Steve Tomkins continues the series about British and Irish sects and schisms with a look at the letters P, Q & R
Pelagius was a fifth-century British monk who protested against the slack lives of today's Christians and led a religious revival.
He might have become a saint if he hadn't taken on Augustine. He preached against Augustine's idea that human salvation is purely the work of God, believing that this let us off the hook too easily.
Augustine won the support of the Bishop of Rome and the Western Roman Emperor, and Pelagius and his followers were condemned at a series of church councils.
The Pilgrim Fathers
Throughout Elizabeth I's time there were puritans protesting that the Protestant church of England was still too Catholic, and separatists – extreme puritans who quit the Church of England and set up their own illegal underground churches.
They were constantly imprisoned and released, and after decades their leaders started to get executed. Several congregations quit England for the Netherlands, where they lived in poverty, split up from each other.
Some became the first Baptists and returned to England to die for their faith, some joined Dutch churches, and some took a leaf out of the Old Testament and in 1620 made an exodus to the promised land of North America.
The Panacea Society is a group of followers of Joanna Southcott, a prophet who died in 1814 after claiming to have given birth to the invisible Messiah.
The Panacea guard a box of her prophecies about the end of the world, which may only be opened when all bishops of the Church of England assemble for the purpose.
Named after their first British fellowship, although their earliest roots were in Dublin, the Brethren were supposed to be an antidote to all the competing denominations of 19th-century Britain.
Open to holy believers of every denomination, they discarded many of the trappings of other churches, including clergy, and aimed to be as inclusive as possible.
In time they became another denomination, several denominations, in fact, in the shape of Exclusive Brethren, one of the least inclusive on offer.
The Quakers were the most successful of the many sects to arise dung the 17th-century English revolution.
Believing that every person has the light of God inside them, they saw the church and the Bible as largely superfluous, and were scandalously egalitarian, refusing to doff hats or speak deferentially to their social betters.
In later years, this made slavery especially abhorrent to them, and they were pioneers in opposing the slave trade and abolishing slavery.
The greatest religious split in British history is probably also the least religious.
Although there were certainly some Protestants in England when the Church of England split from, the country was seen as one of the most solidly Catholic in Europe, the Poland of its day.
Henry VIII had been awarded the title "Defender of the Faith" by the Pope for his attack on Martin Luther's theology.
But desperately needing a son to secure a peaceful succession, Henry started looking for a religion that would allow him to divorce Queen Catherine, and the rest is 16th-century religious history.
John Robinson was a puritan minister who left the Church of England to lead a separatist church in Nottinghamshire.
In 1607 they escaped to the Netherlands to escape persecution, though on the first attempt their ship got stuck in mud and they were arrested.
He wrote prolifically against the Church of England, and it was Robinson' s followers who travelled to America on the Mayflower, although he stayed behind because they were a minority of the church.
In his farewell speech he told them not necessarily to stick to what he had taught them, but to be "willing to embrace further light".
Read the introduction to this series, and the previous part
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