A 14th-century Italian religious movement following the mystical teachings of Guglielma of Milan, believed by followers to be the incarnation of the Holy Spirit.

The Gugliemites were followers of Guglielma of Milan, a charismatic figure who lived around the late 13th century. Born possibly in Bohemia and claimed to be of royal descent, Guglielma moved to Milan, where she quickly became a central figure in a new religious movement that saw her as a divine manifestation. This movement, known later as the Gugliemites, revolved around the belief that Guglielma was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, heralding a new age where the Church would be led by women, transforming the ecclesiastical hierarchy and introducing a female priesthood​​​​​​.

The Gugliemites’ beliefs were deeply influenced by the eschatological thought of the time, especially the works of Joachim of Fiore, who prophesied an Age of the Holy Spirit characterized by a profound transformation of society and religion. They envisioned a church that transcended the established clerical order, promoting a direct, mystical relationship with the divine through the figure of Guglielma, whom they saw not only as a prophet but as the Holy Spirit incarnate. This movement represented a radical departure from orthodox Christian teachings, particularly in its elevation of women to spiritual and ecclesiastical leadership roles​​​​.

Despite Guglielma’s denials of her divinity during her lifetime, her death around 1282 did not extinguish the fervor of her followers. Instead, her tomb became a pilgrimage site, with miracles reported at her grave, which the local Cistercian monks documented in hopes of her canonization. However, this burgeoning cult did not escape the notice of the Church’s authorities. In 1300, thirty Gugliemites were charged with heresy in a dramatic confrontation with the Inquisition. Guglielma herself was posthumously condemned, her remains were exhumed and burned, and several of her key followers, including a woman named Mayfreda de Pirovano who was envisaged as a pope in the new church, were executed.

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