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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils
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As for Monasteries which have once been consecrated with the consent of the Bishop, they are to remain Monasteries perpetually, and the property owned by them is to be kept safe, and no more be permitted to serve as mundane haunts of vice. Those who permit this to occur are liable to the penances provided by the Canons.
(c. IV of the 4th; c. XLIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIX of the 7th; c. I of the lst-&-2nd; c. II of Cyril.)
The present Canon prescribes that all monasteries that have once been established and consecrated with the consent and permission and approval of the Bishop having jurisdiction of that particular region in which they are situated (as we have previously asserted in connection with c. IV of the present Council, q.v.), they are to remain monasteries forever, and henceforth no more to be converted into common and mundane haunts of vice or the like. All real and personal property belonging to them must likewise be kept inalienable and undiminished. All persons who, though not themselves converting them into mundane resorts, nor removing any of their property, give permission to others to do so, are to be held responsible for their acts and liable to the penalties provided by the Canons. But what are these penalties? They are the ones mentioned by the 7th Ec. C. in its c. XIII, wherein it deposes the clergymen from office, and excommunicates those laymen and monks who have seized monasteries and bishoprics, and have converted them into common resorts and refuse to return them in order to let them become sacred again just as they were formerly.
Canon XLIX of the 6th not only commands that monasteries are not to be permitted to become common and mundane habitations, but also that they are not to be turned over to seculars by anyone, in order, that is to say, that they may be protected and managed. Canon XII of the 7th also prohibits any abbot from alienating the monasteries’ own works and effects. Canon XIX of the same Council will not allow a monk to take back things which he has given to his monastery if he departs of his own accord. And c. II of Cyril specifies that jewels and other valuable articles and real estate are to remain inalienable from the churches to which they belong.