An Icelandic bishop, b. in Iceland, 1237; d. at Bergen, 1297. While a deacon, he visited Norway, in 1262, and became a friend of Bishop Magnus. Ordained a priest, he was soon appointed administrator of the Diocese of Holar, and was conspicuous for his zeal regarding the law of celibacy. He was assistant of the Bishop of Skalholt, in 1267, and succeeded him in that office, being consecrated in 1269 at Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway. On his return to Iceland, he set about organizing the ecclesiastical administration. Since the regulation of the hierarchy in Norway, in 1152, the Iceland bishops had become suffragans of the metropolitan of Nidaros. In 1264 Iceland became still more dependant politically on the king of Norway. Up to that time Iceland had been a republic, governed by the Althing, which was composed of forty-eight chiefs, ninety-six councillors, and an announcer of laws who was president. At the time Christianity was introduced many of these chiefs built churches on their lands and assumed at the same time ecclsiastical administration of them. The Church became identified with the State. The Althing, the legislative assembly in which the bishops had seats, made laws in matters of the church and controlled church affairs. Arni Thorlaksson, confronted with this state of things, protected the church interests, and especially had to fight for the investiture of priests and the temporal administration of the churches and their effects. With this in view, he visited Norwav in 1273, and obtained some concessions from the king. On his return to Iceland, he proposed To the Althing (1275) a Kristenret , i.e. Christian law, with which his name is particularly associated. Some time after this the jus patrontatus (the right of patronage) revived, and the bishop made an appeal to the arbitration of the king and of the archbishop. Having arrived in Norway, in 1297, for this purpose, he succeeded in obtaining the compromise that where laymen owned more than half of a church they should retain its temporal management, but in every other case the bishops should have it. He died the same year at Bergen. Although he had not obtained all the rights of the Church, he at least secured its organization and uniformity, and, as far as civil law was concerned, such observance of the laws as dependency on the kings of Norway permitted. History regards him as the most, influential and important man of his time in Iceland.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online