Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation

By Edward Peters | Go to book overview

41 The Liber Augustalis of Frederick II, 1231

TITLE I

ABOUT HERETICS AND PATARINE

Heretics try to tear the seamless robe of our God. As slaves to the vice of a word that means division, they strive to introduce division into the unity of the indivisible faith and to separate the flock from the care of Peter, the shepherd to whom the Good Shepherd entrusted it. Inside they are violent wolves, but they pretend the tameness of sheep until they can get inside the sheepfold of the Lord. They are the most evil angels. They are sons of depravity from the father of wickedness and the author of evil, who are resolved to deceive simple souls. They are snakes who deceive doves. They are serpents who seem to creep in secretly and, under the sweetness of honey, spew out poison. While they pretend to administer the food of life, they strike from their tails. They mix up a potion of death as a certain very deadly poison. These sects have not been marked by their ancient names lest they stand out in public, or, what is perhaps worse, not content to be called Arians from Arius or Nestorians from Nestorius or something of the like from the same kinds of fellows, they call themselves Patarines like those who have been exposed to suffering, in example of the martyrs who underwent martyrdom for the Catholic faith. Indeed, these miserable Patarines, who do not possess the holy faith of the Eternal Trinity, offend at the same time three persons under one cover of wickedness: God, their neighbors, and themselves. They offend God because they do not know the faith of God, and they do not know his son. They deceive their neighbors insofar as they administer the delights of heretical wickedness to them under the guise of spiritual nourishment. They rage against themselves even more cruelly insofar as, besides risking their souls, these sectaries, lavish of life and improvident with death, also expose their bodies to the enticements of cruel death which they could avoid by true knowledge and the steadfastness of true faith.

____________________
From James M. Powell, The Liber Augustalis ( Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1971), pp. 7-10. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

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