Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1600
Bishop Hilarius and the Presbyter Elpidius travel to Rome to inform Pope Innocent I about the turmoil in Spain following the First Council of Toledo (AD 400). The matter is discussed at the assembly of the presbyters at Rome. Letter 3 of Pope Innocent I, "Saepe me", to the Spanish bishops, Rome, ca AD 403.
Letter 3
1. [...] Nam fratres nostri coepiscopus Hilarius, et Elpidius presbyter, partim unitatis amore permoti, partim qua laborat provincia pernicie, ut oportuit, excitati, ad sedem apostolicam commearunt, et in ipso sinu fidei violatam intra provinciam pacem, disciplinae rationem esse confusam, et multa contra canones patrum, contempto ordine, regulisque neglectis, in usurpatione ecclesiarum fuisse commissa, nec concordiam, in qua fidei nostrae stabilitas tota consistit, posse retineri, cum dolore et gemite prosecuti sunt: quae in consessu presbyterii actorum confectione retinentur, et possunt vobis lectione monstrari.
(ed. Coustant 1845: 486)
Letter 3
1. [...] Our brothers, that is our fellow bishop Hilarius, and the Presbyter Elpidius, partly moved by the love of unity, and partly stirred up by the calamities occuring in the province, resorted, as they should, to the Apostolic See. The peace was violated in the province in the very bosom of faith, the reasons for discipline were not understood, and there were many things done against the canons of the fathers, with the neglect of order and rules, in usurping the churches.
Neither could the harmony that is the base of the stability of our faith be retained. They described it all with grief and tears in the assembly of the presbyters, and they preserved the description of those deeds, which they can show you if you want to read it.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


In some manuscripts the letter is wrongly described as being addresed to the bishops of the Council of Tolosa in Gaul.
Hilarius and Elpidius went to Rome in the aftermath of the First Council of Toledo (AD 400), the decisions of which were not widely accepted in Spain; many bishops rejected the possibility of the reconciliation of the Priscillianists. The reference to the matter being discussed with the presbyters of Rome, and not with the synod of Italian bishops, is unique in the correspondence of Innocent. It is unclear whether this means that the matter was not important enough to bother the bishops, or the opposite; so pressing that it could not wait for them to come to Rome (Dunn 2015: 99).

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Rome
  • Toledo

About the source:

Author: Innocent I
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Innocent I was the bishop of Rome from AD 401 to 417. Several of his letters, especially to the bishops of Gaul and Spain, are "decretals": authoritative letters containing papal rulings, usually in response to questions raised by the bishops.
P. Coustant ed., S. Innocentii Papae Epistolae et Decreta, Patrologia Latina 20, Paris 1845, 463-608.
G.D. Dunn, "Innocent I and the Synod of Toledo”, [in:] The Bishop of Rome in Late Antiquity, ed. G.D. Dunn, Farnham, Burlington 2015, 89–107.
D. Jasper, H. Fuhrmann, Papal Letters in the Early Middle Ages, Washington 2001.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
    Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1600,