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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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68.

 As regards the fact that it is not permissible for anyone to destroy, or to cut up, or to turn over to book stores or to so-called druggists, or anyone else whatsoever for destruction any of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, or of our holy and eminent Preachers and Teachers, unless it be completely useless because of having been damaged by bookworms or water or in some other way. Anyone caught doing such a thing from now on, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise anyone buying such books, unless he keeps them for his own use and benefit, nor should he give them away to others to keep, but who attempts to destroy them, let him be excommunicated.

 

Interpretation.

It is not permissible, says the present Canon, for anyone to destroy or to cut up[203] books of the Old and New Testaments, and of the eminent teachers, or, in other words, of those who have been approved and accepted after tests (for many books have been written, but have been rejected and disapproved); nor must he give these away to book stores, or to persons who extinguish or otherwise destroy books, or to those selling drugs and perfumes, or to anyone else to destroy or make away with them — except only if they have been entirely eaten up by worms, or have rotted and have become illegible from having become too old to be read.[204] As for anyone who might do such a thing, let him be excommunicated for a year. Likewise let him be excommunicated who buys such books, not in order to benefit himself by reading them, nor in order to give them to anyone else to have the benefit of them, but in order to spoil them or to destroy them.

 

 




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