IN 1123, during the pontificate of Pope Callistus II, a general Roman council was held “for various important matters of the church”, as Callistus himself says in the letter of convocation which he sent on 25 June 1122 to bishop Baldric of Doll. A great number of bishops, abbots and religious, numbering at least 300, gathered in Rome from the western churches, although none that we know of came from the eastern churches 1 . There is no evidence that legates of the emperor Henry V took part. The council began on 18 March 1123, with the pope presiding. There were at least two sessions. The council ended before 6 April, probably on 27 March.
This council is often called “general” in the letters and decrees of Pope Callistus II. It is reasonable, however, to doubt its ecumenicity. Indeed the manner in which the council was called and conducted by the pope and the fathers differed from that of the older councils. Moreover several other councils, similar to Lateran I, were convened in the 11th and 12th centuries but were not termed ecumenical. The ecumenicity of this council seems, as far as we can tell, to have been confirmed later by the tradition of the Roman church.
There had long been conflict between church and state, though some sort of a solution had been reached a short time before at the Concordat of Worms (September 1122). Thus, questions concerning the investiture of prelates and the freedom of the church were a major concern of the council. The said concordat was approved and confirmed by the council’s authority, though not without opposition on the part of many, as Gerhoh of Reichersberg 2 testifies; canons 3-4, 8 and 12 make mention of this debate. Thereby a measure of peace and discipline was restored to the church.
The fathers devoted themselves principally to the reform of the church, to the abolition of simony and to the correction of ecclesiastical abuses. There were a few other matters of lesser importance. Also, the struggle for the Corsican episcopacy between the churches of Genoa and Pisa was a considerable problem, and a commission of twenty-four fathers had to be created by the pope in order to resolve the matter; for this see canons 1, 7, and also canons 2, 5-6, 9, 11, 16. Thus pope Callistus, following as closely as he could the examples of Gregory VII and Urban II 3 , and supported by the approval of the council, brought to a successful conclusion matters which had engrossed the whole church’s effort and zeal for almost fifty years.
A number of canons were ratified by the council fathers, perhaps at the session on 27 March. Many of these were included in Gratian’s Decrees (c. 1140), namely canons 1, 3-4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 16B, 19-22B, and part of 8, 18B. As far as we know, Baronius was the first to print others which Gratian did not accept (Br 4 12, 1607, 149-150; ed. Theiner 18, 1869, 343-344). Twelve more follow in the Roman edition (Rm 5 4, 1612, 16- 17), where a complete text of the canons may be found. We have examined all the canons in the following: Bn 6 3/2 (1618) 464-465; ER 7 27 (1644) 37-43; S. Baluze, in P. de Marca, Dissertationum de concordia sacerdotii et imperii ...libri II Paris l663, 363 (=BdM); LC10 8 (l67l) 896-900; Hrd 9 6/2 (1714) 1111-1114; Cl 10 12 (1730) 1333-1337; E. Martene and U. Durand, in Veterum scriptorum et monumentorum ... collectio, VII Paris 1733, 68-69, four canons only (= MD); Msi 11 2 (1748) 355-358; Msi 21 (1776) 281-286; G.H. Pertz, in MGH 12 , Leges in f.ø, II/2 Hanover 1837, 182-183 (= Pertz); PL 163 (1854) 1361-1365; L. Weiland, in MGH, Const., I Hanover 1893, 574-576 (= MGH).
The text of the canons presents some difficulties. Bn 2, ER, LC, Hrd, Cl and Msi must have printed the same text as that used by Rm (though with some differences). This commonly accepted version, which we call B, consists of 22 canons and seems to derive from two manuscript codices (not from Rm, since this has the different readings). In addition, seven canons (2, 5, 10-11, 13, 15, 17) printed by Br seem to relate to B, even though they often do not agree with 13 in their readings. A second version of the canons, “from an ancient manuscript codex of the monastery of Aniane”, which is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, was published by BdM. The order of the canons in it, and often the readings, are different from B; moreover six canons (11 and the last five, 18-22B) are missing and two (15-16) are completely different from B. Regarding this other version, which we call alpha, MD published four canons (6, 12, 15- 16) “from a manuscript of the marquis of Laubes”, and Pertz published sixteen canons (15 and 18-22B are missing, in place of which are what appear to be two rubrics) from Vienna MS. Codex of Canon Law 91 (now 2178). Migne transcribed the text of Pertz. LC took several readings of (alpha and included them in B[eta] as variant readings. Finally, the text printed by Msi “from a Pistoia codex of canons”, as well as the order of canons in it, appear similar to alpha; although canons 15-16 are preserved according to the B text and 18-19 are added to B. If alpha is earlier than B, then the text of Msi seems to date from an earlier time and to have been corrected occasionally from B; therefore we conclude that this text belongs to alpha.
We believe the (alpha version is older than B[eta].For, the canons from alpha(except ll-12, 15-17) are mentioned in Simeon of Durham’s “Historia Regum” 13 (= S), which is contemporaneous. This point has not been noticed by scholars. In addition, Gratian’s Decrees ascribe the last 5 canons to the earlier pontificate of Urban II (1088-99) and not to the time of Lateran I, as Br noted; therefore alpha seems right to omit these five canons. The document on which Br and possibly Rm depend is a Vatican codex “which contains the Collection of Anselm [of Lucca], in which the canons of this council are included as an appendix after chapter 55”. Maybe, therefore, our B should be attributed to this peculiar version in Anselm of Lucca’s text. Certainly all the known manuscript codices are related to alpa, so far as we are aware 14 , including the 12th century Vatican Reginensis lat. 987 (= R), which was the first to be examined by us. We think that little confidence can be placed in MGH, which is the only critical edition so far made. Its editor, Weiland, divided the sources into three groups: the “Parisian”, more correctly called the “Roman”- the Pistoian codex; and the codices used by BdM and Pertz. But he completely ignored the similarities between the three groups, and in the end collated only the two sources of the third group, omitting for no reason canon 17. We have collated together R and all the other editions, and have prepared our text with the alpha version as the basis. We think that R and BdM are the most reliable sources. We have relegated the alternative version of canons 15-16 to a footnote, and the last five canons to an appendix. We have not used the MGH text except in a few instances. There is a preface to the canons in R, S, BdM and Msi vol 1, but we do not reproduce it.
1 There are no surviving acts of the council. On the number of fathers, see K.J. Hefele, Histoire des conciles d'apres les documents originaux, trans. and continued by H. Leclerq, 11 vols. 1907-1952., 5/1, 631 n. 2; and also Simeon of Durham Opera Omnia ..., II ed. T. Arnold (Rolls series 75), London 1885, 272; Annali genovesi di Caffaro ..., ed. L. Belgrano (Fonti per las storia d'Italia 11), I Rome-Genoa 1890, 19
2 See Gerhoh of Reichersberg, Libellus de ordine donorum sancti Spiritus, ed. E. Sackur, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Hannover and Berlin 1826-, Libelli, III Hanover 1897, 280; see also Hefele 5/1, 631
3 See also canon 10 on the recovery of the holy Land, and canons 14-15 on peace among Christians.
4 C. Baronius (continued by O. Raynaldi), Anales ecclesiastici, ed. J. D. Mansi, 38 vols. Lucca 1728-1759)
5 Ton hagion iokoumenikon synodon tes katholikes ekklesias apanta. Concilia generalia Ecclesiae catholicae [Editio Romana], 4 vols. Rome 1608-1612.
6 S. Binius, Concilia generalia et provincialia ..., 5 vols. Cologne 1609; 9 vols. ibid [ed. 2] . 1618; 11 vols. Paris[ed. 3] 1636.
7 Conciliorum omnium generalium et provincialium collectio [Editio Regia], 37 vols. Paris 1644.
8 P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae nunc quarta parte prodit auctior studio Philippi Labbei et Gabrielis Cossartii ..., 17 vols. Paris 1671-1672
9 J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima ad p. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis ..., 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715
10 N. Coleti, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae olim quarta parte prodiit ... longe locupletior et emendatior exhibeture ..., 23 vols. Venice 1728-1733
11 J. D. Mansi (continued by J.B. Martin and L. Petit), Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio ..., 53 vols. Florence, Venice, Paris and Leipzig 1759-1927
12 in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Hannover and Berlin 1826-,
13 See Simeon and Durham., Opera Omnia ..., II 270-272
14 We have not seen Olmutz Chapter Codex 205; see Pertz, Archiv 10 (1849) 682.
BIBLIOGRAPHY H-L 5/1 (1912) 630-634; DThC 8/2 (1925) 2628-2637; DDrC 6 (1957) 344-346; LThK 6 (vol 2 1961) 815-816; NCE 8 (1967) 406; HC 3 (1980) 401-402; U. Robert, Histoire du pape Calixte II, Paris-Besancon 1891, 162-177, A. Hauck, Die Rezeption und Umbildung der allgemeinen Synode im Mittelalter, Historische Vierteljahrschrifl 10 (1907) 468 ff.; G. Meyer von Knonau, Jahrbucher des deutschen Reiches . . ., VII Leipzig 1909, 228-239; G Tangl, Die Teilnehmer an den allgemeinen Konzilien des Mittelalters, Weimar 1922, 196-205; H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, St. Louis, Mo. --London 1937, 177-194; A. Eliche, La reforme gregorienne et la reconquete chretienne (Histoire de l'Eglise 8), Paris 1950, 390-393; G. Eranzen, L'ecclesiologie des conciles medievaux, in Le concile, 125-141; R Eoreville, Latran I, II, III et Latran IV (Histoire des Conciles 6), Paris 1965; M. Mollat and P. Tombeur, Les conciles Latran I a Latran IV: Concordance, index, listes de frequence, tables comparatives (Conciles oecumeniques medievaux 1), Louvain 1974.
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990