Il*lu`mi*na"ti(?), n. pl. [L. illuminatus. See Illuminate, v. t., and cf. Illuminee.] Literally, those who are enlightened; -- variously applied as follows: --
(Eccl.) Persons in the early church who had received baptism; in which ceremony a lighted taper was given them, as a symbol of the spiritual illumination they has received by that sacrament.
(Eccl. Hist.) Members of a sect which sprung up in Spain about the year 1575. Their principal doctrine was, that, by means of prayer, they had attained to so perfect a state as to have no need of ordinances, sacraments, good works, etc.; -- called also
(Mod. Hist.) Members of certain associations in Modern Europe, who combined to promote social reforms, by which they expected to raise men and society to perfection, esp. of one originated in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, professor of canon law at Ingolstadt, which spread rapidly for a time, but ceased after a few years.
4. Also applied to: (a) An obscure sect of French Familists; (b) The Hesychasts, Mystics, and Quietists; (c) The Rosicrucians.
5. Any persons who profess special spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
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Tue 19th March 2019