canons 81 to 102 of the 102

Canon LXXXI.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Canon LXXXV.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

(c. I of Dionysius.)


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

Canon XC.

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


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

Canon XCI.

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


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

Canon XCII.

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


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

Canon XCIII.

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


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

Canon XCIV.

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


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

Canon XCV.

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


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

Canon XCVI.

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


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

Canon XCVII.

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


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


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


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

Canon XCIX.

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


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

Canon C.

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


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

Canon CI.

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

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


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

Canon CII.

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


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

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