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(Found in the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, in the Epistle of Eusebius of 
Coesarea to his own Church, in the Epistle of St. Athanasius Ad Jovianum Imp., in the Ecclesiastical 
Histories of Theodoret and Socrates, and elsewhere, The variations in the text are absolutely without 

The Synod at Nice set forth this Creed. (1) 
The Ecthesis of the Synod at Nice. (2) 

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of 
Light, very God of very God, begotten (<greek>gennhq</greek>,<greek>ent</greek><s201)>, not made, 
being of one substance (<greek>omoousion</greek>, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all 
things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down 
[from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and 
ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in 
the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not 
(<greek>hn</greek> <greek>pote</greek> <greek>ote</greek> <greek>ouk</greek> <greek>h</greek> 
<greek>n</greek>), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, 
or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to 
change or conversion(3)-all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them. 


The Creed of Eusebius of Caesarea, which he presented to the council, and which some suppose to have 
suggested the creed finally adopted. 

(Found in his Epistle to his diocese; vide: St. Athanasius and Theodoret.) 

We believe in one only God, Father Almighty, Creator of things visible and invisible; and in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, for he is the Word of God, God of God, Light of Light, life of life, his only Son, the first-born of all 
creatures, begotten of the Father before all time, by whom also everything was created, who became flesh 
for our redemption, who lived and suffered amongst men, rose again the third day, returned to the Father, 
and will come again one day in his glory to judge the quick and the dead. We believe also in the Holy 
Ghost We believe that each of these three is and subsists; the Father truly as Father, the Son truly as Son, 
the Holy Ghost truly as Holy Ghost; as our Lord also said, when he sent his disciples to preach: Go and 
teach all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 


The Fathers of the Council at Nice were at one time ready to accede to the request of some of the bishops 
and use only scriptural expressions in their definitions. But, after several attempts, they found that all these 
were capable of being explained away. Athanasius describes with much wit and penetration how he saw 
them nodding and winking to each other when the orthodox proposed expressions which they had thought 
of a way of escaping from the force of. After a series of attempts of this sort it was found that something 
clearer and more unequivocal must be adopted if real unity of faith was to be attained; and accordingly the 
word homousios was adopted. Just what the Council intended this expression to mean is set forth by St. 
Athanasius as follows: "That the Son is not only like to the Father, but that, as his image, he is the same as 
the Father; that he is of the Father; and that the resemblance of the Son to the Father, and his immutability, 
are different from ours: for in us they are something acquired, and arise from our fulfilling the divine 
commands. Moreover, they wished to indicate by this that his generation is different from that of human 
nature; that the Son is not only like to the Father, but inseparable from the substance of the Father, that he 
and the Father are one and the same, as the Son himself said: 'The Logos is always in the Father, and, the 
Father always in the Logos,' as the sun and its splendour are inseparable. "(1) 
The word homousios had not had, although frequently used before the Council of Nice, a very happy 

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history. It was probably rejected by the Council of Antioch,(2) and was suspected of being open to a 
Sabellian meaning. It was accepted by the heretic Paul of Samosata and this rendered it very offensive to 
many in the Asiatic Churches. 

On the other hand the word is used four times by St. Irenaeus, and Pamphilus the Martyr is quoted as 
asserting that Origen used the very word in the Nicene sense. Tertullian also uses the expression "of one 
substance" (unius substanticoe) in two places, and it would seem that more than half a century before the 
meeting of the Council of Nice, it was a common one among the Orthodox. 

Vasquez treats this matter at some length in his Disputations, (3) and points out how well the distinction is 
drawn by Epiphanius between Synousios and Homousios, "for synousios signifies such an unity of 
substance as allows of no distinction: wherefore the Sabellians would admit this word: but on the contrary 
homousios signifies the same nature and substance but with a distinction between persons one from the 
other. Rightly, therefore, has the Church adopted this word as the one best calculated to confute the Arian 
heresy. "(4) 

It may perhaps be well to note that these words are formed like <greek>omobios</greek> and 
<greek>omoiobios</greek>, <greek>omognwmwn</greek> and <greek>omoiognwmwn</greek>, etc., etc. 
The reader will find this whole doctrine treated at great length in all the bodies of divinity; and in Alexander 
Natalis (H.E. t. iv., Dies, xiv.); he is also referred to Pearson, On the Creed; Bull, Defence of the Nicene 
Creed; Forbes, An Explanation of the Nicene Creed; and especially to the little book, written in answer to the 
recent criticisms of Professor Harnack, by H. B. Swete, D.D., The Apostles' Creed. 

EXCURSUS ON THE WORDS <greek>gennhqeta</greek> <greek>ou</greek> 
<greek>poihqenta</greek> (J. B. Lightfoot. The Apostolic Fathers— Part II. Vol. ii. Sec. I. pp. 
90, et seqq.) 

The Son is here [Ignat. Ad. Eph. vii.] declared to be <greek>gennh</greek><ss235><greek>os</greek> as 
man and <greek>a</greek>,s204><greek>ennhtos</greek> as God, for this is clearly shown to be the 
meaning from the parallel clauses. Such language is not in accordance with later theological definitions, 
which carefully distinguished between <greek>genhtos</greek> and <greek>gennhtos</greek> between 
<greek>agenhtos</greek> and <greek>agennhtos</greek>; so that <greek>genhtos</greek>, 
<greek>agenhtos</greek> respectively denied and affirmed the eternal existence, being equivalent to 
<greek>ktistos</greek>, <greek>aktistos</greek>, while <greek>gennhtos</greek>, 
<greek>agen</greek><s225<greek>htos</greek> described certain ontological relations, whether in time 
or in eternity. In the later theological language, therefore, the Son was <greek>gennhtos</greek> even in his 
Godhead. See esp. Joann. Damasc. de Fid. Orth. i. 8 [where he draws the conclusion that only the Father is 
<greek>agennhtos</greek>, and only the Son <greek>gennhtos</greek>]. 

There can be little doubt however, that Ignatius wrote <greek>gennh?os</greek> <greek>kai</greek> 
<greek>agennhtos</greek>, though his editors frequently alter it into <greek>gennh?os</greek> 
<greek>kai</greek> <greek>agennhtos</greek>. For (1) the Greek MS. still retains the double [Greek nun] 
v, though the claims of orthodoxy would be a temptation to scribes to substitute the single v. And to this 
reading also the Latin genitus et ingenitus points. On the other hand it cannot be concluded that translators 
who give factus et non factus had the words with one v, for this was after all what Ignatius meant by the 
double v, and they would naturally render his words so as to make his orthodoxy apparent. (2) When 
Theodoret writes <greek>gennhtos</greek> <greek>ex</greek> <greek>agennhtou</greek>, it is clear that 
he, or the person before him who first substituted this reading, must have read <greek>gennhtos</greek> 
<greek>kai</greek> <greek>agennhtos</greek>, for there would be no temptation to alter the perfectly 
orthodox <greek>genhtos</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>agenhtos</greek>, nor (if altered) would it 
have taken this form. (3) When the interpolator substitutes <greek>o</greek> <greek>monos</greek> 
<greek>alhqinos</greek> <greek>Qeos</greek> <greek>o</greek> <greek>agennhtos</greek> . . . 
<greek>tou</greek> <greek>de</greek> <greek>monogonous</greek> <greek>pathr</greek> 
<greek>kai</greek> <greek>gennhtwr</greek>, the natural inference is that he too, had the forms in double 
v, which he retained, at the same time altering the whole run of the sentence so as not to do violence to his 
own doctrinal views; see Bull Def. Fid. Nic. ii. 2 <s> 6. (4) The quotation in Athanasius is more difficult. The 
MSS. vary, and his editors write <greek>genhtos</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>agenhtos</greek>. 
Zahn too, who has paid more attention to this point than any previous editor of Ignatius, in his former work 
(Ign. v. Ant. p. 564), supposed Athanasius to have read and written the words with a single v, though in his 
subsequent edition of Ignatius (p. 338) he declares himself unable to determine between the single and 
double v. I believe, however, that the argument of Athanasius decides in favour of the vv. Elsewhere he 
insists repeatedly on the distinction between <greek>ktixein</greek> and <greek>gennan</greek>, 
justifying the use of the latter term as applied to the divinity of the Son, and defending the statement in the 
Nicene Creed <greek>gennhton</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>ousias</greek> 

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<greek>tou</greek> <greek>patros</greek> <greek>ton</greek> <greek>uion</greek> 
<greek>omoousion</greek> (De Synod. 54, 1, p. 612). Although he is not responsible for the language of 
the Macrostich (De Synod. 3, 1 , p. 590), and would have regarded it as inadequate without the 
<greek>omoousion</greek> yet this use of terms entirely harmonizes with his own. In the passage before 
us, ib. <s><s> 46, 47 (p. 607), he is defending the use of homousios at Nicaea, notwithstanding that it had 
been previously rejected by the council which condemned Paul of Samosata, and he contends that both 
councils were orthodox, since they used homousios in a different sense. As a parallel instance he takes the 
word <greek>agennhtos</greek> which like homousios is not a scriptural word, and like it also is used in 
two ways, signifying either (1) T<greek>o</greek> <greek>on</greek> <greek>men</greek>, 
<greek>mhte</greek> <greek>de</greek> <greek>gennhqen</greek> <greek>mhte</greek> 
<greek>olws</greek> <greek>ekon</greek> <greek>ton</greek> <greek>aition</greek> or(2) 
T<greek>o</greek> <greek>aktiston</greek>. In the former sense the Son cannot be called 
<greek>agennhtos</greek>, in the latter he may be so called. Both uses, he says, are found in the fathers. 
Of the latter he quotes the passage in Ignatius as an example; of the former he says, that some writers 
subsequent to Ignatius declare <greek>en</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>agennhton</greek> 
<greek>o</greek> <greek>pathr</greek>, <greek>kai</greek> <greek>eis</greek> <greek>o</greek> 
<greek>ex</greek> <greek>autou</greek> <greek>uios</greek> <greek>gnhsios</greek>, 
<greek>gennhma</greek> <greek>alhqinon</greek> <greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. 
<greek>l</greek>. [He may have been thinking of Clem. Alex. Strom, vi. 7, which I shall quote below.] He 
maintains that both are orthodox, as having in view two different senses of the word 
<greek>agennhton</greek>, and the same, he argues, is the case with the councils which seem to take 
opposite sides with regard to homousios. It is dear from this passage, as Zahn truly says, that Athanasius is 
dealing with one and the same word throughout; and, if so, it follows that this word must be 
<greek>agennhton</greek>, since <greek>agenhton</greek> would be intolerable in some places. I may 
add by way of caution that in two other passages, de Decret. Syn. Nic. 28 (1 , p. 184), Orat. c. Arian. i. 30 (1 , p. 
343), St. Athanasius gives the various senses of <greek>agenhton</greek> (for this is plain from the 
context), and that these passages ought not to be treated as parallels to the present passage which is 
concerned with the senses of <greek>agennhton</greek>. Much confusion is thus created, e.g. in 
Newman's notes on the several passages in the Oxford translation of Athanasius (pp. 51 sq., 224 sq.), where 
the three passages are treated as parallel, and no attempt is made to discriminate the readings in the 
several places, but "ingenerate" is given as the rendering of both alike. If then Athanasius who read 
<greek>gennhtos</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>agennhtos</greek> in Ignatius, there is absolutely 
no authority for the spelling with one v. The earlier editors (Voss, Useher, Cotelier, etc.), printed it as they 
found it in the MS.; but Smith substituted the forms with the single v, and he has been followed more recently 
by Hefele, Dressel, and some other. In the Casatensian copy of the MS., a marginal note is added, 
<greek>anagnwsteon</greek> <greek>agenhtos</greek> <greek>tout</greek> <greek>esti</greek> 
<greek>mh</greek> <greek>poihqeis</greek>. Waterland (Works, III., p. 240 sq., Oxf. 1823) tries 
ineffectually to show that the form with the double v was invented by the fathers at a later date to express 
their theological conception. He even "doubts whether there was any such word as 
<greek>agennhtos</greek> so early as the time of Ignatius." In this he is certainly wrong. 
The MSS. of early Christian writers exhibit much confusion between these words spelled with the double and 
the single v. See e.g. Justin Dial. 2, with Otto's note; Athenag. Suppl. 4 with Otto's note; Theophil, ad Autol. ii. 
3, 4; Iren. iv. 38, 1 , 3; Orig. c. Cels. vi. 66; Method, de Lib. Arbitr., p. 57; Jahn (see Jahn's note 1 1 , p. 122); 
Maximus in Euseb. Praep. Ev. vii. 22; Hippol. Haer. v. 16 (from Sibylline Oracles); Clem. Alex. Strom v. 14; 
and very frequently in later writers. Yet notwithstanding the confusion into which later transcribers have thus 
thrown the subject, it is still possible to ascertain the main facts respecting the usage of the two forms. The 
distinction between the two terms, as indicated by their origin, is that <greek>agenhtos</greek> denies the 
creation, and <greek>agennhtos</greek> the generation or parentage. Both are used at a very early date; 
e.g. <greek>agenhtos</greek> by Parmenides in Clem. Alex. Strom, v. 14, and by Agothon in Arist. Eth. Nic. 
vii. 2 (comp. also Orac. Sibyll. prooem. 7, 17); and <greek>agennhtos</greek> in Soph. Trach. 61 (where it is 
equivalent to <greek>dusgenwn</greek>. Here the distinction of meaning is strictly preserved, and so 
probably it always is in Classical writers; for in Soph. Trach. 743 we should after Porson and Hermann read 
<greek>agenhton</greek> with Suidas. In Christian writers also there is no reason to suppose that the 
distinction was ever lost, though in certain connexions the words might be used convertibly. Whenever, as 
here in Ignatius, we have the double v where we should expect the single, we must ascribe the fact to the 
indistinctness or incorrectness of the writer's theological conceptions, not to any obliteration of the meaning 
of the terms themselves. To this early father for instance the eternal <greek>gen?hsis</greek> of the Son 
was not a distinct theological idea, though substantially he held the same views as the Nicene fathers 
respecting the Person of Christ. The following passages from early Christian writers will serve at once to 
show how far the distinction was appreciated, and to what extent the Nicene conception prevailed in 

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ante-Nicene Christianity; Justin Apol. ii. 6, comp. ib. <s> 13; Athenag. Suppl. 10 (comp. ib. 4); Theoph. ad. 
Aut. ii. 3; Tatian Orat. 5; Rhodon in Euseb. H. E. v. 13; Clem. Alex. Strom, vi. 7; Orig. c. Cels. vi. 17, ib. vi. 52; 
Concil. Antioch (A.D. 269) in Routh Rel. Sacr. III., p. 290; Method, de Creat. 5. In no early Christian writing, 
however, is the distinction more obvious than in the Clementine Homilies, x. 10 (where the distinction is 
employed to support the writer's heretical theology): see also viii. 16, and comp. xix. 3, 4, 9, 12. The following 
are instructive passages as regards the use of these words where the opinions of other heretical writers are 
given; Saturninus, Iren. i. 24, 1; Hippol. Haer. vii. 28; Simon Magus, Hippol. Haer. vi. 17, 18; the Valentinians, 
Hippol. Haer. vi. 29, 30; the Ptolemaeus in particular, Ptol. Ep. ad. Flor. 4 (in Stieren's Ireninians, Hipaeus, p. 
935); Basilides, Hippol. Haer. vii. 22; Carpocrates, Hippol. Haer. vii. 32. 

From the above passages it will appear that Ante-Nicene writers were not indifferent to the distinction of 
meaning between the two words; and when once the othodox Christology was formulated in the Nicene 
Creed in the words <greek>gennhqenta</greek> <greek>ou</greek> <greek>poihqenta</greek>, it 
became henceforth impossible to overlook the difference. The Son was thus declared to be 
<greek>gennhtos</greek> but not <greek>genhtos</greek>. I am therefore unable to agree with Zahn 
(Marcellus, pp. 40, 104, 223, Ign. von Ant. p. 565), that at the time of the Arian controversy the disputants were 
not alive to the difference of meaning. See for example Epiphanius, Haer. Ixiv. 8. But it had no especial 
interest for them. While the orthodox party clung to the homousios as enshrining the doctrine for which they 
fought, they had no liking for the terms <greek>agennhtos</greek> and <greek>gennhtos</greek> as 
applied to the Father and the Son respectively, though unable to deny their propriety, because they were 
affected by the Arians and applied in their own way. To the orthodox mind the Arian formula 
<greek>ouk</greek> <greek>hn</greek> <greek>prin</greek> <greek>gennhqhnai</greek> or some 
Semiarian formula hardly less dangerous, seemed always to be lurking under the expression 
<greek>Qeos</greek> <greek>g</greek><ss210><greek>nnhtos</greek> as applied to the Son. Hence 
the language of Epiphanius Haer. Ixxiii. 19: "As you refuse to accept our homousios because though used 
by the fathers, it does not occur in the Scriptures, so will we decline on the same grounds to accept your 
<greek>ag</greek><ss210><greek>nnhtos</greek>." Similarly Basil c. Eunom. i., iv., and especially ib. 
further on, in which last passage he argues at great length against the position of the heretics, 
<greek>ei</greek> <greek>ag</greek><ss210><greek>nnhtos</greek>, <greek>fasin</greek>, 
<greek>o</greek> <greek>pathr</greek>, <greek>genntos</greek> <greek>de</greek> 
<greek>o</greek> <greek>ui</greek><ss228><greek>s</greek>, <greek>ou</greek> <greek>ths</greek> 
<greek>auths</greek> <greek>ous</greek><ss217><greek>as</greek>. See also the arguments against 
the Anomoeans infAthan.] Dial, de Trin. ii. passim. This fully explains the reluctance of the orthodox party to 
handle terms which their adversaries used to endanger the homousios. But, when the stress of the Arian 
controversy was removed, it became convenient to express the Catholic doctrine by saying that the Son in 
his divine nature was <greek>g</greek><ss210><greek>nnhtos</greek> but not 
<greek>g</greek><ss210><greek>nhtos</greek>. And this distinction is staunchly maintained in later 
orthodox writers, e.g. John of Damascus, already quoted in the beginning of this Excursus. 

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IF any one in sickness has been subjected by physicians to a surgical operation, or if he has been 
castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy; but, if any one in sound health has castrated 
himself, it behoves that such an one, if[already] enrolled among the clergy, should cease[from his ministry], 
and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those 
who wilfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by 
barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men the Canon admits to the 



Eunuchs may be received into the number of the clergy, but those who castrate themselves shall not be 


The divine Apostolic Canons xxi., xxii., xxiii., and xxiv., have taught us sufficiently what ought to be done with 
those who castrate themselves, this canon provides as to what is to be done to these as well as to those 
who deliver themselves over to others to be emasculated by them, viz., that they are not to be admitted 
among the clergy nor advanced to the priesthood. 


(Smith & Cheetham, Diet. Christ. Ant.) 

The feeling that one devoted to the sacred ministry should be unmutilated was strong in the Ancient Church 
.... This canon of Nice, and those in the Apostolic Canons and a later one in the Second Council of 
Arles(canon vii.) were aimed against that perverted notion of piety, originating in the misinterpretation of our 
Lord's saying (Matt. xix. 12) by which Origen, among others, was misled, and their observance was so 
carefully enforced in later times that not more than one or two instances of the practice which they condemn 
are noticed by the historian. The case was different if a man was born an eunuch or had suffered mutilation 
at the hands of persecutors; an instance of the former, Dorotheus, presbyter of Antioch, is mentioned by 
Eusebius(H. E. vii., c. 32); of the latter, Tigris, presbyter of Constantinople, is referred to both by Socrates(H. 
E. vi. 16) and Sozomen(H. E. vi. 24) as the victim of a barbarian master. 


We know, by the first apology of St. Justin(Apol. c. 29) that a century before Origen, a young man had 
desired to be mutilated by physicians, for the purpose of completely refuting the charge of vice which the 
heathen brought against the worship of Christians. St. Justin neither praises nor blames this young man: he 
only relates that he could not obtain the permission of the civil authorities for his project, that he renounced 
his intention, but nevertheless remained virgo all his life. It is very probable that the Council of Nice was 
induced by some fresh similar cases to renew the old injunctions; it was perhaps the Arian bishop, Leontius, 
who was the principal cause of it.(1) 

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Constantine forbade by a law the practice condemned in this canon. "If anyone shall anywhere in the 
Roman Empire after this decree make eunuchs, he shall be punished with death. If the owner of the place 
where the deed was perpetrated was aware of it and hid the fact, his goods shall be confiscated. "(Const. M. 
Opera. Migne Patrol, vol. viii., 396.) 


The Nicene fathers in this canon make no new enactment but only confirm by the authority of an Ecumenical 
synod the Apostolic Canons, and this is evident from the wording of this canon. For there can be no doubt 
that they had in mind some earlier canon when they said, "such men the canon admits to the clergy." Not, 
<greek>outos</greek> <greek>ok?nwn</greek>, but <greek>o</greek> <greek>kanwn</greek>, as if they 
had said "the formerly set forth and well-known canon" admits such to the clergy. But no other canon then 
existed in which this provision occurred except apostolical canon xxi. which therefore we are of opinion is 
here cited. [In this conclusion Hefele also agrees.] 

This law was frequently enacted by subsequent synods and is inserted in the Corpus Juris Canonici, 
Decretum Gratiani. Pars. I. Distinctio L.V., C vij. 


(Bright: Notes on the Canons, pp. 2 and 3.) 

K<greek>anwn</greek>, as an ecclesiastical term, has a very interesting history. See Westcott's account of 
it, On the New Testament Canon, p. 498 if. The original sense, "a straight rod" or "line," determines all its 
religious applications, which begin with St. Paul's use of it for a prescribed sphere of apostolic work(2 Cor. x. 
1 3, 1 5), or a regulative principle of Christian life(Gal. vi. 1 6). It represents the element of definiteness in 
Christianity and in the order of the Christian Church. Clement of Rome uses it for the measure of Christian 
attainment(Ep. Cor. 7). Irenaeus calls the baptismal creed "the canon of truth"(i. 9, 4): Polycrates(Euseb. v. 
24) and probably Hippolytus(ib. v. 28) calls it "the canon of faith;" the Council of Antioch in A.D. 269, referring 
to the same standard of orthodox belief, speaks with significant absoluteness of "the canon"(ib. vii. 30). 
Eusebius himself mentions "the canon of truth" in iv. 23, and "the canon of the preaching" in iii. 32; and so 
Basil speaks of "the transmitted canon of true religion"(Epist. 204-6). Such language, like Tertullian's "regula 
fidei," amounted to saying, "We Christians know what we believe: it is not a vague 'idea' without substance 
or outline: it can be put into form, and by it we 'test the spirits whether they be of God.' " Thus it was natural for 
Socrates to call the Nicene Creed itself a "canon," ii. 27. Clement of Alexandria uses the phrase "canon of 
truth" for a standard of mystic interpretation, but proceeds to call the harmony between the two Testaments 
"a canon for the Church," Strom, vi. 15, 124, 125. Eusebius speaks of "the ecclesiastical canon" which 
recognized no other Gospels than the four(vi. 25). The use of the term and its cognates in reference to the 
Scriptures is explained by Westcott in a passive sense so that "canonized" books, as Athanasius calls 
them(Fest. Ep. 39), are books expressly recognized by the Church as portions of Holy Scripture. Again, as 
to matters of observance, Clement of Alexandria wrote a book against Judaizers, called "The Churches 
Canon"(Euseb. vi. 1 3); and Cornelius of Rome, in his letter to Fabius, speaks of the "canon" as to what we 
call confirmation(Euseb. vi. 43), and Dionysius of the "canon" as to reception of converts from heresy(ib, vii. 
7). The Nicene Council in this canon refers to a standing "canon" of discipline(comp. Nic. 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 15, 16, 
18), but it does not apply the term to its own enactments, which are so described in the second canon of 
Constantinople(see below), and of which Socrates says "that it passed what are usually called 'canons' "(i. 
13); as Julius of Rome calls a decree of this Council a "canon"(Athan. Apol. c. Ah. 25); so Athanasius 
applies the term generally to Church laws(Encycl. 2; cp. Apol. c. Ah. 69). The use of <greek>kanwn</greek> 
for the clerical body(Nic. 16, 17, 19; Chalc. 2) is explained by Westcott with reference to the rule of clerical 
life, but Bingham traces it to the roll or official list on which the names of clerics were enrolled(i. 5, 10); and 
this appears to be the more natural derivation, see "the holy canon" in the first canon of the Council of 
Antioch, and compare Socrates(i. 17), "the Virgins enumerated <greek>en</greek> <greek>tw</greek> 
<greek>ekklhsiwn</greek> <greek>kan</greek><ss228><greek>ni</greek>," and(ib. v. 19) on the addition 
of a penitentiary "to the canon of the church;" see also George of Laodicea in Sozomon, iv. 13. Hence any 
cleric might be called <greek>kan</greek><ss228><greek>nikos</greek>, see Cyril of Jerusalem, 
Procatech.(4); so we read of "canonical singers." Laodicea, canon xv. The same notion of definiteness 
appears in the ritual use of the word for a series of nine "odes" in the Eastern Church service(Neale, Introd. 
East. Ch. if. 832), for the central and unvarying element in the Liturgy, beginning after the 
Tersanctus(Hammond, Liturgies East and West, p. 377); or for any Church office(Ducange in v.); also in its 
application to a table for the calculation of Easter(Euseb. vi. 29; vii. 32); to a scheme for exhibiting the 

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common and peculiar parts of the several Gospels(as the "Eusebian canons") and to a prescribed or 
ordinary payment to a church, a use which grew out of one found in Athanasius' Apol. c. Ari. 60. 
In more recent times a tendency has appeared to restrict the term Canon to matters of discipline, but the 
Council of Treat continued the ancient use of the word, calling its doctrinal and disciplinary determinations 
alike "Canons." 


FORASMUCH as, either from necessity, or through the urgency of individuals, many things have been done 
contrary to the Ecclesiastical canon, so that men just converted from heathenism to the faith, and who have 
been instructed but a little while, are straightway brought to the spiritual layer, and as soon as they have 
been baptized, are advanced to the episcopate or the presbyterate, it has seemed right to us that for the 
time to come no such thing shall be done. For to the catechumen himself there is need of time and of a 
longer trial after baptism. For the apostolical saying is clear, "Not a novice; lest, being lifted up with pride, he 
fall into condemnation and the snare of the devil." But if, as time goes on, any sensual sin should be found 
out about the person, and he should be convicted by two or three witnesses, let him cease from the clerical 
office. And whoso shall transgress these[enactments] will imperil his own clerical position, as a person who 
presumes to disobey fie great Synod. 



Those who have come from the heathen shall not be immediately advanced to the presbyterate. For without 
a probation of some time a neophyte is of no advantage(<greek>kakos</greek>). But if after ordination it be 
found out that he had sinned previously, let him then be expelled from the clergy. 


It may be seen by the very text of this canon, that it was already forbidden to baptize, and to raise to the 
episcopate or to the priesthood anyone who had only been a catechumen for a short time: this injunction is 
in fact contained in the eightieth(seventy-ninth) apostolical canon; and according to that, it would be older 
than the Council of Nicaea. There have been, nevertheless, certain cases in which, for urgent reasons, an 
exception has been made to the rule of the Council of Nicaea-for instance, that of S. Ambrose. The canon 
of Nicaea does not seem to allow such an exception, but it might be justified by the apostolical canon, which 
says, at the close: "It is not right that any one who has not yet been proved should be a teacher of others, 
unless by a peculiar divine grace." The expression of the canon of Nicaea, <greek>yukikon</greek> 
<greek>ti</greek> <greek>amarthma</greek>, is not easy to explain: some render it by the Latin words 
animale peccatam, believing that the Council has here especially in view sins of the flesh; but as Zonaras 
has said, all sins are <greek>yukika</greek> <greek>amarthmata</greek>. We must then understand the 
passage in question to refer to a capital and very serious offence, as the penalty of deposition annexed to it 
points out. 

These words have also given offence, <greek>ei</greek> <greek>de</greek> <greek>proiontos</greek> 
<greek>tou</greek> <greek>krono</greek>,<greek>n</greek>; that is to say, "It is necessary 
henceforward," etc., understanding that it is only those who have been too quickly ordained who are 
threatened with deposition in case they are guilty of crime; but the canon is framed, and ought to be 
understood, in a general manner: it applies to all other clergymen, but it appears also to point out that 
greater severity should be shown toward those who have been too quickly ordained. 
Others have explained the passage in this manner: "If it shall become known that any one who has been too 
quickly ordained was guilty before his baptism of any serious offence, he ought to be deposed." This is the 
interpretation given by Gratian, but it must be confessed that such a translation does violence to the text. 
This is, I believe, the general sense of the canon, and of this passage in particular: "Henceforward no one 
shall be baptized or ordained quickly. As to those already in orders (with out any distinction between those 
who have been ordained in due course and those who have been ordained too quickly), the rule is that they 
shall be de posed if they commit a serious offence. Those who are guilty of disobedience to this great 
Synod, either by allowing themselves to be ordained or even by ordaining others prematurely, are 
threatened with deposition ipso facto, and for this fault alone." We consider, in short, that the last words of the 
canon may be understood as well of the ordained as of the ordainer. 


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THE great Synod has stringently forbidden any bishop, presbyter, deacon, or any one of the clergy 
whatever, to have a subintroducta dwelling with him, except only a mother, or sister, or aunt, or such persons 
only as are beyond all suspicion. 



No one shall have a woman in his house except his mother, and sister, and persons altogether beyond 


Who these mulieres subintroductae were does not sufficiently appear ... but they were neither wives nor 
concubines, but women of some third kind, which the clergy kept with them, not for the sake of offspring or 
lust, but from the desire, or certainly under the pretence, of piety. 


For want of a proper English word to render it by, I translate "to retain any woman in their houses under 
pretenee of her being a disciple to them." 


translates: And his sisters and aunts cannot remain unless they be free from all suspicion. 
Fuchs in his Bibliothek der kirchenver sammlungen confesses that this canon shews that the practice of 
clerical celibacy had already spread widely. In connexion with this whole subject of the subintroductae the 
text of St. Paul should be carefully considered. 1 Cor. ix. 5. 


It is very terrain that the canon of Nice forbids such spiritual unions, but the context shows moreover that the 
Fathers had not these particular cases in view alone; and the expression 

<greek>sun</greek><ss210><greek>isaktos</greek> should be understood of every woman who is 
introduced(<greek>sun</greek><ss210><greek>isaktos</greek>) into the house of a clergyman for the 
purpose of living there. If by the word <greek>sun</greek><ss210><greek>isaktos</greek> was only 
intended the wife in this spiritual marriage, the Council would not have said, any 

<greek>sun</greek><ss210><greek>isaktos</greek>, except his mother, etc.; for neither his mother nor his 
sister could have formed this spiritual union with the cleric. The injunction, then, does net merely forbid the 
<greek>sun</greek><ss210><greek>isaktos</greek> in the specific sense, but orders that "no woman must 
live in the house of a cleric, unless she be his mother," etc. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Distinc. XXXII., C. xvj. 


IT is by all means proper that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops in the province; but should 
this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should meet 
together, and the suffrages of the absent[bishops] also being given and communicated in writing, then the 
ordination should take place. But in every province the ratification of what is done should be left to the 



A bishop is to be chosen by all the bishops of the province, or at least by three, the rest giving by letter their 
assent ; but this choice must be confirmed by the Metropolitan. 


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The present Canon might seem to be opposed to the first canon of the Holy Apostles, for the latter enjoins 
that a bishop ordained by two or three bishops, but this by three, the absent also agreeing and testifying 
their assent by writing. But they are not contradictory; for the Apostolical canon by ordination 
(<greek>keirotonian</greek>) means consecration and imposition of hands, but the present canon by 
constitution (<greek>katastasin</greek>) and ordination means the election, and enjoins that the election of 
a bishop do not take place unless three assemble, having the consent also of the absent by letter, or a 
declaration that they also will acquiesce in the election(or vote,(<greek>yhfw</greek>) made by the three 
who have assembled. But after the election it gives the ratification or completion of the matter-the imposition 
of hands and consecration-to the metropolitan of the province, so that the election is to be ratified by him. 
He does so when with two or three bishops, according to the apostolical canon, he consecrates with 
imposition of hands the one of the elected persons whom he himself selects. 


also understands <greek>kaqistasqai</greek> to mean election by vote. 


The Greek canonists are certainly in error when they interpret <greek>keirotonia</greek> of election. The 
canon is akin to the 1st Apostolic canon which, as the canonists admit, must refer to the consecration of a 
new bishop, and it was cited in that sense at the Council of Cholcedon-Session xiii.(Mansi., vii. 307). We 
must follow Rufinus and the old Latin translators, who speak of "ordinari" "ordinatio" and "manus 


The Council of Nice thought it necessary to define by precise rules the duties of the bishops who took part in 
these episcopal elections. It decided(a) that a single bishop of the province was not sufficient for the 
appointment of another;(b) three at least should meet, and(c) they were not to proceed to election without the 
written permission of the absent bishops; it was necessary(d) to obtain afterward the approval of the 
metropolitan. The Council thus confirms the ordinary metropolitan division in its two most important points, 
namely, the nomination and ordination of bishops, and the superior position of the metropolitan. The third 
point connected with this division-namely, the provincial synod-will be considered under the next canon. 
Meletius was probably the occasion of this canon. It may be remembered that he had nominated bishops 
without the concurrence of the other bishops of the province, and without the approval of the metropolitan of 
Alexandria, and had thus occasioned a schism. This canon was intended to prevent the recurrence of such 
abuses. The question has been raised as to whether the fourth canon speaks only of the choice of the 
bishop, or whether it also treats of the consecration of the newly elected. We think, with Van Espen, that it 
treats equally of both, -as well of the part which the bishops of the province should take in an episcopal 
election, as of the consecration which completes it. 

This canon has been interpreted in two ways. The Greeks had learnt by bitter experience to distrust the 
interference of princes and earthly potentates in episcopal elections. Accordingly, they tried to prove that 
this canon of Nice took away from the people the right of voting at the nomination of a bishop, and confined 
the nomination exclusively to the bishops of the province. 

The Greek Commentators, Balsamon and others, therefore, only followed the example of the Seventh 
and[so-called] Eighth(Ecu-menical Councils in affirming that this fourth canon of Nice takes away from the 
people the right previously possessed of voting in the choice of bishops and makes the election depend 
entirely on the decision of the bishops of the province. 

The Latin Church acted otherwise. It is true that with it also the people have been removed from episcopal 
elections, but this did not happen till later, about the eleventh century; and it was not the people only who 
were removed, but the bishops of the province as well, and the election was conducted entirely by the 
clergy of the Cathedral Church. The Latins then interpreted the canon of Nice as though it said nothing of the 
rights of the bishops of the province in the election of their future colleague(and it does not speak of it in a 
very explicit manner), and as though it determined these two points only;(a) that for the ordination of a bishop 
three bishops at least are necessary;(b) that the right of confirmation rests with the metropolitan. 
The whole subject of episcopal elections is treated fully by Van Espen and by Thomassin, in Ancienne et 
Nouvelle Discipline de I' Eglise, P. II. 1 . 2. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I. Dist. LXIV. c. j. 

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CONCERNING those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several 
provinces, let the provision of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out 
by some be not readmitted by others. Nevertheless, inquiry should be made whether they have been 
excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness, or any such like ungracious disposition in the 
bishop. And, that this matter may have due investigation, it is decreed that in every province synods shall 
be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such 
questions may by them be thoroughly examined, that so those who have confessedly offended against their 
bishop, may be seen by all to be for just cause excommunicated, until it shall seem fit to a general meeting 
of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. And let these synods be held, the one before 
Lent, (that the pure Gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away), and let the second be 
held about autumn. 



Such as have been excommunicated by certain bishops shall not be restored by others, unless the 
excommunication was the result of pusillanimity, or strife, or some other similar cause. And that this may be 
duly attended to, there shall be in each year two synods in every province-the one before Lent, the other 
toward autumn. 

There has always been found the greatest difficulty in securing the regular meetings of provincial and 
diocesan synods, and despite the very explicit canonical legislation upon the subject, and the severe 
penalties attached to those not answering the summons, in large parts of the Church for centuries these 
councils have been of the rarest occurrence. Zonaras complains that in his time "these synods were 
everywhere treated with great contempt," and that they had actually ceased to be held. 
Possibly the opinion of St. Gregory Nazianzen had grown common, for it will be remembered that in refusing 
to go to the latter sessions of the Second Ecumenical he wrote, "I am resolved to avoid every meeting of 
bishops, for I have never seen any synod end well, nor assuage rather than aggravate disorders. "(1) 


Gelasius has given in his history of the Council of Nice, the text of the canons passed by the Council; and it 
must be noticed that there is here a slight difference between his text and ours. Our reading is as follows: 
"The excommunication continues to be in force until it seem good to the assembly of bishops 
(<greek>tw</greek> <greek>koinw</greek>) to soften it." Gelasius, on the other hand, writes: 
<greek>mekris</greek> <greek>an</greek> <greek>tp</greek> <greek>koinp</greek> <greek>h</greek> 
<greek>tp</greek> <greek>episkopw</greek>, <greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. <greek>l</greek>., 
that is to say, "until it seem good to the assembly of bishops, or to the bishop (who has passed the 
sentence)," etc. 

...Dionysius the Less has also followed this vacation, as his translation of the canon shows. It does not 
change the essential meaning of the passage; for it may be well understood that the bishop who has 
passed the sentence of excommunication has also the right to mitigate it. But the variation adopted by the 
Prisca alters, on the contrary, the whole sense of the canon: the Prisca has not <greek>ew</greek> 
<greek>koinp</greek>, but only <greek>episkopw</greek>: it is in this erroneous form that the canon has 
passed into the Corpus jurisc an. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XI, Quaest. III., Canon 
Ixxiij., and the latter part in Pars I., Distinc. XVIII., c. iij. 

EXCURSUS ON THE WORD <greek>Prosferein</greek>. 
(Dr. Adolph Harnack: Hist, of Dogma [Eng. Tr.] Vol. I. p. 209.) 

The idea of the whole transaction of the Supper as a sacrifice, is plainly found in the dache, (c. 14), in 
Ignatius, and above all, in Justin (I. 65f.) But even Clement of Rome presupposes it, when (in cc. 40-44) he 
draws a parallel between bishops and deacons and the Priests and Levites of the Old Testament, 
describing as the chief function of the former (44.4) <greek>prosferein</greek>. This is not the place to 
enquire whether the first celebration had, in the mind of its founder, the character of a sacrificial meal; but, 
certainly, the idea, as it was already developed at the time of Justin, had been created by the churches. 
Various reasons tended towards seeing in the Supper a sacrifice. In the first place, Malachi i. 1 1 , demanded 

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a solemn Christian sacrifice: see my notes on Didache, 14.3. In the second place, all prayers were 
regarded as a sacrifice, and therefore the solemn prayers at the Supper must be specially considered as 
such. In the third place, the words of institution <greek>touto</greek> <greek>poieite</greek>, contained a 
command with regard to a definite religious action. Such an action, however, could only be represented as 
a sacrifice, and this the more, that the Gentile Christians might suppose that they had to understand 
<greek>poiein</greek> in the sense of <greek>quein</greek>. In the fourth place, payments in kind were 
necessary for the "agapae" connected with the Supper, out of which were taken the bread and wine for the 
Holy celebration; in what other aspect could these offerings in the worship be regarded than as 
<greek>prosforai</greek> for the purpose of a sacrifice? Yet the spiritual idea so prevailed that only the 
prayers were regarded as the <greek>qusia</greek> proper, even in the case of Justin (Dial. 117). The 
elements are only <greek>dpra</greek>, <greek>prosforai</greek>, which obtain their value from the 
prayers, in which thanks are given for the gifts of creation and redemption, as well as for the holy meal, and 
entreaty is made for the introduction of the community into the Kingdom of God (see Didache, 9. 10). 
Therefore, even the sacred meal itself is called <greek>eukaristia</greek> (Justin, Apol. I. 66: 
<greek>h</greek> <greek>trofh</greek> <greek>auth</greek> <greek>kaleitai</greek> 
<greek>par</greek> <greek>hmin</greek> <greek>eukaristia</greek>. Didache, 9. 1: Ignat.), because it is 
<greek>trafh</greek> <greek>eukaristhqeisa</greek>. It is a mistake to suppose that Justin already 
understood the body of Christ to be the object of <greek>poiein</greek>,(1) and therefore thought of a 
sacrifice of this body (I. 66). The real sacrificial act in the Supper consists rather, according to Justin, only in 
the <greek>eukaristian</greek> <greek>poiein</greek>whereby the<greek>koinos</greek> 
<greek>artos</greek> becomes the <greek>artos</greek> <greek>ths</greek> 

<greek>eukaristias</greek>.(2) The sacrifice of the Supper in its essence, apart from the offering of alms, 
which in the practice of the Church was closely united with it, is nothing but a sacrifice of prayer: the sacrificial 
act of the Christian here also is nothing else than an act of prayer (See Apol. I. 14, 65-67; Dial. 28, 29, 41, 70, 

Harnack(lib. cit. Vol. II. chapter III. p. 136) says that "Cyprian was the first to associate the specific offering, 
i.e. the Lord's Supper with the specific priesthood. Secondly, he was the first to designate the passio 
Domini, nay, the sanguis Christi and the dominica hostia as the object of the eucharistic offering." In a 
foot-note (on the same page) he explains that "Sacrificare, Sacrificium celebrare in all passages where they 
are unaccompanied by any qualifying words, mean to celebrate the Lord's Supper." But Harnack is 
confronted by the very evident objection that if this was an invention of St. Cyprian's, it is most extraordinary 
that it raised no protest, and he very frankly confesses (note 2, on same page) that "the transference of the 
sacrificial idea to the consecrated elements which in all probability Cyprian already found in existence, etc." 
Harnack further on (in the same note on p. 1 37) notes that he has pointed out in his notes on the Didache that 
in the "Apostolic Church Order" occurs the expression <greek>h</greek> <greek>prosqora</greek> 
<greek>tou</greek> <greek>swmatos</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>tou</greek> 


LET the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have 
jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the 
other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any 
one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man 
ought not to be a bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose 
the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let 
the choice of the majority prevail. 



The Bishop of Alexandria shall have jurisdiction over Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis. As also the Roman 
bishop over those subject to Rome. So, too, the Bishop of Antioch and the rest over those who are under 
them. If any be a bishop contrary to the judgment of the Metropolitan, let him be no bishop. Provided it be in 
accordance with the canons by the suffrage of the majority, if three object, their objection shall be of no 

Many, probably most, commentators have considered this the most important and most interesting of all the 
Nicene canons, and a whole library of works has been written upon it, some of the works asserting and 
some denying what are commonly called the Papal claims. If any one wishes to see a list of the most 

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famous of these works he will find it in Phillips's Kirchenrecht (Bd. ii. S. 35). I shall reserve what I have to say 
upon this subject to the notes on a canon which seems really to deal with it, confining myself here to an 
elucidation of the words found in the canon before us. 


The object and intention of this canon seems clearly to have been, not to introduce any new powers or 
regulations into the Church, but to confirm and establish ancient customs already existing. This, indeed, is 
evident from the very first words of it: "Let the ancient customs be maintained." It appears to have been 
made with particular reference to the case of the Church of Alexandria, which had been troubled by the 
irregular proceedings of Miletius, and to confirm the ancient privileges of that see which he had invaded. 
The latter part of it, however, applies to all Metropolitans, and confirms all their ancient privileges. 


(Diet. Christ. Antiq. voce Council of Nicaea). 

The first half of the canon enacts merely that what had long been customary with respect to such persons in 
every province should become law, beginning with the province where this principle had been infringed; 
while the second half declares what was in future to be received as law on two points which custom had not 
as yet expressly ruled. ... Nobody disputes the meaning of this last half; nor, in fact, would the meaning of the 
first half have been questioned, had it not included Rome. ... Nobody can maintain that the bishops of 
Antioch and Alexandria were called patriarchs then, or that the jurisdiction they had then was co-extensive 
with what they had afterward, when they were so called. ... It is on this clause ["since the like is customary for 
the Bishops of Rome also"] standing parenthetically between what is decreed for the particular cases of 
Egypt and Antioch, and in consequence of the interpretation given to it by Rufinus, more particularly, that so 
much strife has been raised. Rufinus may rank low as a translator, yet, being a native of Aquileia, he cannot 
have been ignorant of Roman ways, nor, on the other hand, had he greatly misrepresented them, would his 
version have waited till the seventeenth century to be impeached. 


The sense of the first words of the canon is as follows: "This ancient right is assigned to the Bishop of 
Alexandria which places under his jurisdiction the whole diocese of Egypt." It is without any reason, then, that 
the French Protestant Salmasius (Saumaise), the Anglican Beveridge, and the Gallican Launoy, try to show 
that the Council of Nice granted to the Bishop of Alexandria only the rights of ordinary metropolitans. 


I do confess there was something peculiar in the case of the Bishop of Alexandria, for all the provinces of 
Egypt were under his immediate care, which was Patriarchal as to extent, but Metropolical in the 


This authority (<greek>exousia</greek>) is that of a Metropolitan which the Nicene Fathers decreed to be 
his due over the three provinces named in this canon, Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, which made up the 
whole diocese of Egypt, as well in matters civil as ecclesiastical. 

On this important question Hefele refers to the dissertation of Dupin, in his work De Antiqua Ecclesoe 
Disciplina. Hefele says: "It seems to me beyond a doubt that in this canon there is a question about that 
which was afterward calm the patriarchate of the Bishop of Alexandria; that is to say that he had a certain 
recognized ecclesiastical authority, not only over several civil provinces, but also over several 
ecclesiastical provinces (which had their own metropolitans);" and further on (p. 392) he adds: "It is 
incontestable that the civil provinces of Egypt, Libya, Pentapolis and Thebais, which were all in subjection 
to the Bishop of Alexandria, were also ecclesiastical provinces with their own metropolitans; and 
consequently it is not the ordinary fights of metropolitans that the Sixth Canon of Nice confers on the Bishop 
of Alexandria, but the rights of a superior Metropolitan, that is, of a Patriarch." 
There only remains to see what were the bounds of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Antioch. The civil 
diocese of Oriens is shown by the Second Canon of Constantinople to be conterminous with what was 
afterward called the Patriarchate of Antioch. The see of Antioch had, as we know, several metropolitans 

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subject to it, among them Caesarea, under whose jurisdiction was Palestine. Justellus, however, is of 
opinion that Pope Innocent I. was in error when he asserted that all the Metropolitans of Oriens were to be 
ordained by him by any peculiar authority, and goes so far as to stigmatize his words as "contrary to the 
mind of the Nicene Synod. "(1) 


Although, as Hefele well says, "It is evident that the Council has not in view here the primacy of the Bishop of 
Rome over the whole Church, but simply his power as a patriarch," yet it may not be unimportant to consider 
what his patriarchal limits may have been. 

(Hefele, Hist. Councils, Vol. I., p. 397.) 

The translation of this [VI.] canon by Rufinus has been especially an apple of discord. Et ut apud 
Alexandriam et in urbe Roma vetusta consuetudo servetur, ut vel ille Egypti vel hie suburbicariarum 
ecclesiarum sollicitudinem gerat. In the seventeenth century this sentence of Rufinus gave rise to a very 
lively discussion between the celebrated jurist, Jacob Gothfried (Gothofredus), and his friend, Salmasius, on 
one side, and the Jesuit, Sirmond, on the other. The great prefecture of Italy, which contained about a third of 
the whole Roman Empire, was divided into four vicariates, among which the vicariate of Rome was the first. 
At its head were two officers, the proefectus urbi and the vicarius urbis. The proefectus urbi exercised 
authority over the city of Rome, and further in a suburban circle as far as the hundredth milestone, The 
boundary of the vicarins urbis comprised ten provinces-Campania, Tuscia with Ombria, Picenum, Valeria, 
Samnium, Apulia with Calabria, Lucania and that of the Brutii, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. Gothfried and 
Salmasius maintained, that by the regiones suburbicarioe the little territory of the proefectus urbi must be 
understood; while, according to Sirmond, these words designate the whole territory of the vicarius urbis. In 
our time Dr. Maasen has proved in his book, (2) already quoted several times, that Gothfried and Salmasius 
were right in maintaining that, by the regiones suburbicarioe, the little territory of the proefectus urbi must be 
alone understood. 

Hefele thinks that Phillips "has proved" that the Bishop of Rome had patriarchal rights over places outside 
the limits of the ten provinces of the vicarius urbis; but does not agree with Phillips in thinking Rufinus in error. 
As a matter of fact the point is a difficult one, and has little to do with the gist of the meaning of the canon. One 
thing is certain: the early Latin version of the canons, called the Prisca, was not satisfied with the Greek 
wording and made the Canon read thus: "It is of ancient custom that the bishop of the city of Rome should 
have a primacy (principatum), so that he should govern with care the suburban places, AND ALL HIA OWN 
PROVINCE. "(1) Another interesting reading is that found in several MSS. which begins, "The Church of 
Rome hath always had a primacy (primatum)," and as a matter of fact the early date of this addition is 
evinced by the fact that the canon was actually quoted in this shape by Paschasinus at the Council of 

Hefele further on says, "The Greek commentators Zonaras and Balsamon (of the twelfth century) say very 
explicitly, in their explanation of the Canons of Nice, that this sixth canon confirms the rights of the Bishop of 
Rome as patriarch over the whole West," and refers to Beveridge's Syodicon, Tom. I., pp. 66 and 67. After 
diligent search I can find nothing to warrant the great amplitude of this statement. Balsamon's interpretation 
is very vague, being simply that the Bishop of Rome is over the Western Eparchies (<greek>tpn</greek> 
<greek>esperiwn</greek> <greek>eparkiwn</greek>) and Zonaras still more vaguely says that 
<greek>tpn</greek> <greek>esperiwn</greek> <greek>arkein</greek> <greek>eqos</greek> 
<greek>ekrathse</greek>. That the whole West was in a general way understood to be in the Roman 
Patriarchate I have no doubt, that the Greek scholiasts just quoted deemed it to be so I think most probably 
the case, but it does not seem to me that they have said so in the particular place cited. It seems to me that 
all they meant to say was that the custom observed at Alexandria and Antioch was no purely Eastern and 
local thing, for a similar state of affairs was found in the West. 


SINCE custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of AElia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be 
honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour. 



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Let the Bishop of AElia be honoured, the rights of the Metropolis being preserved intact. 
There would seem to be a singular fitness in the Holy City Jerusalem holding a very exalted position among 
the sees of Christendom, and it may appear astonishing that in the earliest times it was only a suffragan see 
to the great Church of Caesarea. It must be remembered, however, that only about seventy years after our 
Lord's death the city of Jerusalem was entirely destroyed and ploughed as a field according to the prophet. 
As a holy city Jerusalem was a thing of the past for long years, and it is only in the beginning of the second 
century that we find a strong Christian Church growing up in the rapidly increasing city, called no longer 
Jerusalem, but aelia Capitolina. Possibly by the end of the second century the idea of the holiness of the 
site began to lend dignity to the occupant of the see; at all events Eusebius(2) tells us that "at a synod held 
on the subject of the Easter controversy in the time of Pope Victor, Theophilus of Caesarea and Narcissus 
of Jerusalem were presidents." 

It was this feeling of reverence which induced the passing of this seventh canon. It is very hard to determine 
just what was the "precedence" granted to the Bishop of AElia, nor is it clear which is the metropolis referred 
to in the last clause. Most writers, including Hefele, Balsamon, Aristenus and Beveridge consider it to be 
Caesarea; while Zonaras thinks Jerusalem to be intended, a view recently adopted and defended by 
Fuchs; [3] others again suppose it is Antioch that is referred to. 


The narrative of the successive steps by which the See of Jerusalem rose from being nothing but AElia, a 
Gentile city, into one of the five patriarchal sees is sad reading for a Christian. It is but the record of ambition 
and, worse still, of knavery. No Christian can for a moment grudge to the Holy City of the old dispensation 
the honour shewn it by the Church, but he may well wish that the honour had been otherwise obtained. A 
careful study of such records as we possess shews that until the fifth century the Metropolitan of Caesarea 
as often took precedence of the Bishop of Jerusalem as vice versa, and Beveridge has taken great pains 
to shew that the learned De Marca is in error in supposing that the Council of Nice assigned to Jerusalem a 
dignity superior to Caesarea, and only inferior to Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. It is true that in the 
signatures the Bishop of Jerusalem does sign before his metropolitan, but to this Beveridge justly replies 
that the same is the case with the occupants of two other of his suffragan sees. Bishop Beveridge's opinion 
is that the Council assigned Jerusalem the second place in the province, such as London enjoys in the 
Province of Canterbury. This, however, would seem to be as much too little as De Marca's contention grants 
too much. It is certain that almost immediately after the Council had adjourned, the Bishop of Jerusalem, 
Maximus, convoked a synod of Palestine, without any reference to Caesarea, which consecrated bishops 
and acquitted St. Athanasius. It is true that he was reprimanded for doing so,(1) but yet it clearly shews how 
lie intended to understand the action of Nice. The matter was not decided for a century more, and then 
through the chicanery of Juvenal the bishop of Jerusalem. 

(Canon Venables, Diet. Christ. Biography.) 

Juvenalis succeeded Praylius as bishop of Jerusalem somewhere about 420 A.D. The exact year cannot 
be determined. The episcopate of Praylius, which commenced in 41 7 A.D., was but short, and we can 
hardly give it at most more than three years. The statement of Cyril of Scythopolis, in his Life of St. Euthymius 
(c. 96), that Juvenal died "in the forty-fourth year of his episcopate," 458 A.D., is certainly incorrect, as it would 
make his episcopate begin in 414 A.D., three years before that of his predecessor. Juvenal occupies a 
prominent position during the Nestorian and Eutychian troubles towards the middle of the fifth century. But 
the part played by him at the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, as well as at the disgraceful 
<greek>lhstrikh</greek> of 449, was more conspicuous than creditable, and there are few of the actors in 
these turbulent and saddening scenes who leave a more unpleasing impression. The ruling object of 
Juvenal's episcopate, to which everything else was secondary, and which guided all his conduct, was the 
elevation of the see of Jerusalem from the subordinate position it held in accordance with the seventh of the 
canons of the council of Nicaea, as suffragan to the metropolitan see of Caesarea, to a primary place in the 
episcopate. Not content with aspiring to metropolitan rank, Juvenal coveted patriarchal dignity, and, in 
defiance of all canonical authority, he claimed jurisdiction over the great see of Antioch, from which he 
sought to remove Arabia and the two Phoenicias to his own province. At the council of Ephesus, in 431 , he 
asserted for "the apostolic see of Jerusalem the same rank and authority with the apostolic see of Rome" 
(Labbe, Concil. iii. 642). These falsehoods he did not scruple to support with forged documents ("insolenter 
ausus per commentitia scripta firmare," Leo. Mag. Ep. 119 [92]), and other disgraceful artifices. Scarcely 
had Juvenal been consecrated bishop of Jerusalem when he proceeded to assert his claims to the 
metropolitan rank by his acts. In the letter of remonstrance against the proceedings of the council of 

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Ephesus, sent to Theodosius by the Oriental party, they complain that Juvenal, whose "ambitious designs 
and juggling tricks" they are only too well acquainted with, had ordained in provinces over which he had no 
jurisdiction (Labbe, Concil. iii. 728). This audacious attempt to set at nought the Nicene decrees, and to 
falsify both history and tradition was regarded with the utmost indignation by the leaders of the Christian 
church. Cyril of Alexandria shuddered at the impious design ("merito perhorrescens," Leo. u. s.), and wrote 
to Leo, then archdeacon of Rome, informing him of what Juvenal was undertaking, and begging that his 
unlawful attempts might have no sanction from the apostolic See ("ut nulla illicitis conatibus praeberetur 
assensio," u. s.). Juvenal, however, was far too useful an ally in his campaign against Nestorius for Cyril 
lightly to discard. When the council met at Ephesus Juvenal was allowed, without the slightest 
remonstrance, to take precedence of his metropolitan of Caesarea, and to occupy the position of 
vice-president of the council, coming next after Cyril himself (Labbe, Concil. iii. 445), and was regarded in all 
respects as the second prelate in the assembly. The arrogant assertion of his supremacy over the bishop 
of Antioch, and his claim to take rank next after Rome as an apostolical see, provoked no open 
remonstrance, and his pretensions were at least tacitly allowed. At the next council, the disgraceful 
Latrocinium, Juvenal occupied the third place, after Dioscorus and the papal legate, having been specially 
named by Theodosius, together with Thalassius of Caesarea (who appears to have taken no umbrage at 
his suffragan being preferred before him), as next in authority to Dioscorus (Labbe, Concil. iv. 109), and he 
took a leading part in the violent proceedings of that assembly. When the council of Chalcedon met, one of 
the matters which came before it for settlement was the dispute as to priority between Juvenal and Maximus 
Bishop of Antioch. The contention was long and severe. It ended in a compromise agreed on in the Seventh 
Action, <greek>meta</greek> <greek>pollhn</greek> <greek>filoneikian</greek>. Juvenal surrendered his 
claim to the two Phoenicias and to Arabia, on condition of his being allowed metropolitical jurisdiction over 
the three Palestines (Labbe, Concil. iv. 613). The claim to patriarchal authority over the Bishop of Antioch put 
forward at Ephesus was discreetly dropped. Tile difficulty presented by the Nicene canon does not appear 
to have presented itself to the council, nor was any one found to urge the undoubted claims of the see of 
Caesarea. The terms arranged between Maximus and Juvenal were regarded as satisfactory, and 
received the consent of the assembled bishops (ibid. 618). Maximus, however, was not long in repenting of 
his too ready acquiescence in Juvenal's demands, and wrote a letter of complaint to pope Leo, who replied 
by the letter which has been already quoted, dated June 1 1 , 453 A.D., in which he upheld the binding 
authority of the Nicene canons, and commenting in the strongest terms on the greediness and ambition of 
Juvenal, who allowed no opportunity of forwarding his ends to be lost, declared that as far as he was 
concerned he would do all he could to maintain the ancient dignity of the see of Antioch (Leo Magn. Ep. ad 
Maximum, 119 [92]). No further action, however, seems to have been taken either by Leo or by Maximus. 
Juvehal was left master of the situation, and the church of Jerusalem has from that epoch peaceably 
enjoyed the patriarchal dignity obtained for it by such base means. 


CONCERNING those who call themselves Cathari, if they come over to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, 
the great and holy Synod decrees that they who are ordained shall continue as they are in the clergy. But it 
is before all things necessary that they should profess in writing that they will observe and follow the 
dogmas of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; in particular that they will communicate with persons who 
have been twice married, and with those who having lapsed in persecution have had a period [of penance] 
laid upon them, and a time [of restoration] fixed so that in all things they will follow the dogmas of the Catholic 
Church. Wheresoever, then, whether in villages or in cities, all of the ordained are found to be of these only, 
let them remain in the clergy, and in the same rank in which they are found. But if they come over where there 
is a bishop or presbyter of the Catholic Church, it is manifest that the Bishop of the Church must have the 
bishop's dignity; and he who was named bishop by those who are called Cathari shall have the rank of 
presbyter, unless it shall seem fit to the Bishop to admit him to partake in the honour of the title. Or, if this 
should not be satisfactory, then shall the bishop provide for him a place as Chorepiscopus, or presbyter, in 
order that he may be evidently seen to be of the clergy, and that there may not be two bishops in the city. 



If those called Cathari come over, let them first make profession that they are willing to communicate with the 
twice married, and to grant pardon to the lapsed. And on this condition he who happens to be in orders, 
shall continue in the same order, so that a bishop shall still be bishop. Whoever was a bishop among the 
Cathari let him, however, become a Chorepiscopus, or let him enjoy the honour of a presbyter or of a 

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bishop. For in one church there shall not be two bishops. 

The Cathari or Novatians were the followers of Novatian, a presbyter of Rome, who had been a Stoic 
philosopher and was delivered, according to his own story, from diabolical possession at his exorcising by 
the Church before his baptism, when becoming a Catechumen. Being in peril of death by illness he received 
clinical baptism, and was ordained priest without any further sacred rites being administered to him. During 
the persecution he constantly refused to assist his brethren, and afterwards raised his voice against what he 
considered their culpable laxity in admitting to penance the lapsed. Many agreed with him in this, especially 
of the clergy, and eventually, in A.D. 251 , he induced three bishops to consecrate him, thus becoming, as 
Fleury remarks, (1) "the first Anti-Pope." His indignation was principally spent upon Pope Cornelius, and to 
overthrow the prevailing discipline of the Church he ordained bishops and sent them to different parts of the 
empire as the disseminators of his error. It is well to remember that while beginning only as a schismatic, he 
soon fell into heresy, denying that the Church had the power to absolve the lapsed. Although condemned by 
several councils his sect continued on, and like the Montanists they rebaptized Catholics who apostatized 
to them, and absolutely rejected all second marriages. At the time of the Council of Nice the Novatian 
bishop at Constantinople, Acesius, was greatly esteemed, and although a schismatic, was invited to attend 
the council. After having in answer to the emperor's enquiry whether he was willing to sign the Creed, 
assured him that he was, he went on to explain that his separation was because the Church no longer 
observed the ancient discipline which forbade that those who had committed mortal sin should ever be 
readmitted to communion. According to the Novatians he might be exhorted to repentance, but the Church 
had no power to assure him of forgiveness but must leave him to the judgment of God. It was then that 
Constantine said, "Acesius, take a ladder, and climb up to heaven alone. "(2) 


If any of them be bishops or chorepiscopi they shall remain in the same rank, unless perchance in the same 
city there be found a bishop of the Catholic Church, ordained before their coming. For in this case he that 
was properly bishop from the first shall have the preference, and he alone shall retain the Episcopal throne. 
For it is not right that in the same city there should be two bishops. But he who by the Cathari was called 
bishop, shall be honoured as a presbyter, or (if it so please the bishop), he shall be sharer of the title 
bishop; but he shall exercise no episcopal jurisdiction. 

Zonaras, Balsamon, Beveridge and Van Espen, are of opinion that <greek>keiroqetoumenous</greek> 
does not mean that they are to receive a new laying on of hands at their reception into the Church, but that it 
refers to their already condition of being ordained, the meaning being that as they have had Novatian 
ordination they must be reckoned among the clergy. Dionysius Exiguus takes a different view, as does also 
the Prisca version, according to which the clergy of the Novatians were to receive a laying on of hands, 
<greek>keiroqetoumenous</greek>, but that it was not to be a reordination. With this interpretation Hefele 
seems to agree, founding his opinion upon the fact that the article is wanting before 
<greek>keiroqetoumenous</greek>, and that <greek>autous</greek> is added. Gratian(1) supposes that 
this eighth canon orders a re-ordination. 


There has been much difference of opinion among the learned touching the status of the Chorepiscopus in 
the early Church. The main question in dispute is as to whether they were always, sometimes, or never, in 
episcopal orders. Most Anglican writers, including Beveridge, Hammond, Cave, and Routh, have affirmed 
the first proposition, that they were true bishops, but that, out of respect to the bishop of the City they were 
forbidden the exercise of certain of their episcopal functions, except upon extraordinary occasions. With this 
view Binterim(2) also agrees, and Augusti is of the same opinion. (3) But Thomassinus is of a different mind, 
thinking, so says Hefele, (4) that there were "two classes of chorepiscopi, of whom the one were real 
bishops, while the other had only the title without consecration." 

The third opinion, that they were merely presbyters, is espoused by Morinus and Du Cange, and others who 
are named by Bingham. (5) This last opinion is now all but universally rejected, to the other two we shall now 
devote our attention. 

For the first opinion no one can speak more learnedly nor more authoritatively than Arthur West Haddon, 
who writes as follows; 

(Haddon, Diet. Christ. Antiq. s. v. Chorepiscopus.) 

The chorepiscopus was called into existence in the latter part of the third century, and first in Asia Minor, in 
order to meet the want of episcopal supervision in the country parts of the now enlarged dioceses without 

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subdivision. [They are] first mentioned in the Councils of Ancyra and Neo-Caesarea A. D. 314, and again in 
the Council of Nice (which is subscribed by fifteen, all from Asia Minor or Syria). [They became] sufficiently 
important to require restriction by the time of the Council of Antioch, A. D. 341 ; and continued to exist in the 
East until at least the ninth century, when they were supplanted by <greek>exarkoi</greek>. [Chorepiscopi 
are] first mentioned in the West in the Council of Riez, A. D. 439 (the Epistles of Pope Damasus I. and of Leo. 
M. respecting them being forgeries), and continued there (but not in Africa, principally in France) until about 
the tenth century, after which the name occurs (in a decree of Pope Damasus II. ap. Sigeb. in an. 1048) as 
equivalent to archdeacon, an office from which the Arabic Nicene canons expressly distinguish it. The 
functions of chorepiscopi, as well as their name, were of an episcopal, not of a presbyterial kind, although 
limited to minor offices. They overlooked the country district committed to them, "loco episcopi," ordaining 
readers, exorcists, subdeacons, but, as a rule, not deacons or presbyters (and of course not bishops), 
unless by express permission of their diocesan bishop. They confirmed in their own districts, and (in Gaul) 
are mentioned as consecrating churches (vide Du Cange). They granted <greek>eirenikai</greek>, or 
letters dimissory, which country presbyters were forbidden to do. They had also the honorary privilege 
(<greek>timwmenoi</greek>) of assisting at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the mother city church, 
which country presbyters had not (Cone. Ancyr. can. xiii.; Neo-Caesar. can. xiv.; Antioch, can. x.; St. Basil M. 
Epist. 1 81 ; Rab. Maur. De Instit. Cler. i. 5, etc. etc.). They were held therefore to have power of ordination, but 
to lack jurisdiction, save subordinately. And the actual ordination of a presbyter by Timotheus, a 
chorepiscopus, is recorded (Pallad., Hist. Lausiac. 106). 

In the West, i.e. chiefly in Gaul, the order appears to have prevailed more widely, to have usurped 
episcopal functions without due subordination to the diocesans, and to have been also taken advantage of 
by idle or worldly diocesans. In consequence it seems to have aroused a strong feeling of hostility, which 
showed itself, first in a series of papal bulls, condemning them; headed, it is true, by two forged letters 
respectively of Damasus I. and Leo. M. (of which the latter is merely an interpolated version of Cone. Hispal. 
II. A.D. 619, can. 7, adding chorepiscopi to presbyteri, of which latter the council really treats), but continuing 
in a more genuine form, from Leo III. down to Pope Nicholas I. (to Rodolph, Archbishop of Bourges, A.D. 
864); the last of whom, however, takes the more moderate line of affirming chorepiscopi to be really 
bishops, and consequently refusing to annul their ordinations of presbyters and deacons (as previous 
popes had done), but orders them to keep within canonical limits; and secondly, in a series of conciliar 
decrees, Cone. Ratispon. A.D. 800, in Capit. lib. iv. c. 1 , Paris. A.D. 829, lib. i.e. 27; Meld. A.D. 845, can. 44; 
Metens. A.D. 888, can. 8, and Capitul. v. 168, vi. 119, vii. 187, 310, 323, 324, annulling all episcopal acts of 
chorepiscopi, and ordering them to be repeated by "true" bishops; and finally forbidding all further 
appointments of chorepiscopi at all. 

That chorepiscopi as such-i.e. omitting the cases of reconciled or vacant bishops above mentioned, of 
whose episcopate of course no question is made-were at first truly bishops both in East and West, 
appears almost certain, both from their name and functions, and even from the arguments of their strong 
opponents just spoken of. If nothing more could be urged against them, than that the Council of 
Neo-Caesarea compared them to the Seventy disciples, that the Council of Antioch authorises their 
consecration by a single bishop, and that they actually were so consecrated (the Antiochene decree might 
mean merely nomination by the word <greek>ginesqai</greek>, but the actual history seems to rule the 
term to intend consecration, and the [one] exceptional case of a chorepiscopus recorded [Actt. Episc. 
Cenoman. ap. Du Cange] in late times to have been ordained by three bishops [in order that he might be a 
full bishop] merely proves the general rule to the contrary)-and that they were consecrated for "villages," 
contrary to canon, -then they certainly were bishops. And Pope Nicholas expressly says that they were so. 
Undoubtedly they ceased to be so in the East, and were practically merged in archdeacons in the West. 

For the second opinion, its great champion, Thomassinus shall speak. 

(Thomassin, Ancienne et Nouvelle Discipline de I'Eglise, Tom. I. Livre II. chap 1. iii.) 

The chorepiscopi were not duly consecrated bishops, unless some bishop had consecrated a bishop for a 

town and the bishop thus ordained contrary to the canons was tolerated on condition of his submitting 

himself to the diocesan as though he were only a chorepiscopus. This may be gathered from the 

fifty-seventh canon of Laodicea. 

From this canon two conclusions may be drawn, 1st. That bishops ought not to be ordained for villages, and 

that as Chorepiscopi could only be placed in villages they could not be bishops. 2d. That sometimes by 

accident a chorepiscopus might be a bishop, but only through having been canonically lowered to that 


The Council of Nice furnishes another example of a bishop lowered to the rank of a chorepiscopus in Canon 

viii. This canon shows that they should not have been bishops, for two bishops could never be in a diocese, 

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although this might accidentally be the case when a chorepiscopus happened to be a bishop. 
This is the meaning which must be given to the tenth canon of Antioch, which directs that chorepiscopi, even 
if they have received episcopal orders, and have been consecrated bishops, shall keep within the limits 
prescribed by the canon; that in cases of necessity, they ordain the lower clergy; but that they be careful not 
to ordain priests or deacons, because this power is absolutely reserved to the Diocesan. It must be added 
that as the council of Antioch commands that the Diocesan without any other bishop can ordain the 
chorepiscopus, the position can no longer be sustained that the chorepiscopi were bishops, such a method 
of consecreting a bishop being contrary to canon xix. of the same council, moreover the canon does not say 
the chorepiscopus is to be ordained, but uses the word <greek>genesqai</greek> by the bishop of the city 
(canon x.). The Council of Neocaesarea by referring them to the seventy disciples (in Canon XIV.) has 
shown the chorepiscopi to be only priests. 

But the Council of Ancyra does furnish a difficulty, for the text seems to permit chorepiscopi to ordain priests. 
But the Greek text must be corrected by the ancient Latin versions. The letter attributed to pope Nicholas, 
A.D. 864, must be considered a forgery since he recognises the chorepiscopi as real bishops. 
If Harmenopulus, Aristenus, Balsamon, and Zonaras seem to accord to the chorepiscopi the power to 
ordain priests and deacons with the permission of the Diocesan, it is because they are explaining the 
meaning and setting forth the practice of the ancient councils and not the practice of their own times. But at 
all events it is past all doubt that before the seventh century there were, by different accidents, chorepiscopi 
who were really bishops and that these could, with the consent of the diocesan, ordain priests. But at the 
time these authors wrote, there was not a single chorepiscopus in the entire East, as Balsamon frankly 
admits in commenting on Canon xiii. of Ancyra. 

Whether in the foregoing the reader will think Thomassinus has proved his point, I do not know, but so far as 
the position of the chorepiscopi in synods is concerned there can be no doubt whatever, and I shall allow 
Hefele to speak on this point. 

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. I. pp. 17, 18.) 

The Chorepiscopi (<greek>kwrepiskopoi</greek>), or bishops of country places, seem to have been 
considered in ancient times as quite on a par with the other bishops, as far as their position in synod was 
concerned. We meet with them at the Councils of Neocaesarea in the year 314, of Nicaea in 325, of 
Ephesus in 431. On the other hand, among the 600 bishops of the fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 
451 , there is no chorepiscopus present, for by this time the office had been abolished; but in the Middle 
Ages we again meet with chorepiscopi of a new kind at Western councils, particularly at those of the French 
Church, at Langres in 830, at Mayence in 847, at Pontion in 876, at Lyons in 886, at Douzy in 871 . 


IF any presbyters have been advanced without examination, or if upon examination they have made 
confession of crime, and men acting in violation of the canon have laid hands upon them, notwithstanding 
their confession, such the canon does not admit; for the Catholic Church requires that [only] which is 



Whoever are ordained without examination, shall be deposed if it be found out afterwards that they had 
been guilty. 


The crimes in question are those which were a bar to the priesthood-such as blasphemy, bigamy, heresy, 
idolatry, magic, etc.-as the Arabic paraphrase of Joseph explains. It is clear that these faults are 
punishable in the bishop no less than in the priest, and that consequently our canon refers to the bishops as 
well as to the <greek>presbuteroi</greek> in the more restricted sense. These words of the Greek text, "In 
the case in which any one might be induced, in opposition to the canon, to ordain such persons," allude to 
the ninth canon of the Synod of Neocaesarea. It was necessary to pass such ordinances; for even in the fifth 
century, as the twenty-second letter to Pope Innocent the First testifies, some held that as baptism effaces 
all former sins, so it takes away all the impedimenta ordinationis which are the results of those sins. 

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Some say that as baptism makes the baptized person a new man, so ordination takes away the sins 
committed before ordination, which opinion does not seem to agree with the canons. 

This canon occurs twice in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum Pars I. Dist. xxiv. c. vij., and Dist. Ixxxj., c. iv. 


IF any who have lapsed have been ordained through the ignorance, or even with the previous knowledge of 
the ordainers, this shall not prejudice the canon of the Church for when they are discovered they shall be 



Whoso had lapsed are to be deposed whether those who ordained and promoted them did so conscious 
of their guilt or unknowing of it. 


The tenth canon differs from the ninth, inasmuch as it concerns only the lapsi and their elevation, not only to 
the priesthood, but to any other ecclesiastical preferment as well, and requires their deposition. The 
punishment of a bishop who should consciously perform such an ordination is not mentioned; but it is 
incontestable that the lapsi could not be ordained, even after having performed penance; for, as the 
preceding canon states, the Church requires those who were faultless. It is to be observed that the word 
<greek>prokeirizein</greek> is evidently employed here in the sense of "ordain," and is used without any 
distinction from <greek>keirizein</greek>, whilst in the synodal letter of the Council of Nicaea on the subject 
of the Meletians, there is a distinction between these two words, and <greek>prokeirizein</greek> is used to 
signify eliger. 

This canon is found in Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum. Pars I. Dist. Ixxxi. c.v. 


CONCERNING those who have fallen without compulsion, without the spoiling of their property, without 
danger or the like, as happened during the tyranny of Licinius, the Synod declares that, though they have 
deserved no clemency, they shall be dealt with mercifully. As many as were communicants, if they heartily 
repent, shall pass three years among the hearers; for seven years they shall be prostrators; and for two 
years they shall communicate with the people in prayers, but without oblation. 



As many as fell without necessity, even if therefore undeserving of indulgence, yet some indulgence shall 

be shown them and they shall be prostrators for twelve years. 

On the expression "without oblation" (<greek>kwris</greek> 

<greek>prosforas</greek>) see the notes to Ancyra, Canon V. where the matter is treated at some length. 


The usual position of the hearers was just inside the church door. But Zonaras (and Balsamon agrees with 

him), in his comment on this canon, says, "they are ordered for three years to be hearers, or to stand without 

the church in the narthex." 

I have read "as many as were communicants" (<greek>oi</greek> <greek>pistoi</greek>) thus following 

Dr. Routh. Vide his Opuscula. Caranza translates in his Summary of the Councils "if they were faithful" and 

seems to have read <greek>ei</greek> <greek>pistoi</greek>, which is much simpler and makes better 


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The prostrators stood within the body of the church behind the ambo [i.e. the reading desk] and went out with 
the catechumens. 


(Taken chiefly from Morinus, De Disciplina in Administratione Sacramenti Poenitentioe; Bingham, 
Antiquities; and Hammond, The Definitions of Faith, etc. Note to Canon XI. of Nice.) 
"In the Primitive Church there was a godly discipline, that at the beginning of Lent, such persons as stood 
convicted of notorious sin were put to open penance, and punished in this world that their souls might be 
saved in the day of the Lord; and that others, admonished by their example, might be the more afraid to 

The foregoing words from the Commination Service of the Church of England may serve well to introduce 
this subject. In the history of the public administration of discipline in the Church, there are three periods 
sufficiently distinctly marked. The first of these ends at the rise of Novatianism in the middle of the second 
century; the second stretches down to about the eighth century; and the third period shews its gradual 
decline to its practical abandonment in the eleventh century. The period with which we are concerned is the 
second, when it was in full force. 

In the first period it would seem that public penance was required only of those convicted of what then were 
called by pre-eminence "mortal sins" (crimena mortalia(1)), viz: idolatry, murder, and adultery. But in the 
second period the list of mortal sins was greatly enlarged, and Morinus says that "Many Fathers who wrote 
after Augustine's time, extended the necessity of public penance to all crimes which the civil law punished 
with death, exile, or other grave corporal penalty. "(2) In the penitential canons ascribed to St. Basil and 
those which pass by the name of St. Gregory Nyssen, this increase of offences requiring public penance will 
be found intimated. 

From the fourth century the penitents of the Church were divided into four classes. Three of these are 
mentioned in the eleventh canon, the fourth, which is not here referred to, was composed of those styled 
<greek>sugklaiontes</greek>, flentes or weepers. These were not allowed to enter into the body of the 
church at all, but stood or lay outside the gates, sometimes covered with sackcloth and ashes. This is the 
class which is sometimes styled <greek>keimozomenoi</greek>, hybernantes, on account of their being 
obliged to endure the inclemency of the weather. 

It may help to the better understanding of this and other canons which notice the different orders of penitents, 
to give a brief account of the usual form and arrangement of the ancient churches as well as of the different 
orders of the penitents. 

Before the church there was commonly either an open area surrounded with porticoes, called 
<greek>mesaulion</greek> or atrium, with a font of water in the centre, styled a cantharus or phiala, or 
sometimes only an open portico, or <greek>propulaion</greek>. The first variety may still be seen at S. 
Ambrogio's in Milan, and the latter in Rome at S. Lorenzo's, and in Ravenna at the two S. Apollinares. This 
was the place at which the first and lowest order of penitents, the weepers, already referred to, stood 
exposed to the weather. Of these, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus says: "Weeping takes place outside the door 
of the church, where the sinner must stand and beg the prayers of the faithful as they go in." 
The church itself usually consisted of three divisions within, besides these exterior courts and porch. The 
first part after passing through "the great gates," or doors of the building, was called the Narthex in Greek, 
and Faerula in Latin, and was a narrow vestibule extending the whole width of the church. In this part, to which 
Jews and Gentiles, and in most places even heretics and schismatics were admitted, stood the 
Catechumens, and the Energumens or those afflicted with evil spirits, and the second class of penitents (the 
first mentioned in the Canon), who were called the <greek>akowmenoi</greek>, audientes, or hearers. 
These were allowed to hear the Scriptures read, and the Sermon preached, but were obliged to depart 
before the celebration of the Divine Mysteries, with the Catechumens, and the others who went by the 
general name of hearers only. 

The second division, or main body of the church, was called the Naos or Nave. This was separated from 
the Narthex by rails of wood, with gates in the centre, which were called "the beautiful or royal gates." In the 
middle of the Nave, but rather toward the lower or entrance part of it, stood the Ambo, or reading-desk, the 
place for the readers and singers, to which they went up by steps, whence the name, Ambo. Before coming 
to the Ambo, in the lowest part of the Nave, and just after passing the royal gates, was the place for the third 
order of penitents, called in Greek <greek>gonuklinontes</greek>, or <greek>upopiptontes</greek>,and in 
Latin Genuflectentes or Prostrati, i.e., kneelers or prostrators, because they were allowed to remain and join 
in certain prayers particularly made for them. Before going out they prostrated themselves to receive the 

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imposition of the bishop's hands with prayer. This class of penitents left with the Catechumens. 
In the other parts of the Nave stood the believers or faithful, i.e., those persons wire were in full communion 
with the Church, the men and women generally on opposite sides, though in some places the men were 
below, and the women in galleries above. Amongst these were the fourth class of penitents, who were 
called <greek>sunestwtes</greek>, consistentes, i.e., co-standers, because they were allowed to stand 
with the faithful, and to remain and hear the prayers of the Church, after the Catechumens and the other 
penitents were dismissed, and to be present while the faithful offered and communicated, though they might 
not themselves make their offerings, nor partake of the Holy Communion. This class of penitents are 
frequently mentioned in the canons, as "communicating in prayers," or "without the oblation;" and it was the 
last grade to be passed through previous to the being admitted again to full communion. The practice of 
"hearing mass" or "non-communicating attendance" clearly had its origin in this stage of discipline. At the 
upper end of the body of the church, and divided from it by rails which were called Cancelli, was that part 
which we now call the Chancel. This was anciently called by several names, as Bema or tribunal, from its 
being raised above the body of the church, and Sacrarium or Sanctuary. It was also called Apsis and 
Concha Bematis, from its semicircular end. In this part stood the Altar, or Holy Table (which names were 
indifferently used in the primitive Church), behind which, and against the wall of the chancel, was the 
Bishop's throne, with the seats of the Presbyters on each side of it, called synthronus. On one side of the 
chancel was the repository for the sacred utensils and vestments, called the Diaconicum, and answering to 
our Vestry; and on the other the Prothesis, a side-table, or place, where the bread and wine were deposited 
before they were offered on the Altar. The gates in the chancel rail were called the holy gates, and none but 
the higher orders of the clergy, i.e., Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, were allowed to enter within them. The 
Emperor indeed was permitted to do so for the purpose of making his offering at the Altar, but then he was 
obliged to retire immediately, and to receive the communion without. 

(Thomassin. Ancienne et Nouvelle Discipline de I'Eglise. Tom. I. Livre II. chap. xvj. somewhat abridged.) 

In the West there existed always many cases of public penance, but in the East it is more difficult to find any 
traces of it, after it was abolished by the Patriarch Nectarius in the person of the Grand Penitentiary. 
However, the Emperor Alexis Comnenus, who took the empire in the year 1080, did a penance like that of 
older days, and one which may well pass for miraculous. He called together a large number of bishops with 
the patriarch, and some holy religious; be presented himself before them in the garb of a criminal; he 
confessed to them his crime of usurpation with all its circumstances. They condemned the Emperor and all 
his accomplices to fasting, to lying prostrate upon the earth, to wearing haircloth, and to all the other ordinary 
austerities of penance. Their wives desired to share their griefs and their sufferings, although they had had 
no share in their crime. The whole palace became a theatre of sorrow and public penance. The emperor 
wore the hairshirt under the purple, and lay upon the earth for forty days, having only a stone for a pillow. 
To all practical purposes Public Penance was a general institution but for a short while in the Church. But the 
reader must be careful to distinguish between this Public Penance and the private confession which in the 
Catholic Church both East and West is universally practised. What Nectarius did was to abolish the office of 
Penitentiary, whose duty it had been to assign public penance for secret sin;(1) a thing wholly different from 
what Catholics understand by the "Sacrament of Penance." It would be out of place to do more in this place 
than to call the reader's attention to the bare fact, and to supply him, from a Roman Catholic point of view, 
with an explanation of why Public Penance died out. "It came to an end because it was of human institution. 
But sacramental confession, being of divine origin, lasted when the penitential discipline had been 
changed, and continues to this day among the Greeks and Oriental sects. "(2) That the reader may judge of 
the absolute can-dour of the writer just quoted, I give a few sentences from the same article: "An opinion, 
however, did prevail to some extent in the middle ages, even among Catholics, that confession to God 
alone sufficed. The Council of Chalons in 813 (canon xxxiij.), says: 'Some assert that we should confess our 
sins to God alone, but some think that they should be confessed to the priest, each of which practices is 
followed not without great fruit in Holy Church. ... Confession made to God purges sins, but that made to the 
priest teaches how they are to be purged.' This former opinion is also mentioned without reprobation by 
Peter Lombard (In Sentent. Lib. iv. dist. xvij.)." 


As many as were called by grace, and displayed the first zeal, having cast aside their military girdles, but 
afterwards returned, like dogs, to their own vomit, (so that some spent money and by means of gifts 
regained their military stations); let these, after they have passed the space of three years as hearers, be for 
ten years prostrators. But in all these cases it is necessary to examine well into their purpose and what their 
repentance appears to be like. For as many as give evidence of their conversions by deeds, and not 

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pretence, with fear, and tears, and perseverance, and good works, when they have fulfilled their appointed 
time as hearers, may properly communicate in prayers; and after that the bishop may determine yet more 
favourably concerning them. But those who take [the matter] with indifference, and who think the form of [not] 
entering the Church is sufficient for their conversion, must fulfil the whole time. 



Those who endured violence and were seen to have resisted, but who afterwards yielded go wickedness, 
and returned to the army, shall be excommunicated for ten years. But in every case the way in which they do 
their penance must be scrutinized. And if anyone who is doing penance shews himself zealous in its 
performance, the bishop shall treat him more lentently than had he been cold and indifferent. 


The abuse of this power, namely, of granting under certain circumstances a relaxation in the penitential 
exercises enjoined by the canons-led, in later times, to the practice of commuting such exercises for money 
payments, etc. 

In his last contests with Constantine, Licinius had made himself the representative of heathenism; so that the 
final issue of the war would not be the mere triumph of one of the two competitors, but the triumph or fall of 
Christianity or heathenism. Accordingly, a Christian who had in this war supported the cause of Licinius and 
of heathenism might be considered as a lapsus, even if he did not formally fall away. With much more 
reason might those Christians be treated as lapsi who, having conscientiously given up military service (this 
is meant by the soldier's belt), afterwards retracted their resolution, and went so far as to give money and 
presents for the sake of readmission, on account of the numerous advantages which military service then 
afforded. It must not be forgotten that Licinius, as Zonaras and Eusebius relate, required from his soldiers a 
formal apostasy; compelled them, for example, to take part in the heathen sacrifices which were held in the 
camps, and dismissed from his service those who would not apostatize. 


This canon (which in the Prisca and the Isidorian version stands as part of canon 11) deals, like it, with 
cases which had arisen under the Eastern reign of Licinius, who having resolved to "purge his army of all 
ardent Christians" (Mason, Persec. of Diocl. p. 308), ordered his Christian officers to sacrifice to the gods on 
pain of being cashiered (compare Euseb. H. E. x. 8; Vit. Con. i. 54). It is to be observed here that military life 
as such was not deemed unchristian. The case of Cornelius was borne in mind. "We serve in your armies," 
says Tertullian, Apol. 42 (although later, as a Montanist, he took a rigorist and fanatical view, De Cor. 11), 
and compare the fact which underlies the tale of the "Thundering Legion, "-the presence of Christians in the 
army of Marcus Aurelius. It was the heathenish adjuncts to their calling which often brought Christian soldiers 
to a stand (see Routh. Scr. Opusc. i. 41 0), as when Marinus' succession to a centurionship was challenged 
on the ground that he could not sacrifice to the gods (Euseb. H. E. vii. 1 5). Sometimes, indeed, individual 
Christians thought like Maximilian in the Martyrology, who absolutely refused to enlist, and on being told by 
the proconsul that there were Christian soldiers in the imperial service, answered, "Ipsi sciunt quod ipsis 
expediat" (Ruinart, Act. Sane. p. 341). But, says Bingham (Antiq. xi. 5, 10), "the ancient canons did not 
condemn the military life as a vocation simply unlawful. ... I believe there is no instance of any man being 
refused baptism merely because he was a soldier, unless some unlawful circumstance, such as idolatry, or 
the like, made the vocation sinful." After the victory of Constantine in the West, the Council of Aries 
excommunicated those who in time of peace "threw away their arms" (can. 2). In the case before us, some 
Christian officers had at first stood firm under the trial imposed on them by Licinius. They had been "called 
by grace" to an act of self-sacrifice (the phrase is one which St. Augustine might have used); and had shown 
"their eagerness at the outset" ("primum suum ardorem," Dionysius; Philo and Evarestus more laxly, 
"primordia bona;" compare <greek>thn</greek> <greek>agaphn</greek> <greek>sou</greek> 
<greek>thn</greek> <greek>prwthn</greek>, Rev. ii. 4). Observe here how beautifully the ideas of grace 
and free will are harmonized. These men had responded to a Divine impulse: it might seem that they had 
committed themselves to a noble course: they had cast aside the "belts" which were their badge of office 
(compare the cases of Valentinian and Valens, Soc. iii. 13, and of Benevoins throwing down his belt at the 
feet of Justina, Soz. vii. 1 3). They had done, in fact, just what Auxentius, one of Licinius' notaries, had done 
when, according to the graphic anecdote of Philostorgius (Fragm. 5), his master bade him place a bunch of 
grapes before a statue of Bacchus in the palace-court; but their zeal, unlike his, proved to be too 

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impulsive-they reconsidered their position, and illustrated the maxim that in morals second thoughts are not 
best (Butler, Serm. 7), by making unworthy attempts-in some cases by bribery-to recover what they had 
worthily resigned. (Observe the Grecised Latinism <greek>benefikiois</greek> and compare the Latinisms 
of St. Mark, and others in Euseb. iii. 20, vi. 40, x. 5.) This the Council describes in proverbial language, 
probably borrowed from 2 Pet. ii. 22, but, it is needless to say, without intending to censure enlistment as 
such. They now desired to be received to penance: accordingly they were ordered to spend three years as 
Hearers, during which time "their purpose, and the nature (<greek>eidos</greek>) of their repentance" were 
to be carefully "examined." Again we see the earnest resolution of the Council to make discipline a moral 
reality, and to prevent it from being turned into a formal routine; to secure, as Rufinus' abridgment expresses 
it, a repentance "fructuosam et attentam." If the penitents were found to have "manifested their conversion by 
deeds, and not in outward show (<greek>skhmati</greek>), by awe, and tears, and patience, and good 
works" (such, for instance, Zonaras comments, as almsgiving according to ability), "it would be then 
reasonable to admit them to a participation in the prayers," to the position of Consistentes, "with permission 
also to the bishop to come to a yet more indulgent resolution concerning them," by admitting them to full 
communion. This discretionary power of the bishop to dispense with part of a penance-time is recognized in 
the fifth canon of Ancyra and the sixteenth of Chalcedon, and mentioned by Basil, Epist. 217, c. 74. It was the 
basis of "indulgences "in their original form (Bingham, xviii. 4, 9). But it was too possible that some at least of 
these "lapsi" might take the whole affair lightly, "with indifference" <greek>adiakorws</greek>-not seriously 
enough, as Hervetas renders-just as if, in common parlance, it did not signify: the fourth Ancyrene canon 
speaks of lapsi who partook of the idol-feast <greek>adiakorws</greek> as if it involved them in no sin (see 
below on Eph. 5, Chalc. 4). It was possible that they might "deem" the outward form of "entering the church" 
to stand in the narthex among the Hearers (here, as in c. 8, 19, <greek>skhma</greek> denotes an external 
visible fact) sufficient to entitle them to the character of converted penitents, while their conduct out of church 
was utterly lacking in seriousness and self-humiliation. In that case there could be no question of shortening 
their penance, time, for they were not in a state to benefit by indulgence: it would be, as the Roman 
Presbyters wrote to Cyprian, and as he himself wrote to his own church, a "mere covering over of the wound" 
(Epist. 30, 3), an "injury" rather than "a kindness" (De Lapsis, 16); they must therefore "by all means" go 
through ten years as Kneelers, before they can become Consistentes. 

There is great difficulty about the last phrase and Gelasius of Cyzicus, the Prisca, Dionysius Exiguus, the 
pseudo-Isidore, Zonaras and most others have considered the "not" an interpolation. I do not see how 
dropping the "not" makes the meaning materially clearer. 


CONCERNING the departing, the ancient canonical law is still to be maintained, to wit, that, if any man be at 
the point of death, he must not be deprived of the last and most indispensable Viaticum. But, if any one 
should be restored to health again who has received the communion when his life was despaired of, let him 
remain among those who communicate in prayers only. But in general, and in the case of any dying person 
whatsoever asking to receive the Eucharist, let the Bishop, after examination made, give it him. 



The dying are to be communicated. But if any such get well, he must be placed in the number of those who 
share in the prayers, and with these only. 


It cannot be denied that antiquity used the name "Viaticum "not only to denote the Eucharist which was given 
to the dying, but also to denote the reconciliation, and imposition of penance, and in general, everything that 
could be conducive to the happy death of the person concerned, and this has been shown by Aubespine 
(lib. 1, Obs. cap. ii.). But while this is so, the more usual sense of the word is the Eucharist. For this cannot be 
denied that the faithful of the first ages of the Church looked upon the Eucharist as the complement of 
Christian perfection, and as the last seal of hope and salvation. It was for tiffs reason that at the beginning of 
life, after baptism and confirmation, the Eucharist was given even to infants, and at the close of life the 
Eucharist followed reconciliation and extreme unction, so that properly and literally it could be styled "the 
last Viaticum." Moreover for penitents it was considered especially necessary that through it they might 
return to the peace of the Church; for perfect peace is given by that very communion of the Eucharist. [A 
number of instances are then cited, and various ancient versions of the canon.] Balsamon and Zonaras 

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also understand the canon as I have done, as is evident from their commentaries, and so did Josephus 
AEgyptius, who in his Arabic Paraphrase gives the canon this title: "Concerning him who is excommunicated 
and has committed some deadly sin, and desires the Eucharist to be granted to him." 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian, Decretum Pars. II. causa xxvi, Quaes. VI., c. ix. 


There is nothing upon which the ancient church more strenuously insisted than the oral reception of the Holy 
Communion. What in later times was known as "Spiritual Communion" was outside of the view of those early 
days; and to them the issues of eternity were considered often to rest upon the sick man's receiving with his 
mouth "his food for the journey," the Viaticum, before he died. No greater proof of how important this matter 
was deemed could be found than the present canon, which provides that even the stern and invariable 
canons of the public penance are to give way before the awful necessity of fortifying the soul in the last hour 
of its earthly sojourn. 

Possibly at first the Italy Sacrament may have been consecrated in the presence of the sick person, but of 
this in early times the instances are rare and by was considered a marked favour that such a thing should 
be allowed, and the saying of mass in private houses was prohibited (as it is in the Eastern and Latin 
churches still to-day) with the greatest 

The necessity of having the consecrated bread and wine for the sick led to their reservation, a practice 
which has existed in the Church from the very beginning, so far as any records of which we are in 
possession shew. 

St. Justin Martyr, writing less than a half century after St. John's death, mentions that "the deacons 
communicate each of those present, and carry away to the absent the blest bread, and wine and water."(1) It 
was evidently a long established custom in his day. 

Tertullian tells us of a woman whose husband was a heathen and who was allowed to keep the Holy 
Sacrament in her house that she might receive every morning before other food. St. Cyprian also gives a 
most interesting example of reservation. In his treatise "On the Lapsed" written in A.D. 251 , (chapter xxvi), he 
says: "Another woman, when she tried with unworthy hands to open her box, in which was the Holy of the 
Lord, was deterred from daring to touch it by fire rising from it." 

It is impossible with any accuracy to fix the date, but certainly before the year four hundred, a perpetual 
reservation for the sick was made in the churches. A most interesting incidental proof of this is found in the 
thrilling description given by St. Chrysostom of the great riot in Constantinople in the year 403, when the 
soldiers "burst into the place where the Holy Things were stored, and saw all things therein," and "the most 
holy blood of Christ was spilled upon their clothes. "(2) From this incident it is evident that in that church the 
Holy Sacrament was reserved in both kinds, and separately. 

Whether this at the time was usual it is hard to say, but there can be no doubt that even in the earliest times 
the Sacrament was given, on rare occasions at least, in one kind, sometimes under the form of bread alone, 
and when the sick persons could not swallow under the form of wine alone. The practice called "intinction," 
that is the dipping of the bread into the wine and administering the two species together, was of very early 
introduction and still is universal in the East, not only when Communion is given with the reserved 
Sacrament, but also when the people are communicated in the Liturgy from the newly consecrated species. 
The first mention of intinction in the West, is at Carthage in the fifth century. (1) We know it was practised in the 
seventh century and by the twelfth it had become general, to give place to the withdrawal of the chalice 
altogether in the West.(2) "Regino(De Eccles. Discip. Lib. I. c. Ixx.) in 906, Burchard(Decr. Lib. V. cap. ix. fol. 
95. colon. 1560.) in 996, and lvo(Decr. Pars. II. cap. xix. p. 56, Paris 1647) in 1092 all cite a Canon, which they 
ascribe to a council of Tours ordering 'every presbyter to have a pyx or vessel meet for so great a 
sacrament, in which the Body of the Lord may be carefully laid up for the Viaticum to those departing from 
this world, which sacred oblation ought to be steeped in the Blood of Christ that the presbyter may be able 
to say truthfully to the sick man, The Body and Blood of the Lord avail thee, etc. '"(3) 
The reservation of the Holy Sacrament was usually made in the church itself, and the learned W. E. 
Scudamore is of opinion that this was the case in Africa as early as the fourth century. (4) 
It will not be uninteresting to quote in this connection the "Apostolic Constitutions," for while indeed there is 
much doubt of the date of the Eighth Book, yet it is certainly of great antiquity. Here we read, "and after the 
communion of both men and women, the deacons take what remains and place it in the tabernacle. "(5) 
Perhaps it may not be amiss before closing the remark that so far as we are aware the reservation of the 
Holy Sacrament in the early church was only for the purposes of communion, and that the churches of the 
East reserve it to the present day only for this purpose. 

Those who wish to read the matter treated of more at length, can do so in Muratorius's learned 
"Dissertations" which are prefixed to his edition of the Roman Sacramentaries(chapter XXIV) and in 
Scudamore's Notitia Eucharistica, a work which can be absolutely relied upon for the accuracy of its facts, 

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however little one may feel constrained to accept the logical justness of its conclusions. 


CONCERNING catechumens who have lapsed, the holy and great Synod has decreed that, after they have 
passed three years only as hearers, they shall pray with the catechumens. 



If any of the catechumens shall have fallen for three years he shall be a hearer only, and then let him pray 
with the catechumens. 


The people formerly were divided into three classes in the church, for there were catechumens, faithful, and 
penitents; but it is clear from the present canon there were two kinds of catechumens: one consisting of 
those who heard the Word of God, and wished to become Christians, but had not yet desired baptism; these 
were called "hearers." Others who were of long standing, and were properly trained in the faith, and desired 
baptism-these were called "competentes." 

There is difference of opinion among the learned as to whether there was not a third or even a fourth class of 
catechumens. Bingham and Card. Bona, while not agreeing in particular points, agree in affirming that there 
were more than two classes. Bingham's first class are those not allowed to enter the church, the 
<greek>exwqoumenoi</greek>, but the affirmation of the existence of such a class rests only on a very 
forced explanation of canon five of Neocaesarea. The second class, the hearers, audientes, rests on better 
evidence. These were not allowed to stay while the Holy Mysteries were celebrated, and their expulsion 
gave rise to the distinction between the "Mass of the Catechumens"(Missa Catechumenorum) and the 
"Mass of the Faithful"(Missa Fidelium). Nor were they suffered to hear the Creed or the Our Father. Writers 
who multiply the classes insert here some who knelt and prayed, called Prostrati or Genuflectentesrthe 
same name as was given to one of the grades of penitence). (Edw. H. Plumptre in Diet. Christ. Antiq. s. v. 

After these stages had been traversed each with its appropriate instruction, the catechumens gave in their 
names as applicants for baptism, and were known accordingly as Competentes 

<greek>sunaitountes</greek>. This was done commonly at the beginning of the Quadragesimal fast, and 
the instruction, carried on through the whole of that period, was fuller and more public in its nature (Cyril 
Hieros. Catech. i. 5; Hieron. Ep. 61 , ad Pammach. c. 4:). To catechumens in this stage the great articles of 
the Creed, the nature of the Sacraments, the penitential discipline of the Church, were explained, as in the 
Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem, with dogmatic precision. Special examinations and inquiries 
into character were made at intervals during the forty days. It was a time for fasting and watching and 
prayer(Constt. Apost. viii. 5; 4 C. Carth. c. 85; Tertull. De Bapt. c. 20; Cyril. 1 . c.) and, in the case of those who 
were married, of the strictest continence(August. De fide et oper. v. 8). Those who passed through the 
ordeal were known as the perfectiores <greek>teleiwterot</greek>the electi, or in the nomenclature of the 
Eastern Church as <greek>baptizomenoi</greek> or <greek>fwtizowenoi</greek>, the present participle 
being used of course with a future or gerundial sense. Their names were inscribed as such in the album or 
register of the church. They were taught, but not till a few days before their baptism, the Creed and the Lord's 
Prayer which they were to use after it. The periods for this registration varied, naturally enough, in different 
churches. At Jerusalem it was done on the second(Cyril. Catech. iii.), in Africa on the fourth Sunday in 
Lent(August. Serm. 213), and this was the time at which the candidate, if so disposed, might lay aside his old 
heathen or Jewish name and take one more specifically Christian(Socrat. H. E. vii. 21). . . .It is only 
necessary to notice here that the Sacramentum Catechumenorum of which Augustine speaks(De Peccat. 
Merit, ii. 26) as given apparently at or about the time of their first admission by imposition of hands, was 
probably the <greek>eul</greek><s228<greek>giai</greek> or panis benedictus, and not, as Bingham and 
Augusta maintain, the salt which was given with milk and honey after baptism. 


ON account of the great disturbance and discords that occur, it is decreed that the custom prevailing in 
certain places contrary to the Canon, must wholly be done away; so that neither bishop, presbyter, nor 
deacon shall pass from city to city. And if any one, after this decree of the holy and great Synod, shall 

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attempt any such thing, or continue in any such course, his proceedings shall be utterly void, and he shall be 
restored to the Church for which he was ordained bishop or presbyter. 



Neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacon shall pass from city to city. But they shall be sent back, should they 
attempt to do so, to the Churches in which they were ordained. 


The translation of a bishop, priest, or deacon from one church to another, had already been forbidden in the 
primitive Church. Nevertheless, several translations had taken place, and even at the Council of Nice 
several eminent men were present who had left their first bishoprics to take others: thus Eusebius, Bishop of 
Nicomedia, had been before Bishop of Berytus; Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch, had been before Bishop of 
Berrhoea in Syria. The Council of Nice thought it necessary to forbid in future these translations, and to 
declare them invalid. The chief reason of this prohibition was found in the irregularities and disputes 
occasioned by such change of sees; but even if such practical difficulties had not arisen, the whole doctrinal 
idea, so to speak, of the relationship between a cleric and the church to which he had been ordained, 
namely, the contracting of a mystical marriage between them, would be opposed to any translation or 
change. In 341 the Synod of Antioch renewed, in its twenty-first canon, the prohibition passed by the Council 
of Nice; but the interest of the Church often rendered it necessary to make exceptions, as happened in the 
case of St. Chrysostom. These exceptional cases increased almost immediately after the holding of the 
Council of Nice, so that in 382, St. Gregory of Nazianzum considered this law among those which had long 
been abrogated by custom. It was more strictly observed in the Latin Church; and even Gregory's 
contemporary, Pope Damasus, declared himself decidedly in favour of the rule of Nice. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum, Pars II. Causa VII, Q. 1 , 
c. xix. 


There are few points upon which the discipline of the Church has so completely changed as that which 
regulated, or rather which forbade, the translation of a bishop from the see for which he was consecrated to 
some other diocese. The grounds on which such prohibition rested were usually that such changes were 
the outcome of ambition, and that if tolerated the result would be that smaller and less important sees would 
be despised, and that there would be a constant temptation to the bishops of such sees to make 
themselves popular with the important persons in other dioceses with the hope of promotion. Besides this 
objection to translation, St. Athanasius mentions a spiritual one, that the diocese was the bishop's bride, and 
that to desert it and take another was an act of unjustifiable divorce, and subsequent adultery. (1) Canon XIV. 
of the Apostolic Canons does not forbid the practice absolutely, but allows it for just cause, and although the 
Council of Nice is more stringent so far as its words are concerned, apparently forbidding translation under 
any circumstances, yet, as a matter of fact, that very council did allow and approve a translation. (2) The 
general feeling, however, of the early Church was certainly very strong against all such changes of 
Episcopal cure, and there can be no doubt that the chief reason why St. Gregory Nazianzen resigned the 
Presidency of the First Council of Constantinople, was because he had been translated from his obscure 
see Sasima(not Nazianzum as Socrates and Jerome say) to the Imperial City. (3) 
From the canons of some provincial councils, and especially from those of the Third and of the Fourth 
Council of Carthage, it is evident that despite the conciliar and papal prohibitions, translations did take 
place, being made by the authority of the provincial Synods, and without the consent of the pope, (4) but it is 
also evident that this authority was too weak, and that the aid of the secular power had often to be invoked. 
This course, of having the matter decided by the synod, was exactly in accordance with the Apostolic 
Canon(no. xiv.). In this manner, for example, Alexander was translated from Cappadocia to Jerusalem, a 
translation made, so it is narrated, in obedience to heavenly revelation. It will be noticed that the Nicene 
Canon does not forbid Provincial Councils to translate bishops, but forbids bishops to translate themselves, 
and the author of the tract De Translationibus in the Jus Orient.(i. 293, Cit. Haddon. Art. "Bishop," Smith and 
Cheetham, Diet. Chr. Antiq.) sums up the matter tersely in the statement that <greek>h</greek> 
<greek>metabasis</greek> <greek>kekwlutak</greek>,<greek>ou</greek> <greek>mhn</greek> 
<greek>h</greek> <greek>metaqesis</greek>: i.e., the thing prohibited is "transmigration"(which arises 
from the bishop himself, from selfish motives) not "translation"(wherein the will of God and the good of the 

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Church is the ruling cause); the "going," not the "being taken" to another see. And this was the practice both 
of East and West, for many centuries. Roman Catholic writers have tried to prove that translations, at least to 
the chief sees, required the papal consent, but Thomassinus, considering the case of St. Meletius having 
translated St. Gregory of Nazianzum to Constantinople, admits that in so doing he "would only have followed 
the example of many great bishops of the first ages, when usage had not yet reserved translations to the 
first see of the Church."(1) 

But the same learned author frankly confesses that in France, Spain, and England, translations were made 
until the ninth century without consulting the pope at all, by bishops and kings. When, however, from grounds 
of simple ambition, Anthimus was translated from Trebizonde to Constantinople, the religious of the city 
wrote to the pope, as also did the patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, and as a result the Emperor 
Justinian allowed Anthimus to be deposed. (2) 

Balsamon distinguishes three kinds of translations. The first, when a bishop of marked learning and of equal 
piety is forced by a council to pass from a small diocese to one far greater where he will be able to do the 
Church the most important services, as was the case when St. Gregory of Nazianzum was transferred from 
Sasima to Constantinople, <greek>?eta</greek>,s215><greek>esis</greek>; the second when a bishop, 
whose see has been laid low by the barbarians, is transferred to another see which is vacant, 
<greek>metabasis</greek>; and the third when a bishop, either having or lacking a see, seizes on a 
bishopric which is vacant, on his own proper authority <greek>anabasis</greek>it is this last which the 
Council of Sardica punishes so severely. In all these remarks of Balsamon there is no mention of the 
imperial power. 

Demetrius Chomatenus, however, who was Archbishop of Thessalonica, and wrote a series of answers to 
Cabasilas, Archbishop of Durazzo, says that by the command of the Emperor a bishop, elected and 
confirmed, and even ready to be ordained for a diocese, may be forced to take the charge of another one 
which is more important, and where his services will be incomparably more useful to the public. Thus we 
read in the Book of Eastern Law that "If a Metropolitan with his synod, moved by a praiseworthy cause and 
probable pretext, shall give his approbation to the translation of a bishop, this can, without doubt, be done, 
for the good of souls and for the better administration of the church's affairs, etc."(3) This was adopted at a 
synod held by the patriarch Manuel at Constantinople, in the presence of the imperial commissioners. 
The same thing appears also in the synodal response of the patriarch Michael, which only demands for 
translation the authority of the Metropolitan and "the greatest authority of the Church. "(4) But, soon after this, 
translation became the rule, and not the exception both in East and West. 

It was in vain that Simeon, Archbishop of Thessalonica, in the East raised his voice against the constant 
translations made by the secular power, and the Emperors of Constantinople were often absolute masters 
of the choice and translations of bishops; and Thomassinus sums up the matter, "At the least we are forced 
to the conclusion that no translations could be made without the consent of the Emperor, especially when it 
was the See of Constantinople that was to be filled." 

The same learned writer continues: "It was usually the bishop or archbishop of another church that was 
chosen to ascend the patriarchal throne of the imperial city. The Kings of England often used this same 
power to appoint to the Primatial See of Canterbury a bishop already approved in the government of 
another diocese. "(1) 

In the West, Cardinal Bellarmine disapproved the prevailing custom of translations and protested against it 
to his master, Pope Clement VIII., reminding him that they were contrary to the canons and contrary to the 
usage of the Ancient Church, except in cases of necessity and of great gain to the Church. The pope entirely 
agreed with these wise observations, and promised that he would himself make, and would urge princes to 
make, translations only "with difficulty." But translations are made universally, all the world over, today, and 
no attention whatever is paid to the ancient canons and discipline of the Church. (2) 


NEITHER presbyters, nor deacons, nor any others enrolled among the clergy, who, not having the fear of 
God before their eyes, nor regarding the ecclesiastical Canon, shall recklessly remove from their own 
church, ought by any means to be received by another church; but every constraint should be applied to 
restore them to their own parishes; and, if they will not go, they must be excommunicated. And if anyone 
shah dare surreptitiously to carry off and in his own Church ordain a man belonging to another, without the 
consent of his own proper bishop, from whom although he was enrolled in the clergy list he has seceded, let 
the ordination be void. 



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Such presbyters or deacons as desert their own Church are not to be admitted into another, but are to be 
sent back to their own diocese. But if any bishop should ordain one who belongs to another Church without 
the consent of his own bishop, the ordination shall be cancelled. 
"Parish" in this canon, as so often elsewhere, means "diocese." 


It seemed right that the clergy should have no power to move from city to city and to change their canonical 
residence without letters dimissory from the bishop who ordained them. But such clerics as are called by the 
bishops who ordained them and cannot be persuaded to return, are to be separated from communion, that 
is to say, not to be allowed to concelebrate <greek>sunierourgein</greek> with them, for this is the meaning 
of "excommunicated" in this place, and not that they should not enter the church nor receive the sacraments. 
This decree agrees with canon xv. of the Apostolical canons, which provides that such shall not celebrate 
the liturgy. Canon xvj. of the same Apostolical canons further provides that if a bishop receive a cleric 
coming to him from another diocese without his bishop's letters dimissory, and shall ordain him, such a 
bishop shall be separated. From all this it is evident that the Chartophylax of the Great Church for the time 
does rightly in refusing to allow priests ordained in other dioceses to offer the sacrifice unless they bring with 
them letters commendatory and dimissory from those who ordained them. 
Zonaras had also in his Scholion given the same explanation of the canon. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, divided into two. Decretum. Pars II, Causa VII. Quaest. I. c. 
xxiij.; and Pars I. Dist. LXXI., c. iij. 


FORASMUCH as many enrolled among the Clergy, following covetousness and lust of gain, have forgotten 
the divine Scripture, which says, "He hath not given his money upon usury," and in lending money ask the 
hundredth of the sum[as monthly interest], the holy and great Synod thinks it just that if after this decree any 
one be found to receive usury, whether he accomplish it by secret transaction or otherwise, as by 
demanding the whole and one half, or by using any other contrivance whatever for filthy lucre's sake, he 
shall be deposed from the clergy and his name stricken from the list. 



If anyone shall receive usury or 1 50 per cent, he shall be cast forth and deposed, according to this decree 
of the Church. 


Although the canon expresses only these two species of usury, if we bear in mind the grounds on which the 
prohibition was made, it will be manifest that every kind of usury is forbidden to clerics and under any 
circumstances, and therefore the translation of this canon sent by the Orientals to the Sixth Council of 
Carthage is in no respect alien to the true intent of the canon; for in this version no mention is made of any 
particular kind of usury, but generally the penalty is assigned to any clerics who "shall be found after this 
decree taking usury" or thinking out any other scheme for the sake of filthy lucre. 
This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, in the first part of the Decretum, in Dionysius's version. 
Dist. xlvii, c. ii, and again in Isidore's version in Pars II, Causa xiv. Quaes, iv., c. viii. 


The famous canonist Van Espen defines usury thus: "Usura definitur lucrum ex mutuo exactum aut 
speratum;"(1) and then goes on to defend the proposition that, "Usury is forbidden by natural, by divine, and 
by human law. The first is proved thus. Natural law, as far as its first principles are concerned, is contained in 
the decalogue; but usury is prohibited in the decalogue, inasmuch as theft is prohibited; and this is the 
opinion of the Master of the Sentences, of St. Bonaventura, of St. Thomas and of a host of others: for by the 
name of theft in the Law all unlawful taking of another's goods is prohibited; but usury is an unlawful, etc." For 
a proof of usury's being contrary to divine law he cites Ex. xxii. 25, and Deut. xxiii. 29; and from the New 
Testament Luke vi. 34. "The third assertion is proved thus. Usury is forbidden by human law: The First 

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Council of Nice in Canon VII. deposed from the clergy and from all ecclesiastical rank, clerics who took 
usury; and the same thing is the case with an infinite number of councils, in fact with nearly all e.g. Elvira, ij, 
Aries j, Carthage iij, Tours iij, etc. Nay, even the pagans themselves formerly forbid it by their laws." He then 
quotes Tacitus(Annal. lib. v.), and adds, "with what severe laws the French Kings coerced usurers is evident 
from the edicts of St. Louis, Philip IV., Charles IX., Henry III., etc." 

There can be no doubt that Van Espen in the foregoing has accurately represented and without any 
exaggeration the universal opinion of all teachers of morals, theologians, doctors, Popes, and Councils of 
the Christian Church for the first fifteen hundred years. All interest exacted upon loans of money was looked 
upon as usury, and its reception was esteemed a form of theft and dishonesty. Those who wish to read the 
history of the matter in all its details are referred to Bossuet's work on the subject, Traite de l'Usure,(2) where 
they will find the old, traditional view of the Christian religion defended by one thoroughly acquainted with all 
that could be said on the other side. 

The glory of inventing the new moral code on the subject, by which that which before was looked upon as 
mortal sin has been transfigured into innocence, if not virtue, belongs to John Calvin! He made the modern 
distinction between "interest" and "usury," and was the first to write in defence of this then new-fangled 
refinement of casuistry. (1) Luther violently opposed him, and Melancthon also kept to the old doctrine, 
though less violently(as was to be expected); today the whole Christian West, Protestant and Catholic alike, 
stake their salvation upon the truth of Calvin's distinction! Among Roman Catholics the new doctrine began 
to be defended about the beginning of the eighteenth century, the work of Scipio Maffei, Dell' impiego dell 
danaro, written on the laxer side, having attracted a widespread attention. The Ballerini affirm that the 
learned pope Benedict XIV. allowed books defending the new morals to be dedicated to him, and in 1 830 
the Congregation of the Holy Office with the approval of the reigning Pontiff, Plus VIII., decided that those 
who considered the taking of interest allowed by the state law justifiable, were "not to be disturbed." It is 
entirely disingenuous to attempt to reconcile the modern with the ancient doctrine; the Fathers expressly 
deny that the State has any power to make the receiving of interest just or to fix its rate, there is but one 
ground for those to take who accept the new teaching, viz. that all the ancients, while true on the moral 
principle that one must not defraud his neighbour nor take unjust advantage of his necessity, were in error 
concerning the facts, in that they supposed that money was barren, an opinion which the Schoolmen also 
held, following Aristotle. This we have found in modern times, and amid modern circumstances, to be an 
entire error, as Gury, the famous modern casuist, well says, "fructum producit et multiplicatur perse. "(2) 
That the student may have it in his power to read the Patristic view of the matter, I give a list of the passages 
most commonly cited, together with a review of the conciliar action, for all which I am indebted to a masterly 
article by Wharton B. Marriott in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities(s. v. Usury). 
Although the conditions of the mercantile community in the East and the West differed materially in some 
respects, the fathers of the two churches are equally explicit and systematic in their condemnation of the 
practice of usury. Among those belonging to the Greek church we find Athanasius(Expos. in Ps. xiv); Basil 
the Great(Hom. in Ps. xiv). Gregory of Nazianzum(Orat. xiv. in Patrem tacentem). Gregory of Nyssa(Orat. 
cont. Usurarios); Cyril of Jerusalem(Catech. iv. c. 37), Epiphanius(adv. Haeres. Epilog, c. 24), 
Chrysostom(Hom. xli. in Genes), and Theodoret(lnterpr. in Ps. xiv. 5, and liv. 11). Among those belonging to 
the Latin church, Hilary of Poitiers(in Ps. xiv); Ambrose(de Tobia liber unus). Jerome(in Ezech. vi. 18); 
Augustine de Baptismo contr. Donatistas, iv. 19); Leo the Great(Epist. iii. 4), and Cassiodorus in Ps. xiv. 10). 
The canons of later councils differ materially in relation to this subject, and indicate a distinct tendency to 
mitigate the rigour of the Nicaean interdict. That of the council of Carthage of the year 348 enforces the 
original prohibition, but without the penalty, and grounds the veto on both Old and New Testament authority, 
"nemo contra prophetas, nemo contra evangelia facit sine periculo"(Mansi, iii. 158). The language, 
however, when compared with that of the council of Carthage of the year 419, serves to suggest that, in the 
interval, the lower clergy had occasionally been found having recourse to the forbidden practice, for the 
general terms of the earlier canon, "ut non liceat clericis fenerari," are enforced with greater particularity in 
the latter, "Nee omnino cuiquam clericorum liceat de qualibet re foenus accipere"(Mansi, iv. 423). This 
supposition is supported by the language of the council of Orleans(A.D. 538), which appears to imply that 
deacons were not prohibited from lending money at interest, "Et clericus a diaconatu, et supra, pecuniam 
non commodet ad usuras"(ib. ix. 1 8). Similarly, at the second council of Trullanum(A.D. 692) a like liberty 
would appear to have been recognised among the lower clergy(Hardouin, iii. 1663). While, again, the 
Nicaean canon requires the immediate deposition of the ecclesiastic found guilty of the practice, the 
Apostolical canon enjoins that such deposition is to take place only after he has been admonished and has 
disregarded the admonition. 

Generally speaking, the evidence points to the conclusion that the Church imposed no penalty on the 
layman. St. Basil(Epist. clxxxviii. can. 12), says that a usurer may even be admitted to orders, provided he 
gives his acquired wealth to the poor and abstains for the future from the pursuit of gain(Migne, Patrol. 
Groec. xxxii. 275). Gregory of Nyssa says that usury, unlike theft, the desecration of tombs, and sacrilege 

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<greek>ierosulia</greek>, is allowed to pass unpunished, although among the things forbidden by 
Scripture, nor is a candidate at ordination ever asked whether or no he has been guilty of the 
practice(Migne, ib. xlv. 233). A letter of Sidonius Apollinaris(Epist. vi. 24) relating an experience of his friend 
Maximus, appears to imply that no blame attached to lending money at the legal rate of interest, and that 
even a bishop might be a creditor on those terms. We find also Desideratus, bishop of Verdun, when 
applying for a loan to king Theodebert, for the relief of his impoverished diocese, promising repayment, 
"cure usuris legitimis," an expression which would seem to imply that in the Gallican church usury was 
recognised as lawful under certain conditions(Greg. Tur. Hist. Franc, iii. 34). So again a letter(Epist. ix. 38) of 
Gregory the Great seems to shew that he did not regard the payment of interest for money advanced by 
one layman to another as unlawful. But on the other hand, we find in what is known as archbishop 
Theodore's "Penitential"(circ. A.D. 690) what appears to be a general law on the subject, enjoining "Sie quis 
usuras undecunque exegerit . . . tres annos in pane et aqua"(c xxv. 3); a penance again enjoined in the 
Penitential of Egbert of York(c. ii. 30). In like manner, the legates, George and Theophylact, in reporting their 
proceedings in England to pope Adrian I. (A.D. 787), state that they have prohibited "usurers," and cite the 
authority of the Psalmist and St. Augustine(Haddan and Stubbs, Cone. iii. 457). The councils of Mayence, 
Rheims, and Chalons, in the year 813, and that of Aix in the year 816, seem to have laid down the same 
prohibition as binding both on the clergy and the laity(Hardouin, Cone. iv. 1011, 1020, 1033, 1100). 
Muratori, in his dissertation on the subject(Antichita, vol. i.), observes that "we do not know exactly how 
commerce was transacted in the five preceding centuries," and consequently are ignorant as to the terms 
on which loans of money were effected. 


IT has come to the knowledge of the holy and great Synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons 
administer the Eucharist to the presbyters, whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no 
right to offer should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer. And this also has been made known, that 
certain deacons now touch the Eucharist even before the bishops. Let all such practices be utterly done 
away, and let the deacons remain within their own bounds, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop 
and the inferiors of the presbyters. Let them receive the Eucharist according to their order, after the 
presbyters, and let either the bishop or the presbyter administer to them. Furthermore, let not the deacons sit 
among the presbyters, for that is contrary to canon and order. And if, after this decree, any one shall refuse 
to obey, let him be deposed from the diaconate. 



Deacons must abide within their own bounds. They shall not administer the Eucharist to presbyters, nor 
touch it before them, nor sit among the presbyters. For all this is contrary to canon, and to decent order. 


Four excesses of deacons this canon condemns, at least indirectly. The first was that they gave the holy 
Communion to presbyters. To understand more easily the meaning of the canon it must be remembered 
that the reference here is not to the presbyters who were sacrificing at the altar but to those who were offering 
together with the bishop who was sacrificing; by a rite not unlike that which to-day takes place, when the 
newly ordained presbyters or bishops celebrate mass with the ordaining bishop; and this rite in old times 
was of daily occurrence, for a full account of which see Morinus De SS. Ordinal P. III. Exercit. viij .... The 
present canon does not take away from deacons the authority to distribute the Eucharist to laymen, or to the 
minor clergy, but only reproves their insolence and audacity in presuming to administer to presbyters who 
were concelebrating with the bishop or another presbyter. 

The second abuse was that certain deacons touched the sacred gifts before the bishop. The vulgar version 
of Isidore reads for "touched" "received," a meaning which Balsamon and Zonaras also adopt, and unless 
the Greek word, which signifies "to touch," is contrary to this translation, it seems by no means to be alien to 
the context of the canon. 

"Let them receive the Eucharist according to their order, after the presbyters, and let the bishop or the 
presbyter administer to them." In these words it is implied that some deacons had presumed to receive 
Holy Communion before the presbyters, and this is the third excess of the deacon which is condemned by 
the Synod. 

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And lastly, the fourth excess was that they took a place among the presbyters at the very time of the 
sacrifice, or "at the holy altar," as Balsamon observes. 

From this canon we see that the Nicene, fathers entertained no doubt that the faithful in the holy Communion 
truly received "the body of Christ." Secondly, that that was "offered" in the church, which is the word by which 
sacrifice is designated in the New Testament, and therefore it was at that time a fixed tradition that there was 
a sacrifice in which the body of Christ was offered. Thirdly that not to all, nor even to deacons, but only to 
bishops and presbyters was given the power of offering. And lastly, that there was recognized a fixed 
hierarchy in the Church, made up of bishops and presbyters and deacons in subordination to these. 
Of course even at that early date there was nothing new in this doctrine of the Eucharist. St. Ignatius more 
than a century and a half before, wrote as follows: "But mark ye those who hold strange doctrine touching the 
grace of Jesus Christ which came to us, how that they are contrary to the mind of God. They have no care for 
love, none for the widow, none for the orphan, none for the afflicted, none for the prisoner, none for the hungry 
or thirsty. They abstain from eucharistrthanksgiving) and prayer, because they allow not that the Eucharist is 
the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which flesh suffered for our sins, and which the Father of his goodness 
raised up."(1) 

In one point the learned scholiast just quoted has most seriously understated his case. He says that the 
wording of the canon shews "that the Nicene fathers entertained no doubt that the faithful in the holy 
Communion truly received 'the body of Christ.'" Now this statement is of course true because it is included in 
what the canon says, but the doctrinal statement which is necessarily contained in the canon is that "the 
body of Christ is given" by the minister to the faithful. This doctrine is believed by all Catholics and by 
Lutherans, but is denied by all other Protestants; those Calvinists who kept most nearly to the ordinary 
Catholic phraseology only admitting that "the sacrament of the Body of Christ" was given in the supper by 
the minister, while "the body of Christ," they taught, was present only in the soul of the worthy 
communicant(and in no way connected with the form of bread, which was but the divinely appointed sign 
and assurance of the heavenly gift), and therefore could not be "given" by the priest.(2) 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Decretum. Pars I. Dist. XCIII., c. xiv. 


CONCERNING the Paulianists who have flown for refuge to the Catholic Church, it has been decreed that 
they must by all means be rebaptized; and if any of them who in past time have been numbered among their 
clergy should be found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the 
Bishop of the Catholic Church; but if the examination should discover them to be unfit, they ought to be 
deposed. Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been 
enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have 
assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the 



Paulianists must be rebaptised, and if such as are clergymen seem to be blameless let then, be ordained. If 
they do not seem to be blameless, let them be deposed. Deaconesses who have been led astray, since 
they are not sharers of ordination, are to be reckoned among the laity. 


(Diet. Chr. Ant. s.v. Nicaea, Councils of.) 

That this is the true meaning of the phrase <greek>oros</greek> <greek>ekteqeitai</greek>, viz. "a decree 
has now been made," is clear from the application of the words <greek>oros</greek> in Canon xvii., and 
<greek>wrisen</greek>, in Canon vi. It has been a pure mistake, therefore, which Bp. Hefele blindly follows, 
to understand it of some canon previously passed, whether at Aries or elsewhere. 


Here <greek>keiroqesia</greek> is taken for ordination or consecration, not for benediction, . .. for neither 
were deaconesses, sub-deacons, readers, and other ministers ordained, but a blessing was merely 
pronounced over them by prayer and imposition of hands. 

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Their (the Paulicians') deaconesses also, since they have no imposition of hands, if they come over to the 
Catholic Church and are baptized, are ranked among the laity. With this Zonaras and Balsamon also 


By Paulianists must be understood the followers of Paul of Samosata the anti-Trinitarian who, about the year 

260, had been made bishop of Antioch, but had been deposed by a great Synod in 269. As Paul of 

Samosata was heretical in his teaching on the Holy Trinity the Synod of Nice applied to him the decree 

passed by the council of Aries in its eighth canon. "If anyone shall come from heresy to the Church, they 

shall ask him to say the creed; and if they shall perceive that he was baptized into the Father, and the Son, 

and the Holy Ghost, (1) he shall have a hand laid on him only that he may receive the Holy Ghost. But if in 

answer to their questioning he shall not answer this Trinity, let him be baptized." 

The Samosatans, according to St. Athanasius, named the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in administering 

baptism(Oral. ii, Contra Arian. No. xliii), but as they gave a false meaning to the baptismal formula and did 

not use the words Son and Holy Spirit in the usual sense, the Council of Nice, like St. Athanasius himself, 

considered their baptism as invalid. 

There is great difficulty about the text of the clause beginning "Likewise in the case, etc.," and Gelasius, the 

Prisca, Theilo and Thearistus,(who in 41 9 translated the canons of Nice for the African bishops), the 

Pseudolsidore, and Gratian have all followed a reading <greek>diakonwn</greek>, instead of 


This change makes all clear, but many canonists keep the ordinary text, including Van Espen, with whose 

interpretation Hefele does not agree. 

The clause I have rendered "And we mean by deaconesses" is most difficult of translation. I give the 

original, 'E<greek>mnhsqhm</greek><c210><greek>n</greek> <greek>tpn</greek> <greek>en</greek> 

<greek>tp</greek> <greek>skhmati</greek> <greek>exetasqeispn</greek>, <greek>epei</greek> 

<s218.> <s235.> <s221.>. Hefele's translation seems to me impossible, by <greek>skhmati</greek> he 

understands the list of the clergy just mentioned. 


It has been supposed by many that the deaconess of the Early Church had an Apostolic institution and that 
its existence may be referred to by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans(xvi. 1) where he speaks of Phoebe 
as being a <greek>diakonos</greek> of the Church of Cenchrea. It moreover has been suggested that the 
"widows" of 1 Tim. v. 9 may have been deaconesses, and this seems not unlikely from the fact that the age 
for the admission of women to this ministry was fixed by Tertullian at sixty years(De Vel. Virg. Cap. ix.), and 
only changed to forty, two centuries later by the Council of Chalcedon, and from the further fact that these 
"widows" spoken of by St. Paul seem to have had a vow of chastity, for it is expressly said that if they marry 
they have "damnation, because they have cast off their first faith"(1 Tim. v. 12). 

These women were called <greek>diakonissbi</greek>, <greek>Presbutides</greek>(which must be 
distinguished from the <greek>presbuterai</greek>, a poor class referred to in the Apostolic Constitutions^. 
28) who are to be only invited frequently to the love-feasts, while the 

<greek>pr</greek>,s210><greek>sbutioes</greek> had a definite allotment of the offerings assigned to 
their support), <greek>khrai</greek>, diaconissoe, presbyteroe, and viduce. 
The one great characteristic of the deaconess was that she was vowed to perpetual chastity. (1) The 
Apostolical Constitutions(vi. 17) say that she must be a chaste virgin(<greek>parqenos</greek> 
<greek>agnh</greek>) or else a widow. The writer of the article "Deaconess" in the Dictionary of Christian 
Antiquities says: "It is evident that the ordination of deaconesses included a vow of celibacy." We have 
already seen the language used by St. Paul and of this the wording of the canon of Chalcedon is but an 
echo(Canon xv). "A woman shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of 
age, and then only after searching examination. And if, after she has had hands laid on her, and has 
continued for a time to minister, she shall despise the Grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall 
be anathematized and the man who is united to her." The civil law went still further, and by Justinian's Sixth 
Novel(6) those who attempted to marry are subjected to forfeiture of property and capital punishment. In the 
collect in the ancient office there is a special petition that the newly admitted deaconess may have the gift of 

The principal work of the deaconess was to assist the female candidates for holy baptism. At that time the 
sacrament of baptism was always administered by immersion(except to those in extreme illness) and 

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hence there was much that such an order of women could be useful in. Moreover they sometimes gave to 
the female catechumens preliminary instruction, but their work was wholly limited to women, and for a 
deaconess of the Early Church to teach a man or to nurse him in sickness would have been an 
impossibility. The duties of the deaconess are set forth in many ancient writings, I cite here what is 
commonly known as the XII Canon of the Fourth Council of Carthage, which met in the year 398: 
"Widows and dedicated women(sanctimoniales) who are chosen to assist at the baptism of women, should 
be so well instructed in their office as to be able to teach aptly and properly unskilled and rustic women how 
to answer at the time of their baptism to the questions put to them, and also how to live godly after they have 
been baptized." This whole matter is treated clearly by St. Epiphanius who, while indeed speaking of 
deaconesses as an order(<greek>tagma</greek>), asserts that "they were only women-elders, not 
priestesses in any sense, that their mission was not to interfere in any way with Sacerdotal functions, but 
simply to perform certain offices in the care of women"(Hoer. Ixxix, cap. iij). From all this it is evident that they 
are entirely in error who suppose that "the laying on of hands" which the deaconesses received 
corresponded to that by which persons were ordained to the diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate at 
that period of the church's history. It was merely a solemn dedication and blessing and was not looked upon 
as "an outward sign of an inward grace given." For further proof of this I must refer to Morinus, who has 
treated the matter most admirably. (De Ordinationibus, Exercitatio X.) 

The deaconesses existed but a short while. The council of Laodicea as early as A.D. 343-381 , forbade the 
appointment of any who were called <greek>presbutides</greek>(Vide Canon xi); and the first council of 
Orange, A.D. 441 , in its twenty-sixth canon forbids the appointment of deaconesses altogether, and the 
Second council of tile same city in canons xvij and xviij, decrees that deaconesses who married were to be 
excommunicated unless they renounced the men they were living with, and that, on account of the weakness 
of the sex, none for the future were to be ordained. 

Thomassinus, to whom I refer tim reader for a very full treatment of the whole subject, is of opinion that the 
order was extinct in the West by the tenth or twelfth century, but that it lingered on a little later at 
Constantinople but only in conventual institutions. (Thomassin, Ancienne et Nouvelle Discipline de I' Eglise, I 
Partie, Livre III.) 


FORASMUCH as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord's Day and in the days of Pentecost, 
therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere (in every parish), it seems good 
to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing. 



On Lord's days and at Pentecost all must pray standing and not kneeling. 


Although kneeling was the common posture for prayer in the primitive Church, yet the custom had prevailed, 
even from the earliest times, of standing at prayer on the Lord's day, and during the fifty days between 
Easter and Pentecost. Tertullian, in a passage in his treatise De Corona Militis, which is often quoted, 
mentions it amongst other ohservances which, though not expressly commanded in Scripture, yet were 
universally practised upon the authority of tradition. "We consider it unlawful," he says, "to fast, or to pray 
kneeling, upon the Lord's day; we enjoy the same liberty from Easter-day to that of Pentecost." De Cor. Mil. 
s. 3, 4. Many other of the Fathers notice the same practice, the reason of which, as given by Augustine; and 
others, was to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord, and to signify the rest and joy of our own 
resurrection, which that of our Lord assured. This canon, as Beveridge observes, is a proof of the 
importance formerly attached to an uniformity of sacred rites throughout the Church, which made the Nicene 
Fathers thus sanction and enforce by their authority a practice which in itself is indifferent, and not 
commanded directly or indirectly in Scripture, and assign this as their reason for doing so: "In order that all 
things may be observed in like manner in every parish" or diocese. 


All the churches did not, however, adopt this practice; for we see in the Acts of the Apostles(xx. 36 and xxi. 5) 
that St. Paul prayed kneeling during the time between Pentecost and Easter. 

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This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum, Pars III, De Cone. Dist. III. c. x. 

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There has come down to us a Latin letter purporting to have been written by St. Athanasius to Pope Marcus. 
This letter is found in the Benedictine edition of St. Athanasius's works(ed. Patav. ii. 599) but rejected as 
spurious by Montfaucon the learned editor. In this letter is contained the marvellous assertion that the 
Council of Nice at first adopted forty canons, which were in Greek, that it subsequently added twenty Latin 
canons, and that afterwards the council reassembled and set forth seventy altogether. A tradition that 
something of the kind had taken place was prevalent in parts of the East, and some collections did contain 
seventy canons. 

In the Vatican Library is a MS. which was bought for it by the famous Asseman, from the Coptic Patriarch, 
John, and which contains not only seventy, but eighty canons attributed to the council of Nice. The MS. is in 
Arabic, and was discovered by J. B. Romanus, S. J., who first made its contents known, and translated into 
Latin a copy he had made of it. Another Jesuit, Pisanus, was writing a history of the Nicene Council at the 
time and he received the eighty newly found canons into his book; but, out of respect to the 
pseudo-Athanasian letter, he at first cut down the number to seventy; but in later editions he followed the MS. 
All this was in the latter half of the sixteenth century; and in 1 578 Turrianus, who had had Father Romanus's 
translation revised before it was first published, now issued an entirely new translation with a Proemium(1) 
containing a vast amount of information upon the whole subject, and setting up an attempted proof that the 
number of the Nicene Canons exceeded twenty. His argument for the time being carried the day. 
Hefele says, "it is certain that the Orientals(2) believed the Council of Nice to have promulgated more than 
twenty canons: the learned Anglican, Beveridge,(3) has proved this, reproducing an ancient Arabic 
paraphrase of the canons of the first four Ecumenical Councils. According to this Arabic paraphrase, found 
in a MS. in the Bodleian Library, the Council of Nice must have put forth three books of canons. . . . The 
Arabic paraphrase of which we are speaking gives a paraphrase of all these canons, but Beveridge took 
only the part referring to the second book-that is to say, the paraphrase of the twenty genuine canons; for, 
according to his view, which was perfectly correct, it was only these twenty canons which were really the 
work of the Council of Nice, and all the others were falsely attributed to it."(4) 

Hefele goes on to prove that the canons he rejects must be of much later origin, some being laws of the 
times of Theodosius and Justinian according to the opinion of Renaudot.(5) 

Before leaving this point I should notice the profound research on these Arabic canons of the Maronite, 
Abraham Echellensis. He gives eighty-four canons in his Latin translation of 1645, and was of opinion that 
they had been collected from different Oriental sources, and sects; but that originally they had all been 
translated from the Greek, and were collected by James, the celebrated bishop of Nisibis, who was present 
at Nice. But this last supposition is utterly untenable. 

Among the learned there have not been wanting some who have held that the Council of Nice passed more 
canons than the twenty we possess, and have arrived at the conclusion independently of the Arabic 
discovery, such are Baronius and Card. d'Aguirre, but their arguments have been sufficiently answered, and 
they cannot present anything able to weaken the conclusion that flows from the consideration of the 
following facts. 

(Hefele: History of the Councils, Vol. I. pp. 355 etseqq.[2ded.]) 

Let us see first what is the testimony of those Greek and Latin authors who lived about the time of the 

Council, concerning the number. 

a. The first to be consulted among the Greek authors is the learned Theodoret, who lived about a century 
after the Council of Nicaea. He says, in his History of the Church: "After the condemnation of the Arians, the 
bishops assembled once more, and decreed twenty canons on ecclesiastical discipline." 

b. Twenty years later, Gelasius, Bishop of Cyzicus, after much research into the most ancient documents, 
wrote a history of the Nicene Council. Gelasius also says expressly that the Council decreed twenty canons; 
and, what is more important, he gives the original text of these canons exactly in the same order, and 
according to the tenor which we find elsewhere. 

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c. Rufinus is more ancient than these two historians. He was born near the period when the Council of 
Nicaea was held, and about half a century after he wrote his celebrated history of the Church, in which he 
inserted a Latin translation of the Nicene canons. Rufinus also knew only of these twenty canons; but as he 
has divided the sixth and the eighth into two parts, he has given twenty-two canons, which are exactly the 
same as the twenty furnished by the other historians. 

d. The famous discussion between the African bishops and the Bishop of Rome, on the subject of appeals 
to Rome, gives us a very important testimony on the true number of the Nicene canons. The presbyter 
Apiarius of Sicca in Africa, having been deposed for many crimes, appealed to Rome. Pope 
Zosimus(417-418) took the appeal into consideration, sent legates to Africa; and to prove that he had the 
right to act thus, he quoted a canon of the Council of Nicaea, containing these words: "When a bishop thinks 
he has been unjustly deposed by his colleagues he may appeal to Rome, and the Roman bishop shall 
have the business decided by judices in partibus." The canon quoted by the Pope does not belong to the 
Council of Nicaea, as he affirmed; it was the fifth canon of the Council of Sardicafthe seventh in the Latin 
version). What explains the error of Zosimus is that in the ancient copies the canons of Nicaea and Sardica 
are written consecutively, with the same figures, and under the common title of canons of the Council of 
Nicaea; and Zosimus might optima fide fall into an error-which he shared with Greek authors, his 
contemporaries, who also mixed the canons of Nicaea with those of Sardica. The African bishops, not 
finding the canon quoted by the Pope either in their Greek or in their Latin copies, in vain consulted also the 
copy which Bishop Cecilian, who had himself been present at the Council of Nicaea, had brought to 
Carthage. The legates of the Pope then declared that they did not rely upon these copies, and they agreed 
to send to Alexandria and to Constantinople to ask the patriarchs of these two cities for authentic copies of 
the canons of the Council of Nicaea. The African bishops desired in their turn that Pope Boniface should 
take the same step(Pope Zosimus had died meanwhile in 418)-that he should ask for copies from the 
Archbishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch. Cyril of Alexandria and Atticus of Constantinople, 
indeed, sent exact and faithful copies of the Creed and canons of Nicaea; and two learned men of 
Constantinople, Theilo and Thearistus, even translated these canons into Latin. Their translation has been 
preserved to us in the acts of the sixth Council of Carthage, and it contains only the twenty ordinary canons. It 
might be thought at first sight that it contained twenty-one canons; but on closer consideration we see, as 
Hardouin has proved, that this twenty-first article is nothing but an historical notice appended to the Nicene 
canons by the Fathers of Carthage. It is conceived in these terms: "After the bishops had decreed these 
rules at Nicaea, and after the holy Council had decided what was the ancient rule for the celebration of 
Easter, peace and unity of faith were re-established between the East and the West. This is what wefthe 
African bishops) have thought it right to add according to the history of the Church." 

The bishops of Africa despatched to Pope Boniface the copies which had been sent to them from 
Alexandria and Constantinople, in the month of November 419; and subsequently in their letters to Celestine 
I. (423-432), successor to Boniface, they appealed to the text of these documents. 

e. All the ancient collections of canons, either in Latin or Greek, composed in the fourth, or quite certainly at 
least in the fifth century, agree in giving only these twenty canons to Nicaea. The most ancient of these 
collections were made in the Greek Church, and in the course of time a very great number of copies of them 
were written. Many of these copies have descended to us; many libraries possess copies; thus Montfaucon 
enumerates several in his Bibliotheca Coisliniana. Fabricius makes a similar catalogue of the copies in his 
Bibliotheca Groeca to those found in the libraries of Turin, Florence, Venice, Oxford, Moscow, etc.; and he 
adds that these copies also contain the so-called apostolic canons, and those of the most ancient councils. 
The French bishop John Tilius presented to Paris, in 1540, a MS. of one of these Greek collections as it 
existed in the ninth century. It contains exactly our twenty canons of Nicaea, besides the so-called apostolic 
canons, those of Ancyra, etc. Elias Ehmger published a new edition at Wittemberg in 1614, using a second 
MS. which was found at Augsburg; but the Roman collection of the Councils had before given in 1608, the 
Greek text of the twenty canons of Nicaea. This text of the Roman editors, with the exception of some 
insignificant variations, was exactly the same as that of the edition of Tilius. Neither the learned Jesuit 
Sirmond nor his coadjutors have mentioned what manuscripts were consulted in preparing this edition; 
probably they were manuscripts drawn from several libraries, and particularly from that of the Vatican. The 
text of this Roman edition passed into all the following collections, even into those of Hardouin and Mansi; 
while Justell in his Bibliotheca juris Canonici and Beveridge in his Synodicon(both of the eighteenth century), 
give a somewhat different text, also collated from MSS., and very similar to the text given by Tilius. Bruns, in 
his recent Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica, compares the two texts. Now all these Greek MSS, consulted at such 
different times, and by all these editors, acknowledge only twenty canons of Nicaea, and always the same 
twenty which we possess. 

The Latin collections of the canons of the Councils also give the same result-for example, the most ancient 
and the most remarkable of all, the Prisca, and that of Dionysius the Less, which was collected about the 
year 500. The testimony of this latter collection is the more important for the number twenty, as Dionysius 

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refers to the Groeca auctoritas. 

f. Among the later Eastern witnesses we may further mention Photius, Zonaras and Balsamon. Photius, in his 
Collection of the Canons, and in his Nomocanon, as well as the two other writers in their commentaries upon 
the canons of the ancient Councils, quote only and know only twenty canons of Nicaea, and always those 
which we possess. 

g. The Latin canonists of the Middle Ages also acknowledge only these twenty canons of Nicaea. We have 
proof of this in the celebrated Spanish collection, which is generally but erroneously attributed to St. 
lsidore(it was composed at the commencement of the seventh century), and in that of Adrian(so called 
because it was offered to Charles the Great by Pope Adrian I). The celebrated Hincmar, Archbishop of 
Rheims, the first canonist of the ninth century, in his turn attributes only twenty canons to the Council of 
Nicaea, and even the pseudo-Isidore assigns it no more. 

I add for the convenience of the reader the captions of the Eighty Canons as given by Turrianus, translating 
them from the reprint in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. II. col. 291 . The Eighty-four Canons as given by 
Echellensis together with numerous Constitutions and Decrees attributed to the Nicene Council are likewise 
to be found in Labbe(ut supra, col. 318). 


CANON I. (1) 

Insane persons and energumens should not be ordained. 


Bond servants are not to be ordained. 


Neophytes in the faith are not to be ordained to Holy Orders before they have a knowledge of Holy 
Scripture. And such, if convicted after their ordination of grave sin, are to be deposed with those who 
ordained them. 


The cohabitation of women with bishops, presbyters, and deacons prohibited on account of their celibacy. 
We decree that bishops shall not live with women; nor shall a presbyter who is a widower; neither shall they 
escort them; nor be familiar with them, nor gaze upon them persistently. And the same decree is made with 
regard to every celibate priest, and the same concerning such deacons as have no wives. And this is to be 
the case whether the woman be beautiful or ugly, whether a young girl or beyond the age of puberty, 
whether great in birth, or an orphan taken out of charity under pretext of bringing her up. For the devil with 
such arms slays religious, bishops, presbyters, and deacons, and incites them to the fires of desire. But if 
she be an old woman, and of advanced age, or a sister, or mother, or aunt, or grandmother, it is permitted to 
live with these because such persons are free from all suspicion of scandal. (2) 


Of the election of a bishop and of the confirmation of the election. 


That those excommunicated by one bishop are not to be received by another; and that those whose 
excommunication has been shown to have been unjust should be absolved by the archbishop or patriarch. 


That provincial Councils should be held twice a year, for the consideration of all things affecting the 
churches of the bishops of the province. 


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Of the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, and of their jurisdiction. 


Of one who solicits the episcopate when the people do not wish him; or if they do desire him, but without the 
consent of the archbishop. 


How the bishop of Jerusalem is to be honoured, the honour, however, of the metropolitan church of 
Caesarea being preserved intact, to which he is subject. 


Of those who force themselves into the order of presbyters without election or examination. 


Of the bishop who ordains one whom he understands has denied the faith; also of one ordained who after 
that he had denied it, crept into orders. 


Of one who of his own will goes to another church, having been chosen by it, and does not wish afterwards 

to stay there. 

Of taking pains that he be transferred from his own church to another. 


No one shall become a monk without the bishop's license, and why a license is required. 


That clerics or religious who lend on usury should be cast from their grade. 


Of the honour to be paid to the bishop and to a presbyter by the deacons. 


Of the system and of the manner of receiving those who are converted from the heresy of Paul of 


Of the system and manner of receiving those who are converted from the heresy the Novatians. 


Of the system and manner of receiving those who return after a lapse from the faith, and of receiving the 
relapsed, and of those brought into peril of death by sickness before their penance is finished, and 
concerning such as are convalescent. 


Of avoiding the conversation of evil workers and wizards, also of the penance of them that have not avoided 


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Of incestuous marriages contrary to the law of Spiritual relationship, and of the penance of such as are in 
such marriages. 

[The time of penance fixed is twenty years, only godfather and godmother are mentioned, and nothing is 
said of separation.] 


Of sponsors in baptism. 

Men shall not hold females at the font, neither women males; but women females, and men males. 


Of the prohibited marriages of spiritual brothers and sisters from receiving them in baptism. 


Of him who has married two wives at the same time, or who through lust has added another woman to his 
wife; and of his punishment. 

Part of the canon. If he be a priest he is forbidden to sacrifice and is cut off from the communion of the faithful 
until he turn out of the house the second woman, and he ought to retain the first. 


That no one should be forbidden Holy Communion unless such as are doing penance. 


Clerics are forbidden from suretyship or witness-giving in criminal causes. 


Of avoiding the excommunicate, and of not receiving the oblation from them; and of the excommunication of 
him who does not avoid the excommunicated. 


How anger, indignation, and hatred should be avoided by the priest, especially because he has the power 
of excommunicating others. 


Of not kneeling in prayer. 


Of giving[only] names of Christians in baptism, and of heretics who retain the faith in the Trinity and the 
perfect form of baptism; and of others not retaining it, worthy of a worse name, and of how such are to be 
received when they come to the faith. 


Of the system and manner of receiving converts to the Orthodox faith from the heresy of Arius and of other 


Of the system of receiving those who have kept the dogmas of the faith and the Church's laws, and yet have 
separated from us and afterwards come back. 

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Of the place of residence of the Patriarch, and of the honour which should be given to the bishop of 
Jerusalem and to the bishop of Seleucia. 


Of the honour to be given to the Archbishop of Seleucia in the Synod of Greece. 


Of not holding a provincial synod in the province of Persia without the authority of the patriarch of Antioch, 
and how the bishops of Persia are subject to the metropolitans of Antioch. 


Of the creation of a patriarch for Ethiopia, and of his power, and of the honour to be paid him in the Synod of 


Of the election of the Archbishop of Cyprus, who is subject to the patriarch of Antioch. 


That the ordination of ministers of the Church by bishops in the dioceses of strangers is forbidden. 


Of the care and power which a Patriarch has over the bishops and archbishops of his patriarchate; and of 
the primacy of the Bishop of Rome over all. 

Let the patriarch consider what things are done by the archbishops and bishops in their provinces; and if he 
shall find anything done by them otherwise than it should be, let him change it, and order it, as seemeth him 
fit: for he is the father of all, and they are his sons. And although the archbishop be among the bishops as an 
elder brother, who hath the care of his brethren, and to whom they owe obedience because he is over them; 
yet the patriarch is to all those who are under his power, just as he who holds the seat of Rome, is the head 
and prince of all patriarchs; in-asmuch as he is first, as was Peter, to whom power is given over all Christian 
princes, and over all their peoples, as he who is the Vicar of Christ our Lord over all peoples and over the 
whole Christian Church, and whoever shall contradict this, is excommunicated by the Synod. (1) 
[I add Canon XXXVII. of Echellensis's Nova Versio LXXXIV. Arabic. Canonum Cone. Nicoeni, that the reader 
may compare it with the foregoing.] 

Let there be only four patriarchs in the whole world as there are four writers of the Gospel, and four rivers, etc. 
And let there be a prince and chief over them, the lord of the see of the Divine Peter at Rome, according as 
the Apostles commanded. And after him the lord of the great Alexandria, which is the see of Mark. And the 
third is the lord of Ephesus, which is the see of John the Divine who speaks divine things. And the fourth and 
last is my lord of Antioch, which is another see of Peter. And let all the bishops be divided under the hands 
of these four patriarchs; and the bishops of the little towns which are under the dominion of the great cities let 
them be under the authority of these metropolitans. But let every metropolitan of these great cities appoint 
the bishops of his province, but let none of the bishops appoint him, for he is greater than they. Therefore let 
every man know his own rank, and let him not usurp the rank of another. And whosoever shall contradict this 
law which we have established the Fathers of the Synod subject him to anathema. (2) 


Of the provincial synod which should be held twice every year, and of its utility; together with the 
excommunication of such as oppose the decree. 


Of the synod of Archbishops, which meets once a year with the Patriarch, and of its utility; also of the 

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collection to be made for the support of the patriarch throughout the provinces and places subject to the 


Of a cleric or monk who when fallen into sin, and summoned once, twice, and thrice, does not present 
himself for trial. 


What the patriarch should do in the case of a defendant set at liberty unpunished by the decision of the 
bishop, presbyter, or even of a deacon, as the case may be. 


How an archbishop ought to give trial to one of his suffragan bishops. 


Of the receiving of complaints and condemnation of an archbishop against his patriarch. 


How a patriarch should admit a complaint; or judgment of an Archbishop against an Archbishop. 


Of those excommunicated by a certain one, when they can be and when they cannot be absolved by 


No bishop shall choose his own successor. 


No simoniacal ordinations shall be made. 


There shall be but one bishop of one city, and one parochus of one town; also the incumbent, whether 
bishop or parish priest, shall not be removed in favour of a successor desired by some of the people 
unless he has been convicted of manifest crime. 


Bishops shall not allow the separation of a wife from her husband on account of discord-[in American, 
"incompatibility of temper"]. 


Usury and the base seeking of worldly gain is forbidden to the clergy, also conversation and fellowship with 


Marriages with infidels to be avoided. 

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Of the election of a chorepiscopus, and of his duties in towns, and villages, and monasteries. 


How a chorepiscopus should visit the churches and monasteries which are under his jurisdiction. 


Of how the presbyters of the towns and villages should go twice a year with their chorepiscopus to salute the 
bishop, and how religious should do so once a year from their monasteries, and how the new abbot of a 
monastery should go thrice. 


Of the rank in sitting during the celebration of service in church by the bishop, the archdeacon and the 
chorepiscopus; and of the office of archdeacon, and of the honour due the archpresbyter. 


Of the honour flue the archdeacon and the chorepiscopus when they sit in church during the absence of the 
bishop, and when they go about with the bishop. 


How all the grades of the clergy and their duties should be publicly described and set forth. 


Of how men are to be chosen from the diocese for holy orders, and of how they should be examined. 


Of the honour due to the deacons, and how the clerics must not put themselves in their way. 


The number of presbyters and deacons is to be adapted to the work of the church and to its means. 


Of the Ecclesiastical Economist and of the others who with him care for the church's possessions. 


Of the offices said in the church, the night and day offices, and of the collect for all those who rule that church. 


Of the order to be observed at the funeral of a bishop, of a chorepiscopus and of an archdeacon, and of the 
office of exequies. 


Of taking a second wife, after the former one has been disowned for any cause, or even not put away, and of 
him who falsely accuses his wife of adultery. If any priest or deacon shall put away his wife on account of her 
fornication, or for other cause, as aforesaid, or cast her out of doors for external good, or that he may 
change her for another more beautiful, or better, or richer, or does so out of his lust which is displeasing to 
God; and after she has been put away for any of these causes he shall contract matrimony with another, or 
without having put her away shall take another, whether free or bond; and shall have both equally, they living 
separately and he sleeping every night with one or other of them, or else keeping both in the same house 

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and bed, let him be deposed. If he were a layman let him be deprived of communion. But if anyone falsely 
defames his wife charging her with adultery, so that he turns her out of doors, the matter must be diligently 
examined; and if the accusation was false, he shall be deposed if a cleric, but if a layman shall be 
prohibited from entering the church and from the communion of the faithful; and shall be compelled to live 
with her whom he has defamed, even though she be deformed, and poor, and insane; and whoever shall 
not obey is excommunicated by the Synod. 

[Note. -The reader will notice that by this canon a husband is deposed or excommunicated, as the case 
may be, if he marry another woman, after putting away his wife on account of her adultery. It is curious that in 
the parallel canon in the collection of Echellensis, which is numbered LXXI., the reading is quite different, 
although it is very awkward and inconsequent as given. Moreover, it should be remembered that in some 
codices and editions this canon is lacking altogether, one on the right of the Pope to receive appeals taking 
its place. As this canon is of considerable length, I only quote the interesting parts.] 
Whatever presbyter or deacon shall put away his wife without the offence of fornication, or for any other 
cause of which we have spoken above, and shall east her out of doors . . . such a person shall be east out 
of the clergy, if he were a clergyman; if a layman he shall be forbidden the communion of the faithful.. . . But if 
that woman[untruly charged by her husband with adultery], that is to say his wife, spurns his society on 
account of the injury he has done her and the charge he has brought against her, of which she is innocent, let 
her freely be put away and let a bill of repudiation be written for her, noting the false accusation which had 
been brought against her. And then if she should wish to marry some other faithful man, it is right for he; to do 
so, nor does the Church forbid it; and the same permission extends as well to men as to women, since there 
is equal reason for it for each. But if he shall return to better fruit which is of the same kind, and shall 
conciliate to himself the love and benevolence of his consort, and shall be willing to return to his pristine 
friendship, his fault shall be condoned to him after he has done suitable and sufficient penance. And 
whoever shall speak against this decree the fathers of the synod excommunicate him. 


Of having two wives at the same time, and of a woman who is one of the faithful marrying an infidel; and of 
the form of receiving her to penance. [Her reception back is conditioned upon her leaving the infidel man.] 


Of giving in marriage to an infidel a daughter or sister without her knowledge and contrary to her wish. 


Of one of the faithful who departs from the faith through lust and love of an infidel; and of the form of receiving 
him back, or admitting him to penance. 


Of the hospital to be established in every city, and of the choice of a superintendent and concerning his 
duties. [It is interesting to note that one of the duties of the superintendent is-"That if the goods of the 
hospital are not sufficient for its expenses, he ought to collect all the time and from all Christians provision 
according to the ability of each."] 


Of the placing a bishop or archbishop in his chair after ordination, which is enthronization. 


No one is allowed to transfer himself to another church [i.e., diocese] than that in which he was ordained; 
and what is to be done in the case of one cast out forcibly without any blame attaching to him. 


The laity shall not choose for themselves priests in the towns and villages without the authority of the 
chorepiscopus; nor an abbot for a monastery; and that no one should give commands as to who should be 
elected his successor after his death, and when this is lawful for a superior. 

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How sisters, widows, and deaconesses should be made to keep their residence in their monasteries; and 
of the system of instructing them; and of the election of deaconesses, and of their duties and utility. 


How one seeking election should not be chosen, even if of conspicuous virtue; and how the election of a 
layman to the aforesaid grades is not prohibited, and that those chosen should not afterward be deprived 
before their deaths, except on account of crime. 


Of the distinctive garb and distinctive names and conversation of monks and nuns. 


That a bishop convicted of adultery or of other similar crime should be deposed without hope of restoration 
to the same grade; but shall not be excommunicated. 


Of presbyters and deacons who have fallen only once into adultery, if they have never been married; and of 
the same when fallen as widowers, and those who have fallen, all the while having their own wives. Also of 
those who return to the same sin as well widowers as those having living wives; and which of these ought not 
to be received to penance, and which once only, and which twice. 


Each one of the faithful while his sin is yet not public should be mended by private exhortation and 
admonition; if he will not profit by this, he must be excommunicated. 


Of the election of a procurator of the poor, and of his duties. 

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[The Acts are not extant.] 


Often the mind of a deliberative assembly is as clearly shown by the propositions it rejects as by those it 
adopts, and it would seem that this doctrine is of application in the case of the asserted attempt at this 
Council to pass a decree forbidding the priesthood to live in the use of marriage. This attempt is said to 
have failed. The particulars are as follows: 


(Hist. Councils, Vol. I., pp. 435 et seqq.) 

Socrates, Sozomen, and Gelasius affirm that the Synod of Nicaea, as well as that of Elvira(can. 33), desired 
to pass a law respecting celibacy. This law was to forbid all bishops, priests and deacons(Sozomen adds 
subdeacons), who were married at the time of their ordination, to continue to live with their wives. But, say 
these historians, the law was opposed openly and decidedly by Paphnutius, bishop of a city of the Upper 
Thebais in Egypt, a man of a high reputation, who had lost an eye during the persecution under Maximian. 
He was also, celebrated for his miracles, and was held in so great respect by the Emperor, that the latter 
often kissed the empty socket of the lost eye. Paphnutius declared with a loud voice, "that too heavy a yoke 
ought not to be laid upon the clergy; that marriage and married intercourse are of themselves honourable 
and undefiled; that the Church ought not to be injured by an extreme severity, for all could not live in absolute 
continency: in this way(by not prohibiting married intercourse) the virtue of the wife would be much more 
certainly preserved(viz the wife of a clergyman, because she might find injury elsewhere, if her husband 
withdrew from her married intercourse). The intercourse of a man with his lawful wife may also be a chaste 
intercourse. It would therefore be sufficient, according to the ancient tradition of the Church, if those who had 
taken holy orders without being married were prohibited from marrying afterwards; but those clergymen who 
had been married only once as laymen, were not to be separated from their wives(Gelasius adds, or being 
only a reader or cantor)." This discourse of Paphnutius made so much the more impression, because he 
had never lived in matrimony himself, and had had no conjugal intercourse. Paphnutius, indeed, had been 
brought up in a monastery, and his great purity of manners had rendered him especially celebrated. 
Therefore the Council took the serious words of the Egyptian bishop into consideration, stopped all 
discussion upon the law, and left to each cleric the responsibility of deciding the point as he would. 
If this account be true, we must conclude that a law was proposed to the Council of Nicaea the same as one 
which had been carried twenty years previously at Elvira, in Spain; this coincidence would lead us to 
believe that it was the Spaniard Hosius who proposed the law respecting celibacy at Nicaea. The 
discourse ascribed to Paphnutius, and the consequent decision of the Synod, agree very well with the text 
of the Apostolic Constitutions, and with the whole practice of the Greek Church in respect to celibacy. The 
Greek Church as well as the Latin accepted the principle, that whoever had taken holy orders before 
marriage, ought not to be married afterwards. In the Latin Church, bishops, priests, deacons, and even 
subdeacons, were considered to be subject to this law, because the latter were at a very early period 
reckoned among the higher servants of the Church, which was not the case in the Greek Church. The Greek 
Church went so far as to allow deacons to marry after their ordination, if previously to it they had expressly 
obtained from their bishop permission to do so. The Council of Ancyra affirms this(c. 10). We see that the 
Greek Church wishes to leave the bishop free to decide the matter; but in reference to priests, it also 
prohibited them from marrying after their ordination. Therefore, whilst the Latin Church exacted of those 
presenting themselves for ordination, even as subdeacons, that they should not continue to live with their 
wives if they were married, the Greek Church gave no such prohibition; but if the wife of an ordained 
clergyman died, the Greek Church allowed no second marriage. The Apostolic Constitutions decided this 
point in the same way. To leave their wives from a pretext of piety was also forbidden to Greek priests; and 
the Synod of Gangra(c. 4) took up the defence of married priests against the Eustathians. Eustathius, 
however, was not alone among the Greeks in opposing the marriage of all clerics, and in desiring to 
introduce into the Greek Church the Latin discipline on this point. St. Epiphanius also inclined towards this 

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side. The Greek Church did not, however, adopt this rigour in reference to priests, deacons, and 
subdeacons, but by degrees it came to be required of bishops and of the higher order of clergy in general, 
that they should live in celibacy. Yet this was not until after the compilation of the Apostolic Canons(c. 5) and 
of the Constitutions; for in those documents mention is made of bishops living in wedlock, and Church history 
shows that there were married bishops, for instance Synesius, in the fifth century. But it is fair to remark, even 
as to Synesius, that he made it an express condition of his acceptation, on his election to the episcopate, 
that he might continue to live the married life. Thomassin believes that Synesius did not seriously require 
this condition, and only spoke thus for the sake of escaping the episcopal office; which would seem to imply 
that in his time Greek bishops had already begun to live in celibacy. At the Trullan Synod(c. 13.) the Greek 
Church finally settled the question of the marriage of priests. Baro-nius, Valesius, and other historians, have 
considered the account of the part taken by Paphnutius to be apocryphal. Baronius says, that as the Council 
of Nicaea in its third canon gave a law upon celibacy it is quite impossible to admit that it would alter such a 
law on account of Paphnutius. But Baronius is mistaken in seeing a law upon celibacy in that third canon; he 
thought it to be so, because, when mentioning the women who might live in the clergyman's house-his 
mother, sister, etc.-the canon does not say a word about the wife. It had no occasion to mention her, it was 
referring to the <greek>suneisaktoi</greek> whilst these <greek>suneisaktoi</greek> and married women 
have nothing in common. Natalis Alexander gives this anecdote about Paphnutius in full: he desired to 
refute Ballarmin, who considered it to be untrue and an invention of Socrates to please the Novatians. 
Natalis Alexander often maintains erroneous opinions, and on the present question he deserves no 
confidence. If, as St. Epiphanius relates, the Novatians maintained that the clergy might be married exactly 
like the laity, it cannot be said that Socrates shared that opinion, since he says, or rather makes Paphnutius 
say, that, according to ancient tradition, those not married at the time of ordination should not be so 
subsequently. Moreover, if it may be said that Socrates had a partial sympathy with the Novatians, he 
certainly cannot be considered as belonging to them, still less can he be accused of falsifying history in 
their favour. He may sometimes have propounded erroneous opinions, but there is a great difference 
between that and the invention of a whole story. Valesius especially makes use of the argument ex silentio 
against Socrates. (a) Rufinus, he says, gives many particulars about Paphnutius in his History of the Church; 
he mentions his martyrdom, his miracles, and the Emperor's reverence for him, but not a single word of the 
business about celibacy. (b) The name of Paphnutius is wanting in the list of Egyptian bishops present at the 
Synod. These two arguments of Valesius are weak; the second has the authority of Rufinus himself against 
it, who expressly says that Bishop Paphnutius was present at the Council of Nicaea. If Valesius means by 
lists only the signatures at the end of the acts of the Council, this proves nothing; for these lists are very 
imperfect, and it is well known that many bishops whose names are not among these signatures were 
present at Nicaea. This argument ex silentio is evidently insufficient to prove that the anecdote about 
Paphnutius must be rejected as false, seeing that it is in perfect harmony with the practice of the ancient 
Church, and especially of the Greek Church, on the subject of clerical marriages. On the other hand, 
Thomassin pretends that there was no such practice, and endeavours to prove by quotations from St. 
Epiphanius, St. Jerome, Eusebius, and St. John Chrysostom, that even in the East priests who were married 
at the time of their ordination were prohibited from continuing to live with their wives. The texts quoted by 
Thomassin prove only that the Greeks gave especial honour to priests living in perfect continency, but they 
do not prove that this continence was a duty incumbent upon all priests; and so much the less, as the fifth 
and twenty-fifth Apostolic canons, the fourth canon of Gangra, and the thirteenth of the Trullan Synod, 
demonstrate clearly enough what was the universal custom of the Greek Church on this point. Lupus and 
Phillips explained the words of Paphnutius in another sense. According to them, the Egyptian bishop was 
not speaking in a general way; he simply desired that the contemplated law should not include the 
subdeacons. But this explanation does not agree with the extracts quoted from Socrates, Sozomen, and 
Gelasius, who believe Paphnutius intended deacons and priests as well. 

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(Found in Gelasius, Historia Concilii Nicaeni, lib. II, cap. xxxiii. ; Socr., H. E., lib. I., cap. 6; Theodor., H. E., lib. 
I., cap. 9.) 

To the Church of Alexandria, by the grace of GOD, holy and great; and to our well-beloved brethren, the 
orthodox clergy and laity throughout Egypt, and Pentapolis, and Lybia, and every nation under heaven, the 
holy and great synod, the bishops assembled at Nicea, wish health in the LORD. 

FORASMUCH as the great and holy Synod, which was assembled at Niece through the grace of Christ and 
our most religious Sovereign Constantine, who brought us together from our several provinces and cities, 
has considered matters which concern the faith of the Church, it seemed to us to be necessary that certain 
things should be communicated from us to you in writing, so that you might have the means of knowing what 
has been mooted and investigated, and also what has been decreed and confirmed. 
First of all, then, in the presence of our most religious Sovereign Constantine, investigation was made of 
matters concerning the impiety and transgression of Arias and his adherents; and it was unanimously 
decreed that he and his impious opinion should be anathematized, together with the blasphemous words 
and speculations in which he indulged, blaspheming the Son of God, and saying that he is from things that 
are not, and that before he was begotten he was not, and that there was a time when he was not, and that the 
Son of God is by his free will capable of vice and virtue; saying also that he is a creature. All these things the 
holy Synod has anathematized, not even enduring to hear his impious doctrine and madness and 
blasphemous words. And of the charges against him and of the results they had, ye have either already 
heard or will hear the particulars, lest we should seem to be oppressing a man who has in fact received a 
fitting recompense for his own sin. So far indeed has his impiety prevailed, that he has even destroyed 
Theonas of Marmorica and Secundes of Ptolemais; for they also have received the same sentence as the 

But when the grace of God had delivered Egypt from that heresy and blasphemy, and from the persons who 
have dared to make disturbance and division among a people heretofore at peace, there remained the 
matter of the insolence of Meletius and those who have been ordained by him; and concerning this part of 
our work we now, beloved brethren, proceed to inform you of the decrees of the Synod. The Synod, then, 
being disposed to deal gently with Meletius(for in strict justice he deserved no leniency), decreed that he 
should remain in his own city, but have no authority either to ordain, or to administer affairs, or to make 
appointments; and that he should not appear in the country or in any other city for this purpose, but should 
enjoy the bare title of his rank; but that those who have been placed by him, after they have been confirmed 
by a more sacred laying on of hands, shall on these conditions be admitted to communion: that they shall 
both have their rank and the right to officiate, but that they shall be altogether the inferiors of all those who are 
enrolled in any church or parish, and have been appointed by our most honourable colleague Alexander. 
So that these men are to have no authority to make appointments of persons who may be pleasing to them, 
nor to suggest names, nor to do anything whatever, without the consent of the bishops of the Catholic and 
Apostolic Church, who are serving under our most holy colleague Alexander; while those who, by the grace 
of God and through your prayers, have been found in no schism, but on the contrary are without spot in the 
Catholic and Apostolic Church, are to have authority to make appointments and nominations of worthy 
persons among the clergy, and in short to do all things according to the law and ordinance of the Church. 
But, if it happen that any of the clergy who are now in the Church should die, then those who have been lately 
received are to succeed to the office of the deceased; always provided that they shall appear to be worthy, 
and that the people elect them, and that the bishop of Alexandria shall concur in the election and ratify it. 
This concession has been made to all the rest; but, on account of his disorderly conduct from the first, and 
the rashness and precipitation of his character, the same decree was not made concerning Meletius 
himself, but that, inasmuch as he is a man capable of committing again the same disorders, no authority nor 
privilege should be conceded to him. 

These are the particulars, which are of special interest to Egypt and to the most holy Church of Alexandria; 
but if in the presence of our most honoured lord, our colleague and brother Alexander, anything else has 
been enacted by canon or other decree, he will himself convey it to you in greater detail, he having been 
both a guide and fellow-worker in what has been done. 
We further proclaim to you the good news of the agreement concerning the holy Easter, that this particular 

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also has through your prayers been rightly settled; so that all our brethren in the East who formerly followed 
the custom of the Jews are henceforth to celebrate the said most sacred feast of Easter at the same time 
with the Romans and yourselves and all those who have observed Easter from the beginning. 
Wherefore, rejoicing in these wholesome results, and in our common peace and harmony, and in the cutting 
off of every heresy, receive ye with the greater honour and with increased love, our colleague your Bishop 
Alexander, who has gladdened us by his presence, and who at so great an age has undergone so great 
fatigue that peace might be established among you and all of us. Pray ye also for us all, that the things 
which have been deemed advisable may stand fast; for they have been done, as we believe, to the 
well-pleasing of Almighty God and of his only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, to 
whom be glory for ever. Amen. 

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From the Letter of the Emperor to all those not present at the Council. 

(Found in Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20.) 

When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was universally thought that it would be 
convenient that all should keep the feast on one day; for what could be more beautiful and more desirable, 
than to see this festival, through which we receive the hope of immortality, celebrated by all with one accord, 
and in the same manner? It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to 
follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, 
and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom, (1) we may transmit to our descendants the 
legitimate mode of celebrating Easter, which we have observed from the time of the Saviour's Passion to 
the present day[according to the day of the week]. We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with 
the Jews, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship follows a more legitimate and more 
convenient coursefthe order of the days of the week); and consequently, in unanimously adopting this 
mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is 
truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they 
be in the right, they who, after the death of the Saviour, have no longer been led by reason but by wild 
violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their 
blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two passovers in the same year. 
We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most 
certainly blinded by error? for to celebrate the passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if 
this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked 
people[the Jews]. Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great 
solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Saviour has left us only one festal day of our redemption, 
that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired[to establish] only one Catholic Church. Think, then, how 
unseemly it is, that on the same day some should be fasting whilst others are seated at a banquet; and that 
after Easter, some should be rejoicing at feasts, whilst others are still observing a strict fast. For this reason, 
a Divine Providence wills that this custom should be rectified and regulated in a uniform way; and everyone, 
I hope, will agree upon this point. As, on the one hand, it is our duty not to have anything in common with the 
murderers of our Lord; and as, on the other, the custom now followed by the Churches of the West, of the 
South, and of the North, and by some of those of the East, is the most acceptable, it has appeared good to 
all; and I have been guarantee for your consent, that you would accept it with joy, as it is followed at Rome, 
in Africa, in all Italy, Egypt, Spain, Gaul, Britain, Libya, in all Achaia, and in the dioceses of Asia, of Pontus, 
and Cilicia. You should consider not only that the number of churches in these provinces make a majority, 
but also that it is right to demand what our reason approves, and that we should have nothing in common 
with the Jews. To sum up in few words: By the unanimous judgment of all, it has been decided that the most 
holy festival of Easter should be everywhere celebrated on one and the same day, and it is not seemly that 
in so holy a thing there should be any division. As this is the state of the case, accept joyfully the divine 
favour, and this truly divine command; for all which takes place in assemblies of the bishops ought to be 
regarded as proceeding from the will of God. Make known to your brethren what has been decreed, keep 
this most holy day according to the prescribed mode; we can thus celebrate this holy Easter day at the 
same time, if it is granted me, as I desire, to unite myself with you; we can rejoice together, seeing that the 
divine power has made use of our instrumentality for destroying the evil designs of the devil, and thus 
causing faith, peace, and unity to flourish amongst us. May God graciously protect you, my beloved 


(Hefele: Hist, of the Councils, Vol. I., pp. 328 et seqq.) 

The differences in the way of fixing the period of Easter did not indeed disappear after the Council of Nicea. 
Alexandria and Rome could not agree, either because one of the two Churches neglected to make the 

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calculation for Easter, or because the other considered it inaccurate. It is a fact, proved by the ancient 
Easter table of the Roman Church, that the cycle of eighty-four years continued to be used at Rome as 
before. Now this cycle differed in many ways from the Alexandrian, and did not always agree with it about 
the period for Easter-in fact(a), the Romans used quite another method from the Alexandrians; they 
calculated from the epact, and began from the feria prima of January. (b.) The Romans were mistaken in 
placing the full moon a little too soon; whilst the Alexandrians placed it a little too late.(o) At Rome the 
equinox was supposed to fall on March 18th; whilst the Alexandrians placed it on March 21st.(d.) Finally, the 
Romans differed in this from the Greeks also; they did not celebrate Easter the next day when the full moon 
fell on the Saturday. 

Even the year following the Council of Nicea-that is, in 326-as well as in the years 330, 333, 340, 341 , 343, 
the Latins celebrated Easter on a different day from the Alexandrians. In order to put an end to this 
misunderstanding, the Synod of Sardica in 343, as we learn from the newly discovered festival letters of S. 
Athanasius, took up again the question of Easter, and brought the two parties(Alexandrians and Romans) to 
regulate, by means of mutual concessions, a common day for Easter for the next fifty years. This 
compromise, after a few years, was not observed. The troubles excited by the Arian heresy, and the 
division which it caused between the East and the West, prevented the decree of Sardica from being put 
into execution; therefore the Emperor Theodosius the Great, after the re-establishment of peace in the 
Church, found himself obliged to take fresh steps for obtaining a complete uniformity in the manner of 
celebrating Easter. In 387, the Romans having kept Easter on March 21st, the Alexandrians did not do so for 
five weeks later-that is to say, till April 25th-because with the Alexandrians the equinox was not till March 
21st. The Emperor Theodosius the Great then asked Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria for an explanation of 
the difference. The bishop responded to the Emperor's desire, and drew up a chronological table of the 
Easter festivals, based upon the principles acknowledged by the Church of Alexandria. Unfortunately, we 
now possess only the prologue of his work. 

Upon an invitation from Rome, S. Ambrose also mentioned the period of this same Easter in 387, in his letter 
to the bishops of AEmilia, and he sides with the Alexandrian computation. Cyril of Alexandria abridged the 
paschal table of his uncle Theophilus, and fixed the time for the ninety-five following Easters-that is, from 
436 to 531 after Christ. Besides this Cyril showed, in a letter to the Pope, what was defective in the Latin 
calculation; and this demonstration was taken up again, some time after, by order of the Emperor, by 
Paschasinus, Bishop of Lilybaeum and Proterius of Alexandria, in a letter written by them to Pope Leo I. In 
consequence of these communications, Pope Leo often gave the preference to the Alexandrian 
computation, instead of that of the Church of Rome. At the same time also was generally established, the 
opinion so little entertained by the ancient authorities of the Church-one might even say, so strongly in 
contradiction to their teaching-that Christ partook of the passover on the 14th Nisan, that he died on the 
15th(not on the 14th, as the ancients considered), that he lay in the grave on the 16th, and rose again on the 
17th. In the letter we have just mentioned, Proterius of Alexandria openly admitted all these different points. 
Some years afterwards, in 457, Victor of Aquitane, by order of the Roman Archdeacon Hilary, endeavoured 
to make the Roman and the Alexandrian calculations agree together. It has been conjectured that 
subsequently Hilary, when Pope, brought Victor's calculation into use, in 456-that is, at the time when the 
cycle of eighty-four years came to an end. In the latter cycle the new moons were marked more accurately, 
and the chief differences existing between the Latin and Greek calculations disappeared; so that the Easter 
of the Latins generally coincided with that of Alexandria, or was only a very little removed from it. In cases 
when the <greek>id</greek> fell on a Saturday, Victor did not wish to decide whether Easter should be 
celebrated the next day, as the Alexandrians did, or should be postponed for a week. He indicates both 
dates in his table, and leaves the Pope to decide what was to be done in each separate case. Even after 
Victor's calculations, there still remained great differences in the manner of fixing the celebration of Easter; 
and it was Dionysius the Less who first completely overcame them, by giving to the Latins a paschal table 
having as its basis the cycle of nineteen years. This cycle perfectly corresponded to that of Alexandria, and 
thus established that harmony which had been so long sought in vain. He showed the advantages of his 
calculation so strongly, that it was admitted by Rome and by the whole of Italy; whilst almost the whole of 
Gaul remained faithful to Victor's canon, and Great Britain still held the 'cycle of eighty-four years, a little 
improved by Sulpicius Severus. When the Heptarchy was evangelized by the Roman missionaries, the 
new converts accepted the calculation of Dionysius, whilst the ancient Churches of Wales held fast their old 
tradition. From this arose the well-known British dissensions about the celebration of Easter, which were 
transplanted by Columban into Gaul. In 729, the majority of the ancient British Churches accepted the cycle 
of nineteen years. It had before been introduced into Spain, immediately after the conversion of Reccared. 
Finally, under Charles the Great, the cycle of nineteen years triumphed over all opposition; and thus the 
whole of Christendom was united, for the Quartodecimans had gradually disappeared. (1) 

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The First Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, Chalcedon, reads as follows: "We have judged it right 
that the canons of the Holy Fathers made in every synod even until now, should remain in force." And the 
Council in Trullo, in its second canon, has enumerated these synods in the following words. "We set our 
seal to all the rest of the canons which have been established by our holy and blessed fathers, that is to say 
by the 318 God-inspired fathers who met at Nice, and by those who met at Ancyra, and by those who met at 
Neocaeesarea, as well as by those who met at Gangra: in addition to these the canons adopted by those 
who met at Antioch in Syria, and by those who met at Laodicea in Phry-gia; moreover by the 150 fathers who 
assembled in this divinely kept and imperial city, and by the 200 who were gathered in the metropolis of 
Ephesus, and by the 630 holy and blessed fathers who met at Chalcedon," etc., etc. 
There can be no doubt that this collection of canons was made at a very early date, and from the fact that 
the canons of the First Council of Constantinople do not appear, as they naturally would, immediately after 
those of Nice, we may not improbably conclude that the collection was formed before that council 
assembled. For it will be noticed that Nice, although not the earliest in date, takes the precedence as being 
of ecumenical rank. And this is expressly stated in the caption to the canons of Ancyra according to the 
reading in the Paris Edition of Balsamon. "The canons of the holy Fathers who assembled at Ancyra; which 
are indeed older than those made at Nice, but placed after them, on account of the authority 
<greek>auqentian</greek> of the Ecumenical Synod." 

On the arrangement of this code much has been written and Archbishop Ussher has made some interesting 
suggestions, but all appear to be attended with more or less difficulties. The reader will find in Bp: 
Beveridge, in the Prolegomena to his Synodicon a very full treatment of the point,(1) the gist of the matter is 
admirably given in the following brief note which I take from Hammond. In speaking of this early codex of the 
Church he says: 

(Hammond, Definitions of Faith and Canons of Discipline, pp. 134 and 135.) 

That this collection was made and received by the Church previous to the Council of Chalcedon is evident 
from the manner in which several of the Canons are quoted in that Council. Thus in the 4th Action, in the 
matter of Carosus and Dorotheus, who had acknowledged Dioscorus as Bishop, though he had been 
deposed from his bishopric, "the holy Synod said, let the holy Canons of the Fathers be read, and inserted 
in the records; and Actius the Archdeacon taking the book read the 83d Canon, If any Bishops, etc. And 
again the 84th Canon, concerning those who separate themselves, If any Presbyter," etc. These Canons 
are the 4th and 5th of Antioch. Again, in the 11th Action, in the matter of Bassianus and Stephanus who 
disputed about the Bishopric of Ephesus, both requested the Canons to be read, "And the Judges said, Let 
the Canons be read. And Leontius Bishop of Magnesia read the 95th Canon, If any Bishop, etc., and again 
out of the same book the 96th Canon, If any Bishop," etc. These Canons are the 16th and 17th of Antioch. 
Now if we add together the different Canons in the Code of the Universal Church in the order in which they 
follow in the enumeration of them by the Council of Trullo and in other documents, we find that the 4th and 5th 
of Antioch, are the 83d and 84th of the whole Code, and the 16th and 17th of Antioch, the 95th and 96th. Nice 
20, Ancyra 25, Neocaesarea 14, Gangra 20; all which make 79. Next come those of Antioch, the 4th and 5th 
of which therefore will be respectively the 83d and 84th, and the 16th and 17th the 95th and 96th. 
The fact of the existence of such a code does not prove by any means that it was the only collection extant 

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at the time nor that it was universally known. In fact we have good reason, as we shall see in connexion with 
the Council of Sardica, to believe that in many codices, probably especially in the West, the canons of that 
council followed immediately after those of Nice, and that without any break or note whatever. But we know 
that the number of canons attributed to Nice must have been twenty or else the numbering of the codex read 
from at Chalcedon would be quite inexplicable. It would naturally suggest itself to the mind that possibly the 
divergence in the canonical codes was the result of the local feelings of East and West with regard to the 
decrees of Sardica. But this supposition, plausible as it appears, must be rejected, since at the Quinisext 
Council, where it is not disputed there was a strong anti-Western bias, the canons of Sardica are expressly 
enumerated among those which the fathers receive as of Ecumenical authority. It will be noticed that the 
code set forth by the Council in Trullo differs from the code used at Chalcedon by having the so-called 
"Canons of the Apostles" prefixed to it, and by having a large number of other canons, including those of 
Sardica, appended, of which more will be said when treating of that Council. 

The order which I have followed my justly be considered as that of the earliest accepted codex canonum, at 
least of the East. 

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A.D. 314. 



Historical Note. The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. Excursus to Canon XIX on Digamy 


Soon after the death of the Emperor Maximin,(1) a council was held at Ancyra, the capital of Galatia. Only 
about a dozen bishops were present, and the lists of subscriptions which are found appended to the canons 
are not to be depended on, being evidently in their present form of later authorship; as has been shewn by 
the Ballerini. If we may at all trust the lists, it would seem that nearly every part of Syria and Asia Minor was 
represented, and that therefore the council while small in numbers was of considerable weight. It is not 
certain whether Vitalis, (bishop of Antioch,) presided or Marcellus, who was at the time bishop of Ancyra. The 
honour is by the Libellus Synodicus assigned to the latter. 

The disciplinary decrees of this council possess a singular interest as being the first enacted after the 
ceasing of the persecution of the Christians and as providing for the proper treatment of the lapsed. 
Recently two papyri have been recovered, containing the official certificates granted by the Roman 
government to those who had lapsed and offered sacrifice. These apostates were obliged to acknowledge 
in public their adhesion to the national religion of the empire, and then were provided with a document 
certifying to this fact to keep them from further trouble. Dr. Harnack(Preussische Jahrbucher) writing of the 
yielding of the lapsed says: 

"The Church condemned this as lying and denial of the faith, and after the termination of the persecution, 
these unhappy people were partly excommunicated, partly obliged to submit to severe discipline. Who 
would ever suppose that the records of their shame would come doom to our time?-and yet it has actually 
happened. Two of these papers have been preserved, contrary to all likelihood, by the sands of Egypt 
which so carefully keep what has been entrusted to them. The first was found by Krebs in a heap of papyrus, 
that had come to Berlin; the other was found by Wessely in the papyrus collection of Archduke Rainer. 'I, 
Diogenes, have constantly sacrificed and made offerings, and have eaten in your presence the sacrificial 
meat, and I petition you to give me a certificate.' Who to-day, without deep emotion, can read this paper and 
measure the trouble and terror of heart under which the Christians of that day collapsed?" 


(Found in Labbe and Cossart's Concilia, and all Collections, in the Greek text together with several Latin 
versions of different dates. Also in Justellus and Beveridge. There will also be found annotations by Routh, 
and a reprint of the notes of Christopher Justellus and of Bp. Beveridge in Vol. IV. of the Reliquiae Sacrae, 
ed. alters, 1846.) 


WITH regard to those presbyters who have offered sacrifices and afterwards returned to the conflict, not with 
hypocrisy, but in sincerity, it has seemed good that they may retain the honour of their chair; provided they 
had not used management, arrangement, or persuasion, so as to appear to be subjected to the torture, 
when it was applied only in seeming and pretence. Nevertheless it is not lawful for them to make the 
oblation, nor to preach, nor in short to perform any act of sacerdotal function. 


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Presbyters and deacons who offered sacrifice and afterwards renewed the contest for the truth shall have 
only their seat and honour, but shall not perform any of the holy functions. 


Of those that yielded to the tyrants in the persecution, and offered sacrifice, some, after having been 
subjected to torture, being unable to withstand to the end its force and intensity, were conquered, and 
denied the faith; some, through effeminacy, before they experienced any suffering, gave way, and lest they 
should seem to sacrifice voluntarily they persuaded the executioners, either by bribes or entreaties, to 
manifest perhaps a greater degree of severity against them, and seemingly to apply the torture to them, in 
order that sacrificing under these circumstances they; might seem to have denied Christ, conquered by 
force, and not through effeminacy. 


It was quite justifiable, and in accordance with the ancient and severe discipline of the Church, when this 
Synod no longer allowed priests, even when sincerely penitent, to discharge priestly functions. It was for this 
same reason that the two Spanish bishops, Martial and Basilides, were deposed, and that the judgment 
given against them was confirmed in 254 by an African synod held under St. Cyprian. 
The reader will notice how clearly the functions of a presbyter are set forth in this canon as they were 
understood at that time, they were "to offer" (<greek>prosfer</greek»<greek>ein</greek>), "to preach" 
(<greek>omilein</greek>, and "to perform any act of sacerdotal function"(<greek>leitourgein</greek> 
<greek>ti</greek> <greek>tpn</greek> <greek>ieratikpn</greek> <greek>leitourgipn</greek>). 
This canon is in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum. Pars I., Dist. 1., c. xxxii. 


IT is likewise decreed that deacons who have sacrificed and afterwards resumed the conflict, shall enjoy 
their other honours, but shall abstain from every sacred ministry, neither bringing forth the bread and the cup, 
nor making proclamations. Nevertheless, if any of the bishops shall observe in them distress of mind and 
meek humiliation, it shall be lawful to the bishops to grant more indulgence, or to take away[what has been 

For Ancient Epitome see above under Canon I. 

In this canon the work and office of a deacon as then understood is set forth, viz.: "to bring forth"(whatever 
that may mean) "bread or wine" (<greek>arton</greek> <greek>h</greek> <greek>pothrion</greek> 
<greek>anaferein</greek>) and "to act the herald" (<greek>khrussein</greek>). There is considerable 
difference of opinion as to the meaning of the first of these expressions. It was always the duty of the deacon 
to serve the priest, especially when he ministered the Holy Communion, but this phrase may refer to one of 
two such ministrations, either to bringing the bread and wine to the priest at the offertory, and this is the view 
of Van Espen, or to the distribution of the Holy Sacrament to the people. It has been urged that the deacon 
had ceased to administer the species of bread before the time of this council, but Hefele shews that the 
custom had not entirely died out. If I may be allowed to offer a suggestion, the use of the disjunctive 
<greek>h</greek> seems rather to point to the administration of the sacrament than to the bringing of the 
oblations at the offertory. 

The other diaconal function "to act the herald" refers to the reading of the Holy Gospel, and to the numerous 
proclamations made by the deacons at mass both according to the Greek and Latin Rite. 
This canon is in the Corpus Juris Canonici united with the foregoing. Decretum., Pars I., Dist. 1., c. xxxii. 


THOSE who have fled and been apprehended, or have been betrayed by their servants; or those who 
have been otherwise despoiled of their goods, or have endured tortures, or have been imprisoned and 
abused, declaring themselves to be Christians; or who have been forced to receive something which their 
persecutors violently thrust into their hands, or meat[offered to idols], continually professing that they were 
Christians; and who, by their whole apparel, and demeanour, and humility of life, always give evidence of 

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grief at what has happened; these persons, inasmuch as they are free from sin, are not to be repelled from 
the communion; and if, through an extreme strictness or ignorance of some things, they have been repelled, 
let them forthwith be re-admitted. This shall hold good alike of clergy and laity. It has also been considered 
whether laymen who have fallen under the same compulsion may be admitted to orders, and we have 
decreed that, since they have in no respect been guilty, they may be ordained; provided their past course 
of life be found to have been upright. 



Those who have been subjected to torments and have suffered violence, and have eaten food offered to 
idols after being tyrannized over, shall not be deprived of communion. And laymen who have endured the 
same sufferings, since they have in no way transgressed, if they wish to be ordained, they may be, if 
otherwise they be blameless. 

In the translation the word "abused" is given as the equivalent of <greek>periskisqentas</greek>) which 
Zonaras translated, "if their clothes have been torn from their bodies," and this is quite accurate if the 
reading is correct, but Routh has found in the Bodleian several MSS. which had 

<greek>periskeqentas</greek>. Hefele adopts this reading and translates "declaring themselves to be 
Christians but who have subsequently been vanquished, whether their oppressors have by force put 
incense into their hands or have compelled them, etc." Hammond translates "and have been harassed by 
their persecutors forcibly putting something into their hands or who have been compelled, etc." The phrase 
is obscure at best with either reading is reading. 

This canon is in the Corpus Juris Canonici united to the two previous canons, Decretum, Pars I., Diet. 1 ., c. 


CONCERNING those who have been forced to sacrifice, and who, in addition, have partaken of feasts in 
honour of the idols; as many as were haled away, but afterwards went up with a cheerful countenance, and 
wore their costliest apparel, and partook with indifference of the feast provided; it is decreed that all such be 
hearers for one year, and prostrators for three years, and that they communicate in prayers only for two 
years, and then return to full communion. 



Such as have been led away and have with joy gone up and eaten are to be in subjection for six years. 
In the Greek the word for "full communion" is <greek>to</greek> <greek>teleion</greek>("the perfection"), 
an expression frequently used by early writers to denote the Holy Communion.Vide Suicer, Thesaurus ad h. 


[The Holy Communion was so called as being] that sacred mystery which unites us to, Christ, and gives us 
the most consummate perfection that we are capable of in this world. 


As many, however, as went up in mourning attire and sat down and ate, weeping throughout the whole 
entertainment, if they have fulfilled the three years as prostrators, let them be received without oblation; and 
if they did not eat, let them be prostrators two years, and in the third year let them communicate without 
oblation, so that in the fourth year they may be received into full communion. But the bishops have the right, 
after considering the character of their conversion, either to deal with them more leniently, or to extend the 
time. But, first of all, let their life before and since be thoroughly examined, and let the indulgence be 
determined accordingly. 


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Those who have gone up in mourning weeds, and have eaten with tears, shall be prostrators for three 
years; but if they basic not eaten, then, for two years. And according to their former and after life, whether 
good or evil, they shall find the bishop gentle or severe, Herbst and Routh have been followed by many in 
supposing that "oblation"(<greek>prosfora</greek> in this canon refers to the sacrament of the altar. But this 
seems to be a mistake, as the word while often used to denote the whole, act of the celebration of the Holy 
Eucharist, is not used to mean the receiving alone of that sacrament. Suicer(Thesaurus s. v. 
<greek>prosfora</greek>) translates "They may take part in divine worship, but not actively," that is, "they 
may not mingle their offerings with those of the faithful." 


But as those who cannot present their offerings during the sacrifice are excluded from the communion, the 
complete meaning of the canon is: "They may be present at divine service, but may neither offer nor 
communicate with the faithful." 


CONCERNING those who have yielded merely upon threat of penalties and of the confiscation of their 
goods, or of banishment, and have sacrificed, and who till this present time have not repented nor been 
converted, but who now, at the time of this synod, have approached with a purpose of conversion, it is 
decreed that they be received as hearers till the Great Day, and that after the Great Day they be prostrators 
for three years, and for two years more communicate without oblation, and then come to full communion, so 
as to complete the period of six full years. And if any have been admitted to penance before this synod, let 
the beginning of the six years be reckoned to them from that time. Nevertheless, if there should be any 
danger or prospect of death whether from disease or any other cause, let them be received, but under 



A man who yielded to threats alone, and has sacrified, and then repented let him for five years be a 


But should any of those debarred from communion as penitents be seized with illness or in any other way 
be brought nigh to death, they may be received to communion; but in accordance with this law or distinction, 
that if they escape death and recover their health, they shall be altogether deprived again of communion 
until they have finished their six years penance. 


"The Great Day," that is, Easter Day. The great reverence which the Primitive Church from the earliest ages 
felt for the holy festival of Easter is manifested by the application of the epithet Great, to everything 
connected with it. The preceding Friday, i.e., Good Friday, was called the Great Preparation, the Saturday, 
the Great Sabbath, and the whole week, the Great Week. 


CONCERNING those who have partaken at a heathen feast in a place appointed for heathens, but who 
have brought and eaten their own meats, it is decreed that they be received after they have been 
prostrators two years; but whether with oblation, every bishop must determine after he has made 
examination into the rest of their life. 



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If anyone having his own food, shall eat it with heathen at their feasts, let him be a prostrator for two years. 


Several Christians tried with worldly prudence, to take a middle course. On the one hand, hoping to escape 
persecution, they were present at the feasts of the heathen sacrifices, which were held in the buildings 
adjoining the temples; and on the other, in order to appease their consciences, they took their own food, 
and touched nothing that had been offered to the gods. These Christians forgot that St. Paul had ordered 
that meats sacrificed to the gods should be avoided, not because they were tainted in themselves, as the 
idols were nothing, but from another, and in fact a twofold reason: 1st, Because, in partaking of them, some 
had still the idols in their hearts, that is to say, were still attached to the worship of idols, and thereby sinned; 
and 2dly, Because others scandalized their brethren, and sinned in that way. To these two reasons a third 
may be added, namely, the hypocrisy and the duplicity of those Christians who wished to appear heathens, 
and nevertheless to remain Christians. The Synod punished them with two years of penance in the third 
degree, and gave to each bishop the right, at the expiration of this time, either to admit them to communion, 
or to make them remain some time longer in the fourth degree. 


LET those who have twice or thrice sacrificed under compulsion, be prostrators four years, and 
communicate without oblation two years, and the seventh year they shall be received to full communion. 



Whoever has sacrificed a second or third time, but has been led thereto by force, shall be a prostrator for 
seven years. 


This canon shews how in the Church it was a received principle that greater penances ought to be imposed 
for the frequent commission of the same crime, and consequently it was then believed that the number of 
times the sin had been committed should be expressed in confession, that the penance might correspond 
to the sin, greater or less as the case may be, and the time of probation be accordingly protracted or 


As many as have not merely apostatized, but have risen against their brethren and forced them[to 
apostatize], and have been guilty of their being forced, let these for three years take the place of hearers, 
and for another term of six years that of prostrators, and for another year let them communicate without 
oblation, in order that, when they have fulfilled the space often years, they may partake of the communion; 
but during this time the rest of their life must also be enquired into. 



Whoever has not only sacrificed voluntarily but also has forced another to sacrifice, shall be a prostrator for 

ten years. 

[It will be noticed that this epitome does not agree with the canon, although Aristenus does not note the 



From this canon we are taught that the circumstances of the sin that has been committed are to be taken into 
account in assigning the penance. 

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When the ten years are past, he is worthy of perfection, and fit to receive the divine sacraments. Unless 
perchance an examination of the rest of his life demands his exclusion from the divine communion. 


THEY who have been made deacons, declaring when they were ordained that they must marry, because 
they were not able to abide so, and who afterwards have married, shall continue in their ministry, because it 
was conceded to them by the bishop. But if any were silent on this matter, undertaking at their ordination to 
abide as they were, and afterwards proceeded to marriage, these shall cease from the diaconate. 



Whoso is to be ordained deacon, if he has before announced to the bishop that he cannot persevere 
unmarried, let him marry and let him be a deacon; but if he shall have kept silence, should he take a wife 
afterwards let him be east out. 


The case proposed to the synod and decided in this canon was as follows: When the bishop was willing to 
ordain two to the diaconate, one of them declared that he did not intend to bind himself to preserving 
perpetual continence, but intended to get married, because he had not the power to remain continent. The 
other said nothing. The bishop laid his hands on each and conferred the diaconate. 
After the ordination it fell out that both got married, the question propounded is, What must be done in each 
case? The synod ruled that he who had made protestation at his ordination should remain in his ministry, 
"because of the license of the bishop," that is that he might contract matrimony after the reception of the 
diaconate. With regard to him who kept silence the synod declares that he should cease from his ministry. 
The resolution of the synod to the first question shews that there was a general law which bound the 
deacons to continence; but this synod judged it meet that the bishops for just cause might dispense with this 
law, and this license or dispensation was deemed to have been given by the bishop if he ordained him after 
his protestation at the time of his ordination that he intended to be married, because he could not remain as 
he was; giving by the act of ordination his tacit approbation. Moreover from this decision it is also evident 
that not only was the ordained deacon allowed to enter but also to use matrimony after his ordination ... 
Moreover the deacon who after this protestation entered and used matrimony, not only remained a deacon, 
but continued in the exercise of his ministry. 

On the whole subject of Clerical Celibacy in the Early Church see the Excursus devoted to that matter. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum Pars I., Dist. xxviii, c. viii. 


IT is decreed that virgins who have been betrothed, and who have afterwards been carried off by others, 
shall be restored to those to whom they had formerly been betrothed, even though they may have suffered 
violence from the ravisher. 



If a young girl who is engaged be stolen away by force by another man, let her be restored to the former. 


This canon treats only of betrothed women (of the sponsalia de futuro) not of those who are married (of the 
sponsalia de proesenti). In the case of the latter there could be no doubt as to the duty of restitution. The 
man who was betrothed was, moreover, at liberty to receive his affianced bride who had been carried off or 

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Here Balsamon puts in a very proper cave, viz.: If he to whom she was espoused demand her to be his 


Compare St. Basil's twenty-second canon in his letter to Amphilochius, where it is so ruled. 


IT is decreed that they who have offered sacrifice before their baptism, and were afterwards baptized, may 
be promoted to orders, inasmuch as they have been cleansed. 



Whoso has sacrificed before his baptism, after it shall be guiltless. 


This canon does not speak generally of all those who sacrificed before baptism; for if a heathen sacrificed 
before having embraced Christianity, he certainly could not be reproached for it after his admission. It was 
quite a different case with a catechumen, who had already declared for Christianity, but who, during the 
persecution had lost courage, and sacrificed. In this case it might be asked whether he could still be 
admitted to the priesthood. The Council decided that a baptized catechumen could afterwards be promoted 
to holy orders. 


IT is not lawful for Chorepiscopi to ordain presbyters or deacons., and most assuredly not presbyters of a 
city, without the commission of the bishop given in writing, in another parish. 



A chorepiscopus is not to ordain without the consent of the bishop. 


If the first part of the thirteenth canon is easy to understand, the second, on the contrary, presents a great 
difficulty; for a priest of a town could not in any case have the power of consecrating priests and deacons, 
least of all in a strange diocese. Many of the most learned men have, for this reason, supposed that the 
Greek text of the second half of the canon, as we have read it, is incorrect or defective. It wants, say they, 
<greek>poiein</greek> <greek>ti</greek>, or aliquid agere, i.e., to complete a religious function. To confirm 
this supposition, they have appealed to several ancient versions, especially to that of Isidore: sed nee 
presbyteris civitatis sine episcopi proecepto amplius aliquid imperare, vel sine auctoritate literature ejus in 
unaquaque (some read <greek>en</greek> <greek>ekasth</greek> instead of <greek>en</greek> 
<greek>etera</greek>) parochia aliquid agere. The ancient Roman MS. of the canons, Codex Canonum, 
has the same reading, only that it has provincia instead of parochia. Fulgentius Ferrandus, deacon of 
Carthage, who long ago made a collection of canons, translates in the same way in his Breviatio Canonum: 
Ut presbyteri civitatis sine jussu episcopi nihil jubeant, nee in unaquaque parochia aliquid agant. Van 
Espen has explained this canon in the same way. 

Routh has given another interpretation. He maintained that there was not a word missing in this canon, but 
that at the commencement one ought to read, according to several MSS. <greek>kwrepiskopois</greek> in 
the dative, and further down <greek>alla</greek> <greek>mhn</greek> <greek>mhde</greek> instead of 
<greek>alla</greek> <greek>mhde</greek> then <greek>presbuterous</greek> (in the accusative) 
<greek>polews</greek> and finally <greek>ekasth</greek> instead of <greek>etere</greek>, and that we 
must therefore translate, "Chorepiscopi are not permitted to consecrate priests and deacons (for the 
country) still less (<greek>alla</greek> <greek>mhn</greek> <greek>mhde</greek>) can they consecrate 
priests for the town without the consent of the bishop of the place." The Greek text, thus modified according 

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to some MSS., especially those in the Bodleian Library, certainly gives a good meaning. Still 
<greek>alla</greek> <greek>mhn</greek> <greek>mhde</greek> does not mean, but still less: it means, 
but certainly not, which makes a considerable difference. 

Besides this, it can very seldom have happened that the chorepiscopi ordained presbyters or deacons for 
a town; and if so, they were already forbidden, at least implicitly, in the first part of the canon. 


IT is decreed that among the clergy, presbyters and deacons who abstain from flesh shall taste of it, and 
afterwards, if they shall so please, may abstain. But if they disdain it, and will not even eat herbs served with 
flesh, but disobey the canon, let them be removed from their order. 



A priest who is an abstainer from flesh, let him merely taste it and so let him abstain. But if he will not taste 

even the vegetables cooked with the meat let him be deposed (<greek>pepausqw</greek>). 

There is a serious dispute about the reading of the Greek text. I have followed Routh, who, relying on three 

MSS. the Collectio of John of Antioch and the Latin versions, reads <greek>ei</greek> <greek>de</greek> 

<greek>bdelussointo</greek> instead of the <greek>ei</greek> <greek>de</greek> 

<greek>boulointo</greek> of the ordinary text, which as Bp. Beveridge had pointed out before has no 

meaning unless a <greek>mh</greek> be introduced. 

Zonaras points out that the canon chiefly refers to the Love feasts. 

I cannot agree with Hefele in his translation of the last clause. He makes the reference to "this present 

canon," I think it is clearly to the 53 (52) of the so-called Canons of the Apostles, <greek>tw</greek> 

<greek>kanoni</greek> "the well-known Canon." 


CONCERNING things belonging to the church, which presbyters may have sold when there was no bishop, 
it is decreed that the Church property shall be reclaimed; and it shall be in the discretion of the bishop 
whether it is better to receive the purchase price, or not; for oftentimes the revenue of the things sold might 
field them the greater value. 



Sales of Church goods made by presbyters are null, and the matter shall rest with the bishop. 


If the purchaser of ecclesiastical properties has realized more by the temporary revenue of such properties 
than the price of the purchase, the Synod thinks there is no occasion to restore him this price, as he has 
already received a sufficient indemnity from the revenue, and as, according to the rules then in force, 
interest drawn from the purchase money was not permitted. Besides, the purchaser had done wrong in 
buying ecclesiastical property during the vacancy of a see (sede vacante). Beveridge and Routh have 
shown that in the text <greek>anakaleisqai</greek> and <greek>prosodon</greek> must be read.(1) 


LET those who have been or who are guilty of bestial lusts, if they have sinned while under twenty years of 
age, be prostrators fifteen years, and afterwards communicate in prayers; then, having passed five years in 
this communion, let them have a share in the oblation. But let their life as prostrators be examined, and so let 
teem receive indulgence; and if any have been insatiable in their crimes, then let their time of prostration be 
prolonged. And if any who have passed this age and had wives, have fallen into this sin, let them be 
prostrators twenty-five years, and then communicate in prayers; and, after they have been five years in the 
communion of prayers, let them share the oblation. And if any married men of more than fifty years of age 
have so sinned, let them be admitted to communion only at the point of death. 

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Whoever shall have commerce with animals devoid of reason being younger than twenty, shall be a 

prostrator for fifteen years If he is over that age and has a wife when he falls into this wickedness he shall be 

a prostrator for twenty-five years. But the married man who shall do so when over fifty years of age, shall be 

a prostrator to his life's end. 

It is interesting to compare with this, as Van Espen does, the canon of the Church of England set forth in the 

tenth century under King Edgar, where, Part II., canon xvi., we read- 

"If any one twenty years of age shall defile himself with a beast, or shall commit sodomy let him fast fifteen 

years; and if he have a wife and be forty years of age, and shall do such a deed let him abstain now and 

fast all the rest of his life, neither shall he presume until he is dying to receive the Lord's body. Youths and 

fools who shall do any such fixing shall be soundly trounced." 


DEFILERS of themselves with beasts, being also leprous, who have infected others [with the leprosy of this 
crime], the holy Synod commands to pray among the hie-mantes. 



A leper who goes in to a beast or even to leprous women, shall pray with the hybernantes. 

<greek>Deprwsantas</greek> is from <greek>leprow</greek> not from <greek>lepraw</greek> and 

therefore cannot mean "have been lepers," but "have made others rough and scabby." It is only in the 

passive and in Alexandrian Greek that it has the meaning to become leprous. Vide Liddell and Scott. 

There seems but little doubt that the word is to be understood spiritually as suggested above. 

The last word of the canon is also a source of confusion. Both Beveridge and Routh understand by the 

<greek>keimazomenoi</greek> those possessed with devils. Suicer however (Thesaurus) thinks that the 

penitents of the lowest degree are intended, who had no right to enter the church, but were exposed in the 

open porch to the inclemencies (<greek>keimwn</greek>) of the weather. But, after all it matters little, as the 

possessed also were forced to remain in the same place, and shared the same name. 

Besides the grammatical reason for the meaning of <greek>leprwsantas</greek> given above there is 

another argument of Hefele's, as follows: 


It is clear that <greek>leprwsantas</greek> cannot possibly mean "those who have been lepers"; for there 
is no reason to be seen why those who were cured of that malady should have to remain outside the church 
among the flentes. Secondly, it is clear that the words <greek>leprous</greek> <greek>ontas</greek>, etc. 
are added to give force to the expression <greek>alogeusamenoi</greek>. The preceding canon had 
decreed different penalties for different kinds of <greek>alogeusamenoi</greek>. But that pronounced by 
canon xvii. being much severer than the preceding ones, the <greek>alogeusamenoi</greek> of this canon 
must be greater sinners than those of the former one. This greater guilt cannot consist in the fact of a literal 
leprosy; for this malady was not a consequence of bestiality. But their sin was evidently greater when they 
tempted others to commit it. It is therefore <greek>lepra</greek> in the figurative sense that we are to 
understand, and our canon thus means; "Those who were spiritually leprous through this sin, and tempting 
others to commit it made them leprous." 


IF any who have been constituted bishops, but have not been received by the parish to which they were 
designated, shall invade other parishes and wrong the constituted [bishops] there, stirring up seditions 
against them, let such persons be suspended from office and communion. But if they are willing to accept a 
seat among the presbyterate, where they formerly were presbyters, let them not be deprived of that honour. 
But if they shall act seditiously against the bishops established there, the honour of the presbyterate also 

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shall be taken from them and themselves expelled. 



If a bishop who has been duly constituted, is not received by the Church to which he was elected, but gives 
trouble to other bishops, let him be excommunicated. 

If he wishes to be numbered among the presbyters, let him be so numbered. But if he shall be at outs with 
the bishops duly constituted there, let him be deprived of the honour of being even a presbyter. The word I 
have translated "suspended from office and communion" is <greek>aforizesqai</greek>. Suicer in his 
Thesaurus shews that this word does not mean only, as some have supposed, a deprivation of office and 
dignity (e. g., Van Espen), but also an exclusion from the communion of the Church. 


IF any persons who profess virginity shall disregard their profession, let them fulfil the term of digamists. 
And, moreover, we prohibit women who are virgins from living with men as sisters. 



Whoever has professed virginity and afterwards annuls it, let him be cut off for four years. And virgins shall 
not go(1) to any as to brothers. 


According to some of the ancient canons digamists were to be suspended from communion for one or two 
years, though Beveridge and others doubt whether the rule was not meant to apply to such marriages only 
as were contracted before a former one was dissolved. Bingham thinks that it was intended to 
discountenance marrying after an unlawful divorce. (Ant., Bk. xv, c. iv., 18.)(2) 


The first part of this canon regards all young persons-men as well as women-who have taken a vow of 
virginity, and who, having thus, so to speak, betrothed themselves to God are guilty of a quasi digamy in 
violating that promise. They must therefore incur the punishment of digamy (successiva) which, according to 
St. Basil the Great, consisted of one year's seclusion. 

This canon is found in Gratian's Decretum (P. II., Causa xxvii., Q. i., c. xxiv.) as follows: "As many as have 
professed virginity and have broken their vow and contemned their profession shall be treated as 
digamists, that is as those who have contracted a second marriage." 


To distinguish contemporaneous from successive bigamy I shah use throughout this volume the word 

"digamy" to denote the latter, and shall thus avoid much confusion which otherwise is unavoidable. 

The whole subject of second, and even of third and fourth marriages has a great interest for the student of 

early ecclesiastical legislation, and I shall therefore treat the matter here (as I shall hope) sufficiently and 

refer the reader for its fuller treatment to books more especially upon the subject. 

The general position of the Church seems to have been to discourage all second marriages, and to point to 

a single matrimonial connexion as the more excellent way. But at the same time the principle that the 

marriage obligation is severed by death was universally recognised, and however much such fresh 

marriages may have been disapproved of, such disapproval did not rest upon any supposed adulterous 

character in the new connexion. I cite a portion of an admirable article upon the subject by an English 

barrister of Lincoln's Inn. 

(J. M. Ludlow, in Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, sub voce Digamy.) 

Although among the earlier Romans(1) there was one form of marriage which was indissoluble, viz., that by 

confarreatio, still generally a second marriage either after death or divorce was by no means viewed with 

disfavour.Meanwhile an intensifying spirit of asceticism was leading many in the Church to a condemnation 

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of second marriage in all eases. Minucius Felix (Octavius, c. 31, 5) only professes on behalf of the Christians 
a preference for monogamy. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-220) seems to confine the term marriage to 
the first lawful union (Stromata, Bk. ii.). ... It would seem, however, that when these views were carried to the 
extent of absolute prohibition of second marriages generally by several heretical sects, the Montanists (see 
Augustine, De Hoeresibus, c. xxvi.), the Cathari (ib., c. xxxviii.), and a portion at least of the Novatianists (see 
Cotel., Patr. Apol., vol. i., p. 91, n. 16) the Church saw the necessity of not fixing such a yoke on the necks of 
the laity. The forbiddance of second marriage, or its assimilation to fornication, was treated as one of the 
marks of heresy (Augustin. u. s.; and see also his De Bono Vid., c. vi.). The sentiment of Augustine (in the 
last referred to passage) may be taken to express the Church's judgment at the close of the fourth century: 
"Second marriages are not to be condemned, but had in less honour," and see also Epiphanius, in his 
Exposition of the Catholic Faith. 

To these remarks of Mr. Ludlow's, I may add that St. Ambrose had written (De Viduis, c. xi.), "We do not 
prohibit second marriages, but we do not approve marriages frequently reiterated." St. Jerome had spoken 
still more strongly (Ep. Ixvii., Apol. pro libris adv. Jovin.), "I do not condemn digamists, or even trigamists or, 
if such a thing can be said, octagamists." It does not seem that the penance which was imposed in the East 
upon those entering into second nuptials was imposed in the West. The Corpus Juris Canonici contains two 
decretals, one of Alexander III. and another of Urban III., forbidding priests to give the nuptial benediction in 
cases of reiterated marriage. In the East at second marriages the benediction of the crown is omitted and 
"propitiatory prayers" are to be said. Mr. Ludlow points out that in the "Sanctions and Decrees," falsely 
attributed to the Council of Nice and found in Mansi (vol. ii., col. 1029) it is expressly stated that widowers and 
widows may marry, but that "the blessing of the crowns is not to be imparted to them, for this is only once 
given, at first marriages, and is not to be repeated. ... But if one of them be not a widower or widow, let such 
one alone receive the benediction with the paranymphs, those whom he will." 


IF the wife of anyone has committed adultery or if any man commit adultery it seems fit that he shall be 
restored to full communion after seven years passed in the prescribed degrees [of penance]. 



An adulteress and an adulterer are to be cut off for seven years. 


The simplest explanation of this canon is "that the man or woman who has violated the marriage bond shall 
undergo a seven years' penance"; but many reject this explanation, because the text says 
<greek>auton</greek> <greek>tukein</greek> and consequently can refer only to the husband. Fleury and 
Routh think the canon speaks, as does the seventieth of Elvira, of a woman who has broken the marriage tie 
with the knowledge and consent of her husband. The husband would therefore in this case be punished for 
this permission, just as if he had himself committed adultery. Van Espen has given another explanation: 
"That he who marries a woman already divorced for adultery is as criminal as if he had himself committed 
adultery." But this explanation appears to us more forced than that already given; and we think that the 
Greek commentators Balsamon and Zonaras were right in giving the explanation we have offered first as 
the most natural. They think that the Synod punished every adulterer, whether man or woman, by a seven 
years' penance. There is no reason for making a mistake because only the word <greek>auton</greek> 
occurs in the passage in which the penalty is fixed; for <greek>auton</greek> here means the guilty party, 
and applies equally to the woman and the man: besides, in the preceding canon the masculine 
<greek>osoi</greek> <greek>epaggellomenoi</greek> includes young men and young women also. It is 
probable that the Trullan Synod of 692, in forming its eighty-seventh canon, had in view the twentieth of 
Ancyra. The sixty-ninth canon of Elvira condemned to a lighter punishment-only five years of penance-him 
who had been only once guilty of adultery. 


CONCERNING women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are 
employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this 
some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that 

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they fulfil ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees. 



Harlots taking injurious medicines are to be subjected to penance for ten years. 

The phrase "and to this some have assented" is the translation of Hervetus, Van Espen, and Hefele. Dr. 

Routh suggests to understand <greek>ai</greek> and translate, "the same punishment will be inflicted on 

those who assist in causing miscarriages," but this seems rather an unnatural and strained rendering of the 



CONCERNING wilful murderers let them remain prostrators; but at the end of life let them be indulged with full 



A voluntary homicide may at the last attain perfection. (1) 


It is noteworthy how singularly appositely Constantine] Harmenopulus the Scholiast in the Epitom. 
Canonum., Sect, v., tit. 3, tells the following story: "In the time of the Patriarch Luke, a certain bishop gave 
absolution in writing to a soldier who had committed voluntary homicide, after a very short time of penace; 
and afterwards when he was accused before the synod of having done so, he defended himself by citing 
the canon which gives bishops the power of remitting or increasing the length of their penance to penitents. 
But he was told in answer that this was granted indeed to pontiffs but not that they should use it without 
examination, and with too great lenity. Wherefore the synod subjected the soldier to the canonical penance 
and the bishop it mulcted for a certain time, bidding him cease from the exercise of his ministry." 


CONCERNING involuntary homicides, a former decree directs that they be received to full communion after 
seven years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees; but this second one, that they fulfil a term of 
five years. 



An involuntary homicide shall be subjected to penance for five years. 


Of voluntary and involuntary homicides St. Basil treats at length in his Canonical Epistle ad Amphilochium, 
can. viii., Ivi. and Ivii., and fixes the time of penance at twenty years for voluntary and ten years for involuntary 
homicides. It is evident that the penance given for this crime varied in different churches, although it is clear 
from the great length of the penance, how enormous the crime was considered, no light or short penance 
being sufficient. 


THEY who practice divination, and follow the customs of the heathen, or who take men to their houses for 
the invention of sorceries, or for lustrations, fall under the canon of five years' [penance], according to the 
prescribed degrees; that is, three years as prostrators, and two of prayer without oblation. 

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Whoso uses vaticination and whoso introduces anyone into his house for the sake of making a poison or a 

lustration let him be subject to penance for five years. 

I read <greek>eqnwn</greek> for <greek>kronwn</greek> and accordingly translate "of the heathen." 


It is greatly to be desired that bishops and pastors to-day would take example from the fathers of Ancyra 
and devote their attention strenuously to eliminate superstition from the people, and would expound with 
animation to the people the enormity of this crime. 


ONE who had betrothed a maiden, corrupted her sister, so that she conceived. After that he married his 
betrothed, but she who had been corrupted hanged herself. The parties to this affair were ordered to be 
received among the co-standers after ten years [of penance] according to the prescribed degrees. 



A certain body after being engaged to marry a young girl, violates her sister and then takes her to wife. The 
first is suffocated. All who were cognizant of the affair are to be subject to penance for ten years. 
I have followed the usual translation "hanged herself," which is the ordinary dictionary-meaning of 
<greek>apagkw</greek>, but Hefele says that it signifies any and every variety of suicides. 


In this case we have many nefarious crimes committed, fornication, unlawful marriage [i.e. with the sister of 
one's mistress] and murder. In that case [mentioned by St. Basil in Canon Ixxviij. where only seven years 
penance is enjoined] there is only a nefarious marriage [i.e. with a wife's sister]. 

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A.D. 315 (circa). 

(Hefele thinks somewhat later, but before 325.) 


Historical Note. The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 


(Zonaras and Balsamon prefix to the canons this note.) 

The Synod gathered together at Neocaesares, which is a city of Pontus, is next in order after that of Ancyra, 
and earlier in date than the rest, even than the First Ecumenical Synod at Nice. In this synod the Holy 
Fathers gathered together, among whom was the holy Martyr Basil, bishop of Amasea, adopted canons for 
the establishing of ecclesiastical order as follow- 


(Annotations by Routh, and reprint of the Notes of Christopher Justellus and of Bp. Beveridge will be found in 
Vol. iv. of the Reliquioe Sacroe.) 


IF a presbyter marry, let him be removed from his order; but if he commit fornication or adultery, let him be 
altogether east out [i.e. of communion] and put to penance. 



If a presbyter marries he shall be deposed from his order. If he commits adultery or whoredom he shall be 
expelled, and shall be put to penance. 


A presbyter who marries is removed from the exercise of the priesthood but retains his honour and seat. But 
he that commits fornication or adultery is cast forth altogether and put to penance. 


These fathers [i.e. of Neocaesarea] shew how much graver seemed to them the sin of the presbyter who 
after ordination committed fornication or adultery, than his who took a wife. For the former they declare shall 
simply be deposed from his order or deprived of the dignity of the Priesthood, but the latter is to "be 
altogether cast out, and put to penance." ... Therefore such a presbyter not only did they remove from the 
priestly functions, or the dignity of the priesthood, but perfectly or altogether east him out of the Church. 
This canon Gratian has inserted in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Decretum. Pars I., Dist. xxviii., c. ix. Gratian has 

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followed Isidore in adding after the word "penance" the words "among the laity" (inter laicos) which do not 

occur in the Greek, (as is noted by the Roman Correctors) nor in the version of Dionysius Exiguus; these 

same correctors fall however themselves into a still graver error in supposing that criminous clerks in the 

early days of the Church were sent out to wander over the country, as Van Espen well points out. 

On the whole subject of the marriage of the clergy in the Early Church see the Excursus devoted to that 



IF a woman shall have married two brothers, let her be east out [i.e. of communion] until her death. 
Nevertheless, at the hour of death she may, as an act of mercy, be received to penance, provided she 
declare that she will break the marriage, should she recover. But if the woman in such a marriage, or the 
man, die, penance for the survivor shall be very difficult. 



A woman married to two brothers shall be expelled all her life. But if when near her death she promises that 
she will loose the marriage should she recover, she shall be admitted to penance. But if one of those 
coupled together die, only with great difficulty shall penitence be allowed to the one still living. 

It will be carefully observed that this canon has no provision for the case of a man marrying two sisters. It is 
the prohibited degree of brother's wife, not that of wife's sister which is in consideration. Of course those who 
hold that the affinity is the same in each case will argue from this canon by parity of reasoning, and those 
who do not accept that position will refuse to do so. 

In the Greek text of Balsamon (Vide Beveridge, Synod.) after the first clause is added, "if she will not be 
persuaded to loose the marriage." 


The meaning of this canon seems to be that which Balsamon sets forth, to wit, that if a woman at the point of 
death or in extremis promises that if she gets better she will dissolve the marriage, or make a divorce, or 
abstain from the sacrilegious use of matrimony, then "she may be received to penance as an act of mercy"; 
and surely she is immediately absolved from the excommunication inflicted upon her when she was cast out 
and extruded from the Church. For it is certain that according to the discipline of the Fathers he was thought 
to be loosed from excommunication whoever was admitted to penance, and it is of this that the canon 
speaks;(1) but he did not obtain perfect reconciliation until his penance was done. 

To this performance of penance this woman was to be admitted if she got well and dissolved the marriage 
according to her promise made when she was in peril of death, as the Greek commentators note; and this 
too is the sense given by Isidore. 


CONCERNING those who fall into many marriages, the appointed time of penance is well known; but their 
manner of living and faith shortens the time. 



The time of polygamists is well known.A zeal for penance may shorten it. 


As the Greek commentators have remarked, this canon speaks of those who have been married more than 
twice. It is not known what were the ancient ordinances of penitence which the synod here refers to. In later 
times digamists were condemned to one year's penance, and trigamists from two to five years. St. Basil 
places the trigamists for three years among the "hearers," and then for some time among the consistentes. 

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"The appointed time of penance is well known." These words Zonaras notes must refer to a custom, for, 

says he, "before this synod no canon is found which prescribes the duration of the penance of bigamists 

[i.e. digamists]." It is for this reason that St. Basil says (in Epist. ad Amphilogium, Can. 4) in speaking of the 

penance of trigamists "we have received this by custom and not by canon, but from the following of 

precedent," hence the Fathers received many things by tradition, and observed these as having the force of 


From the last clause of this canon we see the mind of the Fathers of this synod, which agrees with that of 

Ancyra and Nice, that; with regard to the granting of indulgences, for in shortening the time of penance, 

attention must be paid to the penitence, and conversation, or "conversation and faith" of each one 


With this agrees Zonaras, whose remarks are worthy of consideration. On this whole subject of the 

commutation of the primitive penance and of the rise of the modern indulgences of the Roman Church Van 

Espen has written at length in his excursus De Indulgentiis (Jure Eccles., P. I. i., Tit. vij.) in which he assigns 

the change to the end of the Xlth century, and remarks that its introduction caused the "no small collapse of 

penitential discipline. "(2) 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian, Decretum, Pars II., Causa xxxi., Quaest. i., c. viij. 

where for "conversio," (<greek>anastrofh</greek>) is read "conversatio," and the Greek word is used in this 

sense in Polybius, and frequently so in the New Testament. 


IF any man lusting after a woman purposes to lie with her, and his design does not come to effect, it is 
evident that he has been saved by grace. 



Whoso lusteth but doth not accomplish his pleasure is preserved of God. 


Instead of <greek>epiqumhsai</greek> we must read, with Beveridge and Routh, who rely upon several 

MSS., <greek>epiqumhsas</greek>. They also replace <greek>met</greek> <greek>auths</greek> by 


The meaning of the canon appears to me to be very obscure. Hefele refers to Van Espen and adopts his 

view, and Van Espen in turn has adopted Fleury's view and given him credit for it, referring to his Histoire 

Ecclesiastique, Lib. X., xvij. Zonaras' and Balsamon's notes are almost identical, I translate that of the latter 

in full. 


In sins, the Fathers say, there are four stages, the first-motion, the struggle, the consent, and the act: the first 
two of these are not subject to punishment, but in the two others the case is different. For neither is the first 
impression nor the struggle against it to be condemned, provided that when the reason receives the 
impression it struggles with it and rejects the thought. But the consent thereto is subject to condemnation and 
accusation, and the action to punishment. If therefore anyone is assailed by the lust for a woman, and is 
overcome so that he would perform the act with her, he has given consent, indeed, but to the work he has not 
come, that is, he has not performed the act, and it is manifest that the grace of God has preserved him; but 
he shall not go off with impunity. For the consent alone is worthy of punishment. And this is plain from canon 
Ixx. of St. Basil, which says; "A deacon polluted in lips (<greek>en</greek> <greek>keilesi</greek>)" or who 
has approached to the kiss of a woman "and confesses that he has so sinned, is to be interdicted his 
ministry," that is to say is to be prohibited its exercise for a time. "But he shall not be deemed unworthy to 
communicate in sacris with the deacons. The same is also the case with a presbyter. But if anyone shall go 
any further in sin than this, no matter what his grade, he shall be deposed." Some, however, interpret the 
pollution of the lips in another way; of this I shall speak in commenting on Canon Ixx. of St. Basil. (1) 


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IF catechumen coming into the Church have taken his place in the order of catechumens, and fall into six, let 
him, if a kneeler, become a hearer and sin no more. But should he again sin while a hearer, let him be cast 



If a catechumen falls into a fault and if while a kneeler he sins no more, let him be among the hearers; but 
should he sin while among the hearers, let him be cast out altogether. 


There are two sorts of catechumens. For some have only just come in and these, as still imperfect, go out 
immediately after the reading of the scriptures and of the Gospels. But there are others who have been for 
some time in preparation and have attained some perfection; these wait after the Gospel for the prayers for 
the catechumens, and when they hear the words "Catechumens, bow down your heads to the Lord," they 
kneel down. These, as being more perfect, having tasted the good words of God, if they fall, are removed 
from their position; and are placed with the "hearers"; but if any happen to sin while "hearers" they are east 
out of the Church altogether. 


CONCERNING a woman with child, it is determined that she ought to be baptized whensoever she will; for in 
this the woman communicates nothing to the child, since the bringing forward to profession is evidently the 
individual [privilege] of every single person. 



If a woman with child so desires, let her be baptized. For the choice of each one is judged of. 


That the reason of the canon may be understood it must be noted that in the first ages of the Church 
catechumens were examined concerning their faith before they were baptized, and were made publicly to 
confess their faith and to renounce openly the pomps of the world, as Albaspinaeus (Aubespine) observes 
on this canon, "A short while before they were immersed they declared with a loud voice that they desired 
baptism and wished to be baptized. And since these confessions could not be made by those still shut up in 
their parent's womb, to them the thing (res) and grace of baptism could not come nor penetrate." And 
altogether in accord with this is the translation of lsidore-"because the free will of each one is declared in 
that confession," that is, in that confession he declares that he willingly desires to be baptized. 


A PRESBYTER shall not be a guest at the nuptials of persons contracting a second marriage; for, since the 
digamist is worthy of penance, what kind of a presbyter shall he be, who, by being present at the feast, 
sanctioned the marriage? 



A presbyter ought not to be present at the marriage of digamists. For when that one(1) implores favour, who 
will deem him worthy of favour. 


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The meaning of the canon is as follows: "If the digamist, after contracting his second marriage, comes to the 
priest to be told the punishment he has to undergo, how stands the priest himself who for the sake of the 
feast has become his accomplice in the offence?" 


The present canon again shews that although the Church never disapproved of, nor reputed second or still 
later marriages illicit, nevertheless the Fathers enjoined a penance upon digamists and those repeating 
marriage, because by this iteration they shewed their incontinence. As he that contracted a second 
marriage did not sin properly speaking, and committed no fault worthy of punishment, therefore whatever 
was amiss was believed to be paid off by a lighter penance, and Zonaras supposes that the canons 
inflicted a mulct upon digamists, for saith he, "Digamists are not allowed for one year to receive the Holy 

Zonaras seems to indicate that the discipline of the canon was not in force in his time, for he says, "Although 
this is found in our writings, yet we ourselves have seen the Patriarch and many Metropolitans present at the 
feast for the second nuptials of the Emperor." 


IF the wife of a layman has committed adultery and been clearly convicted, such [a husband] cannot enter 
the ministry; and if she commit adultery after his ordination, he must put her away; but if he retain her, he can 
have no part in the ministry committed to him. 



A layman whose wife is an adulteress cannot be a clergyman, and a cleric who keeps an adulteress shall 
be expelled. 


Although the Eastern Church allows the clergy to have wives, even priests, and permits to them the use of 
marriage after ordination, nevertheless it requires of them the highest conjugal continency, as is seen by the 
present canon. For here it is evident that the Fathers wished even the smallest possible kind of incontinence 
to be absent from men dedicated to holiness. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxxiv., c. xi. 


A PRESBYTER who has been promoted after having committed carnal sin, and who shall confess that he 
had sinned before his ordination, shall not make the oblation, though he may remain in his other functions on 
account of his zeal in other respects; for the majority have affirmed that ordination blots out other kinds of 
sins. But if he do not confess and cannot be openly convicted, the decision shall depend upon himself. 



If a presbyter confess that he has sinned, (1) let him abstain from the oblation, and from it only. For certain 
sins orders remit. If he neither confess nor is convicted, let him have power over himself. 


Therefore if he who before his ordination had committed a sin of the flesh with a woman, confess it after 

ordination, when he is already a priest, he cannot perform the priestly office, he can neither offer nor 

consecrate the oblations, even though after his ordination he has preserved uprightness of living and been 

careful to exercise virtue; as the words "zeal in other respects" ("studious of good") Zonaras rightly 


And since here the consideration is of a sin committed before ordination, and also concerning a presbyter 

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who after his ordination was of spotless life, and careful to exercise virtue, the Fathers rightly wished that he 
should not, against his will, be deposed from the priestly office. 

It is certainly curious that this canon speaks of ordination as in the opinion of most persons taking away all 
sins except consummated carnal offences. And it will be noted that the <greek>afienai</greek> must mean 
more than that they are forgiven by ordination, for they had been forgiven long ago by God upon true 
contrition, but that they were made to be non-existent, as if they had never been, so that flier were no 
hinderance to the exercise of the spiritual office. I offer no explanation of the difficulty and only venture to 
doubt the satisfactory character of any of the explanations given by the commentators. Moreover it is hard to 
grasp the logical connexion of the clauses, and what this "blotting out" of <greek>ta</greek> 
<greek>loipa</greek> has to do with the matter I entirely fail to see. The <greek>kai</greek> after 
<greek>polloi</greek> may possibly suggest that something has dropped out. 

This canon and the following are together in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa 
xv., Quaest. viii., c. i. 


LIKEWISE, if a deacon have fallen into the same sin, let him have the rank of a minister. 



A deacon found in the same crime shall remain a minister (<greek>uphreths</greek>). 


By ministers (<greek>uphretai</greek>) are meant inferior officers of the Church-the so-called minor orders, 
often including the subdeacons. 

This canon is in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa xv., Quaest. viii., united with 
canon ix., and in the following curious form: "Similiter et diaconus, si in eodem culpae genere fuerit involutus, 
sese a ministerio cohibebit." 


LET not a presbyter be ordained before he is thirty years of age, even though he be in all respects a worthy 
man, but let him be made to wait. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and began to teach in his thirtieth 



Unless he be xxx. years of age none shall be presbyter, even should he be worthy, following the example of 
the baptism of our Saviour. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. Ixxviii., c. iv. 


(Ut supra, Nota.) 

This is the law, and we do not read that Christ, or John the Baptist, or Ezechiel, or some other of the Prophets 

prophesied or preached before that age. But Jeremiah and Daniel we read received the spirit of prophecy 

before they had arrived even at youth, and David and Solomon are found to have been anointed in their 

youth, also John the Evangelist, while still a youth, was chosen by the Lord for an Apostle, and we find that 

with the rest he was sent forth to preach: Paul also, as we know, while still a young man was called by the 

Lord, and was sent out to preach. The Church in like manner, when necessity compels, is wont to ordain 

some under thirty years of age. 

For this reason Pope Zacharias in his Letter to Boniface the Bishop, number vi., which begins "Benedictus 

Deus" says, 

C. v. In case of necessity presbyters may be ordained at xxv. years of age. 

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If men thirty years old cannot be found, and necessity so demand, Levites and priests may be ordained 
from twenty-five years of age upwards. 


The power of dispensing was committed to the bishop, and at length it was so frequently exercised that in 
the space of one century [i.e. by the end ofthexiith century] the law became abrogated, which was brought 
about by necessity, so that it passed into law that a presbyter could be ordained at twenty-five. And from this 
it may appear how true it is that there is no surer way of destroying discipline and abrogating law than the 
allowing of dispensations and relaxations. Vide Thomassinus, De Disc. Eccles., Pars. IV., Lib. I., cap. 46. 


IF any one be baptized when he is ill, forasmuch as his [profession of] faith was not voluntary, but of 
necessity [i.e. though fear of death] he cannot be promoted to the presbyterate, unless on account of his 
subsequent [display of] zeal and faith, and because of a lack of men. 



One baptized on account of sickness is not to be made presbyter, unless in reward for a contest which he 
afterwards sustains and on account of scarcity of men. 

The word used in the Greek for "baptized" is "illuminated" (<greek>Fwtisqh</greek>), a very common 
expression among the ancients. 


He that is baptised by reason of illness, and, therefore come to his illumination not freely but of necessity, 
shall not be admitted to the priesthood unless both these conditions concur, that there are few suitable men 
to be found and that he has endured a hard conflict after his baptism. 

With this interpretation agree also Zonaras and Balsamon, the latter expressly saying, "If one of these 
conditions is lacking, the canon must be observed." Not only has Isidore therefore missed the meaning by 
changing the copulative into the disjunctive conjunction (as Van Espen points out) but Beveridge has fallen 
into the same error, not indeed in the canon itself, but in translating the Ancient Epitome. 
Zonaras explains that the reason for this prohibition was the well-known fact that in those ages baptism was 
put off so as the longer to be free from the restraints which baptism was considered to impose. From this 
interpretation only Aubespine dissents, and Hefele points out how entirely without reason. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum., Pars. I., Dist. Ivii., c. i. 


COUNTRY presbyters may not make the oblation in the church of the city when the bishop or presbyters of 
the city are present; nor may they give the Bread or the Cup with prayer. If, however, they be absent, and he 
[i.e., a country presbyter] alone be called to prayer, he may give them. 



A country presbyter shall not offer in the city temple, unless the bishop and the whole body of the presbyters 

are away. But if wanted he can do so white they are away. 

The chorepiscopi can offer as fellow ministers, as they hold the place of the Seventy. 

Routh reads the last clause in the plural, in this agreeing with Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore. In many MSS. 
this canon is united with the following and the whole number given as 14. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Pars I., Diet, xcv., c. xii. And the Roman correctors have 
added the following notes. 

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(Gratian ut supra.) 

"Nor to give the sacrificed bread and to hand the chalice;" otherwise it is read "sanctified" [sanctificatum for 

sacrificatum]. The Greek of the council is <greek>arton</greek> <greek>didonai</greek> 

<greek>en</greek> <greek>eukh</greek> but Balsamon has <greek>arton</greek> 

<greek>eukhs</greek>, that is, "the bread of the mystic prayer." 

Instead of "let them only who are called for giving the prayer, etc.," read <greek>kai</greek> 

<greek>eis</greek> <greek>artonn</greek> <greek>klhqh</greek> <greek>monos</greek> 

<greek>didwsin</greek>, that is: "and only he that shall have been called to the mystic prayer, shall 



THE chorepiscopi, however, are indeed after the pattern of the Seventy; and as fellow-servants, on account 
of their devotion to the poor, they have the honour of making the oblation. 



[Vide ante, as in many MSS. the two canons are united in the Ancient Epitome.] 


The reference to the Seventy seems to intimate that the Synod did not hold the chorepiscopi to be true 
bishops, as such were always reputed and called successors, not of the Seventy disciples but successors 
of the Twelve Apostles. It is also clear that their chief ministry was thoUght to be the care of the poor. 

Zonaras and Balsamon would seem to agree in this with Van Espen. See on the whole subject the Excursus 
on the Chorepiscopi. 


THE deacons ought to be seven in number, according to the canon, even if the city be great. Of this you will 
be persuaded from the Book of the Acts. 



Seven Deacons according to the Acts of the Apostles should be appointed for each great city. This canon 
was observed in Rome and it was not until the xith century that the number of the Seven Cardinal Deacons 
was changed to fourteen. That Gratian received it into the Decretum (Pars. I., Dist. XCIII., c. xij.) is good 
evidence that he considered it part of the Roman discipline. Eusebius(1) gives a letter of Pope Cornelius, 
written about the middle of the third century, which says that at that time there were at Rome forty-four priests, 
seven deacons, and seven subdeacons; and that the number of those in inferior orders was very great. 
Thomassinus says that, "no doubt in this the Roman Church intended to imitate the Apostles who only 
ordained seven deacons. But the other Churches did not keep themselves so scrupulously to that 

In the acts of the Council of Chalcedon it is noted that the Church of Edessa had fifteen priests and thirty-eight 
deacons. (3) And Justinian, we know, appointed one hundred deacons for the Church of Constantinople. Van 
Espen well points out that while this canon refers to a previous law on the subject, neither the Council itself, 
nor the Greek commentators Balsamon or Zonaras give the least hint as to what that Canon was. 
The Fathers of Neocaesarea base their limiting of the number of deacons to seven in one city upon the 
authority of Holy Scripture, but the sixteenth canon of the Quinisext Council expressly says that in doing so 
they showed they referred to ministers of alms, not to ministers at the divine mysteries, and that St. Stephen 
and the rest were not deacons at all in this latter sense. The reader is referred to this canon, where to defend 

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the practice of Constantinople the meaning of the canon we are considering is entirely misrepresented. 

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A.D. 325-4181. 



Historical Introduction. Synodal Letter. Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 


With regard to the Synod of Gangra we know little beside what we learn from its own synodal letter. Three 
great questions naturally arise with regard to it. 

1 . What was its date? 

2. Who was the Eustathius it condemned? 

3. Who was its presiding officer? 

I shall briefly give the reader the salient points with regard to each of these matters. 

1 . With regard to the date, there can be no doubt that it was after Nice and before the First Council of 
Constantinople, that is between 325 and 381 . Socrates(1) seems to place it about 365; but Sozomen(2) 
some twenty years earlier. On the other hand, Remi Ceillier(3) inconsistently with his other statements, 
seems to argue from St. Basil's letters that the true date is later than 376. Still another theory has been urged 
by the Ballerini, resting on the supposition that the Eusebius who presided was Eusebius of Caesarea, and 
they therefore fix the date between 362 and 370. With this Mr. Ffoulkes agrees, and fixes the date, (4) with 
Pagi, at 358, and is bold enough to add, "and this was unquestionably the year of the Council." But in the old 
collections of canons almost without exception, the canons of Gangra precede those of Antioch, and 
Blondel and Tillemont(5) have sustained this, which perhaps I may call the traditional date. 

2. There does not seem to be any reasonable ground to doubt that the person condemned, Eustathius by 
name, was the famous bishop of Sebaste. This may be gathered from both Sozomen(6) and Socrates, (7) 
and is confirmed incidentally by one of St. Basil's epistles, (8) Moreover, Eustathius's See of Sebaste is in 
Armenia, and it is to the bishops of Armenia that the Synod addresses its letter. It would seem in view of all 
this that Bp. Hefele's words are not too severe when he writes, "Under such circumstances the statement of 
Baronius, Du Pin, and others (supported by no single ancient testimony) that another Eustathius, or possibly 
the monk Eutactus, is here meant, deserves no serious consideration, though Tillemont did not express 
himself as opposed to it"(9) 

The story that after his condemnation by the Synod of Gangra Eustathius gave up wearing his peculiar garb 
and other eccentricities, Sozomen only gives as a report.(10) 

3. As to who was the president, it seems tolerably certain that his name was Eusebius-if Sozomen(1 1) 
indeed means it was "Eusebius of Constantinople," it is a blunder, yet he had the name right. In the heading 
of the Synodal letter Eusebius is first named, and as Gangra and Armenia were within the jurisdiction of 
Caesarea, it certainly would seem natural to suppose that the Eusebius named was the Metropolitan of that 
province, but it must be remembered that Eusebius of Cappadocia was not made bishop until 362, four 
years after Mr. Ffoulkes makes him preside at Gangra. The names of thirteen bishops are given in the 
Greek text. 

The Latin translations add other names, such as that of Hosius of Cordova, and some Latin writers have 
asserted that he presided as legate latere from the pope, e.g., Baronius(12) and Binius.(13) Hefele denies 
this and says: "At the time of the Synod of Gangra Hosius was without doubt dead. "(1) But such has not 
been the opinion of the learned, and Cave(2) is of opinion that Hosius's episcopate covered seventy years 
ending with 361 , and (resting on the same opinion) Pagi thinks Hosius may have attended the Synod in 358 
on his way back to Spain, an opinion with which, as I have said, Mr. Ffoulkes agrees. It seems also clear that 
by the beginning of the sixth century the Synod of Gangra was looked upon at Rome as having been held 
under papal authority; Pope Symmachus expressly saying so to the Roman Synod of 504. (Vide Notes on 

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Canons vii. and viii.) 

It remains only further to remark that the Libellus Synodicus mentions a certain Dius as president of the 

Synod. The Ballarini(3) suggest that it should be <greek>bios</greek> an abbreviation of Eusebius. Mr. 

Ffoulkes suggests that Dius is "probably Dianius, the predecessor of Eusebius." Lightfoot(4) fixes the 

episcopate of Eusebius Pumphili as between 31 3 and 337; and states that that of Eusebius of Caesarea in 

Cappadocia did not begin until 362, so that the enormous chronological difficulties will be evident to the 


As all the proposed new dates involve more or less contradiction, I have given the canons their usual 

position between Neocaesarea and Antioch, and have left the date undetermined. 


EUSEBIUS, AEIian, Eugenius, Olympius, Bithynicus, Gregory, Philetus, Pappus, Eulalius, Hypatius, 
Proaeresius, Basil and Bassus,(1) assembled in the holy Synod at Gangra, to our most honoured lords and 
fellow-ministers in Armenia wish health in the Lord. 

FORASMUCH as the most Holy Synod of Bishops, assembled on account of certain necessary matters of 
ecclesiastical business in the Church at Gangra, on inquiring also into the matters which concern Eustathius, 
found that many things had been unlawfully done by these very men who are partisans of Eustathius, it was 
compelled to make definitions, which it has hastened to make known to all, for the removal of whatever has 
by him been done amiss. For, from their utter abhorrence of marriage, and from their adoption of the 
proposition that no one living in a state of marriage has any hope towards God, many misguided married 
women have forsaken their husbands, and husbands their wives: then, afterwards, not being able to contain, 
they have fallen into adultery; and so, through such a principle as this, have come to shame. They were 
found, moreover, fomenting separations from the houses of God and of the Church; treating the Church and 
its members with disdain, and establishing separate meetings and assemblies, and different doctrines and 
other things in opposition to the Churches and those things which are done in the Church; wearing strange 
apparel, to the destruction of the common custom of dress; making distributions, among themselves and 
their adherents as saints, of the first-fruits of the Church, which have, from the first, been given to the Church; 
slaves also leaving their masters, and, on account of their own strange apparel, acting insolently towards 
their masters; women, too, disregarding decent custom, and, instead of womanly apparel, wearing men's 
clothes, thinking to be justified because of these; while many of them, under a pretext of piety, cut off the 
growth of hair, which is natural to woman; [and these persons were found] fasting on the Lord's Day, 
despising the sacredness of that free day, but disdaining and eating on the fasts appointed in the Church; 
and certain of them abhor the eating of flesh; neither do they tolerate prayers in the houses of married 
persons, but, on the contrary, despise such prayers when they are made, and often refuse to partake when 
Oblations are offered in the houses of married persons; contemning married presbyters, and refusing to 
touch their ministrations; condemning the services in honour of the Martyrs(2) and those who gather or 
minister therein, and the rich also who do not alienate all their wealth, as having nothing to hope from God; 
and many other things that no one could recount. For every one of them, when he forsook the canon of the 
Church, adopted laws that tended as it were to isolation; for neither was there any common judgment among 
all of them; but whatever any one conceived, that he propounded, to the scandal of the Church, and to his 
own destruction. 

Wherefore, the Holy Synod present in Gangra was compelled, on these accounts, to condemn them, and to 
set forth definitions declaring them to be cast out of the Church; but that, if they should repent and 
anathematize every one of these false doctrines, then they should be capable of restoration. And therefore 
the Holy Synod has particularly set forth everything which they ought to anathematize before they are 
received. And if any one will not submit to the said decrees, he shall be anathematized as a heretic, and 
excommunicated, and cast out of the Church; and it will behove the bishops to observe a like rule in respect 
of all who may be found with them. 



IF any one shall condemn marriage, or abominate and condemn a woman who is a believer and devout, 
and sleeps with her own husband, as though she could not enter the Kingdom [of heaven] let him be 


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Anathema to him who disregards legitimate marriage. 

When one considers how deeply the early church was impressed with those passages of Holy Scripture 
which she understood to set forth the superiority of the virgin over the married estate, it ceases to be any 
source of astonishment that some should have run into the error of condemning marriage as sinful. The 
saying of our Blessed Lord with reference to those who had become "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's 
sake, "(2) and those words of St. Paul "He that giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well, but he that giveth her 
not in marriage doeth better,"(3) together with the striking passage in the Revelation of those that were "not 
defiled with women for they are virgins, "(4) were considered as settling the matter for the new dispensation. 
The earliest writers are filled with the praises of virginity. Its superiority underlies the allegories of the 
Hermes Pastor; (5) St. Justin Martyr speaks of "many men and women of sixty and seventy years of age who 
from their childhood have been the disciples of Christ, and have kept themselves un corrupted, "(6) and from 
that time on there is an ever-swelling tide of praise; the reader must be referred to SS. Cyprian, Athanasius, 
Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome, Augustine, etc., etc. In fact the Council of Trent (it cannot be denied) only gave 
expression to the view of all Christian antiquity both East and West, when it condemned those who denied 
that "it is more blessed to remain virgin or celibate than to be joined in marriage. "(7) 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Distinc. xxx., c. xii. (Isidore's 
version), and again Dist. xxxi., c. viii. (Dionysius's version). Gratian, however, supposes that the canon is 
directed against the Manichaeans and refers to the marriage of priests, but in both matters he is mistaken, 
as the Roman Correctors and Van Espen point out. 


IF any one shall condemn him who eats flesh, which is without blood and has not been offered to idols nor 
strangled, and is faithful and devout, as though the man were without hope [of salvation] because of his 
eating, let him be anathema. 



Anathema also to him who condemns the eating of flesh, except that of a suffocated animal or that offered to 


This canon also, like the preceding one, is not directed against the Gnostics and Manicheans, but against 
an unenlightened hyper-asceticism, which certainly approaches the Ghostic-Manichean error as to matter 
being Satanic. We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with 
regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force 
as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle 
Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had 
ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 
400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this 
command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier 
between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood 
had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory 
the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. 

No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed 
Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held 
by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West 
is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuser, like 
other laws. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXX., c. xiii. 

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IF any one shall teach a slave, under pretext of piety, to despise his master and to run away from his 
service, and not to serve his own master with good-will and all honour, let him be anathema. 



Anathema to him who persuades a slave to leave his master under pretence of religion. 


This canon is framed in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostle, in I. Timothy, chapter six, verse 1 . "Let 
as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God 
and his doctrine be not blasphemed." And again the same Apostle teaches his disciple Titus that he should 
"exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering 
again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all 
things." (Titus ii. 9 and 10.) 

These texts are likewise cited by Balsamon and Zonaras. 

This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars. II., Causa XVII., Q. IV., c. xxxvij. in 
the version of Isidore, and again in c. xxxviij. from the collections of Martin Bracarensis (so says Van Espen) 
and assigned to a council of Pope Martin, Canon xlvii. 


IF any one shall maintain, concerning a married presbyter, that is not lawful to partake of the oblation when 
he offers it, let him be anathema. 



Anathema to him who hesitates to receive communion from presbyters joined in matrimony. 


As is well known, the ancient Church, as now the Greek Church, allowed those clergy who married before 
their ordination to continue to live in matrimony. Compare what was said above in the history of the Council 
of Nicaea, in connection with Paphnutius, concerning the celibacy and marriage of priests in the ancient 
Church. Accordingly this canon speaks of those clergy who have wives and live in wedlock; and Baronius, 
Binius, and Mitter-Muller gave themselves useless trouble in trying to interpret it as only protecting those 
clergy who, though married, have since their ordination ceased to cohabit with their wives. 
The so-called Codex Ecclesioe Romanoe published by Quesnel, which, however, as was shown by the 
Ballerini,(1) is of Gallican and not Roman origin, has not this canon, and consequently it only mentions 
nineteen canons of Gangra. 


IF any one shall teach that the house of God and the assemblies held therein are to be despised, let him be 



Whoso styles the house of God contemptible, let him be anathema. 

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This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., ox. The 
commentators find nothing to say upon the canon, and in fact the despising of the worship of God's true 
church is and always has been so common a sin, that it hardly calls for comment; no one will forget that the 
Prophet Malachi complains how in his days there were those who deemed "the table of the Lord 
contemptible" and said of his worship "what a weariness is it." (Mai. i., 7 and 13.) 


IF any one shall hold private assemblies outside of the Church, and, despising the canons, shall presume to 
perform ecclesiastical acts, the presbyter with the consent of the bishop refusing his permission, let him be 



Whoso privately gathers a religious meeting let him be anathema. 


Both these canons, [V. and VI.] forbid the existence of conventicles, and conventicle services. It already 
appears from the second article of the Synodal Letter of Gangra, that the Eustathians, through spiritual pride, 
separated themselves from the rest of the congregation, as being the pure and holy, avoided the public 
worship, and held private services of their own. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles of the Synodal Letter 
give us to understand that the Eustathians especially avoided the public services, when married clergy 
officiated. We might possibly conclude, from the words of the sixth canon: <greek>mh</greek> 
<greek>sunontos</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>presbuperou</greek> <greek>kata</greek> 
<greek>gnwmhn</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>episkopou</greek>, that no priest performed any 
part in their private services; but it is more probable that the Eustathians, who did not reject the priesthood 
as such, but only abhorred the married clergy, had their own unmarried clergy, and that these officiated at 
their separate services. And the above-mentioned words of the canon do not the least contradict this 
supposition, for the very addition of the words <greek>kata</greek> <greek>gnwmhn</greek> 
<greek>tou</greek> <greek>episkopou</greek> indicate that the sectarian priests who performed the 
services of the Eustathians had received no permission to do so from the bishop of the place. Thus did the 
Greek commentators, Balsamon, etc., and likewise Van Espen, interpret this canon. 

The meaning of this canon is very obscure. The Latin reads non conveniente presbytero, de episcopi 
sententia; and Lambert translates "without the presence of a priest, with consent of the bishop." Hammond 
differs from this and renders thus, "without the concurrence of the presbyter and the consent of the bishop." I 
have translated literally and left the obscurity of the original. 


IF any one shall presume to take the fruits offered to the Church, or to give them out of the Church, without the 
consent of the bishop, or of the person charged with such things, and shall refuse to act according to his 
judgment, let him be anathema. 


Whoso performs church acts contrary to the will of a bishop or of a presbyter, let him be anathema. 


IF anyone, except the bishop or the person appointed for the stewardship of benefactions, shall either give 
or receive the revenue, let both the giver and the receiver be anathema. 



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Whoso gives or receives offered fruits, except the bishop and the economist appointed to disburse 
charities, both he that gives, and he that receives shall be anathema. 


(In his Address to the Synod of Rome 504. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, torn, iv., col. 1373.) 

In the canons framed by Apostolic authority [i.e., by the authority of the Apostolic See of Rome, cf. Ffoulkes, 
Smith and Cheetham, Diet. Christ. Antiq., art. Gangra] we find it written as follows concerning the offerings of 
fruits which are due to the clergy of the church, and concerning those things which are offered for the use of 
the poor; "If anyone shall presume, etc." [Canon VII.] And again at the same council, "If anyone except the 
bishop, etc." [Canon VIII.] And truly it is a crime and a great sacrilege for those whose duty it is chiefly to 
guard it, that is for Christians and God-fearing men and above all for princes and rulers of this world, to 
transfer and convert to other uses the wealth which has been bestowed or left by will to the venerable 
Church for the remedy of their sins, or for the health and repose of their souls. 

Moreover, whosoever shall have no care for these, and contrary to these canons, shall seek for, accept, or 
hold, or shall unjustly defend and retain the treasures given to the Church unless he quickly repent himself 
shall be stricken with that anathema with which an angry God smites souls; and to him that accepts, or gives, 
or possesses let there be anathema, and the constant accompaniment of the appointed penalty. For he can 
have no defence to offer before the tribunal of Christ, who nefariously without any regard to religion has 
scattered the substance left by pious souls for the poor. 


IF any one shall remain virgin, or observe continence, abstaining from marriage because he abhors it, and 
not on account of the beauty and holiness of virginity itself, let him be anathema. 



Whoso preserves virginity not on account of its beauty but because he abhors marriage, let him be 

The lesson taught by this canon and that which follows is that the practice of even the highest Christian 
virtues, such as the preservation of virginity, if it does not spring from a worthy motive is only deserving of 


Virginity is most beautiful of all, and continence is likewise beautiful, but only if we follow them for their own 
sake and because of the sanctification which comes from them. But should anyone embrace virginity, 
because he detests marriage as impure, and keep himself chaste, and abstains from commerce with 
women and marriage, because he thinks that they are in themselves wicked, he is subjected by this canon 
to the penalty of anathema. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. v., and again Dist. 
xxxi., c. ix. 


IF any one of those who are living a virgin life for the Lord's sake shall treat arrogantly the married, let him be 



Whoso treats arrogantly those joined in matrimony, let him be anathema. 

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On this point the fathers had spoken long before, I cite two as examples. 


(Epist. I., 38, Lightfoot's translation.) 

So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject unto his neighbour, 
according as also he was appointed with his special grace. Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the 
weak respect the strong. Let the rich rain-later aid to the poor and let the poor give; thanks to God, because 
he hath given him one through whom his wants may be supplied. Let the wise display his wisdom, not in 
words, but in good works. He that is lowly in mind, let him not bear testimony to himself, but leave testimony 
to be borne to him by his neighbour. He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so,(1) and not boast, knowing that 
it is Another who bestoweth his continence upon him. Let us consider, brethren, of what matter we were 
made; who and what manner of beings we were, when we came into the world; from what a sepulchre and 
what darkness he that moulded and created us brought us into his world, having prepared his benefits 
aforehand ere ever we were born. Seeing therefore that we have all these things from him, we ought in all 
things to give thanks to him, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 


(Epist. ad Polyc. 5, Lightfoot's translation.) 

Flee evil arts, or rather hold thou discourse about these, Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be content 
with their husbands in flesh and in spirit. In like manner also charge my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ 
to love their wives, as the Lord loved the Church. If anyone is able to abide in chastity to the honour of the 
flesh of the Lord, let him so abide without boasting. If he boast, he is lost; and if it be known beyond the 
bishop, he is polluted. It becometh men and women, too, when they marry to unite themselves with the 
consent of the bishop, that the marriage may be after the Lord and not after concupiscence. Let all things be 
done to the honour of God. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXX., c. iv. 


IF anyone shall despise those who out of faith make love-feasts and invite the brethren in honour of the Lord, 
and is not willing to accept these invitations because he despises what is done, let him be anathema. 



Whoso spurns those who invite to the agape, and who when invited will not communicate with these, let him 

be anathema. 

There are few subjects upon which there has been more difference of opinion than upon the history and 

significance of the Agape or Love-feasts of the Early Church. To cite here any writers would only mislead 

the reader, I shall therefore merely state the main outline of the discussion and leave every man to study the 

matter for himself. 

All agree that these feasts are referred to by St. Jude in his Epistle, and, although Dean Plumptre has 

denied it (Smith and Cheetham, Diet., Christ. Antiq., S.V. Agapae), most writers add St. Paul in the First 

Epistle to the Corinthians xi. Estius (in loc.) argues with great cogency that the expression "Lord's Supper" in 

Holy Scripture never means the Holy Eucharist, but the love-feast, and in this view he has been followed by 

many moderns, but the prevalent opinion has been the opposite. 

There is also much discussion as to the order in which the Agapae and the celebrations of the Holy 

Sacrament were related, some holding that the love-feast preceded others that it followed the Divine 

Mysteries. There seems no doubt that in early times the two became separated, the Holy Sacrament being 

celebrated in the morning and the Agapae in the evening. 

All agree that these feasts were at first copies of the religious feasts common to the Jews and to the heathen 

world, and that soon abuses of one sort or another came in, so that they fell into ill repute and were finally 

prohibited at the Council in Trullo. This canon of Gangra is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's 

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Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xlii., c. i. 

Van Espen is of opinion that the agapae of our canon have no real connexion with the religious feasts of 

earlier days, but were merely meals provided by the rich for the poor, and with this view Hefele agrees. But 

the matter is by no means plain. In fact at every point we are met with difficulties and uncertainties. 

There would seem to be little doubt that the "pain beni" of the French Church, and the "Antidoron" of the 

Eastern Church are remains of the ancient Agapae. 

The meaning, however, of this canon is plain enough, to wit, people must not despise, out of a false 

asceticism, feasts made for the poor by those of the faithful who are rich and liberal. (1) 


IF any one, under pretence of asceticism, should wear a periboloeum and, as if this gave him 
righteousness, shall despise those who with piety wear the berus and use other common and customary 
dress, let him be anathema. 



Whoso despises those who wear beruses, let him be anathema. 


The <greek>bhroi</greek> (lacernoe) were the common upper garments worn by men over the tunic; but 
the <greek>peribolaia</greek> were rough mantles worn by philosophers to show their contempt for all 
luxury. Socrates (H. E., ii. 43) and the Synodal Letter of Gangra in its third article say that Eustathius of 
Sebaste wore the philosopher's mantle. But this canon in no way absolutely rejects a special dress for 
monks, for it is not the distinctive dress but the proud and superstitious over-estimation of its worth which the 
Synod here blames. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXX., c. XV. 


IF any woman, under pretence of asceticism, shall change her apparel and, instead of a woman's 
accustomed clothing, shall put on that of a man, let her be anathema. 



Whatever women wear men's clothes, anathema to them. 


The synodal letter in its sixth article also speaks of this. Exchange of dress, or the adoption by one sex of 
the dress of the other, was forbidden in the Pentateuch (Deut. xxii., 5), and was therefore most strictly 
interdicted by the whole ancient Church. Such change of attire was formerly adopted mainly for theatrical 
purposes, or from effeminacy, wantonness, the furtherance of unchastity, or the like. The Eustathians, from 
quite opposite and hyper-ascetical reasons, had recommended women to assume male, that is probably 
monk's attire, in order to show that for them, as the holy ones, there was no longer any distinction of sex; but 
the Church, also from ascetical reasons, forbade this change of attire, especially when joined to superstition 
and puritanical pride. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. vi. 


IF any woman shall forsake her husband, and resolve to depart from him because she abhors marriage, let 
her be anathema. 

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Women who keep away from their husbands because they abominate marriage, anathema to them. 


This canon cannot in any way be employed in opposition to the practice of the Catholic Church. For though 
the Church allows one of a married couple, with the consent of the other, to give up matrimonial intercourse, 
and to enter the clerical order or the cloister, still this is not, as is the case with the Eustathians, the result of a 
false dogmatic theory, but takes place with a full recognition of the sanctity of marriage. 


It would seem that the Eustathians chiefly disapproved of the use of marriage, and under pretext of 
preserving continence induced married women to abstain from its use as from something unlawful, and to 
leave their husbands, separating from them so far as the bed was concerned; and so the Greek interpreters 
understand this canon; for the Eustathians were never accused of persuading anyone to dissolve a 
marriage a vinculo. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist, xxx., c. Hi., but in Isidore's 
version, which misses the sense by implying that a divorce a vinculo is intended. The Roman Correctors do 
not note this error. 


IF anyone shall forsake his own children and shall not nurture them, nor so far as in him lies, rear them in 
becoming piety, but shall neglect them, under pretence of asceticism, let him be anathema. 



Whosoever they be that desert their children and do not instruct them in the fear of God let them be 


The fathers of this Synod here teach that it is the office and duty of parents to provide for the bodily care of 
their children, and also, as far as in them lies, to mould them to the practice of piety. And this care for their 
children is to be preferred by parents to any private exercises of religion. In this connexion should be read 
the letter of St. Francis de Sales. (Ep. xxxii, Lib. 4.) 

It may perhaps be noted that this canon has not infrequently been violated by those who are accepted as 
Saints in the Church. 

This canon is found, in Isidore's version, in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., 
c. xiv. 


IF, under any pretence of piety, any children shall forsake their parents, particularly [if the parents are] 
believers, and shall withhold becoming reverence from their parents, on the plea that they honour piety 
more than them, let them be anathema. 



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If children leave their parents who are of the faithful let them be anathema. 

Zonaras notes that the use of the word "particularly" shews that the obligation is universal. The 
commentators all refer here to St. Matthew xv., where our Lord speaks of the subterfuge by which the Jews 
under pretext of piety defrauded their parents and made the law of God of none effect. 


Of the last clause this is the meaning; that according to the Eustathians "piety towards God" or "divine 
worship," or rather its pretence, should be preferred to the honour and reverence due to parents. 

This canon, in Isidore's version, is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., 
c.i. The Roman correctors advertize the reader that the version of Dionysius Exiguus "is much nearer to the 
original Greek, although not altogether so." 


IF any woman from pretended asceticism shall cut off her hair, which God gave her as the reminder of her 
subjection, thus annulling as it were the ordinance of subjection, let her be anathema. 



Whatever women shave their hair off, pretending to do so out of reverence for God, let them be anathema. 


The apostle Paul, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, xi. 10, represents the long hair of women, which is 
given them as a natural veil, as a token of their subjection to man. We learn from the Synod of Gangra, that 
as many Eustathian women renounced this subjection, and left their husbands, so, as this canon says, they 
also did away with their long hair, which was the outward token of this subjection. An old proverb says: duo 
si faciunt idem, non est idem. In the Catholic Church also, when women and girls enter the cloister, they have 
their hair cut off, but from quite other reasons than those of the Eustathian women. The former give up their 
hair, because it has gradually become the custom to consider the long hair of women as a special beauty, 
as their greatest ornament; but the Eustathians, like the ancient Church in general, regarded long hair as the 
token of subjection to the husband, and, because they renounced marriage and forsook their husbands, 
they cut it off. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. ij. 


IF any one, under pretence of asceticism, shall fast on Sunday, let him be anathema. 



Whoso fasts on the Lord's day or on the Sabbath let him be anathema. 


Eustathius appointed the Lord's day as a fast, whereas, because Christ rose from the grave and delivered 
human nature from sin on that day, we should spend it in offering joyous thanks to God. But fasting carries 
with it the idea of grief and sorrow. For this reason those who fast on Sunday are subjected to the 
punishment of anathema. 


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By many canons we are warned against fasting or grieving on the festal and joyous Lord's day, in 
remembrance of the resurrection of the Lord; but that we should celebrate it and offer thanks to God, that we 
be raised from the fall of sin. But this canon smites the Eustathians with anathema because they taught that 
the Lord's days should be fasted. Canon LXIV. of the Apostolic Canons cuts off such of the laity as shall so 
fast, and deposes such of the clergy. See also Canon LV. of the Council in Trullo. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. vij. 


IF any of the ascetics, without bodily necessity, shall behave with insolence and disregard the fasts 
commonly prescribed and observed by the Church, because of his perfect understanding in the matter, let 
him be anathema. 



Whoso neglects the fasts of the Church, let him be anathema. 

I have followed Hefele's translation of the last clause, with which Van Espen seems to agree, as well as 
Zonaras. But Hardouin and Mansi take an entirely different view and translate "if the Eustathian deliberately 
rejects the Church fasts." Zonoras and Balsamon both refer to the LXIXth of the Apostolical Canons as being 
the law the Eustathians violated. Balsamon suggests that the Eustathians shared the error of the Bogomiles 
on the subject of fasting, but I see no reason to think that this was the case, Eustathius's action seems rather 
to be attributable to pride, and a desire to be different and original, "I thank thee that I am not as other men 
are," (as Van Espen points out). All that Socrates says (H. E. II., xliii.) is that "he commanded that the 
prescribed fasts should be neglected, and that the Lord's days should be fasted." 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. viii., in an imperfect 
translation but not that of either Isidore or Dionysius. 


IF any one shall, from a presumptuous disposition, condemn and abhor the assemblies [in honour] of the 
martyrs, or the services performed there, and the commemoration of them, let him be anathema. 



Whoever thinks lightly of the meetings in honour of the holy martyrs, let him be anathema. 


Van Espen is of opinion that the Eustathians had generally rejected the common service as only fit for the 
less perfect, and that the martyr chapels are only mentioned here, because in old times service was usually 
held there. According to this view, no especial weight need be attached to the expression. But this canon 
plainly speaks of a disrespect shown by the Eustathians to the martyrs. Compare the twelfth article of the 
Synodal Letter. Fuchs thought that, as the Eustathians resembled the Aerians, who rejected the service for 
the dead, the same views might probably be ascribed to the Eustathians. But, in the first place, the Aerians 
are to be regarded rather as opposed than related in opinion to the Eustathians, being lax in contrast to 
these ultra-rigorists. Besides which, Epiphanius only says that they rejected prayer for the salvation of the 
souls of the departed, but not that they did not honour the martyrs; and there is surely a great difference 
between a feast in honour of a saint, and a requiem for the good of a departed soul. Why, however, the 
Eustathians rejected the veneration of martyrs is nowhere stated; perhaps because they considered 
themselves as saints, <greek>kaW</greek> <greek>exokhn</greek>, exalted above the martyrs, who were 
for the most part only ordinary Christians, and many of whom had lived in marriage, while according to 
Eustathian views no married person could be saved, or consequently could be an object of veneration. 

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Lastly, it must be observed that the first meaning of <greek>sunaxis</greek>, is an assembly for divine 
service, or the service itself; but here it seems to be taken to mean <greek>sunagwgh</greek> the place of 
worship, so that the <greek>sunaxeis</greek> <greek>twn</greek> <greek>marturwn</greek> seems to be 
identical with martyria, and different from the <greek>leitourgiai</greek> held in them, of which the latter 
words of the canon speak. 


THESE things we write, not to cut off those who wish to lead in the Church of God an ascetic life, according to 
the Scriptures; but those who carry the pretence of asceticism to superciliousness; both exalting themselves 
above those who live more simply, and introducing novelties contrary to the Scriptures and the 
ecclesiastical Canons. We do, assuredly, admire virginity accompanied by humility; and we have regard 
for continence, accompanied by godliness and gravity; and we praise the leaving of worldly occupations, 
[when it is made] with lowliness of mind; [but at the same time] we honour the holy companionship of 
marriage, and we do not contemn wealth enjoyed with uprightness and beneficence; and we commend 
plainness and frugality in apparel, [which is worn] only from attention, [and that] not over-fastidious, to the 
body; but dissolute and effeminate excess in dress we eschew; and we reverence the houses of God and 
embrace the assemblies held therein as holy and helpful, not confining religion within the houses, but 
reverencing every place built in the name of God; and we approve of gathering together in the Church itself 
for the common profit; and we bless the exceeding charities done by the brethren to the poor, according to 
the traditions of the Church; and, to sum up in a word, we wish that all things which have been delivered by 
the Holy Scriptures and the Apostolical traditions, may be observed in the Church. 


This is lacking in the ancient epitome; and while it occurs after Canon XX. in the versions of Dionysius 
Exiguus and of Isidore Mercator, it is not numbered as a canon. Moreover in John of Antioch's Collection 
and in Photius's Nomocanon, the number of canons is said to be 20. Only the Greek Scholiasts number it as 
Canon XXI., but its genuineness is unquestioned. 

It is curiously enough found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, divided into two canons! Gratian's Decretum, Pars 
I., Dist. XXX., c. xvj., and Dist. xli., c. v. 


The Fathers of Gangra recognize not only the Holy Scriptures, but also the Apostolical traditions for the rule 
of morals. 

From this [canon] it is by no means doubtful that the fathers of this Synod considered that the Eustathians 
had violated some already existing ecclesiastical canons. Beveridge is of opinion that these are those 
commonly called the Canons of the Apostles (Synod. I. 5). Nor is this unlikely to be true, for there can be no 
doubt that the doctrines of the Eustathians condemned by this synod are directly opposed to those very 
"Canons of the Apostles"; and no small argument is drawn for the authority and antiquity of the Canons of the 
Apostles from the large number of Eustathian teachings found to be therein condemned, as Beveridge has 
pointed out and as can easily be seen by comparing the two. 

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A.D. 341. 


The Synodal Letter. The Canons, with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 


(Found in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. II., col. 559. It really is no part the canons, but I have placed it 
here, because, as Labbe notes, "it is usually prefixed to the canons in the Greek.") 

The holy and most peaceful Synod which has been gathered together in Antioch from the provinces of 
Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Cilicia, and lsauria;(1) to our like-minded and holy 
fellow Ministers in every Province, health in the Lord. 

The grace and truth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ hath regarded the holy Church of the Antiochians, 
and, by joining it together with unity of mind and concord and the Spirit of Peace, hath likewise bettered 
many other things; and in them all this betterment is wrought by the assistance of the holy and peace-giving 
Spirit. Wherefore, that which after much examination and investigation, was unanimously agreed upon by us 
bishops, who coming out of various Provinces have met together in Antioch, we have now brought to your 
knowledge; trusting in the grace of Christ and in the Holy Spirit of Peace, that ye also will agree with us and 
stand by us as far as in you lies, striving with us in prayers, and being even more united with us, following the 
Holy Spirit, uniting in our definitions, and decreeing the same things as we; ye, in the concord which 
proceedeth of the Holy Spirit, sealing and confirming what has been determined. 
Now the Canons of the Church which have been settled are hereto appended. 

SYRIA. (1) 


WHOSOEVER, shall presume to set aside the decree of the holy and great Synod which was assembled at 
Nice in the presence of the pious Emperor Constantine, beloved of God, concerning the holy and salutary 
feast of Easter; if they shall obstinately persist in opposing what was [then] rightly ordained, let them be 
excommunicated and cast out of the Church; this is said concerning the laity. But if any one of those who 
preside in the Church, whether he be bishop, presbyter, or deacon, shall presume, after this decree, to 
exercise his own private judgment to the subversion of the people and to the disturbance of the churches, 
by observing Easter [at the same time] with the Jews, the holy Synod decrees that he shall thenceforth be 
an alien from the Church, as one who not only heaps sins upon himself, but who is also the cause of 
destruction and subversion to many; and it deposes not only such persons themselves from their ministry, 
but those also who after their deposition shall presume to communicate with them. And the deposed shall 
be deprived even of that external honour, of which the holy Canon and God's priesthood partake. 



Whoso endeavours to change the lawful tradition of Easter, if he be a layman let him be excommunicated, 
but if a cleric let him be cast out of the Church. 

The connexion between these canons of Antioch and the Apostolical Canons is so evident and so intimate 

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that I shall note it, in each case, for the convenience of the student. 

Zonaras and Balsamon both point out that from this first canon it is evident that the Council of Nice did take 

action upon the Paschal question, and in a form well known to the Church. 


From this canon it appears that the fathers did not deem laymen deserving of excommunication who merely 

broke the decrees, but only those who "obstinately persist in opposing the decrees sanctioned and 

received by the Church; for by their refusal to obey they are attempting to overturn." And this being the case, 

why should such not be repelled or cast forth from the Church as rebels? 

Finally this Canon proves that not only bishops and presbyters, but also deacons were reckoned among 

them who, "preside in the Church." An argument in favour of the opinion that the deacons of that time were 

entrusted with hierarchical functions. 

It is curious that as a matter of fact the entire clergy and people of the West fell under the anathema of this 

canon in 1825, when they observed Easter on the same day as the Jews. This was owing to the adoption of 

the Gregorian calendar, and this misfortune while that calendar is followed it is almost impossible to 


Compare Apostolic Canons; Canon VII. 


ALL who enter the church of God and hear the Holy Scriptures, but do not communicate with the people in 
prayers, or who turn away, by reason of some disorder, from the holy partaking of the Eucharist, are to be 
cast out of the Church, until, after they shall have made confession, and having brought forth the fruits of 
penance, and made earnest entreaty, they shall have obtained forgiveness; and it is unlawful to 
communicate with excommunicated persons, or to assemble in private houses and pray with those who do 
not pray in the Church; or to receive in one Church those who do not assemble with another Church. And, if 
any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any one in the Canon shall be found communicating with 
excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of 
the Church. 



Whoso comes to church, and attentively hears the holy Scriptures, and then despises, goes forth from, and 
turns his back upon the Communion, let him be cast out, until after having brought forth fruits of penance, he 
shall be indulged. And who-so communicates with one excommunicated, shall be excommunicated, and 
whoso prays with him who prays not with the Church is guilty, and even whoso receives him who does not 
attend the services of the Church is not without guilt. 


In the Eighth and Ninth canons of the Apostles it is set forth how those are to be punished who will not wait for 
the prayers, and the holy Communion: So, too, in the Tenth canon provision is made with respect to those 
who communicate with the excommunicated. In pursuance of this the present canon provides that they are to 
be cut off who come to church and do not wait for the prayer, and through disorder 
[?<greek>ataxian</greek>(1) will not receive the holy Communion; for such are to be cast out until with 
confession they shew forth worthy penance. 


In this canon the Fathers refer to such as go to church but will not tarry to the prayer nor receive holy 
Communion, held back by some perversity or license, that is to say without any just cause, but petulantly, 
and by reason of some disorder <greek>ataxian</greek>; these are forbidden to be expelled from the 
Church, that is to say cut off from the congregation of the faithful. But the Fathers call it a turning away from, 
not a hatred of the divine Communion, which holds them back from communion; a certain kind of flight from it, 
brought about perchance by reverence and lowliness of mind. Those who object to communicate by 
reason of hatred or disgust, such must be punished not with mere separation, but by an altogether absolute 
excommunication, and be cursed with anathema. 

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It need hardly be remarked that this canon has no reference to such of the faithful as tarry to the end of the 
service and yet do not partake of the holy sacrament, being held back by some good reason, recognized 
by the Church as such. It will be remembered that the highest grade of Penitents did this habitually, and that it 
was looked upon as a great privilege to be allowed to be present when the Divine Mysteries were 
performed, even though those assisting as spectators might not be partakers of them. What this canon 
condemns is leaving the Church before the service of the Holy Eucharist is done; this much is clear, the 
difficulty is to understand just why these particular people, against whom the canon is directed, did so. This 
canon should be compared with the Apostolic canons viii., ix., x., xj. xij. and xiij. 


IF any presbyter or deacon, or any one whatever belonging to the priesthood, shall forsake his own parish, 
and shall depart, and, having wholly changed his residence, shall set himself to remain for a long time in 
another parish, let him no longer officiate; especially if his own bishop shall summon and urge him to return 
to his own parish and he shah disobey. And if he persist in his disorder, let him be wholly deposed from his 
ministry, so that no further room be left for his restoration. And if another bishop shall receive a man 
deposed for this cause, let him be punished by the Common Synod as one who nullifies the ecclesiastical 



If any cleric leaves his own parish and goes off to another, travelling here and there, and stays for a long 
time in that other, let him not offer the sacrifice (<greek>leitourgeitw</greek>), especially if he do not return 
when called by his own bishop. But if he perseveres in his insolence let him be deposed, neither afterwards 
let him have any flower to return. And if any bishop shall receive him thus deposed, he shall be punished by 
the Common Synod for breach of the ecclesiastical laws. 

Compare with Canons of the Apostles xv. and xvi. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa VII., Quaest. I., Can. 


IF any bishop who has been deposed by a synod, or any presbyter or deacon who has been deposed by 
his bishop shall presume to execute any part of the ministry, whether it be a bishop according to his former 
custom, or a presbyter, or a deacon, he shall no longer have any prospect of restoration in another Synod; 
nor any opportunity of making his defence; but they who communicate with him shall all be cast out of the 
Church, and particularly if they have presumed to communicate with the persons aforementioned, knowing 
the sentence pronounced against them. 



If a bishop deposed by a synod shall dare to celebrate the liturgy, let him have no chance of return. 

This canon derives its chief interest from the fact that it is usually considered to have been adopted at the 
instigation of the party opposed to St. Athanasius and that afterwards it was used against St. Chrysostom. 
But while such may have been the secret reason why some voted for it and others prized it, it must be 
remembered that its provision is identical with that of the Apostolic Canons, and that it was read at the 
Council of Chalcedon as Canon eighty-three. Remi Ceillier (Histoire GenHistoire Gnoeral des Autheurs, p. 
659) tries to prove that this is not the canon which St. Chrysostom and his friends rejected, but Hefele thinks 
his position "altogether untenable" (Hist, of the Councils, Vol. II., p. (62, n. 1), and refers to Tillemont 
(Memories, p. 329, Sur les Arians, and Fuchs' Bib. der Kirchenversammlungen, P. II., p. 59.(2)) 

Compare Apostolic Canon xxviij. 

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This canon is found twice in the Juris Corpus Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XL, Quaest. III., 
Can. vj., and Can. vij. in the version of Martin Bracarensis. This version is very interesting as expanding the 
phrase "to execute any part of the ministry" into "to make the oblation, or to perform the morning or evening 
sacrifice as though he were in office just as before, etc." 


IF any presbyter or deacon, despising this own bishop, has separated himself from the Church, and 
gathered a private assembly, and set up an altar; and if, when summoned by Iris bishop, he shall refuse to 
be persuaded and will not obey, even though he summon him a first and a second time, let such an one be 
wholly deposed and have no further remedy, neither be capable of regaining his rank. And if he persist in 
troubling and disturbing the Church, let him be corrected, as a seditious person, by the civil power. 



Any presbyter or deacon who spurns his bishop, and withdraws from him, and sets up another altar, if after 
being thrice called by the bishop, he shall persist in his arrogancy, let him be deposed and be deprived of 
all hope of restoration. 

It will be noted that the Ancient Epitome mentions three warnings, and the canon only two. The epitome in 
this evidently follows the Apostolical Canon, number thirty-one. It is somewhat curious that Aristenus in 
commenting on this canon does not note the discrepancy. 


This canon, together with the preceding was read from the Code of Canons at the Council of Chalcedon, at 
the Fourth Session in connexion with the ease of Carosus and Dorothoeus, and of other monks who 
adhered to them. And a sentence in accordance with them was conceived in these words against those 
who would not obey the Council in the condemnation of Eutyches, "Let them know that they together with the 
monks who are with them, are deprived of grade, and of all dignity, and of communion, as well as he, so that 
they cease to preside over their monasteries: and if they attempt to escape, this holy and universal great 
council decrees the same punishment shall attach to them, that is to say the external authority, according to 
the divine and holy laws of the Fathers, shall carry out the sentence passed against the contumacious." 
This canon shews that monks and clerics who were rebellious were sometimes coerced by the Secular 
Power, when the ecclesiastical power was not sufficient to coerce them, and hence it was that the secular 
arm was called in. 

Compare with this Apostolic Canon XXXI. 

The last clause of this canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II. Causa XL, 
Quaest VIM. Can. vii. (The Latin however for "by the civil power" is, as is pointed out by the Roman 
Correctors, per forasticam potestatem or per forasticam potestatem. 


IF any one has been excommunicated by his own bishop, let him not be received by others until he has 
either been restored by his own bishop, or until, when a synod is held, he shall have appeared and made 
his defence, and, having convinced the synod, shall have received a different sentence. And let this decree 
apply to the laity, and to presbyters and deacons, and all who are enrolled in the clergy-list. 



Compare Apostolic Canons numbers XII. and XXXII. 

The sentence of the greater synod upon a clerk excommunicated by his bishop, whether of acquittal or 

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condemnation, shall stand. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XL, Quaest. Ill, Can. ij. 


No stranger shall be received without letters pacifical. 



A traveller having no letter pacific with him is... 

Compare the Apostolic Canon number XXXIII For a discussion of the Letters styled pacifici, see notes on 
next canon. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. IxxL, c. ix. in Isidore's 
version. The Roman Corectors the Apostolic note that Dionysius must have had a different reading from the 
Greek we know. 


LET not country presbyters give letters canonical, or let them send such letters only to the neighbouring 
bishops. But the chorepiscopi of good report may give letters pacifical. 



A country presbyter is not to give canonical letters, or[at most> only to a neighbouring bishop. 

These "letters canonical" were called in the West letters "formatoe," and no greater proof of the great 
influence they had in the early days of the Church in binding the faithful together can be found than the fact 
that Julian the Apostate made an attempt to introduce something similar among the pagans of his empire. 
"Commendatory letters" (<greek>epistolai</greek> <greek>sustatikai</greek>) are spoken of by St. Paul in 
2 Cor. iii. 1, and the reader will find some interesting remarks on this and cognate subjects in J. J. Blunt's, 
The Christian Church during the first three Centuries (Chapter II). 

By means of these letters even the lay people found hospitality and care in every part of the world, and it 
was thrown up against the Donatists as a mark of their being schismatics that their canonical letters were 
good only among themselves. 

Pseudo-Isidore informs us that it was stated at the Council of Chalcedon by Atticus, bishop of 
Constantinople, that it was agreed at the Council of Nice that all such letters should be marked II. Y. A. II. (i.e. 
Father, Son, Holy Spirit), and it is asserted (Herzog, Real-Encyk., s. v. Literae Format, Real-Encyk., s. v. 
Literae Formatae) that this form is found in German documents of the sixth century. 

As will be seen among the Canons of Chalcedon, the old name, Letters Commendatory, is continued, but in 
this canon and in the 41st of Laodicea the expression "Canonical Letters" is used. In the West, at least, 
these letters received the episcopal seal of the diocese to avoid all possibility of imposture. Dean Plumptre 
(whom I am following very closely in this note) believes the earliest evidence of this use of the diocesan 
seal is in Augustine (Epist. lix. al. ccxvij.)He also refers to Ducange, s. v. Formatae. 
As these letters admitted their bearers to communion they were sometimes called "Communion letters" 
(<greek>koinwnikai</greek>), and are so described by St. Cyril of Alexandria; and by the Council of Elvira 
(canon xxv.), and by St. Augustine (Epist. xliii. al. clxii). 

The "Letters Pacifical" appear to have been of an eleemosynary character, so that the bearers of them 
obtained bodily help. Chalcedon in its eleventh canon ordains these "Letters pacifical" shall be given to the 
poor, whether they be clerics or laics. The same expression is used in the preceding canon of the synod. 
A later form of ecclesiastical letter is that with which we are so familiar, the "letter dimissory." This expression 
first occurs in Carom XVII. of the Council in Trullo. On this expression Suicer (Thesaurus, s. v. 
<greek>apolutikh</greek>) draws from the context the conclusion that "letters dimissory" were given only for 
permanent change of ecclesiastical residence, while, "letters commendatory" were given to those whose 

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absence from their diocese was. only temporary. 


IT behoves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and 
who has to take thought for the whole province; because all men of business come together from every 
quarter to the metropolis. Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other 
bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, (according to the ancient canon which prevailed from [the 
times of] our Fathers) or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject 
to them. For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with the piety which is 
incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent on his city; to 
ordain prebysters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment. But let him undertake nothing further 
without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others. 



Bishops should be bound to opinion of the metropolitan, and nothing should they do without his knowledge 
except only such things as have reference to the diocese of each, and let them ordain men free from 


From this canon we see that causes of more importance and greater moment are to be considered in the 

Provincial Synod which consisted of the metropolitan and the other bishops of the province. 

By the "ancient canon" of which mention is here made, there can scarcely be a doubt is intended the xxxiv. 

of the Canons of the Apostles, since in it are read the same provisions (and almost in the same words) as 

here are set forth somewhat more at length; nor is there any other canon in which these, provisions are found 

earlier in date than this synod, wherefore from this is deduced a strong argument for the integrity of the 

Canons of the Apostles. 

The wording of this canon should be compared with the famous sentence so often quoted of St. Irenseus. 

"Ad hanc enim ecclesiam [i.e. of Rome] propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse eat omnem convenire 

ecclesiam, hoc est, cos qui aunt undique fideles, in qua sempter ab his, qui aunt undique, conservata eat 

eaque est ab Apestolis traditio." 

Is it not likely that in the lost Greek original the words translated convenire ad were 

(<greek>suntrekein</greek> <greek>en</greek>? Vide on the meaning of cone venire ad, F. W. Puller, The 

Primitive Saints and the See of Rome, pp. 32 et seqq. 

Compare Apostolic Canon XXXIV. 


THE Holy Synod decrees that persons in villages and districts, or those who are called chorepiscopi, even 
though they may have received ordination to the Episcopate, shall regard their own limits and manage the 
churches subject to them, and be content with the care and administration of these; but they may ordain 
readers, sub-deacons and exorcists, and shall be content with promoting these, but shall not presume to 
ordain either a presbyter or a deacon, without the consent of bishop of the city to which he and his district are 
subject. And if he shall dare to transgress [these] decrees, he shall be deposed from tile rank which he 
enjoys. And a chorepiscopus is to be appointed by the bishop of the city to which he is subject. 



A chorepiscopus makes Exorcists, Lectors, Sub-deacons and Singers, but not a presbyter or a deacon 

without the bishop of the city. Who dares to transgress this law let him be deposed. The bishop of the city 

makes the chorpiscopus. 

For the Minor Orders in the Early Church see the Excursus on the subject appended to Canon XXIV. of 


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"Ordination to the episcopate." In translating thus I have followed both Dionysius and Isidore, the former of 
whom translates "although they had received the imposition of tim hand of the bishop and had been 
consecreted bishops;" and the latter "although they had received from bishops the imposition of the hand, 
and had been consecrated bishops.": 


There can be no doubt that the Chorepiscopi, the authority of whom is limited by tiffs canon, are supposed to 
be endowed with the episcopal character. Among the learned there is a controversy as to whether 
Chorepiscopi were true bishops by virtue of the ordination to that office, and endowed with the episcopal 
character or were only bishops when accidentally so. But whatever may be the merits of this controversy, 
there can be no doubt from the context of this canon that the Fathers of Antioch took it for granted that the 
chorepiscopi were time bishops by virtue of their ordination, but it is also evident that they were subject to 
the bishop of the greater city. It must also be noted that these chorepiscopi were not instituted by the canons 
of the Councils of Ancyra. Neocaesarea, or even of Nice, for these speak of them and make their decrees 
as concerning something already existing. 

And from the very limitations of this canon it is by no means obscure that the fathers of Antioch supposed 
these chorepiscopi to be real bishops, for otherwise even with the license of the bishop of the city they could 
not ordain presbyters or deacons. 


IF any bishop, or presbyter, or any one whatever of the canon shall presume to betake himself to the 
Emperor without the consent and letters of the bishop of the province, and particularly of the bishop of the 
metropolis, such a one shall be publicly deposed and cast out, not only from communion, but also from the 
rank which he happens to have; inasmuch as he dares to trouble the ears of our Emperor beloved of God, 
contrary to the law of the Church. But, if necessary business shall, require any one to go to the Emperor, let 
him do it with the advice and consent of the metropolitan and other bishops in the province, and let him 
undertake his journey with letters from them. 



A bishop or presbyter who (of his own motion and not at the bidding of the Metropolitan of the province goes 
to the Emperor shall be deprived both of communion and dignity. 

This canon is one of those magnificent efforts which the early church made to check the already growing 
inclination to what we have in later times learned to call Erastianism. Not only did the State, as soon as it 
became Christian, interfere in spiritual matters at its own motion, but there were found bishops and others of 
the clergy who not being able to attain their ends otherwise, appealed to the civil power, usually to the 
Emperor himself, and thus the whole discipline of the Church was threatened, and the authority of spiritual 
synods set aside. How unsuccessful the Church often was in this struggle is only too evident from the 
remarks of the Greek commentator Balsamon on this 
very canon. 


Kellner (Das Buss, und Strafversahren, p. 61) remarks with reference to this, that deposition is here treated 
as a heavier punishment than exclusion from communion, and therefore the latter cannot mean actual 
excommunication but only suspension. 


IF any presbyter or deacon deposed by his own bishop, or any bishop deposed by a synod, shall dare to 
trouble the ears of the Emperor, when it is his duty to submit his case to a greater synod of bishops, and to 
refer to more bishops the things which he thinks right, and to abide by the examination and decision made 
by them; if, despising these, he shall trouble the Emperor, he shall be entitled to no pardon, neither shall he 
have an opportunity of defence, nor any hope of future restoration. 

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One deposed, if he shall have troubled the Emperor, shall seek the greater synod, and submit to its decree. 
But if he again misbehave himself, he shall not have any chance of restoration. 

It is usually supposed that this canon, as well as the fourth, and the fourteenth and fifteenth, was directed 
against St. Athanasius, and it was used against St. Chrysostom by his enemies. Vide Socrates, 
Ecclesiastical History, Book II., Chapter viii., and Sozomen's Ecclesiastical History, Book III., chapter v.; 
also ibid. Book VII., chapter xx. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXI., Quest. V., Can. ij., 
in Isidore's Version. 


No bishop shall presume to pass from one province to another, and ordain persons to the dignity of the 
ministry in the Church, not even should he have others with him, unless he should go at the written invitation 
of the metropolitan and bishops into whose country he goes. But if he should, without invitation, proceed 
irregularly to the ordination of any, or to the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs which do not concern him, the 
things done by him are null, and he himself shall suffer the due punishment of his irregularity and his 
unreasonable undertaking, by being forthwith deposed by the holy Synod. 



If without invitation a bishop shall go into another province, and shall ordain, and administer affairs, what he 
does shall be void and he himself The Roman Correctors are not satisfied with shall be deposed. 

Compare with this Apostolic Canon xxxv.; also canon xxii. of this same synod. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa ix., Quaest. II., Can. vj. 
in the Versio Prisca. The Roman Correctors are not satisfied with it, however, nor with any version and give 
the Greek text, to which they add an accurate translation. 


IF a bishop shall be tried on any accusations, and it should then happen that the bishops of the province 
disagree concerning him, some pronouncing the accused innocent, and others guilty; for the settlement of 
all disputes, the holy Synod decrees that the metropolitan call on some others belonging to the 
neighbouring province, who shall add their judgment and resolve the dispute, and thus, with those of the 
province, confirm what is determined. 



If the bishops of the province disagree among themselves as to an accused bishop, that the controversy 
may be certainly settled, let other neighbouring bishops be called in. 


When any bishop shall have been condemned with unanimous consent by all the bishops of the province, 
the condemnation cannot be called into doubt, as this synod has set forth in its fourth canon. But if all the 
bishops are not of the same mind, but some contend that he should be condemned and others the contrary, 
then other bishops may by called in by the metropolitan from the neighbouring provinces, and when their 
votes are added to one or other of the parties among the bishops, then controversy should be brought to a 
close. This also is the law of the Synod of Sardica, canons iii. and v. 

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Every bishop accused of crimes should be judged by his own synod, but if the bishops of the province 
differ, some saying that he is innocent and some that he is guilty, the metropolitan can call other bishops 
from a neighbouring province that they may solve the controversy agitated by the bishops. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa vi., Quaest. iv., can. j. 
The Roman Correctors note that the Latin translation implies that the neighbouring metropolitan is to be 
invited and say, "But, in truth, it hardly seems fitting that one metropolitan should come at the call of another, 
and that there should be two metropolitans in one synod." 


IF any bishop, lying under any accusation, shall be judged by all the bishops in the province, and all shall 
unanimously deliver the same verdict concerning him, he shah not be again judged by others, but the 
unanimous sentence of the bishops of the province shall stand firm. 



If all the bishops of a province agree with regard to a bishop already sentenced, a new trial shall not be 
granted him. 


By the phrase "by others "must be understood bishops called from a neighbouring province, of which 
mention is made in the previous canon, where in the case of an agreement among the bishops, the synod 
did not wish to be called in, even if it were demanded by the condemned bishop. This canon, therefore, is a 
supplement as it were to the preceding. And for this reason in the Breviarium and in Cresconius's Collection 
of Canons they are placed under a common title, cap. 144, "Concerning the difference of opinion which 
happens in the judgment of bishops, or when a bishop is cut off by all the bishops of his province." 
From these canons it is manifest that at first the causes of bishops were agitated and decided in provincial 
synods, and this discipline continued for many centuries, and was little by little departed from in the Vlllth 
and IXth centuries. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa VI., Quaest. IV., Can. v. 
Gratian adds a note which Van Espen remarks smacks of his own date rather than of that of the Synod of 


IF any bishop without a see shall throw himself upon a vacant church and seize its throne, without a full 
synod, he shall be cast out, even if all the people over whom he has usurped jurisdiction should choose 
him. And that shall be [accounted] a full synod, in which the metropolitan is present. 



Whoever without the full synod and without the 

Metropolitan Council, shall go over to a vacant church, even if he has no position, he shall be ejected. 


This, together with the following canon, was recited by Bishop Leontius in the Council of Chalcedon, from the 
book of the canons, in which this is called the 95th and the following the 96th, according to the order 
observed in that book of the canons. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XCII., Can. viii. in Isidore's 
version, and the Roman Correctors note its departure from the original. 

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IF any one having received the ordination of a bishop, and having been appointed to preside over a 
people, shall not accept his ministry, and will not be persuaded to proceed to the Church entrusted to him, 
he shall be excommunicated until he, being constrained, accept it, or until a full synod of the bishops of the 
province shall have determined concerning, him. 



Whoso has received orders and abandoned them let him be excommunicated, until he shall have repented 
and been received. 


If any one called to the rule of the people refuse to undertake that office and ministry, let him be removed 
from communion, that is separated, until he accept the position. But should he persist in his refusal, he can 
by no means be absolved from his separation, unless perchance the full synod shall take some action in 
his case. For it is possible that he may assign reasonable causes why he should be excused from 
accepting the prelature offered him, reasons which would meet with the approbation of the synod. 
Balsamon explains the canon in the same sense and adds that by "ordination" here is intended ordination 
proper, not merely election, as some have held. 
Compare with this Apostolic Canon XXXVI. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XCII., C. vii. The Roman 
Correctors note that Dionysius's version is nearer the Greek. 


IF any bishop ordained to a parish shall not proceed to the parish to which he has been ordained, not 
through any fault of his own, but either because of the rejection of the people, or for any other reason not 
arising from himself, let him enjoy his rank and ministry; only he shall not disturb the affairs of the Church 
which he joins; and he shall abide by whatever the full synod of the province shall determine, after judging 
the ease. 



Let a bishop ordained but not received by his city have his part of the honour, and offer the liturgy only, 
waiting for the synod of the province to give judgment. 


In canon xvij. the fathers punished him who when ordained could not be persuaded to go to the church to 
which he was assigned. In the present canon they grant pardon to him who is willing to take the charge of the 
diocese, for which he was consecrated, but is prevented from doing so by the impudence of the people or 
else by the incursions of the infidel; and therefore they allow him to enjoy, in whatever province he may 
happen to be, the honour due his rank, viz., his throne, his title, and the exercise of the episcopal office, with 
the knowledge and consent of the bishop of the diocese. He must not, however, meddle will, the affairs of 
the church of which he is a guest, that is to say he must not teach, nor ordain, nor perform any episcopal act 
without the consent of the bishop of the diocese; but he must observe quiet, until he learns what he ought to 
do by the determination of the full Synod. 

Aristenus explains that by keeping quiet is intended that he should not "use any military help or other 

This canon is found twice in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xcii., c. iv. and v.; in 
the versions of Martin Bracarensis and of Dionysius. 


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A BISHOP shall not be ordained without a synod and the presence of the metropolitan of the province. And 
when he is present, it is by all means better that all his brethren in the ministry of the Province should 
assemble together with him; and these the metropolitan ought to invite by letter. And it were better that all 
should meet; but if this be difficult, it is indispensable that a majority should either be present or take part by 
letter in the election, and that thus the appointment should be made in the presence, or with the consent, of 
the majority; but if it should be done contrary to these decrees, the ordination shall be of no force. And if the 
appointment shall be made according to the prescribed canon, and any should object through natural love 
of contradiction, the decision of the majority shall prevail. 



If there be no synod and metropolitan, let there be no bishop. If on account of some difficulty all do not meet 
together, at least let the greater number, or let them give their assent by letter. But if after the affair is all 
settled a few are contentious, let the vote of the majority stand firm. 


In the first place it must be noted that by "ordination" in this place is meant election, and the laying on of the 
bishop's hand. 


The method of choosing a bishop is laid down in the canons of Nice, number iv., but the present canon 
adds the provision that an election which takes place in violation of the provisions of this decree is null and 
invalid: and that when those who are electing are divided in opinion as to whom to choose, the votes of the 
majority shall prevail. But when you hear this canon saying that there should be no election without the 
presence of the Metropolitan, you must not say that he ought to be present at an election (for this was 
prohibited, as is found written in other canons) but rather say that his presence here is a permission or 
persuasion, without which no election could take place. 

Compare Apostolic Canon number j. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXV., can. iij. Gratian has 
chosen Isidore's version, and the Roman Correctors point out that Dionysius' is preferable. 


WITH a view to the good of the Church and the settlement of disputes, it is decreed to be well that synods of 
the bishops, (of which the metropolitan shall give notice to the provincials), should be held in every province 
twice a year, one after the third week of the feast of Easter, so that the synod may be ended in the fourth 
week of the Pentecost; and the second on the ides of October which is the tenth [or fifteenth] day of the 
month Hyperberetaeus; so that presbyters and deacons, and all who think themselves unjustly dealt with, 
may resort to these synods and obtain the judgment of the synod. But it shall be unlawful for any to hold 
synods by themselves without those who are entrusted with the Metropolitan Sees. 



On account of ecclesiastical necessities the synod in every province shall meet twice a year, in the fourth 
week of Pentecost and on the tenth day of Hyperbereoeus. 

SCHELESTRATIUS (cit. Van Espen). 

The time fixed by the Council of Nice before Lent for the meeting of the synod was not received in the East, 
and the bishops kept on in the old custom of celebrating the council in the fourth week after Easter, for the 
time before Lent often presented the greatest difficulties for those in the far separated cities to come to the 
provincial metropolis. 

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In this canon the decree of Nice in canon v. is renewed, but with this difference that the Nicene synod orders 

one synod to be held before Lent, but this synod that it should be held the fourth week after Easter. 

It will be remembered that the whole period of the great fifty days from Easter to Whitsunday was known as 


Compare with this Apostolic Canon number XXXVII. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XVIII., c. xv., attributed to a 
council held by Pope Martin. The Roman Correctors point out that this "Pope Martin" was a bishop of Braga 
(Bracarensis) from whose collection of the decrees of the Greek synods Gratian often quotes; the 
Correctors also note, "For bishops in old times were usually called Popes" (Antiquitus enim episcopi 
Papoe dicebantur). 


A BISHOP may not be translated from one parish to another, either intruding himself of his own suggestion, 
or under compulsion by the people, or by constraint of the bishops; but he shall remain in the Church to 
which he was allotted by God from the beginning, and shall not be translated from it, according to the decree 
formerly passed on the subject. 



A bishop even if compelled by the people, and compelled by the bishops, must not be translated to another 

See the treatment of the translation of bishops in the Excursus to canon xv. of Nice. Compare this canon with 
Apostolical Canon number xiv. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa VII., Quaest. I., can. 
xxv., from Isidore's version. 


LET not a bishop go to a strange city, which is not subject to himself, nor into a district which does not belong 
to him, either to ordain any one, or to appoint presbyters or deacons to places within the jurisdiction of 
another bishop, unless with the consent of the proper bishop of the place. And if any one shall presume to 
do any such thing, the ordination shall be void, and he himself shall be punished by the synod. 



A bishop shall not go from city to city ordaining people, except by the will of the bishop of the city: otherwise 
the ordination shall be without force, and he himself exposed to censure. 

If we do not draw a rash conclusion, we should say that the interference of bishops in dioceses not their own, 
must have been very frequent in early days. This one synod enacted two canons (number XIII. and this 
present canon) on the subject. The same prohibition is found in canons XIV. and XXXV. of the Apostolic 
canons, in canon XV. of Nice, canon ij. of I. Constantinople and in many others. On account of the similarity of 
this canon to canon xiii. some have supposed it to be spurious, the enactment of some other synod, and this 
was the opinion of Godefrides Hermantius (Vita S. Athanasii, Lib. IV., cap. xij.) as well as of Alexander 
Natalis (Hist. Sec, IV., Dissert, xxv.). Van Espen, however, is of opinion that the two canons do not cover 
exactly the same ground, for he says Canon XIII. requires letters both from the Metropolitan and from the 
other bishops of the province, while this canon XXII. requires only the consent of the diocesan. He 
concludes that Canon XIII. refers to a diocese sede vacante, when the Metropolitan with the other bishops 
took care of the widowed church, but that Canon XXII. refers to a diocese with its own bishop, whose will is all 
that is needed for the performance of episcopal acts by another bishop. And this distinction Schelestratius 

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makes still more evident by his discussion of the matter in his scholion on Canon XIII. 

Compare with this canon of the Apostolic Canons number XXXV. also number XIV. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa IX., Quaest. II., can. vij., 

but in a form differing far from the Greek original, as the Roman Correctors point out; and even Gratian's 

present text is not as he wrote it, but amended. 


IT shall not be lawful for a bishop, even at the close of life, to appoint another as successor to himself; and if 
any such thing should be done, the appointment shall be void. But the ecclesiastical law must be observed, 
that a bishop must not be appointed otherwise than by a synod and with tile judgment of the bishops, who 
have the authority to promote tile man who is worthy, after the falling asleep of him who has ceased from his 



A dying bishop shall not appoint another bishop. But when he is dead a worthy successor shall be provided 
by a synod of those who have this power. 

Nothing could be more important than the provision of this canon. It is evidently intended to prevent 
nepotism in every form, and to leave the appointment to the vacant see absolutely to the free choice of the 
Metropolitan and his synod. The history of the Church, and its present practice, is a curious commentary 
upon the ancient legislation, and the appointment of coadjutor bishops cure jure successionis, so common 
in later days, seems to be a somewhat ingenious way of escaping the force of the canon. Van Espen, 
however, reminds his readers of the most interesting case of St. Augustine of Hippo (which he himself 
narrates in his Epistle CCXIII.) of how he was chosen by his predecessor as bishop of Hippo, both he and 
the then bishop being ignorant of the fact that it was prohibited by the canons. And how when in his old age 
the people wished him to have one chosen bishop to help him till his death and to succeed him afterwards, 
he declined saying: "What was worthy of blame in my own case, shall not be a blot likewise upon my son." 
He did not hesitate to say who he thought most worthy to succeed him, but he added, "he shall be a 
presbyter, as he is, and when God so wills he shall be a bishop." Van Espen adds; "All this should be read 
carefully that thence may be learned how St. Augustine set an example to bishops and pastors of taking all 
the pains possible that after their deaths true pastors, and not thieves and wolves, should enter into their 
flocks, who in a short time would destroy all they had accomplished by so much labour in so long a time." 
(Cf. Eusebius. H. E., Lib. VI., cap. xj. and car. xxxij.) 

Compare Apostolic Canon number LXXVI. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa VIII., Quaest. I., can. III., 
in Dionysius's version, and again Canon IV. in that of Martin Bracarensis. 


IT is right that what belongs to the Church be preserved with all care to the Church, with a good conscience 
and faith in God, the inspector and judge of all. And these things ought to be administered under the 
judgment and authority of the bishop, who is entrusted with the whole people and with the souls of the 
congregation. But it should be manifest what is church property, with the knowledge of the presbyters and 
deacons about him; so that these may know assuredly what things belong to the Church, and that nothing be 
concealed from them, in order that, when the bishop may happen to depart this life, the property belonging 
to the Church being well known, may not be embezzled nor lost, and in order that the private property of the 
bishop may not be disturbed on a pretence that it is part of the ecclesiastical goods. For it is just and 
well-pleasing to God and man that the private property of the bishop be bequeathed to whomsoever he will, 
but that for the Church be kept whatever belongs to the Church; so that neither the Church may suffer loss, nor 
the bishop be injured under pretext of the Church's interest, nor those who belong to him fall into lawsuits, 
and himself, after his death, be brought under reproach. 


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All the clergy should be cognizant of ecclesiastical matters; so that when the bishop dies the Church may 
preserve her own goods; but what belongs to the bishop shall be disposed of according to his directions. 


This canon shews the early discipline according to which the presbyters and deacons of the episcopal city, 

who were said to be "about him" or to pertain to his chair, represented the senate of the church, who together 

with the bishop administered the church affairs, and, when the see was vacant, had the charge of it. All this 

Martin of Braga sets forth more clearly in his version, and I have treated of the matter at large in my work on 

Ecclesiastical Law, Pars I., Tit. viii., cap. i., where I have shewn that the Cathedral chapter succeeded to this 

senate of presbyters and deacons. 

Compare with this canon Apostolical Canon XL. 

This canon in a somewhat changed form is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., 

Causa XII., Quaest. I., can. xx., and attributed to "Pope Martin's Council"; also compare with this the ensuing 

canon, number XXI. 


LET the bishop have power over the funds of the Church, so as to dispense them with all piety and in the 
fear of God to all who need. And if there be occasion, let him take what he requires for his own necessary 
uses and those of his brethren sojourning with him, so that they may in no way lack, according to the divine 
Apostle, who says, "Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content." And if he shall not be content with 
these, but shall apply the funds to his own private uses, and not manage the revenues of the Church, or the 
rent of the farms, with the consent of the presbyters and deacons, but shall give the authority to his own 
domestics and kinsmen, or brothers, or sons, so that the accounts of the Church are secretly injured, he 
himself shall submit to an investigation by the synod of the province. But if, on the other hand, the bishop or 
his presbyters shall be defamed as appropriating to themselves what belongs to the Church, (whether from 
lands or any other ecclesiastical resources), so that the poor are oppressed, and accusation and infamy 
are brought upon the account and on those who so administer it, let them also be subject to correction, the 
holy synod determining what is right. 



The bishop shall have power over ecclesiastical goods. But should he not be content with those things 
which are sufficient for him but shall alienate the goods and revenues of the church, without the advice of the 
clergy, penalties shall be I exacted from him in the presence of the synod. But if he has converted to his own 
uses what was given for the poor, of this also let him give an explanation to the synod. 

Compare with this canon Apostolic Canon number XLI. 

This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XII., Quaest I., can. 
XXIII. and with this should be compared canon XXII. immediately preceding. 

At the end of this canon in Labbe's version of Dionysius we find these words added. "And thirty bishops 
signed who were gathered together at this Synod." Isidore Mercator has a still fuller text, viz.: "I, Eusebius, 
being present subscribe to all things constituted by this holy Synod. Theodore, Nicetas, Macedonius, 
Anatolius, Tarcodimantus, AEthe-reus, Narcissus, Eustachius, Hesychius, Mauricius, Paulus, and the rest, 
thirty bishops agreed and signed." Van Espen after noting that this addition is not found in the Greek, nor in 
Martin Bracarensis, adds "there is little probability that this clause is of the same antiquity as the canons." 

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A.D. 343-381. 


Historical Introduction. 

The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 

Excursus to Canon XVIII., On the Choir Offices of the Early Church. 

Excursus to Canon XIX., On the Worship of the Early Church. 

Excursus to Canon XXII., On the Vestments of the Early Church. 

Excursus to Canon XXIV., On the Minor Orders in the Early Church. 


The Laodicea at which the Synod met is Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana, also called Laodicea ad Lycum, 
and to be carefully distinguished from the Laodicea in Syria. This much is certain, but as to the exact date of 
the Synod there is much discussion. Peter de Marca fixed it at the year 365, but Pagi in his Critica on 
Baronius's Annals(1) seems to have overthrown the arguments upon which de Marca rested, and agrees 
with Gothofred in placing it circa 363. At first sight it would seem that the Seventh Canon gave a clue which 
would settle the date, inasmuch as the Photinians are mentioned, and Bishop Photinus began to be 
prominent in the middle of the fourth century and was anathematized by the Eusebians in a synod at Antioch 
in 344, and by the orthodox at Milan in 345; and finally, after several other condemnations, he died in 
banishment in 366. But it is not quite certain whether the word "Photinians "is not an interpolation. Something 
with regard to the date may perhaps be drawn from the word <greek>Pakatianhs</greek> as descriptive of 
Phrygia, for it is probable that this division was not yet made at the time of the Sardican Council in 343. 
Hefele concludes that "Under such circumstances, it is best, with Remi Ceillier, Tillemont, and others, to 
place the meeting of the synod of Laodicea generally somewhere between the years 343 and 381 , i.e., 
between the Sardican and the Second Ecumenical Council-and to give up the attempt to discover a more 
exact date."(2) 

But since the traditional position of the canons of this Council is after those of Antioch and immediately 
before those of First Constantinople, I have followed this order. Such is their position in "very many old 
collections of the Councils which have had their origin since the sixth or even in the fifth century," says 
Hefele. It is true that Matthew Blastares places these canons after those of Sardica, but the Quinisext Synod 
in its Second Canon and Pope Leo IV., according to the Corpus Juris Canonici,(3) give them the position 
which they hold in this volume. 


The holy synod which assembled at Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana, from divers regions of Asia; set forth 
the ecclesiastical definitions which are hereunder annexed. 


This brief preface, by some ancient collector, is found in the printed editions of Zonaras and of Balsamon 
and also in the Amerbachian manuscript. 


IT is right, according to the ecclesiastical Canon, that the Communion should by indulgence be given to 

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those who have freely and lawfully joined in second marriages, not having previously made a secret 
marriage; after a short space, which is to be spent by them in prayer and fasting. 



A digamist not secretly married, after devoting himself for a short time to praying shall be held blameless 


Many synods imposed a penance upon digamists, although the Church never condemned second 

On this whole subject of second marriages see notes on Canon VIII. of Nice, on Canons III. and VII. of 
Neocaesarea, and on Canon XIX. of Ancyra. In treating of this canon Hefele does little but follow Van Espen, 
who accepts Bishop Beveridge's conclusions in opposition to Justellus and refers to him, as follows, "See 
this observation of Justellus' refuted more at length by William Beveridge in his notes on this canon," and 
Bp. Beveridge adopted and defended the exposition of the Greek commentators, viz.: there is some fault 
and some punishment, they are to be held back from communion for "a short space," but after that, it is 
according to the law of the Church that they should be admitted to communion. The phrase "not having 
previously made a secret marriage" means that there must not have been intercourse with the woman 
before the second marriage was "lawfully" contracted, for if so the punishment would have been for 
fornication, and neither light nor for "a short space." The person referred to in the canon is a real digamist 
and not a bigamist, this is proved by the word "lawfully" which could not be used of , the second marriage of 
a man who already had a living wife. 


THEY who have sinned in divers particulars, if they have persevered in the prayer of confession and 
penance, and are wholly converted from their faults, shall be received again to communion, through the 
mercy and goodness of God, after a time of penance appointed to them, in proportion to the nature of their 



Those who have fallen unto various faults and have confessed them with compunction, and done the 
penance suitable to them, shall be favourably received. 


Van Espen and others were of opinion that this canon treated only of those who had themselves been guilty 
of various criminal acts, and it has been asked whether any one guilty not only of one gross sin, but of 
several of various kinds, might also be again received into communion. It seems to me, however, that this 
canon with the words, "those who have sinned in divers particulars," simply means that "sinners of various 
kinds shall be treated exactly in proportion to the extent of their fall." That the question is not necessarily of 
different sins committed by the same person appears from the words, "in proportion to the nature of their 
offence," as the singular, not the plural, is here used. 

But Van Espen, with Aubespine, is clearly right in not referring the words, "if they persevere in confession 
and repentance," to sacramental confession, to which the expression, "persevere" would not be well suited. 
Here is evidently meant the oft-repeated contrite confession before God and the congregation in prayer of 
sins committed, which preceded sacramental confession and absolution. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXVI., Quest, vii., can. 


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HE who has been recently baptized ought not to be promoted to the sacerdotal order. 



A neophite is not ordainable. 

This rule is laid down in the Second Nicene canon. Balsamon also compares Apostolic Canon Ixxx. 


Notwithstanding this provision, that great light, Nectarius, just separated from the flock of the catechumens, 
when he had washed away the sins of his life in the divine font, now pure himself, he put on the most pure 
dignity of the episcopate, and at the same time became bishop of the Imperial City, and president of the 
Second Holy Ecumenical Synod. 


THEY who are of the sacerdotal order ought not to lend and receive usury, nor what is called hemioliae. 



A priest is not to receive usury nor hemiolioe. 

The same rule is laid down in the seventeenth Canon of Nice. For a treatment of the whole subject of usury 

see excursus to that canon. 

Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore have numbered this canon v., and our fifth they have as iv. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLVI., can. ix. 


ORDINATIONS are not to be held in the presence of hearers. 



Ordinations are not to be performed in the presence of hearers. 


This canon calls elections "laying on of hands," and says that since in elections unworthy things are often 
said with regard to those who are elected, therefore they should not take place in the presence of any that 
might happen to come to hear. 

Zonaras also agrees that election is here intended, but Aristenus dissents and makes the reference to 
ordinations properly so-called, as follows: 


The prayers of ordination are not to be said out loud so that they may be heard by the people. 


IT is not permitted to heretics to enter the house of God while they continue in heresy. 


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The holy place is forbidden to heretics. 


Heretics are not to be permitted to enter the house of God, and yet Basil the Great, before this canon was 
set forth, admitted Valens to the perfecting of the faithful [i.e., to the witnessing the celebration of the Divine 


A heretic who pertinaciously rejects the doctrine of the Church is rightly not allowed to enter the house of 
God, in which his doctrine is set forth, so long as he continues in his heresy. For this reason when Timothy, 
Archbishop of Alexandria, was consulted concerning the admission of heretics to church, answered in the 
IXth Canon of his Canonical Epistle, that unless they were ready to promise to do penance and to abandon 
their heresy, they could in no way be admitted to the prayers of tile faithful. 
Contrast with this Canon Ixxxiv., of the so-called IVth Council of Carthage, A.D. 398. 


PERSONS converted from heresies, that is, of the Novatians, Photinians, and Quartodecimans, whether 
they were catechumens or communicants among them, shall not be received until they shall have 
anathematized every heresy, and particularly that in which they were held; and afterwards those who among 
them were called communicants, having thoroughly learned the symbols of the faith, and having been 
anointed with the holy chrism, shall so communicate in the holy Mysteries. 



Novatians and Photinians, and Quartodecimans, unless they anathemathize their own and other heresies, 
are not to be received. When they have been anointed, after their abjuration, let them communicate. 
I have allowed the word "Photinians" to stand in the text although whether it is not an interpolation is by no 
means certain. They certainly were heretical on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and therefore differed from 
the other dissidents mentioned in the canon, all of whom were orthodox on this matter. It is also worthy of 
note that the word is not found in Ferrandus's Condensation (Breviatio Canonum, n. 177) nor in Isidore's 
version. Moreover there is a Latin codex in Lucca, and also one in Paris (as is noted by Mansi, v. 585; ij. 591) 
in which it is lacking. It was rejected by Baronius, Binius, and Remi Ceillier. 

The word "Catechumens" is wanting in many Greek MSS. but found in Balsamon, moreover, Dionysius and 
Isidore had it in their texts. 

This canon possesses a great interest and value to the student from a different point of view. Its provisions, 
both doctrinal and disciplinary, are in contrariety with the provisions of the council held at Carthage in the 
time of St. Cyprian, and yet both these canons, contradictory as they are, are accepted by the Council in 
Trullo and are given such ecumenical authority as canons on discipline ever can possess, by the Seventh 
Ecumenical. This is not the only matter in which the various conciliar actions adopted and ratified do not 
agree inter se, and from this consideration it would seem evident that it was not intended that to each 
particular of each canon of each local synod adopted, the express sanction of the Universal Church was 
given, but that they were received in block as legislation well calculated for the good of the Church. And that 
this must have been the understanding at tile time is evinced by the fact that while the Trullan canons 
condemned a number of Western customs and usages, as I shall have occasion to point out in its proper 
place, no objection was made by the Roman legates to the canon of the Seventh Ecumenical which 
received them as authoritative. 


PERSONS converted from the heresy of those who are called Phrygians, even should they be among 
those reputed by their as clergymen, and even should they be called the very chiefest, are with all care to 
be both instructed and baptized by the bishops and presbyters of the Church. 

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When Phrygians return they are to be baptized anew, even if among them they were reckoned clergymen. 


This synod here declares the baptism of the Montanists invalid, while in the preceding canon it recognised 
as valid the baptism of the Novatians and Quartodecimans. From this, it would appear that the Montanists 
were suspected of heresy with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. Some other authorities of the ancient 
Church, however, judged differently, and for a long time it was a question in the Church whether to consider 
the baptism of the Montanists valid or not. Dionysius the Great of Alexandria was in favour of its validity: but 
this Synod and the Second General Council rejected it as invalid, not to mention the Synod of Iconium (235), 
which declared all heretical baptism invalid. This uncertainty of the ancient Church is accounted for thus: (a) 
On one side the Montanists, and especially Tertullian, asserted that they held the same faith and 
sacraments, especially the same baptism (eadem lavacri sacramenta) as tile Catholics. St. Epiphanius 
concurred in this, and testified that the Montanists taught the same regarding the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost, as did the Catholic Church, (b) Other Fathers, however, thought less favourably of them, and for 
this reason, that the Montanists often expressed themselves so ambiguously, that they might, nay, must be 
said completely to identify the Holy Ghost with Montanus. Thus Tertullian in quoting expressions of 
Montanus, actually says: "the Paraclete speaks"; and therefore Firmilian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil the Great, 
and other Fathers, did in fact, reproach the Montanists with this identification, and consequently held their 
baptism to be invalid, (c) Basil the Great goes to the greatest length in this direction in maintaining that the 
Montanists had baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of Montanus and Priscilla. But it is very 
probable, as Tillemont conjectured, that Basil only founded these strange stories of their manner of 
baptizing upon his assumption that they identified Montanus with the Holy Ghost; and, as Baronius 
maintains, it is equally "probable that the Montanists did not alter the form of baptism. But, even admitting all 
this, their ambiguous expressions concerning Montanus and the Holy Ghost would alone have rendered it 
advisable to declare their baptism invalid, (d) Besides this, a considerable number of Montanists, namely, 
the school of AEschines, fell into Sabellianism, and thus their baptism was decidedly invalid. (Vide Article in 
Wetzer and Welte Kirchenlexicon s. v. Montanus; by myself [i.e. Hefele] ). 

In conclusion, it must be observed that Balsamon and Zonaras rightly understood the words in our text, 
"even though they be called the very chiefest," "though they be held in the highest esteem," to refer to the 
most distinguished clergy and teachers of the Montanists. 


THE members of the Church are not allowed to meet in the cemeteries, nor attend the so-called martyries of 
any of the heretics, for prayer or service; but such as so do, if they be communicants, shall be 
excommunicated for a time; but if they repent and confess that they have sinned they shall be received. 



Whoso prayeth in the cemeteries and martyries of heretics is to be excommunicated. 


By the word "service" (<greek>qerapeias</greek>) in this canon is to be understood the healing of 
sickness. The canon wishes that the faithful should under no pretence betake themselves to the prayers of 
heretical pseudo-martyrs nor pay them honour in the hope of obtaining the healing of sickness or the cure of 
their various temptations. And if any do so, they are to be cut off, that is for a time forbidden communion (and 
this refers to the faithful who are only laymen), but when they have done penance and made confession of 
their fault, the canon orders that they are to be received back again. 


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As canon vi. forbids heretics to enter the house of God, so this canon forbids the faithful to go to the 
cemeteries of heretics, which are called by them "Martyries." ... For in the days of the persecution, certain of 
the heretics, calling themselves Christians, suffered even to death, and hence those who shared their 
opinions called them "martyrs." 


As Catholics had their martyrs, so too had the heretics, and especially the Montanists or Phrygians, who 

greatly boasted of them. 

Apollinaris writes of these as may be seen in Eusebius (H. E., Lib. v., cap. xvj.) 

The places or cemeteries in which rested the bodies of those they boasted of as martyrs, they styled 

"Martyries" (martyria) as similar places among Catholics were wont to be called by the same name, from 

the bones of the martyrs that rested there. 

From the Greek text, as also from Isidore's version it is clear that this canon refers to all the faithful generally, 

and that "the members of the Church" (Lat. Ecclesiastici, the word Dionysius uses) must be taken in this wide 



THE members of the Church shall not indiscriminately marry their children to heretics. 



Thou shalt not marry a heretic. 


(Bib. der Kirchenvers., pt. ii., p. 324.) "Indiscriminately" means not that they might be given in marriage to 
some heretics and not to others; but that it should not be considered a matter of indifference whether they 
were married to heretics or orthodox. 

Zonaras and Balsamon, led astray by the similar canon enacted at Chalcedon (number xiv.), suppose this 
restriction only to apply to the children of the clergy, but Van Espen has shewn that the rule is of general 
application. He adds, however, the following: 


Since by the custom of the Greeks, ecclesiastics are allowed to have wives, there is no doubt that the 
marriage of their children with heretics would be indecent in a very special degree, although there are many 
things which go to shew that marriage with heretics was universally deemed a thing to be avoided by 
Catholics, and was rightly forbidden. 


PRESBYTIDES, as they are called, or female presidents, are not to be appointed in the Church. 



Widows called presidents shall not be appointed in churches. 


In old days certain venerable women (<greek>presbutides</greek>) sat in Catholic churches, and took 
care that the other women kept good and modest order. But from their habit of using improperly that which 
was proper, either through their arrogancy or through their base self-seeking, scandal arose. Therefore the 
Fathers prohibited the existence in the Church thereafter of any more such women as are called presbytides 
or presidents. And that no one may object that in the monasteries of women one woman must preside over 

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the rest, it should be remembered that the renunciation which they make of themselves to God and the 
tonsure brings it to pass that they are thought of as one body though many; and all things which are theirs, 
relate only to the salvation of the soul. But for woman to teach in a Catholic Church, where a multitude of men 
is gathered together, and women of different opinions, is, in the highest degree, indecorous and pernicious. 


It is doubtful what was here intended, and this canon has received very different interpretations. In the first 
place, what is the meaning of the words <greek>presbutides</greek> and <greek>prokaqhmenai</greek> 
("presbytides" and female presidents)? I think the first light is thrown on the subject by Epiphanius, who in his 
treatise against the Collyridians (Hoer., Ixxix. 4) says that "women had never been allowed to offer sacrifice, 
as the Collyridians presumed to do, but were only allowed to minister. Therefore there were only 
deaconesses in the Church, and even if the oldest among them were called 'presbytides,' this term must be 
clearly distinguished from presbyteresses. The latter would mean priestesses (<greek>ierissas</greek>), 
but 'presbytides' only designated their age, as seniors." According to this, the canon appears to treat of the 
superior deaconesses who were the overseers (<greek>prokaqhmenai</greek>) of the other 
deaconesses; and the further words of the text may then probably mean that in future no more such superior 
deaconesses or eldresses were to be appointed, probably because they had often outstepped their 

Neander, Fuchs, and others, however, think it more probable that the terms in question are in this canon to 
be taken as simply meaning deaconesses, for even in the church they had been wont to preside over the 
female portion of the congregation (whence their name of "presidents"); and, according to St. Paul's rule, 
only widows over sixty years of age were to be chosen for this office (hence called "presbytides"). We may 
add, that this direction of the apostle was not very strictly adhered to subsequently, but still it was repeatedly 
enjoined that only eider persons should be chosen as deaconesses. Thus, for instance, the Council of 
Chalcedon, in its fifteenth canon, required that deaconesses should be at least forty years of age, while the 
Emperor Theodosius even prescribed the age of sixty. 

Supposing now that this canon simply treats of deaconesses, a fresh doubt arises as to how the last 
words-"they are not to be appointed in tim Church" are to be understood. For it may mean that "from 
henceforth no more deaconesses shall be appointed;" or, that "in future they shall no more be solemnly 
ordained in the church." The first interpretation would, however, contradict the fact that the Greek Church had 
deaconesses long after the Synod of Laodicea. For instance, in 692 the Synod in Trullo (Can. xiv.) ordered 
that "no one under forty years of age should be ordained deaconess." Consequently the, second 
interpretation, "they shall not he solemnly ordained in the church," seems a better one, and Neander 
decidedly prefers it. It is certainly true that several later synods distinctly forbade the old practice of 
conferring a sort of ordination upon deaconesses, as, for instance, the first Synod of Orange (Arausicanum I. 
of 441 , Can. xxvj.) in the words-diaconoe omnimodis non ordinandoe; also the Synod at Epaon in 51 7 (Can. 
xxj.), and the second Synod at Orleans in 533 (Can. xviij.); but in the Greek Church at least, an ordination, a 
<greek>keirotoneisqai</greek>, took place as late as the Council in Trullo (Can. xiv.). But this Canon of 
Laodicea does not speak of solemn dedication, and certainly not of ordination, but only of 
<greek>kaqistasqai</greek>. These reasons induce us to return to the first interpretation of this canon, and 
to understand it as forbidding from that time forward the appointment of any more chief deaconesses or 

Zonaras and Balsamon give yet another explanation. In their opinion, these "presbytides" were not chief 
deaconesses, but aged women in general (ex populo), to whom was given the supervision of the females, 
in church. The Synod of Laodicea, however, did away with this arrangement, probably because they had 
misused their office for purposes of pride, or money-making, bribery, etc. 
Compare with the foregoing the Excursus on Deaconesses, appended to Canon XIX. of Nice. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXXII., c. xix, in Isidore's 
version; but Van Espen remarks that the Roman Correctors have pointed out that it departs widely from the 
Greek original. The Roman Correctors further say "The note of Balsamon on this point, should be seen;" 
and with this interpretation Morinus also agrees in his work on Holy Orders (De Ordinationibus, Pars III., 
Exercit. x., cap. iij., n. 3). 


BISHOPS are to be appointed to the ecclesiastical government by the judgment of the metropolitans and 
neighbouring bishops, after having been long proved both in the foundation of their faith and in the 
conversation of an honest life. 

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Whoever is most approved in faith and life and most learned, he is fit to be chosen bishop. 
The first part of this canon is in conformity with the provision in the IV. canon of Nice. 


THE election of those who are to be appointed to the: priesthood is not to be committed to the multitude. 



Whose is chosen by seculars is ineligible. 


From this canon it is evident that in ancient times not only bishops but also priests were voted for by the 
multitude of the people. This is here forbidden. 


Bishops are elected by metropolitans and other bishops. If anyone in this manner shall not have been 

promoted to the Episcopate, but shall have been chosen by the multitude, he is not to be admitted nor 


[It is clear from this that by "the Priesthood" Aristenus understands the episcopate, and I think rightly:] 


The word in the Greek to which "multitude" corresponds (<greek>oklos</greek>) properly signifies a 


What the fathers intend to forbid are tumultuous elections, that is, that no attention is to be paid to riotous 

demonstrations on the part of the people, when with acclamations they are demanding the ordination of 

anyone, with an appearance of sedition. Such a state of affairs St. Augustine admirably describes in his 

Epistola ad Albinam (Epist. cxxvi., Tom. II, col. 548, Ed. Gaume). 

And it is manifest that by this canon the people were not excluded from all share in the election of bishops 

and priests from what St. Gregory Nazianzen says, in Epistola ad Coesarienses, with regard to the election 

of St. Basil. From this what could be more evident than that after this canon was put out the people in the 

East still had their part in the election of a bishop? This also is clear from Justinian's "Novels" (Novelloe, 

cxxiij., e.j. and cxxxvij., c. ij.) 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. Ixiii., can. vj„ but in proof 

of the proposition that laymen were hereby forbidden to have any share in elections. Van Espen notes that 

Isidore's version favours Gratian's misunderstanding, and says that "no doubt that this version did much to 

exclude the people from the election of bishops." 


THE holy things are not to be sent into other dioceses at the feast of Easter by way of eulogiae. 



It is not right to send the holy gifts to another parish. 


It was a custom in the ancient Church, not indeed to consecrate, but to bless such of the several breads of 

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the same form laid on the altar as were not needed for the communion, and to employ them, partly for the 
maintenance of the clergy, and partly for distributing to those of the faithful who did not communicate at the 
Mass. The breads thus blessed were called eulogioe. Another very ancient custom was, that bishops as a 
sign of Church fellowship, should send the consecrated bread to one another. That the Roman Popes of the 
first and second centuries did so, Irenaeus testifies in his letter to Pope Victor in Eusebius. In course of time, 
however, instead of the consecrated bread, only bread which had been blessed, or eulogioe, were sent 
abroad. For instance, Paulinus and Augustine sent one another these eulogioe. But at Easter the older 
custom still prevailed; and to invest the matter with more solemnity, instead of the eulogioe, the consecrated 
bread, i.e., the Eucharist, was sent out. The Synod of Laodicea forbids this, probably out of reverence to the 
holy Sacrament. 

Binterim (Denkwurdegkeiten, vol. IV., P. iij., p. 535.) gives another explanation. He starts from the fact that, 
with the Greeks as well as the Latins, the wafer intended for communion is generally called sancta or 
<greek>agia</greek> even before the consecration. This is not only perfectly true, but a well-known fact; 
only it must not be forgotten that these wafers or oblations were only called sancta by anticipation, and 
because of the sanctificatio to which they were destined. Binterim then states that by <greek>agia</greek> 
in the canon is to be understood not the breads already consecrated, but those still unconsecrated. He 
further conjectures that these unconsecrated breads were often sent about instead of the eulogioe, and that 
the Synod of Laodicea had forbidden this, not during the whole year, but only at Easter. He cannot, however, 
give any reason, and his statement is the more doubtful, as he cannot prove that these unconsecrated 
communion breads really used before to be sent about as eulogioe. 

In connection with this, however, he adds another hypothesis. It is known that the Greeks only consecrate a 
square piece of the little loaf intended for communion, which is first cut out with the so-called holy spear. The 
remainder of the small loaf is divided into little pieces, which remain on or near the altar during Mass, after 
which they are distributed to the non-communicants. These remains of the small loaf intended for 
consecration are called <greek>antidwra</greek> and Binterim's second conjecture is, that these 
<greek>antidwra</greek> might perhaps have been sent as eulogioe and may be the 
<greek>agia</greek> of this canon. But he is unable to prove that these <greek>antidwra</greek> were 
sent about, and is, moreover, obliged to confess that they are nowhere called eulogioe, while this canon 
certainly speaks of eulogioe. To this must be added that, as with regard to the unconsecrated wafer, so we 
see no sufficient cause why the Synod should have forbidden these <greek>antidwra</greek> being sent. 


No others shall sing in the Church, save only the canonical singers, who go up into the ambo and sing from 
a book. 



No one should ascend the ambon unless he is tonsured. 


The only question [presented by this canon] is whether this synod forbade the laity to take any part in the 
Church music, as Binius and others have understood the words of the text, or whether it only intended to 
forbid those who were not cantors taking the lead. Van Espen and Neander in particular were in favour of 
the latter meaning, pointing to the fact that certainly in the Greek Church after the Synod of Laodicea the 
people were accustomed to join in the singing, as Chrysostom and Basil the Great sufficiently testify. 
Bingham propounded a peculiar opinion, namely, that this Synod did indeed forbid the laity, to sing in the 
church, or even to join in the singing, but this only temporarily, for certain reasons. I have no doubt, however, 
that Van Espen and Neander take the truer view. 


THE Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath [i.e. Saturday], with the other Scriptures. 



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The Gospel, the Epistle [<greek>apostolos</greek>] and the other Scriptures are to be read on the 


Before the arrangement of the Ecclesiastical Psalmody was settled, neither the Gospel nor the other 
Scriptures were accustomed to be read on the Sabbath. But out of regard to the canons which forbade 
fasting or kneeling on the Sabbath, there were no services, so that there might be as much feasting as 
possible. This the fathers prohibit, and decree that on the Sabbath the whole ecclesiastical office shall be 

Neander (Kirchengesch., 2d ed., vol. iij., p. 565 et seq.) suggests in addition to the interpretation just given 
another, viz.: that it was the custom in many parts of the ancient Church to keep every Saturday as a feast in 
commemoration of the Creation. Neander also suggests that possibly some Judaizers read on the Sabbath 
only the Old Testament; he, however, himself remarks that in this case <greek>euaggekia</greek> and 
<greek>eterwn</greek> <greek>graqpn</greek>would require the article. 


Among the Greeks the Sabbath was kept exactly as the Lord's day except so far as the cessation of work 

was concerned, wherefore the Council wishes that, as on Sundays, after the other lessons there should 

follow the Gospel. 

For it is evident that by the intention of the Church the whole Divine Office was designed for the edification 

and instruction of the people, and especially was this the case on feast days, when the people were apt to 

be present in large numbers. 

Here we may note the origin of our present [Western] discipline, by which on Sundays and feast days the 

Gospel is wont to be read with the other Scriptures in the canonical hours, while such is not the case on ferial 

days, or in the order for ferias and "simples. "(1) 


THE Psalms are not to be joined together in the congregations, but a lesson shall intervene after every 



In time of service lessons shall be interspersed with the Psalms. 


It was well to separate the Psalms by lessons when the congregation was gathered in church, and not to 
keep them continuously singing unbroken psalmody, lest those who had assembled might become 
careless through weariness. 


This was an ancient custom which has been laid aside since the new order of ecclesiastical matters has 
been instituted. (2) 


Here it may be remarked we find the real reason why in our present rite, the lections, verses, etc., of the 
nocturns are placed between the Psalms, so as to repel weariness. 


THE same Service of prayers is to be said always both at hones and at vespers. 

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The same prayers shall be said at nones vespers. 


Some feasts ended at the ninth hour, others only in the evening, and both alike with prayer. The Synod here 
wills that in both eases the same prayers should be used. Thus does Van Espen explain the words of the 
text, and I think rightly. But the Greek commentator understands the Synod to order that the same prayers 
should be used in all places, thus excluding all individual caprice. According to this, the rule of conformity 
would refer to places; while, according to Van Espen, the hones and vespers were to be the same. If, 
however, this interpretation were correct, the Synod would not have only spoken of the prayers at hones and 
vespers, but would have said in general, "all dioceses shall use the same form of prayer." 


Nothing is more marked in the lives of the early followers of Christ than the abiding sense which they had of 
the Divine Presence. Prayer was not to them an occasional exercise but an unceasing practice. If then the 
Psalmist sang in the old dispensation "Seven times a day do I praise thee" (Ps. cxix. 164), we may be quite 
certain that the Christians would never fall behind the Jewish example. We know that among the Jews there 
were the "Hours of Prayer," and nothing would be, a priori, more likely than that with new and deeper 
significance these should pass over into the Christian Church. I need not pause here to remind the reader of 
the observance of "the hour of prayer" which is mentioned in the New Testament, and shall pass on to my 
more immediate subject. 

Most liturgiologists have been agreed that the "Choir Offices" of the Christian Church, that is to say the 
recitation of the Psalms of David, with lessons from other parts of Holy Scripture and collects, (1) was an 
actual continuation of the Jewish worship, the melodies even of the Psalms being carried over and modified 
through the ages into the plain song of today. For this view of the Jewish origin of the Canonical Hours there 
is so much to be said that one hesitates to accept a rival theory, recently set forth with much skill and 
learning, by a French priest, who had the inestimable happiness of sitting at the feet of De Rossi. M. Pierre 
Battifol(2) is of opinion that tim Canonical Hours in no way come from the Jewish Hours of Prayer but are the 
outgrowth of the Saturday Vigil service, which was wholly of Christian origin, and which he tells us was 
divided into three parts, j., the evening service, or lucernarium, which was the service of Vespers; ij., the 
midnight service, the origin of the Nocturns or Martins; iij., the service at daybreak, the origin of Lauds. Soon 
vigils were kept for all the martyr commemorations; and by the time of Tertullian, if not before, Wednesdays 
and Fridays had their vigils. With the growth of monasticism they became daily. This Mr. Battifol thinks was 
introduced into Antioch about A.D. 350, and soon spread all over the East. The "little hours," that is Terce, 
Sext, and None, he thinks were monastic in origin and that Prime and Compline were transferred from the 
dormitory to the church, just as the martyrology was transferred from the refectory. 
Such is the new theory, which, even if rejected, at least is valuable in drawing attention to the great 
importance of the vigil-service in the Early Church, an importance still attaching to it in Russia on the night of 
Easter Even. 

Of the twilight service we have a most exquisite remains in the hymn to be sung at the lighting of the lamps. 
This is one of the few Psalmi idiotici which has survived the condemnation of such compositions by the 
early councils, in fact the only two others are the Gloria in Excelsis and the Te Deum. The hymn at the 
lighting of the lamps is as follows: 

"O gladsome light 
Of the Father Immortal, 
And of the celestial 
Sacred and blessed 
Jesus, our Saviour! 

"Now to the sunset 
Again hast thou brought us; 
And seeing the evening 
Twilight, we bless thee, 

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Praise thee, adore thee ! 

"Father omnipotent! 
Son, the Life-giver! 
Spirit, the Comforter! 
Worthy at all times 
Of worship and wonder!"(1) 

Dr. Battifol's new theory was promptly attacked by P. Suibbert Baumer, a learned German Benedictine who 
had already written several magazine articles on the subject before Battifol's book had appeared. 
The title of Baumer's book is Geschichte des Breviers, Versuch einer quellenmassigen Darstellung der 
Entiivicklung des altkirchen und des romeschen Officiums bis auf unsere Ttage. (Freibug in Briesgau, 1895.) 
The following(2) may be taken as a fair resume of the position taken in this work and most ably defended, a 
position which (if I may be allowed to express an opinion) is more likely to prevail as being most in 
accordance with the previous researches of the learned. 

"The early Christians separated from the Synagogues about A.D. 65; that is, about the same time as the first 
Epistle to Timothy was written, and at this moment of separation from the Synagogue the Apostles had 
already established, besides the liturgy, at least one, probably two, canonical hours of prayer, Martins and 
Evensong, Besides what we should call sermons, the service of these hours was made up of psalms, 
readings from Holy Scripture, and extempore prayers. A few pages on (p. 42) Baumer allows that even if this 
service had been daily in Jerusalem the Apostles' times, yet it had become limited to Sundays in the 
sub-Apostolic times, when persecution would not allow the Apostolic custom of daily morning and evening 
public prayer. Yet the practice of private prayer at the third, sixth, and ninth hours continued, based upon an 
Apostolic tradition; and thus, when the tyranny of persecution was overpast, the idea of public prayer at 
these hours was saved and the practice carried on." 

The student should by no means omit to read Dom Prosper Gueranger's Institutions Liturgiques, which while 
written in a bitter and most partisan spirit, is yet a work of the most profound learning. Above all anyone 
professing any familiarity with the literature on the subject must have mastered Cardinal Bona's invaluable 
De Divina Psalmodia, a mine of wisdom and a wonder of research. 


AFTER the sermons of the Bishops, the prayer for the catechumens is to be made first by itself; and after the 
catechumens have gone out, the prayer for those who are under penance; and, after these have passed 
under the hand [of the Bishop] and departed, there should then be offered the three prayers of the faithful, 
the first to be said entirely in silence, the second and third aloud, and then the [kiss of] peace is to be given. 
And, after the presbyters have given the [kiss of] peace to the Bishop, then the laity are to give it [to one 
another], and so the Holy Oblation is to be completed. And it is lawful to the priesthood alone to go to the 
Altar and [there] communicate. 



After the prayers of the catechumens shall be said those of the Penitents, and afterwards those of the faithful. 
And after the peace, or brace, has been given, the offering shall be made. Only priests shall enter the 
sanctuary and maize there their communion. 

The Greek commentators throw but little if any light upon this canon. A question has been raised as to who 
said the prayers mentioned. Van Espen, following Isidore's translation "they also pray who are doing 
penance," thinks the prayer of the penitents, said by themselves, is intended, and not the prayer said by the 
Bishop. But Hefele, following Dionysius's version-"the prayers over the catechumens," "over those who are 
doing penance"-thinks that the liturgical prayers are intended, which after the sermon were wont to be said 
"over" the different classes. Dionysius does not say "over" the faithful, but describes them as "the prayers of 
the faithful," which Hefele thinks means that the faithful joined in reciting them. 


(Percival, H. R.: Johnson's Universal Cyclopoedia, Vol. V., s. v. Liturgies.) 

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St. Paul is by some learned writers supposed to have quoted in several places the already existing liturgy, 
especially in I. Cor. ij. 9.,(1) and there can be no doubt that the Lord's prayer was used and certain other 
formulas which are referred to by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles(2) as "the Apostles' prayers." How 
early these forms were committed to writing has been much disputed among the learned, and it would be 
rash to attempt to rule this question. Pierre Le Brun(3) presents most strongly the denial of their having been 
written during the first three centuries, and Probst(4) argues against this opinion. While it does not seem 
possible to prove that before the fourth century the liturgical books were written out in full, owing no doubt to 
the influence of the disciplina arcani, it seems to be true that much earlier than this there was a definite and 
fixed order in the celebration of divine worship and in the administration of the sacraments. The famous 
passage in St Justin Martyr(5) seems to point to the existence of such a form in his day, shewing how even 
then the service for the Holy Eucharist began with the Epistle and Gospel. St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom 
bear witness to the same thing. (6) 

Within, comparatively speaking, a few years, a good deal of information with regard to the worship of the 
early Church has been given us by the discovery of the <greek>Didakh</greek>, and of the fragments the 
Germans describe as the K. O., and by the publication of M. Gamurrini's transcript of the Peregrinatio 

From all these it is thought that liturgical information of the greatest value can be obtained. Moreover the first 
two are thought to throw much light upon the age and construction of the Apostolical Constitutions. Without in 
any way committing myself to the views I now proceed to quote, I lay then before the reader as the results of 
the most advanced criticism in the matter. 

(Duchesne. Origines du Culte Chretien, p. 54 et seq.) 

All known liturgies may be reduced to four principal types-the Syrian, the Alexandrian, the Roman, and the 
Gallican. In the fourth century there certainly existed these four types at the least, for the Syrian had already 
given rise to several sub-types which were clearly marked. 
The most ancient documents of the Syrian Liturgy are: 

1 . The Catechetical Lectures of St, Cyril of Jerusalem, delivered about the year 347. 

2. The Apostolic Constitutions (Bk. II., 57, and Bk. VIII., 5-15). 

3. The homilies of St. John Chrysostom. 

St. John Chrysostom often quotes lines of thought and even prayers taken from the liturgy. Bingham(1) was 
the first to have the idea of gathering together and putting ill order these scattered references. This work has 
been recently taken in hand afresh by Mr. Hammond. (2) From this one can find much interesting 
corroborative evidence, but the orator does not give anywhere a systematic description of the liturgy, in the 
order of its rites and prayers. 

The Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril are really a commentary upon the ceremonies of the mass, made to 
the neophytes after their initiation. The preacher does not treat of the missa catechumenorum because his 
hearers had so long been familiar with it; he presupposes the bread and wine to have been brought to and 
placed upon the altar, and begins at the moment when the bishop prepares himself to celebrate the Holy 
Mysteries by washing his hands. 

In the Apostolic Constitutions a distinction must be drawn between Book II. and Book VIII. The first is very 
sketchy; it only contains a description of the rites without the words used, the other gives at length all the 
formulas of the prayers, but only from the end of the Gospel. 

We know now that the Apostolical Constitutions in the present state of the Greek text represent a melting 
down and fusing together of two analogous books-the Didaskale of the Apostles, of which only a Syriac 
version is extant; and the Didake of the Apostles, recently discovered by the metropolitan, Philotheus 
Bryennius. The first of these two books has served as a basis for the, first six books of the Apostolical 
Constitutions. The second, much spread out, has become the seventh book of the same collection. The 
eighth book is more homogeneous. It must have been added to the seven others by the author of the 
recension of the Didaskale and of the Didake. This author is the same as he who made the interpolations in 
the seven authentic letters of St. Ignatius, and added to them six others of his own manufacture. He lived at 
Antioch in Syria, or else in the ecclesiastical region of which that city was the centre. He wrote about the 
middle of the fourth century, at the very high tide of the Subordination theology, which finds expression more 
than once in his different compositions. He is the author of the description of the liturgy, which is found in 
Book II.; in fact, that whole passage is lacking in the Syriac Ddaskale. Was it also he who composed the 
liturgy of the Vlllth book? This is open to doubt, for there are certain differences between this liturgy and that 
I shall now describe the religious service such as these documents suppose, noting, where necessary, their 

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The congregation is gathered together, the men on one side the women on the other, the clergy in the 

apsidal chancel. The readings immediately begin; they are interrupted by chants. A reader ascends the 

ambo, which stood in the middle of the church, between the clergy and the people, and read two lessons; 

then another goes up in his place to sing a psalm. This he executes as a solo, but the congregation join in 

the last modulations of the chant and continue them. This is what is called the "Response" (psalmus 

responsorius), which must be distinguished carefully from the "Antiphon," which was a psalm executed 

alternately by two choirs. At this early date the antiphon did not exist, only the response was known. There 

must have been a considerable number of readings, but we are not told how many. The series ended with a 

lection from the Gospel, which is made not by a reader but by a priest or deacon. The congregation stands 

during this lesson. 

When the lessons and psalmodies are done, the priests take the word, each in his turn, and after them the 

bishop. The homily is always preceded by a salutation to the people, to which they answer, "And with thy 


After the sermon the sending out of the different categories of persons who should not assist at the holy 

Mysteries takes place. First of all the catechumens. Upon the invitation of the deacon they make a prayer in 

silence while the congregation prays for them. The deacon gives the outline of this prayer by detailing the 

intentions and the things to be prayed for. The faithful answer, and especially the children, by the 

supplication Kyrie eleison. Then the catechumens rise up, and the deacon asks them to join with him in the 

prayer which he pronounces; next he makes them bow before the bishop to receive his benediction, after 

which he sends them home. 

The same form is used for the energumens, for the competentes, i.e., for the catechumens who are 

preparing to receive baptism, and last of all for the penitents. 

When there remain in the church only the faithful communicants, these fall to prayer; and prostrate toward the 

East they listen while the deacon says the litany-"Forthe peace and good estate of the world; for the holy 

Catholic and Apostolic Church; for bishops, priests; for the Church's benefactors; for the neophytes; for the 

sick; for travellers; for little children; for those who are erring," etc. And to all these petitions is added Kyrie 

eleison. The litany ends with this special form "Save us, and raise us up, O God, for thy mercy's sake." Then 

the voice of the bishop rises in the silence-he pronounces a solemn prayer of a grave and majestic style. 

Here ends the first part of the liturgy; that part which the Church had taken from the old use of the 

synagogues. The second part, the Christian liturgy, properly so-called, begins by the salutation of the 

bishop, followed by the response of the people. Then, at a sign given by a deacon, the clergy receive the 

kiss of peace from the bishop, and the faithful give it to each other, men to men, women to women. 

Then the deacons and the other lower ministers divide themselves between watching and serving at the 

altar. The one division go through the congregation, keeping all in their proper place, and the little children 

on the outskirts of the sacred enclosure, and watching the door that no profane person may enter the church. 

The others bring and set upon the altar the breads and the chalices prepared for the Sacred Banquet; two 

of them wave fans backwards and forwards to protect the holy offerings from insects. The bishop washes 

his hands and vests himself in festal habit; the priests range themselves around him, and all together they 

approach the altar. This is a solemn moment. After private prayer the bishop makes the sign of the cross 

upon his brow and begins, 

"The grace of God Almighty, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be 

with you always! 

"And with thy spirit. 

"Lift up your hearts. 

"We lift them up unto the Lord. 

"Let us give thanks unto our Lord. 

"It is meet and right so to do. 

"It is very meet," etc. 

And the eucharistic prayer goes on ... concluding at last with a return to the mysterious Sanctuary where God 

abides in the midst of spirits, where the Cherubims and the Seraphims eternally make heaven ring with the 


Here the whole multitude of the people lift up their voices and joining their song with that of the choir of 

Angels, sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy," etc. 

When the hymn is done and silence returns, the bishop continues the interrupted eucharistic prayer. 

"Thou truly art holy," etc., and goes on to commemorate the work of Redemption, the Incarnation of the 

Word, his mortal life, his passion; now the officiant keeps close to the Gospel account of the last supper; the 

mysterious words pronounced at first by Jesus on the night before his death are heard over the holy table. 

Then, taking his inspiration from the last words, "Do this in remembrance of me," the bishop develops the 

idea, recalling the Passion of the Son of God, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, the hope of his 

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glorious return, and declaring that it is in order to observe this precept and make this memorial that the 

congregation offers to God this eucharistic bread and wine. Finally he prays the Lord to turn upon the 

Oblation a favourable regard, and to send down upon it the power of his Holy Spirit, to make it the. Body and 

Blood of Christ, the spiritual food of his faithful, and the pledge of their immortality. 

Thus ends the eucharistic prayer, properly so-called. The mystery is consummated. ... The bishop then 

directs the prayers ... and when this long prayer is finished by a doxology, all the congregation answer 

"Amen," and thus ratify his acts of thanks and intercession. 

After this is said "Our Father," accompanied by a short litany. ... The bishop then pronounces his 

benediction on the people. 

The deacon awakes the attention of the faithful and the bishop cries aloud, "Holy things for holy persons." 

And the people answer, "There is one only holy, one only Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father," 


No doubt at this moment took place the fraction of the bread, a ceremony which the documents of the fourth 

century do not mention in express terms. 

The communion then follows. The bishop receives first, then the priests, the deacons, the sub-deacons, the 

readers, the singers, the ascetics, the deaconesses, the virgins, the widows, the little children, and last of all 

the people. 

The bishop places the consecrated bread in the right hand, which is open, and supported by the left; the 

deacon holds the chalice-they drink out of it directly. To each communicant the bishop says, "The Body of 

Christ"; and the deacon says, "The Blood of Christ, the Cup of life," to which the answer is made, "Amen." 

During the communion the singers execute Psalm XXXIII. [XXXIV. Heb. numbering] Benedicam Dominum, in 

which the words "O, taste and see how gracious the Lord is," have a special suitability. 

When the communion is done, the deacon gives the sign for prayer, which the bishop offers in the name of 

all; then all bow to receive his blessing. Finally the deacon dismisses the congregation, saying, "Go in 

peace. "(1) 


IT is not right for a deacon to sit in the presence of a presbyter, unless he be bidden by the presbyter to sit 
down. Likewise the deacons shall have worship of the subdeacons and all the [inferior] clergy. 



A deacon shall not sit down unless bidden. 

This is another canon to curb the ambition of Levites who wish to take upon themselves the honours of the 
priesthood also. Spiritual Cores seem to have been common in early times among the deacons and this is 
but one of many canons on the subject. Compare Canon XVIII of the Council of Nice. Van Espen points out 
that in the Apostolic Constitutions (Lib. II., cap. Ivij), occurs the following passage, "Let the seat for the bishop 
be set in the midst, and on each side of him let the presbyters sit, and let the deacons stand, having their 
loins girded." 


Here it should be noted, by the way, that in this canon there is presented a hierarchy consisting of bishops, 
presbyters, and deacons and other inferior ministers, each with their mutual subordination one to the other. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xciii., c. xv., in Dionysius's 


THE subdeacons have no right to a place in the Diaconicum, nor to touch the Lord's vessels. 



A subdeacon shall not touch the vessels. 

The "Lord's vessels" are the chalice and what we call the sacred vessels. 

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The ecclesiastical ministers shall not take into their hands the Lord's vessels, but they shall be carried to the 

Table by the priests or deacons. 

Both Balsamon and Zonaras agree that by <greek>uperetai</greek> is here meant subdeacons. 


It is doubtful whether by diaconicum is here meant the place where the deacons stood during service, or the 

diaconicum generally so called, which answers to our sacristy of the present day. In this diaconicum the 

sacred vessels and vestments were kept; and as the last part of the canon especially mentions these, I 

have no doubt that the diaconicum must mean the sacristy. For the rest, this canon is only the concrete 

expression of the rule, that the subdeacons shall not assume the functions of the deacons. 

With regard to the last words of this canon, Morinus and Van Espen are of opinion that the subdeacons were 

not altogether forbidden to touch the sacred vessels, for this had never been the case, but that it was 

intended that at the solemn entrance to the altar, peculiar to the Greek service, the sacred vessels which 

were then carried should not be borne by the subdeacons. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxiii., c. xxvj. 


THE subdeacon has no right to wear an orarium [i.e., stole], nor to leave the doors. 



A subdeacon must not wear an orarium nor leave the doors. 
The "orarium" is what we call now the stole. 

In old times, so we are told by Zonaras and Balsamon, it was the place of the subdeacons to stand at the 
church doors and to bring in and take out the catechumens and the penitents at the proper points in the 
service. Zonaras remarks that no one need be surprised if this, like many other ancient customs, has been 
entirely changed and abandoned. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxxii., canon xxvij., but 
reads hostias instead of ostia, thus making the canon forbid the subdeacons to leave the Hosts; and to 
make this worse the ancient Glossator adds, "but the subdeacon should remain and consume them with the 
other ministers." The Roman Correctors indeed note the error but have not felt themselves at liberty to 
correct it on account of the authority of the gloss. Van Espen remarks "To-day if any Hosts remain which are 
not to be reserved, the celebrant consumes them himself, but perchance in the time the gloss was written, it 
was the custom that the subdeacons and other ministers of the altar were accustomed to do this, but 
whenever the ministers present gradually fell into the habit of not receiving the sacrament, this consumption 
of what remained devolved upon the celebrant. "(1) 


It would be out of place to enter into any specific treatment of the different vestments worn by the clergy in the 
performance of their various duties. For a full discussion of this whole matter I must refer my readers to the 
great writers on liturgical and kindred matters, especially to Cardinal Bona, De Rebus Liturgicis; Pugin, 
Ecclesiastical Glossary; Rock, Church of our Fathers; Hefele, Beitrage zu Kircheschichte, Archaologie und 
Liturgik (essay in Die Liturgschen Gervander, vol. ij. p. 184 sqq.). And I would take this opportunity of warning 
the student against the entirely unwarranted conclusions of Durandus's Rationale Divinorum Officiorum and 
of Marriott's Vestiarium Christianum. 

The manner in which the use of the stole is spoken of in this canon shews not only the great antiquity of that 
vestment but of other ecclesiastical vestments as well. Before, however, giving the details of our knowledge 
with regard to this particular vestment I shall need no apology for quoting a passage, very germane to the 
whole subject, from the pen of that most delightful writer Curzon, to whose care and erudition all scholars and 
students of manuscripts are so deeply indebted. 

(Robert Curzon, Armenia, p. 202.) 

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Here I will remark that the sacred vestures of the Christian Church are the same, with very insignificant 
modifications, among every denomination of Christians in the world; that they have always been the same, 
and never were otherwise in any country, from the remotest times when we have any written accounts of 
them, or any mosaics, sculptures, or pictures to explain their forms. They are no more a Popish invention, or 
have anything more to do with the Roman Church, than any other usage which is common to all 
denominations of Christians. They are and always have been, of general and universal-that is, of 
Catholic-use; they have never been used for many centuries for ornament or dress by the laity, having 
been considered as set apart to be used only by priests in the church during the celebration of the worship 
of Almighty God. 

Thus far the very learned Curzon. As is natural the distinctive dress of the bishops is the first that we hear of, 
and that in connexion with St. John, who is said to have worn a golden mitre or fillet.(2) 

(Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chretien, p. 376 et sqq.) 

It was not the bishops alone who were distinguished by insignia from the other ecclesiastics. Priests and 
deacons had their distinctive insignia as well. There was, however, a difference between Rome and the rest 
of the world in this matter. At Rome it would seem that but little favour was extended at first to these marks of 
rank; the letter of Pope Celestine to the bishops shews this already. But what makes it evident still more 
clearly, is that the orarium of the priest and of the deacon, looked upon as a visible and distinctive mark of 
these orders, was unknown at Rome, at least down to the tenth century, while it had been adopted 
everywhere else. 

To be sure, the orarium is spoken of in the ordines of the ninth century; but from these it is also evident that 
this vestment was worn by acolytes and subdeacons, as well as by the superior clergy, and that its place 
was under the top vestment, whether dalmatic or chasuble, and not over it. But that orarium is nothing more 
than the ancient sweat-cloth (sudarium), the handkerchief, or cravat which has ended up by taking a special 
form and even by becoming an accessory of a ceremonial vestment: but it is net an insignia. I know no 
Roman representation of this earlier than the twelfth century. The priests and deacons who figure in the 
mosaics never display this detail of costume. 

But such is not the case elsewhere. Towards the end of the fourth century, the Council of Laodicea in 
Phrygia forbade inferior classes, subdeacons, readers, etc., to usurp the orarium. St. Isidore of Pelusium 
knew it as somewhat analogous to the episcopal pallium, except that it was of linen, while the pallium was of 
wool. The sermon on the Prodigal Son, sometimes attributed to St. John Chrysostom [Migne's Ed., vol. viij., 
520], uses the same term, <greek>oqonh</greek>; it adds that this piece of dress was worn over the left 
shoulder, and that as it swung back and forth it called to mind the wings of the angels. 
The deacons among the Greeks wear the stole in this fashion down to to-day, perfectly visible, over the top 
of the upper vestment, and fastened upon the left shoulder. Its ancient name (<greek>wrarion</greek>) still 
clings to it. As for the orarium of the priests it is worn, like the stole of Latin priests, round the neck, the two 
ends falling in front, almost to the feet. This is called the epitrachilion (<greek>epitrakhlion</greek>). 
These distinctions were also found in Spain and Gaul. The Council of Braga, in 561 , ordered that deacons 
should wear these oraria, not under the tunicle, which caused them to be confounded with the subdeacon, 
but over it, over the shoulder. The Council of Toledo, in 633, describes the orarium as the common mark of 
the three superior orders, bishops, priests, and deacons; and specifies that the deacon should wear his 
over his left shoulder, and that it should be white, without any mixture of colours or any gold embroidery. 
Another Council of Braga forbade priests to say mass without having a stole around their necks and 
crossed upon the breast, exactly as Latin priests wear it to-day. St. Germanus of Paris speaks of the 
insignia of a bishop and of a deacon; to the first he assigns the name of pallium, and says that it is worn 
around the neck, and falls down upon the breast where it ends with a fringe. As for the insignia of a deacon 
he calls it a stole (stola); and says that deacons wear it over the alb. This fashion of wearing the stole of the 
deacon spread during the middle ages over nearly the whole of Italy and to the very gates of Rome. And 
even at Rome the ancient usage seems to have been maintained with a compromise. They ended up by 
adopting the stole for deacons and by placing it over the left shoulder, but they covered it up with the 
dalmatic or the chasuble. 

The priest's stole was also accepted: and in the mosaics of Sta. Maria in Trastevere is seen a priest 
ornamented with this insignia. It is worthy of notice that the four popes who are represented in the same 
mosaic wear the pallium but no stole. The one seems to exclude the other. And as a matter of fact the 
ordines of the ninth century in describing the costume of the pope omit always the stole. One can readily 
understand that who bore one of these insignia should not wear the other. 

However, they ended by combining them, and at Revenue, where they always had a taste for decorations, 
bishop Ecclesius in the mosaics of San Vitale wears both the priest's stole and the Roman pallium. This, 
however, seems to be unique, and his successors have the pallium only. The two are found together again 
in the Sacramentary of Autun (Vide M. Lelisle's reproduction in the Gazette Archeologique, 1884, pi. 20), and 

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on the paliotto of St. Ambrose of Milan; such seems to have been the usage of the Franks. 
In view of these facts one is led to the conclusion that all these insignia, called pallium, omophorion, orarium, 
stole, epitrachilion, have the same, origin. They are the marks of dignity, introduced into church usage 
during the fourth century, analogous to those which the Theodosian code orders for certain kinds of civil 
functionaries. For one reason or another the Roman Church refused to receive these marks, or rather 
confined itself to the papal pallium, which then took a wholly technical signification. But everywhere else, this 
mark of the then superior orders of the hierarchy was adopted, only varying slightly to mark the degree, the 
deacon wearing it over the left shoulder, the bishop and priest around the neck, the deacon over the tunicle 
which is his uppermost vestment, the priest under the chasuble; the bishop over his chasuble. *However, for 
this distinction between a bishop and priest we have very little evidence. The Canon of III Brags, already 
cited, which prescribes that priests shall wear the stole crossed over the breast, presupposes that it is worn 
under the chasuble, but the council understands that this method of wearing it pertains distinctively to priests, 
and that bishops have another method which they should observe; for the word sacerdotes, used by the 
council, includes bishops as well as priests. The rest of the Spanish ecclesiastical literature gives us no 
information upon tile point. In Gaul, St. Germanus of Paris (as we have seen) speaks of the episcopal 
pallium after having described the chasuble, which makes one believe that it was worn on top. I have 
already said that Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna is represented with the stole pendant before, under the 
chasuble and at the same time with the pallium on top of it; and that this usage was adopted in France in the 
Carlovingian times. Greek bishops also wear at the same time the epitrachilion and the omophorion. This 
accumulation of insignia was forbidden in Spain in the seventh century (Vide IV Toledo, Canon XXXIX), and 
(as we have stated) the Pope abstained from it until about the twelfth century, contenting himself with the 
pallium without adding to it the stole.* 

The pallium, with the exception of the crosses which adorn its ends, was always white; so too was the 
deacon's stole and also that of the priest and bishop. The pallium was always and everywhere made of 
wool; in the East the deacon's stole was of linen; I cannot say of what material the priest's and deacon's 
stole was in the West. 


THE readers and singers have no right to wear an orarium, and to read or sing thus [habited]. 



Cantors and rectors shall not wear the orarium. 


Rightly Zonoras here remarks, "for the same reason (that they should not seem to wish to usurp a ministry 
not their own) it is not permitted to these to wear the stole, for readers are for the work of reading, and singers 
for singing," so each one should perform his own office. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxiii., can. xxviij. 


No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, 
readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the Ascetics, ought to enter a tavern. 



No clergyman should enter a tavern. 

Compare this with Apostolic Canon LIV., which contains exceptions not here specified. 

This canon is contained in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xliv. c. jj. 


(Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius, Vol. I., p. 258.) 

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Some of these lower orders, the subdeacons, readers, door-keepers, and exorcists, are mentioned in the 
celebrated letter of Cornelius bishop of Rome (A.D. 251) preserved by Eusebius (H.E., vi., 43), and the 
readers existed at least half a century earlier (Tertull. de Praescr., 41). In the Eastern Church, however, if we 
except the Apostolic Constitutions, of which the date and country are uncertain, the first reference to such 
offices is found in a canon of the Council of Antioch, A.D. 341 , where readers, subdeacons, and exorcists, 
are mentioned, this being apparently intended as an exhaustive enumeration of the ecclesiastical orders 
below the diaconate; and for the first mention of door-keepers in the East, we must go to the still later Council 
of Laodicea, about A.D. 363, (see III., p. 240, for the references, where also fuller information is given). But 
while most of these lower orders certainly existed in the West, and probably in the East, as early as the 
middle of the third century the case is different with the "singers" (<greek>yaltai</greek>) and the 
"labourers" (<greek>kopiatai</greek>). Setting aside the Apostolic Constitutions, the first notice of the 
"singers" occurs in the canons of the above-mentioned Council of Laodicea. This, however, may be 
accidental. The history of the word copiatai affords a more precise and conclusive indication of date. The 
term first occurs in a rescript of Constantius (A.D. 357), "clerici qui copiatai appellantur," and a little later (A.D. 
361), the same emperor speaks of them as "hi quos copiatas recens usus instituit nuncupari." 
(Adolf Harnack, in his little book ridiculously intituled in the English version Sources of the Apostolic Canons, 
page 85.) 

Exorcists and readers there had been in the Church from old times, subdeacons are not essentially strange, 
as they participate in a name (deacon) which dates from the earliest days of Christianity. But acolytes and 
door-keepers (<greek>pulwroi</greek>) are quite strange, are really novelties. And these acolytes even at 
the time of Cornelius stand at the head of the ordines minores: for that the subdeacons follow on the 
deacons is self-evident. Whence do they come? Now if they do not spring out of the Christian tradition, their 
origin must be explained from the Roman. It can in fact he shown there with desirable plainness. 
With regard to subdeacons the reader may also like to see some of Harnack's speculations. In the volume 
just quoted he writes as follows (p. 85 note): 

According to Cornelius and Cyprian subdeacons were mentioned in the thirtieth canon of the Synod of Elvira 
(about 305), so that the sub diaconate must then have been acknowledged as a fixed general institution in 
the whole west (see Dale, The Synod of Elvira, Lond., 1882). The same is seen in the "gesta apud 
Zenophilum." As the appointment of the lower orders took place at Rome between about the years 222-249, 
the announcement in the Liber Pontificalis (see Duchesne's edition, fasc. 2, 1885, p. 148) is not to be 
despised, as according to it Bishop Fabian appointed seven subdeacons: "Hie regiones dividit diaconibus 
et fecit vii. subdiaconos." The Codex Liberianus indeed (see Duchesne, fasc. 1, pp. 4 and 5; Lipsius, 
Chronologie d. rom Bischofe, p. 267), only contains the first half of the sentence, and what the Liber Pontif. 
has added of the account of the appointment of subdeacons (... qui vii notariis imminerent, ut gestas 
martyrum in integro fideliter colligerent) is, in spite of the explanation of Duchesne, not convincing. According 
to Probst and other Catholic scholars the subdiaconate existed in Rome a long time before Fabian (Kirchl. 
Disciplin, p. 109), but Hippolytus is against them. Besides, it should be observed that the officials first, even 
in Carthage, are called hypo-deacons, though the word subdiaconus was by degrees used in the West. 
This also points to a Roman origin of the office, for in the Roman church in the first part of the third century the 
Greek language was the prevailing one, but not at Carthage. 

But to return to the Acolythes, and door-keepers, whom Harnack thinks to be copies of the old Roman 
temple officers. He refers to Marquardt's explanation of the sacrificial system of the Romans, and gives the 
following resume (page 85 etseqq.): 

1 . The temples have only partially their own priests, but they all have a superintendent (oedituus-curator 
templi). These ceditui, who lived in the temple, fall again into two classes. At least "in the most important 
brotherhoods the chosen oedituus was not in a position to undertake in person the watching and cleaning of 
the sacellum. He charged therefore with this service a freedman or slave." "In this case the sacellum had 
two oeditui, the temple-keeper, originally called magister oedituus, and the temple-servant, who appears to 
be called the oedituus minister." "To both it is common that they live in the temple, although in small chapels 
the presence of the servant is sufficient. The temple-servant opens, shuts, and cleans the sacred place, and 
shows to strangers its curiosities, and allows, according to the rules of the temple, those persons to offer up 
prayers and sacrifices to whom this is permitted, while he sends away the others." 

2. "Besides the endowment, the colleges of priests were also supplied with a body of servants"-the under 
official-; "they were appointed to the priests, ... by all of whom they were used partly as letter-carriers 
(tabellarii), partly as scribes, partly as assistants at the sacrifices." Marquardt reckons, (page 218 and fol.) 
the various categories of them among the sacerdotes publici, lictores, pullarii, victimarii, tibicines, viatores, 
sixthly the calatores, in the priests' colleges free men or freedmen, not slaves, and in fact one for the 
personal service of each member. 

Here we have the forerunners of the Church door-keepers and acolytes. Thus says the fourth Council of 
Carthage, as far as refers to the former: "Ostiarius cure ordinatur, postquam ab archidiacono instructus fuerit, 

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qualiter in dome dei debeat conversari, ad suggestionem archidiaconi, tradat ei episcopus claves 
ecclesiae de altari, dicens. Sic age, quasi redditurus deo rationem pro his rebus, quae hisce clavibus 
recluduntur." The ostiarius (<greek>pulwros</greek>) is thus the aedituus minister. He had to look after the 
opening and shutting of the doors, to watch over the coming in and going out of the faithful, to refuse 
entrance to suspicious persons, and, from the date of the more strict separation between the missa 
catechumenorum and the missa fidelium, to close the doors, after the dismissal of the catechumens, against 
those doing penance and unbelievers. He first became necessary when there were special church 
buildings (there were such even in the second century), and they like the temples, together with the 
ceremonial of divine service, had come to be considered as holy, that is, since about 225. The church 
acolytes are without difficulty to be recognised in the under officials of the priests, especially in the 
"calatores," the personal servants of the priests. According to Cyprian the acolytes and others are used by 
preference as tabellarii. According to Cornelius there were in Rome forty-two acolytes. As he gives the 
number of priests as forty-six, it may be concluded with something like certainty that the rule was that the 
number of the priests and of the acolytes should be equal, and that the little difference may have been 
caused by temporary vacancies. If this view is correct, the identity of the calator with the acolyte is strikingly 
proved. But the name "acolyte" plainly shows the acolyte was not, like the door-keeper, attached to a 
sacred thing, but to a sacred person. 

(Lightfoot. Apostolic Fathers. Ignatius, ad Antioch, xj., note. Vol. II., Sec. II., p. 240.) 

The acolytes were confined to the Western Church and so are not mentioned here. On the other hand the 
"deaconesses" seem to have been confined to the Eastern Church at this time. See also Apost. Const., Hi., 
11.;viii., 12;comp. viii., 19-28, 31; Apost. Can., 43; Cone. Laodio, Can. 24; Cone. Antioch, Can. 10. Of these 
lower orders the "subdeacons" are first mentioned in the middle of the third century, in the passage of 
Cornelius already quoted and in the contemporary letters of Cyprian. The "readers" occur as early as 
Tertullian de Proescr. 41 "hodie diaconus, qui eras lector," where the language shows that this was already 
a firmly established order in the Church. Of the "singers" the notices in the Apostolical Constitutions are 
probably the most ancient. The "door-keepers," like the sub-deacons, seem to be first mentioned in the 
letter of Cornelius. The <greek>kopiwntes</greek> first appear a full century later; see the next note. The 
"exorcists," as we have seen, are mentioned as a distinct order by Cornelius, while in Apost. Const., viii., 26, 
it is ordered that they shall not be ordained, because it is a spiritual function which comes direct from God 
and manifests itself by its results. The name and the function, however, appear much earlier in the Christian 
Church; e.g., Justin Mart., Apol. ii., 6 (p. 45). The forms <greek>eporkisths</greek> and 
<greek>exorkisths</greek>are convertible; e.g., Justin Mart., Dial., 85 (p. 311). The "confessors" hardly 
deserve to be reckoned a distinct order, though accidentally they are mentioned in proximity with the 
different grades of clergy in Apost. Const., viii., 12, already quoted. Perhaps the accidental connexion in this 
work has led to their confusion with the offices of the Christian ministry in our false Ignatius. In Apost. Const., 
viii., 23, they are treated in much the same way as the exorcists, being regarded as in some sense an order 
and yet not subject to ordination. Possibly, however, the word <greek>omologhtai</greek> has here a 
different sense, "chanters," as the corresponding Latin "confessores" seems sometimes to have, e.g., in the 
Sacramentary of Gregory "Oremus et pro omnibus episcopis, presbyteris, diaconibus, acolythis, exorcistis, 
lectoribus, ostiariis, confessoribus, virginibus, viduis, et pro omni populo sancto Dei;" see Ducange, Gloss. 
Lat., s. v. (1 1 . p. 530, Henschel). 

In a law of the year 357 (Cod. Theod., xiii., 1) mention is made of "clerici qui copiatae appellantur," and 
another law of the year 361 (Cod. Theod. xvi., 2, 15) runs "clerici vero vel his quos copiatas recens usus 
instituit nuncupari," etc. From these passages it is clear that the name <greek>kopiwntes</greek> was not in 
use much before the middle of the fourth century, though the office under its Latin name "fossores" or 
"fossarii" appears somewhat earlier. Even later Epiphanius (Expos. Fid., 21) writes as if the word still 
needed some explanation. In accordance with these facts, Zahn (I. v., A. p. 129), correctly argues with regard 
to our Ignatian writer, urging that on the one hand he would not have ascribed such language to Ignatius if 
the word had been quite recent, while on the other hand his using the participle (<greek>tous</greek> 
<greek>kopiwntas</greek>) rather than the substantive indicates that it had not yet firmly established itself. 
For these "copiatae" see especially de Rossi, Roma Sotteranea, III., p. 533 sq., Gothofred on Cod. Theod., 
II., co, and for the Latin "fossores" Martigny, Diet, des Antiq. Chret. s.v. See also the inscriptions, C. I, G., 
9227, Bull, de Corr. Hellen., vii., p. 238, Journ. of Hellen. Stud., vi., p. 362. 


A SUBDEACON must not give the Bread, nor bless the Cup, 

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A subdeacon may not give the bread and the cup. 


Subdeacons are not allowed to perform the work of presbyters and deacons. Wherefore they neither 
deliver the bread nor the cup to the people. 


According to the Apostolic Constitutions, the communion was administered in the following manner: the 
bishop gave to each the holy bread with the words: "the Body of the Lord," and the recipient said, "Amen." 
The deacon then gave the chalice with the words: "the Blood of Christ, the chalice of life," and the recipient 
again answered, "Amen." This giving of the chalice with the words: "the Blood of Christ," etc., is called in the 
canon of Laodicea a "blessing" (<greek>eulogein</greek>). The Greek commentator Aristenus in 
accordance with this, and quite rightly, gives the meaning of this canon. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Diet. XCIII., c. xix.; but reads 
"Deacons" instead of "Subdeacons." The Roman Correctors point out the error. 


THEY who have not been promoted [to that office] by the bishop, ought not to adjure, either in churches or in 
private houses. 



No one shall adjure without the bishop's promotion to that office. 


Some were in the habit of "adjuring," that is catechising the unbelievers, who had never received the 
imposition of the bishop's hands for that purpose; and when they were accused of doing so, contended that 
as they did not do it in church but only at home, they could not be considered as deserving of any 
punishment, For this reason the Fathers rule that even to "adjure" (<greek>eforkizen</greek>) is an 
ecclesiastical ministry, and must not be executed by anyone who shall not have been promoted thereto by 
a bishop. But the "Exorcist" must be excepted who has been promoted by a Chorepiscopus, for he can 
indeed properly catechize although not promoted by a bishop; for from Canon X. of Antioch we learn that 
even a Chorepiscopus can make an Exorcist. 

Zonaras notes that from this canon it appears that "Chorepiscopi are considered to be in the number of 


"Promoted" (<greek>proakqentas</greek>) by the bishops, by which is signified a mere designation or 
appointment, in conformity with the Greek discipline which never counted exorcism among the orders, but 
among the simple ministries which were committed to certain persons by the bishops, as Morinus proves at 
length in his work on Orders (De Ordinationibus, Pars III., Ex. XIV., cap. ij.). 

Double is the power of devils over men, the one part internal the other external. The former is when they hold 
the soul captive by vice and sin. The latter when they disturb the exterior and interior senses and lead 
anyone on to fury. Those who are subject to the interior evils are the Catechumens and Penitents, and those 
who are subject to the exterior are the Energumens. Whoever are occupied with the freeing from the power 
of the devil of either of these kinds, by prayers, exhortations, and exorcisms, are said "to exorcize" them; 
which seems to be what Balsamon means when he says-"'exorcize' that is' to catechize the unbelievers.'" 
Vide this matter more at length in Ducange's Glossary (Gloss., s. v. Exorcizare). 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXIX. c. ij., Isidore's 

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NEITHER they of the priesthood, nor clergymen, nor laymen, who are invited to a love feast, may take away 
their portions, for this is to cast reproach on the ecclesiastical order. 



A clergyman invited to a love feast shall carry nothing away with him; for this would bring his order into 


Van Espen translates: "no one holding any office in the Church, be he cleric or layman," and appeals to the 

fact that already in early times among the Greeks many held offices in the Church without being ordained, as 

do now our sacristans and acolytes. I do not think, however, with Van Espen, that by "they of the priesthood" 

is meant in general any one holding office in the Church, but only the higher ranks of the clergy, priests and 

deacons, as in the preceding twenty-fourth canon the presbyters and deacons alone are expressly 

numbered among the <greek>ieratikois</greek> and distinguished from the other (minor) clerics. And 

afterwards, in canon XXX., there is a similar mention of three different grades, <greek>ieratikoi</greek>, 

<greek>klhrikoi</greek>, and <greek>askhtai</greek>. 

The taking away of the remains of the agape is here forbidden, because, on the one hand, it showed 

covetousness, and, on the other, was perhaps considered a profanation. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLII., c. iij. 


IT is not permitted to hold love feasts, as they are called, in the Lord's Houses, or Churches, nor to eat and 
to spread couches in the house of God. 



Beds shall not be set up in churches, nor shall love feasts be held there. 


Eusebius (H. E., Lib. IX., Cap. X.) employs the expression <greek>kuriaoa</greek> in the same sense as 
does this canon as identical with churches. The prohibition itself, however, here given, as well as the 
preceding canon, proves that as early as the time of the Synod of Laodicea, many irregularities had crept 
into the agape. For the rest, this Synod was not in a position permanently to banish the usage from the 
Church; for which reason the Trullan Synod in its seventy-fourth canon repeated this rule word for word. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Disk XLII., c. iv. 


CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the 
Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be 
anathema from Christ. 



A Christian shall not stop work on the Sabbath, but on the Lords Day. 

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Here the Fathers order that no one of the faithful shall stop work on the Sabbath as do the Jews, but that they 
should honour the Lord's Day; on account of the Lord's resurrection, and that on that day they should abstain 
from manual labour and go to church. But thus abstaining from work on Sunday they do not lay down as a 
necessity, but they add, "if they can." For if through need or any other necessity any one worked on the 
Lord's day this was not reckoned against him. 


NONE of the priesthood, nor clerics [of lower rank] nor ascetics, nor any Christian or layman, shall wash in a 
bath with women; for this is the greatest reproach among the heathen. 



It is an abomination to bathe with women. 

This canon was renewed by the Synod in Trullo, canon Ixxvij. 

Zonaras explains that the bathers were entirely nude and hence arose the objection which was also felt by 

the heathen. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXXXI, c. xxviij. 


IT is riot lawful to make marriages with all [sorts of] heretics, nor to give our sons and daughters to them; but 
rather to take of them, if they promise to become Christians. 



It is not right to give children in marriage to heretics, but they should be received if they promise to become 


By this canon the faithful are forbidden to contract marriage with heretics or to join their children in such; for, 
as both Balsamon and Zonaras remark, "they imbue them with their errors, and lead them to embrace their 
own perverse opinions." 


IT is unlawful to receive the eulogiae of heretics, for they are rather <greek>alogiai</greek> [i.e., fol-lies], 
than eulogiae [i.e., blessings]. 



The blessings of heretics are cursings. 

To keep the Latin play upon the words the translator has used bene-dictiones and male-dictiones, but at the 

expense of the accuracy of translation. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars IL., Causa II., Quaest. I., Can. Ixvj. 


No one shall join in prayers with heretics or schismatics. 



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Thou shalt not pray with heretics or schismatics. 


The underlying principle of this canon is the same as the last, for as the receiving of the Eulogiae which 
were sent by heretics as a the same communion, and therefore to be sign of communion, signified a 
communion avoided. This is also set forth in Apostolical with them in religious matters, so the sharing Canon 
number xlv. with them common prayer is a declaration 


No Christian shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn to false martyrs, that is, to those of the heretics, or 
those who formerly were heretics; for they are aliens from God. Let those, therefore, who go after them, be 



Whoso honours an heretical pseudo-martyr let him be anathema. 


This canon forbids the honouring of martyrs not belonging to the orthodox church. The number of Montanist 

martyrs of Phrygia was probably the occasion of this canon. 

The phrase which I have translated "to those who formerly were heretics" has caused great difficulty to all 

translators and scarcely two agree. Hammond reads "those who have been reputed to have been 

heretics;" and with him Fulton agrees, but wrongly (as I think) by omitting the "to." Lambert translates "to 

those who before were heretics" and correctly. With him agrees Van Espen, thus, vel eos qui prius heretici 



CHRISTIANS must not forsake the Church of God, and go away and invoke angels and gather assemblies, 
which things are forbidden. If, therefore, any one shall be found engaged in this covert idolatry, let him be 
anathema; for he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and has gone over to idolatry. 



Whoso calls assemblies in opposition to those of the Church and names angels, is near to idolatry and let 
him be anathema. 


Whatever the worship of angels condemned by this canon may have been, one thing is manifest, that it was 
a species of idolatry, and detracted from the worship due to Christ. 

Theodoret makes mention of this superstitious cult in his exposition of the Text of St. Paul, Col. ii., 18, and 
when writing of its condemnation by this synod he says, "they were leading to worship angels such as were 
defending the Law; for, said they, the Law was given through angels. And this vice lasted for a long time in 
Phrygia and Pisidia. Therefore it was that the synod which met at Laodicea in Phrygia, prohibited by a 
canon, that prayer should be offered to angels, and even to-day an oratory of St. Michael can be seen 
among them, and their neighhours." 

In the Capitular of Charlemagne, A.D 789 (cap. xvi.), it is said, "In that same council (Laodicea) it was 
ordered that angels should not be given unknown names, and that such should not be affixed to them, but 
that only they should be named by the names which we have by authority. These are Michael, Gabriel, 
Raphael." And then is subjoined the present canon. The canon forbids "to name" 
(<greek>onomazein</greek>) angels, and this was understood as meaning to give them names instead of 

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to call upon them by name. 

Perchance the authors of the Capitular had in mind the Roman Council under Pope Zachary, A.D. 745, 

against Aidebert, who was found to invoke by name eight angels in his prayers. 

It should be noted that some Latin versions of great authority and antiquity read angulos for angelos. This 

would refer to doing these idolatrous rites in corners, hiddenly, secretly, occulte as in the Latin. But this 

reading, though so respectable in the Latin, has no Greek authority for it. 

This canon has often been used in controversy as condemning the cultus which the Catholic Church has 

always given to the angels, but those who would make such a use of this canon should explain how these 

interpretations can be consistent with the cultus of the Martyrs so evidently approved by the same council; 

and how this canon came to be accepted by the Fathers of the Second Council of Nice, if it condemned the 

then universal practice of the Church, East and West. Cf. Forbes, Considerationes Modestoe. 


THEY who are of the priesthood, or of the clergy, shall not be magicians, enchanters, mathematicians, or 
astrologers; nor shall they make what are called amulets, which are chains for their own souls. And those 
who wear such, we command to be cast out of the Church. 



Whoso will be priest must not be a magician, nor one who uses incantations, or mathematical or 
astrological charms, nor a putter on of amulets. 

Some interesting and valuable information on charms will be found in Ducange (Glossarium, s. v. 


"Magicians" are those who for any purpose call Satan to their aid. "Enchantors" are those who sing charms 
or incantations, and through them draw demons to obey them. "Mathematicians" are they who hold the 
opinion that the celestial bodies rule the universe, and that all earthly things are ruled by their influence. 
"Astrologers" are they who divine by the stars through the agency of demons, and place their faith in them. 


Zonaras also notes that the science of mathematics or astronomy is not at all hereby forbidden to the 
clergy, but the excess and abuse of that science, which even more easily may happen in the case of 
clergymen and consecrated persons than in that of laymen. 


IT is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them. 


IT is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety. 


IT is not lawful to feast together with the heathen, and to be partakers of their godlessness. 



Thou shalt not keep feasts with Hebrews of heretics, nor receive festival offerings from them. 


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Read canon Ixx. and canon Ixxj. of the Holy Apostles, and Canon lx(1) of the Synod of Carthage. 


Light hath no communion with darkness. Therefore no Christian should celebrate a feast with heretics or 
Jews, neither should he receive anything connected with these feasts such as azymes and the like. 


BISHOPS called to a synod must not be guilty of contempt, but must attend, and either teach, or be taught, 
for the reformation of the Church and of others. And if such an one shall be guilty of contempt, he will 
condemn himself, unless he be detained by ill health. 



Whoso summoned to a synod shall spurn the invitation, unless hindered by the force of circumstances, shall 
not be free from blame. 


By <greek>anwmalia</greek>, illness is commonly understood, and Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore 
translated it, the former oegritudinem, and the latter infirmitatem. But Balsamon justly remarks that the term 
has a wider meaning, and, besides cases of illness includes other unavoidable hinderances or obstacles. 

This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XVIII., c. v. 


NONE of the priesthood nor of the clergy may go on a journey, without the bidding of the Bishop. 


None of the priesthood nor of the clergy may travel without letters canonical. 



No clergyman shall undertake a journey without canonical letters or unless he is ordered to do so. 


(On Canon xli.) 

It is well known that according to the true discipline of the Church no one should be ordained unless he be 
attached to some church, which as an ecclesiastical soldier he shall fight for and preserve. As, then, a 
secular soldier cannot without his prefect's bidding leave his post and go to another, so the canons decree 
that no one in the ranks of the ecclesiastical military can travel about except at the bidding of the bishop who 
is in command of the army. A slight trace of this discipline is observed even to-day in the fact that priests of 
other dioceses are not allowed to celebrate unless they are provided with Canonical letters or testimonials 
from their own bishops. 

(On Canon xlii.) 

The whole subject of Commendatory and other letters is treated of in the note to Canon VIII. of the Council of 

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Canon xlj. is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars III., Dist. V., De Consecrat, can. 

Canon xlij. is appended to the preceding, but, curiously enough, limited to laymen, reading as follows: "a 
layman also without canonical letters," that is "formed letters," should not travel anywhere. The Roman 
Correctors remark that in the Greek order this last is canon xli., and the former part of Gratian's canon, canon 
xlij. of the Greek, but such is not the order of the Greek in Zonaras nor in Balsamon. The correctors add that 
in neither canon is there any mention made of laymen, nor in Dionysius's version; the Prisca, however, read 
for canon xlj., "It is not right for a minister of the altar, even for a layman, to travel, etc." 


THE subdeacons may not leave the doors to engage in the prayer, even for a short time. 



A subdeacon should not leave the gates, even for a short time, to pray. 

On this canon the commentators find nothing to say in addition to their remarks on Canons xxj., and xxij., 
except that the "prayer" is not their own private prayer, but the prayer of the Liturgy. It has struck me that 
possibly when them was no deacon to sing the litany outside the Holy Gates while the priest was going on 
with the holy action within, subdeacons may have left their places at the doors, assumed the deacon's stole 
and done his part of the office, and that it was to prevent this abuse that this canon was enacted, the "prayer" 
being the litany. But as this is purely my own suggestion it is probably valueless. 


Women may not go to the altar. 



The altar must not be approached by women. 


The discipline of this canon was often renewed even in the Latin Church, and therefore Balsamon unjustly 
attacks the Latins when he says; "Among the Latins women go without any shame up to the altar whenever 
they wish," For the Latins have forbidden and do forbid this approach of women to the altar no less than the 
Greeks; and look upon the contrary custom as an abuse sprung of the insolence of the women and of the 
negligence of bishops and pastors. 


If it is prohibited to laymen to enter the Sanctuary by the Ixixth canon of the Sixth synod [i.e. Quinisext], much 
more are women forbidden to do so who are unwillingly indeed, but yet truly, polluted by the monthly flux of 


[CANDIDATES] for baptism are not to be received after the second week in Lent. 



After two weeks of Lent no one must be admitted for illumination, for all such should fast from its beginning. 


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To the understanding of this canon it must be remembered that such of the Gentiles as desired to become 

Catholics and to be baptized, at first were privately instructed by the catechists. After this, having acquired 

some knowledge of the Christian religion, they were admitted to the public instructions given by the bishop 

in church; and were therefore called Andientes and for the first time properly-speaking Catechumens. But 

when these catechumens had been kept in this rank a sufficient time and had been there tried, they were 

allowed to go up to the higher grade called Genuflectentes. 

And when their exercises had been completed in this order they were brought by the catechists who had 

had the charge of them, to the bishop, that on the Holy Sabbath [Easter Even] they might receive baptism, 

and the catechumens gave their names at the same time, so that they might be set down for baptism at the 

coming Holy Sabbath. 

Moreover we learn from St. Augustine (Serm. xiii., Ad Neophitos,) that the time for the giving in of the names 

was the beginning of Lent. 

This council therefore in this canon decrees that such as do not hand in their names at the beginning of Lent, 

but after two weeks are past, shall not be admitted to baptism on the next Holy Sabbath. 


THEY who are to be baptized must learn the faith [Creed] by heart, and recite it to the bishop, or to the 
presbyters, on the fifth day of the week. 



Vide infra. 


It is doubtful whether by the Thursday of the text was meant only the Thursday of Holy Week, or every 
Thursday of the time during which the catechumens received instruction. The Greek commentators are in 
favour of the latter, but Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, and after them Bingham, are, and probably rightly, in 
favour of the former meaning. This canon was repeated by the Trullan Synod in its seventy-eighth canon. 


THEY who are baptized in sickness and afterwards recover, must learn the Creed by heart and know that 
the Divine gifts have been vouchsafed them. 



Whoso is baptised by a bishop or presbyter let him recite the faith on the fifth feria of the week. Also anyone 
baptized clinically a short while afterwards. 


Some unbelievers were baptized before they had been catechized, by reason of the urgency of the illness. 
Now some thought that as their baptism did not follow their being carechumens, they ought to be catechized 
and baptized over again. And in support of this opinion they urged Canon XII. of Neocaesarea, which does 
not permit one clinically baptized to become a priest rashly. For this reason it is that the Fathers decree that 
such an one shall not be baptized a second time, but as soon as he gets well he shall learn the faith and the 
mystery of baptism, and to appreciate the divine gifts he has received, viz., the confession of the one true 
God and the remission of sins which comes to us in holy baptism. 


THEY who are baptized must after Baptism be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the 
Kingdom of Christ. 

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Those illuminated should after their baptism be anointed. 


That this canon refers to the anointing with chrism on the forehead of the baptized, that is to say of the 
sacrament of confirmation, is the unanimous opinion of the Greek commentators, and Balsamon notes that 
this anointing is not simply styled "chrism "but "the heavenly chrism," viz.: "that which is sanctified by holy 
prayers and through the invocation of the Holy Spirit; and those who are anointed therewith, it sanctifies and 
makes partakers of the kingdom of heaven." 


(Lib. i., Observat. cap. xv.) 

Formerly no one was esteemed worthy of the name Christian or reckoned among the perfect who had not 
been confirmed and endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

The prayers for the consecration of the Holy Chrism according to the rites of the East and of the West should 
be carefully read by the student. Those of the East are found in the Euchologion, and those of the West in 
the Pontificale Romanum, De Officio in feria v. Coena Domini. 


DURING Lent the Bread must not be offered except on the Sabbath Day and on the Lord's Day only. 



In Lent the offering should be made only on the Sabbath and on the Lord's day. 


This canon, which was repeated by the Trullan Synod in its fifty-second canon, orders that on ordinary week 
days during Lent, only a Missa Proesanctificatorum should take place, as is still the custom with the Greeks 
on all days of penitence and mourning, when it appears to them unsuitable to have the full liturgy, and as 
Leo Allatius says, for this reason, that the consecration is a joyful act. A comparison of the above sixteenth 
canon, however, shows that Saturday was a special exception. 

To the Saturdays and Sundays mentioned by Hefele must be added the feast of the Annunciation, which is 
always solemnized with a full celebration of the Liturgy, even when it falls upon Good Friday. 


THE fast must not be broken on the fifth day of the last week in Lent [i.e., on Maunday Thursday], and the 
whole of Lent be dishonoured; but it is necessary to fast during all the Lenten season by eating only dry 



It is not right on the fifth feria of the last week of Lent to break the fast, and thus spoil the whole of Lent; but the 
whole of Lent should be kept with fasting on dry food. 

That long before the date of the Quinisext Synod the fasting reception of the Holy Eucharist was the 

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universal law of the Church no one can doubt who has devoted the slightest study to the point. To produce 
the evidence here would be out of place, but the reader may be referred to the excellent presentation of it in 
Cardinal Bona's De Rebus Liturgicis. 
I shall here cite but one passage, from St. Augustine: 

"It is clear that when the disciples first received the body and blood of the Lord they had not been fasting. 
Must we then censure the Universal Church because the sacrament is everywhere partaken of by persons 
fasting? Nay, verily; for from that time it pleased the Holy Spirit to appoint, for the honour of so great a 
sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a 
Christian; and it is for this reason that the custom referred to is universally observed. For the fact that the Lord 
instituted the sacrament after other food had been partaken of does not prove that brethren should come 
together to partake of that sacrament after having dined or supped, or imitate those whom the Apostle 
reproved and corrected for not distinguishing between the Lord's Supper and an ordinary meal. The 
Saviour, indeed, in order to commend the depths of that mystery more affectingly to his disciples, was 
pleased to impress it on their hearts and memories by making its in stitution his last act before going from 
them to his passion. And, therefore, he did not prescribe the order in which it was to be observed, reserving 
this to be done by the Apestles, through whom he intended to arrange all things pertaining to the churches. 
Had he appointed that the sacrament should be always partaken of after other food, I believe that no one 
would have departed from that practice. But when the Apostle, speaking of this sacrament, says, 
'Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another, and if any man hunger let him 
eat at home, that ye come not together unto condemnation,' he immediately adds, 'And the rest will I set in 
order when I come.' Whence we are given to understand that, since it was too much for him to prescribe 
completely in an epistle the method observed by the Universal Church throughout the world it was one of the 
things set in order by him in person; for we find its observance uniform amid all the variety of other 
customs. "(1) 

In fact the utter absurdity of the attempt to maintain the opposite cannot better be seen than in reading 
Kingdon's Fasting Communion, an example of special pleading and disingenuousness rarely equalled 
even in controversial theological literature. A brief but crushing refutation of the position taken by that writer 
will be found in an appendix to a pamphlet by H. P. Liddon, Evening Communions contrary to the Teaching 
and Practice of the Church in all Ages. 

But while this is true, it is also true that in some few places the custom had lingered on of making Maundy 
Thursday night an exception to this rule, and of having then a feast, in memory of our Lord's Last Supper, 
and after this having a celebration of the Divine Mysteries. This is the custom which is prohibited by this 
canon, but it is manifest both from the wording of the canon itself and from the remarks of the Greek 
commentators that the custom was condemned not because it necessitated an unfasting reception of the 
Holy Eucharist, but because it connoted a feast which was a breaking of the Lenten fast and a dishonour to 
the whole of the holy season. 

It is somewhat curious and a trifle amusing to read Zonaras gravely arguing the point as to whether the 
drinking of water is forbidden by this canon because it speaks of "dry meats," which he decides in the 


Those, therefore, who without being ill, fast on oil and shell-fish, do contrary to this law; and much more they 
who eat on the fourth and sixth ferias fish. 


The nativities of Martyrs are not to be celebrated in Lent, but commemorations of the holy Martyrs are to be 
made on the Sabbaths and Lord's days. 



Commemorations of Martyrs shall only be held on Lord's days and Sabbaths. 

By this canon all Saints-days are forbidden to be observed in Lent on the days on which they fall, but must 
be transferred to a Sabbath or else to the Sunday, when they can be kept with the festival service of the full 
liturgy and not with the penitential incompleteness of the Mass of the Presanctified. Compare canon xlix. of 
this Synod, and canon lij. of the Quinisext Council. 

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The whole of Lent is a time of grief for our sins, and the memories of the Saints are not kept except on the 

Van Espen remarks how in old calendars there are but few Saints-days in those months in which Lent 
ordinarily falls, and that the multitude of days now kept by the Roman ordo are mostly of modern 


MARRIAGES and birthday feasts are not to be celebrated in Lent. 



Marriage shall not be celebrated in Lent, nor birthdays. 


By "birthday feasts" in this canon the natalitia martyrum is not to be understood as in the preceding canon, 
but the birthday feasts of princes. This, as well as the preceding rule, was renewed in the sixth century by 
Bishop Martin of Bracara, now Braga, in Portugal. 


CHRISTIANS, when they attend weddings, must not join in wanton dances, but modestly dine or breakfast, 
as is becoming to Christians. 



It is unsuitable to dance or leap at weddings. 


This canon does not call for explanation it for re reflexion, and greatly it is to be desired that it should be 
observed by Christians, and that through like improprieties, wedding-days, which should be days of holy joy 
and blessing, be not turned, even to the bride and groom themselves, into days of cursing. Moreover the 
Synod of Trent admonishes bishops (Sets, xxiv., De Reform. Mat., cap. x.) to take care that at weddings 
there be only that which is modest and proper. 


MEMBERS of the priesthood and of the clergy must not witness the plays at weddings or banquets; but, 
before the players enter, they must rise and depart. 



Priests and clerics should leave before the play. 


Christians are admonished to feast modestly when they go to weddings and not to dance nor 
<greek>ballizein</greek>, that is to clap their hands and make a noise with them. For this is unworthy of the 

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Christian standing. But consecrated persons must not see the play at weddings, but before the thymelici 
begin, they must go out. 

Compare with this Canons XXIV. and LI., of the Synod in Trullo. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars III., De But Consecrat. Dist. v., 
can. xxxvij. 


NEITHER members of the priesthood nor of the clergy, nor yet laymen, may club together for drinking 



Neither a layman nor a cleric shall celebrate a club feast. 

These meals, the expenses of which were defrayed by a number clubbing together and sharing the cost, 
were called "symbola" by Isidore, and by Melinus and Crabbe "comissalia," although the more ordinary 
form is "commensalia" or "comessalia." Cf. Ducange Gloss., s.v. Commensalia and Confertum. 
This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLIV., c. x. (Isidore's 
version), and c. xij., (Martin of Braga's version). 


PRESBYTERS may not enter and take their seats in the bema before the entrance of the Bishop: but they 
must enter with the Bishop, unless he be at home sick, or absent. 



A presbyter shall not enter the bema before the bishop, nor sit down. 

It is difficult to translate this canon without giving a false idea of its meaning. It does not determine the order 
of dignity in an ecclesiastical procession, but something entirely different, viz., it provides that when the 
bishop enters the sanctuary he should not be alone and walk into a place already occupied, but that he 
should have with him, as a guard of honour, the clergy. Whether these should walk before or after him would 
be a mere matter of local custom, the rule juniores priores did not universally prevail. 
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XCV., can. viij. 


BISHOPS must not be appointed in villages or country districts, but visitors; and those who have been 
already appointed must do nothing without the consent of the bishop of the city. Presbyters, in like manner, 
must do nothing without the consent of the bishop. 



A bishop shall not be established in a village or in the country, but a periodeutes. But should one be 

appointed he shall not perform any function without the bishop of the city. 

On the whole subject of Chorepiscopi seethe Excursus to Canon VIII. of Nice, in this volume. 


Compare the eighth and tenth canons of the Synod of Antioch of 341, the thirteenth of the Synod of Ancyra, 

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and the second clause of the sixth canon of the Synod of Sardica. The above canon orders that from 
henceforth, in the place of the rural bishops, priests of higher rank shall act as visitors of the country 
dioceses and country clergy. Dionysius Exiguus, Isidore, the Greek commentators, Van Espen, Remi 
Ceillier, Neander, and others thus interpret this canon; but Herbst, in the Tubingen Review, translates the 
word (<greek>periodeutai</greek>) not visitors but physicians-physicians of the soul,— and for this he 
appeals to passages from the Fathers of the Church collected by Suicer in his Thesaurus. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXXX., c. v. 


THE Oblation must not be made by bishops or presbyters in any private houses. 



Neither a bishop nor a presbyter shall make the offering in private houses. 


By "the oblation" here is intended the oblation of the unbloody sacrifice according to the mind of the Greek 
interpreters. Zonaras says: "The faithful can pray to God and be intent upon their prayers everywhere, 
whether in the house, in the field, or in any place they possess: but to offer or perform the oblation must by no 
means be done except in a church and at an altar." 


No psalms composed by private individuals nor any uncanonical books may be read in the church, but 
only the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments. 



Psalms of private origin, or books uncanonical are not to be sung in temples; but the canonical writings of 
the old and new testaments. 


Several heretics, for instance Bardesanes, Paul of Samosata, and Apollinaris-had composed psalms, i.e., 
Church hymns. The Synod of Laodicea forbade the use of any composed by private individuals, namely all 
unauthorized Church hymns. Luft remarks that by this it was not intended to forbid the use of all but the Bible 
psalms and hymns, for it is known that even after this Synod many hymns composed by individual 
Christians, for instance, Prudentius, Clement, Ambrose, came into use in the Church. Only those not 
sanctioned were to be banished. 

This idea was greatly exaggerated by some Gallicans in the seventeenth century who wished that all the 
Antiphons, etc., should be in the words of Holy Scripture. A learned but somewhat distorted account of this 
whole matter will be found in the Institutions Liturgiques by Dom Prosper Gueranger, tome ij., and a shorter 
but more temperate account in Dr. Batiffol's Histoire du Breviaire Romain, Chap. vj. 


[N. B.-This Canon is of most questionable genuineness.] 

THESE are all the books of Old Testament appointed to be read: 1 , Genesis of the world; 2, The Exodus 
from Egypt; 3, Leviticus; 4, Numbers; 5, Deuteronomy; 6, Joshua, the son of Nun; 7, Judges, Ruth; 8, Esther; 
9, Of the Kings, First and Second; 10, Of the Kings, Third and Fourth; 11, Chronicles, First and Second; 12, 
Esdras, First and Second; 13, The Book of Psalms; 14, The Proverbs of Solomon; 15, Ecclesiastes; 16, The 

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Song of Songs;17, Job; 18, The Twelve Prophets; 19, Isaiah; 20, Jeremiah, and Baruch, the Lamentations, 
and the Epistle; 21, Ezekiel; 22, Daniel. 

And these are the books of the New Testament: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; 
The Acts of the Apostles; Seven Catholic Epistles, to wit, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of 
Jude; Fourteen Epistles of Paul, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the 
Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two 
to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon. 



But of the new, the four Gospels-of Matthew, of Mark, of Luke, of John ; Acts; Seven Catholic epistles, viz. of 
James one, of Peter two, of John three, of Jude one ; of Paul fourteen, viz.: to the Romans one, to the 
Corinthians two, to the Galatians one, to the Ephesians one, to the Phillipians one, to the Colossians one, to 
the Thessalonians two, to the Hebrews one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, and to Philemon one. 

It will be noticed that while this canon has often been used for controversial purposes it really has little or no 

value in this connexion, for the absence of the Revelation of St. John from the New Testament to all orthodox 

Christians is, to say the least, as fatal to its reception as an ecumenical definition of the canon of Holy 

Scripture, as the absence of the book of Wisdom, etc., from the Old Testament is to its reception by those 

who accept the books of what we may call for convenience the Greek canon, as distinguished from the 

Hebrew, as canonical. 

We may therefore leave this question wholly out of account, and merely consider the matter from the 

evidence we possess. 

In 1777 Spittler published a special treatise(1) to shew that the list of scriptural books was no part of the 

original canon adopted by Laodicea. Hefele gives the following resume of his argument:(2) 

(a) That Dionysius Exiguus has not this canon in his translation of the Laodicean decrees. It might, indeed, 
be said with Dallaeus and Van Espen, that Dionysius omitted this list of the books of Scripture because in 
Rome, where he composed his work, another by Innocent I. was in general use. 

(b) But, apart from the fact that Dionysius is always a most faithful translator, this sixtieth canon is also 
omitted by John of Antioch, one of the most esteemed and oldest Greek collectors of canons, who could 
have had no such reasons as Dionysius for his omission. 

(c) Lastly, Bishop Martin of Braga in the sixth century, though he has the fifty-ninth, has also not included in his 
collection the sixtieth canon so nearly related to it, nor does the Isidorian translation appear at first to have 
had this canon. (1) Herbst, in the Tubingen Review, also accedes to these arguments of Spittler's, as did 
Fuchs and others before him. Mr. Ffoulkes in his article on the Council of Laodicea in Smith and Cheetham's 
Dictionary of Christian Antiquities at length attempts to refute all objections, and affirms the genuineness of 
the list, put his conclusions can hardly be accepted when the careful consideration and discussion of the 
matter by Bishop Westcott is kept in mind. (History of the Canon of the New Testament, llld. Period, chapter 
ii. [p. 428 of the 4th Edition.]) 

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A.D. 381. 



Historical Introduction. 

The Creed and Epiphanius's two Creeds with an Introductory Note. 

Historical Excursus on the introduction of the words "and the Son." 

Historical Note on the lost Tome of this council. 

Synodal Letter to the Emperor. 

Introduction on the number of the Canons. 

The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 

Excursus to Canon I., on the condemned heresies. 

Excursus on the Authority of the Second Ecumenical Council. 

Synodical Letter of the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 382. 


In the whole history of the Church there is no council 'which bristles with such astonishing facts as the First 
Council of Constantinople. It is one of the "undisputed General Councils," one of the four which St. Gregory 
said he revered as he did the four holy Gospels, and he would be rash indeed who denied its right to the 
position it has so long occupied; and yet 

1 . It was not intended to be an Ecumenical Synod at all. 

2. It was a local gathering of only one hundred and fifty bishops. 

3. It was not summoned by the Pope, nor was he invited to it. 

4. No diocese of the West was present either by representation or in the person of its bishop; neither the see 
of Rome, nor any other see. 

5. It was a council of Saints, Cardinal Orsi, the Roman Historian, says: "Besides St. Gregory of Nyssa, and 
St. Peter of Sebaste, there were also at Constantinople on account of the Synod many other Bishops, 
remarkable either for the holiness of their life, or for their zeal for the faith, or for their learning, or for the 
eminence of their Sees, as St. Amphilochius of Iconium, Helladius of Cesarea in Cappadocia, Optimus of 
Antioch in Pisidia, Diodorus of Tarsus, St. Pelagius of Laodicea, St. Eulogius of Edessa, Acacius of Berea, 
Isidorus of Cyrus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Gelasius of Cesarea in Palestine, Vitus of Carres, Dionysius of 
Diospolis, Abram of Bathes, and Antiochus of Samosata, all three Confessors, Bosphorus of Colonia, and 
Otreius of Melitina, and various others whose names appear with honour in history. So that perhaps there 
has not been a council, in which has been found a greater number of Confessors and of Saints. "(1) 

6. It was presided over at first by St. Meletius, the bishop of Antioch who was bishop not in communion with 
Rome, (2) who died during its session and was styled a Saint in the panegyric delivered over him and who 
has since been canonized as a Saint of the Roman Church by the Pope. 

7. Its second president was St. Gregory Nazianzen, who was at that time liable to censure for a breach of the 
canons which forbade his translation to Constantinople. 

8. Its action in continuing the Meletian Schism was condemned at Rome, and its Canons rejected for a 
thousand years. 

9. Its canons were not placed in their natural position after those of Nice in the codex which was used at the 
Council of Chalcedon, although this was an Eastern codex. 

10. Its Creed was not read nor mentioned, so far as the acts record, at the Council of Ephesus, fifty years 

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1 1 . Its title to being (as it undoubtedly is) the Second of the Ecumenical Synods rests upon its Creed having 
found a reception in the whole world. And now-mirabile dictu-an English scholar comes forward, ready to 
defend the proposition that the First Council of Constantinople never set forth any creed at all! (3) 


(Found in all the Collections in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.) 


The reader should know that Tillemont (Memoires, t. ix., art. 78 in the treatise on St. Greg. Naz.) broached the 
theory that the Creed adopted at Constantinople was not a new expansion of the Nicene but rather the 
adoption of a Creed already in use. Hefele is of the same opinion (Hist, of the Councils, II., p. 349). and the 
learned Professor of Divinity in the University of Jena, Dr. Lipsius, says, of St. Epiphanius: "Though not 
himself present at the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, A.D: 381 , which ensured the triumph of the 
Nicene doctrine in the Oriental Churches, his shorter confession of faith, which is found at the end of his 
Ancoratus, and seems to have been the baptismal creed of the Church of Salamis, agrees almost word for 
word with the Constantinopolitan formula." (Smith and Wace, Diet. Chr. Biog., s. v. Epiphanius). "The 
Ancoratus," St. Epiphanius distinctly tells us, was written as early as A.D. 374, and toward the end of chapter 
cxix., he writes as follows. "The children of the Church have received from the holy fathers, that is from the 
holy Apostles, the faith to keep, and to hand down, and to teach their children. To these children you belong, 
and I beg you to receive it and pass it on. And whilst yon teach your children these things and such as these 
from the holy Scriptures, cease not to confirm and strengthen them, and indeed all who hear you: tell them 
that this is the holy faith of the Holy Catholic Church, as the one holy Virgin of God received it from the holy 
Apostles of the Lord to keep: and thus every person who is in preparation for the holy laver of baptism must 
learn it: they must learn it themselves, and teach it expressly, as the one Mother of all, of you and of us, 
proclaims it, saying." Then follows the Creed as on page 164. 

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and 
invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all 
worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by 
whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was 
incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under 
Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and 
ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to 
judge both the quick and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end. (I) 

And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the 
Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. And [we believe] in 
one, holy, (II) Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] 
we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. 


This clause had already, so far as the meaning is concerned, been added to the Nicene Creed, years 
before, in correction of the heresy of Marcellus of Ancyra, of whose heresy a statement will be found in the 
notes on Canon I. of this Council. One of the creeds of the Council of Antioch in Encaeniis (A.D. 341) reads: 
"and he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and he shah come again to judge both the quick and the dead, 
and he remaineth God and King to all eternity. "(1) 


The word "Holy" is omitted in some texts of this Creed, notably in the Latin version in the collection of Isidore 
Mercator. Vide Labbe, Cone, II., 960. Cf. Creed in English Prayer-Book. 


THE CREED FOUND IN EPIPHANIUS'S Ancoratus (Cap. cxx.)(2) 

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We believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and 
invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all 
worlds, that is of the substance of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, 
consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were made, both in heaven and earth who for us men and 
for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and 
was made man, was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and on the 
third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand 
of the Father, and from thence he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose 
kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the 
Father; who, with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets: in 
one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for 
the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. And those who say that there was a time when 
the Son of God was not, and before he was begotten he was not, or that he was of things which are not, or 
that he is of a different hypostasis or substance, or pretend that he is effluent or changeable, these the 
Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes. 

Epiphanius thus continues: 

"And this faith was delivered from the Holy Apostles and in the Church, the Holy City, from all the Holy 

Bishops together more than three hundred and ten in number." 

"In our generation, that is in the times of Valentinus and Valens, and the ninetieth year from the succession of 

Diocletian the tyrant,(3) you and we and all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together, 

make this address to those who come to baptism, in order that they may proclaim and say as follows:" 

Epiphanius then gives this creed: 

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, invisible and visible. And in one Lord Jesus 
Christ the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only begotten, that is of the substance of the Father, God 
of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by 
whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth, whether they be visible or invisible. Who 
for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate, that is to say was conceived perfectly 
through the Holy Ghost of the holy ever-virgin Mary, and was made man, that is to say a perfect man, 
receiving a soul, and body, and intellect, and all that make up a man, but without sin, not from human seed, 
nor [that he dwelt] in a man, but taking flesh to himself into one holy entity; not as he inspired the prophets 
and spake and worked [in them], but was perfectly made man, for the Word was made flesh; neither did he 
experience any change, nor did he convert his divine nature into the nature of man, but united it to his one 
holy perfection and Divinity. 

For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, not two, the same is God, the same is Lord, the same is King. He suffered 
in the flesh, and rose again, and ascended into heaven in the same body, and with glory he sat down at the 
right hand of the Father, and in the same body he will come in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, 
and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Law, and preached in the Prophets, and descended at 
Jordan, and spake in the Apostles, and indwells the Saints. And thus we believe in him, that he is the Holy 
Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit the Comforter, uncreate, who proceedeth from the Father, 
receiving of the Son (<greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Patros</greek> 
<greek>ekporeuomenon</greek>, <greek>kai</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> 
<greek>Uiou</greek> <greek>lambanomenon</greek>), and believed on. (<greek>kai</greek> 
<greek>pisteuomenon</greek>, which the Latin version gives in quern credimus; and proceeds to insert, 
Proeterea credimus in unam, etc. It certainly looks as if it had read <greek>pisteuomen</greek>, and had 
belonged to the following phrase.) 

[We believe] in one Catholic and Apostolic Church. And in one baptism of penitence, and in the resurrection 
of the dead, and the just judgment of souls and bodies, and in the Kingdom of heaven and in life 

And those who say that there was a time when the Son was not, or when the Holy Ghost was not, or that 
either was made of that which previously had no being, or that he is of a different nature or substance, and 
affirm that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are subject to change and mutation; all such the Catholic and 
Apostolic Church, the mother both of you and of us, anathematizes. And further we anathematize such as do 
not confess the resurrection of the dead, as well as all heresies which are not in accord with the true faith. 
Finally, you and your children thus believing and keeping the commandments of this same faith, we trust that 
you will always pray for us, that we may have a share and lot in that same faith and in the keeping of these 
same commandments. For us make your intercessions you and all who believe thus, and keep the 

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commandments of the Lord in our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom, glory be to the Father 
with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. 


The introduction into the Nicene Creed of the words "and the Son" (Filioque) has given rise to, or has been 
the pretext for, such bitter reviling between East and West (during which many statements unsupported by 
fact have become more or less commonly believed) that I think it well in this place to set forth as 
dispassionately as possible the real facts of the case. I shall briefly then give the proof of the following 

1 . That no pretence is made by the West that the words in dispute formed part of the original creed as 
adopted at Constantinople, or that they now form part of that Creed. 

2. That so far from the insertion being made by the Pope, it was made in direct opposition to his wishes and 

3. That it never was intended by the words to assert that there were two 'A<greek>rkai</greek> in the Trinity, 
nor in any respect on this point to differ from the teaching of the East. 

4. That it is quite possible that the words were not an intentional insertion at all. 

5. And finally that the doctrine of the East as set forth by St. John Damascene is now and always has been 
the doctrine of the West on the procession of the Holy Spirit, however much through ecclesiastico-political 
contingencies this fact may have become obscured. 

Wth the truth or falsity of the doctrine set forth by the Western addition to the creed this work has no concern, 
nor even am I called upon to treat the historical question as to when and where the expression "and the 
Son" was first used. For a temperate and eminently scholarly treatment of this point from a Western point of 
view, I would refer the reader to Professor Swete's On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the 
Holy Spirit. In J. M. Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church will be found a statement from the opposite 
point of view. The great treatises of past years I need not mention here, but may be allowed to enter a 
warning to the reader, that they were often written in the period of hot controversy, and make more for strife 
than for peace, magnifying rather than lessening differences both of thought and expression. 
Perhaps, too, I may be allowed here to remind the readers that it has been said that while "ex Patre Filioque 
procedens" in Latin does not necessitate a double source of the Holy Spirit, the expression 
<greek>ekporeuomenon</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>patros</greek> 
<greek>kai</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Uiou</greek> does. On such a point 
I am not fit to give an opinion, but St. John Damascene does not use this expression. 

1 . That no pretence is made by the West that the words in dispute ever formed part of the creed as adopted 
at Constantinople is evidently proved by the patent fact that it is printed without those words in all our 
Concilias and in all our histories. It is true that at the Council of Florence it was asserted that the words were 
found in a copy of the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical which they had, but no stress was even at that 
eminently Western council laid upon the point, which even if it had been the case would have shewn nothing 
with regard to the true reading of the Creed as adopted by the Second Synod. (1) On this point there never 
was nor can be any doubt. 

2. The addition was not made at the will and at the bidding of the Pope. It has frequently been said that it was 
a proof of the insufferable arrogancy of the See of Rome that it dared to tamper with the creed set forth by 
the authority of an Ecumenical Synod and which had been received by the world. Now so far from the history 
of this addition to the creed being a ground of pride and complacency to the advocates of the Papal claims, 
it is a most marked instance of the weakness of the papal power even in the West. 

"Baronius," says Dr. Pusey, "endeavours in vain to find any Pope, to whom the 'formal addition' may be 
ascribed, and rests at last on a statement of a writer towards the end of the 12th century, writing against the 
Greeks. 'If the Council of Constantinople added to the Nicene Creed, "in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver 
of life," and the Council of Chalcedon to that of Constantinople, "perfect in Divinity and perfect in Humanity, 
consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, consubstantial with us as touching his manhood," 
and some other things as aforesaid, the Bishop of the elder Rome ought not to be calumniated, because for 
explanation, he added one word [that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son] having the consent of very 
many bishops and most learned Cardinals.' 'For the truth of which,' says Le Quien, 'be the author 
responsible!' It seems to me inconceivable, that all account of any such proceeding, if it ever took place, 
should have been lost."(2) 

We may then dismiss this point and briefly review the history of the matter. 

There seems little doubt that the words were first inserted in Spain. As early as the year 400 it had been 
found necessary at a Council of Toledo to affirm the double procession against the Priscillianists,(3) and in 
589 by the authority of the Third Council of Toledo the newly converted Goths were required to sign the 

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creed with the addition. (4) From this time it became for Spain the accepted form, and was so recited at the 

Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, and again in 681 at the Twelfth Council of Toledo. (5) 

But this was at first only true of Spain, and at Rome nothing of the kind was known. In the Gelasian 

Sacramentary the Creed is found in its original form. (6) The same is the case with the old Gallican 

Sacramentary of the viith orviiith century. (7) 

However, there can be no doubt that its introduction spread very rapidly through the West and that before 

long it was received practically everywhere except at Rome. 

In 809 a council was held at Aix-la-Chapelle by Charlemagne, and from it three divines were sent to confer 

with the Pope, Leo III, upon the subject. The Pope opposed the insertion of the Filioque on the express 

ground that the General Councils had forbidden any addition to be made to their formulary. (8) Later on, the 

Frankish Emperor asked his bishops what was "the meaning of the Creed according to the Latins, "(9) and 

Fleury gives the result of the investigations to have been, "In France they continued to chant the creed with 

the word Filioque, and at Rome they continued not to chant it."(10) 

So firmly resolved was the Pope that the clause should not be introduced into the creed that he presented 

two silver shields to the Confessio in St. Peter's at Rome, on one of which was engraved the creed in Latin 

and on the other in Greek, without the addition. This act the Greeks never forgot during the controversy. 

Photius refers to it in writing to the Patriarch of Acquileia. About two centuries later St. Peter Damian(1) 

mentions them as still in place; and about two centuries later on, Veecur, Patriarch of Constantinople, 

declares they hung there still. (2) 

It was not till 1014 that for the first time the interpolated creed was used at mass with the sanction of the Pope. 

In that year Benedict VIII. acceded to the urgent request of Henry II. of Germany and so the papal authority 

was forced to yield, and the silver shields have disappeared from St. Peter's. 

3. Nothing could be clearer than that the theologians of the West never had any idea of teaching a double 
source of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Divine Monarchy was always intended to be preserved, and 
while in the heat of the controversy sometimes expressions highly dangerous, or at least clearly inaccurate, 
may have been used, yet the intention must be judged from the prevailing teaching of the approved 
theologians. And what this was is evident from the definition of the Council of Florence, which, while indeed it 
was not received by the Eastern Church, and therefore cannot be accepted as an authoritative exposition of 
its views, yet certainly must be regarded as a true and full expression of the teaching of the West. "The 
Greeks asserted that when they say the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, they do not use it because 
they wish to exclude the Son; but because it seemed to them, as they say, that the Latins assert the Holy 
Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son, as from two principles and by two spirations, and therefore 
they abstain from saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. But the Latins affirm that 
they have no intention when they say the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son to deprive the 
Father of his prerogative of being the fountain and principle of the entire Godhead, viz. of the Son and of the, 
Holy Ghost; nor do they deny that the very procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, the Son derives from 
the Father; nor do they teach two principles or two spirations; but they assert that there is one only principle, 
one only spiration, as they have always asserted up to this time." 

4. It is quite possible that when these words were first used there was no knowledge on the part of those 
using them that there had been made any addition to the Creed. As I have already pointed out, the year 589 
is the earliest date at which we find the words actually introduced into the Creed. Now there can be no doubt 
whatever that the Council of Toledo of that year had no suspicion that the creed as they had it was not the 
creed exactly as adopted at Constantinople. This is capable of the most ample proof. 

In the first place they declared, "Whosoever believes that there is any other Catholic faith and communion, 
besides that of the Universal Church, that Church which holds and honours the decrees of the Councils of 
Nice, Constantinople, I. Ephesus, and Chalcedon, let him be anathema." After some further anathemas in 
the same sense they repeat "the creed published at the council of Nice," and next, "The holy faith which the 
150 fathers of the Council of Constantinople explained, consonant with the great Council of Nice." And then 
lastly, "The holy faith which the translators of the council of Chalcedon explained." The creed of 
Constantinople as recited contained the words "and from the Son." Now the fathers at Toledo were not 
ignorant of the decree of Ephesus forbidding the making of "another faith" (<greek>eteran</greek> 
<greek>pistin</greek>) for they themselves cite it, as follows from the acts of Chalcedon; "The holy and 
universal Synod forbids to bring forward any other faith; or to write or believe or to teach other, or be 
otherwise minded. But whoso shall dare either to expound or produce or deliver any other faith to those who 
wish to be converted etc." Upon this Dr. Pusey well remarks, (1) "It is, of course, impossible to suppose that 
they can have believed any addition to the creed to have been forbidden by the clause, and, accepting it 
with its anathema, themselves to have added to the creed of Constantinople." 

But while this is the case it might be that they understood <greek>eteran</greek> of the Ephesine decree to 
forbid the making of contradictory and new creeds and not explanatory additions to the existing one. Of this 
interpretation of the decree, which would seem without any doubt to be the only tenable one, I shall treat in its 

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proper place. 

We have however further proof that the Council of Toledo thought they were using the unaltered creed of 

Constantinople. In these acts we find they adopted the following; "for reverence of the most holy faith and for 

the strengthening of the weak minds of men, the holy Synod enacts, with the advice of our most pious and 

most glorious Lord, King Recarede, that through all the churches of Spain and Gallaecia, the symbol of faith 

of the council of Constantinople, i.e. of the 150 bishops, should be recited according to the form of the 

Eastern Church, etc." 

This seems to make the matter clear and the next question which arises is, How the words could have got 

into the Spanish creed? I venture to suggest a possible explanation. Epiphanius tells us that in the year 378 

"all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together make this address to those who come to 

baptism, in order that they may proclaim and say as follows. "(2) If this is to be understood literally of course 

Spain was included. Now the creed thus taught the catechumens reads as follows at the point about which 

our interest centres: 

<greek>kai</greek> <greek>eis</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>agion</greek> 

<greek>pneuma</greek> <greek>pisteuomen</greek>, <greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> 

<greek>patros</greek> <greek>ekporeuomenon</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>ek</greek> 

<greek>tou</greek> <greek>lambanomenon</greek> <greek>kai</greek> 

<greek>pisteuomenon</greek>, <greek>eis</greek> <greek>mian</greek> <greek>kaqolikhn</greek> 

<greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. <greek>g</greek>. Now it looks to me as if the text had got corrupted 

and that there should be a full stop after <greek>lambanomenon</greek>, and that 

<greek>pisteuomenon</greek> should be <greek>pisteuomen</greek>. These emendations are not 

necessary however for my suggestion although they would make it more perfect, for in that case by the 

single omission of the word <greek>lambanomenon</greek> the Western form is obtained. It will be noticed 

that this was some years before the Constantinopolitan Council and therefore nothing would be more natural 

than that a scribe accustomed to writing the old baptismal creed and now given the Constantinopolitan 

creed, so similar to it, to copy, should have gone on and added the <greek>kai</greek> 

<greek>ek</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Uiou</greek>, according to habit. 

However this is a mere suggestion, I think I have shewn that there is strong reason to believe that whatever 

the explanation may be, the Spanish Church was unaware that it had added to or changed the 

Constantinopolitan creed. 

5. There remains now only the last point, which is the most important of all, but which does not belong to the 

subject matter of this volume and which therefore I shall treat with the greatest brevity. The writings of St. 

John Damascene are certainly deemed entirely orthodox by the Easterns and always have been. On the 

other hand their entire orthodoxy has never been disputed in the West, but a citation from Damascene is 

considered by St. Thomas as conclusive. Under these circumstances it seems hard to resist the conclusion 

that the faith of the East and the West, so far as its official setting forth is concerned, is the same and always 

has been. And perhaps no better proof of the Western acceptance of the Eastern doctrine concerning the 

eternal procession of the Holy Spirit can be found than the fact that St. John Damascene has been in recent 

years raised by the pope for his followers to the rank of a Doctor of the Catholic Church. 

Perhaps I may be allowed to close with two moderate statements of the Western position, the one by the 

learned and pious Dr. Pusey and the other by the none less famous Bishop Pearson. 

Dr. Pusey says: 

"Since, however, the clause, which found its way into the Creed, was, in the first instance, admitted, as being 

supposed to be part of the Constantinopolitan Creed, and, since after it had been rooted for 200 years, it 

was not uprooted, for fear of uprooting also or perplexing the faith of the people, there was no fault either in 

its first reception or in its subsequent retention. 

"The Greeks would condemn forefathers of their own, if they were to pronounce the clause to be heretical. 

For it would be against the principles of the Church to be in communion with an heretical body. But from the 

deposition of Photius, A.D. 886 to at least A.D. 1 009, East and West retained their own expression of faith 

without schism. (1) 

"A.D. 1077, Theophylact did not object to the West, retaining for itself the confession of faith contained in the 

words, but only excepted against the insertion of the words in the Creed. "(2) 

And Bp. Pearson, explaining Article VIII. of the Creed says: "Now although the addition of words to the formal 

Creed without the consent, and against the protestations of the Oriental Church be not justifiable; yet that 

which was added is nevertheless a certain truth, and may be so used in that Creed by them who believe the 

same to be a truth; so long as they pretend it not to be a definition of that Council, but an addition or 

explication inserted, and condemn not those who, out of a greater respect to such synodical determinations, 

will admit of no such insertions, nor speak any other language than the Scriptures and their Fathers spoke." 


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We know from the Synodical letter sent by the bishops who assembled at Constantinople in A.D. 382 (the 
next year after the Second Ecumenical Council) sent to Pope Damasus and other Western bishops, that the 
Second Council set forth a "Tome," containing a statement of the doctrinal points at issue. This letter will be 
found in full at the end of the treatment of tiffs council. The Council of Cholcedon in its address to the Emperor 
says: "The bishops who at Constantinople detected the taint of Apollinarianism, communicated to the 
Westerns their decision in the matter." From this we may reasonably conclude, with Tillemont,(3) that the lost 
Tome treated also of the Apollinarian heresy. It is moreover by no means unlikely that the Creed as it has 
come down to us, was the summary at the end of the Tome, and was followed by the anathemas which now 
form our Canon I. It also is likely that the very accurate doctrinal statements contained in the Letter of the 
Synod of 382 may be taken almost, if not quite, verbatim from this Tome. It seems perfectly evident that at 
least one copy of the Tome was sent to the West but how it got lost is a matter on which at present we are 
entirely in the dark. 


(Found in Labbe, Concilia, Tom. II., 945.) 

To the most religious Emperor Theodosius, the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled in Constantinople out of 
different Provinces. We begin our letter to your Piety with thanks to God, who has established the empire of 
your Piety for the common peace of the Churches and for the support of the true Faith. And, after rendering 
due thanks unto God, as in duty bound we lay before your Piety the things which have been done in the Holy 
Synod. When, then, we had assembled in Constantinople, according to the letter of your Piety, we first of all 
renewed our unity of heart each with the other, and then we pronounced some concise definitions, ratifying 
the Faith of the Nicene Fathers, and anathematizing the heresies which have sprung up, contrary thereto. 
Besides these things, we also framed certain Canons for the better ordering of the Churches, all which we 
have subjoined to this our letter. Wherefore we beseech your Piety that the decree of the Synod may be 
ratified, to the end that, as you have honoured the Church by your letter of citation, so you should set your 
seal to the conclusion of what has been decreed. May the Lord establish your empire in peace and 
righteousness, and prolong it from generation to generation; and may he add unto your earthly power the 
fruition of the heavenly kingdom also. May God by the prayers (<greek>eukaiu</greek> 
<greek>twt</greek> <greek>agiwn</greek>) of the Saints, (1) show favourto the world, that you may be 
strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God. 


(HEFELE, History of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 351 .) 

The number of canons drawn up by this synod is doubtful. The old Greek codices and the Greek 
commentators of the Middle Ages, Zonaras and Balsamon, enumerate seven; the old Latin translations-viz. 
the Prisca, those by Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, as well as the Codex of Luna-only recognize the first 
four canons of the Greek text, and the fact that they agree in this point is the more important as they are 
wholly independent of each other, and divide and arrange those canons of Constantinople which they do 
acknowledge quite differently. 

Because, however, in the Prisca the canons of Constantinople are only placed after those of the fourth 
General Council, the Ballerini brothers conclude that they were not contained at all in the oldest Greek 
collections of canons, and were inserted after the Council of Chalcedon. But it was at this very Council of 
Chalcedon that the first three canons of Constantinople were read out word for word. As however, they were 
not separately numbered, but were there read under the general title of Synodicon Synodi Secundae, 
Fuchs concluded they were not originally in the form in which we now possess them, but, without being 
divided into numbers, formed a larger and unbroken decree, the contents of which were divided by later 
copyists and translators into several different canons. And hence the very different divisions of these 
canons in the Prisca, Dionysius, and Isidore may be explained. The fact, however, that the old Latin 
translations all agree in only giving the first four canons of the Greek text, seems to show that the oldest 
Greek manuscripts, from which those translations were made, did not contain the fifth, sixth, and seventh, 
and that these last did not properly belong to this Synod, but were later additions. To this must be added 
that the old Greek Church-historians, in speaking of the affairs of the second General Council, only mention 
those points which are contained in the first four canons, and say nothing of what, according to the fifth, sixth, 
and seventh canons, had also been decided at Constantinople. At the very least, the seventh canon cannot 

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have emanated from this Council, since in the sixth century John Scholasticus did not receive it into his 
collection, although he adopted the fifth and sixth. It is also missing in many other collections; and in treating 
specially of this canon further on, we shall endeavour to show the time and manner of its origin. But the fifth 
and sixth canons probably belong to the Synod of Constantinople of the following year, as Beveridge, the 
Ballerini, and others conjectured. The Greek scholiasts, Zonaras and Balsamon, and later on Tillemont, 
Beveridge, Van Espen and Herbst, have given more or less detailed commentaries on all these canons. 


THE Bishops out of different provinces assembled by the grace of God in Constantinople, on the summons 
of the most religious Emperor Theodosius, have decreed as follows: 


THE Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, 
but shall remain firm. And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or 
[Anomoeans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the 
Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians. 



Let the Nicene faith stand firm. Anathema to heresy. 

There is a difference of reading in the list of the heretics. The reading I have followed in the text is that given 
in Beveridge's Synodicon. The Greek text, however, in Labbe, and with it agree the version of Hervetus and 
the text of Hefele, reads: "the Eunomians or Anomaeans, the Arians or Eudoxians, the Semi-Arians or 
Pneumatomachi, the Sabellians, Marcellians, Photinians and Apollinarians." From this Dionysius only 
varies by substituting "Macedonians" for "Semi-Arians." It would seem that this was the correct reading. I, 
however, have followed the other as being the more usual. 


By the Eudoxians, whom this canon identifies with the Arians [according to his text, vide supra,] is meant that 
faction who, in contradistinction to the strict Arians or Anomaeans on one side, and the Semi-Arians on the 
other side, followed the leadership of the Court Bishop Eudoxius (Bishop of Constantinople under the 
Emperor Valens), and without being entirely Anomaean, yet very decidedly inclined to the left of the Arian 
party-probably claiming to represent the old and original Arianism. But this canon makes the Semi-Arians 
identical with the Pneuma-tomachians, and so far rightly, that the latter sprang from the Semi-Arian party, and 
applied the Arian principle to their doctrine of the Holy Ghost. Lastly, by the Marcellians are meant those 
pupils of Marcellus of Ancyra who remained in the errors formerly propounded by him, while afterwards 
others, and indeed he himself, once more acknowledged the truth. 


In treating of these heresies I shah invert the order of the canon, and shall speak of the Macedonian and 
Apollinarian heresies first, as being most nearly connected with the object for which the Constantinopolitan 
Synod was assembled. 


Peace indeed seemed to have been secured by the Nicene decision but there was an element of discord 
still extant, and so shortly afterwards as in 359 the double-synod of Rimini (Ariminum) and Selencia rejected 
the expressions hemousion and homoeusion equally, and Jerome gave birth to his famous phrase, "the 
world awoke to find itself Arian." The cause of this was the weight attaching to the Semi-Arian party, which 
counted among its numbers men of note and holiness, such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Of the developments 
of this party it seems right that some mention should be made in this place, since it brought forth the 
Macedonian heresy. 

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(Wm. Bright, D.D., St. Leo on the Incarnation, pp. 213 etseqq.) 

The Semi-Arian party in the fourth century attempted to steer a middle course between calling the Son 
Consubstantial and calling him a creature. Their position, indeed, was untenable, but several persisted in 
clinging to it; and it was adopted by Macedonius, who occupied the see of Constantinople. It was through 
their adoption of a more reverential language about the Son than had been used by the old Arians, that what 
is called the Macedonian heresy showed itself. Arianism had spoken both of the Son and the Holy Spirit as 
creatures. The Macedonians, rising up out of Semi-Arianism, gradually reached the Church's belief as to the 
uncreated majesty of the Son, even if they retained their objection to the homoousion as a formula. But 
having, in their previously Semi-Arian position, refused to extend their own "homoiousion" to the Holy Spirit, 
they afterwards persisted in regarding him as "external to the one indivisible Godhead," Newman's Arians, 
p. 226; or as Tillemont says (Mem. vi., 527), "the denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit was at last their capital 
or only error." St. Athanasius, while an exile under Constantius for the second time, "heard with pain," as he 
says (Ep. i. ad Serap, 1) that "some who had left the Arians from disgust at their blasphemy against the Son 
of God, yet called the Spirit a creature, and one of the ministering spirits, differing only in degree from the 
Angels:" and soon afterwards, in 362, the Council of Alexandria condemned the notion that the Spirit was a 
creature, as being "no true avoidance of the detestable Arian heresy." See "Later Treatises of St. 
Athanasius," p. 5. Athanasius insisted that the Nicene Fathers, although silent on the nature of the Holy Spirit, 
had by implication ranked him with the Father and the Son as an object of belief (ad Afros, 11). After the 
death of St. Athanasius, the new heresy was rejected on behalf of the West by Pope Damasus, who 
declared the Spirit to be truly and properly from the Father (as the Son from the Divine substance) and very 
God, "omnia posse et omnia nosse, et ubique esse," coequal and adorable (Mansi, Hi., 483). The lllyrian 
bishops also, in 374, wrote to the bishops of Asia Minor, affirming the consubstantiality of the Three Divine 
Persons (Theodoret, H. E., iv., 9). St. Basil wrote his De Spirits Sancto in the same sense (see Swete, Early 
History of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 58, 67), and in order to vindicate this truth against the 
Pneumatomachi, as the Macedonians were called by the Catholics, the Constantinopolitan recension of the 
Nicene Creed added the words, "the Lord and the Life-giver, proceeding from the Father, with the Father 
and the Son worshipped and glorified" etc., which had already formed part of local Creeds in the East. 

From the foregoing by Canon Bright, the reader will be able to understand the connexion between the 
Semi-Arians and Pneumatomachi, as well as to see how the undestroyed heretical germs of the 
Semi-Asian heresy necessitated by their development the condemnation of a second synod. 


(Philip Schaff, in Smith and Wace, Diet. Christ. Biog., s. v. Apollinaris.) 

Apollinaris was the first to apply the results of the Nicene controversy to Christology proper, and to call the 
attention of the Church to the psychical and pneumatic element in the humanity of Christ; but in his zeal for the 
true deity of Christ, and fear of a double personality, he fell into the error of a partial denial of his true 
humanity. Adopting the psychological trichotomy of Plato (<greek>swma</greek> <greek>yukh</greek>, 
<greek>pneuma</greek>), for which he quoted I. Thess. v. 23 and Gal. v. 17, he attributed to Christ a human 
body (<greek>swma</greek>) and a human soul (the <greek>yukhalogos</greek>, the anima animans 
which man has in common with the animal), but not a rational spirit (<greek>nous</greek> 
<greek>pneuma</greek> <greek>yukh</greek> <greek>logikh</greek>, anima rationalis,) and put in the 
place of the latter the divine Logos. In opposition to the idea of a mere connection of the Logos with the man 
Jesus, he wished to secure an organic unity of rite two, and so a true incarnation; but he sought this at the 
expense of the most important constituent of man. He reached only a <greek>Qeos</greek> 
<greek>sarkoForos</greek>as Nestorianism only an <greek>anqrwpos</greek> 

<greek>qeoForos</greek> instead of the proper <greek>qeandrwtos</greek>. He appealed to the fact that 
the Scripture says, "the Word was made flesh"-not spirit; "God was manifest in the flesh" etc, To which 
Gregory Nazianzen justly replied that in these passages the term <greek>sarx</greek> was used by 
synecdoche for the whole human nature. In this way Apollinaris established so close a connection of the 
Logos with human flesh, that all the divine attributes were transferred to the human nature, and all the human 
attributes to the divine, and the two merged in one nature in Christ. Hence he could speak of a crucifixion of 
the Logos, and a worship of his flesh. He made Christ a middle being between God and man, in whom, as it 
were, one part divine and two parts human were fused in the unity of a new nature. He even ventured to 
adduce created analogies, such as the mule, midway between the horse and the ass; the grey colour, a 
mixture of white and black; and spring, in distinction from winter and summer. Christ, said he, is neither whole 
man, nor God, but a mixture (<greek>mixis</greek>) of God and man. On the other hand, he regarded the 
orthodox view of a union of full humanity with a full divinity in one person-of two wholes in one whole-as an 
absurdity. He called the result of this construction <greek>anqrwpoqeos</greek> , a sort of monstrosity, 

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which he put in the same category with the mythological figure of the Minotaur. But the Apollinarian idea of 
the union of the Logos with a truncated human nature might be itself more justly compared with this monster. 
Starting from the Nicene homoousion as to the Logos, but denying the completeness of Christ's humanity, 
he met Arianism half-way, which likewise put the divine Logos in the place of rite human spirit in Christ. But he 
strongly asserted his unchangeableness, while Arians taught his changeableness 

The faith of the Church revolted against such a mutilated and stunted humanity of Christ which necessarily 
involved also a merely partial redemption. The incarnation is an assumption of the entire human nature, sin 
only excluded. The <greek>ensarkwsis</greek> is <greek>enanqrwphsis</greek>. To be a full and 
complete Redeemer, Christ must be a perfect man (<greek>teleios</greek> <greek>anqrwpos</greek>). 
The spirit or rational soul is the most important element in man, his crowning glory, the seat of intelligence 
and freedom, and needs redemption as well as the soul and the body; for sin has entered and corrupted all 
the faculties. 

In the sentence immediately preceding the above Dr. Scruff remarks "but the peculiar Christology of 
Apollinaris has reappeared from time to time in a modified shape, as isolated theological opinion." No 
doubt Dr. Schaff had in mind the fathers of the so-called "Kenoticism" of to-day, Gess and Ebrard, who 
teach, unless they have been misunderstood, that the incarnate Son had no human intellect or rational soul 
(<greek>nous</greek>) but that the divine personality took its place, by being changed into it.By this last 
modification, they claim to escape from tire taint of the Apollinarian heresy. (1) 


(Bright, Notes on the Canons, Canon I. of I. Const.) 

"The Eunomians or Anomoeans." These were the ultra-Arians, who carried to its legitimate issue the 
original Arian denial of the eternity and uncreatedness of the Son, while they further rejected what Arius had 
affirmed as to the essential mysteriousness of the Divine nature (Soo, H. E., iv., 7; comp. Athan., De Synod., 
15). Their founder was Aetius, the most versatile of theological adventurers (cf. Athan, De Synod., 31; Soo, 
H. E., ii., 45; and see a summary of his career in Newman's Arians, p. 347); but their leader at the time of the 
Council was the dating and indefatigable Eunomius (for whose personal characteristics, see his admirer 
Philostorgius, x., 6) He, too, had gone through many vicissitudes from his first employment as the secretary 
of Aetius, and his ordination as deacon by Eudoxius; as bishop of Cyzicus, he had been lured into a 
disclosure of his true sentiments, and then denounced as a heretic (Theod., H.. E., ii., 29); with Aetius he had 
openly separated from Eudoxius as a disingenuous time-server, and had gone into retirement at 
Chalcedon (Philostorg., ix., 4). The distinctive formula of his adherents was the "Anomoion." The Son, they 
said, was not "like to the Father in essence"; even to call him simply "like" was to obscure the fact that he 
was simply a creature, and, as such, "unlike" to his Creator. In other words, they thought the Semi-Arian 
"homoiousion" little better than the Catholic "homoousion": the "homoion" of the more "respectable" Arians 
represented in their eyes an ignoble reticence; the plain truth, however it might shock devout prejudice, must 
be put into words which would bar all misunderstanding: the Son might be called "God," but in a sense 
merely titular, so as to leave an impassable gulf between him and the uncreated Godhead (see Eunomius's 
Exposition in Valesius's note on See., H. E., v., 1 0). Compare Basil (Epist., 233, and his work against 
Eunomius), and Epiphanius (Hoer., 76). 


(Bright. Ut supra.) 

"The Arians or Eudoxians." By these are meant the ordinary Arians of the period, or, as they may be called, 
the Acacian party, directed for several years by the essentially worldly and unconscientious Eudoxius. His 
real sympathies were with the Anomoeans (see Tillemont, Memoires, vi., 423, and compare his profane 
speech recorded by Socrates, H. E., ii., 43): but, as a bishop of Constantinople, he felt it necessary to 
discourage them, and to abide by the vague formula invented by Acacius of Caesarea, which described 
the Son as "like to the Father," without saying whether this likeness was supposed to be more than moral (cf. 
Newman, Arians, p. 31 7), so that the practical effect of this "homoion" was to prepare the way for that very 
Anomoeanism which its maintainers were ready for political purposes to disown. 


(Bright. Ut supra.) 

"The Sabellians," whose theory is traceable to Noetus and Praxeas in the latter part of the second century: 

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they regarded the Son and the Holy Spirit as aspects and modes of, or as emanations from, the One 
Person of the Father (see Newman's Arians, pp. 120 et seqq.). Such a view tended directly to dissolve 
Christian belief in the Trinity and in the Incarnation (Vide Wilberforce, Incarnation, pp, 112, 197). Hence the 
gentle Dionysius of Alexandria characterised it in severe terms as involving "blasphemy, unbelief, and 
irreverence, towards the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Euseb., H. E., vii.. 6). Hence the deep 
repugnance which it excited, and the facility with which the imputation of "Sabellianizing" could be utilised by 
the Arians against maintainers of the Consubstantiality (Hilary, DeTrinit., iv., 4; De Synod., 68; Fragm., 11; 
Basil, Epist., 189, 2). No organized Sabellian sect was in existence at the date of this anathema: but 
Sabellian ideas were "in the air," and St. Basil could speak of a revival of this old misbelief (Epist., 126). We 
find it again asserted by Chilperic I., King of Neustria, in the latter part of the sixth century (Greg. Turon., Hist. 


(Bright. Ut supra.) 

"The Marcellians," called after Marcellus bishop of Ancyra, who was persistently denounced not only by the 
Arianizers, but by St. Basil, and for a time, at least, suspected by St. Athanasius (Vide Epiphan., Hoer., 72, 4) 
as one who held notions akin to Sabellianism, and fatal to a true belief in the Divine Sonship and the 
Incarnation. The theory ascribed to him was that the Logos was an impersonal Divine power, immanent from 
eternity in God, but issuing from him in the act of creation, and entering at last into relations with the human 
person of Jesus, who thus became God's Son. But this expansion of the original divine unity would be 
followed by a "contraction," when the Logos would retire from Jesus, and God would again be all in all. 
Some nine years before the council, Marcellus, then in extreme old age, had sent his deacon Eugenius to 
St. Athanasius, with a written confession of faith, quite orthodox as to the eternity of the Trinity, and the identity 
of the Logos with a pre-existing and personal Son, although not verbally explicit as to the permanence of 
Christ's "kingdom, "-the point insisted on in one of the Epiphanian-Constantinopolitan additions to the Creed 
(Montfaucon, Collect. Nov., ii., 1). The question whether Marcellus was personally heterodox-i.e. whether the 
extracts from his treatise, made by his adversary Eusebius of Caesarea, give a fair account of his real 
views- has been answered unfavourably by some writers, as Newman (Athanasian Treatises, ii., 200, ed. 
2), and Dollinger (Hippolytus and Callistus, p. 217, E. T. p. 201), while others, like Neale, think that "charity 
and truth" suggest his "acquittal" (Hist. Patr. Antioch., p. 106). Montfaucon thinks that his written statements 
might be favourably interpreted, but that his oral statements must have given ground for suspicion. 


(Bright. Ut supra. ) 

"The Photinians," or followers of Marcellus's disciple Photinus, bishop of Sirmium, the ready-witted and 
pertinacious disputant whom four successive synods condemned before he could be got rid of, by State 
power, in A.D. 351 . (See St. Athanasius's Historical Writings, Introd. p. Ixxxix.) In his representation of the 
"Marcellian" theology, he laid special stress on its Christological position-that Jesus, on whom the Logos 
rested with exceptional fulness, was a mere man. See Athanasius, De Synodis, 26, 27, for two creeds in 
which Photinianism is censured; also Soc. H. E. ii., 18, 29, 30; vii., 39. There is an obvious affinity between it 
and the "Samosatene" or Paulionist theory. 


THE bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring 
confusion on the churches; but let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the 
affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in 
Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian 
Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian 
bishops only Thracian affairs. And let not bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other 
ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited. And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being 
observed, it is evident that the synod of every province will administer the affairs of that particular province 
as was decreed at Nice. But the Churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the 
custom which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers. 



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No traveller shall introduce confusion into the Churches either by ordaining or by enthroning. Nevertheless 
in Churches which are among the heathen the tradition of the Fathers shall be preserved. 

In the above Ancient Epitome it will be noticed that not only is ordination mentioned but also the 
"inthronization" of bishops. Few ceremonies are of greater antiquity in the Christian Church than the solemn 
placing of the newly chosen bishop in the episcopal chair of his diocese. It is mentioned in the Apostolical 
Constitutions, and in the Greek Pontificals. Also in the Arabic version of the Nicene Canons. (No. Ixxi.). A 
sermon was usually delivered by the newly consecrated bishop, called the "sermo enthronisticus." He also 
sent to neighbouring bishops <greek>sullabai</greek> <greek>enqronistikai</greek>, and the fees the new 
bishops paid were called <greek>ta</greek> <greek>enqronistika</greek>. 


(Note on Socrates, H.E.v., 8). 

This rule seems to have been made chiefly on account of Meletius. Bishop of Antioch, Gregory Nazianzen, 
and Peter of Alexandria. For Meletius leaving the Eastern diocese had come to Constantinople to ordain 
Gregory bishop there. And Gregory having abandoned the bishoprick of Sasima, which was in the Pontic 
diocese, had removed to Constantinople. While Peter of Alexandria had sent to Constantinople seven 
Egyptian bishops to ordain Maximus the Cynic. For the purpose therefore of repressing these [disorders], 
the fathers of the Synod of Constantinople made this canon. 


Take notice from the present canon that formerly all the Metropolitans of provinces were themselves the 
heads of their own provinces, and were ordained by their own synods. But all this was changed by Canon 
xxviij of the Synod of Chalcedon, which directs that the Metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia, and 
Thrace, and certain others which are mentioned in this Canon should be ordained by the Patriarch of 
Constantinople and should be subject to him. But if you find other churches which are autocephalous as the 
Church of Bulgaria, of Cyprus, of Iberia, you need not be astonished. For the Emperor Justinian gave this 
honour to the Archbishop of Bulgaria. ... The third Synod gave this honour to the Archbishop of Cyprus, and 
by the law of the same synod (Canon viii.), and by the Sixth Synod in itsxxxixth Canon, the judgment of the 
Synod of Antioch is annulled and this honour granted to the bishop of Iberia. 


(Mem. ix., 489). 

The Council seems likewise to reject, whether designedly or inadvertently, what had been ordained by the 
Council of Sardica in favour of Rome. But as assuredly it did not affect to prevent either Ecumenical 
Councils, or even general Councils of the East, from judging of matters brought before them, so I do not 
know if one may conclude absolutely that they intended to forbid appeals to Rome. It regulates 
proceedings between Dioceses, but not what might concern superior tribunals. 


(Hist. Eccl. in loo). 

This Canon, which gives to the councils of particular places full authority in Ecclesiastical matters, seems to 

take away the power of appealing to the Pope granted by the Council of Sardica, and to restore the ancient 



An exception to the rule against interference in other patriarchates was made with regard to those Churches 
newly rounded amongst barbarous nations (not belonging to the Roman Empire), as these were of course 
obliged to receive their first bishops from strange patriarchates, and remained after wards too few in number 
to form patriarchates of their own and were therefore governed as belonging to other patriarchates, as, for 
instance, Abyssinia by the patriarchate of Alexandria. 


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THE Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; 
because Constantinople is New Rome. 



The bishop of Constantinople is to be honoured next after the bishop of Rome. 

It should be remembered that the change effected by this canon did not affect Rome directly in any way, but 
did seriously affect Alexandria and Antioch, which till then had ranked next after the see of Rome. When the 
pope refused to acknowledge the authority of this canon, he was in reality defending the principle laid down 
in the canon of Nice, that in such matters the ancient customs should continue. Even the last clause, it would 
seem, could give no offence to the most sensitive on the papal claims, for it implies a wonderful power in the 
rank of Old Rome, if a see is to rank next to it because it happens to be "New Rome." Of course these 
remarks only refer to the wording of the canon which is carefully guarded; the intention doubtless was to 
exalt the see of Constantinople, the chief see of the East, to a position of as near equality as possible with 
the chief see of the West. 


In this place the Council takes action concerning Constantinople, to which it decrees the prerogative of 
honour, the priority, and the glory after the Bishop of Rome as being New Rome and the Queen of cities. 
Some indeed wish to understand the preposition <greek>meta</greek> here of time and not of inferiority of 
grade. And they strive to confirm this interpretation by a consideration of the XXVIII canon of Chalcedon, 
urging that if Constantinople is to enjoy equal honours, the preposition "after" cannot signify subjection. But 
on the other hand the hundred and thirtieth novel of Justinian, (1) Book V of the Imperial Constitutions, title 
three, understands the canon otherwise. For, it says, "we decree that the most holy Pope of Old Rome, 
according to the decrees of the holy synods is the first of all priests, and that the most blessed bishop of 
Constantinople and of New Rome, should have the second place after the Apostolic Throne of the Elder 
Rome, and should be superior in honour to all others." From this therefore it is abundantly evident that "after" 
denotes subjection (<greek>upobibasmon</greek>) and diminution. And otherwise it would be impossible 
to guard this equality of honour in each see. For in reciting their names, or assigning them seats when they 
are to sit together, or arranging the order of their signatures to documents, one must come before the other. 
Whoever therefore shall explain this particle <greek>meta</greek> as only referring to time, and does not 
admit that it signifies an inferior grade of dignity, does violence to the passage and draws from it a meaning 
neither true nor good. Moreover in Canon xxxvj of the Council in Trullo, <greek>meta</greek> manifestly 
denotes subjection, assigning to Constantinople the second place after the throne of Old Rome; and then 
adds, after this Alexandria, then Antioch, and last of all shall be placed Jerusalem. 


If we enquire the reason why this Council tried to change the order of rank of the great Sees, which had been 
established in the sixth Nicene canon, we must first take into consideration that, since the elevation of 
Constantinople to the Imperial residence, as New Rome, the bishops as well as the Emperors naturally 
wished to see the new imperial residence, New Rome, placed immediately after Old Rome in 
ecclesiastical rank also; the rather, as with the Greeks it was the rule for the ecclesiastical rank of a See to 
follow the civil rank of the city. The Synod of Antioch in 341 , in its ninth canon, had plainly declared this, and 
subsequently the fourth General Council, in its seventeenth canon, spoke in the same sense. But how these 
principles were protested against on the side of Rome, we shall see further on in the history of the fourth 
General Council. For the present, it may suffice to add that the aversion to Alexandria which, by favouring 
Maximus, had exercised such a disturbing influence on Church affairs in Constantinople, may well have 
helped to effect the elevation of the See of Constantinople over that of Alexandria. Moreover, for many 
centuries Rome did not recognize this change of the old ecclesiastical order. In the sixteenth session of the 
fourth General Council, the Papal Legate, Lucentius, expressly declared this. In like manner the Popes Leo 
the Great and Gregory the Great pronounced against it; and though even Gratian adopted this canon in his 
collection the Roman critics added the following note: Canon hie ex iis est, quos Apostolica Romana Sedes 
a principio et longo post tempore non recepit. It was only when, after the conquest of Constantinople by the 
Latins, a Latin patriarchate was founded there in 1204, that Pope Innocent III, and the twelfth General Council, 
in 1215, allowed this patriarch the first rank after the Roman; and the same recognition was expressly 

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awarded to the Greek Patriarch at the Florentine Union in 1439. 

T. W.ALLIES. (1) 

Remarkable enough it is that when, in the Council of Chalcedon, appeal was made to this third Canon, the 
Pope St. Leo declared that it had never been notified to Rome. As in the mean time it had taken effect 
throughout the whole East, as in this very council Nectarius, as soon as he is elected, presides instead of 
Timothy of Alexandria, it puts in a strong point of view the real self-government of the Eastern Church at this 
time; for the giving the Bishop of Constantinople precedence over Alexandria and Antioch was a 
proceeding which affected the whole Church, and so far altered its original order-one in which certainly the 
West might claim to have a voice. Tillemont goes on: "It would be very difficult to justify St. Leo, if he meant 
that the Roman Church had never known that the Bishop of Constantinople took the second place in the 
Church, and the first in the East, since his legates, whose conduct he entirely approves, had just themselves 
authorized it as a thing beyond dispute, and Eusebius of Dorylaeum maintained that St. Leo himself had 
proved it." The simple fact is, that, exceedingly unwilling as the Bishops of Rome were to sanction it, from 
this time, 381 , to say the least, the Bishop of Constantinople appears uniformly as first bishop of the East. 

Cardinal Baronius in his Annals (A.D. 381 , n. 35, 36) has disputed the genuineness of this Canon! As already 
mentioned it is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXII, c. iij. The note added to this in 
Gratian reads as follows: 


This canon is of the number of those which the Apostolic See of Rome did not at first nor for long years 
afterwards receive. This is evident from Epistle LI. (or LIN.) of Pope Leo I. to Anatolius of Constantinople and 
from several other of his letters. The same thing also is shewn by two letters of Leo IX. 's, the one against the 
presumptuous acts of Michael and Leo (cap. 28) and the other addressed to the same Michael. But still 
more clearly is this seen from the letter of Blessed Gregory (xxxj., lib. VI.) to Eulogius of Alexandria and 
Anastasius of Antioch, and from the letter of Nicholas I. to the Emperor Michel which begins 
"Proposueramus." However, the bishops of Constantinople, sustained by the authority of the Emperors, 
usurped to themselves the second place among the patriarchs, and this at length was granted to them for 
the sake of peace and tranquillity, as Pope Innocent III. declares (in cap. antiqua de privileg.).(2) 

This canon Dionysius Exiguus appends to Canon 2, and dropping 5, 6, and 7 he has but three canons of this 


CONCERNING Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which has happened in Constantinople on his account, 
it is decreed that Maximus never was and is not now a Bishop; that those who have been ordained by him 
are in no order whatever of the clergy; since all which has been done concerning him or by him, is declared 
to be invalid. 



Let Maximus the Cynic be cast out from among the bishops, and anyone who was inscribed by him on the 
clergy list shall be held as profane. 


(Smith and Wace, Diet. Christ. Biog.) 

MAXIMUS the Cynic; the intrusive bishop of Constantinople, A.D. 380. Ecclesiastical history hardly presents 
a more extraordinary career than that of this man, who, after a most disreputable youth, more than once 
brought to justice for his misdeeds, and bearing the scars of his punishments, by sheer impudence, clever 
flattery, and adroit manage-merit of opportunities, contrived to gain the confidence successively of no less 
men than Peter of Alexandria, Gregory Nazianzen, and Ambrose, and to install himself in one of the first 
sees of the church, from which he was with difficulty dislodged by a decree of an ecumenical council. His 
history also illustrates the jealousy felt by the churches of Alexandria and Rome towards their young and 

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vigorous rival for patriarchal honours, the church of Constantinople; as well as their claim to interfere with her 
government, and to impose prelates upon her according to their pleasure. Alexandria, as the chief see of 
the Eastern world, from the first asserted a jurisdiction which she has never formally relinquished over the 
see of Constantinople, more particularly in a vacancy in the episcopate (Neale, Pair, of Alexandria, i, 206). 
The conduct of Peter, the successor of Athanasius, first in instituting Gregory Nazianzen bishop of 
Constantinople by his letters and sending a formal recognition of his appointment and then in substituting 
Maximus, as has been remarked by Milman (History of Christianity, Hi., 115, note) and Ullman (Greg. Naz., p. 
203 [Cox's translation]), furnish unmistakable indications of the desire to erect an Oriental papacy, by 
establishing the primacy of Alexandria over Constantinople and so over the East, which was still further 
illustrated a few years later by the high-handed behaviour of Theophilus towards Chrysostom. 
Maximus was a native of Alexandria of low parentage. He boasted that his family had produced martyrs. He 
got instructed in the rudiments of the Christian faith and received baptism, but strangely enough sought to 
combine the Christian profession with Cynic philosophy. 

When he presented himself at the Eastern capital he wore the white robe of a Cynic, and carried a 
philosopher's staff, his head being laden with a huge crop of crisp curling hair, dyed a golden yellow, and 
swinging over his shoulders in long ringlets. He represented himself as a confessor for the Nicene faith, and 
his banishment to the Oasis as a suffering for the truth (Orat. xxiii., p. 419). Before long he completely gained 
the ear and heart of Gregory, who admitted him to the closest companionship. Maximus proclaimed the 
most unbounded admiration for Gregory's discourses, which he praised in private, and, according to the 
custom of the age, applauded in public. His zeal against heretics was most fierce, and his denunciation of 
them uncompromising. The simple-hearted Gregory became the complete dupe of Maximus. 
All this time Maximus was secretly maturing a plot for ousting his unsuspicious patron from his throne. He 
gained the ear and the confidence of Peter of Alexandria, and induced him to favour his ambitious views. 
Gregory, he asserted, had never been formally enthroned bishop of Constantinople; his translation thither 
was a violation of the canons of the church; rustic in manners, he had proved himself quite unfitted for the 
place. Constantinople was getting weary of him. It was time the patriarch of the Eastern world should 
exercise his prerogative and give New Rome a more suitable bishop. The old man was imposed on as 
Gregory had been, and lent himself to Maximus's projects. Maximus found a ready tool in a presbyter of 
Constantinople, envious of Gregory's talents and popularity (de Vit., p. 13). Others were gained by bribes. 
Seven unscrupulous sailor fellows were despatched from Alexandria to mix with the people, and watch for a 
favourable opportunity for carrying out the plot. When all was ripe they were followed by a bevy of bishops, 
with secret instructions from the patriarch to consecrate Maximus. 

The conspirators chose the night for the accomplishment of their enterprise. Gregory they knew was 
confined by illness. They forced their way into the cathedral, and commenced the rite of ordination. By the 
time they had set the Cynic on the archiepiscopal throne, and had just begun shearing away his long curls, 
they were surprised by the dawn. The news quickly spread, and everybody rushed to the church. The 
magistrates appeared on the scene with their officers; Maximus and his consecrators were driven from the 
sacred precincts, and in the house or shop of a flute-player the tonsure was completed. Maximums repaired 
to Thessalonica to lay his cause before Theodosius. He met with a cold reception from the emperor, who 
committed the matter to Ascholius, the much respected bishop of that city, charging him to refer it to pope 
Damasus. We have two letters of Damasus's on this subject. In the first, addressed to Ascholius and the 
Macedonian bishops, he vehemently condemns the "ardor animi et feeds presumptio" which had led 
certain persons coming from Egypt, in violation of the rule of ecclesiastical discipline, to have proposed to 
consecrate a restless man, an alien from the Christian profession, not worthy to be called a Christian, who 
wore an idolatrous garb ("habitus idoli") and the long hair which St. Paul said was a shame to a man, and 
remarks on the fact that being expelled from the church they were compelled to complete the ordination 
"intra parities alienos." In the second letter addressed to Ascholius individually (Ep. vi.) he repeats his 
condemnation of the ordination of the long-haired Maximus ("comatum") and asks him to take special care 
that a Catholic bishop may be ordained (Migne, Patrolog., xiii., pp. 366-369; Ep. 5; 5, 6). 
Maximus returned to Alexandria, and demanded that Peter should assist him in re-establishing himself at 
Constantinople. But Peter had discovered the man's true character, and received him as coldly as 
Theodosius had done. Determined to carry his point he presented himself to the patriarch at the head of a 
disorderly mob, with the threat that if he did not help him to gain the throne of Constantinople he would have 
that of Alexandria. Peter appealed to the prefect, by whom Maximus was driven out of Egypt. The death of 
Peter and the accession of Timotheus are placed Feb. 14, 380. The events described must therefore have 
occurred in 379. When the second ecumenical council met at Con- stantinople in 381, the question of 
Maximus's claim to the see of Constantinople came up for consideration. His pretensions were unanimously 


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(Notes on the Canons, in loo) 

Maximus, however, having been expelled from Egypt, made his way into Northern Italy, presented to 
Gratian at Milan a large work which he had written against the Arians (as to which Gregory sarcastically 
remarks- "Saul a prophet, Maximus an author!" Carm. adv. Mar., 21), and deceived St. Ambrose and his 
suffragans by showing the record of his consecration, with letters which Peter had once written in his behalf. 
To these prelates of the "Italic diocese" the appeal of Maximus seemed like the appeal of Athanasius, and 
more recently of Peter himself, to the sympathy of the church of Rome; and they re quested Theodosius to 
let the case be heard before a really General Council (Mansi, iii. 631). Nothing further came of it; perhaps, 
says Tillemont, those who thus wrote in favour of Maximus "reconnurent bientot quel il etait" (ix., 502): so that 
when a Council did meet at Rome towards the end of 382, no steps were taken in his behalf. 


(Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next year, 382. Vide. Introduction on the number 
of the Canons.) 

IN regard to the tome of the Western [Bishops], we receive those in Antioch also who confess the unity of the 
Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 



The Tome of the Westerns which recognizes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as consubstantial is 
highly acceptable. 

Beveridge and Van Espen translate this canon differently, thus, "With regard to the tome of the Westerns, we 
agree with those in Antioch [i.e. the Synod of 378] who (accepted it and) acknowledged the unity of the 
Godhead of the Father etc," In opposition to this translation Hefele urges that 
<greek>apodekesqai</greek> in ecclesiastical language usually refers to receiving persons and 
recognizing them, not opinions or doctrines. 


This canon probably does not belong to the second General Council, but to the Synod held in the following 
year at Constantinople consisting of nearly the same bishops. 

It is certain that by the "Tome of the Westerns" a dogmatic work of the Western bishops is to be understood, 
and the only question is which Tome of the Westerns is here meant. Several-for instance, the Greek 
commentators, Balsamon and Zonaras, and the spokesman of the Latins at the Synod of Florence in 1439 
(Archbishop Andrew of Rhodes)-understood by it the decrees of the Synod of Sardica; but it seems to me 
that this canon undoubtedly indicates that the Tome of the Westerns also mentioned the condition of the 
Antiochian Church, and the division into two parties of the orthodox of that place-the Meletian schism. Now, 
as this was not mentioned, nay, could not have been, at the Synod of Sardica -for this schism at Antioch 
only broke out seventeen years later-some other document of the Latins must certainly be meant. But we 
know that Pope Damasus, and the synod assembled by him in 369, addressed a Tome to the Orientals, of 
which fragments are still preserved, and that nine years later, in 379, a great synod at Antioch of one 
hundred and forty-six orthodox Oriental bishops, under Meletius, accepted and signed this Tome, and at the 
same time sought to put a stop to the Meletian schism. Soon afterwards, in 380, Pope Damasus and his 
fourth Roman Synod again sent a treatise on the faith, of which we still possess a portion, containing 
anathemas, to the Orientals, especially to Bishop Paul of Antioch, head of the Eustathians of that city. Under 
these circumstances, we are justified in referring the expression "the tome of the Westerns" either to the 
Roman treatise of 369 or to that of 380, and I am disposed to give the preference to the former, for the 
following reasons:- 

(1 .) As has been already observed, this canon belongs to the Synod held at Constantinople in 382. 
(2.) We still possess in Theodoret a Synodal Letter to the Latins from this later Synod. 
(3.) The canon in question, as proceeding from the same source, is, of course to a certain extent, connected 
with this letter. 

(4.) In this Synodal Letter, the Eastern bishops, in order to convince the Latins of their orthodoxy, appeal to 
two documents, the one a "tome" of an Antiochian Synod, and the other a "tome" of the Ecumenical Council 

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held at Constantinople in 381 . 

(5.) By the Antiochian Synod here mentioned, I understand the great synod of 378, and, as a necessary 
consequence, believe the "tome" there produced to be none other than the Roman Tome of 369, which was 
then accepted at Antioch. 

(6.) It is quite certain that the Synod of Antioch sent a copy of this Tome, with the declaration of its 
acceptance and the signatures of the members, back to Rome, as a supplement to its Synodal Letter; and 
hence Lucas Holstenius was still able to find fragments of it in Rome. 

(7.) The Synod of Constantinople of 382 might well call this Tome, sent back to Rome with the acceptance 
and signatures of the Easterns, a "Tome established at Antioch," although it was really drawn up at Rome. 
(8.) If, however, the Synod of Constantinople in its Synodal Letter speaks of this Tome, we are justified in 
supposing that the one mentioned in its canon is the same. 

(9.) That which still remains of the Roman Tome of 369, treats expressly of the oneness of the Godhead of 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and such were the contents of the Tome according to this canon. 
(10.) It is true that the fragments still preserved of this Tome contain no passage directly referring to the 
Antiochian schism; but, in the first place, very little remains of it, and there is the more reason to suppose that 
the Meletian schism was spoken of in the portion which has been lost, as it was the same Antiochian Synod 
that accepted the Tome which urged the putting an end to that schism. It is still more to the purpose that the 
Italian bishops, in their letter to the Easterns in 381 , expressly say that they had already long before (dudum) 
written to the Orientals in order to put an end to the division between the orthodox at Antioch. By this "dudum" 
I conclude that they refer to the Roman Tome of 369; and if the Westerns in their letter to the Easterns in 381 
pointed to this Tome, it was natural that the Synod of Constantinople of 382 should also have re ferred to it, 
for it was that very letter of the Latins which occasioned and called the synod into being. 
Lastly, for the full understanding of this canon, it is necessary to observe that the Latins, in their letter just 
mentioned of 381 , say that "they had already in their earlier missive (i.e. as we suppose, in the Tome of 369) 
spoken to the effect that both parties at Antioch, one as much as the other, were orthodox." Agreeing with this 
remark of the Westerns, repeated in their letter of 381 , the Easterns in this canon say, "We also recognise all 
Antiochians as orthodox who acknowledge the oneness of the Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost." 


(Probably adopted at a Council held in Constantinople the next year, 382. Vide Introduction on the number of 

FORASMUCH as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order, do contentiously and 
slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox bishops who have the administration of the Churches, 
intending nothing else than to stain the reputation of the priests and raise up disturbances amongst the 
peaceful laity; therefore it seemed right to the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled together in 
Constantinople, not to admit accusers without examination; and neither to allow all persons whatsoever to 
bring accusations against the rulers of the Church, nor, on the other hand, to exclude all. If then, any one shall 
bring a private complaint against the Bishop, that is, one relating to his own affairs, as, for example, that he 
has been defrauded, or otherwise unjustly treated by him, in such accusations no examination shall be 
made, either of the person or of the religion of the accuser; for it is by all means necessary that the 
conscience of the Bishop should be free, and that he who says he has been wronged should meet with 
righteous judgment, of whatever religion he may be. But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of 
some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, 
in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against 
orthodox bishops. And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime cast out and those whom we 
ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated 
from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them]. Moreover, if there be any who 
have been condemned for faults and cast out of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the 
laity, neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the bishop, until they have cleared 
away the charge against themselves. In like manner, persons who are under previous accusations are not 
to be permitted to bring charges against a bishop or any other clergyman, until they shall have proved their 
own innocence of the accusation brought against them. But if any, being neither heretics, nor 
excommunicate, nor condemned, nor under previous accusation for alleged faults, should declare that they 
have any ecclesiastical charge against the bishop, the Holy Synod bids them first lay their charges before 
all the Bishops of the Province, and before them prove the accusations, whatsoever they may be, which 
they have brought against the bishop. And if the comprovincials should be unable rightly to settle the 
charges brought against the bishop, then the parties must betake themselves to a greater synod of the 

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bishops of that diocese called together for this purpose; and they shall not produce their allegations before 
they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penalty to be exacted from themselves, if, in the course 
of the examination, they shall be proved to have slandered the accused bishop. And if anyone, despising 
what has been decreed concerning these things, shall presume to annoy the ears of the Emperor, or the 
courts of temporal judges, or, to the dishonour of all the Bishops of his Province, shall trouble an Ecumenical 
Synod, such an one shall by no means be admitted as an accuser; forasmuch as he has east contempt 
upon the Canons, and brought reproach upon the order of the Church. 



Even one that is of ill repute, if he have suffered any injury, let him bring a charge against the bishop. If 
however it be a crime of ecclesiastical matters let him not speak. Nor shall another condemned before, 
speak. Let not one excommunicated, or cast forth, or charged with any crimes speak, until he is cleared of 
them. But those who should bring the charge are the orthodox, who are communicants, uncondemned, 
unaccused. Let the case be heard by the provincials. If however they are not able to decide the case, let 
them have recourse to a greater synod and let them not be heard, without a written declaration of liability to 
the same sufferings [i.e. of their readiness to be tried by the lextalionis.] But should anyone contrary to the 
provisions appeal to the Emperor and trouble him, let such be cast forth. 

The phrase "who have the administration of the Churches," Hatch in his Bampton Lectures (Lect. I., p. 41) 
erroneously supposes to refer only to the administration of the Church's alms. But this, as Dr. Bright well 
points out (" Notes on the Canons," in loc.) cannot be the meaning of <greek>oikonamein</greek> when 
used absolutely as in this canon. He says, "When a merely 'economic' function is intended, the context 
shows it, as in Chalcedon, Canon xxvj." He also points out that in Canon ij., and in Eusebius (H. E. iv., 4), and 
when St. Basil wishes his brother to <greek>oikonomein</greek> a church suited to his temperament (Epist. 
xcviij., 2) the meaning of the word is evidently spiritual stewardship. 


By "those who were cast out of the Church" are to be understood those who were altogether cut off from the 
Church; but by those who were "excommunicated" the holy fathers intend all those, whether clerics or 
laymen, who are deprived of communion for a set time. 


It is evident from the context of this canon that "Diocese" here does not signify the district or territory 
assigned to any one bishop, as we to-day use the word; but for a district, which not only contained many 
episcopal districts, as today do ecclesiastical provinces, but which contained also many provinces, and 
this was the meaning of the word at the time of this Council's session. 


We call Adrianople, for example, or Philopopolis with the bishops of each a "Province," but the whole of 
Thrace or Macedonia we call a "Diocese." When these crimes were brought forward to be corrected, for the 
judging of which the provincial bishops were by no means sufficient, then the Canon orders the bishops of 
the diocese to assemble, and determine the charges preferred against the bishop. 


Both the Canon and the Civil Law require the accusers to submit themselves to the law of retaliation (lex 
talionis). Vide Gratian, Pt. II., Causa II., Quaest. III., 2 and 3, where we read from the decree of Pope Hadrian; 
"Whoever shall not prove what he advances, shall himself suffer the penalty due the crime he charged." 
And under the name of Damasus, "The calumniator, if he fail in proving his accusation, shall receive his 
tale." The Civil Law is in L. x., Cod. de Calumniatoribus, and reads, "Whoso charges a crime, shall not have 
licence to lie with impunity, since justice requires that calumniators shall endure the punishment due the 
crime which they failed to prove." 

The Council wishes that all accusations of bishops for ecclesiastical offences shall be kept out of the 
secular courts, and shall be heard by synods of bishops, in the manner and form here prescribed, which is 

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in accordance with the Constitution which under the names of Valens, Gratian, and Valentinian, the 
Emperors, is referred to in lawxxiij. of the Code of Theodosius, De Episcopis et Clericis. 
Whatever may be said of the meeting of bishops at which this canon was enacted, this is clear, no mention 
was made of the Roman Pontiff, nor of the Council of Sardica, as Fleury notes in his Histoire Ecclesiastique, 
Lib. xviij., n. 8. From this it is evident either that at that time the Orientals did not admit, especially for bishops, 
appeals to the Roman Pontiff; nor did they accept the authority of the Synod of Sardica, in so far as it 
permitted that the sentence given in a provincial synod, should be reopened by the neighbouring bishops 
together with the bishops of the province, and if it seemed good, that the cause might be referred to Rome. 


(Beveridge, Synodicon, Tom. II., in loc.) 

This canon, I confess, is contained in all the editions of the Commentaries of Balsamon and Zonaras. It is 
cited also by Photius in Nomocanon, Tit. xii. ch. xiv., besides it is extant in a contracted form in the Epitome 
of Alexius Aristenus. But it is wanting in all the Latin versions of the Canons, in the ancient translations of 
Dionys. Exig., Isidore Mercator, etc.; also in the Epitome of Sym. Logothet., and the Arabic paraphrase of 
Josephus AEgyp., and what is particularly to be observed, in the collection and nomocanon of John of 
Antioch; and this not through want of attention on his part, as is clear from this namely, that in the order of the 
Canons as given by him he attributes six Canons only to this second General Council, saying "... of the 
Fathers who assembled at Constantinople, by whom six Canons were set forth," so that it is clear the present 
was not reckoned among the canons of this 

council in those days. Nay, the whole composition of this canon clearly indicates that it is to be ascribed, 
neither to this present council, nor to any other (unless perhaps to that of Trullo, of which we shall speak 
afterwards). For nothing is appointed in it, nothing confirmed, but a certain ancient custom of receiving 
converted heretics, is here merely recited. 

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 368.) 

As we possess a letter from the Church at Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century to Bishop Martyrius 
of Antioch, in which the same subject is referred to in a precisely similar way, Beveridge is probably right in 
conjecturing that the canon was only an extract from this letter to Martyrius; therefore in no way a decree of 
the second General Council, nor even of the Synod of 382, but at least eighty years later than the latter. This 
canon, with an addition, was afterwards adopted by the Quinisext Synod as its ninety-fifth, without, however, 
giving its origin. 


THOSE who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive 
according to the following method and custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, 
who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, 
upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in 
accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God. Thereupon, they are first sealed or 
anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we 
say, "The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost." But Eunomians, who are baptized with only one immersion, and 
Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son, and 
do sundry other mischievous things, and [the partisans of] all other heresies-for there are many such here, 
particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians:-all these, when they desire to turn to 
orthodoxy, we receive as heathen. On the first day we make them Christians; on the second, catechumens; 
on the third, we exorcise them by breathing thrice in their face and ears; and thus we instruct them and oblige 
them to spend some time in the Church, and to hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them. 



Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, and Apollinarians ought to be received 
with their books and anointed in all their organs of sense. 


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Eunomians baptized with one immersion, Sabellians, and Phrygians are to be received as heathen. 

ARISTEMUS (in Can. vij.). 

Those giving up their books and execrating every heresy are received with only anointing with chrism of the 
eyes, the nostrils, the ears, the mouth, and the brow; and signing them with the words, "The Seal of the gift of 
the Holy Ghost." 
For the "Cathari," see Notes on Canon viii. of I. Nice. 


Sabbatians. Sabbatius was a presbyter who adopted the sentiments of Novatius, but as it is clear from the 
histories of Socrates and Sozomen, that he did not do so till at least eight years after the celebration of this 
council, it is of course equally clear that this canon could not have been framed by this council. 
Aristeri. This is probably a false reading for Aristi, i.e. the best. In the letter above mentioned the expression 
is Cathari and Catheroteri, i.e. the pure, and the more pure. 

The Quarto-decimans, or Tetradites, were those persons who persisted in observing the Easter festival with 
the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the first month, whatever day of the week it happened to be. 
Montanists. One of the older sects, so called from Montanus, who embraced Christianity in the second 
century. He professed to be inspired in a peculiar way by the Holy Ghost, and to prophesy. He was 
supported in his errors by two women, Priscilla and Maximilla, who also pretended to prophesy. His heresy 
infected many persons, amongst others Tertullian, but being condemned by the Church, his followers 
formed a sect remarkable for extreme austerity. But although they asserted that the Holy Ghost had inspired 
Montanus to introduce a system of greater perfection than the Church had before known, and condemned 
those who would not join them as carnal, they did not at first innovate in any of the articles of the Creed. This 
sect lasted a long time, and spread much in Phrygia and the neighbouring districts, whence they were 
called Phryges and Cata-phryges, and latterly adopted the errors of Sabellius respecting the Trinity. 

The other heresies mentioned in this canon have been treated of in the excursus to Canon j. 


(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., pp. 370, et seqq.) 

Lastly, to turn to the question of the authority of this Council, it appears, first of all, that immediately after its 
close, in the same year, 381 , several of its acts were censured by a Council of Latins, namely, the 
prolongation of the Meletian schism (by the elevation of Flavian), and the choice of Nectarius as Bishop of 
Constantinople, while, as is known, the Westerns held (the Cynic) Maximus to be the rightful bishop of that 

In consequence of this, the new Synod assembled in the following year, 382, at Constantinople, sent the 
Latins a copy of the decrees of faith composed the year before, expressly calling this Synod 
<greek>oikoumenikh</greek> and at the same time seeking to justify it in those points which had been 
censured. Photius(1) maintains that soon afterwards Pope Damasus confirmed this synod; but, as the 
following will show, this confirmation could only have referred to the creed and not to the canons. As late as 
about the middle of the fifth century, Pope Leo I . spoke in a very depreciatory manner of these canons, 
especially of the third, which concerned the ecclesiastical rank of Constantinople, remarking that it was 
never sent to the See of Rome. Still later, Gregory the Great wrote in the same sense: Romana autem 
Ecclesia eosdam canones vel gesta Synodi illius hactenus non habet, nee accepit ; in hoc autem earn 
accepit, quod est per earn contra Macedonium definitum.(2) 

Thus, as late as the year GOD, only the creed, but not the canons of the Synod of Constantinople were 
accepted at Rome; but on account of its creed, Gregory the Great reckons it as one of the four Ecumenical 
Councils, which he compares to the four Gospels. So also before him the popes Vigilius and Pelagius II, 
reckoned this Synod among the Ecumenical Councils. 

The question is, from what date the Council of Constantinople was considered ecumenical by the Latins as 
well as by the Greeks. We will begin with the latter. Although as we have seen, the Synod of 382 had already 
designated this council as ecumenical, yet it could not for a long time obtain an equal rank with the Council 
of Nicaea, for which reason the General Council of Ephesus mentions that of Nicaea and its creed with the 
greatest respect, but is totally silent as to this Synod. Soon afterwards, the so-called Robber-Synod in 449, 
spoke of two (General) Councils, at Nicaea and Ephesus, and designated the latter as <greek>h</greek> 
<greek>deutera</greek> <greek>sunodos</greek>, as a plain token that it did not ascribe such a high rank 
to the assembly at Constantinople. It might perhaps be objected that only the Monophysites, who 

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notoriously ruled the Robber-Synod, used this language; bill the most determined opponent of the 
Monophysites, their accuser, Bishop Eusebius of Doylaeum, in like manner also brought forward only the 
two Synods of Nicaea and Ephesus, and declared that "he held to the faith of the three hundred and 
eighteen Fathers assembled at Nicaea, and to all that was done at the great and Holy Synod at Ephesus." 
The Creed of Constantinople appears for the first time to have been highly honoured at the fourth General 
Council, which had it recited after that of Nicaea, and thus solemnly approved it. Since then this Synod has 
been universally honoured as ecumenical by the Greeks, and was mentioned by the Emperor Justinian with 
the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, as of equal rank.(1) 

But in the West, and especially in Rome, however satisfied people were with the decree of faith enacted by 
this Synod, and its completion of the creed, yet its third canon, respecting the rank of Constantinople, for a 
long time proved a hindrance to its acknowledgment. This was especially shown at the Council of 
Chalcedon, and during the time immediately following. When at that Council the creed of Constantinople 
was praised, repeated, and confirmed the Papal Legates fully concurred; but when the Council also 
renewed and confirmed the third canon of Constantinople, the Legates left the assembly, lodged a protest 
against it on the following day, and declared that the rules of the hundred and fifty bishops at Constantinople 
were never inserted among the Synodal canons (which were recognised at Rome). The same was 
mentioned by Pope Leo himself, who, immediately after the close of the Council of Chalcedon wrote to 
Bishop Anatolius of Constantinople: "that document of certain bishops (i.e. the third canon of Constantinople) 
was never brought by your predecessors to the knowledge of the Apostolic See. "(2) Leo also, in his 105th 
letter to the Empress Pulcheria, speaks just as depreciatingly of this Council of Constantinople; and 
Quesnel is entirely wrong in maintaining that the Papal Legates at the Synod of Chalcedon at first practically 
acknowledged the validity of the third canon of Constantinople. Bishop Eusebius of Doylaeum was equally 
mistaken in maintaining at Chalcedon itself, that the third canon had been sanctioned by the Pope; and we 
shall have occasion further on, in the history of the Council of Chalcedon, to show the untenable character of 
both statements. 

Pope Felix III. took the same view as Pope Leo, when, in his letter to the monks at Constantinople and 
Bithynia in 485, he only spoke of three General Councils at Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon; neither did his 
successor Gelasius (492-496) in his genuine decree, De libris recipiendis, mention this Synod. It may 
certainly be said, on the other hand, that in the sixth century its ecumenical character had come to be most 
distinctly acknowledged in the Latin Church also, and, as we have seen above, had been expressly 
affirmed by the Popes Vigilius, Pelagius II., and Gregory the Great. But this acknowledgment, even when it is 
not expressly stated, only referred to the decrees on faith of the Council of Constantinople, and not to its 
canons, as we have already observed in reference to the third and sixth of them. 


A.D. 382. 


To the right honourable lords our right reverend brethren and colleagues, Damasus, Ambrosius, Britton, 
Valerianus, Ascholius, Anemius, Basilius and the rest of the holy bishops assembled in the great city of 
Rome, the holy synod of the orthodox bishops assembled at the great city of Constantinople sends greeting 
in the Lord. 

To recount all the sufferings inflicted on us by the power of the Arians, and to attempt to give information to 
your reverences, as though you were not already well acquainted with them, might seem superfluous. For 
we do not suppose your piety to hold what is befalling us as of such secondary importance as that you 
stand in any need of information on matters which cannot but evoke your sympathy. Nor indeed were the 
storms which beset us such as to escape notice from their insignificance. Our persecutions are but of 
yesterday. The sound of them still rings in the ears alike of those who suffered them and of those whose 
love made the sufferers' pain their own. It was but a day or two ago, so to speak, that some released from 
chains in foreign lands returned to their own churches through manifold afflictions; of others who had died in 
exile the relics were brought home; others again, even after their return from exile, found the passion of the 
heretics still at the boiling heat, and, slain by them with stones as was the blessed Stephen, met with a 
sadder fate in their own than in a stranger's land. Others, worn away with various cruelties, still bear in their 
bodies the scars of their wounds and the marks of Christ. Who could tell the tale of fines, of 
disfranchisements, of individual confiscations, of intrigues, of outrages, of prisons? In truth all kinds of 
tribulation were wrought out beyond number in us, perhaps because we were paying the penalty of sins, 
perhaps because the merciful God was trying us by means of the multitude of our sufferings. For these all 
thanks to God, who by means of Such afflictions trained his servants and, according to the multitude of his 

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mercies, brought us again to refreshment. We indeed needed long leisure, time, and toil to restore the 
church once more, that so, like physicians healing the body after long sickness and expelling its disease by 
gradual treatment, we might bring her back to her ancient health of true religion. It is true that on the whole we 
seem to have been delivered from the violence of our persecutions and to be just now recovering the 
churches which, have for a long time been the prey of the heretics. But wolves are troublesome to us who, 
though they have been driven from the fold, yet harry the flock up and down the glades, daring to hold rival 
assemblies, stirring seditious among the people, and shrinking from nothing which can do damage to the 
churches. So, as we have already said, we needs must labour all the longer. Since, however, you showed 
your brotherly love to us by inviting us (as though we were your own members) by the letters of our most 
religious emperor to the synod which you are gathering by divine permission at Rome, to the end that since 
we alone were then condemned to suffer persecution, you should not now, when our emperors are at one 
with us as to true religion, reign apart from us, but that we, to use the Apostle's phrase, should reign with you, 
our prayer was, if it were possible, all in company to leave our churches, and rather gratify our longing to 
see you than consult their needs. For who will give us wings as of a dove, and we will fly and be at rest? But 
this course seemed likely to leave the churches who were just recovering quite uncle-fended, and the 
undertaking was to most of us impossible, for, in accordance witch the letters sent a year ago from your 
holiness after the synod at Aquileia to the most pious emperor Theodosius, we had journeyed to 
Constantinople, equipped only for travelling so far as Constantinople, and bringing the consent of the 
bishops remaining in the provinces of this synod alone. We had been in no expectation of any longer 
journey nor had heard a word about it, before our arrival at Constantinople. In addition to all this, and on 
account of the narrow limits of the appointed time which allowed of no preparation for a longer journey, nor of 
communicating with the bishops of our communion in the provinces and of obtaining their consent, the 
journey to Rome was for the majority impossible. We have therefore adopted the next best course open to 
us under the circumstances, both for the better administration of the church, and for manifesting our love 
towards you, by strongly urging our most venerated, and honoured colleagues and brother bishops 
Cyriacus, Eusebius and Priscianus, to consent to travel to you. 

Through them we wish to make it plain that our disposition is all for peace with unity for its sole object, and 
that we are full of zeal for the right faith. For we, whether we suffered persecutions, or afflictions, or the threats 
of emperors, or the cruelties of prince, s, or any other trial at the hands of heretics, have undergone all for the 
sake of the evangelic faith, ratified by the three hundred and eighteen fathers at Nicaea in Bithynia. This is 
the faith which ought to be sufficient for you, for us, for all who wrest not the word of the true faith; for it is the 
ancient faith; it is the faith of our baptism; it is the faith that teaches us to believe in the name of the Father, of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. According to this faith there is one Godhead, Power and Substance of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; the dignity being equal, and the majesty being equal in three 
perfect hypostases, i.e. three perfect persons. Thus there is no room for the heresy of Sabellius by the 
confusion of the hypostases, i.e. the destruction of the personalities; thus the blasphemy of the Eunomians, 
of the Arians, and of the Pneumatomachi is nullified, which divides the substance, the nature, dud the 
godhead, and super-induces on the uncreated consubstantial and co-eternal Trinity a nature posterior, 
created and of a different substance. We moreover preserve unperverted the doctrine of the incarnation of 
the Lord, holding the tradition that the dispensation of the flesh is neither soulless nor mindless nor imperfect; 
and knowing full well that God's Word was perfect before the ages, and became perfect man in the last 
days for our salvation. 

Let this suffice for a summary of the doctrine which is fearlessly and frankly preached by us, and concerning 
which you will be able to be still further satisfied if you will deign to read the tome of the synod of Antioch, and 
also that tome issued last year by the Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople, in which we have set forth 
our confession of the faith at greater length, and have appended an anathema against the heresies which 
innovators have recently inscribed. 

Now as to the particular administration of individual churches, an ancient custom, as you know, has 
obtained, confirmed by the enactment of the holy fathers of Nicaea, that in every province, the bishops of the 
province, and, with their consent, the neighbouring bishops with them, should perform ordinations as 
expediency may require. In conforming with these customs note that other churches have been 
administered by us and the priests of the most famous, churches publicly appointed. Accordingly over the 
new made (if the expression be allowable) church at Constantinople, which, as through from a lion's mouth, 
we have lately snatched by God's mercy from the blasphemy of the heretics, we have or-dained bishop the 
right reverend and most religious Nectarius, in the presence of the Ecumenical Council, with common 
consent, before the most religious emperor Theodosius, and with the assent of all the clergy and of the 
whole city. And over the most ancient and truly apostolic church in Syria, where first the noble name of 
Christians was given them, the bishops of the province and of the eastern diocese have met together and 
canonically ordained bishop the right reverend and most religious Flavianus, with the consent of all the 
church, who as though with one voice joined in expressing their respect for him. This rightful ordination also 

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received the sanction of the General Council. Of the church at Jerusalem, mother of all the churches, we 
make known that the right reverend and most religious Cyril is bishop, who was some time ago canonically 
ordained by the bishops of the province, and has in several places fought a good fight against the Arians. 
We beseech your reverence to rejoice at what has thus been rightly and canonically settled by us, by the 
intervention of spiritual love and by the influence of the fear of the Lord, compelling the feelings of men, and 
making the edification of churches of more importance than individual grace or favour. Thus since among 
us there is agreement in the faith and Christian charity has been established, we shall cease to use the 
phrase condemned by the apostles, I am of Paul and I of Apollos and I of Cephas, and all appearing as 
Christ's, who in us is not divided, by God's grace we will keep the body of the church unrent, and will boldly 
stand at the judgment seat of the Lord. 

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Historical Introduction. 

Note on the Emperor's Edict to the Synod. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session I. 

St. Cyril's Letter to Nestorius, Intelligo quos dam. 

Continuation of Session I. 

Historical Introduction to Cyril's Anathematisms. 

The Canonical Epistle of St. Cyril, Gum Salvator noster. 

The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril, and Nestorius's Counter-anathematisms, with Notes. 

Excursus to Anath. I., On the word <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. 

Excursus to Anath. IX,, On how our Lord worked Miracles, with Theodoret's Counter-statement. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session I. continued. 

Decree against Nestorius, with Notes. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session II. 

St. Celestine's Letter to the Synod. 

Continuation of Session II. 

Session III. 

The Canons, with the Ancient Epitome, and Notes. 

Excursus to Canon j., On the Conciliabulum of John of Antioch. 

Excursus to Canon iv., On Pelagianism. 

Excursus to Canon vii., On the words <greek>pistin</greek> <greek>eteran</greek>. 

A Letter from the Synod to the Synod in Pamphylia. 

The Letter of the Synod to Pope Celestine. 

The Definition against the Messalians, with Notes. 

The Decree re Euprepius and Cyril. 


(Bossuet, Def. Cler. Gall., Lib. vij., Cap. ix. et seqq. Abridged. Translation by Allies.) 
The innovation of Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, is known; how he divided into two the person of 
Christ. Pope St. Celestine, watchful, according to his office, over the affairs of the Church, had charged the 
blessed Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, to send him a certain report of the doctrine of Nestorius, already in bad 
repute. Cyril declares this in his letter to Nestorius; and so he writes to Celestine a complete account, and 
sets forth the doctrines of Nestorius and his own; he sends him two letters from him self to Nestorius, who 
likewise, by his own letters and explanations, endeavoured to draw Celestine to his side. Thus the holy 
Pontiff, having been most fully informed by letters from both sides, is thus inquired of by Cyril. "We have not 
confidently abstained from Communion with him (Nestorius) before informing you of this; condescend, 
therefore, to unfold your judgment, that we may clearly know whether we ought to communicate with him who 
cherishes such erroneous doctrine." And he adds, that his judgment should be written to the other Bishops 
also, "that all with one mind may hold firm in one sentence." Here is the Apostolic See manifestly consulted 
by so great a man, presiding over the second, or at least the third, Patriarchal See, and its judgment 
awaited; and nothing remained but that Celestine, being duly consulted, should perform his Apostolic office. 

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But how he did this, the Acts have shewn. In those Acts he not only approves the letters and doctrine of Cyril, 
but disapproves, too, the perverse dogma of Nestorius, and that distinctly, because he was unwilling to call 
the blessed Virgin Mother of God: and he decrees that he should be deprived of the Episcopate and 
Communion unless, within ten days from the date of the announcing of the sentence, he openly rejects this 
faithless innovation, which endeavours to separate what Scripture joineth together-that is, the Person of 
Christ. Here is the doctrine of Nestorius expressly disapproved, and a sentence of the Roman Pontiff on a 
matter of Faith most clearly pronounced under threat of deposition and excommunication: then, that nothing 
be wanting, the holy Pope commits his authority to Cyril to carry into execution that sentence "associating," 
he saith to Cyril, "the authority of our See, and using our person, and place, with power." So to Cyril; so to 
Nestorius himself; so to the clergy of Constantinople; so to John of Antioch, then the Bishop of the third or 
fourth Patriarchal See; so to Juvenal, Bishop of the Holy City, whom the Council of Nice had ordered to be 
especially honoured: so he writes to the other Bishops also, that the sentence given may be duly and in 
order made known to all. Cyril proceeds to execute his office, and performs all that he had been 
commanded. He promulgates and executes the decrees of Celestine; declares to Nestorius. that after the 
ten days prescribed and set forth by Celestine, he would have no portion, intercourse, or place with the 
priesthood. Nothing evidently is wanting to the Apostolical authority being most fully exercised. 
But Nestorius, bishop of the royal city, possessed such influence, had deceived men's minds with such an 
appearance of piety, had gained so many bishops and enjoyed such favour with the younger Theodosius 
and the great men, that he could easily throw everything into commotion; and thus there was need of an 
Ecumenical Council, the question being most important, and the person of the highest dignity; because 
many bishops, amongst these almost all of the East-that is, of the Patriarchate of Antioch, and the Patriarch 
John himself-were ill disposed to Cyril, and seemed to favour Nestorius: because men's feelings were 
divided, and the whole empire of the East seemed to fluctuate between Cyril and Nestorius. Such was the 
need of an Ecumenical Council. 

The Emperor, moved by these and other reasons, wrote to Cyril,— "It is our will that the holy doctrine be 
discussed and examined in a sacred Synod, and that be ratified which appeareth agreeable to the fight 
faith, whether the wrong party be pardoned by the Fathers or no." 

Here we see three things: First, after the judgment of St. Celestine, another is still required, that of the Council; 
secondly, that these two things would rest with the Fathers, to judge of doctrine and of persons; thirdly, that 
the judgment of the Council would be decisive and final. He adds, "those who everywhere preside over the 
Priesthood, and through whom we ourselves are and shall be professing the truth, must be judges of this 
matter." See on whose; faith we rest. See in whose judgment is the final and irreversible authority. 
Both the Emperor affirmed, and the bishops confessed, that this was done according to the Ecclesiastical 
Canons. And so all, and Celestine himself, prepared themselves for the Council. Cyril does no more, though 
named by Celestine to execute the pontifical decree, Nestorius remained in his original rank; the sentence 
of the universal Council is awaited; and the Emperor had expressly decreed, "that before the assembling 
and common sentence of the most holy Council, no change should be made in any matter at all, on any 
private authority." Rightly, and in order; for this was demanded by the majesty of an universal Council. 
Wherefore, both Cyril obeyed and the bishops rested. And it was established, that although the sentence of 
the Roman Pontiff on matters of Faith, and on persons judged for violation of the Faith, had been passed 
and promulged, all was suspended, while the authority of the universal Council was awaited. 
Having gone over what preceded the Council, we review the acts of the Council itself, and begin with the first 
course of proceeding. After, therefore, the bishops and Nestorius himself were come to Ephesus, the 
universal Council began, Cyril being president, and representing Celestine, as being appointed by the 
Pontiff himself to execute his sentence. In the first course of proceeding this was done. First, the 
above-mentioned letter of the Emperor was read, that an Ecumenical Council should be held, and all 
proceedings in the mean time be suspended; this letter, I say, was read, and placed on the Acts, and it was 
up-proved by the Fathers, that all the decrees of Celestine in the matter of Nestorius had been suspended 
until the holy Council should give its sentence. You will ask if it was the will of the Council merely that the 
Emperor should be allowed to prohibit, in the interim, effect being given to the sentence of the Apostolic 
See. Not so, according to the Acts; but rather, by the intervention of a General Council's authority (the 
convocation of which, according to the discipline of those times, was left to the Emperor), the Council itself 
understood that all proceedings were of course suspended, and depended on the sentence of the Council. 
Wherefore, though the decree of the Pontiff had been promulged and notified, and the ten days had long 
been past, Nestorius was held by the Council itself to be a bishop, and called by the name of most religious 
bishop, and by that name, too, thrice cited and summoned to take his seat with the other bishops in the holy 
Council; for this expression, "to take his seat," is distinctly written; and it is added, "in order to answer to what 
was charged against him." For it was their full purpose that he should recognise in whatever way, the 
Ecumenical Council, as he would then afterwards be, beyond doubt, answerable to it; but he refused to 
come, and chose to have his doors besieged with an armed force, that no one might approach him. 

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Thereupon, as the Emperor commanded, and the Canons required, the rule of Faith was set forth, and the 
Nicene Creed read, as the standard to which all should be referred, and then the letters of Cyril and 
Nestorius were examined in order. The letter of Cyril was first brought before the judgment of the Council. 
That letter, I mean, concerning the Faith, to Nestorius, so expressly approved by Pope Celestine, of which 
he had declared to Cyril, "We see that you hold and maintain all that we hold and maintain"; which, by the 
decree against Nestorius, published to all Churches, he had approved, and wishes to be considered as a 
canonical monition against Nestorius: that letter, I repeat, was examine, at the proposition of Cyril himself, in 
these words: "I am persuaded that I have in nothing departed from the orthodox Faith, or the Nicene Creed; 
wherefore I beseech your Holiness to set forth openly whether I have written this correctly, blamelessly, and 
in accordance with that holy Council." 

And are there those who say that questions concerning the Faith, once judged by the Roman Pontiff on his 
Apostolical authority, are examined in general Councils, in order to understand their contents, but, not to 
decide on their substance, as being still a matter of question? Let them hear Cyril, the President of the 
Council; let them attend to what he proposes for the inquiry of the Council; and though he were conscious of 
no error in himself yet, not to trust himself, he asked for the sentence of the Council in these words-"whether I 
have written correctly and blamelessly, or not." This Cyril, the chief of the Council, proposes for their 
consideration. Who ever even heard it whispered that, after a final and irreversible judgment of the Church 
on a matter of Faith, any such inquiry or question was made? It was never done, for that would be to doubt 
about the Faith itself, when declared and discussed. But this was done after the judgment of Pope Celestine; 
neither Cyril, nor anyone else, thought of any other course: that, therefore, was not a final and irreversible 

In answer to this question the Fathers in order give their judgment -"that the Nicene Creed, and the letter of 
Cyril, in all things agree and harmonise." Here is inquiry and examination, and then judgment. The Acts 
speak for themselves — we say not here a word. 

Next that letter of Nestorius was produced, which Celestine had pronounced blasphemous and impious. It is 
read: then at the instance of Cyril it is examined, "whether this, too, be agreeable to the Faith set forth by the 
holy Council of the Nicene Fathers, or not." It is precisely the same form according to which Cyril's letter was 
examined. The Fathers, in order, give judgment that it disagreed from the Nicene Creed, and was, therefore, 
censurable. The letter of Nestorius is disapproved in the same manner, by the same rule, by which that of 
Cyril was approved. Here, twice in the same proceeding of the Council of Ephesus, a judgment of the 
Roman Pontiff concerning the Catholic Faith, uttered and published, is reconsidered. What he had 
approved, and what he had disapproved, is equally examined, and, only after examination, confirmed. 
In the mean time, the bishops Arcadius and Projectus, and the presbyter Philip, had been chosen by 
Celestine to be present at the Council of Ephesus, with a special commission from the Apostolic See, and 
the whole Council of the West. So they come from Rome to Ephesus, and appear at the holy Council, and 
here the second procedure commences. 

After reading the letter of Celestine, the Legates, in pursuance, say to the bishops: "Let your Holiness 
consider the form of the letters of the holy and venerable Pope Celestine the Bishop, who hath exhorted 
your Holiness, not as instructing those who are ignorant, but as reminding those who are aware: in order that 
you may command to be completely and finally settled according to the Canon of our common Faith, and 
the utility of the Catholic Church, what he has before determined, and has now the goodness to remind you 
of." This is the advantage of a Council; after whose sentence there is no new discussion, or new judgment, 
but merely execution. And this the Legates request to be commanded by the Council, in which they 
recognise that supreme authority. 

It behoved, also, that the Legates, sent to the Council on a special mission, should understand whether the 
proceedings against Nestorius had been pursued according to the requisition of the Canons, and due 
respect to the Apostolic See. This we have already often said. Wherefore, with reason, they require the Acts 
to be communicated, "that we, too," say they, "may confirm them." The proceedings themselves will declare 
what that confirmation means. After that, at the request of the Legates, the Acts against Nestorius were given 
them, they thus report about them at the third procedure: "We have found all things judged canonically, and 
according to the Church's discipline." Therefore judgments of the Apostolic See are canonically and, 
according to the Church's discipline, reconsidered, after deliberation, in a General Council, and judgment 
passed upon them. After the Legates had approved the Acts against Nestorius communicated to them, they 
request that all which had been read and done at, Ephesus from the beginning, should be read afresh in 
public Session, "in order," they say, "that obeying the form of the most holy Pope Celestine, who hath 
committed this care to us, we may be enabled to confirm the judgment also of your Holiness." After these all 
had been read afresh, and the Legates agreed to them, Cyril proposes to the holy Council, "That the 
Legates, by their signature, as was customary, should make plain and manifest their canonical agreement 
with the Council." To this question of Cyril the Council thus answers, and decrees that the Legates, by their 
subscription, confirm the Acts; by which place tiffs confirmation, spoken of by the Council, is clearly nothing 

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else but to make their assent plain and manifest, as Cyril proposed. 

Finally, Celestine himself, after the conclusion of the whole matter, sends a letter to the holy Council of 
Ephesus, which he thus begins: "At length we must rejoice at the conclusion of evils." The learned reader 
understands where he recognizes the conclusion; that is, after the condemnation of Nestorius by the 
infallible authority of an Ecumenical Council, viz., of the whole Catholic Church. He proceeds: "We see, that 
you, with us, have executed this matter so faithfully transacted." All decree, and all execute, that is, by giving 
a common judgment. Whence Celestine adds, "We have been informed of a just deposition, and a still 
juster exaltation:" the deposition of Nestorius, begun, indeed, by the Roman See, but brought to a 
conclusion by the sentence of the Council; to a full and complete settlement, as we have seen above: the 
exaltation of Maximianus, who was substituted in place of Nestorius immediately after the Ephesine 
decrees; this is the conclusion of the question. Even Celestine himself recognises this conclusion to lie not 
in his own examination and judgment, but in that of an Ecumenical Council. And this was done in that Council 
in which it is admitted that the authority of the Apostolic See was most clearly set forth, not only by words, but 
by deeds, of any since the birth of Christ,. At least the Holy Council gives credence to Philip uttering these 
true and magnificent encomiums, concerning the dignity of the Apostolic See, and "Peter the head and pillar 
of the Faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, and by Christ's authority administering the keys, who to 
this very time lives ever, and exercises judgment, in his successors." This, he says, after having seen all the 
Acts of the Council itself, which we have mentioned, so that we may indeed understand, that all these 
privileges of Peter and the Apostolic See entirely agree with the decrees of the Council, and the judgment 
entered into afresh, and deliberation upon matters of Faith held after the Apostolic See. 


Neither of the Emperors could personally attend the Council of Ephesus and accordingly Theodosius II. 
appointed the Count Candidian, Captain of the imperial bodyguard, the protector of the council, to sit in the 
room of the Emperors. In making this appointment he addressed an edict to the synod which will be found in 
the Concilia and of which Hefele gives the following synopsis. 

(Hefele, Hist, of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 43.) 

Candidian is to take no immediate part in the discussions on contested points of faith, for it is not becoming 
that one who does not belong to the number of the bishops should mix himself up in the examination and 
decision of theological controversies. On the contrary, Candidian was to remove from the city the monks 
and laymen who had come or should afterwards come to Ephesus out of curiosity, so that disorder and 
confusion should not be caused by those who were in no way needed for the examination of the sacred 
doctrines. He was, besides, to watch lest the discussions among the members of the Synod themselves 
should degenerate into violent disputes and hinder the more exact investigation of truth; and, on the 
contrary, see that every statement should be heard with attention, and that every one put forward in view, or 
his objections, without let or hindrance, so that at last an unanimous decision might be arrived at in peace by 
the holy Synod. But above all, Candidian was to take care that no member of the Synod should attempt, 
before the close of the transactions, to go home, or to the court, or elsewhere. Moreover, he was not to allow 
that any other matter of controversy should be taken into consideration before the settlement of the principal 
point of doctrine before the Council. 


SESSION I. [Before the arrival of the Papal Legates.] (Labbe and Cossart, Concilia Tom. III., col. 459 et 

The Nicene Synod set forth this faith: We believe in one God, etc. 

When this creed had been recited, Peter the Presbyter of Alexandria, and primicerius of the notaries said: 
We have in our hands the letter of the most holy and most reverend archbishop Cyril, which he wrote to the 
most reverend Nestorius, filled with counsel and advice, on account of his aberration from the right faith. I will 
read this if your holiness [i.e., the holy Synod] so orders. The letter began as follows: 
<greek>katafluarousi</greek> <greek>men</greek>, <greek>ws</greek> <greek>akouw</greek>, 
<greek>k</greek> <greek>t</greek>.<greek>l</greek> Intelligo quosdam meae, etc. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 315; Migne, Patr. Groeo, Tom. LXXVII. [Cyril., Opera, Tom. X.]; 
Epist. iv., co]. 43.) 

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To the most religious and beloved of God, fellow minister Nestorius, Cyril sends greeting in the Lord. 
I hear that some are rashly talking of the estimation in which I hold your holiness, and that this is frequently 
the case especially at the times that meetings are held of those in authority. And perchance they think in so 
doing to say something agreeable to you, but they speak senselessly, for they have suffered no injustice at 
my hands, but have been exposed by me only to their profit; this man as an oppressor of the blind and 
needy, and that as one who wounded his mother with a sword. Another because he stole, in collusion with 
his waiting maid, another's money, and had always laboured under the imputation of such like crimes as no 
one would wish even one of his bitterest enemies to be laden with.' I take little reckoning of the words of such 
people, for the disciple is not above his Master, nor would I stretch the measure of my narrow brain above 
the Fathers, for no matter what path of life one pursues it is hardly possible to escape the smirching of the 
wicked, whose months are full of cursing and bitterness, and who at the last must give an account to the 
Judge of all. 

But I return to the point which especially I had in mind. And now I urge you, as a brother in the Lord, to 
propose the word of teaching and the doctrine of the faith with all accuracy to the people, and to consider 
that the giving of scandal to one even of the least of those who believe in Christ, exposes a body to the 
unbearable indignation of God. And of how great diligence and skill there is need when the multitude of 
those grieved is so great, so that we may administer the healing word of truth to them that seek it. But this we 
shall accomplish most excellently if we shall turn over the words of the holy Fathers, and are zealous to 
obey their commands, proving ourselves, whether we be in the faith according to that which is written, and 
conform our thoughts to their upright and it-reprehensible teaching. 

The holy and great Synod therefore says, that the only begotten Son, born according to nature of God the 
Father, very God of very God, Light of Light, by whom the Father made all things, came down, and was 
incarnate, and was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. These 
words and these decrees we ought to follow, considering what is me. ant by the Word of God being 
incarnate and made man. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, or 
that it was converted into a whole man consisting of soul and body; but rather that the Word having 
personally united to himself flesh animated by a rational soul, did in an ineffable and inconceivable manner 
become man, and was called the Son of Man, not merely as willing or being pleased to be so called, 
neither on account of taking to himself a person, but because the two natures being brought together in a 
true union, there is of both one Christ and one Son; for the difference of the natures is not taken away by the 
union, but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord Jesus Christ by their ineffable 
and inexpressible union. So then he who had an existence before all ages and was born of the Father, is 
said to have been born according to the flesh of a woman, not as though his divine nature received its 
beginning of existence in the holy Virgin, for it needed not any second generation after that of the Father (for 
it would be absurd and foolish to say that he who existed before all ages, coeternal with the Father, needed 
any second beginning of existence), but since, for us and for our salvation, he personally united to himself 
an human body, and came forth of a woman, he is in this way said to be born after the flesh; for the was not 
first born a common man of the holy Virgin, and then the Word came down and entered into him, but the 
union being made in the womb itself, he is said to endure a birth after the flesh, ascribing to himself the birth 
of his own flesh. On this account we say that he suffered and rose again; not as if God the Word suffered in 
his own nature stripes, or the piercing of the nails, or any other wounds, for the Divine nature is incapable of 
suffering, inasmuch as it is incorporeal, but since that which had become his own body suffered in this way, 
lie is also said to suffer for us; for he who is in himself incapable of suffering was in a suffering body. In the 
same manner also we conceive respecting his dying; for the Word of God is by nature immortal and 
incorruptible, and life and life-giving; since, however, his own body did, as Paul says, by the grace of God 
taste death for every man, he himself is said to have suffered death for us, not as if he had any experience 
of death in his own nature (for it would be madness to say or think this), but because, as I have just said, his 
flesh tasted death. In like manner his flesh being raised again, it is spoken of as his resurrection, not as if tie 
had fallen into corruption (God forbid), but because his own body was raised again. We, therefore, confess 
one Christ and Lord, not as worshipping, a man with the Word (lest this expression "with the Word" should 
suggest to the mind the idea of division), but worshipping him as one and the same, forasmuch as the body 
of the Word, with which he sits with the Father, is not separated from the Word himself, not as if two sons were 
sitting with him, but one by the union with the flesh. If, however, we reject the personal union as impossible or 
unbecoming, we fall into the error of speaking of two sons, for it will be necessary to distinguish, and to say, 
that he who was properly man was honoured with the appellation of Son, and that he who is properly the 
Word of God, has by nature both the name and the reality of Sonship. We must not, therefore, divide the one 
Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons. Neither will it at all avail to a sound faith to hold, as some do, an union of 
persons; for the Scripture has not said that the Word united to himself the person of man, but that he was 
made flesh. This expression, however, "the Word was made flesh," can mean nothing else but that he 

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partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not 
casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh 
remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the 
sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin, the Mother of God, not as if the 
nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy 
body with a rational soul, to which the Word being personally united is said to be born according to the flesh. 
These things, therefore, I now write unto you for the love of Christ, beseeching you as a brother, and 
testifying to you before Christ and the elect angels, that you would both think and teach these things with us, 
that the peace of the Churches may be preserved and the bond of concord and love continue unbroken 
amongst the Priests of God. 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 462.) 

And after the letter was read, Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, said: This holy and great Synod has heard 

what I wrote to the most religious Nestorius, defending the right faith. I think that I have in no respect departed 

from the true statement of the faith, that is from the creed set forth by the holy and great synod formerly 

assembled at Nice. Wherefore I desire your holiness [i.e. the Council] to say whether rightly and 

blamelessly and in accordance with that holy synod I have written these things or no. 

[A number of bishops then gave their opinion, all favourable to Cyril; after these individual opinions the Acts 

continue (col. 491):] 

And all the rest of the bishops in the order of their rank deposed to the same things, and so believed, 

according as the Fathers had set forth, and as the Epistle of the most holy Archbishop Cyril to Nestorius the 

bishop declared. 

Palladius, the bishop of Amused, said, The next thing to be done is to read the letter of the most reverend 

Nestorius, of which the most religious presbyter Peter made mention; so that we may understand whether or 

no it agrees with the exposition of the Nicene fathers. ... 

And after this letter was read, Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, said, What seems good to this holy and great 

synod with regard to the letter just read? Does it also seem to be consonant to the faith set forth by the holy 

Synod assembled in the city of Nice? 

[The bishops, then as before, individually express their opinion, and at last the Acts continue (col. 502):] 

All the bishops cried out together: Whoever does not anathematize Nestorius let him be anathema. Such an 

one the right faith anathematizes; such an one the holy Synod anathematizes. Whoever communicates with 

Nestorius let him be anathema! We anathematize all the apostles of Nestorius: we all anathematize 

Nestorius as a heretic: let all such as communicate with Nestorius be anathema, etc., etc. 

Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem said: Let the letter of the most holy and reverend Coelestine, archbishop 

of the Church of Rome, be read, which he wrote concerning the faith. 

[The letter of Coelestine was read and no opinion expressed.] 

Peter the presbyter of Alexandria, and primicerius of the notaries said: Altogether in agreement with the 

things just read are those which his holiness Cyril our most pious bishop wrote, which I now have at hand, 

and will read if your piety so shall order. 

[The letter was read which begins thus:] 

T<greek>ou</greek> <greek>Swthros</greek> <greek>hmwn</greek> <greek>legontos</greek> 

<greek>enargws</greek>, <greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. <greek>l</greek>. 

Cum Salvator noster, etc. 


There has been some difference of opinion among the learned as to whether St. Cyril's Synodal letter which 
has at its end the anathemas against Nestorius, which hereafter follow, was formally approved at the 
Council of Ephesus. The matter is one only of archeological and historical interest for from a theological 
point of view the question is entirely uninteresting, since there is no possible doubt that the synod endorsed 
St. Cyril's teaching and for that express reason proceeded at their first session to excommunicate Nestorius. 
Further there is no one that disputes that the anathematisms were received at the next General Council, i.e., 
of Chalcedon, only twenty years later, and that Theodoret was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council 
because he wrote against these very Anathemas. This being the case, to those who value the decrees of 
Ecumenical Councils because of their ecumenical character, it is quite immaterial whether these 

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anathematisms were received and approved by the third Council or no, provided, which is indisputably the 
case, they have been approved by some one council of ecumenical authority, so as to become thereby 
part and parcel of the ecumenical faith of the Church. 

But the historical question is one of some interest, and I shall very briefly consider it. We have indeed the 
"Acta" of this council, but I cannot but agree with the very learned Jesuit Petavius and the Gallican Tillemont 
in thinking them in a very unsatisfactory condition. I am fully aware of the temerity of making such a 
suggestion, but I cannot help feeling that in the remarks of the Roman representatives, especially in those of 
the presbyter-legate, there is some anachronism. Be this as it may, it is a fact that the Acts do not recite that 
this letter of Cyril's was read, nor do they state that the Anathemas were received. I would suggest, however, 
that for those who defend John of Antioch, and criticise the action of St. Cyril, it is the height of inconsistency 
to deny that the Council adopted the Anathemas. If it was the bitterly partisan assembly that they would have 
us believe, absolutely under the control of Cyril, there is nothing that, <greek>a</greek> priori, they would 
have been more sure to do than adopt the Anathemas which were universally looked upon as the very 
fulcrum on which the whole matter turned. 

Bishop Hefele was at first of opinion that the letter was merely read, being led to this conclusion by the 
silence of the Acts with regard to any acceptance of it, and indeed at first wrote on that side, but he 
afterwards saw grounds to change his mind and expresses them with his usual clearness, in the following 

(Hefele, Hist, of Councils. Vol. III., p. 48, note 2.) 

We were formerly of opinion that these anathematisms were read at Ephesus, but not expressly confirmed, 
as there is hardly anything on the subject in the Acts. But in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (collatio vj.) it is 
said: "The holy Council at Chalcedon approved this teaching of Cyril of blessed memory, and received his 
Synodical letters, to one of which are appended the xij. anathemas" (Mansi, t. ix., p. 341 ; Hardouin, t. iij., p. 
167). If, however, the anathematisms of Cyril were expressly confirmed at Chalcedon, there was even more 
reason for doing so at Ephesus. And Ibas, in his well-known letter to Maris, says expressly that the Synod of 
Ephesus confirmed the anathematisms of Cyril, and the same was asserted even by the bishops of Antioch 
at Ephesus in a letter to the Emperor. 

From all these considerations it would seem that Tillemont's(l) conclusion is well rounded that the Synod 
certainly discussed the anathemas of Cyril in detail, but that here, as in many other places, there are parts of 
the Acts lacking. I shall add the opinion of Petavius. 

(Petavius, De Incarnatione, Lib. VI., cap. xvij.) 

The Acts do not tell us what judgment the Synod of Ephesus gave with respect to the third letter of Cyril, and 
with regard to the anathemas attached to it. But the Acts in other respects also have not come down to us in 
their integrity. That that third letter was received and approved by the Ephesine Council there can be no 
doubt, and this the Catholics shewed in their dispute with the Acephali in the Collation held at Constantinople 
under the Emperor Justinian in the year of Christ 81 1 . For at that memorable meeting some-tiring was shewn 
forth concerning this letter and its anathemas, which has a connexion with the matter in hand, and therefore 
must not be omitted. At that meeting the Opposers, that is the Acephali, the enemies of the Council of 
Chalcedon, made this objection against that Council: "The [letter] of the Twelve Anathemas which is 
inserted in the holy Council of Ephesus, and which you cannot deny to be synodical, why did not Chalcedon 
receive it?" etc., etc. 

From this it is evident that the prevailing opinion, then as now, was that the Twelve Anathemas were defined 
as part of the faith by the Council of Ephesus. Perhaps I may close this treatment of the subject in the words 
of Denziger, being the caption he gives the xij. Anathematisms in his Enchiridion, under "Decrees of the 
Third Ecumenical Council, that of Ephesus." "The Third Synod received these anathematisms; the Fourth 
Synod placed them in its Acts and styled the Epistles of Cyril 'Canonical'; the Fifth Synod defended them." 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 395; Migne, Parr. Groeo, Tom. LXXVII. [Cyril, Opera, Tom. X.], 
col. 105 et seqq.) 

To the most reverend and God-loving fellow-minister Nestorius, Cyril and the synod assembled in 
Alexandria, of the Egyptian Province, Greeting in the Lord. 

When our Saviour says clearly: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he 
that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," what is to become of us, from whom your 
Holiness requires that we love you more than Christ the Saviour of us all? Who can help us in the day of 

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judgment, or what kind of excuse shall we find for thus keeping silence so long, with regard to the 
blasphemies made by you against him? If you injured yourself alone, by teaching and holding such things, 
perhaps it would be less matter; but you have greatly scandalized the whole Church, and have cast among 
the people the leaven of a strange and new heresy. And not to those there [i.e. at Constantinople] on]y; but 
also to those everywhere [the books of your explanation were sent]. How can we any longer, under these 
circumstances, make a defence for our silence, or how shall we not be forced to remember that Christ said: 
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to 
set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." For if faith be injured, let there 
be lost the honour due to parents, as stale and tottering, let even the law offender love towards children and 
brothers be silenced, let death be better to the pious than living; "that they might obtain a better 
resurrection," as it is written. 

Behold, therefore, how we, together with the holy synod which met in great Rome, presided over by the most 
holy and most reverend brother and fellow-minister, Celestine the Bishop, also testify by this third letter to 
you, and counsel you to abstain from these mischievous and distorted dogmas, which you hold arid teach, 
and to receive the right faith, handed down to the churches from the beginning through the holy Apostles and 
Evangelists, who "were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word." And if your holiness have not a mind to 
this according to the limits defined in the writings of our brother of blessed memory and most reverend 
fellow-minister Celestine, Bishop of the Church of Rome, be well assured then that you have no lot with us, 
nor place or standing (<greek>logon</greek>) among the priests and bishops of God. For it is not possible 
for us to overlook the churches thus troubled, and the people scandalized, and the right faith set aside, and 
the sheep scattered by you, who ought to save them, if indeed we are ourselves adherents of the right faith, 
and followers of the devotion of the holy fathers. And we are in communion with all those laymen and 
clergymen cast out or deposed by your holiness on account of the faith; for it is not right that those, who 
resolved to believe rightly, should suffer by your choice; for they do well in opposing you. This very thing 
you have mentioned in your epistle written to our most holy and fellow-bishop Celestine of great Rome. 
But it would not be sufficient for your reverence to confess with us only tile symbol of the faith set out some 
time ago by the Holy Ghost at the great and holy synod convened in Nice: for you have not held and 
interpreted it rightly, but rather perversely; even though you confess with your voice the form of words. But in 
addition, in writing and by oath, you must confess that you also anathematize those polluted and unholy 
dogmas of yours, and that you will hold and teach that which we all, bishops, teachers, and leaders of the 
people both East and West, hold. The holy synod of Rome and we all agreed on the epistle written to your 
Holiness from the Alexandrian Church as being right and blameless. We have added to these our own 
letters and that which it is necessary for you to hold and teach, and what you should be careful to avoid. Now 
this is the Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church to which all Orthodox Bishops, both East and West, 

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father, that is, of the substance of the Father; God of 
God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by 
whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those in the earth. Who for us men and for our 
salvation, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man. He suffered, and rose again the third day. 
He ascended into the heavens, from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and tile dead. And in the 
Holy Ghost: But those that say, There was a time when he was not, and, before he was begotten he was not, 
and that he was made of that which previously was not, or that he was of some other substance or essence; 
and that the Son of God was capable of change or alteration; those the Catholic and Apostolic Church 

Following in all points the confessions of the Holy Fathers which they made (the Holy Ghost speaking in 
them), and following the scope of their opinions, and going, as it were, in the royal way, we confess that the 
Only begotten Word of God, begotten of the same substance of the Father, True God from True God, Light 
from Light, through Whom all things were made, the things in heaven and the things in the earth, coming 
down for our salvation, making himself of no reputation (<greek>kaqeis</greek> <greek>eauton</greek> 
<greek>eis</greek> <greek>kenwsin</greek>), was incarnate and made man; that is, taking flesh of the 
holy Virgin, and having made it his own from the womb, he subjected himself to birth for us, and came forth 
man from a woman, without casting off that which he was; but although he assumed flesh and blood, he 
remained what he was, God in essence and in truth. Neither do we say that his flesh was changed into the 
nature of divinity, nor that the ineffable nature of the Word of God has laid aside for the nature of flesh; for he 
is unchanged and absolutely unchangeable, being the same always, according to the Scriptures. For 
although visible and a child in swaddling clothes, and even in the bosom of his Virgin Mother, he filled all 
creation as God, and was a fellow-ruler with him who begat him, for the Godhead is without quantity and 
dimension, and cannot have limits. 

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Confessing the Word to be made one with the flesh according to substance, we adore one Son and Lord 
Jesus Christ: we do not divide the God from the man, nor separate him into parts, as though the two natures 
were mutually united in him only through a sharing of dignity and authority (for that is a novelty and nothing 
else), neither do we give separately to the Word of God the name Christ and the same name separately to 
a different one born of a woman; but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own 
Flesh. For as man he was anointed with us, although it is he himself who gives the Spirit to those who are 
worthy and not in measure, according to the saying of the blessed Evangelist John. 
But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt in him as in a common man born of the holy Virgin, lest Christ 
be thought of as a God-bearing man; for although the Word tabernacled among us, it is also said that in 
Christ "dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"; but we understand that be became flesh, not just as he 
is said to dwell in the saints, but we define that that tabernacling in him was according to equality 
(<greek>kata</greek> <greek>ton</greek> <greek>ison</greek> <greek>en</greek> 
<greek>autw</greek> <greek>tropou</greek>). But being made one <greek>kata</greek> 
<greek>fusin</greek>,(1) and not converted into flesh, he made his indwelling in such a way, as we may say 
that the soul of man does in his own body. 

One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as 
consists in a unity(1) of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of honour which unites natures; for 
then Peter and John, who were of equal honour with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples 
[would have been one, and], yet the two are not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to 
be apposition, for this does not suffice for natural oneness (<greek>pros</greek> <greek>enwson</greek> 
<greek>Fusikhn</greek>). Nor yet according to relative participation, as we are also joined to the Lord, as it 
is written "we are one Spirit in him." Rather we deprecate the term of "junction" (<greek>sunaFeias</greek>) 
as not having sufficiently signified the oneness. But we do not call the Word of God the Father, the God nor 
the Lord of Christ, lest we openly cut in two the one Christ, the Son and Lord, and fall under the charge of 
blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For the Word of God, as we have said already, was 
made hypostatically one in flesh, yet he is God of all and he rules all; but he is not the slave of himself, nor 
his own Lord. For it is foolish, or rather impious, to think or teach thus. For he said that God was his Father, 
although he was God by nature, and of his substance. Yet we are not ignorant that while he remained God, 
he also became man and subject to God, according to the law suitable to the nature of the manhood. But 
how could he become the God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man, and with regard to the measure of 
his humiliation, it is said that he is equally with us subject to God; thus he became under the Law, although as 
God he spake the Law and was the Law-giver. 

We are careful also how we say about Christ: "I worship the One clothed on account of the One clothing him, 
and on account of the Unseen, I worship the Seen." It is horrible to say in this connexion as follows: "The 
assumed as well as the assuming have the name of God." For the saying of this divides again Christ into 
two, and puts the man separately by himself and God also by himself. For this saying denies openly the 
Unity according to which one is not worshipped in the other, nor does God exist together with the other; but 
Jesus Christ is considered as One, the Only-begotten Son, to be honoured with one adoration together with 
his own flesh. 

We confess that he is the Son, begotten of God the Father, and Only-begotten God; and although according 
to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, yet he suffered for us in the flesh according to the 
Scriptures, and although impassible, yet in his Crucified Body he made his own the sufferings of his own 
flesh; and by the grace of God he tasted death for all: he gave his own Body thereto, although he was by 
nature himself the life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his unspeakable 
power, first in his own flesh, he might become the first born from the dead, and the first-fruits of them that slept. 
And that he might make a way for the nature of man to attain incorruption, by the grace of God (as we just 
now said), he tasted death for every man, and after three days rose again, having despoiled hell. So 
although it is said that the resurrection of the dead was through man, yet we understand that man to have 
been the Word of God, and the power of death was loosed through him, and he shall come in the fulness of 
time as the One Son and Lord, in the glory of the Father, in order to judge the world in righteousness, as it is 

We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of 
God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer 
the Unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, 
having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Saviour of us all. And not as common 
flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and as sociated with the Word according to the 
unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. 
For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also 
to be Life-giving, as also he said to us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man 
and drink his Blood. For we must not think that it is flesh of a man like us (for how can the flesh of man be 

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life-giving by its own nature?) but as having become truly the very own of him who for us both became and 
was called Son of Man. Besides, what the Gospels say our Saviour said of himself, we do not divide 
between two hypostases or persons. For neither is he, the one and only Christ, to be thought of as double, 
although of two (<greek>ek</greek> <greek>duo</greek>) and they diverse, yet he has joined them in an 
indivisible union, just as everyone knows a man is not double although made up of soul and body, but is 
one of both. Wherefore when thinking rightly, we transfer the human and the divine to the same person 
(<greek>par</greek>' <greek>enos</greek> <greek>eirhsqai</greek>). 

For when as God he speaks about himself: "He who hath seen me hath seen the Father," and "I and my 
Father are one," we consider his ineffable divine nature according to which he is One with his Father through 
the identity of essence-'The image and impress and brightness of his glory." But when not scorning the 
measure of his humanity, he said to the Jews: "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth." 
Again no less than before we recognize that he is the Word of God from his identity and likeness to the 
Father and from the circumstances of his humanity. For if it is necessary to believe that being by nature God, 
he became flesh, that is, a man endowed with a reasonable soul, what reason can certain ones have to be 
ashamed of this language about him, which is suitable to him as man? For if he should reject the words 
suitable to him as man, who compelled him to become man like us? And as he humbled himself to a 
voluntary abasement (<greek>kenwsin</greek>) for us, for what cause can any one reject the words 
suitable to such abasement? Therefore all the words which are read in the Gospels are to be applied to 
One Person, to One hypostasis of the Word Incarnate. For the Lord Jesus Christ is One, according to the 
Scriptures, although he is called "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession," as offering to God and the 
Father the confession of faith which we make to him, and through him to God even the Father and also to the 
Holy Spirit; yet we say he is, according to nature, the Only-begotten of God. And not to any man different 
from him do we assign the name of priesthood, and the thing, for be became "the Mediator between God 
and men," and a Reconciler unto peace, having offered himself as a sweet smelling savour to God and the 
Father. Therefore also he said: "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared me: 
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of 
the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." For on account of us he offered his body as a sweet 
smelling savour, and not for himself; for what offering or sacrifice was needed for himself, who as God 
existed above all sins? For "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," so that we became prone 
to fall, and the nature of man has fallen into sin, yet not so he (and therefore we fall short of his glory). How 
then can there be further doubt that the true Lamb died for us and on our account? And to say that he offered 
himself for himself and us, could in no way escape the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at 
all, neither did he sin. What offering then did he need, not having sin for which sacrifices are rightly offered? 
But when he spoke about the Spirit, he said: "He shall glorify me." If we think rightly, we do not say that the 
One Christ and Son as needing glory from another received glory from the Holy Spirit; for neither greater 
than he nor above him is his Spirit, but because he used the Holy Spirit to show forth Iris own divinity in his 
mighty works, therefore he is said to have been glorified by him just as if any one of us should say 
concerning his inherent strength for example, or Iris knowledge of anything, "They glorified me. "For although 
the Spirit is the same essence, yet we think of him by himself, as he is the Spirit and not the Son; but he is not 
different from him; for he is called the Spirit of truth and Christ is the Truth, and he is sent by him, just as, 
moreover, he is from God and the Father. When then the Spirit worked miracles through the hands of the 
holy apostles after the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, he glorified him. For it is believed 
that he who works through his own Spirit is God according to nature. Therefore he said: "He shall receive of 
mine, and shall shew it unto you." But we do not say this as if the Spirit is wise and powerful through some 
sharing with another; for he is all perfect and in need of no good thing. Since, therefore, he is the Spirit of the 
Power and Wisdom of the Father (that is, of the Son), he is evidently Wisdom and Power. 
And since the holy Virgin brought forth corporally God made one with flesh according to nature, for this 
reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence 
from the flesh. 

For "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God," and he is the 
Maker of the ages, coeternal with the Father, and Creator of all; but, as we have already said, since he 
united to himself hypostatically human nature from her womb, also he subjected himself to birth as man, not 
as needing necessarily in his own nature birth in time and in these last times of the world, but in order that he 
might bless the beginning of our existence, and that that which sent the earthly bodies of our whole race to 
death, might lose its power for the future by his being born of a woman in the flesh. And this: "In sorrow thou 
shalt bring forth children," being removed through him, he showed the truth of that spoken by the prophet," 
Strong death swallowed them up, and again God hath wiped away every tear from off all faces. "(1) For this 
cause also we say that he attended, having been called, and also blessed, the marriage in Cana of Galilee, 
with his holy Apostles in accordance with the economy. We have been taught to hold these things by the 
holy Apostles and Evangelists, and all the God-inspired Scriptures, and in the true confessions of the 

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blessed Fathers. 

To all these your reverence also should agree, and give heed, without any guile. And what it is necessary 

your reverence should anathematize we have subjoined to our epistle. (2) 


(Found in St. Cyril's Opera. Migne, Pat. Graec, Tom. LXXVII., Col. 119; and the Concilia.) 


IF anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of 
God (<greek>Qeotokos</greek>), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is 
written, "The Word was made flesh"]: let him be anathema. 



(Found best in Migne's edition of Marius Mercator.) 


If anyone says that the Emmanuel is true God, and not rather God with us, that is, that he has united himself to 
a like nature with ours, which he assumed from the Virgin Mary, and dwelt in it; and if anyone calls Mary the 
mother of God the Word, and not rather mother of him who is Emmanuel; and if he maintains that God the 
Word has changed himself into the flesh, which he only assumed in order to make his Godhead visible, and 
to be found in form as a man, let him be anathema. 


(De Incarnatione, Lib. vj. cap. xvij.) 

In this anathematism certain words are found in the Greek copy of Dionysius which are lacking in the 

ordinary copies, viz. "according as it is written, 'And the Word was made flesh';" unless forsooth Dionysius 

supplied them of his own authority. For in the Lateran Synod in the time of Martin I. this anathematism was 

quoted without the appended words. 

This anathematism breaks to pieces the chief strength of the Nestorian impiety For it sets forth two facts. 

The one that the Emmanuel, that is he who was born of a woman and dwelt with us, is God: the other, that 

Mary who bare such an one is Mother of God. That Christ is God is clearly proved from the Nicene Creed, 

and he shews that the same that was in the beginning the Son of God, afterwards took flesh and was born of 

Mary, without any change or confusion of natures. 

St. Cyril explains that by <greek>sarkikws</greek>, carnaliter, he meant nothing else than 
<greek>sark</greek> <greek>sarka</greek>, secundum carnem, "according to the flesh." And it was 
necessary to use this expression to overthrow the perfidy of Nestorius; so that we may understand that the 
most holy Virgin was the parent not of a simple and bare man, but of God the Word, not in that he was God, 
but in that he had taken flesh. For God the Father was the parent of the same Son 

<greek>qeikws</greek>(2) (divinely) as his mother was <greek>sarkikws</greek> (after the flesh). And the 
word (<greek>sarkikws</greek>) in no degree lessens the dignity of his begetting and bringing forth; for it 
shews that his flesh was not simulated or shadowed forth; but true and like to ours. Amphilochius distinctly 
uses the word, saying "Except he had been born carnally (<greek>sarkikws</greek>), never wouldest thou 
have been born spiritually (<greek>pneumatikws</greek>)." Cf. St. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 51). 
Theodoret misunderstood St. Cyril to teach in this first anathematism that the Word was changed into the 
flesh he assumed. But Cyril rightly treated this whole accusation as a foolish calumny. 

EXCURSUS ON THE WORD <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. 

There have been some who have tried to reduce all the great theological controversies on the Trinity and 
on the Incarnation to mere logomachies, and have jeered at those who could waste their time and energies 
over such trivialities. For example, it has been said that the real difference between Arius and Athanasius 
was nothing more nor less than an iota, and that even Athanasius himself, in his more placid, and therefore 
presumably more rational moods, was willing to hold communion with those who differed from him and who 

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still rejected the homousion. But however catching and brilliant such remarks may be, they lack all solid 
foundation in truth. It is perfectly manifest that a person so entirely lacking in discrimination as not to see the 
enormous difference between identity and likeness is not one whose opinion on such a point can be of 
much value. A brilliant historian is not necessarily an accurate historian, far less need he be a safe guide in 
matters of theological definition. (1) 

A similar attempt to reduce to a logomachy the difference between the Catholic faith and Nestorianism has 
been made by some writers of undoubted learning among Protestants, notably by Fuchs and Schrockh. But 
as in the case of the homousios so, too, in the case of the theotocos the word expresses a great, 
necessary, and fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith. It is not a matter of words, but of things, and the 
mind most unskilled in theology cannot fail to grasp the enormous difference there is between affirming, as 
does Nestorianism, that a God indwelt a man with a human personality of his own distinct from the 
personality of the indwelling god; and that God assumed to himself human nature, that is a human body and 
a human soul, but without human personality. 

(Wm. Bright, St. Leo on the Incarnation, pp. 160, 161 .) 

It is, then, clear that the question raised by the wide circulation of the discourses of Nestorius as archbishop 
of Constantinople was not verbal, but vital. Much of his language was irrelevant, and indicated some 
confusedness of thought: much would, of itself, admit of an orthodox construction; in one of the latest of his 
sermons, which Gamier dates on Sunday, December 14, 430, he grants that "Theotocos" might be used as 
signifying that "the temple which was formed in Mary by the Holy Spirit was united to the Godhead;" but it 
was impossible not to ask whether by "the temple" he meant the body of Jesus, or Jesus himself regarded 
as a human individual existing <greek>idia</greek>, <greek>idikws</greek>, <greek>ona</greek> 
<greek>meros</greek>-as Cyril represents his theory-and whether by "union" he meant more than a close 
alliance, ejusdem generis, in the last analysis, with the relation between God and every saint, or, indeed, 
every Christian in true moral fellowship with him-an alliance which would amount, in Cyril's phrase, to no 
more than a "relative union," and would reduce the Saviour to a "Theophoros," the title claimed of old by 
one of his chief martyrs. And the real identity of Nestorius's view with that of Theodore [of Mopsuestia] was 
but too plainly exhibited by such statements as occur in some of the extracts preserved in Cyril's treatise 
Against Nestorius-to the effect that Christ was one with the Word by participation in dignity; that "the man" 
was partaker of Divine power, and in that sense not mere man; that he was adored together with the Word; 
and that "My Lord and my God" was a doxology to the Father; and above all, by the words spoken at 
Ephesus, "I can never allow that a child of three months old was God." 

It is no part of my duty to defend the truth of either the Catholic or Nestorian proposition-each has found 
many adherents in most ages since it was first started, and probably what is virtually Nestorianism is to-day 
far more widely held among persons deemed to be orthodox than is commonly supposed. Be this as it 
may, Nestorianism is clearly subversive of the whole Catholic Doctrine of the Incarnation, and therefore the 
importance of the word <greek>Qeotokos</greek> cannot be exaggerated. 

I shall treatthe word Theotocos undertwo heads;(1) Its history(2) its meaning, first however quoting 
Bp. Pearson's words on its Conciliar authority. (Pearson, Exp. of the Creed, Art. III., n. 37). "It is plain that the 
Council of Ephesus which condemned Nestorius confirmed this title <greek>Qeotokos</greek>; I say 
confirmed it; for it is evident that it was before used in the Church, by the tumult which arose at the first denial 
of it by Anastasius [Nestorius's presbyter]; and so confirmed it as received before, because they approved 
the Epistles of St. Cyril, who proved it by the usage of those Fathers which preceded him." 

(1) History of Word <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. 

It has not been unfrequently assumed that the word Theotocos was coined to express the peculiar view of 
the Incarnation held by St. Cyril. Such however, is an entire mistake. It was an old term of Catholic Theology, 
and the very word was used by bishop Alexander in a letter from the synod held at Alexandria in A.D. 320,(1) 
to condemn the Arian heresy (more than a hundred years before the meeting of the Council of Ephesus); 
"After this, we receive the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became 
the first-fruits; who bore a body in truth, not in semblance, which be derived from Mary the Mother of God 
(<greek>ek</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>Qeotokou</greek> M<greek>arias</greek> Mapias)."(2) 
The same word had been used by many church writers among whom may be mentioned St. Athanasius, 
who says, "As the flesh was born of Mary, the Mother of God, so we say that he, the Word, was himself born 
of Mary" (Orat. c. Arian., iij., 14, 29, 33; also iv., 32). See also Eusebius (Vit. Const., iij., 43); St. Cyril of 
Jerusalem (Cat., x., 9); and especially Origen, who (says Bp. Pearson) "did not only use, but expound at 

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large the meaning of that title <greek>Qeotokos</greek> in his first tome on the Epistle to the Romans, as 
Socrates and Liberatus testify. "(3) (Cf. Origen in Deut. xxii., 23; vol. ij., p. 391 . A; in Luc. apud Galland, Bib. 
Patr., vol. xiv., append., p. 87, D). A list is given by Dr. Routh, in his Reliquioe Sacroe. Vol. ij., p. 215 (1st Ed.), 
332 (2d Ed.). 

In fact Theodore of Mopsuestia was the first to object to it, so far as we know, writing as follows: "Mary bare 
Jesus, not the Word, for the Word was and remained omnipresent, although from the beginning he dwelt in 
Jesus in a peculiar manner. Thus Mary is properly the Mother of Christ (Christotocos) but not the mother of 
God (Theotocos). Only figuratively, per anaphoram, can she be called Theotocos also, because God was 
in Christ in a remarkable manner. Properly she bare a man, in whom the union with the Word was begun, but 
was still so little completed, that he was not yet called the Son of God." And in another place he says: "It is 
madness to say that God is born of the Virgin. ... Not God, but the temple in which God dwelt, is born of 
Mary. "(4) How far Theodore had departed from the teaching of the Apostolic days may be seen by the 
following quotations from St. Ignatius. "There is one only physician, of flesh and spirit, generate and 
ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and of God, first passible and then impassible, 
Jesus Christ our Lord. "(5) Further on in the same epistle he says: "For our God, Jesus the Christ, was borne 
in the womb by Mary etc. "(6) With the first of these passages Bp. Light-foot very aptly compares the 
following from Melito. "Since he was incorporeal, he fashioned a body for himself of our likeness ... he was 
carried by Mary and clothed by his Father, he trod the earth and he filled the heavens. "(7) 
Theodore was forced by the exigencies of his position to deny the doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum 
which had already at that early date come to be well understood, at least so far as practice is concerned. 

(Hefele, Hist, of the Councils, Vol. Hi., p. 8.) 

This doctrine, as is well known is predicating the same properties of the two natures in Christ, not in 
abstracto (Godhead and manhood), but in concreto (God and man). Christ, himself had declared in St. John 
iii., 16: "God ... gave his only begotten Son" (namely, to death), and similarly St. Peter declared (Acts iii., 15): 
"ye ... killed the Prince of Life," when in fact the being given up and being killed is a property 
<greek>idiwma</greek> = predicate) of man, not of God (the only begotten, the Prince of Life). In the same 
way Clement of Rome, for example, spoke of "the sufferings of God" (<greek>paqhmata</greek> 
<greek>Qeou</greek>) (1 Ad Cor. 2), Ignatius of Antioch (Ad Ephes., c. 1, and Ad Rom., 6) of an 
<greek>aima</greek> and <greek>paqos</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek>, Tatian of a 
<greek>Qeos</greek> <greek>paponqws</greek> (Ad Groecos, c. 13); Barnabas teaches (c. 7) that "the 
Son of God could not suffer except on our behalf... and on our behalf he has brought the vessel of his Spirit 
as a sacrifice." Similarly Irenaeus (iii., 16, 6) says, "The Only-begotten impassible Word (unigenitus 
impassibilis) has become passible" (passibilis); and Athanasius, <greek>estaurwmenon</greek> 
<greek>einai</greek> <greek>Qeon</greek> (Ep. ad Epictet., n. 10, t. j., p. 726. ed. Patav.) 
It is, however, to be remarked that the properties of the one nature were never transferred to the other nature 
in itself, but always to the Person who is at the same time both man and God. Human attributes were not 
ascribed to the Godhead, but to God, and vice versa. 

For a full treatment of the figure of speech called the communicatio idiomatum the reader is referred to the 
great works on Theology where it will be found set forth at large, with its restrictions specified and with 
examples of its use. A brief but interesting note on it will be found in St. John Damascene's famous treatise 
De Fide Orthodoxa, Book III, iij. (Migne's Pat. Groec, col. 994). 

(2) Meaning of the Word <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. 

We pass now to the meaning of the word, having sufficiently traced the history of its use. Bishop Pearson 
says: "This name was first in use in the Greek Church, who, delighting in the happy compositions of that 
language, called the blessed Virgin Theotocos. From whence the Latins in imitation styled her Virginem 
Deiparam et Deigenitricem."(1) In the passage to which the words just quoted are a portion of a footnote, he 
says: "Wherefore from these three, a true conception, nutrition, and parturition, we must acknowledge that 
the blessed Virgin was truly and properly the Mother of our Saviour. And so is she frequently styled the 
Mother of Jesus in the language of the Evangelists, and by Elizabeth particularly the 'Mother of her Lord,' as 
also by the general consent of the Church (because he which was so born of her was God,) the Deipara; 
which being a compound title begun in the Greek Church, was resolved into its parts by the Latins and so the 
Virgin was plainly named the Mother of God." 

Pearson is mistaken in supposing that the resolution of the compound Theotocos into 
<greek>mhthr</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek> was unknown to the early Greek writers. 
Dionysius expressly calls Mary <greek>h</greek> <greek>mhthr</greek> <greek>tou</greek> 

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<greek>Qeou</greek> <greek>mou</greek> (Contr. Paul. Samos., Quaest. viij.); and among the Latins 
Mater Dei and Dei Genetrix were (as Pearson himself confesses in note 37) used before the time of St. Leo 
I. It is not an open question whether Mater Dei, Dei Genetrix, Deipara, <greek>mhthr</greek> 
<greek>tou</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek> are proper equivalents for <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. This 
point has been settled by the unvarying use of the whole Church of God throughout all the ages from that 
day to this, but there is, or at least some persons have thought that there was, some question as to how 
Theotocos should be translated into English. 

Throughout this volume I have translated it "Mother of God," and I propose giving my reasons for 
considering this the only accurate translation of the word, both from a lexico-graphical and from a 
theological point of view. 

(a) It is evident that the word is a composite formed of <greek>Qeos</greek> = God, and 
<greek>tiktein</greek> = to be the mother of a child. Now I have translated the verbal part "to be the mother 
of a child" because "to bear" in English does not necessarily carry the full meaning of the Greek word, which 
(as Bp. Pearson has well remarked in the passage cited above) includes "conception, nutrition, and 
parturition." It has been suggested that "God-bearer" is an exact translation. To this I object, that in the first 
place it is not English; and in the second that it would be an equally and, to my mind, more accurate 
translation of <greek>QeoForor</greek> than of <greek>Qeotokos</greek>. 

Another suggestion is that it be rendered "the bringer forth of God." Again I object that, from a rhetorical 
standpoint, the expression is very open to criticism; and from a lexicographical point of view it is entirely 
inadequate, for while indeed the parturition does necessarily involve in the course of nature the previous 
conception and nutrition, it certainly does not express it. 

Now the word Mother does necessarily express all three of these when used in relation to her child. The 
reader will remember that the question I am discussing is not whether Mary can properly be called the 
Mother of God; this Nestorius denied and many in ancient and modern times have been found to agree with 
him. The question I am considering is what the Greek word Theotocos means in English. I do not think 
anyone would hesitate to translate Nestorius's Christotocos by "Mother of Christ" and surely the 
expressions are identical from a lexicographical point of view. 

Liddell and Scott in their Lexicon insert the word <greek>qeotokos</greek> as an adjective and translate 
"bearing God" and add: "especially <greek>Qeotokos</greek>, Mother of God, of the Virgin, Eccl." 

(b) It only remains to consider whether there is from a theological point of view any objection to the 
translation, "Mother of God." It is true that some persons have thought that such a rendering implied that the 
Godhead has its origin in Mary, but this was the very objection which Nestorius and his followers urged 
against the word Theotocos, and this being the case, it constitutes a strong argument in favour of the 
accuracy of the rendering. Of course the answer to the objection in each case is the same, it is not of the 
Godhead that Mary is the Mother, but of the Incarnate Son, who is God. "Mother" expresses exactly the 
relation to the incarnate Son which St. Cyril, the Council of Ephesus, and all succeeding, not to say also 
preceding, ages of Catholics, rightly or wrongly, ascribe to Mary. All that every child derives from its Mother 
that God the Son derived from Mary, and this without the co-operation of any man, but by the direct operation 
of the Holy Ghost, so that in a fuller, truer, and more perfect sense, Mary is the Mother of God the Son in his 
incarnation, than any other earthly mother is of her son. 

I therefore consider it certain that no scholar who can and will divest himself of theological bias, can doubt 
that "Mother of God" is the most accurate translation of the term Theotocos. 


IF anyone shall not confess that the Word of God the Father is united hypostatically to flesh, and that with that 
flesh of his own, he is one only Christ both God and man at the same time: let him be anathema. 




If any one asserts that, at the union of the Logos with the flesh, the divine Essence moved from one place to 
another; or says that the flesh is capable of receiving the divine nature, and that it has been partially united 
with the flesh; or ascribes to the flesh, by reason of its reception of God, an extension to the infinite and 
boundless, and says that God and man are one and the same in nature; let him be anathema. 

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IF anyone shah after the [hypostatic] union divide the hypostases in the one Christ, joining them by that 
connexion alone, which happens according to worthiness, or even authority and power, and not rather by a 
coming together (<greek>sunodw</greek>), which is made by natural union (<greek>enwsin</greek> 
<greek>fusikhn</greek>): let him be anathema. 



If any one says that Christ, who is also Emmanuel, is One, not [merely] in consequence of connection, but 
[also] in nature, and does not acknowledge the connection (<greek>sunafeia</greek>) of the two natures, 
that of the Logos and of the assumed manhood, in one Son, as still continuing without mingling; let him be 


(Hist, of the Coucn., Vol. III., p. 7.) 

Theodore [of Mopsuestia, and in this he was followed by Nestorius,] (and here is his fundamental error,) not 
merely maintained the existence of two natures in Christ, but of two persons, as, he says himself, no 
subsistence can be thought of as perfect without personality. As however, he did not ignore the fact that the 
consciousness of the Church rejected such a double personality in Christ, he endeavoured to get rid of the 
difficulty, and he repeatedly says expressly: "The two natures united together make only one Person, as 
man and wife are only one flesh. ... If we consider the natures in their distinction, we should define the nature 
of the Logos as perfect and complete, and so also his Person, and again the nature and the person of the 
man as perfect and complete. If, on the other hand, we have regard to the union (<greek>sunafeia</greek>), 
we say it is one Person." The very illustration of the union of man and wife shows that Theodore did not 
suppose a true union of the two natures in Christ, but that his notion was rather that of an external connection 
of the two. The expression <greek>sunafeia</greek>, moreover, which he selected here instead of the term 
<greek>enwsin</greek>, which he elsewhere employs, being derived from <greek>sunaptw</greek> [to 
join together], expresses only an external connection, a fixing together, and is therefore expressly rejected 
in later times by the doctors of the Church. And again, Theodore designates a merely external connection 
also in the phrase already quoted, to the effect that "the Logos dwells in the man assumed as in a temple." 
As a temple and the statue set up within it are one whole merely in outward appearance, so the Godhead 
and manhood in Christ appear only from without in their actuality as one Person, while they remain 
essentially two Persons. 


IF anyone shall divide between two persons or subsistences those expressions (<greek>fwnas</greek>) 
which are contained in the Evangelical and Apostolical writings, or which have been said concerning Christ 
by the Saints, or by himself, and shall apply some to him as to a man separate from the Word of God, and 
shall apply others to the only Word of God the Father, on the ground that they are fit to be applied to God: let 
him be anathema. 




If any one assigns the expressions of the Gospels and Apostolic letters, which refer to the two natures of 
Christ, to one only of those natures, and even ascribes suffering to the divine Word, both in the flesh and in 
the Godhead; let him be anathema. 


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(Apol. contra Orientales.) 

For we neither teach the division of the hypostases after the union, nor do we say that the nature of the Deity 
needs increase and growth; but this rather we hold, that by way of an economical appropriation 
(<greek>kat</greek> <greek>oikeiwsin</greek> <greek>oikonomikhn</greek>), he made his own the 
properties of the flesh, as having become flesh. 

(Quod unus eat Christus.) 

For the wise Evangelist, introducing the Word as become flesh, shows him economically submitting himself 
to his own flesh and going through the laws of his own nature. But it belongs to humanity to increase in 
stature and in wisdom, and, I might add, in grace, intelligence keeping pace with the measure of the body, 
and differing according to age. For it was not impossible for the Word born of the Father to have raised the 
body united to himself to its full height from the very swaddling-clothes. I would say also, that in the babe a 
wonderful wisdom might easily have appeared. But that would have approached the thaumaturgical, and 
would have been incongruous to the laws of the economy. For the mystery was accomplished noiselessly. 
Therefore he economically allowed the measures of humanity to have power over himself. 


(The Humiliation of Christ. Appendix to Lect. II.) 

The accommodation to the laws of the economy, according to this passage, consisted in this— in stature, 
real growth; in wisdom, apparent growth. The wonderful wisdom was there from the first, but it was not 
allowed to appear (<greek>ekfhnai</greek>), to avoid an aspect of monstrosity. 


(Adversus Nestorium.) 

Therefore there would have been shown to all an unwonted and strange thing, if, being yet an infant, he had 
made a demonstration of his wisdom worthy of God; but expanding it gradually and in proportion to the age 
of the body, and (in this gradual manner) making it manifest to all, he might be said to increase (in wisdom) 
very appropriately. 

(Ad Reginas de recta fide, Orat. II., cap. xvi.) 

"But the boy increased and waxed strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon 
him." And again: "Jesus increased in stature and wisdom, and in favour with God and men." In affirming our 
Lord Jesus Christ to be one, and assigning to him both divine and human properties, we truly assert that it 
was congruous to the measures of the kenosis, on the one hand, that he should receive bodily increase and 
grow strong, the parts of the body gradually attaining their full development; and, on the other hand, that he 
should seem to be filled with wisdom, in so far as the manifestation of the wisdom dwelling within him 
proceeded, as by addition, most congruously to the stature of the body; and this, as I said, agreed with the 
economy of the Incarnation, and the measures of the state of humiliation. 

(Apol. contra Theod., ad Anath. iv.) 

And if he is one and the same in virtue of the true unity of natures, and is not one and another (two persons) 
disjunctively and partitively, to him will belong both to know and to seem not to know. Therefore he knows on 
the divine side as the Wisdom of the Father. But since he subjected himself to the measure of humanity, he 
economically appropriates this also with the rest, although, as I said a little ago, being ignorant of nothing, 
but knowing all things with the Father. 

IF anyone shall dare to say that the Christ is a Theophorus [that is, God-bearing] man and not rather that he 
is very God, as an only Son through nature, because "the Word was made flesh," and "hath a share in flesh 
and blood as we do:" let him be anathema. 




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If any one ventures to say that, even after the assumption of human nature, there is only one Son of God, 
namely, he who is so in nature (naturaliter filius=Logos), while he (Since the assumption of the flesh) is 
certainly Emmanuel; let him be anathema. 


It is manifest that this anathematism is directed against the blasphemy of Nestorius, by which he said that 
Christ was in this sense Emmanuel, that a man was united and associated with God, just as God had been 
said to have been with the Prophets and other holy men, and to have had his abode in them; so that they 
were properly styled <greek>Qeoforoi</greek>, because, as it were, they carried God about with them; but 
there was no one made of the two. But he held that our Lord as man was bound and united with God only by 
a communion of dignity. 

Nestorius [in his Counter Anathematism] displays the hidden meaning of his heresy, when he says, that the 
Son of God is not one after the assumption of the humanity; for he who denied that he was one, no doubt 
thought that he was two. 

Thedoret in his criticism of this Anathematism remarks that many of the Ancients, including St. Basil had 
used this very word, <greek>Qeoforos</greek>, for the Lord; but the objection has no real foundation, for the 
orthodoxy or heterodoxy of such a word must be determined by the context in which it is used, and also by 
the known opinions of him that uses it. Expressions which are in a loose sense orthodox and quite 
excusable before a heresy arises, may become afterwards the very distinctive marks and shibboleths of 
error. Petavius has pointed out how far from orthodox many of the earliest Christian writers were, at least 
verbally, and Bp. Bull defended them by the same line of argument I have just used and which Petavius 
himself employs in this very connection. 


IF anyone shall dare say that the Word of God the Father is the God of Christ or the Lord of Christ, and shall 
not rather confess him as at the same time both God and Man, since according to the Scriptures, "The Word 
was made flesh": let him be anathema. 




If anyone, after the Incarnation calls another than Christ the Word, and ventures to say that the form of a 
servant is equally with the Word of God, without beginning and uncreated, and not rather that it is made by 
him as its natural Lord and Creator and God, and that he has promised to raise it again in the words: 
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up again"; let him be anathema. 


This [statement of Nestorius's that any should call "another than Christ the Word"] has no reference to Cyril; 
but is a hyper-Nes-torianism, which Nestorius here rejects. This [that "the form of a servant is without 
beginning and uncreated"] was asserted by some Apollinarists; and Nestorius accused St. Cyril of 


As Nestorius believed that in Christ there were two distinct entities (re ipsa duos) that is to say two persons 
joined together; it was natural that he should hold that the Word was the God and Lord of the other, that is of 
the man. Cyril contradicts this, and since he taught that there was, not two, but one of two natures, that is one 
person or suppositum, therefore he denied that the Word was the God or Lord of the man; since no one 
should be called the Lord of himself. 

Theodoret in his answer shuffles as usual, and points out that Christ is styled a servant by the Prophet 
Isaiah, because of the form of a servant which he had received. But to this Cyril answers; that although Christ, 
inasmuch as he was man, is called the servant of the Father, as of a person distinct from himself; yet he 
denies that the same person can be his own lord or servant, lest a separation of the person be introduced. 

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IF anyone shah say that Jesus as man is only energized by the Word of God, and that the glory of the 
Only-begotten is attributed to him as something not properly his: let him be anathema. 




If any one says that the man who was formed of the Virgin is the Only-begotten, who was born from the 
bosom of the Father, before the morning star was (Ps. cix., 3)(1), and does not rather confess that he has 
obtained the designation of Only-begotten on account of his connection with him who in nature is the 
Only-begotten of the Father; and besides, if any one calls another than the Emmanuel Christ let him be 


(Declaratio Septima.) 

When the blessed Gabriel announced to the holy Virgin the generation of the only-begotten Son of God 
according to the flesh, he said, "Thou shalt bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save 
his people from their sins." But he was named also Christ, because that according to his human nature he 
was anointed with us, according to the words of the Psalmist: "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated 
iniquity: therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." For 
although he was the giver of the Holy Spirit, neither did he give it by measure to them that were worthy (for he 
was full of the Holy Ghost, and of his fulness have we all received, as it is written), nevertheless as he is man 
he was called anointed economically, the Holy Spirit resting upon him spiritually (<greek>nohtws</greek>) 
and not after the manner of men, in order that he might abide in us, although he had been driven forth from us 
in the beginning by Adam's fall. He therefore the only begotten Word of God made flesh was called Christ. 
And since he possessed as his own the power proper to God, he wrought his wonders. Whosoever 
therefore shall say that the glory of the Only-begotten was added to the power of Christ, as though the 
Only-begotten was different from Christ, they are thinking of two sons; the one truly working and the other 
impelled (by the strength of another, Lat.) as a man like to us; and all such fall under the penalty of this 


IF anyone shall dare to say that the assumed man (<greek>analhfqenta</greek>) ought to be worshipped 
together with God the Word, and glorified together with him, and recognised together with him as God, and 
yet as two different things, the one with the other (for this "Together with" is added [i. e., by the Nestorians] to 
convey this meaning); and shall not rather with one adoration worship the Emmanuel and pay to him one 
glorification, as [it is written] "The Word was made flesh": let him be anathema. 




If any one says that the form of a servant should, for its own sake, that is, in reference to its own nature, be 
reverenced, and that it is the ruler of all things, and not rather, that [merely] on account of its connection with 
the holy and in itself universally-ruling nature of the Only-begotten, it is to be reverenced; let him be 


On this point [made by Nestorius, that "the form of a servant is the ruler of all things"] Marius Mercator has 
already remarked with justice, that no Catholic had ever asserted anything of the kind. 
Petavius notes that the version of Dionysius Exiguus is defective. 

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Nestorius captiously and maliciously interpreted this as if the "form of a servant" according to its very nature 
(ratio) was to be adored, that is should receive divine worship. But this is nefarious and far removed from the 
mind of Cyril. Since to such an extent only the human nature of Christ is one suppositum with the divine, that 
he declares that each is the object of one and an undivided adoration; lest if a double and dissimilar cultus 
be attributed to each one, the divine person should be divided into two adorable Sons and Christs, as we 
have heard Cyril often complaining. 


IF any man shall say that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Holy Ghost, so that he used through 
him a power not his own and from him received power against unclean spirits and power to work miracles 
before men and shall not rather confess that it was his own Spirit through which he worked these divine 
signs; let him be anathema. 




If anyone says that the form of a servant is of like nature with the Holy Ghost, and not rather that it owes its 
union with the Word which has existed since the conception, to his mediation, by which it works miraculous 
healings among men, and possesses the power of expelling demons; let him be anathema. 


The scope of this anathematism is to shew that the Word of God, when he assumed flesh remaining what he 
was, and lacking nothing which the Father possessed except only paternity, had as his own the Holy Spirit 
which is from him and substantially abides in him. From this it follows that through him, as through a power 
and strength which was his own, and not one alien or adventitious, he wrought his wonders and cast forth 
devils, but he did not receive that Holy Spirit and his power as formerly the Prophets had done, or as 
afterwards his disciples did, as a kind of gift (beneficii loco). 

The Orientals objected that St. Cyril here contradicts himself, for here he says that Christ did not work his 
wonders by the Holy Ghost and in another place he frankly confesses that he did so work them. But the 
whole point is what is intended by working through the Holy Ghost. For the Apostles worked miracles 
through the Holy Ghost but as by a power external to themselves, but not so Christ. When Christ worked 
wonders through the Holy Ghost, he was working through a power which was his own, viz.: the Third Person 
of the Holy Trinity; from whom he never was and never could be separated, ever abiding with him and the 
Eternal Father in the Divine Unity. 

The Westerns have always pointed to this anathematism as shewing that St. Cyril recognized the eternal 
relation of the Holy Spirit as being from the Son. 


In view of the fact that many are now presenting as if something newly discovered, and as the latest results 
of biblical study, the interpretations of the early heretics with regard to our Lord's powers and to his relation 
to the Holy Ghost, I have here set down in full Theo-doret's Counter-statement to the faith accepted by tile 
Ecumenical Councils of the Church. 


(Counter Statement to Anath. IX. of Cyril.) 

Here he has plainly had the hardihood to anathematize not only those who at the present time hold pious 
opinions, but also those who were in former days heralds of truth; aye even the writers of the divine Gospels, 
the band of the holy Apostles, and, in addition to these, Gabriel the archangel. For he indeed it was who first, 
even before the conception, announced the birth of the Christ according to the flesh; saying in reply to Mary 
when she asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and 

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the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall 
be called the Son of God." And to Joseph he said, "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is 
conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." And the Evangelist says, "When as his mother Mary was espoused 
to Joseph ... she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." And the Lord himself when he had come into the 
synagogue of the Jews and had taken the prophet Isaiah, after reading the passage in which he says, "The 
Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me" and so on, added, "This day is this scripture 
fulfilled in your ears." And the blessed Peter in his sermon to the Jews said, "God anointed Jesus of 
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost." And Isaiah many ages before had predicted "There shall come forth a rod 
out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon 
him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of 
the fear of the Lord"; and again, "Behold my servant whom I uphold, my beloved in whom my soul delighteth. 
I will put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." This testimony the Evangelist too 
has inserted in his own writings. And the Lord himself in the Gospels says to the Jews, "If I with the Spirit of 
God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." And John says, "He that sent me to 
baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining 
on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." So this exact examiner of the divine decrees 
has not only anathematized prophets, apostles, and even the archangel Gabriel, but has suffered his 
blasphemy to reach even the Saviour of the world himself. For we have shewn that the Lord himself after 
reading the passage "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he had anointed me," said to the Jews, 
"This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." And to those who said that he was casting out devils by 
Beelzebub he replied that he was casting them out by the Spirit of God. But we maintain that it was not God 
the Word, of one substance and co-eternal with the Father, that was formed by the Holy Ghost and anointed, 
but the human nature which was assumed by him at the end of days. We shall confess that the Spirit of the 
Son was his own if he spoke of it as of the same nature and proceeding from the Father, and shall accept 
the expression as consistent with true piety. But if he speaks of the Spirit as being of the Son, or as having its 
origin through the Son we shall reject this statement as blasphemous and impious. For we believe the Lord 
when he says, "The spirit which proceedeth from the Father"; and likewise the very divine Paul saying, "We 
have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." 

In the foregoing will be found the very same arguments used and the same texts cited against the Catholic 
faith as are urged and cited by the Rev. A. J. Mason. The Conditions of Our Lord's Life on Earth, and by 
several other recent writers. 

WHOSOEVER shall say that it is not the divine Word himself, when he was made flesh and had become 
man as we are, but another than he, a man born of a woman, yet different from him (<greek>idikws</greek> 
<greek>anqrwpon</greek>), who is become our Great High Priest and Apostle; or if any man shall say that 
he offered himself in sacrifice for himself and not rather for us, whereas, being without sin, he had no need of 
offering or sacrifice: let him be anathema. 



If any one maintains that the Word, who is from the beginning, has become the high priest and apostle of our 
confession, and has offered himself for us, and does not rather say that it is the work of Emmanuel to be an 
apostle; and if any one in such a manner divides the sacrifice between him who united [the Word] and him 
who was united [the manhood] referring it to a common sonship, that is, not giving to God that which is God's, 
and to man that which is man's; let him be anathema. 


(Declaratio decima.) 

But I do not know how those who think otherwise contend that the very Word of God made man, was not the 
apostle and high-priest of our profession, but a man different from him; who was born of the holy Virgin, was 
called our apostle and high-priest, and came to this gradually; and that not only for us did he offer himself a 
sacrifice to God and the Father, but also for himself. A statement which is wholly contrary to the right and 

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undefiled faith, for he did no sin, but was superior to fault and altogether free from sin, and needed no 
sacrifice for himself. Since those who think differently were again unreasonably hinking of two sons, this 
anathematism became necessary that their impiety might appear. 


WHOSOEVER shall not confess that the flesh of the Lord giveth life and that it pertains to the Word of God 
the Father as his very own, but shall pretend that it belongs to another person who is united to him [i.e., the 
Word] only according to honour, and who has served as a dwelling for the divinity; and shall not rather 
confess, as we say, that that flesh giveth life because it is that of the Word who giveth life to all: let him be 




If any one maintains that the flesh which is united with God the Word is by the power of its own nature 
life-giving, whereas the Lord himself says, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (St. John 
vi. 61), let him be anathema. [He adds, "God is a Spirit" (St. John iv. 24). If, then, any one maintains that God 
the Logos has in a carnal manner, in his substance, become flesh, and persists in this with reference to the 
Lord Christ; who himself after his resurrection said to his disciples, "Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not 
flesh and bones, as ye behold me having" (St. Luke xxiv. 39); let him be anathema.] 


The part enclosed in brackets is certainly a spurious addition and is wanting in many manuscripts. Cf. 
Marius Mercator [ed. Migne], p. 919. 


(Declaratio undecima.) 

We perform in the churches the holy, lifegiving, and unbloody sacrifice; the body, as also the precious 
blood, which is exhibited we believe not to be that of a common man and of any one like unto us, but 
receiving it rather as his own body and as the blood of the Word which gives all things life. For common 
flesh cannot give life. And this our Saviour himself testified when he said: "The flesh profiteth nothing, it is the 
Spirit that giveth life." For since the flesh became the very own of the Word, therefore we understand that it is 
lifegiving, as the Saviour himself said: "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that 
eateth me shall live by me." Since therefore Nestorius and those who think with him rashly dissolve the 
power of this mystery; therefore it was convenient that this anathematism should be put forth. 


WHOSOEVER shall not recognize that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that he was crucified in the 
flesh, and that likewise in that same flesh he tasted death and that he is become the first-begotten of the 
dead, for, as he is God, he is the life and it is he that giveth life: let him be anathema. 




If any one, in confessing the sufferings of the flesh, ascribes these also to the Word of God as to the flesh in 
which he appeared, and thus does not distinguish the dignity of the natures; let him be anathema. 


(Adv. Orientales, ad XII. Quoting Athanasius.) 

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For if the body is of another, to him also must the sufferings be ascribed. But if the flesh is the Word's (for 
"The Word was made flesh")it is necessary that the sufferings of the flesh be called his also whose is the 
flesh. But whose are the sufferings, such especially as condemnation, flagellation, thirst, the cross, death, 
and other such like infirmities of the body, his also is the merit and the grace. Therefore rightly and properly 
to none other are these sufferings attributed than to the Lord, as also the grace is from him; and we shall not 
be guilty of idolatry, but be the true worshippers of God, for we invoke him who is no creature nor any 
common man, but the natural and true Son of God, made man, and yet the same Lord and God and 

As I think, these quotations will suffice to the learned for the proof of the propositions advanced, the Divine 
Law plainly saying that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." But if after 
this any one would still seem to be contentious, we would say to him: "Go thine own way. We however shall 
follow the divine Scriptures and the faith of the Holy Fathers." 

The student should read at full length all Cyril's defence of his anathematisms, also his answers to the 
criticisms of Theodoret, and to those of the Orientals, all of which will be found in his works, and in Labbe 
and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., 81 1 et seqq. 


(Continued). (L. and O, Cone., Tom. III., Col. 503.) 

[No action is recorded in the Acts as having been taken. A verbal report was made by certain who had 

seen Nestorius during the past three days, that they were hopeless of any repentance on his part. On the 

motion of Flavian, bishop of Philippi, a number of passages from the Fathers were read; and after that some 

selections from the writings of Nestorius. A letter from Capreolus, Archbishop of Carthage, was next read, 

excusing his absence; after the reading of the letter, which makes no direct reference to Nestorius whatever, 

but prays the Synod to see to it that no novelties be tolerated, the Acts proceed. (Col. 534).] 

Cyril, the bishop of the Church of Alexandria, said: As this letter of the most reverend and pious Capreolus, 

bishop of Carthage, which has been read, contains a most lucid expression of opinion, let it be inserted in 

the Acts. For it wishes that the ancient dogmas of the faith should be confirmed, and that novelties, absurdly 

conceived and impiously brought forth, should be reprobated and proscribed. 

All the bishops at the same time cried out: These are the sentiments (<greek>fwnai</greek>) of all of us, 

these are the things we all say-the accomplishment of this is the desire of us all. 

[Immediately follows the sentence of deposition and the subscriptions. It seems almost certain that 

something has dropped out here, most probably the whole discussion of Cyril's XII. Anathematisms.] 


(Found in all the Concilia in Greek with Latin Versions.) 

As, in addition to other things, the impious Nestorius has not obeyed our citation, and did not receive the 
holy bishops who were sent by us to him, we were compelled to examine his ungodly doctrines. We 
discovered that he had held and published impious doctrines in his letters and treatises, as well as in 
discourses which he delivered in this city, and which have been testified to. Compelled thereto by the 
canons and by the letter (<greek>anagkaiws</greek> <greek>kate?eikqentes</greek> 
<greek>apo</greek> <greek>te</greek> <greek>twn</greek> <greek>kanonw?</greek>, 
<greek>kai</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>epistolhs</greek>, 
<greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. <greek>h</greek>.) of our most holy father and fellow-servant 
Coelestine, the Roman bishop, we have come, with many tears, to this sorrowful sentence against him, 
namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, decrees by the holy Synod that Nestorius be 
excluded from the episcopal dignity, and from all priestly communion. 


The words for which I have given the original Greek, are not mentioned by Canon Bright in his Article on St. 
Cyril in Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography; nor by Ffoulkes in his article on the Council of 
Ephesus in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. They do not appear in Canon 
Robertsons History of the Church. And strangest of all, Dean Milman cites the Sentence in English in the text 
and in Greek in a note but in each case omits all mention of the letter of the Pope, marking however in the 
Greek that there is an omission. (Lat. Chr., Bk. II., Chap. Ill.)(1) I also note that the translation in the English 
edition of Hefele's History of the Councils (Vol. III., p. 51) is misleading and inaccurate, "Urged by the 

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canons, and in accordance with the letter etc." The participle by itself might mean nothing more than "urged" 
(vide Liddell and Scott on this verb and also <greek>epeigw</greek>) but the adverb which precedes it, 
<greek>anagkaiws</greek>, certainly is sufficient to necessitate the coacti of the old Latin version which I 
have followed, translating "compelled thereto." It will also be noticed that while the prepositions used with 
regard to the "canons" and the "letter" are different, yet that their grammatical relation to the verb is identical 
is shewn by the <greek>te</greek>-<greek>kai</greek>, which proves the translation cited above to be 
utterly incorrect. 

Hefele for the "canons" refers to canon number Ixxiv. of the Apostolic Canons; which orders an absent 
bishop to be summoned thrice before sentence be given against him. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 609.) 

The most pious and God-beloved bishops, Arcadius and Projectus, as also the most beloved-of-God 
Philip, a presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, then entered and took their seats. (2) 
Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: We bless the holy and adorable Trinity that our 
lowliness has been deemed worthy to attend your holy Synod. For a long time ago (<greek>palai</greek>) 
our most holy and blessed pope Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic See, through his letters to that holy and 
most pious man Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, gave judgment concerning the present cause and affair 
(<greek>wrisen</greek>) which letters have been shown to your holy assembly. And now again for the 
corroboration of the Catholic (<greek>kaqolikhs</greek>) faith, he has sent through us letters to all your 
holinesses, which you will bid (<greek>pelousate</greek>) to be read with becoming reverence 
(<greek>prepontws</greek>) and to be entered on the ecclesiastical minutes. 

Arcadius, a bishop and legate of the Roman Church said: May it please your blessedness to give order that 

the letters I of the holy and ever-to-be-mentioned-with-veneration Pope Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic 

See, which have been brought by us, be read, from which your reverence will be able to see what care he 

has for all the Churches. 

Projectus, a bishop and legate of the Roman Church said, May it please, etc. [The same as Arcadius had 

said verbatim!] 

And afterwards the most holy and beloved-of-God Cyril, bishop of the Church of Alexandria, spoke as is 

next in order contained; Siricius, notary of the holy Catholic (<greek>kaqolikhs</greek>) Church of Rome 

read it. 

Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: Let the letter received from the most holy and altogether most blessed 

Coelestine, bishop of the Apostolic See of Rome be read to the holy Synod with fitting honour. 

Siricius, notary of the holy Catholic (<greek>kaqolikhs</greek>) Church of the city of Rome read it. 

And after it was read in Latin, Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem said: Let the writings of the most holy and 
blessed bishop of great Rome which have just been Toad, be entered on the minutes. 
And all the most reverend bishops prayed that the letter might be translated and read. 
Philip, the presbyter of the Apostolic See and Legate said: The custom has been sufficiently complied with, 
that the writings of the Apostolic See should first be read in Latin. (3) But now since your holiness has 
demanded that they be read in Greek also, it is necessary that your holiness's desire should be satisfied; 
We have taken care that this be done, and that the Latin be turned into Greek. Give order therefore that it be 
received and read in your holy hearing. 

Arcadius and Projectus, bishops and legates said, As your blessedness ordered that the writings which we 

brought should be brought to the knowledge of all, for of our holy brethren bishops there are not a few who 

do not understand Latin, therefore the letter has been translated into Greek and if you so command let it be 


Flavian, the bishop of Philippi said: Let the translation of the letter of the most holy and beloved of God, 

bishop of the Roman Church be received and read. 

Peter, the presbyter of Alexandria and primicerius of the notaries read as follows: 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 613. Also Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. L, col. 505.(1)) 

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Coelestine the bishop to the holy Synod assembled at Ephesus, brethren beloved and most longed for, 
greeting in the Lord. 

A Synod of priests gives witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit. For true is that which we read, since the 
Truth cannot lie, to wit, the promise of the Gospel; "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst of them." And since tiffs is so, if the Holy Spirit is not absent from so small a number 
how much more may we believe he is present when so great a multitude of holy ones are assembled 
together! Every council is holy on account of a peculiar veneration which is its due; for in every such council 
the reverence which should be paid to that most famous council of the Apostles of which we read is to be 
had regard to. Never was the Master, whom they had received to preach, lacking to this, but ever was 
present as Lord and Master; and never were those who taught deserted by their teacher. For he that had 
sent them was their teacher; he who had commanded what was to be taught, was their teacher; he who 
affirms that he himself is heard in his Apostles, was their teacher. This duty of preaching has been entrusted 
to all the Lord's priests in common, for by right of inheritance we are bound to undertake this solicitude, 
whoever of us preach the name of the Lord in divers lands in their stead for he said to them, "Go, teach all 
nations." You, dear brethren, should observe that we have received a general command: for he wills that all 
of us should perform that office, which he titus entrusted in common to all the Apostles. We must needs 
follow our predecessors. Let us all, then, undertake their labours, since we are the successors in their 
honour. And we shew forth our diligence in preaching the same doctrines that they taught, beside which, 
according to the admonition of the Apostle, we are forbidden to add aught. For the office of keeping what is 
committed to our trust is no less dignified than that of handing it down. 

They sowed the seed of the faith. This shall be our care that the coming of our great father of the family, to 
whom alone assuredly this fulness of the Apostles is assigned, may find fruit uncorrupt and many fold. For 
the vase of election tells us that it is not sufficient to plant and to water unless God gives the increase. We 
must strive therefore in common to keep the faith which has come down to us to-day, through the Apostolic 
Succession. For we are expected to walk according to the Apostle. For now not our appearance (species) 
but our faith is called in question. Spiritual weapons are those we must take, because the war is one of 
minds, and the weapons are words; so shall we be strong in the faith of our King. Now the Blessed Apostle 
Paul admonishes that all should remain in that place in which he bid Timothy remain. The same place 
therefore, the same cause, lays upon us the same duty. Let us now also do and study that which he then 
commanded him to do. And let no one think otherwise, and let no one pay heed to over strange fables, as 
he himself ordered. Let us be unanimous thinking the same thing, for this is expedient: let us do nothing out 
of contention, nothing out of vain glory: let us be in all things of one mind, of one heart, when the faith which is 
one, is attacked. Let the whole body grieve and mourn in common with us. He who is to judge the world is 
called into judgment; he who is to criticise all, is himself made the object of criticism, he who redeemed us is 
made to suffer calumny. Dear Brethren, gird ye with the armour of God. Ye know what helmet must protect 
our head, what breast-plate our breast. For this is not the first time the ecclesiastical camps have received 
you as their rulers. Let no one doubt that by the favour of the Lord who maketh twain to be one, there will be 
peace, and that arms will be laid aside since the very cause defends itself. 

Let us look once again at these words of our Doctor, which he uses with express reference to bishops, 
saying, "Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, over which the Holy Ghost has placed you as 
bishop, that ye rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his blood." 

We read that they who heard this at Ephesus, the same place at which your holiness is come together, were 
called thence. To them therefore to whom this preaching of the faith was known, to them also let your 
defence of the same faith also be known. Let us shew them the constancy of our mind with that reverence 
which is due to matters of great importance; which things peace has guarded for a long time with pious 

Let there be announced by you what things have been preserved intact from the Apostles; for the words of 
tyrannical opposition are never admitted against the King of Kings, nor can the business of truth be 
oppressed by falsehood. 

I exhort you, most blessed brethren, that love alone be regarded in which we ought to remain, according to 
the voice of John the Apostle whose reliques we venerate in this city. Let common prayer be offered to the 
Lord. For we can form some idea of what will be the power of the divine presence at the united intercession 
of such a multitude of priests, by considering how the very place was moved where, as we read, the Twelve 
made together their supplication. And what was the purport of that prayer of the Apostles? It was that they 
might receive grace to speak the word of God with confidence, and to act through its power, both of which 
they received by the favour of Christ our God. And now what else is to be asked for by your holy council, 
except that ye may speak the Word of the Lord with confidence? What else than that he would give you 
grace to preserve that which he has given you to preach? that being filled with the Holy Ghost, as it is written, 
ye may set forth that one truth which the Spirit himself has taught you, although with divers voices. 
Animated, in brief, by all these considerations (for, as the Apostle says: "I speak to them that know the law, 

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and I speak wisdom among them that are perfect"), stand fast by the Catholic faith, and defend the peace of 

the Churches, for so it is said, both to those past, present, and future, asking and preserving "those things 

which belong to the peace of Jerusalem." 

Out of our solicitude, we have sent our holy brethren and fellow priests, who are at one with us and are most 

approved men, Arcedius, and Projectus, the bishops, and our presbyter, Philip, that they may be present at 

what is done and may carry out what things have been already decreed be us (quoe a nobis anted statuta 

sunt, exequa tur). 

To the performing of which we have no doubt that your holiness will assent when it is seen that what has 

been decreed is for the security of the whole church. Given the viij of the Ides of May, in the consulate of 

Bassus and Antiochus. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 617.) 

And all the most reverend bishops at the same time cried out. This is a just judgment. To Coelestine, a new 
Paul To Cyril a new Paul! To Coelestine the guardian of the faith! To Coelestine of one mind with the synod! 
To Coelestine the whole Synod offers its thanks! One Coelestine! One Cyril! One faith of the Synod! One faith 
of the world! 

Projectus, the most reverend bishop and legate, said: Let your holiness consider the form 
(<greek>tupon</greek>) of the writings of the holy and venerable pope Coelestine, the bishop, who has 
exhorted your holiness (not as if teaching the ignorant, but as reminding them that know) that those things 
which he had long ago defined, and now thought it right to remind you of, ye might give command to be 
carried out to the uttermost, according to the canon of the common faith, and according to the use of the 
Catholic Church. 

Firmus, the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia said: The Apostolic and holy see of the most holy bishop 
Coelestine, hath previously given a decision and type (<greek>tupon</greek>) in this matter, through the 
writings which were sent to the most God beloved bishops, to wit to Cyril of Alexandria, and to Juvenal of 
Jerusalem, and to Rufus of Thessalonica, and to the holy churches, both of Constantinople and of Antioch. 
This we have also followed and (since the limit set for Nestorius's emendation was long gone by, and much 
time has passed since our arrival at the city of Ephesus in accordance with the decree of the most pious 
emperor, and thereupon having delayed no little time so that the day fixed by the emperor was past; and 
since Nestorius although cited had not appeared) we carried into effect the type (<greek>tupon</greek>) 
having pronounced against him a canonical and apostolical judgment. 

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate, said: Although our sailing was slow, and contrary winds 
hindered us especially, so that we did not know whether we should arrive at the destined place, as we had 
hoped, nevertheless by God's good providence ... Wherefore we desire to ask your blessedness, that you 
command that we be taught what has been already decreed by your holiness. 

Philip, presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable 
Synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members by our 
[or your] holy voices, (1) ye joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your 
blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the Apostles, is blessed Peter the 
Apostle. And since now our mediocrity, after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, has arrived, we 
ask that ye give order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy Synod before our 
arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we 
likewise may ratify their determination. 

Theodotus, the bishop of Ancyra said: The God of the whole world has made manifest the justice of the 
judgment pronounced by the holy Synod by the writings of the most religious bishop Coelestine, and by the 
coming of your holiness. For ye have made manifest the zeal of the most holy and reverend bishop 
Coelestine, and his care for the pious faith. And since very reasonably your reverence is desirous of 
learning what has been done from the minutes of the acts concerning the deposition of Nestorius your 
reverence will be fully convinced of the justice of the sentence, and of the zeal of the holy Synod, and the 
symphony of the faith which the most pious and holy bishop Coelestine has proclaimed with a great voice, 
of course after your full conviction, the rest shall be added to the present action. 
[In the Acts follow two short letters from Coelestine, one to the Emperor and the other to Cyril, but nothing is 

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said about them, or how they got there, and thus abruptly ends the account of this session.] 

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 621 .) 

Juvenal the bishop of Jerusalem said to Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend bishops, and to Philip 
the most reverend presbyter; Yesterday while this holy and great synod was in session, when your holiness 
was present, you demanded after the reading of the letter of the most holy and blessed bishop of Great 
Rome, Coelestine, that the minutes made in the Acts with regard to the deposition of Nestorius the heretic 
should be read. And thereupon the Synod ordered this to be done. Your holiness will be good enough to 
inform us whether you have read them and understand their power. 

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: From reading the Acts we have found what things 
have been done in your holy synod with regard to Nestorius. We have found from the minutes that all things 
have been decided in accordance with the canons and with ecclesiastical discipline. And now also we 
seek from your honour, although it may be useless, that what things have been read in your synod, the 
same should now again be read to us also; so that we may follow the formula (<greek>tupw</greek>) of the 
most holy pope Coelestine (who committed this same care to us), and of your holiness also, and may be 
able to confirm (<greek>bwbaiwsai</greek>) the judgment. 

[Arcadius having seconded Philip's motion, Memnon directed the acts to be read which was done by the 
primicerius of the notaries.] 

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in 
all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (<greek>exarkos</greek>) and head of the Apostles, 
pillar of the faith, and foundation (<greek>qemelios</greek>) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the 
kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was 
given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in 
his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Coelestine, according to due order, is his successor and 
holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place m this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian 
Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. 
For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their 
most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc. 
[There is no further reference in the speech to the papal prerogatives.] 

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See said: Nestorius hath brought us great 
sorrow.. . . And since of his own accord he hath made himself an alien and an exile from us, we following the 
sanctions handed down from the beginning by the holy Apostles, and by the Catholic Church (for they taught 
what they had received from our Lord Jesus Christ), also following the types (<greek>tupois</greek>) of 
Coelestine, most holy pope of the Apostolic See, who has condescended to send us as his executors of 
this business, and also following the decrees of the holy Synod [we give this as our conclusion]: Let 
Nestorius know that he is deprived of all episcopal dignity, and is an alien from the whole Church and from 
the communion of all its priests. 

Projectus, bishop and legate of the Roman Church said: Most clearly from the reading, etc, . . . Moreover I 
also, by my authority as legate of the holy Apostolic See, define, being with my brethren an executor 
(<greek>ekbibasths</greek>) of the aforesaid sentence, that the beforenamed Nestorius is an enemy of the 
truth, a corrupter of the faith, and as guilty of the things of which he was accused, has been removed from the 
grade of Episcopal honour, and moreover from the communion of all orthodox priests. 

Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria said: The professions which have been made by Arcadius and Projectus, the 
most holy and pious bishops, as also by Philip, the most religious presbyter of the Roman Church, stand 
manifest to the holy Synod. For they have made their profession in the place of the Apostolic See, and of the 
whole of the holy synod of the God-beloved and most holy bishops of the West. Wherefore let those things 
which were defined by the most holy Coelestine, the God-beloved bishop, be carried into effect, and the 
vote east against Nestorius the heretic, by the holy Synod, which met in the metropolis of Ephesus be 
agreed to universally; for this purpose let there be added to the already prepared acts the proceedings of 
yesterday and today, and let them be shewn to their holiness, so that by their subscription according to 
custom, their canonical agreement with all of us may be manifest. 

Arcadius the most reverend bishop and legate of the Roman Church, said: According to the acts of this holy 

Synod, we necessarily confirm with our subscriptions their doctrines. 

The Holy Synod said: Since Arcadius and Projectus the most reverend and most religious bishops and 

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legates and Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, have said that they are of the same mind 
with us, it only remains, that they redeem their promises and confirm the acts with their signatures, and then 
let the minutes of the acts be shewn to them. 
[The three then signed.] 


(Critical Annotations on the text will be found in Dr. Routh's Scriptorum Eccl. Opusc. 
Tom. II. [Ed. III.] p. 85.) 

The holy and ecumenical Synod, gathered together in Ephesus by the decree of our most religious 
Emperors, to the bishops, presbyters, deacons, and all the people in every province and city: 

When we had assembled, according to the religious decree [of the Emperors], in the Metropolis of 
Ephesus, certain persons, a little more than thirty in number, withdrew from amongst us, having for the leader 
of their schism John, Bishop of Antioch. Their names are as follows: first, the said John of Antioch in Syria, 
John of Damascus, Alexander of Apamea, Alexander of Hierapolis, Himerius of Nicomedia, Fritilas of 
Heraclea, Helladius of Tarsus, Maximin of Anazarbus, Theodore of Marcianopolis, Peter of Trajanopolis, 
Paul of Emissa, Polychronius of Heracleopolis, Euthyrius of Tyana, Meletius of Neocaesarea, Theodoret of 
Cyrus, Apringius of Chalcedon, Macarius of Laodicea Magna, Zosys of Esbus, Sallust of Corycus in Cilicia, 
Hesychius of Castabala in Cilicia, Valentine of Mutloblaca, Eustathius of Parnassus, Philip of Theodosia, 
and Daniel, and Dexianus, and Julian, and Cyril, and Olympius, and Diegenes, Polius, Theophanes of 
Philadelphia, Trajan of Augusta, Aurelius of Irenepolis, Mysaeus of Aradus, Helladius of Ptolemais. These 
men, having no privilege of ecclesiastical communion on the ground of a priestly authority, by which they 
could injure or benefit any persons; since some of them had already been deposed; and since from their 
refusing to join in our decree against Nestorius, it was manifestly evident to all men that they were all 
promoting the opinions of Nestorius and Celestius; the Holy Synod, by one common decree, deposed them 
from all ecclesiastical communion, and deprived them of all their priestly power by which they might injure or 
profit any persons. 


WHEREAS it is needful that they who were detained from the holy Synod and remained in their own district 
or city, for any reason, ecclesiastical or personal, should not be ignorant of the matters which were thereby 
decreed; we, therefore, notify your holiness and charity that if any Metropolitan of a Province, forsaking the 
holy and Ecumenical Synod, has joined the assembly of the apostates, or shall join the same hereafter; or, 
if he has adopted, or shall hereafter adopt, the doctrines of Celestius, he has no power in any way to do 
anything in opposition to the bishops of the province, since he is already cast forth from all ecclesiastical 
communion and made incapable of exercising his ministry; but he shall himself be subject in all things to 
those very bishops of the province and to the neighbouring orthodox metropolitans, and shah be degraded 
from his episcopal rank. 



If a metropolitan, having deserted his synod, adheres or shall adhere to Celestine, let him be cast out. 


Scholion concerning Celestine and Celestius. Whose finds at the end of the fourth canon of the Holy Synod 
of Ephesus [and the same is true of this first canon. Ed.] "Clerics who shall have consented to Celestine or 
Nestorius, should be deposed," let him not read "Celestine" with an "n," but "Celestius" without the "n." For 
Celestine was the holy and orthodox Pope of Rome, Celestius was the heretic. It is perfectly certain that this 
was no accident on the part of Aristenus, for in his commentary on Canon V., he expressly says that 
"Celestine was Bishop of Rome" and goes on to affirm that, "The Holy Synod decreed that they who 
embraced the opinions of Nestorius and Celestine," etc. What perhaps is equally astonishing is that 
Nicholas Hydruntinus, while correcting the name, still is of opinion that Celestius was a pope of Rome and 
begins his scholion with the title. <greek>peri</greek> <greek>kelestinou</greek> <greek>kai</greek> 

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<greek>kelestiou</greek> <greek>Papwn</greek> P<greek>wmhs</greek>. Beveridge well points out that 
this confusion is all the more remarkable as in the Kalendar of the Saints observed at that very time by the 
Greeks, on the eighth day of April was kept the memory of "Celestine, Pope of Rome, as a Saint and 
Champion against the Nestorian heretics." (Bev., Annot, in C. v.). 

Simeon the Logothete adds to this epitome the words, <greek>kai</greek> <greek>to</greek> 
<greek>exhs</greek> <greek>adioikhtos</greek> which are necessary to make the sense complete. 


The assembly referred to in this canon is one held by John of Antioch who had delayed his coming so as to 
hamper the meeting of the synod. John was a friend of Nestorius and made many fruitless attempts to 
induce him to accept the orthodox faith. It will be noticed that the conciliabulum was absolutely silent with 
respect to Nestorius and his doctrine and contented itself with attacking St. Cyril and the orthodox Memnon, 
the bishop of Ephesus. St. Cyril and his friends did indeed accuse the Antiochenes of being adherents of 
Nestorius, and in a negative way they certainly were so, and were in open opposition to the defenders of the 
orthodox faith; but, as Tillemont (1) has well pointed out, they did not theologically agree with the heresy of 
Nestorius, gladly accepted the orthodox watchword "Mother of God," and subsequently agreed to his 

The first session of the Council of Ephesus had already taken place on June 22, and it was only on June 
26th or 27th, that John of Antioch arrived at last at Ephesus. 

(Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 55 etscqq.) 

The Synod immediately sent a deputation to meet him, consisting of several bishops and clerics, to show 
him proper respect, and at the same time to make him acquainted with the deposition of Nestorius, so that 
he might not be drawn into any intercourse with him. The soldiers who surrounded Archbishop John 
prevented the deputation from speaking to him in the street; consequently they accompanied him to his 
abode, but were compelled to wait here for several hours, exposed to the insults of the soldiers, and at last, 
when they had discharged their commission, were driven home, ill-treated and beaten. Count Irenaeus, the 
friend of Nestorius, had suggested this treatment, and approved of it. The envoys immediately informed the 
Synod of what had happened, and showed the wounds which they had received, which called forth great 
indignation against John of Antioch. According to the representation of Memnon, excommunication was for 
this reason pronounced against him; but we shall see further on that this did not take place until afterwards, 
and it is clear that Memnon, in his brief narrative, has passed over an intermediate portion — the threefold 
invitation of John. In the meantime, Candidian had gone still further in his opposition to the members of the 
synod, causing them to be annoyed and insulted by his soldiers, and even cutting off their supply of food, 
while he provided Nestorius with a regular body-guard of armed peasants. John of Antioch, immediately 
after his arrival, while still dusty from the journey, and at the time when he was allowing the envoys of the 
synod to wait, held at his town residence a Conciliabulum with his adherents, at which, first of all Count 
Candidian related how Cyril and his friends, in spite of all warnings, and in opposition to the imperial 
decrees, had held a session five days before, had contested his (the count's) right to be present, had 
dismissed the bishops sent by Nestorius, and had paid no attention to the letters of others. Before he 
proceeded further, John of Antioch requested that the Emperor's edict of convocation should be read, 
whereupon Candidian went on with his account of what had taken place, and in answer to a fresh question of 
John's declared that Nestorius had been condemned unheard. John found this quite in keeping with the 
disposition of the synod since, instead of receiving him and his companions in a friendly manner, they had 
rushed upon them tumultuously (it was thus that he described what had happened). But the holy Synod, 
which was now assembled, would decide what was proper with respect to them. And this synod, of which 
John speaks in such grandiloquent terms, numbered only forty-three members, including himself, while on 
the other side there were more than two hundred. 

John then proposed the question [as to] what was to be decided respecting Cyril and his adherents; and 
several who were not particularly pronounced Nestorian bishops came forward to relate how Cyril and 
Memnon of Ephesus had, from the beginning, maltreated the Nestorians, had allowed them no church, and 
even on the festival of Pentecost had permitted them to hold no service. Besides Memnon had sent his 
clerics into the residences of the bishops, and had ordered them with threats to take part in his council. And 
in this way he and Cyril had confused everything, so that their own heresies might not be examined. 
Heresies, such as the Arian, the Apollinarian, and the Eunomian, were certainly contained in the last letter of 
Cyril [to Nestorius, along with the anathematisms]. It was therefore John's duty to see to it that the heads of 
these heresies (Cyril and Memnon) should be suitably punished for such grave offences, and that the 
bishops who had been misguided by them should be subjected to ecclesiastical penalties. 

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To these impudent and false accusations John replied with hypocritical meekness "that he had certainly 
wished that he should not be compelled to exclude from the Church any one who had been received into the 
sacred priesthood, but diseased members must certainly be cut off in order to save the whole body; and for 
this reason Cyril and Memnon deserved to be deposed, because they had given occasion to disorders, 
and had acted in opposition to the commands of the Emperors, and besides, were in the chapters 
mentioned [the anathematisms] guilty of heresy. All who had been misled by them were to be 
excommunicated until they confessed their error, anathematized the heretical propositions of Cyril, adhered 
strictly to the creed of Nice, without any foreign addition, and joined the synod of John." 
The assembly approved of this proposal, and John then announced the sentence in the following manner:- 
"The holy Synod, assembled in Ephesus, by the grace of God and the command of the pious Emperors, 
declares: We should indeed have wished to be able to hold a Synod in peace, but because you held a 
separate assembly from a heretical, insolent, and obstinate disposition, although we were already in the 
neighbourhood, and have filled both the city and the holy Synod with confusion, in order to prevent tire 
examination of your Apollinarian, Arian, and Eunomian heresies, and have not waited for the arrival of the 
holy bishops of all regions, and have also disregarded the warnings and admonitions of Candidian, 
therefore shall you, Cyril of Alexandria, and you Memnon of this place, know that you are deposed and 
dismissed from all sacerdotal functions, as the originators of the whole disorder, etc. You others, who gave 
your consent, are excommunicated, until you acknowledge your fault and reform, accept anew the Nicene 
faith [as if they had surrendered it!] without foreign addition, anathematize the heretical propositions of Cyril, 
and in all things comply with the command of the Emperors, who require a peaceful and more accurate 
consideration of the dogma." 

This decree was subscribed by all the forty-three members of the Conciliabulum: 
The Conciliabulum then, in very one-sided letters informed the Emperor, the imperial ladies (the wife and 
sister of the Emperor Theodosius II.), the clergy, the senate, and the people of Constantinople, of all that had 
taken place, and a little later once more required the members of the genuine Synod, in writing, no longer to 
delay the time for repentance and conversion, and to separate themselves from Cyril and Memnon, etc., 
otherwise they would very soon be forced to lament their own folly. 

On Saturday evening the Conciliabulum asked Count Candidian to take care that neither Cyril nor Memnon, 
nor any one of their (excommunicated) adherents should hold divine service on Sunday. Candidian now 
wished that no member of either synodal party should officiate, but only the ordinary clergy of the city; but 
Memnon declared that he would in no way submit to John and his synod, and Cyril and his adherents held 
divine service. All the efforts of John to appoint by force another bishop of Ephesus in the place of Memnon 
were frustrated by the opposition of the orthodox inhabitants. 


IF any provincial bishops were not present at the holy Synod and have joined or attempted to join the 
apostacy; or if, after subscribing the deposition of Nestorius, they went back into the assembly of apostates; 
these men, according to the decree of the holy Synod, are to be deposed from the priesthood and 
degraded from their rank. 



If any bishop assents to or favours Nestorius, let him be discharged. 

It was not unnatural that when it was seen that the Imperial authority was in favour of the Antiochene party that 
some of the clergy should have been weak enough to vacillate in their course, the more so as the 
Conciliabulum was not either avowedly, nor really, a Nestorian assembly, but one made up of those not 
sympathizing with Nestorius's heresy, yet friendly to the heretic himself, and disapproving of what they 
looked upon as the uncalled-for harshness and precipitancy of Cyril's course. 


IF any of the city or country clergy have been inhibited by Nestorius or his followers from the exercise of the 
priesthood, on account of their orthodoxy, we have declared it just that these should be restored to their 
proper rank. And in general we forbid all the clergy who adhere to the Orthodox and Ecumenical Synod in 
any way to submit to the bishops who have already apostatized or shall hereafter apostatize. 

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To whom Nestorius forbids the priesthood, he is most worthy; but whom he approves is profane. 

It would seem from this canon that any bishop who had become a member of the Conciliabulum of John, 
was considered as eo ipso having lost all jurisdiction. Also it would seem that the clergy were to disregard 
the inhibition of Nestorian prelates or at least these inhibitions were by some one to be removed. This 
principle, if generally applied, would seem to be somewhat revolutionary. 


(Apos. Fath. Ign. Ad Rom. i., Vol. II., Sec. I., p. 191.) 

The words <greek>kwros</greek> ("place"), <greek>kwra</greek> ("country"), and <greek>kwrion</greek> 
("district"), may be distinguished as implying locality, extension, and limitation, respectively. The last word 
commonly denotes either "an estate, a farm," or "a fastness, a stronghold," or (as a mathematical term) "an 
area." Here, as not unfrequently in later writers, it is "a region, a district," but the same fundamental idea is 
presumed. The relation of <greek>kwros</greek> to <greek>kwrion</greek> is the same as that of 
<greek>arguros</greek>, <greek>krusos</greek> to <greek>argurion</greek>, <greek>krusion</greek>, 
the former being the metals themselves, the latter the metals worked up into bullion or coins or plate or 
trinkets or images, e.g. Macar. Magn. Apocr. iii. 42 (p. 147). 


IF any of the clergy should fall away, and publicly or privately presume to maintain the doctrines of 
Nestorius or Celestius, it is declared just by the holy Synod that these also should be deposed. 



If any of the clergy shall consent to Celestine (1) or Nestorius, let them be deposed. 


The only point which is material to the main object of this volume is that Pelagius and his fellow heretic 
Celestius were condemned by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus for their heresy. On this point there can 
be no possible doubt. And further than this the Seventh Council by ratifying the Canons of Trullo received the 
Canons of the African Code which include those of the Carthaginian conciliar condemnations of the 
Pelagian heresy to which the attention of the reader is particularly drawn. The condemnation of these 
heretics at Ephesus is said to have been due chiefly to the energy of St. Augustine, assisted very materially 
by a layman living in Constantinople by the name of Marius Mercator. Pelagius and his heresy have a sad 
interest to us as he is said to have been born in Britain. He was a monk and preached at Rome with great 
applause in the early years of the fifth century. But in his extreme horror of Manichaeism and Gnosticism he 
fell into the opposite extreme; and from the hatred of the doctrine of the inherent evilness of humanity he fell 
into the error of denying the necessity of grace. Pelagius's doctrines may be briefly stated thus. Adam's sin 
injured only himself, so that there is no such thing as original sin. Infants therefore are not born in sin and the 
children of wrath, but are born innocent, and only need baptism so as to be knit into Christ, not "for the 
remission of sins" as is declared in the creed. Further he taught that man could live without committing any 
sin at all. And for this there was no need of grace; indeed grace was not possible, according to his teaching. 
The only "grace," which he would admit the existence of, was what we may call external grace, e.g. the 
example of Christ, the teaching of his ministers, and the like. Petavius (2) indeed thinks that he allowed the 
activity of internal grace to illumine the intellect, but this seems quite doubtful. Pelagius's writings have come 
down to us in a more or less - generally the latter - pure form. There are fourteen books on the Epistles of 
St. Paul, also a letter to Demetrius and his Libellus fidei ad Innocentium. 

In the writings of St. Augustine are found fragments of Pelagius's writings on free will. It would be absurd to 
attempt in the limits possible to this volume to give any, even the most sketchy, treatment of the doctrine 
involved in the Pelagian controversy: the reader must be referred to the great theologians for this and to aid 
him I append a bibliographical table on the subject. St. Augustine. St. Jerome. Marius Mercator, 

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Commonitorium super nomine Coelestii. Vossius, G. J., Histor. de controv. quas Pel. ejusque reliquioe 


Noris. Historia Pelagiana. 

Gamier, J. Dissertat. in Pelag. in Opera Mar. Mercator. 

Quesnel, Dissert, de cone. Africanis in Pelag. causa celebratis etc. 

Fuchs, G. D., Bibliothekder Kirchenversammlungen. 

Horn, De sentent. Pat. de peccato orig. 

Habert, P. L, Theologioe Groecorum Patrum vindicatoe circa univers. materiam gratioe. Petavius, De 

Pelag. et Semi-Pelag. (1) 

The English works on the subject are so well known to the English reader as to need no mention. As it is 

impossible to treat the theological question here, so too is it impossible to treat the historical question. 

However I may remind the reader that Nestorius and his heresy were defended by Theodore of 

Mopsuestia, and that he and Celestius were declared by Pope Zosimus to be innocent in the year 41 7, a 

decision which was entirely disregarded by the rest of the world, a Carthaginian Synod subsequently 

anathematizing him. Finally the Pope retracted his former decision, and in 418 anathematized him and his 

fellow, and gave notice of this in his "epistola tractoria" to the bishops. Eighteen Italian bishops, who had 

followed the Pope in his former decision of a twelve month before, refused to change their minds at his 

bidding now, and were accordingly deposed, among them Julian of Eclanum. After this Pelagius and 

Celestius found a fitting harbour of refuge with Nestorius of Constantinople, and so all three were 

condemned together by the council of Ephesus, he that denied the incarnation of the Word, and they twain 

that denied the necessity of that incarnation and of the grace purchased thereby. 


IF any have been condemned for evil practices by the holy Synod, or by their own bishops; and if, with his 
usual lack of discrimination, Nestorius (or his followers) has attempted, or shall hereafter attempt, 
uncanonically to restore such persons to communion and to their former rank, we have declared that they 
shall not be profited thereby, but shall remain deposed nevertheless. 



If one condemned by his bishop is received by Nestorius it shall profit him nothing. 

This canon is interesting as shewing that thus early in the history of the Church, it was not unusual for those 
disciplined for their faults in one communion to go to another and there be welcomed and restored, to the 
overthrow of discipline and to the lowering of the moral sense of the people to whom they minister. 


LIKEWISE, if any should in any way attempt to set aside the orders in each case made by the holy Synod at 
Ephesus, the holy Synod decrees that, if they be bishops or clergymen, they shall absolutely forfeit their 
office; and, if laymen, that they shall be excommunicated. 



If any layman shall resist the Synod, let him be excommunicated. But if it be a cleric let him be discharged. 

How courageous the passing of this canon was can only be justly appreciated by those who are familiar 
with the weight of the imperial authority at that day in ecclesiastical matters and who will remember that at the 
very time this canon was passed it was extremely difficult to say whether the Emperor would support Cyril's 
or John's synod. 


In the Vatican books and in some others only these six canons are found; but in certain texts there is added, 
under the name of Canon VII., the definition of the same holy Synod put forth after the Presbyter Charisius 

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had stated his case, and for Canon VIII. another decree of the synod concerning the bishops of Cyprus. 


In the Collections of John Zonaras and of Theodore Balsamon, also in the "Code of the Universal Church" 
which has John Tilius, Bishop of St. Brieuc and Christopher Justellus for its editors, are found eight canons of 
the Ephesine council, to wit the six which are appended to the foregoing epistle and two others: but it is 
altogether a subject of wonder that in the Codex of Canons, made for the Roman Church by Dionysius 
Exiguus, none of these canons are found at all. I suppose that the reason of this is that the Latins saw that 
they were not decrees affecting the Universal Church, but that the Canons set forth by the Ephesine fathers 
dealt merely with the peculiar and private matters of Nestorius and of his followers. 
The Decree of the same holy Synod, pronounced after hearing the Exposition [of the Faith] by the Three 
hundred and eighteen holy and blessed Fathers in the city of Nice, and the impious formula composed by 
Theodore of Mopsuestia, and given to the same holy Synod at Ephesus by the Presbyter Charisius, of 


WHEN these things had been read, the holy Synod decreed that it is unlawful for any man to bring forward, 
or to write, or to compose a different (<greek>eteran</greek>) Faith as a rival to that established by the holy 
Fathers assembled with the Holy Ghost in Nicaea. 

But those who shall dare to compose a different faith, or to introduce or offer it to persons desiring to turn to 
the acknowledgment of the truth, whether from Heathenism or from Judaism, or from any heresy whatsoever, 
shall be deposed, if they be bishops or clergymen; bishops from the episcopate and clergymen from the 
clergy; and if they be laymen, they shall be anathematized. 

And in like manner, if any, whether bishops, clergymen, or laymen, should be discovered to hold or teach 
the doctrines contained in the Exposition introduced by the Presbyter Charisius concerning the Incarnation 
of the Only-Begotten Son of God, or the abominable and profane doctrines of Nestorius, which are 
subjoined, they shall be subjected to the sentence of this holy and ecumenical Synod. So that, if it be a 
bishop, he shall be removed from his bishopric and degraded; if it be a clergyman, he shall likewise be 
stricken from the clergy; and if it be a layman, he shall be anathematized, as has been afore said. 



Any bishop who sets forth a faith other than that of Nice shall be an alien from the Church: if a layman do so 
let him be cast out. 

The heading is that found in the ordinary Greek texts. The canon itself is found verbatim in the Acts - Actio 
VI. (Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 689.) 


"When these things had been read." Balsamon here makes an egregious mistake, for it was not after the 
reading of the decree of this council and of the Nicene Creed, that this canon was set forth, as Balsamon 
affirms; but after the reading of the libellum of Charisius, and of the Nestorian Creed, as is abundantly 
evident from what we read in the Acts of the council. From this it is clear that Balsamon had never seen the 
Acts of this council, or at least had never carefully studied them, else he could not have written such a 

[With regard to Charisius, Balsamon] makes another mistake. For not only did this presbyter not follow the 
evil opinions of Nestorius, but as a matter of fact exhibited to the synod his libellum written against Nestorius; 
in which so far from asserting that Nestorius was orthodox, he distinctly calls him 

Photius has included this canon in his Nomocanons, Title I., cap. j. 

EXCURSUS ON THE WORDS <greek>pistin</greek> <greek>eperan</greek> 

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It has been held by some and was urged by the Greeks at the Council of Florence, (1) and often before and 
since, as well as by Pope Leo III., in answer to the ambassadors of Charlemagne, that the prohibition of the 
Council of Ephesus to make, hold, or teach any other faith than that of Nice forbade anyone, even a 
subsequent General Council, to add anything to the creed. This interpretation seems to be shewn to be 
incorrect from the following circumstances. 

1 . That the prohibition was passed by the Council immediately after it had heard Charisius read his creed, 
which it had approved, and on the strength of which it had received its author, and after the reading of a 
Nestorian creed which it condemned. From this it seems clear that <greek>egeran</greek> must mean 
"different," "contradictory," and not "another" in the sense of mere explanatory additions to the already 
existing creed. 

(E. B. Pusey, On the Clause "and the Son," p. 81 .) 

St. Cyril ought to understand the canon, which he probably himself framed, as presiding over the Council of 
Ephesus, as Archbishop of Alexandria and representative of Celestine, Bishop of Rome. His signature 
immediately succeeds the Canon. We can hardly think that we understand it better than he who probably 
framed it, nay who presided over the Council which passed it. He, however, explained that what was not 
against the Creed was not beside it. The Orientals had proposed to him, as terms of communion, that he 
should "do away with all he had written in epistles, tomes, or books, and agree with that only faith which had 
been defined by our holy Fathers at Nice." But, St. Cyril wrote back: "We all follow that exposition of faith 
which was defined by the holy fathers in the city of Nice, sapping absolutely nothing of the things contained 
in it. For they are all right and unexceptionable; and anything curious, after it, is not safe. But what I have 
rightly written against the blasphemies of Nestorius no words will persuade me to say that they were not 
done well:" and against the imputation that he "had received an exposition of faith or new Creed, as 
dishonouring that old and venerable Creed," he says: 

"Neither have we demanded of any an exposition of faith, nor have we received one newly framed by 
others. For Divine Scripture suffices us, and the prudence of the holy fathers, and the symbol of faith, framed 
perfectly as to all right doctrine. But since the most holy Eastern Bishops differed from us as to that of 
Ephesus and were somehow suspected of being entangled in the meshes of Nestorius, therefore they very 
wisely made a defence, to free themselves from blame, and eager to satisfy the lovers of the blameless 
faith that they were minded to have no share in his impiety; and the thing is far from all note of blame. If 
Nestorius himself, when we all held out to him that he ought to condemn his own dogmas and choose the 
truth instead thereof, had made a written confession thereon, who would say that he framed for us a new 
exposition of faith? Why then do they calumniate the assent of the most holy Bishops of Phoenicia, calling it 
a new setting forth of the Creed, whereas they made it for a good and necessary end, to defend themselves 
and soothe those who thought that they followed the innovations of Nestorius? For the holy Ecumenical 
Synod gathered at Ephesus provided, of necessity, that no other exposition of faith besides that which 
existed, which the most blessed fathers, speaking in the Holy Ghost, defined, should be brought into the 
Churches of God. But they who at one time, I know not how, differed from it, and were suspected of not being 
right-minded, following the Apostolic and Evangelic doctrines, how should they free themselves from this 
ill-report? by silence? or rather by self-defence, and by manifesting the power of the faith which was in them? 
The divine disciple wrote, "be ready always to give an answer to every one who asketh you an account of 
the hope which is in you." But he who willeth to do this, innovates in nothing, nor doth he frame any new 
exposition of faith, but rather maketh plain to those who ask him, what faith he hath concerning Christ." (1) 

2. The fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, by their practice, are authoritative exponents of the Canon of 
Ephesus. For they renewed the prohibition of the Council of Ephesus to "adduce any other faith," but, in "the 
faith" which is not to be set aside, they included not only the Creeds of Nice and Constantinople, but the 
definitions at Ephesus and Chalcedon itself. The statements of the faith were expanded, because fresh 
contradictions of the faith had emerged. After directing that both Creeds should be read, the Council says, 
"This wise and saving Symbol of Divine grace would have sufficed to the full knowledge and confirmation of 
the faith; for it teaches thoroughly the perfect truth of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and presents to those 
who receive it faithfully the Incarnation of the Lord." Then, having in detail shewn how both heresies were 
confuted by it, and having set forth the true doctrine, they sum up. 

"These things being framed by us with all accuracy and care on every side, the holy and ecumenical Synod 
defines, that it shall be lawful for no one to produce or compose, or put together, or hold, or teach others 
another faith, and those who venture, etc." (as in the Council of Ephesus). 

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The Council of Chalcedon enlarged greatly the terms although not the substance of the faith contained in the 
Nicene Creed; and that, in view of the heresies, which had since arisen; and yet renewed in terms the 
prohibition of the Canon of Ephesus and the penalties annexed to its infringement. It shewed, then, in 
practice, that it did not hold the enlargement of the things proposed as deride to be prohibited, but only the 
producing of things contradictory to the faith once delivered to the saints. Its prohibition, moreover, to "hold" 
another faith shews the more that they meant only to prohibit any contradictory statement of faith. For if they 
had prohibited any additional statement not being a contradiction of its truth, then (as Cardinal Julian acutely 
argued in the Council of Florence), any one would fall under its anathema, who held (as all must) anything 
not expressed in set terms in the Nicene Creed; such as that God is eternal or incomprehensible. 

It may not be amiss to remember that the argument that <greek>pistin</greek> forbids any addition to the 
Creed or any further definition of the faith, was that urged by the heretics at the Latrocinium, and the orthodox 
were there condemned on the ground that they had added to the faith and laid themselves under the 
Anathema of Ephesus. How far this interpretation was from being that of the Council of Chalcedon is evinced 
by the fact that it immediately declared that St. Flavian and Bishop Eusebius had been unjustly deposed, 
and proceeded to depose those who had deposed them. After stating these facts Dr. Pusey remarks, 
"Protestants may reject consistently the authority of all councils; but on what grounds any who accept their 
authority can insist on their own private interpretation of a canon of one council against the authority of 
another General Council which rejected that interpretation, I see not." (2) 

4. The Fifth Ecumenical Council, the Second of Constantinople, received both the creeds of Nice and that of 
Constantinople, as well of the definitions of Ephesus and Chalcedon, and yet at the end of the fourth Session 
we find in the acts that the fathers cried out, with respect to the creed of Theodore of Mopsuestia: "This 
creed Satan composed. Anathema to him that composed this creed! The First Council of Ephesus 
anathematized this creed and its author. We know only one symbol of faith, that which the holy fathers of 
Nice set forth and handed down. This also the three holy Synods handed down. Into this we were baptized, 
and into this we baptize, etc., etc." (1) 

From this it is clearer than day that these fathers looked upon the creed of Constantinople, with its additions, 
to be yet the same creed as that of Nice. 

(Le Quien, Diss. Dam., n. 37.) 

In the Sixth Council also, no one objecting, Peter of Nicomedia, Theodore, and other bishops, clerks, and 
monks, who had embraced the Monothelite heresy, openly recited a Creed longer and fuller than the 

In the Seventh Synod also, another was read written by Theodore of Jerusalem: and again, Basil of Ancyra, 
and the other Bishops, who had embraced the errors of the Iconoclasts, again offered another, although the 
Canon of Ephesus pronounced, that "it should not be lawful to offer to heretics, who wished to be converted 
to the Church, any other creed than the Nicene." In this same Synod, was read another profession of faith, 
which Tarasius had sent to the Patriarchs of the Eastern sees. It contains the Nicene, or Constantinopolitan 
Creed, variously enlarged and interpolated. But of the Holy Spirit it has specifically this: "And in the Holy 
Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, which proceedeth from the Father through the Son." But since the Greeks at 
the Council of Florence said, that these were individual, not common, formulae of faith, here are others, 
which are plainly common and solemn, which are contained in their own rituals. They do not baptize a 
Hebrew or a Jew, until he have pronounced a profession of Christian Faith, altogether different from the 
Creed of Constantinople, as may be seen in the Euchologion. In the consecration of a Bishop, the Bishop 
elect is first bidden to recite the Creed of Constantinople; and then, as if this did not suffice, a second and a 
third are demanded of him; of which the last contains that aforesaid symbol, intermingled with various 
declarations. Nay, Photius himself is pointed out to be the author of this interpolated symbol. (2) I pass by 
other formulae, which the Greeks have framed for those who return to the Church from divers heresies or 
sects, although the terms of the Canon of Ephesus are, that "it is unlawful to propose any other faith to those 
who wish to be converted to the Church, from heathenism, or Judaism, or any heresy whatever." 

The Judgment of the same Holy Synod, pronounced on the petition presented to it by the Bishops of 


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OUR brother bishop Rheginus, the beloved of God, and his fellow beloved of God bishops, Zeno and 
Evagrius, of the Province of Cyprus, have reported to us an innovation which has been introduced contrary 
to the ecclessiastical constitutions and the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and which touches the liberties of 
all. Wherefore, since injuries affecting all require the more attention, as they cause the greater damage, and 
particularly when they are transgressions of an ancient custom; and since those excellent men, who have 
petitioned the Synod, have told us in writing and by word of mouth that the Bishop of Antioch has in this way 
held ordinations in Cyprus; therefore the Rulers of the holy churches in Cyprus shall enjoy, without dispute or 
injury, according to the Canons of the blessed Fathers and ancient custom, the right of performing for 
themselves the ordination of their excellent Bishops. The same rule shall be observed in the other dioceses 
and provinces everywhere, so that none of the God beloved Bishops shall assume control of any province 
which has not heretofore, from the very beginning, been under his own hand or that of his predecessors. But 
if any one has violently taken and subjected [a Province], he shall give it up; lest the Canons of the Fathers 
be transgressed; or the vanities of worldly honour be brought in under pretext of sacred office; or we lose, 
without knowing it, little by little, the liberty which Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Deliverer of all men, hath given us 
by his own Blood. 

Wherefore, this holy and ecumenical Synod has decreed that in every province the rights which heretofore, 
from the beginning, have belonged to it, shall be preserved to it, according to the old prevailing custom, 
unchanged and uninjured: every Metropolitan having permission to take, for his own security, a copy of 
these acts. And if any one shall bring forward a rule contrary to what is hero determined, this holy and 
ecumenical Synod unanimously decrees that it shall be of no effect. 



Let the rights of each province be preserved pure and inviolate. No attempt to introduce any form contrary to 
these shall be of any avail. 

The caption is the one given in the ordinary Greek texts. The canon is found word for word in the VII Session 
of the Council, with the heading, "A decree of the same holy Synod." (Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., 
col. 802.) 

I have followed in reading "the Canons of the Holy Apostles" the reading in Balsamon and Zonaras, and 
that of Elias Ehingerus Augustanus (so says Beveridge) in his edition of the Greek canons, A.D. 1614. But 
the Bodleian MS, and John of Antioch in his collection of the Canons, and the Codex edited by Christopher 
Justellus read "of the Holy Fathers" instead of "of the Holy Apostles." Beveridge is of opinion that this is the 
truer reading, for while no doubt the Ephesine Fathers had in mind the Apostolic Canons, yet they seem to 
have more particularly referred in this place to the canons of Nice. And this seems to be intimated in the 
libellum of the Bishops of Cyprus, who gave rise to this very decree, in which the condemned practice is 
said to be "contrary to the Apostolic Canons and to the definitions of the most holy Council of Nice." 

This canon Photius does not recognize, for in the Preface to his Nomocanon he distinctly writes that there 
were but seven canons adopted by the Ephesine Synod, and in the first chapter of the first title he cites the 
pre- ceding canon as the seventh, that is the last. John of Antioch likewise says that there are but seven 
canons of Ephesus, but reckons this present canon as the seventh, from which Beveridge concludes that he 
rejects the Canon concerning Charisius (vii). 


Concerning the present canon, of rather decree, the Bishop of Antioch, who had given occasion to the six 
former canons, gave also occasion for the enacting of this, by arrogating to himself the right of ordaining in 
the Island of Cyprus, in violation of former usage. After the bishops of that island, who are mentioned in the 
canon, had presented their statements (libellum) to the Synod, the present decree was set forth, in which 
warning was given that no innovation should be tolerated in Ecclesiastical administration, whether in Cyprus 
or elsewhere; but that in all Dioceses and Provinces their ancient rights and privileges should be 


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(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tome III., col. 806.) 

Forasmuch as the divinely inspired Scripture says, "Do all things with vice," (1) it is especially their duty who 
have had the priestly ministry allotted to them to examine with all diligence whatever matters are to be 
transacted. For to those who will so spend their lives, it comes to pass both that they are established in [the 
enjoyment of] an honest hope concerning what belongs to them, and that they are borne along, as by a 
favouring breeze, in things that they desire: so that, in truth, the saying [of the Scripture] has much reason [to 
commend it]. But there are times when bitter and intolerable grief swoops down upon the mind, and has the 
effect of cruelly beclouding it, so as to carry it away from the pursuit of what is needful, and persuade it to 
consider that to be of service which is in its [very] nature mischievous. Something of this kind we have seen 
endured by that most excellent and most religious Bishop Eustathius. For it is in evidence that he has been 
ordained canonically; but having been much disturbed, as he declares, by certain parties, and having 
entered upon circumstances he had not foreseen, therefore, though fully able to repel the slanders of his 
persecutors, he nevertheless, through an extraordinary inexperience of affairs, declined to battle with the 
difficulties which beset him, and in some way that we know not set forth an act of resignation. Yet it behooved 
him, when he had been once en-trusted with the priestly care, to cling to it with spiritual energy, and, as it 
were, to strip himself to strive against the troubles and gladly to endure the sweat for which he had 
bargained. But inasmuch as he proved himself to be deficient in practical capacity, having met with this 
misfortune rather from inexperience than from cowardice and sloth, your holiness has of necessity ordained 
our most excellent and most religious brother and fellow-bishop, Theodore, as the overseer of the Church; 
for it was not reasonable that it should remain in widowhood, and that the Saviour's sheep should pass their 
time without a shepherd. But when he came to us weeping, not contending with the aforenamed most 
religious Bishop Theodore for his See or Church, but in the meantime seeking only for his rank and title as a 
bishop, we all suffered with the old man in his grief, and considering his weeping as our own, we hastened to 
discover whether the aforenamed [Eustathius] had been subjected to a legal deposition, or whether, 
forsooth, he had been convicted on any of the absurd charges alleged by certain parties who had poured 
forth idle gossip against his reputation. And indeed we learned that nothing of such a kind had taken place, 
but rather that his resignation had been counted against the said Eustathins instead of a [regular] indictment. 
Wherefore, we did by no means blame your holiness for being compelled to ordain into his place the 
aforenamed most excellent Bishop Theodore. But forasmuch as it was not seemly to contend much against 
the unpractical character of the man, while it was rather necessary to have pity on the eider who, at so 
advanced an age, was now so far away from the city which had given him birth, and from the 
dwelling-places of his fathers, we have judicially pronounced and decreed without any opposition, that he 
shall have both the name, and the rank, and the communion of the episcopate. On this condition, however, 
only, that he shall not ordain, and that he shall not take and minister to a Church of his own individual 
authority; but that [he shall do so only] if taken as an assistant, or when appointed, if it should so chance, by 
a brother and fellow-bishop, in accordance with the ordinance and the love which is in Christ. If, however, ye 
shall determine anything more favourable towards him, either now or hereafter, this also will be pleasing to 
the Holy Synod. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 659; also in Migne, Pat. Lat. [reprinted from Galland., Vett. Patr., 
Tom. ix.], Tom. L., Ep. xx., col. 51 1 .) 


The Holy Synod which by the grace of God was assembled at Ephesus the Metropolis to the most holy and 
our fellow-minister Coelestine, health in the Lord. The zeal of your holiness for piety, and your care for the 
right faith, so grateful and highly pleasing to God the Saviour of us all, are worthy of all admiration. For it is 
your custom in such great matters to make trial of all things, and the confirmation of the Churches you have 
made your own care. But since it is right that all things which have taken place should be brought to the 
knowledge of your holiness, we are writing of necessity [to inform you] that, by the will of Christ the Saviour of 
us all, and in accordance with the orders of the most pious and Christ-loving Emperors, we assembled 
together in the Metropolis of the Ephesians from many and far scattered regions, being in all over two 
hundred bishops. Then, in accordance with the decrees of the Christ-loving Emperors by whom we were 
assembled, we fixed the date of the meeting of the holy Synod as the Feast of the Holy Pentecost, all 
agreeing thereto, especially as it was contained in the letters of the Emperors that if anyone did not arrive at 

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the appointed time, he was absent with no good conscience, and was inexcusable both before God and 
man. The most reverend John bishop of Antioch stopped behind; not in singleness of heart, nor because 
the length of the journey made the impediment, but hiding in his mind his plan and his thought (which was so 
displeasing to God,) [a plan and thought] which he made clear when not long afterwards he arrived at 
Ephesus. Therefore we put off the assembling [of the council] after the appointed day of the Holy Pentecost 
for sixteen whole days; in the meanwhile many of the bishops and clerics were overtaken with illness, and 
much burdened by the expense, and some even died. A great injury was thus being done to the great 
Synod, as your holiness easily perceives. For he used perversely such long delay that many from much 
greater distances arrived before him. 

Nevertheless after sixteen days had passed, certain of the bishops who were with him, to wit, two 
Metropolitans, the one Alexander of Apamea, and the other Alexander of Hierapolis, arrived before him. 
And when we complained of the tardy coming of the most reverend bishop John, not once, but often, we 
were told, "He gave us command to announce to your reverence, that if anything should happen to delay 
him, not to put off the Synod, but to do what was right." After having received this message,-and as it was 
manifest, as well from his delay as from the announcements just made to us, that he refused to attend the 
Council, whether out of friendship to Nestorius, or because he had been a cleric of a church under his sway, 
or out of regard to petitions made by some in his favour,-the Holy Council sat in the great church of 
Ephesus, which bears the name of Mary. 

But when all with zeal had come together, Nestorius alone was found missing from the council, thereupon 
the holy Synod sent him admonition in accordance with the canons by bishops, a first, second, and third 
time. But he surrounding his house with soldiers, set himself up against the ecclesiastical laws, neither did 
he shew himself, nor give any satisfaction for his iniquitous blasphemies. 

After this the letters were read which were written to him by the most holy and most reverend bishop of the 
Church of Alexandria, Cyril, which the Holy Synod approved as being orthodox and without fault 
(<greek>orqws</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>alhptws</greek> <greek>ekein</greek>), and in no 
point out of agreement either with the divinely inspired Scriptures, or with the faith banded down and set forth 
in the great synod of holy Fathers, which assembled sometime ago at Nice in Bithynia, as your holiness 
also rightly having examined this has given witness. 

On the other hand there was read the letter of Nestorius, which was written to the already mentioned most 
holy and reverend brother of ours and fellow-minister, Cyril, and the Holy Synod was of opinion that those 
things which were taught in it were wholly alien from the Apostolic and Evangelical faith, sick with many and 
strange blasphemies. 

His most impious expositions were likewise read, and also the letter written to him by your holiness, in which 
he was properly condemned as one who had written blasphemy and had inserted irreligious views 
(<greek>fwnas</greek>) in his private exegesis, and after this a just sentence of deposition was 
pronounced against him; especially is this sentence just, because he is so far removed from being penitent, 
or from a confession of the matters in which he blasphemed, while yet he had the Church of Constantinople, 
that even in the very metropolis of the Ephesians, he delivered a sermon to certain of the Metropolitical 
bishops, men who were not ignorant, but learned and God-fearing, in which he was bold enough to say, "I do 
not confess a two or three months old God," and he said other things more outrageous than this. 
Therefore as an impious and most pestilent heresy, which perverts our most pure religion 
(<greek>qrhskeian</greek>) and which overthrows from the foundation the whole economy of the mystery 
[i.e. the Incarnation], we cast it down, as we have said above. But it was not possible, as it seemed, that 
those who had the sincere love of Christ, and were zealous in the Lord should not experience many trials. 
For we had hoped that the most reverend John, bishop of Antioch would have praised the sedulous care 
and piety of the Synod, and that perchance he would have blamed the slowness of Nestorius's deposition. 
But all things turned out contrary to our hope. For he was found to be an enemy, and a most warlike one, to 
the holy Synod, and even to the orthodox faith of the churches, as these things indicate. 
For as soon as he was come to Ephesus, before he had even shaken off the dust of the journey, or 
changed his travelling dress, he assembled those who had sided with Nestorius and who had uttered 
blasphemies against their head, and only not derided the glory of Christ, and gathering as a college to 
himself, I suppose, thirty men, having the name of bishops (some of whom were without sees, wandering 
about and having no dioceses, others others again had for many years been deposed for serious causes 
from their metropolises, and with these were Pelagians and the followers of Celestius, and some of those 
who were turned out of Thessaly),he had the presumption to commit a piece of iniquity no man had ever 
done before. For all by himself he drew up a paper which he called a deposition, and reviled and 
reproached the most holy and reverend Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, and the most reverend Memnon, 
bishop of Ephesus, our brother, and fellow-minister, none of us knowing anything about it, and not even 
those who were thus reviling knew what was being done, nor for what reason they had presumed to do this. 
But ignoring the anger of God for such behaviour, and unheeding the ecclesiastical canons, and forgetting 

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that they were hastening to destruction by such a course of action, under the name of an excommunication, 
they then reviled the whole Synod. And placing these acts of theirs on the public bulletin boards, they 
exposed them to be read by such as chose to do so, having posted them on the outside of the theatres, that 
they might make a spectacle of their impiety. But not even was this the limit of their audacity; but as if they 
had done something in accordance with the canons, they dared to bring what they had done to the ears of 
the most pious and Christ-loving Emperors. Things being in this condition, the most holy and reverend Cyril, 
bishop of Alexandria and the most reverend Memnon bishop of the city of Ephesus, offered some books 
composed by themselves and accusing the most reverend Bishop John and those who with him had done 
this thing, and conjuring our holy Synod that John and those with him should be summoned according to the 
canons, so that they might apologize for their dating acts, and if they had any complaints to make they might 
speak and prove them, for in their written deposition, or rather sheet of abuse, they made this statement as a 
pretext, "They are Apollinarians, and Arians, and Eunomians, and therefore they have been deposed by 
us." When, therefore, those who had endured their reviling were present, we again necessarily assembled 
in the great church, being more than two hundred bishops, and by a first, second, and third call on two days, 
we summoned John and his companions to the Synod, in order that they might examine those who had 
been reviled, and might make explanations, and tell the causes which led them to draw up the sentence of 
deposition; but he (1) did not dare to come. 

But it was right that he, if he could truly prove the before-mentioned holy men to be heretics, both should 
come and prove the truth of that which, accepted as a true and indubitable crime, induced the temerarious 
sentence against them. But being condemned by his own conscience he did not come. Now what he had 
planned was this. For he thought that when that foundation-less and most unjust reviling was done away, the 
just vote of the Synod which it cast against the heretic Nestorius would likewise be dissolved. Being justly 
vexed, therefore, we determined to inflict according to law the same penalty upon him and those who were 
with him, which he contrary to law had pronounced against those who had been convicted of no fault. But 
although most justly and in accordance with law he would have suffered this punishment yet in the hope that 
by our patience his temerity might be conquered, we have reserved this to the decision of your holiness. In 
the meanwhile, we have deprived them of communion and have taken from them all priestly power, so that 
they may not be able to do any harm by their opinions. For those who thus ferociously, and cruelly, and 
uncanonically are wont to rush to such frightful and most wicked things, how was it not necessary that they 
should be stripped of the powers which [as a matter of fact] they did not possess, (2) of being able to do 

With our brethren and fellow-ministers, both Cyril the bishop and Memnon, who had endured reproval at their 
hands, we are all in communion, and after the rashness [of their accusers] we both have and do perform the 
liturgy in common, all together celebrating the Synaxis, having made of none effect their play in writing, and 
having thus shewn that it lacked all validity and effect. For it was mere reviling and nothing else. For what 
kind of a synod could thirty men hold, some of whom were marked with the stamp of heresy, and some 
without sees and ejected [from their dioceses]? Or what strength could it have in opposition to a synod 
gathered from all the whole world? For there were sitting with us the most reverend bishops Arcadius and 
Projectus, and with them the most holy presbyter Philip, all of whom were sent by your holiness, who gave to 
us your presence and filled the place of the Apostolic See (<greek>ths</greek> 

<greek>apostolikhs</greek> <greek>kaqedras</greek>). Let then your holiness be angered at what took 
place. But if license were granted to such as wished to pour reproval upon the greater sees, and thus 
unlawfully and uncanonically to give sentence or rather to utter revilings against those over whom they have 
no power, against those who for religion have endured such great conflicts, by reason of which now also 
piety shines forth through the prayers of your holiness [if, I say, all this should be tolerated], the affairs of the 
Church would fall into the greatest confusion. But when those who dare to do such things shall have been 
chastised aright, all disturbance will cease, and the reverence due to the canons will be observed by all. 
When there had been read in the holy Synod what had been done touching the deposition of the most 
irreligious Pelagians and Coelestines, of Coelestius, and Pelagius, and Julian, and Praesidius, and Florus, 
and Marcellian, and Orontius, and those inclined to like errors, we also deemed it right 
(<greek>edikaiwsamen</greek>) that the determinations of your holiness concerning them should stand 
strong and firm. And we all were of the same mind, holding them deposed. And that you may know in full all 
things that have been done, we have sent you a copy of the Acts, and of the subscriptions of the Synod. We 
pray that you, dearly beloved t and most longed for, may be strong and mindful of us in the Lord. (3) 


(Found in Latin only. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 809.) 

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When the most pious and religious bishops, Valerian and Amphilochius had come to us, they proposed that 
we should consider in common the case of the Messalians, that is the Euchetes or Enthusiasts, who were 
flourishing in Pamphylia, or by what other name this most contaminating heresy is called. And when we were 
considering the question, the most pious and religious bishop Valerian, presented to us a synodical 
schedule which had been drawn up concerning them in the great city of Constantinople, under Sisinnius of 
blessed memory: What we read therein was ap-proved by all, as well composed and as a due 
presentation of the case. And it seemed good to us all, and to the most pious bishops Valerian and 
Amphilochius and to all the most pious bishops of the provinces of Pamphylia and Lycaonia, that all things 
contained in that Synodical chart should be confirmed and in no way rescinded; also that the action taken at 
Alexandria might also be made firm, so that all, those who throughout the whole province are of the 
Messalian or Enthusiastic heresy, or suspected of being tainted with that heresy, whether clerics or laymen, 
may come together; and if they shall anathematize in writing, according to the decrees pronounced in the 
aforesaid synod [their errors], if they are clergymen they may remain such; and if laymen they may be 
admitted to communion. But if they refuse to anathematize, if they were presbyters or deacons or in any 
other ecclesiastical grade, let them be cast out of the clergy and from their grade, and also from 
communion; if they be lay-men let them be anathematized. 

Furthermore those convicted of this heresy are no more to be permitted to have the rule of our monasteries, 
lest tares be sown and increase. And we give command that the most pious bishops Valerian and 
Amphilochius, and the rest of the most reverend bishops of the whole province shall pay attention that this 
decree be carried into effect. In addition to this it seemed good that the filthy book of this heresy, which is 
called the "Asceticon," should be anathematized, as composed by heretics, a copy of which the most 
religious and pious Valerian brought with him. Likewise anything savouring of their impiety which may be 
found among the people, let it be anathema. 

Moreover when they come together, let there be commended by them in writing such things as are useful 
and necessary for concord, and communion, and arrangement (dispositionem vel dispensationem). But 
should any question arise in connexion with the present business, and if it should prove to be difficult and 
ambiguous, what is not approved by the most pious bishops Valerian and Amphilochius, and the other 
bishops throughout the province, they ought to discuss all things by reference to what is written. And if the 
most pious bishops of the Lycians or of the Lycaonians shall have been passed over; nevertheless let not a 
Metropolitan be left out of whatever province he may be. And let these things be inserted in the Acts so that if 
any have need of them they would find how also to expound these things more diligently to others. 


(Tillemont, Memoires, Tom. VIII., Seconde Partie. Condensed.) 

St. Epiphanius distinguishes two sorts of persons who were called by the name of Messalians, the one and 

the more ancient were heathen, the other were Christian in name. 

The Messalians who bore the Christian name had no beginning, nor end, nor chief, nor fixed faith. Their first 

writers were Dadoes, Sabas, Adelphus, Hermes, Simeon and some others. Adelphus was neither monk nor 

clerk, but a layman. Sabas had taken the habit of an anchorite and was surnamed "the Eunuch," because 

he had mutilated himself. Adelphus was of Mesopotamia and was considered their leader, so that they are 

sometimes called "Adelphians." They are also called "Eustathians." "Euchites" is the Greek equivalent of 

"Messalians" in Hebrew. They were also called "Enthusiasts" or "Corentes" because of the agitation the 

devils caused them, which they attributed to the Holy Spirit. 

St. Epiphanius thought that these heretics sprang up in the time of Constance, although Theodoret does not 

put them down until the days of Valentinian. They came from Mesopotamia, but spread as far as Antioch by 

the year 376. 

They pretended to renounce the world, and to give up their possessions, and under the habit of monks they 

taught Manichaean impieties, and others still more detestable. 

Their principal tenet was that everyone inherited from his ancestors a demon, who had possession of his 

soul from the moment of his birth, and always led it to evil. That baptism cut away the outside branches of 

sin, but could not free the soul of this demon, and that therefore its reception was useless. That only constant 

prayer could drive out this demon. That when it was expelled, the Holy Spirit descended and gave visible 

and sensible marks of his presence, and delivered the body from all the uprisings of passion, and the soul 

from the inclination to evil, so that afterwards there was no need of fasting, nor of controlling lust by the 

precepts of the Gospel. 

Besides this chief dogma, gross errors, contrary to the first principles of religion, were attributed to them. 

That the divinity changed itself in different manners to unite itself to their souls. They held that the body of 

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Christ was infinite like his divine nature; they did not hesitate to say that his body was at first full of devils 

which were driven out when the Word took it upon him.(1) They claimed that they possessed clear 

knowledge of the state of souls after death, read the hearts and desires of man, the secrets of the future and 

saw the Holy Trinity with their bodily eyes. They affirmed that man could not only attain perfection but equal 

the deity in virtue and knowledge. 

They never fasted, slept men and women together, in warm weather in the open streets. But certain say that 

before attaining to this liberty of license three years of mortification were required, 

The most well-known point of their discipline is that they forbade all manual labour as evil, and unworthy of 

the spiritual. 

Harmenopulus in his Basilicoe (Tom. I. Lib. ix.) says that they held the Cross in horror, that they refused to 

honour the Holy Virgin, or St. John the Baptist, or any of the Saints unless they were Martyrs; that they 

mutilated themselves at will, that they dissolved marriages, that they foreswore and perjured themselves 

without scruple, that women were appointed as mistresses of the sect to instruct and govern men, even 


Although so opposed to the faith of the Church, yet for all this the Messalians did not separate themselves 

from her communion. They did not believe in the Communion as a mystery which sanctifies us, which must 

be approached with fear and faith, but only came to the holy Table to hide themselves and to pass for 

Catholics, for this was one of their artifices. When asked, they had no hesitation in denying all that they 

believed, and were willing to anathematize those who thought with them. And all this they did without fear, 

because they were taught they had attained perfection, that is impassibility. 

Vide Theodoret, H. E., Lib. iv., cap. xi. 

Photius tells us that John of Antioch wrote against these heretics. 

St. Maximus the Abbot speaks of this heresy as still existing in the Vllth Century, and as practising the most 

abominable infamies. Photius bears witness of its resuscitation in his days in Cappadocia with its wonted 

corruptions. Harmenopulus remarks that a certain Eleutherius of Paphlagonia had added to it new crimes, 

and that in part it became the source of the sect of the Bogomiles, so well known in the decadence of the 

Greek empire. 


(Found in Latin only. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. III., col. 810.) 

The petition of the most pious bishops Euprepius and Cyril, which is set forth in the papers they offered, is 
honest. Therefore from the holy canons and the external laws, which have from ancient custom the force of 
law,(1) let no innovation be made in the cities of Europa, but according to the ancient custom they shall be 
governed by the bishops by whom they have been formerly governed. For since there never was a 
metropolitan who had power otherwise, so neither hereafter shall there be any departure from the ancient 


(Hist, of the Councils, Vol. III., p. 77.) 

Two Thracian bishops, Euprepius of Biza (Bizya) and Cyril of Coele, gave occasion for a decree, praying 
for protection against their Metropolitan, Fritilas of Heraclea, who had gone over to the party of John of 
Antioch, and at the same time for the confirmation of the previous practice of holding two bishoprics at the 
same time. The Synod granted both. 

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Emperors. - Marcian and Pulcheria (in the East). Valentinian III. (in the West). 
Pope. - Leo I. 


General Introduction. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session I. Session II. 

The Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued. 

The Tome of St. Leo. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session II., continued. 

Session III. 

The Sentence of Condemnation of Dioscorus. 

Session IV. Session V. 

The Definition of Faith of the Council, with Notes. 

Session VI. 

Decree on the Jurisdiction of Jerusalem and Antioch, with Notes. Session VII. 

Decree with regard to Bp. of Ephesus. Session XII. 

Decree with regard to Nicomedia. Session XIII. 

The Canons with the Ancient Epitome and Notes. 

Excursus to Canon XXVIII., on its later history. 

Extracts from the Acts, Session XVI. 

Appendix (appended by: Maged N Kamel, MD <> — the editor of this electronic 

WinHelp edition of Early Church Fathers writings.) 


I should consider it a piece of impertinence were I to attempt to add anything to what has been already said 
with regard to the Council of Chalcedon. The literature upon the subject is so great and so bitterly polemical 
that I think I shall do well in laying before my readers the Acts, practically complete on all disputed points, 
and to leave them to draw their own conclusions. I shall not, however, be liable to the charge of unfairness if I 
quote at some length the deductions of the Eagle of Meaux, the famous Bossuet, from these acts; and since 
his somewhat isolated position as a Gallican gives him a singular fitness to serve in this and similar 
questions as a mediator between Catholics and Protestants, his remarks upon this Council will, I think, be 
read with great interest and respect. 

(Bossuet. Defensio Dec. Cleri Gallic. Lib. VII., cap. xvij. [Translation by Allies].) 

An important point treated in the Council of Chalcedon, that is, the establishing of the faith, and the approval 
of Leo's letter, is as follows: Already almost the whole West, and most of the Easterns, with Anatolius 
himself, Bishop of Constantinople, had gone so far as to confirm by subscription that letter, before the 
council took place; and in the council itself the Fathers had often cried out, "We believe, as Leo: Peter hath 
spoken by Leo: we have all subscribed the letter: what has been set forth is sufficient for the Faith: no other 
exposition may be made." Things went so far, that they would hardly permit a definition to be made by the 
council. But neither subscriptions privately made before the council, nor these vehement cries of the Fathers 
in the council, were thought sufficient to tranquillize minds in so unsettled a state of the Church, for fear that a 
matter so important might seem determined rather by outcries than by fair and legitimate discussion. And 

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the clergy of Constantinople exclaimed, "It is a few who cry out, not the whole council which speaks." So it 
was determined, that the letter of Leo should be lawfully examined by the council, and a definition of faith be 
written by the synod itself. So the acts of foregoing councils being previously read, the magistrates 
proposed concerning Leo's letter, "As we see the divine Gospels laid before your Piety, let each one of the 
assembled bishops declare, whether the exposition of the 318 Fathers at Nice, and of the 150 who 
afterwards assembled in the imperial city, agrees with the letter of the most reverend Archbishop Leo." 
After the question as to examining the letter of Leo was put in this form, it will be worth while to weigh the 
sentences and, as they are called, the votes of the Fathers, in order to understand from the beginning why 
they approved of the letter; why they afterwards defended it with so much zeal; why, finally, it was ratified 
after so exact an examination of the council. Anatolius first gives his sentence. "The letter of the most holy 
and religious-Archbishop Leo agrees with the creed of our 318 Fathers at Nice, and of the 150 who 
afterwards assembled at Constantinople, and confirmed the same faith, and with the proceedings at 
Ephesus under the most blessed Cyril, who is among the saints, by the Ecumenical and holy Council, when 
it condemned Nestorius. I therefore agree to it, and willingly subscribe to it." These are the words of one 
plainly deliberating, not blindly subscribing out of obedience. The rest say to the same effect: "It agrees, 
and I subscribe." Many plainly and expressly, "It agrees, and I therefore subscribe." Some add, "It agrees, 
and I subscribe, as it is correct." Others, "I am sure that it agrees." Others, "As it is concordant, and has the 
same aim, we embrace it, and subscribe." Others, "This is the faith we have long held: this we hold: in this 
we were baptized: in this we baptize." Others, and a great part, "As I see, as I feel, as I have proved, as I find 
that it agrees, I subscribe." Others, "As I am persuaded, instructed, informed, that all agrees, I subscribe." 
Many set forth their difficulties, mostly arising from a foreign language; others from the subject matter, saying, 
that they had heard the letter, "and in very many points were assured it was right; some few words stood in 
their way, which seemed to point at a certain division in the person of Christ." They add, that they had been 
informed by Paschasinus and the Legates "that there is no division, but one Christ; therefore," they say, "we 
agree and subscribe." Others after mentioning what Paschasinus and Lucentius had said, thus conclude: 
"By this we have been satisfied and, considering that it agrees ,in all things with the holy Fathers, we agree 
and subscribe." Where the lllyrian bishops, and others who before that examination had expressed their 
acclamations to the letter, again cry out, "We all say the same thing, and agree with this." So that, indeed, it 
is evident that, in the council itself, and before it their agreement is based on this that, after weighing the 
matter, they considered, they judged, they were persuaded, that all agreed with the Fathers, and perceived 
that the common faith of all and each had been set forth by Leo. This is that examination of Leo's letter, 
synodically made at Chalcedon, and placed among the acts. 

(Gallia Orthod., LIX.) 

Nor did Anatolius and the other bishops receive it, until they had deliberated, and found that Leo's letter 

agreed with the preceding councils. 

(Gallia Orthod., LX.) 

But here a singular discussion arises between the eminent Cardinals Bellarmine and Baronius. The latter, 
and with him a large number of our theologians, recognize the letter of Leo as the Type and Rule of faith, by 
which all Churches were bound: but Bellarmine, alarmed at the examination which he could not deny, 
answers thus: "Leo had sent his letter to the council, not as containing his final and definitive sentence, but 
as an instruction, assisted by which the bishops might form a better judgment." But, most eminent man, allow 
me to say that Leo, upon the appeal of Eutyches, and at the demand of Flavian, composed this letter for a 
summary of the faith, and sent it to every Church in all parts, when as yet no one thought about a council. 
Therefore it was not an instruction to the council which he provided, but an Apostolic sentence which he put 
forth. The fact is that out of this strait there was no other escape: Baronius will not allow that a letter, 
confirmed by so great an authority of the Apostolic See, should be attributed to any other power but that 
which is supreme and indefectible: Bellarmine will not take that to emanate from the supreme and 
indefectible authority, which was subjected to synodical inquiry, and deliberation. What, then, is the issue of 
this conflict, unless that it is equally evident that the letter was written with the whole authority of the Apostolic 
See, and yet subjected, as usual, to the examination of an Universal Council. 

(lb. LXI.) 

And in this we follow no other authority than Leo himself, who speaks thus in his letter to Theodoret: "What 
God had before decreed by our ministry, he confirmed by the irreversible assent of the whole brotherhood, 
to shew that what was first put forth in form by the First See of all, and then received by the judgment of the 
whole Christian world, really proceeded from himself." Here is a decree, as Baronius says, but not as 
Bellarmine says, an instruction: here is a judgment of the whole world upon a decree of the Apostolic Sec. 
He proceeds: "For in order that the consent of other sees to that which the Lord of all appointed to preside 

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over the rest might not appear flattery, nor any other adverse suspicion creep in, persons were at first found 
who doubted concerning our judgments." And not only heretics, but even the Fathers of the council 
themselves, as the acts bear witness. Here the First See shews a fear of flattery, if doubt about its judgments 
were forbidden. Moreover, "The truth itself likewise is both more clearly conspicuous, and more strongly 
maintained, when after examination confirms what previous faith had taught." Here in plain words he speaks 
of an examination by the council, de fide, not by himself, as they wretchedly object, but of that faith which the 
decretal letter set forth. And at length that same letter is issued as the Rule, but confirmed by the assent of 
the universal holy Council, or as he had before said, after that it is confirmed by the irreversible assent of the 
whole Brotherhood. Out of this expression of that great Pontiff, the Gallican clergy drew theirs, that in 
questions of faith the judgment is, what Tertullian calls, "not to be altered;" what Leo calls, "not to be 
reconsidered," only when the assent of the Church is added. 

(Defens. Dec. Cleri Gall. VII. xvij.) 

This certainly no one can be blamed for holding with him and with the Fathers of Chalcedon. The forma is 
set forth by the Apostolic See, yet it is to be received with a judgment, and that free, and each bishop 
individually is inferior to the First, yet so that all together pass judgment even on his decree. 
They conceived no other way of removing all doubt; for, after the conclusion of the synod, the Emperor thus 
proclaims: "Let then all profane contentions cease, for he is indeed impious and sacrilegious, who, after the 
sentence of so many priests, leaves anything for his own opinion to consider." He then prohibits all 
discussion concerning religion; for, says he, "he does an injury to the judgment of the most religious council, 
who endeavours to open afresh, and publicly discuss, what has been once judged, and rightly ordered." 
Here in the condemnation of Eutyches is the order of Ecclesiastical judgments in questions of faith. He is 
judged by his proper Bishop, Flavian: the cause is reheard, reconsidered by the Pope St. Leo; it is decided 
by a declaration of the Apostolic See: after that declaration follows the examination, inquiry, judgment of the 
Fathers or bishops, in a General Council: after the declaration has been approved by the judgment of the 
Fathers no place is any longer left for doubt or discussion. 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 93.) 

Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, stood up in the midst with his most 

reverend colleagues and said: We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic 

bishop of the Roman city, which is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus is not to 

be allowed a seat in this assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat he is to be cast out. This 

instruction we must carry out; if now your holiness so commands let him be expelled or else we leave. (1) 

The most glorious judges and the full senate said: What special charge do you prefer against the most 

reverend bishop Dioscorus? 

Paschasinus, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Apostolic See, said: Since he has come, it is 

necessary that objection be made to him. 

The most glorious judges and the whole senate said: In accordance with what has been said, let the charge 

under which he lies, be specifically made. 

Lucentius, the most reverend bishop having the place of the Apostolic See, said: Let him give a reason for 

his judgment. For he undertook to give sentence against one over whom he had no jurisdiction. And he 

dared to hold a synod without the authority of the Apostolic See, a thing which had never taken place nor 

can take place. (2) 

Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, holding the place of the Apostolic See, said: We cannot go counter 

to the decrees of the most blessed and apostolic bishop ["Pope" for "bishop" in the Latin], who governs the 

Apostolic See, nor against the ecclesiastical canons nor the patristic traditions. 

The most glorious judges and the full senate, said: It is proper that you should set forth specifically in what 

he hath gone astray. Lucentius, the venerable bishop and holding the place of the Apostolic See, said: We 

will not suffer so great a wrong to be done us and you, as that he who is come to be judged should sit down 

[as one to give judgment]. The glorious judges and the whole senate said: If you hold the office of judge, 

you ought not to defend yourself as if you were to be judged. 

And when Dioscorus the most religious bishop of Alexandria at the bidding of the most glorious judges and 

of the sacred assembly (<greek>ths</greek> <greek>ieras</greek> <greek>sugklhtou</greek> (3)) had sat 

down in the midst, and the most reverend Roman bishops also had sat down in their proper places, and 

kept silence, Eusebius, the most reverend bishop of the city of Dorylaeum, stepping into the midst, said: 

the then presented a petition, and the Acts of the Latrocinium were read. Also the Acts of the council of 

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Constantinople under Flavian against Eutyches (col. 175).] 

And when they were read, the most glorious judges and immense assembly ((<greek>uperfuhs</greek> 

<greek>sugklhtos</greek>) said: What do the most reverend bishops of the present holy synod say? When 

he thus expounded the faith did Flavian, of holy memory, preserve, the orthodox and catholic religion, or did 

he in any respect err concerning it? 

Paschasinus the most reverend bishop, representing the Apostolic See, said; Flavian of blessed memory 

hath most holily and perfectly expounded the faith. His faith and exposition agrees with the epistle of the 

most blessed and apostolic man, the bishop of Rome. 

Anatolius the most reverend archbishop of Constantinople said; The blessed Flavian hath beautifully and 

orthodoxly set forth the faith of our fathers. 

Lucentius, the most reverend bishop, and legate of the Apostolic See, said; Since the faith of Flavian of 

blessed memory agrees with the Apostolic See and the tradition of the fathers it is just that the sentence by 

which he was condemned by the heretics should be turned back upon them by this most holy synod. 

Maximus the most reverend bishop of Antioch in Syria, said: Archbishop Flavian of blessed memory hath 

set forth the faith orthodoxly and in accordance with the most beloved-of-God and most holy Archbishop 

Leo. And this we all receive with zeal. 

Thalassius, the most reverend bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia said; Flavian of blessed memory hath 

spoken in accordance with Cyril of blessed memory. 

[And so, one after another, the bishops expressed their opinions. The reading of the acts of the Council of 

Constantinople was then continued.] 

And at this point of the reading, Dioscorus, the most reverend Archbishop of Alexandria said, I receive "the 

of two;" "the two" I do not receive (<greek>to</greek> <greek>ek</greek> <greek>duo</greek> 

<greek>dekomai</greek> <greek>to</greek> <greek>duo</greek>, <greek>ou</greek> 

<greek>dekomai</greek>). I am forced to be impudent, but the matter is one which touches my soul. 

[After a few remarks the reading was continued and the rest of the acts of the Latrocinium of Ephesus 

completed. The judges then postponed to the morrow the setting forth a decree on the faith but intimated 

that Dioscorus and his associates should suffer the punishment to which they unjustly sentenced Flavian. 

This met with the approval of all the bishops except those of lllyrica who said: "We all have erred, let us all 

be pardoned." (col. 323.)] 

The most glorious judges and the whole senate said; Let each one of the most reverend bishops of the 

present synod, hasten to set forth how he believes, writing without any fear, but placing the fear of God 

before his eyes; knowing that our most divine and pious lord believes according to the ecthesis of the three 

hundred and eighteen holy fathers at Nice, and according to the ecthesis of the one hundred and fifty after 

them, and according to the Canonical epistles and ectheses of the holy fathers Gregory, Basil, Athanasius, 

Hilary, Ambrose, and according to the two canonical epistles of Cyril, which were confirmed and published 

in the first Council of Ephesus, nor does he in any point depart from the faith of the same. For the most 

reverend archbishop of Old Rome, Leo, appears to have sent a letter to Flavian of blessed memory, with 

reference to Eutyches's unbelieving doubt which was springing up against the Catholic Church. 

End of the first Actio. 



(L. and O, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 338.) 

When all were seated before the rails of the most holy altar, the most superb and glorious judges and the 
great (<greek>uperfuhs</greek>) senate said; At a former meeting the question was examined of the 
condemnation of the most reverend bishop Flavian of blessed memory and Eusebius, and it was patent to 
you all with what justice and accuracy the examination was conducted: and it was proved that they had been 
cruelly and improperly condemned. What course we should pursue in this matter became clear after your 
deliberations. Now however the question to be enquired into, studied, and decided, is how the true faith is to 
be established, which is the chief end for which this Council has been assembled. As we know that ye are to 
render to God a strict account not only for your own souls in particular, but as well for the souls of all of us 
who desire rightly to be taught all things that pertain to religion, and that all ambiguity be taken away, by the 
agreement and consent of all the holy fathers, and by their united exposition and doctrine; hasten therefore 
without any fear of pleasing or displeasing, to set forth (<greek>ekqeqai</greek>) the pure faith, so that they 
who do not seem to believe with all the rest, may be brought to unity through the acknowledging of the truth. 
For we wish you to know that the most divine and pious lord of the whole world and ourselves hold the 
orthodox faith set forth by the 318 and by the 150 holy fathers, and what also has been taught by the rest of 
the most holy and glorious fathers, and in accordance with this is our belief. 

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The most reverend bishops cried; Any other setting forth (<greek>ekqesin</greek> <greek>allhn</greek>) 

no one makes, neither will we attempt it, neither will we dare to set forth [anything new] 

(<greek>ekqesqai</greek>). For the fathers taught, and in their writings are preserved, what things were set 

forth by them, and further than this we can say nothing. 

Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol said: The matters concerning Eutyches have been 

examined, and the most holy archbishop of Rome has given a form (<greek>tupon</greek>) which we 

follow and to his letter we all [i. e. those in his neighbourhood] have subscribed. 

The most reverend bishops cried: These are the opinions of all of us. The expositions 

(<greek>ekteqenta</greek>) already made are quite sufficient: it is not lawful to make any other. 

The most glorious judges and great senate said, If it pleases your reverence, let the most holy patriarch of 

each province, choosing one or two of his own province and going into the midst, and together considering 

the faith, make known to all what is agreed upon. So that if, as we desire, all be of one mind, all ambiguity 

may be removed: But if some entertain contrary opinions (which we do not believe to be the case) we may 

know what their opinions are. 

The most reverend bishops cried out, we make no new exposition in writing. This is the law, [i. e. of the Third 

Synod] which teaches that what has been set forth is sufficient. The law wills that no other exposition should 

be made. Let the sayings of the Fathers remain fast. 

Florentius, the most reverend bishop of Sardis, said, since it is not possible for those who follow the 

teaching of the holy Synod of Nice, which was confirmed rightly and piously at Ephesus, to draw up 

suddenly a declaration of faith in accordance with the faith of the holy fathers Cyril and Celestine, and of the 

letter of the most holy Leo, we therefore pray your magnificence to give us thee, so that we may be able to 

arrive at the truth of the matter with a fitting document, although so far as we are concerned, who have 

subscribed the letter of the most holy Leo, nothing further is needed. 

Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said, The faith has been well defined by the 31 8 holy 

fathers and confirmed by the holy fathers Athanasius, Cyril, Celestine, Hilary, Basil, Gregory, and now once 

again by the most holy Leo: and we pray that those things which were decreed by the 31 8 holy fathers, and 

by the most holy Leo be read. 

The most glorious judges and great Senate said: Let there be read the expositions 

(<greek>ekteqenta</greek>) of the 318 fathers gathered together at Nice. 

Eunomius, the most reverend bishop of Nicomedia read from a book [the Exposition of faith of the 318 

fathers. (1)] 

The Exposition of faith of the Council held at Nice. "In the consulate of Paul and Julian" etc. "We believe in 

one God," etc. "But those who say," etc. 

The most reverend bishops cried out; This is the orthodox faith; this we all believe: into this we were 

baptized; into this we baptize: Blessed Cyril so taught: tiffs is the true faith: this is the holy faith: this is the 

everlasting faith: into this we were baptized: into this we baptize: we all so believe: so believes Leo, the 

Pope (<greek>o</greek> <greek>papas</greek>): Cyril thus believed: Pope Leo so interpreted it. 

The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let there be read what was set forth by the 1 50 holy 


Aetius, the reverend deacon of Constantinople read from a book [the creed of the 150 fathers. (2)] 

The holy faith which the 1 50 fathers set forth as consonant to the holy and great Synod of Nice. "We believe 

in one God," etc. 

All the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of all of us: we all so believe. 

The reverend archdeacon Aetius said, There remains the letter of Cyril of holy and blessed memory, 

sometime bishop of the great city Alexandria, which he wrote to Nestorius, which was approved by all the 

most holy bishops assembled in the first Council at Ephesus, called to condemn the same Nestorius, and 

which was confirmed by the subscription of all. There is also another letter of the same Cyril, of blessed 

memory, which he wrote to John, of blessed memory, sometime bishop of the great city of Antioch, which 

likewise was confirmed. If it be so ordered, I shall read these. 

The most glorious judges and great senate said, Let the letters of Cyril of blessed memory be read. Aetius, 

the Archdeacon of the imperial city Constantinople read. 

To the most reverend and most religious fellow-priest Nestorius, Cyril sends greeting in the Lord. 

[<greek>katafluarousi</greek> <greek>mho</greek> <greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. 

<greek>l</greek>. Lat. Obloquuntur quidem, etc. This letter is found among the acts of the Council of 


Likewise the same Archdeacon Aetius read [the letter of the same holy Cyril of blessed memory to John of 

Antioch, on the peace]. 

[This letter begins, E<greek>ufraineqwsan</greek> <greek>oi</greek> <greek>ouranoi</greek> 

<greek>k</greek>. <greek>t</greek>. <greek>l</greek>.; and in the Latin Laetentur caeli.] 

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(Found in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 343 and col. 164; and in Migne, Pat. Graece., Tom. 
LXXVII. [Cyrilli Opera, Tom. X.], col. 173. This is the letter which is often styled "the Ephesine Creed.") 

Cyril to my lord, beloved brother, and fellow minister John, greeting in the Lord. 

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" for the middle wall of partition has been taken away, and 
grief has been silenced, and all kind of difference of opinion has been removed; Christ the Saviour of us all 
having awarded peace to his churches, through our being called to this by our most devout and beloved of 
God kings, who are the best imitators of the piety of their ancestors in keeping the right faith in their souls firm 
and immovable, for they chiefly give their mind to the affairs of the holy Churches, in order that they may 
have the noted glory forever and show forth their most renowned kingdom, to whom also Christ himself the 
Lord of powers distributes good things with plenteous hand and gives to prevail over their enemies and 
grants them victory. For he does not lie in saying: "As I live saith the Lord, them that honour me, I will honour." 
For when my lord, my most-beloved-of-God, fellow-minister and brother Paul, had arrived in Alexandria, we 
were filled with gladness, and most naturally at the coming of such a man as a mediator, who was ready to 
work beyond measure that he might overcome the envy of the devil and heal our divisions, and who by 
removing the offences scattered between us, would crown your Church and ours with harmony and peace. 
Of the reason of the disagreement it is superfluous to speak. I deem it more useful both to think and speak of 
things suitable to the time of peace. We were therefore delighted at meeting with that distinguished and 
most pious man, who expected perhaps to have no small struggle, persuading us that it is necessary to 
form a an alliance for the peace of the Church, and to drive away the laughter of the heterodox, and for this 
end to blunt the goads of the stubbornness of the devil. He found us ready for this, so as absolutely to need 
no labour to be bestowed upon us. For we remembered the Saviour's saying; "My peace I give unto you, 
my peace I leave with you." We have been taught also to say in prayers: "O Lord our God give us peace, 
for thou hast given us all things." So that if anyone should be in the participation of the peace furnished from 
God, he is not lacking in any good. That as a matter of fact, the disagreement of the Churches happened 
altogether unnecessarily and in-opportunely, we now have been fully satisfied by the document brought by 
my lord, the most pious bishop Paul, which contains an unimpeachable confession of faith, and this he 
asserted to have been prepared, by your holiness and by the God-beloved Bishops there. The document 
is as follows, and is set down verbatim in this our epistle. 

Concerning the Virgin Mother of God, we thus think and speak; and of the man-net of the Incarnation of the 
Only Begotten Son of God, necessarily, not by way of addition but for the sake of certainty, as we have 
received from the beginning from the divine Scriptures and from the tradition of the holy fathers, we will 
speak briefly, adding nothing whatever to the Faith set forth by the holy Fathers in Nice. For, as we said 
before, it suffices for all knowledge of piety and the refutation of all false doctrine of heretics. But we speak, 
not presuming on the impossible; but with the confession of our own weakness, excluding those who wish us 
to cling to those things which transcend human consideration. 

We confess, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, perfect God, and perfect Man 
of a reasonable soul and flesh consisting; begotten before the ages of the Father according to his Divinity, 
and in the last days, for us and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, of the same 
substance with his Father according to his Divinity, and of the same substance with us according to his 
humanity; for there became a union of two natures. Wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. 
According to this understanding of this unmixed union, we confess the holy Virgin to be Mother of God; 
because God the Word was incarnate and became Man, and from this conception he united the temple 
taken from her with himself. 

For we know the theologians make some things of the Evangelical and Apostolic teaching about the Lord 
common as per-raining to the one person, and other flyings they divide as to the two natures, and attribute 
the worthy ones to God on account of the Divinity of Christ, and the lowly ones on account of his humanity [to 
his humanity]. 

These being your holy voices, and finding ourselves thinking the same with them ("One Lord, One Faith, 
One Baptism,") we glorified God the Saviour of all, congratulating one another that our churches and yours 
have the Faith which agrees with the God-inspired Scriptures and the traditions of our holy Fathers. 
Since I learned that certain of those accustomed to find fault were humming around like vicious wasps, and 
vomiting out wretched words against me, as that I say the holy Body of Christ was brought from heaven, and 
not of the holy Virgin, I thought it necessary to say a few words concerning this to them: 
O fools, and only knowing how to misrepresent, how have ye been led to such a judgment, how have ye 
fallen into so foolish a sickness? For it is necessary, it is undoubtedly necessary, to understand that almost 
all the opposition to us concerning the faith, arose from our affirming that the holy Virgin is Mother of God. But 
if from heaven and not from her the holy Body of the Saviour of all was born, how then is she understood to 

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be Mother of God? What then did she bring forth except it be true that she brought forth the Emmanuel 
according to the flesh? They are to be laughed at who babble such things about me. 
For the blessed prophet Isaiah does not lie in saying "Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and 
shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us." Truly also the holy Gabriel said to 
the Blessed Virgin: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in 
thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall save his people from their sins." 
For when we say our Lord Jesus Christ descended from heaven, and from above, we do not so say this as if 
from above and from heaven was his Holy Flesh taken, but rather by way of following the divine Paul, who 
distinctly declares: "the first man is of the earth, earthy; the Second Man is the Lord from heaven." 
We remember too, the Saviour himself saying, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came 
down from heaven, even the Son of Man." Although he was born according to his flesh, as just said, of the 
holy Virgin, yet God the Word came down from above and from heaven. He "made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form of a servant," and was called the Son of Man, yet remaining what he was, that is 
to say God. For he is unchanging and unchangeable according to nature; considered already as one with 
his own Flesh, he is said to have come down from heaven. 

He is also called the Man from heaven, being perfect in his Divinity and perfect in his Humanity, and 
considered as in one Person. For one is the Lord Jesus Christ, although the difference of his natures is not 
unknown, from which we say the ineffable union was made. 

Will your holiness vouchsafe to silence those who say that a crasis, or mingling or mixture took place 
between the Word of God and flesh. For it is likely that certain also gossip about me as having thought or 
said such things. 

But I am far from any such thought as that, and I also consider them wholly to rave who think a shadow of 
change could occur concerning the Nature of the Word of God. For he remains that which he always was, 
and has not been changed, nor can he ever be changed, nor is he capable of change. For we all confess in 
addition to this, that the Word of God is impassible, even though when he dispenses most wisely this 
mystery, he appears to ascribe to himself the sufferings endured in his own flesh. To the same purpose the 
all-wise Peter also said when he wrote of Christ as having "suffered in the flesh," and not in the nature of his 
ineffable godhead. In order that he should be believed to be the Saviour of all, by an economic 
appropriation to himself, as just said, he assumed the sufferings of his own Flesh. 

Like to this is the prophecy through the voice of the prophet, as from him, "I gave my back to the smiters, and 
my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Let your holiness be 
convinced nor let anyone else be doubtful that we altogether follow the teachings of the holy fathers, 
especially of our blessed and celebrated Father Athanasius, deprecating the least departure from it. 
I might have added many quotations from them also establishing my words, but that it would have added to 
the length of my letter and it might become wearisome. And we will allow the defined Faith, the symbol of the 
Faith set forth by our holy Fathers who assembled some time ago at Nice, to be shaken by no one. Nor 
would we permit ourselves or others, to alter a single word of those set forth, or to add one syllable, 
remembering the saying: "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set," for it was not they 
who spoke but the Spirit himself of God and the Father, who proceedeth also from him, and is not alien from 
the Son, according to his essence. And this the words of the holy initiators into mysteries confirm to us. For in 
the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "And after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; 
but the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not." And the divine Paul wrote: "So then they that are in the flesh cannot 
please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." 

When some of those who are accustomed to turn from the right, twist my speech to their views, I pray your 
holiness not to wonder; but be well assured that the followers of every heresy gather the occasions of their 
error from the God-inspired Scriptures, corrupting in their evil minds the things rightly said through the Holy 
Spirit, and drawing down upon their own heads the unquenchable flame. 

Since we have leaned that certain, after having corrupted it, have set forth the orthodox epistle of our most 
distinguished Father Athanasius to the Blessed Epictetus, so as thereby to injure many; therefore it 
appeared to the brethren to be useful and necessary that we should send to your holiness a copy of it from 
some correct ancient transcripts which exist among us. Farewell. 


SESSION II. (continued). 

(L. and C, Cone, Tom. IV., col. 343.) 

And when these letters [i.e. Cyril's letter to Nestorius <greek>kaGaFlnaronoi</greek> and his letter to John 

of Antioch E<greek>uFraineoqwsan</greek>] had been read, the most reverend bishops cried out: We all 

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so believe: Pope Leo thus believes: anathema to him who divides and to him who confounds: this is the faith 

of Archbishop Leo: Leo thus believes: Leo and Anatolius so believe: we all thus believe. As Cyril so believe 

we, all of us: eternal be the memory of Cyril: as the epistles of Cyril teach such is our mind, such has been 

our faith: such is our faith: this is the mind of Archbishop Leo, so he believes, so he has written. 

The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Let there be read also the epistle of the most worthy 

Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, the Imperial City. 

Beronician, the most devout clerk of the sacred consistory, read from a book handed him by Aetius, 

Archdeacon of the holy Church of Constantinople, the encyclical orsynodical letter of the most holy Leo, the 

Archbishop, written to Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 343; also Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LIV. 
[Leo. M. Opera, Tom. I J col. 756.) (1) 

Leo [the bishop] to his [most] dear brother Flavian. 

Having read your Affection's letter, the late arrival of which is matter of surprise to us, and having gone 
through the record of the proceedings of the bishops, we have now, at last, gained a clear view of the 
scandal which has risen up among you, against the integrity of the faith; and what at first seemed obscure 
has now been elucidated and explained. By this means Eutyches, who seemed to be deserving of honour 
under the title of Presbyter, is now shown to be exceedingly thoughtless and sadly inexperienced, so that to 
him also we may apply the prophet's words, "He refused to understand in order to act well: he meditated 
unrighteousness on his bed." What, indeed, is more unrighteous than to entertain ungodly thoughts, and not 
to yield to persons wiser and more learned? But into this folly do they fall who, when hindered by some 
obscurity from apprehending the truth, have recourse, not to the words of the Prophets, not to the letters of 
the Apostles, nor to the authority of the Gospels, but to themselves; and become teachers of error, just 
because they have not been disciples of the truth. For what learning has he received from the sacred pages 
of the New and the Old Testament, who does not so much as understand the very beginning of the Creed? 
And that which, all the world over, is uttered by the voices of all applicants for regeneration, is still not 
grasped by the mind of this aged man. If, then, he knew not what he ought to think about the Incarnation of the 
Word of God, and was not willing, for the sake of obtaining the light of intelligence, to make laborious search 
through the whole extent of the Holy Scriptures, he should at least have received with heedful attention that 
general Confession common to all, whereby the whole body of the faithful profess that they "believe in God 
the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ Iris only Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the 
Virgin Mary." By which three clauses the engines of almost all heretics are shattered. For when God is 
believed to be both "Almighty" and "Father," it is proved that the Son is everlasting together with himself, 
differing in nothing from the Father, because he was born as "God from God," Almighty from Almighty, 
Coeternal from Eternal; not later in time, not inferior in power, not unlike him in glory, not divided from him in 
essence, but the same Only-begotten and Everlasting Son of an Everlasting Parent was" born of the Holy 
Ghost and the Virgin Mary." This birth in time in no way detracted from, in no way added to, that divine and 
everlasting birth; but expended itself wholly in the work of restoring man, who had been deceived; so that it 
might both overcome death, and by its power "destroy the devil who had the power of death." For we could 
not have overcome the author of sin and of death, unless he who could neither be contaminated by sin, nor 
detained by death, had taken upon himself our nature, and made it his own. For, in fact, he was "conceived 
of the Holy Ghost" within the womb of a Virgin Mother, who bore him as she had conceived him, without loss 
of virginity. (2) But if he (Eutyches) was not able to obtain a true conception from this pure fountain of Christian 
faith because by his own blindness he had darkened for himself the brightness of a truth so clear, he should 
have submitted himself to the Evangelist's teaching; and after reading what Matthew says, "The book of the 
generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," he should also have sought instruction 
from the Apostle's preaching; and after reading in the Epistle to the Romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus 
Christ, called an Apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised before by the prophets 
in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was made unto him of the seed of David according to the 
flesh," he should have bestowed some devout study on the pages of the Prophets; and finding that God's 
promise said to Abraham, "in thy seed shall all nations be blessed," in order to avoid all doubt as to the 
proper meaning of this "seed," he should have at-tended to the Apostle's words, "To Abraham and to his 
seed were the promises made. He saith not, 'and to seeds,' as in the case of many, but as in the case of 
one, 'and to thy seed,' which is Christ." He should also have apprehended with his inward ear the 
declaration of Isaiah, "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name 
Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, God with us;" and should have read with faith the words of the same 
prophet, "Unto us a Child has been born, unto us a Son has been given, whose power is on his shoulder; 

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and they shall call his name Angel of great counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, Strong God, Prince of Peace, 
Father of the age to come." And he should not have spoken idly to the effect that the Word was in such a 
sense made flesh, that the Christ who was brought forth from the Virgin's womb had the form of a man, and 
had not a body really derived from his Mother's body. Possibly his reason for thinking that our Lord Jesus 
Christ was not of our nature was this— that the Angel who was sent to the blessed and ever Virgin Mary said, 
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of rite Highest shall overshadow thee, and therefore 
also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;" as if, because the Virgin's 
conception was caused by a divine act, therefore the flesh of him whom she conceived was not of the nature 
of her who conceived him. But we are not to understand that "generation," peerlessly wonderful, and 
wonderfully peerless, in such a sense as that the newness of the mode of production did away with the 
proper character of the kind. For it was the Holy Ghost who gave fecundity to the Virgin, but it was from a 
body that a real body was derived; and "when Wisdom was building herself a house," the "Word was made 
flesh, and dwelt among us,that is, in that flesh which he assumed from a human being, and which he 
animated with the spirit of rational life. Accordingly while the distinctness of both natures and substances 
was preserved, and both met in one Person, lowliness was assumed by majesty, weakness by power, 
mortality by eternity; and, in order to pay the debt of our condition, the inviolable nature was united to the 
passible, so that as the appropriate remedy for our ills, one and the same "Mediator between God and 
man, the Man Christ Jesus," might from one element be capable of dying and also from the other be 
incapable. Therefore in the entire and perfect nature of very man was born very God, whole in what was his, 
whole in what was ours. By "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us at the beginning and what he 
assumed in order to restore; for of that which the deceiver brought in, and man, thus deceived, admitted, 
there was not a trace in the Saviour; and the fact that he took on himself a share in our infirmities did not 
make him a par-taker in our transgressions. He assumed "the form of a servant" without the defilement of 
sin, enriching what was human, not impairing what was divine: because that "emptying of himself," whereby 
the Invisible made himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things willed to be one among mortals, 
was a stooping down in compassion, not a failure of power. Accordingly, the same who, remaining in the 
form of God, made man, was made man in the form of a servant. For each of the natures retains its proper 
character without defect; and as the form of God does not take away the form of a servant, so the form of a 
servant does not impair the form of God. For since the devil was glorying in the fact that man, deceived by 
his craft, was bereft of divine gifts and, being stripped of his endowment of immortality, had come under the 
grievous sentence of death, and that he himself, amid 'his miseries, had found a sort of consolation in 
having a transgressor as his companion, and that God, according to the requirements of the principle of 
justice, had changed his own resolution in regard to man, whom he had created in so high a position of 
honour; there was need of a dispensation of secret counsel, in order that the unchangeable God, whose will 
could not be deprived of its own benignity, should fulfil by a more secret mystery his original plan of loving 
kindness toward us, and that man, who had been led into fault by the wicked subtlety of the devil, should not 
perish contrary to God's purpose. Accordingly, the Son of God, descending from his seat in heaven, and not 
departing from the glory of the Father, enters this lower world, born after a new order, by a new mode of birth. 
After a new order; because he who in his own sphere is invisible, became visible in ours; He who could not 
be enclosed in space, willed to be enclosed; continuing to be before times, he began to exist in time; the 
Lord of the universe allowed his infinite majesty to be overshadowed, and took upon him the form of a 
servant; the impassible God did not disdain to be passible Man and the immortal One to be subjected to 
the laws of death. And born by a new mode of birth; because inviolate virginity, while ignorant of 
concupiscence, supplied the matter of his flesh. What was assumed from the Lord's mother was nature, not 
fault; nor does the wondrousness of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, as born of a Virgin's womb, imply 
that his nature is unlike ours. For the selfsame who is very God, is also very man; and there is no illusion in 
this union, while the lowliness of man and the loftiness of Godhead meet together. For as "God" is not 
changed by the compassion [exhibited], so "Man" is not consumed by the dignity [bestowed]. For each 
"form" does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what 
belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these shines out in 
miracles, the other succumbs' to injuries. And as the Word does not withdraw from equality with the Father in 
glory, so the flesh does not abandon the nature of our kind. For, as we must often be saying, he is one and 
the same, truly Son of God, and truly Son of Man. God, inasmuch as "in the beginning was the Word, and the 
Word was with God, and the Word was God." Man, inasmuch as "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt 
among us." God, inasmuch as "all things were made by him, and without him nothing was made." Man, 
inasmuch as he was "made of a woman, made under the law." The nativity of the flesh is a manifestation of 
human nature; the Virgin's child-bearing is an indication of Divine power. The infancy of the Babe is 
exhibited by the humiliation of swaddling clothes: the greatness of the Highest is declared by the voices of 
angels. He whom Herod impiously designs to slay is like humanity in its beginnings; but he whom the Magi 
rejoice to adore on their knees is Lord of all. Now when he came to the baptism of John his forerunner, lest 

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the fact that the Godhead was covered with a veil of flesh should be concealed, the voice of the Father 
spake in thunder from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Accordingly, he who, 
as man, is tempted by the devil's subtlety, is the same to whom, as God, angels pay duteous service. To 
hunger, to thirst, to be weary, and to sleep, is evidently human. But to satisfy five thousand men with five 
loaves, and give to the Samaritan woman that living water, to draw which can secure him that drinks of it from 
ever thirsting again; to walk on the surface of the sea with feet that sink not, and by rebuking the storm to 
bring down the "uplifted waves," is unquestionably Divine. As then-to pass by many points —it does not 
belong to the same nature to weep with feelings of pity over a dead friend and, after the mass of stone had 
been removed from the grave where he had lain four days, by a voice of command to raise him up to life 
again; or to hang on the wood, and to make all the elements tremble after daylight had been turned into 
night; or to be transfixed with nails, and to open the gates of paradise to the faith of the robber; so it does not 
belong to the same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is greater than I." For 
although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one Person of God and man, yet that whereby contumely attaches 
to both is one thing, and that whereby glory attaches to both is another; for from what belongs to us he has 
that manhood which is inferior to the Father; while from the Father he has equal Godhead with the Father. 
Accordingly, on account of this unity of Person which is to be understood as existing in both the natures, we 
read, on the one hand, that "the Son of Man came down from heaven," inasmuch as the Son of God took 
flesh from that Virgin of whom he was born; and on the other hand, the Son of God is said to have been 
crucified and buried, inasmuch as he underwent this, not in his actual Godhead; wherein the Only-begotten 
is coeternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of human nature. Wherefore we all, in 
the very Creed, confess that" the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and buried," according to that 
saying of the Apostle, "for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Majesty." But when 
our Lord and Saviour himself was by his questions instructing the faith of the disciples, he said, "Whom do 
men say that I the Son of Man am?" And when they had mentioned various opinions held by others, he said, 
"But whom say ye that I am?" that is, "I who am Son of Man, and whom you see in the form of a servant, and 
in reality of flesh, whom say ye that I am?" Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to 
benefit all nations by his confession, said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Not undeservedly, 
therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity which 
belonged both to his virtue and to his name, who through revelation from the Father confessed the selfsame 
to be both the Son of God and the Christ; because one of these truths, accepted without the other, would not 
profit unto salvation, and it was equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be merely God and 
not man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of the Lord-which was in truth the resurrection 
of a real body, for no other person was raised again than he who had been crucified and had died-what 
else was accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith entire and clear of all 
darkness ? For while he conversed with his disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed 
himself to be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt, for 
this end he came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, and by his breath gave them the Holy Ghost, 
and opened the secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in his 
selfsame person showed to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the flesh tokens of the 
Passion, saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not 
flesh and bones, as ye see me have:" that the properties of the Divine and the human nature might be 
acknowledged to remain in him without causing a division, and that we might in such sort know that the Word 
is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the one Son of God is both Word and flesh. On which mystery of the 
faith this Eutyches must be regarded as unhappily having no hold, who does not recognise our nature to 
exist in the Only-begotten Son of God, either byway of the lowliness of mortality, or of the glory of 
resurrection. Nor has he been overawed by the declaration of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist John, 
saying, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which 
dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist." Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate the 
human nature from him, and to make void by shameless inventions that mystery by which alone we have 
been saved? Moreover, being in the dark as to the nature of Christ's body, he must needs be involved in the 
like senseless blindness with regard to his Passion also. For if he does not think the Lord's crucifixion to be 
unreal, and does not doubt that he really accepted suffering, even unto death, for the sake of the world's 
salvation; as he believes in his death, let him acknowledge his flesh also, and not doubt that he whom he 
recognises as having been capable of suffering is also Man with a body like ours; since to deny his true 
flesh is also to deny Iris bodily sufferings. If then he accepts the Christian faith, and does not turn away his 
ear from the preaching of the Gospel, let him see what nature it was that was transfixed with nails and hung 
on the wood of the cross; and let him understand whence it was that, after the side of the Crucified had been 
pierced by the soldier's spear, blood and water flowed out, that the Church of God might be refreshed both 
with a Laver and with a Cup. Let him listen also to the blessed Apostle Peter when he declares, that 
"sanctification by the Spirit" takes place through the "sprinkling of the blood of Christ," and let him not give a 

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mere cursory reading to the words of the same Apostle, "Knowing that ye were not redeemed with 
corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain way of life received by tradition from your fathers, but 
with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot." Let him also not 
resist the testimony of Blessed John the Apostle, "And the blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanseth us from 
all sin." And again, "This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith;" and, "who is he that 
overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and 
blood, even Jesus Christ; not in water only, but in water and blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, 
because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness-the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and the 
three are one." That is, the Spirit of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism; 
which three things are one, and remain undivided, and not one of them is disjoined from connection with the 
others; because the Catholic Church lives and advances by this faith, that Christ Jesus we should believe 
neither manhood to exist without true Godhead, nor Godhead without true manhood. But when Eutyches, on 
being questioned in your examination of him, answered, "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before 
the union, but after the union I confess one nature;" I am astonished that so absurd and perverse a 
profession as this of his was not rebuked by a censure on the part of any of his judges, and that an utterance 
extremely foolish and extremely blasphemous was passed over, just as if nothing had been heard which 
could give offence: seeing that it is as impious to say that the Only-begotten Son of God was of two natures 
before the Incarnation as it is shocking to affirm that, since the Word became flesh, there has been in him 
one nature only. But lest Eutyches should think that what he said was correct, or was tolerable, because it 
was not confuted by any assertion of yours, we exhort your earnest solicitude, dearly beloved brother, to 
see that, if by God's merciful inspiration the case is brought to a satisfactory issue, the inconsiderate and 
inexperienced man be cleansed also from this pestilent notion of his; seeing that, as the record of the 
proceedings has clearly shown, he had fairly begun to abandon his own opinion when on being driven into 
a corner by authoritative words of yours, he professed himself i ready to say what he had not said before, 
and to give his adhesion to that faith from which he had previously stood aloof. But when he would not 
consent to anathematize the impious dogma you understood, brother, that he continued in his own misbelief, 
and deserved to receive sentence of condemnation. For which if he grieves sincerely and to good purpose, 
and understands, even though too late, how properly the Episcopal authority has been put in motion, or if, in 
order to make full satisfaction, he shall condemn viva voce, and under his own hand, all that he has held 
amiss, no compassion, to whatever extent, which can be shown him when he has been set right, will be 
worthy of blame, for our Lord, the true and good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and who 
came to save men's souls and not to destroy them, wills us to imitate his own loving kindness; so that justice 
should indeed constrain those who sin, but mercy should not reject those who are converted. For then 
indeed is the true faith defended with the best results, when a false opinion is condemned even by those 
who have followed it. But in order that the whole matter may be piously and faithfully carried out, we have 
appointed our brethren, Julius, Bishop, and Reatus, Presbyter (of the title of St. Clement) and also my son 
Hilarus, Deacon, to represent us; and with them we have associated Dulcitius, our Notary, of whose fidelity 
we have had good proof: trusting that the Divine assistance will be with you, so that he who has gone astray 
may be saved by condemning his own unsound opinion. May God keep you in good health, dearly 
beloved brother. Given on the Ides of June, in the Consulate of the illustrious men, Asterius and Protogenes. 

[Next was read a long catena of quotations from the Fathers sustaining the teaching of the Tome. (L. and C, 
Cone, Tom. IV., cols. 357-368.)] 


SESSION II. (continued). 

(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 368.) 

After the reading of the foregoing epistle, the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of the fathers, 
this is the faith of the Apostles. So we all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who does not 
thus believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo. So taught the Apostles. Piously and truly did Leo teach, so 
taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril. Leo and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him who 
does not so believe. This is the true faith. Those of us who are orthodox thus believe. This is the faith of the 
fathers. Why were not these things read at Ephesus [i.e. at the heretical synod held there] ? These are the 
things Dioscorus hid away. 

[Some explanations were asked by the lllyrian bishops and the answers were found satisfactory, but yet a 
delay of a few days was asked for, and some bishops petitioned for a general pardon of all who had been 
kept out. This proposition made great confusion, in the midst of which the session was dissolved by the 

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judges. (Col. 371 .)] 


[The imperial representatives do not seem to have been present, and after Aetius the Archdeacon of 
Constantinople had opened the Session,] 

Paschasinus the bishop of Lilybaeum, in the province of Silicia, and holding the place of the most holy Leo, 
archbishop of the Apostolic see of old Rome, said in Latin what being interpreted is as follows: It is well 
known to this beloved of God synod, that divine (1) letters were sent to the blessed and apostolic pope Leo, 
inviting him to deign to be present at the holy synod. But since ancient custom did not sanction this, nor the 
general necessity of the time seemed to permit it, our littleness in the place of himself he 
[<greek>ta</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>agias</greek> <greek>sunodou</greek>, and therefore it 
is necessary that whatever things are brought into discussion should be examined by our interference 
(<greek>dialalias</greek>). [The Latin reads where I have placed the Greek of the ordinary text, thus, 
"commanded our littleness to preside in his place over this holy council."] Therefore let the book presented 
by our most beloved-of-God brother, and fellow-bishop Eusebius be received, and read by the beloved of 
God archdeacon and primicerius of the notaries, Aetius. 
And Aetius, the archdeacon and primicerius of the notaries, took the book and read as follows. 

[Next follows the petition of Eusebius et post nonnulla four petitions each addressed to "The most holy and 
beloved-of-God ecumenical archbishop and patriarch of great Rome Leo, and to the holy and ecumenical 
Synod assembled at Chalcedon, etc., etc. ;" The first two by deacons of Alexandria, the third by a quondam 
presbyter of the diocese, and the fourth by a layman also of Alexandria. After this Dioscorus was again 
summoned and, as he did not come, sentence was given against him, which was communicated to him in a 
letter contained in the acts. (L. and C, Cone, Tom IV., col. 418.) The Bishops expressed their opinions for the 
most part one by one, but the Roman Legates spoke together, and in their speech occurs the following (Col. 

Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and 
through this present most holy synod together with (2) the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, 
who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped 
him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and 
great synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties. 

[The bishops then, one by one, spoke in favour of the deposition of Dioscorus, but usually on the ground of 
his refusal to appear when thrice summoned.] 

And when all the most holy bishops had spoken on the subject, they signed this which follows. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 459.) 

The holy and great and ecumenical Synod, which by the grace of God according to the constitution of our 

most pious and beloved of God emperors assembled together at Chalcedon the city of Bithynia, in the 

martyry of the most holy and victorious Martyr Euphemia to Dioscorus. 

We do you to wit that on the thirteenth day of the month of October you were deposed from the episcopate 

and made a stranger to all ecclesiastical order (<greek>qesmou</greek>) by the holy and ecumenical 

synod, on account of your disregard of the divine canons, and of your disobedience to this holy and 

ecumenical synod and on account of the other crimes of which you have been found guilty, for even when 

called to answer your accusers three times by this holy and great synod according to the divine canons you 

did not come. 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 469.) 

The most magnificent and glorious judges and the great Senate said: 

Let the reverend council now declare what seems good concerning the faith, since those things which have 

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already been disposed of have been made manifest. Paschasinus and Lucentius, the most reverend 
bishops, and Boniface the most reverend presbyter, legates of the Apostolic See through that most 
reverend man, bishop Paschasinus said: As the holy and blessed and Ecumenical Synod holds fast and 
follows the rule of faith (fidei regulam in the Latin Acts) which was set forth by the fathers at Nice, it also 
confirms the faith set forth by the Synod of 1 50 fathers gathered at Constantinople at the bidding of the great 
Theodosius of blessed memory. Moreover the exposition of their faith, of the illustrious Cyril of blessed 
memory set forth at the Council of Ephesus (in which Nestorius was condemned) is received. And in the third 
place the writings of that blessed man, Leo, Archbishop of all the churches, who condemned the heresy of 
Nestorius and Eutyches, shew what the true faith is. Likewise the holy Synod holds this faith, this it follows - 
nothing further can it add nor can it take aught away. 

When this had been translated into Greek by Beronician, the devout secretary of the divine consistory, the 
most reverend bishops tried out: So we all believe, so we were baptized, so we baptize, so we have 
believed, so we now believe. 

The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Since we see that the Holy Gospels have been 
placed alongside of your holiness, let each one of the bishops here assembled declare whether the epistle 
of most blessed archbishop Leo is in accordance with the exposition of the 318 fathers assembled at Nice 
and with the decrees of the 150 fathers afterwards assembled in the royal city. 

[To this question the bishops answered one by one, until 161 separate opinions had been given, when the 
rest of the bishops were asked by the imperial judges to give their votes in a body (col. 508).] 

All the most reverend bishops cried out: We all acquiesce, we all believe thus; we are all of the same mind. 
So are we minded, so we believe, etc., etc. 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 555.) 

Paschasinus and Lucentius the most reverend bishops and Boniface a presbyter, vicars of the Apostolic 
See of Rome, said: If they do not agree to the letter of that apostolic and blessed man, Pope Leo, give 
directions that we be given our letters of dismission, and let a synod be held there [i. e. in the West]. 

[A long debate then followed as to whether the decree drawn up and presented should be accepted. This 
seems to have been the mind of most of the bishops. At last the commissioners proposed a committee of 
twenty-two to meet with them and report to the council, and the Emperor imposed this with the threat that 
otherwise they all should be sent home and a new council called in the West. Even this did not make them 
yield (col. 560.)] 

The most reverend bishops cried out: Many years to the Emperor! Either let the definition [i.e. the one 

presented at this session] stand or we go. Many years to the Emperor! 

Cecropius, the most reverend bishop of Sebastopol, said: We ask that the definition be read again and that 

those who dissent from it, and will not sign, may go about their business; for we give our consent to these 

things which have been so beautifully drafted, and make no criticisms. 

The most blessed bishops of lllyria said: Let those who contradict be made manifest. Those who contradict 

are Nestorians. Those who contradict, let them go to Rome. 

The most magnificent and most glorious judges said: Dioscorus acknowledged that he accepted the 

expression "of two natures," but not that there were two natures. But the most holy archbishop Leo says that 

there are two natures in Christ unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly united in the one only-begotten 

Son our Saviour. Which would you follow, the most holy Leo or Dioscorus? 

The most reverend bishops cried out: We believe as Leo. Those who contradict are Eutychians. Leo hath 

rightly expounded the faith. 

The most magnificent and glorious judges said: Add then to the definition, according to the judgment of our 

most holy father Leo, that there are two natures in Christ united unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly. 

[The Committee then sat in the oratory of the most holy martyr Euphemis and afterward,s reported a 
definition of faith which while teaching the same doctrine was not the Tome of Leo (col. 562).] 


(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 562.) 

The holy, great, and ecumenical synod, assembled by the grace of God and the command of our most 

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religious and Christian Emperors, Marcian and Valentinan, Augusti, at Chalcedon, the metropolis of the 
Bithynian Province, in the martyry of the holy and victorious martyr Euphemia, has decreed as follows: 
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when strengthening the knowledge of the Faith in his disciples, to the 
end that no one might disagree with his neighbour concerning the doctrines of religion, and that the 
proclamation of the truth might be set forth equally to all men, said, "My peace I leave with you, my peace I 
give unto you." But, since the evil one does not desist from sowing tares among the seeds of godliness, but 
ever invents some new device against the truth; therefore the Lord, providing, as he ever does, for the 
human race, has raised up this pious, faithful, and zealous Sovereign, and has called together unto him from 
all parts the chief rulers of the priesthood; so that, the grace of Christ our common Lord inspiring us, we may 
cast off every plague of falsehood from the sheep of Christ, and feed them with the tender leaves of truth. 
And this have we done with one unanimous consent, driving away erroneous doctrines and renewing the 
unerring faith of the Fathers, publishing to all men the Creed of the Three Hundred and Eighteen, and to their 
number adding, as their peers, the Fathers who have received the same summary of religion. Such are the 
One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers who afterwards assembled in the great Constantinople and ratified the 
same faith. Moreover, observing the order and every form relating to the faith, which was observed by the 
holy synod formerly held in Ephesus, of which Celestine of Rome and Cyril of Alexandria, of holy memory, 
were the leaders, we do declare that the exposition of the right and blameless faith made by the Three 
Hundred and Eighteen holy and blessed Fathers, assembled at Nice in the reign of Constantine of pious 
memory, shall be pre-eminent: and that those things shall be offeree also. 



(Ep. to St. Leo. Migne, Pat. Lat., Tom. LIV. [Leo. M., Opera, Tom. I J col. 978.) 

Since after judgment had been delivered concerning him, there was need that all should agree in the right 
faith (for which purpose the most pious emperor had with the greatest pains assembled the holy Synod) with 
prayer and tears, your holiness being present with us in spirit and co-operating with us through those most 
God-beloved men whom you had sent to us, having as our protector the most holy and most comely Martyr 
Euphemia, we gave ourselves up entirely to this salutary work, all other matters being laid aside. And when 
the crisis demanded that all the most holy bishops gathered together should set forth an unanimous 
definition (<greek>sumfwnon</greek> <greek>oron</greek>) for the explanation and clearer understanding 
of our confession of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord God was found appearing to them that sought him not, 
and even to them that asked not for him. And although some from the beginning contentiously made 
opposition, he shewed forth nevertheless his truth and so disposed flyings that an unanimous and 
uncontradicted writing was published by us all, which confirmed the souls of the stable, and inviting to the 
way of truth all who had declined therefrom. And when we had subscribed with unanimous consent, the chart, 
we all with one consent, that is our whole synod, entered the martyry of the most holy and triumphant martyr 
Euphemia, and when at the prayer of our most pious and beloved of Christ Emperor Marcian, and of our 
most pious and in all respects faithful Empress, our daughter and Augusta Pulcheria, with joy, and hilarity we 
placed upon the holy altar the decision which we had written for the confirmation of the faith of our fathers in 
accordance with that holy letter you sent us; and then handed it to their piety, that they might receive it as 
they had asked for it. And when they had received it they gave glory with us to Christ the Lord, who had 
driven away the darkness of wicked opinion, and had illustrated with the greatest unanimity the word of truth, 
etc. which were decreed by the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers at Constantinople, for the uprooting of 
the heresies which had then sprung up, and for the confirmation of the same Catholic and Apostolic Faith of 

The Creed of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at Nice. 

We believe in one God, etc. 

Item, the Creed of the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers who were assembled at Constantinople. 

We believe in one God, etc. 

This wise and salutary formula of divine grace sufficed for the perfect knowledge and confirmation of 
religion; for it teaches the perfect [doctrine] concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and sets forth the 
Incarnation of the Lord to them that faithfully receive it. But, forasmuch as persons undertaking to make void 

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the preaching of the truth have through their individual heresies given rise to empty babblings; some of them 
daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord's incarnation for us and refusing [to use] the name Mother of God 
(<greek>Qeotokos</greek>) in reference to the Virgin, while others, bringing in a confusion and mixture, and 
idly conceiving that the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead is all one, maintaining that the divine Nature 
of the Only Begotten is, by mixture, capable of suffering; therefore this present holy, great, and ecumenical 
synod, desiring to exclude every device against the Truth, and teaching that which is unchanged from the 
beginning, has at the very outset decreed that the faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers shall be 
preserved inviolate. And on account of them that contend against the Holy Ghost, it confirms the doctrine 
afterwards delivered concerning the substance of the Spirit by the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers who 
assembled in the imperial City; which doctrine they declared unto all men, not as though they were 
introducing anything that had been lacking in their predecessors, but in order to explain through written 
documents their faith concerning the Holy Ghost against those who were seeking to destroy his sovereignty. 
And, From this passage can easily be understood the very obscure passage in the letter of the Council to 
Leo, where it says that the definition was delivered by St. Euphemia as her own confession of faith. Vide 
note of the Ballerini on this epistle of Anatolius. 


(Hist, of the Councils. Vol. III., p. 348.) 

The present Greek text has <greek>ek</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusewn</greek> while the old 
Latin translation has, in duabus naturis. After what had been repeatedly said in this session on the difference 
between "in two natures" and "of two natures," and in opposition to the latter formula, there can be no doubt 
whatever that the old Latin translator had the more accurate text before him, and that it was originally 
<greek>en</greek> <greek>do</greek> <greek>fusesin</greek>. This, however, is not mere supposition, 
but is expressly testified by antiquity: (1) by the famous Abbot Euthymius of Palestine, a contemporary of the 
Council of Chalcedon, of whose disciples several were present as bishops at our Council (cf. Baron, ad. 
ann. 451, n. 152 sq.). We still have a judgment of his which he gave respecting the decree of Chalcedon 
concerning the faith, and in which he repeats the leading doctrine in the words of the Synod itself. At our 
passage he remarks: <greek>en</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusesi</greek> 
<greek>gnwrizes</greek> <greek>qnwrizesqai</greek> <greek>omologei</greek> <greek>ton</greek> 
<greek>ena</greek> X<greek>riston</greek> <greek>k</greek>.<s.235>. <greek>l</greek>. The fragment 
of his writings on the subject is found in the Vita S. Euthymii Abbatis, written by his pupil Cyril in the Analecta 
Groeca of the monks of St. Maur, t. i., p. 57, printed in Mansi, t. vii., p. 774 sq. (2) The second ancient witness 
is Severus, from A.D. 513 Monophysite patriarch of Antioch, who represents it as a great reproach and an 
unpardonable offence in the fathers of Chalcedon that they had declared: <greek>en</greek> 
<greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusesin</greek> <greek>adiairetois</greek> <greek>gnwrizes</greek> 
<greek>qai</greek> <greek>ton</greek> X<greek>riston</greek> (see the Sententioe Severi in Mansi, t. 
vii., p. 839). (3) Somewhat more than a hundred years after the Council of Chalcedon, Evagrius copied its 
decree concerning the faith in extenso into his Church History (lib. ii., 4), and, in fact, with the words: 
<greek>en</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusesiu</greek> <greek>asugkutws</greek> 
<greek>k</greek>.<greek>t</greek>.<greek>l</greek>. (ed. Mog., p. 294). (4) In the conference on religion 
held between the Severians and the orthodox at Constantinople, A.D. 553, the former reproached the Synod 
of Chalcedon with having put in duabus naturis, instead of ex duabus naturis, as Cyril and the old fathers had 
taught (Mansi, t. viii., p. 892; Hardouin, t. ii., p. 1 162). (5) Leontius of Byzantium maintains quite on account of 
those who have taken in hand to corrupt the mystery of the dispensation [i.e. the Incarnation] and who 
shamelessly pretend that he who was born of the holy Virgin Mary was a mere man, it receives the 
synodical letters of the Blessed Cyril, Pastor of the Church of Alexandria, addressed to Nestorius and the 
Easterns, judging them suitable, for the refutation of the frenzied folly of Nestorius, and for the instruction of 
those who long with holy ardour for a knowledge of the saving symbol. And, for the confirmation of the 
orthodox doctrines, it has rightly added to these the letter of the President of the great and old Rome, the 
most blessed and holy Archbishop Leo, which was addressed to Archbishop Flavian of blessed memory, 
for the removal of the false doctrines of Eutyches, judging them to be agreeable to the confession of the 
great Peter, and as it were a common pillar against misbelievers. For it opposes those who would rend the 
mystery of the dispensation into a Duad of Sons; it repels from the sacred assembly those who dare to say 
that the Godhead of the Only Begotten is capable of suffering; it resists those who imagine a mixture or 
confusion of the two natures of Christ; it drives away those who fancy his form of a servant is of an heavenly 
or some substance other than that which was taken of us, and it anathematizes those who foolishly talk of 
two natures of our Lord before the union, conceiving that after the union there was only one. 
Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be 

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confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God 
and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as 
touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made in all things like unto us, 
sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days 
for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his 
manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in 
two natures, (1) unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, distinctly, in the year 610, in his work De Sectis, that the 
Synod taught <greek>ena</greek> <greek>krioton</greek> <greek>en</greek> <greek>duo</greek> 
<greek>futesin</greek> <greek>asugkutws</greek> 

It is clear that if any doubt had then existed as to the correct reading, Leontius could not have opposed the 
Monophysites with such certainty. The passage adduced by him is Actio iv., c. 7., in Galland. Bibliotheca 
PP., t. xii., p. 633. Gieseler (Kirchengesch. i., S. 465), and after him Hahn (Biblioth. derSymbole, S. 118, note 
6), cites incorrectly the fourth instead of the fifth Actio. Perhaps neither of them had consulted the passage 
itself. (6) No less weight is to be attached to the fact that all the Latin translations, that of Rusticus and those 
before him, have in duabus naturis; and (7) that the Lateran Synod, A.D. 649, had the same reading in their 
Acts (Hardouin, t. Hi., p. 835). (8) Pope Agatho, also, in his letter to the Emperor Constans II., which was read 
in the sixth Ecumenical Synod, adduced the creed of Chalcedon with the words in duabus naturis (in the Acts 
of the sixth Ecumenical Council, Actio iv.; in Mansi, t. xi., p. 256; Hardouin, t. Hi., p. 1091). In consequence of 
this, most scholars of recent times, e.g., Tillemont, Walch (Bibloth. symbol veter., p. 106), Hahn (1. a), 
Gieseler (1 . a), Neander (Abthl ii., 2 of Bd. iv., S. 988), have declared <greek>en</greek> 
<greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusesin</greek> to be the original and correct reading. Neander adds: "The 
whole process of the transactions of the Council shows this (that <greek>en</greek> <greek>duo</greek> 
is the correct reading). Evidently the earlier creed, which was more favourable to the Egyptian doctrine, 
contained the <greek>ek</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusewn</greek> and the favour shown to 
the other party came out chiefly in the change of the <greek>ek</greek> into <greek>en</greek>. The 
expression <greek>ek</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusewn</greek> besides, does not fit the 
place, the verb <greek>gnwrizomenon</greek> points rather to the original <greek>en</greek>. The 
<greek>en</greek> <greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusesin</greek> or <greek>ek</greek> 
<greek>duo</greek> <greek>fusewn</greek> was the turning-point of the whole controversy between 
Monophysitism and Dyophysitism." Cf., on the other side, Baur, Trinitatslehre, Bd. i., S. 820, and Dorner 
(Lehre v. der Person Christi, Thl. ii., S. 129), where it is maintained that <greek>ek</greek> is the correct and 
original reading, but that it was from the beginning purposely altered by the Westerns into in; moreover, that 
<greek>ek</greek> fits better than <greek>en</greek> with <greek>gnwrizomenon</greek>, and therefore 
that it had been allowed as a concession to the Monophysites. The meaning, moreover, they say, of 
<greek>ek</greek> and <greek>en</greek> is essentially the same, and the one and the other alike 
excluded Monophysitism. inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away 
by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one 
Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and 
only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning 
him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us. 
These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest accuracy and attention, the holy 
Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith 
(<greek>eteran</greek> <greek>pistin</greek>), nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to 
teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to 
deliver a different Creed (<greek>eteron</greek> <greek>sumbolon</greek>) to as wish to be converted to 
the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics 
let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks 
or laics: let them be anathematized. 

After the reading of the definition, all the most religious Bishops cried out: This is the faith of the fathers: let 
the metropolitans forthwith subscribe it: let them forthwith, in the presence of the judges, subscribe it: let that 
which has been well defined have no delay: this is the faith of the Apostles: by this we all stand: thus we all 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 611.) 

[The Emperor was present in person and addressed the Council and afterwards suggested legislation 

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under three heads, the drafts for which were read.] 

After this reading, the capitulas were handed by our most sacred and pious prince to the most beloved of 
God Anatolius, archbishop of royal Constantinople, which is New Rome, and all the most God-beloved 
bishops cried out: Many years to our Emperor and Empress, the pious, the Christian. May Christ whom thou 
servest keep thee. These things are worthy of the faith. To the Priest, the Emperor. Thou hast straightened 
out the churches, victor of thine enemies, teacher of the faith. Many years to the pious Empress, the lover of 
Christ. Many years to her that is orthodox. May God save your kingdom. Ye have put down the heretics, ye 
have kept the faith. May hatred be far removed from your empire, and may your kingdom endure for ever! 
Our most sacred and pious prince said to the holy synod: To the honour of the holy martyr Euphemia, and of 
your holiness, we decree that the city of Chalcedon, in which the synod of the holy faith has been held, shall 
have the honours of a metropolis, in name only giving it this honour, the proper dignity of the city of 
Nicomedia being preserved. All cried out, etc., etc. 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 618.) 

The most magnificent and glorious judges said: . . . The arrangement arrived at through the agreement of 
the most holy Maximus, the bishop of the city of Antioch, and of the most holy Juvenal, the bishop of 
Jerusalem, as the attestation of each of them declares, shall remain firm for ever, through our decree and 
the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the most holy bishop Maximus, or rather the most holy church of 
Antioch, shall have under its own jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the most holy Juvenal, 
bishop of Jerusalem, or rather the most holy Church which is under him, shall have under his own power the 
three Palestines, all imperial pragmatics and letters and penalties being done away according to the 
bidding of our most sacred and pious prince. 


The Ballerini, in their notes to the Works of St. Leo (Migne, Pat. Lat, LV., col. 733 et seqq.), cite fragments of 
the Acts of this council, which if they can be trusted, shew that this matter of the rights of Antioch and 
Jerusalem was treated of again at a subsequent session (on Oct. 31) and determined in the same fashion. 
These fragments have generally been received as genuine, and have been inserted by Mansi (Toni. vii., 
722 C.) in his Concilia. 

The notes of the Ballerini may also be read with profit, in the same volume of Migne's Latin Patrology, col. 
737 et seq. 



(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 706.) 

The most glorious judges said: Since the proposition of the God-beloved archbishop of royal 
Constantinople, Anatolius, and of the most reverend bishop Paschasinus, holding the place of Leo, the most 
God-beloved archbishop of old Rome, which orders that because both of them [i.e., Bassianus and 
Stephen] acted uncanonically, neither of them should rule, nor be called bishop of the most holy church off 
Ephesus, and since the whole holy synod taught that uncanonically they had performed these ordinations, 
and had agreed with the speeches of the most reverend bishops; the most reverend Bassianus and the 
most reverend Stephen will be removed from the holy church of Ephesus; but they shall enjoy the episcopal 
dignity, and from the revenues of the before-mentioned most holy church, for their nourishment and 
consolation, they shall receive each year two hundred gold pieces; and another bishop shall be ordained 
according to the canons for the most holy church. (1) 

And the whole holy synod cried out: This is a just sentence. This is a pious scheme. These things are fair to 
look upon. 

The most reverend bishop Bassianus said: Pray give order that what was stolen from me be restored. 
The most glorious judges said: If anytiring belonging to the most reverend bishop Bassianus personally 
has been taken from him, either by the most reverend bishop Stephen, or by any other persons whatsoever, 
this shall be restored, after judicial proof, by them who took it away or caused it to be taken. 

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(Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. IV., col. 715.) 

The most glorious judges said [after the reading of the imperial letters was finished]: These divine letters 

say nothing whatever with regard to the episcopate, but both refer to honour belonging to metropolitan cities. 

But the sacred letters of Valentinian and Valens of divine memory, which then bestowed metropolitan rights 

upon the city of Nice, carefully provided that nothing should be taken away from other cities. And the canon 

of the holy fathers decreed that there should be one metropolis in each province. What therefore is the 

pleasure of the holy synod in this matter? 

The holy synod cried out: Let the canons be kept. Let the canons be sufficient. 

Atticus the most reverend bishop of old Nicepolis in Epirus said: The canon thus defines, that a metropolitan 

should have jurisdiction in each province, and he should constitute all the bishops who are in that province. 

And this is the meaning of the canon. Now the bishop of Nicomedia, since from the beginning this was a 

metropolis, ought to ordain all the bishops who are in that province. 

The holy synod said: This is what we all wish, this we all pray for, let this everywhere be observed, this is 

pleasing to all of us. 

John, Constantine, Patrick [Peter] and the rest of the most reverend bishops of the Pentic diocese [through 

John who was one of them] said: The canons recognize the one more ancient as the metropolitan. And it is 

manifest that the most religious bishop of Nicemedia has the right of the ordination, and since the laws (as 

your magnificence has seen) have honoured Nice with the name only of metropolis, and so made its bishop 

superior to the rest of the bishops of the province in honour only. 

The holy synod said: They have taught in accordance with the canons, beautifully have they taught. We all 

say the same things. 

[Aetius, Archdeacon of Constantinople, then put in a plea to save the rights of the throne of the royal city.] 

The most glorious judges said: The most reverend the bishop of Nicomedia shall have the authority of 
metropolitan over the churches of the province of Bithynia, and Nice shall have the honour only of 
Metropolitical rank, submitting itself according to the example of the other bishops of the province of 
Nicomedia. For such is the pleasure of the Holy Synod. 



WE have judged it fight that the canons of the Holy Fathers made in every synod even until now, should 
remain in force. 



The canons of every Synod of the holy Fathers shall be observed. 


Before the holding of the Council of Chalcedon, in the Greek Church, the canons of several synods, which 
were held previously, were gathered into one collection and provided with continuous numbers, and such a 
collection of canons, as we have seen, lay before the Synod of Chalcedon. As, however, most of the 
synods whose canons were received into the collection, e.g. those of Neocaesarea, Ancyra, Gangra, 
Antioch, were certainly not Ecumenical Councils, and were even to some extent of doubtful authority, such 
as the Antiochene Synod of 341 , the confirmation of the Ecumenical Synod was now given to them, in order 
to raise them to the position of universally and unconditionally valid ecclesiastical rules. It is admirably 
remarked by the Emperor Justinian, in his 131st Novel, cap.j.; "We honour the doctrinal decrees of the first 
four Councils as we do Holy Scripture, but the canons given or approved by them as we do the laws." 

It seems quite impossible to determine just what councils are included in this list, the Council in Trullo has 
entirely removed this ambiguity in its second canon. 

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This canon is found in the Corpus, Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXV., Qusest. 1 , can. 


IF any Bishop should ordain for money, and put to sale a grace which cannot be sold, and for money ordain 
a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or presbyters, or deacons, or any other of those who are counted among the 
clergy; or if through lust of gain he should nominate for money a steward, or advocate, or prosmonarius, or 
any one whatever who is on the roll of the Church, let him who is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let 
him who is ordained be nothing profited by the purchased ordination or promotion; but let him be removed 
from the dignity or charge he has obtained for money. And if any one should be found negotiating such 
shameful and unlawful transactions, let him also, if he is a clergyman, be deposed from his rank, and if he is 
a layman or monk, let him be anathematized. 



Whoso buys or sells an ordination, down to a Prosmonarius, shall be in danger of losing his grade. Such 
shall also be the case with go-betweens, if they be clerics they shall be cut off from their rank, if laymen or 
monks, they shall be anathematized. 


A great scandal in the "Asian diocese" had led to St. Chrysostom's intervention. Antoninus, bishop of 
Ephesus, was charged, with "making it a rule to sell ordinations of bishops at rates proportionate to the 
value of their sees" (Palladius, Dial, de vita Chrysost, p. 50). Chrysostom held a synod at Ephesus, at which 
six bishops were deposed for having obtained their sees in this manner. Isidore of Pelasium repeatedly 
remonstrated with his bishop Eusebius on the heinousness of "selling the gift" of ordinations (Epist. I., 26, 30, 
37); and names Zosimus, a priest, and Maron, a deacon, as thus ordained (ib. 1 1 1 ,1 19). A few years before 
the council, a court of three bishops sat at Berytus to hear charges brought against Ibas, bishop of Edessa, 
by clerics of his diocese. The third charge was thus curtly worded: "Moreover he receives for laying on 
hands" (Mansi, vii. 224). The xxvijth Trullan canon repeated this canon of Chalcedon against persons 
ordained for money, doubtless in view of such a state of things as Gregory the Great had heard of nearly a 
century earlier, "that in the Eastern Churches no one comes to holy order except by the payment of 
premiums" (Epist. xi. 46, to the bishop of Jerusalem; compare Evagrius's assertion that Justin II. openly sold 
bishoprics, V. 1). It is easy to understand how the scruples of ecclesiastics could be abated by the courtly 
fashion of calling bribes "eulogiae" (Fleury, XXVI, 20), just as the six prelates above referred to had 
regarded their payments as an equivalent for that "making over of property to the Curia," which was required 
by a law of 399 (Cod. Theod., xii. 1, 163, see notes in Transl. of Fleury, i. 163, ij. 16). 
The <greek>ekdikos</greek>, "defensor," was an official Advocate or counsel for the Church. The legal 
force of the term "defensor" is indicated by a law of Valentinian I. "Nee idem in codera negotio defensor sit 
et quaesitor" (Cod. Theod., ii. 10, 2). In the East the office was held by ecclesiastics; thus, John, presbyter 
and "advocate" was employed, at the Council of Constantinople in 448, to summon Eutyches (Mansi, vii. 
697). About 496, Paul the "Advocate" of Constantinople saved his archbishop from the sword of a murderer 
at the cost of his own life (Theodor., Lect. ii. 11). In the list of the functionaries of St. Sophia, given by Goat in 
his Euchologion (p. 270), the Protecdicos is discribed as adjudicating, with twelve assessors, in smaller 
causes, on which he afterwards reports to the bishop. In Africa, on the other hand, from A. D. 407 (see Cod. 
Theod., xvi. 2, 38), the office was held by barristers, in accordance with a request of the African bishops 
(Cod. Afrio, 97; Mansi, Hi., 802), who, six years earlier, had asked for "defensores," with special reference to 
the oppression of the poor by the rich (Cod. Afric, 75; Mansi, iii. 778, 970). The "defensores" mentioned by 
Gregory the Great had primarily to take care of the poor (Epist., v. 29), and of the church property (ib, i. 36), 
but also to be advocates of injured clerics (ib., ix. 64) and act as assessors (ib., x. 1), etc. 
The next office is that of the Prosmonarius or, according to a various reading adopted by many (e.g. 
Justellus, Hervetus, Beveridge, Bingham), the Paramonarius. Opinions differ as to the functions intended. 
Isidore gives simply "paramonarius:" Dionysius (see Justellus, Biblioth., i., 134) omits the word; but in the 
"interpretario Dionysii," as given in the Concilia, freedom has been taken to insert "vel mansionarium" in a 
parenthesis (vii. 373; see Beveridge, in loo). Mansionarius is a literal rendering; but what was the function of 
a mansionarius? In Gregory the Great's time he was a sacristan who had the duty of lighting the church 

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(Dial., i. 5); and "ostiarium" in the Prisca implies the same idea. Tillemont, without deciding between the two 
Greek readings, thinks that the person intended had "some charge of what pertained to the church itself, 
perhaps like our present bedells" (xv. 694). So Fleury renders, "concierge" (xxviij. 29); and Newman, 
reading "paramonarion," takes a like view (note in Transl. of Fleury, vol. Hi., p. 392). But Justellus (i. 91) 
derives "paramonarius" from <greek>monh</greek> "mansio," a halting-place, so that the sense would be 
a manager of one of the church's farms, a "villicus," or, as Bingham expresses it, "a bailiff' (iii. 3,1). 
Beveridge agrees with Justellus, except in giving to <greek>mmonh</greek> the sense of "monastery" 
(compare the use of <greek>monh</greek> in Athan., Apol. c. Arion, 67, where Valesius understands it as "a 
station" on a road, but others as "a monastery," see Historical Writings of St. Athanasius, Introd., p. xliv.). 
Bingham also prefers this interpretation. Suitor takes it as required by "paramonarios" which he treats as the 
true reading: "prosmonarios" he thinks would have the sense of "sacristan." 


According to Van Espen, however, who here supports himself upon Du Cange, by "prosmonarios" or 
"mansionarius," in the same way as by "oiconomos," a steward of church property was to be understood. 

The canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa I., Quaest. i., can. viii. 


IT has come to [the knowledge of] the holy Synod that certain of those who are enrolled among the clergy 
have, through lust of gain, become hirers of other men's possessions, and make contracts pertaining to 
secular affairs, lightly esteeming the service of God, and slip into the houses of secular persons, whose 
property they undertake through covetousness to manage. Wherefore the great and holy Synod decrees 
that henceforth no bishop, clergyman, nor monk shall hire possessions, or engage in business, or occupy 
himself in worldly engagements, unless he shall be called by the law to the guardianship of minors, from 
which there is no escape; or unless the bishop of the city shall commit to him the care of ecclesiastical 
business, or of unprovided orphans or widows and of persons who stand especially in need of the Church's 
help, through the fear of God. And if any one shall hereafter transgress these decrees, he shall be subjected 
to ecclesiastical penalties. 



Those who assume the care of secular houses should be corrected, unless perchance the law called them 
to the administration of those not yet come of age, from which there is no exemption. Unless further their 
Bishop permits them to take care of orphans and widows. 


These two cases excepted, the undertaking of secular business was made ecclesiastically penal. Yet this 
is not to be construed as forbidding clerics to work at trades either (1) when the church-funds were 
insufficient to maintain them, or (2) in order to have more to bestow in alms, or (3) as an example of industry 
or humility. Thus, most of the clergy of Caesarea in Cappadocia practised sedentary trades for a livelihood 
(Basil, Epist., cxcviii., 1); and some African canons allow, or even direct, a cleric to live by a trade, provided 
that his clerical duties are not neglected (Mansi, iii., 955). At an earlier time Spyridion, the famous Cypriot 
bishop, still one of the most popular saints in the Levant (Stanley's East. Church, p. 126), retained, out of 
humility (<greek>atufian</greek> <greek>pollho</greek>, Soc. i. 12), his occupation as a shepherd; and in 
the latter part of the fourth century Zeno, bishop of Maiuma, wove linen, partly to supply his own wants, and 
partly to obtain means of helping the poor (Soz., vii. 28). Sidonius mentions a "reader" who maintained 
himself by commercial transactions (Epist., vi. 8), and in the Anglo-Saxon Church, although presbyters were 
forbidden to become "negotiorum saecularium dispositores" (C1 . of Clovesho in 747, c. 8), or to be 
"mongers and covetous merchants" (Elfric's canons, xxx.), yet the canons of King Edgar's reign ordered 
every priest "diligently to learn a handicraft" (No. 1 1 ; Wilkins, i. 225). In short, it was not the mere fact of 
secular employment, but secularity of motive and of tone that was condemned. 

This canon was the second of these proposed by the Emperor, and is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, 
Gratian's Decretum, Pars I. Dist. Ixxxvi., C. xxvj. 

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LET those who truly and sincerely lead the monastic life be counted worthy of becoming honour; but, 
forasmuch as certain persons using the pretext of monasticism bring confusion both upon the churches and 
into political affairs by going about promiscuously in the cities, and at the same time seeking to establish 
Monasteries for themselves; it is decreed that no one anywhere build or found a monastery or oratory 
contrary to the will of the bishop of the city; and that the monks in every city and district shall be subject to the 
bishop, and embrace a quiet course of life, and give themselves only to fasting and prayer, remaining 
permanently in the places in which they were set apart; and they shall meddle neither in ecclesiastical nor in 
secular affairs, nor leave their own monasteries to take part in such; unless, indeed, they should at any time 
through urgent necessity be appointed thereto by the bishop of the city. And no slave shall be received into 
any monastery to become a monk against the will of his master. And if any one shall transgress this our 
judgment, we have decreed that he shall be excommunicated, that the name of God be not blasphemed. 
But the bishop of the city must make the needful provision for the monasteries. 



Domestic oratories and monasteries are not to be erected contrary to the judgment of the bishop. Every 
monk must be subject to his bishop, and must not leave his house except at his suggestion. A slave, 
however, can not enter the monastic life without the consent of his master. 


Like the previous canon, this one was brought forward by the Emperor Marcian in the sixth session, and then 
as number one, and the synod accepted the Emperor's proposed canon almost verbally. Occasion for this 
canon seems to have been given by monks of Eutychian tendencies, and especially by the Syrian 
Barsumas, as appears from the fourth session. He and his monks had, as Eutychians, withdrawn 
themselves from the jurisdiction of their bishops, whom they suspected of Nestorianism. 


Here observe (1) the definite assertion of episcopal authority over monks, as it is repeated for greater 
clearness in the last words of the canon, which are not found in Marcian's draft, "It is the duty of the bishop of 
the city to make due provision for the monasteries." and compare canons 8, 24. Isidore says that the bishop 
must "keep an eye on the negligences of monks" (Epist., i. 149). The Western Church followed in this track 
(see Council of Agde, canon xxvii., that "no new monastery is to be rounded without the bishop's approval," 
and 1st of Orleans, canon xix., "Let abbots be under the bishop's power," and also Vth of Paris, canon xij., 
Mansi, viii., 329, 354, 542, etc.), until a reaction set in against the oppressiveness of bishops, was 
encouraged by Gregory the Great (Epist., i. 12; ii. 41), the IVth Council of Toledo (canon li.), and the English 
Council of Hertford (canon iij., Bede, iv. 5, and Bright's Chapters of Early Engl. Ch. Hist., p. 244), and 
culminated in the system of monastic exemptions, of which Monte Cassino, St. Martin's of Tours, Fulda, 
Westminster, Battle (see Freeman, Norm. Conquest, iv. 409), and St Alban's were eminent instances. 

This canon, cut up and mutilated, is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decreturn, Pars II., Causa 
XVI., Quest. L, can. xij., and Causa XVIII., Quest. II., Canon X. 

I have followed the reading of the Prisca, and of Dionysius, of Routh, and of Balsamon, "they were set 
apart," i.e. (as Balsamon explains) where they received the monastic tonsure. This reading substitutes 
<greek>apetaxanto</greek> for <greek>epetaxanto</greek>, which would mean "over which they had 
been put in authority," or possibly (as Johnson) "where they are appointed," or as Hammond, "in which they 
have been settled." Isidore reads "ordinati sunt." 


CONCERNING bishops or clergymen who go about from city to city, it is decreed that the canons enacted 
by the Holy Fathers shall still retain their force. 

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Those who go from city to city shall be subject to the canon law on the subject. 

Clerical adventurers and brief pastorates are not the peculiar characteristics of any one century. 


It is supposed by Hefele that the bishops were thinking of the case of Bassian, who, in the eleventh session 
(Oct. 29), pleaded that he had been violently ejected from the see of Ephesus. Stephen the actual bishop, 
answered that Bassian had not been "ordained" for that see, but had invaded it and been justly expelled. 
Bassian rejoined that his original consecration for the see of Evasa had been forcible even to brutality; that 
he had never even visited Evasa, that therefore his appointment to Ephesus was not a translation. 
Ultimately, the Council cut the knot by ordering that a new bishop should be elected, Basalan and Stephen 
retaining the episcopal title and receiving allowances from the revenues of the see (Mansi, vii. 273 et seqq.) 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa VII., Quaest. I., can. xxij. 


NEITHER presbyter, deacon, nor any of the ecclesiastical order shall be ordained at large, nor unless the 
person ordained is particularly appointed to a church in a city or village, or to a martyry, or to a monastery. 
And if any have been ordained without a charge, the holy Synod decrees, to the reproach of the ordainer, 
that such an ordination shall be inoperative, and that such shall nowhere be suffered to officiate. 



In Martyries and Monasteries ordinations are strictly forbidden. Should any one be ordained therein, his 
ordination shall be reputed of no effect. 


The wording of the canon seems to intimate that the synod of Chalcedon held ordinations of this sort to be 
not only illicit but also invalid, irritis and cassis. Nor is this to be wondered at, if we take into account the 
pristine and ancient discipline of the church and the opinion of many of the Scholastics (Morinus, De SS. 
Ordinat., Parte III., Exercit. V., cap 


It is clear that our canon forbids the so-called absolute ordinations, and requires that every cleric must at the 
time of his ordination be designated to a definite church. The only titulus which is here recognized is that 
which was later known as titulus beneficii. As various kinds of this title we find here (a) the appointment to a 
church in the city; (b) to a village church; (c) that to the chapel of a martyr; (d) the appointment as chaplain of 
a monastery. For the right understanding of the last point, it must be remembered that the earliest monks 
were in no wise clerics, but that soon the custom was introduced in every larger convent, of having at least 
one monk ordained presbyter, that he might provide for divine service in the monastery. 
Similar prohibitions of ordinationes absolutoe were also put forth in after times. 

According to existing law, absolute ordinations, as is well known, are still illicitoe, but yet validoe, and even 
the Council of Chalcedon has not declared them to be properly invalidoe, but only as without effect (by 
permanent suspension). Cf Kober, Suspension, S. 220, and Hergenrother, Photius, etc., Bd. ii., S. 324. 


By the word <greek>marturiw</greek> ("martyry") is meant a church or chapel raised over a martyr's grave. 
So the Laodicene Council forbids Churchmen to visit the "martyries of heretics" (can. ix.). So Gregory of 

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Nyssa speaks of "the martyry" of the Holy Martyrs (Op. ii., 212); Chrysostom of a "martyry," and Palladius of 
"martyries" near Antioch (In Act. Apost. Horn., xxxviii. 5; Dial., p. 17), and Palladius of "the martyry of St. John" 
at Constantinople (Dial., p. 25). See Socrates, iv. 18, 23, on the "martyry" of St. Thomas at Edessa, and that 
of SS. Peter and Paul at Rome; and vi. 6, on the "martyry" of St. Euphenia at Chalcedon in which the Council 
actually met. In the distinct sense of a visible testimony, the word was applied to the church of the 
Resurrection at Jerusalem (Eusebius, Vit. Con., iii. 40, iv. 40; Mansi, vi. 564; Cyril, Catech., xiv. 3), and to the 
Holy Sepulchre itself (Vit. Con., iii. 28), Churches raised over martyrs' totals were called in the West 
"memorioe martyrum," see Cod. Afric, Ixxxiii. (compare Augustine, De Cura pro Mortuis, VI.). 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. Ixx., can. j. 


WE have decreed that those who have once been enrolled among the clergy, or have been made monks, 
shall accept neither a military charge nor any secular dignity; and if they shall presume to do so and not 
repent in such wise as to turn again to that which they had first chosen for the love of God, they shall be 



If any cleric or monk arrogantly affects the military or any other dignity, let him be cursed. 


Something similar was ordered by the Ixxxiii. (Ixxxii.) Apostolic Canon, only that it threatens the cleric who 
takes military service merely with deposition from his clerical office, while our canon subjects him to 
excommunication.The Greek commentators, Balsamon and Zonaras, think that our canon selects a more 
severe punishment, that of excommunication, because it has in view those clerics who have not merely 
taken military service, etc., but at the same time have laid aside their clerical dress and put on secular 


By <greek>strateian</greek> [which I have translated (or, as Canon Bright thinks, mistranslated) "military 
charge"], "militiam," is here meant, not military employment as such, but the public service in general. This 
use of the term is a relic and token of the military basis of the Roman monarchy. The court of the Imperator 
was called his camp, <greek>stratopedon</greek> (Cod. Theod., torn, ii.,, p. 22), as in Constantine's letter's 
to John Archaph and the Council of Tyre (Athan., Apol. c. Ari., Ixx. 86), and in the Vllth canon of Sardica, so 
Athanasius speaks of the "camp" of Constans (Apol. ad Constant, iv. ), and of that of Constantius at Milan 
(Hist. Ari., xxxvij.); so Hosius uses the same phrase in his letter to Constantius (ib. xliv.); so the Semi-Arian 
bishops, when addressing Jovian (Soz., vi. 4); so Chrysostom in the reign of Theodosius I. (Horn, ad Pop. 
Antioch, vi. 2). Similarly, there were officers of the palace called Castrensians (Tertull. De Cor., 12), as being 
"milites alius generis-de imperatoria familia" (Gothofred, Cod. Theod., torn, ii., p. 526). So 
<greek>strateusqai</greek> is used for holding a place at court, as in Soo, iv. 9; Soz., vi. 9, on Marcian's 
case, and a very clear passage in Soo, v. 25, where the verb is applied to an imperial secretary. It occurs in 
combination with <greek>strateia</greek> in a petition of an Alexandrian deacon named Theodore, which 
was read in the third session of Chalcedon: he says, 

"'E<greek>s</greek><s235]<greek>rateusamen</greek> for about twenty-two years in the Schola of the 
magistrians" (under the Magister officionum, or chief magistrate of the palace), "but I disregarded 
<greek>strateias</greek> <greek>tosutsn</greek> <greek>kronau</greek> in order to enter the ministry" 
(Mansi, vi. 1008). See also Theodoret, Relig. Hist., xij., on the emperor's letter-carriers. In the same sense 
Honorius, by a law of 408, forbids non-Catholics "intra palatium militare" (Cod Theod., xvi., 5, 42); and the 
Vandal king Hunneric speaks of "domusnostrae militiae" (Vic (4) r Vitens, iv. 2). 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars IL, Causa xx., Quaest. iii., Can. iij. 


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LET the clergy of the poor-houses, monasteries, and martyries remain under the authority of the bishops in 
every city according to the tradition of the holy Fathers; and let no one arrogantly cast off the rule of his own 
bishop; and if any shall contravene this canon in any way whatever, and will not be subject to their own 
bishop, if they be clergy, let them be subjected to canonical censure, and if they be monks or laymen, let 
them be excommunicated. 



Any clergyman is an almshouse or monastery must submit himself to the authority of the bishop of the city. 
But he who rebels against this let him pay the penalty. 


From this canon we learn that the synod of Chalcedon willed that all who were in charge of such pious 
institutions should be subject to the bishop, and in making this decree the synod only followed the tradition 
of the Fathers and Canons. Although in its first part the canon only mentions "clergymen," yet in the second 
part monks are named, and, as Balsamon and Zonoras point out, both are included. 


What a <greek>ptwkeioo</greek> was may be seen from what Gibbon calls the "noble and charitable 
foundation, almost a new city" (iii. 252), established by St. Basil at a little distance from Caesarea, and 
called in consequence the Basiliad. Gregory Nazianzen describes it as a large set of buildings with rooms 
for the sick, especially for lepers, and also for house-less travellers; "a storehouse of piety, where disease 
was borne philosophically, and sympathy was tested" (Orat., xliii., 63, compare Basil himself, Epist., xciv., on 
its staff of nurses and physicians and cl., 3). Sozomen calls it "a most celebrated resting-place for the poor," 
and names Prapidius as having been its warden while acting as "bishop over many villages" (vi. 34, see on 
Nio, viii.). Another <greek>ptwkotrofeion</greek> is mentioned by Basil (Epist., cxliij.) as governed by a 

St. Chrysostom, on coming to the see of Constantinople, ordered the excess of episcopal expenditure to be 
transferred to the hospital for the sick (<greek>nosokomeion</greek>), and "founded other such hospitals 
setting over them two pious presbyters, with physicians and cooks. ... so that foreigners arriving in the city, 
on being attacked by disease, might receive aid, both because it was a good work in itself, and for the glory 
of the Saviour" (Palladius, Dial., p. 19). At Ephesus Bassian founded a <greek>ptwkeitoo</greek> with 
seventy pallets for the sick (Mansi, vii., 277), and there were several such houses in Egypt (ib., vi., 1013; in 
the next century there was a hospital for the sick at Daphne near Antioch (Evagr., iv., 35). "The tradition of the 
holy fathers" is here cited as barring any claim on the part of clerics officiating in these institutions, or in 
monasteries or martyries, to be exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary. They are to "abide under it," and 
not to indulge selfwill by "turning restive" against their bishop's authority" (<greek>afhnixw</greek> is literally 
to get the bit between the teeth, and is used by Aetius for "not choosing to obey," Mansi, vii., 72). Those who 
dare to violate this clearly defined rule (<greek>diatupwsin</greek>, comp. <greek>tupos</greek> in Nic, 
xix.), and to refuse subjection to their own bishop, are, if clerics, to incur canonical censure, if monks or laics, 
to be excommunicated. The allusion to laics points to laymen as founders or benefactors of such 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XVIII., Q. II., canon x., 3. 


IF any Clergyman have a matter against another clergyman, he shall not forsake his bishop and run to 
secular courts; but let him first lay open the matter before his own Bishop, or let the matter be submitted to 
any person whom each of the parties may, with the Bishop's consent, select. And if any one shall 
contravene these decrees, let him be subjected to canonical penalties. And if a clergyman have a 
complaint against his own or any other bishop, let it be decided by the synod of the province. And if a 
bishop or clergyman should have a difference with the metropolitan of the province, let him have recourse to 
the Exarch of the Diocese, or to the throne of the Imperial City of Constantinople, and there let it be tried. 


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Litigious clerics shall be punished according to canon, if they despise the episcopal and resort to the 
secular tribunal. When a cleric has a contention with a bishop let him wait till the synod sits, and if a bishop 
have a contention with his metropolitan let him carry the case to Constantinople. 


Let the reader observe that here is a greater privilege given by a General Council to the see of 
Constantinople than ever was given by any council, even that of Sardica, to the bishop of Rome, viz., that 
any bishop or clergyman might at the first instance bring his cause before the bishop of Constantinople if the 
defendant were a metropolitan. 


That our canon would refer not merely the ecclesiastical, but the civil differences of the clergy, in the first 
case, to the bishop, is beyond a doubt. And it comes out as clearly from the word <greek>proteron</greek> 
(= at first) that it does not absolutely exclude a reference to the secular judges, but regards it as allowable 
only when the first attempt at an adjustment of the controversy by the bishop has miscarried. This was quite 
clearly recognized by Justinian in his 123d Novel, c. 21 : "If any one has a case against a cleric, or a monk, 
or a deaconess, or a nun, or an ascetic, he shall first make application to the bishop of his opponent, and he 
shall decide. If both parties are satisfied with his decision, it shall then be carried into effect by the imperial 
judge of the locality. If, however, one of the contending parties lodges an appeal against the bishop's 
judgment within ten days, then the imperial judge of the locality shall decide the matter. There is no doubt 
that the expression "Exarch" employed in our canon, and also in canon 17, means, in the first place, those 
superior metropolitans who have several ecclesiastical provinces under them. Whether, however, the great 
patriarchs, properly so called, are to be included under it, may be doubted. The Emperor Justinian, in c. 22 
of his Novel just quoted (I. c.) in our text has, without further explanation, substituted the expression Patriarch 
for Exarch, and in the same way the commentator Aristenus has declared both terms to be identical adding 
that only the Patriarch of Constantinople has the privilege of having a metropolitan tried before him who 
does not belong to his patriarchate, but is subject to another patriarch. In the same way our canon was 
understood by Beveridge. Van Espen, on the contrary, thinks that the Synod had here in view only the 
exarchs in file narrower sense (of Ephesus, Caesarea), but not the Patriarchs, properly so called, of Rome, 
Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, as it would be too great a violation of the ancient canons, particularly of 
the 6th of Nicaea, to have set aside the proper patriarch and have allowed an appeal to the Bishop of 
Constantinople (with this Zonaras also agrees in his explanation of canon 1 7). Least of all, however, would 
the Synod have made such a rule for the West, i.e., have allowed that any one should set aside the 
Patriarch of Rome and appeal to the Patriarch of Constantinople, since they themselves, in canon 28, 
assigned the first place in rank to Rome. 

It appears to me that neither Beveridge, etc., nor Van Espen are fully in the right, while each is partially so. 
With Van Espen we must assume that our Synod, in drawing up this canon, had in view only the Greek 
Church, and not the Latin as well, particularly as neither the papal legates nor any Latin bishop whatever 
was present at the drawing up of these canons. On the other hand, Beveridge is also right in maintaining that 
the Synod made no distinction between the patriarchs proper and the exarchs (such a distinction must 
otherwise have been indicated in the text), and allowed that quarrels which should arise among the bishops 
of other patriarchates might be tried at Constantinople. Only that Beveridge ought to have excepted the 
West and Rome. The strange part of our canon may be explained in the following manner. There were 
always many bishops at Constantinople from the most different places, who came there to lay their 
contentions and the like before the Emperor. The latter frequently referred the decision to the bishop of 
Constantinople, who then, in union with the then present bishops from the most different provinces, held a 
"Home Synod" and gave the sentence required at this. Thus gradually the practice was formed of 
controversies being decided by bishops of other patriarchates or exarchates at Constantinople, to the 
setting aside of the proper superior metropolitan, an example of which we have seen in that famous Synod 
of Constantinople, A.D. 448, at which the case of Eutyches was the first time brought forward. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XL, Q.I., canon xlvj. 


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IT shall not be lawful for a clergyman to be at the same time enrolled in the churches of two cities, that is, in 
the church in which he was at first ordained, and in another to which, because it is greater, he has removed 
from lust of empty honour. And those who do so shall be returned to their own church in which they were 
originally ordained, and there only shall they minister. But if any one has heretofore been removed from one 
church to another, he shall not intermeddle with the affairs of his former church, nor with the martyries, 
almshouses, and hostels belonging to it. And if, after the decree of this great and ecumenical Synod, any 
shall dare to do any of these things now forbidden, the synod decrees that he shall be degraded from his 



No cleric shall be recorded on the clergy-list of the churches of two cities. But if he shall have strayed forth, 
let him be returned to his former place. But if he has been transferred, let him have no share in the affairs of 
his former church. 

Van Espen, following Christian Lupus, remarks that this canon is opposed to pluralities. 

For if a clergyman has by presentation and institution obtained two churches, he is enrolled in two churches 
at the same time, contrary to this canon; but surely that this be the case, the two churches must needs be in 
two cities, and that, in the days of Chalcedon, meant in two dioceses. 


Here a new institution comes into view, of which there were many instances. Julian had directed Pagan 
hospices (<greek>xenodokeia</greek>) to be established on the Christian model (Epist. xlix.). The Basiliad 
at Caesarea was a <greek>xenodkeion</greek> as well as a <greek>ptwkeion</greek>; it contained 
<greek>katagwggia</greek> <greek>tois</greek> <greek>xenois</greek>, as well as for wayfayers, and 
those who needed assistance on account of illness, and Basil distinguished various classes of persons 
engaged in charitable ministrations, including those who escorted the traveller on his way 
(<greek>tous</greek> <greek>parapempontas</greek>, Epist. xciv.). Jerome writes to Pammachius: "I 
hear that you have made a 'xenodochion' in the port of Rome," and adds that he himself had built a 
"diversorium "for pilgrims to Bethlehem (Epist. xvi., 11, 14). Chrysostom reminds his auditors at 
Constantinople that "there is a common dwelling set apart by the Church," and "called a xenon" (in Act. 
Horn., xlv. 4). His friend Olympias was munificent to "xenotrophia" (Hint. Lausiac, 144). There was a 
xenodochion near the church of the monastic settlement at Nitria (ib., 7). Ischyrion, in his memorial read in the 
3d session of Chalcedon, complains of his patriarch Dioscorus for having misapplied funds bequeathed by 
a charitable lady <greek>xenewsi</greek> <greek>kai</greek> <greek>ptwkeiois</greek> in Egypt, and 
says that he himself had been confined by Dioscorus in a "xenon" for lepers (Mansi, vi. 1013, 1017). 
Justinian mentions xenodochia in Cod., i. 3, 49, and their wardens in Novell., 134, 16. Gregory the Great 
orders that the accounts of xenodochia should be audited by the bishop (Epist. iv., 27). Charles the Great 
provides for the restoration of decayed "senodochia" (Capitul. of 803; Pertz, Leg., i. 110); and Alcuin exhorts 
his pupil, archbishop Eanbald, to think where in the diocese of York he could establish "xenodochia, id est, 
hospitalia" (Epist. L.). 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXI., Q. L., canon jj., 
and again Causa XXI., Q. II., canon iij. 


WE have decreed that the poor and those needing assistance shall travel, after examination, with letters 
merely pacifical from the church, and not with letters commendatory, inasmuch as letters commendatory 
ought to be given only to persons who are open to suspicion. 



Let the poor who stand in need of help make their journey with letters pacificatory and not commendatory : 

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For letters commendatory should only be given to those who are open to suspicion. 


. . . The poor who need help should journey with letters pacificatory from the bishop, so that those who have 
the ability to help them may be moved with pity. These need no letters commendatory, such letters should 
be shown, however, by presbyters and deacons, and by the rest of the clergy. 

See notes on canons vii., viii., and xj. of Antioch; and on canon xlij. of Laodicea. 


The mediaeval commentators, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus, understand this canon to mean that 
letters of commendation, <greek>sustatikai</greek>, commendatitioe litteroe were given to those laymen 
and clerics who were previously subject to ecclesiastical censure, and therefore were suspected by other 
bishops, and for this reason needed a special recommendation, in order to be received in another church 
into the number of the faithful. The letters of peace (<greek>eirhnikai</greek>) on the contrary, were given to 
those who were in undisturbed communion with their bishop, and had not the least evil reputation abroad. 
Our canon was understood quite differently by the old Latin writers, Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, who 
translate the words <greek>en</greek> <greek>upolhyei</greek>by personoe honoratiores and clariores, 
and the learned Bishop Gabriel Aubespine of Orleans has endeavored to prove, in his notes to our canon, 
that the litteroe pacificoe were given to ordinary believers, and the commendatitioe 
(<greek>sutatikai</greek>) on the contrary, only to clerics and to distinguished laymen; and in favour of this 
view is the xiii. canon of Chalcedon. 

With regard to this much-vexed point, authorities are so divided that no absolute judgment can be arrived at. 
The interpretation I have followed is that of the Greeks and of Hervetus, which seems to be supported by 
Apostolic Canon XIII., and was that adopted by Johnson and Hammond. On the other hand are the Prisca, 
Dionysius, Isidore, Tillemont, Routh, and to these Bright seems to unite himself by sating that this "sense is 
the more natural." 


IT has come to our knowledge that certain persons, contrary to the laws of the Church, having had recourse 
to secular powers, have by means of imperial rescripts divided one Province into two, so that there are 
consequently two metropolitans in one province; therefore the holy Synod has decreed that for the future no 
such thing shall be attempted by a bishop, since he who shall undertake it shall be degraded from his rank. 
But the cities which have already been honoured by means of imperial letters with the name of metropolis, 
and the bishops in charge of them, shall take the bare title, all metropolitan rights being preserved to the true 



One province shall not be cut into two. Whoever shall do this shall be cast out of the episcopate. Such cities 
as are cut off by imperial rescript shall enjoy only the honour of having a bishop settled in them: but all the 
rights pertaining to the true metropolis shall be preserved. 


We learn from this canon, there were cases in which an ambitious prelate, "by making application to the 
government" ("secular powers") had obtained what are called "pragmatic letters," and employed them for 
the purpose of "dividing one province into two," and exalting himself as a metropolitan. The name of a 
"pragmatic sanction" is more familiar in regard to medieval and modern history; it recalls the name of St. 
Louis, and, still more, that of the Emperor Charles VI. the father of Maria Theresa. Properly a "pragmatic" 
was a deliberate order promulgated by the Emperor after full hearing of advice, on some public affair. We 
find "pragmatici nostri statuta" in a law of A.D. 431 . (Cod. Theod., xi. 1 , 36); and pragmatici prioris," "sub hac 
pragmatica jussione," in ordinances in Append, to Cod. Theod., pp. 95, 162; and the empress Pulcheria, 
about a year before the Council, had informed Leo that her husband Marcian had recalled some exiled 

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orthodox bishops "robore pragmatici sui" (Leon., Epist. Ixxvij.). Justinian speaks of "pragmaticas nostras 
formas" and "pragmaticum typum" (Novel., 7, 9, etc.). The phrase was adopted from his legislation by Louis 
the Pious and his colleague-son Lothar (compare Novel. 7, 2 with Pertz, Mon. Germ, Hist. Leg., i., 254), and 
hence it came to be used both by later German emperors (see, e.g., Bryce's Holy Roman Empire, p. 212), 
and by the French kings (Kitchin, Hist. France, i. 343, 544). Augustine explains it by "praeceptum imperatoris" 
(Brev. Collat. cum Donatist. Hi., 2), and Balsamon in his comment uses an equivalent phrase; and so in the 
record of the fourth session of Chalcedon we have <greek>qeia</greek> <greek>grammata</greek> 
("divine" being practically, equivalent to "imperial") explained by 

<greek>pragmat</greek><ss217><greek>koustupous</greek> (Mansi, vii., 89). We must observe that the 
imperial order, in the cases contemplated by the canon, had only conferred the title of "metropolis" on the 
city, and had not professed to divide the province for civil, much less for ecclesiastical, purposes. Valens, 
indeed, had divided the province of Cappadocia, when in 371 he made Tyana a metropolis: and therefore 
Anthimus, bishop of Tyana, when he claimed the position of a metropolitan, with authority over suffragans, 
was making a not unnatural inference in regard to ecclesiastical limits from political rearrangements of 
territory, as Gregory of Nazianzus says (Orat. xliii., 58), whereas Basil "held to the old custom," i.e., to the 
traditional unity of his provincial church, although after a while he submitted to what he could not hinder (see 
Tillemont, ix., 175, 182, 670). But in the case of Eustathius of Berytus, which was clearly in the Council's mind, 
the Phoenician province had not been divided; it was in reliance on a mere title bestowed upon his city, and 
also on an alleged synodical ordinance which issued in fact from the so-called "Home Synod" that he 
declared himself independent of his metropolitan, Photius of Tyre, and brought six bishoprics under his 
assumed jurisdiction. Thus while the province remained politically one, he had de facto divided it 
ecclesiastically into two. Photius petitioned Marcian, who referred the case to the Council of Chalcedon, and 
it was taken up in the fourth session. The imperial commissioners announced that it was to be settled not 
according to "pragmatic forms," but according to those which had been enacted by the Fathers (Mansi, vii., 
89). This encouraged the Council to say, "A pragmatic can have no force against the canons." The 
commissioners asked whether it was lawful for bishops, on the ground of a pragmatic, to steal away the 
rights of other churches? The answer was explicit: "No, it is against the canon." The Council proceeded to 
cancel the resolution of the Home Synod in favour of the elevation of Berytus, ordered the 4th Nicene canon 
to be read, and upheld the metropolitical rights of Tyre. The commissioners also pronounced against 
Eustathius. Cecropius, bishop of Sebastopolis, requested them to put an end to the issue of pragmatics 
made to the detriment of the canons; the Council echoed this request; and the commissioners granted it by 
declaring that the canons should everywhere stand good (Mansi, vii., 89-97). We may connect with this 
incident a law of Martian dated in 454, by which "all pragmatic sanctions, obtained by means of favour or 
ambition in opposition to the canon of the Church, are declared to be deprived of effect" (Cod. Justin, i., 2, 

To this decision the present canon looks back, when it forbids any bishop, on pain of deposition, to 
presume to do as Eustathius had done, since it decrees that "he who attempts to do so shall fall from his 
own rank (<greek>baqmou</greek>) in the Church. And cities which have already obtained the honorary 
title of a metropolis from the emperor are to enjoy the honour only, and their bishops to be but honorary 
metropolitans, so that all the rights of the real metropolis are to be reserved to it." So, at the end of the 6th 
session the emperor had announced that Chalcedon was to be a titular metropolis, saving all the rights of 
Nicemedia; and the Council had expressed its assent (Mansi, xii., 177; cf. Le Quien, i., 602). Another case 
was discussed in the 13th session of the Council. Anastasius of Nicaea had claimed to be independent of 
his metropolitan Eunomius of Nicemedia, on the ground of an ordinance of Valens, recognising the city of 
Nicaea as by old custom a "metropolis." Eunomius, who complained of Anastasius's encroachments, 
appealed to a later ordinance, guaranteeing to the capital of Bithynia its rights as unaffected by the honour 
conferred on Nicaea: the Council expressed its mind in favour of Eunomius, and the dispute was settled by 
a decision "that the bishop of Nicomedia should have metropolitical authority over the Bithynian churches, 
while the bishop of Nicaea should have merely the honour of a metropolitan, being subjected, like the other 
comprovincials, to the bishop of Nicomedia (Mansi, vii., 313). Zonaras says that this canon was in his time 
no longer observed; and Balsamon says that when the primates of Heraclea and Ancyra cited it as 
upholding their claim to perform the consecration of two "honorary metropolitans," they were overruled by a 
decree of Alexius Comnenus, "in presence and with consent" of a synod (on Trullan, canon xxxviij.). 
The first part of this canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Grat Decretum, Pars I., Dist. ci., canon j. 


STRANGE and unknown clergymen without letters commendatory from their own Bishop, are absolutely 
prohibited from officiating in another city. 

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No cleric shall be received to communion in another city without a letter commendatory. 
"Unknown clergymen." I have here followed the reading of the Greek commentators. But the translators of 
the Prisca, and Dionysius, and Isidore must have all read <greek>anagnwstas</greek> (i.e., Readers) 
instead of <greek>agnwstous</greek>. Justellus, Hervetus, and Beveridge, as also Johnson and 
Hammond, follow the reading of the text. Hefele suggests that if "Readers" is the correct reading perhaps it 
means, "all clergymen even readers." 


Since in certain provinces it is permitted to the readers and singers to marry, the holy Synod has decreed 
that it shall not be lawful for any of them to take a wife that is heterodox. But those who have already 
begotten children of such a marriage, if they have already had their children baptized among the heretics, 
must bring them into the communion of the Catholic Church; but if they have not had them baptized, they may 
not hereafter baptize them among heretics, nor give them in marriage to a heretic, or a Jew, or a heathen, 
unless the person marrying the orthodox child shall promise to come over to the orthodox faith. And if any 
one shah transgress this decree of the holy synod, let him be subjected to canonical censure. 



A Cantor or Lector alien to the sound faith, if being then married, he shall have begotten children let him bring 
them to communion, if they had there been baptized. But if they had not yet been baptized they shall not be 
baptized afterwards by the heretics. 


The tenth and thirty-first canons of the Synod of Laodicea and the second of the Sixth Synod in Trullo, and 
this present canon forbid one of the orthodox to be joined in marriage with a woman who is a heretic, or vice 
versa. But if any of the Cantors or Lectors had taken a wife of another sect before these canons were set 
forth, and had had children by her, and had had them baptized while yet he remained among the heretics, I 
these he should bring to the communion of the Catholic Church. But if they had not yet been baptized, he 
must not turn back and have them baptized among heretics. But departing thence let him lead them to the 
Catholic Church and enrich them with divine baptism. 


According to the Latin translation of Dionysius Exiguus, who speaks only of the daughters of the lectors, etc., 
the meaning may be understood, with Christian Lupus, as being that only their daughters must not be 
married to heretics or Jews or heathen, but that the sons of readers may take wives who are heretics, etc., 
because that men are less easily led to fall away from the faith than women. But the Greek text makes here 
no distinction between sons and daughters. 


It is to Victor that we owe the most striking of all anecdotes about readers. During the former persecution 
under Genseric (or Gaiseric), the Arians attacked a Catholic congregation on Easter Sunday; and while a 
reader was standing alone in the pulpit, and chanting the "Alleluia melody" (cf. Hammond, Liturgies, p. 95), 
an arrow pierced his throat, the "codex" dropped from his hands, and he fell down dead (De Persec. Vand., 
i., 13). Five years before the Council, a boy of eight named Epiphanius was made a reader in the church of 
Pavia, and in process of time became famous as its bishop. Justinian forbade readers to be appointed 
under eighteen (Novel., 134, 13). The office is described in the Greek Euchologion as "the first step to the 
priesthood," and is conferred with delivery of the book containing the Epistles. Isidore of Seville, in the 
seventh century, tells us that the bishop ordained a reader by delivering to him "coram plebe," the "codex" 
of Scripture: and after giving precise directions as to pronunciation and accentuation, says that the readers 
were of old called "heralds" (De Eccl. Offio, ii., 11). (b) The Singers are placed by the xliijrd. Apostolic canon 

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between subdeacons and readers, but they rank below readers in Laodic, c. 23, in the Liturgy of St. Mark 
(Hammond, p. 1 73), and in the canons wrongly ascribed to a I Vth Council of Carthage, which permit a 
presbyter to appoint a "psalmist" without the bishop's knowledge, and rank him even below the 
doorkeepers (Mansi, Hi., 952). The chief passage respecting the ancient "singers" is Laodic, xv. 

The first part of this canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I, Dist. xxxii. c. xv. 


A WOMAN shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of age, and then only 
after searching examination. And if, after she has had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to 
minister, she shall despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall be anathematized and 
the man united to her. 



No person shall be ordained deaconess except she be forty years of age. If she shall dishonour her 
ministry by contracting a marriage, let her be anathema. 

This canon should be read carefully in connexion with what is said in the Excursus on deaconesses to 
canon Nix. of Nice. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXVII, Quaest. I., 
Canon xxiij. 


It is not lawful for a virgin who has dedicated herself to the Lord God, nor for monks, to marry; and if they are 
found to have done this, let them be excommunicated. But we decree that in every place the bishop shall 
have the power of indulgence towards them. 



Monks or nuns shall not contract marriage, and if they do so let them be excommunicated. 


Since this canon says nothing at all of separation in connexion with a marriage made contrary to a vow, but 
only orders separation from communion, it seems very likely that vows of this kind at the time of the synod 
were not considered diriment but only impedient impediments from which the bishop of the diocese could 
dispense at least as far as the canonical punishment was concerned. 


The last part of the canon gives the bishop authority in certain circumstances not to inflict the 
excommunication which is threatened in the first part, or again to remove it. Thus all the old Latin translators 
understood our text; but Dionysius Exiguus and the Prisca added confitentibus, meaning, "if such a virgin or 
monk confess and repent their fault, then the bishop may be kind to them." That the marriage of a monk is 
invalid, as was ruled by later ecclesiastical law, our canon does not say; on the contrary, it assumes its 
validity, as also the marriages contracted by priests until the beginning of the twelfth century were regarded 
as valid. 

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa xxvii., Quaest. I., canon 
xxii., from Isidore's version; it is also found in Dionysius's version as canon xij. of the same Quaestio, Causa, 
and Part, where it is said to be taken "ex Concilio Triburiensi." 


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Outlying or rural parishes shall in every province remain subject to the bishops who now have jurisdiction 
over them, particularly if the bishops have peaceably and continuously governed them for the space of 
thirty years. But if within thirty years there has been, or is, any dispute concerning them, it is lawful for those 
who hold themselves aggrieved to bring their cause before the synod of the province. And if any one be 
wronged by his metropolitan, let the matter be decided by the exarch of the diocese or by the throne of 
Constantinople, as aforesaid. And if any city has been, or shall hereafter be newly erected by imperial 
authority, let the order of the ecclesiastical parishes follow the political and municipal example. 



Village and rural parishes if they have been possessed for thirty years, they shall so continue. But if within 
that time, the matter shall be subject to adjudication. But if by the command of the Emperor a city be 
renewed, the order of ecclesiastical parishes shall follow the civil and public forms. 


The adjective <greek>egkwrious</greek> is probably synonymous with <greek>agroikikas</greek> (" 
rusticas," Prisca), although Dionysius and Isidorian take in as "situated on estates," cf. Routh, Scr. Opusc, 
ii., 109. It was conceivable that some such outlying districts might form, ecclesiastically, a border-land, it 
might not be easy to assign them definitively to this or that bishopric. In such a case, says the Council, if the 
bishop who is now in possession of these rural churches can show a prescription of thirty years in favour of 
his see, let them remain undisturbed in his obedience. (Here <greek>abiastws</greek> may be illustrated 
from <greek>biasamenos</greek> in Eph. viii. and for the use of <greek>oikonomein</greek> see I. Const., 
ij.) But the border-land might be the "debate-able" land: the two neighbour bishops might dispute as to the 
right to tend these "sheep in the wilderness ;" as we read in Cod. Afrio, 117, "multae controversiae postea 
inter episcopos de dioecesibus ortae aunt, et oriuntur" (see on I. Const., ij.); as archbishop Thomas of York, 
and Remigius of Dorchester, were at issue for years "with reference to Lindsey" (Raine, Fasti Eborac, i. 
150). Accordingly, the canon provides that if such a contest had arisen within the thirty years, or should 
thereafter arise, the prelate who considered himself wronged mi