Roman Emperors Impose Penalties on Eunomian and Montanist Heretics

Roman Emperors Impose Penalties on Eunomian and Montanist Heretics

Emperor Honorius
Source: Wikipedia

Roman emperors Arcadius and Honorius issue a new law imposing harsh penalties on Eunomian and Montanist heretics.

The Anomeans (Also known as Eunomians after one of their leaders, Eunomius of Cyzicus) belong to an Arian sect that teaches that Jesus possessed a completely different nature from God. The label Anomoean comes from the Greek for "not similar".

Montanism, named after its founder Montanus, is generally orthodox in its beliefs but promotes a more spontaneous worship style which relies upon visits from the Holy Spirit as well as a very conservative standard of personal morality. There are strong parallels between Montanism and Pentecostalism.

This new Roman law states:

"The clerics of the Eunomian and the Montanist superstitions shall be expelled from the association and intercourse of all municipalities and cities. If they dwell in the country and should be proved either to assemble the people or to participate in any assemblies, they shall be deported for life.

Further, the procurator of the property shall suffer the supreme penalty, and the owner shall be deprived of the property, if these unholy and condemned meetings occur with their knowledge and connivance.

If, indeed, after the formal publication of this order, these heretics are apprehended in any city whatsoever or should be proved to have entered any house for the purpose of performing their superstitious rites, their goods shall be confiscated and they themselves shall suffer the supreme penalty. The house which they have entered shall be confiscated without delay, unless the heretics are immediately ejected and reported to the authorities.

We command the books containing the doctrine and matter of all their crimes shall immediately be sought out and produced and be consumed be immediately consumed by fire under the supervision of judges.

If anyone is convicted of hiding these books under any pretext or fraud and not delivering them to the authorities, they shall suffer capital punishment for being a retainer of noxious books and writings and guilty of the crime of magic." [CTh 16.5.34]
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