Canons

of the Holy Fathers

 

Content:

Saint Dionysius the Alexandrian.

St. Gregory of Neocaesarea.

St. Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria.

Athanasius the Great.

St. Basil the Great.

Cannons of Saint Gregory of Nyssa.

Saint Gregory the Theologian.

St. Amphilochius.

Timothy of Alexandria.

Theophilus of Alexandria.

Cyril of Alexandria.

St. Gennadius of Constantinople.

St. Gennadius of Constantinople.

St. John The Faster.

St. Tarasius of Constantinople.

St. Nicephorus the Confessor.

Forms of Some Letters.

Instructions Concerning Marriages.

 

 

 

Saint Dionysius the Alexandrian.

Our Father Dionysius among the Saints was one of the pupils of Origen. Having formerly become a presbyter of the Church situated in Alexandria, about the year 232 after Christ he undertook to teach the catechism; later, in the year 247, he became Bishop of Alexandria, as the successor of Heracles, who had been the thirteenth Archbishop of Alexandria. Having been captured by soldiers in the time of the Decian persecution, he was taken to Taposiris, which was a small town situated between Alexandria and Canobius, according to the Dictionary of Bow-drant. In the year 257, in the time of Valerian the persecutor, when the thrice-blessed man appeared before the governor Aemilian and made the good confession of the faith, he was exiled to Cephro, a desert city in Libya. At the end of three years having been recalled from exile to Alexandria, at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Galienus, who though a son of Valerius, appeared in the beginning to be of a milder temperament in regard to Christians. With all his power the thrice-blissful man struggled to convert the heretics and to weld together the schisms which had been produced at that time in the Church by the Novatians, and to reconcile Pope Stephen of Rome and Pope Cyprian of Carthage, who had been at variance with each other on the question whether heretics and schismatics ought to be baptized or not upon returning to Orthodoxy, (in spite of the fact that he was in agreement with Cyprian, who wanted such persons rebaptized, as St. Jerome asserts, in his list of ecclesiastical authors, concerning which see the Prolegomena to the Canon of the Council of St. Cyprian (held in Carthage). He put up a valiant fight against Sabellius, and with his wise debates he persuaded those called by Nepos millenarians or chiliasts (concerning whom see the Prolegomena to the Second Ecum. C.) to abandon their cacodoxical views. In the year 265, when asked to attend the Council assembled in Antioch against Paul of Samosata, though he was unable to go to it bodily owing to old age and illness, he made his orthodox view of the faith clear in a letter, and controverted the man of Samosata by means of ten replies. In the same year, which was the twelfth year of the reign of Emperor Galienus, he departed to the Lord after having acted as Archbishop of Alexandria for seventeen years. Besides his other writings (for which see page 14 concerning shorthand writers in volume I of the series of the Octateuch), he wrote this Canonical Letter in the year 260, according to Milias (in Vol. II of the Conciliar Records), and sent it to a certain bishop named Basilides attached to the parishes of the Pentapolis, according to Eusebius (book VII, ch. 26), it being divided into four Canons and indefinitely confirmed by c. I of the 4th, and definitely by c. II of the Sixth Ecum. C.; and by virtue of this confirmation it acquired what amounts in a way to ecumenical force. It is to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, and in the first volume of the Conciliar Records (page 106).

Canons.

1. You have written me a letter, my most faithful and learned son, inquiring about the hour when one must cease fasting on Easter day. For you say that some of the brethren assert that one must do this shortly before the time when the cock crows or thereabouts, while others assert that it must be commenced with or from the time of evening. For the brethren in Rome, as they say, wait for the cock; whereas in the case of persons here you said that it would be earlier. But you are asking to have the exact condition fixed, and the hour accurately measured, which is both difficult and misleading. For the fact that after the time of our Lordís resurrection the festival and the festivity ought to commence, though humbling the soul with fasting up to that point, is one that will be acknowledged by all alike. It is apparent, however, that you have quite soundly affirmed by what you have written to me and have noticed from the divine Evangelists, that there is no precise information in them concerning the hour at which He rose. For the Evangelists have presented a different account about those who came to the tomb at times far apart and said that they had found the Lord to have risen already. "And late on the Sabbath day," says St. Matthew (28:1). "In the morning while it was still dark," says St. John (20:1). "Very early in the morning," says St. Luke (24:1). "And very early in the morning when the sun was rising," says St. Mark (16:2). Accordingly, it may be said that as to exactly when He rose, not one of them declares anything clearly. That it was late on the Sabbath, at the dawn of one of the Sabbaths, until the rise of the sun on one of the Sabbaths, those who visited the tomb found Him not lying in it, this is a fact which has been acknowledged over and over again, and there is no disagreement about it either, nor have we entertained any suspicion that the Evangelists conflict with each other in regard to this matter. But, on the contrary, though it may seem to be "much ado about nothing" to discuss the question any further as to whether they are all in agreement on that night that the Lord who is the Light of the world had already dawned upon it, the dispute is about the hour. Let us gratefully welcome, however, what has been said, and let us do our best to conform faithfully therewith. As for what has been asserted by St. Matthew, it runs as follows: "It was late on the Sabbath about the time of daybreak on one of the Sabbaths that Mary Magdalene and another Mary came to take a look at the sepulcher. And lo, a great earthquake occurred. For an angel of the Lord, having descended out of heaven, came and rolled away the stone, and sat down upon it. His countenance was like a flash of lightning, and his raiment was as white as snow. And for fear of him the watchers quaked, and became like dead men. The angel, however, in reply told the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye are seeking Jesus, who hath been crucified. He is not here: he is risen, as he said" (Matt. 28:1-5). As respects the word "late," some will imagine it to denote the evening of Saturday, in accordance with the affinity of the verb; those, however, who are supposed to be the ones able to judge the matter more wisely and more learnedly, will not assent to this, but will insist that it was deep night; because, as is patent, the word "late" denotes lateness and a long time, and because the statement that it was "about the time of daybreak" implies that it was nighttime. And they came, not as the rest say, bringing spices, but in order to look at the sepulcher; and they found the earthquake to have occurred, and the angel sitting upon the stone, and were told by the latter, "He is not here; he is risen" Likewise John says: "On the first day of the week early in the morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb; and she saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb" (John 20:1). Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that it was still dark, she went forward to the tomb. Luke says: "And they rested on the sabbath day in accordance with the commandment. But upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb" (Luke 23:56 and 24:1-2). It may be that the phrase "very early in the morning" indicates the approach of dawn of the first day of the week, on account of the fact that the entire sabbath together with the night succeeding it had completely passed away, and another day was beginning when they came bringing the spices and perfumes. Hence it is plainly evident that He must have risen a long while before. Evangelist Mark confirms this by saying: "They bought spices, that they might come and anoint him; and very early in the morning of the first day of the week they came unto the tomb, after the sun had dawned." He, too, says "very early in the morning," which is the meaning of the Greek words both here and in Luke. And he adds "after the sun had dawned." For their rush and the way they came make it plain that it must have been very early in the morning, and that morning must have just commenced; in fact, they had been delayed during their journey, and were lingering about the tomb till sunrise. And then the Young Man in a white robe said to them: "He is risen; he is not here" These facts being as stated, we venture to express our opinion of the matter to precisionists as follows: As for the question respecting the precise hour, or half hour, or quarter of an hour, it would be fitting to commence rejoicing over the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, we are inclined to find fault with those who accelerate the time too fast, and want to have it allowed to start even before midnight, on the ground that they are heedless of the hour and imperious, as nearly having stopped the race, whereof a wise man has said: "The least is not a little in life." On the other hand we espouse those who procrastinate and advance the hour as much as possible, and show fortitude in waiting till even the fourth watch, in which our Savior appeared walking upon the sea to those in the ship (Matt. 14:25), as we consider them brave and assiduous. But let us not quarrel with those who take the middle course, as they have been actuated or have been able to do, since not all men can endure even the six days of fastings equally, nor in the same manner; but, on the contrary, some of them pass all of those days without any food, while others pass only two, and others only three, and others only four, and some none at all. Accordingly, to those who have striven to the utmost in passing through all the days of fastings, and have afterwards become exhausted, having all but expired, it is pardonable for them to taste of food so much the sooner. But if some men, not as having passed through all those days fasting, but not having even fasted or having even spent the first four days in luxuriating, and afterwards coming to the last two remaining days, namely, Friday and Saturday, confine their fasting to these alone, we do not deem them to be doing anything great and splendid; if they stick it out till dawn, I am not of opinion that they are entitled to equal credit for their exploit with those who have fasted a greater number of days. These things I have written by way of advice as what I think.

Interpretation.

It seems that divine Basilides had asked this blissful Dionysius to tell him in writing the exact hour that Christ rose from the dead and when the rejoicing over the Lordís resurrection ought to begin, and when the breaking of the fast ought to occur. For, as it appears from the present letter, the Christians had some dispute about this amongst themselves; some of them asserting that the rejoicing of the festival and the breaking of the fast ought to start in the evening, and others maintaining that it ought to start with the crowing of the cock, as did those in Rome. So on this account he asked him to state in writing exactly the hour of Christís resurrection in order to fix the time for the beginning of the festival and the breaking of the fast by everybody consistently. In reply, therefore, to this question sacred Dionysius says that the exact and precise hour of Christís resurrection which he is asking about is a thing that is difficult and precarious to determine. For (he says) as to the fact that the festivity, or rejoicing of the festival, and the breaking of the fast ought to start after the resurrection of Christ is one that is proclaimed and acknowledged by everyone. But at what hour He rose, that is a puzzle, since the sacred Evangelists have disclosed only the fact that various persons came at different times to the tomb, and have said that they found the Lord to have risen, without, however, noting exactly at what hour He rose. Matthew, for instance, says that the women came late on the sabbath day; John says that it was early in the morning while it was still dark; Luke, that it was very early in the morning; and Mark likewise that it was very early. But as for the hour at which the Lord actually rose, not one of them has revealed it. All acknowledge, and there is no dispute about the fact that the persons who came to the tomb after the sabbath toward daybreak of Sunday failed to find the Lord in the grave; or we must not suspect that there is any contrariety in their accounts. Nevertheless, though the question is a little one, touching, that is to say, the agreement of the divine Evangelists in reference to the fact that it was on the same night of Sunday that the Lord, the Light of the world, dawned from the grave, and that they differ only as respects the hour; yet we ourselves, says the saint, would like to correct this little matter ó or, in other words, we will find that the divine Evangelists are in agreement as respecting the hour if we take care to reconcile the divine assertions with one another gratefully. For as to that which sacred Matthew says, that it was late on the Sabbath day, most people, in accordance with common usage, will take it to mean Saturday evening, but those who take the wiser view will understand it to mean deep night. For the word "late" in its proper sense (in Greek) denotes lateness and great tardiness; this amounts to saying the interval after Saturday, and on this account the Evangelist goes on to say "about the time of daybreak on the first day of the week." So the word "late" in Matthew, and the expression "while it was still dark" in John, and the phrase "very early in the morning" in Luke and the similar one in Mark, all signify the same thing. For they denote that, after Saturday and all the night of Saturday was past, and when the dawn of Sunday had begun, the women came and brought spices; but before they went it is evident that the Lord had risen. For they had set forth on their journey very early in the morning, as Mark says, but since they had spent their time on it they stayed at the tomb until the sun came up. That is why the same Evangelist adds "after the sun had dawned." These facts being as has been stated, says the saint, to those who inquire about the exact hour of the night, or at what half hour, or at what quarter of an hour they ought to commence rejoicing over the Lordís resurrection, and ought to break their fast, we vouchsafe the opinion that as for those persons who are in a great hurry and break their fast even before midnight, we upbraid them for being faint-hearted and ravenous, because, in spite of the short time they have to wait yet patiently fasting, they break the course of fasting they have been following, at a time when, as a wise man says, the least thing done in this life is not really little, (for if it is something good, it will beget a great reward, and if it is something evil, it will entail a great penalty in the other life). As for those who, on the contrary, go slow and show patience in fasting till the fourth watch of the night, at which time the Savior appeared in life walking upon the sea and coming to His disciples, which is the same as saying those who patiently wait with fortitude till the dawn of Sunday, we praise them as brave and assiduous. As regards those who have broken their fast somewhere between midnight and dawn, according to their ability to hold out, we are not going to scold them on the pretext that they failed to wait patiently and with fortitude till dawn, since not all persons fast alike throughout the six days of Passion Week, but, on the contrary, some fast only two days, others three, others four, and others do not go without food at all even for one day. Hence those who got weakened and nearly fainted because of their fasting and could not hold out any longer are entitled to a pardon for having broken off their fast earlier than others. But as for those who not only did not remain foodless for a single day during Passion Week, but did not even fast by confining themselves to zerophagy or monophagy (i.e., eating but a single kind of food), instead rather luxuriating during the first four days, and afterwards passing only two days, Great Friday and Great Saturday, without food, and who think that they are doing something great and splendid in the way of achievement if they keep on fasting till the dawn of Sunday ó as for these persons, I say, I do not think that they have undergone the same hardship as those who fasted the entire four days. Read also c. LXXXIX of the 6th.

 

2. Concerning menstruous women, whether they ought to enter the temple of God while in such a state, I think it superfluous even to put the question. For, I opine, not even they themselves, being faithful and pious, would dare when in this state either to approach the Holy Table or to touch the body and blood of Christ. For not even the woman with a twelve yearsí issue would come into actual contact with Him, but only with the edge of His garment, to be cured. There is no objection to oneís praying no matter how he may be or to oneís remembering the Lord at any time and in any state whatever, and petitioning to receive help; but if one is not wholly clean both in soul and in body, he shall be prevented from coming up to the Holies of Holies.

Interpretation.

When asked about this too, as to whether women in their menses ought to enter the temple of God, the saint replied that there is no need of asking the question, since if the women themselves have a proper reverence for things divine, they will be inhibited by it from daring ever to approach the Holy Table and to partake of the Lordís body and blood when they are in such a state of their menstrual affairs. For they can recall that woman who had an issue of blood and who on account of the flux of her blood did not dare, because of her great reverence, to touch the body of Christ, but only the hem of His garment. None of them is forbidden to pray, whatever be her predicament (whether she be at home or in the pronaos of the church), by imploring God and asking Him for help and salvation. One is forbidden, however, to go near the Holies of Holies, which is the same as saying to partake of the sanctified portions (i.e., the Eucharistic species) when he is not clean in soul and body, like women who are taken with their menses.

 

3. Persons who are self-sufficient and married ought to be judges of themselves. For we are told in writing by St. Paul that it is fitting that they should abstain from each other by agreement for a time, in order that they may indulge in prayer, and again come together (1 Cor. 7:5).

Interpretation.

And when asked about husbands and wives whether they ought to be continent respecting each other, the Saint answers that on this point the parties themselves ought to be sufficient judges, since it is fitting and proper according to blessed Paul for them to engage in no bodily association and intercourse when they are indulging in prayer; and this course ought to be adopted by agreement between both parties ó that is to say, by both the husband and the wife agreeing thereto ó lest it should come to pass that one of the parties is tempted by the enemy, and the continence of the other become an injury to the one so tempted. For if one party is overcome by desire and is not permitted by the other party to enjoy the satisfaction of it, he is liable to fall with another woman and sin, according to Zonaras.

 

4. As for those men who involuntarily become victims of nocturnal emission, let them too be guided by their own conscience as to whether to indulge or not, and decide for themselves, whether they have any doubt about this matter or not, as also in the case of foods, "he that hath any doubt is damned if he eat" (Rom. 14:23). And let everyone be conscientious in these matters, and outspoken, in accordance with his own inclination, when he approaches God. In honoring us (for you know you are, dear) by asking these questions, you have taken us to be like-minded, as indeed we are, and you are making us partners in your decision. As for me, it is not as a teacher, but as one who deems it fitting for us to talk with each other with all simplicity, that I have set forth my own conception of the matter for our common benefit. After finding that this conception of the matter meets with your approbation, my most sensible son, when you come to see whether it is so, you may write in turn about these matters whatever appears to you right and better. Farewell, my dear son, and I pray that this finds you in peace ministering to the Lord.

Interpretation.

In the present Canon the Saint is speaking about involuntary emission, or what is more commonly called a wet dream, which occurs during our sleep; and he says that all men who suffer this should make their own conscience the judge. For if the wet dream resulted without any obscene imagination and erotic thought, and furthermore without overeating and overdrinking, and instead nature alone did this of herself, as if it were a natural superfluity in the way of excrement, they are not prevented from coming to communion. But if it resulted from the causes above mentioned ó that is to say, from imagination and erotic thought, or from excessive eating and excessive drinking, they ought to be forbidden communion, on the ground that they are not pure, not because of the emission itself of the semen (since this is not unclean, seeing that it is a natural product, precisely as neither the flesh is unclean in itself, of which the semen is an excretion), but because of the wicked contemplation and imagination which polluted the mind. Such men as these, then, are not conscientious, and accordingly they are not outspoken, owing to the wicked contemplation and imagination they give rein to. Hence both as doubters and as being convicted or reproved by their conscience, how can they approach God and the Mysteries? For if they approach while thus doubting, they are rather condemned, and not sanctified, just like one who is condemned for eating the common and unclean animals forbidden to Jews, if he doubts and hesitates about these, as the Apostle says.

 

St. Gregory of Neocaesarea.

Prolegomena.

This divine Gregory was a contemporary of St. Dionysius of Alexandria, though a little later than he. Thus the blessed man served together with him the same Emperors, Valerian and Gallienus, and during the persecutions of the Christians which they incited. Having first acquired all the learning of the Greeks while in Alexandria, and having later become a disciple (or pupil) of Origen, thus thereafter he was ordained Bishop of Neocaesarea in the region of the Pontus (or Black Sea) by Phaedimus, the Bishop of Amasia, who was distant in respect of location but near in respect of the indescribable charm due to the grace resulting from divine inspiration. When he commenced trying to find out exactly the dogma of the Christian religion (called in Greek "the piety"), there appeared to him in person both the Lady Theotoke (called in English "the Blessed Virgin") and John the Theologian (generally called "John the Divine" in English), who at the command of the Mother of God revealed to him the mystery of Theology, which runs as follows (the English translation here being necessarily imperfect):

"One God Father of a living Logos, of Wisdom substantiate and of power, and of an eternal stamp, the perfect Generator of a perfect Being, the Father of an only-begotten Son."

"One Lord sole out of sole, a God out of a God, the express image and stamp of the Deity. A perspicuous Logos, a Wisdom comprising the constitution of all things in the universe, and a power creative of all creation, a true Son of a true Father, an invisible exemplar of the one who is invisible, and an immortal of the Immortal One, and an eternal of the Eternal One. One Holy Spirit having Its existence from God, and manifested through the Son, that is to say, to men. A perfect image of the perfect Son; Life which is the cause of all living beings; a holy Source of holiness; a bestower of sanctification in whom is revealed God the Father who is over all things and in all things; and God the Son, who is through all things. A perfect Trinity whereof the glory, the eternalness and the kingdom are neither divided nor alienated. In the Trinity, therefore, there is nothing creatural or servile, nor adventitious or adscititious, as formerly not having been existent, but having crept in later; neither, therefore, at any time was the Father lacking a Son, nor had the Son any lack of the Spirit; neither did a unit grow into a dyad, nor a dyad into a trinity, but, on the contrary, the same Trinity has ever and always been immutable and unalterable."

He attended the Council convoked against Paul of Samosata in Antioch with Firmilian the bishop of Caesarea Cappadocian Caesarea, and many others. He lived even down to the time of Emperor Aurelian, when in the year 272 the last Council was held against the man of Samosata. The Church of Christ celebrates him on the seventeenth day of the month of November. It is noteworthy that St. Basil the Great, in his letter to the clerics in the vicinity of Neocaesarea, asserts that this Gregory did not cover his head when he was praying, being a genuine disciple of St. Paul the Apostle; that he avoided taking any oaths, contenting himself with a yea or a nay. That he called no one a fool. That he hated invective (or uncomplimentary remarks) and many other things does he state concerning him: "But where shall we place Gregory and his utterances? Can we deny him a place alongside the Apostles and Prophets, a man who walked in the same Spirit with them? and one who stalked throughout his life in the footsteps of the Saints? and who achieved throughout his life an accurate copy of the evangelical model of behavior? a man who in view of the superabundance of gracious gifts in him energized by the Spirit with all power, and with signs and wonders, was hailed even by the enemies of the truth themselves as a second Moses." It was this man, then, who aside from his other written works wrote also this canonical epistle in the year 262, according to what Milias says in vol. II of the Conciliar Records, which was divided into twelve or eleven Canons, and is confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th, but definitely and by name by c. II of the 6th Ecum. C.; and by virtue of this confirmation it acquires what is in a way an ecumenical force. The epistle is contained in vol. II of the Pandectae, and in vol. I of the Conciliar Records, p. 107. He sent it either to the same Dionysius of Alexandria, or to Maximus, the successor of Dionysius, according to Eusebius (Book VII, ch. 28). For it is this man that he calls a Pope and that asked, it appears, this divine Gregory about those persons who ate things sacrificed to idols and did other things in the course of the incursion of the barbarians which occurred as much in the region of the Pontus as in the region of Alexandria. That the same persecutions ensued both in regard to the Pontus and in regard to Alexandria at the instigation of the same Emperors is a fact which anyone can learn both from the life of this saint and from the history written by Eusebius (ibid., ch. 11), who narrates the evils that befell Egypt in the time of Dionysius.

 

Canons.

1. It is not the foods that concern us, most sacred Pope, if the captives ate them, which the conquerors offered them, especially since it is said by all of them that the barbarians who overran our parts of the earth had not been sacrificing to idols. But the Apostle says: "Foods are for the belly, and the belly is for foods. But God will abolish both these and that" (1 Cor. 6:13). Moreover, the Savior, who makes all foods clean, says: "It is not what goeth in that defileth a man, but what goeth out" (Matt. 15:11, as quoted here).

Interpretation.

Since in the time of this Saint barbarians invaded the land of the Romans, called Goths and Boradi, and after enslaving many Christians, they gave the latter foods to eat that had been sacrificed to idols, or that were forbidden for some other reason and unclean. On this account when asked by the then Pope, this divine Gregory replied in the present Canon that no serious harm and sin result when Christians eat such foods, and especially in view of the fact that it was rumored by all that those barbarians were not wont to sacrifice to idols, and consequently neither were the foods which they gave to the faithful foods sacrificed to idols. He also adduces testimony from the Apostle, who asserts that foods, or, in other words, things that delight the belly, cater to gourmandism, or, conversely, gourmandism caters to manís delight, but that God sooner or later will abolish both delight in eating and gourmandism, and cause them to lapse into desuetude, so that no one suffer any harm from them. Thereupon the Saint shows that foods eaten for the sake of delight and gourmandism are deprecated, and not those taken because of the need and necessity of nature and those supplied by the barbarians and eaten by their Christian captives. He also adduces testimony from the Gospel which says: "It is not foods that enter through the mouth that make a man unclean, but what goes out from the heart" (as here paraphrased).

 

2. And as for the charge that the female captives have been ravished, the barbarians violating their bodies. But if the life of any particular one of them has been duly investigated and she has been found to have been following the lead of amorous glances, as is written (Ruth 3:10), it is plain that a propensity to fornication may be suspected also during the time of captivity; accordingly, such females ought not to be admitted offhand to communion of prayers. If, however, it is found that any particular one of them has lived a life of the utmost sobriety, and that her previous life has been pure and above suspicion, but that she has now fallen as a result of violence and necessity a victim to insult, we have the example to be found in Deuteronomy in the case of the damsel whom a man found in the plain (or field) and forced to sleep with him: "Unto the damsel" it says, "thou shall do nothing: there is in the damsel no sin deserving death; for this matter is like the case in which a man riseth up against his neighbor and putteth his soul to death ..... the damsel shouted, and there was no one responding to her appeal" (Deut. 22:26-27). So much for these matters.

Interpretation.

Next in regard to enslaved women who were ravished by the barbarians, the present Canon decrees that this forcible ravishment is not a grave sin. (Note of Translator. ó Though such is the signification of the words in the Greek original, it ought to be noted again that usage among the ecclesiastical writers of the Greek Church allows a different interpretation that would be natural in English; to wit, the word "ravishment" is to be taken in the passive sense, and the whole sentence is to be understood as meaning that being ravished under such circumstances is not per se a grave sin.) The matter ought, however, to be duly investigated. For if the former life of such women during the time when they were free was one to be described as being whorish, it is plain that a suspicion may be entertained that they may have taken to whorish habits and customs even during the time of their captivity. That is to say, more plainly speaking, there is room for a suspicion that they may not have been forcibly ravished by the barbarians, but that they themselves rather wanted to be ravished. Hence they ought not be easily permitted to pray together with the other women. But if the former life of such women was indeed sober and pure in the extreme, and proof against every suspicion and accusation, but afterwards they were forcibly insulted by the barbarians, God judges these women to be above deadly sin, just as He also decided that that virgin whom a man found alone in the plain and forcibly raped should be above (the suspicion of having committed) a sin deserving death, since she cried out, it says, and no one was found there near the scene to run to her aid.

Concord.

In agreement herewith St. Basil the Great too, in his c. XLIX, says that forcible rapes entail no responsibility. Canon I of St. Nicephorus, on the other hand, says that if a nun is raped by barbarians or other disorderly men, in case her previous life was untainted and free from accusations she is to be canonized (i.e., penalized) for a period of forty days only, but if she was tainted (already), she is to be penanced as an adulteress.

 

3. Greed is a terrible thing, and it is not possible in a single letter to quote the divine Scriptures wherein robbery is denounced not only as something to be avoided, but also as something that is positively horrible; but in general greediness and laying hold of what belongs to others with a view to filthy lucre, and every such offender is to be banished from the Church of God. But in time of an incursion amid so much wailing and so much lamentation for one to dare to select the time which brings ruin to everyone as the time for them to make a profit, is a mark of impious and God-hated men who have cared nothing about exorbitance. Hence it has seemed best to banish all such persons, lest the wrath fall upon all the laity, and first upon the chief functionaries themselves, who have not invited it. For I fear, as the Bible says, "lest the impious man bring about the destruction of the righteous man" (Gen. 18:23; Col. 3:6). "Fornication," it says, "and greed, on account of which the wrath of god cometh upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For once upon a time ye were darkness, but now ye are a light in the Lord. Walk like children of light. For the fruit of light is in all goodness and justice and truth. Testing to see that is acceptable unto the Lord, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which they do in secret. But everything that is reproved by the light is made manifest" (Eph. 5:3-13). Such is what the Apostle says. But if because of previous greed manifested in time of peace, when they are paying the penalty in the very time of wrath, some men again turn to greed, by profiting from the blood and ruination of men who have been upset, or captives murdered, what else is to be expected? or, as striving greedily to accumulate wrath, both for themselves and all the laity?

Interpretation.

At the time of the incursion of the above-mentioned barbarians, some Christians who had not been made captives, used to go to dwellings of those who had been enslaved and snatch those things which the barbarians had failed to carry off. So when asked about these persons, the Saint replied that any greed is a very bad thing and is prohibited by the divine Scripture in such a way that it is not possible in only one letter to set forth all the passages in the Bible that not only stigmatize theft as being a fearful and horrible sin, but stigmatize on the whole and generally every greediness and grabbing of what belongs to others and injustice. For every thief and greedy person and unjust person is excommunicated and estranged from the Church of God. And if every greed and grab is such, most certainly those men who during the time of the incursion of barbarians have dared in the midst of so many lamentations and groanings, some persons weeping because they have been made captives themselves, and others because their relatives have been made captives, and others because the barbarians have taken away their property ó those men, I say, who have thought such a time of calamity to be a good time for them to reap a profit for themselves, and have dared to steal, and to grab the belongings of their enslaved brethren, are impious men, men hated by God, and not averse from any wickedness. For this reason they ought to be driven away from the Church of God, lest on their account the wrath of God fall upon all the laity, and especially upon the chief functionaries ó the bishops, that is to say, who are their rulers ó who fail to examine into these matters aright. In addition the Saint adduces evidence concerning this from the Bible, showing that an impious man chastises and destroys together with himself the righteous man too, and that on account of greed the wrath of God falls upon the children of disobedience; and that men who are just and righteous and virtuous ought not to become accomplices and partners of those engaged in the fruitless and dark works of vice and of injustice. He also adds this, that if those who have grabbed the belongings of their enslaved brethren, to which they had no right, were not sobered by this chastisement which God inflicted upon them (I mean, of course, the incursion of the barbarians) on account of the greediness they displayed during the time of peace, but, on the contrary, even in the time of wrath and of the incursion of these barbarians they continue to be greedy, profiting and grabbing everything they can from the blood and destruction of men killed and enslaved: what else ought one to expect henceforth but that they are striving with their insatiable greed and thievery to bring the great wrath of God upon themselves and upon all the laity?

Concord.

Canon IV of the same Gregory says relevantly that such plunderers, such graspers, are worse than Achar who stole some of the things which had been devoted to Jericho (I Chron. 2:7), mistranslated in the Authorized Version "accursed thing"). In his c. V he says that not even if anyone finds them can he take them to his own behoof. In his c. VI he says that even if they have lost their own belongings, and have afterwards found those of another personís, they cannot keep these instead of their own. Canon XI of Theophilus in agreement with this divine Father says that the presbyters in Geminon acted lawfully and canonically when they excommunicated from the Church a certain unrighteous woman because she refused to refrain from unrighteousness. Canon LXI of St. Basil canonizes one year any thief who of his own accord repents and confesses, but two years one that is convicted by others. Greed is also forbidden by c. V of Carthage, which calls it the mother of all evils. St. Gregory of Nyssa in his c. VI says that greed is an affliction that hurts all three parts of the soul, namely, the ratiocinative, the affective, and the desiderative. He divides thieves into two classes: robbers, or, more specifically, avowed and open thieves, who, in order to steal employ both arms (i.e., weapons) and men (i.e., confederates), and waylay persons in dangerous spots; and secret thieves, who steal on the sly the belongings of others to which they have no right whatever. Accordingly, in regard to the first class, he canonizes them as murderers, just as his brother St. Basil in his c. VIII condemns these offenders to the penalty of willful murderers; in regard to the second class, after they have confessed, he decrees that they shall give their property to the poor, if they have any, or if they have none, that they shall work, and from their work shall give to the needy. St. Gregory the Theologian, on the other hand, goes on to say that property acquired unjustly or unrighteously, whether by theft, that is to say, or as a result of rapacity or greed, cannot be pardoned by reason of mere repentance, or by assuming the habit of a monk, but not even by reason of baptism itself, if the person who has wrongfully acquired it and has possession of it fails to return it to those from whom he took it. For he has the following to say in his second discourse concerning baptism in addressing those who practiced injustice and were baptized, but failed to restore the misappropriated property after baptism: ďThou hast done two wicked things, Ο grasping and greedy fellow: for one thing, because thou hast acquired something unjustly that did not belong to thee; and for another thing, because thou keepest it and dost not return it to its owner. Accordingly, for having unjustly acquired it thou hast been pardoned by God by means of holy baptism; but for keeping it and not returning it, thou hast not been pardoned, as thou hast not abandoned injustice, but, on the contrary, even unto this very day thou continuest being unjust, insomuch that today thou hast thy hand on alien property which is not thine and which thou holdest unjustly; actually, therefore, thy sin hath not been completely wiped out, but hath only been divided into two phases and distributed over two seasons. For thou didst perpetrate the seizure and unjust appropriation of anotherís belongings before being baptized, but the retention of his seized belongings is something which thou art engaged in even still after the baptism. Hence thou remainest unpardoned; since baptism only pardons sins that thou didst prior thereto, such as is the grabbing of anotherís belongings, but it does not pardon also the sins that thou all the time perpetrating even after baptism, such as is that of the retention of the property grabbed." So, whoever grabs anything, and gets baptized afterwards but fails to restore the property grabbed to its rightful owner, must not suppose that this unjustness of his has been pardoned, for he is deluding himself if he does, and is making a gratuitous assumption of purification, or, more plainly speaking, he is unwarrantably assuming that he is cleared of an injustice without actually being so. In his c. XXVII the Faster forbids communion for forty days to a thief who voluntarily repents of his own accord, but he condemns one to xerophagy and penances and forbids communion to him for six months if he has been exposed by others. Both Armenopoulos (Epitome, Canon V, Title 3) and Matthew Blastaris say the same. As for one who steals capital things, he cannot become a priest if he is a layman, according to c. XXVIII of the Faster; but if he is a priest, he is to be deposed from office, according to Ap. c. XXV, which the reader may consult for himself.

 

4. Is it not a fact that, behold, Achar, the great-grandson of Zerah, did really commit a serious trespass by stealing of the devoted thing, and the wrath was kindled against the whole congregation of Israel (Joshua 7:1)? Though this man alone committed the sin, can it be said that he died alone in his sin? It behooves us to deem anything a devoted thing if it is not ours, but is something the profit from which belongs to another. For be it noted both that Achar took of the booty (called in the Authorized and Revised Versions "spoils" and "spoil," respectively), and that they now are taking of the booty too. For he was misappropriating the property of the foes, while those now are making profit out of the property of the brethren, a ruinous profit.

Interpretation.

The Saint is citing in the present Canon as an example Achar, the son (i.e., descendant) of Zerah, and who by stealing from the spoils of Jericho things which had been consecrated to God, namely, a highly-embroidered fabric, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold, and hiding them in his tent, provoked the wrath of God upon the Israelites, and they were defeated in the war which they were waging upon the city of Ai, thirty-six of them being slain and three thousand routed and crushed (Josh. 7:4-5). So, just as this man Achar was alone the single one who committed the theft, yet he was not the only one that died, but, on the contrary, there were a lot of others, in like manner those who have stolen the belongings of persons that have been enslaved shall not be the only ones to be destroyed, but, on the contrary, they will entail the destruction of many others, because they themselves too have stolen of the goods that were consecrated to God, as he had then (for property of others left by the barbarians must be regarded as something consecrated to God) of the booty; and they have grabbed the spoils, as he had then. What am I saying "as he had" for? Why, these fellows are worse even than he, because he stole the property of foes, whereas these fellows have stolen the property of their brethren, and of enslaved and pillaged brethren at that. See also his c. III.

 

5. Let no one deceive himself as having found it, either, for not even a. finder is permitted to profit from it. For Deuteronomy says: "On seeing thy brotherís calf or his sheep going astray, thou shall not overlook them on the way, but thou shall in any case restore them to thy brother. And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shall bring them unto thine own house, and they shall be with thee until thy brother seek after them, and thou shall give them back to him. Thus shall thou with his ass; and thus shalt thou do with his raiment; and thus shalt thou do with respect to every loss of thy brotherís, whatever may be lost by him and thou may find" (Deut. 22:1-3). That is what Deuteronomy says. In Exodus, not only if thou find goods of thy brotherís, but even of thine enemy: "Thou shalt surely return them," it says, "to their ownerís house" (Exod. 23:4). But if it is not permissible in time of peace to profit as a result of your brotherís or your enemyís indolence or luxuriation or neglect of his own belongings, much more is it forbidden when he is in woe and fleeing from foes and necessarily abandoning his own property.

Interpretation.

In continuation of the preceding Canon, the Saint says thus in the present Canon. Let no one fool himself among such persons by pretending to have found his brotherís property thrown away and not looked after (or, instead of all these words we might say in English "derelict"), and to have taken it on this account or for this reason; for, though one may have found it neglected, he is not permitted to appropriate it and to retain it, since he is obliged to take it and to safeguard it in his custody until its owner seeks it. And the Saint adduces two testimonies in regard to this: one from Deuteronomy saying that if anyone should happen to find a lost calf or lost sheep or lost ass of his brotherís, or a lost garment or any other lost thing, he must give it back to his brother. If, however, he does not know who owns it, he must keep it until his brother asks for it or seeks it, and must then give it back to him. And the other testimony which he cites from Exodus says that if anyone find property not only of his brotherís but even of his enemyís that has been thrown away (Note of Translator. ó By "thrown away" the author means "apparently thrown away"), he must return it to him. But if, as these divine words assert, one is not permitted to retain property of his brotherís or of his enemyís which in peacetime the owner has carelessly left neglected, much more is it true that he is not permitted to retain anything belonging to his unfortunate brother who is fleeing from enemies and has necessarily abandoned his own property. See also his c. III.

 

6. Many persons deceive themselves in that they hold on to property of others which they have found and claim it instead of the property which they themselves have lost, since by the same treatment as they received from Boradi and Goths they are making themselves Boradi and Goths to others. We therefore have sent brother and fellow senior Euphrosynus to you for this, that in accordance with the plan here he may furnish one there similarly, and tell you whose accusations ought to be considered, and who ought to be banished from prayers.

Interpretation.

Owing to the fact that some of the above-mentioned graspers used to offer the pretext that they were keeping the property of strangers which they had found in lieu of replacing their own which had been taken by the barbarians, the Saint is replying with reference to this pretext by saying in the present Canon that those who offer such stupid excuses are fooling and deceiving themselves; for what the enemies and foes became to them they in turn are becoming themselves ó i.e., enemies and foes ó to their other brethren. Just because the barbarians snatched their things, they in turn have snatched the things of their brethren. On account of these facts, he says, we have sent you Euphrosynus, a brother and senior, in order that just as we are doing here you may do there where you are, and this brother will let you know what sort of persons you ought to admit to accusation of others (concerning whom see Ap. c. LXXIV, and c. VI of the 2nd), and what sort of persons you ought to keep out of church so as to prevent them from joining in prayer with the other ones, who are faithful Christians. See also his c. III.

 

7. An incredible statement has been made to us to the effect that in your country a thing has been done, no doubt by impious infidels unacquainted with even the name of the Lord, as may be surmised from their having attained to such great cruelty and inhumanity as to hold in custody by force captives who succeeded in escaping. Send some men into the country, lest fulgurations fall upon those doing such things.

Interpretation.

Some persons, as we have learned, says the Saint, have reached such extreme brutality and inhumanity as to hold under forcible arrest in your country those Christians who fled and escaped from the barbarians, who themselves, of course, are impious infidels, and do not even know the name of God at all. So send men everywhere to investigate this, lest fire and bolts of lightning fall from the sky and burn up those who are doing such things.

 

8. As for those, therefore, who have been induced to join the barbarians and to depart with them in captivity, forgetting that they ever were faithful Christians, and turning barbarians themselves to such an extent as to slay men of their own race, either by cudgeling or by hanging them, or, failing this, by pointing out roads or houses to barbarians ignorant of them, they ought to be excluded from listening, until such time as some common decision can be arrived at concerning them by the saints (or Holy Fathers) when they meet, and before they do by the Holy Spirit.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that as regards all persons who were enslaved by the barbarians, but later forgot that they ever were Christians, and grew so barbarized in their manners as to become one with the barbarians and to slay Christians of their own race, and to show their streets or houses to the barbarians who did not know where they lived ó these persons, I say, after they repent and return, ought not to be allowed to stand even with "listeners," and listen to the divine Scriptures being read in church, but, on the contrary, ought to be compelled to stand outside, that is to say at the door of the church with the "weepers," until the time comes when the Holy Fathers, meeting together in a common council or synod may determine the proper penalty to be meted out to them, or rather to say, until it is determined by the Holy Spirit speaking through the Holy Fathers. By the word "saints" here the Saint means the Fathers in Ancyra, who, having assembled 52 years later, decreed the proper penance or penalty to be imposed upon such persons and announced it in their c. IX, which you may read for yourself.

 

9. As for those, on the other hand, who dared to invade the homes of other persons, if they have been accused of doing so and have been proved guilty, they do not deserve even to be listeners, unless they tell everything and give back everything, in which case they may be placed in the class of kneelers who have returned.

Interpretation.

After saying in the previous Canons about those who grab the property of enslaved Christians, the Saint now decrees the proper penalties to be inflicted upon such persons by saying that those who intruded into private houses belonging to the enslaved and plundered their effects there, if they be accused of doing so but deny it, and are proved guilty, they do not deserve to stand even with listeners, but only with weepers outside. But if of their own accord they confess and give back the strangersí property which they stole, they are to be allowed to pray along with the kneelers. Sec also c. III of the same Saint, and the ichnographical representation of a temple.

 

10. As for those, on the other hand, who found something in the plain or in their own houses that was left there by the barbarians, if they be accused of this and be proved guilty, likewise among the kneelers (sc. let them pray); but if they themselves tell everything and return everything, let them be declared worthy of prayer.

Interpretation.

When barbarians were sacking a country and keeping hold of the things belonging to Christians, if they later found other things better than those, or owing to the weight they were unable to carry off all that they grabbed, they would leave it either outside in the plain or field or inside, wherever they happened to find the better things. So the present Canon decrees that all persons who found such things belonging to their brethren and left by the barbarians in the plain or inside their own houses, in case they kept them and afterwards revealed them, they are to be compelled to join with the kneelers; but if of their own accord reveal the property and give it back, they are to be allowed to stand in church and pray along with the faithful who pray to the end ó until, that is to say, after exhibiting due penitence they may be allowed communion. See also c. III of the same Saint, and the ichnographical representation of a temple.

 

11. As for those who fulfill the commandment, they must fulfill it without any regard for filthy lucre, either in demanding something as reward for the giving of information, or as reward for saving, or as reward for finding, or as any kind of reward they may want to call it.

Interpretation.

Having moderately canonized in the preceding Canon those confessing that they found something belonging to another person, the Saint now decrees in the present Canon that they ought not to ask for even a reward for finding it from the owner of the property, nor what is commonly called a reward claimed for giving information about it, or any other such rewards that are customary among the multitude; but, on the contrary, they must return it without taking any such a shameful and dishonorable profit. For it really is a shameful profit when anyone seeks it from a person who has lost his property in time of distress, and does not return it to him without a reward. Hence too it may be asserted that the civil laws which provide that a reward be given by the owners to persons who have found their lost property are not to be needed on this point, on the ground that they conflict with the present Canon. And see the Prolegomena respecting Canons in the beginning of this book.

 

12. The station of weepers is outside the doorway of the oratory, where the sinner has to stand and beg the faithful who are passing in to pray for him. The station of listeners is within the doorway in the narthex, where the one who has committed a sin has to stand until the catechumens pass out thence. For "while listening," it says, "to the Scriptures and the teaching, let him be put outside and not be allowed the right to participate in prayer." The station of kneelers is within the doorway of the temple where the kneeler stands in order to pass out together with the catechumens. The station of co-standers is that in which one stands together with the faithful and does not pass out together with the catechumens. Last is the place where the consecrated elements are received.

Interpretation.

The present Canon contains nothing but the four places where penitents used to stand. Note, however, that although this Canon does not appear to be genuine, both because the matter it contains is taken verbatim from c. LXXV of the great Father St. Basil, who lived in later years, and because the most eminent of exegetes Zonaras does not vouchsafe any interpretation of it or even so much as mention it, and because in some manuscripts it is labeled a scholium. By the advice, however, of the examiner, my learned Mr. Dorotheus it was added to the rest as a Canon, just as it is found in the Pandectae and in other manuscripts. And see concerning these stations the ichnographical representation of a temple at the end of this book.

 

St. Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria.

Prolegomena.

Our Father among Saints Peter lived in the year 296. Having succeeded Theonas, he became Archbishop of Alexandria, being the seventeenth in the line of Archbishops of Alexandria. As Melitius, the Bishop of Lycopolis in Thebais was convicted of sharing in many heretical transgressions, the Saint deposed him, and refused to accept any baptism performed by him and his party. He also ordained Arius a deacon when the latter set forth an important dogma concerning the faith. But after this when he saw that he was defending disowned Melitius and agreed with his vile opinions, he deposed him from office and cast him out of the Church. After tending his flock aright and in a manner acceptable to God and leading it to life-bringing pastures, he concluded his life by ending as a martyr in the reign of Diocletian, leaving Achillas as his successor. When his all-holy head was cut off, a voice was heard from heaven saying the following words: "Peter the beginning of Apostles and Peter the end of Martyrs!" For after his death the persecution of Christians by tyrants ceased, and the peer of Apostles Constantine the Great became Emperor. In the year 304 he wrote the present Canons regarding those who variously denied during the persecution, which Canons are necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church; and they have been indefinitely confirmed by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th Ecum. C., and by virtue of this confirmation they have acquired a quasi-ecumenical power. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandectae, and in Vol. I of the Conciliar Records on p. 129.

 

Canons.

1. Now therefore that a fourth Easter has succeeded the persecution, as touching those who, though they were rounded up and imprisoned, and patiently endured irremediable tortures and unbearable scourges and many other unavoidable terrors, yet at a later time were betrayed by the weakness of the flesh, notwithstanding that they were not welcomed back in the beginning because of the exceedingly great fall they suffered subsequently, still, because of the fact that they did display great valor and for a long time fought back (for it was not willingly that they succumbed, but only after they had been outrageously betrayed by the weakness of the flesh, since even the speckles (or maculae) of Jesus are exhibited on their bodies, and some of them have been in deep mourning for the third year), it is decreed that they be additionally sentenced, as a reminder, to forty more days, counting from their return to the Church; which is the number of days, however, that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fasted after being baptized, when He was tempted by the Devil; and, by thoroughly exercising themselves for that number of days, having become soberer than ever, they shall henceforth engage in spending their waking time in prayers, at the same time meditating and concentrating their mind upon what the Lord said to His tempter who was trying to induce Him to pay adoration to him: "Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou worship" (Matt. 4:10; Luke 4:8; Deut. 6:13).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those who three years ago (for this is what is meant by the expression "a fourth Easter") were betrayed by others, and were imprisoned first and underwent irremediable tortures and unbearable lashes and other terrible treatment for the sake of the name of Christ, but later owing to the weakness of the flesh were overcome, and at last did deny, nevertheless, though they then came back to the Church, yet they were not accepted, in spite of this, because of the fact that they did put forth great efforts in behalf of Christ, and because it was not willfully that they denied Him, but was due to the weakness of the flesh, and especially because during the interval of the last three years past they have mourned and repented of the fall of the denial ó those persons, I say, in addition to the three years ought to be canonized still forty days, as many, that is to say, as the Lord fasted on the mountain and was thereafter tempted by the Devil; in order that they too for this number of days may be the more exercised and trained, and be rendered more carefully attentive, and vigil in prayers, meditating those words which the Lord said to the Devil when the latter coaxed Him to pay adoration to him: "Get thee behind me, Satan. For it is written, Ďthou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou worship.í" And thereafter they are to be admitted to Communion. See also c. IV of the C. in Ancyra.

2. As touching those who after being imprisoned only patiently endured the afflictions and stenches in prison as though in a siege, but later became captives without undergoing the tortures of war, with a very poor display of power, one year will suffice them when added to the other year, since they too surrendered themselves wholly to be afflicted for the sake of Christ, though they did enjoy much comfort in prison from their brethren, which they will have to return manyfold if they wish to be redeemed from the exceedingly bitter captivity of the Devil, especially when reminded of the passage saying: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, wherefore he hath anointed me, to preach the gospel unto the poor, and hath sent me forth to preach release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth the brokenhearted in remission, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of retribution" (Isa. 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19).

Interpretation.

As for those who only were imprisoned for the sake of Christ heretofore, and who patiently suffered the hardships and stink in prison, but later without being compelled by force of tortures denied Him owing to their great want of power, or, more explicitly speaking, because of their pusillanimity (faintheartedness) and blindness, the present Canon decrees that they shall be canonized yet one year, and not any more, in addition to the three years which they passed while repenting, since they too in one way or another gave themselves up to affliction for the sake of the name of Christ, though as a matter of fact they did receive relief and comfort from the other brethren. (For it appears that Christians who had not been arrested by the persecutors were supplying those held in prison with necessities and comforted them.) They shall have to requite this comfort and aid manyfold to them if after afflicting themselves many times as much they be redeemed from the bitter bondage of the Devil which they suffered as a consequence of their denial, while bearing in mind that passage of the prophet Isaiah, wherein, as the personal representative of the Lord, he says: "The Spirit of the Lord is in me, which has anointed me, and has sent me to bring good tidings to the poor, to proclaim redemption to the enslaved, eyesight to the blind, to send free those who have been suffering woes, and to announce that a year acceptable to the Lord has come and a day of retribution. See also c. IV of Ancyra.

 

3. As touching those, on the other hand, who suffered no such fate at all, nor have shown fruit of faith, but, on the contrary, deserted to wickedness, betrayed by cowardice and fear, but who have now begun to repent, it is necessary and apropos to quote the parable of the fruitless fig tree, as the Lord tells it: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and looked for fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I been coming and looking for fruit on this fig trees, and have not found any; cut it down. Why should it encumber the ground? And he in reply said unto him, Lord, leave it alone this year too, till I dig round it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, all will be well; but if it fail to do so, in the future thou shalt cut it down (Luke 13: 6-9). By keeping this parable before their eyes, and showing fruit worthy of repentance during the space of one whole year as herein specified, they shall be rather benefited.

Interpretation.

As for those who, without suffering any terrible hardship like the evils previously mentioned, but willfully on their own initiative, went and denied for fear only and cowardice, and are now repenting, therefore the present Canon decrees as follows, to wit, that they ought to keep before the eyes of their mind that fig tree, after coming to which for three years straight and not finding any fruit on it, its owner sought to cut it down at the very root, in order to avoid its rendering the ground vain and idle. But the vinedresser begged him to let it go for another year, making the fourth year; and then if it should bear no fruit, he might cut it down. By meditating this parable, I say, and showing fruit worthy of repentance for four years straight, they shall be thereby benefited. Read also c. XI of the First Ec. C.

 

4. To those, on the other hand, who remain desperate and unrepentant, possessed of the Ethiopianís skin and the leopardís spots, let the story of the other fig tree be told: "Let no fruit grow out of thee henceforth forever. And forthwith it withered away on this account" (Matt. 21:19; cf. Mark 11:13-14). For that too is fulfilled in regard to them at any rate which was said by Ecclesiastes: "That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered" (Eccl. 1:15). For if what is crooked is not first straightened, it is not entitled to a number. Hence after all they will have that too happen to them which the prophet Isaiah has said: "And they shall see," says he, "the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against me. For their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abomination to the sight of all flesh" (Isa. 66:24); since even as he said before this, the unjust shall be so tossed about by the billows that they shall be unable to find any rest in the future: there is no feeling glad so far as the impious are concerned, saith God.

Interpretation.

The Canons previously set forth concerned Christ-deniers who repented; the present one decrees about Christ-deniers who have not repented and who, being desperate and evil-minded, keep the blackness of their wickedness unchanged, as the Ethiopian his swarthy skin and the leopard his spots. To these men, therefore, shall the curse be uttered which the Lord said of the fruitless fig tree, to wit, "Henceforth let no fruit come out of thee forever; and forthwith the fig tree became withered." And in them is fulfilled that too which Ecclesiastes has said, namely, that a crooked thing cannot be embellished with any other adornment unless it first be straightened; and a defective thing cannot be counted as perfect, without, that is to say, first being supplied with what is wanting to make it perfect. So that when they come to the end of their life, that will happen to them which Isaiah says, namely, that the men shall see the bones of the men who transgressed my words and denied me; and their worm shall not cease eating them up, and the fire which is burning them shall not be extinguished. In addition that other assertion will be fulfilled in them which the same Isaiah made before he said these words. That is, that the unjust will encounter a tempest, and will not find any rest hereafter; because there is no joy for the impious, saith God.

 

5. As touching those men, on the other hand, who, in the same way as David feigned himself an epileptic to escape being put to death, though he was not a real epileptic (1 Sam. 21:13-15), and who did not state their denial in black and white, but contrived to elude the enemiesí plots, in spite of appearing to be sorely distressed, by acting like sane and resolute children amid foolish children; or, in other words, by pretending to have visited the altars of the heathen gods, or to have written something with their own hand, or by putting heathen in their stead (even though, as I have been told, some confessors actually pardoned some of them for doing so, as indeed by appearing to be very reverent they escaped becoming suicides as victims of the fire and exhalation of the unclean demons). Inasmuch, therefore, as they did escape detection by doing so in a silly manner, yet they shall be let off with a six monthsí sentence out of consideration for their reverting in repentance. For thus shall they too be rather benefited by diligently meditating that prophetic utterance and repeating the words: "Unto us a child hath been begotten, a son, even, hath been given unto us, whose government is borne upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Messenger of the great design" (Isa. 9:6), and precisely who, as ye are aware, in the sixth month (Luke 1:36) of the conception of the other child, who preached in advance before the face of His entrance repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3), was Himself conceived too, to preach repentance. And this is not strange, for we are told that both of them first of all commenced preaching not only about repentance, but also about the kingdom of heaven, which, as we have learned, is within us; the saying that it is "at hand," or nigh unto us, is what is referred to in the passage saying: "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart," which we believe in our own mouth, and in our own heart, and when reminded thereof they too shall learn to confess with their mouth that Jesus is the Lord, while believing in their own heart that God raised Him from the dead, the more so indeed because of their being told that He is believed with the heart unto righteousness, but with the mouth is confessed unto salvation (Rom. 10:8-10).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those who did like David when he was fleeing from Saul and feigned himself before King Achish to be a lunatic in order to escape being put to death by that king, insomuch that they too pretended to go to the altars of the idols, or to state in writing that they denied, or had heathen do the sacrificing, though they did not actually write that they denied the faith, but, when coerced severely they employed trickery and contrived to fool the persecutors, in much the same way as smarter children fool the ignorant ones: these persons, I say, notwithstanding that they have been pardoned by some saintly confessors for the tricks they resorted to in order to avoid sacrificing to the demons with their own hands. Nevertheless, since they did this foolishly, and were thought by the infidels to have sacrificed as they appeared to have done, even though in reality they did not sacrifice, they ought to be canonized six months and repent. In view of the fact that he fixed their sentence to repentance at six months, it was for this reason alone that he most fitly and aptly cites the following passages from Scripture and says that those who repent and remain penitent for six months ought to bear in mind that Christ was conceived, according to the Gospel, in the sixth month of the conception of John (the Baptist), who began preaching repentance, and that He too likewise preached repentance. For in agreement with each other both the Forerunner and Christ preached and said: "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17; and alibi). The Saint interprets this to mean that for this reason the kingdom of heaven is within us, as the Lord said, in that the words which we believe, as Moses and St. Paul declare, are near our mouth and our heart. Hence it follows in accordance with this passage they too who believed Christ with their heart, but did not confess Him with their mouth ought to learn that they ought both to believe with their heart and to confess with their mouth that Jesus is the Lord and God, when they are told by St. Paul: "He is believed with the heart unto righteousness, but with the mouth is confessed unto salvation" (l.c.).

 

6. As touching the Christian slaves who sacrificed vicariously, the slaves as being in the control of others, and themselves in a way imprisoned by their masters, and having been frightfully threatened by them, and for fear of them having consented and slipped, they shall exhibit works of repentance for a full year, learning henceforth as servants and slaves of Christ to do the will of God, and to fear Him, the more so when they are told that everyone, if he do what is good, shall receive a recompense from the Lord, whether he be bond or free (Eph. 6:8).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those slaves who have been threatened and imprisoned by their masters and have been forced to sacrifice in their stead, are to be canonized one year, in order to make them understand that, being believers, they are slaves and servants of Christ, and consequently ought to do His will, and fear Him, not human beings, when they are told indeed by St. Paul that whosoever does what is good, whether he be a slave or a freeman, shall receive it back from the Lord in equal measure in the day of retribution.

 

7. As touching freemen, they shall be required to spend three years in penitence, both on the ground that they were hypocrites and on the ground that they forced their fellow slaves to sacrifice, in view of the fact that they disobeyed the Apostle, who insists that masters treat their slaves alike and refrain from threatening them: "And ye masters," he says, "treat them in the same way,

refraining from threats, and being well aware that your own Lord is in heaven, and that there is in him no respect of persons" (Eph. 6:9). But if all of us have but one Lord, and He is no respecter of persons, since "Christ is every thing and in everything, both in Barbarians and in Scythians, in bondmen and in freemen" (Col. 3:11), they ought to consider what they have done, if they want to save their soul, who have dragged their fellow slaves to idolatry, when they might have escaped if what is just and equal (Col. 4:1) had been granted them, as the Apostle again says.

Interpretation.

The preceding Canon canonized slaves who sacrificed for their masters, i.e., instead of their masters, whereas the present Canon canonizes the masters of such slaves to three years penitence (for it is these masters whom the Canon calls "freemen"): for one thing, because they hypocritically pretended and appeared to the infidels to have sacrificed; and for another thing, because they compelled their fellow slaves who were slaves and servants of Christ to sacrifice, thereby disobeying the commandment of Paul the Apostle, who tells masters to abate threatening and anger in regard of their slaves, as both they and their slaves have but one Lord and master, who is in heaven and no respecter of persons, and in Christ there is no difference between Barbarian and Scythian, nor between a slave and a freeman; and because they made it a point to save their soul, but forced their fellow slaves and servants in Christ into idolatry, at a time when the latter might have escaped and been redeemed themselves had their masters allowed them what is right and equal, as the Apostle again says.

 

8. As touching those who were betrayed and lapsed, and who entered the contest of their own accord, and confess that they are Christians, being cast into prison with tortures, it is but reasonable and right to encourage them and commune with them in everything with a rejoicing heart, both in prayers and in receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ, and to allow them the comfort of the Logos, in order that they may be enabled to put forth still greater efforts themselves in the contest for the prize of the higher calling (Phil. 3:14). "For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again" (Prov. 24:16). Though all the lapsed ones did this, they manifested most perfect and wholehearted penitence.

Interpretation.

Those who were betrayed to the tyrants by others and after being tortured denied because they could not endure the tortures, and likewise those who of their own accord went to martyrdom, but after, being unable to bear up, denied too ó as for all these persons, I say, if they went again a second time and confessed the faith, and were cast into prison and tortured, the present Canon decrees that it is but right that they should be received and welcomed with a joyful heart, and be allowed to join in prayers with the other believers, and to partake of the divine Mysteries, and they should be encouraged by words of reason to suffer martyrdom, in order that they may become braver and be deemed worthy of the kingdom of heaven and succeed to it when the time comes. But, lest they be supposed to be unwelcome because of their having previously denied, the Saint adduces testimony from Scripture saying that even though a righteous man fall seven times, that is to say, many times or over and over again, he will rise up again; which rise, if all Christ-deniers would but deliver it ó that is to say, more plainly speaking, if they would but struggle again to thwart the fall ó and confess the Lord again in front of the tyrants, then they would be showing by this most perfect and wholehearted repentance.

 

9. And as touching those who as though awaking from sleep rush into the contest, in travail and about to draw upon themselves a temptation, like persons engaged in a sea battle and engulfed in waves, and adding fire to the flaming coals of sinners amidst the brethren, they too ought to be allowed Communion, the more so as having reached this externalization of their madness in the name of Christ, notwithstanding that they fail to heed His words wherein He says: "Pray that ye enter not into temptation" (Matt. 26:41). And again in prayer to say to the Father: "Lead us not into temptation, but rescue us from the Evil One" (Luke 11:4). Perhaps they are ignorant of the fact that our Lord and Teacher many times tried to avoid those who were plotting against Him, and that He never openly walked abroad on their account, and that when the time for His passion was approaching He did not surrender Himself, but, on the contrary, evaded them until they came upon Him with swords and staves. Then He said to them: "Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to take me!" (Mark 14:48). They, in turn, it says, delivered Him to Pilate. To be like Him, at any rate, those who have gone so far as to suffer for Him on purpose, should be reminded of His divine Words, whereby He explicitly cautions them in regard to persecutions by saying: "But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues" (Matt. 10:17). "They will deliver you up," He said, and not "Ye shall deliver yourselves up." He added: "And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my name," and not, "Ye shall bring yourselves"; as He wants you to jump from place to place when persecuted, for His name. As again we hear Him saying: "And when they drive you out of this city, flee ye into another" (Matt. 10:23). For He does not want us to desert to the lieutenants and satellites of the Devil, but, on the contrary, wants to keep us from causing them to perpetrate more murders, as though we were forcing them rather to increase the severity and effectiveness of death-dealing works. On the contrary, He wants us to beware of and evade them, "Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation" (Matt. 26:41). Thus Stephen was the first one following His footsteps to undergo martyrdom in Jerusalem, after being seized by surprise by the lawbreakers, and being brought into the Council was stoned to death and glorified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, begging and saying: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts 7:60). Thus Jacob the second to be arrested by Herod had his head cut off with a sword (Acts 12:2). Thus the leading Apostle Peter, after being many times arrested and imprisoned and infamized, was later crucified in Rome. And far-famed Paul after being many times delivered up and risking death, and having engaged in many exploits and having boasted in the midst of many persecutions and afflictions, had his head cut off with the sword too in the same city, and wherein he had boasted he met his end: notwithstanding that in Damascus he was let down through the wall in a basket by night and escaped from the hands of those who were trying to catch him. For their chief object was to preach the Gospel and to teach the word of God, wherein they encouraged the brethren to persist in the faith; accordingly, they used to say: "that through many afflictions must we enter the kingdom of heaven" (Acts 14:22; 2 Cor. 11:32-33). For they were not seeking their own interest, but that of the multitude, in order that they might be saved; and there were many things to be said to them in regard to these matters for the purpose of getting them to act in accordance with the word (1 Cor. 10:33; Heb. 11:32), had it not been, as the Apostle says, that the time would have failed him to tell more.

Interpretation.

Those who have just awoke from sleep, and especially from a nap, have no ability to reason soundly, but, on the contrary, their mind is muddled and upset. So it is to these persons that the Saint has likened those who leap into the contest of martyrdom, or, more plainly speaking, those who do not go in orderly fashion, but on the contrary, rashly and thoughtlessly plunge into it, when it is not manifest, but is contemplated by the persecutors, nor present and already in operation, but is going slow with a view to enticing the contesting Christians into it, and they are dragging themselves into the temptation, on the one hand, and kindling the ire of the persecutors still more against the other Christians with their disorderly movement. Nevertheless, notwithstanding that they are blameworthy, yet, in spite of this fact, since they are jumping thus into martyrdom for the name of Christ, the Saint commands in the present Canon that they be allowed to commune with the other believers, though they are not really following the example of Christ, who even in words taught once that we ought to pray not to enter into temptation, and at another time told His disciples and Apostles that others would deliver them to synagogues and councils, but not that they should surrender themselves deliberately into the hands of persecutors. And again He told them that when the tyrants were driving them away from one city they should flee and go to another city, and not go to the tyrants of their own accord, so as to avoid making them still more cruel and causing them to put more Christians to death. In fact, the Lord not only taught these things in words, but even confirmed them with works and deeds. For even before His passion He many times shied from the anger of the Jews and hid from them. At the time of His passion, too, He did not surrender Himself to the Jews, but awaited them with fortitude to come into the garden and arrest Him, and they turned Him over to Pilate, according to the narrative of the divine Gospels. Hence the Apostles, who were emulators of Christ, pursuantly to the foregoing wards of the Lord and to His example in works and deeds, did so likewise. Thus the first martyr Stephen did not go, but was dragged, to the Council by the Jews and suffered martyrdom by being stoned to death. Thus Jacob the brother of John was seized by Herod and beheaded. Thus Peter when caught was crucified. Thus Paul previously had been passed through the wall of the fortress of Damascus in a wicker basket, and escaped from the ethnarch of King Aretas (2 Cor. 11:32) who was trying to apprehend him, but later in Rome he was arrested and beheaded. And I could tell them a great many other facts likewise if only I had the time.

 

10. Hence it is not reasonable even for those who have deserted from the Clergy, have lapsed, and have struggled back, to be yet in the ministry, the more so indeed because they abandoned the Lordís flock and defaulted, a thing which none of the Apostles did. As a matter of fact the blessed Apostle Paul, who withstood many persecutions and displayed many exploits in contests, having been confident that it was better to depart and be with Christ, added the following remark: "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you" (Phil. 1:24). For, considering not his own interest, "but that of the multitude, in order that they may be saved" (1 Cor. 10:38), he deemed it more needful than his own repose to remain with the brethren and take diligent care of them, even as he wanted a teacher to be a model for believers in his teaching (Rom, 12:7; 1 Tim. 4:2). Hence those condemning themselves to prison, lapsing and struggling back, are utterly senseless. For how can they demand what they have abandoned, when they could have been useful to the brethren at such a time? As long as they were unoffending it must be conceded that they were entitled to pardon for their unreasonable action, but when they actually offended, as though vaunting themselves (1 Cor. 13:4) and deliberately defaulting, they may no longer officiate. Wherefore let them rather take care to conduct themselves humbly, leaving off vainglory. For communion with attention and exactitude being administered in both kinds should suffice them, both in order that they be not minded to trouble themselves violently and hastily in reaching after a way of departure hence; and in order that some who have lapsed may not offer the excuse that they have slipped on account of the reprimand, who shall more than all others incur shame and reproach on the basis of that one who laid a foundation but was unable to build upon it: "lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish" (Luke 14:29-30).

Interpretation.

Since the Saint said hereinabove what should be the rule in regard to those who betake themselves to martyrdom of their own accord, now in the present Canon he is speaking about clerics and clergymen who do such a thing, and he decrees that if any persons in holy orders or clerics have gone to martyrdom of their own accord, but afterwards, being unable to stand the tortures, have denied, and again after the denial have confessed Christ a second time, they must no longer remain in the ministry, but must be deposed from office. And the occasion is, for one thing, that they left their flock and departed, under circumstances in which they might have proved useful in such time, by helping to bolster it up in regard to the religion and piety when it was tottering on account of persecution; and for another thing because they deserted and denied the faith, and thereby incurred a blemish and charge which disqualifies them for the Clericate. As for scorning to teach their laity and preferring their own private interest, that is something which none of the Apostles did. For Apostle Paul, who patiently underwent and bore up against many persecutions and performed many exploits, though knowing well enough that it would have been better and more comfortable for him to die, in order to be with Christ, yet, not wanting his own interest, but the interest of the many Christians, which he thought to be more needful than his own restfulness and repose, said that for him to remain in this life yet longer and to endure hardships, and to be tortured and tormented for the salvation and instruction of the laity, was what the laity most needed. Moreover, he himself not only endured and performed this course, but also he leaves orders that teachers and pastors must keep on the job of teaching their flock, and set the latter a good example. So for all these reasons those who have deserted and afterwards denied while in holy orders are senseless if they want to keep that which they willfully abandoned. For if they had not denied they might have been entitled to pardon for the unreasonable course they took in not only willfully deserting to martyrdom, but much more in having left the Lordís flock and having failed to bolster it up with dutiful attention to teaching. But since they denied, they must be deposed from holy orders, because it was due to vaunting, or, more plainly speaking, due to their presumptuousness and self-conceitedness with arrogance that they rushed into the contest; so that when they afterwards denied they incurred odium. So let them cease their vainglorious desire to hold office in holy orders, and let them endeavor only to finish the second confession and the fight in behalf of the faith. For it ought to be sufficient for them that they should be allowed to commune with the rest of the believers in prayers, or even in the divine participation in the Mysteries; and this for two reasons. First, in order that they may not be grieved by being excluded from communion, and especially by receiving such a violent end in martyrdom for the faith; second, in order that some who were tortured and denied Christ a second time may not offer the excuse that it was on account of the reprimand of exclusion from communion that they grew fainthearted and pusillanimous in the struggle of the contest, and failed to stand firm, and lest as a result of this they should incur still greater shame and reproach than that which marked the first denial both here and in the future judgment, after the manner of that man who, true enough, did lay a foundation, but, being unable to complete it, was mocked by passers-by, as is told in the sacred Gospel. See also Ap. c. LXII.

 

11. For those who first hastened to jump off in the boiling welter of persecution, having attended court, and beholding the sacred Martyrs hastening for the prize of the higher calling (Phil. 3:14), with fine zealousness eagerly engaged in this fight, exhibiting extraordinary boldness of speech and courageousness of conduct, seeing indeed those dragged under and falling, on account of whom being inwardly inflamed, and inspired with a desire to do battle with the haughty and brazen objective opponent, hastened to this opportunity. "Be not wise in thine own eyes" (Prov. 3:7), with regard to which in all cunning he seemed to be winning the fight, though in reality he failed to notice that he was being defeated and overcome by those who with great fortitude endured the tortures inflicted with currycombs and scourges, and the sharpness of the sword, and the flames of the fire, and the drownings in water. And due attention ought to be paid to those who are asking that prayers and petitions be offered, either in behalf of those who have been betrayed and frightfully punished in prison, by famine and thirst, or in behalf of those who outside the prison have been frightfully tortured in court by means of currycombs and scourges, but later were overcome by the weakness of the flesh, and their pleas ought to be granted. For no one is the worse for compassionately sympathizing and being acutely pained with those who are moaning and groaning for the ones who are defeated in the contest by the great violence of the mischievous Devil, whether for parents, brothers, sisters, sons, or daughters. For we know that also for the faith of others some have enjoyed Godís goodness, both in the way of remission of sins and with respect to restoration of health and resurrection from the dead. Being ever mindful, therefore, of these many toilful struggles which they endured in the name of Christ, and none the less of their woeful sufferings, without shutting our eyes to the fact that they changed their mind and bewailed the punishment meted out to them by betrayal, in feebleness and deadness of the body, and further without denying that they became martyrs in their life impolitically, we join hands in praying and in imploring for their atonement together with other dutiful proprieties, through the Comforter who has come to our aid by offering the Father propitiation for our sins: "For, if anyone sin," it says, "we have a righteous Comforter in Jesus Christ to intercede with the Father, and he is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:1-2).

Interpretation.

The meaning of this Canon is as follows. That we ought to supplicate for those who have thoughtlessly jumped (into the contest), not however when the career of martyrdom was not open by action of the persecutors like the above, but when persecution was right in its flush and at its acme, being emboldened to this by seeing the holy Martyrs struggling to get the heavenly crowns to be gained through martyrdom, and especially because they saw many being deceived and denying the faith, on account of the lapse of whom they waxed warm with a desire to defeat the Devil who had deceived them, notwithstanding that he was being overcome by those who endured the tortures of martyrdom to the end in spite of the fact that they were inflicted by means of currycomb and sword and fire and water. With these persons, therefore, who in such a way went to martyrdom and were imprisoned at first, and tortured with hunger and thirst, and various wounds, but later were defeated by the weakness of the flesh, and denied, though after denying they repented and mourned over their lapse, and yielded up their life, or, more plainly speaking, actually died either in the piety of the faith, or secretly fled from the infidels in order to keep their faith; and especially wherever such persons as suffered martyrdom were inexperienced persons without any practical acquaintance with the affairs of this life, or were virtuous: with these persons, I say, we ought to sympathize and condole, as well as with those pleading in their behalf, whether these persons were their parents, or brothers, or sisters, or sons, or daughters, we ought to join hands in begging God the Father, through Him who has become our Comforter and who intercedes with the Father in our behalf, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, that He may be propitiated in regard to them. For St. John says that if anyone sins, we have the Lord Jesus Christ as our Comforter to intercede with the Father, and that He is a propitiation for our sins. Nevertheless, those too who have denied ought to do what is proper and what it behooves them to do ó fastings, that is to say, and tears, and alms, if they can afford any (for this is what is meant by the expression "together with other dutiful proprieties"). I say, however, that we ought to pray for them because we learn from the narratives of divine Scripture that many persons gained mercy from God because of the faith and intercessional supplication of others; thus others received pardon for their sins (as did the friends of Job because of his intercessional pleading in their behalf), while others received health of body (as did the paralytic, or palsied one, because of the faith of those who were carrying him on his bed), and others were resurrected from the dead (as was Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus [Mark 5:22] and the son of the widow) owing to the pleading of their parents or other relatives.

12. As touching those who have paid money to be left untroubled and undisturbed altogether by any vicious treatment, it is not possible to charge them, with any wrongdoing. For they suffered damages and the loss of considerable money in order to avoid being mulcted of their soul or losing their life, a thing which others, because of their desire for filthy lucre, failed to do, although the Lord says: "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and be mulcted of (or lose) his own soul?" (Mark 8:36); and He also says: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon" (Matt. 6:24). For they appeared to them to be serving God by reason of their having hated money and having trodden it underfoot and scorned it, and at the same time in doing so they fulfilled that which has been written: "The ransom of a manís life is his riches" (Prov. 13:8). Since even in the Acts of the Apostles we have read that when certain persons had been dragged before the rulers of the city in Thessalonica, instead of Paul and Silas, charged with having greatly discommoded them for the sake of the name, and with having troubled the multitude and the rulers of the city, they were bailed out at an excessive cost, "And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go," it says, "And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea" (Acts 17:9-10).

Interpretation.

Those who paid money to the persecutors and thereby succeeded in ransoming themselves from viciousness, or, in other words, from all ill-treatment and punishment, or from denial, which exceeds every vicious-ness, do not deserve to be blamed on this account, since they sustained a mulct and loss of money in order to avoid being mulcted of and losing their own soul (a thing which others, because of their avarice, did not do), and appeared to their persecutors to be serving God more than serving Mammon, or, more expressly speaking, money, and thus fulfilled the saying of the paroemiographer (i.e., proverb-writer), who says that the ransom of a manís soul is his own riches. That is how it happens that we read in the Acts of the Apostles that Jason and the rest, who, instead of Paul and Silas, had been before the rulers of the city in Thessalonica by the Jews, paid them sufficient money to ransom themselves. For after they had received sufficient security, it says, from Jason and the rest, they released them.

 

13. Hence no blame attaches to those persons either who abandoned everything, for the sake of the salvation of their soul, and departed, on the ground that others were seized in their stead. For thus too in Ephesus instead of Paul they grabbed Gains in the theater, and Aristarchus, fellow travelers of Paul, it says, and even though he wanted to enter the deme (since it was on account of him, who had persuaded a great multitude to adopt the religion of God that the riot occurred), the disciples would not let him do so. Moreover, "certain chief officers of Asia, too, being his friends, sent unto him and besought him not to adventure himself into the theater" (Acts 19:80-31). If, nevertheless, any persons insist on caviling, let them not disparage those who sincerely heed the words of the one saying: "Escape for thine own soul, and look not behind thee" (Gen. 19:17). Let them remind themselves also of the distinguished Apostle Peterís statement that he was seized also ana put in prison, and was "delivered to four quaternions of soldiers to guard him" (Acts 12:3-4), but escaped by night from the hand of murderous Herod, and was rescued from the expectation of all the people of the Jews, in accordance with a command of the Angel of the Lord. When it became day, he says, "there was no small stir among the soldiers, asking what had become of Peter. And when Herod sought for him, and found him not, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be hanged," on whose account no blame attaches to Peter. For it would have been permissible for those who saw what occurred to have escaped, as well as all the children in Bethlehem,, and within all its boundaries, had their parents known what was going to happen, which children were slain by the heinous murderer Herod for the sake of getting the one child whom he wanted to slay and was looking for with a view to destroying Him, who, however, also escaped at the command of the Angel of the Lord, and who had already commenced rapidly despoiling and swiftly ravaging in accordance with the designation of His name, just as had been written: "Call his name despoil rapidly and forage swiftly. For before the child shall learn to say father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in defiance of the king of Assyria" (Isa. 8:3-4). At any rate the Wizards, because of their having already been despoiled and ravaged, submittingly and honoringly paid adoration to the Child, opening their treasures and bestowing upon Him most seasonable and most befitting gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh (Matt. 2:11), as upon a King and a God and a Man. Hence they no longer deigned to turn to the Assyrian king, when receiving help from Providenceí, for, it says, "having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another route" (Matt. 2:12). Hence when Herod "saw that he had been hoaxed by the Wizards, he was exceedingly angry, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the boundaries thereof, from two years old and under, with respect to the time which he had ascertained from the Wizards" (Matt. 2:16); among these children, however, he failed to find the other child who had been begotten before that time and whom he had been seeking to slay, though he did slay his father Zacharias "between the temple and the altar" (Matt. 23:35), after the child had escaped together with its mother Elisabeth: in regard to which children they are not to blame.

Interpretation.

In this Canon the Saint says that those persons are not at fault who have left everything they owned and have fled in order to save their soul, perhaps being unable to endure martyrdom patiently until the end. But neither are those at fault if, after their fleeing, the persecutors caught other Christians in their stead and ill-treated them; for at Ephesus, too, instead of Paul they caught Gains and Aristarchus the companions of Paul, but Paul was not blamed on this account, notwithstanding the fact that the riot and disturbance occurred because it was he that had persuaded a great multitude to return to knowledge of God. Again, when the Angel rescued Peter from prison, Herod arrested the soldiers who had been guarding him and punished them, or hanged them. But neither the Angel nor Peter was blamed on this account, because the soldiers might have fled when they saw that Peter was not in the prison, yet they did not do so. Moreover, when our Lord Jesus Christ was born, whose name was, according to the prophecy, "rapidly despoil those despoiled by the Devil," which is to say, in other words, that the Wizards too, as having been despoiled by Him figuratively, paid adoration to Him, presenting him with gifts, of gold as a King, and of frankincense as a God, and of myrrh as a dead Man; and without returning to the Assyrian king, or, more expressly speaking, to Herod, but by another route they departed to their country. When, I say, all these things had occurred and the Lord, thanks to the Angelís admonition, had escaped into Egypt, then bloodthirsty Herod, being angered because he had been hoaxed by the Wizards, put to death all the infants in Bethlehem, from two years old and down; yet the Lord is not blamed on this account. After seeking the forerunner John and not finding him, the same Herod put his father Zacharias to death because his mother Elisabeth had taken him and escaped; yet neither John nor Elisabeth deserve any blame on this account.

 

14. If there are some persons who have suffered great violence and coercion, having had a crucible put in their mouth and bonds, and having persisted with fortitude in the disposition of the faith, and having endured having their hands burned when offered against their will to the atrocious sacrifice, precisely as the thrice-blessed martyrs have written to me concerning those in Libya, and as other fellow ministers have stated; such persons, especially when there are other brethren who joined in their martyrdom, may serve in the ministry, being placed in the rank of the Confessors, as also those who have been utterly deadened amid numerous tortures, and no longer able to speak or to use their voice, or to move themselves by way of resisting when in vain trying to force themselves to do so. For they have not even consented to their abominableness, as I have been told again by fellow ministers. Anyone, therefore, that lives publicly and privately in accordance with the rules of Timothy shall be placed in the rank of the Confessors, too. seeing that he obeys the one who says: "Pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the everlasting life, whereunto thou hast been called and hast confessed the good confession before many witnesses" (I Tim. 6:11-12).

Interpretation.

Those who used to chastise martyrs, after numerous tortures would forcibly insert in their mouth either wine from libations or meat from animals that had been sacrificed to idols, or putting incense and charcoal in their hands would drag them to the altar of an idol bound hand arid foot, in order that, being unable to endure the pain of burrning, they might throw the incense on the altar and thus appear to have sacrificed. So, regarding these men, the present Canon decrees that if they stood firm in the faith and preferred to have their hands burned rather than to throw incense on the altar of an idol, as did the Martyrs in Libya (and Barlaam the saint and martyr), they may not only keep their holy orders and clericate, but are to be enrolled among the Confessors too. And not only these men, but even those too who have been so deadened because of numerous tortures that they could not speak or offer any resistance to their persecutors, who would put wine or meat sacrificed to idols in their mouth; and they are likewise to be enrolled among the Confessors. The Saint thereafter goes on to speak of the conscience, saying that whoever lives and behaves in accordance with the rules written by Paul to Timothy, and cherishes righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, and meekness, and fights the good fight of the faith, and holds on to the confession which he made at the time of holy baptizm in front of many witnesses, is also to be numbered among the Confessors. See also c. Ill of Ancyra.

From the same Saintís Discourse on Easter.

 

15. No one shall find fault with us for observing Wednesday and Friday, on which we have been commanded to fast with good reason by tradition. On Wednesday owing to the council held by the Jews for the betrayal of the Lord; on Friday, owing to His having suffered for our sake. As for Sunday, on the other hand, we celebrate it as a joyous holiday because of His having risen from the dead, on which day we have not even received instruction to bend a knee.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no one shall blame us Orthodox Christians for always fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays every week in accordance with Apostolic tradition. For we fast on every Wednesday because it was on this day that the council was held by the Jews for the purpose of betraying the Lord. We fast on every Friday because it was on this day that the Lord suffered for our sake. But we observe Sunday as a holiday and day of joy, because it was on this day that the Lord rose from the dead; and on this day we have not had any traditional instructions even to bend and bow a knee. Read the 64 Ap. C. and the XX of the First.

 

 

Athanasius the Great.

Prolegomena.

Our Father among Saints Athanasius flourished in the time of Constantine the Great. For, as a Deacon, he was present at the First Ecumenical Council, held in the year 325, together with Alexander the Patriarch (or Bishop) of Alexandria; and in the year 326 he was appointed Bishop of Alexandria. But because of his unwillingness to participate in communion with Arius (in spite of the fact that Emperor Constantine commanded him to do so, thinking that Arius had accepted the definition of the Nicene Council), those forming the party of Eusebius the Bishop of Nicomedia moved against him the terrible accusations and calumnies. Accordingly, in the year 335 he was deposed from office by the latrocinium, or "robber council," held in Tyre; in the year following he was exiled to Triberis, France, because the Arians had misrepresented him to the Emperor by accusing him of not allowing the fixed allotment of wheat to be taken from Alexandria to Constantinople. Eighteen months later, Constantine the Great having died, he returned to Alexandria at the command of Con-stantius II, the second son of Constantine the Great, in the year 332. In the year 341, however, he was deposed from office by the Council held in Antioch. Then, going up to Rome, and proving himself innocent of the charges which had been brought against him both by the Council held in Rome A.D. 342, and the one held in Sardica A.D. 347, he was recalled again to his throne by Emperor Constantius, as a result of the intercession and threat of his brother Constans. Six years later he was condemned by the Councils held one in Arelatum in the year 353 and another in Milan in the year 357, and thereupon he retired to the desert of Thebaiís, and remained there until the end of Constantius. Julian the Apostate having become Emperor (A.D. 361), he was recalled to his throne; and, having convoked a Council on the question of essence and substance, he succeeded in uniting the Westerners with the Easterners. In the year 362, however, he was exiled from Alexandria at the command of the Apostate Emperor, whereupon he told the Christians weeping on his account, "Be ye of good cheer; it is but a cloudlet, and will soon pass away." In the year 363, having come to Antioch, he taught Jovian the dogmas of the Orthodox faith. Having met with persecution during the reign of Valens, he secretly hid himself in a Fatherís tomb. Shortly thereafter being summoned by Valens himself, and having lived in peace till the year 371 or 373, he gave up the spirit to God, after serving as a bishop for forty-six years and remaining adamant in the face of many great dangers. Besides his other written works, which comprise three volumes published in Paris in the year 1698, he also left us these three Canonical Epistles, which are necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church, and which have been confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th Ecum. C., and by virtue of this confirmation they acquire what is in a way Ecumenical force. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandectae, and on p. 333 of vol. I of the Conciliar Records.

 

First Epistle of Athanasius the Great,
addressed to the monk Amun.

All creatures of God are good and clean. For there is nothing useless or unclean that the Logos of God has made. "For we are a fragrance of Christ among the saved" says the Apostle (II Cor. 2:15). But inasmuch as the Devilís arrows are various and versatile, and suffice to disturb the minds even of the most honest men, by inseminating them with cogitations of uncleanness and of pollution, let us proceed to dispel the Evil Oneís delusion briefly, with the grace of our Savior, and bolster up the mind of simpler men. "Unto the pure all things are pure" (Titus 1:15): but the conscience and everything of the impure. I am moved to admiration by the Devils ingenuity, because though it breeds corruption and pestilence it suggests thoughts that seem to be pure, yet the result is rather an ambush than a test. For, as I said before, in order to occupy ascetics with, mannerly and salutary meditation, and appear in this respect to the winner, he nevertheless breeds such maggots as produce nothing good in life, but only empty argumentations and twaddle which one ought to forgo. For tell me, dear and most reverent friend, what sin or uncleanness is there in a natural excretion? It is as if one should find fault with mucus exuding from noses, and with the spittle expelled through the mouth. And we can say still more than this: the secretions of the stomach, which are necessary to the animal economy and to its vital processes. Furthermore, if we believe man to be a work of Godís hands, in accordance with the divine Scriptures, how could any work be polluted when made by a pure power And if we are a race or kindred of God (cf. Acts 17:28-29), as the divine Acts of the Apostles assert, we have nothing in us that is impure or unclean. For it is only then that we may be polluted when we perpetrate the foulest sin. But when any natural excretion occurs involuntarily, then, as we have said before, we must patiently put up with the necessity of nature. But simply because those who are inclined to dispute whatever is said aright, or rather done by God, are wont to cite a passage in the Gospel, on the ground that "it is not what goeth into the mouth that defiles a man, but that which cometh out" (Matt. 15:11), we must needs disprove also this illogicality (for we shall not call it an argumentation). For first of all, being unbolstered, they force the Scriptures to fit their ignorance. For the explanation of this divine assertion is as follows. Some men like these used to be in doubt about foods, and the Lord Himself, by way of exposing their ignorance, or, at any rate, making the deception patent to all, says that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, or makes him unclean, but what comes out of him. Then he goes on to say from where it comes out, namely, from the heart. For there He knows the evil treasures of profane thoughts and of the other sins to be. The Apostle who has had it taught to him says more concisely: "Food commendeth us not to God" (I Cor. 8:8). But even now one might reasonably enough say that no natural excretion commends us to God for punishment. Even the children of physicians (to be ashamed of their externals) might counter to this that certain necessary passageways have been given to the animal for the purpose of enabling each of us to eliminate superfluous humors that accumulate in our members. Thus, for instance, the hairs of the head are superfluities, or excess baggage; and the aqueous ejections from the head, and the expulsions from the stomach, and above all the emissions of seminal passages. After all, what sort of things, for God, O most God-beloved old fellow, constitute the sinfulness when the Lord has created the animal such and has wanted to have it have such passages in its membersí? But inasmuch as we have to anticipate the objections of the wicked ones (for one might say that even their true use is not a sin either if the organs have been formed by the Creator), for this purpose let us cease asking them questions. What use are you referring to? That in the Law which God allowed by saying: "Be fruitful, and multiply; and replenish the earth!" (Gen. 1:28), which the Apostle accepted when he said: "Marriage is honorable, and the bed un-defiled" (Heb. 13:4): or the popular kind, performed clandestinely and adulterously Since in other transactions in life too we shall find differences to occur in some way or another: for instance, it is not permissible to murder anyone (Exod. 20:13), yet in war it is praiseworthy and lawful to slay the adversaries. Thus at any rate those who have distinguished themselves in war are entitled to and are accorded great honors, and columns are erected in memory of them reciting their exploits. So that the same matter in some respect and at some time or other is not permitted, but in another respect and at some other time when there is a good occasion for it, may be allowed and permitted. The same argument holds also with regard to coition. Blessed is the man who in his youth having a free yoke employs his natural parts for the prudence of creating children. But if he employs them for licentious or lascivious purposes, he will receive the punishment prescribed by the Apostle for fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4). For, there being two roads in life as regards these matters, the one a more moderate and helpful road conducive to life, that of marriage, I mean; the other one being angelic and unsurpassable, that of virginity; but if anyone should choose the mundane life, that is to say, the way of marriage, though he is not liable to censure or blame, he will not receive so many gracious gifts. For what he will receive when he bears fruit will be thirty. But if he embraces the chaste and supramundane life, though the road is rough in comparison with the first and difficult to achieve, yet it has more wonderful features in the way of gracious gifts: for it has produced the perfect fruit, the hundred. So that their unclean and evil questions have their own solutions and have been solved by the divine Scriptures long before in times of old. Therefore, O Father, bolster up the herds under your care by giving them comfort from Apostolic passages, by refreshing their souls with passages from the Gospels, by offering them pieces of good advice derived from the Psalms, By saying, for instance, "Revive me, in accordance with Thy words" (Ps. 138:7); for it is in accordance with His words to worship Him with a pure heart. Being aware of this the same Prophet, as is translating his own utterance, says: ďCreate m me a clean heart. Ο GodĒ (Ps. 51:10), in order to prevent any dirty thoughts from disturbing me. And again David says: "Uphold me with a princely spirit" (Ps. 51:12), in order that even though any thoughts should ever disturb me or disconcert me, a strong force lent by Thee may support me like a scaffold and prevent my falling. He himself, therefore, while recommending these and such things, tells those who are tardy in obeying the truth: "I will teach transgressors Thy ways" (Ps. 51:13); and having confidence in the Lord that you will be able to persuade them to abstain from such wickedness, chant to them: "And impious men shall be converted unto Thee" (ibid.). But God grant that those who are malignantly seeking satisfaction shall cease from such vain labor, whereas those who are in doubt about the goodness of piety shall be reinforced with a princely spirit. All of you who certainly understand the truth, have it unbroken and unshaken in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom be glory and dominion unto the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Interpretation.

As this great Father of ours was asked, it would appear, about the emission which we have from the natural parts during sleep, or what is more commonly called a wet dream, whether it is sinful, he wrote the present letter in reply, wherein he says that all things created by God are clean, and that God created nothing that is unclean or polluted. Yet, since the machinations of the Devil are many and various, with which he is wont to confuse men, and to annoy simple servants of God, meaning the ascetics, and to deter them from their accustomed virtue by sowing unclean thoughts in their imagination, we ought to banish that machinery of the Devil with the help of Christ, and to bolster up the confidence of our innocent brethren, in order to prevent them from being annoyed any longer. With this in mind he commences with the passage of St. Paul which says: "All creatures of God are pure to the pure and virtuous. But to the impure and sinful all things appear to be impure and polluted because of their polluted and unclean conscience. But the Saint is amazed at the wickedness of the Devil upon seeing that although the Devil himself is impure and unclean he nevertheless succeeds in sowing in us thoughts that arc apparently pure and clean, whereas in reality they are attempts and secret machinations and devices of his designed to prevent, as we have said, the brethren from engaging in salutary meditation, and to appear to have defeated them with some maggots, or, in other words, with some paltry noises and fears such as those of insects called bumblebees, in efforts that cause our life nothing but useless quarrels and vain discussions, which divine Paul tells us to hate. Afterwards he asks the Saint what sin or impurity there is in the natural emission which occurs during sleep and which is ejected like an excretion, unless one insists upon blaming the whole human body for ejecting the other emissions and excretions, such as, for instance, as mucus, phlegm, and the like, including even evacuations of the belly, which are manifestly necessary to the human body. For. if we believe (says he) that man is a creature of the hands of God (as he is, according to the Scriptures), how can what God has created be impure or unclean, at a time when all that God created is "very good" (Gen. 1:31)? And if we are His offspring, as the poet Aratus and divine Paul (Acts 17:31) say, it follows that no part of us is impure or unclean; for it is only when we commit the filthy and deplorable sin that we become polluted. But when the natural emission occurs during our sleep and without our volition, then we must put up with it patiently as a necessary concomitance of our nature, like the excretions we spoke of above. But inasmuch as those who insist upon objecting to correct statements, or, we might rather say, to things created by God, by way of controverting us are wont to cite the passage in the Gospel saying that "it is not what goeth into the mouth that defileth a man, but that which cometh out" (Matt. 15:11), we must refute this nonsense of theirs, and not a perplexity. Accordingly, we assert that they themselves, being ignorant, expound the Holy Scriptures in accordance with their likes and dislikes and their lack of knowledge. The real meaning of the Gospel passage is as follows. Inasmuch as some persons used to hesitate (like these men) about the food, fearing timorously lest they be defiled by it in case they should eat it, Christ dispelled the uncertainty and exposed their misconception, by asserting that it is not what goes in that denies, i.e.. pollutes, a man, but what comes out of him, and He immediately says also whence it comes out, to wit, from the heart, in which are to be found the bad treasures of impure thoughts and of other sinful acts. But divine Paul has taught us this more briefly and more pointedly by saying: "Food commendeth us not to God" (I Cor. 8:8). But one might say this same thing in regard to the present matter. A natural emission does not commend us for punishment. Physicians of the body, too, he says, might reply to them concerning this, in order that they should be convinced by authorities outside of the Church. For they too say that certain necessarv passages have been given to man by the Creator in order to permit excrements to be ejected from our members when these are nourished, including, for instance, the hair that falls from the head and various fluids that are excreted through its passages (mucus, that is to say, from the nose, spittle from the mouth, tears from the eyes, and the like), while excretions from the belly are the evacuations. So, then just as these things are necessary, so too is that emission which marks a wet dream an excretion of the spermatic passages. Hence he turns to the Saint and says: Seeing, then, that God created man and wanted his body to have such organizations and passages, what sin has a man on this account? None, I think. But, he says, we must go further and anticipate the objections of the captious and of the wicked. For they may say: Well, then, is it not a fact that neither is the true use of the spermatic organs any sin, since they too have been given by God for such a purpose and use? To this we reply: What purpose and use are you referring to? The lawful one which God permitted by His commandment "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 9:1), which even the Apostle applauds by saying: "Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled" (Heb. 13:4); or the common one which is carried out secretly and unlawfully, which is as much as to say, fornication and adultery? If you mean the former one, it is obvious that it is good; but if you mean the latter one, it is obvious that it is bad. And let us not be astonished (says the Saint) if one and the same thing is at times good and at times evil, since we see many other things too in the present life that are sometimes good and sometimes bad. For instance, killing a man is not allowed except when it is done in the course of a war against enemies of the faith; then indeed it is both allowable and praiseable ó and for this reason those who have been victorious in a war receive great honors, and statues are erected to their name proclaiming their victories (concerning these persons see c. XIII of Basil). Well, this same reckoning attaches also to sexual intercourse. Accordingly, the Saint here praises those who utilize the conjugal relation of marriage for the purpose of producing children, with the passage of Jeremiah; but, on the other hand, he intimidates the lascivious with the passage wherein the Apostle says that God will judge fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4). He then points out that God has shown us two roads in the present life: one which is moderate and humble, that of marriage, I mean, and of matrimony, and the other one is one which is angelical and incomparable ó that of virginity. Accordingly, whoever chooses marriage has no sin, yet he cannot receive the gracious gifts of virginity, though he does receive the fruit of thirty (by producing children) in accordance with the parable of the sower. But whoever takes a liking to virginity and monastic life (although this too is difficult of achievement in comparison with the first, or, to speak more explicitly, the first road of marriage, that is to say, or in the beginning, owing to oneís not being accustomed to it, and because the body is in a youthful state and prone to coition) acquires nevertheless gracious gifts and virtuous qualities more admirable than marriage; for he produces the perfect fruit, that of a hundredfold. Then he goes on to say that such unclean questions of such persons have their solution in the answers afforded by the Holy Scriptures. After advising him to support with recommendations and admonitions the monks whom he is governing, to be derived from both the holy Gospel, the Apostle, and the Psalms of David, and turning the discourse into a prayer, he concludes the Epistle. See also c. IV of Dionysius and the Footnote thereto.

 

Second Epistle.
To Ruffinianus, or Ruffianus.

To Rufianus, a very dear fellow minister and son of the Lord,

Athanasius in the Lord greeting:

You write to a father things befitting a beloved son. As soon as you approached, at any rate, by means of your letter, I enclasped you, O Ruffinianus, dearest of all persons to me; and I in turn, as one able to write to a son both in prefaces and middles and finals, refrained, in order that the recommendation and testimony might not be recognized by the letters. So believe thus as to intention: for you are my Epistle in accordance with what has been written, a letter read and understood in the heart (II Cor. 3:2). So believe thus as to intention. Yea, believe. I address you, and urge you to write. For not a little, but, on the contrary, a great deal of cheer you give me by so doing. But since esthetic-ally and ecclesiastically (for this again befits your reverence) you have asked about those who have withdrawn as a matter of necessity, but who have not been destroyed in bad faith, and have desired me to write what has seemed right concerning them in the Councils and everywhere; learn, my most esteemed Sir, that after the violence had subsided in the beginning, a Council was held with Bishops present from the outer parts of the earth, but also with fellow ministers inhabiting Greece. Nevertheless it also included those in Spain and France, and it pleased as well here as everywhere. It decreed that as touching the fallen ones who have taken over the leadership of impiety, they are to be pardoned if they repent, but they are not to be given a fairway to clerical office. As for those, on the other hand, who have not disavowed the religion of piety, but have been dragged away as a result of necessity and violence, it has seemed best that they be given a pardon and be allowed also to remain in the clergy, especially in view of the fact that they have presented a plausible apology. Accordingly, it has seemed right in this case that some concession should be made. For they have given assurances that they will not change over to the religion of impiety. But in order to prevent any who have become most impious from corrupting the Church, they have preferred to go along with violence and carry the burden, rather than to let the laities go to destruction. In saying this, they have seemed to me too to be speaking plausibly, owing their offering the excuse that Aaron the brother of Moses went along in the wilderness with the transgression of the laity, though he had as an apology (or defense) the fear lest the laity, or people, return to Egypt and persist in idolatry. No wonder, for it looked reasonable that if they remained in the wilderness they might desist from impiety, whereas if they entered Egypt they would be subjected to friction and the impiety rife among them would increase. On this account, therefore, their claim to the clericate became allowable. Those, on the other hand, who have been, deceived and have suffered violence have been granted a pardon. These things I state to your reverence with confidence that your godliness will approve what has seemed best, and will not condemn the truce of those who have thus met together. Deign to read these decisions to the priesthood and laity under you, in order that they too, becoming acquainted with the facts, will not blame you for being thus disposed to regard such persons. For It would be unbecoming in me to write, when your reverence is well able to make known our disposition regarding them, and to supply everything that is missing or wanting, thanks to the Lord who hath filled you with every power of speech and every item of knowledge. Let the repentant, therefore, anathematize openly the misbelief of Eudoxius and of Euzois by naming it as such. For they blasphemously represented the Logos of God to a creature, and became protectors of the Arian heresy. Let them confess the faith confessed by the Fathers in Nicaea; and let them prefer no other Council over this Council. Convey the assurance of this to the brotherhood with you which with us in the Lord is addressing you.

Interpretation.

The present Epistle of the Saint in which he is replying to Bishop Ruffinianus is not concerned with those persons who have denied Christ and have sacrificed to the idols; for as concerns those persons the Council in Ancyra speaks, and St. Peter of Alexandria more extensively. But it is speaking about those persons who have joined in communion with the Arian heretics. For the latter, because of the fact that Emperors happened to be in favor of their heresy, were strengthened and forced many Orthodox Christians to join their heresy, who later repented, and returned to the Orthodox Church. And it is concerning these persons that Ruffinianus is inquiring of Athanasius the Great as to how they ought to be treated. In reply in the present Epistle the Saint points out, in the preface, the ardent affection of fatherly love which he cherishes for him, urging him to write to him continually; while with reference to the question he says: Since you are asking me ecclesiastically about those persons who have communed with the heretics, but who did not persist in their heresy until the end, but repented, I wish you to know that various Councils were held in various regions concerning this question, both in Greece and in Spain and in France (perhaps the expression "was held . . . also with fellow ministers inhabiting Greece" means that through letters of St. Athanasius the decision of the Council held in Alexandria was made known to the bishops in Greece, which is more apt to be true. That is why Dositheus, on p. 181 of his Dodecabiblus, says that Athanasius was joined in this opinion by the bishops of Macedonis and of Achaia, as Basil the Great writes), and that which was decided here by us was decided there to by all of those bishops. We accordingly assert with regard to all those in holy orders who not only joined in communion with the Arians, and confessed that they held all the tenets held by the latter, but also became with them protectors of the heresy in such a way as to incite others to join the heresy of Arianism too, we ought to accept them when they revert to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church, but ought not to leave them in the rank of holy orders, and to regard them henceforth as laymen. As for those again who joined this heresy not as a matter of free and voluntary choice of mind, but as a result of force and coercion, it has appeared reasonable that a pardon be granted to them when they return to the Church and that they be permitted to hold clerical offices. That is to say, in other words, just as they had been priests formerly, so they are again to remain priests. They deserve a pardon not only because they were forced by the heretics to go astray, but also because of the economy which they claim to have effected. For they offer the defense, or apology, that they did not join the heresy in reality, but only in pretense, and that they did this with a view to economy and concession, in order to avoid having themselves completely driven out of the Church, that is to say, and others of the most impious type take their place and be appointed in their stead and corrupt the Orthodox Christians utterly. Hence they deemed it preferable to bear patiently the burden of forced denial and thereby prevent the multitude of the Orthodox from being lost. In maintaining this assertion they cite also the example of Aaron the brother of Moses wherein he submitted to the unreasonable vehemence of the Israelitic laity and gave them permission (on account of the tardiness of Moses) and allowed them the concession of making an image of the calf. He later offered Moses the apology, or defense, that he committed that breach of law in order to prevent the laity from returning to Egypt and be led to perpetrate a still greater impiety. For. of course, if they remained in the wilderness they might be induced to turn away from impiety, but if they returned to Egypt they could by no means be induced to do so, but, on the contrary, would actually exceed the bounds of impiety. They likewise bethought themselves that if they themselves should temporarily join the heresy in appearance, they would remain Christians in Orthodoxy and not be cast upon the rocks of cacodoxy, in that they would not be subject to coercion by anyone, which of course would be their fate if other bishops who were zealous adherents of the heresy should be appointed to the churches. On account of this defense, therefore, and economy, such bishops were allowed to retain their clerical status. Accordingly, as regards those in holy orders who actually went into communion with the Arians, thus much is what the Saint has to say. As touching laymen who were deceived or forced by the Arians to join their heresy, pardon, he says, is to be granted to them when they repent and revert to Orthodoxy, being accepted and "economized," in accordance with the Canons of the Holy Fathers. These things, he says. I have written to your godliness in the conviction that the views which have appeared to me to be reasonable will also appear to you too to be so. Accordingly, it is to be expected that you will not blame this Council of ours for holding a truce ó delay, that is to say, and laboring in vain. This amounts to saying that you will not accuse us of having met idly and vainly, and of failing to come to a canonical and reasonable decision in regard to those who have joined the heretics. After saying these things and exhorting Rufinianus to read his Epistle to all the priests, in order to let them know too, the Saint adds also what any persons reverting from communion with the heretics are obliged to do, which is, that is to say, that they ought to anathematize openly the heresy of Euzoius and of Eudoxius, the protectors of the Arian heresy, and to confess the Creed (or Symbol of the Faith) adopted by the God-bearing Fathers in Nicaea, and not give the preference to any other Council but this First Ecum. C. Read also Ap. cc. XLVII and LXI and LXVIII, and c. VII of the 2nd.

 

Thirty-ninth Festival Epistle.

But inasmuch as we have mentioned heretics as dead persons, and ourselves as having salvation in the divine Scriptures, I fear lest, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians (II Cor. 11:3), some of the honest ones be led astray from simplicity and chastity by the craftiness of men, and thereafter begin relying upon other things, the so-called apocrypha, deceived by the likeness of the titles with the names of the true books, I beg you to be tolerant if what things I am writing about with a view to their necessity and usefulness to the Church are things which you already know and understand thoroughly. Since I am about to state these things, by way of excusing my boldness in doing so I shall make use of the formula of St. Luke the Evangelist, who himself says: "Forasmuch as many men have taken in hand to set forth in due order a declaration on their part" (Luke 1:1) of the so-called apocrypha and to intermix these with God-inspired Scripture, concerning which we have full confidence, just as those who were eye-witnesses and servants of the Logos in the beginning have handed down the facts by tradition to the Fathers, it has seemed, good to me too to set forth, at the express request of genuine brethren and after learning the following facts from above, the rides which have been laid down as canons and delivered as teachings and believed to be divine books, in order that anyone, if deceived, may lay the blame on those who deceived him, or if he has remained clean and pure, he may rejoice again in finding himself reminded thereof. Now, therefore, he it said that the total number of books in the Old Testament is twenty-two; for, as I have been told, such is precisely the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In order and by name each of them stands as follows. First comes Genesis, then Exodus, then Leviticus, and after this Numbers, and thereupon Deuteronomy. The rest of them are: Joshua of Nun. and Judges, and after this Ruth. And again the next are Kingdoms, four books; of which the first and the second are counted together as one, and the third and the fourth likewise as one. After these come Paralipomena (or Chronicles, first and second, likewise counted as one book. The Esdras, first and second, likewise counted as one. After these comes the Book of Psalms, and thereupon Proverbs. Then Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. In addition to these there is the book of Job. This followed by the Prophets, the twelve of which are counted as one book. Then come Isaiah and Jeremiah, and together with the latter are Baruch, Lamentations, and the Epistle, and with them are also Ezekiel and Daniel. Up to this point those enumerated have been books of the Old Testament, Those of the New Testament, again, must not be left out of the reckoning. They are: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; then and after these come the Acts of the Apostles and the seven so-called catholic (or general) Epistles of the Apostles, these being as follows: of James, one; of Peter, two; then of John, three; and of Jude, one. In addition to all these there are also fourteen Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle, which are found written in the following order: the first one to the Romans; then to the Corinthians, two; and after these the one to the Galatians and one to the Ephesians. then one to the Philippians, and one to the Colossians, and two to the Thessalonians; after which comes the Epistle to the Hebrews, and thereupon come two Epistles to Timothy, one to Titus, and lastly one to Philemon; and, again, the Revelation of John. These are all sources of salvation, so that anyone thirsting should take pains to fill himself with the sayings and facts recorded therein. In these alone it is that one may find a teaching ground on which to proclaim the good tidings of the Gospel, and to acquire the religion of piety. Let no one superimpose anything thereon, nor delete anything therefrom. Concerning these the Lord rebuked the Sadducees by saying: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor their powers" (Matt. 22:29; Mark 2:24, John 5:31). Nevertheless, for the sake of greater exactness, I add also this, writing as I do the fact as a matter of necessity, that there are also other books than these outside of the list herein given, which, though not canonically sanctioned, are to be found formally prescribed by the Fathers to be read to those who have just joined and are willing to be catechized with respect to the word of piety, namely: the Wisdom of Solomon; the Wisdom of Sirach: and Esther, and Judith, and Tobias; and the so-called Didache (i.e., salutary teaching] of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. And yet, dear readers, both with those canonically sanctioned and these recommended to be read, there is no mention of the Apocrypha; but, on the contrary, the latter are an invention of heretics who were writing them as they pleased, assigning and adding to them dates and years, in order that, by offering them as ancient documents, they might have a pretext for deceiving honest persons as a consequence thereof.

Interpretation.

The Saint divides the Books into three in this Epistle of his, to wit, into Apocrypha, into Canonical, and into Anaginoskomena (i.e., books to be read). Thus, he calls the Apocrypha deceptive and spurious books which the heretics wrote and asserted to be ancient and to be parts of the divine Bible, whereby they succeeded in leading astray the more simple-minded persons and into believing that they are genuine and good. The canonically sanctioned books, on the other hand, are those of the Old and of the New Testament, all of which he enumerates by name. As for the books to be read, or Anaginoskomena, which, though not included among the Canonical Books, are not apocryphal, but, on the contrary, have been appointed by the Fathers to be read to catechumens; and these books too he enumerates one by one. The Saint says that he was compelled to mention these books separately, in order that if perhaps there be anyone who has been misled and has accepted these apocryphal and heretical books he may be corrected and warned to reject them; or, if one has not accepted them, he may rejoice at receiving further information about them. The Saint aptly employs in regard to this matter the principle of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke, both in enumerating the said canonical and to-be-read books and in urging everyone to search them, just as the Lord told the Jews to do, at which point he concludes his epistle. See also Ap. c. LXXXV.

 

Assigning the Time of the Liturgical Services, and their Origin.

In order that the Church may preserve the unity of faith and divine worship in every place, she ordained that the foregoing Masses be celebrated at set times, as follows: The Mass of James the Apostle is celebrated on the day of his feast, on the twenty-third of October, and may be celebrated at other times, as the elder may wish. The Mass of St. Basil is celebrated ten times during the year. As for the Mass of St. John Chrysostom, it is celebrated throughout the year, except on Wednesdays and Fridays of Holy Lent and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Passion Week. The Mass of St. Gregory is celebrated on the days of Lent and is called the Proegiasmena, or Presanctified Mass, because the gifts or oblations used therein may not be transessentiated (or, in the terminology of the Western Church, "transubstantiated") again, having already been consecrated in a previous Mass. However, the commemoration of the faithful is fulfilled in this Mass, as mentioned in the service.

The first of these Masses, is that of St. James, which had its origin in the first century. Then followed the Mass of St. Basil in the fourth century; then that of St. John Chrysostom in the fifth century, and lastly the Gregorian Mass in the sixth century. There is no difference in the essence of these four rites.

St. James, the brother of God, was ordained Bishop by the three Apostles John, Peter, and James. See footnote 1 of C.I of the Holy and renowned Apostles. So any Mass contrary to original Masses is heretical; the cause of the heretic teachings is the wrong Idea, and the wrong idea is the seed of the Evil Spirit, the inventor of heresies.

 

 

 

 

St. Basil the Great.

 

Prolegomena

Our Father among Saints Basil, who was born in Caesarea, situated in a part of Cappadocia lying along the Black Sea (or Pontus), and formerly called in ancient times Mazaka, in the year 329. In the year 364 he was promoted by Eusebius the Bishop of Caesarea to the rank of Presbyter. And shortly thereafter, giving way to the envy of Eusebius, he departed for the Black Sea, taking with him also divine Gregory Nazianzenus, who was like-minded with him. Having become superintendent of the monasteries situated in that region, and having set forth Definitions and Canons to govern the monks there, he adopted the wilderness of the desert, because he was burning with a yearning for more perfect quietude. But in the year 365, having learned that the heresy which had arisen during the reign of Valens the Arian was about to find its way into Cappadocia, he forthwith returned and gave himself to his mother Church, and made friends again with Eusebius, and most valiantly lent his help to Orthodoxy. After the death of Eusebius in the year 370, having become Bishop of Caesarea, he bravely fought to overcome the heresies of that period of time. Presenting himself to Modestus the eparch (or governor of the province), who tried in every kind of way to shake him from his stand on piety, he shouted to him the following memorable words with a manly mind: "I will come back to you tomorrow the same as ever: do not change your point of view, however, but make use of threats." But finally, after shepherding his own flock for eight years, he departed for the Lord. Besides his other written works, which were published in the year 1730 in Paris, the highly renowned Saint has also left us these canonical epistles, which are necessary for the good order and constitution of the Church and which are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, but by c. II of the 6th Ecumenical Council definitely (that Council, in fact, borrowed many Canons of St. Basil and made them its own); and by virtue of this confirmation they acquire in a way an ecumenical force. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandectae, and in the first volume, p. 335, of the Conciliar Records.

Canons.

Preamble.

"Even a simpleton, when he asketh after wisdom, shall be accounted wise. But the question of one who is (apparently) wise maketh even a simpleton wise" (Prov. 17:28), which by the grace of God is what happens to us whenever we receive the letters of your labor-loving and industrious soul. For the questions they ask make us better acquainted with ourselves and as it were more conscious of ourselves and we are taught many facts that we did not know about; and the pains we take in replying to them becomes a teacher to us. This is still more remarkable in view of the fact that never after receiving your questions and taking care of them have we been compelled to resort exactly to consulting either what we have been told by the Presbyters nor to recollecting kindred things that we have learned when consulted by them"

Interpretation.

The preamble to this epistle is brimming with great humility. For St. Basil the Great commences with the citation of a passage of the Paroemiast (or Proverb-writer) which says that even a simpleton shall be deemed a wise man if he asks wise questions; and adds, conversely, that a wise manís question makes a simpleton wise. In connection with this citation of Scripture the Saint is alluding to St. Amphilochius as a wise man asking questions while deeming himself a simpleton and one in quest of wisdom. He then points out the way in wrhich he acquires wisdom. For, before being asked something, he says, without having taken care to ask the questions, he became more careful after paying attention to them, recollecting all that he had been told by more aged men, and himself considering everything to be found in those old works that was consistent and consequent.

1. So far as concerns the question of the Cathari, though it had been said previously you did well to mention the subject, since it is necessary to follow the custom obtaining in each particular country because of their treating baptism differently. After having at that time threshed out the matter concerning these men, it seems to me that there is nothing further to say in regard to the Pepuzeni. According I was mazed to find that the matter had appealed to great Dionysius in spite of his being canonical. For the older authorities had judged that baptism acceptable which disregarded no point of the faith. Hence they have called some of them heresies, and others schisms, and others again parasynagogues (i.e., conventicles). Heresies is the name applied to those who have broken entirely and have become alienated from the faith itself. Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and, remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves. Parasynagogues is the name applied to gatherings held by insubordinate presbyters or bishops, and those held by uneducated laities. As, for instance, when one has been arraigned for a misdemeanor held aloof from liturgy and refused to submit to the Canons, but laid claim to the presidency and liturgy for himself, and some other persons departed with him, leaving the catholic Church ó that is a parasynagogue. Heresies, on the other hand, are such as those of the Manichees and Valentinians and Marcionists, and that of these Pepuzeni themselves, for the question is one involving a difference of faith in God itself. It therefore seemed best to those who dealt with the subject in the beginning to rule that the attitude of heretics should be set aside entirely; but as for those who have merely split apart as a schism, they were to be considered as still belonging to the Church; as for those, on the other hand, who were in parasynagogues, if they have been improved by considerable repentance and are willing to return, they are to be admitted again into the Church, so that often even those who departed in orders with the insubordinates, provided that they manifest regret, may be admitted again to the same rank. As touching the Pepuzeni, therefore, it is obvious that they are heretics; for they have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, having illicitly and impudently blazoned Montanus and Priscilla with the appellation of the Paraclete (or Comforter). They deserve to be condemned, therefore, whether it be that they are wont to deify themselves or others as human beings, or that they have roundly insulted the Holy Spirit by comparing It to human beings, according they are thus liable to everlasting condemnation, because of the fact that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable (Matt. 12:31). What reason, then, is there for approving their baptism, when they are baptizing in (the name of) the Father, the Son, and Montanus and Priscilla? For persons have not been baptized who have been baptized in names that have not been handed down to by the traditional teaching; so that if this fact has escaped the notice of great Dionysius, it is nevertheless incumbent upon us to guard against imitating the mistake. For the absurdity is self-evident and perspicuous to all who have any share at all of ability to reason even in a small way. As for the Cathari, they too are to be classed as schismatics. Nevertheless, it seemed best to the ancient authorities ó those, I mean, who form the party*of Cyprian and our own Firmilian ó to class them all under one head, including Cathari and Encratites and Aquarians and Apotactites; because the beginning, true enough, of the separation resulted through a schism, but those who seceded from the Church had not the grace of the Holy Spirit upon them; for the impartation thereof ceased with the interruption of the service. For although the ones who were the first to depart had been ordained by the Fathers and with the imposition of their hands they had obtained the gracious gift of the Spirit, yet after breaking away they became laymen, and had no authority either to baptize or to ordain anyone, nor could they impart the grace of the Spirit to others, after they themselves had forfeited it. Wherefore they bade that those baptized by them should be regarded as baptized by laymen, and that when they came to join the Church they should have to be repurified by the true baptism as prescribed by the Church. Inasmuch, however, as it has seemed best to some of those in the regions of Asia, for the sake of extraordinary concession (or "economy") to the many, to accept their baptism, let it be accepted. As for the case of the Encratites, however, it behooves us to look upon it as a crime, since as though to make themselves unacceptable to the Church they have attempted to anticipate the situation by advocating a baptism of their own; hence they themselves have run counter to their own custom. I deem, therefore, that since there is nothing definitely prescribed as regards them, it was fitting that we should set their baptism aside, and if any of them appears to have left them, he shall be baptized upon joining the Church. If, however, this is to become an obstacle in the general economy (of the Church), we must again adopt the custom and follow the Fathers who economically regulated the affairs of our Church. For I am inclined to suspect that we may by the severity of the proposition actually prevent men from being saved because of their being too indolent in regard to baptism. But if they keep our baptism, let this not deter us. For we are not obliged to return thanks to them, but to serve the Canons with exactitude. But let it be formally stated with every reason that those who join on top of their baptism must at all events be anointed by the faithful, that is to say, and thus be admitted to the Mysteries. I am aware that we have admitted to the chief seat of bishops the brethren in the party of Zonius and Satorinus who used to belong to that class. So that we are no longer able to distinguish those who were attached to that order from the Church, as much as to say that as a result of the acceptance of the bishops we have ipso facto made it a canonical obligation to allow them communion.

Interpretation.

After setting out a preamble, the Saint commences replying to those questions which Amphilochius was asking him. Being thus impelled to speak about the baptism of the Cathari or Novatians, and that of the heretics known as Pepuzeni (concerning whom see the Footnote to c. VII of the 2nd), or Montantists, he enlarges upon the subject and treats it more generally; accordingly, he mentions that division of the ancient authorities, wherein some persons were called heretics, other schismatics, and others parasynagogists. Parasynagogists were those insubordinate presbyters and bishops who because of their having fallen into mistakes were deposed canonically from the holy orders, but who refused to abide by the Canons and to accept them as authoritative, but tried their own cases and declared themselves innocent of any wrong-doing and proceeded to perform the rites of the episcopace and of holy orders in general on their own authority, i.e., by themselves; and others went along with them, renegading from the catholic Church. Schismatics were those who were at variance with the catholic Church, not on the subject of dogmas of the faith, but on account of certain ecclesiastical easily adjustable questions. Heretics were those, on the other hand, whose difference or quarrel was directly and immediately one concerning the faith in God, or, more explicitly speaking, those who had separated and had become utterly removed from the Orthodox Christians with respect to faith and dogmas. So then parasynagogists might unite again with the Church with the sole proviso of considerable repentance and conversion; and priests and clerics returning from their number might be allowed to retain the same order and degree and rank that they possessed formerly. Heretics, on the other hand, under which term are embraced Manichees, Valentinians, and Marcionists (concerning whom see the Footnotes to c. XCV of the 6th), as well as these Pepuzeni who are under consideration here, and all others who return to Orthodoxy, they are to be baptized like Grecians, since the Fathers of old judged only that baptism to be admissible which does not depart at all from the faith, whereas the baptism performed by heretics they judged to be absolutely inadmissible, on the ground that it is contrary to the principles of the right belief and consequently is to be utterly rejected. For this reason the Pepuzeni too are evidently heretics and hence must be baptized upon their conversion or return to the true faith, because they baptize, not in the names traditionally handed down and taught by authority, or, more expressly speaking, not in the (name of) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but in (the name of) Father, Son, and Montanus and Priscilla, and hence become guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit (which blasphemy is unpardonable) by blazoning the name of the Paraclete Himself upon mortal men and deifying human beings. Hence when they return, they must be baptized. If it be objected that Dionysius (of Alexandria, that is to say) asserts that they need not be baptized, the answer is that he nevertheless made a mistake of judgment, and we ought not to follow him in this regard. As touching schismatics there have been two opinions to stand up in the past. For St. Cyprian and his party in two Councils held in Africa (see his Canon), as well as the Council which was held in Iconium by St. Firmilian (whom St. Basil calls his own on the ground that he served as Bishop of Caesarea), with a view to observing the dictates of strictness, commanded that these Cathari, who are under consideration in this connection, the Encratites, and the Apotactites (see Footnote to c. XCV of the 6th), and the Aquarians (see Footnote to c. XXXII of the 6th), and in general all schismatics, upon joining the catholic Church, have to be baptized, since although the first ones of the schismatics had indeed the gracious gift from the Church of ordaining and baptizing, once they split away from the whole body of the Church they lost it and can no longer baptize others or ordain anyone, and in general are unable to impart the grace of which they were deprived as a result of their schism. Hence any persons that are baptized by them are considered to have been baptized by laymen; wherefore they have to be baptized aright. But some bishops in parts of Asia accepted their baptism, for the sake of economy and concession (or condescension), and not as a matter of strictness and rigorousness, on the theory that schismatics are still members of the Church. Hence in accordance with their opinion let them be accepted. But as touching the schismatics called Encratites, they have to be specially baptized upon returning to the Church, in accordance with the strict letter of the Canons. Both because they themselves invented a baptism of their own, by counterfeiting the tradition in reference to baptism, and because no separate and explicit decision has been made that they ought to be accepted and admitted (without a baptism). Notwithstanding they themselves do not rebaptize those who join them from our Orthodox members, this fact ought not to deter us from baptizing them when they join our Church upon returning to the true faith. If, however, it be found that by insisting upon baptizing them when they return we are creating an obstacle to the common concession and economy which the Fathers provided for all schismatics, let us too follow it, lest on account of the stern requirement of this injunction we cause them to neglect to be baptized because perhaps they may be ashamed on the ground that they are being required to get baptized in altogether the same way as are infidels, and consequently we may be preventing their salvation. To be brief, then, it may be said that all persons that have been baptized with their baptism, must, upon returning to Orthodoxy, be anointed at all events by the faithful with the Holy Myron (usually called "chrism" in English, which, however, rightly denotes the act of anointing, and not the oil with which the person is anointed), and then be allowed to participate in communion. And, since we have accepted also the ordination performed and the bishops thus ordained by the Encratites, with this acceptance we have actually thereby made what amounts to a Canon, and have shown that they are not separated from the catholic Church. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XLVI, of c. VIII of the 1st, and of c. VII of the 2nd.

 

2. A woman that aborts deliberately is liable to trial as a murderess. This is not a precise assertion of some figurative and inexpressible conception that passes current among us. For here there is involved the question of providing justice for the infant to be born, but also for the woman who has plotted against her own self. For in most cases the women die in the course of such operations. But besides this there is to noted the fact that the destruction of the embryo constitutes another murder, at least in the opinion of those who dare to do these things. It behooves us, however, not to extend their confession to the extreme limit of death, but to admit them at the end of the moderate period of ten years, without specifying a definite time, but adjusting the cure to the manner of penitence.

Ap. c. LXVI; c. XXI of Ancyra; c. XCI of the 6th; c. LXXX of Basil; and c. XII of the 1st.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that any woman who deliberately puts to death the child wherewith she is pregnant, by means of herbs or poisonous draughts, or by lifting weights too heavy for her, or in any other ways, is a murderess. With us there is no difference as there used to be with the Jews. If, say, the child which the woman expels dead is still unformed, like a piece of meat, or is formed as a fetus having the features and members of a human being all entire, since in this manner of abortion not only does the embryo in the womb die, but most times also the woman pregnant with it also dies along with the embryo, so that those who do this are sentenced as murderers for the two murders, whether they be men or women. They are not sentenced, however, to abstain from the Mysteries throughout life, but for humaneness to only ten years, in accordance with the sentence, that is to say, which is imposed upon those who have killed anybody involuntarily (in accordance with c. LVII of the said Basil); nevertheless, the penitence of such persons ought not to be restricted to a number of years, but ought to depend upon the manner of their penitence; so that if they repent more fervidly, the ten-year sentence may be reduced by the confessor, while if they are more negligent, it may be increased proportionately. See also Ap. c. LXVI, c. XLI of the 6th, and c. XII of the 1st.

 

3. A Deacon who commits fornication after coming into the diaconate, shall be ousted from the diaconate, to be sure, but yet after being expelled into the status of laymen, he shall not be excluded from the right of communion. For it is an ancient Canon that those who have forfeited their rank shall be subject to only this form of punishment, on the principle, as I think, on following the original dictate of that law which says: "Thou shall not take vengeance a second time for the same offense" (Nahum 1:9). (Note of Translator. ó This passage is quoted as it appears in the Septuagint, and is translated in conformity therewith; in the A.V. and R.V. it is worded differently and conveys no such meaning). Also for another reason, that those who are in the lay order and expelled from the status of the faithful, may be taken back into the status from which they fell and which they forfeited, whereas a Deacon sustains once for all a permanent sentence to deposition. On the ground, therefore, that the diaconate cannot be given back to him, they took their stand upon this punishment alone. So much for the matter of forms. On the whole, however, a truer remedy is repudication of sin. So that one who has disregarded grace for the sake of pleasure of the flesh may afford a perfect proof of his being cured by showing contrition of the heart and by refraining from being submissive to any enslavement by observance of continence with respect to pleasures of the flesh, by which he was destroyed. It behooves us, therefore, to know both, namely, what strictness demands and what custom requires, but to follow the form traditionally taught us in regard to those who do not deserve extreme treatment.

Interpretation.

If perchance a deacon should commit fornication after his ordination, he is to be deposed from the diaconate, according to this Canon, and to be placed on the same footing as laymen; he is not, however, to be denied the right to communion, or, in other words, the right to stand together with the faithful and to participate in prayer, which is the same as saying that he is not to be excommunicated from the temple of the Church, like the catechumens (but not that he may participate in communion in the sense of partaking of the Eucharist), since c. LXXXV of the Apostles (which you may read for yourself) metes out to these persons only the punishment involved in deposition from office, but not that involved in excommunication from the Church. For one thing, because it followed that passage which says: Thou shalt punish anyone twice for one and the same sin. And for another thing, because (as St. Basil asserts of his own accord and on his own part) when laymen sin, though they are indeed excluded from the status of being entitled to stand together with the faithful in church, yet after finishing the years fixed for their penitence, they may recover their former status; whereas a deacon (and in general anyone in holy orders) after once being deposed and losing his diaconate cannot get it back again (see the second Footnote to Ap. c. XXVIII). So he goes on to say that inasmuch as the diaconate cannot be given back to him a second time, therefore the old Canons, or those called Apostolic Canons, confined the punishment to deposition from office alone, by commanding, that is to say, that he be deposed but not excommunicated. Accordingly, this is the penalty which the Canons prescribe for deacons that have committed fornication, to wit, deposition only. A general and complete and exact remedy for them, however, is for them to abstain from sinning and to keep away from pleasures of the flesh, by which they have been woefully enslaved and have lost the grace of holy orders, by means of contrition, by means of continence, and by refraining from every other act leading to enslavement and the suffering of woes. As for the remainder of this Canon, pertaining to custom and strictness, see the Footnote to c. XII of the 1st, and especially the Footnote to c. CII of the 2nd. For it is cited verbatim by that Canon and is there interpreted by us.

4. As regards trigamy and polygamy we have decreed the same Canon as in the case of digamy (i.e., second marriage), analogously. For it is a year in the case of digamy, but two years for the others. As for those who are guilty of trigamy (i.e., a third marriage), they are excommunicated for the space of three years and often four years. For such a marriage is no longer to be called a marriage, but polygamy, or rather mitigated fornication. Wherefore the Lord told the Samaritaness who had had five husbands in succession, "and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband" (John 4:18), as being no longer themselves worthy when they have exceeded the measure of digamy to be called by the appellation of husband or wife. We have taken to the custom of condemning trigamists to five yearsí excommunication not on the ground of any Canon but only on the ground of usage followed by those who have preceded us. But it behooves us not to exclude them entirely from the Church, but instead to entitle them to listening in some two years or three, and thereafter to permit them to be co-standers, though obliged to abstain from communion with that which is good (i.e., the Eucharist), and then after exhibiting some fruit of repentance, let them be restored to the status of persons entitled to communion.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees in reference to trigamy by asserting that the ancient Fathers did not call it a marriage, but polygamy (and perhaps he means here the Fathers in Neocaesarea, who in their c. III call a third marriage too many weddings), or rather to say fornication not extended indiscriminately to every woman, but confined to one woman. Hence women who have contracted a third marriage do not deserve to be called wives by their trigamous husbands any more than do trigamist husbands deserve to be called their husbands by the trigamous wives. For the Lord told the Samaritaness who had had five husbands that even the husband she had now was not her legal husband, and consequently did not deserve to be called her husband. Some authorities, therefore, canonize these trigamists and polygamists analogously with digamists; or, at all events, since some authorities sentence digamists to one year, and others to two years, therefore they canonize trigamists analogously, i.e., in proportion to the years to which digamists are sentenced, to three and four years. Nevertheless, in conformity with the custom of earlier men, and not as a result of any previous Canon, they are sentenced to five years. Yet they ought not to be expelled from the Church entirely like the .weepers outside the portals, but, on the contrary, after two or three years (of penitence) they ought to be permitted to listen to the Scriptures, and thereafter to stand together with the faithful without partaking of communion, and then, after showing fruit of repentance they ought to be permitted to commune. See also the Interpretation of c. III and of c. VII of Neocaesarea, and the plan of a temple at the end of this book.

 

5. Those of the heretics who repent when about to pass out must be admitted. They are to be admitted, that is to say, not indiscriminately, but by testing whether they have exhibited any proof of their having actually decided to repent and whether they have borne any fruit in witness of their anxiety to be saved.

Interpretation.

Since some persons are at a loss to decide whether they ought to accept heretics repenting at the end of their life, the Saint replies in the present Canon that they ought to be accepted, but not in general and casually, but only when wre test them and find out whether they have come to repentance and have abandoned their heretical tenets and are exhibiting fruits of repentance. See c. VII of the 2nd, and c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

6. As regards fornication of Canonics, they are not to be accounted marriages, but ought by every means available to be compelled to discontinue their intercourse. For this is also advantageous to the Church for safety, and affords heretics no occasion to complain against us on the ground that we are attracting to ourselves on account of our permitting them to sin.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perhaps any Canonics, or, more plainly speaking, persons in holy orders and clerics and monks and nuns that are virgins should commit fornication with any man or woman, as the case may be, they are not to be pardoned by the bishop and allowed to marry and live together like other married couples, but, on the contrary, they are to be separated and their unlawful marriage is to be prevented in every possible way, even though they succeed in attaining to marriage. Because this, for them to be separated, is a great advantage to the Church, in order to prevent anyone else from doing the same thing or anything similar with the consequence of entailing upon the holy orders and the monastic profession scorn of their value, and in order to prevent heretics from finding a pretext for blaming us on the allegation that the reason why we let those in holy orders and monks remain together while living in sin, and do not sunder their Illegal marriages, is that we are bent upon attracting the heretics to our faith by means of the permission we give them to sin. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXVI, and of c. XVI of the 4th, and the Footnote to c. VI of the 6th.

 

7. Sodomists and bestialists and murderers and sorcerers and adulterers and idolaters deserve the same condemnation, so that whatever rule you have as regarding the others observe it also in regard to these persons. But as for those who have been for thirty years penitent for an act of impurity which they committed unwittingly, there is no ground for our doubting that we ought to admit them. Both the fact of their ignorance renders them worthy of pardon, and so do also the voluntary character of their confession, and the fact that they have been exhibiting good intentions for such a long time, for they have surrendered themselves to Satan for nearly a whole human generation, in order to be educated not to indulge in shameful acts. So bid them to be admitted without fail, especially if they have shed tears that move you to compassion, and are exhibiting a life that deserves sympathy.

Interpretation.

The present Canon condemns to the same chastisement and sentence both those who are guilty of the crime of sodomy and those who are guilty of the crime of bestiality (concerning whom see c. XVI of Ancyra), and murderers (see Ap. c. LXVI), and sorcerers (see c. LXI of the 6th), and adulterers (see Ap. c. XLVIII, and c. LXXXVII of the 6th), and idolaters, by which terms are meant, according to Balsamon and Zonaras, magicians, because of their invoking the demons, or, according to others, those who have on some occasion or under some circumstance denied Christ and have sacrificed to idols (and see c. XI of the 1st). All these persons are condemned to the same chastisement, not according to the years of sentence, because some of them are sentenced to more years and others to fewer, as is to be seen in their particular places and Canons; but in respect that all of them are subjected to sentences of many years, according to Zonaras, and in respect that all of them used to be assigned to the four stations of penitence, according to Balsamon. All those, on the other hand, who have been penitent for thirty years on account of the carnal impurity they committed unwittingly (possibly by indulging in sexual intercourse with some female relative without being aware that she was a relative, or something else of the kind), they ought undoubtedly to be admitted to the communion of the Mysteries, because of the tears and the life deserving of mercy which they are exhibiting, and on account of the many yearsí sentence they have had to serve out. Because they have given themselves up to Satan for nearly a whole human generation, after being separated from communion with the faithful, like that Corinthian who gave himself up to Satan, in order that they too, like him, might learn not to do such impure acts.

Concord.

The same St. Basil in his c. LXII canonizes sodomists to fifteen years, as well as adulterers. St. Gregory of Nyssa in his c. IV canonizes them to eighteen, remarking that this is a sin against aliency and that it is one that is unnatural. The Faster in his c. XVIII excludes the sodomist from communion for three years, with the additional penalties of fasting, zerophagy, and penances. In his c. XIX he says that if a child has been violated by someone he cannot become a priest, unless he received the semen only between the thighs. But God commands in Leviticus that sodomists be put to death: "And if any man sleep with a male person in lieu of a woman, they have both of them committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; they are guilty" (Lev. 20:13).

 

8. Any man who uses an axe against his own spouse in a fit of anger, he is a murderer. It is well that you reminded me, and it is worthy of your good sense, to speak about these things at greater length. For there are many differences among voluntary and involuntary acts. It is an entirely involuntary act and one that is remote from the mind of the one commencing it, when one hurls a stone at a dog or tree, but happens to hit a human being. For the impulse was for the wild beast to defend itself or to shake down the fruit, though it automatically suffered the blow when it chanced to be going by, so that such an occurrence is something involuntary. It is something involuntary, it must be conceded, also if anyone wishing to bring a person to his senses should strike him with a strap or rod lightly enough, but the person who was struck should die. For the intention here is to be seen in the fact that the one who did the deed wished to improve the sinner, not to take his life. Among involuntary acts is likewise that one in which while defending oneself in a fight, one delivers a blow unsparingly to vital parts with a stick or with his fist, so as to deal him a telling blow without killing him altogether, but this approaches being in the nature of a voluntary act. For a man who uses such an instrument in self-defense, or who inflicts a blow without spare, is plainly guilty of failing to spare the person, owing to being under the sway of passion. Likewise when one has used a heavy club or a stone too big for a man to handle, it is to be classed among involuntary acts, because he wanted to do one thing, but happened to do another; for he was led by anger to deliver such a blow as to slay the one hit, notwithstanding that it was his endeavor to crush the person with the instrument perhaps, but not to kill him outright. Anyone, however, that wields a sword or any other such instrument, has no excuse whatever, and especially when he has hurled an axe at anybody. Nor is this astonishing when one considers that it is plain that he did not strike a blow with his hand, so as to have the measure of the blow on his person, but hurled it, so that the weight of the iron and the sharp edge, and the momentum it acquired by traveling a long distance all caused the blow to be necessarily destructive. An entirely involuntary act again, and one that admits of no doubt at all, is one such as that of robbers, and that of military assaults. For these men slay others for the sake of money, though they escape detection. Those engaged in wars are bent on slaying and murderous deeds; they can neither be scared nor be sobered, but, on the contrary, are openly bent on killing the adversaries as a matter of choice. And if perchance for some other reason one mixes in a curious drug, but it kills, we class this as a voluntary act, such as women often do when under the influence of a, desire to try to gain the affection of someone by means of enchantments and defixions, and by giving them drugs befuddle their intellects. Such women, therefore, who kill someone in any such manner, though actually having desired to do something else than what they did, are nevertheless classed with willful murderers, on account of the curious and forbidden nature of their contrivance. The same may be said of women who bring about a miscarriage by giving drugs for this purpose, and the women who take abortifacient poisons; they too are murderesses.

Interpretation.

When asked about voluntary and involuntary murders, the Saint replies in the present Canon by distinguishing wrhich ones are wilful and voluntary murders, and which are involuntary murders committed without the concurrence of the will of the person committing them, and which ones are akin to voluntary murder. Accordingly he says that involuntary murders are such as result when anyone throws a stone at a wild beast or at a tree, and hits a human being who happens to be passing by, and kills him; and if in the desire to sober someone, a man hits him lightly with a strap or a rod that is small, and the man hit happens to die. Voluntary and wilful murders, on the other hand, are those in which someone with an axe, whether holding it in his hand, that is to say, or throwing it with his hand, strikes his wife with it, or some other person, in the heat of anger, and she dies; if anyone uses a sword or a rifle, or any other such wreapon, with the object of hitting anyone else. Bandits and men who engage in wars for the purpose of grabbing money are voluntarily committing murder. Both women and men who concoct certain poisonous draughts and administer them to or furnish them to others with the object of attracting them and enticing them into their carnal amour, while they who drink them are befuddled in mind and die. Likewise do those women commit murder voluntarily who give or take poisonous herbs in order to kill the infants in their womb (concerning which see in particular c. XCI of the 6th). Murders which though involuntary border on willful murder are such as result when anyone is engaged in a fight with some other person and hits him in a vital spot a death-dealing blow pitilessly with a stick or with his bare hand, and the person dies as a result of the blow; likewise when anyone uses a heavy club or a big stone that exceeds a manís power with the object of hitting someone, and it happens that the man hit dies. See also Ap! c. LXVI.

 

9. The decision of the Lord with respect to the order of the sense applies equally to men and women so far as concerns the prohibition of divorce "except on ground of fornication" (Matt. 5:31J and 19:7), Custom, however, will not have it thus, but in regard to women it insists upon exactitude and stringency, seeing that the Apostle says that "he who cleaves to a harlot is one body with her" (I Cor. 6:16), and that Jeremiah says that "If a woman goes with another man, she shall not return to her husband, but shall surely be attainted" (Jer. 3:1); and again: "Whoever keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious" (Prov. 18:22, according to the Septuagint version, but not in the A.V. or R.V.). Custom, on the other hand, commands that men who are guilty of adultery or of acts of fornication must be kept by their wives; so that as regards a woman who is cohabiting with a man who has been left can be accounted an adulteress. For the fault here lies in the woman who divorced her husband, according to whatever reason she had for undoing the marriage. For whether it be that when beaten she could not bear the blows, but ought rather to have exercised patience, or to obtain a divorce from the man with whom she at the time was cohabiting, or whether it be that she could not afford to lose the money, neither is this any excuse worthy considering. But if it were on account of his living in a state of fornication, we have no such observance in ecclesiastical usage, but neither is the wife of a faithless husband commanded to separate from him, but, on the contrary, she has to stay with him owing to the fact that the issue of the matter is unknown. ďFor what knowest thou, Ο wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" (I Cor. 7:16). So that a woman who deserts her husband becomes an adulteress in case she comes to another man. The man, on the other hand, whom she has left is pardonable, and a woman who cohabits with him is not to be condemned. If, however, a man deserts his wife and comes to another woman, he too becomes an adulterer because he is making her be an adulteress; and the woman cohabiting with him is an adulteress, because she has taken another womanís husband for herself.

(Ap. c. XLVIII; c. LXXXVII of the 6th; c. XX of Ancyra; c. CXIII of Carthage). c. XXI of Basil; c. XIV of Timothy.).

Interpretation.

The Lordís decision would have it that a husband and a wife are equally under obligation not to separate from each other save on account of the occurrence of fornication or of adultery, either on the part of the one or on the part of the other. Custom, however, dictates that husbands may divorce their wives if the latter commit fornication or adultery with another man, in accordance with the Apostolic passage and that of Jeremiah and that of Paroemiast (or Pro verb-writer), whereas wives are not allowed to divorce their husbands even though the latter are fornicating and committing adultery with other women; so that according to this custom, if a woman gets married to a man whose wife has divorced on grounds of fornication or of adultery, I wonder whether she can be an adulteress, since the sin of separation is not imputed to the husband, but to the wife who has left him, because she has no right to leave her husband; but, on the contrary, even though he beat her or whip her, she must patiently endure it and not separate from him; no matter even though he should spend her dowry, and no matter whether he be committing fornication with other women, she has to put up with it with fortitude. What am I talking about? Why, even though her husband be faithless, she must not divorce him, according to what St. Paul says, but must continue dwelling with him, on the theory that perhaps by setting him an example she may succeed in imbuing him with godly knowledge. So that in fine a woman who has left her husband is an adulteress if she take another man. But if the man who has been left takes himself another woman, he is to be pardoned; and the woman who takes him as his second wife is not to be condemned as an adulteress. If, however, a man leaves his wife, without the ground of fornication, and takes another, he is an adulterer, because he compelled his wife to become an adulteress or to commit adultery by taking another man while her former husband is still alive. But also his second wife is an adulteress because she took a strange man who was the husband of his wife while she was still alive. See also the Footnote to Ap. c. XLVIII, and c. LXXXVII of the 6th, which incorporated a part of this Canon verbatim.

 

10. As regards those who take an oath and swear not to deign to accept ordination but repudiate their oath, let them not be compelled to commit perjury. For although there seems to a certain Canon which does allow such things yet we have learned by experience that men who act contrary to their oaths do not prosper. Moreover, it behooves us to take into consideration also the species of oath, and the words of it, and the disposition with which they have taken it, and the minute additions to the words, as if there be no comfort available from anywhere, such persons must be allowed a free rein. As for the affair touching Severus, however, or, more precisely speaking, the Presbyter whom he has ordained, some such comfort seems to be provided by the laws (if it seems thus to you too}. Bid the Massadi to submit that field which is subject to hire and to which man was proclaimed the heir. For then neither will he disregard his oath by failing to depart from the region; and Longinus taking Kyriakus along with him will not desolate the Church, nor will he even condemn his own soul by delaying matters, and we shall be persuaded not to do anything contrary to the Canons, while treating Kyriakus as one who has sworn to remain with the Mindani, but has accepted transposition. For a return shall amount to keeping the oath, but to subject him to economy shall not be accounted to him as perjury, because of his not abiding by his oath, nor leaving the Mindana for even a short time, but staying with them henceforth. As for Severus, who offers the excuse of forgetfulness, we shall pardon him and say that the Knower of hidden things will not overlook His own Church when she is being ravaged by such a, person who has been acting uncanonically from the beginning, and has been practicing witchcraft (or performing "defixions") contrary to the Gospels, teaching people to commit perjury, whereby he was transposed, but now lying whereby he feigns forgetful-ness. Inasmuch, however, as we are not judges of hearts, but merely judge from what we are told, we leave vengeance to the Lord, while we ourselves shall admit him indiscriminately, giving him a pardonfor for get fulness as a human weakness.

Interpretation.

Because of the fact that some persons wanting to be ordained took an oath not to be ordained, therefore the present Canon commands that such persons must not be compelled to become ordained, and in consequence to violate their oath; for although it would appear that they may be allowed to undo the bond according to a certain Canon, when they swore of their own accord and bound themselves to do this or that, or not to do it, yet, in spite of all this, we know by experience that persons who violate their oath do not prosper, nor are they judged to be acceptable and pleasing to God, but are allowed by concession to incur temptation. In such cases, however, one ought to think also about the kind of the oath, or, more explicitly speaking, whether he swore to God or something else, and the words actually uttered by the one taking the oath, and his disposition and mental attitude when he took the oath, or, more explicitly speaking, whether he took it on the spur of the moment or as a result of pusIIIanimity or timidity, and not as one taking an irrevocable and decisive oath in the way of a definitive resolution, as well as the slightest additions he may have added to the words of the oath: so that if it turn out that no circumstance can be found to serve as a consolation or reasonable solace for setting aside the oath taken, he must let such persons keep their oath, and not compel them to commit perjury. As for the matter of Severus, it appears to be like this. A certain man named Longinus owned a latifundium (i.e., a landed estate or what might nowadays be called a large farm), which was named Mindana and was subject to the jurisdiction of the episcopate of Mistheia. A man by the name of Severus, who was the bishop of Massadi, ordained a man named Kyriakus (or Cyriacus, according to a different transliteration) as a presbyter to serve in the church connected with that latifundium, and compelled him to swear that he would stay there and remain subject to the jurisdiction of his episcopate. But when the bishop of Mistheia, who had jurisdiction over the latifundium in question, learned of this, he forbade Kyriakus to perform divine services in his own church, on the ground that he had been ordained by another. On this account Kyriakus went to a different church, while Longinus, the owner of the latifundium, being grieved about this, threatened either to wreck the church or to leave it deserted and without an attendance. So St. Basil the Great was asked about this and replied that the latifundium in question ought to be placed under the jurisdiction and authority of the episcopate of Massadi, even though it were in a different parish, and that Presbyter Kyriakus should be allowed to return and perform divine services there, because in this way he would be keeping the oath he had taken, and Longinus would refrain from desolating the church, and consequently would avoid condemnation of his soul on account of the cessation of divine hymns which he would otherwise cause the church, and "we," he says, shall not be doing anything contrary to the Canons by returning Kyriakus to his church, because in returning there he will not be violating his oath, since, although he did go awray for a short time, yet he had not added to the oath he had taken anything to the effect that he would not go away from the latifundhun of Mindana even for a short while, and accordingly this could not be considered a violation of his oath. As for Severus, on the other hand, in view of the fact that he was offering the excuse that he had forgotten that the latifundium was in the jurisdiction of another bishopís see and on this account had ordained a presbyter thereto, we (i.e., St. Basil) ought to pardon him, notwithstanding the fact that he committed three evils in contravention of the Canons: to wit, that of making Kyriakus take an oath, which is contrary to the sacred Gospel; that of prompting him to violate his oath with the transposition; and that of lying in making the assertion that he had forgotten. Nevertheless, since we are not fathomers of hearts, says St. Basil, we pardon him and accept him indiscrimately, owing to manís liability to forgetfulness; we leave it to the Lord to mete out vengeance to him. See also c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

11. As for one that has committed an involuntary murder, he has fulfilled the requirements of justice by a term of eleven years. For it is plain that in the case of the ones assaulted we may observe the rules of Moses, and not deem one to have been murdered when he has been knocked down by the blows he received but has been able to walk again with a, stick (Exod. 21:18-19). But if he did not recover from the blows, and the man who struck had no intention of killing him, we deem the assailant a murderer, to be sure, but an involuntary murderer.

(Ap. c. LXVI; c. XII of the 6th; cc. XXI, XXII, XXIII of Ancyra; cc. II, XIII, XLIII, LIV, LVI, LVII of Basil; the Epistle of Athanasius to Amun; c. V of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

A man who had slain anyone without intending to do so had to spend eleven years excommunicated in penitence. When asked about this the Saint replied in the present Canon to the effect that the offenderís canon or penance) itself was sufficient punishment and that he ought to be released from it. He adds, however, that in regard to the persons attacked we ought to observe the rules of the Mosaic Law. For Moses says that if anyone is beaten and the beating causes him to be laid up in bed, and if thereafter he gets up again and walks about with the aid of a walking-stick though still feeling the effects of the injury, he shall not be considered to have been murdered if he dies afterwards, and the one who beat him up shall not be considered a murderer. With regard to these rules of Moses the Saint adds that if the injured man did not get back upon his feet after being beaten up, but died, the one who beat him up is a murderer, but yet an involuntary, and not a willful, murderer, in view of the fact that he had no intention of killing the man, but only of beating him up. See also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

12. The Canon has unconditionally excluded from the service all digamists (i.e., men that have married twice).

(Ap. c. XVII.).

Interpretation.

What the Saint here calls "the Canon" refers to Ap. c. XVII, the Interpretation of which may be read in connection herewith.

 

13. Our Fathers did not consider murders committed in the course of wars to be classifiable as murders at all, on the score, it seems to me, of allowing a pardon to men fighting in defense of sobriety and piety. Perhaps, though, it might be advisable to refuse them communion for three years, on the ground that they are not clean-handed.

(Ap. c. LXVI; c. XCII of the 6th; cc. XXI, XXII, XXIII of Ancyra; cc. XII, XLIII, LIV, LVI, LVII of Basil; the Epistle of Athanasius to Amun; c. V of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

By ĎOur Fathers" here Basil the Great means Athanasius the Great and his followers. For Athanasius says in his Epistle to Amun that for one to slay enemies in war is lawful and praiseworthy. But St. Basil explains also the reason why the more ancient Fathers permitted them to be pardoned, which is that those men who slay men in the course of war are fighting for the faith and for the maintenance of sobriety. For, if once the barbarians and infidels should succeed in gaining the upper hand, neither piety will be left, since they disregard it and seek to establish their own wicked faith and bad belief, nor sobriety and maintenance of honor, seeing that their victory would be followed by many instances of violation and ravishment of young women and of young men. The Saint goes on to add, however, on his own part, not a definitive Canon, but an advisory and indecisive suggestion that although these men who slay others in war were not considered murderers by the more ancient Fathers, yet, since their hands are not unstained by blood, it might perhaps be well for them to abstain from communion for three years solely as regards the Mysteries, but not to be expelled, that is to say, from the Church, like other penitents. See also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

14. If a person charging interest on money lent consents to distribute the ill-gotten gain to the poor and to rid himself of the disease of avarice (here called "love of money"), he is admissible to Holy Orders.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perhaps anyone that is a layman has been charging interest for the use of his money, he shall be admitted to holy orders to become a priest if and only if he spends the III-gotten gain ó or, more expressly speaking, that interest (note that he calls the interest III-gotten, or unjust, even when taken from laymen) ó on poor people, and thereafter ceases to charge interest. So that, by contradistinction, it is to be inferred that one who fails to distribute interest collected on money lent cannot become a priest.

 

15. I marvel at your literal accuracy with regard to Scripture when you consider and postulate that the wording of the explanation is forced which exhibits what is plainly signified, and not the literal sense of the preposition under.1 What is signified has been derived from a Hebrew expression. Since one must beware of idly passing over the problem raised by a man inclined to inquiry, the fowl of the sky and the fish of the sea received the same genesis at the time of creationí, for both genera were brought forth out of the waters: as for the reason, it is that the characteristic peculiarity of each of them is the same. For the one kind of animals swim through the water, while the other kind float upon the air; accordingly, they were mentioned in common, though the figure of speech, being used in connection with fish inaptly, but quite properly in connection with all animals that live in water. For the fowl of the sky have been made subject to man, and so have the fish of the sea, and not they alone, but also all animals that traverse the paths of the sea. For not every aquatic animal is a fish, as grampuses and whales and hammer-headed sharks and dolphins and seals, and in addition sea horses (i.e., walruses) and sea dogs (i.e., seals of some kind) and sawfishes and swordfishes (or jelly fishes) and scallops and all shellfish, not one of which is a fish; and all animals that traverse the paths of the seas. Thus there are three sorts of such animals, namely, fowls of the sky, fishes of the sea, and all aquatic animals distinguishable from fishes that also traverse the paths of the seas.

Interpretation.

Notwithstanding that it is not clearly indicated what sort of question had been asked, yet from a consideration of the reply given to it one may say that it would appear that Amphilochius had asked Basil why in speaking of man in Psalm 8 David says: "Thou hast subordinated all things under his feet ó the fowl of the sky, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever traverseth the paths of the seas" (Ps. 8:6-8); and a) placed fowls of the sky and fishes of the sea together in the same category; and b) did not say "whosoever traverseth the paths of the seas," as would have been in keeping with the sense, according to the art of grammar, but said "whatsoever traverseth the paths of the seas" (Note of Translator. ó Apparently this meant to suggest that whosoever might have been used to show that the reference was to living animals only, whereas whatsoever would seem to include ships and seaweeds and the like). So with regard to question a) the Saint replies that the reason why David joined fowls and fishes together is that both these genera of animals were created by the same waters and have one and the same peculiar characteristic; since, just as fishes swim in the water, using their fins like oars, or small wings, and their tail like a rudder, in a similar fashion birds swim, or fly, in the air, using their wings like oars, and their tail like a rudder. To query b) he replies that the expression "whatsoever traverseth the paths of the seas" does not refer to fishes, but to all the other animals that are to be found in the waters, or, at any rate, to the great whales, to the shellfish, such as are the scallops and other animals, to the crustaceans, such as are shrimps, crabs, and to the mollusks, such as are cuttlefishes, octopuses, squids, and other animals, none of which are properly termed, fishes. So David says that three kinds of animals are made subject to man, those begotten of the waters, namely, birds, fishes, and all the other animals that live in the water, but are different from fishes, excluding, that is to say, quadrupeds, which were formed out of the land (or mold of the earth).

 

16. Now Naaman was a great man not with the Lord, but with his lord, or master, that is, was a man of powerful influence with the king of Syria (II Kings, 5:1). So pay strict attention to what the Bible says and you will find thence the solution of your question.

Interpretation.

The Saint had been asked why the Bible calls Naaman a great man; and he replies that he was not a great man with the Lord, or, more expressly speaking, in relation to God, but merely with his earthly lord, namely, the king of Syria. And this is attested by the holy Bible, which says: "Now Naaman, captain of the host of Syria, was a man great in the eyes of his lord" (II Kings, 5:1).

 

17. You asked us about Bianor the Presbyter, whether he is admissible to the clericate on account of the oath. I am aware that I myself have set forth already a certain common definition regarding all those who together with him took an oath to the Clerics of the region round Antioch, to the effect that they are to refrain from public speaking, but in private may perform, the duties of Presbyters. This very same pronouncement also affords him permission for his own service. For the priesthood is not those in Antioch, but that in Iconium, which, as you yourself have sent to us notice, he wanted to exchange for Antioch in order to dwell there. That man, then, is acceptable, when he is required by your reverence to repent of the ease of the oath which he swore in regard to the faithful man, because of his being unable to brook the annoyance of that slight danger.

Interpretation.

This reply is not so perspicuous, because the question is not so perspicuous either. It seems that some faithless man by means of threats and intimidations had caused some priests of Antioch to swear an oath that they would no longer perform the duties of the priesthood, among whom one, by the name of Bianor, had removed to Iconium, and it was concerning him that the Bishop of Iconium, Amphilochius, was asking whether this man might officiate; and the Saint replies that he had made a common decree in regard to all persons that had taken an oath at Antioch, whereby they were allowed to perform liturgical services in private, but not publicly in front of everybody, in order to avoid scandalizing them, on seeing that they were violating the oath they had taken. So in accordance with that common decree Bianor too had permission to celebrate liturgy, and especially in view of the fact that he was going to conduct services (for the word "is" used in the Canon is to be taken as the equivalent of "to conduct the services of the priesthood") not at Antioch, where he had taken the oath, but at Iconium, to which he had removed. This man, however, was obliged to repent of having easily and readily sworn an oath on account of the threat of a slight danger. See also c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

18. As regarding lapsed virgins who had solemnly vowed themselves to living a decent life consecrated to the Lord, but afterwards owing to their having fallen under the sway of the passions of the flesh are disregarding their own conventions, it is true that our Fathers, naively and meekly making allowances for the weaknesses of the lapsable, laid down a law that they are to be admissible after a year, having treated the matter in the same vein as that of digamists. But to me it seems, since the Church grows stronger by going forward with the grace of Christ, and the battalion of virgins is nowadys proliferating, one ought to pay strict attention to what appears to be the real sense of the thought embodied in the Bible, which it is possible to ascertain from the context. For widowhood is inferior to virginity. Necessarily, therefore, the sin of widows is of altogether secondary gravity in comparison with that of virgins. Let us see, therefore, what is written to Timothy by St. Paul: "But turn down younger widows. For when they hoot at Christ, they want to get married, being damnable because they have set aside their first faith" (I Tim. 5:11). If, therefore, a widow is liable to severe damnation on the ground that she has set aside her faith in Christ, what must we conclude as concerning a virgin, who is a bride of Christ and a sacred vessel dedicated to the Lord? Though it is a great sin for even a slave woman who has given herself up to a clandestine marriage to imbue the house with corruption and roundly insult the owner by her wicked mode of life, yet it is far more offensive for a bride to become an adulteress, and to have become guilty of dishonoring her union with the bridegroom, by giving herself up to licentious pleasures of the body. Necessarily, therefore, the widow is condemned like a corrupt slave, while the virgin incurs the damnation of an adulteress. Precisely, therefore, as we call a man an adulterer who has intercourse with somebody elseís wife, and refuse to admit him to communion until he has ceased indulging in the sin, so too, let it be said, we shall be disposed to regard the man who has a virgin. But what needs to be premised to us now is that the one called a virgin is one who has voluntarily tendered herself to the Lord and has renounced matrimony, and has preferred a life of sanctitude. As for the vows, we approve of them only then after she has reached the age of discretion. For it is not proper to regard childish utterances on such subjects as altogether trustworthy and congruous, but only that which has been averred after the age of sixteen or seventeen is to be considered the trustworthy and congruous result of reasonings and after being further examined she is to be enrolled among the virgins as a member of their class if it be found that she insists and begs with supplications to be admitted as such; accordingly the vow of such a maiden is to be sanctioned, and her disavowal thereof is indispensably to be punished. For parents and brothers tender many maidens, and even before they have attained the proper age, not because they have spontaneously striven after a life of celibacy, but because their parents or brothers have been governed by considerations of convenience to themselves, which maidens must not be readily accepted, until we investigate their own mind openly.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that although the more ancient Fathers dealt more leniently with virgins, in the same fashion as with digamists, and canonized those one year only who should consecrate themselves to God and vow to preserve their virginity, but who thereafter commit fornication or marry. But Basil the Great says that since the Church gets stronger with the grace of Christ in virtue than she was to begin with, and the battalion of these virgins keeps on growing more numerous, therefore those virgins who commit fornication must be the more severely chastised, and this is in keeping with the thought of St. Paul the Apostle. For if it be granted that, as he says, any widow who is enrolled among the battalion of widows in the Church (concerning which see Footnote to c. XL of the 6th) and promises (to maintain) a status of sobriety in respect of morals, but has set aside her promise and has married, she incurs a most severe condemnation and damnation; then much more is a virgin to be condemned who has done so and who is a bride of Christ and a vessel consecrated to Him. It is admittedly a fact that widowhood is inferior to virginity, and consequently the sin of widows is less reprehensible than that of virgins; and conversely the sin of virgins is far more reprehensible than that of widows. And if a slave girl who has committed fornication dishonors both her master and all his house, much more does his own bride and wife dishonor him if she be found to be an adulteress. So that the widow above mentioned who breaks her promise is to be canonized like a slave girl who is a whore, or, more expressly speaking, seven years, whereas a virgin that does so is to be penanced like an adulterous bride, or, to be more exact, fourteen years. And in consequence just as we do not admit an adulterer to penitence unless he separates from the strange woman, so and in like manner we do not admit a man who has sinned in regard to a virgin unless he separates from her. Having said these things, the Saint goes on to tell when and how women may be enrolled in the battalion of the virgins, to wit, when they are more than sixteen or seventeen years of age, and have become conscious of themselves and have acquired the ability to reason matters out for themselves, and when they of their own accord and willingly and voluntarily offer themselves to God, and are tested out in this regard for a long time, and found to remain steadfast in their aim and beg fervently to be admitted. For thus and in this manner we number these applicants among the virgins, and ought to regard their vow of virginity as one that is confirmed and reliable, and ought indispensably to punish the setting aside of it with a canonical penance. But as for those maidens who do not prefer virginity voluntarily and of their own accord, but who before arriving at the age above mentioned are offered by their parents and relatives, perhaps because they have no dowry to bestow upon them with the object of enabling them to get married, or on account of some other such worldly end ó as for these maidens, I say, we ought not to admit them into the battalion of the virgins too easily, nor to suppose their immature vows to be reliable and safe, until we investigate their mental attitude clearly. Read also c. XL of the 6th, and c. XVI of the 4th.

 

19. We are not cognizant of any vows of men, unless it be that some men have enrolled themselves in the battalion of those who have adopted the monastic life, if they seem to accept celibacy by silent agreement. Nevertheless, I deem it fitting that in their case too that should receive primary attention. They must be asked, and from them must be taken a perspicuous vow, so that if any of them should by any chance return to a flesh-loving and sensual life afterwards they shall be incurring the penalty attached to those who commit fornication.

Interpretation.

This Canon shows that the monks of that period of time did not make vows by word of mouth, as they do now, when they became monks, down to the time of this great St. Basil. For the Saint says that he knows of no other men vowing to remain virgins except only those who have donned the monastic habit, who, in spite of the fact that they do by no means vow in uttered words to remain virgins, nevertheless by their silence and by donning the habit in question virtually vow to do so. Nevertheless, when they join the battalion of the monks, they ought to be asked about this, and their vows by word of mouth ought to be accepted as a pledge. Why? In order that if they ever should disregard their vow and turn to fornication or marriage, they may be canonized as fornicators seven years, any such marriage being indispensably dissolved and the partners thereto being separated from one another. This same rule must be applied also to the case of unmarried Subdeacons and Deacons whenever they are ordained. (See Footnote to c. VI of the 6th). Read also c. XVI of the 4th.

 

20. When women who are in a heresy have vowed virginity, but afterwards have chosen matrimony instead of this, I do not deem it necessary to condemn these women. For "what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law" (Rom. 3:19). But those who have not thus far come under the yoke of Christ, and who do not recognize the legislation of the Lord, so as to be admissible to the Church along with all Christians, are also entitled to forgiveness for these mistakes as a consequence of their belief in Christ. And in general things done during the catechumenical life do not entail responsibilities: these persons, that is to say, are not accepted by the Church without baptism, so that the priorities of generation in regard to them are something that is quite necessary.

Interpretation.

Tne present Canon is consistent with the above c. XVIII. For it decrees that those heretical women who though having vowed to remain virgins have afterwards got married must not be penanced when they come to join Orthodoxy. For according to St. Paul whatever the law says it says it to those persons who are subject to the law, so that in this respect these women, since they were not under the yoke of Christ, because of the heresy, are neither bound to recognize the law of Christ. And so they are acceptable to the Church, and receive a pardon for this sinful action by reason of their Orthodox belief in Christ. But why does not this Canon consistently canonize sins committed in the course of catechumenical life, whereas c. XIV of the 1st does canonize them? As to this question see that c. where a solution is offered to this seeming contrariety. The Saint goes on to add that the Church does not admit heretics without first baptizing them; and that it is a most necessary gift and privilege of regeneration through baptism to have previous sinful deeds pardoned, so that even the failure on the part of these heretics to keep their vow of virginity is pardoned as a result of the baptism they have received when they come to join the ranks of Orthodoxy. See also e. XVI of the 4th, and e. XIV of the 1st.

 

21. If any man cohabiting with a woman fails afterwards to rest content with inatrimony and falls into fornication, we judge such a man to be a fornicator, and we consider him to deserve even more in the way of penances. We have not, however, any Canon by which to task him with the charge of adultery if the sin is committed with a woman free from marriage. For an adulteress, it says, being defiled shall be defiled (Jer. 3:1), and shall not return to her husband. And "anyone who keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious" (Prov. 18:22). One, however, who has committed fornication cannot be denied the right to cohabit with his wife. So that a wife must accept her husband when he returns from fornication, but a husband must send a defiled wife away from his home. The reason for these inconsistencies is not easily to be found, but at any rate a custom to this effect has obtained prevalence.

Interpretation.

If a husband sins in conjunction with an unmarried woman, he is considered to be a fornicator. But we have no Canon by which to condemn him as an adulterer. He is more severely and heavily punished, however, than an unmarried man who commits fornication, according to this Canon, since in the case of the latter allowance is made for the necessity of satisfying a natural desire which he cannot otherwise appease, whereas a husband lacks this allowance because he has his lawful wife with whom to appease this desire. Nevertheless, even though such a husband is more severely punished, or canonized, yet his wife cannot divorce him on account of this fornication, whereas the husband can divorce his wife if she commits fornication with anyone. Though such a custom has prevailed in the Church from the Romans, the reason for it is hard to understand. See the Footnote to Ap. c. XLVIII, but in any case of necessity fail not to take note of it.

 

22. As for those men who have taken wives by rapine, if the latter were taken way from other men to whom they had been engaged, the men guilty of rapine shall not be accepted before they have released the women in their possession and have restored them to the authority of the men to whom they had been engaged; whether the latter men are willing to take them back or insist upon refusing them. If. on the other hand, any man takes a woman who is at leisure, she must be taken away from him and be restored to her kin, but may be allowed to go free with the consent and approval of her kin, whether the latter be parents, or brothers, or any other persons entrusted with the superintendence of the girlís affairs. If they choose to surrender her to the man in question, the marriage contract shall stand valid:, but if they refuse to do so, she shall not be taken from them by main force. As for the situation in which a man possesses a woman as a result of defloration, whether this occurred in secret or more openly and by violence, the penalty provided for fornication must be imposed of necessity. But the first thing is that those men must be denied the right to prayers, and must be compelled to join the weepers at the church door; a-nd the next thing is that they shall be admitted to the right of listening; and the third thing is that they are to be accorded the relief of penitence; and the fourth thing is that they shall be allowed to remain in church as co-standers with the laity though (with the proviso of) abstaining from the offering, and are afterwards to be permitted to communion of the good.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that men who snatch women away, if the latter are betrothed, are not to be admitted to penitence until they have first restored the women in question to their fiancees, in order that, if they want them they may take them as their wives; but if the woman is one wrn is free from any fiancee, but under the authority of her parents when any man has snatched her away, he shall return her to her parents and relatives or to her guardians; and if those persons are willing to give her to the man who snatched her away, provided that the woman too is willing, and agrees to this, the marriage shall stand; but if they are unwilling, they are not to be coerced. Nevertheless, in case that marriage by right of rapine has been actually consummated, the man who snatched away and deflowered the female victim, whether this was done secretly or violently, must necessarily be sentenced as a fornicator. His sentence shall be four years. Accordingly, during the first year he shall continue weeping; during the second year he shall listen to the liturgy; during the third year he shall spend the time in kneeling; and during the fourth year he shall be allowed the privilege of standing in church together with the faithful, and thereafter shall be permitted to participate in communion.

Concord.

St. Gregory of Nyssa canonizes a fornicator nine years in his c. IV, but this St. Basil seven years in his c. LIX, whereas the Faster in his c. XII canonizes him two years with xerophagy and penances. See also the Interpretation of c. XXVII of the 4th, and the plan of the temple.

 

23. Concerning men who marry two sisters, or women who marry two brothers, a little epistle has already been addressed to you, a copy of which we sent to your reverence. But as for any man who has taken the wife of his own brother, he shall not be admitted before he has relinquished her.

Interpretation.

The epistle mentioned in the present c. is the one addressed to Bishop Diodorus and which constitutes c. LXXXVII of the same St. Basil. For in that epistle the Saint in no uncertain terms and with the protests based upon the law forbids one and the same man under any circumstances to take the sister of his deceased wife, which is the same as saying, two sisters; and neither will he allow one and the same woman to take the brother of her deceased husband. Anyone who falls into such a lawless marriage shall not be admitted to penitence unless he first divorces her. See also Ap. c. XIX.

 

24. In case a widow has been enrolled among the number of privileged widows, that is, a widow being helped by the Church, and she gets married, the Apostle states that she is to be disregarded. As for a man who has become a widower, there is no law covering his case, but the penance meted out to digamists is sufficient to be imposed upon such a man. As touching a widow, however, who has attained to the age of sixty years, if she chooses again to cohabit with a man, she shall not be deemed to deserve the privilege of partaking of communion until she desists from the passion of impurity. If, however, we number her before she is past sixty, the crime is ours, not the poor womanís.

Interpretation.

In time of old all widows who were really widows and solitary, trusting in God, and spending their leisure time in entreaties and prayers night and day, when they became sixty years of age, they used to be enrolled in the battalion of widows in the Church, and after taking a vow not to get married a second time, but to remain sober, they used to be fed on the rations and accorded the help of the Church, just as St. Paul states these facts (I Tim. 5:5-9; see also Footnote to c. XL of the 6th). On this account the present c. says that if any such widow ó any younger one, that is to say ó be enrolled in the battalion of (privileged) widows and shall later get married, St. Paul judges that she ought to be disregarded, or, more explicitly speaking, that she ought no longer to be helped by the Church. But if any man becomes a widower, there is no law to prevent him, or to chastise him, if he insists upon marrying a second time, but the sentence provided for digamists is sufficient for him, or, more explicitly speaking, it is enough that he be canonized one or two years, in accordance with c. IV of the same St. Basil. But if a widow be enrolled in the battalion of widows when sixty years old and afterwards gets married, she is to incur the penalty of being refused communion until she desist from this impure coition in old age and this lawless state of matrimony. But if it be before she is sixty years old and after she has been enrolled by us in that battalion that she gets married, she deserves a pardon owing to her youthfulness, and the crime is ours, because we violated the injunction of St. Paul and enrolled her in the widow battalion before she reached the sixtieth year of her age (ibid.).

 

25. As for a man who keeps a woman as his wife after she has been ravaged by him, he shall incur the penalty provided for ravagement, while the woman shall be pardoned.

(Ap. c. LXVI; cc. XXII, XXIII, XXVI of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perchance a man ravages a woman not betrothed to any other man, and after the ravagement takes her to wife, he is to be canonized because he ravaged her before the wedding, though he is to be permitted to keep her always as his wife. See also Ap. c. LXVII.

 

26. Fornication is not matrimony, but is not even the beginning of matrimony. So that if it be possible to separate persons joined in fornication, this would be the best course to take. Rut if they insist upon marriage at all costs, let them pay the penalty for fornication, and let them have their way, lest anything should happen that is still worse.

(Ap. c, LXVII; cc. XXII, XXIII, XXV of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

After allowing those who have been raped before the wedding to contract a marriage in his cc. XXII and XXV, the Saint finally in the present Canon decrees this generally and more exactly, to wit: that as for those men who fornicate beforehand, either with a virgin or with a whore, and after the fornication seek to marry, the truer and better course is for them not to marry, but even if they should succeed in marrying, it is better that they be separated, since it is for this reason that marriage is called honorable and the marriage bed undefiled, namely, because it is free and clean from any previous sin and rape, whereas, on the contrary, fornication and rape are neither marriage nor a beginning of marriage. But if the fornicators themselves will on no account consent to being separated, let them be punished as fornicators, with a seven-year sentence, that is to say, but let them remain unseparated, in order to avoid having any more serious thing happen, or, more explicitly speaking, in order that after being separated they may not keep on secretly indulging in fornication, or, in order that while both of them are united with other persons they may not secretly commit adultery with each other, or in order to keep them from committing suicide because of their being unable to put up with excessive love and separation. Read also Ap. c. LXVII and the Footnote thereto.

 

27. As touching a Presbyter who unwittingly has become involved in a lawless marriage, I have prescribed that what ought to be done is to let him hold some share of the see but abstain from all other activities. For a pardon is all that such a man is entitled to. But to bless some other man with the task of taking care of his duties, would be inconsistent. For a blessing is an impartation of sanctitude. But anyone who lacks this, owing to an unwitting offense, how can he impart it to another^ Let him, therefore, not bless anyone either in public or in private, neither let him distribute the body of Christ round to others; neither let him engage in any other liturgical service: but, contenting himself with the presidency, let him weep along together with others and pray the Lord to forgive him his unwitting sin.

Interpretation.

The present Canon has been borrowed verbatim from c. VI and c. XXVI of the same Council. Accordingly, you will find the Interpretation of it there.

 

28. In my opinion it has appeared utterly ridiculous for anyone to vow to abstain from the eating of pork. So please condescend to teach them to abstain from uneducated vows and promises. As for the case in hand, the matter is one that is indifferent and allowable on any score. "For no creature of God is to be refused when it is taken with thanks" (I Tim. 4:4). So that the vow is ludicrous, and abstinence is unnecessary.

Interpretation.

The Saint had been asked whether one might violate a vow he made, namely, a promise he made to God not to eat any pork; and the Saint replies that this vow is ridiculous and deserves to be laughed at. For this reason such persons ought to be taught not to make such unreasonable promises henceforth, and to hold the use of pork, with reference to which they went to the trouble of making a vow, to be a matter of indifference, or, more explicitly speaking, to regard eating and not eating pork as the same thing, since, according to St. Paul, no creature of God must be refused, seeing that it is a creature, when eaten with thanks. See also c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

29. As for rulers, however, who swear to harm the persons they are ruling, it greatly behooves them to heed their ways. Such heed is twofold: one point to be heeded is that they must be taught not to take oaths too readily and offhand; another point is that they must not persist in their bad judgments, so that when one has sworn in advance to harm another person, let him show repentance for the impetuousness of the oath, yet let him not affirm his own cunning under pretense of reverence. For it did not advantage even Herod when he kept his oath, who allegedly in order to avoid perjuring himself became the murderer of the Prophet. The taking of an oath, indeed, is forbidden once for all, but far more, of course, is one to be condemned when it is taken for the doing of what is wrong or evil; so that the person who takes an oath must change his attitude of mind, and not endeavor to effect the performance of his unholy venture. For examine the absurdity more broadly. If anyone should swear to gouge out the eyes of his brother, consider whether it would be right for him to carry such an oath into effect; if anyone should swear to kill somebody; if anyone should swear to transgress some commandment or other. "I have sworn and have set myself to keep the judgments of thy righteousness" (not any sin). (Ps. 119:106). Precisely as it is incumbent upon us to perform commandments with irrevocable resolves, so does it behoove us to annul and destroy sin in all kinds of ways.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perchance any ruler should swear to harm anyone, he himself ought first to be taught not to take an oath too easily, and in addition to repent for the impetuous oath he has taken. Secondly, not to persist in that evil decision he made to injure someone, on the pretext that his sense of reverence requires him to keep his oath. For it did Herod no good at all, take uρ his oath, who, ostensibly in order to avoid breaking his oath, murdered John. For it would rather have done him good to break the oath and not commit such an unjust murder. And every oath in general and once for all, or, at all events, thoroughly and unexceptionally, is prohibited by the sacred Gospel, whether it be taken for good or for evil; but far more does that man stand condemned who takes an oath for evil. So that anyone who takes an oath to injure anybody ought not to perpetrate the wrong for the sake of keeping his oath, but, on the contrary, ought to repent that he took any such oath at all. It is just as though someone, for instance, should swear to punch out the eyes of his brother, or to kill him, or to transgress any commandment of the Lordís; it would not be right for him to carry out such designs for the sake of keeping his oath, since David says to God: I have sworn and have resolved to keep my oath, not in order to sin, but, on the contrary, in order to keep the judgments of thy righteousness. And so, just as it is proper for us to perform the commandments of the Lord with firm resolves, so, on the other hand, is it proper for us to annul every decision we may make to commit a sin. See also c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

30. As touching wife-snatchers, we have no old Canon, but have ventured to express our own opinion, which is that they and their abettors be condemned to exclusion from prayers. But so far as concerns an elopement, the man is not responsible when there has been no rape nor has any abduction marked the affair. A widow, on the other hand, being sui juris and at liberty to follow, we need not concern ourselves about pretenses.

Interpretation.

As to men who snatch their wives out of hand, or abet others to such snatching, this Saint was the first in the present Canon to condemn them to three years to stand excluded from the prayers said for kneelers, which is the same as to say, to stand in the pronaos, or porch of the temple, together with listeners. For c. XXVII of the 4th decrees in regard to wifeí snatchers, but comes later than the present Canon. If, on the other hand, any woman who is sui juris, and not under the control of her father or of a master (i.e., slave-owner) voluntarily has followed her husband without being forced to do so, the man who has taken is not reprehensible, provided, however, that he did not rape her and did not have any sexual intercourse with her secretly (for this is what is denoted by the words "rape" and "abduction"). So that also if any widow, being sui juris, and being at liberty to follow her lover or not, should perchance be ashamed lest it appear that she is giving herself to her sweetheart of her own accord and be led to pretend, for appearanceís sake, that he snatched her, though in reality she herself followed him ó if, I say, this should turn out to be a fact, the man who has taken this woman incurs no responsibility for the affair. For it is not the shame and pretense of wife-snatching that we have in mind, but, on the contrary, the question which interests us is whether the woman actually followed the man. See also c. XXVII of the 4th.

 

31. If, after her husband has departed and disappeared, before having made due inquiry as to whether he is dead, any woman cohabits with another man, she is committing adultery.

(c. XCIII of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon has been borrowed verbatim from c. XCIII of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

32. Clerics who commit the sin unto death, though they are degraded from their rank, they are not to be excluded from the society of laymen. For "Thou shalt not exact vengeance twice for the same offense"

(Ap. c. XXV; c.c. IV, XXI of the 6th; c. XXXV of Carthage; cc. III, XVII, XXXII, LI of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

There is a sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death, says John the Evangelist (in his First Epistle, 5:16-17). So, according to other Fathers, and especially according to Metrophanes the bishop of Smyrna in his interpretation of the General Epistles, a different interpretation is to be given to the sin unto death from that given to the sin not unto death. But according to Zonaras a sin unto death is one that has reached the stage of realization and actualization, being, that is to say, a mortal sin, and even in point of kind, whereas a sin not unto death is one that has not reached the point of realization and actualization, but has stopped at the point of consent, or manifestation of a desire to commit the sin in question (and see c. IV of Neocaesarea). So what the present Canon asserts is that all clerics who commit such a mortal sin are indeed liable to be deposed, but are not to be excluded from the community ó or, more explicitly speaking, from the right to pray together with laymen, in accordance with that passage of Scripture which says: "Thou shalt not exact vengeance twice for the same offense." Such clerics, however, are not entitled to communion in the sense of partaking of the divine Mysteries. Read also Ap. c. XXV, and c. III of this same St. Basil.

33. As for any woman who conceives and brings forth on the way and fails to take measures therefor, let her be liable to the penalty provided for a murderer.

(Ap. c. LXVI.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that in case a woman who is on the road should happen to give birth and should fail to take care of the infant, and the infant dies, she is to be canonized as a murderess.

Concord.

Likewise c. LII of this same St. Basil says more extensively that if a woman brings forth a child in the street and is able to suscitate the child but lets it die, either in order to conceal her sin, after conceiving it as a result of harlotry or of adultery, or brutally and inhumanly treats her child with contempt, she is to be condemned as a murderess. Or even if the child does not die, but someone else who has found it takes it and suscitates, again the mother of it shall be condemned as a murderess, according to Zonaras, because she abandoned it out of careless negligence, and so far as she was concerned left it to die. If, however, she had no means of suscitating it owing to want and destitution of the necessaries, and the baby died as a result of this circumstance, its mother is deserving of a pardon, according to the same c. LII of St. Basil. See also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

34. As for women who have committed adultery and have confessed it out of reverence or because they have been more or less conscience-stricken, our Fathers have forbidden us to publish the fact, lest we afford some occasion for the death of the remorseful one; but they ordered that such women are to stand without communion until they have completed the term of their penitence.

Interpretation.

If any married woman commits adultery with another man. and either out of reverence or out of fear of the future judgment she confesses the fact that she has committed the sin, or the fact is brought to light by another party, perhaps because she has become pregnant, or because she has given birth to the child, while her husband is far away, the Fathers have ordered that she is not to be given publicity, that is to say, she is not to be placed in the stations of the penitents, of the weepers, in other words, or listeners, or kneelers, lest people see her there when she leaves church with the catechumens, or is standing in the narthex, and discover of course the fact that she has sinned and before all other sins they will impute to her the criminal offense of adultery, and thus that penance will be the cause of her death. For when her husband learns about it, perhaps he will kill her, in accordance with that passage of Solomonís saying: "Full of jealousy is the anger of her husband" (Prov. 6:34). So for this reason the Fathers ordered such women to stand in church together with the other faithfuls, without, however, partaking of communion, until the time fixed for her term of penitence has expired.

 

35. In the case of a husband who has been deserted by his wife, the reason for the abandonment must be looked into. If it appear that she has departed without a proportionate cause, the husband is to be deemed to deserve pardon, and she to deserve a punitive sentence. This pardon shall be given to him for the purpose of enabling him to commune with the Church.

Interpretation.

If any woman leaves her husband, an examination must be made to ascertain the cause arid for what reason she left him. The rest of the Canon is verbatim drawn from c. LXXXVIII of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there.

36. As touching the wives of soldiers who have disappeared, if they remarry they are subject to the same provision as bears upon the case of the wives of men who have left the country, when they refuse to await their return. Nevertheless, there is some reason for a pardon here, because there is more reason to suspect death.

Interpretation.

This Canon has been borrowed verbatim from c. XCIII of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

37. After being deprived of another manís wife, if a man marries, he shall be liable to have charges brought against him in regard to the first case of adultery, but as regards the second case he shall be exempt from charges.

Interpretation.

According to this Canon if any man should illegally take the fiance or the wife of any other man, and afterwards this man should take her away from him, and he should thereafter get an unmarried woman as his wife and marry her, as for his sin with the first strange woman, he shall be canonized as an adulterer, but as relates to the second woman he is not responsible.

 

38. Maidens who without the consent and advice of their father run after men are guilty of fornication. But if the parents can be reconciled, the matter would seem to be susceptible of remediation. But they are not to be restored to communion directly; they must, on the contrary, be sentenced to three years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prescribes that all maidens and virgins who are under the control and authority of their father and run after men, or, in other words, willingly and of their own accord have offered themselves to their lovers, are fornicating and cannot be married. But if thereafter the parents of such virgins become reconciled and consent to let the lovers and ravishers of their daughters cohabit with them, it seems that what happened in the beginning of the affair may be remedied, and that their fornication may be changed into marriage and matrimony. Nevertheless, when men and women do such things, they are not to be pardoned at once and forthwith allowed to partake of communion, but are to be canonized three years.

Concord.

Canons XL, XLI, and XLII of the same St. Basil make it plain that marriages of the daughters and slave girls that have been made without the consent and approval of their fathers and masters, respectively, are to be considered cases of fornication and are to be dissolved. But after their consent has been obtained, they may be validated, and in that event they become true marriages. See also the Footnotes to cc. XXVII and XLII of Carthage.

 

39. A woman who lives with an adulterer is an adulteress all the time.

Interpretation.

If any woman who has a husband has committed adultery with another man, and afterwards either leaves her husband while he is alive and follows the one who led her into adultery, or after her husband dies she takes him as her husband and lives with him, she, I say, according to this Canon, even though she has completed the fourteen yearsí sentence for adultery, nevertheless is an adulteress all the years that she lives with the adulterer. For in view of the fact that she fails to abstain from the sin, but continues persistently in committing it over and over again, she is not admissible to penitence, nor can she be believed to have repented, and consequently neither can she ever receive a pardon, until she separates from the adulterer. See also the Footnote to c. II of Neocaesarea.

 

40. A woman who is in defiance of her lord yields herself to another man is guilty of fornication. But she who thereafter contracts a public marriage becomes a wedded wife. So that the first case is to be considered fornication, the second, matrimony. For the conventions of persons under the control of others are unreliable.

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

Interpretation.

If a girl who is a slave under control of her master gives herself to a man without the consent and approval of her master, she has thereby become guilty of fornication, since agreements and stipulations given by girls who are under the control of masters are uncertain and void. But if thereafter either the master of the girl permits and allows her to do this, or manumits her altogether, and such a slave girl celebrates her marriage openly and publicly, then she is not to be considered a harlot, but a legally married wife. See also Ap. c. LXXXII and c. XXXVIII of Basil.

 

41. A woman in her widowhood who has control of herself and the right to cohabit is not subject to criminal charges (if there is no man to disrupt the marriage], since St. Paul has said, "If the husband die, she is free to marry whomsoever she pleases, but only in the Lord" (I Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:3).

(References as cited beneath c. XL.).

Interpretation.

If any widow who has control over herself marries a second time, she is not liable to charges of misconduct, seeing that St. Paul says concerning her that if her husband dies she is free to marry a second time, provided she does so in the Lord, that is to say, not with an infidel or a heretic or a relative within the degrees prohibited by law, but with a believer who is an Orthodox Christian and not precluded by law. The expression, on the other hand, saying "if there is no man to disrupt the marriage" denotes that if she is in the control of other persons, as, for instance, her father, her grandfather, or her master, they may dissolve the marriage if they do not care to consent to it. See also the Footnote to Ap. c. LXXXII, and c. XXXVIII of the same St. Basil.

 

42. Marriages entered into without the consent of those in authority are fornications. If the father∑, therefore, is alive, or the master, the contracting parties are by no means free from responsibility until the lords nod approval of their cohabitation. For then the affair receives the character of a marriage.

Interpretation.

This Canon is a recapitulation of the three Canons above, i.e., cc. XXXVIII, XL, and XLI, and it says that if a daughter under the control of her father, or a slave girl under the control of her master, should marry without the consent and approval of the father or master, respectively, who have control over them, their marriages are to be considered fornications; and not only this, but their marriages are also to be dissolved and they themselves are to be punished penitentially. But if the father and the master, their lords, agree to their marriages, then the marriages receive indissoluble validity, and they themselves are exempt from all punishment. Read also the Footnote to Ap. c. LXXXII, and c. XXXVIII of the same St. Basil.

 

43. Whoever has given his neighbor a blow is a murderer, whether he started the fight or was defending himself.

(Ap. c. LXV1; c. XCI of the 6th; cc. XXI, XXII, XXIII of Ancyra; Epistle of Athansius to Amun. cc. II, VIII, XI, XIII, XXXIII, XLIII, LIT, LIV, LVI, LVII of Basil; c. V. of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

Whoever strikes a person a vital and mortal blow, and the person struck dies from the blow, is a murderer, according to this Canon, whether he himself was the one who struck the first blow, or the other person struck him first, and he returned the blow in order to get revenge. See also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

44. A Deaconess who has been fornicating with a Grecian is admissible to communion, but to the offering she will be admissible in the seventh year, that is, if she lives in chastity. But a Grecian who after belief again indulges in sacrilege is returning to his vomit. We therefore no longer permit the body of the Deaconess to be put to carnal use, on the ground that it has been consecrated.

(Ap. c. XXV; cc. IV, XXI of the 6th; c. XXXV of Carthage; cc. XXXII, L, LI, LXX of Basil.).

Interpretation.

If perchance any deaconess (concerning whom see the Footnote to c. XIX of the 1st) fornicates with a Grecian, she shall, after being duly purified, be admitted to communion, or, more explicitly speaking, she shall be allowed to stand with the believers and to join in the prayers said in church; but to the communion of the Holy Mysteries she shall be admitted only after seven years have passed as the sentence for her fornication, but even then only on condition that she shall abstain from the evil and live in sobriety. But if the Grecian who has fornicated with her comes to believe, and thereafter seeks to take the deaconess in marriage, according to Balsamon and Blastaris, after she has been purified (for he calls this sacrilege), the man has returned like the dog to his own vomit. Hence we will not allow the consecrated body of the deaconess henceforward to be used for carnal intercourse and pleasure; that is to say, we will not allow her to get married. See also Ap. c. XXV.

 

45. If anyone who has received the name of Christian offers Christ an insult, his appelation shall be of no benefit to him whatsoever.

Interpretation.

Whoever believes in Christ and is named a Christian must live in accordance with the commandments of the Christ in whom he has believed, in order that God may be glorified through him, in accordance with the passage saying: "Thus let your light shine before men," etc. (Matt. 5:16). But if anyone though named a Christian transgresses the commandments of Christ, he is insulting Christ Himself by this transgression, and he will receive no benefit whatever from the mere fact that he is named a Christian, according to James the Brother of God, for he says: "What profit has one, my brethren, if he has faith but has no works? can it be said that his faith is able to save him?" (James 2:18). And God-bearing Ignatius says the following in his commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians: "Those professing Christ are recognized not from only what they say, but also from what they do. For the fruit is known by the tree. It is better to be silent and be, than it is to speak and not to be. The kingdom of God does not consist in discourse, but in power." See also the Footnote to Ap. c. LXIV, and c. CXIX of Carthage.

 

46. A woman who unwittingly marries a man abandoned by his wife for a time and who has afterwards been left by him on account of his former wifeís returning, has committed fornication, albeit unwittingly. She shall not, therefore, be denied marriage, though it were better that she remain single.

Interpretation.

This Canon has been borrowed verbatim from c. XCIII of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

47. As for Encratites and Saccophori and Apotactites, they come under the same rule as Novatians; for concerning the latter a Canon has been promulgated, even though different, whereas nothing has been said therein as touching the former. Be that as it may, we rebaptize such persons. If it be objected that what we are doing is forbidden as regards this practice of rebaptism, precisely as in the case of present-day Romans, for the sake of economy, yet we insist that our rule prevail, since, inasmuch and precisely as it is an offshoot of the Marcionites, the heresy of those who abominate marriage, and who shun wine, and who call Godís creation tainted. We therefore do not admit them into the Church unless they get baptized with our baptism. For let them not say that they are baptized in Father and Son and Holy Spirit who assume God to be a bad creator, in a manner vying with the Marcionites and other heresies. So that if this pleases them more Bishops ought to adopt it, and thus establish as a Canon, in order that anyone following shall be in no danger, and anyone replying by citing it shall be deemed worthy of credence.

Interpretation.

This divine Father in his first Canon decreed economically, according to the Anonymous Expositor of the Canons, that the baptism of Encratites and Novatians (in spite of the fact that even there he prescribed this following the Fathers of the regions of Asia who accept it) ought to be accepted, whereas in the present Canon, in correcting apparently what was prescribed there by way of economy, he says that all Encratites and Saccophori and Apotactites (concerning whom see the Footnotes to c. XCV of the 6th), but also even the Novatians, must be rebaptized, and that, notwithstanding that among the Asians and the Romans such rebaptism has been forbidden, for the sake of economy, yet, he says, that his rule ought to have validity and remain in effect. because their heresy is an offshoot or branch of the Marcionites, who hold marriage and wine to be disgusting and call God a creator of bad things. So that, if this opinion happens to please, a Council of Bishops ought to be held in order to make this opinion, which so far is but an opinion of some, a catholic and inviolable Canon, in order that those who follow by rebaptizing such persons may do so without danger, and so that anyone offering it in reply when asked about the matter may derive credibility from the Canon.

 

48. But the woman abandoned by her husband ought, in my opinion, to stay. For if the Lord has said, that if any man leaves his wife except on grounds of fornication, he is causing her to commit adultery (Matt. 5:32), since as a result of his calling her an adulteress he has debarred her from communion with any other man. For how can a husband be considered irresponsible as the cause of adultery, while the wife, deemed an adulteress by the Lord on account of communion with another man. is so denominated?

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any woman has been left by her husband without there being any ground based upon fornication, she must not get married to any other man, in accordance with the decision made by the Lord which says that any man who divorces, or, as He says, "releasesí" his wife, save on grounds of fornication, is causing her to commit adultery. For, inasmuch as the Lord called her an adulteress, it is obvious that He forbade her to take another husband, since, if her husband is subject to reprehension for having caused her to become an adulteress by taking another husband, it is evident that she too is subject to reprehension for getting married a second time, because she is committing adultery by doing so while her first husband is still alive, in view of the fact that she was called an adulteress by the Lord, as we have said.

 

49. Let deflorations performed in fulfillment of a need entail no responsibility, so that even a slave girl if violated by her own master is free from responsibility.

(St. Gregory the Miracle-worker in his c. II.).

Interpretation.

Deflorations that have been performed forcibly and violently upon women, decrees the present Canon, are not to be accounted a sin, owing to their having been incurred involuntarily, and consequently they are not to be punished with a penance; so that even if a slave girl has been forcibly raped by her master, she is not liable to any penalty; likewise as regards all other women and girls that have been forcibly raped in any such manner. Note also c. II of St. Gregory the Miracle-worker.

 

50. There is no law as to third marriages, so that a third marriage is not subject to any law. We look upon such things as defilements of the Church, but we do not bring them to public trials, on the ground that they are preferable to lax fornication. J (c. III of Neocaesarea; cc. IV, L, LXXX of Basil.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that there is no ecclesiastical law or rule to allow a third marriage: so that no such marriage is lawful, but, on the contrary, any such marriage is unlawful, and is like a pollution of the Church. Yet, a third marriage is better than the free fornication in which many women indulge, on the ground that even though it is in reality fornication it is confined to one woman. For this reason we do not expressly condemn a third marriage, to the extent of insisting upon its being annulled and on having the parties to it separated from each other, but on the contrary, we are wont to overlook it or disregard it altogether. Note also c. III of Neocaesarea.

 

51. As regards Clerics the Canons have been promulgated indiscriminately, prescribing a single punishment for those who commit offenses of any kind, namely, expulsion from the service, whether they be possessed of any rank or are simply awaiting one in the service while unordained.

(Ap. c. XXV; cc. IV, XXI of the 6th; c. XXXV of Carthage; cc. III, XXXII, XLIV of Basil.).

Interpretation.

This Canon decrees that the Canons punish sinners by deranking them and expelling them from the service, including clerics who have been ordained, such as subdeacons, that is to say, deacons, and presbyters, as well as those who only bear the prelatical seal, such as Anagnosts (or Lectors), Psalts (or Cantors), and those below these; instead of subjecting he higher ones to a heavier penalty, and the lower ones to a lighter penalty, it places all of them on an equal footing and subjects them to one and the same penalty. See also A. c. XXV.

 

52. As touching a woman who fails to take due care of her offspring when she gives birth to a child in the street or on the road, if though able to save it she treated it contemptuously or scornfully, either thinking that she could thus cover up her sin, or entertaining an utterly brutal and inhuman view of the matter, let her be judged as if held for murder. But if she was unable to give the child proper attention and protection, and the offspring died in consequence of lack of care and of needments, the mother is pardonable.

Interpretation.

We have explained this Canon in connection with c. XXXIII of the same St. Basil, and see the Interpretation of it there. For in nothing else does it differ from that one except that that one is succincter while this one is diffuser.

 

53. A widowed slave woman may not have committed any great offense by choosing to marry a second time under pretense of ravishment, so that she ought not to be charged with anything on account of this. For it is not pretenses that are to be judged, but the actual intent. But it is plainly evident that the penalty for marrying a second time remains to her.

Interpretation.

If perchance any woman who is a widow slave, while under control of her master, should pretend that the man about to marry her snatched away and ravished her without her consent, she has not offended greatly by doing so, nor is she to be condemned as a fornicatrix or prostitute or harlot, since her pretended ravishment ought not to be considered, but her actual intention, seeing that she in reality wanted the marriage and gave herself willingly to the one said to have ravished her against her will. Hence such a woman is to be canonized only with the penalty and penance provided for marrying a second time, that is to say, more plainly speaking, a year or two, provided, however, that her master has consented to her marriage; for without his consent what occurred is to be considered fornication. See also c. XXXVIII of the same St. Basil, and the Footnote toe. XXVII of the 4th.

 

54. As respecting differences in cases of involuntary manslaughter I know that years ago I sent your godliness an epistle, explaining the matter as far as we found it possible to do, and I can say nothing more than what was asserted therein. It is permissible to your good sense of judgment to increase the penalties or to relax them in accordance with the peculiarity of attending circumstances.

Interpretation.

Having spoken about the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in his c. VIII, and having nothing more to say about it than what he said therein, divine Basil allows the spiritual father fixing the penance for those guilty of involuntary manslaughter either to increase the penalty or to reduce it in accordance with the peculiarity of the circumstances, or, at any rate, in accordance with the manner and cause of the homicide, and in accordance with the disposition and inclination to repent manifested by the offender. Read also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

55. As for those who resist robbers, if they themselves are outside of the Church, they are to be excluded from communion with the good boon; but if they are Clerics, they are to be deprived of their rank. For every man, it says, who takes to the sword shall die by the sword (Matt. 26:52).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that men who kill the robbers attacking them shall be doomed to abstain from the Mysteries for three years if they happen to be laymen themselves, on the ground that they cannot be regarded as having clean hands, that is to say, in accordance with the rule obtaining in the case of those who kill men in the course of war, according to the assertions of Balsamon and Zonaras. But those who are in holy orders and clerics are to be deposed, since, according to the Lordís assertion all who take up the sword shall be put to the sword and die by it. But note that the Saint uses the words sword and death to denote deprivation from communion and deposition, since these consequences, to the mind of prudent and knowledgeable men, are considered to be a truly death-dealing punishment. See also Ap. c. LXVI; see also the Footnote to c. XIII of the same St. Basil.

 

56. A man who has voluntarily slain anyone, and has thereafter regretted the deed and has repented of it, shall be excluded from communion with the Fountain of Sanctity for twenty years. The twenty years shall be allotted to him in the following manner, to wit: For four years he must weep outside of the portal, standing upright beside the oratory, and begging the faithful that enter to make a special prayer for him, while he confesses over and over again the same transgression. After four years he is to be stationed among the audients (or listeners), and for five years he shall be permitted to go out together with them. For seven years he shall be permitted to go out together with the kneelers praying with them. Four years more shall he spend together with the faithful, but shall not be permitted to participate in the offering. When these years have been duly fulfilled, he shall partake of the Holy Elements.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes anyone that voluntarily and wilfully killed a human being twenty years, if he has repented of the deed afterwards. It prescribes that during the first four years he shall continue weeping; during the next five years he shall keep listening, and during five years he shall leave church in the company of the listeners; for seven years he shall spend the time kneeling; for eight years he shall stand together with the faithful; and after all these years he may commence participating in the communion. See also Ap. c. LXVI, and c. XI of tne 1st, and the ichnography of a Christian temple at the end of this volume.

 

57. A man who has killed anyone involuntarily shall remain excluded from the Holy Elements for ten years. The ten years shall be allotted to him in the following manner, to wit: For two years he shall keep weeping; for three years he shall spend his time listening, for four years, kneeling; and for one year only he shall mark time as a co-stander; and henceforth he shall be admitted to the Holies.

Interpretation.

But as regards one who has killed a human being without wishing to do so, the present Canon forbids him the divine Mysteries for ten years. Accordingly, it decrees that he shall weep for two years, listen for three years; kneel for four years; and stand with the faithful and let them comfort him for one year more; and then he may begin partaking of communion. See Ap. c. LXVI, c. XI of the 1st, and the plan of a Christian temple.

 

58. The sentence for a man guilty of having committed adultery is that he shall be excluded from the Holy Elements for fifteen years. These fifteen years shall be allotted to him in the following manner, to wit: For four years he shall keep weeping; for five years, listening; for four years, kneeling; for two years, co-standing without Communion.

(c. XX of Ancyra; c. IV of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes an adulterer to abstain from communion for fifteen years. He is to spend the first four years in weeping, the next five years in listening, four years in kneeling, and two years standing together with the faithful, and then shall be allowed to commune. See also c. XX of Ancyra.

 

59. A fornicator shall remain excluded from the Holy Elements for seven years: two weeping, and two joining the listeners, and two kneeling, and for one year only confined to co-standing; and in the eighth year he shall be admitted to Communion.

(c. XXIX of Basil; c. IV of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes a fornicator to abstain, from the Mysteries for seven years. During the first two of these he is to keep weeping; during the next two he is to listen in company with the listeners (or audients); for two years he is to keep kneeling; for one year he is to stand together with the faithful; and in the eighth year he is to be accorded the right to partake of communion. This Canon is St. Basilís own decree and the penalty it provides is his, which accounts for the latter being more severe. And see his c. XXII, and the Footnote thereto.

 

60. As for any girl or woman who has vowed to remain a virgin, but has lapsed from her vow, she shall do the time fixed for the sin of adultery with the economy allotted to her to live by herself. The same penalty shall be meted out to persons who have vowed themselves to monastic life, but have lapsed therefrom. (c. XVI of the 4th; c. XIX of Ancyra.).

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes nuns and monks that fornicate or marry with a sentence of fifteen years, or, in other words, it subjects them to the penalty for adultery. See also c. VI of the 4th, and c. XIX of Ancyra.

 

61. Anyone who has stolen anything, provided he has repented of his own accord and has accused himself of the theft, shall be excluded from the communion of the Holy Elements for one year only. But if he was detected, two years. The time shall be proportioned to him between kneeling and co-standing and thereupon he shall be deemed to deserve to participate in Communion.

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids communion to a thief who has confessed of his own accord and on his own initiative and who has repented, for one year only; but as touching anyone who has been exposed by others or has been caught in the act of stealing, it canonizes him to kneel for a year, Nand then for another year to stand along with the faithful, and thereafter he is to commune. See also c. III of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea.

 

62. As for any man who uncovers his nakedness in the midst of males, he shall be allotted the time fixed for those transgressing in the act of adultery.

(c. VII of Basil; c. IV of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes anyone guilty of sodomy, i.e., sexual intercourse between males, like an adulterer, or, more expressly speaking, fifteen years. See also c. VII of the same St. Basil.

 

63. As for anyone who evinces his impiety by associating with irrational beasts, he shall stand delinquent for the same length of time.

(cc. XVI, XVII of Ancyra; c. VII of Basil; c. IV of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes likewise fifteen years anyone guilty of the crime of bestiality.

 

64. As for a perjurer, he shall be excluded from communion for ten years: two years weeping; three listening, four kneeling; one year only co-standing; and shall then be deemed worthy to partake of Communion.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes a perjurer by prohibiting him to have the benefit of the Mysteries for ten years; and it decrees that he shall spend two years in weeping, three in listening, four in kneeling, one in standing together with the faithful, and then shall be allowed the right to communion. But this perjurer must be understood to have perjured himself needlessly. See c. XCIV of the 6th.

65. As for anyone practicing incantation or sorcery, he shall be allotted the time of a murderer, it being proportioned to him in such a manner as though he had convicted himself of each sin for a year.

Interpretation.

The present Canon punishes an incantator and a sorcerer in a manner similar to one who has committed involuntary manslaughter. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

66. A grave-robber shall remain excluded from Communion for ten years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon excludes from communion for ten years anyone that opens a grave in order to steal the jewelry from the buried corpse. But St. Gregory of Nyssa in his c. VII divides grave-robbing into two classes or kinds, namely, pardonable and unpardonable. Pardonable grave-robbing he says is when anyone, without disturbing the dead person, taking the stones that may happen to be found in the grave in order to employ them in building a work of greater benefit to the community; he calls it unpardonable grave-robbing, on the other hand, when anyone opens graves in order to get clothes or any jewelry or other valuables from the dead persons buried there, which offense is punished like fornication, or, more definitely speaking, with a sentence of nine years. But the Faster canonizes grave-robbers one year with xerophagy and penitence in his c. XXIX.

 

67. Sexual intercourse between brother and sister shall be expiated by the sentence of a murderer.

(c. LXXV of Basil.).

Interpretation.

In this Canon the Saint canonizes any man that has sexual intercourse with his sister where both parties are children of the same parents, i.e., if she is his sister-german, or full-blooded sister by both father and mother, like an involuntary manslaughterer, or, more expressly, with a sentence of twenty years, according to the Anonymous Expositor of the Canons.

Concord.

In his c. LXXV he canonizes eleven years any man who has sexual intercourse with his step-sister, or half-sister, that is, a sister by the father alone or by the mother alone, asserting that until he abstains from such illicit practice he is not to be permitted to enter the Church; but after abstaining from it, he is to spend three years weeping, three years listening, three years kneeling, and two years standing together with the faithful but without participating in communion, and then is to be deemed worthy of the communion. The Faster, in his c. XIV, canonizes three years with xerophagy and penances, or penitences, any man who has mingled carnally with his own sister.

 

68. The conjugation in matrimony of human beings within the prohibited degrees, if it be detected, shall be punished with the sentences of adulterers, on the ground that it falls in the same class of sinful acts affecting human beings.

Interpretation.

Generally speaking this Canon punishes every marriage that is made with a relative and is prohibited by law, with the sentence inflicted upon adulterers, such marriage, that is to say, being first dissolved, and then punished. But it appears that St. Basil here punishes illicit marriages with the lighter sentence attached to adultery by the Fathers before him, or, more expressly, only seven years (concerning which see c. XX of Ancyra, and c. XXII of the same St. Basil), and not with his own heavier sentence, that of fifteen years, that is to say, since in proceeding to his c. LXXVIII he canonizes a man seven years if he takes two sisters.

 

69. As for an Anagnost (or Lector), if he has had anything to do with his betrothed before the wedding, after being suspended from duty for one year he shall be permitted to read, though he shall forfeit his right to be advanced to any higher status; but if he has stolen his wife without first betrothing her, i.e., by marrying her clandestinely, he shall be dismissed from the ecclesiastical service. The same treatment shall be given to any other servant of the Church.

Interpretation.

If any Anagnost (commonly called a lector in English) indulges in sexual intercourse with his fiancee before the complete ceremony of the marriage has been carried out in church, even though it was true that she wanted this done (for the word "this" here denotes the same thing as coition), he is to be canonized one year, according to this Canon, by being suspended from duty; afterwards he is to be allowed to read in church, but cannot be promoted to any higher rank, or, in other words, he cannot become a deacon nor a presbyter, because he showed pusiIIanimity and did not have the fortitude to wait until the marriage had been duly celebrated in church. But if he has carnal knowledge of a woman who was not betrothed to him, who was not his avowed fiancee, he shall be dismissed from service, even though he may have given her a promise before the coition to take her as his lawful wife, and even though after the coition he took her as his lawful wife (for this is what is meant by the expression "clandestine marriage"). This same penalty is incurred by any other servant of the Church that does this thing (concerning which see the Footnote to c. XV of the 6th), whether he be a psalt or a doorkeeper. See also Ap. c. XXVI.

 

70. If any Deacon has had his lips tainted, and has confessed to have sinned to this extent, he shall be suspended from the liturgy. But he shall be allowed to partake of the Holy Elements along with the rest of the Deacons. The same rule shall be applicable to Presbyters. But if he be caught doing anything in excess of this, that is, any greater sin, no matter what may be his rank, he shall be deposed from office.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perchance any deacon becomes tainted in respect of his lips, or, at any rate, allows himself to be so far carried away by passion as even merely to kiss any woman amorously (for this is an attaintment and defilement of the soul; because if mere consent to any sinful act pollutes and taints the soul, much more does a passionate kiss) ó if, I say, any Deacon should do this and confess, that is to say, that he sinned only to this extent, or rather to say, to this particular stage, he is to be suspended for a time from the diaconate; but as long as he remains suspended he is to be allowed to participate in communion together with the rest of the deacons, who have not incurred any reprehension, within the Bema. This same penalty is also incurred by any priest that sins in a similar manner only to the point of snatching a passionate kiss. But if he should go so far as to sin more than by snatching a passionate kiss, whether he be a priest or a deacon, as, for instance, by engaging in an indecent tussle or manipulation of the body or even downright coition, and he confesses it, both the one and the other are to be deposed from office.

 

71. As for one who has been aware of their having committed any of the aforesaid sins, and has failed to confess it, but they have been detected or exposed, and convicted of it, he shall do the same time that is done by the perpetrator of the evils, and he himself shall be subject to the same penalty.

(c. XXV of Ancyra.).

Interpretation.

After speaking of the sins committed by presbyters, deacons, and the rest of ecclesiastics, now in this Canon he says that whoever knows that any of these persons have been sinning, and has failed to confess the fact secretly to the prelate so that the latter may correct them, or if he himself was able to prevent them from committing it by a secret reminder or whispered suggestion, but he covers up the fact and keeps silent, if, I say, it be established thereafter that he knew about it but kept silent and covered up the facts, he too is to be canonized equally with them and to abstain from communion as long a time as the one was canonized who actually committed the sin he knew about. See also c. XXV of Ancyra, and the Footnote to c. III of St. Gregory the Miracle-worker.

 

72. Anyone who places himself in the hands of fortune-tellers or any other such persons professing to foresee future events or to discover the whereabouts of lost property, of persons in hiding, etc., he shall be sentenced to the same penalty as is prescribed for murderers and shall do the same length of time and the same penances.

(c. LXI of the 6th.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes like voluntary man slaughterers, or, more expressly, twenty years, according to the Anonymous Expositor, those who abandon themselves to the advice of fortune-tellers or other such persons professing to incantators, spellbinders, etc. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

73. Whoever has denied Christ and has violated the Mystery of salvation ought to weep throughout the rest of his life, and he owes the obligation as a debt to acknowledge and confess the fact at the time when he is about to pass out of this life, when he shall be deemed to deserve the right to partake of the Holy Elements, by faith in the kindness bestowed upon human beings by God.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes indefinitely any and every Christian who denies (willfully, that is to say) Christ to exclusion from the Church for the rest of his life, though allowing him to weep outside of the portal of the church, and only at the end of his life to partake of the divine Mysteries. See also c. XI of the 1st.

 

74. If, however, any man guilty of any of the sins mentioned in the foregoing should become honest enough to confess them, he that is empowered by the kindness of God to loose and to bind may, if he see fit to exercise greater kindness, mitigate any excessive penalty imposed upon the one confessing his sin if he sees it to be excessive, by shortening the sentences, and in doing so he does not become worthy of condemnation, seeing that the history contained in the Holy Scriptures acquaints us with the fact that those who confess their sins with the greater painfulness soon have Godís kindness bestowed upon them.

Interpretation.

After enumerating the various sentences pertaining to various sins, the Saint lastly in this Canon puts everything up to the prelate and spiritual father, who has authority to bind and to loose, and says that if they see the sinners repenting with fervor and willingness, they incur no censure if they shorten the sentences meted out to them originally, since the divine Bible teaches that Godís mercy quickly reaches those who repent with greater painfulness of the heart, a fact which was proved in regard to Ezekiel and Manasses. See also c. XII of the 1st.

 

75. Let not anyone who has been attainted with his step-sister, whether on his fatherís side or on his motherís side, be permitted to be present in any house of prayer, until he desists from the unlawful and illicit practice. But after coming to realize the fearful sinfulness of it, let him weep for three years at the door of the oratories while standing by them on the outside, and entreating the people entering for prayer, so that any of them sympathizing with him may beseech the Lord in his behalf with ectenes. Thereafter let him spend three more years in listening only and hearing the Scripture and the teaching of the doctrine, but excluded from and not allowed the privilege of praying. Afterwards, if indeed it is true that he insisted upon it with tears and prostrated himself to the Lord with contrition of heart and profound humility, let him be accorded the right to spend three more years in kneeling, and then, if he exhibits fruits worthy of repentance, in the tenth year let him be admitted to prayer with the faithful, but without the privilege of the offering, and after co-standing at prayer for two years along with the faithful, then and thenceforth let him be deemed to be deserving of the boon of Communion.

Interpretation.

We have interpreted this Canon in connection with c. LXVII of the same St. Basil, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

76. The same formula applies also in regard to those who take their own nymphs (i.e., sister-in-laws).

Interpretation.

In a manner similar to the treatment accorded to a man having sexual intercourse with his step-sister, the present Canon canonizes anyone who takes his sister-in-law or daughter-in-law (both of whom are called nymphs in Greek) to wife, or, more definitely speaking, eleven years, and with the same apportionment of time, the illicit marriage, that-is to say, having been previously dissolved. But the Faster in his c. XV canonizes such a person two years with xerophagy and penances.

 

77. A man, however, who abandons his legally wedded wife, and marries another woman, according to the Lordís decision, is liable to the judgment of adultery. But it has been ruled and regulated by our Fathers that such persons are to weep for a year, listen on the side for two years, kneel for three years, in the seventh year co-stand together with the faithful, and then be deemed worthy to participate in the offering, provided they repent with remorseful tears. (Matt. 5:32; 19:7; Mark 10:11; and Luke 16:18).

Interpretation.

This Canon has been borrowed verbatim from c. LXXXVII of the 6th, and see the Interpretation of it there.

 

78. Let the same formula hold also with regard to men taking two sisters to wife, even though it be at different times.

(c. II of Neocaesarea.).

Interpretation.

In like fashion with the case of one who abandons his wife and marries another woman, the present Canon canonizes anyone who, after his wife dies, takes her sister, which is the same as saying, one who marries two sisters, fixing his sentence, that is to say, at seven years, which is the sentence imposed for adultery and prescribed by the Fathers.

 

79. Those who later attend upon their mother-in-law are subject to the same Canon as those who attend upon their own sisters.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes those who have sexual intercourse with their mother-in-laws with the same canon (i.e., the same canonical penalty) as those who have sexual intercourse with their own sisters: that is to say, if they be of the one and the same father and mother, twenty years, in accordance with Canon LXVII, but if it be with sisters by two different fathers or by two different mothers, eleven years, in accordance with c. LXXV of the same St. Basil.

 

80. The Fathers passed over the question of polygamy in silence, as something bestial and utterly foreign to the human race. But to us it presents itself as a worse sin than fornication. Wherefore it is reasonable to make such persons amenable to the Canons, and this means one year weeping and three years kneeling, then becoming admissible.

Interpretation.

By polygamy it appears that the Canon means here a third marriage; for that is how the Fathers used to call a third marriage, according to c. IV of the same St. Basil. So what the Canon says is that the previous Fathers had kept silent as regards the question of a third marriage, having failed to decree any law of rule regarding it, or any sentence or penalty (for there is no law covering a third marriage, nor can a third marriage be celebrated by virtue of any law, according to c. L of the same St. Basil), since this marriage is natural to cattle and other beasts, but alien to the human race. In our opinion, on the other hand, it appears to be a worse sin than fornication, says St. Basil. Hence it is fitting that those who have entered into a third marriage should spend one year in weeping and three years in kneeling and then be allowed to partake of communion.1 See also c. III of Neocaesarea.

 

81. Since many persons during the incursion of the barbarians transgressed the faith in God, by taking heathen oaths, and tasting of certain things offered to idols purporting to be magical and then offered to them, these persons have already been dealt with economically on the basis of laws and Canons formulated by the Fathers. For as regards those who patiently endured the hardships resulting from necessitous tortures and, being unable to bear the pain, were impelled to denial, let them stand inadmissible for three years, and continue listening for two years, and after kneeling for three years let them become admissible to communion. But as regards those who without there being any great necessity betrayed the faith in God, and after touching the tables of the demons and swearing Grecian oaths, let them be expelled for three years, and continue listening for two years, and after praying for three years on their knees, and co-standing for another three years together with the faithful at prayer, then let them be admitted to the boon of Communion.

(c. XIV of the 1st; c. XCIV of the 6th; cc. IV, VI, V of Ancyra; c. III of Peter; c. LXXIII of Basil; c. III of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that all persons who were caught in the incursion of the barbarians and denied the faith in the true God, took Grecian oaths, swore, that is to say, by the gods the Grecians recognized, with the same disposition as that which the Grecians were wont to display, and ate foods that had been offered, to the idols with magical arts and rites, they are to be treated economically in accordance with the Canons of the Fathers (perhaps those of Ancyra). And all those persons who were severely tortured, and, being unable to bear the pain, denied, let them not be admitted for three years, and let them kneel for three years, stand for three years along with the faithful, and then partake of communion. And see also c. XIV of the 1st. and cc. IV and V of Ancvra.

 

82. As regards those who have committed perjury, if they broke their oaths as a result of force and coercion, they are liable to milder sentences, so that after six years in any case they are to be admissible. But as for those who betrayed their own faith without any necessity, after weeping two years, and listening two years, and in the fifth year praying on their knees, and remaining for two more years without the offering, but admitted to communion of prayer, and then after they have exhibited repentance worthy of the name, let them be restored to the communion of the body of Christ.

Interpretation.

Since in his c. LXIV this Saint canonized the perjurer vaguely ten years, now in this Canon he makes a distinction between perjurers, and canonizes six years those who committed perjury as a result of necessity and violence, but canonizes eleven years those who betrayed their faith without any necessity, or, more explicitly speaking, who committed perjury (since every oath is taken in the name of God, and consequently everyone that transgresses is transgressing his faith in God): Two years are allotted for them to weep, two to listen, five to spend in kneeling, two in co-standing, and then they are allowed to commune. See also c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

83. Those resorting to divination and continuing the usages of the heathen nations, or admitting certain persons into their homes with the view of discovering sorceries and purification, let them fall under the Canon of six years, one year weeping, and one year listening, and for three years co-standing among the faithful, then they shall be accepted.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is borrowed verbatim from c. XXIV of Ancyra, and see the Interpretation of it there. The only respect in which it differs from that one is tliat that one apportions the five years economically and in a different manner, while this Canon consulters of divination to six years, one year for them to weep, one to listen, three to kneel, one to stand together with the faithful, and they are to partake of communion. Notice that the Saint canonized diviners and sorcerers (including seers and fortune-tellers) as murderers in his c. VII with his own penalty, that is to say; but here he canonized them lightly, on the basis of the penalty set by the Fathers preceding him in time. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

84. We are writing all these things so that the fruits of repentance may be tested. For we do not judge these matters in every case with reference to time, but are wont to pay more attention to the manner of repentance. If they show themselves disinclined to give up their own customs, desiring rather to be slaves to pleasures of the flesh, than to the Lord, and they refuse to accept life lived in accordance with the Gospel, we have no common ground of discourse with them. For we have been taught to hearken, when in the midst of disobedient and gainsaying people, to the injunction that says "If you can save anything, save your own soull" (Gen. 19:17).

Interpretation.

After the Saint had decreed various sentences for various penalties, he adds in the present Canon that the fruits of repentance ought to be tested, since we do not consider the penalties to consist in so many or so many years, but pay more attention to the disposition of the penitents.1 So that, for instance, if they willingly and gladly repent, the number of years is to be reduced; but if negligently, it is to be increased. If, on the other hand, they continue sinning and refuse to abstain from their sins and pleasures, nor are willing to live in accordance with the Gospel like Christians, but, instead, are contumacious and gainsay, then we, who are prelates and spiritual fathers acting as managers of their souls, ought not to join in their sins, but ought to let them alone. For we are told by divine Scripture: "If you can save anything, save your own soul!" the meaning of which is, "See that you do not torment your own soul in accosting incorrigible sinners."

 

85. Let us not, therefore, deign to perish along with such persons, but, filled with fear of the heavy judgment, and keeping before our eyes the fearful day of the Lordís retribution, let us not willingly choose to perish for the sins of others, and along with them, For if the terrible sufferings of the Lord had not chastened us, nor had such great and grievous blows knocked some sense into us and brought us to realization of the fact that it was on account of our iniquity that the Lord abandoned us, and delivered us into the hands of the barbarians, and the people were led away as captives of their foes, and were delivered to dispersion, because those who bore the name of Christ round the world dared to do these outlandish things, if they neither became aware nor even understood that it was on account of these things that the wrath of God overtook us, what common ground is left us to have words with them** Nevertheless, we ought to protest to them night and day and publicly and privately; but we ought to guard against being carried away by their cunning arguments and crafty tricks, while we pray indeed to win them, and to have them rescued from the snare of the Evil One: but if we are unable to accomplish this, let us make serious endeavors at least to save our own souls from everlasting damnation.

Interpretation.

This Canon is intended to admonish prelates and spiritual fathers, by begging and saying to them: So we managers of souls ought to fear the Lordís judgment and retribution. Let us not suffer chastisement ourselves with the outlandish sins of such unrepentant and incorrigible sinners, by dealing with them too compromisingly. For if the Christians who dared to commit such sins were abandoned by God because of those sins, and were enslaved by the barbarians, and failed to come to their senses, nor took heed to realize that it was on account of their iniquities that such a great blow and such wrath of God fell upon them; if, I say, so many woes did not suffice to correct them, what communion can we have with such a stiff-necked people? None, of course. Hence it is our bounden duty to teach them and to criticize them every day in the year both publicly and privately, and to beg God to rescue them from the Devilís snare. But if we cannot compass their liberation, we ought not to wreck ourselves with their cunning tricks, but, instead, we ought rather to make serious efforts to escape everlasting hell.

 

86. To the elegant Encratites in respect to their formidable question asking why we do not eat everything, let the answer to be given be that we abominate also our excrements. For in respect of valuableness, vegetables are meat to us (Gen. 9:3), but in respect of discretion as touching our mercenary interests, as also in the case of vegetables, we separate what is injurious or harmful from what is suitable and fit: seeing that even hemlock is a, vegetable, precisely as a vulture too is meat, ó yet no one that has any sense would eat hyoscyamus, nor would he touch dog meat unless it were a matter of life and death, so that to eat it would be no iniquity.

Interpretation.

We have interpreted this Canon almost verbatim in our Interpretation of Ap. c. LI, and see the Interpretation of it there. As to Encratites, or Continents, see the Footnotes to c. XCV of the 6th.

 

Preamble.

We have received letters bearing the signature of Diodorus, but the following are more in the style of someone else than Diodorus. For it seems to me that someone among the artisans has impersonated you, that he might thus render himself credible to the listeners, in that, after being asked by some of them whether it were licitly permissible for him to take in marriage the sister of his deceased wife, he did not shudder in horror at the question, but meekly brooked the sound he heard in his ears, and the lecherous desire, and quite gallantly and valiantly condescended to allow the practicableness of the suggestion. For if I had had the letter handy, I would have sent it to you, and you wrould have had enough to defend yourself and the truth. But inasmuch as the man who showed it to me snatched it back again, and precisely like a trophy against us who had barred the original document he carried round saying that he had the authority. Now I have written you a letter, so that you will be reminded of that spurious letter on both hands, and leave it no strength to injure anyone easily who may chance to encounter it.

Interpretation.

It appears from this preamble and from c. XXIII of the Saint that divine Basil in a letter had prohibited one and the same man from taking the sister of his deceased wife, which is the same as saying, from taking two sisters. But this Diodorus,4 when asked by someone whether it is permissible to take them, replied in writing that it was permissible. Hence when the asker of the question received the reply containing this written permission, he went and showed it to St. Basil the Great. For this reason the Saint, in the desire to put Diodorus to shame in the eyes of another person, as Zonaras says, wrote to him that that written permission was not really from Diodorus, but had been forged by someone else who, in order to make it appear credible to his audience signed the name of Diodorus to it (perhaps, too, it may have really been from somebody else, and not that the Saint so pretended in order to rebuke him in an oblique manner). Hence in adding up accounts in connection with that first letter he was compelled to write also this one, in order to overthrow that unlawful marriage with double power in such a manner as to overwhelm all opposition.

 

87. First, then, let it be said (which is also the most important thing to note) that the custom amongst us which we have to propose in regard to such cases, having as it does the force of a law, on account of the fact that the institutions were handed down to us by saintly men. This may be described as follows. If anyone suffering from filth and overcome by it should ever fall into the unlawful state of having married two sisters, this is not to be deemed either a marriage nor may he be admitted to the congregation and membership of the Church until they have first separated from each other. So that, though there was nothing further to say, the custom sufficed to guard against the evil. But inasmuch as the writer of the letter by employing a false and yet specious argument attempted to entail1 such a great disorder and woe in life, it is necessary that not even we should refrain from deriving assistance from the words, notwithstanding that in regard to facts that are extremely perspicuous the prejudice obtaining among every community is more powerful than words. It has been written, it says, in Leviticus: "Neither shall thou take her sister to wife, to make her jealous, to uncover her nakedness in her presence, while she is still alive" (Lev. 18:18). It is plainly evident from this, it says, that it is permissible to take a sister when her sister has died. As to this first thing I shall ask permission to say is that whatever the Law says is said in the Law, since thus also at least we should be subject to the Lawís requirements as to circumcision and the sabbath and abstinence from certain foods (Rom. 3:19). For indeed we shall not lay upon ourselves a yoke of slavery to the Law if we find anything to help us to enjoy ourselves in sensuality: if anything included in the requirements of the Law appears to be too severe, too burdensome, why then we shall have recourse to the freedom granted by Christ (Gal. 5:1). We have been asked whether it is written to take to wife a sister of a sister. We have answered, what we are sure of and what is true, that it is not written. But to infer a consequence by taking liberties with what has been left unsaid is the part of a legislator, not of one merely reciting the law. Since it is thus possible for anyone that wants to do so to find an excuse for taking to wife a sister while the wife is still alive. For this very same fallacy will apply to that man too. For it is written, it says: "Thou shalt not take Ö to make her jealous" (Lev., l.c.), as much as to say that taking her without arousing jealousy is permissible. But anyone that advocates passion will consider the character of the sister to be devoid of jealousy. With the cause once removed, on account of which the cohabitation with both of them was forbidden, what is there to prevent taking the sister? But we shall insist that these things are not written, neither has that point been settled; the meaning, on the other hand, of the sequence admits of points alike. By merely referring back a little way from this passage to subsequent legislation would have sufficed to disentangle the matter. For it is but natural that the Legislator could not include every kind of sin, but was especially concerned to forbid those of the Egyptians, whence He brought Israel away, and those of the Canaanites, to whom he took them. For the passage I refer to runs thus: "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, ye shall not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I am taking you, ye shall not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances" (Lev. 18:3). So that it is naturally evident that the kind of sin prohibited was that of incurring the danger in those days of adopting the political systems in vogue amongst the heathen nations, in which event they would not even have any need of a legislator, but might rest content with the untutored custom of resorting to calumny inspired by hatred, How, then, after forbidding the greater evil, could He have remained silent in regard to the lesser? Since it seemed right to many of the flesh-lovers in those times to cohabit with sisters while these were each of them alive in spite of the example of the Patriarch. But what ought we to do? To do what is written, or to conform with that is nothing but guesswork based on silenced It is immediately evident that father and son ought not to use the same prostitute, yet no such thing is written in the laws. In the Prophet, however, it is considered to deserve the utmost censure. For, he says, "and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid" (Amos. 2:7). But how many other forms of impure passions the school of demons invented, but Holy Writ does not even refer to, being averse to sullying its fair character by naming shameful things, but merely alluding to them in general terms, as St. Paul the Apostle says: "But fornication, and all other filth, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints" (Eph. 5:3), comprehending under the noun "filth" the unspeakable doings of sodomy and those of females too, so that silence does not by any means afford a license to lovers of pleasures. As for me, however, I say that the Legislator did not even remain silent1 concerning these matters either, but in fact very vehemently prohibited such things. For the passage saying: "None of you shall approach to anyone that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness" (Lev. 18:6), comprehends also this kind of familiarity. For what could be more nearly related, or near of kin, to man than his own wife, or rather to say his own flesh "For they are no longer twain, but one flesh" (Matt. 19:6), so that through the wife her sister attains to a state of close familiarity with the husband. For just as he must not take the mother of his wife, so must he not take her daughter either, because he is not allowed to take either his own mother or his own daughter to wife. Thus he is not allowed even to take a sister of his wife, because neither is he even allowed to take his own sister to wife, and vice versa, neither is a woman permitted to cohabit with relatives of her husband, for the rights of both and to both are held in common, by both side of the relationship. To anyone wanting the marriage I will protest that "the fashion of this world is passing away" (I Cor. 7:29, 31), and that "the time is short, leaving even those who have wives as though they had none" (I Cor. 7:29, 31). If, on the other hand, he misunderstands the passage saying "increase and multiply" (Gen. 1:28), will laugh at one who is unable to distinguish times from legislations. The second marriage is meant to relieve people from the necessity of fornication, not to serve as a passport to lechery. "If they cannot restrain their passion, let them marry" (I Cor. 7:9), he says, but not, Ďlet them break the law when they are married.í Those, on the other handy who disregard nature entirely, and devour the soul with a passion for dishonoring women, again are compelled to distinguish the two sexes. To which of the two sexes shall they ascribe the offspring? Shall they say that they are brothers and sisters of each other, or that they are cousins? Make not, O man, the aunt a mother-in-law of the infants, whose duty it is not even to nurse it in the capacity of a mother, you will only be imbuing the latter implacably jealous. It is only hatred of mother-in-laws that arouses animosity even after death. Rather might one say, in fact, that those who are foes in other respects join hands in pouring peaceful libations to the dead, whereas mother-in-laws excite hatred after death. To sum up. If anyone rushes into marriage by law, the whole inhabited earth is opened to him; but if his zeal is the result of passion, it will only serve the more to exclude him, "that everyone should know enough to keep his vessel in sanctitude and honor, not in the lust of concupiscence" (I Thess. 4:4-5). Though I would fain say more, there is a limit to the length of a letter. I prayerfully wish, and hope, however, either that our admonition may prove stronger than the forces of passion, or that this frightful desecration may not visit our country, but remain confined to the lands in which there was hardihood to perpetrate it.

Interpretation.

After the Saint had prefixed the foregoing preamble, he now sets out to refute that ghostly forged written permission for one and the same man to take two sisters to wife. Accordingly, he says that the first proof that such a marriage is not allowed is the custom which has prevailed in the Church and which has the force of a law, on the ground that it was handed down by saintly men, and which decrees as follows: That, if anyone takes to wife two sisters, such a thing is not even to be regarded as a marriage, nor are they to be allowed to enter the church until they have separated. So that, if we have no other basis for reckoning up accounts in the way of forbidding such a marriage, the custom alone of the Church is enough and sufficient to forbid it. But inasmuch as the man who displayed the false letter from Diodorus cited testimony from the Book of Leviticus in confirmation of the validity of this unlawful marriage, which says, when paraphrased: ĎIf you donít want to make your wife jealous, donít take to wife her sister while she is still alive,í and from this passage he infers that if the Law forbids anyone to take a sister of his wife as long as she is still living, then it is permissible to take her after his wife is dead. To that rotten argument, I say, our reply is: First of all, that everything that the old Law says, it says it to the Jews who are in the Law, and not to us Christians. If anyone objects that it is said also for us, why then consistency would require us to accept the painful provisions of the Law, such as keeping the Sabbath and practicing circumcision, and shunning the foods prohibited by the Law, just as we gladly accept and conform to the ordinances of the Law which tend to foster sensual pleasures, and not, on the contrary, to accept whatever is pleasurable and light, as though we were under the Law, but to refuse to accept whatever provisions in it are painful and burdensom, saying in opposition thereto that we are basking in the freedom which Christ has allowed us. We have been asked whether it is written that a man hiay take to wife a sister of his wife, and we have said that it is not, which is true and sure. But for one to infer, on the other hand, from the sequence of the words something that Scripture has apparently passed over in silence, that is not the part of one who wishes to assert what the Law says, but of one who wants to lay down the law himself. For, if he infers that the law prohibited anyone from taking to wife a sister of his wife, not after the latter is dead, but while she is still alive, that since the Law forbade taking a sister who might arouse jealousy in the other, it follows that if she is not jealous he may take her sister even when she is alive, which is the same as saying that a man may take two sisters at the same time. But if anyone says that this is not written, we reply that neither is that written, but just as the one idea is inferred from the sequence of the words, so and in like manner is the other inferred too. But why did not Moses punctuate the sentence so as to forbid a man from taking a sister of his wife after the latter is dead? By way of solving this perplexity, the Saint says that Moses had no intention to include in the foregoing chapter of Leviticus every kind of relation in regard to marriage, insomuch as to justify the expectation that he would include that too, but, on the contrary, he prohibited only those relations which the Egyptians took, from whom the Jews had fled, and whatever the Canaanites were wont to take, to whom they were going. And whence is that plainly evident? From those things which the same chapter mentions back in the commencement of it, by saying, in paraphrase: ĎDo not do as the Egyptians do, among whom you were sojourning, nor do as the Canaanites do, to whose land I am going to take you.í Hence it is likely that this form of marriage was not in vogue among the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and for this reason Moses did not refer to it, but contented himself with custom which censures such a thing. But why did he explicitly forbid a man to take in addition to his wife the latterís sister? He saw many flesh-lovers doing this because they saw that the Patriarch Jacob had two living sisters at the same time, Leah and Rachel. Nevertheless, we ought to assert what is written in the Law, and not what we assume to have been omitted in silence. For, as a matter of fact, the Law omitted to state that father and son ought not to use the same slave girl as a whore, whereas the prophet Amos vehemently censures this, by saying, in paraphrase, Ďa father and his son were going into the same slave girl and fornicating with her. And the demons taught men a lot of other kinds of filthiness, but the divine Scripture did not care to pollute its fair face by naming them individually; instead it passed over them in silence, lumping them together in general terms, as St. Paul says, in paraphrase: ĎAs for fornication and every other kind of filth, let it not be mentioned among you, as befits saints,í where by the word "filth" is meant to be included every kind of lewdness rife among men and women. So that there is no permission given to lovers of human flesh to contract such an unlawful marriage tie, simply because the divine Scripture kept silent about it. As for us, however, when we come to examine the matter, we find that the Law did not keep silent about this, but in fact actually prohibited it. For that which it says, namely, in paraphrase, ĎYou shall not go into any relative of yours to uncover his nakedness,í includes every unlawful marriage tie with relatives and intimates, or members of the same family. By consequence, on the other hand, it also includes this. For if a husband and his wife are one flesh, and there is no one else more intimately related to a man than his wife, save his own flesh, that is to say, then, even the sister of his wife through her becomes also a relative of the husband and an intimate of his, that is to say, a sister of his. Accordingly, just as a man cannot take his wifeís mother, nor a daughter of his wife by another man, since he neither can take his own mother nor his own daughter owing to the intimacy (for he stands in a relationship of the first degree both to the one and to the other) so and in like manner neither can he take his wifeís sister, since neither can he take his own sister (for he stands in a relationship of the second degree both to the one and to the other); and, conversely, neither can a woman take a brother of her dead husband, nor any other of the latterís relatives. The Saint goes on to cite also the following assertions of the Apostle, to wit, in paraphrase: ĎThat the shape of this world is changing, and that there is not much time left in which to fool around; and even those who have lawful wives ought to regard them in the same light as though they had none at all.í But if anyone objects, or counterargues, that God made it a law to increase and multiply, and laid it down in express terms to the protoplasts, and that Adamís children married one another in spite of the fact that they were brothers and sisters of the same parents, I deride and laugh to scorn the man who says these things and is unable to discern that in those days it was necessary to do this, because there were no other human beings of any other race, whereas nowadays there are many different races, so that this argument does not hold water. Besides, a second marriage is an obstacle and a bar, as well as a bridle, which has the effect of restricting fornication, and is not a pleasure ground for materialists and a happy hunting ground for lechers. Even St. Paul, in writing to those who marry a second time, says that if they cannot remain continent, let them marry; he did not, however, add that after marrying a second time they might indulge in transgressions of the law, as do those who marry two sisters. The Saint thereupon proceeds to prove the absurdity of such a marriage by pointing out the confusion which results with respect to the names. For the children born of such parents, how can those practicing such a matrimonial affair name them? Brothers and sisters begotten by the same father? or nephews and nieces, that is to say, cousins,2 on the ground that they were born of the same mother? For both designations are equally applicable to them on account of the confusion of nature, who, according to her physical laws, made brothers and sisters different from each other. And that is not all: there results also another confusion. For when a man takes the sister of his former wife, he makes the aunt of his children by the first marriage a stepmother, and in consequence he makes the woman jealous and envious of them who is taking care of them like a mother. For every stepmother1 is naturally jealous of her husbandís children born of another marriage. Thus although hatred for other enemies wanes when their enemies die, the hatred of stepmothers flares up when their rivals die. And, to tell the whole story in brief, if anyone is inclined to marry a second time and take a lawful wife, the whole inhabited earth is open to him and of course he will be able to find a woman to make his wife that is not prohibited by law; but if he loves passionately a woman unlawful to him and seeks to marry her, let him be shut off from her all the more on this account and let him not be permitted to take her, in order tp teach him to obtain his vessel, or his body, or his wife, with sanctification, as St. Paul says, and not with an impetuous surge of passion. I should have liked, he says, to write even more things to you, but the length of my letter prevents me, since letters ought not to be unduly prolix. I hope that my letter either defeats and frustrates that unlawful marriage, or, if it fails to defeat it, that it will prevent its becoming a custom in our own province, but, instead, that it remain confined to those regions where it first made its daring appearance.

 

A Canonical Epistle of the same Saint to Gregory the Presbyter.

88. I received your letters with all longsuffering, and I marveled that, though able to defend yourself briefly and readily by means of the facts, you insist upon discussing the accusations and try to remedy the irremediable with small words. We were not the first nor the only ones to lay down the law, 0 Gregory, prohibiting women from cohabiting with men; but please read the Canon promulgated by our Holy Fathers in the Council of Nicaea, which explicitly prohibits them from being subintroductae (or "housekeepers"). The respectability of celibacy consists in this, that it prevents association with women. So that, if anyone professing it verbally does the things done by those who cohabit with women, it is plain that he is forfeiting the respectability of virginity that resides in the appellation, and is not actually abstaining from improprieties in the matter of sensual pleasure. You ought indeed to have been so much the more ready to yield to our suggestion as you assert outright that you are free from every bodily passion. For I am persuaded that neither a man of seventy years of age would cohabit in a passionate fashion with a woman, nor have we with regard to any supervening act ruled what we have ruled as due to any improper act, but because we have been taught by the Apostle that "no one should put an obstacle or a stumbling-block in his brotherís way" (Rom. 14:13). But we are aware that what has been done by others soundly and sanely, will become to others an occasion for sinning. On this account we ordered you, in pursuance of the injunction of the Holy Fathers, to separate from the hag. Why, then, are you accusing the chorepiscopus and bringing up old enmities! Why are you blaming us for lending ready ears to admission of the calumniesí! Cast her out of your house, therefore, and settle her in a monastery. Let her remain with virgins, and find yourself male servants, to prevent the name of God from being blasphemed on your account (Isa. 52; Rom. 2:24). Until you have done these things, the myriads of protests you are writing in letters will avail you naught, but, on the contrary, you will die suspended from duties and will have to give the Lord an account for your own state of suspension and idleness. If, on the other hand, you should dare, instead of correcting yourself, to oppose the Priesthood, you will be anathema to all the laity, and any persons accepting you will become outlawed with respect to every church.

(cc. VI, V, X of the 3rd; cc. XVIII, XXII of the 7th; c. XLV of Carthage∑ c. LXXXVIII of Basil.).

Interpretation.

This man Gregory having been at fault in the matter of morality on account of his keeping a virgin woman and nun in his home to attend him as a servant. St. Basil the Great wrote to him to chase her away. Gregory, however, with many excuses for his misconduct, tried to defend himself. Hence in the present letter the Saint first reproaches him because though able to defend himself readily enough by actual deeds, as by chasing the woman away, he offers countless excuses and pretexts. Secondly the Saint tells him that it was not St. Basil that made it law for clerics and those in holy orders not to have women as cohabitants, but the First Ecumenical Council in its c. III. Afterwards he adds that virgin men and those in holy orders have this claim to respectability, namely, their being excluded from association with womankind. If perchance any one of them should profess to be a virgin, but should nevertheless cohabit with women, he is merely proving that his love of virginity was confined to words, whereas in point of deeds he was not willing to deny himself the pleasures to be enjoyed with women. So, Gregory, you ought, he tells him, as readily obey us and chase the woman away as you are declaring that you are not concerned about her. For a readiness and quickness to expel the woman would serve to confirm your unconcern for her; because not even I would ever believe that you who are a man in. his seventies would be passionately and pleasurably cohabiting with the woman. But inasmuch as we have been taught by the Apostle not to give offense to others, and since that which others may do without passion and sin such as that, for example, which you are now doing yourself- may be something which may cause others to become passionate and induce them to sin by setting them an example, for all these reasons we have ordered you to chase the woman away from your home, in conformity with c. III of the Nicene Council; and do not accuse either the chorepiscopus of being your enemy as you allege and of having called my attention to the woman, or me on the theory that I am prone to believe in calumnies; but blame yourself for being unwilling to separate from the woman. So cast her out and put her in a monastery; and let her be like a virgin living with virgin women and nuns, while you, as a man, have men serve you, in order to prevent the name of God from being blasphemed by unbelievers on your account when they see you. If, on the other hand, you refuse to chase the woman away, rest assured that in spite of all the myriads of excuses you may offer, you will have to render an account for your suspension from duty as the cause of it, not I. If, again, you dare to continue performing the priestly offices before having corrected yourself, you will be anathematized by all the laity, and any persons that accept you will be chased out of every church. See also c. III of the 1st.

 

A Canonical Epistle of the same Saint to the Chorepiscopi.

89. I am exceedingly grieved to find that the Canons of the Fathers have been left unheeded and all strictness in the churches has been cast to the winds; and I fear lest, when this indifference has advanced a little more, the affairs of the Church will wind up in a state of utter confusion. Take those serving the Church, in the olden days it was a custom prevailing in the churches of God for persons tried and tested with all rigor to be admitted and their upbringing was looked after with great concernment and diligence, unless they turned out to be revilers, or drunkards, or ready to pick a fight, so as to instruct them in youth and enable them to attain to a state of sanctitude, "without which no one shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). And accordingly this question was examined by Presbyters and Deacons living with them. They would report the matter to the Chorepiscopi, who in turn, having access to the decisions arrived at by those who had testified truly to the facts, and having duly notified the Bishop, would thus be free to enroll the servant in the battalion of the priestly orders. But nowadays, first having thrust us aside, and without even condescending to report to us, they have invested themselves with all the authority. Afterwards, treating the matter with the utmost indolence, you have permitted Presbyters and Deacons to introduce unworthy persons into the Church ad libitum, from an unexamined life, in obedience to efforts made in their behalf, either by their relatives or as a result of friendship in some other respect. That is why a great number of servants are to be found in every village, but not one deserving to minister at the altar, as you yourselves bear witness, being at a loss for men in the voting contests. Since, therefore, the matter has reached a stage of insufferable obnoxiousness, especially now when the most of them are resorting to ecclesiastical service as a means of escape from military service, I have necessarily come to the decision to renew the Canons of the Fathers, and I request you in writing this letter to send me a copy of the record of those enrolled in the service in each and every village, and by whom each of them was admitted thereto, and in what state of life he is. Keep a copy of the record for yourselves, so as to be able to judge your affairs on the basis of the reports available to you; and let no one interpolate any spurious reports whenever he desires to do so. Thus, however, after the first survey, if any other persons have been admitted by the Presbyters, let them be relegated to the laity; but let a re-examination of them be made by you, and if they be found worthy let them be admitted in pursuance of your decision to this effect. After you have cleansed the Church by driving out the ones unworthy of her, henceforth begin examining and proving the worthy ones before admitting them, but do not enroll any of them until you have referred them to us, or else make up your minds that he will be a layman whom you have admitted to the service without our consent and approval.

(c. XIII of Ancyra; c. XIV of Neocaesarea; cc. VIII, X of Antioch; e. LVII of Laodicea; c. VI of Sardica.).

Interpretation.

In this letter St. Basil the Great is blaming the chorepiscopi for violating the old custom which used to be in vogue in the Church, and which was one requiring all persons who were about to become servants of the Church, subdeacons, that is to say, anagnosts and exorcists (concerning whom see the Footnote to c. XV of the 6th), to be examined first by the presbyters and deacons to make sure that they were not revilers or drunkards, that they were bridling the carnal impulses of youth; and thereupon they themselves were to decide ,about them; but they were to report their decision to the chorepiscopi, and the chorepiscopi in turn to the bishops; and in such a manner as this they were to be free to enroll them among the clergy. Nowadays, however, what happens, he says, is quite the opposite. For neither do presbyters and deacons examine them, but in compliance with requests they make no scruples in deciding in favor of their relatives and friends, nor do the chorepiscopi report them or mention them to the bishops. Wherefore, as a result of such violations and transgressions of the Canon, a large number of subdeacons and anagnosts and exorcists and other clerics are to be found in every village, but there is not one of them that is worthy to become a priest. For this reason the Saint is ordering the chorepiscopi to send him a list of such servants showing by which chorepiscopus each one of them was accorded admission, and what sort of person he is in respect of his manner of living; and to keep a copy of the same list for themselves, so as to be able to prevent anyone from enrolling himself in this manner in the list whenever he should so choose to do. Accordingly, as for all servants (he tells them) that have been elected by the presbyters alone at a later date than the first indiction, they are to be shunted into the ranks of the laymen. But when they are examined by you chorepiscopi afresh, they may be admitted if you so decide. Chasing the unworthy out of the Church hereafter and henceforth, admit only the worthy; but do not enroll them in the clergy without first submitting a report of the matter to us, since, if any of you without our consent and approval admits anyone into the service, the one you admit will be deposed therefrom and will be shunted into the order of laymen. See also the Footnote to c. VIII of the 1st, and c. XXXIX of Carthage, and the Footnote to Ap. c. XVII.

 

A Canonical Epistle of the same Saint to the Bishops under him.

90. As touching the impropriety of the matter I am writing about, why it was suspected at all and spoken about, has filled my soul with anguish, but lately it has appeared to me incredible. Let the letter, therefore, about it be accepted by the one involved as a remedy for himself; as for the one not involved, let it serve as a safeguard; and as regards anyone who is indifferent, which I hope that no one among you will prove to be, let it serve as a protest. But what is it that I am talking about! They say that some of you have been taking money from the persons ordained, under the cloak of the name of piety. That is worse. For if anyone does what is bad on the pretext that it is something good, he deserves double punishment; for that which is held to be nothing bad has been causing and has been useful in the commission of sin, as who should say, it has been a good cooperator in this respect. Let these things, if such is the case, be done no longer; but let the matter be corrected, since otherwise it will become necessary to tell the one who accepts money that which was told by the Apostle to the one wanting to give money for the avowed purpose of buying Holy Spirit: "Thy money perish with thee" (Acts 8:20). For the one who wanted to buy because of his lack is to be judged more lightly than one who wants to sell the gift of God. For a sale has been made, and what you received gratis from God if you sell it will be stripped of its gracious power as though it had been sold to Satan. For you are introducing a system of trafficking in spiritual matters into the Church, where we have been entrusted with body and blood of Christ. These things must not be done thus. As for the pretext, I can tell what that is: they think that they are not sinning because they accept the money after the ordination, and not at the same time that the ordination is carried out. But an acceptance is an acceptance no matter when it is actualized. I therefore beg you to put aside this step, or rather this expedition to Gehenna. Accordingly, do not soil your hands by taking such things, and thereby render yourselves unworthy to perform the Holy Mysteries. Pardon me if first as incredulous and afterwards as convinced I employ threats. If anyone after this letter of mine shall do such a thing any more, he shall depart from the altars here and go in search of one where the gift of God can be bought and sold. "For we and the churches of God have no such custom" (I Cor. 11:16; I Tim. 6:10). I have one more thing to add, and I will stop. These things are being done on account of avarice. Avarice is veritably the root of all evils and is called idolatry (Col. 3:5). Prefer not, therefore, the idols to Christ for the sake of a little money; nor, again, imitate Judas by betraying a second time the one crucified but once for us, since the territories and the hands of those who accept these fruits shall be called Aceldama (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:19).

Interpretation.

When divine Basil learned that bishops subject to his jurisdiction were taking money from the persons they ordained, he wrote the present letter to them and told them that the assertion pained him greatly the moment it was spoken and was merely suspected, though at first he considered it incredible. Hence, he says, as for what I am writing to you, let anyone who has committed this transgression take it as a medicine for his wickedness; as for anyone, on the other hand, who has not committed it, let him accept !t as a prophylactic; and as for anyone that remains indifferent, or, in others, that perpetrates this evil and does not think it an evil at all (which plight of indifference I hope to God will not be found amongst you), let him take this latter as an order and threat. At any rate, certain persons are saying that you are taking money from the persons you are ordaining, and that you cloak this evil with the name of piety, alleging that you do this as something that is good and pious, which is worse; for anyone that does something bad and afterwards pretends that he was doing something good, actually deserves a double punishment, both because he committed the evil act, and because he employed the good, or, more expressly speaking, the name of the good, as a tool and mask in doing the evil. Hence, if these things are as asserted, let them not be done hereafter, but let them be corrected, since we are under the necessity of telling anyone that wishes to take money as payment for ordination the words which St. Peter told Simon, viz: "Thy money perish with thee." Thus the man who pays the money sins more lightly, because in his lack of knowledge he seeks to buy that which he has not; whereas thou, since thou art selling the grace which thou hast received free of charge, shalt be deprived of it on the ground that thou art a slave sold to the Devil; or, in other words, thou shalt be deposed from office, because thou art introducing into the Church a dirty and dishonourable business (for that is what is meant by the term "trafficking"), where we have been charged to keep the most precious and priceless Mysteries of the body and blood of Christ; which is the same as saying, because you have been traffickingly and dishonorably selling the Mysteries of Christ which are beyond every price. But inasmuch as the Bishops succeeded by artifice in concealing this sin, and thought that it was not any sin to take money after the ordination, the Saint tells that the taking of money at any time by them is taking, whether it be before the ordination, or during the ordination, or after the ordination; and consequently that it is a sin. So I beg you, he orders them, throw away such profit which only leads you to hell, and do not make yourselves unworthy to conduct the divine Mysteries, by having your hands polluted by such unlawful money. For any one of you who after these orders are brought to your attention shall do any such thing, shall be forbidden the right to conduct divine services here in my province, and let him go where he can buy and sell the grace of God, since we and the churches of God have no such custom, as St. Paul says. The fact is, of course, that when you sell the grace of God for money you are doing so out of avarice; but avarice is the root of all evils, and is called idolatry by St. Paul. So do not give idols the preference over Christ; neither imitate Judas by betraying for money, like Judas, a second time the Christ who was crucified but once in our behalf. For, as you well know, the field bought with the thirty pieces of silver for which the Lord was betrayed was named Aceldama, as the Acts of the Apostles inform us (which name denotes a place and price of blood); and thus even the hands of bishops that accept such money, and the dioceses and villages both of those who pay it and of those who take it shall be called a place and price of blood. Read also Ap. c. XXIX.

 

From the 27th Chapter of the same Saintís Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit and addressed to Amphilochius.

91. Of the dogmas and preachings kept safely in the Church, we have some from written doctrine, and some from tradition handed down to us by the Apostles we have received in mystery, both of which have the same validity and force as regards the piety (i.e., the religion); accordingly, no one gainsays these, at least no one that has any experience at all in ecclesiastical matters. For if we should undertake to discard the unwritten traditions of customs, on the score that they have no great force, we should unwittingly damage the Gospel in vital parts, and should rather be left with preaching confined to the mere name. Such a custom, for instance (to mention the first and most common one first), is that of sealing or stamping with the sign of the Cross those who have set their hopes in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who has taught it in writing. That of turning towards the east when praying ó what writing has taught us to do this? The words uttered in the invocation connected with the exhibition of the Eucharist (ineptly called by Roman Catholics "the elevation of the Host") and of the chalice of the blessing, what Saint has bequeathed them to us? For indeed we are not even content with these, which the Apostle or the Gospel has mentioned, but we add other ones before and after them on the ground that they contribute greatly to enhance the Mystery, which words we have received from unwritten teaching. We bless the water of baptism and the oil of the anointment (or chrism), and in addition thereto even the person being baptized, with reference to what documents? Is it not with reference to silent and mystic tradition? But what else? What written word has taught us the use of the oil in the anointment? And whence comes the idea of baptizing a person three times (in succession)? But, in fact, whatever is connected with baptism, renouncing Satan and his angels, from what Scripture is it? Is it not from this unpublished and confidential teaching which our Fathers have kept as a guarded secret in unmeddlesome and incurious silence, they having rightly enough taught to preserve the respectable parts of the Mysteries in silenced. For when it comes to things which the uninitiated were not allowed even to lay eyes on, how could the teaching thereof be expected to triumph if embodied in writing? And not to speak of other things, this was the reason for unwritten tradition, as not having been thoroughly studied, to render knowledge of the dogmas a distasteful subject to the majority of men because of custom. For dogma is a thing that is quite different from preaching. For dogmas can be slurred over in silence, but preaching has to be given publicity. Vagueness of expression too is a sort of silence, much used in Scripture and rendering the sense of the dogmas difficult to grasp for the convenience of those who happen to hit upon it. For the sake of this it is that all of us look eastwards when engaged in prayers, few of us realize that in doing so we are seeking after an ancient fatherland, called Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East (Gen. 2:8). And we stand up when praying on the first of the week, though not all of us know the reason. For it is not only that it serves to remind us that when we have risen from the dead together with Christ we ought to seek the things above, in the day of resurrection of the grace given us, by standing at prayer we remind ourselves, but that it also seems to serve in a way as a picture of the expected age. Wherefore being also the starting-point of days, though not the first with Moses, yet it has been called the first (in Greek, "one"). For, it says, "the evening and the morning were the first (in Greek, "one") day" (Gen. 1:5), on the ground that it returns again and again. The eighth, therefore, is also the first (or "one"), especially as respects that really first and true eighth day, which the Psalmist too has mentioned in some of the superscriptions of his Psalms (e.g., Ps. 6, Ps. 11), serving to exhibit the state which is to succeed this period of time, the unceasing day, the anhesperous day, the successorless day, the interminable and in-senescent age. Necessarily, therefore, the Church educates her foster children to fulfill their obligations to pray therein while standing up, in order by constantly reminding them of the deathless life to prevent them from neglecting the provisions for the journey thither (otherwise known as the viatica). And every Pentecost is a reminder of the expected resurrection in the age to come. For that one first day, being multiplied seven times over, constitutes the seven weeks of the sacred Pentecost (meaning, in Greek, "the Fiftieth Day"). For, by starting from the first (and in accordance with Greek reckoning omitting this), one winds up on the same day, when one comes to the end after counting fifty days evolved by running through the series (thus making forty-nine, or seven weeks in all). Wherefore it is evident that it imitates even an age, precisely as in circular motion by starting from the same points it arrives at the same points in the end, wherein the laws of the Church have educated us to prefer the upright posture at prayer, thus transporting our mind, so to speak, as a result of a vivid and perspicuous suggestion, from the present age to the things to come in the future. And during each genuflection and straightening again we are actually showing by deeds (i.e., by our actions) that it was through sin that we fell to the earth, and that through the kindness of the One created us we have been called back to heaven. In fact, a whole day would not suffice me to narrate the unwritten Mysteries of the Church. I leave the rest unsaid. But out of what written works have we obtained the Creed itself, the confession of the faith, the recital of a belief in a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit? If it be from the tradition of baptism, as suggested by regard for the subtle consecution of piety, as we are baptized, so ought we also to believe, and therefore deposit a confession similar to the baptism. Let it be permitted to us in agreement with that same consecution to render glory like faith. But if they insist upon discarding the mode of the doxology on the ground that it is unwritten, let them cede us the confession of the other points in regard to the faith of which we have enumerated the proofs in writing. Finally, seeing that there are so many unwritten ones having such great force in regard to the mystery of the piety (i.e., of the religion], will they not permit us one word come to us from the Fathers which we have come across still remaining among the unperverted churches as a result of an unaffected custom, having no small reason for its existence, nor contributing any short adjuvance to the power of the Mystery?

Interpretation.

Inasmuch as the Pneumatomachs (or Spirit-fighters) were opposed to the doxology which St. Basil the Great once offered with Orthodox Christians to the Holy Spirit, in this brief little troparion: "Glory to the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit," by means of which the Spirit is glorified together with the Father and the Son, and is consequently shown to be of the same essence (or homoousian) with the Father and the Son ó since, I say, they were opposed to this little troparion and asserted that the (Greek) preposition "together with" is not written in the divine Scripture, as we have said, for this reason St. Basil the Great proves in this Canon that not only this preposition "together with" (or the Greek word syn, found combined in many English words derived from the Greek, such as synthesis, etc.), but also many other things as well are to be found in the Church which, though not written in the Holy Bible anywhere, are nevertheless kept and observed precisely the same as those which are written. For the things that are kept and observed in the Church are divided, generally and on the whole, into two categories, or classes, namely, dogmas and preachings. The preachings are written in the Old Testament, and especially in the New; wherefore it may be said that these are given publicity, or are made known to the public. But the dogmas have been handed down by the unwritten oral mystic and secret tradition of the Apostles; wherefore it is also true that these dogmas remain unrevealed and undivulged to the majority of men. Yet both these classes have the same force and effect as regards the faith, since, if we attempt to omit the unwritten usages of the Church, on the ground that they have no validity and no force, we shall greatly injure the faith preached to us through the Gospel, and shall wind up by having nothing but a mere name. Following these remarks the Saint enumerates the usages kept and observed as a result of unwritten tradition. For instance, that of making the sign of the Cross; that of looking eastwards when praying. The words in the invocation (called the "epiclesis," in Greek) which the priest says during the transessentiation of the divine Mysteries are unwritten words; for the priest does not say only the Lordís words, nor only those of the Apostle, but he adds also some others, both before and after the Lordís, which are written in the divine Bible, but have been derived from a secret tradition; yet they have a great power for effectuation of the Mysteries. The blessing of the water used in baptism and of the oil used in anointment of the person being baptized; that of requiring every person to be baptized with three immersions and emersions; the renunciations of Satan, and the espousals of Christ which the one about to be baptized is wont to make. The reason why the dogmas were not written down by the Fathers, or by the Apostles, or by their successors, but were transmitted silently, or, more explicitly speaking, without recourse to written speech, but only by unwritten tradition, is to avoid having them meditated too much and to become through familiarity despised by the majority of men. For they well knew that mysterious things can be kept respectable and glorious by means of silence, and that, if not even the symbols of the Mysteries are permitted to be seen by unbaptized persons, how could it have been permissible for the teaching of them to such persons to have been facilitated with written explanations? But, besides this, it needs to be remarked that even the vagueness and unclearness employed in divine Scripture (and especially in the Old Testament), making the ideas embodied in the dogmas hard to understand for the benefit of readers, is a sort of silence. Having asserted these things, he goes on to interpret the calculations and reasons of certain unwritten customs, such as that the reason why we face eastwards when praying is that we are seeking our fatherland- the Paradise, I mean, which was planted in the East; that of standing up when praying on Sunday, not only because we have been resurrected together with Christ through the faith, and ought to seek higher and heavenly things, but also because the Lordís day appears in a way to be a picture and type of the future age, in which it is to be understood that we shall all of us be found to have been resurrected. Wherefore this day being the starting-point of days, though not the first, though it was called the first (or "one") by Moses, which is the eighth counting from the days preceding it, according to the Theologian, and denoting that day which really is the eighth and without an evening and without any successor, and one which is destined to occur after the end of the present seventh age, and, which David mentions in some headings of the Psalms, namely, the Sixth and the Eleventh, by superscribing them "for the eighth (day)," since all Pentecost is a reminder or remembrance of the resurrection in the future on which we pin our hopes, since just as the circumference of a circle starts from the same point and round the same center and ends again at that same point, and on this account a circle appears to be beginningless and endless, so and in the same fashion Pentecost starts from the Lordís day (the day of splendor, that is to say, according to an adjective denoting it in Greek, namely, lamprophoros), and revolves in the midst of six Sundays, or days of the Lord, and ends again on the eighth Lordís day, or eighth Sunday. Wherefore in this respect too it resembles the age whose nature it is, according to St. Gregory the Theologian (see his sermon on the Nativity of Christ), to be beginningless and endless. Hence, because this day too is an image of the future age, therefore the Canons of the Church (meaning c. XX of the 1st EC. C., which you may read for yourself) bid us to pray standing up, and not kneeling, in order that by means of the upright posture we may transport our mind from the present age to the future age, since every genuflexion and resurrection, i.e., every kneeling down and rising up, that we go through denotes that through sin we have fallen down to the ground, and through the kindness of God and His love for humanity we have been lifted up to the sky, or, in other words, from earth to heaven (see the Footnote to the same c. XX of the 1st). Further on the Saint goes on to say, "I leave aside all the other unwritten mysteries of the Church, and ask: From what Scripture have we the confession of the faith, or the Creed saying verbatim ĎI believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirití? If the Pneumatomachs assert that we have it from the Lordís teaching in regard to baptism wherein He said, "Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," let them allow us, just as we have a confession of faith like that of baptism, to offer the doxology to the Trinity in keeping with the belief we have in It, or, at any rate, let them grant us the right to say, just as we believe in a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit, "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit (or, to the Son together with the Holy Spirit)." If, on the other hand, they assert that this doxology is not written in the Bible, we counter with the assertion that likewise the confession of the faith and all the other things we have previously mentioned are not written in the Bible. But if the Pneumatomachs allow these unwritten utterances, which are numerous indeed, and which have such a great power with regard to the faith, why will they not allow us the one word which is contained in this doxology, the preposition "together with," that is to say, or even the conjunction "and," which we have found to have been handed down and traditionally taught by the Fathers to the Orthodox Churches of the East (and especially handed down by St. Gregory the Miracle-Worker in the Church of Neocaesarea), which word possesses great power with regard to the belief in the Holy Trinity.

 

An excerpt from Chapter 29 of the same treatise of the same Saint

92. Moreover, as relating to the assertion that the Doxology containing the words "together with the Spirit" is un-witnessed and unwritten, what we have to say is that if nothing else that is unwritten is admissible, then let this not be admitted either; but if the most of the mysteries are conveyed to us un-scripturally, let us accept this one too together with numerous others. It is a usage that is Apostolical, I presume, to adhere to unwritten and unscriptural traditions. For it says: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you" (I Cor. 11-2). And: "Hold on to the traditions which ye have been taught, whether orally or through an epistle of ours" (II Thess. 2:15), one of which indeed is the present one, which the first originators composed and handed on to their successors, in due process of time and ever mindful of usage, and have firmly rooted in the Churches by dint of long custom. If, therefore, we are at a loss to present written evidence as though in a court of justice, but can produce a whole multitude of witnesses, should we not receive an express permission from you. The way I look at the matter is as follows: "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (Deut. 19:15). But if, on the other hand, we have exhibited the facts to you perspicuously for a long time, should we not except you naturally enough to say that there is no evidence to warrant our being put on trial. For how can it be denied that old doctrines are awesome and entitled to veneration because of their hoary antiquity?

Interpretation.

This Canon too likewise concerns unscriptural and unwritten traditions of the Church. It asserts that if Pneumatomachs will not accept the Doxology of the Father and of the Son "together with" the Spirit, because it is not found written in Scripture, if it be shown that we do not admit any other unwritten and unscriptural usage, let this one not be admitted either. But if there are many unwritten usages to be found in the Church, let there be admitted together with the others also the Doxology of the Spirit together with the Father and the Son. For we have been taught by the Apostle to keep also unwritten traditions, since he says: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you." And again: "Hold on to the traditions which ye have been taught, whether orally or through an epistle of ours." Of which traditions one is the Doxology of the Holy Spirit, which earlier authorities delivered to later ones, and with the passage of a lot of time and long use and custom have rooted deeply in the churches. So that if, let us say, we are judge as regarding the question of doxologizing the Spirit together with the other two persons of the Trinity, and we have no written proofs, but wish to produce many witnesses, ought we not to have the right to do so? since Scripture says: "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (Deut. 19:15). (Cf. Matt. 18:16). But if we should also be able to show the antiquity of time and long priority in this matter will lend us much assistance, might we not do well enough without a judicial trial, but, instead, have our case tried at once, seeing that we have the equipment needed for a victory? For the dogmas that have come down from old exert an awesome effect upon everyone and are convincing evidence, being venerable and worthy of reverence on account of their antiquity. Further below the Saint adds in the same chapter many old-time witnesses, and especially the Saints, who stated this in writing and who used to doxologize in the following words: "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit."

 

 

Cannons of Saint Gregory of Nyssa.

Prolegomena.

Our Father among saints Gregory, who was Bishop of Nyssa, Cappadocia, and a full-blooded brother of St. Basil the Great, after formerly serving as an Anagnost, afterwards left his own rank and gave himself up to the study of the art of oratory, but was recalled to his rank by the reprehensive exhortations of St. Gregory the Theologian. But before becoming a bishop, he married a woman by the name of Theosebia, whose death he endured bravely enough; and in the year he was made Bishop of Nyssa. A little later having been banished from the episcopate or bishopric for his zeal in regard to the faith by order of Valens, he walked about in various regions, being greatly harassed by plots of the Arians. In the year 378, when Valens died, he was recalled to the episcopal throne by Gratian. While attending the Council held in the district of Antioch, he was sent by it into Arabia together with other bishops in order to visit the churches there. After coming to Jerusalem and making a pilgrimage of the holy places, he became disgusted with the vices he saw practiced there; on which account he wrote to his friend the letter giving advice to those going to Jerusalem. When he attended the Second holy and Ecumenical Council held in the year 381, he completed the contents of the Creed adopted by the Council in Nicaea, by adding the theology of the Holy Spirit and the four other articles to the end of it. He also attended the local Council held in Constantinople in regard to Agapius and Bagadius, in the year 394. Besides his other all-wise writings, he wrote also these Canons, which are necessary to the good order and constitution of the Church, and which are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, and definitely by c. II of the 6th Ecum. C., and by virtue of this confirmation they acquire a force which is in a way ecumenical. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, and on page 349 of the first volume of the Conciliar Records.

 

Canons.

1. One of the things that contribute to the holy feast day is that we should comprehend the legal and canonical economy in regard to the economy dealing with things defective, with a view to having every mental ailment cured that has been the result of some sin or other. For inasmuch as this catholic feast day of creation, arranged to fall each year in the course of the fixed circuit of the annual circle, being held all over the world in celebration of the resurrection of the fallen one, is carried out (sin is the fall, and correction is the resurrection of the fallen body), it would be well on this day, not only to invite those who have been radically changed by transelementation from the renaissance through the grace of the bath to worship God, but also those who through repentance and return from dead works (Heb. 9:14) to the living way are again coming back and regaining their senses, and to lead these persons by the hand, so to speak, to the saving hope, from which they have become estranged through sin. But it is no small task to manage words concerning these persons in the right and well-treated judgment, in accordance with the injunction of the Prophet which bids us that we "must manage words in judgment;" in order that, as the saying goes, it may remain undisturbed forever," and "a righteous man shall be for an everlasting remembrance" (Ps. 112:6). For precisely as in the case of bodily treatment the purpose of the art of the physician is to heal the one who is III, though the kind of care given differs (for the curative method available for each of the diseases has to be suitably chosen with respect to the variety of the ailments); so too, since there is a great variety of affections in the case of a disease of the soul, the curative care will necessarily be of many kinds, and adapted to the disease it is intended to cure. As to how a technical method may be applied to the problem under consideration, that shall be the subject which we are going to discuss in more or less detail. As respecting the primary division we have to consider there are three aspects pertaining to the soul, namely, the rational, the desiderative, and the conative. These are the factors which determine the achievements of those who live in accordance with virtue, and the failures of those who succumb to vice. Wherefore it behooves the person who is about to undertake the treatment to apply a suitable remedy to the diseased part of the soul. First of all he ought to reflect and try to discover in what the disease consisted, in order he may know what treatment is fitted to the case in hand, lest owing to inexperience in the therapeutic method he apply the remedy to a different part than that which is diseased, as, in fact, we see many physicians lacking experience of the first part to suffer and only irritating the disease and making it worse with the remedial agents they are applying. For it often happens that an ailment requires the prevalence of warmth or of what is hot, since whatever has an excess of heat is apt to be useful in treating those who are suffering from injuries due to an excess of cold. But because they have chosen the wrong proportions and have thoughtlessly or inconsiderately applied too much heat, thereby burning the body and making the disease hard to heal, precisely therefore as it has been deemed to be stringently necessary to have a comprehension of the nature of the elements, so that each of them may be employed to the utmost advantage in restoring an ailing part to health that has been displaced from its natural position, so and in like manner we too have had recourse to the division of the aspects of the soul. Thus we shall take the origin and seat of diseases as an indication of the proper treatment and make a general survey. The main point, however, is that, as we have said, the nature of the soulís movements is divided in three ways, namely, the rational, and the desiderative, and the conative (or instinctive). The accomplishments of the reasoning faculty of the soul are: a pious attitude as respecting divinity and what is divine; the science of discerning what is good and what is bad, and which has a clear and unconfused conception of the nature of the underlying principles, what is to be chosen from among available realities, and what is abominable and repulsive. Accordingly, again on the contrary there will be in any given case the vice situated in that part to be considered, when there is any impiety as respecting what is divine, and lack of judgment as respecting what is really fine and good. There is, however, a transposed and mistaken attitude as respecting the nature of things, so that light is taken to be darkness, and darkness to be light (Isa. 5:20), as the Bible says. As for the desiderative faculty, the virtue movement of it is that of having a yearning that induces one to strive for what is really desirable and is truly fine and good; and if there be any erotic power and disposition in us to employ it all there, by way of persuading oneself that there is nothing else to be craved for its own nature, save virtue and the nature which is a source of virtue. Misconduct and sin find a harbor in this part, when one allows oneís desire to float away into the realm of insubstantial vainglory, or into the colorful bloom painted upon bodies, whence result avarice and ambition and love of pleasure, and all such affections as depend upon such a kind of vice. Again, it is an accomplishment of his conative disposition to entertain an abhorrence of what is evil or bad or wicked, and to wage a war upon the passions, and to steel the soul for bravery, in not becoming frightened by what is thought to be fearful by the multitude, but to resist sin even to the point of bloodshed; to scorn the threat of death, and of painful engines of punishment, and of disjunction from the things that are sweetest and most liked, and of all things that once through some custom or prejudice are keeping the multitude enslaved to pleasure to obtain the mastery while championing the cause of virtue and the principles of the faith. The refuse from such a part are obvious to all: envy, hatred, wrath; vituperation, brawls, quarrels, defensive arrangements, all of which merely prolong the malice, and in Ďmany cases wind up in murders and bloodshed. For, the unreasoning and uneducated man, being unable to discover for himself where he can employ a weapon with the most advantage to himself, blunts the edge of the sword. Thus the weapon God has given us to defend ourselves with proves useless to one who misuses it.

Interpretation.

At the time of the festival of Easter the Saint appears to have sent this epistle; on which account and owing to the circumstance of the prevailing weather he begins the preamble, or introductory part, by saying: one of the things that lend effect to this festival is that of casting about in our mind to find a plan or means of curing every mental illness of sinners, in a lawful and canonical way. For, inasmuch as this universal festival of Easter is celebrated for the purpose of calling attention to the resurrection of the body of fallen and corrupt Adam, it is well to observe that sin too is a fall of the soul, just as a correction of the sin is a resurrection of the soul; and on account of this similarity it is fitting during this festival not only to offer God men who have been rendered spiritually imperishable by being regenerated through holy baptism (for it was during Easter that catechumens were baptized in those days, and see c. XLV of Laodicea), but also to guide those persons to salvation who through repentance and abstention from the dead works of sin are returning to the living way of virtue, as the Apostle says. Nevertheless, there is no little difficulty in managing with a correct and infallible judgment the reasons and causes of the correction of such sinners. For David says that a righteous man ought to manage his accounts and reckonings with great discernment, in order to ensure that his memory will not be disturbed ever at any time, but to ensure that it will remain forever. For, just as the medical art pertaining to human bodies has but one object, that of curing the patient, yet the treatment and care given him is not one and the same, but of many varieties and different in different cases, being similar, that is to say, to the different and various kinds of illness, so and in like manner the medical art pertaining to souls, employs different treatments of many kinds and in many ways according to the different and many kinds of illnesses affecting the soul in many ways. In order to present our doctrine concerning this in a methodical and orderly manner, let us begin in such a manner as this. The soul has three parts, or faculties, namely, the ratio-cinative faculty (or reason proper), the desiderative, and the affective. Both virtues and vices are practiced by these three faculties. On this account any spiritual physician that wishes to give treatment in an experienced and skillful manner ought first to examine the patient with a view to finding out in which of these three parts each particular sin is committed, and then on this basis to treat the ailing and weak part, and not to be treating a different part than the one which is III, just as we see many inexperienced physicians aggravating the ailment rather than remedying it, because they do not know which part is the one at fault. For example, the illness is often due to an excess of heat, while they give the inflamed patient, not cold and cooling remedies (as the reckoning of the medical art demands), but warm and hot ones which are of benefit only to those suffering from cold, and thereby render the ailment harder to cure. So, just as an acquaintance with the peculiar nature of each of the four elements is considered to be extremely necessary to physicians, the said elements being, to wit, heat, cold, dryness, and moisture, in order to be able by means of this knowledge to correct their unnatural motion and disorder, so and in like manner a general and elementary knowledge of the said three faculties, or parts, of the soul is necessary to spiritual physicians, in order that they may be able to treat the diseases of the soul properly. Let us therefore proceed at once to state that the virtues of the ratiocinative faculty, to begin with, are respect for and faith in God, discernment of what is good and what is bad, a distinct and unconfused knowledge and conception of the nature of beings, which is well advised as to which beings ought to be loved, and which ought to be hated and shunned. Its vices, on the opposite of the picture, are disrespect for and disbelief in God, lack of discernment and erroneous knowledge of what is truly good and of what is truly bad, which mentation deems light to be darkness, and darkness to be light, or, in other words, virtue to be vice, and vice to be virtue, which sort of mentation is deplored by Isaiah. The virtue of the desiderative faculty, again, is that of elevating the yearning to that which is fine and truly desirable, and to spend all its power of loving on that object, in the conviction that there is no other thing that is naturally desirable save virtue and the cause of all virtue, who is none other than God. Its vices, on the other hand, are when it transfers desire to ambition, to beauty of body, to avarice, to love of pleasure, and to other similar things. The virtues, again, of the affective faculty are hatred of sin, war upon the passions, bravery of soul, which is not afraid of what causes others to tremble with fear, but, on the contrary, it resists sin even to the point of incurring bloodshed, that of scorning all tortures and pains when it is fighting in behalf of faith and virtue. Its chief vices are envy, hatred of oneís neighbor, quarreling, quarrels, insults, grudges, malice, the revengeful disposition which has pulled many men down into murder and bloodshed. Thus instinctive affection which was given to man by God as auxiliary arm becomes a destructive arm in the hands of a man who misuses it.

 

2. These matters having, therefore, been discerned in the said manner, all sins that are attached to the ratiocinative faculty of the soul have been judged more harshly by the Fathers, and meriting greater and longer and more painfully laborious efforts to return: such as, for instance, if anyone has denied the belief in Christ, or has been guilty of embracing Judaism, or idolatry, or Mani-cheeism, or any other such evil, afterwards, when he has condemned himself for doing so, the duration of his repentance shall be that of his whole lifetime. For he shall never be allowed to pay adoration to God when a secret prayer is being performed together with the laity, but, on the contrary, he shall be obliged to pray alone and by himself, and he shall be utterly a stranger to the communion of the Sanctified Elements in general. At the time of his exit (from life], then shall he be considered to deserve a portion of the Sanctification. But if he should unexpectedly survive, again he shall be compelled to go through life in the same judgment and to continue expiating his sin, without being allowed any portion of the Sanctified Elements of the Mystic Supper until he departs from life. Those, of the opposite type, who have been seriously injured by torture and hard punishment, have been condemned only for an express length of time, so that the Holy Fathers, having thus bestowed their philanthropy upon them, on the ground that it is not a case of the soul dying in the body, but of the body failing to resist the injury inflicted upon it as a result of bodily weakness; wherefore they have been judged by the same standard as those guilty of fornication, and accordingly the forced and painful transgression has been accorded a moderate extenuation in the return.

Interpretation.

Having said in the preceding Canon what vices pertain to each part of the soul, the Saint now in the present Canon is dealing with the penalties fixed for the same vices. Accordingly, he says: That the Fathers deemed the sins of the ratiocinative faculty worse than those of the other parts of the soul, and consequently to deserve greater and more painful repentance and expiation. For example: If anyone has denied Christ and has become a Jew, or an idolater, or a Manichee, or anything else of this kind, and if he has done so of his own accord without being under any necessity or constrained by force to do so, that person, after returning again to piety (i.e., to the Orthodox religion), incurs a canon of repentance throughout the rest of his life, and shall never be able to pray together with the faithful in church, but only shall be allowed to pray outside the church along with catechumens, nor shall he be deemed worthy to partake of the divine Mysteries, save only at the end of his life; if, however, after being in peril of death he commune and thereafter regain his health, he will again come under the same canon (i.e., sentence) of being denied the right to commune to the end of his life. As for those, on the other hand, who have denied Christ as a result of torture and punishment, they have been canonized (i.e., sentenced) the same as fornicators by the Fathers, or, more expressly speaking, to be excluded from communion for nine years. For the Fathers treated them kindly because they did not deny as a matter of choice and of their own free will, but only as a result of the weakness of flesh, which could not endure the tortures. See c. XI of the 1st.

 

3. As for those who have gone to sorcerers, or to soothsayers, or to those persons who promise to effect purifications and aversions by the agency of demons, they are to be questioned with exactness and examined as to which of the two possibilities has led them to do so: whether it was that in spite of the foci that they persisted in their faith in Christ they were constrained by some necessity to that sin, by some harsh treatment or unbearable injury that impelled them to it, or it was due to their having contemptuously scorned the testimony which has been entrusted to us, that they had recourse to the alliance with demons. For if it was owing to their having set their faith aside and having disbelieved that God is the God adored by Christians, that they did it, then, that is to say, they shall be subject to the judgment inflicted upon transgressors. But if it was some unsupportable necessity that took control of their pusillanimity and led them to do this, and they were seduced into committing the offense by reason of some disappointment, or frustrated hope, then likewise philanthropy shall stand them in good stead, in like manner as in the case of those who were unable to withstand the tortures at the time of confession.

Interpretation.

The Saint canonizes in the Canon sorcery and divination, both of which offenses are sins of the ratiocinative faculty, by saying: Any persons that go to sorcerers and soothsayers, or to those who promise to purify them with the help and through the operation of demons from diseases or misfortunes or predicaments such as the evil eye, or any other evils they happen to be suffering, they ought to be asked, and if they insist that they believe in Christ, but that on account of some necessity arising from illness or from some great injury or loss they became faint-hearted and did this, thinking that they would thereby be relieved from these afflictions by means of divination or other magical means, they shall be canonized like those who denied Christ as a result of tortures, or, more expressly speaking, nine years. But if, on the other hand, they appear to have disregarded the belief in Christ and to have scorned Godís help as coming from the God adored by Christians, and to have resorted to the demonsí help, they are to be canonized like those who have willfully and voluntarily denied Christ. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

4. As for sins done for the satisfaction of desire and for pleasure, they are divided as follows: It has pleased some of the more accurate authorities, indeed, to deem the offense of fornication to be tantamount to adultery; for there is but one lawful state of matrimony and conjugal relationship, namely, that of wife to husband and of husband to wife. Everything, then, that is not lawful is unlawful at any rate, including even the case in which a man has no wife of his own, but has that of another man. For only one helper was given to man by God (Gen. 2:20), and only one head was set over woman. "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor," as divine Paul says (I Thess. 4:4-5), the law of nature permits the right use of it. But if anyone turns from his own, he will infringe upon anotherís in any case; but anotherís is whatever is not oneís own, even though its owner is not acknowledged. Hence it is evident that fornication is not far removed from the offense of adultery, as has been shown by those who give the question more accurate consideration, seeing that even the divine Scripture says: "Be not too intimate with another manís wife" (Prov. 5:20). Nevertheless, inasmuch as a certain concession was made by the Fathers in the case to weaker men, the offense has been distinguished on the basis of the following general division to the effect that whenever a man fulfills his desire without doing any injustice to another man, the offense is to be called fornication; but when it is committed by plotting against and injuring another man, it is to be called adultery. Copulation with the lower animals, too, and paederasty are considered to belong to this class of offenses, because they too are a sort of adultery, or in the nature of adultery. For the wrongfulness consists in infringing upon what belongs to another or acting contrary to nature. This division, then, having been made also in connection with this kind of sin, the general remedy for it consists in the marts becoming purified and being made pure as a result of regret for the passionate madness for such pleasures. But inasmuch as no injustice has been made admixed with the sin of those polluting themselves by fornication, therefore and on this score the length of time fixed for the return of those tainted by adultery has been double that fixed for the other forbidden evils. For, the penalty for copulation with lower animals and for the madness practiced upon males has been doubled, as I have said, because such cases involve one sin consisting in the enjoyment of a forbidden pleasure, and another sin consisting committing an injustice with what belongs to another man, after the manner of abusing another marts wife. The difference between cases testing upon repentance, and offenses committed for the sake of pleasure amounts to the following. For any man who on his own initiative and of his own accord proceeds to confess the sins, the mere fact that he has condescended on account of secret acts to become an accuser of himself as a result of an impulse of his own, is to be considered proof that the cure of the disease has already begun, and since he has shown a sign of improvement, he is entitled to kinder treatment. One, on the other hand, who has been caught in the act of perpetrating the offense, or who has been exposed involuntarily as a result of some suspicion or of some accusation, incurs an intensification of the penalty, when he returns; so that only after he has been purified accurately may he then be admitted to communion of the Sanctified Elements. The canon, therefore, is such that as for those who have polluted themselves by fornication, they are to pray along with kneelers for three years in a state of return, and are then to be allowed to partake of the Sanctified Elements. But in the case of those who have made better use of their reversion and life and are showing a return to what is good, it is permissible for the one entrusted with the management of the matter, with a view to what is of advantage to the ecclesiastical economy, to reduce the length of time of listening and to allow a quicker reversioní, and again he may even reduce the length of time and allow Communion to be administered sooner, as he may by actual test be persuaded to approve the condition of the person under treatment (Matt. 7:6). For precisely as it has been forbidden to throw a pearl to swine, so too it is a piece of absurdity the man in question of the most precious Pearl through indifference and insistence upon purity. A transgression committed after the manner of adultery, or, in other words, after the example of the other kinds of filthiness, as has been said previously, shall be treated in all respects in the same way of judgment as is the abominable sin of fornication, but the length of time shall be doubled. But the disposition of the person being treated shall be observed in regard thereto, in the same manner as in the case of those who have allowed themselves to be polluted by fornication, so that sooner or later they shall be allowed the privilege of partaking of the essence of the good.

Interpretation.

The Saint is decreeing in this Canon respecting penalties pertaining to the desiderative faculty in connection with sinful deeds, and first of all as respecting fornication, by stating that the more accurate and more discerning authorities say that fornication is considered to be regarded as adultery, and offer some such proof as the following. For, if adultery is a sin committed with a strange woman, by the same token fornication is to be regarded as a sin committed with a strange woman too and therefore is to be considered adultery. For there can be but one lawful conjugal relationship and coition of a woman with a man, and of a man with a woman, which takes place with his own body. Every other kind of sexual intercourse, besides this, is unlawful, and consequently is not had with oneís own body, but with a strange body, since in the beginning God gave man only one wife, and woman only one husband. And so, if one has a vessel of his own (as St. Paul says), or, in more express terms, a wife, he is allowed to have sexual intercourse with her; but if he has sexual intercourse with any other besides his own, then, of course, he is guilty of coition with a strange body, even though the latter has no definite and manifest owner. But it is apparent, however, that all these acts follow the course of fornication; so, according to this proof, is not far from being adultery, and indeed this agrees with what Solomon says: "Be not too intimate with a strange woman"; or, in other words, do not commit any breach of propriety with a strange woman, i.e., with a whore. Nevertheless, in spite of all these facts, the Fathers indulgently call the sin committed with any woman fornication, provided no other man has any right to exact revenge for the deed: this amounts to saying that when a man commits the sin with any unmarried woman it is fornication. Hence they canonized it more leniently than adultery, to nine years; that signifies that fornicators are sentenced to weep outside the narthex for three years, to listen for three years, and to kneel for three years, and thereafter to partake of communion (see also c. XXII of St. Basil). It is competent, however, to the spiritual physician to reduce the number of years of listening for those fornicators who repent more eagerly, as well as to reduce the number of years of kneeling, and to allow them to participate in the Mysteries sooner than they would be allowed to do without a commutation of their sentence, in accordance with his opinion of the disposition of the penitent. For, just as it is absurd for one to throw pearls, the holy mysteries, that is to say, to swine, to the impure, that is to say, who are not genuinely repentant, so and in like manner it is also absurd for one to deny the most precious Pearl, or, more expressly speaking, the body of Christ, to a man who has been purified through the process of repentance and abstention from the evil, and who has become reconverted from a swine into a human being. So much for fornication. As for adultery, sodomy, and bestiality, the Fathers canonized these sins doubly more than fornication, or, more expressly, each of them eighteen years, because the sin involved in them is also double. For, that is to say, adultery, besides the unlawful pleasure it affords, also inflicts an injustice upon the husband of the woman with whom the guilty man has committed the adultery, because he appropriated unjustly that husbandís own property, his wife, that is to say. As for sodomy, on the other hand, and bestiality (or sexual intercourse with beasts), in these too besides the unlawful pleasure they afford, there is an actual injustice done to what is strange or unnatural, or, more explicitly speaking, they violate the laws of nature, in that they are sins contrary to nature. The number of years for each of these sinful deeds has likewise been economically fixed like those for fornication, but doubly as many: that is to say, in other words, adulterers are to spend six years in weeping outside the church, and so are those guilty of sodomy and of bestiality; they are to listen for six years, and to kneel for six years more, and then they are to commune. Nevertheless, the disposition of such persons has to be observed by the spiritual father, as is also that of fornicators, so that, if they repent more willingly and more eagerly, he may allow them the sooner to partake of communion; but if they revert more negligently, he may not allow to them the right to commune even later than the eighteen years. The general medical treatment both of fornicators and of adulterers and of sodomists and of bestialists is to have them abstain entirely from such pleasures as these and to repent. But there is also a difference in the manner of the confession made by such sinners as these. For the one who of his own accord goes and confesses is canonized more philanthropically and more lightly, owing to the fact he himself has seen fit to accuse himself, and to show a sign of change for the better; whereas the one who formerly denied his guilt, but was later convicted of sinning, whether as a result of a suspicion, or as a result of accusations lodged against him by others, he is canonized more heavily and sentenced to a much longer time, to a greater number of years. See also cc. XVI and XX of Ancyra, and c. VII of St. Basil, and c. XII of the 1st, which provides that leniency shall be adjusted to correspond with the repentance shown by the sinner.

 

5. It remains in addition to these considerations to submit the affective faculty of the soul to an examination when, after disregarding the obligation to make good use of the instinct, it falls into sin. There being many influences involved in the sin with respect to the instinct; and of all evils it somehow pleased our Fathers among other things not to insist upon accuracy of speech, nor to deem it to be worth much endeavor to treat all the offenses stemming from the instinct of anger, though as a matter of fact the Bible not only prohibits merely striking a man, but also every vituperation or blasphemy, and whatever else of the kind is due to the instinct of anger (Col. 3:8; Eph. 4:31). But it is only as regarding the felony of murder that it provided a deterrent in the way of penalties. It divided this kind of evil by differentiating voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, in this respect it is a case of voluntary murder first when it is one which has occurred by premeditation on the part of the person who designed it in such a manner as to commit a felony: afterwards that murder also was considered voluntary which is done by a man hitting and being hit during a fight, when he inflicts a mortal blow upon another man. For once a man has come under the control of his instinct (of anger), and gives way to the impulse of wrath, he takes no heed of any of the considerations which might check the evil tendency in time of passion, so that the result of the fight of murder is to be ascribed to a work of choice, and not to any failure of efforts. Cases of involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, are marked by manifest characteristics, as when one has his mind on something else and does a fatal act through failure to pay attention to the situation. In regard, therefore, to these cases, the sentence for voluntary murder is prolonged to treble the length of time as touching persons who in connection with their reversion are being treated for the voluntary felony. For it amounts to thrice nine years, a space of nine years being allotted with respect to each degree, so that in a case of complete excommunication the person affected has to remain shut out of church entirely for nine years, and to stay in the position of listener for nine more years, being allowed to listen only to the teachers and to the reading of the Scriptures; during the third series of nine years he is to keep praying along with kneelers in reversion; and thus in the end to become entitled to partake of the Sanctified Elements of the Transessentiation. It goes without saying that in connection with such a murder too the same observation of the guilty one shall be made by the minister in charge of the economical management of the church, and the prolongation of his sentence shall be commuted in proportion to the measure of his reversion, so that instead of nine years with respect to each degree, he may be allowed to do only eight, or seven, or six, or five, provided that the magnitude of his reversion eclipses the time, so that he surpasses in point of endeavoring to mend his ways those who are cleansing themselves more indolently from their disgraceful stains over a long span of years. As for the involuntary felony, it has been deemed pardonable, though by no means praiseworthy. I said this in order to make it plain that even though one may involuntarily incur the taint of murder, on the score that he has already been made profane by the felony, the Canon has declared him to have forfeited priestly grace. The same length of time required for purification from mere fornication is also required in the case of those who have been guilty of murdering anyone involuntarily, as has been found right by actual trial and test, that is to say, more plainly speaking, by trying and testing the mental attitude of the penitent in connection with these matters: so that if the reversion obtains the appearance of plausible credibility, the number of years should not be maintained unabated, but for the sake of commutation the penitant should be restored to the Church and to the right to partake of the essence of the great boon involved in the Mystery of the Sanctification of the Holy Elements. But if anyone departs from life without having fulfilled the time fixed by the Canons for the expiation of his sin, the philanthropy of the Fathers bids that after partaking of the Sanctified Elements, he shall not be sent off to that last and faraway abode without being provided with the requisite viaticum. But if after partaking of the Sanctified Elements, he returns to life again, he shall await the fixed length of time, after succeeding to that degree in which he was before Communion was administered to him necessarily.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees with regard to the penalties for sinful deeds of the third, or affective, faculty of the soul, by saying that as for other sins stemming from the affective faculty, the Fathers did not deem it reasonable to go into details, and consequently they took no pains to affix penalties to so many different sins of this faculty (even in spite of the fact that the Bible prohibits not only a mere blow, but also every vituperation and blasphemy, and whatever else of this kind is begotten of the instinct of anger), but it penalized only murder. Murder is divided into two kinds: one is that which is willful and voluntary; the other is that which is involuntary and against the will. Voluntary murder is that which is committed when anyone kills a human being after premeditation and preparation; it is also a case of voluntary murder when anyone fighting with another person, and hitting and being hit, deals a mortal blow in a vulnerable and dangerous spot. For that man who has once been overcome by anger, no longer can reflect and consider what part is dangerous and what part is safe. Hence a murder resulting from such a fight as this is voluntary and willful, and not involuntary. The signs of involuntary murder are, for instance, when one intent upon doing something else, happens, without so wishing, to commit a murder; as, for instance, while one is throwing a stone at a tree in order to knock off fruit, a man happens to be passing by, and it kills him. So one who has committed voluntary murder is canonized to thrice nine, or twenty-seven, years; of these the first nine years are to be spent among the weepers while standing outside the door of the narthex; the next nine among the penitents listening to the divine Scriptures; and the last nine among the kneelers; and then he may commune. Nevertheless, the spiritual physician according to the eager repentance of the murderer ought to take care to reduce the number of years of the sentence he has incurred, so that the nine years allotted to each rank, that of weeping, that is to say, and that of listening, and that of kneeling, are commuted to eight, or seven, or six, or five only, if the murderer, that is to say, with the magnitude of his repentance defeats the long length of time involved in the sentences, and being canonized to a smaller number of years, produces fruits of repentance more than those produced by persons canonized to longer terms. Such a person, however, forfeits his connection with the priesthood (or, in other words, anyone who murders a man, even though involuntarily and against his own will, and who is a layman withal, cannot become a priest; or if he is a priest, he is deposed from office) and is canonized nine years after the manner of a fornicator. But if the repentance of this man is genuine and eager, the spiritual father will canonize him to a smaller number of years, and will sooner allow him to commune. Note, however, that if anyone among the penitents is in danger of dying, before he has completed the years of his canon, he is allowed by the philanthropy of the Fathers to commune, in order to avoid leaving him destitute of the viaticum of the Mysteries, which greatly conduces to that long journey through death. But if he recovers, he is to be kept excluded from communion and doing the years of his sentence from the point where he left off before communing. See Ap. c. LXVI, cc. XII and XIII of the 1st, and the plan of the Temple.

 

6. As for the other kind of idolatry (for that is what the divine Apostle calls greediness), I know not how it was overlooked by the Fathers and left without a remedy, though it seems that such an evil is an ailment of the third state of the soul (Col. 3:5). This is all the more inexcusable in view of the fact that when reason begins to fail in judging about what is beautiful, and imagines beauty to reside in matter, failing to look up at the immaterial beauty, and his desire flows downwards, flowing away from that which is truly desirable, and the quarrelsome and mettlesome disposition takes many occasions from such a cause, and speaking on the whole, such a disease as this agrees with the Apostleís definition of greediness. For the divine Apostle not only calls it "idolatry," but also "the root of all evils" (I Tim. 6:10). And yet this particular species of disease was overlooked and left out of consideration and neglected. That is why this disease is rampant in the churches, and no one scrutinizes the men being admitted to the Clergy, to see whether perchance they have been defiled by such a species of idolatry. But as respects these matters, on account of the fact that they escaped the notice of our Fathers, we deem it sufficient for purposes of public discourse in the way of teaching, so far as it may be possible to remedy the situation, to regard it precisely as when we are cleansing anyone from plethoric greedy ailments. Theft, and grave-robbing, and sacrilege are the only offenses that we deem a disease because of the fact that they have been thus labeled by the Fathers in the tradition handed down to us concerning them, although in the Bible greed and the charging of interest on loans are among the things that are prohibited, and the practice of adding things to oneís own estate that belong to some other person by taking advantage of oneís power and ability to oppress others, even though this be done under the pretext of business. Since, therefore, our view has no claim to the authority of Canons, and does not deserve to be believed as such, we shall proceed at once to add the canonical judgment in regard to things that have admittedly been prohibited. Theft is divided into robbery and grave-robbing. In both cases the object is the same, that of taking what belongs to others. In their opinion, however, there is a great difference between the two. For a robber will take even foul murder into alliance for the purpose in hand, and preparing for this very thing, with weapons, and with many hands, and with opportune places, so that such an offender is liable to the same judgment as the murderer of a man, if as a result of regret he brings himself back to the Church of God. As for one who eludes observation when appropriating things belonging to others by filching them,, but afterwards in the course of confession reveals his own misdeed to the priest, he shall treat the ailment by concentrating his attention upon what is opposed to the disease. I mean that by giving what he has to the indigent, in order that by disposing of what he visibly owns he may cleanse himself of the disease of greediness. But if he possesses nothing, and has only his body, the Apostle bids him to cure such a disease by bodily toil. The words of the passage in question run as follows: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him toil by doing what is good, in order that he may have something to give to him that is in want" (Eph. 4:28).

Interpretation.

After stating the penalties attached to the sinful deeds of each particular faculty of the soul separately, the Saint now speaks also about greediness, which is called "idolatry" by St. Paul and which can be found in all three of the soulís faculties. It is found in the ratiocinative faculty, because reason, failing to discern what thing is truly beautiful or fine, and not looking at immaterial beauty, thinks that the matter composing gold and silver is what is really beautiful and fine. It is found in the de-siderative faculty, because desire is fixed upon earthly profits, and leaves aside that which is really desirable, God, that is to say. It is also found in the effective faculty, because many fits of anger and fights are caused by greediness. In a word, the Apostle by defining greediness as the root of all evils provided a definition of it that is consonant with and suited to the thing itself. I do not know, however, why such a great vice remained unnoticed and unpenalized by the Fathers. On that account it is rampant among ecclesiastics, and none of the men about to be ordained is examined as to whether he has been polluted with this kind of idolatry. But inasmuch as greed, as we have said, has been left unpenalized by the Fathers, therefore we too content ourselves with purification from this ailment with the sermons preached in Church, like so many plethoric diseases (the word plethora is a medical term to denote the condition of the body when there is an excessive abundance of the four humors of the body, namely, yellow gall, phlegm, blood, and black gall; consequently the ailments resulting from such an overabundance are called plethoric diseases); and we penalize only theft, the opening of graves, and sacrilege, because the Fathers too penalized only these offenses; in spite of the fact that greed, or, more explicitly speaking, the practice of taking more of any species, except money and interest on money, than what one gives, and the practice of grabbing despotically the property of others, even though one employs this form of plunder under the pretext of business, ó these things, I say, are all prohibited by the Holy Bible. We would, indeed, have penalized them with a Canon if only we had the authority to promulgate a Canon (for this is the office of the Council, and see the Prolegomena in general concerning Canons); hence we only state the canonical penalty provided by the Fathers for the said three sins. So, then, let it be said that theft is divided into robbery, or open theft, and that which is done on the sly. Both of these forms of theft have one and the same aim, to take the property of a stranger. They differ, however, in the respect that robbers are generally ready to commit murders, and they make off with many persons with the aid of arms and of other men, and waylay persons in narrow and dangerous places. Wherefore they are also canonized as murderers when they repent. But the secret thief, if he confesses the theft by himself, will be canonized to give his property to the poor, if he has any, and then be treated medically. But if he possesses no property, he must labor with his toil and give to those who are in want, as St. Paul says. Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him labor, in order to have something to give to one who is in want. See also c. III of Neocaesarea.

 

7. As for grave-robbing, this too is divided into pardonable and unpardonable. For if anyone, sparing devoutness, leaves the buried body untouched, so as to prevent the nakedness of its nature from being shown up to the sun, and employs the stones placed in the grave for the purpose of a work of some kind, though neither is this anything meriting praise, yet custom has made it pardonable, when the transference of the material results in something preferable and more beneficial to the community. But to search through the dust from the flesh which has been turned into humus, and to disarrange the bones, in the hope of recovering some jewelry that may have been buried together with the dead person and of profiting by it, is an offense which has been condemned to the same judgment as plain fornication, as has been explicated in the preceding discourse, the econome, that is to say, having the obligation to ascertain the proper treatment of the offender by investigating his life, so as to commute the duration of the penalty fixed by the Canons.

Interpretation.

Grave-robbing, or the opening of graves, is divided into two kinds too, like theft, according to the present Canon, to wit, into pardonable and into unpardonable grave-robbing. For if the fellow opening the grave does not denude the dead personís body, thus refraining from dishonoring (for that is what is meant by the expression "sparing devoutness") the dead, but only takes the stones found in the grave, in order to use them in the building of any other work that is preferable and more beneficial to the community, though this too is by no means anything to be praised, yet custom has made it pardonable. But if the fellow stirs up and disarranges the soil and the bones of the corpse in order to get possession of any ornament or raiment, or of anything made of gold or silver, that was buried together with the corpse, he is to be canonized as a fornicator, or, more expressly, nine years. But the spiritual physician has permission, in accordance with the life and repentance of the one who committed this sin, to reduce the number of years specified in the sentence indicated. See also c. LXVI of St. Basil.

 

8. As for sacrilege, in the Old Testament it was regarded as deserving nothing short of the condemnation inflicted for murder. For both the one who was arrested for murder (Joshua, ch. 7) and the one who took things dedicated to God suffered alike the punishment of being stoned to death. In the matter of ecclesiastical custom, however, I know not how there has been adopted a more lenient attitude and a certain indulgence, so that purification from such a disease has come to be deemed more tolerable. For the tradition of the Fathers has prescribed a sentence for such offenders that amounts to less time than is allotted as the sentence for adultery. But it is everywhere the practice to look upon this offense in the aspect of a misdemeanor, above all with consideration for the sort of disposition shown by the delinquent when he is undergoing treatment, and not to presume the time sufficient for a cure (for what cure is ever the result of time?), but to depend upon the individual will in the reverter to cure himself. Having extemporized these observations from the facts at hand, O man of God. at the cost of much endeavor and earnest application for thy benefit, because of the obligation to heed the requests of brethren, we have made haste to send them on to thee in this epistle; as for thee, make thee the usual prayers to God in our behalf without fail. For thou owest a debt, as a grateful son, to the one who begot thee after the manner of God, to take care of him in his old age by means of prayers, in accordance with commandment bidding to "honor parents, in order that thou may be fortunate and may live on earth for many long years" (Exod. 20:12). It is plain, though, that thou wilt accept the letter written to thee as a priestly symbol, and not dishonor this token of friendship, even if it should be something smaller than thy great genius.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that sacrilege, or, more explicitly speaking, the act of stealing things dedicated to God, was punished in the Old Testament on a parity with murder, because both the murderer and the sacrilegist (as may be seen from the history of the man named Achar (according to the Septuagint spelling; but in English spelled "Achan"), who stole part of the booty taken from Jericho and dedicated to God (Joshua 7:1), and who for this reason was stoned to death along with all his family (Joshua, ch. 7; see also the Interpretation of the 4th c. of Gregory the Miracle-worker): both of them were stoned to death alike. But the custom of the Church to be lenient has canonized such sin more lightly than adultery, just as the tradition of the Fathers has prescribed. Having made these assertions, the Saint goes on to add that in regard to every kind of sinful deed the spiritual physician ought to bethink himself and reflect as to what sort of disposition the penitent has; and not to think that the length of time alone is sufficient for a cure and that the long sentence (since what sort of cure can be expected to result merely from the length of sentences, if the sentenced sinner continues to live negligently and carelessly during that space of time, and refuses to be corrected?): but, on the contrary, let him consider that what really causes a cure is the free will and eagerness of the sinner who is treating himself remedially by the process of repentance. Having finished this epistle, the Saint tells Latoius to pray for him to the Lord, as his spiritual son, and to accept the epistle as a friendly, not as a worldly, gift, i.e., not such a one as people were wont to send on the occasion of Easter, but a divine one and one befitting priests. See also Ap. c. LXXII.

 

 

Saint Gregory the Theologian.

 

Prolegomena.

Gregory the Theologian was a contemporary of Basil the Great, and was ordained by him Bishop of Sasima. Upon leaving Sasima he undertook the care of the Church in Nazianzus, in his own fatherland, in obedience to the father Gregory. In the year 378 he was sent to Constantinople by the Council convened in Antioch, in order to take assiduous care of the Orthodox. After resigning the presidency of the Imperial City which had been entrusted to him by Theodosius the Great, he came before the Second Ecumenical Council, to Arianzon, a town near Nazianzus (also there), having versified many poetical compositions, in the year 391 after Christ, his age being, according to Fabricius, 91 when he terminated the perishable life. The edition of his works that was published in Paris appears to be the best. Notwithstanding the fact that the second c. of the Sixth Ecumenical Council confirmed all his works, these are the only ones found in the Pandects, which in herois verses state what books of the Old and of the New Testament are accepted Scripture, whereof we have inserted some here:

Herois Verses of Gregory the Theologian Concerning what Books are Accepted Scripture.

"Be not disposed to treat books with the mind of thief,

For there are many pieces of viciousness interpolated therein.

"Accept this number, my friend, from me as the approved list:

Of historical books there are but twelve all told;

"They are the products of the most ancient Hebrew wisdom.

The first one is Genesis, then comes Exodus, then Leviticus,

"Followed by Numbers, next by Deuteronomy, or the Second Law,

After which come Joshua, and Judges, and Ruth, which is the eighth;

"The ninth and tenth books are the Acts of the Kings;

Then come the two Chronicles, and lastly thou hast Ezra.

"The poetical books are five, of which the first is Job,

The next is David, followed by the three books of Solomon,

"Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and Proverbs.

And five likewise are of a prophetic spirit.

"One book in Scripture is formed of twelve as follows:

Hosea, and Amos, and Micah, which is the third one;

"Afterwards come Joel, then Jonah, and then Obadiah;

The next ones are Νahum, and Habakkuk, and Zephaniah;

"The last three of them are Haggai, and Zechariah, and Malachi.

These forming one book, the second book is Isaiah.

"Afterwards comes the one called Jeremiah in his infancy,

Next thereafter Ezekiel, and the grace of Daniel.

"Of the ancient Scripture 1 have listed twenty-two books;

These writings of the Hebrews are opposed by twenty-two others.

"Now let us count those of the New Mystery:

Matthew wrote the miracles of Christ to the Hebrews.

"Mark wrote them to Italy, Luke to Achaias,

And to all men John the great preacher who visited heaven.

"Afterwards come the Acts of the wise Apostles,

Ten books are Paulís, and so are four Epistles.

"There are seven Epistles Catholic, of which that of James is one,

Two are those of Peter, and three are those of John again.

"The seventh is that of Jude, and thou hast them all.

If any be found outside of these, they are not genuine."

Interpretation.

These verses require neither interpretation nor explanation. Since, as we have said, they contain nothing else than which books we ought to accept as genuine in the Old Testament, and which ones in the New, in order to avoid being deceived and accepting spurious books as genuine, and as a result thereof having our soul injured. Note, however, that in many places these verses are not correct in point of meter; but we have printed them in the same form as we found them. And see Ap. c. LXXXV, where we discuss these books in greater detail.

 

St. Amphilochius.

Prolegomena.

St. Amphilochius lived during the reigns of the Emperors Valentinian and Valens, in A.D. 374, and he shone in asceticism and divine knowledge. He became Bishop of Iconium. And he also served as a defender of the divinity of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For he was present at the holy Second Ecumenical Council, being one of the hundred and fifty Fathers attending it, and fighting against Macedonius the Pneumatomach (i.e., opponent of the Spirit) and the remnants of Arius. In the comic drama which he employed with effect upon the Emperor Theodosius the Great, whom he approved, and upon his son Arcadius, who had been newly ordained Emperor, and whom he disapproved, according to Theodoret or according to Sozomen, by saying to his son, "Rejoice, Ο Son,Ē and at the same time shaking his finger at him, he persuaded the said Emperor to adopt a law that thenceforth heretics, including Arians and Macedonians, should not be allowed to hold any councils, nor to engage in any debates concerning the essence and nature of God, and that whoever should violate that law should be punished. When this Saint asked a question, Basil the Great replied to him by sending him the twenty-seven chapters concerning the Holy Spirit. Notwithstanding the fact that c. II of the 6th Ecumenical C. confirmed all the written works of this Saint, yet since only these lines, prescribing what books are genuine, are to be found in the Pandects, they are all we include. They are as follows:

Verses of St. Amphilochius addressed to Seleucus,

Concerning which books are Accepted Scripture.

"Nevertheless, there is another thing thou oughtest to learn

"More than anything else. That not every book is safe,

"Though possessing the venerable name of Scripture.

"For there are, there are indeed at times books

"With a false title, some of them being middle ground and,

"So to speak, neighbors bordering upon the word of truth.

"Others again are spurious and exceeding misleading,

"Like decorations hung on the breast and counterfeit coins

"Which bear the inscription of the Emperor, true enough,

"But which are proved to be counterfeit by their materials.

"Since thou hast the grace to ask which books are God-inspired,

"Thus shalt thou learn clearly each book in order.

"I will tell thee those of the Old Testament:

"The Pentateuch, comprising Genesis, or Creation, then Exodus,

"And containing the Book of Leviticus in the middle;

"After which come Numbers, and then The Second Book of Laws.

"Add to these Joshua and the Judges.

"Afterwards Ruth and the four books of the Kings.

"Following these come at least the two books of Chronicles.

"Next thereafter the first and the second of Ezra.

Ď ĎNext I will tell thee five poetical books.

"That of Job, who was crowned with achievements, suffering much,

"The Book of Psalms, full of songs to benefit souls;

"Three books of Solomon the Wise, comprising Proverbs,

"Ecclesiastes, and another the Song of Songs.

"Right now to these Prophets add the twelve I name:

"Hosea first, then Amos second,

"Micah, Joel, Obadiah, and the type

"Of the three daysí passion called Jonah;

ď Νahum, and after him Habakkuk; then the ninth

"Zephaniah; and nextly Haggai and Zechariah;

"And finally the angel of two names Malachi.

"After whom thou shall learn the four great Prophets,

"Namely, Isaiah the great speaker who speaks out boldly,

"Jeremiah, who is sympathetic and mystical,

"Ezekiel; and last of all of them Daniel,

"The same who is wisest in deeds and words.

"In addition to these some approve of Esther.

"Of the New Testament now let me tell thee the books.

"Accept only four Evangelists, and none other ones;

"Namely: Matthew, then Mark, and third after these Luke,

"Count close, take time, and add to these three

"As the fourth one John, but first in sublimity of dogmas;

"For I naturally and fitly call him a son of thunder,

" Who in speech has sounded loudest and greatest to God.

"But accept also the second book of Luke, namely,

"That of the catholic Acts of the Apostles.

"Thereupon add the Ď chosen vessel,í

"The preacher and Apostle to the heathen nations,

"Paul, who wrote wisely to the Churches

"Twice seven Epistles, and to the Romans one.

"To the latter one must conjoin two to the Corinthians,

"That to the Galatians, and that to the Ephesians;

"After which that to the Philippians, that written

"To the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians,

"And one each to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon;

"Besides which the one wrongly called spurious

"To the Hebrews, for the grace of it is genuine.

"Well. What about the Epistles Catholic?

"Some say there are seven of them, and some only three.

"We must accept that of James as one;

"That of Peter as one, of those of John one,

"Though some say the three of them, and in addition thereto

"They accept the two of Peter, and that of Jude as the seventh.

"As for the Book of Revelation of John again,

"Some approve it, but at least a majority call it spurious.

"This should be a most truthful canon of the God-inspired Scriptures."

Interpretation.

Neither do these verses need any interpretation, since they are nothing but an enumeration of the genuine and true books of the Old and of the New Testament. In the beginning, though, he adduces an example to show that just as there are many pieces of money bearing the imperial seal that are not pure, but counterfeit and alloyed with a large portion of copper, so and in like manner there are many books called Scripture, true enough, but in reality spurious and heretical. Note that these verses too in many places are not correct in point of meter; but we have inserted them just as we found them. See also Ap. c. LXXXV. As regards the fact that there are two books called the Revelation of John, one of them genuine and the other spurious, see Ap. c. LX.

 

Timothy of Alexandria.

Prolegomena.

Timothy of Alexandria flourished in the reign of Emperor Valens, about A.D. 372. Having become the successor of his brother Peter, who had been exiled by Valens on account of the Nicene creed, he was made Archbishop of Alexandria, becoming the twenty-fourth in the line of bishops of Alexandria. He became an extreme defender of the dogma of co-essentially. At the Second Ecumenical Council, which was convoked in the year 381, the blissful man was present and proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Seven years after the holding of the Second Ecumenical Council he went to sleep in the Lord, leaving Theophilus as successor of Alexandria. He wrote the life history of many wonderful ascetics, especially the life of Abbot Apollo, but most importantly also the present Canons in the form of questions and answers, which are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 7th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th Ecumenical Council; and by virtue of this confirmation they acquire what in a way amounts to ecumenical force. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, and in volume I of the Conciliar Records, p. 352.

Canons.

1. Question: If a child of say seven years of age, or any adult person, find an opportunity at any place, when the offering is being made, and unwittingly communes while he is a catechumen, what ought to be done about him ?

Answer: He ought to be enlightened. For he has been called by God.

Interpretation.

Having been asked, in case a child or even an adult, while still a catechumen, should happen at an opportune time, when a liturgy is being held in any church, to commune, not out of contempt, but not knowing that catechumens ought not to commune before they are baptized, when asked, I say, about this, the divine Father answers that such a person ought to be baptized (the word "enlightened" being generally used in this sense in Greek), since he has been called to this by God. For it appears to be a call from God that neither the Christians present there nor the priest himself who administered communion to him should deny communion to such person: it might be too that they failed to note at the time that he was a catechumen, notwithstanding that they knew him before. See also Footnote 1 to c. II of the 1st.

 

2. Question: If a person possessed of demons is a catechumen, and he himself wishes, or his own people want him, to receive holy baptism, ought he to receive it, or not, and especially if he be at the point of death?

Answer: Unless a person possessed of demons be cleansed from the unclean spirit, he cannot receive holy baptism. He may be baptized at the time of his exit (from life).

Interpretation.

Though every unbaptized catechumen is unclean, because he has in him the uncleanness of the original sin, and has an evil spirit which burrows in his heart, and, acting hiddenly in the depth of his soul, prompts him to sin, yet in a pre-eminent way that unbaptized catechumen is considered unclean who is also manifestly energized by a demon. For it would appear that on account of willful sins he gave leave or occasion to the demon to energize him thus openly and manifestly and to harass him. For this reason when this Saint was asked whether a person manifestly possessed of demons in such a manner might be baptized, he answered that he may not until he has been duly cleansed, or, more explicitly speaking, until he has been freed from the manifest influence of the demon: for one thing, because he himself through his willful sins caused the demon to energize him in that fashion; and for another thing, in order to preclude his coming under the power of the demon while he is being baptized, in which, being deprived of his wits, he would not know how to answer the questions put to him at baptism, and in consequence he would fail to grasp and comprehend the grace and power of the Mystery. If, however, such a person is in danger of dying, says the Saint, he may be baptized, lest life depart from him without his having the seal of divine baptism and he be deprived on this account of the kingdom of heaven. Read also Ap. c. LXXIX.

 

3. Question: If anyone who is a believer is possessed of a demon, ought he to partake of the Holy Mysteries, or not?

Answer: If he does not repudiate the Mystery, nor otherwise in any way blaspheme, let him have communion, not, however, every day in the week; for it is sufficient for him on the Lordís day only.

Interpretation.

Having been asked whether a person possessed of a demon ought to partake of the divine Mysteries, the Saint answers in the present Canon that he may partake of communion, to be sure, though not every day in the week, but only on the Lordís day, according to Aristenus and Armeno-poulos (Section 5, heading 2, of the Epitome of the Canons), or (according to others) at those times when he is not being controlled by the demon, and provided that when he is in his senses and sober he does not blaspheme the divine Mysteries, nor repudiate them, or, more explicitly speaking, does not, for instance, assert that they are nothing but common bread and wine, because he does not believe that they are really and truly Body and Blood of Christ; so that the Saint is speaking here of a person who though possessed of a demon is not energized by the latter continuously, but only now and then, or on and off, at intervals of time, according to Balsamon and Zonaras, in their interpretation of Ap. c. LXXIX, which you may read for yourself.

 

4. Question: If any catechumen, while ill, becomes out of his mind, and is unable to confess the faith, and his own people beg to have him receive holy baptism while he is still alive, ought he to receive it, or not!

Answer: He ought to receive it if he is not influenced by an unclean spirit.

Interpretation.

The Saint has been asked whether a catechumen ought to be baptized who has become so ill that as a result of his illness he has gone out of his mind (as happens in most cases to those who are suffering from the plague), and he himself cannot answer by himself the usual questions asked at baptism, while his relatives, seeing him in that condition, beg to have him baptized, because, though even then, on account of his illness, he cannot confess the faith and ask for baptism, yet by reason of his having been in time to become a catechumen he has thereby shown that he wishes and would like to accept the Christian faith and baptism of his own free will and by his own choice, and especially when before the illness he had been asking for baptism, yet for certain reasons had postponed it, as Zonaras says in his interpretation of c. LII of Carthage. Nevertheless, if perchance it was while he was being energized by a demon that he went out of his mind, he must not be baptized until he has been cleansed, as we said previously. Read also Ap. c. LXXIX and c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

5. Question: If a woman has coition with her husband during the night, or, as likely as not, a man with his wife, and a church meeting ensues, ought they to partake of communion, or not!

Answer: They ought not to do so, because the Apostle says emphatically: "Deprive yourselves not of each other, unless it be for a time by agreement, that ye may give yourselves leisure to pray, and then come ye again together, to avoid having Satan tempt you on account of your failure to mingle" (I Cor. 7:5).

Interpretation.

To one who had asked whether a married couple ought to partake of the divine Mysteries, when a liturgy is held in the morning, and they have had sexual intercourse with each other during the night immediately preceding, the Saint replied in the present Canon that they ought not to commune; and in witness thereof he cites the words of the Apostle, who orders married couples not to deprive one party the other of sexual intercourse, save by agreement of both the parties; and only then not to have sexual intercourse when a sacred liturgy is being celebrated, on Saturday and Sunday, and in general on all feast days, so that they may partake of communion (for it is thus that the passage saying "that ye may give yourselves leisure to pray" is interpreted in c. XIII of this same Saint as well as in the third Canon of St. Dionysius, both of which Canons you may read for yourself), and again to mingle carnally, and to do this on account of their irrestrainable desire, to prevent Satan from tempting them by inciting them to commit fornication or to commit adultery with wives of other men or husbands of other women, as the case may be.

 

6. Question: If a woman who is a catechumen has given her name in order to be enlightened, and on the day appointed for the baptism she incurs the plight which regularly afflicts women, ought she to be enlightened on that day, or defer, and how long ought she to defer?

Answer: She ought to defer, until she has been purified.

Interpretation.

Catechumens, whether men or women, who were about to be baptized, used to be entered by name some days in advance in a list for convenience by the supervisors of the churches, and were then called by way of distinction photizomenoi or photizomenai, according as they were men or women, respectively, which terms mean in Greek "persons who are in process of being enlightened, i.e., of being baptized," and also eclectoi or eclectai, respectively, meaning "elect," i.e., chosen for members of the Christian society and of the (future) kingdom of Christ (and see c. XIV of the 1st). And so from then on they used to get ready for holy baptism with greater yearning and effort than they had been wont to put forth previously when they were catechumens. These facts having been thus stated or premised, the Saint replies in the present Canon that if any woman enter her name in this manner and gets ready for baptism, but on that day on which she expected to be baptized she has the usual trouble of women that is peculiar to her sex, then that woman ought not to be baptized on that day, but instead ought to defer, or postpone the date, until she has been purified from her trouble. See also c. II of Dionysius.

 

7. Question: If a woman finds herself in the plight peculiar to her sex, ought she to come to the Mysteries on that day, or not?

Answer: She ought not to do so, until she has been purified.

Interpretation.

Likewise as in the above Canon, the present Canon decrees that a woman must not partake of the divine Mysteries on the days on which she is troubled by the plight pertaining to her sex, but only to partake thereof when she has been purified from it. See also c. II of Dionysius.

 

8. Question: If a woman give birth on Easter, does she have to fast, and not to drink any wine, or is she released from the fasting and from the obligation mot to drink any wine, on account of her having given birth to a child?

Answer: Fasting was devised in order to humble the body. If, therefore, the body is already in a state of humbleness and illness or weakness, the person ought to partake of as much as he or she may wish and be able to get along with food and drink.

Interpretation.

Upon being asked whether a woman ought to be allowed to break her fast and to drink wine when she bears a child during the Great Lent preceding Easter, according to Balsamon and Blastaris, this Father replies that she must be allowed to do so, since fasting is done for the purpose of humbling and bridling the body, but if perchance the body is already humbled and weak, the person may eat as much food and consume as much drink as will support him in his illness and enable him to recover. See also Ap. c. LXIX.

 

9. Question: Whether a Clergyman ought to pray when Arians or other heretics are present, or it does not matter, at a time when he himself is making the prayer, that is to say, the offering?

Answer: In the divine anaphora, or offering, the Deacon addresses before the embrace the congregation, saying: "Those of ye who are not in communion, Take a walk." There ought not, therefore, to be any persons present such as those mentioned, unless they promise to repent and to leave the heresy.

Interpretation.

This Father had been asked whether a priest ought to perform the offering of the bloodless sacrifice when Arians and heretics in general are present, and he replied that at the time of the divine rite the deacon calls out that all persons who are catechumens should step outside of the temple, by saying to them: "All ye who are catechumens step out" (for that is what is meant by the words "Those of ye who are not in communion, Take a walk."). So if no catechumen are allowed to stand in the church at the time when the divine liturgy is being celebrated, much less are heretics, unless they promise to repent and to leave the heresy. Nevertheless, even then again they ought not to be allowed to stay within the temple proper, but ought to be compelled to stand outside with the catechumens. But if they will not make any such promise, they ought not to be allowed to stand even with the catechumens, but, on the contrary, they ought to be chased away, according to Balsamon.

10. Question: If anyone is ill and emaciated very much as a result of long illness, and he comes to holy Easter, ought he to fast without fail, or may the Clergyman release him and let him take any food he can, or even olive oil and wine, on account of his severe illness!

Answer: The sick person ought to be released and to be allowed to partake of food and drink so far as he is able to do so. For it is only just and right to let a person that has once become emaciated to partake of olive oil.

Interpretation.

When this divine Father was asked whether anyone very III and excessively withered as a result of long illness ought in the midst of the Lent of Easter to be compelled necessarily to fast, by abstaining from wine and olive oil, like the healthy, or whether he might be allowed to eat olive oil and to drink wine on account of his severe illness, he replied that such a person ought to be allowed sufficient food and drink to enable him to bear up under his illness, just as any God-fearing physician would prescribe, because it is only right that a person utterly withered by illness ought to be allowed to eat olive oil. See also Ap. c. LXIX.

 

11. Question: If anyone calls a Clergyman to celebrate a wedding, but is told that the marriage is an unlawful one, or an avuncular marriage, or, that is to say, that it is one in which the sister of a dead wife is about to be married, whether the Clergyman ought to consent, or to make an offering!

Answer: Once, you said. If a Clergyman hears that a wedding is unlawful, well, then, if the marriage is one that is unlawful, of course the Clergyman ought not to participate in sins of other persons.

Interpretation.

When the Saint was asked whether a certain priest who has been summoned to bless a wedding and afterwards learns that this marriage is unlawful (perhaps because the man is about to take to wife his aunt (i.e., his sister-in-law, or the sister of his dead wife, which is the same as saying that he wishes to take two sisters to wife, or some other relative), whether that priest ought to bless them, or to conduct a liturgy ó having been asked these questions, I say, the Saint replies in the present Canon that if a priest learns that a marriage is unlawful, he ought neither to bless the couple nor to conduct divine services, and consequently he himself ought not have anything to do with sins of others, that is, with their unlawful wedding, and with the penalties incurred by a priest who has celebrated such a marriage.

 

12. Question: If a layman who has had a wet dream ask a Clergyman to let him partake of communion, ought the Clergyman to administer communion to him, or not?

Answer: If it is a case of desiring a woman, he ought not. But if it was Satan tempting him in order to provide an excuse for excluding him from communion of the divine Mysteries, the Clergyman ought to administer communion to him, since the tempter will not cease attacking during the time when he ought to partake of communion.

Interpretation.

Having been asked whether a layman who has had a wet dream ought to partake of communion on the day after he had the wet dream, this Father replies in the present Canon that if the man suffered this predicament as a result of a desire or conation to enjoy a woman, the man ought not to partake of communion, because this impassioned conation, or instinctive impulse, to which the emission was due, has polluted his intellect. But if no such desire and conation took place, but, instead, Satan merely tempted him out of envy in order to prevent him from receiving the sanctification conferred by the divine Mysteries, he ought to partake of communion, because if he fail to partake of them, Satan will not cease to tempt him and to keep on thus preventing him from doing so whenever he is preparing to come to communion. Read also c. IV of Dionysius.

 

13. Question: What days of the week ought to be assigned to those who are conjoined in marriage for them to abstain from communion with each otherl And on what days ought they to have it!

Answer: Though I have already answered this question, I will answer now once more. The Apostle says. "Deprive ye not yourselves of each other, unless it be for a time by agreement, in order that ye may have leisure to pray" (I Cor. 7:5). And again: "Come ye together again, that Satan tempt you not on account of your failure to mingle" (ibid.). But one must necessarily abstain on Saturday and Sunday, on account of the fact that on these days the spiritual sacrifice is being offered to the Lord.

Interpretation.

The Saint has been asked on what days of the week married couples ought not to have sexual intercourse by mingling together carnally, and he has replied in the present Canon, by citing in evidence the words of St. Paul addressed to married couples, to the effect that neither of the parties ought to deprive the other of carnal intercourse, unless both of them abstain from coition by agreement for a time, in order to engage in prayer, and that they ought again to mingle with each other soon enough to prevent Satan from tempting them on account of their failing to mix themselves together as wine is mixed with water. In explaining at what time and what prayer Paul means for married couples to refrain from coition, the Saint states that it is Saturday and Sunday (and in general every feast day), on which days they are obliged to refrain from sexual intercourse because of the fact that for the most part it was on those particular days that the spiritual sacrifice used to be performed, or, in other words, the sacred liturgy used to be celebrated, and they had to prepare themselves and get ready to partake of the divine Mysteries. See also c. III of Dionysius.

 

14. Question: If anyone having no control of himself lays violent hands on himself or hurls himself to destruction, whether an offering ought to be made for him or not?

Answer: The Clergyman ought to discern in his behalf whether he was actually and truly out of his mind when he did it. For oftentimes those who are interested in the victim and want to have him accorded an offering and a prayer in his behalf will deliberately lie and assert that he had no control of himself. Sometimes, however, he did it as a result of influence exercised by other men, or somehow otherwise as a result of paying too little attention to circumstances, and no offering ought to be made in his behalf. It is incumbent, therefore, upon the Clergyman in any case to investigate the matter accurately, in order to avoid incurring judgment.

Interpretation.

This divine Father has been asked whether liturgical and memorial services ought to be held for a man who has killed himself, by hurling himself down from a height, or by drowning himself, or by hanging himself, or by putting himself to death in any other manner, when he is not of sound mind, whether it be as a result of a demon or of an ailment of some sort; and the Father replies in the present Canon by stating that if any priest or any other clergyman be invited to celebrate memorial services for him, he ought to investigate well and with due accuracy whether such a man was in truth and reality out of his wits when he put himself to death. For it often happens that relatives and intimates of such a man, wishing to have him be given a memorial service and to be chanted over by the priests, and to have a liturgy held for the remission of his sins, tell lies and assert falsely that he was out of his wits, and that it was on this account that he put himself to death. Sometimes, though, one puts oneself to death either as a result of some injury or annoyance which he has received from other men, or as a result of faint-heartedness and excessive grief, or some other cause, voluntarily and while in his right mind; and for such a man no liturgical or memorial services ought to be held, since he murdered himself deliberately.

 

15. Question: If a wife is so betaken of spirits that she will wear irons, while her husband says, "I canít contain myself, and I want to take another wife," ought he to take another, or not?

Answer: Adultery is involved in this matter, and I have no reply to make concerning it, nor can I find any by cogitating it.

Interpretation.

When asked whether if some manís wife is possessed of demons to such an extent that they have to fetter and shackle her with irons and chains (perhaps in order to prevent her from running away or from killing herself or someone else), while her husband, being unable to stay (morally) sober and to practice continence by abstaining from sexual intercourse right along, since he cannot practice with his wife when she is in such a condition), is seeking to take another woman to wife, he ought to take another or not ó when asked this question, I say, the Saint replies in the present Canon that concerning this question he has no answer to offer nor can find any by cudgeling his brains, since, if that man take another woman to wife, adultery will ensure upon his taking her; for he has put away his first wife without any ground of fornication, contrary to the words of the Lord, who said: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, save on grounds of fornication, maketh her commit adultery" (Matt. 5:32) See also Ap. cc. XLVIII and LXXIX. But even the Ecloge of Laws of Leo and Constantine the Emperors (Title XIII, page 107 of the second volume of Jus Graeco-Romanum) commands that they be not separated. Saying thus: "But if it happen that one of them is taken possession of and mastered by a demon during matrimony, they shall not be separated as a result of such a cause." Hence Leo here is repealing or countermanding His Novel below. See also the Footnote to the Chapter concerning Pledges of Marriage.

 

16. Question: If anyone fasting with a view to communion, while washing his mouth, or in the bath, has swallowed water involuntarily, ought he to communed.

Answer: Yes. Since Satan has found an occasion whereby to prevent him from partaking of communion, he will keep on doing this more frequently.

Interpretation.

When asked whether anyone ought to partake of communion that has been fasting and preparing to commune, but has accidentally swallowed some water against his will, either at the time he was washing out his mouth, or at a time when he was taking a bath, the Saint replies in the present Canon that he ought to partake of communion, since, if he is prevented from doing so, the Devil will cause him to swallow water frequently under his influence in order to prevent him from participating in the divine Mysteries.

 

17. Question: Seeing that we frequently listen to Godís word, but fail to do it, are we therefore by logical inference under condemnation?

Answer: Even though we fail to do it, yet we ought not to fail to blame ourselves for our failure to obey when we are told what to do. Blaming ourselves is a part of our salvation.

Interpretation.

When asked whether perchance we are condemned because we often merely listen to Godís word, but do not actually do the things that we are told by Him to do, the Saint replies that we ought to listen to it even though we do not actually do it. For, even though we fail to do the things required by God, yet we cannot possibly fail to blame ourselves for our failure to do so and acknowledging that we are disobeying Him and not doing as He tells us to do. But to blame ourselves is nevertheless a part of our salvation too, seeing that it engenders humility in our soul, whereby God is made propitious in regard to our sins, and He will justify us, just as He did the humble though sinful Publican, in preference to the virtuous but proud Pharisee.

 

18. Question: From what age and on are sins judged by God?

Answer: Depending on the knowledge and prudence of each particular human being: some from the age of ten and up, and others only when older.

Interpretation.

When asked about this too, at what age of life does a human being begin being judged by God for his sins, this Father replies that it depends upon the knowledge and prudence commanded by each human being, in accordance with which his sins are to be judged. For, those children which are of an acute nature and naturally smart, are the ones that soonest and most easily discern what is good and what is bad; and for this reason they are judged by God for their sins from the age of ten and on. Those, on the other hand, which on the contrary are of a sluggish nature and have a sleepy head and are possessed of a dull mind come more slowly and with greater difficulty to discernment of what is good and what is bad; hence they are judged by God for their sins only when they are older. See also the Footnote to c. XL of the 6th.

 

 

Theophilus of Alexandria.

Theophilus, who served as Archbishop of Alexandria in A.D. 380, being wise and brave in sentiment, had previously freed Alexandria from the delusion of idolatry. For he not only showed the deluded Grecians the secret contrivances which their priests had and by means of which they would go into the empty and inanimate idols and say whatever they wanted by speaking from that coign of vantage, but he even smashed to pieces the sculptured image of Sarapis (which was rumored to be of such an enormous size and weight that if it were to be shaken, the whole earth would be shaken) and showed it to the Grecians looking on to be a habitation of rats: and he also made floats of the murderous mysteries of Mythreion, and melted down the statues of the false gods and cast them in the shape of kettles and other vessels of use to the Church. Later, however, having incited a battle against divine Chrysostom on account of the monks about Ammonion who were called "long" monks, as he ought not to have done, he became for this reason hated by all. He increased the hatred against him also because of the fact that he occupied himself with the study of the books of Origen, which he had previously denounced. He attended the Council held in Constantinople during the patriarchate of Nectarius after the Second Ecumenical Council in the year 394 regarding Agapius and Bagadius who were laying claim to the bishopric of Bostra (concerning which see the part relating to Sardica). Expiring in penitence, he left these canonical letters which are necessary for the organization of the Church, and which are confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th EC. C.; and by virtue of this confirmation they acquire a force which in a way is ecumenical. They are to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, and in the first volume of the Conciliar Records, page 353.

 

Canons.

1. Both custom and propriety require us to honor every Sunday, and to celebrate it as a holiday, since it was in fact on that day that our Lord Jesus Christ pioneered for us the Resurrection from the dead. That is why in the Sacred Scriptures it has been called also "the first day," on the ground that it means to us a commencement of life, and also "the eighth day," with especial reference to the fact that it has superseded the sabbatism of the Jews. Inasmuch, then, as it has happened to fall on the fast day of Holy Theophany, let us spend it "economically," and acquit ourselves prudently with regard to each of the two, in order that by partaking of a few dates we may thwart the heresies that do not honor the resurrection day of the Lord Jesus Christ, and at the same time pay due respect to the fast day by awaiting the evening synaxis, which, God willing is to be held here. Let us therefore assemble here at the ninth hour.

Interpretation.

Since the fasting day, or, more expressly speaking, the eve of Theophany, happened to fall on a feasting day, Sunday, on this account the present Canon decrees that we ought to make an "economical" arrangement with prudence and discretion in regard to these two contraries, by eating a few dates (or even figs and currants or raisins), and at the end of this fasting to honor the resurrection and feasting day of the Lord, commonly called Sunday in English, and avoid the heresies that do not honor the Lordís day by going without any food at all as they do on that day (and see c. XVIII of Gangra). For both propriety and the ancient custom and tradition of the Church make it obligatory upon us Orthodox Christians to honor every Sunday and to celebrate on that day, rejoicing on account of the resurrection from the dead which the Lord has graciously bestowed upon us on that day, seeing that that day is called in the divine Scriptures also "the first day," because it is the commencement of our life, and "the eighth day," because it has surpassed (Note of Translator. ó This word is used here by the authors as a definition of the word "superseded," for which it is a very poor substitute). the seventh day, the Sabbath, that is to say, of the Jews, as being numbered after the seventh (and see c. XCI of Basil). But we are to honor, on the other hand, also the fasting day of the eve with the very process of breaking the fast, by omitting to break it, or by eating no richer or greasier foods while awaiting the hour of Vespers, which, with Godís help, are to held after nine oíclock. See also Ap. c. LXIV.

From the Commonitory which Ammon received in regard to Lycopolis.

 

2. As regards those who have entered into communion with the Arians and are holding possession down to this day of the Churches, let them be treated in accordance with consuetude. Provided, however, that others be appointed who are probably in Orthodoxy, and those be left in the fold and treated precisely as the Orthodox Bishops in Thebais have done in other cities. As for those who were appointed by Apollo the Bishop, and who have entered into communion with the Arians holding the Churches, let them be disciplined if, at any rate, they have done so of their own accord; but if in obedience to their own Bishop, let them remain in the fold, on the ground that they failed to realize the unreasonableness of the matter. And if all the people repudiate these men together with the others, let different ones be ordained; but if they want them together with those with whom they have entered into communion, let these persons too be dealt with in accordance with the custom adopted by all the Orthodox Bishops in Thebais.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those bishops who have joined the Arians and have held possession of the Orthodox churches down to the present time be ousted therefrom, but be allowed to join the Orthodox after being treated with that economy which the Orthodox bishops in Thebaiís decreed to be accorded also to the other cities where such Arians are to be found returning to Orthodoxy. They, I say, are to be ousted from the churches in question, and other Orthodox bishops are to be appointed thereto. As for those Orthodox bishops whom the bishop Apollo-had appointed, if it be shown that they joined the Arians of their own accord, they are to be disciplined; but if it was with the advice and approval of the said bishop that they did so, they are to enjoy communion with the other bishops because, wishing to remain obedient to their bishop, they could not determine what was reasonable for them to do, or, in other words, the fact that they had better not enter into communion with those men. And if the whole multitude of the people turn away from such men, on the ground that these men became partisans of the Arians, let other Orthodox Christians be ordained in their stead; but if they are content with them as well as with the Arians with whom they have entered into communion, let them be admitted in accordance with the custom which the said bishops in Thebaiís adopted in regard to those reverting from the communion of the Arians. Note that neither in c. I nor in the present Canon has any interpretation of Balsamonís been found preserved. See also Ap. c. LXVIII.

 

3. As regards Bistus, who was appointed a Presbyter in Erebe, he must be looked into. And if he raped a woman who had repudiated her husband while he was alive, let him not be allowed to be a Presbyter anywhere; not even as a layman ought he to be gathered in, it being the custom of the Church to separate such persons. But this does not entail any prejudice to Bishop Apollo, if he appointed him as a result of ignorance: the Holy Council having bidden that the unworthy, after ordination, shall be expelled when found guilty of any. crimt.

Interpretation.

This Bistus was rumored to have raped and taken a married woman who had separated from her husband while he was still alive. Afterwards he was ordained a presbyter by Apollo in the city of Erebe, Egypt, who did not know that he had taken such a wife. So the present Canon says that the case ought to be investigated, and if it be as represented, the one ordained a presbyter ought to be deposed from office and no longer be a priest, at a time when not even as a layman ought such a person to stand together with the faithful in church, since the Church separates such offenders from the synaxis of the faithful. But this does not entail upon the ordinator Apollo any detriment and deposition from his prelacy, since he ordained him as a result of ignorance. For the Holy Council, or, more expressly speaking, the First in its c. IX, has commanded that these persons who have been ordained undeservingly and unworthily, and have been exposed after ordination, shall be expelled from the priesthood. See this same c. IX of the 1st.

 

4. As concerning Sur, since Bishop Apollo has acted to have it verified and dismissed him, and has estranged him from the Church, let it be as the Bishop has decided. If he wishes to have recourse to the privilege of justifying himself and finds fault with the decision of the Bishop, he may do so.

Interpretation.

This man Sur was a cleric of Bishop Apollo who had been dismissed, or in other words had been expelled from the clergy (as Balsamon interprets the Canon) and had been chased away from the Church, as Apollo himself affirmed. So this Canon says that since this has occurred, let it be as the Bishop has decreed. Nevertheless, if Sur finds fault with the Bishopís decision against him, let him present his pleas, if he wishes, to the Synod of which Apollo too was a member.

 

5. As regards Panuph, who was appointed a Deacon in Lycopolis, an investigation must be made. And if it be found that this man while a catechumen accepted his own niece in a matrimonial relationship, but after baptism was admitted to the Clergy, let him remain in the Clergy, at least if he has slept with her and after the baptism, he had no intercourse with her. But if he accepted his same niece in a matrimonial relationship while he was a believer, let him be estranged from the Clergy. For Bishop Apollo incurs no detrimental prejudice if he appointed him as a result of ignorance.

Interpretation.

This man Panuph, before he was baptized, was rumored to have taken his niece to wife, and thereafter he was appointed a deacon. Hence the present Canon decrees that the case should be examined into; and if this man, after being baptized, did not use her as his wife, since she had died, let him remain a deacon; for the use of the woman before baptism had been purged by Holy Baptism; but if he used her afterwards, let him be deposed from office. Such an ordination, however, does not entail any detriment upon Apollo, who appointed and ordained him, since he did so in ignorance and without knowing that he had his niece as a wife when he ordained him. See also Ap. c. XIX and c. IX of the 1st.

 

6. As regards Jacob, he must be investigated. For if he was a Lector, and was proved guilty of the crime of fornication, and was expelled by the Presbyters, but has been thereafter ordained, let him be expelled, when a strict examination has been made, and not on the basis of mere suspicion due to whispering or backbiting in regard to him. But if he cannot be found, let him remain in the Clergy accountable for whatever he may have done. For no attention ought to be paid to vain calumnies.

Interpretation.

This Jacob was rumored to have been a lector, or anagnost; and since he was charged with having committed fornication, he had been chased away from the clergy by the priests; afterwards, however, he had been ordained to a higher rank. On this account the present Canon says for a strict examination to be made first in regard to this matter, and if he be found responsible on the charge of fornication, let him be expelled from the clergy; but if he be found innocent of the charge, let him remain in the clergy. I said that a strict examination should be made regarding this matter because no one ought to be deposed from office on the basis of mere charges and accusations resulting from suspicion, nor ought anyone to pay attention to idle and unproved calumniations. See also c. IX of the 1st.

 

7. As concerns those who are about to be ordained, let the following form be observed: all the Priesthood is to agree and choose (the ordinee), and then the Bishop is to lend his approval. And with the Priesthood consenting to it, let him be ordained in the midst of the church with the laity present and the Bishop delivering his inauguratory address, though the laity may also stand witness thereto. But let no ordination be performed clandestinely. For when the Church is at peace, ordinations must be performed in the presence of the holy men and in church. If, however, in the parish those who have communed are some of those who share the views of those who have communed, let them not be ordained otherwise but with the approval of the truly Orthodox Clergymen, with the Bishop again present and delivering an address, and in the presence of the laity, only unless there has been some misstep.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is a Canon and form for those who are about to be ordained, as touching what sort of persons may be ordained and how they ought to be ordained. For it decrees that the whole priesthood ought first to agree, and to elect the one who is to be ordained; and thereupon the bishop ought to give his approval, and with the priesthood agreeing and in the presence of the laity, he ought to ask the laity if they too deem the man worthy, and then he ought to ordain him outspokenly and forthright in the midst of the Church. No ordination ought to be performed in secret. For, after the Church has been freed from heretics and is in peace, or is no longer disturbed by heathen, for fear of whom she was compelled to perform ordinations secretly, all ordinations ought to be celebrated openly in church, when holy men, or, more expressly speaking, Christians are present. But if in the parish of any church there are some believers who unwillingly joined by way of compromise in the opinions of those who had entered into communion with heretics, such persons, I say, are not to be ordained in any other manner in that parish, unless they have first been approved by Orthodox clergymen as holding Orthodox views, with the bishop present and asking again the laity whether they are worthy; and this is to be done in order to avoid the ensual of any rapine or deception and the ordination of anyone holding heretical views. See also Ap. c. II.

 

8. As to the things offered for the purpose of a sacrifice, whatever remains after the consumption of what is needed for the Mysteries, let the Clerics distribute it; and let no catechumen either eat or drink thereof, but rather the Clerics and the faithful brethren with them.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that of what is offered by the laity for the liturgy whatever offerings are left over and above those needed for the Holy Mysteries are to be distributed to the clerics, and are to be eaten and drunk by them and the faithful laymen. No catechumen or other un-baptized person is to eat or drink of them; for, since they have been offered to the holy sacrificial altar, and portions of them have been employed in the divine Gifts, called Dora in Greek, therefore and on this account whatever has been left over from them has been sanctified and hallowed: hence none of it ought to be eaten or drunk by the unbaptized and the uninitiated. See also Ap. c. III.

 

9. Since Hierax says that this man, as though calumniously accused of fornication, ought not to be in the Clergy, while Bishop Apollo maintains that no accuser has brought any such charges against him in the open, let this men too be examined, and if any accuser turns up that is worthy of belief led the crime is proved, by adducing trustworthy witnesses, let him be expelled from the Church. But if he is worthy of the Clergy, and is attested for sobriety and sensibleness, let him remain therein.

Interpretation.

This man Hierax was accusing some cleric of having committed fornication, and saying that on this account he ought not to be permitted to remain in the clergy, but ought to be deposed from office. But Bishop Apollo, who had ordained the cleric in question, affirmed that at that time (perhaps of his ordination) no accuser had appeared to bring any such accusation against him. Hence the present Canon decrees that the case of the maligned cleric ought to be investigated, and if a trustworthy accuser be found to accuse him (and see Ap. c. LXXIV and c. VI of the 2nd), and his guilt in connection with the charges be proved by means of trustworthy witnesses (see also Ap. c. LXXV), let him be expelled from the Church; but if he be proved through witnesses to be sober and sensible and worthy of the clergy, let him remain in it.

 

10. It is further decreed that it is the consensus of all the Priesthood that another Economus must be appointed, to which Bishop Apollo also assents for the purpose of ensuring that the income of the Church shall be expended properly.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that with the consent and approval of the entire priesthood another Economus should be appointed to the bishopric, in order that he may manage the financial affairs rightly and well and expend the income of the Church for the right purposes, or, more explicitly speaking, for the needs and wants of widows and of poor people. Bishop Apollo gave his consent and approval to this decree for the appointment of an Economus, and it appears that this Economus was to be appointed to his bishopric. See also Ap. cc. XXXVIII and XLI, and c. XXVI of the 4th and the Footnote thereto.

 

11. Let widows and indigents and sojourning strangers enjoy every comfort, and let no one as elf the property of the Church.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is an explanation of the one above. For inasmuch as that Canon decreed that the property of the Church should be expended through the Economus for the right purposes, this Canon states which these right purposes are: to wit, that widows and poor persons and foreign brethren who happen to come to the bishopric ought to enjoy every comfort that the income of the Church can afford; and that no bishop or economus ought to appropriate it to himself and to spend it on himself alone. See also Ap. XXXVIII and especially Ap. c. XLI.

Of the same Saint, to Bishop Aphyngius (or Aphryngius in other manuscripts), concerning the so-called Cathari.

 

12. Thy Reverence has stated to me that some of those who call themselves Cathari are willing to join the Church. Since, therefore, the Council held in Nicaea by our blissful Fathers has prescribed that those joining may be ordained, be thou willing in accordance with this arrangement to ordain those are willing to join the Church, at least if their life is correct and there is nothing to oppose them.

Interpretation.

This canonical letter decrees in reference to the Novatianists who are willing to return to the Orthodox Church that, since the First Nicene Council has prescribed that those heretics who revert from cacodoxy to orthodoxy, if after their return they be found to be worthy of the priesthood, may be ordained, for this reason, Ο Aphryngius, be thou willing too, to ordain those Novatianists who are willing to return to the Church, provided their life after their return appears to be irreproachable, and there is no obstacle to prevent their receiving holy orders. See also c. VIII of the 1st.

Of the same Saint, to Bishop Agatho

 

13. Being ignorant of the laws of the Church, Maximus insisted upon contracting an unlawful marriageí, and since his being without a congregation annoys him, he has promised (since he committed the unlawful act unwittingly) to abstain from the unlawful cohabitation by mutual consent and agreement, and she likes this. If, therefore, you ascertain by actual test that they are doing so by agreement and are not deceiving us (since the time is ten years), and if you see fit to admit them to the status of catechumens so far, govern accordingly. But if you see that they are trying to deceive us, and that their plight requires further discouragement, do whatever God suggests to you, being everywhere guided towards restraint. For inasmuch as you are in the locality, you are better able to discern their state of mind.

Interpretation.

This man Maximus, not knowing the laws of the Church, stubbornly took a woman to wife in an unlawful marriage, on account of which he was excommunicated too from the Church and the congregation of the faithful. But inasmuch as he was very sorry because he was without any congregation, or synaxis, or more particularly speaking, was separated from the faithful by virtue of the excommunication, he asserted that he would withdraw from that unlawful marriage, which he had contracted as a result of his ignorance, the woman also being willing and agreeable on this point. Hence Theophilus is writing to this man Agatho and telling him that if he tests them and sees that they are in truth separated from that marriage by mutual agreement, and that they are not going to deceive the Church, because of their reflecting that on account of their transgression of the law they are excommunicated for ten years2 ó if, I say, he should reflect and see fit to let them join the catechumens in the church for the present, and to leave again with them, he may do so. But if he should reflect and think that they are deceiving or are going to deceive him, and need further chastisement, he should do whatever God may enlighten him to do in regard to them, being guided in every case and in regard to every matter towards what tends to self-restraint, or suspension of judgment, or, more explicitly speaking in accordance with the reflection he may arrive at concerning it with restraint and caution. For being situated in the region where the affairs are going on, he is in a better position than Theophilus to know the state of mind of people there, and consequently what is the most expeditious way to correct them.

Of the same Saint, to Bishop Menas

 

14. The Presbyters in the village of Geminum have done a lawful thing if Eustathia, the bearer of the letter, is telling the truth. For she alleges that Cyrradius has been separated from the congregation (or, in Greek, synaxis) on the ground that she has been treating others unjustly and refuses to desist from the injustice. Since, therefore, I have discovered that she is willing to mend her ways by remedying the evil of her own making, be thou willing to prepare her to first forgo injustice entirely and to be persuaded to repent and change her mind, in order that in this manner, if you see that she is adhering to the law of God, with a craving for the synaxis, to permit her to congregate together with the laities.

Interpretation.

The present canonical letter says that the presbyters in the village of Geminum have excommunicated from the Church and the synaxis of the faithful a woman named Cyrradius, because she has been treating others unjustly and grabbing things that belong to others, and that she refuses to refrain from injustice, according to the letter stating this and carried thence by a woman named Eustathia; and it says that this excommunication imposed upon her is lawful and canonical. So in regard to this same letter Theophilus tells Bishop Menas that inasmuch as this unjust woman has consented and promised to remedy the evil she has done and to redress the injustice she has committed, and thus secure her release from the excommunication, and admission to the Church, take diligent care to persuade her to do away with the injustice first, or, more explicitly speaking, to return the things which she has grabbed to their rightful owners, and to repent to God. in order to have this sin of hers pardoned. And after she has done these things, if you feel that she is resorting to the Church with due regard for the divine law, or, in other words, with a good conscience and for Godís sake, and not merely to escape the opprobrium of men, and that she craves to congregate with the rest of the Christians in church, allow her to come to church. See also c. III of St. Gregory the Miracle-worker.

 

Cyril of Alexandria.

Our Father among saints Cyril, a nephew of Theophilus, in the year 412 was appointed Archbishop of Alexandria and successor to his uncle. But inasmuch as he was inimically disposed towards St. Chrysostom even after the latter died, owing to the prejudice and strife he had in regard to the enemy of St. Chrysostom Theophilus his uncle, the Theotoke appeared to him and told him to put St. Chrysostom in the sacred diptychs, which he did, after repenting of his previous ill-will. After driving away all the Hebrews that were in Alexandria, he engaged in a spiritual war against the heretics of that time, and especially against Nestorius. Being unable to convert the latter from his error, either with the begging letters which he used to send him, nor with the regional Council which he assembled against him in Alexandria in the year 426, at which he also issued the twelve anathematisms, or anathematizations, against the heresy of that man, he finally persuaded Emperor Theodosius to let him hold a third Ecumenical Council (concerning which see the Prolegomena thereto), he himself being the principal figure in it, by means of which Council he succeeded in deposing ungodly Nestorius from office. In the year 444 he departed for the Lord. The written works of this Saint, which were published in Paris in the year 1638, amount to seven volumes, together with which this canonical epistle is also extant, being necessary for the organization of the Church and divided into Canons, four, according to Balsamon, but five according to Aristenus, whom we too have followed. This man Domnus, to which the epistle, or letter, was being sent, was a Patriarch of Antioch. This epistle is confirmed indefinitely by c. I of the 4th and c. I of the 7th, and definitely by c. II of the 6th Ec. C., and by virtue of this confirmation it acquires a force which in a way is ecumenical. It is to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, and in the beginning of the second volume of the Conciliar Records.

 

Canons.

1. Every one of our ecclesiastical affairs when straightened out in conformity with Canonical discipline, instead of causing us any embarrassment, actually relieves us from the disparaging remarks of some persons and rather gains us the commendation of right-thinking persons. For who would not accept an impartial decision to which in fact any persons have comet or who will deny that to judge rightly and in keeping with the law is not reprehensible, but rather merits praise! Accordingly, I am writing these things now because in the very letters sent to me as well as those sent to our most devout and God-beloved brother and fellow Bishop Proclus, your reverence does indeed call most reverent and God-beloved Peter a Bishop, but as for him, he is weeping and asserting that he has been illegally dispossessed of the church which had been allotted to him. It were meet, either to let him have the divine reality along with the nominality of holy orders, or, at any rate, if in fact he were not worthy to officiate at the divine altar, not even to let him be honored with the title of Bishop. But perhaps my words may seem to your reverence to be cruel and unbrotherly; but it is not so in point of fact. For though we may possibly think that we treated the old man mercifully by leaving him the title alone, yet it would be far better to look at the matter from a different point of view. For he alleges that he would be able to sustain his own reputation, but has not received a chance to plead his cause, neither has been granted so much as a Canonical hearing. But if any such thing had occurred, the very tenor of the reporterís notes would have proved him either guilty of the charges found in the verdict, and so he would have no ground for saying that he had been wronged, or, at least, after pronouncing him innocent, it would have restored to him the right to officiate in his church, or it would even have been placed in his own hands. But nothing of the kind having been done, he loudly reprobates the fact (and claims to have suffered an unendurable injustice and to have been ousted unwarrantedly]: he further adds that all the money he had was grabbed. Let your reverence, therefore, understanding as you do both what seems best suited to the divine laws, and what befits the Church and those appointed to the divine liturgy, but furthermore also being inclined to pay deference to the letters from me, stop the old manís tear: and if he should choose to be tried facing those who are bringing the charges against him, let him be tried in accordance with the usual procedure before your reverence and in the presence of the very reverent Bishops under his hand, unless he should object to some of them on suspicion; for we do not believe any of the very reverent Bishops to bear animosity against a brother. But lest this become a pretext stifling the trial to be held in regard to him, to avoid any appearance of not giving him a fair trial, it will hurt nothing to have some of the persons who are under suspicion stay away from the council.

Interpretation.

In beginning the present Epistle the Saint avers that every ecclesiastical affair, when done in accordance with the discipline of the sacred Canons, not only causes us men in holy orders no disturbance and disparagement, but indeed even elicits praises from the prudent and discriminative. For who will not praise a impartial and just decision? or how can it be said that a correct and legitimate judgment is not exempt from every reprehension and accusation and replete with every commendation and praise? Having premised thus much, he takes up his subject and says to Domnus: I am writing these things to you because in the letters you sent to me as well as in those you sent to our colleague Proclus of Constantinople, though you call most reverent Peter a bishop, he, on the other hand, coming to us, weeps and wails, asserting that he has unjustly and unreasonably been ousted from the episcopate given him. It would be better either for him to have "both the title and the office of bishop, or, more expressly speaking, the episcopate, or, if he is not worthy to have the episcopate and the prelacy, then he ought neither to be honored with the title of bishop, as, that is to say, you call him. For a bishop is and is said to be the bishop of an episcopate, and not simply and merely a bishop, since these two designations of bishop and of episcopate are interconnected and correlative. But if perhaps what I am saying should seem to you cruel and unbrotherly ó not letting him be called a bishop, that is to say, unless he has an episcopate ó yet in point of fact it is not cruel. For we consider (note that the Saint is ępeaking now in the plural, including his own person in order to render the discourse less irksome and more acceptable) that we have had mercy on this old man Peter by allowing him to retain the bare title of bishop; yet we should be treating him more mercifully if we looked at the matter in a different light. In what light? Why, in the light of the fact that we ought to afford him an opportunity to explain his side of the matter, and that we ought to listen to his pleas, just as the divine Canons enjoin, since he himself says that if these rights were given him and he were judged before a council, he could prove himself innocent and blameless in regard to those things of which he is accused. And of course if this were done and a written yerdict were issued in regard to his case, assuming that he were at fault, it would reprove him in such a fashion that he would no longer have any right to assert that he was wronged or treated unjustly; or, again, assuming "that he is innocent, it would give him back his episcopate. But inasmuch as no such conciliar trial and verdict in regard to him has occurred, he yells and asserts that he has received unbearably unjust treatment and has been illegally ousted from his episcopate; and in addition he claims that they grabbed all the money he had. Having said these things, the Saint now turns to Domnus and says to him: So, for one thing because your devoutness (i.e., your reverence) knows well enough what the divine Canons decree (to wit, that no one is to be condemned before he has had a conciliar trial and decision; and see Ap. c. LXXIV, and the Concord following it), and what befits the Church and the ministers of the Church (which is justice in conformity with the Canons); and for another thing, since you have been solemnly impressed with my letters, let your reverence stay the old manís tears. And if he himself wishes to be tried face to face with his accusers, let him be tried before your reverence, in the presence also of the bishops subject to him; unless he should suspect some of them to be enemies of his, and for this reason should not want to have them present. For, though we ourselves do not believe that any bishop is an enemy of another brother bishop of his, yet, in order to avoid having the presence of those suspected by him become an occasion for the frustration of his trial, and in view of the fact that he thinks that he has been unjustly treated by them, let the suspects stay away from this district council when it tries his case.2

 

2. As for the money unjustly taken away from him, justice may be done in two ways. First, it is to be observed that no such thing ought to have been done at all, and that deeply grieves and utterly disgusts the very reverent Bishops throughout the world to have an account of finances be demanded of the expenses incurred by them, whether it be such as are derived from the income of the churches or such as result from any other source of profit. For every one of us will have to give an account to the Judge of all things as respects his own times and opportunities. For, as touching jewelry and real estate, these must be preserved and exempt from sale for the Churches; but those having charge of the divine Priesthood from time to time ought to be trusted with the finances required for incidental expenses.

Interpretation.

The present Canon is in sequence with the one above. For it asserts that it is but just for the money to be given back to the said Bishop Peter which he had been unjustly deprived of (see c. III of St. Gregory the Miracle-worker), for two reasons: 1) because it was a piece of injustice for them to grab it away from him to begin with; and 2) because it sorely grieves and greatly disconcerts the bishops of every province to be obliged to give an account of all the expenses they incur in their provinces, which they have to secure either from the prebend that any persons may provide for them, or from the profits afforded by the lands and other real estate belonging to the bishopric; since every one of the bishops will be obliged to give an account to God for all the expenses he has incurred throughout the duration of his episcopate. For sacred jewelry and immovable property of cathedrals and churches must be preserved for them intact and inalienable, while the finances required for the expenses incident thereto must be entrusted to the Metropolitans and Prelates from time to time holding office. In order to avoid any suspicion, however, they ought also to have Oeconomi, who with the advice and approval of the Bishops, are to manage all the revenues and expenses of the church. And see Ap. cc. XXXVIII and XLI.

 

3. As for resignation libelli not made of oneís own free will, but due to coercion and fear, and the threats of certain individuals, which, he says, caused him to hand over his resignation. And from a different point of view, it is a fact that it is not agreeable to the customs and institutions of the Church for resignation libelli to be offered by any of the sacred functionaries. For if they are worthy to officiate at the liturgy, let them stay there; but if they are unworthy, let them not get out by resigning when they rather deserve to be condemned for things that, if anyone were to noise them abroad, would show that they were standing off their line of duty entirely. Tell the brotherhood with you: you are greeted by the one with us in the Lord.

Interpretation.

The aforesaid Bishop Peter appears to have handed in a written resignation in evidence that he was relinquishing his province. It is concerning this, then, that the present Canon says that he did not hand in such a resignation voluntarily and of his own free will, as he acknowledges, but under the compulsion due to fear and threats of certain individuals who were threatening to injure him. Besides, even if perchance he did so voluntarily, the fact remains that it is not in keeping with the Canons of the Church ó which is the same as saying, it is contrary to the Canons and an incongruity ó for any bishops to be handing in written resignations to the effect that they are giving up their episcopates and provinces; for if those bishops merit the prelacy, let them stay in it and not resign their office: if, on the contrary, they are unworthy, let them not leave their provinces on the pretense that they are resigning, but rather like persons standing condemned for improprieties they have committed, which would be severely censured by anyone else as departing entirely from the sequence of the sacred Canons, or, more explicitly speaking, as being altogether illegal and uncanonical (but if anyone should censure these things, it is obvious that he would do so on the ground that they have been done openly, and it would be on the ground that they are known to him, and attested by others, that he would be censuring them; for no one censures things that are unknown and secret). But if such is the case, it follows by contrast that a bishop may resign from office without being condemned openly: when, that is to say, either before the prelacy or after the prelacy has been attained by him he should secretly commit any sin that would suffice to exclude and depose him from the prelacy; after confessing the sin to the spiritual father and being reproved by his conscience, he might resign the episcopate and together therewith the sacred office of the prelacy. And see c. IX of the 1st, and the Epistle of the 3rd, and c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd.

Of the same Saint, to the Bishops all over Libya and Pentapolis.

 

4. Care must be taken to do everything useful and necessary for the edification of laities and contributive to the repute of the Holy Churches. For it is written, that "ye shall make the sons of Israel reverent" (Lev. 15:31). Thus Fathers of monasteries all over the province of Thebes, who are pious men and have a way of life that is not unwonderful, having come to Alexandria and being asked by me regarding the condition of the monasteries there, reported that many persons were being scandalized on account thereof. Some newlyweds as though just stepping down from their bridal chambers grab some of the very reverent Bishops without there being anyone round to tell what was going on they get themselves ordained Clerics, or, at any rate, Presbyters. Some others, moreover, being ousted from the monasteries as disorderly, again succeed in undergoing ordination, and, becoming Clerics, re-enter even the monasteries whence they had been expelled. And they insist upon offering whatever services it is customary for Clerics to perform, and to do these, to such an extent as to disgust those knowing them and to cause them to abandon even the synaxes and not to bear to commune when those persons are officiating at the liturgy. Since, therefore, for the edification of laities, as I have said, everything must be done by us, let your reverence bear these facts in mind; and if anyone should be about to be ordained a Cleric, let your reverence scrutinize his life, and see whether he ever had a wife or not, and how and when he got her, and when he might have abstained from her, and whether he may not be one of the men ousted either by some other very reverent Bishop or by some Monastery; and let him be ordained only after he is found to be free from any and every accusation. For let us thus keep our own conscience clear, and the sacred and venerable liturgy free from any and every accusation.

Interpretation.

The first part of this Epistle says that prelates ought to take care to do everything that is useful and necessary both for the edification and benefit of the laity, and for the good repute and glory of the holy churches, which is the same as saying, of ecclesiastics and clerics. For it is written: "Ye shall make the sons of Israel reverent" (Lev. 15:31). (Note of Translator. ó This passage is worded differently in the A.V. and R.V. The translation presented here is true to the Septuagint Version). Accordingly, the Epistle apprises bishops that some Theban fathers, admirable and virtuous men, on coming to Alexandria and being asked by the Saint about the condition of the monasteries there, related to him that some newly-married men outwit the prelates and taking them at unawares succeed in having themselves ordained clerics and priests, without any having first informed them about their previous behavior and life. And that others again, when chased away from their monasteries on account of their disorderliness, manage in some deceptive manner to get ordained; and they return to the same monasteries from which they had been driven away, and want to celebrate the liturgy there and to perform other sacred functions that belong to priests, so that, as a result some brethren, knowing about their wicked life, depart from their liturgies and refuse to receive communion from them. Hence, since, as I said before, it is our duty to do whatever contributes to the edification of laities, let your reverence, O Bishops, attend thereto, and whenever anyone wants to be ordained, scrutinize his life, to find out whether it is good or bad, and whether he has a wife or not, and how and when he got her, and whether he has abstained from sexual intercourse with her ó for that is what is denoted by the word "abstained," and whether he is not one who has been ousted by a monastery or by some other bishop. Only after examining into all these matters and finding him irreprehensible, then may you ordain him. For with such ordinations after examinations we shall be able to keep our own conscience clear and the divine priesthood free from blame. See also Ap. c. LXXX.

 

5. If some persons patiently enduring separation after being disciplined and penanced for offenses are about to die, at a time when they are catechumens, let them be baptized, and let them not be removed from humankind while they are destitute of grace, or, at any rate, communionless. For it seems but right to attend to this congruently to the customs and institutions and rules and regulations of the Church.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if any catechumens, on account of sins they committed, have received a penance to be separated from catechumens praying in church and to be relegated to the narthex outside, let those catechumens, if in peril of dying, be baptized, lest they die destitute of the divine grace of baptism and communionless, or, more explicitly speaking, without receiving both the communion with the faithful in prayers, and the communion of the Mysteries. For it is manifest that as soon as these persons are, they ought also to partake of the divine Mysteries; because this idea of baptizing catechumens in danger of dying and that of having them commune after being baptized, are in keeping with and consonant with the Canons of the Church, which is the same as saying they are legitimate and canonical. And see cc. XIII and XIV of the 1st, and c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

 

 

 

St. Gennadius of Constantinople.

 

St. Gennadius of Constantinople.

Our Father among Saints Gennadius lived in the reign of Emperor Leo the Great (who was surnamed Makelles ó i.e., "the butcher," ó by the Arians). Having formerly been a presbyter of the Church in Constantinople, he was promoted to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople in the year 458, after the death of Anatolius, who attended the 4th Ec.C. After making Marcianus, who had reverted to Orthodoxy from the religion of the Cathari, an Oeconomus of ecclesiastical affairs, he ordered the clerics of each church to distribute through him the things offered to each church, and not for the Great Church to take everything, as had been the custom thitherto. The blessed man would not ordain anyone unless he knew the Psalter by heart. He was also a miracle-worker. For with his prayer he healed the withered hand of that artist who painted the picture of our Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Zeus (that is to say, with abundant long hair and whiskers and beard). Accordingly, he wrote to St. Eleutherius the following sentence, when arraigning one of his clerics: "Holy witness of God, Eleutherius, thy soldier is living in disorderly fashion; and thou must either correct him or cut off his life." And, miraculous to relate, the cleric died forthwith. But also when entering the sacrificial altar one night to pray, he beheld a demoniacal ghost, which, because he reprimanded it, cried out that as long as he was alive he would have quiet, but that after he died he would trouble the church. Frightened on this account, the Saint begged God for comfort, and shortly afterwards went to sleep in the Lord, in the year 471. Besides the other written works which he composed, he also wrote this Canonical Epistle against simoniacs in the year 459 together with all the Synod of 73 bishops surrounding him, which Epistle is confirmed indefinitely by the c. I of the 7th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th Ecum. C., and by virtue of this confirmation it acquires a force which in a way is ecumenical. It is to be found in the second volume of the Pandects, in the interpretation of Balsamon, on p. 1085, and in the book called Corpus Juris Graeco-Romani, on page 187.

The Canonical and Encyclical Epistle to all the most devout Metropolitans and to the Pope of Rome or, in other words, the Canon of St. Gennadius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, and of the Synod sitting with him, Interpreted

Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, after handing over the preaching of the Gospel to His holy disciples and sending them forth over the whole inhabited earth as teachers, gave an express command that what they had received from Him gratis they were to impart the same to men gratis, without charging therefor any copper, or silver, or gold, or any other thing of material or earthly value whatever. For, can it be said that earthly and transient things are any compensation for heavenly and spiritual giftst He gave this commandment not only to those men, but also to us through them, whom He accounted worthy to install in their rank and stead. Accordingly, it now behooves us, precisely as it did them at that time, to keep it and to observe it exactly and strictly, and not to try to garble things that cannot be garbled, nor to cast a die fraught with perils. "Gratis ye received," He says, "gratis give ye" (Matt. 10:8). Note of Translator. ó This verse illustrates the perversity of the translation set forth in the Authorized and Revised Versions of the English Bible, which have ĎĎfreelyí instead of gratis, thus utterly perverting the sense of the original and hiding its meaning from the laity. "Take no copper, nor silver, nor gold for your purses" (Matt. 10:9). The words of this commandment are simple and clear, involving nothing bizarre, nor difficult of attainment, nor in need of any garbling explanation. From me, He says, ye received the office of the priesthood: if you paid anything for it to me, much or little, that too has been sold to you by me, and you in turn must sell it to others; but if you received it gratis, give it gratis yourselves too. What is clearer than this commandment? Moreover, what is more advantageous to those obeying it? Woe, indeed, to those who obtain the gift of God or give it for money received! For such persons are "in the gall of bitterness and in the clutch of injustice" (Acts 8:23), according to the asseveration of St. Peter, captured by their own avarice. Hence the Canon concerning this of the devout and blissful Fathers of the great and holy Ecumenical Council held in Chalcedon accords with this law of the Lordís, since it has been clearly enunciated to us in the following words: "If any Bishop should ordain anyone for money, and make merchandise of the unvendible grace, and perform for money the ordination of a Bishop, of a Chorepiscopus, of a Presbyter, of a Deacon, or of anyone else numbered among the Clergy, or should nominate any Oeconomus, Ecdicus, or Para-monarius, or anyone else that belongs to the canon, for money, with the object of making a shameful profit for himself: let him who is found guilty of having undertaken this incur the peril of losing his own rank; and let him who has been thus ordained have no benefit from such traffic in ordinations or nominations, but, on the contrary, let him be without any claim upon the dignity or job which in fact he has thus obtained by means of money. If, furthermore, anyone should even appear as a middleman or factor or intermediary for such shameful and illicit deals, let him too, if he be a Cleric, forfeit his own rank; but if he be a layman or a monk, let him be anathematized." The commandments of the Canons of the Holy Fathers are very fine and eminently pious, repelling and checking every Satanic assault and every diabolic argument brought to bear against the spiritual gift. It will nowise allow a nomination for ordination to be effected through the use of money, or to be received, either by the one performing it, or by the one receiving the nomination for ordination; but neither before the time of the ordination, nor after this time of ordination will it allow money to be given for the ordination: for it has generally forbidden bribery with this design. Nevertheless, since nowadays, notwithstanding that these things are manifestly prohibited, some persons in the land of the Galatians have been caught in the act of disregarding and transgressing these salutary and philanthropic commandments on account of their shameful greediness for profits and their avariciousness, it has seemed well to us too again to renew these very same commandments together with the Holy Synod having its home in this imperial city of New Rome, so as, without any artifice, or any pretext, or any sophistry, to cut out entirely the impious and abominable custom which, I know not how, has crept into the most holy churches, in order that, once the pronouncement upon the ordinees by the prelates has been made uncommercial and pure, the grace of the Holy Spirit may descend upon him from above. As matters stand nowadays, at any rate, I know not whether the grace of the Holy Spirit actually descends upon the candidate in accordance with the utterance of the proclamation, and that it does not rather recoil from those making the nomination in exchange for money, and not with their hands acting cleanly. Be apprised, therefore, of everything, your reverence. Let everyone, therefore, that is caught doing such a thing, whether he be a Bishop, or a Chorepiscopus, or an Itinerant, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or anyone else whosoever of the canon, or a layman, be condemned by common fiat of the prelates and by common consent. Just as concerning this the Canon of the Holy Fathers has already declared. For grace must be grace, and money must nowhere have any influence with it. Let him therefore be and he is proscribed, and shorn of every priestly dignity and function, and is subject to the curse of the anathema whosoever presumes to obtain this by means of money, and whosoever promises to bestow this for money, whether he be a Cleric or a layman, and whether he be exposed or not be exposed doing so. For there is no possibility of reconciling things that are irreconcilable; neither can Mammon agree with God, nor can those serving it serve God. This is also an indisputable pronouncement of the Lordís. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon" (Matt 6:24). Taking courage from these facts and yielding to them according to our ability we too, together with the One who asserted them, have made the pronouncement against those who transgress the law in such a fashion. But let your devoutness also take care, by resorting to every precaution, to make these facts plain by means of copies both to the most God-beloved Bishops and Itinerants under you, and to all the others, in order that all of us Christians, with one spirit and one soul, may join hands in this matter and prevail against the common enemy with Godís help, and cut out this root of avarice which the fiend has implanted in us, at the same time and together therewith cutting out also all the actual offshoots of the evils. We greet all the brotherhood with you in Christ. Please pray robustly for us in the Lord, most God-beloved brother. This epistolary discourse was signed by Gennadius himself in particular and by seventy-three Bishops (or eighty-one).

Interpretation.

The present Epistle takes its start from the very bowels of the word. For it introduces a passage of the Gospel immediately related to the subject of it and to the end for which it was composed and dispatched. For it says our Lord and God Jesus Christ gave a commandment to His sacred Apostles and disciples when He sent them forth to preach the Gospel, namely, for them to give others gratis and graciously free that gift and grace which they had received from Him, and not to take for it any copper, or silver, or gold, or any other thing material and earthly (for material and perishable things can never be a reward and payment for heavenly and imperishable things that are gracious gifts of the Spirit), and that He gave that same commandment through the Apostles also to us successors of the Apostles who are Patriarchs and Prelates, and that just as the Apostles kept it with exactitude, so too ought we to keep it, and that we ought not to try to garble with misexplanations the plain and tamperproof words of the Lord. "Gratis," said the Lord, "ye received; gratis give ye. Put no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your purses or belts." The words of this commandment are simple and plain without having any difficult meaning that would require a sophistical and far-fetched explanation. From me. He says, you received the office of the priesthood; and if you paid for it much or little, I too sold it to you; so sell it yourselves too to other men; but if you received it as a gracious gift, give it yourselves too as a gracious gift. What commandment is plainer than that? Or what thing is more beneficial than that to those who obey it? Woe indeed to those who think to take and give in exchange for money the gift and grace of God, since they themselves will turn out to be involved in the gall of bitterness and the clutch or grasp of injustice, like Simon the magician (or sorcerer), just as Peter the Apostle had told him. The second Canon of the 4th Ec. C., which he quotes here verbatim for whose Interpretation see that Canon) is in agreement with the foregoing commandment of the Lordís. Having finished the Canon the Saint says that the injunctions of this Canon are excellent and that they frustrate every diabolic argument that anyone might offer; because they commonly and generally prohibit an ordinator as well as an ordinee from taking or giving any money either for ordinations or for nominations, and either before the ordination or during the ordination or after the ordination. Since, however, some persons in the country of the Galatians were found to be transgressing these soterial injunctions on account of their avariciousness and greediness for profits, and to be charging money for ordinations, therefore it has appeared to be reasonable for us to renew these injunctions with the Holy Synod residing in the imperial city (of Constantinople), in order to eradicate altogether this impious custom of simony without resorting to any invention, excuse, or sophism. It is a custom which, I know not how, has become rife in the churches, but when it is wiped out the result will be that the grace of the Holy Spirit will really descend from above upon the ordinee when the ordination is performed by a prelate with clean hands and without money. Since now when ordinations are performed for money, and it is not a clean hand of the prelate that is laid upon the ordinee and operates, I am not sure that the grace of the Holy Spirit does descend upon the person being ordained, just as the prelate prayerfully wishes it upon him, and that it is not rather barred from him. So know, Ο most reverent Pope, that the common decision of the prelates and the above Canon of the 4th Ec. C. condemns every bishop andchorepis-copus, and itinerant, and presbyter, and deacon, and every other cleric and layman that has been ordained for money. For grace must be grace in fact (i.e., in reality, as we say in English), and money must not be paid for it. So let anyone be, and so he is? expelled and estranged from every priestly dignity and operation, and accountable to the curse of the anathema, if he thinks to obtain the grace of holy orders by means of money, or promises to impart it on the same terms, whether he be a clergyman or a layman, and whether he be exposed and proved to have received money or be not exposed; since it is not possible for incompatible things ever to harmonize or agree with each other, as, for instance, Mammon, or, more expressly speaking, ill-gotten riches, with God. Accordingly, those who serve Mammon and those who serve God are subject to the Lordís decision saying: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon" ó in obedience and courage due to which words we have come to this Conciliar decision against simoniacs doing these things, thus co-operating with the design and will of the Lord, who spoke the foregoing words. Hence, Ο sacred Pope, while keeping these injunctions with exactitude, let your reverence take care to make them known with exact copies and tenors of them to the bishops and chorepiscopi subject to your reverence, and to all other clergymen and laymen, in order that all of us Christians together, armed with one spirit and with one soul, may vanquish the common enemy called the Devil, and eradicate the root of avarice which has been planted by him and eliminate all its vicious offshoots, one of which is simony. Having said these things, and having greeted the brotherhood together with the Pope, he concludes his Epistle, which all the bishops with him also signed.

 

St. John The Faster.

Prolegomena.

Our Father among Saints John, who is styled "the Faster," flourished in the year 580, having seen the reigns of three Emperors, namely, Justin II (called the Younger), Tiberius II Constantinus, and Mauricius (also known in English as Maurice). At the suggestion of Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, of the scholastics, he enrolled in the clergy and was ordained a deacon. But after Eutychius died, when held responsible in regard to his having been ordained, he would not obey. But inasmuch as he beheld a fearful ecstasy and heard angels telling him to be silent and not to offer any resistance to this, he yielded against his will to being preferred to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, becoming the fourth in the line of Patriarchs of Constantinople named John. He was the first to begin styling himself Ecumenical Patriarch, on account of which title, or rather because of the homonymy of this, the historic scandals ensued between him and the Popes of Rome Pelagius II and Gregory Dialogue (known in English as Pope Gregory II). But the man of celebrated memory was so partial to asceticism and fasting that for a space of six months he drank no water and during a period of thirteen and a half years he ate nothing else but the stalks of lettuce, or a little watermelon, or grapes, or figs, and took exceedingly little and carefully measured sleep, on account of which practices the thrice-blissful man acquired from God the gracious gift of working miracles both in this life and after death. After devoutly shepherding his flock of sheep as Patriarch, he departed for the Lord in the year 619, leaving us the present Canons, which are more commonly called the Canonicon of the Faster.

 

Canons.

1. The fact that we reduce the number of years of penitence will not seem to be out of keeping with reason to those, I presume, who can reason aright. For since neither in the great Father Basil, nor furthermore in the more ancient of our marvelous Fathers has any fasting or vigilation or genuflection numerically been fixed for sinners, but merely abstinence from the sacred Communion, we have concluded that it behooves us, in regard to those persons who are genuinely repentant and will to subject their flesh to the infliction of hardships, and to lead a life gratefully that will counterbalance their previous wickedness, according to the measure of their continence to countermeasure to them also a curtailment of the term of penitence. For instance, if anyone consented not to drink wine on determinate days, we decided to subtract one year from the sentence fixed by the Fathers for the expiation of their offense. Likewise if he promises temperance in respect of meat for a time, we have seen fit to deduct another year; if in respect of cheese and eggs, or of fish, or of olive oil, and so on in each particular case of temperance in respect of any one of these articles, to knock off a year. Nor is this all, but even he chooses to appease the Deity by frequently repeated genuflections, to do likewise, and especially if he exhibits a willingness to provide generous alms without straining his power, or overtaxing his ability, If, on the other hand, even after the lapse anyone has come under the God-pleasing and solitary life, we have seen fit to shorten still further his sentence, seeing that throughout (the rest of] his life he is destined to suffer harsh treatment such as becomes such a course of living.

(c. XII of the 1st: c. CII of the 6th: cc. II, V, VII of Ancyra; cc. II, III, LXXIV, LXXXIV; cc. IV, V, VII, VIII of Gregory of Nyssa.).

Interpretation.

In this first Canon the Saint defends himself against the criticism of those who might perhaps be disposed to blame him for reducing the term of penitence. Accordingly, he says this reduction, or commutation, which he has provided, is not lacking in calculation and discretion in the eyes of the prudent and thoughtful. This calculation is founded upon the following viewpoint: Since neither the great Father Basil nor the other Fathers of the oldest times prescribed for penitents any satisfaction and canon with fasting, or vigilation, or genuflection, but canonized them solely with abstinence from divine Communion, for this reason, says the Saint, we have deemed it reasonable to commute the years of penitence for those who are genuinely repentant and willing to inflict hardships upon their body by means of severities and to live hereafter and henceforth a virtuous life contrary to the former wicked life which they had been leading. To reduce, however, these years in accordance with the measure of the temperance they may exhibit. For instance, if the penitent perchance accepts as a canon the obligation not to drink any wine for so many fixed days, we have deemed it reasonable to spare him one year from the years of his sentence as prescribed to him in the Canons of the Fathers. Likewise, if he promises not to eat any meat, we agree to deduct for him another year. Likewise, if he refrains from eating cheese, or eggs, or fish, or olive oil, with respect to each one of these foods we have decided to allow him to have a year deducted from his sentence. If perchance he cares to propitiate God also with long-repeated genuflections and metanies, likewise in consideration for these exercises too we agree to deduct a year, and especially if perchance he cares to be lavish in handing out alms in proportion to the power of wealth he possesses, by showing a proportionate amount of readiness to give to others. If perchance the penitent after any offense he may have committed has also become a monk, we deemed it reasonable to bestow a pardon upon him for his offense, since in the course of his monastic life he is going to have to pass his whole lifetime in hardship and under harsh conditions. See also c. XII of the 1st and the whole of Canons pertaining thereto, which vindicate this commutation of years which the Faster has decided upon. For they too assert that in accordance with the disposition and repentance of penitents who have confessed their sin, the length of sentences upon them ought to be reduced.

 

2. An assault of sensual pleasure against the heart through mentation is to be regarded as a sin not yet committed and not subject to the least penance.

Interpretation.

An assault, according to St. John of the Climax (Section 15), is a mere word, or at most an imaginary picture of the fact which has happened and which recently and for the first time appears to the mind and to the heart. So in this Canon the Faster and Saint of the same name as he is says that this assault of the reason which induces in the heart a certain carnal pleasure is completely uncanonized, as though no sin had yet been committed. But we ought to know that all wicked thoughts in general assault the soul either internally or externally. They assault it internally either through an idea and image that is impressed upon the imagination contemplatively, or through intestine discourse of the heart, being impressed upon the same imagination acoustically. Externally they assault it by means of the sensible objects that affect our five senses, or, at any rate, through visible objects, and through audible, odorous, tastable, and palpable objects. The causes which call forth thoughts that are induced internally as well as of those that are induced externally are three in number. The main and chief one is demons; the second one is what are improperly called the passions, or, at any rate, the wounds or powerful blows which we sustain internally in connection with the heart with our own consent as a matter of habit, either when we hate some object or when we love some object passionately; the third and remote cause is the corrupt state of the human soul resulting from disobedience.

 

3. Presumption: it is washed away with twelve metanies.

Interpretation.

Presumption, according to the said St. John (l.c.), is when a soul consents or condescends to converse with passion, or without passion, with the thought which appeared and which this namesake of his the Faster asserts to be under penance and to be purged with twelve genuflections, since it depends upon a manís free will either to accept what has appeared as a result of the assault and to converse with it, or to refuse and repel it and not to accept it at all. John of the Climax (l.c.) also lays presumption under penance.

 

4. The wrestling, deserves a crown or a punishment.

Interpretation.

Wrestling, according to the same John of the Climax (l.c.), is a power of the soul which is equal in measure to the fighting thought, and with respect to which, if the soul wishes, it can defeat the thought, but if it does not wish to do so, it is defeated by the thought. Hence John of the Climax as well as his divine namesake this John the Faster assert that this wrestling becomes the cause either of the soulís receiving a crown ó if, that is to say, it vanquishes the evil thought; or of its receiving chastisement and punishment ó if, that is to say, it is vanquished by the thought.

 

5. Consent is the cause and origin of penances.

Interpretation.

Consent, according to the same John of the Climax (l.c.), is a pleasurable acquiescense of the soul which the latter makes to the passionate thought which is waging war upon it; on account of which consent, says this divine Faster, becomes the origin and cause of penances.

6. Anyone who has been polluted in sleep by reason of an emission of semen, shall be denied communion for one day; but after chanting the fiftieth Psalm and making forty-nine metanies, it is believed that he will thus be purified.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that whoever becomes polluted during the night by having a seminal emission in his sleep, must not commune on the succeeding day. But after reciting the 50th Psalm of David and making forty-nine metanies, he is purified from this pollution. But in view of the fact that women suffer a wet dream in their sleep too, they ought likewise to be penanced along with men. St. Barsanuphius the Great also canonizes with this same penance persons who had had a wet dream. According to Balsamon, however, women ought to receive antidoron when they do not commune, in order to avoid incurring any suspicion from their husbands. See also c. IV of Dionysius.

 

7. But one who has been polluted in body while awake is excluded from Communion for seven days, having also to chant the fiftieth Psalm and to make forty-nine metanies.

Interpretation.

But anyone who suffers a seminal emission while he is awake is forbidden the divine communion for seven days, according to this Canon, and on every one of these days he has to say the 50th Psalm, and do daily forty-nine metanies.

 

8. Anyone having committed masturbation is penanced forty days, during which he must keep himself alive by xerophagy and must do one hundred metanies every day.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that anyone who is guilty of masturbating at any time is obliged to refrain from communing for forty days straight, passing these with xerophagy, or, more explicitly speaking, with only bread and water, and doing every day metanies to the number of one hundred each time. As concerning masturbators and fornicators, St. Meletius the Confessor asserts that they are making a sacrifice of their semen to the Devil, which semen is the most precious part of their body.2

 

9. As for sexual intercourse of men with one another, such as practicing double masturbation, it received the stated penance of up to eighty days.

Interpretation.

By "sexual intercourse" the Canon means here, not the perfect sin of arsenokoetia (Mentioned in I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1:10), commonly termed sodomy in English, but the act of two men who masturbate each other. This sin is canonized by the Saint with a double canon, and those committing it are penanced for eighty days of xerophagy, on each one of which they have to do metanies one hundred. Because each of these offenders is not only hurting himself, but is also hurting his brother, and this makes the sin a double sin.

 

10. If anyone among the Clergy, before being admitted to Holy Orders, fell into the commission of masturbation without thinking perhaps that on this account alone he would be dismissed from the priesthood, let him first be efficiently penanced, and then let him be inducted into Holy Orders. But if he was caught doing this after admission to the priesthood, after being suspended for a whole year for this, and being sophronized (i.e., soberized) with the usual penances, let him be readmitted to the priesthood. But if after realizing the sinfulness of it, he committed this offense twice or thrice, then, after being dismissed from the priesthood, let him come into the class of anagnost (i.e., lector).

Interpretation.

The present Canon says that if perchance anyone before entering the priesthood fell into the offense of masturbation without knowing that on this account alone he would be excluded from the priesthood, let this person, after first receiving a canon adequate to his sin, become a priest. But if perchance after being admitted to holy orders, he fell into it again, let him be suspended from the priesthood for a period of one year, and after being soberized with the penances usually imposed upon masturbators, let him again perform the function of the priesthood. But if even after realizing the gravity of the evil, he has masturbated two or three times, let him be dismissed from the priesthood, and let him slide down into the class of Anagnost.

 

11. But as for women, too, if any of them has allowed herself to be kissed and felt by man, without, however, being ravished by him, let her receive the penance provided for masturbation.

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes with the penance provided for masturbation that woman who accepts kisses and palpations from a man ó or, more expressly, it condemns her to xerophagy and to do one hundred metanies daily while abstaining from Communion for forty days straight.

 

12. Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he consents to submit to xerophagy after the ninth hour and to do two hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill the whole term fixed by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes every monk or layman that fornicates even once to abstain from Communion for two years and every day to do two hundred and fifty metanies, and after the ninth hour of every day to confine himself to xerophagy, or, more explicitly speaking, to the eating of bread alone and the drinking of water alone; but if he should neglect or refuse to do this, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the divine Fathers have fixed. See c. XLIV of the 6th, c. XXII of Basil, and c. XVI of the 4th.

 

13. We demand that an adulterer shall partake of Communion (only) after three years, without scrupling about xerophagy after the ninth hour, but also executing 250 metanies per diem. If he is disposed, however, to indolence in this matter, let him wait for the end of the term fixed by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

This present Canon decrees that an adulterer must be penanced to refrain from communing for three years, to observe xerophagy after the ninth hour, and to do 250 metanies daily. But if he neglects to do so or refuses, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the Fathers have determined.

 

14. As for a man who has insanely attacked his own sister, we bid him to be deemed to be worthy of Communion after three years, provided he chooses to fast until evening and accepts xerophagy, and does five hundred metanies daily.

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes any man who lies with his sister, to abstain from communing for three years straight, to content himself with xerophagy after the ninth hour, and to do 500 metanies every day. See also c. LXXV of Basil.

 

15. As for a man who has mingled carnally with his sister-in-law or his daughter-in-law, we exclude him from Communion for two years provided he agrees to xerophagy after the ninth hour and to do three hundred metanies daily. But if he is a slave to negligence, let him fulfill the years specified by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

Any man who lies with his sister-in-law or daughter-in-law is canonized two years by the present Canon to abstain from Communion, to xerophagy after the ninth hour, and to do three hundred metanies daily. But if he neglects or refuses to do this, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the Fathers have prescribed for him. See c. LXXVI of Basil.

 

16. Any man who insanely attacks his own mother-in-law, without getting separated from his wife, is liable to the same penances, in accordance with the law saying: "What is established on a sure basis to begin with, is not invalidated by later happenings."

Interpretation.

The present Canon penances any man who lies with his mother-in-law with the same sentence as one who lies with his sister-in-law or daughter-in-law: or, more precisely speaking, to abstain from Communion for two years, during which he must confine himself to xerophagy after the ninth hour, and do three hundred metanies every day; provided, though, that he cannot get separated from his lawful wife because of the fact that he has lain with his mother-in-law ó since there is a law which says that whatever has a sure and lawful beginning or original standing, cannot be invalidated by anything unlawful that happens later. If, however, such a man has not had a perfect, or complete, nuptial consecration of his marriage with his wife in church, but has only had her betrothed to him, after lying with his mother-in-law, or with any other female relative of his wifeís, let him be separated from his betrothed too, and not have the marriage finished, according to what Blastaris and others say.2

 

17. As for women occupying a separate seat, let them not touch holy things for as many as seven days, the second Canon of St. Dionysius, but in particular the seventh Canon of Timothy bids. This is also what the old Law ordered, but neither did it permit them to have any sexual intercourse with men; for it happens on this account that the seeds sown become weak and evanescent. Hence it was that divine Moses ordered the father of a defective to be stoned to death, on the ground that on account of his intemperance he failed to await the purification of his wife. But as for a woman who has been so scornful of the same uncleanness during this period and has touched the divine Mysteries, they bid her to remain communionless for forty days.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those women shall not participate in the divine Mysteries who are having their usual trouble of courses and menstruation, or what are commonly called "monthlies," for at least seven days, just as c. II of Dionysius also decrees, and c. VII of Timothy commands. This same prohibition is found in the old Law, which does not permit such women to have sexual intercourse with their husbands so long as they are having their monthlies, because even the children that are sown and conceived in women who are in such a condition become in consequence weak and defective for the most part. It was for this reason, too, that the Law commanded that the father of a defective child be stoned to death, since on account of his wanton lust he did not have the fortitude to wait for his wife to be purified from monthlies, but slept with her while she was having them, and thus the child sown in her became defective. But if a woman having her monthlies scornfully disregard this fact and partake of the divine Mysteries, they command that she shall not commune again for forty days. Read also c. II of Dionysius.

18. It has seemed advisable to exclude any man who has been so mad as to copulate with another man from Communion for three years, weeping and fasting, and towards evening confined to xerophagy, and doing two hundred metanies. But as for one who prefers to take it easy, let him fulfill the fifteen years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes any man guilty of arsenocoetia (i.e., sexual intercourse between males) not to partake of Communion for three years, but during this time to weep over his sin and to fast until evening, to content himself with xerophagy, and to do two hundred metanies daily. But if he does not care to observe these regulations, let him abstain from communion for fifteen years, just as c. LXII of Basil canonizes those guilty of arsenocoetia, which you may read for yourself, as well as his c. VII.

 

19. A boy who has been ruined in front of any man cannot come into holy orders. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet his vessel was rent and became useless in connection with sacred services. If, however, he received the ejaculation between his thighs, after being suitably penanced he shall not be barred from preferment to holy orders.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perchance anyone when he was a boy seven years old was ruined by any man, although at that time he was not guilty of sin because of the immaturity of his age and knowledge, yet he cannot become a priest, since the vessel of his body was sundered and became useless for services in connection with the priesthood. But if he received the ejaculated semen only in the fork of his thighs, without, that is to say, having the virpa stuck into his anus, which is the same as saying if he merely suffered colluctation, he is to be penanced first with the proper canon, and then, if he wishes to be made a priest, he is not barred. As to the fact that one can no longer regain his virginity after he has once lost it, that is avouched by Basil the Great in his discourse concerning virginity, and see the last Footnote to the Epistle of St. Athanasius to Ammun.

 

20. As for voluntary manslaughter, we exclude (the guilty one) from Communion for a space of five years, but as for involuntary manslaughter, for a space of three years, provided after the ordeal of fasting until evening, the murderer confines himself to extreme xerophagy, and consents to do three hundred metanies daily. But if he is sluggishly disposed, let the prescript of the Fathers be fulfilled.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes a voluntary man slaughterer to refrain from communing for five years, but an involuntary manslaughterer to three years. Both offenders have to fast until evening and content themselves with extreme xerophagy, while doing three hundred metanies every day. But if they do not care to do these things, the voluntary manslaughterer gets twenty years, the involuntary manslaughterer gets ten, according to cc. LVI and LVII of Basil. Read also Ap. c. LXVI.

 

21. As for women who destroy embryos as professionally, and those who give or take poisons with the object of aborting babies and dropping them prematurely, we prescribe the rule that they be treated economically up to five or even three years at most.

Interpretation.

This Canon canonizes those women who deliberately put to death the embryos in their womb five years, or for the most part three. Likewise also those women who give herbs or other manufactured articles to pregnant in order to enable them to expel babies that are immature and dead.1 See Ap. c. LXVI and c. XCI of the 6th.

 

22. A woman who involuntarily has expelled a baby through miscarriage, receives her penance for a year.

Interpretation.

But any woman who, being pregnant, has expelled her baby unintentionally (as the result of some accidental circumstance), is canonized by the present Canon not to commune for a year.

 

23. A woman, on the other hand, who overlies her baby and smothers it is deemed to deserve Communion after three years if she abstains from meats on the express days and from cheese and sedulously performs the rest of the requirements. Though if this happened as a result of the indolence or intemperance of the parents, it is very much like voluntary murder; but if it resulted from a plot of the adversary, the matter deserves a pardon. Nevertheless, even this latter case needs moderate penances. For the abandonment was due to other misdemeanors.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes three years any woman who while sleeping rolled over on her baby and smothered it to death. Such a woman must not eat any meat or cheese for the length of time specified, but also has to do other beneficent works with heartfelt sorrow. Though it is to be observed that if this ensued as a result of negligence or intemperance (overeating, that is to say, and overdrinking, or any other licentious appetite of the parents), it is very much like voluntary murder. But if it resulted, not from any such cause on the part of the parents, but from a plot and action on the part of the Devil, the thing deserves to be pardoned, although even in this case it deserves moderate penances and a canon, since this abandon ment on the part of God which befell them occurred on account of other former or present or future sins of theirs.

 

24. When an unbaptized child dies owing to negligence on the part of its own parents, the parents are to be excluded from Communion for three years, and obliged to get along with xerophagy during this time and to propitiate the Deity on bent knees with protracted weeping and alms proportionate to their ability, while doing every day forty metanies.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes those parents to whose negligence is to be attributed the death of their unbaptized child, decreeing that they are to be required not to partake of Communion for three years, but during this time to make the best of it with xerophagy, weeping and repenting and giving alms and every day doing forty metanies.

 

25. If a Nun becomes aware that other Nuns are guilty of adultery or of child-destruction, and fails to reveal the fact to her Superioress, she is to get the same penance as the one who actually committed the offense, according to c. LXXI of Basil the Great.

Interpretation.

This Canon decrees that if any nun who is living with other nuns in a monastery, or nunnery, or convent, finds out that any one of them is being taken into adultery by any man, or has been ravished before coming of age, and fails to make the fact known to the abbess or prioress, in order that the latter may apply the proper discipline, but has kept silent about it, she is to be canonized just as though she did the thing herself, because she could have prevented the evil and failed to do so, according to c. LXXI of Basil. Read also c. XXV of Ancyra.

 

26. Women who expose their babies at the entrance to churches, are chastised as murderesses, even though some persons picking them up take care of them.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes as murderesses any women who leave their babies at the door of churches, even though other persons may take them and bring them up. See also Ap. c. LXVI, and c. LXXXIV of the 6th, and c. LXXX of Carthage.

 

27. As for a thief who voluntarily repents, we exclude him from Communion for 49 days; but as for one who has been detected and exposed, he is to be excluded for as long as six months, confined to xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing one hundred metanies daily.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes for forty days any thief who of his own accord bears witness that he stole something. But if a thief is borne witness to by others, it canonizes him to abstain from Communion for six months, and he is obliged to take xerophagy as fare after the ninth hour, and to do a hundred metanies every day.4 See also c. III of Neocaesarea.

 

28. A man found guilty of highway robbery in connection with so-called capital thievery cannot come into Holy Orders; but even if after coming into these he should fall into the offense, he is to be deprived of Holy Orders altogether, in accordance with c. XXV of the Holy Apostles.

Interpretation.

The present Canon forbids anyone to be made a priest who is caught and proved to have stolen capital things, or, more expressly speaking, things that entail capital punishment upon the thief. But even if one while a priest steals such capital goods, he is to be deposed in accordance with Likewise this Canon too is attested by Arrnenopoulos (Section 5, heading 3, of his Epitome of the Canons), but somewhat changed. For he asserts that the Faster canonizes a confessed housebreaker, or, otherwise speaking, a thief, to three years And I am amazed that he says this, at a time when Basil, a more severe penancer than the others, I mean, canonizes a thief less. Gregory of Nyssa, on the other hand, did not even exclude a housebreaker from Communion at all, while in regard to a thief exposed by others Arrnenopoulos (ibid.) says nothing.

Ap. c. XXV, which you are advised to read in order to learn therefrom also what capital punishment is like.

 

29. We prescribe that a grave-robber remain excluded from Communion for one year and do two hundred metanies every day.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes a robber who opens graves to abstain from Communion for a year, with confinement to xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing two hundred metanies every day. Read also c. LX of Basil.

 

 

30. Sacrilege is chastised by a lesser term than adulterer, according to St. Gregory of Nyssa; and it is economized up to three years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes a sacrilegist not to commune for three years. See also Ap. c. LXXII.

 

31. Persons who under stress of necessity (or in the absence of any necessity) have committed perjury, we have presumed to be required to postpone Communion for one year, confining themselves to xerophagy after the ninth hour, and doing two hundred and fifty metanies daily.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes those who take a false oath, or even violate their oath because of some necessity (or without there being any necessity), to forgo Communion for one year, faring on xerophagy about or during the ninth hour, and doing daily metanies two hundred. See also Ap. c. XXV and c. XCIV of the 6th.

 

32. To those professing enchantry or sorcery, we curtail the economy to three years of penitence, provided they cheerfully consent to attach supreme importance to fasting every day, and to subsist on hard and dry food after the ninth hour and to live as inartificially as possible; and, furthermore, to execute two hundred and fifty adoratory salutations, reverently resting their forhead upon the ground. On a par with these persons we also set those women who make amulets and carry on the occupation of fortune-telling.

Interpretation.

Enchanters and sorcerers, as well as those women who make amulets and tell fortunes, are canonized to forgo Communion for three years by the present Canon, and they have to eat dry food until after the ninth hour, and to eat only enough to subsist on, and to perform 250 metanies every day. See also c. LXI of the 6th.

 

33. Neither a lay woman nor a nun can be separated for any offense whatsoever against the Church, except only from Communion. For the Canon asserts that we are doing this merely in order to prevent many of them from laying violent hands on themselves out of shame, precisely as neither a Presbyter nor a Deacon, owing to the precept, "Thou shalt not exact vengeance twice for the same offense" (Nahum 1:9).

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no woman, whether a lay person or a nun, may be separated from the Church and the synaxis of the faithful for every sin she may do, but only from divine Communion. For the Canon (c. XXXIV of Basil, that is) says for us not to do this to them, lest they become so ashamed as to kill themselves, just as neither a priest nor a deacon may be expelled from Church, but from only communion of the Mysteries, in order to avoid having them undergo at the same time two chastisements, according to Ap. c. XXV. But Balsamon says in reference to c. XXXIV of Basil that if the sin of a woman committing adultery be published, separation from the Church too ought to be inflicted upon her. Balsamon also adds the following observation in his interpretation of c. X of Nicholas, to wit, that women failing to commune must receive antidoron, lest their husbands be imbued with a bad suspicion in regard to them.

 

34. In case anything unclean falls into a well, or into olive oil, or into wine, let whoever has taken a taste thereof not touch meat and cheese for three days; and let him not commune for seven days.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that if perchance any of those things that are called unclean vermin (like a rat or anything else of this category) falls into olive oil or wine, anyone eating thereof wittingly shall be canonized to refrain from eating meat and cheese for three days, and to abstain from Communion for seven days.

 

35. Anyone who vomited after partaking of the divine Communion shall abstain from divine Communion for 40 days, singing the 50th Psalm every day and doing 50 metanies, no matter how this may have happened. For even though he may think that he has given no occasion so far himself, yet at least it is certain at all events that this contretemps was cast in his way on purpose by the Almighty in consequence of some other misdemeanors of his own.

Interpretation.

Anyone that vomits in whatever way it may be after having partaken of Communion is condemned to be canonized forty days to abstain from Communion by the present Canon, and to recite the 50th Psalm every day, or, in other words, to say aloud, "Have mercy on me, Ο God,Ē and to do metanies fifty every day. For although the person who had this happen to him may not have given any occasion or cause on his part, yet on account of other sins of his, former, present, or future, he was conceded the necessity of having this happen to him by God Himself. See also the Footnote to c. II of Neocaesarea.

Note that the Canonicon of the Faster has been found in a manuscript codex containing also the penances hereinbelow set forth, except, that is to say, those mentioned by Blastaris.

If any man shall lie with his step-mother, he is to be penanced three years, fasting, that is to say, until evening, and making xerophagy his fare and doing five hundred genuflections every day.

If he lie with mother and daughter in the same place and at the same time, he shall be penanced four years, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour, and doing three hundred genuflections every day.

If any man engage in arsenocoetia with two brothers, he is to be penanced likewise.

If any man commit arsenocoetia with his brother-in-law, he is to be penanced four years, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing two hundred genuflections every day.

If any man commit arsenocoetia with his brother, he shall be penanced for eight years, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing four hundred genuflections every day.

If a young brother undergo arsenocoetia performed by an older brother, without performing it himself, he shall be penanced for three years, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing a hundred genuflections.

If any man lie with his daughter once, he shall be penanced five years; but if more than once, six years and seven, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour, and doing daily five hundred genuflections.

If any man lie with his mother once, he shall be penanced seven years; but if he do so many times, twelve years, faring with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing five hundred genuflections.

If any man lie only once with his daughter born of Holy Baptism, he shall be penanced eight years; but if more than once, ten years, with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing five hundred genuflections.

If any man lie with his susceprice, he shall be penanced eight years, with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing three hundred genuflections daily (see also the eighth chapter of the work on relationship resulting from baptism, as to what punishment these persons incur from the Imperial laws, or, more explicitly, that of having the noses of both of them cut off).

If any man lie with a beast many times, when he has a wife, he shall be penanced eight years; but if he had no wrife, and did so only once or twice or three times at the most, he shall be penanced three years, with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing three hundred metanies.

The same penances are to be received by a woman who lies with a beast.

If any man lie with his female cousin german, he shall be penanced two years, with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing five hundred genuflections daily.

If any man lie with a heathen woman or heathen girl, or, more particularly speaking, with a woman or girl who is a Jewess, a Turkess, or a heretic, when he has no lawful wife, he shall be penanced three years, with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing two hundred genuflections daily. Likewise shall a woman having no lawful husband be penanced if she lie with a Jew, or with a Turk, or with a heretic, or, more particularly, with a Latin or an Armenian. But if a man having a lawful wife, and a woman having a lawful husband, lie thereafter with such heathen or heretical persons, they shall be penanced four or five years, with xerophagy until the ninth hour and doing two hundred and fifty genuflections daily.

If the wife of a presbyter or of a deacon commit adultery, she shall be penanced three years, faring the while with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing three hundred genuflections daily ó more severely, that is to say, than other adulteresses, in view of the fact that they slay their husbands by causing them to be deposed from holy orders on account of such adultery. As for their husbands, if they want to keep them, they shall be deposed from holy orders; but if they want to keep the holy orders, they shall be separated from their wives before they have any coition with them after the commission of the adultery, according to c. VIII of Neocaesarea.

If any woman lie with two brothers, she shall be penanced for three years, faring the while with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing two hundred metanies daily.

If any woman shall lie with a eunuch, she shall be penanced for three years, faring the while with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing three hundred genuflections daily.

If any man perform arseneocotia upon his wife, he shall be penanced for eight years, faring the while with xerophagy after the ninth hour and doing two hundred metanies daily.

 

St. Tarasius of Constantinople.

Prolegomena.

Our divine Father Tarasius lived in the reign of Constantine and Irene bis mother, in the time of Nicephorus the Administrator General. In the year 795, through the influence exerted by Empress Irene, who was a woman belonging originally to the populace, he was elevated to Patriarchal throne of Constantinople, succeeding Paul as Patriarch of Constantinople on the 21st day of the month of December, and held the office of Patriarch for 21 years and 2 months. He really did a great deed in that through his importunity he persuaded the Emperor and Empress to assemble the holy Seventh Ecumenical Council, and by means of his begging letters to Pope Adrian of Rome and to the Patriarchs of the East, he persuaded these dignitaries to send legates, or deputies, to the Council. He was an uncle of the most holy Patriarch Photius. Besides his other letters, he wrote this letter of his against simoniacs and despatched it to Pope Adrian of Rome because such an evil practice was going on also in Rome. This letter was accepted by the Church as a Canonical Epistle, and is to be found on p. 896 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records, and in volume II of the Pandects.

The Epistle of Tarasius of Constantinople to the Arian Pope

together with the Interpretation of it.

"In many places and many ways, Evangelically, Apostolically, and Patrically, we are taught to have an unavaricious policy in the exercise of holy orders, and not to take gold or silver for the ordination of any hieratic man or priestly functionary, as we shall prove in the subjoined essays, based upon Scriptural utterances of God and upon the teachings of the Fathers of th Church. For those men who impose hands are servants of the Holy Spirit, not vendors thereof. For they have declared (Matt. 10:8) that men who have received the grace of the Holy Spirit gratis must give it gratis to those receiving it from them in turn, having acquired this liberty from the Lordís utterance. But if anyone be proved to have bought this with gold, they pronounce such a man to be outlawed from the priestly class. For though he may have acquired holy orders nominally in a clerical manner, yet the assertion is disproved by the fact of the matter. For no one can serve both God and Mammon, as we learn evangelically (Matt. 6:24). And since we have been told prophetically through the shouting of God: "Priests, speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem" (Isa. 40:2) and again threatening: "But if the watchman see the sword coming, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchmanís hand" (Ezek. 33:6); for fear of condemnation resulting from silence, we announce to all presiding dignitaries of our Churches, to speak openly and freely, in accordance with the words of the Apostle: "We are pure from the blood" (Acts 20:26) of those transgressing the Canonical injunctions, and most especially of those who have ordained or been ordained for money. Peter the divine Apostle whose seat your brotherly holiness has come into clerically deposed these offenders like Simon the sorcerer. On this account we do not hesitate to announce the truth, keeping and holding on to the doctrines published by the Holy Apostle and our Fathers of celebrated memory, and if anything therein has been violated or transgressed by some men, we loathe and abominate them. Your brotherly and priestly prelatical holiness, therefore, legitimately and in accordance with the will of God pioneering in the exercise of prelatical authority enjoys a glory that is well known everywhere. For the great and first High Priest Christ our God has said through the Prophet: "As I live, I will glorify them that glorify me" (Rom. 14:11). For I am aware, Sir, imbued with the desires of the spirit, that the ungodly heresy of Macedonius and his spirit-fighting adherents is more tolerable. For while the former prate about the Holy Spirit being a creature and servant of God and of the Father, the latter, it seems, would make It their servant. For any lord, if he wish, can sell whatever he owns, whether it be a household servant or any other possession he has acquired. Likewise in the case of one buying, he acquires an object by paying the price in money because he wishes to become the lord of the object he is buying. Thus those men who are engaged in this lawless practice, lower the Holy Spirit, by sinning equally with blasphemers who said that Christ casts out demons by Beelzebul (Matt. 9:34); or, to express the fact more truly, they are very much like Judas the traitor, who sold and betrayed Christ to the God-slaying Jews in exchange for pieces of silver. As, therefore, the Holy Spirit is of the same essence as Christ our God, it is plain that they will be of the same portion to everybody, as has been proved. If therefore it can be sold (for it evidently cannot), it is indisputable that the grace of the Holy Spirit is not in them, or, more explicitly speaking, they neither have received nor do they possess the power to exercise priestly functions, or the offices of holy orders. Let them remember the words of St. Peter, who told the one professing this: "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter" (Acts 8:21). For if the dignity of the Priesthood can be sold, then decent conduct during their life is superfluous to priests, and so is conformity with the requirements of chastity and virtue. According to them Paul the divine Apostle is also superfluous when he is teaching that: "A bishop, then, must irreproachable, sober, modest, didactic, continent, an abstainer from intoxicating drinks, well equipped to teach the faithful word, in order to be strong enough to be of influence in the matter of sound doctrine, and to refute those gainsaying him" (I Tim. 3:2-7). All these qualifications are absent in a buyer and seller of Holy Orders. For the holy essays below presented declare him to be utterly a stranger to the Priesthood who ever gives or takes at any time money whether before the ordination or after the ordination. For taking is taking irrespective of when the taking occurred; moreover, they pretend to remove all ecclesiastical inconveniences if paid the money.

Canon XXIX of the Holy Apostles

"If any Bishop become the recipient of this dignity through money, or any presbyter, or any Deacon, let him be deposed as well as the one who ordained him, and let him be cut off from Communion, as was Simon the sorcerer by me Peter."

From the Acts of the Apostles

"And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostlesí hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he shall receive Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, that perhaps thy heartís thought may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the clutch of injustice" (Acts 8:18-23).

From the First Book of Kings, ch. 18, w. 38-84

"After this thing Jeroboam, returned not from his evil way, but made again from among all the people priests of the high places: whosoever would fill his hand, he consecrated him, that there might be priests of the high places. And this thing became a sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth."

From the Second Book of Kings, ch. 5, w. 15-27

"And Naaman returned to Elisha, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; now therefore, I pray thee, take a present from thy servant. But Elisha said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I am standing, I will accept none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.

"And Naaman said, If not, yet I pray thee let there be given to thy servant two mulesí load of earth; for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offerings nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord. In this matter the Lord pardon thy servant; when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this matter. And said he unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

"But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not receiving from his hands that which he brought: as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take something from him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he alighted from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all wll? My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, just now there have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of raiment. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of raiment, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bore them before them. And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. And he said unto him, Went not my heart with thee when the man turned again from his chariot to meet theet Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and menservants and maidservantsí! The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed forever.

"And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."

Of Basil the Great, from his Commentary on Isaiah, ch. 8, v. 20

"He gave a law to help them say not like this word" of the ventriloquist. For it was not invented for deception, like those words, but is a teacher of truth, whereas they practice devination for money. For this is the ludicrous thing, that ones deceived pay them money for the falsehood. But this word of the law is not such as to have presents begiven for it. For no one can pay for grace, or give it for any payment. "Gratis," He says, "ye received, gratis give ye" (Matt. 10:8). You see how Peter became indignant with Simon when the latter offered him money for the gift of the Holy Spirit? "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money" (Acts 8:21). So the words of the Gospel are not like the words sold by ventriloquists. For what could anyone give for it as equivalent exchange! Listen to David wondering and saying: "What shall I give unto the Lord for all that he hath given unto me?" (Ps. 115). So, then, there are no gifts or presents that can be given in exchange for this that are worth the grace received from Him. One gift is worth giving alone: that of keeping what has been given. He who gave you the treasure does not expect any payment of a price for what was given, but the keeping of it in a manner worthy of the gift"

Of the same Saint, from his Epistle to the Bishops under himself, which is his Canon XC

"They think that they are not sinning because they accept the money after the ordination, and not at the same time that the ordination is carried out. But an acceptance is an acceptance no matter when the acceptance occurs. I therefore beg you to put aside this step, or rather this expedition to Gehenna. Accordingly, do not soil your hands by taking such things, and thereby render yourselves unworthy to perform the holy Mysteries."

From his Life of St. John Chrysostom

"Eusebius, who had involved all us Bishops in a long discussion and who was the accuser of six other Bishops, came forward with a demand to be admitted to communion. Some of the Bishops objected that he ought not to be admitted, on the ground that he was a slanderer. In the face of the objections he supplicated, saying: "Since the trial has been prolonged during two years and the postponement of it has been requested for the purpose of bringing witnesses, I pray your God-beloved reverence to let me have the witnesses today immediately. For though Antoninus, the Bishop who took the money and ordained others is dead, yet at any rate there remain the persons who paid the money and were ordained. The present Council allowed the matter to be heard, accordingly the case was commenced with a reading of the minutes of the previous transactions. The witnesses entered; and the six who had given (money) and been ordained also entered. At first they denied it. But when the witnesses insisted, laymen as well as Presbyters, who seemed confident, although at first the said Bishops denied their guilt, the witnesses charged them with it outright, reminding them of times and places, and telling the kinds of the pledges made, and the amount, feeling uncomfortably affected by their consciences, without much pressure the Bishops confessed of their own accord they had paid and become (such), deeming this sort of procedure necessary to free themselves from the public ministry Ďand we pray,í they said, (you to decide) Ďif it is permissible for us to be in the ministry of the Church, since we paid money in order to receive it; for we gave some utensils belonging to our wives. In regard to these things John promsied the Council that he would clear them of the senate by appealing to the Emperor, but told them to give orders to have returned to them what they had given by the heirs of Antoninus. The Council gave orders that they should receive the money from the heirs of Antoninus; and that they be permitted to commune within the altar but be disfranchised as priests, lest, as a result of these men having been pardoned, the Jewish or Egyptian custom of buying and selling Holy Orders come to be adopted. For it is alleged that the ravager falsely called the Patriarch of the Jews changes the chief rabbis every year, or every other year, with a view to collecting money, and likewise as to their zealous imitator the Patriarch of the Egyptians, in order to fulfill the prophetic passage saying: ĎThe priests thereof responded for gifts, and the prophets thereof divined for moneyí " (Micah 3:ll). (Here he adduces in evidence also c. II of the 4th, which you may find there and read for yourself; and the passage found in the Epistle of Gennadius on a previous page of this work.).

From the encyclical Epistle of Patriarch Gennadius "Let him therefore be and he is proscribed, and shorn of every priestly dignity and function, and is subject to the curse of the anathema whosoever presumes to obtain this by means of money, and whosoever promises to bestow this for money, whether he be a Cleric or a layman, and whether he be exposed or not be exposed doing so. For there is no possibility of reconciling things irreconcilable; neither can Mammon agree with God, nor can those serving it serve God. This is also an indisputable pronouncement of the Lordís ĎYe cannot serve God and Mammoní " (Matt. 6:21).

Canon XXII of the Canons of the holy Sixth Ecumenical Council " ĎWe command that those men be deposed from office, whether they be Bishops or Clergymen whatsoever, who have been ordained or are being ordained for money, and not in accordance with a test and choice of life, as well as those who ordained them.í Let all of us lend an ear to these words, and listen to them, not only who are prelates, but also those of us who are numbered among the Clergy, and all men who are inhabiting the earth. For Ďwe ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slipí (Heb. 2:1); since we have not been bought with perishable silver or gold money from out of vain way of life handed down from our fathers Ďbut with precious blood, as that of the blemishless and immaculate lamb Christí (I Pet. 1:19). Thus teach us, most sacred Sir, to follow the Scriptural and Evangelical and Apostolical precepts, as well as those of the Canons and of the Fathers. For we are willing to obey the words of your mouth. ĎGet thee up into the high mountains, Ö lift up thy voice with strengthí (Isa. 40:9). Proceed on broad ground. Preach outspokenly, so that imposition of hands for money may take to flight and vanish completely, together tvith whatever else follows it out of avarice for shameful profit in the way of injustice and commercial traffic. For once this together with its concomitants is eliminated from the peculiar people called by the name of Christ and gratis accorded redemption, all the contaminations due to wickedness will be exscinded therewith by the roots; and the Priests will flourish like palm-trees exhaling a fragrance to the persons being saved, and singing to the Church in exultation over the victory: ĎThe Lord hath taken away from thee thine unjust deedsí (Zeph. 3:16). Furthermore, also sweetening the fruits reaped, as well as multiplying them in ripe old age, with their exaltation, I mean, as heirs of that blissful1 and indefectible life."

Interpretation.

This Epistle, too, like that of Gennadius, in dealing with the subject of simony, premises in the beginning of it that we are taught on all hands not to accept any money, gold or silver, for ordaining anyone in holy orders, by the Gospel, I mean, by the Apostles, and by the divine Fathers. For the prelates who ordain others, being servants of the Holy Spirit, and not sellers of It, since they received the grace of the Holy Spirit gratis and without paying any money, so and in like manner they decreed that those persons should give it to others after they themselves had received it, pursuantly to the Lordís words saying, "Gratis received ye, gratis give ye. If anyone be shown to have received it in exchange for money, let them make him an outcast from the priesthood; accordingly, though such persons may retain the name of priests, they shall not exercise the functions of a priest; for no one can serve at the same time both God and Mammon, or the god of riches. But since Isaiah says for priests to speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and through Ezekiel God threaten any watchman who upon seeing the approach of a war fails to make it known to the people, that He will require from his hands the blood of those persons, therefore we too, fearing lest we be condemned on account of silence, are pointing out to all prelates this sin in order to enable them to be on their guard against it; and in order to say with the Apostle that we are innocent of the blood of persons who transgress the divine Canons and ordain others for money, or are ordained therefor, at a time when Peter the Apostle sent Simon the sorcerer to perdition, who was the first man to become responsible for such a sin. At this point the Saint turns to the Pope and tells him that the ungodly heresy of the simoniacs is worse than the heresy of the Pneumatomach Macedonius and his party. For those persons used to say that the Holy Spirit was a creature and servant of the Father, whereas simoniacs make the Holy Spirit out a servant of their own. For just as every owner sells anything he possesses just as he may wish, whether that thing be a servant or any other piece of property; and just as anyone buying anything buys it with money and becomes its owner and possessor of the thing he has bought, so and in like manner simoniacs dishonor the Holy Spirit, and buy and sell It, and blaspheme in a similar manner with those who used to blaspheme Christ and say that He was casting-out the demons from men by the aid of Beelzebul the ruler of the demons; or rather to say they resemble the traitor Judas, who sold Christ to the Jews for money, because they too sell the Holy Spirit, which is of the same essence and has the same nature as Christ, because It is a God too. But if the grace of the Holy Spirit cannot be sold (for it is evident that it never can be sold), it certainly does remain with those who buy it as the grace of the holy orders or of the priesthood, but neither have they received any holy orders at all, nor do they possess any. And let them remember the words which Peter the Apostle told Simon: "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter" (Acts 8:21). For if holy orders could be bought, it would be superfluous and vain for those buying them to show any modesty or good behavior in life, such as is demanded of those who are going to enter holy orders. Paul the Apostle too would be superfluous and vain, who insists that a prelate must be irreproachable, sober, modest, temperate, continent, and capable of teaching and inducing others to acquire knowledge of God, and of refuting those who may gainsay him, for all such persons are accounted nothing by a seller and buyer of holy orders, in their exchange of money. In what follows he cites the testimony of others in which a man is defined to be a stranger to the priesthood if he takes or gives money therefor, either before ordination or after ordination. Thus, the testimony derived from c. XC of St. Basil the Great, and that from c. II of the 4th, and that from the Epistle of Gennadius, and c. XXII of the 6th require no interpretation, because we have already interpreted them; and see each of them in its proper place. As for the other evidence he cites from Scripture and from St. Basil and the Life of Chrysostom, we will explain them succinctly.

The evidence drawn from the Acts of the Apostles says that Simon the sorcerer offered the Apostles money to give him too the authority whereby anyone he laid his hand upon should receive Holy Spirit. But Peter told him for his money to perish with him because he had had the presumption to think that he could obtain with this the gift of God, and Peter told him to repent of that wickedness of his, etc.

As for the testimony drawn from the First Book of Kings, this says that Jeroboam the servant of Solomon (who had taken the ten tribes of Israel and was reigning in Samaria) made priests in high places, and that whoever so wished might fill his hand (that means, perhaps, might bribe Jeroboam with money) and become a priest in high places, and so on.

As for the testimony from the Second Book of Kings, it says that after Naaman had been purified in the river Jordan, in accordance with the words of Elijah, he turned to him with all his array and sought to give him gifts and tried hard to induce him to accept them, but Elijah did not accept them. Seeing that Elijah did not take them, Gehazi, Elijahís servant, secretly ran after Naaman and asked him for them. Naaman gave him two talents of silver in two bags, and two suits of clothes. But when Gehazi returned, Elijah upbraided him because he took the money in order to buy gardens and oliveyards and vineyards and sheep and oxen, and manservants and maidservants, and told him that he and all his seed would be affected with the leprosy of Naaman, and thereupon he became as white as snow from leprosy.

As for the evidence which he cites from the interpretation in the commentary on the eighth chapter of Isaiah made by St. Basil the Great, the latter says: The law which God gave to help human beings is not like the words of magicians and sorcerers and their likes, to be bought with money (just as the things supposed to be bought by the deluded victims of sorcerers, which victims deserve to be fooled because they are not content with being deceived by falsehood, but even offer to buy it and pay money for it), since the grace of God cannot be sold. For the Lord has said, "Gratis received ye, gratis give ye." You see how angry Peter became with Simon and that he told the latter, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money," do you not? So the words of the Gospel are not like those of sorcerers and of other magicians; for what payment can a man make in exchange for them? Listen how David is at a loss and wondering how he can requite God for His gifts; showing that no gift is worth divine grace. One gift alone is worth it, if a man keeps the gift of grace given him; for He who gave the man the gift is not demanding any payment for it, but only that the gift be kept.

As for the evidence drawn from the Life of St. Chrysostom, it relates that a certain man by the name of Eusebius was accusing a certain bishop in Asia named Antoninus of receiving money for ordaining six bishops. The trial of this case had lasted two years, owing to the fact that Eusebius had had it postponed on the ground that he was going to bring witnesses to it. So, having fetched these witnesses after a delay of two years and after the said Antoninus had died, Eusebius told the Council that although Antoninus, the bishop who had ordained them, was dead, yet those persons who had paid the money and had been ordained were still alive. The Council heard the case, and the records of the previous trial were read. The six bishops in question stoutly denied that they had paid money in order to be ordained. But inasmuch as the witnesses too stoutly insisted and testified to the times and places at which the money was paid, and even to the kind of money paid, and to the amounts paid, at last the bishops confessed that they had paid money in order to have themselves ordained, and in order to avoid having themselves annoyed in the imperial services. If they were not going to be allowed to be bishops, they requested to be given back the money they had paid, which consisted of jewels owned by their wives. Hence divine Chrysostom and the Council ordered that the heirs of Antoninus return the money, and that the bishops so ordained be expelled from the priesthood, but be allowed to commune within the holy bema, lest, if permitted to perform the functions of holy orders, the Jewish or Egyptian custom of buying and selling holy orders obtain a foothold in the Church of God. For the one falsely called the Patriarch and chacham of the Jews changes the chief rabbis of the synagogues every year or two with a view to making more money; and the Patriarch of the Egyptians, in imitation of the Jews, does the same, in order that the prophecy may be fulfilled saying: "Her priests (i.e., Jerusalemís) give answers for hire, and her prophets divine (i.e., foretell the future) for money."

After saying these things, divine Tarasius adds the following by way of epilogue. All of us, including both prelates and clerics, ought to listen to these words, and so ought all the inhabitants of the earth, by keeping them and paying heed wherever possible to what we are told therein, as St. Paul says, in order to avoid being destroyed. He also urges Pope Adrian to mount the high places and lift up his voice, as the words of Isaiah suggest, in order to bring about the utter abrogation of the custom ordaining for money, and whatever results therefrom on account of avarice and greediness for shameful profits, and to effect the complete eradication from Christianity and from the Christian people altogether, who have been liberated gratis from slavery to sin with the blood of Christ, of this pernicious vice and of the evil outgrowths resulting therefrom, in order that Christian priests may flourish like palm-trees (i.e., date-trees), exhaling the fragrance of Christ upon the Christians who are being saved from perdition, and at the same time telling the Church with Zephaniah: "The Lord hath taken away from thee thine unjust deeds," thus sweetening the spiritual fruits gathered by the people attending her vineyard, and making them heirs to the immortal and blissful life.

 

 

St. Nicephorus the Confessor.

Prolegomena.

Our Father among Saints Nicephorus the Confessor, having formerly been an asecretis (or private secretary), and later having become a monk, at length was made Patriarch of Constantinople during the reigns of Emperors Nicephorus, Stauracius, and Michael Rangave, thereby, in the year 815, according to Meletius of Athens (Eccl. Hist., vol. II, p. 259), becoming the immediate successor to the patriarchal throne after divine Tarasius, who had distinguished himself in the Seventh Ecumenical Council. But he was deprived of the throne by Leo the Armenian, an opponent of images, or icons; accordingly, he is celebrated as a saint of the 13th day of the month of March and on the 2nd day of the month of June, and see these days in the Synaxarist.

Canons.

1. If perchance a holy Antimension be washed unwittingly, it does not lose its sanctity, nor does it become unclean because of its having been washed.

(Ap. c. LXXIII; c. VII of the 7th.).

 

2. A digamist is not blessed with crowns, but, on the contrary, is even amerced to abstain from Communion for two years; and a trigamist, for three years.

(c. VII of Neocaesarea.).

 

3. If anyone remain in the narthex of the church under stress of necessity and for a short time only, is not to be condemned. But if he tarries there for any undue length of time, he is to be expelled from there and punished with amercements, while the church itself is to get back its own rights, that is to say, that it is not to be treated on that account as a common and unprivileged house.

(c. XCVII of the 6th.).

 

4. Alms for the souls of those who have died must be accepted, without the necessity of their having made a will and last testament disposing of their property. In such a case, if they themselves while alive had intended and wanted such alms to be made for themselves, and, in general, if they had been willing to give alms, that is to be the decisive factor.

 

5. If Annunciation falls on Great Thursday or Great Friday, we are not sinning if on that day we partake of wine and fish.

(Ap. c. LXIX.).

 

6. Any Presbyter who has the prayer of an Abbot (or Hegoumenos) is competent to ordain an Anagnost (or Lector) and a Subdeaconfor his Monastery.

(c. XIV of the 7th.).

 

7. If perchance a man has lived in profligacy for twenty years or more but afterwards does works of virtue, he ought not to be ordained a Priest, because the temple is clean and unpolluted.

(c. XIX of the 1st; c. XXI of Neocaesarea.).

 

8. Any children born of a concubine, or of persons who have married a second or a third time, though with the proviso that they be worthy of holy orders, and have lived a life worthy thereof, may be made Priests.

9. A Priest must administer Communion to a person in danger of dying even though it be after the person in question has eaten.

 

10. One must bend his knee for the sake of bestowing a kiss on Sunday and throughout Pentecost, but ought not to make the usual genuflections.

(c. XX of the 1st; c. XC of the 6th; c. XV of Peter; c. XCI of Basil.).

 

11. One is not sinning if perchance he offers a single offering on behalf of three persons, or lights but one candle for the three.

 

12. A Priest must not make a seal in the holy Chalice during the prayer of the sacristy.

 

13. A Priest must not celebrate the Liturgy without zeon, or hot water, unless it be under the stress of great necessity, and when there is no hot water available there.

 

14. A Monk who has discarded his habit, but has returned and repented, must put on again the monachal habit which he took off, without, however, incurring the necessity of having the prayers repeated to him that were said over the habit.

 

15. Nuns must enter the holy bema in order to light a taper or candle, and in order to sweep it.

(c. LXIX of the 6th.).

 

16. Monks must not do farm work in Great Lent, and on this pretext or excuse indulge in wine and olive oil, since those are results of gluttony.

(Ap. c. LXIX.).

 

17. A Monk is permitted to leave his Monastery for three reasons: 1) if perchance the Abbot (or Hegoumenos) is a heretic; 2) if women come into the Monastery; and 3) if children are learning secular letters in the Monastery (i.e., taking secular school lessons); because it is untoward in the midst of such children for the things being done in the Monastery to be revealed to seculars. See also c. XXI of the 7th.

 

18. All Caloyers who are under a canon (i.e., disciplinary sentence) must eat together with the rest of the Monks and pray together with them, and must also eat eulogia, or, more expressly, antidoron, along with their confession.

 

19. During the fast of the Holy Apostles and of St. Philip (or, more expressly, of the forty-daysí Lent), Monks sitting in a Monastery ought to eat once a day, on Wednesday and Friday. But Monks engaged in work or labor may eat twice, after the sixth hour and in the evening.

 

20. If perchance a Nun be raped by barbarians, or disorderly men, and her previous life had been pure, she is to be canonized only for ten days to abstain from participance. But if her previous life had been polluted, she is to be canonized as an adulteress, or, more explicitly, to abstain from Communion for three years, in accordance with c., XIII of the Faster. See also c. II of Neocaesarea.

(c. II of Gregory of Neocaesarea; c. XLIX of Basil.).

 

21. If anyone for fear of being compelled to join the army, or with respect to some other piece of roguery, has donned the habit of monks, thereby mocking it, then, after being stripped of the habit, in consideration of his fear and this piece of hypocrisy and of roguery of his, he shall be canonized for this to go without Communion for one hundred and twenty days (or for three times as many days as there are in Great Lent).

 

22. If perchance a young Monk-Priest is serving Nuns, by administering Communion to them and celebrating the Liturgy for them, we ought not to receive Communion from him of the divine Mysteries.

 

23. An Abbot (or Hegoumenos) must not remove the cowl of a Caloger who is an obedientiary of his, and thus drive him away from the Monastery.

 

24. No one ought to admit any Monk into his home who has discarded his holy habit and is incorrigible, nor ought anyone to greet him. See also c. XVI of the 4th.

(cc. VII, XVI of the 4th; c. XII of Neocaesarea.).

 

25. If anyone is ill and asks to be baptized, or to become a Monk, we must without delay bestow upon him the grace of Baptism or of the habit, and not deny it to him.4 See also c. XII of Neocaesarea.

 

26. A Monk-Priest must not celebrate the Liturgy without wearing a mandyas.

 

27. A Father Confessor ought to forbid divine Communion to those persons who confess secret sins to him, but he ought to let them enter the church; and he ought not to reveal their sins, but ought to advise them gently to remain repentant and to keep praying; and he ought to adjust the amercements to befit each one of them according to his best judgment.

 

28. As for adulterers, and those guilty of the crime of bestiality, and murderers, and other such persons, if of their own accord they confess the sin they committed, which was a secret to men at large, they are to be denied divine Communion and are to receive the canon of their sins. When they enter the church, they are to stand until the prayer of catechumens, and are then to depart. If, however, their sins are known to the others, then they are to be canonized in accordance with the laws of the Church, or, more explicitly speaking, they are to be prohibited from entering the church, but are to stand in the group of those who are weeping outside of the portals of the temple, or of those who are listening in the narthex.

 

29. If a secular confess his sins of his own free will, the Father Confessor may make an adjustment for him"

 

30. With the permission of the Prelate even a Priest may make a stauropegion. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

 

31. A Priest ought not to communicate those who charge interest, nor eat with them, if they persist in this transgression.

 

32. Monks must fast on Wednesday and Friday of Cheese Week; and after the presanctified liturgy is dismissed (for on those days a presanctified liturgy used to be celebrated, just as Symeon of Thessalonica states, and see c. XLIX of Laodicea), they must eat cheese wherever it is available or on the market, or, in other words, wherever it can be had, in refutation of the heresy of the Jacobites and of that of the Tetradites.

 

33. If anyone has a concubine and refuses either to leave her or to have her blessed as his wife, we ought not to accept any offerings he makes to the Church, whose laws he is actually insulting and scorning. Read also c. XXV ofAncyra, and c. VIII ofTheophilus, and Ap. c. XVII.

(Ap. c. XVII; c. XXV ofAncyra; c. VIII of Theophilus.).

 

34. If perchance any Monk discard the holy habit, and eat meat, and take a wife, such a Monk ought to be anathematized. If he refuses to return, he ought to be forced to don the habit, and to be shut up in a Monastery. Read also c XVI of the 4th.

(cc. VII, XV of the 4th.).

 

35. Any man who even once only has committed fornication ought not to be made a priest, even though he has given up the sin. For Basil the Great asserts that such a man cannot be made a Priest even though he bring dead men back

to life.

 

36. When the Apostle says: "If any man that is called a brother be a forni-cator, ... with such a one we must not even eat" (I Cor. 5:11), it appears that he is referring, not to a man whom one or two other men know to be fornicating, but to a man whom everybody knows to be fornicating, and who is called a fornicator by everybody; since all sinful deeds that are committed brazenly and provoke a public scandal, are subject to greater punishment than those which are done secretly.

 

37. If a woman gives birth, and the baby is in danger of dying, when it is but three or five days old, let the baby be baptized, but another woman who is baptized and clean must suckle the baby; and its mother must not even enter the room where the child is, nor handle it at all, until after the lapse of forty days she has become purified, and has received a prayerful wish from the Priest.

There are also seven more Canons, hereinbelow, not found in the manuscript books of the Holy Mountain, but included in vol. II of the Minutes, p. 918, and in the book called Juris Graeco-Romani, p. 196 of the printed edition.

1. One ought not to walk abroad on Sunday unless it is necessary and he is forced to do so.

 

2. We ought not to give any credence to the Revelation of Paul, or to the so-called Brontologia and Selenodromia and Calandologia, as all of them fire taboo.

 

3. We ought not to give any credence to the Revelation of Esdras and Zosimas, or to the two martyrdoms of St. George, or to the two martyrdoms of Cerycus and Julitta, or the book of Marcus and of Diadochus, as these are disapproved and unrecognized.

 

4. One ought not to work during Novational Week, nor chant the Hymn to the Faultless One on the Saturday of the concluding week (or, as it is called in Greek, the apolysimos), nor ought one to keep the Thursdays.

 

5. Anyone who willfully murders his father shall be canonized for thirty-five years.

 

6. In case of necessity even a monk who is neither a cleric nor a priest may baptize a child; and likewise may a deacon .

 

7. When no Priest is available, unbaptized infants must be baptized by anyone present, even though he be their own father, or anyone else, provided he is a Christian and he is not sinning.

 

Questions.

Question 1: Ought a Monk to go into the holy sacrificial altar? For this is forbidden by c. LXIX and c. XXXIII of the 6th Ec. C., which does not allow anyone to chant or to read from the pulpit who has no seal or who is a Monk. Likewise do c. XV ofLaodicea and c. XIV of the 7th.

Answer: It is forbidden for a Monk to perform the services of a Lector in the pulpit, without an imposition of the hand; but for that Monk to go into the holy bema in order to light the candles and tapers when he is not guilty of any crime, is something I do not think ought to be forbidden, on account of the respectability of the monkish habit.

 

Question 2: Ought one to refrain from bending a knee on Saturday, just as one does not bend it on Sunday and on Pentecost?

(Ap. c. LXVI; cc. LV, XC of the 6th.).

Answer: It has not been forbidden by this Canon; the majority, however, because of the fact that Saturday is not accompanied by fasting, refrain by consequence from even bending a knee.

 

Question 3: Must we keep the fast of August?

Answer: The fast of August used to be earlier, but afterwards it was shifted in order to avoid its coinciding with fasts of heathen which the latter observe during this season. Yet even nowadays many persons keep this fast.

 

Question 4: Ought one who is possessed to commune? For on this point Timothy and the divine Apostles differ, and later authorities differ likewise.

(Ap. c. LXXIX; cc. III, IV of Tim.).

Answer: If perchance anyone is so troubled by black bile as to appear on this account to be possessed, he is not forbidden to commune. But if perchance anyone is really possessed by a demon, he cannot commune, since light hath no communion with darkness.

 

Question 5: Whether a Priest may indifferently eat things offered to the Church ó offered as oblations, that is to say, or as sacrificial wine; and whether he may eat these like common bread; and what ought he to do when such oblations and quantities of wine accumulate in excess of what is needed?

(c. VIII of Theophilus.).

Answer: The pieces that are left from the elevated offering ought not to be eaten in any other place than in the church alone, until they are entirely consumed no matter how much of them there may be. But as for pieces left from other offerings that have not been elevated, they must all be eaten outside of the church, not, however, with milk and cheese and fish, say, like common bread, but alone without other food.

 

Question 6: If perchance anyone is tonsured as a Monk at whatever place he may be, and afterwards finds that he is being harmed there as respects his soul and he wishes to depart thence on account of the harm, but receives a prohibitive tether from his Superior not to leave, what ought he himself to do ó ignore the harm his soul is suffering, or ignore the Superiorís tether?

(c. XXI of the 7th.)

Answer: He ought first to tell his Superior the cause of the harm he is suffering, and if that harm and the peril incurred by his soul are manifest, he ought to depart thence, and not bother about the Superiorís tether.

 

Question 7: If it be supposed that an Abbot (Hegoumenos) upon dying has left another Abbot in his place and has given him a prohibitive tether not to depart from that Monasteryí, and that later, being reproved by his own conscience as too weak and feeble to govern the Monastery, such successor of that Monk has departed, what ought he in consequence do about that tether?

Answer: That tether is an unreasonable one, and on this account is also an impossible one. Hence the person who has been tied by it will be loosed if he goes to the Bishop and explains his predicament.

 

Question 8: When a Priest has been deposed for canonical crimes of his, when voluntarily resigning from the priesthood because his own conscience accuses him, ought he to recite the words "Blessed be God" or the words "Christ is the true God?" or ought he to cense with the incensed or to commune within the bema?

Answer: No. These things must not be done by either the one or the other; instead the deposed Priest ought to be relegated to the position of laymen.

 

Question 9: What is meant by what St. Basil the Great says in regard to minor amercements: "According to the proportionality and difference of the mistake, or, at any rate, ĎLet it be from a eulogia?í "

(c. VIII of Theophilus; c. XVIII of Nicephorus.).

Answer: For one to be deprived of the eulogia given in church.

 

Question 10: Ought those who are prohibited from communing to eat elevated offerings?

(c. VIII of Theophilus; c. XVIII of Nicephorus.).

Answer: In the Life of St. Theodore the Syceote we find it written that such persons are prohibited from eating such offerings. Read also c. XVIII of Nicephorus.

 

Question 11: Ought one to canonize penitents in accordance with the Canonicon, or, in other words, the Canons of the Faster!

Answer: That Canonicon, because of the fact that it encourages too great leniency, has led many persons to perdition. For this reason those who have knowledge of what is good and fail to keep this (i.e., fail to do this which is good), ought to be corrected.

Appendix.

It would naturally remain to add to this volume special instructions to the Spiritual Father concerning the mystery of Confession, and likewise special advice to the penitent as to the way in which he ought to confess his sins and repent of them. But inasmuch as we had already elaborated a guide containing such instructions and such advice, and, by the grace of Christ, have seen it printed, together with Canons of the divine Faster, therefore we deemed it superfluous to reprint the instructions and advice here. Hence let the purchasers of the present volume buy also that Exomologetarion, because it is really needed by them and will prove of great benefit to their soul.

"No person shall intrude upon anyone akin to his flesh, to uncover his private parts I Lord" (Lev. 18:6).

(This passage does not refer only to consanguineous relatives, but also to relatives resulting from marriage. For the wife is flesh of her husband and, conversely, the husband is flesh of his wife, in accordance with the proposition "So that they are no longer two, but one flesh," and consequently relatives and intimates of the wife are relatives and intimates of her husband, and ones whom he cannot enter into marital relations with. Likewise also the husbandís relatives are relatives also of his wife, and ones with whom she cannot enter into conjugal relations, as Basil the Great interprets this in connection with his c. LXXXVII.).

"The conjugation in matrimony of human beings within the prohibited degrees, if it be detected, shall be punished with the amercements of adulterers, on the ground that it falls in the same class of sinful acts of human beings" (Basilís Canon LXVIII.).

The Canons, XI of the local Synod in Neocesarea, and XV of the Sixth Ecumenical Council decree that a deacon can be ordained such only when he has completed his twenty-fifth year, and a priest only when he has completed his thirtieth year, even though the man may be altogether worthy. If an ordination is performed before the twenty-fifth year in the case of a deacon, or before the thirtieth year in the case of a priest, the foregoing sacred Canons, being insusceptible of any modification or alleviation, require the infliction of but one penalty in general, that of degradation. Yet the transgressor of the Law, in disregard of the express injunction of the sacred Canons, which, as we have just seen, degrade one so ordained, even though altogether worthy and possessing knowledge and virtue, has found that those anticanonical ordinations in three continuities have been properly performed. And on what is he relying? Gregory the Theologian, he says, in eulogizing Basil the Great, said that he was a priest in point of moral character and life even before entering holy orders; that is to say, that even as a layman he was such a good Christian that he had the virtue of a good priest. Yet he was not ordained a priest at the age of 27, but at the age of 32. It is well known, too, that John Chrysostom was ordained a priest at the age of 42 years.

 

 

Forms of Some Letters.

Form of a Commendatory and Dimissory Letter.

Apostolic and Conciliar Canons bid men in holy orders who are desirous of leaving their country or home to provide themselves with commendatory and dimissory letters to be obtained from those who ordained them. The commendatory letters are for the purpose of commending, or verifying, their dogma, their life, and their ordination; in exceptional cases, they may also have the purpose of upholding their traduced or calumniated reputation. The purpose of the letters dimissory is to certify to the permission which they have received from them to perform the duties of holy orders wherever they may be going. Following, therefore, the divine and sacred Canons, and addressing the men in holy orders and laymen everywhere, by the present Commendatory and at the same time Dimissory Letter, we too first of all commend the bearer thereof as a most reverent and in all respects most devout one among Hieromonachs (or as a very reverend one among Priests) the Rev. (So-and-So) and vouch for the fact that he is tenacious of the Orthodox dogma, and is of a pious and unassailable reputation; and that he has been legally and canonically ordained by us by virtue of the grace of the All-holy and officiating Spirit, according to the joint testimony of his Spiritual Father and of other credible witnesses, by steps as an Anagnost, a Subdeacon, a Deacon, and a Presbyter, in the all-venerable temple of (such or such a Saint). Consequently we dismiss him and give him authority, wherever he may go, to exercise the functions of the priestly order and office without hindrance, together with the canonical permission and consent of the local Bishop. Hence in witness hereof and for the sake of safety these presents were placed in his hands by us (see also Ap. c. XII) (March, ..... A.D. .....).

Form of a Facultative Letter.

Our mediocrity (or humbleness), through the grace of the All-holy and officiating Spirit, entrust thee, one in all respects devout among Hieromonachs (or among Priests) RevÖ (So-and-So) as an honest gentleman, and worthy of reverence, with the ministry of Spiritual paternity. As such indeed thou art obliged to undertake the examination of the thoughts of all men who come to thee with a view to confessing their own sins, and to probe the depths of their hearts, to search their mind and to ascertain their acts: for the purpose, be it understood, of checking and restraining as far as possible the origins and causes, and to direct canonically the end and operations of these also with regard to the habits and moods of those approaching thee, and to administer to them the proper remedies; and to become all things to all men, in order to win all men, at times by reproving them, at times by reprimanding them or begging them, and in every manner negotiating their salvation. Hence thou shalt bind whatsoever requires to be bound, and shalt loose whatever requires and deserves to be loosed. Thou art further obliged so to investigate and scrutinize those coming to the office of the Priesthood, as the divine and sacred Canons demand; lest at any time thou become implicated in the sins of others and consign or abandon thine own soul together with theirs to the everlasting fire. Furthermore to tonsure Monks, after testing them and in the presence of their sponsors, in accordance with the Canons, as usual. And in all matters thou art obliged to associate with men in all reverence and decency that befits spiritual gentlemen, as having to render an account to God. Hence, in witness hereof there was given thee our present Facultative Letter.

(Note that the style "mediocrity" is affected by Patriarchs, and even by the Archbishops of Thessalonica and of Monembasia, in accordance with some royal love of honor, but only in their own territories; the style "humbleness," on the other hand, is affected generally by all Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops.).

Form of a Canonical Testimonial.

The Apostles preaching God and arranging divine things right, and the association of the God-bearing Fathers who came after them have canonically prescribed that no one shall be deemed to deserve the divine degree of holy orders without much investigation and strict examination, lest the most divine functions be performed by men who are unworthy. Now, therefore, my spiritual son (So-and-So), a son of (So-and-So) of the district (So-and-So), having come to me, asked to receive the great office of the Priesthood, and after I had him stand before the sacred icon of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and having probed the depths of his heart, and not content with this having also obtained information from other credible witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of his conduct both in public and in private, and having found nothing in him that would present an obstacle with respect to laws, I certify him to be worthy of the Priesthood and to be of mature age, just as the sacred Canons bid. Hence there was given to him the present document in evidence thereof, confirmed by mine own hand and signature, and by the testimonies aforesaid of credible witnesses. And thus it is signed by both the Spiritual functionary and the witnesses, Ö A.D. Ö

Form of a Letter for Indigents.

Most honorable Clerics, most reverent Priests, and all other blessed Christians of our province, grace be unto you and peace from God. The bearer of our present letter most honest brother in Christ (So-and-So), being of (Such-or-Such) city, as a result of unseasonable circumstances and troubles incurred a very heavy debt of (so many) Ö dollars,* as we have learned well enough and have been informed by persons familiar with his affairs. Hence, not having any other recourse for help and mercy, the unfortunate man is appealing to the Christ-loving compassion of you charitable Christians. All of you, therefore, without exception having welcomed him with a benign countenance, showing that you have been taught by God to love one another (I Thess. 4:9) as the Apostle says, be pleased to grant him alms each of you in proportion to your means (Matt. 5:7), for the sake of the Lord who macarizes the merciful and charitable. For you are well aware that "alms rescueth from death," as Tobit says (Tobit 10:8), and that, as the author of Proverbs says, "he that bestoweth alms upon the poor man is lending to God" (Prov. 19:17), whose grace and mercy, and our own prayerful wish and blessing, be with all of you. Amen.

Form of a Last Will and Testament.

Because of the fact that the first-formed man Adam, becoming a prey to the Devilís envy, transgressed Godís vivifying commandment, all of us who are descended from Adam by successive generations of lineage, not only have been rendered mortal instead of being as thitherto immortal, but, alas! We are even delivered to death on a day when we do not expect it and in an hour whereof we wot not. Wherefore, too, through the prophet Isaiah the Lord once told King Hezekiah: "Set thy house in order: for thou are going to die, and not going to live" (Isa. 38:1). Once, indeed, He Himself through Himself said in the Gospels: "Watch ye, therefore, since ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 25:13). Conscious of this, I too, (So-and-So) Ö fearing lest at any time, because of the uncertain contingency of death, my affairs be left intestate, and being of sound mind and having sturdy wits, I am making my present last will and testament. Accordingly, first of all I leave unto all my Christian brethren, including even those who hate and those who have wronged me, my hearty pardon. Next, as regarding my movable and immovable property, I make the following arrangements and give the following orders. I leave to So-and-So Ö and to So-and-So Ö (Here is to be inserted both the legal legacy to his relatives and a list of the gifts and alms that he wishes to bestow. And at the end is to be added the following) I desire that this last will and testament of mine shall be valid and of full force and effect in any and every court and before any and every authority. As for anyone that should attempt to have it set aside, he shall have to give an account in the day of judgment to the Judge who respecteth not persons and he shall have the curses of the holy three hundred and eighteen God-bearing Fathers. Wherefore it has been avouched with my own hand and the signatures of other credible witnesses for safetyís sake, this Ö day of (July), A.D. (1793).

So-and-So having read this last will and testament and having been pleased with all that is therein written, I have signed it with my own hand, and I bid and wish it to be valid and effective.

Here follow the signatures of witnesses thus: So-and-So being present at the making of this last will and testament of So-and-So, at his request have signed it with my own hand.

(As touching the matter of how heirs inherit property, see the Footnote to c. XXX of Carthage.).

Form of a Dowry Contract.

When our Lord Jesus Christ was attending a wedding in Cana, and changed the water there into wine, and revealed through this beginning of signs His glory, as the most superb of the Evangelists John historically records: the wedding was accounted worthy of divine blessing and honor, and was elevated to the high status of a Mystery, significant of a greater Mystery; and St. Paul shows this by shouting, at times, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undeiiled" (Heb. 13:4); and, at other times, "This is a great Mystery; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church" (Eph. 5:32). Hence those persons who are joined in marriage in accordance with the divine Canons and laws, are said to be blessed and fitted by the Lord, if, at any rate, it is true, as the author of Proverbs says, that "by the Lord a woman is fitted to a man" (Prov. 19:14). Since, therefore, we, Peter and Mary, are about to join our son John to honest Helen, a daughter of Paul and Elizabeth, by such a legal and lawful and canonical wedding, we pay him beforehand our hearty and soulful paternal prayers and blessings, that he may have these throughout his life as a support and a saving equipment. For, according to Sirach, "a fatherís blessing supports the houses of children" (Sirach 3:9). Next, we give him by way of dowry, this and that (here are to be inserted the articles of dowry desired as much by the parents of the husband as by the parents of the wife. Afterwards at the end is to be added). We are giving all these things voluntarily as parents and fathers of the above husband John and of the above wife Helen, that both of them may have them throughout their lives, to hold and to possess as their own property; accordingly, from this day henceforth we are totally abalienated from such well bestowed articles of dowry, both movable and immovable, as concerns us and as concerns our children (i.e., any remaining children that the couples in question may have in the way of brothers and sisters of persons being wedded). For, according to Solomon, "houses and riches fathers apportion to their children" (Prov. 19:14). May God, who said to Adam and Eve, "Increase and multiply" (Gen. 1:28), increase and multiply them, with an abundance of good children, which to all parents is the most desirable of all boons, and may He graciously favor in like manner also their descendants even to the third and the fourth generation, and bless them, as He blessed Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and the Twelve Patriarchs; and may He give them concord, sympathy, and a peaceful and virtuous life, fulfilling in connection with them that blessing of the Royal Prophet David, which is to say, that the husband be fully supplied in his house like a cedar of Lebanon, and that his wife be fully supplied "like a fruitful grapevine within the borders" of her house, and their sons, "like olive saplings round about their table" (Ps. 128:3), and, generally speaking, that "by bringing forth good children they themselves may be saved, continuing in faith and love and sanctitude with sobriety" (I Tim. 2:15), as St. Paul says. Hence, for evidence and safety, the present dowry contract was drawn up, being signed by credible witnesses, in the year of the Lord Ö (1864), in the month of August.

Form for a Canonical Divorce.

With our humbleness in the chair and surrounded by a simultaneous session of the most honorable Clerics, most reverent Priests, and most honest Magistrates (and Provosts), there appeared before all of us most honest Sir George, of the village or parish (Such-or-Such), accusing, his wife Mary of the crime of adultery, and asserting that he found her really defiling her part in the bed of her husband and being caught in the very act of being polluted with adultery by another man. When interrogated about this, he also produced credible witnesses to the fact, named (So-and-So and So-and-So and So-and-So), who with fear of God and a heavy conscience, before all of us testified as concerning this manís wife that she has not truly kept due faith with her own husband, but, having abandoned her own sobriety, has acted as an adulteress. And therefore our humbleness, after being told and informed of these facts, allowed this case to be postponed. And indeed after later employing various arguments and inducements and ways and means, with a view to persuading the said George to take back and accept his wife (for this is permissible according to the divine laws), overlooking this misdeed of hers, seeing that she bitterly repents it, and promises never again to do such a thing, and after having negotiated all these aspects for a sufficient length of time, yet unable to induce him to be persuaded in her favor. Hence, following the decision rendered by our Lord in the Gospels, wherein He says that "whosoever shall dismiss his wife, save on the ground of fornication, is causing her to commit adultery" (Matt. 5:32; cf. 19:7, 9). And reflecting that this is the only legal and reasonable excuse for separating a husband from his wife ó the ground, that is to say, of adultery, just as the Lord declared; yet at the same time exercising due foresight lest anything more terrible may result hereafter from their cohabitation, seeing that adultery engenders jealousy in most cases, and that jealousy leads to murder: on this account and for this reason our humbleness pronounces the said George to be divorced and set free from his wife Mary, in accordance with the decision of our Lord and the divine Canons, Apostolic as well as Conciliar; and furthermore gives him permission to take another woman to wife, whereas with regard to his aforesaid wife Mary our humbleness will never give her permission to take another man to husband, on the ground that she has become the cause of this separation and divorce. For she ought, instead of having another wedding and enjoying nuptial pleasures, to continue thus weeping and mourning throughout her life over her sin, since what God had joined she put asunder (Matt. 19:6), and since otherwise too, she committed adultery while her husband was living, whom she herself divorced by reason of her licentiousness, a fear subsists lest she become an adulteress again in case she is allowed to become a wife to another man (Rom. 7:3), according to St. Paul, who elsewhere says that "if a woman be divorced from her husband, let her remain unmarried" (I Cor. 7:11). Hence in evidence thereof the present Divorce was drawn up, and was given to the repeatedly aforementioned George in the year of the Lord (1796) and in the month of August.

Form for a Canonical Resignation.

I am well aware, Your Superlative All-Holiness and most divine Lordship, and divine and sacred Synod of the holy Prelates, that Η is not permissible for Bishops who worthily and fitly fill the office of Chief Priesthood, and who shepherd and tend the rational flocks of Christ, while inwardly bearing their own conscience in the consciousness that it does not stand in peril of being deemed to deserve deposition for any improprieties, to tender their resignation and to submit libelli, precisely as the sacred Canons dictate, particularly the third one of Cyril, and the Epistle of the Third Holy Ecumenical Council addressed to the Council held in Pamphylia. For although the office of the Chief Priesthood is really great and fearful even to the heavenly powers themselves, yet as respects one who has a clear conscience to manage it and has been once entrusted with it not unworthily, he must cling to it with spiritual robustness, and, so to speak, gird himself with the pains and willingly and patiently put up with the sweat attending his stipend, and not flag or fail under the stress of his cares for want of activity or lack of interest or because of indolence, even in the face of unseemly circumstances of the rank, as the Third Holy Ecumenical Council points out in its aforementioned Epistle.

But since I, alas! The humble Bishop (or Metropolitan, as the case may be), of (Such-or-Such) episcopate, have been conducting myself in a manner unworthy of such a lofty profession, and am conscious of having fallen into certain crimes without being detected, of which some have been exposed and blazoned abroad, so that I should have suffered a just and legal deposition from office, even though this escapes the notice of the majority of men, so that I should have a reasonable cause for a canonical resignation from office. On this account I take time by the forelock and submit herewith my decision to withdraw myself from the prelatical office and dignity, so that I may thereby court divine mercy. For I am told by divine Chrysostom: "For one ought to have enough reverence in the matter as to shun the burden in the beginning. But after becoming involved in it, not to await the criticism of others, as to whether any sin has been committed sufficient to justify deposition from office; on the contrary, he ought to take time by the forelock and withdraw himself from the office. For by so doing he will naturally thereby be courting Godís mercy. But to cling to the office unwarrantably is to deprive oneself of any pardon, and to kindle Godís wrath further yet, by adding a second and still worse misdemeanor" (Sermon on Holy Orders). On this account, being reproved and condemned by my own conscience for my unworthiness, I am not awaiting adverse cirticisms from others. Instead, by virtue of my present resignation I resign from office and at the same time from the province which was allotted to me, and together therewith from the prelatical dignity, and from the very name of Bishop. For, as Canon three of St. Cyril declares, "For he who is unworthy to be in charge of the divine altar is neither worthy to be honored with the vocation of the episcopate." Hence, in evidence hereof I have tendered also the present Resignation Libellus, signed with my own hand in the yearÖ

 

Instructions Concerning Marriages.

(gathered from various authorities)

Since the sacred Canons, Apostolic, Conciliar, and Patristic, in speaking in various parts about lawful and unlawful marriages (e.g., Ap. c. XIX; cc. III and LIV of the 6th; c. II of Neocaesarea; cc. XXIII, XXVII, XXVIII, LXVIII, LXXVI, LXXVII, LXXVIII of Basil; c. XI of Tim.; and cc. V, XIII or Theophilus), requires a knowledge of marriages to be combined with them, therefore and on this account we have judged it reasonable, after interpreting the sacred Canons, to insert in a special place within the volume, for a clearer comprehension on the part of the more unlearned, a concise and at the same time accurate set of instructions regarding marriages allowed by the laws as well as those prohibited, in view of the fact that such instructions are needed by all persons in general, but especially by the holy Prelates and Spiritual Fathers and Priests, who have an obligation to examine into all these matters: Prelates, when they issue a license; Spiritual Fathers, when they are hearing confessions; and Priests, when they are solemnizing a marriage, according to c. XI of Timothy, in order to avoid falling into a very grave sin by confusing cognate blood, through ignorance of kinship. Kinship, be it noted, is divisible on the whole into five varieties, to wit: into blood kinship, or, more explicitly speaking, that of one lineage; into affinity, or that of two lineages; into that which is the result of three lineages, or trilineal; into that resulting from Holy Baptism; and into that created through adoption. We shall treat of each variety by itself. Before beginning, however, it is well to lay down nine principles here, as axioms, which apply to every kind of kinship in common, to wit: 1) that the rights of kinship apply to both men and women; 2) that in regard to marriage it is requisite not only that it be one allowed by law, but also that it have the character of modesty and propriety; 3) that wherever it will happen that the surnames of the lineages will become confused or confounded, there a marriage is illicit and unlawful; 4) that the husband as to his wife, and, conversely, the wife as to her husband, are not of any degree at all, or, that is to say, they are of zero degree: 5) that a single never sustains any distinction of degree, but that a degree applies only to two persons; 6) that the laws relating to marriages and degrees of kinship ought to be observed also in regard to children born by fornication ó for the law chastises relatives joined together by virtue of fornication just as it chastises relatives joined together by virtue of legal marriage, according to Blastaris (alphabetical section Pi, ó i.e., the Greek letter corresponding to English Ρ ó ch. 18); 7) degrees of kinship ought to be observed also in the case of a perfect and lawful betrothal. Hence if a girl is betrothed to a man who dies, the manís debarred relatives cannot take her to wife, just as they cannot do so in the case of marriage; and see ch. 11, concerning Betrothal; 8) the consanguinity holds also in the case of a man who was indeed married but who died before he had carnal knowledge of his wife; for it is not coition, but the rite connected with the prayer that makes a marriage, according to Balsamon and Blastaris and the jurists; 9) that consanguinity holds even in connection with arsenoquitae (i.e., male homosexuals); for according to the most holy Patriarch Lucas, men who practice arsenoquity with each other are estopped from taking one anotherís sister to wife.

Chapter 1.

Concerning Consanguinity, or Blood Relationship, that is to say, of one Lineage or Kindred.

Blood relationship is divided into three varieties, namely: ascending relatives, descending relatives, and collateral relatives. Thus, in the ascending line are parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; in the descending line are sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons, and so on; collateral relatives are brothers and sisters, direct uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, first cousins (i.e., cousins german), petit uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces, second cousins, and so on. Here it may be said that those in the ascending and descending line, which is the same as saying lineal blood relatives, never intermarry, because their life does not last until the eighth degree. For no man lives long enough to marry his seventh granddaughter, or, as we say in English, his great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter. As for collateral relatives, which is the same as saying prohibited marriages with side lines, they are as follows:

Prohibited Marriages.

1. A brother cannot marry his sister; whether she be of the same father and mother, or of the same parent on one side only, or even if she be born of fornication; or vice versa: because such a relative is of the second degree.

2. An immediate uncle cannot marry his immediate niece (or, in other words, the daughter of his brother); or vice versa: because such a relative is of the third degree.

3. A granduncle cannot marry his niece for, in other words, the daughter of his immediate niece); or vice versa: because such a relative is of the fourth degree.

4. A male first cousin cannot marry his female cousin, because she is of the fourth degree.

5. A granduncle cannot marry the daughter of his grandniece, because such a relative is of the fifth degree.

6. A petit uncle cannot marry his petit niece (or, in other words, the daughter of his first cousin), because she is of the fifth degree.

7. A petit uncle cannot marry the daughter of his petit niece (or, in other words, the granddaughter of his first cousin), because she is of the sixth degree.

8. A granduncle cannot marry the granddaughter of his grandniece (or, in other words, of his remote niece), because she is of the sixth degree.

9. An immediate uncle cannot marry the great-great-great-granddaughter of his immediate niece, because she is of the seventh degree.

10. A male second cousin cannot marry his female second cousin, because she is of the sixth degree.

11. A petit uncle cannot marry the granddaughter of his petit niece because she is of the seventh degree.

12. A male second cousin cannot marry the daughter of his female second cousin, because she is of the seventh degree.

All blood marriages, on the other hand, that go beyond the seventh degree are exempt from debarment. For instance, a third male cousin can marry his third female cousin, because she is of the eighth degree. A male second cousin can marry the granddaughter of his second cousin, because she is of the eighth degree; and so can all others who are of the eighth degree.

Chapter 2

Concerning Affinity, or Relationship by Marriage, that is to say, of two Lineages or Kindreds.

Affinity, or relationship of two different lineages, or kindreds, through alliance by marriage, results when two persons who are children of different parents become united by means of marriage ties with each other due to matrimony. For, according to law, affinity is an intimacy of persons conjoined in matrimony without consanguinity, or blood relationship. Thus the law in ch. 3 of Title V of Book XXVIII, having respect to this relationship of affinity, prohibited anyone from marrying his wifeís mother, or grandmother, or great-grandmother, or the wife of his son, or of his grandson, or of his great-grandson, and, in general, prohibited marriage only as far as the third degree. The earliest legislators failed to define clearly any degrees with respect to this relationship of affinity, but merely decreed that there should not result therefrom any confusion of kindreds and of names, or anything immodest and improper. But the most holy among Patriarchs, Sisinnius, being wise in divine matters and deserving to be macarized on this account, having been brought up from childhood in courts of justice and being exceedingly learned in law, provided, in the new Tome which he wrote, not only degrees in connection with collateral relatives ó brothers, I mean, and cousins and uncles and nephews (including, of course, the corresponding females ó sisters, aunts, and nieces) ó but also an extension of degrees, whereby he prohibited marriages even to the sixth degree of affinity, if, that is to say, they would confuse the kindreds (in fact, not only the sixth but even the seventh degree is prohibited in the case of affinity if it would confuse the kindreds; on the other hand, even the sixth degree is allowed if it does not confuse kindreds and names, as we are going to state. So great is the effect which confusion of names has in regard to marriages involving affinity), and regulated matters in a most sacredlike manner, and purified the existence of human nature, with unexceptionable and lawful marriages. These things having been elucidated, we must now apply ourselves to marriages involving affinity that are prohibited and those that are allowed. But since two couples may be formed of the two kindreds by affinity, and either the one kindred may furnish one party to the two couples, or may furnish two parties to both, therefore and on this account we too, with a view to facilitating the discussion of them, will divide such marriages into four heads. Accordingly, under the first head we will include those marriages wherein the one kindred furnishes but one party to the two couples lineally; under the second, those marriages in which the one kindred furnishes both parties to both couples lineally; under the third head we include those marriages in which the one kindred furnishes but one party to the two couples laterally; and under the fourth, those marriages in which the one kindred furnishes both parties to the two couples laterally.

Chapter 3.

Concerning marriages between two kindreds by affinity in which the one kindred furnishes but one party lineally.

Prohibited Marriages

1. One and the same man who first marries the mother cannot after she dies marry also her daughter whom she had by another man (or vice versa), since she is considered to be his step-daughter, and he himself is regarded as her father and accordingly is factitiously of the first degree with respect to her, because she became with her mother one flesh.

2. One and the same man who marries a grandmother cannot after her death marry also her granddaughter by another man (or vice versa), since she is considered to be his step-granddaughter and accordingly is factitiously of the second degree with respect to her, because he became one flesh with her grandmother.

3. One and the same man who marries a great-grandmother cannot after her death marry also her great-granddaughter by another man (or vice versa), since she is considered to be his step-great-granddaughter and accordingly is factitiously of the third degree with respect to her, owing to his having had the relationship of one flesh with her great-grandmother.

4. One and the same man who marries a great-great-grandmother cannot after her death marry also her great-great-granddaughter by another man (or vice versa), since she is considered to be his step-great-great-granddaughter and accordingly is factitiously of the fourth degree with respect to her, owing to his having been united with her great-great-grandmother in one flesh.

Chapter 4.

Concerning marriages between two kindreds by affinity in which the one kindred furnishes two parties lineally.

Prohibited Marriages

1. A father and a son cannot marry a mother and her daughter: as, for instance, a man named Paul having a son named Nicholas by his deceased wife married another woman later by the name of Mary, who by another man had a daughter named Martha. In that case Nicholas cannot marry Martha, since she is a daughter of his stepmother, and is regarded as his sister, and he is of the second degree as respects her.

2. Nor can they marry in such a fashion a grandmother and granddaughter, since they are factitiously of the third degree, the father and the son being one, and the grandmother and her granddaughter being two.

3. Nor a great-grandmother and a great-granddaughter, since they are factitiously of the fourth degree.

4. Nor a great-great-grandmother and her great-great-granddaughter since they are of the fifth degree.

5. Nor can they marry two sisters, since they are of the third degree, and since father and son become between them brothers-in-law, which is absurd and improper.

6. Nor a first-aunt and niece, since they are of the fourth degree.

7. Nor a grandaunt and niece, since they are of the fifth degree.

8. Nor two first cousins, since they are of the fifth degree, and since father and son become brothers-in-law, which is improper.

9. Nor two second-cousins. For although they are of the seventh degree, six being the second-cousins and on the father and the son, yet on account of the confusion of kindreds the second marriage is not allowed.

Marriages not Prohibited.

1. A father and his son may marry a second-aunt and niece, the aunt being taken by the father, and the niece by the son, since they are of the sixth degree and since no confusion of names results.

2. Likewise the father may marry a grandaunt, and his son the daughter of her grandniece, since they are of the sixth degree and the kindreds are not thereby confused.

3. Likewise the father may marry a great-great-great-grandmother, and the son her great-great-great-granddaughter, since they are of the sixth degree and the kindreds are not confused.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. A grandfather and a grandson may not marry a grandmother and her granddaughter by another man, since they are of the fourth degree, two on each side, and the grandson and the step-granddaughter of his grandfather become between them first cousins, which would be absurd and improper.

2. Nor may they marry a great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter by another man, since they are of the fifth degree, and the grandson with the step-great-granddaughter of the grandfather becomes a second-uncle with a second-niece.

3. Nor two sisters, since they are of the fourth degree, and the grandfather and the grandson become brothers-in-law.

4. Nor an aunt and her niece, since they are of the fifth degree, and the grandson with the niece assumes the relationship of a second-aunt and nephew.

5. Nor two first-cousins, since they are of the sixth degree, and the names would become confused.

Marriages not Prohibited.

1. A grandfather and a grandson may marry a great-great-grandmother and a great-great-granddaughter, since they are of the sixth degree and no confusion of kindreds result from the marriage.

2. Likewise the grandfather may marry a grandaunt, and the grandson a grandniece, since they are of the sixth degree and the names do not become confused.

3. Likewise the grandfather may marry a second-aunt, and the grandson a second-niece, since they are of the seventh degree and the kindreds do not become confused.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. A great-grandfather and a great-grandson may not marry two sisters, since they are of the fifth degree.

2. Nor two first-cousins; for although they are of the seventh degree, yet the names become confused.

Marriages not Prohibited.

1. A great-grandfather and a great-grandson may take a first-aunt and a first-niece, respectively, since they are of the sixth degree, and the names do not become confused.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. A great-grandfather and a great-great-grandson may not marry two sisters, since not only are they of the sixth degree, but the names are also confused.

Marriages not Prohibited.

1. A great-grandfather and a great-great-grandson may marry a first-aunt and a first-niece, respectively, since they are of the seventh degree and the names do not become confused.

Chapter 5.

Concerning marriages between two kindreds by affinity in which the one kindred furnishes but one party laterally.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. One and the same man may not marry two sisters from another kindred, or, in other words, he may not marry his wifeís sister after the death of his first wife, because he is accounted a brother of the second degree factitiously with respect to her, owing to his having united with her sister in one flesh.

2. Nor a first-aunt and niece, because they are of the third degree.

3. Nor a grandaunt and niece, because they are of the fourth degree.

4. Nor two first-cousins, because they are of the fourth degree.

5. Nor a second-aunt and niece, because they are of the fifth degree.

6. Nor a grandaunt and her nieceís daughter, since they are of the fifth degree.

7. Nor two second-cousins, since they are of the sixth degree, and he himself would also be regarded as a second-cousin of his second wife, owing to his having united in one flesh with his first wife, who was her second-cousin; but the kindreds would become confused too.

8. Nor a petty aunt and daughter of her petty niece (i.e., the granddaughter of the wifeís first cousin), because they are of the sixth degree and the kindred would be confused.

Unprohibited or Doubtful Marriages.

1. One and the same man may marry a second cousin from another kindred, and after her death may marry the daughter of the second cousin of his wife, since she is of the seventh degree. This, however, is a question worth discussing.

Chapter 6.

Concerning marriages between two kindreds by affinity in which one kindred furnishes two parties collaterally.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. Two brothers may not marry two sisters, since they are of the fourth degree and the kindreds become confused.

2. Nor may the two brothers marry a proximate aunt and niece (or vice versa), since they are of the fifth degree and the kindreds become confused.

3. Nor may two brothers marry two first cousins, or vice versa, that is to say, two sisters may not marry two first cousins; because they are of the sixth degree and the kindreds would become confused.

4. Nor a grandaunt and niece, because they are of the sixth degree and the kindreds become confused.

5. Nor a petty aunt and niece; for although they are of the seventh degree, yet their marriage is prohibited on account of the resulting confusion of kindreds.

Unprohibited Marriages.

1. Two brothers may marry two second cousins of a different kindred.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. An uncle and his nephew may not marry a mother and her daughter, since they are of the fourth degree.

2. Nor may two proximate uncles marry their own proximate nieces, since they too are of the sixth degree and the kindreds become confused.

3. Nor may two proximate nephews marry their proximate aunts, owing to the resulting confusion of kindreds.

Unprohibited Marriages.

1. A proximate uncle and nephew may marry the aunt and the niece, respectively. For, though they are of the sixth degree, the kindreds remain unconfused.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. Two first cousins may not marry a great grandmother and a great granddaughter; for, although they are of the seventh degree, they are prohibited on account of the resulting confusion of kindreds.

Unprohibited Marriages.

1. Two first cousins may marry an aunt and a niece, since they are of the seventh degree and the apparent confusion of kindreds is overlooked owing to the remoteness of the degrees.

2. Likewise they may marry two first cousins, since they are of the eighth degree. In connection with these marriages we must also note that a man cannot marry the wife of the daughter of those persons whom he cannot take in marriage.

Hence.

1. A man may not marry the wife of his father, even though he have many wives; or of his grandfather, i.e., his stepmother, either. For neither may he marry his mother, nor his grandmother; because he is of the first and second degrees with respect to them, and they are regarded as being a mother and a grandmother of his, respectively.

2. Nor his mother-in-law; for neither may he marry his mother.

3. Nor the wife of his brother, i.e., his sister-in-law; for neither may he marry his sister.

4. Nor the wife of his uncle; for neither may he marry his aunt.

5. Nor the daughter of his mother-in-law by another man; for neither may he marry his sister.

6. Nor the sister-in-law of his son, or of his grandson, or of his great-grandson; for neither may he marry his own daughter, and they sustain the relationship of daughters to him.

7. Nor his own stepdaughter, i.e. a daughter, or a granddaughter, of a great-granddaughter of the wife whom he has divorced and who had them by another man either before he took her to wife, or after he married her; for they sustain the relationship of daughters to him.

8. As for the children, on the other hand, that are born of stepbrothers and stepsisters, commonly called meladelphia in the vernacular Greek, some say that they may be married without restriction, since the relationship of such stepbrothers and stepsisters is kept only in connection with them unipersonally, and they cannot be married, but not as regards their children ó a view which is disputable and worth discussing; for it results in incest, owing to the fact that this relation ship is one of blood, whether it be of two fathers and one mother, or, conversely, of two mothers and one father, that such brothers and sisters are born.

9. This too is something that we ought to know, namely, that the parents of a brother-in-law and of a sister-in-law are considered first stepparents, whereas the parents of their first cousin, i.e., of the cousin of the brother-in-law and sister-in-law, are accordingly called second stepparents. The parents of their second cousin, on the other hand, are third stepparents. Consequently first stepparents may not marry first stepmothers, nor second, nor third; but neither may they marry sisters or first cousins. Second stepparents, on the contrary, may marry second and third stepmothers.

Chapter 7.

Concerning relationship involving three lineages or kindreds as regarding marriage.

This relationship subsists when three strange kindreds become related to each other through marriage; as, for instance, take Anna and Thomas, a brother and a sister. Here, behold, we have one kindred. Anna took Peter to husband; here, behold, we have two kindreds. Thomas took Martha to wife; here, behold, we have three kindreds. Now, the older authorities set no degree in regard to this relationship, but took notice of only those marriages which are prohibited by law. The law prohibited but one marriage in connection with this relationship, to wit, it prohibited a manís marrying the wife of his own stepson, or a womanís getting married to the husband of her own stepdaughter ó a marriage which would be of the first degree factitiously. Later authorities, however, did set degrees to this relationship, and prohibited marriages therein up to the third degree. All marriages that exceed the third degree, and are of the fourth, or of the fifth, or of the sixth degree, and so on, in respect thereof are allowable.

Prohibited Marriages

1. A stepfather may not marry the wife of his own stepson, because she is of the first degree.

2. Nor, conversely, may a stepmother marry the husband of her own stepdaughter, because he is of the first degree. For these are precisely the things which the law forbade.

3. One and the same man may not marry the sister and the stepdaughter of his wifeís brother. As, for instance, Thomas, whose wife is Martha, after the death of the latter may not marry Mary the stepdaughter of his wifeís brother, because she is of the third degree. He with the sister and the wifeís brother are two degrees, while his wifeís brother with the stepdaughter is one degree.

4. Nor a proximate niece and the wife of her proximate uncle, because they are of the third degree.

5. Nor her husbandís sister and sister-in-law, because they are of the second degree.

6. One and the same stepfather may not marry the stepdaughter of his own stepdaughter, because she is of the second degree, and he sustains the relationship of a grandfather to her.

7. A wifeís brother may not marry the woman who was a second wife of the husband of his sister, that is to say, of his brother-in-law, after the death of his sister, since she too is of the second degree.

8. A father and his son may not marry a husbandís sister and a sister-in-law, because they are of the third degree: one degree is that of father and son, and two degrees those of a husbandís sister and of a sister-in-law.

9. Two brothers may not marry a stepmother and a stepdaughter, because they are of the third degree.

10. Nor a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, since they are likewise of the third degree.

Unprohibited Marriages.

1. One and the same man may marry a sister and a husbandís sister of his wifeís sister. As, for instance, John marries Martha the sister of Mary, and Peter marries Mary, who has a sister named Salome; the same John may marry also Salome, the husbandís sister of his wifeís sister Mary, because she is of the fourth degree.

2. Two brothers may marry a sister-in-law and a husbandís sister, because they are of the fourth degree.

3. They may likewise marry a step-grandmother and the step-granddaughter of her daughter, since they are of the fourth degree.

4. They may likewise marry a mother and the stepdaughter of her daughter, because they are of the fourth degree.

5. They may likewise marry a stepdaughter and a niece of one and the same mother and aunt, respectively, since they are of the sixth degree: the two brothers are two degrees; the aunt with her niece is three degrees; and the same aunt again, in view of the fact that she is considered a mother of her stepdaughter, is another degree; this, behold, makes a total of six degrees.

6. A father may take the wifeís sister of the brother of his sonís wife. As, for instance, if Thomas takes Mary, the sister of Peter, the father of Thomas may take Martha a sister of Anna, Peterís wife, since they are of the fifth degree: one degree is that of father and son, and four degrees are those of a wifeís brother and a wifeís sister.

7. A brother-in-law and a wifeís brother may marry an aunt and a niece, since they are of the fifth degree.

8. Of two brothers a wifeís brother and a wifeís sister may marry each other. As, for instance, Thomas and Paul are brothers. The sister of Thomasís wife may marry Peter the brother of Paulís wife, because they are of the sixth degree: two degrees are those of the two brothers, and four degrees are those between a wifeís brother and a wifeís sister.

9. A stepfather and his stepson may marry a proximate aunt and her niece, because they are of the fourth degree.

The man who changes the rings and the crowns, or, more expressly speaking, the so-called best man (in Greek vernacular called koumparos, a word which also means a man related to one by reason of his acting as godfather of oneís child), bears no relationship whatever to the married couple. Hence when the wife thereof becomes a widow, he may take her in marriage. But best men (i.e., koumparoi) must be Orthodox Christians, and not infidels or heretics, according to Symeon of Thessalonica (Ch. 5, p.138); nor may they be monks, and see the Footnote to c. III of the 4th.

Chapter 8.

Concerning relationship due to Holy Baptism.

This relationship results when one sponsors a child at the ceremony of Holy Baptism. For the man who undertakes this sponsorship is making the child in question his spiritual son or daughter, as the case may be; accordingly, he in fact becomes a closer and more intimate relative and father of the child than is its carnal father, because just as much as the spirit is higher than the body the relationship of the spirit is higher than that of the flesh. Hence in accordance with this ratio of intimacy c. LIII of the 6th Ecumenical Council asserts that relationship in respect of spirituality is greater than any relationship in respect of carnality. Some persons, however, in reading the present Canon failed to understand it in this vein, as respecting the quality of intimacy, but took it to refer to quantity of degrees. Wherefore they even extended the relationship due to baptism to the seventh degree. Others, again, even prohibited the eighth degree, which is more than holds with respect to blood relationship. Though this may not please most men, as Blastaris says (alphabetical section Beta), yet it pleases them to have only those persons prohibited who are prohibited by the law. But the law prohibited, not collateral relatives ó brothers and sisters, that is to say, of a godfather and of a godson, but only those in the direct line; and even these not to the eighth degree, but only to the third. In other words, the law simply prohibited a godfather from marrying his goddaughter, or her mother or her daughter, but neither may the son of the godfather take to wife any one of these three. So:

Prohibited Marriages.

1. A godfather (or his carnal son) may not marry his goddaughter, i.e., any girl that he has baptized; because she is a spiritual daughter of his and of the first degree in relation to him, while in relation to his son she is a spiritual sister, and consequently of the second degree.

2. Nor her mother, nor her daughter; because they are of the second degree.

3. None of the godfatherís children may marry the mother of their fatherís godchild, since they are considered nephews and nieces in relation to her, and are of the third degree.

4. Nor may any child marry a daughter of his fatherís goddaughter (or conversely), because he is considered a spiritual uncle in relation to her, and consequently is of the third degree.

Unprohibited Marriages.

1. A son of the godfather may marry the sister of her godfatherís son, according to Blastaris, or vice versa, the brother of a godfatherís godson may marry the godsister of his brother.

2. The carnal son of a godfather may marry the carnal sister of the godson; for according to most authorities she is of no degree, owing to her relationship being collateral.

3. Likewise the brother of a godfather may marry the sister of his godson; and conversely the brother of the godson may marry the sister of the godfather.

4. Two spiritual brothers or spiritual sisters, or a spiritual brother and a spiritual sister, having the same godfather, may marry two carnal sisters.

Prohibited Marriages.

1. If perchance two children, one male and the other female, happen to be baptized by one and the same godfather, they may not marry each other, because they are spiritually brother and sister, according to most holy St. Sisinnius, and are of the second degree.

2. A man may not marry the widow of his spiritual brother, because he too is considered to be a brother of hers, owing to his brotherís having contracted a relationship with her making the two of them one flesh, and therefore she is of the second degree in relation to him.

3. Likewise if the husband baptizes one child, and his wife another, these children may not intermarry; because it is plain that they were baptized by the same sponsor, owing to the fact that a married couple is accounted one flesh, notwithstanding that the godfather and the godmother are not one and the same person.

4. Likewise a son-in-law may not marry the goddaughter of his father-in-law, since she is considered a sister of his dead wife. One and the same man can never marry two carnal or spiritual sisters.

Unprohibited or Doubtful Marriages.

1. But if the father-in-law baptize one child, and the son-in-law another, these children may intermarry, because a father-in-law is related to his son-in-law collaterally (a latere), as some say. Yet a father-in-law in relation to his son-in-law is considered to be related to him lineally and not collaterally, owing to the fact that his son-in-law is united with his daughter into one flesh. Hence such a marriage is doubtful and worth discussing.

Note, moreover, that if any man stands sponsor for his own child, he is to be separated from his wife, because they have become spiritual brothers of hers, according to what Blastaris says (alphabetical section Beta). Likewise note that sponsors must be Orthodox Christians, and not infidels or heretics, according to Symeon of Thessalonica (ch. 280). That is why Balsamon (Reply 32) vehemently forbids Latins, or Armenians, or Nestorians, and other such persons to become sponsors for Orthodox children, and insists that those who allow such a thing ought to be excluded from communion, on the ground that they are guilty of having entered into communion with heretics.1 In writing about sponsors to a certain monk named Dionysius, Elias the Metropolitan of Crete says that "if sponsors knew exactly what Dionysius the Areopagite specifies as qualifications for sponsors, and what care and caution they ought to exercise in regard to their godchild (for Dionysius the Areopagite, in ch. 7 of his treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy) asserts that when the godfather at a baptism says, "I renounce Satan, and join the ranks of Christ," he is declaring this: "I acknowledge and vow that I will persuade this child, by the teaching and good education I am to give it, to renounce the Devil and his works of its own accord and by itself when it comes into possession of mature reason, and to join the ranks of Christ, and to vow these divine vows; if, I say, they actually knew this, they would have grave scruples about standing sponsor at baptisms, even though they were fervidly invited to do so. Since, however, they do not know this, I say, and since a custom has prevailed of letting women too stand sponsor at baptisms, there is nothing to prevent a man from standing sponsor for a child at baptism when that child is the first one of a certain person to be baptized, and afterwards, in the absence of the man, there is nothing to prevent his wife from standing sponsor likewise for a second child of the same person" (p. 340 of Jus Graeco-Romanum). Nevertheless, these children cannot intermarry, as we have said before. But it is only the one who stands sponsor for a personís child that is called a syntecnus, and not also his brothers, according to Peter the Chartophylax (p. 369, ibid.). See also the Footnote to c. VI of Caesarea.

Chapter 9.

Concerning Relationship by Adoption.

Relationship arising from adoption results when certain persons, especially if childless, make a person their son, say, as a consolation for their childlessness and in order to have someone to inherit their property, when, however, they make him their son, not by mere words, but in due conformity with the proper law and with a ceremony including sacred vows and prayers, in accordance with Novel 24 of Leo the Wise. Through this relationship, in fact, those adopting a child acquire the status of parents, while the adopted children acquire the status of sons and daughters, and therefore cannot enter into a matrimonial alliance with one another. To make a child oneís adopted son or daughter, one must be of age and in a state of perfect puberty, i.e., maturity, according to Armenopoulos (Book II, Title IX); that means that he must be at least 15 or 16 years old, and older in any case than the child he is adopting. The law (Book 17), in fact, as expounded by Blastaris, prohibits an adopted son (even though he has become sui juris, or free from parental authority, to marry the wife of his adopted father; and the adoptive father from marrying his adopted sonís wife, since the fatherís wife has the status of a mother as respecting the adopted son, while the adopted sonís wife has the status of a daughter-in-law as respecting the adoptive father; and since they are of the first degree. But neither may an adopted son marry a daughter or a step-daughter of his adoptive father, because he sustains the relationship of a brother to them, and is of the second degree. Neither may he marry the mother or her sister (i.e., the motherís) of his adoptive father, because the one sustains the relationship of a grandmother, and the other that of an aunt with respect to him, and the one is of the second degree, and the other of the fourth degree writh respect to him. But neither may he marry a granddaughter of his adoptive father by a son; nor may one marry the adopted daughter of his grandfather, because she is considered a sister of his father, and an aunt of his, and consequently sustains the relationship of a mother with respect to him.

Chapter 10.

Brother ship by Adoption.

So-called brothership by adoption not only is prohibited by ch. 35 of Title XIII of Book V of the law (p. 217 of Jus Graeco-Romanum) altogether, and rejected by the Church of Christ, but it is also contrary to nature, according to Demetrius Chomatianus (ibid.). For adoption imitates nature, but nature never generates a brother, but only a son. So adoption, as imitating nature, cannot make a brother. Hence such a thing as making a brother by adoption not only is not practicable or to be considered to constitute an obstacle to marriage among themselves of such allegedly adopted brothers, but neither ought it to be projected at all. For it ought to be rejected from the Church of Christ, on the ground that it is the cause of many evils and of the perdition of souls to most of them, and merely affords matter for some persons to fulfill their carnal desires and to enjoy sensual pleasures, as countless examples of actual experience have shown at various times and in various places.

Chapter 11.

Concerning Betrothal, or what is called Engagement.

Betrothal, or what is called engagement, is, according to the laws, is a pledge and a promise to marry in the future with an agreement both of the parties betrothed and of their parents. Those persons appear to agree to the betrothal or engagement who offer no objection to what has been said. But inasmuch as we have said in the Footnote to the Ap. c. that a legal and true betrothal must be accompanied with the ceremony of solemnization in church, when the husband is fourteen years old and the wife thirteen, with an exchange of arrhae and with the customary kiss of engaged persons, therefore there is no need of our saying the same things again here, but instead we refer the reader there, where he will gain more detailed information and see who decreed them. All we have to say here is that an engagement made in such fashion, though inferior to a wedding, as it is accounted nearly equal to a complete wedding, and those who have become engaged in such a fashion, if their fiancée should die, and they are about to become priests, they may not marry any other woman, on the ground that they would thereby be making themselves digamists; or if they insist upon marrying they cannot become priests; but even if they do, they are to be deposed, according to the decision of Xiphilinus (p. 214 of Jus Graeco-Romanum). Laymen, on the other hand, are forbidden to marry a cousin or any other person related to their fiancee; and, briefly speaking, the Synodic Tome of Patriarch Sisinnius and Xiphilinus decreed that all prohibitions pertaining to persons completely married shall apply also to those who have been betrothed in accordance with the procedure hereinabove referred to. Any betrothals that are not ritualized in accordance with the procedure hereinabove referred to, neither are nor may be called true betrothals, but are to be regarded as simple whims of men. For this reason even though the girl is under age, and became betrothed when younger than seven years of age (or according to Blastaris when younger than six years of age) her betrothed may marry the sister of his dead fiancée, according to the Synodic Tome of Sisinnuis and Xiphilinus. Such a person, moreover, may also become a priest if the agreement to such a false betrothal be annulled, according to Blastaris. But if the girl was seven years old or older, though less than thirteen, and the betrothal took place without a solemnization by a priest, and by a mere agreement, the same Tome itself decrees, as does also the Novel of Emperor Alexius, that her fiance may not marry her sister, nor may any other man take to wife a woman who has thus become betrothed to his brother, when the latter dies, that is to say. As for a man who becomes betrothed to a woman and fails to specify the time when the betrothal is to be blessed, he must have it blessed within two years, if he is living in the same region as his fiancée; or if he is absent, he must have it blessed within three years, according to Blastaris. If, however, there is any reasonable excuse and necessity, the time may be protracted to even more than four years, according to Armenopoulos. See all these facts in Blastaris, in his work on Betrothal, and in Armenopoulos, Book IV, Titles I and VI. Any man who grabs the fiancée of another man, must return her to her fiance, even though he has deflowered her, according to c. XI of Ancyra and c. XXII of Basil. See also c. XXV of Aricyra.