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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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6.

 Since there actually is a Canon which says canonical discussions must be held twice a year in each province through an assembly of Bishops, but on account of the inconvenience and the lack of means of traveling those who were called upon to assemble had to face, the devout Fathers of the Sixth Council decreed that one assembly be held each year, by all means and on any pretext, and wrong things be corrected: therefore we renew this latter Canon. Accordingly, if any (civil) ruler be found attempting to prevent this, let him be excommunicated. If, on the other hand, any one of the Metropolitans should fail to see that this is done, except in case of necessity and violence, or some reasonable excuse, he is to be liable to the penalties. When a Council has been convoked in regard to canonical and evangelical matters, the Bishops assembled must engage in meditation and careful consideration of how the divine and vivifying commandments of God are to be kept. For “in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19:11); and seeing that “the commandment is a lamp; and the law is a light and reproof with instruction in the way of life” (Prov. 6:23), and “the commandment of the Lord shineth afar, illuminating the eyes” (Ps. 19:8). But no Metropolitan shall have any right to demand a beast or other possession among the chattels which a Bishop takes along with him. But if he be proved to have done so, he shall pay back the value of it fourfold.

(App. c. XXXVII; c. V of the 1st; c. XIX of the 4th; c. VIII of the 6th.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon renews c. VIII of the 6th, which decrees that inasmuch as two Councils of bishops cannot be held each year in regard to ecclesiastical canonical questions, as the Canons prescribe — Ap. c. XXXVII, that is to say, c. V of the 1st, and c. XIX of the 4th — owing to the difficulty of traveling, one Council must be held by all means every year, in order to correct incidental mistakes. But this Canon adds that any one among the (civil) rulers that tries to prevent the holding of such a Council is to be excommunicated; and that any Metropolitan that is remiss in regard to this (unless it be prevented by reason of some necessity or logical reason), he shall become liable to penalties. But since the object of holding a Council is to investigate whether the canonical rules are being observed, relating, say, to excommunications, administrations of ecclesiastical affairs, and other matters, as well as evangelical decrees, therefore the bishops assembled must see to it that the vivifying commandments of the Gospel are kept by their laities, because for the keeping of them a great reward is given, according to David; and because, furthermore, the commandment and law of God are a lamp and a light, and a way of life, according to the author of the Book of Proverbs. But no Metropolitan has any permission to demand of any bishop of his any animal or any other thing that he may have with him: but if he should nevertheless do so, he must pay the bishop the fourfold amount of its value. See also Ap. c. XXXVII.

 

 




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