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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils
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As many persons as have been guilty of serious lapses and have been ordained in ignorance thereof, or even after the ordinators have become aware thereof, will not be admitted under the ecclesiastical Canon. For when they have become known, they shall be deposed.
(Ap. c. LXII; cc. I, III, XII of Ancyra; c. X of Peter.)
All those who have offended by lapsing seriously, i.e., by denying our Lord Jesus Christ, and have afterwards repented, are incapable of becoming priests. For how can anyone become a priest that is prevented according to the canons of the Church from partaking of the divine mysteries until he dies? On this account the present Canon says that as many persons as have been ordained from among God-deniers, either because the prelate who ordained them did not know about the denial, or because, though knowing about it, he blinked or scorned the fact, and thought that ordination would purify them as does baptism, in accordance with the interpretation given by Balsamon — this fact, I say, of their having been ordained, that is to say, in ignorance or in spite of knowledge of the facts, does not offer any bar or obstacle to the application of the ecclesiastical canon, so as, that is to say, to prevent its operating to exclude them from holy orders. Because once they have been detected or have revealed themselves, so as to show in what manner they have been ordained, they have to be deposed. All those persons, on the contrary, who before baptism sacrificed to idols are nevertheless qualified to be admitted to holy orders after they have been baptized, on the ground that they have received a bath of redemption, in accordance with c. XII of Ancyra. All those persons, furthermore, who have undergone torture for the sake of Christ, and for His sake have been imprisoned, and have been forcibly compelled to have their hands defiled with incense or to take sacrificial offers of food in their mouth — all such persons, provided the rest of their life has been fairly good, may be ordained clergymen, according to c. III of the same council. Note also that not only those persons are to be deposed who have denied Christ before ordination and have afterwards been ordained, but also those who have denied Him after ordination; read also Ap. c. LXII.