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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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13.

 In view of the fact that on account of the disaster attending our sins certain charitable institutions have been pillaged by men, including both bishoprics and monasteries, and have been made into common resorts; if those who now have possession of them are willing to return them, in order that they may be restored to their pristine condition, it is well and good: but if not, in case those men who now have them in their possession are on the sacerdotal list, we command that they be deposed from office, or, if they be monks or laymen, that they be excommunicated, on the ground that they stand condemned by the Father, and by the Son, and by the Holy Spirit; and let them be relegated thither where “their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched(Isa. 66:24; Mark 9:44, 46, 48), since they are opposed to the Lord’s utterance saying: “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16).

(cc. IV, XXIV of the 4th; c. XLIX of the 6th; cc. XII, XIX of the 7th; c. I of the lst-&-2nd; c. II of Cyril.)

 

Interpretation.

In the time of the iconomachists, besides other evils that occurred, many prelates were ousted by them on account of the holy icons from their bishoprics and metropoleis, and many monks were ousted from their monasteries. These institutions being left in a state of desolation certain secular persons snatched hold of them and converted them into secular habitations. So for this reason the present Canon commands that in case those holding possession of these bishoprics and monasteries are willing to give them back, in order that they may be restored again as bishoprics and monasteries to their former condition, it is all right. But if they are unwilling, in case they are clerics let them be deposed from office, but in case they are monks or laymen let them be excommunicated, as persons condemned on this account by the Holy Trinity; and let them be relegated to that region where “their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched,” according to the utterance of Isaiah and of the Gospel, since they are opposing the words of the Lord which say, “Make not the house of my Father a house of merchandise,” etc. Read also cc. IV and XXIV of the 4th.

 

 




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