Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 539
Pope Boniface I (418-422), son of the presbyter Iocundus, forbids women to touch the holy linen, and slaves or debtors to become clerics. The account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
Bonifatius, natione Romanus, ex patre Iocundo presbitero. […] Hic Bonifatius constituit ut nulla mulier aut monacha pallam sacratam contingere aut lavare aut incensum ponere in ecclesia nisi minister; nec servum clericum fieri, nec obnoxium curiae vel cuiuslibet rei.
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 227)
Boniface, of Rome, whose father was the presbyter Iocundus. [...] This Boniface decreed that no woman or nun should touch the holy linen or wash [it] or put the incense in the church, but only a minister; and that no slave, nor someone bound by the duties to curia or anyone else can become a cleric.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


Boniface I was a presbyter himself: we know it from other sources.
As far as the question of "touching the holy linen" is concerned, see [416] and the discussion there.
The duties towards curia mentioned here signify probably the prohibition of ordaining decurions, although it is not clear, whether this referred to the city of Rome, or rather other municipalities.

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.


Social origin or status - Slaves
    Social origin or status - Clerical family
    Family life - Offspring
    Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
    Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Described by a title - Clericus
      Impediments or requisits for the office - Social/Economic/Legal status
        Further ecclesiastical career - None
        Described by a title - Minister/λειτουργός/ὑπηρέτης
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER539,