Third Council of Toledo

Third Council of Toledo

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The Third Council of Toledo (589) marks the entry of Catholic Christianity into the rule of Visigothic Spain
Visigoth
The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, the Ostrogoths being the other. These tribes were among the Germans who spread through the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period...

, and the introduction into Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 of the filioque clause. The council also enacted restrictions on Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, and the conversion of the country to Christianity led to repeated persecutions of Jews.

Arian Goths


In the 4th century, the bishop Wulfila (c 310 - 383) invented a script for the Gothic language
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

, translated the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 into Gothic, and converted the Goths to Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Christianity. When the Visigoths traveled west, they encountered Latin Christians
Latin Church
The Latin Church is the largest particular church within the Catholic Church. It is a particular church not on the level of the local particular churches known as dioceses or eparchies, but on the level of autonomous ritual churches, of which there are 23, the remaining 22 of which are Eastern...

, for whom Arianism was anathema. The Visigoths held to their Arian beliefs and refused to join the Catholic Church.

Bishop Leander and King Reccared


The Council was organized by Bishop Leander of Seville
Leander of Seville
Saint Leander of Seville , brother of the encyclopedist St. Isidore of Seville, was the Catholic Bishop of Seville who was instrumental in effecting the conversion to Catholicism of the Visigothic kings Hermengild and Reccared of Hispania .-Family:Leander and Isidore and...

, who had worked tirelessly to convert the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Visigothic kings and had succeeded with Reccared
Reccared
Reccared I was Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia. His reign marked a climactic shift in history, with the king's renunciation of traditional Arianism in favour of Catholic Christianity in 587.Reccared was the younger son of King Liuvigild by his first wife Theodosia...

. Abbot Eutropius had the chief day-to-day management of the council, according to the chronicler John of Biclaro
John of Biclaro
John of Biclaro, Biclar, or Biclarum , also Iohannes Biclarensis, was a Visigoth chronicler, born in Lusitania, in the city of Scallabis , who must have been from a Catholic family, to judge from his name...

. In the king's name, Leander brought together bishops and nobles in May of 589
589
Year 589 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 589 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- Europe :* October 17 – The Adige River...

.

Opening


The Council opened on May 4, with three days of prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 and fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

. Then, the public confession of King Reccared was read aloud by a notary
Notary
A notary is a lawyer or person with legal training who is licensed by the state to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents...

. Its theological precision defining Trinitarian and Arian tenets, establishing Reccared's newly-achieved orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

, and its extensive quotation from scripture revealed that it was in fact ghostwritten
Ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written...

 for the king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

, doubtless by Leander.

Declarations


In it, Reccared declared that God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 had inspired him to lead the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 back to the true faith, from which they had been led astray by false teachers. (In fact they had been Christianized by the Arian Ulfilas
Ulfilas
Ulfilas, or Gothic Wulfila , bishop, missionary, and Bible translator, was a Goth or half-Goth and half-Greek from Cappadocia who had spent time inside the Roman Empire at the peak of the Arian controversy. Ulfilas was ordained a bishop by Eusebius of Nicomedia and returned to his people to work...

, but Leander's theme was reconciliation.) He declared that not only the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 but the Suevi, who by the fault of others had been led into heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, had been brought back to the faith. These nations he dedicated to God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 by the hands of the bishops, whom he called on to complete the work. He then anathematized Arius and his doctrine, and declared his acceptance of the councils of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

, Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

 and pronounced an anathema on all who returned to Arianism after being received into the Church by the chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

, or the laying on of hands; then followed the creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople and the definition of Chalcedon, and the tome concluded with the signatures of Reccared and Baddo his queen. This confession was received with a general acclamation.

One of the Catholic bishops then called on the assembled bishops, clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, and Gothic nobles
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 to declare publicly their renunciation of Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 and their acceptance of Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

. They replied that although they had done so already when they had gone over with the king to the Church, they would comply.

Anathemas


Then followed 23 anathema
Anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

s directed against Arius and his doctrines, succeeded by the creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople and the definition of Chalcedon, the whole being subscribed by 8 Arian bishops with their clergy, and by all the Gothic nobles. The bishops were Ugnas of Barcelona, Ubiligisclus of Valencia, Murila of Palencia
Palencia
Palencia is a city south of Tierra de Campos, in north-northwest Spain, the capital of the province of Palencia in the autonomous community of Castile-Leon...

, Sunnila of Viseu
Viseu
Viseu is both a city and a municipality in the Dão-Lafões Subregion of Centro Region, Portugal. The municipality, with an area of 507.1 km², has a population of 99,593 , and the city proper has 47,250...

, Gardingus of Tuy
Tuy
Tuy may refer to:Places:*Ocumare del Tuy, a city in the Miranda State in northern Venezuela* The Tuy river in Venezuela*Santa Teresa del Tuy, a city in the state of Miranda, Venezuela...

, Bechila of Lugo
Lugo
Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 97,635 in 2010, which makes is the fourth most populated city in Galicia.-Population:...

, Argiovitus of Oporto, and Froisclus of Tortosa
Tortosa
-External links:* *** * * *...

. The names of the eight are German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

ic in origin. Four come from sees within the former kingdom of the Suevi, probably showing that Leovigild, after his conquest, had displaced the Catholic bishops by Arian
Arian
Arian may refer to:* Arius, a Christian presbyter in the 3rd and 4th century* a given name in different cultures: Aria, Aryan or Arian...

s.

Canons


Reccared then bid the council with his licence to draw up any requisite canons, particularly one directing the creed to be recited at Communion, so that henceforward no one could plead ignorance as an excuse for misbelief. Then followed 23 canons with a confirmatory edict of the king.
  • The 1st confirmed the decrees of previous councils of the Catholic Church and synodical letters of the pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

    s;
  • the 2nd directed the recitation of the creed of Constantinople at Holy Communion, with the addition of the Filioque clause
    Filioque clause
    Filioque , Latin for "and the Son", is a phrase found in the form of Nicene Creed in use in the Latin Church. It is not present in the Greek text of the Nicene Creed as originally formulated at the First Council of Constantinople, which says only that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father":The...

    : Credo in Spiritum Sanctum qui ex patre filioque procedit ("I believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and Son") which was never accepted in the Christian East and led to drawn-out controversy
    Controversy
    Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus , hence, "to turn...

    ;
  • the 5th forbade the converted Arian
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

     bishops, priests, and deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

    s to live with their wives;
  • the 7th directed that the Scriptures should be read at a bishop's table during meal
    Meal
    A meal is an instance of eating, specifically one that takes place at a specific time and includes specific, prepared food.Meals occur primarily at homes, restaurants, and cafeterias, but may occur anywhere. Regular meals occur on a daily basis, typically several times a day...

    s;
  • the 9th transferred Arian church
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

    es to the bishops of their dioceses;
  • the 13th forbade clerics to proceed against other clerics before lay
    Laity
    In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

     tribunal
    Tribunal
    A tribunal in the general sense is any person or institution with the authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title....

    s;
  • the 14th forbade Jews
    Jews
    The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

     to have Christian wives, concubines, or slaves, ordered the children of such unions to be baptized, and disqualified Jews from any office in which they might have to punish Christians. Christian slaves whom they had circumcised, or made to share in their rites, were ipso facto freed;
  • the 21st forbade civil authorities to lay burdens on clerics or the slaves of the church or clergy
    Clergy
    Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

    ;
  • the 22nd forbade wailing at funeral
    Funeral
    A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

    s;
  • the 23rd forbade celebrating the eves of Saint's days with dances and songs, characterized as "indecent".


The canons were subscribed first by the king, then by 5 of the 6 metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

s, of whom Masona
Masona
Masona or Mausona was the Bishop of Mérida and metropolitan of the province of Lusitania from about 570 until his death...

 signed first; 62 bishops signed in person, 6 by proxy. All those of Tarraconensis and Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 appeared personally or by proxy; in other provinces several were missing.

Closing


The proceedings closed with a triumphant homily
Homily
A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word...

 by Leander on the conversion of the Goths, preserved by his brother Isidore
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

  as Homilia de triumpho ecclesiae ob conversionem Gothorum a homily upon the "triumph of the Church and the conversion of the Goths."

Effects of the council


Soon Argiovitus was ejected from his see of Oporto, and replaced by a more dependably Catholic bishop, Constancio.

The proscriptions against Jews were soon followed by required conversions, which led to a wholesale flight of Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from Visigothic Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 to Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

 and technically Visigothic nearby territories in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. There, a community of exiles and malcontents formed, that were later to provide useful alliance and information at the time of the Moorish invasion
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 in 711.

The filioque clause spread through the Latin-literate West but not through the Greek-speaking East. The Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 adopted it, but its use caused controversy in the 9th century. Its use spread to Rome soon after 1000, and it contributed to the Great Schism
East–West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 (1054) between the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

s.

Sources

  • Thompson, E. A. (1969) The Goths in Spain. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Synodus Toletana tertia, minutes from the Collectio Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis (Vat. lat. 1341)

External links