Isidore of Seville

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St. Isidore of Seville

St. Isidore of Seville (560 – 4 April, 636) was a holy man from a holy family, known as the greatest teacher in Spain. As Archbishop of Seville, he set a model for representative government in Europe. St. Isidore's works were numerous and significantly impacted Europe for the better. He, with his brother Bishop Leander, helped to convert the barbarian Visigoths from Arianism to Christianity.[1] He presided at the Second Council of Seville, the Fourth Council of Toledo, introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain. He was a prolific writer; writing a dictionary, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. Isidore's tripartite world map of 1472 was the first printed map in Europe. Isadore's encyclopedia of knowledge, the Etymologies, was used for nine centuries. He completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use, and was the leading candidate to be Patron of Computer Users and the Internet in 1999.[2] He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1722.

Christian Family

Isadore was born in Cartagena, Spain to pious father Severianus and mother Theodora. It was a family of leaders and intelligent minds. His sister Saint Florentina, was a nun, and is said to have ruled over forty convents and one-thousand religious.[3] Isadore's brother Saint Fulgentius presided over the Bishopric of Astigi, and Saint Leander of Seville, who raised him and who Isadore succeeded.

Early life

Isidore received his elementary education in the Cathedral school of Seville. In this institution, which was the first of its kind in Spain, the trivium and quadrivium were taught by a body of learned men.[4] After their father's death, Isadore was raised by Saint Leander of Seville. He started out as a frustrated student in his youth. Discouraged by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted, he ran away. While away, he observed a drop of water hitting a rock. He noticed the drop had no effect on the rock. What he found interesting was that over time, the rock had a hole worn in from drops of water. He surmised that seemingly small efforts would eventually pay off in great learning. Isadore decided to returned home and embarked on greatness. He embraced education and made it his life's work.

"Overcome Evil With Good"

Archbishop of Seville

On the death of Leander, Isidore succeeded to the See of Seville for 37 years. St. Isidore set himself to the task of welding into a homogeneous nation the various peoples who made up the Hispano-Gothic kingdom. To this end he availed himself of all the resources of religion and education. His efforts were attended with complete success.[5] Flourishing heresy of the Arian Goths was eradicated and the new heresy of Acephales was immediately crushed. St. Isadore installed religious discipline and society everywhere had strengthened. At the Fourth National Council of Toledo with all bishops of Spain in attendance and mainly by his influence, a decree was introduced instructing all bishops to establish seminaries in their Cathedral Cities. This education policy was made obligatory upon the entire kingdom of Spain.


He continued his austerities even as he approached eighty years. During the last six months of his life, he increased his charities so much that his house was crowded from morning till night with the poor of the countryside.[6] One of his last acts was to give all his possessions to the poor. Saint Isadore died in 636. His feast day is April 4.




An encyclopedia of a circular world sometimes known as the "Origines." Includes 150 quotes from Christians and pagans, comprising twenty books.

  • The first three of these books are taken up with the trivium and quadrivium. The entire first book is devoted to grammar, including metre. Imitating the example of Cassiodorus and Boethius he preserves the logical tradition of the schools by reserving the second book for rhetoric and dialectic.
  • book four, treats of medicine and libraries;
  • book five, of law and chronology;
  • book six, of ecclesiastical books and offices;
  • book seven, of God and of the heavenly and earthly hierarchies;
  • book eight, of the Church and of the sects, of which sixty-eight sect;
  • book nine, of languages, peoples, kingdoms, and official titles;
  • book ten, of etymology:
  • book eleven, of man;
  • book twelve, of beasts and birds;
  • book thirteen, of the world and its parts;
  • book fourteen, of physical geography;
  • book fifteen, of public buildings and road making;
  • book sixteen, of stones and metals;
  • book seventeen, of agriculture;
  • book eighteen, of the terminology of war, of jurisprudence, and public games;
  • book nineteen, of ships, houses, and clothes;
  • book twenty, of victuals, domestic and agricultural tools, and furniture.

History and biography

  • Chronicon
  • Historia de regibus Gothorum, Wandalorum, et Suevorum
  • De viris illustribus

Scriptural and Theological

  • De ortu et obitu patrum qui in Scriptura laudibus efferuntur
  • Allegoriae quaedam Sacrae Scripturae
  • Liber numerorum qui in Sanctis Scripturis occurrunt
  • In libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti prooemia
  • De Veteri et Novo Testamento quastiones
  • Secretorum expositiones sacramentorum, seu quaestiones in Vetus Testamentum
  • De fide catholica ex Veteri et Novo Testamento, contra Judaeos
  • Sententiarum libri tres
  • De ecclesiasticis officiis, consisting of two books "De origine officiorum" and "De origine ministrorum"
  • Regula monachorum


Isidore was mentioned in Dante's Paridiso as a great theologian.

External links


  1. St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Online
  2. Saint Isidore of Seville Star Quest Production Network
  3. St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Encyclopedia
  4. Saint Isidore of Seville The Order of Saint Isidore of Seville
  5. St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Encyclopedia
  6. St. Isidore of Seville American Catholic
  7. St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Encyclopedia