Council of Laodicea

The Council of Laodicea was a regional synod of approximately thirty clerics from Asia Minor which assembled about 363–364 AD in Laodicea, Phrygia Pacatiana.

Historical context

The council took place soon after the conclusion of the war between the Roman Empire and the Persian Empire, waged by Emperor Julian. Julian, the last Constantinian emperor, attempted a revival of paganism and resumed discrimination against Christians. After his death in battle on 26 June 363, officers of the army elected the Christian Jovian as his successor. Jovian, in a precarious position, far from supplies, ended the war with Persia unfavorably for Rome. He was soon succeeded by Valentinian I, who named his brother Valens Emperor of the East.

Major concerns

The major concerns of the Council involved regulating the conduct of church members. The Council expressed its decrees in the form of written rules or canons. Among the sixty canons decreed, several aimed at:
The 59th canon forbade the readings in church of uncanonical books. The 60th canon listed Canonical books, with the New Testament containing 26 books, omitting the Book of Revelation, and the Old Testament including the 22 books of the Hebrew Bible plus the Book of Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah; but excluding all the deuterocanonical books proper. It is also believed that they may have demonized the "Second Book of Enoch", which led to its degeneration.
The authenticity of the 60th canon is doubtful, as it is missing from various Greek manuscripts and may have been added later to specify the extent of the preceding 59th canon. The Latin version of the canons of Laodicea consistently omit the canon list. Around 350 AD, Cyril of Jerusalem produced a list matching that from the Council of Laodicea.


The council marks the first occasion in Christianity of the explicit condemnation of astrology, a matter on which theologians and legislators had not yet reached consensus.