views updated


Annates was a tax on the first year's income of an ecclesiastical benefice paid to the papal treasury. By the 11th century it had become customary for some bishops and ecclesiastical corporations to appropriate the income of a benefice for a year or more after collation (see collatio). This revenue, known as fructus primi anni, annalia or annualia, was sometimes collected with papal permission by bishops and kings in special need. Financially embarrassed in 1306, Pope clement v asserted a similar claim for the Holy See, appropriating the first fruits of all minor benefices in the British Isles for three years. The levy was repeated and extended to most of the Church by john xxii in 1318. Beginning in 1326 the application of the tax became narrower but virtually continuous: it was paid on all minor benefices becoming vacant at the Holy See or reserved to it. As this was the period during which the number of papal collations and confirmations increased rapidly (see provision), the income from the tax assumed considerable importance. Details touching exemptions and the amount and manner of payment were worked out during the remainder of the century, a period that witnessed the first use of the word annata for this tax. John XXII had exempted benefices with an income less than six silver marks, but benedict ix set the minimum at 24 gold florins in 1389. The tax usually amounted to about one-half the gross annual income.

From the end of the 14th century the payment of annates received more and more opposition. Though it was defended in principle in the agreements between the papacy and the national churches after the Council of constance, income declined sharply because the papacy resigned many appointments and because payment was usually limited to 24 florins. The Council of basel (1435) sought to suppress annates entirely, and the Council of trent (sess. 24, c.13) restricted them considerably. In 1728 benedict xiii imposed a similar payment in favor of cathedral or capitular churches on minor benefices in Italy and adjacent islands not reserved to the Holy See. In the 15th and following centuries annates came to mean all taxes paid to the papacy on the reception of a benefice, whether major or minor.

Bibliography: c. samaran and g. mollat, La Fiscalité pontificale en France au XIV 6siècle (Paris 1905) 2334, 8796. Studies. j. p. kirsch, ed., Die päpstlichen Annaten in Deutschland während des XIV. Jahrhunderts (Paderborn 1903). e. gÖller, Die Einnahmen der apostolischen Kammer unter Johann XXII (Pader-born 1910); Die Einnahmen Benedikt XII (Paderborn 1920). w. e. lunt, "The First Levy of Papal Annates," American Historical Review 18 (191213) 4864; Financial Relations of the Papacy with England to 1327 (Cambridge, Mass. 1939); Financial Relations of England with the Papacy, 13271354 (Cambridge, Mass. 1962). a. pugliese, Annate e mezz'annate nel diritto canonico (Milan 1939). j. p. kirsch, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 3:307315. k. honselmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:575. For a general orientation on papal finances, see g. lebras, Institutions ecclésiastiques de la chrétienté médiévale, 2 pts. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours 12; (195964) 2:351353.

[m. m. sheehan]

About this article


Updated About content Print Article