Orléans heresy

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The heresy at Orléans in 1022 was an early instance heresy in Europe. In opposite to other heresies of this time, this is famous for being driven by erudite clergy, next to the queen of France, in a political context opposing the king to the Count of Blois for the influence over Orleans. It was widely documented by contemporary observers.[1] The small heretical sect at the center of the event had coalesced around two canons, Stephen and Lisios, who expressed ascetic and possibly dualist beliefs.[2] The sect leaders and their followers were tried and condemned by a church council, excommunicated and burned at the stake.

Contemporary sources describe the sect's beliefs and practices as including asceticism, celibacy, vegetarianism, missionary activity, the rejection of all church sacraments, and denial of the doctrines of the resurrection and the virgin birth.[3] These accounts, however, also conflict with each other and include embellishments rooted in the sensational accounts of heresy recorded by early Church fathers.[4] Included in these is Adémar de Chabannes, writing shortly after the events in 1028, who mentions a Eucharist made of human ashes, sex orgies, spitting on the cross, and Devil worship, and Paul of Saint-Père de Chartres, writing nearly 50 years later, who described secret, nighttime ceremonies and the appearance of Satan.[5]


  1. ^ Frassetto, Michael (2005). "The Heresy at Orleans in 1022 in the Writings of Contemporary Churchmen". Nottingham Medieval Studies. xlix: 1–17. 
  2. ^ Frassetto (2005).
  3. ^ Frassetto (2005).
  4. ^ Frassetto (2005).
  5. ^ Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1972). Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithica and London: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801492890.