Caelicol/e (q.v.), regarding them as descendants from the worshippers of Thor; others trace a resemblance between their doctrines and those of Zoroaster. That they were not a Christian sect is proved by the fact of Gregory of Nazianzum's father having belonged to it before his becoming a Christian. Ullmann considers them as Eclectics, combining the elements of Judaism with the Persian religion, while Bohmer looks upon them as identical with the Euphemites, which Neander (CG. Hist. 2, 507) also thinks probable. Their morals are represented as having been very good. See Herzog, Real- Encyclop. s.v.; Fuhrmann, Handwörterb. d. Kirchengesch. 2, 380 sq.; Walch, Hist. d. Ketzereien, 2, 180 sq.; Schröckh, Kirchengesch. 13, 278 sq.; C. Ullmann, De Hypsistariis (Heidelb. 1833); G. Bohmer, De Hypsistariis (Berol. 1834).

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