Christian Cyclopedia

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(Span. State). In SW Eur., occupying most of the Iberian peninsula. Area: ca. 194, 885 sq. mi.

1. A legend that arose in the 7th c. and acc. to which the apostle James the Elder preached in Sp. is now gen. abandoned as contrary to other tradition and to Ro 15:20, 24. Irenaeus (Adversus haereses, I, x, 2) and Tertullian (Adversus Jadaeos, vii) note that there were Christians in Spain. Cyprian (ca. 200–258) mentions Christians at León, Astorga, Mérida, and Saragossa (Epistle lxvii). The Syn. of Elvira* addressed itself to the problem of laxity in morals and discipline. Suevians (Germanic) settled in Sp. early in the 5th c., veered unsteadily bet. RCm and Arianism, surrendered to Arian Visigoth king Leovigild (coregent with his brother Liuva [or Leova] 568; sole king 572, when his brother died; d. 586), disappeared as an indep. nation 585. The 589 Council of Toledo* marked the conversion of Reccared (or Recared), son and successor of Leovigild, to RCm. Saracens invaded Sp. from Afr. 711, brought Islam, and were not completely defeated till the fall of Granada 1492.

2. Reform movements in Sp. before the Luth. Reformation* were basically oriented on a RC axis esp. by Isabella (see Inquisition, 6), F. Jiménez* de Cisneros, and J. de Torquemade.* Many outward abuses, reflecting, e.g., a low moral level in convents and among the clergy, were corrected; papal authority was at times challenged, at least indirectly; yet the Span. pre-Reformation saw the est. of the Span. Inquisition, not to oppose the “reform” but to undergird it.

3. The Luth. Reformation influenced, e.g., C. de Reina,* A. de Valdés,* J. de Valdés,* and F. de Enzinas.* M. Luther's writings and copies of Sp. Bibles found their way into Spain. See also Lutheran Confessions, A 5. But the Inquisition prevailed, esp. from 1557. See also Auto-de-fé. By 1570 Protestantism was practically dead in Spain.

4. 18th c. Fr. skepticism influenced Sp. and by the middle of the 19th c. helped bring a wave of liberalism and anticlericalism, with proclamation of religious freedom 1858 and 1868; but from 1876 religious dissidence was only tolerated, not recognized. Disestablishment was one of the main aims of the 2d Rep., installed 1931, but RCm gained the ascendancy after the 1936–39 civil war. The 1947 Const. assures official protection for RCm; no one shall be disturbed because of his religious beliefs or the private practices of his worship; but only RC outward ceremonies and demonstrations are permitted. A new const. was adopted 1978.

5. F. Fliedner* organized a Ger. Luth. cong. at Barcelona 1885; other Ger. Luth. congs. were est. elsewhere. Other Prots. in Sp. include Meths., Angls., Baps., and Plymouth Brethren.

See also Africa, D 5.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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