Clerical marriage

Clerical marriage is the practice of allowing clergy (those who have already been ordained) to marry. It is a practice distinct from allowing married persons to become clergy. Clerical marriage is admitted in Protestantism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, some Independent Catholic churches (not in communion with Rome), Judaism and the Japanese sects of Buddhism.

The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, while allowing married men to be ordained, do not allow clerical marriage after ordination. Their parish priests are most often married, but must marry before becoming ordained as priests—although they can get married while still attending the seminary. However, married priests in these Churches cannot be further ordained as bishops.


Workshop Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Doppelporträt Martin Luther u. Katharina Bora (Uffizien)
Marriage reform: cleric Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora in 1525
The Act of Six Articles 1539
One of the final drafts of the Six articles (1539), reaffirming clerical celibacy in England

There is no dispute that at least some of the apostles were married or had been married: a mother-in-law of Peter is mentioned in the account in Matthew 8:14, Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41 of the beginning of Jesus' ministry. 1 Timothy 3:2 says: "an overseer (Greek ἐπίσκοπος) must be ... the husband of one wife". This has been interpreted in various ways, including that the overseer was not allowed to remarry even if his wife died.[1]

Some scholars hold that a tradition of clerical continence existed in early Christianity, whereby married men who became priests were expected to abstain from sexual relations with their wives.[2][3] In this view, the early Church did not consider legitimate marriage by those who were already priests. The Council of Elvira, a local synod held in Hispania Baetica (part of modern Andalusia) in 306, before Constantine had legitimized Christianity, made it an explicit law that bishops and other clergy should not have sexual relations with their wives. The church canons known as the Ecclesiastical Canons of the Holy Apostles, which appear to have been composed in Syria or Egypt slightly earlier have also been interpreted as imposing a similar obligation.[4]

Evidence for the view that continence was expected of clergy in the early Church is given by the Protestant historian Philip Schaff, who points out that all marriages contracted by clerics in Holy Orders were declared null and void in 530 by Emperor Justinian I, who also declared the children of such marriages illegitimate.[5]

Schaff also quotes the account that "In the Fifth and Sixth Centuries the law of the celibate was observed by all the Churches of the West, thanks to the Councils and to the Popes. In the Seventh and down to the end of the Tenth Century, as a matter of fact the law of celibacy was little observed in a great part of the Western Church, but as a matter of law the Roman Pontiffs and the Councils were constant in their proclamation of its obligation." This report is confirmed by others too. "Despite six hundred years of decrees, canons, and increasingly harsh penalties, the Latin clergy still did, more or less illegally, what their Greek counterparts were encouraged to do by law—they lived with their wives and raised families. In practice, ordination was not an impediment to marriage; therefore some priests did marry even after ordination."[6] "The tenth century is claimed to be the high point of clerical marriage in the Latin communion. Most rural priests were married and many urban clergy and bishops had wives and children."[7] Then at the Second Lateran Council of 1139 the Roman Church declared that Holy Orders were not merely a prohibitive but a diriment canonical impediment to marriage, therefore making a marriage by priests invalid and not merely forbidden.[8][9]

Here is must be pointed out that 1054 is the year of the great East–West Schism between the Church of Rome and the four Apostolic sees of the Orthodox Communion (Constantinople, Alexandria Egypt, Antioch Syria, and Jerusalem). As stated above, the majority of Roman Church Priests at that time were married. Therefore, when some churches that followed western rites and traditions were brought back into communion with the Orthodox Churches beginning in the 20th century, their right to have married clergy, provided they were married before ordination, was restored.

The practice of clerical marriage was initiated in the West by the followers of Martin Luther, who himself, a former priest and monk, married Katharina von Bora, a former nun, in 1525. It has not been introduced in the East. In the Church of England, however, the Catholic tradition of clerical celibacy continued after the Break with Rome. Under King Henry VIII, the 6 Articles prohibited the marriage of clergy and this continued until the Articles were repealed by Edward VI in 1547, thus opening the way for Anglican priests to marry for the first time.[10]

Present-day practice

Generally speaking, in modern Christianity, only Protestant and some independent Catholic churches allow for ordained clergy to marry after ordination. However, in recent times, a few exceptional cases can be found in some Orthodox churches in which ordained clergy have been granted the right to marry after ordination.

Protestant Churches

Following the example of Martin Luther, who, though an ordained priest, married in 1525, Protestant denominations permit an unmarried ordained pastor to marry. They thus admit clerical marriage, not merely the appointment of already married persons as pastors. But in view of 1 Timothy 3:2 and 3:12, some do not admit a second marriage by a widowed pastor.

In these denominations there is generally no requirement that a pastor be already married nor prohibition against marrying after "answering the call". Being married is commonly welcomed, in which case the pastor's marriage is expected to serve as a model of a functioning Christian marriage, and the pastor's spouse often serves an unofficial leadership role in the congregation. For this reason, some Protestant churches will not accept a divorced person for this position. In denominations that ordain both men and women, a married couple might serve as co-pastors.

Certain denominations require a prospective pastor to be married before he can be ordained, based on the view (drawn from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) that a man must demonstrate the ability to run a household before he can be entrusted with the church. Even in these strictest groups, a widower may still serve. This again concerns marriage before appointment as pastor, not clerical marriage.

Married clergy in churches that exclude clerical marriage: The Orthodox Churches

The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches permit married men to be ordained. Traditionally however, they do not permit clergy to marry after ordination. From ancient times they have had both married and celibate clergy (see Monasticism). Those who opt for married life must marry before becoming priests, deacons (with a few exceptions), and, in some strict traditions, subdeacons.

The vast majority of Orthodox parish clergy are married men, which is one of the major differences between the Orthodox and Roman-Catholic churches. Yet as stated above, their marriage must have occurred before ordination.[11] Since the marriage takes place when they are still laymen and not yet clergy, the marriage is not a clerical marriage, even if it occurs while they are attending the seminary. Clerical marriage is thus not admitted in the Orthodox Church—unlike most Protestant Churches.

Traditionally, even if the wife of a married deacon or priest dies, he may not remarry but must remain celibate. However, in recent times, some Bishops have relaxed this tradition and allowed exceptions here. For one, a widowed priest may be granted relief from the obligation of celibacy through a process known as being laicized. Their subsequent marriage is thus seen as the marriage of a layman, and not clerical marriage. After the marriage, the former Priest may then apply for re-ordination.

A subdeacon or hypodeacon is the highest of the minor orders of clergy in the Orthodox Church. This order is higher than a reader but lower than a deacon, the latter being a major order of clergy. Subdeacons are mentioned in canons with prohibitions on marriage after ordinations (like deacons and priests) - e.g., Apostolic canon 26.[11] Frequently today however, a variety of methods of dealing with these canons have been employed, therefore allowing subdeacons to marry.

One method has been to bless acolytes or readers to vest and act as a subdeacon temporarily or permanently. This creates a new distinction between a 'blessed subdeacon', who may not touch the altar or assume other prerogatives of ordained subdeacons outside services, and an 'ordained subdeacon'.

Another method is to reserve the formal ordination service to later. This situation often arises if there is a need for a subdeacon and a likely candidate has stated an intention to marry but has not yet done so, causing a delay in his ordination. Still in some cases today, the canons are simply ignored here, therefore permitting even formally ordained subdeacons to marry.

Generally, if a deacon or priest divorces his wife, he may not continue in the ministry. Yet even here a few exceptions can be found. For one, if the divorce is deemed the fault of the spouse and occurs within the acceptable guidelines laid out in the new testament of the bible.

Bishops are elected from among those clergy who have chosen, usually by taking monastic vows, to remain celibate, or from widowed clergy. If a widowed priest is elected bishop, he must take monastic vows before he can be consecrated. The Eastern Catholic Churches, in full communion with the Pope, follow much the same tradition as the Orthodox.

Clerical celibacy (The Catholic Churches)

In the Latin Church

The Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church generally follows the discipline of clerical celibacy: as a rule, only unmarried or widowed men are accepted as candidates for ordination.

An exception to this practice appears in the cases of married non-Catholic clergymen who choose to become Catholics and who seek to serve as priests. The Holy See has at times granted dispensations from the usual rule and allowed such men to be ordained. For example, some former Anglican priests and some former Lutheran ministers have been ordained to the priesthood after being received into the Church.[12] Starting in 2010, the establishment of Catholic Personal ordinariates for former Anglicans has added to such requests.

As in the Orthodox Churches, occasionally Catholic priests receive dispensation from the obligation of celibacy through the act of being laicized, either at the request of the priest, or as a punishment for a grave offense.[13] A subsequent marriage is thus seen as the marriage of a layman, not a clerical marriage. In contrast to the Orthodox practice, such a married former priest cannot apply to be restored to priestly ministry while his wife is living.

Despite the Roman Catholic Church's position, several Catholic priests have lived in a "married state" (though not officially married) throughout the centuries.[14]

Eastern Catholic Churches

The Eastern Catholic Churches allow the ordination of married men as priests. However, like the Orthodox and Latin Catholic Churches, they do not allow clerical marriage.

Celibate clergy who convert to churches that allow married clergy but not clerical marriages

A unique question arises when celibate Catholic Priests have converted to become Orthodox Priests. Do the Orthodox believe that Roman Catholic priests have the grace of the priesthood (and thus RC priests who convert are not "re-ordained")? Or must they be ordained all over again? Simply speaking: can they marry before being ordained to the Orthodox Priesthood. Or must they remain celibate?

There is no single answer to this question and it is usually handled in a process known as ecclesiastical economy. That is, it depends at least upon the archdiocese, and in some cases on a local bishop or diocese. This issue depends in part on the greater issue of how much validity that bishop or archbishop or diocese might assign to Roman Catholic orders? The practice of the Orthodox on this issue has even been subject to change from time to time as well as place to place, often depending on situations appropriate to the setting.

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is the offspring of the church in Russia and thus it has inherited much of its traditions from practices in Russia. In the OCA, Roman Catholic clergy generally are received into the Orthodox Church through "vesting"; that is, they are not ordained anew. There is evidence that this was in fact the practice in Russia several centuries ago. Thus the OCA at least prefers them to remain celibate and take monastic vows.[15]

See also


  1. ^ While rejecting this interpretation, Baptist scholar Benjamin L. Merkle considers it a possible interpretation, one that has several strengths and fits in with the value that the early church attached to celibacy after the divorce or death of a spouse (Benjamin L. Merkle, 40 Questions about Elders and Deacons (Kregel 2008 ISBN 978-0-8254-3364-1), 126).
  2. ^ Roman Cholij, Priestly Celibacy in Patristics and in the History of the Church.
  3. ^ Cesare Bonivento, Priestly Celibacy — Ecclesiastical Institution or Apostolic Tradition? Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine; Thomas McGovern,Priestly Celibacy Today; Alfons Stickler, The Case for Clerical Celibacy: Its Historical Development and Theological Foundations; Anthony Zimmerman, Celibacy Dates Back to the Apostles Archived October 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Stefan Heid, Celibacy in the Early Church (Ignatius Press 2004 ISBN 978-0-89870-800-4), p. 105
  5. ^ Excursus on the Marriage of the Clergy
  6. ^ Barstow, Anne Llewellyn. Married Priests and the Reforming Papacy. NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1982, p. 45
  7. ^ Lea, Henry C. History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church. Philadelphia: University Books. 1966, pp. 118, 126.
  8. ^ New Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 1967, p366
  9. ^ Herbert Thurston, "Celibacy of the Clergy" in Catholic Encyclopedia 1908
  10. ^ Ridley, Jasper (1962). "Thomas Cranmer". Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 398369..
  11. ^ a b Apostolic Canon 26, Canons 3 and 6 of the 6th Ecumenical Council
  12. ^ Father William P. Saunders, Straight Answers.
  13. ^ Encyclical Sacerdotalis caelibatus Archived July 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine; Procurator General.
  14. ^ Wettinger, Godfrey (1977). "Concubinage among the Clergy of Malta and Gozo ca. 1420-1550" (PDF). Journal of the Faculty of Arts. University of Malta. 6 (4): 165–188.
  15. ^

External links

Bernard of Sédirac

Bernard of Sédirac (c. 1050 – 1125), also known as Bernard of Agen or Bernard of Le Sauvetat, was the metropolitan archbishop of Toledo from 1086 and first primate of Spain from 1088 to his death. His significance in the history of Spain lies in the fact that during his episcopate the church of Castile and León emerges from its isolation.

He was born in Gascony around 1050, at La Sauvetat de Blanquefort (Lot-et-Garonne), near the town of Agen. It is thought he belonged to the ancient family of the viscounts of Sédirac (also spelled Sédilhac), whose castle, southwest of La Sauvetat, still stands. An illness forced Bernard to turn away from a military career and instead enter the monastic life.He became a monk in the Abbey of Cluny, whence he was sent to Spain with others to assist the cause of the reforms of Gregory VII. Here he was made (1080) abbot of St. Facundus at Sahagún in the diocese of León, and finally named for the archbishopric of Toledo by Alfonso VI of Castile, the great patron of Cluny.

Gregory's plans for Spain included (besides a general crusade against clerical marriage, simony, and lay investiture) the substitution of the Roman liturgy for the Mozarabic and pressure for recognition of obligations of tribute from the Spanish church. The former point had been practically gained before his death, in spite of strenuous opposition. Urban II, by raising Bernard's see to primatial dignity, gave him the power necessary to prosecute the work of Romanizing. His cooperation made possible Urban's intervention at the Synod of León (1091) and ignoring of the royal right of investiture when Alfonso attempted to appoint a Castilian to the see of Santiago de Compostela, apparently in order to counterbalance the influence of the Cluniac Benedictines with whom the archbishop was filling the episcopal sees.

His career was throughout that of a devoted adherent of the papacy. Some reminiscences of his youthful days as a knight appear in his forcible seizure of the mosque at Toledo in his first year as archbishop and in his plans for a crusade against the Saracens of the East, which both Urban II and Paschal II forbade in view of the tasks which Spanish Christian knighthood faced at home.

Four of his sermons, on the Salve Regina, are included among those of the great Bernard of Clairvaux. He was satirized in the 11th-century work, The Treatise of Garcia of Toledo, said to have been written by one of his canons.


Celibacy (from Latin, cælibatus") is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In its narrow sense, the term celibacy is applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. In a wider sense, it is commonly understood to only mean abstinence from sexual activity.Celibacy has existed in one form or another throughout history, in virtually all the major religions of the world, and views on it have varied. Similarly, the Romans viewed it as an aberration and legislated fiscal penalties against it, with the sole exception granted to the Vestal Virgins. The Islamic attitudes toward celibacy have been complex as well. Some Hadiths claim that Muhammad denounced celibacy, but some Sufi orders embrace it.

Classical Hindu culture encouraged asceticism and celibacy in the later stages of life, after one has met his societal obligations. Jainism, on the other hand, preached complete celibacy even for young monks and considered celibacy to be an essential behavior to attain moksha.

Buddhism has been influenced by Jainism in this respect. There were, however, significant cultural differences in the various areas where Buddhism spread, which affected the local attitudes toward celibacy. It was not well received in China, for example, where other religions movements such as Daoism were opposed to it. A somewhat similar situation existed in Japan, where the Shinto tradition also opposed celibacy. In most native African and American Indian religious traditions, celibacy has been viewed negatively as well, although there were exceptions like periodic celibacy practiced by some Mesoamerican warriors.

Clerical celibacy

Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religions that some or all members of the clergy be unmarried. These religions consider that, outside of marriage, deliberately indulging in lustful thoughts and behavior is sinful; clerical celibacy also requires abstention from these.Within the Roman Catholic Church, clerical celibacy is mandated for all clergy in the Latin Church except in the permanent diaconate. Exceptions are sometimes admitted for ordination to transitional diaconate and priesthood on a case-by-case basis for married clergymen of other churches or communities who become Catholics, but ordination of married men to the episcopacy is excluded (see Personal ordinariate). Clerical marriage is not allowed and therefore, if those for whom in some particular Church celibacy is optional (such as permanent deacons in the Latin Church) wish to marry, they must do so before ordination. Eastern Catholic Churches either follow the same rules as the Latin Church or require celibacy for bishops while allowing priestly ordination of married men.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy, celibacy is the norm for bishops; married men may be ordained to the priesthood, but even married priests whose wives pre-decease them are not allowed to enter marriage after ordination. Similarly, celibacy is not a requirement for ordination as a deacon and in some Oriental Orthodox churches deacons may marry after ordination. For a period in the 5th and early 6th centuries the Church of the East did not apply the rule of celibacy even for ordination to the episcopate. Anglicanism and Protestantism in general do not require celibacy of its clergy and allow—or even encourage—clerical marriage.

Eighteenth Council of Toledo

The Eighteenth Council of Toledo was the last of the councils of Toledo held in Visigothic Spain before the Moorish conquest and perhaps the last of the Siglo de Concilios, that is, the seventh century. It was held after the Seventeenth Council in 694 and before the coming of the Moors in 711, probably in 703 during the reign of King Witiza (701–710) or his co-reign with his father, Ergica, from 693. It was presided over by Gunderic, Archbishop of Toledo.

An account of the acts of the council was preserved through the Middle Ages, but was lost and is no longer extant. The issues dealt with are likewise lost, but it is presumed that the problems Witiza experienced with the church stem from this council. It is just possible that its acta were suppressed because of their tendentious nature. Later sources accuse Witiza of trying to force priests to marry.


Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste or ethnic group, rejecting those from others as unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships.

Endogamy is common in many cultures and ethnic groups. Several religious and ethnic religious groups are traditionally more endogamous, although sometimes with the added dimension of requiring marital religious conversion. This permits an exogamous marriage, as the convert, by accepting the partner's religion, becomes accepted within the endogamous rules. Endogamy, as distinct from consanguinity, may result in transmission of genetic disorders, the so-called founder effect, within the relatively closed community.

Godfrey Silvester Shiundu

Godfrey Silvester Shiundu is a former Kenyan Catholic priest who joined the Reformed Catholic Church in Kenya. He holds a degree from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in theology.

Godfrey Shiundu was suspended from ministry in 2004 after it came to light that he had fathered a child and later married the child's mother, who was a former nun. His marriage received significant media attention.He rejects clerical celibacy, as practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, and is a supporter of clerical marriage.

Gregory of Nyssa

Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen (Greek: Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c. 335 – c. 395), was bishop of Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism. Gregory, his elder brother Basil of Caesarea, and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus are collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers.

Gregory lacked the administrative ability of his brother Basil or the contemporary influence of Gregory of Nazianzus, but he was an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene Creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a significant increase in interest in Gregory's works from the academic community, particularly involving universal salvation, which has resulted in challenges to many traditional interpretations of his theology.

Guido da Velate

Guido da Velate (also Guy or Wido) (died 1071) was the Archbishop of Milan from 1045 until his death, though he had simoniacally abdicated in 1067. He had been chosen as successor to Aribert by the people in opposition to the choice of the noblesse and confirmed as archbishop by the Emperor Henry III.

Guido was the archbishop of Milan at a time when the Pataria was gaining force in the city. Riot and unrest was a daily affair and Guido is reputed to have had a hand in much of it. He opposed the Papal reforms and the Patarines who sought to outlaw clerical marriage and concubinage; he was a simoniac himself. Because he also refused to abide by the compromise of 1044, which would have limited his powers, he found himself at odds with the communards and the lesser nobility as well as the reform school.

After the death of Henry III in 1056, Hildebrand, Anselm of Baggio, and Peter Damian were sent to settle matters in Milan, but to little avail. The peace they brokered was broken incessantly until 1067, when Guido gave up his see and recommended the subdeacon Gotofredo da Castiglione to the Emperor Henry IV (for a price). Guido was convinced by Anselm of Baggio, now pope, to repent of his abdication and return to his post. He died a few years later and Henry tried again (uncanonically) to appoint Gotofredo.

James, brother of Jesus

James the Just, or a variation of James, brother of the Lord (Hebrew: יעקב‬ Ya'akov; Greek: Ἰάκωβος Iákōbos, can also be Anglicized as Jacob), was an early leader of the Jerusalem Church of the Apostolic Age, to which Paul was also affiliated. He died in martyrdom in 62 or 69 AD.

Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, as well as some Anglicans and Lutherans, teach that James, along with others named in the New Testament as "brothers" of Jesus, were not the biological children of Mary, but were possibly cousins of Jesus or step-brothers from a previous marriage of Joseph (as related in the Gospel of James).Roman Catholic tradition generally holds that this James is to be identified with James, son of Alphaeus, and James the Less. It is agreed by most that he should not be confused with James, son of Zebedee.

John Ponet

John Ponet (c. 1514 – August 1556), sometimes spelled John Poynet, was an English Protestant churchman and controversial writer, the Bishop of Winchester and Marian exile. He is now best known as a resistance theorist who made a sustained attack on the divine right of kings.

John Stokesley

John Stokesley (c. 1475 – 8 September 1539) was an English church leader who was Catholic Bishop of London during the reign of Henry VIII.

Living Church

The Living Church (Russian: Живая Церковь), also called Renovationist Church (обновленческая церковь) or Renovationism (обновленчество; from обновление ‘renovation, renewal’; official name Orthodox Russian Church, Православная Российская Церковь, later Orthodox Church in USSR, Православная Церковь в СССР) was a schism in the Russian Orthodox Church in 1922–1946. Originally begun as a "grass-roots" movement among the Russian clergy for the reformation of the Church, it was quickly corrupted by the support of the Soviet secret services (CheKa, then GPU, NKVD), which had hoped to split and weaken the Russian Church by instigating schismatic movements within it. The beginning of actual schism is usually considered to be in May 1922, when a group of "Renovationist" clergy laid claims to higher ecclesiastical authority in the Russian Church. The movement is considered to have ended with the death of its leader, Alexander Vvedensky, in 1946.

While the entire movement is often known as the Living Church, this was specifically the name of just one of the groups that comprised the larger Renovationist movement. By the time of the "Moscow Council" of 1923, three major groups had formed within the movement, representing different tendencies within Russian Renovationism: 1) The Living Church of Fr. Vladimir Krasnitsky (1880–1936), lobbied for the interests of married clergy; 2) the Union of the Communities of the Ancient Apostolic Church (Союз общин древнеапостольской церкви - Содац SODATs) of Fr. Alexander Vvedensky; and 3) the Union for the Renewal of the Church (Союз церковного возрождения) – the group of bishop Antonin (Granovsky), whose interest was in liturgical reform; and also several minor groups.


The pataria was an eleventh-century religious movement in the Archdiocese of Milan in northern Italy, aimed at reforming the clergy and ecclesiastic government in the province and supportive of Papal sanctions against simony and clerical marriage. Those involved in the movement were called patarini (also patarines or patarenes, from singular patarino), a word chosen by their opponents, which means "ragpickers", from Milanese patee "rags". In general the patarini were tradesmen motivated by personal piety. The conflict between the patarini and their supporters and the partisans of the simoniacal archbishops eventually led to civil war by the mid-1070s, the Great Saxon revolt. It received its most dependable contemporary chronicler in Arnulf of Milan.

The pataria was partially the result of church reform movements like the Peace and Truce of God and partially of the social situation in Milan. The influence of southern French movements, such as the Peace and Truce, affected the pataria. The subsequent popularity of the Cathar movement in Milan during the twelfth century was resultant of the pataria. The chief targets of the patarini were the rich, secular, aristocratic landowners and the simoniacal and nicolaitan clergy. They contested the ancient rights of the cathedral clergy of Milan and supported the Gregorian reforms. They joined with the lesser clergy in opposition to the practices of simony and of clerical marriage and concubinage. The morals of the clergy were attacked, too, as was monastic discipline. The contrast between the impoverished lesser clergy and the magnates of the Church resurfaced as a point of contention.

The archbishop Guido da Velate was a particular victim of the patarini. On the death in 1045 of the warrior and prince-bishop Ariberto da Intimiano, the Milanese requested the Emperor Henry III, who controlled the election of bishops in his realms, to choose from among four candidates deemed retti ed onesti (upright and honest): Anselmo da Baggio, Arialdo da Carimate, Landolfo Cotta, and Attone. The Emperor's choice, however, fell upon the thoroughly worldly Guido, known for his support of the practice of clerical marriage and concubinage, which was generally accepted in rural areas and which was now being given the name "nicolaism", recalling a passage in the Book of Revelation (2:6, 14–15).

Guido, however, did not fulfill his vows to fight simony and was forced to resign. The patarini initially protested the abuse by their refusal to accept communion at the hands of priests with unofficial wives or concubines. Some churches were emptied while others were packed with the faithful. The movement formed behind its leaders, the four rejected "upright and honest" priests. To defuse the situation the emperor named Anselmo da Baggio bishop of Lucca, which carried him securely away from Milan, and the archbishop excommunicated the intractable Arialdo da Carimate and Landolfo Cotta.

Following the pontificate of Benedict IX, the papacy too began to sense the urgency of reform and Pope Leo IX condemned both the practice of simony and concubinage among priests. When Landolfo Cotta attempted to present the position of the Milanese patarini before Pope Stephen IX, the archbishop's ruffians caught up with him at Piacenza and came near to killing him. A second attack in 1061 was successful. In 1060 Pope Nicholas II sent a delegation to Milan under the direction of Peter Damiani and Anselmo da Baggio, and calm was restored to the city.

After Landolfo's death, his brother Erlembald stepped in to take his place. He transferred the movement from one primarily socioreligious to principally military. The pataria at this moment received the support of Popes Alexander II and Gregory VII while the Ambrosian see fell into schism and war until the archiepiscopate of Anselm III reestablished order.

The Occitan word pataric later became a synonym for Cathar. The wife of the troubadour Raimon Jordan was a reported pataric. There were also rumours, emanating from a Christian prisoner in Alexandria, that the Patarenes had made an alliance with the Muslims against the Crusaders. These rumours captivated Joachim of Fiore, who built on it an apocalyptic theory of the union of the "beast from the sea" and the "beast from the land".

Paulinus of Nola

Paulinus of Nola (; Italian: Paolino di Nola; Latin: Paulinus Nolanus, English: ; also Anglicized as Pauline of Nola; c. 354 – June 22, AD 431), born Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus, was a Roman poet, writer, and senator who attained the ranks of suffect consul (c. 377) and governor of Campania (c. 380–1) but—following the assassination of the emperor Gratian and under the influence of his Spanish wife Therasia—abandoned his career, was baptized as a Christian, and (after Therasia's death) became bishop of Nola in Campania. While there, he wrote poems in honor of his predecessor St Felix and corresponded with other Christian leaders throughout the empire. He is traditionally credited with the introduction of bells to Christian worship and helped resolve the disputed election of Pope Boniface I.

His renunciation of his wealth and station in favor of an ascetic and philanthropic life was held up as an example by many of his contemporaries—including SS Augustine, Jerome, Martin, and Ambrose—and he was subsequently venerated as a saint. His relics became a focus of pilgrimage, but were removed from Nola between the 11th and 20th centuries. His feast day is observed on June 22 in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. In Nola, the entire week around his feast day is celebrated as the Festival of the Lilies.

Pope Demetrius I of Alexandria

Demetrius I (died 22 October 232), 12th Bishop of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. Sextus Julius Africanus, who visited Alexandria in the Bishoprice of Demetrius, places his accession as eleventh bishop from Mark in the tenth year of Roman Emperor Commodus; Eusebius of Caesarea places it in the tenth year of Septimus Severus.

Second Council of the Lateran

The Second Council of the Lateran is believed to have been the tenth ecumenical council held by the Roman Catholic Church. It was convened by Pope Innocent II in April 1139 and attended by close to a thousand clerics. Its immediate task was to neutralise the after-effects of the schism which had arisen after the death of Pope Honorius II in 1130 and the papal election that year that established Pietro Pierleoni as the antipope Anacletus II.


Synesius (; Greek: Συνέσιος; c. 373 – c. 414), a Greek bishop of Ptolemais in ancient Libya, a part of the Western Pentapolis of Cyrenaica after 410, was born of wealthy parents at Balagrae (now Bayda, Libya) near Cyrene between 370 and 375. who claimed descent from Spartan kings.

Synod of Ancyra

The Synod of Ancyra was an ecclesiastical council, or synod, convened in Ancyra (modern-day Ankara, the capital of Turkey), the seat of the Roman administration for the province of Galatia, in 314. The season was soon after Easter; the year may be safely deduced from the fact that the first nine canons are intended to repair havoc wreaked in the church by persecution, which ceased after the overthrow of Maximinus II in 313. The tenth canon tolerates the marriages of deacons who previous to ordination had reserved the right to take a wife.The thirteenth forbids chorepiscopi to ordain presbyters or deacons.The sixteenth canon brackets the Christians who have committed bestiality, or may still have been doing so, into several different groups based on the offender's age, and assigns different penances to each group; married men over 20 were sanctioned more harshly than unmarried youths, and married men over 50 received the harshest sanctions. The penance for unmarried men over 20 is not mentioned.

The seventeenth canon condemns the Christians who have either committed bestiality or had sexual intercourse with a leprous woman, while themselves being leprous, to having to pray with the wintering people - i.e. outside church buildings.

The equation of leprous women with beasts is generally considered difficult to interpret.

The eighteenth safeguards the right of the people in objecting to the appointment of a bishop whom they do not wish. Canon XXII: Concerning wilful murderers let them remain prostrators; but at the end of life let them be indulged with full communion.

Western Ukrainian clergy

The Western Ukrainian clergy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church were a hereditary tight-knit social caste that dominated Western Ukrainian society from the late eighteenth until the mid-twentieth centuries, following the reforms instituted by Joseph II, Emperor of Austria. Because, like their Orthodox brethren, Ukrainian Catholic priests could marry, they were able to establish "priestly dynasties", often associated with specific regions, for many generations. Numbering approximately 2,000-2,500 by the 19th century, priestly families tended to marry within their group, constituting a tight-knit hereditary caste. In the absence of a significant culturally and politically active native nobility (although there was considerable overlap, with more than half of the clerical families also being of petty noble origin ), and enjoying a virtual monopoly on education and wealth within western Ukrainian society, the clergy came to form that group's native aristocracy. The clergy adopted Austria's role for them as bringers of culture and education to the Ukrainian countryside. Most Ukrainian social and political movements in Austrian-controlled territory emerged or were highly influenced by the clergy themselves or by their children. This influence was so great that western Ukrainians were accused by their Polish rivals of wanting to create a theocracy in western Ukraine. The central role played by the Ukrainian clergy or their children in western Ukrainian society would weaken somewhat at the end of the nineteenth century but would continue until the Soviet Union forcibly dissolved the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukrainian territories in the mid-twentieth century (the so-called Council of Lviv, 1946).

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