Vampires and Early Church History
Last week we talked about Reputation during our Bible Study on Facebook Live. In it I mentioned the rumors the Roman Empire had about early Christianity and today I’d like to go further into that with you.
Early Christians would meet up in the Catacombs (tombs) underground where they took part in the Eucharist (communion) which involved eating the body of their savior and drinking his blood.
Early Christians would meet underground due to the cost of rent and discrimination against them renting anything above ground. They were accused of Vampirism and Cannibalism through the understanding that communion elements turn into the literal body of Christ and His literal blood. This is known as Transubstantiation and is a belief held by the Catholic church. Consubstantiation is the belief that the elements are only symbolic of His body and blood, this is the stance of the Assemblies of God.
Where did the idea of Vampires come from? Tracing back the history of Vampires, they were originally demons that drank blood but over time the story evolved into undead who drink blood. Certain practices of witchcraft called for the drinking of human or animal blood to complete spells and those people when discovered were accused not only of witchcraft but of Vampirism. Many cultures believed that an improper burial or unrest in the spirit at death could lead to Vampirism.
King James VI of Scotland even wrote a paper on witchcraft in 1597 that included demons possessing the dead and drinking their blood to remain in the body. People had become so fearful that in 1749 Pope Benedict the XIV had to issue a public statement to the Catholic Church that Vampires are not real. Many countries across the world had to outlaw the desecration of graves and bodies in their attempts to rid the world of Vampires.
In the Americas during the 18th Century “consumption” now known as tuberculosis was considered by many to be caused by a Vampire feeding during the night and when the sick finally died they too would become a Vampire.
The “modern” fantasy idea of Vampires began with the fame of Dracula which is based on the novel Carmilla but it was not nearly as popular.
In more modern times several cults have “vampires” as their heads and convince people to do their bidding based on that idea. In the early 2000s a country in southeast Africa, Malawi, had a vampire scare that resulted in the stoning of their governor and four others.
We must guard our hearts and minds against such allegations. We can not let the world's fear of “creatures of the night” get into our own thoughts. It is important to fully research and understand what we have been told about history to keep what is true in our hearts and minds.