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Clerici vagantes (Medieval wandering clergy)

Clerici vagantes or vagabundi (singular clericus vagans or vagabundus) is a medieval Latin term meaning “wandering clergy” applied in early canon law to those clergy who led a wandering life either because they had no benefice or because they had deserted the church to which they had been attached.

The term refers also to wandering students, ex-students, and even professors, “moving from town to town in search of learning and still more of adventure, nominally clerks but leading often very unclerical lives”.[1]

Source: Clerici vagantes – Wikipedia


Goliard (Medieval clergy)


The Archpoet (Medieval poetry)


  1. Tim B.

    “As early as the fifth and sixth centuries, measures were taken against them, such as when the Council of Chalcedon forbade ordination without appointment to a specific church, or when the Council of Valencia (524?[3]) threatened the vagantes with excommunication, a penalty extended in the same year by the Synod of Arles to those who gave them shelter. Nevertheless, the vagantes still flourished, and frequently aided bishops and other clergy in the discharge of their duties or became chaplains in the castles of the knights, thus making their profession a trade and interfering with the orderly conditions and ministrations of the regular clergy. In 789 Charlemagne renewed the Chalcedon injunctions, and also forbade the entertainment of any clergy who could not produce letters from their bishops.”

  2. Tim B.

    See also:

    – Goliard
    – Gyrovagues
    – Ministers / minstrels

    Migration pressures

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