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Councils of Toledo

Eighteen councils between 400 and 702 were held at Toledo in the Visigothic kingdom in Spain. Sometimes ten other councils held there from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries are also included. The early councils were primarily assemblies of bishops called to deal with ecclesiastical affairs. The first (c.400) condemned Priscillianism,* and the second (527 or 531) dealt with the education of clerics and the obligation of celibacy. Considered one of the most important was the third council, summoned in 589 by King Recared* after his conversion from Arianism in 587. It recognized the orthodox creeds and established orthodox Christianity as the official state church in the Visigothic kingdom. After this the councils began to deal increasingly with political matters. The fifth (636) dealt with only one religious question, and the thirteenth (683) was both a political assembly and a church council concerned mostly with political matters. The canons of the councils are important sources for the study of the history of the Visigothic church, dealing with a variety of questions ranging from disciplinary decrees for the clergy through anti-Semitic legislation. The decrees for all but the last council have survived.