Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 149
Canon 11 of the Council of Tarragona (Iberian Peninsula) in AD 516 forbids monks to take up ecclesiastical offices outside of the monastery, and engage in judicial (or maybe trade) affairs.
Canon 11
Vt monachus missus alicubi ministerium clericatus agere non praesumat, nec negotiator nec exequutor existat.
Monachi a monasterio foris egredientes ne aliquod ministerium ecclesiasticum praesumant agere prohibemus, nisi forte cum abbatis imperio. Similiter ut nullus eorum, id est monachorum, forensis negotii susceptor vel executor existat, nisi id quod monasterii exposcit utilitas, abbate sibi nihilominus imperante, canonum ante omnia Gallicanorum de eis constitutione seruata.
(eds. Martínez Díez, Rodríguez 1984: 278)
Canon 11
That a monk sent somewhere [outside of the monastery] shall not take up a clerical office, or be a merchant or an agent of judicial affairs
Monks who leave their monastery are forbidden to take up any ecclesiastical office unless they have an order from an abbot. Similarly no monk shall be a merchant or act as a defender or executor in judicial affairs unless it is necessary for the monastery and is ordered by the abbot. To these cases first of all the Gallican canons shall be applied.
(trans. M. Szada)


The translation of forensis negotii susceptor vel executor proposed above is highly conjectural. Executor can be also understood here as a person who is taking care of execution of the decision of the judge. Nevertheless, it is difficult to discern whether the canon forbids the undertaking of some specific actions in the court, or just generally engaging oneself in the judicial affairs. Moreover, it seems that author of the title of the canon understood negotia forenses as trade affairs, because he is saying that monks shall not be merchants (negotiatores).
The canon refers to the Gallican synods, possibly Canon 27 of the Council of Agde in 506 [939], and Canons 19 and 22 of the Council of Orléans in 511.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Tarragona

About the source:

Title: Council of Tarragona, Concilium Tarraconense
Origin: Tarragona (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
In AD 516 the provincial council was held in Tarragona which at the time was ruled by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric (he acted as a guardian for the King of Spain Amalaric). The anomalous presence of two bishops is worth noting - Hector of Cartagena and Orontius of Grenada. Their episcopal sees were outside the province of Tarragona.
G. Martínez Díez, F. Rodríguez, eds., La colección canónica Hispana, Monumenta Hispaniae sacra. Serie canónica 5, Madrid 1966.
J. Vives, Concilios visigóticos e hispano-romanos, Barcelona-Madrid 1963.


Monastic or common life - Cenobitic monk
    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, ER149,