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2012 | 57 | 535-550

Article title

Próba rekonstrukcji doktryny i struktury Kościoła nowacjańskiego


Title variants

An attempt to reconstruct the doctrine and structure of Novatian Church

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The Novatian vision of the Church appeared in the moment which was favour­able for its further development. Not only did the Church suffer persecution, but also some Christians protested against the possibility of reconciliation lapsi. What is more, the doctrine concerning the impossibility to forgive certain sins had a sig­nificant role in spreading of Novatian Church. Merging the congregation belong­ing to Novatian Church and Montanists in the East contributed to specifying the doctrine of the sect. With reference to a repeat marriage, the testimonies from III century do not allow to state explicitly if the pope himself treated them as illegal. Novatian allowed for penance and reconciliation of those who were guilty of certain carnal sins. It seems that later such violations were treated more severely. Montanism surely had an influence on it. Such rigorism in penitential discipline assumed a definite concept of Church and the power of the keys, which differed significantly from the one Catholicism set down. Apart from this, however, dog­matic divergences between Novatianism and Catholicism are not to be observed. But, the question of determining the date of Easter led to the separation between a lot of Novatian communities and the Church. Socrates’ accounts of Novatian Church internal disputes let us discern a few features of its inner structure. It does not seem to differ from that of Catholic Church. There are bishops, priests, deacons, synods. Furthermore, episcopal ap­pointments to more important cities are considered to be superior. The sacraments in Novatian Church were the same as in Catholic Church, however, according to Teodoret, Novatian Church did not practice anointing a person with holy oils after baptism. A similar opinion can be found in Pacian’s texts. It was accepted among Catholics, at least in the East, that those who con­verted from Novatian Church should be anointed. In Novatian communities, from the outset, Catholics, who joined this sect, were baptized for the second time. According to Eulogius, Novatians in Alexandria rejected the cult of relics. The council in Nice tried to restore Novatians to the unity with Catholic Church, adopting a restrained attitude towards them. The council in cannon 8 presents the “pure” returning to Church with the conditions of grace. The Trident Council, however, saw in condemning Novatians proof of true Fathers’ teaching about penance.







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