Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 465
Pope Dionysius (AD 260-267) is said to give churches of Rome to the presbyters. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
Dionisius: […] Hic presbiteris ecclesias dedit et cymiteria et parrocias diocesis constituit. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 157)
Dionysius: [...] He gave churches to the presbyters, and he constituted the cemeteries and parishes of the diocese. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The short notice, which does not necessarily have any factual basis in the history of the third century, is in itself unclear. The "giving of (the) churches" to the presbyters refers probably to the institution of the titular churches of Rome. Since we do not know the original punctuation, the cemeteries may be linked both to the presbyters ("Hic presbiteris ecclesias dedit et cymiteria, et parrocias diocesis constituit") and to the parishes ("Hic presbiteris ecclesias dedit, et cymiteria et parrocias diocesis constituit").
There are some minor textual variants: "parrochias" in the Felician abbreviation, "presbiteris ecclesias dividit" and "parochias" in the Cononian one (Duchesne 1886: 70). Anyway, this seems to be one of the first usages of "parrocia" as parish, and not diocese.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Liber Pontificalis, The Book of Pontiffs, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Liber Pontificalis is a major source for the history of the papacy in the first millenium. It is a collection of the lives of popes, starting from St Peter and kept going through to 870. Liber Pontificalis is prefaced by two apocryphical letters of Pope Damasus and Jerome, but it cannot be dated to that period. Although Mommsen tended to put the date of the actual compilation as late as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first, presumably completed soon after 530, has not survived as such, though we have two epitomes made from it (known as “Felician” and “Cononian” from the names of the popes at which they end). Duchesne tried to reconstruct it in his edition, but we follow the second edition presented by him, which was completed by the siege of Rome in 546. The work was then left aside for some time, and taken up again probably under Honorius (625-638) or shortly afterwards; hence the additions were written shortly after each pontiff`s death.
Liber starts to provide some more reliable information with the times of Pope Leo I (440-461), and becomes very well informed with the end of the fifth century. The lives of earlier popes cannot be considered as a valid source of information about their lifetime. However, those notices are a precious source for the sixth century: we learn what was considered an old tradition at the time, and how the past of the Roman church was being seen and constructed then. It is especially important when we deal with the liturgy.
 L. Duchesne ed., Le `Liber Pontificalis`, vol. 1., Paris 1886.
 T. Mommsen ed., Liber Pontificalis pars prior, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum 1, Berlin 1898.
 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715, revised edition, translated with an introduction by R. Davis, Liverpool 2000.


Functions within the Church - Parish presbyter
    Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
      Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
        Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER465,