St. Isidore of Seville
A son of a noble family from Cartagena, St. Isidore of Seville was born c.
560. After his parents died, his brother, St. Leander, raised him, and c.
600, Isidore succeeded his brother as archbishop of Seville. Isidore
worked to establish schools and monasteries, as well as to convert the
Jews. He was, however, opposed to their forced conversion, an act
forbidden by a canon of the Fourth Council of Toledo, at which Isidore
presided in 633. Isidore was also interested in creating a uniform
liturgical practice throughout Spain. His canons were the basis of a
The Decretals of Isidore, which support the rights
of bishops against their metropolitans and which reaffirm the pope's
authority over councils.
Isidore's most important work is the
Etymologiae, an encyclopedia in
twenty chapters covering all known classical and Christian knowledge. The
meanings and origins of words, according to Isidore, are the key to
understanding, and his encyclopedia is arranged accordingly. Isidore had
not finished the work at the time of his death in 636, and his disciple,
Braulio of Saragossa, continued it.
Karen Rae Keck
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