Spain

As with Gaul, the watershed for Christianity in Spain was the invasion of various Germanic nations from 406/ 7. In 409, the Vandals, Alans and Sueves crossed the Pyrenees and wrought havoc in the provinces of Roman Spain. Only Tarraconnensis remained under Roman rule. Between 416 and 418, victorious Visigothic forces (now Roman allies) repelled the Alans and the Siling Vandals. In 429 the Vandals left Spain for North Africa. In two invasions (468 and 472/3), the Visigothic king Euric brought Spain (with the exception of the Suevian kingdom and the Basque north) completely under Visigothic rule.

It is difficult to determine how far the metropolitan structure envisioned by the Council of Nicaea was realised in Roman Spain. We do know, however, that nineteen bishops and twenty-four priests from thirty-seven local churches attended the Council of Elvira (c. 306), most of them from the southern provinces. We have some information about synods at the turn of the fourth-fifth centuries, but then, nothing. Councils meet again in the sixth-century Visigothic kingdom (e.g., the Council of Tarragona, 516). As for administrative structure, Pope Hormisdas granted the metropolitan bishop of Seville oversight of the ecclesiastical provinces of Baetica and Lusitania in 520.127

In the first half of the sixth century, Nicene Catholics and Homoian Christianities co-existed peacefully under Visigothic rule. The Homoian Church intermittently attempted to convert Roman provincials; the Catholic Church in the Suevian kingdom was left in peace although it sometimes may have been hindered in its synodical activity. Around 555, the Suevian king Chararic was converted to Nicene Christianity by Martin, a monk who came from Pannonia and went on to found the monastery of Dumio in Galicia before becoming

126 Ibid., 52-104; see also R. N├╝rnberg, Askese als sozialer Impuls.

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