(Lat. lapsed). Term applied in early ch. to former mems. of Christian congs. who became weak in persecutions (see Persecution of Christians) and (1) put incense on fire before image of emp. (thurificati; from Lat. thurificare, burn incense), (2) took part in heathen sacrifices (sacrificati; from Lat. sacrificare, sacrifice), (3) bought letters certifying that the bearer had returned to paganism (libellatici, from Lat. libellum, letter; certificate), (4) made some false depositions to save their lives (acta facientes; Lat., literally those doing the acts), or (5) gave up sacred books and/or vessels and/or revealed names of fellow Christians (traditores; from Lat. tradere, hand over; deliver; betray, whence Eng. traitor). Some favored readmitting the lapsed to the ch. after they had done rigorous penitential acts; others, e.g. Tertullian* (e.g., De pudicitia, xx), opposed their readmission. See also Ancyra.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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