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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 120, Essay 1 – Albigensians

The Albigensians were a group of people who followed a certain worldview that seemed to match the Manichaean mindset.  This new religion and its fast growth worried Pope Innocent III.  It worried him so much that in 1209, he ordered Phillip Augustus of France to move against them in a crusade, known as the Albigensians Crusade, which lasted 20 years.  The question is, what did the Albigensians believe in that caused so many people to join their religion?

As I stated earlier, the Albigensians seemed to be related to the Manichean view, which was that there was a good god and an evil god.  The Albigensians took this one step further.  The good god was created from spirit and the evil god was created from matter. 

They believed that the human body was a prison of the soul and that reproduction was evil because it was bringing more evil into the world.  The sacramental system of the Church was also completely rejected since they were all physical signs, which could not have been from their good god.  They did not consume or come in contact with animal products and avoided oath taking at all costs because it was binding your physical body, which was considered to be evil.

In the religion, there were two types of people: the Perfect and the Believer.  The Perfect were people who followed every belief and regulation that came with the religion.  They lived their lives in perfect accordance to the rules.  The Believer were people who agreed with the religion, but could not follow all of the rules and expectations.

To become a Perfect, a person would have to accept the Consolamentum, which was supposed to wash away all sin.  It was required that everyone in the religion had to accept the Consolamentum before death.  Many Believers would accept it on their deathbeds since they believed that they could not follow through with the lifestyle the Perfects led.

However, if you accepted the Consolamentum and someone in the religion suspected that you were not following the regulations, you would be killed by suffocation.

As you can see, the Albigensians had a very interesting religion.  Their beliefs were very different from the beliefs of the Christians, which was what most likely made Pope Innocent III feel threatened and motivated him to start a crusade against them.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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