The very charming and picturesque town of Passau sits at the confluence of the Inn and the Danube on the southeastern border of Germany with Austria. I've written about this area in other posts. This stretch of the Danube toward Vienna as well as The Forest (Bohemian/Bavarian) to the north was long a hotbed of Waldensian dissent.
There is a famous ecclesiastical chronicler from Passau who speaks to us through the ages as the Passau Anonymous. A lot of our information concerning the Waldenses in this area comes from his pen. Sometime around 1260 he wrote the Waldenses were the most dangerous of all the heretics.
They were most long-lived….meaning ancient.
They were the most widespread.
And they lived piously, adhering to the ancient creeds, and yet 'blasphemed' the Roman church by attacking its clergy and rituals.
What is all the more astonishing is that according to the conventional thesis , these people had scarcely arrived a generation before when a man named Peter Waldo passed through on his way to Bohemia. That hardly seems possible in light of the Passau Anonymous and until modern scholarship re-dated a few key documents it was not the position of anyone who studied the Waldensians. More to come…..