Canons of the

Regional Synods

 

Content:

Canons of the

Regional Synods

The First-Second Council.

The Council held in the Temple of Holy Wisdom.

The Council of Carthage during Cyprian.

The Regional Council of Ancyra.

The Regional Council of Neocaesarea.

The Regional Council of Gangra.

The Regional Council of Antioch.

The Regional Council of Laodicea.

Concerning the Regional Council of Sardica.

The Second Regional Council of Constantinople.

The Regional Council of Carthage.

 

 

The First-Second Council.

Prolegomena.

This Council is given this title by Zonaras, Balsamon, Blastaris, and others. The great and holy First-and-Second Council, which was held in Constantinople in the all-venerable temple of the holy Apostles, was assembled in the time of Emperor Michael, the son of Theophilus, and of Bardas Caesar, his uncle on his mother’s side, in A.D. 861. It was attended by three hundred and eighteen Fathers, among whom the most distinguished were: Most holy Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, who had been elevated anew to the throne of Constantinople at that time after divine Ignatius had been exiled to Mitylene, by force and power of Caesar Bardas; and the legates, or deputies, of Pope Nicholas, namely, Rodoald of Porto and Zacharias of Anagnoea, who were then in Constantinople on a mission against the iconomachists. The reason why it is called the First-and-Second Council is, according to Zonaras, Balsamon, Blastaris, and Milias (p. 920 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records) as follows. There was held a first convention of this Council, and after the Orthodox participants engaged in a discussion with the heterodox participants (perhaps these were the remnants that had remained from the iconomachists, as we have said), and the Orthodox members won and the heterodox were defeated, it was decided to keep a written record of everything that had been asserted in the Council, in order that it might remain certain and sure. But the heretics, being discomfited averse to having these records preserved, lest they be seen to have been defeated, and lest in consequence they be expelled from the Church and the congregation of the faithful, made such a disturbance and fight, even drawing knives and engaging in murderous assaults, that the first convention was dissolved without any definition and result being committed to writing. After some time had passed, a second convention of the same Council, and again there was a discussion of the Orthodox participants with the heretics concerning the same subjects; and at this meeting the dogmas asserted concerning belief were written up. Hence, this Council having on this account been properly and truly but one, it was styled the First-and-Second because of the circumstance of its having held a first and a second convention. At its second convention the present seventeen Canons were promulgated, which are essential to the decorum and regulation of the Church, being corroborated and confirmed by the Nomocanon of Photius, by the interpreters of the Canons, and by the whole Church. Note, however, that in some manuscript codices there are thirty Canons bearing an inscription in the name of the present Council: but we have interpreted only those recognized by the Church and interpreted by the exegetes; as for the others, we have left them out on the ground that the Church does not recognize them. The present Council has been assigned by all commentators a place preceding the other local Councils held previously to this one, either because of its having been a large one and one more numerously attended than were those, or rather because it followed immediately in the wake of Seventh Ecum. Council both in respect of the date and in that it was convoked against the same iconomachists as those against whom that one was convoked, and, in a way, this Council was, in that respect, a continuation or successor of that one.

Canons.

1. The building of monasteries, which is something so seemly and honorable, and rightly excogitated by our blissful and devout fathers of old, is seen to be done wrongly today. For some men, bestowing the name of monastery on their own property and domain, and promising God to sanctify this, have recorded themselves as owners of the consecrated lands and buildings, and have contrived to devise a way in which to devote them to a divine purpose in name only. For they do not blush to assume the same authority over them after the consecration as they could have exercised before this without overstepping their rights. And so much commercialized has the thing become that many of the lands and buildings consecrated are being sold openly by the consecrators themselves, inspiring beholders with amazement and indignation. And not only have they no regret for what they have done in appropriating to themselves authority over what was dedicated to God once, but they even fearlessly confer it upon others. For these reasons, then, the holy Council has decreed that no one shall have a right to build a monastery without the consent and approval of the bishop. With his knowledge and permission, after he has executed the necessary prayer, as was enjoined legislatively by the God-beloved fathers of olden times, they may build a monastery together with all its accessories, recording everything belonging thereto in a breve and depositing the latter in the archives of the bishopric; the consecrator having no right whatever to make himself an abbot, or anyone else in his stead, without the consent of the bishop. For if one is no longer able to exercise ownership over what he has given away to some other human being, how can one be conceded the right to appropriate the ownership of what he has sanctified and dedicated to God?

(cc. IV, XXIV of the 4th; c. XLIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIII, XVII, XIX of the 7th; c. II of Cyril.)

Interpretation.

In view of the fact that some persons who built monasteries and consecrated their goods to them, again after the consecration not only exercised ownership over them, but even sold them and made others their owners, on this account the present Canon decrees that every monastery shall be built with permission and approval of the local bishop, who is to execute the usual prayer when its foundations are being laid. It is to be recorded, moreover, in a breve, or, more plainly speaking, in a small and brief codex, what goes to make up both the newly built monastery itself and all the chattels and real estate that have been dedicated to it either by the one who has built it or by other Christians. And that codex is to be securely kept in the bishopric or metropolis, in order that the one who has dedicated it may not thereafter remove anything therefrom and take it away. In fact, the founder and dedicator of a monastery is to be so estranged therefrom that neither he himself can become the abbot of it, without the approval of the bishop, nor can he appoint anyone else abbot of it, on the alleged ground that it belongs to him, since if what one gives away to another human being can no longer be reclaimed and taken back, how can one who has dedicated those things once to God take control of them again? For such a person would be considered a sacrilegist and would be liable to stand trial as such and receive the sentence of Ananias and Sapphira.

 

2. In view of the fact that some men pretend to take up the life of solitude, not in order to become purely servants of God, but in order that in addition to and by virtue of the grave appearance of the habit they may acquire the glory and mien of reverence, and find hence a way of enjoying in abundance the pleasures connected therewith, and, only sacrificing their hair, they spend their time in their own homes, without fulfilling any service or status whatever of monks, the holy Council has decreed that no one at all shall assume the monachal habit without the presence of the person to whom he owes allegiance and who is to act as his superior or abbot and to provide for the salvation of his soul, by which is meant a God-beloved man at the head of a monastery and capable of saving a soul that has but recently offered itself to Christ. If anyone be caught tonsuring a person without the presence of the abbot who is to have charge of him, he shall be deposed from office on the ground that he is disobeying the Canons and offending against monachal decorum, while the one who has been illogically and irregularly tonsured shall be consigned to whatever allegiance and monastery the local bishop may see fit. For indiscreet and precarious tonsures have both dishonored the monachal habit and caused the name of Christ to be blasphemed.

Interpretation.

Some persons, wishing to have the world pay them reverence (or actuated by some ailment or sorrow), become monks hypocritically, but after becoming such, go back and again stay in their homes in the world, without observing any monachal formality and canon. So by way of preventing the occurrence of this impropriety the present Canon decrees that no priest or even chief priest shall tonsure a monk without a senior and spiritual sponsor being present who is to undertake the care of his soul’s salvation, a man, that is to say, who is beloved of God and at the head of a monastery, and fitted to guide newly-trained and beginning monks to salvation. If nevertheless anyone should do so, let him be deposed as a transgressor of the canons and of monachal decorum, and let the one tonsured without a sponsor be placed in subordination to another monastery, to any other, that is to say, that the bishop may see fit, since faulty and illogically performed tonsures of monks not only have disgraced the most honorable habit of monks, but lead infidels to blaspheme the name of Christ, when they see the monks living so irregularly and indifferently. Note, however, that even one who succeeds in becoming a monk without a sponsor and a senior can no longer take off the habit, but, still wearing it, he is merely turned over to another monastery. See also the Footnote to c. XXI of the 7th.

 

3. Even this is wrong when it is done, but what is much worse, when overlooked and neglected, has been judged to need correction, in order that anyone "who is the head of a monastery shall not fail to seek with great diligence to recover monks ranged under him that have run away, or upon finding them shall not fail to take them back, and to regain them by subjecting the diseased part to proper and suitable medical treatment of the offense, and striving to strengthen it. The holy Council has decreed that one failing to do so shall be subject to excommunication. For if a man who has undertaken the protection of irrational animals and woefully neglects his flock is not left unpunished, if any man who has been entrusted with the pastoral rulership of the cattle of Christ suavely and indolently betrays their salvation, he will surely collect punishment for his daring action. But if any monk refuses to come back when called upon to do so, he shall be excommunicated by the bishop.

(c. IV of the 4th; cc. XIII, XIX, XXI of the 7th; c. LXXXVIII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits monks from fleeing from their own monasteries and going to other monasteries, or wandering about here and there. If some irregular monks do this, it subjects the abbot of the monastery to the penalty of excommunication if he fail to endeavor with great diligence to find the runaways, or, in other words, those monks of his who have fled; and if after finding them he fails to make every effort to bring them back, and to cure them each according to the psychical ailment affecting him. For if a tender of irrational animals is punished for neglecting to watch them, how much more one shall be chastised who is tending the sheep of Christ and through his own negligence sells away their salvation which Christ has bought with His blood! But if the monk being sought and begged to come back proves disobedient, let him be excommunicated by the bishop. Read also c. XXI of the 7th.

 

4. The Evil One has striven in many ways to render the respectable habit of the monks an object of reproach, and he has found ready assistance in this to result from the opportunity afforded by the heresy which has seized control of things. For the men who are living monastically abandon their own monasteries under the stress of heresy, some going to other monasteries and some falling into the resorts of worldly men. But this is deplorable when what was then being done for piety’s sake made them appear to deserve felicitation, but has now degenerated into an illogical custom which makes them appear ridiculous. For in spite of the fact that piety has spread into every corner and the Church has got rid of scandals, yet some men who have deserted their own monasteries, and like an unrestrainable stream are pouring and flowing into other channels, now are filling the monasteries with great indecorum, and introducing disorder into these with their riotous entrance, and are distracting and disorganizing the decorous element of submissiveness. But by way of halting the restless and unrestrainable rush the holy Council has decreed that if any monk runs away from his own monastery to another or riotously enters a worldly resort, both he himself and the one receiving him shall be excommunicated until the absconder has returned to the monastery which he has wrongly fallen out of. But if, in any particular case, the bishop should wish to send away to another monastery some of the monks of proven reverence and decorousness of life for the purpose of stocking the other monastery, or should wish to transfer them even to a mundane house for the purpose of compassing the salvation of the inmates thereof by establishing the monks therein, or should see fit to place them elsewhere, this course shall not render either the monks or the ones receiving them subject to any penalty.

(c. IV of the 4th; cc. XIX, XXI of the 7th, c. LXXXVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Since in the time of iconomachy monks were being driven away by the iconomachists and iconomachs, and were leaving their monasteries, and were either going to other monasteries (see c. XIII of the 7th) or were taking refuge in worldly resorts, and, having grown accustomed from that time continued doing so even in the time of Orthodoxy, leaving their monasteries and like an unrestrainable river streaming from monastery to monastery and from place to place, they not only deprived monasteries of their ornaments (for the ornament of a monastery is the condition of having monks stay in permanently in quietude and not keep going away), but also caused many irregularities and corrupt manners and various undesirable changes in them with a splurge of pleasure (for this is what is denoted by the word "riotous"). So, in order to prevent such an evil as this, the Council in the present Canon excommunicates both monks fleeing from their monasteries and any persons who may offer them shelter, whether these persons be monks belonging to another monastery, or worldlings, until such time as the former return to their own monasteries. If, however, the local bishop or chief priest should desire to transfer reverent and virtuous monks to any other monastery for the improvement of the latter and its regularization, or to a worldly habitation for the salvation of those dwelling therein, or to any other place, then and in that case neither the monks going there nor the persons admitting them are liable to excommunication. Read also c. XXI of the 7th.

 

5. We find that indiscreet and unapproved renunciations are ravaging monachal decorum to a great extent. For some men impetuously flinging themselves into the solitary mode of life, and owing to the roughness and painfulness of asceticism giving it scant affection, wretchedly relapse again into flesh-loving and pleasurable life. The holy Council has therefore decreed that no one shall lay claim to the monachal habit until after the expiration of the term of three years allowed them to prove their worthiness they turn out to be adequate and fit to take up such a mode of life in earnest; and it has bidden this to prevail by all means as the rule; unless, nevertheless, it should so happen anywhere that some grave disease has overtaken the person, making it necessary to shorten the period of his trial; or unless, nevertheless, there should be anywhere a man so reverent as to lead a monachal life even in a worldly habit — for in the case of such a man even a six months’ period of trial is sufficient for a thorough test. If anyone does anything contrary to these words, the abbot, on the one hand, shall pay the penalty by forfeiting his abbotship for his irregularity and be compelled to conduct himself as an obedientiary; the monk, on the other hand, shall be consigned to another monastery which observes monachal strictness.

Interpretation.

Since some men, without first making a test, but on the spur of the moment, or rather to say rashly and irregularly become monks, and afterwards, being unable to bear the toil and moil of monkish ways, they return again to their former flesh-loving and worldly life, for this reason the present Canon decrees that no one shall become a monk unless he is first tried out for three years without fail, except only that the period of three years may be shortened whenever anyone incurs a grave disease or illness, and except only if someone be so reverent even when he is living in the world that he actually lives a monkish life, for as regards him even six months only are enough for a test of his worthiness. As for any abbot, on the other hand, who tonsures a monk before the expiration of those three years, he himself shall forfeit his abbotship, and shall be made an obedientiary by way of punishment for his disorderliness; while the newly-tonsured monk shall be given to another monastery which observes monkish austerity. Note that not if one does succeed in becoming a monk without undergoing the three years’ trial, he cannot thereafter divest himself of the habit, but can only be turned over to another monastery. See the Footnote to c. XXI of the 7th, and c. XXI itself.

 

6. Monks ought not to have anything of their own. Everything of theirs ought to be assigned to the monastery. For blissful Luke says concerning those who believe in Christ and conform to the monks’ way of life: "Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but, on the contrary, they held everything in common" (Acts 4:32). Wherefore unto those wishing to lead the monastic life permission is given to dispose of their property to whatever persons they may wish, so long, that is to say, as the property may be legally transferred to them. For after their entering upon the monastic life the monastery has the ownership of all they bring with them, and they have nothing of their own to worry about other than what they have been allowed to dispose of beforehand. If anyone be caught appropriating or claiming any possession that has not been made over and conveyed to the monastery, and revealed to be enslaved to the passion of love of property, that possession shall be seized by the abbot or bishop, and shall be sold in the presence of many persons, and the proceeds therefrom shall be distributed to the poor and indigent. As for anyone who shall meditate holding back any such possession, after the fashion of Ananias of old, the holy Council has decreed that he shall be chastened with a suitable discipline. It is to be understood, moreover, that whatever rules the holy Council has made in regard to men who are leading the monastic life of monks, the same rules apply also to women who are leading the monastic life of nuns.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that monks, as being dead to the world, ought not to have any private property, but, on the contrary, ought to dedicate all their real and personal property to the monastery where they have been tonsured, in order that in them may be fulfilled that which the Evangelist Luke says in the Acts of the Apostles concerning those Christians who in the commencement of the preaching of the Gospel believed in Christ and foreshadowed the communistic way of life of the monks; since not one of them ever said that anything was his own, but, on the contrary, everyone’s things belonged communistically to all of them. Therefore all persons who wish to become monks or nuns, before actually doing so, have a right to distribute their property among any persons not prohibited by the civil laws from receiving it (this exception excludes, for instance, heretics, according to cc. XXX and LXXXIX of Carthage, as well as natural-born sons. Nevertheless, they may give their sons a twelfth part of their property, according to Zonaras, provided they were born in lawful wedlock). But after they have become monks or nuns, they no longer have permission to care for or to distribute their property, but, instead, all of it is owned by the monastery. If, however, anyone should be caught after becoming a monastic and be detected and found guilty of having withheld anything for himself and it be proved that he failed to dedicate it to the monastery or convent or coenobium, that chattel, whatever it may be, is to be taken by the abbot or by the local bishop, and selling in front of many persons to avoid suspicion, he is to distribute the proceeds among the poor. But as for any monk that has committed sacrilege after the manner of Ananias, he is to be brought back to his senses and sobered up with the right penalty. These rules, however, which we have laid down with regard to monks ought to be similarly observed also with regard to nuns.

 

7. We see many of the bishoprics falling down and in danger of being relegated to utter destruction, because, we venture to say, the heads of these establishments consume their thought and attention in projecting new monasteries, and exploiting these projects, and in contriving to convert the income thereof to their own use they busy themselves with the development of those. The holy Council has therefore decreed that not one of the bishops shall be permitted to build a new monastery of his own to the detriment of his own bishopric. If anyone be caught daring to do this, he shall be punished with the proper penalty, while the building he has erected shall be assigned to the estate of the bishopric as its own property, on the ground that he has not even so much as had a right to originate a monastery. For nothing that has been unlawfully and irregularly in vogue can be taken as the prejudice of what is canonically consistent.

(Ap. c. XXXVIII; c. XXVI of the 4th; cc. XI, XII of the 7th; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; c. XV of Ancyra; c. 7th of Gangra; cc. XXXIV, XLI of Carthage; c. X of Theophilus; c. II of Cyril.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits bishops from leaving their bishopric in danger of going to wrack and ruin, and building monasteries of their own at the expense of the funds of the bishoprics. For, just as it is not right for monasteries to be deprived of their funds, so and in like manner may the same be said of bishoprics, and especially when they are in danger. If any bishop dares to build a monastery, he shall suffer the proper penalty; and the newly-built monastery shall not receive any right of a monastery as such, or, in other words, it shall not be administered independently on its own basis, but shall become property dedicated to the bishopric and be owned by the latter, on the ground that it has been built with funds of the bishopric, since what is done illegally cannot injure or upset what is done legally and canonically. Balsamon, on the other hand, says that if the bishopric is not imperiled, or injured, the bishop may, at his own expense (perhaps derived from surplus funds of the bishopric) build from the ground up and rebuild ruined monasteries, just as Patriarch Photius built the monastery of Manuel from the ground up; and Patriarch Alexius, that of Alexius; Patriarch Theophylact, the notorious Monastery of the Rufians; and other patriarchs and prelates likewise. See Ap. c. XXXVIII.

 

8. The divine and sacred Canon of the Apostles judges those who castrate themselves as self-murderers; accordingly, if they are priests, it deposes them from office, and if they are not, it excludes them from advancement to holy orders. Hence it makes it plain that if one who castrates himself is a self-murderer, he who castrates another man is certainly a murderer. One might even deem such a person quite guilty of insulting creation itself. Wherefore the holy Council has been led to decree that if any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, be proved guilty of castrating anyone, either with his own hand or by giving orders to anyone else to do so, he shall be subjected to the penalty of deposition from office; but if the offender is a layman, he shall be excommunicated: unless it should so happen that owing to the incidence of some affliction he should be forced to operate upon the sufferer by removing his testicles. For precisely as the first Canon of the Council held in Nicaea does not punish those who have been operated upon for a disease, for having the disease, so neither do we condemn priests who order diseased men to be castrated, nor do we blame laymen either, when they perform the operation with their own hands. For we consider this to be a treatment of the disease, but not a malicious design against the creature or an insult to creation.

(Ap. cc. XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV; c. I of the First.)

Interpretation.

Just as Apostolic Canon XXII forbids anyone who castrates himself to be made a cleric, and Ap. c. XXIII deposes them if they have already become clerics in case they castrate themselves, as being murderers of themselves, so does the present Canon depose from office those clerics who, either with their own hands or by giving orders to someone else, castrate anyone; and it excommunicates laymen who do this. But if anyone should fall a victim to an affliction requiring him to be castrated, then and in that case neither those priests who order his castration are to be deposed from office, nor are laymen who with their own hands castrate such a person to be excommunicated, since castration of such persons aims at curing the disease, and not at killing the man, or at offering any insult to nature. Read also Ap. c. XXI.

 

9. In view of the fact that an Apostolic and divine Canon subjects to deposition priests that attempt to strike believers who have sinned or unbelievers who have wronged someone, those who are devising a way to satisfy their own animus and garbling the Apostolic Ordinances have taken it to mean priests striking persons with their own hands, when as a matter of fact neither does the Canon imply any such thing, nor does right reason permit this to be assumed. For it would be truly vain and exceedingly precarious to depose a priest from office for striking someone three or four times with his own hands, but to leave unpunished one who, permission being given, beats someone by order of another mercilessly and to death, instead of augmenting the punishment. Wherefore seeing that the Canon simply chastises the act of striking, we too join in condemning this. For a priest of God ought indeed to reprimand a disorderly person with instructions and admonitions, and at times even with ecclesiastical censures, but not with whips and blows to assault men’s bodies. If, however, there should be some men who are utterly insubordinate and refuse to yield to correction because of censures, no one is prohibited from correcting these persons by haling them before the local magistrates. In fact, c. V of the Council in Antioch has canonically decreed that persons causing disturbances and revolts to the Church shall be converted and brought to their senses again by recourse to the civil authority.

(Ap. c. XVII; c. V of Antioch; cc. LVII, LXII, LXXVI, LXXXIII, XCIX, CVI, CVII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

Since some men in holy orders, misunderstanding Ap. c. XXVII, which deposes those in holy orders when they strike a believer or an unbeliever, say that that Canon deposes only those who strike anyone with their own hand, and not those who by giving orders to others have someone else strike a person, because they are trying by means of this misunderstanding to satisfy their own irrational anger. It is absurd, says the present Canon, to suppose that the divine Apostles commanded indeed that anyone in holy orders be deposed if he strike someone three or four times, say, with his hand, but failed to provide any punishment at all for one who has others beat a person most cruelly and to death. Hence, inasmuch as the Apostolic Canon says generally and indefinitely that anyone who strikes another person is to be deposed from office, whether he struck him with his own hands or had others strike him, we too agree with it in decreeing similarly. For priests of God ought to chastise the disorderly with admonitions and words of advice, though sometimes with ecclesiastical disciplines too, excommunications, that is to say, and anathematizations, when they will not be persuaded with words of advice; but they ought not to assault men with cudgels. But if some persons will not return to sobriety even with the administration of ecclesiastical censures, it is permissible to turn them over to the civil authorities and let the latter chastise them: in the same way as c. V of Antioch decrees that disturbers of the Church shall be brought to their senses by appealing to the hand of the civil authorities. Read the said Ap. c. XXVII.

 

10. Those who appear to be victims of their own passions not only do not shudder at the thought of the punishment provided by the sacred Canons, but have actually dared to laugh them to scorn. For they distort themselves, and in conformity with their venomous nature they forge their will awry; in order that thanks to the magnanimity of their venom, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, not only may the evil be kept from affecting their responsibility, but may even be thought something divine. For this holds true in the case of the Apostolic Canon which says that no one shall appropriate any golden or silver vessel that has been sanctified, or any piece of cloth, to his own use. For that would be unlawful. If anyone be caught doing so, let him be disciplined with excommunication. Taking this Canon to be in effect an advocacy of their own unlawful deeds, they allege that one must not deem those men worthy of deposition who employ the venerable tablecloth of the Holy Table to make a tunic for themselves or reshape it into any other vestment. Not only so, but not even those who employ the holy chalice. Oh, what impiety! or the venerable paten; or things akin to these, because they expend them for needs of their own, or defile them outright. For the Canon says that those who become guilty of this are to be punished with excommunication, but has made no one liable to deposition for such an act. But who would tolerate the magnitude of any such perversion and impiety? For notwithstanding that the Canon inflicts excommunication upon those who merely use what is sanctified, but do not appropriate it to the extent of purloining it entirely, they, on the other hand, exempt from deposition those who plunder and sacrilege the equipment of the Holies of Holies, and as for those who pollute the venerable patens or sacred cups by putting them into use for the serving of food, so far at any rate as they rely upon their own judgment, they rank them as undeposed, notwithstanding that the contamination has become apparent to all, and it is plain that those who do such things not only incur liability to deposition from office, but even become subject to charges of committing the worst kind of ungodliness. Wherefore the holy Council has decreed that (those who purloin for their own profit, or who misuse for some unsacred purpose, in general any one of the sacred and holy vessels or utensils in the sacrificial altar, or of the vestments, or the holy chalice, or the paten, or the tongs, or the venerable tablecloth, and the so-called "air"), are to be compelled to undergo total and complete deposition. For one charge is that of having profaned, and the other charge is that of having plundered the holies. As touching those, however, who convert to an unsacred use for themselves, or bestow upon another person, consecrated vessels or vestments outside of the sacrificial altar, the Canon excommunicates them and we join in excommunicating them. But as for those who utterly purloin them and take them away we make them liable to condemnation as sacrilegists.

(Ap. c. LXXII, LXXIII; c. VIII of Nyssa.)

Interpretation.

With reference to the seventy-third Canon of the Apostles which excommunicates those who use for common and unsacred service any sacred vessel or vestment some persons misunderstanding it have been saying that those persons do not deserve to be deposed from office who convert to their own use or pollute by unsacred use the cloth covering the Holy Table, or a shirt or some other garment, by making it their own, or the holy Chalice, and the venerable paten, and the other most divine vessels which are in the Bema, since Apostles excommunicate only those who do these things, and do not depose them from office. So the present Canon decrees that those who make these assertions are distorting the Apostolic Canon, and are garbling or misinterpreting it to suit their passions. Wherefore if the Canon excommunicates those who do not purloin but only use for common service only the sanctified vessels that are outside of the Bema with their dedication to the temple, how can it be said that they are not responsible and subject, not only to deposition from office, but even to the worst kind of ungodliness, who both purloin and with common and impure uses pollute the very Holies of Holies outright, Chalices, I mean, and divine patens, and other things of a like nature, by means whereof the awful and horrible Mysteries are performed? So if anyone in holy orders purloin the holy vessels and vestments to be found in the holy sacrificial altar, or uses them in an unsacred service, let him be completely deposed from office, since this depredation (to speak of it thus) is nothing short of sanctilege (a crime which is much more serious than mere sacrilege). This unsacred service, on the other hand, is a profanation and pollution of the holies. As for those who employ in common service for their own use the vessels or vestments found outside of the holy Bema, or who give them to others to be so used, both the Canon of the Apostles and we ourselves excommunicate them. But as for those who snatch them away altogether, or steal them completely, we make them liable to condemnation as sacrilegists. Read also the same Ap. c. LXXIII.

 

11. The divine and sacred Canons impose the penalty of deposition on presbyters or deacons who undertake secular offices or worldly cares, or the so-called curatories in the households of civil magistrates. We too confirm this, and as concerning the rest of those who are included among the Clergy we decree that in case any one of them is being employed in secular offices, or undertakes or accepts so-called curatories in the households of civil magistrates or in the suburbs, that person shall be ousted from his own Clergy. For, according to the most veracious utterance pronounced by Christ Himself, our true God, "no one can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13).

(Ap. cc. VI, LXXXI, LXXXIII; cc. III, VII of the 4th; c. X of the 7th; c. XVIII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits not only those within the Bema in holy orders, as the rest of the Canons decree, but also all the clerics outside of the Bema, from accepting secular offices and curatories, or, more plainly speaking, superintending and taking care of the internal affairs of the households of civil magistrates, as well as their farm lands, or latifundia. If any one among them should do this, let him be driven out of his Clergy, since according to the Lord’s words, "no one can serve two masters." See also Ap. c. VI.

 

12. Besides the fact that the holy and Ecumenical Sixth Council has made liable to deposition from office clerics who are officiating or baptizing within a home in prayer-houses without the consent and approval of the bishop, we too join hands with that Council in condemning them likewise. For inasmuch as the holy Church is expounding the faith straightforwardly and soundly, and is professing and defending the true word, and is both maintaining and teaching outright the decorum regulating conduct in actual life, it is dissonant and undevout to relegate those living together with uneducatedness to their own roles, to vitiate her good order, and to permeate her with troubles and scandals galore. Wherefore the present sacred Council in cooperation with God, and in agreement with the Ecumenical and holy Sixth Council, has decreed that those who are officiating within a private home in prayerhouses are declericated, that is to say, the declerication being awarded them by the local bishop. But if any other persons than these, without the bishop’s lending his good will, should fall into those roles and dare to touch the liturgy, they are to be deposed from office, whereas those on the other hand who partook of their communion are to undergo excommunication.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; c. LIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-and-2nd; c. VI of Gangra; cc. X, LXII of Carthage; c. V of Antioch; c. LVIII of Laodicea.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon agrees with c. XXXI of the 6th C., which we have interpreted; see the interpretation given there. All that the fathers of the present Council add is this, that those who are about to officiate in prayer-houses which have not been dedicated and which are inside private houses must be appointed and allotted to this function by the local bishop. If, nevertheless, others who are in holy orders should dare to officiate in those prayer-houses without being appointed to this function by the bishop, they themselves are to be deposed from office, while the laymen who have participated with them in this function are to be excommunicated. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

13. The All-evil One having planted the seed of heretical tares in the Church of Christ, and seeing these being cut down to the roots with the sword of the Spirit, took a different course of trickery by attempting to divide the body of Christ by means of the madness of the schismatics. But, checking even this plot of his, the holy Council has decreed that henceforth if any Presbyter or Deacon, on the alleged ground that his own bishop has been condemned for certain crimes, before a conciliar or synodal hearing and investigation has been made, should dare to secede from his communion, and fail to mention his name in the sacred prayers of the liturgical services in accordance with the custom handed down in the Church, he shall be subject to prompt deposition from office and shall be stripped of every prelatic honor. For anyone who has been established in the rank of Presbyter and forestalls the Metropolitan’s judgment, and, judging matters before a trial has been held, insofar as lies in his power, condemns his own father and Bishop, he is not even worthy of the honor or name of Presbyter. Those, on the other hand, who go along with him, in case any of them should be among those in holy orders, they too shall forfeit their own rights to honor, or, in case they should be monks or laymen, let them be utterly excommunicated from the Church until such time as they spew upon and openly renounce all connection with the schismatics and decide to return to their own Bishop.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XII, XIV, XV of the lst-and-2nd; c. V of Antioch; c. VI of Gangra; cc. X, XI, LX of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

Both by means of the heretics and by means of the schismatics the devil endeavors to divide the body of Christ, or what is otherwise called His Church. On this account and for this reason the present Canon decrees that if any presbyter or deacon separates from communion of his bishop, and does not mention the name of the latter in accordance with custom, before the Council or Synod has examined into the charges laid against him, and has condemned him, the presbyter or deacon guilty of doing this shall be deposed from office, since he is not worthy to have the dignity and name of presbyter or deacon, as the case may be, when, condemning his own bishop, who is his spiritual father, he anticipates the Metropolitan’s judgment. For it is Metropolitans, and not clerics, that are entitled to pass judgment upon bishops. Those, on the other hand, who keep in line with such apostates, or seceders, i.e., such presbyters and deacons, shall, in case they be in holy orders, be promptly deposed from office; but in case they be monks or laymen, let them be excommunicated not merely from the divine Mysteries, but even from the Church herself, until they come to hate the erring presbyters and deacons, and decide to unite themselves with their own bishop. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

14. If any Bishop, on the allegation that charges of crime lie against his own Metropolitan, shall secede or apostatize from him before a conciliar or synodal verdict has been issued against him, and shall abstain from communion with him, and fail to mention his name, in accordance with consuetude, in the course of the divine mystagogy (i.e., litrugical celebration of the Eucharistic mystery), the holy Council has decreed that he shall be deposed from office, if merely by seceding from his own Metropolitan he shall create a schism. For everyone ought to know his own bounds, and neither ought a presbyter treat his own bishop scornfully or contemptuously, nor ought a bishop to treat his own Metropolitan so.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XII, XIII, XV of the lst-and-2nd; c. V of Antioch; c. VI of Gangra; cc. X, XI, LXII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

In a similar vein as in the above Canon, the present Canon deposes from office those bishops who separate themselves from the joint communion of their Metropolitan, and refuse to mention his name in accordance with established custom; because neither ought any presbyter to scorn his bishop, nor ought any bishop to scorn his Metropolitan. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

15. The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter’s name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgment against him, creates a schism, the holy Council has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting those persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Councils, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it barehead in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XII, XIII, XIV of the lst-and-2nd; c. V of Antioch; c. VI of Gangra; cc. X, XI, LXII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The same rules as were prescribed in the above Canons with regard to bishops and Metropolitans, are prescribed, and so much the more so, by the present Canon with regard to Patriarchs. For it says that if any presbyter or bishop or Metropolitan should separate himself from the joint communion of his own Patriarch, and does not mention his name in accordance with custom (this applies, that is to say, to only the Metropolitan; for a presbyter mentions only the name of his bishop, and the bishop mentions only the name of his Metropolitan), before revealing the charges against their Patriarch to the Council, and before learning that he has been condemned by the Council — they, I say, shall all be completely deposed from office; the bishops and Metropolitans from every prelatic activity; the presbyters from every priestly activity. But these provisions are of effect if presbyters separate from their bishops, or bishops separate from their Metropolitans, or Metropolitans separate from their Patriarchs, on account of certain criminal charges, of fornication, say, of sacrilege, and of other serious crimes. If, however, the said presidents are heretics, and are preaching their heresy openly, and on this account those subject to them separate themselves, and even though it be before there has been any conciliar or synodal trial concerning the heresy, but are even deemed to deserve fitting honor as Orthodox Christians, since not only have they caused no schism in the Church on account of their separation, but have rather freed the Church from the schism and heresy of their pseudo-bishops. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

16. It is also necessary to decree something in regard to the quarrels and disturbances that are taking place in God’s Church. Under no circumstances shall any Bishop be appointed over a church whose president is still alive and is in good standing of honor, unless he himself shall voluntarily resign. For the cause of one who is going to be ousted from the church must first be canonically examined and brought to a conclusion, and then thereafter when he has been duly deposed from office, another man may be promoted to the episcopacy in his stead. But if any Bishop in good standing of honor neither cares to resign nor to pastor his own laity, but, having deserted his own bishopric, has been staying for more than six months in some other region, without being so much as detained by an Imperial rescript, nor even being in service in connection with the liturgies of his own Patriarch, nor, furthermore, being restrained by any severe illness or disease utterly incapacitating him motion to and from his duties — any such Bishop, therefore, who is not prevented by any of the said excuses from performing his duties, nevertheless holds himself aloof from his own episcopate and for a period of over six months sojourns in some other locality, shall be deprived altogether of the honor and office of bishop. For because of his woefully neglecting the flock which has been entrusted to him, and tarrying in some other region for a period of more than six months, the holy Council has decreed that he shall be deprived altogether of the prelacy whereby he was appointed to act as a pastor, and that someone else shall be chosen to fill his place in the episcopacy.

(Ap. c. LVIII; cc. XIX, LXXX of the 6th; c. XI of Sardica; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXVI, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. X of Peter; c. XVI of Nyssa; c. I of Cyril.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no bishop shall be ordained in a province whose bishop is still living and is still invested with the episcopal office or dignity. For this causes scandals and disturbances in the Church. Except only in case the bishop voluntarily resigns from his bishopric (on account of some secret reason, that is to say, which prevents his keeping it; concerning which see the Letter of the Third Ecumenical Council). But if any bishop merits being ousted from his bishopric on account of crimes he has committed, and merits being deposed from office on account thereof, thereafter let some other bishop take his place. If, on the other hand, it should happen that any bishop neither cares to resign nor to pastor his laity, but, instead of doing so, stays for more than six months outside of his province, without being compelled to do so either by an Imperial rescript or by the necessity of rendering service to his Patriarch, nor by any severe illness that incapacitates him; when such a bishop is summoned and fails to return, but, on the contrary, neglects the flock entrusted to him, let him be utterly deposed from the prelatic dignity, and let some other man be ordained bishop in his stead. Note, however, that after saying further above "unless he himself shall voluntarily resign" from his bishopric, further below it says, as if correcting that proviso, that a bishop ought to be ousted from his province for crimes, and not simply when he voluntarily resigns on account of indolence and disinclination to take care of his affairs, unless it be, as we said, on account of some hidden .and secret reason that prevents him from attending to his duties.

Concord.

In agreement with the present Canon c. XCVI of Carthage decrees that the bishopric of a bishop ought not to be taken away from him before the judicial trial of his case has resulted in a verdict. But c. IV of Sardica forbids the appointing of another bishop to the bishopric of a deposed bishop until a decision concerning this has been pronounced by the bishop of Rome, lest there be two bishops in the same city; which is unlawful and is forbidden by c. VIII of the 1st and by c. XII of the 4th. See also Ap. c. LVIII and c. LXXX of the 6th.

 

17. Since we have been occupied with matters of ecclesiastical good order, it behooves us to decree also this, that henceforth none of the laymen or monks shall be allowed to ascend to the height of the episcopacy precipitately and multitudinously as in a stampede, but, on the contrary, by being duly examined with reference to the various ecclesiastical degrees or grades, let them thus attain to ordination to the episcopacy. For even if hitherto and up till now some laymen and some monks, owing to need or want demanding it, have been enabled to attain to the honor of the episcopate immediately and without further ado, and they have distinguished themselves for virtuousness and have exalted their churches, yet the fact is that what is of rare occurrence cannot be made a law of the Church; we therefore decree that this shall no longer be done hereafter and henceforth, but that the ordinee must pass through the priestly degrees in a logical manner by fulfilling the required length of service of each order before proceeding to the next higher rank.

(Ap. c. LXXX: c. II of the 1st: c. III of Laodicea; c. X of Sardica; c. XII of Neocaesarea; c. IV of Cyril).

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids anyone to be elevated to the height of the prelacy, that is to say, to be ordained a prelate, from the ranks of laymen or monks, directly this has been voted; but, on the contrary, he must first be ordained in due order to every degree of the holy orders in succession, to wit: Lector, Subdeacon, Deacon, and Presbyter. Secondly, he must remain a sufficient length of time in each degree of rank, and thereafter, if he be found to be worthy, he may be ordained also a bishop. For, although it is true that some persons heretofore in time of need have been made bishops directly from laymen and monks (that is to say, without first passing the usual and appointed length of time in each rank of holy orders), and they indeed proved worthy and shone with virtues, and glorified their provinces, yet it must be borne in mind that what is particular and rare, and is done in time of necessity, cannot be made a general law to the Church (which very fact is stated also by St. Gregory the Theologian, and by the second Act of the Council held in Holy Wisdom, which says: "Rare good things cannot be a law to the majority of human beings"). Hence this must not be done from now on and in the future. Read also Ap. c. LXXX.

 

The Council held in the Temple of Holy Wisdom.

Prolegomena.

The holy Council which was convoked in the righthand part of the catechumens’ quarters of the Great Church, otherwise known as the Temple of Holy Wisdom (Note of Translator. — The usual designation in English is "St. Sophia," but this is egregiously erroneous), was held in the year 879 after Christ and in the thirteenth year of the reign of Basil the Macedonian. It was attended by three hundred and eighty-three (383) fathers, of whom the outstanding ones were: the most holy Patriarch of Constantinople Photius; Peter the Presbyter, a cardinal and the legate of Pope John, together with Paul and Eugene; Elias Presbyter, the legate of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theodosius; Cosmas Presbyter, the apocrisarius of Michael the Patriarch of Alexandria; Basil the Bishop of Martyroupolis and legate of Theodosius the Patriarch of Antioch. This Council was held mainly and chiefly in order to put a stop to the scandals which had arisen between the Easterners and the Westerners in regard to Bulgaria, but in addition thereto for the purpose of effecting a union of the bishops who had split on account of the expulsion of Ignatius and the ordination of Photius. For this Council, after proclaiming the holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council to have been truly ecumenical, and classing it together with the other six Ecumenical Councils, and anathematizing all those who did not so class it (for there were some such persons in France) it recognized most holy Photius and proclaimed him the lawful and canonical Patriarch of Constantinople; and it outlawed and repudiated the Councils which had been held against Photius in ‘Rome and Constantinople. Having done these things, and in its sixth and seventh Acts having rightly and piously decreed that the holy Creed (or Symbol of Faith) should remain uninnovated and immutable forever, and having uttered horrible anathemas against any person that should dare to add anything thereto or to remove anything therefrom, it also issued the present three Canons in its fifth Act, which Canons are needed for the decorum and stabilization of the Church and which have been and are accepted by our entire Church as genuine, just as all the exegetes of the sacred Canons in common declare and affirm; and, indeed, the Nomocanon itself of Photius.

 

Canons.

1. This holy and ecumenical Council has decreed that so far as concerns any clerics, or laymen, or bishops from Italy that are staying in Asia, or Europe, or Africa, under bond, or deposition, or anathema imposed by the most holy Pope John, all such persons are to be held in the same condition of penalization also by the most holy Patriarch of Constantinople Photius. That is to say, either deposed, or anathematized, or excommunicated. All those persons, on the other hand, whom Photius our most holy Patriarch has condemned or may condemn to excommunication, or deposition, or anathematization, in any diocese whatsoever, whether clerics or laymen or any of the persons who are of prelatical or priestly rank, are to be treated likewise by most holy Pope John, and his holy Church of God of the Romans, and be held in the same category of penalization. Nothing, however, shall affect the priorities due to the most holy throne of the Church of the Romans, nor shall anything redound to the detriment of her president, as touching the sum-total of innovations, either now or at any time hereafter.

(Ap. cc. XII, XIII, XXXII; c. VI of Antioch; c. XIV of Sardica; cc. XI, XXXVII, CXLI.).

Interpretation.

In order to bring about a peaceful end to the many scandals and dissensions which had arisen at that time in the Eastern and the Western Church, as between Popes Nicholas and Adrian of Rome and Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, the primary cause of which had been the province of Bulgaria, as we have said, the present Canon of this Council decrees that all the clerics and laymen and bishops that were excommunicated or deposed or anathematized by John the Pope of Rome, whether they be located in Europe or in Asia or in Africa, they are to be excommunicated and deposed and anathematized also by Photius the Patriarch of Constantinople. And conversely, all such persons as have been excommunicated or deposed or anathematized in any region of the earth by the Patriarch of Constantinople, are to be excommunicated, deposed, and anathematized also by the Pope of Rome, without the privileges of the Church of the Romans, and of the Pope therein, being adversely affected, either now or in the future, this meaning, that is to say, that the Pope is to be first in the order of honor with respect to the other four Patriarchs. Nevertheless, these things were done at that time when the Church of the Romans had neither slipped from the faith nor had any quarrel with us Greeks. But now we have no union or communion with her, on account of the heretical dogmas to which she became attached. See also Ap. c. XXXII.

 

2. Though hitherto some bishops having descended to the habit of monks, have been forced nevertheless to remain in height of the prelacy, they have been overlooked when they did so. But, with this in mind, this holy and ecumenical Council, with a view to regulating this oversight, and readjusting this irregular practice to the ecclesiastical statutes, has decreed that if any bishop or anyone else with a prelatical office is desirous of descending to monastic life and of replenishing the region of penitence and of penance, let him no longer cherish any claim to prelatical dignity. For the monks’ conditions of subordination represent the relationship of pupilship, and not of teachership or of presidency; nor do they undertake to pastor others, but are to be content with being pastored. Wherefore, in accordance with what was said previously, we decree that none of those who are on the prelatical list and are enrolled pastors shall lower themselves to the level of the pastored and repentant. If anyone should dare to do so, after the delivery and discrimination of the decision hereby being pronounced, he having deprived himself of his prelatical rank, shall no longer have the right to return to his former status, which by actual deeds he has vitiated.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits bishops and pastors from descending from the height of prelatical dignity and office to the lowness of the habit of monks (just as they are likewise forbidden to resign from their province, except only on account of canonical crimes they have to their discredit, preventing them from being in holy orders, and confessed by them to their spiritual father. For by resigning beforehand, they would have been enabled to descend to the rank of monks). But if anyone should dare to do so, after making this decision, let him no longer be able in any way whatsoever to retain the high office of the prelacy, or to perform any prelatical function; for first of all the agreement which monks enter into in connection with the habit are agreements of social subordination, or pupilship (or discipleship), and of repentance (or penitance), but not of authority and of teacherhood and of a life grounded in irreprehensibility, which are the merits of the office of bishop. These things, being contrary to one another, cannot be found united together in the same season. Secondly, the fact that the monks themselves have deprived themselves of the rank of the prelacy, and so it is not possible for them to recover again that which they forfeited by deeds or actual works. Notwithstanding that hitherto some bishops have been committing this impropriety, from now on, however, and henceforth let it not be done.

 

3. If any layman, after becoming a man of authority, and conceiving a contempt for divine and imperial injunctions, and laughing to scorn the dread statutes and laws of the Church, shall dare to strike any bishop, or to imprison one, without reason or cause, or for a fictitious reason or cause, let such a one be anathema. (Ap. c. LV.)

Interpretation.

The world has never been free from evils. Accordingly, the opinion of that sage is true which says that most men are evil. For here, behold, you can see for yourselves proof of this in the fact that in older times bishops were beaten and imprisoned by laymen. What an outrage! That is why the present Canon commands that a layman be anathematized if after receiving authority and power, or after becoming the cause of his own mental (or psychical) death (for the Greek word, says the author, which is here translated into English as "a man of authority," also signifies "self-murderer," or one who is ordinarily called a suicide in English) he should show contempt for imperial orders and commands, at the same time laugh to scorn both the unwritten traditions and the written laws of the Church, and dare (for it is truly a piece of enormous daring and audacity for anyone to strike any bishop) to strike a bishop (or, more explicitly, not only the bishop, with the definite article, that is to say, the noted and official personage, but even the humblest, and poorest, and casual bishop), or to put him in prison, either without cause or on a false charge which he himself has trumped up. But what is an anathema? See the Prolegomena of the Council held in Gangra. Read also Ap. c. LV.

 

The Council of Carthage during Cyprian.

Prolegomena.

There were three regional councils that were held in Carthage, a city in Africa, with regard to rebaptism, in the time of St. Cyprian the martyr. One was in the year 255 A.C. and in the fourth year of the reign of Valerian and Gallienus, at which council it was decreed that no one could be baptized outside of the Church, since the Church recognizes only one baptism; hence heretics who join the catholic Church have to be rebaptized. But persons that have been canonically baptized previously by the Orthodox and have later become heretics, must be accepted upon returning to Orthodoxy, not by baptism, as Novatius was asserting, but solely by prayer and imposition of hands (concerning which see also c. VIII of the 1st), as is plainly evident from the letter addressed to Quintus by Cyprian and numbered 71. A second council was held in the year 258 (or 256 according to Milias in the first volume of the Councils). It was attended by 71 bishops from Numidia and other parts of Africa, whom St. Cyprian had assembled in order that they might affirm with greater force and effect and confirm the decree concerning rebaptism which had been set forth at the preceding council. They first decreed that all those who were in the church, i.e., were clerics, and left the faith, were to be accepted upon their return only as laymen; and secondly, that the baptism performed by persons who were heretics was so invalid that when converted they would have to be baptized in the Orthodox manner, but were not to be deemed to be baptized a second time, but to be considered as receiving baptism for the first time in their life, on the ground that they never had had any true baptism at all. But a third council was also held in Carthage in the same year by the same St. Cyprian, and was attended by 84 bishops. It sent the present conciliar canonical letter, which is the same as saying the present Canon, to Bishop Jovian and his fellow bishops, as Zonaras asserts (and as the letter itself plainly indicates), because this bishop had asked divine Cyprian whether the schismatic Novatians ought to be baptized upon joining the catholic Church. But as very learned Dositheus (p. 55 of the Dodecabiblus) says, it was because a letter had been sent by the above-mentioned second council to Pope Stephen of Rome revealing what it had decided and decreed concerning rebaptism; Stephen, convoking a council in Rome, invalidated the letter by decreeing that the baptism of heretics who baptize as the Church does ought not to be in effect doubled, i.e., repeated, as Cyprian states in his letter to Pompeius Sabratensio, a bishop in Africa. Hence for the purpose of affording complete confirmation of the necessity of rebaptism and of the baptism performed once and twice as determined by conciliar decision, and with a view to the rejection of what had been decreed by Pope Stephen, this third Council was assembled by St. Cyprian, and it issued the present Canon. Note that although this Council ought to have been placed in front of all the Ecumenical Councils and other regional councils because of the fact that it preceded all of them in point of time, it has been placed after them in sequence here and the Ecumenical Councils have been introduced ahead of it, on the ground that the present Council, being a regional one, is of less importance and has less claim to a front seat. (See Dositheus concerning these councils on pp. 53 and 975 of the Dodecabiblus; and see p. 98 of the first volume of the conciliar records.) This same rule has been observed also with respect to the other regional councils which preceded the Ecumenical Councils, that of being placed, that is to say, after the Ecumenical Councils on account of their authoritativeness. As for St. Cyprian, who assembled these three Councils, he suffered martyrdom in the reign of Emperor Decius. The wonderful encomium which the theological tongue of St. Gregory bestowed upon his holiness suffices for his praise.

Canon.

1. While assembled in a parliament, dear brethren, we have read letters sent by you concerning those who are presumed among heretics or schismatics to have been baptized and who are joining the catholic Church, which is one single institution in which we are baptized and are regenerated, concerning which facts we are firmly convinced that you yourselves in doing so are ensuring the solidity of the catholic Church. Yet inasmuch as you are of the same communion with us and wished to inquire about this matter on account of a common love, we are moved to give you, and conjoin in doing so, not any recent opinion, nor one that has been only nowadays established, but, on the contrary, one which has been tried and tested with all accuracy and diligence of yore by our predecessors, and which has been observed by us. Ordaining this also now, which we have been strongly and securely holding throughout time, we declare that no one can be baptized outside of the catholic Church, there being but one baptism, and this being existent only in the catholic Church. For it has been written: "They have forsaken me who am a fountain of living water, and have dug themselves shattered pits, which can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13). And again the Holy Bible forewarningly says: "Keep away from another’s water, and from another’s fountain drink not" (Prov. 5:15) For the water must first be purified and sanctified by the priest, in order that it may be able to wipe away with its baptismal efficacy the sins of the person being baptized. Through Ezekiel the prophet the Lord says: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and will cleanse you; . . . and a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I bestow upon you" (Ezek. 36:25-26). But how can one who is unclean himself purify and sanctify water, when there is in him no Holy Spirit, and the Lord says in the Book of Numbers: "And whatsoever an unclean person toucheth shall be unclean" (Num. 19:22). How can anyone that has been unable to deposit his own sins outside the Church manage in baptizing another person to let him have a remission of sins? But even the question itself which arises in baptism is a witness to the truth. For in saying to the one being baptized, "Believest thou in an everlasting life, and that thou shall receive a remission of sins?" we are saying nothing else than that it can be given in the catholic Church, but that among heretics where there is no Church it is impossible to receive a remission of sins. And for this reason the advocates of the heretics ought either to change the essence of the question for something else, or else give the truth a trial, unless they have something to add the Church to them, as a bonus. But it is necessary for anyone that has been baptized to be anointed, in order that, upon receiving the chrism, he may become a partaker of Christ. But no heretic can sanctify oil, seeing that he has neither an altar nor a church. Not a drop of chrism can exist among heretics. For it is obvious to you that no oil at all can be sanctified amongst them for use in connection with the Eucharist. For we ought to be well aware, and not ignorant, of the fact that it has been written: "let not the oil of a sinner anoint my head" (Ps. 140:6); which indeed even in olden times the Holy Spirit made known in psalms, lest anyone, having been sidetracked and led astray from the straight way, be anointed by the heretics, who are opponents of Christ. But how shall one who is, not a priest, but a sacrilegist and sinner, pray for the one baptized, when the Bible says that "God heareth not sinners; but if anyone be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth" (John 9:31). Through the holy Church we can conceive a remission of sins. But who can give what he has not himself? Or how can one do spiritual works who has become destitute of Holy Spirit? For this reason anyone joining the Church ought to become renewed, in order that within through the holy elements he become sanctified. For it is written: "Ye shall be holy, just as I myself am holy, saith the Lord" (Lev. 19:2; 20:7), in order that even one who has been duped by specious arguments may shed this very deception in true baptism in the true Church when as a human being he comes to God and seeks a priest, but, having gone astray in error, stumbles upon a sacrilegist. For to sympathize with persons who have been baptized by heretics is tantamount to approving the baptism administered by heretics. For one cannot conquer in part, or vanquish anyone partially. If he was able to baptize, he succeeded also in imparting the Holy Spirit. If he was unable, because, being outside, he had no Holy Spirit, he cannot baptize the next person. There being but one baptism, and there being but one Holy Spirit, there is also but one Church, founded by Christ our Lord upon (Peter the Apostle in the beginning saying) oneness and unity. And for this reason whatever they do is false and empty and vain, everything being counterfeit and unauthorized. For nothing that they do can be acceptable and desirable with God. In fact, the Lord calls them His foes and adversaries in the Gospels: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matt. 12:30). And the blissful Apostle John, who kept the Lord’s commandments, stated beforehand in his Epistle: "ye have heard that the antichrist shall come, but even now there have come to be many antichrists" (1 John 2:18). Hence we know that it is the last hour. They came out of us, but they were not of us. Hence we too ought to understand, and think, that enemies of the Lord, and those called antichrists, could not give grace to the Lord. And for this reason we who are with the Lord, and who are upholding the oneness and unity of the Lord, and after the measure of His worth imbuing ourselves therewith, exercising His priesthood in the Church, we ought to disapprove and refuse and reject, and treat as profane, everything done by His opponents, that is, foes and antichrists. And to those who from error and crookedness come for knowledge of the true and ecclesiastic faith we ought to give freely the mystery of divine power, of unity as well as of faith, and of truth.

(Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, LXVIII; c. VII of the 2nd; c. XCV of the 6th.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon proves, by means of many arguments, that baptism administered by heretics and schismatics is unacceptable, and they ought to be baptized when they return to the Orthodoxy of the catholic Church. 1st) Because there is but one baptism, and because this is to be found only in the catholic Church. Heretics and schismatics, on the other hand, being outside of the catholic Church, have, in consequence, not even the one baptism. 2nd) The water used in baptism must first be purified and be sanctified by means of prayers of the priests, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit; afterwards it can purify and sanctify the person being baptized therein. But heretics and schismatics are neither priests, being in fact rather sacrilegists; neither clean and pure, being in fact impure and unclean; neither holy, as not having any Holy Spirit. So neither have they any baptism. 3rd) Through baptism in the catholic Church there is given a remission of sins. But through the baptism administered by heretics and schismatics, inasmuch as it is outside of the Church, how can any remission of sins be given? 4th) The person being baptized must, after he is baptized, be anointed with the myron prepared from olive oil and various spices, which has been sanctified by visitation of the Holy Spirit. But how can a heretic sanctify any such myron when as a matter of fact he has no Holy Spirit because of his being separated therefrom on account of heresy and schism? 5th) The priest must pray to God for the salvation of the one being baptized. But how can a heretic or a schismatic be listened to by God when, as we have said, he is a sacrilegist and a sinner (not so much on account of his works, but rather on account of the heresy or schism, these being the greatest sin of all sins), at a time when the Bible says that God does not listen to sinners. 6th) Because the baptism administered by heretics and schismatics cannot be acceptable to God as baptism, since they are enemies and foes with God (i.e., mutually), and are called antichrists by John. For all these reasons, then, and others the present Canon, with an eye to accuracy and strictness, insists that all heretics and schismatics be baptized, adding also the remark that this opinion — that any baptism, that is to say, administered by heretics or schismatics is unacceptable — is not a new one of the Fathers of this Council, but, on the contrary, is an old one, tried and tested by their predecessors (who nearly reached to the very successors of the Apostles) with great diligence and accuracy; and it is consistent in all respects with Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, and LXVIII. Not only did the present Canon reject baptism administered by heretics and schismatics by common agreement, but also in private and individually each one of the eighty-four Fathers attending the present Council, with a separate argument — which is the same as saying, with eighty-four distinct arguments — rejected it. That is why the Second Ecumenical Council in its c. VII reserved the present Canon apart (but if it did not reserve it for all, it did this by way of "economy" and concession, and not with full regard for accuracy, as we have said in the Footnote to Ap. c. XLVI), and the Sixth Ec. C. in its c. II sanctioned and ratified it (even though it may be said that it applied only to those regions of Africa, yet once it actually sanctioned and ratified it, it confirmed it still further, and did not abrogate or annul it). St. Basil the Great, too, accepts it in his c. I. See also the Footnote to the said Ap. c. XLVI. Another. The Ecumenical Council accepted and ratified the statements of the more particular Councils, and indeed by name the Canons of St. Basil the Great, as we saw in c. II of the 6th. Hence it is to be logically inferred that they accepted and confirmed along therewith everything that the regional Councils and Basil the Great had previously decreed; and thus it is correctly and confidently and surely concluded that all heretics must beyond a doubt be baptized. As for the "economy" which certain Fathers employed for a time it cannot be deemed either a law or an example, but if one were to investigate the matter aright, one would finally discover that these heretics whom the Second Ecumenical Council accepted "economically" were mostly persons in holy orders who had been already duly baptized but had succumbed to some heresy, and on this account it employed this "economy." The truth, however, of the divine Scripture, and right reason prove incontestably that all heretics ought to be baptized.

 

The Regional Council of Ancyra.

Prolegomena.

The holy regional Council held in Ancyra, the archdiocese of Galatia, took place, according to those who have written discourses about it, in the year 315 A.C., but Milias in the second volume of the conciliar records says that it was assembled in the year 314. The number of Fathers who attended it was eighteen, of whom the exarchs were: Vitellius, patriarch of Antioch, Syria; Agricola, metropolitan of Caesarea, Cappadocia; Marcellus, archbishop of the same Ancyra; and the martyr St. Basileus, bishop of Amaseia. They issued the present 25 Canons regarding those who denied Christ during the reign of Maximus the tyrant, and who sacrificed to idols, but thereafter joined the Church. These Canons are definitely confirmed by c. II of the 6th Ec. C., and indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th; and by virtue of the latter’s confirmation they acquire an ecumenical force in a way. Concerning this Council Gregory of Neocaesarea made predictions even 53 years before it in his c. VIII. (See Dositheus, p. 976 of the Dodecabiblus, concerning it.)

 

Canons.

1. As for presbyters who sacrificed to idols, but afterwards succeeded in recovering their senses, not with any trickery, but in truth, not after previous preparations, and pretenses, and persuasions, in order to seem as though being put to tortures, but actually having these inflicted only seemingly and in sham, it has been deemed but right that they should share the honor of sitting in the seats of their class, without, however, being allowed to offer the host, or to deliver homilies, or to perform any function pertaining to priestly offices.

Interpretation.

Of those Christians who used to deny Christ and sacrifice to idols in time of persecutions, some, when tortured and unable to endure the severity of the tortures, would deny the name of Christ, while others even before suffering any tortures would betray the religion. The latter, however, in order to avoid appearing to deny it voluntarily, would persuade the torturers, either by means of money or by entreaties, to pretend that they were putting them to tortures, without really doing so, but merely in appearance. These facts having become known to have been so, the present Canon decrees that those presbyters who when really put to tortures, without any trickery or hypocritical acting, and unable to endure them, sacrificed at first to idols, but later again, having regretted this, confessed the faith and reaped a victory, are to have the outward honor and the right to sit with the presbyters (to be honored, that is to say, like priests, and to sit together with the priests — concerning which see c. I of Antioch and the Footnote to c. XXVI of the 6th), yet not to have permission to conduct divine services, nor to teach, nor to perform any other priestly office. See also Ap. c. LXII, and c. I of the 1st.

 

2. As for deacons who likewise sacrificed to idols, but thereafter succeeded in recovering their senses, they are to enjoy the other marks of honor, but are to cease all sacred services, including both that of the bread and that of offering the cup, and that of preaching. But in case some of the bishops, however, should sympathize with their toil, or humility of meekness, and wish to give them something further, or to take away anything, the power shall rest with them.

Interpretation.

The same things that the above Canon decreed with reference to presbyters is decreed by the present Canon with reference to deacons. That, in other words, if in consequence of the severity of the tortures they were overcome and sacrificed to idols, but thereafter again confessed the religion (here called, in Greek, the "piety"), they are to enjoy whatever other honor is due to deacons, but are to cease from every kind of sacred service that pertains to deacons, and from holding the holy bread and the holy cup (see the Footnote to c. XXIII of the 6th), and from preaching. If, however, any local bishops should become convinced that they are showing toil or moil in their repentance for the denial, and have been contritely humbled on account of the sin, and that they treat with meekness those who reproach them on this account, and not with audacity, it lies in their power to allow them anything more than the mere outward honor of deacons on account of the fervency of their repentance. If, on the contrary, they are convinced that they are little concerned and lukewarm in their repentance, again they have the power to deprive them even of that outward honor of deacons. See Ap. c. LXII, and c. XI of the lst-&-2nd.

 

3. As for those who were fleeing and were caught, or who were delivered up by their own intimates, or who otherwise had their property taken away from them, or who had to undergo tortures, or were cast into a jail, while crying out that they were Christians, and being torn to pieces, or who had anything put in their hands for violence by those employing force against them, or who had to accept some food of necessity, though confessing throughout that they were Christians, and ever exhibiting mournfulness over the occurrence in their whole make-up and their habit, and humbleness of life, they, as being without sin, are not to be excluded from communion. Even if they were excluded by someone as a matter of excessive strictness, or by some even through ignorance, they must immediately be admitted and restored to their rights. This applies likewise both to those who belong to the clergy, and to other members of the laity. A further question examined into was whether laymen can be promoted to orders if they incur the same necessity. It has been deemed but right that these persons too, as not having committed any sin, provided that their previous life has been correct and upright, be advanced to orders by imposition of hands.

Interpretation.

Since, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, the law of martyrdom is that one ought not to run of his own accord and voluntarily into martyrdom, with provision for both the weakness and the possible faint-hearted-ness which he may exhibit, and on account of the perdition and punishment in hell which those persons are bound to sustain who put him to martyrdom, nor again if he should happen to get caught in the net of martyrdom, ought he to flee and lose faith. For this reason the Christians of that time, being conscious of the weakness of their nature, were wont to flee from persecutions and hide themselves, in accordance with that passage in the Gospel which says: "when they persecute you in this city and drive you thence, flee ye into another" (Matt. 10:23). So, with reference to these fleeing Christians, the present Canon says in its decree that if these persons in fleeing were caught, or were delivered up by their own relatives who were Greeks (i.e., heathen), or were deprived of their property, or underwent tortures, and were cast into prison, or had their clothes torn off and were stripped naked, or the tyrants forcibly thrust into their hands incense, or some sacrificial object, or into their mouth thrust food which had been offered sacrificially to idols, and while suffering all these things cried out nevertheless that they were Christians, without any utter denial, they, I say, if they mourn over that occurrence which has befallen them, and display their mournfulness outwardly both by a show of humility and depression and plainness of clothes, and a face revealing their life, they are not to be prevented from partaking of divine communion, since they too are considered as not having sinned in any respect. But if some persons have excluded them from divine communion, either because of too great strictness, or on account of their indiscreetness, they must forthwith be admitted thereto, whether those who have suffered such an embarrassment were clerics or laymen. In fact, such persons are so far removed from any such sinfulness that even though one person among them should be a layman, he may become a priest, provided his previous life is unimpeachable and worthy of holy orders. See also Ap. c. LXII, and c. I of Gregory the Miracle-worker.

 

4. As concerning those who have sacrificed under duress, and in addition to these, those who have eaten supper at the idols, it has been deemed fitting that those persons who in being led away thereto went up in too gay raiment, and wore luxurious clothes, and partook of the prepared supper indifferently, should do a year as listeners, and three years as kneelers. They shall partake of prayer alone for two years, and then shall come to perfection.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that as regards those who have been forced to sacrifice to idols, or to eat food that was offered to idols, they must first be examined as to their disposition when doing that, and according to the disposition shown they are to have their penances meted out to them. For if when dragged off to be compelled to sacrifice, or to eat things offered to idols, they displayed a joyous attitude, and adorned themselves in valuable garments, and ate it in a nonchalant manner, that is to say, without being troubled in their heart, and grieved on this account, they are to do a year in the station of listeners, three years in that of kneelers, two years in that of co-standers (or consistentes) and after all these years they are to partake of the divine Mysteries.

Concord.

As for all those who patiently suffered unendurable tortures at first, but later on account of the weakness of the flesh were overcome and caused to deny, they are canonized three years and forty days according to c. I of Peter. But as for those who merely underwent imprisonment, and the stench connected therewith, but without other tortures were induced to deny, they are canonized four years, according to c. II of the same man. As for those, on the other hand, who when being tortured wore mourning while eating things that had been offered to idols, they are canonized three years and beyond, according to c. V of the present Council. But if they merely ate foods of their own at a heathenish festival in a temple of an idol, they are to spend two years in kneeling, according to c. VII of the present Council. As for those who sacrificed two or three times under duress, they are canonized seven years according to c. VIII of this same Council. See also c. XIV of the 1st Ec. C. and the drawing of a temple.

 

5. But as for those who went up with clothes of mourning, and upon reclining ate in the meantime weeping throughout the time they were reclining, if they have fulfilled the three years’ time of kneeling, let them be admitted without any offering. But if they did not eat, after doing two years of kneeling, let them commune in the third year, without any offering, in order that they may receive perfection in the fourth year. But Bishops are to have the power, after examining into the mode of the conversion, to exercise philanthropy (or charity) or to add more time to the penalty. But above all let the previous life be inquired into, and let the life thereafter be investigated, and thus shall the philanthropy be meted out in due proportion.

Interpretation.

The present Canon does not harmonize with the one above. For it says that all those who were forced to sacrifice and went with humble and mournful garments and ate things sacrificed to idols, weeping throughout the interval of their meal, shall, after doing three years in company with kneelers, stand with the faithful, though they are not to partake. But if they have not eaten anything at all that has been sacrificed to an idol, let them do two years as kneelers, and in the third year let them stand with the faithful, but without partaking, and after four years let them commune. These are the penalties provided by the Council. Bishops, however, have it in their power to consider the way in which they are repenting. Accordingly, if they are genuinely and fervently repentant, they are to lessen the number of years decreed as penalties. But if, on the contrary, they are unconcerned and nonchalant in repenting, they are to increase the number of years decreed as penalties. Moreover, bishops are obliged to investigate their life both before they ate the abominable things and after they ate things abominable. Then, if that life was and is virtuous, they are to reduce the penalties; but if it was and is blameworthy and wicked, they are to augment them. See also cc. XI and XII of the 1st, and c. IV of the present.

 

6. As concerning those who merely in obedience to a threat of being imprisoned and punished, and of having their property taken away, or of being forced to change their abode, have sacrificed, and up to the present time have failed to repent, and have neither been led to return, but have now come to join the Church and have become minded to return at a time coinciding with that of the Council, it has been deemed but right that until the great day they be admitted as listeners, and that after the great day they be obliged to serve three years as kneelers, and after two more years (as co-standers) they are to commune without an offering, and thus to arrive at perfection; so that they shall fulfill the whole period of six years. But if any persons were admitted to repentance before this Council convened, from that time let the term of six years be considered as having commenced. Nevertheless, if there be any danger and expectation of death ensuing from a disease or any other cause, let these persons be admitted conditionally.

Interpretation.

Any Christians that were overcome by the mere threats which the tyrants terrified them with when threatening to torture them, and to take away their property, or to exile them, and they sacrificed to the idols, and thereafter failed to repent until now at the present time of this Council they have barely arrived at a notion of repentance and of return, as for these persons, I say, the present Canon decrees that they are to be canonized, and that they shall remain in the station of listeners from the time of the Council, or, in other words, from the fourth week after Easter (see Ap. c. XXXVII) until the coming great day of Easter — which is the same as saying, a year and a month. Thereafter they are to kneel for three years, to stand with the faithful for two more years, and after the six years have ended they are to partake of communion. But as for any such persons as were admitted to repentance before this Council met, the six years of their canon are to start from that time. Nevertheless, if it should happen that there should ensue to them any danger of death from any illness or other circumstance, then they are to partake because of the necessity of the case, but conditionally — that is to say, in other words, under such a proviso that if they do not die, but remain alive, they are to refrain from communing again until the six years have elapsed, just as is decreed to the very same effect by c. XIII of the 1st. Read also Ap. c. LXII, and c. XI of the 1st. See also the drawing of a temple at the end of this book.

 

7. As concerning those persons who participated in a feast on the occasion of a heathenish festival, brought their own food to it, and ate thereof, it has seemed fitting that they should be admitted after spending two years’ time in kneeling. As to whether each of them ought to be allowed the offering too, this is for the Bishops to determine, and to investigate the rest of the life of each person.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that all Christians who took their food with them and went to a fixed spot appointed for the Hellenians to carry out their ceremonies and ate with them are to spend two years in kneeling and then be admitted. The bishop, however, by examining their earlier and later life, shall judge whether it is reasonable for these persons to be admitted only to prayer with the faithful or also to partake with them of the divine Mysteries. See c. XII of the 1st, and the ichnograph of a temple at the end of this book, and c. IV of the present Council.

 

8. As for those who have sacrificed a second and a third time under compulsion, let them kneel for a space of four years, then commune for two years without oblation, and with the seventh be admitted unreservedly.

Interpretation.

Having already expressed themselves as regarding those who have sacrificed once, these fathers now in the present Canon are expressing themselves as regarding those who have sacrificed two or three times, by saying that those who have done this under compulsion must spend four years in kneeling, and stand together with the faithful for two years, communing with them only in prayers; but in the seventh year they may partake of the divine Mysteries. See the ichnograph of a temple at the end of this book, and c. IV of the present Council.

 

9. As for all who not only apostatized, but even revolted and compelled brethren, or caused them to be compelled, to apostatize, let them receive the listening station for three years, and during six years more that of kneeling, and let them then commune for a year without oblation, in order that, after doing the full stretch of ten years, they may partake of the unabridged. During this time, nevertheless, let the rest of their life be kept under surveillance.

Interpretation.

As for all those who were so afraid of tortures that they not only denied the faith of Christ, but even rose up against the rest of the faithful, and either themselves compelled them to sacrifice and to deny, or cause others among the persecutors to compel them to do so, because, it may have been, they revealed Christians who were hiding somewhere or who had fled or who were unknown — as for such persons, I say, the present Canon commands them to listen to the Scriptures for three years, to kneel for six, and to stand with the faithful for one year; and when the ten years have been finished, then they are to be permitted to partake of the divine Mysteries. During the interval of these ten years the rest of their life must be examined into by their bishop or their spiritual father; and if they have been living negligently and badly, the years of their sentence are to be augmented.

Concord.

Canon VIII of St. Gregory the Miracle-worker (or Thaumaturgus) in regard to those who were taken captive by barbarians and later engaged with them in killing Christians or revealed to them hidden Christians, decrees that they ought not to be put even among listeners, but ought to weep outside the gate, until such time as a common Council is held concerning them — the present one, that is to say, and the present Canon concerning them. See also the ichnograph of a temple at the end of this book.

 

10. As for Deacons who are appointed in spite of their condition, if they gave evidence and insisted that they would have to marry, being unable to remain single, and who thereafter have married, let them stay in service, because they have been allowed to do so by the Bishop. But if any of them have kept silent as to this, and have agreed to remain single when ordained, but thereafter entered into marriage, let them be dismissed from the deaconry.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any deacons about to be ordained have openly confessed in evidence that they must marry after ordination, because of their inability to continue in a state of virginity, they are not to be deposed thereafter if they take a wife, but are to retain their deaconship, since they appeared to have been allowed to do this by the prelate who ordained them. For after hearing their declaration beforehand, the prelate did not reject them, but actually ordained them. But as for those deacons, again, who kept silent when about to be ordained and made no such statement, if they marry after ordination, they are to be dismissed from the deaconry. For the silence they maintained shows that they consented and agreed to remain virgins throughout their diaconate. See also c. VI of the 6th and the Footnote thereto.

 

11. As for girls that have been engaged or betrothed, and thereafter have been grabbed by other men, it has seemed best that they be given back to the men to whom they were previously betrothed, even though they have suffered violence at the hands of the former.

Interpretation.

All women or girls that are plighted to men, but thereafter have been rapaciously snatched away by other men, must be given back to their former fiancs, according to the present Canon, even though they have been deflowered by their ravishers; yet not compulsorily, but only if their former fiancés are willing and want them. See also c. XXVII of the 4th.

 

12. As for those who had sacrificed before baptism, and thereafter were baptized, it has seemed right to allow them to be promoted to orders, as having undergone a bath of purification.

Interpretation.

In olden times many persons accepted Christianity and believed in Christ, but were late in receiving holy baptism. On this account St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Basil the Great wrote their discourses urging to baptism. So it is in regard to these persons that the present Canon states that if as Christians they were caught by persecutors and sacrificed, provided they were baptized after the sacrifice, they may ascend even to the rank of the clergy and of holy orders, because we believe that holy baptism purified them from all former sins, no matter of what sort these might have been, whether pardonable or mortal. See also Ap. c. II.

 

13. Auxiliary Bishops shall have no right to ordain presbyters or deacons, but, moreover, not even city presbyters may they ordain, without being allowed to do so by the Bishop with letters in another diocese.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that without the written permission of their bishop auxiliary bishops cannot ordain any presbyters or deacons in any territory outside of their own. For if they cannot ordain such persons even in their own territory, except only for subdeacons, lectors, and exorcists, according to c. X of Antioch, much less can they do so in any other. But neither must they ordain even city presbyters where the bishop proper resides, without his written permission. The Canon insists that written permission be given, in order to prevent any doubt from supervening. See also the Footnote to c. VIII of the 1st.

 

14. As for those presbyters or deacons who are in the clergy and who abstain from meat, it has seemed right for them to touch and taste the meat and then, if they so wish, to refrain from eating it; but if they are unwilling to eat even vegetables that have been cooked with meat, and refuse to submit to the Canon, let them be dismissed from the orders.

(Ap. c. LV.)

Interpretation.

Since it was possible some persons actually did abhor or loathe meat in very truth, but, to cover up the fact, said that they abstained from it for the sake of exercise and temperance, in order to remove any such suspicion, the present Canon decrees that presbyters and deacons who refrain from eating meat with a view to temperance, must taste a little of it. But as for those who are so stoutly set against meat that they will not even eat vegetable cooked with meat, they must be dismissed from holy orders. For they thereby provoke the suspicion that they find meat disgusting, a view held by the Manichees and other heretics. Read also Ap. cc. LI and LIII.

 

15. With reference to things belonging to the Lord’s house, whatever presbyters have sold in the absence of a bishop, they shall be restored to the Lord’s house. But it is to be left to the judgment of the Bishop whether the price should be paid back or not, on account of the fact that many times the profit resulting from things bought repays them more than the price they themselves paid for them.

Interpretation.

In case presbyters and other members of the clergy (for the present Canon by beginning with a higher rank shows that it includes the lower ranks too) on account of any need have sold things of the church of the bishopric without the permission and consent of the bishop, or when he was not present, or had died, the church, or rather the bishop, shall recover them and take them back from the buyers. It is left to the discretion of the bishop whether to pay back to the buyers the price for which the things were sold, or not to pay it back; for many times owing to the fact that the things afford a profit or income the buyers may receive more from them than they paid for them when they bought them; and for this reason it is not right for them to receive the price of the things twice. See also Ap. c. XXXVIII. As for why the church is called a Lord’s house, we have said all there is to say in the Footnote to c. LXXIV of the 6th.

 

16. As regards those who have irrationalized or who are irrationalizing, all who committed this sin before they were twenty years old must spend fifteen years in kneeling before being permitted communion in prayers, and then, after passing five years in communion, they taste of the oblation. But let their life during the term of kneeling be scrutinized, and then let them be accorded the benefit of philanthropy. But if any of them have indulged in the sin to satiety, let them have the long term of kneeling. As for those who have passed that age and who, though possessing wives, fell into the sin, let them spend twenty-five years in kneeling before receiving the right to commune in prayers; then, after they have spent five years in the communion of prayers, let them receive the oblation. But if any of them sinned when possessing wives and having passed the age of fifty years, let them receive communion only at the time of their exit from life.

Interpretation.

Those who have fallen or are falling into the sin committed with irrational animals, otherwise known as bestiality, are not all to be treated alike, says the present Canon, but, on the contrary, those who sinned with them only a few times, before becoming twenty years old, and without possessing wives, are to do only fifteen years in the station of kneelers, and to stand for five years together with the faithful in the church praying along with them, and thereafter are to be allowed to partake of the Eucharist. But their life during penitence ought to be examined, and if they are fervidly repentant, they ought to be canonized more leniently; but if they have been living negligently, they ought not to receive any leniency whatever. But if these persons have fallen into this irrational sin of bestiality a great many times and to excess, let them do a long time among the kneelers. And accordingly they are thus to be canonized leniently both because of their youthfulness, during which the flame of desire is kindled, and because of their foolishness. But as for those who are more than twenty years old and have wives, if they have fallen into this vile sin, let them kneel for twenty-five years, and let them pray along with the faithful for five years, and then after those thirty years let them partake of the Eucharist. But as for those who are more than fifty years old and have wives, if they have fallen into bestiality, let them partake of the Eucharist at their death, and not at any other time. For they have no excuse whatever to offer like the ones above mentioned, neither youthfulness nor instability of character.

Concord.

Canon IV of Nyssa canonizes those guilty of violating the chastity of (lower) animals nineteen years, and calls this crime "adultery against nature," "because the injustice is done to a strange being and contrary to nature." St. Basil the Great, on the other hand, in his c. VII imposes on violators of the chastity of animals the same sentence as that meted out to violators of the chastity of male children and to murderers and to adulterers, while in his c. LXIII he makes it that inflicted upon adulterers only, or, more plainly speaking, he fixes it at fifteen years. According to c. XVII of the same Council, those guilty of bestiality ought to pray in company with the weather-bitten (or hiemantes), called in Greek cheimazomenoi. God, however, commands that men and women who fall into sin with (lower) animals be put to death, and that along with them the animals too be put to death. "And if any man lie with a quadruped, he shall surely be put to death; and ye shall slay the quadruped. And if a woman approach any beast, and lie down thereto, ye shall kill the woman and the beast" (Lev. 20:15-16). Book LX of the Basilica, Title 37, commands that "of those guilty of irrationalization, or, more explicitly speaking, of bestiality, let the verpa be cut off."

17. As for those who have committed an irrational crime, and are lepers, or, more explicitly speaking, have contracted leprosy, the holy Council has commanded that these persons pray with the weather-bitten.

Interpretation.

Just as Moses calls lepers unclean, in like manner the present Canon calls those guilty of bestiality and of violating the chastity of animals lepers, or, more explicitly speaking, unclean and leprous, meaning, in other words, that they have infected even those animals. It decrees that they pray together with the weather-bitten, or, more explicitly speaking, the persons possessed by demons. See also the above c. XVI of this same Council.

18. If any persons who have been appointed bishops and have not been accepted by that diocese to which they have been assigned should wish to intrude or encroach upon other dioceses, and to displace those established therein, and to excite riots against them, let them be excommunicated. If, however, they should wish to be seated in the presbytery, where they were presbyters formerly let them not be deprived of the honor. But if they engage in riots against the bishops therein established, let them be shorn of the honor of the presbytery, and let them be proscribed.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in case any bishops, after being ordained, failed to be accepted by their province, but go to other provinces, and coerce those ordained there, and cause disturbances, they are to be excommunicated, and to be deprived of the honor due to a bishop; but if they wish, let them have only the seat and honor of presbyters. Otherwise, if they will not keep the peace, but cause scandals and fights with the bishops there, let them forfeit even this honor of presbyters, and be ousted from the church altogether. Read also Ap. cc. XXXV and XXXVI.

 

19. As for those who have promised to maintain their virginity, but break their promise, let them fulfill the term of digamists. With regard to virgins however, who are cohabiting with men as sisters, we have prohibited this.

Interpretation.

Those who interpret the present Canon, including both Balsamon and Blastaris, assert that those men who promise to maintain their virginity, or, in other words, to live exclusively for God, before their being tonsured and clothed in monastic garments, can lawfully take a wife, by fulfilling the Canon of digamists; because, they say, monasticism is not affirmed by words, but is constituted and confirmed by the tonsure and the monastic garments. St. Basil the Great in his c. XVIII, which cites the present Canon, asserts that such persons do not marry, but practice fornication, and he commands that they be not admitted to communion until they get divorced from that marriage which according to commentators is legal but according to Basil the Great is a greater sin than fornication. Because he says in his c. VI: "fornications of monks are not considered to be marriage." Canon XVI of the 4th says that those who have consecrated themselves to God cannot marry. But if they allege that a promise consisting of words does not afford so much binding force and weight to those making a vow, let them listen to Athanasius the Great, who says with reference to the Lord’s passion: "Whatever we vow to God is no longer ours, but God’s; accordingly, if we take it, we are not taking what is ours, but what is God’s, and are sacrilegists." For a promise does not depend only on money, but also on words and on choice. Thus, too, monastic life does not depend on the tonsure and on the garments, but also on the word and on the promise to God. So all those who promise anything good to God are obliged to pay it. As who should say, a virgin man owes virginity; a temperate man owes temperance; and a married man owes sobriety — if they want to escape being chastised like Ananias and Sapphira. And they owe not only that vow which they made before men, but also that which they made in private by themselves. For divine Basil says (in his discourse on greed): "You are talking secretly with yourself, but your words are heard in heaven; and the God in heaven who can see into hearts is a better witness than men who can see only what is outside." So in order to reconcile the present Canon with the Canon of the saint, it is better and more accurate to understand it thus: that all who have promised to maintain virginity, or a solitary life, and have married before becoming monks, are canonized as digamists, or, in other words, to go without communion for a year, according to c. XVIII of Basil, after they have been freed from this unlawful marriage and fornication according to cc. VI and XVIII of Basil. In addition, the Canon prohibits women who have promised to remain virgins from cohabiting with any men, even though calling themselves sisters of the men, or calling them their "brothers, on the theory that by means of such a claim and the use of such words they might avoid any untoward suspicion against them, concerning which see c. III of the 1st.

 

20. If the wife of anyone be involved in adultery or any man commit adultery, she or he, respectively, must obtain absolution in seven years, in accordance with the progressive degrees.

Interpretation.

The present Canon excludes an adulteress and an adulterer from the communion of the Mysteries for seven years. These years are to be counted and passed in accordance with the aforesaid classes of penitents, or, in other words, just as St. Basil the Great prescribes: for one year they are to continue weeping; for two years they are to remain listeners; for three years they are to be kneelers; and during the seventh year they are to stand with the faithful; and then may they partake of the divine Mysteries, provided they repent with tears in their eyes.

Concord.

Canon IV of Nyssa sentences the adulterer to eighteen years, while St. Basil in his c. LVIII sentences him to fifteen, the Faster to three only but with a further satisfaction consisting in xerophagy and genuflections in his c. XIII. See c. LXXXVII of the 6th, and Ap. c. XLVIII, and the ichnograph of a temple.

 

21. Regarding women who become prostitutes and kill their babies, and who make it their business to concoct abortives, the former rule barred them for life from communion, and they are left without recourse. But, having found a more philanthropic alternative, we have fixed the penalty at ten years, in accordance with the fixed degrees.

Interpretation.

Regarding all women who commit fornication with men secretly and conceive, but kill the embryos within their belly, or lift weights exceeding their strength, or drink certain drugs abortive of embryos, such women, I say, had already been denied communion until their death by another Canon preceding the present one; but the present Canon, which the fathers of the present Council have decreed in a spirit of greater leniency, prohibits them from communing for only ten years, which is the sentence specified also by c. II of Basil. These years are to be served thus, according to Zonaras and the anonymous expositor: For two years they are to be weepers; for three they are to be listeners; for four they are to be kneelers; for one year they are to stand together with the faithful, and then they are to partake of communion. Read also c. XCI of the 6th, Ap. c. LXVI, and the ichnograph of a temple.

 

22. As regards wilful murders, let them kneel continually; but absolution they are to be granted only at the end of their life.

Interpretation.

The present Canon sentences those who murder persons wilfully to kneel throughout their life, and to commune only at the end of their life.

Concord.

Canon LVI of St. Basil the Great sentences them to twenty years, and read what Ap. c. LXVI has to say.

 

23. As regards involuntary homicide, the first rule bids the guilty one to spend seven years in order to attain to absolution in accordance with the fixed degrees; whereas the second requires him to fulfill a term of five years.

Interpretation.

Those who have killed anyone against their own will have been sentenced differently by the two Canons concerning them which had been decreed before this Council was held. The older one sentences them to seven years (one to be spent by them as weepers, two as listeners, three as kneelers, while in the seventh they are to stand with the faithful, and thereafter they are to be allowed to commune). The later Canon sentences them to five years. Basil the Great in his 57th Canon sentences them to ten years. See the Ap. c. 76.

 

24. As for those who are practicing divination and continuing the customs of the heathen, and who are introducing persons into their homes with a view to discovering sorceries, or even with a view to purification, let them fall under the Canon of five years in accordance with the fixed degrees; three years of kneeling, and two years of prayer, without oblation.

Interpretation.

The present Canon sentences to five years’ non-communion those Christians who not only employ divinations themselves, and follow the customs of the Hellenians and heathen, but also even those who go to those diviners, and bring them to their homes, either to purify them from the effects of witchcraft which others have exercised against them, causing them perhaps to fall ill, or to suffer some other loss; or in order to induce them to show where such magical powers are hidden. As for the five years in question, they are served as follows: Three years as kneelers, two as co-standers with the faithful; and thereafter they are to have the right to commune. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

25. When one has become engaged to a girl, but has in addition deflowered her sister too, so that she has been made pregnant by him, and he has after this married the one betrothed to him, but the one deflowered has hanged herself. Those aware of the facts have been ordered to spend ten years as co-standers in order to gain admission, in accordance with the fixed degrees.

Interpretation.

If it be supposed that any man has had some virgin betrothed to him, but before marrying her has deflowered the sister of the girl betrothed to him, with the additional fact that he has made her pregnant by his act (for this is the meaning of the Greek word epiphoresai); after that he married the girl betrothed to him, but her sister who has been deflowered and made pregnant seeing this, and becoming despondent has hanged herself in consequence of excessive sorrow: if such an event, I say, should actually happen, the present Canon commands that all persons who knew about but kept silent about the facts of the case be sentenced to ten years. These ten years are to be divided among the stations of penitents in order. Notice here that along with the actual sinners those who knew about the sin but failed to reveal it so as to have it prevented, but, on the contrary, concealed it, are chastised too. For so far as they had it in their power to prevent this sin, they too were as guilty as though they themselves had committed it; for though they could have prevented this illicit marriage of one who has fornicated in regard to two sisters, and the murder of the girl who hanged herself, they failed to prevent it. Thus it is they themselves who have committed these improprieties, according to that proverbial saying that "whoever could prevent it but failed to do so is the one that is doing it." That is why St. Basil the Great in his c. LXXI decrees that one who knows about the sin of another but fails to report it of his own accord to those who have the power to prevent it, is to be subjected to the same penalty as the sinner himself. What am I saying, that he is subjected to the same penalty? Why, he is subjected to even a still greater one. For while c. LXXVIII of Basil imposes a sentence of seven years upon any man who takes two sisters in marriage at different times, the present Canon sentences to ten years anyone who knows about the commission of the sin of deflowering these two sisters. First, because a man who takes two sisters is forced by the love of flesh to fall into an illicit marriage, according to Balsamon, whereas those who know about this and fail to make it known have no such cause forcing them to do this. Secondly, because that man only falls into an illicit marriage, by taking two sisters, whereas the consequences of the latter case are not only an illicit marriage, but fornication as well and the murder or death of the girl who hanged herself. Nicetas of Heracleia in his c. III says that if any man takes a wife with a complete marriage ceremony in church, but before actually having any carnal knowledge of her he engages in fornication with his mother-in-law and renders her pregnant, he must keep the wife whom he has married in church, but must stay away from his mother-in-law, lest the sight of her attract him to carnal pleasure. The Faster also says this same thing; whoever commits such a sin is sentenced to six years' deprivation from the divine Mysteries: he takes various other Canons, respecting which see c. XVI of the Faster.

 

 

The Regional Council of Neocaesarea.

Prolegomena.

The holy and regional Council which was held in Neocaesarea, of Cappadocia, situated in the so-called Polemoniacus Pontus, according to Ptolemy and Pliny, convened in the year 315 after Christ, according to Dositheus and Milias, or, more to the point, in the same year, according to Dositheus and others, as the Council held in Ancyra, though not during the same season of the year, but a little later than the latter Council; but according to Milias, one year after the latter was held. It was attended, according to Dositheus (p. 876 of the Dodecabiblus), by twenty-three fathers, of whom the exarch was Vitalius, and who promulgated the present fifteen Canons concerning various matters, these Canons being necessary to the good order and proper constitution, or state, of the Church. They were definitely confirmed by c. II of the 6th Ec. C., and indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and by c. I of the 7th; and by reason of this confirmation they become invested, so to speak, with virtually ecumenical power.

Canons.

1. If a Presbyter gets married, he is displaced from orders; but if he commit fornication or adultery, he must be ousted altogether, and be led to repentance.

Interpretation.

Since according to Ap. c. XXVI it is only Anagnosts (or Lectors) and Psalts (or Cantors) that are not deposed if they marry after ordination, therefore and on this account the present Canon decrees that if a presbyter, or, more explicitly speaking, a hieromonach (or monk-priest) marries after taking holy orders, he forfeits his rank, or, more explicitly speaking, he is deposed from office. But if he commits fornication or adultery, he is excommunicated from the Church entirely, and is assigned to the stations of the penitents, like laymen. Read also Ap. c. XXV.

 

2. If a woman gets married to two brothers, let her be thrust out until her death; but, nevertheless, at the time of death if she decides to dissolve the marriage in case she recovers her health, for the sake of philanthropy she shall be allowed the benefit of repentance. But if the woman dies while so wedded, or the husband does, repentance will be difficult for the one who is left as survivor.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in case one and the same woman takes two brothers as husbands (meaning one after the death of the other), and refuses to dissolve this illicit marriage, let her be excommunicated from the Church until her death. But if, when in danger of dying, she promise to sever the matrimonial relationship after getting well, then for the sake of philanthropy let her partake of the divine Mysteries, and after she recovers she shall be admitted to the stations of penitents. But if the husband or wife die without dissolving this illegal, unlawful and illicit marriage, he or she can only with difficulty be admitted to penitence, in the case of whichever of the two parties survives, since true repentance is achieved by abstaining from the evil, whereas, how can the party who survives from such a marriage be expected or considered to repent truly, at a time when he or she has not actually succeeded in abstaining, or, in other words, has not yet voluntarily separated from the illicit marriage? For the fact that the surviving party did not acquiese in a separation before the death of the other shows, on the face of it, that he or she would be cohabiting with the dead party yet if the latter were still alive. See also Ap. c. XIX.

 

3. As concerning those persons who become involved in a plurality of marriages, the length of sentence to which they are liable is clear as fixed, but their recantation and faith will avail to shorten the time.

Interpretation.

The present Canon says that the length of the sentence for polygamy, which is the same as saying for trigamy, is no secret, yet their repentance for the trigamy and the fervent faith they have in God may persuade their bishop or spiritual father to shorten the time of their penalty.

Concord.

In his c. IV St. Basil the Great excommunicates trigamists for five years from communion in the Mysteries, remarking that this five years’ excommunication is not derived from any canon of the fathers, but, on the contrary, from only the custom and practice of the older generations. So how did this fact escape the vigilance of St. Basil, who is renowned for his learning and great wisdom? For this Council was held before the time of St. Basil. But perhaps the fact is that the present Canon asserts the length of time for trigamists to be fixed and definite, not as a result of reference to any written Canon, but of taking consuetude into account, in agreement with St. Basil the Great. For inasmuch as that time was evident to all from common and prevalent custom, it was not at all necessary for it to be recorded here in writing. In his c. LXXX St. Basil declares that trigamy is a greater sin than fornication, while in his c. L he calls trigamy dirt and pollution of the Church.

 

4. If any man has felt a desire for a woman and has conceived an intention to lie with her but this desire was not actualized, it appears that he was rescued by grace.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in case any man becomes desirous of any woman in the course of sustaining an attack and impression upon his faculty of ratiocination; afterwards, following close upon the attack of this desire he makes an assent (for that is what the word "intention" denotes) and makes a serious endeavor to sleep with the woman he conceived a desire for, yet, in spite of this fact, this thought and intention, or assent, of his failed to be put into practice, not on account of any external obstacle, but because before copulation the man who had thus conceived the intention to do it came to his senses, as the saying goes, and almost instantly jumped away, and did not actually do the deed, according to Zonaras; that man, I say, appears to have been redeemed by divine grace from commission of the act of sin. Nevertheless, on account of the assent and endeavor which he made with a view to committing the sin, he ought to be penanced by the spiritual father, as Zonaras also says. That is why St. Basil the Great in his c. LXX takes to task any deacon who goes only so far as to kiss a woman, and who afterwards confesses the misdeed, and he makes him liable to suspension for a time from the liturgy. (Although, in reality, a kiss is not a mere simple assent, but is actually a part of an act.) As concerning attack, combination of assent, struggle, and captivation, or passion, see cc. II, III, IV, and V of the Faster, and the Footnote thereto; see in addition to these also Footnote 3 to c. XC of St. Basil.

 

5. If any catechumen who stands in the rank of catechumens, when he enters the Lord’s house, commits a sin, in case he is one of those who have to kneel, or bend their knees, let him join the listeners if he is no longer committing sins; but if even when placed among the listeners he continues committing sins, let him be thrust out.

Interpretation.

There used to be two classes of catechumens: one class was that of the more perfect, who stood at liturgy until the prayer of catechumens, which they listened to on bended knees, or rather while kneeling on their knees, the hand of the priest being laid upon them, and then they would leave church. The other class was that of the more imperfect, who as being new converts to the faith, listened only to the divine Scriptures, and after the reading of the Gospel, they would go out. So the present Canon says that in case one of the catechumens among the more perfect ones who were kneelers was sinning, let him be stationed farther below the catechumens who were listeners if he refrained from further sinning. But in case he sinned again even when stationed among listeners, let him be cast out from the narthex altogether, and let him be stationed among the weepers, outside the gate to the narthex. See c. XIV of the 1st, and the ichnograph of a temple at the end of this book.

 

6. As concerning a woman who is gravid, we decree that she ought to be illuminated whenever she so wishes. For in this case there is no intercommunion of the woman with the child, owing to the fact that every person possesses a will of his own which is shown in connection with his confession of faith.

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as the embryo in the womb is a part of the pregnant woman according to the second theme of the first chapter of the seventh title of the thirty-seventh book of the Basilica (in Photius, Title IV, ch. 10), some persons took it that a woman ought not to be baptized when pregnant, but only after she gave birth, lest, having been baptized first together with her, the embryo in her womb, when baptized again after being born, appear to be baptized twice, which would be unseemly. Hence, in opposition to those who say this, the present Canon decrees that a pregnant woman who is a catechumen may be baptized whenever she wishes, since she does not impart the illumination and baptism to the embryo in her womb, but, on the contrary, she alone is baptized. For in confessing that one is joining forces with Christ and renouncing the Devil, in baptism, and, speaking in general, whenever one gets baptized, he needs to show his own will, either through himself directly, as in the case of persons being baptized at an age when they are capable of rational speech, such as is that of this pregnant mother-to-be, or by means of a sponsor, as in the case of persons being baptized in their infancy, but an embryo in the belly cannot show this will either through itself, not yet having developed a will of its own, nor through a sponsor, since it has not yet been born nor is it capable of being baptized.

 

7. No Presbyter is permitted to dine at the wedding of persons marrying a second time. For, if the plight of a digamist is one demanding repentance, what will be that of a presbyter who is lending his consent to the wedding by attending it!

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no presbyter shall sit down and eat dinner at the wedding of a digamist, since the digamist is burdened with sin and under the penalty of a sentence. If, therefore, the priest should sit down and eat, he thereby shows that he is offering his good will and congratulations himself to the one who is burdened with sin and condemnation on account of that wedding. For the first marriage, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, serves as the law. For there is but one conjugation, both of the wife to the husband and of the husband to the wife, laid down as legislation through the divine utterance and presence at the wedding held in Cana. That is why the parties to a first marriage, being uncondemned, are nuptially crowned and partake of the divine Mysteries (and see the Footnote to c. XIII of the 6th). But the second marriage is a concession. For use of it is allowed only as a matter of concession and accomodation. Because even though St. Paul did say concerning widows, "but if they cannot remain continent, let them marry" (1 Cor. 7:9), St. Chrysostom, in interpreting this passage, declares that St. Paul said this by way of permission, and not by way of command (cf. 1 Cor. 7:6) — in the same manner, that is to say, in which he permitted persons married for the first time in their life to indulge in frequent intercourse on account of their incontinence). But if he did say it by way of permission, it is manifest that such a marriage is neither reasonable nor free from condemnation, but that it is under condemnation and is in the nature of a sin. Hence according to c. IV of St. Basil the parties to such a marriage are barred from the divine Mysteries for a year or two, while, according to c. II of Nicephorus, they are not even entitled to a nuptial coronation. That is why God-bearing Ignatius said in his epistle to the Antiochenes: "One woman to any one man, not many women to any one man, was given in creation." Clement of Alexandria (otherwise known as Clement Stromateus) says: "One who marries a second time is not sinning according to the covenant (or testament), but he is not fulfilling the demands of evangelical perfection. It does him heavenly glory if he keeps the marriage tie sundered by death untainted by gladly obeying the economy."

 

8. When the wife of a layman commits adultery, if she has been convicted openly of this offense, that layman cannot enter the service. If, on the other hand, she commits adultery after his ordination, he must divorce her. But if he continues to live with her, he cannot retain possession of the office which has been placed in his hands.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in case the wife of any layman commit adultery, and the fact is openly proved through persons who have the rights to lay charges against her (concerning whom see the Footnote to Ap. c. XLVIII), her husband cannot ascend to any priestly rank or hieratical degree. Likewise also in case the wife of one in holy orders commits adultery, this man in holy orders must divorce his wife who has been guilty of adultery if he wants to retain the advantage of being in holy orders. But if he insists on keeping this adulteress, he cannot at the same time keep also the advantage of being in holy orders too, but, on the contrary, must be deposed therefrom. See also Ap. c. XXV.

 

9. If any Presbyter who has committed a bodily sin beforehand has been promoted, and confesses that he sinned before his ordination, let him not offer the oblation, but let him remain in other respects for the rest of his course. For most persons would forgive the other sins, and let the ordination go. But if he fails to confess but is openly proved guilty, let him have no authority to exercise that function on any account.

Interpretation.

In case any priest before entering holy orders has sinned in respect to his body, or, in other words, has had carnal intercourse, but after taking holy orders confesses himself (perhaps to his spiritual father or bishop) that he sinned before being ordained, the present Canon commands that such a person must not conduct sacred services (in which sacred services are included also the rest of the sacred functions of holy orders, according to Balsamon, in his interpretation of c. XXVI of the 6th), but let him retain the other privileges of priests, or, in other words, the external honor, the sitting-place, the standing-place, and the right to commune within the holy Bema, according to Zonaras and Balsamon. And he is to have the continued possession of these rights and privileges because of his other virtuousness, and especially because of the prompt repentance and confession which he made of his own accord (for if he be proved guilty by others, he cannot retain even these privileges, but, after being deposed from office, is thrown into the status of laymen, like a layman, according to Balsamon. See also c. XXI of the 6th and c. III of St. Basil. Nevertheless, it takes five witnesses to substantiate charges of fornication against a priest, Blastaris says, and see Ap. c. LXXV). These provisions cover the case in which a priest falls into carnal intercourse before attaining to holy orders. But if he sins only mentally, or, in other words, if he merely has an intention and impulse of the soul, or even employs ways and means of committing a sin, but did not actually commit it, the Canon says that these sins are absolved by the grace of ordination, and are not sufficient to warrant his being deposed from office. Nevertheless, it says this falteringly, by interposing the remark that most persons think so, and not that it does, itself. But if a priest before entering holy orders goes so far as to take hold of a woman’s hand, or kiss it, though ordination also absolves this too, according to Zonaras and others, and he is not to be deposed on account thereof (seeing that even after ordination a priest who falls into such temptations is not deposed from office, but is merely suspended, according to c. LXX of Basil). But if he sins more than taking a kiss, or, in other words, if he goes so far as to indulge in feeling the flesh and wallowing about the body, then he may be deposed, since ordination in itself does not absolve such a sin. For precisely as a deacon and a presbyter who commits a sin exceeding a kiss after ordination is liable to deposition from office, according to the same c. LXX of St. Basil, so and in like manner any man who has done such a thing before entering holy orders is thereby inhibited from becoming a priest; and consequently if after taking holy orders he confesses to such an act he is deposed from office likewise. The Canon makes all these provisions to cover the case in which a priest who has sinned confesses. But if he fails to confess these things of his own accord, and he cannot otherwise be openly proved to have done these things, then he is to remain in office, or withdraw from holy orders, or continue exercising the functions thereof, since, according to the civil law, it is better for sins to remain unavenged (on the ground that they have not been proved, that is to say) than it would be for innocent persons to be unjustly chastised. See also c. IX of the First Ec. C.

 

10. Likewise if a Deacon falls into the same sin, let him keep the rank of servant.

Interpretation.

If a deacon falls into the sin of carnal intercourse before ordination and confesses it to a spiritual father after ordination, let him be deposed from his diaconate, and let him receive the rank of servant and cleric, of subdeacon, perhaps, or of anagnost (lector) or of psalt (cantor). And note that the Canon has not relegated him to the status of a layman, owing to the promptness he displayed in confessing his sin of his own accord. For if he be convicted by proof of having done such a thing, he shall not be allowed to remain in even the rank of cleric. Read c. IX of the 1st, and c. CXLI of Carthage.

 

11. Let no man be ordained a Presbyter before he is thirty years old, even though the man be worthy in every other respect, but let him be obliged to wait. For the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and commenced teaching in His thirtieth year.

Interpretation.

The Sixth Ec. C. borrowed this Canon verbatim and made it its c. XIV, and see its Interpretation there.

 

12. If a diseased person be illuminated, he cannot be promoted to a presbyter; for his faith and belief was not a result of his own will, but a result of necessity: unless perhaps on account of his diligence and faith thereafter and on account of a want of men.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any catechumen when well and in good health postponed holy baptism, but when he fell into danger of dying from an illness and became frightened, and for this reason got baptized, he is not to be made a priest. For it appears that he did not get baptized as a result of his own will and choice and preference, but in consequence of the necessity due to his illness (which is not right; for everyone ought to accept the exercise of Christianity pursuant to his own free choice and preference, according to c. CIX of Carthage); and that thitherto he had not wanted to be baptized, in order to live a free and pleasure-loving life, and not an Evangelical and Christian. If, however, he should appear after baptism to be serious, endeavoring to do the divine commandments, and sure and solid in point of faith, and besides these considerations there exists also a shortage of men worthy of holy orders, then he may be made a priest.

Concord.

In agreement with the present Canon, c. XLVII of Laodicea decrees that men who receive baptism when ill are to be instructed in the elements of the faith after the illness is over. In the same vein c. LII of Carthage says that persons who are ill may be baptized when they of their own free will testify concerning themselves. And c. V of St. Basil prescribes that heretics who repent when they are at or near the end of their life are to be admitted (sc. to baptism in the Orthodox Church of Christ). But it is also to be noted that even c. V of Cyril allows catechumens to be baptized when they are about to die. That is why c. XXV of St. Nicephorus says (in paraphrase) that if any person who is ill persistently or insistently asks for holy baptism, he must receive it without delay, and not be deprived of the divine grace; likewise as regards the holy habit of monks, the same thing regarding the holy habit is said in agreement herewith by both Balsamon and Symeon of Thessalonica. And see the Footnote to c. XXV of Nicephorus; see also Ap. c. LXXX.

 

13. Village Presbyters cannot offer in the Lord’s house of a city if a bishop or a city presbyter is present, nor moreover can he give bread in prayer, nor a cup. But if they are absent, and he is called alone to prayer, he may give.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that priests of villages (or of small towns) cannot conduct a liturgy in the church of a real and large city, and especially when the bishop or a priest of the city is present; but neither can they give bread and a cup in prayer — i.e., neither can they administer communion to Christians in a city during Liturgy. But if the bishop and the priests of the city should happen to be absent, and a priest of a village (or small town) be called to conduct prayer, then he can also administer communion to those there without prejudice. For no one is ordained absolutely: but, on the contrary, each person must stay in whatever he has been called to, according to the Apostle.

 

14. Auxiliary Bishops, though belonging to the type of the seventy, are honored with the right to offer, in view of their diligence in regard to the poor.

Interpretation.

Bishops belong to the type of the twelve Apostles, since they too, like the twelve Apostles, impart to others by means of the Mysteries, and especially by means of ordination of those in holy orders, the grace of the All-holy Spirit. But auxiliary bishops, according to this Canon, belong to the type of the seventy Apostles, since they too, like the seventy, cannot impart the grace of the Holy Spirit by ordaining presbyters or deacons, whom they cannot ordain; yet there is nothing to prevent their performing priestly duties and being honored, for the diligence they show in distributing the proceeds of their churches to poor brethren. But if auxiliary bishops have an obligation to distribute and pass out to the poor the income and money of churches, regular bishops have a still greater obligation to do so. See also the Footnote to c. VIII of the 1st.

 

15. There ought to be seven Deacons, even though the city be a quite large one. Ye may convince yourselves by referring to the book of the Acts.

Interpretation.

This Canon was improved by the Sixth Ec. C. in its c. XVI. Accordingly, whatever we said in our Interpretation of the latter holds also with respect to the interpretation of this Canon, for which, therefore, see that one.

 

The Regional Council of Gangra.

Prolegomena.

The holy and regional Council which was held in Gangra, the metropolis of Paphlagonia, situated in Asia Minor, according to Pliny, Strabo, and Stephanus, convened in A.D. 340. It was attended by thirteen bishops, whose names were the following, as found in the letter which the same Council sent to the co-functionaries in Armenia; namely: Eusebius, Aelianus, Eugenius, Olympius, Bithynicus, Gregory, Philetus, Pappus, Eulalius, Hypatius, Proaeresius, Basil, and Basus. The Council was convoked against a certain bishop of Sebasteia, Armenia, named Eustathius, and his disciples, who held and taught others these heretical views which are mentioned in every Canon of the present Council. Hence, after excommunicating and anathematizing those heretics these fathers, as shown from their said letter to Armenia, issued the present Canons, wherein they proceed to condemn and to anathematize every one of their heretical views. These Canons, however, are definitely confirmed by c. II of the 6th, and indefinitely by c. LI of the 4th and c. I of the 7th; and in virtue of this confirmation they have acquired an ecumenical, in a way, force.

 

Canons.

1. If anyone disparages marriage, or abominates or disparages a woman sleeping with her husband, notwithstanding that she is faithful and reverent, as though she could not enter the Kingdom, let him be anathema.

(Ap. cc. V, LI; c. XIII of the 6th; cc. I, IV, IX, XIV of Gangra.)

Interpretation.

Just as the Manichees earlier, and other heretics, had traduced lawful marriage, so did the disciples of vile Eustathius later, concerning whom the divine Apostle said prophetically that "in the latter times some persons will depart from the faith, in the role of liars, of persons with a seared conscience, of persons forbidding marriage" (1 Tim. 4:1-3). For this reason the present Canon anathematizes such persons as disparage marriage and loathe a Christian and reverent wife as unclean who sleeps with her Christian husband, alleging that on account of this carnal mingling she cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.

 

2. If anyone criticize adversely a person eating meat (without blood, and such as is not meat that has been sacrificed to idols or strangled) with reverence and faith, as though he had no hope of partaking, let him be anathema.

(Ap. cc. LI, LXIII; c. LXVII of the 6th; c. XIV of Anc.; c. LXXX of Basil.)

Interpretation.

The Apostle also prophesied that this would be asserted by the adherents of Eustathius, who criticized adversely those who eat meat, for he says following the above passage: "to abstain from foods which God hath created to be partaken of." For this reason the present Canon anathematizes such persons as condemn a person who eats meat (except blood and that sacrificed to idols or strangled) with enjoyment and faith, and who assert that he has no hope of salvation because he eats it. See also Ap. cc. LI and LXIII.

 

3. If anyone, on the pretext of godliness, teach a slave to scorn his master, and to leave his service, and not to afford his services to his own master with favor and all honor, let him be anathema.

(c. LXXXII of the 4th; c. LXXXV of the 6th; cc. LXXIII, XC of Carthage; cc. XL, XLII of Basil.)

Interpretation.

Since the Apostle says in writing to Timothy (1 Tim. 6:1-2): "Let all slaves that are under a yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor ... And they that have believing masters, let them not scorn them, because they are brethren; but rather render, them service"; and to Titus (2:9): "(Exhort) slaves to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things." Since, I repeat, the Apostle says these things, whereas the Eustathians taught the contrary, therefore and on this account the present Canon, following the Apostolic teaching, anathematizes such persons as taught that slaves should scorn their masters, and leave off serving them with all love and honor. Read also Ap. c. LXXXII.

 

4. If anyone discriminates against a married Presbyter, on the ground that he ought not to partake of the offering when that Presbyter is conducting the Liturgy, let him be anathema.

(Ap. c. V; cc. XIII, XLVIII of the 6th; cc. IV, XXXIII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon anathematizes the Eustathians and all the rest who discriminate and are inclined to fight shy of partaking of the divine Mysteries from a married priest, on the allegation that such a priest ought not to officiate at Liturgy on account of his marriage. Read also Ap. c. V.

 

5. If anyone teach that the Lord’s house is contemptible, and that so are the synaxeis (or gatherings) therein, let him be anathema.

(c. LXXX of the 6th; cc. XX, XXI of Gangra; ec. XI, XII of Sardica.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon anathematizes the Eustathians who used to teach the laity to shun the church and to scorn the gatherings of Christians which were held in it, on the alleged ground that one may pray anywhere, because St. Paul the Apostle said for us to pray in every place (1 Tim. 2:8). So he did, but not for us to refrain from going to the sacred churches; on the contrary, he said so in order to keep us from circumscribing prayer only to the vicinity of Jerusalem, as St. Basil the Great interprets it (Ques. 8 concerning baptism). See also c. LXXX of the 6th.

 

6. If anyone conducts a church of his own apart from the Church, and, scorning the Church, wishes to perform the functions of the Church, without a presbyter’s helping with the approval and consent of a bishop, let him be anathema.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XII, XIII, XIV, XV cf the lst-and-2nd; c. V of Antioch; cc. X, XI, LXII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

Since the Eustathians used to hold unauthorized private gatherings, besides the common assemblies of the faithful which were held in church, and, scorning the church of God, their presbyters would perform sacred services separately without the consent and permission of the local bishop, therefore the present Canon anathematizes them and their like, on the ground that they were creating a schism. Read also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

7. If anyone wants to take or to give ecclesiastical fruits or produce outside the church against the advice of the bishop, or of the persons in whose hands such things have been placed, and do not want to act with his consent and approval, let him be anathema.

(Ap. c. XXXVIII.)

Interpretation.

In addition to the other improprieties of which the Eustathians were guilty, they used to take also the fruits that were customarily offered to the churches, and distribute them amongst themselves, under the pretense that they themselves were holy persons. Hence the present Canon anathematizes such persons as take or give such fruits without the consent and approval of the bishop, or of the steward managing the affairs of the church. Read also Ap. c. XXXVIII.

 

8. If anyone gives or takes any fruit or produce, except the bishop or the man appointed to act as steward of almonry, let both the giver and the taker be anathema.

(Ap. c. XXXVIII.)

Interpretation.

Interpretation of the present Canon is needless, since it has the same meaning and effect as the foregoing Canon, the Interpretation of which is sufficient for this one too. See also Ap. c. XXXVIII.

 

9. If anyone should remain a virgin or observe continence as if, abominating marriage, he had become an anchorite, and not for the good standard and holy feature of virginity, let him be anathema.

(Ap. cc. V and LI.)

Interpretation.

Virginity and sobriety (or chastity) are a good thing, true enough, but only when they are practiced for the sake of the good itself and for the sanctification resulting from them. If, however, anyone remains a virgin or keeps sober (i.e., stays chaste), not for this reason, but because he abhors marriage as being unclean and tainted, as did the Eustathians, he is anathematized by the present Canon. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.

 

10. If anyone leading a life of virginity for the Lord should regard married persons superciliously, let him be anathema.

Interpretation.

This Canon too anathematizes those who remain virgins for love of the Lord, but who maintain a proud attitude as regards those who are united in lawful marriage, as did the Eustathians. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.

11. If anyone should scorn those who hold love-feasts (or agapae) in good faith, and who invite their brethren to ‘join them for honor of the Lord, and should refuse to respond to the invitations, for the sake of vilifying the affair, let him be anathema.

(c. LXXIV of the 6th; c. XXVII of Laodicea; c. XLIX of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The Christians of that time were accustomed, after partaking of the divine Mysteries, to hold so-called agapae, or love-feasts, i.e., banquets for brotherly love and for the honor of the Lord to invite the poor brethren to a free dinner. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those who refuse to attend such banquets ("affairs," that is to say, held, not with an improper propensity, but for the honor and faith of the Lord, and for love cherished for poor brethren. And not inside of the church, for this was prohibited; but outside of the church), but proudly disparage them and try to vilify them, as did the Eustathians, it would appear. Read also c. LXXIV of the 6th.

 

12. If any of the menfolk uses a wrapper for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise, and as if endowed with righteousness by this he should regard disdainfully those men who are wearing robes called beri and using the common dress which is in vogue, let him be anathema.

(c. XXVII of the 6th; c. XVII of the 7th; c. XXI of Gangra.)

Interpretation.

The Eustathians used to teach their disciples among other things to wear ragged and poor overcoats, not for the sake of truly ascetic exercise, but for pretended sake of asceticism, in order that by feigning to be holy and righteous men, they might be glorified by the masses, and disparage those who with reverence and fear of God (not, that is to say, to be proud of these things in the face of those who lacked them, nor for the sake of carnal love, or for the sake of stultification and adornment of the human body) are wearing robes, or, more explicitly speaking, silk garments, and using those clothes which are common and usual to all men. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes those men and their like on the ground that they are exalting themselves above their brethren. See also c. XXVII of the 6th.

 

13. If for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise any woman change apparel, and instead of the usual and customary women’s apparel, she dons men’s apparel, let her be anathema.

(c. LXII of the 6th.)

Interpretation.

Many women taught by the Eustathians used to doff clothing appropriate and suitable for women, and to don men’s clothing, on the presumption that this would enable them to become justified and to become sainted. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes women who do this for the sake of supposed and pretended ascetic exercise, and not for the sake of true and veritable ascetic exercise. See c. LXII of the 6th.

 

14. If any woman should abandon her husband and wish to depart, because she abominates marriage, let her be anathema.

(Ap. cc. V, LI; c. XIII of the 6th; c. XX of Gangra.)

Interpretation.

This too was a doctrine of the Eustathians, the idea, that is to say, that women might leave their husbands, and conversely that men might leave their wives, and depart, on the ground that they had an abhorrence of marriage. Hence the present Canon condemned those who do this to the anathema. See also Ap. cc. V and LI.

 

15. If anyone should abandon his own children, or fail to devote himself to feeding his children, and fail, as far as depends on them, to bring them up to be godly and to have respect for God, but, under the pretext of ascetic exercise, should neglect them, let him be anathema.

(c. XLII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

If it is true that irrational animals, including even wild beasts and lions, take care of their cubs and their children, how much more ought rational human beings to nurture them! That is why divine Paul says in one place, "But if anyone provide not for his own dependents, and especially for those of his own household, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8), and in another place, "Ye fathers, bring up your children in the education and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). And again with reference to the widow he asks whether she has brought up children and fed them, and with reference to elderly and old women he says for them to educate the young women to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2:4). But the heretic Eustathius and those who sided with him, not listening to these Apostolic commandments, used to teach parents to abandon their children and go in for asceticism. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those parents who desert their children and fail to feed them, and who teach them neither godliness and respect for God nor virtue. Canon XLII of Carthage, on the other hand, decrees that no cleric shall emancipate his children (i.e., allow them to act as their own masters) before they are convinced that this way or that way of theirs is a good one, and their age can discern what ought to be done. See also the Footnote to c. VI of the lst-&-2nd.

 

16. If any children of parents, especially of faithful ones, should depart, on the pretext of godliness, and should fail to pay due honor to their parents, godliness, that is to say, being preferred with them, i.e., among them, let them be anathema.

Interpretation.

Not only are parents obliged to look after their children, but children too have an obligation to look after their parents, to whom they ought to pay due honor. But taking care of the aged is also a kind of honor, and so is feeding those ill on account of old age and in want. In saying "especially of faithful ones," the present Canon means that children ought not to depart from their parents even when the latter are infidels or heretics if they are not trying to incite them to unbelief or heresy. For this reason it also anathematizes those children who leave their parents unprovided for, and fail to honor them or to take care of them in old age on the pretext of godliness and virtue. If parents, however, who are infidels or heretics incite their children to unbelief and heresy, or, even though they are believers they nevertheless are preventing them or prohibiting them from living according to Christ and from being virtuous, and are inciting them to acts that are harmful to the soul and improper, then and in that case children ought to prefer godliness and virtue to carnal parents, which amounts to saying that they ought to leave them without hating them, and take their departure. See also the Footnote to c. VI of the lst-&-2nd, and c. XX of the 6th.

 

17. If any woman for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise cuts off her hair, which God gave her to remind her of the fact that she is subject to the will of her husband, let her be anathema, on the ground that she has disobeyed the injunction to be obedient.

Interpretation.

In writing to the Corinthians St. Paul says: "The head of the wife is the husband" (1 Cor. 11:3) — because Eve was taken out of Adam, and he became the cause of her becoming a woman). And further below he goes on to say that if a woman does not cover her head, let her cut off her hair. But if it is shameful for a woman to cut off her hair or to shave herself, why, then let her cover her head. (Ibid. 11:6). And again: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory and an honor to her" (paraphrasing ibid. 11:15). But Eustathius and his disciples used to teach women to cut off their hair on the alleged ground that they would thus be doing something godly and virtuous; the dolts failing to understand that this doctrine of theirs is opposed even to nature herself, seeing that she has never produced a woman that was bald-headed and without hair, as she has some men. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes any woman who cuts off her hair for the sake of appearing and feigning to be engaged in ascetic exercise, which hair God gave her to remind her of the fact that she is under the rulership and subject to the will of her husband, since by so doing she is disregarding and transgressing the commandment, or injunction, to be submissive. And the Fathers took this from St. Paul, who says that a wife must have an authority upon her head, or, more explicitly speaking, a sign of her husband’s authority, and of her subjection to her husband, which is the natural cover of hair, and the external cover of headkerchiefs.

 

18. If anyone for the sake of supposedly ascetic exercise should fast on Sunday, let him be anathema.

(Ap. c. LXIV.)

Interpretation.

The Eustathians also fasted on Sundays, and taught the others to fast on Sunday too, which one ought not to do, since the Lord resurrected Himself on that day, and together with Himself resurrected also the human nature. Wherefore we ought to be glad, and ought rather to thank God, and not to fast, as we do on lenten days, seeing that fasting is a sign of grief and of contrition, and not of joy. Hence the present Canon anathematizes anyone who for the sake of supposedly and feignedly ascetic exercise fasts on Sunday. Read also Ap. c. LXIV.

 

19. If any of those persons who engage in ascetic exercise without any bodily need of it should pride themselves on this, and should break the fasts handed down to the commonalty and kept by the Church, under the hallucination that their reasoning in this matter is perfect, let them be anathema.

(Ap. c. LXIX.)

Interpretation.

The Eustathians used to do everything contrary to the divine Canons and traditions, fasting on Sundays and meat days, but breaking fast days. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes them and their like who pride themselves on the alleged claim that they have become perfect, and who, without having any bodily need or weakness of illness great enough to warrant it, break the fasts handed down to the community and kept by the entire congregation, or aggregate, of the Christians. As for the expression "under the hallucination that their reasoning in this matter is perfect," this denotes that the reason why they break the fasts is that in their heart there is to be found such a reasoning and assumption that they have attained to perfection, and that consequently they need not henceforth fast, as we have said — which notion was also a belief of the Eustathians, and of the Massalians, and of the heretical Bogomiles; or else with a scornful thought or reasoning they annul and break the fasts. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. LXIX.

 

20. If anyone should find fault with the synaxeis, or gatherings, in honor of Martyrs, or with the liturgies conducted thereat, and the commemorations of them, owing to his being imbued with a proud disposition and overcome with a loathing, let him be anathema.

(c. LXXX of the 6th; cc. V, XXI of Gangra; cc. XI, XII of Sardica.)

Interpretation.

This too was a doctrine of the Eustathians in addition to their other views, namely: to have a contempt for the places and temples in which were enshrined the holy relics of Martyrs, and to dispraise liturgies and gatherings of the faithful held there, and to loathe them. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes them and their like; all those, that is to say, who, out of pride, deem the commemorations of Martyrs abominable and loathsome, as well as the gatherings and festivities of the faithful held in connection therewith, seeing that they are held in honor of God, the Lord of the Martyrs, and of the holy Martyrs. Read also c. LXXX of the 6th.

21. We state these things, not by way of cutting off from the Church of God persons wishing to exercise themselves ascetically in accordance with the Scriptures, but those who take the matter of ascetic exercises as something to be proud of, and who regard those living and conducting themselves in an easier manner disdainfully, and who introduce novelties that are contrary to the Scriptures and the Ecclesiastical Canons. For the fact is that we admire virtue with humility and welcome continence with modesty and godliness, and esteem anachoretic departures from mundane affairs with humility, and honor modest cohabitation of matrimony, and do not despise wealth with justice and with the doing of good. And we praise frugality and cheapness of garments, worn solely for protection of the body and plainly made; whereas we abhor loose and outworn fashions in dress. And we honor the houses of God, and we embrace the meetings that occur therein as holy and beneficial; though we do not confine piety to the houses, but honor every place that is built in the name of God. And we consider the congregation in the church of God to be a benefit to the public. And felicitate those brethren who do good to the poor in accordance with the traditions of the Church by way of supererogation. And, concisely speaking, we prayerfully hope that all the things will be done in the Church and in church that have been handed down traditionally by the divine Scriptures and the Apostolic traditions.

(Ap. cc. LI, LIII; cc. XXVII, LXXX of the 6th; c. XVI of the 7th; cc. V, XX of Gangra.)

Interpretation.

In view of the fact that the fathers of this Council forbade certain things which appear to be virtuous, such as, for instance, the maintenance of virginity and shunning of marriage, refraining from fasting on meat days, and other similar habits, therefore and on this account in their present last Canon they vindicate themselves by saying in explanation thereof (that): we have decreed these things, not to discourage those Christians who like to exercise themselves according to the Canons and the divine Scriptures in God, but in order to correct those persons who employ themselves in ascetic exercises with a feeling of pride, and who lift up their heads in disdain against the others, and who are wont to invent modernistic or new-fashioned notions in regard to the Canons of the Church. For we too praise virginity that is maintained with humility, and continence that is practiced with humility; and we honor modest matrimony; and we do not scorn wealth that is accompanied by justice and almsgiving. We eulogize poor garments that are made solely for the purpose of protecting and supplying the needs of the body without any aim at adornment; but as for soft clothes worn by way of adornment, we abhor and hate them. We praise the churches of God, and the gatherings of the faithful held therein, as holy and of distinct benefit to their souls. Not that we circumscribe all piety and adoration of God in churches, but because we honor temples built in the name of God, regardless of their location. Also, as respecting the extraordinary benefactions and alms that are bestowed through the agency of the church upon poverty-striken brethren, in accordance with the traditions of the fathers, we felicitate those bestowing them. In a word, we prayerfully hope and beg God that everything that has been prescribed by the divine Scriptures and the traditions of the Apostles may be carried out in His churches and in regard to His Christians. Read also Ap. c. LI and cc. XXVII and LXXX of the 6th, and the Footnote to Ap. c. LI.

 

The Regional Council of Antioch.

Prolegomena.

The regional Council held in Antioch, Syria, was convened in A.D.341 in the reign of Constantius (a son of Constantine the Great), who was present in person in Antioch. It was attended, according to Socrates (Book II, ch. 8 of his Ecclesiastical History) by ninety Fathers, but, according to Theophanes, one hundred and twenty; the leader of whom was Eusebius, formerly bishop of Beyrut, later of Nicomedia, and after serving as bishop of Nicomedia having become bishop of Constantinople. The bishop of Antioch at that time was a man by the name of Placotus. But the bishop of Rome, Julius, was not present at this Council, either in person or by legates; but neither was Maximus, the bishop of Jerusalem. Thus this Council issued the present twenty-five Canons, which are indeed necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church, though for the most part they not only agree in import with the Apostolic Canons (see the Prolegomena to the Apostolic Canons), but even use the same words that those Canons contain. They are confirmed in addition indefinitely by c. I of the 4th (though the latter in its fourth Act cites the fourth and the fifth Canons of this Council verbatim, as we shall have occasion to assert) and by c. I of the 7th; and definitely by c. II of the 6th, and by virtue of the confirmation afforded by this latter Council, they have acquired a force which, in a way, is ecumenical.

 

Canons.

1. As for all persons who dare to violate the definition of the holy and great Council convened in Nicaea in the presence of Eusebeia, the consort of the most God-beloved Emperor Constantine, concerning the holy festival of the soterial Pascha (or Easter, as it is called in ordinary English), we decree that they be excluded from Communion and be outcasts from the Church if they persist more captiously in objecting to the decisions that have been made as most fitting in regard thereto; and let these things be said with reference to laymen. But if any of the persons occupying prominent positions in the Church, such as a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, after the adoption of this definition, should dare to insist upon having his own way, to the perversion of the laity, and to the disturbance of the church, and upon celebrating Easter along with the Jews, the holy Council has hence judged that person to be an alien to the Church, on the ground that he has not only become guilty of sin by himself, but has also been the cause of corruption and perversion among the multitude. Accordingly, it not only deposes such persons from the liturgy, but also those who dare to commune with them after their deposition. Moreover, those who have been deposed are to be deprived of the external honor too of which the holy Canon and God’s priesthood have partaken.

Interpretation.

The present Canon excommunicates those laymen who violate the decree and the rule which the First Council issued, in the presence of Constantine the Great too, with regard to the festival of Easter (to the effect, that is to say, that this festival is to be celebrated after the Equinox, and not together with the Jews), and who not only violate it, but even quarrelsomely stand opposed to it. As for bishops, on the other hand, and presbyters, and deacons, who should violate it, thereby disturbing the Church, and who should dare to celebrate Easter together with the Jews, it deposes them from every priestly and sacred function performed internally to the Bema, as well as from every other honor external thereto that belongs to those in holy orders (or, in other words, the right to retain the title of holy orders, to sit down with priests and remain in their company, and, generally speaking, activities external to the Bema, according to Balsamon — concerning which see cc. I and II of Ancyra and c. IX of Neocaesarea), since such persons not only injured themselves by this violation, but also induced others to violate the decree. But it not only deposes from office these transgressors who are in holy orders, but also deposes from office along with them all those who commune with them. See also Ap. c. VII.

 

2. As for all those persons who enter the church and listen to the sacred Scriptures, but who fail to commune in prayer together and at the same time with the laity, or who shun the participation of the Eucharist, in accordance with some irregularity, we decree that these persons be outcasts from the Church until, after going to confession and exhibiting fruits of repentance and begging forgiveness, they succeed in obtaining a pardon. Furthermore, we decree that communion with those excluded from communion is not allowed, nor in another church is it to be allowed to admit those who have no admittance to another church. If anyone among the Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons, or anyone of the Canon, should appear to be communing with those who have been excluded from communion, he too is to be excluded from communion, on the ground of seemingly confusing the Canon of the Church.

Interpretation.

The decree of the present Canon is in agreement with Ap. c. IX. For it asserts that those Christians must be excommunicated from the Church who go to church to attend liturgy and who listen to the Scriptures, but fail to pray along with the faithful, or shun the divine Communion, or, in other words, fail to commune, not for any good reason, but on account of some irregularity. Not on the ground that they actually hate and loathe divine Communion, heaven forbid! (for if they did so shun and abhor it, such persons would be condemned not only to excommunication, but even also to utter anathema), but that they feign to avoid it on account of humility and reverence. For it was this that the Fathers meant by the word "shun," according to superb Zonaras. But these persons are excommunicated only until they repent and beg to be forgiven. **I think this footnote is Makrakis material** Since, however, the Canon has mentioned excommunication, it goes on to say that no one is allowed either to pray even in a private house together with those who have been excommunicated from the Church, whether clerics or laymen, nor to admit them to church. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, should join in communion with such persons who have been excluded from communion, either in a house at home or in church at services, he too is to be excluded from communion so far as other persons are concerned, because by doing so he is confusing and confounding and transgressing and violating the Canons of the Church which comprise decrees concerning this, viz., Ap. cc. X and XI, which the reader should consult along with Ap. c. IX.

 

3. If any Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else at all of those who belong to the priesthood, shall depart for another parish after leaving his own, and subsequently, having changed his position altogether, tries to stay in another parish for a long time, let him no longer celebrate liturgy, especially in case he is summoned by his own Bishop and admonished to return to the parish he belongs to, and fails to obey. But if he persists in the irregularity, he must be utterly deposed from liturgy, on the ground that there is no longer any possibility of his being reinstated. If, after he has been deposed from office for this reason, another Bishop admits him, the latter too shall be punished by a common Synod, on the ground that he is violating the ecclesiastical laws.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any presbyter, or deacon, or anyone else that is a person in holy orders or a cleric, leaves the church in which he was ordained and goes to a church in another parish or another province, and stays there for many years, such a person is to be suspended from office and is no longer to be allowed to celebrate liturgy, especially if his own bishop has called upon him to return and he has refused to obey. But if he persists in this irregularity without returning, let him be deposed altogether from the liturgy, or, in other words, from every sacred function, in such a manner that henceforth he shall no longer have any ground or hope of being acquitted. But, if after he has been deposed from office for this, a bishop of another province should admit him, he too shall have the proper penalty inflicted upon him by the common Synod (or Council) of the province, as a transgressor of the ecclesiastical Canons, Ap. cc. XV and XVI, that is to say, which please read.

 

4. If any Bishop, deposed by a Synod, or any Presbyter, or Deacon, deposed by his own Bishop, should dare to perform any act of the liturgy — whether it be the Bishop in accordance with the advancing custom, or the Presbyter, or the Deacon, let it no longer be possible for him to have any hope of reinstatement even in another Synod (or Council), nor let him be allowed to present an apology in his own defense, but, on the contrary, let all of those who even commune with him be cast out of the Church, and especially if after learning about the decision pronounced against the aforesaid, he should dare to commune with them.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any bishop be deposed by a Synod (or Council), or if any presbyter or deacon be deposed by his own bishop, and after being deposed he should dare to perform any sacred act, as he was wont to do formerly — the bishop, a prelatical function; a presbyter, that of presbyters; and a deacon, that of deacons — before he has stood trial before a higher ecclesiastical tribunal, any such person, I say, shall no longer have any hope of being acquitted at another Synod, nor any right to offer any defense in their own behalf, since they themselves have turned every decision of a synod against them owing to their having failed to abide by the synod’s decree of deposition, according to c. XXXVII of Carthage. But even any persons that join in communion with those deposed from office, when they are aware of the deposition, are all to be cast out of the Church. See also Ap. c. XXVIII.

 

5. If any Presbyter, or Deacon, having shown contempt for his own Bishop, has excommunicated himself from the church, and has formed a congregation of his own, and has set up an altar, and, in spite of the Bishop’s inviting him to return, if he should remain disobedient, and should refuse to obey or even to submit to him, when he calls him once and twice, let him be utterly deposed, and be no longer accorded any remedy, nor be capable of having his honor restored. But if he should stick to his position, making a lot of noise and creating an upheaval in the church, let him be brought back by an appeal to the civil authorities as a riotous character.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd; cc. X, XI of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon has been culled from Ap. c. XXXI. For it too decrees that if any presbyter or deacon shall scorn his own bishop, and, having separated from the church, shall celebrate liturgy apart therefrom, and shall refuse to obey the bishop, who has offered him two or three invitations (concerning which see Ap. c. LXXIV) to come to him and declare whatever excuses he may have, and be reconciled; that person shall be deposed altogether, and shall henceforth be incapable of getting back the honor of holy orders. But if such a person even after his deposition from office should insist upon making trouble for the prelate and the church, he is to be sobered by recourse to the magistrates of the civil authorities. Note also from this Canon that bishops are prohibited from chastising disorderly persons by themselves with imprisonment or cudgel being allowed only to impose ecclesiastical censures; and only if they remain disobedient, then they are to be turned over to the magistrates for correction. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

6. If anyone has been excluded from communion by his own Bishop, let him not be admitted by others until he has been accepted by his own Bishop. Or, a Synod having been held, if he has defended himself in answer to the charges and has convinced the Synod, and has succeeded in receiving a different verdict. The same rule applies to laymen and Presbyters and Deacons, and to all persons in the Canon.

(Ap. c. XXXII; c. V of the 1st; c. I of Holy Wisdom; c. VI of Antioch; c. XIV of Sardica; cc. XI, XXXVII, CXLI of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

If any presbyter, or deacon, or cleric, or layman should be excommunicated by his bishop, he shall not be admitted by any other bishop to communion, except only by the same bishop who excommunicated him, in accordance with the present Canon, unless he appear before a Synod and manage to persuade the Synod to render a different decision in regard to the excommunication he has received. See also Ap. c. XXXII.

 

7. Let no stranger be admitted without letters pacifical.

(Ap. c. XII.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that no stranger be admitted by another bishop unless he has letters pacifical, or, in other words, letters dimissory, from his bishop; concerning which see the Footnote to Ap. c. XII.

 

8. Nor shall letters canonical be given by Presbyters in country districts, other than to send letters to neighboring Bishops, but to give letters pacifical to Auxiliary Bishops only, who are irreproachable.

(Ap. c. XII; c. VIII of the first.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits presbyters located in the country, or in villages and small towns, where the bishop is not wont to go, or, in other words, chief priests, according to Balsamon, which is the same as to say, auxiliary bishops. They are only to send letters to neighboring bishops, and not to ones farther away. For it is only the bishop himself that has a right to send letters to bishops far away, and to give letters commendatory, in order to examine better the persons who are to receive them. But auxiliary bishops themselves, if unaccused of anything, and provided their name has not been defamed, may give letters pacific to those who ask for them; this refers to letters dimissory, concerning which see also the Footnote c. VIII of the 1st. See also the Footnote to Ap. c. XII.

9. The presiding Bishop in a metropolis must be recognized by the Bishops belonging to each province (or eparchy), and undertake the cure of the entire province, because of the fact that all who have any kind of business to attend to are wont to come from all quarters to the metropolis. Hence it has seemed best to let him have precedence in respect of honor, and to let the rest of the Bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, in accordance with the ancient Canon of the Fathers which has been prevailing, or only those things which are imposed upon the parish of each one of them and upon the territories under it. For each Bishop shall have authority over his own parish, to govern in accordance with the reverence imposed upon each, and to make provision regarding all the territory belonging to his city, as also to ordain Presbyters and Deacons, and to dispose of details with judgment, but to attempt nothing further without the concurrence of the Bishop of the Metropolis; nor shall he himself, without the consent and approval of the rest.

(Ap. c. XXXIV.)

Interpretation.

The present is almost identical with Ap. c. XXXIV in respect of words and in respect of meaning. For it too teaches that the Bishops of each province ought to recognize the Metropolitan of the province as their chief, and to do nothing without his consent and approval (as in turn neither is he to do anything without their consent and approval), but only those things which belong to their episcopates, ordinations, that is to say, of presbyters and deacons and of the rest, administrations of the church, and the rest. Concerning which see the said Ap. c.

 

10. As for Auxiliary Bishops in villages or country towns, or so-called Chorepiscopi, even though they have received ordination by the laying on of hands, it has seemed best to the holy Council that they should recognize their own limitations, and govern the churches subject to their jurisdiction, and be content with the cure and guardianship of these, and, on the other hand, to appoint anagnosts (or lectors), and subdeacons, and exorcisers, and be content with their promotion, and not venture to ordain a Presbyter or even a Deacon, without the concurrence of the Bishop in the city to whom he and his district are subject. But if anyone should dare to transgress the rules laid down, let him be deposed from office and even from whatever honor he has been enjoying. An Auxiliary Bishop is to be made such by the Bishop of the city to which he is subject.

(c. VIII of the 1st.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that chorepiscopi located in villages and small towns, even though they have been ordained by the imposition of hands by which one is made a bishop, must nevertheless keep within their bounds, and govern only the churches that are subject to them, and ordain only lectors, subdeacons, and exorcisers, or what are otherwise known as catechists, but not priest or deacons, without the permission of the bishop over the full-grown city to whom they too as well as their territory are subject and by whom they are made. But if they should transgress these rules, let them be deposed from office. See the Footnote to c. VIII of the 1st.

 

11. If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or anyone at all of the Canon, without the consent and letters of the Bishops in the province, and especially of the Bishop having charge of the metropolis, should rush off to see the Emperor, he is to be outlawed, and is to be made an outcast not only from the communion, but also from the dignity which he happens to be enjoying, on the ground that he has been guilty of daring to annoy the ears of our most God-beloved Emperor in contravention of the law of the Church. But if any urgent need should demand his rushing to see the Emperor, he must do this with thoughtfulness and with the consent and approval of the Bishop in charge of the metropolis of the province, or of those therein, and be furnished with letters from them.

(cc. VII, VIII, IX, XX of Sardica; c. CXVII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits any bishop, or priest, or cleric from going to the Emperor and bothering him about his own requests without there being any great need of it. But whenever there is any such need, he must first consult his Metropolitan about it and the bishops of that province, and then receive letters from them to the Emperor stating the province from which he hails and the need on account of which he is departing thither. But if anyone should dare to violate these rules, let him be excommunicated and deposed from office.

Concord.

In a similar manner c. VII of Sardica also forbids bishops to go to the Emperor’s camp in order to act as intermediaries in behalf of demands for their friends; except only then they may go when the Emperor himself invites them by letter, and except if they want to help widows and poor people, or any persons who are being sorely oppressed, or condemned to exile, and other such persons who are in dire need of help. Nevertheless, even then, lest any bishop fall under an accusation of some kind or other, he must not go in person himself, but must send his deacon to the Emperor with letters, in accordance with c. VIII of the same Council. Canon IX of the same Council decrees that if any bishop, with the view of taking care of the aforesaid needs of poor people, sends begging letters to the bishop of the province in which the Emperor is to be found, these letters must first be examined by the metropolitan of that bishop, and, if they are reasonable, they must be sent by the metropolitan to the bishop. If he even has friends in the palace, the bishop has permission to beg them with their deacon to lend aid to his reasonable and necessary requests. As for those persons who are sent to Rome, they must be sent to the place through the agency of the bishop of Rome, just as is decreed also by c. CXVII of Carthage; because in that period of time the Emperor was to be found in Rome: just as those persons who departed for Constantinople had to be presented to the Emperor through the agency of the Patriarch, in accordance with the Footnote to c. XXVIII of the 4th. Canon XX of the same Council of Sardica says that if a bishop goes to the Emperor without being called, but for the sake of ostentation or some begging appeals, the bishops having jurisdiction in those parts are not to subscribe their names to his letters, nor to join in communing with him.

 

12. If any Presbyter, or Deacon, deposed from office by his own Bishop, or any Bishop deposed by a Synod, should dare to annoy the Emperor’s ears, he must address his appeal to a greater Synod of bishops, and specify whatever justice he thinks that he is being denied to a number of Bishops, and accept whatever examination and adverse judgment he may receive from them. But if, paying no heed thereto, he should annoy the Emperor, he shall be precluded from any pardon, and shall be allowed no opportunity to make an apology in his own defense, nor to entertain any hope of reinstatement.

(c. VI of the 2nd; c. XVII of the 4th; c. CXV of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon makes it plain that if a bishop has been deposed by a synod, or a priest or deacon has been deposed by his bishop, and protests that he has been treated unjustly, he has permission to appeal his case to a higher court of bishops, as we said in our Footnote to c. IV of the present C. But the present Canon adds that if these persons who have been deposed regard the judgment of the bishops with contempt or scorn, and dare to annoy the Emperor about it, by asking to have their case examined by him, they are to be allowed no pardon, nor may they ever hope to be acquitted. Canon CXV of Carthage, on the other hand, says that if anyone asks the Emperor to order his case to be tried by bishops by an imperial rescript of his, he is not to be prohibited from doing so. See also c. VI of the 2nd, and c. XVII of the 4th.

 

13. Let no Bishop dare to go over from one province into another and ordain any persons in church to promotion of the liturgy, even though he take others along with him, unless, having been asked to do so, he should arrive by letters of the Metropolitan and of the Bishops accompanying him, into whose district he should happen to be passing. But if, without anyone inviting him or calling him, he should depart irregularly to lay hands upon certain persons, and to meddle in the status quo of ecclesiastical affairs that do not concern him, all things whatsoever that he may do shall be null and void and invalid; and he himself shall incur a suitable sentence for his irregularity and his unreasonable proceeding, having been already deposed hence by the holy Council.

(Ap. c. XXXV; c. II of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XX of the 6th; c. XXII of Antioch; cc. III, XI, XII of Sardica.)

Interpretation.

Various Canons forbid a bishop to go into another’s province and ordain anyone or perform any other episcopal function, just as the present Canon forbids this, by saying that only then may one do this when he is invited to do so in writing by the metropolitan and the bishops of that province to which he is going. But if without anyone inviting him he go there, all sacred acts that may be performed by him are to be invalid and void, whether they be ordinations or other acts, while he himself is to be deposed from office as punishment for his irregularity. See also Ap. c. XXXV.

 

14. If any Bishop should be judicially tried in regard to any charges, and afterwards it should happen that the Bishops in the province disagree concerning him, some pronouncing the one being tried innocent, while others pronounce him guilty, by way of precluding any dispute, it has seemed best to the holy Council for the Bishop of the metropolis to summon some other Bishops from neighboring provinces who are to reach a verdict and dispel any dispute, with the object of affirming and confirming what is presented together with the Bishops of that province.

Interpretation.

If, when a bishop is being tried for any crimes of his by the bishops of the province, it should ensue that all of them are not agreed, but that while some are in favor of condemning him others are inclined to acquit him, the present Canon prescribes that in order to dispel all doubt, the metropolitan of the province ought to summon other bishops from a neighboring strange province to consider the doubtful case of the one on trial, in conjunction with the bishops of that province, and to affirm and confirm a just decision in the matter. Read c. IV of the present C., and Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd, and cc. IX and XVII of the 4th.

 

15. If any Bishop accused of any crimes should be tried by all the Bishops in the province, and all of them have pronounced one decision against him in complete agreement with each other, let him no more be tried again by others, but let the concordant verdict of the bishops of the province stand on record.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; cc. IX, XVII of the 4th.)

Interpretation.

If, however, any bishop accused of any crime be tried by all the bishops in the province, and all of them in agreement arrive at a decision against him, then according to the present Canon he can no more be tried by other bishops, but the concordant verdict of the bishops already pronounced against him must remain effective. For this concord of theirs serves as proof that the deposition of him was just. Zonaras, on the other hand, says that even though all the bishops of the province try the case, yet if all of them do not agree to the verdict, the man being tried can appeal his trial to another and higher court or tribunal of bishops, respecting which we made a comment in the Footnote to c. IV of the present C. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd, and cc. IX and XVII of the 4th.

 

16. If any Bishop without a see impose himself upon a church without a Bishop and seize the throne thereof without the approval of a complete Synod, he shall be cast out, even though all the laity whom he has seized should choose to keep him. A complete Synod is one at which the Metropolitan too is present.

(Ap. c. XIV.)

Interpretation.

A bishop without a see is one that has no church, either because he has not been accepted owing to the maliciousness of his provincials, and not because of his own wickedness, according to Ap. c. XXXVI, or owing to the fact that this province of his is being held by barbarians and heathen, according to c. XXXVII of the 6th. A church without a bishop is one that lacks a bishop because of certain circumstances. So if a bishop without a see go to a diocese (or parish) without a bishop, and seize its throne, without its being given to him by a complete Synod, i.e., a Synod attended also by the Metropolitan of the province in question, the present Canon decrees that any bishop who does such a thing shall be cast out or ejected from that province even though the laity thereof should want to have him as their bishop, because of the rapacious and covetous manner he is guilty of having employed in getting hold of it. See also Ap. c. XIV.

 

17. If any Bishop who has received ordination as such, and has been appointed to take charge of a laity, should refuse to accept the office, and to depart to the church entrusted to him, let him be excluded from communion until he has been compelled to accept it, or until a complete Synod of the Bishops of the province in question determines his fate.

(Ap. c. XXXVI.)

Interpretation.

If anyone be ordained bishop of a certain province by means of the sacred rite of prayers, and he refuse to go to the province entrusted to him, the present Canon commands that he be excommunicated from the fellowship of his fellow bishops until such time as either he be persuaded to go there, or a complete Synod with the Metropolitan in attendance determine what is to be done about him. For it is possible that that Synod may recognize him and absolve him from the penalty of exclusion from communion, on such reasonable grounds as present to it. Read also Ap. c. XXXVI.

 

18. If any Bishop duly ordained to a diocese fail to go to the one to which he has been ordained, not through any fault of his own, but either because of the anfractuosity of the laity, or for some other reason for which he is not responsible, he shall retain the honor and office, only without causing any disturbance to the affairs of the church where he should be accorded a congregation. But he shall await the outcome of the decision of a complete Synod of the province in regard to his appointment.

(Ap. c. XXXVI.)

Interpretation.

Both the above Canon and the present one contain pretty much the same matter as Ap. c. XXXVI contains. For this Canon says that if any bishop who has been duly ordained fails to go to his province, not on account of any blameworthy action of his own, but either because of some disorderly behavior of the laity, or on account of some other outside interference, he shall continue to enjoy the honor of a prelate and to perform the sacred services incumbent upon a prelate, provided that this occasions no scandals and disturbances in strange or foreign provinces to which he might go (for without the consent and approval of the prelate in charge of the region in question, he himself can neither teach, nor perform any sacred function, nor ordain anyone, nor appropriate the proceeds of the church there). But he must wait until his fate has been determined by a complete Synod attended by a Metropolitan, before he can gain any definite provision and resource for a living and prebend. See also Ap. c. XXXVI.

 

19. No Bishop shall be ordained without a Synod and the presence of the Metropolitan of the province. He must be present in any case, and it were better that all the fellow ministers in the province should attend the Synod too; accordingly, the bishop in the metropolis should be summoned to it by letter. And it were better that all of them should respond, but if this be found difficult, at least a majority of them ought in any case to be present or to join in the voting by means of letters, and thus let the prebend be granted by a majority of votes of those present or joining by letter. If any ordination has been obtained otherwise than has been defined and prescribed, let it be of no effect. But if a prebend has been granted in accordance with the Canon provided, and some persons should object to it on account of their having a quarrel of their own, let the majority vote prevail.

(Ap. c. I; cc. IV and VI of the First.)

Interpretation.

There is but little difference between this Canon and c. IV of the First Ec. C. For this one says, just as does that one, that no bishop is to be elected or ordained without the Metropolitan of the province being present. When he is present, he must summon the rest of the bishops by letter. If all of them come to the meeting, it is better; but if there should be any difficulty in assembling all of them, most of them must in any case be present, or if they be bodily absent, they must at any rate join in voting on the ordination by letters. If an ordination be conducted in any other manner, let it be of no effect, or, in other words, let it be null and void. But if it has been conducted in such a manner and has received the vote of a majority, but there be some who object to the ordination, not on any reasonable ground, but out of quarrelsomeness and spite, the opinion of those some shall be of no effect, and the majority vote shall have effect and prevail, just as is asserted also in c. VI of the First Ec. C. See also Ap. c. I and c. IV of the First Ec. C.

 

20. In regard to ecclesiastical needs, and the settlement of disputes, it has seemed well that Synods of the Bishops of each province should be held twice a year. Once after the end of the third week of the festival of Easter, so that the Synod may be finished its business by the fourth week of Pentecost, the Bishop in the metropolis reminding the provincials of it. As for the second Synod, it shall be held on the ides of October, which is the tenth day of the month of Hyperbetaeus. So that these very Synods shall be attended by Presbyters and Deacons in addition and by all those who deem themselves to have been treated unjustly or to have been wronged in any way, and who wish to have their cases reviewed by the Synod. But let it not be permissible for any persons to hold any such meetings in the way of Synods without the presence of those who have been entrusted with the metropoleis.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; c. XL of Laodicea; cc. XXVI, LX, LXI, LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXXV, CIV of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

This Canon too differs but little from Ap. c. XXXVII. For it decrees that it is a good thing for synods of the bishops to be held twice a year in every province, to settle any doubts and ecclesiastical questions that may arise. The first meeting should be held during the fourth week of Pentecost after Easter; the other one, during the ides (concerning which see the Footnote to c. LXII of the 6th), or, in other words, on the tenth day of October. These Synods are to be attended by all those persons who have been unjustly treated and wish to have their case or trial reviewed. But bishops may not hold such synods by themselves without the presence of the metropolitans. Read also Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

21. A Bishop shall not go over from one diocese to another, nor arbitrarily impose himself, even though he be constrained by the laity, nor even though he be compelled to do so by sheer coercion on the part of bishops. Instead, he must stay where he has been allotted a church by God in the beginning, and not go away from it for another, in accordance with the rule which has already been previously laid down concerning this.

(Ap. c. XIV; c. XV of the 1st; c. V of the 4th; cc. I, II of Sardica; c. LVII of Carthage.)

Interpretation.

This Canon differs but little from Ap. c. IV. It says that a bishop ought not to leave his previous province and take another, whether it be willfully of his own accord or at the urgent request of the laity of that other province, or under coercion exercised by bishops; but, instead, he ought to stay in the province entrusted to him by God originally, and ought not to go away from it, in accordance with the rule (or definition) concerning this previously set forth — which appears to me to refer to the said Ap. c. XIV, which the reader may consult for himself.

 

22. A Bishop shall not intrude upon another city that is not subject to his jurisdiction, nor upon a territory that does not belong to his dominion, for the purpose of ordaining anyone, or of appointing Presbyters or Deacons in regions that are subject to the jurisdiction of another Bishop, except, of course, with the consent and approval of the Bishop proper to the territory in question. If, however, anyone should dare to do such a thing, let the ordination be null and void, and let him be punished by the Synod.

(Ap. c. XXXV; c. XII of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XX of the 6th; c. XIII of Antioch.)

Interpretation.

This Canon agrees with c. XIII of this same Council. For this Canon also says that a bishop must not go to another city or territory that is foreign and not subject to him, in order to ordain presbyters or deacons, except only with the permission of the bishop of the region in question. But if any bishop should dare to do so, the ordination he performs is to be invalid and void, and he himself is to receive the proper penalty from the synod. See also Ap. c. XXXV.

 

23. No Bishop shall be permitted to appoint another as his successor in office, even though he be approaching the end of his life. But if any such thing should be done, the appointment shall be void and of no effect. The ecclesiastical law shall be kept which declares that only with a synod and the decision of bishops, and not otherwise, may a worthy one be promoted to take over the authority held by the one who has been laid to rest in sleep.

(Ap. c. LXXVI.)

Interpretation.

In agreement with Ap. c. LXXVI this Canon also decrees to the effect that no bishop shall have permission to ordain a successor to his own throne whomsoever he may wish and of his own accord, even though he be at the point of death. If, nevertheless, any bishop should do so, the ordination shall be invalid. The Canon of the Church providing for this contingency must be kept which decrees that in no other way may anyone become a successor than by judgment and vote of a synod or council of bishops, who have authority after the death of the predecessor to ordain one worthy to succeed him. See also said Ap. c. LXXVI.

 

24. The rules and regulations of the Church must be rightly kept for the Church with all diligence and in all good conscience and faith reposed in God, who is the superintendent and judge of all things, and the affairs of the church should be governed with the judgment and authority of the Bishop entrusted with all the laity and the souls of all the members of the congregation thereof. What belongs to the dominion of the Church is manifest and well known to the Presbyters and Deacons under his jurisdiction, so that these persons ought to be well aware, and not ignorant, of whatever is property of the church, so that nothing should escape their observation to enable them, in case the Bishop should exchange life, in view of the fact that the things belonging to the dominion of the church are manifest, to prevent any of them from being embezzled or made away with and lost, and to see that none of the Bishop’s own things are disturbed on the pretense that they are ecclesiastical property. For it is just and pleasing to both God and man that the Bishop should leave his own property to whomsoever he may will it, but that things belonging to the church should be kept for it; and that neither should the church sustain any loss or damage, nor should property of the Bishop be confiscated on the pretense that it belongs to the church; nor should those persons be involved in any trouble in claims thereto, with the result of defaming him after death.

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII and XL.)

Interpretation.

The present Canon has been made up of the two Apostolic cc. XXXVIII and XL. For this Canon too says that the property of the church must be kept with all diligence and good conscience, as standing before God, and be administered with the judgment and authority of the bishop who has been entrusted with the souls of the laity. But both the property of the church and that of the bishop ought to be manifest to the presbyters and deacons, with the resulting elimination of the possibility of any of the property of the church getting lost, or of any of the property of the bishop being sequestered because of him, or of the bishop’s relatives falling into temptations, to whom he might (or to whomsoever else he might) have left the property in question; and in consequence thereof the name of the bishop might be defamed after his death. Read also the said Ap. cc.

 

25. A Bishop shall have authority over the property and funds of his church, so as to be able to administer it to all needing it with all reverence and fear of God. He too shall partake thereof so far as he may have need thereof (if he should have any need) for his own necessary wants, and for those of the brethren he has under his hospitation, so as not to leave them in any way unprovided for according to the divine Apostle, who says: "having food and raiment, let us be therewith content" (1 Tim. 6:8). But if he should not be content therewith, but should convert property (of the church) to the needs of his own household, and should fail to handle the revenue of the church, of the fruit of the fields, with the consent and approval of the Presbyters and Deacons, but should extend the authority to his own intimates and relatives or brothers or sons, with the consequence of thereby imperceptibly or unobservedly causing the assets of the church to be injured; he shall be held accountable to the Synod of the province. If, on the other hand, the Bishop and the Presbyters serving with him be traduced on the alleged ground that they are appropriating to themselves goods belonging to the church, whether it be from the fields or from any other alleged property of the church, on the alleged ground that the indigent are being oppressed, whereas, in point of fact, calumny and defamation are being inflicted by the words upon those so governing, and they are charged with liability to correction, the holy Synod or Council must determine what ought to be done.

(Ap, cc. XXXVIII and XLI.)

Interpretation.

This Canon too is likewise made up of Ap. cc. XXXVIII and XLI. It decrees that a bishop shall have authority to distribute with reverence and fear of God the income of the church to all the poor and to guests, so that they may not be deprived of any necessary. But he himself shall also be entitled to take thereof necessaries and wants for himself, provided he has no money of his own, but, on the contrary, is poor; for the Apostle says that if we have food enough to eat and clothing enough to cover us, we ought to be content with those goods alone, and not seek what is superfluous or unnecessary. But if any bishop is not content with only what is necessary, but spends the funds or makes away with property of the bishopric or of the metropolis for his own needs or wants, without the knowledge and consent of the presbyters and deacons administering it as stewards, or gives their authority to sons and relatives of his own, so as to leave his stewards no way to render a clear account of the income derived from such sources, perhaps forcing them to declare that the bishop together with his relatives are plundering it — if, I say, the bishop should be actually doing so, let him be chastised by the Synod of the province. But if again the bishop presbyters and the bishops **"presbyters" instead of "bishops"?**and deacons serving with him as stewards are appropriating the income from the property of the church for their own behoof, leaving poor brethren to suffer in want because of being deprived of the aid that might accrue therefrom; and in addition an accusation and defamation results to those managing such property themselves, and to the accounting which they have to render every year (because of his not being clear himself, but, on the contrary, deceitful and thievish) — if, I say, they themselves are doing this, let them be chastised by the Synod, which may determine the penalty they deserve, and the management which ought to be bestowed upon such property. Read also the said Ap. cc.

 

The Regional Council of Laodicea.

Prolegomena.

The holy and regional Council held in Laodicea, the metropolis of Pacatic Phrygia, took place, according to most authorities, in A.D. 364. It was attended by numerous fathers gathered together from various provinces of Asia. They issued the present Canons, which are necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church, and which are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, and definitely by c. II of the 6th; and by this confirmation they acquire a force which is ecumenical in a way.

 

Canons.

1. Concerning the need of allowing communion by concession to those who, in accordance with the ecclesiastical Canon, have freely and legally contracted a second marriage, without having entered into a clandestine marriage, after a little time has elapsed and they have spent it in prayers and fasts.

(c. XII of the 1st; c. VII of Ancyra.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that persons who have married a second time are to receive the divine Mysteries after a short time by concession, on account of the necessity and burning desire of nature, but only if their second marriage is a free and legal one, or, in other words, one that is not prohibited on account of any relationship of the parties in question. Even though they should sleep together before being blessed, provided they repent after marriage, fasting and praying. But c. IV of St. Basil prohibits for a year or two those who have married a second time from communion; whereas it appears that this Council pardons digamists in a short while on account of their fasting and praying, and, generally speaking, on account of their repentance — concerning which see and read c. XII of the First EC. C. See also c. VII of Ancyra. But if these digamists mingle together before marriage, they are sentenced like fornicators, according to Zonaras, or, in other words, to seven years.

 

2. Concerning the need of admitting to communion, for the sake of God’s compassion and goodness, those who have sinned outright in various offenses, and who have abided their time with fortitude and the prayer of confession and penitence, and who hove achieved complete aversion to the evils, in proportion to the offense, time for repentance having been given to such persons.

(c. XTI of the First.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that even though one may fall into various sinful acts, yet if he confess them and shuns and hates them afterwards, praying and repenting to God, yet, after time for repentance and atonement has been given him by the spiritual father, proportionate to the evil deeds he has done, such a person ought to be pardoned and to be allowed to partake of the divine Mysteries, not on account of his diligence and worthiness, but on account of the infinite philanthropy (or man-loving kindness) and compassion of God, who welcomes back all sinners that return to Him, and there is no sin whatever that will defeat His goodness. See also c. XII of the First EC. C.

 

3. Concerning the need of not admitting to holy orders those persons who have been illuminated (i.e., baptized) recently.

(Ap. c. LXXX.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that newly-illuminated (i.e., newly-baptized) persons are not to be made priests or clerics directly after baptism. See also Ap. c. LXXX.

 

4. Concerning the fact that those who are in priestly orders must not lend out money and take interest and the so-called "half-of-the-whole."

(Ap. c. XLIV.).

Interpretation.

Men in holy orders must not lend money and charge interest and "half-of- the-whole," or a half of the per cent interest, that is to say, in other words, six legal coins or piasters to the hundred, according to the present Canon. See also Ap. c. XLIV.

5. Concerning the fact that ordinations must not be performed in the presence of listeners.

(Ap. cc. XXX, LXI; c. XIII of Laodicea; c. LIX of Carthage).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that ordination of those being admitted to holy orders must not be carried out before the eyes and ears of listeners. See also Ap. cc. XXX and LXI.

 

6. Concerning the necessity of not permitting heretics to come into the house of God, so long as they persist in their heresy.

(Ap. cc. XLV and LXV.).

Interpretation.

The decree embodied in the present Canon is that heretics must not be permitted to go inside the temple of God which is being occupied by Orthodox Christians, if they persist in their heresy and refuse to be converted. Read also Ap. c. XLV.

 

7. Concerning the need of refusing to accept persons from heresies, that is, Novations, or, in other words, Photinians, or Tessareskaidecatites, when they are converted, whether catechumens or such as are known among them as fa,ithful believers, until they have anathematized every heresy, and that par excellence in which they have been captivated. Then and thereafter those called among themselves faithful, being put to learning the symbols of the faith (Note of Translator. By this phrase is meant "the articles of the Creed"), and having been anointed, may henceforward partake of the holy Mysteries.

(Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII; c. VII of the 2nd.).

Interpretation.

In keeping with c. VII of the 2nd the present Canon decrees that Novatians (concerning whom see c. VIII of the First EC. C.), and Photi-nians (concerning whom see c. I of the 2nd), and Tessareskaidecatites (concerning whom see c. VII of the 2nd), upon returning to Orthodoxy, are not to be accepted and admitted to the communion of the Mysteries until they anathematize every other heresy, and most especially their own, whether they be catechumens or those who are called among them the faithful. And after they do so and learn the dogmas of the Orthodox faith, then are they to be anointed with the holy myron (or chrism oil), and thus and only thus are they to be permitted to partake of the divine Mysteries, seeing that they used to baptize themselves in identically the same way as are Orthodox Christians, and on this account and for this reason alone they do not need to be baptized a second time. See also Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII, and especially c. VII of the 2nd.

 

8. As concerning those returning from the heresy of the so-called Phrygians, even though they happen to be in the class which with them is supposed to be the clergy, and even though they should be among those called "greatest" such persons are to be catechized with the utmost diligence and are to be baptized by the Bishops and Presbyters of the Church.

(Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII; c. VII of the 2nd.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too is consonant with c. VII of the 2nd. For it decrees, as does that one, that the so-called Phrygians, or those otherwise known as Montanists, upon returning to Orthodoxy, must as Grecians be catechized and baptized by the bishops and presbyters with examination and diligence, even though they themselves are called "greatest," as teachers and as having a certain superiority over the others, and even though they be among those who with them are supposed to be, but in reality are not, clerics. Read also Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII, and especially c. VII of the 2nd.

 

9. Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries of the so-called martyria (i.e., shrines of martyrs) of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure; but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion.

(Ap. c. XLV.).

Interpretation.

Not only ought heretics not to enter the church of the Orthodox, but not even ought persons in the Church, or, in other words, faithful laymen and Orthodox Christians, to go to the cemeteries of heretics, where some persons of note among heretics have been buried, or to the houses wherein martyrs of heretics have been buried. For many even of the heretics in the time of persecution and of idolatry showed fortitude even to death, and were called martyrs by those who shared their beliefs. But not even ought Orthodox Christians, I say, to go visiting them, whether it be to pray for them or to honor them or to seek a cure from them for their ail-nient. As for all those who may do so, the present Canon decrees that they be excommunicated for a time, until they repent and confess that they made a mistake. See also Ap. c. XLV.

 

10. Concerning the fact that persons belonging to the Church must not carelessly and unconcernedly give their own children to marriage with heretics.

(c. XIV of the 4th.).

Interpretation.

Persons belonging to the Church, or, in other words, clerics as well as Orthodox laymen, ought not to let their children marry heretics, without drawing any distinction between Orthodox Christian and heretic. Read also c. XIV of the 4th.

 

11. Concerning the necessity of avoiding the appointment of so-called presbytides, or presiding women, in the church.

(c. IV of the 1st EC. C.).

Interpretation.

Zonaras and Balsamon assert that this Canon decrees that so-called elderly women are not to be appointed in the church to take precedence over the rest of the women in the matter of sitting down in church, but neither must they be called by such a name (as presbytides, i.e., "elderly women"). For in the olden time there used to be in the churches such old women, to keep the other women in order, and to show each one of them how and where to stand and to sit in the temple, which function, since they exploited it for the sake of greedy profits and ostentatious pride, they were prohibited from exercising by this Canon. But others opine that these presbytides and presiding women were forbidden by the Canon to be appointed, or, in other wrords, to be ordained by means of prayers, since the term "appoint" also denotes (in Greek) "ordain by means of prayers," as we said in connection with c. IV of the First EC. C.

 

12. Concerning the fact that Bishops are to be appointed to ecclesiastical office by judgment of the Metropolitans and of the Bishops in their retinue, provided that they have been tried and tested for a long time, both in respect of words of faith and in point of behavior and conduct conforming to right reason.1

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that bishops are to be ordained by judgment and vote of surrounding Metropolitans and Bishops of the province, having been for a long time tried and tested and attested both as respecting the Orthodox dogmas of the faith and as respecting a virtuous life in accordance with the dictates of right reason. See also Ap. c. I and c. IV of the First EC. C.

 

13. Concerning the necessity of not permitting others to conduct the election of candidates for the priesthood.

(Ap. cc. XXX, LXI; c. V of Laodicea; c. LIX of Carthage.).

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids permitting the mobs and disorderly multitude of cities to cast votes and participate in the election of candidates to the priesthood (or prelacy): 1st, because according to a previous decision such candidates must be voted for and elected by bishops and fellow priests, and collaterally to be voted for by the laity; and 2nd, because perhaps the more prudent and more reverent laymen ought to join hands with the bishops and priests in voting for and electing the candidate to be ordained a priest (or prelate) for them, but not the vulgar and disorderly rabble, on account of the quarrels and fights that would result from their voting, some voting for one man and others for another. See also the Footnote to c. V of the present C. and Ap. cc. XXX and LXI.

 

14. Concerning the prohibition of sending round to other dioceses (or parishes) the pieces of holy bread in lieu of eulogiae during the festival of Easter.

Interpretation.

Among the Christians of olden times it used to be a custom at the time of Easter to send the divine Mysteries from one province to another, for the sake of bestowing a blessing and sanctification upon those to whom they were sent. It is that custom that the present Canon prohibits because it is unseemly for the all-precious Mysteries to be transported and carried about on long journeys casually and fortuitously.

 

15. Concerning the necessity of not permitting any longer persons to chant in church other than those who are canonical Psalts (or Cantors) ascending the pulpit (or ambo) and chanting from parchments.

(c. LXXV of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids persons from chanting in church simply because he wants to do so, allowing regular cantors, or psalts, to do so, i.e., those who are numbered among the clergy and have been ordained in any particular church. The regular cantors mount the pulpit, and chant with cantoral sheets of membrane (for the skins from which membrances are made are called parchments when thus prepared) or of paper. For if every ignorant person that wants to chant be allowed to do so, disorder and discord will ensue, whereas the result of the contrary, when appointed cantors experienced in cantoral matters chant, will be good order. See also c. LXXV of the 6th.

 

16. Concerning the necessity of reading Gospels together with other Scriptures on Saturday.

Interpretation.

From this Canon it would appear that the Church in olden times had not the constitution which it has today. For when the faithful assembled in those days at Liturgy or at Saturday matins, Gospels were not read, as they are nowadays. Hence the present Canon ordains that Gospels be read on Saturday together with the other Scriptures. Balsamon, however, says that the reason the present Canon was prescribed was that many Christians who were accustomed to Judaize in those days were wont to abstain from chanting sacred songs and from reading Gospels and holy Scriptures on Saturday, just as they were wont to leave off doing every other kind of labor on Saturdav.

 

17. Concerning the injunction not to run the psalms together in the course of synaxeis (Note of Translator. This Greek word, which occurs in this work a number of times, appears to mean· in the present instance "services, or Liturgies, attended by a whole congregation." and not a gathering or congregation itself.), but, on the contrary, to do reading in the midst in connection with every psalm.

(c. LXXV of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that at synaxeis and services of the church all the psalms of David must not be chanted continuously, lest the laity grow weary on account of their great length and leave the church; but that, on the contrary, the psalms should be interspersed with reading and prayer, so that the laity may have a little rest,, and thanks to this variety the mind, becoming a good deal clearer and soberer, as Basil the Great says (see his Definitions in Extenso, No. 37), may be enabled to recommence chanting the psalms. In fact, this is the reason why the divine Fathers divided the Psalter into various cathismata, and between the cathismata inserted prayers, which are to be found in many copies of the Psalter, both handwritten and printed. See also c. LXXV of the 6th.

 

18. Concerning the requirement that the same liturgy must be celebrated with prayers at all times, both in the nones and in the vespers.

Interpretation.

Just as c. CXIV of Carthage (which should be read in connection herewith) teaches that the prayers approved by the Council should be said by all the persons in the church, and not other new ones, so and in like manner the present Canon appears to say in prescribing that the order of the prayers must be kept the same, both in the hymnodies of the nones and in those of the vespers; and that no one who happens to want to compose other prayers of his own may introduce them into the Liturgy: for those which have been handed down are enough.

 

19. Concerning the requirement that sermons of Bishops in particular must first be followed by a prayer for catechumens, and after the catechumens leave, the prayer for those in the state of penitence must be said; and after these persons have come forward under hand and have withdrawn, then shall the prayers of (sc. for) the faithful be said thrice — once, the first time, silently, but the second and third time viva voce; and then the peace is to be bestowed. And after the Presbyters have bestowed the (kiss of) peace upon the Bishop, then shall the laymen bestow the (kiss of) peace; and then shall the holy oblation be celebrated; and only to members of the sacerdocy is it permissible to go into the sacrificial altar and commune.

Interpretation.

Both the order and the conduction of the sacred Liturgy was unlike that of the present day in olden times, as is made plainly evident by the present Canon. For it asserts that during Liturgy, or when divine service is being celebrated, after the bishops first do their teaching (i.e. preaching), a prayer must be said for the unbaptized catechumens (which prayer is said even now in the sacred liturgies of St. Chrysostom and of St. Basil); and after the catechumens go out, a prayer is to be said for those Christians who have been baptized, but who. being repentant for the sins they have committed, are having the priest lay his hand upon their heads — concerning which see c. XIV of the 1st (this prayer is no longer said); and after these persons too have gone out, three prayers are to be said for the faithful, one secretly, and the other two aloud (but nowadays only two prayers are said for the faithful, and these are both said secretly, as is to be seen in the liturgies of St. Chrysostom and of St. Basil). After these prayers have been finished, the peace is to be bestowed, or, more plainly speaking, the kissing of the priests with the bishop, and of laymen with laymen, is to be done, which kissing is called peace because it is a sign of love and peace. And after these things have all been done and finished, the trarisessentiation (called by Westerners "transubstantiation") of the Mysteries is to be effected; and then, be it added, only those in holy orders shall have permission to commune within the Bema. Laymen, that is to say, may commune only outside of the Bema.

 

20. That a Deacon must not sit down ahead of a Presbyter, but must take his seat only when bidden by the Presbyter. Likewise Deacons are entitled to be honored by their servants (i.e., subdeacons) and all Clerics.

Interpretation.

A deacon must not sit down ahead of a presbyter of his own accord, but, on the contrary, may sit down only when commanded to do so by him, as the present Canon prescribes. But lower servants of the Church, and all clerics, must honor a deacon, by not sitting down, that is to say, ahead of him either, unless they be commanded to do so by him. See also c. XVIII of the 1st, and the Footnote to c. XV of the 1st.

 

21. That servants must not have any place in the diaconicum, or touch the sacred vessels.

(c. XV of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that none of the servants may enter the diaconicum,1 or handle the sacred vessels and vestments. See also c. XV of the 6th.

 

22. That a servant must not wear an orarium, nor desert the doors.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no servant or doorkeeper of the church may wear an orarium, or leave the doors of catechumens and penitents during divine Liturgy, but, on the contrary, must guard them securely. That is why eh. 57 of Book II of the Apostolic Injunctions says: "Let the doors be watched lest any infidel or uninitiate enter." And this is what is meant by the words "The doors, let us pay attention to the doors with wisdom," which are uttered by the deacon.

 

23. That Anagnosts (or lectors) and Psalts (or cantors) must not wear or aria, and thus read or chant.

Interpretation.

But neither must anagnosts and psalts wear oraria, and read or chant with them on in church, according to this Canon, on the ground that they are of no use to them. See also cc. XXXIII and LXXV of the 6th.

 

24. Thai members of the sacerdocy, from Presbyters to Deacons and so on, of the ecclesiastical order, down to servants, and anagnosts, and psalts, and exorcists, and doorkeepers, and those belonging to the order of ascetics, must not enter a tavern.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that neither any of those in holy orders who have access to the Bema, nor any clerics and ecclesiastics who are obliged to keep out of the Bema, including, namely, subdeacons, anagnosts, psalts, exorcists, doorkeepers, and ascetics, may enter a tavern or liquor shop. See also Ap. c. XLII.

 

25. That servants must not give bread, nor bless a chalice.

Interpretation.

Servants of the Church, whether they be subdeacons or lower clerics, must not serve the body of the Lord to anyone, or bless the chalice, or cup, containing the blood of the Lord, according to this Canon. For this blessing can be done only by a priest or bishop. The administration, or impartation, of the divine bread is properly the office of the priest, though ministerially it is also only the office of the deacon, as we stated in the Footnote to c. XXIII of the 6th, but not also of the lower clerics. See also the Footnote to c. XV of the 6th.

 

26. That those who have not been duly promoted by Bishops must not exorcize anyone, either in churches or in private houses.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that persons who have not been duly appointed to the office by the laying on of hands of a bishop or of an auxiliary bishop, i.e., one having a bishop’s territory, according to c. X of Antioch. which read with the Footnote thereto, must not catechize anyone either in churches or in dwelling-places.

 

27. That members of the Sacerdocy, and Clerics, and, laymen, who are invited to an agape must not take away portions, on account of the1 in suit inflicted upon the ecclesiastical order.

Interpretation.

Though poor people were invited to the agapae, or banquets, which used to be held, those in holy orders and clerics were also invited. That is why the present Canon decrees that laymen, aiid especially men in holy orders and clerics, shall not carry away portions of food from such banquets and take them home, since this would insult and dishonor their ecclesiastical order, because it would show that they are gluttonous and insatiable in so doing. See also c. LXXIV of the 6th.

 

28. That so-called agapae must not be held in houses of the Lord or in churches, and persons must not eat or lay a table with accubita (or couches) in a house of God.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is word for word the same as c. LXXIV of the 6th irom which it is drawn, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

29. That Christians must not Judaize and rest on Saturday but must work on this day preferring to rest as Christians on Sunday if able to do so. If they be-found to be Judaisis. let them be anathema with Christ.

Interpretation.

Saturday as is denoted by the word itself, was a holiday of the old Law which was devoted to rest and on which the Jews cease from all labor, whereas Sunday is a holiday devoted to rest by virtue of the new grace of the Gospel. So Christians, being children of grace, ought not to celebrate Saturday as a holiday and rest on that day, and in this respect Judaize, as the present Canon enjoins, but, on the contrary, they ought to work on Saturday, and honoring Sunday on account of the Lord’s resurrection, they ought to take their rest on this day, if they can do so. But if they appear to be Judaizing by such idleness on Saturday, let them be anathema, or, in other words, let them be separated from Christ both in the present age and in the future. As concerning anathema, see the preface to the Council of Gangra. Even St. Augustine attests the fact that Christians ought to work on Saturday, and not remain idle. And see the Footnote to Ap. c. LXIV.

 

30. That members of the Sacerdocy, or Clerics, or Ascetics ought not to bathe in public baths with women, nor ought any Christian or layman. For this is the first thing heathen are prone to condemn.

Interpretation.

Having drawn the present Canon word for word from. c. LXXVII of the 6th, the present Council adopted it as its own. Hence see the Interpretation of it there.

 

31. That one must not intermarry with any heretics, or give one’s sons or daughters to them, but rather ought one to take theirs, if they should promise to become Christians.

Interpretation.

Christians ought not to give their sons and daughters in marriage to any heretic (for this is what is meant by the Greek word "pantas" signifying all, in accordance with that passage in the Psalms saying: "Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased. For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him" (Ps. 49:17); or, in other words, not to marry in some cases and in others yes. But, on the contrary to accept none at all), — Christians, I say, ought not to give their sons and daughters into marriage to any heretic, lest he turn them aside from the correct faith to his owrn caco-doxical tenets. But rather ought they to take those of heretics, though only on condition that they promise and change their position first from the heresy to Orthodoxy. See also c. XIV of the 4th.

 

32. That one must not accept blessings of heretics, which are rather misfortunes than blessings.

Interpretation.

According to the present Canon no Christian ought to accept blessings from heretics, since they are not blessings, but rather misfortunes. See also Ap. c. XLV.

 

33. That one must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics.

Interpretation.

This Canon decrees that we must not join in prayer with heretics, i.e., those who are mistaken in their belief, nor with schismatics, i.e., those who are Orthodox so far as concerns their belief, but are separated from the catholic church on account of certain traditions and remediable customs, according to c. I of St. Basil. See also Ap. c. XLV.

 

34. That no Christian must desert martyrs of Christ, and go away to pseudo-martyrs, of heretics, that is; nor must they themselves fraternize with the aforesaid heretics.

Interpretation.

Whereas c. IX of the present C., according to Balsamon, excommunicates only those who go to the tombs of the pseudomartyrs of heretics, since they went there after being misled by the hope of receiving some help from them in their ailments, the present Canon, on the other hand, anathematizes those who go to them, on the ground that they left the true martyrs of Christ and separated from God, but went to those pseudo-martyrs with all their soul and inclination. Hence in accordance with their different inclination, they have been differently penalized by the Canons. See also Ap. c. XLV.

 

35. That no Christian must desert the Church of God and go away, and call persons Angels, and collect congregations, which is prohibited. If anyone, therefore, be found to be adhering to this hidden idolatry, let him be anathema, because he deserted our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and went over to idolatry.

Interpretation.

St. Epiphanius says in his work entitled Panarians that there used to be an old sect of persons called Angelics, who taught that we ought not to call upon Christ for help, or to offer ourselves to God the Father through Him, because this exceeds human worthiness, since Christ too is superhuman; but that we ought instead to call upon the Angels in regard to these matters. This, however, was a hidden deception invented by the devil in order that as a result of such feigned reverence and humility human beings might little by little be seduced into calling upon, or invoking, the Angels as Gods, and consequently paying worship to creation rather than to the Creator, which in fact was what ensued in their case. For this reason the present Canon anathematizes those Christians who leave the Church of God and the practice of calling upon our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God and a God, and who congregate in the temples of the Angels (for, according to Theodoret, there was down to his time a temple of the Archangel Michael in those parts of Laodicea for that reason) and call upon them as Gods, and consequently in this hidden manner become idolaters and "ctismatolaters," or "creature-worshipers," i.e., worshipers of crismata, or of things (such as Angels) "built" by God. In saying these words it was not that the Canon intended to prohibit us from calling upon Angels to help us as intercessors — Heaven forbid! — but to prohibit the excessive practice of such invocation.

 

36. That members of the Sacerdocy and Clerics must not be magicians or enchanters, or mathematicians (i.e., numerologists), or astrologers, or make what are called amulets, which are shackles for their souls; accordingly, we have bidden those wearing these things to be thrown out of the Church.

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids persons in holy orders and clerics to become magicians, or enchanters, or numerologists, or astrologers, or to make amulets with a diabolical action, which are bonds and chains in a figurative sense to their souls. It casts out of the Church of Christ not only those who make these things, but also those who wear them. Read also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

27. That one must not accept holiday tokens sent by Jews or heretics, nor celebrate any holiday along with them.

Interpretation.

According to this Canon an Orthodox Christian ought not to accept gifts that Jews and heretics send them when they have their holidays, nor ought they to celebrate holidays with them at all. See also Ap. cc. XLV and LXX.

 

38. That one must not accept unleavened wafers from Jews, nor participate in their impieties.

Interpretation.

This Canon too likewise prohibits Christians from accepting unleavened wafers offered them by Jews, and from joining in their impieties. See also Ap. c. LXX.

 

39. That one must not join the heathen in celebration of holidays and festivals, and share in their Godlessness.

Interpretation.

The present Canon too likewise prohibits Christians from engaging in the celebration of holidays and feasts along with heathen and infidels, and from having any share in their Godlessness (or atheism). See also Ap. cc. LXX and LXXI.

 

40. That Bishops when invited to a Synod (or Council) must not treat the matter scornfully, but, on the contrary, must attend it and teach or be taught, for the correction of the Church and of the rest (of the Bishops). If he treat it scornfully, he makes himself liable to charges, unless it should be that he stayed away on account of some anomaly.

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that when bishops are summoned by their Metropolitans to the yearly Synods, they ought not to ignore the summons, but ought to go to them, both in order to teach others and to be taught and to learn themselves, through the help of their colleagues, things that may be of as much help and usefulness in connection with the internal correction of ecclesiastical affairs, as in connection with other affairs of external moment to their province (or see). If anyone of them scornfully refrain from attending, he shall thereby make himself liable to be accused and to be penalized by the Synod, except only if he be prevented on account of illness or some other unavoidable circumstance. Sec also Ap. c. ΧΧΧVII.

 

41. That no member of the Sacerdocy or Cleric ought to travel without letters canonical.

Interpretation.

Those in holy orders and other clergymen ought not to take a trip to other regions without having letters commendatory from their bishop, according to this Canon. See also Ap. c. XII.

 

42. That no member of the Sacerdocy or Cleric ought to travel without the bidding of a Bishop.

Interpretation.

This Canon also decrees that those in holy orders and clerics ought not to take trips without the permission of their own bishop. See also Ap. c. XII.

 

43. That servants must not desert the doors, even for a moment, and attend prayer.

Interpretation.

Servants, meaning doorkeepers, ought not to leave the doors of catechumens during Liturgy, even for a second, and attend prayer, according to this Canon, lest some infidel or unitiate enter, according to ch. 57 of Book II of the Apostolic Injunctions. See also the Footnote to c. XV of the 6th.

 

44. That women must not enter the sacrificial Altar.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that women shall not go into the holy Bema, if they are lay women; for if laymen are prohibited from doing so, much more so are women. See also c. LXIX of the 6th.

 

45. That candidates must not be accepted for illumination after two weeks of Great Lent.

Interpretation.

Since the night of Great Saturday is the middle between the burial and the resurrection of the Lord, and partakes of both to some extent, whereof the type is the three immersions and emersions which take place during baptism, there the custom, has prevailed in the Church of baptizing catechumens on. this night, in order not only that candidates may be baptized by being buried and resurrected with Christ in accordance with the immersions and emersions, but also within the same time (concerning which see the Footnote to Ap. c. L). Therefore the present Canon decrees that candidates for baptism on this night of Great Saturday must prepare themselves and cleanse themselves in advance throughout Lent by fasting and praying and the other modes of ascetic exercise. But whoever applies to be baptized after two weeks of Lent must not be accepted for baptism, during Great Saturday, that is to say, since he failed to prepare himself throughout Great Lent, but nevertheless wants to get baptized.

 

46. That persons being illuminated must learn the faith thoroughly, and recite on Thursday in every week to the Bishop or to the Presbyters.

Interpretation.

This Canon, copied verbatim from the 6th EC. C., is the latter’s c. LXXVIII, and read the Interpretation of it there.

 

47. That persons who receive illumination while they are in a state of illness, and afterwards recover, must learn the faith thoroughly, and realize that they have been vouchsafed a divine gift.

Interpretation.

Properly catechumens ought to learn the dogmas of the faith, in accordance with the above c. XLVI, before being baptized. But if, owing to a case of need and illness, some catechumens be baptized before being taught the details of the piety (i.e., of the religion) rightly, they must, according to the present Canon, after recovering from their illness, learn the mysteries of the faith, in order to understand that through holy baptism they have been rendered worthy and enabled to receive the gift of God, or, more explicitly speaking, that they have become sons of God by grace, i.e., as a matter of grace, and that they have been cleansed of every taint of the original sin and of every actual sin; and consequently in order that as a result of this knowledge they may strive to keep this great and gracious gift which they have received. See also c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

48. That the illuminated, after baptism, must be anointed with heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the kingdom of Christ.

Interpretation.

This Canon decrees that all persons who have been baptized must after baptism be anointed also with the holy Myron, which is here called heavenly chrism or charisma (i.e., gracious gift), since, being sanctified by means of the prayers and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and sanctifying those anointed with it, it enables them to become partakers of and heirs to the heavenly kingdom of Christ.1 See also the Footnote to St. Cyprian. (Note of Translator. — This refers to the first footnote to the Interpretation of the one and only Canon issued by the third regional Council held in Carthage in the time of Cyprian.).

 

49. That in Great Lent bread must not be offered, except on Saturday and Sunday only.

Interpretation.

On no other days of Great Lent except Saturdays and Sundays, says the present Canon, ought a complete Liturgy to be celebrated, but only the presanctified. See Ap. c. LXIX and c. LII of the 6th.

 

50. That in the last week of Great Lent Thursday ought not to be broken, and the whole Lent be dishonoured, but, on the contrary, throughout the period of Lent persons ought to fast by confining themselves to xerophagia.

Interpretation.

The present Canon having been borrowed verbatim from the 6th EC. C., is contained in the latter’s c. XXIX, and see the Interpretation of it there. All that this Canon adds thereto is that throughout Great Lent, including, that is to say, even Great Thursday, Christians ought to restrict themselves to xerophagia.

 

51. That during Great Lent the birthdays of the Martyrs ought not to be celebrated, but commemorations of the holy Martyrs ought to be held on Saturdays and Sundays.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is consistent with the above XLIX. For it says that we ought not to celebrate the birthdays and commemorations and feasts of the Martyrs with a complete Liturgy on any other days in Great Lent, but must celebrate them even in this period if they happen to fall on the Saturdays and Sundays in Lent itself. For birthdays and their feasts being occasions for joy and for breaking fasts, it is inappropriate for them to be celebrated on the mournful days of Great Lent, but it is appropriate for them to be celebrated on the indulgent and joyful days thereof, which are Saturday and Sunday. See also Ap. LXIX.

 

52. That weddings and birthday celebrations must not be held during Great Lent.

Interpretation.

Since weddings and the feasts which some persons indulged in on account of the day on which they were born are directly opposed to the mourning and fasting which characterize Great Lent, therefore the present Canon prohibits the celebration of such occasions during Great Lent. See also Ap. c. LXIX.

 

53. That Christians attending weddings must not waltz or dance, but must sup or dine in decent fashion, as becomes Christians.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits Christians, when they go to weddings, from waltzing, or, in other words, keeping time with drums or other musical instruments, and dancing in accordance with their measure of harmony and variety of sounds. On the other hand, they are commanded to dine and sup at these weddings with reserve and sobriety and decency, as befits Christians. See also c. XXIV of the 6th.

 

54. That members of the Sacerdocy and Clerics must not witness spectacles at weddings or suppers, but, before the actors taking part in theatricals enter, they are to rise and leave.

Interpretation.

Those in holy orders and clerics, according to this Canon, when invited to weddings or suppers and birthday banquets and other similar festivals, ought not to stand and look at dances and other indecent sights that are witnessed there, but before the actors taking part in the theatricals even enter, or, in other words, those who perform dances and play the musical instruments, they are to rise from the table and leave. See c. XXIV of the 6th.

 

55. That members of the Sacerdocy and Clerics must not hold banquets by contributions, but neither must laymen do so.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those in holy orders and clerics ought not to hold banquets and set tables with contributions, or collections, as people say in the United States of America; but neither ought Christian laymen to do so, for the reason that they are alien to the manners of Christians. See also Ap. c. XLII.

 

56. That Presbyters must not enter and sit down in the Bema before the entrance of the Bishop, but must enter together with the Bishop, unless it should happen that the Bishop is in difficulties or away from the city.

Interpretation.

Every rule of decorum must be followed by those in holy orders, and most especially when they are in church. But for some priests to leave the bishop outside all alone, when he is about to make his entry into the holy Bema, on a festival day, that is to say, and for them to go inside the holy Bema ahead of him to sit down, is something that not only is a breach of decorum, but also shows contempt for the bishop. For this reason the present Canon forbids this to be done, and, on the contrary, commands the priests to stand outside of the Bema together with the bishop and to go into the holy Bema together with him. As for the expression "in difficulties," some have thought this to be meant in reference to some Presbyter, as who should say, unless some priest be in difficulties, as much as to say be ill or too old, and unable to stand outside for a considerable length of time. But I think that it refers to the person of the bishop, as who should say, unless the bishop be in bodily difficulties or be away from the city; because further above the word "Presbyters" is employed in the plural, whereas in this instance it is in the singular, and if it had been intended to refer to a Presbyter, the wording should have been in some such fashion as this: 6 unless one of them should happen to be in difficulties, or the Bishop should be away from the city.’ It appears, moreover, that the priests had a particular place or space where they were supposed to stand, which was called, in Greek, the hierateion. Hence, being unable to sit down outside, they would go into the Bema and sit down; in precisely the same way as this breach of decorum occurs even today. Accordingly, for these two reasons (to wit, either that he is ill or infirm, or that the bishop is absent) a priest is allowed to go into the Bema and sit down, because in this case he is not doing so in contempt of the bishop. See also c. XVIII of the First EC. C.

 

57. That in villages and in small towns and country districts Bishops are not to be appointed, but circuitors, who, however, having been preappointed, may do nothing without the consent and approval of the Bishop.

Interpretation.

In order to prevent the office of the bishop from being regarded scornfully, the present Canon prohibits the appointment of bishops to villages and small towns; in such contingencies it allows the appointment of only circuitors, or exarchs, which means the same thing as chorepiscop (auxiliary bishops). But as for all bishops who had up to that time already been appointed to such small towns, they were to do nothing without the consent and approval of the bishop proper in the city. But neither ought presbyters to perform any service whatever without the permission of the bishop. See also Ap. c. XXXIX, and the Footnote to c. VIII of the First EC. C.

 

58. That an oblation must not be offered in private houses by Bishops or Presbyters.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that Liturgy must not be celebrated either by a presbyter or by a bishop in common dwelling-places, but only a church or in a prayer-house (or what is called an oratory). See c. XXXI of the 6th.

 

59. That private psalms must not be recited in church, nor uncanonical books" but only the canonical books of the New and of the Old Testament.

Interpretation.

Besides the 150 Psalms of David there are also some others, said to be psalms of Solomon and of other persons, which the present Canon calls "private," decreeing that they shall not be read in church, neither they, nor other uncanonical books, not contained, that is to say, in (i.e., not listed in) Ap. c. LXXXV, but only the books included in the Old and New Testaments, which books Eusebius calls "testamentary Scriptures" in Book VI, ch. 25, of his Ecclesiastical History, and which Dionysius the Areopagite calls "hagiographic Testaments" (or, in Greek, hagiographoi Deltoi). (Note of Translator. — Since the Greek word deltos merely means a solemn or official writing of any kind, and the adjective hagiographos means nothing more than "written by holy men," this locution has about the same signification in Greek as the designation "Holy Scriptures" has in English). See also Ap. c. LXXXV.

 

A Concise Account of the
Septuagint Version of the Old Testament

Constantine Oeconomus Protopresbyter of the Oeconomi, a steward and preacher of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, was the author of a four-volume critical history comprising 3,577 pages together with an appendix numbering 120 pages, published in Athens, Greece, in 1844-1849 and entitled "Concerning the Seventy Translators of the Old Testament" (in Greek).

This author is shown by his works to have been a sincere and conscientious historian, for he refutes erroneous statements and establishes the true statements with incontrovertible citations of Scripture and historical references and with logical proofs, overthrowing the arguments of injudicious critics. It is indeed plain from the work itself that he was acquainted with several foreign languages as well as all the Greek dialects. That work, entitled "Concerning the Seventy Translators" by Constantine Oeconomus, is a proof that the Holy Spirit has operated and co-operated for ages with conscientious souls for the regeneration of the Christians and the safeguarding of the truth recorded in the Old and the New Testament — the Old Testament which was translated into Greek by the seventy Hebrew elders, and the New Testament which was written in Greek by the Apostolic writers, who were Jews and non-Greeks with the exception of St. Luke, of Greek descent but one of the seventy Apostles.

This critical history written by C. Oeconomus bears the approval of five Patriarchs, namely, Anthimus VI, together with ten synodical bishops, Anthimus IV, Constantius I, and the later Patriarchs Gregory and Ger-manos. They addressed him as "Wise and most learned Teacher," "Great Oeconomus," "General Preacher," "Exarch of the present Patriarchate," "Domine Constantine ex Oeconomorum," etc. His works were given approval in the following words: "And therefore by these ecclesiastical presents expressing the consensus of the Church we do approve and sanction the said four-volume work. Wherefore we also proclaim this most reverential disquisition a pillar of orthodoxy as concerning the sublimity of the Holy Scripture. ." (See vol. 4, pp. iv-xiv.).

The aim of that author was: on the one hand, to refute unorthodox critics who are inimical and opposed to the Septuagint; and, on the other hand, to prove that the Septuagint translation is the only genuine version rendered from the original Hebrew text before Christ, having the validity of authenticity and remaining, like the New Testament, unchanged from the beginning to the end of the world.

All the books that are to be read.

:

Of the Old Testament

1

Genesis of the World.

2

Exodus from Egypt.

3

Leviticum (sic).

4

Numbers.

5

Deuteronomion.

6

Jesus (the son) of Nun.

7

Judges. Ruth.

8

Esther.

9

(Books of) Reigns of Kings, I., II.

10

(Books of) Reigns of Kings, III., IV.

11

Paralipomena, I., II.

12

Esdras, I, II.

13

Book of Psalms 150.

14

Proverbs of Solomon.

15

Ecclesiastes.

16

Song of Songs.

17

Job.

18

Twelve Prophets.

19

Isaiah.

20

Jeremiah. Baruch. Lamentations and Epistles.

21

Ezekiel.

22

Daniel.

Of the New Testament

The Four Gospels:

According to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John.

Acts of Apostles; seven Epistles, as follows: One of James; two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude.

Fourteen Epistles of Paul:

Two to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon.

 

 

 

Concerning the Regional Council of Sardica.

Prolegomena.

The holy and regional Council which was assembled in the city of Sardica, Illyria, convened A.D. 347 in the reign of Constantius and Con-stans, who were full brothers and who were both of them emperors, the one of whom reigned in Constantinople, and the other in Rome, eleven years after the death of their father Constantine the Great. It was attended by three hundred Fathers from the West, and by seventy-six from the East, according to Socrates (Book II, ch. 20) and Sozomen (Book III, ch. 12). Of these the exarchs were not only Hosius, the bishop of Cordova, Spain, a man worthy of all respect, on account of his great age and of the excessive toil he underwent, but included also Archidamos and Philoxenus, the presbyters, and the three legates of Pope Julius, acting as the latter’s personal representatives. Maximus of Jerusalem, Paul of Constantinople and Athanasius of Alexandria, though present at the Council, had been deposed from office by the Eusebians. Protogenes, the bishop of Sardica, and others were also attending this Council. But a split and division between the Fathers of the East and those of the West followed, and they failed to agree with each other. For the Easterners, being Arianists, when departing for Sardica, wrote to the Westerners not to admit to a seat in the Council St. Paul, and Athanasius the Great, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Asclepas Gazaeus, on the ground that they had been deposed from office. But the Westerners replied to them that they did not consider them to be at fault, nor to have been duly deposed, and on this account would regard them as entitled to seats and participation. But when the Easterners learned this, they turned back to Philippoupolis, and again deposed from office Athanasius, Paul, Marcellus, and Asclepas, Julius the bishop (i.e., Pope) of Rome, Hosius (the bishop) of Cordova, Protogenes (the bishop) of Sardica, and others. Being averse from perfect accord with the doctrine of coessentiality (though Socrates says that they openly anathematized it, in Book II, ch. 20), they anathematized only those who asserted three Gods, and anyone that said that Christ was not a God, or that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit were one and the same person; and anyone that said perhaps that the Son was unbegotten, or perhaps that there was a time or an age in which He was not. After the Western Fathers convoked and assembled the Council, they confirmed the Nicene Creed, without adding anything to it or removing anything from it, and proceeded to declare Athanasius, and Paul, and Marcellus, and Asclepas right and innocent, and through the emperors they contrived to have their thrones returned to them; while, on the other hand, they deposed from, office the Easterners in Philippoupolis in turn, though not all of them, but only eleven; for not all of them, were Arians, but only some of them, the others being orthodox (as the Sardican Fathers state in their letter to all the churches). That is why they also anathematized many doctrines of Arms; and their Creed was accepted as orthodox by divine Hilary. Besides all these things, they also issued the present Canons, which are necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church. They are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and by c. I of the 7th, and are confirmed definitely by c. II of the 6th; and by reason of this confirmation they have acquired a power which is in a way ecumenical.

 

Canons.

1. It is not so much the foul custom as it is the exceedingly injurious corruption of affairs that must be rooted out from the very foundation, in order that no Bishop be allowed to change from a small city to another city. For the pretext offered in excuse of this is evident on account of which such things are undertaken. For so far no Bishop has ever been found to have attempted to change from a larger city to a very small city. Hence it has to be concluded that such persons have to be regarded as motivated by an ardent sense of greed. And that they prefer to be slaves to conceitedness, so as to succeed in seemingly acquiring greater authority. All men, therefore, like this, so that such villainy ought to be the more sternly avenged. For we deem that not even laymen ought to associate with such persons.

(Ap. c. XIV; c. XV of the 1st; c. V of the 4th; cc. XVI, XXI of Antioch; c. II of Sardica; c. LVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

By way of an introductory preamble the present Canon asserts that even any foul custom ought to be overthrown; but when it corrupts both the affairs of the Church and good order, then it ought to be uprooted from the very foundation, and extirpated altogether. Consequently it decrees that it is not permissible for any bishop to leave his small province and take another greater one, since the reason why he does this is greediness and pride, as is evident to all. Greediness, on the one hand, in order that he may have greater and more profit from the greater province, but pride, on the other hand, in order that by having the greater province he may in consequence have also greater glory and authority. For this reason such an evil as this ought to be more sternly punished than other offenses; accordingly, bishops who have done this ought to be separated, from the congregation of Christians, and not even as laymen ought they to have any right to communion with the faithful in church. Read also Ap. c. XIV.

 

2. If anyone be found so mad or bold as to take it into his head to circumvent such restrictions by affirming and stoutly maintaining that he has been given letters from the multitude to himself, it is plain that he has been enabled to do so by corrupting a few men with a reward or prize of some kind to stage a riot or disturbance in the church, on the pretense that they are demanding to have him as their Bishop. We therefore deem such intrigues and artifices to be punishable once for all. so that no such offender will be considered to merit even lay communion in the end.

(Ap. c. XIV; c. XV of the 1st; c. V of the 4th; cc. XVI, XXI of Antioch; c. I of Sardica; c. LVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon is consistent with the one above. For it says that if perhaps any bishop is so very rash and bold after the above Canon as to dare to change position from one province to another, and in order to make it appear that he is not liable to the penalty in the Canon he objects and insists that he received letters from the laity of that province inviting him to become their bishop — if I say this happens it is plain that he employed artifice and knavery and after corrupting a few persons from that province by means of money i.e., by bribing them, he persuaded them to cause disturbances and to demand him as bishop. For this reason such frauds and artifices ought to be punished so that those guilty of them are not accounted worthy even after their death to partake of communion, not like bishops, but not even like mere laymen. Read also Ap. c. XIV.

 

3. And it is necessary to add this too, that no Bishop may cross from his own diocese or province into another province in which there happen to be Bishops, unless he be called or invited by some of the brethren therein, lest we seem to be shutting the gates of love. And this likewise must be provided, so that, if anyone among the Bishops in a province should be at variance with a brother and fellow Bishop, he shall not call upon any other one of the Bishops from another province to support his cause. If, therefore, any of the Bishops in any dispute seem to be condemned, and considers himself not to be at fault, but that it would be a good thing to have the case reopened, if it seem right to you, let us honor the memory to the love of St. Peter the Apostle, and let the case be appealed from the judges to Julius the Bishop of Rome, so that through the Bishops who are neighbors to the province in question a new court may be held and he be granted new examiners. But if it cannot be established that such is the case as to merit a new trial, let what has once been tried and decided be re-examined, but, on the contrary, let whatever really is so be accepted as true.

(Ap. cc. XXXV; cc. Ill, VIII, c. XX of the 6th; cc. XIII, XXII, cc. XI, XII.).

Interpretation.

Not only are bishops prohibited from leaving a smaller province and taking a larger one, but they are not even permitted to go from their province to the province of another bishop in order to do any episcopal business, without being invited by them to do so, according to the present Canon. Nevertheless, the Canon permits them to do this if they go by invitation, in order not to preclude the love of bishops and their brotherli-ness for one another. If, on the other hand, any two bishops have a dispute with each other, they ought not to request bishops from a foreign province to try them as judges, but let their case be tried by those bishops who belong to the same province as they do. But if one of them is condemned by the bishops of his own province, yet, nevertheless, considers that he is not in the wrong and he has a good case and can justify himself if he can get his case reviewed by others, in such an event, I say, we ought as a matter of love to honor the memory of St. Peter the Apostle, or, in other words, the bishops who have tried the case in question ought to write to the throne of Rome (where Julius was then acting as bishop) that the bishop whom they tried does not like their decision, in order that the bishop of Rome, Ji he deem the case to merit a review, may decree that it be tried by the bishops of nearby provinces; but if he deem that it does not need to be retried, the preceding decision of the bishops must remain effective and valid. Note that this Canon refers not to provinces that are not subject to the Pope, but only to those that are subject to him, according to Zonaras.i See also Ap. c. XXXV.

 

4. If any Bishop be deposed from office by these Bishops at a judicial trial who have their seats in neighboring territory, and demands for himself a new opportunity to defend himself against the charges, let his seat not be filled by another incumbent, until the Bishop of the Romans has been informed of the facts and has issued a ruling concerning him.

(c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XCVI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too is consistent with the one above, in that it says that if any bishop be deposed from office by bishops of nearby and neighboring provinces, but claims that he can justify himself before another tribunal, let another bishop not be appointed by ordination to the throne of the one deposed, until the Pope, after being informed about the case, has had a chance to decide whether the verdict ought to stand or be set aside. Note, however, that the present Canon too is one relating to provinces subject to the Pope, and has nothing to do with provinces not subject to him, according to the same Zonaras. See Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd, and the Prolegomena to the present Council.

 

5. It has pleased this Council to decree that if any Bishop be indicted, and the Bishops of the same diocese remove him from his rank, and, by way of appeal, he has recourse to the most blessed Bishop of the Church of the Romans, and the latter expresses a desire to hear the matter through and deems that it is right and just for the trial of the case to be reopened, let him write to these Bishops and request those who are close to the province in question to make a searching investigation of the points in the case with due diligence and accuracy, and in accordance with faith in the truth pronounce a decision regarding it. But if any person demands again to have his case heard and sees fit to request that it be tried by the Bishop of the Romans, let the latter send Presbyters from his ownfiank, in order that he may be in the authority of the Bishop himself. If he rules that it is right and decides that judges ought to be sent to try the case together with the Bishops and to exercise authority derived from the one who sent them, then let this too be done. But if he deems the verdict and decision in regard to the Bishop’s case to be sufficient, let him do whatsoever may seem best to his most prudent sense of discretion.

Interpetation.

The present Canon decrees much the same things as the one above, in that it says that if any bishop who has been charged with crimes be deposed from office by the bishops of the province to which he belongs, and takes an appeal to the Pope, then the Pope, if of opinion that the case of such a person merits a review, must write to the bishops of foreign provinces bordering on that diocese, and have them conduct a diligent and careful investigation of the case, and arrive at a true and just decision concerning. If, however, the same bishop, after being condemned also by such bishops of neighboring dioceses, appeals a second time his case to the pope and asks the latter to send suitable persons on his part (or side) having authority derived from him and the right to act in his stead, in order to try (for a third time) this case together with the bishops, either those, that is to say, of the province in question, or others of nearby pro-yinces — jf? I say, he follows this course, then it is for the Pope to exercise his authority and wise prudence either by sending legates of his own to try it who are qualified to do so, or to rule that the judgment and decision against the bishop previously arrived at by the said bishops is sufficient.3 Note that the present Canon too relates only to persons that are subject to the Pope of Rome, according to Zonaras, and not to persons that are not subject to his authority.

 

6. If-it happen in one province in which there are a great many Bishops that (only) one bishop is left and that, owing to some negligence he does not care to attend and consent to the ordination of Bishops, but, on the other hand, the multitudes gather themselves together and demand that the man whom they want be ordained Bishop, the Bishop so left must first be reminded (i.e., informed) by letters of the Exarch of the province in question (this means the Bishop of the Metropolis) that the multitudes are demanding to be given a shepherd (i.e., a pastor), and we deem that he would do well to come in person of his own accord. Otherwise, if he fail to come or even to reply after being notified in writing, the will of the multitude must be done to its satisfaction, That is, the Bishops of a nearby province must be summoned for ordination of the Bishop of the Metropolis. It is allowable in general to appoint a Bishop to a village, or to a small town, for which a single Presbyter would amply suffice. For it is not necessary that Bishops be appointed thereto, lest the name and authority (i.e., the office and dignity) of Bishop be rendered contemptible or despicable; but, instead, it is the duty of the Bishops of the province in question, as I have said, to ordain Bishops in these towns where Bishops had even before held office. But if any city should be found so populous in numbers of laity as to be considered to deserve it, let it have an episcopate.

(Ap. c. I.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if in a province having numerous bishops it should happen that only one bishop is left in office (either, that is to say, because all the others have been deposed from office, or have died, or are not available to be present at any necessary ceremony or on any necessary occasion), but the laity of one episcopate, say, of that province, having gathered themselves together (as at a mass meeting, for instance), are demanding that a bishop be elected and ordained for that episcopate, then the Exarch of the province in question, or, in other words, the Metropolitan (see the Footnote to Ap. c. XXXIV), must write to that sole remaining bishop and tell him about the laity’s demand, and wait for him with due fortitude till he come. But if he refuse to come, owing to some negligence of his, to the election and ordination of the Bishop demanded, and refuses to give a vote for him even by letter, then the Metropolitan must do what is necessary to satisfy the demand of the multitude, or, more explicitly speaking, he must summon foreign bishops of territories near that province, and together with them must elect and ordain the one whom the multitude is demanding to have as bishop. Likewise also when a Metropolitan has to be chosen for such a lone-bishop, so to speak, province, the foreign bishops of nearby territories must both elect and ordain him to the office. In addition the Canon says it is not necessary for a village or small town to have a bishop for the spiritual administration of which a single presbyter is amply sufficient; lest as a result the eminent office and dignity of bishop come to be looked upon with scorn or contempt. Instead, bishops ought to be ordained only in those cities which have been from the beginning and originally episcopates, that is seats of bishops. Nevertheless, if any city be found that is so populous as to deserve to be made a new episcopate, let it be made one, and let it have its own bishop.

Concord.

Canon LXII of the Council held in Carthage likewise decrees that those laymen who at no time had a separate bishop of their own in their district may get one with the approval however and consent of that bishop to whom they were in the beginning and originally. Canon LXV of the same Council says that a parish or diocese must never be separated from the whole province in order to be made a new episcopate without the permission of the Metropolitan of the whole province. Moreover c. CIX of the same Council decrees that regions that have no separate bishop are not to get one without the vote of the Metropolitan and of the Patriarch and of the whole Council (or Synod), and the approval of the bishop who has been governing them from the beginning and originally. See also Ap. c. I.

 

7. Our inopportuneness and great pertinacity and unjust demands have caused us to not to have so much grace and outspokenness as we ought to possess. For many of the Bishops keep visiting the camp, and this is especially true of the Africans, who, as we have learned from our dear brother and fellow Bishop Grains, will not accept saving advice, but scorn in such fashion that one man keeps carrying a great many various petitions to the camp notwithstanding that they cannot be of any benefit to the Church, and not, as ought to be done, and as also befits the situation in regard to poor persons and laymen, or to widows, by way of gaining assistance and succor, but with a view to obtaining worldly offices and favors for certain persons. This baseness therefore, causes us no little dissatisfaction, but scandal and contrition. We have deemed it more proper and becoming for a Bishop to lend aid of his own, whenever anyone is being forcibly ill-treated or any of the widows is being wronged, or again any orphan is being deprived of what belongs to him, and in whatever other situations demand such attention. We decree that no Bishop shall have to visit the camp except those whom our most reverent Emperor by his own letters sees fit to summon. But inasmuch as it often happens that persons deserving pity resort to the Church when they have been condemned to confinement or to an island on account of their own sins, or again by any other decision whatsoever have been put out of home, help is not to be denied to such persons, but without procrastination and without hesitation such persons are to be allowed their requests.

(c. XI of Antioch; cc. VIII, IX, XX of Sardica; c. CXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Because of the fact that some bishops, and especially those residing in Africa, used to be so bold as to go to the Emperor, not in order to help widows and poor persons, as is proper, but in order to intercede in behalf of some friends of theirs with a view to securing worldly office and services for them, and though often advised to cease doing this, they would scorn any such advice, in such a way that even one bishop alone kept offering the palace many various appeals of a non-ecclesiastical nature — because of these facts, I say, this disorderly and disgraceful practice became obnoxious, and resulted in the consequence that bishops lacked ability to find as much outspokenness and grace with the Emperor as was due them, but indeed occasioned scandals and accusations to their own discomfort. For this reason the present Canon, by way of prohibiting this, decrees that it is proper for any bishop to go to the Emperor to help those who are oppressed and ill-treated by others, such as, for instance, widows being treated unjustly, orphans being robbed of their property. Nevertheless, such persons in such circumstances ought to be aided when their request is a just and reasonable one; but if it is unjust and unreasonable, not even they ought to be helped by the bishop. But neither ought a bishop himself go to the Emperor of his own accord, without being summoned by letters imperial, save only if some persons who deserve mercy apply to the Church for aid, either because they have been condemned for mistakes they have made to be exiled to some island or to other rugged regions. For with regard to these and such condemned persons bishops ought to go to the Emperor without delay and without a summons, in order to seek a pardon for their mistake, and consequently in order to get them freed from their sentence. See also c. XI of Antioch.

 

8. Let this too be enacted, since it has seemed prudential, lest one or another of the Bishops incur condemnation in the course of visiting the camp, that if any of them should have such suits as we have mentioned hereinabove, they should send them by a Deacon of their own. For the person of a servant happens not to be obnoxious, and the favors sought will be the more readily granted.

(c. XI of Antioch; cc. VII, IX, XX of Sardica; c. CXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon is consonant with the one above. For it decrees that if perchance any bishops have petitions to offer to the Emperor in connection with the above-described causes, such as, for instance, with regard to helping persons wronged or oppressed, or with regard to redemption of persons condemned judicially, they shall not go themselves in person to the Emperor, since this causes them to be blamed and despised, but, instead, they must delegate their own deacons and through them offer these requests: first, because no one will accuse the bishop of having gone | thither; and secondly, because letters to be given by the Emperor, and other replies to be made in favor of such petitions will be sent easier and sooner through the agency of a deacon than through intermediation of the bishop. See also c. XI of Antioch.

 

9. Let this to be enacted, in order that Bishops in any province whatsoever may send suits to a brother and fellow Bishop of theirs, the one who happens to be in the larger city, that is, in the Metropolis, he himself should send his Deacon with the suits, giving him also letters commendatory, by which is meant writing conformably to our brethren and fellow Bishops, if there be any of them during that season residing in the region or in the city wherein the ‘most pious Emperor is directing public affairs. But if any Bishop should have friends at the Court of the Palace, and should wish to make any request for anything that is fairly proper, he should not be prevented from making it and bidding them to lend their own good help to the one making the request. As for those going to Rome, as I have previously informed our dear brother and fellow bishop Julius, they must give him whatever suits they may have, in order that he may first examine them himself and see whether any of them be impudent, and then lend his own protection and effort and send them to the camp.

(c. XI of Antioch; c. CXVII of Carthage; cc. I, VII, VIII, XX of Sard.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon too concerns the same subject matter. For it says that if any bishop writes a letter to the bishop of that district in which the Emperor is to be found, regarding some requests he has, he must hand this letter first to the Metropolitan of that bishop, in order, be it explained, that if he himself sees that it contains reasonable requests and is not anything to annoy the Emperor, he may send it with his deacon to that bishop to whom it was addressed, and write himself letters recommendatory on his part to the bishops of those cities where the Emperor is to be found, requesting them to co-operate accordingly, or, more expressly speaking, just as that bishop is asking them to do. But if, on the contrary, he sees that the letter is going to annoy the Emperor, let him send it back to the bishop who wrote it. No bishop, however, is prohibited from writing with his deacon to friends whom he has in the Palace to aid in regard to proper and reasonable matters which he is asking them to attend to. But if the Emperor is in Rome, bishops’ deacons going thither must give the Pope their requests in order that he may scrutinize them himself, and, provided they are reasonable and contain no audacious words to the Emperor, in order that he may send them (sc. the deacons) to the Palace with his own protection and safe-conduct. See also c. XI of Antioch.

 

10. Due care must be taken to investigate with all accuracy and diligence so that, if any rich man or man of eloquence from the forum should demand to be made a Bishop, he shall not be appointed unless he first performs services of an Anagnost, and of a Deacon, and of a Presbyter, in order that, if he be deemed worthy with respect to each grade, he may progress by promotion to the apex of the episcopate. The grade, this means, in each rank shall not be of too short a length of time to enable his faith and the kindliness of his manners, and his solidity, and his blandness to become patent, and he himself, after being deemed worthy of holy orders, shall enjoy the highest honor. For neither is it right, nor does science or good usage approve one’s proceeding boldly and lightly to this point so as to be appointed either a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon offhand; for in such a case he would naturally be deemed a neophyte, since indeed even the most blissful Apostle, who also became a teacher of the heathen, appears to have prohibited premature appointments. For the test of the longest possible time will be able to elicit the habit and the manner of each man without much uncertainty.

(Ap. c. LXXX; c. II of the 1st; c. XVII of the lst-&-2nd; c. XII of Neocaesarea; c. II of Laodicea; c. IV of Cyril.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that great diligence must be observed in seeing that if any rich man or anyone among the literati, when from the forum, and associated with popular confusion, that is to say, should appear to be worthy of the episcopate, he shall not be ordained a bishop forthwith, unless he first serve for a due length of time in each of the grades of anaganost, of deacon, and of presbyter, and not for a short while; in order that by considering his conduct during all that time the Tightness of his faith, the benignity of his attitude of mind, the courageousness of his sentiment, and his blandness (or fairness); and in this way that he may ascend from grade to grade progressively to the highest level of the prelacy. For it is neither right nor fitting, nor does knowledge of the divine words, nor will good usage tested by time, allow anyone to be ordained a bishop, or a presbyter, or a deacon, easily and quickly. For such a man would be looked upon as a neophyte (or novice) — and it is a thing which St. Paul the Apostle prohibits by saying that a bishop must not be a neophyte (I Tim. 3:6), where this word is translated in the A. V. and R.V. of the English Bible by "novice"), and enjoins Timothy to refrain from ordaining men speedily, by saying "lay hands on no man too soon" (I Tim. 5:22, here the ignorance of the translators of the A.V. and of the R.V. respecting the meaning of Greek words led them to pervert the sense of the corresponding Greek word for "too soon" to "suddenly" and "hastily," respectively). See also Ap. c. LXXX and the first Footnote to c. XVII of the lst-&-2nd.

 

11. Whenever a Bishop goes from one city to another city, or from one province to another province, for the sake of vaunt with a view to having eulogies bestowed upon him, or to appearing to be devoted to the religion, and desires to stay there too long a time, and the Bishop of that city is not an experienced teacher, we decree that he shall not treat the latter scornfully, and deliver sermons too continuously, and thereby endeavor to bring disgrace and ignominy upon the Bishop of that place. For this excuse has been wont to cause trouble, and such cunning rascality shows that he is endeavoring to court and to usurp the other’s benefice, and will not hesitate to abandon the church assigned to him and to step over into the other one. The time, therefore, for this must be fixed (since it has been deemed to be nothing short of inhuman and rude not to welcome a visiting Bishop]. Remember that in time past our fathers judged that if any layman staying in a city three Sundays should fail to attend church for three weeks in succession, he should be denied communion. If, therefore, this has been made a law as respects laymen, no Bishop must or ought or can without disadvantage stay away from his own church for any great length of time, and grieve the laity entrusted to him, unless he be under some grave necessity or in some difficult situation.

(Ap. cc. XXXV, LVIII; c. VIII of the 3rd; cc. XIX, XX, LXXX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXIII, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; cc. V, XX, XXI of Gangra; cc. Ill, XII of Sardica; c. VI of Nyssa; c. X of Peter; cc. XIII, XXII of Antioch.).

Interpretation.

If any bishop goes to another city or province, for the sake of vaunt, or, at any rate, with a view to getting himself eulogized as a learned man, or on the ground that he is seeking piety and faith, and wants to stay there a long time for this reason, while the bishop of that city is not experienced in teaching — if, I say, this occurs, the present Canon lays down the rule that this bishop shall not teach (i.e., preach, as one is more likely to say in English) continually in church, with the object of treating the local bishop scornfully or contemptuously, and of disgracing him as ignorant. For this continual teaching (usually called preaching in English) — the part of a strange bishop not only causes disturbances and trouble, but also engenders a suspicion that he is endeavoring in this way to draw the laity’s love to himself, and in course of time to leave his own province and to grab the strange one knavishly. So, inasmuch as it is an inhuman thing, on the one hand, to refuse to welcome any strange bishops at all to one’s province, while, on the other hand, it is a thing that is both suspicious and illegal for them to remain for a long time in a strange province; for these reasons, therefore, there must be provided a fixed length of time during which they may stay in it. For if a layman is to be excommunicated simply because he fails to go to church for three consecutive Sundays when he is staying in a city, as the fathers previous to this Council ruled (not, that is to say, those of the 6th who ruled to this effect in their c. LXXX, which the reader should consult for himself, since they came after those in Sardica in point of time, but some others), either without putting it in writing, or even in a written Canon, how much more a bishop ought not, nor with advisability can, stay away from his province for a long time, and in consequence distress his flock by his absence! unless he should be compelled to do so by some grave necessity or there should be some difficult circumstance preventing him from doing his duty. See also Ap. cc. XXXV and LVIII, and c. LXXX of the 6th, taken verbatim from this Canon.

 

12. Since some of the brethren and fellow Bishops in a city in which they are appointed to be Bishops seem to own exceedingly little property there, but in other regions have large possessions of land, from which they can lend succor to the indigent, in such cases we judge it to be allowable, when it comes to their going to their own possessions and gathering in the crops thereof, for them to stay for three consecutive Sundays, that is, for three weeks, upon their own land, and, in order to avoid seeming to be negligent in the matter of coming to church along with others, we deem it allowable for them to visit the nearest church in which a Presbyter is conducting services and celebrate Liturgy:, though not to go continually and too frequently to a city in which there is a Bishop. For in this manner not only will his own affairs suffer no damage or loss or injury in spite of his absence, but the possibility of being charged with conceitedness and inflation will seem to be averted.

(Ap. c. LVIII; cc. XIX, LXXX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; cc. V, XX, XXI of Gangra; c. XI of Sard.; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXIII, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. VI of Nyssa; c. X of Peter.

Interpretation.

The present Canon appears to consonant with the one above. For it decrees that since some bishops have little real estate belonging to their own churches hi some provinces, while in others they have large and fruitful possessions of land, from which they can give help to the poor, therefore it is permissible for a bishop having such real estate to go there to gather in their crops. He must not, however, go frequently to a city where a bishop resides, though he may stay on his own land for three weeks, and on Sundays may attend the neighboring church there, in which a presbyter has a parish, and may celebrate Liturgy, or, in other words, he is not to perform sacred functions, but to offer the usual hymns to God together with the laity (this, in fact, he is allowed to do merely in order that he may avoid any appearance of neglecting to come to church, and any consequent scandalization of the Christians there, and of transgressing the above Canon — concerning whatever this implies see c. LXXX of the 6th); because in this manner the crops of his land will not go to waste as a result of his being absent, but will be collected and added to his property, and at the same time he will avoid any accusation of pride and of love of glory by not frequenting the city of the bishop during that period of time. See also Ap. c. LVITI and c. LXXX of the 6th.

 

13. If any Deacon, or Presbyter, or even any one of the Clerics is excluded from communion, and resorts to another Bishop acquainted with him and knowing that he has been denied communion by his own Bishop, it pleases us to assert that he ought not to offer an insult to the Bishop who is his brother by affording him communion. If, nevertheless, he should dare to do so, let him know that when the Bishops have assembled, he will render himself answerable for his conduct.

(Ap. cc. XII, XXXII, XXXIII; c. XIII of the 4th; c. VI of Antioch; c. I of the C. held in the Temple of Holy Wisdom.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any priest, or deacon, or cleric is excluded from communion by his bishop and goes to another bishop aware of his being thus excluded from communion, this bishop ought not to have anything to do with the man who has been so excluded from communion, because such, action would be considered or be accounted an insult to his fellow bishop amounting to scornful treatment of him who had excluded the man from communion. If, however, he should dare to do this, let him be made liable to answer for it when the Synod of the bishops of the province assembles. For as one having committed a crime he will not be condemned ex parte, but will be hailed into court. See also Ap. cc. XII and XXXII.

 

14. If any Bishop prove irascible (a thing which ought not to have any abode in such a man) and be moved to act too soon in regard to a Presbyter or Deacon, and should want to cast him out of church, we must provide against such a marts being condemned hastily and being deprived of communion; instead, let the one cast out have a right to resort to the Bishop of the Metropolis of the same province. Or if the Bishop of the Metropolis be absent, let him have recourse to the Bishop of a nearby diocese and demand that the matter be investigated by him with due accuracy. For it is not right to refuse to lend an ear to those demanding a hearing. And that Bishop, who justly or unjustly cast the man out, ought to put up with the situation nobly, in order that an investigation of the matter may be made, and his decision either be confirmed, or receive correction. But until the details of the case be investigated diligently and with faith, he who lacks the right to communion before the matter has been determined, ought not to insist upon communing. But if some of the Clerics, having met him, discern his self-conceit and arrogance (since it is not desirable that one should patiently endure an insult of an unjust reprehension), they ought to make him return to his senses with bitter and severe enough words, in order that by bidding him to do things that are proper they may act like servants and show obedience. For precisely as a Bishop ought to show his servants love and a good disposition, in the same manner those acting as servants ought to perform the duties of their service to Bishops without guile.

(Ap. cc. XII, XIII, XXVIII, XXXII; c. V of the 1st; c. I of the C. in the Temple of Holy Wisdom; cc. IV, VI of Antioch; cc. XII, XV of Sardica; cc. XI, XXXVII, LXXIV, CXLI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon appears to be consonant with the one above. For it decrees that if by any chance a bishop who is irascible (a defect which ought not to be found in such a man, who is supposed to be an imitator of meekest Christ), after being moved to wrath, excommunicates any presbyter or deacon, we must provide against such a person’s being deprived of communion unreasonably and forthwith; instead he must have the right and permission to go to the Metropolitan of the bishop who excommunicated him, or, if the Metropolitan is away, to a nearby strange Metropolitan, in order to have the cause of such an excommunication be looked into; since it is not right for a hearing to be denied to those asking to have their case examined. But while the case is pending, the bishop who justly or unjustly excommunicated the man must have patience until the decision of excommunication which he made, if just, be confirmed, or, if unjust, be corrected; and likewise the man who was excommunicated must not transgress the excommunication, but, on the contrary, must abide by it. For if he transgress it in defiance, and assumes a proud attitude towards the one who excommunicated him, the clerics of that very bishop ought to assemble, and with bitter and scolding words to reduce him to a state of submission and of humility. For just as a bishop ought to love his own servants and clerics sincerely (or guilelessly), so ought the servants in turn to serve their own bishop sincerely (or guilelessly). See also Ap. cc. XXVIII and XXXII.

 

25. We enact that if any Bishop from a different diocese wants to appoint another’s servant, without the consent of his Bishop, to any grade or rank, any such appointment shall be deemed invalid and ineffective. If any of us should permit themselves to do this, they ought to be both reminded and corrected by their brethren and fellow Bishops.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. X, XV of the 7th; c. Ill of Antioch; cc. XVI, XVII of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if by chance any bishop takes a cleric from another province, without the consent and approval of his bishop, and ordains him to any priestly rank, any such ordination is to be invalid, null, and void, while, on the other hand, the one who ordained him is to be censured for this, and is to be corrected by the other fellow bishops. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

26. Since many times Presbyters and Deacons come to tJw Metropolis of the Thessalonians from other provinces, and not content with a brief stay there they take up their abode there, and continue spending all their time there or only after a very long time and reluctantly are forced to return to their own churches, let these rules and those which have been laid down in regard to Bishops be kept also in regard to these persons.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. X, XV of the 7th; c. Ill of Antioch; cc. XV, XVII of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too prohibits those in holy orders from going from one church to another, by saying that since presbyters and deacons many times on coming to Thessalonica either pass their whole life in that city or barely after a long time return to their church, therefore, just as the Canons forbidding bishops to go over to another province to exercise their function continually must be observed without deviating therefrom in the least, so and in like manner must those be kept which prohibit presbyters and deacons from changing their place of service. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

27. If any Bishop who has suffered violence has been east out unjustly, either on account of his science or on account of his confession of the catholic Church, or on account of his insisting upon the truth, and fleeing from peril, when he is innocent and jeoparded, should come to another city, let him not be prevented from living there, until he can return or can find relief from the insolent treatment he had received. For it is cruel and most burdensome for one who has had to suffer an unjust expulsion not to be accorded a welcome by us. For such a person ought to be shown great kindness and courtesy.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. X, XV of the 7th; c. Ill of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as the present Council decreed in its cc. XI and XII that no bishop ought to stay more than three weeks in a strange province, here in the present Canon it allows him to sojourn in a strange province until he can return to his own, or be freed from the insolent treatment and banishment from his own throne to which he has been subjected when unjustly and tyrannically persecuted, either on account of exact adherence to the dogmas of the faith, or because he confesses all the dogmas and traditions that the catholic Church confesses and cherishes as beliefs, or even because he is championing the truth (just as such things happened to Athanasius the Great and to Basil the Great and to Chrysostom and to others). For such a bishop, fleeing from danger, must needs go to another province, since though innocent in point of truth and justice he is nevertheless jeoparded, or, in other words and more explicitly speaking, he is disconcerted and in fear of vengeance, owing to the tyranny of his persecutors! Hence it is cruel and inhuman for a man thus driven from his throne not to be welcomed by his fellow bishops with every kindness and courtesy. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

28. Since we ought to be quiet and patient and entertain perpetual compassion for all men, once they have been promoted to an ecclesiastical clericate by some of our brethren, they are henceforth not to be accorded recognition unless they go back to the churches to which they were assigned or nominated. Let neither Eutychianus claim for himself the title of Bishop, nor let Musaeus be deemed a Bishop; but if they should demand lay communion, it ought not to be denied to them.

Interpretation.

Musaeus and Eutychianus, whom the present Canon mentions, and still others, though only clerics, ordained persons just as though they themselves were bishops. The C. therefore lays down the rule concerning them to the effect that persons ordained by such clerics are to be accepted as clerics. For though the ones who ordained them were not going to be clerics, on account of certain misdeeds and offenses they were guilty of, yet when they ordained them, they had episcopal rights because of their being actually ordained, and for this reason the Council accepted those who had been ordained by them. Nevertheless, if the persons who were ordained are unwilling to go back to the church to which they were nominated as clerics, let them not be accepted in other churches hereafter. As for Eutychianus and Musaeus, let them not expect to enjoy the right and title of bishop. But if they wish to be accepted and to join in communion with the others as laymen, one must not deny them this privilege, or, in other words, let them be accorded this privilege, and let them be accepted as laymen.

 

19. These rules having been laid down savingly and consistently, and with due regard for our honorable position as priests, and having pleased both God and men, they will not be able to acquire their full power and efficacy unless the decisions arrived at also entail a fear. For we ourselves have more than once known the divine and most reverend name of holy orders to have come into condemnation on account of the shameless behavior of a few. If, therefore, anyone should dare to do anything contrary to what has seemed best to all of us, in an endeavour to please egoism and self-conceit rather than God, let him know right now that he will be rendering himself answerable for a crime, and that he will forfeit both the honor and the office of the episcopate.

(c. II of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

Since this Council decreed various ecclesiastical and salutary rules having due regard to the honor and office of those in holy orders, and agreeable to God and men, in order that these rules may have validity and effectiveness, and not be scornfully transgressed, therefore in fine it has had the foresight to decree in the present Canon both a fear and penalties to be incurred by transgressors of these rules. For many times on account of the shameless behavior of a few men in holy orders who transgress the Canons the reverend name of the priesthood (or holy orders) is blamed and disparaged, which is the same as saying, in effect, that all those in holy orders are blamed in common, including even those who do not transgress them. The penalty, therefore, to be inflicted upon transgressors of these Canons is the following: That whoever dares to do anything contrary thereto, because of his being proud and failing to endeavor to please God, let him take notice that he will not be condemned ex parte, but as one having committed a crime, and that after being hailed into an ecclesiastical court he will be called to account, and will forfeit the office and honor of the episcopate, or, in other words, will be deposed. See also c. II of the 6th.

 

20. And this will thence become well known indeed and fulfilled if each of us who arc acting as Bishops in the byways, or, more expressly, adjacent to a canal that has caught sight of a Bishop would but ask him to explain why he is passing there and whither he is making a journey. And if he find out that he is heading for the camp, if he will but inquire further as to objects set forth in the foregoing Canons, and whether he is proceeding by invitation; if so no obstacle should be offered to his departure. But if it be for the sake of ostentation, as has been told our love, or he is bent upon presenting demands of certain persons to the camp, no one is to be permitted either to sign his letters or to commune with such a person.

(c. XI of Antioch; cc. VII, VIII, IX of Sardica.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too provides a penalty against transgressors by saying, "And this will become well known." This what? That holy orders ought not to be blamed for the shameless behavior of a few. "And will become fulfilled." In what way? If, that is to say, each of us bishops situated in the public thoroughfares and the passages through which all persons have to pass that are going to the imperial palace which was then located in Rome, just as via the canal, or, in other words, the aqueduct, the water has to pass — if, I say, any one of us should happen to see some other bishop passing, let him ask for what reason he is passing there and whither he is going. And if he learn from him that he is going to the imperial camp, let him ask him secondly whether it be for the causes mentioned in cc. VII, VIII, and IX that he is going there, or, at any rate, for the purpose of helping orphans and widows, and obtaining the redemption of convicts, and whether he has been invited to go there by the Emperor. And if he learns that he has been invited by the Emperor to go there, let him not be obstructed. But if he is going there in order to procure mundane offices for certain persons, or is going there in order to exhibit his teaching ability in another province, and to talk with the bishop of that province to shame him, let no bishop sign the letters dimissory and pacific which he has to take with him, nor even have any communication with him. Read also c. XI of Antiocb.

 

 

The Second Regional Council of Constantinople.

Prolegomena.

This holy regional Council convened in Constantinople after the holy and Ecumenical Second Council, in the year 394, according to Dositheus and the Collection of the Councils made by Milias, during the reign of Arcadius and Honorius. Among those attending it were three Patriarchs, namely, Nectarius of Constantinople, Theophilus of Alexandria, and Flavian of Antioch; and seventeen other bishops by name, and various others unnamed, together with the entire priesthood, all of them seated in the illuminatory (i.e., baptistery) of the Great Church. The reason for this meeting was the case of two bishops, Agapius and Bagadius, who were both seeking to be bishops in the episcopate of Bostra, and, indeed, the fact that matters had come to such a pass that Bagadius had been deposed by only two bishops, who had also died about that time when the Council was being held. Hence this Council decreed the present two Canons concerning this matter, which Canons are requisite for and necessary to the good order and the constitution of the Church. They are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and by c. I of the 7th; and definitely by c. II of the 6th (for this is the C. concerning which c. II of the 6th says the following: "Further and in addition to all these those now again convened in this God-guarded and imperial capital city in the time of Nectarius the president of this imperial city, and of Theophilus who became Archbishop of Alexandria."); and by virtue of this confirmation they have acquired a force which in a way is ecumenical. This Council, on the other hand, is styled "Memoirs transacted in Constantinople concerning Agapius and Bagadius, each of whom were claiming the episcopate of Bostra." It is contained in the Pandects wrongly following the Council held in Carthage. That is why we, following the years in which they were held, as we did in the case of other regional Councils, have placed it here before the one held in Carthage.

 

Canons.

1. We enact that it shall not be permissible for a Bishop to be ordained by two, conformably to the Nicene Council.

(Ap. c. I.).

Interpretation.

Since the holy and Ecumenical First Council enacted in its c. IV that three bishops must without fail meet together and ordain a bishop, having followed the second decree of Ap. c. I, in like manner the present holy Council decrees that no bishop can be ordained by only two bishops. And see Ap. c. I.

 

2. We enact that hereafter that a responsible Bishop when being tried can be deposed neither by three nor much less by two, but only by vote of a larger Council, and if possible of all the provincials, just as the Apostolic Canons also decreed, in order that the condemnation of one deserving to be deposed may be shown by a vote of the majority, in the presence of the one being tried, with greater accuracy.

(Ap. c. LXXIV.).

Interpretation.

Since, as we said before, Bishop Bagadius was deposed illegally by only two bishops, the present Council nullifies this and says that hereafter and henceforth a responsible bishop ought not to be deposed from office either by two bishops or by three, but, on the contrary, by a Council of most of the bishops, and if it be possible of all the bishops of the province, just as Ap. c. LXXIV also decrees, in order that by a vote of the majority the deposition of such a bishop may be decided upon more accurately. He must be present too when he is being tried and judged, and not be condemned in his absence. See also Ap. c. LXXIV.

 

The Regional Council of Carthage.

Prolegomena.

The holy regional Council which assembled in Carthage in the year 418 or 419 after Christ, in the twelfth year of the consulship of Emperor Honorius in Rome, and in the eighth year of Emperor Theodosius the Little, according to the secretum of the Church Faustus. The Fathers who distinguished themselves most at this Council were Bishop Aurelius, who presided over all the bishops of Carthage (and who is called a Pope in many places in the minutes of the same C. by the Fathers); Valentinus of the first seat of the country of Numidia; Augustinus the bishop of Hippona and legate of the province of Numidia; and the rest of the legates of all the provinces of Africa. The number of these, according to the minutes of the C. was 217, but according to Photius 225, and according to others 214. But there were present at this C. also legates of the bishop of Rome Zosimus, the names of whom were Faustinus, bishop of Picenum of the Pontetine Church of Italy, and Philip and Asellus, the presbyters. This Council, be it said, was held primarily in order to take action against Pelagius and Celestius his disciple, and against Donatus; and secondarily also to take action against Apiarius the presbyter of Sicca. It lasted six whole years. For beginning in the year 418, it finished in the year 424. It so happened that during this period three Popes held office in Rome, namely, Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestius (although in the minutes of this Council a fourth Pope, Anastasius, is mentioned; and see its c. LXVI). So after the many examinations and tractaisms which it held, it also promulgated one hundred and forty-one Canons relating to the good order and constitution of the Church; they are those which follow, sealed and confirmed definitely and by name in c. II of the holy Sixth Ecumenical Council, but generally and indefinitely by c. I of the 4th, and by c. I of the 7th. Its c. LXXXIX is cited verbatim by the holy Fifth Ecumenical Council; and by virtue of this confirmation they have acquired a force which is in a way ecumenical.

 

Canons.

1. True copies of the rules laid down are being kept by us thus, which our Fathers at that time brought back with them from the Nicene Council, of which the form is preserved, in what we have laid down as rules in the following, which, having been duly confirmed and sanctioned, shall be kept.

Interpretation.

Since both the confession of the faith, or what is commonly called the Creed, and the twenty Canons adopted at the holy and Ecumenical First Council held in Nicaea were read at the present Council, this first Canon thereof decrees that these things that were read there are identically like the copies thereof extant in Africa, and the tenors, or exact copies, of the above-mentioned confession of the faith and Canons, which the African Fathers who attended that first Council at that time brought back with them to Africa. For, it would appear, there were present there at the Council also bishops from Africa. So if the rules which we have laid down, or, in other words, whatever enactments have been adopted by our Council (and especially as concerning the right of appeal of presbyters and deacons, on account of their having, as we said, doubts about which they wrote to the bishops of Constantinople and of Alexandria to send them authentic and true copies, or tenors, of the records of the Council held in Nicaea, which, it would seem, had not yet been sent), or are going to be enacted, adhere to the form and procedure of the First EC. C., they will remain stringently effective and invariable.

 

2. God willing, the ecclesiastical faith handed down through us must be confessed first and foremost in this glorious convention with the same (or a like) confession, and next to that the ecclesiastical order must be kept (or preserved] with the consent of each and of all together. By way of lending assurance to the mind of our brethren and fellow Bishops who have been newly ordained the following remarks have to be added, which we have received from the Fathers stringently formulated, so that, as respecting the Trinity, that is, the unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we have it ‘well established in our intellects, with no perceptible difference whatever in that unity, and, just as we have learned, so shall we teach these beliefs to the peoples of God.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that at this Council first and foremost it is necessary that the orthodox faith preached by all the Church shall be proclaimed, which faith is handed down to other peoples through the agency of the bishops with the same or a like confession as the First EC. C. and all the subsequent Church confessed it, or with a like and equal, or, in other words, a common and consonant confession by all those attending the Council. Next thereafter it has to be proclaimed that the arrangement and the Canons of the Church ought to be kept both by each individual bishop separately and by all the bishops together. With a view to assuring and informing the newly-ordained bishops concisely as to that belief they ought to entertain respecting the Holy Trinity, or, more precisely speaking, that they must have impressed upon their intellects the tenet that the three persons of the Holy Trinity, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are united in respect of their essence, and glory, and power, and all the other specific qualities of their essence, without having any difference whatever in respect thereof, and that, just as they themselves have learned and believe, so must they also teach the Christian laity.

 

3. It has been decided that as regards these three ranks which have been conjoined by a certain bond of chastity and of sacerdocy (I am referring particularly to Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons), as befits devout Bishops and Priests of God, and Levites, and those ministering to divine institutions, they must be continent in all things, so as to be able to obtain whatever in general they ask God for, in order that we too may likewise keep what has been handed down through the Apostles and has been held ever since the early days.

(Ap. c. V; cc. XII, XIII, XXX, XLVIII of the 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. IV, XIX, XXXIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The continence which the present Canon requires bishops, priests, and deacons to maintain is that they shall make a promise when they are being ordained that they will never have any carnal intercourse with their wives, by agreement with the latter, but, on the contrary, will remain continent, or, more explicitly speaking, will hold aloof from them after the manner of virgins, as is made plain by the following c. IV of the present Council, and, moreover, by c. XXX of the 6th, in order, it says, that by means of this perpetual continence and purity, which ought to be found in the servants of the bloodless sacrifice which has been consecrated to God, and by means of the continence which appertains to all other evils, they may be able to secure from God their requests, or petitions, in behalf of the salvation of the laity in the capacity of mediators between God and men; and in order that they themselves may likewise keep, or observe, the tradition which has been handed down through, the Apostles and has prevailed from early times (or ancient times), which is the same as saying both written and unwritten traditions, according to Balsamori and Zonaras. The Sixth EC. C., on the other hand, referring the continence of those in holy orders which is specified in the present Canon to an obedience to Christ, and making this local custom an Ecumenical Canon, has taken it, in its c. XIII, for the continence which those in holy orders ought to maintain in the time of their incumbency. It required only bishops to abstain from their wives perpetually after the manner of virgins. Read its cc. XII and XIII, as well as Ap. c. V.

 

4. It is decided that Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, and all men who handle sacred articles, being guardians of sobriety, must abstain from women.

(Ap. c. V; cc. XII, XIII, XXX, XLVIII of the 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. Ill, XIII, XXXIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

And this Canon likewise decrees that bishops, priests, and deacons, and indeed those men who handle sacred articles, or, more expressly speaking, subdeacons (according to c. XXXIII of this same C.), must abstain entirely from carnal intercourse with their wives by agreement with the latter. This custom, being prevalent in Rome, according to c. XIII of the 6th, was carried from Rome into Africa by the legates of the bishop of Rome. For the man who offered this Canon to this Council was none other than Faustinus, the bishop of Picenum in the Potentine province of Italy and also legate of the bishop of Rome, as may be seen in the minutes of this Council. Read cc. XII and XIII of the 6th, and Ap. c. V.

 

5. As regards the cupidity of greed, which is the mother of all evils, no one doubts that it must be checked, in order to prevent its misappropriating things belonging to others, and to prevent anyone from transgressing the rules of the Fathers for the sake of profit, and to preclude any Cleric’s getting (monetary) interest from anything in any manner whatever. Accordingly, the remarks newly made, being obscure and on the whole elusive, are being duly considered by us and will be properly enunciated. However, in regard to what the divine Writ has most expressly declared to be the law, there is no need of deliberation, but rather of obsequence. For by the same token what is reprehensible among laymen ought much more to be condemned among Clergymen. (Ap. c. XLIV; c. XVII of the 1st; c. X of the 6th; c. XX of Carthage; c. IV of Laodicea; c. Ill of Gregory the Miracle-worker; c. XIV of Basil.).

Interpretation.

As a prelude to commanding that clerics are not to charge interest, the present Canon begins more generally and more climatically (or ascensively) with greed, which is the mother of all evils, and by consequence also of interest on loans, by saying that this sort of sin ought to be prohibited, to prevent anyone, with the specious making of loans, which is a bad and improper use, from taking away the alien profits of borrowers; and to prevent any cleric from having a right to charge interest for money or for anything else whatsoever that he might lend and for the sake of that profit transgress the Canons of the Fathers which prohibit the charging of interest. Accordingly, as for what has been newly suggested to the Council, being obscure and vague, it shall be considered by us and be decided. But in regard to those matters concerning which the divine Bible and the sacred Canons lay down the law, plainly prohibiting even laymen from charging interest as well as clerics, we ourselves ought not to make any decision other than to obey; for if even laymen are condemned by the divine Bible and the Canons for charging interest, clerics are still more to be condemned for doing so. Read also Ap. c. XLIV and c. Ill of Gregory Thaumaturgus (i.e., the Miracle-working saint).

 

6. The application of chrism and the consecration of virgin girls shall not be done by Presbyters; nor shall it be permissible for a Presbyter to reconcile anyone at a public liturgy. This is the decision of all of us.

(Ap. c. XXXIX; cc. VII, L, LI, CXXXV of Carthage; cc. I, III, X, IX of the First EC. C.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits a priest from doing three things: the preparation of holy myron from odoriferous ingredients; the consecration to God, by means of prayers, of those virgin girls who, upon separating from their parents, in accordance with c. LI of the present Council, agree to remain virgins; and remission of the penalty for a sin to a penitent, and thereafter through communion of the Mysteries the reconciliation of him with God, to whom he had become an enemy through sin, making him stand with the faithful, and celebrating the Liturgy openly — i.e., praying along with them, joining in communion, and worshiping God by means of hymns (for praying to God and glorifying Him in hymns is called worship). For these three functions have to be exercised by a bishop, and most assuredly the preparation of holy myron. By permission of the bishop even a presbyter can reconcile penitents, though. And read Ap. c. XXXIX, and c. XIX of the First EC. C.

 

7. If anybody is in danger and demands to have recourse to the sacred altar for reconciliation when the Bishop is absent, the Presbyter naturally ought to ask the Bishop, and then allow the one in danger to have recourse thereto, in accordance with the Bishop’s orders.

(Ap. c. XXXIX; cc. VI and L of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Since the above Canon said vaguely that a presbyter is not to absolve penitents from penances, but only a bishop, to whom the right has been given to reprobate sinners, the present Canon accordingly prescribes that if any penitent is in danger of dying and asks to commune, but the bishop is not present, the presbyter must ask the bishop about this matter (as to whether the illness, that is to say, is too dangerous for any delay), and then permit him to commune. If, on the other hand, the bishop is away and the person ill is in danger of dying and cannot procrastinate, the presbyter may pardon the sick person even without orders of the bishop, according to c. L of this same Council (see also the history of Dionysius cited in the Footnote to c. XII of the First), so that he may not be deprived of the most necessary viaticum for that fearful departure — divine Communion, I mean- in accordance with the same c. XII of the First.

 

8. There are many men not of good character who think that they have a right to bring charges against the Fathers and Bishops on any grounds. Such men must not be given credence.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 6th; c. XXI of the 4th; cc. XXVII, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The meaning of the present Canon is none other than that no credence is to be given to men of bad reputation and not leading a good life who accuse bishops of anything in criminal and ecclesiastical cases. It calls bishops fathers on the score that they regenerate, or rebeget, the faithful through the process of teaching; and especially through the process of administering the Mysteries, in accordance with the fact that, according to Cyril of Alexandria, the pupils of prophets are called sons, or children, of prophets.

 

9. It is provided that if any Bishop or Presbyter admits to communion men who have been expelled from the Church on account of charges deservedly brought against them, he too shall be deemed guilty of the same crime together with those who have been condemned by canonical decision of their own Bishop.

(Ap. cc. X, XI, XII, XXXII; cc. II, VI of Antioch; c. I of Holy Wisdom.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any bishop or presbyter communicates with those who have been excommunicated from the Church by their own bishop, or who have been deposed from office, or who have even been anathematized with justice and in accordance with what the charges against them warrant, they who have admitted such persons are themselves to suffer the same excommunication or deposition or anathematization as those persons. And see Ap. cc. X, XI, and XXXII.

 

10. If any Presbyter that has been condemned by his own Bishop peradventure for having become inflated with pride and arrogance conceives ibat he ought to offer the elements to God separately or presumes to erect another altar in defiance of the ecclesiastical organization, let such person be anathema.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd; c. V of Antioch; cc. XI, LXII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

If by any chance any priest accused of anything in regard to his life (i.e., of not living rightly) should reach such an excessive degree of pride and arrogance as to apostatize from his own bishop when accused by him of this delinquency, and to perform sacred functions alone and by himself, or to set up a new altar and church, without the permission of his bishop, let such a person be anathematized. For this which he is doing is contrary to the constitution of the Church, which wants priests to be subject to the bishops; and it is also contrary to the faith, seeing that as a result of such conduct infidels blaspheme and ridicule our faith when they see those in holy orders misconducting themselves; and, broadly speaking, because this which he is doing causes a schism in the Church. Read also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

11. If any Presbyter be denounced for his conduct or behavior, such a one should notify neighboring Bishops, in order that they may give the matter a hearing, and through them he may become reconciled with his own bishop. If he fail to do so, but instead, what is to be deprecated, being inflated with superciliousness, he should separate himself from the communion of his own bishop, and while at odds wtih him should create a schism along with any other persons, and offer sacrifice to God, let such a person be considered anathema, and let him lose his own position, it being assumed that he has never had any just complaint against the Bishop.

(Ap. cc. XXXI, XXXII; c. V of the 1st; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXI, XXXIV of the 6th; cc. XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd; cc. V, VI of Antioch; c. VI of Gangra; c. LXII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon is united with the one preceding it above. For it says that a presbyter who separates himself from his bishop is to be anathematized; that is to say, more explicitly speaking, he is to be deposed from office unless he first makes known the matter of which he is accused by his bishop to neighboring bishops residing near by, in order that through them he may be conciliated with his own bishop, if on account of pride he shows contempt for him and apostatizes. In addition, however, to these regulations, an investigation must be made as to whether by any chance the presbyter is avoiding the communion of his bishop on account of a just complaint and justifiable charges. Read also Ap. cc. XXXI and XXXII.

 

12. If any Bishop fall liable to any charges, which is to be deprecated, and an emergency arises due to the fact that not many can convene, lest he be left exposed to such charges, these may be heard by twelve Bishops’, or in the case of a Presbyter, by six Bishops besides his own; or in the case of a Deacon, by three.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; c. IV of Antioch; cc. XVI, XXVIII, CV, CXVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

When a bishop is accused of anything, it has been ruled in c. IV of Antioch that he is to be tried by the Synod of the province. But if it should be found difficult to assemble many bishops, the present Canon commands that his case is to be tried by twelve bishops and his own, lest the accused bishop remain exposed to the charges involved in the accusation brought against him — that is to say, more plainly speaking, in order that he may not be treated with contempt by his laity on the ground that he is subject to an accusation and has not been acquitted. As for charges brought against a presbyter, their case may be tried by six foreign bishops and their own. As for charges against a deacon, they may be heard by three bishops arid their own. Read also Ap. c. LXXIV and c. VI of the 2nd and c, IX of the 4th.

 

13. Numerous Bishops having been assembled, they shall ordain a Bishop. But if necessary three Bishops, no matter in what region they be, at the order of the chief Bishop, shall ordain a Bishop. And if anyone in any particular ordination objects to his own assentation, or to his own signature or act of subscribing thereto, he shall deprive himself of the honor.

(Ap. c. I; cc. IV, VI of the 1st; c. Ill of the 7th; c. XIX of Antioch; the Memoirs concerning Love and Bagad., or, more expressly speaking, Canon I of the regional Council held in Constantinople.).

Interpretation.

The voting as well as the sacred rite of the bishop which owes its efficacy to prayers ought to be performed by numerous bishops, according to the present Canon. But if, owing to some necessity or inconvenience, a large number of bishops cannot be assembled, three bishops at any rate ought to vote for and ordain the candidate for the episcopate, with the order and approval of the Metropolitan of the province, to whom they themselves and the candidate in question are subject. But if anyone among the bishops who have voted should agree orally and subscribe with his own hand to the belief that the candidate in question deserves and is worthy of the episcopate, but afterwards objects to his agreement and signature, asserting at the same time that the man is not worthy (perhaps because he has learned about some crime of his that would disqualify him for the prelacy), he himself has thereby deprived himself of the honor of the episcopate, or. more plainly speaking, he himself shall be deposed from office, provided, however, that he fails to prove the candidate to be guilty of the charge. See also Ap. c, I, c. IV of the First, and the end of c, VI of the same First EC. C.

 

14. It has pleased the Council to decree that if anyone whatsoever among the Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons, or Clerics, is charged with any ecclesiastical or political crime in the Church, and, flouting the ecclesiastical court, resorts for justification to civil courts, even though a verdict be pronounced in his favor, he shall nevertheless lose his position. And this applies to the matter of the charges, as for the civil aspect of the case, he shall lose what he has won, if he tries to keep his position. (Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 1st; c. IX of the 4th; c. XII of Antioch; c. CXV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

All men in holy orders and clerics, when they have any case or criminal charges that might subject them to deposition from office, or any civil case, which is one involving monetary damages, that is to say, the plaintiff as well as the defendant ought to have the case tried by the ecclesiastical court or tribunal of the Bishop or of the Metropolitan to whom they are subject, just as the present Canon decrees. If, however, anyone among them should hold the sacred tribunal in contempt or scorn its authority, and seek to clear himself of the charges against him by taking the case to civil and mundane courts, even though he be acquitted of the charges by them, he is to be deposed from office if the case be one of a criminal nature; but if the case is one involving money and he wins it, should he wish to retain his rank in holy orders and escape deposition from office, he has to forfeit the gain of money awarded to him by the civil courts. If he fail to waive his claim to that gain, let him be deposed from office owing to his having held the ecclesiastical court in contempt. Read also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 1st, and c. IX of the 4th.

15. And this too it has pleased the Council to decree, that if an appeal be taken from any ecclesiastical judges whatsoever to other ecclesiastical judges exercising a higher authority, the former are not to sustain any injury whose verdict has been set aside, if they cannot be proved to have been motivated by malice or enmity, or to have been corrupted by some favor, in their trial of the case.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 1st; c. IX of the 4th.).

Interpretation.

If the clerics being tried appeal their case from lower to higher judges, orn a bishop, say, to a Metropolitan or to a Patriarch, and when the verdict of the lower judges is examined, it is annulled by the higher judges — if, I say, this actually happens, the present Canon decrees that those lower judges are not to suffer any detriment; provided, however,, that they are not proved to have arrived at their decision inimically, or on account of friendliness, or on account of some favor or a deal of some kind. For if any of these motives influenced their decision, they are subject to detrimental treatment in regard to their own honor. See also Ap. ce LXXIVS c. VI of the First, and c. IX of the Fourth.

 

16. But if by agreement and stipulation between the parties, the judges chosen be even fewer than the requisite number, no appeal therefrom shall lie.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XII, CV, CXI CXXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

But if the men in holy orders and the clerics, including both the plaintiff and the defendant, choose referees to decide their case, then if the number of referees chosen be less than that required by the rules laid down above — in the case of a bishop twelve; in the case of presbyter six; and in the case of a deacon three — it is not thenceforth permissible for the parties to the trial to take an appeal and have their case reviewed by a higher court, but, on the contrary, they must rest content with the verdict of the referees whom they have chosen.

Concord.

Canon CV of this same Council, as well as the civil laws, are consistent herewith. But c. CXI of this present Council states that the Council nodded approval of the referees whom the bishops Maurentius and Sanctippus chose. Canon CXXXI of this Council decrees that any bishop that fails to obey the verdict of referees shall remain excluded from communion until he does obey. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 1st, and c. IX of the 4th9

 

17. Care should be taken to see that the children of Priests shall not give any mundane spectacles, nor witness any. This, in fact, has ever been preached to all Christians, to the effect that wherever there are blasphemies they ought not to approach.

(Ap. ec. XLII, XLIII; cc. XXIV, LI, LXH, LXVI of the 6th; cc. XIII, LIV of Laodicea; c. LXX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that children of priests refrain from giving the exhibitions and plays that are staged in theaters and motion-picture shows with horse races and bull-fights and other contests with wild beasts and animals, when they themselves, that is to say, have control over the horses and other animals; but neither must they stand or sit and look at such spectacles when they are given by other persons. Not only children of those in holy orders, however, but all Christians in common are and always have been taught not to go near theaters and motion-picture shows and the like, where many indecent things occur by means whereof the faith of Christians is blasphemed and insulted by infidels and disbelievers and other impious persons. See also c. XXIV of the 6th, as well as Ap. c. XLII.

 

18. It has pleased the Council to decree that Bishops, and Presbyters, and Deacons shall not become farmers or procurators, nor derive any profit from anything that is shameful and dishonorable. For they ought to take into consideration that which is written: "No one campaigning for God will entangle himself in worldly affair" (II Tim. 2:4).

(Ap. cc. VI, LXXXI, LXXXIII; cc. Ill, VII of the 4th; c. IX of the 6th; c. IX of the 7th; cc. XI, II of the lst-&-2nd.).

Interpretation.

Those in holy orders ought not to farm, i.e., rent real estate belonging to others, or become procurators, that is to say, more plainly speaking, caretakers and managers of worldly matters and mundane businesses of any kind (for the word cura is a Latin word signifying care and governing), as the present Canon decrees, nor ought they to take the proceeds from any undertaking that is shameful and dishonorable. A shameful occupation, for example, is that of being a whoremaster; a dishonorable occupation, on the other hand, is that of owning or keeping a tavern, or a perfume shop, or that of practicing Christian science and other modes of healing, and the like. For if according to St. Paul no soldier (in the army) meddles in other matters, in order to please his earthly king, how much more is it not true that no soldiers of God in holy orders ought to involve themselves in worldly cares, in order to please their heavenly King. Read also Ap. c. VI and c. IX of the 6th.

 

19. It has pleased the Council to decree that care should be taken to see that Anagnosts (or Readers), upon arriving at the age of puberty, either take a wife or choose to vow celibacy and continence.

(Ap. c. XXVI; c. XIV of the 4th; c. VI, XIV of the 6th; c. XXXIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that when Anagnosts arrive at the age of fourteen, they must be compelled either to take a wife for themselves or else to promise solemnly (i.e., to vow) to retain and maintain a state of virginity and of celibacy. But this Canon appears to have prevailed only in Africa, according to Zonaras, and not in any other regions. See also Ap. c. XXVI.

 

20. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any Cleric lends or gives any money for the use of others, he shall receive the amount thereof in kind.

(Ap. c. XLIV; c. XVII of the 1st; c. X of the 6th; c. IV of Laodicea; c. V of Carthage; c. XIV of Basil.).

Interpretation.

This Canon, too, like c. V of the present C., forbids clerics to take interest on money; no matter how much money they may lend to others, they must take the same amount back; and if they lend any kind of goods other than money, such as, for instance, wheat or other grain, or legumes (i.e., peas, beans, lentils), or any other such thing, they must take back that same amount thereof, and not any more. Read also Ap. c. XLIV.

 

21. It has pleased the Council to decree that Deacons shall not be ordained before the age of twenty-five.

(c. XIV of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

Deacons ought not to be ordained, according to the present Canon, until they have become twenty-five years old. Read also c. XIV of the 6th.

 

22. It has pleased the Council to decree that Anagnosts must not bow down in adoration or pay obeisance to the people.

(c. XXXIII of the 6th; c. XIV of the 7th.).

Interpretation.

This Canon forbids Anagnosts, upon finishing the reading of the divine words, to turn and bow down to the people (in the church), since they ought to bow down only to bishops and priests and deacons, but not also the multitude of laymen, and especially during the time of their active service.

 

23. It has pleased the Council to decree that Mauritania Stifensis, on account of the vastness of its territory, has been permitted, as it requested, to have a Primate, or chief Bishop, of its own, with the consent of all the Primates of African provinces and of all the Bishoj^s thereof (as Primate of the Numidian territory assigned to him by the Council).

Interpretation.

This Canon, notwithstanding that it was a regional Canon, because of its saying that Mauritania was not to remain subject to the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Numidia, on account of the vastness of the territory of the one as compared with the other, and the resulting difficulty of their bishops meeting together in a Council or Synod; but, on the contrary, it was allowed to have its own Metropolitan; in spite of the fact that this Canon was a regional and "particular" Canon, it can be made a catholic and general Canon. For we learn from it that every other region covering a vast area, and consequently having portions at a great distance from other regions, ought to be allowed to have its own Metropolitan for the same reasons.

 

24. It has pleased the Council to decree that when a Bishop or a Cleric is to be ordained, the decisions arrived at by the Councils as official pronouncements shall first be dinned into their ears, lest, when acting in accordance with the rules of the Council, they should come to repent.

(c. II of the 7th.).

Interpretation.

Anybody who is ordaining a bishop or a cleric ought, according to this Canon, before commencing the ordination proper, to tell them what has been laid down as rules and definitions by the holy Councils, Ecumenical as well as Regional, both as concerning the right faith and as concerning the right kind of life, and ecclesiastical decorum (or good order) and constitution (or established state), in order that by means of this teaching the candidates for ordination may learn the rules and definitions and Canons laid down by the Fathers of the Church, and when acting and living, both publicly and privately in accordance therewith, they may not repent like transgressors, if canonized (i.e., punished canonically) and Conciliarly reprimanded (or compelled to undergo ecclesiastical penalties) during the course of their present life, nor if chastised in the future life (since it is written,and in accordance with the definitions and rules of the Councils the real meaning of the words is clearer when expressed as follows: lest they repent, either in the present or in the future, if perchance they do anything contrary to the Canons and rules and definitions taught them, on the ground that they are sinning knowingly and wittingly). See also c. II of the 7th.

 

25. It has pleased the Council to decree that the Eucharist must not be administered to the bodies of the dying. For it has been written: "Take, eat" (Matt. 26:26), but the bodies of dead persons can neither take nor eat anything. And it is further pleased to decree that the ignorance of Presbyters must not cause persons already dying to be baptized.

(c. LXXXIII of the 6th EC. C.).

Interpretation.

The Sixth EC. C. borrowed its c. LXXXIII from the present Canon — that is to say, only as respects the prohibition of the administration of communion to dead persons. And see the Interpretation there. But the present Canon further decrees and prescribes that a priest must not baptize anyone unwittingly that has died and is dead,1 since dead persons can neither join forces with Christ nor renounce Satan, nor can they do anything else that is customarily required in connection with the rite of baptism. But as long as a person is still breathing he shall be allowed the right and be given the benefit of divine Baptism, according to Zonaras.

 

26. Care must be taken, in accordance with the Definitions of the Council held in Nicaea, with reference to ecclesiastical causes, to see that a Synod is convoked every year, to which all those occupying the chief seats of the provinces may send, legates or deputies, choosing two or as many as they wish of the Bishops of their own Synods to represent them; in order that the authority in the body assembled may be plenary: for it is noteworthy that such causes often grow old to the ruin of the laity.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; c. XX of Antioch; cc. LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXXV, CIV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Lest ecclesiastical cases and irregularities grow old, and with the passage of time become inveterate, as they arise from time to time, to the injury of the laity, the present Canon decrees that a Synod, or local council, of bishops must be held every year, as c. V of the Nicene C. also prescribes to which Synod all the Metropolitans may send two or more bishops from their province as deputies, or legates, i.e., representatives to take their place at the meeting of the Synod; in order that the decisions arrived at by this Synod may have full authority, on the ground that all the Metropolitans joined in voting therefor. But in the minutes of the present Council it has been written that from Tripolis (Africa) a legate is to be sent to this annual Synod, owing to the scarcity of the bishops there. But Balsamon asserts that the sending of presbyters and of deacons as legates is not prohibited, as in fact was done at some Ecumenical Councils, to represent the Metropolitans. Read also Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

27. If any one of the Bishops is accused, let the accuser bring the matter before the chief bishops in his own territory; and let the accused one not be excluded from communion until he had had a chance to defend himself in the court of those selected to try him; after being summoned in writing, if he fail to answer on the day set for his trial, that is, within a period of one month from the day on which he appears to have received the summons, unless he shows true and cogent causes preventing him from answering to the charges laid against him, in which event he shall be given another entire month in which to present his defense. But after the second month let him not commune until he has shown himself clean. If, on the other hand, he refuse to answer to the whole annual Synod, in order to let his case be disposed of there, he himself shall be judged to have pronounced a verdict of condemnation against himself. During the time that he is not communing, let him not commune either in his own church or in the diocese. As for his accuser, if he does not fail to put in his appearance anywhere during the days that the matter is abroach, let him be in no wise prevented from communing. But if at any time he should disappear by withdrawing, let the Bishop be restored to communion, and let his accuser be denied communion. Nevertheless, he shall not be deprived of the right to prosecute the case and to bring the charges into court in support of his accusation if he can prove, within the time specified, that he had been unable, and not unwilling, to answer. At the same time it is plain that, when the charges are brought into the court of the Bishops, if the person of the accuser is in disrepute, he ought not to be allowed to present his accusation, unless the matter be one involving a personal affair of his own, and not an ecclesiastical matter, in which event he shall be allowed to present his claim.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX, XXI of the 4th; cc. XIV, XV of Antioch; c. IV of Sardica; cc. VIII, XII, XVI, XCVI, CV, CXXXI, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

When any bishop is accused of anything, his accuser must prove the truth of the accusation before the Metropolitan of the bishop in question, according to the present Canon; but the accused bishop ought not to be at once excluded from communion with his fellow bishops directly after the charges are filed, unless he fail to appear for trial within a month’s time after receiving the Metropolitan’s summons to attend the court. But if he prove that it was due to true causes, and not fictitious ones, but to a really unavoidable cause, that he be prevented from attending, he shall be allowed another month’s time. But if he fail to appear even within two months, he shall be excommunicated on account of his disobedience, until it has been proved that he is innocent of the accusation brought against him. If, on the other hand, he refuse to be tried either by the Metropolitan or by the Synod which assembles annually, he himself has condemned himself on account of his contumacy and contemptuous attitude. As long, however, as the accused bishop is under the penance of excommunication he ought not to join anyone in communion either in his own province or in any other. As for his accuser, as long as he stands upon his charges, he ought not to be excommunicated pending the outcome of his accusation. If, however, he furtively depart from the court, and cannot be found, then and in that event the accused bishop shall be relieved of the penance of exclusion from communion, while the accuser shall be excommunicated. If, nevertheless, he prove that it was not due to his will or contempt, but to some other reasonably good cause, that he failed to appear in court, he is not precluded from filing the accusation again. One thing is plainly evident, that if the accuser has a disparaged reputation or a dubious one, he ought not to be allowed to bring any charge against a bishop in regard to any ecclesiastical and religious matter. But as regards a matter of his own personal interests, relating to money and of a non-religious nature, he is to be allowed, no matter who he is. See Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th.

 

28. If Presbyters or Deacons be accused, the legal number of Bishops selected from the nearby locality, whom the accused demand, shall be empaneled — that is, in the case of a Presbyter six, of a Deacon three, together with the Bishop of the accused — to investigate their causes; the same form being observed in respect of days, and of postponements, and of examinations, and of persons, as between accusers and accused. As for the rest of the Clerics, the local Bishop alone shall hear and conclude their causes.

(c. IX of the 4th; c. IV of Antioch; cc, XII, XVI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The preceding Canon related to accused bishops, while the present relates to presbyters and deacons, and it decrees that if they be accused, they are to choose — a presbyter six, and a deacon three — strange bishops from their nearby parts, and let their own bishop try their cases together with these bishops. The aforesaid form and Canon (i.e., XXVII) and the same examination of persons accusing them are to be observed. As for charges against other, lower clerics, their local bishop alone tries and decides them. Read also c. IX of the 4th, and cc. XII and XVI of the present C.

 

29. It has pleased the Council to decree that children of Clergymen shall not enter into a matrimonial union with heretics or heathen.

(c. XIV of the 4th; c. LXXII of the 6th; cc. X, XXXI of Laodicea.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that children of men in holy orders and of clerics are not to marry women that are heretics or infidels. Read also c. XIV of the 4th.

 

30. It is decreed that Bishops and Clerics shall not leave any legacy to non-Orthodox Christians, even though these be blood relatives, nor shall Bishops or Clerics make such persons any gift of property of their own by bequest, as has been said.

(Ap. c. XL; cc. LXXXIX, CII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Consistently with the preceding Canon, the present Canon decrees respecting heathen and heretics that bishops and clerics, when dying, must not make non-Orthodox persons, whether infidels or heretics, co-heirs with their relatives who are believers and belong to the Orthodox faith to their property in their will or testament, even though such infidels or heretics be blood relatives of theirs. This amounts to saying that bishops and clerics ought not to leave either an inheritance or a legacy, i.e., a gift, in their will to their heretical relatives. Nor even while alive ought they to give heretics goods or property of their own. In fact, even the civil laws prohibit Orthodox Christians from leaving any inheritance or legacy to heretics. See also Ap. c. XL.

ι

 

31. Let Bishops not cross the sea except by express consent of the chief see of the same Bishop of any particular diocese, that is, unless by exception he receive from the primate himself the letter called dimissory, in due form, or, more explicitly, a parathesis, i.e., a commendation.

(Ap. cc. XII, XXXIII; cc. XI, XIII of the 4th; c. XVII of the 6th; cc. VI, VII, VIII, XI of Antioch; cc. XLI, XLII of Laodicea; cc. VII, VIII of Sardica; cc. XCVII, CXVI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids the bishops of Africa from going overseas that is to say, to Italy; and any other bishop from leaving his province and going to a remote region. These bishops ought rather to stay at home and wait upon their churches, and give daily attention to their flocks, i.e., to the laities entrusted to them. The only time they are allowed to depart is when they are equipped with letters obtained from the other bishops, properly and by way of exception from their primate the Metropolitan or patriarch, and called letters dimissory, giving express consent and declaring that their departure is necessary and that they are given dimission, i.e., leave to depart; or "in due form" stands for signed and commending and introducing them to those persons to whom they are going. See also the Interpretation and Footnote to Ap. c. XII.

 

32. It has pleased the Council to prohibit the reading of anything besides the canonical Scriptures in church under color of divine Scriptures. The canonical Scriptures are the following, to wit: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, euteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Reigns 4, Paralipomena 2 books, Job, the Psalter, the 4 books of Solomon, the 12 books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, the 2 books of Ezra; of the New Testament, the 4 Gospels, Acts of the Apostles (one book), the 14 Epistles of Paul, the 2 of Peter the Apostle, the 3 of John the Apostle, the 1 of James the Apostle, the 1 of Jude the Apostle, the Revelation of John (1 book).

(Ap. c. LXXXV; cc. LI, LX of Laodicea; c. XIV of Carthage; St. Gregory the Theologian in his Epics; canonical epistle of St. Athanasius 39; Amphiloch. Iconious diiamb).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in church nothing else shell be read that purports to be any Holy Scriptures besides these canonical books which arc herein mentioned by name, and concerning which see also An c. LXXXV and the Footnote thereto.

 

33. It is decreed that Subdeacons who attend to the Mysteries, and Deacons and Presbyters, and even Bishops, on the same terms, must abstain from their wives, so as to be as though they had none; which if they foil to do they shall be removed from office. As for the rest of the Clerics, they shall not be compelled to do this, unless they be of an advanced age; but the rule ought to be kept in accordance with the custom of each particular church.

(Ap. c. V; cc. XII, XIII, XXX, XLVIII of the 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. III, IV, XIX of Carthage; I Cor. 7:29.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon, in a manner similar to that of cc. Ill and IV of this C., decrees to the effect that the subdeacons who attend to the Mysteries (concerning which see c. XV of the 6th), and deacons and bishops, must maintain a state of virginity and keep away from their wives by common consent, in accordance writh the terms and vows they made before their ordination, in order to conform with that Apostolic saying that even if they have wives it is as though they had none at all. But if they fail to keep this rule, they are to forfeit their rank and. order of their sacerdocy, or, more expressly speaking, they are to be deposed from office. But as regards the rest of the lower clerics, namely, Anagnosts, Psalts, Janitors (i.e., doorkeepers), Exorcists, and the others, they are not to be compelled to remain virgins in abstinence from their wives, except only when they reach what is called old age (for though according to St. Basil the Great sobriety in old age is not sobriety, but powcrlessness for licentious behavior, one who fails to keep sober and continent in his old age is certainly very licentious and dissolute, and of a sort such as a cleric ought not to be); but they ought to follow whatever custom obtains in the particular church to which the cleric in question belongs. The 6th EC. C., in its c. XIII, took the expression "on the same terms" to stand for the meaning of the expression "in the same parishes." And read that c. and its c. XII, Ap. c. V, and c. XIX of the present C.

 

34. It has pleased the Council to decree that no one shall sell any ecclesiastical property, or anything owned by a, church; which thing, if it affords no revenue, and there is a serious exigency, should be presented to the eyes of the Primate (or Chief Bishop), and together with the fixed number of Bishops, he should deliberate as to what ought to be done with it. But if there be such an urgent exigency of the church as to preclude deliberation before the sale, the Bishop must call in neighboring Bishops as witnesses, taking care to point out to the Sinod all the circumstances that have beset his church; which if he fail to do so he shall be responsible to God and to the Synod, and shall be alienated from his own honor.

(An cc XXXI, XLI; c. XII of the 7th; c. XV of Ancyra; c. XXIV of Antioch; c. XLI of Carthage; c. II of Cyril.).

Interpretation.

Church property ought to be inalienable and irremovable from the churches owning it. For this reason the present Canon forbids every bishop to sell anything belonging to his church. But if it should happen that any real estate of a church fails to produce fruits or a profit, and an occasion arises in which it becomes necessary to sell the property owing to some urgent exigency, the bishop must communicate this fact to the Metropolitan, and they must take counsel and deliberate concerning this matter with the twelve bishops appointed for this purpose. But if there should ensue any such great urgency that time does not suffice for such interrogation and the holding of a deliberate council, he must at least call in the neighboring bishops as witnesses, in order to be able to use their testimony as evidence to show to the Synod which is held annually and declare all the circumstances and needs of his church, on account of which he was compelled to sell the real estate. If he fail to do this, he is to become responsible both to God and to the Synod, and is to be shorn of his prelatical dignity and deposed from office. See also Ap. c. XXXVIII.

35. It has likewise been decided that if at any time Presbyters or Deacons be proved to be guilty of any grave offense which would necessarily render them liable to removal from the ministry, let no hands be laid upon them as penitents, or as faithful laymen, nor let them advance to any rank of the Clergy because of their being rebaptized.

(Ap. cc. XXV, XLVII, LXVIII; cc. of Basil III, XXXII, XLIV, LI; c. XXI of the 6th; c. LVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

It used to be a custom whenever sinners repented and confessed their sins on coming to church, the bishops would lay their hands upon them, or with their consent and approval the priests would do so, inside the church, that is to say. and then by uttering prayers they would excommunicate them and assign them the stations of penitents, each of them according to the particular sin he was guilty of. The present Canon therefore is decreeing that that act of laying on the hands is not to be performed in regard to those presbyters and deacons who have been proved guilty of any grave offense and on this account have been deposed from holy orders, nor are such persons to be placed in the stations assigned to the penitent faithful laymen of the church, and be, like these, excommunicated. For the chastisement alone of deposition from office is sufficient for them according to Ap. c. XV, which the reader is advised to consult. Nor ought such excommunicated persons to be rebaptized in order that by allegedly being purified through baptism they may be considered to have been freed from the sins they committed, and be again ordained priests and, deacons, since it is an impiety for holy baptism to be done over again (and concerning this see Ap. c. XLVII) and for an ordination to be repeated., according to Ap. c. LXVIII.

 

36. It has pleased the Council to decree that in the event that Presbyters and Deacons and the rest of the lower Clerics complain about the courts of their own bishops in reference to whatever causes they may have, the neighboring Bishops shall hear their cases, and with the consent and approval of the same Bishop, the Bishops invited by them shall dispose of their differences. Wherefore, though they may think that they have a right to appeal in regard thereto, let them not carry the appeal to courts overseas, but only to the primates of their own provinces, as has been prescribed many times in regard to Bishops. As for those men who do take an appeal to overseas courts, let them be admitted, by no one in Africa to communion.

(c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XI, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that presbyters and deacons and the lower clerics must have their cases tried by their own bishop. If, however, they should complain about the trial held and the decision rendered by their own bishop, they ought to invite the nearby and neighboring bishops, in order that they and the bishops who tried their case may consider their differences. But if they will not accept the trial held by neighboring bishops whom they have invited, they must appeal their case to the Metropolitan of their province, just as we directed to be done in the cases of bishops. If, however, they take an appeal to courts overseas, i.e., those of Italy and of Rome, or, more generally speaking, to remote courts or those beyond their boundaries, let them be excluded from communion by all the bishops of Africa. Canon CXXXIV of this same C. is almost identically the same as the present Canon. Read also c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th, and c. XI of this same C. See also the Footnote to c. IV of Antioch.

 

37. It has pleased the whole Council to decree that in regard to anyone on account of his indolence, whether a Bishop or any Cleric whatsoever, who has been denied communion, if during the time of his communion before he has been heard he should dare to participate in communion, let him himself be judged to have pronounced sentence upon himself.

(Ap. ee. XII, XIII, XXXII; c. V of the 1st; c. VI of Antioch; c. XIV of Sardica.).

Interpretation.

A bishop, or any other cleric whatever, who has been excommunicated 011 account of the sin of negligence, but who insists that he was not excommunicated justly, ought nevertheless to remain under the penalty of excommunication and of exclusion from communion until his case has been examined by others who are his superiors. But if before it has been examined and determined whether or not he was excommunicated for a good reason he should himself dare to commune with others and to trample underfoot the excommunication, it is manifest that by this show of contempt he is causing a rightful verdict of condemnation to be pronounced against himself, as the present Canon decrees. See also Ap. c. XXXII.

 

38. It has pleased the Council to decree that a person accused or the one accusing him is in fear of violence at the hands of an impetuous mob in the region from which the one accused hails, he shall choose himself a region that is the nearest thereto where he will have no difficulty in producing witnesses and where the matter can be settled.

(Ap. c. LXXV; c. II of the 1st; c. CXL of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

If clerics happen to have a dispute with each other, and one of them, the plaintiff, that is to say, is afraid to have the case tried in the home region of the cleric who is being accused by him and being made the subject of charges or being cited before a court, either by reason of a fear that the defendant’s relatives and friends may rise up against him, or because of his being unable to bring witnesses for the prosecution to that place — if, I say, the accuser is afraid, the present Canon decrees that he shall be allowed to choose some other region near there in which his case be tried. I said "near there" so that the judges could go there too to y it, and the witnesses could easily offer their testimony, and consequently that the case being tried can be brought to a conclusion; and not for to be allowed to choose a region where it would be difficult for the judges and the witnesses to go, and the trial might consequently never be finished — as is done by some cunning persons who want to escape trial because they know that they are wrong. See also Ap. c. LXXV.

 

39. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any Clerics or Deacons whatever to obey the orders of their Bishop when the latter wishes to advance them to a higher position for cogent reasons of their churches, then and in that case neither shall they serve in the capacity of the rank which they refused to leave.

(c. of Basil LXXXIX.).

Interpretation.

All men who become Anagnosts, Psalts, Subdeacons, or mere clerics and servants of the Church must be so worthy that whenever the need calls for it they may be promoted to higher ranks in holy orders, as is disclosed by St. Basil the Great in his canonical epistle addressed to chorepiscopi, which constitutes his c. LXXXIX. For this reason the present Canon decrees that all clerics and deacons, i.e., servants (for the Greek noun diaconi, or deacons, is here taken with reference to all servants, according to Zonaras, and not only with reference to persons who have been ordained deacons; and this is plainly evident also from the Greek verb diaconeso, meaning to serve, which is employed further below) — all clerics, I say, and servants who fail to comply with the orders of their bishops, who on account of some need or want of their churches are inclined to promote them to higher ranks, as, for instance, subdeacons to deacons, or deacons to presbyters — these persons, I say, shall not be allowed to remain even in that rank which they refused to leave, not because of any reverence, according to the aforesaid exegete, or because of any lack of merits or of worthiness, but owing to contemptuousness and disobedience or perhaps even to the troublesomeness or toilsomeness of the higher rank: which is the same as saying that they shall be deposed from office or ousted from service.

 

40. It has pleased the Council to decree with regard to Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, or any Clerics whatever, who owned nothing to begin with, that if in the course of their service in an episcopate or during their office, they buy any fields or any territories whatever in their own name, they are to be considered as though guilty of having made an inroad upon the Lord’s business or the Lord’s things, unless they should therefore when reminded of this agree to donate these things to the Church. If, on the other hand, the liberality of anyone or succession by descent should bring them anything personally, even of that they shall bestow upon the Church whatever portion they are willing to give her. But if even after offering it to her, they should backslide, or go back on their word, being unworthy of ecclesiastical honor, let them be judged to be reprobates.

(Ap. c. XL; c. XXIV of Antioch; c. XXTI of the 4th; e. XXXV of the 6th; cc. XXX, LXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that all bishops, presbyters, deacons, and mere clerics who were formerly poor but who have acquired subsequently to the episcopate or the clericate latifundia (i.e., large landed estates), or any other farming lands or real estate whatsoever — all these persons, I say, if they refuse to dedicate that property to that church of which they are bishops or clerics, shall be deposed from office, as being graspers and having robberlike usurped church property, since it was with the money which they derived from the Church that they purchased it. But from property which they came by either through inheritance from relatives of theirs or HS a result of the liberality of somebody or a gift given to them personally (or at any rate not in order to have them distribute it, to poor people, say, or to spend it on slaves; for they are not required to dedicate such things to the Church; but. on the contrary, in order that they may keep it for themselves), even of those things, I say, they ought to leave to their church that which they are inclined to give her. But if they at first are minded to give her some of it, and afterwards repent, they are to be judged unworthy of the ecclesiastical rank which they have, on the ground that they are useless and reprobate creatures. Read also Ap. c. XL.

 

41. It has pleased the Council to decree that Presbyters shall not sell any property of the Church in which they were ordained if it be without the consent and approval of their own Bishop, in like manner as it is not permissible to Bishops to sell any lands of the Church without the knowledge of the Synod or of their own Presbyters. There being therefore no need or necessity, neither is it permissible to a Bishop to misappropriate or embezzle anything out of the funds, or "title" of the ecclesiastical treasury, or "matrix"

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII, XLI; c. XXVI of the 4th; cc. XI, XII of the 7th; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; c. XV of Ancyra; c. VII of Gangra; c. XXXIV of Cartilage; c. X of Theophilus; c. II of Cyril.).

Interpretation.

Neither have presbyters, according to this Canon, any right or permission to sell any property of that church to which it has been dedicated, without the consent and approval of their bishops; nor, conversely, have bishops any right or permission., without any necessity, to sell, or to misuse, anything that is listed in the title (for the superscription and the cause, and the book itself are called the title) of the Ecclesiastical Matrix, or register, which is the same as saying whatever is recorded in the Codex of the Episcopate, without the consent and knowledge of the Synod and of his presbyters, since they too must have cognizance of matters concerning the government and administration of the affairs of the church, and especially their stewards, or oeconomi. See Ap. c. XXXVIII.

 

42. It is decreed that Bishops and Clerics shall not let their children go away sui juris, i.e., with the right to choose for themselves what they are to do, by virtue of an emancipation, unless they are convinced as touching their manners and their age. Lest they lead them into sins.

(o. XV of Gangra.).

Interpretation.

The word emancipation is Latin (though written in Greek characters in the above Canon). It denotes the right of self-control given by fathers to their sons when they are not yet of age. So what the present Canon says is that bishops and clerics may not set their children free and emancipate them from their control unless they have first become convinced by works i.e., deeds, that not only are they well-intentioned (i.e., good in mind) but also that they have attained to the age of discretion and know how to manage themselves. Since if they should set them free before having trained them in regard to what is good and what is virtuous and before they have attained to the age that is susceptible of reason and prudence (see the Footnote to c. XL of the 6th), they themselves will be accomplices in the sins of their children which the latter will commit after being left free to do as they please. See also c. XV of Gangra.

 

43. It is decreed that Bishops, Deacons, and Presbyters shall not be ordained before they have made all persons in their home Orthodox Christians.

(Ap. c. LXXXII.).

Interpretation.

If bishops and deacons and presbyters are under obligation to teach all others who are disbelievers and misbelievers, and to guide them into Orthodoxy, how much more they are obliged to do so with unbelieving and heretical children, or mayhap women or slaves or servants in their own house! Therefore the present Canon decrees that they themselves are not to be ordained bishops, or presbyters, or deacons unless they first make all the members of their household. "For," says St. Paul, "If anyone know not how to rule his own household, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (I Tim. 3:5).

 

44. It is decreed that in the sanctuary nothing else than the body and the blood of the Lord shall be offered, as the Lord Himself prescribed, that is, bread and wine mixed with water. As for first-fruits, whether honey or milk, at the Mystery of the infants, though for the most part offered at the altar, let it nevertheless have a blessing of its own in proper fashion, so that it may stand apart from the sanctification of the Lord’s body and blood. But let nothing else be offered among firstfruits than grapes and grain (or wheat).

(Ap. cc. Ill, IV; cc. XXVIII, XXXII, LVII, XCIX of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that nothing else shall be offered at the Holy Mysteries but bread, on the one hand, to be transessentiated into the body of Christ, and on the other hand wine to be turned into the blood of Christ, and water to be mixed with the wine, to serve as a type, or typification, of the water which came out of the Lord’s side. But inasmuch as it had become customary for milk and honey to be offered at the altar on a certain fixed day for the Mystery of the infants (that is to say, in behalf of and for the purpose of helping and saving infants, who are nourished mainly with milk and honey, in accordance with that prophetic utterance saying, "butter — a product of milk — and honey shall the child — sc. Jesus — eat," by way of indicating the true humanity, as Coressios interprets this passage), let them be offered, but yet with care not to combine these things with the Lord’s body and blood, of course, but, on the contrary, in such a manner that they may have a peculiar and special place and blessing, as firstfruits. Of other firstfruits of produce and crops nothing else is to be offered at the altar but grapes and ears of wheat when they become ripe. Read also Ap. c. Ill, and c. XXXII of the 6th, from which the present Canon has been taken verbatim. The offering of honey and of milk, however, was repealed, or rather modified, by c. LVII of the same 6th.

45. Clerics or continent men shall not, except by special permission and consent of their own Bishop, or of the Presbyters, come into the presence of widows or of virgins. And let them not do so by themselves (i.e., all alone), either, but only when accompanied by fellow clerics or by persons with whom Bishops and Presbyters alone have admission to women of that description, or where there are present Clerics or some honorable Christians.

(c. Ill of the 1st; cc. XVIII, XXII of the 7th; c. XIX of Ancyra; c. LXXXIX of Basil.).

Interpretation.

On account of the suspicions of the majority of people the present Canon forbids clerics or continent men to enter the houses of widows or virgins, except only if they enter by leave and permission of the bishop (if he himself, that is to say, needs to send them), or with his consent (if they ask to go of their own accord). Yet even when the bishop allows them to do so or complies with their request, let them not enter the homes of such females all alone, but only together with their fellow clerics, or together with those men with whom bishops and presbyters are accustomed to visit such women, or let them converse with those women in places where there are clerics and some other honorable Christians present, for the sake of avoiding scandal. See also c. Ill of the First EC. C.

 

46. It is decreed that the Bishop of the chief see shall not be called the Exarch of the Priests, or the High Priest, or anything else of the kind, but only Bishop of the chief see.

(Ap. c. XXXIV.).

Interpretation.

As a rebuke to the arrogance and self-conceitedness of some ecclesiastics, the present Canon decrees that the bishop of the chief see is not to be called the Exarch of Priests, or the High Priest, or any other high-sounding and proud name. For this is alien to and unbecoming to bishops, the imitators of Jesus the humble-hearted. Instead, they are only to be called the bishop of the chief see. See the Footnote to Ap. c. XXXIV.

 

47. It is decreed that Clerics shall not enter taverns for the purpose of eating or drinking, unless when driven to them for shelter.

(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII, LIV; cc. IX, L of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th; cc. XXIV, LV of Laodicea.).

Interpretation.

Clerics must not enter taverns in order to eat and drink, according to the present Canon, unless they be compelled to do so as wayfarers in need of a place to put up for the night or a place of shelter (Note of Translator.-The Greek words in the original here indicate that what the authors had in mind was what would nowadays be termed an inn or hotel, and not what is now known as a tavern or "pub," a place that no religious zealot such as priest or deacon ought to be allowed to enter under any circumstances or pretext whatsoever.).

 

48. It is decreed that the holy rites of the altar shall not be performed except by fasting men, with the exception of a single day in the year on which the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. But if during the late afternoon any men have died, whether Bishops or other persons, and a parathesis (or commendation) is made for them, let it be done with prayers alone, if those making it be found to have eaten a breakfast.

(Ap. c. LXIX; cc. XLIX, L, LI, LIT of Laodicea; cc. VIII, X of Tim.; cc. XXIX, LXXXIX of the 6th; c. I of Dionysius.).

Interpretation.

The first part of the present Canon, which specifies that during the day called (in Greek) Great Thursday (but in English commonly known as Maundy Thursday), is corrected and cited verbatim in Canon XXIX of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there. The remaining part of the Canon appears to have been something like this. Whenever someone died it was the custom on that day for a liturgy to be celebrated, perhaps in order to commemorate the deceased person. So then this Canon says that if any bishops or laymen died in the late afternoon, and those priests who were about to make the commendation by means of commemorative services to effect the reconciliation of the souls of the deceased with God happened not to be fasting, but, on the contrary, to have eaten a meal, let the sacred liturgy be dispensed with and omitted, and instead thereof let the parathesis of their funeral songs or what is now commonly called the parastasimon, be substituted.

 

49. It is decreed that Bishops or Clerics must not banquet in church, unless it should happen that while passing through they have to put up there as guests. Even laymen must be prevented as far as possible from holding such banquets.

(cc. LXXIV, LXXVI, LXXXVIII of the 6th; c. XXVII of Laodicea; c. XI of Gangra.).

Interpretation.

Bishops and clerics must not hold banquets inside churches, according to the injunction of the present Canon, except only that they may eat in them in case they happen to be compelled to be in a strange region and have no place to put up in for the night or for the time being. But even laymen ought to be prevented from holding such banquets in church. Read also c. LXXIV of the 6th.

 

50. If is decreed that penances be fixed in respect to time by judgment of Bishops in accordance with the difference in sinful deeds. But no Presbyter may release a penitent from his penance without the consent and approval of the Bishop, except if necessity drive him to do so in the absence of the Bishop. As for any penitent whose offense is public knowledge and noised about, as one agitating the whole church, let the (Bishop’s) hand be laid upon him before the apse.

(Ap. c. XXXIX; cc. VI, VII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as the Lord granted the Apostles the right to bind and to loose, while bishops have the type, or formal aspect, of Apostles, the present Canon on this account commands that according to the differing character of sinful deeds (see c. XII of the First EC. C., and especially c. CII of the 6th) the bishop must fix the duration of the penance which penitents have to do, or, more explicitly speaking, he must specify how long they are to remain under sentence bound. No presbyter, on the other hand, may release, or free, a penitent from the sentence imposed upon him, without the consent and express permission of the bishop, excepting only if the penitent be in danger of death and the bishop is not present, but, on the contrary, is absent far away. But if anyone is guilty of a public sin, or, in other words, one committed in a public place (for that is what this Latin word, translated in the Greek text as "publikon" denotes), and noised abroad, so that owing to its heinous character the evil provokes all Christians, either to imitate it or to talk about it — if, I say, any such sinner should repent, let the hand of the bishop be laid upon him, or, with his consent and approval, that of a priest, not inside the church as is done in the case of other penitents (see c. LXXV of the present C.), but outside the apse, i.e., the porch (propylaeum) and narthex (just as it was laid also upon those returning from heresies) — of c. VII of the 2nd — in order that they may stand weeping outside the court of the church, since such persons because of their sinning publicly and openly, are not considered to be even confessed sinners. For what is called confession is a disclosure or revelation of a secret or hidden sin. But how are these persons to be considered to have confessed their sin which was already common knowledge? Read also Ap. c. XXXIX and c. VII of the present C.

 

51. It is decreed that sacred virgins when separated from their fathers by whom they were being watched over shall be entrusted to the care and protection of the chastest women at the instance of the Bishop, or when he is absent at that of the Presbyter, or are to be allowed to watch over one another while dwelling together under the same roof, lest by wandering about anywhere and everywhere they injure the reputation of the Church.

(cc. Ill, XIX of the 1st; c. XVI of the 4th; cc. VI, CXXXV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The consecrated girls mentioned in c. VI of the present C. are these same ones who are called sacred virgins in the present Canon, which decrees that since they have been deprived of the provident care and constant vigilance of their carnal father, and have been consecrated to God, as having vowed themselves to a life of virginity, they must, at the instance of the bishop, or when he is away at the instance of the priest, be consigned to chaste and modest women, to dwell together with them, and to be trained in virtuousness, or if they cannot stay with them to dwell at any rate all together with one another, in order that one may observe and watch over the other, lest by going about here and there in a disorderly manner they induce disbelievers to form bad opinions about the Church, or, more precisely speaking, about the aggregate of the faithful. See also cc. Ill and XIX of the First EC. C., and c. XVI of the 4th EC. C.

 

52. It is decreed that as regards persons who are ill and unable to reply in their own behalf, they are then to be baptized when of their own free will ana choice they may give testimony about themselves at their risk.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if while persons are catechumens they suffer an impediment of speech owing to some illness and in consequence when asked whether they wish to be baptized they are unable to give an articulate reply because of their illness, then, I say, they shall be baptized when they themselves shall indicate of their own accord that they wish to be baptized and at their own risk ask for holy baptism, if, that is to say they do not retain a belief that they are in danger. It is thus that the Canon is interpreted by Zonaras, Balsamon, Aristenus, and Armenopoulos (section V. caption 6). But I like better the interpretation given to this Canon by the Anonymous Expositor, who says that persons unable to reply with their own mouth in sacred answers customarily made in the matter of divine baptism are to be baptized only then when sponsors seeking to have them, baptized and answering in their behalf solemnly testify that they undertake the risk if later those sick persons were unwilling of their own accord to undergo baptism; though if before their illness they asked to be baptized, but for some reason postponed the matter, they ought to be baptized even if unable at this time to reply, according to Zonaras. Read also c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

53. It is decreed that grace or absolution shall not be denied to actors and mimes, and to other such persons or to apostates, when they repent and return to God.

(Ap. c. LII; c. LXXII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Neither those persons who set up stages and tents and in them play various roles or parts, nor those who mimic at times slaves or servants, and at other times generals or other army officers, and even women or other persons, nor any other such players and dancers, and jugglers, nor even those persons who have denied Christ, ought, according to this Canon, to be refused by a bishop or a confessor when they repent and return to God; on the contrary, accepting all on an equal footing, he ought to give them grace, that is to say, more plainly speaking, remission of sins, which is accorded by the grace of God, and absolution, or, more explicitly speak-ing, release of them from suitable penances whereby God becomes reconciled with them. Read also Ap. c. LII.

 

54. Let it be permissible furthermore to have the sufferings of the Martyrs read (in church) whenever their anniversaries are being celebrated.

(Ap. c. LXXXV; cc. LI, LX of Laodicea; c. XXXII of Carthage; letter No. 39 of Athanasius; St. Gregory the Theologian in his Epics; and c. Amphilochius.).

Interpretation.

Since the present Council also appointed, in its c. XXXII, the books to be read in church in the way of canonical Scriptures, it now prescribes in the present Canon that in addition thereto it is permissible for the synaxaria to be read in church, which contain narratives of the sufferings of the Martyrs of Christ, when the memory of each Martyr is being celebrated. See also Ap. c. LXXXV.

 

55. It has pleased the Council to move that we ask our brethren and fellow priests Siricius and Simplicianus concerning only the infants that are being baptized by the Donatists, as to whether this, which they did not do as a result of any intention of their own, but through the error of their parents, might prevent them from being advanced to the ministry of the holy altar when as a result of their own soterial intention and choice they may return to the Church of God.

(cc. LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, CXC, C, CI, CII, CIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In the present Canon this Council decides to ask their fellow bishops in Italy how they ought to treat infants baptized by the Donatists, and whether these children ought to be made priests when they have the baptism of heretics and return to Orthodoxy upon coming of age and attaining to knowledge. In its c. LXVI it decrees that these children be received into Orthodoxy by the laying on of the hand of the bishop or priest and anathematization of the error of the Donatists, without being rebaptized; and if they exhibit a good life both in public and in private, they are to be made clerics. But in its c. LXXV it states that they deemed it best to treat the Donatists mildly and peaceably, with a view to inducing them to embrace the truth. In c. LXXVI it asks the rulers of Africa to make an investigation respecting the churches of the Orthodox which were in the hands of the Maximiniasts, who belonged to the heresy of Donatus. In its c. LXXVII it accepts those among the Donatists who have been ordained and their ordinations (even though these have not been accepted by the Council concerning them which was held in Italy), especially on account of the dearth of priests in Africa, and for many other reasons. In c. LXXVIII it decrees that legates be sent to the Donatists to invite them to unite with the catholic church and make peace. Moreover, in c. XCIX it decrees that every bishop too must talk with the leaders of the Donatists in his own province concerning such a union. In c. C it seeks help and an alliance from the emperors as against the Donatists, just as the chief captain (mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles) helped St. Paul. In c. CI it asks the same persons (i.e., the emperors aforesaid) to confirm the law of Emperor Theodosius also with regard to the Donatists, which law provides that any persons ordaining heretics, or ordained by them, or allowing them to officiate, shall be fined in the sum of ten pounds of gold. In c. CII it seeks to have the law renewed and to have it enforced as against the Donatists which decreed that heretics were not to receive any inheritance or any gift. In c. CIII it wants to have letters of thanks sent to the effect that a union with the Donatists was achieved in Carthage. And lastly in c. CX it decrees that bishops and laymen returning from the Donatists are welcome, and that if any laymen among them wish after their return to have their former bishops, they are not to be denied this privilege. In its cc. CXXVIII and CXXIX concerning territories it defines those held by the Donatists, whether before the laws of the Emperors or after those laws.

 

56. As concerning the faith of the Council held in Nicaea as exhibited in its tractate we have learned that it is true that as concerns the rule that the holies are not to be administered after breakfast, in order that they be offered (only) by persons fasting, as is becoming, this was affirmed at that time.

(c. XXIX of the 6th; c. XLVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Tractate, or tractatum in Latin, denotes a resolution and objective, according to Zonaras, but according to Balsamon it signifies a trial (or test) and examination. The present Canon, therefore, says that in the course of the examination and trial concerning faith which the First Council held, we have learned that this too was affirmed and established, to wit, that the holy Mysteries are not to be offered, or, more explicitly speaking, priests are not to celebrate liturgy after eating, but (only) when fasting. This, however, is not to be found in the Canons of the First EC. C. See also c. XXIX of the 6th.

 

57. It is decreed that it is not permissible for persons to be rebaptized, or to be reordained, or for Bishops to move from one see to another. Accordingly, it is further decreed that the one who refused to obey the mild reminder offered him by Your Holiness, and to let the unpardonable error be corrected, shall be .forthwith deprived of office with the aid of the civil authority, and, if the form of procedure has been kept, he shall not be accorded a trial by the Council.

(Ap. cc. XIV, XXVII, XLVII, LXVIII; c. IX of the lst-&-2nd; c. V of Antioch; cc. LXII, LXXVI, LXXXIII, XCIX, C, CVI, CVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that neither persons baptized by Orthodox ecclesiastics shall not be baptized a second time, in accordance with Ap. c. XLVII, nor shall those ordained by Orthodox prelates be ordained a second time, in accordance with Ap. c. LXVIII, nor shall bishops change from one province to another, in accordance with Ap. c. XIV. Read these Canons in conjunction with the rest of the Canons cited in the parallel references. But since a certain bishop by the name of Cresconius left his own episcopate and intruded upon an alien episcopate, known as Beken (also spelled Becken), and though for this reason many times ordered to leave it he refused, the present Canon decrees that, on the ground that he refused to obey and to correct this unpardonable evil, he is to be ousted from the alien church with the civil power of the magistrates. If, however the form of procedure has been kept in regard to him, or, in other words, if he was reminded in accordance with the Canons and remained contumacious, he is to be expelled first from the Council of the bishops, and be deposed from office, and afterwards when thus deposed, as then being a layman, he shall be turned over to the magistrate. See also all the Ap. cc. cited in the margin.

 

58. The ancient form shall be kept, in order that not less than three of the Bishops required for ordination shall suffice.

(Ap. c. I; c. IV of the 1st; c. Ill of the 7th; c. XIX of Antioch; c. XIII of Carthage; the memoirs concerning Love and Bagad.).

Interpretation.

The old Canon of the Apostles and of the subsequent Councils must be kept, and especially c. IV of the First EC. C., which this Council promises in its c. I to follow, just as the present Canon decrees that fewer than three bishops shall not ordain another bishop by the rite of sacred prayers. See also Ap. c. I.

 

59. It is decreed that if at any time we proceed to choose a Bishop and some objection should arise, since such contingencies have been dealt with among us, it is overbold for only three persons to be required for the purpose of purifying one about to be ordained, but to the said number let there be added one and two; and in the presence of the laity for whom he is to be ordained let the persons objecting to him be investigated first, for later the evidence against him shall be weighed: and when he proves clean in public sight, may he then be ordained.

(Ap. c. LXI; c. II of the 6th; c. CXXXVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon is a continuation of the one above. For it says that if three bishops are enough for an ordination, these same three may choose and elect the one who is to become a bishop (and see c. IV of the First EC. C.). But if any objection is raised by others in the way of accusations against the candidate (as such eventualities have often been dealt with, or, more explicitly speaking, investigated by us), those three persons alone ought not to judge and acquit him, but, besides them, one or two other bishops ought to be added. And first before the laity with respect to whom the candidate is to be ordained they ought to scrutinize the persons of the accusers as to what sort of reputation they have (concerning which see Ap c. LXXIV); and if they turn out to be free from aspersions, then let the accusations made by them be examined; and after the candidate appears clean from the accusations before the eyes of the laity, let him then be ordained a bishop. Read also Ap. c. LXI.

 

60. It is decreed that every year we are to convene together for the purpose of discussion, and, when we have met together, then shall the day of holy Easter be published through the legates who are attending the Council.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; cc. XXVI, LX, LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXXV, CIV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees nothing else than that a Council must be held every year for the purpose of examining ecclesiastical matters, and that from, this Council through the legates of bishops, in attendance at the Council, all persons are to be notified as to what day of the year that of holy Easter happens to fall on. See also Ap. c. XXXVII, but more especially Ap. c. VII.

 

61. We ought to visit every province during the time of the Council.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; c. XX of Antioch; cc. XXVI, LX, LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXXV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Furthermore even the present Canon commands that during the time of this annual Council, or Synod, every province should be visited, or, more explicitly speaking that there should be an examination and investigation concerning the matters arising therein, the legates in the Council going personally to each of the provinces and looking them over. See also Ap. c. XXXIV.

 

62. In many Councils it has been laid down a rule to a sacerdotal congress, in order that the multitudes in the dioceses possessed by the Bishops but never having had a Bishop of their own except by consent of the Bishop by whom they have been possessed ever since the beginning, shall not receive rectors of their own, that is, bishops, because some persons, to speak plainly, who have obtained a certain tyrannical power shun the communion of their brethren. But after they have become lost to shame, as though to some old tyranny, they set up a claim to lordship for themselves-, while many of the Presbyters, being puffed up and stupid, lift their necks up against their own Bishops, rousing the multitude with banquets and malignant conspiracies to favor their self-appointment as rectors in an irregular manner. We ought, therefore, by all means to strive to prevent these persons from keeping a hold on such dioceses, or even their own churches which have wrongly or unrightfully come into their hands, and in order that they may be publicly dispossessed thereof authoritatively, and be ousted from office with the very seat of the ones acting as primates.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that the multitudes of those Christians who originally and in the very beginning had no separate bishop in their town shall not be allowed to have one (whom it calls a rector, on the ground that he directs the faithful to faith and virtue), without the consent and express permission of the bishop who originally and in the very beginning had charge of them. But since many bishops seeking to make themselves bishops over such towns that are without a bishop shun the communion of their fellow bishops and brethren (under whom, it appears, such towns were), and after being discountenanced, and having their viciousness exposed, they seek with violence and tyranny to gain control over such towns on the alleged ground that they have a right thereto due to an old custom. But also because many presbyters rise up against their bishops, and incite the multitude with the banquets they provide, and the bad recommendations they offer, to try to make these presbyters bishops of their own, on the pretense that they are drawn to them by an irregular and unlawful love. On account of these persons, therefore, it says, the Councils ought to strive so far as possible to prevent these wrongly governed points from being kept and even from occurring in the future. Moreover, from those towns which such persons have gained control of in a tyrannical manner they must be expelled openly and with the authority of the magistrates and with that of the Metropolitans or Patriarchs. Or else one may take the word "dioceses" to mean that those persons who have succeeded in becoming bishops by such means and in such a tyrannical manner ought not only to be ousted from the towns which they have grabbed like robbers, but also from their former dioceses. But it is quite evident that persons thus ousted are also deposed from office, in accordance with c. LVII of the present C. Read also Ap. cc. XXVII, XXXI, XXXIV, and c. VI of Sardica.

 

63. It is decreed that no Bishop shall appropriate another’s Cleric contrary to the wishes of his former Bishop. But if any Bishop should do so nevertheless, let him not commune any longer with others.

(Ap. c XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; c. XV of the 7th; c. Ill of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; c. XCVIII 01 of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that no bishop is to be allowed to take a strange cleric as his own, i.e., to take advantage of his services, without the consent and approval and a letter dimissory (Ap. c. XII) of his own bishop. If any bishop fails to observe this rule, let him not continue to commune with others. This may be taken in two different senses, to wit: either that he is not to appropriate that cleric belonging to another bishop, but, on the contrary, to compel him to return to his church; or else that he must not be admitted to communion by the other bishops, which is to say, he is to be excluded from communion. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

64. There has always been attached to this throne the authority to ordain a Bishop in accordance with the desire of each church from anywhere it wished and as to any name suggested to it. But good will demands moderation of the authority, so as to satisfy the person of each and every Bishop. Wherefore if anyone be found having but a single Presbyter and him suited for the episcopate, he must give that very one to ordination. Anyone, on the other hand, that has several Clerics must spare one of them to be ordained by that Bishop.

(Ap. cc. XV, XVI.).

Interpretation.

Other bishops are not allowed to take a strange cleric without the consent and approval and a letter dimissory of his bishop. But originally and in the beginning the throne of Carthage enjoyed this privilege of taking clerics from any province, and anyone whom any province subject to it might ask for by name and desire, and to ordain them bishops, according to what the present Canon says (and see the Interpretation of Ap. c. XVI). But the good will of Carthage demands that it employ this privilege and authority in a moderate fashion, or, in other words, to refrain from taking strange clerics peremptorily, but to satisfy the hearts of their bishops, and to take them with their consent and approval and express permission, for peaceableness and brotherly love. Hence, if there should be found any bishop having one single presbyter deserving to be a bishop, he must give him to the bishop of Carthage and let the latter ordain him a bishop. But if another bishop has a number of clerics in his bishopric, he shall be compelled reciprocally to give one of them to that bishop and to let him ordainhim a presbyter to take the place of the presbyter he parted with. See also Ap. c. XV together with the Canons in the parallel series.

 

65. The right portion has been allotted to each Bishop, in order that none of the entire realm of parishes should sneak away with a view to getting a Bishop of its own, except with the consent of the one possessing authority. But if that one concede the permission to that same diocese to acquire a Bishop of its own the one thus ordained must not encroach upon the rest of the dioceses, because, being one province out of the many belonging to the one body, it alone was deemed worthy to assume the honor of having an episcopate of its own. (c. VI of Sardica; cc. LXII, CIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as each bishop was provided with a suitable province, no small parish ought to break away from the totality of the province and receive a separate bishop, without the consent and approval and express permission of the bishop of the province in question, which is the same as saying of the Metropolitan, according to this Canon. But if the Metropolitan does give permission for this new bishop to be made such, the latter ought not to appropriate other parishes and districts of the Metropolis, since it was but one member and region that was separated from the entirety of the body of the whole province and deemed worthy to become an episcopate. Accordingly, the new bishop ought to confine himself to it alone, while all the rest of the members of the see ought to be subject to the chief head, the Metropolitan that is to say, and to remain inalienable from him. See also c. VI of Sardica.

 

66. It is decreed that as regards the children being baptized by the Donatists, which children have not yet been able to realize the ruin resulting from their error, after becoming susceptible of the age of discretion, the truth having come to be more fully understood, so that they loathe the villainy and rascality of those persons, to the catholic Church of God which is diffused over the whole world, by virtue of an ancient procedure through imposition of the hand let such persons be raised out of the error of a name. They ought not to be prevented from entering an order of clergy when in fact they considered the true Church their own upon joining the faith, and coming to believe in Christ therein, they received the sanctifying gifts of the Trinity, which all it is plainly evident are true and holy and divine; and in these accordingly the soul’s every hope exists, notwithstanding that the aforesaid rashness of the heretics impetuously teaches certain things opposed to the name of the truth. For these things are simple, as the holy Apostle teaches by saying: "One God; one faith; one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). And what ought to be given but once is something that it is not permissible to repeat; the name of the error being anathematized, through imposition of the hand let them be admitted into the one Church, the one spoken of as a dove (Song of Songs, 6:9), and sole mother of Christians, in whom a" the sanctifying gifts, soterially everlasting and vital, are received, which, however, inflict upon those persisting in the heresy the great punishment of damnation, in order that what to them in the truth was something brighter that they ought to follow for the purpose of gaining everlasting life, might, in become to those in the error darker and still more damned. Which same is what caused some of them to flee, and after gaining a better understanding of the straightest possible lines embodied in the doctrines of the mother catholic Church, all those Holy Mysteries, they believed in the love-charm of the truth, and embraced it. To such persons when the experience of a benign life accrues, undoubtedly even clerical orders will be conferred upon them to enable them to engage in the ministration of the Holies, and especially in the midst of such a great dearth of the things there is no one who is not ready to concede this right. If, on the other hand, there be some of the same dogma who are Clerics together with the multitude and who are desirous of these honors in coming across to us, they shall be entitled to avail themselves of their love of honor for the purpose of a livelihood, and may keep it for their salvation. But we deem this to be understandable to a higher comprehension, that when the aforesaid brethren are elected they ought to discern the reason for our report with their more sensible and prudent counsel, and deign to assure us in regard to what ought to be formally stated by us concerning this matter. We content ourselves with the question concerning persons who have been baptized, in their infancy, in order that, if it pleases them, they may agree to our own choice as concerning the ordination of these persons.

(Ap. cc. XL, LXVII1; c. VIII of the 1st; c. VII of the 2nd; c. XCV of the 6th; ec. LV, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, XCIX, C, CI, CII, CIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if persons baptized by the Donatists in their infancy learn the truth of Orthodoxy after coming of age and attaining to discretion, and come to hate the cacodoxy, whether they, I say, seeing that they have been baptized in the baptism which is performed in accordance with tradition, to wit, that performed by the Orthodox ecclesiastics (which is one, as St. Paul says), ought not to be baptized a second time, but, of course, to be obliged to anathematize the heresy of Donatus, and then after the imposition of the hand of the bishop or priest, in accordance with the old procedure of the Church (see c. VIII of the First EC. C.), to be received into the catholic Church, which has spread all over the world, and which is the common mother of all Christians, and a perfect dove of Christ, in accordance with the Song of Songs. But if those who have thus been accepted exhibit also a virtuous life, befitting them for ordination and the clergy, they ought undoubtedly to be also ordained: first, because they ought not to be prevented from entering clerical orders, simply because they were heretics formerly; for after eschewing the heresy they recognized the catholic and true Church as their own, believed Orthodoxly in Christ, and accepted as true and holy and with unfeigned yearning and love the sanctifying gifts of the Trinity, or, more expressly the intemerate Mysteries, upon which depend all the soul’s hope and salvation. Accordingly, as regards those persons who persist in the heresy greater darkness and damnation result therefrom; but as regards the Orthodox, they result in light and life everlasting (though the rashness and factiousness of the heretics audaciously itself pretends to teach certain mysteries, either opposed to the name of the truth, or, though having a name of truth, are actually false and destitute of divine grace). Secondly, they ought to be ordained also on account of the great dearth and need which Africa has of men in holy orders and of clerics. If, moreover, the clerics and priests of the Donatists choose to come to Orthodoxy with the laities subject to them, with their clericates, who indeed in order to keep these things may advise their laities to return to Orthodoxy — if, I say, this should occur, what is to be done? But this question, adds the Canon, has· to be clarified to us hereafter by Pope Anastasius and Venerius (the bishop) of Milan. As for us, we merely content ourselves for the present with asking them to tell us whether they are pleased to have those returning from the Donatists ordained. See also c. LV of the present C., and Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVH, and LXVIII.

 

67. The exceedingly religious Emperors must be petitioned to order that the remains of idols that have been left all over Africa be completely removed and eliminated therefrom. For indeed in many maritime regions and various possessions there still flourishes the unrighteousness of error, so that these things ought to be ordered to be wiped out of existence; and their temples, too, which have been built infields and in concealed places without any regard for decency, ought by all means to be ordered to be destroyed.

(c. XCII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Notwithstanding the fact that the figurative and supersensible Dragon was dealt a shattering blow in the head through the incarnate economy, it was again wagging its tail nevertheless. For even after the widespread campaign of preaching there remained in some regions temples of idols, but what is worse yet, there were many of them situated in maritime egions and on latifundia (or farmlands) and other hidden parts of Africa. On this account the present Canon decrees that a report be made to the most pious Emperors, Honorius, that is to say, and Theodosius the Little, with a view to having them command that all these remains of idols in Africa be entirely destroyed, as well as the temples of these idols, including even those which had no ornamentation, but, in fact, had already practically half disappeared, and that all of the temples in question be completely razed to the ground. This same fact is mentioned also in c. XCII of this same Council.

 

68. A further request must be made with a view to inducing them to deign to prescribe that if any persons in the Church attempt to rebut any cause whatever, and if perhaps the finding of the Clergymen should be displeasing to one side, when the matter is amenable to Apostolic Law prevailing in the Churches, it shall not be permissible to have that Clergyman hailed into court to give testimony who had already previously judged the same matter, nor anyone who had happened to be present at the examination, and that neither shall anyone related to an ecclesiastic be compelled to give testimony respecting it.

(Ap. c. LXXV: c. II of the 1st; cc. XXXVIII, CXL of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

St. Paul the Apostle commands that Christians be tried in the ecclesiastical courts, and not in the civil courts, by saying: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" (I Cor. 6:1). So, then, according to this Apostolic Law and prerogative, if certain clergymen tried any cause in the Church, but one side was dissatisfied with their decision, the present Canon seeks to have the Emperors prescribe that the person dissatisfied shall not be permitted to summon into another court the one who tried the case, or any clergyman who was present at the trial, to give testimony about it, and not even to hail in any other kinsman of the clergyman to give testimony: for one thing, because men in holy orders and clerics will not give testimony unless they want to; and for another thing, because one who has judged a matter is forbidden to give testimony concerning it. See also Ap. c. LXXV.

 

69. There is still another request to be made of the Christian Emperors, since contrary to the divine commandments, banquets are held in many regions in such a way that Christians are misled by the heathenish error into congregating with the Grecians on the sly in order to attend the ceremony of these men, that they forbid such events both in the cities and in the villas, the more so in view of the fact that even on the birthdays of the blessed Martyrs, in certain cities and in the sacred places themselves, such misdemeanors are detected on the spot, on which days (a fact which it is a shame to mention) they perform detestable dances in the fields and in the streets, so that they offer lewd insults to the honor of housewives and to the modesty of countless other reverent women who assemble there on the holy day, in such a manner as nearly to cause them to forgo even the holy faith itself.

(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII, LIV; cc. IX, L, LXII of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th’ cc. XXIV, LIII, LV of Laodicea; c. XLVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Since Grecian banquets used to be held in many regions and were attended on the sly by even the Christians, who were wont to go to them with the Greeks; but also since such banquets were held on the memorial days and feasts of the martyrs, and disorderly dances were held in which the dancers made bold to assault indecently and lasciviously the decent women who attended these festivals for the sake of reverence, in such a way that they caused them to avoid even going to church. So on this account the present Canon decrees that they should beg the Emperors to command that all such things be prevented by the civil authorities, and be forbidden to be done either in cities or in landed estates outside or before the sacred temples and courts of martyrs. Read also Ap. c. XLII.

 

70. There is still another request to be made (of the Emperors), that the spectacles of theatrical plays be prohibited on Sunday and on the other gala days of the Christian faith, especially in view of the fact that during the octave of Holy Easter the populace gather at horse-races much more than at church. The days fixed for these ought to be transferred to other convenient dates, and none of the Christians ought to be compelled to witness these spectacles.

(cc. XXIV, LI, LXII, LXVI of the 6th; c. XII of the 7th; cc. LIII, LIV of Laodicea; c. XVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In the present Canon the Council is seeking to have an Imperial rescript issued whereby to eliminate the holding of horseraces or games with other animals on Sundays and the other feast days, especially during the period of Easter week, since Christians used to attend these spectacles more than they did the churches; and to provide that no Christian be compelled to go to these spectacles, which ought to be transferred to other days. See also c. XXIV of the 6th.

 

71. Another thing to be requested is that they deign to prescribe that as regarding a Clergyman of any rank of honor who has been condemned by Bishops at a trial, it shall not be permissible for him to be defended in court either by the church with which he was connected or by any person whatsoever; the penalty for this being one involving a monetary fine and the forfeiture of the honor and rank, with the provision that neither age nor physical state may be pleaded in

(Ap.c. XXVIII.).

Interpretation.

By means of this Canon the Council is seeking to have the Emperors command that neither his church nor any other person possessed of an official capacity shall be permitted to plead the case of any clergyman who may have been condemned by the bishops for any crime of his that deserves condemnation; and that whosoever should do so be fined a sum of money and be deprived of his honorable rank and office, and have nothing to plead in his own defense, or, in other words, he is to benefit nothing by reason of his age, on the ground that he is an old man or a young man, nor by reason of his physical state or condition, on the ground that he is a man or a woman, or in good health, or sickly by nature. See also Ap. c. XXVIII.

 

72. We must further request that if anyone should care to take to the grace of Christianity from any kind of playful occupation, and to remain free from those shoals, it shall not be permissible for anyone to urge or force such a person to relapse into the same sports again.

(Ap. c. LII; c. LIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This too is another thing which the Council is seeking by means of the present Canon to have prohibited by the Emperors, to wit, if any Greek player, such as, for instance, an actor, or a mime, or anything else of the kind, should become a Christian, and should wish to have nothing to do any longer with such dirty games, that no one shall be allowed to compel such a person, or to incite him, to resort to them again. For in those times on holidays it was the obligation and task of such players to do these things, as paid servants, and if they refused they would be duressed. Read also Ap. c. LII.

 

73. As concerns the rightfulness of proclaiming men free, it is plain that if our fellow priests appear to be doing this all over Italy, and if our own conviction plainly tends in this direction, permission having been granted upon the sending of a legate, in order that any effort worthy of the faith may be made in behalf of the ecclesiastical situation and the salvation of souls, and we ourselves may be praisably received before the Lord.

(Ap. c. LXXXII; c. IV of the 4th; c. LXXXV of the 6th; c. Ill of Gangra; c. XC of Carthage; cc. XL, XLII of Basil.).

Interpretation.

The Fathers of this Council being in doubt as to whether the emancipations which masters might make of their slaves ought to be proclaimed in church, they are expressing in the present Canon the opinion that a legate should be sent to Italy, and if their fellow bishops there were doing this that they should have the courage to follow in this direction, and to accept the matter as trustworthy and praisable, and as something done in favor of ecclesiastical good order and the salvation of the slaves being liberated Read also Ap. c. LXXXIL

74. As regarding Equitius, who long ago was condemned upon the opinion of the Bishops in accordance with his deserts, the matter ought not, I think, to be omitted from the embassy, in order that if he (sc. the legate] should happen to find him in those parts, it be made the business of the same brother of ours to act in behalf of the ecclesiastical advantage, as required, and wherever he may be able, to prosecute him.

(Ap. c. XXVIII; c. LXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Since this man Equitius, when a bishop, was rightly and justly condemned, as he deserved to be, by the bishops, he departed to the land of Italy, and failed to quiet down there, the present Canon decrees that the envoy and legate who is to be sent there shall make it his business to pursue him wherever he may be found, in order to prevent him disturbing the state of the Church. Hence from the present Canon, notwithstanding that it is one issued by a regional Council, we learn that all other such bishops that may be found ought to receive like chastisement.

 

75. Hereupon, all matters having been looked into and fully understood that seem to conduce to the usefulness of the Church, the Spirit of God nodding approval and voicing helpful suggestions, we have elected gently and peaceably to deal with the persons mentioned, notwithstanding the fact that with a restless mind they keep doing their worst to split away from the Lord’s body, in order that, so far as lies in our power, it may be made known in general to all those who have been snared into communion and fellowship with those persons all over all the provinces of Africa, that they have been embogged in a woeful error. Perhaps, as the Apostle says: "In meekness if we restrain those who entertain different views, God will give them repentance to the end that they may come to realize and comprehend the truth, and in order they may recover who have been taken captive in the DeviVs snares and made subject to him and his will" (II Tim. 2:25-26).

(cc. LXV, LXVI, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, XCIX, C, CI, CII, CIII, (CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX.).

Interpretation.

Having written in accordance with c. LXVI to the bishop of Rome and of Milan, and having received letters from the bishop of Rome advising them to deal with the Donatists pacifically, as is plainly seen in the Fourth Act of this Council, these Fathers are now themselves in agreement upon this point and in the present Canon are expressing their determination, under the Holy Spirit’s nodded approval, to deal meekly with those who have split off from the Lord’s body, this phrase meaning the Church (or even the Mysteries, on the ground that respecting these they were at variance, as we have said), in order that, in view of such meekness they might feel ashamed and become conscious of the woeful error in which they had got entangled; and in order that through such tameness perhaps God might give them repentance which would awaken them to the truth and free them from the snares of the devil in which they had been caught with the result that they were doing his will, to use the phraseology of the Apostle. See also c. LV of the same C.

 

76. It has pleased the Council, therefore, to decree that letters be dispatched on the part of our Council to the leaders of Africa, wherein it has seemed advisable to ask them to help the common mother the catholic Church in matters in which the authority of the bishops in the cities is being defied. That is, with the power and diligence which the leaders possess, and with Christian faith, to investigate the facts in all regions in which the Maximiniasts occupied the churches; and further those who split off from them; and let them make all the facts concerning these matters known to all who need such knowledge.

(Ap. c. XXVII; cc. LV, LXVI, LXXVI, LXXVIII, XCIX, C, CI, CII, CIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage; c. V of Antioch; c. IX of the lst-&-2nd.).

Interpretation.

So they accordingly decree in the present Canon that letters be sent to the leaders of Africa beseeching them to help the common mother the Church, and with official authority and diligence to attempt to find also the Maximianists (who, though formerly Donatists, later split away from them and created a faction of their own), and whatever evil deeds they wrought in defying the authority of the bishops and occupying their churches; and to write up a certified report of all these things in the public and state records, as being really necessary and beneficial information. See also c. LV of the same C., and Ap. c. XXVII.

 

77. It has pleased the Council to have letters sent to our brethren and fellow bishops, and especially to the Apostolic See, in which our adorable brother and fellow minister Anastasius aforementioned (i.e., St. Anastasius I), since he knows Africa to be in great need, so that for the sake of the peace and usefulness of the Church, even through the Donatists, of whom whatever ones are Clerics, provided their resolution is corrected, and willing to come over to the catholic unity, in accordance with the voluntary choice and resolution of each individual catholic Bishop governing the church in the same region, if this appear to conduce to the peace of Christians, to readmit them in their own honors, just as also in previous times it was evidently done in regard to the same dissension, a fact attested by the examples of many and nearly all the churches in Africa wherein such error arose. Not that the Council held in transmediterran parts regarding this matter should be dissolved, but that that arrangement should remain in effect as respects those who are willing to come over to the catholic Church on such terms, so that in the case of these persons no abbreviation of their rights shall be involved in the unity. Whereby in every way the catholic unity must be advanced and consummated to the manifest profit of brotherly souls in those regions in which they are living, to the end that no obstacle may be set up against what has been decided in regard to their honors in the transmarine Council, whenever and so long as the right to be saved has been denied to no person. That is, if those who have been ordained within the Donatist party and who have submitted to correction should wish to come over, that it should be provided that in spite of the declaration of the transmarine Council that they are not to be admitted in their proper honors they must on the contrary rather be welcomed by whatever means the catholic unity can be furthered.

(cc. LV, LXVI, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, XCIX, C, CI, CII, CIII, CXXVIII, CXXIX.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too decrees about Donatists, by saying that letters ought to be sent to the bishops in Italy, and especially to Bishop Anastasius of Rome, which bishops had refused to accept the ordinations celebrated by Donatists, apologetically affirming that they ought to accept them in Africa. 1st) On account of the great need and want which this country has had of clerics (see c. LXVI of the same C.), in which connection would be of great service. 2nd) Because of the fact that in all the regions where such heretics appeared in time of old they were admitted with their honors and sacerdocies. 3rd) In order that they may thereby be inclined to revert, and hence that the unity may be enhanced and multiplied (i.e., extended) as well as the system of the catholic Church. And 4th) In view of the fact that on account of all these "economical" reasons they accept their ordinations, and not as being opposed to the Council held in Italy, or as contravening its decision. See also c. LV of the same C.

 

78. It has pleased the Council besides to decree that when these things have been transacted legates be sent on the part of our number to the Bishops of the same Donatists, if they have any, or to their laymen, to proclaim peace and unity, without which the salvation, of Christians cannot be accomplished. Through these legates all persons, who have no reasonable ground to be against the catholic Church, indeed, may be made aware of the evidence afforded by town transactions to all, in verification of the proof thereof, that the very same things which they did as regarding their own schismatics called Maximianists, where it can be proved to them from God, if they care to pay attention, to have split them away from the ecclesiastical union at that time every bit as unjustly as they are contending that the Maximianists split off from them unjustly. Later they even readmitted in the same honors many of those whom they had condemned with the express authority of their own will. They even accepted the baptism which those among them had given who had been condemned and expelled, as though intent upon showing that it is with a stupid heart that they are setting themselves against the peace of the Church which has been diffused in every part of the world. They are doing these things, however, in defense of the party of Donatus, and are not asserting themselves to be polluted by communion with their members in this fashion, owing to their involuntary acceptance of peace, whereas they are quarreling with us, that is, with the catholic Church. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that through tainted com-triunion with these men it has been established in the farthermost parts of the earth, even whom they had formerly been blaming and bringing charges against, all of them have been unable to substantiate their charges.

Interpretation.

Likewise the present Canon also has reference to the Donatists, decreeing that Orthodox legates must be sent to their bishops and laymen for the purpose of inviting them to make peace and unite with the catholic Church, and for the purpose of pointing out and proving to them by civil documents that notwithstanding the fact that they accepted the baptism and ordinations performed by Maximianists, who had unjustly split off from the Donatists (as the Donatists had split away from the catholic Church), and were condemned by them on this account, they do not consider that they are polluted by communion with them, they are nevertheless quarreling with the catholic Church without having any just reason for complaint against her, and are likewise shunning her communion.

 

79. It has pleased the Council to decree that no Bishop who has left his own seat of authority shall be permitted to appropriate some other church in the diocese, with a view to enriching himself, or to busy himself therein longer than necessary as though in some affair of his own, to the neglect of the care and assiduity which he ought to bestow upon his own throne.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th; c. XIX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; ce. CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. X of Peter; c. VI of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no bishop is to be permitted to leave his own seat of authority, or, in other words, his original throne (even though it be poor and sparsely peopled), and to go and seat himself in another parish subject thereto (even though this one may be richer and have a larger population than the one in the city where his throne is), or even to spend more than the proper and fixed length of time therein, neglecting the care and providence due to the city in which his throne is. Read also Ap. c. LVIII.

 

80. It has pleased the Council to decree as regarding infants that whenever reliable witnesses cannot be found to declare that they have been baptized beyond a doubt, nor, on account of their age, are the infants themselves able to vouch for any ceremony administered to them, these persons ought to be baptized without any hindrance, lest any such hesitation deprive them of such of the purification due to sanctification.

Interpretation.

This Canon was borrowed from the Sixth EC. C., being its c. LXXXIV where it is set forth verbatim, and see its Interpretation there.

 

81. It has pleased the Council to decree that the day of Easter to be celebrated shall be brought to public notice by means of a formal declaration under signature to be observed on the same day as that announced by the Synod (or Council), which was fixed by the Council held in Hippo-, that is, the day coinciding with ten calends of September last year. For it must be specified in writing to the primates of all the provinces, in order that when invited to a Synod or Council held among themselves they may keep this particular day.

(Ap. cc. VII, XXXVII; cc. LX, CXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The day of Easter which occurs every year, decrees the present Canon, is to be disclosed to all persons by being written underneath the decrees which the Synod or Council held annually shall issue. The day on which this annual Synod or Council is to be held is to be the twenty-first day of August (for the first ten days of a month are called calends; see the Footnote to c. LXII of the 6th), as was defined, i.e., determined, by the Council held in Hippo, and which is the day always to be kept whenever a Synod or Council is held. See also Ap. cc. VII and XXXVII, and the Footnote to c. LX of the present C.

 

82. It has likewise been determined that no mediator shall be allowed to hold a see, even though it has been given to a mediator by reason of any demands or dissensions of the laities or populaces; but, on the contrary, they must endeavor within a year to provide a Bishop. If they neglect to do so, at the end of the year another mediator shall be selected by vote.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th; c. XIX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; cc. LXXIX, LXXXVI, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In olden times it used to be a custom whenever the bishop of any province died, or the latter was left vacant in any other manner, and there were disturbances among its laity, some bishop would be sent to it, who would be called a "mediator" (perhaps on the ground that he was mediating between the deceased bishop and the one to be ordained in the future), in order to quell the laity in it, who were in a state of mutiny and agitated, or for other reasons. So the present Canon decrees that that mediator must be provided for the space of a year only, and must then be succeeded by another diocesan and genuine bishop in that province. But if he nevertheless should neglect to take care of this, another mediator who is more diligent must be appointed at the end of the year. This mediator bishop appears to have acted like a genuine prelate in carrying out all the pre-latical rights in this episcopate and in all its bishopric, with the exception of being installed and established in the sacred synthronus, according to the conciliar warrant of Manuel Charitopoulos of Constantinople the Patriarch (page 241 of Juris Graeco-Romani). See also c. XIII of Antioch. See also Ap. c. LVIII.

 

83. To all of us it seemed advisable to request the Emperors to relieve the harsh treatment of the indigent, with the hardships of whom the Church is ceaselessly being annoyed, so that advocates (called in Greek ecdici) for them may be chosen with the provident attention of the Bishops to protect them against the tyranny of the rich.

(Ap. c. XXVII; c. IX of the lst-&-2nd; c. V of Antioch; cc. LVII, LXII, LXXVI, XCIX, C, CVI, CVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Since bishops had an obligation not only to teach their laity, but also as far as possible to defend it whenever it was being treated unjustly, whereas those who were wronging it on account of their possession of executive powers were not disposed to listen to bishops or to take them into account, therefore in the present Canon the Council is asking the Emperors to have ecdici or "advocates," appointed — i.e., certain officials having imperial power — for the purpose of preventing together with the bishops the tyrannies of the rich persons who were wont to treat others unjustly, in order that the Church might not be daily annoyed by the grave injustices which the poor received from them, seeing that the poor would apply to her and ask for aid and vengeance. See also Ap. c. XXVII.

 

84. It has pleased the Council to decree that as often a Council has to be assembled, the Bishops who are neither by age nor by illness nor by any sterner necessity prevented from doing so shall meet together in a suitable and convenient manner. And notice shall be presented to the primates of each one of their own provinces concerning all the Bishops, no matter if two or three conventions are held, and from each gathering in turn, as many shall be chosen as are needed to meet together on the day of the Council promptly and punctiliously. If they be unable to meet together, because as likely as not a throng of exigencies have arisen, unless they impute the reason for their own inability to attend the meeting to their own primate, such bishops ought to content themselves with communion of their own church.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; e. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; c. XX of Antioch; cc. XXVI, LX, LXXXI, LXXXV, CIV of Carthage; c. XL of Laodicea.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon indispensably requires the bishops of each and every province to convene whenever a Council or Synod is being held, unless they are prevented from doing so, either on account of old age, or on account of illness; or on account of some other unavoidable circumstance. And after they have convened, they are to notify their Metropolitan. And if two or three conventions are held (for perhaps either they may be hard put to for habitation, or as a result of other obstacles they could not all assemble in one and the same city, but only in two or three cities not far from the Metropolis), from each gathering some are to be chosen, and turn and turn about at different times different ones are to appear "promptly and punctiliously," or, in a word, forthwith (or even making speeches demonstratively) at the Council. If they are unable to assemble, owing to unavoidable circumstances, perhaps, that have been in their way, they must disclose this obstacle or impediment or hitch to the Metropolitan. If they fail to do so, they are to be excluded from communion by all the others, and may participate in communion only in their own church. See Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

85. As regarding Cresconius of Villa Regentis it has seemed to all of us advisable that it should be brought to the attention of the primate of Numidia that he ought to know enough to urge the said Cresconius in his own letters to attend the convention, so that he may not fail to be present at the forthcoming Pan-African Council. But if he should scorn to come, let him be appraised that there is a legislative decision against him.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; c. VI of the 7th; c. XX of Antioch; ce. XXVI, LX, XCI, CIV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon through this single bishop makes it incumbent upon all the bishops to assemble without fail at the annual Synods or Councils. As for those who show contempt for it and refuse to attend it, the Canon threatens ecclesiastical condemnation. See also Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

86. It has pleased the Council, since the abandonment of the Church of the commissaries in Hippo ought not to be neglected too long; and since the churches there are occupied by those who have insisted upon the absurd communion of Equities, from the present Council we delegate the Bishops named Reginus, Alvpius, Augustine, Maternus, Theasius, Evodius, Placianus, Urban, Valerius, Amivius, Fortunatus, Quodvultdeus, Honoratus, Januarius, Aptus, Honoratus, Ampelius, Victorian, Evangelus, and Rogation, and when they have assembled and those who with culpable pertinacity considered the flight of the same Equitius with the hope of having him return, with the prayer of all let a Bishop be ordained for them. But if they are unwilling to comprehend peace, let them not obstruct the election of a president for the purpose of ordain-ing one to serve the needs of a church abandoned for such a long time.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th; c. XIX of the 6th; c. VI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Equitius, being the bishop of one of the two cities called Hippo and situated in Numidia in Africa (see the Footnote to c. LXXXI of the present C.), and having been justly deposed from office for a crime he committed (according to c. LXXIV of the present C.), fled to parts of Italy: Some persons, on the other hand, seeking the absurd, or, in other words, illegal and uncanonical participation of Equitius in communion, stubbornly and presumptuously waited expectantly for him to come, contemning as they did the Council’s deposition of him from office. For this reason the Council in the present Canon decrees that such and such bishops be sent with a view to pacifying those adversaries, and in addition to ordain another bishop in Hippo, which on account of such scandals had been abandoned for so long a time and was without a bishop. See also Ap. c. LVIII.

 

87. It has been determined that whenever Clerics are exposed and charged with any crimes, whether it be on account of the reproach resulting to the Church, or on account of a sense of shame, for the sake of which they are spared, or on account of the conceited crowing of heretics and heathen, if as is likely enough they wish to defend themselves in the case and to make an effort to prove their innocence, they may do this within a year’s exclusion from communion. But if they scorn to clear themselves of the charge within a year, let no assertion of theirs whatever be henceforth admissible at all.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any clerics charged with crimes and about to be condemned shall ask for time in which to vindicate themselves and to prove themselves not responsible for the crimes, they are to be treated with compassion and mercy out of respect for holy orders and in order to prevent heathens and heretics from waxing proud, reproaching the Church, and flouting the holy orders of the Orthodox; and they are to be allowed a year’s time in which to do so, during which they must stand excluded from communion. But if they fail to prove themselves innocent with a year from the commission of the crimes, thereafter they are not to be permitted to set up any defense at all. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th.

 

88. It has pleased the Council to decree that if anyone admits or offers a reception to anyone from a strange Monastery, and should wish to induct him into the clergy, or should appoint anyone an abbot (or, in Greek, one called a hegumen) of his own Monastery, let the Bishop who does so and thereby separates himself from communion with the rest, content himself with only communion of the laity. And let that person be no longer either a Cleric or a Hegumen (Abbot).

(c. IV of the 4th; cc. XIX, XXI of the 7th; cc. Ill, IV of the lst-&-2nd.).

Interpretation.

If any bishop admits a monk who has departed from his monastery situated in a strange province, according to Balsam on, or makes him a cleric or appoints him an abbot (called in Greek hegumenos) in his own monastery, without a letter dimissory both of the bishop to whom he is subject and of the hegumen by whom he was tonsured, the present Canon decrees that the bishop who did this is to be excluded from communion by his fellow bishops, and is to participate in communion only in his own church. As for that fugitive monk, he is not to be considered a monk, nor to be considered a cleric, nor a hegumen. Read also c. XXI of the 7th.

 

89. It has been determined that if any Bishop names as his heirs any relatives or any persons unrelated to him who are heretics or Grecians, in preference to the Church, let an anathema be pronounced upon such a person even after his death. And let his name be mentioned on no account among the Priests of God. Neither shall he have any chance to offer an apology in his own defense in case he dies intestate. Since after becoming a Bishop, he ought of course be good enough to dispose of his goods in a manner befitting his profession or occupation.

(Ap. c. XL; c. XXII of the 4th; c. XXXV of the 6th; c. XXIV of Antioch; cc. XXX, XL, CII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

If any bishop makes any persons heirs to his property who are heretics or Grecians, whether they be relatives of his or strangers, preferring them to the Church, the present Canon commands that any such person shall be anathematized again and again even after his death, and no commemorative services are to be held for him by the priests (moreover, his will and testament shall be invalidated and annulled on the ground that it is illegal, and the goods which he left to heretics are to be received by the Church). And he himself, if, say, he should be alive after his will has been annulled, shall not be able to find any excuse or justification on the plea that his will and testament was annulled, and that he was about to die intestate, or that he is not permitted to distribute his property to whomsoever he pleases, since, being an Orthodox bishop, he ought, in accordance with his profession and occupation, to order his goods to be distributed to Orthodox persons, and not to Grecians and heretics. See also Ap. c. XL, and c. XXX of the present C.

 

90. It has pleased the Council to decree that a request be made of the Emperor respecting liberations made in the Church.

(Ap. c. LXXXII; c. IV of the 4th; c. LXXXV of the 6th; c. Ill of Gangra; c. LXXIII of Carthage; cc. XL, XLII of Basil.).

Interpretation.

Having already spoken of emancipations of slaves proclaimed in church, in the course of its c. LXXIII, the Council is now in the present Canon seeking to remind the Emperor concerning them with a view to preventing their former masters from re-enslaving them. Read also Ap. c. LXXXII.

 

91. It has pleased the Council to decree that everywhere, over field and vine-yard, that sacrificial altars have been erected as though in memory of Martyrs, in which not even the body or corpse of a Martyr can be shown to be enshrined, they shall be destroyed, if possible, by the local Bishops. If this be inexpedient owing to public uproar, let the multitudes be nevertheless admonished not to mob those localities, and let steps be taken to prevent the right-minded from being seized with any superstitious awe of such places, and to see that no commemoration whatever of Martyrs by the same token be celebrated, unless there be somewhere a body or some remains, or an account of them has been handed down by tradition from antiquity. For as regards all sacrificial altars that have been erected anywhere on the strength of dreams or vain revelations offered by any human beings, let all such stories be by all means discredited

(c. IX of the 7th.).

Interpretation.

Some persons, on account of a show of reverence or because of certain visions and vain revelations they had in their sleep, used to build prayer-houses, or oratories, to the names of Martyrs in the fields and vineyards. For this reason the present Canon decrees that if within these prayer-houses and sacrificial altars there is neither the entire body or any parts of the body or remains of a Martyr to be found treasured there, nor is there any ancient tradition of there ever having been any, which is the same as saying that if they have neither been consecrated by remains of a Martyr nor have been built by the usual prayer of a bishop or priest — if, I say, such be the case, they are to be wrecked if possible. But if the multitudes prevent this, they must be admonished by the bishops not to gather there reverently, nor to entertain any superstitious awe or delusion under the impression that they were built as a result of divine revelations (for, though he is darkness, the devil often transforms himself into an angel of light — II Cor. 11:14 — according to St. Paul, in order to delude the souls of men by means of the semblance and name of reverence), and, moreover, neither shall any commemoration of Martyrs be celebrated in them. On the contrary, let them be discouraged in every way, and be shorn of all claim to reverence. See also c. VII of the 7th.

 

92. It has pleased the Council to decree that a request be presented to the most glorious Emperors in order to have the remains of idolatry, not only as regards those embodied in images of idols, but also those in any kind of places, whether groves or trees, by all means wiped out.

(c. LXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon, like c. LXVII, decrees that the Emperors be requested to wipe out completely by an edict of theirs all remaining traces of idolatry, as regards both the statues and the altars of idols to be found in forests and woods and any other places.

 

93. It was declared by all the Bishops here that if it pleased the Council to have any letters written by dictation in the Council, the adorable Bishop presiding on this throne be asked to deign to dictate and sign them in the name of all.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that whenever there is need of letters to be written by the Council to the Emperor or to any other persons, the Archbishop and Pope of Carthage is to dictate and sign them in the name of all. For it is burdensome and difficult for all the bishops to sign all Con-ciliar letters.

 

94. Inasmuch as there is but one body of the most holy Church, and the head of all its members is but one, it has happened, God willing, and strengthening our weakness, that we persons have come to join this Church with the incentive of love and brotherhood. Wherefore I beg your love, since it is so to be believed, that our convention amongst ourselves is neither superfluous, nor so very gratifying as it might have been to all, in order that the consent of all of us be made manifest, to be of the same mind with those who resolved upon the decisions arrived at by vote long ago in times of old, whether it be those affirmed at the Council held in Hippo, or those thereafter prescribed by the superior Council held in Carthage, likewise even now being read to us in due order, for then shall the likemindedness of your brotherhood be displayed brighter than the light (of day), if you expressly concur in the judgments (or decisions) made by us legitimately in the above Councils, not only in the present transactions, with your assent, but also still further with your signatures.

Interpretation.

In the present Canon the Pope of Carthage (called Karchedon in Greek), named Aurelius, begs all the bishops, not only verbally to assent to what has been prescribed both by the Council held in Hippo and also by the greater one held in Carthage, but also to confirm these decisions with their own signatures (which they did), in order that by their assent and their signatures their concord (or likemindedness) may shine out brighter than light, and in order that they may show themselves to be one body integrated and fitted together out of many members, under a single head, Christ. By means of this particular (i.e., local) Canon we learn that everything vouchsafed in Councils must also be signed by the bishops of the Council in order to have validity and force.

 

95. It is recommended that none of the brethren dare to prefer himself impertinently over those before him, but that each of them appreciate the status assigned to him by God; and that later workers refer back to the earlier ones and not dare to do anything in defiance of their opinion. As for those who have the hardihood to scorn anyone among those before them, let them be suitably curbed by the Council.

Interpretation.

In the chief and most influential provinces of Africa, such as Numidia, Mauritania, Constantia, and others, there was kept a status or rank of greater and lesser bishops, as is seen in the fifth Act of the present Council, whereas in the other provinces no such status or rank was kept, but[ instead, all bishops that were ordained earlier were preferred over those who were ordained later. So it is with respect to this fact that the present Canon decrees the view that those who have been ordained later refrain from doing anything without consulting those who were ordained earlier. Anyone who should dare to do so is to be discountenanced by the Council."

 

96. Concerning Quodvultdeus, together with the Centuriate. Since his adversary demanded admittance to our Council, when he was asked whether he wished to engage with him in a tilt before the bishops, at first he promised to do so, but the next day he replied that this would not suit him, and left. It has therefore pleased all the bishops to decree that no one shall commune with the said Quodvultdeus until his case is disposed of. For it cannot strike any Christian as right for his episcopate to be taken away from him before the conclusion of his case.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; cc. IX, XVII, XXI of the 4th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; cc. XIV, XV of Antioch; c. IV of Sardica; cc. VIII, XII, XVI, XXVII, CV, CXXXI, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

It seems that this bishop had been accused of something by someone, He was asked whether he wished them to be tried before the Council, and at first the bishop consented to this, but afterwards changed his mind and held aloof from the Council. Hence the Council is decreeing in the present Canon that no one shall participate in ciommunion with this bishop until his case has ended, though not that he is to be ousted from the episcopate, is the same as saying, be deposed from office before his trial is finished. For that would be unjust. Thus we learn from this particular (i e., local) Canon that bishops ought to be chastised when they scorn the tribunal of their fellow bishops, and that, even when a bishop is under charges and excommunication, he must not be ousted from his episcopate or deposed from office until the trial of his case has been finished. Read also Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd.

 

97. It has pleased the Council to decree that whatever persons hereafter are ordained anywhere in the provinces included in Africa must obtain letters from their ordainers bearing their signature and containing the name of the Consul and the date, so as to preclude any dispute concerning their being later or earlier.

(Ap. c. XII; c. XCV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Having said further above that bishops who have been ordained ahead of others are to be preferred to those who have been ordained later, in order to prevent doubts from being engendered as to the time of each ordination, the Council now prescribes in the present Canon thatjpersons being ordained must obtain from those ordaining them letters signed by their own hand and containing the date and the name of the Consul having jurisdiction in Africa in whose time they were ordained. For by reference to the Consul the time could be ascertained because of its having been recorded in the public archives when each Consul held office. See also the Footnote to Ap. c. XII.

 

98. It has pleased the Council to decree that if anyone has acted even once as a Lector in church he shall not be accepted as a candidate for the clergy in any other church.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; c. XV of the 7th; c. Ill of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; c. LXIII of Cartilage.).

Interpretation.

It appears that some persons had been complaining that the Canons did not prohibit strange clerics from being accepted from other churches who had served a fairly long term in their churches, and not those who had served but a short time. Hence by way of remedying this situation the present Canon asserts that if a lector has read even once in his church he roust not be admitted to another to be a candidate for the clergy therein. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

99. The promise of all has advanced the suggestion that each of us in his own ought by himself to contact the leaders of the Donatists, or combine his efforts with those of a neighboring bishop, in order likewise to communicate with them in each city and region through their leaders or through those occupying positions of chief influence in the same regions.

(cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVIII, XCIX, C, CI, CII, CIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In the present Canon the Council is decreeing that each bishop in his own province shall meet the leaders of the Donatists, or else take with him, another bishop and have a talk with them and discussion. If the Donatists are not willing to meet them voluntarily, they are to be forced to do so by the authority of the imperial officials and head men. See also c. LV of this C.

 

100. A request must be made in order that the catholic Church, which bore in her womb the religious in Christ, and nurtured them with the assurance of the faith, be fortified still further with their provident care lest impertinent men in the times of piety shall domineer over weak laities by dint of some fear, since by means of persuasive arguments they cannot deprave them. For it has become known, and is often shoutingly declared by laws what sort of deeds are committed by the abominable multitude of those holding forth in conventicles (or what are called in Greek parasynagogues, i.e., illicit congregations), and have often been condemned in the edicts and legislative enactments of the aforesaid most pious Emperors themselves. As against the madness, therefore of those men we pray to be favored with a divine alliance, which is neither anything unusual nor anything alien to the Holy Scriptures, when Paul the Apostle, as is plainly stated in the true Acts of the Apostles succeeded with military help in defeating the conspiracy of the disorderly, We therefore request this, that an armed guard be granted without fail and forthwith to the catholic ranks of the churches in every city and in all the various localities adjacent to each of the possessions.

(cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, XCIX, CI, CII, CIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage; Acts 21:33; and ch. 23, 24, and 25 of the same.).

Interpretation.

Since the Donatists were unwilling to obey what they had been peaceably told by the bishops who were dispatched for the purpose by the Council, as has been said, but rather also hatched numerous plots against many bishops and clerics, and occupied some churches by main force, and were about to occupy still others, therefore in view of all these facts this Council is sending as legates on its part the bishops named Theasius and Evodius, and has given them a commonitory, or, more explicitly speaking, a letter facultative, containing directions as to what they are to do and in which they are beseeching Emperor Honorius for the things stated in the present Canon, to wit: that safety from molestation and a special guard be given to all the churches situated in cities of Africa and on the appurtenant latifundia of the cities; and that through their provident care and majestic (for that is what the word "divine" denotes here) alliance and help the faith of the Orthodox, which has regenerated them spiritually through baptism, and has nurtured them through the assurance of the faith and of the Mysteries, must be reinforced, while the impertinent Donatists, on the other hand, in their times must be prevented from domineering over the weak laities by threatening and bullying them, since they are unable to persuade them with words and thus seduce them into their vicious error, and to prevent them from doing all the other things that schismatics are wont to do and that the laws of the Emperors themselves take cognizance of, whereby in fact they have often been condemned; and that such help as they are seeking is not something unusual, but, on the contrary, is something attested by the Holy Scriptures; for divine St. Paul too, when he was purified and entered the sanctuary of the temple, and the Jews from Asia incited the laity to kill him, was helped by a military force — for the colonel, or commander of a thousand men (called the "chief captain" in the English version of the Bible) came down with soldiers and rescued him (Acts 24:7). And when those Jews more than forty in number anathematized themselves (i.e., swore) not to eat and not to drink until they succeeded in putting St. Paul to death (Acts 23:12-21), and the colonel then learned about this, he sent him off with soldiers into Caesarea to Felix. Read also c. LV of the present C.

 

101. This too must be requested, to wit, that they keep the law promulgated by their father of pious memory Theodosius concerning the fine often pounds of gold against heretics ordaining and being ordained, as further enforceable also against the founders of any congregation that may be found to be in operation among them. It is to be hoped that they will order the said law to be confirmed, so that it may hold against these persons on account of whose machinations the bishops of the Orthodox catholic Church have been urged to protest, in order that by this fear they may be induced to cease creating schisms and eschew the villainy of the heretics even if they are slow to purify and correct themselves by reason of having attained to a vivid apprehension of eternal punishment.

(Ap. c. LXVIII; cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, CII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In the present Canon too the Council is trying to get Emperor Honorius to order that the law be kept which was enacted by his father Theodosius the Great and which provided that both those persons who ordain heretics and those who are ordained by heretics shall be fined in the sum of ten pounds of gold. But it is equally important or more so that the said law be enforced also in regard to those owners of property who allow it to be used for divine services and the celebration of liturgy by such heretics and also in regard to the Donatists, in order that, even if fear of punishment in hell fails to induce them to correct themselves, at any rate the fear of a monetary fine may dissuade them from creating schisms and plots, on account of which Orthodox bishops have had to protest against them. See also Ap. c. LXVITI, and c. LV of the present C.

 

102. Furthermore, this too ought to be requested, to wit, in order that with the favor of their piety the law in force up till now be renewed which withdraw from heretics the facility they have had of either receiving nothing or of leaving a bequest from ordinations or from wills; and, in general, that any right to leave or take any property of theirs be denied them who have been blinded by the madness of their own obstinacy and who wish to continue in the error of the Donatists. But as for those persons who are willing to correct themselves as a result of having come to appreciate the value of unity and peace, with the said law hanging over their heads, let a hearing be granted of their demand to receive an inheritance, even though to these persons themselves too who are established in the error of nothing is due by way of gift or inheritance, excepting those, that is to say, who after being brought to trial have considered that they ought to join the catholic Church. For as concerning such persons it is to be believed that they have conceived a yearning for the catholic Church not by reason of any fear of a heavenly judgment but by reason of a greedy covetous-ness of earthly benefits. In addition to all these matters, there is need of help from the officialdom of each province in particular, and another thing is that no matter how well they appreciate the necessity of acting to the advantage of ecclesiastical usefulness, for the purpose of carrying this program through and pnishing the task we vote for the appointment of a delegacy invested with full fiower to decide matters for itself.

(Ap. c. XL; cc. XXX, XL, LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, LXXIX, CI, CVIII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In addition the Council also in the present Canon is seeking the renewal by imperial rescript of the law which had been in force up to that time and which, that is to say, prohibited heretics from receiving any bequest or inheritance from the wills of any persons either as a result of any ordinations they might confer or otherwise, but also neither is anyone to be permitted to leave anything to them; and that the said law is also to be enforced as regarding those persons who persist in the error of the Donatists. But if any of them should care to revert to Orthodoxy, the said is not to be applied to them, but, on the contrary, these persons are to have the right to receive bequests and gifts and inheritances whether these have come to them after their reversion to Orthodoxy or were fit to have been acquired by them and were left while they were still in the error, and were not given them because of the heresy, in accordance with the above law. If, on the other hand, any Donatists, after being hailed into court by any persons seeking to obtain inheritances from them as heretics, or gifts left to them, should care to revert to Orthodoxy, they are not to profit in the least by their hypocritical reversion, which they affected not on account of any fear of hell but in order to acquire earthly gain. The Canon also decrees that this too be requested, namely, that help be given to each and every province in Africa by its own ruler and head magistrate; and finally it adds that they (i.e., the bishops convened in this Council) are granting full powers (i.e., plenipotentiary authority) to the legates (or deputies to whom this task has been assigned) to do anything else that they may in their own minds conceive to be of advantage in regard to the ecclesiastical situation, just as this very same arrangement is provided also in c. CVIII of the same C. See also Ap. c. XL, and c. LV of the present C.

 

103. It has pleased the Council, since a union has been effected only in Carthage, to decree that letters be sent to officials in order that the said officials in provinces and cities order a special endeavor to be made with the object of furthering the unity, in order that letters of bishops be sent to the posse comitatus expressing thanks of the Church in Carthage to all Africa for banishing and disfranchising the Donatists.

(cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, CI, CII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon too deals with the Donatists by decreeing that letters exhortatory be sent to the officials of Africa, that just as in Carthage a union with the Donatists was achieved, so is it to be expected that they will endeavor to effect the same union of the Donatists also in other provinces; and that thanks be sent to the posse comitatus, i.e., to the imperial organization, from the Church in Carthage with respect to all Africa in acknowledgment of the fact that it was through the Emperor’s co-operation that the Donatists were chased out of the country. See also c. LV of the same C.

 

104. It has pleased the Council to decree that it is no longer necessary to have the brethren rub elbows every year, but only as often a common want calls for it — that is, by letters being given for all Africa whencesoever in this country the need may be felt and suitability may impel them to meet together. But as for causes that are not really common, let them be tried in the provinces to which they pertain.

(Ap. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c, XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the Gth; c. VI of the 7th; c. XX of Antioch; cc. XXVI, LX, LXXXI, LXXXIV, LXXXV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

As for the plan of holding a particular (i.e., local) Council to deal with and judge the particular and peculiar doubts and cases that may happen to occur in the course of a year, the present Canon, according to the Anonymous Expositor, allows it. For indeed it is neither in any other way possible for these provincial and local questions to be solved, except through a Council; and in this respect this Canon agrees with the rest of the Canons that provide for the holding of such Councils. But as for the holding of a common Council representing all the provinces in Africa annually, as is decreed in c. XXVI, it does not allow this to be done hereafter, owing to the difficulty and hardship incurred in traveling. Nevertheless, I say, this Council too may be held whenever it so happens that there is a common need of one, whether it be one a year or two. It is to be held by sending letters to the bishop of Carthage and letting him prescribe the proper and suitable place in which the Council shall convene. See also Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

105. But if any appeal be taken and the appellant chooses judges, and with him the one against whom the appeal is taken, let him not be permitted to take any further appeal henceforth from these judges.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XVI, CXI, CXXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if the plaintiff and the defendant choose selected judges to try the issue between them, thereafter and thenceforth they are no longer to have any right to have their case reviewed by any other court, but, on the contrary, both of them must be satisfied and content with their verdict. See also c. XVI of the present C., and Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th.

 

106. It has pleased the Council to decree in addition that there be chosen five executors in all matters pertaining to the exigencies of the Church, who shall be distributed over the various provinces in proportion to their needs.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XVI, CXI, CXXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The executors mentioned in the present Canon appear to have been Imperial officials who executed and carried out to a conclusion the decrees and decisions which the bishops might pronounce against any persons, and who had authority to use force by way of coercing those persons who refused to obey them and opposed them; accordingly, these executors would sober them up and bring them back to their senses, or control their behavior by the infliction of punishments, if necessary. The Council is requesting the appointment of five such executors to be chosen and sent to the Emperor to be distributed to the various provinces of Africa. See also Ap. c. XXVII.

 

107. It has further pleased the Council to decree that the ambassadors Vincentius and Fortunatus, who are being sent in the name of all the provinces, shall request of the most glorious Emperors that permission be given for the appointment of scholastic ecdici, or juridical advocates, whose profession is this very function of thrashing matters out legally (which is approximately the English equivalent of the Greek verb corresponding to the noun ecdici — Note of Translator), and in order that as playing the part of Priests to the bishops of the province the said ecdici who have undertaken the responsibility of protecting the rights of the churches as lawyers, may readily be able to act in behalf of the interests of the Church whenever need demands it, for the purpose of resisting adversaries and of submitting the necessary facts, and of entering the secret chambers of the courts of law.

Interpretation.

And this Canon like c. LXXXIII of the same C. decrees that in the name of the provinces of all Africa the delegates commissioned shall request of the Emperors that scholastic ecdici be appointed, by which is meant men who are at leisure (as the Greek noun schole signifies fundamentally, though also used in other senses, such as school, etc.; so that the term scholastic here has a different meaning from that which it generally has in the English language — Note of Translator) and pursue the profession itself of looking after the legal interests and protecting the legal rights of the churches, and of opposing adversaries, and of setting forth the facts, either in writing or orally, in connection with necessary matters to the secret chambers, i.e., the chancery. For the Latin verb secerno means to discern, to distinguish, to separate. (Note of Translator. — The intention of the authors here, as becomes evident upon comparing the meanings of the corresponding Greek verb krino, is to point out the similarity of the Latin noun secretum to the Greek noun kriterion, derived from the verb krino and meaning court, criterion, etc). See also Ap. c. XXVII, and c. LXXXIII of the present C.

 

108. It has pleased the Council to decree that the chosen delegates sent to address the posse comitatus shall have full powers in respect of the delegacy.

(c. CII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The knowledge which we receive directly from the present Canon is not to be easily despised. For we learn therefrom that delegates sent either to the Emperor or to the Council have full power and authority to do not only those things which they have been told and commanded to do, but also those things which they themselves of their own accord may conceive as advantageous and good and seemly, as much with respect to those commissioned as also with respect to those who commissioned them.

 

109. It has pleased the Council also to decree that rule whereby the populaces who never had had Bishops of their own are nowise to be allowed any, except by special permission to be derived from the whole Synod, or Council, of each province and from the primate, and with the consent of him under whose administration the said church was established.

(Ap. c. XXXIV; c. VI of Sardica; cc. LXII, LXV of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too decrees that bishops must not be appointed in small parishes and cities where there has prevailed no custom from the beginning and originally for bishops to be installed there. Only then are they to be appointed in such a case when the Metropolitan or the Patriarch casts his vote for them along with all the Synod of the province or diocese (see Footnote to c. VI of the 2nd), and the bishop agrees to this under whose episcopate and in whose bishopric the parish is situated which he is going to receive. See c. VI of Sardica, and Ap. c. XXXIV.

 

110. It has pleased the Council to decree that those persons also, or, more plainly speaking, the laities or peoples who are reverting from Donatists and who had had Bishops without the consent and approval of the Council, shall be treated as being entitled to them without a doubt. As for those laities or peoples, on the other hand, who had had a Bishop and when he died did-not care to have a Bishop of their own, but, on the contrary, resorted to the diocese of some other Bishop, it shall not be denied to them, to exercise this privilege. Nevertheless, that point too has been made to the effect that the Bishops who were ordained prior to the Imperial law carried into effect with reference to unity, any Bishops who shall revert to the catholic Church those laities or peoples whom, they had, are entitled to retain them. But after the law of unity, and subsequently thenceforth, even if there be any rights by any chance left to the righteous and belonging to the said churches, all the churches and their dioceses must be claimed by the catholic Bishops who have jurisdiction in those regions wherein they used to be occupied by heretics, whether reverting henceforth to the catholic Church or not reverting. Accordingly, if any persons have been abusing their position by laying claim to rights thereto after the enactment of the Imperial law, they ought to restore them.

(Ap. c. XXVIII; cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVITI, CI, CII, CXXVIII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that before the enactment of the Imperial law which commanded Donatists to unite with the catholic Church, if some Donatist Bishops reverted and their laities reverted too, either of their own accord or as a result of the co-operation of those bishops, and after reversion these laities took their said bishops who had reverted from the Donatists and whom they had had before their reversion, let them have them without a doubt, even though they received them without the consent and approval of the Council. But if upon the death of such bishops their laities should forgo the right to have a separate bishop of their own and should not care to have one any longer, but, on the contrary, should prefer to become subject to the diocese of another bishop, to whom they belong, let them not be prevented from doing so. But after the above-mentioned law concerning unity was enacted, however, the bishops of the Orthodox are to govern all the churches situated in the regions of the reverting Donatists with their parishes and rights, whether the bishops from the Donatists returned them or not. And if bishops of the Donatists alienated any real estate from the churches, and spent the proceeds, or sold it (and note that the Council calls the alienation of church property illegal abuse of one’s position), they are under obligation to restore it to the churches which owned it. See also Ap. c. XXXVIII, and c. LV of the present C.

 

111. Bishop Maurentius said that he wished to have as judges most holy Xanthippus (also spelled, in Latin, Xantippus, though incorrectly), Augustine the most holy one, Florentinus, Theasius, Sympsychius, Secundus, and Posei-dius. Bid this to be approved by vote for me. The holy Council nodded approval of the requested judges. As for the rest of the necessary number of judges, they shall be selected by old man Xanthippus by vote from amongst the old men belonging to the new party of Germanus.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XVI, CV, CXXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Even through this particular (i.e., local) Canon we learn that permission may be given by a Council to bishops who are being accused by certain persons to demand whatever chosen judges they may want, just as this accused bishop named Maurentius was then given this permission. The rest of the necessary number has reference to the number of the twelve bishops required by rule to try any bishop, according to c. XII of the present C. See also c. XVI of this C., and Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th.

 

112. It has pleased the Council furthermore to decree that as regards the dissension and discord between the Roman and the Alexandrian Churches a letter be written to the most holy Pope Innocent with the object of making each of the two Churches keep the peace with the other, which the Lord enjoins.

Interpretation.

Some difference or variance, as appears from the present Canon, had ensued between the Romans and the Alexandrians, on account of which it appeared reasonable to this C. to write to the Pope, who at that time was innocent I, with a view to making the two churches effect a reconciliation and make peace between themselves, just as the Lord enjoined by saying at one time, "I leave you peace" (John 14:27) (Note of Translator. — In both the A.V. and the R.V. of the English Bible these words are mistakenly and ridiculously translated as "Peace I leave with you!" without any other conceivable excuse than the stupidity of the translators.), and at another time, "Be and remain at peace amongst yourselves" (Mark 9:50). (Note of Translator. — In the A.V. we find this passage translated "Have peace one with another" in an effort to correct the A.V., but in reality making the sense worse yet, since in the original Greek it means not only "become or be" — momentarily, but also "remain" — forever, "at peace amongst yourselves." i.e., with each other, or each one with all the others of you; and not partly at peace, some one of you with some other one of you, at this particular time). But note here that the regional Council is correcting and giving advice to the monarch of Rome.

 

113. It has pleased the Council to decree, in accordance with Evangelical and Apostolical science, that neither a man who has been divorced from his wife, nor a woman who has been abandoned by her husband, shall marry another; but, on the contrary, let them remain thus, or become reconciled to themselves. Which rule if they scorn, they shall be forced to do penance, in which matter we must request the promulgation of an Imperial law.

(Ap. c. XLVIII; c. LXXXVII of the 6th; c. XX of Ancyra; cc. IX, XXV, XXXV, LXXVII of Basil.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon commands that marriages shall not be dissolved except for the reason of fornication. But if a husband leaves his wife, or a wife leaves her husband, they shall not have any right to marry a second time; but, on the contrary, they must either make up and become united again, or if they will not unite, both of them must remain unmarried, just as the Lord teaches in the Gospels, by saying: "Whom God hath yoked together, let no human being separate" (Matt. 19:6); and "Whosoever divorces his wife, save on the ground of fornication, is causing her to commit adultery" (Matt. 5:32) (cf. I Cor. ch. 7). The Apostle, too, having learned from the Lord, tells married people: "It is the Lord, and not I, who enjoins the wife not to divorce her husband, but if she do divorce him, let her remain unmarried, or let her make up with her husband. And let not the husband leave his wife." But if after getting divorced, they marry a second time (sc. other persons), they are to be forced to do penance, or, in other words, both of them must be forced to become penitent on the ground that they have committed adultery (sc. as a consequence of the unlawful second marriage). Concerning this point the Council asserts that they (sc. the bishops composing the Council) ought to ask the Emperor to lay down a civil law to this effect. See also Ap. c. XLVIII.

 

114. It has pleased the Council to decree also this, that all supplications sanctioned in the Council, whether prefaces, or postulations (in Greek, hypotheses), or paratheses, or those accompanied by imposition of the hand, are to be carried out by all·, and no others in any way at all conflicting with the faith shall ever be offered, but, on the contrary, whatever ones have been composed by the more sensible writers, are the ones that shall be said.

(c. XVIII of Laodicea.).

Interpretation.

The prayers said by the priests to God in the churches are various; for some of them are called prefaces and proems, because of the fact that they are said first and in the beginning, while others are called postulations, or hypotheses, or even epilegomena (i.e., conclusory prayers), because they are said after the prayers proper, and others again are called paratheses, because they are intended to proffer or commend (representing the Greek verb parathesthai, to proffer or present) and consecrate the laity to God, and others finally are said at the impositions of hands, including, that is to say, the prayers which the bishop says during ordinations when he lays his hand on the ordinee’s head, as well as the absolutory prayers which must be read by the bishop, or with his permission by the priest, when he lays the hand on the head of a penitent (concerning which see c. VIII of the 1st). So the present Canon decrees that these prayers shall be said by all. This, however, refers to those sanctioned by the Council and by the wisest men, and not the new ones which have been composed by certain persons, and which are against or contrary to the faith and not sanctioned conciliarly. See also c. XVIII of Laodicea.

 

115. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever shall apply to the Emperor for a trial in public courts of justice, shall be deprived of his own honor. But if he shall ask the Emperor for an episcopal trial, this shall not be denied him.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; c. XIV of Carthage; c. XII of Antioch.).

Interpretation.

All those in holy orders must be tried in ecclesiastical courts, and not in the outside (exoteric) courts of justice. For this reason the present Canon prescribes that if any bishop or cleric asks the Emperor to permit his case to be tried in the civil courts of justice, he is to be deposed from office. But if he asks the Emperor for an ecclesiastical tribunal, or, in other words, to have the bishops convoked by the Emperor’s command to consider his case, then he shall not be reprimanded as having done something improper. For all Councils, Ecumenical as well as Regional, were assembled in this manner, i.e., by Imperial command. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd, and c. IX of the 4th.

 

116. Whosoever, instead of communing in Africa, shall sneak over to transmarine places to commune, shall sustain the loss of the clergy.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any cleric excluded from communion in Africa, or, in other words, excommunicated in Africa, goes on the sly to places in Italy and deceptively partakes of communion and union from the churches there, as, for instance, by telling them lies, to the effect that he is entitled to communion, he shall be deposed on account of the deception and fraud he resorted to. Read also Ap. cc. XII and XXXII and especially Ap. c. XIII, together with the parallel references.

 

117. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should care to journey to the comitatus when on an absolute errand to the Church of Rome, must identify himself. Wherefore, if anyone who has received a letter dimissory to Rome only, without any reason being stated on account of which it is necessary for him to proceed on his way to the comitatus, attempts to go to the comitatus direct, let him be denied communion. If a sudden necessity arise for going there in Rome to the comitatus, let him show that necessity to the Bishop of Rome, and take along with him a written permit of the said Bishop of Rome. Letters dimissory from primates or from any Bishops whatsoever given to their own clerics shall contain the date of Easter. If, however, the date of Easter in that same year is not yet known with certainty, let the date of the preceding Easter be affixed in the same way as it has become customary after the Consulship for it to be written in public transactions.

(Ap. c. XII; c. XI of Antioch; cc. VII, IX of Sardica.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that any bishop who wishes to go to the Imperial palace must obtain from the Metropolitan or the Synod (or Council) of the province a letter dimissory to the Emperor and to the Bishop of Rome in which the reason for his going away thither shall be revealed, but he must also obtain another letter dimissory from the Bishop of Rome to the Palace. But if the bishop who has received only the letter dimissory to the Bishop of Rome keeps silent and fails to tell him the reason why he has to go to the Palace, but goes without his consent and approval, he is to be excommunicated. If, on the other hand, while one is actually in Rome there should ensue there any need for him to go to the Palace, though he had not been contemplating and had not disclosed this need before to the Bishop of Rome, let him obtain letters from him and go. These letters dimissory, which were given by Metropolitans to bishops, or by bishops to clerics, must bear, instead of the year which we are accustomed to state in writing letters, the date of Easter next following. If, however, the date of the coming Easter has not yet become known, let the date of the one last past be stated. For one thing, in order to make this date known to everybody; and for another thing, in order to enable persons to tell from this date the year in which the letters were written, just as in civil and political documents the Consulship of each Consul is stated, and through the Consulship the year in which they were written could be determined. See also c. XI of Antioch, the Footnote to Ap. c. XII, and An. c. VII.

 

118. It has pleased the Council to decree that a single Bishop shall not be his own judge.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XII, XVI, XXVIII, CV, CXVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that a single bishop shall not try the case of either another bishop who has a dispute with another, or of a presbyter who has any altercation with that same bishop himself; nor of any other cleric, according to c. IX of the 4th, nor any presbyter accused by another; nor can any deacon be deposed by one bishop alone, according to c. XII of the present C. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, c. VI of the 2nd; and c. XVI of the present C.

 

119. There has been given a law whereby each and every person may by free choice undertake the exercise of Christianhood.

(c. XII of Neocaesarea; c. CX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In view of the fact that, according to c. CX of the present C., an Imperial law had been given commanding, and in a way compelling the Donatists to unite with the catholic Church, therefore and on this account the present Canon acknowledges that a law (an Imperial one, that is to say; and see the Prolegomena to the Apostolic Canons) has been given, or enacted, whereby every person is allowed to accept Christianity by voluntary and free choice, since virtue, in conformity with its name (in Greek this is arete, and appears to be derived from the verb aresko, meaning to please. — Note of Translator.), ought to be optional and voluntary, not constrained and compulsory. For things that are done by constraint and under compulsion are not certain and permanent, but temporary and short-lived. That is why the Lord says: "Whoever will come behind me" (Matt. 16:24), etc. Notice that the Canon describes the faith of Christian-hood as an exercise, thereby revealing the fact that a Christian ought to exercise every virtue, temperance, humility, love, and the rest. For whoever fails to exercise these is a Christian in name only, but not also in reality. See also c. XII of the C. held in Neocaesarea.

 

120. It has pleased the Council to decree that whoever calls Adam, the first man created, a mortal man so made that whether he sin or not he is bound to die in the body, that is, to depart from the body, not owing to his deserving this fate by reason of the sin, but because of a necessity inherent in his nature, let him be anathema.

(cc. CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon overthrows the heresy of Pelagius, and of his disciple Celestius. For these men (as divine Augustine bears witness in his discourse concerning original sin, chapters 5 and 6), be it noted, were condemned because they believed and held that original sin is not begotten together with the human being, and that it is a mistake, not of his nature, but of his will, and consequently from this they concluded that even Adam died this physical death, not on account of his sin, which was done as a matter of choice, but owing to a necessity inherent in his nature, which was built to be mortal from the very beginning, and was bound to die whether Adam, sinned or did not sin by choice. Hence the present Council, in overthrowing this heretical view, anathematizes those persons who make this assertion For, if Adam actually were mortal by necessity of his nature, then: First’ God, who built it to be so, would have to be also the creator and cause of death. But God did not create death, according to Scripture. Secondly, that flesh which Adam had before the transgression ought not to have been any different from our own, but, on the contrary, would have had to be, like ours, gross and mortal and antitypal; seeing that we too who have been born after that transgression are in accordance with the same necessity of nature mortal, and at all events are destined to die. (Book of Wisdom, 1:13). But St. Gregory the Theologian (in his sermon on the birth of Christ) insists that this gross and antitypal flesh which we ha\e now is such as Adam had only after the transgression, and not before it. And thirdly, if death came from nature, how is it that St. Paul says that "through sin death entered the world" (Rom. 5:12); and Solomon says that "it was by the devil’s envy that death entered the world" (Wisdom 2:24)? So, according to this Canon, God created man not mortal by natural necessity, but by nature immortal. And since it is characteristic of whatever is good not to force anyone to be good, therefore and on this account He created man free and independent with respect to his soul, in order that he might be induced to be good as a matter of choice and remain good, not by the exercise of force and violence, but by virtue of self-mastery and voluntarily; and by thus remaining good, that he might thenceforth maintain also the natural immortality of the body. But inasmuch he himself of his own accord was moved to evil by willful choice and preference, he no longer had the power, or ability, to keep the body in its natural immortality in which it was built; hence there ensued the death of this body. And, to speak more clearly with the great Gregory of Thessalonica, since the superior and higher part of man, the soul, became separated through sin and transgression from the real life, which is the grace of God, and fell into the real death, which is wickedness; therefore and on this account the lower and inferior part, or, more expressly speaking, the body, became separated from the life according to nature, and fell into the death contrary to nature. And just as the soul, being by nature, subject to God, failed to subject itself to Him, so and in like manner the body, subject by nature to the soul, evaded subjection to it with the disorders of its senses, pf its passions, and lastly with its decomposition into the elements of which it was composed, which dissolution is death. In agreement with the present Canon the following seven Canons of the present Council overthrow the heresy of Pelagius and Celestius: these are cc. CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, and CXXVII.

 

 

 

 

 

121. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever denies the little ones newly born from the wombs of their mothers when they are being baptized, or asserts that they are baptized for the remission of sins, but that they have inherited no original sin from Adam obliging them to be purified in the bath of renaissance (whence it follows that in these persons the form of baptism for the remission of sins is not true, but is to be regarded as factitious), let him be anathema; for no other meaning ought to be attached to what the Apostle has said, viz., "Sin entered the world through one human being" (Rom. 5:12), and thus it passed over into all human beings; wherefore all of them have sinned, than that which the catholic Church diffused and spread abroad every-where has ever understood those words to mean. For it is on account of this Canon of the faith that even the little ones too, who are as yet incapable of committing if any sin of their own to render them guilty of any offense, are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what sin they inherited from the primordial birth may be purified in them through the process of renaissance.

Interpretation.

This view too was a product of the heretical insanity of the Pelagians: this refers to their saying that newly begotten infants are not baptized for the remission of sins, as the Orthodox Church believes and maintains, but, instead, if anyone say that they are baptized for the remission of sins, yet the infants themselves have not incurred any taint from the original (or primordial) sin of Adam, such as to require to be removed by means of baptism (since, as we have said, those men believed that this original sin is not begotten with the human being, simply because this was not any offense of nature, but a mischoice of the free and independent will). So the Council in the present Canon anathematizes the heretics who say this: First, because the form of the baptism for the remission of sins which is given to infants is not true according to them, but false and factitious, since, according to them, those infants have no sins to be pardoned. Secondly, because the Apostle in what he says makes it plain that sin entered the world through a single human being, namely, Adam, and that death entered through sin, and thus death passed into all human beings, since all of them have sinned just like Adam. This passage, I say, cannot be taken to mean anything else than what the catholic Church of the Orthodox has understood and believed it to mean, to wit, that even the newborn infants, notwithstanding the fact that they have not sinned by reason of any exercise of their own free and independent will, have nevertheless entailed upon themselves the original sin from Adam; wherefore they need to be purified through baptism necessarily from that sin: hence they are truly, and not fictitiously, being baptized for the remission of sins.

 

122. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that the grace whereby we are justified through Jesus Christ our Lord to be effective only for the remission of sins already perpetrated, and not to afford help by way of preventing perpetration of other sins in addition thereto, let him be anathema.

(cc. CXXI, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The Pelagians expressed their heretical views in three propositions. The first proposition was to the effect that by employing only his natural powers and abilities a human being could keep the whole law and be justified, and could persist in righteousness, and enjoy life everlasting. Another proposition was to the effect that a human being does not need any inner or internal grace of God to incite him to do right, or to help him, or to justify him, but that, on the contrary, all he needs for his salvation is self-mastery, the law, training and teaching, and example. And the third proposition was to the effect that although grace is given by God yet it is given for the value of self-mastery. Hence upon this second proposition of theirs depends also this feature which the present Canon decrees, to wit, that the grace of God, which through Jesus Christ justifies a human being in baptism, graciously affords a remission only of previous sins, but not also to help keep one from sinning another time; wherefore it anathematizes all those persons too who say this. For the catholic Church believes wholly the opposite contrary, namely, that the grace bestowed through Jesus Christ in baptism affords both remission of previous sins and power and help to prevent us from further sinning, provided we ourselves do not yield ourselves to sins as a result of negligence. That is why David says: “O God, attend to my help. Ο Lord, hasten to aid me” (Ps. 70:1); and "My help cometh from the Lord" (Ps. 121:2), etc. St. Paul also says along the same line: "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; … the Spirit itself intercedeth in our behalf" (Rom. 8:26). And countless other passages along the same line are to be found in the divine Scriptures.

 

123. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say, with reference to the same grace of God given through our Lord Jesus Christ, that it helps us only to keep from sinning in this respect that the knowledge and cognoscence of sins is revealed to us through it, and enables us to know what to seek after and what to shun, though it does not afford us further help whereby to discern what we ought to do, nor does it further cause us to love and to have the strength to do it, let him be anathema. For in view of the fact that the Apostle says "knowledge puffeth up, whereas love edifieth" (I Cor. 8:1), it is utterly impious to believe that we have the grace of Christ for the purpose of puffing ourselves up, but have it not for the purpose of edifying ourselves, when, as a matter of fact, both are free gifts of God, that of knowing what we must do and that of loving what we must do, in order’that thanks to the edifying power of love knowledge be unable to puff us up, precisely as has been written out of God: "He that teacheth man knowledge" (Ps. 94:10). Thus too it is further written: "Love is of God" (I John 4:7).

(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

In the present Canon too the Council anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians, who used to assert that the grace of God helps us only in this respect to keep from sinning in that it enables us to know what we ought to seek and do, or, in other words, what things are good and right, and what things we ought to shun, or, in other words what things are bad and evil; and not that it graciously bestows upon us also the inclination to love and the strength to do those things which are good and right, as we well know that they are. For both gifts are equally and alike gifts of God, both the knowledge and the love. For as concerning the knowledge David says: "He that teacheth man knowledge" (I.e.), while as concerning love the beloved disciple says: "Love is of God" (I.e.). But in another way too it is impious for us to believe that the grace of God bestows upon us knowledge, which by itself, as St. Paul says, puffeth up, or, in other words, causes presumptuousness; but does not also bestow upon us love, which edifieth and strengtheneth us so as to enable us to do what is good. In sum, just as knowing what we ought to do is a free gift bestowed by divine grace, so and likewise is loving what we ought to do. The knowledge, though, is indeed attributed to the mind, while the love is attributed to the will, the two chief and main faculties, or powers, of the soul.

 

124. It has further pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should say that the reason why the grace of righteousness has been bestowed upon us is in order that we might through self-mastery be able the more easily and readily to fulfill it through grace, as though indicating that even if the grace had not been given we should still have been able, howbeit not easily and readily, to fulfill the divine commandments without its aid, let him be anathema. For when the Lord was speaking about the fruits of the commandments, He did not say, "Without me ye will have difficulty in doing anything" (cf. John 15:5).

(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians and Celestians for saying that simply because God made us masters of ourselves in respect of being free to do as we please we can execute the commandments even without the aid of divine grace, though not easily, but with difficulty, whereas through the aid afforded by divine grace we are enabled to carry these out more easily, since even the Lord, in speaking about the divine commandments, did not say, "Without me ye can do these only with difficulty," but, instead, He simply said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) Neither with ease nor with difficulty, that is to say, so that everything depends upon divine grace, and without the latter we can accomplish nothing.

 

125. It has pleased the Council to decree, what St. John the Apostle said: "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8), that whosoever shall deem that this thought is to be interpretated as meaning that we ought out of humility to refrain from saying that we have no sin, not that it is truly so, shall be anathema. For the Apostle goes on to say in anticipation of such a misinterpretation: "But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (ibid., 1:9). Where it is made quite plain that this was said not only out of humility, but furthermore truthfully. For the Apostle might have said, "if we say that we have no sin, we are exalting ourselves, and there is no humility in us;" but by saying "We are deceiving ourselves, and there is no truth in us," he quite evidently pointed out that anyone asserting that he himself has no sin is not telling the truth, but, on the contrary, is lying.

(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXVI, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as the dogmas of the Pelagians agreed in a way with those of the Massalians, in that both the former and the latter placed the beginning of salvation, not primarily in divine grace, but in human power; consequently, since the Massalians too believed wrongly that when the Holy Spirit comes to a human being sensibly and visibly, it frees him from the passions and he no longer needs to engage in fastings or other struggles dear to God, the Pelagians perhaps, entertaining such views as these, were wont to say that what St. John asserted, viz., that if perchance we say that we have no sin, we are deluding ourselves, and are not telling the truth, could not truthfully be said saints (in that the latter, that is to say, having been freed from the passions by the Holy Spirit, thereafter had no sins, nor could commit any), but could be said only out of humility, or on account of humble-mindedness. Hence the present Canon anathematizes those who affirm this heretical view of the passage in question, on the ground that they are misinterpreting it. For the same Apostle John says subsequently that if we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just, and will pardon our sins, and will cleanse us from every unrighteousness. From which words it becomes manifest that it was not on account of humility, but as a matter of truthfulness that the saint made the above assertion, since the Apostle could have said, "if we say that we have no sin, we are proud, and there is no humility in us." Hence, by not saying this, he is pointing out that anyone who says that he has no sin, is not telling the truth, but, on the contrary, is lying.

 

126. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever should declare that in the Lord’s prayer the reason why saints say "forgive us our debts" (Matt. 6:12) is not that they are saying this in their own behalf, since this petition is no longer necessary to them, but in behalf of others, of those sinners who are among their people; and that each one of them does not say personally, "forgive me my debts," but, instead, says (vicariously), "forgive us our debts" (Luke 11:4), on the ground that he is to be understood as petitioning the Righteous One in behalf of others, rather than in behalf of himself, let him be anathema, for James the Apostle was a saint and a righteous and just man when he said: "For in many things we all sin" (James 3:2, as translated in this Canon). Since, why is it that the word "all" is added? unless it be, in order that the meaning be in keeping with that of the psalm where it is written: "And enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Ps. 143:2). And in the prayer of most wise Solomon: "There is no human being that has not sinned" (I Kings 8:46). And in the book of St. Job the words: "He stampeth in the hand of every man; in order that every man may know his own weakness" (Job 37:3). (Note of Translator. — The Canon here substitutes for the Greek word in the Septuagint translated in the Authorized Version as "sealeth up" the Greek word semaino, which means "to stamp" "to mark," etc. and which appears to be the true meaning, and not " sealeih up") Hence, furthermore, the saint and righteous man Daniel the Prophet, speaking in the plural number, says the following words: "We have sinned; we have committed iniquity" (Dan. 9:5), and the rest of what he there humbly and truthfully confesses, in order not to have it thought, as some persons understand it, that he was speaking not about his own sins, but rather about those of his people. After this passage he said: "I was praying, and was confessing my sins and the sins of my people to the Lord my God" (ibid., 9:20) He did not want to say, "our sins," but, on the contrary, expressly said that they were sins of his own and of his people, since it would seem that the Prophet could foresee that they were going to understand it wrongly.

(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIII, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too discusses insanities of the Pelagians like the ones above. For it anathematizes them for saying that when saints recite the Lord’s prayer, they themselves do not say the words "Forgive us our sins," since they do not need to make any such request, as being passionless and sinless, but they say them for the sins of others. For even St. James the Brother of God says: "All of us commit many offenses." And David says: "Enter not, Ο Lord, into judgment with me thy servant, because no man living can appear righteous in thine eyes.” Solomon, too, in the prayer which he made to God after building the Temple said,: “There is no man in the world who has not sinned." And Job: "He stampeth a seal in the hands of every human being in order that every human being may know his own weakness." Moreover, the prophet Daniel in praying said first in the plural number, "We have sinned; we have committed iniquities;" and afterwards he adds in the singular number: "I was confessing my sins and the sins of my people." And he said this thus clearly in order to prevent anyone from thinking that he was referring to the sins of his people, and not to his own sins, prophetically stopping the mouths of men who would wrongly insist that that was what he meant.

 

127. It has pleased the Council to decree that any persons whatsoever that would have it that the words in the Lord’s prayer "Forgive us our debts," which we are wont to say, are said by saints because of their humility, and not truthfully, let them be anathema. For who could bear to hear anyone praying, not to men, but to the Lord Himself, lyinglyt one asking only with his lips to be forgiven sins which he is not conscious of having committed?

(cc. CXX, CXXI, CXXII, CXXIIT, CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon too anathematizes the Pelagians for saying that the saints do not say in accordance with the truth, "Forgive us our debts," since they have no sins and debts, but only out of humility and modesty. For who, it says, can bear to hear persons supposed to be saints saying this lyingly not to men, but to God, and with their lips asking forgiveness for their sins, but with their heart considering that they have no sins? For this would be deemed to be trifling with God, and not praying, which in regard to saints it would be absurd even to think of.

 

128. It has pleased the Council, since some years ago it was laid down as a rule in this Church filled with the Council that any churches established in a diocese before the laws concerning Donatists were promulgated should become catholic and belong to those thrones at the suggestion of whose Bishops they were prevailed upon to join the catholic unity. But after those laws were made any churches that joined it should belong to those thrones to which they belonged even when they were on the side of Donatus. And many altercations arose later between the Bishops and continue to arise as regarding the dioceses, for which it seems that inadequate provision was made at that time. Now in this holy Council it has pleased us to decree that wherever a catholic church was established on the part of Donatus, and there were churches belonging to different thrones, if at any time a union occurred there, or shall occur in the future, whether before the laws or after the laws, they shall belong to that throne to which the catholic church belonged which existed there of old, so that thus, that is to say, if any Bishops returned from the Donatists to the catholic unity, they shall divide equally between them the dioceses thus situated where both parties were, that is, in order that some regions may belong to one part, and som,e to another in such a way as to let the older one in the Episcopate apportion, and the newer one select them. If, however, it should chance that there is but one region, let him take that which is situated in closer proximity. If it be equally close to both thrones, let it be ceded to that one which the multitude may choose. If it should chance that the ancient catholics want the same region, and those who have reverted from the party of Donatus want the same one, let the opinion of the majority be preferred to that of the minority. But if the parties are equal, let the older Bishop have it. If thus, however, there be found a great many regions in which both parties are to be found, so that they cannot be divided equally, the number of such regions being unequal, let the equal numbers be divided first, and to the one that is left let this be reserved which has been stated above when the question was one of a single region.

(cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII, CI, CII, CXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Because of the fact that many doubts arose among the bishops as to which of them should take the ones reverting from the Donatists, the present Canon decrees that before the Imperial laws concerning unity were enacted it was decreed (Canon CX) that they should be subject to that bishop from, whom they returned, but after the laws they should be subject to the catholic bishops in the districts nearest to the Donatists. Now again for complete solution of the doubts arising the Council decrees that the regions of the ones reverting from the Donatists should be subject to that bishop to whom the Orthodox church used to belong which had been situated of old in the region of the Donatists. That is to say in such a way that if the regions were situated between two bishops reverting from the Donatists, both bishops were to divide them between themselves, and the earlier one was to do the dividing, and the later one was to do the choosing. But if there was only one region about which they were fighting, it was to be subject to the one nearest to it, in adjacency. Or if it bordered equally close to both their thrones, it was to belong to that bishop whom the multitude wanted. But if both bishops demanded the same region in its whole and undivided entirety, the opinion of the majority was to prevail over that of the minority. If, on the other hand, both parties were equal, the older one was to have jurisdiction of the region. Or if there were many regions, both bishops were to divide them as equally as they could between themselves, share and share alike; and if there remained a single odd region, it was to be subject either to that one who was the nearest neighbor to it, or to that one whom the multitude wanted; if the parties were equal, then it was to be subject to both. Read also c. LV of the present C.

 

129. It has pleased the Council to decree that if anyone after the (enactment] of the laws causes any region to revert to the catholic unity and holds possession thereof for a space of three years without anyone seeking to take it away from him, henceforth it shall not be taken away from him. If, however, within the said space of three years there was a Bishop who was entitled to it and he went to rest; but if there was not, let him not be prejudice in the Matrix, but when the vacant region gets a Bishop, let it be permissible for him to take possession of it from that with a space of three years. Likewise, on the other hand, if a Bishop reverts from the Donatus parties to the catholic Church, let his position in the Matrix not be prejudiced as respects the length of time intervening, but, on the contrary, from the day that he returned, let him have the right to retrieve the places belonging to his see at any time within the space of three years.

(c XVII of the 4th; cc. LV, LXVI, LXXV, LXXVI, LXXVII, CI, CII, CX, CXXVIII, CXXXI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This last Canon too, concerning the places of the Donatists and in general that have reverted from heretics, prescribes that if any catholic bishop, after the adoption of the laws respecting unity (see c. CX), persuades a region of heretics to return to Orthodoxy, and holds it for three years without its being claimed by anybody else, after the expiration of the three years no one shall be allowed to take it away from him. But if that episcopate to which the place in question belonged had no bishop, and within a space of three years a bishop is ordained to it, he shall be allowed to claim the place as his own, and he shall not be detrimentally affected in the Matrix, or, at any rate, he shall not suffer any injury and lose that place by reason of the fact that the place in question was listed in the original Matrix and register of the foreign church assigned to him; but, on the contrary, he shall get it back, provided he claims it within three years. Likewise if even a Donatist bishop reverts to Orthodoxy, he too from the day that he reverted may claim the place which belongs to him but which had been occupied during or within three years by another catholic bishop. See also c. LV of the present C., and c. XVII of the 4th.

 

130. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any Bishops whatsoever claiming the multitudes whom they think to belong to their throne (or see) do so not by having other Bishops decide their claim, but by resorting to a different means of imposing their will upon the laities, whether the latter want them or not, they shall suffer the loss of them because of their own action. And if any Bishops whatsoever have done this, without consulting the convention of the Bishops in the meantime, but are still quarreling about the same matter, that one shall be removed thence who is shown to have taken possession without having recourse to the ecclesiastical judges. And let no one flatter himself if he has received letters from the primate granting him possession; but, instead, whether he has such letters or not, he should contact the one in possession and receive letters from him to show that he has taken possession of the church belonging to him in a peaceful manner. If, however, that Bishop too opposes him with a counterclaim, let this matter too be adjudicated by Bishops sitting as judges in regard thereto, whether they be assigned by the Primate or be chosen by common consent from among neighboring bishops.

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids bishops to employ civil authority; instead, must claim the laities they think they are entitled to by obtaining a judgment or judicial decision from their bishops in approval of their claim. But if they try to take them over by resorting to force wielded by the civil authorities, whether the laities in question want them as bishops or not, they shall lose such laities even though they were entitled to them because of their resorting to the forces of the civil authorities. Again, even if two bishops fighting over these laities come to trial before the bishops, but before the trial has been finished they are found to be still quarreling about the matter, and one of them ignores the judgment of the bishops and resorts to force by taking possession or seeking to take possession by means of aid obtained from the civil authorities, he too shall lose those laities, even though he was entitled to receive them. Let no one flatter, or, more plainly speaking, delude, himself and resort to such civil force on the pretext that he has received letters from their Metropolitan to take that laity. For, whether he has such a letter or not, he must also obtain a letter stating that he has received the church belonging to him from the bishop previously occupying it, by peaceful means (if he fail to do this, he is to forfeit his right). But if the bishop sued likewise sues the suer, this dispute is to be decided by bishops, whether they be those whom the Metropolitan may appoint, or those whom they themselves may choose from among neighboring bishops and bishops in nearby territories. Read also c. XVII of the 4th.

 

131. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any Bishops whatsoever neglect the regions belonging to their see, and fail to exert themselves with a view to inducing them to unite with the catholic Church, and are indicted by the diligent Bishops neighboring them, they must not delay doing so. For. unless within a space of six months from the day a convention was held in regard thereto they accomplish something in this direction, the regions in question shall be turned over to whomsoever is able to convert them. Provided, however, that if the Bishop to whom such regions are shown to belong intentionally displayed negligence on account of some desired economy, this having been chosen by the heretics, with a view to coaxing them back to the catholic Church quietly; yet, his diligence has been anticipated by another, though by abusing it he has succeeded in making the same heretics resentful of him, when the case is tried before a court of Bishops, the regions shall be restored to him by their decision. Or if the Bishops acting as judges be from different provinces, that Primate shall appoint the judges in whose district the region is which is in dispute. But if by common consent judges are chosen who are neighbors, whether one is chosen or three are chosen. And if three are chosen, and they decide alike, either to follow the decision of the majority or that of two, it shall not be permissible for on appeal to be token from the decision of the judges chosen by common consent. Whosoever is proved to be unwilling, owing to his waywardness, to obey the judges, when this is brought to the attention of the Bishop of the chief sec, he shall give letters prohibiting any of the Bishops from communing with him until he does obey.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th; c. XIX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; cc. XVI, LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXVI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. VI of Nyssa; c. X of Peter.).

Interpretation.

Bishops ought not to neglect the heretics residing in their province, because they shall have to render an account of them and be held responsible for them; but, on the contrary, they ought to make every effort to win them and to convert them to catholic unity, or, more plainly speaking, to the Church. But if they postpone the time, they are to be charged with this procrastination by the bishops of nearby districts. And if, after having had such an accusation laid against them, they again display neglectful-ness, and have failed to make any converts within a space of six months, these heretics together with their regions are to be turned over to another bishop able to convert them. Nevertheless, if the bishop to whom the heretics in question are subject employs seeming negligence on purpose for some economy or other, which the heretics have asked for, in order that they may return peacefully and without the exercise of coercion (seeing that if he were to employ greater diligence and make more strenuous endeavors, they would be hardened on this account), yet another bishop, not aware of this economy, has been in time to convert them — if, I say, this fact comes to light in the course of an investigation and trial conducted by the bishops, all those regions and laities of converted heretics are to be given to the bishop to whom they are subject; as for the bishops who are going to try the case, they are either to be appointed by that Metropolitan in whose province the disputed region and laity of the heretics happen to be, or else they are to be chosen by agreement by these two quarreling bishops. Accordingly, if the latter choose but one bishop to try their case, they shall abide by his decision, on the ground that he was their chosen judge; if, on the other hand, they have chosen themselves three, and these three are in agreement, they shall follow their decision; if one of them, however, fails to agree, they shall follow the decision of the two who do agree, and they shall not appeal their decision to another tribunal. If either one of the two of them obstinately refuses to obey these chosen judges, no bishop shall have any communion with him until he obeys, and letters to this effect shall be issued by the Metropolitan. See also Ap. c. LVIII, and c. XVI of the present C.

 

132. If in the Matricia, or, at any rate, in the sees, any Bishop becomes neglectful in regard to the heretics, be reminded of his duty by neighboring diligent Bishops, and his scornfulness be pointed out to him, so as to leave him no excuse or justification; and if from the day that he was so reminded, within six months, while he continues residing in the same province, he shall fail to exercise due care to make converts to the catholic unity, he shall be denied communion until he fulfills this obligation. But if there be no epexergastes (i.e., civil collaborator) in those regions to come to his aid, let no charge be brought against the Bishop.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; cc. LXXIV, LXXXII, LXXXVI, CXXXI, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. X of Nyssa; c. VI of Peter.).

Interpretation.

A bishop must diligently endeavor to convert to Orthodoxy, and not neglect, not only the other regions of the heretics, in accordance with the preceding Canon, but also their sees and metropoles (in which are to be found the original Codices and inventories of their properties; for this is what is denoted by the word "Matricia," and see c. XLI of this C.). As for the bishop who neglects them, the present Canon prescribes that he shall be reminded of this by bishops who are neighbors of his, in order that he may have no excuse to offer later. But if after being so reminded, and being in these sees of heretics for six months, he fails to apply all those ways and means which are calculated to convert heretics, he is to be excluded from communion, until he does. If, however, the civil ruler of the district, who could collaborate in the matter and bring over the heretics and those who are unwilling to give an account of themselves, is not about, let the bishop not be blamed for this delay in their conversion, as it was not due to any negligence on his part. See also Ap. c. LVIII.

 

133. But if such Bishop be proved to have told a lie about their communion, by asserting that they had communed whom he was pointing out, but who had not communed to his knowledge, he shall also forfeit his episcopate.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XXV of the 4th, c. XIX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XI of Sardica; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXVI, CXXXI, CXXXII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon is consecutive to the one above. For it says that if the bishop charged with having neglected to convert the heretics falsely asserts that they returned and came into communion with the catholic Church, without their having returned at all, or even if they did return, but not as a result of his efforts and with his knowledge, he is to be completely deposed from office, both on account of his negligence and on account of the fact that he lied. See also Ap. c. LVIII.

 

134. It has pleased the Council to decree that if Presbyters, Deacons, and other lower Clerics in whatever causes they may have are not satisfied with the decision of their own Bishops, they shall be heard and the differences between them shall be adjusted by those whom they may appoint with the consent of their own Bishop to review their case. But if they want to take an appeal even from the decision rendered by these men, they shall have no right to an appeal, except to the votes of the African Council or to the Primates of their own provinces. As for anyone that insists upon carrying an appeal across the sea, let him not be received in communion by anyone in Africa.

(c. VI of the 2nd; c. IX of the 4th; cc. XI, XXXVI of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

This Canon is almost identically the same as c. XXXVI of the present Council. On this account the reader is referred to the Interpretation of it given there. The only additional feature contained in the present Canon is that those wishing to take an appeal from-the decision of the bishops of nearby districts are to appeal to the Councils of Africa or to the Primates, etc. See also c. VI of the 2nd, and deacons from appealing to Rome with two different Canons was the great annoyance which the presbyter Apiarius caused it, and the fact that the Pope of Rome sought illegally and by every means the right to an appeal from the judgment of the Bishops in Africa both for all bishops, presbyters, and deacons not subject to him and for all the rest of clerics not subject to him, as we said in the beginning of the section pertaining to the Council held in Sardica, and shall have occasion to say again in the Interpretation of the two Letters of the present Council.

 

135. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any of the Bishops on account of the need arising from endangered virginal sobriety when either a powerful lover or some ravisher is suspected, or in addition to such contingencies she feels herself threatened by some deadly peril, and at the request of her parents or of those in whose care she has been placed, lest she should die without having assumed the habit, shall veil a virgin, or shall have veiled one already, below the age of twenty-five, the Council which fixed this number of years shall not be of any injurious effect as touching such a Bishop.

(cc. III, XIX of the 1st; cc. VI, LI of Carthage; c. XV of the 4th; cc. XL, XLV of the 6th; c. XVIII of Basil.).

Interpretation.

In connection with c. XLV of the 6th we said that monks and nuns used to try out monastic life in mundane garments: this is made still more manifest in the present Canon. For this Canon decrees that those virgins who have been consecrated to God by a bishop, in accordance with c. VI of the present C., are not to wear the habit until they attain to the age of twenty-five years (concerning which see c. XL of the 6th). But if some powerful personage has fallen into love with any of these virgins, or there is a suspicion that some lewd-minded man may snatch one of them away, or one of them is in danger of death^ and she and her parents beg for it, lest she should die without having assumed the habit, permission is given to the bishop to dress her in the habit even before she is twenty-five years old; and for this unseasonableness he is not to suffer any ill effect from the Council which fixed such an age limit, because of his having transgressed the rule as a result of necessity, and not voluntarily and willfully. See also c. XIX of the 1st, and c. VI of the present C.

 

136. It has pleased the whole Council, in order to avoid keeping all the Bishops assembled for a Council too long a time, to decree that three judges shall be selected from each province.

Interpretation.

Because of the fact that the bishops assembled at this Council were kept there an excessively long time (for, as we have said, it lasted for six years), and there were still some questions to be considered, in the present Canon it appeared to be reasonable that three bishops should be selected from each and every province, and that the rest of the bishops should be allowed to return to their provinces, while these ones selected should stay here and consider the remaining questions.

 

137. It has pleased all to decide that inasmuch as it has been decreed in the foregoing decisions of the Councils concerning clerical persons that ought not to be allowed to bring charges against Clerics, and it was not further determined what kind of persons are not to be admitted, on this account we decree rightly that that person shall not be allowed to bring charges who has become excommunicated and is still in the state of exclusion from the benefits of the Church, whether he be a Cleric or a layman who wishes to lay charges against any Clerics.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; cc. IX, XXI of the 4th; cc. VIII, XXVII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that not all persons shall be allowed to bring charges against clerics, but only those persons who are themselves free from aspersions and accusations. So then if any cleric or layman has been excommunicated, he is not to be allowed to bring charges against a cleric during the time that he himself is still in a state of excommunication. Read also Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd.

 

138. It has pleased the Council to decree that no slaves and not even emancipated persons themselves are to be allowed to bring charges, nor any other persons that are not permitted by the public laws to lay criminal charges against anyone; nor further those who have been stigmatized with the stains of infamy — that is to say, mimes and all persons that have incurred odium on account of their shameful acts; and furthermore heretics, whether Grecians or Jews. Nevertheless, however, all who are denied the right of accusation in such cases must not be denied the right and permission to make accusations in regard to matters pertaining to causes of their own.

(Ap. c. LXXIV: cc. II, VI of the 2nd; cc. IX, XXI of the 4th; cc. VIII, XXVII, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

But neither are any slaves and freedmen to be allowed to bring charges against their own masters and emancipators, according to the present Canon; nor are any of those persons who are not allowed by the civil laws to bring charges against anyone; but neither are the infamous and those who have practiced infamous and shameful arts, or, for example, mimes, actors and stage-players, or gladiators and bullfighters and the like. But neither are heretics, or schismatics, or Grecians, or Jews. None of these persons, I say, are allowed to bring charges in regard to criminal and ecclesiastical matters against bishops and clerics. But in regard to monetary and their own matters all of them have permission to bring accusations against them. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd.

 

139. It has pleased the Council to decree that no matter how many accusations are brought against any Clergymen whatever, and if the first one of such accusations to be examined could not be proved, the rest of the accusation thereafter shall not be admitted to a hearing.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; cc. IX, XXI of the 4th; cc. VIII, XXVII, CXXXVIII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

If various charges are laid by anyone against bishops or clerics, and one of the charges, the first to be examined, cannot be substantiated, the present Canon commands that the accuser shall not be allowed to proceed with the rest of his charges, on the ground that he has not shown himself to be truthful. See also Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd.

 

140. Witnesses are not to be allowed to give testimony if they have been declared inadmissible as accuser-s; nor furthermore are those whom the accuser himself produces from his own household. Testimony offered by anyone under the age of fourteen years should not be admitted as evidence.

(Ap. c. LXXV; c. II of the 1st; cc. VIII, XXVII, XXXVIII, LXVIII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

Not only must accusers of clerics and of those in holy orders be free from accusations, but also those who are about to give testimony against them, as the present Canon decrees. So then all persons whom we have described hereinabove as not being allowed to bring charges against clerics are also precluded from giving testimony against them. But neither are those persons admissible as witnesses whom the accuser brings forward from his own home (and especially when they are under his control); for these persons are open to suspicion on account of their intimacy. But also all those who are not yet arrived at the age of puberty, being not yet fourteen years old, are disqualified as witnesses, because of their not yet having stable reasoning and thinking powers. Read also Ap. c. LXXV.

 

141. It has pleased the Council to decree that if any Bishop ever says that anyone confessed to him alone a crime of his own, and that person denies it, the Bishop must not deem it an insult to him that he is not believed on his word alone. But if he should say that scruples of his conscience forbid him to commune with the one making the denial so long as his own Bishop refuses to commune with the one who has been excommunicated, the other Bishops shall not commune with the said Bishop. So that a Bishop is rather cautioned against making statements against anyone which he cannot substantiate and prove to others by means of witnesses.

(Ap. c. XXXII; c. V of the 1st; c. VI of Antioch; c. I of Holy Wisdom-c. XIV of Sardica; cc. XI, XXXVII of Carthage.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if anyone confesses privately some sin of his own to a bishop which deserves excommunication, and afterwards the bishop reveals it, but when told this the one who confessed it denies that he confessed it to him, — if, I say, this should occur, the bishop ought not to be believed on his word alone, but ought to be compelled to hold communion with that man, and not think it a slight to himself that others do not pay credence to him alone. But if he does not want to have communion with the one who confessed, and he refuses to do so on the alleged ground that his conscience forbids him to have any fellowship with one who deserves to be excommunicated and excluded from communion, so long as he himself does not communicate with the denier, the other bishops must not communicate with him (sc. the said bishop) either. And this is done in order that a bishop may be kept from making any charges against anyone that he cannot prove to others with witnesses or other means. Read also Ap. c. XXXII, and the Footnote to c. IX of the Council held in Neocaesarea.

The First Letter from the whole Council in Africa sent to Boniface the Bishop of the Church of the Romans through Bishop Faustinus and Presbyters Philippus and Asellus, the legates of the Church of Rome.

Since it has pleased the Lord, in regard to what our most holy brethren, Faustinus a fellow Bishop, and Philippus and Asellus fellow Presbyters, have transacted with us, not to Zosimus the Bishop of blessed memory, from whom they brought us letters and commandments, but to Your Honor who has been appointed by God to take his place, we ought briefly to make known what our own brevity may describe as having been finished and brought to a conclusion with the concord of each of us. Not, however, what occupies extensive volumes of transactions, wherein, though love is preserved, it was not without a good deal of toil of disputation that we have dragged on, while reflecting upon what would conduce to the matter if inserted in the proceedings. For even he, were he still in this body, would more than gladly have accepted what he saw had been finished and concluded in a fairly peaceable manner, dear Brother. Apiarius the Presbyter, concerning whose ordination and excommunication and challenge no little scandal has arisen not only in the church in Sicca, but also in the whole Church of Africa, has been restored to communion after begging pardon for everything concerning which he was deluded. For first our fellow Bishop Urban, the Bishop of Sicca, undoubtedly corrected himself so far as there was anything in him that required correction. But since it was necessary to make provision for the peace and quiet of the Church not only as respects the present, but also as respects the future, because many such disturbances had arisen previously, so that we might safeguard ourselves from like or worse ones hereafter, it has pleased us to decree that Presbyter Apiarius be removed from the Church in Sicca, though it is to be remarked that he shall be allowed to keep the honor of his rank, and shall be given a letter allowing him to perform the duty of a presbyter anywhere else that he may be willing and able to perform this duty which without demur we have allowed to the said Apiarius as his right in accordance with the request he made in his own letters. But before this cause had been brought to such a conclusion among other things that are constantly calling upon us for a decision, at the demand of reason itself, so that we were asked by our brethren Faustinus a fellow Bishop and Philippus and Asellus fellow Presbyters in the ecclesiastical transactions that they might offer anything whatsoever that was permitted them and ought to be transacted with us by way of collaborating orally and not in writing. But when we demanded the written Commonitory which they had brought with them, they produced it, and after being read by us it was inserted in the transactions too in evidence of what they reported, wherein there were some four things which were inserted as things required to be transacted with us. One of these requests concerned the right of Bishops to appeal to the Priest of the Church of the Romans. A second one’was that Bishops should not sail off to the Comitatus on the spur of the moment. A third one concerned the trying of the causes of Presbyters and Deacons before Bishops within the same confines, if they be petulantly excluded from communion by their Bishops. A fourth one was that concerning Urban the Bishop, who was to be excommunicated, or furthermore to be called to Rome, unless he corrected himself in regard to whatever things ought to be corrected. Of all of which things it is concerning the first and the third, that is, that Bishops be permitted to appeal to Rome, and that the causes of Clerics be tried by the Bishops of their own provinces. Already last year in other letters of ours sent to the same Bishop Zosimus of adorable memory we endeavored to make it plain that without any slight to him we were minded to be reserved for a while, until the definitions laid down by the Council held in Nicaea could be consulted. Accordingly, we now ask Your Holiness to make it a point that these rules be kept by you just as they were transacted and adopted by the Fathers in Nicaea, and that you cause them to be included in the text of that same Commonitory with your approval. That is, if a Bishop be accused and the Bishops of his province convene and try him, and depose him from his rank, when he deems it necessary to appeal his case and to resort to the most blissful Bishop of the Church of the Romans, if he agrees to let him be heard and considers it right for the case to be reopened, that he may condescend to write to the Bishops appointed to the province bordering on and lying adjacent thereto, in order that they may investigate everything diligently and decide the case in accordance with a belief in the truth. But if the one begging to have his cause heard anew applies to the Roman Bishop with his own supplication, in order to have him send a Presbyter from his own side in possession of authority, that is of the Bishop, as to what he may wish and what he may judge. Accordingly, if he decides that they ought to be present with the Bishops to judge the matter, invested with the authority of the one who sent them, it shall be in his judgment. But if he believes the Bishops to be sufficient to try the matters involved in the case, may he do whatever agrees with his most wise resolution. Likewise as regards Presbyters and Deacons if any Bishop who is irascible, which he ought not to be, attacks a Presbyter or Deacon of his own rashly or roughly, and angrily wishes to banish this man from his own church, some provision must be made to prevent his being unjustly condemned or losing his title to communion. Let the ousted man therefore have the right to apply to the adjacent Bishops, and let his cause be heard, and let his case be tried more diligently. For a hearing ought not to be denied to him when he respectfully requests it. And that Bishop who either justly or unjustly ousted him ought to condescend tolerantly to let the matters involved in the case be examined, in order that his opinion may be either confirmed or corrected. These arrangements, that is to say, are to hold until the arrival of the truest copies, or exemplars, of the Council held in Nicaea: which if found there in the way in which they are contained in the Commonitory itself which has been presented to us through the brethren sent here from the Apostolic See, and are kept by you in the same order in Italy, we shall nowise be disposed to make any mention of such things, nor shall we feel urged to suffer, but, on the contrary, we believe that with the help of the mercy of the Lord our God, and with Your Holiness presiding over the Roman Church, we shall no longer have to endure this typhus. Let those things be kept as pertaining to us that even without our speaking about them ought to be kept with fraternal and brotherly love, which things in accordance with the wisdom and justice which the Most High has bestowed upon you; and you will agree that even these ought to be kept if by any chance the Canons of the Council held in Nicaea should differ from them in any respect. For we have consulted a great many books, but have nowhere read in reference to the Council in Nicaea in Roman books anything in the way they have been represented in the aforesaid Commonitory received thence. Yet, since we were unable to find a single Greek book here from the Eastern churches where the same decisions are mentioned, and the authentic Canons cannot yet be found, we should like rather to have them offered to us. Wherefore we humbly entreat Your Reverence to write and yourself further demand of the Priests of those parts, that is, of the Church in Antioch and of that in Alexandria and of that in Constantinople, and others, if it be agreeable to Your Holiness, and have them send us thence the Canons which were decreed by the Holy Fathers in Nicaea, so that with the help of the Lord you may have the exceptional privilege of introducing this benefaction to all the Western churches. For who doubts that the truest tenors are to be found among the Greeks who attended the Council which convened in Nicaea, which tenors having been collected from such various regions and official Greek churches and upon comparison are found to agreed Until this has been done we agree with the rules exhibited to us in the aforesaid Commonitory as regards appeals of Bishops to the Priest of the Roman Church, and as regards the causes of Clerics which ought to be tried by the Bishops of their own provinces, and we are going to keep them pending their confirmation, and we trust that Your Blissfulness, God willing, shall help us to do so. As for the rest of the things transacted and affirmed in our Council, since the aforesaid Brethren of ours Faustinus a fellow Bishop and Philippus and Asellus fellow Presbyters are taking them with them and if you deign they will make them known to Your Holiness. And they signed, and subscribed to them. May our Lord guard you for us for many years, Ο most blissful Brother. Alypius, Augustine, Possidius, Marinus, and the rest of the Bishops signed and subscribed likewise.

The Second Letter of the Council in Africa to Pope Celestine.

We pray that in the same way as Your Holiness graciously stated to us concerning the presence of Apiarius, in letters sent through your Presbyter Leo, so and in like manner we have gladly sent the present letters concerning the purification of the same person. For it was plain that both our and your alacrity and eagerness would be safer, and there seemed to be no use asking anything about what has not yet told, though it has been previously mentioned as though it were something already told. When therefore our most holy Brother and Fellow Bishop Faustinus visited us, we assembled a Council; and we believed on this account him to have been sent with that one, in order that just as this one even now may be able for his own purpose to clear himself of so many charges that have been laid against him on the part of those who have come from the churches in Thabracenae, whose so many and so enormous misdeeds and obliquities were running down our Council like a multitudinous host, and it was found that it overcame the above-mentioned person’s patronage rather than his judgment, and his endeavor as an ecdicus rather than his justice as a judge. For first of all he offered great resistance to the whole Council, hurling various insults, as though he were defending the privileges of the Roman Church. And wishing him to be admitted by us to communion whom Your Holiness believed to be entitled to an appeal, which he was unable to prove, it restored him to communion. Nevertheless, that happened to him which you may learn still better by reading the minutes of the proceedings. In spite of the fact that a tiresome trial was held which lasted for three days, during which we sought to smash the various arguments advanced by the same person, God, the righteous judge, the mighty and forbearing judge, made short shift of the expatiations of our Fellow Bishop Faustinus, and the obstructive tactics of the said Apiarius which he relied upon to cover up his illicit and shameful activities, thereby putting an end, that is to say, to his disgusting and offensive persistence, and to the impudence of the denial by which he wanted to sink into the mud of so many pleasures. For when our God troubled his conscience, and the hidden recesses of his heart, as things already condemned in the swamp of charges, were laid bare to the eyes of all men, the guileful denier suddenly shrieked out a confession of all the charges laid against him, and hardly ever did he voluntarily reprove himself as respecting all the improbable reproaches; in fact he even caused us to utter groans instead of the hope on account of which we had even believed him, and prayed that he might be able to clear himself of the so disgracefully shameful aspersions, except for the fact that he alleviated this grief of ours with the single consolation that he had saved us from the lamentable plight of a long-continued and toilsome struggle, and provided at any rate some relief with his own wounds as a result of his confession, though he did so involuntarily and in spite of the antagonism of his own conscience, dear Brother. To sum up, therefore, while fulfilling the duty of paying our homage, we supplicate you not to lend ready attention to those coming hence to speak into your ears hereafter, nor to admit those who have been excommunicated by us to communion hereafter, since Your Reverence should easily find this to have been laid down as a rule by e Council in Nicaea. For it appears therein that it is to be kept even in regard ,o the lower Clerics and laymen, how much more ought it not to be respected in regard to Bishops? So let not persons excluded from communion in their own Province appear to be restored to communion earnestly and unduly by Your Holiness. And Your Holiness discourage, as it becomes you to do, the lnpudent subterfuges and evasions likewise of Presbyters and of the Deacons following them, since this is not prohibited by any definition or rule of the Fathers to the Church in Africa; and the decisions of the Council held in Nicaea manifestly relegated them, whether Clerics of lower rank, or Bishops themselves, to their own Metropolitans. It therefore prudently and justly agreed that any matters whatsoever that might arise ought to be settled within their own territories. For they did not deem that in each and every province the grace of the Holy Spirit might be wanting, through which grace justice can be both judiciously seen and steadily attended to by the Priests of Christ Indeed, the fact is that to each and every person it has been made permissible if he applies to him in regard to a trial by judges of ecclesiastical cases, to take an appeal to the councils and synods of his own province, or even further to an Ecumenical Council. Unless, can it be, there is anyone who will believe that our God cannot inspire any person whatsoever with justice, or that He will deny it to the countless Priests gathered together in a Council? How can it be said that this experimental judgment is certain, to which the necessary persons of witnesses, either on account of the weakness of one’s nature, or on account of the weakness of old age, or owing to numerous other obstacles, cannot be submitted. For as concerns the statement that one may be sent as though he were come out of the side of Your Holiness, we do not find it to have been made by any Council of the Fathers: since, what was long ago sent forth through our said Fellow Bishop Faustinus, as though dispatched on the part of the Council of Nicaea, in the truer copies of the Council in Nicaea which we received from most holy Cyril, our Fellow Bishop of the Church of Alexandria, and sent by adorable Atticus, the Bishop of Constantinople, from the original and authentic sources, which further before this through Innocent the Presbyter and Marcellus the Subdeacon, through whom they were sent to us by those persons, to Boniface the Bishop of adorable memory who was your predecessor, were dispatched by us: we could not discover any such fact at any time. As for executors, therefore, though they have been demanded by some for our Clerics, do not send us any, nor grant us any, lest we seem to be introducing a cloud of smoke from the world into the Church of Christ, which offers the light of simplicity and the day of humility to those who desire to see God. For now that deplorable Apiarius has been removed from the Church of Christ by our brother Faustinus, in accordance with his illicit depravities, Africa no longer has to endure him, thanks to the probity and regularity of Your Holiness in saving brotherly love.

The signature. May our God guard Your Holiness for the longest time praying in our behalf, dear Brother.

Interpretation.

The reason for the sending of both these letters was that some presbyter of Sicca by the name of Apiarius made it necessary. We shall interpret them briefly and comprehensively, and only with respect to their purport, but not with reference to every word in them, in order to avoid prolixity. It appears, then, that the case of this Apiarius was a result of some economical measure, for the purpose of branding and execrating by action of the present Council the proud innovations which the Popes of Rome were going to invent in the future. Infallibility, I mean, and impeccability, Monarchy, the rumored right of appeal; and in addition to these things that system of adulteration and garbling and corruption which from that time the Westerners undertook to introduce into the books of the sacred Councils and of the individual Fathers, in opposition to the unadulterated preservation of the same books among the Greeks and the Easterners, all of which facts can be proved by these two letters of the present Council. Accordingly let us start with the first one. This Apiarius, who was a presbyter in the bishopric of Sicca, Africa, and was reproved by a Council for canonical crimes which he had committed, was separated from the communion of his fellow presbyters and of the bishops and clerics. After going to Rome twice, both in the time of Zosimus and in the time of Celestine, he was admitted to communion by them, and not only this but equipped with letters commendatory given to him by them he returned to Africa with Bishop Faustinus, the legate of the said Popes, who, in spite of his doing his utmost to have Apiarius acquitted of the criminal charges alleged against him, having become rather a protector than a judge and ecdicus, or a cognitor, but he labored in vain. For Apiarius was conscience-stricken and confessed openly that he was really guilty of the crimes with which he had been charged, as is shown in this second letter addressed to Celestine. Accordingly, behold the infallibility and impeccability of the Pope branded and execrated before your eyes. For two Popes and their legate, making three in all, were found to be illegally communing with the one who had been excommunicated, and consequently sinning red-handed. This Council reproves Celestine by saying: No one will believe that God has given all jurisdiction to a single Bishop, and not to so many Bishops who have gathered together in the Council. "No one will believe that our God cannot inspire any person whatsoever with justice, or that he will deny it to the countless Priests gathered together in a Council." Accordingly, behold the monarchy of the Pope tumbling down. Pope Zosimus gave a Commonitory letter, or, more plainly speaking, a warrant and command in written form to Faustinus his legate wherein he quoted the fifth Canon of the Council held in Sardica and decreeing that if any bishop is accused and the bishops of the province try him, he has the right to appeal his case to the Bishop of Rome, who then sends judges from his side — i.e., on his own part — to try the bishop again. He likewise quotes c. XIV of the same C. of Sardica decreeing that presbyters and deacons who have been excommunicated by an irascible bishop have the right to go to the bishops of nearby districts to be judged. He added to both these Canons a false superscription to the effect that they were Canons of the First Nicene Council. But this Council with the help of the veritable copies, or tenors, of the Nicene Canons which Caecilianus was the first to bring it, and with the authentic and truest tenors of the same Canons of the Nicene Council which were sent to it later both by Atticus, the Bishop of Constantinople, and by Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, through Innocent the presbyter and Marcellus the subdeacon (through which men like copies were sent also to Boniface of Rome by the same Council); comparing those two Canons and finding that the Nicene Canons decree nothing of the kind, it proved Zosimus to have been lying, and consequently that the right of appeal which he had demanded for bishops and presbyters and deacons not subject to his jurisdiction was fictitious and factitious. That is why, in order to exclude this right of appeal hereafter definitively, it not only has purposely set forth the two Canons pertaining thereto, namely, pc· XXXVI and CXXXIV, but even went so far as to write to Celestine imperatively: "As For executors, therefore, though they have been demanded by some for our Clerics, do not send us any, nor grant us any, lest we seem to be introducing a cloud of smoke from the world into the Church of Christ, which offers the light of simplicity and the day of humility to those who desire to see God." And again: "So let not persons excluded from communion in their own province appear to be restored to communion earnestly and unduly by Your Holiness." Moreover, as concerning Apiarius it wrote that if the Pope wants to acquit him, Africa will not endure this any longer, but will hold him in contempt no doubt as a lawbreaker. And not only this, but Westerners were proved by this Council to be corrupters of books, whereas Easterners were shown to be true guardians thereof. For in the present letter to Boniface it says the following: "For who doubts that the truest tenors are to be found among the Greeks who attended the Council which convened in Nicaea, which tenors have been collected from such various regions and official Greek churches and upon comparison are found to agree?"