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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils
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As for all those who are indigent and in need of assistance, upon proof, we have made it a rule that they are to travel only with pacific ecclesiastical letters, and not with recommendatory letters; for recommendatory letters are to be granted only to persons who are under suspicion.
(Ap. cc. XII, XXXIII; c. XIII of the 4th; c. XVII of the 6th; cc. VII, VIII, and XI of Antioch; cc. XLI, XLII of Laodicea; cc. VII, VIII of Sardica; cc. XXXI, XCVII, and CXVI of Carthage.)
All those who are indigent and in need of help, the present Canon decrees, are first to be investigated as to whether they are truly in need of aid, and, this being ascertained, after examination, to be a fact, they are to receive from the bishops little letters called “pacific” letters on account of the fact that they used to afford peace to those who were suffering from wrath and the unjust decision of civil magistrates and dynasts (such letters were also called letters dimissory); but they are not to receive also letters recommendatory. For letters recommendatory are to be given for the most part to those persons whose reputation, or repute, had previously been besmirched, and who are recommended and declared innocent in the recommendatory letters. Read the Interpretation of and the Footnote to Ap. c. XIV.