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Alumbrados

(or Illuminati, “enlightened”). A mystical Spanish sect of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. First appearing among the Franciscan friars about 1512, the movement emphasized passive surrender to, and personal sinless unity with, God as the object of the spiritual life. Sacraments and good works were consequently undermined. The criticisms it brought against the organized church gave it some common ground with Erasmianism and Lutheranism. In the mind of the Inquisition* it became identified in some measure with the latter, and its beliefs were condemned in 1525. From then the Alumbrados were persecuted, and indeed the sexual excesses of some of its leaders, such as Francisca Hermández, made them an easy target. Francisca exercised a fatal fascination for many, and the involvement of some of the Erasmian leaders with her helped to secure their downfall also. Many of the Illuminati, however, lived in a morally orthodox fashion. Ignatius Loyola* was temporarily imprisoned for suspected sympathy with them in 1527.

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