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n. pl. Cath·a·ri (-ə-rī′) or Cath·ars
A member of a Christian sect flourishing in western Europe in the 1100s and 1200s, whose dualistic belief, embracing asceticism and identifying the world as the creation of a satanic Demiurge, was condemned by the Church as heretical.

[French Cathare, from sing. of Medieval Latin Catharī, from Late Greek Katharoi, from pl. of Greek katharos, pure.]

Cath′ar adj.
Cath′a·rism n.
Cath′a·rist adj. & n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Cathars - a Christian religious sect in southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries; believers in Albigensianism
religious order, religious sect, sect - a subdivision of a larger religious group
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
It may be I'd been discussing the Cathars a few days previously.
Like many edited volumes, Cathars in Question began as a collection of conference papers, in this case from an April 2013 conference entitled "Catharism: Balkan Heresy or Construct of a Persecuting Society?" at the Warburg Institute.
Set in southern France in the early 1200s, "Divine Vengeance" follows the Holy Crusade against the Cathars, a sect whose beliefs did not align with Rome, as viewed through the eyes of a soldier and a monk.
History Lectures "Tracking the Mysteries'' with Andrew Linnell discussing the Cathars, Rosicrucians and European Mystics, mysteries from the founding of America, Freemasonry and mysteries of the future, 6:30 p.m.
Compiled and written by medieval historian Karen Ralls (who served as the Deputy Curator of Art at the Rosslyn Chapel from 1996 to 2001), "Medieval Mysteries: A Guide to History, Lore, Places and Symbolism" is a beautifully illustrated, 304 page, compendium that showcases a series of medieval groups and beliefs that range from the Knights Templar; Mary Magdalene; The Black Madonna; The Holy Grail; and the Cathars; to Medieval Guilds; heretics and heresy; the Troubadours; King Arthur; and the Rosslyn Chapel.
1120-1302) was the most important poet of his day, one of the founders of systematic theology, and an apologist who attacked the Cathars and Waldensians and defended Christianity against Jews and Muslims, says Wetherbee (emeritus, humanities, Cornell U.).
K.'s chapter on Cathars, for instance, neglects recent scholarship that suggests that "Cathars" were more the construct of the inquisitorial imagination than an organized body of dissenting laity.
The Cathar View: The Mysterious Legacy of Montsegur collects essays from twenty-five learned contributors, including a memoir of Arthur Guirdham, about the Cathars, a splinter sect of mainstream Christianity that was horrifically persecuted and exterminated in medieval times.
I and seven other women were among these pilgrims, having traveled for nine days last summer to sacred sites in the Camargue, Provence, and Languedoc regions associated with Mary Magdalene and the Cathars, a sect of mystical Christians branded as heretics and brutally exterminated by the church in the thirteenth century.
* The Friar of Carcassone: Revolt Against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars by Stephen O'Shea (Walker & Company, 2011)
"The Languedoc region is where in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century, tens of thousands of heretic Cathars were slaughtered by Pope Innocent III's armies, during what came to be known as the Albigensian Crusade.