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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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62.

 We wish once for all to extirpate from the life of the faithful the so-called (festival of) the calends, or kalends, and the so-called Vota, and the so-called Brumalia, and the public festival celebrated on the first day of March. Furthermore, the public dances of women, which are calculated to wreak great harm and injury. Furthermore we dismiss also the dances and ritualistic ceremonies performed by men or women in the name of what are falsely called gods among Greeks, after an old custom which is alien to the life of Christians, at the same time decreeing that no man shall put on any feminine costume, nor shall a woman put on any that befits men. But neither shall anybody put on comic, or satyric, or tragic masks; neither shall anybody shout the name of abominable Dionysus while engaged in squeezing grapes in the wine-presses; nor, when pouring the wine into the casks shall they provoke laughter by a show of ignorance or of vanity, by producing the effects of demoniacal delusion. As for those who from now on attempt to carry out any of the aforesaid improprieties, while well aware of what they are doing, if they should be clergymen, we command that they be deposed from office; but if laymen, that they be excommunicated.

 

Interpretation.

The calends (also spelled kalends) were the first days of every month, on which the Greeks were accustomed to celebrate in order as they hoped to pass the whole month merrily.[195] The Vota and Brumalia, on the other hand, were Greek festivals. The Vota, referring to grazing and sheep, were celebrated in honor of the god Pan, who was supposed by the Greeks to be the patron of sheep and other animals. The Brumalia were celebrated in honor of Dionysus; for the epithet of Dionysus among the Greeks of the north was Bromius, derived from bromos, a Greek word signifying a peal as of thunder. By the Romans he was called Brumalius, and his festival Brumalia, in the plural, which is the equivalent of Dionysia, as the Greeks called it. So the present Canon commands that such festivals, but especially the public one celebrated on the first day of March, for the pretended purpose of securing good weather in spring, be eliminated altogether from the public and private life of Christians. Nor must public dances in general of women be held, nor festivals and dances by men or women in honor of the name of the pseudo gods of the Greeks. It decrees in addition that neither must men wear women’s clothing, nor women men’s clothing. But neither must they disguise themselves with false faces and masks that are comic, or, in other words, calculated to provoke laughter, or tragic, or calculated to provoke laments and tears, or satyric, or, in other words peculiar, to Satyrs and Bacchi, who in honor of Dionysus were wont to dance ecstatically and as if demon-possessed.[196] And that no one should invoke, or call upon, the name of despicable Dionysus (who was supposed to be the giver and patron of wine) when treading the grapes in the winepresses, nor laugh and guffaw when the new wine is being transferred to the pitharia, as these are called in modern Greek, being a kind of earthen casks. So whoever from now on, after becoming fully aware of these prohibitions, shall attempt to do any of the aforesaid things which are demonish and Greekish, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.

 

Concord.

Note also that in Deuteronomy (ch. xxii, v. 5) God prohibits a woman from wearing men’s clothing, and a man from wearing women’s clothing: “a woman shall not wear the apparel of a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all who do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” The Council held in Gangra does not even allow a woman to wear masculine attire for the sake of supposed exercise. For it anathematizes any woman doing so, c. XIII. Read also c. XXIV of the present Council.

 

 




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