By Gabriel Audisio
The Poor of Lyons, whom their detractors called "Waldensians"--after the name of their founder Waldo (or Vaud¿s)--first emerged around 1170 and formed a sect that embraced evangelism, prophesy and poverty. Challenging prohibition by following the Scripture to the last letter, they were condemned as heretics. The Waldensians constituted the only medieval heresy to have survived to the dawn of the so-called "modern" period. Their tale of simple devotion mixed with a fierce tenacity serves to illuminate aspects of religious belief that have persisted to the present day.