The Quinsext Council (or the Council in Trullo), 692
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THE CANONS OF THE COUNCIL IN TRULLO
THE QUINISEXT COUNCIL
The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes.
Excursus to Canon VI., On the Marriage of the Clergy.
From the fact that the canons of the Council in Trullo are
included in this volume of the Decrees and Canons of the Seven
Ecumenical Councils it must not for an instant be supposed that
it is intended thereby to affirm that these canons have any ecumenical
authority, or that the council by which they were adopted can
lay any claim to being ecumenical either in view of its constitution
or of the subsequent treatment by the Church of its enactments.
It is true that it claimed at the time an ecumenical character,
and styled itself such in several of its canons, it is true that
in the mind of the Emperor Justinian II., who summoned it, it
was intended to have been ecumenical. It is the that the Greeks
at first declared it to be a continuation of the Sixth Synod and
that by this name they frequently denominate and quote its canons.
But it is also true that the West was not really represented at
it at all (as we shall see presently); that when the Emperor afterwards
sent the canons to the Pope to receive his signature, he absolutely
refused to have anything to do with them; and it is further true
that they were never practically observed by the West at all,
and that even in the East their authority was rather theoretical
(Fleury. Histoire Ecclesiastique, Livre XL., Chap. xlix.)
As the two last General Councils (in 553 and in 681)had not
made any Canons, the Orientals judged it suitable to supply them
eleven years after the Sixth Council, that is to say, the year
692, fifth indiction. For that purpose the Emperor Justinian convoked
a Council, at which 211 Bishops attended, of whom the principal
were the four Patriarchs, Paul of Constantinople, Peter of Alexandria,
Anastasius of Jerusalem, George of Antioch. Next in the subscriptions
are named John of Justinianopolis, Cyriacus of Cesarea in Cappadocia,
Basil of Gortyna in Crete, who says that he represents the whole
Council of the Roman Church, as he had said in subscribing the
Sixth Council. But it is certain otherwise that in this latter
council there were present Legates of the Holy See. This council,
like the Sixth, (1) assembled in the dome of the palace called
in Latin Trullus, which name it has kept. It is also named in
Latin Quinisextum, in Greek Penthecton, as one might say, the
fifth-sixth, to mark that it is only the supplement of the two
preceding Councils, though properly it is a distinct one.
The intention was to make a body of discipline to serve thenceforth
for the whole Church, and it was distributed into 102 Canons.
To this statement by Fleury some additions must be made. First,
with regard to the date of the synod. This is not so certain as
would appear at first sight. At the Seventh Ecumenical Council,
the patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople asserted that, "four
or five years after the sixth Ecumenical Council the same bishops,
in a new assembly under Justinian II. had published the [Trullan]
Canons mentioned," and this assertion the Seventh Council
appears to have accepted as true, if we understand the sixth session
aright. Now were this statement true, the date would be probably
686, but this is impossible by the words of the council itself,
where we find mention made of the fifteenth of January of the
past 4th indiction, or the year of the world, 6109. To make this
agree at all, scholars tell us that for iv. must be read xiv.
But the rest of the statement is equally erroneous, the bishops
were not the same, as can readily be seen by comparing the subscriptions
to the Acts. The year of the world 6109 is certainly wrong, and
so other scholars would read 6199,
but here a division takes place, for some reckon by the Constantinopolitan
era, and so fix the date at 691, and others following the Alexandrian
era fix it at 706. But this last is certainly wrong, for the canons
were sent for signature to Pope Sergius, who died as early as
701. Hefele's conclusion is as follows:
(Hefele. Hist. of the Councils, Vol. V., p. 222.)
The year 6199 of the Constantinopolitan era coincides with
the year 691 after Christ and the IVth Indiction ran from September
1, 690, to August 31, 691. If then, our Synod, in canon iij.,
speaks of the 15th of January in the past Indiction IV., it means
January 691; but it belongs itself, to the Vth Indiction, i.e.,
it was opened after September 1, 691, and before September 1,
As this is not a history of the Councils but a collection
of their decrees and canons with illustrative notes, the only
other point to be considered is the reception these canons met
The decrees were signed first by the Emperor, the next place
was left vacant for the Pope, then followed the subscriptions
of the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and
Antioch, the whole number being 211, bishops or representatives
of bishops. It is not quite certain whether any of the Patriarchs
were present except Paul of Constantinople; but taking it all
in all the probability is in favour of their presence. (1) Blank
places were left for the bishops of Thessalonica, Sardinia, Ravenna
and Corinth. The Archbishop of Gortyna in Crete added to his signature
the phrase "Holding the place of the holy Church of Rome
in every synod." He had in the same way signed the decrees
of III. Constantinople, Crete belonging to the Roman Patriarchate;
as to whether his delegation on the part of the Roman Synod continued
or was merely made to continue by his own volition we have no
information. The ridiculous blunder of Balsamon must be noted
here, who asserts that the bishops whose names are missing and
for which blank places were left, had actually signed.
Pope Sergius refused to sign the decrees when they were sent
to him, rejected them as "lacking authority" (invalidi)
and described them as containing "novel errors." With
the efforts to extort his signature we have no concern further
than to state that they signally failed. Later on, in the time
of Pope Constantine, a middle course seems to have been adopted,
a course subsequently in the ninth century thus expressed by Pope
John VIII., "he accepted all those canons which did not contradict
the true faith, good morals, and the decrees of Rome," a
truly notable statement! Nearly a century later Pope Hadrian I.
distinctly recognizes all the Trullan decrees in his letter to
Tenasius of Constantinople and attributes them to the Sixth Synod.
"All the holy six synods I receive with all their canons,
which rightly and divinely were promulgated by them, among which
is contained that in which reference is made to a Lamb being pointed
to by the Precursor as being found in certain of the venerable
images." Here the reference is unmistakably to the Trullan
Hefele's summing up of the whole matter is as follows:
(Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. V., p. 242.)
That the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nice ascribed the Trullan
canons to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and spoke of them entirely
in the Greek spirit, cannot astonish us, as it was attended almost
solely by Greeks. They specially pronounced the recognition of
the canons in question in their own first canon; but their own
canons have never received the ratification of the Holy See.
Thus far Hefele, but it seems that Gratian's statement on
the subject in the Decretum should not be omitted here. (Pars
I. Dist. XVI., c. v.)
"Canon V. The Sixth Synod is confirmed by the authority of
Hadrian. "I receive the Sixth Synod with all its canons.
"Gratian. There is a doubt whether it set forth canons
but this is easily removed by examnining the fourth session of
the VIIth [VIth by mistake, vide Roman Correctors' note] Synod.
"For Peter the Bp. of Nicomedia says: "C. VI. The Sixth
Synod wrote canons.
"I have a book containing the canons of the holy Sixth
Synod. The Patriarch said: 1. Some are scandalized through their
ignorance of these canons, saying: Did the Sixth Synod make any
canons? Let them know then that the Sixth Holy Synod was gathered
together under Constantine against those who said there is one
operation and one will in Christ, in which the holy Fathers anathematized
these as heretics and explained the orthodox faith.
"II. Pars 2. And the synod was dissolved in the XIVth
year of Constantine. After four or five years the same holy Fathers
met together under Justinian, the son of Constantine, and promulgated
the aforementioned canons, of which let no one have any doubt.
For they who under Constantine were in synod, these same bishops
under Justinian subscribed to all these canons. For it was fitting
that a Universal Synod should promulgate ecclesiastical canons.
Item: 3. The Holy Sixth Synod after it promulgated its definition
against the Monothelites, the emperor Constantine who had summoned
it, dying soon after, and Justinian his son reigning in his stead,
the same holy synod divinely inspired again met at Constantinople
four or five years afterwards, and promulgated one hundred and
two canons for the correction of the Church.
"Gratian. From this therefore it may be gathered that
the Sixth Synod was twice assembled: the first time under Constantine
and then passed no canons; the second time under Justinian his
son, and promulgated the aforesaid canons."
Upon this passage of Gratian's the Roman Correctors have a
long and interesting note, with quotations from Anastasius, which
should be read with care by the student but is too long to cite
I close with some eminently wise remarks by Prof. Michaud.
(E. Michaud, Discussion sur lea Sept Conciles (Ecumeniques, p.
Upon the canons of this council we must remark:
1. That save its acceptance of the dogmatic decisions of the
six Ecumenical Councils, which is contained in the first canon,
tiffs council had an exclusively disciplinary character; and consequently
if it should be admitted by the particular churches, these would
always remain, on account of their autonomy, judges of the fitness
or non-suitability of the practical application of these decisions.
2. That the Easterns have never pretended to impose this code
upon the practice of the Western Churches, especially as they
themselves do not practise everywhere the hundred and two canons
mentioned. All they wished to do was to maintain the ancient discipline
against the abuses and evil innovations of the Roman Church, and
to make her pause upon the dangerous course in which she was already
beginning to enter.
3. That if among these canons, some do not apply to the actual
present state of society, e.g., the 8th, 10th, 11th, etc.; if
others, framed in a spirit of transition between the then Eastern
customs and those of Rome, do not appear as logical nor as wise
as one might desire, e.g., the 6th, 12th, 48th, etc., nevertheless
on the other hand, many of them are marked with the most profound
THE CANONS OF THE COUNCIL IN TRULLO.
(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VI., col. 1135 et seqq.)
THAT order is best of all which makes every word and act begin
and end in God. Wherefore that piety may be clearly set forth
by us and that the Church of which Christ is the foundation may
be continually increased and advanced, and that it may be exalted
above the cedars of Lebanon; now therefore we, by divine grace
at the beginning of our decrees, define that the faith set forth
by the God-chosen Apostles who themselves had both seen and were
ministers of the Word, shall be preserved without any innovation,
unchanged and inviolate.
Moreover the faith of the three hundred and eighteen holy
and blessed fathers who were assembled at Nice under Constantine
our Emperor, against the impious Arius, and the gentile diversity
of deity or rather (to speak accurately) multitude of gods taught
by him, who by the unanimous acknowledgment of the faithful revealed
and declared to us the consubstantiality of the Three Persons
comprehended in the Divine Nature, not suffering this faith to
lie hidden under the bushel of ignorance, but openly teaching
the faithful to adore with one worship the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost, confuting and scattering to the winds the opinion
of different grades, and demolishing and overturning the puerile
toyings fabricated out of sand by the heretics against orthodoxy.
Likewise also we confirm that faith which was set forth by
the one hundred and fifty fathers who in the time of Theoriesins
the Elder, our Emperor, assembled in this imperial city, accepting
their decisions with regard to the Holy Ghost in assertion of
his godhead, and expelling the profane Macedonius (together with
all previous enemies of the truth) as one who dared to judge Him
to be a servant who is Lord, and who wished to divide, like a
robber, the inseparable unity, so that there might be no perfect
mystery of our faith.
And together with this odious and detestable contender against
the truth, we condemn Apollinaris, priest of the same iniquity,
who impiously belched forth that the Lord assumed a body unendowed
with a soul, (1) thence also inferring that his salvation wrought
for us was imperfect.
Moreover what things were set forth by the two hundred God-bearing
fathers in the city of Ephesus in the days of Theodosius our Emperor,
the son of Arcadius; these doctrines we assent to as the unbroken
strength of piety, teaching that Christ the incarnate Son of God
is one; and declaring that she who bare him without human seed
was the immaculate Ever-Virgin, glorifying her as literally and
in very truth the Mother of God. We condemn as foreign to the
divine scheme the absurd division of Nestorius, who teaches that
the one Christ consists of a man separately and of the Godhead
separately and renews the Jewish impiety.
Moreover we confirm that faith which at Chalcedon, the Metropolis,
was set forth in accordance with orthodoxy by the six hundred
and thirty God-approved fathers in the time of Marcian, who was
our Emperor, which handed down with a great and mighty voice,
even unto the ends of the earth, that the one Christ, the son
of God, is of two natures, and must be glorified (2) in these
two natures, and which cast forth from the sacred precincts of
the Church as a black pestilence to be avoided, Eutyches, babbling
stupidly and inanely, and teaching that the great mystery of the
) was perfected
in thought only. And together with him also Nestorius and Dioseorus
of whom the former was the defender and champion of the division,
the latter of the confusion [of the two natures in the one Christ],
both of whom fell away from the divergence of their impiety to
a common depth of perdition and denial of God.
Also we recognize as inspired by the Spirit the pious voices
of the one hundred and sixty-five God-beating fathers who assembled
in this imperial city in the time of our Emperor Justinian of
blessed memory, and we teach them to those who come after us;
for these synodically anathematized and execrated Theodore of
Mopsuestia (the teacher of Nestorius), and Origen, and Didymus,
and Evagrius, all of whom reintroduced feigned Greek myths, and
brought back again the circlings of certain bodies and souls,
and deranged turnings [or transmigrations] to the wanderings or
dreamings of their minds, and impiously insulting the resurrection
of the dead. Moreover [they condemned] what things were written
by Theodoret against the right faith and against the Twelve Chapters
of blessed Cyril, and that letter which is said to have been written
Also we agree to guard untouched the faith of the Sixth Holy
Synod, which first assembled in this imperial city in the time
of Constantine, our Emperor, of blessed memory, which faith received
still greater confirmation from the fact that the pious Emperor
ratified with his own signet that which was written for the security
of future generations. This council taught that we should openly
profess our faith that in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, our
true God, there are two natural wills or volitions and two natural
operations; and condemned by a just sentence those who adulterated
the true doctrine and taught the people that in the one Lord Jesus
Christ there is but one will and one operation; to wit, Theodore
of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Honorius of Rome, Sergius, Pyrrhus,
Paul and Peter, who were bishops of this God-preserved city; Macarius,
who was bishop of Antioch; Stephen, who was his disciple, and
the insane Polychronius, depriving them henceforth from the communion
of the body of Christ our God.
And, to say so once for all, we decree that the faith shall
stand firm and remain unsullied until the end of the world as
well as the writings divinely handed down and the teachings of
all those who have beautified and adorned the Church of God and
were lights in the world, having embraced the word of life. And
we reject and anathematize those whom they rejected and anathematized,
as being enemies of the truth, and as insane ragers against God,
and as lifters up of iniquity.
But if any one at all shall not observe and embrace the aforesaid
pious decrees, and teach and preach in accordance therewith, but
shall attempt to set himself in opposition thereto, let him be
anathema, according to the decree already promulgated by the up-proved
holy and blessed Fathers, and let him be cast out and stricken
off as an alien from the number of Christians. For our decrees
add nothing to the things previously defined, nor do they take
anything away, nor have we any such power.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON I. is
No innovation upon the faith of the Apostles to be allowed. The faith of the Nicene fathers is perfect, which overthrows through the homousion the doctrines of Arius who introduced degrees into the Godhead.
The Synod held under Theodosius the great shall be held inviolate,
which deposed Macedonius who asserted that the Holy Ghost was
The two hundred who under Theodosius the Younger assembled
at Ephesus are to be reversed for they expelled Nestorius who
asserted that the Lord was man and God separately (
Those who assembled at Chalcedon in the time of Marcion are to be celebrated with eternal remembrance, who deposed Eutyches. who dared to say that the great mystery was
accomplished only in image, as well as Nestorius and Dioscorus,
observing equal things in an opposite direction.
One hundred and sixty-five were assembled in the imperial
city by Justinian, who anathematized Origen, for teaching periods
) of bodies and souls, and
Theodoret who dared to set himself up to oppose the Twelve Chapters
At Constantinople a Synod was collected tinder Constantine
which rejected Honorius of Rome and Sergius, prelate of Constantinople,
for teaching one will and one operation.
The fifth was held in the time of Justinian the Great at Constantinople
against the crazy (
Evagrius and Didymus, who remodelled the Greek figments, and stupidly
said that the same bodies they had joined with them would not
rise again; and that Paradise was not subject to the appreciation
of the sense, and that it was not from God, and that Adam was
not formed in flesh, and that there would be an end of punishment,
and a restitution of the devils to their pristine state, and other
innumerable insane blasphemies.
IT has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five
canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers
before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy
and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm
and unshaken for the cure of souls and the healing of disorders.
And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions
of the Holy Apostles [written] by Clement. But formerly through
the agency of those who erred from the faith certain adulterous
matter was introduced, clean contrary to piety, for the polluting
of the Church, which obscures the elegance and beauty of the divine
decrees in their present form. We therefore reject these Constitutions
so as the better to make sure of the edification and security
of the most Christian flock; by no means admitting the offspring
of heretical error, and cleaving to the pure and perfect doctrine
of the Apostles. But we set our seal likewise upon all the other
holy canons set forth by our holy and blessed Fathers, that is,
by the 318 holy God-bearing Fathers assembled at Nice, and those
at Ancyra, further those at Neocaesarea and likewise those at
Gangra, and besides, those at Antioch in Syria: those too at Laodicea
in Phrygia: and likewise the 150 who assembled in this heaven-protected
royal city: and the 200 who assembled the first time in the metropolis
of the Ephesians, and the 630 holy and blessed Fathers at Chalcedon.
In like manner those of Sardica, and those of Carthage: those
also who again assembled in this heaven-protected royal city under
its bishop Nectarins and Theophilus Archbishop of Alexandria.
Likewise too the Canons [i.e. the decretal letters] of Dionysius,
formerly Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria; and of Peter,
Archbishop of Alexandria and Martyr; of Gregory the Wonder-worker,
Bishop of Neocaesarea; of Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria;
of Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; of Gregory, Bishop
of Nyssa; of Gregory Theologus; of Amphilochius of Iconium; of
Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria; of Theophilus, Archbishop of
the same great city of Alexandria; of Cyril, Archbishop of the
same Alexandria; of Gennadius, Patriarch of this heaven-protected
royal city. Moreover the Canon set forth by Cyprian, Archbishop
of the country of the Africans and Martyr, and by the Synod under
him, which has been kept only in the country of the aforesaid
Bishops, according to the custom delivered down to them. And that
no one be allowed to transgress or disregard the aforesaid canons,
or to receive others beside them, supposititiously set forth by
certain who have attempted to make a traffic of the truth. But
should any one be convicted of innovating upon, or attempting
to overturn, any of the afore-mentioned canons, he shall be subject
to receive the penalty which that canon imposes, and to be cured
by it of his transgression.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON II.
Whatever additions have been made through guile by the heterodox in the Apostolic Constitutions edited by Clement, shall be cut out.
This canon defines what canons are to be understood as having
received the sanction of ecumenical authority, and since these
canons of the Council in Trullo were received at the Seventh Ecumenical
Council in its first canon as the canons of the Sixth Ecumenical
(of which the Quinisext claimed to be a legitimate continuation)
there can be no doubt that all these canons enumerated in this
canon are set forth for the guidance of the Church.
With regard to what councils are intended: there is difficulty
only in two particulars, viz., the "Council of Constantinople
rius and Theophilus,"(1) and the "Council under Cyprian;"
the former must be the Council of 394, and the latter is usually
considered to be the III. Synod of Carthage, A.D. 257.
(H.E. Liv. xl., chap. xlix.)
The Council of Constantinople under Nectarius and Theophilus
of Alexandria must be that held in 394, at the dedication of Ruffinus's
Church; but we have not its canons. ... "The canon published
by St. Cyprian for the African Church alone." It is difficult
to understand what canon is referred to unless it is the preface
to the council of St. Cyprian where he says that no one should
pretend to be bishop of bishops, or to oblige his colleagues to
obey him by tyrannical fear.
It will be noticed that while the canon is most careful to
mention the exact number of Apostolic canons it received, thus
deciding in favour of the larger code, it is equally careful not
to assign them an Apostolic origin, but merely to say that they
had come down to them "in the name of" the Apostles.
In the face of this it is strange to find Balsamon saying, "Through
this canon their mouth is stopped who say that 85 canons were
not set forth by the holy Apostles;" what the council did
settle, so far as its authority went, was the number not the authorship
of the canons. This, I think, is all that Balsamon intended to
assert, but his words might easily be quoted as having a different
This canon is found, in part, in the Corpus Juris Canonici,
Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XVI, c. VII.
SINCE our pious and Christian Emperor has addressed this holy
and ecumenical council, in order that it might provide for the
purity of those who are in the list of the clergy, and who transmit
divine things to others, and that they may be blameless ministrants,
and worthy of the sacrifice of the great God, who is both Offering
and High Priest, a sacrifice apprehended by the intelligence:
and that it might cleanse away the pollutions wherewith these
have been branded by unlawful marriages: now whereas they of the
most holy Roman Church purpose to keep the rule of exact perfection,
but those who are under the throne of this heaven-protected and
royal city keep that of kindness and consideration, so blending
both together as our fathers have done, and as the love of God
requires, that neither gentleness fall into licence, nor severity
into harshness; especially as the fault of ignorance has reached
no small number of men, we decree, that those who are involved
in a second marriage, and have been slaves to sin up to the fifteenth
of the past month of January, in the past fourth Indiction, the
6109th year, and have not resolved to repent of it, be subjected
to canonical deposition: but that they who are involved in this
disorder of a second marriage, but before our decree have acknowledged
what is fitting, and have cut off their sin, and have put far
from them this strange and illegitimate connexion, or they whose
wives by second marriage are already dead, or who have turned
to repentance of their own accord, having learnt continence, and
having quickly forgotten their former iniquities, whether they
be presbyters or deacons, these we have determined should cease
from all priestly ministrations or exercise, being under punishment
for a certain time, but should retain the honour of their seat
and station, being satisfied with their seat before the laity
and begging with tears from the Lord that the transgression of
their ignorance be pardoned them: for unfitting it were that he
should bless another who has to tend his own wounds. But those
who have been married to one wife, if she was a widow, and likewise
those who after their ordination have unlawfully entered into
one marriage that is, presbyters, and deacons, and subdeacons,
being debarred for some short time from sacred ministration, and
censured, shall be restored again to their proper rank, never
advancing to any further rank, their unlawful marriage being openly
dissolved. This we decree to hold good only in the case of those
that are involved in the aforesaid
faults up to the fifteenth (as was said) of the month of January,
of the fourth Indiction, decreeing from the present time, and
renewing the Canon which declares, that he who has been joined
in two marriages after his baptism, or has had a concubine, cannot
be bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or at all on the sacerdotal
list; in like manner, that he who has taken a widow, or a divorced
person, or a harlot, or a servant, or an actress, cannot be bishop,
or presbyter, or deacon, or at all on the sacerdotal list.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON III.
Priests who shall have contracted second marriages and will
not give them up are to be deposed. But those who leave off the
wickedness, let them cease for a fixed period. For he that is
himself wounded does not bless. But who are implicated in nefarious
marriage and who after ordination have contracted marriage, after
a definite time they shall be restored to their grade, provided
they remain without offence, having plainly brown off the marriage.
But if after it shall have been prohibited by this decree they
attempt to do so they shall remain deposed.
What things pertain to this third canon are only adapted to
the time in which the canon was passed; and afterwards are of
no force at all. But what things the Fathers wished to be binding
on posterity are contained in the seventeenth and eighteenth canons
of the holy Apostles, which as having been neglected during the
course of time this synod wished to renew.
It is clear from this canon that the Emperor very especially
intended that the indulgence which the Church of Constantinople
extended to its presbyters and deacons in allowing them the use
of marriage entered into before ordination, should not be allowed
to go any further, nor to be an occasion for the violation of
that truly Apostolic canon, "The bishop, the presbyter, and
the deacon must be the husband of one wife." I. Tim. iii.
For never did the Constantinopolitan nor any other Eastern
Church allow by canon a digamist (or a man successively the husband
of many wives) to be advanced to the order of presbyter or deacon,
or to use any second marriage.
(Tentativa Theologica. [Eng. trans.] III. Principle, p. 79.)
In the same manner a second marriage always, and everywhere,
incapacitated the clergy for Holy Orders and the Episcopate. This
appears from St. Paul, 1 Tim. Chap. iii., and Titus, Chap. i.,
and it was expressly enacted by the sixteenth of the Apostolical
Canons, renewed by the Popes Siricius, Innocent and Leo the Great,
and may be gathered from the ancient fathers and councils generally
received in the Church.
Nevertheless we know from Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, that
many bishops remarkable for their learning and sanctity, frequently
dispensed with this Apostolical law; as Alexander of Antioch,
Acacius of Berea, Prayline of Jerusalem, Proclus of Constantinople,
and others, by whose example Theodoret defends his own conduct
in the case of Irenaaeus, in ordaining him Archbishop of Tyre,
although he had been twice married. But what is more surprising
in this matter is that, notwithstanding the eleventh Decretal
of Siricius, and the twelfth of Innocentius the First, that they
who had either been twice married, or had married widows, were
incapable of ordination, and ought to be deposed; the Council
of Toledo, Canon 3, and the First Council of Orange, Canon 25,
both dispensed with these Pontifical laws. The first, in order
that those who had married widows might remain in holy orders;
the second, that such as had twice married might be promoted to
the order of subdeacon. Socrates also observes that although it
was a general law not to admit catechumens to orders, the bishops
of Alexandria were in the habit of promoting such to the order
of readers and singers.
(H. E., Liv. XL., chap. 1.)
These canons of the Council of Trullo have served ever since
to the Greeks and to all the Christians of the East as the universal
rule with regard to clerical continence,and they have been now
in full force for a thousand years. That is to say, It is not
permitted to men who are clerics in Holy Orders to marry after
their ordination. Bishops must keep perfect continence, whether
before their consecration they are married or not. Priests, deacons,
and subdeacons already married can keep their wives and live with
them, except on the days they are to approach the holy mysteries.
IF any bishop, presbyter, deacon, sub-deacon, lector, cantor,
or door-keeper has had intercourse with a woman dedicated to God,
let him be deposed, as one who has corrupted a spouse of Christ,
but if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON IV.
A cleric coupled to a spouse of God shall be deposed In the
case of a layman he shall be cut off.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXVII., Q. I., c. vj.
A layman ravishing a nun, by secular law was punished by death.
Balsamon gives the reference thus: V Cap. primi tit. iiij. lib.
Basilic. or cxxiij. Novel.
LET none of those who are on the priestly list possess any
woman or maid servant, beyond those who are enumerated in the
canon as being persons free from suspicion, preserving himself
hereby from being implicated in any blame. But if anyone transgresses
our decree let him be deposed. And let eunuchs also observe the
same rule, that by foresight they may be free of censure. But
those who transgress, let them be deposed, if indeed they are
clerics; but if laymen let them be excommunicated.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON V.
A priest, even if a eunuch, shall not have in his house a
maid or other woman except those on whom no suspicion can light.
See Canon III., of First Ecumenical Council at Nice. This
canon adds Eunuchs.
SINCE it is declared in the apostolic canons that of those
who are advanced to the clergy unmarried, only lectors and cantors
are able to marry; we also, maintaining this, determine that henceforth
it is in nowise lawful for any subdeacon, deacon or presbyter
after his ordination to contract matrimony but if he shall have
dared to do so, let him be deposed. And if any of those who enter
the clergy, wishes to be joined to a wife in lawful marriage before
he is ordained subdeacon, deacon, or presbyter, let it be done.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VI.
If any ordained person contracts matrimony, let him be deposed.
If he wishes to be married he should become so before his ordination.
Aristenus points out how this canon annuls the tenth canon
of Ancyra, which allows a deacon and even a presbyter to marry
after ordination and continue in his ministry, provided at the
time of his ordination he had in the presence of witnesses declared
his inability to remain chaste or his desire to marry. This present
canon follows the XXVIth of the Apostolic canons.
The last clause of this canon, limited in its application
to subdeacons, is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXXII., c. vi.
EXCURSUS ON THE MARRIAGE OF THE CLERGY.
On this subject there is a popular misconception which must
first be removed. In the popular mind to-day there is no distinction
between "a married clergy" being allowed, and "the
marriage of the clergy" being allowed; even theological writers
who have attained some repute have confused these two things in
the most unfortunate and perplexing fashion. It will suffice to
mention as an instance of this Bp. Harold Browne in his book on
the XXXIX. Articles, in which not only is the confusion above
spoken of made, but the very blunder is used for controversial
purposes, to back up and support by the authority of the ancient
Church in the East (which allowed a married clergy) the practice
of the Nestorians and of the modern Church of England, both of
which tolerate the marriage of the clergy, a thing which the ancient
Church abhorred and punished with deposition.
I cannot better express the doctrine and practice of the ancient
Church in the East than by quoting the words of the Rev. John
Fulton in the Introduction to the Third Edition of his Index Canonum.(1)
He says: "Marriage was no impediment to ordination even as
a Bishop; and Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, equally with other
men, were forbidden to put away their wives under pretext of religion.
The case was different when a man was unmarried at the time of
his ordination. Then he was held to have given himself wholly
to God in the office of the Holy Ministry, and he was forbidden
to take back from his offering that measure of his cares and his
affections which must necessarily be given to the maintenance
and nurture of his family. In short, the married man might be
ordained, but with a few exceptions no man was allowed to marry
after ordination." In his "Digest" sub voce"
Celibacy" he gives the earliest canon law on the subject
as follows: "None of the clergy, except readers and singers
may marry after ordination (Ap. Can. xxvi.); but deacons may marry,
if at their ordination they have declared an intention to do so
(Ancyra x.). A priest who marries is to be deposed (Neocaesarea
i.). A deaconess who marries is to be anathematized (Chal. xv.);
a monk or dedicated virgin who marries, is to be excommunicated
(Chal. xvi.). Those who break their vows of celibacy are to fulfil
the penance of digamists (Ancyra xix.)."(2)
We may then take it for a general principle that in no part
of the ancient Church was a priest allowed to contract holy matrimony;
and in no place was he allowed to exercise his priesthood afterwards,
if he should dare to enter into such a relation with a woman.
As I have so often remarked it is not my place to approve or disapprove
this law of the Church, my duty is the much simpler one of tracing
historically what the law was and what it is in the East and West
to-day. The Reformers considered that in this, as in most other
matters, these venerable churches had made a mistake, but neither
the maintenance nor the disproof of this opinion in any way concerns
me, so far as this volume is concerned. All that is necessary
for me to do is to affirm that if a priest were at any time to
attempt to marry, he would be attempting to do that which from
the earliest times of which we have any record, no priest has
ever been allowed to do, but which always has been punished as
a gross sin of immorality.
In tracing the history of this subject, the only time during
which any real difficulty presents itself is the first three centuries,
after that all is much clearer, and my duty is simply to lay the
undisputed facts of the case before the reader.
We begin then with the debatable ground. And first with regard
to the Lord, "the great High Priest of our profession,"
of course there can be no doubt that he set the example, or--if
any think that he was not a pattern for the priests of his Church
to follow--at least lived the life, of celibacy. When we come
to the question of what was the practice of his first followers
in this matter, there would likewise seem to be but little if
doubt. For while of the Apostles we have it recorded only of Peter
that he was a married man, we have it also expressly recorded
that in his case, as in that of all the rest who had "forsaken
all" to follow him, the Lord himself said, "Every one
that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father,
or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake
shall receive an hundred fold and shall inherit eternal life."(1)
There can be no doubt that St. Paul in his epistles allows
and even contemplates the probability that those admitted to the
ranks of the clergy will have been already married, but distinctly
says that they must have been the "husband of one wife,"(2)
by which all antiquity and every commentator of gravity recognizes
that digamists are cut off from the possibility of ordination,
but there is nothing to imply that the marital connexion was to
be continued after ordination. For a thorough treatment of this
whole subject from the ancient and Patristic point of view, the
reader is referred to St. Jerome.(3)
The next stage in our progress is marked by the so-called
Apostolical Canons. Now for those who hold that these canons had
directly or indirectly the Apostles for their author, or that
as we have them now they are all of even sub-Apostolic date, the
matter becomes more simple, for while indeed these canons do not
expressly set forth the law subsequently formulated for the East,
they certainly seem to be not inconsistent therewith, but rather
to look that way, especially Canons V. and LI. But few will be
found willing to support so extreme an hypothesis, and while indeed
many scholars are of opinion that most of the canons of the collection
we style "Apostolical," are ante-Nicene, yet they will
not be recognized as of more value than as so many mirrors, displaying
what was at their date considered pure discipline. It is abundantly
clear that the fathers in council in Trullo thought the discipline
they were setting forth to be the original discipline of the Church
in the matter, and the discipline of the West an innovation, but
that such was really the case seems far from certain. Thomassinus
treats this point with much learning, and I shall cite some of
the authorities he brings forward. Of these the most important
is Epiphanius, who as a Greek would be certain to give the tradition
of the East, had there been any such tradition known in his time.
I give the three great passages.
"It is evident that those from the priesthood are chiefly
taken from the order of virgins, or if not from virgins, at least
from monks; or if not from the order of monks, then they are wont
to be made priests who keep themselves from their wives, or who
are widows after a single marriage. But he that has been entangled
by a second marriage is not admitted to priesthood in the Church,
even if he be continent from his wife, or be a widower. Anyone
of this sort is rejected from the grade of bishop, presbyter,
deacon, or subdeacon. The order of reader, however, can be chosen
from all the orders these grades can be chosen from, that is to
say from virgins, monks, the continent, widowers, and they who
are bound by honest marriage. Moreover, if necessity so compel,
even digamists may be lectors, for such is not a priest, etc.,
"Christ taught us by an example that the priestly work
and ornaments should be communicated to those who shall have preserved
their continency after a single marriage, or shall have persevered
in virginity. And this the Apostles thereafter honestly and piously
decreed, through the ecclesiastical canon of the priesthood."(5)
"Nay, moreover, he that still uses marriage, and begets
children, even though the husband of but one wife, is by no means
admitted by the Church to the order of deacon, presbyter, bishop,
or subdeacon. But for all this, he who shall have kept himself
from the commerce of his one wife, or has been deprived of her,
may be ordained, and this is
most usually the case in those places where the ecclesiastical
canons are most accurately observed."(1)
Nor is the weight of this evidence lessened, but much increased,
by the acknowledgment of the same father that in some places in
his days the celibate life was not observed by such priests as
had wives, for he explains that such a state of things had come
about "not from following the authority of the canons, but
through the neglect of men, which is wont at certain periods to
be the case."(2)
The witness of the Western Fathers although so absolutely
and indisputably clear is not so conclusive as to the East, and
yet one passage from St. Jerome should be quoted. "The Virgin
Christ and the Virgin Mary dedicated the virginity of both sexes.
The Apostles were chosen when either virgins or continent after
marriage, and bishops, presbyters, and deacons are chosen either
when virgins, or widowers, or at least continent forever after
It would be out of place to enter into any detailed argument
upon the force of these passages, but I shall lay before the reader
the summing up of the whole matter by a weighty recent writer
of the Ultramontane Roman School.
"Is the celibate an Apostolic ordinance? Bickel affirmed
that it is, and Funk denied it in 1878. To-day  canonists
commonly admit that one cannot prove the existence of any formal
precept, either divine or apostolic, which imposes the celibate
upon the clergy, and that all the texts, whether taken out of
Holy Scripture or from the Fathers, on this subject contain merely
a counsel, and not a command." "In the Fourth Century
a great number of councils forbade bishops, priests, and deacons
to live in the use of marriage with their lawful wives. ... But
there does not appear to have been any disposition to declare
by law as invalid the marriages of clerics in Holy Orders. In
the Fifth and Sixth Centuries the law of the celibate was observed
by all the Churches of the West, thanks to the Councils and to
the Popes." "In the Seventh and down to the end of the
Tenth Century,(4) as a matter of fact the law of celibacy was
little observed in a great part of the Western Church, but as
a matter of law the Roman Pontiffs and the Councils were constant
in their proclamation of its obligation." By the canonical
practice of the unreformed West, the reception of Holy Orders
is an impedimentum dirimens matrimonii, which renders any marriage
subsequently contracted not only illicit but absolutely null.
On this diriment impediment the same Roman Catholic writer says:
"The diriment impediment of Holy Orders is of ecclesiastical
obligation and not of divine, and consequently the Church can
dispense it. This is the present teaching which is in opposition
to that of the old schools."
"There is no question of the nullity of the marriages
contracted by clerics before 1139. At the Council of the Lateran
of that year, Innocent II. declared that these marriages contracted
in contempt of the ecclesiastical law are not true marriages in
his eyes. His successors do not seem to have insisted much upon
this new diriment impediment, although it was attacked most vigorously
by the offending clergymen; but the School of Bologna, the authority
of which was then undisputed, openly declared for the nullity
of the marriages contracted by clerics in Holy Orders. Thus it
is that this point of law has been settled rather by teaching,
than by any precise text, or by any law of a known date."(5)
It should not, however, be forgotten that although this is
true with regard to Pope Innocent Il. in 1139, it is also true
that in 530 the Emperor Justinian declared null and void all marriages
contracted by clerics in Holy Orders, and the children of such
marriages to be spurious (spurii).
The reader will be interested in reading the answer on this
point made by King Henry
VIII. to the letter sent him by the German ambassadors.(1) I can
here give but a part translated into English. "Although the
Church from the beginning admitted married men, as priests and
bishops, who were without crime, the husband of one wife, (out
of the necessity of the times, as sufficient other suitable men
could not be found as would suffice for the teaching of the world)
yet Paul himself chose the celibate Timothy; but if anyone came
unmarried to the priesthood and afterwards took a wife, he was
always deposed from the priesthood, according to the canon of
the Council of Neocaesarea which was before that of Nice. So,
too, in the Council of Chalcedon, in the first canon of which
all former canons are confirmed, it is established that a deaconess,
if she give herself over to marriage, shall remain under anathema,
and a virgin who had dedicated herself to God and a monk who join
themselves in marriage, shall remain excommunicated. ... No Apostolic
canon nor the Council of Nice contain anything similar to what
you assert, viz.: that priests once ordained can marry afterwards.
And with this statement agrees the Sixth Synod, in which it was
decreed that if any of the clergy should wish to lead a wife,
he should do so before receiving the Subdiaconate, since afterwards
it was by no means lawful; nor was there given in the Sixth Synod
any liberty to priests of leading wives after their priesting,
as you assert. Therefore from the beginning of the newborn Church
it is clearly seen that at no time it was permitted to a priest
to lead a wife after his priesting, and nowhere, where this was
attempted, was it done with impunity, but the culprit was deposed
from his priesthood."
SINCE we have learned that in some churches deacons hold ecclesiastical
offices, and that hereby some of them with arrogancy and license
sit daringly before the presbyters: we have determined that a
deacon, even if in an office of dignity, that is to say, in whatever
ecclesiastical office he may be, is not to have his seat before
a presbyter, except he is acting as representative of his own
patriarch or metropolitan in another city under another superior,
for then he shall be honoured as filling his place. But if anyone,
possessed with a tyrannical audacity, shall have dared to do such
a thing, let him be ejected from his peculiar rank and be last
of all of the order in whose list he is in his own church; our
Lord admonishing us that we are not to delight in taking the chief
seats, according to the doctrine which is found in the holy Evangelist
Luke, as put forth by our Lord and God himself. For to those who
were called he taught this parable: "When ye are bidden by
anyone to a marriage sit not down in the highest room lest a more
honourable man than thou shall have been bidden by him; and he
who bade thee and him come and say to thee: Give this man place,
and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou
art bidden, sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who
bade thee cometh he may say to thee, Friend go up higher: then
thou shalt have worship in the presence of them that sit with
thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted." But the same thing also
shall be observed in the remaining sacred orders; seeing that
we know that spiritual things are to be preferred to worldly dignity.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VII.
A deacon in the execution of his office, if he shall have
occasion to sit in the presence of presbyters, shall take the
lowest place unless he be the representative of the Patriarch
Balsamon, Zonaras, and following them Van Espen point out
that this canon is a relaxation of the XVIII. Canon of Nice which
punishes presumptuous deacons not only with loss of rank in their
grade, but also with expulsion from their ministry.
Van Espen well remarks that the Fathers of this synod had
in mind not only the pres-
creation of the distinction between deacons and presbyters, but
also between those in ecclesiastical orders and those enjoying
secular dignities with regard to ecclesiastical matters, but who
were not to gain there from ecclesiastical precedence. This is
what is meant by the last clause of the canon.
Beveridge gives a list of these quasi ecclesiastical dignitaries
as follows: Magnus (Economus, Magno Sacello Praepositus, Magnus
Vasorum Custos, Chartophylax, Parvo Sacello Praepositus, Primus
SINCE we desire that in every point the things which have
been decreed by our holy fathers may also be established and confirmed,
we hereby renew the canon which orders that synods of the bishops
of each province be held every year where the bishop of the metropolis
shall deem best. But since on account of the incursions of barbarians
and certain other incidental causes, those who preside over the
churches cannot hold synods twice a year, it seems right that
by all means once a year--on account of ecclesiastical questions
which are likely to arise--a synod of the aforesaid bishops should
be holden in every province, between the holy feast of Easter
and October, as has been said above, in the place which the Metropolitan
shall have deemed most fitting. And let such bishops as do not
attend, when they are at home in their own cities and are in good
health, and free from all unavoidable and necessary business,
be fraternally reproved.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON VIII.
Whenever it is impossible to hold two synods a year, one at
least shall be celebrated, between er and the month of October.
This canon under file name of the "Sixth Synod"
is referred to in Canon VI. of the Seventh Ecumenical Council
(II. Nice), and the bishops of Quinisext are called "Fathers."
What at first was only allowed on account of necessity, little
by little passed into general law, and at last was received as
law, that once a year there was to be a meeting of the provincial
Let no cleric be permitted to keep a "public house?"
For if it be not permitted to enter a tavern, much more is it
forbidden to serve others in it and to carry on a trade which
is unlawful for him. But if he shall have done any such thing,
either let him desist or be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON IX.
If clerics are forbidden to enter public houses, much more
are they forbidden to keep them. Let them either give them up
or be deposed.
Compare with this canon liv. of the Apostolic Canons; xxiv.
of Laodicea; and xliij. of the Synod of Carthage.(1)
A BISHOP, or presbyter, or deacon who receives usury, or what
is called hecatostoe, let him desist or be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON X.
A bishop, presbyter, or deacon who takes usury shall be deposed
unless he stops doing so.
See notes on canon XVI. of Nice, and the Excursus thereto
LET no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened
bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar intercourse with them,
nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor
bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if
he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman let him be
ASCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XI.
Jewish unleavened bread is to be refused. Whoever even calls
in Jews as physicians or bathes with them is to be deposed.
Theodore Balsamon is of opinion that this canon does not forbid
the eating of unleavened bread; but that what is intended is the
keeping of feasts in a Jewish fashion, or in sacrifices to use
unleavened bread (azymes), and this, says Balsamon, on account
of the Latins who celebrate their feasts with azymes.
Canon lxix. [i.e., lxx.] of those commonly called Apostolic
forbids the observance of festivals with the Jews; and declares
it to be unlawful to receive manuscula from them, but by this
canon all familiar intercourse with them is forbidden.
While there can be no doubt that in all the Trullan canons
there is an undercurrent of hostility to the West, yet in this
canon I can see no such spirit, and I think it has been read into
it by the greater bitterness of later times. This seems the more
certain from the fact that there is nothing new whatever in the
provision with respect to the passover bread, vide canons of Laodicea
xxxvij. and xxxviij.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Gratian's
Decretum, Pars II., Causa xxviij., can. xiii.(1)
MOREOVER this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa
and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in
those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after
consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people.
Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all filings tend
to the good of file flock placed in our harris and committed to
us,--it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall
in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow
what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but
as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better
things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach.
For the divine Apostle says: "Do all to the glory of God,
give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor
to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things,
not seeking mine own profit but the profit of many, that they
may be saved. Be ye imitators of me even as I also am of Christ."
But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XII.
Although it has been decreed that wives are not to be cast
forth, nevertheless that we may counsellor the better, we give
command that no one ordained a bishop shall any longer live with
The fifth Apostolic canon allows neither bishop, presbyter,
nor deacon to cast forth his wife under pretext of piety; and
assigns penalties for any that shall do so, and if he will not
amend he is to be deposed. But this canon on the other hand does
not permit a bishop even to live with his wife after his consecration.
But by this change no contempt is meant to be poured out upon
what had been established by Apostolic authority, but it was made
through care for the people's health and for leading on to better
things, and for fear
that the sacerdotal estate might suffer some wrong.
([In Can. vi. Apost.)
In the time of this canon [of the Apostles so called] not
only presbyters and deacons, but bishops also, it is clear, were
allowed by Eastern custom to have their wives;and Zonaras and
Balsamon note that even until the Sixth Council, commonly called
in Trullo bishops were allowed to have their wives.
(The same on this canon.)
But not only do they command [in this, canon] that bishops
after their consecration no longer have commerce with their own
wives, but further, they prohibit them even to presume to live
When the faith first was born and came forth into the world,
the Apostles treated with greater softness and indulgence those
who embraced the truth, which as yet was not scattered far and
wide, nor did they exact from them perfection in all respects,
but made great allowances for their weakness and for the inveterate
force of the customs with which they were surrounded, both among
the heathen and among the Jews. But now, when far and wide our
religion has been propagated, more strenuous efforts were made
to enforce those things which pertain to a higher and holier life,
as our angelical worship increased day by day, and to insist on
by law a life of continence to those who were elevated to the
episcopate, so that not only they should abstain from their wives,
but that they should have them no longer as bed-fellows; and not
only that they no longer admit them as sharers of their bed, but
they do not allow them even to stop under the same roof or in
SINCE we know it to be handed down as a rule of the Roman
Church that those who are deemed worthy to be advanced to the
diaconate or presbyterate should promise no longer to cohabit
with their wives, we, preserving the ancient rule and apostolic
perfection and order, will that the lawful marriages of men who
are in holy orders be from this time forward firm, by no means
dissolving their union with their wives nor depriving them of
their mutual intercourse at a convenient time. Wherefore, if anyone
shall have been found worthy to be ordained subdeacon, or deacon,
or presbyter, he is by no means to be prohibited from admittance
to such a rank, even if he shall live with a lawful wife. Nor
shall it be demanded of him at the time of his ordination that
he promise to abstain from lawful intercourse with his wife: lest
we should affect injuriously marriage constituted by God and blessed
by his presence, as the Gospel saith: "What God hath joined
together let no man put asunder;" and the Apostle saith,
"Marriage is honourable and the bed undefiled;" and
again, "Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed."
But we know, as they who assembled at Carthage (with a care for
the honest life of the clergy) said, that subdeacons, who handle
the Holy Mysteries, and deacons, and presbyters should abstain
from their consorts according to their own course [of ministration].
So that what has been handed down through the Apostles and preserved
by ancient custom, we too likewise maintain, knowing that there
is a time for all things and especially for fasting and prayer.
For it is meet that they who assist at the divine altar should
be absolutely continent when they are handling holy things, in
order that they may be able to obtain froth God what they ask
If therefore anyone shall have dared, contrary to the Apostolic
Canons, to deprive any of those who are in holy orders, presbyter,
or deacon, or subdeacon of cohabitation and intercourse with his
lawful wife, let him be deposed. In like manner also if any presbyter
or deacon on pretence of piety has dismissed his wife, let him
be excluded from communion; and if he persevere in this let him
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIII.
Although the Romans wish that everyone ordained deacon or
presbyter should put away his wife, we wish the marriages of deacons
and presbyters to continue valid and firm.
(H.E., Livre XL., chap. 1.)
What is said in this canon, that the council of Carthage orders
priests to abstain from their wives at prescribed periods, is
a misunderstanding of the decree, caused either by malice or by
ignorance. This canon is one of those adopted by the Fifth Council
of Carthage held in the year 400, and it is decreed that subdeacons,
deacons; priests, and bishops shall abstain from their wives,
following the ancient statutes, and shah be as though they had
them not. The Greek version of this canon has rendered the Latin
words priora statuta by these, idious horous, which may mean "fixed
times": for the translator read, following another codex,
propria for priora. Be this as it may, the Fathers of the Trullan
council supposed that this obliged the clergy only to continence
at certain fixed times, and were not willing to see that it included
bishops as well.
Although the Latin Church does not disapprove,(1) as contrary
to the law of the Gospel the discipline of the Greeks which allows
the use of marriage to presbyters and deacons, provided it was
contracted before ordination; yet never has it approved this canon
which with too great zeal condemns the opposite custom, and rashly
assigns great errors to the Roman Church.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXXI., c. xiij.
Antonius Augustinus in his proposed emendations of Gratian
says (Lib. I. dial. de emend. Grat. c. 8.): "This canon can
in no way be received; for it is written in opposition to the
celibacy of the Latin priests, and openly is against the Roman
Church." But to me the note which Gratian appends seems much
more learned and true: "This however must be understood as
of local application; for the Eastern Church, to which the VI.
Synod prescribed this rule, did not receive a vow of chastity
from the ministers of the altar." It may be well to note
here that by the opinion of most Latin casuists the obligation
to chastity among the Roman clergy rests upon the vow and not
upon any law of the Church binding thereto. This evidently was
the opinion of Gratian.
LET the canon of our holy God-bearing Fathers be confirmed
in this particular also; that a presbyter be not ordained before
he is thirty years of age, even if he be a very worthy man, but
let him be kept back. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and
beg.an to teach when he was thirty. In like manner let no deacon
be ordained before he is twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON
A presbyter thirty years of age, a deacon twenty-five, and
a deaconess forty.
Compare Canon XI. of Neocaesarea.
It may be interesting to note here that by the law of the
Roman Communion the canonical ages are as follows:
A subdeacon must have completed his twenty-first year, a deacon
his twenty-second, a priest his twenty-fourth, and a bishop his
thirtieth. None of the inferior clergy can hold a simple benefice
before he has begun his fourteenth year. Ecclesiastical dignities,
such as Cathedral canonries, cannot be conferred on any who have
not finished the twenty-second year. A benefice to which is attached
a cure of souls can be given only to one who is over twenty-four,
and a diocese only to one who has completed his thirtieth year.
(Vide Ferraris, Bibliotheca Prompta.)
In the Anglican Communion the ages are, in England, for a
bishop "fully thirty years of age," for a priest twenty-four,
and for a deacon twenty-three:(2) and in the United States, for
a bishop thirty years of age, for a priest twenty-four, and for
a deacon twenty-one.
A SUBDEACON is not to be ordained under twenty years of age.
And if any one in any grade of the priesthood shall have been
ordained contrary to the prescribed time let him be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XV.
Those shall be chosen as Subdeacons who are twenty years of
This age seems first to have been fixed by the Second Council
of Toledo(1) (circa, A.D. 535) in its first canon.
SINCE the book of the Acts tells us that seven deacons were
appointed by the Apostles, and the synod of Neocaesarea in the
canons which it put forth determined that there ought to be canonically
only seven deacons, even if the city be very large, in accordance
with the book of the Acts; we, having fitted the mind of the fathers
to the Apostles' words, find that they spoke not of those men
who ministered at the Mysteries but in the administration which
pertains to the serving of tables. For the book of the Acts reads
as follows: "In those days, when the number of the disciples
was multiplied, there arose a murmuring dissension of the Grecians
against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the
daily ministrations. And the Twelve called the multitude of the
disciples with them and said, It is not meet for us to leave the
word of God and serve tables. Look ye out therefore, brethren,
from among you seven men of good report full of the Holy Ghost
and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we
will give ourselves continually unto prayer and unto the ministry
of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they
chose Stephen a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip,
and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmends, and Nicolas
a proselyte of Antioch: whom they set before the Apostles."
John Chrysostom, a Doctor of the Church, interpreting these
words, proceeds thus: "It is a remarkable fact that the multitude
was not divided in its choice of the men, and that the Apostles
were not rejected by them. But we must learn what sort of rank
they had, and what ordination they received. Was it that of deacons?
But this office did not yet exist in the churches. But was it
fine dispensation of a presbyter? But there was not as yet any
bishop, but only Apostles, whence I think it is clear and manifest
that neither of deacons nor of presbyters was there then the name."(2)
But on this account therefore we also announce that the aforesaid
seven deacons are not to be understood as deacons who served at
the Mysteries, according to the teaching before set forth, but
that they were those to whom a dispensation was entrusted for
the common benefit of those that were gathered together, who to
us in this also were a type of philanthropy and zeal towards those
who are in need.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVI.
Whoever affirms that the number of deacons should be seven
according to the saying of the Acts, should know that the reference
in that passage is not to Deacons of the Mysteries but to such
as serve tables.
Van Espen here reminds us that this is, as Zonaras calls attention
to in Iris scholion on this place, a correction rather than an
interpretation of the XVth Canon of Neocaesarea, and Balsamon
also says the same. The only interest that the matter possesses
is that a canon which had been received by the Fourth Ecumenical
Council (Chalcedon) should receive such treatment from such an
assembly as the Synod in Trullo.
SINCE clerics of different churches have left their own churches
in which they were ordained and betaken themselves to other bishops,
and without the consent of their own bishop have been settled
in other churches, and thus they have proved themselves to be
insolent and disobedient; we decree that from the month of January
of the past IVth Indiction no cleric, of whatsoever grade he be,
shall have power, without letters dimissory of his own bishop,
to be registered in the clergy list of another church. Whoever
in future shall not have observed this rule, but shall have brought
disgrace upon himself as well as on the bishop who ordained him,
let him be deposed together with him who also received him.
ANClENT EPITOME OF CANON XVII.
Whoever receives and ordains a wandering cleric shall be deposed
together with him thus wickedly ordained.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXI., Quaest., ii. can. j.
THOSE clerics who in consequence of a barbaric incursion or
on account of any other circumstance have gone abroad, we order
to return again to their churches after the cause has passed away,
or when the incursion of the barbarians is at an end. Nor are
they to leave them for long without cause. If anyone shall not
have returned according to the direction of this present canon--let
him be cut off until he shall return to his own church. And the
same shall be the punishment of the bishop who received him.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XVIII.
Whoever has emigrated on account of an invasion of the barbarians,
shall return to the Church to whose clergy he belongs as soon
as the incursion ceases. But if he shall not do so, he shall be
cut off together with him to whom he has gone.
The Fathers are worthy of great praise. For having regard
to the honour of the ecclesiastical order and of each bishop,
they have decreed that clergymen, who from just and valid causes
have gone forth without letters dimissory from those who ordained
them, should return to their own clergy soon as the cause which
drove them forth ceases; and that they should not be enrolled
on the clergy list of any other church. But whosoever cannot be
persuaded to return is to be cut off, as well as the bishop who
detains him. But someone will say, If a bishop who does such a
thing is cut off by his Metropolitan; and likewise if a Metropolitan
spurns this canon he is punished by the Patriarch. But if an autocephalous
archbishop or a Patriarch other than the Patriarch of Constantinople
(for he has a faculty for doing so) should be convicted of a breach
of this Canon, by whom would he be cut off? I suppose by the Supreme
IT behoves those who preside over the churches, every day
but especially on Lord's days, to teach all the clergy and people
words of piety and of right religion, gathering out of holy Scripture
meditations and determinations of the truth, and not going beyond
the limits now fixed, nor varying from the tradition of the God-bearing
fathers. And if any controversy in regard to Scripture shall have
been raised, let them not interpret it. otherwise than as the
lights and doctors of the church in their writings have expounded
it, and in those let them glory rather than in composing things
out of their own heads, lest through their lack of skill(2) they
may have departed from what was fitting. For
through the doctrine of the aforesaid fathers, the people coming
to the knowledge of what is good and desirable, as well as what
is useless and to be rejected, will remodel their life for the
better, and not be led by ignorance, but applying their minds
to the doctrine, they will take heed that no evil befall them
and work out their salvation in fear of impending punishment.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIX.
The prelates of the Church, especially upon Lord's days, shall
How great an obligation of preaching rests upon bishops, the
successors of the Apostles, is evident from the words of St. Paul,
"Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach" (1 Cor.
i., 17), and his chief adjuration to Timothy though Jesus Christ
and his coming, was "Preach the Word" (2 Tim. ii. 4.)
For this reason the fathers formerly called the episcopate the
preaching-office (officium predicationis), as is evident from
the profession of Adelbert Morinensis, and the form of profession
of a future Archbishop. Both of these will be found in Labbe,
appendix to Tom. VIII., of his Concilia.
COUNCIL OF TRENT.
(Sess. V., c. 2.)
The preaching of the Gospel is the chief work of bishops.
CONVOCATION OF CANTERBURY, A.D. 1571.
(Cardwell. Synodalia, Vol. I., p. 126.)
The clergy will be careful to teach nothing in their sermons
to be religiously held and believed by the people except what
is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, and
what the Catholic Fathers and Ancient Bishops have collected out
of the same.(1)
COUNCIL OF TRENT.
No one shall dare to interpret the Holy Scripture contrary
to the unanimous consent of the fathers.
IT shall not be lawful for a bishop to teach publicly in any
city which does not belong to him. If any shall have been observed
doing this, let him cease from his episcopate, but let him discharge
the office of a presbyter.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON
The bishop of one city shall not teach publicly in another.
If he shall be shown to have dose so he shall be deprived of the
episcopate and shall perform the functions of a presbyter.
The meaning of this canon is most obscure. Balsamon and Zonaras
think that the Bishop is not to be deposed from his Episcopate,
but only shorn of his right of executing the Episcopal functions,
so that he will virtually be reduced to a presbyter. Ariseanus,
on the other hand, considers the deposition to be real and that
this canon creates an exception to Canon XXIX. of Chalcedon.
THOSE who have become guilty of crimes against the canons,
and on this account subject to complete and perpetual deposition,
are degraded to the condition of layman. If, however, keeping
conversion continually before their eyes, they willingly deplore
the sin on account of which they fell from grace, and made themselves
aliens therefrom, they may still cut their hair after the manner
of clerics. But if they are not willing to submit themselves to
this canon, they must wear their hair as laymen, as being those
who have preferred the communion of the world to the celestial
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXI.
Whoever is already deposed and reduced to the lay estate,
if he shall repent, let him continue deposed but be shorn. But
if otherwise, he must let his hair grow.
Beveridge wishes to read who have become canonically guilty
of crimes," substituting
, in accordance with
the Bodleian and Amerbachian codices.
THOSE who are ordained for money, whether bishops or of any
rank whatever, and not by examination and choice of life, we order
to be deposed as well as those also who ordained them.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXII.
Whoever is ordained for pay shall be deposed together with
The present canon orders to be deposed not only the one simoniacally
ordained, but also his ordainer, ordering that ordinations should
take place on account, not of money, but of the excellence of
the examination stood by the candidate and on account of his uprightness
of life. And it evidently takes it for granted that, where money
has been used, examination, excellence of life, and consideration
of merit enter but little into the matter, or at least are paid
no attention to.
THAT no one, whether bishop, presbyter, or deacon, when giving
the immaculate Communion, shall exact from him who communicates
fees of any kind. For grace is not to be sold, nor do we give
the sanctification of the Holy Spirit for money; but to those
who are worthy of the gift it is to be communicated in all simplicity.
But if any of those enrolled among the clergy make demands on
those he communicates let him be deposed, as an imitator of the
error and wickedness of Simon.
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON XXIII.
Whoever shall demand an obolus or anything else for giving
the spotless communion shall be deposed.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decreturn, Pars. II., Causa I., Quaest. I., can. 100, attributed
to the VI. Synod. Ivo reads, "From the Sixth Synod, III.
No one who is on the priestly catalogue nor any monk is allowed
to take part in horse-races or to assist at theatrical representations.
But if any clergyman be called to a marriage, as soon as the games
begin let him rise up and go out, for so it is ordered by the
doctrine of our fathers. And if any one shall be convicted of
such an offence let him cease therefrom or be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIV.
A clergyman or monk shall be deposed who goes to horse-races,
or does not leave nuptials before the players are brought in.
Scarcely ever were these plays exhibited without the introduction
of something contrary to honesty and chastity. As Lupus
here notes, the word "obscene" has its derivation from
these "scenic" representations.
Rightly therefore has it been forbidden by the sacred canons
that the clergy should witness any such plays.
In the second part of this canon by the words "ordered
by the doctrine of our fathers," the Synod understands the
doctrine of the fathers of the synod of Laodicea, which in its
canon liv. condemned the same abuse.
Compare the canon given in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's
Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXXIV. can. xix.
MOREOVER we renew the canon which orders that country (
parishes and those which are in the provinces (
shall remain subject to the bishops who had possession of them;
especially if for thirty years they had administered them without
opposition. But if within thirty years there had been or should
be any controversy on the point, it is lawful for those who think
themselves injured to refer the matter to the provincial synod.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXV
Rural and out of town parishes held for thirty years may be
retained. But within that time there may be a controversy.
Compare notes on canon XVII. of Chalcedon.
IF a presbyter has through ignorance contracted an illegal
marriage, while he still retains the fight to his place, as we
have defined in the sacred canons, yet he must abstain from all
sacerdotal work. For it is sufficient if to such an one indulgence
is granted. For he is until to bless another who needs to take
care of his own wounds, for blessing is the imparting of sanctification.
But how can he impart this to another who does not possess it
himself through a sin of ignorance? Neither then in public nor
in private can he bless nor distribute to others the body of Christ,
[nor perform any other ministry]; but being content with his seat
of honour let him lament to the Lord that his sin of ignorance
may be remitted. For it is manifest that the nefarious marriage
must be dissolved, neither can the man have any intercourse with
her on account of whom he is deprived of the execution of his
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVI.
A priest who has fallen into an illicit marriage and been
deposed, may still have his seat, but only when he abstains for
the future from his wickedness.
If any presbyter before his ordination had married a widow,
or a harlot, or an actress, or any other woman such as are forbidden,
in ignorance, he shall cease from his priesthood but shall still
have his place among the presbyters. But such an illegitimate
marriage, on account of which he was deprived of the Sacred Ministry,
must be dissolved.
The sacred canon to which the Synod here refers is number
xxvij. of St. Basil in his Canonical Epistle to Amphilochius.
NONE of those who are in the catalogue of the clergy shall
wear clothes unsuited to them, either while still living in town
or when on a journey: but they shall wear such clothes as are
assigned to those who belong to the clergy. And if any one shall
violate this canon, he shall be cut off for one week.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVII.
A clergyman must not wear an unsuitable dress either when
travelling or when at home. Should he do so, he shall be cut off
for one week.
SINCE we understand that in several churches grapes are brought
to the altar, according to a custom which has long prevailed,
and the ministers joined this with the unbloody sacrifice of the
oblation, and distributed both to the people at the same time,
we decree that no priest shall do this for the future, but shall
administer the oblation alone to the people for the quickening
of their souls and for the remission of their sins. But with regard
to the offering of grapes as first fruits, the priests may bless
them apart [from the offering of the oblation] and distribute
them to such as seek them as an act of thanksgiving to him who
is the Giver of the fruits by which our bodies are increased and
fed according to his divine decree. And if any cleric shall violate
this decree let him be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXVIII.
Grapes are by some joined with the unbloody sacrifice. It
is hereby decreed that no one shall for the future dare to do
Similar blessings of fruit, and particularly of grapes, are
found in more recent rituals as well as in the ancient Greek Euchologions
and the Latin Rituales. In the Sacramentary of St. Gregory will
be found a benediction of grapes on the feast of St. Sixtus.
Cardinal Bona says (De Rob. Liturg, Lib. lI., cap. xiv.),
that immediately before the words Semper bona creas, sanctificas,
etc., if new fruits or any other things adapted to human use were
to be blessed, they were wont in former times to be placed before
the altar, and there to be blessed by the priest; and when the
benediction was ended with the accustomed words "Through
Christ our Lord," there was added the following prayer: "Perquem
haec omnia, etc.," which words are not so much to be referred
to the body and blood of Christ, as to the things to be blessed,
which God continually creates by renewing, and we ask that they
may be sanctified by his benediction to our use.
But in after ages when the fervour of the faithful had grown
cold, that the mass might not be too long, they were separated
and yet the prayer remained which, as said to-day over the consecrated
species alone, can hardly be understood.
This canon is found in a shortened form in the Corpus Juris
Canonici, Pars. III. De Consecrat., Dist. II., can. vj.
Compare Canon of the Apostles number iv.
A CANON of the Synod of Carthage says that the holy mysteries
of the altar are not to be performed but by men who are fasting,
except on one day in the year on which the Supper of the Lord
is celebrated. At that time, on account perhaps of certain occasions
in those places useful to the Church, even the holy Fathers themselves
made use of this dispensation. But since nothing leads us to abandon
exact observance, we decree that the Apostolic and Patristic tradition
shall be followed; and define that it is not right to break the
fast on the fifth feria of the last week of Lent, and thus to
do dishonour to the whole of Lent.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXIX.
Some of the Fathers after they had supped on the day of the
Divine Supper made the offering.(1) However, it has seemed good
to the synod that this should not be done, and that the fast should
not be broken upon the fifth feria(2) of the last week of Lent,
and so the whole of Lent be dishonoured.
Zonaras remarks that the "Apostolic and Patristic tradition"
is a reference to canon lxix. of the Apostolic Canons and to canon
1. of Laodicea. See notes on this last canon.
WILLING to do all things for the edification of the Church,
we have determined to take care even of priests who are in barbarian
churches. Wherefore if they think that they ought to exceed the
Apostolic Canon concerning the not putting away of a wife on the
pretext of piety and religion, and to do beyond that which is
commanded, and therefore abstain by agreement with their wives
from cohabitation, we decree they ought no longer to live with
them in any way, so that hereby they may afford us a perfect demonstration
of their promise. But we have conceded this to them on no other
ground than their narrowness, and foreign and unsettled manners.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXX.
Those priests who are in churches among the barbarians, if
with consent they have abstained from commerce with their wives
shall never afterwards have any commerce with them in any way.
(Hist. Eccl., Liv. XL., chap. 1.)
"Priests who are among the barbarians," that is
to say, it would seem, in Italy and in the other countries of
the Latin rite. "Their narrowness and foreign and unsettled
manners," that is to say that according to them it is an
imperfection to aspire after perfect continence.
I do not think that this explanation of Fleury's can be sustained,
and it would seem that Van Espen is more near the truth when he
says: "Some priests in barbarous countries thought they should
abstain after the Latin custom even from wives taken before ordination.
And although this was contrary to the discipline of the Greeks,
and also to Canon V. of the Apostles, nevertheless the Fathers
thought it might be tolerated, provided such priests should also
not live any longer with their wives." There seems no reason
to introduce anti-Roman bitterness where it is not already found.
CLERICS who in oratories which are in houses offer the Holy
Mysteries or baptize, we decree ought to do this with the consent
of the bishop of the place. Wherefore if any cleric shall not
have so done, let him be deposed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXI.
Thou mayest not offer in an oratory in a private house without
the consent of the bishop.
On this whole subject the reader is referred to the curious
and most interesting volume published by Venantius Monaldini of
Venice, in 1765. I cannot better give its scope than by copying
out its title in full. Commentarius Theologico-canonico-criticus
De ecclcsiis, earum reverentia, et asylo atque concordia sacerdotii,
et imperii, auctore Josepho Aloysio Assemani. Accesserunt tractatus
el. virorum D. Josephi de Benis, De Oratoriis Publicis; ac. R.P.
Fortunati a Brixia De Oratoriis Domesticis, in supplementum celeberrimi
operis Joannis Baptistae Gattico De Oratoriis Domesticis, et usu
SINCE it has come to our knowledge that in the region of Armenia
they offer wine only on the Holy Table, those who celebrate, the
unbloody sacrifice not mixing water with it, adducing, as authority
thereof, John Chrysostom, a doctor of the Church, who says in
his interpretation of the Gospel according to St. Matthew:
"And wherefore did he not drink water after he was risen
again, but wine? To pluck up by the roots another wicked heresy.
For since there are certain who use water in the Mysteries to
shew that both when he delivered the mysteries he had given wine
and that when he had risen and was setting before them a mere
meal without rays-
teries, he used wine, 'of the fruit,' saith he, 'of the vine.'
But a vine produces wine, not water."(1) And from this they
think the doctor overthrows the admixture of water in the holy
sacrifice. Now, lest on the point from this time forward they
be held in ignorance, we open out the orthodox opinion of the
Father. For since there was an ancient and wicked heresy of the
Hydroparastatae (i.e., of those who offered water), who instead
of wine used water in their sacrifice, this divine, confuting
the detestable teaching of such a heresy, and showing that it
is directly opposed to Apostolic tradition, asserted that which
has just been quoted. For to his own church, where the pastoral
administration had been given him, he ordered that water mixed
with wine should be used at the unbloody sacrifice, so as to shew
forth the mingling of the blood and water which for the life of
the whole world and for the redemption of its sins, was poured
forth from the precious side of Christ our Redeemer; and moreover
in every church where spiritual light has shined this divinely
given order is observed.
For also James, the brother, according to the flesh, of Christ
our God, to whom the throne of the church of Jerusalem first was
entrusted, and Basil, the Archbishop of the Church of Caesarea,
whose glory has spread through all the world, when they delivered
to us directions for the mystical sacrifice in writing, declared
that the holy chalice is consecrated in the Divine Liturgy with
water and wine. And the holy Fathers who assembled at Carthage
provided in these express terms: "That in the holy Mysteries
nothing besides the body and blood of the Lord be offered, as
the Lord himself laid down, that is bread and wine mixed with
water." Therefore if any bishop or presbyter shall not perform
the holy action according to what has been handed down by the
Apostles, and shall not offer the sacrifice with wine mixed with
water, let him be deposed, as imperfectly shewing forth the mystery
and innovating on the things which have been handed down.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXII.
Chrysostom, when overthrowing the heresy of the Hydroparastatae,
says: "When the Lord suffered and rose again he used wine."
The Armenians, laying hold on this, offer wine alone, not understanding
that Chrysostom himself, and Basil, and James used wine mixed
with water; and left the tradition that we should so make the
offering. If, therefore, any one shall offer wine alone, or water
alone, and not the mixed [chalice] let him be deposed.
Justin Martyr in his Second Apology, Ambrose, or whoever was
the author of the books on the Sacraments (Lib. v., cap. i.),
Augustine and many others make mention of this rite, and above
all St. Cyprian, who wrote a long epistle on the subject to Cecilius,
and seeking the reason of the ceremony as a setting forth of the
union of the people, represented by the water, with Christ, figured
by the wine.
Another signification of this rite St. Augustine indicates
in his sermon to Neophytes, saying: "Take this in bread,
which hung upon the Cross: Take this in the cup which poured forth
from the side," that is to say blood and water.
Cardinal Bona (De Rebus Liturgies, Lib. II., cap. ix., n.
3 and 4) refers to many ancient rituals in which a similar prayer
is used to that found in the Ambrosian rite, which says as the
water is poured in: "Out of the side of Christ there flowed
forth blood and water together. In the name of the Father, etc."
Bona further notes that "The Greeks twice mingle water with
the wine, once cold water, when in the prothesis they are preparing
the Holy Gifts, and the Priest pierces the bread with the holy
spear, and says, "One of the soldiers with a lance opened
his side, and immediately there flowed forth blood and water,"
and the deacon pours in wine and water. From this it is evident
that the Greeks agree with St. Augustine's explanation.
For the second time the Greeks mix "hot water after consecration
and immediately before communion, the deacon begging from the
priest a blessing upon the warm water; and he blesses it in these
words: 'Blessed be :the fervour of thy Saints, now and ever and
to the ages of age;. Amen.' Then the deacon pours the water into
the chalice, saying: 'The fervour of faith, full of the Holy Spirit.'
" So Cardinal Bona as above. The third reason of this rite
is assumed by some from the fact that Christ is believed thus
to have instituted this sacrament at the
last supper; and this the synod seems to intimate in the present
canon when it says "as the Lord himself delivered."
In this case the Greeks suppose that this rite was also handed
down by the Apostles, and this is evident from their citing the
Liturgy of St. James, which they believed to be a genuine work
SINCE we know that, in the region of the Armenians, only those
are appointed to the clerical orders who are of priestly descent
(following in this Jewish customs); and some of those who are
even untonsured are appointed to succeed cantors and readers of
the divine law, we decree that henceforth it shall not be lawful
for those who wish to bring any one into the clergy, to pay regard
to the descent of him who is to be ordained; but let them examine
whether they are worthy (according to the decrees set forth in
the holy canons) to be placed on the list of the clergy, so that
they may be ecclesiastically promoted, whether they are of priestly
descent or not; moreover, let them not permit any one at all to
read in the ambo, according to the order of those enrolled in
the clergy, unless such an one have received the priestly tonsure
and the canonical benediction of his own pastor; but if any one
shall have been observed to act contrary to these directions,
let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME Or CANON XXXIII.
Whoever is worthy of the priesthood should be ordained whether
he is sprung of a priestly line or no. And he that has been blessed
untonsured shalt not read the Holy Scriptures at the ambo.
Here not obscurely does the canon join the clerical tonsure
received from the bishop with the office of Reader, so much so
that he that has been tonsured by the bishop is thought to have
received at the same time the tonsure and the order of lector.
BUT in future, since the priestly canon openly sets this forth,
that the crime of conspiracy or secret society is forbidden by
external laws, but much more ought it to be prohibited in the
Church; we also hasten to observe that if any clerics or monks
are found either conspiring or entering secret societies, or devising
anything against bishops or clergymen, they shall be altogether
deprived of their rank.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXIV.
If clerics or monks enter into conspiracies or fraternities,
or plots against the bishop or their fellow clerics, they shall
be cast out of their grade.
This is but a renewal of Canon xviij. of Chalcedon, which
see with the notes.
IT shall be lawful for no Metropolitan on the death of a bishop
of his province to appropriate or sell the private property of
the deceased, or that of the widowed church: but these are to
be in the custody of the clergy of the diocese over which he presided
until the election of another bishop, unless in the said church
there are no clergymen left. For then the Metropolitan shall protect
the property without diminution, handing over everything to the
bishop when he is appointed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXV.
When the bishop is dead the clergy shall guard his goods.
If, however, no clergyman remains, the Metropolitan shall take
charge of them until another be ordained.
Compare Canon xxii. of Chalcedon. This canon extends the prohibition
to Metropolitans as well.
Neither the clergy nor metropolitan after the death of the
bishop are allowed to carry off his goods, but all should be guarded
by the clergy themselves, until another bishop is chosen. But
if by chance no clergyman is left in that church, the metropolitan
is to keep all the possessions undiminished and to return them
to the future bishop.
RENEWING the enactments by the 150 Fathers assembled at the
God-protected and imperial city, and those of the 630 who met
at Chalcedon; we decree that the see of Constantinople shall have
equal privileges with the see of Old Rome, and shall be highly
regarded in ecclesiastical matters as that is, and shall be second
after it. After Constantinople shall be ranked the See of Alexandria,
then that of Antioch, and afterwards the See of Jerusalem.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXVI.
Let the throne of Constantinople be next after that of Rome,
and enjoy equal privileges. After it Alexandria, then Antioch,
and then Jerusalem.
The Fathers here speak of the Second and Third canons of the
Second Synod [i.e. I. Constantinople] and of canon xxviij. of
the Fourth Synod [i.e. Chalcedon]. And read what we have said
on these canons.
We have explained the third canon of the Synod of Constantinople
and the twenty-eighth canon of the Synod of Chalcedon as meaning,
when asserting that the bishop of Constantinople should enjoy
equal privileges after the Roman bishop, that he should be placed
second from the Roman in point of time. So here too this preposition
"after" denotes time but not honour. For after many
years this throne of Constantinople obtained equal privileges
with the Roman Church; because it was honoured by the presence
of the Emperor and of the Senate.
On this opinion of Aristenus's the reader is referred to the
notes on Canon iij. of I. Constantinople.
(Novella CXXXI., Cap. ij.)
We command that according to the definitions of the Four Councils
the most holy Pope of Old Rome shall be first of all the priests.
But the most blessed Archbishop of Constantinople, which is New
Rome, shall have the second place after the Holy Apostolic See
of Old Rome.
This canon, in a mutilated form, is found in the Corpus Juris
Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Diet. XXII., c. vj.
SINCE at different times there have been invasions of barbarians,
and therefore very many cities have been subjected to the infidels,
so that the bishop of a city may not be able, after he has been
ordained, to take possession of his see, and to be settled in
it in sacerdotal order, and so to perform and manage for it the
ordinations and all things which by custom appertain to the bishop:
we, preserving honour and veneration for the priesthood, and in
no wise wishing to employ the Gentile injury to the ruin of ecclesiastical
rights, have decreed that those who have been ordained thus, and
on account of the aforesaid cause have not been settled in their
sees, without any prejudice from this thing may be kept [in good
standing] and that they may canonically perform the ordination
of the different clerics and use the authority of their office
according to the defined limits, and that whatever administration
proceeds from them may be valid and legitimate. For the exercise
of his office shall not be circumscribed by a season of necessity
when the exact observance of law is circumscribed.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXVII.
A bishop who, on account of the incursions of the barbarians,
is not set in his throne, shall have his own chair of state, and
shall ordain, and shall enjoy most firmly all the rights of the
By Canon XVIII. of Antioch the principle of this canon was
enunciated, that when a bishop did not take possession of his
see because he could not do so, he was not to be held responsible
or to lose any of his episcopal rights and powers, in that case
the impossibility arose from the insubordination of the people,
in this from the diocese being in the hands of the barbarians.
It has been commonly thought that the Bishops in partibus
infidelium had their origin in the state of things calling for
THE canon which was made by the Fathers we also observe, which
thus decreed: If any city be renewed by imperial authority, or
shah have been renewed, let the order of things ecclesiastical
follow the civil and public models.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXVIII.
If any city is or shall be renewed by the Emperor, the ecclesiastical
order shall follow the political and public example.
The canon of the Fathers which the Synod wishes observed is
XVII of Chalcedon, the notes on which see.
Here it must be noted that by "civil and public models"
is signified the "pragmatic" or imperial letters, by
which the emperors granted to newly raised up or re-edified towns
the privilege of other cities, or else annexed them to some Province.
SINCE our brother and fellow-worker, John, bishop of the island
of Cyprus, together with his people in the province of the Hellespont,
both on account of barbarian incursions, and that they may be
freed from servitude of the heathen, and may be subject alone
to the sceptres of most Christian rule, have emigrated from the
said island, by the providence of file philanthropic God, and
the labour of our Christ-loving and pious Empress; we determine
that the privileges which were conceded by the divine fathers
who first at Ephesus assembled, are to be preserved without any
innovations, viz.: that new Justinianopolis shall have the rights
of Constantinople and whoever is constituted the pious and most
religious bishop thereof shall take precedence of all the bishops
of the province of the Hellespont, and be elected [?] by his own
bishops according to ancient custom. For tim customs which obtain
in each church our divine Fathers also took pains should be maintained,
the existing bishop of the city of Cyzicus being subject to the
metropolitan of the aforesaid Justinianopolis, for the imitation
of all the rest of the bishops who are under the aforesaid beloved
of God metropolitan John, by whom, as custom demands, even the
bishop of the very city of Cyzicus shall be ordained.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XXXIX.
The new Justinianopolis shall have the rights of Constantinople,
and its prelate shall rule over all the bishops the Hellespont
to whom he has gone, and he shall be ordained by his own bishop:
as the fathers of Ephesus decreed.
Hitherto the bishop of Cyzicus was metropolitan of the province
of the Hellespont. Now he too is to be subject to the bishop of
New-Justinianopolis. What, however, is meant by "the right
of Constantinople"? It was
impossible that the Synod should place the bishop of Justinianopolis
in equal dignity with the patriarch of Constantinople. But they
probably meant to say: "The rights which the bishop of Constantinople
has hitherto exercised over the province of the Hellespont, as
chief metropolitan, fall now to the bishop of New-Justinianopolis."
Or perhaps we should read, instead of Constantinople K
, as the Amerbachian MS. has
it, and translate: "The same rights which Constantia (the
metropolis of Cyprus) possessed, New Justinianopolis shall henceforth
have." The latter is the more probable.
To understand this canon it must be remembered that the Metropolis
of Cyprus, which was formerly called Constantia, when restored
by the Emperor Justinian was called by his name, New Justinianopolis.
SINCE to cleave to God by retiring from the noise and turmoil
of life is very beneficial, it behoves us not without examination
to admit before the proper time those who choose the monastic
life, but to observe respecting them the limit handed down by
our fathers, in order that we may then admit a profession of the
life according to God as for ever firm, and the result of knowledge
and judgment after years of discretion have been reached. He therefore
who is about to submit to the yoke of monastic life should not
be less than ten years of age, the examination of the matter depending
on the decision of the bishop, whether he considers a longer time
more conducive for his entrance and establishment in the monastic
life. For although the great Basil in his holy canons decreed
that she who willingly offers to God and embraces virginity, if
she has completed her seventeenth year, is to be entered in the
order of virgins: nevertheless, having followed the example respecting
widows and deaconesses, analogy and proportion being considered,
we have admitted at the said time those who have chosen the monastic
life. For it is written in the divine Apostle that a widow is
to be elected in the church at sixty years old: but the sacred
canons have decreed that a deaconess shall be ordained at forty,
since they saw that the Church by divine grace had gone forth
more powerful and robust and was advancing still further, and
they saw the firmness and stability of the faithful in observing
the divine commandments. Wherefore we also, since we most rightly
comprehend the matter, appoint the benediction of grace to him
who is about to enter the struggle according to God, even as impressing
speedily a certain seal upon him, hereupon introducing him to
the not-long-to-be-hesitated-over and declined, or rather inciting
him even to the choice and determination of good.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XL.
A monk must be ten years old. Even if the Divine Basil thought
the one shorn should be over seventeen. But although the Apostle
ordains that a widow to be espoused to the Church must be sixty,
yet the Fathers say a Deaconess is to be ordained at forty, the
Church in the meanwhile having become stronger; so we place the
seal on a monk at an earlier age.
The eighteenth canon of Basil the Great orders that she who
offers herself to the Lord and renounces marriage, ought to be
over sixteen or even seventeen years of age: so that her promise
may be firm and that if she violates it she may suffer the due
penalties. For, says he, children's voices are not to be thought
of any value in such matters. But the present canon admits him
who is not less than ten years and desires to be a monk, but
entrusts the determination of the exact time to the judgment of
the hegumenos, whether he thinks it more advantageous to increase
the age-requirement for the entering and being established in
the married life. But the canon lessens the time defined by Basil
the Great, because the Fathers thought that the Church by divine
grace had grown stronger since then, and was going on more and
more, and that the faithful seemed firmer and more stable for
the observance of the divine commandments. And for the same reason,
viz, that the Church was growing better, the sacred canons had
lessened the age of deaconesses, and fixed it at forty years,
although the Apostle himself orders that no widow is to be chosen
into the Church under sixty years of age.
THOSE who in town or in villages wish to go away into cloisters,
and take heed for themselves apart, before they enter a monastery
and practise the anchorite's life,(1) should for the space of
three years in the fear of God submit to the Superior of the house,
and fulfil obedience in all things, as is right, thus shewing
forth their choice of this life and that they embrace it willingly
and with their whole hearts; they are then to be examined by the
) of the place; and
then to bear bravely outside the cloister one year more, so that
their purpose may be fully manifested. For by this they will shew
fully and perfectly that they are not catching at vain glory,
but that they are pursuing the life of solitude because of its
inherent beauty and honour. After the completion of such a period,
if they remain in the same intention in their choice of the life,
they are to be enclosed, and no longer is it lawful for them to
go out of such a house when they so desire, unless they be induced
to do so for the common advantage, or other pressing necessity
urging on to death; and then only with the blessing of the bishop
of that place.
And those who, without the above-mentioned causes, venture
forth of their convents, are first of all to be shut up in the
said convent even against their wills, and then are to cure themselves
with fasting and other afflictions, knowing how it is written
that "no one who has put his hand to the plough and has looked
back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven."
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLI.
Whoever is about to enter a cloister, let him live for three
years in a monastery, and before he is shut up let him spend one
year more, and so let him be shut up. And he shall not then go
forth unless death or the common good demands.
This canon, so far as it sets forth the necessity of probation
before admission to the Anchorite life, synods in after-years
frequently approved, taught as they were by experience how perilous
a matter it is to admit without sufficient probation to this solitary
life and state of separation from the common intercourse with
his fellow men. Vide the Synod of Vannes (about A.D. 465) canon
vij., of Agde chap. lxxviij., of Orleans the First can. xxij.,
of Frankfort can. xij., of Toledo the Seventh can. v., and the
Capitular of Charlemagne To monks, Chap. ij.
THOSE who are called Eremites and are clothed in black robes,
and with long hair go about cities and associate with the worldly
both men and women and bring odium upon their profession--we decree
that if they will receive the habit of other monks and wear their
hair cut short, they may be shut up in a monastery and numbered
among the brothers; but if they do not choose to do this, they
are to be expelled from the cities and forced to live in the desert
) from whence also they derive
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLII.
An eremite dressed in black vesture and not having his hair
cut, unless he has his hair cut shall be expelled the city and
be shut up in his monastery.
It may not be irreverent to remark that this species of impostors
always has been common in the East, and many examples will be
found of the dervishes in the Arabian Nights and other Eastern
tales. The "vagabond" monks of the West also became
a great nuisance as well as a scandal in the Middle Ages. The
reader will find interesting instances of Spanish deceivers of
the same sort in "Gil Blas" and other Spanish romances.
IT is lawful for every Christian to choose the life of religious
discipline, and setting aside the troublous surgings of the affairs
of this life to enter a monastery, and to be shaven in the fashion
of a monk, without regard to what faults he may have previously
committed. For God our Saviour says: "Whose cometh to me,
I will in no wise cast out."
As therefore the monastic method of life engraves upon us
as on a tablet the life of penitence, we receive(1) whoever approaches
it(2) sincerely; nor is any custom to be allowed to hinder him
from fulfilling his intention.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLIII.
Whoever flees from the surging billows of life and desires
to enter a monastery, shall be allowed to do so.
The greatness or the number of a man's sins ought not to make
him lose hope of propitiating the divinity by his penitence, if
he turns his eyes to the divine mercy. This is what the canon
asserts, and affirms that everyone, no matter how wicked and nefarious
his life may have been, may embrace monastic discipline, which
inscribes, as on a tablet,(3) to us a life of penitence. For as
a tablet describes to us what is inscribed upon it, so the monastic
profession writes and inscribes upon us penitence, so that it
remains for ever.
A MONK convicted of fornication, or who takes a wife for the
communion of matrimony and for society, is to be subjected to
the penalties of fornicators, according to the canons.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLIV.
A monk joined in marriage or committing fornication shall
pay the penalty of a fornicator.
The punishment here seems too light, so that Balsamon thinks
that this canon only refers to such monks as freely confess their
sin and desist from it, remaining in their monasteries; and that
the sterner penalties assigned to unchaste religious by other
synods (notably Chalcedon, can. xvj., and Ancyra, can. xix.) are
for such as do not confess their faults but are after some time
convicted of them.
The monk will receive the same punishment whether he be a
fornicator or has joined himself with a woman for the communion
It is very likely from this canon that the Monastic vow at
the time of this Synod was not yet an impedimentum dirimens of
matrimony, for nothing is said about the dissolution of the marriage
contracted by a monk although he had gravely sinned in violating
his faith pledged to God.
WHEREAS we understand that in some monasteries of women those
who are about to be clothed with the sacred habit are first adorned
in silks and garments of all kinds, and also with gold and jewels,
by those who bring them thither, and that they thus approach the
altar and are there stripped of such a display of wealth, and
that immediately thereafter the blessing of their habit takes
place, and they are clothed with the black robe; we decree that
henceforth this shall not be done. For it is not lawful for her
who has already of her own free will put away every
delight of life, and has embraced that method of life which is
according to God, and has confirmed it with strong and stable
reasons, and so has come to the monastery, to recall to memory
the things which they had already forgotten, things of this world
which perisheth and passeth away. For thus they raise in themselves
doubts, and are disturbed in their souls, like the tossing waves,
turning hither and thither. Moreover, they should not give bodily
evidence of heaviness of heart by weeping, but if a few tears
drop from their eyes, as is like enough to be the case, they may
be supposed by those who see them to have flowed
on account of their affection
, affectionem) for the ascetic
struggle rather than (
) because they
are quitting the world and worldly things.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLV.
Parents shall not deck out in silks a daughter who has chosen
the monastic life, and thus clothe her, for this is a recalling
to her mind the world she is leaving.
This canon is at the present day constantly broken at the
profession of Carmelites.
THOSE women who choose the ascetic life and are settled in
monasteries may by no means go forth of them. If, however, any
inexorable necessity compels them, let them do so with the blessing
and permission of her who is mother superior; and even then they
must not go forth alone, but with some old women who are eminent
in the monastery, and at the command of the lady superior. But
it is not at all permitted that they should stop outside.
And men also who follow the monastic life let them on urgent
necessity go forth with the blessing of him to whom the rule is
Wherefore, those who transgress that which is now decreed
by us, whether they be men or women, are to be subjected to suitable
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLVI.
A nun shall not go out of her convent without the consent
of her superior, nor shall she go alone but with an older one
of the order. It is in no case permitted to her to spend the night
outside. The same is the case with a monk; he cannot go out of
the monastery without the consent of the superior.
No woman may sleep in a monastery of men, nor any man in a
monastery of women. For it behoves the faithful to be without
offence and to give no scandal, and to order their lives decorously
and honestly and acceptably to God. But if any one shall have
done this, whether he be cleric or layman, let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLVII.
It is not allowed that a woman should sleep in a convent of
men, nor a man in a monastery of women.
The ground covered by this canon is also found in Justinian's
Code, Book xliv., Of Bishops and Clergy. Vide also Novella cxxxiii.,
From the whole context of Justinian's law it is manifest that
Justinian here is condemning "double monasteries," in
which both men and women dwelt. And he wishes such to be separated,
the men from the women, and e contra the women from the men, and
that each should dwell in separate monasteries.
The reader may be reminded of some curious double religious
houses in England for men and women, of which sometimes a woman
was the superior of both.
THE wife of him who is advanced to the Episcopal dignity,
shall be separated from her husband by their mutual consent, and
after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall
enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the
bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop's provision. And if
she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLVIII.
She who is separated from one about to be consecrated bishop,
shall enter a monastery after his ordination, situated at a distance
from the See city, and she shall be provided for by the bishop.
RENEWING also the holy canon, we decree that the monasteries
which have been once consecrated by the Episcopal will, are always
to remain monasteries, and the things which belong to them are
to be preserved to the monastery, and they cannot any more be
secular abodes nor be given by any one to seculars. But if anything
of this kind has been done already, we declare it to be null;
and those who hereafter attempt to do so are to be subjected to
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XLIX.
Monasteries built with the consent of the bishop shall not afterwards
be turned into secular houses, nor shall they pass into the hands
This canon renews canon xxiv. of Chalcedon. And here it may
be observed that the canons even of Ecumenical Synods fall into
desuetude little by little, unless the care of bishops and pastors
keeps them alive, and from the example of this synod it may be
seen how often they need calling back again into observance.
Nor can there be any doubt that frequently it would be more
advantageous to renew the canons already set forth by the Fathers,
rather than to frame new ones.
No one at all, whether cleric or layman, is from this time
forward to play at dice. And if any one hereafter shall be found
doing so, if he be a cleric he is to be deposed, if a layman let
him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON L.
A layman should not plug at dice.
This renews canons xlii. and xliij. of the Apostolic canons.
THIS holy and ecumenical synod altogether forbids those who
are called "players," and their "spectacles,"
as well as the exhibition of hunts, and the theatrical dances.
If any one despises the present canon, and gives himself to any
of the things which are forbidden, if he be a cleric he shall
be deposed, but if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LI.
Whose shall play as an actor or shall attend theatrical representations
or hunts shall be cut off. Should he be a cleric he shall be deposed.
Some one will enquire why canon xxiiij. decrees that those
in holy orders and monks, who are constantly attending horse-races,
scenic plays, are to cease or be deposed: but the present canon
says without discrimination, that those who give themselves over
to such things if clergymen are to be deposed, and if laymen to
be cut off. The solution is this. It is one thing and more easily
to be endured, that a man should be present at a horse-race, or
be convicted of going to see a play; and another thing, and one
that cannot be pardoned, that he should give himself over to such
things, and to exercise this continually as his business. Wherefore
those who have once sinned deliberately, are admonished to cease.
If they are not willing to obey, they are to be deposed. But those
who are constantly engaged in this wickedness, if they are clerics,
they must be deposed from their clerical place, if laymen they
must be cut off.
ON all days of the holy fast of Lent, except on the Sabbath,
the Lord's day and the holy day of the Annunciation, the Liturgy
of the Presanctified is to be said.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LII.
Throughout the whole of Lent except upon the Lord's day, the
Sabbath, and upon the day of the Annunciation, the presanctified
gifts shall be offered.
We do not call the service of the Presanctified the unbloody
sacrifice, but the offering of the previously offered, and of
the perfected sacrifice, and of the completed priestly act.
The Greeks therefore confess that the bread once offered and
consecrated, is not to be consecrated anew on another day; but
a new offering is made of what was before consecrated and presanctified:
just as in the Latin Church the consecrated or presanctified bread
of Maundy Thursday is offered on Good Friday.
The Patriarch Michael of Constantinople is quoted by Leo Allatius
as saying that "none of the mystic consecratory prayers are
said over the presanctified gifts, but the priest only recites
the prayer that he may be a worthy communicant."
Some among the later Greeks have been of opinion that the
unconsecrated wine was consecrated by the commixture with the
consecrated bread, and (without any words of consecration) was
transmuted into the sacred blood,(1) and with this seems to agree
the already quoted Michael, Patriarch of Constantinople, who is
cited by Leo Allatius in his treatise on the rite of the presanctified.
"The presanctified is put into the mystic chalice, and so
the wine which was then in it, is changed into the holy blood
of the Lord." And with this agrees Simeon, Archbishop of
Thessalonica, in his answer to Gabriel of Pentapolis, when he
writes: "In the mass of the Presanctified no consecration
of what is in the chalice is made by the invocation of the Holy
Spirit and of his sign, but by the participation and union of
the life-giving bread, which is truly the body of Christ."
From this opinion, which was held by some of the Greeks, it
gradually became the practice at Constantinople not to dip the
bread in the Sacred Blood, as Michael the patriarch of this very
church testifies. But in the ordinary Euchologion of the Greeks
it is expressly set forth that the presanctified bread before
it is reserved, should be dipped in the sacred blood, and for
this a rite is provided.
Leo Allatius's Dissertatio de Missa Proesanctificatorum should
be read; an outline of the service as found in the Euchologion,
and as reprinted by Renaudotius is as follows.
First of all vespers is said. After some lessons and prayers,
including the "Great Ectenia" and that for the Catechumens,
these are dismissed.
After the Catechumens have departed there follows the Ectenia
of the Faithful. After which, "Now the heavenly Powers invisibly
minister with us; for, behold, the King of Glory is borne in.
Behold the mystic sacrifice having been perfected is borne aloft
"Let us draw near with faith and love, that we may become
partakers of life eternal. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
"Deacon. Let us accomplish our evening prayer to the
"For the precious and presanctified gifts that are offered,
let us pray to the Lord. "That our man-loving God, etc."
as in the
ordinary liturgy past the Lord's prayer, and down to the Sancta
Sanctis, which reads as follows:
Priest. Holy things presanctified for holy persons.
Choir. One holy, one Lord Jesus Christ, to the Glory of God
Then the Communion Hymn and the Communion, and the rest as
in the ordinary liturgy, except "this whole evening,"
is said for "this whole day," and another prayer is
provided in the room of that beginning "Lord, who blessest
It is curious to note that on Good Friday, the only day on
which the Mass of the Presanctified is celebrated in the West,
its use has died out in the East, and now it is used "on
the Wednesdays and Fridays of the first six weeks of the Great
Quadragesima, on the Thursday of the fifth week, and on the Monday,
Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Passion Week. It may also be said,
excepting on Saturdays and Sundays, and on the Festival of the
Annunciation, on other days during the Fast, to wit, on those
of festivals and their Vigils, and on the Commemoration of the
Dedication of the Church."
Symeon, who was bishop of Thessalonica, and flourished in
the early part of the XVth Century, complains of the general neglect
of the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday in his time, and
says that his church was the only one in the Exarchate that then
retained it. He ascribes the disuse to the example of the Church
of Jerusalem. See the matter treated at length in his Quoestiones,
lv-lix. Migne's Pat. Groec.
Cf. J. M. Neale Essays on Liturgiology, p. 109.
WHEREAS the spiritual relationship is greater than fleshly
affinity; and since it has come to our knowledge that in some
places certain persons who become sponsors to children in holy
salvation-bearing baptism, afterwards contract matrimony with
their mothers (being widows), we decree that for the future nothing
of this sort is to be done. But if any, after the present canon,
shall be observed to do this, they must, in the first place, desist
from this unlawful marriage, and then be subjected to the penalties
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LIII.
Godfathers cannot be permitted to be married with the mother
of their godchildren. If any one is so joined, let him do penance
(Clergyman's Vade Mecum.)
The imperial law forbade the adopter parent to marry his or
her adopted son or daughter; for the godchild was thought a sort
of an adopted child. See Justin., Institut., Lib. I., Tit. x.
Van Espen however refers, and to my mind with greater truth,
to Justinian's law (xxvj of the Cod. de Nuptiis) which forbids
the marriage of a man with his nurse or with whoever received
him from the font, "because," says the law, "nothing
can so incite to parental affection, and therefore induce a just
prohibition of marriage, than a bond of this sort by which, through
God's meditation, their souls are bound together."
THE divine scriptures plainly teach us as follows, "Thou
shalt not approach to any that is near of kin to thee to uncover
their nakedness." Basil, the bearer-of-God, has enumerated
in his canons some marriages which are prohibited and has passed
over the greater part in silence, and in both these ways has done
us good service. For by avoiding a number of disgraceful names
(lest by such words he should pollute his discourse) he included
impurities under general terms, by which course he shewed to us
in a general way the marriages which are forbidden. But since
by such silence, and because of the difficulty of understanding
what marriages are prohibited, the matter has become confused;
it seemed good to us to set it forth a little more clearly, decreeing
that from this time forth he who shall marry with the daughter
of his father; or a father or son with a mother and daughter;
or a father and son with two girls who are
sisters; or a mother and daughter with two brothers; or two brothers
with two sisters, fall under the canon of seven years, provided
they openly separate from this unlawful union.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LIV.
Thou shalt not permit the marriage of a son of a brother to
the daughter of a brother; nor with a daughter and her mother
shall there be the marriage of a son and his father; neither a
mother and a daughter with two brothers; nor brothers with two
sisters. But should anything of this sort have been done, together
with separation, penance shall be done for seven years.
SINCE we understand that in the city of the Romans, in the
holy fast of Lent they fast on the Saturdays, contrary to the
ecclesiastical observance which is traditional, it seemed good
to the holy synod that also in the Church of the Romans the canon
shah immovably stands fast which says: "If any cleric shall
be found to fast on a Sunday or Saturday (except on one occasion
only) he is to be deposed; and if he is a layman he shall be cut
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LV.
The Romans fast the Sabbaths of Lent. Therefore this Synod
admonishes that upon these days the Apostolical canon is of force.
The canon quoted is LXVI. of the Apostolic Canons.
The Fathers of this Synod thought that this canon of the Apostles
was edited by the Apostles themselves, and therefore they seem
to have reprobated the custom of the Roman Church of fasting on
the Sabbath more bitterly than was right. Whence it happens this
is one of those canons which the Roman Church never received.
The synod took in hand to correct this failing (
of the Latins; but until this time they have arrogantly remained
in their pertinacity, and so remain to-day. Nor do they heed the
ancient canons which forbid fasting on the Sabbath except that
one, to wit the great Sabbath, nor are they affected by the authority
of this canon. Moreover the clerics have no regard for the threatened
deposition, nor the laymen for their being cut off.
WE have likewise learned that in the regions of Armenia and
in other places certain people eat eggs and cheese on the Sabbaths
and Lord's days of the holy lent. It seems good therefore that
the whole Church of God which is in all the world should follow
one rule and keep the fast perfectly, and as they abstain from
everything which is killed, so also should they from eggs and
cheese, which are the fruit and produce of those animals from
which we abstain. But if any shall not observe this law, if they
be clerics, let them be deposed; but if laymen, let them be cut
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LVI.
Armenians eat eggs and cheese on the Sabbaths in Lent. It
is determined that the whole world should abstain from these.
If not let the offender be cast out.
This canon shows that the ancient Greeks, although they did
not fast on the Sabbaths and Lord's days of Lent, nevertheless
they abstained on them from flesh food; and it was believed by
them that abstinence from flesh food involved also necessarily
abstinence from all those things which have their origin from
flesh. This also formerly was observed by the Latins in Lent,
and in certain regions is known still to be the usage.
IT is not right to offer honey and milk on the altar.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LVII.
No one should offer honey or milk at the altar.
See canon iij. of the Apostles, canon xxviij. of the African
code, also canon xxviij. of this synod. The Greeks apparently
do not recognize the exception specified in the canon of the African
NONE of those who are in the order of laymen may distribute
the Divine Mysteries to himself if a bishop, presbyter, or deacon
be present. But whoso shall dare to do such a thing, as acting
contrary to what has been determined shall be cut off for a week
and thenceforth let him learn not to think of himself more highly
than he ought to think.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LVIII.
A layman shall not communicate himself. Should he do so, let
him be cut off for a week.
It is well known that in the first centuries it was customary
that the Holy Eucharist should be taken back by the faithful to
their houses; and that at home they received it at their own hands.
It is evident that this was what was done by the Anchorites and
monks who lived in the deserts, as may be seen proved by Cardinal
Bona. (De Rebus Liturg., Lib. II., cap. xvij.). From this domestic
communion it is easily seen how the abuse arose which is condemned
in this canon.
BAPTISM is by no means to be administered in an oratory which
is within a house; but they who are about to be held worthy of
the spotless illumination are to go to a Catholic Church and there
to enjoy this gift. But if any one shall be convicted of not observing
what we have determined, if he be a cleric let him be deposed,
if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LIX.
In oratories built in houses they shall not celebrate baptism.
Whoever shall not observe this, if a cleric he shall be deposed,
if a layman he shall be cut off.
SINCE the Apostle exclaims that he who cleaves to the Lord
is one spirit, it is clear that he who is intimate with his [i.e.
the Lord's] enemy becomes one by his affinity with him. Therefore,
those who pretend they are possessed by a devil and by their depravity
of manners feign to manifest their form and appearance; it seems
good by all means that they should be punished and that they should
be subjected to afflictions and hardships of the same kind as
those to which they who are truly demoniacally possessed are justly
subjected with the intent of delivering them from the [work or
rather] energy of the devil.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LX.
Whoever shall pretend to be possessed by a devil, shall endure
the penance of demoniacs.
Zonaras says in his scholion that even in his day people made
the same claim to diabolical possession.
THOSE who give themselves up to soothsayers or to those who
are called hecatontarchs or to any such, in order that they may
learn from them what things(1) they wish to have revealed to them,
let all such, according to the decrees lately made by the Fathers
concerning them, be subjected to the canon of six years. And to
this [penalty] they also should be subjected who carry about(2)
she-bears or animals of the kind for the diversion and injury
of the simple; as well as those who tell fortunes and fates, and
genealogy, and a multitude of words of this kind from the nonsense
of deceit and imposture. Also those who are called expellers of
clouds, enchanters, amulet-givers, and soothsayers.
And those who persist in these things, and do not turn away
and flee from pernicious and Greek pursuits of this kind, we declare
are to be thrust out of the Church, as also the sacred canons
say. "For what fellowship hath light with darkness?"
as saith the Apostle, "or what agreement is there between
the temple of God and idols? or what part hath he that believeth
with an infidel? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?"
ANCIENT EPITOME or CANON LXI.
Whoever shall deliver himself over to a hecatontarch or to
devils, so as to learn some secret, he shall be put under penance
for six years. So too those who take around a bear, who join themselves
with those who seek incantations and drive away the clouds, and
have faith in fortune and fate, shall be cast out of the assembly
of the Church.
According to Balsamon (in Beveridge, Synod., Tom. I., p. 228)
old people who had the reputation of special knowledge [were called
"hecatontarchs"]. They sold the hair [of these she bears
and other animals] as medicine or for an amulet. Cf. Balsamon
and Zonaras ut supra.
St. Chrysostom in his Homilies on the Statutes explains, in
answer to certain who defended them on this ground, that if these
incantations are made in the name of Christ they are so much the
worse. The Saint says, "Moreover I think that she is to be
hated all the more who abuses the name of God for this purpose,
because while professing to be a Christian, she shows by her actions
that she is a heathen."
THE so-called Calends, and what are called Bota and Brumalia,
and the full assembly which takes place on the first of March,
we wish to be abolished from the life of the faithful. And also
the public dances of women, which may do much harm and mischief.
Moreover we drive away from the life of Christians the dances
given in the names of those falsely called gods by the Greeks
whether of men or women, and which are performed after an ancient
and un-Christian fashion; decreeing that no man from this time
forth shall be dressed as a woman, nor any woman in the garb suitable
to men. Nor shall he assume comic, satyric, or tragic masks; nor
may men invoke the name of the execrable Bacchus when they squeeze
out the wine in the presses; nor when pouring out wine into jars
[to cause a laugh(3)], practising in ignorance and vanity the
things which proceed from the deceit of insanity. Therefore those
who in the future attempt any of these things which are written,
having obtained a knowledge of them, if they be clerics we order
them to be deposed, anti if laymen to be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXII.
Let these be taken away from the lives of the faithful, viz.:
the Bota, and the Calends, and the Brumalia, and salutations in
honour of the gods, and comic, satyric and tragic masks, and the
invocation of Bacchus at the wine press, and the laughing at the
wine jars. Whoever shall persist in these after this canon shall
be liable to give an account.
On the Calends see Du Cange (Glossarium in loc.). The Bota
were feasts in honour of Pan, the Brumalia feasts in honour of
Bacchus. Many particulars with regard to these superstitions will
be found in Balsamon's scholion, to which the curious reader is
referred. Van Espen also has some valuable notes on the Kalends
WE forbid to be publicly read in Church, histories of the
martyrs which have been falsely put together by the enemies of
the truth, in order to dishonour the martyrs of Christ and induce
unbelief among those who hear them, but we order that such books
be given to the flames. But those who accept them or apply their
mind to them as true we anathematize.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXIII.
Martyrologies made up by the ethnics (E
) shall not be published in church.
What is condemned is false histories of true martyrs, not
(as Johnson erroneously supposes) "false legends of pretended
martyrs." There have been martyrs, both royal and plebeian,
in much later times whose lives have been made ridiculous and
whose memory has been rendered hateful to the ignorant people
by so-called "histories" which might well have received
the treatment ordered by the canon.
IT does not befit a layman to dispute or teach publicly, thus
claiming for himself authority to teach, but he should yield to
the order appointed by the Lord, and to open his ears to those
who have received the grace to teach, and be taught by them divine
things; for in one Church God has made "different members,"
according to the word of the Apostle: and Gregory the Theologian,
wisely interpreting this passage, commends the order in vogue
with them saying:(1) "This order brethren we revere, this
we guard. Let this one be the ear; that one the tongue, the hand
or any other member. Let this one teach, but let that one learn."
And a little further on: "Learning in docility and abounding
in cheerfulness, and ministering with alacrity, we shall not all
be the tongue which is the more active member, not all of us Apostles,
not all prophets, nor shall we all interpret." And again:
"Why dost thou make thyself a shepherd when thou art a sheep?
Why become the head when thou art a foot? Why dost thou try to
be a commander when thou art enrolled in the number of the soldiers?"
And elsewhere: "Wisdom orders, Be not swift in words; nor
compare thyself with the rich, being poor; nor seek to be wiser
than the wise." But if any one be found weakening the present
canon, he is to be cut off for forty days.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXIV.
A layman shall not teach, for all are not prophets, nor all
Zonaras points out that this canon refers only to public instruction
and not to private. Van Espen further notes that in the West this
restriction is limited to the solemn and public preaching and
announcing of the Word of God, which is restricted to bishops,
and only by special and express license given to the other clergy,
and refers to his own treatment of the subject In jure Eccles,
Tom I., part 1, tit. xvj., cap. viij.
THE fires which are lighted on the new moons by some before
their shops and houses, upon which (according to a certain ancient
custom) they are wont foolishly and crazily to leap, we order
henceforth to cease. Therefore, whosoever shall do such a thing,
if he be a cleric, let him be deposed; but if he be a layman,
let him be cut off.
For it is written in the Fourth Book of the Kings "And Manasses
built an altar to the whole host of heaven, in the two courts
of the Lord, and made his sons to pass through the fire, he used
lots and augurs and divinations by birds and made ventriloquists
[or pythons(1)] and multiplied diviners, that he might do evil
before the Lord and provoke him to anger."(2)
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXV.
The fires which were made upon the new moons at the workshops
are condemned and those who leaped upon them.
Lupin remarks that the fires kindled on certain Saints' days
are almost certainly remains of this heathen practice. These fires
are often accompanied with leaping, drinking, and the wrestling
of young men.
FROM the holy day of the Resurrection of Christ our God until
the next Lord's day, for a whole week, in the holy churches the
faithful ought to be free from labour, rejoicing in Christ with
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; and celebrating the feast,
and applying their minds to the reading of the holy Scriptures,
and delighting in the Holy Mysteries; for thus shall we be exalted
with Christ and together with him be raised up. Therefore, on
the aforesaid days there must not be any horse races or any public
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXVI.
The faithful shall every one of them go to church during the
whole week after Easter.
It is certain that the whole of Easter week was kept as a
feast by the whole Church both East and West; and this Synod did
not introduce this custom by its canon, but adopted this canon
to ensure its continuance.
Here we have clearly set forth the Christian manner of passing
a feast-day, viz., that the faithful on those days did give themselves
up to "Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs," from which
the divine office which we call today canonical [i.e., chiefly
Mattins and Vespers] are made up; and hence we understand that
all the faithful ought to attend the choir-offices, which was
indeed observed for many centuries, as I have shewn in my Dissertation
on the Canonical Hours, cap. III., 1, and therefore it was called
"public" [or common] prayer.
THE divine Scripture commands us to abstain from blood, from
things strangled, and from fornication. Those therefore who on
account of a dainty stomach prepare by any art for food the blood
of any animal, and so eat it, we punish suitably. If anyone henceforth
venture to eat in any way the blood of an animal, if he be a clergyman,
let him be deposed; if a layman, let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXVII.
A cleric eating blood shall be deposed, but a layman shall
be cut off.
The apostolic precept of abstaining "from blood and from
things strangled" for some ages, not only among the Greeks
but also among the Latins, was observed in many churches, but
little by little and step by step it died out in the whole Church,
at least in the Latin Church, altogether.
In this the Latin Church followed the opinion of St. Augustine,
Contra Faustum Manichoeum, Lib. XXXII., cap. xiij., where he teaches
at great length that the precept was given to Christians only
while the Gentile Church was not yet settled. This passage of
Augustine also proves that at that time Africa did not observe
this precept of the Apostles.
IT is unlawful for anyone to corrupt or cut up a book of the
Old or New Testament or of our holy and approved preachers and
teachers, or to give them up to the traders in books or to those
who are called perfumers, or to hand it over for destruction to
any other like persons: unless to be sure it has been rendered
useless either by bookworms, or by water, or in some other way.
He who henceforth shall be observed to do such a thing shall be
cut off for one year. Likewise also he who buys such books (unless
he keeps them for his own use, or gives them to another for his
benefit to be preserved) and has attempted to corrupt them, let
him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXVIII.
Thou shalt not destroy nor hand over copies of the Divine
Scriptures to be destroyed unless they are absolutely useless.
I think that this canon was directed against certain Nestorian
and Eutychian heretics, who, that they might find some patronage
of their errors from the Holy Scriptures, dared in the sixth century
most infamously to corrupt certain passages of the New Testament.
IT is not permitted to a layman to enter the sanctuary (Holy
Altar, Gk.), though, in accordance with a certain ancient tradition,
the imperial power and authority is by no means prohibited from
this when he wishes to offer his gifts to the Creator.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXIX.
No layman except the Emperor shall go up to the altar.
That in the Latin Church as well as in the Greek for many
centuries it was the constant custom, ratified by various councils,
that lay-men are to be excluded from the sanctuary and from the
place marked off for the priests who are celebrating the divine
mysteries, is so notorious as to need no proof, and the present
canon shows that among the Greeks the laity were not admitted
to the sacrarium even to make offerings.
The Synod makes but one exception, to wit, the Emperor, who
can enter the rails of the holy altar by its permission "when
he wishes to offer his gifts to the Creator, according to ancient
Not without foundation does the Synod claim "ancient
custom" for this; for long before, it is evident, it was
the case from the words of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger.
See also Theodoret (H. E., lib. v., cap. xvij.).
In the Latin Church, not only to emperors, kings, and great
princes but also to patrons of churches, to toparchs of places,
and even to magistrates, seats have been wont to be assigned honoris
causa within the sanctuary or choir, and it has been contended
that these are properly due to such persons.
It is evident from Balsamon's note that the later Greeks at
least looked upon the Emperor as being (like the kings of England
and France) a persona mixta, sharing in some degree the sacerdotal
character, as being anointed not merely with oil, but with the
sacred chrism. Vide in this connexion J. Wickham Legg,The Sacring
of the English Kings, in "The Archaeological Journal,"
WOMEN are not permitted to speak at the time of the Divine
Liturgy; but, according to the word of Paul the Apostle, "let
them be silent. For it is not permitted to them to speak, but
to be in subjection, as the law also saith. But if they wish to
learn anything let them ask their own husbands at home."
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXX.
Women are not permitted to speak in church. "Let your
women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto
them to speak," is the passage referred to. 1 Cor. xiv. 34.
Those who are taught the civil laws must not adopt the customs
of the Gentiles, nor be induced to go to the theatre, nor to keep
what are called Cylestras, nor to wear clothing contrary to the
general custom; and this holds good when they begin their training,
when they reach its end, and, in short, all the time of its duration.
If any one from this time shall dare to do contrary to this canon
he is to be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXI.
Whoever devotes himself to the study of law, uses the manner
of the Gentiles, going to the theatre, and rolling in the dust,
or dressing differently to custom, shall be cut off.
Liddell and Scott identify
,which they define
as "a place for horses to roll after exercise," and
note that it is a synonym of
But it is interesting to note that
is "a rolling in the dust, an exercise in which wrestlers
rolled on the ground."
Hefele says that Balsamon and Zonaras have not been able rightly
to explain what we are to understand by the forbidden "Cylestras,"
but I think Johnson is not far out of the way when he translates
"nor to meddle with athletic exercises."
AN orthodox man is not permitted to marry an heretical woman,
nor an orthodox woman to be joined to an heretical man. But if
anything of this kind appear to have been done by any [we require
them] to consider the marriage null, and that the marriage be
dissolved. For it is not fitting to mingle together what should
not be mingled, nor is it right that the sheep be joined with
the wolf, nor the lot of sinners with the portion of Christ. But
if any one shall transgress the things which we have decreed let
him be cut off. But if any who up to this time are unbelievers
and are not yet numbered in the flock of the orthodox have contracted
lawful marriage between themselves, and if then, one choosing
the right and coming to the light of truth and the other remaining
still detained by tile bond of error and not willing to behold
with steady eye the divine rays, the unbelieving woman is pleased
to cohabit with the believing man, or the unbelieving man with
the believing woman, let them not be separated, according to the
divine Apostle, "for the unbelieving husband is sanctified
by the wife, and the unbelieving wife by her husband."
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXII.
A marriage contracted with heretics is void. But if they have
made the contract before [conversion] let them remain [united]
if they so desire.
Perhaps none of the canons of this synod present greater and
more insolvable difficulties than the present. It has been for
long centuries the tradition of the Church that the marriage of
a baptized Christian with an unbaptized person is null, but this
canon seems to say that the same is the case if the one party
be a heretic even though baptized. If this is what the canon means
it elevates heresy into an impedimentum dirimens. Such is not
and never has been the law of the West, and such is not to-day
the practice of the Eastern church, which allows the marriage
of its people with Lutherans and with Roman CatholiCs and never
questions the validity of their marriages. Van Espen thinks "the
Greek commentators seem" to think that the heretics referred
to are unbaptized; I do not know exactly why he thinks so.
SINCE the life-giving cross has shewn to us Salvation, we
should be careful that we render due honour to that by which we
were saved from the ancient fall. Wherefore, in mind, in word,
in feeling giving veneration (
to it, we command that the figure of the cross, which some have
placed on the floor, be entirely removed therefrom, lest the trophy
of the victory won for us be desecrated by the trampling under
foot of those who walk over it. Therefore those who from this
present represent on the pavement the sign of the cross, we decree
are to be cut off.
ANClENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXIII.
If there is a cross upon a pavement it must be removed.
This canon defines that to the image of the cross is to be
"given veneration (
of the intellect, of the words, and of the sense," i.e.,
the cross is to be venerated with the interior cultus of the soul,
is to be venerated with the exterior culture of praise, and also
with sensible acts, such as kissings, bowings, etc.
IT is not permitted to hold what are called agapae, that is
love-feasts, in the Lord's houses or churches, nor to eat within
the house, nor to spread couches. If any dare to do so let him
cease therefrom or be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXIV.
Agapae are not to be held in the churches, nor shall beds be
put up these, let them be cut off. Whoso refuse to give up. This
is a renewal of canon xxviij., of Laodicea, on which canon see
WE, will that those whose office it is to sing in the churches
do not use undisciplined vociferations, nor force nature to shouting,
nor adopt any of those modes which are incongruous and unsuitable
for the church: but that they offer the psalmody to God, who is
the observer of secrets, with great attention and compunction.
For the Sacred Oracle taught that the Sons of Israel were to be
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXV.
Inordinate vociferation of the psalms is not allowed, nor
he that adopts things unsuited to the churches.
This question of the character of churchmusic was one early
discussed among Christians, and (long before the time of this
synod), St. Augustine, in debating as to whether the chanting
or the reading of the psalter was the more edifying, concludes,
"when the psalms are chanted with a voice and most suitable
modulation (liquida voce et convenientissima modulatione), I recognize
that there is great utility in the practice," and further
on he adds that singing is to be the rather approved, because
"by the delight given to the ears the infirm soul is worked
up to pious aspirations." (Confess. Lib. x., cap. xxxiij.).
IT is not right that those who are responsible for reverence
to churches should place within the sacred bounds an eating place,
nor offer food there, nor make other sales. For God our Saviour
teaching us when he was tabernacling in the flesh commanded not
to make his Father's house a house of merchandize. He also poured
out the small coins of the money-changers, and drave out all those
who made common the temple. If, therefore, anyone shall be taken
in the aforesaid fault let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXVI.
A public house should not be established within the sacred
precincts; and it is wrong to sell food there; and whosever shall
do so shall be cut off.
Both Balsamon and Zonaras remark that this canon refers to
the vestibule of the church and to the rest of the sacred inclosure,
and not to the interior of the church proper, for there no one
would ever think of having a shop.
IT is not right that those who are dedicated to religion,
whether clerics or uscetics,(1) should wash in the bath with women,
nor should any Christian man or layman do so. For this is severely
condemned by the heathens. But if any one is caught in this thing,
if he is a cleric let him be deposed; if a layman, let him be
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXVII.
A Christian man shall not bathe with women. Should a cleric
do so he is to be deposed, and a layman cut off.
This is a renewal of the XXXth canon of Laodicea. It will
be noted, as Zonaras remarks, that the monks must be counted among
the laymen who are to be cut off, since they have no clerical
character or tonsure.
IT behoves those who are illuminated to learn the Creed by
heart and to recite it to the bishop or presbyters on the Fifth
Feria of the Week.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXVIII.
He that is illuminated is to recite(
the faith on the fifth feria of the week.
This is a renewal of canon xlvi. of Laodicea.
As we confess the divine birth of the Virgin to be without
any childbed, since it came to pass without seed, and as we preach
this to the entire flock, so we subject to correction those who
through ignorance do anything which is inconsistent therewith.
Wherefore since some on the day after the holy Nativity of Christ
our God are seen cooking
and distributing it to each other, on pretext of doing honour
to the puerperia of the spotless Virgin Maternity, we decree that
henceforth nothing of the kind be done by the faithful. For this
is not honouring the Virgin (who above thought and speech bare
in the flesh the incomprehensible Word) when we define(2) and
describe, from ordinary things and from such as occur with ourselves,
her ineffable parturition. If therefore anyone henceforth be discovered
doing any such thing, if he be a cleric let him be deposed, but
if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXIX.
Whoever after the feast of the Mother of God shall prepare
(semilam) or anything else
on account of what is called puerperia, let him be cut off.
As the Catholic Church has always taught the Virgin-birth
as well as the Virgin-conception of our Blessed Lord, and has
affirmed that Mary was ever-virgin, even after she had brought
forth the incarnate Son, so it follows necessarily that there
could be no childbed nor puerperal flux. It need hardly be remarked
here that besides other texts that of the prophet is considered
as teaching thus much, "Behold the Virgin (ha alma) shall
conceive and bear a son," she that "bare" as well
as she that "conceived" being a virgin. Some commentators
for the afterbirth,
but Christian Lupus, as Van Espen notes, has pointed out that
the early fathers seem to have recognized that the Virgin did
have the "afterbirth," and this St. Jerome expressly
teaches in his book, Contra Helvidium.
The Greeks, however, understood it as I have translated, and
the witness of Zonaras will be sufficient. The words
and the like all signify "lying
in," "a place of lying in," and Liddell and Scott
say that the latter word is used of "bearing down like heavy
ears of corn," which would well express the labour pains.
This canon teaches that the parturition of the holy Virgin
was without any childbed. For childbed (puerperium) is the emission
of the foetus accompanied by pain and a flux of blood: but none
of us eve believed that the Mother of God was subjected to sufferings
of this sort, for these are the consequents of natural conception,
but her conception was supernatural; and by the Holy Spirit it
was brought to pass that she was not subjected to those evils
which rightly are attached to natural parturition.
On this canon should be read the extensive treatment of Asseman
(Bib. Juris Orient., Tom. v., pp. 193 et seqq.)
IF any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or any of those who
are enumerated in the list of the clergy, or a layman, has no
very grave necessity nor difficult business so as to keep him
from church for a very long time, but being in town does not go
to church on three consecutive Sundays--three weeks--if he is
a cleric let him be deposed, but if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXX.
If anyone without the constraint of necessity leaves his church
for three Lord's days, he shall be deprived of communion.
This is a renewal of canon xi. of Sardica (xiv. according
to the numbering of Dionysins Exiguus.)
WHEREAS we have heard that in some places in the hymn Trisagion
there is added after "Holy and Immortal," "Who
was crucified for us, have mercy upon us," and since this
as being alien to piety was by the ancient and holy Fathers cast
out of the hymn, as also the violent heretics who inserted these
new words were cast out of the Church; we also, confirming the
things which were formerly piously established by our holy Fathers,
anathematize those who after this present decree allow in church
this or any other addition to the most sacred hymn; but if indeed
he who has transgressed is of the sacerdotal order, we command
that he be deprived of his priestly dignity, but if he be a layman
or monk let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXI.
Whoever adds to the hymn Trisagion these words "Who wast
crucified" shall be deemed heterodox.
The addition of the phrase condemned by this canon was probably
made first by Peter Fullo, and although indeed it was capable
of a good meaning, if the whole hymn was understood as being addressed
to Christ, and although this was admitted by very many of the
orthodox, yet as it was chiefly used by the Monophysites and with
an undoubtedly heretical intention, it was finally ousted from
position and its adherents were styled Theopaschites. From all
this it came about that by 518 it was a source of disagreement
among the Catholics, some affirming the expression, as looked
at by itself, to be a touchstone of orthodoxy. The Emperor Justinian
tried to, have it approved by Pope Hormisdas, but unsuccessfully,
the pontiff only declaring that it was unnecessary, and even dangerous.
Fulgentius of Ruspe and Dionysius Exiguus had declared it orthodox.
Pope John II. almost came to the point of approving the phrase
"one of the Trinity suffered," nor did his successor
Agapetus I. speak any more definitely on the point, but the Fifth
Ecumenical Council directly approved the formula.
But this, of course. did not touch the point of its introduction
into the Trisagion or, more accurately, of the introduction of
the words "who was crucified for us."
It should have been noted that at a Home Synod in 478, Peter
Fullo had been deposed for the insertion of this clause, because
he intended to imply that the true God had suffered death upon
the cross. This sentence was a confirmation of one already pronounced
against him by a synod held at Antioch which had raised a man,
Stephen by name, to its episcopal throne.
Such is the history of a matter which, while it seemed at
first as of little moment, yet for many years was a source of
trouble in the Church. (Vide Hefele, History of the Councils,
Vol. III., pp. 454, 457; Vol. IV., p. 26.)
IN some pictures of the venerable icons, a lamb is painted
to which the Precursor points his finger, which is received as
a type of grace, indicating beforehand through the Law, our true
Lamb, Christ our God. Embracing therefore the ancient types and
shadows as symbols of the truth, and patterns given to the Church,
we prefer "grace and truth," receiving it as the fulfilment
of the Law. In order therefore that "that which is perfect"
may be delineated to the eyes of all, at least in coloured expression,
we decree that the figure in human form of the Lamb who taketh
away the sin of the world, Christ our God, be henceforth exhibited
in images, instead of the ancient lamb, so that all may understand
by means of it the depths of the humiliation of the Word of God,
and that we may recall to our memory his conversation in the flesh,
his passion and salutary death, and his redemption which was wrought
for the whole world.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXII.
Thou shalt not paint a lamb for the type of Christ, but himself.
As from this canon, a century earlier than the iconoclastic
controversy, the prevalence of pictures is evident, so from the
canon of the same synod with regard to the veneration due to the
image of the cross (number lxxiii.), we learn that the teaching
of the Church with regard to relative worship was the same as
was subsequently set forth, so that the charge of innovating,
sometimes rashly brought against the Seventh Ecumenical Council,
has no foundation in fact whatever.
This canon is further interesting as being the one cited by
more than one Pope and Western Authority as belonging to "the
No one may give the Eucharist to the bodies of the dead; for
it is written "Take and eat." But the bodies of the
dead can neither "take" nor "eat."
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXIII.
The Sacraments must not be given to a dead body.
This is canon iv. of the Council of Hippo, in the year 393.
(Vide Hefele, Vol. II, p. 397.) The earlier canon includes baptism
also, in its prohibition. This is canons xviii. and xx. of the
African code, according to the Greek numbering.
FOLLOWING the canonical laws of the Fathers, we decree concerning
infants, as often as they are found without trusty witnesses who
say that they are undoubtedly baptized; and as often as they are
themselves unable on account of their age to answer satisfactorily
in respect to the initiatory mystery given to them; that they
ought without any offence to be baptized, lest such a doubt might
deprive them of the sanctification of such a purification.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXIV.
Whoever do not know nor can prove by documents that they have
been baptized, let them be christened.
This is canon VII., of the Sixth Council of Carthage, (Vide
Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 424); and Canon lxxv.,
of the African code (to which Balsam on attributes this canon),
by the Greek numbering, (lxxii. by the Latin).
WE have received from the Scriptures that in the mouth of
two or three witnesses every word shall be established. Therefore
we decree that slaves who are manumitted by their masters in the
presence of three witnesses shall enjoy that honour; for they
being present at the time will add strength and stability to the
liberty given, and they will bring it to pass that faith will
be kept in those things which they now witness were done in their
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXV.
A slave manumitted by his master before two witnesses shall
THOSE who to the destruction of their own souls procure and
bring up harlots, if they be clerics, they are to be [cut off
and] deposed, if laymen to be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXVI.
Whoever gathers together harlots to the ruin of souls, shall
be cut off.
The brackets enclose the reading of Hervetus. But Zonaras
had this same text, and therefore it may be safely followed instead
of that of Balsamon, as edited by Beveridge.
SHE who has left her husband is an adulteress if she has come
to another, according to the holy and divine Basil, who has gathered
this most excellently from the prophet Jeremiah: "If a woman
has become another man's, her husband shall not return to her,
but being defiled she shall remain defiled;" and again, "He
who has an adulteress is senseless and impious." If therefore
she appears to have departed from her husband without reason,
he is deserving of pardon and she of punishment. And pardon shall
be given to him that he may be in communion with the Church. But
he who leaves the wife lawfully given him, and shall take another
is guilty of adultery by the sentence of the Lord. And it has
been decreed by our Fathers that they who are such must be "weepers"
for a year, "hearers" for two years, "prostrators"
for three years, and in the seventh year to stand with the faithful
and thus be counted worthy of the Oblation [if with tears they
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXVII.
She who goes from her husband to another man is an adulteress.
And he who from his wife goes to another woman is an adulterer
according to the word of the Lord.
Compare with this canon lviij. of St. Basil.
The words in brackets are found in Beveridge, but were lacking
in Hervetus's text.
Here discipline is relaxed; formerly an adulteress did fifteen
years' penance. See Can. Bas., 58. No wonder if in 200 years'
time from St. Basil, the severity of discipline was abated.
No one may drive any beast into a church except perchance
a traveller, urged thereto by the greatest necessity, in default
of a shed or resting-place, may have turned aside into said church.
For unless the beast had been taken inside, it would have perished,
and he, by the loss of his beast of burden, and thus without means
of continuing his journey, would be in peril of death. And we
are taught that the Sabbath was made for man: wherefore also the
safety and comfort of man are by all means to be placed first.
But should anyone be detected without any necessity such as we
have just mentioned, leading his beast into a church, if he be
a cleric let him be deposed, and if a layman let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXVIII.
Cattle shall not be led into the holy halls, unless the greatest
necessity compels it.
THE faithful spending the days of the Salutatory Passion in
fasting, praying and compunction of heart, ought to fast until
the midnight of the Great Sabbath: since the divine Evangelists,
Matthew and Luke, have shewn us how late at night it was [that
the resurrection took place], the one by using the words
, and the other by the words
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON LXXXIX.
On the Great Sabbath the fast must be continued until midnight.
WE have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that
in honour of Christ's resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays.
Lest therefore we should ignore the fulness of this observance
we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone
to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing
custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday,
at which time after the entrance for compline, again with banded
knees we offer our prayers to the Lord. For taking the night after
the Sabbath, which was the forerunner of our Lord's resurrection,
we begin from it to sing in the spirit hymns to God, leading our
feast out of darkness into light, and thus during an entire day
and night, we celebrate the Resurrection.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XC.
From the evening entrance of the Sabbath until the evening
entrance of the Lord's day there must be no kneeling.
No doubt the synod by the words "we have received from
the divine Fathers," referred to canon xx. of the Council
For many centuries this custom was preserved even in the Latin
Church; and the custom of keeping feasts and whole days generally
from evening to evening is believed to have been an Apostolic
tradition, received by them from the Jews. At the end of the VIIIth
Century the Synod of Frankfort declared in its xxj. canon, that
"the Lord's day should be kept from evening to evening."(1)
THOSE who give drugs for procuring abortion, and those who
receive poisons to kill the foetus, are subjected to the penalty
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCI.
Whoever gives or receives medicine to produce abortion is
See Canon XXI. of Ancyra, and Canon II. of St. Basil; to wit,
"She who purposely destroys the foetus, shall suffer the
punishment of murder. And we pay no attention to the subtile distinction
as to whether the foetus was formed or unformed. And by this not
only is justice satisfied for the child that should have been
born, but also for her who prepared for herself the snares, since
the women very often die who make such experiments."
THE holy synod decrees that those who in the name of marriage
carry off women and those who in any way assist the ravishers,
if they be clerics, they shall lose their rank, but if they be
laymen they shall be anathematized.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCII.
Those who run away with women, and those who assist and give
a hand, if they be clerics they shall be deposed, if laymen they
shall be anathomatized.
This canon simply renews and confirms Canon xxvij of Chalcedon.
IF the wife of a man who has gone away and does not appear,
cohabit with another before she is assured of the death of the
first, she is an adulteress. The wives of soldiers who have married
husbands who do not appear are in the same case; as are also they
who on account of the wanderings of their husbands do not wait
for their return. But the circumstance here has some excuse, in
that the suspicion of his death becomes very great. But she who
in ignorance has married a man who at the time was deserted by
his wife, and then is dismissed because his first wife returns
to him, has indeed committed fornication, but through ignorance;
therefore she is not prevented from marrying, but it is better
if she remain as she is. If a soldier shall return after a long
time, and find his wife on account of his long absence has been
united to another man, if he so wishes, he may receive his own
wife [back again], pardon being extended in consideration of their
ignorance both to her and to the man who took her home in second
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCIII.
A woman who when her husband does not turn up, before she
is certain he is dead, takes another commits adultery. But when
the man returns he may receive her again, if he so elects.
Compare in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum,
Pars II., Causa xxxiv., Quaest. I. and II. Epistle of St Leo to
Nicetas. Also compare of St. Basil's canon's xxxj., xxxvj., and
THE canon subjects to penalties those who take heathen oaths,
and we decree to them excommunication.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCIV.
Whoever uses Gentile oaths, is worthy of punishment, for he
is cut off.
The reference is to canon lxxxj. of St. Basil's canons.
Tertullian (De Idolatria, cap. xx.) supposes that to swear
by the false gods of the Gentiles, contains in itself some idolatry,
an opinion shared by St. Basil, comparing those using such oaths
with them who betrayed Christ, and who are partakers of the talk
THOSE who from the heretics come over to orthodoxy, and to
the number of those who should be saved, we receive according
to the following order and custom. Arians, Macedonians, Novatians,
who call themselves Cathari, Aristeri, and Testareskaidecatitae,
or Tetraditae, and Apollinarians, we receive on their presentation
of certificates and on their anathematizing every heresy which
does not hold as does the holy Apostolic Church of God: then first
of all we anoint them with the holy chrism on their foreheads,
eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears; and as we seal them we say--"The
seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost."
But concerning the Paulianists it has been determined by the
Catholic Church that they shall by all means be rebaptized. The
Eunomeans also, who baptize with one immersion; and the Montanists,
who here are called Phrygians; and the Sabellians, who consider
the Son to be the same as the Father, and are guilty in certain
other grave matters, and all the other heresies--for there are
many heretics here, especially those who come from the region
of the Galatians--all of their number who are desirous of coming
to the Orthodox faith, we receive as Gentiles. And on the first
day we make them Christians, on the second Catechumens, then on
the third day we exorcise them, at the same time also breathing
thrice upon their faces and cars; and thus we initiate them, and
we make them spend time in church and hear the Scriptures; and
then we baptize them.
And the Manichaeans, and Valentinians and Marcionites and
all of similar heresies must give certificates and anathematize
each his own heresy, and also Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus,
Severus, and the other chiefs of such heresies, and those who
think with them, and all the aforesaid heresies; and so they become
partakers of the holy Communion.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCV.
Thus we admit those converted from the heretics. We anoint
with the holy chrism, upon the brow, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and
ears, Arians, Macedonians, Novatians (who are called Cathari),
Aristerians (who are called Quartadecimans or Tetraditae), and
Apollinarians when they anathematize every heresy; and sign them
with the cross as we say, "The Seal of the gift of the Holy
Compare with this Canon vii. of Laodicea, and the so-called
vijth. canon of the First Council of Constantinople.
The text I have translated is that ordinarily given, I now
present to the reader Hefele's argument for its worthlessness.
This text is undoubtedly false, for (a) the baptism of the
Gnostics was, according to the recognized ecclesiastical principle,
invalid, and a Gnostic coming into the Church was required to
be baptized anew; (b) besides, it would have us first to require
of a Gnostic an anathema on Nestorius, Eutyches, etc. More accurate,
therefore, is the text, as it is given by Beveridge, and as Balsamon
had it, to the effect that: "In the same way (as the preceding)
are the Munichaeans, Valentinians, Marcionites, and similar heretics
to be treated (i.e., to be baptized anew); but the Nestorians
must (merely) present certificates, and anathematize their heresy.
Nestortius, Eutyches, etc." Here we have only this mis-
take, that the Nestorians must anathematize, among others, also
Eutyches, which they would certainly have done very willingly.
At the best, we must suppose that there is a gap in the text,
and that after, "all of similar heresies," we must add
"the later heretics must present certificates and anathematize
Nestorius, Eutyches, etc."
There seems but little doubt that whatever may be the truth
in the matter, the early theologians and fathers held that even
though the external rite of Holy Baptism might be validly performed
by schismatics and heretics, yet that by it the person so baptized
did not receive the Holy Ghost, and this opinion was not confined
to the East, but was also prevalent in the West. Vide Rupertus,
De Divinis Officiis, Lib. X., Cap. xxv.
THOSE who by baptism have put on Christ have professed that
they will copy his manner of life which he led in the flesh. Those
therefore who adorn and arrange their hair to the detriment of
those who see them, that is by cunningly devised intertwinings,
and by this means put a bait in the way of unstable souls, we
take in hand to cure paternally with a suitable punishment: training
them and teaching them to live soberly, in order that having laid
aside the deceit and vanity of material things, they may give
their minds continually to a life which is blessed and free from
mischief, and have their conversation in fear, pure, [and holy(1)];
and thus come as near as possible to God through their purity
of life; and adorn the inner man rather than the outer, and that
with virtues, and good and blameless manners, so that they leave
in themselves no remains of the left-handedness of the adversary.But
if any shall act contrary to the present canon let him be cut
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCVI.
Whoever twist up their hair into artistic plaits for the destruction
of the beholders are to be cut off.
For the intricate manner of dressing the hair used in the
East, and for a description of the golden dye, see the scholion
of Zonaras. Van Espen remarks that the curious care for somebody
else's hair in the form of wigs, so prevalent with many laymen
and ecclesiastics of his day, is the same vice condemned by the
canon in another shape.(2)
THOSE who have commerce with a wife or in any other manner
without regard thereto make sacred places common, and treat them
with contempt and thus remain in them, we order all such to be
expelled, even from the dwellings of the catechumens which are
in the venerable temples. And if any one shall not observe these
directions, if he be a cleric let him be deposed, but if a layman
let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCVII.
Whoever in a temple has commerce with his wife and remains
there out of contempt, shall be expelled even from the Catechumens.
If any one shall not observe this he shall be deposed or cut off.
In the name of holy places, not the church itself but the
adjoining and dependent buildings are intended such as those which
are called the "Catechumena." For no one would be audacious
enough to wish to cohabit with his wife in the very temple itself.
HE who brings to the intercourse of marriage a woman who is
betrothed to another man who is still alive, is to lie under the
charge of adultery.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCVIII.
He is an adulterer who takes one espoused to some one else.
Aristenus's commentary on this canon is
A more extraordinary estimate of it could hardly be made. So far
from the meaning being "perspicuous," as the Latin translation
has it, the meaning seems to be past finding out; for, as Van
Espen remarks, a man who sins with a betrothed woman is certainly
not an "adulterer." He tries therefore to introduce
the idea that though he is not an adulterer, yet he is to be punished
as if he were. But the Greek hardly seems patient of this meaning,
and the Ancient Epitome says in so many words that he is an adulterer.
On account of this difficulty some have supposed that the
espousals here mentioned were not de futuro but de proesenti,
and that therefore it was the case of stealing a real wife of
another man. But this explanation also is involved in many difficulties.
WE have further learned that, in the regions of the Armenians,
certain persons boil joints of meat within the sanctuary and offer
portions to the priests, distributing it after the Jewish fashion.
Wherefore, that we may keep the church undefiled, we decree that
it is not lawful for any priest to seize the separate portions
of flesh meat from those who offer them, but they are to be content
with what he that offers pleases to give them; and further we
decree that such offering be made outside the church. And if any
one does not thus, let him be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XCIX.
There are some who like the Jews cook meat in the holy places.
Whoever permits this, or receives aught from them, is not fit
to be priest. But if any one should of his own free choice offer
it, then he might receive as much as the offerer chose to give
him, provided the offer were made outside the church.
A similar Judaizing superstitious custom was also found in
the West, of which Walafrid Strabo gives an account in the IX.
Century (De Rebus Ecclesiasticis, cap. xviii.).
"LET thine eyes behold the thing which is right,"
orders Wisdom, "and keep thine heart with all care."
For the bodily senses easily bring their own impressions into
the soul. Therefore we order that henceforth there shall in no
way be made pictures, whether they are in paintings or in what
way so ever, which attract the eye and corrupt the mind, and incite
it to the enkindling of base pleasures.And if any one shall attempt
to do this he is to be cut off.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON C.
Pictures which induce impurity are not to be painted. Whoso shall
transgress shall be cut off.
THE great and divine Apostle Paul with loud voice calls man
created in the image of God, the body and temple of Christ. Excelling,
therefore, every sensible creature, he who by the saving Passion
has attained to the celestial dignity, eating and drinking Christ,
is fitted in all respects for eternal life, sanctifying his soul
and body by the participation of divine grace. Wherefore, if any
one wishes to be a participator of the immaculate Body in the
time of the Synaxis, and to offer himself for the communion,
let him draw near, arranging his hands in the form of a cross,
and so let him receive the communion of grace. But such as, instead
of their hands, make vessels of gold or other materials for the
reception of the divine gift, and by these receive the immaculate
communion, we by no means allow to come, as preferring inanimate
and inferior matter to the image of God. But if any one shall
be found imparting the immaculate Communion to those who bring
vessels of this kind, let him be cut off as well as the one who
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON CI.
Whoever comes to receive the Eucharist holds his hands in
the form of a cross, and takes it with his mouth; whoever shall
prepare a receptacle of gold or of any other material instead
of his hand, shall be cut off.
At first, perchance, this was invented from pious feelings,
because the hand which came in contact with base and unworthy
things was not worthy to receive the Lord's body, but, as time
went on, piety was turned to the injury of the soul, so that those
who did this when they came to receive with an arrogant and insolent
bearing, were preferred to the poor.
ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM.
(Cateches. Mystagog. v.(1))
When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists
extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left
hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a
King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ,
Vide also St. John Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. iv.,
cap. xiv. On the whole matter cf. Card. Bona, De Rebus Lit., lib.
ii., cap. xvij., n. 3.
IT behoves those who have received from God the power to loose
and bind, to consider the quality of the sin and the readiness
of the sinner for conversion, and to apply medicine suitable for
the disease, lest if he is injudicious in each of these respects
he should fail in regard to the healing of the sick man. For the
disease of sin is not simple, but various and multiform, and it
germinates many mischievous offshoots, from which much evil is
diffused, and it proceeds further until it is checked by the power
of the physician. Wherefore he who professes the science of spiritual
medicine ought first of all to consider the disposition of him
who has sinned, and to see whether he tends to health or (on the
contrary) provokes to himself disease by his own behaviour, and
to look how he can care for his manner of life during the interval.
And if he does not resist the physician, and if the ulcer of the
soul is increased by the application of the imposed medicaments,
then let him mete out mercy to him according as he is worthy of
it. For the whole account is between God and him to whom the pastoral
rule has been delivered, to lead back the wandering sheep and
to cure that which is wounded by the serpent; and that he may
neither cast them down into the precipices of despair, nor loosen
the bridle towards dissolution or contempt of life; but in some
way or other, either by means of sternness and astringency, or
by greater softness and mild medicines, to resist this sickness
and exert himself for the healing of the ulcer, now examining
the fruits of his repentance and wisely managing the man who is
called to higher illumination. For we ought to know two things,
to wit, the things which belong to strictness and those which
belong to custom, and to follow the traditional form in the case
of those who are not fitted for the highest things, as holy Basil
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON CII.
The character of a sin must be considered from all points
and conversion expected. And so let mercy be meted out.
from The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, trans H. R. Percival, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), XIV, pp. 356-408
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(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996