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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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PRISCILLIANISM

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.