In the year 1230, in many provinces of Germany, especially in the archbishopric of Treves, very many schools and secret congregations of those who professed the doctrine of the Waldenses, were discovered by Conrad of Marpurg, Inquisitor General over Germany. They were said to be heretics, because they denied transubstantiation in the mass, and purgatory, saying that the prayers and intercessions of the living for the dead served to no purpose, and could avail the deceased nothing.
As regards their rejecting infant baptism, the swearing of oaths, revenge or wars, together with all the traditions of the Roman church, and their desiring to hold only to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, especially of the New Testament, this has already been shown., "From their processes, and from the confessions made by them on the rack," says A. Mellinus,"it was seen that the number of their adherents and accomplices, throughout Germany, France and Italy, but especially in Lombardy, was very great."
About this time a severe inquisition was raised against them, throughout Germany and Italy, by which very many were discovered and burnt alive.
Abr. Mellinus (contra Trithemius) refutes the calumnies cast against them, saying, "This is a
willful falsehood and slander, fabricated by this monk (Trithemius), because they accused the pope. A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 465, D: Also P. J. Twrissck,;Chron., p. 546, col. 2.
In the meantime we will produce some decrees by which, it seems, the aforesaid inquisitor was made the more bold and daring in putting into execution his unprecedented cruel inquisition and tyranny against the innocent Christian believers, who had separated from the Roman church.
Mellinus relates, from Abraham Bzovius, who completed the Annals of Baronius, that Emperor Frederic II, at the request of Pope Gregory IX, issued his decrees against the Albigenses; however, under different names given them by the Emperor, saying: "(Petr. de Veneis lib. 1, epist. 27.) Here commence the chapters or articles of the constitution of the Emperor against the Pata.rini (Waldenses). He then adds some other names which do not properly belong here., "Men, as well as women, whatever name they may bear, we sentence to perpetual infamy, that neither oath nor faith shall be kept towards them; but we banish them, and order that their goods be confiscated, never more to be returned to them., "We likewise ordain by this decree that all officers, burgomasters, and rulers, in whatever office they may be, shall, for the defense of the faith,
publicly swear an oath that they will, in good faith and to the best of their ability, endeavor to ex pet from the districts under their jurisdiction, al heretics indicated to them by the church., "But if any temporal lord, having been requester and admonished thereto by the church, shall bt found negligent in purging his land from heretics wickedness, let him be warned that, one year after the admonition, we shall give his land for a prey to all Catholics, who, after they shall have driver. out the heretics, shall possess the same without molestation, and preserve it in the purity of the (Catholic) faith., "We also banish those who believe (the Waldenses and Albigenses), or receive them into their cities or houses, protect or favor them, ordaining
That if any one having been noted as being in communion with these believers, does not satisfy the church within a year, he shall be considered infamous from that time on., "We add here that one heretic may convict another, and that the houses of . . . , or of their harborers, protectors, and favorers, or where they have taught or imposed hands upon other, shall be demolished, never to be rebuilt Given."
By the chancellor of this Emperor, A. D., 1230. (Same place, Epist. 25, Petri..de Veneis).
In another letter of Peter de Veneis, we find another decree of Frederic II, which reads as follows, "We therefore decree and ordain that heretics, of whatever name, shall receive condign punishment, throughout the empire, wherever the church shall condemn them as heretics, and deliver or indicate them to the secular judge., "But if any of the aforesaid, after their apprehension, deterred by the fear of death, shall desire to return to the unity of the Catholic faith, they shall according to the requirement of the church ordinances, be imprisoned for life, to do penance., "Moreover, all heretics, in whatever city, village or place, of the realm they may be found by the inquisition sent by the Apostolic see, or by other zealous adherents of the Catholic faith, shall receive like punishment., "All those, then, who shall have jurisdiction there, shall be bound, on the denunciation or intimation of the inquisitors, or of other Catholics, to apprehend and closely keep them, until they, after their being condemned by the censure of the church, shall punish them with death., "We ordain like punishment for those whom the crafty enemy stirs up to be their advocates, or who are their improper protectors."
At the end of the decree are these words, "But the heretics whom they shall point out to you, you shall, each in his jurisdiction, be bound to apprehend and keep in close custody, so that they, after the judgement of the church, shall be punished according to their deserts; knowing, that in the execution of this matter, if you will do your utmost unitedly with these brethren (the Dominicans and Franciscans)* to expunge from our dominion the blot of this unheard-of heretical wickedness (thus he calls the true faith), you will render unto God a pleasing, and unto us a commendable, service., "But if any be slack or negligent herein, and unprofitable before the Lord, he also shall be justly worthy of punishment in our eyes." Given at Pavia.
Peter de Veneis (Lib. 1, EQist. 26), relates in his letters a third decree of Emperor Frederic II, in which he gives fuller information concerning the surname of the Waldenses , namely, Patarim, as well as regarding their belief, and their spreading into all the provinces of the empire; it reads as follows:, "The sects of these heretics (says the Emperor), are not called by the name of any ancient heretics, lest they should become known; or, what is perhaps still more shameful, they are not content with the ancient names, that is, to borrow their names, like the Arians from Arius, the Nestorians from Nestorius, or from other like heretics; but after the example of the ancient martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for the Catholic faith, they likewise, from their suffering, call themselves Patarini, that is, delivered unto passion or suffering., "But these miserable Patarini, who are estranged from the holy faith of the eternal Godhead (thus he speaks of the true believers), destroy with one sweep of their heretical wickedness, three things at once, namely, God, their neighbor and themselves. They destroy God because they do not know the faith and the counsel of God; they deceive their neighbor because, under the cover of spiritual food, they administer the pleasure of heretical wickedness; but far more cruelly they rage against themselves, because, after destroying their souls they, as extravagant squanderers of their life, and improvident seekers of their death, ultimately also expose their bodies to a cruel death, which they might have escaped by a true confession of, and constancy in, the orthodox faith (thus he, calls the priest's faith).
And what is hardest of all to say, those who survive are not only not deterred by the example of others whom they see die before their eyes, but they even strive to be burnt alive in the sight of men," as he afterwards speaks of it in this same decree., "Therefore we cannot refrain," says the Emperor,"from drawing the sword of just vengeance
against them, the more vigorously to persecute them, as it is judged and known that they practice the more extensively the knavery of their superstition (thus he calls the virtue of these people), to the clear exclusion of the Christian faith, on account of the Roman church, which is held to be the head of all other churches, as it is known that they came from the borders of Italy, and especially from Lombardy, where, as we have ascertained, their wickedness overflows far and wide, and that from thence they have directed the rivulets of their unbelief even into our kingdom of Sicily., "It is furthermore the will of the Emperor, that the crime of heresy, and all kinds of accursed sects, of whatever name, shall be reckoned among the public crimes, or those deserving of death; yea, that the heresy of the Patarini (also called Waldenses), shall be considered, before all the world, as more abominable than the crime of lese-majesty, that is, than the crime of him that has offended the Imperial Majesty., "The Emperor also wishes that, as the Patarini (or Waldenses) walk in darkness, in order to conceal themselves from the heat of persecution, endeavors shall be made to discover them, and to earnestly seek them out, even though no one accuses them, and that the officers of the Emperor, when they have found them, shall keep them in bonds, in order that at the proper time they may be called before the inquisition, or brought to the rack., "And if they are accused only upon slight suspicion, we command that they shall be examined by ecclesiastical persons and prelates; and though they may err from but one article of the (Roman) Christian faith, and, after admonition, continue obstinately in their error, we ordain by this, our present decree, that the Patarini (or Waldenses) shall be condemned to death, and burnt alive; and let no one dare intercede for them, for against him that shall do this, we will justly direct our anger. Given, etc." Second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, p. 466, a. b. c. from Abr. Bzovius, and A. Bzorvius, from Petr. Tine., lib. 1, epist. 26.
The above-mentioned decrees against the Christians called Waldenses, issued by Emperor Frederic II, were not long without their influence and effect; inasmuch as in the year following, A. D. 1231, a severe persecution arose in Germany over the innocent lambs of Christ, who, keeping themselves concealed in quietness, were informed against and made manifest, through the rack and otherwise. The consequence was, that many of them, continuing steadfastly and immovably in their belief, were burnt to death, and thus, having commended their souls unto God, offered up an acceptable sacrifice well -pleasing unto God. he following may serve as a confirmation of this account
Abraham Bzovius relates, from a fragmentary history by an unknown author, that in the year 1231 a great persecution arose in Germany against the so-called heretics, who kept themselves concealed in great numbers among the papists, in cities, castles and villages, and brought over to their belief all whom they could turn from their faith; many of whom were apprehended and convicted in the presence of the clergy and the people and that they held the belief of the Waldenses.
He writes further that"Brother Conrad of Marpurg, a monk of the Dominican order, punished those who were convicted of heresy, according to the manner prescribed by the ecclesiastical ordinances, namely, with fire." Abr. Bzov., T. 13, Annad. Baron., A. D. 1232, Art. 7. Also in the second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol, 466, dol. 3, 4., "The Waldenses," writes P. J. Twisck,"suffered severe pesecution at this time, from the papists, and though they sought to conceal themselves in wildernesses, mountains and deep valleys, yet, their schools were discovered, their assemblies broken up, and all cruelly killed, especially in the bishopric of Treves, which state of things lasted three years." Chron., Q. 546, col. 2.
NOTE.-From this account of P. J. Twisck, it appears that the above persecution commenced already in the year 1230, just when the decrees of Emperor Frederic II had been issued, and that it continued for three years, namely, to the close of the year 1233; during which time doubtless very many believers perished, of whom we shall notice a few with whom we have met.
In the year 1232 the bishop of Toulouse apprehended, in his dominion or bishopric, nineteen persons, who were said to be heretics, because they adhered to the belief of the Waldenses, whose confession we have already shown not to be at variance with ours; all of which persons the bishop of Toulouse caused to be executed, that is, burnt alive. Vignier, A. D. 1232. Hist. Eccles. Also in the second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 466, col. 4.
When the north wind* of persecution, which, from the year 1233 on, had done but little harm in the garden of the true Christians, began to raise again, A. D. 1243, there were apprehended, near
Toulouse, two hundred and twenty-four persons, called Waldenses, who are to be distinguished, and were also then distinguished from others, who carried arms and called themselves Albigenses, but had no communion with the true Albigenses and Waldenses, both of whom were opposed to all revenge, professed the same confession respecting suffering and bearing for the name of Christ.
These two hundred and twenty-four defenceless and innocent lambs of Christ, having been apprehended, and refusing to forsake the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ, and His holy commandments, as also the faith in His name, were all condemned to death, and burnt alive, thus offering up a living holy sacrifice, acceptable unto God, A. D. 1243.*
Concerning these persons, as well as their imprisonment and death, see hignier Hist., Eccl. A. D. 1243; also, second book ofthe History of the Persecutions, fol. 469, col. 3, also in an old manuscript chronicle, same date.
NOTE.-Besides the above authors, P. J. Twisck, also, it seems, makes mention of these two hundred and twenty-four persons; from the account of Henry Boxhorn, though he differs somewhat in regard to the time when this happened, as well as to the number of persons put to death; for, instead of A. D. 1243, he has it A. D. 1242, and instead of two hundred and twenty-four, he has about two hundred.
However, this difference is easily reconciled, if, first, in regard to the time; A. D. 1242, is understood to mean the end or close of said year, and A. D. 1243, the beginning; the number of persons put to death, about two hundred, to mean over two hundred, or two hundred and twenty-four, as expressed.
The words of his account.are as follows, "A. D. 1242, the Waldenses had to suffer much from popery, on account of their ~faith and religion. At this time, about two hundred persons, together with two of their preachers, were apprehended in the bishopric of Toulouse, by the bishop of Narbonne and Albi, and the Seneschal of Carcassonne, and were all burnt alive, continuing steadfastly in their religion." In the 13th book of his Chronicle, p. 557, col. 1, from Henr. Boxhorn, fol. 25'.
At this time there was as yet no abatement of the constraint of conscience exercised over the faith of the orthodox Christians, who had fled from Babylon, and, for the sake of the welfare of their souls, could no longer trust themselves in Romish Egypt. This appeared from.the new inquisition, which, by order of the pope, through appointed in-
Regarding the most wicked and unjust inquisition, I have found the following account:, "In the year 1251, the pope appointed, or sent, inquisitors to Toulouse, from the orders of the Dominicans and Franciscans, who exercised an inhuman tyranny over the Christians there. The same thing was done at Worms, by Conrad Dorfc and his disciple John, also Dominicans and inquisitors; who, condemning there many innocent men to the fire, were therefore themselves, ultimately, as by the hand of God brought to a very lamentable, though just death." Bal. Cent. 4, in Append., ad Richard. Wich., p. 301, compared with A. Mell., fol. 470, col. 1.
That the aforesaid inquisition or examination of the faith did not end with the close of the previous year, but continued also in the succeeding time, is so manifest that proof is almost unnecessary; still, it experienced a brief cessation, caused through the sudden and unexpected death of Peter of Verona, who administered at that time the office of inquisitor.
Concerning this, the above-mentioned author relates the following, "In the year 1252, Peter of Verona, inquisitor in Lombardy, justly perished near the city of Milan, on account of his tyranny against the Waldenses, and, twenty-four days after, was canonized, that is, placed on the register of the saints of the Roman church, by the antichrist, the Pope of Rome, Innocent IV."
NOTE.-In the following year, namely, A. D. 1253, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, was deposed from his bishopric, by said Pope Innocent IV, because he frequently in his preaching, though with discretion, had openly reproved the avarice, ambition, arrogance, and tyranny of the pope, yea, had expressly written him severe letters, in which he accused him of exhausting almost all England, by unusual taxes, in order to enrich his illegitimate children, nieces and nephews. When the pope cited him to Rome, he appealed from the papal tyranny to the judgment and tribunal of Jesus Christ, whereupon the pope soon died. Bal. Cent. 4, cap. 18, in Roberta Grossoreste ex Annalis. John. Buriens. Ranulpho, Mattheo and Fabiano, compared with A. Mell., Hist., p. 470, col. 1.
In the year 1258, the Jacobines and Dominicans, in the bishopric of Cambray, caused a great number of Christians, whom they had condemned as heretics to be burned alive. Balms Cent. 4, cap. 26, ad Matt. Paris. Append., p. 315, ex Th. Cantiprmt., lib. 2, cap. 56. Also, A. Mell., Hist., lib. 2, p. 470, col. 2.
In the year 1260, Pope Alexander IV wrote letters to the inquisitors from the order of the Dominicans, in Lombardy and the margravate of Genoa, to persecute the heretics (as they were called) there. Moreover, he decreed that the inquisitors might compel, by excommunication, the secular authorities, whoever they might be, to execute, without delay, the sentence of the inquisitors against those suspected of heresy. Compare the last-mentioned author, in the place cited, with Bzov., A. D. 1260, Art. 4, ex Decret. Epist Alexand. 4.
The aforesaid distress among the believers, continued on, through the severe inquisition commenced eleven years before, namely, A. D. 1251; for, although the first inquisitors had departed this life, as by the vengeance of God, it did not remain so, since Pope Urban IV took up the pen to issue bloody edicts against the orthodox Waldenses and Albigenses who were scattered abroad in all parts. These decrees he caused to be proclaimed to his minions, who bore the name of ecclesiastics. This is stated in the following words by an ancient papist: In the year 1262, Pope Urban IV made an ordinance against the heretics in Lombardy and in the margravate of Genoa, and sent a copy of it to the order of the Dominicans in said parts, to persecute the Waldenses and Albigenses, who were mostly scattered there. Bzov., A. D. 1262, Art. 3, ex Decr. Epist, Alex. 4. also, A. M., Hist., fol. 470, col. 2.
Thereupon, as it appears, no small persecution arose; but as to the mariner in which the same occurred, and the persons who then suffered for the faith, we have not been able to find any account, notwithstanding we have made diligent search. No doubt, it fell chiefly upon the heads of the Waldenses and Albigenses, since they were mentioned by name in the mandate of the pope.
We deem what we have here shown sufficient for this time; hence we will leave it, without adding any more.
NOTE.-A. D. 1270, eight years afterwards, Peter Caderita and William Colonicus, Dominicans, persecuted the (so-called) heretics in the kingdom of Aragon, Bzov., A. D. 1270, ex Surita, lib. 2. A. Mell., Hist., fol. 470, col. 2.
In the year 1280, the moon was completely changed into the color of blood; which by many was held to signify the very bloody and lamentable state of the church of God; the more so since at that time, not only a dire persecution prevailed, but also, a destructive crusade, under the sign of the cross, such as was formerly waged against the Saracens, was undertaken the following year, namely, 1281, by the papists, by order of the pope, against the Albigenses in Spain. Compare the large book of Christian martyrs, fol. 470, col. 2, 3, with Bal. Cent. 4, Append. ad Greg. de Brid. Lington., p. 446, from Everildenas.
P. J. Twisck, having noticed, in the first part of his Chronijck, for the year 1280, the doctrine of the Waldenses, whom he calls Waldois, after their leader, Peter Waldus, finally he speaks of their persecutions, saying, "Matthias Illyricus, in his Register of the witnesses of the truth, says, that he has in his possession the consultations of certain advocates of Avignon, also, of the three bishops of Narbonne, Arles, and Aix, and of the bishop of Alban, tending to the extermination of the Waldois, or Waldenses, and written three hundred years previously; from which it is evident, that at that time and before, a great number of the believers were scattered here and there throughout France., "We can also infer from the consultations of the aforesaid archbishops, that even as their number was great, so was also the persecution against them very cruel; for at the end of this consultation it is written: 'Who is so great a stranger in France, as to be ignorant of the damnatory sentence (thus speak these papists .themselves) which has now, for a long time, been most justly used against these heretical Waldois (Waldenses); and should we doubt a matter so notorious and common, which has cost the iCatholics so much money, sweat, and labor, and has been sealed with so many condemnations and executions of unbelievers (thus he calls the true believers)?', "Hence appears," writes Twisck,"what massacres of believers occurred at this time, and what cruelties the subjects of antichrist employed against them. 'And it can be proved,' says Boxhorn, 'even from the testimony of their greatest enemies, that they declared, maintained, and testified in the midst of the fire, that they had received this their faith unaltered, from hand to hand, from the times of the apostles; and they continued even to the present time, having never been entirely exterminated.'" P. 1. Twisck, Chron., p. 606, col. 1, 2.
Mellinus writes that"A. D. 1283, the Waldenses had again greatly increased in France, as also in other countries throughout Christendom, notwithstanding they had been very cruelly sought out and persecuted up to this time." In the second book of the History of the Persecutions, fol. 470, col. 3, from hign-cer, Hist. Eccl., A. D. 1283.
P. J. Twisck gives the following account for the year 1284, "The Waldois or Waldenses, of whom, since the year 1159, much mention is made, increased at this time more and more, in France and other countries of Christendom, notwithstanding that they were craftily sought and cruelly persecuted, and that all diligence and every means had first been employed, utterly to exterminate them; which greatly astonished certain bishops and advocates of Avignon of that time.""They were burnt," he writes,"in great numbers." Chron., fol. 611, 612, from Henr. Boxhorn, fol. 26.
In the year 1285, there became known, and were proclaimed heretics by the adherents of popery, Gerard Sagarellus of Parma, and Dulcinus of Novaria. Both of them were particularly accused, on account of various articles opposed to the Roman church and her superstitions, with which they were charged, of having fallen into heresy, and having borrowed their belief from the Waldenses, which, writes Abr. Mellinus, is quite presumable.
As to the articles which they confessed contrary to the belief of the Roman church, and on account of which they were called heretics, they are written in the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 470, col. 3.
Finally, as Gerard Sagarellus would not depart from, but continue steadfast in, the truth of his Saviour, Jesus Christ, he was (in the same year, it is supposed) burnt alive in the city of Parma, by the bloodthirsty inquisitors. A. Mell., p. 470, col. 3. Also, Bal. Cent. 4, cap. 30, in Append. ad Laurent. Angl.
Dulcinus, who, besides the charge of his true faith, was also assailed with great calumnies, was put to death in great steadfastness some years afterwards. However, of this a fuller account will be given for the year 1308.
NOTE.-Since the death of Dulcinus did not occur the year in which Sagarellus died, but long afterwards, we will reserve the account of the same for the proper time and place. Bear this in mind.
A. D. 1299, the Fratricelli, that is, the AlbiWaldenses, who were called Little Brothers, were declared heretics, by Pope Boniface VIII, because their belief was contrary to the Roman church, as we have already shown. Said pope caused these Fratricelli (or Albigenses) to be persecuted with
The Fratricelli (or Albi-Waldenses) were nevertheless, though unjustly, accused of many and abominable crimes. Hence, many of the ancients presume that these slanders were invented against them for the express purpose of making them the objects of the hatred and envy of the people; since they [the slanders] were utterly antagonistic to the doctrine which they professed, and with their life. For it is recorded of them, that they called themselves true followers of the apostles, and the true church of Christ, and that they on their part reproved the corrupt morals of the prelates. There were also ascribed to them all the opinions, or articles of faith, of the Waldenses who, as already shown, also rejected infant baptism, the swearing of oaths, revenge towards enemies, the mass, and almost all the superstitions of the Roman church; hence it is probable, that they were of their persuasion and had only given themselves different names, according to the different places where they resided. In the second book of the Hist. of the Persecutions, fol. 471, col. 2, from Trithemm., Citron., Hirsaug., A. D. 1299. Also hignier, A. D.1298. Hist. Eccl., ex Platina, Sabellico, Mari. Hist. Antonino Bernhardo de Lutzenb. Bal. Cent. 4, Script. Brittan. Append. 2, ad Joan Rufum, page 384.