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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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2.

 This too has appeared best to the this holy Council, as well as most important, that the 85 Canons handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles, and as a matter of fact accepted and validated by the holy and blissful Fathers preceding us, be henceforth retained and left firm and secure for the care of souls and the cure of diseases. But inasmuch as we are ordered in these Canons to accept the Injunctions of the same holy Apostles (as transmitted) through Clemens, into some of which certain spurious passages destitute of piety have been interpolated long ago by the heterodox to the detriment of the Church, arid have tarnished the becoming and natural beauty of the divine dogmas for us, we have suitably weeded out such ordinances in furtherance of the edification and security of the most Christian flock, not in the least way being minded to approve the fantastic inventions of heretical mendacity that have been inserted in the genuine and uncorrupted didache (or teaching) of the Apostles. On the other hand, we ratify all the rest of the sacred Canons promulgated by our holy and blissful Fathers, to wit: the three hundred and eighteen foregathered in Nicaea, those convened in Ancyra, and furthermore also those who met in Neocaesarea, likewise those who attended the meeting in Gangra, but in addition to these also those who convened in Antioch, Syria, and furthermore also those who held a Council in Laodicea; further, again, the one hundred and fifty who convened in this God-guarded and imperial capital city, .and the two hundred who assembled at an earlier time in the metropolis of Ephesus, and the six hundred and thirty holy and blissful Fathers who met in Chalcedon. Likewise those who convened in Sardica; furthermore those in Carthage. Further and in addition to all these those now again convened in this God-guarded and imperial capital city in the time of Nectarius the president of this imperial capital city, and of Theophilus who became Archbishop of Alexandria. Furthermore also of Dionysius who became Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, and of Peter who became Archbishop of Alexandria and a Martyr withal, and of Gregory the Thaumaturgus (or Miracle-worker) who became Bishop of Neocaesarea, of Athanasius the Archbishop of Alexandria, of Basil the Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, of Gregory of Nyssa, of Gregory the Theologian, of Amphilochius the Archbishop of Iconium, Timothy a former Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria, of Theophilus an Archbishop of the great city of the Alexandrians, of Cyril an Archbishop of Alexandria, and of Gennadius who became a Patriarch of this God-guarded imperial capital city. Furthermore, the Canon promulgated by Cyprian who became an Archbishop of the country of Africa and a martyr, and by the Council supporting him, who alone held sway in the places of the aforesaid presidents, in accordance with the custom handed down to them; and no one shall be permitted to countermand or set aside the Canons previously laid down, or to recognize and accept any Canons, other than the ones herein specified, that have been composed under a false inscription by certain persons who have taken in hand to barter the truth. If, nevertheless, anyone be caught innovating with regard to any of the said Canons, or attempting to subvert it, he shall be responsible in respect of that Canon and shall receive the penance which it prescribes and be chastised by that Canon which he has offended.

 

Interpretation.

Since at every Council, and especially one that was Ecumenical, there was also a definition within which were comprised the dogmas of the faith, and Canons were composed in writing to serve in the way of contributions to the polity and good order of the Church, therefore and on this account, after having ratified and confirmed in its Canon I the definitions of the faith of the holy and Ecumenical Councils (preceding it), the present Council now in this Canon II ratifies and confirms also a) the Canons of the Holy Apostles, numbering eighty-five in all, which it says that the Fathers preceding it accepted and sanctioned (for it excludes the Apostolic Injunctions transmitted through Clement, because they had been garbled in certain parts by heterodox heretics to the injury of the Church, for the security of Christians. Nevertheless today, as they are found formulated, they appear to me to contain nothing improper or spurious. See concerning them also in Ap. c. LXXXV). b) Those of the four (previous) Ecumenical Councils. c) Those of the regional Councils and local Synods named.[133] And d) those of the Holy Fathers individually, each by name. It goes on to add that no one has permission or any right whatever to corrupt or to refuse to recognize and accept any of the Canons previously mentioned, or to accept others instead thereof that have been given false titles. If, nevertheless, anyone should appear to be attempting to corrupt them, or to suppress any Canon among them, he is to receive the penalty prescribed by that Canon which he corrupts or suppresses. That is to say, in other words, if the Canon in question contains and prescribes excommunication, or deposition, or anathema, he that corrupts or suppresses it is to suffer these penalties, in order to compensate for his offense by paying the penalty fixed by the very Canon which he has violated.[134] Read also Ap. c. LXXXV, c. I of the 4th, and the Prolegomena to the Apostolic Canons.

 

 




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