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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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28.

 Everywhere following the decrees of the Holy Fathers, and aware of the recently recognized Canon of the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops who convened during the reign of Theodosius the Great of pious memory, who became emperor in the imperial city of Constantinople otherwise known as New Rome; we too decree and vote the same things in regard to the privileges and priorities of the most holy Church of that same Constantinople and New Rome. And this is in keeping with the fact that the Fathers naturally enough granted the priorities to the throne of Old Rome on account of her being the imperial capital. And motivated by the same object and aim the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved Bishops have accorded the like priorities to the most holy throne of New Rome, with good reason deeming that the city which is the seat of an empire, and of a senate, and is equal to old imperial Rome in respect of other privileges and priorities, should be magnified also as she is in respect of ecclesiastical affairs, as coming next after her, or as being second to her. And it is arranged so that only the Metropolitans of the Pontic, Asian, and Thracian dioceses shall be ordained by the most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople aforesaid, and likewise the Bishops of the aforesaid dioceses which are situated in barbarian lands; that is to say, that each Metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the Bishops of the province, shall ordain the Bishops of the province, just as is prescribed by the divine Canons. But the Metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the Archbishop of Constantinople, after the elections have first been conducted in accordance with custom, and have been reported to him. (Ap c. XXXIV; c. III of the 2nd and c. XXXVI of the 6th.)

 

Interpretation.

Since at this Fourth Council c. III of the Second Council was read, which decrees that the Bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy priorities of honor with the Bishop of Rome, seeing that it is New Rome, therefore the fathers of this Council too, by means of their present Canon, renew and confirm the said Canon, and they decree and vote the same things as regards the priorities of the same city of Constantinople which is also known as New Rome. For, they say, just as the Fathers bestowed privileges upon the throne of Old Rome on account of the fact that it was the capital of an empire, and were fully justified in doing so, owing, that is to say, to his being first in point of order among the rest of the Patriarchs. In exactly the same way and motivated by exactly the same object and aim, the one hundred and fifty most God-beloved bishops of the second Council have bestowed exactly the same and equal privileges of honor also upon the most holy throne of New Rome[112] — of Constantinople, that is to saydeeming it quite reasonable that this city, in view of the fact that it has been honored by being made the seat of an empire and of a senate, in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, ought to enjoy the same and equal privileges in a similar manner as has also (old) Rome, and to be magnified herself also in exactly the same way as the latter is in connection with ecclesiastical matters, with the sole difference that old Rome is to be first in order, while new Rome is to be second in order. In addition to these things we decree and vote that only the Metropolitans (but not also the Bishops, that is to say, that are subject to the Metropolitans; for each of these is ordained by his own Metropolitan together with the bishops of the province, just as the divine Canons prescribe, especially c. VI of the First) shall be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of Constantinople. Not only are the Metropolitans of the said dioceses to be ordained by him, but indeed also the bishops located in barbarian regions that border on the said dioceses, as, for instance, those called Alani are adjacent to and flank the diocese of Pontus, while the Russians border on that of Thrace. Nevertheless, the said Metropolitans are not to be ordained by the Bishop of Constantinople just as he pleases and decides, but he must take the votes of the Synod under him into consideration as reported to him in accordance with established custom, and then ordain those men on whom the voters have agreed, either unanimously or as a majority.[113]

 




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