NICOLAITANS (nĭk'ō-lā'ĭ-tănz, Gr. Nikolaitai). A group of persons whose works both the church at Ephesus and our Lord hated (Rev.2.6) and whose doctrine was held by some in the Pergamum church (Rev.2.15). Nothing else is surely known about them, but some have guessed that they were the followers of Nicolas of Antioch, one of the first so-called deacons (Acts.6.5), but there is no evidence for this. Their doctrine was similar to that of Balaam, through whose influence the Israelites ate things sacrificed to idols and committed fornication (Rev.2.14-Rev.2.15). A sect of Nicolaitans existed among the Gnostics in the third century, as is known from church fathers of the time (Irenaeus, [[Clement of Alexandria]], and Tertullian). It probably had its origin in the group condemned in Revelation.