Q. 1. What can you tell me about the Euchites / Messalians heresies?
A. 1. The Euchites or Messalians were a sect first mentioned in the 370s by Ephrem the Syrian, Epiphanius, and Jerome. They originated in Mesopotamia, then spread to Asia Minor and Thrace. Bishop Flavian of Antioch condemned them around 376. They were condemned as heretics in the synod of 383 A.D. "Euchites" means "Those who pray."
They believed that:
- The essence (ousia) of the Trinity could be perceived by the carnal senses.
- The Threefold God transformed himself into a single hypostasis (substance) in order to unite with the souls of the perfect.
- God has taken different forms in order to reveal himself to the senses.
- Only such sensible revelations of God confer perfection upon the Christian.
- The state of perfection, freedom from the world and passion, is attained solely by prayer, not through the church or sacraments.