« Radegundis, St Reccared Remigius, St., archbp. of Rheims »


Reccared (the uniform spelling in coins and inscriptions), younger son of LEOVIGILD by his first marriage. For his parentage and life till the death of his father see LEOVIGILD and HERMENIGILD. Between Apr. 12 and May 8, 586 (Hübner, Insc. Hisp. n. 155; Tejada y Ramiro, ii. 217), he succeeded his father without opposition, having been already associated with him in the kingdom. He first allied himself to his stepmother Goisvintha, the mother of Brunichild and grandmother of Childebert II. By her advice he sent ambassadors to Childebert and to his uncle GUNTRAMNUS (2), the Frankish king of Burgundy, proposing peace and a defensive alliance. The former alone were received.

Then followed the great event of Reccared's reign, his conversion from Arianism to Catholicism. We can only conjecture whether, as Dahn supposes, his motives were mainly political, or whether he yielded to the influence of the Catholic leaders such as Leander or Masona. In Jan. 587 he declared himself a Catholic, and, convening a synod of the Arian bishops, induced them and the mass of the Gothic and Suevic nations to follow his example. Some Arians did not submit quietly, and 587–589 saw several dangerous risings, headed by coalitions of Arian bishops and ambitious nobles. Perhaps, from the geographical situation, the most formidable was that of Septimania, headed by bp. Athaloc, who, from his ability, was considered a second Arius. Amongst the secular leaders of the insurrection the counts Granista and Wildigern are named. They appealed for aid to Guntram, whose desire for Septimania was stronger than his detestation of Arianism, and the dux Desiderius was sent with a Frankish army. Reccared's army defeated the insurgents and their allies with great slaughter, Desiderius himself being slain (Paul. Em. 19; J. Bicl.; Greg. T. ix. 15). The next conspiracy broke out in the West, headed by Sunna, the Arian bp. of Merida, and count Seggo. Claudius, the dux Lusitaniae, put down the rising, Sunna being banished to Mauritania and Seggo to Galicia. In the latter part of 588 a third conspiracy was headed by the Arian bp. Uldila and the queen dowager Goisvintha, but they were detected, and the former banished.

Reccared, after his conversion, had again sent to Guntram and Childebert in 587. The implacable Guntram refused his embassy, asking how could he believe those by whose machinations his niece Ingunthis had been 875imprisoned and banished and her husband slain? Childebert and his mother Brunichild accepted the present of 10,000 solidi, and were satisfied with Reccared's declarations that he was guiltless of the death of Ingunthis. In the spring of 589 Guntram, perhaps in concert with Goisvintha, made one more attempt on Septimania. It was defeated with great loss by the Goths under Claudius. The rest of his reign was peaceful, except for some expeditions against the Romans and Basques.

Third Council of Toledo.—This, the most important of all Spanish councils, assembled by the king's command in May, 589. On May 4 the king shortly declared his reasons for convening them, and the next three days were spent in prayer and fasting. Reccared's address, read to the assembly by a notary, contained an orthodox confession of belief. He declared that God had inspired him to lead the Goths back to the true faith, from which they had been led astray by false teachers. Not only the Goths but the Suevi, who by the fault of others had been led into heresy, he had brought back. These noble nations he offered to God by the hands of the bishops, whom he called on to complete the work. He then anathematized Arius and his doctrine, and declared his acceptance of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and all other councils that agreed with these, and pronounced an anathema on all who returned to Arianism after being received into the church by the chrism, or the laying on of hands; then followed the creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople and the definition of Chalcedon, and the tomus concluded with the signatures of Reccared and Baddo his queen. It was received with general acclamation. Its praises of Reccared, its numerous scriptural quotations, and the clearness with which the Catholic and Arian doctrines are defined shew that it was composed by a theologian, probably bp. Leander or abbat Eutropius, who had the chief management of the council (Jo. Bicl.). One of the Catholic bishops then called on the bishops, clergy, and Gothic nobles who had been converted to declare publicly their renunciation of Arianism and their acceptance of Catholicism. They replied that though they had done so already when with the king they had gone over to the church, they would comply. Then followed 23 anathemas directed against Arius and his doctrines, succeeded by the creeds of Nice and Constantinople and the definition of Chalcedon, the whole being subscribed by 8 Arian bishops with their clergy, and by all the Gothic nobles. The bishops were Ugnas of Barcelona, Ubiligisclus of Valencia, Murila of Palencia, Sunnila of Viseo, Gardingus of Tuy, Bechila of Lugo, Argiovitus of Oporto, and Froisclus of Tortosa. The names of at least six shew their Gothic descent. Five come from sees within the former Suevic kingdom, probably shewing that Leovigild, after his conquest, had displaced the Catholic by Arian bishops. Reccared then bid the council with his licence to draw up any requisite canons, particularly one directing the creed to be recited at the Holy Communion, that henceforward no one could plead ignorance as an excuse for misbelief. Then followed 23 canons with a confirmatory edict of the king. The 1st confirmed the decrees of previous councils and synodical letters of the popes; the 2nd directed the recitation of the creed of Constantinople at the communion; by the 5th the Arian bishops, priests, and deacons, who had been converted, were forbidden to live with their wives; the 7th directed the Scriptures should be read at a bishop's table during meals; by the 9th Arian churches were transferred to the bishops of their dioceses; the 13th forbade clerics to proceed against clerics before lay tribunals; the 14th forbade Jews to have Christian wives, concubines, or slaves, ordered the children of such unions to be baptized, and disqualified Jews from any office in which they might have to punish Christians—Christian slaves whom they had circumcised, or made to share in their rites, were ipso facto free; the 21st forbade civil authorities to lay burdens on clerics or the slaves of the church or clergy; the 22nd forbade wailing at funerals; the 23rd forbade celebrating saints' days with indecent dances and songs. The canons were subscribed first by the king, then by 5 of the 6 metropolitans, of whom Masona signed first; 62 bishops signed in person, 6 by proxy. All those of Tarraconensis and Septimania appeared personally or by proxy; in other provinces several were missing. The proceedings closed with a homily by Leander on the conversion of the Goths.

The information for the rest of Reccared's reign is most scanty. He is praised by Isidore for his peaceful government, clemency, and generosity. He restored various properties, both ecclesiastical and private, confiscated by his father, and founded many churches and monasteries. Gregory the Great, writing to Reccared in Aug. 599 (Epp. ix. 61, 121), extols him for embracing the true faith and inducing his people to do so, and for refusing the bribes offered by Jews to procure the repeal of a law against them. He sends him a piece of the true cross, some fragments of the chains of St. Peter, and some hairs of St. John Baptist. Reccared died at Toledo in 601, after reigning 15 years, having publicly confessed his sins. He was succeeded by his son Leova II., a youth of about 18. Dahn, Könige der Germanen., v.; Helfferich, Entstehung und Geschichte des Westgothen-Rechts; Gams, Kirchengeschichte von Spanien, ii. (2).


« Radegundis, St Reccared Remigius, St., archbp. of Rheims »
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