Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 104
Canon 9 of the First Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula, AD 400) forbids the nuns and widows to sing antiphonies in their houses without bishop or presbyter, and to organize vigils outside the church.
Canon 9
Ut nulla professa vel vidua absente sacerdote in domo sua sacerdotale officium vel lucernale impleat
Nulla professa vel vidua absente episcopo vel presbytero in domo sua antifonas cum confessore vel servo suo faciat. Lucernarium vero nisi in ecclesia non legatur; aut si legitur in villa, praesente episcopo vel presbytero vel diacono legatur.
(ed. Vives 1963: 22)
Canon 9
That any nun or widow has in her house celebrated a priestly office or vigil without a priest
No professed virgin [professa] or widow may in the absence of a bishop or presbyter chant antiphons in her own home with a confessor or her slave; indeed, the evening prayer may not be read except in a church - or, if it is read on an estate, let it be read with a bishop or presbyter or deacon present.
(trans. Burrus 1995: 113, slightly altered)


The title of "confessor" is probably an informal way of referring to an ascetic (Botte 1941: 137-148, Burrus 1995: 112).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Toledo

About the source:

Title: Council of Toledo I, Concilium Toletanum I, First Council of Toledo, Concilium I Toletanum
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The first council of Toledo was convened to deal with divisions among the Spanish episcopate caused by the conviction and execution of Priscillian in 385. Many people in Spain, the bishops among them, considered the judgement unfair and venerated Priscillian as a martyr. The acts of the council consist of the twenty canons with the preface and the subscriptions of the bishops, the creed (regula fidei) with 18 anathemas against Priscillian, the professions of faith declared by the former adherents of Priscillian and the closing sententia definitiva. The last two are excerpts from the full version of the conciliar acts which has not survived and has been transmitted in the manuscript tradition separate from canonical collection of Hispana (Chadwick 1976: 179-181; Burrus 1995: 104-105).
The date of the council is given in the beginning of the preface - it is the time of Arcadius and Honorius (then between 395-408) and of the consulship of Stilicho (400 or 405). The date given in the Spanish era is unreliable, because a lot of different versions survived in manuscripts. G. Martínez Díez and F. Rodríguez (1984: 326) thought that it was a later addition. Moreover, Ambrosius of Milan and Siricius are both already dead (the title sanctae memoriae is added before their names), therefore the council must have been held after 399. Also Hydatius in Chronicle dates the council to 400, so this is the most probable solution (Weckwerth 2004: 89-90).
G. Martínez Díez, F. Rodríguez, eds., La colección canónica Hispana, v. 4 Concilios Galos. Concilios Hispanos: primera parte, Madrid 1984.
J. Vives, Concilios visigóticos e hispano-romanos, Barcelona-Madrid 1963.
V. Burrus, The making of a heretic: gender, authority, and the Priscillianist controversy, Berkeley 1995.
D.B. Botte, "Confessor”, Archivum Latinitatis Medii Aevi 16 (1942), 137-148.
V. Burrus, The making of a heretic: gender, authority, and the Priscillianist controversy, Berkeley 1995.
H. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila: the occult and the charismatic in the early church, Oxford 1976..
A. Weckwerth, Das erste Konzil von Toledo: philologischer und kirchenhistorischer Kommentar zur Constitutio concilii, Münster, Westfalen 2004.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Usurping presbyterial power
      Ritual activity - Divine office/Liturgy of the hours
        Relation with - Monk/Nun
          Relation with - Woman
            Devotion - Vigils
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER104,