Zakharov Georgy

Council of Turin in the сontext of relations between the Gallic and the Italian episcopates at the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries

Zakharov Georgy (2023) "Council of Turin in the sontext of relations between the Gallic and the Italian episcopates at the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2023, vol. 114, pp. 11-25 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII2023114.11-25


The article is devoted to the Council of Turin in 398 or 399, at which the Italian bishops tried to help resolve a number of problems in the ecclesiastical life of Gaul. In particular, the controversy about the metropolitan status in the province of Vienne between the sees of Vienne and Arles, as well as the metropolitan rights of Proculus of Marseille in relation to the bishops of the province of Narbonensis II, were discussed. In the first case, the council proposed to the bishops of Arles and Vienne that they reach an amicable agreement, dividing the province into two metropolitanates. In the second case, the rights of the metropolitan were retained for Proculus, but they were thought as personal, and not belonging to the see of Marseille. The article critically examines the conception of the American historian R. Mathisen, who assesses both the format of the council and its decisions as non-canonical. The contextual interpretation of the council allows us to consider it as a rare case of horizontal arbitration. This term refers to the mediating participation of the episcopate of one ecclesiastical region in resolving a conflict in another ecclesiastical region. Horizontal arbitration does not imply a subordinate position of the disputing parties in relation to the chairman of the council considering the case. Roman see at the beginning of the 5th century actually opposed this kind of practice on the basis of the principle of hierarchical inter-church relations. The result of this was an attempt to endow the See of Arles with a preeminent position in Gaul, as well as the encouragement of the practice of transferring the most significant issues to the court of the Roman See.


Council of Turin, Gaul, Italy, Arles, canons, church organization, Roman Church


  1. Barnard L. W. (1983) The Council of Serdica: 343 A. D. Sofia.
  2. Batiff ol P. (1924) Le siège apostolique (359–451). Paris.
  3. Bleckmann B. (2003) “Arelate metropolis: Überlegungen zur Datierung des Konzils von Turin und zur Geschichte Gallien im 5. Jahrhundert”. Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und Kirchengeschichte, 2003, vol. 98, pp. 162–173.
  4. Dunn G. D. (2019) “Epistolary Sleight of Hand: Diplomatic Manipulation in Zosimus’ Letter to Patroclus of Arles (Quid de Proculi)”. Vigiliae Christianae, 2019, vol. 73, pp. 254–270.
  5. Dunn G. D. (2015) “Placuit apostolicae (Ep. 1) of Zosimus of Rome and the Ecclesiastical Reorganization of Gaul”. Journal of Early Christian Studies, 2015, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 559–581.
  6. Dunn G. D. (2015) “...quid habuerit antiqua consuetudo: Zosimus of Rome and Hilary of Narbonne”. Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, 2015, vol. 110, pp. 31–55.
  7. Dunn G. D. (2016) “The Ecclesiastical Reorganisation of Space and Authority in Late Antique Gaul: Zosimus’ Letter Multa contra (JK 334 = J3 740)”. Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association, 2016, vol. 12, pp. 1–33.
  8. Dunn G. D. (2015) “Zosimus’ Synod of Rome in September 417 and his letters to Western bishops (Cum aduersus)”. Antiquité Tardive, 2015, vol. 23, pp. 395–405.
  9. Duval Y.-M. (2005) La décretale Ad Gallos Episcopos: son texte et son auteur. Leiden; Boston.
  10. Frye D. (1991) “Bishops as Pawns in Early Fifth-Century Gaul”. Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 1991, vol. 42, pp. 349–361.
  11. Gratsianskii M. (2022) “Popytka tserkovno-administrativnoi reorganizatsii Iuzhnoi Gallii v pontifi kat papy Zosima (417–418): motivy i posledstviia”, in Vizantiiskie ocherki: Trudy rossiiskikh uchenykh k XXIV Mezhdunarodnomu kongressu vizantinistov, St. Petersburg, pp. 24–52 (in Russian).
  12. Gratsianskii M. (2021) “Rimskie episkopy i razvitie tserkovno-administrativnykh struktur ‘sverkhprovintsial¢nogo’ urovnia v nachale V v.”. Vestnik PSTGU. Seriia II: Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi, 2021, vol. 101, pp. 9–33 (in Russian).
  13. Gratsianskii M., Norkin K. (2020) “Na sluzhbe imperii: papa Zosim i Rimskii sobor 417 goda”. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriia 4: Istoriia. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 2020, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 6–23 (in Russian).
  14. Griff e É. (1964) La Gaule chrétienne à l’époque romaine, vol. 1, Paris.
  15. Gryson R. (1980) “Introduction”, in R. Gryson (ed.) Scolies ariennes sur le concile d’Aquilée (Sources Chrétiennes, vol. 267), Paris, pp. 23–200.
  16. Hess H. (2002) The Early Development of Canon Law and the Council of Serdica. Oxford.
  17. Jalland T. (1941) The Life and Times of St. Leo the Great. London; New York.
  18. Kulikowski M. (1996) “Two Councils of Turin”. Journal of Theological Studies. N. S., 1996, vol. 47, pp. 159–168.
  19. Marcos M. (2013) “Papal Authority, Local Autonomy and Imperial Control: Pope Zosimus and the Western Churches (a. 417–418)”, in A. Fear, J. F. Urbiña, M. Marcos (eds) The Role of the Bishop in Late Antiquity: Confl ict and Compromise, London, pp. 145–166.
  20. Mathisen R. W. (2013) “The Council of Turin (398/399) and the Reorganization of Gaulca. 395/406”. Journal of Late Antiquity, 2013, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 264–307.
  21. Norkin K. (2019) “Stanovlenie tserkovnogo pervenstva Arlia v Gallii i rimskie papy (398–432 gg.)”. Vizantiiskii vremennik, 2019, vol. 103, pp. 53–70 (in Russian).
  22. Palanque J.-R. (1935) “Les dissensions des Églises des Gaules à la fi n du IVe siècle et la date du concile de Turin”. Revue d’histoire de l’Église de France, 1935, vol. 21, no. 93, pp. 481–501.
  23. Pietri Ch. (1976) Roma Christiana. Recherches sur l’Église de Rome, son organisation, sa politique, son idéologie de Miltiade à Sixte III (311–440). Rome.
  24. Poveda Arias P. (2023) “Threatening Metropolitan Authority in Fifth-Century Gaul”, in S. Panzram, P. Poveda Arias (eds) Bishops under Threat. Contexts and Episcopal Strategies in the Late Antique and Early Medieval West, Berlin; Boston, pp. 27–54.
  25. Reutter U. (2009) Damasus, Bischof von Rom (366–384). Leben und Werk. Tübingen.
  26. Zakharov G. E. (2024) Apostol’skie prestoly v universal’noj ekkleziologii latinskih otcov rubezha IV i V vv. Moscow (in Russian) (in press).
  27. Zakharov G. (2015) “Papskii prestol, Gallskie Tserkvi i Vezegotskoe korolevstvo v seredine V veka: k probleme ischeznoveniia granitsy mezhdu rimskim i varvarskim mirom”, in Tsivilizatsiia i varvarstvo, Moscow, vol. 4, pp. 303–312 (in Russian).

Information about the author

Zakharov Georgy

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University; 23b, Novokuznetskaya st., Moscow 115184, Russian Federation;
Post: Head of the Department of Systematical Theology and Patrologу;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3406-2088;
Email: g.e.zakharov@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation within the framework of the scientific project No. 23-28-00165 "The Correlation of Territorial and Ethno-Political Principles of Church Organization in Late Antique Gaul".