Fifth Council of Orléans

The Fifth Council of Orléans (28 October 549) assembled nine archbishops and forty-one bishops.[1] Sacerdos of Lyon presided over this council.[2] The presence of these bishops indicates both the wide spread of Christianity in Gaul by the sixth century, and the increased influence of the Merovingian kings.


  • Sacerdos of Lyon
  • Aurelianus of Arles
  • Eutychius of Vienne
  • Nicerius of Trier
  • Desiderius of Bourges
  • Aspasius of Elusa (Eause)
  • Constitutus of Sens
  • Placidus of Macon
  • Firminus of Uzès (Uceticenses)
  • Agricola of Châlons-sur-Saône
  • Urbicus of Bazas
  • Rufus of Valence (Octodorensium)
  • Gallus of Auvergne (Clermont)
  • Saffaracus of Paris
  • Domitianus of Tungrensis (Tongres, Liège)
  • Eleutherius of Auxerre
  • Desiderius of Verdun
  • Grammatius of Laon
  • Tetricus of Langres
  • Nectarius of Autun
  • Eusebius of Saintes
  • Proculeianus of Auch
  • Maximus of Cahors
  • Bebianus of Agen
  • Aptonius of Angoulême
  • Deuterius of Vence
  • Lauto of Coutances
  • Passivus of Séez
  • Clematius of Carpentras
  • Vellesius of Gap (Vappincensis)
  • Aregius of Nevers
  • Hilarius of Digne
  • Clementius of Apt
  • Palladius of Toulon
  • Basilius of Glandèves
  • Avolus of Aix
  • Febediolus of Rennes
  • Gallus of Valence
  • Leubenus of Chartres
  • Theudobaudis of Lisieux
  • Alodius of Tulle
  • Licinius of Evreux
  • Medoveus of Meaux
  • Liberius of Dax
  • Amelius of Comminges
  • Aletius of Leictoure
  • Gonotigernus of Senlis
  • Aegridius of Avranches
  • Beatus of Amiens
  • Ambrosius of Saint-Paul-trois-Châteaux
  • [Antoninus of Avignon]‡
  • [Magnus of Nice and Cimies]‡
  • [Melanus of Albi]‡
  • [Lucretius of Die]‡
  • [Pappulus of Geneva]‡
  • [Leucadius of Bayeux]‡
  • [Faustus of Riez]‡‡
  • [Expectatus of Fréjus]‡
  • [Eusebius of Antibes]‡‡
  • [Praetextatus of Châlons-sur-Saône]‡‡‡
  • [Vindemialis of Orange]‡
  • [Gallicanus of Embrun]‡‡
  • [Agrestius of Tours]‡
  • [Leontius of Bordeaux]‡
  • [Avolus of Sisteron]‡
  • [Ruricius of Limoges]‡‡
  • [Ambrosius of Albi]‡‡
  • [Theodorus of Conserans (St. Lizien)]‡‡
  • [Mappinius of Reims]‡‡
  • [Gennobaudus of Lugdunum clavatum]‡‡
  • [Albinus of Angers]‡‡‡

‡ Absent, represented by a priest.
‡‡ Absent, represented by a deacon.
‡‡‡ Absent, represented by an Abbot.


King Childebert had ordered the Council to be summoned[3] to deal with the case of Bishop Marcus of Orleans, who had been driven from his See.[4] After defending Mark, Bishop of Orléans, from attacks made upon him, finding nothing in the charges made by his enemies, the Council issued some twenty-four canons.[5]

The Council pronounced an anathema against the errors of Nestorius and Eutyches (Canon I). It prohibited simony, and prescribed that the election of bishops take place in all freedom, by the clergy and the people, and with the consent of the king (Canon X).[6] Likewise, that no one be consecrated a bishop until he had been one year in the clergy, during which he is to be taught by learned and proven persons in spiritual discipline and rules (Canon IX).

It censured all who attempted to subject slaves who had been emancipated within the church to any servitude whatsoever, and those who dared take, retain, or dispose of church property (Canon XXII). It stated however that bishops should not ordain slaves, and that a slave who was freed should not be ordained without the consent of his former master (Canon VI). It threatened with excommunication all who embezzled or appropriated funds given by King Childebert for the foundation of a hospital of Lyon (Canon XV), and it placed lepers under the special charge of each bishop.

The Council ruled that if any cleric of any degree should return to the marriage bed, he should be deprived of his clerical Order and his office, but that communion must be administered to him (Canon IV).

It forbade priests from suspending persons from Holy Communion for small and trivial reasons, and ordered that they should adhere to the traditional rules of the Church Fathers (Canon II).


  1. Mansi, pp. 135-138.
  2. Hefele, p. 366-367.
  3. Mansi, p. 128.
  4. Gregory of Tours, De vitis patrum, ch. 6.
  5. Mansi, pp. 129-135.
  6. Mansi, p. 131: ut nulli epsicopatum praemiis aut comparatione liceat adipisci, sed ucm voluntate regis, juxta electionem cleri ac plebis, sicut in antiquis canonibus tenetur scriptum, a metropolitano vel quem in vice sua praemiserit, cum provincialibus pontifex consecretur. The sentence is paraphrased by Hefele, pp. 368-369.


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