«The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot» (Proverbs 10:7).
The Word of God was making its way through the Middle Ages through faithful believers who proclaimed it with power. Indignation at the abuses of the papacy led to the rise of voices in several sectors of society that were grouped in some regions. Each of these censures facilitated the way for the Protestant Reformation.
The Patarine Movement was a current that between 1056 and 1057, arose in Milan (Italy) under the leadership of the deacon Arialdus and other priests, who strongly protested against the corruption of the archbishop of that city, Guido of Velate, who encouraged the sale of religious charges and tolerated that several priests had concubines. The situation came to very severe clashes. The leaders were excommunicated, but their claims remained for many years. For its part, the pasagians, a strange sect that appeared in Lombardy (Italy) toward the end of the twelfth century and beginning of the thirteenth, encouraged the people to maintain the true gospel. In addition, they propelled the Ten Commandments, including Sabbath observance, as well as a diet according to Leviticus 11. Their name is Italian and means «birds of passage,» in reference to its itinerant lifestyle.
The Cathars («the pure») or Albigensians, of Albi, one of the main seats in the south of France, appeared during the eleventh century in Lombardy and spread throughout western Europe. They criticized the conditions in the church as a result of the failure of the Second Crusade and increased significantly. They held a crowded council in 1167 in Saint-Félix-de-Caraman, near Toulouse (France). Before the end of the century, they had gained the support of the majority of the population of the south of France and the protection of their princes. They were also very numerous in the north of Italy. Making great use of Scripture, they strongly criticized the wealth and power of the church, as well as the rejection of the clerk and their claims. The religious services of the Cathars were very simple, including, of course, the reading of the Scriptures, the preaching of a sermon, and prayer. By 1228 they represented a serious danger to the Church of Rome.
It is very likely that there has been some other religious movement of faithful Christians that until today we know nothing about. The truth is that a new consciousness began to emerge on the true foundations of Christianity and the importance of the Bible. Many of them had to pay with their lives for their desire to persevere in the study and proclamation of the Scriptures. Today it is a blessing to continue remembering their perseverance, which continues to bear many fruits.