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  • BOOK 1.


    CHAPTER 1.


    THE first Christian Council, the type and model of all It. the others, was held at Jerusalem by the apostles between the years 50 and 52 A.D. in order to solve the question of the universal obligation of the ancient law. No other councils were probably held in the first century of the Christian era; or if they were, no trace of them remains in history. On the other hand, we have information of several councils in the second century.

    The authenticity of this information is not, it is true, equally established for all; and we can acknowledge as having really taken place only those of which Eusebius Pamphili, the father of Christian Church history, speaks, or other early and trustworthy historians. To these belong, first of all: — SEC. 1. SYNODS RELATIVE TO MONTANISISM.

    Eusebius has given us, in his Church History, a fragment of a work composed by Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, in which the following words occur: “The faithful of Asia, at many times and in many places (polla>kiv kai< pollach~| th~v jAsi>av ), came together to consult on the subject of Montanus and his followers; and these new doctrines were examined, and declared strange and impious.” This fragment unfortunately gives no other details, and does not point out the towns at which these synods were held; but the Libellus Synodicus of Pappus tells us that Apollinarus, the holy Bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, and twenty-six of his colleagues in the episcopate, held a provincial council at Hierapolis, and there tried and condemned Montanus and Maximilia the false prophets, and at the same time Theodotus the currier (the celebrated anti- Trinitarian). Further on he adds: “A holy and particular (merikh> ) synod, assembled under the very holy Bishop Sofas of Anchialus (in Thrace, on the Black Sea), and consisting of twelve other bishops, convicted of heresy the currier Theodotus, Montanus, and Maximilia, and condemned them.”

    The Libellus Synodicus , to which we are indebted for these details, it is true, can lay claim to no very early origin, as it was compiled by a Greek towards the close of the ninth century. But this Greek derived his statements from ancient authentic sources; and what he says of the two synods agrees so perfectly with the statement of Eusebius, that in this passage it is worthy of all confidence. We read in Eusebius’ Church History (book 5, cc. 16 and 19), that Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Sofas of Anchialus, contemporaries of Montanus, zealously opposed his errors, and wrote and preached against him. Sofas even wished to exorcise, the evil spirit from Priscilla, a companion of Montanus; but these hypocrites, adds Eusebius, did not consent to it. f367 The strong opposition which these two bishops made to Montanus makes it probable that they gave occasion to several of the numerous synods in which, according to the summaries of Eusebius, the Church rejected Montanism.

    The date of these synods is nowhere exactly pointed out. The fragment which is given in Eusebius proves that they were held shortly after the commencement of the Montanist agitations; but the date of the rise of Montanism itself is uncertain. The Chronicle of Eusebius gives 172; S.

    Epiphanius 126 in one place, and 156 or 157 in another. He says, besides, that Maximilia died about A.D. 86. In this there is perhaps an error of a whole century. Blondel, relying on these passages, has shown that Montanus and his heresy arose about 140 or 141; and, more recently, Schwegler of Tiibingen has expressed the same opinion. Pearson, Dodwell, and Neander, on the contrary, decide for 156 or 157; Tillemont and Walch for 171. As for our own opinion, we have adopted Blondel’s opinion (the year 140), because the Shepherd of Hermas , which was certainly anterior to 151, and was written when Pius I. was Pope, seems already to oppose Montanism. In this case, the synods with which we are occupied must have taken place before 150 of the Christian era. The Libellus Synodicus gives a contrary decision to this, although it attributes to the same synods the condemnation of the currier Theodotus, whose apostasy can only be fixed at the time of the persecution by M. Aurelius (160-180). In reality, Theodotus was excommunicated at Rome by Pope Victor towards the close of the second century (192-202). In allowing that sentence of condemnation had been pronounced against him before that time in certain synods of Asia Minor and of Thrace (he was living at Constantinople at the time of his apostasy), those synods which, according to the Libellus Synodicus , have also condemned Montanism could not have been held before M. Aurelius: they must therefore have been held under that Emperor. The supposition that Theodotus and Montanus were contemporary would oblige us to date these councils between A.D. and 180; but to us it appears doubtful whether these two were contemporaries, and the conclusion that they were so seems to result from a confusion of the facts. In reality, the author of the ancient fragment given us by Eusebius speaks also of a Theodotus who was one of the first followers of Montanus, and shared his fate, i.e. was anathematized in the same synods with Montanus and Maximilia. He depicts him as a wellknown man. The author of the Libellus Synodicus having read this passage, and finding that the ancient Synods of Hierapolis and Anchialus had condemned a Theodotus, easily identified the currier Theodotus with the Theodotus whom the author of the fragment declared to be celebrated in his time. If this is so, nothing will hinder our placing the rise of Montanism and the Synods of Hierapolis and Anchialus before A.D. 150.


    The second series of councils in the second century was caused by the controversy regarding the time of celebrating Easter. It is not quite correct to regard the meeting of S. Polycarp of Smyrna, and Anicetus Bishop of Rome, towards the middle of the second century, as a synod properly so called; but it is certain that towards the close of the same century several synods were occasioned by the Easter controversy. Eusebius, in the passage referred to, only shows in a general way that these synods were held in the second half of the second century; but S. Jerome gives a more exact date, he says in his Chronicle , under the year 196: “Pope Victor wrote to the most eminent bishops of all countries, recommending them to call synods in their provinces, and to celebrate in them the feast of Easter on the day chosen by the Church of the West.”

    Eusebius here agrees with S. Jerome; for he has pre-served to us a fragment of a letter written by Polycarp from Ephesus, in which this bishop says that Victor had required him to assemble the bishops who were subordinate to him; that he had done so, but that he and all the bishops present at this synod had pronounced for the practice of the Quarto- decimans or of S. John; that these bishops, the number of whom was considerable, had approved of the synodical letter which he had drawn up, and that he had no fear (on account of the threats of Victor), “because we must obey God rather than man.” We see from this fragment, that at the moment when the synods convoked at the request of Victor in Palestine pronounced in favor of the Western practice in Palestine, Pontus, Gaul, and Osrhoene, a great synod of bishops from Asia Minor, held at Ephesus, the see of Polycarp, had formally declared against this practice; and it is precisely from the synodical letter of this council that we have the fragment given above.

    Bishop Victor then wished to exclude the bishops of Asia Minor from the communion of the Church; but other bishops turned him from his purpose.

    S. Irenaeus, in particular, addressed a letter to him on this occasion, in the name of the bishops of Gaul, over whom he presided; a letter in which, it is true, he defended,the Western custom of celebrating Easter, but in which also he prayed Victor not to excommunicate “a great number of churches, who were only guilty of observing an ancient custom,” etc. This fragment has also been preserved to us by Eusebius; and we may consider it as a part of the synodical letter of the bishops of Gaul, since, as Eusebius makes him remark, Irenaeus expressly declared “that he wrote in the name of his brethren of Gaul, over whom he presided.” It may be asked if the synod here spoken of is the same as that mentioned by Eusebius in another place, and which we mentioned above. If it be the same, it must be admitted that, at, the request of Victor, there was at first a synod of the Quartodecimans in Asia Minor, and that it was only later on, when the result was known, that other councils were also assembled, and especially in Gaul. It may be also that S. Irenaeus presided over two successive councils in Gaul, and that in the first he declared himself for the Western practice regarding Easter, in the second against the threatening schism.

    This is the opinion of the latest biographer of S. Irenaeus, the Abbe J. M.

    Prat. The Synodicon (Libellus Synodicus ) only speaks of one synod in Gaul, presided over by Irenaeus, on the subject of the Easter controversy; and he adds that this synod was composed of Irenaeus and of thirteen other bishops.

    The Libellus Synodicus also gives information about the other councils of which Eusebius speaks, concerning the question of Easter. Thus: a. From the writing of the priests of Rome of which we have spoken, and which was signed by Pope Victor, the Libellus Synodicus concludes, as also does Valesius in his translation of the Eccles. Hist . of Eusebius, f380 that there must have been a Roman synod at which, besides Victor, fourteen other bishops were present. This is opposed by Dom Constant in his excellent edition of the Epistolae Pontif . p. 94, and after him by Mosheim in his book De Rebus Christianorum ante Constant . M .p. 267, who remarks that Eusebius speaks of a letter from the Roman priests and Pope Victor, and not of a synod. But it has often happened, especially in the following centuries, that the decrees of the synods, and in particular of the Roman synods, have only been signed by the president, and have been promulgated by him under the form of an edict emanating from him alone.

    This is what is expressly said by a Roman synod held by Pope Felix II. in 485. f381 b. According to the Synodicon, two synods were held in Palestine, on the subject of the Easter controversy: the one at Jerusalem, presided over by Narcissus, and composed of fourteen bishops; and the other at Caesarea, comprising twelve bishops, and presided over by Theophilus. c. Fourteen bishops were present at the Asiatic Synod of Pontus, under the presidency of Bishop Palmas, whom the Synodicon calls Plasmas. d. Eighteen bishops were present at that of Osrhoene; the Libellus Synodicus does not mention who presided. e. It speaks also of a synod held in Mesopotamia, on the subject of Easter, which also counted eighteen bishops (it is probably the same synod as that of Osrhoene). f. And, lastly, of a synod at Corinth, presided over by Bishop Bacchyllus; whilst Eusebius says expressly that Bacchyllus of Corinth did not publish any synodical letter on the subject of the celebration of Easter, but simply a private letter.


    The anonymous author of the Praedestinatus speaks of three other synods of the second century. According to him, a. In A.D. 125 a synod was held of all the bishops of Sicily, presided over by Eustathius of Libybaeum and Theodorus of Palermo. This synod considered the cause of the Gnostic Heraclionites, and sent its acts to Pope Alexander, that he might decide further in the matter. f383 b. In 152 the heresy of the Colarbasians, another Gnostic sect, was anathematized by Theodotus Bishop of Pergamum in Mysia, and by seven other bishops assembled in synod. f384 c. In 160 an Eastern synod rejected the heresy of the Gnostic Cerdo. f385 The Libellus Synodicus mentions, besides: a. A synod held at Rome, under Pope Telesphorus (127-139), against the currier Theodotus, the anti-Trinitarian. b. A second synod at Rome, held under Pope, Anicetus, upon the Easter question, at the tune when Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna visited the Pope. c. A third Roman synod under Victor, and which condemned Theodotus, Ebion, and Artemon. d. A fourth Roman synod, also held, under Victor, and which anathematized Sabellius and Noetus. e. Finally, a synod of the confessors of Gaul, who declared against Montanus and Maximilla in a letter addressed to the Asiatics. f386 These eight synods mentioned by the author of Praedestinatus and by the Libellus Synodicus are apparently imaginary: for, on one side, there is not a single ancient and original document which speaks of them; and on the other, the statements of these two unknown authors are either unlikely or contrary to chronology. We will instance, for example, the pretended Roman synod, presided over by Victor, which anathematized Sabellius. In admitting that the usual date, according to which Sabellius would have lived a full half-century later (about 250), may be inexact, as the Philosophoumena recently discovered have proved, yet it is clear from this document that Sabellius had not yet been excluded from the Church under Pope Zephyrinus (202-218), the successor of Victor, and that he was not excommunicated until the time of Pope Calixtus. f387 It is also impossible that Theodotus the currier should have been condemned by a Roman synod held under Telesphorus, since Theodotus lived towards the close of the second century. It is the same with the pretended Sicilian Council in 125. According to the information afforded to us by the ancients, especially S. Irenaeus and Tertullian, Heracleon changed the system of Valentine. He could not then have flourished till after 125. As to Pope Alexander, to whom this synod is said to have rendered an account of its acts in 125, he died a martyr in 119.

    It is also by mistake that we have been told of a synod in which Pope Anicetus and Polycarp both took part. The interview of these two bishops has been confounded with a synod: it is the same with the pretended Synod of Gaul, held against Montanus.

    The author of the Libellus Synodicus has evidently misunderstood Eusebius, who says on this subject: “The news of what had taken place in Asia on the subject of Montanus (the synod) was known to the Christians of Gaul. The latter were at that time cruelly persecuted by Marcus Aurelius; many of them were in prison. They, however, gave their opinion from their prison on the matter of Montanus, and addressed letters to their brethren of Asia, and to Eleutherus Bishop of Rome.” It will be seen that the question here is not of a synod, but of letters written by confessors (the Libellus Synodicus also mentions confessors).

    Finally, a ninth council, which is said to have conveyed to the Bishop of Seleucia a patriarchal right over the whole of Assyria, Media, and Persia, is evidently an invention; and the mention of a Patriarchate on this occasion is a patent anachronism, as has been proved by Assemani in his Bibliotheque Orientale . f402 CHAPTER 2. The Synods Of The Third Century.


    THE series of synods of the third century opens with that of Carthage, to which Agrippinus bishop of that city had called the bishops of Numidia and of proconsular Africa. S. Cyprian speaks of this Synod in his seventy-first and seventy — third letters, saying that all the bishops present declared baptism administered by heretics to ‘be void; and he supports his own view on this subject by what had passed in this ancient Synod of Carthage. This Synod was probably the most ancient of Latin Africa; for Tertullian, who recalls the Greek synods as a glory, tells not of one single council being held in his country. According to Uhlhorn it was about 205, according to Hesselburg about 212, that the work of Tertullian, de Jejuniis, was composed; therefore the Synod in question must have been held either after 205 or after 212. It has not been possible up to this time to verify this date more exactly. But the newly-discovered filosofou>mena , falsely attributed to Origen, and which were probably written by Hippolytus, have given more exact dates; and Do11inger, relying upon this document, has placed the date of this Synod of Carthage between 218 and 222. The Philosophoumena relate, indeed, that the custom of rebaptizing — that is to say, of repeating the baptism of those who had been baptized by heretics — was introduced under the Bishop of Rome, Callistus (in some churches in communion with him). One can scarcely doubt but that this passage referred to Bishop Agrippinus and his Synod at Carthage; for S. Augustine and S. Vincent of Lerins say expressly that Agrippinus was the first who introduced the custom of re-baptism. The Synod of Carthage, then, took place in the time of Pope Callistus I., that is to say, between 218 and 222. This date agrees with the well-known fact that Tertullian was the first of all Christian writers who declared the baptism of heretics invalid; and it may be presumed that his book de Baptismo exerted a certain influence upon the conclusions of the Council of Carthage. It is not contradicted by the forty-sixth (forty-seventh) apostolic canon, which orders bishops, under pain of deposition, to rebaptize those who had been baptized by a heretic; for it is known that these so-called apostolic canons were composed some centuries later.

    S. Cyprian speaks, in his sixty-sixth letter, of a synod held long before (jampridem) in Africa, and which had decided that a clergyman could not be chosen by a dying person as a guardian; but nothing shows that he understood by that, the synod presided over by Agrippinus, or a second African council.

    The great Origen gave occasion for two synods at Alexandria. About the year 228, being called into Achaia on account of the religious troubles reigning there, Origen passed through Palestine, and was ordained priest at Caesarea by his friends Alexander Bishop of Jerusalem and Theoctistus Bishop of Caesarea, although there were two reasons for his nonadmission to holy orders: first; that he belonged to another diocese; and secondly, that he had castrated himself. It is not known what decided him or the bishops of Palestine to take this uncanonical step. Demetrius of Alexandria, diocesan bishop of Origen, was very angry with what had been done; and if we regard it from the ecclesiastical point of view, he was right. When Origen returned to Alexandria, Demetrius told him of his displeasure, and reproached him with his voluntary mutilation. But the principal grievance, without doubt, had reference to several false doctrines held by Origen: for he had then already written his book de Principiis and his Stromata, which contain those errors; and it is not necessary to attribute to the Bishop of Alexandria personal feelings of hatred and jealousy in order to understand that he should have ordered an inquiry into Origen’s opinions under the circumstances. Origen hastened to leave Alexandria of his own accord, according to Eusebius; whilst Epiphanius says, erroneously, that Origen fled because, shortly before, he had shown much weakness during a persecution. His bitterest enemies have never cast a reproach of this nature at him. Demetrius, however, assembled a synod of Egyptian bishops and priests of Alexandria in 231, who declared Origen unworthy to teach, and excluded him from the Church of Alexandria. Demetrius again presided over a second synod at Alexandria, without this time calling his priests, and Origen was declared to be deprived of the sacerdotal dignity. An encyclical letter published by Demetrius made these resolutions known in all the provinces. According to S. Jerome and Rufinus, a Roman assembly, probably called under Pope Pontian, shortly after deliberated upon this judgment; and Origen after that sent to Pope Fabian (236-250) a profession of faith, to explain and retract his errors. Several writers have thought that the word senatus must not be understood in the sense of a synod, and that we are to consider it only as an assembly of the Roman clergy. Do11inger, on the contrary, presumes that Origen had taken part in the discussions of the priest Hippolytus with Pope Callistus and his successor (Origen had learned to know Hippolytus at Rome, and he partly agreed with his opinions), and that for this reason Pontian had held a synod against Origen. A little before this period, and before the accession, of Pope Fabian, a synod was certainly held at Iconium in Asia Minor, which must have been of great authority in the controversy which was soon to begin on the subject of the baptism of heretics. Like the Synod of Cartilage, presided over by Agrippinus, that of Iconium declared every baptism conferred by a heretic to be invalid. The best information upon this Council has been furnished us by the letter which Bishop Firmilian of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who showed himself so active in this controversy, addressed to S. Cyprian. It says: “Some having raised doubts upon the validity of baptism conferred by heretics, we decided long ago, in the Council held at Iconium in Phrygia, with the Bishops of Galatia, Cilicia, and the other neighboring provinces, that the ancient practice against heretics should be maintained and held firm (not to regard baptism conferred by them).” Towards the end of the letter we read; “Among us, as more than one Church has never been recognized, so also have we never recognized as holy any but the baptism of that Church. Some having had doubts upon the validity of baptism conferred by those who receive new prophets (the Montanists), but who, however, appear to adore the same Father and the same Son as ourselves, we have assembled in great number at Iconium: we have very carefully examined the question (diligentissime tractavimus), and we have decided that all baptism administered outside the Church must be rejected.” This letter then speaks of the Council of Iconium as of a fact already old; and it says also, that it was occasioned by the question of the validity of baptism administered by Montanists. Now, as Firmilian wrote this letter about the middle of the third century, it follows that the Council of Iconium, of which he often speaks as of an ancient assembly held long before (jampridem), took place about twenty years before the writing of his letter Dionysius Bishop of Alexandria, about the middle of the third. century, also says: “It is not the Africans (Cyprian) who have introduced the custom of re-baptizing heretics: this measure had been taken long before Cyprian (pro< pollou~ ), by other bishops at the Synod of Iconium and of Synnada.” In these two passages of his letter to S. Cyprian, Firmilian gives us a fresh means of fixing the date of the Synod of Iconium, saying formally several times: “We assembled ourselves at Iconium; we have examined the question; we have decreed,” etc. It results from this, that he was himself present at this Synod. On the other side, the jampridem and other similar expressions justify us in placing this Synod in the first years of Firmilian’s episcopate. Now we know from Eusebius that Firmilian flourished so early as in the time of the Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235) as Bishop of Caesarea; so that we can, with Valesius and Pagi, place the celebration of the Synod of Iconium in the years 230-235. Baronius, by a very evident error, assigns it to the year 258.

    According to all probability, we must refer to the Synod of Iconium a short passage of S. Augustine, in the third chapter of his third book against Cresconius, in which he speaks of a synod composed of fifty Eastern bishops.

    Dionysius the Great, Bishop of Alexandria, speaks, we have seen, not only of the Synod of Iconium, but also of a Synod of Synnada, a town also situated in Phrygia. In this Synod, he says, the baptism by heretics was also rejected. We may conclude from his words that the two assemblies took place about the same time. We have no other information on this subject. We know very little about the concilium Lambesitanum, which, says S.

    Cyprian, in his fifty-fifth letter to Pope Cornelius, had been held long before in the Lambesitana Colonia (in Numidia) by ninety bishops, and condemned a heretic named Privatus (probably Bishop of Lambese) as guilty of several grave offenses.” The Roman priests also mention this Privatus in their letter to S. Cyprian; but they do, not give any further information concerning him.

    A better known council was that which was held about the year 244, at Bostra in Arabia Petraea (now Bosrah and Bosserat), on account of the errors of Beryllus, bishop of this town. It is known that Berylhs belonged to the party of the Monarchians, generally called Patripassianists. This bishop held other erroneous opinions, which were peculiar to himself, and which it is now very difficult to distinguish. The attempt made by the Arabian bishops to bring back Beryllus from his errors having failed, they called in Origen to their aid, who then lived at Caesarea in Palestine. Origen came and conversed with Beryllus, first in private, then in presence of the bishops. The document containing the discussion was known to Eusebius and S. Jerome; but it was afterwards lost. Beryllus returned to the orthodox doctrine, and later expressed, it is said, his gratitude to Origen in a private letter. Another controversy was raised in Arabia about the soul, as to whether it passed away (fell asleep) with the body, to rise (awake) at the resurrection of the body. At the request of one of the great Arabian synods, as Eusebius remarks, Origen had to argue against these Hypnopsychites, and he was as successful as in the affair of Beryllus. The Libellus Synodicus adds that fourteen bishops were present at the Synod, but it does not mention, any more than Eusebius, the place where it was held.

    About the same period must also have been held two Asiatic synods, on the subject of the anti-Trinitarian (Patripassian) Noetus; S. Epiphanius is the only one to mention them, and he does so without giving any detail, and without swing where they took place. The assertion of the author of Praedestinatus, that about this time a synod was held in Achaia against the Valesians, who taught voluntary mutilation, is still more doubtful, and very probably false. The very existence of this sect is doubtful.

    We are on more solid historical ground when we approach the tolerably numerous synods which were celebrated, chiefly in Africa, about the middle of the third century. The letters of S. Cyprian especially acquaint us with them. He first speaks, in his sixty-sixth letter, of an assembly of his colleagues (the bishops of Africa), and of his fellow-priests (the presbyters of Carthage), and so of a Carthaginian Synod, which had to decide upon a particular case of ecclesiastical discipline. A Christian named Geminius Victor, of Furni in Africa, had on the approach of death appointed a priest named Geminius Faustinus as guardian to his children.

    We have seen above, that an ancient synod of Africa, perhaps that held under Agrippinus, had forbidden that a priest should be a guardian, because a clergyman ought not to occupy himself with such temporal business. The Synod of Cartilage, held under S. Cyprian, renewed this prohibition, and ordained, in the spirit of that ancient council, that no prayers should be said or sacrifices (oblationes) offered for the deceased Victor, as he had no claim to the prayers of priests who had endeavored to take a priest from the holy altar. In the letter of which we speak, S. Cyprian gave an account of this decision to the Christians of Furni. The Benedictines of Saint Maur presume that this letter was written before the outbreak of the persecution of Decius, which would place this Synod in the year 249.


    The schism of Felicissimus and the Novarian controversy soon afterwards occasioned several synods. When, in 248, S. Cyprian was elected Bishop of Carthage, there was a small party of malcontents there, composed of five priests, of whom he speaks himself in his fortieth letter. Soon after the commencement of the persecution of Decius (at the beginning of the year 250) the opposition to Cyprian became more violent, because in the interest of the discipline of the Church he would not always regard the letters of peace which some martyrs without sufficient consideration gave to the lapsi. He was accused of exaggerated severity against the fallen, and his own absence (from February 250 until the month of April or May 251) served to strengthen the party which was formed against him. An accident caused the schism to break out. Cyprian had from his retreat sent two bishops and two priests to Carthage, to distribute help to the faithful poor (many had been ruined by the persecution). The deacon Felicissimus opposed the envoys of Cyprian, perhaps because he considered the care of the poor as an exclusive right of the deacons, and because he would not tolerate special commissioners from the bishop on such a business. This took place at the end of 250, or at the beginning of 251. Felicissimus had been ordained deacon by the priest Novatus unknown to Cyprian, and without his permission, probably during his retreat. Now, besides the fact that such an ordination was contrary to all the canons of the Church, Felicissimus was personally unworthy of any ecclesiastical office, on account of his deceitfulness and his corrupt manners. Cyprian, being warned by his commissioners, excommunicated Felicissimus and some of his partisans on account of their disobedience; but the signal for revolt was given, and Felicissimus soon had with him those five priests who had been the Old adversaries of Cyprian, as well as all those who accused the bishop of being too severe with regard to the lapsi, and of despising the letters of the martyrs. These contributed to give to the opposition quite another character. Till then it had only been composed of some disobedient priests; henceforth the party took for a war-cry the severity of the bishop with regard to the lapsi. Thus not only the lapsi, but also some confessors (confessores) who had been hurt by the little regard that Cyprian showed for the libelli pacis, swelled the ranks of the revolt. It is not known whether Novatus was in the number of the five priests who were the first movers of the party. By some it is asserted, by others denied. After having in vain recalled the rebels to obedience, Cyprian returned to Carthage, a year after the festival of Easter in 251; and he wrote his book de Lapsis as a preparation for the Synod which he assembled soon afterwards, probably during the month of May 251. The Council was composed of a great number of bishops, and of some priests and deacons: he excommunicated Felicissimus and the five priests after having heard them, and at the same time set forth the principles to be followed with regard to the lapsi, after having carefully examined the passages of Scripture treating of this question, All the separate decrees upon this subject were collected into one book, which may be considered as the first penitential book which had appeared in the Church; but unfortunately it is lost. Cyprian makes us acquainted with the principal rules in his fiftysecond letter: namely, that all hope must not be taken away from the lapsed, that, in excluding them from the Church, they may not be driven to abandon the faith, and to fall back again into a life of heathenism; that, notwithstanding, a long penance must be imposed upon them, and that they must be punished proportionally to their fault It is evident, continues Cyprian, that one must act differently with those who have gone, so to speak, to meet apostasy, spontaneously taking part in the impious sacrifices, and those who have been, as it were, forced to this odious sacrilege after long struggles and cruel sufferings: so also with those who have carried with them in their crime their wife, their children, their servants, their friends, making them also share their fall, and those who have only been the victims, who have sacrificed to the gods in order to serve their families and their houses; that there should no less be a difference between the sacrificati and the libellatici, that is to say, between those who had really sacrificed to the gods, and those who, without making a formal act of apostasy, had profited by the weakness of the Roman functionaries, had seduced them, and had made them give them false attestations; that the libellatici must be reconciled immediately, but that the sacrificati must submit to a long penance, and only be reconciled as the moment of their death approached; finally, that as for the bishops and priests, they must also be admitted to penance, but not again permitted to discharge any episcopal or sacerdotal function.

    Jovinus and Maximus, two bishops of the party of Felicissimus, who had been reproved before by nine bishops for having sacrificed to the gods, and for having committed abominable sacrilege, appeared before the Synod of Carthage. The Synod renewed the sentence originally given against them; but in spite of this decree, they dared again to present themselves, with several of their partisans, at the Synod of Carthage, held the following year. Cyprian and the bishops assembled around him decided to send their synodical decisions of 251 to Rome, to Pope Cornelius, to obtain his consent with regard to the measures taken against the lapsi. It was the more necessary to understand each other on the subject of these measures, as the Roman Church had also been troubled by the Novatian schism. Pope Cornelius assembled at Rome in the autumn — probably in the month of October 251 — a synod composed of sixty bishops, without counting the priests and deacons. The Synod confirmed the decrees of that of Carthage, and excommunicated Novatian and his partisans. The two authors who have preserved these facts for us are Cyprian and Eusebius. It must be remarked that several editors of the acts of the councils, and several historians, misunderstanding the original documents, have turned the two Synods of Carthage and Rome (251) into four councils. The Libellus Synodicus also speaks of another council which must have been held the same year at Antioch, again on the subject of the Novatians; but one can hardly rely on the Libellus Synodicus when it is alone in relating a fact. The Novatian schism could not be extirpated by these synods. The partisans of Felicissinus and of Novatian made great efforts to recover their position. The Novatians of Carthage even succeeded in putting at their head a bishop of their party named Maximus, and they sent many complaints to Rome on the subject of Cyprian’s pretended severity, as, on the other side, the persecution which was threatening made fresh measures necessary with regard to the lapsi. Cyprian assembled a fresh council at Carthage on the Ides of May 252, which sixty-six bishops attended. It was probably at this council that two points were discussed which were brought forward by the African Bishop Fidus. Fidus complained rat first that Therapius Bishop of Bulla (near Hippo) had received the priest Victor too soon into the communion of the Church, and without having first imposed upon him the penance he deserved. The Synod declared that it was evidently contrary to the former decisions of the councils, but that they would content themselves for this time with blaming Bishop Therapius, without declaring invalid the reconciliation of the priest Victor, which he had effected. In the second place, Fidus enunciated the opinion that infants should be baptized, not in the first days after their birth, but eight days after; to observe, with regard to baptism, the delay formerly prescribed for circumcision. The Synod unanimously condemned this opinion, declaring that they could not thus delay to confer grace on the newborn. The next principal business of the Synod was that concerning the lapsi; and the fifty-fourth letter of S. Cyprian gives us an account of what passed on this subject. The Synod, he says, on this subject decided that, considering the imminent persecution, they might immediately reconcile all those who showed signs of repentance, in order to prepare them for the battle by means of the holy sacraments: Idoneus esse non potest ad martyrium qui ab Ecclesia non armatur ad praelium. In addressing its synodical letter to Pope Cornelius (it is the fifty-fourth of S. Cyprian’s letters), the Council says formally: Placuit nobis, sancto Spiritu suggerente, The heretic Privatus, of the colonia Lambesitana, probably bishop of that town, who, as we have seen, had been condemned, again appeared at the Council; but he was not admitted, Neither would they admit Bishops Jovinus and Maximus, partisans of Felicissimus, and condemned as he was; nor the false Bishop Felix, consecrated by Privatus after he became a heretic, who came with him. They then united themselves with the fallen bishop Repostus Saturnicensis, who had sacrificed during the persecution, and they gave the priest Fortunatus as bishop to the lax party at Carthage. He had been one of S. Cyprian’s five original adversaries.

    A short tune after, a new synod assembled at Carthage on the subject of the Spanish bishops Martial and Basilides. Both had been deposed for serious faults, especially for having denied the faith. Basilides had judged himself to be unworthy of the episcopal dignity, and declared himself satisfied if, after undergoing his penance, he might be received into lay communion. Martial had also confessed his fault; but after some time they both appealed to Rome, and by means of false accounts they succeeded in gaining over Pope Stephen, who demanded that Basilides should be replaced in his bishopric, although Sabinus had been already elected to succeed him. Several Spanish bishops seem to have supported the pretensions of Basilides and Martial, and placed themselves, it appears, on their side; but the Churches of Leon, of Asturia, and of Emerita, wrote on this subject to the African bishops, and sent two deputies to them — Bishops Sabinus and Felix, probably the elected successors of Basilides and Martial. Felix Bishop of Saragossa supported them with a private letter. S.

    Cyprian then assembled a council composed of thirty-seven bishops; and we possess the synodical letter of the assembly, in his sixty-eighth epistle, in which the deposition of Martial and Basilides is confirmed, the election of their successors is declared to be legitimate, and regular, the bishops who had spoken in favor of the deposed bishops are censured, and the people are instructed to enter into ecclesiastical communion with their successors. SEC. 6. SYNODS RELATIVE TO THE BAPTISM OF HERETICS (255-256).

    To these synods concerning the lapsi, succeeded three African councils on the subject of baptism by heretics. We have seen that three former councils — that of Carthage, presided over by Agrippinus; two of Asia Minor, that of Iconium, presided over by, Firmilian, and that of Synnada, held at the same period — had declared that baptism conferred by heretics was invalid. This principle, and the consequent practice in Asia Minor, would appear to have occasioned, towards the end of the year 253, a conflict between Pope Stephen and the bishops of Asia Minor, Helenus of Tarus and Firmilian of Caesarea, sustained by all the bishops of Cilicia, of Cappadocia, and the neighboring provinces; so that Stephen, according to Dionysius the Great, threatened these bishops with excommunication because they repeated the baptism conferred by heretics. Dionysius the Great mediated with the Pope in favor of the bishops of Asia Minor; and the letter which he wrote prevented their being excluded from the Church. The first sentence of this letter would even allow it to be supposed that peace was completely re-established, and that the bishops of Asia Minor had conformed to the demand of the Pope. However, later on, Firmilian is again found in opposition to Rome.

    The Easterns then stirred up the controversy on the baptism of heretics before S. Cyprian; and when Eusebius says, prw~tov tw~n to>te Kupriano>v k.t.l. , this passage must be thus understood: Cyprian was the most important, and in this sense the first, of those who demanded the rebaptism of heretics. Let us now turn our attention to Africa, and particularly to S. Cyprian.

    Some African bishops being of the opinion that those who abandoned heretical sects to enter the Church must not be re-baptized, eighteen bishops of Numidia, who held a different opinion, and rejected baptism by heretics, asked of the Synod of Carthage of 255 if it were necessary to re-baptize those who had been baptized by heretics or schismatics, when they entered the Church. At this Synod, presided over by S. Cyprian, there were twenty-one bishops present: the seventieth epistle of Cyprian is nothing but the answer of the Synod to the eighteen Numidian bishops. It declares “that their opinion about the baptism of heretics is perfectly right; for no one can be baptized out of the Church, seeing there is only one baptism which is in the Church,” etc.

    Shortly afterwards, Cyprian being again consulted on the same question by Quintus, bishop in Mauritania, who sent him the priest Lucian, sent in answer the synodical letter of the Council which had just separated; and besides, in a private letter joined to this official document, he stated his personal opinion on the validity of the baptism of heretics, and answered some objections. All the bishops of Africa were probably not satisfied with these decisions; and some time after, about 256, Cyprian saw himself obliged to assemble a second and larger council at Carthage, at which no fewer than seventy-one bishops were present. S. Cyprian relates that they treated of a multitude of questions, but the chief point was the baptism of heretics.

    The synodical letter of this great assembly, addressed to Pope Stephen, forms S. Cyprian’s seventieth letter. The Council also sent to the Pope the letter of the preceding Synod to the eighteen Numidian bishops, as well as the letter of S. Cyprian to Quintus, and reiterated the assertion “that whoso abandoned a sect ought to be re-baptized;” adding, “that it was not sufficient (parum est) to lay hands on such converts ad accipiendum Spiritum sanctum, if they did not also receive the baptism of the Church.”

    The same Synod decided that those priests and deacons who had abandoned the catholic Church for any of the sects, as well as those who had been ordained by the sectarian false bishops, on re-entering the Church, could only be admitted into lay communion (communio laicalis).

    At the end of their letter, the Synod express the hope that these decisions would obtain Stephen’s approval: they knew, besides, they said, that many do not like to renounce an opinion which has once been. adopted; and more than one bishop, without breaking with his colleagues, will doubtless be tempted to persevere in the custom which he had embraced. Besides this, it is not the intention of the Synod to do violence to any one, or to prescribe a universal law, seeing that each bishop can cause his will to be paramount in the administration of his Church, and will have to render an account of it to God. “These words,” Mattes has remarked, “betray either the desire which the bishops of Africa had to see Stephen produce that agreement by his authority, which did not yet exist, and which was not easy to establish; or else their apprehensions, because they knew that there was a practice at Rome which did not accord with the opinion of Cyprian.”

    This last was, in fact, the ease; for Pope Stephen was so little pleased with the decisions of the Council of Carthage, that he did not allow the deputies of the African bishops to appear before him, refused to communicate with them, forbade all the faithful to receive them into their houses, and did not hesitate to call S. Cyprian a false Christian, a false apostle, a deceitful workman (dolesus operarius). This is at least what Firmilian relates. Pope Stephen then pronounced very explicitly, in opposition to the Africans, for the validity of the baptism of heretics, and against the custom of repeating the baptism of those who had already received it from heretics.

    The letter which he wrote on this occasion to Cyprian has unfortunately been lost, and therefore iris complete argument is unknown to us; but Cyprian and Firmilian have preserved some passages of the letter of Stephen in their writings, and it is these short fragments, with the comments of Cyprian and Firmilian, which must serve to make known to us with some certainty the view of Stephen on the baptism of heretics.

    It is commonly admitted that S. Cyprian answered this violence of Stephen’s by assembling the third Council of Carthage; but it is also possible that this assembly took place before the arrival of the letter from Rome. It was composed of eighty-seven bishops (two were represented by one proxy, Natalis Bishop of Oea) from proconsular Africa, from Numidia, and from Mauritania, and of a great number of priests and of deacons. A multitude of the laity were also present at the Synod. The acts of this Synod, which still exist, inform us that it opened on the 1st September, but the year is not indicated. It is probable that it was in 256. First was read the letter of the African Bishop Jubaianus to Cyprian on the baptism of heretics, and. the answer of Cyprian; then a second letter from Jubaianus, in which he declared himself now brought to Cyprian’s opinion. The Bishop of Carthage then asked each bishop present freely to express his opinion on the baptism of heretics: he declared that no one would be judged or excommunicated for differences of opinion; for, added he, no one in the assembly wished to consider himself as episcopus episcoporum, or thought to oblige his colleagues to yield to him, by inspiring them with a tyrannical fear (perhaps this was an allusion to Pope Stephen). Thereupon the bishops gave their votes in order, Cyprian the last, all declaring that baptism given by heretics was invalid, and that, in order to admit them into the Church, it was necessary to re-baptize those who had been baptized by heretics.

    About the same time Cyprian sent the deacon Rogatian with a letter to Firmilian Bishop of Caesarea, to tell him how the question about the baptism of heretics had been decided in Africa. He communicated to him at the same time, it appears, the acts and documents which treated of this business. Firmilian hastened to express, in a letter still extant, his full assent to Cyrian’s principles. This letter of Firmilian’s forms No. 75 of the collection of the letters of S. Cyprian: its contents are only, in general, an echo of what S. Cyprian had set forth in defense of his own opinion, and in opposition to Stephen; only in Firmilian is seen a much greater violence and passion against Stephen, — so much so, that Molkenbuhr, Roman Catholic Professor at Paderb0rn, has thought that a letter so disrespectful towards the Pope could not be genuine. We are entirely ignorant of what then passed between Cyprian and Stephen, but it is certain that church communion was not interrupted between them. The persecution which soon afterwards broke out against the Christians under the Emperor Valerian, in 257, probably appeased the controversy. Pope Stephen died as a martyr during this persecution, in the month of August 257. His successor Xystus received from Dionysius the Great, who had already acted as mediator in this controversy on the baptism of heretics, three letters in which the author earnestly endeavored to effect a reconciliation; the Roman priest Philemon also received one from Dionysius. These attempts were crowned with success; for Pontius, Cyprian’s deacon and biographer, calls Pope Xystus bonus et pacificus sacerdos, and the name of this. Pope was written in the diptychs of Africa. The eighty-second letter of Cyprian also proves that the union between Rome and Carthage was not interrupted, since Cyprian sent a deputation to Rome during the persecution, to obtain information respecting the welfare of the Roman Church, that of Pope Xystus, and in general about the progress of the persecution. Soon after, on the 14th September 258, Cyprian himself fell, in his turn, a victim to the persecution of Valerian.

    It remains for us now, in order fully to understand the controversy on the baptism of heretics, to express with greater precision the opinions and assertions of Cyprian and Stephen. 1 . We must ask, first of all, which of the two had Christian antiquity on his side. a. Cyprian says, in his seventy-third letter: “The custom of baptizing heretics who enter the Church is no innovation amongst us: for it is now many years since, under the episcopate of Agrippinus of holy memory, a great number of bishops settled this question in a synod; and since then, up to our days, thousands of heretics have received baptism without difficulty.” Cyprian, then, wishing to demonstrate the antiquity of his custom, could not place it earlier than Agrippinus, that is to say, than the commencement of the third century (about 220 years after Christ); and his own words, especially the “since then” (exinde), show that it was Agrippinus who introduced this custom into Africa. b. In another passage of the same letter, Cyprian adds: “Those who forbid the baptism of heretics, having been conquered by our reasons (ratione), urge against us the custom of antiquity (qui ratione vincuntur, consuetudinem nobis opponunt ).” If Cyprian had been able to deny that the practice of his adversaries was the most ancient, he would have said: “They are wrong if they appeal to antiquity (consuetudo); it is evidently for us.” But Cyprian says nothing of the kind: he acknowledges that his adversaries have antiquity on their side, and he only tries to take its force from this fact, by asking, “Is antiquity, then, more precious than truth? (quasi consuetudo major sit vetitate );” and by adding, “In spiritual things we must observe what the Holy Spirit has (afterwards)more fully revealed (id in spiritualibus sequendum, quod in melius fuerit a Spiritu sancto revelatum ).” He acknowledges, therefore, in his practice a progress brought about by the successive revelations of the Holy Spirit. c. In a third passage of this letter, S. Cyprian acknowledges, if possible more plainly, that it was not the ancient custom to re-baptize those who had been baptized by heretics. “This objection,” he says, “may be made to me: What has become of those who in past times entered the Church from heresy, without having been baptized?” He acknowledges, then, that in the past, in parceteritum, converts from heresy were not re-baptized. Cyprian makes answer to this question: “Divine mercy may well come to their aid; but because one has erred once, it is no reason for continuing to err (non tamen, quia aliquando erratum est, ideo semper errandum est).” That is to say, formerly converts were not rebaptized; but it was a mistake, and for the future the Holy Spirit has revealed what is best to be done (in melius a Spiritu sancto revelatum). d. When Pope Stephen appealed to tradition, Cyprian did not answer by denying the fact: he acknowledges it; but he seeks to diminish the value of it, by calling this tradition a human tradition, and not legitimate (humana traditio, non legitima). e. Firmilian also maintained that the tradition to which Stephen appealed was purely human, and he added that the Roman Church had also in other points swerved from the practice of the primitive Church — for example, in the celebration of Easter. This example, however, was not well chosen, since the Easter practice of the Roman Church dates back to the prince of the apostles. f. Firmilian says, in another passage of this same letter, that it was anciently the custom also in the African Churches not to re-baptize the converts: “You Africans,” he says, “can answer Stephen, that having found the truth, you have renounced the error of your (previous) custom (vos dicere Afri potestis, cognita veritate errorem vos consuetudinis reliquisse).” Nevertheless, Firmilian thought that it was otherwise in Asia Minor, and that the custom of re-baptizing converts was traced back to a very far-off period; but when he wishes to give the proof of it, he only finds this one: “We do not remember (!) when this practice began amongst us.” He appeals, in the last place, to the Synod of Iconinto, which we know was not held until about the year 230. g. It is worthy of remark, that even in Africa all the bishops did not pronounce in favor of the necessity of a fresh baptism, which would certainly have been the case if the practice of Agrippinus and Cyprian had always prevailed in Africa. h. A very important testimony in favor of Stephen, and one which proves that the ancient custom was not to re-baptize, is given by the anonymous author of the book de Rebabtismate, a contemporary and probably a colleague of Cyprian. This author says that the practice maintained by Stephen, that of simply laying hands on the converts without re-baptizing them, is consecrated by antiquity and by ecclesiastical tradition (vetustissima consuetudine ac traditione ecclesiastica), consecrated as an ancient, memorable, and solemn observance by all the saints, and all the faithful (prisca et memorabilis cunctorum emeritorum sanctorum, et fidelium solemnissima observatio), which has in its favor the authority of all the churches (auctoritas omnium, Ecclesiarum,), but from which unhappily some have departed, from the mania for innovations. i. S. Vincent of Lerins agrees with the author we have just quoted, when he says that Agrippinus of Carthage was the first who introduced the custom of re-.baptizing, contra divinum, canonem, contra universalis Ecclesiae regulam, contra morem atque instituta majorum; but that Pope Stephen condemned the innovation and re-established the, tradition, retenta est antiquitas, explosa novitas. k. S. Augustine also believes that the custom of not re-baptizing heretics is an apostolical tradition (credo ex apostolica traditione venientem), and that it was Agrippinus who was the first to abolish this very safe custom (saluberrima consuetudo), without succeeding in replacing it by a better custom, as Cyprian thought. l. But the gravest testimony in this question is that of the Philosophoumena, in which Hippolytus, who wrote about 230, affirms that the custom of re-baptizing was only admitted under Pope Callistus, consequently between 218 and 222. m. Before arriving at the conclusion to be deduced from all these proofs, it remains for us to examine some considerations which appear to point in an opposite direction. (a .) In his book de Baptismo, which he wrote when he was still a Catholic, and before this work in a Greek document, Tertullian shows that he did not believe in the validity of baptism conferred by heretics. But, on considering it attentively, we find that he was not speaking of all baptism by heretics, but only of the baptism of those who had another God and another Christ. Besides, we know that Tertullian is always inclined to rigorism, and he certainly is so on this point; and then, living at Carthage at the commencement of the third century, being consequently a contemporary of Agrippinus, perhaps even being one of his clergy, he naturally inclined to resolve this question as Agrippinus resolved it, and his book de Baptismo perhaps exerted an influence upon the resolutions of the Synod of Carthage. Also Tertullian does not pretend that it was the primitive custom of the Church to re-baptize: his words rather indicate that he thought the contrary. He says, Sed circa haereticos sane quid custodiendum sit, digne quis retractet; that is to say, “It would be useful if some one would study afresh (or examine more attentively) what ought to be done about heretics, that is to say, in relation to their baptism.” (b ).Dionysius the Great says, in a passage which Eusebius has preserved: “The Africans were not the first to introduce this practice (that of re-baptizing converts): it is more ancient; it was authorized by bishops who lived much earlier, and in populous Churches.” However, as he only mentions the Synods of Iconium and of Synnada before the Africans, his expression much earlier can only refer to these assemblies, and he adduces no earlier testimony for the practice of Cyprian. (g ).Clement of Alexandria certainly speaks very disdainfully of baptism by heretics, and calls it a foreign water; he does not, however, say that they were in the habit of renewing this baptism. (d ).The Apostolical Canons 45 and 46 (or 46 and 47, according to another order) speak of the non-validity of baptism by heretics; but the question is to know what is the date of these two canons: perhaps they are contemporary with the Synods of Iconium and of Synnada, perhaps even more recent. We are hardly able to doubt, then, that in the ancient Church, those who returned to the orthodox faith, after having been baptized by heretics, were not re-baptized, if they had received baptism in the name of the Trinity, or of Jesus. 2 . Let us see now whether Pope Stephen considered as valid baptism conferred by all heretics, without any exception or condition. We know that the Synod of Arles in 314, as well as the Council of Trent, teaches that the baptism of heretics is valid only when it is administered in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Were the opinions and assertions of Stephen agreeable to this doctrine of the Church?

    At first sight Stephen appears to have gone too far, and to have admitted all baptism by heretics, in whatever manner it was conferred. His chief proposition, as we read it in S. Cyprian, is expressed in these terms: Si quis ergo a quacunque haeresi venerit ad nos, nil innovetur nisi quod traditum est, ut manus illi imponatur in paenitentiam. He seems, then, to declare valid all baptism by heretics, in whatever manner it might have been administered, with or without the formula of the Trinity. Cyprian argues, in a measure, as if he understood Stephen’s proposition in this sense. However, a. From several passages in the letters of S. Cyprian, we see that Pope Stephen did not thus understand it. (a .) Thus (Epist. 73, p. 130) Cyprian says: “Those who forbid the baptism of heretics lay great stress upon this, that even those who had been baptized by Marcion were not re-baptized, because they had already been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Thus Cyprian acknowledges, that Stephen, and those who think with him, attribute no value to the baptism of heretics, except it be administered in the name of Jesus Christ. (b .) Cyprian acknowledges in the same letter (p. 133), that heretics baptize in nomine Christi. (g .) Again, in this letter, he twice repeats that his adversaries considered as sufficient baptism administered out of the Church, but administered is nomine Christi. (d .) Cyprian, in answering this particular question — -if baptism by the Marcionites is valid — acknowledges that they baptize in the name of the Trinity; but he remarks that, trader the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, they understand something different from what the Church understands. This argument leads us to conclude that the adversaries of S. Cyprian considered baptism by the Marcionites to be valid, because they conferred it in the name of the Trinity. b. Firmilian also gives testimony on the side of Stephen. (a.) He relates, indeed, that about twenty-two years before he had baptized a woman in his own country who professed to be a prophetess, but who, in fact, was possessed by an evil spirit. Now, he asks, would Stephen and his partisans approve even of the baptism which she had received, because it had been administered with the formula of the Trinity (maxime cui nec symbolum Trinitatis defuit)? (b .) In the same letter Firmilian sums up Stephen’s opinion in these terms: In multum proficit nomen Christi ad fidem et baptismi sanctificationem, ut quicungue et ubicunque in nomine Christi baptizatus fucrit, consequatur statim gratiam Christi. c. If, then, Cyprian and Firmilian affirm that Pope Stephen held baptism to be valid only when conferred in the name of Christ, we have no need to have recourse to the testimony either of S. Jerome, or of S.

    Augustine, or of S. Vincent of Lerins, who also affirm it. d. The anonymous author of the book de Rebaptismate, who was a contemporary even of S. Cyprian, begins his work with these words: “There has been a dispute as to the manner in which it is right to act towards those who have been baptized by heretics, but still in the name of Jesus Christ: qui in haeresi quidem, sed in nomine Dei nostri Jesu Christi, sint tincti.” e. It may again be asked if Stephen expressly required that the three divine Persons should be named in the administration of baptism, and if he required it as a condition sine qua non, or if he considered baptism as valid when given only in the name of Jesus Christ. S. Cyprian seems to imply that the latter was the sentiment of Pope Stephen, but he does not positively say so anywhere; and if he had said it, nothing could have been legitimately concluded against Pope Stephen, for Cyprian likes to take the words of his adversaries in their worst sense. What we have gathered (a d and b a ) tends to prove that Pope Stephen regarded the formula of the Trinity as necessary. Holy Scripture had introduced the custom of calling by the short phrase, baptism in the name of Christ, all baptism which was conferred in virtue of faith in Jesus Christ, and conformably to His precepts, consequently in the name of the Holy Trinity, as is seen in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistle to the Romans. It is not, then, astonishing that Pope Stephen should have used an expression which was perfectly intelligible at that period. f. In this discussion Pope Stephen seems to believe that all the heretics of his time used the true formula of baptism, consequently the same formula among themselves, and the same as the Church. tie declares this opinion deafly in these words, adduced from his letter by Firmilian: Stephanus in sua epistola dixit: haereticos quoque ipsos in baptismo convenire; and it was on this account, added the Pope, that the heretics did not re-baptize those who passed from one sect to another. To speak thus, was certainly to affirm that all the sects agreed in administering baptism with the formula prescribed by our Lord.

    S. Cyprian also attributes to Pope Stephen words which can be explained very well if we study them with reference to those quoted by Firmilian.

    According to S. Cyprian, Stephen had said: “We must not re-baptize those who have been baptized by heretics, cure ipsi haretici proprie alterutrum ad se venientes non baptizent;” that is to say, the different sects have not a special baptism of their own (proprie non baptizent): and it is for this reason that heretics do not re-baptize” those who pass from one sect to another. Now if the different sects have not special baptism, if they baptize in the same way — conveniunt in baptismo — as Firmilian makes Pope Stephen affirm, they hold necessarily the universal and primitive mode of Christian baptism; consequently they use the formula of the Trinity.

    It is difficult to say whether, in admitting this hypothesis, Stephen fails into an historical error: for, on one side, S. Irenaeus accuses the Gnostics of having falsified the baptismal formula, and of having used different erroneous formulas; and consequently he contradicts Stephen; and, on the other side, S. Augustine appears to agree with him, saying: Facilius inveniuntur haeretici qui omnino non baptizent quam qui non, illis verbis (in nomine Patris, etc.) baptizent. g. We may be inclined to make an objection against Stephen on the subject of the Montanists. There is no doubt, in fact, that Stephen considered the baptism of these heretics to be valid, while the Church afterwards declared it to be of no value. But Stephen’s opinion is not in this contrary to the doctrine of the Church; neither did the Council of Nicaea (can. 19) mention the Montanists among those whose baptism it rejected. It could not do so any more than Stephen; for it was not until long after the time of Stephen and of the Council of Nicaea that a degenerate sect of Montanists fell away into formal anti- Trinitarianism. 3 . It remains for us to understand what, according to Stephen’s opinion, was to lie done with the converts after their reception into the Church.

    These are Stephen’s words on this subject: Si quis ergo a quacumque haeresi venerit ad nos, nil innovetur nisi guod traditum est, ut manus illi imponatur in paenitentiam. There is a sense which is often given to this passage, as follows: “No innovation shall be made; only what is conformable to tradition shall be observed; hands shall be laid on the convert in sign of penitence.” But this interpretation is contrary to grammatical rules. If Stephen had wished to speak in this sense, he would have said: Nihil innovetur, sed quod traditum est observetur, etc. Hence Mattes translates the words of Stephen thus: “Nothing shall be changed (as regards the convert) but what it is according to tradition to change; that is to say, that hands shall be laid upon him,” etc.

    Stephen adds, in paenitentiam, that is, that “it is necessary that a penance should be imposed on the convert.” According to the practice of the Church, a heretic who enters into the Church ought first to receive the sacrament of penance, then that of confirmation. One may ask, if Stephen required these two sacraments, or if he only required that of penance? Each of these sacraments comprehended the imposition of hands, as some words of Pope Vigilius clearly indicate; and consequently by the expression, manus illi imponatur, Stephen may understand the administration of the two sacraments. To say that there is only in poenitentiam in the text, is not a very strong objection; for this text is only a fragment; and Cyprian has transmitted to us elsewhere other texts of Stephen’s thus abridged. The manner in which the adversaries of Pope Stephen analyzed his opinions shows that this Pope really required, besides penance, the confirmation of the converts. Thus, in his seventy-third letter, Cyprian accuses his adversaries of self-contradiction, saying: “If baptism out of the Church is valid, it is no longer necessary even to lay hands on the converts, ut Spiritum Sanctum consequatur et signetur;” that is to say: You contradict yourselves if you attribute a real value to baptism by heretics; you must also equally admit the validity of confirmation by heretics. Now you require that those who have been confirmed by heretics should be so again. S. Cyprian here forgets the great difference which exists between the value of baptism and of confirmation; but his words, prove that Stephen wished that penance and confirmation should be bestowed upon converts.

    The same conclusion is to be drawn from certain votes of the bishops assembled at the third Council of Carthage (256). Thus Secundinus Bishop of Carpi said: “The imposition of hands (without the repetition of baptism, as Stephen required) cannot bring down the Holy Spirit upon the converts, because they have not yet even been baptized.” Nemesianus Bishop of Thubuni speaks still more clearly: “They (the adversaries) believe that by imposition of hands the Holy Spirit is imparted, whilst regeneration is possible only when one receives the two sacraments (baptism and confirmation) in the Church.” These two testimonies prove that Stephen regarded confirmation as well as penance to be necessary for converts. 4 . What precedes shows that we must consider as incorrect and unhistorical the widespread opinion, that both Stephen and Cyprian carried things to an extreme, and that the proper mean was adopted by the Church only as the result of their differences. 5 . It is the part of Dogmatic Theology, rather than of a History of the Councils, to show why Cyprian was wrong, and why those who had been baptized by heretics should not be re-baptized. Some short explanation on this point will, however, not be out of place here.

    S. Cyprian repeated essentially Tertullian’s argument, yet without naming it, and thus summed it up: “As there is only one Christ, so there is only one Church: she only is the way of salvation; she only can administer the sacraments; out of her pale no sacrament can be validly administered.” He adds: “Baptism forgives sins: now Christ left only to the apostles the power of forgiving sins; then heretics cannot be possessed of it, and consequently it is impossible for them to baptize.” Finally, he concludes: “Baptism is a new birth; by it children are born to God in Christ: now the Church only is the bride of Christ; she only can, therefore, be the means of this new birth.” In his controversy against the Donatists (who revived Cyprian’s doctrine on this point), S. Augustine demonstrated with great completeness, and his accustomed spiritual power, two hundred and fifty years afterwards, that this line of argument was unsound, and that the strongest grounds existed for the Church’s practice defended by Stephen. The demonstration of S.

    Augustine is as simple as powerful. He brought out these three considerations: — a. Sinners are separated spiritually from the Church, as heretics are corporally. The former are as really out of the Church as the latter: if heretics could not legally baptize, sinners could not either; and thus the validity of the sacrament would absolutely depend upon the inward state of the minister. b. We must distinguish between the grace of baptism and the act of baptism: the minister acts, but it is God who gives the grace; and He can give it even by means of an unworthy minister. c. The heretic is, without any doubt, out of the Church; but the baptism which he confers is not an alien baptism, for it is not h/s, it is Christ’s baptism, the baptism which He confers, and consequently a true baptism, even when conferred out of the Church. In leaving the Church, the heretics have taken many things away with them, especially faith in Jesus Christ and baptism. These fragments of Church truth are the elements, still pure (and not what they have as heretics), which enable them by baptism to give birth to children of God. After S. Augustine, S. Thomas Aquinas, S. Bonaventura, the editors of the Roman Catechism, and others, have discussed the question anew; and the principal propositions upon which the whole subject turns are the following: — (a .) He who baptizes is a simple instrument, and Christ can use any instrument whatever, provided that he does what Christ (the Church) wills that he should do. This instrument only performs the act of baptism; the grace of baptism comes from God. Thus any man, even a heathen, can administer baptism, provided that he will do as the Church does; and this latitude with respect to the administrant of baptism is not without reason: it is founded upon this, that baptism is really necessary as a means of salvation. (b .) Baptism, then, by a heretic will be valid, if it is administered in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and with the intention of doing as the Church does (intentio faciendi, quod facit ecclesia). (g .) Should he who has thus been baptized, after remaining a long time in heresy, acknowledge his error and his separation from the Church, he ought, in order to be admitted into the Church, to submit to a penance (manus impositio ad paonitentiam); but it his not necessary to re-baptize him. (d .) The sacraments are often compared to channels; through which divine grace comes to us. Then, when any one is baptized in a heretical sect, but is baptized according to the rules, the channel of grace is truly applied to him, and there flows to him through this channel not only the remission, of sins (remissio peccatorum), but also sanctification and the renewal of the inner man (sanctificatio et renovatio interioris hominis); that is to say, he receives the grace of baptism. (e .) It is otherwise with confirmation. From the time of the apostles, they only, and never the deacons, their fellow workers, had the power of giving confirmation. Now, too, it is only the legitimate successors of the apostles, the bishops, who can administer this sacrament in the Church. If; therefore, any one has been confirmed whilst he was in heresy, he can have been so only by a schismatical or heretical bishop or priest; so that his confirmation must be invalid, and it is necessary that the imposition of hands should be repeated, ut Spiritum sanctum consequatur et signetur. Doctor Mattes has brought out, with much depth, in the dissertation which we have already frequently quoted, the different reasons for believing that baptism and marriage may be administered by those who are not Christians. SEC. 7. SYNOD OF NARBONNE (255-260).

    The councils of Christian Africa have chiefly occupied our attention so far: we are now to direct attention to those of the other countries of the Roman Empire, and first to those of Gaul. It is known that, about the middle of the third century, seven missionary bishops were sent into Gaul by Pope Fabian, and that one of them was S. Paul, first bishop of Narbonne. The acts of his life which have reached us speak of a synod held at Narbonne on his account between 255 and 260. Two deacons, whom the holy bishop had often blamed for their incontinence, wished to revenge themselves on him in a diabolical manner. They secretly put a pair of women’s slippers under his bed, and then showed them in proof of the bishop’s impurity.

    Paul found himself obliged to assemble his colleagues in a synod, that they might judge of his innocence or culpability. While the bishops continued the inquiry for three days, an eagle came and placed itself upon the roof of the house where they were assembled. Nothing could drive it away, and during those three days a raven brought it food. On the third day Paul ordered public prayer that God would make known the truth. The deacons were then seized by an evil spirit, and so tormented, that they ended by confessing their perfidy and calumny. They could only be delivered through prayer, and they renewed their confession. Instead of judging Paul, the bishops threw themselves at his feet, and with all the people entreated his intercession with God. The eagle then took flight towards the East. Such is the account given in the Acts. They are ancient, but full of fables, and, as Remi Ceillier and others have already shown, cannot constitute a serious historical document. SEC. 8. SYNODS AT ARSINUE AND ROME (255-:260).

    We have, unlike the case last considered, the most thoroughly historical records of the assembly over which Dionysius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, presided at Arsinoe, and of which he speaks himself in Eusebius. Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, also a very venerable man, and author of some Christian canticles, had fallen into the error of the Millenarians, and had endeavored to spread it. Dying some time after, he could not be judged; and his primate, Dionysius the Great, had to content himself with refuting the opinions which he had propagated. He did so in two books, peri> ejpaggeliw~n . Besides this, about 255, Dionysius being near to Arsinoe, where the errors of Nepos had made great progress, assembled the priests (of Nepos) and the teachers of the place, and prevailed upon them to submit their doctrine to a discussion which should take place before all their brethren, who would be present at it. In the debate they ]relied upon a work by Nepos, which the Millenarians much venerated. Dionysius disputed with them for three days; and both parties, says Dionysius himself, showed much moderation, calmness, and love of truth. The result was, that Coration, chief of the party of Nepos, promised to renounce his error, and the discussion terminated to the satisfaction of all. Some years later, about 260, the same Dionysius the Great, from his manner of combating Sabellius, gave occasion for the holding of a Roman synod, of which we shall speak more at length in giving the history of the origin of Arianism.


    Three synods at Antioch in Syria occupied themselves with the accusation and deposition of the bishop of that town, the well-known anti-Trinitarian, Paul of Samosata.

    Sabellius had wished to strengthen the idea of unity in the doctrine of the Trinity, by suppressing the difference between the persons, and only admitting, instead of the persons, three different modes of action in the one person of God; consequently denying the personal difference between the Father and the Son. and identifying them both. In his doctrinal explanation of the mystery of the Trinity, Paul of Samosata took an opposite course: he separated the one from the other, the Father and the Son, far too much.

    He set off, as Sabellius did, from a confusion of the divine persons, and regarded the Logos as an impersonal virtue of God in no way distinct from the Father. In JESUS he saw only a man penetrated by the Logos, who, although miraculously born of a virgin, was yet only a man, and not the God-man. His inferior being was ejk parqe>nou ; his superior being, on the contrary, was penetrated by the Logos. The Logos had dwelt in the man Jesus, not in person, but in quality, as virtue or power (oujk oujsiwdw~v ajlla< kata< poio>thta ). Moreover, by an abiding penetration, tie sanctified him, and rendered him worthy of a divine name. Paul of Samosata further taught, that as the Logos is not a person, so also the Holy Spirit is only a divine virtue, impersonal, belonging to the Father, and distinct from Him only in thought.

    Thus, while Paul on one side approached Sabellianism, on the Other side he inclined towards the Subordinatians of Alexandria. We will not discuss whether Jewish errors, of which Philastrius accuses him, were mixed with this monarchianism, as this is merely an accessory question. Theodoret says more accurately, that Paul sought, by his anti-Trinitarian doctrines, to please his protectress and sovereign Zenobia, who was a Jewess, and consequently held anti-Trinitarian opinions. The new error was so much the more dangerous, as the ecclesiastical and political position of its author was of great importance. He filled the highest see in the East. We know also, that in 264 or 265 a great number of bishops assembled at Antioch; particularly Firmilian of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Gregory Thaumaturgus and his brother Athenodorus, the Archbishop Helenus of Tarsus in Cilicia, Nicomas of Iconium, Hymenaeus of Jerusalem, Theoteenus of Caesarea in Palestine (the friend of Origen), Maximus of Bostra, and many other bishops, priests, and deacons.

    Dionysius the Great of Alexandria had also been invited to the Synod; but his age and infirmities prevented him from going in person, and he died a short time after, tie had wished at least to be able in writing to defend the doctrine of the Church against Paul of Samosata, as he had before defended it against Sabellius. According to Eusebius, he addressed a letter to the church at Antioch, in which he would not even salute the bishop. Without entirely confirming this statement furnished by Eusebius, Theodoret relates that in that letter Dionysius exhorted Paul to do what was right, whilst he encouraged the assembled bishops to redoubled zeal for orthodoxy. From these testimonies we may conclude that Dionysius wrote three letters — one to Paul, another to the bishops in Synod, a third to the church, at Antioch; but it is also true that one single letter might easily contain all that Eusebius and Theodoret attribute to Dionysius. In a great number of sessions and discussions they sought to demonstrate the errors of Paul, and entreated him to return to orthodoxy; but the latter, cleverly dissembling his doctrine, protested that he had never professed such errors, and that he had always followed the apostolic dogmas. After these declarations, the bishops being satisfied, thanked God for this harmony, and separated. But they found that they were soon obliged to assemble again at Antioch.

    Firmilian appears to have presided over this fresh assembly, as he had over the first: its exact date is not certainly known. The Synod explicitly condemned the new doctrine introduced by Paul. As, however, Paul promised to renounce and retract his errors (as he had absolutely rejected them as his in the first Synod), Firmilian and the bishops allowed themselves to be deceived a second time. Paul did not keep his promise, and soon, says Theodoret, the report was spread that he professed his former errors as before. However, the bishops would not cut him off immediately from communion with the Church: they tried again to bring him back to the right way by a letter which they addressed to him; and it was only when this last attempt had failed that they assembled for the third time at Antioch, towards the close of the year 269. Bishop Firmilian died at Tarsus in going to this Synod. According to Athanasius, the number of assembled bishops reached seventy, and eighty according to Hilarius. The deacon Basil, who wrote in the fifth century, raises it even to a hundred and eighty.

    Firmilian being dead, Helenus presided over the assembly, as we are expressly assured by the Libellus Synodicus. Besides Helenus, Hymenaeus of Jerusalem, Theotecnus of Caesarea in Palestine, Maximus of Bostra, Nicomas of Iconium, and others, were present. Among the priests who were present at the Synod, Malchion was especially remarkable, who, after having taught rhetoric with much success at Antioch, had been ordained priest there on account of the purity of his manners and the ardor of his faith. He was chosen by the bishops assembled at Antioch as the opponent in discussion of Paul of Samosata, on account of his vast knowledge and his skill in logic. The notaries kept an account of all that was said. These documents still existed in the time of Eusebius and of Jerome; but we have only some short fragments preserved by two writers of the sixth century — Leontius of Byzantium and Peter the deacon. In these disputations Patti of Samosata was convicted of error. The Council deposed him, excommunicated him, and chose in his place Domnus, son of his predecessor Demetrian Bishop of Antioch. Before dissolving itself, the Council sent to Dionysius Bishop of Rome, to Maximus of Alexandria, and to the bishops of all the provinces, an encyclical letter, which we still possess in greater part, in which was an account of the errors and manners of Paul of Samosata, as well as of the deliberations of the Council respecting him. It is there said, “that Paul, who was very poor at first, had acquired great riches by illegal proceedings, by extortions and frauds, professedly promising his protection in lawsuits, and then deceiving those who had paid him. Besides, he was extremely proud and arrogant: he had accepted worldly employments, and preferred to be called ducenarius rather than bishop; he always went out surrounded by a train of servants. He was reproached with having, out of vanity, read and dictated letters while walking; with having, by his prides, caused much evil to be said of Christians; with having had a raised throne made for him in the church; with acting in a theatrical manner — striking his thigh, spurning things with his foot, persecuting and scorning those who during his sermons did not join with the clappers of hands bribed to applaud him; with having spoken disparagingly of the greatest doctors of the Church, and with applause of himself; with having suppressed the Psalms in honor of Christ, under the pretext that they were of recent origin, to substitute for them at the feast of Easter hymns sung by women in his honor; with having caused himself to be praised in the sermons of his partisans, priests and chorepiscopi. The letter further declared that he had denied that the Son of God descended from heaven, but that he personally had allowed himself to be called an angel come from on high; that, besides, he had lived with the subintroducti, and had allowed the same to his clergy. If he could not be reproached with positive immorality, he had at least caused much scandal. Finally, he had fallen into the heresy of Artemon; and the Synod had thought it sufficient to proceed only on this last point. They had therefore excommunicated Paul, and elected Domnus in his place. The Synod prayed all the bishops to exchange the litteras communicatorias with Domnus, whilst Paul, if he wished, could write to Artemon. It is with this ironical observation that the great fragment of the synodical letter preserved by Easebius terminates. It is thought that in Leontius of Byzantium are to be found some more fragments of this letter treating of Paul’s doctrine. Much more important is an ancient tradition, that the Synod of Antioch must have rejected the expression oJmoou>siov . This is, at least, what semi-Arians have maintained; whilst S. Athanasius says “that he had not the synodical letter of the Council of Antioch before his eyes, but that the semi-Arians had maintained, in their Synod of Ancyra of 358, that this letter denied that the Son was oJmoou>siov tw~| patri> . ” What the semi-Arians affirmed is also reported by Bash the Great and Hilary of Poitiers. Thus it is impossible to maintain the hypothesis of many learned men, viz. that the semi-Arians had falsified the fact, and that there was nothing true about the rejection of the expression oJmoou>siov by the Synod of Antioch. The original documents do not, however, show us why this Synod of Antioch rejected the word oJmoou>siov ; and we are thrown upon conjectures for this point.

    Athanasius says that Paul argued in this way: If Christ, from being a man, did not become God — that is to say, if He were not a man deified — then He is oJmoou>siov with the Father; but then three substances (oujsi>ai ) must be admitted — one first substance (the Father), and two more recent (the Son and the Spirit); that is to say, that the divine substance is separated into three parts.

    In this case Patti must have used the word oJmoou>siov in that false sense which afterwards many Arians attributed to the orthodox: in his mind oJmoou>siov must have signified the possessor of a part of the divine substance, which is not the natural sense of the word. Then, as Paul abused this expression, it may be that for this reason the Synod of Antioch should absolutely forbid the use of the word oJmoou>siov . Perhaps Paul also maintained that the oJmoou>siov answered much better to his doctrine than to that of the orthodox: for he could easily name as oJmoou>siov with the Father, the divine virtue which came down upon the man Jesus, since according to him this virtue was in no way distinct from the Father; and in this case, again, the Synod would have sufficient ground for rejecting this expression. These explanations would be without any use if the two creeds which were formerly attributed to this Council of Antioch really proceeded from it. In these creeds the word oJmoou>siov is not only adopted, but great stress is laid upon it. The two creeds also have expressions evidently imitated from the Nicene Creed, — a fact which shows that they could not have proceeded from the Synod of Antioch. If in 269 such a profession of faith in the mystery of the Holy Trinity had been written at Antioch, the Fathers of Nicaea would have had much easier work to do, or rather Arianism would not have been possible.

    We have already said that the synodical letter of the Council of Antioch was addressed to Dionysius Bishop of Rome. The Synod did not know that this Pope died in the month of December 269: thus the letter was given to his successor, Felix I., who wrote immediately to Bishop Maximus and the clergy of Alexandria to define the orthodox faith of the Church with greater clearness against the errors of Paul of Samosata. Paul continued to live in the episcopal palace, notwithstanding his deposition, being probably supported by Zenobia; and he thus obliged the orthodox to appeal to the Emperor Aurelian after this prince had conquered Zenobia and taken Antioch in 272. The Emperor decided that “he should occupy the episcopal house at Antioch who was in connection with the bishops of Italy and the see of Rome.” Paul was then obliged to leave his palace with disgrace, as Eusebius relates. We have up to this time spoken of three Synods of Antioch, all of them held with reference to Paul of Samosata; but a certain number of historians will admit only two, as we think, wrongly. The synodical letter of the last Council of Antioch says distinctly that Firmilian went twice on this account to Antioch, and that on his third journey to be present at a new synod, consequently at a third, he died. As the synodtcal letter is the most trustworthy source which can be quoted in this case, we ought to prefer its testimony to Theodoret’s account, who mentions only two Synods of Antioch. As for Eusebius, whose authority has been quoted., it is true that he first mentions only one synod, then in the following chapter another Synod of Antioch; but this other he does not call the second — he calls it the last. What he says in the twenty-seventh chapter shows that he united into one only the first and second Synods. “The bishops,” he says, “assembled often, and at different periods.” But even if Eusebius had spoken of only two synods, his testimony would evidently be of less value than the synodical letter.

    It is with these Synods of Antioch that the councils of the third century terminate. The Libellus Synodicus certainly mentions another synod held in Mesopotamia; but it was only a religious conference between Archelaus Bishop of Carchara (or, more correctly, Caschara) in Mesopotamia, and the heretic Manes. As for the pretended Eastern Synod in the year 300, in which the patriarchs of Rome, of Constantinople (an evident anachronism), of Antioch, and of Alexandria, are said to have granted to the Bishop of Seleucia the dignity of patriarch of the whole of Persia, it is a pure invention. CHAPTER 3. The Synods Of The First Twenty Years Of The Fourth Century.


    If the document which tells us of a Synod of Sinuessa (situated between Rome and Capua) could have any pretension to authenticity, this Synod must have taken place about the beginning of the fourth century, in 303. It says: The Emperor Diocletian had pressed Marcellinus Bishop of Rome to sacrifice to the gods. At first steadfast, the bishop had finally allowed himself to be dragged into the temple of Vesta and of His, and there offered incense to the idols. He was followed by three priests and two deacons, who fled the moment he entered the temple, and spread the report that they had seen Marcellinus sacrificing to the gods. A Synod assembled, and Marcellinus denied the fact. The inquiry was continued in a crypt near Sinuessa, on account of the persecution. There were assembled many priests, no fewer than three hundred bishops; a number quite impossible for that country, and in a time of persecution. They first of all condemned the three priests and the two deacons for having abandoned their bishop. As for the latter, although sixty-two witnesses had sworn against him, the Synod would not pronounce judgment: it simply demanded that he should confess his fault, and judge himself; or, if he was not guilty, that he should pronounce his own acquittal. On the morrow fresh witness arose against Marcellinus. He denied again. The third day the three hundred bishops assembled, once more condemned the three priests and the two deacons, called up the witnesses again, and charged Marcellinus in God’s name to speak the truth. He then threw himself on the ground, and covering his head with ashes, loudly and repeatedly acknowledged his sin, adding that he had allowed himself to be bribed by gold. The bishops, in pronouncing judgment, formally added: Marcellinus has condemned himself, for the occupant of the highest see cannot be judged by any one (prima sedes non judicatur a quonquam). The consequence of this Synod was, that Diocletian caused many bishops who were present at it to be put to death, even Pope Marcellinus himself, on the 23d of August 303.

    This account is so filled with improbabilities and evidently false dates, that in modern times Roman Catholics and Protestants have unanimously rejected the authenticity of it. Before that, some Roman Catholics were not unwilling to appeal to this document, on account of the proposition, prima sedes non judicatur a quoquam. The Roman breviary itself has admitted the account of Marcellinus’ weakness, and of the sacrifice offered by him. But it is beyond all doubt that this document is an amplification of the falsehood spread by the Donatists about the year 400. They maintain that during Diocletian’s persecution Marcellinus had delivered up the Holy Scriptures, and sacrificed to the idols, — a falsehood which Augustine and Theodoret had already refuted. SEC. 11. SYNOD OF CIRTA (305).

    If the Donatists have invented the Synod of Sinuessa, which never took place, they have, on the other hand, contested the existence of a Council which was certainly held in 305 at Cirta in Numidia. This Synod took place on the occasion of the installation of a new bishop of this town. Secundus Bishop of Tigisium, the oldest of the eleven bishops present, presided over the assembly. A short time before, an edict of Diocletian had enacted that the sacred writings should be given up; and a multitude of Christians, and even bishops, had proved weak, and had obeyed the edict.

    Most of the bishops present at Cirta were accused of this fall; so that the president could say to almost all of them, when questioning them according to their rank, Dicitur to tradidisse. They acknowledged themselves to be guilty, adding, one that God had preserved him from sacrificing to the idols (which would have been doubtless a much greater fall); another, that instead of the sacred books he had given up books of medicine; a third, that he had been forced by violence, and so forth. All implored grace and pardon. The president then demanded of Purpurius Bishop of Limata, if it was true that he had killed two of his nephews. The latter answered, “Do you think you can terrify me like the others? What did you do then yourself, when the curator commanded you to give up the Holy Scriptures?” This was to reproach him with the crime for which he was prosecuting the others; and the president’s own nephew, Secundus the younger, addressed his uncle in these words: “Do you hear what he says of you? He is ready to leave the Synod, and to create a schism: he will have with him all those whom you wish to punish, and I know that they have reasons for condemning you.” The president asked counsel from some of the bishops: they persuaded him to decide that “each one should tender an account to God of his conduct in this matter (whether he had given up the Holy Scriptures or not).” All were of the same opinion, and shouted, Deo gratias!

    This is what is told us in the fragment of the synodical acts preserved by S.

    Augustine in the third book of his work against the Donatist Cresconius. We also learn, from this fragment, that the Synod was held in a private house belonging to Urbanus Donatus, during the eighth consulate of Diocletian and the seventh of Maximian, that is to say, in 303. patus of Mileve, on the oilier hand, gives to this Donatus surname of Carisius, and tells us that they chose a private house because the churches of the town had not yet been restored since the persecution. As for the chronological question, S. Augustine says in another place, that the copy of the synodical acts, which was carefully examined on occasion of the religious conference of Carthage with the Donatists, was thus dated post consulatum Diocletiani novies et Maximiani octies, tertio nonas Martis, that is to say, March 5, 305. That is, in fact, the exact date, as Valesius has proved in his notes upon the eighth book of the History of the Church by Eusebius, ch 2. Natalis Alexander has also written a special dissertation upon this subject in his History of the Church. When the affair respecting the bishops who had yielded up the Holy Scriptures had been decided, they proceeded to the election of the new Bishop of Cirta. The bishops nominated the deacon Silvanus, although, as is proved by a fragment of the acts preserved by S. Augustine, he had delivered up the sacred books in 303, together with his bishop Paul This Silvanus and some others among the bishops assembled at Cirta, after having been so indulgent towards themselves, afterwards became the chiefs of the rigorous and exaggerated party of the Donatists, who saw traditores everywhere, even where there were none.


    Almost at the same period, perhaps a year later, a synod was held at Alexandria, under the presidency of Peter, then archbishop of that place.

    The Bishop of Lycopolis, Meletius, author of the Meletian schism, was, as S. Athanasius tells us, deposed by this Synod for different offenses; and among others, for having sacrificed to idols. These last words show that this Synod took place after the explosion of Diocletian’s persecution, consequently after 303. S. Athanasius further adds, in his Epistola ad episcopos: “The Meletians were declared schismatics more than fifty-five years ago.” This letter having been written in 356 or in 361, the latter date would give the year 306 as that of the Synod; and this is the (late which we adopt. For on the other hypothesis (reckoning from the year 356) we should be brought to 301, when the persecution of Diocletian had not begun. To the beginning of the fourth century belongs the SEC. 13. SYNOD OF ELVIRA (305 OR 306).

    This Synod has been, more than any other, an occasion for many learned researches and controversies. The principal work on the subject is that by the Spaniard Ferdinand de Mendoza, in 1593; it comprises three books, the title of which is, de confirmando concilio Illiberitano ad Clementem VIII. The best text of the acts of this Council is found in the Collectio canonum Ecclesia; Hispance, by Franc. Ant. Gonzalez, librarian (Madrid 1808, in folio). It was compiled from nine ancient Spanish manuscripts.

    Bruns has reproduced it in his Biblioth. eccles. Pliny the elder speaks of two towns named Illiberis: the one in Gallia Narbonensis, which is now called Collioure, in Roussillon (now French); the other in the south of Spain, in the province Boetica, now Andalusia. As it is a. Spanish council, there can be no question but that it was the latter town, as Illiberis in Narbonne had been demolished long before the time of Constantine the Great. Mendoza relates, that in his day the remains of walls bearing the name of Elbira might still be seen on a mountain not far from Granada; and the gate of Granada, situated in this direction, is called the gate of Elbira. There is also another Eliberis, but it dates only from the conquest of the Goths. Illiberris, with a double l and a double r, is the true one, according to Mendoza. The synodical acts, whose genuineness could be doubted only by hypercriticism, mention nineteen bishops as present at the Council.

    According to a Codex Pithoanus of its acts, their number must have reached forty-three. The nineteen are: Felix of Acci (Cadiz), who, probably as being the eldest, was nominated president of the Synod; Hosius of Corduba, afterwards so famous in the Arian controversy as Bishop of Cordova; Sabinus of Hispalis (Seville), Camerismus of Tucci, Sinaginis of Epagra (or Bigerra), Secundinus of Castulo, Pardus of Mentesa, Flavian of Eliberis, Cantonius of Urci, Liberius of Emerita, Valerius of Caesaraugusta (Saragossa), Decentius of Legio (Leon), Melantius of Toledo, Januarius of Fibularia (perhaps Salaria in Hispania Tarraconensis), V incent of Ossonoba, Quintianus of Elbora, Successus of Eliocroca, Eutychian of Basti (Baza), and Patricias of Malacca. There were therefore bishops from the most different parts of Spain; so that we may consider this assembly as a synod representing the whole of Spain. The acts also mention twentyfour priests, and say that they were seated at the Synod like the bishops, whilst the deacons and the laity stood up. The decrees proceeded only from the bishops; for the synodical acts always employed this formula: Episcopi universi dixerunt. 1 . As for the date of this Synod, the acts tell us that it was celebrated, which means opened, at the Ides of May; that is, on the 15th May. The inscriptions on the acts also give the following particulars: Constantii temporibus editurn, eodem tempore quo et Nicaena-synodus habita est.

    Some of the acts add: era 362. Of course it refers to the Spanish era, which began to be used in Spain in the fifth century: it counted from the thirty-eighth year before Christ, so that the year 362 of the Spanish era corresponds to 324 of our reckoning. This date of 324 answers to that of the Council of Nicaea (325), also mentioned in the inscription on the synodical acts; but the tempore Constantii does not agree with it, at least unless we should read Constantini. But there are very strong objections against this chronological reading. a. Most of the ancient manuscripts of these synodical acts do not bear any date: one would therefore be led to conclude that this had been added at a later time. b. Bishop Hosius of Corduba, named among the bishops present at the Synod, was not in Spain in 324: he passed the whole of that year either at the Emperor’s court (in Nicomedia) or at Alexandria. Constantine the Great, with whom he was, after the defeat of Licinius, consequently in the autumn of 323 or in the spring of 324, sent him to that place in order to try to settle the Arian strife, Hosius not being able to succeed in his mission, returned to the Emperor as counselor on ecclesiastical matters, and immediately afterwards he took part in the first (Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in 325. c. A long time previous to 323 and 324 Hosius had left Spain, and he generally resided with the Emperor. It is known that after the close of the Council of Arles, in 314, the Donatists appealed from the judgment of the Council to the Emperor Constantine the Great. The sentence given by the Emperor in 316 having been against them, they spread the report that it was Hosius of Cordova who had influenced the Emperor in his judgment. Augustine, in relating this fact, adds that Hosius had, on the contrary, suggested to the Emperor more moderate measures than the Donatists deserved. Hosius was then at the imperial court, at the latest, in 316: a decree which Constantine addressed to Cecilian Bishop of Carthage in 313, and in which he mentions Osius, would even lead us to conclude that the Spanish bishop was with Constantine in 313. d. We must also notice, that the purport of several canons of Elvira cannot agree with this date of 324. (a .) Several of these canons appear, indeed, to have been compiled during or soon after a violent persecution, in which several Christians had apostatized. We say during, or soon after, but it is more likely that it was soon after: for during a persecution, bishops from the most. distant provinces of Spain, from the north and the south, could hardly assemble in the same place. Now the last persecution of the Spanish Christians by the Emperors was that of Diocletian and of Maximianus Herculeus, from to 305. (b .) The decisions of Elvira about the lapsi are much more rigorous than those of Nicaea: thus the first canon of Elvira forbids that the holy communion should be administered to the lapsi, even in articulo mortis.

    This severity evidently indicates a date prior to that of the Synod of Nicaea. Such severity during a persecution, or immediately after, could be explained, but not so twenty years later. 2 . It was indeed this severity of the canons of Elvira with regard to the lapsi which suggested to the oratorian Morinus the hypothesis which he propounds in his book de Poenitentia, viz. that the Synod of Elvira must have assembled before the origin of the Novatian schism, about 250; otherwise the Fathers of Elvira, by their first canon, must have taken the side of the Novatians. But the severity of the Novatians is very different from that of the Synod of Elvira. The Novatians pretended that the Church had not the right to admit to the communion a Christian who had apostatized: the Fathers of Elvira acknowledged this right; they wished only that in certain cases, for reasons of discipline, she should suspend the exercise of this right, and delay the admission, non desperatione venice, sed rigore disciplinae. We must add, that about, 250 Hosius and the other bishops present at the Council of Elvira were not yet born, or at least they were not at any rate among the clergy. 3 . The hypothesis of the Magdeburg Centuriators, which places the Synod of Elvira in the year 700, is still more unfortunate. To give such dates, is to make Hosius and his colleagues of Elvira into true Methuselahs of the new covenant. 4 . Following the Fasti of Onuphrius, Hardouin has adopted the date 313, giving especially as his reason, that the canons of the Council of Arles in 314 have much in common with those of Elvira. But this is extremely feeble reasoning; for they might easily profit by the canons of Elvira at Aries, even if they were framed ten or twenty years previously. Besides, Hosius, as we have seen above, appears to have left his native country, Spain, in 313. 5 . Baluze has propounded another theory. At the Council of Sardica (eleventh canon in Greek, fourteenth canon in Latin), Hosius proposed a law (on the subject of the Sunday festival), which had been before proposed in a former council (superiore concilio). This is an allusion to the twenty-first canon of the Council of Elvira. Baluze remarks, that since Hosius calls the Council of Elvira superius concilium, this Council must have taken place before the Council of Nicsea, which, with Hosius, when the Council of Sardica was held, was only the concilium postremum. The reasoning of Baluze can be maintained up to this point; but afterwards, from some other indications, he wishes to conclude that the Synod of Elvira took place after those of Ancyra and of Neocaesarea; consequently between 314 and 325. This latter part of his proof is very feeble; and besides, he has entirely forgotten that Hosius was not in Spain between and 325. 6 . Mansi thinks that the Synod of Elvira took place in 309. It is said in the acts, he remarks, that the Council was held in the Ides of May. Now in these Ides fell on a Sunday; and at this period they began to hold synods on a Sunday, as the example of Nicaea shows. This last observation is not exact. The Council of Nicaea requires, in the fifth canon, that two synods should be celebrated annually, — one during Lent, the other in the autumn; but there is nowhere any mention of Sunday. The apostolic canons, No. (38), give the same meaning: “The first synod shall be held in the fourth week after Pentecost; the second on the 12th of the month Hyperberataios.” Here also, then, there is no mention of Sunday; the 12th of the month Hyperberataios might fall upon any day of the week. In the statutes of the Synod of Antioch in 341, Sunday is not prescribed more than any other day. 7 . The calculation of Mendoza, of Natalis Alexander, of Tillemont, of d’Aguirre, of Remi Ceillier, etc., appears to us more defensible: they all proceed upon the fact that Valerius Bishop of Saragossa, who, we know from the acts, was present at the Synod, was persecuted in 304, with his deacon Vincent, by the Roman praetor Dacian. The deacon was put to death, and Valerius exiled; afterwards he also was martyred, if we may believe an ancient tradition. They concluded from this, that the Council of Elvira could not have taken place before 304, that is to say, before the arrest of Bishop Valerius; and they only disagreed upon the point whether the Council took place at the commencement of the year 300 or 301: d’Aguirre even mentions the commencement of 303. The difficulty is, that they place the Council of Elvira before the outbreak of the persecution; whilst, as has been said before, several of the canons were evidently written just after a persecution,, and consequently could not have been promulgated between 300 and 304. 8 . The opinion, then, which appears to us the most. probable in this question, is the following: In May 305 Diocletian and Maximianus Herculeus had abdicated; and Constantius, celebrated for his benevo1ence towards the Christians:, became sovereign ruler of Spain. The persecution, therefore, having ceased, the Spanish bishops could assemble at Elvira to deliberate, first, respecting the treatment of the lapsi, which was the chief subject of the canons which they formed, and also to seek for means against the invasion of moral corruption.

    But it will be said, Was not Valerius of Saragossa dead in 305? I do not think so. To prove it, Remi Ceillier. appeals to Prudentius; but the latter does not say a word of the martyrdom of Valerius, either in his poem upon all the martyrs of Saragossa in general, or in his poem upon Vincent in particular. If Valerius had really been martyred, he would certainly not have failed to say so. Then, if Valerius was living at the time of the abdication of Diocletian and Max:trojan, he was undoubtedly recalled from exile by Constantius; and he could thus take part in the Synod of Elvira, which we therefore place in the autumn of 305, or in 306. Baronius, Binius in Mansi, and others, accept 305, but on other grounds than ours, whilst Pagi leaves the question undecided. The eighty-one canons of the Synod of Elvira are the following; — CAN. 1. DE HIS QUI POST BAPTISMUM IDOLIS IMMOLAVERUNT.

    Placuit inter eos: Qui post fidem baptismi salutaris adulta aetate ad templum idoli idolaturus accesserit, et fecerit quod est crimen capitale, quia est summi sceleris, placuit nec in finem eum communionem accipere. “If an adult who has been baptized has sacrificed to idols, and has thus committed a capital crime, he cannot be received into communion, even at the end of his life.”

    Several interpreters of this canon, among others Dr. Herbst, who has explained the callous of Elvira in the Tubinger Quartalschrift, have erroneously thought that we must understand here by communio, not eucharistic communion, but only communion with the Church, or sacramental absolution. This is a mistake: the word communio does not mean only communion with the Church, but sacramental communion as well. If any one is excluded from the Church, and if they cannot receive sacramental absolution, neither can they receive the holy Eucharist.


    Flamines, qui post fidem lavacri et regenerationis sacrificaverunt, eo quod geminaverint scelera accedente homicidio, vel triplicaverint facinus cohaerente moechia, placuit eos nec in finem accipere communionem.


    Item flamines qui non immolaverint, sed munus tautum dederint, eo quod sea funestis abstinuerint sacrificiis, placuit in finem eis praestare communionem, acta tamen legitima poenitentia. Item ipsi si post poenitentiam fuerint moechati, placuit ulterius his non esse dandam communionem, ne illusisse de dominica communione videantur.


    Item flamines si fuerint catechumeni et sea sacrificiis abstinuerint, post triennii tempora placuit ad baptismum admitti debere.

    The office of a flamen in the provinces of the Roman Empire consisted either in offering sacrifices to the gods, or in preparing the public games. It was hereditary in many families; and as it entailed many expenses, he who was legally bound to fill it could not give it up, even if he became a Christian, as is proved by the Code of Justinian, and S. Jerome’s work De Vita Hilarionis. It followed from this, that the members of these families of flamines kept their office even when they were catechumens or had been baptized; but they tried to give up the duties which it imposed, especially the sacrifices. They consented still to continue to prepare the public games. In the time of a persecution, the people generally wished to oblige them to offer sacrifices also. Tiffs Synod decided on what must be done with these flamines in the different cases which might arise. a. If they had been baptized, and if they had consented to fulfill all their duties, they had by that act alone (a ) sacrificed to idols; (b ) they had taken part in murders, by preparing for the games (in the games of gladiators), and in acts of immorality (in the obscene acts of certain plays) Their sin was therefore double and triple. Then they must be refused the communion as long as they lived. b. If they had been baptized, but if, without sacrificing, they had only given the games, they might be received into communion at the close of their life, provided that they should have first submitted to a suitable penance. But if, after having begun to do penance (that is the sense, and not after the accomplishment of the penance), they should again be led into any act of immorality (that is to say, if as flamines they should allow themselves to organize obscene plays), they should never more receive the communion. c. If a flamen was only a catechumen, and. if, without sacrificing, he had fulfilled his duties (perhaps also given the games), he might be baptized after three years of trial. CAN. 5. SI DOMINA PER ZELUM ANCILLAM OCCIDERIT.

    Si qua foemina furore zeli accensa flails verberaverit ancillam suam, ita ut intra tertium diem animam cum cruciatu effundat, eo quod incertum sit voluntate an casu occiderit; si voluntate, post soptem annos, si casu, post quinquennii tempora, acta legitima poenitentia, ad communionem placuit admitti; quod si intra tempora constituta fuerint infirmata, accipiat communionem. “If, in anger, a woman should strike her servant, so that the latter should die at the end of three days, the guilty woman shall undergo a seven years’ penance if she struck so violently on purpose, and a five years’ penance if she did not do so on purpose to kill: she shall not be received into communion till after this delay. If she should fall ill during the time of her penance, she may receive the communion.”

    This canon was inserted in the Corpus juris can. CAN. 6. SI QUICUNQUE PER MALEFICIUM HOMINEM INTERFECERIT.

    Si quis vero maleficio interficiat alterum, eo quod sine idololatria perflcere scelus non potnit, nec in finem impertiendam illi esse communionem.

    By maleficio is here to be understood the deceits of magic or sorcery, which they considered necessarily connected with idolatry.

    The following canon needs no explanation.


    Si quis forte fidelis post lapsum moechiae, post tempora constituta, acta poenitentia, denuo fuerit fornicatus, placuit nec in finem habere eum communionem.


    Item foeminae, quae nulla praecedente causa reliquerint viros suos et alteris se copulaverint, nec in finem accipiant communionem.

    Some interpreters have thought that the question here was that only of a Christian woman leaving her husband, still a pagan, without any reason; for under no pretext could she leave a Christian husband to marry another. But the following canon proves conclusively that the eighth canon speaks of a Christian couple. If it adds without reason, that does not mean that there exist any cases in which a woman could leave her husband to marry another: the canon decrees only a more severe punishment if she should abandon her husband without reason; whilst the following canon prescribes what punishment to inflict in case she should leave her husband not entirely without a cause (if, for example, the husband is an adulterer).

    The ninth canon, which has also been inserted in the Corpus juris canon, is thus worded: — CAN. 9. DE FOEMINIS QUCE ADULTEROS MARITOS RELINQUUNT ET ALIIS NUBUNT.

    Item foemina fidelis, quae adulterum maritum reliquerit fidelem et alterum ducit, prohibeatur ne ducat; si duxerit, non prius accipiat communionem, nisi quem reliquit de saeculo exierit, nisi forsitan necessitas infirmitatis dare compulerit.

    The following canons are much more difficult to explain.


    Si ea quam catechumenus relinquit duxerit mariturn, potest ad fontem lavacri admitti: hoc et circa foeminas catechumenas erit observandum.

    Quodsi fuerit fidelis quae ducitur ab eo qui uxorem inculpatam relinquit, et quum scierit illum habere uxorem, quam sine causa reliquit, placuit in finem hujusmodi daft communionem.


    Intra quinquennii autem tempera catechumena si graviter fuerit infirmata, dandum ei baptismum placuit non denegari.

    These two canons are difficult to explain, because the section between the two does not occupy its proper place. They treat of two quite different cases, and each of these cases is subdivided into two others. 1 . a. If a catechumen, without any cause, should leave his wife, who has not yet been baptized, and if the latter should marry another husband, she may be baptized. b. In the same way, if a female catechumen should, without reason, leave her husband, still unbaptized, and that he should marry again, he may be baptized.

    Such is the first case. It supposes that the party who is left without cause is not baptized. Here the tenth canon should stop. What follows treats of another question, viz. if the party who has unlawfully left the other can be married again. The canon does not mention whether the party to be married is baptized, or only a catechumen, and it establishes the following: — 2 . a. If a Christian woman rarefies a mar, whom she knows to have illegally divorced his wife, she may communicate only on her deathbed. As a Christian, she ought to have known that, according to S. Paul, a Christian (and the catechumen is here considered as such) cannot put away his partner, though an unbeliever, if the latter wishes to continue to live with him. b. If a femme catechumen marries a man who has illegally divorced his wife, her baptism shall be put off five years longer (a further period of trial), and she can be baptized before that time only in case of a serious illness.

    We think we have thus clearly and accurately explained the sense of these two canons, which have given so much trouble to commentators.


    Mater vel patens vel quaelibet fidelis, si lenocinium exercuerit, eo quod. alienum vendiderit corpus vel potius suum, placuit eam nec in finem accipere communionem.

    We might have remarked on the two preceding canons, that their titles are not quite adapted to their contents. It is the same with this one. It threatens with perpetual excommunication those fathers and mothers who should give up their children to prostitution, as well as all those who follow this shameful trade. The words vel potius suum corpus, etc., however, evidently apply only to the parents of the young prostitute: in fact, they sell their own flesh and blood in selling their daughter.


    Virgines quae se Deo dicaverunt, si pactum perdiderint virginitatis atque eidem libidini servierint, non intelligentes quid admiserint, placuit nec in finem els dandam esse communionem. Quod si semel persuasae aut infirmi corporis lapsu vitiatae omni tempore vitae suae hujusmodi foeminae egerint poenitentiam, ut abstineant se a coitu, eo quod lapsae potius videantur, placuit eas in finem communionem accipere debere.

    When virgins consecrated to God (whether nuns properly so called, or young girls who have consecrated their youth to God, still remaining in their families) have committed a carnal sin without acknowledging their offense, and so continuing obstinately in their blindness (for it is thus that we must understand non intelligentes quid admiserint), they must remain permanently excommunicated; but if they should acknowledge their sin, and do perpetual penance, without falling again, they may receive the communion at the end of their life. This canon was inserted in the Corpus juris can. CAN. 14. DE VIRGINIBUS SAECULARIBUS SI MOECHAVERINT.

    Virgines quae virginitatem suam non custodierint, si eosdem qui eas violaverint duxerint et tenuerint maritos, eo quod solas nuptias violaverint, post annum sine poenitentia reconciliari debebunt; vel si alios cognoverint viros, eo quod moechatae suni, placuit per quinquennii tempera, acta legitima poenitentia, admitti eas ad communionem oportere.

    If a young girl who has made no vows has committed a carnal sin, and if she marries him with whom she has been led away, she shall be reconciled at the end of one year, without being condemned to penance; that is to say, that she may receive the communion at the end of one year, because she has violated only the marriage law, the rights of which she usurped before they were conferred upon her.

    Some manuscripts read, post peonitentiam unius anni reconcilientur; that is to say, that one year’s penance should be imposed upon her. The difference between this reading and ours is not important, for our reading also imposes on the guilty one minor excommunication for a year; that is to say, privation of the communion, which we know was also a degree of penance, namely, the fourth. The canon only exempts her from the most severe degrees of excommunication, to which were attached positive works of penance. The other reading says nothing more. If this woman should marry any one except him with whom she had fallen, she would commit a sort of adultery, and ought to submit to five years of penance.

    The three following canons forbid to marry pagans, Jews, or heretics, and require no explanation: — CAN. 15. DE CONJUGIO EORUM QUI EX GENTILITATE VENIUNT.

    Propter copiam puellarum gentilibus minime in matrimoninum dandae sunt virgines Christianae, ne aetas in flore tureens in adulterium animae resolvatur.


    Haeretici si se transferre noluerint ad Ecclesiam catholicam, nec ipsis catholicas dandas esse puellas; sed neque Judaeis neque haereticis dare placuit, eo quod nulla possit esse societas fideli cum infideli: si contra interdictum fecerint parentes, abstineri per quinquennium placet.


    Si qui forte sacerdotibus idolorum filias suas junxerint, placuit nec in finera iis dandam esse communionem.


    Episcopi, presbyteres (!) et diacones si in ministerio positi detecti fuerint quod sint moechati, placuit propter scandalum et propter profanum crimen nec in finem cos communionem accipere debere.

    We must here, as in other places, understand by moechare, not only adultery in specic, but all fornication in general.


    Episcopi, presbyteres (!) et diaeones de locis suis negotiandi causa non discedant, nec circumeuntes provincias quaestuosas nundinas sectentur: sane ad victum sibi conquirendum aut filium aut libertum aut mercenarium aut amicum a ut quemlibet mittant, et si voluerint negotiari, intra provinciam negotientur.

    S. Cyprian, in his work de Lapsis, also complains that, many bishops left their churches and went into foreign provinces for the sake of merchandise, and to give themselves up to trade.


    Si quis clericorum detectus fuerit usuras accipere, placuit eum degradari et abstineri. Si quis etiam laicus accepisse probatur usuras, et promiserit correptus jam se cassaturum nec ulterius exacturum, placuit ei veniam tribui: si vero in ea iniquitate duraverit, ab ecclesia esse projiciendum. When we consider fire seventeenth Nicene canon, which also forbids lending money at interest, we shall speak of the judgment of the ancient Church on this matter. The first part of our canon has been inserted by Gratian in the Corpus juris canon. CAN. 21. DE HIS QUI TARDIUS AD ECCLESIAM ACCEDUNT.

    Si quis in civitate positus tres dominicas ad ecclesiam non accesserit, pauco tempore abstineatur, ut correptus esse videatur.

    As we have said before, Hosius proposed and had passed at the Council of Sardica a like statute against those who neglected to go to church. It is the eleventh canon of the Greek and the fourteenth of the Latin text of the decrees of Sardica.


    Si quis de catholica Ecclesia ad haeresim transitum fecerit rursusque recurrerit, placuit huie poenitentiam non esse denegandam, eo quod cognoverit peccatum suum; qui etiam decem annis agat poenitentiam, cui post decem annos praestari communio debet; si vero infantes fuerint transducti, quod non sue vitio peccaverint incunctanter recipi debent.


    Jejunii superpositiones per singulos menses placuit celebrari, exceptis diebus duorum mensium Julii et Augusti propter quorumdam infirmitatem.

    The superponere (uJperti>qesqai ), or the superpositio (uJpe>rqesiv ), was a degree of austerity which was added to the ordinary fast. It consisted in eating absolutely nothing for a whole day. CAN. 24. DE HIS QUI IN PEREGRE BAPTIZANTUR, UT AD CLERUM NON VENIANT.

    Omnes qui in peregre fuerint baptizati, eo quod eorum minime sit cognita vita, placuit ad clerum non esse promovendos in alienis provinciis.

    None could be admitted into the ranks of the clergy out of the province in which he had been baptized. This canon passed into the Corpus jut. can. CAN. 25. DE EPISTOLIS COMMUNICATORIIS CONFESSORUM.

    Omnis qui attulerit literas confessorias, sublato heroine confessoris, eo quod omnes sub hac nominis gloria passim concutiant simplices, communicatorae ei dandle sunt litteae.

    This canon has been interpreted in three ways. Mendoza, Baronius, and others, when commenting upon it, thought of the letters of peace (libelli pacis) which the martyrs and confessors gave to the lapsi, to procure for them a speedy reception into the Church. These libelli pacis, indeed, induced many a bishop to admit a lapsus too promptly; but our canon does not speak of this abuse: it does not complain that these letters deceived the bishops: it says, concutiant simplices. If the canon had been intended to warn the bishops against these libelli pacis, it would certainly not have said that they should give to the lapsis communicatorias literas; for this was what was wrong, that they were admitted too soon to communion.

    Aubespine and Herbst were of the opinion that the canon had reference to some Christians who, before going a journey, did not ask for letters of communion from their bishop, but preferred letters of recommendation given by their confessor, regarding these as more important, and that this practice was forbidden by one synod. This, again, is a mistake. The meaning of the canon is this: “If a Christian, wishing to take a journey, submits to his bishop the draught of a letter of recommendation, in which it is said that the bearer is a confessor, the bishop must erase the word confessor, sublato nomine confessoris, because many simple people are deceived by this title, and rite bishop shall give common letters communicatorias.” CAN. 26. UT OMNI SABBATO JEJUNETUR.

    Errorem platuit corrigi, ut omni sabbati die superpositiones celebremus.

    The meaning of this canon also is equivocal. The rifle seems to imply that it orders a severe fast every Saturday, and the suppression of the contrary practice followed up to that time. It is thus explained by Garsias in Binius and Mendoza. However, as the sixty-fifth apostolic canon prescribes that, except Holy Saturday, no Saturday should be a fast-day, our canon may also mean, “The ancient error of fasting strictly every Saturday must be abolished:” that is to say, the superpositio is ordered only for Holy Saturday; and for other Saturdays, as for Fridays, the static, only, that is to say, the half-fast is ordered. But in comparing this canon with the forty-third, where the same expressions are again found, we see that the ut determines what was to be henceforth observed, and not in what the error consisted. According to that, our decree would mean that the superpositio must be observed every Saturday, and we must adopt the explanation of Garsias.


    Episcopus vel quilibet alius clericus nut sororem aut filiam virgintem dicatam Deo tantum secum habeat; extraneam nequaquam habere placuit.

    This canon is more severe than the third similar canon of the Council of Nicaea. It allows the clergy to have with them in their house (a) only their sisters, or their own daughters; (b) and also that these must be virgins, and consecrated to God, that is, having vowed their virginity to God. CAN. 28. DE OBLATIONIBUS EORUM QUI NON COMMUNICANT.

    Episcopum placuit ab eo, qui non communicat, munus accipere non debere.

    In the same way as in the first canon, we must here understand by those qui non communicant, Christians who, like penitents or catechumens, are not in the communio (community), and who therefore do not receive the holy Eucharist. The meaning of the canon is: “The bishop cannot accept at the altar the offerings (oblata) of those who do not communicate.”


    Energumenus qui ab erratico spiritu exagitur, hujus nomen neque ad altare cum oblatione esse recitandum, nec permittendum ut sun manu in ecclesia ministret.

    This canon, like the seventy-eighth apostolic canon, excludes demoniacs possessed by the evil spirit from active participation in divine service: they cannot present any offerings; their names cannot be read among those who are inscribed in the diptychs as offering the sacrifice (diptychis offerentium); and they must not be permitted to hold any office in the Church. CAN. 30. DE HIS QUI POST LAVACRUM MOECHATI SUNT, NE SUBDIACONES FIANT.

    Subdiaconos eos ordinari non debere qui in adolescentia sua fuerint moechati, eo quod postmodum per subreptionem ad altiorem gradum promoveantur: vel si qui suni in praeteritum ordinati, amoveantur.


    Adolescentes qui post fidem lavacri salutaris fuerint moechati, cum duxerint uxores, acta legitima poenitentia placuit ad communionem cos admitti.

    These two canons need no explanation.


    Apud presbyterum, si quis gravi lapsu in ruinam morris inciderit, placuit agere poenitentiam non debere, sed potius apud episcopum: cogente tamen infirmitate necesse est presbyterem (!) communionem praestare debere, et diaconem si ei jusserit sacerdos.

    This canon is quite in conformity with the ancient custom, according to which the bishop only, and not a priest, could receive a penitent into the Church. It was only in a case of extreme necessity that a priest, or, according to the orders of a priest, a deacon, could give a penitent the communion, that is, could administer to him the eucharistic bread in sign of reconciliation: deacons often gave the communion in the ancient Church. The title of the canon is evidently wrong, and ought to be thus worded: De presbyteris ut excommunicatis in necessitate, etc. It is thus, indeed, that Mansi read it in several manuscripts.


    Placuit in totum prohibere episcopis, presbyteris et diaconibus vel omnibus clericis positis in ministerio abstinere se a, conjugibus suis et non generare filios: quieunque vero fecerit, ab honore clericatus exterminetur.

    This celebrated canon contains the most ancient command of celibacy. The bishops, priests, and deacons, and in general all the clergy, qui in ministerio positi sunt, that is, who are specially employed in the service of the altar, ought no longer to have any conjugal intercourse with their wives, under pain of deposition, if they were married when they took orders. The history of the Council of Nicaea will give us the opportunity of considering the question of celibacy in the primitive Church. We will only add here, that the wording of our canon is defective: prohibere abstinere et non generare. The canon seems to order what, on the contrary, it would prohibit, viz.: “It is forbidden that the clergy should abstain from their wives.” A similarly inexact expression is found in the eightieth canon.


    Cereos per diem placuit in coemeterio non incendi, inquietandi enim sanctorum spiritus non sunt. Qui haec non observaverint arceantur ab Ecclesiae communione.

    It is forbidden to light wax candles during the day in cemeteries, for fear of troubling the spirits of the saints. Garsias thus explains this canon: “for fear of troubling and distracting the faithful, who pray in the cemeteries.” He thus makes sancti the synonym of faithful. Binterim has taken it in the same sense: sanctorum with him is synonymous with sancta agentium; and he translates it, “so that the priests, who fulfill their holy offices, may not be distracted.” Baronius, on the contrary, says: “Many neophytes brought the custom from paganism, of lighting many wax candles upon tombs. The Synod forbids this, because metaphorically it troubles the souls of the dead; that is to say, this superstition wounds them.” Aubespine gives a fourth explanation. He begins with the supposition that the bishops of Elvira partook of the opinion, then very general, that the souls of the dead hovered over their tombs for some time. The Synod consequently forbade that wax candles should be lighted by day, perhaps to abolish a remnant; of paganism, but also to prevent the repose of the souls of the dead from being troubled. CAN. 35. NE FOEMINCE IN COEMETERIIS PERVIGILENT.

    Placuit prohiberi ne foeminae in coemeterio pervigilent, eo quod saepe sub obtentu orationis latenter scelera committunt.


    Placuit picturas in ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur in parietibus depingatur.

    These canons are easy to understand: we have elsewhere explained why the ancient Church did not tolerate images. Binterim and Aubespine do not believe in a complete exclusion: they think that the Church in general, and the Synod of Elvira in particular, wished to proscribe only a certain kind of images. Binterim believes that this Synod forbade only one thing, — namely, that any one might hang images in the Church according to his fancy, and often therefore inadmissible ones. Aubespine thinks that; our canon forbids only images representing God (because it says adoratur), and not other pictures, especially those of saints. But the canon also says colitur, and the prohibition is conceived in very general terms. CAN. 37. DE ENERGUMENIS NON BAPTIZATIS.

    Eos qui ab immundis spiritibus vexantur, si in fine morris fuerint constituti, baptizari placer: si fideles fuerint, dandam esse communionem.

    Prohibendum etiam ne lucernas hi publice accendant; si facere contra interdictum voluerint, abstineatur a communione.

    This canon, like the 29th, speaks of demoniacs. If they are catechumens, they may be baptized when at the point of death (in articulo mortis), but not before that. If they are baptized, the communion may be administered to them when at the point of death, but not before. However, as the 29th canon had before forbidden any ministry in the Church to demoniacs, ours particularly adds that they could not fulfill the least service in the Church, not even light the lamps. Perhaps it may have been the custom to have the lamps of the Church lighted by those who were to be baptized, or by those who were to communicate, on the day when they were to receive this sacrament; and the Synod forbids that demoniacs should do so, even if, in spite of their illness, they were able to receive a sacrament. The inscription of the canon does not correspond to its whole tenor.


    Logo peregre navigantes aut si ecclesia proximo non fuerit, posse fidelem, qui lavacrum suum integrum habet nec sit bigamus, baptizare in necessitate infirmitatis, positum, catechumenun, ita ut si supervixerit ad episcopum eum perducat, ut per manus impositionem perfici possit.

    During a sea voyage, or in general, if no church is near, a layman who has not soiled his baptismal robe (by apostasy), and is not a bigamist, may baptize a catechumen who is at the point of death; the bishop ought afterwards to lay hands on the newly baptized, to confirm him. CAN. 39. DE GENTILIBUS SI IN DISCRIMINE BAPTIZARI EXPETUNT.

    Gentiles si in infirmitate desideraverint sibi manure imponi, si fuerit corum ex aliqua parte honesta vita, placuit eis manum imponi et fieri Christianos.

    This canon has been interpreted in two different ways. Binius, Katerkamp, and others, hold that the imposition of hands spoken of in this canon does not mean confirmation, but a ceremony by means of which any one was admitted into the lowest class of catechumens. These interpreters appeal principally to the pretended seventh carton of the second Ecumenical Council. We there read: “We admit them only as pagans: the first day we make them Christians (in the widest sense); the second, catechumens; the third, we exorcise them,” etc. etc. According to that, our canon would say: “When a heathen, having a good name, desires during an illness that hands should be laid upon him, it ought to be done, that he may become a Christian .” That is to say, he ought by the imposition of hands to be admitted among those who wish to be Christians, consequently among the Christians in the widest sense. The forty-fifth canon also takes the word catechumenus as synonymous with Christian.

    Besides, we find Constantine the Great received the imposition of hands at the baths of Helenopolis before his baptism: a ceremony of this kind then preceded the reception of the first sacrament. Relying upon these considerations, the commentators we mentioned say that the canon of Elvira does not speak of baptism, because this could not be administered until after much longer trial. The provost of the Cathedral at Ko1n, Dr.

    Munchen, gives another explanation in his dissertation upon the first Synod of Arles. According to him, — a. As the thirty-seventh canon allows the baptism of demoniacs, it is not probable that they would be more severe with respect to ordinary sick persons in the thirty-ninth canon. On the contrary, the Church has always been tender towards the sick: she has always hastened to confer baptism upon them, because it is necessary to salvation; and for that reason she introduced clinical baptism. b. In the thirty-eighth canon the Church allows a layman to baptize one who should fall seriously ill during a sea voyage, but not to confirm him. She certainly, then, would allow this sick person to be confirmed if a bishop were present in the ship. c. As for one who should fall ill upon land, he could easily call a bishop to him; and therefore the case foreseen by the thirty-eighth canon does not apply to him: it would be easy to confer baptism and confirmation on him. d. The thirty-ninth canon, then, means: “Whoso shall fall ill upon land, and who can summon a bishop to him, may receive baptism and confirmation at the same time.” e. Understood in this way, the canon is more in unison with the two preceding, and with the practice of the ancient Church towards the sick.


    Prohibere placuit, ut quum rationes suas accipiunt possessores, quidquid ad idolum datum fuerit, accepto non ferant; si post interdictum fecerint, per quinquennii spatia temporum a communione esse arcendos.

    That is to say: When the proprietors of lands and houses receive their rents (rationes ), — for example, fruits from their farmers, who perhaps are still pagans, — they ought not to admit any firing which had been sacrificed to the gods, under pain of five years’ excommunication.


    Admoneri placuit fideles, ut in quantum possunt prohibeant ne idola in domibus suis habeant; si vero vim metuunt servorem, vel se ipsos puros conservent si non fecerint, alieni ab ecclesia habeantur.

    The preceding canon had shown that many Christians had farmers who were pagans; the present canon supposes the case of a Christian having heathen slaves, and it enacts: a. That he ought not, even in this case, to tolerate idols in his house. b. That if he cannot conform to this rule, and must fear the slaves on account of their number, he may leave them their idols; but he must so much the more keep at a distance from them, and watch against every approach to idolatry.


    Eos qui ad primam fidem credulitatis accedunt, si bonae fuerint conversationis, intra biennium temporum placuit ad baptismi gratiam admitti debere, nisi infirmitate compellente coegerit ratio velocius subvenire periclitanti vel gratiam postulanti.

    He who has a good name, and wishes to become a Christian, must be a catechumen for two years: then he may be baptized. If he should fall ill, and desire the grace of baptism, it may be granted to him before the expiration of two years.


    Pravam institutionem emendari placuit juxta auctoritatem Scripturarum, ut cuncti diem Pentecostes celebremus, ne si quis non fecerit, novam haeresim induxisse notetur.

    Some parts of Spain had allowed the bad custom of celebrating the fortieth day after Easter, not the fiftieth; consequently the Ascension of Christ, and not Pentecost. Several ancient manuscripts, indeed, contain this addition: non quadragesimam. The same addition is found in an ancient abridgment of the canons of Elvira, with which Mansi makes us acquainted: post Pascha quinquagesima teneatur, non quadragesima.

    We learn also from Cassian, that in the primitive Church some Christians wished to close the paschal season with the feast of the Ascension, that is, at the fortieth day. They regarded all Easter-time only as a remembrance of Christ’s sojourn among His disciples during the forty days which followed His resurrection; and therefore they wished to close this period with the feast of the Ascension. Herbst supposes that a Montanist party in Spain wished to suppress the feast of Pentecost altogether, because the Montanists believed that the Holy Spirit did not descend until He came in Montanus, who was regarded by his followers as the Comforter.


    Meretrix quae aliquando fuerit et postea habuerit maritum, si postmodum ad credulitatem venerit; incunctanter placuit esse recipiendam.

    If a pagan courtezan has given up this abominable way of life, and is married, being still a pagan, there is no particular obstacle to her admission into the Church. She ought to be treated as other pagan women.


    Qui aliquando fuerit catechumenus et per infinita tempora nunquam ad ecclesiam accesserit, si eum de clero quisque cognoverit esse Christianum, ant testes aliqui extiterint fideles, placuit ei baptismum non negari, eo quod veterem hominem dereliquisse videatur.

    The case is here imagined of a catechumen who has not been to church for a long time, probably because he did not wish to be known as a Christian during a time of persecution; but afterwards his conscience awakes, and. he asks to be baptized. The canon ordains that if he is known to the clergy of the Church to which he belongs, and they know him to be a Christian, or if some of the faithful can attest this, he shall be admitted to baptism, because he appears to have put off the luke warmness of the old man.

    Aubespine gives another interpretation which appears forced, and shows that he most probably had not the text before him. According to him, the meaning of the canon would be: “When a catechumen has fallen away for a long time, and still after all desires baptism and to become a Christian, if he should suddenly lose speech, for example, from illness (the canon says not a word of all that), he may be baptized, provided a clergyman or several of the laity attest that he has desired baptism, and has become a real Christian.” The Abbe Migne has placed this explanation in his Dictionary of the Councils. CAN. 46. DE FIDELIBUS SI APOSTAVERINT QUAMDIU POENITEANT.

    Si quis fidelis apostata per infinita tempora ad ecclesiam non accesserit, si tamen aliquando fuerit reversus nee fuerit idolater, post decem annos placuit communion accipere.

    The sin of a Christian who should absent himself from church for a long time was naturally much greater than that of a catechumen. For this reason, the baptized Christian who has in fact apostatized is only received to the communion after a ten years’ penance, and even then if he has not sacrificed to the gods. It appears to us that this canon alludes to the time of Diocletian’s persecution; for during that terrible time more than one cowardly Christian did not go to church, gave no sign of Christian life, and thus apostatized in fact, without positively offering sacrifice to the idols.


    Si quis fidelis habens uxorem non seine sed saepe fuerit moechatus in fine morris est conveniendus: quod si se promiserit cessaturum, detur ei communio: si resuscitatus rursus fuerit moechatus, placuit ulterius non ludere eum de communione pacis.

    If a Christian who is married, and has been often guilty of adultery, is near death, they must go to see him (est conveniendus), and ask him whether, if he should recover, he promises to amend his ways. If he promises, the holy communion should be administered to him; if he should recover, and should again be guilty of adultery, the holy communion must not be allowed to be thus despised, it must henceforth be refused to him, even in articulo mortis. The, sixty-ninth and seventy-eighth canons complete the meaning of this one.


    Emendari placuit ut hi qui baptizantur, ut fieri solebat, numos in concha non mittant, ne sacerdos quod gratis accepit pretio distrahere videatur.

    Neque pedes eorum lavandi sunt a sacerdotibus vel clericis.

    This canon forbids at the same time two things relative to baptism: 1 . It was the custom in Spain for the neophytes, at the time of their baptism, to put an offering into the shell which had been used at the baptism. This offering, afterwards called the stole-rights, was to be suppressed. 2 . The second part of the canon shows that there was the same custom in certain parts of Spain as at Milan and in Gaul, but which, from the testimony of St. Ambrose, did not exist at Rome, viz. that the bishop and clergy should wash the feet of the newly baptized when they left the baptismal font. Our Synod forbids this, and this canon has passed into the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 49. DE FRUGIBUS FIDELIUM NE A JUDAEIS BENEDICANTUR.

    Admoneri placuit possessores, ut non patiantur fructus sues, quos a Deo percipiunt cum gratiarum actione, a Judaeis benedici, ne nostram irritam et infirmam faciant benedictionem: si quis post interdictum facere usurpaverit, penitus ab ecclesia abjiciatur.

    The Jews were so numerous and so powerful in Spain during the first centuries of the Christian era, that they might at one time have hoped to be able to Judaize the whole country. According to the monuments — which, however, are of doubtful authority — they established themselves in Spain in the time of King Solomon. It is more, likely that they crossed from Africa to the Spanish peninsula only about a hundred years before Christ.

    There they soon increased in number and importance, and could energetically carry on their work of proselytizing. This is the reason that the Synod of Elvira had to forbid to the priests and the laity all intimate intercourse with Jews (can. 50), and especially marriage (can. 16); for there is no doubt that at this period many Christians of high rank in Spain became Jews, as Jest shows in his work. CAN. 50. DE CHRISTIANIS QUI CUM JUDAEIS VESCUNTUR.

    Si veto quis clericus vol fidelis cum Judaeis cibum sumpserit, placuit eum a communione abstineri, ut debeat emendari.


    Ex omni haeresi fidelis si venerit, minime est. ad clerum promovendus: vel si qui suni in preteritum ordinati, sine dubio deponantur.

    These canons are easy to understand.


    Hi qui inventi fuerint libellos famosos in ecclesia ponere anathematizentur.

    This canon forbids the affixing of satires (libellos famosos) in churches, or the reading of them. It has been inserted in the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 53. DE EPISCOPIS QUI EXCOMMUNICATO ALIENO COMMUNICANT.

    Placuit cunctis ut ab eo episcopo quis recipiat communionem a quo abstentus in crimine aliquo quis fuerit; quod si alius episcopus praesumpserit eum admitti, fillo adhuc minime faciente vel consentiente a quo fuerit communione privatus, sciat se hujusmodi causas inter fratres esso cum status sui periculo praestaturum.

    One excommunicated by a bishop can only be restored by the bishop who condemned him. Another bishop receiving him into communion, unless the first bishop acts at the same time, or approves of the reconciliation, must answer for it before his brethren, that is to say, before the provincial synod, and must run the danger of being deprived of his office (status).


    Si qui parentes fidem fregerint sponsaliorum, triennii tempore abstineantur; si tamen idem sponsus vol sponsa in gravi crimine fuerint deprehensi, erunt excusati parentes; si in iisdem fuerit vitium et polluerint se, superior sententia servetur.

    If the parents of those who are betrothed fail to keep the promises made at the betrothal, these parents shall be excluded from the communion for three years, unless either of the betrothed persons be convicted of a very serious fault. In this case, the parents may break the engagement. If the betrothed have sinned together, the first arrangement continues; that is, the parents cannot then separate them. This canon is found in the Corp. juris can. CAN. 55. DE SACERDOTIBUS GENTILIUM QUI JAM NON SACRIFICANT.

    Sacerdotes qui tantum coronas portant, nec sacrificant nec de suis sumptibus aliquid ad idola praestant, placuit post biennium accipere communionem.

    It may be asked whether the word sacerdotes is to be understood as referring to pagan priests who wished to be admitted as Christians, or to Christians who, as we have seen above (can. 2), still bore the office of flamines. Aubespine is of the latter opinion, and according to him the canon would have this meaning: “The Christian who bears the office of flamen, and wears the distinctive sign — that is, the crown — without having sacrificed himself, or having contributed money to pagan sacrifices, must be excluded from eucharistic communion for two years.” Aubespine gives the two following reasons in support of his explanation: (a.) When a pagan priest wished to become a Christian, he was not kept longer or more strictly than others as a catechumen, even when he had himself offered sacrifice. (b.) If it had referred to a pagan priest wishing to become a Christian, the Synod would have said, placuit post biennium accepere lavacrum (baptism), and not accipere communionem. This latter expression is used only for those who have been excluded for some time from the Church, and are admitted afresh into her bosom.

    For our part, we think that this fifty-fifth canon is nothing but a complement of the second and third canons, and that it forms with them the following gradation: — Can. 2. Christians who, as flamines, have sacrificed to idols, and given public-pagan games, cannot receive the communion, even when at the point of death.

    Can. 3. If they have not offered sacrifices, but have had the games celebrated, they may communicate at the close of theft life, after a previous penance.

    Can. 55. If they have not offered sacrifice, nor contributed by theft fortune to pagan sacrifices (and to such public games), they may receive the communion after two years of penance.

    This gradation is continued in the two following canons, the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh: they refer to Christians who have not been flamines, but who have. borne other offices in a heathen state, and so have been brought into relation with paganism.

    The fifty-fifth canon evidently alludes to a former and not far distant time of persecution, during which Christians feared to refuse the office of flamines which fell to theft lot and by a half compliance wore the distinctive mark of their office, the crown, in order to pass uninjured through the time of persecution.


    Magistratus vero uno anno quo agit duumviratum, prohibendum placet ut se ab ecclesia cohibeat.

    What the consuls were at Rome, the duumviri were, on a small scale, in the Roman municipalities: their office also lasted only a year. These duumviri were obliged, by virtue of their office, to watch over pagan priests, personally, and the temples of the town; they had to preside at public solemnities, in processions, etc., which, like all the other national feasts of the Romans, had always more or less a semi-religious and pagan character.

    For this reason the Synod forbade the duumviri to enter the Church as long as they were in office. In limiting itself to this prohibition, it gave proof of great moderation and of wise consideration, which we ought to appreciate.

    An absolute prohibition to hold this office would have given up the charge of the most important towns to pagans. But the Council is much more severe in the following canon.


    Matronae vel earum mariti vestimenta sua ad ornandam saeculariter pompam non dent; et si fecerint, triennio abstineantur.

    This canon is directed against Christians who should lend their garments for worldly shows, i.e. for public, half-heathenish religious processions.

    They are punished with three years of excommunication. But why are they treated so much more severely than the duumviri? Because these men and women were not obliged to lend their attire, whilst the duumviri were fulfilling their public duty as citizens. Perhaps also some gave their garments, that they might not be suspected during the persecutions.


    Placuit ubique et maxime in eo loco, in quo prima cathedra constituta est episcopatus, ut interrogentur hi qui communicatorias litteras tradunt an omnia recte habeant sue testimonio comprobata.

    In Africa no metropolitan rights were attached to particular towns: they always belonged to the oldest bishop of the province, whose bishopric was then called prima sedes. Carthage only was the metropolitan see. It appears to have been the same in Spain before Constantine the Great divided that country into seven political provinces, which entailed the division into ecclesiastical provinces. This may explain why the Bishop of Acci presided at the Synod of Elvira: he was probably the oldest of all the bishops; present. What is elsewhere called prima sedes in our canon is prima cathedra; and the bishops of the prima cathedra were to question Christian travelers about their respective dioceses, the latter were to present their recommendatory letters, and we’re to be asked if they could affirm that all was in a satisfactory state.


    Prohibendum ne quis Christianus ut gentilis ad idolum Capitolii causa sacrificandi ascendat et videat; quod si fecerit, pari crimine teneatur: si fuerit fidelis, post decem annos acta poenitentia recipiatur.

    Like Rome, many municipalities had a capitol, in the court of which sacrifices were offered to the gods, and many Christians were present at the ceremonies of the pagan worship. Was it from curiosity? was it in or let to shelter themselves from inquiry, not to be known during the persecution, and to pass for heathen? This is what we are unable to decide. At any rate, the Synod declared that — a. Any Christian, either baptized or a catechumen, who should be present at the sacrifices, should be considered as having offered sacrifice himself. b. Consequently any Christian who has been present at these sacrifices shall be excommunicated and a penitent for ten years. The Synod says nothing about the punishment of guilty catechumens: in every case they were in general punished less severely than the faithful, and perhaps the fourth canon was applied to them by analogy.


    Si quis idola fregerit et ibidem fuerit occisus, quatenus in Evangelio scriptum non est neque invenietur sub apostolis unquam factum, placuit in numero eum non recipi martyrum.

    It happened sometimes that too zealous Christians would destroy the idols, and have to pay for their boldness with their life. The Synod decrees that they must not be considered as martyrs, for the gospel does not require deeds of this kind, and the apostles did not act in this way; but they considered it praiseworthy if a Christian, whom they might wish to oblige to offer sacrifice to an idol, should overthrow the statue, and break it, as Prudentius Clemens relates with commendation of Eulalia, who suffered martyrdom in Spain in 304, and therefore a short time previous to this Synod. CAN. 61. DE HIS QUI DUABUS SORORIBUS COPULANTUR.

    Si quis post obitum uxoris suae sororem ejus duxerit et ipsa fuerit fidelis, quinquennium a communione placuit abstineri, nisi forte velocius dari pacem necessitas coegerit infirmitatis.

    When S. Basil the Great ascended the archiepiscopal throne of Caesarea, he forbade that a husband, after the death of his wife, should marry her sister; and when some one, of the name of Diodorus, reproached him upon this subject, Basil defended himself in a letter, which has been preserved, and proved that such marriages had always been prohibited at Caesarea. The Spanish Fathers of Elvira shared S. Basil’s opinions, as also did the Synod of Neocaesarea of 314, can. 2, as we shall see hereafter. It is well known that, according to canon law, these marriages are both forbidden and declared to be invalid. CAN. 62. DE AURIGIS ET PANTOMIMIS SI CONVERTANTUR.

    Si auriga ant pantomimus credere voluerint, placuit ut prius artibus suis renuntient, et tunc demure suscipiantur, ita ut ulterius ad ea non revertantur, qui si facere contra interdictum tentaverint, projiciantur ab ecclesia.

    The “Apostolical Constitutions” contain the same decree. On the subject of the repugnance of the ancient Church for all these pantomimic scenes, cf. Hefele, “Rigorismus in dem Leben und den Ansichten der alien Christen” (Severity in the Lives and Opinions of the early Christians), an essay published in the Tubinger Theol. Quartalschrift, 1841 (S. 396 ff.).

    The following series of canons treats of carnal sins: — CAN. 63. DE UXORIBUS QUOE FILIOS EX ADULTERIO NECANT.

    Si qua per adulterim absente marito suo coniceperit, idque post facinus occiderit, placuit nec in finem dandam esse communionem, eo quod geminaverit scelus.


    Si qua usque in finem mortis suae cum alieno viro fuerit moechata, placuit, nee in finem dandam ei esse communionem. Si veto eum reliquerit, post decem annos accipiat commnionem acta legitima poenitentia.


    Si cujus clerici uxor fuerit moechata et scierit earn maritus suus moechari et non earn statim projecerit, nee in fluent accipiat communionem, no all his qui exemplum bonae conversationis esse debent; ab eis videantur scelerum magisteria procedere.

    The Shepherd of Hermas had before, like this canon, stringently commanded not only the clergy, but all Christians, not to continue to live conjugally with an adulterous spouse, who would not amend his ways, but would persevere in sin. Dr. Herbst says, that what made the sixty-fifth canon necessary was probably the very frequent case of married men having taken orders, and not being able to have conjugal intercourse with their wives, who were therefore on that very account easily tempted to forget themselves. The series of canons against carnal sins is continued in the following, which forbids marriage with a daughter-in-law: — CAN. 66. DE HIS QUI PRIVIGNAS SUAS DUCUNT.

    Si quis privignam suam duxerit uxorem, eo quod sit incestus, placuit nec in finem dandam esse communionem.


    Prohibendum ne qua fidelis vel catechumena aut comatos aut viros cinerarios habeant: quaecumque hoc fecerint, a communione arceantur.

    If we attach any importance to the title of this canon, it must be thought to indicate that Christian women, whether catechumens or baptized, were forbidden to marry those designated by the name of cinerarios and comatos. In other manuscripts we read cornices and cenicos. If the latter reading is the true one, the meaning of the canon is very clear — “A Christian woman must not marry an actor;” and this prohibition would explain the aversion of the ancient Church to the theater, which has been before mentioned. But it is probable that, not having been able to find out the meaning of the words comati and cinerarii, later copyists have altered them, and changed them into comici and scenici. Imagining that here was a prohibition of marriage, they could not understand why a Christian woman was not to marry a man having long hair, or even a hairdresser. We believe that Aubespine is right when he reminds us that many pagan women had foreign slaves, and especially hairdressers, in their service, who ministered not only to the needs of luxury, but to the secret satisfaction of their passions. Perhaps these effeminate slaves — these spadenos — encouraging the licentiousness of their mistresses, wore long hair, or, coming from foreign countries — for instance, from Gallia comata — where long hair was always worn, they introduced this name of comati.

    Tertullian speaks of the cinerarii (peregrinae proceritatis), and describes them as foreigners, with slight figures, and forming part of the suite of a woman of the world. He mentions them in connection with the spadenos, who were ad licentiam secti, or, as S. Jerome says, in securam libidinem exsecti. Juvenal has not forgotten to signalize these relations of Roman women with eunuchs: “Sunt, quas eunuchi imbelles et mollia semper Oscula delectent.”

    Martial denounces them, if possible, still more energetically. Perhaps these eunuchs wore long hair like women in order that they might be called comati. Let us finally remark, that in the Glossary cinerarius is translated by dou~lov eJtai>rav. If this second explanation of the sixty-seventh canon is accepted, it can be easily imagined why it should be placed in a series of canons treating of carnal sins.


    Catechumena, si per adulterium conceperit et praefocaverit, placuit earn in fine baptizari.

    If a catechumen should conceive by an adulterer, and should procure the death of the child, she can be baptized only at the end of her life.


    Si quis forte habens uxorem semel fuerit lapsus, placuit eum quinquennium agere debere poenitentiam et sic reconciliari, nisi necessitas infirmitatis coegerit ante tempus dari communionem: hoc et circa foeminas observandum.

    Adultery committed once was punishable with five years of penance. CAN. 70. DE FOEMINSIS QUOE CONSCIIS MARITIS ADULTERANT.

    Si cure conscientia mariti uxor fuerit moechata, placuit nec in finem dandam ei communionem; si vero eam reliquerit, post decem annos accipiat communionem, si earn cam sciret adulteram aliquo tempore in domo sua retinuit.

    If a woman should violate conjugal fidelity with her husband’s consent, the latter must not be admitted to communion, even at the end of his life. If he separated from his wife, after having lived with her at all since the sin was committed, he was excluded for ten years.


    Stupratoribus puerorum nec in finem dandam esse communionem.

    Sodomites could not be admitted to communion, even on their deathbeds.


    Si qua vidua fuerit moechata et eumdem postea habuerit maritum, post quinquennii tempus acta legitima poenitentia, placuit eam communioni reconeiliari: si alium duxerit relicto illo, nec in finem dandam esse communionem; vel si fuerit ille fidelis quem accepit, communionem non accipiet, nisi post decem annos acta legitima poenitentia, vel si infirmitas coegerit velocius dari communionem.

    When a widow had sinned, and had married her accomplice, she was condemned to five years of penance; if she should marry another man, she could never be admitted to communion, even on her deathbed; and if her husband were baptized, he was subject to a penance for ten years, for having married a woman who, properly speaking, was no longer free. This canon was inserted in the Corp. jut. can. The following canons treat of informers and false witnesses.


    Delator si quis extiterit fidelis, et per delationem ejus aliquis fuerit proscriptus vel interfectus, placuit eum nee in finem accipere communionem; si levior cause fuerit, intra quinquennium accipere poterit communionem; si catechumenus fuerit, post quinquennii tempera admittetur ad baptismum.

    This canon has been inserted in the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 74. DE FALSIS TESTIBUS.

    Falsus testis prout est crimen abstinebitur; si tamen non fuerit mortale quod objecit, et probaverit quo non (other manuscripts have diu) tacuerit, biennii tempore abstinebitur: si autem non probaverit convento clero, placuit per quinquennium abstineri.

    A false witness must be excluded from the communion for a time proportionate to the crime of which he has given false witness. Should the crime be one not punishable with death, and if the guilty one can demonstrate that he kept silence for a long time (diu), that is, that he did not willingly bear witness, he shall be condemned to two years of penance; if he cannot prove this, to five years. The canon is thus explained by Mendoza, Remi Ceillier in Migne’s Dictionary, etc., all preferring the reading diu. Burchard had previously read and quoted the canon with this variation, in his Collectio canonum. But Aubespine divides it into three quite distinct parts. The first, he says, treats of false witnesses; the second, of those who are too slow in denouncing a crime. They must be punished, but only by two years of penance, if they call prove that they have not (non) kept silence to the end. The third condemns those to five years of penance, who, without having borne false witness, still cannot prove what they affirm. We confess that none of these explanations is quite satisfactory: the first would be the most easily admissible; but it is hardly possible to reconcile it with the reading non tacuerit, which, however, is that of the best manuscripts.


    Si quis autem episcopum vel presbyterum vel diaconum falsis criminibus appetierit et probate non potuerit, nec in finem dandam ei esse communionem.


    Si quis diaconum se permiserit ordinari et postea fuerit detectus in crimine mortis quod aliquando commiserit, si sponte fuerit confessus, placuit eum acta legitima poenitentia post triennium accipere communionem; quod si alius eum detexerit, post quinquennium acta poenitentia accipere communionem laicam debere.

    If any one should succeed in being ordained deacon, and it should be subsequently discovered that he had before that committed a mortal sin: a. In case he was the first to make known his fault, he must be received into communion (as a layman) at the end of three years of penance. b. In ease his sin was discovered by another, at the end of five years. In both cases he was for ever suspended from his office of deacon. CAN. 77. DE BAPTIZATIS QUI NONDUM CONFIRMATI MORIUNTUR.

    Si quis diaconus regens plebem sine episcopo vel presbytero aliquos baptizaverit, episcopus cos per benedictionem perficere debebit: quod si ante de saeculo recesserint, sub fide qua quis credidit peterit esse justus.

    When Christianity spread from the large towns, where it had been at first established, into the country, the rural churches at first formed only one parish with the cathedral church of the town. Either priests, or Chorepiscopi, or simple deacons, were sent to these rural assemblies, to exercise, within certain limits, the ministerial power. The solemnity of consecrating the Eucharist, and all that had reference to penance, was reserved for the bishop of the town.

    The 77th canon refers to such deacons, and it ordains: a. That baptism administered by the deacon ought to be completed, finished by the bishop’s benediction (that is to say, by ceirotovi>a, or confirmation). b. That if one who had been baptized by a deacon should die before having received this benediction from the bishop, he may notwithstanding be saved, by virtue of the faith which he professed on receiving baptism.


    Si quis fidelis habens uxorem cure Judaea vel gentili fuerit moechatus, a communione arceatur: quod si alius eum detexerit, post quinquennium acta legitima poenitentia poterit dominicae sociari communioni.

    The 47th and 69th canons have already treated of adultery between Christians: the present canon speaks of a particular case of adultery committed with a Jewish or pagan woman, and decrees a penance of five years if the guilty one has not confessed himself. If he has made a spontaneous confession, the canon only gives this vague and general command, Arceatur, that is, that he should be excommunicated, but it does not say for how long a time: it might be supposed for three years, according to the analogy with the 76th canon. However, it would be strange that adultery with a Jewish or pagan woman should be punished only by three years of penance, while the 69th canon decrees, in a general way, five years’ punishment to every adulterer. It is still more difficult to explain why real adultery should be less severely punished in the 78th canon than the evidently less criminal offense of a widow with a man whom she afterwards marries. CAN. 79. DE HIS QUI TABULAM LUDUNT.

    Si quis fidelis aleam, id est tabulam, luserit numis, placuit eum abstineri; et si emendatus cessaverit, post annum poterit communioni reconciliari.

    The thimbles of the ancients had not any points ,or figures upon their sides (tabula), like ours, bug drawings, pictures of idols; and whoever threw the picture of Venus, gained all, as Augustus says in Suetonius: quos tollebat universos, qui Venerem jecerat. It is on this account that the ancient Christians considered the game of thimbles to be not only immoral as a game, of chance, but as having an essentially pagan character. CAN. 80. DE LIBERTIS.

    Prohibendum ut liberti, quorum patroni in saeculo fuerint, ad clerum non promoveantur.

    He who should give a slave his freedom remained his patron; he had certain rights and a certain influence over him. The freedman continued to be dependent upon his former master; for this reason freedmen whose patrons were heathens could not take orders. This canon was placed in the Corp. jut. can. CAN. 81. DE FOEMINARUM EPISTOLIS.

    Ne foeminae suo potius absque marlforum nominibus laicis scribere andeant, quae (qui) fideles sunt vel literas alicujus pacificas ad suum solum nomen scriptas accipiant.

    If we should read qui instead of quoe, as Mendoza makes it, on the authority of several manuscripts, our canon is easy to understand. It then divides itself into two parts: a. Women must not write in their own name to lay Christians, laicis qui fideles sunt; they may do so only in the name of their husbands. b. They must not receive letters of friendship (pacificas) from any one, addressed only to themselves. Mendoza thinks that the canon means only private letters, and that it is forbidden in the interests of conjugal fidelity.

    Aubespine gives quite another sense to the word litteras: he supposes that the Council wishes only to forbid the wives of bishops giving litteras communicatorias to Christian travelers in their own name, and that it also forbids them to receive such addressed to them instead of to their husbands. If we read quoe, we must attach the words quoe fideles sunt to foeminoe, and the meaning continues on the whole the same.

    Besides these eighty-one authentic canons, some others are attributed to the Council of Elvira: for instance, in the Corp. jut. can. (c. 17, causa 22 q. 4; also c. 21, dist. 2 de consecrat., and c. 15, causa 22 q. 5), there is evidently a mistake about some of these canons, which, as Mendoza and Cardinal d’Aguirre have remarked, belong to a Synodus Helibernensis or Hibernensis. We will remark finally, that whilst Baronius thinks little of the Synod of Elvira, which he wrongfully suspects of Novatian opinions, Mendoza and Natalis Alexander defend it eloquently. SEC. 14. ORIGIN OF THE SCHISM OF THE DONATISTS, AND THE FIRST SYNODS HELD ON THIS ACCOUNT IN 312 AND 313.

    The schism of the Donatists occasioned several synods at the beginning of the fourth century. Mensurius was bishop of Carthage during Diocletian’s persecution, lie was a worthy and serious man, who on the one side encouraged the faithful to courage and energy during the persecution, but on the other side strongly reproved any step which could increase the irritation of the heathen, lie especially blamed certain Christians of Carthage, who had denounced themselves to the heathen authorities as possessors of sacred books (even when this was not really the case), in order to obtain martyrdom by their refusal to give up the Holy Scriptures.

    Nor would he grant the honors of martyrdom to those who, after a licentious life, should court martyrdom without being morally improved. We see, by a letter of Mensurius, how he himself behaved during the persecution, tie relates, that when they required the sacred books from him, he hid them, leaving in the church only heretical books, which were taken away by the persecutors. The proconsul had soon discovered this cunning; but, however, did not wish to pursue Mensurius further. Many enemies of the bishop, especially Donatus Bishop of Casae-Nigrae in Numidia, falsely interpreted what had passed: they pretended that Mensurius had, in fact, delivered up the Holy Scriptures; that, at any rate, he had told a sinful falsehood; and they began to excite disturbance in the Church of Carthage. However, these troubles did not take the form of a miserable schism till after the death of Mensurius. A deacon named Felix, being persecuted by the heathen, took refuge in the house of Bishop Mensurius.

    As the latter refused to give him up, he was taken to Rome, to answer in person for his resistance before Maxentius, who since Diodetian’s abdication had possessed himself of the imperial power in Italy and in Africa. Mensurius succeeded in obtaining an acquittal; but he died on the way back to Carthage, and, before arriving there, in 311. Two celebrated priests of Carthage, Botrus and Celestius, aspired to the vacant throne, and thought it their interest to invite to the election and ordination of the future bishop only the neighboring prelates, and not those of Numidia. It is doubtful whether this was quite according to order.

    Inasmuch as Numidia formed a separate ecclesiastical province, distinct from the province of proconsular Africa, of Which Carthage was the metropolis, the bishops of Numidia had no right to take part in the election of a Bishop of Carthage. But as the metropolitan (or, according to African language, the primate) of Carthage was in some sort the patriarch of the whole Latin Church of Africa; and as, on this account, Numidia was under his jurisdiction, the bishops of Numidia might take part in the appointment of a Bishop of Carthage. On the other side, the Donatists were completely in the wrong, when subsequently they pretended that the primate of Carthage ought to be consecrated by that metropolitan whose rank was the nearest to his own (primus, or primae sedis episcopus or scitex); consequently the new Bishop of Carthage ought to have been consecrated by Secundus Bishop of Tigisis, then metropolitan (Primas) of Numidia: and it. is with reason that S. Augustine replied to them in the name of the whole African episcopate, during a conference held at Carthage in 411, that even the Bishop of Rome was not consecrated by the primate nearest to him in rank, but by the Bishop of Ostia. The two priests mentioned above found themselves deceived at the time of the election, which took place at Carthage: for the people, putting them on one side, elected Cecilian, who had been archdeacon under Mensurius; and Felix Bishop of Aptunga, suffragan of Carthage, consecrated him immediately. The consecration was hardly ended, when some priests and some of the laity of Carthage resolved to unite their efforts to ruin the new bishop. On his departure for Rome, Mensurius had confided the treasures of his church to the care of some Christians: at the same time he had given the list of everything entrusted to them into the hands of a pious woman, charging her, “in case he should not return, to remit this List to his successor.” The woman fulfilled her commission; and the new bishop, Cecilian, claimed the property of the church from those with whom it had been left. This demand irritated them against him: they had hoped that no one would have known of this deposit, and that they might divide it amongst themselves.

    Besides these laymen, the two priests mentioned above arrayed themselves against Cecilian. The soul of the opposition was a very rich lady, who had a great reputation for piety, named Lucilla, and who thought she was most grievously wronged by Cecilian. She had been in the habit, every time she communicated, of kissing the relics of a martyr not accounted such by the Church. Cecilian, who was at that time a deacon, had forbidden the worship of these relics not recognized by the Church, and the pharisaical pride of the woman could ‘not pardon the injury. Things were in this state when Secundus Bishop of Tigisis, in his office of episcopus primae sedis of Numidia, sent a commission to Carthage to appoint a mediator (interventor) nominally for the reconciliation of the parties. But the commission was very partial from the beginning: they entered into no relation with Cecilian or his flock; but, on the contrary, took up their abode with Lucilla, and consulted with her on the plan to follow for the overthrow of Cecilian. The malcontents, says Optatus, then asked the Numidian bishops to come to Carthage to decide about the election and the consecration of Cecilian, and in fact Secundus of Tigisis soon appeared with his suffragans. They took up their abode with the avowed opponents of Cecilian, and refused to take part in the assembly or synod which he wished to call, according to custom, to hear the Numidian bishops; and, instead, they held a conciliabulum of theft own, at which seventy met, and in a private house in Carthage, before which they summoned Cecilian to appear (312). Cecilian did not attend, but sent word “that if they had anything against him, the accuser had only to appear openly and prove it.” No accusation was made; and besides, they could bring forward nothing against Cecilian, except having formerly, as archdeacon, forbidden the visiting of the martyrs in prison and the taking of food to them. Evidently, says Dupin, Cecilian had only followed the counsel of S. Cyprian, in forbidding the faithful to go in crowds to the prisons of the martyrs, for fear of inciting the pagans to renewed acts of violence. Although Cecilian was perfectly right in this respect, it is possible that in the application of the rule, right in itself, he may have acted with some harshness. This is at least what we must conclude if only the tenth part of the accusations raised against him by an anonymous Donatist have any foundation. he says, for instance, that Cecilian would not even allow parents to visit their captive sons and daughters, that he had taken away the food from those who wished to take it to the martyrs, and had given it to the dogs, and the like. His adversaries laid still greater stress on the invalidity of Cecilian’s consecration, because his consecrator, Felix of Aptunga, had been a Traditor (i.e. had given up the sacred books) during the persecution of Diocletian. No council had heretofore ordained that the sacraments were valid, even when administered by heinous sinners; therefore Cecilian answered, with. a sort of condescension towards his enemies, “that if they thought that Felix had not rightfully ordained him, they had only themselves to proceed to his ordination.” But the bishops of Numidia did doubly wrong in thus setting themselves against Felix of Aptunga. First, the accusation of his having given up the sacred books was absolutely false, as was proved by a judicial inquiry made subsequently, in 314. The Roman officer who had been charged to collect the sacred books at Aptunga attested the innocence of Felix; whilst one Ingentius, who, in his hatred against Felix, had produced a false, document to ruin him, confessed his guilt. But apart from this circumstance, Secundus and his friends, who had themselves given up the Holy Scriptures, as was proved in the Synod of Cirta, had hardly the right to judge Felix for the same offense. Besides, they had at this same Synod of Cirta consecrated Silvanus bishop of that place, who was also convicted of having been a Traditor. Without troubling themselves with all these matters, or caring for the legality of their proceeding, the Numidians proclaimed, in their unlawful Council, the deposition of Cecilian, whose consecration they said was invalid, and elected a friend and partisan of Lucilla’s, the reader Majorinus, to be Bishop of Carthage. Lucilla had bribed the Numidian bishops, and promised to each of them 400 pieces of gold. This done the unlawful Numidian Council addressed a circular letter to all the churches of Africa, in which they related what had passed, and required that they should cease from all ecclesiastical communion with Cecilian. It followed from this, that Carthage, being in some sort the patriarchal throne of Africa, all the African provinces were implicated in this controversy. In almost every town two parties were formed; in many cities there were even two bishops — a Cecilian and a Majorinian. Thus began this unhappy schism. As Majorinus had been put forward by others, and besides as he died soon after his election, the schismatics did not take his name, but were called Donatists, from the name of Donatus Bishop of Casae Nigrae, who had much more influence than Majorinus, and also afterwards on account of another Donatus, surnamed the Great, who became the successor of Majorinus as schismatical Bishop of Carthage. Out of Africa, Cecilian was everywhere considered the rightful bishop, and it was to him only that letters of communion (epistolce communicatorioe) were addressed. Constantine the Great, who meanwhile had conquered Maxentius in the famous battle at the Milvian Bridge, also recognized Cecilian, wrote to him, sent him a large sum of money to distribute among his priests, and added, “that he had heard that some unruly spirits sought to trouble the Church; but that he had already charged the magistrates to restore order, and that Cecilian had only to apply to them for the punishment of the agitators.” In another letter, addressed to the proconsul of Africa, Anulinus, he exempted the clergy of the Catholic Church of Carthage, “whose president was Cecilian,” from all public taxes. Soon afterwards, the opponents of Cecilian, to whom many of the laity joined themselves, remitted two letters to the proconsul of Africa, begging him to send them to the Emperor Anulinus accordingly did so. The title of the first letter, which S. Augustine has preserved to us, viz. libelles Ecclesioe Catholicas (that is to say, of the Donatist Church) criminum Coeciliani, suffices to show its tenor; the second entreated the Emperor, on account of the divisions among the African bishops, to send judges from Gaul to decide between them and Cecilian. This latter letter, preserved by Optatus, is signed by Lucian, Dignus, Nasutius, Capito, Fidentius, et caetcris episcopis partis Donati. In his note upon this passage, Dupin has proved by quotations from this letter, as it is found in S. Augustine, that the original was partis Majorini, which Optatus changed into Donati, according to the expression commonly used in his tune.

    We see from the preceding that the Donatists deserved the reproach which was cast upon them, of being the first to call for the intervention of the civil power in a purely ecclesiastical case; and the Emperor Constantine himself, who was then in Gaul, openly expressed his displeasure on this subject, in a letter which he addressed to Pope Melchiades (Miltiades). However, to restore peace to Africa, he charged three bishops of Gaul — Maternus of Coln, Reticius of Autun, and Marinus of Arles — to make arrangements with the Pope and fifteen other Italian bishops to assemble in a synod which was held at Rome in 313. SYNOD AT ROME (313). FA342 Cecilian was invited to be present at this Synod, with ten bishops of his obedience. His adversaries were to send an equal number; and at their head stood Donatus of Casae Nigrae. The conferences began at the Lateran Palace, belonging to the Empress Fausta, on October 2, 313, and lasted three days. The first day Donatus and his friends were first of all to prove their accusations against Cecilian; but they could produce neither witnesses nor documents: those whom Donatus himself had brought to witness against Cecilian, declared that they knew nothing against the bishop, and therefore were not brought forward by Donatus. On the contrary, it was proved that, when Cecilian was only a deacon, Donatus had excited divisions in Carthage; that he had re-baptized Christians who had been baptized before; and, contrary to the rules of the Church, had laid hands on fallen bishops to reinstate them in their offices. The second day the Donatists produced a second accusation against Cecilian; but they could no more prove their assertions than on the previous day. The continuation of an inquiry already begun concerning the unlawful Council of Carthage of 312, which had deposed Cecilian, was interrupted. As Donatus was totally unable on the third day, as on the two preceding, to produce a single witness, Cecilian was declared innocent, and Donatus condemned on his own confession. No judgment was pronounced on the other bishops of his party. The Synod, on the contrary, declared that if they would return to the unity of the Church, they might retain their thrones; that in every place where there was a Cecilian and a Donatist bishop, the one who had been the longest ordained should remain at the head of the Church, whilst the younger should be set over another diocese. This decision of the Synod was proclaimed by its president the Bishop of Rome, and communicated to the Emperor. After the close of the Synod, Donatus and Cecilian were both forbidden to return to Africa at once. Cecilian was detained at Brescia for a time. Some time afterwards, however, Donatus obtained permission to go to Africa, but not to Carthage. But the Pope, or perhaps the Synod before closing, sent two bishops, Eunomius and Olympius, to Africa, to proclaim that that was the catholic party for which the nineteen bishops assembled at Rome had pronounced. We see from this that the mission of the two bishops was to promulgate the decisions of the Synod; we also think, with Dupin, that their journey, the date of which is uncertain, took place immediately after the close of the Synod of Rome. The two bishops entered into communion with Cecilian’s clergy at Carthage; but the Donatists endeavored to prevent the bishops from accomplishing their mission; and some time after, as Donatus had returned to Carthage, Cecilian also returned to his flock. New troubles soon agitated Africa, and the Donatists again brought complaints of Cecilian before the Emperor. Irritated with their obstinacy, Constantine at first simply referred them to the decision of the Synod of Rome; and when they replied by protesting that they had not been sufficiently listened to at Rome, Constantine decided, first, that a minute inquiry should be made as to whether Felix of Aptunga had really given up the Holy Scriptures (we have given above the result of this inquiry); next, that the whole controversy should be definitely settled by a great assembly of the bishops of Christendom; and consequently he called the bishops of his empire together for the 1st of August 314, to the Council of Aries in Gaul.

    SEC. 15. SYNOD OF ARKS IN GAUL (314). FA346 Cecilian and some of his friends, as well as some deputies of the party of the Donatists, were invited to this Council, and the officials of the empire were charged to defray the expenses of the voyage of these bishops.

    Constantine specially invited several bishops, amongst others the Bishop of Syracuse. According to some traditions, there were no fewer than bishops assembled at Arles. Baronius, relying on a false reading in S.

    Augustine, fixes the number at 200. Dupin thought there were only thirtythree bishops at Aries, because that is the number indicated by the title of the letter of the Synod addressed to Pope Silvester, and by the list of persons which is found in several Mss. Notwithstanding this comparatively small number, we may say that all the provinces of Constantine’s empire were represented at the Council. Besides these thirtythree bishops, the list of persons also mentions a considerable number of priests and deacons, of whom some accompanied their bishops, and others represented their absent bishops as their proxies. Thus Pope Silvester was represented by two priests, Claudianus and Vitus, two deacons, Eugenius and Cyriacus. Marinus of Aries, one of the three judges (judices ex Gallia), who had been appointed beforehand by the Emperor, appears to have presided over the assembly: at least his name is found first in the letter of the Synod. With Marinus the letter mentions Agroecius of Trier, Theodore of Aquileia, Proterius of Capua, Vocius of Lyons, Cecilian of Carthage, Reticius of Autun (one of the earlier judices ex Gallia), Ambitausus (Imbetausius) of Reims, Merokles of Milan, Adelfius of London, Maternus of Coln, Liberius of Emerita in Spain, and others; the last named having already been present at the Synod of Elvira.

    It is seen that a great part of Western Christendom was represented at Aries by some bishops; and the Emperor Constantine could truly say: “I have assembled a great number of bishops from different and almost innumerable parts of the empire.” We may look on the assembly at Aries as a general council of the West (or of the Roman patriarchate). It cannot, however, pass for an ecumenical council, for this reason, that the other patriarchs did not take any part in it, and indeed were not invited to it; and those of the East especially, according to S. Augustine, ignored, almost entirely the Donatist controversy. But has not S. Augustine himself declared this Council to be ecumenical? In order to answer this question in the affirmative, an appeal has been made to the second book of his treatise, De Baptismo contra Donalistas, where he says: “The question relating to re-baptism was decided against Cyprian, in a full council of the whole Church” (plenarium, concilium, concilium universae Ecclesioe). But it is doubtful whether S. Augustine meant by that the Council of Axles, or whether he did not rather refer to that of Nicaea, according to Pagi’s view of the case. It cannot, however be denied that S. Augustine, in his forty-third letter (7 No. 19), in speaking of the Council of Axles, calls it plenarium Ecclesioe universoe concilium. Only it must not be forgotten that the expression concilium plenarium, or universale, is often employed in speaking of a national council; and that in the passage quoted S. Augustine refers to the Western Church (Ecclesia universa occidentalis), and not to the universal Church (universalis) in the fullest sense.

    The deliberations of the Council of Aries were opened on the 1st of August 314. Cecilian and his accusers were present; but these were no more able than before to prove their accusations. We unfortunately have not in full the acts of the Council; but the synodical letter already quoted informs us that the accusers of Cecilian were aut damnati aut repulsi. From this information we infer that Cecilian was acquitted; and this we know to have been the actual result of the Donatist controversy. The Council, in its letter to the Pope, says, “that it would have greatly desired that the Pope (Silvester) had been able to assist in person at the sessions, and that the judgment given against Cecilian’s accusers would in that case certainly have been more severe.” The Council probably alluded to the favorable conditions that it had accorded to the Donatist bishops and priests, in case they should be reconciled to the Church.

    The letter of the Council contains no other information relating to the affairs of the Donatists. At the time of the religious conference granted to the Donatists in 411. a letter of the African bishops was read, in which they said, that, “dating from the commencement of the schism (ab ipsius separationis exordio), consent had been given that every Donatist bishop who should become reconciled to the Church should alternately exercise the episcopal jurisdiction with the Catholic bishop: that if either of the two died, the survivor should be his sole successor; but in the case in which a church did not wish to have two bishops, both were to resign, and a new one was to be elected.” From these words, ab ipsius separationis exordio, Tillemont concluded that it is to the Synod of Arles that this decision should be referred; for, as we have already seen, other proposals of reconciliation were made at Rome. It is not known whether the Synod of Arles decided anything else in the matter of the Donatists. But it is evident that two, perhaps three, of its twenty-two canons (Nos. 13, 14, and 8), refer to the schism of the African Church, which we shall show in examining them one by one.

    The Synod of Arles was not satisfied, as their synodal letter tells us, merely to examine and judge the business of the Donatists: it wished to lend its assistance in other points relating to the necessities of the Church, especially to solve the paschal controversy, the question of the baptism of heretics, and to promulgate various rules for discipline. Convinced that it acted under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, it used the formula, Placuit ergo, proesente Spirits; sancto et angelis ejus; and begged the Pope, who had the larger dioceses (majores dioceses) under his control, to promulgate its decrees universally. The Synod also sent him the complete collection of its twenty-two canons, while in the letter previously quoted it had given only a short extract from them: consequently it may be maintained, with the brothers Ballerini, that the Synod addressed two letters to the Pope, of which the first, commencing with the enumeration of the bishops present, dwelt chiefly on the affairs of the Donatists, and gave but a short sketch of the other decisions; while the second included literally and exclusively all the decrees, and addressed itself to the Pope only in the words of introduction, and in the first canon. The Benedictines of S. Maur have published the best text of this second synodical letter, and of the canons of the Council of Aries, in the first volume of their Collectio conciliorum Galliae of 1789, of which the sequel unfortunately has not appeared. We shall adopt this text:

    Domino sanctissimo fratri Silvestro Marinus vel coetus episcoprum qui adunati fuerunt in oppido Arelatensi. Quid decrevimus communi consilio caritati tuae significamus, ut omnes sciant quid in futurum observare debeant.


    Primo loco de observatione Paschae Domini, ut uno die et uno tempore per omnem orbem a nobis observetur et juxta consuetudinem literas ad omnes tu dirigas.

    By this canon the Council of Aries wished to make the Roman computation of time with regard to Easter the rule everywhere, and consequently to abolish that of Alexandria, and all others that might differ from it, taking for granted that the bishops of the Council knew the difference that existed between these and the Roman computation. We will not here give the details relating to the paschal controversy, but further on in the history of the Council of Nicaea, so as the better to grasp the whole meaning. CAN. 2. UT UBI QUISQUE ORDINATUR IBI PERMANEAT.

    De his qui in quibuscumque locis ordinati fuerint ministri, in ipsis locis perseverent.

    The twenty-first canon contains the same decision, with this difference, that the framer speaks only of the inferior ministers of the Church (ministri), while the latter speaks of the priests and deacons; and both express the view of the ancient Church, in accordance with which an ecclesiastic attached to one church ought not to change to another. We find the same prohibition even in the apostolic canons (Nos. 13 and 14, or 14 and 15); and in the fifteenth canon of Nicaea it is questioned whether this canon of Arles forbids only passing from one diocese to another, or if it forbade moving from one church to another in the same diocese. Dr. Munchen understood the canon in the latter sense, founding his opinion on the seventy-seventh canon of the Synod of Elvira, which shows that each church in a diocese had its own minister. Of course the prohibition as to a change of churches in the same diocese, necessarily applies to moving from one diocese to another.


    De his qui arma projiciunt in pace, placuit abstineri cos a communione.

    This canon has been interpreted in no less than four ways. Ivo of Chartres read, instead of in pace, in proelio; and an ancient manuscript, which was compared by Surius, read in bello. In this case the sense would be: “He who throws down his arms in war is excommunicated.” Sirmond tried a second explanation, taking the view that arma projicere is not synonymous with arma abjicere, and signifies arma in alium conjicere. Thus, according to him, the canon forbids the use of arms except in case of war.

    Dr. Munchen has developed this explanation, by applying the sentence arma projicere in pace to the fights of the gladiators, and he has considered this canon as a prohibition of these games. Constantine the Great, he says, forbade on the 1st October 325 the games of the gladiators in nearly the same terms: Cruenta spectacula in otio civili et domestica quiete non placent; quapropter omnino gladiatores esse prohibemus; Besides these, adds Munchen, the two following canons are directed against the spectacula which were so odious to the early Christians; and this connection also justifies the opinion that canon 3 refers to the spectacula, that is to say, to the fights of the gladiators. Aubespine has tried a fourth explanation. Many Christians, says he, under the pagan emperors, had religious scruples with regard to military service, and positively refused to take arms, or else deserted. The Synod, in considering the changes introduced by Constantine, set forth the obligation that Christians have to serve in war, and that because the Church is at peace (in pace) under a prince friendly to Christians. This explanation has been adopted, amongst others, by Remi Ceillier, by Herbst, in the Dictionnaire des conciles of Abbe Migne, and in Abbe Guette’s recently published Histoire de leglise de France. We, however, prefer Dr. Munchen’s view of the matter.


    De agitatoribus qui fideles sunt, placuit eos quamdiu agirant a communione separari.

    These agitators are the jockeys and grooms of the courses, identical with the aurigoe of the sixty-second canon of the Council of Elvira. In the same way that the preceding canon interdicted the games of the gladiators, which were celebrated at the amphitheater, so this prohibits the racing of horses and chariots, which took place in the circus.


    De theatricis, et ipsos placuit quamdiu agunt a communione separari.

    This canon excommunicates those who are employed in the theatres. CAN. 6. UT IN INFIRMITATE CONVERSI MANUS IMPOSITIONEM ACCIPIANT.

    De his qui in infirmitate credere volunt, placuit ils debere manure imponi.

    The thirty-ninth canon of Elvira expresses itself in the same manner; and in commenting upon it, we have said that the words manure imponi were understood by one party as a simple ceremony of admission to the order of catechumens without baptism; by others, especially by Dr. Munchen, as expressing the administration of confirmation.


    De praesidibus qui fideles ad praesidatum prosiliunt, placuit ut cum promoti fuerint literas accipiant ecclesiasticas communicatorias, ita tamen ut in quibuscumque locis gesserint, ab episcopo ejusdem loci cura illis agatur, et cum coeperint contra disciplinam agere, tum demum a communione excludantur. Similiter et de his qui rempublicam agere volunt.

    Like the preceding one, this canon repeats a similar statute of the Synod of Elvira. The fifty-sixth canon of Elvira had decreed that a Christian invested with a public office should abstain from appearing in church during the term of these duties, because these necessarily brought him into contact with paganism. But since the Council of Elvira an essential change had taken place. Constantine had himself gone over to Christianity; the Church had obtained full liberty; and if even before this time Christians had often been invested with public offices, this would henceforth be much more frequently the case. It was necessary that, under a Christian emperor and altered circumstances, the ancient rigor should be relaxed, and it is for this reason that the canon of Aries modified the decree of Elvira. If a Christian, it says, becomes praeses , that is to say, governor, he is not, as heretofore, obliged to absent himself from church; on the contrary, letters of recommendation will be given him to the bishop of the country which is entrusted to his care (the governors were sent out of their native country, that they might rule more impartially). The bishop was bound to extend his care over him, that is to say, to watch over him, assist him with his advice, that he might commit no injustice in an office which included the jus gladii.

    If he did not listen to the warnings of the bishop, if he really violated Christian discipline, then only was he to be excluded from the Church. The same line of conduct was adhered to in regard of the municipal authorities as towards the imperial officers. Baronius has erroneously interpreted this canon, in making it exclude heretics and schismatics from holding public offices. CAN. 8. DE BAPTISMOEORUM QUI AB HOERESI CONVERTUNTUR.

    De Afris quod propria lege sua utuntur ut rebaptizent, placuit ut si ad Ecclesiam aliquis de haeresi venerit, interrogent eum symbolum; et si perviderint eum in Patre et Filio et Spiritu sancto esse baptizatum, manus ei tantum imponatur ut accipiat Spiritum sanctum. Quod si interrogatus non responderit hanc Trinitatem, baptizetur.

    We have already seen that several African synods, held under Agrippinus and Cyprian, ordered that whoever had been baptized by a heretic, was to be re-baptized on re-entering the Church. The Council of Aries abolished this law (lex ) of the Africans, and decreed that those who had received baptism from heretics in the name of the holy Trinity were not to be again baptized, but Simply to receive the imposition of hands, ut accipiat Spiritum sanctum. Thus, as we have already said, the imposition of hands on those converted was ad poenitentiam and ad confirmationem. The Council of Arles promulgated in this eighth canon the rule that has always been in force, and is still preserved in our time, with regard to baptism conferred by heretics: it was adopted and renewed by the nineteenth canon of the Ecumenical Council of Niceca. In several Mss. Arianis is read instead of Afris; but it is known that at the time of the first Synod of Aries the sect of the Arians did not yet exist.

    Binius has thought, and perhaps with some reason, that this canon alluded to the Donatists, and was intended to refute their opinion on the ordination of Cecilian by Felix of Aptunga, by laying down this general principle: “That a sacrament is valid, even when it has been conferred by an unworthy minister.” There is, however, no trace of an allusion to the Donatists: it is the thirteenth canon which clearly settles the particular case of the Donatists, as to whether a Traditor, one who has delivered up the Holy Scriptures, can validly ordain.


    De his qui confessorum literas afferunt, placuit ut sublatis iis literis alias accipiant communicatorias.

    This canon is a repetition of the twenty-fifth canon of the Synod of Elvira.


    De his qui conjuges Suas in adulterio deprehendunt, et iidem sunt adolescentes fideles et prohibentur nubere, placuit ut in quantum possit consilium ils detur, ne viventibus uxoribus suis licet adulteris alias accipiant.

    In reference to the ninth canon of Elvira, the Synod of Aries has in view simply the case of a man putting away his adulterous wife; whilst, on the contrary, the Council of Elvira refers to the case of a woman leaving her adulterous husband. In both eases the two Councils alike depart from the existing civil law, by refusing to the innocent party the right of marrying again. But there is the noteworthy difference, that the right of remarrying is forbidden to the woman, under penalty of permanent excommunication (can. 9 of Elvira); while the man is only strongly advised (in quantum possit consilium iis detur) not to marry again. Even in this case marriage is not allowed, as is shown by the expression et prohibentur nubere. This Synod will not allow that which has been forbidden, but only abstains from imposing ecclesiastical penance. Why is it more considerate to the man? Undoubtedly because the existing civil law gave greater liberty to the husband than to the wife, and did not regard the connection of a married man with an unmarried woman as adultery. It may be observed that Petavius, instead of et prohibentur nubere, prefers to read et non prohibentur nubere, which would mean that, while they were not prohibited from marrying, they should be strongly recommended not to do so.


    De puellis fidelibus quae gentilibus junguntur placuit, ut aliquanto tempore a communione separentur.

    This canon is evidently related to the fifteenth canon of Elvira, with, however, this difference, that the canon of Elvira chiefly relates to the parents, while that of Aries rather concerns daughters. This, too, enforces a penalty, which the other does not. CAN. 12. UT CLERICI FOENERORES EXCOMMUNICENTUR.

    De ministris qui foenerant, placuit eos juxta formam divinitus datam a communione abstineri.

    This canon is almost literally identical with the firs(; part of the twentieth canon of Elvira. CAN. 13. DE IIS QUI SCRIPTURAS SACRAS, VASA DOMINICA, VEL NOMINA FRATRUM TRADIDISSE DICUNTUR.

    De his qui Scripturas sanetas tradidisse dicuntur vel vasa dominica vel nomina fratrum suorum, placuit nobis ut quicumque eorum ex actis publicis fuerit detectus, non verbis nudis, ab ordine cleri amoveatur; ham si iidem aliquos ordinasse fuerint deprehensi, et hi quos ordinaverunt rationales subsistunt, non illis obsit ordinatio. Et quoniam multi sung qui contra ecclesiasticam regulam pugnare videntur et per testes redempros putant se ad accusationem admitti debere, omniuo non admittantur, nisi, ut supra diximus, actis publicis docuerint.

    The Emperor Diocletian had ordered, by his first edict for persecution in 303, first, that all the churches were to be destroyed; secondly, that. all sacred books were to be burnt; thirdly, that Christians were to be deprived of all rights and all honors; and that when they were slaves, they were to be declared incapable of acquiring liberty. Consequently Christians were everywhere required to give up the holy books to be burnt, and the sacred vases to be confiscated by the treasury (ad fiscum). This canon mentions these two demands, and, besides these, the traditio nominum. It may be that, according to the first edict, some Christians, and especially the bishops, were required to remit the lists of the faithful belonging to their dioceses, in order to subject them to the decree which deprived them of all rights and honor. However, Dr. Munchen thinks that the traditio nominum was first introduced in consequence of Diocletian’s second edict.

    This edict ordered that all ecclesiastics should be imprisoned, and compelled to sacrifice. Many tried to escape the danger by flight; but it also happened flint many were betrayed, and their names (nomina fratrum) given up to the heathen. The thirteenth canon orders the deposition of these Traditores, if they are ecclesiastics. But this penalty was only to be inflicted in case the offense of traditio was proved, not merely by private denunciations (verbis nudis), but by the public laws, by writings signed by officers of justice (ex actis publicis), which the Roman officers had to draw up in executing the Emperor’s edict.

    The Synod occupied itself with this question: “What must be done if a traditor bishop has ordained clergy?” This was precisely the principal question in the controversy with the Donatists; and the Synod decided “that the ordination should be valid, that is, that whoever should be ordained by such a bishop should not suffer from it” (non illis obsit ordinatio). This part of the passage is very plain, and clearly indicates the solution given by the Council; but the preceding words, et hi, quos ordinaverunt, rationales subsistunt, are difficult to explain. They may very well mean, “If those who have been ordained by them are worthy, and fit to receive holy orders;” but we read in a certain number of Mss., et de his, quos ordinaverint, ratio subsistit , that is to say, “If those are in question who have been ordained by them.”

    This canon has another conclusion which touches the Donatist controversy; namely: “Accusers who, contrary to all the Church’s rules, procured paid witnesses to prove their accusations, as the adversaries of Felix of Aptunga have done, ought not at all to be heard if they cannot prove their complaints by the public acts.”


    De his qui falso accusant fratres suos, placuit cos usque ad exitum non communicare.

    This canon is the sequel to the preceding: “If it is proved that any one has made a positively false and unwarrantable accusation against another (as a traditor), such a person will be excommunicated to the end of his life.”

    This canon is worded in so general a manner, that it not only embraces the false denunciations on the particular case of the traditio, but all false denunciations in general, as the seventy-fifth canon of the Synod of Elvira had already done.


    De diaconibus quos cognovimus multis locis offerre, placuit minime fieri debere.

    During the persecution of Diocletian, a certain number of deacons seem to have assumed to themselves the right of offering the holy sacrifice, especially when there was no bishop or priest at hand. The Synod of Arles prohibited this. It will be seen that in this canon we translate offerre as “to offer the holy sacrifice,” in the same sense as this word is used in the nineteenth canon. Binterim gives another interpretation. By offerre he understands the administration of the Eucharist to the faithful; and he explains the canon in this sense: The deacons ought not to administer the communion to the faithful in various places, but only in the churches which are assigned to them.” We must allow that offerre has sometimes this meaning; for example, in S. Cyprian, de Lapsis: Solemnibus adimpletis calicem diaconus offerre praesentibus coepit; but, a. It is difficult to suppose that the Synod of Aries should have employed the expression offerre in two senses so essentially different — in the fifteenth canon, where it would mean to administer the Eucharist, and in the nineteenth canon, where it would mean to offer the holy sacrifice — without having in either pointed out this difference more clearly. b. The Synod evidently wished to put an end to a serious abuse, as it says, Minime fieri debere. Now it could not have been a very grave offense on the part of the deacons, if, in consequence of the want of clergy, they had administered the communion in several places: after all, they would only have done what they performed ex officio in their own churches. CAN. 16. UT UBI QUISQUE FUIT EXCOMMUNICATUS, IBI COMMUNIONEM CONSEQUATUR.

    De his qui pro delicto suo a communione separantur, placuit ut in quibuscumque locis fuerint exclusi in iisdem communionem consequantur.

    The fifty-third canon of the Synod of Elvira had already given the same order. This canon should be compared with the fifth canon of the Synod of Nicaea, the second and sixth of Antioch (in 341), and with the sixteenth of Sardica.


    Ut nullus episcopus allure episeopum inculcet.

    A bishop could in many ways inconvenience, molest (inculcare ) a colleague; especially — a. If he allowed himself to exercise various episcopal functions in any diocese other than his own; for example, to ordain clergy, which the Synod of Antioch forbade, in 341, by its thirteenth canon. b. If he stayed a long time in a strange town, if he preached there, and so threw into the shade the bishop of the place, who might be less able, less learned than himself, for the sake of obtaining the other’s see; which the eleventh canon (fourteenth in Latin) of Sardica also forbids.


    De diaconibus urbicis ut non sibi tantum praesumant, sed honorem presbyteris reservent, ut sine conscientia ipsorum nihil tale faciant.

    The canon does not tell us in what these usurpations of the suburban deacons consisted (in opposition to the deacons of the country Churches, who; being farther from the bishop, had less influence). The words honorem presbyteris reservent seem to imply that the Council of Arles referred So the deacons who, according to the evidence of the Council of Nicaea, forgo; their inferiority to the priests, and took rank and place amongst them, which the Synod of Nicaea also forbade. The Synod of Laodicaea also found it necessary to order deacons to remain standing in the presence of priests, unless invited to sit down. The last words of our canon indicate that here also the allusion is to the functions that deacons were generally authorized to exercise in virtue of theft charge, such as baptizing and preaching, but which they were not to discharge unless with the consent of the priests who were set over them.


    De episcopis peregrinis qui in urbem solent venire, placuit iis locum dare ut offerant.

    The seventeenth canon having forbidden bishops to exercise episcopal functions in a strange diocese, the nineteenth canon declares that the celebration of the holy sacrifice is not; comprised in this prohibition, and consequently that a bishop should be allowed to offer the holy sacrifice in a strange diocese, or, as we should say, should be permitted to say Mass.


    De his qui usurpant sibi quod sell debeant episcopos ordinate, placuit ut nullus hoc sibi praesumat nisi assumptis secum aliis septem episcopis. Si tamen non potuerit septem, infra tres non audeat ordinare.

    The Synod of Nicaea, canon 4, made the same regulation, that all bishops should not singly ordain another bishop, and orders that there be at least three bishops for this purpose. CAN. 21. UT PRESBYTERI ANT DIACONES QUI AD ALIA LOCA SE TRANSFERUNT DEPONANTUR.

    De presbyteris aut diaconibus qui solent dimittere loca sun in quibus ordinati sunt et ad alia loca se transferunt, placuit ut iis locis ministrent quibus praefixi sunt. Quod si relictis locis suis ad alium se locum transferre voluerint, deponantur.

    Cf. the second canon, above, p. 185.


    De his qui apostatant et nunquam se ad ecclesiam repraesentant, ne quidem poenitentiam agere quaerunt, et postea infirmitate accepti petunt communionem, placuit its non dandam communionem nisi revaluerint et egerint dignos fructus poenitentiae.

    The Council of Nicaea, in its thirteenth canon, softened this order, and allowed the holy communion to be administered to all sinners at the point of death who should desire it.

    Besides these twenty-two canons of the first Synod of Aries, which are certainly genuine, Mansi found six more in a MS. at Lucca. He thought, however, that these last must have been decreed by another Council of Aries.

    They are the following: — CAN. 1 (24). FA401 Placuit ut quantum potest inhibeatur viro, ne dimissa uxore vivente liceat ut aliam ducat super earn: quicumque autem fecerit alienus erit a catholica communione.

    CAN. 2 (25).

    Placuit ut mulierem corruptam clericus non ducat uxorem, rel is, qui laicus mullerem corruptam duxerit, non admittatur ad clerum.

    CAN. 3 (26).

    De aliena ecclesia clericum ordinare alibi nullus episcopus usurper; quod si fecerit, sciat se esse judicandum cure inter fratres de hoc fuerit appetitus.

    CAN. 4 (27).

    Abstentum clericum, alterius ecclesiae alia non admittat; sed pacem in ecclesia inter fratres simplicem tenere cognoscat.

    CAN. 5 (28).

    Venientem de Donatistis vel de Montensibus per manus impositionis suscipiantur, ex eo quod contra ecclesiasticum ordinem baptizare videntur.

    CAN. 6 (29).

    Praeterea, quod dignum, pudicum et honestum est, suademus fratribus ut sacerdotes et levitae cum uxoribus suis non coeant, quia ministerio quotidiano occupantur. Quicumque contra hanc constitutionem fecerit, a clericatas honore deponatur.

    If we consider, again, the occasion of this Synod — namely, the schism of the Donatists — we see that as soon as the Synod had pronounced its sentence upon them, they appealed anew to the Emperor, while the Catholic bishops asked permission of him to return to their homes.

    Constantine thereupon wrote a beautiful and touching letter to the bishops, thanking God for His goodness to him, and the bishops for the equitable and conciliatory judgment that they had pronounced. He complained of the perverseness, the pride, and obstinacy of the Donatists, who would not have peace, but appealed to him from the judgment of the Church, when the sentence of the priests ought to be regarded as that of the Lord Himself (sacerdotum judicium ita debet haberi, ac si ipse Dominus residens judicct ). “What audacity, what madness, what folly!” he exclaims; “they have appealed from it like heathens.” At the end of his letter he prays the bishops, after Christ’s example, to have yet a little patience, and to stay some time longer at Arles, so as to try and reclaim these misguided men. If this last attempt failed, they might return to their dioceses; and he prayed them to remember hint, that the Savior might have mercy upon him. He said that he had ordered the officers of the empire to send the refractory from Aries, and from Africa as well, to his court, where great severity awaited them.

    These threats caused a great number of Donatists to return to the Church; others persevered in their obstinacy, and, according to Constantine’s order, were brought to the imperial court. From that time there was no longer any occasion for the Catholic bishops to remain at Aries, and in all probability they returned to their dioceses. Arrived at court, the Donatists again prayed the Emperor to judge their cause himself. Constantine at first refused, but, for reasons with which we are not acquainted, ended by consenting to their demand. He summoned Cecilian, the Catholic Bishop of Carthage, as well as his Donatist adversaries, to appear before him at Rome, where he was staying, in August 315. Ingentius, the false accuser of Felix of Aptunga, was to be there to prove to the Donatists that they had improperly called in question the consecration of Cecilian; but Cecilian, for some unknown reason, did not appear. S. Augustine himself did not know why; and the Donatists profited by this circumstance, and urged the Emperor to condemn Cecilian for disobedience. Constantine, however, contented himself with granting him a delay, at the end of which Cecilian was to appear at Milan, which so exasperated many of the Donatists, that they fled from the court to Africa. The Emperor for some time thought of going himself into Africa to judge the cause of the Donatists. in their own country. He accordingly sent back some Donatist bishops into Africa, and warned the others by letter of his project, adding, that if they could prove but one of their numerous accusations against Cecil[an, he would consider such proof as a demonstration of all the rest. The Emperor afterwards gave up this scheme, and returned to that which had been first proposed, and in November 316 caused the contending parties to appear before him at Milan. Cecilian presented himself before the Emperor, as well as his antagonists. The Emperor heard both sides, examined their depositions, and finally declared that Cecilian was innocent, that his adversaries were calumniators, and sent a copy of his decision to Eumalius, his vicar in Africa. The Donatists were thus condemned three times, by the two Synods of Rome and of Arles, and finally by the Emperor himself. In spite of this, to weaken the effect of the late sentence, they spread the rumor that the celebrated Hosius Bishop of Corduba, a friend of Cecilian, had prejudiced the Emperor against them. The subsequent history of the schism of the Donatists does not belong to this place; and we have now to consider two other synods which were held in the East about the same time as that of Aries, and which merit all our attention. They are those of Ancyra and Neocaesarea.


    Maximilian having died during the summer of 313, the Church in the East began to breathe freely, says Eusebius He says nothing further about these Synods; but one of the first, and certainly the most celebrated, of these Councils, was that of Ancyra, the capital of Galatia, which was held for the purpose of healing the wounds inflicted on the Church by the last persecution, and especially to see what could be done on the subject of the lapsi.

    The best Greek Mss. of the canons of Ancyra contain a very ancient preface, which shows, without further specification, that the Council of Ancyra was held before that of Nicaea. The presence of Vitalis Bishop of Antioch at the Council of Ancyra proves that it was held before the year 319, which is the year of the death of that bishop. It is, then, between 313 and 319 that it was held. Binius believes he has discovered a still more exact date, in the fact of the presence of Basil Bishop of Amasia at our Synod. According to his opinion, this bishop suffered martyrdom in 316, under the Emperor Licinius; but Tillemont has proved that he was probably not martyred till 320. It appears from the sixth canon of Ancyra that the Council was held, conformably to the apostolic canons, No. 38 (36), in the fourth week after Easter. Maximin having died during the summer of 313, the first Pentecost after his death fell in 314; and it is very probable that the Christians immediately availed themselves of the liberty which his death gave them to come to the aid of the Church.

    This is also what the words of Eusebius dearly indicate. Baronius, Tillemont, Remi Ceillier, and others, were therefore perfectly right in placing the Synod of Ancyra after the Easter which followed the death of Maximin; consequently in 314.

    We have three lists of the bishops who were present at the Synod of Ancyra. They differ considerably from one another. That which, in addition to the bishops and the towns, names the provinces, is evidently, as the Ballerini have shown, of later origin: for (a ) no Greek Ms. contains this list; (b ) it is wanting in the most ancient Latin translations; (g ) the lists of the provinces are frequently at variance with the civil division of the province at this time. For instance, the list speaks of a Galatia prima, of a Cappadocia prima, of a Cilicia prima and secunda, of a Phrygia Pacatiana, all divisions which did not then exist. Another list of the bishops who were present at Ancyra, but without showing the provinces, is found in the Prisca and in the Isidorian collection. Dionysius the Less does not give a list of the persons: one of this kind has not, until lately, been attached to his writings. In this state of things, it is evident that none of these lists are of great value, as they vary so much from each other even as to the number of the bishops, which is left undecided, being put down between twelve and eighteen. In the longest list the following names are found: Vitalis of Antioch, Agricolaus of Ceesarea in Palestine, Marcellus of Ancyra, who had become so famous in the Arian controversy, Lupus of Tarsus, Basil of Amasia, Philadelphius of Juliopolis in Galatia, Eustolius of Nicomedia, Heraclius of Tela in Great Armenia, Peter of Iconium, Nuneclius of Laodicea in Phrygia, Sergianus of Antioch in Pisidia, Epidaurus of Perga in Pamphilia, Narcissus of Neronias in Cilicia, Leontius of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Longinus of Neocaesarea in Pontus, Amphion of Epiphania in Cilicia, Salamenus of Germanicia in Coelesyria, and Germanus of Neapolis in Palestine. Several of these were present, eleven years after, at the first (Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. They belonged, as we see, to such different provinces of Asia Minor and Syria, that the Synod of Ancyra may, in the same sense as that of Arles, be considered a concilium plenarium, that is, a general council of the Churches of Asia Minor ant! Syria. From the fact that Vitalis of Antioch is mentioned first (primo loco), and that Antioch was the most considerable seat of those who were represented at Ancyra, it is generally concluded that Vitalis presided over the Synod; and we admit this supposition, although the Libellus synodicus assigns the presidency to Marcellus of Ancyra CAN 1.

    Presbute>rouv tousantav, ei+ta ejpavatalai>santav mh>te ejk meqo>dou tinoav, mh>te prokataskeua>santav kai< ejpithdeu>santav, kai< pei>santav i[na do>xwsi menoiv uJpoba>llesqai, tau>tav de< tw~| dokei~n kai< tw~| sch>mati prosacqh~vai tou>touv e]doxe th~v medran mete>cein, prosfe>rein de< aujtouoffice, but they may neither sacrifice or preach, nor fulfill any priestly office.”

    In this translation we have left out a great incidental proposition (from mh>te prokataskeua>santav to prosacqh~nai ) because to be understood it requires some previous explanations. Certain priests who had sacrificed to idols, wishing to be restored to favor, performed a sort of farce to deceive the bishop and the faithful. They bribed some officers and their subordinates, then presented themselves before them as Christians, and pretended to submit to all kinds of tortures, which were not really, but only apparently applied to them, according to the plan which had been previously arranged. The Council also says: “Without having made any arrangements, and without its being understood and agreed that they should appear to submit to tortures which were only to be apparently inflicted on them.”

    It was quite justifiable, and in accordance with the ancient and severe discipline of the Church, when this Synod no longer allowed priests, even when sincerely penitent, to discharge priestly functions. It was for this same reason that the two Spanish bishops Martial and Basilides were deposed, and that the judgment given against them was confirmed in by an African synod held under S. Cyprian. The first canon, together with the second and third, was inserted in the Corpus juris can. CAN. 2.

    Diako>nouv oJmoi>wv qu>santav, meta< de< tau~ta ajnapalai>santav thshv th~v iJera~v leitourgi>av, th~v te tou~ a]rton h\ poth>rion ajnafe>rein h\ khru>ssein, eij me>ntoi tine>v tw~n ejpisko>pwn tou>toiv suni>doien ka>mato>n tina h\ tapei>nwsin pras>thtov kai< ejqe>loien plei~o>n ti dido>nai h\ ajfairei~n, ejp j aujtoi~v ei+nai than . “In the same manner, the deacons who may have sacrificed, but have afterwards returned to the fight, shall keep the dignities of their office, but shall no longer fulfill any holy function, shall no longer offer the bread and wine (to the celebrant or to the communicants), shall no longer preach. But if any bishops, out of regard to their efforts (for their ardent penitence), and to their humiliation, wish to grant them more privileges, or to withdraw more from them, they have power to do so.”

    According to this, such deacons could no longer exercise their ministry in the Church, but they continued their offices as almoners to the poor, and administrators of the property of the Church, etc. etc. It is doubtful what is meant by “to offer the bread and the chalice.” In the primitive; Church, S.

    Justin testifies that the deacons distributed the holy communion to the laity. It is possible that the Canon refers to this distribution. Van Espen, however, thinks that, at the time of the Synod, deacons no longer distributed the consecrated bread to the faithful, but only the chalice, according to a prescription of the Apostolic Constitutions, and an expression of Cyprian; so that ajnafa>rein a]rton h\ poth>rion (because there is mention of a]rton , bread) must here relate to the presentation of the bread and the chalice made by the deacon to the bishop or priest who celebrated at the time of the offertory. But it seems from the eighteenth canon of Nicaea, that this primitive custom, in virtue of which deacons also distributed the eucharistic bread as well as wine, had not entirely disappeared at the beginning of the fourth century, and consequently at the time of the Synod of Ancyra.

    The word khru>ssein, to proclaim, needs explanation. It means in the first place th e act of preaching; it is declared to be forbidden to diaconis lapsis.

    But deacons had, and still have, other things to proclaim (khru>ssein ).

    They read the Gospel, they exclaimed: Flectamus genua, Procedamus in pace, Ne quis audientium, Ne quis infidlelium; and these functions were also comprised in the khru>ssein . Finally, the canon directs bishops to take into consideration the circumstances and the worth of the diaconi lapsi in adding to or deducting from the measures decreed against them.

    CAN. 3.

    Tougontav kai< sullhfqe>ntav h\ uJpo< oijkei>wn paradoqe>ntav h\ a]llwv ta< uJpa>rconta ajfaireqe>ntav h\ uJpomei>nantav basa>nouv h\ desmwth>rion ejmblhqe>ntav bow~nta>v te o\ti eijsi< Cristianoi< kai< periscisqe>ntav (perisceqe>ntav ) h]toi eijv taan ejmballo>ntwn tw~n biazome>nwn h\ brw~ma> ti tpogkhn dexame>nouv, oJmologou~ntav de< dio>lou o\ti eiJsi< Cristianoi< , kai< to< pe>nqov tou~ sumba>ntov ajei< ejpideiknume>nouv th~| pa>sh| katastolh|~ kai< tw~| sch>mati kai< th~| tou~ bi>ou tapeino>thti tou>touv wJv e]xw aJmarth>matov o]ntav th~v koinwni>av mh< kwlu>esdai, ei j de< kai< ejkwlu>qhsan uJpo> tinov, perissote>rav ajkribei>av e\neken h\ kai> tinwn ajgnoi>a| , eujquwv ejpi> te tw~n ejk tou~ klh>rou kai< tw~n a]llwn lai`kw~n, prosexhta>sqh de< kajkei~no, eij du>nantai kai< laikoi< th~| aujth|~ ajna>gkh| uJpopeso>ntev prosa>gesqai eijv ta>xin e]doxen ou=n kai< tou>touv wJv mhdetav, ei j kai< hJ prolabou~sa euJri>skoito ojrqh< tou~ bi>ou politei>a, proceiri>zesqai . “Those who fled before persecution, but were caught, or were be[rayed by those of their own houses, or in any other way, who have borne with resignation the confiscation of their property, tortures, and imprisonment, declaring themselves to be Christians, but who have subsequently been vanquished, whether their oppressors have by force put incense into their hands, or have compelled them to take in their mouth the meat offered to idols, and who, in spite of this, have persevered in avowing themselves Christians, and have evinced their sorrow for what had befallen them by their dejection and humility, — such, not having committed any fault, are not to be deprived of the communion of the Church; and if they have been so treated by the over-severity or ignorance of their bishop, they are immediately to be reinstated. This applies equally to the clergy and to the laity. In the same way it was to be inquired if the laity, to whom violence has been used (that is to say, who have been physically obliged to sacrifice), might be promoted to the ministry (ta>xiv , ordo); and it was decreed that, not having committed any fault (in the case of these sacrifices), they might be elected, provided their former life was found to be consistent.”

    The meaning of this canon is clear: “Physical constraint relieves from responsibility.” That there had been physical constraint was proved’ in the following ways: — (a .) By the previous endurance with which they had borne confiscation, tortures, and imprisonment. (b .) By this, that during their sufferings they had always declared themselves Christians.

    Among the expressions of this canon the word periscisqe>ntav of the textus vulgatus presents the chief difficulties. Zonaras translates it thus: “If their clothes have been torn from their bodies:” for perisci>zw means to tear away, and with tina< to tear off the clothes from any one. But the true reading is perisceqe>ntav , which Routh has found in three Mss. in the Bodleian Library, and which harmonizes the best with the versions of Dionysius the Less and of Isidore. We have used this reading (perisceqe>ntav ) in our translation of the canon; for perie>cw means to surround, to conquer, to subdue.

    CAN. 4.

    Peri< tw~n troan qusa>ntwn, ejpi< de< tou>toiv kai< tw~n deipnhsa>ntwn eijv ta< ei]dwla , o\soi memenoi kai< sch>mati faidrote>rw| ajnh~lqon kai< ejsqh~ti ejcrh>santo poluteleste>ra| kai< mete>scon tou~ paraskeuasqe>ntov dei>pnou ajdiafo>rwv, e]doxen ejniautoa e]th, eujch~v de< mo>nhv koinwnh~sai e]th du>o, kai< to>te ejlqei~n ejpi< to< tedecrees, that those who, being forced to go to the sacrifice, have gone cheerfully, dressed in their best, and without any sorrow (as if there was no difference between this and other meals), and shall there have eaten of it, shall remain one year amongst the audientes (second class of penitents), three years among the substrati (third class of penitents), shall take part in the prayers (fourth class), for two years, and then finally be admitted to the complete privileges of the Church (to< te>leion ), that is, to the communion.” CAN. 5. [Osoi de< ajnh~lqon meta< ejsqh~tov penqikh~v kai< ajnapeso>ntev e]fagon metaxu< di j o[lhv th~v ajnakli>sewv dakru>ontev , eij ejplh>rwsan tosewv trieth~ cro>non, cwritwsan ei j de< mh< e]fagon , du>o uJpopeso>ntev e]th tw~| tri>tw| koinwnhsa>twsan cwrileion th~| tetraeti>a| la>bwsi, toupouv ejxousi>an e]cein topon th~v ejpistrofh~v dokima>santav filanqrwpeu>esqai h\ plei>ona prostiqe>nai cro>non pro< pagwn bi>ov kai< oJ meta< tau~ta ejxetaze>sqw, kai< ou[twv hJ filanqrwpi>a ejpimetrei>sqw. “Nevertheless, those who have appeared there (that is, at the feast of the sacrifices) in mourning habits, who have been full of grief during the repast, and have wept during the whole time of the feast, shall be three years amongst the substrati, and then be admitted, without taking part in the offering; but if they have not eaten (and have merely been present at the feast), they are to be substrati for two years, and the third year they shall take part in the offering (in the degree of the consistentes, su>stasiv ), so as to receive the complement (the holy communion) in the fourth year. The bishops will have the power, after having tried the conduct of each, to mitigate the penalties, or to extend the time of penitence; but they must take care to inquire what has passed before and after their fall, and their clemency must be exercised accordingly.”

    We may see that this canon is closely allied to the preceding one, and that the one explains the other: there only remains some obscurity arising from the expression cwri. Aubespine thought that there is here a reference to the offerings which were presented by penitents, in the hope of obtaining mercy; but Suicer remarks that it is not so, and that the reference here is certainly to those offerings which are presented by the faithful during the sacrifice (at the offertory). According to Suicer, the meaning of the canon would be: “They may take part in divine worship, but not actively;” that is, “they may mingle their offerings with those of the faithful:” which corresponds with the fourth or last degree of penitence.

    But as those who cannot present their offerings during the sacrifice are excluded from the communion, the complete meaning of this canon is: “They may be present at divine service, but may neither offer nor communicate with the faithful.” Consequently cwribat it does not follow from this that prosfora< means the sacrament of the altar, as Herbst and Routh have erroneously supposed. The eucharistic service has, we know, two parts: it is, in the first place, a sacrifice; and then, as a reception of the eucharistic bread, it is a sacrament. And the whole act may be called prosfora> ; but the mere reception of the communion cannot be called prosfora>. The canon does not clearly point out the time during which penitents were to remain in the fourth degree of penitence, except in the case of those who had not actually eaten of the sacrificed meats. It says, that at the end of a year they could be received in full, that is to say, at the eucharistic table. The time of penitence is not fixed for those who had actually eaten the sacrificed meats: perhaps it was also a year; or it may be they were treated according to the fourth canon, that is to say, reduced for two years to the fourth degree of penitence. The penitents of the fifth canon, less culpable than those of the fourth, are not, as the latter, condemned to the second degree of penitence.

    CAN. 6.

    Peri< tw~n ajpeilh~| mo>non eijxa>ntwn kola>sewv kai< ajfaire>sewv uJparco>ntwn h\ metoiki>av kai< qusa>ntwn kai< me>cri tou~ paro>notv kairou~ mh< metanohsa>ntwn mhde< ejpistreya>ntwn, nu~n de< para< todou proselqo>ntwn kai< eijv dia>noian th~v ejpistrofh~v genome>nwn, e]doxe me>cri th~v mega>lhv hJme>rav eijv ajkro>asin decqh~nai, kai< meta< thlhn hJme>ran uJpopesei~n tri>a e]th kai< meta< a]lla du>o e]th koinwnh~sai cwrileion, w[ste than plhrw~sai eij de> tinev pro< th~v suno>dou tau>thv ejde>cqhsan eijv meta>noian, ajp j ejkei>nou tou~ cro>nou lelogi>sqai aujtoi~v thav eij me>ntoi ki>ndunov kai< qana>tou prosdoki>a ejk no>sou h] a]llhv tinosewv sumbai>n, tou>touv ejpi< o[rw| decqh~nai . “As to those who yielded on the first threat of punishment and of the confiscation of their property, or of exile, and who have sacrificed, and to this day have not repented or re. turned, but who on the occasion of this Synod have repented, and shall resolve to return, it is decreed, that until the great feast (Easter) they shall be admitted to the degree of audientes; that they shall after the great feast be substrati for three years; then that they shall be admitted, but without taking part in the sacrifice for two years, and that then only they shall be admitted to the full service (to the communion), so that the whole time will be six years. For those who have been admitted to a course of penitence previous to this Synod, the six years will be allowed to date from the moment of its commencement. If they were exposed to any danger, or threatened with death following any illness, or if there was any other important reason, they would be admitted, conformably to the present prescription (o[rov ).”

    The meaning of the last phrase of the canon is, that if the sick regain their health, they will perform their penance, according to what is prescribed.

    Zonaras thus very clearly explains this passage. This canon is made intelligible by the two preceding. A similar decision is given in the eleventh Nicene canon.

    As we have previously remarked (sec. 16), there is a chronological signification in the expression “till the next Easter,” compared with that of “the six years shall be accomplished.” According to the thirty-sixth (thirtyeighth) apostolic canon, a synod was to be held annually in the fourth week after Easter. If, then, a penitent repented at the time of the synod, and remained among the audientes till the next Easter, he had done penance for nearly a year. And adding three years for the degree of the substratio, and two for the last degree, the six years were completed. It is then with good reason that we have deduced from the sixth canon that the Council of Ancyra was held shortly after Easter, and very probably in the fourth week after this feast, that is, in the time prescribed by the apostolic canons. CAN. 7.

    Peri< tw~n sunestiaqe>ntwn ejn eJorth~| ejqnikh~| ejn to>tw| ajfwrisme>nw| toi~v ejqvikoi~v, i]dia brw>mata ejpikomisame>nwn kai< fago>ntwn, e]doxe dieti>an uJpopeso>ntav decqh~vai To< de< eij crh< meta< th~v prosfora~v e[kaston tw~n ejpisko>pwn dokima>sai kai< toon ejf j eJka>stou ajxiw~sai . “As to those who, during a heathen festival, have seated themselves in the locality appointed for that festival, and have brought and eaten their food there, they shall be two years substrati, and then admitted. As to the question of their admission to the offering, each bishop shall decide thereon, taking into consideration the whole life of each person.”

    Several Christians tried, with worldly prudence, to take a middle course.

    On the one hand, hoping to escape persecution, they were present at the feasts of the heathen sacrifices, which were held in the buildings adjoining the temples; and on the other, in order to appease their consciences, they took their own food, and touched nothing that had been offered to the gods. These Christians forgot that S. Paul had ordered that meats sacrificed to the gods should be avoided, not because they were tainted in themselves, as the idols were nothing, but from another, and in fact a twofold reason: 1st, Because, in partaking of them, some had still the idols in their hearts, that is to say, were still attached to the worship of idols, and thereby sinned; and 2dly, Because others scandalized their brethren, and sinned in that way. To these two reasons a third may be added, namely, the hypocrisy and the duplicity of those Christians who wished to appear heathens, and nevertheless to remain Christians. The Synod punished them with two years of penance in the third degree, and gave to each bishop the right, either at the expiration of this time to admit them to communion, or to make them remain some time longer in the fourth degree.

    CAN. 8.

    OiJ de< deu>teron kai< tri>ton qu>santev meta< bi>av, tetraeti>an uJpopese>twsan, du>o de< e]th cwritwsan, kai< tw~| eJbdo>mw| telei>wv decqh>twsan . “Those who, being compelled, have sacrificed two or three times, shall remain substrati for four years; they shall take part in the worship, without presenting any offering, for two years (as consistentes of the fourth degree); the seventh they shall be admitted to the communion.”

    CAN. 9. [Osoi de< mh< mo>non ajpe>sthsan ajlla< kai< ejpave>sthsan kai< hjna>gkasan ajdelfounonto tou~ ajnagkasqh~nai, ou=toi e]th mea tosqwsan to>pon, ejn de< a]llh| eJxaeti>a| tosewv, a]llon de< ejniautotwsan cwrian plhrw>santev tou~ telei>ou meta>scwsin ejn me>ntoi tou>tw| tw~| cro>nw| kai< toon . “Those who have not only apostatized, but have become the enemies of their brethren, and have compelled them (to apostasy), or have been the cause of the constraint put upon them, shall remain for three years among the audientes (second degree), then six years with the substrati; they shall then take part in the worship, without offering (in quality of consistentes), for one year; and not until the expiration of ten years shall they receive full communion (the holy Eucharist). Their conduct during all this time shall also be watched.” CAN. 10.

    Dia>konoi o[soi kaqi>stantai, par j aujthstasin eij ejmartu>ranto kai< e]fasan crh~nai gamh~sai, mh< duna>menoi ou[twv me>nein, ou=toi meta< tau~ta gamh>santev e]stwsan ejn th~| uJphresi>a| dia< to< ejpitraph~nai aujtoupou tou~to de< ei[ tinev siwph>santev kai< katadexa>menoi ejn th~| ceirotoni>a| me>nein ou[twv meta< tau~ta h+lqon ejpi< ga>mon, pepau~sqai aujtouav . “If deacons, at the time of their appointment (election), declare that they must marry, and that they cannot lead a celibate life, and if accordingly they marry, they may continue their offices, because the bishop (at the time of their institution) gave them leave to marry; but if at the time of their election they have not spoken, and have agreed in taking holy orders to lead a celibate life, and if later they marry, they shall lose their diaconate.”

    This canon has been inserted in the Corpus juris canonici. CAN 11.

    TaSav ko>rav kai< meta< tau~ta uJp j a]llwn aJrpagei>sav e[doxen ajpodi>dosqai toi~v promnhsteusame>noiv, eij kai< bi>an uJp j aujtw~n pa>qoien. “Damsels who are betrothed, who are afterwards carried off by others, shall be given back to those to whom they are betrothed, even when they have been treated with violence.”

    This canon treats only of betrothed women (by the sponsalia de future), not of those who are married (by the sponsalia de proesenti). In the case of the latter there would be no doubt as to the duty of restitution. The man who was betrothed was, moreover, at liberty to receive his affianced bride who had been carried off, or not. It was thus that S. Basil had already decided in canon 22 of his canonical letter to Amphilochius. CAN. 12.

    Tousmatov tequko>tav kai< meta< tau~ta baptisqe>ntav e]doxen eijv ta>xin proa>gesqai wJv ajpolousame>nouv . “Those who have sacrificed to the gods before their baptism, and who have afterwards been baptized, may be promoted to holy orders, as (by baptism) they are purified from all their former sins.”

    This canon does not speak generally of all those who sacrificed before baptism; for if a heathen sacrificed before having embraced Christianity, he certainly could not be reproached for it after his admission. It was quite a different case with a catechumen, who had already declared for Christianity, but who during the persecution had lost courage, and sacrificed. In this case it might be asked whether he could still be admitted to the priesthood. The Council decided that a baptized catechumen could afterwards be promoted to holy orders. The fourteenth canon of Nicaea also speaks of the catechumens who have committed the same fault.

    CAN. 13.

    Cwrepisko>pouv mh< ejxei~nai presbute>rouv h\ diako>nouv ceirotonei~n, ajlla< mhde< presbute>rouv po>lewv, cwripou meta< gramua>twn ejn eJte>ra| paroiki>a .

    The literal translation of the Greek text is as follows: — “It is not permitted to the chorepiscopi to ordain priests and deacons; neither is this permitted to the priests of the towns in other parishes (dioceses) without the written authority of the bishop of the place.”

    In our remarks on the fifty-seventh canon of the Council of Laodicea, where it is forbidden to appoint chorepiscopi (or country bishops)for the future, we shall explain what must be understood by this office, which is here mentioned for the first time. Compare also the eighth and tenth canons of the Synod of Antioch in 341, and the second proposition of the sixth canon of the Council of Sardica. If the first part of the thirteenth canon is easy to understand, the second, on the contrary, presents a great difficulty; for a priest of a town could not in any case have the power of consecrating priests and deacons, least of all in a strange diocese. Many of the most learned men have, for this reason, supposed that the Greek text of the second half of the canon, as we have read it, is incorrect or defective. It wants, say they, poiei~n ti , or aliquid were, i.e. to complete a religious function. To confirm this supposition, they have appealed to several ancient versions, especially to that of Isidore: sed nec presbyteris civitatis sine episcopi proecepto amplius aliquid imperare, sine auctoritate literature ejus in unaquaque (some read ejn eJka>sth| instead of ejn eJte>ra| ) parochia aliquid agere. The ancient Roman MS. of the canons, Codex canonum, has the same reading, only that it has provincia instead of parochia. Fulgentius Ferrandus, deacon of Carthage, who long ago made a collection of canons, translates in the same way in his Breviatio canonum: Ut presbyteri civitatis sine jussu episcopi nihil jubeant, nee in, unaquaque parochia aliquid agant. Van Espen has explained this canon in the same way.

    Routh has given another interpretation, He maintained that there was not a word missing in this canon, but that at the commencement one ought to read, according to several Mss., cwrepisko>poiv in the dative, and further down ajlla< mhrouv (in the accusative) po>lewv , and finally eJka>sth| instead of eJte>ra| ; and that we must therefore translate, “Chorepiscopi are not permitted to consecrate priests and deacons (for the country), still less (ajlla< mhplace.” The Greek text, thus modified according to some Mss., especially those in the Bodleian Library, certainly gives a good meaning. Still ajlla< mhbut still less: it means, but certainly not, which makes a considerable difference.

    Besides this, it can very seldom have happened that the chorepiscopi ordained priests and deacons for a town; and if so, they were already forbidden (implicite) in the first part of the canon.

    CAN. 14.

    Tourouv h\ diako>nouv o]ntav kai< ajpecome>nouv krew~n e]doxen ejfa>ptesqai, kai< ou[twv, eij bou>lointo, kratei~n eJautw~n eij de< bou>lointo (bdelu>ssointo ), wJv mhde< ta< meta< krew~n ballo>mena la>cana ejsqi>ein , kai< eij mh< uJpei>koien tw~| kano>ni, pepau~sqai aujtouxewv. “Those priests and clerks who abstain from eating meat ought (during the love-feasts) to eat it (taste it); but they may, if they will, abstain from it (that is to say, not eat it). If they disdain it (bdelu>ssointo ), so that they will not eat even vegetables cooked with meat, and if they do not obey the present canon, they are to be excluded from the ranks of the clergy.

    The fifty-second apostolic canon had already promulgated the same law with reference to the false Gnostic or Manichean asceticism, which declared that matter was satanic, and especially flesh and wine. Zonaras has perceived and pointed out that our canon treated of the agapoe, or lovefeasts, of the primitive Christians. He shows, besides, that ejfa>ptesqai means, to touch the meats, in the same sense as ajpogeu>esqai to taste. Matthaeus Blastares agrees with Zonaras.

    Finally; Routh has had the credit of contributing to the explanation of this canon. inasmuch as, relying on three mss., the Collectio of John of Antioch and the Latin versions, he has read eij de< bdelu>ssointo instead of eij de< bou>lointo , which has no meaning here. If bou>lointo is to be preserved, we must, with Beveridge, insert the negation mh< . But the reading bdelu>ssointo has still in its favor that the fifty-second apostolic canon, just quoted, and which treats of the same question, has the expression bdelusso>menov in the same sense as our canon. Let us add that kratei~n eJautw~n ought to be taken in the sense of ejgkratei~n, that is, to abstain.

    CAN. 15.

    Peri< tw~n diafero>ntwn tw~| kuriakw~| o[sa ejpisko>pou mh< o]ntov presbu>teroi ejpw>lhsan, ajnabalei~sqai (ajnakalei~sqai ), to< kuriakosei tou~ ejpisko>pou ei+nai, ei]per proshkiv thsodon ) tw~n peprame>nwn ajpodedwke>nai aujtoi~v tou>toiv plei>ona thtemporary use of the article sold to them has been worth more than the price paid for it.”

    If the purchaser of ecclesiastical properties has realized more by the temporary revenue of such properties than the price of the purchase, the Synod thinks there is no occasion to restore him this price, as he has already received a sufficient indemnity from the revenue, and that, according to the rules then in force, interest drawn from the purchase money was, not permitted. Besides, the purchaser had done wrong in buying ecclesiastical property during the vacancy of a see (sede vacante).

    B everidge and Routh have shown that in the text ajnakalei~sqai and pro>sodon , must be read. Peri< tw~n ajlogeusame>nwn h\ kai< ajlogeuome>nwn, o[soi prisqai h\marton, pe>nte kai< de>ka e]tesin uJpopeso>ntev koinwni>av tugcane>twsan th~v eijv taa| diatele>santev e]th pe>nte, to>te kai< th~v prosfora~v ejfapte>sqwsan ejxetaze>sqw de< aujtw~n kai< oJ ejn th~| uJpoptw>sei bi>ov, kai< ou[twv tugcane>twsan th~v filavqrwpi>av eij de> tinev katako>rwv ejn toi~v aJmarth>masi gego>nasi, thtwsan uJpo>ptwsin o[soi de< uJperba>ntev than tau>thn kai< gunai~kav e]contev peripeptw>kasi tw~| aJmarthnte kai< ei]kosi e]th uJpopese>twsan kai< koinwni>av tugcane>twsan th~v eijv tasantev pe>nte e]th ejn th~| koinwni>a| tw~n eujcw~n tugcane>twsan th~v prosfora~v eij de> tinev kai< gunai~kav e]contev kai< uJperba>ntev tonon h[marton, ejpi< th~| ejxo>dw| tou~ bi>ou tugcane>twsan th~v koinwni>av. “Those who have been or are now guilty of lying with beasts, supposing they are not twenty years old when they commit this sin, ought to be substrati for five years; they should then be allowed to join in the prayers, without offering the sacrifice (and would consequently live in the fourth degree of penitence); and after that time they might assist at the holy sacrifice. An examination must also be made of their conduct while they were substrati, and also notice taken of the lives they led. As for those who have sinned immoderately in this way (i.e. who have for a long time committed this sin), they must undergo a long substratio (no allowance will be made in their case). Those who are more than twenty, and have been married, and have nevertheless fallen into this sin, ought to be allowed to share in the prayers only after a substratio of twenty-five years; and after five years’ sharing in the prayers, they should be allowed to assist at the holy sacrifice. If married men more than fifty years old fall into this sin, they shall receive the communion only at the end of their lives.”

    On the expressions substrati, participation in prayers and in the sacrifice, cf. the remarks above on canons 4 and 5.

    CAN. 17.

    Tounouv kai< leprousantav, tou>touv prose>taxen hJ aJgi>a su>nodov eijv tounouv eu]cesqai.

    It is not easy to give the real meaning of this canon. It may perhaps mean: “Those who have committed acts of bestiality, and, being lepers themselves, have now (h]toi ) made others so, must pray among the ceimazome>noiv. Others translate it: “Those who have committed acts of bestiality, and are or have been lepers (leprw>santav, i.e., having been leprous), shall pray among the ceimazome>noiv. ” This last translation seems to us inexact; for leprw>santav, does not come from lepra>w, but from lepro>w , which has a transitive meaning, and signifies “to make leprous.” But even if we adopt the former translation without hesitation, it is still asked if the leprosy of which the canon speaks is the malady known by that name, and which lepers could communicate to others especially by cohabitation; or if it means spiritual leprosy, sin, and especially the sin of bestiality, and its wider extension by bad example. Van Espen thinks that the canon unites the two ideas, and that it speaks of the real leprosy caused precisely by this bestial depravity. By the word ceimazo>menoi some understand those possessed. This is the view of Beveridge and Routh. Others, particularly Suicer, think that the Council means by it penitents of the lowest degree, the flentes, who had no right to enter the church, but remained in the porch, in the open air, exposed to all inclemencies (ceimw>n ), and who must ask those who entered the church to intercede for them. As, however, the possessed also remained in the porch, the generic name of ceimazo>menoi was given to all who were there, i.e. who could not enter the church. We may therefore accept Suicer’s explanation, with whom agree Van Espen, Herbst, etc. Having settled this point, let us return to the explanation of le>pra. It is clear that; leprw>santav cannot possibly mean “those who have been lepers;” for there is no reason to be seen why those who were cured of that malady should have to remain outside the church among the flentes. Secondly, it is clear that the words leproumenoi . The preceding canon had decreed different penalties for different kinds of ajlogeusa>menoi. But that pronounced by canon being much severer than the preceding ones, the ajlogeusa>menoi of this canon must be greater sinners than those of the former one. This greater guilt cannot consist in the fact of a literal leprosy; for this malady was not a consequence of bestiality. But their sin was evidently greater when they tempted others to commit it. It is therefore le>pra in the figurative sense that we are to understand; and our canon thus means: “Those who were spiritually leprous through this sin, and tempting others to commit it made them leprous.”

    CAN. 18.

    Ei] tinev ejpi>skopoi katastaqe>ntev kai< mh< decqe>ntev uJpo< th~v paroiki>av ejkei>nhv, eiv h\n wjnoma>sqhsan, eJte>raiv bou>lointo paroiki>aiv, ejpie>nai kai< bia>zesqai touseiv kinei~n kat j aujtw~n, tou>touv ajfori>zesqai ejantoi bou>lointo eijv to< presbute>rion kaqe>zesqai, e]nqa h+san pro>teron presbu>teroi, mh< ajpoba>llesqai aujtouzwsi propouv, ajfairei~sqai aujtouou kai< gi>nesqa aujtouktouv. “If bishops, when elected, but not accepted by the parish for which they are nominated, introduce themselves into other parishes, and stir up strife against the bishops who are there instituted, they must be excommunicated.

    But if they (who are elected and not accepted) wish to live as priests in those places where they had hitherto served as priests, they need not lose that dignity. But if they stir up discord against the bishop of the place, they shall be deprived of their presbyterate, and be shut out from the Church.”

    As long as the people collectively had a share in the election of bishops, it often happened in the primitive Church that a bishop, regularly elected, was either expelled or rejected by a rising of the people. Even although, at the time of his election, the majority were in his favor, yet the minority often put a stop to it; just as we saw in 1848 and 1849, how a very small minority tyrannized over whole towns and countries, and even drove out persons who displeased t]hem. The thirty-fifth apostolical canon (thirty-sixth or thirty-seventh according to other reckonings) and the eighteenth of Antioch (A.D. 341) spoke also of such bishops driven from their dioceses.

    When one of these bishops tried by violence or by treachery to drive a colleague from his see, and to seize upon it, he was to incur the penalty of ajfori>zesqai. Van Espen understood by that, the deprivation of his episcopal dignity; but the ajforismoexcommunica tion, or exclusion from the communion of the Church. But the, canon adds, if a bishop not accepted by his Church does not make these criminal attempts, but will live modestly among the priests of his former congregation, he can do so, and “he shall not lose his dignity.” Is it here a question of the title and dignity of a bishop, but without jurisdiction; or does the word timh< signify here only the rank of a priest? Dionysius the Less (Exiguus) has taken it in the latter sense, and translated it, “If they will, as presbyters, continue in the order of the priesthood” (si voluerint in prebyterii ordine ut presbyteri residere). The Greek commentators Zonaras and others have taken it in the same sense. This canon was added to the Corp. jur. can. (c. 6, dist. 92).

    CAN. 19. [Osoi parqeni>an ejpaggello>menoi ajqetou~si than, tomwn o[ron ejkplhrou>twsan. Tantoi sunercome>nav parqe>nouv tisin wJv ajdelfasamen. “All who have taken a vow of virginity, and have broken that vow, are to be considered as bigamists (literally, must submit to the decrees and prescriptions concerning bigamists). We also forbid virgins to live as sisters with men.”

    The first part of the canon regards all young persons — men as well as women — who have taken a vow of virginity, and who, having thus, so to speak, betrothed themselves to God, are guilty of a quasi bigamy in violating that promise. They must therefore incur the punishment of bigamy (successiva), which, according to S. Basil the Great, consisted in one year’s seclusion. This canon, which Gratian adopted (c. 24, causa 27, quaest. 1), speaks only of the violation of the vow by a lawful marriage, whilst the thirteenth canon of Elvira speaks of those who break their vow by incontinence. In the second part the canon treats of the sunei>saktoi .

    On this point we refer to our remarks on the third canon of Nicaea, and on the twenty-seventh of Elvira.

    CAN. 20. jEa>n tinov gunh< moiceuqh~| h\ moiceu>sh| tiv, ejn eJpta< e]tesi dokei~ (dei~ ) aujtoou tucei~n kata< tougontav. “If any one has violated a married woman, or has broken the marriage bond, he must for seven years undergo the different degrees of penance, at the end of which lie will be admitted into the communion of the Church.”

    The simplest explanation of this canon is, “that the man or woman who has violated the marriage bond shal1 undergo a seven years’ penance;” but many reject this explanation, because the text says aujtocein , and consequently can refer only to the husband. Fleury and Routh think the, canon speaks, as does the seventieth of Elvira, of a woman who has broken the marriage tie with the knowledge and consent of her husband.

    The husband would therefore in this case be punished for this permission, just as if he had himself committed adultery. Van Espen has given another explanation: “That he who marries a woman already divorced for adultery is as criminal as if he had himself committed adultery.” But this explanation appears to us more forced than that already given; and we think that the Greek commentators Balsamon and Zonaras were right in giving the explanation we have offered first as the most natural. They think that the, Synod punished every adulterer, whether man or woman, by a seven years’ penance. There is no reason for making a mistake because only the word aujtofixed; for aujtoparty, and applies equally to the woman and the man: besides, in the preceding canon the masculine o[soi ejpaggello>menoi, includes young men and young women also. It is probable that the Trullan Synod of 692, in forming its eighty — seventh canon, had in view the twentieth of Ancyra. The sixty-ninth canon of Elvira Condemned to a lighter punishment — only five years of penance — him who had been only once guilty of adultery.

    CAN. 21.

    Peri< tw~n gunaikw~n tw~n ejkporveuousw~n kai< ajnairousw~n ta< gennw>mena kai< spoudazousw~n fqo>ria poiei~n oJ meterov o[rov medou ejkw>lusen, kai< tou>tw| sunti>qentai filanqrwpo>teron de< ti euJro>ntev wJri>samen dekaeth~ cro>non kata< tounouv (adde plnrw~sai ). “Women who prostitute themselves, and who kill the children thus begotten, or who try to destroy them when in their wombs, are by ancient law excommunicated to the end of their lives. We, however, have softened their punishment, and condemned them to the various appointed degrees of penance for ten years.”

    The sixty-third canon of Elvira had forbidden communion to be administered to such women even on their death-beds; and this was the canon which the Synod of Ancyra had probably here in view. The expression kai< tou>tw| sunti>qentai is vague: tinewords then mean, “and those who assist them.” We think, however, the first explanation is the easier and the more natural. Gentianus Hervetus and Van Espen have adopted it, translating thus: et ei quidam assentientur. CAN. 22.

    Peri< eJkousi>wn fo>nwn, uJpopipte>tewsan meou ejn tw~| te>lei tou~ Bi>ou kataxiou>sqwan. “As to willful murderers, they must be substrati, and not allowed to receive the communion as long as they live.”

    CAN. 23. jEpi< ajkousi>wn fo>nwn, oJ meterov o[rov ejn eJptaeti>a| keleu>ei tou~ telei>ou metascei~n kata< tounouv baqmou>v oJ de< deu>terov tonon plhrw~sai. “As to unpremeditated murder, the earlier ordinance allowed communion (to the homicide) at the end of a seven years’ penance; the second required only five years.”

    Of the first and second ordinances referred to in this canon nothing further is’ known; as to the terms o[rov, te>leion , and baqmoi< , see the canons of Ancyra already explained.

    CAN. 24.

    OiJ katamanteuo>menoi kai< tai~v sunhqei>aiv tw~n cro>nwn (ejqnw~n ) ejxakolouqou~ntev h\ eijsa>gonte>v tinav eijv tousei farmakeiw~n h\ kai< kaqa>rsei, uJpo< tona pipte>twsan th~v pentaeti>an kata< tounouv, tri>a e]th uJpoptw>sewv kai< du>o e]th eujch~v cwrifollow pagan customs, or admit into their houses people (magicians) in order to discover magical remedies, or to perform expiation’s, must be sentenced to a five years’ penance, to three years of substratio, and to two years of attendance at prayers without the sacrifice (non-communicating attendance).”

    We must refer to the explanations we have given under canon 4 on the different degrees of penance. It has long been known (as witnesses we have the old Greek commentators Balsamon and Zonaras, and the old Latin interpreters Dionysius the Less and Isidore, confirmed by Routh) that the correct reading is ejqnw~n instead of cronw~n. The canon threatens equally diviners and those who consult them and summon them to their houses to prepare magical remedies and perform expiation’s.

    CAN. 25.

    Mnhsteusa>meno>v tiv ko>rhn prosefqa>rh th~| ajdelfh~| aujth~v, wJv kai< ejpifore>sai aujth>n e]ghme de< thgxato oiJ suneido>tev ejkeleu>sqhsan ejn dekaeti>a| decqh~nai eijv tounouv baqmou>v. “A certain person who had betrothed himself to a girl, had connection with her sister, so that she became pregnant: he then married his betrothed, and his sister-in-law hanged herself. It was determined that all his accomplices should be admitted among the sistentes (i.e. to the fourth degree of penance), after passing, through the appointed degrees for ten years.”

    The Council here decides, as we see, a particular case which was submitted to it; and it condemned not only the particular offender, but all the accomplices who had assisted him to commit the crime, who had advised him to leave her he had seduced, and to marry her sister, or the like. The punishment inflicted was very severe, for it was only at the end of ten years (passed in the three first degrees of penance) that the offenders were admitted to the fourth degree. It is not stated how long they were to remain in that degree before admission to the communion. The Greek verb prosfqei>romai generally means, “to do anything to one’s hurt:” joined to gunaiki< or some other similar word, it has the meaning we have given it. We have rendered ajphgcw signifies every kind of suicide.

    SEC. 17. SYNOD OF NEOCOESAREA (314-325).

    According to the title which the ancient Greek MSS. give to the canons of the Synod of Neocaesarea in Cappadocia, this Synod was held a little later than that Ancyra, but before that of Nicaea. The names of the bishops who assisted at it seem to furnish a second chronological support to this view. They are for the most part the same as those who are named at the Council of Ancyra, Vitalis of Antioch at their head (the Libellus Synodicus reckons twenty-four of them); but neither the Greek Mss. nor Dionysius the Less have these names. Tillemont and other writers have for this reason raised doubts as to the historical value of these lists, and the brothers Ballerini have not hesitated to disallow their authenticity. It remains, however, an incontestable fact, that the Synod of Neocaesarea took place at about the same time as that of Ancyra, after the death of Maximin the persecutor of the Christians (313), and before the Synod of Nicaea (325). Ordinarily the same date is assigned to it as to that of Ancyra, 314 or 315; but to me it seems more probable that it took place several years later, because there is no longer any question about the lapsed. The Synod of Ancyra had devoted no fewer than ten canons (1-9 and 12) to this subject, as a persecution had then just ceased; the Synod of Neocaesarea did not touch on these matters, probably because at the time when it assembled the lapsed had already received their sentence, and there were no more measures necessary to be taken on that subject. The Libellus Synodicus, it is true, states that the Synod of (Neo) Caesarea occupied itself with those who had sacrificed to the gods or abjured their religion, or had eaten of sacrifices offered to idols, and during the persecution; but the canons of the Council say not a word of them. It is probable that the late and very inaccurate Libellus Synodicus confounded, on this point, the Synod of Neocaesarea with that of Ancyra. It has, without any grounds, been alleged that the canons of Neocaesarea which spoke of the lapsi have been destroyed. CAN. 1.

    Presbu>terov ejaxewv aujtoqesqai, ejash| h\ moiceu>sh|, ejxwqei~sqai aujtoleon kai< a]gesqai aujtonoian. “If a priest marry, he shall be removed from the ranks of the clergy; if he commit fornication or adultery, he shall be excommunicated, and shall submit to penance.”

    The meaning is as follows: “If a priest marry after ordination, he shall be deposed from his priestly order, and reduced to the communio laicalis; if he is guilty of fornication or adultery, he must be excommunicated, and must pass through all the degrees of penance in ‘order to regain cornmullion with the Church.” We have seen above, in canon 10 of Ancyra, that in one case deacons were, allowed to marry after ordination, — namely, when they had announced their intention of doing so at the time of theft election. In the case of priests neither the Council of Ancyra nor that of Neocaesarea made any exception. This first canon has been inserted in the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 2.

    Gunh< ejamhtai du>o ajdelfoi~v, ejxwqei>sqw me>cri qana>tou, plhtw|, dia< than, eijpou~sa wJv uJgia>nasa lu>sei tomon, e[xei thnoian ejash| hJ gunh< ejn toiou>tw| ga>mw| ou+sa h]toi oJ ajnhnanti hJ meta>noia. “If a woman has married two brothers, she shall be excommunicated till her death; if she is in danger of death, and promises incase of recovery to break off this illegitimate union, she may, as an act of mercy, be admitted to penance. If the woman or husband die in this union, the penance for the survivor will be very strict.”

    This is a question of marriage of the first degree of affinity, which is still forbidden by the present law. The canon punishes such marriages with absolute excommunication; so that he who had entered into such should not obtain communion even in articulo mortis, unless he promised in case of recovery to break this union. This promise being given, he can be admitted to penance (e[xei thnoian ). Zonaras thus correctly explains these words: “In this case he shall receive the holy communion in articulo mortis, provided he promises that, if he recovers, he will submit to penance.” Canon 6 of Ancyra was explained in the same way.

    CAN. 3.

    Peri< tw~n plei>stoiv ga>moiv peripipto>ntwn oJ menov safhnov hJ de< ajnastrofh< kai< hJ pi>stiv aujtw~n sunte>mnei tonon . “As for those who have been often married, the duration of their penance is well known; but their good conduct and faith may shorten that period.”

    As the Greek commentators have remarked, this canon speaks of those who have been married more than twice. It is not known what were the ancient ordinances of penitence which the Synod here refers to. In later times, bigamists were condemned to one year’s penance, and trigamists from two to five years. S. Basil places the trigamists for three years among the audientes, then for some time among the consistentes. Gratian has inserted this third canon of Neocaesarea in the c. 8, causa 31, quaest. 1, in connection with canon 7 of the same Synod.

    CAN. 4. jEaqhtai> tiv ejpiqumh~sai (ejpiqumh>sav ) gunaikomhsiv, fai>netai o[ti uJpo< th~v ca>ritov ejrjrJu>sqh. “If a man who burns with love for a woman proposes to live with her, but does not perform his intention, it is to be believed that he was restrained by grace.”

    Instead of ejpiqumh~sai we must read, with Beveridge and Routh, who rely upon several Mss., ejpiqumh>sav . They also replace met j aujth~v by aujth~| . The meaning of this canon is, that “he who has sinned only in thought must not undergo a public penance.” CAN. 5.

    Kathcou>menov, eJamenov eijv (to< ) kuriakonwn ta>xei sth>|kh|, ou=tov de< (fanh~| ) aJarta>nwn, ejanu kli>nwn, ajkroa>sqw mhke>ti aJmarta>nwn jEamenov e]ti aJmarta>nh|, ejxwqei>sqw. “If a catechumen, after being introduced into the Church, and admitted into the ranks of the catechumens, acts as a sinner, he must, if he is genuflectens (i.e. to say, in the second degree of penance), become audiens (the lowest degree), until he sins no more. If, after being audiens, he continues to sin, he shall be entirely excluded from the Church.”

    Routh, on good critical grounds, recommends the introduction into the text of to< and fanh~| . The form sth>kh| and the verb sth>kw , to stand up, do not occur in classical Greek, but are often found in the New Testament, e.g. in S. Mark 11:25, and are formed from the regular perfect; e[sthka. Hardouin thinks the canon has in view the carnal sins of catechumens; and aJma>rthma has elsewhere this meaning, e.g. in canons 2, 9, and 14 of Nicaea. CAN. 6.

    Peri< kuoforou>shv, o[ti dei~ fwti>zesqai oJpo>te bou>letai oujdetw| koinwnei~ hJ ti>ktousa tw~| tiktome>nw| dia< to< eJka>stou iJdi>an thresin tha| dei>knusqai. “A woman with child may be illuminated (i.e. to say, baptized) whenever she demands it; for she who bears has nothing on this account in common with him who is borne, since each party must profess his own willingness (to be baptized) by his confession of faith.”

    Some thought that when a woman with child is baptized, the grace of the sacrament is given to the fruit of her womb, and so to baptize this child again after its birth is in a manner to administer a second baptism; and they conclude that they ought not to baptize a pregnant woman, but that they must wait till her delivery.

    CAN. 7.

    Presbu>teron eijv ga>mouv digamou>ntwn (digamou~ntov ) mh< eJstia~sqai, ejpei< meta>noian aijtou~ntov tou~ diga>mou, ti>v e]stai oJ presbu>terov, oJ dia< th~v eJstia>sewv sugkatatiqe>menov toi~v ga>moiv; “No priest shall eat at the marriage feast of those who are married for the second time; for if such a bigamist should (afterwards) ask leave to do penance, how stands the priest who, by his presence at the feast, had given his approval to the marriage?”

    We have already seen by canon 3, that in the East that successive bigamy (bigamid successiva) which is here in question, as Beveridge thinks, and not bigamy properly so called, was punished in the East by a year’s penance. The meaning of the canon is as follows: “If the bigamist, after contracting his second marriage, comes to the priest to be told the punishmerit he has to undergo, how stands the priest himself, who for the sake of the feast has become his accomplice in the offense?”

    CAN. 8.

    Gunh> tinov moiceuqei~sa lai`kou~ o]ntov ejaan ejlqei~n ouj du>natai ejaan moiceuqh~|, ojfei>lei ajpolu~sai aujthnatai e]cesqai th~v ejgceirisqei>shv aujtw~| uJphresi>av. “If the wife of a layman has been unfaithful to her husband, and her sin is openly known, her (innocent) husband cannot be admitted to the service of the Church; but if she has violated the law of marriage after her husband’s ordination, he must leave her. If, in spite of this, he continues to live with her, he must resign the sacred functions which have been entrusted to him.”

    The Corp. jur. can. has adopted this canon. The reason for this ordinance evidently consists in this, that through the close connection between a man and his wife, a husband is dishonored by an adulterous wife, and a dishonored man cannot become an ecclesiastic. The Pastor of Hermas had already shown that a husband must leave his adulterous wife. CAN. 9.

    Presbu>terov, ejamati proacqh~| kai< oJmologh>sh| o[ti h[marte pro< th~v ceirotoni>av, mh< prosfere>tw, me>nwn ejn toi~v loipoi~v dia< thn ta< gamata ]fasan oiJ polloi< kai< than ajfie>nai ejanw| poiei~sqai than. “A priest who has committed a carnal sin before being ordained, and who of his own accord confesses that he has sinned before ordination, must not offer the holy sacrifice; but he may continue his other functions if he is zealous, for many think that other sins (except that of incontinence) were blotted out by his ordination as priest, But if he does not confess it, and he cannot clearly be convicted, it shall be in his own power to act (as he will, i.e. to offer the sacrifice, or to refrain from offering).”


    CAN. 10.

    JOmoi>wv kai< dia>konov, ejamati peripe>sh|, thtou ta>xin ejce>tw. “In the same way, the deacon who has committed the same sin must only have the office of an inferior minister.”

    The preposition ejn , before tw~| is struck out by Routh, on the authority of several Mss. By ministri (uJph>retai ) are meant the inferior officers of the Church the so-called minor orders, often including the sub-deacons. This canon, completely distorted by false translations (of the Prisca and Isidore), was made into one canon with the preceding in the Corp. jur. can . CAN. 11.

    Presbu>terov pro< tw~n tria>konta ejtw~n mh< ceirotonei>sqw, ejanu h+| oJ a]nqrwpov a]xiov, ajlla< ajpothrei>sqw oJ gariov jIhsou~v Cristosqh kai< h]rxato dida>skein. “No one is to be ordained priest before he is thirty years old. Even although he be in every respect worthy, he must wait; for our Lord Jesus Christ, when thirty years old, was baptized, and began (at that age) to teach.”

    We know that, in the primitive Church, fwti>zesqai , to be illuminated, means to be baptized. We find this canon in the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 12. jEateron a]gesqai ouj du>natai, — oujk ejk proaire>sewv gastiv aujtou~, ajll j ejx ajna>gkhv, —eij mh< ta>ca dia< thstin kai< dia< spa>nin ajnqrw>pwn. “If a man is baptized when he is ill, he cannot be ordained priest; for it was not spontaneously, but of necessity (through fear of death), that he made profession of the faith — unless, perhaps, he has displayed great zeal and faith, or if the supply of candidates fails.”

    All commentators, except Aubespine, say that this canon, which was received into the Corp. jur. can., speaks of those who, by their own fault, have deferred the reception of baptism till their deathbed. Aubespine thinks that it refers to catechumens who have not received baptism earlier through no fault of their own, but who, finding themselves smitten by a severe sickness, are baptized before the usual time, i.e. ‘before receiving all the necessary instruction. It was, he added, on account of this want of instruction that they were forbidden to enter the priesthood if they regained their health. But the forty-seventh canon of Laodicea tells us that in the primitive Church it was the duty of such catechumens to receive instruction even after baptism, and this alone overthrows Aubespine’s conjecture. CAN. 13. jEpicw>rioi presbu>teroi ejn tw~| kuriakw~| th~v po>lewv prosfe>rein ouj du>nantai paro>ntov ejpisko>pou h[ presbute>rwn po>lewv, ou]te mhnai ejn eujch~| oujde< poth>rion ejanov, di>dwsin. “Country priests must not offer the holy sacrifice in the town church (the cathedral)when the bishop or the town priests are present: they must not do more than distribute, with prayer, the bread and the chalice. But if the bishop and his priests are absent, and if the country priest be invited to celebrate, he may administer holy communion.”

    Instead of klhqh~| , the old Latin translators of the canons, Dionysius the Less and Isidore, read klhqw~si, mo>noi ; that is to say, “If they are asked, then only can they administer the Lord’s Supper;” and Routh recommends this reading. This canon is contained in the Corp. jur. can. CAN. 14.

    OiJ de< cwrepi>skopoi eijsi< mepon tw~n eJbdomh>konta wJv de< sulleitourgoi< dia< thpousi pimw>menoi . “The chorepiscopi represent the seventy disciples of Christ as fellowworkers; and on account of their zeal for the poor, they have the honor of offering the sacrifice.”

    A function is here assigned to the chorepiscopi which is denied to country priests, namely, the offering of the holy sacrifice in the cathedral, in the presence of the bishop and the town priests. On the chorepiscopi, compare c. 13 of Ancyra, and our remarks below on canon 57 of Laodicea. Many Mss. and editions have canons 13 and 14 in one.

    CAN. 15.

    Dia>konoi eJpta< ojfei>lousin ei+nai kata< tona, ka[n pa>nu mega>lh ei]n hJ po>liv peisqh>sh| de< ajpo< th~v bi>blou tw~n Pra>xewn. “In even the largest towns there must be, as a rule, no more than seven deacons. This may be proved from the Acts of the Apostles.”

    This canon was given in the Corp. jur. can.


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