1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Limina Apostolorum
LIMINA APOSTOLORUM, an ecclesiastical term used to denote Rome, and especially the church of St Peter and St Paul. A Visitatio Liminum might be undertaken ex voto or ex lege. The former, visits paid in accordance with a vow, were very frequent in the middle ages, and were under the special protection of the pope, who put the ban upon any who should molest pilgrims “who go to Rome for God’s sake.” The question of granting dispensations from such a vow gave rise to much canonical legislation, in which the papacy had finally to give in to the bishops. The visits demanded by law were of more importance. In 743 a Roman synod decreed that all bishops subject to the metropolitan see of Rome should meet personally every year in that city to give an account of the state of their dioceses. Gregory VII. included in the order all metropolitans of the Western Church, and Sixtus V. (by the bull Romanus Pontifex, Dec. 20, 1584) ordered the bishops of Italy, Dalmatia and Greece to visit Rome every three years; those of France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, Belgium, Hungary, Bohemia and the British Isles every four years; those from the rest of Europe every five years; and bishops from other continents every ten years. Benedict XIV. in 1740 extended the summons to all abbots, provosts and others who held territorial jurisdiction.