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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils
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As concerns Paulianists who afterwards took refuge in the catholic Church, it is made a definition that they be rebaptized without fail. If any of them in the past have been covered in the clergy under examination as to whether they appear to be blameless and irreproachable, after being rebaptized let them be ordained by a Bishop of the catholic Church. But if the investigation finds them unfitted, let them be deposed. Likewise as concerning deaconesses, and all those who are embraced by the Canon in any way and are being examined, the same form shall be observed. We have referred to the deaconesses who have been examined under cover of the habit, since they have neither any claim to appointment to any order, so that they are to be examined without fail among the laymen.
(Ap. c. XLVII; c. II of the 1st Ec. C.; c. XCV of the 6th; cc. VII, VIII of Laodicea; c. LXVI of Carth.; c. XV of the 4th; c. XIV and XL of the 6th; c. XLIV of Basil; cc. VI, LI, CXXXV of Carth.)
The present Canon decrees with reference to persons that had been followers of the heresy of Paul of Samosata, but who later resorted to the catholic Church, that the Canon and form requires such heretics to be rebaptized by decision (note that the Council improperly designates the baptism of Paulianists as a baptism, and in comparing it with our baptism, and not with itself, it employed also the verb “rebaptize,” which means to baptize a second time; and see the prolegomena to the Council of Carthagene with respect to their not being baptized in identically the same manner as Orthodox Christians). But if some of them had been ordained clergymen before their Orthodox baptism, because the prelates who ordained them were not aware of the fact that they were heretics or that they had been ordained in the clergy according to the Paulianists; then and in that case, I say, after being rebaptized with an Orthodox baptism, if their life appears to have been blameless and unimpeachable, let them be ordained by a Bishop of the catholic and Orthodox Church, since the former ordination which they had received while heretics is not considered an ordination at all. For how can anyone that has not been baptized in accordance with the Orthodox faith receive a visitation of the Holy Spirit, and grace, in ordination? But if when examined they are found to be unworthy of holy orders, they must be deposed, or, in other words, they must be ousted from the clergy. For the word depose was employed here improperly instead of the word oust, since, properly speaking, one who has previously been elevated to the height of holy orders and of the clergy, is said to be deposed. But as to these men who have never received any ordination at all, from what height shall they be deposed? From none, of course. Or perhaps it means for them to be deposed from the (height? of the) holy orders and clergy claimed by the Paulianists. For just as it called what they instituted baptism, it also called what they had proposed clergy, and by the same token deposition, in the same way as c. VIII of Laodicea calls the ones set up by the Montanists clergy. But this which we have asserted as concerning men must also be observed in identically the same manner in regard to women: that is to say, in other words, if any Orthodox Bishop has ordained any of the women of the Paulianists deaconesses, because of his being unaware of their heresy, or if they had been ordained in the order of deaconesses instituted by the Paulianists, in this case, I say, let them be rebaptized; and thereafter if they appear to be worthy of a diaconate, let them be ordained deaconesses too. (See also Ap. cc. XLVI and XLVII, and c. VII of the 2nd.) As for that which the Canon proceeds to add, to wit, “We have referred to the deaconesses who have been examined under cover of the habit, since they have neither any claim to appointment to any order, so that they are to be examined without fail among the laymen,” notwithstanding that these words are hard to understand, yet their meaning is this: We have referred to deaconesses separately, who wore this habit when they were with Paulianists, or, at any rate, who were following the profession of deaconesses, since they too, like their other clergymen, ought to be reckoned as laymen, because just as those clergymen possessed no real ordination, being destitute of divine grace, so too the deaconesses among them possessed only the habit of deaconesses, but no true appointment impartitive of grace; so that they ought to be reckoned as laywomen after baptism, just as they were prior thereto.
Canon XCV of the 6th says in identically the same manner as does the present Canon: It is made a definition that Paulianists be rebaptized, by which name is meant those who have been adherents of Paul’s heresy ever since they were born. Canon XV of the 4th, however, commands that a deaconess be ordained such when forty years old (as does also c. 14 of the 6th, and c. XL of the same council says the same thing); but it anathematizes her if after staying a short while in the liturgy she later gets married. Canon XLIV of St. Basil excommunicates from the Mysteries any deaconess that commits fornication for a period of seven years, though it does not deprive her of prayer and communion with the faithful. The second ordinance of the first Title of the Novels (Photius, Title VIII, ch. 14) says that a deaconess ought not to live with anyone of the male sex who might arouse a suspicion of immodesty or indecency. If when ordered by the Bishop to oust him from sharing her dwelling or sleeping quarters, she postpones the time, she is deprived of the diaconate and is shut up in a convent for the rest of her life. Read also the footnote to Ap. c. XLVII.