The Third Lateran Council took place under Pope Alexander III, Frederick I being emperor. There were 302 bishops present. It condemned the Albigenses and Waldenses and issued numerous decrees for the reformation of morals.Preview This Lesson
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The Lateran III Council was called for several reasons. A council was part of the agreement between Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III. The 25th clause in the Peace of Venice in 1177 stated:
And the lord pope, calling together a council as quickly as it can be done, shall, together with the cardinal bishops and the monks and ecclesiastics who shall be present, declare the excommunication against all who shall attempt to infringe this peace. Then in a general council he shall do the same.
from Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pgs. 420-434
As we saw, the rules for a papal election and the excommunication of the three anti-popes were stated in the first two canons. The first canon laid down the rules for a papal election while the second declared all acts of the anti-popes null and void. Of course there were other reasons for a Council. After 18 years of uncertainty, the Pope was now in full command of the Church and both he and Bishops wanted reform. Roger de Hoveden (flourished from about 1174–1201) tells us how and why Pope Alexander invited the delegates in 1178:
In the same year, Pope Alexander sent his legates into all parts of the world that were subject to him, for the purpose of inviting the prelates of the Church to come to Rome at the beginning of Lent in the following year, to hold a solemn and general council there. For when the violence of maladies, with rapid steps, is hastening to the very vitals, no salutary council is able to extend a hand to check it, except through the conference of numbers. Accordingly, there came into England two legates, namely, Albert de Suma, who was commissioned to summon the Bishops and Abbots of England and Normandy and Peter de Santa Agatha, whose commission it was to summon the Bishops and Abbots of Scotland and Ireland and the adjoining islands.
from Annals of Roger de Hoveden Comprising History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201, translated by Henry T. Riley, Vol. 1, (London: H.G. Bohn, 1853), pg. 490
Roger goes on to tell of the delegates that left England for the Council:
After the Nativity of our Lord, there came to England, from Ireland, Laurence, archbishop of Dublin, Catholicus, archbishop of Tuam and five or six bishops, who were about to proceed to the council at Rome. In the same manner, there passed through England from the kingdom of Scotland a considerable number of bishops and abbots. All ... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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