Keywords: Mental prayer, Quietism, Roman Inquisition, Republic of Venice
During the second half of the seventeenth century, the leaders of the movement known as the Pelagini stood trial in the Inquisition, which sentenced them to relegation for the “errors and blundersµ they spread in some villages of the Venetian Terraferma. The Pelagian brotherhoods practiced mental prayer and pursued a model of religious community alternative to the Church’s. Although their followers were not condemned as heretics, this fragmented, heterodox movement was included in the genealogy of Quietism established during the last decades of the century. Drawing on some unexplored sources preserved in the Archive of the Holy Office in Rome, this article aims to investigate the religious experiences of the Pelagini against the background of the definition of a heretical paradigm able to promote their prosecution.