Catholic Encyclopedia
Church Fathers
Classics Library
Church Documents
Prayer Requests
Ray of Hope
Social Doctrine

A Manual Of Councils Of The Holy Catholic Church -Rev. Edward H. Landon. M.A.

OAK, Synod at the. See AD QUERCUM, Syn.

OMER, ST. (1099). [Concilium Audomarense.] Held in June 1099, by Manassez of Rheims, and four of his suffragans. The “Trève de Dieu” was established, and at the entreaty of Robert, Count of Flanders, articles of peace were drawn up in five articles.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 618. Baluze.


ORANGE (441). [Concilium Arausicanum.] Held November 8th, 441; St Hilary of Arles presided; seventeen bishops were present from three provinces, amongst them Eucherius of Lyons, Ingenius of Embrun, Claudius (bishopric unknown), and Maximus of Riez. Thirty canons were published.

1. Declares that priests may, in the bishop’s absence, confirm (by administering the holy chrism and the blessing) heretics, who, being in danger of death, desire to be reconciled.

2. Directs that ministers, when about to baptise, shall have the chrism ready, with which they shall anoint the Neophytes immediately after baptism, according to their custom of only anointing with the chrism once. That if any one by chance shall not have been anointed with the chrism of baptism, it shall be made known to the bishop at confirmation, but not as being absolutely necessary, since there being but one benediction of the chrism, that which is given to the baptised person at confirmation is sufficient.

3. Directs that penitents when dangerously ill shall be received to communion without the imposition of hands; that if they survive they shall remain in a state of penance until, having fully accomplished it, they may rightly receive the communion after reconciliation by imposition of hands.

4. Directs that penance be permitted to those clerks who desire it.

5. Forbids to deliver up criminals who have taken refuge in a church.

6. Excommunicates those who seize upon the slaves of the clergy in the place of their own, who have taken sanctuary in the church.

7. Excommunicates those who treat persons set free by the Church as slaves.

8. Forbids a bishop to ordain any one living in another diocese.

9. Directs that if a bishop shall desire to ordain persons belonging to another church, of irreproachable character, he shall either bring them to live in his own church, or obtain leave of their own bishop.

10. Directs that where a bishop has built a church within the territory of another bishop with the latter’s permission, he shall suffer him to consecrate it, and the bishop of the place shall, on his part, grant to the bishop who built the church the right of ordaining, as clerks to serve it, such persons as the bishop of the place shall present to him, or of approving his choice if they be already ordained.

11. Forbids bishops to receive persons excommunicated by their own bishop until they are reconciled.

12. Directs that persons suddenly deprived of the power of speech shall be reconciled or baptised if they give, or shall have given beforehand, a sign that they wish it.

13. Directs that all pious offices be performed towards insensible persons.

14. Directs that the communion shall be given to baptised Energumens, who do all in their power to become healed, and who follow obediently the counsels of the clergy, because the virtue of the sacrament may strengthen them against the attacks of the devil and purify them.

15. Directs that in cases of necessity holy baptism may be administered to Energumens.

16. Forbids to ordain those who have been openly possessed by an evil spirit, and deprives of all their functions those who become so after ordination.

17. Directs that the chalice be offered with the “capsa,” and be consecrated with the eucharistic mixture.

18. Orders that thenceforwards, in all the churches of the provinces, the Gospel should be read to the Catechumens.

19. Forbids Catechumens to enter the baptistery.

20. Forbids to suffer Catechumens to receive the blessing with the faithful, even in family prayers, and directs that they be warned to come separately for the blessing, and to receive the sign of the cross.

21. Enacts that in the case of two bishops only consecrating a bishop, without the participation of the other bishops of the province, if the bishop was consecrated against his own will he shall be put into the place of one of the consecrating bishops, and some one consecrated to fill the place of the latter; but if his consecration was done with his own free consent, he shall be deposed, as well as the two consecrating bishops.

22. Declares that in future married men shall not be ordained deacons, except they will make a vow of chastity.

23. Directs that married deacons who will not live in a state of continence be deprived.

24. Excepts from this law those who had been previously ordained, but forbids to confer any higher order upon them.

25. Forbids to elevate a person twice married to any higher degree than that of subdeacon.

26. Forbids the ordination of deaconesses in future, and directs that those actually ordained shall receive the benediction together with lay persons.

27. Directs that the widows shall make profession of chastity and wear the proper dress.

28. Directs that they who have broken their profession of virginity shall be put to penance.

29. Confirms the regulation of the council.

30. Directs that when a bishop is unable to discharge his duties, he shall commit the performance of them to another bishop, and not to a mere priest.

In this council, moreover, certain bishops were censured, who had broken the canons of the Council of Riez in 439, by refusing to allow the annual provincial councils with the others as ordered.—Tom. iii. Conc. p. 1446.

ORANGE (529). Held July 3rd, 529; Cesarius of Arles presided, at the head of thirteen bishops. Twenty-five articles concerning grace and free will, and directed against the semi-Pelagian doctrines, then prevalent, were drawn up and signed, and subsequently confirmed by Pope Bonifacius II.

1. Condemns those who maintain that the sin of Adam has affected only the body of man by rendering it mortal, but has not affected the soul also.

2. Condemns those who maintain that the sin of Adam hath injured himself only, or that the death of the body is the only effect of his transgression which has descended to his posterity.

3. Condemns those who teach that grace is given in answer to the prayer of man, and who deny that it is through grace that he is brought to pray at all.

4. Condemns those who teach that God waits for our wish before purifying us from sin, and that He does not by His Spirit give us the wish to be purified.

5. Condemns those who maintain that the act of faith, by which we believe in Him who justifieth, is not the work of grace, but that we are capable of doing so of ourselves.

7. Condemns those who maintain that man can think or do any thing good, as far as his salvation is concerned, without grace.

8. Condemns those who maintain that some come to the grace of baptism by their own free will, and others by the supernatural help of Divine mercy.

The seventeen other canons are, properly speaking, sentences taken out of the works of Saints Augustine and Prosper, recognising the necessity of grace, prayer, and humility. To these twenty-five canons were appended three propositions, viz.:—

(1.) That all baptised persons can, if they will, work out their salvation.

(2.) That God hath predestinated no one to damnation.

(3.) That God, by His grace, gives to us the first beginning of faith and charity, and that He is the Author of our conversion.—Tom. iv. p. 1666.

ORLEANS (511). [Concilium Aurelianense.] Held July 10th, 511, by order of Clovis; the Archbishops of Bordeaux, Bourges, Auch, Tours, and Rouen were present, with twenty-seven bishops, amongst whom were Quintianus, Bishop of Rodez, near Clermont; Melanius, Bishop of Rennes; and Theodosius of Auxerre. Thirty-one canons were published.

1. Establishes the inviolability of churches and bishops’ houses as places of refuge.

3. Declares that a runaway slave taking refuge in a church shall be given up to his master, an oath having been first made by the latter not to hurt him.

4. Forbids to ordain lay persons without the king’s permission. The children of clerks are left to the bishop’s discretion.

5. Directs that the revenue arising from property given to any church by the prince shall be employed (1) in the repair of the building, (2) for the support of the clergy, (3) for the relief of the poor, and (4) for the redemption of slaves.

7. Forbids clerks and monks to go to the prince to obtain favours without letters from their bishop.

8. Enacts that a bishop wilfully ordaining a slave unknown to his master shall pay twice his price to the master.

12. Permits deacons and priests in a state of penance to baptise in cases of necessity.

13. Forbids the wife of a priest or deacon to marry.

15. Orders the observation of the ancient canons, that all the offerings of the faithful in every parish church should be entirely at the disposal of the bishop.

17. Submits to the bishop’s jurisdiction all churches built within his territory.

18. Forbids to marry a brother’s widow, or a sister’s widower.

19. Submits to the bishop’s jurisdiction all abbots, and directs that they shall attend him once a year at the place which he shall appoint.

20. Forbids monks to use the stole or handkerchief (“tzangas”) within their monasteries.

21. Declares a monk who shall leave his monastery and marry to be for ever excluded from taking orders.

24. Orders a fast of forty, and not fifty, days before Easter.

25. Forbids all persons, except in cases of sickness, to celebrate their Easter, Christmas, or Whitsuntide in the country.

27 and 28. Order the proper observation of the Rogation days.

29. Forbids all familiarity between clerks and women.

30. Excommunicates all who have dealings with diviners.

31. Enjoins bishops to attend the offices of the church every Sunday in the nearest place of worship.—Pagi in Baronius, A.D. 507, x. xii. Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1403.

ORLEANS (533). Held in 533, on the 24th of May, by order of Theodoric, Childebert, and Clotaire, the three kings of France; twenty-six archbishops and bishops attended from the provinces, Lyons, and Aquitaine. Twenty-one canons were published against simony and other abuses, most of which were old regulations renewed:—

The 12th warns those persons who have made a vow to drink, and sing, and frolic in any church, that they ought not to fulfil their vow.

13. Forbids abbots, chaplains, recluses, and priests to give letters dimissory to clerks.

15. Forbids to accept the bequests of suicides; permits those of persons killed in the commission of any crime.

20. Commands that they be excluded from communion who have eaten of meats offered to idols, or of things strangled, &c.

21. Excommunicates abbots who despise the orders of their bishops.—Tom. iv. Conc. p. 1779.

ORLEANS (538). Held May 7th, 538; nineteen bishops attended, amongst whom were Lupus of Lyons, who presided, Pantathagus of Vienne, Leo of Sens, &c. Thirty-three canons were published.

1. Orders that a metropolitan who shall permit two years to pass without convoking a provincial synod shall be suspended from celebrating mass for one year, and also those bishops who neglect to attend it without just hindrance.

3. Directs that metropolitans be consecrated by a metropolitan in the presence of all the bishops of the province, and the bishops of each province by the metropolitan.

7. Directs that unmarried clerks who have received orders of their own free will shall, if they marry afterwards, be excommunicated, that if they were ordained without their own consent they shall be only deposed; that clerks committing adultery shall be shut up in a monastery for life, without however being deprived of communion,

25. Orders that persons who fall back from a state of penance into a worldly life shall be deprived of communion until at the point of death.

28. Forbids to work in the fields on Sunday, but permits travelling on horseback or in a carriage, the preparation of food, and all things needful for the proper neatness of house and person; the denial of which things it states to belong rather to the Jewish than the Christian observance of the day.

29. Forbids lay persons to leave church at mass before the end of the Lord’s prayer or if a bishop be present, before he have given his blessing, also forbids to hear mass armed.

30. Forbids Jews to mix with Christians from Holy Thursday to Easter Day.—Tom. v. Conc. p. 294.

ORLEANS (541). Held in 541. Thirty-eight bishops and the deputies of twelve absent attended; Leontius, Archbishop of Bordeaux, presided. Thirty-eight canons were published, most of them similar to those published in the preceding councils; the following are amongst those which differ.

1. Orders the celebration of Easter every year according to the table of Victorius (or Victor), and orders that the proper day for its celebration shall be declared in each year, on the feast of the Epiphany.

4. Orders that no one at the oblation of the holy chalice shall presume to offer anything but wine mixed with water, because it is held as sacrilegious to offer anything different from what the Saviour instituted in His most holy commandments.

12. Forbids to hold the Agapæ in churches.

16. Excommunicates those who swear, after the fashion of pagans, upon the heads of beasts, or who invoke the names of false gods.

33. Declares that any person desirous of having a parish upon his property, must, in the first place, give a sufficient endowment for the clerks who shall serve it.

Such is supposed to have been the origin of church patronage.—Tom. v. Conc. p. 380.

ORLEANS (549). Held October 28th, 549, by Childebert, King of France. Fifty bishops (amongst whom were ten afterwards reverenced as saints) and twenty-one deputies of those who were absent attended, collected from the three kingdoms of France and all the provinces of the Gauls, except that of Narbonne, which was still in the occupation of the Goths. Sacerdos, Bishop of Lyons, presided. Twenty-four canons, for the most part renewing those of the preceding councils, were published.

1. Condemns the errors of Eutyches and Nestorius.

2. Forbids excommunication for small offences.

6. Forbids to ordain a slave without the master’s consent.

11. Forbids to give the people a bishop whom they dislike, and declares that neither the people nor clergy ought to be intimidated in making their election.

20 and 21. Directs that archdeacons shall visit prisoners every Sunday, and that bishops shall take care of lepers.—Tom. v. Conc. p. 390.

ORLEANS (1022). Held in 1022, by King Robert; at which several bishops were present. Several Manichæans were condemned to be burned; amongst whom were Stephen (or Heribert) and Lysoye, ecclesiastics of Orleans.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 836. Spicil. p. 740.

OSBROENE (198). A provincial council was held somewhere in this province in 198, at which it was resolved that Easter should be celebrated after the Latin custom.

OVIEDO (877). [Concilium Ovetense.] Held about 877, according to Pagi. King Alphonso, his queen and sons were present, and eighteen bishops. Several useful regulations were drawn up. The church of Oviedo was erected into a metropolitan see, and Hermenegilde, who presided over it, was recognised as head over the other bishops, to labour with them for the re-establishment of discipline in the Church, which had been impaired by the rule of the infidels.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 501.

OXFORD (1160). [Concilium Oxoniense.] Held in 1160, by which more than thirty heretics of the sect of the Vaudois or Publicani, who had lately come over into England, headed by one Gerard, and who denied baptism, the Holy Eucharist, and marriage, and who set at nought the authority of the Church, were condemned, and given over to the secular arm; upon which they were sentenced to be branded in the forehead, and publicly flogged out of the city, and were forbidden to remain in that neighbourhood. They appear to have made but one convert, a woman, who soon returned into the Church.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 1404. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 438.

OXFORD (1207). King John, on his return from abroad, assembled a large number of his clergy and barons, first at London, and subsequently at Oxford, demanding a certain portion of the ecclesiastical revenues, but this was unanimously refused.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 515.

OXFORD (1222). Held on the 11th of June, by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury and cardinal legate, who presided. This was a council of all England, and fifty canons were published in conformity with those of the Council of Lateran of 1215.

1. Excommunicates generally all who encroach upon the rights of the Church, disturb the public peace, &c.

2. Directs that bishops shall retain about them wise and charitable almoners, and attend to the petitions of the poor; that they shall also at times themselves hear and make confessions; that they shall reside at their cathedrals, &c., &c.

3. Forbids bishops, archdeacons, and deans to take anything for collations or institutions to benefices.

6. Orders the celebration of the nocturnal and diurnal office, and of all the sacraments, especially those of baptism and of the altar.

7. Forbids priests to say mass more than once in the same day, except at Christmas and Easter, and when there was a corpse to be buried.

10. Orders curates to preach often, and to attend to the sick.

11. Directs that the ornaments and vessels of the Church be properly kept, and that in every church there shall be a silver chalice and a clean white linen cloth for the altar; also that old corporals be burnt, &c.

12. Forbids any one to resign his benefice, retaining the vicarage, to prevent suspicion of unlawful bargain.

13. Forbids to divide benefices in order to provide for several persons.

15. Orders churches not worth more than five marks a year, to be given to none but such as will reside and minister in them.

16. Assigns to the perpetual vicar a stipend not less than five marks, except in Wales, “where vicars are content with less, by reason of the poverty of the churches.” Orders that the diocesan shall decide whether the parson or vicar shall bear the charges of the Church.

17. Orders that in large parishes there shall be two or three priests.

18. Directs that the bishop shall make the person presented to a living take an oath that he has neither given nor promised anything to the patron.

19. Provides that in each archdeaconry confessors shall be appointed for the rural-deans and others of the clergy who may be unwilling to confess to the bishop.

20. Takes from the rural-deans the cognisance of matrimonial causes.

21. Forbids, under anathema, to harbour thieves, &c.

22 and 23. Relate to archidiaconal visitations. Forbid those dignitaries to burden the clergy whom they visit with many horses, to invite strangers to the procurations provided for them, and to extort procurations without reasonable cause.

24. Forbids to let out to farm archdeaconries, deaneries, &c.

25. Orders the archdeacons to take care in their visitations that the canon of the mass be correct, that the priest can rightly pronounce the words of the canon and of baptism, that laymen be taught how to baptise rightly in case of necessity, and that the host, chrism, and holy oil be kept under lock and key, &c.

26. Forbids bishops, archdeacons, and their officers to pass sentence without first giving the canonical monitions.

27. Forbids to exact any fee for burials and the administration of the holy sacraments.

30. Orders ecclesiastics to wear decent habits with close copes, to observe the tonsure, to keep their hair cut short, and to abstain from immoderate eating and drinking.

31. Forbids clergymen in holy orders publicly to keep concubines.

34. Forbids the clergy to spend their ecclesiastical revenues in building houses, on lay fees for their sons, nephews, or concubines.

36. Forbids the nuns to wears veils of silk, to use pins of silver and gold, and to wear girdles worked and embroidered, and long trains.

41. Forbids to give to a person already provided with a benefice, having cure of souls, any revenue out of another church.

42 and 43. Order monks to live in common, and forbid them to receive any one into their community under eighteen years of age.

44. Orders monks to give away to the poor what remains of their repasts.

45. Forbids monks to make wills.

47. Forbids monks and canons regular to eat and drink save at the appointed hours; permits them to quench their thirst in the refectory, but not to indulge.

In the Oxford copy of these constitutions two others are added relating to the Jews.—Johnson’s Ecc. Canons. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 270. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 585.

OXFORD (1322). Held in 1322, by Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury, in which ten constitutions were published.

1. Relates to the conferring of holy orders. Directs that all candidates shall be examined previously; enumerates those cases in which holy orders shall be refused. Also forbids to admit clerks ordained in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland to officiate without letters dimissory or commendatory from their ordinaries. Orders that monks shall be ordained by their own diocesan.

2. Directs priests to exhort their people to be confirmed, and adults to confess before confirmation. Orders that children on the third day after confirmation be carried to church, that their foreheads may be washed in the baptistery by the priest’s hand, in honour of the chrism. Prescribes caution against children receiving confirmation twice.

3. Relates to extreme unction, and appeals to St James (5:14, 15) in proof of its necessity.

4. Orders rectors and priests to be careful of their altars, to keep the Holy Eucharist in a clean pyx of silver or ivory, or other befitting material, to renew the consecrated host weekly, to carry it to the sick with reverence, a light going before, &c.

5. Orders that the linen furniture of the altar be kept whole and clean, that the words of the canon be fully and exactly pronounced, and with the greatest devotion. Forbids a priest to celebrate mass till he has finished matins, prime, and undern. Directs that two candles, or one at least, be lighted at high mass.

6. Relates to the duty of archdeacons in visitation.

7. Relates to marriage.

8. Relates to penance. Orders the priest to consider carefully the particular circumstances of each sin, to receive confessions, especially those of women, in some open place, to consult the bishop, or some discreet men, in doubtful cases, and to be careful not to make the penitents implicate other persons by name in their confessions.

9. Forbids a priest, in a state of mortal sin, to celebrate before confession. Forbids to reveal confession in any way, directly or indirectly; orders that a priest convicted of doing so, shall be degraded without hope of reconciliation.

10. Orders the appointment of a fit priest in every deanery to receive the confession of the clergy.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 512.

OXFORD (1382). In November 1382, a convocation held at Oxford in the church of St Frideswich against Wiclif. Collier, i. 578.

OXFORD (1408). Held in 1408, by Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, against the Lollards. Ten constitutions were published at this council, and sanctioned in one held afterwards in London.

1. Forbids any one to preach without being first examined and allowed by the diocesan. Also forbids men suspended for preaching erroneous doctrine, to preach within the province until they be restored by the ordinary who suspended them. Sentences all violators of this statute to excommunication. Declares that any preacher who shall a second time, in any way, intimate that the Church has not power to make such ordinances by her prelates, shall be sentenced to excommunication; and all Christian people forbidden to hold any communication with him, under pain of excommunication Further declares, that when lawfully convicted of so doing, such offenders shall be declared heretics by the ordinary, and incur all the penalties of heresy, and their aiders and abettors also, unless they desist within a month from the date of their admonition.

2. Forbids the clergy and people of any parish to allow any one to preach unless full assurance be first given of his being authorised, privileged, or sent according to the form specified in Constitution 1. Orders that the church, churchyard, or other place where unauthorised preachers have been permitted to hold forth, shall be put under an interdict. Orders further, that authorised preachers shall suit their discourses to the circumstances of their hearers.

3. Excommunicates, ipso facto, all who preach or say any thing contrary to the teaching of the Church concerning the sacraments, or any point of faith; declares that such offenders shall not be absolved (except at the point of death), unless they abjure their errors and do penance. Orders that persons who do so a second time, shall be formally denounced as heretics, and subject to confiscation of their goods. With regard to the penance to be performed, it is declared that the offender shall expressly recant the things he has preached, taught, or affirmed, in the parish church in which he did so, upon some one or more Lord’s-days or holy days, at high mass.

4. Forbids schoolmasters and other teachers to instruct their pupils in the sacraments and other theological points, contrary to the determination of the Church, and enjoins them not to permit their scholars to dispute publicly or privately upon such subjects.

5. Forbids to read any book composed by John Wiclif, or any other in his time or since, in any schools, halls, inns, or other places whatsoever within the province, unless it have been first examined and unanimously approved by the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge.

6. Declares, upon the authority of St Jerome, that the translation of the text of Holy Scripture is a dangerous thing, because it is not easy to make the sense in all respects the same; enacts that no one shall henceforth, by his own authority, translate any text of Scripture into English; and that no part of any such book or treatise lately composed in the time of John Wiclif, shall be read in public or private, under pain of excommunication.

7. Forbids any one, under pain of being publicly denounced excommunicate, to propose or assert any propositions which carry a sound contrary to the Catholic faith or good morals.

8. Forbids all disputing, either in public or private, concerning things determined by the Church, unless it be in order to get at the true meaning. Forbids, also, to call in question the authority of Church decisions, or to preach any thing contrary to them, especially concerning the adoration of the cross, the veneration of the images of the saints, and pilgrimages to holy places and relics, or against taking oaths in judicial matters. Orders all preachers to encourage these things, as well as processions, genuflexions, bowings, incensings, kissings, oblations, pilgrimages, illuminations, and the making of oaths in a lawful manner, by touching God’s holy Gospels. Offenders to incur the penalty of heresy.

9. Orders that none be admitted to serve as chaplain in any diocese within the province, who was not born or ordained there, or unless he bring with him letters from his diocesan.

10. Declares the University of Oxford to be infected with new unprofitable doctrines, and blemished with the new damnable brand of Lollardy, to the great scandal of the University at home and abroad, and to the seemingly irreparable injury of the Church of England, which used to be defended by her virtue and learning; that therefore, upon the petition of the proctors of the whole clergy of the province, and with the consent of all the prelates present in the convocation, it is enacted that every head of a college or hall in the University shall, at least once a month, make diligent inquiry whether any scholar or inhabitant hath asserted or held any proposition carrying a sound contrary to the Catholic faith and sound morals; and if he find any such, that he shall effectually admonish him. And that any such person so admonished advancing the same proposition, shall be ipso facto excommunicated and otherwise punished. Orders that if the offender be a scholar, he shall be disqualified for his degree; if a doctor, M.A., or B.A., he shall be suspended from all scholastic acts, lose all his rights in his college, and be actually expelled, and a Catholic put into his place. Declares that if any head of a house shall neglect, within ten days after the publication of those constitutions, to execute the above regulations against any offender in their college, he shall himself be ipso facto excommunicated and deprived of his office, and the college considered to be void, and a new head appointed. Enacts the same penalties against a head of a college suspected of heresy, who, after admonition from the ordinary, does not reform; and further, declares him to be for three years incapable of holding any benefice within the province. Lastly, it treats of the manner of proceeding against suspected persons.—Johnson, Eccl. Canons. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 2089. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 314.

Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com