Canons of the

Seven Ecumenical Councils.




The First Ecumenical Council.

Second Ecumenical Council.

Third Ecumenical Council.

Fourth Ecumenical Council.

Fifth Ecumenical Council.

Sixth Ecumenical Council.

Quinisext Ecumenical Council.

Seventh Ecumenical Council.




In the area of church discipline, the work of the first four ecumenical councils has an obvious interest for the knowledge of the law and institutions of early Christianity. During this period, 325 to 451, which corresponds to the flowering of the great patristic literature, we can follow — through the canonical legislation of the Councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon as well as other decisions made by these assemblies on specific questions — the evolution of the structures of the Church, of her discipline, and of her relations with the surrounding society. If we compare this and the ante-Nicene period, we see that all sorts of new problems come up while others fade in importance. The canons issued by these councils constitute the core of Church Law in the Christian East, even today. They also formed an important part of the Western Church's law during the first millennium and influenced, in no small way, the western medieval synthesis.

In considering the canonical legislation elaborated and approved by the first four ecumenical councils, it appears quite clear that this was a period of particularly fruitful creativity in the field of the Eastern Church's written law. Although it was not the intention of the Fathers gathered at Nicea to substitute a written, universal law for the already existing customary law with its local variants, many factors since then have turned the scales in favor of written law. In the first place, the unequaled prestige of this "great and holy council" conferred an unquestioned authority on its legislation. Thus around 330, Eusebius of Caesarea, having been asked to become bishop of Antioch, refused the offer by invoking the regulation established by the Fathers of Nicea.1 St. Basil, writing to a priest to order him to stop living with a woman, expressly made reference to the canon of Nicea relevant to this case.2 In the West, the regulations of the great council were held in equally high esteem. Pope Julius spoke of "divine inspiration" in referring to canon 5.3 As for Pope Leo, he declared the legislation of Nicea to be inviolable.4

Another factor favored the predominance of written law. During the first centuries of Christianity, the consciousness of a permanent disciplinary tradition was very strong in each local Church. In the fourth century, many new dioceses were created due to missionary expansion on the one hand and to the reinforcement of one or another theological trend during the Arian crisis on the other. For the same reasons, episcopal transfers, completely exceptional in earlier times, became more numerous; this phenomenon contributed to the breakdown of the links between the bishop and his church. Structures of common and coordinated action were set up, and the working of these new organs had to be made clear. Under these conditions, it was no longer possible to appeal solely to ancient customs; it was necessary to issue regulations intended to apply to the whole Church. Finally the tendency which was sketched out after the reign of Con-stantine and which took final form under Theodosius I — namely, giving the force of state law to the decisions of the church hierarchy — implied the existence of a body of canonical law.5 This evolution was later fully established by the legislation of the Emperor Justinian which confirmed the juridical validity of the canons issued by the Councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon as well as of those local councils accepted by these ecumenical assemblies.6

In many cases, the canons merely endorsed customs which were seen to be legitimate. To the extent that written law (canons and imperial laws) gained ground, custom was more or less limited to the domain of precedents. We could, it is true, quote the statement of Metropolitan Zachary of Chalcedon at the time of the Council of St. Sophia (879-880): "custom has a tendency to outweigh canons,"7 but we must not overestimate the significance of a statement formulated during a discussion or take it as a fundamental principle of Byzantine church law. Appealing to custom remains limited, as we can clearly see in reading the Nomocanon in XIV Titles and the commentaries of Balsamon on this work.8

In the Byzantine East, there was no break in continuity between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages on the political and socio-cultural level, as there was in the West, but there was constant evolution. The Church had to make concrete adaptations of the old canonical regulations to meet new situations. Canonical creativity was certainly not extinguished after the end of the ninth century, but it was limited to certain areas, principally to marriage and monastic law. No council issued regulations changing church structures already established by the end of the ancient period. Since the canons of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages had hardly touched the question of patriarchal privileges,9 it is, therefore, not surprising to find that many Byzantine interpretations of the canons on this question appear to us to be arbitrary and erroneous.10 Many other canons created problems in regard to their meaning and applicability. Given their respect for tradition and their uncontestable legal formalism, the Byzantines avoided as much as possible an appeal to the idea of laws being "out of date."

After the eleventh century, Byzantium more and more felt the need to have authorized commentaries on the canons. Probably the renaissance of legal studies stimulated an interest in the serious exegesis of canonical texts.11 But we have to wait until the twelfth century to see the first systematic work on this subject. Between 1118 and 1143, Alexis Aristenos, deacon and nomophylax of the Great Church, at the request of the Emperor John II Comnenus, wrote some concise annotations on the Synopsis which was compiled in the sixth or seventh century by Stephen of Ephesus and completed during the second half of the tenth century by Simeon "magistros and logothete."12 Not very long after 1159, no doubt, John Zonaras wrote his commentary ( Έξήγησις) on the canons, a work which has always been well-received and rightly so. Zonaras classified the canonical documents of the Syntagma in XIV Titles according to an order of the weightiness of the sources. He placed the Canons of the Holy Apostles first; then came those of the ecumenical councils and the general councils of 861 and 879-880. Zonaras put the canons of the local councils and of the Holy Fathers last.13 Although this classification had already been used previously, he made it, henceforth, the accepted order. Zonaras was above all concerned to set out the exact meaning of the texts, also giving necessary clarifications. When required, he compared canons on the same subject and proposed a reasoned reconciliation.14

While he was still deacon and nomophylax in Constantinople, Theodore Balsamon, at the request of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus (1143-1180) and the Ecumenical Patriarch Michael III (1169-1176), elaborated his commentaries on the Nomocanon in XIV Titles. In his interpretation of the canons he showed little originality; he often followed Zonaras to the letter but differed from him in consciously referring to the case law of his time. At the same time, Balsamon was concerned with relating the canons and the civil laws, in conformity with the main goal of his work.15

In Byzantium, the interpretations of these three canonists had a quasi-official position16 and have continued in subsequent periods to be given great weight. Consequently they have influenced the canonical praxis of the whole Orthodox Church. For the historian of institutions, these commentaries are especially interesting in that they show how their authors understood the ancient canons and also how they applied them. Furthermore, references in Balsamon's commentaries to decisions of the patriarchal synod in Constantinople are very valuable for the study of jurisprudence in Byzantium. These works, however, have only a limited use in trying to determine the real thinking of the Fathers who issued these ancient canons.

We must not neglect the anonymous scholia (explanatory notes) found in the manuscripts. We can say the same thing for these notes that was said for the interpretations of the great Byzantine commentators. Nevertheless, it is fitting to underline the fact that these notes are strictly the private opinions of their authors.17

The "Syntagma arranged in alphabetical order according to subject" (Σύνταγμα κατά στοιχεϊον) by hieromonk Matthew Blastares occupies a singular place. This work, written in Thessalonica around 1335, is a collection of canons, civil laws, synodical decrees and commentaries.18 Because of its convenient ordering and the richness of its content, this work was a great success not only among the Greeks but also among the southern Slavs and later among the Russians and Romanians.

The era of Ottoman domination is far from being devoid of interest for the historian of canon law. Nonetheless, even more than in the Middle Ages, the actions of the hierarchy on this subject were taken in the field of case law.19 We have to wait till the turn of the eighteenth century to see the appearance of a new commentary on the corpus of received canons in the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1800, the first edition of the Pedalion was published.20 The text of each canon is followed by a paraphrase in modern Greek along with a commentary often based on Byzantine canonists. Moreover, we find disgressions on different canonical or liturgical points among these numerous and often wordy notes. According to the title of the work, the editors were hieromonk Agapios and the monk Nicodemus (St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite). In reality the essential parts of the work are the work of the latter.21 After some delays, the book received the official approval of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The reservations set out in the letter of Patriarch Neophyte VII, August, 1902, concerned only changes introduced by hieromonk Theodoret without the knowledge of the authors.22

The Pedalion has always enjoyed a great reputation in Greek-speaking Churches; this is obvious from its many reprintings, without, of course, the far-fetched additions of Theodoret. We can explain this success in different ways: the translation of the canons was done in paraphrases; the commentaries and the notes make for relatively easy reading, even for churchmen and monks having little education. The liturgical and pastoral directives, as well as other additional material, are of obvious practical interest for the clergy. This recension of the canons is on the whole correct, as we can see by comparing the present text with critical editions which we now have. St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite was no stranger to the concerns of textual criticism; this is obvious from his notes, which give the most characteristic variants of the recension of John the Scholastic. Having said this, we must not, however, overestimate the value of the Pedalion. It constitutes, first and foremost, a valuable witness for the understanding of the milieu in which it was formed.23 As for treating the Pedalion as the perfect and therefore untouchable expression of Orthodox canon law, such an attitude is a manifest exaggeration which we often meet in a strict, integrist environment. St. Nicodemus' position on the invalidity of Roman Catholic baptism is particularily appreciated in that milieu.24

For a long time, the Orthodox Slavs were content to reproduce translations of the works of Byzantine commentators on the canons. But in the nineteenth century, Slavic canonists took over the first place. Chronologically speaking, it is proper to mention first the work of Archimandrite John Sokolov, published in St. Petersburg in 1851.25 Nicodemus Milash rightly considered this Russian canonist as the father of Orthodox canonical studies in the modern period.26 Fr. G. Florovsky underlined the scientific value of this work; he wrote that "for the first time, the ancient and fundamental canons of the Church were presented in Russian more in historical than in doctrinal fashion."27

A work consisting of the canons of the Orthodox Church with commentaries was published in 1895-6 by Nicodemus Milash, who later became Bishop of Dalmatia;28 this work is still of great interest today and shows itself as the fruit of considerable study.29 The interpretations and explanations found in this work, although they must obviously be revised and completed on the basis of more recent studies, are not at all to be minimized. Moreover, it is still used today as a reference work by Orthodox canonists. As for canonical commentaries in Romanian, we can mention the works of Metropolitan Andrew Saguna, N. Popovici, and C. Dron.30

In the West, starting with the seventeenth century, we find some quite worthy works which interpret the ancient canons. We can mention the names of Christian Wolf31 and John Cabassut;32 William Beveridge particularly stands out because of the value of his study of the canons. When he was vicar of Baling, later Bishop of St. Asaph (1704), this erudite Anglican clergyman published his Σννοδικόν.33 It was successful not only in the West but also in the Orthodox East. Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem (1669-1707) sent a copy of Beveridge's Synodikon to Patriarch Adrian of Moscow (1690-1700) so that the latter could correct the text of the Kormchaya Kniga.34 Zeger-Bernard Van Espen (1646-1728), the most famous canonist of the old University of Louvain, found himself entangled in the controversies of his time between the advocates and opponents of the absolute authority of the Roman pontiff; he resolutely took the side of the opponents.35 Van Espen's commentary on the canons is found among the posthumous works of this great scholar; in this work, his point was to make known the authentic church discipline which was eclipsed in the medieval West by canons based on the False Decretals.36 It is not at all surprising, then, that from that time on the works of this Belgian canonist were put on the Index by the Roman curia.

We should also note the work of William Bright, professor at Oxford from 1868-1901.37 His commentaries on the canons of the first four ecumenical councils are still of scholarly interest.38 Henri Leclercq was often inspired by this work. Karl-Joseph Hefele (1809-1898), professor at Tubingen and later bishop of Rottenburg, was the author of a great scholarly work on The History of the Councils, published in seven volumes from 1855 to 1874.39 Even though it has been surpassed on many points by subsequent scientific studies, this work remains a classic reference work. In 1907 the Benedictine monk, Henri Leclercq d'Ornancourt undertook a French translation of the Concilienge-schichte of Hefele,40 which was really to be a complete reworking and enlargement of the German scholar's work.41

Finally, we can mention the book of Henry R. Percival, which constitutes volume 14 in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series.42 It is true that this volume is not an original work, properly speaking, since the comments are completely drawn from the works of ancient and modern canonists. However, we believe it is necessary to note this book because the excursus often represent the personal synthesis of the author. Moreover, the volume is readily available.

The disciplinary legislation issued by the first four Ecumenical Councils undoubtedly constitutes the historical core of Orthodox canon law. This appears to be even more obvious if one takes into account the canonical legislation of the local synods contained in the collection used and therefore approved by the Fathers of Chalcedon.43 Subsequent legislation universally accepted in the Orthodox Church did not introduce basic alterations.44 Such alterations would not have been accepted in the East because of a widespread feeling that not only the Church kerygma but also the fundamental norms of Church order were part and parcel of Holy Tradition. The Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, with some exaggeration, applied the words of Deuteronomy in the Torah to canonical rules: "To them nothing is to be added, and from them nothing is to be taken away."45 Thus, changes are always presented as duly justified adjustments of particular details.46 Nowadays, in the light of historical data, we share a far more nuanced view of the real evolution of ecclesiastical institutions. Be that as it may, in Byzantine times and even later on no doubts affecting the validity of the old legislation were expressed.

The understanding of the ancient canons does not interest just the historians of institutions but also all Orthodox practitioners of canon law, since the canons' stipulations constitute the core of all legitimate law still in force.47

The point of all interpretations is obviously to determine the exact meaning of each canon. We must, therefore, investigate the intention of the legislator, mens legislatoris. This is not always an easy task, not just because of the time that separates us from them. Research must be concerned as much with the historical context as with the canonical text itself; we must carefully investigate what the lawgiver wanted to correct, suppress, add, or simply recall to mind. We also properly take into account that the technical terms in canon law had not yet been rigidly fixed.48 Moreover, we must not forget either that the Holy Fathers, the authors of the canons, were not necessarily specialists in legal terminology. Consequently we cannot automatically apply to canon law principles of interpretation established by specialists in civil law. For example, we would really be misled if we strictly applied the rule which says that the lawmaker always "expresses what he wants to say and refrains from saying what he does not want to say."49 In some cases, uncertainties flow from the wording, which can be understood in several ways due to editorial ambiguities in grammatical construction or punctuation.50 The exact meaning of terms must be determined by taking factors of time and place into account. To neglect these data and arbitrarily put elements together necessarily leads to serious misinterpretations.51 Research into the mens legislatoris interests the historian and the canonists, but the canonist has another preoccupation. It is frequently the case that a canon is presented as an act involving a local and limited situation; can we, then consider it as a law in the proper sense, which has general application? Certainly, there are some cases where the purely limited nature of the canon evidently stands out.52 Sometimes only a knowledge of the historical context permits us to affirm that despite its formulation, a canon has an application strictly limited to a moment in church history.53 One of the essential, and at the same time most delicate, problems in interpreting the canons is the use of analogy. There is no doubt at all that this method is perfectly legitimate in itself since, taken in their individual cases, the canons are only concrete expressions on a given subject of the Church's general order. The ancient legal adage is applicable to canon law: Non ex regula ius sumatur sed ex iure quod est, regula fiat.54 It is even possible that this definition has influenced the usage which eventually restricted the term to disciplinary rulings of church authorities.55 The application of analogy to the canons is nonetheless delicate; it supposes that the canon in question is perfectly clear.56 Moreover, the similarity of each case must be solidly grounded. We must correctly avoid any subjectivism which in a particular case argues on the basis of superficial resemblances.57 Therefore, an analogical interpretation, also called "extensive," is not arbitrary as long as it conforms to the general intention of the legislator, even if that interpretation materially goes beyond his thought.58

In what measure can we categorically affirm that an ancient canon ought no longer to be applied? In principle, such is the case when a disciplinary measure has been abrogated or modified by a canon adopted in some later time; this is in line with the adage lex posterior derogat priori, which assumes that the conciliar authority issuing the abrogation or modification possess the necessary authority.59 It is still necessary to take into account the reasons underlying the more recent canon. Thus, canon 8 of the Synod in Trullo begins by recalling the norm which requires semiannual synods in each province. However, in the face of a practical impossibility (άδυνάτως), such as barbarian invasions, the Fathers of the Synod in Trullo decided in favor of a single annual session.60 It is clear that the meeting of semiannual synods is still preferred and must be held unless there are major obstacles.61

An ancient canon can partially or fully lose its legal force; partially when it is only capable of being applied analogically62 or else when an ecclesiological principle is decreed on the occasion of a strictly limited decision.63

Let us also note although "economy" excludes by nature an automatic application of analogy, a canon concerning an individual case can serve as an indication to help resolve comparable cases.64 It would appear logical to allow without restriction the principle that abrogates a canon when its ratio legis disappears; that is, the reason which prompted its adoption in the first place. But a long tradition expressing a consensus in the Church can block the application of this principle. Thus the first place of the See of Constantinople is not really in question even though this city has long since ceased to be "honored by the presence of the emperor and the senate."65 In reality, the primacy of honor of the Archbishop of Constantinople is most probably founded on the extension to his see of the axiom applied by the Fathers of Nicea to the privileges of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch: "Let the ancient customs be maintained."66 Total nullity is certain when a canon shows itself to apply only to a specific case and not capable of being extended by an analogical interpretation.67 Nullity can result automatically from the disappearance of an institution: thus canon 15 of Chalcedon which fixes the minimum age of forty for deaconesses lost its force after the Church ceased to ordain deaconesses.68

Investigation into the meaning and extent of a canon requires, as we have said above, research into the social and historical background as well as an analysis of the texts themselves. It is very evident that these exegetical studies suppose previous enquiries into the value of the texts which we have received through time. In this case, when dealing with the canonical stipulations of the first four ecumenical councils the investigator does not run up against insurmountable obstacles. These texts have on the whole been rather faithfully transmitted in the Greek manuscript tradition. This is true first of all due to the nature of the subject. As P.P. Joannou pertinently noted:

The letter of a legal text is of prime importance; it is quite normal, therefore, in the innumerable manuscripts of these canonical collections to find a very careful transcription which has been done by a copyist familiar with the material or else reviewed and corrected by a jurist. From one manuscript to another, we can expect to find very few variants that deeply alter the sense of the text.69


Let us add that the ancient canons and especially those of the ecumenical councils were considered to have been issued under divine inspiration, which explains the great care taken to preserve the exactness of the texts.70

From the beginning of this century on, a remarkable job has been carried out in establishing a critical edition of ancient canonical collections. It is, of course, these works that we have primarily used in our research. We must first mention the excellent editions of the Synagoge and of the Syntagma in XIV Titles done by V.N. Benesevic.71 For the disciplinary ruling issued by the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, we also have the monumental work of Edward Schwartz.72 With certain exceptions, the Greek text of the canons of the first four ecumenical councils found in Fonti is that of the Synagoge, sometimes with some interesting variants; it is nonetheless difficult to appreciate their importance because of deficiencies in the way the critical apparatus is set out.73 The old Latin versions of the canons, above all those of Nicea I, are worthy of careful consideration. Certain ones in fact show signs of being based on a Greek text earlier than those which have come down to us. At least in the one case, the old Latin text allows us to reconstruct with near certainty the original form of the canon and to understand the mens legislatoris.14 We can also add that the old Latin versions have an interest all their own. The variety of Latin translations of Greek terms found in these versions calls for theological reflection.75 Moreover, certain interpretive translations, indeed additions, constitute precious testimony to the history of Church institutions in the West.76 The research of Strewe77 and, above all, the work of Turner,78 as complete as it is serious, give the scholar access to correctly edited Latin texts. The Syriac translation of the canons done at Hierapolis of Euphratesia (500-501) is far from being as interesting as the old Latin versions. It is in fact very close to the oldest Greek editions we have. At the most, when a variant is found simultaneously in this Syriac version and in the Latin translations of Dionysius Exiguus, we can infer that it must reflect the text of the Antiochian Graeca auctoritas. The critical edition of the manuscript containing the Syriac translation mentioned above has been published by F. Schulthess.79

We have already drawn attention to the work of Stephen of Ephesus, the Synopsis, edited by Aristenos and completed by Symeon the Logothete. No critical edition of this Epitome canonum exists; we have, therefore, used the work of Rhalles and Potles. We have done the same for the commentaries of Aristenos, Zonaras, and Bal-samon.80 For the anonymous scholia, we have used the publication of V.N. Benesevic.8'

Archbishop Peter L’Huillier

The First Ecumenical Council.

The First Ecumenical Council was held in Nicea, Asia Minor, in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of Arius (Arianism). In order to expedite the assembling of the Council, the emperor Constantine placed at the disposal of the bishops the public conveyances and posts of the empire; moreover, while the Council lasted he provided abundantly for the maintenance of the members. The choice of Nicaea was favourable to the assembling of a large number of bishops. It was easily accessible to the bishops of nearly all the provinces, but especially to those of Asia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, and Thrace. The sessions were held in the principal church, and in the central hall of the imperial palace. A large place was indeed necessary to receive such an assembly, though the exact number is not known with certainty. St. Athanasius, a member of the council speaks of 300, and in his letter "Ad Afros" he says explicitly 318. This figure is almost universally adopted. Most of the bishops present were Greeks; among the Latins we know only Hosius of Cordova, Cecilian of Carthage, Mark of Calabria, Nicasius of Dijon, Donnus of Stridon in Pannonia, and the two Roman priests, Victor and Vincentius, representing the pope. The assembly numbered among its most famous members St. Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, Macarius of Jerusalem, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Caesarea, and Nicholas of Myra. Some had suffered during the last persecution; others were poorly enough acquainted with Christian theology. Among the members was a young deacon, Athanasius of Alexandria, for whom this Council was to be the prelude to a life of conflict and of glory.

The Council was opened by Constantine with the greatest solemnity. The emperor began by making the bishops understand that they had a greater and better business in hand than personal quarrels and interminable recriminations. Nevertheless, he had to submit to the infliction of hearing the last words of debates which had been going on previous to his arrival. Eusebius of Caesarea and his two abbreviators, Socrates and Sozomen, as well as Rufinus and Gelasius of Cyzicus, report no details of the theological discussions. Rufinus tells us only that daily sessions were held and that Arius was often summoned before the assembly; his opinions were seriously discussed and the opposing arguments attentively considered. The majority, especially those who were confessors of the Faith, energetically declared themselves against the impious doctrines of Arius. St. Athanasius assures us that the activities of the Council were nowise hampered by Constantine's presence. To St. Athanasius may be attributed a preponderant influence in the formulation of the symbol of the First Ecumenical Council, of which the following is a literal translation:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made our of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes.

The adhesion was general and enthusiastic. All the bishops save five declared themselves ready to subscribe to this formula, convince that it contained the ancient faith of the Apostolic Church. The opponents were soon reduced to two, Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais, who were exiled and anathematized. Arius and his writings were also branded with anathema, his books were cast into the fire, and he was exiled to Illyria.

Other matters dealt with by this council were the controversy as to the time of celebrating Easter and the Meletian schism.

Of all the Acts of this Council, which, it has been maintained, were numerous, only three fragments have reached us: the creed, or symbol, given above; the canons; the synodal decree. In reality there never were any official acts besides these. But the accounts of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Rufinus may be considered as very important sources of historical information, as well as some data preserved by St. Athanasius, and a history of the Council of Nicaea written in Greek in the fifth century by Gelasius of Cyzicus. There has long existed a dispute as to the number of the canons of First Nicaea. All the collections of canons, whether in Latin or Greek, composed in the fourth and fifth centuries agree in attributing to this Council only the twenty canons, which we possess today. Of these the following is a brief résumé:

Canon 1: On the admission, or support, or expulsion of clerics mutilated by choice or by violence.

Canon 2: Rules to be observed for ordination, the avoidance of undue haste, the deposition of those guilty of a grave fault.

Canon 3: All members of the clergy are forbidden to dwell with any woman, except a mother, sister, or aunt.

Canon 4: Concerning episcopal elections.

Canon 5: Concerning the excommunicate.

Canon 6: Concerning patriarchs and their jurisdiction.

Canon 7: confirms the right of the bishops of Jerusalem to enjoy certain honours.

Canon 8: concerns the Novatians.

Canon 9: Certain sins known after ordination involve invalidation.

Canon 10: Lapsi who have been ordained knowingly or surreptitiously must be excluded as soon as their irregularity is known.

Canon 11: Penance to be imposed on apostates of the persecution of Licinius.

Canon 12: Penance to be imposed on those who upheld Licinius in his war on the Christians.

Canon 13: Indulgence to be granted to excommunicated persons in danger of death.

Canon 14: Penance to be imposed on catechumens who had weakened under persecution.

Canon 15: Bishops, priests, and deacons are not to pass from one church to another.

Canon 16: All clerics are forbidden to leave their church. Formal prohibition for bishops to ordain for their diocese a cleric belonging to another diocese.

Canon 17: Clerics are forbidden to lend at interest.

Canon 18: recalls to deacons their subordinate position with regard to priests.

Canon 19: Rules to be observed with regard to adherents of Paul of Samosata who wished to return to the Church.

Canon 20: On Sundays and during the Paschal season prayers should be said standing.



1. If anyone has been operated upon by surgeons for a disease, or has been excised by barbarians, let him remain in the clergy. But if anyone has excised himself when well, he must be dismissed even if he is examined after being in the clergy. And henceforth no such person must be promoted to holy orders. But as is self-evident, though such is the case as regards those who affect the matter and dare to excise themselves, if any persons have been eunuchized by barbarians or their lords, but are otherwise found to be worthy, the Canon admits such persons to the clergy.

(Ap. cc. XXI, XXII, XXIII; c. VIII of the lst-&-2nd.)


Various Canons of the Apostles include decrees concerning eunuchism. But since they were disregarded, as it would appear, on this account it became necessary that it be made the subject of the present Canon, which says: Whoever has been made a eunuch by surgeons because of a disease or ailment, or by barbarians during the time of an invasion, if he is a clergyman, let him perform the functions of the clergy. But whoever while in good health has made himself a eunuch, even though he is a clergyman, must cease from the activities of the clergy. And of as many such persons as are laymen not even one must henceforth be made a clergyman. But as we say this in regard to those who affectedly and wilfully dare to make themselves eunuchs, in the same vein again we say that if there be any persons that have been made eunuchs by barbarians or by their masters (or owners), that is to say, against their will and tyranically, but that are worthy, the Canon (either the present Canon, that is to say, or Apostolical Canon XXI) allows them to be admitted to the clergy. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXI.


2. Inasmuch as many things, whether of necessity or otherwise urgently demanded by men, have been done contrary to the ecclesiastical Canon, so that men who have but recently come to the faith from a heathen life, and have been catechized for only a short time, have been conducted directly to the spiritual bath, and as soon as baptized have been given an episcopate or a presbytery, it has seemed well henceforth to have no such thing occur. For the catechumen needs more time and a longer trial after baptism. The Apostolical letter, too, is plain which says, "not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the Devil’s snare" (1 Tim. 3:6). If, on the other hand, in the course of time any psychical (i.e., animal) sin be found against the person, and it is exposed by two or three witnesses, let such a person be dismissed from the clergy. As for anyone acting contrary hereto, as having the hardihood to do things opposed to the great council, he himself shall be in danger of losing his standing in the clergy.

(Ap. c. LXXX; c. XVII of the lst-&-2nd; c. X of Sardican; c. III of Laodicea; c. IV of Cyril.)


The present Canon commands what Ap. c. LXXX ordains. For it says: Since in times past many things have occurred that were contrary to the ecclesiastical Canon (that is to say, Ap. c. LXXX), whether of necessity, or on account of persons motivated by other considerations, so that they have almost immediately baptized persons that before had been converted to the Orthodox faith from the life of a heathen and infidel only a short while before, and had been catechized only a short time in the mystery of piety (i.e., of the Christian religion), and right after baptism they promoted them to an episcopate or a presbytery, which is to say, they ordained them presbyters or bishops; since, I say, these things formerly used to be done thus illegally, it has appeared reasonable that from now on they should not be done. For a catechumen needs sufficient time even before being baptized to be properly catechized and instructed concerning all the dogmas of the faith; and after being baptized he again needs to undergo a long trial as a test of his worthiness. For the Apostle says to Timothy: "Let not a novice (be ordained, that is to say), or one newly catechized and recently planted in the vineyard of Christ, lest, after being puffed up with pride, he fall into the same sin and into the same snare as the Devil fell into, or, in other words, into pride. If, on the other hand, with the passage of time, in the subsequent interval of trial and after he has been catechized and baptized and ordained, it should happen that he is found to have committed any animal (i.e., soul-wrought) sin and is convicted thereof by two or three witnesses, he shall cease officiating in holy orders. As for anyone that does otherwise, he shall be in danger of forfeiting his claim to holy orders, that is to say, he shall be deposed from office, on the ground that he has impudently defied the great council. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. LXXX.


3. The great Council has forbidden generally any Bishop or Presbyter or Deacon, and anyone else at all among those in the clergy, the privilege of having a subintroducta. Unless she is either a mother, or a sister, or an aunt, or a person above suspicion.

(c. V of the 6th; c. XXIII of the 7th; c. XIX of Ancyra; C. XIX of Carthage; c. LXXXVIII of Basil.)


Men in holy orders and clergymen ought not to cause the laity any suspicion or scandal. On this account the present Canon ordains that this great Council — the First Ecumenical, that is to say — has entirely forbidden any bishop or presbyter or deacon or any other clergyman to have a strange woman in his house, and to live with her, excepting only a mother, or a sister, or an aunt, or other persons that do not arouse any suspicion.

The ordinance of the first title of the Novels, which is Justinian Novel 123, says as follows: "We too forbid, in accordance with the power of the divine Canons presbyters and deacons and subdeacons and all other clergymen that have no lawful wife to keep any strange woman in their house. Except that they may keep a mother, a daughter, and a sister, and any other persons that are exempt from suspicion. If, however, anyone fails to observe these rules, but, even after reminded by the prelate or by his fellow clergymen, he refuses to throw the woman out whom he has been keeping, or, after being accused, he is proved to be associating with her indecently, such a man shall be deposed, and shall be turned over to the civil authorities of that city where he is serving as a clergyman." But if a bishop lives with a woman at all, he shall be deposed. Note two things here, though: one, that those who have unsuspectable persons in their home, as we have said, namely, a mother, or a sister, or an aunt, or other, must not at the same time have also suspicious persons serving, not them, but those unsuspectable persons; because again in this manner they become violators and incur the penalties prescribed by the Canons. Instead, they ought either to serve themselves, or have servants to serve them who are unsuspectable. Another thing is that monks ought not to live with unsuspectable persons alone when they have such. Because if the above-mentioned c. XXII of the 7th prohibits one from eating with his female relatives only, who are unsuspectable, how much more does it not prohibit them from living with them? For Basil the Great says (in his discussion of virginity) that the pleasure of flesh has overcome even brothers and sisters born of the same mother and has led to every sort of sin against mothers and daughters, just as it stigmatized also Amnon, the son of David, as a result of his debauching his own sister Tamar (II Sam. ch. 13), because the seductive and magnetic power of sexual love of men for women, which has been placed in men’s bodies, in defiance, he says, of every right reasoning — such as, let us say, that she is a mother, or a sister, or an aunt — spontaneously and all on their own initiative prompts the mingling of bodies of men with bodies of women, regardless of whether they are strangers or relatives, and in spite of the fact that their inward thoughts struggling against it are averse thereto.


4. It is most fitting that a Bishop should be installed by all those in his province. But if such a thing is difficult either because of the urgency of circumstances, or because of the distance to be travelled, at least three should meet together somewhere and by their votes combined with those of the ones absent and joining in the election by letter they should carry out the ordination thereafter. But as for the ratification of the proceedings, let it be entrusted in each province to the Metropolitan.

(Ap. c. I; c. III of the 7th; c. XIX of Antioch; c. VI of Sardican; c. XII of Laodicea; and cc. XII, LVIII, LIX of Carthage.)


The present Canon decrees that a bishop ought to be ordained by all the bishops in the province whenever this is feasible; but in case it is difficult for all of them to be gathered together at a meeting for this purpose, whether on account of some urgent necessity, or because of the long distance of travel involved, let at least three bishops meet together in any event, and let those absent contribute their votes by letter in the ordination, and then let them ordain him. As for the validity and ratification of everything that has been done — that is to say, the validity of the election held by all the bishops, and the appointment of the one of the three candidates — because three must be voted for, according to ecclesiastical formality — the appointment, I say, of the one to receive notification of the ordination, must be left and referred to the metropolitan of each province as the supreme authority. But inasmuch as the annotators, namely, Zonaras and Balsamon, explain the text as meaning to be appointed, instead of meaning to be voted for; and others say that instead of ordination we ought to know that previous thereto and properly necessary thereto the election signifies installation. Accordingly, I prefer the word install to the word make. So even here the expression "it is fitting that he should be installed" as previously necessary is a comprehensive term denoting that he should be elected, chosen, ordained by all of them. I said "previously" and "comprehensive" because this order of procedure is sacred: that is to say, one must first be voted for and afterwards be ordained. Accordingly, we thus obtain a most complete understanding that he has been installed; that is to say, that he has actually been made a bishop. There hence appear to be two significations inherent in the words of the expression "to be installed," just as there are also in the words of the expression "to be elected": one implying action by all, and the other implying action by three, both in accordance with the present Canon and in accordance with Ap. c. I. This is about the same as the explanation given by the Seventh Ecum. C. in its own c. III: therefore when only three carry out the ordination, it must previously have been voted for by all of them, those absent signifying their choice by letter.


5. As regards those who have been denied communion, whether they be members of the clergy or belong to a lay order, by the bishops in each particular province, let the opinion prevail which expressed in the Canon prescribing that those rejected by some are not to be received by others. But let an investigation be made as to whether or not they have been unchurched on account of small-mindedness or quarrelsomeness or any other such disgustfulness of the Bishop. In order, therefore, that a proper investigation may be made, it has seemed well that synods be held every year twice a year in each province and in a common discussion held by all the Bishops of the province assembled together for this purpose let such questions be thrashed out. And thus those who have admittedly clashed with the Bishop would seem to be reasonably excluded from communion until such time as by common consent of the bishops it may seem better to let a more philanthropic vote be given in their behalf. As for these synods, let one of them be held before Lent, in order that, with the elimination of all small-mindedness, the gift may be offered to God in all its purity; and let the second one be held sometime in autumn.

(Ap. cc. XII, XIII, XXXII, XXXVII; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th; cc. VI, XX of Antioch; cc. X, XX of Sardican; cc. XXVI, XXXVII, CIV, CXVI, and CXLI of Carthage.)


The present Canon decrees the following things: In regard to clergymen and laymen who have been excommunicated by the bishops of any particular province, let the opinion prevail and remain in force and effect which has already been expressed in legislation, just as that old Canon (i.e., Ap. c. XXXII or even XII) decrees, to wit, that persons excommunicated by the bishops of one province must not be admitted to communion by other bishops. Yet let an investigation be made as to the possibility that the ones excommunicated have been excommunicated because of some small-mindedness or quarrelsomeness or some other grudge on the part of the bishop. Hence, in order that this matter and other such questions may be properly investigated, it has appeared reasonable to hold local synods twice a year in each province, and to assemble all the bishops together in a common meeting for the express purpose of considering them. And thus, after such an investigation has been made, as touching those who have been sinning against the bishop and who have been rightly and justly excommunicated, by him, let them remain excommunicated, in accordance with grounds of congruity and justice, also by all the rest of the bishops, until it appear reasonable to the common assembly of the bishops to render a more philanthropic (or more humane) decision regarding those who have been excommunicated. For if the one who excommunicated them, let us assume, is so hardened even after some time as to refuse to liberate them from the excommunication, or if he should die in the meantime, permission is given to the synod to release them from it after it deems that a sufficient length of time has been passed in penance. These synods are to be held one sometime before Lent, in order to take advantage of the fact that at this time every small-mindedness and mistake that either the prelate has made in dealing with the clergy and the laity, or, conversely, that the clergy and the laity have shown towards the prelate, is dissolved, in order to allow a pure and unblemished gift of fasting to be offered to God. Let the second synod be held in the time of autumn. Read also Ap. cc. XXXII and XXXVII.


6. Let the ancient customs prevail which were in vogue in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, to allow the bishop of Alexandria to have authority over all these parts, since this is also the treatment usually accorded to the bishop of Rome. Likewise with reference to Antioch, and in other provinces, let the seniority be preserved to the Churches. In general it is obvious that in the case in which anyone has been made a bishop without the Metropolitan’s approval, the great Council has prescribed that such a person must not be a Bishop. If, however, to the common vote of all, though reasonable and in accordance with an ecclesiastical Canon, two or three men object on account of a private quarrel, let the vote of the majority prevail.

(Ap. c. XXXIV; cc. II of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; c. XXXVI of the 6th; c. XIX of Laodicea; c. XIII of Carthage.)


The present Canon ordains that the old customs of the three Patriarchs are to be kept in vogue, chiefly and mainly as regarding the Patriarch of Alexandria, and secondly as regarding the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Patriarch of Rome, succinctly and comprehensively. (Concerning the Patriarch of Jerusalem the present Council devote special and separate treatment in its c. VII; and concerning the Patriarch of Constantinople the Second Council set forth its views in its c. III). So that the Patriarch (whom it calls a Bishop here, owing to the fact that it had not yet become customary to designate one by calling him the Patriarch) of Alexandria came to have authority over all the bishops and metropolitans in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis. In fact, the same custom also came to prevail with regard to the Patriarch of Rome in that he was allowed to have authority and presidency over all the occidental bishops and metropolitans. Likewise the Patriarch of Antioch is given authority over the bishops and metropolitans of Syria, of Middle Syria, of each of the two regions called Cilicia, of Mesopotamia, and of all the other dioceses subject to his jurisdiction. The present Canon, in fact, commands that not only the privileges of these Patriarchs are to be preserved, but even the privileges of other provinces and churches that are subject to the metropolitans. What is said of the Patriarchs in existence is also true of the independent Patriarchs, then and now — that is to say, the autocephalous Patriarchs, such as those of Asia, of Pontus, of Thrace, of Cyprus, of Africa, and of other countries. (Though others say that the Canon names here also other provinces, embraced, concisely speaking, in the dioceses subordinate to the other two Patriarchs, of Constantinople and of Jerusalem; and that of metropolitans it names only patriarchs. But the first interpretation is better; see also Dositheus, in the Dodecabiblus, pp. 117, 123.) Thus the effect of this Canon is that nothing relating to the administration of church affairs can be done without their consent and approval or sanction. Now, inasmuch as the greatest and chiefest of all ecclesiastical affairs is ordination, the Canon accordingly adds that if anyone is made a bishop without the approval of his own metropolitan, as this great Council has decreed, he is not to be a bishop, because in spite of the fact that the multitude of bishops voted for the bishop, the ratification of the election had to be made by the Metropolitan, and whoever was approved by the Metropolitan had to be made a bishop (and see the footnote to the present Council’s c. IV). Yet if all the bishops in common elect a candidate to an episcopate in accordance with ecclesiastical Canons, but two or three object to his election, not for a good reason and justly, but cavilously and spitefully, the vote of the majority shall decide the matter. Canon XIX of Antioch decrees the same thing. Canon XIII of Carthage says that if any one of those who took part in the voting and signed should afterwards oppose his own confession and signature, he shall deprive himself of the honor of (being) a bishop. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXIV.


7. Inasmuch as a custom has prevailed, and an ancient tradition, for the Bishop in Aelia to be honored, let him have the sequence of honor, with the Metropolitan having his own dignity preserved.

(Ap. c. XXXIV; cc. II, III of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; c. XXXVI of the 6th; and c. XIX of Antioch.)


The present Canon is susceptible of two different interpretations. For Balsamon and the Anonymous annotator of the Canons, with whom some Papists (i.e., Roman Catholics, as they are called in common parlance) and Calvinists agree, have interpreted it to mean that inasmuch as an ancient tradition and custom has prevailed for the Bishop of Aelia (i.e., of Jerusalem) to be specially honored on account of the fact that the Lord became incarnate and suffered therein, and the salvatory declaration came forth therefrom through the sacred Apostles into all the world, let him have the honor next after the preceding one, even in subsequent times, yet only honor without any authority and office, because the authority and office ought to be preserved to the Metropolitan of Palestine whose seat was the metropolis called Caesarea of Straton, to whom, as they say, Jerusalem was subject. That is to say, just as c. XII of Chalcedon prescribes that in the case of as many cities as received by virtue of imperial letters the honor of being entitled to the name metropolis, the bishops thereof were the only ones allowed to enjoy the honor, whereas the rights proper thereto were to be preserved to the real metropolis, in the same way as Marcianus (an emperor of the Eastern Empire) honored Chalcedon, and Valentinian (another emperor) honored Nicaea, according to Act 13 of the Council. But Zonaras and others would have it that just as the preceding Canon accorded seniority to the bishops of Alexandria and of Antioch, or rather to say renewed it, as an innovation (for the seniority of Rome was not renewed, because, as we have said, it had been left intact and unchanged), so and in like manner the present Canon bestowed a special honor on Jerusalem. This is tantamount to saying that just as that Canon sanctioned their being granted not only patriarchal privileges and honors, but also the order of precedence of such honors, in that the bishop of Rome came first, the bishop of Alexandria second, the bishop of Antioch third, so did this Canon sanction the granting to Jerusalem not only of patriarchal privileges and honors but also the order of precedence of such honors. On this account it did not say, let him have (special) honor, but "let him have the sequence of honor." That is the same as saying, let him have fourth place in the sequence of honor after the other three. The expression "with the Metropolis having its own dignity preserved" denotes that this patriarchal honor is not one attaching to the person and individual (concerning which see the second footnote to c. VI of the present Council), but is consecrated to the metropolis of Jerusalem, so as to provide for its devolving to all the bishops successively acceding to the throne, and not to this or that person alone. Witnesses to the fact that Jerusalem was a metropolis are both Josephus, who says, in his book VII on the Jews, that it was a large city and the metropolis of the entire country of the Jews; and Philo, who says that it was the metropolis, not of a single land of Judea, but also of a plurality of lands. For the Apostolic throne of Jerusalem not only stands first in nearly the whole world, but also enjoyed patriarchal privileges from the beginning, and still enjoys them even today. First, because it had provinces subject to it, and a diocese which belonged to the Patriarch. Hence it was that the neighboring officials of the churches, and not the bishop of Caesarea, ordained Dion bishop of Jerusalem when Narcissus departed. But when Narcissus reappeared, again he was called by the brethren, according to Eusebius, and not by the Brother, or the bishop of Caesarea. Narcissus, by the way, held a council with fourteen bishops concerning Easter before the First Ecumenical Council was held. Secondly, because the Bishop of Jerusalem was the first to sign at the First Ecumenical Council, while Eusebius of Caesarea was the fifth. And, generally speaking, metropolitans change round in the order of signatures, and in the places of seats at council meetings, and in the order of addressing emperors, sometimes taking the lead, and sometimes following others. But the Bishop of Jerusalem always comes first among the Fathers attending a council, and on every occasion is numbered with the patriarchs, and never with the metropolitans. Read also Dositheus in the Dodecabiblus, Book II, ch. 4. But even if we grant that Jerusalem was subject to Caesarea, what of it? Just as Byzantium was formerly subject to Heraclea, but later, after Byzantium became the seat of a patriarch, Heraclea was made subject to it; so and in like manner, if we allow (what is not a fact) that Jerusalem was subject to Caesarea, after Jerusalem was honored by being made the seat of a patriarch, Caesarea, true enough, retained its own dignity thereafter, in that it remained a metropolis of Palestine, yet it became subordinate to Jerusalem, since it is merely a metropolis, while Jerusalem is a patriarchate (i.e., the seat and headquarters of a patriarch). Read also Ap. c. XXXIV.


8. As concerning those who call themselves Puritans and who are claiming to be adherents of the catholic and apostolic Church, it has seemed right to the holy and great Council, when they have had hands laid upon them, to let them remain in the clergy. Above all, that it is fitting for them to confess to this in writing, to wit, that they will agree to and will adhere to the dogmas of the catholic and apostolic Church. That is, that they will hold communion with persons married a second time, and with those who in time of persecution have lapsed from the faith; regarding whom a length of time has been fixed, and a due season has been set, for their penance. So that they may adhere to the dogmas of the catholic Church in everything. Wherever they are the only ones found to have been ordained, whether in villages or in cities, they shall remain in the same habit (or order). But wherever there is a Bishop of the catholic Church, and some of them are joining it, it is obvious that, as the Bishop of the Church will keep the dignity of bishop, the one called a bishop among the so-called Puritans shall have the honor of a Presbyter, unless it should seem better to the Bishop that he should share in the honor of the name. But if this does not please him, he shall devise a position either of a chorepiscopus or of a presbyter, with the object of having him seem to be wholly in the clergy, lest there should be two bishops in the same city.

(Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, LXVIII; c. VII of the 2nd; c. XCV of the 6th; cc. VII, VIII of Laodicea; c. LXVI of Carthage; cc. I, XLVII of Basil; c. XII of Theophilus; c. XIV of the 7th; c. XIII of Ancyra; c. XIV of Neocaesarea; cc. VIII, X. of Antioch.)


The ones called Puritans here were the Novatians. The man Novatian himself was a presbyter in the Church of the Romans who would not accept those who had renegaded in time of persecution, but had repented, nor would he give communion to persons that had married twice. He had also declared that after baptism a sinner could no longer have mercy bestowed upon him, according to Epiphanius, Haer. 59, and Augustine, Haer. 38. So, although this man did not err as respecting the dogmas of the faith, nor was he a heretic, but was instead a schismatic (or sectarian), according to c. I of St. Basil, yet, because of his hatred of brethren, and his being of an unsympathetic frame of mind, and proud, he was anathematized by the Council held in Rome in the time of Pope Cornelius, according to Eusebius, and by the councils held in Carthage in the time of Cyprian, and by the councils held against him in Antioch and in Italy. Those who adhered to his misbelief were called after him Novatians. These facts being assumed to be known, the present Canon asserts that in case any such Novatians join the catholic Church, it has appeared reasonable that they should have hands laid upon them, and thus be received, and be allowed to remain in their clergy, those, that is to say, who really were clergymen in the habit (thus c. LXVI of Carthage accepted the Donatists with an imposition of the hands); nevertheless, they must confess in writing that they have to keep all dogmas of the catholic Church, that they will accept those who have married twice, and those who were forced by necessity to deny Christ, and that they will accomodate them, according to fixed times, with the Canon of repentance applicable to deniers; and thus, wherever they happen to be, whether in cities or in villages, they shall be left in the clergy and rank in which each of them found himself when he was ordained: that is to say, a bishop shall remain a bishop; a presbyter, a presbyter; and a deacon, a deacon. However, a bishop shall remain a bishop where there is no Orthodox bishop of the catholic Church. But if in the same church there is also an Orthodox bishop, the latter shall have the office and dignity, and all the business, and the name of bishop, while the bishop formerly a Novatian shall have only the honor of a presbyter, and the nominal title of bishop, but he shall not perform any priestly act as a bishop, in order to avoid having this improper and absurd situation arise in which two bishops are officiating in one and the same city (concerning which see Ap. c. XXXV, and c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; in case, however, he refuses to be content with this arrangement, the Orthodox bishop must allow him to have a position as a chorepiscopus, or as a presbyter, in order that he too may be numbered among those who are in holy orders and clergymen, and not appear to be wholly deprived of the clergy.


9. If some persons have been promoted to Presbyters without due examination, or when given a hearing confessed their sins to them, and after they confessed, the men, acting contrary to the Canon, laid hand upon such persons, the Canon will not admit them. For the catholic Church insists upon irreproachability.

(Ap. cc. XXV, LXI; cc. IX, X of Neocaesaria; cc. III, V, VI of Theophilus).


The present Canon decrees that those who are about to be admitted to holy orders must be clear from sins that preclude holy orders, and that their life and their behavior and conduct must be looked into. If, however, some persons have been made presbyters without being examined, or upon examination confessed their sins, such as preclude admission to holy orders, and the prelates who examined them, acting contrary to the Canons, ordained them priests, such persons, I say, having been invested with holy orders unworthily, are not admitted to the privilege of performing sacred rites. For after being exposed by others, or they themselves confessed to sins incapacitating one for holy orders which they had committed before applying for ordination, they can be defrocked according to Zonaras and Balsamon. Or they may cease to perform sacred rites, according to the Anonymous annotator of the Canons. But the Canon also adds an explanation of the reason why those who have fallen into sins are not admissible to holy orders. Because, it says, the catholic Church demands and wants priests to be irreproachable, or, in other words, exempt from the charge of sins, just as St. Paul commands that a bishop should be, by saying: "A bishop then must be irreproachable" (mistranslated in the Authorized Version "blameless") (I Tim. 3:2), or, in other words, not only unchargeable at law, but also entirely unimpeachable and free from every accusation, as touching his moral character.

Concordantly with the present Canon c. IX of Neocaesarea also decrees relevantly hereto, by saying: If any presbyter before his ordination committed the sin of carnal mingling, and after his ordination confesses it, let him function in holy orders no more. Likewise if even a deacon has thus sinned, and has confessed after he was ordained, let him serve only in the capacity of a servant, in accordance with c. X of the same Council. Canon III of Theophilus says that if anyone has been ordained a presbyter through ignorance without his being worthy of serving in this capacity, and has been exposed after his ordination, he is to be ousted from holy orders. Likewise in the case of a deacon that has been ordained in spite of his being unworthy, he is to be deposed in accordance with c. V of the same saint. It is also to be observed that all sins that entail deposition from holy orders when committed before admission to holy orders, similarly entail deposition also when committed after admission to holy orders, when exposed, or when confessed after admission to holy orders. Not only do they entail deposition, but they also act as a barrier to becoming a priest.


10. As many persons as have been guilty of serious lapses and have been ordained in ignorance thereof, or even after the ordinators have become aware thereof, will not be admitted under the ecclesiastical Canon. For when they have become known, they shall be deposed.

(Ap. c. LXII; cc. I, III, XII of Ancyra; c. X of Peter.)


All those who have offended by lapsing seriously, i.e., by denying our Lord Jesus Christ, and have afterwards repented, are incapable of becoming priests. For how can anyone become a priest that is prevented according to the canons of the Church from partaking of the divine mysteries until he dies? On this account the present Canon says that as many persons as have been ordained from among God-deniers, either because the prelate who ordained them did not know about the denial, or because, though knowing about it, he blinked or scorned the fact, and thought that ordination would purify them as does baptism, in accordance with the interpretation given by Balsamon — this fact, I say, of their having been ordained, that is to say, in ignorance or in spite of knowledge of the facts, does not offer any bar or obstacle to the application of the ecclesiastical canon, so as, that is to say, to prevent its operating to exclude them from holy orders. Because once they have been detected or have revealed themselves, so as to show in what manner they have been ordained, they have to be deposed. All those persons, on the contrary, who before baptism sacrificed to idols are nevertheless qualified to be admitted to holy orders after they have been baptized, on the ground that they have received a bath of redemption, in accordance with c. XII of Ancyra. All those persons, furthermore, who have undergone torture for the sake of Christ, and for His sake have been imprisoned, and have been forcibly compelled to have their hands defiled with incense or to take sacrificial offers of food in their mouth — all such persons, provided the rest of their life has been fairly good, may be ordained clergymen, according to c. III of the same council. Note also that not only those persons are to be deposed who have denied Christ before ordination and have afterwards been ordained, but also those who have denied Him after ordination; read also Ap. c. LXII.


11. As concerns those persons who have transgressed without any need, or without being deprived of goods, or without being in any peril or in any such strait as obtained during the tyranny of Licinius, it has deemed fit to the Council, notwithstanding that they did not deserve philanthropic (or humane) treatment, to be kind to them. As many, therefore, as genuinely repent and are remorseful shall pass three years among audients as believers, and for seven years they shall do penance as succumbents. In addition, for two years they shall commune without oblation in prayers with the laity.

(c. VI of Ancyra; c. III of Peter; cc. LXXIII, LXXXI of Basil; c. II of Nyssa.)


There are other Canons which deal with those who deny the faith as a result of great violence or dire necessity. The present Canon deals with those persons who deny it without being forced to do so. It says in effect: As for those who have transgressed the faith in Christ without being prompted to do so by any necessity, or peril, or deprivation of their property, as happened to those who lived in the time of the tyrant Licinius, though they, I say, have not deserved to be treated philan-thropically and clemently, it has appeared best nevertheless to the Council to show them mercy. So, as many as truly and from the depth of their heart, and not feignedly and falsely and lyingly, are repentant on account of the sin they committed, shall be obliged to spend three years with the so-called "listeners" (audients). This means that they shall have to stand in the narthex (of the church) at the "beautiful and royal gates" of the temple (or nave), and of the church, in order to listen to the Holy Scriptures until the deacon pronounces the words "All catechumens come forward"; thereupon they shall leave the church. For seven (Note of Translator. — The original says "two," apparently by mistake) years they shall be succumbent; that is to say, in other words, they shall enter the nave, and shall stand, when there, in the rear of the pulpit, but shall leave along with the catechumens when the deacon pronounces the words "all catechumens come forward." And for two years they shall join in prayer with the laity. That is to say, in other words, they shall stand together with the faithful and pray, and not leave with the catechumens, though without partaking of the divine mysteries (communion) until the two years are ended.

All those persons who denied the faith simply because the tyrants threatened to torture them, which is tantamount to saying without being forced to do so, are excluded from the divine mysteries for six years, according to c. VI of Ancyra. Those, on the other hand, who have denied the faith of their own accord, without suffering anything terrible, but only cowardice and fear, after showing fruit worthy of repentance over a period of four years, shall be allowed the benefit thereof, according to c. III of Peter. But according to c. II of Nyssa whoever denies Christ of his own accord, shall have his whole lifetime as his term of repentance, without being allowed to pray together with the faithful in the church, or to partake at all of the divine mysteries. In identically the same manner his brother Basil, too, commands the same things in his c. XIII, by saying that anyone that has denied Christ is under obligation to remain all his life long with the "weepers" (called flentes in Latin), or, in other words, to stand outside of even the narthex in the vestibule of temple (or of the nave), and to beg the laity entering the church to pray for him to the Lord. In c. LXXXI of the same saint it says that those who without any great necessity denied the faith and ate of the table of the demons, and swore Greek oaths, are to be excommunicated for three years, and after eight more years are to be allowed to commune. In order to enable you to understand better, O reader, what positions were occupied by "weepers," by "listeners," by "kneelers," and by "costanders," behold, at the end of this book we have inserted a diagram, or drawing, or architectural plan, of the church building; and you should carefully and diligently examine it. Concerning "weepers," and concerning penitents in general, a historical account is given by Sozomen, who says (Book VII, ch. 16): "In the beginning it seemed fitting to the priests for sinners to tell about their sins with the congregation of the church acting as witnesses like spectators in a theater. Later, however, the best policy prevailed, which was indeed one of discreetness and sageness, whereby sinners approached and confessed their life deeds . . ." And again he says: "In the church of the Romans the place of penitents is exposed to view . . . So there penitents stand downcast and mournful, and after the divine liturgy is over the poor wretches, instead of partaking of communion, fall to the ground upon their face with much sobbing and wailing. From the other direction comes the Bishop running and he too likewise falls to the ground weeping tears and uttering laments, and along with them the entire congregation burst out crying and shedding copious tears. Afterwards the Bishop is the first to lift himself up from the ground and stand up, and he lifts up the penitents, and after praying aloud to God on account of their sins, he dismissed them and they go their way."


12. As for those persons who were summoned by the grace, and after displaying a preliminary enthusiasm and taking off their belts, they returned, like dogs to their vomit, in such a fashion that some of them even wasted money in an effort to re-establish themselves in the army by means of beneficia (a Latin word meaning much the same as the English word gift), let them be succumbents for ten years after devoting three years to "listening" (as audients). But in addition to all these requirements it is requisite to examine into the will (or inclinations) and the kind of repentance. For as regards all those who with fear, and tears, and patience, and the doing of good to others have displayed proofs of their conversion by actual performance and not by mere pretense, after they have fulfilled the time fixed for their "listening" period, they shall participate in prayers unrestrictedly, with the further concession of a right to the Bishop to devise some more philanthropic (or humane) treatment regarding them. But as for those who acted unconcernedly, and who thought the pretense of going to church a sufficient proof of their conversion, let them fulfill the time to the utmost limit.

(cc. IX, XI of Peter; c. CII of the 6th; cc. II, V, VII of Ancyra; cc. I, II of Laodicea; cc. II, III, LXIV, LXXXIV of Basil; cc. IV, V, VII and VIII of Nyssa.)


This Canon, too, appears to be speaking of Christian soldiers living in the time of Licinius. It decrees thus: As regarding all Christian soldiers who having been called and having been strengthened by divine grace displayed at first courage and eagerness for martyrdom, and cast aside their belts, which were their army decorations, but thereafter returned, like dogs to their own vomit, which is to say, repented, and denied the faith, insomuch that some of them even spent money and by means of beneficia, or, more plainly speaking, with gifts and benefactions (for that is what this Latin word signifies) they regained their former status in the army; as for them, I say, after they have done three years in the place assigned to "listeners," let them do also ten years more in the place assigned to "kneelers." That is to say, in other words, though allowed to enter the church, they must leave together with catechumens. Besides all this, however, the prelate and the spiritual father ought to examine into the likings and proclivities of such faith-deniers, and the kind and mood of their repentance. For all those who repent with fear of God, and who propitiate God with tears and penetential contrition, and patiently endure hardships, and do good to others in a charitable way, as, for instance, by giving alms, and other virtues, and, generally speaking, who repent truly and genuinely, and not fictitiously and in appearance only; as for these persons, I say, after they fulfill the said three years with "listeners," they may rightfully pray with the faithful, and need not leave the church (ahead of time). In addition to this concession, the prelate is permitted to show them still more kindly treatment and mercy. But as for all those who repent unconcernedly and carelessly, and think that it is enough evidence of repentance for them to go to church ostensibly with "kneelers" and to leave again with catechumens; as for these persons, I say, let them fulfill all three years of "listening," and the entire ten years of succumbency.

Canons II, V, and VII of Ancyra, and cc. I and II of Laodicea agree that penances ought to be accomodated to the repentance and complaisance of penitents. So do cc. CII of the 6th and II and III and LXXIV and LXXXIV of Basil, and cc. IV, V, VII, and VIII of Nyssa. In this connection, too, c. XXVIII of Nicephorus says that if a secular person of his own free will confesses his mistakes, the spiritual father (i.e., the confessor) may make him an "economy," i.e., may allow him an adjustment in regard to the matter of penances. Read also cc. IX and XI of Peter.


13. As concerns those who are making their exit, the old and canonical Law shall be kept even now, so that, if anyone is exciting, let him not be deprived of the final and most necessary equipment (or viaticum). If, however, after all hope has fled, and he has been given communion, he again comes to be looked upon as being among the living, let him stay with those who participate in prayer only. In general, moreover, as concerning anyone at all that is on the point of making his exit, if he asks to partake of the Eucharist, let the Bishop impart to him the oblation with a trial.


After these divine Fathers prescribed concerning penance, and in what way, and for how long a time Christ-deniers ought to be excluded from communion, now in the present Canon they are prescribing that all such persons as are in danger of dying are to be accorded the benefit of the old and canonical law (which appears to be c. VI of the Council held in Ancyra, this being an earlier one than the First Ecumenical). So that, in effect, whoever has been despaired of as being about to die, let him not be deprived of the last and final and most necessary equipment for that journey and departure, which equipment consists in partaking of the divine mysteries. If, however, the one who has been thought to be dying, and has already partaken of the mysteries of communion, again becomes alive and regains his health, let him stand only with the faithful, and let him pray with them, not, however, to partake of communion. But Balsamon says that such a person as this one of whom the Canon is speaking here, if he was occupying the place assigned to consistents (or "costanders"), he ought on this account to be ordered to stay in that place again; but if he was in the place assigned to audients (or "listeners"), again he ought to stay there. And, in general, everyone in danger ought to return to that canon after communion in which he had been before communion. And to lay down a catholic and common canon, let the Bishop, or even the spiritual father, with a trial, impart the divine Mysteries to any person that is in mortal danger and asks to partake of the Holy Eucharist.

14. As concerning catechumens and lapsers, it has seemed proper to the holy great Council to let them off with only three years’ listening and to allow them thereafter to pray together with catechumens.

(c. V of Neocaes, c. XIX of Laod.; c. XX of Basil; c. VI of Timothy; c. V. of Cyril.)


They are called catechumens because this word is one derived from the Greek verb catecho (altered to "catechize" in English), which is defined as meaning to teach beginners the faith by word of mouth, because these persons had to be catechized and taught the dogmas of the Orthodox faith. They were divided into two classes. The first class, which was the more perfect and complete, was called that of "knee-bowers," they having embraced the faith and having deferred only the rite of baptism. Wherefore they were allowed to come to church and stay there until the time came for the catechumens’ prayer, according to c. XIX of Laodicea, and after they had said this prayer under their breath (or, as the Greek has it, "mystically") and had had the priest lay his hand upon them, they bowed their knee. But when the time came for the pronouncement of the words "All catechumens come forward," they had to leave the church. The second class was the more imperfect and incomplete, and was called that of the "listeners," who stood in the narthex towards the "royal gates" and listened to the Holy Scriptures, and after hearing the divine gospels they would leave, according to Blastaris and the commentator on Armenopoulos in the latter’s Epitome of the Canons (Section 5, Heading 3). These two classes are to be seen clearly depicted in the drawing of the temple which we have traced. Cardinal Bonas (Book I concerning liturgical matters) and some others, in addition to these two classes, enumerate two more classes, which they gleaned from the writings of the Western Fathers. One of these classes was called that of the "co-petitioners" (because they were requesting to be baptized), and the other was known as that of the "elect," who were thus called after being enrolled in the list of persons to be baptized, who were designated the illuminated, or illuminati, in ch. 7 of Book VIII of the Apostolical Injunctions. The same name is applied to them also by St. Cyril in his catechism. Chapter 8 of the same Book of the Injunctions refers to them as being baptized, and these persons are likewise mentioned in c. VI of Timothy. These facts being as stated, the present Canon proceeds to say: As for all catechumens that belong to the first and higher class and have denied the faith, it has appeared reasonable to this holy great Council for them to stand for three years in the ranks of the second and lower class of catechumens, namely, the audients, or "listeners," in the narthex of the church, and after three years have passed for them to pray together with the first and higher class of catechumens inside the church. But one likely as not might justifiably wonder why the councils impose penances upon sinful catechumens. St. Basil the Great in his c. XX says: "And in general the events in the life of a catechumen do not entail responsibilities." By way of solving this apparent contradiction it may be said, according to Zonaras, that St. Basil the Great did not say for the catechumens not to be penanced for sinning before baptism. For in that case he would have been contradicting the Canons of the Councils; but what he really said was simply that the sins of the catechumens did not entail responsibilities, or, in other words, any liability to punishment after they have been baptized, since everything sinful that the catechumens did while they were catechumens, but also even whatever sinful acts they committed before becoming catechumens, i.e., when they were unbelievers, are all pardoned and wiped out by virtue of the rite of holy baptism. But the catechumens are penanced nevertheless, because, though not really in the church nor actually members of the Church, yet, with respect to yearning and willingness of soul and virtually, they are in the Church. For, according to (Gregory) the Theologian (in his Discourse on the Lights) these persons are on the threshold of piety, and have been caught in the faith, even though they have not yet been reborn through baptism (seeing that they are not utterly without hope of salvation, either, in case they should die unbaptized as a matter of necessity), as is shown by the funeral oration of St. Ambrose respecting Emperor Valentinian, who died while still being catechized. So the Councils on this account penance catechumens, on the ground that they already are intimates, and have accepted the faith, and are nominally Christians; accordingly, whatever the law says to them, it is speaking to them as to persons in the law, according to the Apostolic statement (Rom. 3:19).


15. Because of much disturbance and the mutinies which took place, it has seemed best to do away altogether with the custom which obtained contrary to the Apostolical Canon in some places, so as riot to allow either a Bishop or a Presbyter or a Deacon to go from one city to another. If, after the holy and great Council’s definition, anyone should attempt to do such a thing, or has actually undertaken to do such a thing, let the resulting affair be invalidated by all means, and let him be reinstated in the church in which the Bishop or Presbyter in question was ordained.

(Ap. cc. XIV, XV; c. VI of the 4th; cc. III, XXI of Antioch; cc. I, XVI of Sardican, c. LVII of Car.)


The present Canon ordains these decrees: It has seemed reasonable to abolish definitively the custom which had been in vogue in some places contrary to the ordinance and legislation of the Apostolical Canon (namely, Ap. c. XIV, and most especially XV), because of numerous disturbances, and fights with one another, which had ensued as a result of this transgression. That is to say, not to allow a Bishop or Presbyter or Deacon to go from one city to another. If, after this holy Council has laid down the present Canon, anyone should try to do such a thing as this, and go from one city to another, this change of station is to be held void and invalid without fail; and the Bishop or Presbyter or Deacon shall be restored to his original position in that church in which he was ordained, since not only bishops but also presbyters and deacons must be ordained in a definite church, and not detachedly, according to c. VI of the 4th. Read also Ap. cc. XIV and XV.


16. Any Presbyters or Deacons, or other persons covered by the Canon, who take the risk, without having the fear of God before their eyes, or keeping aware of the ecclesiastical Canon, of departing from their own church, they must not be admitted at all in another church, but they must be stringently forced to return to their own parish, or, in case they insist, it is proper for them to be excluded from communion. If, on the other hand, anyone should surreptitiously snatch away one belonging to another and ordain him in his own church, without the consent of his Bishop, from whom the one covered by the Canon departed, let the ordination be invalid.


The Canon next preceding this one ordains for presbyters and deacons to be reinstated in the church in which they were ordained, while the present Canon punishes them with suspension if they refuse to return, by decreeing that any presbyters or deacons, or others enumerated in the Canon along with such persons, and listed among the clergy, without fearing God or knowing the Canon of the Church (i.e., Ap. c. XV), rashly depart from that church in which they were ordained, they must not be admitted to another (without letters commendatory and dimissory, that is to say), but, on the contrary, must be forced to return to their own church; if, however, they insist on having their own way, they are to be denied communion, not with the Mysteries, not with the laymen and faithful in the church (for in this case the present Canon would be contrary to Ap. c. XV, which does not exclude such offenders from communion with laymen in the church), but with their fellow presbyters and deacons in the same order. That is to say, in other words, they are not to be allowed to officiate along with those in holy orders, but are to remain idle, or interdicted. But if any Bishop should dare to grab a strange clergyman fraudulently and ordain him (to a higher rank perhaps) in his own church, without the Bishop of that clergyman being willing to allow this, from whom he departed, such an ordination is to be void and invalid. Read also Ap. c. XV.


17. Because of the fact that many persons covered by the Canon, out of greed and in pursuit of shameful profits (willfully) forgot the divine passage of Holy Writ saying "who hath not lent out his money at interest" (Ps. 15:5), and in lending demanded a percentage commission or profit, the holy and great Council has deemed it just and right that in case anyone is found after the adoption of this definition receiving interest for the use of money, or otherwise exploiting the matter, or demanding commission, or through any other subterfuge contriving to exact shameful profits, he shall be deposed from the clergy and shall be an alien to the Canon.

(Ap. c. XLIV; c. X of 6th; c. IV of Laod.; cc. V, XX of Car.; c. IV of Basil.)


Various Canons prohibit the charging of interest on money, but the present one expressly ordains this, to wit: Since many canonics, or clergymen, being fond of greed and shameful profits, have forgotten the saying in the Psalm of David which says that the chosen man is one "who hath not lent out his money at interest," meaning the righteous man who is destined to dwell in the holy mountain of the Lord, or, in other words, in the heavenly kingdom, and in lending money have been exacting a percentage charge from their debtors, consisting, for example, of twelve cents, or pennies, say, per hundred (or per dollar), which was an excessive interest — because, I say, clergymen were actually doing this, this holy and great Council deemed it right and just that if hereafter any clergyman should be found to be charging interest, or treating the matter as a commercial proposition, or turning it to his own advantage in any other way (while pretending not to charge interest, that is to say, when lending his money to those in need of it, yet agreeing with them that he too is to receive some part of the interest and profit accruing from the money, thus calling himself, not a lender, but a sharetaker or partner), and be caught doing this, or demanding a commission (or half the percentage, which would amount, in this case, to six cents, or six pennies, instead of the twelve comprised in the full amount of total interest, i.e., of interest at 12%), or should invent any similar means of making a shameful profit, any such person shall be deposed from the clergy and shall be estranged from the canonical order. Read also Ap. c. XLIV.


18. It has come to the notice of the holy and great Council that in some regions and cities Deacons are giving the Eucharist to Presbyters, which is something that neither the Canon nor custom has allowed those who have not the authority to offer, to give the body of Christ to those offering it. It has also further been learned that already some Deacons touch the Eucharist even before the Bishops. Let all these things, therefore, be done away with, and let Deacons conform to their own standards, well knowing that they are servants of the Bishop, and that they are inferior to Presbyters. Let them take the Eucharist in due order after the Presbyters, with either the Bishop or the Presbyters administering it to them. But neither let it be permissible for Deacons to sit among Presbyters, for to do so is contrary to the Canon, and is contrary to due order: if, in disregard of these definitions, anyone refuses to obey, let him be dismissed from his diaconate.

(c. XX of Laodicea; c. VII of the 6th Ecum. C.)


Good order must be observed everywhere, and especially among those in holy orders; for this reason the present seeks to correct anything that is done in disregard of due order. For it says that it has come to the knowledge of this holy and great Council that in some regions and cities the deacons are giving the divine Eucharist to presbyters, a thing which neither any written Canon nor any custom has sanctioned, that is to say, for deacons to administer, or impart, the body of Christ to the priests who conduct the rite connected therewith, seeing that deacons themselves have no authority to perform the office of administering this sacred rite. It has also been revealed in addition to this that some of the deacons are communing before the presbyters have done so. So let all these disorderly proceedings be eliminated, and let deacons remain within their bounds, or, that is to say, let them neither administer the Eucharist to priests, nor partake thereof before the priests do, since they know well enough that they are servants of the Bishop, as is indicated also by their very name (i.e., in Greek the word deacon signifies servant, just as does the word minister in English); for deacon (as a Greek word) really means servant. They are inferior to and lower than presbyters; and what is inferior must be blessed by what is superior, as the Apostle says, and not the opposite way round (Heb. 7:7). Let them receive the divine Eucharist in due order after the presbyters have partaken thereof, letting the Bishop administer it to them, or it may be administered to them by a presbyter (in case the Bishop is not present). But neither have deacons any right to sit among presbyters, since this too is disorderly and contrary to canon; for it tends to intimate that deacons are peers of presbyters, which is not really so. But if, after this Canon has been formulated, any of the deacons should be unwilling to submit to this rule, let them be deprived of their diaconate.

In keeping with the present Canon c. VII of the 6th is also in effect. For it commands that any deacon that has the audacity to take a seat before the presbyters (have done so) is to be lowered in rank and to become the lowest servant and least menial in his own order, no matter what ecclesiastical office he may occupy; except only if he go to another city as the personal representative of his own Patriarch, or Metropolitan, he is then to be honored more than the presbyters. But even c. XX of Laodicea says that a deacon must not sit in front of a presbyter. Canon LVI of the same Council prohibits priests from sitting down in the Bema before the Prelate makes his entrance. Note that according to Zonaras and Balsamon c. XVIII of the present Council has reference to those deacons who during divine service within the Bema sit down before the presbyters have done so, and on this account it punishes them with a severer chastisement, or chastening, by depriving them, that is to say, of their diaconate. Canon VII of the 6th refers to those who sit down before the presbyters do, not in church, but in outside assemblies, and on this account it chastises them more lightly, by merely lowering their proper station.


19. As concerns Paulianists who afterwards took refuge in the catholic Church, it is made a definition that they be rebaptized without fail. If any of them in the past have been covered in the clergy under examination as to whether they appear to be blameless and irreproachable, after being rebaptized let them be ordained by a Bishop of the catholic Church. But if the investigation finds them unfitted, let them be deposed. Likewise as concerning deaconesses, and all those who are embraced by the Canon in any way and are being examined, the same form shall be observed. We have referred to the deaconesses who have been examined under cover of the habit, since they have neither any claim to appointment to any order, so that they are to be examined without fail among the laymen.

(Ap. c. XLVII; c. II of the 1st Ec. C.; c. XCV of the 6th; cc. VII, VIII of Laodicea; c. LXVI of Carth.; c. XV of the 4th; c. XIV and XL of the 6th; c. XLIV of Basil; cc. VI, LI, CXXXV of Carth.)


The present Canon decrees with reference to persons that had been followers of the heresy of Paul of Samosata, but who later resorted to the catholic Church, that the Canon and form requires such heretics to be rebaptized by decision (note that the Council improperly designates the baptism of Paulianists as a baptism, and in comparing it with our baptism, and not with itself, it employed also the verb "rebaptize," which means to baptize a second time; and see the prolegomena to the Council of Carthagene with respect to their not being baptized in identically the same manner as Orthodox Christians). But if some of them had been ordained clergymen before their Orthodox baptism, because the prelates who ordained them were not aware of the fact that they were heretics or that they had been ordained in the clergy according to the Paulianists; then and in that case, I say, after being rebaptized with an Orthodox baptism, if their life appears to have been blameless and unimpeachable, let them be ordained by a Bishop of the catholic and Orthodox Church, since the former ordination which they had received while heretics is not considered an ordination at all. For how can anyone that has not been baptized in accordance with the Orthodox faith receive a visitation of the Holy Spirit, and grace, in ordination? But if when examined they are found to be unworthy of holy orders, they must be deposed, or, in other words, they must be ousted from the clergy. For the word depose was employed here improperly instead of the word oust, since, properly speaking, one who has previously been elevated to the height of holy orders and of the clergy, is said to be deposed. But as to these men who have never received any ordination at all, from what height shall they be deposed? From none, of course. Or perhaps it means for them to be deposed from the (height? of the) holy orders and clergy claimed by the Paulianists. For just as it called what they instituted baptism, it also called what they had proposed clergy, and by the same token deposition, in the same way as c. VIII of Laodicea calls the ones set up by the Montanists clergy. But this which we have asserted as concerning men must also be observed in identically the same manner in regard to women: that is to say, in other words, if any Orthodox Bishop has ordained any of the women of the Paulianists deaconesses, because of his being unaware of their heresy, or if they had been ordained in the order of deaconesses instituted by the Paulianists, in this case, I say, let them be rebaptized; and thereafter if they appear to be worthy of a diaconate, let them be ordained deaconesses too. (See also Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII, and c. VII of the 2nd.) As for that which the Canon proceeds to add, to wit, "We have referred to the deaconesses who have been examined under cover of the habit, since they have neither any claim to appointment to any order, so that they are to be examined without fail among the laymen," notwithstanding that these words are hard to understand, yet their meaning is this: We have referred to deaconesses separately, who wore this habit when they were with Paulianists, or, at any rate, who were following the profession of deaconesses, since they too, like their other clergymen, ought to be reckoned as laymen, because just as those clergymen possessed no real ordination, being destitute of divine grace, so too the deaconesses among them possessed only the habit of deaconesses, but no true appointment impartitive of grace; so that they ought to be reckoned as laywomen after baptism, just as they were prior thereto.

Canon XCV of the 6th says in identically the same manner as does the present Canon: It is made a definition that Paulianists be rebaptized, by which name is meant those who have been adherents of Paul’s heresy ever since they were born. Canon XV of the 4th, however, commands that a deaconess be ordained such when forty years old (as does also c. 14 of the 6th, and c. XL of the same council says the same thing); but it anathematizes her if after staying a short while in the liturgy she later gets married. Canon XLIV of St. Basil excommunicates from the Mysteries any deaconess that commits fornication for a period of seven years, though it does not deprive her of prayer and communion with the faithful. The second ordinance of the first Title of the Novels (Photius, Title VIII, ch. 14) says that a deaconess ought not to live with anyone of the male sex who might arouse a suspicion of immodesty or indecency. If when ordered by the Bishop to oust him from sharing her dwelling or sleeping quarters, she postpones the time, she is deprived of the diaconate and is shut up in a convent for the rest of her life. Read also the footnote to Ap. c. XLVII.


20. Since there are some persons who kneel in church on Sunday and on the days of Pentecost, with a view to preserving uniformity in all parishes, it has seemed best to the holy Council for prayers to be offered to God while standing.

(c. XC of the 6th; c. XV of Peter.)


The customs handed down by the Apostles and the Fathers ought all to be observed in common by all the churches, and not some of them by some churches alone. For this reason the present Canon ordains that inasmuch as some Christians bow their knee even on Sunday and on the days from Easter to Pentecost, which is contrary to the Canons and improper, to the end that all Apostolical and patristic traditions — one of which is not to bow the knee on Sunday and throughout Pentecost — may be kept in all Orthodox churches the world over, it has seemed reasonable to this holy Council for all Christians to offer their prayers to God on these days, not while kneeling, but while standing upright.


Second Ecumenical Council.


The holy and ecumenical Second Council was held during the reign of Theodosius the Great, A.D. 381, and is also referred to as the First Ecumenical Council in Constantinople. Of the Fathers attending it the most notable were Nectarius the bishop of Constantinople, Timothy the bishop of Alexandria, Meletius the bishop of Antioch, Cyril the bishop of Jerusalem, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa; and many other bishops from the East made up a total number of 150. Not even one bishop from the West attended it; nor did Pope Damasus in person or by a legate, nor does even a conciliar letter of his appear therein. Later, however, they agreed and acceded to the things it decreed, including Damasus and the whole Western Church, and even to this day they accept and recognize this Council as a truly ecumenical council. It was held primarily against Macedonius, who was blasphemously declaring that the Holy Spirit was a thing constructed or created by the Son, secondarily against Apollinaris, and against the Eunomians, including the Eudoxians and the Sabellians, and against the Marcellians, and against the Photinians, and in general anathematized every heresy that had risen during the reign of Constantius, of Julian, and of Valens, emperors preceding it. After correcting the glorification and adoration of the Holy Trinity which had been altered by the Arians, it renewed the doctrine of the Nicene Council, on the ground of its being thoroughly Orthodox in all respects. Hence, in order to let it appear that it professed the same beliefs as the Council held in Nicaea, it did not draw up a creed of its own, but, by simply making a small change in the Creed adopted by the Nicene Council, and adding the clause "of whose kingdom there shall be no end," on account of the heresy of Apollinaris the millenarian, and by developing the meaning of Article 8 in reference to the Holy Spirit, and also by supplying what was missing in the remaining four articles to the end, it made identically the same as that which is now read by all Orthodox Christians, as it is seen in this Second Council (p. 286 of vol. i of the collection of the Councils) and in the fifth act of the same council (p. 155 of the same volume). Nevertheless, although this Second Council did make these additions to and changes in the Creed adopted by the First Council held in Nicaea, yet the Councils held thereafter accepted the Creed of the First and Second Councils as a single Creed. As to why this Council made these additions, see the Footnote to c. VII of the Third. In addition to all these things, it also adopted and promulgated the present seven Canons pertaining to the organization and discipline of the Church, indefinitely confirmed by c. I of the 4th, but definitely by c. II of the 6th and by c. I of the 7th. (See Dositheus, p. 222 of the Dodecabiblus.)



1. The holy Fathers assembled in Constantinople have decided not to set aside the faith of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers who met in Nicaea, Bithynia, but to let it remain sovereign, and that every heresy be anathematized, and especially and specifically that of the Eunomians, including that of the Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians, including that of the Pneumatomachs, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.

(c. V of the 2nd; cc. I and V of the 6th; c. II of Car.)


This first Canon of the present Council asserts that the 150 Holy Fathers who convened in Constantinople decided that the Orthodox faith, meaning the creed adopted by the 318 Fathers who had convened in Nicaea, Bithynia, should remain solid and inviolable, and that every heresy should be anathematized. In particular, the heresy of the Eunomians, or of those called Eudoxians, the heresy of the Semi-Arians, or of those known as Pneumatomach (i.e., spirit-fighters), the heresy of the followers of Sabellius, the heresy of the adherents of Marcellus, the heresy of the pupils of Photinus, and the heresy of those of Apollinaris.


2. Bishops must not leave their own diocese and go over to churches beyond its boundaries; but, on the contrary, in accordance with the Canons, let the Bishop of Alexandria administer the affairs of Egypt only, let the Bishops of the East govern the Eastern Church only, the priorities granted to the church of the Antiochians in the Nicene Canons being kept inviolate, and let the Bishops of the Asian diocese (or administrative domain) administer only the affairs of the Asian church, and let those of the Pontic diocese look after the affairs of the diocese of Pontus only, and let those of the Thracian diocese manage the affairs of the Thracian diocese only. Let Bishops not go beyond their own province to carry out an ordination or any other ecclesiastical services unless (officially) summoned thither. When the Canon prescribed in regard to dioceses (or administrative provinces) is duly kept, it is evident that the synod of each province will confine itself to the affairs of that particular province, in accordance with the regulations decreed in Nicaea. But the churches of God that are situated in territories belonging to barbarian nations must be administered in accordance with the customary practice of the Fathers.

(Ap. cc. XXXIV, XXXV; cc. VI, VII of the 1st; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; cc. XX, XXX, XXXIX of the 6th; c. IX of Antioch; cc. III, XI, and XII of Sardica.)


Since, as is attested by Socrates (Book 5, ch. 8), officiation beyond the boundaries of one’s own diocese was formerly a matter of indifference on account of persecutions, and, as Theodoret says, blessed Eusebius of Samosata did it as a matter of extraordinary zeal. On this account, when peace reappeared in the Church as a whole, the present Canon was adopted and promulgated. It relates neither to autocephalous Metropolitans alone, as Balsamon interpreted it, nor to Patriarchs alone, but to both these classes of dignitaries alike, according to Dositheus (p. 233 of "Those who have served as Patriarchs"), in order that each of them may serve his own province and diocese, and not interfere in one that is alien, and not confound the rights of the churches; but, on the contrary, in accordance with the Canons (cc. VI and VII, that is to say of the First, and much more in accordance with Ap. cc. XXXIV and XXXV), that the bishop of Alexandria may manage only the parishes in Egypt (the Council expressly mentioned the bishop of Alexandria because the Bishop of Alexandria with his party cooperated to have Maximus the Cynic ordained in Constantinople, while, on the other hand, great St. Gregory was ousted from office in spite of its being his diocese and parish). The metropolitans of the East are to attend to the affairs of the East, with the proviso that the prerogatives of the bishop of Antioch be duly respected, in accordance with the Canon (sc. VI) of the Nicene Council; and the metropolitans of the Asian, Pontic and Thracian domains are to manage only the provinces belonging to them (these dignitaries, according to c. XXVIII of the 4th, have to be ordained after the bishop of Constantinople). It commands, in addition, that both patriarchs and metropolitans alike refrain from interloping beyond their own dioceses and provinces with the object of ordaining others or performing other ecclesiastical services in the parishes of others, without being invited to do so; and that the synod of each particular province shall manage the ecclesiastical matters of each province of the metropolitans, whether they be elections, or ordinations, or penances, or absolutions, or any other such matters; likewise, as regarding the affairs of each diocese of the patriarchs, the diocesan synod shall govern such matters of the diocese in question, as the Nicene Council has decreed (c. VI). For the same thing is involved in the decree of the Nicene Council that no bishop shall be ordained without the consent of the metropolitan, and in which the present Council says to the effect that the synod of each province (of the metropolitan, that is to say) shall govern the affairs of each province, respectively. As for the churches of God that are situated in the midst of barbarian nations, where there either were not enough bishops to make up a synod, or it was necessary for some scholarly bishop to go there in order to bolster up the Christians in their faith. These churches, I say, ought to be managed in accordance with the prevailing custom of the Fathers. To be more explicit, neighboring and abler bishops ought to go to them, in order to supply what is missing for a local synod. Which, though contrary to Canons, yet as a matter of necessity was allowed by the Council. Read Ap. cc. XXXIV and XXXV, and c. I of the Sixth.


3. Let the Bishop of Constantinople, however, have the priorities of honor after the Bishop of Rome, because of its being New Rome.


The preceding Canon dealt with patriarchs as a group (and especially with those of Alexandria and of Antioch), whereas the present Canon deals with the Patriarch of Constantinople specially, and says that he is to share the prerogatives of honor after the Pope and Patriarch of Rome, since Constantinople itself is also called New Rome.

The preposition after here does not denote being later in point of time, as some say in company with Aristenus, but neither does it denote any abasement and diminution, as Zonaras incorrectly interprets it (because, in view of the fact that the bishop of Alexandria is after the bishop of Constantinople, and the bishop of Antioch is after the bishop of Alexandria, and the bishop of Jerusalem is after the bishop of Antioch, according to c. XXXVI of the Sixth Ec. C., there would result four removes of honor, and consequently five different degrees of honor one higher than the other, which is contrary to all the catholic Church, and acceptable only to the Latins and the Latin-minded); but, on the contrary, it denotes equality of honor, and an order of disposition according to which one is first and another second. The fact that it denotes equality of honor is to be seen in the fact that the Fathers assembled in Chalcedon, in their c. XXVIII, assert that these 150 Bishops gave equal priorities to the Bishop of old Rome and to the Bishop of new Rome; and in the fact that the Bishops who convened in the Trullus (i.e. the First Trullan Council, herein designated the Sixth Ecumenical), in their c. XXXVI, say for the Bishop of Constantinople to enjoy equal priorities with the Bishop of Rome. That it refers to order of disposition is to be seen in the fact that both the former and the latter in the same Canons call the Bishop of Constantinople second after the Bishop of Rome, not the second in point of honor, but the second in order of honor. For in the very nature of things it is impossible for there to be any two equal beings called first and second with respect to one another, without any order. That is why Justinian, in Novel 130 to be found in Book V of the Basilica, Title III, calls the Bishop of Rome first, and the Bishop of Constantinople second, coming in order after the one of Rome. Note that inasmuch as Zonaras, however, in interpreting the Canon, prefixed this decree of Justinian, it is evident that as for the diminution and abasement which he ascribed above to the Bishop of Constantinople with respect to the one of Rome, was ascribed only with reference to the order of honor, and not with reference to the honor in general, according to which the one precedes and the other follows both in the matter of signatures and in the matter of seats as well as in the matter of mentioning their names. Some, it is true, assert that the present Canon grants only an honor to the Bishop of Constantinople, but that later urgent need gave him also the authority to ordain the Metropolitans in Asia and Pontus and Thrace. But the Council held in Chalcedon in its letter to Leo says that he held such authority to ordain them by virtue of an ancient custom; but its c. XXVIII (i.e., of the Fourth Ec. C). merely confirmed this. Read also c. XXVIII of the Fourth.


4. As concerning Maximus the Cynic, and the disturbance caused by him in Constantinople, it is hereby decreed that Maximus neither became nor is a Bishop, and that neither are those ordained by him entitled to hold any clerical rank whatsoever. Let everything connected with him or done by him be annulled.


The present Canon decrees that this Maximus is to be regarded as never having been a bishop at all nor as being one; and any persons ordained by him to any rank whatever are to be regarded as never having been ordained at all: because all has been annulled, including the ordination conferred upon him by the Egyptians in violation of parish and contrary to canons, as well as ordinations he conferred upon others.

5. As concerning the Tome of the Westerners, we have accepted also those in Antioch who confess a single divinity of Father and of Son and of Holy Spirit.

(c. I of the 2nd; c. I of the 6th; cc. I, II of Car.)


This Canon is a special and particular one. For it says that, just as the Fathers of this Council accepted the Tome of the Westerners, that is to say, the definition confirming the holy Creed of the Nicene Fathers and anathematizing all those who hold beliefs contrary thereto, which definition the Western Fathers assembled at Sardica adopted and promulgated, so and in like manner they accepted also the definition of the faith set forth by those assembled at Antioch. Who confess one divinity of Father, and of Son, and of Holy Spirit, in the same manner, that is to say, as the Fathers who assembled in Nicaea.


6. Because many men, in a spirit of enmity and for purposes of slander being desirous to confound and subvert ecclesiastical discipline, connive to fabricate certain charges against Orthodox Bishops managing the churches, in an attempt designing nothing else but to sully the reputation of the priests and to raise disturbances among peoples who are at peace; on this account it has pleased the holy Council of the Bishops who have convened in Constantinople to decree that informers are not to be admitted without examination, nor are all men to be allowed to bring accusations against those managing the churches, nor yet are all to be excluded. But if anyone lay a personal grievance, that is, a private complaint, against a Bishop, on the ground that he has been a victim of the Bishop’s greed or other unjust treatment, in the case of such accusations neither the personality nor the religion of the accuser is to be inquired into. For then the conscience of the Bishop must be clear in every respect, and the man who claims to have been wronged should receive justice whatever be his religion. But if the indictment brought against the Bishop be of an ecclesiastical nature, then the personality of the informers must be considered, in order, first of all, not to allow heretics to make charges against Orthodox Bishops in regard to ecclesiastical matters. We call heretics those who have of old been proscribed from the Church, and those who have thereafter been anathematized by us; and in addition to these those who, though pretending to confess the sound faith, have schismatically separated and have gathered congregations in opposition to our canonical Bishops. Further, as regarding those who have previously been condemned by the Church on certain charges and have been ousted therefrom or excluded from communion, whether they belong to the clergy or to the ranks of laymen, neither shall these persons be allowed to accuse a Bishop until they have first cleared themselves of their own indictment. Likewise as regarding those who are themselves being accused from before, they are not to be permitted to accuse a Bishop, or other clergymen, until they have first proved themselves innocent of the charges placed against them. If, however, certain persons are neither heretics nor excluded from communion, nor condemned, nor previously charged with any offenses, should declare that they have an accusation of an ecclesiastical nature against a Bishop, the holy Council bids these persons to lodge their accusations before all the Bishops of the province and before them to prove the charges against the Bishop involved in the case. But if it so happen that the provincial Bishops are unable to or incompetent to decide the case against the Bishop and make the correction due, then they are to go to a greater synod of the Bishops of this diocese summoned to try this case. And they are not to lodge the accusation until they themselves have in writing agreed to incur the same penalty if in the course of the trial it be proved that they have been slandering the accused Bishop. But if anyone, scorning what has been decreed in the foregoing statements, should dare either to annoy the emperor’s ears or to trouble courts of secular authorities or an ecumenical council to the affrontment of all the Bishops of the diocese, let no such person be allowed to present any information whatever, because of his having thus roundly insulted the Canons and ecclesiastical discipline.


What the present Canon says may be stated as follows. Since many men wishing to confound the discipline and good order of the Church inimically slander Orthodox bishops, without accomplishing any other result than that of blackening the reputations of those in holy orders and disturbing the laity, on this account it has pleased this holy Council to decree that neither all accusers of Bishops be admitted nor again that all be excluded or refused admission. But if the charges are personal ones involving only financial loss, or, more specifically speaking, if anyone accuse a Bishop by complaining that he has treated him unjustly or greedily, by depriving him perhaps of some real or personal property, in such cases the person of the accuser must not be examined into, nor his religion; but, on the contrary, no matter what may be his religious views, he must have justice done to him in any circumstances. But if his accusations are of a criminal nature, such, that is to say, as might lower his ecclesiastical standing, as, for instance, sacrilege, the performance of sacred rites outside the confines of the parish, and the like, then and in that case the accusers ought to be examined, in the first place as to whether they are heretics, mistaken in doctrine, including both those who were anathematized by the Church long ago and those who have but now recently been anathematized by us. Secondly, as to whether they are schismatics or not, or, more specifically speaking, whether or not they have separated from the Church on account of any curable habits, according to c. I of Basil the Great, and contrary to the Canons, or, in other words, the catholic Bishops who have been ordained in the Orthodox manner and in accordance with the Canons, while they themselves are congregating apart by themselves. Thirdly, whether they are entirely excommunicated from the Church for some misdeeds of theirs, or have been temporarily excommunicated from the clergymen or the laymen. As for those, however, who have already been accused by others, they are not to be permitted to accuse a Bishop or other clergymen until they prove themselves innocent of the crimes imputed to them. In case, however, those bringing these ecclesiastical and criminal accusations against a bishop happen to be free from all the above enumerated defects, the holy Council commands that these persons first present their indictments of the accused bishop before the synod of all the bishops of that particular province. But if the synod of the province cannot dispose of such a case of crimes, then the accusers may carry the matter up to the greater synod of the bishops of the Diocese, and have the case terminate there. Because of the fact that in Book LX of the Basilica, Title XXVI, ch. 6, it is written that whosoever turns out to be a traitor and liar in the accusations which he makes, when it comes to the matter of punishment for this crime, shall receive that punishment which the accused one would have received if he had been found guilty, the present Canon pursuant to the civil law adds that provision that the accuser is not to commence a recital of his allegations unless he first gives a written promise to accept the same sentence and punishment as a rightly and truly and justly accused bishop would have to undergo, if it be proved that he accused him unjustly and falsely. Whoever scorns these regulations and affronts all the bishops of the Diocese, and should dare to appeal his case to the Emperor, or to civil courts of secular authorities, or to appeal to an ecumenical council, shall be completely estopped from lodging an information, seeing that he has insulted the Sacred Canons and has violated ecclesiastical discipline.


In much the same manner c. IX of the 4th decrees that when clergymen are at variance with one another and quarreling, they are liable to Canonical penances in case they leave their Bishop and resort to civil courts. Canon XIV of Carthage, on the other hand, says that any bishop or presbyter or deacon or clergyman shall forfeit his position in case he leaves an ecclesiastical court and goes to a civil court. But, besides this, c. XII of Antioch expressly decrees that if a presbyter or deacon deposed by his own bishop, or if a bishop deposed by a synod or council, does not resort to a greater synod or council of bishops, but, instead of doing so, annoys the emperor, he shall no longer have any right to submit an apology (i.e., enter a plea in his own defense) or any hope of restoration (sc. to his former ecclesiastical status). Canon XXXVI of Carthage excludes from communion clergymen and bishops that appeal their case to "peramatic" (a Greek word with a signification akin to "crossing" or "fording"), or what are more properly designated "hyperhorial" (a Greek word meaning about the same thing as the word extralimitary derived from the Latin, with reference to passing or going beyond the boundaries of a territory), tribunals, and not to the superiors of their own provinces. This very thing is what is decreed by c. CXXXIV of the same Council. Note, however, that lower ecclesiastical judges are not penalized by the higher ones to whom the decision of a case is appealed, unless they be proved to have judged wrongly and unjustly either by way of favoring someone or because of enmity. See also Ap. c. LXXIV and c. IX of the 4th.


7. As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom; viz.: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari (or "Puritans"), and (those calling themselves) Aristeri (Note of Translator. — This designation may be based upon the Greek word aristos, meaning "best," though as a word it signifies "lefthand."), and the Quartodecimans (quasi "Fourteenthists," to use the English language in this connection), otherwise known as Tetradites (though in English this term is applied to an entirely different group of heretics), and Apollinarians we accept when they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the catholic and apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy myron (more usually called "chrism" in English) on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears; and in sealing them we say: "A seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit." As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who do some other bad things, and (those belonging to) any other heresies (for there are many heretics here, especially such as come from the country of the Galatians: all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day we make (Note of Translator. — The meaning of this word here is more exactly rendered "treat as") them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcize them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus do we catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen to the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.

(Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, LXVIII; cc. VIII, XIX of the 1st; c. XCV of the 6th; cc. VII, VIII of Laod.; c. LXVI of Carth.; cc. I, V, XLVII of Basil.)


The present Canon specifies in what way we ought to receive those coming from heresies and joining the Orthodox faith and the portion of the saved. It says that, as for Arians and Macedonians, of whom we have spoken in Canon I of the present Council, and Sabbatians and Quartodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we will accept them after they give us libelli, or issue a written document (libellus is a Latin word, interpreted, according to Zonaras, as meaning "publication or issue") anathematizing both their own heresy as well as every other heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and apostolic Church of God believes (just as the First Ec. C. demanded this stipulation in writing from Novatians particularly in its c. VIII), whose forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears we first seal with holy myron, saying in each seal, "a seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit." And we will accept thus all these converts without rebaptizing them, since, according to Zonaras, in respect of holy baptism they nowise differ from us, and baptize themselves likewise as do the Orthodox. But as for Arians and Macedonians, who are manifestly heretics, the Canon accepted them without rebaptism "economically" (Note of Translator. — This term, and the corresponding noun "economy" and verb "economize," in the peculiar idiom of the Orthodox Church can hardly be said to be translatable into genuine English; as a first approximation they may be taken as signifying something like "managing a disagreeable set of circumstances with tact and shrewdness, instead of insisting upon precision"), the primary reason being the vast multitude of such heretics then prevalent, and a second reason being that they used to baptize themselves in the same way as we do. As regards Eunomians, on the other hand, who practiced baptism with a single immersion, and the Montanists, who there in Constantinople were known as Phrygians; and the Sabellians, who used to say that the Father and the Son were one and the same person, and who used to do other terrible things, and all the other heresies of heretics (a great many of whom were to be found there, and especially those who came from the country of the Galatians); as for all these persons, I say, we accept them as Greeks, or, in other words, as persons totally unbaptized; for these persons either have not been baptized at all or, though baptized, have not been baptized aright and in a strictly Orthodox manner, wherefore they are regarded as not having been baptized at all). Accordingly, on the first day (of their reception) we make them Christians, that is to say, in other words, we make them accept all the dogmas of Christians (while they are standing) outside the Narthex of the church, the priest meantime laying his hand upon them, in accordance with c. XXXIX of the local synod or regional council held in Illiberia, a country in Spain; on the second day we make them catechumens, or, in other words, we place them in the class called catechumens; on the third day we read to them the usual exorcisms, at the same time blowing three times into their face and into their ears. And thus we catechize them in regard to particular aspects of the faith, and make them stay in church a long time and listen to the divine Scriptures, and then we baptize them.

Canon VII of Laodicea too would have Novatians and Quartodecimans returning to Orthodoxy treated economically in exactly the same way as they are in this Canon: that is to say, with anathematization of their heresy, and with the seal of the Myron. But Phrygians returning are required by c. VIII of the same C. to be baptized. But it must be said also that c. XCV of the 6th is nothing else than a repetition of the present Canon, except that it goes on to say that Manichees, and Valentinians, and Marcionists must be baptized when they turn to Orthodoxy; but Eutychians, and Dioscorites, and Severians may be accepted after anathematizing their own heresies — as may also the Novatians, that is to say, and the rest. Canon XIX of the First Ec. C. wants all Paulianists to get baptized in any case without fail, as is also witnessed by c. XCV of the 6th. Canon XLVII of Basil says for Encratites, and Saccophori, and Apotactites (concerning whom see c. XCV of the 6th) to get baptized when they become converted. Canon V of the same saint says for us to accept those heretics who repent at the end of their life, though not to do so indiscriminately, but only after trying them out. Read also Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII.


Third Ecumenical Council.


The holy and ecumenical Third Council was held in Ephesus, a city situated in Asia, in the large church of that city which is called Mary Theotoke, in the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Little (i.e., Theodosius II), in the year 431 after Christ, numbering upwards of 200 Fathers. The "hegemons" (i.e., principal actors) therein were St. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria illustrious among Fathers, who, acting in the place of the bishop of Rome Celestine I at first, was attending the meeting for the latter, but afterwards legates of Rome were sent from the West, namely, Arcadius, and Projectus, both of whom were bishops, and Philipp the presbyter, and Juvenal of Jerusalem, and Memnon of Ephesus. The Council was convoked against Nestorius, who hailed from the town of Germaniceia in Antiocheia, according to Theodoret, and by divine concession had ascended the throne of Constantinople. For, after quaffing and absorbing the muddy and heretical water from the outpourings of Diodorus and of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the wretch became wrong-minded in regard to the Mystery of the Incarnate Economy; for he divided the one Christ into two persons and substances, remolding Him into a mere human being with a humanlike substance, apart from the conjoined Logos, and a God only by stretching a point, destitute of the assumption of humanity. That is to say, he divided the one Son into two sons, calling one of them the Son of God, and the other the son of the Virgin. Wherefore he was unwilling to call the Virgin, who was His mother with respect to the flesh, a Theotoke (a Greek word meaning "she who has given birth to God or to a God," and much used in the Orthodox Church as a designation of the Holy Virgin). So, therefore, this holy Council anathematized Nestorius on account of these views, and drew up its own definition of faith, wherein it dogmatized Christ to be one with respect to substance, a perfect God the same, and a perfect human being the same, not another, and another, but one Son, the same, above motherless out of a Father, but below fatherless out of a mother. But it has delivered and handed down through all later generations the sacred injunction to the effect that His ever-virgin Mother is properly and truly to be called the Theotoke, on the ground that she truly and properly speaking gave birth in the flesh to God. For when the exarch of this Council, I mean Cyril of Alexandria, proclaimed therein the following: "We are not preaching a deified human being, but, on the contrary, we are confessing a God become incarnate. He who was motherless with respect to essence, and fatherless with respect to economy on the earth, subscribed to His own handmaid as His Mother." In the letter to Nestorius, on the other hand, which this Third Council made a definition of its own (as Dositheus says, and as is made manifest by the minutes of the Fourth Council, on p. 61 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records), which commenced as follows: "They spend their time in idle twaddle, as I learn. The same Cyril says the following: To become incarnate and to assume a human personality (called in Greek ensarcosis and enanthropesis respectively) betokens the Logos derived from God; since it was not that the nature of the Logos was transformed into flesh, but neither that it was changed into a whole human being consisting of a soul and body. Rather it is to be said that the Logos united to Himself, with respect to substance and substantiality flesh animated by a rational soul, and in an incomprehensible and inexpressible manner He became a human being, and actually lived as a son of man, not merely with respect to will and volition or complaisance, but neither as in an assumption of a personality alone; and that the natures conjoined for the purpose of unity were different, but from both there resulted one Christ and Son, not because the difference of the natures was eliminated or abrogated on account of the union, but rather that the two natures formed for us the one Lord and Christ and Son, of divinity and of humanity, through and by virtue of the inexpressible and ineffable concurrence for unity. . . . And again, if we forego the union with respect to substance either as unattainable or as having no attraction, we fall into the error of asserting that there were two Sons. . . . And again, this is professed everywhere by the words of the exact faith. Thus we shall find the Holy Father to have believed. Thus they have had the courage to call the Holy Virgin a Theotoke, not as the origin of the nature of the Logos, or, more specifically speaking, of His Godhood, as having received being from the Holy Virgin, but as having been the source out of which His holy body was begotten and furnished with a rational soul, to which body having become united with respect to substance, the Logos is said to have been begotten with respect to flesh." (See this letter also in the second volume of the Conciliar Records on p. 436 thereof.) And the bishop of Cyzicus at that time in the great (or large) Church, Proclus, while Nestorius the heresiarch was sitting there, retorted in the following fashion: "We have been called together here by the holy and virgin Theotoke Mary, the untarnished jewel of virginity, the rational Paradise of the second Adam, the workshop wherein was wrought the union of the two natures, the panegyris of the salvatory exchange, etc." After ordaining that no one may dare compose or write any other Creed than the one issued by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, or even add anything thereto, or subtract anything therefrom, and anathematized all who might violate this command. In addition, this Council confirmed the condemnation of Pelagius and of Celestius, which they had received from many local synods and regional councils, and especially from the Council held in Carthage. Besides all these things, it also promulgated the present eight Canons, and published this letter to Pamphylia in its seventh and last act. These are necessary1 to the discipline and constitution of the Church, and they were confirmed indefinitely in c. I of the 4th, and by name and definitely in c. II of the 6th and in c. I of the 7th.



1. Since those who for any reason, whether of an ecclesiastical or of corporeal nature, are absent from the holy Council and have remained in their own town or district, ought not to be left in ignorance of the Councils regulations regarding them, we make known to your holiness and love that if any Metropolitan of the province has apostatized from the holy and ecumenical Council and joined the convocation of the apostasy, or has joined it thereafter, or has adopted the sentiments of Celestius or intends to adopt them, he shall have no power whatsoever to perpetrate anything against the Bishops of the province, being already expelled and bereft of every function and of all ecclesiastical communion by the Council here. Moreover, he shall be liable in any case, to be expelled from the rank of the episcopate by the very Bishops of the province and by surrounding Metropolitans who adhere to the beliefs of Orthodoxy.


This Canon notifies those absent from the Council of the deposition from office of John of Antioch, of Theodoret the bishop of Cyrus, of Ibas the bishop of Edessa, and of the thirty bishops who stayed with them or sympathized with them, by saying: Since the bishops who failed to appear at this holy Council on account of any obstacle, whether ecclesiastical or corporeal ought to be apprised of all proceedings affecting them, we notify your loving group that any metropolitan that has separated from this holy and Ecumenical Council and has joined the congress of apostasy, the one of Nestorius, that is to say, and of John and his party, or that intends to join it hereafter, or that has entertained the heretical views held by Celestius, the same shall have no power to do any ill turn to the bishops, or even to the laymen, that are Orthodox, that is to say, because he (sc. any such metropolitan) has been deprived of every ecclesiastical communion and sacred function by this Council, and because he is to be rendered utterly destitute hereafter and henceforth of the rank of the episcopate even by those same Orthodox bishops and surrounding metropolitans.


2. If, on the other hand, any provincial Bishops have failed to attend the holy Council and have joined the apostasy, or should attempt to do so, or even after subscribing to the deposition of Nestorius have receded to the convocation of apostasy, all such persons, in the judgment that has seemed best to the Holy Council, have alienated themselves from holy orders and have forfeited their rank.


This Canon, too, like the first one, says that in case any bishops from the province of Antiocheia have absented themselves from the Council, whether it be that they have united with the apostasy of the other one held in Antiocheia, or that they intend to join it hereafter, or that even after signing and confirming the document deposing Nestorius from office they have turned back to his apostatic group — as for these persons, I say, it has appeared reasonable to the Holy Council for them to be strangers to holy orders and outcasts from the rank of the episcopate.


3. If some of the clergymen in any city or district have been shorn of holy orders by Nestorius and his party on account of their believing rightly, we have adjudged it right and just that they be restored to their own rank. We collectively bid the clergymen who agree in their beliefs with the orthodox and ecumenical Council not to submit in any way whatever to the Bishops who have apostatized or have deserted us.


Because of the fact that when Nestorius was Patriarch of Constantinople he excommunicated and deposed those clergymen who did not agree with him, and, moreover, even the bishops in other countries who held his views did the same, therefore the present Canon judged it right for those who had been thus deposed to receive back their own rank. Accordingly, speaking generally, it ordered that those clergymen who were of the same mind as this orthodox and Ecumenical Council should take care not to submit in any way whatever to the apostate bishops.


4. If any of the clergymen should apostatize and dare, either publicly or privately, to hold the beliefs of Nestorius or of Celestius, the holy Council has deemed it just and right that these men too should be deposed from office.


This Canon too, like the preceding one, deals with those clergymen who should apostatize, and, either in public or in private, should dare to believe or teach the dogma, or doctrine, of Nestorius and of Celestius, who shared his sentiments, by saying that it has been deemed but just by the holy Council for any such persons to be deposed from their rank.


5. As for all those who have been condemned by the holy Council, or by their own Bishops, for improper acts, and to whom Nestorius and those sharing his views and beliefs have sought, or should seek, to give back communion or rank, uncanonically and in accordance with the indifference shown by Nestorius in all matters, we have deemed it right and just that they too remain without benefit and that they be left nevertheless deposed from office.


The present Canon specifies that as regards all those clergymen who on account of any sins calling for excommunication or deposition from office were excommunicated or deposed from office by this holy Council or by their own bishops, and whom Nestorius and his sympathizers either dared to give a pardon absolving them from excommunication or restoring them to the operation of holy orders, or shall dare to do so hereafter, without discriminating between what is allowable and what is not allowable, we have judged it but right, I say, that all such persons shall remain without the benefit of any such uncanonical pardon and be left again deposed from office precisely as before.


6. Likewise in regard to any persons who should wish to alter in any way whatsoever anything that has been enacted in the holy Council in Ephesus concerning anyone, the holy Council has prescribed that if they be Bishops or clergymen, they are to lose their own rank entirely, while if they be laymen, they are to be excluded from communion.


The preceding Canons are more particular, while this one simply decrees in a general way that all those persons who dare to alter in any way whatever has been enacted as concerning any question in the Council held in Ephesus, are to be deposed from office if they are bishops or clergymen, or excommunicated if they are laymen.


7. These things having been read aloud, the holy Council then decreed that no one should be permitted to offer any different belief or faith, or in any case to write or compose any other, than the one defined by the Holy Fathers who convened in the city of Nicaea, with Holy Spirit. As for those who dare either to compose a different belief or faith, or to present one, or to offer one to those who wish to return to recognition of the truth, whether they be Greeks or Jews, or they be members of any heresy whatever, they, if Bishops or Clergymen, shall be deprived as Bishops of their Episcopate, and as Clergymen of their Clericate; but if they are Laymen, they shall be anathematized. In an equally applicable way, if any persons be detected or caught, whether Bishops or Clergymen or Laymen, in the act of believing or teaching the things embodied in the exposition (or dissertation) presented by Charisius the Presbyter concerning the inhomination (i.e., incarnation) of the Only-begotten Son of God, or, by any chance, the unholy and perverse dogmas of Nestorius, which have even been subjoined, let them stand liable to the judgment of this holy and Ecumenical Council. As a consequence, that is to say, the Bishop shall be deprived of his Episcopate, and be left deposed from office, while the Clergyman likewise forfeit his Clericate. If, on the other hand, any such person be a Layman, let him too be anathematized, as aforesaid.


In view of the fact that at this holy and Ecumenical Council’s meeting there were read both the Creed of the holy and Ecumenical First Council held in Nicaea, and the Creed of Jewish-minded Nestorius, in which his unholy dogmas were set forth and which Charisius the presbyter of Philadelphia brought to the Council, after they had been read, this holy Council issued this Canon decreeing that it is not permissible for anyone to compose and write, or to offer to those converted from any other faith to Orthodoxy another Creed than the Symbol of the Faith denned and decreed by the Holy Fathers who assembled in the city of Nicaea and were enlightened by the Holy Spirit. As for those persons who shall dare to compose any other symbol of faith (or creed), or to present it openly, and to offer it to any of the Greeks and Jews and heretics turning away from faith to recognition and knowledge of the truth, such persons, if they be bishops and clergymen, are to be expelled from their episcopate and clericate, respectively, but if laymen they shall be anathematized. Similarly, too, all those who are discovered to be thinking to themselves or to be teaching others the unholy and heretical dogmas of Nestorius concerning the incarnation of the only-begotten Son of God, contained in the exposition of faith composed by him, but brought to this Council by the presbyter named Charisius, these persons also, I say, if they be bishops and clergymen, are to stand deposed, and expelled from their episcopate and clericate, respectively; but if they be laymen, they are to be anathematized, as we said before.


8. Our fellow Bishop Reginus, most beloved by God, and with him the most God-beloved Bishops of the province of the Cypriotes Zeno and Evagrius, has announced an innovation, a thing which is contrary to the ecclesiastical laws and the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and one which touches the freedom of all. Hence, since common ailments require more drastic treatment, on the ground that they do greater damage, and especially in view of the fact that the Bishop of Antioch, far from following the ancient custom, has been performing the ordinations in Cyprus, according to information given in libelli and by oral statements made by most pious gentlemen who have approached the Holy Council; therefore those who preside over the churches in Cyprus shall retain their privilege unaffected and inviolate, according to the Canons of the Holy Fathers and ancient custom, whereby they shall themselves perform the ordinations of the most reverent Bishops. The same rule shall hold good also with regard to the other diocese and churches everywhere, so that none of the Bishops most beloved by God shall take hold of any other province that was not formerly and from the beginning in his jurisdiction, or was not, that is to say, held by his predecessors. But if anyone has taken possession of any and has forcibly subjected it to his authority, he shall regive it back to its rightful possessor, in order that the Canons of the Fathers be not transgressed, nor the secular fastus be introduced, under the pretext of divine services; lest imperceptibly and little by little we lose the freedom which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Liberator of all men, has given us as a free gift by His own blood. It has therefore seemed best to the holy and Ecumenical Council that the rights of every province, formerly and from the beginning belonging to it, be preserved clear and inviolable, in accordance with the custom which prevailed of yore; each Metropolitan having permission to take copies of the proceedings for his own security. If, on the other hand, anyone introduce any form conflicting with the decrees which have now been sanctioned, it has seemed best to the entire holy and Ecumenical Council that it be invalid and of no effect.79

78(Ap. c. XXXV; c. II of the 2nd; c. XX of the 6th; cc. XIII, XXII of Antioch; cc. III, IX, XII of Sardica).

79(Ap. c. XXXIV; cc. VI, VII of the 1st; c. XX of the 2nd; cc. XXXVI, XXXIX of the 6th; c. IX of Antioch.)


Inasmuch as Cyprus, so far as concerned secular administration, was subject to the Duke of Antioch, and was wont to send it an army commander (or general), it came to pass that the Bishop of Antioch, in imitation of this secular and civil form and law, undertook to show authority over that same Cyprus, with regard to both the religious and the ecclesiastical administration, by ordaining the bishops in Cyprus extra-territorially and not as a matter of ancient custom. This, however, was a thing that was contrary to Ap. cc. XXXIV and XXXV. After receiving Archbishop Reginus of Constantia, which used to be called Salamis but is now known as Amochostos, and the bishops accompanying, namely, Zeno of Cyrene, and Evagrius of Solon, who in writing as well as viva voce reported these facts, the Council decrees by the present Canon that, in accordance with the Canons and in accordance with ancient custom,78 the Metropolitans of Cyprus are themselves to ordain the bishops in Cyprus, and to be left unmolested and unconstrained by anyone else. But, making the Canon general and catholic, the Fathers of this Council add that this same rule shall hold also in regard to diocese (or administrations) and provinces everywhere else, to the end that no bishop be permitted to usurp and appropriate any other province that has not formerly and from the beginning been subject either to his authority or to that of his predecessors. If, nevertheless, anyone should appropriate it forcibly, he must return it, in order that the Canons of the Fathers be not transgressed, and in order that prelates, under the pretext of sacerdotalism, may not cloak a secret ambition and vainglorious yearning for secular or worldly authority, and hence becoming slaves to injustice lose little by little the freedom which the liberator of all men Jesus Christ has graciously given us with His own blood; it has appeared reasonable to this holy Ecumenical Council that the righteous and just privileges be kept clear and inviolable which formerly and from the beginning as a matter of ancient custom each province has been entitled to. Accordingly, each Metropolitan shall have permission to receive a transcript of the present Canon for security and confirmation of the privileges of his metropolis. If, on the other hand, anyone should come out with a form, i.e., a civil law or royal decree, contrary to the present Canon, it has appeared reasonable to all this holy Council for that civil law to remain invalid and ineffective. Read also the Interpretations of Ap. cc. XXXIV and XXXV.


Letter of Third Council addressed to the sacred Synod in Pamphylia in favor of Eustathius.

Seeing that the God-inspired Bible says, "Do everything heedfully" (Prov. 25:29 Seirach), those who have had the fortune to be admitted to holy orders ought indeed to give especial consideration to what is to be done in every case with all exactitude. For thus will they live through life with their affairs hopefully arranged and will be carried onward as though by a favorable wind to the goal which is the most desirable; and it seems that this argument is reasonable enough. Yet in the course of time a bitter and unendurable sorrow overwhelmed the mind and terribly muddled it, and failing to reap its expectations, it found little of benefit to comfort it in regard to the unjust circumstances of its plight. We have seen some such misfortune overtake most reverent and most godly Eustathius. For though he was indeed ordained canonically, as has been attested, yet, having been embarrassed, as he says, by some persons, and having met with unseemly circumstances, and owing to his being too much accustomed to idleness he got tired of the cares heaped upon him, and being unable to put up with the fear of incurring defamation as a result of developments, we know not how, he turned in an account. For, once having accepted the responsibility of sacerdotal cares, he ought to have kept on with spiritual staunchness and to have made every effort to discharge his duties even at the expense of much pain and perspiration voluntarily as one receiving remuneration. But since, once having failed to cope with the situation, he proved incapable, though rather as a result of idleness than of laziness and indolence, your godliness necessarily ordained our most reverent and most godly brother and fellow Bishop Theodore to take care of the church. For the position could not be left open and remain without anyone to look after the flocks of the Savior. But inasmuch as he came back weeping, not about losing the city or by way of quarreling over the fact that the church was turned over to the said most godly Bishop Theodore, but begging for the honor and title of bishop he had been enjoying up till then, we all felt sorry for him because of his being an old man, and deeming his tears a common ground of sympathy, we hastened to learn whether the man had suffered any legal deposition or had been charged by other persons with improprieties while muttering things to the detriment of his reputation, and, indeed, we learned that nothing of the sort had occurred, but that instead of any indictment being brought against him the man himself had submitted his resignation. Hence we could not blame your godliness for dutifully replacing him by the said most reverent Bishop Theodore. But since there is no strong reason to quarrel with his incapacity, we ought rather to have mercy on the old man, who had been away from his city and far from home for a long time, we have deemed just and have decreed without any argument that he should retain both the name of bishop and the honor and communion of the episcopate; but in such manner as not to permit him to perform ordinations nor to officiate in divine services in church on his own account, unless by any chance taken along or allowed to do so by a brother and fellow bishop, in pursuance of affection and love in Christ. But if you care to give him a better position of any kind, either now or hereafter, this will please the holy Council.


This Eustathius, of whom the present letter speaks, was bishop of Pamphylia, a province in Attaleia. But after becoming engrossed in the cares and matters of the episcopate, and getting tired on account of his faintheartedness and inexperience in regard to the affairs and temptations of the episcopate, he tendered a written resignation. Hence the Synod there ordained another bishop in place of him. However, he afterwards came to this holy Ecumenical Council with tears in his eyes and begging, not for the episcopate which he had resigned, but to have the honor and name of a bishop. Feeling sorry for him and sympathizing with him on account of his advanced age and tears and the fact that he was far from home and hearth, and particularly because of the fact that his resignation had not been submitted after a threat of deposition for viciousness, not on account of his carelessness and indolence (for if such had been the case, of course the Council would not have been warranted in showing him mercy, nor would it have bestowed upon him the mere name of bishop), but because of his faintheartedness and incapacity for affairs, the Council decreed that he should have the title of bishop, or, in other words, the right to call himself a bishop, and the honor, or, in other words, the right to sit down with bishops, and the communion, or, in other words, the right to partake of communion along with them, and to officiate with them, and to assist in ordinations the other bishops, though not to perform any himself of his own accord, but only with the permission of the local bishop. In addition the Council says to the bishops of Pamphylia, that in case they should think of something better and higher to give to Eustathius, either now or hereafter, this will please the Council too. This means nothing else, according to the exegete Anonymus, than the possibility of their appointing him bishop in some vacant province.



Fourth Ecumenical Council.


The holy and Ecumenical Fourth Council was held in Chalcedon, an important city in Bithynia, during the reign of Emperor Marcianus and Pulcheria in the year 451 after Christ. The number of Fathers attending it was 630, the most notable of whom were Anatolius of Constantinople, Paschasinus and Lucinsius, bishops, together with Boniface and Basil presbyters, and with these were also Bishop Julian, Maximus the Bishop of Antioch, and Juvenal the Bishop of Jerusalem, acting as legates of the most holy Leo, Bishop of Rome. They condemned and consigned to anathema unfortunate Eutyches, an archimandrite, and his aid Dioscorus, who had become the Bishop of Alexandria after Cyril. For these men, having fallen into the error which was the opposite of that of Nestorius, shared also the latter’s fate, and went to perdition like him. For Nestorius had divided the one Christ into two persons and two substances, while these men boldly confused the two natures of Christ, the divine and the human, of which He is composed and in which He is known and adored, and conflated them into one single nature, the fools failing to understand that this recusant belief led to the conclusion that Christ was not of the same nature as the Father and of the same nature as human beings, but of some other and different nature. Hence this holy Council, following the Creed of the First Nicene Council and that of the Second Constantinopolitan Council and the letter of Cyril of Alexandria, which is the same as saying the definition laid down by the Third Council, held in Ephesus, but indeed also the letter of the most holy Leo of Rome, left unaltered the common Creed of the First Ec. Council, held in Nicaea, and of the Second one, held in Constantinople, and it anathematized those who might dare to add anything to or to subtract anything from it; and it made it its own definition of the Orthodox faith, which runs as follows (Act 5): "Pursuantly therefore to the divine Fathers we all consonantly join voices in teaching outright that we confess one and the same Son or Lord Jesus Christ, perfect the same in divinity, and perfect the same in humanity. Truly a God, and truly a human being the same (composed) of a soul and body and one who is at the same time of like essence with the Father as respecting divinity, and of like essence the same with us as respecting humanity, in all respects like us, apart from sinfulness. Though begotten before the ages out of the Father as respects divinity, yet in latter days born out of Mary the Virgin and Theotoke, as respects humanity, the same for us and for our salvation. One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten (composed) of two natures unconfusably, inconvertibly, indivisibly, inseparably identifiable, there being nowhere anything removed or annulled in the difference of the natures on account of the union, but rather on the contrary the peculiarity of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one substance. Not being divided or parted into two persons, but (forming) on the contrary one and the same Son and only-begotten God Logos, Lord Jesus Christ, precisely as the Prophets formerly had prophesied concerning him and as he himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, did explicitly teach us, and the Symbol (i.e., Creed) of the Fathers has imparted the matter to us." On the other hand, this Council annulled and invalidated the Latrocinium (or Robber Synod) which had previously been assembled in Ephesus A.D. 448, at which Dioscorus presided, and spoke in defense of Eutyches, but the legates from the Bishop of Rome were not listened to, while St. Flavian of Constantinople, after being kicked and beaten with many whips, died. In this Council (Act 8) blessed Theodoret said: "Anathema to Nestorius, and to whoever refuses to call Mary the Holy Theotoke and whoever divides the one and only-begotten Son." In addition he also anathematized Eutyches, and every heresy, and after subscribing to all that had been decreed and adopted by the Council, he was justified and took the seat assigned to him in the Council, and undertook the representation of his province. Besides all these matters, the present Council also issued and promulgated the present thirty Canons, which are to be found in its Act 15, ratified and confirmed by name and definitely by c. II of the Sixth, and indefinitely by c. I of the Seventh; which Canons are necessary for the decorum and constitutional organization of the Church. As for the Minutes of the present Council, they are divided into three volumes. The first volume contains various letters and the transactions endorsed in Constantinople by Flavian, and those endorsed in Ephesus by the Latrocinium (or Robber Synod). The second volume comprises the sixteen Acts of this same Council which was held in Chalcedon. The third volume contains various letters of the Council and of the Emperors, and some other matters which were done after it was held and which related to it. (See Dositheus, from p. 331 to p. 397; and the second volume of the Conciliar Records.)


1. We pronounce it just and right that the Canons promulgated by the Holy Fathers, in each and every Council down to the present time, continue in full force and effect.

(c. II of the 6th; c. I of the 7th.)


The present Canon deems it just and right that all the Canons issued by the Holy Fathers from the beginning down to the present day, whether serving the purpose of a more exact formulation of the dogmas, or that of providing for ecclesiastical discipline, at each and every Ecumenical and regional Council or any local Synod, should continue in full force and effect, that is to say, should remain valid and enforceable.

Canon II of the Sixth and Canon I of the Seventh Ec. C., dealing with the same matters as the present Canon deals with, expressly decree that the Apostolical Canons, and the Canons of Councils and Synods held theretofore, and those of the Fathers of the Church should remain confirmed. See also what is said of Canons in general at the commencement of this Handbook in the Prolegomena (p. xvi).


2. If any Bishop ordain anyone for money, and make merchandise of the unvendible grace, and perform the ordination of a Bishop, Chorepiscopus, Presbyter, Deacon, or any one on the roll of the Clergy, with a view to gain; or nominate any Steward, Ecdicus, or Paramonarius, 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 stand in peril of his office; 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 he has thus obtained by means of money. If, in fact, anyone even appear as a middleman or factor or intermediary for such shameful and illicit deals, let him too, if he be a clergyman, forfeit his office, but if he be a layman or a monk, let him be anathematized.

(Ap. cc. XXIX, XXX; cc. XXII, XXIII of the 6th; cc. III, IV, V, XIX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; c. XII of Laodicea; the letters of Gennadius and of Tarasius.)


According to Zonaras, Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons are ordained by carrying out the rite called chirotonia (or chirotony); Anagnosts (or Readers, or Lectors), on the other hand, and Psalts (or Cantors or Choirmen), and Hegoumeni (or Priors) are ordained by carrying out the rite called chirothesia (or chirothesy) and sealing them; others are merely nominated, without a seal, such as Stewards (Oeconomi), and Defensors (Ecdici), and Churchwardens (Paramonarii, i.e., Prosmonarii). So the present Canon prescribes that if any bishop qualifies any of these or other clergymen for money, and out of greed sells the unvendible grace of the Spirit, he shall be deposed from the prelacy. In addition, the one so ordained is not to be allowed to profit by or derive any advantage from the ordination or nomination gained by this trafficking, but, on the contrary, he shall be expelled from the holy orders and office thus acquired. If anyone acts as middleman or intermediary in connection with these dealings of greed, in case he is a clergyman he is to be deposed, but if he is a monk or a layman, he is to be anathematized. Read also Ap. cc. XXIX and XXX.


3. It is come to the (knowledge of the) Council that some of those who had been listed in the roll of the Clergy hire other men’s estates for the sake of filthy lucre, and undertake to negotiate secular affairs, to the neglect of the Divine liturgy, and betake themselves to the families of secular men, whose estates they undertake to manage out of love of money. Therefore the holy and great Council decrees that no Bishop, Clergyman, or Monk shall henceforth be allowed to farm any estate or office, or to involve himself in secular cares, unless he be unavoidably called by laws to the guardianship of minors, or the Bishop permit him to take care of the affairs of the church, or of those of orphans or widows unprovided for, and of persons in especial need of ecclesiastical assistance, for the fear of God. If anyone presume to transgress hereafter any of the rules herein decreed, that per son shall be liable to ecclesiastical penalties (or penances).

(Ap. cc. VI, LXXXI, LXXXIII; c. VII of the 4th; c. XI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XVIII of Carthage; and c. X of the 7th.)


The present Canon decrees that inasmuch as it has come to the ears of the Council that some clergymen, for the sake of making a shameful profit, are wont to rent the real estate of others, and to undertake outside work as contractors, or, in other words, to involve themselves in secular affairs for pecuniary profit, while neglecting the services attached to holy orders, and, on the other hand, entering the homes of secular persons and assuming the management of their property on account of avarice. For this reason this holy Council has decreed that henceforth no bishop or clergyman or monk shall rent real estate or involve himself in the management of secular affairs, except only in case he should be called upon by the laws to become a guardian of minors (children are called minors from the time they are born until the fourteenth years of their age), or a curator, by which term is meant one who takes care of and attends to the needs of adolescents (persons are called adolescents from the fourteenth to the twenty-fifth years of their age), and unless the bishop of the city should urge him to take care of the affairs of the church, or orphans, and widows unprovided for, and other persons that are in especial need of ecclesiastical help and assistance, nor for the sake of any profit or gain, but only for the fear of God. If anyone, on the other hand, should dare at any time hereafter to transgress these rules, such person shall become liable to the ecclesiastical penalties. But what are these? They are those prescribed by the Apostolical Canons. Their forfeiture, that is to say, of the clericate. Read also Ap. c. VI.


4. Let them who sincerely and truly enter upon monastic life be accorded due honor. But inasmuch as some use the monk’s garb to disturb the affairs of the Church and civil government, by going round in the cities negligently disregarding their duties, and even undertaking to build themselves monasteries, it is decreed that no one shall anywhere build or establish any monastery or any oratory (i.e., prayerhouse] without the consent and approval of the Bishop of the city; and that Monks in every city and country be subject to the Bishop, and embrace quietude, and pay heed only to fasting and prayer, while continuing in the places patiently whereunto they have been assigned, without intruding upon or meddling in ecclesiastical affairs, nor leaving their own monasteries, unless at any time they be permitted to do so by the Bishop of the city on account of some exigency; and that no one shall receive a slave into the monasteries to become a monk, without his owner’s consent and approval. We have decreed that anyone transgressing this rule of ours shall be excluded from communion, in order that the name of God be not blasphemed. The Bishop of the city, however, is required to make proper provision for monasteries.

(Regarding this first part of this Canon, cf. c. XXIV of the 4th; c. XXI of the 7th; and c. I of the lst-&-2nd. Regarding the second part, Ap. c. LXXXII; cc. XL, XLII of Basil; cc. LXXIII, XC of Carthage; c. LXXXV of the 6th and c. III of Gangra.)


The following things are prescribed by the present Canon. Those who truly and without any hypocrisy adopt the monastic life deserve to be duly honored. But since some employ the monastic habit as a pretext and lure to get themselves honored, and bring about confusion in ecclesiastical and civil affairs by wanting to meddle therein and by carelessly going about the cities, and make it their endeavor to build monasteries of their own, therefore it has seemed reasonable that no monk, either in a village, or in a city, or in the wilderness, or in a desert, or in any other place shall be allowed to build and establish a monastery or an oratory, without the consent and approval of the bishop of the region in question. Monks living in any city or village shall be subject to the authority of the bishop of the region in question, and shall observe quietness of life and engage in only fasting and praying, and shall remain in those monasteries wherein they were shorn, without leaving them (see c. XXI of the 7th) and involving themselves in ecclesiastical and civil affairs, unless as a matter of need and necessity they be appointed to do so by the bishop, after he has judged them to be fitted for such an undertaking. It has seemed reasonable in addition that no slave be admitted into a monastery to be shorn as a monk without the consent of his owner, lest other men seeing the monks engaged in worldly affairs, and the masters grieved about their slaves, be led to blaspheme the order of the monks, and hence through them the name of God be blasphemed. Anyone that violates this Canon or transgresses it shall be excommunicated. Yet, just as monks ought to confine their activities to the works that belong to monks, so ought also bishops to have diligence and foresight in providing for their monasteries, by protecting the monks and bestowing alms in exigencies either out of their own pocket or out of the poor money of the church, in accordance with Ap. c.XLI and c.XXV of Antioch, for two reasons: 1) in order that the monks may remain quiet and free from temptation; and 2) in order that he may himself derive therefrom something in the way of benefit to his soul.

Canon XVII of the 7th Ee. C. likewise commands that the bishop shall prohibit monks from leaving their monasteries, and from undertaking to build oratories without having the expenses requisite to finish and furnish them. In addition thereto, c. I of the lst-&-2nd refuses permission to anyone to build a monastery without the consent of the bishop, or after building one to become its owner and lord. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. LXXXII, and c. XXIV of the present Council.

5. As regards Bishops or Clergymen who go from city to city, it has seemed fitting that the Canons laid down by the Holy Fathers should remain in effect and be enforced.

(Ap. cc. XIV, XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; c. XVII of the 6th; cc. III, XVI, XXI of Antioch; cc. I, II, XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; and cc. LVII, LXIII, and XC of Carthage.)



This Canon prescribes that those Canons shall remain valid which were issued by the Holy Fathers to prohibit bishops as well as clergymen from going from one city or province to another city or province. Read them also in Ap. cc. XIV and XV.


6. It is decreed that no one shall be ordained at large either a Presbyter or a Deacon, nor anything else at all in the ecclesiastical ranks unless he be particularly assigned to the church of some city, or to a martyry, or to a monastery. As for those ordained at large the holy Council has determined that any such chirothesy shall be null and void, and that such ordinees shall not be allowed to officiate anywhere, to the dishonor of the ordainer.

(c. XIII of Neocaesarea.)


Wishing to prevent easily those in holy orders from going or being transferred from one locality to another in violation of the Canons, the cause and root of this evil being that they are ordained at large and indefinitely, the holy Council decrees in its present Canon that henceforth neither a priest nor a deacon nor any other ecclesiastic shall be ordained in such a manner, but must in any case be assigned to a church of a city or village, or to a monastery, or to the church of some martyr, to be mentioned by the prelate in the course of reciting the ordination prayer, by saying "The divine grace ordaineth so-and-so a Presbyter or Deacon of such or such a church, or monastery, by name — in identically the same manner, that is to say, in which the name of the province is pronounced aloud in the ordination of every bishop. As for all those who have been ordained indefinitely, the holy Council has ruled that the ordination be invalid, and that those so ordained shall not be allowed to officiate in any region; in order that the prelate performing the ordination contrary to the Canons be dishonored in consequence of this lack of the right to officiate, and be led to sobriety as a result of this dishonor, and be discouraged from doing so again. But please bewail the fact, O reader, that in spite of the present Canon during the ordination of a deacon or presbyter today the name of a particular church or of a monastery is not specially mentioned, as required by the terms of this Canon, though this prescription appears to be an element of the ordination along with the other components thereof, notwithstanding that the violators of this rule fail to take this into account at all.


7. We have decreed in regard to those who have once been enrolled in the Clergy or who have become Monks shall not join the army nor obtain any secular position of dignity. Let those be anathematized who dare to do this and Jail to repent, so as to return to that which they had previously chosen on God’s account.

(Ap. cc. LXXXI, LXXXIII; cc. III, VI of the 4th; c. XI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XVIII of Carthage; and c. X of the 7th.)


The present Canon prescribes that clergymen and monks must not become soldiers, nor assume secular dignities. Those who do these things and fail to return again to their former occupation in life, which they chose on God’s account, are to be anathematized. But why is it that Ap. c. LXXXIII only deposes these men from office, whereas this Canon anathematizes them? Either the former Canon is referring to those, according to Zonaras and the other interpreters, who engage in such things while wearing the habit of the clergy; whereas the present Canon is speaking of those who discard even the clergyman’s or monk’s habit before engaging in such things. Or perhaps the present Canon is referring to those who, after once daring to do such things, refuse afterwards to repent and to return to their former life (which the Ap. c. does not say), and for this reason it has made them liable to severer punishment on the ground that they are unrepentant. See also Ap. c. VI and c. XVI of the present Fourth.


8. As for the Clergymen attached to poor houses or monasteries or martyries, let them remain under the authority of the bishop of the city in question, and not disrespectfully desert their own Bishop, in accordance with the teaching imparted by the holy Fathers. As regards those who dare to defy any such formal ruling, in any manner whatever, and who refuse to submit to their own Bishop, in case they are clergymen let them be liable to the penalties prescribed by the Canons, but if they are monks or laymen, let them be excluded from communion.


The decree of the present Canon is as follows. That as for any clergymen or persons in holy orders who are in churches belonging to poorhouses, orphan asylums, homes for the aged, hospitals, or monasteries, or to churches of martyrs, they must remain always subject to the bishop of the city in question, in accordance with the tradition received from the Holy Fathers, and not abscond from the authority of their own bishop disrespectfully. All those who dare to violate the present Canon in any way, and who refuse to submit to their own bishop, in case they are in holy orders or are clergymen, they are to be liable to the penalties prescribed by the Canons, and deemed reasonable by this same bishop of the region in question; but if they are monks or laymen, they are to be excommunicated. But why does the Canon, after mentioning further above only clergymen and monks, say also laymen further below? In order to expose those laymen on whose boldness and protection the clergymen and monks rely in showing disrespectfulness to the prelate and refusing to submit to his authority.

9. If any Clergyman has a dispute with another, let him not leave his own Bishop and resort to secular courts, but let him first submit his case to his own Bishop, or let it be tried by referees chosen by both parties and approved by the Bishop. Let anyone who acts contrary hereto be liable to Canonical penalties. If, on the other hand, a Clergyman has a dispute with his own Bishop, or with some other Bishop, let it be tried by the Synod of the province. But if any Bishop or Clergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the Exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let it be tried before him.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 1st; cc. XVII, XXI of the 4th; cc. XIV, XV of Antioch; cc. VIII, XII, XIV, XV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXXVI, LXXXVII, XCVI, CV, CXV, CXVIII, CXXXIV, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, CXXXIX.)


When one clergyman has a dispute with another clergyman, the present Canon prescribes that he must not leave his own bishop and present his case to secular courts, but, on the contrary, he must first present it to his bishop, or else, with the permission and consent of his bishop, he may have his case tried by referees (or chosen judges), with whom both parties, the plaintiff and the defendant, are well pleased. As for any clergyman that does otherwise, let him be subjected by the bishops to canonical penalties. But when a clergyman has a dispute with his own bishop, let the case be tried before the Synod of the province. When, again, a bishop or a clergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan, let him go to the Exarch of the diocese, or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let the case be tried by him.

Canon XVIII of Carthage prescribes that if presbyters and deacons are accused, the presbyter shall choose six, and the deacon three, bishops from neighboring districts, and let their own bishop try their case in conjunction with these others; and that two months’ time shall be allowed them too, and that the persons of their accusers be examined in the same way as in the case of a trial by the bishop alone. But as for the other clergymen, they are to be tried by the local bishop alone. But a single bishop cannot decide the case of any bishop or presbyter or deacon, according to c. CXVIII of the same Ec. C. of Carthage. Canon LXXXVII of the same C. says that if clergymen charged with any crime fail to prove themselves innocent within a year, they shall no longer have the right to present a defense. Canon CXV of the same C. says that if a clergyman quarreling with anyone asks the Emperor for a civil trial court, and refuses to accept the bishop’s decision, he shall be deposed from office. Justinian Novel 123 (found in Book III of the Basilica, Title I, ch. 35) further decrees that anyone who has any matter of dispute to be tried in court with a clergyman, or a monk, or a deaconess, or a nun, or any ascetic woman, he shall first take his case to the bishop to whom the litigants in question are subject; and if the bishop decide the case to the satisfaction of both parties, the ruler (i.e., the civil magistrate) is obliged to carry out the sentence pronounced by the bishop. And in the same Novel, ch. 36, it is declared that if the matter is an ecclesiastical one, the civil magistrates are to have nothing to do with it at all, but only the bishops, in accordance with the Canons, are to decide it. But in the same Novel, ch. 8, it is decreed that "if the accused one is a bishop, his Metropolitan shall examine into the facts of his case; if, on the other hand, the accused one himself is a Metropolitan, the Archbishop to whom he is subject shall examine into the facts of his case; but if the one accused is a presbyter, or a deacon, or a clergyman, or an abbot, or a monk, his bishop shall consider his case, and, according to the gravity of each one’s offense, shall impose the proper Canonical penances (or penalties)." Read also Ap. c. LXXIV and c. VI of the First.


10. Let no clergyman be entitled to be on the roll of the churches of two different churches at the same time, i.e., of that in which he was originally ordained, and of that to which he has resorted on the plea that it appeals to him more than the other because of its being a larger church, when in reality he is actuated by vainglory. As for those who do so, let them be reinstated in their own church, wherein they were originally ordained, and let them officiate there only. If, on the other hand, anyone has been already translated from one church to another, let him have nothing to do with the affairs of the former church, as regards the martyry connected to it, or the poorhouses, or the inns, administered by it. As for those who dare to do anything hereby prohibited, after the definition of this great and ecumenical Council, this holy Council has decided that he shall forfeit his own rank.

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


The present Canon decrees that it is not permissible for a clergyman to be enrolled at the same time in the churches of two different cities (or even of one and the same city, according to c. XV of the 7th), namely, in the one in which he was ordained in the beginning, and in another to which he went thereafter on the pretext of its being a larger church, on account of vainglory and greed. As for all those who do this hereafter, they are to be compelled to return to their former church, where they were ordained, and are to perform the functions of the clergy there only. But if anyone has succeeded already in having himself translated, or transferred, from one church to another, and remains thus translated, let him no longer receive any apportionment from the affairs of the former church, by which is meant inns, poorhouses, and martyric temples. Whoever should dare after this Canon of the great Council to do any of these things, he is to be deposed from office. Novel 16 (found in Title III of Book III of the Basilica) prescribes that if the clergyman of any church should die, another one is not immediately to take his place, but that if there are more clergymen in other churches among those already ordained, let one of them be taken to fill the place left vacant by the clergyman in question, until the clergymen of each particular church reach the number prescribed in the beginning. See also Ap. c. XV.


11. As for all those who are indigent and in need of assistance, upon proof, we have made it a rule that they are to travel only with pacific ecclesiastical letters, and not with recommendatory letters; for recommendatory letters are to be granted only to persons who are under suspicion.

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


All those who are indigent and in need of help, the present Canon decrees, are first to be investigated as to whether they are truly in need of aid, and, this being ascertained, after examination, to be a fact, they are to receive from the bishops little letters called "pacific" letters on account of the fact that they used to afford peace to those who were suffering from wrath and the unjust decision of civil magistrates and dynasts (such letters were also called letters dimissory); but they are not to receive also letters recommendatory. For letters recommendatory are to be given for the most part to those persons whose reputation, or repute, had previously been besmirched, and who are recommended and declared innocent in the recommendatory letters. Read the Interpretation of and the Footnote to Ap. c. XIV.

12. It has come to our knowledge that some persons, by resorting to the civil authorities, have obtained pragmatics whereby they have contrived to divide one province into two, contrary to the ecclesiastical Canons, and as a result there are two Metropolitans in one and the same province. The holy Council has therefore made it a rule that no Bishop shall hereafter be allowed to do such a thing. For, if anyone shall attempt to do so, he shall forfeit his own rank. As for all those cities which have already been honored with the name of Metropolis by letters of the Emperor, let them enjoy only the honor, and likewise the Bishop who is administering its church; it being left plain that the rights properly belonging to the real Metropolis are to be preserved to this Metropolis (alone).

(c. VIII of the First; Ap. c. XXXIV; ec. VI, VII of the First; cc. II, III of the 2nd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXVI, XXXIX of the 6th; c. VIII of the 3rd.)


Inasmuch as some ambitious bishops by applying to the Emperors have contrived to get Imperial edicts (for these are what are called "pragmatics" in the Canon here), whereby they have sought to have their bishoprics honored with the name of Metropolis, and have thus virtually divided the one province and metropolis into two, so that as a result of this two metropolitans came to be in one and the same metropolis (which is contrary to the Conciliar Canons, and especially to c. VIII of the 1st), and the bishops of that province were hence led to quarrel among themselves; therefore and on this account this holy Council has made it a rule that no bishop shall dare henceforth to do this. As for anyone that merely attempts to do such a thing, without succeeding in doing it, he shall be deposed from office. But as for all bishoprics and cities that hitherto succeeded in attaining, by means of imperial letters, to the honor of being allowed the name of Metropolis, let them have only the honor of this name, and the same as touching the Bishop to whom they appertain. The rights, however, and the authority to govern the affairs of the metropolis are to be preserved to the city which had originally and truly and from the beginning styled metropolis, and which is really the Metropolis, without allowing the new Metropolitan, who bears this title only as an honorary title, to usurp anything therefrom. The right of a true metropolis, it may be observed, consists principally in its being the one whose Metropolitan ordains the Bishop of the honorary metropolis, in accordance with c. VI of the First Ec. C., which says that one who has not been ordained with the consent and approval of the Metropolitan is not a bishop. Read also Ap. c. XXXIV.


13. Strange Clergymen and Anagnosts are not to be allowed to conduct services anywhere in a different city without having letters recommendatory from their own Bishop.

(Ap. cc. XII, XV.)


The present Canon prescribes that strange clergymen and anagnosts are not to be allowed to perform any function of their clericate unless they are provided with letters recommendatory attesting both their ordination and their orthodoxy and the guiltlessness of their past life; though as laymen that may commune there. Read also the interpretations of Ap. cc. XII and XV, together with the series of parallel Canons; for the space afforded by the present Canon would not suffice even to admit of their enumeration.


14. Inasmuch as Anagnosts and Psalts in some provinces have been permitted to marry, the holy Council has made it a rule that none of them shall be allowed to take a wife that is of a different faith. As for those who have already had children as a result of such a marriage, if they have already had their offspring baptized by heretics, let them bring them into the communion of the catholic Church. But if they have not baptized them, let them no longer have any right to baptize them with heretics, nor, indeed, even to contract a marriage with a heretic, or a Jew, or a Greek, unless they first promise and undertake to convert the person joined to the Orthodox Christian to the Orthodox faith. If, on the other hand, anyone transgresses this rule of the holy Council, let him be liable to a Canonical penalty.

(Ap. c. XXVI; cc. VI and LXXII of the 6th; cc. X and XXXI of Laodicea; cc. XIX, XXIX, XXXIII of Carthage.)


Notwithstanding that Ap. c. XXVI commands that Anagnosts and Psalts may marry after being installed by chirothesy, it appears from what the present Canon says that this was not permitted everywhere (and especially in Africa, according to its c. XIX). So this holy Council makes it a rule that in those regions where this is allowed that no Anagnost or Psalt shall take a woman of a different faith to wife. All those, on the other hand, who have already begotten children by such an unlawful marriage must bring them into the catholic Church. Accordingly, if they have baptized a child with the baptism of heretics, in case that heretical baptism with which the child has been baptized does not differ from the Orthodox baptism so far as concerns the matter and form, but, on the contrary, is acceptable to the Orthodox Church, they shall have the child anointed only with myron (or chrism), as Zonaras says (though it would be more correct and safer for them to be baptized, seeing that the baptism of all heretics !s in the nature of a pollution, and not a baptism; read also the Interpretations of Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, and LXVIII). But if that baptism was not acceptable the child is to be rebaptized. But if, on the other hand, they have not yet baptized the children, they are not to baptize them any longer with the heretical baptism, nor are they to join them in marriage with a heretic, that is to say, either with a Jew or with a Greek, with one, in other words, who is an infidel and idolater. But if the heretic should promise to become an Orthodox Christian, let him first become one in accordance with his promise, and then let the marriage be performed. If anyone transgresses these rules, let him be liable to the penalties prescribed by the Canons, that is to say, by the foresaid Apostolic Canons.


In a similar manner c. XXXI of Laodicea commands Christians not to give their children (in marriage) to heretics, but rather to take any from them provided that they promise to become Christians. In addition, c. X of Laodicea, i.e., of the same Council, prohibits ecclesiastics from joining their children in marriage with heretics. This same rule is also laid down by c. XXIX of Carthage; while c. LXXII of the 6th even goes so far as to annul and invalidate any marriage contracted, not only by a clergyman, but also by any Orthodox Christian man or woman in general with heretics. But as for those who from the first and originally were heretics, and the one of them was later baptized by them, and they do not want to be separated, let them not be divorced, according to the same Canon and according to St. Paul, though St. Paul prohibits marriage with infidels, by saying: "Be ye not unequally yoked with infidels" (II Cor. 6:14). Read also Ap. c. XXVI.

15. Let no woman be ordained a deaconess before the age of forty, and even then after a strict test. But if she, after receiving the gift of chirothesy and remaining for some time in the ministry, proceeds to give herself in marriage, thus insulting the grace of God, let any such actress be anathematized together with the man who has joined himself with her in marriage.

(c. XIX of the 1st; cc. XIV and XI of the 6th; c. XLIV of Basil.)


Owing to the ease with which women are deceived and the ease with which they are ruined, the present Canon commands that no woman shall be ordained a deaconess if she is less than forty years old. Yet even if she is forty years old, again, it forbids her to be ordained at random and perfunctorily; on the contrary, it requires the ordination to be performed only after a strict investigation of her life and past habits. In case, however, even after being thus ordained and serving as a deaconess for some time, she afterwards scorns the grace of God and marries, any such woman is to be anathematized together with the man who has married her. Armenopoulos, moreover, says (Book VI, Title III) that those who have induced deaconesses and nuns to become prostitutes are to have their noses cut off along with those of the women whom they have led into prostitution. See also the Interpretation of c. XIX of the First Ec. C. and the third Footnote thereto.


16. If any virgin has dedicated herself to the Lord God, or any men likewise have become monks, let them not be permitted to engage in marriage. If, however, they be found to be doing this, let them be denied communion, and be excluded therefrom. But we have made it a rule that the local Bishop is to have control of kindliness in regard to the treatment of them.

(c. VII of the 4th; c. XLIV of the 6th; c. XIX of Carthage; and cc. VI, XVIII, XIX, XX, and LX of Basil.)


In times of old some women wearing lay garb would dedicate themselves to God, as becomes plain from what is said about this in c. XLV of the 6th, and they would agree while in full possession of their reasoning powers to remain virgins; and after being further tried and found true to their promise, they would be numbered among the other virgins (for, according to c. XVIII of Basil, any such woman used to be called a virgin. Moreover, they assumed the black habit, according to c. XLV of the 6th). Hence it is that the present Canon decrees that these virgins, and equally so monks in particular, who either as an inference justified by their keeping silent about it are inclined to celibacy, or when asked about it actually agree to remain virgins, in accordance with c. XIX of Basil, are not permitted to marry and to violate the agreements and stipulations which they have made with God. For, if the agreements which men make with one another are confirmed by the name of God being taken in the midst thereof, as St. Gregory the Theologian says, how great indeed is the danger of their being found to be violators of those agreements which they have made with God directly! And if, according to Basil the Great (Ascetic Ordinance 21) a monk, as having reaped fruit and having dedicated his body to God, no longer has control over what has been dedicated to God nor any right to have it for the use and convenience of his relatives, how much more he is unable to have it for the purpose of carnal intercourse! If, nevertheless, there be found some to have done this, let them be excommunicated. But let the local bishop have the power to treat them with philanthropy or kindness, and either to mitigate their punishment or to shorten the time of their penance. This does not mean that the marriage tie may remain indissoluble, but, on the contrary, it is implied that the parties to the marriage are to be divorced from each other. For, in point of fact, it is a case of fornication, or rather to say of adultery, and not a marriage that occurred, according to St. Basil the Great in his c. VI and his VIII; see alsto c. VII of the present Council.


17. As touching rural parishes, or country parishes, in any province, they shall remain in the undisputed possession of the bishops now holding them, and especially if they have held them in their possession and have managed them without coercion for thirty years or more. But if during a period of thirty years there has arisen or should arise some dispute concerning them, those claiming to have been unjustly treated shall be permitted to complain to the Synod of the province. But if anyone has been unjustly treated by his own Metropolitan, let him complain to the Exarch of the diocese, or let him have his case tried before the throne of Constantinople, according as he may choose. If, on the other hand, any city has been rebuilt by imperial authority, or has been built anew again, pursuant to civil and public formalities, let the order of the ecclesiastical parishes be followed.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 1st; cc. IX, XXI of the 4th; cc. XIV, XV of Antioch; cc. VIII, XII, XIV, XV, XVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXXVI, LXXXVII, XCVI, CV, CXV, CXVIII, CXXVIII, CXXIX, CXXX, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, and CXXXIX; cc. XXV and XXXVIII of the 6th.)


Rural parishes are small parishes which are situated in outlying and distant parts of the country, and being inhabited by few human beings they used to be called monoecia (which word meant, in Greek, "lone habitations"). Country parishes, on the other hand, are parishes which were near cultivated fields and villages, and had a greater number of inhabitants. So it is these parishes in every province that the present Canon commands to remain inalienable and indetachable from the bishops to whom they belong, and especially if they have belonged to them and been under their authority for as many as thirty years in good faith and without coercion, that is to say, without their being forced to submit to it and without their being grabbed up on an unjust or unfair pretext. But if during the course of the thirty years there had arisen any dispute concerning them, or if after the enactment of the present Canon there should arise any dispute concerning them, those who claim to have been unjustly treated in regard thereto are given permission to have their dispute considered by the Synod of the province. If, again, anyone should claim to have been unjustly treated in regard thereto by his Metropolitan, let him refer his case to the Exarch and chief head of the diocese (whose function, however, was abolished or fell into desuetude after this Fourth Ec. C. was held, as we said in Footnote to c. IX of the present C.), or to the Bishop of Constantinople, as previously stated. If, on the other hand, there has heretofore been built any city by imperial authority, or if any be so built hereafter, then the neighboring bishop shall not try to subject it to his own authority and claim it as a parish of his own, since the order of the parishes of that church have to follow the civil laws and ordinances which may be decreed by the emperor in regard to the newly-built city, not vice versa.

Note that, after dividing this Canon into two sections, the Sixth Ec. C. incorporated in its own c. XXV that part of this present canon which ends with the words "complain to the Synod of the province," while it incorporates the words following these to the end in its own c. XXXVIII. Note also that c.CXXIX of Carthage prescribes that if any bishop succeeds in converting any region of heretics to Orthodoxy and holding it for three years straight, without its being reclaimed by the one who ought to have reclaimed it, it shall no longer be subject to being reclaimed by him. The same Council’s c. CXXVIII declares that heretics converted to the catholic unity shall be subject to that throne to which the catholic union of Orthodox Christians situated therein had been subject of old. In addition, c. CXXX says that in case anyone deems any laity belonging to another to be wrongly held by him and appropriates it as his own, not by virtue of letters of the bishop possessing it, or at the request of the Council or Synod, but by despotism and assault, he shall lose that laity, even though it really were his, and even though he assert that he had letters from the chief head. Read also the Interpretations of Ap. c. LXXIV, of c. VI of the First Ec. C., and c. IX of the present Fourth Ec. C.


18. The crime of conspiracy, or of faction (i.e., of factious partisanship), already prohibited by secular laws, ought still more to be forbidden to obtain in the Church of God. If, therefore, there be found any Clergymen, or Monastics, to be conspiring or to be engaged in factiousness of any kind, or hatching plots against Bishops or Fellow Clergymen they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.

(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XXXIV of the 6th; cc. X, LXII of Carthage; c. VI of Gangra; c. V of Antioch; and cc. III, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd.


A conspiracy is a combination of men leagued together and with one another by oaths; a faction, on the other hand, is a combination of men leagued together and with one another by agreement and resolution not to give up the undertakings to which they have bound or committed themselves against another person until they have carried them out to completion. Those Jews entered into a conspiracy who conspired against St. Paul, as historically recorded by sacred Luke in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 23:21) wherein the latter says: "more than forty men who have bound themselves with an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him" (sc. St. Paul). So, therefore, what the present Canon means is that though the crime of conspiracy and that of faction are prohibited even by the secular, or civil, laws themselves of Greek as well as of Orthodox emperors, who indeed adopted the most of their laws from the Greeks, this thing ought still more to be forbidden to occur in the Church of God. So if some clergymen or monks be found to be engaged in conspiracy or faction, or in plotting any other callous and cunning machinations or intrigues (for that is what is denoted by the Greek word corresponding to the verb "hatch," in accordance with the Scriptural passage saying "their heart hath become as crusty as cheese," instead of saying "hath become as callous or hard as cheese") against their bishops or fellow clergymen, let them be deposed from office. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. C. XXXI.


19. It has come to our ears that the canonically prescribed Synods of Bishops are not held in the provinces, and as a result of this fact many ecclesiastical matters in need of correction are neglected. The holy Council, therefore, has made it a rule, in accordance with the Canons of the Holy Fathers, for the Bishops to meet twice a year in convention somewhere in each province, wherever the Bishop of the Metropolis designates, and for all matters to be corrected that may come up. As for those Bishops, on the other hand, who fail to attend the meeting, but who, instead of doing so, remain at home in their respective cities, and lead their lives therein in good health and free from every indispensable and necessary occupation, they are to be reprimanded in a brotherly way.

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


In view of the fact that the two Synods which were canonically arranged to take place twice in every year were not being held, and as a result of this many ecclesiastical affairs in need of adjustment were being neglected, the present Canon on this account decrees that the bishops shall meet twice a year in each province wherever the Metropolitan may deem fit, and adjust whatever affairs may arise from time to time for correction. As for any bishops, on the other hand, who, in spite of their being in good health and free from any necessary care, fail to attend the meeting, they are to be given a brotherly reprimand. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXVII.

20. As we have already decreed, it is not permissible for clergymen officiating in a church to be given a church in another city; but, on the contrary, they must rest content with the one in which they were originally deemed worthy to conduct divine services: except those who have gone over to another church as a result of their having been forced to flee from their own country. If any Bishop nevertheless admits a clergyman belonging to another Bishop, after promulgation of this rule, it has been decided that both of them, i.e., the Clergyman so admitted and the Bishop admitting him, are to be excluded from communion until such time as the Clergyman who has left his own city see fit to return to his own church.

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


Clergymen (as has been stated in c. VIII) who are conducting services in one church are not permitted to be transferred to another in another city, but, on the contrary, they are obliged to stay in the one in which they happened originally to be appointed to officiate; except only those who have been compelled to flee from their motherland or home city by any necessity, or who have suffered an incursion of barbarians, and on that account have been transferred to another church (and who themselves must return to their own church whenever the incursion of barbarians has passed, according to c. XVIII of the 6th). Any bishop, after the present Canon has been put forth, who accepts a clergyman of another bishop, as well as the clergyman he accepted, shall be excommunicated from communion with his fellow bishops and fellow clergymen, until such time as the strange clergyman decides to go back to his own church. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XV.


21. Clergymen or laymen accusing Bishops or Clergymen are not to be allowed to file charges against them promiscuously and without investigation until their own reputation has been examined into.

(Ap. c. LXXIV; c. VI of the 2nd; cc. VIII, XXVII, CXXXVII, CXXXVIII, and CXXXIX of Carthage.)


The present Canon prescribes that those clergymen or laymen who accuse bishops or clergymen in regard to any matter that is not of a financial or private nature, but of an ecclesiastical and criminal nature, are not to be allowed to bring charges against them simply as a matter of course and without any previous investigation unless their own reputation has first been looked into to make sure that they are not persons that have been aspersed and accused. See, in this connection, also Ap. c. LXXIV and c. VI of the 2nd Ec. C.


22. Clergymen, after the death of their own Bishop, shall not be allowed to seize his effects, as is prohibited even by the Canons of old, on pain of being shorn of their own offices.

(Ap c. XL; c. XXIV of Antioch; c. XXXV of the 6th; cc. XXX and LXXXIX of Carthage.)


Upon the death of their bishop, says the present Canon, clergymen must not seize their effects — a thing which even the Canons of old forbade them to do (as, e.g., Ap. c. LX and c. XXIV of Antioch). Those who do this are to incur the penalty of losing their own rank and office. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XL.


23. It has come to the ears of the holy Council that certain Clergymen and Monastics, without being handed any permission by their own bishop, and in fact, sometimes even after he has excluded them from communion, have resorted to the imperial city of Constantinople, and stay there a long time, causing disturbances and meddling the ecclesiastical situation, and engender upheavals in the households of some persons. Hence the holy Council has decreed that they first be reminded, through the Defensor of the most holy Church of Constantinople, to take their departure from the imperial city. But if they impudently persist in doing the same things, they are to be expelled from the city even against their will through the same Defensor, and are to betake themselves to their own regions.

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


Since this Council has learned that some clergymen and monks, notwithstanding that they have not any ecclesiastical authority in their hands, because their own bishop has not judged them worthy of such permission, and even at times in spite of the fact that they have been excommunicated by him, go to Constantinople and stay in that city for a long time, disturb the conditions of the Church and cause disorder in the homes either of Christians who receive them or of fellow clergymen who have imitated them; this Council therefore by means of its present Canon decrees that they first be notified through the Defensor of the church to depart from Constantinople peaceably. But if they impudently persist in doing the same things in spite of this admonition, they are to be driven out against their will by means of the same Defensor and are to hie themselves back home. As for what a defensor is, see the Footnote to c. II of the present Council. See also Ap. c. XV.


24. As for Monasteries which have once been consecrated with the consent of the Bishop, they are to remain Monasteries perpetually, and the property owned by them is to be kept safe, and no more be permitted to serve as mundane haunts of vice. Those who permit this to occur are liable to the penances provided by the Canons.

(c. IV of the 4th; c. XLIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIX of the 7th; c. I of the lst-&-2nd; c. II of Cyril.)



The present Canon prescribes that all monasteries that have once been established and consecrated with the consent and permission and approval of the Bishop having jurisdiction of that particular region in which they are situated (as we have previously asserted in connection with c. IV of the present Council, q.v.), they are to remain monasteries forever, and henceforth no more to be converted into common and mundane haunts of vice or the like. All real and personal property belonging to them must likewise be kept inalienable and undiminished. All persons who, though not themselves converting them into mundane resorts, nor removing any of their property, give permission to others to do so, are to be held responsible for their acts and liable to the penalties provided by the Canons. But what are these penalties? They are the ones mentioned by the 7th Ec. C. in its c. XIII, wherein it deposes the clergymen from office, and excommunicates those laymen and monks who have seized monasteries and bishoprics, and have converted them into common resorts and refuse to return them in order to let them become sacred again just as they were formerly.

Canon XLIX of the 6th not only commands that monasteries are not to be permitted to become common and mundane habitations, but also that they are not to be turned over to seculars by anyone, in order, that is to say, that they may be protected and managed. Canon XII of the 7th also prohibits any abbot from alienating the monasteries’ own works and effects. Canon XIX of the same Council will not allow a monk to take back things which he has given to his monastery if he departs of his own accord. And c. II of Cyril specifies that jewels and other valuable articles and real estate are to remain inalienable from the churches to which they belong.


25. Whereas some Metropolitans, as we have been informed, neglect the flocks committed to their care, and postpone the ordinations of Bishops, the holy Council has decreed that they must perform ordinations within three months, unless some unavoidable necessity require the time to be lengthened. If they fail to carry out this rule, they shall be liable to ecclesiastical penances; and the means profits of the widow church shall be preserved to be retained by the Steward (or Oeconomus) of the same church.

(Ap. c. LVIII; c. XIX of the 6th; c. XVI of the lst-&-2nd; cc. XI, XII of Sardica; cc. LXXIX, LXXXII, LXXXVI, CXXXI, CXXXI, CXXXII of Carthage, and c. X of Peter.)


The present Canon prescribes that Metropolitans must not neglect their flocks, and postpone the ordination of the bishops subject to them; but, on the contrary, after the death of the bishop who has passed away, they must ordain another bishop for the vacant bishopric within three months, unless there be some unavoidable necessity forcing them to prolong the time of postponement (for perhaps that particular bishopric may have been captured by barbarians, or some other woe may have befallen it, and for this reason no one can go there). Any Metropolitan that is remiss in this respect, becomes liable to canonical penances. The income, however, from the affairs of that bishopric must be kept by the steward safe and intact until he surrenders it to the bishop-to-be. See also Ap. cc. LVIII and XL.


26. Since in some churches, as we have been informed, the Bishops are administering the ecclesiastical affairs with the services of a Steward, it has seemed most reasonable and right that each and every church that has a Bishop should also have a Steward selected from its own Clergy to manage the ecclesiastical affairs of that particular church in accordance with the views and ideas of its own Bishop, so as to provide against the administration of the church being unwitnessed, so as to prevent the property of the same church from being wasted as a result of such stewardless administration and to prevent any obloquy from attaching itself to holy orders.

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII, XL; cc. XI, XII of the 7th; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; c. VII of the lst-&-2nd; cc. XXXIV, XLI of Carthage; c. VII of Gangra; c. XV of Ancyra; c. LXX of Theophilus; and c. II of Cyril.)


Since, says the present Canon, we have been told that in some provinces bishops are administering the affairs of the church by themselves without the help of a steward and just as they please, for this reason it has appeared reasonable that the bishop of every church should have a steward, selected, not from his own intimate servants or relatives, but from his clergymen, to manage the affairs of the church in accordance with wishes based upon the best judgment of the same bishop, so that there should be no witness wanting to prove where, and how, and when the income of the church is spent, and to prevent the prelate from arousing any suspicion among the laity and giving it cause to accuse him of wasting the funds of the church. As for any prelate that fails to live up to this Canon, he shall be liable to the penalties provided by the divine Canons. But just as a prelate ought to have a steward to manage the affairs of the church, so ought an abbot to have a steward to manage the affairs of his monastery. Read also Ap. cc. XXXVII and XLI.

27. The holy Council has made it a rule regarding those who take women by force under pretense of marriage, and their accomplices and abettors, that if they should be Clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank, but if they are laymen, they shall be anathematized.

(c. XCII of the 6th; c. XI of Ancyra; cc. XXII, XXX, XXXVIII, XLII, and LIII of Basil.)


The present Canon, dealing with the forcible seizure of women in a harsher way than the other Canons do, penances those who seize women forcibly with a view to taking them to wife. For it deposes from office not only those clergymen who seize them by force, but also those who helped them to do so, and those who incited them to such a seizure by words of advice or encouragement; or if they be laymen, it anathematizes them, and in a manner which is quite just. For the one who seizes them can offer as a pretext the allegation that he is impelled by the urge of his absurd and improper love of women, but his accomplices and abettors are not impelled to this absurd and improper act by any such incentive, save the viciousness of their head and their bad judgment.

28. Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her. And it is arranged so that only the Metropolitans of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses shall be ordained by the most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople aforesaid, and likewise the Bishops of the aforesaid dioceses which are situated in barbarian lands; that is to say, that each Metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the Bishops of the province, shall ordain the Bishops of the province, just as is prescribed by the divine Canons. But the Metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the Archbishop of Constantinople, after the elections have first been conducted in accordance with custom, and have been reported to him. (Ap c. XXXIV; c. III of the 2nd and c. XXXVI of the 6th.)


Since at this Fourth Council c. III of the Second Council was read, which decrees that the Bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy priorities of honor with the Bishop of Rome, seeing that it is New Rome, therefore the fathers of this Council too, by means of their present Canon, renew and confirm the said Canon, and they decree and vote the same things as regards the priorities of the same city of Constantinople which is also known as New Rome. For, they say, just as the Fathers bestowed privileges upon the throne of Old Rome on account of the fact that it was the capital of an empire, and were fully justified in doing so, owing, that is to say, to his being first in point of order among the rest of the Patriarchs. In exactly the same way and motivated by exactly the same object and aim, the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved bishops of the second Council have bestowed exactly the same and equal privileges of honor also upon the most holy throne of New Rome — of Constantinople, that is to say — deeming it quite reasonable that this city, in view of the fact that it has been honored by being made the seat of an empire and of a senate, in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, ought to enjoy the same and equal privileges in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, and to be magnified herself also in exactly the same way as the latter is in connection with ecclesiastical matters, with the sole difference that old Rome is to be first in order, while new Rome is to be second in order. In addition to these things we decree and vote that only the Metropolitans (but not also the Bishops, that is to say, that are subject to the Metropolitans; for each of these is ordained by his own Metropolitan together with the bishops of the province, just as the divine Canons prescribe, especially c. VI of the First) shall be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of Constantinople. Not only are the Metropolitans of the said dioceses to be ordained by him, but indeed also the bishops located in barbarian regions that border on the said dioceses, as, for instance, those called Alani are adjacent to and flank the diocese of Pontus, while the Russians border on that of Thrace. Nevertheless, the said Metropolitans are not to be ordained by the Bishop of Constantinople just as he pleases and decides, but he must take the votes of the Synod under him into consideration as reported to him in accordance with established custom, and then ordain those men on whom the voters have agreed, either unanimously or as a majority.

29. For a Bishop to bear the rank of Presbyter is sacrilege. If, however, any just reason determines their removal from practice as Bishops, then neither ought they to occupy the position of Presbyter. But if for any cause than some crime they have been deprived of the dignity and office, they shall be restored to the dignity and office of the Episcopate.


In Act 4 of the present Fourth Council it is written (on p. 150 of the second volume of the Collection of the Councils) that Photius, the Bishop of Tyre, called the attention of Emperor Marcianus to the fact that Eustathius, the Bishop of Beyrut (or, as others say, Eusebius of Tyre, though the preceding indentification is more likely to be the true one) detached from Tyre various bishoprics, to wit, Biblus, Botrys, Tripolis, Orthosias, Areas, and Antarandus, and, deposing the bishops whom he had ordained, degraded them to the rank of presbyter. The Senate of the rulers accordingly brought this matter to the attention of the Council; by way of reply, on the part of the legates of the Pope as well as the Bishop of Constantinople and the entire Council, the present Canon was issued, wherein they declare that it is sacrilege for anyone to degrade a bishop to the rank and position of a presbyter; for if he is deposed on account of any crimes and is excluded from the functions and offices of the prelacy, such a person cannot be even a priest. If, on the other hand, without having any impediment in the way of crime he has been expelled from the prelacy, he is to be allowed to regain his office and dignity on the ground that he has lost it unjustly, and it is but his just due that he should be restored to his rightful position and be a bishop again. Zonaras, in fact, declares that it is worse than sacrilege for a bishop to be unjustly reduced to the rank of presbyter; for, says he, it is not something sacred that is being treated sacrilegiously and stolen, but something more than sacred, because, says he, through the invocation of the prelate churches and temples and other sacred objects are consecrated and hallowed and sanctified by virtue of the visitation of the Holy Spirit, and it must be admitted at all events that that which sanctifies is greater than that which is sanctified. As for why this Canon prohibits this, whereas c. XX of the 6th reduces to the position of presbyter any bishop that goes teaching beyond his boundaries without the consent and approval of the bishop holding sway over the region in question, see the solution of this puzzling question in Ap. c. XXXV.


30. Whereas the most reverent Bishops of Egypt postponed subscribing to the epistle of the most holy Archibishop Leo for the present, not because they opposed the catholic faith, but on the allegation that it is a custom in the diocese of Egypt to do nothing of this sort without the consent and formal approval of their Archbishop, and therefore request to be excused until the one who is to be the Bishop for the great city of the Alexandrians has been ordained: it has appeared to us reasonable and consonant with the spirit of philanthropy that they be excused and allowed to remain upon the like habit in the Imperial City till an Archbishop has been ordained for the great city of the Alexandrians. Let them therefore give security that they will not leave this city till the city of the Alexandrians has been accomodated with a bishop.


It has been written in Act 4 of the present Council that after the deposition of Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, ten (or, as others say, thirteen) bishops of the same Patriarch of Alexandria anathematized Eutyches and Dioscorus himself, and their dogmas; but they could not be prevailed upon to subscribe to the letter of St. Leo, the Pope of Rome, which he had sent to the Patriarch of Constantinople St. Flavian (and which, as we have said, was called a pillar of Orthodoxy because it contained all the Orthodox belief of the faith), not because he was opposed to the Orthodox dogma which it contained, but because they asserted that it was a custom in the diocese (or see) of Alexandria’s Patriarch for his bishops not to make any move without first consulting him and obtaining his consent and approval. Yet the prelates in the Council would not believe these things even after they had heard them asserted by the Alexandrians, but, on the contrary, they even suspected the latter to be heterodox heretics and sought to depose them. But the ruler and the Senate, having conceived something more humane as regarded these men, advised the Council not to depose them, but to give them time within which to remain as they were, undeposed, that is to say, in the Imperial City until another Archbishop of Alexandria could be ordained (for, as we have said, the Archbishop of Alexandria Dioscorus had previously been deposed). Yielding to the advice of the rulers, the Council decreed that they should remain as they were and demanded security that they would not leave the city of Constantinople until the Archbishop of Alexandria had been ordained. The one who became ordained Archbishop of Alexandria as the successor of Diocorus was Apolinarius (though this name is commonly spelled Apollinaris in English), and the latter was succeeded by Proterius (see p. 241 of the second volume of the Collection of the Councils. See also Ap. cc. XX and XXXIV.


Fifth Ecumenical Council.

The Holy and Ecumenical Fifth Council (which was the second one held in Constantinople) was held in the year 553 in the reign of Emperor Justinian I. According to Dositheus (Book V, ch. 16 of the Dodecabiblus), its proceedings and transactions were contained in eight Acts written in Latin, and, according to the Collection of the Councils (p. 261 of vol. ii), in five written in Greek. It was attended by Fathers to the number of 165, among whom Menas shone with the greatest splendor at first, and afterwards in succession Eutychius, both of them having served as Patriarchs of Constantinople; followed by Vigilius, the Bishop of Rome, who, though at the time in Constantinople, was not actually present at the Council itself either in person or by proxies (as, for instance, was done at the Second Ecumenical Council), but who nevertheless sanctioned the Council later in a written publication; Apolinarius of Alexandria, Domnus of Antioch, Didymus and Evagrius, these two taking the place of and representing Eustochius of Jerusalem. The Council anathematized the written works of Diodorus of Tarsoupolis (or Tarsus) and those of Theodore of Mopsuestia, and indeed even Theodore himself, and Diodorus, according to Photius, Code 18, and the respective Act of the Seventh Ec. C. See also p. 14 in the first volume of the Series concerning the Reporters, who, holding the tenets of Nestorius, left these records in writing upon their death (especially Theodore of Mopsuestia, who served as the teacher of Nestorius and declared the Logos to be a different God than the one called Christ, who was troubled by the passions of the soul and by the desires of the flesh). It also anathematized what had been written by blissful Theodoret against the twelve "heads" (or "chapters") of St. Cyril (of Alexandria), and the so-called letter of Ibas, the Bishop of Edessa, to Mares the Persian. It further anathematized even Origen himself, and Didymus, and Evagrius, and their detestable tenets, who foolishly affirmed that souls were existent prior to bodies, and that upon the death of one body they enter another; that there is an end to the punishment suffered in hell; that demons are going to recover the original dignity of angelic grace which they used to have; that souls are going to be resurrected naked without a body; and that the heavenly bodies have souls; and still other cacodoxical notions. It also anathematized Anthimus of Trebizond for entertaining the ungodly beliefs of Eutyches, and also Severus, and Peter the Bishop of Apameia, and Zooras. But this Council did not promulgate any Canons relating to the ecclesiastical constitution, but only fourteen anathematisms against the said heretics and others, and twenty-five more directed solely against the Origenists (p. 341 of the second volume of the Councils).



Sixth Ecumenical Council.

The Holy and Ecumenical Sixth Council (which was the third one to be held in Constantinople) was held in the year 680 after Christ in the time of Constantine Pogonatus, a descendant of Heracleius, in the secret chamber of the divine palace (which chamber was called the Troullos, its proceedings and transactions being comprised in eighteen Acts (p. 527 of the second volume of the Councils). The Fathers who attended it numbered one hundred and seventy, according to Photius, Nicephorus, Nilus, and Anonymus, or three hundred and eighty-nine according to others. Among those who distinguished themselves as leaders of them were George of Constantinople; Theodore and Sergius, presbyters, together with John, a deacon, who acted as exarchs of Agatho of Rome, Peter the monk who represented the Archbishop of Alexandria, George the presbyter representing the Archbishop of Jerusalem. There were also present three bishops representing the Westerners who were assembled at that time in Rome. This Council condemned Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, all of whom were Patriarchs of Constantinople; Honorius the Pope of Rome, Cyrus the Patriarch of Alexandria, a certain man by the name of Theodore who had served as Bishop of Faran, according to Zonaras and Balsamon, or who had been born in Faran, according to Leo II of Rome in what he wrote to the Emperor; Macarius of Antioch, together with Stephanus his disciple, and the infantile-minded old man named Polychronius, who all had dared to dogmatize by attributing a single will and predicating a single energy to and of Christ, respectively. But this Council dogmatized to the contrary that our Lord Jesus Christ, though but one person, after His incarnation possessed two natural wills and two natural energies just as He also possessed two natures — that is to say, in other words, a divine will and energy and a human will and energy, both of them being at the same time indivisible and inconflatable. For neither the Divinity nor the humanity, the two natures of Christ, remained without a will and an energy after the union. For if the peculiarities of the natures should be refuted, which are the will and the energy, the natures themselves should inevitably be refuted too, along therewith. For every nature consists of and is indentical with its natural peculiarities, and without these it could not become existent. Accordingly, this Council dogmatized, in brief, that "in the hypostasis of the God-man Logos each form acted in communion with that of the other one, which it had had as its own." This means, in other words, that the Logos wrought that which was the function of the Logos, whereas the body performed that which was the function of the body — just as the Fourth Ecumenical Council had dogmatized, that is the say, previously by means of Leo’s letter. For, as most wise Photius says, it was not within the ability of one and the same energy to restore a cripple and to become tired of traveling afoot; to resurrect Lazarus and to weep over him; nor, again, was it within the adaptability of one and the same will to request that the cup of death might pass away from Him and to call it on the other hand His glory, and to want what was unwantable. For the first activities were due to the energy of the Divinity, whereas the second activities were due to the energy of the humanity. And conversely, the first will was that of the humanity, while the second will was that of the Divinity. But this Council too failed to promulgate any Canons.


Quinisext Ecumenical Council.

The Holy and Ecumenical Quinisext (or Quinisextine), or more properly speaking, Sixth Council was assembled in the imperial and lustrous palace called the Troullos (or, according to the Latin spelling, Trullus), in the reign of Justinian II, who was the son of Pogonatus and was surnamed Rhinotmetus (a Greek word meaning "with the nose cut off"), in the year 691 after Christ. The number of Fathers who attended it was 327 according to Balsamon and Zonaras, but 340 according to the author of the Conciliar booklet, of whom the leaders were Paul of Constantinople, Basil the Bishop of Gortyna, a province in Crete, a certain Bishop of Ravenna who acted as the legate of the Pope of Rome, Peter the Patriarch of Alexandria, Anastasius the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and George the Patriarch of Antioch. It was assembled at the command of the Emperor, not in order to examine into any special heresy, not in order to settle questions of faith, in such a way as to warrant its being called a special and separate Council, but for the purpose of promulgating necessary Canons relating to correction of outstanding evils and the regulation of the internal polity of the Church. Which Canons are the following, as confirmed by Acts 2 and 4 and 8 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and by the latter’s Canon I. They are further confirmed by three Popes, namely, Adrian I, Gregory II, and Innocent III, by Gratian, by the legates of the Pope who were present at the Seventh Ec. C., by the so-called First-and-Second Council, which mentions its c. XXXI in its own c. XII. They are also confirmed or attested by Cedrenus, by John of Damacus (or John Damascene), who says, "consult the definitions of the Sixth Council and you will find there the proof." They were also confirmed or attested by the interpreters of the Canons, by Photius, by the personal signatures both of the Emperor and of the legates of the Pope of Rome, as well as those of the Patriarchs and of the Fathers who attended it. Thus, summarily speaking, it may be said to have been attested and confirmed by the whole catholic Church, notwithstanding that the modern Latins calumiously traduce them because they censure and controvert their innovations. Adrian I in his letter to Tarasius has left us this admirable testimony concerning these Canons in the following words: "I accept the decisions made by the same holy Sixth Council, together with all the Canons it has duly and divinely uttered, wherein they are expressed." In certain inscriptions of the venerable icons is to be found added also the whole text of its eighty-second Canon (p. 747 of the Collection of the Councils). Pope Gregory in his letter to St. Germanus (which is recorded in Act 4 of the Seventh Ec. C.) says in reference to this same Canon of the present Sixth Council: "Wherefore the assembly of the holy men have delivered this chapter to the Church by God’s design as a matter of the greatest salvation." Note, too, the fact that he called this Council a holy assembly and said that its Canons were issued by God’s design. But the testimony of Patriarch Tarasius concerning these Canons is sufficient to shut and gag the mouths of the adversaries. In fact it is rather the testimony of the entire Seventh Ecumenical Council and runs word for word as follows: "Some men who are painfully ignorant in regard to these Canons are scandalized and blatantly say, ‘We wonder whether they really are Canons of the Sixth Council.’ Let such men become conscious of the fact that the holy and great Sixth Council was convoked in the reign of Constantine against those who were asserting the energy and the will of Christ to be a single energy and a single will, and that the bishops who attended it anathematized the heretics and stated clearly and emphatically the Orthodox faith, after which they left for home in the year fourteen of Constantine’s reign. Thereafter, however, let it not be forgotten that . . . the same Fathers gathered themselves together in the reign of Constantine’s son Justinian and promulgated the aforementioned Canons, and let no one have any doubt about them. For those who signed their names in the reign of Constantine are the same ones as those who signed their names to the present paper in the reign of Justinian, as becomes plainly evident from the exact likeness of their respective signatures as written by their own hands. For it was incumbent on them after declaring an Ecumenical Council to proceed to promulgate also ecclesiastical Canons (Act 4 of the Seventh Ec. C., p. 780 of the second volume of the Collection of Canons)." In the same Act 4 of the 7th it is written that this very same identical and original paper, which had been signed by the Fathers of the present Sixth Council, was read aloud to the Seventh Ec. C. Peter the Bishop of Nicomedeia stated, though, that there was also another book containing the present Canons of the Sixth Council (see also Dositheus p. 603 to p. 618 of the Dodecabiblus).


1. In beginning either a discourse or an action of any kind the thoughtful find it best to begin with God, and to rely upon God, in accordance with the utterance of the Theologian. Hence, inasmuch as we have already preached piety in a clarion voice, and the Church in which Christ has been laid as the foundation is continually growing apace and waxing more and more capable, insomuch that it may be said to have outgrown the cedars of Lebanon, and now in commencing a recital of sacred words, by divine grace we decree that the faith which has been handed down to us shall be and remain exempt from any and every innovation and mutilation just as it has been delivered to us by those who have been both eye-witness and servants of the word of the God-approved Apostles, and further by the three hundred and eighteen holy and blissful Fathers who convened in Nicaea in the reign of Constantine, who became our Emperor, against ungodly Arius and the heathenish deity of a diverse god, or one might more aptly say of a multitude of diverse gods, which was dogmatized by him; and who in their unanimous consensus of opinion regarding the faith revealed and stated to us with convincing clearness the fact that the three hypostases of the thearchic nature are of the same essence, without allowing this important point to remain hidden under a bushel of ignorance, but, on the contrary, openly taught the faithful outright to adore the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit with one adoration, and deposed and denounced the opinion that divinity if of unequal grades (or ranks), and efficiently overthrew and demolished the puerile toys which the heretics had built up and erected upon sand in opposition to Orthodoxy. Likewise it is to be noted that we are determined to strengthen as much as we can the faith which was proclaimed by the one hundred and fifty Holy Fathers who convened in the Imperial City itself in the reign of Theodosius the Great, who also became our Emperor, embracing the utterance of the Theologian and driving out profane Macedonius along with previous enemies of the truth, on the ground that he impudently and arrogantly opined the head of lordship to be a servant and slave, and as having preferred as a matter of choice to split the indivisible unit in robber fashion, as though the mystery of the hope were not sufficient to sustain us. Along with this abominable fellow who waxed rabid against the truth they courageously condemned also Apolinarius the monstrous initiate of wickedness and vice, who vomited forth an ungodly view proclaiming the Lord to have been taken up in body without a mind and without a soul, so that it is hence evident that he too was addicted to the unwelcome conclusion that we have been left with an imperfect hope of salvation. But as a matter of fact we also gladly ratify the teachings set forth by the God-bearing Fathers who earlier assembled themselves in the city of Euphesus in the reign of Theodosius, who was the son of Arcadius and who also became our Emperor, and we hold them to be an unbreakable and mighty power of piety, preaching one Christ the Son of God who became incarnate, and the intemerate Ever-Virgin who seedlessly gave birth to Him, holding her to have been properly speaking (Note of Translator. — Lest the exact meaning of this exceedingly important phrase be lost upon the unwary reader, it may not be amiss here to state that it would be more usually expressed in ordinary English by the word literally) and "in truth a Theotocos" (i.e., when interpreted into plain English, "a woman who gives birth to God or to a god"), and driving away into banishment the driveling dissension of Nestorius on the ground that it has lost all contact with the Divine Oracle, while at the same time it seeks to renew the prevalence of Jewish ungodliness and aversion to piety, and we dogmatize the one Christ to be human being in due form and a God in due form. But we do not stop here. We Orthodoxly confirm the faith which was engrossed upon a pillar in the Metropolis of the Chalcedonians in the reign of Marcianus, who also became our Emperor, by the six hundred and thirty God-approved Fathers, which conveyed to the ends of the earth in a loud voice the one Christ the Son of God composed of two natures and in these two same natures glorified; and we have driven out of the sacred precincts of the Church Eutyches the vain-minded, who declared it to be his opinion that great mystery of the Economy was only seemingly consummated, as something sinister and miasmatic, and along with him also Dioscorus and Nestorius, the former being a defender and champion of dissension, the latter of confusion, and both of them being diametrically opposite outlets of impiety, fallen out in the same direction towards one and the same yawning chasm of perdition and godlessness. But neither do we stop here. We take the pious utterances of the one hundred and sixty-five God-bearing Fathers who assembled upon the ground of this Imperial City in the reign of Justinian, who became our Emperor and who passed away at the termination of his pious career, and, recognizing them to have been inspired and uttered by the (Holy) Spirit, we teach them outright to our posterity; which Fathers indeed as a Council anathematized and consigned to abomination Theodore of Mopsuestia, the teacher of Nestorius, and in addition Origen and Didymus and Evagrius, who joined hands in refashioning the Greek myths and recounting to us periods and mutations of certain bodies and souls, prompted by raptures and hallucinations of the mind, and in drunken revelry impiously exulting over the resurrection of the dead; as well as what had been written by Theodoret against the right faith and correct belief and against the twelves heads (or chapters) of blissful Cyril; and also the so-called letter of Ibas. And again we faithfully join together in the promise and vow to preserve and safeguard and keep inviolable the faith declared by the Sixth holy Council recently assembled on the grounds of this Imperial City in the reign of Constantine, who became our Emperor and passed away at the termination of his divine career, and which received still greater validity by virtue of the fact that the pious Emperor himself sealed up the volumes containing it by impressing them with his own seals with a view to ensuring their safety in every succeeding age; and which has with the love of God clearly enabled us to entertain an Orthodox conception of the straightforward dogma which they outlined of the truth that there were and are two natural wills, or, that is to say, wishes, and two natural energies inherent in the incarnate economy of our one Lord Jesus, the true God; and which Council by a vote of piety condemned those who teach their laities outright the doctrine of a single will and of a single energy inherent in our one Lord and God Jesus Christ, among whom we cite by name Theodore the Bishop of Faran, Cyrus (the Patriarch) of Alexandria, Honorius (the Pope) of Rome, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, Peter, all four of whom have acted as presiding chairmen in this God-guarded city, Macarius who became the Bishop of the Antiochians, Stephanus his disciple, and foolish (or witless) Polychronius. Hence we solemnly decree that this Council, while preserving intact the common body of Christ our God, and, succinctly speaking, of all the men who have distinguished themselves in the Church of God and have become luminaries in the world, "holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:16), is committed to holding the faith firm and sure, even till the consummation of the age, and that it shall remain immutable and unaltered, as well as their God-imparted writings and dogmas; and rejecting and anathematized, on the ground that its authors were enemies of the truth, and snortingly and ravingly uttered vain things against God and made injustice and unrighteousness the highest objects of their study and meditation. If, however, there be anyone in the world who does not care to hold and embrace the aforesaid dogmas of piety, and believe and preach thus, but, on the contrary, attempts to by-pass them, let him be anathema, in accordance with the definition (or rule) already previously promulgated by the aforesaid holy and blissful Fathers, and let him be erased and expunged from the Christian Roll like an alien, and as one not belonging to our faith. For we are fully resolved and have been determined not to add anything to or to remove anything from what has previously been decreed, or any words whatsoever that we have been able to understand.


This first Canon was not explained by Zonaras, nor by Balsamon. The result is that there is nothing else than a brief summary both of the dogmas and of the definitions (or rules) of the faith of the holy and ecumenical six Councils which were held before this present Council was held; and of those heretics against whom each one of them was held, as well as the time and place in which each was held. And not only a repetition, but also a ratification of their dogmas. Hence, following those same interpreters, as concerns the definitions and dogmas of the said holy Councils, and the times and places, and above all the heretics against whom each of them was held, we refer readers to the original sources of the Canons of each Council, where they will learn about them in greater detail. We do this in order to avoid repeating here in vain what is said there. We shall therefore confine ourselves to elucidating only a few words which are not so easily intelligible to the unlearned. We proceed, therefore, to note that, starting with a maxim of St. Gregory the Theologian, which says that it is the best policy for one who is about to commence any discourse or work to begin with God, and to end with God (Note of Translator. — This sounds plausible and may be true, although the Greek text of the Canon does not strictly say "end," but instead employs the Greek word signifying "repose," for which in my translation of the Canon I substituted the English word rely as better adapted to the English idiom). It decrees that there shall be no innovation or alteration in the faith which has been imparted and handed down both by the Holy Apostles and by the Fathers of the First Council (who were the ones that abolished the doctrine of the deity of a diverse god, or rather to say the doctrine of the deity of a multitude of diverse gods, of Arius; and who proclaimed that the Holy Trinity is coessential (or homousian), or, in other words, of the same essence and nature), and by the Fathers of the Second Council (whose theological utterances the Fathers of this Council assert that they embrace. These are those which were added by the Second Council into the Symbol of the Faith in regard to the Theology of the Holy Spirit. For in proximity to "the Holy Spirit," which were words of the First Council, this Council added the words "the Lordly, the Life-producing, which Proceeds out of the Father, and which is adored and glorified together with the Father and The Son, which hath spoken through the Prophets"), and by the Fathers of the Third and Fourth, and Fifth, and Sixth Council; and, briefly speaking, the Fathers of the present Council solemnly decree that the faith shall remain firm and sure, and immutable and unaltered, even to the consummation (or finish) of the age, as well as the God-imparted dogmas of all the Holy Men who have shone in the Church of God and who have stood in the world as life-giving luminaries. And they too join hands in anathematizing all those enemies of the truth, the heretics, that is to say, whom their predecessors had anathematized. At the same time they go on to state this, that they neither know how nor can by any means whatever add anything to or remove anything from the dogmas of their predecessors. Furthermore, as for anyone who fails to keep the aforesaid Holy Fathers’ dogmas of piety, and who neither believes them with his mind nor preaches them with his tongue, but, on the contrary, tries to oppose them, let him be anathema, they say, and be removed and wiped off the Roll of the Christians, as an alien person and rotten member.


2. This too has appeared best to the this holy Council, as well as most important, that the 85 Canons handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles, and as a matter of fact accepted and validated by the holy and blissful Fathers preceding us, be henceforth retained and left firm and secure for the care of souls and the cure of diseases. But inasmuch as we are ordered in these Canons to accept the Injunctions of the same holy Apostles (as transmitted) through Clemens, into some of which certain spurious passages destitute of piety have been interpolated long ago by the heterodox to the detriment of the Church, arid have tarnished the becoming and natural beauty of the divine dogmas for us, we have suitably weeded out such ordinances in furtherance of the edification and security of the most Christian flock, not in the least way being minded to approve the fantastic inventions of heretical mendacity that have been inserted in the genuine and uncorrupted didache (or teaching) of the Apostles. On the other hand, we ratify all the rest of the sacred Canons promulgated by our holy and blissful Fathers, to wit: the three hundred and eighteen foregathered in Nicaea, those convened in Ancyra, and furthermore also those who met in Neocaesarea, likewise those who attended the meeting in Gangra, but in addition to these also those who convened in Antioch, Syria, and furthermore also those who held a Council in Laodicea; further, again, the one hundred and fifty who convened in this God-guarded and imperial capital city, .and the two hundred who assembled at an earlier time in the metropolis of Ephesus, and the six hundred and thirty holy and blissful Fathers who met in Chalcedon. Likewise those who convened in Sardica; furthermore those in Carthage. Further and in addition to all these those now again convened in this God-guarded and imperial capital city in the time of Nectarius the president of this imperial capital city, and of Theophilus who became Archbishop of Alexandria. Furthermore also of Dionysius who became Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, and of Peter who became Archbishop of Alexandria and a Martyr withal, and of Gregory the Thaumaturgus (or Miracle-worker) who became Bishop of Neocaesarea, of Athanasius the Archbishop of Alexandria, of Basil the Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, of Gregory of Nyssa, of Gregory the Theologian, of Amphilochius the Archbishop of Iconium, Timothy a former Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, of Theophilus an Archbishop of the great city of the Alexandrians, of Cyril an Archbishop of Alexandria, and of Gennadius who became a Patriarch of this God-guarded imperial capital city. Furthermore, the Canon promulgated by Cyprian who became an Archbishop of the country of Africa and a martyr, and by the Council supporting him, who alone held sway in the places of the aforesaid presidents, in accordance with the custom handed down to them; and no one shall be permitted to countermand or set aside the Canons previously laid down, or to recognize and accept any Canons, other than the ones herein specified, that have been composed under a false inscription by certain persons who have taken in hand to barter the truth. If, nevertheless, anyone be caught innovating with regard to any of the said Canons, or attempting to subvert it, he shall be responsible in respect of that Canon and shall receive the penance which it prescribes and be chastised by that Canon which he has offended.


Since at every Council, and especially one that was Ecumenical, there was also a definition within which were comprised the dogmas of the faith, and Canons were composed in writing to serve in the way of contributions to the polity and good order of the Church, therefore and on this account, after having ratified and confirmed in its Canon I the definitions of the faith of the holy and Ecumenical Councils (preceding it), the present Council now in this Canon II ratifies and confirms also a) the Canons of the Holy Apostles, numbering eighty-five in all, which it says that the Fathers preceding it accepted and sanctioned (for it excludes the Apostolic Injunctions transmitted through Clement, because they had been garbled in certain parts by heterodox heretics to the injury of the Church, for the security of Christians. Nevertheless today, as they are found formulated, they appear to me to contain nothing improper or spurious. See concerning them also in Ap. c. LXXXV). b) Those of the four (previous) Ecumenical Councils. c) Those of the regional Councils and local Synods named. And d) those of the Holy Fathers individually, each by name. It goes on to add that no one has permission or any right whatever to corrupt or to refuse to recognize and accept any of the Canons previously mentioned, or to accept others instead thereof that have been given false titles. If, nevertheless, anyone should appear to be attempting to corrupt them, or to suppress any Canon among them, he is to receive the penalty prescribed by that Canon which he corrupts or suppresses. That is to say, in other words, if the Canon in question contains and prescribes excommunication, or deposition, or anathema, he that corrupts or suppresses it is to suffer these penalties, in order to compensate for his offense by paying the penalty fixed by the very Canon which he has violated. Read also Ap. c. LXXXV, c. I of the 4th, and the Prolegomena to the Apostolic Canons.


3. Whereas our Pious and Christ-loving Emperor, in his address to this holy and Ecumenical Council, has suggested that those enlisted the Clergy and conveying to others the Divine truths should be pure and faultless ministers, and worthy of the intellectual sacrifice of the great God and victim and high priest, and eliminate the hatred due to friction resulting from illicit marriages; and, in addition to this, seeing that the most holy Church of the Romans is disposed to observe the Canon of strict conformity; while, on the other hand, we under the throne of this God-guarded and imperial capital city, have neither carried meekness to excess nor have left on acrid impression of austerity; and especially in view of the fact that failure due to ignorance extends to a multitude of not a few men — therefore we concur in decreeing that, as regards bigamists who have been enslaved to sin and have not chosen to recede therefrom, as of the fifteenth day of the month of January last past, in the last fourth Indiction, in the year six thousand one hundred and ninety, they are to be subjected to canonical deposition; but as for those bigamists who have taken cognizance of their own interest before we had notice of their doing anything wrong, and who cut out the evil besetting them, and chased this foreign and spurious engagement far away; or even those whose wives by a second marriage have died, if they too have seen their way to return to good sense after later learning sobriety, and have quickly come to forget their former misdeeds and violations of the law, whether they happen to be Presbyters or Deacons — it has seemed best to us for these men to be dismissed from every sacerdotal office, or priestly activity, having already been penanced for an express length of time. But we have decided that in the case of those who have committed the iniquitous act unwittingly and who are weeping to the Lord to be pardoned therefor, they deserve to share in the honor of standing and sitting in the place reserved for the presidency: for to bless one that ought to take care of his own wounds is inconsistent. But, on the other hand, as for those who have contracted but one marriage, and this with a woman that was a widow, and likewise as for those who after ordination have involved themselves in an illegal marriage, that is to say, Presbyters and Deacons and Subdeacons, not long ago excluded from the sacred liturgy and penanced, we order them to be restored to their former ranks, without being in any way promoted to any higher rank, it being obvious that their illegal marriage has been dissolved. We have made these decrees effective as of the said fifteenth day of the month of January, in the fourth Indiction, in regard to those guilty of the offenses before specified and in priestly offices; but besides this we henceforth decree and renew the Canon prescribing that anyone who has become involved in two marriages after baptism, or has acquired a concubine, "cannot become a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or anything else in the roll of the priesthood. Likewise in regard to anyone that has taken a widow, or a divorcee, or a harlot, or house servant, or an actress to wife, we decree that he cannot be a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or anything else in the roll of the priesthood."


The Fathers of the present Council, both correcting the evil condition then obtaining, and securing matters as respecting the future, issued the present "economic" Canon. For inasmuch as the Emperor had asked them to cleanse those in holy orders at that time from the uncleanliness of illicit marriages, and unlawful ones, into which they had fallen; and, on the one hand, the legates and representatives of Rome had proposed that the strict letter of the Canons be observed in regard to them, while, on the other hand, the bishops under the Patriarch of Constantinople were disposed to allow them some leniency and philanthropy, they themselves, deeming it wise to conjoin both — to temper strictness, I mean, with leniency — (and especially in view of the fact that a great number of those then in holy orders had fallen into marriages unwittingly as a result of ignorance), on account of the Emperor’s request, they decreed that, as concerning all those in holy orders who had married a second time and had remained unrepentant down to the time of this Council, and had not abandoned the illegal marriages, they were to be deposed altogether and to be made laymen. All those, on the other hand, who were bigamists in holy orders — Presbyters, that is to say, or Deacons — before the Council was held, and who had repented and had abandoned that illegal marriage, or who had returned to sobriety and repentance because of their second wives’ having died, they, I say, it was judged reasonable for them to cease officiating or performing any functions in connection with the duties of holy orders for a certain length of time, but to participate in the honor outside the sanctuary of sitting and standing with those in holy orders, while weeping to God to be pardoned for the iniquitous act which they had committed as a result of their own ignorance, and not blessing anyone. For it is not fitting anyone to bestow a blessing upon others when he himself ought to be healing the wounds of his soul through the process of repentance, just as c. XXVII of St. Basil the Great says. All those Presbyters, again, Deacons, and Subdeacons, on the other hand, who have taken a widow to wife, or who, after being ordained, married likewise too, after being suspended from every sacred office for a short while, are again to perform the duties of their priestly offices; yet they are not to be elevated to any higher rank, but each one of them is to stay in the rank in which he happened to be at the time when he was suspended. This, however, is to occur only after they have dissolved the illegal marriages. Having decreed these things "economically," and as a matter of leniency, these Fathers, in regard to those in holy orders previously mentioned, henceforth renew, or, in other words, vote for the continuance in force of, Canons XVII and XVIII of the Holy Apostles, that is to say, those which they set forth verbatim — the Interpretation of which see, together with that of Ap. c. XIX.


4. If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or Subdeacon, or Anagnost (Reader), or Psalt (Chanter), or Janitor (Doorkeeper), has (carnal) intercourse with any woman that has been consecrated to God, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he has contributed to the delinquency of a bride of God. If, on the other hand, he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.

(Ap. c. XXV; c. IX of the 4th; c. XVI of the 4th; cc. XXI, XL, XLIV, XLV of the 6th; c. XIX of Ancyra; c. IX of Neocaesarea; cc. III, VI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XXXII, LI, LX, LXX of Basil.)


The present Canon deposes clergymen who commit fornication with a woman consecrated to God — that is to say, more explicitly speaking, a nun; but it excommunicates laymen who do this or have done this: the reason being that it regards them as having corrupted and violated a bride of the bridegroom of souls Christ the God, whether she had been a virgin thitherto, or had become a nun, or was even a widow. But those in holy orders and clergymen are deposed from office not only if they commit fornication with a nun, but even if they commit fornication with a lay-woman. Read also Ap. c. XXV and c. XVI of the 4th.


5. Let no one on the sacerdotal list acquire a woman or housemaid except persons mentioned in the Canon as being above suspicion, but let him safeguard his reputation in this respect. Let even eunuchs safeguard themselves in this very same situation too, by providing themselves with a blameless character. As for those who transgress this injunction, if they are Clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen let them be excommunicated.

(c. III of the 1st; cc. XVIII, XXII of the 7th; c. XIX of Ancyra; c. XLV of Carthage; and c. LXXXIX of Basil.)


What the present Canon decrees is the following. Let none of those in holy orders who are living modestly have a woman staying in their house, or a servant girl, unless she be among those specified in a Canon as being above suspicion — this refers to c. III of the First Ec. C. — such persons being a mother and a sister and an aunt; so as to keep himself from becoming liable to incur blame from either the father or the mother in relation to the laity. Anyone among persons that transgresses this Canon, let him be deposed from office. Likewise eunuchs, too, must keep themselves safe from any accusation against them, and therefore let them not dwell together with suspicious persons. In case they dare to do this, if they are clergymen (as having been involuntarily, that is to say, or by nature made eunuchs), let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated. Read also c. III of the First Ec. C.


6. Inasmuch as it has been declared in the Apostolic Canons that of those being promoted to the Clergy only Anagnosts and Psalts may marry, we too, in keeping with this prohibition, decree that henceforth no Subdeacon, or Deacon, or Presbyter at all, after the ordination bestowed upon him, has permission to contract a matrimonial relationship for himself: if he should dare to do this, let him be deposed from office. But if anyone wants to contract a legal marriage with a woman before being admitted to the Clergy as a Subdeacon, or a Deacon, or Presbyter previous to ordination, let him do so.

(Ap c. XXVI; cc. XIV, XV of the 4th; c. XIII of Ancyra; and cc. XIX, XXXIII of Carthage.)


Since Canon XXVI of the Holy Apostles decrees that only Anagnosts and Psalts may marry after being ordained, the Fathers of this Council confirm that Canon by means of the present, and decree that from now on no Subdeacon, or Deacon, or Presbyter, after being ordained shall be permitted to marry. If he should do so anyhow, let him be deposed. But if any of these wants to marry, let him marry before being ordained a subdeacon, deacon, or presbyter.


7. Since we have learned that Deacons having ecclesiastical offices in some of the churches have hence had the impudence and self-assertion to sit down ahead of the Presbyters, we decree that no matter in what office, that is to say, ecclesiastical position, a Deacon may happen to be, he must not sit down before the presbyter does so, unless he is acting as the personal representative of his own Patriarch or Metropolitan and has come to another city on some errand. For then, on the ground that he is filling the place of the latter, he shall be honored. If, nevertheless, anyone should dare to do such a thing, by resorting to tyrannical audacity, let that person, after being deprived of his proper rank, become the lowest of all those who belong to the list in which he is enrolled, in the church to which he belongs, in view of the fact that our Lord admonishes not to enjoy being called the first, according to the teaching of our Lord and God Himself as found in the Gospel of the Evangelist St. Luke. (Luke 14:7). For he told those called something like the following parable: "When you have been invited by anybody to a wedding, do not take your seat at the first call, lest someone else more honorable than you have been invited by him, and when he who has invited both you and him comes, he tell you bluntly, ‘Give this man your seat’; and then to your shame you will begin taking the last seat in the house. But, instead, when you have been invited, slump into the last seat, so that, when the host comes round, he may say to you: ‘Friend, take a better seat.’ Then glory wilt be yours in the midst of those making up the rest of the company: since whoever exalteth himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbleth himself shall be exalted." The same rule shall be observed also with respect to the other sacred orders, since we know spiritual dignities to be superior to mundane offices.

(c. XVIII of the 1st; c. XX of Laodicea.)


The present Canon decrees that since some deacons, on account of their having ecclesiastical offices (which are called "incumbencies" and "positions of honor," and "benefices" (i.e., sources of income), according to Balsamon (such as are, for instance, those of clerical magnates — like the grand Steward, that is to say, the grand Sacellarius, Skevophylax, Chartophylax, the lesser Sacellarius, and the Protecdicus), wax audacious and sit down ahead of Presbyters, henceforth no deacon, in whatever ecclesiastical office he may be, has any right to take his seat ahead of the Presbyter, except only in case he should happen to be acting as the agent and personal representative of a Patriarch or Metropolitan, sent to another region, on any ecclesiastical matter. For in such a case as that he will be given the preference and precedence over all Presbyters, not because he is a deacon, but because he is acting in the place of a Patriarch or Metropolitan, as we have said. Any deacon that, assuming tyrannical audacity and impudence, goes right ahead and sits down before the Presbyter does, shall, if so be he has precedence over the rest of the deacons, become the last and least and lowest of all deacons. For the Lord teaches us not to enjoy first and highest seats of honor, in the sacred Gospel of St. Luke, wherein He says: "For he himself used to tell them such a parable as this when they were invited to suppers and dinners: ‘Man, when you are invited by anybody to a wedding, don’t sit down in the first place, lest there be some other guest who is your superior, and the host who has invited both him and you come round and tell you unceremoniously, "Give this man the seat you have taken so that he may sit down." And then you will shamefacedly retire to the lowest and least honorable seat. But, instead of incurring such a predicament, when you are invited, sit down in the lowest seat, so that your host may come and say to you, "My friend, take a higher and better seat for yourself, and sit down, and make yourself at ease." And then you will be enveloped in a halo of glory before the glances of all those sitting at the table. For anyone that tries to exalt himself shall be humbled and humiliated, but anyone that humbles himself shall be exalted. But not only must deacons not take precedence of Presbyters and sit down ahead of them, but neither must any of the lower members of holy orders and lower clerical ranks presume to sit down ahead of the higher ranks; that is to say, neither Subdeacons ahead of Deacons, nor Anagnosts ahead of Subdeacons: since if in relation to secular and mundane office, those of lower dignity do not take their seats in advance of those of higher dignity, nor have they the preference and precedence of honor over their superiors, who have a higher office or higher dignity, far more ought this to be observed as an inviolable principle in the case of spiritual dignities and office bestowed as gifts by the divine grace of the Spirit, which dignities and offices are superior to and higher than the mundane. Read also c. XVIII of the First Ec. C.

8. With a desire to hold fast to whatever our Holy Fathers have decreed, in everything, we hereby renew the Canon prescribing that synods or councils of the Bishops in each province must be held every year, in whatever place the Bishop of the Metropolis may designate. But since on account of incursions of barbarians and on account of other incidental causes, the presidents of the churches find it impossible to hold synods or councils twice a year, it has seemed best for a synod or council of the aforementioned Bishops to be held by all means once a year for ecclesiastical matters that naturally arise in every province, to last from the festival of Holy Easter till the end of the month of October in each year, in the locality which the Bishop of the Metropolis, as we have said, shall designate. As for those Bishops who fail to attend the meeting, but who, instead of doing so, remain at home in their respective cities, leading their lives therein in good health and free from every indispensable and necessary occupation, they are to be reprimanded in a brotherly way.

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


These Fathers confirm and renew the Canon of the Holy Fathers preceding them which commands that two synods or councils be held in each province every year. But inasmuch as the prelates find it difficult to assemble twice a year, on account of incursions and fears of barbarian foes, and on account of other occasional circumstances, they command that a synod of Bishops be held in any event and by all means once a year in each province (or eparchy), for the purpose of considering and correcting or adjusting ecclesiastical matters that come up. This synod, or council, has to be held, as respects the time, from Holy Easter to the end of the month of October, and as respects the place, wherever the Metropolitan of each province (or eparchy) may deem it advisable. As for any bishops that remain in their bishoprics, and are in good health, and free from every necessary care, and fail to present themselves at the meeting of the synod, they are to be reprimanded in a brotherly way. Read also Ap. c. XXXVII.


9. No clergyman shall be allowed to operate a tavern or dramshop. For if such a person is not permitted to enter a tavern, much less is he permitted to serve others in one and do what it is not lawful for him to engage in. But assuredly if he should perpetrate such an enormity, let him either be suspended, or be deposed from office.

(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII, LIV; c. XXII of the 7th; c. XXIV of Laodicea; cc. XVIII, XLVII, and LXIX of Carthage.)


The present Canon decrees that it is not permissible for any clergyman to own or operate a tavern or dramshop of any kind, and to serve therein. For, if it is not permissible for him even to enter taverns at all, it is still less permissible for him to stay in one and serve customers and do things that are not in keeping with his profession. As for anyone that should employ himself in such a capacity, let him either be suspended or else be deposed. If, on the other hand, he owns a tavern, but employs others to serve in it, this does not amount to causing him any harm or impediment, according to Zonaras. It is better, however, for him to sell it, and buy some other more decent property that is more in keeping with the profession of clergyman. Read also Ap. c. XLII.


10. Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon who takes interest, or what is called a percentage, on money either cease doing so or be deposed from office.

(Ap. c. XLIV; c. XVII of the 1st; c. IV of Laodicea; cc. V, XX of Carthage; c. XIV of Basil.)


As for any bishop (says the present Canon), or any presbyter, or any deacon, that charges interest on money which he has lent, or takes twelve or six per cent, say, for the use of money, let him either cease doing so or be deposed from office. Read also Ap. c. XLIV.


11. Let no one enrolled in the sacerdotal list, or any layman, eat the unleavened wafers manufactured by the Jews, or in any way become familiar with the Jews or call them in case of sickness, or take any medicines from them, or even bathe with them in public bathing beaches or bathhouses. If anyone should attempt to do this, in case he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or, in case he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The present Canon commands that no person in holy orders and no layman may eat any unleavened wafers sent him by Jews, nor indeed be in any way friendly with Jews, nor when he finds himself ill may he call them and take their remedies, or even bathe writh them in baths and bathing places. In case anyone should do this, or any of these things, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated. Read also Ap. cc. VII and LXX.


12. And this too has come to our knowledge, that both in Africa and Libya and other regions the most God-beloved Presidents there continue living with their own wives even after the ordination has been conferred upon them, and will not abandon their wives, thus becoming an object of offense and a scandal to others. We have therefore made it a matter of great concern to us to do everything possible for the benefit of the flocks under hand, and it has seemed best not to allow such a thing to occur hereafter at all. We assert this, however, not with any intention of setting aside or overthrowing any legislation laid down Apostolically, but having due regard for the salvation and safety of peoples and for their better advancement with a view to avoiding any likelihood of giving anyone cause to blame the priestly polity. For the divine Apostle says: "Do all for the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God: even as I try to please all men in everything, without seeking any advantage of mine own, but the advantage of the many in order that they may be saved. Become ye imitators of me, just as I also am (an imitator) of Christ" (1 Cor. 10:32–33 and 11:1). If anyone should be shown to be doing this, let him be deposed from office.


Since we have learned that in Africa and Libya (either two names are applied to the same region, since one of the four continents of the earth which is situated to the south was formerly called Libya, and the name was afterwards changed to Africa, according to Chrysanthus, or else the name Libya is applied generally to the whole of that continent, and the name Africa to a particular province contained therein, according to Meletius), and in other regions, the prelates there, even after being ordained, keep on living with their wives, and thus cause others a scandal. Hence we are making it our serious business to do everything possible that is calculated to contribute to the common benefit of the Christians who are being pastured and shepherded by us, and to this end we decree that from now on no prelate may live with his wife after he has been ordained. We decree this, not with a view to overthrowing and setting aside so much the common Canon of the Apostles, their c. V, that is to say, which excommunicates any bishop who on the pretext of reverence forcibly separates his wife, as the injunction which St. Paul addresses specially to Titus in saying: "Ordain elders (or presbyters) in every city, as I have appointed thee, if any be blameless, the husband of one wife" (Titus 1:5–6) (in this passage the word "elders" means bishops, according to St. Chrysostom, since a bishop also takes the name of elder, as we have said previously at the beginning of Ap. c. I. This fact is plainly evident also from what the Apostle goes on to say, when he adds "For a bishop must be blameless," etc.): no, I say, we decree this not by way of refuting them, but by way of providing for their salvation, and for the advancement of Christians to a state of greater perfection, and to prevent their causing any accusation against the prelacy. For though prelates may live with their wives in sobriety and continence, yet the common people are scandalized and are inclined to accuse them, supposing the contrary to be the actual result of their living together in such a manner. The divine Apostle commands that whatever we do we must do it for the glory of God, and that we must not become a scandal to Jews and Greeks and Christians. Just as I, says he, try to please all persons by not seeking my own interest, but that of the multitude, that they may be saved, "become ye imitators of me, just as also I am an imitator of Christ." If any of the prelates is living with his wife, let him be deposed. See also Ap. c. V.


13. Since we have learned that in the church of the Romans it is regarded as tantamount to a canon that ordinands to the deaconry or presbytery must solemnly promise to have no further intercourse with their wives. Continuing, however, in conformity with the ancient canon of apostolic rigorism and orderliness, we desire that henceforward the lawful marriage ties of sacred men become stronger, and we are nowise dissolving their intercourse with their wives, nor depriving them of their mutual relationship and companionship when properly maintained in due season, so that if anyone is found to be worthy to be ordained a Subdeacon, or a Deacon, or a Presbyter, let him nowise be prevented from being elevated to such a rank while cohabiting with a lawful wife. Nor must he be required at the time of ordination to refrain from lawful intercourse with his own wife, lest we be forced to be downright scornful of marriage, which was instituted by God and blessed by His presence, as attested by the unequivocal declaration of the Gospel utterance: "What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matt. 19:6); and the Apostle’s teaching: "Marriage is honorable, and the bed is undefiled" (Heb. 13:4), and: "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be freed" (1 Cor. 7:27). We are cognizant, though, that those who met in Carthage and made provision of decency in the life of ministers declared that Subdeacons and Deacons and Presbyters, busying themselves as they do with the sacred mysteries, according to their rules are obliged to practice temperance in connection with their helpmates, in order that we may likewise keep the injunction handed down through the Apostles, and continued from ancient times in force, well knowing that there is a proper season for everything, and especially for fasting and praying. For those who assist in the ceremonies at the sacrificial altar have to be temperate in all things at the time when they are handling holy things, so that they may be able to gain whatever they ask God for. If, therefore, anyone acting contrary to the Apostolic Canons require any person who is in sacred orders — any Presbyter, we mean, or Deacon, or Subdeacon — to abstain from intercourse and association with his lawful wife, let him be deposed from office. Likewise, if any Presbyter or Deacon expel his own wife on the pretext of reverence, let him be excommunicated; and if he persist, let him be deposed from office.


What the present Canon decrees is this. Since we have learned that in Rome it is kept as inviolable canon that those who are about to become deacons and presbyters must promise and agree at the time of ordination that after the ordination they will have intercourse with their wives no more, we, following the old Canon of the Holy Apostles, Ap. c. V, that is to say, desire and hereby decree the marriage ties of those in holy orders to remain solid and inseverable, without requiring their separation after ordination from intercourse with their own wives when held at the proper time — when, that is to say, there is no fast, and when they are not engaged in celebrating the divine and sacred mysteries. So that whoever is married with a lawful wife and is worthy to become a Subdeacon, Deacon, or Presbyter, let him become one; and let him not be obliged necessarily to promise that he will separate from his wife — lest as a result of this we be forced to dishonor marriage, sanctioned by the laws laid down by God, and blessed by His presence, at the wedding in Cana, that is to say. For even the Lord’s utterance in the Gospel says unequivocally: Let no man sunder those who have been united by God; and the Apostle teaches that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is undefiled; and again, if you have been tied up with a wife, do not try to separate from her. But just as the Fathers of the Council held in Carthage, in providing for the decency of those in holy orders, decreed that subdeacons, deacons, and presbyters who come in contact with the divine mysteries must practice temperance by abstaining from their helpmates (or consorts), in accordance with their own rules (or definitions) in accordance with c. XXXIII, in order that we may keep likewise ourselves the tradition handed down through the Apostles from antiquity, in accordance with c. III of the same Council (that is to say, both the written traditions and the unwritten traditions, according to Zonaras and Balsamon), so and in like manner do we, who say the same things as these Fathers, decree that the above three ranks of those in holy orders must temperately abstain from their wives in time of fasting and of praying, in accordance with the words of St. Paul. For those who presiding at the sacrificial altar ought to be temperately abstinent from everything at the time they are engaged in the celebration of sacred rites, in order that by means of this abstinence they may obtain from God that which they seeking in general, or indiscriminately, that is to say, according to Zonaras, or for the common interest of the laity (according to c. III, that is to say, of the same Carthaginian Council). So whoever dares, in disregard of the Apostolic Canons, to prevent subdeacons, deacons, and presbyters from lawfully mingling with their wives, let him be deposed from office. It ingeminates word for word Ap. c. V, the Interpretation of which you may read for yourself.


14. Let the Canon of our holy and God-bearing Fathers be observed also in respect to this, that a Presbyter may not be ordained before he is thirty years old, though the man be thoroughly worthy; but, instead, let him be obliged to wait. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized when He was thirty years old, and then He began teaching. Likewise, let no Deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five years old, nor a Deaconess before she is forty years old.

(c. XIX of the 1st; c. XV of the 4th; c. XI of Neocaes.; c. XXI of Car.)


The present Canon ingeminates word for word the fifteenth of the C. in Neocaesarea. Accordingly, it decrees that no one must be ordained a presbyter until he has reached the age of thirty, even though the candidate for ordination be otherwise quite deserving of holy orders; on the contrary, let him await his time. For even the Lord was baptized in His thirtieth year and began to teach the preachment of the Gospel. ("And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age," says Luke, 3:23). Certainly He ought to be imitated by presbyters, who are ordained through the presbytery to act as teachers of the faithful. Likewise neither can anyone be ordained a deacon until he has reached the age of twenty-five. That is exactly what c. XXI of Carthage also says. Nor can a woman become a deaconess until she has reached the age of forty. But may God be lenient in regard to the present-day transgression of these Canons. And even though the transgressors of these Canons are not abashed by the sacred and God-bearing and holy Fathers, let them at any rate be abashed by a mundane layman such as was Emperor Justinian, who in his Novel 123 says: "We do not allow a man to become a presbyter below the age of thirty, nor a deacon below the age of twenty-five, nor a subdeacon below the age of twenty." Read also c. XIX of the 1st, and the Footnote to c. XI of Neocaesarea.


15. Let no one be ordained a Subdeacon if he is less than twenty years old. If anyone should be ordained in any sacerdocy whatever without having reached the years decreed, let him be deposed from office.


As for a subdeacon (says the present Canon), let no one be ordained such when he is less than twenty years of age. If anyone has been ordained in any of the four classes in question, outside the age specified, let him be deposed from office.


According to c. XIX of Carthage a young man could be ordained an Anagnost (or Reader) when he reached the age of adolescence, or, more explicitly, the fourteenth year of his life. But according to Novel 123 of Justinian (recorded in Book III of the Basilica, Title I, ch. 28) he had to be eighteen. (For the Novel purporting to ordain him when eight years of age was omitted when the laws were purged, and was not entered in the Basilica; and consequently it fell into desuetude). As for how old one must be in order to be ordained a bishop, see the Interpretation of Ap. c. I. Inasmuch as the civil law bids like to be judged by like, of course both an Anagnost and a Bishop when ordained before the fixed time, are to be deposed from office like the others, in accordance with the present Canon of the Sixth.


16. Since in the Book of Acts the Apostles instruct us to appoint seven Deacons, the Fathers of the Council held in Neocaesarea have thus clearly asserted in the Canons they promulgated that there must be seven Deacons according to the Canon, even though the city be a quite big one: witness the Book of Acts. In the course of fittingly harmonizing the sense of the Fathers with the Apostolic saying, we discovered that their words in this connection did not pertain to the men serving as ministers to the mysteries, but to those attending to the needs of the table, the text of the Book of Acts being as follows: "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were being neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said, We do not like to forsake the word of God to serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of a good reputation, full of Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint for this task. We will apply ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And their assertion pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Par-menas, and Nicolas an Antiochian proselyte; whom all they set before the Apostles" (Acts 6:1–6). In the course of interpreting this passage, John Chrysostom, the teacher of the Church, dilates thus: "It is to be marveled that the multitude did not split apart in choosing the men! that the Apostles were not frowned upon by them! It is to be wondered what sort of dignity of office they possessed, and what sort of ordination they received. This is something that needs to be learned. Was it the ordination of Deacons? we well might wonder. But then, that is not in the churches. Or was the arrangement one of Presbyters? So far, though there had been no Bishop, but only Apostles. Hence, I opine, it is plain and obvious that neither the name of Deacons nor that of Presbyters is appropriate." Resting upon these words, therefore, we too proclaim that as respects the aforesaid seven Deacons they were not selected to minister to the mysteries, according to what has been said in connection with the previous interpretation of the teaching, but, on the contrary, that they were selected to serve the common need of the Christians then gathered together; and that they continue to be an example to us, as they actually became, of philanthropy and diligence in regard to the needy.

(c. XV of Neocaesarea.)


This Canon corrects, or rather improves, c. XV of Neocaesarea. The latter decreed that there should be but seven deacons, and not more, even in the largest city, as recorded in the Book of Acts. The Fathers of the present Council, therefore, say that after comparing the interpretation given by the Fathers with the assertions concerning these seven deacons contained in the Acts of the Apostles, they found that these deacons were not ministers (or deacons) of the Mysteries, but of the (dining) tables. For the Acts say: "In those days, because the Christians had multiplied, the believers among the Greeks (or according to others among the Jews who accepted the Old Testament, not as provided by the Hebrew original, but according to the Greek translation of it), because at the daily service (or ministration) of the common dinners then being given their widows who had need of them were being ignored." At the suggestion of the Apostles, therefore, the multitude selected these seven deacons by name, men full of Holy Spirit, and held in good repute by all; and appointed them to serve at table, while the Apostles busied themselves in prayer and the service of teaching. In interpreting these words, after first marveling that that multitude did not split apart on account of such a selection of the deacons, others wanting this man, and others wanting that man, divine Chrysostom goes on to say that those deacons did hold the office of either deacons or presbyters of the Mysteries, since such offices had not yet been created in the Church, owing to the fact that the Church was then in her initial, and infantile, so to speak, stage. Hence these Fathers, in agreement with divine St. Chrysostom, hereby proclaim that these deacons, as we have said, are not deacons of the Mysteries, but of the common need and of the mess tables of the Christians of that time, who became an example to us of philanthropy and care which we ought to exercise in behalf of the poor. Not only did these Fathers not follow the instructions of the Canon of the Council held in Neocaesarea, but even of the Emperors preceding them Justinian appointed a hundred deacons, and Heraclius more than a hundred, in the great church. And in general all churches have the number of deacons and of clergymen apportioned to their requirements.


17. Inasmuch as Clergymen of various churches have abandoned their own churches, in which they were ordained, and have run over to other Bishops, and without the consent of their own Bishop have had themselves enrolled in the others’ churches, and as a result of this they came to be insubordinate, we decree that, beginning with the month of January of the last fourth induction, not a single one of all the clergymen, regardless of what rank he happens to be in, has permission, unless furnished by a written dimissory of his own Bishop, to be enrolled in a different church. For, whoever fails to abide by this rule hereafter, but, on the contrary, so far as lies in his power disgraces him who bestowed the ordination on him, let both him and the one who illogically accepted him be deposed from office.

(Ap. cc. XII, XV, XXXII; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XI, XIII, XX, XXIII; c. XV of the 7th; cc. III, VII, VIII, XI of Antioch; cc. XLI, XLII of Laodicea; cc. VII, VIII, XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; cc. XXXI, LXIII, XCVII, XCVIII, CXVI of Carthage.)


The present Canon does not permit clergymen to leave their churches and go to others without the consent and a dimissory letter of their own bishop, because this results in their becoming insubordinate. So, beginning with month of January, and the fourth indiction last past (for indiction is meant by the word epinemesis, as is evident from c. III of the present Council), which is the same as saying, from now on, whoever dares to do this, and disgrace and scorn the one who ordained, by such an act, let both him and the one who unreasonably took him in be deposed from office. Read also Ap. cc. XII and XV.


18. Clergymen who on the pretext of an incursion of barbarians, or as a result of any other circumstance, have emigrated, whenever their exigency has ceased, or the incursions of barbarians, on account of which they made their departure, are commanded to return to their own churches, and not to stay away from them for a long time without a good excuse. If anyone fails to conduct himself agreeably to the present Canon, let him be excommunicated until he returns to his own church. Let this same rule apply also to the Bishop who is keeping him.

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


Not only does this Canon refuse to let clergymen leave their churches without cause, but not even those who depart from them either on account of an incursion of barbarians, or perhaps on account of heavy debts or taxes, or on account of hunger, or on account of a deadly visit of the plague, or on account of any other circumstance. For it commands that when that cause ceases on account of which they departed, they must return again to their churches. Whoever, on the other hand, fails to comply with this Canon, let him be excommunicated, as well as the bishop who is keeping him in his eparchy (or bishopric), until he goes back where he belongs. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XV.


19. We declare that the deans of churches., on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the Clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible, analyzing the meanings and judgments of the truth, and not deviating from the definitions already laid down, or the teaching derived from the God-bearing Fathers; but also, if the discourse be one concerning a passage of Scripture, not to interpret it otherwise than as the luminaries and teachers of the Church in their own written works have presented it; and let them rather content themselves with these discourses than attempt to produce discourses of their own, lest, at times, being resourceless, they overstep the bounds of propriety. For by means of the teaching afforded by the aforesaid Fathers, the laity, being apprised of the important and preferred things, and of the disadvantageous and rejectable, are enabled to adjust their lives for the better, and do not become a prey to the ailment of ignorance, but, by paying due attention to what is taught, they sharpen their wits so as to avoid suffering wrongly, and for fear of impending punishments they work out their own salvation.

(Ap. c. LVI; cc. II, XVI of the 1st; c. XIX of Laodicea; cc. LXXIX, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. X of Peter; c. VI of the Faster.)


The Canon decrees that the Deans of churches, by which term is meant preeminently the Bishops, but secondarily also the Presbyters, must teach all the Clergy and the laity every day in the week, and especially and above all on Sundays (or even other holidays). For on these days, since Christians are wont to rest from their manual work, they congregate in the churches and listen to the divine words. Consequently those teaching therein afford them additional benefit. But such men must not teach with their own words and thoughts, but with those of divine Scripture, without straying away from the definitions adopted and confirmed by Councils and the dogmas of the faith, or away from the teaching handed down by the God-bearing Fathers. And if at any time they repeat words of the Bible, they are not to explain them in any other way than as the teachers of the Church have explained them in their written works; and they must endeavour more to make headway by teaching the discourses of the divine Fathers than by composing sermons of their own, lest by employing thoughts and conceptions of their own, and being unable sometimes to understand things aright, they fall out of line with what is proper and the truth. For by learning things from this teaching of the doctrines taught by the Fathers, the laity learn what things are of advantage to their souls, and what are disadvantageous, and they accordingly change their mode of living from viciousness to virtuousness, and are freed from the darkness of ignorance. By paying attention, again, to that teaching, and hearing about the chastisements and punishments which bad persons are bound to suffer, for fear of these they abstain from vices and bring about their salvation. Besides this, however, c. XIX of Laodicea says that the Bishop must first give a didache (or "teachment") in the liturgy. Read also Ap. c. LVIII.

20. Let not any Bishop teach publicly in another city that does not belong to his see. If anyone be caught doing this, let him be deposed from the office of Bishop and perform the functions of a Presbyter.

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


It is not permissible (says the present Canon) for any bishop to teach openly and publicly in a foreign province, without the consent, that is to say, of the local bishop, since this public teaching would be done to the dishonor of the latter, by making it seem to indicate that he himself is a learned teacher, while the former is one that is unlearned and ignorant. Therefore if anyone is found to be doing this, let him be removed from the office of bishop, and let him perform only the functions, or sacred duties, of a presbyter. The Canon states definitely that a strange bishop may not teach publicly, because if he merely answers questions asked him in private by certain persons, he is not sinning by doing so. The present Canon does not conflict with c. XXIX of the 4th, on account of what is said in Ap. c. XXXV, which you may read for yourself.

21. Those who become responsible for canonical crimes, and on this account are subject to complete and permanent deposition from office, and are thrust into the status of laymen, if with a view to returning they voluntarily forgo the sin on account of which they lapsed from grace, and render themselves utter strangers thereto, let them be tonsured in Clerical guise. But if they fail to do this of their own accord and as a matter of choice, let them grow back the hair of their heads, on the ground that they have preferred the return into the world to the heavenly life.

(Ap. c XXV; c, IX of the 1st; e. IV of the 6th; c. IX of Neocaesarea; cc. III, XVII, XXXII, L, LXX of Basil.)


Those in holy orders who have been completely and permanently deposed from office, and have assumed the guise of a layman, and have to stand with the laymen, on account of canonical crimes, such as fornication, say, or adultery, or other such sins, commands the present Canon, if they themselves voluntarily and spontaneously repent, and actually effect complete abstinence from the sin on account of which they lost the grace of holy orders, let them tonsure the hair of their head, or, in other words, let them have a so-called papalethra (or "patch") at the point of the head, which was a guise and token of clerics. But if they fail to repent willingly and spontaneously, they must let the hair of their head grow back like worldlings, in order that the lay guise may so shame them as to bring them sooner or later to a sense of their viciousness and cause them to repent. Read also Ap. c. XXV.


22. We 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.

(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; c. XXIII of the 6th; ec. IV, V, XIX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; letters of Gennadius and Tarasius.)


The present Canon commands that bishops and all other clerics whatsoever that are ordained for giving money, and not for their worthiness and virtuous life; and not only they themselves, but also those who ordained them, are to be deposed from office. See also Ap. c. XXIX. Read, and sigh, my brother, at the violation of such sacred and such momentous Canons; for today that is the manner in which simony is practiced, as though it were a virtue, and not a heresy detested by God, as most saintly Gennadius calls it. If in consulting the abstracts of the sacred Canons anyone should chance to look for the ecclesiastical affairs connected with the present set of conditions, he will find plenty to wonder at and not the slightest similarity to the former conditions to abate his wonder. For all ecclesiastics take orders illegally, and in like manner live and die. On this account the iron collar of slavery is being tightened more and more and keeps getting more painful, yet we remain insensible and break the law more impudently than ever.


23. Concerning the rule that no one, whether a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, that imparts of the intemerate Communion shall collect from the partaker coins or any compensation whatsoever in exchange for such communion. For neither is grace bought, nor do we impart the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit for money; but, on the contrary, it must be imparted to the worthy without the incentive of knavishness. If, however, any person enrolled in the Clergy should be found to be demanding compensation of any kind of him to whom he imparts of the intemerate Communion, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he is votary of Simon’s delusion and maleficence.

(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; c. XXII of the 6th; cc. IV, XV, IX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; letters of Gennadius and Tarasius.)


The present Canon decrees that no bishop, or presbyter, or deacon shall demand money of those to whom he imparts the divine mysteries, nor shall he ask for any other compensation, even though it should be the very slightest, for the sake of partaking of the divine communion. For the grace of the Mysteries cannot be sold, nor do we impail the sanctification of the Holy Spirit for money, but, on the contrary, we impart it without being bribed to do so, to those who are worthy of it. For it is on this account that the divine Communion is called among the masses the gift (or dorea), because, according to Balsamon, it is imparted without gifts. As for anyone that should do this, let him be deposed from office, as having become an imitator of the delusion and heresy of Simon the Sorcerer, who thought that the grace of the All-holy Spirit could be sold for money. Read also Ap. c. XXIX.


24. Let none of those enrolled in the sacerdotal list, nor any Monks, attend horse races or become involved in pastimes. But if any Clergyman should be invited at a wedding, whenever fraudulent games are introduced, let him rise up and protest, and thereupon let him depart, since the teaching of our Fathers thus commands. In case anyone is caught and found guilty of this, let him either cease or be deposed.

(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII; cc. LI, LXII, LXVI of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th; cc. III, LIV of Laodicca; cc. XVII, LXX of Carthage.)


No one in holy orders, nor any monk, according to the present Canon, is permitted to go to those places where men race horses, or to look at and listen to effeminate games. If, on the other hand, any clergyman be invited to a wedding, he may go, but when it comes to playing such deceptive and Satanic games, he must get up at once and depart, just as the Fathers’ teaching commands, that is to say, c. LIV of the Council held in Laodicea (though that Canon adds that those in holy orders must not look at other spectacles either that mark weddings and suppers, and that they must depart before the time has even come for the games). As for anyone caught doing this, either he must cease or he must be deposed.


25. In addition to all the others we renew the Canon which prescribes that the rural or district parishes belonging to each church are to remain immutably assigned to the Bishops holding them, and especially in the case of those who managed to hold them for a period of thirty years without resorting to force. But if within thirty years there has been, or should be, any dispute about them, those who claim to have been wronged shall be permitted to bring the matter before the Synod of the province.

(c. XVII of the 4th; c. CXXVIII, CXXIX, CXXX of Carthage.)


The present Canon renews c. XVII of the 4th, which it quotes verbatim, though not all of it, but only a part of it; wherefore see also the Interpretation of it there.


26. As for a Presbyter who has unwittingly entangled himself in an unlawful marriage, let him retain his rights to sitting with his rank, in accordance with what has been prescribed to us as legislation by the sacred Canon, but let him refrain from the rest of functions and activities. For a pardon is sufficient for him; but for him to bless another person when he ought to be looking after his own wounds, is inconsistent: for blessing is the impartation of sanctification. But how can one who lacks this, on account of his lapse as a result of ignorance, impart it to another? Let him therefore bless no one either publicly or privately; neither let him distribute the body of Christ to others, nor perform any other liturgical office. On the contrary, while contenting himself with the presidency, let him persistently weep to others, and to the Lord, to be pardoned for the iniquitous deed which he has unwittingly perpetrated. For it is obvious that any such unlawful marriage must be dissolved, and that the man will have no essential share in the sacred office of which he has been deprived.

(Ap. c. XIX; c. III of the 6th; c. II of Neocaesarea; cc. XXIII, XXVII, LXXVIII of Basil.)


This Canon is the same as the twenty-seventh Canon of St. Basil the Great, which prescribes that that priest who unwittingly marries any female relative of his, must, because of his not knowing about the relationship, be pardoned, and must also retain the honor of sitting with the priests, but must refrain from all other activities of the priesthood. For it is enough that such a person is not subjected to canonical penances, but is pardoned. But for him to bless another person when he himself ought to be trying to heal his own wounds, or, in other words, to be repentant of his unlawful marriage, is not at all becoming. For blessing is an impartation of sanctity. So, inasmuch as such a priest is destitute of that sanctity, how can he give it to another person? Therefore let him neither openly nor secretly pronounce any blessing upon or administer any communion to others, or do anything else of the kind; but, on the contrary, contenting himself as best he may with the honor of occupying the high seat, as we have said, let him set himself to praying, first of all to God, in order to have his unwitting iniquity pardoned, and, as a further recourse, to others, in order that they too may entreat the Lord in his behalf. Up to this point it is the Canon of St. Basil. But the Council adds that he is to enjoy this honor of sitting in the high seat only after he has first annulled that illegitimate marriage on account of which he has been deposed from holy orders. For if he does not annul it, not only will he be deprived of the honor of sitting in the high seat, but he will even be compelled to undergo penances. Read also Ap. c. XIX.


27. Let no one on the Clerical List don inappropriate clothing, either when living in the city or when walking the road; but, on the contrary, let him wear costumes that have already been assigned to the use of those who are enrolled in the Clergy. If anyone should commit such a violation, let him be excommunicated for one week.

(c. XVI of the 7th; cc. XII, XXI of Gangra.)


Clergymen and all who are in Holy Orders ought to be modest and decent even in respect of their outward guise. For God looks into the heart, it is true, but human beings look at the external condition of the body, according to what has been written: "A human being will look at a face, but God at a heart" (Sam. 12:7). Hence from what they can see on the outside they draw inferences as to what is in the heart. That is why the present Canon commands that no clergymen shall wear clothes that are not becoming to his profession; that is, for instance, costly and silk garments, or military uniforms, neither when he is staying in the city nor when he is walking on the road: on the contrary, he must wear the garments that are habitual to clerics — decent, that is to say, and frugal. Should anyone do the contrary, let him be excommunicated for one week.


It is further to be noted that c. XVI of the 7th imposes penances on those in holy orders who wear splendid garments and fail to correct matters; likewise on those who anoint themselves with perfumes. Though it is true that c. XII of Gangra anathematizes those who criticize persons wearing silk garments with reverence, it does not conflict with the present Canon: 1) because this is speaking specifically of clerics wearing them, whereas that speaks of both clergymen and laymen in general who are wearing them; 2) because this Canon is speaking of those who are wearing garments of an uncustomary kind; 3, and lastly) because the same Council is correcting what it asserted in its said c. II by what it asserts in its c. XXI, which says: "We praise frugal and cheap garments, but we detest garments that are ornamented and soft." And if that Council disparages soft garments in regard to worldlings, it disparages them far more when they are worn by clerics. So that not only is that Council not opposed in principle to the present one, but indeed it is in agreement with it and more strict in regard to this matter. But the Lord also says: "Beware of those who want to walk about in costumes" (Luke 20:46). And if the Apostle Peter forbids women, who are by nature a race of beings that love adornment, to wear luxurious garments (1 Peter 3:3); and if Paul forbids the same things to the same creatures (1 Tim. 2:9), do they not still more firmly forbid these things to clergymen? St. Basil the Great, too, wants us to have clothing that is decorous; and in his Homily 11 on the Six Days of Creation he says that if you see anyone clothed in a robe adorned with flowers or flowery figures, and dressed up with silk threads, scorn him outright. And St. Chrysostom, too, in his Homily 12 on the First Epistle to Timothy says: "Seest thou a human being wearing silk garments? Laugh him to scorn." Isidorus Pelousiotes (in his seventy-fourth letter) when commenting on the question, What was the tunic of Christ that was woven from above and unsewed? says: "But who is ignorant of the paltriness of that dress which the poor among the Galileans used to wear, and that indeed with them it used to be a garment woven by some art and with some skill as close as corsets." And at the end he says: "If, then, you desire these garments, imitate the paltry dress of Jesus. For luxuriousness here becomes stupidity there, and not a bright illumination."


28. Since we have learned that in various churches when grapes are offered at the sacrificial altar, in accordance with a certain custom which has gained prevalence, by affixing them to the bloodless sacrifice of the offering (or oblation), the ministers thus distribute both to the laity, we have seen fit to decree that no one in holy orders shall do this any more; but, on the contrary, for the purpose of vivification, and remission of sins, they shall impart to the laity of the oblation only, regarding the offering of grapes as first fruits offered by way of thanks to the giver of fruits, whereby our bodies, in accordance with the divine definition, is enabled to grow and to be nourished. If, then, any Clergyman does contrary to what has been commanded, let him be deposed.

(Ap. cc. III, IV; cc. XXXII, LVII, XCIX of the 6th; c. XL of Carthage.)


Since in some regions, in accordance with a certain custom, some persons used to offer grapes at the Holy Table, which the priests would combine with the intemerate mysteries and then impart both together to the laity, on this account and for this reason the present Canon from now on and henceforth commands that no priest shall do this, but, on the contrary, he must give the Holy Communion alone to the worthy, for vivification, and for remission of their sins, whereas he blesses the grapes as first fruits of the season with a special prayer and hands them out to the laity, by way of thanking God for giving us such fruits, by means whereof our bodies are nourished and grow. As for anyone that does anything in violation of this Canon, let him be deposed from office. Read also Ap. c. III.


29. The Canon of the Fathers met in Carthage prescribes that the holy rites of the sacrificial altar, unless performed by men under a fast, are not to be celebrated at all, except on one day of the year on which the Lords Supper is celebrated, perhaps having decided to employ such an economy of the divine Fathers on account of certain pretexts advantageous to the Church in such seasons. Since there is nothing to compel us to abandon rigorism, we decree, pursuantly to the traditions of the Apostles and of the Fathers, that the fasting during the Thursday which falls in the last week in Great Lent (or Tessaracoste) must not be omitted, and the whole fast of Great Lent dishonored by being prematurely broken.

(Ap. c. LXIX; c. LXXXIX of the 6th; cc. XLIX, L, LI, LII of Laodicea; cc. XLVIII, LVI of Carthage; c. I of Dionysius; cc. VIII, X of Timothy.)


Just as our Lord Jesus Christ on the evening of the Great Thursday first ate a common supper and thereafter delivered the divine mysteries to the Apostles, in the same manner it may be said that a custom came to prevail in Africa for the people there to eat certain more luscious foods on Great Thursday, according to Zonaras, which served to break the usual course of eating dry things on other days of Great Lent, and thereafter to celebrate and to partake of the divine mysteries. So the present Council, as an improvement over c. XLVIII of Carthage which contained this custom, decrees that perhaps those Fathers employed this economy for some beneficial reasons of benefit to those regions, but inasmuch as we have no reason that would compel us to abandon the strictness of the Canons, we follow the instructions handed down by the Apostles, in their c. LXIX, that is to say, which makes it incumbent upon all to fast throughout Great Lent (both Great Thursday and the entire Great Week are included in the period of Great Lent, as well as during the fasts of the Fathers, that is to say, those in c. L of the Fathers of Laodicea, which decrees that no one shall break the fast of the Thursday in the last week in Great Lent (that is to say, of Great Thursday), and by breaking it dishonor and disparage the fast of the entire Great Lent, but, instead, everyone must fast throughout the period of Great Lent by eating nothing but dry things, including, of course, Great Thursday itself.


Note, however, that not only this c. XLVIII of Carthage decrees that priests must officiate on an empty stomach (as we say in English, though in Greek the same idea is expressed differently by saying "fastingly"), but c. LVI of the same Council states that this was also confirmed by the Council held in Nicaea. Nevertheless, if anyone is in danger of dying, he must commune even after having eaten, according to c. IX of Nicephorus. When St. Chrysostom was blamed for having administered the communion to some persons after they had eaten, and wrote in his letter to Bishop Kyriakos: "If it is true that I did this, may my name be stricken from the book of bishops. But if they say this to me once, and start quarreling, let them consider St. Paul, who baptized a whole household right after supper. Let them also consider Christ Himself, who gave the Communion to the Apostles right after supper." Hence it is evident that those who are about to commune have permission up to midnight to drink water, and thereafter they must not put anything in their mouth until they have communed. Read also Ap. c. LXIX.


30. Wishing to do everything for the edification of the Church, we have decided to make concessions to priests in Barbarian churches, so that if they are seeking to circumvent Apostolic Canon V by not expelling their wife, on the pretext of reverence, and to do what is beyond the limits set by it, by coming to a private agreement with their spouses to abstain from intercourse with each other. We decree that these priests shall cohabit with these wives no more, in any manner whatsoever, so as to afford us thereby positive proof that they are carrying out their promise. We make this concession to them, not for any other reason, but because of the pusillanimity of their thought, and the bizarre character of their ideas of morality, and the unsettled state of their mind.

(Ap. c. V; cc. XII, XIII, XLVIII of the 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. III, IV, XXXIIII of Carthage.)


Since those in holy orders who are located in Barbary, Africa, as we have said, in the desire to circumvent, or get round, the legislation embodied in Ap. c. V, which commands that no one in holy orders shall separate his wife on the pretext of reverence, agree with their wives and abstain from carnal intercourse, therefore the present Canon decrees that those who have done this are not to cohabit with their wives any longer in any way: for one thing, in order to show, by this abstention from cohabitation, that they made this promise and agreement not on account of any hypocritical and false reverence, but truly on account of a longing after sobriety and virginity; and for another thing, because continual sight of and association with their wives prompts them to have carnal intercourse with them again. Nevertheless, says this Canon, we have given them this permission, not for any other reason, but simply on account of the pusillanimity of their way of thinking, on account of their wild character, according to Zonaras, or on account of their having a strange notion of what constitutes good order as respecting ecclesiastical morals, according to Balsamon, and because of their lack of firmness of faith (and notice that this same thing which the Council permits in regard to Barbary for these reasons, it does not permit to occur in Rome, on account of the docility of the moral character of the Romans, on account of their ecclesiastical orderliness, etc.; and in spite of the fact that this custom originally came from Rome to Barbary, according to c. IV of Carthage). Read also Ap. c.V, cc. XII and XIII of the 6th.


31. As for those Clergymen who hold a liturgy in oratories or prayerhouses or in private residences, or who carry out a baptism therein, without having obtained the consent of the local Bishop to do this, we decree that if any Clergyman fail to guard against doing this, let him be deposed from office.

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


The present Canon does not permit those in holy orders to conduct a liturgy or to baptize inside a room or in the parlor of a private dwelling, or in a house of prayer, or one called an oratory and devoted to prayer, which has not been consecrated in the Orthodox manner, without the permission and consent of the local bishop: because this would amount to a conventicle (or "parasynagogue") and apostasy; but they may do this with his consent and permission. Anyone who fails to abide by this rule, let him be deposed from office.


This same Canon is iterated verbatim by the lst-&-2nd Council in its c. XII, and confirmed, and that Council adds that priests who are to officiate in the oratories of private houses must be appointed by a prelate. Anyone that dares to officiate in them without being duly appointed and permitted by a bishop is to be deposed, and laymen who have joined with him in communion are to be excommunicated. Canon LVIII of Laodicea, on the other hand, which says that neither bishops nor priests may conduct sacred services in houses, does not conflict with the present Canon, because it does not specify that sacred rites may not be performed in the oratories of houses, as this Canon says, but only in houses in general, that is to say, more plainly speaking, in ordinary houses, a thing which is prohibited except in case of great necessity. Canon LIX of the present 6th deposes those clergymen who baptize anyone inside the prayerhouse of anyone, and not in the common church; and it excommunicates laymen who have joined in communion with them. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXI.

32. Since it has come to our knowledge that in the country of the Armenians those conducting the bloodless sacrifice are wont to offer wine alone at the sacred table, without mixing water with it, on the alleged ground that the teacher of the Church John Chrysostom said in his commentary of the Gospel according to St. Matthew the following: "On what account did He not drink water after He rose, but wine? — another wicked heresy being thus eradicated, roots and all. For since there were some who used water in the Mysteries, He showed both when He delivered the Mysteries and when He rose from the grave, that he set a mere table without mysteries and used wine, derived, he says, from the product of the vine" (Homily 82). But a vine produces wine, not water. Hence they infer that the teacher disallowed the offering of water in the sacred sacrifice (Matt. 26:29). Lest they remain henceforth in ignorance of the facts, we proceed to reveal the father’s meaning Orthodoxically. For, in view of the fact that the wicked heresy of the Aquarians was an old one, wherein they use water alone instead of wine in their own sacrifice, by way of refuting the unlawful doctrine of that particular heresy and showing that they are contravening the Apostolical tradition, this God-bearing man asserted the said words. Since even in the church of his jurisdiction, where he had the pastoral rulership in his hands, he taught that water should be admixed whenever it was requisite to perform the blood sacrifice, pointing out that from the precious flank of our Redeemer and Savior Christ the God there had exuded a mixture of blood and water, which mixture was shed, or poured out, for vivification of all the world and redemption from sins. And in connection with all churches where the spiritual luminaries shone forth, this God-given procedure prevails. For this is also in keeping with the fact that both James the carnal brother of Christ our God, who was the first to be entrusted with the throne of the church of the Jerusalemites, and Basil the Bishop of the Caesareans and one whose renown rapidly spread over the whole inhabited earth, having each of them handed down to us in writing the mystical hierurgy, have given out that the sacred chalice (or cup) is to be filled full of water and wine in the Divine Liturgy. And the devout Fathers assembled in Carthage, too, thus expressly mentioned that in the holy elements nothing more than the body and the blood of the Lord should be offered, just as the Lord Himself taught, that is, bread and wine, mixed with water. If, therefore, any Bishop, or Presbyter, fail to follow the procedure taught by the Apostles, and, mixing water with wine, thus to offer the intemerate sacrifice, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he has been divulging the mystery imperfectly or deficiently and novating the rites handed down.


The present Canon corrects the bad custom which came to prevail in the country of the Armenians — that of conducting the liturgy, that is to say, with wine alone, without combining it with water in accordance with the tradition of the Church. Since they adduce in support of such custom evidence resting upon the explanation which John Chrysostom gives to the Gospel according to St. Matthew, and think that that divine Father, by saying there that both before and after His resurrection the Lord used wine, is denying in these words the admixture of water in the Mysteries, therefore, owing to this mistaken view of theirs, these Fathers are making known the true meaning of the saint’s words, which say that because there was an old heresy called that of the Aquarians, who used water alone in the Eucharistic celebration, and not wine, divine Chrysostom, in refuting this heresy, employed these words thus, and not as one accepting that wicked custom of the Aquarians, since the same Chrysostom himself in his divine Liturgy taught the church of Constantinople that in the bloodless sacrifice of the Mysteries water must be mixed with the wine by way of representing the blood and water which emerged from the precious side of the Lord’s body while it was hanging on the cross, for the remission of the sins and the vivification of all the world, according to that Gospel saying that "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water" (John 19:34). But not only St. Chrysostom, but also James the brother of God and first hierarch of Jerusalem, as well as St. Basil the Great in their Liturgies gave directions for the holy chalice to be filled full of wine and water. In addition, the Fathers in Carthage in c. XLIV, which they set forth verbatim, do so too. So if any bishop or priest in the divine service of the hierurgy fails to mix water with the wine, in accordance with the Apostolic tradition, let him be deposed from office. For by failing to do so, he renders the mystery of the divine Eucharist incomplete or imperfect, and upsets what has been handed down. Read also Ap. c. III.


33. Since we have learned as a matter of fact that in the country of the Armenians only those who are of hieratical (or priestly) lineage are eligible to the clergy, pursuantly to Jewish customs, in an attempt to practice these, and that some of them do not even tonsure their Psalts and Anagnosts when installing them in the divine Temple, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that from now on those who wish to promote certain persons to the clergy are not allowed to pay any regard to the lineage of the ordinee. But, on the contrary, after first testing them as to whether they are worthy according to the definitions laid down in the sacred Canons to be enrolled in the clergy, they shall ordain them ecclesiastics, whether they have been born of ancestors who were priests, or not. Nor, furthermore, shall they permit anyone to speak from the pulpit to the laity the divine words, in accordance with the order of enrollment in the clergy, unless such person has something to show in the way of a priestly tonsure and receives the blessing canonically from the proper pastor. If anyone be caught acting contrary to the rules prescribed, let him be excommunicated.

(Ap. c. LXXVII; c. XIV of the 4th; c. XXIII of Laodicea; c. XXII of Carthage.)


This Canon too corrects those who inhabit the country of the Armenians, who not only made priests only of those who were descended from a priestly line, following the custom of the Jews, who made priests only of those who were descendants of the tribe of Levi, but also appointed psalts and anagnosts in the church with the formality of the bishop’s laying his hands on them. Decreeing that henceforth they are not to pay regard to whether the candidate for ordination is or is not descended from a priestly line, but are to test him as to whether he is in truth worthy to become a member of the clergy, the Fathers of this Council further decree that they must not let anyone read on the pulpit the divine words to the laity unless he first receives the canonical seal of an anagnost from the prelate. If anyone does anything contrary to these rules, let him be excommunicated.


Canon IV of the 7th also prohibits anyone from reading from the pulpit, even though he be a monk, without having received a chirothesy, or imposition of the hands, from the bishop. Canon XXII of Carthage, on the other hand, forbids anagnosts to bow to the laity after reading. Read also Ap. c. LXXVIL


34. In view of the fact that the sacerdotal Canon clearly states that as the crime of conspiracy or of faction is utterly forbidden even by civil laws, it is much more fitting still that this be prohibited from occurring in the Church of God, we too are sedulous to insist that if any Clergymen or Monks be found either conspiring together or engaging in factional intrigues or hatching plots against Bishops or fellow Clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.

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


This Canon is the same as c. XVIII of the 4th; and read its Interpretation there, but also see the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXI.


35. Let none of all the Metropolitans, when a Bishop dies who is under his throne, have any right to remove or to usurp his belongings or those of his church, but let them be under the safe keeping of the Clergy of the church of which the deceased happened to be president until the induction or installation of another Bishop, unless there be no Clergymen left in the same church. For the Metropolitan shall safely keep all such things undiminished and hand all of them over to the Bishop who is to be ordained.

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


No Metropolitan, says the present Canon, has any right or permission, when any bishop dies, to plunder and appropriate his belongings or those of his episcopate; but, on the contrary, these are to be held for safe keeping by the clergymen of the episcopate until another bishop has been installed. But if no clergymen have been left in that bishopric, then the Metropolitan shall take charge of them and keep them safe and nothing missing until he can turn them over to the bishop who is going to be ordained. See also Ap. c. XL.


36. Renewing the laws made by the one hundred and fifty Holy Fathers who assembled in this God-guarded imperial capital city, and by the six hundred and thirty of those who assembled in Chalcedon, we decree that the throne of Constantinople shall enjoy equal seniorities (or priorities) with the throne of older Rome, and in ecclesiastical matters shall be magnified like the latter, coming second after the latter; after which the throne of the great city of the Alexandrians shall come next, then that of Antioch, and after this the throne of the city of the Jerusalemites.

(Ap. c. XXXIV; c. III of the 2nd; c. XXVIII of the 4th.)


The present Canon renews c. III of the 2nd Ecum. C. and c. XXVIII of the 4th, which deal with the privileges of the Bishop of Constantinople, prescribing that he shall enjoy equal and same privileges with the one of Rome, and shall be magnified in ecclesiastical affairs in a similar manner to him, coming second after him only in point of order, while the Bishop of Alexandria is third, the one of Antioch fourth, and the one of Jerusalem fifth, solely in the matter of this order of prenumeration and subnumeration so conceived and so called. Read also the above-mentioned Canons, and c. VI of the First Ecum. C. and the Footnote thereto, in which we speak about the five Patriarchs.


37. Since at various times there have been inroads of barbarians, and many cities have as a result become subject to the iniquitous, so that the President of such a city has been unable after ordination to take possession of his own throne and to be installed therein in sacerdotal state, and thus to act and employ himself in accordance with the prevailing custom of bestowing ordinations and to do everything that pertains to a Bishop, we, being determined to safeguard the rights of the priesthood to honor and respect, and being nowise disposed to consent to any curtailment of ecclesiastical rights or to allow the heathen influence to be exercised over those so ordained, and on account of the cause recited above since they are unable to gain possession of their own thrones, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that no prejudice shall result therefrom to prevent them from bestowing ordinations canonically upon various Clergymen, and from employing the authority of the presidency in accordance with the same definition; and that any and all administration advanced by them shall be sure and duly established. For the definition of economy shall not be restricted or limited by the circumstances of necessity or be circumscribed as touching its rigor.

(Ap. c. XXXVI; c. XVIII of Ancyra; cc. XVII, XVIII of Antioch.)


The present Canon decrees that inasmuch as some prelates after being duly ordained have been unable to go to their thrones and eparchies, owing to the fact that their thrones have been captured by incursions of barbarians, for this reason, maintaining the respect and honor due to the prelacy, and being unwilling to let the fact of capture by barbarians become an obstacle to thwart ecclesiastical rights, we decree that those who have been thus ordained, and owing to the occasion and fear of barbarians have been unable to seat themselves upon their thrones, shall not be prejudiced as to their right to perform ordinations of various clergymen within their eparchy, even though they are far away from it (and see the Footnote to c. XVI of Antioch), as the Canons prescribe, and to have the honor and authority of the presidency in accordance with the same definition, or, more plainly speaking, according as their eparchy has been defined to be the first, say, or the second, the third, and so on; and anything they may do by virtue of any prelatical right, or, in other words, as prelates, is to be firm and legal. For although rigor, meaning the theoretical possibility of their going to their thrones and doing such things, has been lessened by the necessity of the time and of barbarians, yet the definition of economy, or more plainly speaking the right to do these things on their same throne even though far away from it, shall not be lessened on that account. Read also Ap. c. XXXVI.


38. We too retain the Canon which was laid down by our Fathers and which reads as follows: If any city has been rebuilt by imperial authority, or has been built anew again, pursuant to civil and public formalities, let the order of the ecclesiastical parishes be followed.

(c. XVII of the 4th.) (The present Canon is included in c. XVII of the 4th, and see the Interpretation of it there.)


39. Seeing that our brother and fellow minister John the president of the island of the Cyprians has departed thence with his laity and has come to the eparchy of the Hellespont, both because of barbarian assaults and because they have been freed from heathen slavery and have become subject to the ruling powers of the most Christian empire, by the providence of the philanthropic (or man-loving) God, and by the hard work of our Christ-loving and pious emperor, we see fit to concur in decreeing that the privileges conferred upon and granted to the throne of the man aforesaid by the God-bearing Fathers who convened in Ephesus long ago shall be preserved without any innovations, so that the new Justinianopolis shall have the right of Constantinople, and the most God-beloved Bishop appointed over it shall preside over all those in the eparchy of the Hellespontians and be ordained by his own bishops, in accordance with the ancient custom. For our God-bearing Fathers have already decided that the customs obtaining in each Church are to be continued, the Bishop of the city of the Cyzicenians being subject to the president of the said Justinianopolis, in imitation of the rest of all the Bishops who are under the said most God-beloved president John, by whom, if the need arises, the Bishop of the same city of the Cyzicenians shall be ordained.

(Ap. c. XXXIV; cc. VI, XII of the 1st; cc. II, III, VIII of the 2nd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; c. XXXVI of the 6th; c. IX of Antioch.)


In the time of Emperor Justinian II the Archbishop of Cyprus John departed from his eparchy (or province) together with his laity and came to the eparchy of the Hellespont (the Hellespont, according to Balsamon, is the eastern territory extending from Abydus, or, in other words the eastern Castron from the outside, to Thrace; but according to Chrysanthus the strait extending from Tenedus to Callipolis, or Gallipoli), as much on account of incursions of the barbarians as because of the fact that he was freed from their captivity, by the providence of God and through the diligence of the Emperor, and became a subject of the Roman Empire. For this reason the present Canon decrees that the privileges conferred upon the Bishop of Cyprus by c. VIII of the 3rd Council shall be preserved entire, and that this new city of Justinianoplis is to enjoy the right of Constantinople (that is to say, the right to be like her autocephalous, or, just as the Asian, the Pontic, and the Thracian provinces became subject to the Bishop of Constantinople, as we have said in c. XXVIII of the 4th, so and in like manner is the Hellespontian province, or eparchy, subject to Cyprus); and its Archbishop is to be ordained by his own bishops, in accordance with the ancient custom. So that the Metropolitan of the city of Cyzicus shall be subject to him, just as are also all the bishops in Cyprus, and whenever there is need he shall be ordained by him. Read also c. VIII of the Third Council.


40. Since it is very conducive to salvation for one to become closely attached to God by retiring from the turmoil of life, we must not welcome without examination those who unseasonably choose the solitary (or monastic) life, but must observe the definition handed down to us by the Fathers even in these matters, so as to make it incumbent upon us to welcome the confession (or promise, as we say in English) of a life in accordance with God then, when it is already certain and has been done with consent and judgment, after the completion of the reason. Therefore let anyone who is about to submit to the monastic yoke and who is not less than ten years old, the test for this resting with the president, if he deems the time to be more advantageous for growth as preparation for entrance into and continuance in the solitary life. For even though St. Basil the Great in his sacred Canons welcomes the girl who voluntarily offers herself to God and embraces virginity when passing through her seventeenth year, and makes it a law for her to be enrolled in the battalion of Virgins, yet, even so, following the example with respect to widows and deaconesses closely we have allowed those choosing the solitary life the said time proportionately. For in the divine Apostle it is written: "Let not a widow be taken into the number under sixty years old if she has been the wife of one husband" (1 Tim. 5:9). The sacred Canons, on the other hand, give instructions to the effect that a deaconess can be ordained only when she is at least forty years old, the Church having by the grace of God become mightier and advancing forward, and the tendency of the faithful to keep the divine commandments having become firmly fixed and secure, after exquisitely perceiving which fact quite recently we have seen fit to decree the blessing of grace upon the one about to undertake the struggle of living in accordance with God, impressing it precisely like a seal quickly and hence seeking to prevent him from lingering too long, and urging him forward into the arena, or rather indeed we might say impelling him to the choice and state of what is good.

(c. XIX of the 1st; c. XV of the 4th; c. XIV of the 6th; cc. VI, LI, CXXXV of Carthage; cc. XVIII, XXIV of Basil.)


Those who wish to become monks or nuns ought not, according to the present Canon, to be accepted without examination, and at an unseasonable or improper time and in defiance of the definition prescribed by the divine Fathers (and especially St. Basil the Great), but only then ought the confession and promise they make to God to be accepted as reliable and representative of their state of mind, when the judgment of their reasoning faculty has reached its maturity, as Basil the Great asserts in his c. XVIII and especially in his Definition 15 in extenso. So, in sum, let the one who is about to become a monk be not less than ten years old; but, nevertheless, let it be in the power of the bishop to try him out and to increase the number of years for him (in proportion, that is to say, to his natural knowledge) if he deems it more to the person’s interest. For although Basil the Great specifies in his aforesaid Canon that a virgin girl over sixteen or seventeen years may be admitted to the battalion of virgins, we nevertheless, following the example of the widows and deaconesses, have reduced the sixteen or seventeen years of St. Basil to ten years, because the Apostle prescribes that a widow may be admitted to the Church if she is not less than sixty years old, while the Fathers of the 4th say that a woman may be ordained a deaconess when she is forty years old, in their c. XV, seeing the Church of God to be advancing with the grace of God, and the constancy shown by Christians in the keeping of the divine commandments. Giving these facts due thought, we have decreed this Canon, engraving in the tender soul of the one about to commence the spiritual struggles of monks, as a seal, the blessing of divine grace, and bracing him by means of this Canon, not to neglect the business of virtue for a long time, but rather to choose the good portion so much the sooner. But c. VI of Carthage says also that virgins ought to be consecrated to God by only the bishop; and c. LI of the same Council says that they ought to be provided for by him also, or, in his absence, by the presbyter.

41. Those wishing to depart from cities or villages where they are living in cloisters, and to look after themselves alone by themselves, must first enter a Monastery, and become duly accustomed to anchoretic conduct, and to submit for three years straight to the Prior of the Monastery in fear of God, and to fulfill obedience fittingly in all respects; and thus while confessing a predilection for such a life, they may embrace this with all their heart, and the fact must appear and be verified by test of trial by the local president. It is wishable, though, that they may spend another year staying outside by waiting with fortitude in the cloister so that their aim may come to light more clearly. For they shall afford such clear evidence that they are not hunting empty glory, i.e., are not in pursuit of vainglory, but are striving after this quietude for the sake of what is really good itself. When such a long time has been completed, those who persist in the same preference shall be shut up and it shall no longer be possible for them to leave this solitary confinement when they want to, except and unless it be for the common advantage and benefit, or some other necessity forcing them towards death, and they are being drawn towards this alternative, and thus, with the blessing of the local Bishop. But apart from the said pretexts, in case they should attempt to make an exit from their resorts (or dungeons), the first formality is that they must be duly imprisoned in the said cloister against their will, and must be forced to fast again and again, and to submit to other hardships, so as to be made well aware of the fact that "No one who, after putting his hand to the plow, looks back, is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven" (Luke 9:62.)


It is a great and bold stroke for one to depart mundane life right at the very start and be shut up inside of cloisters, and from one extravagation to jump over to another extravagation — from the turbulent sea, I mean, of life into the untoward and difficult sea of quietude. For this reason these Fathers in the present Canon decree that those who wish to do this must go to a monastery, and after showing obedience to the prior in every respect for three years, they must be examined by the bishop and confess that of their own accord and with all their heart they are yearning for such a departure. Afterwards, following this, they are to quietly rest themselves and remain quiet for a year outside of the cloister, in order to furnish still more convincing evidence that it was not out of vainglory, but out of a desire for the good of quietude that they have been longing for this kind of life. And if after all these steps they stand solidly on the same conclusion and eagerness, then they are to be shut up and are no longer to have permission to get out when they wish, except only if this be for the common benefit of the people and on account of a danger of dying. Nevertheless even then they are to come out with the blessing and permission of the local bishop. But if without having any such reasons as these they should try to get out, they are to be forcibly shut up again in their said cloister, and be penanced (or "canonized") canonically both with fastings and with other kinds of hardships and harsh treatment in order to be taught that, as the Lord said, whoever puts his hand to the plow, or, in other words, whoever commences a career in accordance with God’s way and afterward goes back to a worldly life, cannot succeed in traveling straight to the Kingdom of Heaven.


42. As touching so-called hermits, who dressed in black and with a growth of hair on their head go about the cities and associate with laymen and women, and insult their own profession, we decree, if they choose to tonsure their hair and adopt the habit (or garb) of other Monks, that they be installed in a Monastery and be enrolled with their brethren there. But if they do not prefer to do so, they must be driven out of the cities altogether and be forced to dwell in deserts, from which they formed the name they have applied to themselves.


Because of the fact that of old many deceivers of the people calling themselves hermits, wearing black and growing hair on their head, roamed round cities, mixing with men and women, and discrediting their monastic profession, the present Canon decrees that if such men are willing to cut off their hair, like the rest of monks who live in monasteries, and to be settled down in a monastery, well and good; but if they are unwilling, let them be driven out of the cities entirely, and let them go and dwell in the deserts, from which they falsely, and not truly and truthfully, came to call themselves "hermits." (Note of Translator. — This word hermit in English has somehow or other acquired an initial h which does not belong to it. It is derived from the Greek word for desert eremia, whence the Greek word in question is eremites, meaning "(a monk) inhabiting the desert or wilderness.")


43. It is permissible for a Christian to choose the ascetic mode of life and abandoning the turbulent whirl of ordinary life to enter a Monastery, and to take a tonsure in accordance with monkish habit, even though he should have been found guilty of any offense whatsoever. For our Savior God said: "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). As therefore monachal life represents to us a state of repentance as though engraved upon a pillar, we join in sympathizing with anyone that genuinely adopts it, and no manner of means shall prevent him from accomplishing his aim.

(c. II of the lst-&-2nd; c. XXVII of John the Faster.)


It would seem that some persons who wished to lead a monastic life were being prevented from doing so by others, perhaps because of sins they had committed. Hence the present Canon decrees that every Christian (who is under his own control, that is to say, and not under the authority of another person; and see Ap. c. LXXXII) is permitted to renounce and abjure the world, and to go to a monastery and get tonsured, even though he may have committed the greatest sin, seeing that the Lord said, "I won’t chase away anyone that comes to me." So, then, inasmuch as the life of monks is a picture of repentance, just as a pillar is a picture of what is engraved upon it, therefore and on this account we too are pleased to congratulate those persons who prefer it, and no cause (of any sin, that is to say, and not of any allegiance to authority) shall prevent such persons from carrying out their avowed aim. Canon XXV of Nicephorus, too, says that if anyone who is ill asks for the monachal habit, it must be given to him at once without postponing the time, or procrastinating, and that the grace must not be withheld from it on any account. Both Balsamon and Symeon of Thessalonica say this same thing too. Without an "old man," however, at hand to welcome into admission and submission, no monk ought to be solemnized, according to c. II of the lst-&-2nd.


44. Any Monk that is found guilty of the act of fornication, or of accepting a woman for the purpose of matrimony and with a view to living with her (as his wife), shall be compelled to suffer the penalty of undergoing the penances prescribed by the Canons.

(c. XVI of the 4th; c. XIX of Ancyra; cc. VI, XVIII, XIX, XX, LX of Basil.)


If any monk be proved to have committed fornication, or if he marries, he is to be penanced as a fornicator, i.e., for seven years, in accordance with the Canons; the unlawful marriage being first dissolved. That is what the present Canon decrees. As for the Canons it refers to, these are c. XIX of Basil. Read also c. XVI of the 4th.


45. Since we have learned that in some convents (or nunneries) the women about to be deemed worthy of that sacred habit, first dress themselves up in fine style with silken and all sorts of fancy costumes, and, what is more, worn in worldly fashion and ornamented with gold and precious stones, and show themselves off before those who are inducting them, and that while they are approaching the altar they take off all these materials, and that thereupon and without further ado the blessing of the habit is pronounced upon them and they are clothed in the black garment; we decree that henceforth this shall no longer be done. For it is not pious or meritorious for any woman that has already of her own free will and preference renounced every pleasure of delightfulness of life and has embraced the career modeled after God, and has confirmed this with undeviating strict vows, and thus has come to the Monastery, once more in remembrance to pass through this repetition of that perishable and flowing world whereof she has already committed herself to forgetfulness. As a result thereof she is rendered doubtful, and her soul is agitated, like as though billows were surging over it, and turning it this way and that, so that after all they do not even shed a tear, be it only once in a while, nor do they exhibit any contrition in their heart through their body. But even if a tear do for an instant, as is but natural, well up and leap out, it is less on account of any disposition in favor of the ascetic struggle than for their having abandoned the world and the things in the world, and rather with a thought to having others see it.

(c. CXXXV of Carthage.)


The present Canon prohibits women from adorning themselves in attractive costumes and silk dresses when they are about to become nuns, and with jewelry of gold and gems, and while thus adorned to approach the holy Bema of the church in a convent (or nunnery) for nuns, and there to take off all these vain ornaments and at once put on the black garments of nuns, and receive the blessing of the habit. For it is not becoming in a woman who of her own free will has previously rejected every pleasure of life and has fallen in love with a career modeled after God, and with firm vows has confirmed this choice of hers, and has gone to the monastery thus on a solid basis, to recollect again such ornaments of those things which she previously had scorned and forgotten. And not only this, but also for her soul to be agitated as a result of these ornaments and because worldly imaginations rise up against her like billows, so as not to let her shed even a tear as she is being tonsured and show thereby that contrition which ought to be in her heart. But even if she should let one little tear drop from the corner of her eye, it is perhaps just to make onlookers think that she shed it not so much because of her having been deemed worthy of the angelic habit, as because she has forsaken the world and all that is in the world.


46. As touching women who prefer the ascetic life and are enrolled in a convent, in general let them not step outside of it, but if they are compelled to do so by any inexorable (or "indispensable") necessity, let them do so with the blessing and permission of the abbess. Even then let them not go out all alone by themselves, but let them be accompanied by some presbyteresses and mother-superiors in the convent provided with a warrant from the Prioress. They must not be permitted to sleep outside of the building at all. But men who are leading the solitary life (of monasticism) may themselves step out, when there is urgent need of their doing so, only with the blessing of the one in charge of the monastery. So that those who violate the rule which we have now made, whether they be men or women, must be subjected to suitable penances.

(c. XLVII of the 6th.)


These Fathers do not want nuns to go away from their convents at all. But if any unavoidable and urgent need arise that compels them to do so, let them fare forth with the blessing and permission of the Abbess; even then, however, not alone, but with other women who are much older both in point of age and in point of prudence. For them to sleep at night outside of their convents is utterly forbidden them in any case whatsoever. But monks, too, when similarly compelled by some urgent and unavoidable need, may go out from their monasteries only with the blessing of the Prior. All those who do otherwise are to be reprimanded with suitable penances, which the Prior or Prioress is acquainted with, whether the delinquents be men or women.


St. Basil the Great also commands (in his Epitome of Definitions, Def. 120) that a monk go to no place without permission of the prior. As for any monk that should go away from the monastery without a blessing, he says for him to be deprived of communion (Penance 1); but not even for the sake of visiting their relatives may monks depart from their brethren, and live an unwitnessed life (in extenso Def. 32). The second ordinance of Title I of the Novels in proceeding forward makes it a law that even with the foresight and diligent care of the bishop neither monks nor nuns ought to go away from their monastery or convent, respectively, and roam about town, but only through the medium of menytae and apoctisiarii make any replies that are necessary, while they themselves stay inside their monasteries (in Photius, Title XI, ch. 4).


47. Let neither any woman sleep in the men’s quarters in a Monastery, nor any man in the women’s quarters of a Convent. For the faithful believers must be remote from any offensiveness of scandal, and must regulate their own life to be seemly and accordant to the Lord. If anyone do this, whether he be a clergyman or a layman, let him be excommunicated.

(cc. XVIII, XX, XXII of the 7th.)


This Canon decrees that neither may any woman in general sleep at night in the monastery of monks, nor may any man in general sleep at a convent mutually with any of the nuns there. For Christians in general must not cause any others any scandal or suspicion, but must pass their life in a seemly manner and in a manner agreeable to the Lord. But much more ought monks to guard themselves against committing this impropriety. As for women sleeping in a monastery of monks, and conversely for men to sleep in a convent of nuns, this should cause them to be scandalized themselves because of its kindling the innate fire of desire both in the men and in the women; and it should scandalize others too still worse because of its inducing them to entertain improper suspicions about them. As for anyone that does this, he is to be excommunicated, no matter whether he be a clergyman or a layman.


48. As touching any woman who is the wife of a man who is being elevated to the presidency of an Episcopate, and who by mutual agreement gets divorced from her own husband in advance after his ordination to the Episcopate, let her enter a Convent that is in a location far removed from the home city of the Bishop, and let her be taken care of by the Bishop. But if she also appears to be worthy, let her also be elevated to the office of Deaconess.


The present Canon commands that any woman who is the wife of a man who is about to become a bishop must first divorce by common consent of both her and him. And after he has been duly ordained, she must enter a convent (or monastery) that is far away from his eparchy, or province, by which expression it is implied that she is to become a nun in some remote convent, but is to be provided with the necessities of life by him (if, that is to say, she is needy). The Canon commanded this to be done, in order that they might not from seeing each other be led to recollect their former conduct and association in life, and consequently be burned up with a desire for carnal love. But if the wife, however, is worthy, she may be made a deaconess. Read also Ap. c. V, and c. XII of the 6th, and the second Footnote to c. XL of the same 6th. From this Canon Blastaris rightly infers that neither ought the wife of deceased priests marry a second time.


49. Renewing this sacred Canon too, we decree that Monasteries that have once been consecrated and established in accordance with the consent and approval of a Bishop shall remain Monasteries unto perpetuity, and the property that belongs to them shall be kept safe in the Monastery, and that they can no longer become worldly resorts, nor be let out by anybody whatever to any worldly tenants whatever. Though this has been done up till now, we nevertheless decree that it shall not be continued in any way whatever. Those who attempt to do this hereafter shall be subject to the penances provided by the Canons.

(c. XXIV of the 4th; c. XIII of the 7th.)


The present Canon renews c. XXIV of the 4th, which it repeats verbatim, and see the Interpretation there. All it adds thereto is this, that neither shall monasteries be let out by anybody (whether a clergyman or a layman or a monk, that is to say) to worldly men, to manage them, that is to say; and though this has been the practice hitherto, from now on, however, and hereafter it must not be done.


50. From now on nobody, whether a clergyman or a layman, is permitted to gamble (or to play dice). In case anyone be caught doing this, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office, but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.

(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII.)


These Fathers forbid everybody to gamble, or, in other words, to play dice, or cards, or draughts, or any other such games, no matter whether he be a clergyman or a layman. Anyone that should play these games after publication of this Canon, if he be a clergyman, shall be deposed from office, but if he be a layman, he shall be excommunicated. See also Ap. c. XLII.


51. The holy and ecumenical Council universally prohibits so-called pantomimes and their theatrical exhibitions; afterwards, in keeping with this, also the spectacles of wild-animal fury and of hunters’ prowess, and the execution of dances on the stage. If anyone flouts the present Canon, and gives himself over to any of the things herein prohibited, in case he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but in case he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.

(cc. XXIV, LXII, LXVI of the 6th; cc. XVII, LXX of Carthage.)


With a vengeance the present Canon prohibits the doings of so-called pantomimes, some of whom were Arabs mimicking gestures, while others were Armenians, at other times slaves, sometimes even slapping each other’s face, and moving the spectators to uncontrollable laughter. What is here called "spectacles of wild-animal fury and of hunters’ prowess" as translated into English (though but two words in Greek, meaning, approximately, "hunting scenes" — translated, however, as above in order to bring out the implications more clearly) are the spectacles beheld when one sees wild beasts, such as, for instance, lion, say, or bears, or other savage animals, fighting, either among themselves, or with human beings who have been condemned to death. For it is a piece of great inhumanity and barbarity to look at such bloodshed and laugh at it. But in addition to these spectacles, the Canon also forbids dances and indecent wriggles performed whether by men or by women on the stage. The stage was a tent within which they used to engage in all kinds of theatrical presentations and pretenses, or where someone would stand up and display examples of skillful acting, according to Title XIII of Photius, ch. 21, and hence they are called actors who at times pretend that they are masters or lords, and at other times that they are slaves or servants. As for anyone that flouts the present Canon and gives himself to watching such displays, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office, but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. Read also c. XXIV of the same 6th.

52. On all the days of the holy Lent devoted to fasting, with the exception of Saturday and Sunday and the days of the holy Annunciation, let the sacred liturgy of the presanetified be celebrated.

(Ap. c. LXIX; cc. XLIX:LI of Laodicea).


The days of holy Lent are days of mourning and of contrition and of penitence. But for a perfect sacrifice to be offered to God, and indeed in the commemorations of saints, is deemed by the majority of people to be a matter of heydey, and of joy, and of festivity. That is why they are wont to indulge in merry-making during this period. For this reason the present Canon commands that on the other days of Lent there shall be a celebration of the liturgy of the presanetified, which is the same as saying the second offering of the finished and offered sacrifice, whereas on Saturdays and Sundays, as more hilarious days and not devoted to fasting, likewise also on Annunciation Day, as being the commencement of our salvation and the exordium, and consequently as a feast day and festival, it allows a perfect sacrifice and liturgy to be celebrated.



Canon XLIX of Laodicea is in agreement with the present Canon in decreeing that bread is not to be offered during Lent, or, in other words, a perfect liturgy, but only on Saturday and Sunday. Furthermore, c. LI of the same prohibits the celebration of commemorations and birthdays of martyrs on fasting days in Lent, but allows it only on the Saturdays and Sundays therein. Balsamon, in his Interpretation of c. LI of this C. of Laodicea, and, above all, Blastaris, in ch. 5, stich. 300, say that not even memorials for the sleeping are to be held on the other days in Lent, the sole exception being Saturday, just as the rituals conformably prescribe. See also Ap. c. LXIX.


53. Since familiarity with respect to the spirit is superior to the association of bodies, while, on the other hand, we have learned that some persons, after becoming sponsors to children subjected to the formalities of a holy and salvatory baptism, have entered into a marriage contract with the widowed mothers of those children, we decree that henceforth nothing of the kind shall be done. If any persons be detected doing this hereafter, first and foremost let such persons desist from such unlawful state of matrimony, and afterwards let them be compelled to undergo the penances prescribed to be suffered by those guilty of fornication.


The present Canon forbids anybody to take to wife the mother of his goddaughter who has become a widow and whose child he has stood sponsor for at holy baptism, since this relationship based upon the spirit, whereby the godfather and the spiritually related mother of the child he has sponsored become spiritually brother and sister, is superior (superior, however, not in respect of quantity and rank; for blood relationship holds as an obstacle only to the third degree of rank — but in respect of quality and familiarity: and see in the section concerning marriage contract, ch. 8). As for any persons that may dare to do this, they are first of all to be divorced from this unlawful wedding, and next they are to be canonized (i.e., canonically punished) as fornicators on account of that unlawful marriage. This same provision, however, which the Canon makes in regard to sponsorship, ought to apply likewise to adoption solemnized by sacred rites and prayers, according to the twenty-fourth Novel of Leo the Wise.


54. In view of the fact Holy Scripture clearly teaches us that which is embodied in the following passage, to wit: "Thou shall not intrude upon any relative of thy flesh to expose his private parts" (Lev. 18:6), God-bearing Basil merely enumerated some of the forbidden marriages in his Canons relating thereto, passing over most of them in silence, and pointing out to us on both hands that which is of benefit. For after eschewing the multitude of obscene appellations, as though to avoid defiling his discourse with the words, he dealt with the filth in general terms, in which he pointed out concisely the marriages that are unlawful. But inasmuch as such silence and inability to discern what marriages are prohibited as illicit led nature to get confused, we have concurred in seeing fit to present the facts concerning this matter more nakedly. Accordingly, we decree that henceforth anyone who enters into matrimonial relationship with his own (female) cousin; or any father and his son who likewise take a mother and her daughter, or two sisters; or a mother and her daughter likewise take two brothers; or two brothers take two sisters — shall incur a seven years’ canon (or penance), after they have canceled the unlawful marriage contract.


Since the divine Scripture clearly teaches us by telling us, "O man, thou shalt not take in marriage any carnal relative of thine," in reference to this saying St. Basil the Great in his c. LXXVI enumerated some marriages forbidden in his Canons (as, for instance, in his c. LXXVI that of a man taking his sister-in-law to wife; in his c. LXXVIII, that of one who takes two sisters; and others in other cc.), but passed over the most in silence, on the ground of their being too shameful to mention, in order to avoid defiling his discourse with the names of them, but concisely alluded to all unlawful marriages by the general designation of them as filth (but as for what the Council says that Basil said, Basil asserts that Scripture has said it — which is to say, divine St. Paul, who said: "But fornication and all (other) filth, let it not even be named among you," etc. (Eph. 5:3). As a result of this silence men’s nature was confused by consanguinity, and for this reason we define these matters more clearly in the present Canon by decreeing that from this time forth whoever takes to wife his (female) cousin, or any father and his son if they take to wife a mother and her daughter, or two sisters, or if two brothers take a mother and her daughter, or two sisters — all these persons must first be separated from this unlawful marriage contract, and afterwards be canonized (i.e., penanced) seven years. St. Basil, however, in his c. LXVIII decrees generally that marriage within forbidden degrees of relationship is to be canonized with the penalty of adulterers, i.e., 15 years. See also in the teaching concerning marriage contracts.


55. Since we have learned that those in the city of the Romans during the holy fast of Lent are fasting on the Saturdays thereof, contrary to the ecclesiastical practice handed down, it has seemed best to the holy Council for the Church of the Romans to hold rigorously the Canon saying: "If any Clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday, with the exception of one only let him be deposed from office. If, however, a layman, let him be excommunicated."


By the present Canon this Council forbids the old Romans to fast (either by abstaining entirely from food of all kinds, that is to say, or by eating only dry food in the ninth hour) on the Saturdays of holy Lent (for on these the consumption of wine, oil, and shellfish is allowed), and decrees that c. LXIV of the Holy Apostles must be kept rigorously in Rome too, iterating it verbatim — read the Interpretation of it.

56. Likewise we have learned that in the country of the Armenians and in other regions on the Saturdays and on the Sundays of holy Lent some persons eat eggs and cheese. It has therefore seemed best to decree also this, that the Church of God throughout the inhabited earth, carefully following a single procedure, shall carry out fasting, and abstain, precisely as from every kind of thing sacrificed, so and especially from eggs and cheese, which are fruit and produce from which we have to abstain. As for those who fail to observe this rule, if they are Clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated.


It would seem that the Christians living in Armenia, being told that the Apostolic Canon forbids one from fasting on Saturday and Sunday, and not understanding it aright, were wont to eat eggs and cheese on the Saturdays and Sundays of Lent. Hence this Council in the present Canon decrees that the entire Church of Christ, which is spread over the whole inhabited face of the earth, must follow one and the same procedure and fast on these days (by consuming on these days only wine, oil, and shellfish), and just as it abstains during Lent from animals that are sacrified, so must it also abstain from cheese and eggs, which are fruit and produce of such animals. As for those who fail to keep this rule, if they are clergymen, let them be deposed from office, but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated. Read also Ap. cc. LXIV and LXIX.


57. That honey and milk must not be offered at the Altars.

(Ap. c. III.)


The present Canon decrees that milk and honey must not be offered in the holy Bema on the holy Table, in agreement with Ap. c. III; see the Interpretation of the latter. This Canon, however, improves and corrects c. LXIV of Carthage, which decrees that such are to be offered, in accordance with some local custom.


58. Let no one ranked among Laymen administer the divine Mysteries to himself, when a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon is present. Let anyone that dares to do any such thing he excommunicated for a week on the ground that he is doing contrary to what has been ordered. Thus will he be instructively persuaded "not to think contrary to what he ought to think" (Rom. 12:3).


For a layman himself to partake of the divine Mysteries by himself, i.e., by helping himself thereto, without there being any need of doing so (when a Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, that is to say, is not present, according to Zonaras), is a work of presumption, and whoever does it is usurping unlawfully the office of the priesthood. For this is the function of priests, not of laymen. So for this reason the present Canon excommunicates from the Church for a week anyone that dares to do this, in order to teach him not to think in excess of what he ought to think according to the Apostle.


59. Let no Baptism be performed for anyone that is in an oratory within a house at the time; but let those who are going to be deemed worthy of the intemerate illumination come to the catholic churches and there enjoy this gift. If, however, anyone be caught not keeping what has been laid down by us as rules, if he should be a Clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he should be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The present Canon commands that no baptism is to be carried out in an oratory contained in a private house, but only in catholic, and consequently enthroned, churches. As for anyone that fails to keep this rule, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, the one who concerned in such a baptism, let him be excommunicated. See also Ap. c. XXXI.

60. In view of the fact that the Apostle loudly proclaims that "he that cleaves to the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17), it is obvious also that he that makes himself intimate with the adversary becomes one with him by association. As touching, therefore, those who pretend to be possessed with demons, and who with their vileness of manners are wont to sham the habits of those persons, it has seemed best to penalize them by all means and to subject them to such hardships and pains as those who are really possessed with demons would be deservedly subjected to for the purpose of ridding them of the demon’s energy.


Some persons, because of the vileness of their frame of mind and with an eye to making a profit, were wont to pretend that they were possessed with a demon, and to go through the gesticulations of persons under the control of demons and make irregular motions by pretense while going about the cities and causing people a disturbance and making a theatrical show of themselves. Hence the present Canon commands that such persons be penalized by all means and be subjected to such great hardships and pains as would be inflicted upon persons really possessed with demons in order to free them from the demon accompanying them, with which these men too who feign themselves to be under the control of demons have become familiar and have become one with them, just as he that cleaves to the Lord and becomes intimate with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him, as St. Paul says. Balsamon states that such persons at various times were actually chained and shut up in prisons by many Patriarchs and Bishops. See also Ap. c. LXXIX.

61. Those who consult soothsayers or so-called "hecantontarchs" of other such fortune-tellers in the hope of learning from them whatever may be revealed to them, in accordance with what the Fathers had formerly decided in regard to them, let them incur the canon of six years. The same penalty ought to be inflicted also upon those who lead bears after them, or other such animals, for the purpose of sport and harm of the more simple-minded, and who tell the fortune, and fate, and genealogy, and other such things to the populace, in accordance with the rigmarole of delusion. As for those who are called cloud-chasers and enchanters and amuletics and soothsayers, if they persist in these professions, and refuse to change their occupation and to eschew these ruinous practices and Greek "rackets," we decree that they be thrown out of the Church altogether, in conformity with what the sacred Canons also prescribe. "For what communion hath light with darkness?" as the Apostle says; "or what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? Or what portion hath a believer with an infidel? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?" (II Cor. 6:15–16).


Christians must not affect any of those wicked things which the Greeks used to affect — divination, that is to say, and charms, and other similar things. On this account the present Canon decrees that those Christians shall be compelled to abstain from the Mysteries for six years who consult soothsayers, and men calling themselves hecantontarchs, and others of the kind, with a view to learning from them whatever occult things they wish (in order to find money or other things they have lost, for instance), just as previous Fathers have canonically penalized them. It also in like manner with the above canonizes for six years also those who drag bears or other such animals along with them for sport and harm of simple-minded persons; and also those who tell fortunes of men and what they are to get in the future and that they were born on a lucky or unlucky day and other such delusive sayings. It likewise canonizes also those persons who were called "cloud-chasers," and "enchanters," and "amuletics" and soothsayers. Accordingly, all of them are to receive this canon if they repent and abandon such ruinous, devilish, and Greek "rackets." If, however, they persist in this wickedness and delusion, and do not give it up, they are to be driven away from the Church of Christ altogether and are to be excluded from the society of Christians, just as the divine Canons prescribe. For what communion has light with darkness? or what union has the temple of God with the altar of idols? what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? or what concord has Christ with the Devil, as St. Paul says? But we must note that the penalty provided by the present Canon is provided for laymen only, as much for those who perform such diabolical works and magic as we have enumerated above, as for those who consult them. For any clergymen and persons in holy orders that should do such things would surely be deposed from office, according to Balsamon and Zonaras, without fail.


As regarding persons engaged in divination and following Greek customs, and bringing wizards to their homes in order to discover the bewitchments certain persons may have cast a spell upon them, the Fathers of the Council in Ancyra canonize them five years in their c. XXIV, while Basil the Great makes it six in his c. LXXXIII, which this Council followed mentioning as previous Fathers both him and those in Ancyra. Canon XXXVI of Laodicea expressly throws out of the Church those who wear amulets, and prohibits clergymen and priests from becoming wizards, or enchanters, or mathematicians, or astrologers, and from making amulets. It is mainly this Canon that the Council is referring to in saying "in conformity with what the sacred Canons also prescribe, but perhaps it is referring also to the ones following. For c. III of Nyssa decrees that those who go to fascinators and soothsayers must be well questioned, and if it turn out that they became small-souled (or pusillanimous) as a result of being forced by any unendurable necessity and were deluded by such men, they are to be more leniently dealt with (or canonized), just as are those who have been induced by tortures to deny Christ. But if it be as a result of their having flouted the faith of Christ and of their having failed to believe that Christ is a God and well able to free them from every ill plight and calamity, they are to be canonized like those who have voluntarily denied Christ, which is the same as saying, that they are not to commune throughout the duration of their lifetime, unless at last they separate from the Church, and pray only by themselves alone, as the same Gregory of Nyssa in his c. II plainly states this. But also c. VII of Basil also in dealing likewise with those Christians who have sacrificed to idols and have consequently been separated from the Church of Christians, penalizes sorcerers. The same Basil, on the other hand, in his c. LXV canonizes as willing murderers those who declaim about the fascination and sorcery which they have practiced, and also those who give themselves to soothsayers in his c. LXXII.


62. We wish once for all to extirpate from the life of the faithful the so-called (festival of) the calends, or kalends, and the so-called Vota, and the so-called Brumalia, and the public festival celebrated on the first day of March. Furthermore, the public dances of women, which are calculated to wreak great harm and injury. Furthermore we dismiss also the dances and ritualistic ceremonies performed by men or women in the name of what are falsely called gods among Greeks, after an old custom which is alien to the life of Christians, at the same time decreeing that no man shall put on any feminine costume, nor shall a woman put on any that befits men. But neither shall anybody put on comic, or satyric, or tragic masks; neither shall anybody shout the name of abominable Dionysus while engaged in squeezing grapes in the wine-presses; nor, when pouring the wine into the casks shall they provoke laughter by a show of ignorance or of vanity, by producing the effects of demoniacal delusion. As for those who from now on attempt to carry out any of the aforesaid improprieties, while well aware of what they are doing, if they should be clergymen, we command that they be deposed from office; but if laymen, that they be excommunicated.


The calends (also spelled kalends) were the first days of every month, on which the Greeks were accustomed to celebrate in order as they hoped to pass the whole month merrily. The Vota and Brumalia, on the other hand, were Greek festivals. The Vota, referring to grazing and sheep, were celebrated in honor of the god Pan, who was supposed by the Greeks to be the patron of sheep and other animals. The Brumalia were celebrated in honor of Dionysus; for the epithet of Dionysus among the Greeks of the north was Bromius, derived from bromos, a Greek word signifying a peal as of thunder. By the Romans he was called Brumalius, and his festival Brumalia, in the plural, which is the equivalent of Dionysia, as the Greeks called it. So the present Canon commands that such festivals, but especially the public one celebrated on the first day of March, for the pretended purpose of securing good weather in spring, be eliminated altogether from the public and private life of Christians. Nor must public dances in general of women be held, nor festivals and dances by men or women in honor of the name of the pseudo gods of the Greeks. It decrees in addition that neither must men wear women’s clothing, nor women men’s clothing. But neither must they disguise themselves with false faces and masks that are comic, or, in other words, calculated to provoke laughter, or tragic, or calculated to provoke laments and tears, or satyric, or, in other words peculiar, to Satyrs and Bacchi, who in honor of Dionysus were wont to dance ecstatically and as if demon-possessed. And that no one should invoke, or call upon, the name of despicable Dionysus (who was supposed to be the giver and patron of wine) when treading the grapes in the winepresses, nor laugh and guffaw when the new wine is being transferred to the pitharia, as these are called in modern Greek, being a kind of earthen casks. So whoever from now on, after becoming fully aware of these prohibitions, shall attempt to do any of the aforesaid things which are demonish and Greekish, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.


Note also that in Deuteronomy (ch. xxii, v. 5) God prohibits a woman from wearing men’s clothing, and a man from wearing women’s clothing: "a woman shall not wear the apparel of a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all who do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God." The Council held in Gangra does not even allow a woman to wear masculine attire for the sake of supposed exercise. For it anathematizes any woman doing so, c. XIII. Read also c. XXIV of the present Council.


63. With regard to the falsely compiled martyr-lists fabricated by the enemies of the truth, as if with an intention to dishonor the Martyrs of Christ and to lead those paying attention to it into disbelief, we command that it must not be read publicly even in the churches, but that these things must be consigned to fire. As for those who accept them and recognize them as veridical, or those who bestow any attention upon them as true, we anathematize such persons.


Infidels and enemies of the truth, wishing to bring accusations against Christians’ records, composed, it would seem, certain ludicrous and grotesque utterances and deeds with the allegation that the Martyrs of Christ said and did those things, in order that the Martyrs might incur insults as a consequence thereof, and the Orthodox faith be laughed to scorn. Hence the present Canon commands that no such fictitious lists be read publicly in churches, but instead that they be burned up. Those, on the other hand, who accept them as true are anathematized. See also Ap. c. LX.


64. That a layman must not publicly make a speech or teach, thus investing himself with the dignity of a teacher, but, instead, must submit to the ordinance handed down by the Lord, and to open his ear wide to them who have received the grace of teaching ability, and to be taught by them the divine facts thoroughly. For in the one Church God created different members, according to the utterance of the Apostle, in interpreting which St. Gregory the Theologian clearly presents the right procedure in these matters by saying: "Let us have respect for this procedure, brethren, and let us observe it. First, let one man be a listener, as the hearing recipient; another, the tongue; another, a hand; another, something else; let one man teach, and let another man learn; and after short periods, as touching one who learns in a state of obedience, and one who leads the chorus in hilarity, and one who renders service in cheerfulness and willingness, let us not all be a tongue, heeding the most apt saying: "Let us not all be Apostles; let us not all be Prophets; let us not all be Interpreters" (1 Cor. 12:29), and after somewhat: "Why are you making out that you are a shepherd, when you are a sheep? Why are you becoming a head, when you happen to be a foot? Why are you attempting to be a general, when you are placed in the ranks of (ordinary) soldiers? And from another quarter Wisdom bids: "Be not hasty in words; vie not with a rich man when thou art indigent" (Prov. 23:4); nor seek to be wiser than the wise. If anyone be caught disobeying the present Canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days.


The present Canon prohibits any layman from teaching openly and in church as a teacher; instead he should rather himself be taught by those who have received the gracious gift of teaching. For, just as there are various members belonging to one and the same body, as St. Paul says, so and in like manner there are various persons in the one Church, in the order in which placed each of them. Hence in interpreting this saying of the Apostle’s (in his Homily concerning due order in discussions) he says that one person in the Church must be an ear, another a tongue, another a hand, and another some other member; and neither must all of them be a tongue, or, in other words, teachers, nor must all of them be Apostles, nor all of them Prophets. So, O man, being a sheep, why are you trying to make yourself out to be a shepherd? Being a foot, why are you trying to be a head? Being a soldier, why are you undertaking to be a general? or a leader of soldiers? Solomon, too, says: "Be not glib of speech and ready to say things; nor, when poor, quarrel with the rich; nor seek to become wiser than the wise, or more learned than the learned." If anyone does things in violation of this Canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days. But if any layman chance to be experienced in discourse and modest in manner, he is not prohibited from answering and teaching in private those asking questions, as Zonaras states, and ch. 32 of Book VIII of the Apostolic Injunctions declare. For they shall be, it says, all taught of God: in which manner Apollos spoke, and taught the facts about the Lord, and in spite of the fact that he only knew the baptism of the Lord (Acts 28:25), and Aquilas and Priscilla, who taught the same Apollos the way of God more exactly (ibid.).


65. We command that henceforth the bonfires lit by some persons on the occasion of the New Moon in front of their own workshops or houses, and over which some persons even leap, in accordance with an ancient custom, it is babled, shall be abolished and done away with. Whoever, therefore, who does any such thing, if he be a Clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. For it is written in the Fourth Book of Kings: "And Manasseh built an altar to the whole host of heaven, in the two courts of the Lord’s house, and passed his children through fire, and consulted augurs, and appointed ventriloquists, and multiplied seers, and he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to wrath" (II Kings 23:4–6).


Since, and in imitation of the Greeks and heathen, some Christians used to light a bonfire in front of their workshops and houses, over which bonfire they would leap and pass over it and above it, this Council deposes any clergymen that do such a thing, while, in the same connection, it excommunicates laymen guilty of the same offense. Wishing to show that if such Greek customs when observed by the imperfect Jews sufficed to provoke God to indignation and wrath, how much more they provoke Him when observed by us Christians who are perfect and disciples of the Gospel! It says that King Manasseh built an altar, implying that he offered sacrifices to the host and force of heaven, to the stars, that is to say (and especially to the moon; just as is written in Jeremiah: "to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out libations unto her" — unto the moon, that is to say) within the two courts of the temple, and he passed his children through the fire, and consulted augurs, and was wont to divine future events by auspication, and appointed many ventriloquists and seers. And he perpetrated wickedness in the eyes of the Lord and provoked His wrath. Note, too, that the expression "he passed his children through fire" is taken by the Council here to mean that Manasseh made his children hop over or through the fire, whereas Cyril of Alexandria, in his Commentary of Isaiah, interpreted it to mean that he made a burnt-offering of his children in the fire as a sacrifice to the demons.


66. The faithful are required to spend the time in a state of leisure without fail in the holy churches from the holy days of resurrected Christ our God to New Sunday in psalms and hymns, and in spiritual songs called odes, while taking cheer in Christ and celebrating, and paying close attention to the reading of the divine Scriptures, and delighting themselves to their heart’s content in the Holy Mysteries. For thus shall we be jointly resurrected and jointly exalted with Christ. Therefore during the days in question let no horse races or other popular spectacle be held at all.


Inasmuch as all of Novation week is reckoned as a single day devoted to the name of the Lord, therefore does the present Canon decree that all Christians during this week ought to remain in the churches, taking cheer and celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, paying attention to the words of the divine Scriptures and partaking of the divine Mysteries. For in this sort of way we shall be resurrected and exalted jointly together with Christ. Hence on these days horse racing must not be indulged in, nor must any other popular spectacle, disorderly game, that is to say, or dances, or wrestling matches, and any other such amusement. See also Ap. c. IX and c. XXIV of this 6th.


67. Divine Scripture has commanded us to "abstain from blood, and strangled flesh, and fornication" (Gen. 9:3–4; Lev. ch. 17 and 18:13; Acts 15:28–29). We therefore suitably penance those who on account of their dainty stomach eat the blood of any animal after they have rendered it eatable by some art. If, therefore, anyone from now on should attempt to eat the blood of any animal, in any way whatsoever, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman let him be excommunicated.


The present Canon commands that no Christian eat the blood of any animal, no matter in what manner or by what art it may have been prepared, and even though it be mixed with other foods, whether these be "suntzukia" or any other things. For the divine Scripture of the Old Testament, and especially that of the New expressly commanded Christians to abstain from blood, from strangled meats, and from fornication (and from things sacrificed to idols). If a clergyman should eat this, let him be deposed from office; but if a layman do so, let him be excommunicated. Read also Ap. c. LXIII.


68. As regards the fact that it is not permissible for anyone to destroy, or to cut up, or to turn over to book stores or to so-called druggists, or anyone else whatsoever for destruction any of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, or of our holy and eminent Preachers and Teachers, unless it be completely useless because of having been damaged by bookworms or water or in some other way. Anyone caught doing such a thing from now on, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise anyone buying such books, unless he keeps them for his own use and benefit, nor should he give them away to others to keep, but who attempts to destroy them, let him be excommunicated.


It is not permissible, says the present Canon, for anyone to destroy or to cut up books of the Old and New Testaments, and of the eminent teachers, or, in other words, of those who have been approved and accepted after tests (for many books have been written, but have been rejected and disapproved); nor must he give these away to book stores, or to persons who extinguish or otherwise destroy books, or to those selling drugs and perfumes, or to anyone else to destroy or make away with them — except only if they have been entirely eaten up by worms, or have rotted and have become illegible from having become too old to be read. As for anyone who might do such a thing, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise let him be excommunicated who buys such books, not in order to benefit himself by reading them, nor in order to give them to anyone else to have the benefit of them, but in order to spoil them or to destroy them.


69. Let it not be permitted to anyone among all the laity to enter within the sacred altar, with the exception that the Imperial power and authority is in no way or manner excluded therefrom whenever it wishes to offer gifts to the Creator, in accordance with a certain most ancient tradition.


The holy Bema is consecrated to those in holy orders. For this reason the present Canon prohibits every layman from entering it, except only that person who is the Emperor or King; and he is excepted not as a layman, but as having power and authority and as one anointed of the Lord, who has been permitted to enter it, in accordance with a most ancient tradition, whenever he wishes to offer gifts to God his Creator, and to partake of the Holy Mysteries.


That explains why c. XLIV of Laodicea forbids women to enter the sanctuary of the sacrificial altar. Canon I, however, of Patriarch Nicholas allows those monks to enter the Holy Bema who are not guilty of any transgression reflecting upon the modesty of the monastic habit, in order to light the candles or wax tapers. But even St. Nicephorus, in his c. XV, says that nuns ought to enter the Holy Bema for the purpose of lighting the lights and setting things in order and sweeping it. If, however, a person is not a monk but only a novice, he cannot go into the Holy Bema, according to what Balsamon says in his interpretation of c. I of Nicholas, q.v.


70. Let it not be permissible for women to talk during Holy Mass, but in accordance with the words of Paul the Apostle, "let your women remain silent. For it has not been permitted them to talk, but to obey, as the law directs. If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home."

"As in all churches of the saints," says Paul the Apostle, "in the churches let your women remain silent. For it has not been permitted them to talk but to obey, as the law directs. If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home" (1 Cor. 14:33–35.)

"Let the women learn quietly with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman having been deceived became at fault. But she shall be saved through child-bearing, if they abide in faith and love and sanctity with sobriety" (1 Tim. 2:11–15).


According to the words of this Canon and according to the words of St. Paul, women are prohibited from teaching either in holy temples (churches) or outside thereof, for St. Paul does not mean by "church" the temple itself, but a "congregation of people" anywhere; and still more are they prohibited from chanting either in a choir of their own or along with men.

"For it is a shame for women to talk in church" (1 Cor. 14:35). This means that women should keep silent in church, and out of church wherever there is a congregation of people. The fact that the word talk is used here, and not the word speak, controverts and overthrows the allegation put forward by some persons that only teaching is forbidden to women but not chanting; for talk includes any sort of vocal utterance, and not merely articulate speech. In fact, women are not allowed to let their voice be heard at all within the sacred temple of the church. They may, of course, sing and chant in their hearts praises and blessings to God, but not with their lips.

Before God formed Eve, He said: "It is not good that man should be alone; let us make for him a helper meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). This means that woman was created, not to rule man, but to help him and to be ruled by him. Woman is a teacher of every virtue by word and deed within her own province at home; but she is not allowed even to speak or sing within the sacred precincts of the church. Woman’s job is to bear children and rear them in the belief and love of God, to uphold the sanctity and sobriety of marriage, and to shun adultery as a thing that is odious to God. By so doing she will be saved, and not otherwise; by leaving this path and failing in these duties, she invites perdition.

"If anyone think himself a prophet or a spiritual agent, let him acknowledge that what I write unto you are commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant" (1 Cor. 14:37–38). A true prophet or teacher or spiritual agent has the spirit of Christ and does not disagree with Christ’s Apostle; he easily discerns and believes that St. Paul’s commandments are commandments of Christ. Whoever, on the other hand, does not discern and believe this, yet thinks that he is a prophet or a spiritual agent, is merely deluding himself; he is a false prophet lacking the spirit of Christ.

Teaching and chanting are inconsistent with the nature and destiny of a Christian woman, just as are the priesthood and the bishopric. Eve, the woman formed by God, was the first to teach Adam once, in Paradise, and she ruined everything; that is why women are forbidden to talk in churches. The greatest adornment of women is silence. Let their example be Mary, the New Woman and Child of God, who alone has the honor of having had her speech recorded in history and handed down in the ninth ode of the Church; this refers to her speech and that of Elizabeth. Therefore let Christian women emulate her. The ancient idolaters had priestesses to officiate at the altars and in the temples of idols, in which demons were worshiped; and hence it is that deluded heretics derived this impious custom of theirs of letting women teach and sing and govern in their churches. Shall we Orthodox Christians imitate them? By no means!

It is recorded in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius (Book 7, ch. 30) that a council of bishops met in Antioch in the third century after Christ from various cities for the purpose of trying Paul the bishop of Samosat, who was rather a sophist and magician than a bishop and who, in addition to other heresies, had introduced a choir of women into the church of Antioch. That council addressed a letter to bishops Dionysius of Rome and Maximus of Alexandria containing the following phrases: "Having suppressed the psalms to our Lord Jesus Christ on the pretext that they are modern psalms and the writings of modern men, who is preparing women to chant to himself in the midst of the church on the great day of Easter whom one would shudder merely to listen to."

Women were never permitted to teach or to chant in the church along with the sacred cantors or in a choir of their own. Female choirs are an unexampled innovation involving many perils and capable of leading to many scandals, for woman’s voice is more attractive and more pathetic than man’s. The appearance of women in the church choir constitutes a stumbling block; for the eyes and ears of the congregation are at once turned to them, and, becoming intoxicated with the sight and sound of the highstrung melodramatic voices of women, they are languorously effeminated in mind and rendered incapable of enjoying the modest and contrite songs of the Church; thus the church choir gradually becomes transformed into a theatrical chorus!

Canon LXXV of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod decrees the following with reference to church choirs: "It is our wish that those who come to church to chant should neither employ disorderly yelling and strain their natural voices to scream, nor recite anything inappropriate and not suited to a church, but that they should offer such psalmodies with great care contrition to God, who listens and looks on in secret." "The children of Israel shall be reverent," saith the sacred saying (Lev. 15:31).

The holy liturgy and sacred hymnody presented in church has the purpose of offering prayers to propitiate God for our sins. Whoever prays and supplicates should be of humble and contrite mind; yelling indicates rudeness and irreverence of mind. But voices and faces of female choirs and the psalmody of European quartets represent a theatrical mind rather than a modest ecclesiastical mind. What is it that is unsuited to the church? Effeminate songs (melodies) and trills (which means the same thing as the warbles of old) and an excessive variety of tones that inclines to whorish songs, Zonaras, an interpreter of the Canons, says.

The children of Israel after Christ are the pious Christians, who should be imbued with fear of God and reverence while within the church. God is not pleased with variety of melodies and voices, but with contrition and repentance of the heart. This is easily understood when we remember that man is pleased to listen to melodies and to look at pretty faces, whereas God looks into man’s soul in the depths of the heart and delights in its reverence, which is manifested by humbleness of behavior.


71. Those being taught the civil laws (i.e., civil law) must not resort to the Greek customs, nor moreover must they appear upon the theater stage, or engage in so-called cylistrae, or garb themselves in robes not in common use, either at the time they are commencing their course of study, or at the time they are finishing it, or, to speak more generally, at any time in the midst of their education. From now on if anyone dare to do so, let him be excommunicated.


Just as the more foolish of the learned men among the Athenians used to fight with their adversaries, as St. Gregory the Theologian writes in the epitaph of St. Basil the Great, and block up the cities and streets, and to do other such things usual to the young sophists, in like manner were Christians who were being taught civil law wont to adopt these Greek customs, and would let themselves be judged on the stage as to who was the best of them in argumentation, and would engage in what were called cylistrae, or would don clothes out of the ordinary. The present Canon prohibits them from doing any of those things either at the commencement or in the midst or at the end of their law course. Anyone doing such things thereafter is to be excommunicated.


72. Let no Orthodox man be allowed to contract a marriage with a heretical woman, nor moreover let any Orthodox woman be married to a heretical man. But if it should be discovered that any such thing is done by any one of the Christians, no matter who, let the marriage be deemed void, and let the lawless marriage tie be dissolved. For it is not right to mix things immiscible, nor to let a wolf get tangled up with a sheep, and the lot of sinners get tangled up with the portion of Christ. If, therefore, anyone violates the rules we have made let him be excommunicated. But in case persons who happen to be still in the state of unbelief (i.e., infidels) and to be not yet admitted to the fold of the Orthodox have joined themselves to each other by lawful marriage, then and in that event, the one of them having chosen the good start by running to the light of truth, while the other, on the contrary, has been held down by the bond of delusion for having failed to welcome the choice of gazing at the divine rays (whether it be that an infidel woman has looked with favor upon a man who is a believer, or vice versa an infidel man upon a woman who is a believer), let them not be separated, in accordance with the divine Apostle: "For the infidel husband is sanctified by the wife, and the infidel wife by the husband" (1 Cor. 7:14).

(c. XIV of the 4th.)


The present Canon declares that it is not permissible for an Orthodox man to marry a heretical woman, or for an Orthodox woman to get married to a heretical man. But if anyone should do this, the marriage is to be void, and this unlawful matrimonial tie is to be sundered. For no wolf should ever be united with a sheep, and the lot of sinners and heretics with the portion of Christ and of Orthodox Christians. Whoever transgresses the present Canon, let him be excommunicated. If, however, both parties were married while infidels in infidelity and community of religion, but afterwards one party believed in Christ, while the other remained in the darkness of infidelity, though the infidel party is still pleased to cohabit with the believing party, let the couple not be separated, as St. Paul says, and indeed even St. Basil’s c. IX. For one thing, because the infidel husband becomes sanctified by living with his believing wife, or the infidel wife by living with her believing husband. And for another thing, because perhaps as a result of such cohabitation the other party may be led to piety. "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" demands the same St. Paul, "or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save they wife?" (1 Cor. 7:16). See also c. XIV of the 4th.


73. Seeing that the vivifying Cross has shown us the way to Salvation, we ought to make every endeavour to render the honor deserved to that which has been the means whereby we have been saved from the old lapse. Hence both in mind and in word and in sentiment paying it adoration, we by all means command that imprints of the Cross on the ground made by some persons be erased, lest the symbol signifying the trophy of victory to us be desecrated by being trodden upon by people walking over the ground. We therefore decree that henceforth those who make the sign or imprint of the Cross upon the ground shall be excommunicated.


By virtue of the vivifying Cross we have been saved and have been freed from the bondage of sin. Hence (says the present Canon) we ought to make endeavour to render due honor and adoration to it, both with the mind, by remembering how many good things we have gained through it; and with words by telling these things to others and thanking Christ who was crucified upon it; and with feeling by kissing and honoring it wherever we see it. But inasmuch as certain simple-minded people mark the figure of this precious Cross everywhere, so far even as upon the ground of the earth, under the pretext of supposed reverence and in order to pay more honor to it, on this account the Council commands that wherever the figure of the Cross be found printed upon the ground it shall be erased and spoiled in order to prevent its being trodden underfoot and consequently dishonored by people walking upon the victorious trophy of our salvation. As for all those who hereafter make the figure of the Cross upon the ground, let them be excommunicated.


74. That so-called agapae, or love-feasts, must not be held at the Lord’s suppers, or at the churches, and that one is not to eat them inside of a house, or to lay a table with accubita (or couches). As for those who dare to do this, let them either cease or be excommunicated.


The present Canon is word for word the same as c. XXVIII of Laodicea, which prohibits Christian people from holding agapae, or so-called love-feasts (i.e., banquets held as a token of love, and designed to lead the banqueters to love and union), on the occasion of the Lord’s suppers, or, as we may say, in the churches. Nor must they provide soft and high couches thereat, which it calls "accubita," using a Latin word derived from the verb accumbo, which means in Latin to lean or recline upon, and thus to sit at table; for Christians were wont to sit on these when eating. As for any persons that might dare to do this, they must either cease or be excommunicated. We must first note that Balsamon opines that by "Lord’s suppers" the Canon means here any place dedicated to the Lord, including, that is to say, both the Narthex and the Pronaos, reserving the word "church" for the Temple itself. Hence the particle "or" is not to be taken as explanatory, as Zonaras asserts, but as disjunctive: so that, according to him, one must not eat, not only in churches, but not even in the Narthex of churches.


Likewise c. XLIX of Carthage prohibits bishops, clerics, and laymen from holding banquets except when some passing guests have to be entertained. Note that though the Canons forbid the holding of agapae, or love-feasts, they do not forbid their being held at common houses. Hence c. XXVII of the same Council of Laodicea commands that those in holy orders and laymen shall not take any portions of meals away with them as tidbits when they are invited to such love-feasts. Canon XI of Gangra anathematizes those who scorn those who hold such love-feasts (outside of the church, that is to say) and invite the brethren to assemble in honor of the Lord, and those who make light of the affair by refusing to attend them. Canon LXXVI of the present 6th excommunicates those who sell wine and food stuffs or other merchandise within the sacred precincts. But, besides this, c. XCVII of the same deposes clerics and excommunicates laymen who bring any domestic animal into a sacred temple, except as a result of some great necessity. See also the Footnote to c. LXXXIII of this same 6th.


75. We wish those who attend church for the purpose of chanting neither to employ disorderly cries and to force nature to cry out aloud, nor to foist in anything that is not becoming and proper to a church; but, on the contrary, to offer such psalmodies with much attentiveness and con-triteness to God, who sees directly into everything that is hidden from our sight. "For the sons of Israel shall be reverent" (Lev. 15:30), the sacred word has taught us.


The chanting, or psalmody, that is done in churches is in the nature of begging God to be appeased for our sins. Whoever begs and prayerfully supplicates must have a humble and contrite manner; but to cry out manifests a manner that is audacious and irreverent. On this account the present Canon commands that those who chant in the churches refrain from forcing their nature to yell, but also from saying anything else that is unsuitable for the church. But what are the things that are unsuitable for the church? The expositor Zonaras replies that they are womanish members and warblings (which is the same as saying trills, and an excessive variation or modulation in melodies which inclines towards the songs sung by harlots). The present Canon, therefore, commands that all these things be eliminated from the Church, and that those chant therein shall offer their psalmodies with great care to God, who looks into the hidden recesses of the heart, i.e., into the psalmody and prayer that are framed mentally in the heart rather than uttered in external cries. For the sacred word of Leviticus teaches us sons of Israel to be reverent to God.


David the prophet, too, says, "chant ye understandingly" (Ps. 47:7). In expounding this text St. Basil the Great (Epitomized Definitions, No. 279) says: "Understanding the words of the Holy Scripture is like the quality of meals which the mouth eats; since, according to Job (12:11), ‘The throat tastes foods, but the mind discerns words.’ So if anyone’s soul discerns the power of every word just as the sense of taste discerns the quality of every food, he is fulfilling that commandment of David’s." St. Basil himself adds (Epitomized Definitions, No. 281) that whoever does not go to chant in church eagerly should either be corrected or be ousted. If there are enough psalts available — many, I mean — the same saint (Epitomized Def., No. 307) says that they should practice chanting in rotation, once a week, that is to say. Canon XV of Laodicea, on the other hand, commands that no one else must chant in church but canonical chanters, or psalts, and parchment-chanting chanters, or psalts, or, in other words, except those who chant with a membraneous or other paper chant. In addition, c. XXIII of the same Council says that psalts are not to wear an orarion when they are chanting. Between the chants there ought to be reading (or praying) too, according to c. XVII of the same Council.


76. That within the sacred precincts no tavern or showcase for the display of perfumes or of other kinds of merchandise must be set up; for the respectability of the Church must be preserved, seeing that our Savior and God, instructing us by His conduct while living in the flesh, bade us not to make His Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16). He even poured out the coins of the money-changers, and drove them all out of the temple who were making it a market place. If, therefore, anybody be caught in doing what is here prohibited, let him be excommunicated.


The Lord told the Jews (19:46): "It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’ (Isa. 56:7); but ye have made it a ‘robbers’ cave" (Jer. 7:11). Hence, in order to avoid having these fearful words said to the faithful, the Fathers prohibited by means of this Canon the establishment of a tavern, or, in other words, the sale of wine, or of raki, or even of other kinds of comestibles, according to Zonaras, or of perfumes, according to Balsamon or of other kinds of merchandise within the sacred precincts, or, in other words, within the confines of the vestibule and the grounds of the divine Temples and Churches, in order to keep up respect for them. For even the Lord admonished us and said for us not to make the house of his Father a house of merchandise, and He even dumped out the money of the money-changers, or, more explicitly speaking, he scattered their small coins; and turning upon those who were making the temple a common house, he drove them away with a scourge of cords. As for anyone that may do this, let him be excommunicated. Read also c. LXXIV for the same 6th.


77. That those who have been admitted to the priesthood, or clerics, or ascetics ought not to bathe in public baths with women, nor ought any Christian layman do so. For this is the first thing heathen find to condemn. In case, however, anyone be caught in the act of committing this impropriety, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The present Canon is word for word c. XXX of the Council held in Laodicea, except only for the penance. It says, then, that those in major holy orders, or clergymen admitted to the Holy Bema, or monks and ascetics, or in general any Christian layman ought not to bathe in a public bath together with women; since this impropriety in the eyes of heathen appears to be an offense of the first magnitude, and the greatest scandal as against Christians. But the Apostle commands us to become sentinels to the Jews and Greeks, and to the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). And if, as Zonaras says, merely meeting a woman in general on the street or at a house is enough to disturb the reasoning process, how can the mind of those men who are bathing together with women fail to be overwhelmed and moved to desire. But not even married couples ought to bathe together, according to Balsamon, either at a public bath, that is to say, or in the sea, or in a river. For they possess their bodies for the purpose of procreating children, and not in order to strip themselves and look at their ugly parts. The Canon adds that whoever appears to be doing this, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The Apostolic Injunctions, Book 1, ch. 9, prohibit the bathing of a woman with a man. This disorderly act is also mentioned by Epiphanius (Haer. 30) and by Clement of Alexandria (Book 3, ch. 5, of his Pardagogus).


78. That those being enlightened (through baptism) must learn all about the faith, and on every Thursday must recite to the Bishop or to the Presbyter.


This Canon too is likewise word for word c. XLVI of Laodicea, which says that those who are getting prepared for enlightenment and baptism as catechumens (see the Interpretation of c. XIV of the 1st) ought throughout the period of their catechization (but what was the length of this period? See the Footnote to c. II of the 1st) to learn the dogmas of the Orthodox faith well and on Thursday of each week, according to Zonaras, they have to recite them by heart to the bishop, or to the presbyters who are catechizing them, lest, being ignorant of the mystery involved in our religion, they be baptized, and lest, being without supporting knowledge as a result of their ignorance, they be easily deceived by heretics.


Canon XLVII of the same Council of Laodicea says that those who are baptized while ill must learn the particulars of the faith when they get well.


79. Confessing the divine childbirth to have resulted from the Virgin without confinement (i.e., childbed), as well as without its being induced by seed; and preaching to all the flock, we require those who have done anything that was not proper to submit to correction. Hence, in view of the fact that after the holy birthday of Christ our God some persons are shown to be boiling fine flour (called in Greek semidalis) and giving thereof to one another, on the pretext of paying honor to the alleged puerperium of the All-intemerate Parthenometor (i.e., the perfectly immaculate Virgin Mother), we decree that nothing of the kind shall be done by the faithful. For this is no honor to the Virgin, at any rate, who gave birth to the Logos in the flesh who is incapable of being spatially bounded and whose birth was beyond the mind and reason of man, from common knowledge and our own experience to define and subscribe to the events attending Her ineffable childbirth. Henceforth, therefore, in case anyone should be caught in the act of doing this, if he be a cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


Inasmuch as some Christians, actuated by their lack of positive knowledge, on the second day after Christmas boiled fine flour and other foodstuffs, which they ate and gave one another to eat, doing this for the sake of allegedly honoring the puerperium of the Theotoke (just as it is the custom to do in the case of other women who gave birth to children in a natural manner). On this account and for this reason the present Canon decrees that hereafter such a thing shall not be done by Christians. For by such a custom to liken the inexplicable childbirth of the Ever-Virgin to the common and humble birth of us human beings cannot be considered any honor to Her, who beyond the conceivability of man’s mind and reason gave birth in the flesh to the God Logos, who cannot be bounded spatially; on the contrary, it is rather a dishonor. For just as we confess the Conception of the Theotoke to have been seedless and to have resulted from action of the Holy Spirit, so and in like manner we also join in confessing Her childbirth to have been one above every accompaniment of any confinement due to what is commonly called childbed, which consists in giving birth to an infant with the accompanying pangs of childbirth and is followed by a flux of blood, according to Zonaras. Whoever should do this, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


See also St. Epiphanius (Haer. 79), who in speaking against Collyridiani says that certain are wont to place a baked ring-cake on a square bed provided with linen bedclothes, and afterwards to eat it; and that they do this under the pretense of offering adoration to Mary the Theotoke, and say certain other things that are blasphemous.

80. In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion.


The present Canon decrees that any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any clergyman in general, or any layman, without being under any grave necessity or difficulty forcing him to stay away from his church, while he is living in the city, fails to attend church along with the rest of the faithful on three consecutive Sundays, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. For one of two things must be true: either such a person is not a believer; or, though a believer, he scorns the common offering of hymns and prayers to God.


The present Canon is gleaned word for word from c. XI of Sardica — though, on the one hand, the statement that a bishop under no graver necessity or difficulty forcing him to absent himself from his own church is contained as a separate item in the Sardican Canon, which says that bishops must not leave their eparchy for a long time, whereas the present Council has taken it that bishops must not absent themselves from the congregation of the faithful in the church, conjoining this statement with the one below it. Instead of the words "while living in the city, . . . three consecutive Sundays," etc., the Sardican Council says these words with regard to laymen only, whereas the present Council says them with regard also to bishops. Just as c. XII of the same Sardican Council, that is to say, would have it that even a bishop who is living on his real estate, which is in some foreign eparchy, for three consecutive Sundays, he must join the other faithful in the neighboring church; whereas c. V of Gangra anathematizes anyone that scorns the Church and the congregation of the faithful therein. Likewise also c. XX of the same Council anathematizes those who haughtily disparage the "memoriae" of martyrs and the congregations and liturgies thereat. Canon XXI, too, of the same Council praises congregation in the church as being of public benefit.


81. Precisely because we have learned that in some countries, in the hymn called the Trisagion, by way of addition after the words "Holy and Immortal" there are inserted the words, "who was crucified for our sake, have mercy upon us," but this addition was elided from that hymn by the Holy Fathers of old on the ground that it is alien to piety, considering that such an utterance must be due to some innovating and disloyal heretic, we too, hereby confirming and ratifying the decisions piously made in the way of legislation by our Holy Fathers heretofore, do anathematize those who still persist after this definition in allowing this utterance to be voiced in church, or to be joined to the Trisagion hymn in any other manner. Accordingly, if the transgressor of the rules laid down here be a member of the Clergy, we command that he be shorn of his sacerdotal standing; but if he be a layman, that he be excommunicated.


Peter Fullo (i.e., "the Fuller") and the Theopaschites following him were the first to add to the Trisagion Hymn the words "who was crucified for our sake," after the words "Holy and Immortal." These heretics, therefore, together with such addition, were condemned by the Council which was held in Rome A.D. 487 under Pope Felix before the Fifth Ecum. Council, and Peter Fullo indeed was anathematized by it (see the Preface to the Fifth Ecum. C.O. But inasmuch as there are still some successors to the heresy of Fullo to be found reciting the Trisagion hymn together with this blasphemous addition, the present Council anathematizes those who accept it and who either in church and publicly or in private join this addition to the Trisagion. Accordingly, if they happen to be clerics, it deposes them from office; but if they happen to be laymen, it excommunicates them.


82. In some of the paintings of the venerable icons, a lamb is inscribed as being shown or pointed at by the Precursor’s finger, which was taken to be a type of grace, suggesting beforehand through the law the true lamb to us, Christ our God. Therefore, eagerly embracing the old types and the shadows as symbols of the truth and preindications handed down to the Church, we prefer the grace, and accept it as the truth in fulfillment of the Law. Since, therefore, that which is perfect even though it be but painted is imprinted in the faces of all, the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world Christ our God, with respect to His human character, we decree that henceforth He shall be inscribed even in the icons instead of the ancient lamb: through Him being enabled to comprehend the reason for the humiliation of the God Logos, and in memory of His life in the flesh and of His passion and of His soterial death being led by the hand, as it were, and of the redemption of the world which thence accrues.


Since some painters paint Christ as a sheep and lamb, with the Forerunner pointing his finger at him and saying, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," therefore and on this account the present Canon commands that hereafter in the future this shall not be done, but instead Christ Himself shall be painted a full-grown man, with respect to His human character, in order that by means of the human aspect we may be enabled to recall to memory His life in the flesh and His passion and His death, and the salvation of the world resulting therefrom. For, as regarding those old types of the Law, we honor and value them, out of consideration for the fact that they prefigured the truth of the Gospel and of grace, among which one was that of the lamb slaughtered on the occasion of the Passover (or Easter), taken in the image of Christ, the true Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world. But now that this truth and the realities themselves have come, we prefer it and accept it rather than the types.


83. Let no one impart of the Eucharist to the bodies of the dying. For it is written, "Take, eat" (Matt. 26:26); but the bodies of dead persons can neither take nor eat anything.


This Canon is nearly the same as the twenty-fifth of Carthage. For since it used to be, according to Zonaras, an old custom to impart the Eucharist, or, more explicitly speaking, the divine Mysteries, to the bodies of dying persons, this Canon prohibits this as does also that Canon, explaining that when the Lord gave the mystic bread to His disciples, and through them consequently to all the faithful, He said, "Take, eat." But the bodies of the dead can neither take it nor eat it. But neither ought one to baptize the dead, according to the remainder of the same c. XXV of Carthage. St. Chrysostom, in his homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, excommunicates from the Church for a long time as an idolater any Christian that pays and hires women called moerologetriae (corresponding to what the Irish call keeners, i.e., professional mourners) to lament and mourn his dead relatives, and when admonished not to do so will not listen. On top of this, he also excommunicates even the moerologetriae themselves if they dare to go to wail.

84. Closely following the Fathers’ institutions, we decree also as concerning infants, whenever there can be found no reliable witnesses who can state beyond a doubt that they have been duly baptized, and neither are they themselves owing to their infancy able to give any information at all in reply to questions respecting the mystagogical rite administered to them, they must be baptized without putting any obstacle in the way, lest any such hesitation may deprive them of such purifying sanctification.


This Canon too is likewise word for word c. LXXX of Carthage, decreeing that whenever no witnesses can be found to testify that infants have been baptized (perhaps because they were captured by barbarians and abducted to distant regions, and were thereafter redeemed from captivity by Christians), nor can they themselves give any information that they have been baptized, owing to infancy, or, more explicitly speaking, owing to the infantile age at which they were baptized. Such infants, I say, ought to be baptized without any hindrance, lest any doubt as to whether they have been baptized or not result in depriving them of the purification effected through and by virtue of the bath. And see the Footnote to Ap. c. XLVII.


85. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses must every word be verified" (Deut. 17:6 and 19:15; cf. Matt. 18:16), we are taught by Scripture. In the case therefore of those slaves who are being freed by their masters, we prescribe that they shall enjoy this honor pursuant to the testimony of three witnesses. Those having present knowledge shall offer verification to the freedom which they are bestowing of their own accord.


Since according to the civil laws the freedom of slaves was a thing which had no honor attached to it, therefore and on this account whenever any testimony was being offered concerning it, five or even more witnesses had to be presented, in order to insure the proof of it. In annulling this, the present Canon decrees that only three witnesses are sufficient to verify the liberation of such a slave: since the Holy Writ says that every word must be established, or, more explicitly speaking, must be verified by the mouth of two or three witnesses. See also Ap. c. LXXXII.


86. As for those who procure and train prostitutes and harlots to the detriment of souls, if they should be Clerics, we decree that they be excommunicated and deposed from office; but if they be laymen, that they be excommunicated.


Even the civil laws forbid and punish the practices of whoremongers, or, at any rate, the collection and nurture of whores, harlots, and prostitutes (the Greek language making no distinction between these species of the same genus) to the injury of souls with a view to gaining reward from their prostitution; and much more do the ecclesiastical laws do so. On this account the present Canon excommunicates and at the same time also deposes from office those Clerics who do this (which penalty is a very severe one and double chastisement, since for the most part deposition alone suffices to punish Clerics), while, on the other hand, it excommunicates laymen.


87. A woman who has abandoned her husband is an adulteress if she has betaken herself to another man, according to sacred and divine Basil, who most excellently and aptly extracted this item of knowledge from the prophecy of Jeremiah, which says that "if a wife transfers herself to another man, she shall not return to her husband, but by polluting herself she shall remain polluted" (Jer. 3:1); and again, "Whosoever hath an adulteress (as his wife), is foolish and impious" (Prov. 18:22). If, therefore, a woman appears to have departed from her husband without a good reason, the man deserves to be pardoned, while the woman deserves a penance. The pardon shall be given to him so that he may have communion with the Church. Any husband, however, who abandons his lawful wife, and takes another, according to the Lord’s decision, is subject to the judgment attached to adultery. It has been canonically decreed by our Fathers that such men shall serve a year as weepers, two years as listeners, three years as kneelers, and during the seventh year shall stand together with the faithful, and thus be deemed worthy to partake of the prosphora if indeed they verily repent with tears.


The present Canon is composed of three Canons of St. Basil the Great. Thus, the commencement of this Canon is gleaned from c. IX of Basil. It says in effect that any wife who leaves her husband and takes another is an adulteress, just as divine Basil wisely concluded both from the prophecy of Jeremiah which says in effect that if a wife takes another man, she can no longer return to her first husband (without his wanting her, that is to say, according to Zonaras), since she has become polluted: and from the Proverbs of Solomon, who says that any man is impious and wanting in sense who keeps his wife in his house after she has been adulterously employed by another man. The rest of this Canon is gleaned from c. XXXV of St. Basil. It says: If, therefore, it should appear that a wife has departed from her husband without a good reason and cause (which means without the reason based on fornication; so that from this it is easy to understand by contradistinction that a wife may with good reason leave her husband: but no other occasion is a good reason except the reason of fornication or adultery), the husband deserves to be pardoned on the ground that he has afforded no just cause for this unreasonable departure of his wife, and he can take another wife. But the wife, on the contrary, deserves the penances attached to the commission of adultery, on the ground that she has become the cause of this departure. The pardon which the husband shall receive because thereof is that he may stand along with the faithful in the church and not be excommunicated, though he is not entitled to partake of the divine Mysteries. The rest of this Canon is word for word c. LXXVII of St. Basil the Great. It says: He, however, who (except on grounds of fornication) leaves his lawful wife and takes another is subject to the penance attached to adultery, in accordance with the Lord’s decision, which says: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, save on account of fornication, is causing her to commit adultery." By concession, however, if he repent with tears, such a man and his likes are canonized by the Fathers (assembled, that is to say, in Ancyra, in their c. XX; and by St. Basil the Great, in his c. LXXVII) to abstain from Communion for seven years, passing two of them with the weepers, two with the listeners, three with the kneelers, and during seventh year standing together with the co-standers, or consistentes, and thus acquiring the right to commune. Read also the Interpretation and Footnote of Ap. c. XLVIII, and c. XX of Ancyra.


88. Let no one introduce into a sacred Temple any beast whatsoever, unless it be that when someone is journeying, and being under the greatest necessity and without a habitation or resort of any kind, he puts up in such a Temple. For if he does not let his beast stay inside, it will perish. But with the loss of his beast of burden and as a result of his being thus left without any means of carriage he will expose himself to the danger of death. For we are taught that "the sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27), so that through all it is preferable to consider the salvation and safety of the man. But if anyone should be caught introducing a beast into the Temple without there being any real necessity, as has been said, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The present Canon prohibits anyone from introducing into any sacred temple any kind of animal. For sacred things deserve honor and respectful reverence, save only if anyone be engaged in a long journey, and there arise a great need due to wintry weather and a heavy rain, and he has no place to take refuge, he takes his beast into the temple in order to avoid leaving it outside to perish and himself exposed to the danger of death, as not being able to make the journey from here on with his own feet alone, or as being grieved because he has no money wherewith to buy another. The Canon adduces testimony from Scripture, which says that the Sabbath was made for man. This can be taken in two different senses: either that just as the Sabbath was declared a holiday by the law in order to allow the slave a day of rest, and likewise the beast of burden in the service of man, so that it might as a result of such rest be able to serve its master the better, so and in virtually the same way it maybe said that the animal is allowed to rest in the Temple on such an occasion not for the sake of the animal itself, but for the sake of the man who owns the animal. Or that just as the holiday of the Sabbath used to be interrupted in order to enable men to water their animals (Luke ch. 13), or to get them out of a pit if they happened to fall into one on a Sabbath, in order that as a result of all such exceptions man might be served. Thus too is the honor of the Temple temporarily shelved in order to provide for the salvation of the man owning the beast. But if anyone should take any animal into a temple without any such necessity, in case he be a clergyman, let him be deposed; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. Read also c. LXXIV of this same 6th.


89. The faithful celebrating the days of the soterial Passion with fasting and prayer and contrition must cease their fast about the middle hours of the night after Great Saturday, the divine Evangelists Matthew and Luke having signaled us the lateness of night, the one by adding the words "at the end of the sabbath" (Matt. 28:1) and the other by saying "very early in the morning" (Luke 24:1).

(c. I of Dionysius.)


This Canon decrees that Christians must celebrate all the Great Week of the Holy Passion with fasting and prayer and contrition of the heart — real contrition, that is to say, and not hypocritical (exceptionally, however, and especially on Great Friday and Great Saturday they ought to be forced to spend the entire day without any nourishment at all); but about midnight — that is to say, after the midnight of the past Great Saturday — of the coming Great Sunday they must cease fasting, since the Lord has already risen, as is plainly evidenced by the divine Evangelists. For St. Matthew by saying that the women came at the end of the Sabbath to inspect the sepulcher revealed that the day of the Sabbath had past as well as a large part of the night after the Sabbath; while Luke, on the other hand, by saying that they came "very early in the morning" revealed that there still remained a large part of the night until Sunday dawned. Hence, from the statements of both of them it may be inferred that the Lord rose about midnight, the sixth hour having passed and the seventh having begun.


As concerning the precise time of the Lord’s Resurrection c. I of Dionysius goes into the matter more fully; in fact, it was from him that the present Council derived its information on these matters. He adds that those who broke their fast before midnight were accused of being pusillanimous and intemperate, whereas those who waited with fortitude till daybreak were praised as being magnanimous and temperate. But even the Apostolic Injunctions, Book V, ch. 19, say that Christians must cease fasting at the dawn of the first hour of Sabbath, or, more plainly speaking, at the dawning of Sunday. See also the Interpretation and Footnote to c. XXIX of the present 6th and Ap. c. LXIX.


90. We have received it canonically from our God-bearing Fathers not to bend the knee on Sundays when honoring the Resurrection of Christ, since this observation may not be clear to some of us, we are making it plain to the faithful, so that after the entrance of those in holy orders into the sacrificial altar on the evening of the Saturday in question, let none of them bend a knee until the evening of the following Sunday, when, after the entrance during the Lychnic, again bending knees, we thus begin offering our prayers to the Lord. For inasmuch as we hare received it that the night succeeding Saturday was the precursor of our Savior’s rising, we commence our hymns at this point spiritually, ending the festival by passing out of darkness into light, in order that we may hence celebrate en masse the Resurrection for a whole day and a whole night.


Since we have received it traditionally (as the present Canon decrees) not to bend the knee on Sundays, from the God-bearing Fathers of the First Synod, i.e., St. Peter and St. Basil the Great, for the resurrection of the Lord, we bring it to the notice of the faithful that they are to refrain from genuflection after the entrance which the priests make into the Holy Bema during Saturday vespers; this is the same as saying from the one evening to the next. For taking the night after Saturday to be the precursor and preamble of the Lord’s resurrection, we begin chanting the resurrection hymns called the Anastasimi, and from the darkness of the night after Saturday (which is counted as that of Sunday) we commence the festival, and keep it up until the light of day of Sunday, when we end it, in order that in this manner we may celebrate the Resurrection en masse for a whole night and day. See also c. XX of the 1st.


91. As for women who furnish drugs for the purpose of procuring abortion, and those who take foetus-killing poisons, they are made subject to the penalty prescribed for murderers.


Some women, who happen to conceive as a result of secretly practicing coition with men, in order to escape detection swallow certain poisonous draughts or herbs by means of which they kill the foetus in their womb and thus expel it dead. For this reason the present Canon condemns to the penalty of murderers all women (or men) who furnish such means, as well as the women who take these and swallow them.


Canon VIII of Basil decrees this same thing verbatim. But treating such women more kindly, the Fathers in Ancyra, in their c. XXI, and St. Basil the Great, in his c. II, do not canonize for life, but only for ten years. Drugs for procuring abortion, termed abortifacients, are, as some note, and more especially Suidas, the destructive herb named in c. XXI of Ancyra, but the same term is also applied (in Greek) to the foetus destroyed by it. Even in Book LX of the Basilica, Title 39, both women furnishing and those taking these poisonous herbs are condemned as murderesses. Athenagoras, too, in his Apology for Christians, says this very thing. See also Ap. c. LXVI.


92. As for those who grab women on the pretext of marriage, or who aid and abet those who grab them, the holy Council has decreed that if they be clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank, but if they be laymen, they shall be anathematized.


This present Canon is word for word the same as c. XXVII of the 4th, and read its interpretation there.


93. After her husband’s departure and when he has vanished, yet before becoming convinced of his death, any woman that cohabits with another man is committing adultery. Likewise the wives of soldiers, who, when their husbands have disappeared, get married (again), are subject to the same rule precisely as those who fail to await the return of their husband when he has left home. Nevertheless, in this case there is room for condoning their conduct because there is more suspicion of death. The woman, on the other hand, who has unwittingly married a man who has been temporarily abandoned by his wife, and has been left afterwards because of his former wife’s return to him, is indeed guilty of having committed fornication, but unknowingly. Though she shall not be denied the right to marry, yet it would be better if she should remain as she is. If the soldier should ever return in time whose wife on account of his protracted absence has taken another husband, he shall have the right, if he so should choose, to take back again his own wife, a pardon being granted to her on account of lack of knowledge and to the man who has cohabited with her in the course of a second marriage.


This Canon is composed of three Canons of St. Basil the Great (for its beginning is word for word his c. XXXI) saying that if the husband of a woman departs and does not come back for a long time, and she, before hearing and being informed that her husband has died, takes another man she is an adulteress; (the part following this is word for word the same as c. XXXVI of St. Basil. Likewise if the wives of soldiers get married a second time, on account of not having heard that their husbands are coming back, are adulteresses. However, these women who marry a second time have some claim to pardon (more, that is to say, than have wives of non-soldiers who have married a second time) inasmuch as their husbands, being soldiers and engaged in wars are more to be suspected of having died than of being still alive). That woman, on the other hand, who (this part of the Canon is word for word c. XLVI of Basil) takes to husband that man who was left a long time before by his wife, without knowing that he was married, and who afterwards lets him go when his former wife returns to him, has indeed committed fornication, but quite unwittingly, and she is not to be condemned as adulteress. Hence she shall not be prevented from taking a lawful husband if she wish to do so. It would be better, however, and safer for her not to get married. The rest of the Canon is a decree framed by the Council itself. But if the soldier should return from war after years whose wife has got married a second time because of his having been many years in foreign lands, he, I say, if he so wish, can take back his wife, pardoning both her and her second husband because they married without knowing that he was still alive.


94. As for those who take Greek oaths, the Canon makes them liable to penances; and we decree their excommunication.


Greek customs ought to be hated by Christians. For this reason the present Canon excommunicates those Christians who in accordance with the custom of the Greeks swear, either by the gods falsely so called of the Greeks, by saying, for instance, "by Jupiter" or "by Zeus," or who swear by the elements, by saying, for instance, "by the Sun," or "by the Heaven above us," and the like; just as c. LXXXI of Basil subjects them to penances. St. Basil, however, canonizes eleven years those men who without any great necessity due to tortures deny the faith or eat things that have been sacrificed to idols and take the oaths of the Greeks, just as they themselves, that is to say, believe in them. The present Canon of the Council excommunicated, as Balsamon says, not only these men, but also Christians who have not denied the faith but have taken oaths in accordance with the custom of the Greeks. Wherefore no such oath, nor indeed any other oath taken in the face of an unrecognized or disreputable religion, is to be kept, according to ch. 19 of Title XIII of Photius.


Not only are oaths that are taken in accordance with the custom of the Greeks forbidden to Christians, but every oath in general. For the Lord says that we are not to swear at all under any conditions whatsoever, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by our own head; but, instead of any oath, we are to say only yea, yea, and nay, nay; whatever else we say beyond this is of the Devil (Matt. 5:34–37). This very same thing is affirmed also by James the Brother of God. But then again even the prophet of the Old Testament Hosea prohibits oaths by saying: "and swear not, As the Lord liveth" (Hosea 4:15; James 5:12). That is why St. Basil the Great in his c. XXIX says that swearing an oath is forbidden once for all, and so much the more that oath which is taken with a view to injuring someone else. Hence those rulers who swear to injure the ones who are ruled and who are their subjects, are commanded by him to repent because of their having taken an oath all too rashly and not to insist upon those oaths to wreak injury on others. But also in his c. X he accuses Severus of acting contrary to Canon and binding the Presbyter Kyriakos by an oath contravening the legislation of the Gospels. So much for the fact that one ought not to take oaths. But in case anyone should actually do so anyhow, and violate it, he is canonized in a general way and indefinitely in c. LXIV by the same St. Basil to abstain from Communion for ten years. But in his c. LXXXII the delinquent is canonized definitely and according to circumstances: if it were due to violence and necessity that he violated the oath, he is penanced six years; but if he violated it without being under any necessity to do so, he is sentenced to seven years’ penance. In his c. XXVIII, and particularly in Def. 137 of his Epitomized Definitions, the same St. Basil says that it is ludicrous for anyone to promise God not to eat pork, or to sentence himself to abstain for such a length of time from some other food or drink. Accordingly no such uneducated promises ought to be made, and the use of foods should be a matter of indifference. If, nevertheless, in accordance with his c. XVII he allowed Bianor to celebrate the Liturgy notwithstanding that he had sworn not to celebrate the Liturgy, the fact is that he did not do this as a matter of course, but, on the contrary, 1) because that man had taken the oath as a result of violence and under threat of danger; 2) he allowed him to conduct the Liturgy secretly and in another place, and not there where he had taken the oath; and 3) he adds that he must repent because he took an oath. But as for all perjurers that are in holy orders and those that are clerics, they are deposed from office according to Ap. c. XXV; see the Interpretation of the latter.


95. As for heretics who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom. Arians and Macedonians and Novations, who called themselves Cathari and Aristeri, and the Tessarakaidekatitae, or, at any rate, those called Tetradites and Apolinarists, we accept, when they give us certificates (called libelli); and when they anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are sealed, i. e., are anointed first with holy myron on the forehead and the eyes, and the nose and mouth, and the ears, while we are anointing them and sealing them we say, "A seal of a gift of Holy Spirit." As concerning Paulianists who have afterwards taken refuge in the Catholic Church, a definition has been promulgated that they have to be rebaptized without fail. As for Eunomians, however, who baptize with a single immersion, and Montanists who are hereabouts called Phrygians and Sabellians, who hold the tenet Hyiopatoria (or modalistic monarchianism) and do other embarrassing things; and all other heresies — for there are many hereabouts, especially those hailing from the country of the Galatians — as for all of them who wish to join Orthodoxy, we accept them as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day, we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; after this, on the third day we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and into their ears. And thus we catechize them, and make them stay for a long time in church and listen to the Scriptures, and then we baptize them. As for Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of holy Communion.


As for the present Canon, from the beginning of it to the point where it says "and then we baptize them," it is word for word the same as c. VII of the 2nd. The interval beginning "As concerning Paulianists" to "without fail" is taken from c. XIX of the 1st verbatim. For this reason we do not even trouble to interpret these parts here again; see their interpretation there. The rest of the Canon is a decree of the present Council’s own, which says that the Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, when they join Orthodoxy, must be baptized, as also the Eunomians and Montanists, according to the interpretation given by Balsamon. Nestorians, and Eutychians, Dioscorites, and Severians, have to anathematize in writing their own heresy and their heresiarchs, and all those persons who believe in their heresies, among whom are numbered also the Monotheletes, as well as the Novatians and the Macedonians, and after doing so they are allowed to partake of the divine Mysteries.


St. Basil the Great, in his c. XL, says that Encratites, and Saccophori, and Apotactites, all have to be baptized, because their heresy too is an offshoot of the Marcionists and holds their wicked dogmas.


96. Those who have put on Christ through baptism have solemnly promised to emulate and imitate the manner of life He led in the flesh. As touching, therefore, those who arrange and dress the hair of their head by contriving to plait or wave it in a fashion which has disastrous effects on beholders, and hence offers a lure to unbolstered souls, we undertake to treat them in a fatherly fashion with a suitable penance, while training them like children and teaching them how to live in a sober and sane manner, with the object of enabling them to lay aside the deception and vanity resulting from materiality in order that they may bend their minds towards a life which is perpetually unruffled and blissful, and to enjoy chaste association in fear, and to approach God as near as possible through their purity of life, and to adorn the inner rather than the outer man with virtues and benignant and blameless manners, so that they may not have any trace left in them of the rudeness of the adversary. If, however, anyone should conduct himself in a manner contrary to the present Canon, let him be excommunicated.


"As many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27), says the great Apostle Paul. Hence the present Canon adds that those who have put on Christ must also adopt his mode of life and practice every chastity and purity, and not adorn their body in a manner that is both superfluous and artificial. On this account it excommunicates those Christians who braid the hair of their head, and comb it and wave it and flaunt it as a lure to those souls who are of weak faith and easily led astray, as much of men as of women, and while training such persons with the penalty of excommunication it teaches them to abandon every deception and vanity and embellishment of matter, and of this perishable body, and, on the other hand, to lift their mind up to that blissful and imperishable life, approaching God as near as possible with their purity of life, and preferring to adorn themselves, that is to say, the inner man, or soul, with virtues and benignant manners, without paying attention to the outer man, or body, with such deceptive and vain adornments or embellishments, in such a way as to avoid bearing any longer any sign of the wickedness of the Devil, whom they have renounced through holy baptism.


It is on this account that God commands in Leviticus (19:27) that no shall form a topknot from the hair of his head — or, in other words, a lock of hair, according to an unknown commentator. Hence it is that all the Apostles in common in their Injunctions, Book I, ch. 3, command men not to exercise undue care in combing their hair or to perfume their hair, or to braid it into one or more pleats, in order to prevent them from thereby attracting women into love, but to cut their hair off. But in particular St. Paul, with special regard to this artificial hairdressing and the idea of prohibiting it, said that if a man has hair it is a mark of dishonor in him; and in the same vein divine Epiphanius, too, said that long hair is a thing that is alien to the Catholic Church. Note, however, that just as one is forbidden to refrain from cutting his hair for the sake of beautification and good looks, and a bad purpose, so, on the other hand, it is also forbidden to cut it and to shave it with certain circularities roundabout, and, generally speaking, for the purpose of improving its appearance and enhancing its attractiveness. On this account, indeed, it was that as regards the topknot mentioned in Leviticus, Symmachus said: "You shall not shave round in a circle the face of your head." Aquila, on the other hand, says: "You shall not encircle the crown of your head." So the conclusion from all these facts is that the laity ought to cut their hair unaffectedly, unpretentiously, and inartificially.


97. As regards those who are living with a wife or are otherwise indiscreetly commonizing sacred places and treating them contemptuously, and thus domiciling therein, we command them to be evicted even from the catechumenates in the religious houses. In case anyone should fail to observe this rule, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


The Canon does not employ the expression "sacred places" here to designate the divine temples, but the habitations connected with the divine temple, such as the so-called catechumenates, in which some persons dwelt with their wives and which they treated like other, ordinary places, indiscreetly, that is to say, without drawing any distinction between a holy and a profane place. On this account it commands that such persons be ousted from them. Anyone failing to observe this rule, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.


That is why Book V of the Basilica, Title I, ch. 12, in agreement with the present Canon decrees that those who, on account of any cowardice or other wickedness, take refuge in a church building, throwing away their weapons at the same time, shall enjoy security and safety as far as the boundaries of the church. But they are not to have any right to eat, or to drink, or to sleep inside the temple, but are to stay in the gardens or grounds outside of it, or else in the vaults, or in the courtyards, or in the residences which are roundabout attached to the temple (in Photius, Title V, ch. 2). According to Armenopoulos, no one could remove persons that took refuge within the confines of a church and take them away, except only if they were murderers or adulterers or had ravished virgins (according to ch. 21 of Book V of the Basilica).


98. Whoever takes by way of matrimonial union any woman betrothed to another man, while the man to whom she has been betrothed is still alive, shall be deemed liable to the penalty provided for the crime of adultery.


An engagement which is entered into in accordance with laws, at the legal age, that is to say, of a man and of a woman, and which has been duly signaled by a gift of wedding rings or other earnests, and solemnized in church, and accompanied by the usual exchange of kisses on the part of the engaged — such an engagement, I say, has the same force and effect as a complete wedding (and see the Footnote to Ap. c. XVII). For this reason the present Canon decrees that anyone taking to wife a woman who has been engaged in such a manner as this to another man, who, as her betrothed, is still alive, let him be penalized as an adulterer, precisely, that is to say, like a man who takes to wife a woman married to another. That is why a man betrothed to a woman is also called the conjugate of his own fiancee, in the same way, for instance, that just Joseph the Bridegroom is called in the Gospels the husband of the holy Virgin, and conversely the holy Virgin is called the wife of Joseph, because even in the old Law a betrothal had the force of a marriage.


99. And this too occurs in the country of the Armenians, we have learned, to wit, that some persons, roasting pieces of meat within the space of the sacrificial altars of sacred temples, offer parts assigned to priests, distributing them in a Jewish fashion. Hence, with the object of maintaining the unblemished sanctity of the Church, we decree that none of her priests shall be permitted to accept consecrated pieces of meat from those offering them, but shall be content with only what the offerer is pleased to offer, any such offer being made outside of the church. If anyone fail to do so, let him be excommunicated.


Zonaras, and Balsamon, and Aristenus, and the Anonymous Expositor all in common explain that the Armenians were wont to roast meat inside of the sacrificial altars. But to me it seems that these expositors, failing to punctuate, but, on the contrary, running together the words "roasting pieces of meat" with the words "within the space of the sacrificial altars," fell into an error. Such was not the meaning intended. For the phrase "within the space of the sacrificial altars" is not to be combined with the phrase "roasting pieces of meat," but, on the contrary, being divided off with a comma, it should be combined with the phrase "offer parts assigned." For it is highly improbable and too absurd to believe, that meat should be actually roasted within the space of the holy Bema wherein is situated the sacrificial altar of the church, thus turning it into a kitchen. So what the present Canon says is that this custom which was practiced in Armenia, where some persons would roast meat at home and afterwards offer parts of it in the holy Bema to the priests (just as the Jews offer the breast or a leg or some other part of the animals being sacrificed to their priests) — that custom, I say, is not to be followed hereafter, but neither are priests to have permission to take those parts of an animal which they want, but, on the contrary, must be content with whatever parts a Christian offers them; the offer of such meat, moreover, must take place outside of the church, and not inside of the sanctuary, or sacred Bema, of the church. Hence the sense of the words as set forth by us above becomes evidently manifest from the context. For had it been an actual fact that they were roasting that meat in the Bema, the Canon ought necessarily to have prohibited this, as something highly improper, as it prohibited the offering of the meat. Let anyone guilty of violating this rule be excommunicated. But Balsamon states (in his interpretation of Ap. c. III) that he saw an abbot-priest deposed and ousted from the abbacy because he brought meat and cheese into the holy Bema. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. III.


Note, according to Zonaras, that the Canon permitted priests to take parts of the meat, not in common and on a universal basis, throughout the world, but only in Armenia, and this on account of the custom, which had then come to prevail among the Armenians.


100. "Let thine eyes look aright, and keep thy heart with all diligence" (Prov. 4:25 and 23), wisdom bids us. For the sensations of the body can easily foist their influence upon the soul. We therefore command that henceforth in no way whatever shall any pictures be drawn, painted, or otherwise wrought, whether in frames or otherwise hung up, that appeal to the eye fascinatingly, and corrupt the mind, and excite inflammatory urgings to the enjoyment of shameful pleasures. If anyone should attempt to do this, let him be excommunicated.

(No interpretation of this Canon is in the Greek edition.)


Inasmuch as some men were wont to paint or draw on walls and boards lascivious pictures, such as women stark naked or bathing or being kissed by men, and other such shameful scenes, which deceive the eyes of beholders and excite the mind and heart to carnal desires, therefore and on this account the present Canon commands that no such pictures shall by any means whatsoever be painted or drawn or sketched. If anyone should make any such pictures, let him be excommunicated, since all the five senses of the body, and especially the first and royalest one, the eyesight, is easily led to impress the pictures of those things which it sees into the soul. That is why Solomon recommends that our eyes look aright at things that are fine and good and beautiful, and that everyone of us keep his mind and heart away from the shameful objects of the senses.


101. The divine Apostle loudly proclaims the man created in the image of God to be a body of Christ and a temple. Standing, therefore, far above all sensible creation, and having attained to a heavenly dignity by virtue of the soterial Passion, by eating and drinking Christ as a source of life, he perpetually readjusts both his eternal soul and his body and by partaking of the divine grace he is continually sanctified. So that if anyone should wish to partake of the intemerate body during the time of a synaxis, and to become one therewith by virtue of transessencc, let him form his hands into the shape of a cross, and, thus approaching, let him receive the communion of grace. For we nowise welcome those men who make certain receptacles out of gold, or any other material, to serve instead of their hand for the reception of the divine gift, demanding to take of the intemerate communion in such containers; because they prefer soulless (i.e., inanimate) matter and an inferior article to the image of God. In case, therefore, any person should be caught in the act of imparting of the intemerate communion to those offering such receptacles, let him be excommunicated, both he himself and the one offering them.

(1 Cor. 12:27; 2Cor.6:16.)


In that time there prevailed a custom of laymen communing, just like priests, by taking the holy bread in their hands, in the manner in which they nowadays receive the antidoron. But since some men, on the pretense of reverence, and of paying greater honor to the divine gifts, used to make gold vessels, or vessels of some other precious material, and were wont to partake of the intemerate body of the Lord by receiving it in such vessels; therefore, and on this account, the present Canon will not admit this procedure, even though it be employed for the sake of reverence. Because, in view of the fact that a man is one who has been made in the image of God, and who eats the body and drinks the blood of Christ, and thereby becomes sanctified, and since he is in fact a body and temple of Christ, according to the Apostle, he transcends all sensible things and inanimate creatures, and consequently his hands are far more precious than any vessel. Hence anyone that wishes to partake of the Lord’s body, let him form his two hands into the shape of a cross, and let him receive it therein. As for any layman that may receive the body of the Lord in a vessel, and any priest who may impart it in any such thing, let both of them be excommunicated, because they prefer an inanimate (i.e., soulless) vessel to the human being molded in the image of God.


102. Those who have received from God authority to bind and to loose must take into consideration the quality of the sin, and the willingness and readiness of the sinner to return, and thus offer a treatment suited to the sin in question, lest by employing an immoderate adjustment in one direction or the other, they fail in compassing the salvation of the one ailing. For, the diseases called sin are not simple affairs, but, on the contrary, various and complex, and they produce many offshoots of the injury, as a result whereof the evil becomes widely diffused, and it progresses until it is checked by the power of the one treating it. So that a person who is professing the science of treating ailments as a spiritual physician ought first to examine the disposition of the sinner, and ascertain whether he tends to health or on the contrary provokes the malady to attack him by his own actions; at the same time bearing in mind that he must provide against any reversion, and considering whether the patient is struggling against the physician, and whether the ulcer of the soul is being aggravated by the application of the remedy; and accordingly to mete out mercy in due proportion to the merits of the case. For all that matters to God and to the person undertaking pastoral leadership consists in the recovery of the straying sheep, and in healing the one wounded by the serpent. Accordingly, he ought not to drive the patient to the verge of despair, nor give him rein to dissoluteness and contempt of life, but, on the contrary, in at least one way at any rate, either by resorting to extremer and stringent remedies, or to gentler and milder ones, to curb the disease, and to put up a fight to heal the ulcer for the one tasting the fruits of repentance, and wisely helping him on the way to the splendid rehabilitation to which the man is being invited. We must therefore be versed in both, i.e., both the requirements of accuracy and the requirements of custom. In the case of those who are obstinately opposed to extremities, we must follow the formula handed down to us, just as sacred Basil teaches us outright.


After this Council had decreed concerning many different penances, lastly in the present Canon it leaves everything to the judgment of the bishops and spirituals (i.e., confessors), the authority to bind and to loose, saying that they ought to conjecture, or surmise, both the quality of the sinfulness, whether it be pardonable or deadly, and the disposition of the sinner with respect to repentance, and thus to offer the right treatment for his illness; lest by giving persons who are magnanimous and willing to repent lenient penances, and persons who are more unconcerned and pusillanimous on the contrary extreme penances, they fail to correct either the former or the latter, but rather wind up by losing both. Because sin is so complex and various, and grows so fast, that it resists, that is, overcomes, the power and art of the spiritual physician (or, it may be, so complex and various is sin, and so fast does it grow, before it can be checked and overcome by the art of the spiritual physician). So, for this reason, the physician of souls must first and foremost conjecture the disposition and inclination of the sinner, and discern whether he loves the health of his soul with fervid repentance, or, on the contrary, whether he actually is coaxing sin to attack him, and how he behaves in regard to sin, whether he is not opposed to the salutary remedies which he is giving him (as is done by the demented who are opposed to the salutary remedies of physicians of bodies), and whether he is not actually aggravating, or increasing, the lesion of sin with such measures. The confessor, I say, must first of all make conjectures respecting all these things, and thus with due proportion mete out mercy, mitigating, or lightening, the penances in dealing with the man who is unconcerned and pusillanimous, but intensifying, or making them heavier, in the case of a man who is magnanimous; and doing both for mercy’s sake, in order, on the one hand, to cleanse the magnanimous man from sin, and, on the other hand, to avoid making the pusillanimous man’s case worse. And, generally speaking, the whole aim both to God and to the confessor is simply this, to bring about the return of the straying sheep, to cure the one who has been wounded or hurt by the figurative serpent commonly called the Devil, and neither to drive him to despair by heavy penalties, nor again to let him take the bit in his teeth, like a horse, by light penalties, and hence encourage him to contemptuousness and unconcern, but in every possible way, whether with austere or with mild remedies, to endeavor to restore the sinner to health and free him from the wounds of sin, so that he may taste the fruits of repentance, and with wisdom managing to help him to ascend to the splendor of the Holy Trinity above (which is the kingdom of heaven, according to St. Gregory the Theologian). So, then, the confessor must have knowledge of both requirements (just as is said verbatim in c. III of Basil), to wit, accuracy and custom. In case sinners do not care to observe this accuracy, on account of which they are compromisingly allowed a reduction of years and of penances for their sin, let him at least command them to observe the custom, the entire number of years, that is to say, and the penances prescribed by the Canons.


Seventh Ecumenical Council.

The holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council was held in Nicaea, Bithynia, the second to convene in that city, during the reign of Constantine and his mother Irene, A.D. 783. Of the Fathers attending it, 350 were Orthodox, but seventeen others joined it who had formerly been iconomachs, but who later repented and were accepted by it. So that in all there were 367. Outstanding and distinguished ones among them were Tarasius the Patriarch of Constantinople, Peter the Archpresbyter of Rome, and Peter, he too another presbyter and the abbot of the monastery of St. Sabbas in Rome, all of them acting as representatives of Pope Adrian. Thomas the Syncellus and hieromonach and John the hieromonach, filling the places of the Apostolic thrones, or, more explicitly, acting instead of Apollinarius of Alexandria, Theodoret of Antioch, and Elias of Jerusalem. The monks also exercised great influence in this Council, seeing that there were 136 of them present as archimandrites of monasteries. This Council was assembled against the ungodly iconomachs who used to disparage the Christians. The Council anathematized them, and especially Anastasius, Constantine, and Nicetas, the pseudopatriarchs who held office during the time of the iconomachs, on the ground that they not only refused to kiss and bow down in adoration before the holy icons, but they even called them idols, and burned them up, and trod them underfoot, and dragged them about in the streets, and in every way treated them insultingly and contemptuously. After abrogating (Act 6) the falsely so-called definition of the pseudo-council held in the reign of Constantine Copronymus in Blachernae, with deacons Epiphanius and John reading it; and after proclaiming St. Germanus, and John Damascene, and George Cyprius Orthodox and Saints, it issued a definition in its Act 7 worded as follows: "We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and of our intemerate Lady the holy Theotoke, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints. For the more frequently and oftener they are continually seen in pictorial representation, the more those beholding are reminded and led to visualize anew the memory of the originals which they represent and for whom moreover they also beget a yearning in the soul of the persons beholding the icons. Accordingly, such persons are prompted not only to kiss these and to pay them honorary adoration, what is more important, they are imbued with the true faith which is reflected in our worship which is due to God alone and which befits only the divine nature (worship is defined by St. Basil the Great as being an intense and continual and non-avolating culture respecting the object worshiped: see his Epitomized Definitions, p. 850). But this worship must be paid in the way suggested by the form of the precious and vivifying Cross, and the holy Gospels, and the rest of sacred institutions, and the offering of wafts of incense, and the display of beams of light, to be done for the purpose of honoring them, just as it used to be the custom to do among the ancients by way of manifesting piety. For any honor paid to the icon (or picture) redounds upon the original, and whoever bows down in adoration before the icon, is at the same time bowing down in adoration to the substance (or hypostasis) of the one therein painted. For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, it was the tradition of the universal Church. The 7th Ec. C. is recognized by the c. of Holy Wisdom and all interpreters of the c. The proceedings of this 7th are found in vol. 11 of the Synods, pg. 719.



1. For those who have been allotted a sacerdotal dignity, the representations of canonical ordinances amount to testimonies and directions. Gladly accepting these, we sing to the Lord God with David, the spokesman of God, the following words: "I have delighted in the way of thy testimonies as much as in all wealth," and "thy testimonies which thou hast commanded witness righteousness, . . . . Thy testimonies are righteousness forever: give me understanding, and I shall live" (Ps. 119:14, 138 and 144). And if forever the prophetic voice commands us to keep the testimonies of God, and to live in them, it is plain that they remain unwavering and rigid. For Moses, too, the beholder of God, says so in the following words: "To them there is nothing to add, and from them there is nothing to remove" (Deut. 12:32). And the divine Apostle Peter, exulting in them, cries: "which things the angels would like to peep into" (1 Pet. 1:12). And Paul says: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any gospel besides that which ye have received, let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8). Seeing that these things are so and are attested to us, and rejoicing at them "as one that findeth great spoil" (Ps. 119:162), we welcome and embrace the divine Canons, and we corroborate the entire and rigid fiat of them that have been set forth by the renowned Apostles, who were and are trumpets of the Spirit, and those both of the six holy Ecumenical Councils and of the ones assembled regionally for the purpose of setting forth such edicts, and of those of our holy Fathers. For all those men, having been guided by the light dawning out of the same Spirit, prescribed rules that are to our best interest. Accordingly, we too anathematize whomsoever they consign to anathema; and we too depose whomsoever they consign to deposition; and we too excommunicate whomsoever they consign to excommunication; and we likewise subject to a penance anyone whom they make liable to a penance. For "Let your conduct be free from avarice; being content with such things as are at hand" (Heb. 13:5), explicitly cries the divine apostle Paul, who ascended into the third heaven and heard unspeakable words (2 Cor. 12:2-4).

(c. I of the 4th; c. II of the 6th.)


The divine Canons are testimonies so far as concerns those in holy orders in that they attest and reveal to them how they ought to conduct themselves both publicly and privately. They are directions in that when they are observed by them they direct and steer their life. Joyfully accepting these Canons through the present Canon, this Council offers up those prophetic words of David as a song to God which run as follows in paraphrase: "I have rejoiced, O Lord, in Thy testimonies just as I should rejoice if I owned all the wealth of the world. And Thou hast commanded me to keep Thy testimonies forever, wherewith be Thou pleased to wisen me, and I shall live in them." And if this utterance of the prophet’s commands us to keep the testimonies of God forever, and to live in them, it is manifest that they themselves are permanent and rigid (for, according to Zonaras, the Greek word for "unwavering" denotes the weak and fragile branch of a fig-tree; unwavering things, therefore, are things that are solid and unmovable). That is the reason, too, why Moses says that no one is to add anything to the words of the Law, nor to take anything out of them. The Coryphaeus of Apostles, St. Peter, exulting in them, says that the angels would like to look into those things, viz. which the apostles preaching the gospel in a spirit of God have revealed to us. And St. Paul anathematizes anyone, even though he be an angel, that preaches anything as gospel that lies outside of what has been handed down and delivered as the faith. For this reason, rejoicing in the divine Canons just as soldiers rejoice when they happen to find a great amount of booty on their vanquished enemies, as David says, we too joyfully embrace them, and corroborate them, and confirm them all, including those set forth by the holy apostles, as well as those of the six ecumenical councils and of the regional councils, and those of the individual Fathers; anathematizing those whom they anathematize; deposing those whom they depose; and excommunicating those whom they excommunicate — and, generally speaking, disciplining those whom they discipline. For, just as those who are not of an avaricious disposition are content with whatever money they have at hand, as St. Paul says, so too do we refrain from adding or removing anything, but, on the contrary, content ourselves with the Canons which have been enacted by the holy Fathers. See also c. I of the 4th, and what has been said in the beginning of this book in the Prolegomena to the Canons.


2. Since as a matter of fact we are binding ourselves to God by chanting: "I will meditate in thy rights; I will not forget they words" (Ps. 119:16), it behooves all Christians to keep this for their own salvation, but more eminently so those invested with a sacerdotal dignity. Hence we decree that anyone who is about to be promoted to the rank of bishop shall by all means know the psalter, in order that he may be able to admonish all the clergy about him to become initiated; and that he be scrupulously examined by the metropolitan as to whether he is cheerfully willing to read searchingly and not cursorily the sacred Canons and the holy Gospel, the book of the divine Apostle, and all the divine Scripture, and in accordance with the divine commandments to hold intercourse with and teach the laity about him. For the essentiality of our prelacy is the words taught by God, or, at any rate, the true science of the divine Scriptures, just as great Dionysius declared. But if he should be in doubt, and not care to do and teach thus, he must not be ordained. For God has said prophetically: "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee from acting as my priest" (Hos. 4:6).

(c. XXIV of Carthage.)


While all Christian laymen ought to meditate in the rights of God, and not forget His words, just as they chant and promise every day with the prophet, this is eminently so in the case of those in holy orders. For this reason the present Canon decrees that anyone who intends to become a bishop must without fail be acquainted with the thoughts in the psalter, in order to teach his laity therefrom so that they may learn them too. Likewise any such person must be examined by the metropolitan scrupulously as to whether he is cheerfully willing to read, not superficially and as to the words alone, but with regard to depth and with understanding of the thoughts, the sacred Canons, which we have enumerated above, the holy Gospel, the Apostle, and all the divine Scripture, and not only to know these, but also to conduct himself both publicly and privately just as they prescribe, and to teach his fold in accordance with them. For, as Dionysius the Areopagite declares, the essence and structure of the ecclesiastical prelacy is the words taught by God., or, more precisely speaking, the true comprehension and exact knowledge of the divine Scriptures. If not, and he is in doubt, and is not minded to do these things himself, and to teach others too, let him not be made a bishop; for God says through the prophet Hosea (in paraphrase): "Since thou hast spurned knowledge of my laws, I too will spurn thee as a priest of mine."


In agreement with the present Canon, c. XXIV of Carthage expresses the following decree: that those who intend to ordain a bishop, or a clergyman, must first teach him the Canons of the sacred Councils, in order that, by acting in accordance with the definitions and canons of the Fathers, they who are to be ordained may not repent later, as transgressors of them. For this reason, too, God commands the one who has become a ruler of the people not only to read the book of Deuteronomy throughout his life, in order to learn therefrom to fear the Lord, and to keep all His commandments, but He even makes it necessary for him to copy it himself with his own hand. "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this Deuteronomy in a book obtained from the priests who are Levites" (Deut. 17:18). And the reason why He commands him to copy it himself is that a person who merely reads it easily forgets the thoughts that are read, whereas a person who also writes it impresses the thoughts upon his memory, because he takes time and leisure to think about each particular one of them, and until he has comprehended a sentence well he takes care not to write another: thus does Philo Judaeus interpret the matter. And if God compels secular rulers to do this, much more does He the ecclesiastical prelates who are the shepherds of his people.


3. Every appointment of a bishop, or of a presbyter, or of a deacon made by (civil) rulers shall remain void in accordance with the Canon which says: "If any bishop comes into possession of a church by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated. And all those who communicate with him too." For it behooves anyone who is going to be promoted to a bishopric to be appointed by bishops, as was decreed by the holy Fathers assembled in Nicaea, in the Canon saying: "It is most fitting that a bishop should be installed by all those in his province. But if such a thing is difficult either because of the urgency of circumstances, or because of the distance to be traveled, at least three should meet together somewhere and by their votes combined with those of the ones absent and joining in the election by letter they should carry out the ordination thereafter. But as for the ratification of the proceedings, let it be entrusted in each province to the Metropolitan."

(Ap. cc. I, II, XXX, LXI; c. IV of the 1st; cc. V, XIII of Laodicea; c. LIX of Carthage; c. VII of Timothy.)


The present Canon is composed of Ap. c. XXX and c. IV of the 1st. Since we have already explained these Canons, see the interpretation of them there, in order to spare us from repeating the same things about them here. The only thing in this Canon that is not found there, is that every appointment or election of a bishop, or of a presbyter, or of a deacon that is made by authority and power of civil rulers shall remain void and invalid; and that bishops are to be elected by bishops, in accordance with a process previously described; that is to say, on the other hand, that the fact that both presbyters and deacons are elected is made plain indeed by the present Canon, concerning which see the Footnote to Ap. c. II; as for the fact, moreover, that Christians ought to vote subsequently after the bishops for those about to be admitted to holy orders, this is made plain in the Interpretation of Ap. c. LXI. See also Ap. cc. I and II, and the Footnote to c. V of Laodicea.


4. The preacher of the truth Paul, the divine Apostle, as if laying down a Canon to the presbyters of the Ephesians, but rather to every sacerdotal aggregate, spoke openly and aboveboard as follows: "I have coveted no one’s silver, or gold, or apparel. I have shown you in all things that by thus laboring you ought to assist the weak, and remember that . . . It is more blissful to give than to receive" (Acts 20:33, 35). Wherefore we too, having become pupils and disciples of His, decree that no bishop shall devise or think of ways of making shameful profits, alleging lame excuses such as are offered in the case of sins in general, to the effect that bishops, or clergymen, or monks serving under him demand gold, or silver, or any other commodity. For the Apostle says: "The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9), and "children ought not to lay up treasure for their parents, but parents for their children" (2 Cor. 12:14). If, therefore, on account of any demand for gold, or for any other commodity, or on account of any idiosyncrasy, anyone be found to be excluding from the liturgy and excommunicating anyone among the clergymen under him, or shutting a venerable temple, to prevent liturgies of God from being conducted therein, venting his rage upon insentient objects, he himself is in reality insentient, and will become subject to self-torture, and "his mischief shall return upon his own head" (Ps. 7:16), as transgressor of a commandment of God, and of the Apostolic Ordinances. For Peter, the coryphaean summit of the Apostles, also commands: "Tend the flock of God which is among you, not coercingly, but voluntarily after the manner of God. Not for the sake of shameful profits, but willingly. Not as lording it over the charges allotted to you, but as having become models for the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear in person, ye shall receive the reward of an unwithering crown of glory" (1 Pet. 5:2-4).


Because great St. Paul both by word and by deed commanded the bishops of the Ephesians, and through them all bishops subsequent thereto, not to desire silver, or gold, or clothes, but by labor of their own hands to assist the weak and needy, and to bear in mind that it is more blissful to give than to receive, therefore the present Canon commands that no prelate or bishop shall seek to extort gold or silver or anything else of value, with a view to shameful profits, from bishops, or clergymen, or monks that are subject to his jurisdiction, since any such demand is unjust and unrighteous, but "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God," according to the Apostle; and since children are not obliged to amass treasure to give to their parents, but, on the contrary, parents ought to give to their children. So any bishop who is found suspending or excommunicating any priest or clergyman, or closing a church in order to obtain money or on account of any other personal animus, let him suffer what he is doing, to wit, let him be suspended, and "let him be excommunicated, if he is a bishop by his Metropolitan, or if he is a Metropolitan by his Patriarch. For the Coryphaeus of Apostles St. Peter gives the following orders to prelates: "Tend the flock of God, not coercingly and tyrannically, but voluntarily and after the manner of God; not for the sake of shameful profits, but with cheerful willingness; not as domineering over the clergy, but as furnishing models and examples to the flocks, in order that when the chief shepherd Christ becomes manifest in His second advent, you may receive from Him the reward of an unwithering crown of glory." Read also Ap. c. XXIX.


5. It is a deadly sin when any sinners remain incorrigible. But what is worse than this happens if they insist upon rising up against piety and truth, preferring Mammon to obedience to God, and failing to cling fast to His canonical ordinances. Among those persons God is not the Lord, unless by any chance they be humiliated and again become sober enough to see their own mistake. For it rather behooves them to approach God, and with a contrite heart to ask for remission of this particular sin, and for pardon, instead of pluming themselves on their lawless behavior. For "the Lord is nigh unto them that are contrite of heart" (Ps. 34:18). As for those boasting that by giving gold they have obtained some rank in the Church and trusting to this wicked custom, which is alien to God and alienates men from God, and from every holy order; and as a result thereof with an impudent face and unbridled mouth dishonoring by reproachful words those who have been elected and installed through virtuousness of life by the Holy Spirit, without the giving of any money, those who have been doing this at first, are to receive the lowest rank in their own battalion. But if they insist and persist, they are to be corrected by means of a penance. If, on the other hand, anyone ever should appear to have done this with a view to ordination, let him suffer in accordance with the Apostolic Canon which says: "If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon gain possession (of this dignity by means of money, let both him and the one who ordained him be deposed from office, and exscinded, or cut off, altogether from communion, as was Simon by me Peter." Likewise also in accordance with the second Canon of the devout Fathers assembled in Chalcedon, which says: "If any bishop ordain anyone for money, and make merchandise of the unvendible grace, and perform the ordination of a Bishop, Auxiliary Bishop, Presbyter, Deacon, or anyone on the roll of the Clergy, with a view to gain; or nominate any Steward, Ecdicus, or Paramonarius, 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 stand in peril of his office; 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 he has thus obtained by means of money. If, in fact, anyone even appear as a middleman or factor or intermediary for such shameful and illicit deals, let him too, if he be a clergyman, forfeit his office; but if he be a layman or a monk, let him be anathematized."

(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; John 1:16.)


Some persons who intended to get themselves enrolled in the clergy of a certain church, offered money to it of their own free will with a God-loving frame of mind, not in order to get the clergyship therewith, but as devoting or consecrating the money to God, according to Balsamon. But later, boasting of giving the money, and preferring mammon and wealth to the sacred canons, they sought and asked for chief seats (Matt. 23:6), and shamelessly and brazenly reproached those clergymen who, being elected by the Holy Spirit, on account of their virtuous conduct in life, were enrolled in the clergy without giving any money. So for this reason the present Canon commands that those who boast of this money and reproach the others because they gave none be reduced to the lowest rank of the clergymen of the same order. But if they persist in this any further, they are to be corrected by the chief priest with a suitable severer penalty. Referring to the passage in the Epistle of St. John, these Fathers call the incorrigible boasting of such clergymen about money a deadly sin; and they call their shameless and insolent treatment of the other clergymen a worse than deadly sin, and assert that among those men the God is no Lord, in accordance with the Bible; while, on the other hand, they call their giving of money lawless, not in itself — for it was good at first and God-loving — but on account of the later boasting of the givers and their brazen shamelessness. So take care not to take this gift of money for ordination, since this Canon appears to consist of two parts. The first part forbids them to give money, not to be ordained, for this comes in later but to get themselves enrolled in the parish of a certain church, and afterwards to wax insolent and to hold the poor and reverent clergymen in contempt: so it is this kind of giving that it forbids as lawless. Then it goes on to present the second part, by saying that if they should offer such money for ordination they must be deposed from office, in accordance with Canons already issued. But this Canon adds that whoever should give money to be ordained a clergyman or a priest is to receive the penalties provided by Ap. c. XXIX and c. II of the 4th, both of which are quoted verbatim: and see the Interpretation of them there.


6. Since there actually is a Canon which says canonical discussions must be held twice a year in each province through an assembly of Bishops, but on account of the inconvenience and the lack of means of traveling those who were called upon to assemble had to face, the devout Fathers of the Sixth Council decreed that one assembly be held each year, by all means and on any pretext, and wrong things be corrected: therefore we renew this latter Canon. Accordingly, if any (civil) ruler be found attempting to prevent this, let him be excommunicated. If, on the other hand, any one of the Metropolitans should fail to see that this is done, except in case of necessity and violence, or some reasonable excuse, he is to be liable to the penalties. When a Council has been convoked in regard to canonical and evangelical matters, the Bishops assembled must engage in meditation and careful consideration of how the divine and vivifying commandments of God are to be kept. For "in keeping them there is great reward" (Ps. 19:11); and seeing that "the commandment is a lamp; and the law is a light and reproof with instruction in the way of life" (Prov. 6:23), and "the commandment of the Lord shineth afar, illuminating the eyes" (Ps. 19:8). But no Metropolitan shall have any right to demand a beast or other possession among the chattels which a Bishop takes along with him. But if he be proved to have done so, he shall pay back the value of it fourfold.

(App. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th.)


The present Canon renews c. VIII of the 6th, which decrees that inasmuch as two Councils of bishops cannot be held each year in regard to ecclesiastical canonical questions, as the Canons prescribe — Ap. c. XXXVII, that is to say, c. V of the 1st, and c. XIX of the 4th — owing to the difficulty of traveling, one Council must be held by all means every year, in order to correct incidental mistakes. But this Canon adds that any one among the (civil) rulers that tries to prevent the holding of such a Council is to be excommunicated; and that any Metropolitan that is remiss in regard to this (unless it be prevented by reason of some necessity or logical reason), he shall become liable to penalties. But since the object of holding a Council is to investigate whether the canonical rules are being observed, relating, say, to excommunications, administrations of ecclesiastical affairs, and other matters, as well as evangelical decrees, therefore the bishops assembled must see to it that the vivifying commandments of the Gospel are kept by their laities, because for the keeping of them a great reward is given, according to David; and because, furthermore, the commandment and law of God are a lamp and a light, and a way of life, according to the author of the Book of Proverbs. But no Metropolitan has any permission to demand of any bishop of his any animal or any other thing that he may have with him: but if he should nevertheless do so, he must pay the bishop the fourfold amount of its value. See also Ap. c. XXXVII.


7. Paul the divine Apostle said: "Some men’s sins are plainly evident, . . . whereas those of other men follow inferentially" (1 Tim. 5:24). Sins, therefore, being committed in advance, other sins follow them. Thus the impious heresy of accusers of the Christians was followed by other acts of impiety. For precisely as they removed the face in the venerable icons from the Church, they have also abandoned certain other customs which must be renewed, and in accordance with both the written and the unwritten law they must thus prevail. As to any venerable temples, therefore, that have been consecrated without holy relics of Martyrs, we decree that in them there shall be made a deposit of relics together with the usual prayer. Let anyone, then, that consecrates a temple without holy relics be deposed from office, on the ground that he has transgressed ecclesiastical traditions.

(c. XCI of Carthage.)


St. Basil the Great interpreted this apostolic saying otherwise, but the present Council has taken it more naively, since it says that the previous sins one commits are followed by other sins, just as happened in the case of the iconomachs who used to accuse the Christians and who, just as they deprived the Church of the holy icons, also flouted some other things of the Church and cast them out, which things must be renewed, in order that both the written legislation and the unwritten tradition may prevail. So all the divine temples that have been consecrated by them without relics of martyrs are to have such relics deposited in them, while at the same time the prayer is said which relates thereto in the ceremony of dedication. As for any prelate that consecrates a temple hereafter without holy relics of martyrs, let him be deposed from office as a transgressor of ecclesiastical traditions.


Canon XCI of Carthage decrees that those sacrificial altars in which there is treasured no body or relics of martyrs are to be wrecked or disapproved.

8. Inasmuch as some persons who have been misled by their inferences from the religion of the Jews have seen fit to sneer at Christ our God, while pretending to be Christians, but secretly and clandestinely keeping the Sabbath and doing other Jewish acts, we decree that these persons shall not be admitted to communion, nor to prayer, nor to church, but shall be Jews openly in accordance with their religion; and that neither shall their children be baptized, nor shall they buy or acquire a slave. But if any one of them should be converted as a matter of sincere faith, and confess with all his heart, triumphantly repudiating their customs and affairs, with a view to censure and correction of others, we decree that he shall be accepted and his children shall be baptized, and that the latter shall be persuaded to hold themselves aloof from Jewish peculiarities. If, on the other hand, the case is not thus, they are not to be accepted under any other circumstances whatever.


The present Canon decrees that no one is to join in communion or prayer with, or even admit into church, those Jews who only hypocritically have become Christians and have joined the Orthodox faith, but secretly deny and mock Christ our God, while keeping the Sabbath and other Jewish customs (or, more explicitly, circumcising their sons, deeming anyone unclean that takes hold of a corpse or leper, and other similar vagaries); but, on the contrary, such persons are to be Jews as they were before, and no one shall baptize their children nor let them buy a slave or acquire one by exchange or gift or in any other fashion. But if any Jew should be actually converted in good and guileless faith and with all his heart confess the orthodoxy of Christians, openly disparaging the religion of the Jews, in order that other Jews may be reproved and corrected, we ought to accept such a person, and baptize his children, ordering them persuasively to abstain from Jewish superstitions. But as for those who do not become converted in such a manner, we must not admit them on any account whatever.


In agreement with the present Canon ch. 44 of Title I of Book I of the Basilica decrees that if any Jew accused of any crime or owing a debt should on account thereof pretend that he has become willing to be a Christian, he is not to be accepted thus until he has paid his debt or has been acquitted of the crimes of which he has been accused. Likewise ch. 47 of the same Title and Book decrees that no Jew shall have a slave who is a Christian, nor circumcise anyone who is being catechized; neither shall any other heretic have a slave who is a Christian, but the moment he acquires him, the slave shall become free. Read also the Footnote to c. II of the 1st.


9. All boyish whimwhams and mad bacchanalia, the false writings that have been brought forth against the venerable icons, must be turned in to the Bishopric of Constantinople to be put away together with the rest of heretical books. If, on the other hand, anyone should be found hiding these, if he be a Bishop, a Presbyter, or a Deacon, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman or a monk, let him be excommunicated.

(Ap. c. LX; cc. II and LXIII of the 6th; c. LI of Laodicea.)


The present Canon decrees that all the false writings which the iconomachists composed against the holy icons and which are flimsy as children’s toys, and as crazy as the raving and insane bacchantes — those women who used to dance drunken at the festival of the tutelar of intoxication Dionysus — all those writings, I say, must be surrendered to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, to be put together with the other books by heretics — in such a place, that is to say, that no one will ever be able to take them therefrom with a view to reading them. As for anyone who should hide them, with a view to reading them himself or providing them for others to read, if he be a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman or a monk, let him be excommunicated. See also Ap. c. LX.


10. Inasmuch as some of the Clergymen, flouting the canonical ordinance and leaving their own parish, run off into another parish, and for the most part into this God-guarded and imperial city, and become attached to civil magistrates, conducting services in their oratories, it is therefore not allowable to receive these persons in any house or church without the permission of their own bishop and of that of Constantinople. If anyone should do so persistently, let him be deposed from office. As for any of the Priests who do this notwithstanding what has been said in the foregoing, it is not for them to undertake secular and mundane cares, as they are forbidden to do so by the divine Canons. But if anyone be caught red-handed in the employ of the so-called magnates (meizoteri), let him be dismissed, or let him be deposed from office. To come at once to the point, therefore, let him keep re-reading the divine Scriptures with the object of teaching children and servants and slaves. For it was to this that he was called when holy orders fell to his lot.

(Ap. cc. XV, LXXXI, LXXXIII; cc. III, V, X, XXIII; c. XI of the lst-&-2nd; cc. XVIII, LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; c. III of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica.)


The present Canon forbids two unlawful things in the same paragraph: the action of clergymen in going from city to city, and especially to Constantinople; and that of their applying to civil magistrates and officiating in their prayer-houses without the permission both of their own bishop, from whom they have gone away, and of the Patriarch, into whose parish they have resorted, as both are contrary to the prescription of the divine Canons. So it commands that any clergyman is to be deposed from office if without permission of the above he comes to Constantinople, or officiates in oratories, and persists in doing so. Clergymen, on the other hand, who have been admitted with their permission must not undertake secular cares, but rather let them teach the children and slaves and servants of Christians. If any clergyman should engage in superintending the lati-fundia of civil magistrates (as this same thing is decreed in c. XI of the lst-&-2nd), the superintendents of which used to be called meizoteri (i.e., magnates), perhaps owing to their superintending the largest and most profitable estates, either let him leave this employment or, if he will not leave it, let him be deposed from office. See also Ap. cc. VI and XV.


11. All of us being obliged to keep the divine Canons, we ought to maintain by all means inviolable the one saying that there should be Stewards in every church. Accordingly if each Metropolitan appoints a Steward in his church, it is well and good; but if not the Bishop of Constantinople is given permission to appoint a Steward in the same church ex officio. Like permission is given also to Metropolitans if the Bishops under them do not care to appoint Stewards in their own churches. The same rule is to be observed also in the case of Monasteries.

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII, XLI; c. XXVI of the 4th; c. XII of the 7th; c. VII of the lst-&-2nd; c. XV of Ancyra; c. VII of Gangra; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; cc. XXXIV, XLI of Carthage; c. X of Theophilus; c. II of Cyril.)


Inasmuch as c. XXVI of the 4th commands that every church shall have a steward to manage its affairs with permission and approval of the bishop, therefore the present Canon, while confirming that one, adds that if any Metropolitan appoints a steward of his own accord, it will be all right; but if he fail to do so, the Patriarch of Constantinople has authority to appoint a steward for that same Metropolis and for other ones, too, which are subject to him, that is to say. Likewise in case bishops fail to appoint a steward for their bishoprics their Metropolitan is to be allowed to appoint them. This same thing is to be done also in the case of monasteries that have no steward — that is to say, stewards are to be appointed for them by their abbot, or, if he will not do this, by the bishop, or if he will not appoint one in this event by the Metropolitan, or if even the Metropolitan neglects to take care of the matter, by the Patriarch. See also Ap. c. XXXVIII.


12. If any Bishop or any Abbot be found disposing of productive property of the bishopric or monastery respectively into the hands of lay rulers, or of any other person, the transfer is to be invalid and void, in accordance with the Apostolic Canon saying: "Let the Bishop have the care of all ecclesiastical matters and let him manage them on the understanding that God is overseeing and supervising. Let him not be allowed to appropriate anything therefrom or to give God’s things to his relatives. If they be indigent, let him provide for them as indigents, but let him not trade off things of the Church under this pretext." If it be alleged as an excuse that the property is actually a liability involving a loss or overall expense and that the fields are not rendering any profit or benefit, even so the place must not be sold or let out to the civil rulers of the region, but to Clergymen or to farmers (i.e., husbandmen). But if by employing some cunning rascality, a civil ruler should buy the fields from a Clergyman or a farmer, even so let the sale be invalid and void, and let the property be restored to the Bishopric, or to the Monastery, as the case may be, and let the Bishop, or the Abbot, respectively, who does this be driven out — the Bishop out of the Bishopric, and the Abbot out of the Monastery — on the ground that they are plundering wrongfully what they did not gather together.

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII, XLI; c. XXVI of the 4th; c. XI of the 7th; c. VII of the lst-&-2nd; c. XV of Ancyra; c. VII of Gangra; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; cc. XXXIV, XLI of Carthage; c. X of Theophilus; c. II of Cyril.)


By the phrase "productive property" is meant all those things that produce an income, and especially real estate: such as arable fields, vineyards, olive groves, etc. So as concerning these things the present Canon decrees that if anyone who should alienate them, as bishop from the bishopric, or an abbot from a monastery, and turn them over to civil rulers, either by sale or by exchange, any such transfer is to remain invalid and of no effect, and the things are to revert to the bishopric or monastery, as the case may be, just as Ap. c. XXXVIII decrees, which the present Canon quotes verbatim and in full. But if it should happen that the bishop or abbot alleges that such or such a field, or vineyard, is not producing any income or profit, but rather a loss, let them sell it, not to civil rulers and autocrats, but to clergymen or farmers, men, that is to say, who are humble and paltry. But if by employing some villainy they should first have given them to the latter with the object of letting them be taken from them later by a civil ruler, this sale is to be invalid and void, while the bishop who has sold the property in such a manner is to be ousted from the bishopric, and any abbot who has done so is to be ousted from the monastery, because they have wrongfully dissipated and lost the property which had been rightfully gathered together and consecrated by others. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXVIII.


13. In view of the fact that on account of the disaster attending our sins certain charitable institutions have been pillaged by men, including both bishoprics and monasteries, and have been made into common resorts; if those who now have possession of them are willing to return them, in order that they may be restored to their pristine condition, it is well and good: but if not, in case those men who now have them in their possession are on the sacerdotal list, we command that they be deposed from office, or, if they be monks or laymen, that they be excommunicated, on the ground that they stand condemned by the Father, and by the Son, and by the Holy Spirit; and let them be relegated thither where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isa. 66:24; Mark 9:44, 46, 48), since they are opposed to the Lord’s utterance saying: "Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise" (John 2:16).

(cc. IV, XXIV of the 4th; c. XLIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIX of the 7th; c. I of the lst-&-2nd; c. II of Cyril.)


In the time of the iconomachists, besides other evils that occurred, many prelates were ousted by them on account of the holy icons from their bishoprics and metropoleis, and many monks were ousted from their monasteries. These institutions being left in a state of desolation certain secular persons snatched hold of them and converted them into secular habitations. So for this reason the present Canon commands that in case those holding possession of these bishoprics and monasteries are willing to give them back, in order that they may be restored again as bishoprics and monasteries to their former condition, it is all right. But if they are unwilling, in case they are clerics let them be deposed from office, but in case they are monks or laymen let them be excommunicated, as persons condemned on this account by the Holy Trinity; and let them be relegated to that region where "their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched," according to the utterance of Isaiah and of the Gospel, since they are opposing the words of the Lord which say, "Make not the house of my Father a house of merchandise," etc. Read also cc. IV and XXIV of the 4th.


14. It is perfectly plain to everybody that order reigns in the Church, and that it is pleasing to God for the transactions of the Priesthood to be maintained with rigorousness. Since, then, we behold some persons receiving the tonsure of the Clergy from infancy and without imposition of hands, and reading from the pulpit at the synaxis, but doing so in an uncanonical fashion, we forbid the doing of this from now on. The same rule is to be observed also with reference to Monks. As for the appointment of an Anagnost (or Reader) by imposition of hands, each Abbot is given permission to do this but only in his own Monastery, provided that imposition of hands has been laid upon that very same Abbot himself by a Bishop to enable him to have the presidency of an Abbot — that is to say, more plainly speaking, if he is a Presbyter (or Priest). Likewise also in accordance with the ancient custom, Auxiliary Bishops may only with the permission of the Bishop appoint Anagnosts (with imposition of hands).

(c. XXXIII of the 6th ; c. XXII of Carthage.)


Since some persons have been consecrated from infancy to God, and have donned garments befitting clerics, and have also received the tonsure at the hands of their own parents, in accordance with a certain custom, on the pretext that they have been and are, allegedly, consecrated, and these same children on coming to age have had the temerity to read the divine books to the laity (perhaps trusting to that tonsure received in their infancy), without having had the requisite imposition of hands and without having received the requisite seal and tonsure of an Anagnost from a prelate; therefore the present Canon commands that such a thing be not done, on the ground that it is disorderly and uncanonical. Not only are laymen forbidden to act as Readers without a bishop’s seal, but so are monks too. But it is permissible for the abbot of a monastery, provided he is a priest and has been made an abbot by imposition of the hands of a prelate, to ordain Anagnosts (or Readers), but only in his own monastery, and not elsewhere. Likewise even Auxiliary Bishops (Chorepiscopi) are permitted to ordain Anagnosts, in accordance with an ancient custom (respecting which see also the Footnote to c. VIII of the First). Read also c. XXXIII of the 6th.


15. From now on let no Clergyman be attached to two churches. For this is a mark of commerciality and of greediness for profits, and is alien to ecclesiastical usage. For we have been told by the voice of the Lord Himself that "no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will cling to the one, and despise the other" (Matt. 6:24). Each person, therefore, in accordance with the Apostolical utterance, wherever he happens to be, ought to stay there and serve in one church. For things done on account of greediness for profits in connection with ecclesiastical matters are alien to God’s institutes. To supply the needs of this life there are various occupations. Let anyone, therefore, who so wishes gain the needs of the body from them. For the Apostle has said, "these hands have ministered unto my needs, and unto those of them who were with me" (Acts 20:34). Accordingly, what is said here is to be applied in this God-guarded city; but in small towns outside of it, for want of men, let there be concessions.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. X, XV of the 7th; c. III of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage; Matt. 6:24; 1 Cor. 7:20; Acts 20:34.)


The present Canon prohibits the enrolling of any clergyman in the clergy of two churches situated either in the same city or in two cities, because this is being done for the sake of shameful profits, in order, that is to say, that the clergyman so enrolled may gain the emoluments of both churches; but what is done for the sake of shameful profits is foreign both to God and to ecclesiastics. For the Lord says that nobody can serve two masters; for either he will hate and despise one of them, or he will love and embrace the other. And St. Paul commands that everybody stay in the place whither he has been called by God. If these clergymen allege as an excuse that they cannot get along with the emoluments of the one church, why, behold, there are many kinds of manual work in the world that are more decent; accordingly, let them work with their hands to obtain the needs of the body. For even St. Paul obtained his needs and the needs of those with him by the work of his own hands, as he himself says. So for a clergyman to be attached to two churches, in this imperial city at any rate, is not to be tolerated because of the great number of clerics already in it; but as for the villages and towns outside of it, let it be allowed to be done on account of the scarcity of priests and clerics. See also Ap. c. XV.


16. Every luxury and adornment of the body is alien to the sacerdotal order. Bishops or clergymen, therefore, who adorn themselves with splendid and conspicuous clothes need to be corrected; but if they insist upon it, they must be condemned to a penance. Likewise as regards those who anoint themselves with perfumes. But inasmuch as a root of bitterness growing up, the heresy of Christianocategori (i.e., accusers of Christians), has become a pestilence, and those who have joined it not only have deemed iconic representations in paintings to be an abomination, but have even rejected every form of reverence, being inclined to loathe those who live decently and piously, and that which has been written has been fulfilled in them, viz., "Godliness is an abomination to a sinner" (Sirach A.28) I’m not sure what the true citation for this verse is. If, therefore, persons are found laughing at those clothed in cheap and decent vestments, let them be corrected with a penance. For ever since the days of old every priestly man has contented himself with moderate and decent vestments. For everything that is worn not because of any real need or necessity, but for embellishment incurs the discredit of being frippery, as Basil the Great has said. But neither did they put on any garments made of silk fabrics and embroidered with various designs; nor did any of them add any differently colored appendages to the edges of their vestments. For they had been told by the Speaker of God’s language that those who wear soft raiment are in the houses of kings (Matt. 11:8).

(c. XXVII of the 6th; cc. XII, XXI of Gangra.)


The present Canon decrees that bishops and clerics who wear splendid clothes, as well as those who anoint themselves with perfumes, ought to correct this impropriety, since every embellishment and adornment of the human body is foreign to those in holy orders. But if they insist on doing so and will not correct themselves, let them be canonized with a suitable penance. Moreover, the iconomachists, besides rejecting holy icons, rejected also everything making for decency in the matter of clothing, and were wont to laugh at those wearing cheap or paltry garments (that is why they were wont to call monks "darkies," that is to say, wearers of dark-colored clothes, making fun of the decency of the monkish habit, according to Metaphrastes in his Life of Stephen the Younger); accordingly, I say, let these men be corrected with a penance, for ever since the beginning men in holy orders have been wearing humble clothes. Hence St. Basil the Great (see his Epitomized Def. 49) describes as frippery every piece of clothing that is not designed to meet some need of the body, but only for embellishment or beautification; and they were not accustomed to wear garments embroidered with silk (for silkworms are called in Greek seres after the Seres, or Chinese, who used to cultivate these worms, and from there they were carried to other regions); nor did they attach to the edges of their garments pieces of a different color from that of their garments. For they had heard from the utterance of the Lord that those wearing soft clothes are found in palaces, and not in bishoprics and churches. See also c. XXVII of the 6th.


17. Some of the monks, after leaving their monasteries, having become imbued with a yearning to rule and with a loathness to obey, undertake to build prayer-houses without having the needments to finish them. If, therefore, anyone shall undertake to do this, let him be prevented by the local bishop. But if he has the needments for their completion, let him carry out his plans. The same rule is to be observed also as regards laymen and clerics.

(c. IV of the 4th; c. XXI of the 7th; c. I of the lst-&-2nd.)


Seeing that some ambitious monks inclined to rule and not to obey others, having left their monasteries, attempt to build prayer-houses without having the expenses required to complete them, therefore the present Canon commands that such persons be prevented by the bishop from engaging in such an enterprise. But if they have sufficient capital for this end and the accomplishment of their object, let them undertake the work. This same rule applies also to laymen or clerics if they undertake to build oratories. See also c. IV of the 4th, and c. XXI of the present Council.


18. Be ye unoffending even to outsiders, says the Apostle (1 Cor. 10:32). But for women to be dwelling in bishoprics, or in monasteries, is a cause for everyone’s taking offense. If, therefore, anyone be caught in possession of a female slave or of a free woman in a bishopric, or in a monastery, for the performance of any service, or ministration, let him be penanced; and if he persists, let him be deposed from office. If, on the other hand, it should happen that in the suburbs there are women, and a Bishop, or an Abbot, wants to go to there, while the Bishop or Abbot is present, let no woman perform any sort of service whatever for him during that time, but let her keep to herself in a different place until the Bishop takes his departure, to avoid any reproach.

(c. III of the 1st; c. V of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th; c. XIX of Ancyra; c. XLV of Carthage; c. LXXXIX of Basil.)


The present Canon prohibits women from being within bishoprics and monasteries in prder to act as servants, since such a thing causes great scandal and brings great discredit upon prelates and monks both among secular Christians and among the heathen. In fact, the Apostle orders us not to give any offense to even Jews and Greeks outside the Church. So if any prelate or abbot should be caught doing this, let him be duly canonized. But if he should persist in doing it and be incorrigible, let him be deposed from office. If, on the other hand, in the latifundia of a bishopric or of a monastery there should be any women, and the prelate or the abbot should go there to any part of them, as long as these men are there the women are not to perform any act of service, but are to keep away until they depart, on account of the necessity of avoiding any offense or reproach. See also c. III of the First.


19. Among the headmen of the Church the hatred of avarice has been abated to such an extent that even some of the men and women called reverent, having forgotten the Lord’s commandment, have been deceived or misled into allowing the admission for money of those joining the Sacerdotal Order, or the monastic life. The result is that, as Basil the Great says, what is disreputable from the start is wholly rejectable. For neither is it possible to serve both God and Mammon. If, therefore, anyone be found doing this, in case he is a Bishop, or an Abbot, or anyone in the Priesthood, either let him cease or let him be deposed in accordance with the second Canon of the holy Council held in Chalcedon; but if the offender is an Abbess, let her be driven out of the Nunnery, and let her be delivered to a different Nunnery for subordination. Likewise, too, in the case of an Abbot who lacks ordination as a Presbyter. As regards property of any kind given by parents to their children by way of dowry or personal belongings that have been donated by donators who acknowledge them to be things consecrated to God, we have decreed that whether they stay or leave, those things are to remain in the monastery, in accordance with his promise, unless his departure has been caused by the Prior.

(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; cc. XXII, XXIII of the 6th; c. XCI of Basil; Epistles of Gennadius and of Tarasius; Matt. 6:24.)


"Headman" is a designation for prelates and priests, and for abbots of monasteries, since they have been appointed to stand at the head of the laymen, both with respect to the right faith and with respect to good works. So the present Canon says that inasmuch as these men have been so overcome by avarice as to take money as an inducement to admit those coming to the Sacerdotal Order or to monastic life; and thus is fulfilled in them the saying of St. Basil the Great to the effect that if the beginning of anything is inefficient and bad, the whole of it thereafter will be inefficient and bad. If any bishop, or abbot in holy orders, or anyone else on the sacerdotal list, does this hereafter, let him either cease or be deposed from office, in accordance with c. II of the 4th C., which decrees that anyone is to be deposed from office who in exchange for money should nominate even a Prosmonarius. But if the person doing this be an abbot not in holy orders or an abbess, let them be driven out of their monasteries and be put in other monasteries, in order to render them obedient, as not being worthy of the abbotship and of the right to subordinate others, seeing that they demand money in advance in order to consent to admit those applying as candidates for the position of caloyer or monk. As for those things (whether they are chattels, that is to say, or real estate of any kind) which a person may possess either as dowry from his parents or as belongings of his own and which he may consecrate to the monastery in which he has decided to take up his abode as a monk, the present Canon decrees that these things are to remain inalienable from the monastery in accordance with the promise or vow of the one who consecrated them, no matter whether he stays in the monastery or departs from it for reasons of his own and of his own free will. But if he should depart from the monastery in consequence of any occasion (such as we shall mention in the Interpretation of the following c. XXI of this same 7th) due to the abbot, he can take them back.


20. As from now on we decree that no double monastery is to be made, because this becomes a scandal and offense to many persons. But if certain persons with their relatives choose to renounce the world and to follow a solitary life, the men must retire to a monastery for men, and the women must enter a nunnery (or monastery for women). For it is in this that God takes pleasure. As for those which have been double hitherto, let them be maintained, in accordance with the Canon of our Holy Father St. Basil, and in accordance with his injunction let them be so formulated. Let not monks and nuns dwell in a single monastery. For adultery will creep in where there is a chance due to their dwelling together. Let no monk have the liberty to address a nun, or a nun to address a monk, with a view to speaking in private. Let no monk look into a nunnery, nor let any nun eat with a monk alone. And when the necessaries of life are being conveyed from the men’s quarters to those of the canonesses, let the abbess of the nunnery receive these outside the gates with some aged nun. If it should happen that any nun should want to see a monk who is her relative, let him speak with her briefly and in a few words in the presence of the abbess.

(cc. XLVI, XLVII of the 6th; cc. XVIII, XX, XXII of the 7th.)


Zonaras asserts that a double monastery was two neighboring monasteries so near together that voices could be heard from one to the other. Some other authorities, with whom Balsamon agrees, say that it was one and the same monastery, within which men and women lived in the same building, though not strangers to another in respect of the flesh, but relatives of one another. I would say that this second opinion seems nearer the truth, in so far as it is confirmed by the style in the beginning and the context of this Canon. But the injunction which the Canon cites further below of St. Basil the Great, concerning double monasteries, proves the first opinion to be most true and incontestable. But whether one takes it this way or that, the present Canon commands that henceforth such double monasteries are not to be made, on the ground that they are causes of scandal. If, nevertheless, certain men and women, who are relatives of one another, wish to become monks or nuns, as the case may be let the men go apart to monasteries for men and let the women go to a nunnery, or monastery exclusively for women; for it is in this way that God is pleased. But as for all monasteries that have survived till now and are double, let them live in accordance with the injunction and legislation of St. Basil the Great, which is as follows, that is to say: monks and nuns are not to be allowed to dwell together in one and the same monastery, because adultery will follow in the wake of this dwelling together. Let no monk have the liberty to speak privately with a nun, or a nun with a monk. Let no monk sleep in a nunnery, nor let one eat with a nun. And when monks from a monastery are conveying the necessaries of life to the nuns, they are to leave them outside the doors of the nunnery, and from there the abbess with some other aged nun is to take them in. But if any monk wishes to see a nun who is a relative of his, let him see her, and let him speak a few words to her, with the abbess present, and let him depart quickly.


The second ordinance of Title I of the Novels also decrees that monks and nuns must not remain together (Photius, Title XI, ch. 1). Perhaps, too, it may be that even the prophet Zechariah says on this account for the tribes of Israel to mourn, men separately and women separately, hinting by means of the word "mourn" at the mournful life of monks and nuns, and by means of the word "separately" at the fact that men and women cannot live together in one and the same monastery, according to the decree of the present Canon. "And the land shall mourn, every tribe separately; the tribe of the house of David separately, and their wives apart; . . . and the tribe of the house of Levi separately, and their wives apart" (Zech. 12:12-13). See also cc. XLVI and XLVII of the 6th.


21. A monk or nun must not leave his or her monastery or nunnery, respectively, and go away to another. But if this should occur, it is necessary that he or she be afforded a hospitable reception as a guest. But it is not fitting that he or she be entered without the approval of his abbot, or of her abbess, as the case may be.

(c. IV of the 4th; c. XIX of the 7th; cc. III, IV, V of the lst-&-2nd; c. LXXXVIII of Carthage.)


The present Canon decrees that a monk or nun must not leave that monastery or nunnery in which he or she, respectively, has been tonsured, and go to another. But if anyone should do this, such a one ought to be received as a guest and hospitably treated by the Fathers of that strange monastery (or the Mothers of that strange nunnery, as the case may be) for some days (lest as one not accorded a proper welcome he or she be compelled to betake himself or herself to the world and to associate with indifferent persons). Nevertheless, he or she must not be held to be enrolled in the brotherhood or sisterhood there, as the case may be, without the approval and a dimissory letter from his own abbot (or from her own abbess, if it be a nun).


Canon IV of the lst-&-2nd C. excommunicates any monk who departs from his monastery and goes to another monastery, or to a worldly shelter, and even the person who welcomes and admits him, except only in case the prelate wished to transfer him to a different location, either for improvement of another monastery or for salvation of some family. For in that case the monks and those admitting him are not responsible. Moreover, c. LXXXVIII of Carthage commands that a stranger must not communicate with a monk unless the laity themselves with that bishop who has admitted him from a monastery belonging to another province and makes him a cleric, or an abbot of his own monastery, and the monk in question, it says, shall be neither a cleric nor an abbot. And c. IV of the 4th decrees that monks must not leave their monasteries unless they be allowed to do so by the bishop for a necessary need. Canon III of the lst-&-2nd, on the other hand, excommunicates any abbot who fails to bring back to his monastery his escaped monks.


22. For everything to be dedicated to God, and not to be slavishly subject to one’s own will, is undoubtedly a great thing in itself. For whether you are eating or you are drinking, the divine Apostle says, you are doing everything for the glory of God. Christ, therefore, our God, in His Gospels has ordered us to cut out the origins of sins. For not only is adultery chastised by Him, but even a mental tendency to attempt adultery is condemned, in that He says: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). Taking a cue from this assertion, we ought to purify our thoughts. "All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient" (1 Cor. 10:23), we are taught by an Apostolic utterance. It is therefore indispensable for every man to eat in order to live. Accordingly, for those whose life is one of marriage and children and popular amusement it is proper for men and women to eat in mixed company, though to avoid calumny and reproach they ought to take food merely in order to obtain nourishment, and not for the enjoyment of it, and in absence of theatrical arts, or what may be called Satanic songs, music of harps, and whorish twistings of the body. For upon such as participate in these things the prophetic curse descends speaking as follows: "Woe unto them who drink wine with harp and lute, but regard not the work of the Lord, neither have considered the works of his hands comprehendingly" (Isa. 5:12). And if there ever should be such among the Christians, let them correct themselves or be corrected; but if not, let the rules laid down by those before us canonically and promulgated prevail in regard to them. But as for those persons whose life is quiet and monotonous, he who has joined hands with the Lord God "ought to bear the yoke solitary . . . as he sitteth alone and broodeth in silence" (Lam. of Jer. 3:27-28). But what is more even for those who have chosen a priestly life, it is not at all permissible for them to eat privately in the company of women, unless it be somewhere together with God-bearing and reverent men and women, in order that the banquet itself may lead to some spiritual guidance. And in the case of relatives, too, let him do the same. If, again, during a journey a monk or a priestly man should happen to be in want of what he needs, and as a matter of necessity wishes to put up somewhere, be it at an inn or in someone’s home, he is to have the right to do this, on the ground of the exigency.