Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 615
The law issued by King Wamba in AD 675 forbids bishops to take property from the churches in their dioceses, and orders them to inform parish priests about the rights to which their churches are entitled. The codification is known as the Lex Visigothorum (issued and re-edited several times between 569 and 702).
De coercitione pontificum, qui pro rebus, quas a suis ecclesiis auferunt, tricennium intercessisse causantur.
[...] Id tamen adiciendum huic legi manifesta ratio persuasit , ut episcopi omnes, quoscumque per ecclesias sui diocesis sacerdotes rectoresque ordinandos elegerint, cognitiores eos efficiant de utilitatibus ecclesie illius, in qua fuerint ordinati; id est, ut, quicquid unusquisque episcoporum de scripturis ecclesie diocesis sue apud se conservationis causa habere se novit, mox rectorem ecclesie cuilibet pretulerit, statim ei, quem ordinaverit, utilitates ecclesie vel scripturas in manifestam agnitionem deducat, ne non tantum ignorantia ordinati, set, quod peius est, obcelatione vel vitio ordinantis voluntas in quocumque lateat testatoris. Ita tamen erit, ut et conpetentia sibi sacerdotes rectoresque ecclesiarum autentica videant et autenticorum ipsorum exemplaria, manus sui episcopi roborata, pro omni firmitate a pontifice suo accipiant; qualiter per ea ipsa exemplaria et negotia ecclesie sibi commisse absque hesitatione proponant et veritatem partis sue iustitia intercurrente recipiant. Data et confirmata lex a die decimo kalendarum Ianuariarum, anno feliciter quarto regni nostri [23 XII 675] in Dei nomine Toleto.
(ed. Zeumer 1902: 202, 205)
On the punishment of bishops who claim rights to things they removed from the churches of their diocese and held for more than thirty years
[...] An evidently fair thing that needs to be added to this law is that the bishops shall inform priests and administrators appointed to the diocesan churches about the assets of the church to which they have been appointed. If a bishop knows that he has for safekeeping some papers concerning the diocesan church, he shall immediately inform the administrator of the church whom he has ordained about the rights and documents concerning this church, so that the newly ordained is not ignorant of the will of the testator, especially, worse still, through the concealment and wickedness of the bishop. It is also decreed that priests and administrators of churches shall inspect the originals of these documents, and receive copies confirmed by the signature of their bishop, so that they can direct the affairs of the church commited to their care without hesitation, and to enforce the right to which it is justly entitled. Given and confirmed on the 10th day before the Kalends of January in the fourth year of our reign [23 XII 675] in the name of God in Toledo.
(trans. by M. Szada)


The law of King Wamba was not included by the codification of King Reccesvinth.
A "testator" as mentioned in the text is most probably a benefactor of the church that has conferred to the church in his will some rights or assets.

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Toledo

About the source:

Title: Lex Visigothorum, Liber iudiciorum, Liber iudiciorum sive Lex Visigothorum
Origin: Iberian Peninsula
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Lex Visigothorum is a codification of law first composed during the reign of King Leovigild (569-586) on the basis of the Code of Euric, but the origin of all extant manuscripts is its revised version from the reign of King Recceswinth (649-672). The codification was also enlarged in the times of King Ervig (680-687) and Ecgica (687-702).
K. Zeumer ed., Liber iudiciorum sive lex Visigothorum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Leges nationum Germanicarum 1, Hannover, Leipzig 1902, 33-456.
The Visigothic Code (Forum Judicum), trans. S.P. Scott, Boston 1910
R. Collins, Visigothic Spain, 409-711, Oxford, OX, UK; Malden, MA, USA 2004.
Leges Visigothorum in: Bibliotheca legum regni Francorum manuscripta,  Karl Ubl (Ed.) assisted by Dominik Trump and Daniela Schulz, Cologne 2012. URL:


Functions within the Church - Parish presbyter
    Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
      Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
        Private law - Secular
          Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
            Described by a title - Rector
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER615,