Volume 2: 1771 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica!


Cainians, or Cainites, in church-history, Christian heretics, that sprung up about the year 150, and took their name from Cain, whom they looked upon as their head and father: They said that he was formed by a celestial and almighty power, and that Abel was made but by a weak one.

This sect adopted all that was impure in the heresy of the gnostics, and other heretics of those times: They acknowledged a power superior to that of the Creator; the former they called Wisdom, the latter, inferior virtue: They had a particular veneration for Korah, Abiram, Esau, Lot, the Sodomites, and especially Judas, because his treachery occasioned the death of Jesus Christ: They even made use of a gospel, which bore that false apostle's name.

[21st Century Editor's annotation]: Please cross reference this article to the article entitled Nicolaitans. Note, the term Nicolaitans was used by our Lord Jesus Christ Who appeared to St. John the Evangelist at Patmos where St. John authored the last book in the New Testament: Revelation of Jesus Christ to His Servant John". The Cainians were the successors in interest to the heresy practiced by the Nicolaitans.

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