Those who consult soothsayers or so-called “hecantontarchs” of other such fortune-tellers in the hope of learning from them whatever may be revealed to them, in accordance with what the Fathers had formerly decided in regard to them, let them incur the canon of six years. The same penalty ought to be inflicted also upon those who lead bears after them, or other such animals, for the purpose of sport and harm of the more simple-minded, and who tell the fortune, and fate, and genealogy, and other such things to the populace, in accordance with the rigmarole of delusion. As for those who are called cloud-chasers and enchanters and amuletics and soothsayers, if they persist in these professions, and refuse to change their occupation and to eschew these ruinous practices and Greek “rackets,” we decree that they be thrown out of the Church altogether, in conformity with what the sacred Canons also prescribe. “For what communion hath light with darkness?” as the Apostle says; “or what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? Or what portion hath a believer with an infidel? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (II Cor. 6:15–16).
Christians must not affect any of those wicked things which the Greeks used to affect — divination, that is to say, and charms, and other similar things. On this account the present Canon decrees that those Christians shall be compelled to abstain from the Mysteries for six years who consult soothsayers, and men calling themselves hecantontarchs, and others of the kind, with a view to learning from them whatever occult things they wish (in order to find money or other things they have lost, for instance), just as previous Fathers have canonically penalized them. It also in like manner with the above canonizes for six years also those who drag bears or other such animals along with them for sport and harm of simple-minded persons; and also those who tell fortunes of men and what they are to get in the future and that they were born on a lucky or unlucky day and other such delusive sayings. It likewise canonizes also those persons who were called “cloud-chasers,” and “enchanters,” and “amuletics” and soothsayers. Accordingly, all of them are to receive this canon if they repent and abandon such ruinous, devilish, and Greek “rackets.” If, however, they persist in this wickedness and delusion, and do not give it up, they are to be driven away from the Church of Christ altogether and are to be excluded from the society of Christians, just as the divine Canons prescribe. For what communion has light with darkness? or what union has the temple of God with the altar of idols? what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? or what concord has Christ with the Devil, as St. Paul says? But we must note that the penalty provided by the present Canon is provided for laymen only, as much for those who perform such diabolical works and magic as we have enumerated above, as for those who consult them. For any clergymen and persons in holy orders that should do such things would surely be deposed from office, according to Balsamon and Zonaras, without fail.
We wish once for all to extirpate from the life of the faithful the so-called (festival of) the calends, or kalends, and the so-called Vota, and the so-called Brumalia, and the public festival celebrated on the first day of March. Furthermore, the public dances of women, which are calculated to wreak great harm and injury. Furthermore we dismiss also the dances and ritualistic ceremonies performed by men or women in the name of what are falsely called gods among Greeks, after an old custom which is alien to the life of Christians, at the same time decreeing that no man shall put on any feminine costume, nor shall a woman put on any that befits men. But neither shall anybody put on comic, or satyric, or tragic masks; neither shall anybody shout the name of abominable Dionysus while engaged in squeezing grapes in the wine-presses; nor, when pouring the wine into the casks shall they provoke laughter by a show of ignorance or of vanity, by producing the effects of demoniacal delusion. As for those who from now on attempt to carry out any of the aforesaid improprieties, while well aware of what they are doing, if they should be clergymen, we command that they be deposed from office; but if laymen, that they be excommunicated.
The calends (also spelled kalends) were the first days of every month, on which the Greeks were accustomed to celebrate in order as they hoped to pass the whole month merrily. The Vota and Brumalia, on the other hand, were Greek festivals. The Vota, referring to grazing and sheep, were celebrated in honor of the god Pan, who was supposed by the Greeks to be the patron of sheep and other animals. The Brumalia were celebrated in honor of Dionysus; for the epithet of Dionysus among the Greeks of the north was Bromius, derived from bromos, a Greek word signifying a peal as of thunder. By the Romans he was called Brumalius, and his festival Brumalia, in the plural, which is the equivalent of Dionysia, as the Greeks called it. So the present Canon commands that such festivals, but especially the public one celebrated on the first day of March, for the pretended purpose of securing good weather in spring, be eliminated altogether from the public and private life of Christians. Nor must public dances in general of women be held, nor festivals and dances by men or women in honor of the name of the pseudo gods of the Greeks. It decrees in addition that neither must men wear women’s clothing, nor women men’s clothing. But neither must they disguise themselves with false faces and masks that are comic, or, in other words, calculated to provoke laughter, or tragic, or calculated to provoke laments and tears, or satyric, or, in other words peculiar, to Satyrs and Bacchi, who in honor of Dionysus were wont to dance ecstatically and as if demon-possessed. And that no one should invoke, or call upon, the name of despicable Dionysus (who was supposed to be the giver and patron of wine) when treading the grapes in the winepresses, nor laugh and guffaw when the new wine is being transferred to the pitharia, as these are called in modern Greek, being a kind of earthen casks. So whoever from now on, after becoming fully aware of these prohibitions, shall attempt to do any of the aforesaid things which are demonish and Greekish, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
With regard to the falsely compiled martyr-lists fabricated by the enemies of the truth, as if with an intention to dishonor the Martyrs of Christ and to lead those paying attention to it into disbelief, we command that it must not be read publicly even in the churches, but that these things must be consigned to fire. As for those who accept them and recognize them as veridical, or those who bestow any attention upon them as true, we anathematize such persons.
Infidels and enemies of the truth, wishing to bring accusations against Christians’ records, composed, it would seem, certain ludicrous and grotesque utterances and deeds with the allegation that the Martyrs of Christ said and did those things, in order that the Martyrs might incur insults as a consequence thereof, and the Orthodox faith be laughed to scorn. Hence the present Canon commands that no such fictitious lists be read publicly in churches, but instead that they be burned up. Those, on the other hand, who accept them as true are anathematized. See also Ap. c. LX.
That a layman must not publicly make a speech or teach, thus investing himself with the dignity of a teacher, but, instead, must submit to the ordinance handed down by the Lord, and to open his ear wide to them who have received the grace of teaching ability, and to be taught by them the divine facts thoroughly. For in the one Church God created different members, according to the utterance of the Apostle, in interpreting which St. Gregory the Theologian clearly presents the right procedure in these matters by saying: “Let us have respect for this procedure, brethren, and let us observe it. First, let one man be a listener, as the hearing recipient; another, the tongue; another, a hand; another, something else; let one man teach, and let another man learn; and after short periods, as touching one who learns in a state of obedience, and one who leads the chorus in hilarity, and one who renders service in cheerfulness and willingness, let us not all be a tongue, heeding the most apt saying: “Let us not all be Apostles; let us not all be Prophets; let us not all be Interpreters” (1 Cor. 12:29), and after somewhat: “Why are you making out that you are a shepherd, when you are a sheep? Why are you becoming a head, when you happen to be a foot? Why are you attempting to be a general, when you are placed in the ranks of (ordinary) soldiers? And from another quarter Wisdom bids: “Be not hasty in words; vie not with a rich man when thou art indigent” (Prov. 23:4); nor seek to be wiser than the wise. If anyone be caught disobeying the present Canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days.
The present Canon prohibits any layman from teaching openly and in church as a teacher; instead he should rather himself be taught by those who have received the gracious gift of teaching. For, just as there are various members belonging to one and the same body, as St. Paul says, so and in like manner there are various persons in the one Church, in the order in which placed each of them. Hence in interpreting this saying of the Apostle’s (in his Homily concerning due order in discussions) he says that one person in the Church must be an ear, another a tongue, another a hand, and another some other member; and neither must all of them be a tongue, or, in other words, teachers, nor must all of them be Apostles, nor all of them Prophets. So, O man, being a sheep, why are you trying to make yourself out to be a shepherd? Being a foot, why are you trying to be a head? Being a soldier, why are you undertaking to be a general? or a leader of soldiers? Solomon, too, says: “Be not glib of speech and ready to say things; nor, when poor, quarrel with the rich; nor seek to become wiser than the wise, or more learned than the learned.” If anyone does things in violation of this Canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days. But if any layman chance to be experienced in discourse and modest in manner, he is not prohibited from answering and teaching in private those asking questions, as Zonaras states, and ch. 32 of Book VIII of the Apostolic Injunctions declare. For they shall be, it says, all taught of God: in which manner Apollos spoke, and taught the facts about the Lord, and in spite of the fact that he only knew the baptism of the Lord (Acts 28:25), and Aquilas and Priscilla, who taught the same Apollos the way of God more exactly.
We command that henceforth the bonfires lit by some persons on the occasion of the New Moon in front of their own workshops or houses, and over which some persons even leap, in accordance with an ancient custom, it is babled, shall be abolished and done away with. Whoever, therefore, who does any such thing, if he be a Clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. For it is written in the Fourth Book of Kings: “And Manasseh built an altar to the whole host of heaven, in the two courts of the Lord’s house, and passed his children through fire, and consulted augurs, and appointed ventriloquists, and multiplied seers, and he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to wrath” (II Kings 23:4–6).
Since, and in imitation of the Greeks and heathen, some Christians used to light a bonfire in front of their workshops and houses, over which bonfire they would leap and pass over it and above it, this Council deposes any clergymen that do such a thing, while, in the same connection, it excommunicates laymen guilty of the same offense. Wishing to show that if such Greek customs when observed by the imperfect Jews sufficed to provoke God to indignation and wrath, how much more they provoke Him when observed by us Christians who are perfect and disciples of the Gospel! It says that King Manasseh built an altar, implying that he offered sacrifices to the host and force of heaven, to the stars, that is to say (and especially to the moon; just as is written in Jeremiah: “to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out libations unto her” — unto the moon, that is to say) within the two courts of the temple, and he passed his children through the fire, and consulted augurs, and was wont to divine future events by auspication, and appointed many ventriloquists and seers. And he perpetrated wickedness in the eyes of the Lord and provoked His wrath. Note, too, that the expression “he passed his children through fire” is taken by the Council here to mean that Manasseh made his children hop over or through the fire, whereas Cyril of Alexandria, in his Commentary of Isaiah, interpreted it to mean that he made a burnt-offering of his children in the fire as a sacrifice to the demons.
The faithful are required to spend the time in a state of leisure without fail in the holy churches from the holy days of resurrected Christ our God to New Sunday in psalms and hymns, and in spiritual songs called odes, while taking cheer in Christ and celebrating, and paying close attention to the reading of the divine Scriptures, and delighting themselves to their heart’s content in the Holy Mysteries. For thus shall we be jointly resurrected and jointly exalted with Christ. Therefore during the days in question let no horse races or other popular spectacle be held at all.
Inasmuch as all of Novation week is reckoned as a single day devoted to the name of the Lord, therefore does the present Canon decree that all Christians during this week ought to remain in the churches, taking cheer and celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, paying attention to the words of the divine Scriptures and partaking of the divine Mysteries. For in this sort of way we shall be resurrected and exalted jointly together with Christ. Hence on these days horse racing must not be indulged in, nor must any other popular spectacle, disorderly game, that is to say, or dances, or wrestling matches, and any other such amusement. See also Ap. c. IX and c. XXIV of this 6th.
Divine Scripture has commanded us to “abstain from blood, and strangled flesh, and fornication” (Gen. 9:3–4; Lev. ch. 17 and 18:13; Acts 15:28–29). We therefore suitably penance those who on account of their dainty stomach eat the blood of any animal after they have rendered it eatable by some art. If, therefore, anyone from now on should attempt to eat the blood of any animal, in any way whatsoever, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman let him be excommunicated.
The present Canon commands that no Christian eat the blood of any animal, no matter in what manner or by what art it may have been prepared, and even though it be mixed with other foods, whether these be “suntzukia” or any other things. For the divine Scripture of the Old Testament, and especially that of the New expressly commanded Christians to abstain from blood, from strangled meats, and from fornication (and from things sacrificed to idols). If a clergyman should eat this, let him be deposed from office; but if a layman do so, let him be excommunicated. Read also Ap. c. LXIII.
As regards the fact that it is not permissible for anyone to destroy, or to cut up, or to turn over to book stores or to so-called druggists, or anyone else whatsoever for destruction any of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, or of our holy and eminent Preachers and Teachers, unless it be completely useless because of having been damaged by bookworms or water or in some other way. Anyone caught doing such a thing from now on, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise anyone buying such books, unless he keeps them for his own use and benefit, nor should he give them away to others to keep, but who attempts to destroy them, let him be excommunicated.
It is not permissible, says the present Canon, for anyone to destroy or to cut up books of the Old and New Testaments, and of the eminent teachers, or, in other words, of those who have been approved and accepted after tests (for many books have been written, but have been rejected and disapproved); nor must he give these away to book stores, or to persons who extinguish or otherwise destroy books, or to those selling drugs and perfumes, or to anyone else to destroy or make away with them — except only if they have been entirely eaten up by worms, or have rotted and have become illegible from having become too old to be read. As for anyone who might do such a thing, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise let him be excommunicated who buys such books, not in order to benefit himself by reading them, nor in order to give them to anyone else to have the benefit of them, but in order to spoil them or to destroy them.
Let it not be permitted to anyone among all the laity to enter within the sacred altar, with the exception that the Imperial power and authority is in no way or manner excluded therefrom whenever it wishes to offer gifts to the Creator, in accordance with a certain most ancient tradition.
The holy Bema is consecrated to those in holy orders. For this reason the present Canon prohibits every layman from entering it, except only that person who is the Emperor or King; and he is excepted not as a layman, but as having power and authority and as one anointed of the Lord, who has been permitted to enter it, in accordance with a most ancient tradition, whenever he wishes to offer gifts to God his Creator, and to partake of the Holy Mysteries.
Let it not be permissible for women to talk during Holy Mass, but in accordance with the words of Paul the Apostle, “let your women remain silent. For it has not been permitted them to talk, but to obey, as the law directs. If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.”
“As in all churches of the saints,” says Paul the Apostle, “in the churches let your women remain silent. For it has not been permitted them to talk but to obey, as the law directs. If they wish to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home” (1 Cor. 14:33–35.)
“Let the women learn quietly with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman having been deceived became at fault. But she shall be saved through child-bearing, if they abide in faith and love and sanctity with sobriety” (1 Tim. 2:11–15).
According to the words of this Canon and according to the words of St. Paul, women are prohibited from teaching either in holy temples (churches) or outside thereof, for St. Paul does not mean by “church” the temple itself, but a “congregation of people” anywhere; and still more are they prohibited from chanting either in a choir of their own or along with men.
“For it is a shame for women to talk in church” (1 Cor. 14:35). This means that women should keep silent in church, and out of church wherever there is a congregation of people. The fact that the word talk is used here, and not the word speak, controverts and overthrows the allegation put forward by some persons that only teaching is forbidden to women but not chanting; for talk includes any sort of vocal utterance, and not merely articulate speech. In fact, women are not allowed to let their voice be heard at all within the sacred temple of the church. They may, of course, sing and chant in their hearts praises and blessings to God, but not with their lips.
Before God formed Eve, He said: “It is not good that man should be alone; let us make for him a helper meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). This means that woman was created, not to rule man, but to help him and to be ruled by him. Woman is a teacher of every virtue by word and deed within her own province at home; but she is not allowed even to speak or sing within the sacred precincts of the church. Woman’s job is to bear children and rear them in the belief and love of God, to uphold the sanctity and sobriety of marriage, and to shun adultery as a thing that is odious to God. By so doing she will be saved, and not otherwise; by leaving this path and failing in these duties, she invites perdition.
“If anyone think himself a prophet or a spiritual agent, let him acknowledge that what I write unto you are commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor. 14:37–38). A true prophet or teacher or spiritual agent has the spirit of Christ and does not disagree with Christ’s Apostle; he easily discerns and believes that St. Paul’s commandments are commandments of Christ. Whoever, on the other hand, does not discern and believe this, yet thinks that he is a prophet or a spiritual agent, is merely deluding himself; he is a false prophet lacking the spirit of Christ.
Teaching and chanting are inconsistent with the nature and destiny of a Christian woman, just as are the priesthood and the bishopric. Eve, the woman formed by God, was the first to teach Adam once, in Paradise, and she ruined everything; that is why women are forbidden to talk in churches. The greatest adornment of women is silence. Let their example be Mary, the New Woman and Child of God, who alone has the honor of having had her speech recorded in history and handed down in the ninth ode of the Church; this refers to her speech and that of Elizabeth. Therefore let Christian women emulate her. The ancient idolaters had priestesses to officiate at the altars and in the temples of idols, in which demons were worshiped; and hence it is that deluded heretics derived this impious custom of theirs of letting women teach and sing and govern in their churches. Shall we Orthodox Christians imitate them? By no means!
It is recorded in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius (Book 7, ch. 30) that a council of bishops met in Antioch in the third century after Christ from various cities for the purpose of trying Paul the bishop of Samosat, who was rather a sophist and magician than a bishop and who, in addition to other heresies, had introduced a choir of women into the church of Antioch. That council addressed a letter to bishops Dionysius of Rome and Maximus of Alexandria containing the following phrases: “Having suppressed the psalms to our Lord Jesus Christ on the pretext that they are modern psalms and the writings of modern men, who is preparing women to chant to himself in the midst of the church on the great day of Easter whom one would shudder merely to listen to.”
Women were never permitted to teach or to chant in the church along with the sacred cantors or in a choir of their own. Female choirs are an unexampled innovation involving many perils and capable of leading to many scandals, for woman’s voice is more attractive and more pathetic than man’s. The appearance of women in the church choir constitutes a stumbling block; for the eyes and ears of the congregation are at once turned to them, and, becoming intoxicated with the sight and sound of the highstrung melodramatic voices of women, they are languorously effeminated in mind and rendered incapable of enjoying the modest and contrite songs of the Church; thus the church choir gradually becomes transformed into a theatrical chorus!
Canon LXXV of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod decrees the following with reference to church choirs: “It is our wish that those who come to church to chant should neither employ disorderly yelling and strain their natural voices to scream, nor recite anything inappropriate and not suited to a church, but that they should offer such psalmodies with great care contrition to God, who listens and looks on in secret.” “The children of Israel shall be reverent,” saith the sacred saying (Lev. 15:31).
The holy liturgy and sacred hymnody presented in church has the purpose of offering prayers to propitiate God for our sins. Whoever prays and supplicates should be of humble and contrite mind; yelling indicates rudeness and irreverence of mind. But voices and faces of female choirs and the psalmody of European quartets represent a theatrical mind rather than a modest ecclesiastical mind. What is it that is unsuited to the church? Effeminate songs (melodies) and trills (which means the same thing as the warbles of old) and an excessive variety of tones that inclines to whorish songs, Zonaras, an interpreter of the Canons, says.
The children of Israel after Christ are the pious Christians, who should be imbued with fear of God and reverence while within the church. God is not pleased with variety of melodies and voices, but with contrition and repentance of the heart. This is easily understood when we remember that man is pleased to listen to melodies and to look at pretty faces, whereas God looks into man’s soul in the depths of the heart and delights in its reverence, which is manifested by humbleness of behavior.
Those being taught the civil laws (i.e., civil law) must not resort to the Greek customs, nor moreover must they appear upon the theater stage, or engage in so-called cylistrae, or garb themselves in robes not in common use, either at the time they are commencing their course of study, or at the time they are finishing it, or, to speak more generally, at any time in the midst of their education. From now on if anyone dare to do so, let him be excommunicated.
Just as the more foolish of the learned men among the Athenians used to fight
with their adversaries, as St. Gregory the Theologian writes in the epitaph of
St. Basil the Great, and block up the cities and streets, and to do other such
things usual to the young sophists, in like manner were Christians who were
being taught civil law wont to adopt these Greek customs, and would let
themselves be judged on the stage as to who was the best of them in
argumentation, and would engage in what were called cylistrae, or would don
clothes out of the ordinary. The present Canon prohibits them from doing any of
those things either at the commencement or in the midst or at the end of their
law course. Anyone doing such things thereafter is to be excommunicated.
Let no Orthodox man be allowed to contract a marriage with a heretical woman, nor moreover let any Orthodox woman be married to a heretical man. But if it should be discovered that any such thing is done by any one of the Christians, no matter who, let the marriage be deemed void, and let the lawless marriage tie be dissolved. For it is not right to mix things immiscible, nor to let a wolf get tangled up with a sheep, and the lot of sinners get tangled up with the portion of Christ. If, therefore, anyone violates the rules we have made let him be excommunicated. But in case persons who happen to be still in the state of unbelief (i.e., infidels) and to be not yet admitted to the fold of the Orthodox have joined themselves to each other by lawful marriage, then and in that event, the one of them having chosen the good start by running to the light of truth, while the other, on the contrary, has been held down by the bond of delusion for having failed to welcome the choice of gazing at the divine rays (whether it be that an infidel woman has looked with favor upon a man who is a believer, or vice versa an infidel man upon a woman who is a believer), let them not be separated, in accordance with the divine Apostle: “For the infidel husband is sanctified by the wife, and the infidel wife by the husband” (1 Cor. 7:14).
(c. XIV of the 4th.)
The present Canon declares that it is not permissible for an Orthodox man to marry a heretical woman, or for an Orthodox woman to get married to a heretical man. But if anyone should do this, the marriage is to be void, and this unlawful matrimonial tie is to be sundered. For no wolf should ever be united with a sheep, and the lot of sinners and heretics with the portion of Christ and of Orthodox Christians. Whoever transgresses the present Canon, let him be excommunicated. If, however, both parties were married while infidels in infidelity and community of religion, but afterwards one party believed in Christ, while the other remained in the darkness of infidelity, though the infidel party is still pleased to cohabit with the believing party, let the couple not be separated, as St. Paul says, and indeed even St. Basil’s c. IX. For one thing, because the infidel husband becomes sanctified by living with his believing wife, or the infidel wife by living with her believing husband. And for another thing, because perhaps as a result of such cohabitation the other party may be led to piety. “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?” demands the same St. Paul, “or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save they wife?” (1 Cor. 7:16). See also c. XIV of the 4th.
Seeing that the vivifying Cross has shown us the way to Salvation, we ought to make every endeavour to render the honor deserved to that which has been the means whereby we have been saved from the old lapse. Hence both in mind and in word and in sentiment paying it adoration, we by all means command that imprints of the Cross on the ground made by some persons be erased, lest the symbol signifying the trophy of victory to us be desecrated by being trodden upon by people walking over the ground. We therefore decree that henceforth those who make the sign or imprint of the Cross upon the ground shall be excommunicated.
By virtue of the vivifying Cross we have been saved and have been freed from the bondage of sin. Hence (says the present Canon) we ought to make endeavour to render due honor and adoration to it, both with the mind, by remembering how many good things we have gained through it; and with words by telling these things to others and thanking Christ who was crucified upon it; and with feeling by kissing and honoring it wherever we see it. But inasmuch as certain simple-minded people mark the figure of this precious Cross everywhere, so far even as upon the ground of the earth, under the pretext of supposed reverence and in order to pay more honor to it, on this account the Council commands that wherever the figure of the Cross be found printed upon the ground it shall be erased and spoiled in order to prevent its being trodden underfoot and consequently dishonored by people walking upon the victorious trophy of our salvation. As for all those who hereafter make the figure of the Cross upon the ground, let them be excommunicated.
That so-called agapae, or love-feasts, must not be held at the Lord’s suppers, or at the churches, and that one is not to eat them inside of a house, or to lay a table with accubita (or couches). As for those who dare to do this, let them either cease or be excommunicated.
The present Canon is word for word the same as c. XXVIII of Laodicea, which prohibits Christian people from holding agapae, or so-called love-feasts (i.e., banquets held as a token of love, and designed to lead the banqueters to love and union), on the occasion of the Lord’s suppers, or, as we may say, in the churches. Nor must they provide soft and high couches thereat, which it calls “accubita,” using a Latin word derived from the verb accumbo, which means in Latin to lean or recline upon, and thus to sit at table; for Christians were wont to sit on these when eating. As for any persons that might dare to do this, they must either cease or be excommunicated. We must first note that Balsamon opines that by “Lord’s suppers” the Canon means here any place dedicated to the Lord, including, that is to say, both the Narthex and the Pronaos, reserving the word “church” for the Temple itself. Hence the particle “or” is not to be taken as explanatory, as Zonaras asserts, but as disjunctive: so that, according to him, one must not eat, not only in churches, but not even in the Narthex of churches.
We wish those who attend church for the purpose of chanting neither to employ disorderly cries and to force nature to cry out aloud, nor to foist in anything that is not becoming and proper to a church; but, on the contrary, to offer such psalmodies with much attentiveness and con-triteness to God, who sees directly into everything that is hidden from our sight. “For the sons of Israel shall be reverent” (Lev. 15:30), the sacred word has taught us.
The chanting, or psalmody, that is done in churches is in the nature of begging God to be appeased for our sins. Whoever begs and prayerfully supplicates must have a humble and contrite manner; but to cry out manifests a manner that is audacious and irreverent. On this account the present Canon commands that those who chant in the churches refrain from forcing their nature to yell, but also from saying anything else that is unsuitable for the church. But what are the things that are unsuitable for the church? The expositor Zonaras replies that they are womanish members and warblings (which is the same as saying trills, and an excessive variation or modulation in melodies which inclines towards the songs sung by harlots). The present Canon, therefore, commands that all these things be eliminated from the Church, and that those chant therein shall offer their psalmodies with great care to God, who looks into the hidden recesses of the heart, i.e., into the psalmody and prayer that are framed mentally in the heart rather than uttered in external cries. For the sacred word of Leviticus teaches us sons of Israel to be reverent to God.
That within the sacred precincts no tavern or showcase for the display of perfumes or of other kinds of merchandise must be set up; for the respectability of the Church must be preserved, seeing that our Savior and God, instructing us by His conduct while living in the flesh, bade us not to make His Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16). He even poured out the coins of the money-changers, and drove them all out of the temple who were making it a market place. If, therefore, anybody be caught in doing what is here prohibited, let him be excommunicated.
The Lord told the Jews (19:46): “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’ (Isa. 56:7); but ye have made it a ‘robbers’ cave” (Jer. 7:11). Hence, in order to avoid having these fearful words said to the faithful, the Fathers prohibited by means of this Canon the establishment of a tavern, or, in other words, the sale of wine, or of raki, or even of other kinds of comestibles, according to Zonaras, or of perfumes, according to Balsamon or of other kinds of merchandise within the sacred precincts, or, in other words, within the confines of the vestibule and the grounds of the divine Temples and Churches, in order to keep up respect for them. For even the Lord admonished us and said for us not to make the house of his Father a house of merchandise, and He even dumped out the money of the money-changers, or, more explicitly speaking, he scattered their small coins; and turning upon those who were making the temple a common house, he drove them away with a scourge of cords. As for anyone that may do this, let him be excommunicated. Read also c. LXXIV for the same 6th.
That those who have been admitted to the priesthood, or clerics, or ascetics ought not to bathe in public baths with women, nor ought any Christian layman do so. For this is the first thing heathen find to condemn. In case, however, anyone be caught in the act of committing this impropriety, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
The present Canon is word for word c. XXX of the Council held in Laodicea, except only for the penance. It says, then, that those in major holy orders, or clergymen admitted to the Holy Bema, or monks and ascetics, or in general any Christian layman ought not to bathe in a public bath together with women; since this impropriety in the eyes of heathen appears to be an offense of the first magnitude, and the greatest scandal as against Christians. But the Apostle commands us to become sentinels to the Jews and Greeks, and to the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). And if, as Zonaras says, merely meeting a woman in general on the street or at a house is enough to disturb the reasoning process, how can the mind of those men who are bathing together with women fail to be overwhelmed and moved to desire. But not even married couples ought to bathe together, according to Balsamon, either at a public bath, that is to say, or in the sea, or in a river. For they possess their bodies for the purpose of procreating children, and not in order to strip themselves and look at their ugly parts. The Canon adds that whoever appears to be doing this, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
That those being enlightened (through baptism) must learn all about the faith, and on every Thursday must recite to the Bishop or to the Presbyter.
This Canon too is likewise word for word c. XLVI of Laodicea, which says that those who are getting prepared for enlightenment and baptism as catechumens (see the Interpretation of c. XIV of the 1st) ought throughout the period of their catechization (but what was the length of this period? See the Footnote to c. II of the 1st) to learn the dogmas of the Orthodox faith well and on Thursday of each week, according to Zonaras, they have to recite them by heart to the bishop, or to the presbyters who are catechizing them, lest, being ignorant of the mystery involved in our religion, they be baptized, and lest, being without supporting knowledge as a result of their ignorance, they be easily deceived by heretics.
Confessing the divine childbirth to have resulted from the Virgin without confinement (i.e., childbed), as well as without its being induced by seed; and preaching to all the flock, we require those who have done anything that was not proper to submit to correction. Hence, in view of the fact that after the holy birthday of Christ our God some persons are shown to be boiling fine flour (called in Greek semidalis) and giving thereof to one another, on the pretext of paying honor to the alleged puerperium of the All-intemerate Parthenometor (i.e., the perfectly immaculate Virgin Mother), we decree that nothing of the kind shall be done by the faithful. For this is no honor to the Virgin, at any rate, who gave birth to the Logos in the flesh who is incapable of being spatially bounded and whose birth was beyond the mind and reason of man, from common knowledge and our own experience to define and subscribe to the events attending Her ineffable childbirth. Henceforth, therefore, in case anyone should be caught in the act of doing this, if he be a cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.
Inasmuch as some Christians, actuated by their lack of positive knowledge, on the second day after Christmas boiled fine flour and other foodstuffs, which they ate and gave one another to eat, doing this for the sake of allegedly honoring the puerperium of the Theotokos (just as it is the custom to do in the case of other women who gave birth to children in a natural manner). On this account and for this reason the present Canon decrees that hereafter such a thing shall not be done by Christians. For by such a custom to liken the inexplicable childbirth of the Ever-Virgin to the common and humble birth of us human beings cannot be considered any honor to Her, who beyond the conceivability of man’s mind and reason gave birth in the flesh to the God Logos, who cannot be bounded spatially; on the contrary, it is rather a dishonor. For just as we confess the Conception of the Theotokos to have been seedless and to have resulted from action of the Holy Spirit, so and in like manner we also join in confessing Her childbirth to have been one above every accompaniment of any confinement due to what is commonly called childbed, which consists in giving birth to an infant with the accompanying pangs of childbirth and is followed by a flux of blood, according to Zonaras. Whoever should do this, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.
In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion.
The present Canon decrees that any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any clergyman in general, or any layman, without being under any grave necessity or difficulty forcing him to stay away from his church, while he is living in the city, fails to attend church along with the rest of the faithful on three consecutive Sundays, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. For one of two things must be true: either such a person is not a believer; or, though a believer, he scorns the common offering of hymns and prayers to God.