Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 489
Pope Julius I (337-352) prohibits clerics from bringing lawsuits in public courts. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), 530/546.
36. Iulius:
[...] Hic constitutum fecit ut nullus clericus causam quamlibet in publico ageret, nisi in ecclesia. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 205)
36. Julius:
[...] He ordered that no cleric should proceed with his case in a public court, but only within the church. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


There is no such information in the Felician abbreviation, and in the Cononian one we read: "Hic constituit ut nullus clericus causam in publicum ageret", without mentioning the possibility of addressing lawsuits within the Church.

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 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 far as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first one, 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 for 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 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.


Described by a title - Clericus
    Public law - Ecclesiastical
      Public law - Secular
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER489,