Messalians; Adelphians; Bogomili; Enthusiasts; Euchites; The Filthy
sect originating in Mesopotamia, 360. They denied that the Sacraments give
grace and declared that the only spiritual power is prayer. Prayer, they
said, drives out the evil spirit and brings into the soul the Holy Spirit,
and thus unites the soul to God and gives perfect control over the passions.
The fervor of their prayers was supposed to bring them into immediate
contact with God; so they neglected everything but prayer and conformed to
the religious and civil customs of a place only in order to escape
persecution. They said that after a period of constant prayer they saw the
Trinity; that the Three Divine Persons became one and dwelt within them; and
that they were then able to stamp upon the evil spirits that they saw
prowling about the world. On account of their belief in their possession by
the Holy Spirit, they were called Enthusiasts (Greek: enthous,
full of the god). They were also called "Praying Folk" or Euchites from the
Greek translation (euchomai, pray), of their Oriental name.
In some places in later centuries they were identified with the Marcianists
because they held some of the same doctrines. Their first leader, Adelphius,
also gave his name to the sect, sometimes called Adelphians. They
were condemned in 376 by Flavian, Bishop of Antioch; in 388 by the Synod
of Side; in 426 by a Council of Constantinople; and in 431 by the
Third General Council of Ephesus. In Armenia and Syria they were
accused of immorality, were called "The Filthy," and were banished. They
revived under the name of Bogomili but perished in the 9th century.