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an important city of Central Italy, fortythree miles east-southeast from Bologna, and four and a half miles from the Adriatic, with a population of nearly 60,000 people, was once the capital of the empire (from A.D. 401), and is not only a very ancient city, whose history is of great interest to Christianity on account of its early relation to the Church, but more particularly on account of the different ecclesiastical councils which have been held there, and the disputes which the metropolitanate of Ravenna maintained in early medieval days with the bishopric of Rome, especially in the 7th century, under Constans (666), in the 8th against pope Hadrian, and in the 9th, when in 861 the strife was finally put at rest at a synod in Rome. Aside from the council of bishops in 419, called by Honorius to decide upon the choice of popes between Boniface and Eulalius, the following councils of Ravenna (Concilia Ravennata) are noteworthy:

(I.) Held July 22, 877, by pope John VIII, at the head of forty-nine bishops (Holstenius and Labbe say the number of bishops was 130). The object of this council was to remedy the disorders of the Church. Nineteen chapters remain to us, relating to the discipline and privileges of the Church; also a letter confirming the possession of a monastery to the bishop of Autun.


1. Enjoins the metropolitan to send to Rome for the pallium within three months after his consecration, and forbids him to exercise any of the functions of his office until that be done.

2. Enjoins that all bishops elect shall be consecrated by their metropolitans within three months after election, under pain of excommunication.

3. Forbids metropolitans to make use of the pallium except on great festivals and during mass.

5, 6,7, and 8. Excommunicate and anathematize those who rob the Church, injure ecclesiastics, and commit various other crimes.

9. Declares those persons to be themselves excommunicated who voluntarily communicate with the excommuinicated.

12. Excommunicates those who absent themselves from their pariish church on three Sundays successively. 19. Forbids judges and royal commissioners to hold courts and to lodge in churches. Labbe, Concil. 9:299.

(II.) Held in 898 (or 904, according to Labbe) by John IX, in the matter of Formosus and Stephen; the emperor Lambert being present and seventy- four bishops. Ten regulations were approved.

1. Enacts the observation of the canons of the fathers, and all that is contained in the capitularies of Charlemagne, Louis le Debonaire, Lothaire, and Louis II.

3. Confirms the privileges granted to the Church of Rome by the emperors.

4. Approves all that had been done in the Council of Rome, A.D. 898, in the matter of Formosus.

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Relate to the political circumstances of the Roman see. Labbe, Concil. 9:507.

(III.) Held in April, 967. In this council the emperor, Otho I, yielded to the pope, John XIII, the city and territory of Ravenna. Heroldus, archbishop of Salzburg, was deposed and excommunicated; the act of deposition being subscribed on April 25 by the emperor and fifty-seven bishops, including the pope. Lastly, Magdeburg was erected into an archbishopric: this, however, was not completed until the following year. Labbe, Concil. 9:674.

(IV.) Held May 1, 997, by Gerbert, archbishop of Ravenna, and eight suffragans. Three canons remain, of which

1. Condemns an infamous custom which existed in the cathedral of Ravenna of selling the holy eucharist and chrism. Labbe, Concil. 9:766.

(V.) Held April 30, 1014, by the new archbishop, Arnold, to remedy the abuses caused by the long vacancy of eleven years, and the intrusion of Adalbert, who had unlawfully conferred holy orders and dedicated certain churches. It was determined that those upon whom orders had been thus conferred should remain suspended until the matter could be minutely considered; and that the consecrations of churches andul oratories made by Adalbert were null and void. Labbe, Concil. 9:833.

(VI.) Held by Peter, cardinal of St. Anastasia, in 1128. Here the patriarchs of Aquileia and Venice, or Grade, were deposed, having been convicted of favoring schismatics. Pagi; Labbe, Concil. 10:936.

(VII.) Held in 1286, July 8, by Bonifacius the archbishop, who presided, assisted by eight bishops, his suffragins. Nine canons were published.

2. Exhorts the clergy to almsgiving, and grants indulgences to those who feed and clothe the the poor.

3. Relates to the dress of the clergy; and forbids them to carry arms without the bishop's permission.

5. Orders that the usual daily distributions shall be made only to those canons who attend the holy office. Labbe, Concil. 11. 1238.

(VIII.) Held in 1310 by Rainaldus the archbishop, in the matter of the Templars. Present, eight bishops of the province, three inquisitors, two preaching friars, and one Minorite: seven Templars were brought before them, who constantly affirmed their innocence. On the following day it was determined that they who had confessed from a fear of torture only should be considered innocent; nevertheless, there were five who went through the canonical ordeal. Labbe, Concil. 11:1533.

(IX.) Held in 1311 by Rainaldus the archbishop, five bishops and six proctors attending. Thirty-two canons were published.

2. Orders mass to be said daily for a month by the other bishops in behalf of a bishop deceased.

3. Orders that yearly, on July 20, a solemn service shall be said for the deceased bishops; and that on that day twelve poor persons shall be fed.

4. Enjoins the same thing on behalf of patrons and benefactors of churches.

6. Orders that the sacraments be administered fasting.

10. Enjoins curates to warn the people every Sunday, after the gospel and offertory, of the festivals and fastdays in the coming week.

11. Orders that the form of baptism shall be publicly said in church three times a year.

15. Orders that the canon "omunnis utrinsque sexus" shall be published at Advent and Lent. That medical men shall not visit a patient a second time if he have not called in the priest.

16. Forbids to give a benefice to any one who cannot read or chant.

18. Orders annual synods.

23. Orders that Jews shall wear a distinguishing badge.

26. Reviews the canonical penalties for striking, maltreating, and driving the clergy from their churches. Labbe, Concil. 11:1569.

(X.) Held in 1314 by the same archbishop, assisted by six bishops and four deputies. Twenty canons were published.

2. Forbids to ordain to the priesthood persons under twenty-five years of age; also to ordain a deacon under twenty, and a sub-deacon under sixteen years.

6. Orders that the church bells shall be rung when a bishop passes, that the people may come out to receive his blessing upon their knees; also regulates the form to be observed by the chapter of a cathedral upon the bishop's visit.

8. Declares, unuer pain of excommunication, that no monks, or other persons, can claim exemption from episcopal visitation upon plea of prescriptive right, or any other plea.

10. Enacts that the clergy shall be soberly dressed; that they shall not carry arms, nor dress in colored clothes; that they shall wear a close cassock, observe the tonsure, and keep their hair cut short, etc.

11. Forbids men to enter the monastic houses of females.

14. Orders curates to teach their people the form of baptism at least once a year.

16. Orders fasting and almsgiving on the three days before the meeting of provincial councils.

29. Revokes the permission given to monks to preach indilgences. Labbe, Concil. 11:1603. Sec also Milman, Hist. of Latin Christianity; Hefele, Conciliengesch.vol. v, et al.; Landon, Manual of Councils, s.v. For the Council of Ravenna held in 1317, (See BOLOGNA).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ravenna'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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