« Arles, Archbishopric of Arles, Synods of Armagh, Bishopric of »

Arles, Synods of

ARLES, SYNODS OF: The first great western synod was held at Arles, in the presence of the 288 emperor Constantine, who called it, and under the presidency of Marinus, the bishop of the place, in 314 (316 ?). Thirty-three bishops were present, representing almost all the western provinces, from Africa to Britain. The significance of the synod in regard to the Donatist controversy will be treated under Donatism. The canons are principally interesting as showing how the Church endeavored to adapt itself to the alteration in its circumstances brought about by the recognition of Christianity. They declare that the acceptance of a government office is no reason for forsaking the fellowship of the Church, and that those who refused to serve in the army when summoned should be excommunicated, while they refused to consider charioteers and actors as members of the Church unless they renounced their professions. The principal enactments, however, related to clerical and lay discipline. Important regulations as to ecclesiastical usages were the prescription of unanimity in keeping Easter, the forbidding of the African custom of rebaptizing heretics, and the requirement of the presence of three bishops at least for an episcopal consecration. Another synod was held at Arles in 353 during the Arian controversy; it is not included in the usual enumeration. What is called the second synod was held in the fifth century, not before 443. Its 56 canons are mostly reaffirmations of older decrees. It is called in question by Duchesne (Fastes episcopaux, Paris, 1894, p. 141). The next synod, in 451, declared its adhesion to the “Tome of St. Leo” on the Incarnation. What is usually called the third, a few years later, decided a local dispute between a bishop and an abbot. After two more synods, in 463 and about 475 (for the latter see Lucidus), the so called fourth met under the presidency of Cæsarius in 524, and was largely concerned with means for increasing the number of the clergy. The fifth was held in 554, to establish more firmly the episcopal authority. No others worth mentioning occur until the reforming synod of 813, held under Charlemagne’s auspices and expressing his views. Another was held in 1234 in connection with the crusade against the Albigenses.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: The acts are in Mansi, Concilia, the canons of 1, 2, 4, and 5 in H. P. Bruns, Canones apostolorum et conciliorum, ii., Berlin, 1839; of 4 and 5 in MGH Concilia, i. (1893), ii. (1904); consult Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, passim.

« Arles, Archbishopric of Arles, Synods of Armagh, Bishopric of »





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