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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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88.

 Let no one introduce into a sacred Temple any beast whatsoever, unless it be that when someone is journeying, and being under the greatest necessity and without a habitation or resort of any kind, he puts up in such a Temple. For if he does not let his beast stay inside, it will perish. But with the loss of his beast of burden and as a result of his being thus left without any means of carriage he will expose himself to the danger of death. For we are taught that “the sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27), so that through all it is preferable to consider the salvation and safety of the man. But if anyone should be caught introducing a beast into the Temple without there being any real necessity, as has been said, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits anyone from introducing into any sacred temple any kind of animal. For sacred things deserve honor and respectful reverence, save only if anyone be engaged in a long journey, and there arise a great need due to wintry weather and a heavy rain, and he has no place to take refuge, he takes his beast into the temple in order to avoid leaving it outside to perish and himself exposed to the danger of death, as not being able to make the journey from here on with his own feet alone, or as being grieved because he has no money wherewith to buy another. The Canon adduces testimony from Scripture, which says that the Sabbath was made for man. This can be taken in two different senses: either that just as the Sabbath was declared a holiday by the law in order to allow the slave a day of rest, and likewise the beast of burden in the service of man, so that it might as a result of such rest be able to serve its master the better, so and in virtually the same way it maybe said that the animal is allowed to rest in the Temple on such an occasion not for the sake of the animal itself, but for the sake of the man who owns the animal. Or that just as the holiday of the Sabbath used to be interrupted in order to enable men to water their animals (Luke ch. 13), or to get them out of a pit if they happened to fall into one on a Sabbath, in order that as a result of all such exceptions man might be served. Thus too is the honor of the Temple temporarily shelved in order to provide for the salvation of the man owning the beast. But if anyone should take any animal into a temple without any such necessity, in case he be a clergyman, let him be deposed; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. Read also c. LXXIV of this same 6th.

 

 




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