Avranches, Council of

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Famous Church council held at the former diocesan seat of Avranches, Normandy, to confirm the peace between the Church and King henry ii of england after the murder of Thomas becket. An initial meeting of Henry, papal legates, and bishops bore fruit; and on May 21, 1172, at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Avranches, Henry, in the presence of Pope alexander iii's legates and the bishops, was solemnly reconciled with the Church, swearing innocence of the murder. He vowed to obey the pope, to permit appeals to Rome, to make restitution, and to support the crusade. It was at Avranches, September 2728, that same year, that Henry convoked a council of his bishops. This council, which was attended by the papal legates, promulgated 12 disciplinary canons. It forbade granting children rights to benefices that had the care of souls; it forbade also the giving to priests' children their fathers' churches. It urged priests of large churches to take assistants; it prohibited the ordaining of a priest without a definite title or source of income; it barred married persons ordinarily from entering religion during the spouse's lifetime. The Council also commended fasting during Advent and forbade priests to participate in civil tribunals.

Bibliography: c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, tr. and continued by h. leclercq, 10 v. in 19 (Paris 190738) 5.2:105457. j. c. robertson, ed., Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, 7 v. (Rerum Brittanicarum medii aevi scriptores 67; 187585) 7:513523. j. d. mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 31 v. (Florence-Venice 175798); reprinted and continued by l. petit and j. b. martin, 53 v. in 60 (Paris 18891927; repr. Graz 1960) 22:135140. l. duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, 3 v. (2d. ed. Paris 190715); 2:222225.

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