One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A member of a schismatic sect which arose in the mid 3rd cent., led by the Roman priest Novatian and characterized by a rigorism according to which the Church had no power to absolve Christians who had apostasized, or committed other serious offences.
Of, relating to, or following the precepts of Novatian or the Novatians.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Reginald Pecock (c1392–?1459), bishop of Chichester and religious author. From post-classical Latin Novatiani, although this appears to denote followers of Novatus rather than Novatian from Novatus, the name of a Carthaginian deacon (3rd cent. a.d.) + -ianus; compare post-classical Latin Novatianenses (3rd cent.), followers of Novatian, a Roman priest and theologian (b. c a.d. 200).
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