Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 467
Pope Gaius (283-296) is said to have established the order of promotions of the clerical grades. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
29. Gaius: […] Hic constituit ut ordines omnes in ecclesia sic ascenderetur: si quis episcopus esse mereretur, ut esset ostiarius, lector, exorcista, sequens, subdiaconus, diaconus, presbiter, et exinde episcopus ordinaretur. […]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 161)
29. Gaius: [...] He established that all the grades in the Church should go in this way: if someone is considered to be worthy to be a bishop, he should be an ostiarius, a lector, an exorcist, an acolyte, a deacon, a presbyter, and then let him be ordained a bishop. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


It is hardly probable for the ecclesiastical cursus honorum to be already so rigidly structured at the end of the third century. However, attempts to regulate the rules of the clerical promotions may have indeed started at the time, although we have got plenty of examples of how those rules were not obeyed afterwards. 'Sequens' is an exact translation of Greek 'akolouthos'. No such information is provided in the Felician abbreviation, and in the Cononian one we read: 'He established that if someone is considered to be worthy to be a bishop, he must ascend bit by bit by all grades starting with the ostiarius' ('Hic constituit ut si quis episcopus esse meretur ab hostiario per unumquodque grado paulatim ad maiora conscenderet'). See also [484].

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.


Former ecclesiastical career - Lower clergy
    Former ecclesiastical career - Deacon
      Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
        Impediments or requisits for the office
          Impediments or requisits for the office - Ecclesiastical career
            Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER467,