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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography


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Apostolici , one of the names adopted by an ascetic sect in Phrygia, Cilicia, and Pamphylia. Their leading principle seems to have been the rejection of private property. They are also said to have resembled Tatian, the Encratites, and the "Cathari" (Novatianists), in that they refused to admit offenders to communion, and condemned marriage. They appealed chiefly to the apocryphal Acts of Andrew and of Thomas. They entitled themselves Apotactici, i.e. "Renuntiants." What little is recorded about them, beyond the name, we owe to Epiphanius ( Haer. lxi. 506–513), who apparently knew them only by vague oral report. Their place in his treatise would naturally assign them to the 3rd cent.; and they evidently had not ceased to exist in the 4th. "Encratites, Saccophori, and Apotactites," described together as "an offshoot of the Marcionites," are associated with Novatianists by Basil in a letter answering queries from Amphilochius of Iconium (cxcix. can. 47; cf. clxxxviii. Song of Solomon 1), written in 375, when Epiphanius had begun and not completed his work. A law of Theodosius against the Manicheans in 381 ( Cod. Theod. XVI. v. 7; cf. 11 an. 383) alleges that some of these heretics endeavoured to evade the existing severe legislation by calling themselves "Encratites, Apotactites, Hydroparastatae, or Saccophori." Any true historical connexion, however, between the Apostolici and either the Marcionists or the Manicheans is highly improbable.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Apostolici'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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