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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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77.

 That those who have been admitted to the priesthood, or clerics, or ascetics ought not to bathe in public baths with women, nor ought any Christian layman do so. For this is the first thing heathen find to condemn. In case, however, anyone be caught in the act of committing this impropriety, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon is word for word c. XXX of the Council held in Laodicea, except only for the penance. It says, then, that those in major holy orders, or clergymen admitted to the Holy Bema, or monks and ascetics, or in general any Christian layman ought not to bathe in a public bath together with women; since this impropriety in the eyes of heathen appears to be an offense of the first magnitude, and the greatest scandal as against Christians. But the Apostle commands us to become sentinels to the Jews and Greeks, and to the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). And if, as Zonaras says, merely meeting a woman in general on the street or at a house is enough to disturb the reasoning process, how can the mind of those men who are bathing together with women fail to be overwhelmed and moved to desire. But not even married couples ought to bathe together, according to Balsamon, either at a public bath, that is to say, or in the sea, or in a river. For they possess their bodies for the purpose of procreating children, and not in order to strip themselves and look at their ugly parts. The Canon adds that whoever appears to be doing this, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.[216]

 

Concord.

The Apostolic Injunctions, Book 1, ch. 9, prohibit the bathing of a woman with a man. This disorderly act is also mentioned by Epiphanius (Haer. 30) and by Clement of Alexandria (Book 3, ch. 5, of his Pardagogus).

 

 




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