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St. Isidore of Seville

VII Century
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 ninth-century forgery, 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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