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A dualistic sect that flourished from the seventh to the eleventh centuries in the Byzantine Empire. the origin of the name is uncertain, but was probably derived from the affinity to Paul of Samosata, the third-century heretical Bishop of Antioch. They held that there are two ultimate sources of creation, a good deity who is Ruler of heaven and made human souls, and an evil god who rules the material world and human bodies. Holding all matter evil, they rejected the Church's redemption through Christ's bodily death on the Cross, opposed images of Christ crucified, and substituted instead the book of the Gospels. Their dualistic doctrine led to grave moral disorders because whatever evil was committed by the body was attributed to the evil deity whose power was irresistible. Begun by Mananali in A.D. 657, the movement persisted until about 1050. Many of its ideas entered other religious groups, notably the Albigensians. In politics they were more favorable to the Saracens than loyal to Rome, and contributed to the spread of Islam.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.