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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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15.

 From now on let no Clergyman be attached to two churches. For this is a mark of commerciality and of greediness for profits, and is alien to ecclesiastical usage. For we have been told by the voice of the Lord Himself that “no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will cling to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). Each person, therefore, in accordance with the Apostolical utterance, wherever he happens to be, ought to stay there and serve in one church. For things done on account of greediness for profits in connection with ecclesiastical matters are alien to God’s institutes. To supply the needs of this life there are various occupations. Let anyone, therefore, who so wishes gain the needs of the body from them. For the Apostle has said, “these hands have ministered unto my needs, and unto those of them who were with me” (Acts 20:34). Accordingly, what is said here is to be applied in this God-guarded city; but in small towns outside of it, for want of men, let there be concessions.

(Ap. c. XV; cc. XV, XVI of the 1st; cc. X, XX, XXIII of the 4th; cc. XVII, XVIII of the 6th; cc. X, XV of the 7th; c. III of Antioch; cc. XV, XVI, XIX of Sardica; cc. LXIII, XCVIII of Carthage; Matt. 6:24; 1 Cor. 7:20; Acts 20:34.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon prohibits the enrolling of any clergyman in the clergy of two churches situated either in the same city or in two cities, because this is being done for the sake of shameful profits, in order, that is to say, that the clergyman so enrolled may gain the emoluments of both churches; but what is done for the sake of shameful profits is foreign both to God and to ecclesiastics. For the Lord says that nobody can serve two masters; for either he will hate and despise one of them, or he will love and embrace the other. And St. Paul commands that everybody stay in the place whither he has been called by God. If these clergymen allege as an excuse that they cannot get along with the emoluments of the one church, why, behold, there are many kinds of manual work in the world that are more decent; accordingly, let them work with their hands to obtain the needs of the body. For even St. Paul obtained his needs and the needs of those with him by the work of his own hands, as he himself says. So for a clergyman to be attached to two churches, in this imperial city at any rate, is not to be tolerated because of the great number of clerics already in it; but as for the villages and towns outside of it, let it be allowed to be done on account of the scarcity of priests and clerics. See also Ap. c. XV.

 

 




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