Those which took share there thought that the practice of scourging would allow them of expier their sins, thus reaching the perfection, so as to be accepted with the kingdom of heaven, supposed to arrive on ground after the Apocalypse. They went in procession by the cities, naked to the belt and armed with a whip of which they were whipped publicly, by singing canticles, for expier their sins.
HistoryThe whipping first appear at the 11th century. Saint Pierre Damien is one of burning to propagate them. The movement redoubles strength in Italy at the time of the fatal famine of 1250, of the Peste of 1259 and of the conflict between Gibelins and Guelfes. During the Black Death, such practices contribute to exacerbate the population and to push it to persecute the Juif S as well as other minorities which will be shown to be the cause of the epidemic while having contaminated the wells. In 1268 they form a true sect, and Reinier, Dominicain of Perugia, is declared their chief. They are spread thereafter in Germany southernmost, the Rhineland and in the South of the France. This movement is quickly condemned by the Église which considers it contrary with the dogma.
Thereafter the movement is radicalized. Whipping, among which one could in the beginning find the noble ones or of the middle-class men, does not join together any more that the small people, and finally is a refuge for marginal, criminal or wandering. The movement transfers with anarchy and whipping them claim the destruction of the Church, incite the people to lapidate the clerks, and are caught some finally to the lords and with any social order. Conrad Smid autoproclame new Messiah, replacing the baptism with water by a baptism by blood.
In France, Philippe V prohibits car-scourging under penalty of death. The Pope, by his bubble " against the flagellants" of 1349, delivers the latter to the Inquisition. Conrad Smid and one of its favorite disciples are flarings, and many see in that " the exile of both témoins" about which the Apocalypse speaks, killed by the Antichrist and in front of ressusciter at the time of Millénium. Very weakened, the movement remains sporadically however.
In 1574, the king of France, Henri III, enlists in this order with all its court.
One still finds at the 18th century of these fanatics in Italy and in the South of France.
Toughening of the movementAs we said, this movement was radicalized. The spiritual superiority of their martyrdom made them demanding with this clergy " fat and corpulent". So today one suspects them of having taken part involuntarily in the propagation of the diseases and in particular of the plague, since Szekely, their participation in the massacres of Jews at the time of the waves of plague is called into question.
OrganizationThis movement, which gathers the small people, seems to be rather well structured: " Flagellants" brothers; , " Carriers of Croix" , " Brothers of Croix" or " White-Battus". Their costume was composed of a white Sarreau struck of one Red Cross with before and with the back, as well as white hood. The bands included/understood between 50 and 500 members, directed by a Father or Master who received each one of his disciples an oath of total obedience the time of the procession. It could confess the brothers, direct their penitence and give them the discharge.
While joining whipping them, the members of this kind of brotherhood committed themselves respecting a ritual:
- to travel from city downtown during 33 days
- to whip itself in public place
- to request God
- to live charity
- to cover the uniform of whipping which consisted of a long black tunic equipped with a cap folded back on the head and to go barefeet.
DogmaWhipping, by their martyrdom, thought of saving their hearts but also of contributing to the rescue of very whole Christendom. According to them, a Celestial Letter dictated by God announced to them that this last, yielding to the petitions Virgin Mary and Saints, gave to the men a last chance to be repurchased before total annihilation. The mode of collective atonement, indicated in the letter, was the mutual scourging, considered as imitatio christi . Their example was to be followed by all Christendom, and, at the end of 33 years and half (symbol of the time spent by the Christ on Earth), of the saints, resulting from the rows of whipping, were to carry out the men towards new a Eden.
ProcessionsThe whipping processions lasted 33 days and half (lasted which corresponds to the age to which the Christ is supposed to be dead), during which whipping owed total obedience with their Master, who imposed to them a discipline of life of a rare hardness, on which was added two collective scourgings per day and an individual scourging the night.
The ritual of public scourging, thoroughly prepared, is the same one in all the orders of all the areas. Impressing, it granted to whipping the subjugated admiration of crowd. In front of a church, installed in circle, chest naked, whipping them make whistle their whips (leather thin straps provided with iron prickles) in rate, with the sounds of the laudes, these songs with single circuit melody line, with the stripped words, in vulgar language. " Vienna here which wants repentance, let us save us torrid hell, Lucifer is a malicious guy! ". Several times by anthem, whipping them collapse, the arms in cross, and cry, then " by the honor of pure the martyre" are raised and taken again their torment. Their ensanglanté body, at the end of the meeting, did not have anything any more human.
This practice is supposed to be sufficient to reach the paradise, and the rites of the Church do not appear necessary any more to the faithful ones. This is why the church ends up more tolerating them.
Whipping in Europe and in the worldLeft Italy, the movement of Whipping gains the Austria, the Hungary, the Poland, then the Germany (it is in this country that its followers were most numerous), for then touching the Belgium; in France, the movement stopped with Troyes.
If the acuity of the phenomenon attenuated, one can consider that there remains about it a trace nowadays, partly folk, in certain processions of southernmost Europe, particularly during the Holy Week with Seville in Spain.
However, a similar phenomenon currently also exists, but with original violence, in a nonChristian religious tradition, in India.
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