AGDE, SYNOD OF: A synod which met Sept. 11, 506, at Agde (Lat. Agatha), a town on the Mediterranean coast of France (90 m. w. of Marseilles, of which it was originally a colony). The town is unimportant, though it claimed to possess the relics of St. Andrew. The synod met with the permission of Alaric II, king of the West Goths, and thirty-five bishops from the south of France attended, Caesarius of Arles presiding. It passed forty-seven canons relating to questions of discipline, the guardianship of church property, the devout life, and--a matter of no slight importance for the south of France---the position of the Jews. An attempt was made to enforce clerical celibacy; and an almost suspicions attitude was assumed in regard to female monasticism (nuns were not to take the veil before the age of 40; no new convents were to be founded without the permission of the bishop; and the solitary life was disapproved). Provision was made for the maintenance of several traditional customs, such as the strict fast in Lent, the traditio symboli on the Saturday before Easter, the communion of the laity at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost; an effort was made to secure liturgical uniformity. In regard to the Jewish question, it is observable that here, as elsewhere, there was no distinction in social life between Jews and Christians, but that the Church disapproved of intercourse with the Jews, and looked with some distrust on converts from Judaism. The canons of the synod are based upon older and not exclusively Gallic foundations: Spanish and African conciliar decisions are used, as well as the letter of Pope Innocent I to Exsuperius of Toulouse. In like manner the canons of the First Frankish Synod at Orleans (511) and the Burgundian Synod at Epao (517) depend upon those of Agde. The latter were early included in the collections of church law, and Gratian incorporated a large part of them in his Decretum.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mansi, Concilia, viii. 319; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, ii. 649-660m, Eng. transl., iv. 76-86; C. F. Arnold, Casarius von Arelate, Leipsic, 1894.