Councils of Braga
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Many councils were held in Braga, some of them important. The authenticity of the so-called council of 411 is very doubtful. It was probably invented by Father Bernardo Brito. It the council of 563 eight bishops took part, and twenty-two decrees were promulgated, among others the following: that in the services of the church the same rite should be followed by all, and that on vigils and in solemn Masses the same lessons should be said by all; that bishops and priests should salute the people with Dominus vobiscum , as in the Book of Ruth, the response being Et cum spiritu tuo , as was the custom in the East, without the alterations introduced by the Priscillianists; that Mass should be sail according to the ordo sent from Rome to Profuturus; that the form used for baptism in the Metropolitan See of Braga should not be altered; that bishops should take rank after the metropolitan according to the date of their consecration ; that bishops should not ordain candidates from other dioceses without dimissorial letters from their bishop ; that nothing should be sung in the church but the Psalms and parts of the Old and New Testament ; that all priests who abstained from eating meat should be obliged to eat vegetables cooked in meat, to avoid all suspicion of the taint of Priscillianism, and that if they refused they should be excommunicated ; that suicides and catechumens should not be buried with great ceremony, nor should anyone be buried inside the church; that priests should be appointed for the blessing of the chrism.
The second council held in 572, presided over by the aforesaid St. Martin, was held to increase the number of bishops in Galicia. Twelve bishops assisted at this council, and ten decrees were promulgated : (1) that the bishops should in their visitations see in what manner the priests celebrated the Holy Sacrifice and administered baptism and the other sacraments, thanking God if they found everything as it should be, and instructing the priests if they were found wanting in knowledge, and obliging all catechumens to attend instructions for twenty days before baptism and to learn the creed ; (2) that the bishop must not be tyrannical towards his priests ; (3-4) that no fee must be accepted for Holy orders, and the holy chrism must be distributed free; (5-6) that the bishop must not ask a fee for consecrating a church, that no church should be consecrated without the bishop being sure of the endowment of the ministers, and that no church built on private property for the purpose of emolument should receive consecration ; (8) that if a cleric should accuse any one of unchastity without the evidence of two or three witnesses he should be excommunicated ; (9) that the metropolitan should announce the date of Easter, and have it made known to the people after Christmas, so that they might be prepared for the beginning of Lent, when litanies were to be recited for three days; on the third day the Lenten fast should be announced after the Mass; (10) that any one saying Mass without fasting, as many did, as a result of Priscillianist tendencies, should be deprived of his office. This council was attended by the bishops of the suffragan sees of Braga, and by those of the Diocese of Lugo, and Pope Innocent III removed all doubt as to its authenticity.
The Third Council of Braga was held in 675, during the primacy of Leodegisius, and in the reign of King Wamba. Eight decrees were promulgated at this council; (1) that no one should dare to offer in sacrifice milk and grapes, but bread and wine mixed with a drop of water in a chalice, nor should bread soaking in wine be used; (2) that laymen should be excommunicated, and ecclesiastics deprived of their office, if either put the sacred vessels to profane uses; (4) that no priest should have any woman but his mother in his house; (5-6) that bishops, when carrying the relics of martyrs in procession, must walk to the church, and not be carried in a chair, or litter, by deacons clothed in white; that corporal punishment was not to be inflicted on youthful ecclesiastics, abbots, or priests, except for grevious faults; (7-8) that no fee must be accepted for Holy orders , and that the rectors of the churches must not require that members of their ecclesiastical household to do work on their private farms; if they did so they must recompense the church for the injury done thereby. There were other councils in 1278-80, 1301, 1328, 1436, 1488, 1537, besides various diocesan and provincial synods of lesser importance.
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