Patricians

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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

Ancient sectaries who disturbed the peace of the church in the beginning of the third century; thus called from their founder Patricius, preceptor of a Marchionite called Symmachus. His distinguishing tenet was, that the substance of the flesh is not the work of God, but that of the devil; on which account his adherents bore an implacable hatred to their own flesh, which sometimes carried them so far as to kill themselves.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

a Christian sect named by all the early heresiologists as followers of Patricius, of A.D. 410-412, are charged with believing, like all Manichaean heretics in after-times, that the devil made man's body altogether; and that therefore a Christian may kill himself to become perfect through separation from his evil body (Augustine, Heres. c. 61; Praedestinatus, Haeres. c. 61). These tales, though they originated with the saints and fathers of the Church, may seem too absurd to be believed in the 19th century, and it is even probable they were founded on hearsay; yet the recent existence of Muggletonians and Southcottians shows that nothing is too ridiculous to find credit with some people. St. Augustine also classes the Patricians with Basilides, Carpocrates, Marcion, and other precursors of the Manichees, as repudiating the Holy Scriptures (Contra Adversar. Leg. et Proph. c. 2). Nothing is known of Patricius himself beyond the bare statement of Philaster; and as the heresy of which he is said to be the founder is not mentioned by Epiphanius, Damarius thinks it probable that it arose after his time, perhaps about A.D. 380. Praedestinatus says that the Patricians sprung from the northern parts of Numidia and Mauritania. See Turner's Hist. p. 188, 189.

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