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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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20.

 Let not any Bishop teach publicly in another city that does not belong to his see. If anyone be caught doing this, let him be deposed from the office of Bishop and perform the functions of a Presbyter.

(Ap. c. XXXV; c. II of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; cc. XIII, XXII of Antioch; cc. III, XI, XII of Sardica.)

 

Interpretation.

It is not permissible (says the present Canon) for any bishop to teach openly and publicly in a foreign province, without the consent, that is to say, of the local bishop, since this public teaching would be done to the dishonor of the latter, by making it seem to indicate that he himself is a learned teacher, while the former is one that is unlearned and ignorant. Therefore if anyone is found to be doing this, let him be removed from the office of bishop, and let him perform only the functions, or sacred duties, of a presbyter. The Canon states definitely that a strange bishop may not teach publicly, because if he merely answers questions asked him in private by certain persons, he is not sinning by doing so. The present Canon does not conflict with c. XXIX of the 4th, on account of what is said in Ap. c. XXXV, which you may read for yourself.

 

21.

 Those who become responsible for canonical crimes, and on this account are subject to complete and permanent deposition from office, and are thrust into the status of laymen, if with a view to returning they voluntarily forgo the sin on account of which they lapsed from grace, and render themselves utter strangers thereto, let them be tonsured in Clerical guise. But if they fail to do this of their own accord and as a matter of choice, let them grow back the hair of their heads, on the ground that they have preferred the return into the world to the heavenly life.

(Ap. c XXV; c, IX of the 1st; e. IV of the 6th; c. IX of Neocaesarea; cc. III, XVII, XXXII, L, LXX of Basil.)

 

Interpretation.

Those in holy orders who have been completely and permanently deposed from office, and have assumed the guise of a layman, and have to stand with the laymen, on account of canonical crimes, such as fornication, say, or adultery, or other such sins, commands the present Canon, if they themselves voluntarily and spontaneously repent, and actually effect complete abstinence from the sin on account of which they lost the grace of holy orders, let them tonsure the hair of their head, or, in other words, let them have a so-called papalethra (or “patch”) at the point of the head, which was a guise and token of clerics.[149] But if they fail to repent willingly and spontaneously, they must let the hair of their head grow back like worldlings, in order that the lay guise may so shame them as to bring them sooner or later to a sense of their viciousness and cause them to repent. Read also Ap. c. XXV.

 

 




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