Let the Canon of our holy and God-bearing Fathers be observed also in respect to this, that a Presbyter may not be ordained before he is thirty years old, though the man be thoroughly worthy; but, instead, let him be obliged to wait. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized when He was thirty years old, and then He began teaching. Likewise, let no Deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five years old, nor a Deaconess before she is forty years old.
(c. XIX of the 1st; c. XV of the 4th; c. XI of Neocaes.; c. XXI of Car.)
The present Canon ingeminates word for word the fifteenth of the C. in Neocaesarea. Accordingly, it decrees that no one must be ordained a presbyter until he has reached the age of thirty, even though the candidate for ordination be otherwise quite deserving of holy orders; on the contrary, let him await his time. For even the Lord was baptized in His thirtieth year and began to teach the preachment of the Gospel. (And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, says Luke, 3:23). Certainly He ought to be imitated by presbyters, who are ordained through the presbytery to act as teachers of the faithful. Likewise neither can anyone be ordained a deacon until he has reached the age of twenty-five. That is exactly what c. XXI of Carthage also says. Nor can a woman become a deaconess until she has reached the age of forty. But may God be lenient in regard to the present-day transgression of these Canons. And even though the transgressors of these Canons are not abashed by the sacred and God-bearing and holy Fathers, let them at any rate be abashed by a mundane layman such as was Emperor Justinian, who in his Novel 123 says: We do not allow a man to become a presbyter below the age of thirty, nor a deacon below the age of twenty-five, nor a subdeacon below the age of twenty. Read also c. XIX of the 1st, and the Footnote to c. XI of Neocaesarea.
Let no one be ordained a Subdeacon if he is less than twenty years old. If anyone should be ordained in any sacerdocy whatever without having reached the years decreed, let him be deposed from office.
As for a subdeacon (says the present Canon), let no one be ordained such when he is less than twenty years of age. If anyone has been ordained in any of the four classes in question, outside the age specified, let him be deposed from office.
Since in the Book of Acts the Apostles instruct us to appoint seven Deacons, the Fathers of the Council held in Neocaesarea have thus clearly asserted in the Canons they promulgated that there must be seven Deacons according to the Canon, even though the city be a quite big one: witness the Book of Acts. In the course of fittingly harmonizing the sense of the Fathers with the Apostolic saying, we discovered that their words in this connection did not pertain to the men serving as ministers to the mysteries, but to those attending to the needs of the table, the text of the Book of Acts being as follows: And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were being neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said, We do not like to forsake the word of God to serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of a good reputation, full of Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint for this task. We will apply ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. And their assertion pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Par-menas, and Nicolas an Antiochian proselyte; whom all they set before the Apostles (Acts 6:16). In the course of interpreting this passage, John Chrysostom, the teacher of the Church, dilates thus: It is to be marveled that the multitude did not split apart in choosing the men! that the Apostles were not frowned upon by them! It is to be wondered what sort of dignity of office they possessed, and what sort of ordination they received. This is something that needs to be learned. Was it the ordination of Deacons? we well might wonder. But then, that is not in the churches. Or was the arrangement one of Presbyters? So far, though there had been no Bishop, but only Apostles. Hence, I opine, it is plain and obvious that neither the name of Deacons nor that of Presbyters is appropriate.Resting upon these words, therefore, we too proclaim that as respects the aforesaid seven Deacons they were not selected to minister to the mysteries, according to what has been said in connection with the previous interpretation of the teaching, but, on the contrary, that they were selected to serve the common need of the Christians then gathered together; and that they continue to be an example to us, as they actually became, of philanthropy and diligence in regard to the needy.
This Canon corrects, or rather improves, c. XV of Neocaesarea. The latter decreed that there should be but seven deacons, and not more, even in the largest city, as recorded in the Book of Acts. The Fathers of the present Council, therefore, say that after comparing the interpretation given by the Fathers with the assertions concerning these seven deacons contained in the Acts of the Apostles, they found that these deacons were not ministers (or deacons) of the Mysteries, but of the (dining) tables. For the Acts say: In those days, because the Christians had multiplied, the believers among the Greeks (or according to others among the Jews who accepted the Old Testament, not as provided by the Hebrew original, but according to the Greek translation of it), because at the daily service (or ministration) of the common dinners then being given their widows who had need of them were being ignored. At the suggestion of the Apostles, therefore, the multitude selected these seven deacons by name, men full of Holy Spirit, and held in good repute by all; and appointed them to serve at table, while the Apostles busied themselves in prayer and the service of teaching. In interpreting these words, after first marveling that that multitude did not split apart on account of such a selection of the deacons, others wanting this man, and others wanting that man, divine Chrysostom goes on to say that those deacons did hold the office of either deacons or presbyters of the Mysteries, since such offices had not yet been created in the Church, owing to the fact that the Church was then in her initial, and infantile, so to speak, stage. Hence these Fathers, in agreement with divine St. Chrysostom, hereby proclaim that these deacons, as we have said, are not deacons of the Mysteries, but of the common need and of the mess tables of the Christians of that time, who became an example to us of philanthropy and care which we ought to exercise in behalf of the poor. Not only did these Fathers not follow the instructions of the Canon of the Council held in Neocaesarea, but even of the Emperors preceding them Justinian appointed a hundred deacons, and Heraclius more than a hundred, in the great church. And in general all churches have the number of deacons and of clergymen apportioned to their requirements.
Inasmuch as Clergymen of various churches have abandoned their own churches, in which they were ordained, and have run over to other Bishops, and without the consent of their own Bishop have had themselves enrolled in the others churches, and as a result of this they came to be insubordinate, we decree that, beginning with the month of January of the last fourth induction, not a single one of all the clergymen, regardless of what rank he happens to be in, has permission, unless furnished by a written dimissory of his own Bishop, to be enrolled in a different church. For, whoever fails to abide by this rule hereafter, but, on the contrary, so far as lies in his power disgraces him who bestowed the ordination on him, let both him and the one who illogically accepted him be deposed from office.
(Ap. cc. XII, XV, XXXII; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XI, XIII, XX, XXIII; c. XV of the 7th; cc. III, VII, VIII, XI of Antioch; cc. XLI, XLII of Laodicea; cc. VII, VIII, XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; cc. XXXI, LXIII, XCVII, XCVIII, CXVI of Carthage.)
The present Canon does not permit clergymen to leave their churches and go to others without the consent and a dimissory letter of their own bishop, because this results in their becoming insubordinate. So, beginning with month of January, and the fourth indiction last past (for indiction is meant by the word epinemesis, as is evident from c. III of the present Council), which is the same as saying, from now on, whoever dares to do this, and disgrace and scorn the one who ordained, by such an act, let both him and the one who unreasonably took him in be deposed from office. Read also Ap. cc. XII and XV.
Clergymen who on the pretext of an incursion of barbarians, or as a result of any other circumstance, have emigrated, whenever their exigency has ceased, or the incursions of barbarians, on account of which they made their departure, are commanded to return to their own churches, and not to stay away from them for a long time without a good excuse. If anyone fails to conduct himself agreeably to the present Canon, let him be excommunicated until he returns to his own church. Let this same rule apply also to the Bishop who is keeping him.
(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. V, X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; c. XVII of the 6th; c. XV of the 7th; c. III of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage.)
Not only does this Canon refuse to let clergymen leave their churches without cause, but not even those who depart from them either on account of an incursion of barbarians, or perhaps on account of heavy debts or taxes, or on account of hunger, or on account of a deadly visit of the plague, or on account of any other circumstance. For it commands that when that cause ceases on account of which they departed, they must return again to their churches. Whoever, on the other hand, fails to comply with this Canon, let him be excommunicated, as well as the bishop who is keeping him in his eparchy (or bishopric), until he goes back where he belongs. See also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XV.
We declare that the deans of churches., on every day, but more especially on Sundays, must teach all the Clergy and the laity words of truth out of the Holy Bible, analyzing the meanings and judgments of the truth, and not deviating from the definitions already laid down, or the teaching derived from the God-bearing Fathers; but also, if the discourse be one concerning a passage of Scripture, not to interpret it otherwise than as the luminaries and teachers of the Church in their own written works have presented it; and let them rather content themselves with these discourses than attempt to produce discourses of their own, lest, at times, being resourceless, they overstep the bounds of propriety. For by means of the teaching afforded by the aforesaid Fathers, the laity, being apprised of the important and preferred things, and of the disadvantageous and rejectable, are enabled to adjust their lives for the better, and do not become a prey to the ailment of ignorance, but, by paying due attention to what is taught, they sharpen their wits so as to avoid suffering wrongly, and for fear of impending punishments they work out their own salvation.
(Ap. c. LVI; cc. II, XVI of the 1st; c. XIX of Laodicea; cc. LXXIX, CXXXI, CXXXII, CXXXIII of Carthage; c. X of Peter; c. VI of the Faster.)
The Canon decrees that the Deans of churches, by which term is meant preeminently the Bishops, but secondarily also the Presbyters, must teach all the Clergy and the laity every day in the week, and especially and above all on Sundays (or even other holidays). For on these days, since Christians are wont to rest from their manual work, they congregate in the churches and listen to the divine words. Consequently those teaching therein afford them additional benefit. But such men must not teach with their own words and thoughts, but with those of divine Scripture, without straying away from the definitions adopted and confirmed by Councils and the dogmas of the faith, or away from the teaching handed down by the God-bearing Fathers. And if at any time they repeat words of the Bible, they are not to explain them in any other way than as the teachers of the Church have explained them in their written works; and they must endeavour more to make headway by teaching the discourses of the divine Fathers than by composing sermons of their own, lest by employing thoughts and conceptions of their own, and being unable sometimes to understand things aright, they fall out of line with what is proper and the truth. For by learning things from this teaching of the doctrines taught by the Fathers, the laity learn what things are of advantage to their souls, and what are disadvantageous, and they accordingly change their mode of living from viciousness to virtuousness, and are freed from the darkness of ignorance. By paying attention, again, to that teaching, and hearing about the chastisements and punishments which bad persons are bound to suffer, for fear of these they abstain from vices and bring about their salvation. Besides this, however, c. XIX of Laodicea says that the Bishop mustfirst give a didache (or teachment) in the liturgy. Read also Ap. c. LVIII.
Let not any Bishop teach publicly in another city that does not belong to his see. If anyone be caught doing this, let him be deposed from the office of Bishop and perform the functions of a Presbyter.
(Ap. c. XXXV; c. II of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; cc. XIII, XXII of Antioch; cc. III, XI, XII of Sardica.)
It is not permissible (says the present Canon) for any bishop to teach openly and publicly in a foreign province, without the consent, that is to say, of the local bishop, since this public teaching would be done to the dishonor of the latter, by making it seem to indicate that he himself is a learned teacher, while the former is one that is unlearned and ignorant. Therefore if anyone is found to be doing this, let him be removed from the office of bishop, and let him perform only the functions, or sacred duties, of a presbyter. The Canon states definitely that a strange bishop may not teach publicly, because if he merely answers questions asked him in private by certain persons, he is not sinning by doing so. The present Canon does not conflict with c. XXIX of the 4th, on account of what is said in Ap. c. XXXV, which you may read for yourself.
Those who become responsible for canonical crimes, and on this account are subject to complete and permanent deposition from office, and are thrust into the status of laymen, if with a view to returning they voluntarily forgo the sin on account of which they lapsed from grace, and render themselves utter strangers thereto, let them be tonsured in Clerical guise. But if they fail to do this of their own accord and as a matter of choice, let them grow back the hair of their heads, on the ground that they have preferred the return into the world to the heavenly life.
(Ap. c XXV; c, IX of the 1st; e. IV of the 6th; c. IX of Neocaesarea; cc. III, XVII, XXXII, L, LXX of Basil.)
Those in holy orders who have been completely and permanently deposed from office, and have assumed the guise of a layman, and have to stand with the laymen, on account of canonical crimes, such as fornication, say, or adultery, or other such sins, commands the present Canon, if they themselves voluntarily and spontaneously repent, and actually effect complete abstinence from the sin on account of which they lost the grace of holy orders, let them tonsure the hair of their head, or, in other words, let them have a so-called papalethra (or patch) at the point of the head, which was a guise and token of clerics. But if they fail to repent willingly and spontaneously, they must let the hair of their head grow back like worldlings, in order that the lay guise may so shame them as to bring them sooner or later to a sense of their viciousness and cause them to repent. Read also Ap. c. XXV.
We command that those men be deposed from office, whether they be Bishops or Clergymen whatsoever, who have been ordained or are being ordained for money, and not in accordance with a test and choice of life.
(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; c. XXIII of the 6th; ec. IV, V, XIX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; letters of Gennadius and Tarasius.)
The present Canon commands that bishops and all other clerics whatsoever that are ordained for giving money, and not for their worthiness and virtuous life; and not only they themselves, but also those who ordained them, are to be deposed from office. See also Ap. c. XXIX. Read, and sigh, my brother, at the violation of such sacred and such momentous Canons; for today that is the manner in which simony is practiced, as though it were a virtue, and not a heresy detested by God, as most saintly Gennadius calls it. If in consulting the abstracts of the sacred Canons anyone should chance to look for the ecclesiastical affairs connected with the present set of conditions, he will find plenty to wonder at and not the slightest similarity to the former conditions to abate his wonder. For all ecclesiastics take orders illegally, and in like manner live and die. On this account the iron collar of slavery is being tightened more and more and keeps getting more painful, yet we remain insensible and break the law more impudently than ever.
Concerning the rule that no one, whether a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, that imparts of the intemerate Communion shall collect from the partaker coins or any compensation whatsoever in exchange for such communion. For neither is grace bought, nor do we impart the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit for money; but, on the contrary, it must be imparted to the worthy without the incentive of knavishness. If, however, any person enrolled in the Clergy should be found to be demanding compensation of any kind of him to whom he imparts of the intemerate Communion, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he is votary of Simons delusion and maleficence.
(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; c. XXII of the 6th; cc. IV, XV, IX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; letters of Gennadius and Tarasius.)
The present Canon decrees that no bishop, or presbyter, or deacon shall demand money of those to whom he imparts the divine mysteries, nor shall he ask for any other compensation, even though it should be the very slightest, for the sake of partaking of the divine communion. For the grace of the Mysteries cannot be sold, nor do we impail the sanctification of the Holy Spirit for money, but, on the contrary, we impart it without being bribed to do so, to those who are worthy of it. For it is on this account that the divine Communion is called among the masses the gift (or dorea), because, according to Balsamon, it is imparted without gifts. As for anyone that should do this, let him be deposed from office, as having become an imitator of the delusion and heresy of Simon the Sorcerer, who thought that the grace of the All-holy Spirit could be sold for money. Read also Ap. c. XXIX.
Let none of those enrolled in the sacerdotal list, nor any Monks, attend horse races or become involved in pastimes. But if any Clergyman should be invited at a wedding, whenever fraudulent games are introduced, let him rise up and protest, and thereupon let him depart, since the teaching of our Fathers thus commands. In case anyone is caught and found guilty of this, let him either cease or be deposed.
(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII; cc. LI, LXII, LXVI of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th; cc. III, LIV of Laodicca; cc. XVII, LXX of Carthage.)
No one in holy orders, nor any monk, according to the present Canon, is permitted to go to those places where men race horses, or to look at and listen to effeminate games. If, on the other hand, any clergyman be invited to a wedding, he may go, but when it comes to playing such deceptive and Satanic games, he must get up at once and depart, just as the Fathers teaching commands, that is to say, c. LIV of the Council held in Laodicea (though that Canon adds that those in holy orders must not look at other spectacles either that mark weddings and suppers, and that they must depart before the time has even come for the games). As for anyone caught doing this, either he must cease or he must be deposed.
In addition to all the others we renew the Canon which prescribes that the rural or district parishes belonging to each church are to remain immutably assigned to the Bishops holding them, and especially in the case of those who managed to hold them for a period of thirty years without resorting to force. But if within thirty years there has been, or should be, any dispute about them, those who claim to have been wronged shall be permitted to bring the matter before the Synod of the province.
(c. XVII of the 4th; c. CXXVIII, CXXIX, CXXX of Carthage.)
The present Canon renews c. XVII of the 4th, which it quotes verbatim, though not all of it, but only a part of it; wherefore see also the Interpretation of it there.
As for a Presbyter who has unwittingly entangled himself in an unlawful marriage, let him retain his rights to sitting with his rank, in accordance with what has been prescribed to us as legislation by the sacred Canon, but let him refrain from the rest of functions and activities. For a pardon is sufficient for him; but for him to bless another person when he ought to be looking after his own wounds, is inconsistent: for blessing is the impartation of sanctification. But how can one who lacks this, on account of his lapse as a result of ignorance, impart it to another? Let him therefore bless no one either publicly or privately; neither let him distribute the body of Christ to others, nor perform any other liturgical office. On the contrary, while contenting himself with the presidency, let him persistently weep to others, and to the Lord, to be pardoned for the iniquitous deed which he has unwittingly perpetrated. For it is obvious that any such unlawful marriage must be dissolved, and that the man will have no essential share in the sacred office of which he has been deprived.
(Ap. c. XIX; c. III of the 6th; c. II of Neocaesarea; cc. XXIII, XXVII, LXXVIII of Basil.)
This Canon is the same as the twenty-seventh Canon of St. Basil the Great, which prescribes that that priest who unwittingly marries any female relative of his, must, because of his not knowing about the relationship, be pardoned, and must also retain the honor of sitting with the priests, but must refrain from all other activities of the priesthood. For it is enough that such a person is not subjected to canonical penances, but is pardoned. But for him to bless another person when he himself ought to be trying to heal his own wounds, or, in other words, to be repentant of his unlawful marriage, is not at all becoming. For blessing is an impartation of sanctity. So, inasmuch as such a priest is destitute of that sanctity, how can he give it to another person? Therefore let him neither openly nor secretly pronounce any blessing upon or administer any communion to others, or do anything else of the kind; but, on the contrary, contenting himself as best he may with the honor of occupying the high seat, as we have said, let him set himself to praying, first of all to God, in order to have his unwitting iniquity pardoned, and, as a further recourse, to others, in order that they too may entreat the Lord in his behalf. Up to this point it is the Canon of St. Basil. But the Council adds that he is to enjoy this honor of sitting in the high seat only after he has first annulled that illegitimate marriage on account of which he has been deposed from holy orders. For if he does not annul it, not only will he be deprived of the honor of sitting in the high seat, but he will even be compelled to undergo penances. Read also Ap. c. XIX.
Clergymen and all who are in Holy Orders ought to be modest and decent even in respect of their outward guise. For God looks into the heart, it is true, but human beings look at the external condition of the body, according to what has been written: “A human being will look at a face, but God at a heart” (Sam. 12:7). Hence from what they can see on the outside they draw inferences as to what is in the heart. That is why the present Canon commands that no clergymen shall wear clothes that are not becoming to his profession; that is, for instance, costly and silk garments, or military uniforms, neither when he is staying in the city nor when he is walking on the road: on the contrary, he must wear the garments that are habitual to clerics — decent, that is to say, and frugal. Should anyone do the contrary, let him be excommunicated for one week.
It is further to be noted that c. XVI of the 7th imposes penances on those in holy orders who wear splendid garments and fail to correct matters; likewise on those who anoint themselves with perfumes. Though it is true that c. XII of Gangra anathematizes those who criticize persons wearing silk garments with reverence, it does not conflict with the present Canon: 1) because this is speaking specifically of clerics wearing them, whereas that speaks of both clergymen and laymen in general who are wearing them; 2) because this Canon is speaking of those who are wearing garments of an uncustomary kind; 3, and lastly) because the same Council is correcting what it asserted in its said c. II by what it asserts in its c. XXI, which says: “We praise frugal and cheap garments, but we detest garments that are ornamented and soft.” And if that Council disparages soft garments in regard to worldlings, it disparages them far more when they are worn by clerics. So that not only is that Council not opposed in principle to the present one, but indeed it is in agreement with it and more strict in regard to this matter. But the Lord also says: “Beware of those who want to walk about in costumes” (Luke 20:46). And if the Apostle Peter forbids women, who are by nature a race of beings that love adornment, to wear luxurious garments (1 Peter 3:3); and if Paul forbids the same things to the same creatures (1 Tim. 2:9), do they not still more firmly forbid these things to clergymen? St. Basil the Great, too, wants us to have clothing that is decorous; and in his Homily 11 on the Six Days of Creation he says that if you see anyone clothed in a robe adorned with flowers or flowery figures, and dressed up with silk threads, scorn him outright. And St. Chrysostom, too, in his Homily 12 on the First Epistle to Timothy says: “Seest thou a human being wearing silk garments? Laugh him to scorn.” Isidorus Pelousiotes (in his seventy-fourth letter) when commenting on the question, What was the tunic of Christ that was woven from above and unsewed? says: “But who is ignorant of the paltriness of that dress which the poor among the Galileans used to wear, and that indeed with them it used to be a garment woven by some art and with some skill as close as corsets.” And at the end he says: “If, then, you desire these garments, imitate the paltry dress of Jesus. For luxuriousness here becomes stupidity there, and not a bright illumination.”
Since we have learned that in various churches when grapes are offered at the sacrificial altar, in accordance with a certain custom which has gained prevalence, by affixing them to the bloodless sacrifice of the offering (or oblation), the ministers thus distribute both to the laity, we have seen fit to decree that no one in holy orders shall do this any more; but, on the contrary, for the purpose of vivification, and remission of sins, they shall impart to the laity of the oblation only, regarding the offering of grapes as first fruits offered by way of thanks to the giver of fruits, whereby our bodies, in accordance with the divine definition, is enabled to grow and to be nourished. If, then, any Clergyman does contrary to what has been commanded, let him be deposed.
(Ap. cc. III, IV; cc. XXXII, LVII, XCIX of the 6th; c. XL of Carthage.)
Since in some regions, in accordance with a certain custom, some persons used to offer grapes at the Holy Table, which the priests would combine with the intemerate mysteries and then impart both together to the laity, on this account and for this reason the present Canon from now on and henceforth commands that no priest shall do this, but, on the contrary, he must give the Holy Communion alone to the worthy, for vivification, and for remission of their sins, whereas he blesses the grapes as first fruits of the season with a special prayer and hands them out to the laity, by way of thanking God for giving us such fruits, by means whereof our bodies are nourished and grow. As for anyone that does anything in violation of this Canon, let him be deposed from office. Read also Ap. c. III.
The Canon of the Fathers met in Carthage prescribes that the holy rites of the sacrificial altar, unless performed by men under a fast, are not to be celebrated at all, except on one day of the year on which the Lords Supper is celebrated, perhaps having decided to employ such an economy of the divine Fathers on account of certain pretexts advantageous to the Church in such seasons. Since there is nothing to compel us to abandon rigorism, we decree, pursuantly to the traditions of the Apostles and of the Fathers, that the fasting during the Thursday which falls in the last week in Great Lent (or Tessaracoste) must not be omitted, and the whole fast of Great Lent dishonored by being prematurely broken.
(Ap. c. LXIX; c. LXXXIX of the 6th; cc. XLIX, L, LI, LII of Laodicea; cc. XLVIII, LVI of Carthage; c. I of Dionysius; cc. VIII, X of Timothy.)
Just as our Lord Jesus Christ on the evening of the Great Thursday first ate a common supper and thereafter delivered the divine mysteries to the Apostles, in the same manner it may be said that a custom came to prevail in Africa for the people there to eat certain more luscious foods on Great Thursday, according to Zonaras, which served to break the usual course of eating dry things on other days of Great Lent, and thereafter to celebrate and to partake of the divine mysteries. So the present Council, as an improvement over c. XLVIII of Carthage which contained this custom, decrees that perhaps those Fathers employed this economy for some beneficial reasons of benefit to those regions, but inasmuch as we have no reason that would compel us to abandon the strictness of the Canons, we follow the instructions handed down by the Apostles, in their c. LXIX, that is to say, which makes it incumbent upon all to fast throughout Great Lent (both Great Thursday and the entire Great Week are included in the period of Great Lent, as well as during the fasts of the Fathers, that is to say, those in c. L of the Fathers of Laodicea, which decrees that no one shall break the fast of the Thursday in the last week in Great Lent (that is to say, of Great Thursday), and by breaking it dishonor and disparage the fast of the entire Great Lent, but, instead, everyone must fast throughout the period of Great Lent by eating nothing but dry things, including, of course, Great Thursday itself.
Wishing to do everything for the edification of the Church, we have decided to make concessions to priests in Barbarian churches, so that if they are seeking to circumvent Apostolic Canon V by not expelling their wife, on the pretext of reverence, and to do what is beyond the limits set by it, by coming to a private agreement with their spouses to abstain from intercourse with each other. We decree that these priests shall cohabit with these wives no more, in any manner whatsoever, so as to afford us thereby positive proof that they are carrying out their promise. We make this concession to them, not for any other reason, but because of the pusillanimity of their thought, and the bizarre character of their ideas of morality, and the unsettled state of their mind.
(Ap. c. V; cc. XII, XIII, XLVIII of the 6th; c. IV of Gangra; cc. III, IV, XXXIIII of Carthage.)
Since those in holy orders who are located in Barbary, Africa, as we have said, in the desire to circumvent, or get round, the legislation embodied in Ap. c. V, which commands that no one in holy orders shall separate his wife on the pretext of reverence, agree with their wives and abstain from carnal intercourse, therefore the present Canon decrees that those who have done this are not to cohabit with their wives any longer in any way: for one thing, in order to show, by this abstention from cohabitation, that they made this promise and agreement not on account of any hypocritical and false reverence, but truly on account of a longing after sobriety and virginity; and for another thing, because continual sight of and association with their wives prompts them to have carnal intercourse with them again. Nevertheless, says this Canon, we have given them this permission, not for any other reason, but simply on account of the pusillanimity of their way of thinking, on account of their wild character, according to Zonaras, or on account of their having a strange notion of what constitutes good order as respecting ecclesiastical morals, according to Balsamon, and because of their lack of firmness of faith (and notice that this same thing which the Council permits in regard to Barbary for these reasons, it does not permit to occur in Rome, on account of the docility of the moral character of the Romans, on account of their ecclesiastical orderliness, etc.; and in spite of the fact that this custom originally came from Rome to Barbary, according to c. IV of Carthage). Read also Ap. c.V, cc. XII and XIII of the 6th.
As for those Clergymen who hold a liturgy in oratories or prayerhouses or in private residences, or who carry out a baptism therein, without having obtained the consent of the local Bishop to do this, we decree that if any Clergyman fail to guard against doing this, let him be deposed from office.
(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XXXIV, LIX of the 6th; c. XII, XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd; c. VI of Gangra; c. V of Antioch; c. LVIII of Laodicea; cc. X, LXII of Carthage.)
The present Canon does not permit those in holy orders to conduct a liturgy or to baptize inside a room or in the parlor of a private dwelling, or in a house of prayer, or one called an oratory and devoted to prayer, which has not been consecrated in the Orthodox manner, without the permission and consent of the local bishop: because this would amount to a conventicle (or “parasynagogue”) and apostasy; but they may do this with his consent and permission. Anyone who fails to abide by this rule, let him be deposed from office.
Since it has come to our knowledge that in the country of the Armenians those conducting the bloodless sacrifice are wont to offer wine alone at the sacred table, without mixing water with it, on the alleged ground that the teacher of the Church John Chrysostom said in his commentary of the Gospel according to St. Matthew the following: “On what account did He not drink water after He rose, but wine? — another wicked heresy being thus eradicated, roots and all. For since there were some who used water in the Mysteries, He showed both when He delivered the Mysteries and when He rose from the grave, that he set a mere table without mysteries and used wine, derived, he says, from the product of the vine” (Homily 82). But a vine produces wine, not water. Hence they infer that the teacher disallowed the offering of water in the sacred sacrifice (Matt. 26:29). Lest they remain henceforth in ignorance of the facts, we proceed to reveal the father’s meaning Orthodoxically. For, in view of the fact that the wicked heresy of the Aquarians was an old one, wherein they use water alone instead of wine in their own sacrifice, by way of refuting the unlawful doctrine of that particular heresy and showing that they are contravening the Apostolical tradition, this God-bearing man asserted the said words. Since even in the church of his jurisdiction, where he had the pastoral rulership in his hands, he taught that water should be admixed whenever it was requisite to perform the blood sacrifice, pointing out that from the precious flank of our Redeemer and Savior Christ the God there had exuded a mixture of blood and water, which mixture was shed, or poured out, for vivification of all the world and redemption from sins. And in connection with all churches where the spiritual luminaries shone forth, this God-given procedure prevails. For this is also in keeping with the fact that both James the carnal brother of Christ our God, who was the first to be entrusted with the throne of the church of the Jerusalemites, and Basil the Bishop of the Caesareans and one whose renown rapidly spread over the whole inhabited earth, having each of them handed down to us in writing the mystical hierurgy, have given out that the sacred chalice (or cup) is to be filled full of water and wine in the Divine Liturgy. And the devout Fathers assembled in Carthage, too, thus expressly mentioned that in the holy elements nothing more than the body and the blood of the Lord should be offered, just as the Lord Himself taught, that is, bread and wine, mixed with water. If, therefore, any Bishop, or Presbyter, fail to follow the procedure taught by the Apostles, and, mixing water with wine, thus to offer the intemerate sacrifice, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he has been divulging the mystery imperfectly or deficiently and novating the rites handed down.
The present Canon corrects the bad custom which came to prevail in the country of the Armenians — that of conducting the liturgy, that is to say, with wine alone, without combining it with water in accordance with the tradition of the Church. Since they adduce in support of such custom evidence resting upon the explanation which John Chrysostom gives to the Gospel according to St. Matthew, and think that that divine Father, by saying there that both before and after His resurrection the Lord used wine, is denying in these words the admixture of water in the Mysteries, therefore, owing to this mistaken view of theirs, these Fathers are making known the true meaning of the saint’s words, which say that because there was an old heresy called that of the Aquarians, who used water alone in the Eucharistic celebration, and not wine, divine Chrysostom, in refuting this heresy, employed these words thus, and not as one accepting that wicked custom of the Aquarians, since the same Chrysostom himself in his divine Liturgy taught the church of Constantinople that in the bloodless sacrifice of the Mysteries water must be mixed with the wine by way of representing the blood and water which emerged from the precious side of the Lord’s body while it was hanging on the cross, for the remission of the sins and the vivification of all the world, according to that Gospel saying that “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). But not only St. Chrysostom, but also James the brother of God and first hierarch of Jerusalem, as well as St. Basil the Great in their Liturgies gave directions for the holy chalice to be filled full of wine and water. In addition, the Fathers in Carthage in c. XLIV, which they set forth verbatim, do so too. So if any bishop or priest in the divine service of the hierurgy fails to mix water with the wine, in accordance with the Apostolic tradition, let him be deposed from office. For by failing to do so, he renders the mystery of the divine Eucharist incomplete or imperfect, and upsets what has been handed down. Read also Ap. c. III.
Since we have learned as a matter of fact that in the country of the Armenians only those who are of hieratical (or priestly) lineage are eligible to the clergy, pursuantly to Jewish customs, in an attempt to practice these, and that some of them do not even tonsure their Psalts and Anagnosts when installing them in the divine Temple, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that from now on those who wish to promote certain persons to the clergy are not allowed to pay any regard to the lineage of the ordinee. But, on the contrary, after first testing them as to whether they are worthy according to the definitions laid down in the sacred Canons to be enrolled in the clergy, they shall ordain them ecclesiastics, whether they have been born of ancestors who were priests, or not. Nor, furthermore, shall they permit anyone to speak from the pulpit to the laity the divine words, in accordance with the order of enrollment in the clergy, unless such person has something to show in the way of a priestly tonsure and receives the blessing canonically from the proper pastor. If anyone be caught acting contrary to the rules prescribed, let him be excommunicated.
(Ap. c. LXXVII; c. XIV of the 4th; c. XXIII of Laodicea; c. XXII of Carthage.)
This Canon too corrects those who inhabit the country of the Armenians, who not only made priests only of those who were descended from a priestly line, following the custom of the Jews, who made priests only of those who were descendants of the tribe of Levi, but also appointed psalts and anagnosts in the church with the formality of the bishop’s laying his hands on them. Decreeing that henceforth they are not to pay regard to whether the candidate for ordination is or is not descended from a priestly line, but are to test him as to whether he is in truth worthy to become a member of the clergy, the Fathers of this Council further decree that they must not let anyone read on the pulpit the divine words to the laity unless he first receives the canonical seal of an anagnost from the prelate. If anyone does anything contrary to these rules, let him be excommunicated.
In view of the fact that the sacerdotal Canon clearly states that as the crime of conspiracy or of faction is utterly forbidden even by civil laws, it is much more fitting still that this be prohibited from occurring in the Church of God, we too are sedulous to insist that if any Clergymen or Monks be found either conspiring together or engaging in factional intrigues or hatching plots against Bishops or fellow Clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.
(Ap. c. XXXI; c. XVIII of the 4th; cc. XIII, XIV, XV of the lst-&-2nd; c. V of Antioch; cc. X, LXII of Carthage.)
This Canon is the same as c. XVIII of the 4th; and read its Interpretation there, but also see the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXI.