Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 110
Canon 12 of the First Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula, AD 400) forbids clerics to transfer to another bishop.
Canon 12
Ut nullus clericus de episcopo suo recedat et ad alium se transferat
Item, ut liberum ulli clerico non sit discedere de episcopo suo et alteri episcopo conmunicare, nisi forte ei, quem episcopus alius libenter habeat de heraeticorum schismate discedentem et ad fidem catholicam revertentem. Si quis autem de catholicis discesserit, et in conmunione eorum vel palam vel occulte, qui vel excommunicati sunt vel per sententiam iam notati, fuerint inventi habeant illorum ad quos ire voluerunt etiam in damnatione consortium.
(ed. Vives 1963: 22-23)
Canon 12
That no cleric shall leave his bishop and transfer to another
We commend that it shall not be allowed to any cleric to leave his bishop and join another. It does not concern a cleric who has left the schism of the heretics and has come back to the Catholic faith, and is more willingly accepted by a bishop other than his own. If anyone parted from the Catholics, and was found to be openly or secretly in communion with those who had been already excommunicated or condemned by a sentence, he should be condemned together with those to whom he would like to go.
(trans. by M. Szada)


Hereticorum schisma almost certainly refers to the Priscillianists (Orlandis, Ramos-Lissón 1981: 44; Weckwerth 2004: 163-164).

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.
H. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila: the occult and the charismatic in the early church, Oxford 1976.
J. Orlandis, D. Ramos-Lissón, Die Synoden auf der Iberischen Halbinsel bis zum Einbruch des Islam (711), Paderborn 1981.
A. Weckwerth, Das erste Konzil von Toledo: philologischer und kirchenhistorischer Kommentar zur Constitutio concilii, Münster, Westfalen 2004.


Religious grouping (other than Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian) - Priscillianist
    Change of denomination
      Ecclesiastical transfer
        Public law - Ecclesiastical
          Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
            Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER110,