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  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Catharist One aiming at or pretending to a greater purity of like than others about him; -- applied to persons of various sects. See Albigenses.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n catharist Literally, a puritan; one who pretends to more purity than others possess: used as a distinctive ecclesiastical name. This name has been specifically applied to or used by several bodies of sectaries at various periods, especially the Novatians in the third century, and the antisacerdotal sects (Albigenses, etc.) in the south of France and Piedmont in the twelfth century. They differed considerably among themselves in doctrine and in the degree of their opposition to the Church of Rome, but agreed in denying its supreme authority.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Catharist kath′ar-ist one professing a higher standard of purity in life and doctrine, a puritan: esp. a member of a Manichean heretical sect of the Middle Ages, which spread over the whole of southern and western Europe—confounded with the kindred sect of Paulicians, reaching the greatest numbers in southern France, where, as the Albigenses, they were ruthlessly stamped out by the Inquisition
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL. catharista, fr. Gr. clean, pure
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. katharistai, katharizein, to purify.


In literature:

On the later history of the Catharist Church see my article "Novatian," l.c., 667 ff.
"History of Dogma, Volume 2 (of 7)" by Adolph Harnack