Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 582
Pope Martin I (AD 649-655) rallies the clergy around him during the Monothelete controversy (AD 649). The account of the "Life of Martin", written in Rome shortly after his death, as a part of the Liber Pontificalis.
76. Martinus.
[...] Tunc Martinus sanctissimus ac beatissimus episcopus misit et congregavit episcopos in urbe Roma numero CV et fecit synodum secunda instituta Patrum orthodoxorum in ecclesia Salvatoris, iuxta episcopio Lateranense, resedentibus episcopis, presbiteris, adstantibus diaconibus et clerum universum. [...]
Qui praedictus Olympius veniens in civitate Romana invenit sanctam Romanam ecclesiam quoadunatam cum omnes episcopos Italiae seu sacerdotes vel clerum. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 336-337)
76. Martin I.
[...] So the most holy and blessed Bishop Martin sent for and gathered in the city of Rome 105 bishops and according to the rules of the orthodox fathers he made a council in the church of the Saviour, next to the Lateran episcopal palace, where the bishops and presbyters sat down and the deacons and the whole clergy remained standing. [...]
When the aforementioned Olympius came to the city of Rome, he found the holy Roman Church united with all the bishops of Italy, the priests, and the clergy. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


In the description of the council of Lateran (AD 649), gathered by Martin I, we can see a difference between the higher and lower grades of the ecclesiastical hierarchy: the bishops and presbyters are seated, whereas the deacons and the rest remain standing. The "priests" of the second phrase are also most probably presbyters, put here between the bishops and the rest of the clergy.

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.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
      Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
        Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
          Relation with - Lower cleric
            Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER582,