Miroslav М. Popović

Heresy and the Inquisition in the West in the 12th and 13th Centuries

pages: 57-83


Religious teachings that are opposite to the official position of the Church are called heresies. During the first centuries of Christianity heresies were most often born because of the wrong understanding of Christ’s nature. The heretical movements that had tendencies to bring back the Western Church to the apostolic roots appeared later. Many of the heretical teachings rejected Sacraments and other church institutions.

Combining in itself western Gospel heresies and Bogomil influences from the East, a new heresy was born in the 12th century – Cathars. At the same time, two groups of heretics appeared – Humiliats and Waldensians, movements based on the Gospel and their members wanted the right to preach among Christians.

Friars would have never managed to deal with heresies without the Inquisition. The Inquisition existed wherever it was necessary, where rulers allowed it to act. The Inquisition in Southern France had worked for a whole century. Around 1330’s, Cathars, being without political protection, under constant repression, had almost disappeared from all areas, except from the most isolated ones.






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