Nicolaites and Liberal Catholics


“But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

The Nicolaites were an ancient heretical group founded allegedly by Nicholas the deacon of Jerusalem mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (6:6).  Multiple Church Fathers mentioned the sins of the Nicolaites: Saint Victorinus of Pettau stated they used meat “offered to idols” which was “eaten, and that whoever should have committed fornication might receive peace on the eighth day” [1].  Saint Irenaeus of Lyon wrote that the Nicolaites “lead lives of unrestrained indulgence” and loved “to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols” [2].  Saint Epiphanius recorded that heir leader said, “Unless one copulates every day, he cannot have eternal life” (Panarion 25:1).

So, they mutually agree that the Nicolaites believed in antinomianism which is the doctrine that one does not have to obey the commandments to be saved.  It has not so much to do with Protestantism as it does with liberal Catholics and Protestants who may believe faith is necessary but works and obedience to the faith are not necessary.  As they noted that they ate meat “offered to idols”; some liberal Christians have adopted neopagan practices of offering sacrifices to pagans, even the use of pagan prayers in churches.  This may not be so common, but this is: they “lead lives of unrestrained indulgence”.  They believe in moral liberalism especially in matters of sexuality: e.g. “It doesn’t matter if they’re gay, straight or whatever as long as they love each other.”  Though not explicitly mentioned, they also profaned the liturgy simply by including pagan ritual sacrifices.  However I can’t assure that they did this simultaneously with the Holy Eucharist, as there is no evidence they observed the same ritual Sacrifice of the Mass the early Church did.  If not, then they replaced the Eucharist — the Sacrifice of the Altar — with a pagan sacrifice and if so, then they profaned it alongside with the pagan sacrifice.  It’s hard to say which is worse.  Saint Paul warned that “the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God” [3].


The Anglican “bishops”, which remind me of the Nicolaitans

[1] Saint Victorinus of Pettau. Commentary on the Apocalypse 2:6. <; .

[2] Saint Irenaeus of Lyon. Against Heresies 1:36:3. <;.

[3] 1 Corinthians 10:20


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