Orleans an important commercial town of France, capital of the department of Loiret, and formerly capital of the old province of Orlealnnais, which now forms the greater part of the departments of Loiret, Eure-et-Loir, and Loir- et-Cher, is situated on the right bank of the Loire, here crossed by a bridge of nine arches, and is seventy-five miles and a half south-south-west of Paris by railway. Close to the city is the forest of Orleans, one of the largest in the country, consisting of 94,000 acres planted with oak and other valuable trees. The city stands on the verge of a magnificent plain sloping towards the Loire, and watered by that river and the Loiret, and is surrounded on the land-side by a wall and dry ditches, on either side of which there are pleasantly shaded boulevards. Around it are eight prosperous and populous suburbs. Among its principal buildings are the cathedral, with two lofty and elegant towers, one of the finest Gothic edifices in the country; the tower; bishop's residence; the houses of Joan of Arc, of Agnes Sorel, of Diane de Poitiers, of Francois I, of Pothier; the churches and hospitals, which are numerous, etc. The place is noted in ecclesiastical history for the several Church councils which have been held there;
I. The FIRST COUNCIL OF ORLEANS (Conciliumn Aurelianense) was held July 10, 511, by order of Clovis. It was attended by the archbishops of Bordeaux, Bourges, Auch, Tours, and Rouen, with twenty-seven bishops, among whom were Quintianus, bishop of Rodez, near Clermont, Melanius, bishop of Rennes, and Theodosius of Auxerre. Thirty-one canons were published:
1. Establishes the inviolability of churches as places of refuge.
3. Declares that a runaway slave taking refuge in a church shall be given up to his master, an oath having been first made by the latter not to hurt him.
4. Forbids to ordain lay persons without the king's permission. The children of clerks are left to the bishop's discretion.
5. Directs that the revenue arising from property given to any church by the prince shall be employed (1) in the repair of the building, 2) for the support of the clergy, (3) for the relief of the poor, and (4) for the redemption of slaves.
7. Forbids clerks and monks to go to the prince to obtain favors without letters from their bishop.
8. Enacts that a bishop willfully ordaining a slave unknown to his master shall pay twice his price to the master.
12. Permits deacons and priests in a state of penance to baptize in cases of necessity.
13. Forbids the wife of a priest or deacon to marry.
17. Submits to the bishop's jurisdiction all churches built within his territory.
18. Forbids to marry a brother's widow, or a sister's widower.
19. Submits to the bishop's jurisdiction all abbots, and directs that they shall attend him once a year at the place which he shall appoint.
20. Forbids monks to use the stole or handkerchief ("tzangas") in their monasteries.
21. Declares a monk who shall leave his monastery and marry to be forever excluded from taking orders.
24. Orders a fast of forty, and not fifty, days before Easter.
27, 28. Order the proper observation of the Rogation days.
29. Forbids all familiarity between clerks and women.
30. Excommunicates all who have dealings with diviners.
31. Enjoins bishops to attend the offices of the Church every Sunday in the nearest place of worship. See Pagi in Baromius, A.D. 507 x, xii; Labbe, Conc. 4:1403.
II. A SECOND COUNCIL was held in 533, on May 24, by order of Theodoric, Childebert, and Clothaire, the three kings of France. Twenty- six archbishops, and bishops attended from the provinces, Lyons, and Aquitaine. Twenty-one canons were published against simony and other abuses, most of which were old regulations renewed:
The 12th warns those persons who have made a vow to drink and sing and frolic in any church that they ought not to fulfill their vow.
13. Forbids abbots, chaplains, recluses, and priests to give letters dismissory to clerks.
15. Forbids to accept the bequests of suicides; permits those of persons killed in the commission of any crime.
20. Commands that they be excluded from communion who have eaten of meats offered to idols, or of things strangled, etc.
21. Excommunicates abbots who despise the orders of their bishops. See Labbe, Conc. 4:1779.
III. A THIRD COUNCIL was held at Orleans May 7, 538. Nineteen bishops attended, among whom were Lupus of Lyons, who presided, Pantathagus of Vienne, Leo of Sens, etc. Thirty-three canons were published:
1. Orders that a metropolitan who shall permit two years to pass without convoking a provincial synod shall be suspended from celebrating mass for one year, and also those bishops who neglect to attend it without just hinderance.
3. Directs that metropolitans be consecrated by a metropolitan in the presence of all the bishopis of the province, and the bishops of each province by the metropolitan.
7. Directs that clerks who have received orders of their own free will shall, if they marry afterwards, be excommunicated; that if they were ordained without their own consent they shall be only deposed; that clerks committing adultery shall be shut up in a monastery for life, without, however, being deprived of communion.
25. Orders that persons who fall back from a state of penance into a worldly life shall be deprived of communion until at the point of death.
28. Forbids to work in the fields on Sunday, but permits traveling on horseback or in a carriage, the preparation of food, and all things needful for the proper neatness of house and person: the denial of which things it states to belong rather to the Jewish than the Christian observance of the day.
29. Forbids lay persons to leave church at mass before the end of the Lord's Prayer, or if a bishop be present, before he has given his blessing.
30. Forbids Jews to mix with Christians from Holy Thursday to Easter-day. See Labbe, Conc. v. 294.
IV. A FOURTH COUNCIL was convened at Orleans in 541. Thirty-eight bishops and the deputies of twelve absent attended; Leontius, archbishop of Bordeaux, presided. Thirty-eight canons were published; most of them similar to those published in the preceding councils. The following are among those which differ:
1. Orders the celebration of Easter every year according to the table of Victorius (or Victor).
4. Orders that no one at the oblation of the holy chalice shall presume to offer anything but wine mixed with water, because it is held as sacrilegious to offer anything different from what the Savior instituted in his most holy commandments.
16. Excommunicates those who swear, after the fashion of pagans, upon the heads of beasts, or who invoke the names of false gods.
33. Declares that any person desirous of having a parish upon his property, must, in the first place, give a sufficient endowment for the clerks who shall serve it.
Such is supposed to have been the origin of Church patronage. See Labbe, Conc. v. 380.
V. A FIFTH COUNCIL was held at Orleans, October 28, 549, by Childebert, king of France. Fifty bishops (among whom were ten afterwards reverenced as saints) and twenty-one deputies of those who were absent attended, collected from the three kingdoms of France and all the provinces of the Gauls, except that of Narbonne, which was still in the occupation of the Goths. Sacerdos, bishop of Lyons, presided. Twenty-four canons, for the most part renewing those of the preceding councils, were published:
1. Condemns the errors of Entyches and Nestorius.
2. Forbids excommunication for small offenses.
6. Forbids to ordain a slave without the master's consent.
11. Forbids to give the people a bishop whom they dislike, and declares that neither the people nor clergy ought to be intimidated in making their election.
20, 21. Direct that deacons shall visit prisoners every Sunday, and that bishops shall take care of lepers. See Labbe, Conc. v. 390.
VI. — A COUNCIL of less importance was convened at Orleans in 1022 by king Robert, at which several bishops were present. Several Manichaeans were condemned to be burned, among whom were Stephen (or Heribert) and Lysoye, ecclesiastics of Orleans. See Labbe, Conc. 9:836; Spicil. p. 740.