Today in Catholic History – The Council of Agde

On 10 September 506, twenty four bishops, eight priests and two deacons met in council at the Basilica of St. Andrew at Agde in Languedoc under the leadership of St. Caesarius of Arles. In its 47 canons we can see the beginnings of the system of benefices [land given in return for service]. Other canons stress that freed slaves must be given sufficient land on which to live, altars must be consecrated with chrism and a priestly blessing, hymns were to be sung every day morning and evening in cathedrals, the faithful were to attend Mass and abstain from all work on the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist and that the clergy were to remain unmarried.

The Matins and Vespers prayers required by the canons of Agde show an important step in the development of the modern Liturgy of the Hours.

Thus, while the Council of Agde was a local council, it’s decisions would be influential upon the entire Catholic Church.

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