FREE Catholic Classes
ARCHDIOCESE OF TOLEDO (TOLETANENSIS)
Primatial see of Spain, whose archbishop, raised almost always to the dignity of cardinal, occupies the first place in the ranks of the higher Spanish clergy. Its suffragan dioceses are Coris, Cuenca, Madrid-Alcalà, Plasencia, and Sigüenza. In the course of its long and varied history this diocese has undergone many changes which have successively extended and contracted its vast territory. Geographically its present position is a very unique one, as it consists of four sections separated one from the other and surrounded by other dioceses. The first or principal section (in which the City of Toledo, the capital of the diocese, is situated) is in the centre of the peninsula in the region which was known as the Kingdom of Toledo or New Castile. This section comprises the greater part of the civil Province of Toledo (the district in the north-west belonging to the Diocese of Avila ; the extreme eastern strip forms a part of the Diocese of Cuenca ), and on the western side it takes a small strip from the eastern section of the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz. It is hounded on the north by the dioceses of Madrid-Alcalà and Avila ; on the south by the Diocese-Priorate of the Military Orders ; on the east by the Diocese of Cuenca ; and on the west by the Diocese of Plasencia. The second territorial section is formed by a half, approximately speaking, of the eastern portion of the Province of Guadalajara, surrounded by the dioceses of Madrid-Alcalà, Segovia, Sigüenza, and Cuenca. The third territorial section is formed by a great portion of the Province of Albacete on the western side (the ancient Vicarage of Alcaraz) surrounded by the dioceses of Cuenca, Murcia, and Jaén, and the Diocese-Priorate of the Military Orders. The last and smallest territorial section consists of the eastern portion of the Province of Jaén (rural deanery of Cazorla) and the northeastern portion of the Province of Granada (rural deanery of Huescar) surrounded by the dioceses of Jaén, Murcia, Almeria, and Guadix.
Christianity was introduced into Carpetania in the first century. According to an ancient and venerable tradition the Roman, St. Eugenius, is named as the first Bishop of Toledo and the founder of the see. Certain chronological lists give a series of bishops of Toledo prior to and following St. Eugenius, but modern historical criticism has rejected them. A fierce persecution raged in Toledo under the emperors Diocletian and Maximus, St. Leocadia being one of the most illustrious of the martyrs (9 Dec., 306). It has been asserted that after the Edict of Milan (313) Emperor Constantine raised Toledo to the rank of a metropolitan, but there is absolutely no foundation for this, as the prelates of Toledo continued to rank simply as bishops. Among the most famous during the Roman occupation were Melantius (286?-306?), who is supposed to have consecrated the church of Toledo and who wrote the life of St. Severus, martyr ; Audentius (367?), author of "De fide adversus haereticos" (which has been lost); and Isichius (Hesychius), writer, orator, and poet, in whose time the Visigoths took possession of Carpetania and its capital Toledo (466 or 7). The diocese attained great importance during this period, as its principal city was the seat of the Visigothic Court. It was raised to the rank of a metropolitan and became the centre of a vast ecclesiastical province . At this time Toledo had as suffragan dioceses : Acci, Arcabrica, Basta, Beartia, Bigastrum, Castulo, Complutum, Dianium, Elotona, Illici, Mentesa, Oretum, Oxoma, Palentia, Setabi, Secobia, Segobriga, Segontia, Valentia, Valeria, and Urci. Under the bishop or archbishop Montanus Toledo commenced to extend its primatical jurisdiction, although it was not until many centuries afterwards that this title was conferred upon it. During the Visigothic period many bishops, illustrious for their faith and holiness, governed the See of Toledo. Among these may be mentioned: Julian I, author of various apologetic and moral treatises Euphemius or Epiphanius, in whose time the Visigoths were converted to Christianity ; and Aurasius (603-15), who successfully defended the claim of Toledo for metropolitan supremacy which was disputed by Cartagena.
The archbishops of the seventh century (615-90) were distinguished for their holiness : St. Eladius (615-33); St. Eugenius III (646-57), poet, theologian, and musician; St. Ildefonsus (659-68), the most notable prelate of Toledo during the Gothic epoch, conqueror of the Jovinian heresy, favoured with celestial manifestations, author of a celebrated book in defence of the virginity of Mary and of other dogmatic, moral, and historical treatises; and St. Julian II (680-90), author of many works, the best known of which is "Historia Rebellionis Pauli adversus Wambam". During the Mussulman occupation (a period of 373 years) the condition of the Christians who continued to live in the territories they had conquered was subject to many vicissitudes, but the See of Toledo did not cease to exist during this long period of captivity. Cixila (774?-783?) wrote the life of his predecessor, St. Ildefonsus; St. Eulogius, the noble martyr of Córdova (859), to whom are attributed various Latin treatises, was elected to the see but never took possession of it; Bonitus (862 or 66) wrote an apologetic work in defence of the Abbot Samson. Among the archbishops of the Mozarabic period Elipandus (783-808) is a notable exception to the rest, apostatizing, and embracing and propagating Nestorianism.
Vith the reconquest of Toledo in 1085 by Alfonso VI of Castile, the diocese entered upon a new and more prosperous era, favoured as it was by donations and privileges not only of the Castilian sovereigns, but of other potentates and of all social classes. It was thus that it reached that height of power and splendour which made it the envy of all the churches of the kingdom, and which enabled it to contribute such large sums to all national enterprises, to the erection of notable monuments, to the succour of the needy, and to the general diffusion of learning and culture. The first bishop of this period was the Frenchman, Bernard, a Cluniac monk and Abbot of Sahagún (1086-1124), in whose time the principal church of Toledo was once more restored to Catholic worship, and Urban II by a Bull (1088) expressly conferred on Toledo the dignity of primacy over the churches of Spain, a declaration which, however, did not prevent the other churches from disputing with Toledo this high distinction. It was during the pontificate of Urban II that the Roman Rite was substituted for the ancient Isidorian or Mozarabic Rite (1089). Archbishop Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (1210-47) is one of the most notable figures of his time ; a statesman, counsellor of kings, strenuous warrior, and a learned writer, he conferred innumerable services on the Church and the State. He assisted at the great battle of Las Navas de Tolosa; annexed the village of Quesada and the district of Cazorla to the diocese ; commenced the building of the cathedral at Toledo, which is still in existence ; defended and consolidated the primacy of his see ; and contributed to the foundation of the first general schools ( Estudios generales ). Rodrigo began a great historic work, basing it on Christian and Arabic sources, completing the plan with the section called "De Rebus Hispaniae", last and best of his historical works. Gil de Albornoz (1339-50), cardinal, was a great statesman and warrior, and founder of a famous college for Spaniards at the University of Bologna, which produced many celebrated men.
Pedro Tenorio (1376-99), an enterprising and energetic man, was very influential during the reigns of Henry II, John I, and Henry III ; he restored buildings and works of public utility at his own expense, and founded the Hospital of Villafranca del Puente, which is still in existence and in active use. Pedro González de Mendoza (1483-95), called el gran cardenal de España , was of noble lineage and the counsellor of the Catholic sovereigns; he displayed a princely prodigality in the many works which he undertook and completed. Among these may be mentioned the Colegio Mayor of Valladolid and the Hospital of Santa Cruz for foundlings. His successor, Fray Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros (1495-1517), is perhaps the most illustrious of all the prelates of Toledo, and at the same time one of the most prominent figures in the history of Spain. In him were united qualities rarely found combined, for he was a learned and saintly religious, an austere and energetic reformer, a conqueror and statesman, the father of the poor, and the Maecenas of Spanish arts and letters. Among the titles conferred on him were Cardinal of Sta. Balbina, confessor of Isabella the Catholic, inquisitor-general, and regent of the kingdom. The Church, humanity, and his diocese found in him a protector and benefactor. He extended the limits of the Diocese of Toledo to Africa, adding Oran and its territory, which he personally and at his own expense conquered (1509). Only some of the many works which he accomplished can be mentioned: among these being the foundation of the University of Alcalà de Henares; the printing of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible ; the foundation of the library of the cathedral of Toledo; and the restoration of the Mozarabic Rite in a private chapel. Several monasteries owe their foundation to him, as well as the College of San Juan de la Penitencia at Toledo for the education of virtuous orphan girls, and three public wheat granaries for the benefit of poor labourers at Toledo, Alcalà, and Torrelaguna (his native place).
Some of the archbishops who succeeded Cisneros were distinguished for the liberality with which they promoted the arts, filling the cathedral of Toledo with priceless works of art, the glory of the Spanish Renaissance. Alonso de Fonseca (1524-34) gave during his lifetime to the charter of Toledo an annual income of 400,000 maravedis to be devoted to providing marriage portions for poor girls; Juan Tavera (1534-45), cardinal, distinguished prelate, and statesman, founded the general Hospital of San Juan Bautista, outside the walls of Toledo; Juan Martinez Guijeno, better known under the latinized form of his name, Silicius (1546-57), cardinal, ardent patriot, and generous protector of the needy, founded at Toledo the College of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (commonly known as the Colegio de Doncellas nobles ), an important institution which is still in existence ; the Colegio de Infantes, where the choir boys of the cathedral are educated and instructed; and the Monasterio de Recogidas, which he endowed and founded in the ancient synagogue of St. María la Blanca. The Dominican archbishop, Bartolomé Carranza de Miranda (1559-1576), learned theologian and canonist, was the author of the "Suma Conciliorum omnium" published at Venice (1573). Notwithstanding his learning and virtue, he was suspected of heresy, examined before the Inquisition, and eventually acquitted. The learned and pious Garcia de Loaysa Girón (1598-99), strenuous upholder of ecclesiastical discipline, collected and published (with annotations and emendations) the "Collectio conciliorum Hispaniae". Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas (1599-1618) was liberal and charitable, and a great patron of letters. His administration was advantageous to the diocese ; he established its rights over the district of Cazorla; secured the ordinary episcopal jurisdiction in the diocesan territory over the Order of St. John of Jerusalem ; and restored to the diocese the important town of Brigueja.
According to reliable statistics the Diocese of Toledo comprised at that time 4 cities, 183 towns, 322 villages and hamlets, with 816 parishes and 751,733 souls. The archiepiscopal estate yielded at the time a revenue of 300,000 ducats. The receipts of the chapter were also ample; the manufacturing industries yielded more than 40,000 ducats annually. The revenues of all the churches of Spain combined did not greatly exceed in value the archiepiscopal estate of Toledo. Cardinal Infante D. Fernando de Austria (1618-41), brother of Philip IV, the successor of Sandoval y Rojas, distinguished himself as an able military commander and as Viceroy of the Low Countries, where victory crowned his military efforts. The cardinal - archbishops who succeeded him were Gaspar de Borja (1643-45); Baltazar Moscoso (1646-65); Pasqual de Aragon (1666-77); and Luis Fernander Porto Carrero (1678-1709). All took an active part in the politics of their time as viceroys, counsellors of state, and governors of the realm. Cardinal Francisco Antonio Lorenzana (1772-1800) understood how to wield, at a time when the Church was passing through a crisis, a power which would have done credit to the great prelates instrumental in the restoration of the Spanish Church in the past. Generous and liberal, "Padre de los Pobres" (Father of the Poor) as he is simply styled in his epitaph, littérateur , patron of arts and letters, promoter of national industries and all works of public utility, he carried his zeal into all these spheres. He rebuilt many of the city and country churches of his diocese, made large bequests to the Church, improved the archiepiscopal library, defrayed the expenses of the monumental work entitled "P. P. Toletanorum quotquot extant opera", and of the Gothic Missal and Breviary of the Mozarabic Rite. In the city of Toledo the erection of the university building, the foundation of the hospital for the insane, and of the Real Alcazar (which he also restored), and la Fonda de la Caridad (a free lodging-house) are a few of the many works that still bear witness to his zeal. His successor, Cardinal Luis María de Borbón, an Infante of Spain, (1800-23), was president of the regency during the absence of Ferdinand VII. Cardinal Pedro de Inguanzo (1824-36) published some works in defence of the rights of the Church and of ecclesiastical discipline, and commenced the great seminary building.
Cardinal Juan Ignacio Moreno (1875-84), in his youth professor in the Notariado, published a work entitled "Tratado sobre el ortorgamiento de poderes publicos", and as the bishop of various Spanish dioceses (lastly that of Toledo) he defended the Church against the aggressions of revolution, taking part also in Roman affairs, as his high position as cardinal demanded. At this time the Archdiocese of Toledo lost much territory by the erection of the Diocese-Priorate of the Military Orders , which takes up the entire civil Province of Ciudad Real, and was erected by Pius IX, 18 Nov., 1875. Cardinal F. Zeferino González was an illustrious Dominican and the restorer of Scholasticism, author among many other well-known works of the "Estudios sobre la Filosofia" and "Estudios Religiosos, Filosoficos, Scientificos y Sociales". He had on various occasions declined episcopal honours, but at length, after having occupied the sees of Córdova and Seville, he was raised to that of Toledo, governing from 1884 to 1885, when he resigned the dignity. A still greater reduction in the territorial boundaries of the Diocese of Toledo took place at this time, when the Bull of 7 March, 1885, created the Diocese of Madrid-Alcalà, which comprises the entire civil Province of Madrid. Cardinal Miguel Paya y Rico (1886-92) was a conspicuous figure at the Vatican Council when, as Bishop of Cuenca, he pronounced the decisive discourse which determined the proclamation of papal infallibility. He was learned and charitable, and completed and inaugurated in 1889 the seminary commenced by Inguanzo. Cardinal Antolin Moneseillo (1892-97), a prolific and finished writer, orator, and statesman, wrote among other works: "Manuel del Seminarista", a catechism ; various articles touching upon ecclesiastical discipline ; and many sermons, panegyrics, and pastorals. Cardinal Ciriaco María Sancha (1898-1909) devoted himself mainly to the study of social questions. He wrote "Regimen del terror on Italia Unitaria" and the " Kulturkampf ", and numerous discourses and pastoral letters. Cardinal Gregorio María Aguirre, of the Franciscan Order, has, since October, 1909, occupied the primatial see of Spain.
Toledo is one of the greatest art centres not only of Spain but of the civilized world. Of its principal religious edifices, among which are to be found notable works of art in the styles prevailing from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, may be mentioned: the cathedral, a magnificent five- nave Gothic structure, with numerous additional sections commenced in 1227 by King St. Ferdinand and Archbishop Jiménez de Rada; the Franciscan Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, built in 1476 by Ferdinand and Isabella, to which is attached a church and cloister in ornate Ogival style, and which has recently been richly decorated; the church of the ancient hospital of Santa Cruz founded by Cardinal González de Mendoza, dating from the early part of the sixteenth century, is one of the most beautiful examples of the Plateresque of the early Spanish Renaissance. Of great interest also are a number of the churches of Toledo in which remains of the Visigothic period are preserved, and others built in the Moorish style, called mudejar by the Spaniards, which is the Arabic style adopted after the reconquest of the city by Alfonso VI. Mention must also be made of other notable buildings although not of Christian origin — the ancient mosque del Cristo de la Luz (reconstructed in the tenth century) and the synagogues of Santa María la Blanca (thirteenth century?) and del Transito (fourteenth century). Many excellent architects, sculptors, and painters worked in Toledo in the numberless monastic and parochial churches of the city, but especially in the construction and embellishment of the cathedral. Among the painters the most important was Dominico Theotocopulis, called "El Greco", native of Crete, who established himself at Toledo and produced numerous works (chiefly of religious character ) which are highly prized and studied at the present time, and which represent one of the most curious phases of Spanish art, marking the point of departure of the modern national art. Many important religious buildings are also to be found in various parts of the diocese, among which may be mentioned: the ancient collegiate church (at present a parish church of Talavera de la Reina), a three-naved Ogival building started by Archbishop Jiménez de Rada in 1211 and finished between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries; the ancient collegiate church of Torrijos (also used at the present time as a parochial church), a three-naved edifice founded and endowed by Doña Teresa Enriques (built between 1509 and 1518), an interesting example of the florid Ogival style and the Gothic Plateresque of the transition period; the parochial church of Tembleque, also of the early sixteenth century, an example of the transition period from the Gothic to the Renaissance : and the parochial church of Tepes, a magnificent temple of three naves, designed by the celebrated architect Alonzo Covarrubias and built between the years 1533 and 1552 in the style of the transition period Gothic Plateresque and Grecian Romanesque.
Famous in the history of Toledo are its councils, held in greatest veneration by the sovereign pontiffs , and the source of the purest religious and moral doctrines. They were national and provincial; those held in the years 396 and 400, first of those whose acts have been preserved, opposed the heresy of the Priscillianists and legislated for the reform of the clergy. In 440 or the beginning of 448 a national council seems to have been convoked which once more condemned the doctrines of Priscillian. The second provincial council (527) promulgated five canons in which various points of discipline were established. In the national council held in 540 decisions concerning the reformation of certain disciplinary usages and practices were adopted. The most famous of all the councils of Toledo was the third national council (held in 589), in which King Reccared, the prelates, and grandees, proclaimed their abjuration of the Arian heresy and made a profession of faith according to the doctrine of the Council of Nicæa. In addition, the bishops issued religious decrees against the remaining vestiges of ancient idolatry, restricted the rights of the Jews, commanded that the statutes of previous councils and the decrees of the sovereign pontiffs be observed, and promulgated other canons of great importance for the reformation of accepted usages and the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline . Another national council (597) promulgated two canons relative to the episcopal and priestly state. In the provincial council commonly called the Council of Gundemar (610) the metropolitan jurisdiction of the bishops of Toledo over the entire Province of Cartagena was explicitly stated. In the fourth national council (633), one of the most important held in Spain, presided over by St. Isidore of Seville , very important measures in both canonical and political matters were adopted. The fifth national council (636) was also political in its prescriptions, which were directed towards the defence of the king. The sixth (638) approved constitutions relating to discipline, morals, and political matters. The seventh (646) established certain canons which had been promulgated in previous councils. In the national council which is said to have been held in 650 the heresy of the Monothelites, who denied that Christ had two wills, was condemned. In the reign of the Visigothic king, Recesvindo, besides the councils which are classed as doubtful, were held: the eighth provincial council (653), in which some interesting points relating to discipline and civil law were decided; the ninth provincial (655), in which matters of discipline were discussed; and the tenth national (656) in which certain canons referring to the monastic life were sanctioned. The eleventh provincial council (675), held during the reign of Wamba, formulated certain prescriptions in regard to discipline and the reform of certain usages, concerning the clergy in particular. The twelfth (681) and the thirteenth (683) national, and the fourteenth (684) provincial, councils were held during the reign of Ervigius. The twelfth and thirteenth councils approved certain canons relating to discipline and other usages commonly in practice; and the fathers assembled at the fourteenth professed their adherence to the Sixth Ecumenical Council. The fifteenth national council (688) confirmed the doctrine contained in an apologetic treatise written by St. Julian, Archhishop of Toledo, who presided at the council. The sixteenth and seventeenth (694) councils were also national; the first imposed penance and declared an anathema against Archbishop Sisebert (who had plotted against King Egica), and the second discussed various disciplinary measures. It is believed that still another national council was held during the Visigothic period between 700-712, the acts of which have been lost, but it is said that canons relative to the preservation of the integrity of faith and to the regulation of certain usages were promulgated.
After the reconquest of Toledo by the Christians (1085) at least ten provincial councils were held in the city of Toledo, some of them being of great interest for the canonical history of Spain. Archbishop Raimundo convened that held in 1138, in which certain difficulties existing between the archbishop and the canons with regard to the distribution of the revenues of the Church were adjusted and the number of canonries definitely fixed. The archbishop, Infante Don Juan de Aragon, presided over the council of 1323 which prescribed a formula with regard to articles of faith, the commandments, and the sacraments, and formulated canons relative to points of discipline. The provincial councils of 1324 and 1326 were also called by Don Juan, the first to publish certain papal constitutions and to regulate the life of clerics, and the second to deal with questions of ecclesiastical law and the chastity of the clergy. The council of 1339 convoked by Cardinal Archbishop Albornoz treated points of discipline and ordered all parish priests to take a census of their parishes. Archbishop Don Vasco convoked the Council of 1355, the decisions of which were not important. The Western Schism was the occasion of the convoking of another provincial council under Archbishop Tenorio in 1379, in which it was agreed to remain neutral, professing allegiance for the moment neither to the pope at Rome nor the pope at Avignon. The provincial council of 1565-66, held during the time that the trial of Archbishop Carranza de Miranda was pending, was a very notable one giving rise to many incidents; its decrees formed a veritable encyclopedia of ecclesiastical law. The council of 1580 under Cardinal Archbishop Quiroja legislated with regard to converted Moors (Moriscos), and prescribed regulations that were conducive to the preservation of their faith. The council of 1582-83 promulgated very advantageous laws for the propagation of religion and the reform of accepted usages. At that time the suffragan bishops were seven, those of Córdova, Sigüenza, Palencia, Cuenca, Segovia, Jaén, and Osma.
Since the sixteenth century other conciliar reunions have been held, but they do not rank as provincial councils , being simply diocesan synods convoked to arrange diocesan affairs and to compile the constitutions of the archdioceses. The educational and charitable institutions founded in the diocese both in the past and in our own time have been numerous and important; among those still in existence may be mentioned: in Toledo, the Hospital General del Rey, founded in the time of Alfonso VIII of Castile, or St. Ferdinand, for the decrepit, the blind, and the crippled; the Hospital Provincial de la Misericordia, founded in the fifteenth century by Doña Guiomar de Meneses where the sick of both sexes are cared for by the Sisters of Charity; the Hospital de Dementes, commonly called "el nuncio ", founded at the end of the fifteenth Century by Francisco Ortiz; the Hospital de San Juan Bautista, commonly called "de Afuera", founded about 1539 by Cardinal Archbishop Juan Tavera. Besides these establishments there are in the city of Toledo free public schools for young girls and children and day nurseries, all in charge of the Sisters of Charity. The Colegio de doncellas vírgines de Na. Sa. de los Remedios, commonly called "Doncellas nobles", was founded in 1551 by Cardinal Archbishop Siliceo for the maintenance, education, and training of respectable young women in reduced circumstances, for whom the college also provides a marriage dower. The Asilio Provincial, supported by the provincial committee, shelters foundlings, orphans, the aged of both sexes, and maintains schools for boys and girls. The Little Sisters of the Poor (established at Toledo in 1879) care for the aged of both sexes; the tertiaries of the Divina Pastora (established in the city in 1885) teach girls and assist the sick in their own homes. The Asylum of the Sacred Heart (founded in 1887 by the priest, Joaquín de la Madrid ) supports, educates, and obtains employment for orphan boys. The Marist Brothers (established in 1901) teach boys and young men, and the Hermanas del Servicio Domestico (established in 1902) prepare girls for domestic service and have some orphans under their care. In various other cities, towns, and villages of the archdiocese there are also asylums, hospitals, and free schools. The recognized and authorized Catholic periodicals published today in the archdiocese are printed in Toledo and are as follows: "Boletin oficial del arzobispado" (founded in 1846), official ecclesiastical organ, issued on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month; "El Castellano", a purely Catholic publication without political affiliations (founded in January, 1903), issued every Tuesday and Saturday; "El Porvenir" (founded in August, 1903), a politico- Catholic supporter of the Carlist cause, and published weekly.
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.