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Early Christianity


Doctrines Montanism shared the essential doctrines of mainstream Christianity. Its difference lay in its understanding of prophecy. The leaders of the movement claimed to be mouthpieces of the Holy Spirit proclaiming the end of the world.

History Montanus was a convert to Christianity who lived in Phrygia in Asia Minor during the 2nd half of the second century. He and two followers, Priscilla and Maximilla, began prophesying as though the Holy Spirit were speaking directly through them. They claimed that Jesus was going to return and establish the New Jerusalem in Perpuza in Jerusalem. Montanism spread through Asia Minor and as far as Africa but did not receive recognition from the established church. Over time the expectation of Christ's return diminished, the prophetic element withered, and the movement's internal energies dissipated. From the 4th century all that was left was of Montanism was a small sect increasingly subjected to ecclesiastical and civil oppression. There is no evidence that Montanism survived in the west beyond the 5th century. However, the movement continued in Asia Minor up until the early Middle Ages.

Symbols Montanist churches generally employed the same symbols as other Christian groups. Some Montanist sects baptised themselves daily; others rejected baptism. According to some sources cheese was used in the eucharist. This practice was possibly inspired by the vision of a woman called Perpetua who was one of twelve believers martyred in Carthage in 180. In her vision Perpetua found herself in a garden where she saw a man with white hair, dressed as a shepherd, milking his sheep. The shepherd gave her a morsel of cheese which she received with folded hands, and when she ate it the saints around them exclaimed "Amen".

Adherents There are no contemporary adherents.

Main Centre
 Perpezua in Phrygia.