Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 382
Canon 4 of the Council of Riez (Gaul) AD 439 grants presbyters (or chorbishops) serving in the countryside the right to give blessings, consecrate virgins, and confirm neophytes.
[Capitulum secundum cod. C] V (sic!). Vt presbri praefatim desiderantibus benedicant.
[Capitulum secundum A, N, R, T, t] Numera varia. Vt presbyteri priuatim fidelibus desiderantibus benedicant.
[Capitulum secundum codd. A et R] IV. De chorepis quantum eis liceat quidue non liceat.
[Capitulum secundum coll. Hispanam] IV. Vt presbyter et benedicat et confirmet neophytum.
[Capitulum secundum P. Crabbe, Concilia, fol. CCCXX] IV. Vt episcopus et benedicat et confirmet neophytum.
IV. Et inter minutas has discussiones uisum est omni presbytero per familias, per agros, per priuatas domos, pro desiderio fidelium facultatem benedictionis aperire, quod nonnullas iam prouincias habere succurrit.
Huic autem etiam in ecclesiarum plebibus per loca tamen magis quam per urbes hoc idem uisum est esse tribuendum. In ecclesia quocumque ordinatus fuerit, consecrandi uirginem sicut confirmandi neophytum ius habebit. Et per omnia, ut sit multae indulgentiae testimonium, semper se inferiorem episcopo, superiorem presbytero agat, mandatis uotisque sanctorum omnium prosequentibus uiuat in timore Domini, quietem colat, Deo seruiat, synodi circa se beneuolentiae gratias agat, semperque indignum se indultis, et negatis imparem esse fateatur.
(ed. Munier 1963: 68-69, 74-75)
[Title according to the codex C] V [sic!]. That presbyters can bless in private those who so desire.
[Title according to A, N, R, T, t] Numbers vary. That presbyters can bless in private the faithful who so desire.
[Title according to the codices A and R] IV. Concerning what chorbishops are allowed to do and what they are not.
[Title according to the Hispana collection] IV. That a presbyter can bless and confirm neophytes.
[Title according to P. Crabbe, Councils, fol. CCCXX] IV. That a bishop can bless and confirm neophytes.
IV. And after minute discussions, it seemed appropriate to open up to every presbyter the power to bless families, fields, and private houses, on the request of faithful, which already takes place in some provinces.
It also seemed proper that this [power] should be granted to him [i.e. the presbyter] in regard to the people from the churches in the countryside rather than those from the cities. In the church in which he was ordained, he has the right to consecrate virgins and confirm neophytes. And in all things, in order to [give] testimony of the great benevolence [shown to him], he should act as inferior to bishop and superior to a [regular, urban] presbyter. Let him live in the fear of God, in everything accompanied by the commands and prayers of the saints, let him cherish the peace, serve God, and be thankful to the synod for the benevolence he was treated with, and let him always consider himself unworthy of what was granted to him and unequal to [the honours] denied to him.
(trans. J. Szafranowski)

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Riez

About the source:

Title: Council of Riez 439, Concilium Regense anno 439
Origin: Riez (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The Council of Riez gathered in 439 under Bishop Hilary of Arles to address the problems arising from the illegitimate ordination of Bishop Armentarius of Embrun. The synodal fathers cite the canons of the Council of Turin of AD 398 (see e.g. [379]) and declare Armentarius` ordination invalid. The following are the canons dealing with the problem of bishops who could not be considered as proper bishops (being ill-ordained, or returning from the faith of schismatics or heretics). It is declared that they could be granted the title of chorbishops with their own set of rights and priviliges.
Ch. Munier ed., Concilia Galliae a. 314-a. 506, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 148, Turnhoult 1963.
J. Gaudemet, Conciles gaulois du IVe siècle, Sources chrétiennes 241, Paris 1977


Functions within the Church - Rural presbyter
    Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
      Ritual activity - Anointment
        Relation with - Another presbyter
          Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
            Theoretical considerations - On priesthood
              Ritual activity - Blessing
                Theoretical considerations - On church hierarchy
                  Functions within the Church - Chorbishop
                    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER382,