Manes Was The Founder Of The Manicheans

4. Manes was the founder of the Manicheans, and he adopted this name on account of taking to himself the title of the Paraclete, and to conceal the lowliness of his condition, since he was at first only a slave in Persia, but was liberated and adopted by an old lady of that country. She sent him to the public academy to be educated, but he made little progress in learning. Whatever he wanted in learning he made up in impudence, and on that account he endeavoured to institute a new sect; and, to enlist the peasantry under the banner of his heresy, he studied magic with particular attention. To acquire a name for himself he undertook to cure the King of Persia s son, who was despaired of by the physicians. Unfortunately for him, however, the child died, notwithstanding all his endeavours to save him, and he was thrown into prison, and would have been put to death only he bribed the guards to let him escape. Misfortune, however, pursued him : after travelling through various countries, he fell again into the King's hands, who ordered him to be flayed alive with a sharp-pointed reed ; his body was thrown to the beasts, and his skin hung up in the city gate, and thus the impious Manes closed his career. He left many followers after him, among whom was St. Augustin, in his youth, but, enlightened by the Almighty, he abandoned his errors, and became one of his most strenuous opponents (5).

The errors of Manes can be classed under the following heads: 1st. He admitted the plurality of Gods, alleging that there were two principles, one of good and the other of evil. Another of his errors was, that man had two souls one bad, which the evil principle created, together with the body, and another, good, created by the good principle, which was co-eternal, and of the same nature with God. All the good actions which man performs he attributes to the good soul, and all the evil ones he commits to the bad soul. He deprived man of free-will, saying that he was always carried irresistibly forward by a force which his will could not resist. He denied the necessity of baptism, and entirely abolished that sacrament. Among many other errors, the Manicheans detested the flesh, as being created by the evil principle, and, therefore, denied that Jesus Christ ever took a body like ours, and they were addicted to every sort of impurity (6). They spread almost over the entire world, and though condemned by many Popes, and persecuted by many Emperors, as Dioclesian, Gratian, and Theodosius, but especially by Justin and Justinian, who caused many of them to be burned alive in Armenia, still they were not annihilated till the year 1052, when, as Baronius relates, Henry II., finding some of them lurking in France, caused them to be hanged. The refutation of this heresy we have written in the book called the Truth of the Faith (7).

(5) Baron. Ann. 277, ex n. 1 ; Nat.

(6) Nat. Alex ibid, vide sec. 2; Her- (8) Fleury, t. 1, L 4, n. 47. mant, t. 1, c. 65; Fleury, t. 2, L 8, n. 1012; Baron. Ann. 277, . 1, & seq. ; Graves, in sec. 3.  

(7) Verita della Fede, part 3, c. 2, Alex. t. 7, c. 3, ar. 9, sec. 1. sec. 2.


Heresies of the Third Century

1. Praxeas.
2. Sabellius.
3. Paul of Samosata.
4. Manes.
5. Tertullian.
6. Origen.
7. Novatus and Novatian.
8. Nepos The Angelicals and the Apostolicals.



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