Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 537
Canon 4 of the Seventh Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula, AD 646) in response to the complaint of the Galician presbyters forbids Galician bishops from exacting from the churches in their dioceses more than two solidi annually. During visitations a bishop cannot stay in a given church for more than one day.
Canon 4
De exactione ecclesiarum Galleciae prouinciae.
Inter cetera denique quae communi consensu nos conferre competenter oportuit, querimonias etiam parrocialium presbyterorum Gallicanae prouinciae sollertissime decernere decuit quas contra pontificum suorum rapacitates necessitas, ut comperimus tandem, compulit in publicum examen deferre. Ii enim pontifices, ut euidens inquisitio patefecit, indiscreto moderamine parrocitanas ecclesias praegrauantes, dum in exactionibus superflui frequenter existunt, paene usque ad exinanitionem extremae uirtutis quasdam basilicas perduxisse probantur. Ne ergo fiat de cetero quod constat hactenus inordinate praesumptum, non amplius quam duos solidos unusquisque episcoporum praefatae prouintiae per singulas diocesis suae basilicas iuxta synodum Bracarensem annua illatione sibi exspectet inferri, monasteriorum tamen basilicis ab hac solutionis impensione seiunctis. Cum uero episcopus diocesem uisitat, nulli prae multitudine onerosus existat nec unquam quinquagenarium numerum euectionis excedat aut amplius quam una die per unamquamque basilicam remorandi licentiam habeat. Quicumque uero pontificum eorundem aliter quam decernimus agendum praesumpserit, correptioni procul dubio canonum subiacebit qua constitutionum synodalium transgressores priscorum Patrum edictis corripiendos oportet.
(eds. Martínez Díez, Rodríguez 1992: 350-352)
Canon 4
On the exactions of the churches in the province of Galicia
Among other things that we have to bring to the common agreement, we shall consider the complaints of the parish presbyters in the province of Galicia against the extortions of their bishops that they were forced by necessity, as we have learnt, to bring to public scrutiny. Those bishops then who, as was evidently shown by the enquiry, charge their parish churches immoderately, and while they are often very excessive in exacting, some basilicas are being led to almost absolute ruin. Let no bishop of the above-mentioned province expect to acquire more than two solidi annually from the basilicas of each diocese according to the council of Braga. The monastic churches are excluded from this payment. When a bishop makes a visitation of his diocese, he shall not be a burden to anyone because of the multitude of his suite, which shall never exceed the number of 50 horsemen, and he is not allowed to stay in one basilica for more than one day. If a bishop dares to do something contrary to these decrees, he will be without doubt subjected to the canonical punishment indicated for the transgressors of the conciliar constitutions in the edicts of the ancient Fathers.
(trans. M. Szada)


The text refers to Canon 2 of the Second Council of Braga in AD 572, see [329]. For the "edict of the ancient Fathers" mentioned in the end see e.g. Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.
In this canon we can observe an already quite elaborate terminology concerning the ecclesiastical administration. The main administrative division is the province (provincia), which is ruled by the metropolitan bishop and which consists of dioceses (diocesis) presided over by bishops. Dioceses consist of parish churches (parrochiae), and parrochia can mean either the rural region centred on the church, and remaining in the jurisdiction of the parish presbyter, or the church itself, here also called a basilica. For the development of the terminology, and its relationship with development of the ecclesiastical territorial administration and the emergence of the parish network see Ripoll, Velázquez 1999: 111-121.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Toledo

About the source:

Title: Seventh Council of Toledo, Concilium Toletanum septimum a. 646, Concilium VII Toletanum, Concilium Toletanum VII
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The Seventh Council of Toledo assembled in October AD 646 during the reign of king Chindaswinth (642-653) and was attended by thirty bishops.
G. Martínez Díez, F. Rodríguez eds., La colección canónica Hispana, Monumenta Hispaniae sacra. Serie canónica 5, Madrid 1992.
G. Ripoll, I. Velázquez, "Origen y desarrollo de las parrochiae en la Hispania de la antigüedad tardía”, [in :] Alle origini della parrocchia rurale (IV-VIII sec.). Atti della giornata tematica dei Seminari di Archeologia Cristiana (Ecole Française de Rome - 19 marzo 1998), Città del Vaticano 1999, 101-165.


Functions within the Church - Parish presbyter
    Functions within the Church - Rural presbyter
      Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
        Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
          Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
              Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
                Economic status and activity - Taxes and services
                  Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER537,