Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 486
Canon 74 of the Fourth Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula, AD 633) allows ordaining slaves belonging to the Church under certain conditions.
[Titulus in recensione Iuliana] LXXIIII De familiis ecclesiae constituere presbyteres diacones per parrocias liceat.
[Titulus in recensione Vulgata] LXXIIII De libertis familiarum ecclesiae: qui uel qualiter ad sacerdotium promoueantur, et de rebus eorum quid fiat, ac ne obuium testificent uel accusent
Canon 74
De familiis ecclesiae constituere presbyteres et diacones per parrocias liceat, quos tamen uitae rectitudo et probitas morum commendat, ea tamen ratione, ut antea manumissi libertatem status sui percipiant, et denuo ad ecclesiasticos honores succedant. Irreligiosum est enim obligatos existere seruitute qui sacri ordinis suscipiunt dignitatem. Quicquid autem talibus aut per libertatem concessum aut successione exstiterit debitum aut a quolibet quoquo modo collatum, non licebit eis quippiam inde in extraneas personas transmittere, sed omnia ad ius ecclesiae a qua manumissi sunt, post eorum habitum pertinere. His quoque sicut et ceteris ecclesiae libertis accusandi uel testificandi aduersus ecclesiam aditus intercluditur. Quod si aspirauerint, non solum libertatis beneficio careant, sed etiam honoris gradum, quem non dignitate naturae sed tempore necessitatis promeruerunt.
(eds. Martinez Diez, Rodriguez 1992: 170, 177, 246-248)
[Title in the recension Iuliana] LXXIIII Let it be allowed to ordain presbyters and deacons for the parishes from the members of the familia of the Church.
[Title in the recension Vulgata] LXXIIII On the freedmen of the familia of the Church: who can be promoted to the priesthood and how, what happens with their property, and that they shall not accuse the Church nor testify against it.
Canon 74
Let it be allowed to ordain presbyters and deacons for parishes from the members of the familia of the Church if they are recommendable by rectitude of life and uprightness of morals, under this condition, however, that they are first manumitted and receive free status. Only then can they enter the ecclesiastical honours. Because it is irreligious if a person obliged to service obtains a dignity of holy orders. Whatever they are given on the occasion of emancipation or whatever they inherit or acquire from whoever, they are not allowed to hand any part of it over to extraneous persons, but everything they use belongs legally to the Church that manumitted them. Also it is not allowed to them, nor to other freedmen of the Church, to accuse the Church and testify against it. If they try to do that, they not only shall lose the benefit of liberty, but also the honourable grade to which they have been promoted not because of the dignity of their nature, but because of a temporary necessity.
(trans. M. Szada)

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.
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.
K. Schäferdiek, 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.


Economic status and activity - Gift
    Economic status and activity - Inheritance
      Further ecclesiastical career - None
        Further ecclesiastical career - Lay status
          Administration of justice - Demotion
            Public law
              Shortage of clergy
                Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER486,