mid-15c., millenarian and severely ascetic sect that believed in continual direct inspiration of the spirit and offered prominent church roles to women, from Montanus, Christian-inspired prophet in the wilds of Phrygia c.160 C.E. The heresy persisted into the 6c. and helped bring prophecy into disrepute in the established Church. Related: Montanism.
In the West the Chiliastic hopes were little or not at all affected by the montanist struggle.
In the montanist churches women baptized, and of this there are traces in the earliest church and in the Caucasus.
Besides, we see from Tertullian's writings that the secession of the montanist conventicles from the Church was forced upon them.
Cf. specially the montanist writings; the treatise de ieiunio is the most important among them in this case; see cc.
As late as the Antonines, montanist prophets that arose in that country attempted to introduce it into Christianity.
Throughout his later life Tertullian, then, was a montanist, though the change was not so great as might be expected.
In the East, on the contrary, the apocalyptic expectations were immediately weakened by the montanist crisis.
In Augustine's own country Tertullian had maintained that flight was unlawful, but he was a montanist when he so wrote.