"Walk softly and carry a whackin' stick." Jesus said that, right? Circumcellions apparently thought so; and many an unbeliever found themselves whacked. No, you know, what? I know what it was... "I will make you beaters of men." Yeah, that's it.

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti

Just The Facts

  1. The Circumcellions were a heretical splinter group of early Christianity circa the fourth century.
  2. They were known for loving them some martyrdom and would go to great lengths to bring about their own deaths.
  3. Circumcellions would carry sticks and blunt clubs to attack unwary people in order to entice said people to kill them.

Ridin' dirty for Jaysus

In the fourth century if you were a Christian, the Roman emperor Diocletian would straight persecute that ass with a quickness. Many died, many more were enslaved or thrown into prison. Some early church leaders and teachers got off light and were simply made to watch reality tv--but only if they handed over their sacred texts and holy iPads and shit.

the holy ipad

"Pictured: a holy iPad"

Those Benedictine Arnolds were called Traditors "those who handed over."

-Note: Yes, we here at cracked realize that St. Benedict lived between the fifth and sixth century. No, we don't care if you consider the above joke "fail." Why? Because fuck logic. This is a comedy site, not unlike Wikipedia.

So the traditors gave up their books and totally kissed any Roman ass that seemed remotely threatening. Well this didn't sit well with people who did not "hand over" and told the Romans to cram it in their vomitorium. The G's who kept it real and managed not to be fed to lions became known as Donatists.

"Yes, Bruce Willis is a Donatist"

The Donatists were chiefly a North African group of absolute hard-nosed, no bullshit heretics who believed you should practice what you preach and martyrdom was pretty rad. The Catholic church, always hungry for numbers, said to give the traditors a pass. Many angry letters were written. The Donatists de-friended most of the traditors on their facebook and proceeded to say that any traditor sacrement or blessing was null and void. The Catholic church said, "Nuh-uh!" It really couldn't be any less important.

The point is, a splinter faction of the Donatists sprang to life from some of the less educated and more trailer park-ish members. They liked to be known as the agonistici, but the Catholics called them "circum cellas euntes." Hence, we know them as Circumcellions.

"An artist's rendering of a Circumcellion"

Step one: Find Stick. Step two: Beat the shit out of people. Step three: heaven.

The Circumcellions were like that dude at a party that has to one-up everyone and will take any and every joke just way too far. "If dying for Jesus is good... <pauses to think for an hour> Then... That means... HOLY SHIT! KILL ME NOW!!!!" Yep, that about covers it. Circumcellions wanted to be martyred and they went to great lengths to have it happen yesterday.

They took to carrying clubs and sticks, because they had heard enough of the "bible" to know you weren't supposed to use swords--Peter and all that jazz; but they didn't know better than to beat you senseless until you killed them. While attacking random people in order to goad them into a killing frenzy, the Circumcellions would shout "Laudate Deum!" (Which means "Praise God!") We know this because, shut up.

"Praise God!"

Suicide cults never last

Alas, all good things must come to an end. No one liked the Circumcellions. The Donatists were getting some seriously bad PR due to their stick wielding kin. The Catholic church were all to happy to get rid of any dissent and maintain a single, unified, unbroken line of...

Sorry... The cracked staff just collectively snorted milk out of their noses.

Another way of putting it would be, the Catholic church didn't like too much wiggle room in doctrine that didn't originate from "the church."

"Oooo... Sorry, the correct answer was 3"

It didn't take long for the Catholic church to figure out that violence was okay when it took care of problems. Thus, the Circumcellions got what they wanted all along.