Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Montanus, bishop of Toledo

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181631Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature — Montanus, bishop of Toledo

Montanus (3), bp. of Toledo, c. 523–c. 531.

Authorities.—(1) His Life by Ildefonsus (de Vir. Ill. c. 3). (2) Two letters printed by Loaysa (Conc Hisp. p. 88), Aguirre (Coll. Max. Conc. Hisp. ii. 159), and Florez (Esp. Sagr. v, 409, 415). (3) The Acts of the second council of Toledo (Tejada y Ramiro, Coll. de Can. de la Igl. Esp. ii. 701).

His Life.—The facts related by Ildefonsus are meagre. We are told that Montanus was the successor of Celsus in the "prima sedes" of the province of Carthaginensis; that he defended and maintained his office; that he wrote two letters on points of church discipline, one to the inhabitants of Palencia, the other to a certain Turibius, a "religious"; and that he rebutted a scandalous accusation by the help of a miracle wrought in his favour. These Acts of the second council of Toledo are curious and important, and have been suspected of at least containing interpolations, if not of being altogether supposititious, but there seems no sufficient reason for doubting their genuineness. The council opened on May 17 in the 5th year of Amalaric (a.d. 527) according to the reckoning generally adopted since Florez's day, 531 according to the older reckoning. The bishops began by expressing their intention of adding to the Codex Canonum certain provisions not already contained in the ancient canons on the one hand, and of reviving such prescriptions as had fallen into disuse on the other. The material of these canons is common to most of the various Spanish councils of the first half of 6th cent. It is the concluding passage of the Acts which makes the council of special interest in Spanish ecclesiastical history. "According to the decrees of ancient canons, we declare that,

God willing, the council shall be held in future 'apud' our brother, the bishop Montanus, so that it will be the duty of our brother and co-bishop Montanus, who is in the metropolis, to forward to our co-principals, bishops of the Lord, letters convening the synod when the proper time shall arrive." An expression of thanks "to the glorious king Amalaric," with regard to whom the bishops pray that "throughout the unnumbered years of his reign he may continue to afford us the licence of carrying through all that pertains to the cultus fidei," concludes the Acts. In the words in italics is contained the first mention of Toledo as the ecclesiastical metropolis of Carthaginensis, the first indication of that commanding position to which the see was to attain under its 7th-cent. bishops. The passage also indicates the relations of Montanus with king Amalaric. Relying upon his support, upon the physical advantages of Toledo, and upon an ecclesiastical tradition capable of various interpretations, Montanus sought permanently to exalt the power and position of his see. But the time was not yet come, and the question still remained an open one in 589 when Leovigild fixed the seat of the consolidated Gothic power at Toledo, and practically settled the long-vexed question. Cartagena was in the hands of Byzantium, whereas the bp. of Toledo was the bishop of the urbs regia. It took some time to accomplish, but the Decretum Gundemari as a first step, and the Primacy Canon of the 12th council of Toledo as a second, were the inevitable ecclesiastical complements of physical and political facts. Hefele, Conc. Gesch. ii. 700; Esp. Sagr. v. 131, c. iii.