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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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14.

 Inasmuch as Anagnosts and Psalts in some provinces have been permitted to marry, the holy Council has made it a rule that none of them shall be allowed to take a wife that is of a different faith. As for those who have already had children as a result of such a marriage, if they have already had their offspring baptized by heretics, let them bring them into the communion of the catholic Church. But if they have not baptized them, let them no longer have any right to baptize them with heretics, nor, indeed, even to contract a marriage with a heretic, or a Jew, or a Greek, unless they first promise and undertake to convert the person joined to the Orthodox Christian to the Orthodox faith. If, on the other hand, anyone transgresses this rule of the holy Council, let him be liable to a Canonical penalty.

(Ap. c. XXVI; cc. VI and LXXII of the 6th; cc. X and XXXI of Laodicea; cc. XIX, XXIX, XXXIII of Carthage.)

 

Interpretation.

Notwithstanding that Ap. c. XXVI commands that Anagnosts and Psalts may marry after being installed by chirothesy, it appears from what the present Canon says that this was not permitted everywhere (and especially in Africa, according to its c. XIX). So this holy Council makes it a rule that in those regions where this is allowed that no Anagnost or Psalt shall take a woman of a different faith to wife. All those, on the other hand, who have already begotten children by such an unlawful marriage must bring them into the catholic Church. Accordingly, if they have baptized a child with the baptism of heretics, in case that heretical baptism with which the child has been baptized does not differ from the Orthodox baptism so far as concerns the matter and form, but, on the contrary, is acceptable to the Orthodox Church, they shall have the child anointed only with myron (or chrism), as Zonaras says (though it would be more correct and safer for them to be baptized, seeing that the baptism of all heretics !s in the nature of a pollution, and not a baptism; read also the Interpretations of Ap. cc. XLVI, XLVII, and LXVIII). But if that baptism was not acceptable the child is to be rebaptized. But if, on the other hand, they have not yet baptized the children, they are not to baptize them any longer with the heretical baptism, nor are they to join them in marriage with a heretic, that is to say, either with a Jew or with a Greek, with one, in other words, who is an infidel and idolater. But if the heretic should promise to become an Orthodox Christian, let him first become one in accordance with his promise, and then let the marriage be performed. If anyone transgresses these rules, let him be liable to the penalties prescribed by the Canons, that is to say, by the foresaid Apostolic Canons.

 

Concord.

In a similar manner c. XXXI of Laodicea commands Christians not to give their children (in marriage) to heretics, but rather to take any from them provided that they promise to become Christians. In addition, c. X of Laodicea, i.e., of the same Council, prohibits ecclesiastics from joining their children in marriage with heretics. This same rule is also laid down by c. XXIX of Carthage; while c. LXXII of the 6th even goes so far as to annul and invalidate any marriage contracted, not only by a clergyman, but also by any Orthodox Christian man or woman in general with heretics. But as for those who from the first and originally were heretics, and the one of them was later baptized by them, and they do not want to be separated, let them not be divorced, according to the same Canon and according to St. Paul, though St. Paul prohibits marriage with infidels, by saying: “Be ye not unequally yoked with infidels (II Cor. 6:14). Read also Ap. c. XXVI.[99]

 




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