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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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37.

 Since at various times there have been inroads of barbarians, and many cities have as a result become subject to the iniquitous, so that the President of such a city has been unable after ordination to take possession of his own throne and to be installed therein in sacerdotal state, and thus to act and employ himself in accordance with the prevailing custom of bestowing ordinations and to do everything that pertains to a Bishop, we, being determined to safeguard the rights of the priesthood to honor and respect, and being nowise disposed to consent to any curtailment of ecclesiastical rights or to allow the heathen influence to be exercised over those so ordained, and on account of the cause recited above since they are unable to gain possession of their own thrones, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that no prejudice shall result therefrom to prevent them from bestowing ordinations canonically upon various Clergymen, and from employing the authority of the presidency in accordance with the same definition; and that any and all administration advanced by them shall be sure and duly established. For the definition of economy shall not be restricted or limited by the circumstances of necessity or be circumscribed as touching its rigor.

(Ap. c. XXXVI; c. XVIII of Ancyra; cc. XVII, XVIII of Antioch.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that inasmuch as some prelates after being duly ordained have been unable to go to their thrones and eparchies,[165] owing to the fact that their thrones have been captured by incursions of barbarians, for this reason, maintaining the respect and honor due to the prelacy, and being unwilling to let the fact of capture by barbarians become an obstacle to thwart ecclesiastical rights, we decree that those who have been thus ordained, and owing to the occasion and fear of barbarians have been unable to seat themselves upon their thrones, shall not be prejudiced as to their right to perform ordinations of various clergymen within their eparchy, even though they are far away from it (and see the Footnote to c. XVI of Antioch), as the Canons prescribe, and to have the honor and authority of the presidency in accordance with the same definition, or, more plainly speaking, according as their eparchy has been defined to be the first, say, or the second, the third, and so on; and anything they may do by virtue of any prelatical right, or, in other words, as prelates, is to be firm and legal.[166] For although rigor, meaning the theoretical possibility of their going to their thrones and doing such things, has been lessened by the necessity of the time and of barbarians, yet the definition of economy, or more plainly speaking the right to do these things on their same throne even though far away from it, shall not be lessened on that account. Read also Ap. c. XXXVI.

 

 




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