What is the Hindi meaning of flagellant
The Flagellants or Geissler were a Christian lay movement in the 13th and 14th centuries. Your name comes from the Latin word flagellum (Scourge or whip) back. One of the religious practices of their followers was public self-flagellation in order to repent and cleanse themselves of sins committed.
Pre-Christian religions, e.g. the Egyptian cult of Isis and the Greek cult of Dionysus, used self-flagellation. Even during the Roman Lupercalia, women were scourged to stimulate fertility. The Jews practiced self-flagellation at major temple ceremonies.
The first written message about self-flagellation as a Christian practice of penance comes from the biographer of St. Padulf († 737). According to this, he is said to have been whipped by his pupil Theodenus during Lent. The lives of other contemporaries only come from later centuries, so the news is not reliable. But self-flagellation is mentioned in the books of penance of the 10th century.
Petrus Damiani wrote in his Vita of the hermit Dominicus Loricatus (= the armored man because he wore an iron armor on his skin; † 1160 or 1161) that he had scourged himself daily while praying the Psalter. Many other saints of the Catholic Church are also said to have undergone this exercise. Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Xavier, Karl Borromeo, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Ávila and the founder of the order Dominic are mentioned. Self-flagellation was firmly anchored in many rules of the order into modern times and was cultivated into the 20th century. The custom was practiced on certain days, mostly on all Fridays and on other days of Advent and Lent.
It was called self-flagellation disciplina = Education. It was about a transformation of the self, a pedagogy of existence. While the ideal of the Stoa was dispassion, the early monks' discipline turned into an agonal concept of combating evil passions. Man wanted to rise above his limits through his ascetic exercises. It should become a visualization that breaks through symbolic similarity and historical references and creates a real immediacy to the suffering God. The flagellation was no longer just a ritual of penance, but became part of an eschatological spectacle aimed at the physical visualization of the suffering of Christ. On the other hand, the scourging hermit turned into a spiritual athlete, who slowly and gradually spurred himself on to top performance. There was a performance-oriented quantification of the flagellation, which began to dominate the penance exercises and instrumentalized the body with a view to salvation.
While Petrus Damiani praised self-flagellation as a means of contemplation, the monks of other monasteries raised critical objections. The most serious objection at the time was regularly the allegation of innovation. Peter had to defend himself against the view that a new form of contemplation was being introduced here, while observance of the Benedictine rule would be perfectly adequate. This emerges from his defense writings, in which he tries to trace the tradition back to the scourging of Christ.
The rite of flagellation
The process of liturgical self-flagellation arises from the Liber Ordinarius of St. Jacob's Monastery in Liège: The monk who wanted to be scourged asked a priest to do it. Then he sat down, cleared his back, and prayed this three times Confiteor. During the first two prayers the priest answered with Miseratur tui and struck at least three times. The third time he spoke that Indulgentiam, the short form of priestly absolution and finally that Absolve domine. This was followed by three more blows. Each monk was allowed to ask for three such penitential sessions a day. The text emphasizes that the scourgeon was expected not to strike too hard. This ritualized process was also the model for private self-flagellation in the cell. She too was accompanied by prayer. A liturgy of its own gradually developed from this: The rules of the Order of the Hospitaller of San Giovanni di Dio prescribed that members practice discipline every Friday, except during Easter or on Fridays, which are high holidays. During Advent and Lent, they had to flagellate themselves three times a week. The flagellation had the following scheme: After the Matins and after the lauds for Mary, the flagellation took place in the prayer room or in the church. They sang Psalm 6 and fell on their knees. Then all the lights were turned off. Then the prior gave a short admonition about the purpose of the flagellation. After a short exchange speech, a Latin reading followed, in which the flagellation of Jesus was discussed. Then the flagellation began, with that Miserere and the Gloria Patri, De profundis and Requiem aeternam, the introit of the Requiem liturgy. This was followed by three supplications for the members of the Order, all believers and all humanity. The prior then ended the flagellation by clapping his hands.
The flagellation parades
In 1260/1261 there was a sudden spiritual mass movement of flagellants in Italy, the 1260 in Perugia under the leadership of the layman and member of a penitential brotherhood Raniero Fasani started. He relied on the voice of an angel who had announced that the city would be destroyed if the inhabitants did not repent. In the autumn there was a peace procession with public self-flagellation. This turned the private penance into a public staging. The self-flagellation was also given another context, namely the salvation of the world from the wrath of God.
The movement began to spread in Italy through processions from place to place, without any leadership, organization or uniform structure being possible. The parades were preceded by bishops and monks, so that the movement was evidently loyal to the church. The flagellants sang hymns in the vernacular. The movement thus became a subsidiary line of sacramental liturgy. The doctrine of penance, confession and reconciliation, which the sacrament had assigned to the internal church space, was now transferred to a public staging and thus competed with the church rite of penance. The church leadership therefore always insisted that the Geissler procession should be supervised by clergy and that the participants had to make a regular confession beforehand. One wanted to prevent the self-flagellation from replacing the church's penitential rite. The wandering around, the wandering abroad, if only for a limited time, the gestures of reconciliation and the egalitarian integration of the flagellants into the community had a subversive element compared to the fixed framework of the church.
Contemporary observers found that the sight of these parades shook people internally and made them make peace. Stolen goods were returned, slaves and prisoners were freed and those who were exiled were brought back. Even if the sources cannot be trusted in their enthusiasm, one will have to start from a social spectacle under an apocalyptic auspices.
The movement also spread to the countries north of the Alps. Via Friuli, where the flagellation movement had reached at the end of 1260, it quickly spread to Carinthia, Styria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Poland, as well as Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia as far as Strasbourg. Here, too, there was no organized dissemination. How far an end times mood played a role under the influence of the thoughts of Joachim von Fiore cannot be determined with certainty.
As quickly as the flagellant movement had spread, it also disappeared again quickly. As early as autumn 1261, the flagship parades north of the Alps subsided noticeably. It was not until the years 1348 and 1349 that the flagellant parades appeared again on a massive scale. As their prayers show, they were also a reaction to the rampant plague. Unlike 1260, a place of origin cannot be made out. First of all, Styria, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Hungary were affected. After that the movement apparently spread to Bohemia, Poland, Meissen, Saxony, Brandenburg and finally to Thuringia. They also came to Würzburg and Swabia. In June / July they came to Strasbourg, from where they spread along the Rhine. So they came to Basel, Speyer, Mainz and Cologne. In August the movement peaked in the Netherlands. From there it came to northern France and England in the autumn, but was already on the wane again. Following Kieckhefer one can imagine the course of the Geissler migration as a transverse 'S'. The bull Clemens VI certainly played a decisive role in the end of the Geißler parades. of October 20, 1349, in which public flagellation was forbidden.
Somewhat more precise information is available from Doornik through the records of Abbot Aegidius li Muisis of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Martin. This shows the inconsistent assessment of the flagellants by the clergy. The Franciscans and Augustinians are portrayed as opponents in Gilles li Muisis. For example, it is described that there was restlessness and disturbance among the visitors of a sermon by the Benedictine Gerardus de Muro in St. Martin's Abbey, because at the end of his sermon he did not ask for the salvation of the flagellants. Shortly after this event, a train from Liège arrived in Doornik. There was also a Dominican who was allowed to preach in St. Martin's Abbey. After Gilles li Muisis, there was a huge crowd. The Dominican praised the flagellants and related their blood to the shed blood of Christ. The reply of the Augustinian Robert, which followed shortly thereafter, was only sparsely attended. On September 8, 1349, a group of 565 Doornik citizens was formed. There were also an Augustinian abbot and a monk, two other clergymen and a canon of St. Nicholas-des-Près. The increasing influence of secular and ecclesiastical authorities on the scourge marches can already be seen here. When a second Geißler platoon formed in Doornik on September 14, this became even clearer. This procession was led by an Augustinian named Robert, who Paul Fredericq assumes is the same Robert who previously preached against the flagellants.  The statutes of the so-called Geissler brotherhoods from Doornik and Bruges are indicative of the rapprochement between clergy and flagellants. In these the clergy-friendly attitude of the flagellants becomes clear, who now subordinate themselves decidedly to the church and swear to defend its teachings.  Despite this clergy-friendly attitude of the flagellants, the measures against the flagellants were intensified by the secular and spiritual rulers.
Apart from that, the opponents regarded the flagellation parades, alongside the persecution of the Jews and the plague, as an apocalyptic symbol. While the Geissler parades in the rest of Europe died down quickly in 1349, they lasted until the spring of 1350 in the Netherlands. After that there are only reports of isolated parades, around 1370 in Würzburg, 1379 in Franconia, 1391/1392 near Heidelberg and 1400 on the Lower Rhine . The sources give no indication of a social revolutionary or anti-church thrust. But the massive engagement suggests a kind of alternative theology inspired by the monastic-elitist flagellant rituals. In contrast to 1260, women now also organized their own parades or performed together with the men. It is said from Magdeburg that many women went along in the processions and scourged themselves, with their backs exposed, their faces veiled and the front of their bodies covered with a cloak. But the women soon disappeared again and scattered in Saxony.
In France, the Geissler brotherhoods lived under the rule of Henry III. (1574-1589), where his confessor, a Jesuit, had taken the initiative. In 1583 the king founded the Congrégation des Pénitents de l'Annonciation-de-Notre-Dame. There the king appeared as a brother among brothers, wearing a completely veiled penitential robe with two slits for viewing, a rosary and a scourge on his belt. On the day of the Annunciation, the king and a number of other noble members flogged each other publicly. This led to malice and ridicule among opponents of the king, who was known for his luxurious lifestyle. Nevertheless, other flagellant penitentiary communities quickly formed. Under Jesuit influence, the scourge processions revived in Germany in the 16th century during Lent and on Good Friday in all major cities. This led to fierce criticism and polemics from the Protestant side, which was particularly sparked by a scourge procession planned for Good Friday in 1605.
A scourge lasted 33 1/2 days, a number that was taken from the years of Jesus' life. So it was about a joint staging of remembrance of the suffering of Jesus. Those who started the procession went from place to place during this time. In the end they ended the train and a new train was formed, with some of the first train joining the second train as well. There were seldom more than 50 to 60 people organized on the lay fraternity model. They chose one or more leaders to whom they swore obedience. They did not carry any weapons. They didn't sleep in a bed, but on bales of straw. But they were allowed to use a pillow. They vowed chastity, pledged not to beg, to leave no sick behind, and not to be a burden to the host towns.
Following the example of church processions, people walked in rows of two. The head was covered with a hood and over it was a hat. The hat, coat and outerwear were marked with a red cross. Torches and flags were often carried. Each one carried a scourge in their right hand, the straps of which were tied with knots and iron tips. When moving into a village, the bells rang. The flagellants first marched into the church, where they threw themselves to the ground. Then the scourge ritual was performed twice a day. It started with confession and absolution. Then the participants threw themselves in a circle on the floor with their chests bared. Then the master stepped over the first, touched him with the scourge and uttered the absolute verdict. Then he got up and walked with the master over the second. This was repeated until everyone stood. The whole crowd then flogged itself in three rounds. Then the flagellants threw themselves on the ground with outspread arms and prayed that they would be saved from sudden death.
Finally, a layman read the so-called Heaven letter, a document from the 13th century, which stood at the beginning of the flagellation movement and, according to legend, was brought by an angel and in which the self-flagellation was requested for the salvation of the world, because the people had aroused the wrath of God by disregarding Friday and Sunday . Originally it is probably a text in Latin from the 6th century, which the legend about in the 13th century Raniero Fasani was incorporated, The Friday, which is important for the flagellants, was added to the original requirement of the Sunday sanctification. In addition, a genealogy was constructed down to the early church and self-flagellation was presented as an unavoidable emergency measure. During the processions, Geissler songs were sung in the vernacular, which some contemporaries already saw as a vulgarization of liturgical chant.
After a flagellant returned to his private life, he was left with the lifelong duty of flagellation at least on Good Friday. They whipped themselves three times during the day and once at night. As a rule, people were beaten to the blood, but the statutes forbade serious violations.
Gradually the theatrical character of the flagellated parades increased. In some places they developed into veritable passion plays. These excited the audience so much that they beat up the actors of the Jews, which degenerated into pogrom-like persecutions. Pope Gregory XIII therefore banned this in 1574 sacre rappresentazioni and only allowed the Jesuits to perform their form of teaching drama.
The eschatological horizon was also taken up by the opponents of the flagellants. A legend about an old prophecy said that the flagellants were harbingers of the near end of the world. They were considered to be the forerunners of the Antichrist. On the ecclesiastical side, the flagellants were assumed to have a heretical basic view very early on. While south of the Alps the mendicant orders exercised a strong influence and thus also a control over the flagellants, north of the Alps this movement was seen as a lay emancipatory element because they made use of lay sermons and lay confessions.
- "Day laborers, millers, butchers preach the gospel, they secretly conspire against the clergy, the shoemaker is a confessor and imposes penance, the weaver and the blacksmith preach and celebrate mass."
With regard to the overall movement, the sources do not give sufficient reason to speak of a rebellious, class struggle, early bourgeois, fundamentally church-critical or anarchist movement, even if revolutionary motives may have played a role in individual groups, which provoked the ecclesiastical and secular authorities to intervene to have. During the second flagellation movement, secular and ecclesiastical authorities tried to obtain ecclesiastical bans, which were then followed by the intervention of Charles IV and Philip VI. of France Pope Clement VI. moved in the bull Inter sollicitudines of October 20, 1349 to take a stand against the flagellants and to forbid their public processions. He expressly excluded private self-flagellation. In this bull he also accused the flagellants of being to blame for the pogroms against the Jews. This ban was only published north of the Alps. Measures had already been taken there against the flagellation campaigns. Many places, e.g. B. Lübeck and Erfurt had closed their gates to the Geissler trains. In spite of sometimes draconian measures including executions, the flagellators never completely disappeared. Around 1400, for example, there were numerous Geißler trains in the Rhineland and the Netherlands. Therefore, the Council of Constance saw itself compelled to forbid the public flagellation again. Essentially, it was not about the practice of penance, but the Church was directed against the tendency to attach a sacramental character to self-flagellation, which was suggested by the liturgical character of public flagellation. This was the subversive character of their movement, regardless of the flagellation's intention. The writings against the flagellation movement are directed against the excitement of the image they present and against the gesture of self absolution.
The retreat into the private sphere
After public self-flagellation was forbidden, people withdrew into private circles, especially in Italy, and founded communities. These forms of organization were an early modern urban phenomenon. Numerous brotherhoods were formed Battuti, the Disciplinati, the Scopatori, the Verberatori and the Bianchiwho continued to cultivate the flagellation with church tolerance. Some of them survived into the modern age. In these settled brotherhoods, in addition to self-flagellation, prayer, song and charity were in the foreground. As a rule, they maintained hospices and often a regular hospital. They were not advocates of radical spirituality, but an important cultural and political force in their respective communities as a result of their urban integration. There were also processions on special feast days, as is still the case in Spain today Semana Santa or in some municipalities in Calabria.
The crypto flagellants
While the eschatological idea was only one of several motives for the flagellants, it came to the fore with the cryptoflagellants. It was a sect which, after the late medieval prohibitions on the flagellant parades, arose as a secret society mainly in Thuringia in the southern Harz region and was discovered by the Inquisition. From the Inquisition documents one can infer that the sect with the flagellation rejected the ecclesiastical monopoly of the mediation of salvation. Instead of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the pneumatic, ascetic-enthusiastic community stood in the foreground. They showed a certain resemblance to the early Christian circumcellions in North Africa, which probably influenced the judgment of contemporary critics. The leader of these Thuringian flagellants was Konrad Schmid, about which little is otherwise known. He had appeared as a prophet, is seen in trial reports as the biblical end-time witness Enoch and had predicted the end of the world for 1369. His have been handed down Prophetica Conradi Smetis and the files of the Nordhausen Inquisition from 1369, the trial reports from Sangerhausen and the surrounding area from 1414, Mühlhausen 1420, Nordhausen 1446, Göttingen 1453, Sondershausen and Stolberg and the surrounding area 1454, as well as Hoym Castle (Diocese of Halberstadt) 1481. The trials of 1414 and 1454 were undoubtedly the largest. In 1414 between 83 and 91 people were banished from Sangerhausen and the surrounding area. In 1454 there were 30 death sentences in Stolberg and 22 in Sangerhausen. Even if the Inquisition Protocols do not reproduce any objective reports on the views of the crypto-flagellants, certain basic information can be prepared as credible by comparing the various protocols: They were of the opinion that sins would only be atone by self-flagellation. Since the Geißler procession, blood baptism replaced water baptism and replaced all ecclesiastical sacraments. The sect members apparently understood the self-flagellation as a liberation from a misguided ecclesiastical sacramental practice and as a possibility to restore the immediacy to God that the church had disguised. The church was declared worthless and identified with the Antichrist. The flagellants would therefore come to God immediately after death. These views were evidently embedded in an immediate end-time expectation. In all protocols, the replacement of the ecclesiastical sacraments by flagellation is particularly emphasized. In addition, there is also the usual topos of all heretic descriptions that they indulged in indecent rituals.
The disputes after the Reformation
Criticism within Christianity
The first major dispute with the Protestants took place on the occasion of a flagellate procession in Augsburg in 1605. The Geissler procession took place with all stages of suffering in pictures and representation, and turned into a political manifesto, a campaign against the Lutherans, which, with the power of its pictures, also aimed at conversion to the Catholic faith.
This resulted in a series of polemical writings from both sides. On the Protestant side, the Augsburg pastor Melchior Voltz (Two Christian sermons from the vile scourging procession, which is held annually in the Bapsttumb on Charfreytag. 1607) and Jakob Heilbrunner (Flagellatio Jesuitica. Jesuit teaching from the aforementioned voluntary Creutz 1607) and Georg Zeaemann, on the Catholic side the Jesuit Jakob Gretser defended the flagellation in several tracts (most recently Virgidemia Volciana 1608). The fonts were reissued over and over again. The Protestant position considered the scourge procession to be a representative achievement, which they considered an idolatry. Gretser countered that the staging of suffering aims at an intensity of experience and an identity in the experience and not at representation. He resolutely opposed the evangelical position that the divine spirit only fills language, but not physical gestures and images. The word alone certainly reaches the spirit of man, but it does not establish a direct relationship with God to the same extent as mortification. These perspectives were decisive for the further discussion.
The last major argument about flagellation took place around 1700, but this time within the Catholic Church. Abbé Jacques Boileau, Docteur en Théologie de la Maison et Société des Sorbonne, had the flagellation in his script Historia flagellantium attacked. Boileau claimed that the scourging was of pagan origin, shameless because of the beating on the bare bottom, and also heretical in its absolute intent. He was confronted by Jean-Baptiste Thiers, Docteur en Théologie et Curé de Vibrayé. The adoption of pagan customs says nothing about their legitimacy in the Christian context, the accusation of shamelessness is based on false assumptions and, moreover, Boileau undoubtedly confuses heretical groups with the real penitents inadmissibly. What is new about this dispute, however, is that Boileau brought a whole series of examples and anecdotes in which he described the flagellation in an almost pornographic manner. Thiers accused him of hurting the feeling of shame by this representation more than the flagellation itself does. This aspect of pornographic portrayal under the guise of criticism had not played a role so far, but in the following years it led to its own literary tradition, which later also gave itself medically. Thiers accused Boileau of "teaching the evil that he despises through the stories he tells."
In the 18th century, the "modern, refined fornication" of the flagellation was combined with Enlightenment criticism of the church. Horny priests and nuns became the preferred subject of polemical church criticism. Voluptuous fantasies were primarily spread by clergy, with the Jesuits in first place. But rabbis were also affected. The confessional became a place of seduction and the flagellation a sexually stimulating penance. The book is a case in point Flagellantism and the Jesuit Confessionpublished by Karl Fetzer in 1834 under the pseudonym Giovanni Frusta. He was a lawyer and left member of the Paulskirche assembly. In his work, he reports several relevant scandals in which confessors exploited the trust of women to induce flagellant penance. Flagellation is understood in Enlightenment literature and in the 19th century as a practice that ultimately has exclusively sexual significance and becomes part of a perverse delusional system. The enlightened discourse teaches that flagellation was never about anything other than sexuality, and so subsequently replaces the religious with the sexual, from which the meaning of the greater part of religious practices can be derived. “Lost imagination”, “overstimulated senses” and “hysteria” now become the patterns of interpretation of the perception of the past. One of the examples of Fetzers was the case of Père Girard and Cathérine Cadière, which he published in 1748 in an anonymous work Therese philosopherwhich was ascribed to a Marquis d’Argent by the Marquis de Sade. Here, for the first time, a doctor who appeared in history made a connection between flagellation and its effects with Galen's theory of juices: The spiritual life of the monastery had imbalanced the protagonist's juices budget. The hot thoughts that would arise as a result increased the genital liquor, which, according to the then valid view, is ejected by women during orgasm, analogous to male semen. This ultimately leads to nymphomania. This work became the template for the work The philosophy in the boudoir by Marquis de Sade. He also took in his Histoire de Juliette referring to it. In all of these works the flagellation becomes the pinnacle of the most sensual experience without any claim to transcend the person.
Report about the Geissler from Speyer from the year 1349
Christoph Lehmann, city chronicler of Speyer, reports on the geisslers in his city:
- “From the Geissler Sect, which arrived in 1349. In a touched year, a new sect of the Geissler was created, the beginnings of which are not known. They admitted and also put forward a letter that an angel from heaven is said to have delivered to Jerusalem in St. Peter's churches, stating that God is furious with sin and wickedness in the world because he wanted to let the world perish. Spared the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the holy angels, but let the people proclaim this punishment and penance, that every 34 day in Frembde should scourge, scourge his body and herewith God reconcile. Then several hundred people, man, woman and children, rotted together and moved in the country […] the same sect 200 people from Swabia to Speyr arrive in the fallow month of 1349, made a big ring on the square in front of the cathedral, all in their procession with his head covered under him and looking sad, scourges of dreyen Seylen, and in front with eysen Creutzlin in hands. In the Kreyss they took off their clothes, girded their bodies with a kerchief, and beat their backs bloodthirsty with the scourges with special singing and ceremonies. When afterwards their face suddenly fell down, they prayed with weeping eyes, manly admonished to repent, and when they got up again, they read out the touched letter publicly and everyone imagined that they had come from heaven. At Speyr, 200 people from the city went to the order and were painted in the country ”.
- ↑ Levison p. 28 f.
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- ↑ Erbstösser pp. 14-20; Koskull pp. 40-41; Largier p.94; Lechner; Segl p. 164
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- ↑ Fredericq 1896 pp. 100-111; Smet Vol. 2 pp. 346-361.
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- ↑ Fredericq 1898 p. 15.
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- ↑ Largier p. 96.
- ↑ Schum p. 437
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- ↑ Largier p. 132 f.
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- ↑ Cap, pp. 478-483
- ↑ heirlooms; Hoyer; Kieckhefer, Koskull pp. 68-71; Reifferscheid; Riemeck; Stump pp. 26-32.
- ↑ Koskull p. 72
- ↑ Largier p. 152 ff.
- ↑ Thiers, p. 72.
- ↑ Bloch (1870), p. 278.
- ↑ Largier, p. 197.
- ↑ Fetzer, p. 105.
- ↑ Largier p. 253 f.
- ↑ Klotz, Speyer.
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