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Fourth- and fifth-century heresy, begun by Priscillian, who as a layman and later as bishop based his ideas on a mixture of Gnosticism and Manichaeism. He and his followers taught a Modalist doctrine of the Trinity, denied Christ's divinity and his real humanity, claimed that angels were merely emanations of the God-head, said that souls were united to bodies in punishment for their sins, so that marriage was evil, although free love was permissible. Emperor Maximus had him tried by a synod of bishops who found him guilty of practicing magic. In spite of the pleas of St. Martin of Tours, Priscillian and his followers were condemned to death.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.