It was in such a population as this that the first antisacerdotal heresy was preached in Vallonise about 1106, by Pierre de Bruys, a native of the diocese of Embrun. The prelates of Embrun, Gap, and Die endeavored in vain to stay his progress until they procured assistance from the king, when he was driven out and took refuge in Gascony. For twenty years he continued his mission, and the openness and success with which he taught is shown by the story that in one place, to show his contempt for the objects of sacerdotal veneration, he caused a great pile of consecrated crosses to be accumulated, and then, setting fire to them, deliberately roasted meat at the flames. Persecution at length became more active, and about the year 1126 he was seized and burned at St. Gilles.
His teaching was simply antisacerdotal — to some extent a revival of the errors of Claudius of Turin. Paedo-baptism was useless, for the faith of another cannot help him who cannot use his own — a far-reaching proposition, fraught with immeasurable consequences. For the same reason offerings, alms, masses, prayers and other good works for the dead are useless and each will be judged on his own merits. Churches are unnecessary and should be destroyed, for holy places are not wanted for Christian prayer, since God listens to those who deserve it, whether invoked in church or tavern, in temple or market-place, before the altar or before the stable ; and the Church of God does not consist of a multitude of stones piled together, but in the united congregation of the faithful. As for the cross, as a senseless thing it is not to be invoked with foohsh prayers, but is rather to be destroyed as the instrument on which Christ was cruelly tortured to death. His most serious error, however, was his rejection of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation had not yet had time to become immovably fixed in the perceptions of all men, and Pierre de Bruys went even further than Berenger of Tours. His only recorded utterance is his vigorous rejection of the sacrament: "O people, beheve not the bishops, the priests, and the clerks, who, as in much else, seek to deceive you as to the office
tian slaves. They were also relieved from the oppressive tax of the tithe (Innocent. III. Regest. VIII. 50 ; ix. 150). Even until late in the thirteenth century we find Jews freely holding real estate in Languedoc. See MSS. Bib. Nat. Coll. Doat. T. XXXVII. fol. 20, 146, 148, 149, 151, 153.
For the independence of the communes, see Fauriel's edition of William of Tudela, Introd. pp. Iv. sq., and Mazure et Hatoulet, Fors de Béarn, p. xliii.