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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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26.

 Since in some churches, as we have been informed, the Bishops are administering the ecclesiastical affairs with the services of a Steward, it has seemed most reasonable and right that each and every church that has a Bishop should also have a Steward selected from its own Clergy to manage the ecclesiastical affairs of that particular church in accordance with the views and ideas of its own Bishop, so as to provide against the administration of the church being unwitnessed, so as to prevent the property of the same church from being wasted as a result of such stewardless administration and to prevent any obloquy from attaching itself to holy orders.

(Ap. cc. XXXVIII, XL; cc. XI, XII of the 7th; cc. XXIV, XXV of Antioch; c. VII of the lst-&-2nd; cc. XXXIV, XLI of Carthage; c. VII of Gangra; c. XV of Ancyra; c. LXX of Theophilus; and c. II of Cyril.)

 

Interpretation.

Since, says the present Canon, we have been told that in some provinces bishops are administering the affairs of the church by themselves without the help of a steward and just as they please, for this reason it has appeared reasonable that the bishop of every church should have a steward, selected, not from his own intimate servants or relatives, but from his clergymen, to manage the affairs of the church in accordance with wishes based upon the best judgment of the same bishop, so that there should be no witness wanting to prove where, and how, and when the income of the church is spent, and to prevent the prelate from arousing any suspicion among the laity and giving it cause to accuse him of wasting the funds of the church. As for any prelate that fails to live up to this Canon, he shall be liable to the penalties provided by the divine Canons. But just as a prelate ought to have a steward to manage the affairs of the church, so ought an abbot to have a steward to manage the affairs of his monastery.[109] Read also Ap. cc. XXXVII and XLI.

 




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