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(ĭn`tərdĭkt), ecclesiastical censure notably used in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the Middle Ages. When a parish, state, or nation is placed under the interdict no public church ceremony may take place, only certain sacraments, especially baptism, may be administered, and the dead may not receive Christian burial. The interdict is used to sway public opinion and to force action. A famous example was the interdict placed upon England during the reign of King JohnJohn,
1167–1216, king of England (1199–1216), son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Early Life

The king's youngest son, John was left out of Henry's original division of territory among his sons and was nicknamed John Lackland.
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 by Innocent IIIInnocent III,
b. 1160 or 1161, d. 1216, pope (1198–1216), an Italian, b. Anagni, named Lotario di Segni; successor of Celestine III. Innocent III was succeeded by Honorius III.
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 in 1208.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a form of ecclesiastical pressure or punishment in the Catholic Church; a temporary ban placed by the pope (or sometimes by a bishop) on worship and religious ceremonies (excluding excommunication from the church) within a particular area (a local interdict). Sometimes it is placed on particular people and is known as a personal interdict. It was used widely in the 11th and 12th centuries (less frequently beginning with the 13th century) and was a powerful weapon in exerting pressure on sovereigns and feudal lords and in the war against has lost its former significance but still remains part of canon law.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. RC Church the exclusion of a person or all persons in a particular place from certain sacraments and other benefits, although not from communion
2. Civil law any order made by a court or official prohibiting an act
3. Scots law an order having the effect of an injunction
4. Roman history
a. an order of a praetor commanding or forbidding an act
b. the procedure by which this order was sought
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005