Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 449
Canon 41 of the Fourth Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula, AD 633) orders bishops, presbyters, and deacons to to wear a tonsure of the same kind.
[Titulus in recensione Iuliana] XLI Vt omnes clerici uel lectores sicut Leuitae et sacerdotes detonso superius toto capite inferius solam circuli coronam relinquant.
[Titulus in recensione Vulgata] XLI De qualitate tonsurate a cunctis clericis uel lectoribus communiter habenda.
Canon 41
Omnes clericos uel lectores sicut Leuitae et sacerdotes, detonso superius toto capite, inferius solam circuli coronam relinquant, non sicut hucusque in Galleciae partibus facere lectores uidentur, qui prolixis ut laici comis in solo capitis apice modicum circulum tondunt. Ritus enim iste in Spanias hucusque haereticorum fuit, unde oportet ut pro amputando ecclesiae scandalo hoc signum dedecoris auferatur, et sit una tonsura uel habitus sicut totius Spaniae est usus. Qui autem hoc non custodierit, fidei catholicae reus erit.  
(eds. Martinez Diez, Rodriguez 1992: 166-167, 174, 226)
[Title in the recension Iuliana] XLI That all clerics and lectors shall shave the top of the head and leave only a crown of hair below just like deacons and priests
[Title in the recension Vulgata] XLI That all clerics and lectors shall wear the same type of tonsure
Canon 41
All clerics and lectors shall shave the top of the head and leave only a crown of hair below just like deacons and priests, and not as lectors seem to do in Galicia to this day. They wear long hair like lay people and only shave a small circle on the top of the head. Up to now it was a heretical custom in Spain, and therefore this shameful sign shall be removed to avoid scandal in the Church. In all Spain one type of tonsure and vestment shall be used. If one does not observe it, he will be guilty towards the Catholic faith.
(trans. M. Szada)


See Conde Guerri 1990, Orlandis and Ramos-Lisson 1986: 283. It is not clear which heresy exactly is meant by the synodal fathers. They indicate Galicia as its place of origin, thus they may refer to Priscillianism, but Arianism is also possible.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Toledo

About the source:

Title: Fourth Council of Toledo (633), IV Council of Toledo, IV Concilium Toletanum, IIII Concilium Toletanum, Concilium Toletanum quartum a. 633
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The Fourth Council of Toledo was a council of the whole Visigothic church (86 bishops were present) gathered by King Sisenand (631-636)  in 633 and held under the presidency of Isidore of Seville. It is sometimes claimed on stylistic grounds that Isidore was an author of the decrees (Collins 2004: 79).
The acts of the Fourth Council of Toledo are transmitted in the 7th-century canonical collection from Spain, the so-called Hispana. Its authorship has been attributed to the Isidore of Seville (it is still accepted by Martinez Diez 1966; other scholars reject this attribution: Munier 1966; Gaudemet 1967: 122-124; Schaferdiek 1967: 144-148; Landau 1968: 406-418). This collection has several recensions: a primitive one, the so-called Isidoriana, lost today; the Juliana recension edited after 681 and attributed to the Julian of Toledo, that adds to the previous recension the acts and canons of the councils from the Fifth Council of Toledo do the Twelfth (in 681); the Vulgata recension edited between 694 and 702 that adds the acts and canons of the councils from the the Thirteenth Council of Toledo up to the Seventeenth held in 694, this recension was the most widespread during the Middle Ages (more bibliography see Kéry 1999: 61-67). The two recensions Iuliana and Vulgata give different titles to the canons of the Fourth Council of Toledo (Martinez Diez 1992: 17-20).
G. Martínez Díez, F. Rodríguez eds., La colección canónica Hispana, Monumenta Hispaniae sacra. Serie canónica 5, Madrid 1992.
R. Collins, Visigothic Spain, 409-711, Oxford, OX, UK; Malden, MA, USA 2004.
E. Conde Guerri, "La tonsura como objeto de reglamentación canónica en las diócesis de Occidente", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía 7 (1990), 291-300.
J. Gaudemet, review of: "G. Martinez Diez, La coleccion canonica Hispana 1", Revue historique de droit français et étranger 4e ser.  45 (1967), 122-124.
L. Kéry, Canonical collections of the early Middle Ages (ca. 400-1140): a bibliographical guide to the manuscripts and literature, Washington, D.C 1999.
P. Landau, review of: "G. Martinez Diez, La coleccion canonica Hispana 1", Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte Kanonistische Abteilung 54 (1968), 406-414.
G. Martínez Díez, La Colección canónica Hispana, vol. 1 Estudio, Madrid 1966.
C. Munier, "Saint Isidore de Séville est-il l’auteur de I’Hispana chronologique?", Sacris Erudiri 17 (1966), 230-241.
J. Orlandis, D. Ramos-Lissón, Historia de los concilios de la España romana y visigoda, Pamplona 1986.
K. Schaferdiek, review of: "G. Martinez Diez, La coleccion canonica Hispana 1", Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 78 (1967), 144-148.
M. Sotomayor, "Las relaciones iglesia urbana-iglesia rural en los concilios hispano-romanos y visigodos", Sacralidad y Arqueologia, Antig. Crist. (Murcia) 21 (2004), 525-539.


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              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER449,