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Synods of Arles

The most important were:

(1) In 314. The Donatists* refused to accept the decision of the Synod of Rome against them and, as a result, Constantine who regarded Christian unity as very important ordered a new synod at Arles to give judgment. No previous gathering had had such a representative section of Western clergy-it included three British bishops. The synod decided that Caecilian* had been rightfully elected, and the Donatists were condemned. In addition, twenty-two canons were issued dealing with various aspects of church life, including the fixing of one day to observe Easter and the repudiation of the Cyprianic practice of rebaptizing heretics.

(2) In 353. One of the Arian synods in the West which condemned Athanasius.

(3) In 813. Charlemagne called five councils, one of them at Arles, to ensure adequate ecclesiastical education for the clergy and to emphasize the preaching and teaching of the Catholic faith.

(4) In 1234. Canons were issued against the Albigensian* heresy, emphasizing observation of the decrees of the Lateran (1215) and Toulouse (1229) councils and urging bishops to counter heresy by closer surveillance of their dioceses.

(5) About 1260. An attempt to order details of church life and to condemn the doctrines of Joachim of Fiore.

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