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The Valentinian School

The followers of Valentinus are refered to as "Valentinians". The major Valentinian theological schools were at Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. The most notable teacher of the Alexandrian school was Theodotus. Ptolemy and Herakleon were the most important teachers of the Roman school. The school at Antioch rose to prominence around 200 AD under Axionicus.

Valentinus never intended to set up a separate church and his followers continued to be active members of Catholic congregations throughout the second and third centuries. Some members of the Church hierarchy were sympathetic to the movement. As late as 200 AD it was still possible for a Valentinian to hold the ecclesiastical rank of presbyter at Rome.

After Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in 326 AD, a concerted effort was made to expel the Valentinians from the Church along with other "heretics". By 350 AD, Christian monks in Egypt were hiding Valentinian and other "heretical" writings that were part of their libraries. A small core of believers continued to be active into the seventh century, particularly in Syria. However, they were unable to withstand persecution by the Catholic Church indefinitely and the Valentinian school had ceased to exist as a distinct movement by the ninth century.

Even after the demise of Valentinian school, Valentinus' influence continued among medieval Gnostic groups such as the Paulicians and the Cathars. He also exerted considerable influence on "orthodox" Christian mysticism. In this century one can find evidence of his legacy in the psychology of Carl Jung and in Gnostic churches such as the Ecclesia Gnostica. As the millenium approaches there is renewed interest in the teachings of the great master himself.

Organization of the Valentinian School
History of Valentinianism
Notable Valentinians


Content authored by David Brons