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Councils of Avignon

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Nothing is known of the council held here in 1060. In 1080 a council was held under the presidency of Hugues de Dié, papal legate, in which Achard, usurper of the See of Arles, was deposed, and Gibelin put in his place. Three bishops elect (Lautelin of Embrun, Hugues of Grenoble, Didier of Cavaillon) accompanied the legate to Rome and were consecrated there by Pope Gregory VII. In the year 1209 the inhabitants of Toulouse were excommunicated by a Council of Avignon (two papal legates, four archbishops, and twenty bishops) for failing to expel the Albigensian heretics from their city. The Count of Toulouse was forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to impose exorbitant burdens on his subjects and, as he persisted, was finally excommunicated. In the Council of 1270, presided over by Bertrand de Malferrat, Archbishop of Arles, the usurpers of ecclesiastical property were severely threatened; unclaimed legacies were allotted to pious uses; the bishops were urged to mutual support; the individual churches were taxed for the support of the papal legate; and ecclesiastics were forbidden to convoke the civil courts against their bishops. The Council of 1279 was concerned with the protection of the rights, privileges, and immunities of the clergy. Provision was made also for the protection of those who had promised to join the Crusade ordered by Gregory X, but had failed to go. It was also decreed that to hear confessions, besides the permission of his ordinary or bishop, a monk must also have that of his superior. In the Council of 1282 ten canons were published, among them one urging the people to frequent more regularly the parochial churches, and to be present in their own parish churches at least on Sundays and feast days. The temporalities of the Church and ecclesiastical jurisdiction occupied the attention of the Council of 1327. The seventy-nine canons of the Council of 1337 are renewed from earlier councils, and emphasize the duty of Easter Communion in one's own parish church, and of abstinence on Saturday for beneficed persons and ecclesiastics, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, a practice begun three centuries earlier on the occasion of the Truce of God, but no longer universal. The Council of 1457 was held by Cardinal de Foix, Archbishop of Arles and legate of Avignon, a Franciscan. His principal purpose was to promote the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, in the sense of the declaration of the Council of Basle. It was forbidden to preach the contrary doctrine. Sixty-four disciplinary decrees were also published, in keeping with the legislation of other councils. A similar number of decrees were published in 1497 by a council presided over by the Archbishop Francesco Tarpugi (afterwards Cardinal). The sponsors of the newly confirmed, it was decreed, were not obliged to make presents to them or to their parents. Before the relics of the saints two candles were to be kept lighted at all times. Disciplinary measures occupied the attention of the Council of 1509. The Council of 1596 was called for the purpose of furthering the observance of the decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-63), and for a similar purpose the Council of 1609. The Councils of 1664 and 1725 formulated disciplinary decrees; the latter proclaimed the duty of adhering to the Bull of Clement XI against the "Reflexions morales" of Quesnel. The Council of 1849 published, in ten chapters, a number of decrees concerning faith and discipline.


MANSI, Coll. Conc., XIX, 929; XX, 533, and passim; Coll. Lacensis Conc., I, 467; IV, 315; GRANJET, Hist. du diocèse d'Avignon (Avignon, 1862).

About this page

APA citation. Shahan, T. (1907). Councils of Avignon. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Shahan, Thomas. "Councils of Avignon." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Rev. Richard Giroux.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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