Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 94
Presbyters are present at the First Council of Toledo (Iberian Peninsula) in AD 400. Preface to the acts of the council of Toledo.
Convenientibus episcopis in ecclesia Toleto [...] omnes decem et novem. Isti sunt, qui et in aliis gestis adversus Priscilliani sectatores et haeresem, quam adstruxerat, libellarem direxisse sententiam. Consedentibus presbyteris, adstantibus diaconibus et ceteris qui intererant concilio congregatis, Patruinus episcopus dixit: Quoniam singuli coepimus in ecclesiis nostris facere diversa, et inde tanta scandala sunt, quae usque scisma perveniunt, si placet conmuni consilio decernimus quid ab omnibus episcopis in ordinandis clericis sit sequendum.
(ed. Vives 1963: 19)
Nineteen bishops [...] assembled in the church of Toledo. These are the same who have already composed in the other acts a little book against the followers of Priscillian and his heresy. In presence of the presbyters, the deacons and the other people congregated for the council, Bishop Patruinus said: Since we started to act in our churches in different manners there have emerged scandals so great that they can cause even a schism. Thus we will decide together what shall be observed by the bishops in ordaining the clergy.
(trans. M. Szada)


The prefatory text shows clearly the hierarchy of the participants of the council - the presbyters sit behind the bishops, and the deacons stand (Weckwerth 2004: 92-93).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Toledo

About the source:

Title: Council of Toledo I, Concilium Toletanum I
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The First Council of Toledo was convened to deal with divisions among the Spanish episcopate caused by the conviction and execution of Priscillian in 385. Many people in Spain, the bishops among them, considered the judgement unfair and venerated Priscillian as a martyr. The acts of the council consist of the twenty canons with the preface and the subscriptions of the bishops, the creed (regula fidei) with 18 anathemas against Priscillian, the professions of faith declared by the former adherents of Priscillian and the closing sententia definitiva. The last two are excerpts from the full version of the conciliar acts which has not survived and has been transmitted in the manuscript tradition separate from canonical collection of Hispana (Chadwick 1976: 179-181; Burrus 1995: 104-105).
The date of the council is given in the beginning of the preface - it is the time of Arcadius and Honorius (then between 395-408) and of the consulship of Stilicho (400 or 405). The date given in the Spanish era is unreliable, because a lot of different versions survived in manuscripts. G. Martínez Díez and F. Rodríguez (1984: 326) thought that it was a later addition. Moreover, Ambrosius of Milan and Siricius are both already dead (the title sanctae memoriae is added before their names), therefore the council must have been held after 399. Also Hydatius in Chronicle dates the council to 400, so this is the most probable solution (Weckwerth 2004: 89-90).
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.
V. Burrus, The making of a heretic: gender, authority, and the Priscillianist controversy, Berkeley 1995.
H. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila: the occult and the charismatic in the early church, Oxford 1976.
A. Weckwerth, Das erste Konzil von Toledo: philologischer und kirchenhistorischer Kommentar zur Constitutio concilii, Münster, Westfalen 2004.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Act of ordination
      Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
        Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
          Relation with - Deacon
            Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER94,