Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 155
Canon 8 of the Council of Gerona (Iberian Peninsula, AD 517) forbids the ordination of a widower or a divorcee who has ad a relationship with another woman (or who married a widow or a divorcee).
Canon 8
De laicis qui uiduam aut dimissam acceperint, ut in clero non admittantur.
Si quis uero de laicis post uxorem aliam cuiuscumque condicionis cognouerit mulierem, in clero nullatenus admittatur.
(eds. Martínez Díez, Rodríguez 1984: 288)
Canon 8
On the lay people who take a widow or divorcee that they shall not be admitted to the clergy
If someone of the laity, having had a wife, has known a woman, whatever was her state, he shall not be admitted to the clergy.
(trans. by M. Szada)


The title of the canon does not correspond with the content of the canon itself.
The phrase "to know a women" has here a sexual meaning. The remark about the status of a women refers to her social condition (i.e. whether she was a free person or a slave).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Gerona

About the source:

Title: Council of Gerona, Concilium Gerundense
Origin: Gerona (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Council of Gerona was a meeting of the provincial Church in June 517 presided over by John, archbishop of Tarragona. It followed the Council of Tarragona in 516. It was an attempt to establish regular provincial councils (Freedman 2013). Both councils are dated by the regnal years of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, who acted as a guardian of Amalaric, king of the Visigoths, half-brother of the expelled King Gesalic (Collins 2004: 41).
G. Martínez Díez, F. Rodríguez, eds., La colección canónica Hispana, v. 4 Concilios Galos. Concilios Hispanos: primera parte, Madrid 1984.  
J. Vives, Concilios visigóticos e hispano-romanos, Barcelona-Madrid 1963.
R. Collins, Visigothic Spain, 409-711, Oxford, OX, UK; Malden, MA, USA 2004.
P. Freedman, "Gerona, Council of,” [in:] Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia, ed. E.M. Gerli, Hoboken 2013, 360.


Family life - Marriage
    Family life - Widowerhood
      Sexual life - Sexual activity
        Sexual life - Extramarital
          Impediments or requisits for the office - Improper/Immoral behaviour
            Relation with - Woman
              Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER155,