A pietistic mendicant sect apparently originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th cent. They spread to Syria, Asia Minor, Thrace, and Egypt, and were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, but survived until the 7th cent. They held that in consequence of Adam's sin everyone had a demon substantially united with their soul, and that this demon, which was not expelled by Baptism, was liberated only by concentrated and ceaseless prayer; this aimed at eliminating all passion and desire. There has been much debate about the connections with Messalianism of the writings of Diadochus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Macarius/Simeon.
Subjects: Christianity — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).