Religion Past and Present

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(582 words)

[German Version]

The term Cathari (from Gk καϑαροί/katharoí, “pure ones,” hence Ital. Gazari, Ger. Ketzer), first attested in 1163, was hardly used in the Middle Ages; only in the 19th century did it become the usual name for the largest group deviating from the Roman Church. The Cathari of southern France are also called Albigenses. Known to their enemies simply as haeretici, they called themselves “good Christians.” They are to be viewed against the background of the lay movements concerned primarily with poverty, preaching, and criticism of the clergy. They deliberatel…

Cite this page
Müller, Daniela, “Cathari”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 22 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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