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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils
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In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion.
The present Canon decrees that any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any clergyman in general, or any layman, without being under any grave necessity or difficulty forcing him to stay away from his church, while he is living in the city, fails to attend church along with the rest of the faithful on three consecutive Sundays, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. For one of two things must be true: either such a person is not a believer; or, though a believer, he scorns the common offering of hymns and prayers to God.
The present Canon is gleaned word for word from c. XI of Sardica — though, on the one hand, the statement that a bishop under no graver necessity or difficulty forcing him to absent himself from his own church is contained as a separate item in the Sardican Canon, which says that bishops must not leave their eparchy for a long time, whereas the present Council has taken it that bishops must not absent themselves from the congregation of the faithful in the church, conjoining this statement with the one below it. Instead of the words “while living in the city, . . . three consecutive Sundays,” etc., the Sardican Council says these words with regard to laymen only, whereas the present Council says them with regard also to bishops. Just as c. XII of the same Sardican Council, that is to say, would have it that even a bishop who is living on his real estate, which is in some foreign eparchy, for three consecutive Sundays, he must join the other faithful in the neighboring church; whereas c. V of Gangra anathematizes anyone that scorns the Church and the congregation of the faithful therein. Likewise also c. XX of the same Council anathematizes those who haughtily disparage the “memoriae” of martyrs and the congregations and liturgies thereat. Canon XXI, too, of the same Council praises congregation in the church as being of public benefit.