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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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23.

 Concerning the rule that no one, whether a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, that imparts of the intemerate Communion shall collect from the partaker coins or any compensation whatsoever in exchange for such communion. For neither is grace bought, nor do we impart the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit for money; but, on the contrary, it must be imparted to the worthy without the incentive of knavishness. If, however, any person enrolled in the Clergy should be found to be demanding compensation of any kind of him to whom he imparts of the intemerate Communion, let him be deposed from office, on the ground that he is votary of Simon’s delusion and maleficence.

(Ap. c. XXIX; c. II of the 4th; c. XXII of the 6th; cc. IV, XV, IX of the 7th; c. XCI of Basil; letters of Gennadius and Tarasius.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that no bishop, or presbyter, or deacon[150] shall demand money of those to whom he imparts the divine mysteries, nor shall he ask for any other compensation, even though it should be the very slightest, for the sake of partaking of the divine communion. For the grace of the Mysteries cannot be sold, nor do we impail the sanctification of the Holy Spirit for money, but, on the contrary, we impart it without being bribed to do so, to those who are worthy of it. For it is on this account that the divine Communion is called among the masses the gift (or dorea), because, according to Balsamon, it is imparted without gifts. As for anyone that should do this, let him be deposed from office, as having become an imitator of the delusion and heresy of Simon the Sorcerer, who thought that the grace of the All-holy Spirit could be sold for money.[151] Read also Ap. c. XXIX.

 

 




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