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The Pilgrim Church — Sergius and Others
27 December 2014
This article is the fourth of a series in which I share excerpts from the book The Pilgrim Church by E. H. Broadbent. In case you missed them, the first three articles in the series are:
  1. The Pilgrim Church — Introduction
  2. The Early Centuries of the Pilgrim Church
  3. The Pilgrim Church — Priscillian
After Satan’s hostile takeover of the Church via the false conversion of Constantine in the early fourth century — see The Empire Strikes Back for all the tragic details — there became two parallel, opposing church systems on earth.

There was, and still is, the man-made, satanically-inspired, institutional, counterfeit church — which is the primary, dominant church mankind has known for the past 1,700 years. In other articles, I refer to this as the Harlot Church System.

In opposition, there were, and still are, followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who have tried, with greater or lesser success, to remain faithful to the pattern for the Church given in the New Testament. In other articles I refer to this as the Ekklesia. Mr. Broadbent calls it the Pilgrim Church.

This book is the history of the Pilgrim Church. Over the centuries, the Harlot Church has tried to destroy the Pilgrim Church. It has also tried to obliterate the history of the Pilgrim Church by confiscating and burning their manuscripts.

Perhaps even worse, through pervasive lying, the Harlot Church has successfully promoted the Pilgrim Church as a bunch of evildoing heretics. I am extremely grateful to the late Mr. Broadbent for all of the time and effort he put into researching the truth about the Pilgrim Church and recording his findings in this book.
Veneration of relics began at an early stage of the Church’s history. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, brought from Jerusalem wood supposed to be part of the cross, and nails which she believed had been used at the crucifixion.

Pictures, images, and icons began to be valued. Churches were built to receive relics or to commemorate the death of martyrs. Little by little, the meetings of the disciples of the Lord in simple houses and rooms changed to the gathering of all — willing or unwilling — believers or not — in consecrated buildings dedicated to the Virgin or one of the saints, filled with images, pictures, and relics, which became objects of worship.

Prayer was diverted from God to the Virgin and the saints, and the idolatry of paganism was reproduced in the gross superstitions that grew up around the images, the priests, and the forms of religion. It is a mark of the power of the revelation of Christ contained in the Scriptures that even when pagan idolatry and superstition had succeeded in gaining possession of the Catholic churches, there were to be found in them, then as now, great numbers of believers whose hope of salvation was in Christ and whose lives were pious and godly. They, however, were a remnant, hidden in the mass of those who had been misled into the system of idolatry with its accompanying sin and ignorance, and their protests were raised in vain.

Such companies as those called Paulicians, Thonrak, and Bogomili, among other names, denounced the prevailing idolatry. This was one of the chief reasons for the bitter persecution they suffered.

In later years, the iconoclastic movement brought respite to the persecuted brethren in Asia Minor. But when, in 842 AD under the Empress Theodora, the supporters of images had triumphed, it was determined to exterminate the “heretics” who had so consistently and powerfully proclaimed that images, pictures, and relics were valueless, and had maintained a spiritual worship and the priesthood of all believers. For the testing time that was to come they were prepared by the devoted labors of able men, such as Sergius (Armenian, Sarkis). “For thirty-four years” (800-834), he says, “I have run from east to west and from north to south, preaching the gospel of Christ, until my knees were weary.” Though he worked as a carpenter, he visited almost every part of the central Highlands of Asia Minor.

He had a strong conviction of his call to the ministry, and with great authority healed divisions, and united and instructed the believers. Yet he could appeal to those who knew him and ask, with a clear conscience, whether he had taken advantage of anyone, or had ever acted in an overbearing manner.

His conversion came about through his being persuaded to read the Scriptures. A believing woman asked him why he did not read the divine Gospels. He explained that only priests might do this and not the laity. She replied that God is no respecter of persons, but desires that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, and that it is a trick of the priests to deprive the people of their share of the Gospels.

He read and believed, and long testified very effectively for Christ. His epistles were widely circulated and greatly valued, his activities being ended only by his death, when he was cut in two with an axe by his pursuers. He was one of the most distinguished of a series of men whose godly character and devoted service enshrined their names in the memory of a heroic people. Baanes, Constantine, Simeon, Genesios, Joseph, Zacharias, Sergius are names that survive the wreckage of the persecutions that followed.

So imbued were these brethren with the spirit of the Acts and the Epistles, so desirous of continuing unaltered the traditions of the New Testament, and especially of preserving in their own countries the remembrance that there apostles had labored and founded the first churches, that they habitually took the names of men and of churches from the inspired records. Thus Constantine was called Silvanus; Simeon, Titus; Genesios, Timotheus; Joseph, Epaphroditus.

Very different were the names given them by their adversaries, who called Zacharias the “hireling shepherd,” and Baanes the “filthy one.”

Similarly, the “true Christians,” as they called themselves by way of distinction from the “Romans,” gave memorial names to churches that were centers of their activities. So Kibossa, where Constantine and Simeon labored, was their Macedonia; the village of Mananalis [near Paytakaran], around which Genesios worked, was their Achaia; while other churches were named after Philippi, Colosse, and so on. These men labored during 200 years, from the middle of the seventh to the middle of the ninth century. It was in their time, and possibly by one of them, that a book, The Key of Truth, was written, which gives a vivid picture of them. Regarding images and relics its author says:
Concerning the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not of any other holy ones, either of the dead, or of stones or of crosses and images: In this matter some have denied the precious mediation and intercession of the beloved Son of God, and have followed after dead things, and especially after images, stones, crosses, waters, trees, fountains, and all other vain things; as they admit and worship them, so they offer incense and candles, and present victims, all of which are contrary to the Godhead.
In extracting some details of the history of these churches from the writings of their enemies, it cannot but be observed that these writings are so violent in abuse as to become manifest folly. To found accusations on them, therefore, is to put trust in untrustworthy evidence.

Accounts of unnaturally wicked behavior do not agree with the admission that they were pious and of excellent conduct, superior to those among whom they lived, and it is unreasonable to explain that all their good behavior was nothing but hypocrisy.

The character of the somewhat voluminous witness of their enemies, combined with the few records of their own which have survived, gives confidence in rejecting the legend of Manichaeism and wickedness and in recognizing in these persecuted churches a people of the Lord who in their day maintained the testimony of Jesus Christ with faith and indomitable courage.
Systematic slaughter, beheading, burning and drowning began afresh by order of Empress Theodora and continued for many years. But it failed to shake the steadfastness of the believers.

It was claimed that between the years 842 and 867, the zeal of Theodora and her inquisitors had brought about the death of 100,000 persons. This time is described 200 years later by Gregory Magistros, who was in charge of the persecution of similar people in the same district. He writes:
Prior to us many generals and magistrates had given them over to the sword and, without pity, have spared neither old men nor children, and quite rightly. What is more, our patriarchs have branded their foreheads and burned into them the image of a fox ... others again have put their eyes out, saying “You are blind to spiritual things, therefore you shall not look on sensible things.”
This persecutions under the Empress Theodora and the wars which followed scattered the churches and many of the believers crossed over to the Balkans.
What these members of the Pilgrim Church experienced and accomplished in the Balkans will be the subject of the next article in this series about the Bogomils.

Just as I stated in the first three articles in this series, I once again need to make it very clear that just because I included links to Wikipedia articles on this page, this in no way indicates that I endorse those articles or approve of what they say. In this article I have highlighted a section in yellow, where the author explains that the Harlot Church system promoted lies about the true followers of Yeshua, slandering them as immoral heretics in order to justify the persecution and killing of them.

Except for books like The Pilgrim Church, these lies have never been refuted, and are therefore the accepted version of history. The Wikipedia articles I have referenced promote this same false history. That is why it is so vital to get your own copy of The Pilgrim Church so you can read for yourself the true history of Yeshua’s Ekklesia.
This article is 63rd a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
9  Nov  2008
27  Nov  2008
12  Jun  2010
9  Sep  2010
10  Sep  2010
11  Sep  2010
12  Sep  2010
15  Sep  2010
16  Sep  2010
27  Sep  2010
2  May  2011
22  May  2011
4  Jul  2011
20  Aug  2012
20  Mar  2013
2  Jul  2013
3  Jul  2013
6  Jul  2013
7  Jul  2013
9  Jul  2013
10  Jul  2013
11  Jul  2013
17  Aug  2013
18  Aug  2013
20  Aug  2013
27  Dec  2013
19  Feb  2014
24  Feb  2014
25  Feb  2014
27  Feb  2014
19  Jul  2014
24  Jul  2014
25  Jul  2014
1  Aug  2014
19  Aug  2014
29  Aug  2014
30  Aug  2014
31  Aug  2014
1  Sep  2014
2  Sep  2014
3  Sep  2014
5  Sep  2014
6  Sep  2014
7  Sep  2014
8  Sep  2014
9  Sep  2014
10  Sep  2014
11  Sep  2014
13  Sep  2014
18  Sep  2014
23  Sep  2014
24  Sep  2014
25  Sep  2014
26  Sep  2014
10  Oct  2014
11  Oct  2014
13  Oct  2014
20  Oct  2014
15  Dec  2014
16  Dec  2014
20  Dec  2014
22  Dec  2014
The Pilgrim Church — Sergius and Others
27  Dec  2014
14  Jan  2015
15  Jan  2015
18  Jan  2015
26  Jan  2015
3  Mar  2015
19  Aug  2015
4  Sep  2015
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