ILLUMINA'TI, noun A church term anciently applied to persons who had received baptism; in which ceremony they received a lighted taper, as a symbol of the faith and grace they had received by that sacrament.
1. The name of a sect of heretics, who sprung up in Spain about the year 1575, and who afterward appeared in France. Their principal doctrine was, that by means of a sublime manner of prayer, they had attained to so perfect a state as to have no need of ordinances, sacraments and good works.
2. The name given to certain associations of men in modern Europe, who combined to overthrow the existing religious institutions, and substitute reason, by which they expected to raise men and society to perfection.