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Legatine council

Legatine council

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A legatine council or legatine synod is an ecclesiastical council or synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 that is presided over by a papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....


According to Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

, writing in the Dictatus papae
Dictatus papae
Dictatus papae is a compilation of 27 axiomatic statements of powers arrogated to the Pope that was included in Pope Gregory VII's register under the year 1075. Some historians argue that it was written by Gregory VII himself; others argue that it has been inserted in the register at a later...

, a papal legate "presides over all bishops in a council, even if he is inferior in rank, and he can pronounce sentence of deposition against them". During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, a legatine council was the usual means that a papal legate imposed his directives.

Many councils in the Middle Ages were legatine councils, including the council held by Hugh of Die
Hugh of Die
Hugh of Die was a French papal legate, and Archbishop of Lyon from 1081 to 1106. He was a nephew of Hugh I, Duke of Burgundy.He became bishop of Die, Drôme, in 1074. He was a strong supporter of the Gregorian reform. He was excommunicated at the 1087 Council of Benevento, for his criticisms of...

 at Autun
Autun is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy in eastern France. It was founded during the early Roman Empire as Augustodunum. Autun marks the easternmost extent of the Umayyad campaign in Europe.-Early history:...

 in 1077. Another was a series of councils held by Cuno of Praeneste
Cuno of Praeneste
Cuno of Praeneste was a German Cardinal and papal legate, an influential diplomatic figure of the early 12th century, active in France and Germany....

 in 1114 and 1115, held respectively at Beauvais, Rheims and Chalon, which excommunicated Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

, although Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II , born Ranierius, was Pope from August 13, 1099, until his death. A monk of the Cluniac order, he was created cardinal priest of the Titulus S...

 eventually refused to ratify Cuno's actions. In 1116 Cuno demanded that Paschal either confirm or reject the legate's actions, but Paschal did neither. Early in the history of the Crusader states
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

, a number of legatine councils were held in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 that not only appointed and deposed ecclesistics, but also regulated the church government. Legatine councils were also held in the German Empire during the 12th-century.

Legatine councils were also held in Medieval England, including the Council of Westminster
Synods of Westminster
Synods of Westminster. Under this heading are included certain of the more important ecclesiastical councils held within the present bounds of London. Though the precise locality is occasionally uncertain, the majority of the medieval synods assembled in the chapter-house of old St Pauls, or the...

in 1125, and a series of legatine councils held from 1139 to 1151, which unlike the 1125 council, were summoned by English ecclesiastics appointed as legates by the pope, rather than legates who had been sent to England by the papacy.