Melfi, Councils of

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Several significant church councils that met in this city of southern Italy.

In August 1059 nicholas ii and Hildebrand held a synod at Melfi in an effort to reform the Church in southern Italy, especially to enforce clerical celibacy. The occasion is famous because the pope recognized the title of the Norman conquerors of southern Italy, notably Robert Guiscard, who in return acknowledged himself a vassal of the papacy, promised annual payments, and pledged to defend the pope. This placed the Italian normans on a legitimate basis; it renewed the papal claims on the region and gained Rome a powerful ally for the moment but also gave her a potential enemy for centuries to come.

alexander ii held a council at Melfi in 1067, at which a Norman noble was excommunicated on complaint of the archbishop of Salerno.

The Truce of God (see peace of god) was imposed on all the subjects of Roger I of Sicily in 1089 by a council at Melfi over which urban ii presided; a series of canons also survives.

In 1100 paschal ii excommunicated the Beneventans in a synod at Melfi for not fulfilling their political obligations to the Holy See.

A series of statutes was enacted at Melfi in 1284 for the Church in the Norman kingdom.

Bibliography: c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux (Paris 190738) 4.2:118489 (1059), 126465 (1067); 5.1:344345 (1089), 471 (1100);6.1:293294 (1284). p. f. kehr, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum. Italia Pontifica (Berlin 190635) 8:1116 (1059), 14, 351 (1067), 2324 (1089), 27 (1100). p. f. kehr, Die Belehnungen der süditalienischen Normannenfürsten (Berlin 1934). s. kuttner and r. somerville, Pope Urban II: Collectio Britannica and the Council of Melfi (Oxford 1996).

[r. kay]