THE SEVEN CANONS OF THE SECOND ECUMENICAL COUNCIL. THE FIRST COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

Canon I.

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

Canon II.

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

Canon III.

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

Canon IV.

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

Canon V.

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

Canon VI.

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

Canon VII.

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

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2005 Most Rev. Victor Prentice
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