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Persecution of the Paulicins

Persecution of the Paulicians

In the very rare work of the 8th century Paulicians, heavy mention is made of what seems to be reformed teachings. I don’t capitalize reformed for a purpose because the Paulicians where a heterodox sect who were Adoptionists and Manichean to say the least. This doctrine alone disqualifies them of any semblance to Reformed theology. 
However this stated, they also despised the Armenian Apostolic church, which was on its own course of heresy as well.

In their 8th century work entitled “the Key of Truth” the Paulicians wrote these indictments against the corrupt Apostolic Church:

1. The moral law, as given to Moses in the Decalogue, should be obeyed, but no trust should be reposed in external rites and observances.
2. Making the sign of the cross and genuflection is superfluous.
3. Pilgrimage to Etchmiadzin [an Armenian Church] and Jerusalem and the keeping of fasts are human inventions and unnecessary.

4. The worship of crosses and pictures of saints is idolatry.
5. The sacrifice of the mass is a lie, and the elements of the communion are not the body and blood of Christ, but ordinary bread and wine.
6. The baptism and muron or holy ointment [oil] of the orthodox churches are false and only the mark of the Beast on the forehead; a handful of water is all that is necessary for the administration of Christian baptism.
7. A priest should not be called “Lord, Lord,” but only a clergyman (literally “a man of orders”), for God alone is Lord.
8. Confession to a priest is of no profit for the forgiveness of sins; the penitent should confess his sins to God alone; saints cannot intercede for us.

These 8 indictments are very biblical and praiseworthy. In these indictments the adage “the enemy of our enemy is our friend” is true. However with regards to the fundamental doctrines of the Trinity the adage breaks down, as the Paulicians are rank heretics!

Be that as it may I thought those warnings and rebukes of the Paulicians to the Armenian Apostolic Church would be helpful in putting some historical light on the whole situation of the church in Armenia.