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THEIR DOCTRINES, GENERAL:

A little bit more about their doctrines. It mentions that the Henricians and others associated with these people. It also mentions a very interesting statement here. It says, "The Waldensians preached the doctrine of Christ, while the Franciscans and the Dominicans preached the person of Christ." Interesting statement. Mr. Armstrong stated basically the same thing where he stated, "We're preaching the Gospel OF Christ, whereas other churches are basically preaching about the person of Christ." This came out of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, 11th Edition. "They believed in obeying ALL of the scriptures, before the continued persecution that was brought against these people. The Waldenses slowly disappeared from the chief centers of population and took refuge in the valleys of the Alps." A couple of other comments in terms of their doctrine. "Their elders were called Barbes, which translates meaning 'Uncles'." In the Bible, ministers are referred to as Elders, so you get some corruption across the span of history here. "But their elders were called Barbes. Apparently when a person reached the age of 25 they could be considered to become a Barb or an elder. Those chosen on a basis of their character, were schooled.. They usually spent the winters going to school, three to four years going to school," almost the equivalent of a college education today. "They served two years as an apprentice, before they were ordained. They were ordained by the laying on of hands, and they also usually traveled in two's, an older person with a younger person." So the younger person could learn from the experience of the older person. "Their children were apparently very astute in understanding the Bible." They must have been taught quite a bit. We'll look at some quotes in just a little bit. Towards the end of the 14th or 15th century one of the individuals that was actually a prince, I believe, made a trip up into these valleys to check out some rumors that he'd heard about these Waldensians. he'd heard their kids were born with black throats and had hoofs for feet, indicating that they were offspring of the Devil. But he says, "Whenever I saw them they were some of the most beautiful children I'd ever seen." And he says, "I learned more scripture from the kids than I'd known all my life." That was the Encyclopedia Brittanica. They mention here, "THEY FELT THAT THE ROMAN CHURCH WAS NOT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, THAT THE ROMAN CHURCH WAS THE SCARLET WOMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE. THEY BASICALLY DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE MASS, THEY DID NOT OBSERVE CHRISTMAS, THEY DID NOT OBSERVE EASTER, THEY OBSERVED THE HOLYDAYS, THEY OBSERVED THE SABBATH [Saturday]."

[Now if this isn't a spiritual/ideological link to the Worldwide Church of God, I'll eat my hat!!!] We'll read some of these things shortly. They also, as indicated in a book called "Israel of the Alps" written in 1875 by a person who had spent quite a bit of time with them, he mentions that, "They broke their tithe up into three parts. They gave one third to the ministry, one third to the poor, and one third to what they called the wayfarers," which in all probability were people that were going to the Feast [of Tabernacles, c.f. Leviticus 23:34-44, Zechariah 14:16-19.] But they did believe in tithing and they broke it up into three different parts. Just a few comments from this book entitled "Israel of the Alps", (we find this book in the Harvard Theological Library.) It says, "No people of modern times exhibit so much analogy with the ancient Jewish people as the Vaudois of the Alps of the Piedmont. No history has more abounded in marvels than theirs, and no churches has abounded in martyrs than theirs." Because about a million of these people were put to death during the persecutions that came on them about 1200 to 1500 A.D. It mentions the persecutions here by Urban III, about infant Baptism (i.e. they're against it), about [how] they urged the monks to marry. They didn't believe in celibacy. One account says, "They really didn't form a new church, they could not resist, they couldn't receive a new name, but because they inhabited the valleys they were called Vaudois." i.e., they couldn't receive a new name other than the name the Bible calls the true Church by--the Church of God. The name Vaudois in its original use did not designate a particular sect but merely [referred to] the Christians of the valleys. The name Vaudois means in Italian "valley", "men of the valley", referring to this northern part of Italy. About the ministry, it mentions here, "besides this, the Barbs received instruction in some trade or profession by which they might be enabled to provide for their own ones. Some were artisans, some were sellers..." It mentions here, "the greater part were physicians and surgeons", which is an interesting comment. In other words, they must have been involved with some sort of means of health. "And all were acquainted with the cultivation of the soil." And, again, this was written in 1875. So what this individual is describing is really Waldensians that may no longer be part of the true Church. But they still retain some of the ways, mentioned that, "Acquainted with cultivation of the soil, keeping of flocks, very few of them [the Barbs] were married, their perpetual missions and their poverty and their missionary tours, their life always spent amidst warfare and danger made it easy to understand the reason for not having a lot of these married." Here is the account of the Prince, the Duke of Savoy, that went up into these areas to find out what these people were actually like. And this shows the extent of the misinformation that was around at this particular time. The interview of this envoy with the evangelical Christians of the Alps took place in a hamlet situated in the confines of this particular area. "It was resolved that the Vaudois should send a representative of each of their Churches to their prince when he came up to them. It was during the Conference that this prince asked to see some of the children that he might satisfy himself by personal observation, whether they were really born with black throats, ruff teeth and goats feet, as the Catholics pretended. 'Is it possible,' he said, when he saw the number of them of his own eyes, 'that these are the children of heretics? Is it possible? What charming creatures they are. They are by far the prettiest children I have ever seen.' Thus was overthrown the ridiculed prejudice at this particular time." Now another book on history of the Christian Church by Waddington, mentions the origins of these people. It says, "There are some who believe the Vaudois have enjoyed the uninterrupted integrity of the faith even from the Apostolic Ages. Others suppose that they originated from an individual around Turin about the 9th century." A Dominican, and this is a person involved with the inquisition, named Ranor Sachow, who was first a member and afterwards a persecutor of their group, described them in a work that he writes against them. He said, "There is no group so dangerous as the Leonists (i.e., followers of Peter de Waldo) for three reasons. First, it is the most ancient, some say as old as Sylvester (this was the pope that was involved with Constantine--325 A.D.)" Again, this person was writing about 1250 A.D. during the height of this groups' ministry. "...Others say as old as the Apostles themselves. Secondly, it is very generally disseminated." In other words it is a very widespread group. These people have got followers all over the place. There is no country where it has not gained some footing. In fact, these people (the Waldensians) became so prominent that they were able to hold some of their own religious conventions in southern France, where their representatives got together." That was another thing about the people in the valleys, they also, as another source will tell us, they kept the Sabbath and they also had a fall meeting every year, in October, (probably the Feast of Tabernacles). It says, "Thirdly, while other sects are profane and blasphemous, this one retains the utmost show of piety. They lived justly before men and believed nothing respecting God which is not good. Only they blasphemed about the Roman Church and the clergy, and thus gained many followers. Again, Saint Bernard admits in substance that there is a sect which calls itself after no man's name." In other words, they did not call themselves Waldensians, or Paulicians, or Arnaldists and so on. "Which pretends to be in the direct line of Apostolic succession, and which rustic and unlearned though it is, contends that the Church is wrong." That is, the Roman Church, the Roman Catholic Church is wrong and that itself is right. That was the Waldensian Church. "It must derive" he suggests, "its' origin from the devil, since there is no other extraction wherewith we can side with them." That is Saint Bernard writing about these people.

THEIR DOCTRINES, SPECIFIC:

The other thing I wanted to look at briefly here was a book written in 1851 by Tamar Davis, the woman who was part of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. And the title of the book is, The Sabbatarian Churches, Armenian, East Indian, Abecinian, in Asia and Africa, the Waldenses, Semi-Judaizers, and Sabbatarians, Anabaptists of Europe, with the Culmination in the United States." That is the name of the book. Anyway, in chapter two, entitled "Seventh Day Baptists in Europe," subtitle, "Waldenses, Albigences, Passaginians". She says she's going to be concerned about their origin, where they come from. She mentions that, "The Latin word Valis has been the parent word of the English word 'valid', and the French-Spanish word 'Vale', and the Italian word 'Valdesi'. The designation of the word valley, it means 'inhabitants of the Valleys'." She traces these people to a person named Valdo [not Waldo] in the 9th century, also Peter de Waldo of Leone. But then she mentions, "Thus in Dauphiny, (this is where Peter de Waldo came from) they were called Josephists because they followed this individual by the name of Joseph. In other places they were called Petrobrucians, from Peter de Bruys. They were also called Cathars, which means 'Puritans', or in some cases Bonhomie, which means 'Good men.' Others were called In-Sabbathists, which means Sabbath keepers. Or they were called Sabbatarians. Some were designated 'Bulgarians', others 'Paulicians.' In other areas they were called 'Lombardists', 'Teloussians', Albigences'. NEVERTHELESS, ALL THESE BRANCHES WERE DISTINGUISHED AS KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD AND THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST. One account of these Albigences was, 'THEY PRACTICED CIRCUMCISION, AND OBSERVED THE JEWISH SABBATH. 'They savored of Judaism.' The Passaginians or Passigenes were another branch of the same sect who derived their name from the country of Passeau, or also passages or areas that were hard to get to. Their enemies confirm their identity as well as their great antiquity. One Jesuit priest who had examined the subject fully and with every opportunity of knowing, admits the great antiquity of the heretics and moreover expresses his firm belief that these people, the Albigences, Passaginians, Arnaldists, Josephists, were none other than WALDENSES," It says, "AMONG OTHER POINTS, HE MENTIONS, 'MOREOVER, ALL OF THE HERETICS DESPISED THE FASTS AND FEASTS OF THE CHURCH, SUCH AS CANDLE MASS OR CHRISTMAS, EASTER AND THE DOMINICAN DAY (which means Sunday). In short, all approved ecclesiastical customs for which they do not find warrant in the scriptures, they don't believe in.' THEY ALSO SAY THAT GOD ENJOINED REST AND HOLY MEDITATION ON THE SEVENTH DAY, AND THAT THEY CAN NOT FEEL JUSTIFIED OBSERVING ANY OTHER DAY." Another individual puts it this way, "The old Waldenses were not succeeders of the Church of Rome for neither themselves nor their ancestors had ever embraced this [Roman Catholic] faith. One person, a popish archbishop declares that the Waldensian heresy originated from one named Leo, who in the days of Constantine the Great led a party of heretics from Rome into the valleys. [Could these actually be Jewish Christians, remnants of the Roman Church of God from apostolic times!?! Read on.] POPE GREGORY VII OBSERVES THAT IT WAS WELL KNOWN IN THE DAYS OF CONSTANTINE THE GREAT, THAT SOME ASSEMBLIES OF JEWISH CHRISTIANS, BEING PERSECUTED IN ROME BECAUSE THEY PERSISTED IN OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW OF MOSES. WANDERED OFF INTO THE VALLEYS WHERE THEIR DESCENDANTS REMAIN TODAY." So these were some of the comments where these people came from. Concerning doctrinal sentiments and religious practices of the Waldenses, it says, "They hold that none of the ordinances of the Church, (that is, the established church, i.e., the Catholic Church) which have been introduced since Christ's' ascension into Heaven ought to be observed." In other words, everything that has been introduced since the days of the Apostles and Christ should not be observed. They mention about God enjoining upon everybody that they should rest upon the Sabbath and are bound by that. They condemn all ecclesiastical customs they do not read of in the Gospel, such as the observance of Candle Mass [Christmas], Palm Sunday, Adoration of the Cross, and Good Friday, and the Reconciliation of Penance. These despise the feast of Easter and the Festivals of Christ and the Saints and they say one day is as good as another, working on [Catholic] Holydays when they can do so without being taken notice of." It says, "Infant Baptism they would not observe because they did not read about it in the Scripture. THEY KEPT THE JEWISH SABBATH." She, [Tamar Davis], has some footnotes here. There is one I wanted to read. It says, "That Catholic writers regard the Dominical Day as a festival Day", talking about Sunday, "can be easily proved. That they regard as such to this day in Catholic countries is an undeniable fact. When they speak of the festivals of the Church, [the Catholics], include Sunday as much as Christmas, Palm Sunday or Easter. They smile, [that is, talking about the Catholic authorities,] when they hear learned Protestant sages attempt to prove from the Scriptures either the Abrogation or the change of the Sabbath." In other words, THEY KNOW who changed the Sabbath. "We have also a host of Protestants in the earlier part of the Reformation who acknowledge that the observance of the first day [Sunday] had no other foundation than the authority of the Church." [I.e., the Catholic Church.] "These were early Protestant reformers, among whom is the celebrate John Calvin, who says, 'The Old Fathers put in the place of the Sabbath the day which we call Sunday.'" That was John Calvin being quoted in Tamar Davis' book.

King Charles I, of England, declares that the celebration of the feast of Easter was instituted by the same authority that changed the Sabbath into the Lord's Day, or Sunday. For it will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is discharged to be kept. [I.e., where Saturday is canceled and Sunday is substituted in place of it.] "Therefore, says King Charles, 'My opinion is that those who will not keep this feast may well return to the observance of Saturday, and refuse the weekly Sunday, since it was the Church's authority to change the one and institute the other." So these were comments made by people living back at the time of the Reformation.
Describing the Waldenses as people, it says, "These heretics are known by their manners and conversation, where they are orderly and modest in their behavior and deportment. They neither indulge in finery of attire nor are they remarkable for being mean..." In other words, they are balanced. "They avoid commerce, that they may be free from falsehood and deceit. They get their livelihood from manual industry, as day laborers or mechanics, and THEIR TEACHERS ARE WEAVERS AND/OR TAYLORS. They are not anxious about amassing riches but contend themselves with the necessities of life. They are chaste, temperate, sober. They abstain from anger. Even when they work they either learn or teach. In like manner also their women are modest, avoiding backbiting, foolish jesting, and levity of speech, especially abstaining from lies or swearing." Very interesting comments about these people. What is interesting is that she, [Tamar Davis,] brings out the fact that they did keep the Sabbath, they kept the Holydays, they kept the Law of Moses.

One of the last things here, a comment, some comments recorded by one of the monks that was interrogating, apparently, one of their ministers. The monk, named Gregory, he says, "By Anthony, you must be a liar and a deceiver for I have been credibly informed that yourself and all your friends were of the accursed race of Israel." Answer: "That is false, we are all honest Frenchmen and Christians, followers of Jesus." "No, but you're Jews, for instead of Baptizing your infant children you have all your males circumcised." Answer: "You do very wrong to accuse us of that practice for it is something of which we are entirely innocent." "Do you Baptize your children then?" "We do not, neither do we circumcise them." "Never the less you must be Jews since you say the Law of Moses is still binding." ("Well we say the Ten Commandments are still binding.") [Read Matthew 5:17-19, where Jesus Christ says the Law is still binding. The Church of God under Mr. Armstrong as well as these Christians back in France interpreted Matthew 5:17-19 in the most literal way it could be interpreted, with no allowance for new covenant changes documented in the book of Acts and Hebrews. Such a literal interpretation, while ignoring or misunderstanding the documented new covenant changes made by Peter and Paul under Jesus Christ's inspiration, points the believer to only one possible law, the old covenant Law God gave to Moses. I understand this mindset because I was an old covenant Christian under Mr. Armstrong, and had to explain my reason for practicing the literal Ten Commandments to the military to obtain conscientious objector status.] "So instead of observing festivals of the Holy Church and honoring the Holy Day of the Lord, on which day he arose from the dead, you are accustomed to meet for worship on the old Sabbath or Saturday." "WE DO INDEED REST AND ATTEND DIVINE WORSHIP ON THE SEVENTH DAY AS GOD COMMANDED." And so on went the discussion with this person. What are they guilty of? Well, basically, not going along with what the "established" church had to say. There are plenty of sources through this period of time that tell us about the Waldensians, tell us about the Albigencians. They were persecuted, they were hounded, basically what happened, the Albigences kind of disappeared from history about the end of the 1300's. [That's what usually happens when you murder enough of them.] The Waldenses were persecuted, in fact, in some cases driven from the valleys. We find bits and pieces of evidence of these people showing up in Germany, showing up in Holland, showing up in England, in the 14 and 1500's A.D. There is an account of the Waldenses in the 1500's fighting their way back in. And as one of the authors says, "It seems like a very different people than those that were persecuted in the 1200's." There are Waldensian churches around today, in Italy, we had one in southern California not too far from where the college, [Ambassador College], is. You don't hear about them doing anything though. Their light virtually went out. [No, their light probably went on and they saw the new covenant for what it was!] To my knowledge they don't keep the Sabbath anymore. I'm not totally sure what their other doctrines are today. But as far as in the 1200's, it is fairly easy to pin down that they kept the Sabbath, kept the Holy Days, [of Leviticus 23], they tithed, they were against infant baptism, against the Trinity, against all kinds of things their church stands for today.

In the old Ambassador College Correspondence Course they actually published a picture of the emblem of the Waldensians. It shows a Lampstand, with seven stars around it, and [an arrow] actually points to the Fourth Star. The question is, did they know [that] they were the Thyatira Church, or Era of the Church [of God]? The way the emblem is put together, it would appear that way. Whether they did of did not, it is kind of hard to say from this point in history.

The Waldensians are still around, but they were persecuted [back then], in fact, UPWARDS OF A MILLION OF THESE PEOPLE DIED. Again, whether or not they were all true Waldensians, remains to be seen. This is what we read about them in the latter several verses of Revelation 2:20-23, talking about a woman that was going to seduce them. Apparently there were people with the Church, the Waldensian Church, that did not go along with the Doctrines. There were some of these people recorded that they kept the Sabbath, but then would show up every Sunday, in the Catholic Church in the region, and sit in the Church, pretending to go along, compromising. These people were also very trustworthy, they were given political jobs by some of the princes in whose districts they lived. They got involved [in politics] that way. They compromised their beliefs. And they got involved in bearing arms, literally fighting their way back into these valleys, in some cases, from which they were driven. As a result of apparently compromising their beliefs they were persecuted very dramatically towards the 14 and 1500's A.D. from what we find, very briefly, is that we have a Church that becomes very prominent about the early 1100's, emerging out of a textile area in southern France. Thyatira, in Turkey, is identified as being an area linked with fabrics. Their works, very small at the beginning. [Peter Valdo], Peter de Bruys, Henri, were forerunners, but Peter de Waldo and his disciples you have them establishing a college, actually up in these valleys, that trained ministers. They actually established over TWO HUNDRED SCHOOLS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE! Before they kind of disappeared from the scene they became very prominent. These people traveled all over, apparently preaching, translating the Bible into the common languages, apparently writing on different subjects. The Catholic Church became so uncomfortable that they instituted not only the Albigencian Crusade but also excommunicated all these people (as if they ever were in the Catholic Church), and actually started a false movement with people imitating some of the very doctrines of these people, in the persons of the Dominican and Franciscan Friars. But as a result of persecution which came down very heavily, in the latter part of the 12th century and continuing up into the 15th century, you find these people scattering. Remnants of them today are still in these Alpine valleys, but they don't hold to the number of beliefs that they did hold to at that particular time [between 1100 and 1500 A.D.] We find them appearing then up in Germany, up in Holland, and up in England, and this is where we are going to pick up the next Era of God's Church, the Sardis Era, which actually begins in the 1500's. Whenever you find some of the first Churches appearing, the ministers appear on record in England and in Holland. So we will pick things up at that particular time. The message again, to the Thyatira Era, one of the clearest indications of what the doctrines of God's Church down through the history have been, and also one of the most sober warnings for the Church that begins to compromise. It talks about [Revelation 2] 'the woman Jezebel seducing the servants' and about how God would kill their children. Again it is a very sobering lesson for us today, not to compromise, and to get busy doing the Work that God has called us to do, to endure to the end. That's it for tonight.


Sources For Thyatira Material
(BIBLIOGRAPHY)
Ambassador College Correspondence Course (old course--lesson 52)
Uses: Encyclopedia Brittanica (11th Edition):
--"Waldensians" "Albigences"
--"Lollards" "Sabbatarians"
--"Wycliffe" "Vaudois"
"A Critical History of the Sabbath and Sunday" by Lewis
"Ancient Vallenses and Albigences" by Faber
"History of Baptists" by Armitage
"Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia" article: "Bohemian Brethren"
History of the Sabbath, by J. N. Andrews
History of the Waldenses, by J. A. Wylie (1870's)
Israel of the Alps, by Muston (1875)
History of the Christian Church, by Waddington

[To access information about these books you can contact Dr. Samuele Bocchiocchi, Professor of Religion, Andrews University at samuele@ansdrews.edu or Professor Daniel Augsburger at daniel@andrews.edu ]

At this point I would like to include an email I recently received from Professor Augsburger about the Waldensians.

"From: Daniel Augsburger daniel@andrews.edu

Dear Friend:

I received your email some time ago while I was working very hard on material for my course on Luther. Now I can breathe more easily.

The issue of Sabbathkeeping by the Waldensians is very complex. The inquisitors say that there was no problem on Sunday keeping [by the time many of the Sabbathkeepers had been killed off by these same "inquisitors"! My comment. Please excuse me.]. So many must have kept Sunday. On the other hand we find evidence of Sabbath keeping in regions where there were nuclei of Waldensians. This means that some kept the Sabbath.

I wish I could give a more definite answer. We unfortunately do not have the evidence. We know that the Waldensians' major conflict with the church [the Catholic Church] was that they preached without ecclesiastical permission.

In Italy they were very ciritical of the papacy. In the South of France they were more evangelical, devoted to a life of poverty. There was no theological unity among all the groups but they all shared the love of Scriptures.

Sincerely,
D. Augsburger

CHURCH HISTORY
THYATIRA
DATE:1000 A.D. - 1600 A.D.
BACKGROUND: The name Thyatira means 'sweet savor of contrition' in the Greek language. Thyatira was a city in the province of Asia Minor on the boundary of Lydia and Mysia. Thyatira has no illustrious history and is scarcely mentioned by ancient writers. It was one of the many Macedonian colonies established in Asia Minor, in the sequel of the destruction of the Persian Empire by Alexander. The waters of the city are said to be so well adapted for dyeing that in no place can the scarlet cloth be so brilliantly and permanently dyed as here. So, in Acts 16:14, Lydia, the first convert of Paul at Philippi, is mentioned as a seller of purple from Thyatira. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, who was worshipped as the sun-god. A priestess of Artemas is also mentioned in the ancient inscriptions. She evidently lived just outside the city at a famous Chaldean sanctuary. She is the Jezebel mentioned in Revelation 2, who caused many to compromise. She was also a type of the church which caused much damage to the true Church during the Thyatira Era.

NAMES: Just as in previous eras, true Christians of this period were given many different names by their enemies. They referred to themselves as 'the Church of God' or 'congregation' or simply Christians. It was common to name these 'heretics' after either their leader or the region they occupied. The following names can be found among the historical records: Petrobrusians (Peter de Bruys), Henricians (Henry), Albigences (Albi in France), Waldenses (Walden in France--although true origin is in dispute), Lollards (unknown origin), Passaginians (mountain passes or passages), Arnaldists, (Arnald Hott), Josephists (Joseph), Paterines (latter Cathars). Everyone labelled by the above names were certainly not a part of the true Church, since in many cases these terms were rather broadly used by the Catholic Church against any heretics in that area.

Important Dates

  1. 1096, Bogomils & Paulicians in Dauphiny.
  2. 1104-1124, Peter de Bruys.
  3. 1124-1149, Henry
  4. 1161-1217, Peter de Waldo
  5. 1179, Laterin Council forbids preaching by Waldenses.
  6. 1184, Pope Lucius excommunicates all heretics.
  7. 1215, Laterin IV Council forbade reading the Bible.
  8. 1315, Walter the Lollard preaches the gospel in England & Europe.
  9. 1401, Statute passed against the Lollards.
  10. 1435, Sabbath keepers in Norway.
  11. 1585, End of 1260 years.
  12. 1588, Sabbath keepers in Transylvania

Important People

  1. Peter de Bruys
  2. Henry, disciple of Peter
  3. Peter de Waldo
  4. Walter the Lollard
  5. Arnald Hott
  6. Joseph

FURTHER HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

TOWNLEY'S SCRIPTURE HISTORY orAn INTRODUCTION to the LITERARY HISTORY of the BIBLE by JAMES TOWNLEY (1832) pages 142-146

BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION by RALPH WOODROW [not included.] Chapter 14: The Inhuman Inquisition Bibliography for Chapters 12-14.

[To read a very interesting article which shows where the Baptist and Anabaptist churches in France during the 1200s AD and going on  into the 1600’s AD England probably came from, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/BaptistHistory.htm.  It shows that the Baptist churches may have actually come from the Sabbatarian Churches of God which came from Asia Minor, into southern Europe through the Bogomils, to southern France.]

 

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