The Heresy of Albigenses is based upon an assumption that there are two God’s; one of light known as Jesus and one of darkness, known as the devil. Similar to Gnosticism, Albigenses states that the material world is evil due to its origin by satan. This would include the human body of which Jesus had during His time on earth. Since Jesus is God and appeared on earth in the form of a man in, His body was evil. According to this heresy, Jesus did not permanently take the body of a man after His resurrection as both the Old and New Testaments describe.
Albigenses teaches that the good God created the soul which it is also good, though imprisoned within an inherently evil body created by satan. Salvation is possible only by the good works of a person who lives a truly holy life while on earth. If this person has been obedient they will be given salvation. If a person has not been sufficiently holy, they will come back to earth again, reincarnated as an animal or different human being.
Albigenses denies that Jesus rose from the dead because His body while on earth was inherently evil and created by the devil.
There are two types of Albigenses: one called “Believers,” and the others, “Perfects.”
- Prefects have renounced all material possession, sexual relationships and are vegetarians.
- Believers are those who have yet to take the initiation rites as a Perfect, which requires an initiation referred to as “a consolamentum.” This rite consist of other members who lay their hands upon the candidate and pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In some cases, members of Albigenses would commit suicide in order to rid themselves of their evil human body.
According to Catholic history, a representative of the Pope was murdered by Peter de Castelnau in 1208 A.D., a member of Albigenses. Pope Innocent III, ordered all members of the Albigenses to be killed in an effort to end their growing threat against the church. This movement continues today with a limited number of followers.