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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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3.

 Every appointment of a bishop, or of a presbyter, or of a deacon made by (civil) rulers shall remain void in accordance with the Canon which says: “If any bishop comes into possession of a church by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated. And all those who communicate with him too.” For it behooves anyone who is going to be promoted to a bishopric to be appointed by bishops, as was decreed by the holy Fathers assembled in Nicaea, in the Canon saying: “It is most fitting that a bishop should be installed by all those in his province. But if such a thing is difficult either because of the urgency of circumstances, or because of the distance to be traveled, at least three should meet together somewhere and by their votes combined with those of the ones absent and joining in the election by letter they should carry out the ordination thereafter. But as for the ratification of the proceedings, let it be entrusted in each province to the Metropolitan.”

(Ap. cc. I, II, XXX, LXI; c. IV of the 1st; cc. V, XIII of Laodicea; c. LIX of Carthage; c. VII of Timothy.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon is composed of Ap. c. XXX and c. IV of the 1st. Since we have already explained these Canons, see the interpretation of them there, in order to spare us from repeating the same things about them here. The only thing in this Canon that is not found there, is that every appointment or election of a bishop, or of a presbyter, or of a deacon that is made by authority and power of civil rulers shall remain void and invalid; and that bishops are to be elected by bishops, in accordance with a process previously described; that is to say, on the other hand, that the fact that both presbyters and deacons are elected is made plain indeed by the present Canon, concerning which see the Footnote to Ap. c. II; as for the fact, moreover, that Christians ought to vote subsequently after the bishops for those about to be admitted to holy orders, this is made plain in the Interpretation of Ap. c. LXI. See also Ap. cc. I and II, and the Footnote to c. V of Laodicea.

 

 




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