The Seven Ecumenical Councils. Synod of Laodicea.

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Edited with Notes Gathered from the Writings of the Greatest Scholars

by Henry R. Percival, M.A., D.D.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.


Synod of Laodicea.

a.d. 343-381.


Historical Introduction.

The Canons, with the Ancient Epitome and Notes.

Excursus to Canon XVIII., On the Choir Offices of the Early Church.

Excursus to Canon XIX., On the Worship of the Early Church.

Excursus to Canon XXII., On the Vestments of the Early Church.

Excursus to Canon XXIV., On the Minor Orders in the Early Church.


Historical Introduction.

The Laodicea at which the Synod met is Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana, also called Laodicea ad Lycum, and to be carefully distinguished from the Laodicea in Syria. This much is certain, but as to the exact date of the Synod there is much discussion. Peter de Marca fixed it at the year 365, but Pagi in his Critica on Baronius's Annals [172] seems to have overthrown the arguments upon which de Marca rested, and agrees with Gothofred in placing it circa 363. At first sight it would seem that the Seventh Canon gave a clue which would settle the date, inasmuch as the Photinians are mentioned, and Bishop Photinus began to be prominent in the middle of the fourth century and was anathematized by the Eusebians in a synod at Antioch in 344, and by the orthodox at Milan in 345; and finally, after several other condemnations, he died in banishment in 366. But it is not quite certain whether the word "Photinians" is not an interpolation. Something with regard to the date may perhaps be drawn from the word Pakatianes as descriptive of Phrygia, for it is probable that this division was not yet made at the time of the Sardican Council in 343. Hefele concludes that "Under such circumstances, it is best, with Remi Ceillier, Tillemont, and others, to place the meeting of the synod of Laodicea generally somewhere between the years 343 and 381, i.e., between the Sardican and the Second Ecumenical Council--and to give up the attempt to discover a more exact date." [173]

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But since the traditional position of the canons of this Council is after those of Antioch and immediately before those of First Constantinople, I have followed this order. Such is their position in "very many old collections of the Councils which have had their origin since the sixth or even in the fifth century," says Hefele. It is true that Matthew Blastares places these canons after those of Sardica, but the Quinisext Synod in its Second Canon and Pope Leo IV., according to the Corpus Juris Canonici, [174] give them the position which they hold in this volume.


[172] Pagi: Crit. in Annal. Baron., a.d. 314, n. xxv. Baronius's view that this synod was held before that of Nice because the book of Judith is not mentioned among the books of the O.T., and because its canons are sometimes identical with those of Nice, is universally rejected. [173] Hefele: Hist. of the Councils, Vol. II., p. 298. [174] Gratian: Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xx., c. 1. It is from Leo's letter to the British Bishops.


The Canons of the Synod Held in the City of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, in which Many Blessed Fathers from Divers Provinces of Asia Were Gathered Together. [175]

The holy synod which assembled at Laodicea in Phrygia Pacatiana, from divers regions of Asia; set forth the ecclesiastical definitions which are hereunder annexed.


This brief preface, by some ancient collector, is found in the printed editions of Zonaras and of Balsamon and also in the Amerbachian manuscript.


[175] Such is the caption in the Parisian edition of Zonaras; so too reads the Amerbachian codex; adding, however, that the number of canons is 60, and substituting for "Pacatiana" "Capatiana," a not unusual form of the same word.

Canon I.

It is right, according to the ecclesiastical Canon, that the Communion should by indulgence be given to those who have freely and lawfully joined in second marriages, not having previously made a secret marriage; after a short space, which is to be spent by them in prayer and fasting.


Ancient Epitome of Canon I.

A digamist not secretly married, after devoting himself for a short time to praying shall be held blameless afterwards.

Van Espen.

Many synods imposed a penance upon digamists, although the Church never condemned second marriages.

On this whole subject of second marriages see notes on Canon VIII. of Nice, on Canons III. and VII. of Neocæsarea, and on Canon XIX. of Ancyra. In treating of this canon Hefele does little but follow Van Espen, who accepts Bishop Beveridge's conclusions in opposition to Justellus and refers to him, as follows, "See this observation of Justellus' refuted more at length by William Beveridge in his notes on this canon," and Bp. Beveridge adopted and defended the exposition of the Greek commentators, viz.: there is some fault and some punishment, they are to be held back from communion for "a short space," but after that, it is according to the law of the Church that they should be admitted to communion. The phrase "not having previously made a secret marriage" means that there must not have been intercourse with the woman before the second marriage was "lawfully" contracted, for if so the punishment would have been for fornication, and neither light nor for "a short space." The person referred to in the canon is a real digamist and not a bigamist, this is proved by the word "lawfully" which could not be used of the second marriage of a man who already had a living wife.

Canon II.

They who have sinned in divers particulars, if they have persevered in the prayer of confession and penance, and are wholly converted from their faults, shall be received again to communion, through the mercy and goodness of God, after a time of penance appointed to them, in proportion to the nature of their offence.


Ancient Epitome of Canon II.

Those who have fallen unto various faults and have confessed them with compunction, and done the penance suitable to them, shall be favourably received.


Van Espen and others were of opinion that this canon treated only of those who had themselves been guilty of various criminal acts, and it has been asked whether any one guilty not only of one gross sin, but of several of various kinds, might also be again received into communion. It seems to me, however, that this canon with the words, "those who have sinned in divers particulars," simply means that "sinners of various kinds shall be treated exactly in proportion to the extent of their fall." That the question is not necessarily of different sins committed by the same person appears from the words, "in proportion to the nature of their offence," as the singular, not the plural, is here used.

But Van Espen, with Aubespine, is clearly right in not referring the words, "if they persevere in confession and repentance," to sacramental confession, to which the expression "persevere" would not be well suited. Here is evidently meant the oft-repeated contrite confession before God and the congregation in prayer of sins committed, which preceded sacramental confession and absolution.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXVI., Quæst. vii., can. iv.

Canon III.

He who has been recently baptized ought not to be promoted to the sacerdotal order.


Ancient Epitome of Canon III.

A neophite is not ordainable.

This rule is laid down in the Second Nicene canon. Balsamon also compares Apostolic Canon lxxx.


Notwithstanding this provision, that great light, Nectarius, just separated from the flock of the catechumens, when he had washed away the sins of his life in the divine font, now pure himself, he put on the most pure dignity of the episcopate, and at the same time became bishop of the Imperial City, and president of the Second Holy Ecumenical Synod.

Canon IV.

They who are of the sacerdotal order ought not to lend and receive usury, nor what is called hemioliæ.


Ancient Epitome of Canon IV.

A priest is not to receive usury nor hemioliæ.

The same rule is laid down in the seventeenth Canon of Nice. For a treatment of the whole subject of usury see excursus to that canon.

Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore have numbered this canon v., and our fifth they have as iv.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLVI., can. ix.

Canon V.

Ordinations are not to be held in the presence of hearers.


Ancient Epitome of Canon V.

Ordinations are not to be performed in the presence of hearers.


This canon calls elections "laying on of hands," and says that since in elections unworthy things are often said with regard to those who are elected, therefore they should not take place in the presence of any that might happen to come to hear.

Zonaras also agrees that election is here intended, but Aristenus dissents and makes the reference to ordinations properly so-called, as follows:


The prayers of ordination are not to be said out loud so that they may be heard by the people.

Canon VI.

It is not permitted to heretics to enter the house of God while they continue in heresy.


Ancient Epitome of Canon VI.

The holy place is forbidden to heretics.


Heretics are not to be permitted to enter the house of God, and yet Basil the Great, before this canon was set forth, admitted Valens to the perfecting of the faithful [i.e., to the witnessing the celebration of the Divine Mysteries].

Van Espen.

A heretic who pertinaciously rejects the doctrine of the Church is rightly not allowed to enter the house of God, in which his doctrine is set forth, so long as he continues in his heresy. For this reason when Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria, was consulted concerning the admission of heretics to church, answered in the IXth Canon of his Canonical Epistle, that unless they were ready to promise to do penance and to abandon their heresy, they could in no way be admitted to the prayers of the faithful.

Contrast with this Canon lxxxiv., of the so-called IVth Council of Carthage, a.d. 398.

Canon VII.

Persons converted from heresies, that is, of the Novatians, Photinians, and Quartodecimans, whether they were catechumens or communicants among them, shall not be received until they shall have anathematized every heresy, and particularly that in which they were held; and afterwards those who among them were called communicants, having thoroughly learned the symbols of the faith, and having been anointed with the holy chrism, shall so communicate in the holy Mysteries.


Ancient Epitome of Canon VII.

Novatians and Photinians, and Quartodecimans, unless they anathemathize their own and other heresies, are not to be received. When they have been anointed, after their abjuration, let them communicate.

I have allowed the word "Photinians" to stand in the text although whether it is not an interpolation is by no means certain. They certainly were heretical on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and therefore differed from the other dissidents mentioned in the canon, all of whom were orthodox on this matter. It is also worthy of note that the word is not found in Ferrandus's Condensation (Breviatio Canonum, n. 177) nor in Isidore's version. Moreover there is a Latin codex in Lucca, and also one in Paris (as is noted by Mansi, v. 585; ii. 591) in which it is lacking. It was rejected by Baronius, Binius, and Remi Ceillier.

The word "Catechumens" is wanting in many Greek mss. but found in Balsamon, moreover, Dionysius and Isidore had it in their texts.

This canon possesses a great interest and value to the student from a different point of view. Its provisions, both doctrinal and disciplinary, are in contrariety with the provisions of the council held at Carthage in the time of St. Cyprian, and yet both these canons, contradictory as they are, are accepted by the Council in Trullo and are given such ecumenical authority as canons on discipline ever can possess, by the Seventh Ecumenical. This is not the only matter in which the various conciliar actions adopted and ratified do not agree inter se, and from this consideration it would seem evident that it was not intended that to each particular of each canon of each local synod adopted, the express sanction of the Universal Church was given, but that they were received in block as legislation well calculated for the good of the Church. And that this must have been the understanding at the time is evinced by the fact that while the Trullan canons condemned a number of Western customs and usages, as I shall have occasion to point out in its proper place, no objection was made by the Roman legates to the canon of the Seventh Ecumenical which received them as authoritative.

Canon VIII.

Persons converted from the heresy of those who are called Phrygians, even should they be among those reputed by them as clergymen, and even should they be called the very chiefest, are with all care to be both instructed and baptized by the bishops and presbyters of the Church.


Ancient Epitome of Canon VIII.

When Phrygians return they are to be baptized anew, even if among them they were reckoned clergymen.


This synod here declares the baptism of the Montanists invalid, while in the preceding canon it recognised as valid the baptism of the Novatians and Quartodecimans. From this, it would appear that the Montanists were suspected of heresy with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. Some other authorities of the ancient Church, however, judged differently, and for a long time it was a question in the Church whether to consider the baptism of the Montanists valid or not. Dionysius the Great of Alexandria was in favour of its validity: but this Synod and the Second General Council rejected it as invalid, not to mention the Synod of Iconium (235), which declared all heretical baptism invalid. This uncertainty of the ancient Church is accounted for thus: (a) On one side the Montanists, and especially Tertullian, asserted that they held the same faith and sacraments, especially the same baptism (eadem lavacri sacramenta) as the Catholics. St. Epiphanius concurred in this, and testified that the Montanists taught the same regarding the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as did the Catholic Church. (b) Other Fathers, however, thought less favourably of them, and for this reason, that the Montanists often expressed themselves so ambiguously, that they might, nay, must be said completely to identify the Holy Ghost with Montanus. Thus Tertullian in quoting expressions of Montanus, actually says: "the Paraclete speaks"; and therefore Firmilian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil the Great, and other Fathers, did in fact, reproach the Montanists with this identification, and consequently held their baptism to be invalid. (c) Basil the Great goes to the greatest length in this direction in maintaining that the Montanists had baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of Montanus and Priscilla. But it is very probable, as Tillemont conjectured, that Basil only founded these strange stories of their manner of baptizing upon his assumption that they identified Montanus with the Holy Ghost; and, as Baronius maintains, it is equally "probable that the Montanists did not alter the form of baptism. But, even admitting all this, their ambiguous expressions concerning Montanus and the Holy Ghost would alone have rendered it advisable to declare their baptism invalid." (d) Besides this, a considerable number of Montanists, namely, the school of Ęschines, fell into Sabellianism, and thus their baptism was decidedly invalid. (Vide Article in Wetzer and Welte Kirchenlexicon s.v. Montanus; by myself [i.e. Hefele]).

In conclusion, it must be observed that Balsamon and Zonaras rightly understood the words in our text, "even though they be called the very chiefest," "though they be held in the highest esteem," to refer to the most distinguished clergy and teachers of the Montanists.

Canon IX.

The members of the Church are not allowed to meet in the cemeteries, nor attend the so-called martyries of any of the heretics, for prayer or service; but such as so do, if they be communicants, shall be excommunicated for a time; but if they repent and confess that they have sinned they shall be received.


Ancient Epitome of Canon IX.

Whoso prayeth in the cemeteries and martyries of heretics is to be excommunicated.


By the word "service" (therapeias) in this canon is to be understood the healing of sickness. The canon wishes that the faithful should under no pretence betake themselves to the prayers of heretical pseudo-martyrs nor pay them honour in the hope of obtaining the healing of sickness or the cure of their various temptations. And if any do so, they are to be cut off, that is for a time forbidden communion (and this refers to the faithful who are only laymen), but when they have done penance and made confession of their fault, the canon orders that they are to be received back again.


As canon vi. forbids heretics to enter the house of God, so this canon forbids the faithful to go to the cemeteries of heretics, which are called by them "Martyries."...For in the days of the persecution, certain of the heretics, calling themselves Christians, suffered even to death, and hence those who shared their opinions called them "martyrs."

Van Espen.

As Catholics had their martyrs, so too had the heretics, and especially the Montanists or Phrygians, who greatly boasted of them. Apollinaris writes of these as may be seen in Eusebius (H. E., Lib. v., cap. xvi.)

The places or cemeteries in which rested the bodies of those they boasted of as martyrs, they styled "Martyries" (martyria) as similar places among Catholics were wont to be called by the same name, from the bones of the martyrs that rested there.

From the Greek text, as also from Isidore's version it is clear that this canon refers to all the faithful generally, and that "the members of the Church" (Lat. Ecclesiastici, the word Dionysius uses) must be taken in this wide signification.

Canon X.

The members of the Church shall not indiscriminately marry their children to heretics.


Ancient Epitome of Canon X.

Thou shalt not marry a heretic.


(Bib. der Kirchenvers., pt. ii., p. 324.)

"Indiscriminately" means not that they might be given in marriage to some heretics and not to others; but that it should not be considered a matter of indifference whether they were married to heretics or orthodox.

Zonaras and Balsamon, led astray by the similar canon enacted at Chalcedon (number xiv.), suppose this restriction only to apply to the children of the clergy, but Van Espen has shewn that the rule is of general application. He adds, however, the following:

Van Espen.

Since by the custom of the Greeks, ecclesiastics are allowed to have wives, there is no doubt that the marriage of their children with heretics would be indecent in a very special degree, although there are many things which go to shew that marriage with heretics was universally deemed a thing to be avoided by Catholics, and was rightly forbidden.

Canon XI.

Presbytides, as they are called, or female presidents, are not to be appointed in the Church.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XI.

Widows called presidents shall not be appointed in churches.


In old days certain venerable women (presbutides) sat in Catholic churches, and took care that the other women kept good and modest order. But from their habit of using improperly that which was proper, either through their arrogancy or through their base self-seeking, scandal arose. Therefore the Fathers prohibited the existence in the Church thereafter of any more such women as are called presbytides or presidents. And that no one may object that in the monasteries of women one woman must preside over the rest, it should be remembered that the renunciation which they make of themselves to God and the tonsure brings it to pass that they are thought of as one body though many; and all things which are theirs, relate only to the salvation of the soul. But for woman to teach in a Catholic Church, where a multitude of men is gathered together, and women of different opinions, is, in the highest degree, indecorous and pernicious.


It is doubtful what was here intended, and this canon has received very different interpretations. In the first place, what is the meaning of the words presbutides and prokathemenai ("presbytides" and female presidents)? I think the first light is thrown on the subject by Epiphanius, who in his treatise against the Collyridians (Hær., lxxix. 4) says that "women had never been allowed to offer sacrifice, as the Collyridians presumed to do, but were only allowed to minister. Therefore there were only deaconesses in the Church, and even if the oldest among them were called `presbytides,' this term must be clearly distinguished from presbyteresses. The latter would mean priestesses (hierissas), but `presbytides' only designated their age, as seniors." According to this, the canon appears to treat of the superior deaconesses who were the overseers (prokathemenai) of the other deaconesses; and the further words of the text may then probably mean that in future no more such superior deaconesses or eldresses were to be appointed, probably because they had often outstepped their authority.

Neander, Fuchs, and others, however, think it more probable that the terms in question are in this canon to be taken as simply meaning deaconesses, for even in the church they had been wont to preside over the female portion of the congregation (whence their name of "presidents"); and, according to St. Paul's rule, only widows over sixty years of age were to be chosen for this office (hence called "presbytides"). We may add, that this direction of the apostle was not very strictly adhered to subsequently, but still it was repeatedly enjoined that only elder persons should be chosen as deaconesses. Thus, for instance, the Council of Chalcedon, in its fifteenth canon, required that deaconesses should be at least forty years of age, while the Emperor Theodosius even prescribed the age of sixty.

Supposing now that this canon simply treats of deaconesses, a fresh doubt arises as to how the last words--"they are not to be appointed in the Church" are to be understood. For it may mean that "from henceforth no more deaconesses shall be appointed;" or, that "in future they shall no more be solemnly ordained in the church." The first interpretation would, however, contradict the fact that the Greek Church had deaconesses long after the Synod of Laodicea. For instance, in 692 the Synod in Trullo (Can. xiv.) ordered that "no one under forty years of age should be ordained deaconess." Consequently the second interpretation, "they shall not be solemnly ordained in the church," seems a better one, and Neander decidedly prefers it. It is certainly true that several later synods distinctly forbade the old practice of conferring a sort of ordination upon deaconesses, as, for instance, the first Synod of Orange (Arausicanum I. of 441, Can. xxvi.) in the words--diaconæ omnimodis non ordinandæ; also the Synod at Epaon in 517 (Can. xxi.), and the second Synod at Orleans in 533 (Can. xviii.); but in the Greek Church at least, an ordination, a cheirotoneisthai , took place as late as the Council in Trullo (Can. xiv.). But this Canon of Laodicea does not speak of solemn dedication, and certainly not of ordination, but only of kathistasthai. These reasons induce us to return to the first interpretation of this canon, and to understand it as forbidding from that time forward the appointment of any more chief deaconesses or "presbytides."

Zonaras and Balsamon give yet another explanation. In their opinion, these "presbytides" were not chief deaconesses, but aged women in general (ex populo), to whom was given the supervision of the females, in church. The Synod of Laodicea, however, did away with this arrangement, probably because they had misused their office for purposes of pride, or money-making, bribery, etc.

Compare with the foregoing the Excursus on Deaconesses, appended to Canon XIX. of Nice.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XXXII., c. xix., in Isidore's version; but Van Espen remarks that the Roman Correctors have pointed out that it departs widely from the Greek original. The Roman Correctors further say "The note of Balsamon on this point should be seen;" and with this interpretation Morinus also agrees in his work on Holy Orders (De Ordinationibus, Pars III., Exercit. x., cap. iii., n. 3).

Canon XII.

Bishops are to be appointed to the ecclesiastical government by the judgment of the metropolitans and neighbouring bishops, after having been long proved both in the foundation of their faith and in the conversation of an honest life.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XII.

Whoever is most approved in faith and life and most learned, he is fit to be chosen bishop.

The first part of this canon is in conformity with the provision in the IV. canon of Nice.

Canon XIII.

The election of those who are to be appointed to the priesthood is not to be committed to the multitude.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XIII.

Whoso is chosen by seculars is ineligible.


From this canon it is evident that in ancient times not only bishops but also priests were voted for by the multitude of the people. This is here forbidden.


Bishops are elected by metropolitans and other bishops. If anyone in this manner shall not have been promoted to the Episcopate, but shall have been chosen by the multitude, he is not to be admitted nor elected.

[It is clear from this that by "the Priesthood" Aristenus understands the episcopate, and I think rightly.]

Van Espen.

The word in the Greek to which "multitude" corresponds (ochlos) properly signifies a tumult. [176]

What the fathers intend to forbid are tumultuous elections, that is, that no attention is to be paid to riotous demonstrations on the part of the people, when with acclamations they are demanding the ordination of anyone, with an appearance of sedition. Such a state of affairs St. Augustine admirably describes in his Epistola ad Albinam (Epist. cxxvi., Tom. II, col. 548, Ed. Gaume).

And it is manifest that by this canon the people were not excluded from all share in the election of bishops and priests from what St. Gregory Nazianzen says, in Epistola ad Cæsarienses, with regard to the election of St. Basil. From this what could be more evident than that after this canon was put out the people in the East still had their part in the election of a bishop? This also is clear from Justinian's "Novels" (Novellæ, cxxiii., c.j., and cxxxvii., c. ii.)

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. lxiii., can. vi,, but in proof of the proposition that laymen were hereby forbidden to have any share in elections. Van Espen notes that Isidore's version favours Gratian's misunderstanding, and says that "no doubt that this version did much to exclude the people from the election of bishops."


[176] More accurately "a tumultuous and riotous mob" vide Liddell and Scott.

Canon XIV.

The holy things are not to be sent into other dioceses at the feast of Easter by way of eulogiæ.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XIV.

It is not right to send the holy gifts to another parish.


It was a custom in the ancient Church, not indeed to consecrate, but to bless such of the several breads of the same form laid on the altar as were not needed for the communion, and to employ them, partly for the maintenance of the clergy, and partly for distributing to those of the faithful who did not communicate at the Mass. The breads thus blessed were called eulogiæ. Another very ancient custom was, that bishops as a sign of Church fellowship, should send the consecrated bread to one another. That the Roman Popes of the first and second centuries did so, Irenæus testifies in his letter to Pope Victor in Eusebius. In course of time, however, instead of the consecrated bread, only bread which had been blessed, or eulogiæ, were sent abroad. For instance, Paulinus and Augustine sent one another these eulogiæ. But at Easter the older custom still prevailed; and to invest the matter with more solemnity, instead of the eulogiæ, the consecrated bread, i.e., the Eucharist, was sent out. The Synod of Laodicea forbids this, probably out of reverence to the holy Sacrament.

Binterim (Denkwürdegkeiten, vol. IV., P. iii., p. 535.) gives another explanation. He starts from the fact that, with the Greeks as well as the Latins, the wafer intended for communion is generally called sancta or hagia even before the consecration. This is not only perfectly true, but a well-known fact; only it must not be forgotten that these wafers or oblations were only called sancta by anticipation, and because of the sanctificatio to which they were destined. Binterim then states that by hagiain the canon is to be understood not the breads already consecrated, but those still unconsecrated. He further conjectures that these unconsecrated breads were often sent about instead of the eulogiæ, and that the Synod of Laodicea had forbidden this, not during the whole year, but only at Easter. He cannot, however, give any reason, and his statement is the more doubtful, as he cannot prove that these unconsecrated communion breads really used before to be sent about as eulogiæ.

In connection with this, however, he adds another hypothesis. It is known that the Greeks only consecrate a square piece of the little loaf intended for communion, which is first cut out with the so-called holy spear. The remainder of the small loaf is divided into little pieces, which remain on or near the altar during Mass, after which they are distributed to the non-communicants. These remains of the small loaf intended for consecration are called antidora and Binterim's second conjecture is, that these antidora might perhaps have been sent as eulogiæ and may be the hagia of this canon. But he is unable to prove that these antidora were sent about, and is, moreover, obliged to confess that they are nowhere called eulogiæ, while this canon certainly speaks of eulogiæ. To this must be added that, as with regard to the unconsecrated wafer, so we see no sufficient cause why the Synod should have forbidden these antidora being sent.

Canon XV.

No others shall sing in the Church, save only the canonical singers, who go up into the ambo and sing from a book.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XV.

No one should ascend the ambon unless he is tonsured.


The only question [presented by this canon] is whether this synod forbade the laity to take any part in the Church music, as Binius and others have understood the words of the text, or whether it only intended to forbid those who were not cantors taking the lead. Van Espen and Neander in particular were in favour of the latter meaning, pointing to the fact that certainly in the Greek Church after the Synod of Laodicea the people were accustomed to join in the singing, as Chrysostom and Basil the Great sufficiently testify. Bingham propounded a peculiar opinion, namely, that this Synod did indeed forbid the laity to sing in the church, or even to join in the singing, but this only temporarily, for certain reasons. I have no doubt, however, that Van Espen and Neander take the truer view.

Canon XVI.

The Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath [i.e. Saturday], with the other Scriptures.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XVI.

The Gospel, the Epistle [apostolos ] and the other Scriptures are to be read on the Sabbath.


Before the arrangement of the Ecclesiastical Psalmody was settled, neither the Gospel nor the other Scriptures were accustomed to be read on the Sabbath. But out of regard to the canons which forbade fasting or kneeling on the Sabbath, there were no services, so that there might be as much feasting as possible. This the fathers prohibit, and decree that on the Sabbath the whole ecclesiastical office shall be said.

Neander (Kirchengesch., 2d ed., vol. iii., p. 565 et seq.) suggests in addition to the interpretation just given another, viz.: that it was the custom in many parts of the ancient Church to keep every Saturday as a feast in commemoration of the Creation. Neander also suggests that possibly some Judaizers read on the Sabbath only the Old Testament; he, however, himself remarks that in this case euangelia and heteron graphon would require the article.

Van Espen.

Among the Greeks the Sabbath was kept exactly as the Lord's day except so far as the cessation of work was concerned, wherefore the Council wishes that, as on Sundays, after the other lessons there should follow the Gospel.

For it is evident that by the intention of the Church the whole Divine Office was designed for the edification and instruction of the people, and especially was this the case on feast days, when the people were apt to be present in large numbers.

Here we may note the origin of our present [Western] discipline, by which on Sundays and feast days the Gospel is wont to be read with the other Scriptures in the canonical hours, while such is not the case on ferial days, or in the order for ferias and "simples." [177]


[177] "Simples" (simplici) are distinguished from "doubles" (duplici) in not having their antiphons said double but only once.

Canon XVII.

The Psalms are not to be joined together in the congregations, but a lesson shall intervene after every psalm.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XVII.

In time of service lessons shall be interspersed with the Psalms.


It was well to separate the Psalms by lessons when the congregation was gathered in church, and not to keep them continuously singing unbroken psalmody, lest those who had assembled might become careless through weariness.


This was an ancient custom which has been laid aside since the new order of ecclesiastical matters has been instituted. [178]

Van Espen.

Here it may be remarked we find the real reason why in our present rite, the lections, verses, etc., of the nocturns are placed between the Psalms, so as to repel weariness.


[178] I do not understand this note, as to-day in the Divine Office of the Greek Church the Psalms are still divided by Lessons. Vide The Horologion(horologion to mega) and an English translation by G. V. Shann, entitled Euchology, A Manual of Prayers of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Canon XVIII.

The same service of prayers is to be said always both at nones and at vespers.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XVIII.

The same prayers shall be said at nones and vespers.


Some feasts ended at the ninth hour, others only in the evening, and both alike with prayer. The Synod here wills that in both cases the same prayers should be used. Thus does Van Espen explain the words of the text, and I think rightly. But the Greek commentator understands the Synod to order that the same prayers should be used in all places, thus excluding all individual caprice. According to this, the rule of conformity would refer to places; while, according to Van Espen, the nones and vespers were to be the same. If, however, this interpretation were correct, the Synod would not have only spoken of the prayers at nones and vespers, but would have said in general, "all dioceses shall use the same form of prayer."


Excursus on the Choir Offices of the Early Church.

Nothing is more marked in the lives of the early followers of Christ than the abiding sense which they had of the Divine Presence. Prayer was not to them an occasional exercise but an unceasing practice. If then the Psalmist sang in the old dispensation "Seven times a day do I praise thee" (Ps. cxix. 164), we may be quite certain that the Christians would never fall behind the Jewish example. We know that among the Jews there were the "Hours of Prayer," and nothing would be, a priori, more likely than that with new and deeper significance these should pass over into the Christian Church. I need not pause here to remind the reader of the observance of "the hour of prayer" which is mentioned in the New Testament, and shall pass on to my more immediate subject.

Most liturgiologists have been agreed that the "Choir Offices" of the Christian Church, that is to say the recitation of the Psalms of David, with lessons from other parts of Holy Scripture and collects, [179] was an actual continuation of the Jewish worship, the melodies even of the Psalms being carried over and modified through the ages into the plain song of today. For this view of the Jewish origin of the Canonical Hours there is so much to be said that one hesitates to accept a rival theory, recently set forth with much skill and learning, by a French priest, who had the inestimable happiness of sitting at the feet of De Rossi. M. Pierre Battifol [180] is of opinion that the Canonical Hours in no way come from the Jewish Hours of Prayer but are the outgrowth of the Saturday Vigil service, which was wholly of Christian origin, and which he tells us was divided into three parts, j., the evening service, or lucernarium, which was the service of Vespers; ii., the midnight service, the origin of the Nocturns or Mattins; iii., the service at daybreak, the origin of Lauds. Soon vigils were kept for all the martyr commemorations; and by the time of Tertullian, if not before, Wednesdays and Fridays had their vigils. With the growth of monasticism they became daily. This Mr. Battifol thinks was introduced into Antioch about a.d. 350, and soon spread all over the East. The "little hours," that is Terce, Sext, and None, he thinks were monastic in origin and that Prime and Compline were transferred from the dormitory to the church, just as the martyrology was transferred from the refectory.

Such is the new theory, which, even if rejected, at least is valuable in drawing attention to the great importance of the vigil-service in the Early Church, an importance still attaching to it in Russia on the night of Easter Even.

Of the twilight service we have a most exquisite remains in the hymn to be sung at the lighting of the lamps. This is one of the few Psalmi idiotici which has survived the condemnation of such compositions by the early councils, in fact the only two others are the Gloria in Excelsis and the Te Deum. The hymn at the lighting of the lamps is as follows:

"O gladsome light

Of the Father Immortal,

And of the celestial

Sacred and blessed

Jesus, our Saviour!"

"Now to the sunset

Again hast thou brought us;

And seeing the evening

Twilight, we bless thee,

Praise thee, adore thee!"

"Father omnipotent!

Son, the Life-giver!

Spirit, the Comforter!

Worthy at all times

Of worship and wonder! [181] "

Dr. Battifol's new theory was promptly attacked by P. Suibbert Bäumer, a learned German Benedictine who had already written several magazine articles on the subject before Battifol's book had appeared.

The title of Bäumer's book is Geschichte des Breviers, Versuch einer quellenmässigen Darstellung der Entwicklung des altkirchen und des romeschen Officiums bis auf unsere Tage. (Freiburg in Briesgau, 1895.) The following [182] may be taken as a fair resumé of the position taken in this work and most ably defended, a position which (if I may be allowed to express an opinion) is more likely to prevail as being most in accordance with the previous researches of the learned.

"The early Christians separated from the Synagogues about a.d. 65; that is, about the same time as the first Epistle to Timothy was written, and at this moment of separation from the Synagogue the Apostles had already established, besides the liturgy, at least one, probably two, canonical hours of prayer, Mattins and Evensong. Besides what we should call sermons, the service of these hours was made up of psalms, readings from Holy Scripture, and extempore prayers. A few pages on (p. 42) Bäumer allows that even if this service had been daily in Jerusalem the Apostles' times, yet it had become limited to Sundays in the sub-Apostolic times, when persecution would not allow the Apostolic custom of daily morning and evening public prayer. Yet the practice of private prayer at the third, sixth, and ninth hours continued, based upon an Apostolic tradition; and thus, when the tyranny of persecution was overpast, the idea of public prayer at these hours was saved and the practice carried on."

The student should by no means omit to read Dom Prosper Guéranger's Institutions Liturgiques, which while written in a bitter and most partisan spirit, is yet a work of the most profound learning. Above all anyone professing any familiarity with the literature on the subject must have mastered Cardinal Bona's invaluable De Divina Psalmodia, a mine of wisdom and a wonder of research.


[179] Vide Tertullian. [180] Histoire du Bréviaire Romain Paris. 1893. An English translation has since (1898) appeared by the Rev. A. M. Y. Bayley, which is not in principle changed so far as this discussion is concerned. [181] Longfellow. The Golden Legend II. Liddon's remarks upon this hymn are well worth the reader's attention, Bampton Lectures, Lect. VII., where Keble's translation will be found. [182] Taken from the Church Quarterly Review, 1898.

Canon XIX.

After the sermons of the Bishops, the prayer for the catechumens is to be made first by itself; and after the catechumens have gone out, the prayer for those who are under penance; and, after these have passed under the hand [of the Bishop] and departed, there should then be offered the three prayers of the faithful, the first to be said entirely in silence, the second and third aloud, and then the [kiss of] peace is to be given. And, after the presbyters have given the [kiss of] peace to the Bishop, then the laity are to give it [to one another], and so the Holy Oblation is to be completed. And it is lawful to the priesthood alone to go to the Altar and [there] communicate.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XIX.

After the prayers of the catechumens shall be said those of the Penitents, and afterwards those of the faithful. And after the peace, or embrace, has been given, the offering shall be made. Only priests shall enter the sanctuary and make there their communion.

The Greek commentators throw but little if any light upon this canon. A question has been raised as to who said the prayers mentioned. Van Espen, following Isidore's translation "they also pray who are doing penance," thinks the prayer of the penitents, said by themselves, is intended, and not the prayer said by the Bishop. But Hefele, following Dionysius's version--"the prayers over the catechumens," "over those who are doing penance"--thinks that the liturgical prayers are intended, which after the sermon were wont to be said "over" the different classes. Dionysius does not say "over" the faithful, but describes them as "the prayers of the faithful," which Hefele thinks means that the faithful joined in reciting them.


Excursus on the Worship of the Early Church.

(Percival, H. R.: Johnson's Universal Cyclopædia, Vol. V., s.v. Liturgics.)

St. Paul is by some learned writers supposed to have quoted in several places the already existing liturgy, especially in I. Cor. ii. 9., [183] and there can be no doubt that the Lord's prayer was used and certain other formulas which are referred to by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles [184] as "the Apostles' prayers." How early these forms were committed to writing has been much disputed among the learned, and it would be rash to attempt to rule this question. Pierre Le Brun [185] presents most strongly the denial of their having been written during the first three centuries, and Probst [186] argues against this opinion. While it does not seem possible to prove that before the fourth century the liturgical books were written out in full, owing no doubt to the influence of the disciplina arcani, it seems to be true that much earlier than this there was a definite and fixed order in the celebration of divine worship and in the administration of the sacraments. The famous passage in St. Justin Martyr [187] seems to point to the existence of such a form in his day, shewing how even then the service for the Holy Eucharist began with the Epistle and Gospel. St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom bear witness to the same thing. [188]

Within, comparatively speaking, a few years, a good deal of information with regard to the worship of the early Church has been given us by the discovery of the Didache, and of the fragments the Germans describe as the K. O., and by the publication of M. Gamurrini's transcript of the Peregrinatio Silviæ. [189]

From all these it is thought that liturgical information of the greatest value can be obtained. Moreover the first two are thought to throw much light upon the age and construction of the Apostolical Constitutions. Without in any way committing myself to the views I now proceed to quote, I lay them before the reader as the results of the most advanced criticism in the matter.

(Duchesne. Origines du Culte Chrétien, p. 54 et seq.)

All known liturgies may be reduced to four principal types--the Syrian, the Alexandrian, the Roman, and the Gallican. In the fourth century there certainly existed these four types at the least, for the Syrian had already given rise to several sub-types which were clearly marked.

The most ancient documents of the Syrian Liturgy are:

1. The Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, delivered about the year 347.

2. The Apostolic Constitutions (Bk. II., 57, and Bk. VIII., 5-15).

3. The homilies of St. John Chrysostom.

St. John Chrysostom often quotes lines of thought and even prayers taken from the liturgy. Bingham [190] was the first to have the idea of gathering together and putting in order these scattered references. This work has been recently taken in hand afresh by Mr. Hammond. [191]From this one can find much interesting corroborative evidence, but the orator does not give anywhere a systematic description of the liturgy, in the order of its rites and prayers.

The Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril are really a commentary upon the ceremonies of the mass, made to the neophytes after their initiation. The preacher does not treat of the missa catechumenorum because his hearers had so long been familiar with it; he presupposes the bread and wine to have been brought to and placed upon the altar, and begins at the moment when the bishop prepares himself to celebrate the Holy Mysteries by washing his hands.

In the Apostolic Constitutions a distinction must be drawn between Book II. and Book VIII. The first is very sketchy; it only contains a description of the rites without the words used, the other gives at length all the formulas of the prayers, but only from the end of the Gospel.

We know now that the Apostolical Constitutions in the present state of the Greek text represent a melting down and fusing together of two analogous books--the Didaskale of the Apostles, of which only a Syriac version is extant; and the Didake of the Apostles, recently discovered by the metropolitan, Philotheus Bryennius. The first of these two books has served as a basis for the first six books of the Apostolical Constitutions. The second, much spread out, has become the seventh book of the same collection. The eighth book is more homogeneous. It must have been added to the seven others by the author of the recension of the Didaskale and of the Didake. This author is the same as he who made the interpolations in the seven authentic letters of St. Ignatius, and added to them six others of his own manufacture. He lived at Antioch in Syria, or else in the ecclesiastical region of which that city was the centre. He wrote about the middle of the fourth century, at the very high tide of the Subordination theology, which finds expression more than once in his different compositions. He is the author of the description of the liturgy, which is found in Book II.; in fact, that whole passage is lacking in the Syriac Didaskale. Was it also he who composed the liturgy of the VIIIth book? This is open to doubt, for there are certain differences between this liturgy and that of the IId book. [192]

I shall now describe the religious service such as these documents suppose, noting, where necessary, their divergences.

The congregation is gathered together, the men on one side the women on the other, the clergy in the apsidal chancel. The readings immediately begin; they are interrupted by chants. A reader ascends the ambo, which stood in the middle of the church, between the clergy and the people, and read two lessons; then another goes up in his place to sing a psalm. This he executes as a solo, but the congregation join in the last modulations of the chant and continue them. This is what is called the "Response" (psalmus responsorius), which must be distinguished carefully from the "Antiphon," which was a psalm executed alternately by two choirs. At this early date the antiphon did not exist, only the response was known. There must have been a considerable number of readings, but we are not told how many. The series ended with a lection from the Gospel, which is made not by a reader but by a priest or deacon. The congregation stands during this lesson.

When the lessons and psalmodies are done, the priests take the word, each in his turn, and after them the bishop. The homily is always preceded by a salutation to the people, to which they answer, "And with thy spirit."

After the sermon the sending out of the different categories of persons who should not assist at the holy Mysteries takes place. First of all the catechumens. Upon the invitation of the deacon they make a prayer in silence while the congregation prays for them. The deacon gives the outline of this prayer by detailing the intentions and the things to be prayed for. The faithful answer, and especially the children, by the supplication Kyrie eleison. Then the catechumens rise up, and the deacon asks them to join with him in the prayer which he pronounces; next he makes them bow before the bishop to receive his benediction, after which he sends them home.

The same form is used for the energumens, for the competentes, i.e., for the catechumens who are preparing to receive baptism, and last of all for the penitents.

When there remain in the church only the faithful communicants, these fall to prayer; and prostrate toward the East they listen while the deacon says the litany--"For the peace and good estate of the world; for the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; for bishops, priests; for the Church's benefactors; for the neophytes; for the sick; for travellers; for little children; for those who are erring," etc. And to all these petitions is added Kyrie eleison. The litany ends with this special form "Save us, and raise us up, O God, for thy mercy's sake." Then the voice of the bishop rises in the silence--he pronounces a solemn prayer of a grave and majestic style.

Here ends the first part of the liturgy; that part which the Church had taken from the old use of the synagogues. The second part, the Christian liturgy, properly so-called, begins by the salutation of the bishop, followed by the response of the people. Then, at a sign given by a deacon, the clergy receive the kiss of peace from the bishop, and the faithful give it to each other, men to men, women to women.

Then the deacons and the other lower ministers divide themselves between watching and serving at the altar. The one division go through the congregation, keeping all in their proper place, and the little children on the outskirts of the sacred enclosure, and watching the door that no profane person may enter the church. The others bring and set upon the altar the breads and the chalices prepared for the Sacred Banquet; two of them wave fans backwards and forwards to protect the holy offerings from insects. The bishop washes his hands and vests himself in festal habit; the priests range themselves around him, and all together they approach the altar. This is a solemn moment. After private prayer the bishop makes the sign of the cross upon his brow and begins,

"The grace of God Almighty, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you always!"

"And with thy spirit."

"Lift up your hearts."

"We lift them up unto the Lord."

"Let us give thanks unto our Lord."

"It is meet and right so to do."

"It is very meet," etc.

And the eucharistic prayer goes on...concluding at last with a return to the mysterious Sanctuary where God abides in the midst of spirits, where the Cherubims and the Seraphims eternally make heaven ring with the trisagion.

Here the whole multitude of the people lift up their voices and joining their song with that of the choir of Angels, sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy," etc.

When the hymn is done and silence returns, the bishop continues the interrupted eucharistic prayer.

"Thou truly art holy," etc., and goes on to commemorate the work of Redemption, the Incarnation of the Word, his mortal life, his passion; now the officiant keeps close to the Gospel account of the last supper; the mysterious words pronounced at first by Jesus on the night before his death are heard over the holy table. Then, taking his inspiration from the last words, "Do this in remembrance of me," the bishop develops the idea, recalling the Passion of the Son of God, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, the hope of his glorious return, and declaring that it is in order to observe this precept and make this memorial that the congregation offers to God this eucharistic bread and wine. Finally he prays the Lord to turn upon the Oblation a favourable regard, and to send down upon it the power of his Holy Spirit, to make it the Body and Blood of Christ, the spiritual food of his faithful, and the pledge of their immortality.

Thus ends the eucharistic prayer, properly so-called. The mystery is consummated....The bishop then directs the prayers...and when this long prayer is finished by a doxology, all the congregation answer "Amen," and thus ratify his acts of thanks and intercession.

After this is said "Our Father," accompanied by a short litany....The bishop then pronounces his benediction on the people.

The deacon awakes the attention of the faithful and the bishop cries aloud, "Holy things for holy persons." And the people answer, "There is one only holy, one only Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father," etc.

No doubt at this moment took place the fraction of the bread, a ceremony which the documents of the fourth century do not mention in express terms.

The communion then follows. The bishop receives first, then the priests, the deacons, the sub-deacons, the readers, the singers, the ascetics, the deaconesses, the virgins, the widows, the little children, and last of all the people.

The bishop places the consecrated bread in the right hand, which is open, and supported by the left; the deacon holds the chalice--they drink out of it directly. To each communicant the bishop says, "The Body of Christ"; and the deacon says, "The Blood of Christ, the Cup of life," to which the answer is made, "Amen."

During the communion the singers execute Psalm XXXIII. [XXXIV. Heb. numbering] Benedicam Dominum, in which the words "O, taste and see how gracious the Lord is," have a special suitability.

When the communion is done, the deacon gives the sign for prayer, which the bishop offers in the name of all; then all bow to receive his blessing. Finally the deacon dismisses the congregation, saying, "Go in peace." [193]


[183] J. M. Neale. Essays on Liturgiology. [184] Acts ii. 42. [185] Pierre Le Brun. Explic. Tom. II., Diss. j. p. II., et seqq. [186] Probst. Liturgie der drei ersten Christichen Jarhunderten. [187] Apolog. Cap. LXVII. [188] I venture to draw the reader's attention to the rest of this article as containing information not readily found elsewhere. [189] The ms. from which this was printed was found in a library in Arezzo. Silvia was a lady of rank, living in the times of Theodosius, who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Places from Meridian Gaul. To us the chief interest of her book lies in the account she gives of the services. The following is the title, S. Silviæ Aquittanæ peregrinatio ad loca Sancta. It will be found in the Biblioteca dell' Accademia storica giuridica. Tom. IV. Rome, 1887, and again in the Studi e Documenti di storia e dir itto, April-September, 1888, and the liturgical parts in an appendix to Duchesne. Of the other books the best edition is Adolf Harnack's. [190] Bingham, Antiquities, XIII. 6. [191] Hammond. The Ancient Liturgy of Antioch (Oxford, 1879). [192] The reader will, of course, recognize the foregoing as a piece of "Higher Criticism," and need not be told that it rests upon no foundation more secure than probable guess-work. [193] An interesting and instructive book has recently been published on this subject by F. E. Warren, F.S.A., entitled The Liturgy and Ritual of the Ante-Nicene Church, in which all the theories from Vitringa to Bickell are carefully considered. The book is one of the S. P. C. K. series, "Side-lights of Church History."

Canon XX.

It is not right for a deacon to sit in the presence of a presbyter, unless he be bidden by the presbyter to sit down. Likewise the deacons shall have worship of the subdeacons and all the [inferior] clergy.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XX.

A deacon shall not sit down unless bidden.

This is another canon to curb the ambition of Levites who wish to take upon themselves the honours of the priesthood also. Spiritual Cores seem to have been common in early times among the deacons and this is but one of many canons on the subject. Compare Canon XVIII of the Council of Nice. Van Espen points out that in the Apostolic Constitutions (Lib. II., cap. lvii), occurs the following passage, "Let the seat for the bishop be set in the midst, and on each side of him let the presbyters sit, and let the deacons stand, having their loins girded."

Van Espen.

Here it should be noted, by the way, that in this canon there is presented a hierarchy consisting of bishops, presbyters, and deacons and other inferior ministers, each with their mutual subordination one to the other.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xciii., c. xv., in Dionysius's version.

Canon XXI.

The subdeacons have no right to a place in the Diaconicum, nor to touch the Lord's vessels.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXI.

A subdeacon shall not touch the vessels.

The "Lord's vessels" are the chalice and what we call the sacred vessels.


The ecclesiastical ministers shall not take into their hands the Lord's vessels, but they shall be carried to the Table by the priests or deacons.

Both Balsamon and Zonaras agree that by huperetai is here meant subdeacons.


It is doubtful whether by diaconicum is here meant the place where the deacons stood during service, or the diaconicum generally so called, which answers to our sacristy of the present day. In this diaconicum the sacred vessels and vestments were kept; and as the last part of the canon especially mentions these, I have no doubt that the diaconicum must mean the sacristy. For the rest, this canon is only the concrete expression of the rule, that the subdeacons shall not assume the functions of the deacons.

With regard to the last words of this canon, Morinus and Van Espen are of opinion that the subdeacons were not altogether forbidden to touch the sacred vessels, for this had never been the case, but that it was intended that at the solemn entrance to the altar, peculiar to the Greek service, the sacred vessels which were then carried should not be borne by the subdeacons.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxiii., c. xxvi.

Canon XXII.

The subdeacon has no right to wear an orarium [i.e., stole], nor to leave the doors.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXII.

A subdeacon must not wear an orarium nor leave the doors.

The "orarium" is what we call now the stole.

In old times, so we are told by Zonaras and Balsamon, it was the place of the subdeacons to stand at the church doors and to bring in and take out the catechumens and the penitents at the proper points in the service. Zonaras remarks that no one need be surprised if this, like many other ancient customs, has been entirely changed and abandoned.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxxii., canon xxvii., but reads hostias instead of ostia, thus making the canon forbid the subdeacons to leave the Hosts; and to make this worse the ancient Glossator adds, "but the subdeacon should remain and consume them with the other ministers." The Roman Correctors indeed note the error but have not felt themselves at liberty to correct it on account of the authority of the gloss. Van Espen remarks "To-day if any Hosts remain which are not to be reserved, the celebrant consumes them himself, but perchance in the time the gloss was written, it was the custom that the subdeacons and other ministers of the altar were accustomed to do this, but whenever the ministers present gradually fell into the habit of not receiving the sacrament, this consumption of what remained devolved upon the celebrant." [194]


[194] It is interesting to note that the ancient custom is in full use in the Anglican Church today, ordered expressly by the rubrics of the Prayer Book.


Excursus on the Vestments of the Early Church.

It would be out of place to enter into any specific treatment of the different vestments worn by the clergy in the performance of their various duties. For a full discussion of this whole matter I must refer my readers to the great writers on liturgical and kindred matters, especially to Cardinal Bona, De Rebus Liturgicis; Pugin, Ecclesiastical Glossary; Rock, Church of our Fathers; Hefele, Beiträge zu Kircheschichte, Archäologie und Liturgik (essay in Die Liturgischen Gervänder, vol. ii. p. 184 sqq.). And I would take this opportunity of warning the student against the entirely unwarranted conclusions of Durandus's Rationale Divinorum Officiorum and of Marriott's Vestiarium Christianum.

The manner in which the use of the stole is spoken of in this canon shews not only the great antiquity of that vestment but of other ecclesiastical vestments as well. Before, however, giving the details of our knowledge with regard to this particular vestment I shall need no apology for quoting a passage, very germane to the whole subject, from the pen of that most delightful writer Curzon, to whose care and erudition all scholars and students of manuscripts are so deeply indebted.

(Robert Curzon, Armenia, p. 202.)

Here I will remark that the sacred vestures of the Christian Church are the same, with very insignificant modifications, among every denomination of Christians in the world; that they have always been the same, and never were otherwise in any country, from the remotest times when we have any written accounts of them, or any mosaics, sculptures, or pictures to explain their forms. They are no more a Popish invention, or have anything more to do with the Roman Church, than any other usage which is common to all denominations of Christians. They are and always have been, of general and universal--that is, of Catholic--use; they have never been used for many centuries for ornament or dress by the laity, having been considered as set apart to be used only by priests in the church during the celebration of the worship of Almighty God.

Thus far the very learned Curzon. As is natural the distinctive dress of the bishops is the first that we hear of, and that in connexion with St. John, who is said to have worn a golden mitre or fillet. [195]

(Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chrétien, p. 376 et sqq.)

It was not the bishops alone who were distinguished by insignia from the other ecclesiastics. Priests and deacons had their distinctive insignia as well. There was, however, a difference between Rome and the rest of the world in this matter. At Rome it would seem that but little favour was extended at first to these marks of rank; the letter of Pope Celestine to the bishops shews this already. But what makes it evident still more clearly, is that the orarium of the priest and of the deacon, looked upon as a visible and distinctive mark of these orders, was unknown at Rome, at least down to the tenth century, while it had been adopted everywhere else.

To be sure, the orarium is spoken of in the ordines of the ninth century; but from these it is also evident that this vestment was worn by acolytes and subdeacons, as well as by the superior clergy, and that its place was under the top vestment, whether dalmatic or chasuble, and not over it. But that orarium is nothing more than the ancient sweat-cloth (sudarium), the handkerchief, or cravat which has ended up by taking a special form and even by becoming an accessory of a ceremonial vestment: but it is not an insignia. I know no Roman representation of this earlier than the twelfth century. The priests and deacons who figure in the mosaics never display this detail of costume.

But such is not the case elsewhere. Towards the end of the fourth century, the Council of Laodicea in Phrygia forbade inferior classes, subdeacons, readers, etc., to usurp the orarium. St. Isidore of Pelusium knew it as somewhat analogous to the episcopal pallium, except that it was of linen, while the pallium was of wool. The sermon on the Prodigal Son, sometimes attributed to St. John Chrysostom [Migne's Ed., vol. viii., 520], uses the same term, othone; it adds that this piece of dress was worn over the left shoulder, and that as it swung back and forth it called to mind the wings of the angels.

The deacons among the Greeks wear the stole in this fashion down to to-day, perfectly visible, over the top of the upper vestment, and fastened upon the left shoulder. Its ancient name (orarion) still clings to it. As for the orarium of the priests it is worn, like the stole of Latin priests, round the neck, the two ends falling in front, almost to the feet. This is called the epitrachilion (epitrachelion).

These distinctions were also found in Spain and Gaul. The Council of Braga, in 561, ordered that deacons should wear these oraria, not under the tunicle, which caused them to be confounded with the subdeacon, but over it, over the shoulder. The Council of Toledo, in 633, describes the orarium as the common mark of the three superior orders, bishops, priests, and deacons; and specifies that the deacon should wear his over his left shoulder, and that it should be white, without any mixture of colours or any gold embroidery. Another Council of Braga forbade priests to say mass without having a stole around their necks and crossed upon the breast, exactly as Latin priests wear it to-day. St. Germanus of Paris speaks of the insignia of a bishop and of a deacon; to the first he assigns the name of pallium, and says that it is worn around the neck, and falls down upon the breast where it ends with a fringe. As for the insignia of a deacon he calls it a stole (stola); and says that deacons wear it over the alb. This fashion of wearing the stole of the deacon spread during the middle ages over nearly the whole of Italy and to the very gates of Rome. And even at Rome the ancient usage seems to have been maintained with a compromise. They ended up by adopting the stole for deacons and by placing it over the left shoulder, but they covered it up with the dalmatic or the chasuble.

The priest's stole was also accepted: and in the mosaics of Sta. Maria in Trastevere is seen a priest ornamented with this insignia. It is worthy of notice that the four popes who are represented in the same mosaic wear the pallium but no stole. The one seems to exclude the other. And as a matter of fact the ordines of the ninth century in describing the costume of the pope omit always the stole. One can readily understand that who bore one of these insignia should not wear the other.

However, they ended by combining them, and at Ravenna, where they always had a taste for decorations, bishop Ecclesius in the mosaics of San Vitale wears both the priest's stole and the Roman pallium. This, however, seems to be unique, and his successors have the pallium only. The two are found together again in the Sacramentary of Autun (Vide M. Lelisle's reproduction in the Gazette Archéologique, 1884, pl. 20), and on the paliotto of St. Ambrose of Milan; such seems to have been the usage of the Franks.

In view of these facts one is led to the conclusion that all these insignia, called pallium, omophorion, orarium, stole, epitrachilion, have the same origin. They are the marks of dignity, introduced into church usage during the fourth century, analogous to those which the Theodosian code orders for certain kinds of civil functionaries. For one reason or another the Roman Church refused to receive these marks, or rather confined itself to the papal pallium, which then took a wholly technical signification. But everywhere else, this mark of the then superior orders of the hierarchy was adopted, only varying slightly to mark the degree, the deacon wearing it over the left shoulder, the bishop and priest around the neck, the deacon over the tunicle which is his uppermost vestment, the priest under the chasuble; the bishop over his chasuble. [196] However, for this distinction between a bishop and priest we have very little evidence. The Canon of III Braga, already cited, which prescribes that priests shall wear the stole crossed over the breast, presupposes that it is worn under the chasuble, but the council understands that this method of wearing it pertains distinctively to priests, and that bishops have another method which they should observe; for the word sacerdotes, used by the council, includes bishops as well as priests. The rest of the Spanish ecclesiastical literature gives us no information upon the point. In Gaul, St. Germanus of Paris (as we have seen) speaks of the episcopal pallium after having described the chasuble, which makes one believe that it was worn on top. I have already said that Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna is represented with the stole pendant before, under the chasuble and at the same time with the pallium on top of it; and that this usage was adopted in France in the Carlovingian times. Greek bishops also wear at the same time the epitrachilion and the omophorion. This accumulation of insignia was forbidden in Spain in the seventh century (Vide IV Toledo, Canon XXXIX), and (as we have stated) the Pope abstained from it until about the twelfth century, contenting himself with the pallium without adding to it the stole.*

The pallium, with the exception of the crosses which adorn its ends, was always white; so too was the deacon's stole and also that of the priest and bishop. The pallium was always and everywhere made of wool; in the East the deacon's stole was of linen; I cannot say of what material the priest's and deacon's stole was in the West.


[195] Eusebius. Hist. Eccl., v. 24. [196] What follows down to the next asterisk is a foot-note to p. 379 of Duchesne's book.

Canon XXIII.

The readers and singers have no right to wear an orarium, and to read or sing thus [habited].


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIII.

Cantors and lectors shall not wear the orarium.

Van Espen.

Rightly Zonoras here remarks, "for the same reason (that they should not seem to wish to usurp a ministry not their own) it is not permitted to these to wear the stole, for readers are for the work of reading, and singers for singing," so each one should perform his own office.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxiii., can. xxviii.

Canon XXIV.

No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the Ascetics, ought to enter a tavern.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIV.

No clergyman should enter a tavern.

Compare this with Apostolic Canon LIV., which contains exceptions not here specified.

This canon is contained in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xliv. c. ii.


Excursus on the Minor Orders of the Early Church.

(Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius, Vol. I., p. 258.)

Some of these lower orders, the subdeacons, readers, door-keepers, and exorcists, are mentioned in the celebrated letter of Cornelius bishop of Rome (a.d. 251) preserved by Eusebius (H. E., vi., 43), and the readers existed at least half a century earlier (Tertull., de Præscr., 41). In the Eastern Church, however, if we except the Apostolic Constitutions, of which the date and country are uncertain, the first reference to such offices is found in a canon of the Council of Antioch, a.d. 341, where readers, subdeacons, and exorcists, are mentioned, this being apparently intended as an exhaustive enumeration of the ecclesiastical orders below the diaconate; and for the first mention of door-keepers in the East, we must go to the still later Council of Laodicea, about a.d. 363, (see III., p. 240, for the references, where also fuller information is given). But while most of these lower orders certainly existed in the West, and probably in the East, as early as the middle of the third century the case is different with the "singers" (psaltai) and the "labourers" (kopiatai). Setting aside the Apostolic Constitutions, the first notice of the "singers" occurs in the canons of the above-mentioned Council of Laodicea. This, however, may be accidental. The history of the word copiatai affords a more precise and conclusive indication of date. The term first occurs in a rescript of Constantius (a.d. 357), "clerici qui copiatai appellantur," and a little later (a.d. 361), the same emperor speaks of them as "hi quos copiatas recens usus instituit nuncupari."

(Adolf Harnack, in his little book ridiculously intituled in the English version Sources of the Apostolic Canons, page 85.)

Exorcists and readers there had been in the Church from old times, subdeacons are not essentially strange, as they participate in a name (deacon) which dates from the earliest days of Christianity. But acolytes and door-keepers (puloroi) are quite strange, are really novelties. And these acolytes even at the time of Cornelius stand at the head of the ordines minores: for that the subdeacons follow on the deacons is self-evident. Whence do they come? Now if they do not spring out of the Christian tradition, their origin must be explained from the Roman. It can in fact be shown there with desirable plainness.

With regard to subdeacons the reader may also like to see some of Harnack's speculations. In the volume just quoted he writes as follows (p. 85 note):

According to Cornelius and Cyprian subdeacons were mentioned in the thirtieth canon of the Synod of Elvira (about 305), so that the sub diaconate must then have been acknowledged as a fixed general institution in the whole west (see Dale, The Synod of Elvira, Lond., 1882). The same is seen in the "gesta apud Zenophilum." As the appointment of the lower orders took place at Rome between about the years 222-249, the announcement in the Liber Pontificalis (see Duchesne's edition, fasc. 2, 1885, p. 148) is not to be despised, as according to it Bishop Fabian appointed seven subdeacons: "Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit vii. subdiaconos." The Codex Liberianus indeed (see Duchesne, fasc. 1, pp. 4 and 5; Lipsius, Chronologie d. rom Bischofe, p. 267), only contains the first half of the sentence, and what the Liber Pontif. has added of the account of the appointment of subdeacons (...qui vii notariis imminerent, ut gestas martyrum in integro fideliter colligerent) is, in spite of the explanation of Duchesne, not convincing. According to Probst and other Catholic scholars the subdiaconate existed in Rome a long time before Fabian (Kirchl. Disciplin, p. 109), but Hippolytus is against them. Besides, it should be observed that the officials first, even in Carthage, are called hypo-deacons, though the word subdiaconus was by degrees used in the West. This also points to a Roman origin of the office, for in the Roman church in the first part of the third century the Greek language was the prevailing one, but not at Carthage.

But to return to the Acolythes, and door-keepers, whom Harnack thinks to be copies of the old Roman temple officers. He refers to Marquardt's explanation of the sacrificial system of the Romans, and gives the following resumé (page 85 et seqq.):

1. The temples have only partially their own priests, but they all have a superintendent (oedituus-curator templi). These oeditui, who lived in the temple, fall again into two classes. At least "in the most important brotherhoods the chosen oedituus was not in a position to undertake in person the watching and cleaning of the sacellum. He charged therefore with this service a freedman or slave." "In this case the sacellum had two oeditui, the temple-keeper, originally called magister oedituus, and the temple-servant, who appears to be called the oedituus minister." "To both it is common that they live in the temple, although in small chapels the presence of the servant is sufficient. The temple-servant opens, shuts, and cleans the sacred place, and shows to strangers its curiosities, and allows, according to the rules of the temple, those persons to offer up prayers and sacrifices to whom this is permitted, while he sends away the others."

2. "Besides the endowment, the colleges of priests were also supplied with a body of servants"--the under officials--; "they were appointed to the priests, all of whom they were used partly as letter-carriers (tabellarii), partly as scribes, partly as assistants at the sacrifices." Marquardt reckons, (page 218 and fol.) the various categories of them among the sacerdotes publici, lictores, pullarii, victimarii, tibicines, viatores, sixthly the calatores, in the priests' colleges free men or freedmen, not slaves, and in fact one for the personal service of each member.

Here we have the forerunners of the Church door-keepers and acolytes. Thus says the fourth Council of Carthage, as far as refers to the former: "Ostiarius cum ordinatur, postquam ab archidiacono instructus fuerit, qualiter in domo dei debeat conversari, ad suggestionem archidiaconi, tradat ei episcopus claves ecclesiæ de altari, dicens. Sic age, quasi redditurus deo rationem pro his rebus, quæ hisce clavibus recluduntur." The ostiarius (puloros) is thus the ædituus minister. He had to look after the opening and shutting of the doors, to watch over the coming in and going out of the faithful, to refuse entrance to suspicious persons, and, from the date of the more strict separation between the missa catechumenorum and the missa fidelium, to close the doors, after the dismissal of the catechumens, against those doing penance and unbelievers. He first became necessary when there were special church buildings (there were such even in the second century), and they like the temples, together with the ceremonial of divine service, had come to be considered as holy, that is, since about 225. The church acolytes are without difficulty to be recognised in the under officials of the priests, especially in the "calatores," the personal servants of the priests. According to Cyprian the acolytes and others are used by preference as tabellarii. According to Cornelius there were in Rome forty-two acolytes. As he gives the number of priests as forty-six, it may be concluded with something like certainty that the rule was that the number of the priests and of the acolytes should be equal, and that the little difference may have been caused by temporary vacancies. If this view is correct, the identity of the calator with the acolyte is strikingly proved. But the name "acolyte" plainly shows the acolyte was not, like the door-keeper, attached to a sacred thing, but to a sacred person.

(Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius, ad Antioch, xi., note. Vol. II., Sec. II., p. 240.)

The acolytes were confined to the Western Church and so are not mentioned here. On the other hand the "deaconesses" seem to have been confined to the Eastern Church at this time. See also Apost. Const., iii., 11.; viii., 12; comp. viii., 19-28, 31; Apost. Can., 43; Conc. Laodic., Can. 24; Conc. Antioch, Can. 10. Of these lower orders the "subdeacons" are first mentioned in the middle of the third century, in the passage of Cornelius already quoted and in the contemporary letters of Cyprian. The "readers" occur as early as Tertullian de Præscr. 41 "hodie diaconus, qui cras lector," where the language shows that this was already a firmly established order in the Church. Of the "singers" the notices in the Apostolical Constitutions are probably the most ancient. The "door-keepers," like the sub-deacons, seem to be first mentioned in the letter of Cornelius. The kopiontes first appear a full century later; see the next note. The "exorcists," as we have seen, are mentioned as a distinct order by Cornelius, while in Apost. Const., viii., 26, it is ordered that they shall not be ordained, because it is a spiritual function which comes direct from God and manifests itself by its results. The name and the function, however, appear much earlier in the Christian Church; e.g., Justin Mart., Apol. ii., 6 (p. 45). The forms eporkistes and exorkistes are convertible; e.g., Justin Mart., Dial., 85 (p. 311). The "confessors" hardly deserve to be reckoned a distinct order, though accidentally they are mentioned in proximity with the different grades of clergy in Apost. Const., viii., 12, already quoted. Perhaps the accidental connexion in this work has led to their confusion with the offices of the Christian ministry in our false Ignatius. In Apost. Const., viii., 23, they are treated in much the same way as the exorcists, being regarded as in some sense an order and yet not subject to ordination. Possibly, however, the word homologetai has here a different sense, "chanters," as the corresponding Latin "confessores" seems sometimes to have, e.g., in the Sacramentary of Gregory "Oremus et pro omnibus episcopis, presbyteris, diaconibus, acolythis, exorcistis, lectoribus, ostiariis, confessoribus, virginibus, viduis, et pro omni populo sancto Dei;" see Ducange, Gloss. Lat., s.v. (11. p. 530, Henschel).

In a law of the year 357 (Cod. Theod., xiii., 1) mention is made of "clerici qui copiatæ appellantur," and another law of the year 361 (Cod. Theod. xvi., 2, 15) runs "clerici vero vel his quos copiatas recens usus instituit nuncupari," etc. From these passages it is clear that the name kopiontes was not in use much before the middle of the fourth century, though the office under its Latin name "fossores" or "fossarii" appears somewhat earlier. Even later Epiphanius (Expos. Fid., 21) writes as if the word still needed some explanation. In accordance with these facts, Zahn (I. v., A. p. 129), correctly argues with regard to our Ignatian writer, urging that on the one hand he would not have ascribed such language to Ignatius if the word had been quite recent, while on the other hand his using the participle (tous kopiontas) rather than the substantive indicates that it had not yet firmly established itself. For these "copiatæ" see especially de Rossi, Roma Sotteranea, III., p. 533 sq., Gothofred on Cod. Theod., II., cc., and for the Latin "fossores" Martigny, Dict. des Antiq. Chrét. s.v. See also the inscriptions, C. I. G., 9227, Bull. de Corr. Hellen., vii., p. 238, Journ. of Hellen. Stud., vi., p. 362.

Canon XXV.

A subdeacon must not give the Bread, nor bless the Cup.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXV.

A subdeacon may not give the bread and the cup.


Subdeacons are not allowed to perform the work of presbyters and deacons. Wherefore they neither deliver the bread nor the cup to the people.


According to the Apostolic Constitutions, the communion was administered in the following manner: the bishop gave to each the holy bread with the words: "the Body of the Lord," and the recipient said, "Amen." The deacon then gave the chalice with the words: "the Blood of Christ, the chalice of life," and the recipient again answered, "Amen." This giving of the chalice with the words: "the Blood of Christ," etc., is called in the canon of Laodicea a "blessing" (eulogein). The Greek commentator Aristenus in accordance with this, and quite rightly, gives the meaning of this canon.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Diet. XCIII., c. xix.; but reads "Deacons" instead of "Subdeacons." The Roman Correctors point out the error.

Canon XXVI.

They who have not been promoted [to that office] by the bishop, ought not to adjure, either in churches or in private houses.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXVI.

No one shall adjure without the bishop's promotion to that office.


Some were in the habit of "adjuring," that is catechising the unbelievers, who had never received the imposition of the bishop's hands for that purpose; and when they were accused of doing so, contended that as they did not do it in church but only at home, they could not be considered as deserving of any punishment. For this reason the Fathers rule that even to "adjure" (ephorkizein) is an ecclesiastical ministry, and must not be executed by anyone who shall not have been promoted thereto by a bishop. But the "Exorcist" must be excepted who has been promoted by a Chorepiscopus, for he can indeed properly catechize although not promoted by a bishop; for from Canon X. of Antioch we learn that even a Chorepiscopus can make an Exorcist.

Zonaras notes that from this canon it appears that "Chorepiscopi are considered to be in the number of bishops."

Van Espen.

"Promoted" (proachthentas ) by the bishops, by which is signified a mere designation or appointment, in conformity with the Greek discipline which never counted exorcism among the orders, but among the simple ministries which were committed to certain persons by the bishops, as Morinus proves at length in his work on Orders (De Ordinationibus, Pars III., Ex. XIV., cap. ii.).

Double is the power of devils over men, the one part internal the other external. The former is when they hold the soul captive by vice and sin. The latter when they disturb the exterior and interior senses and lead anyone on to fury. Those who are subject to the interior evils are the Catechumens and Penitents, and those who are subject to the exterior are the Energumens. Whoever are occupied with the freeing from the power of the devil of either of these kinds, by prayers, exhortations, and exorcisms, are said "to exorcize" them; which seems to be what Balsamon means when he says--"`exorcize' that is `to catechize the unbelievers.'" Vide this matter more at length in Ducange's Glossary (Gloss., s.v. Exorcizare).

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXIX. c. ii., Isidore's version.

Canon XXVII.

Neither they of the priesthood, nor clergymen, nor laymen, who are invited to a love feast, may take away their portions, for this is to cast reproach on the ecclesiastical order.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXVII.

A clergyman invited to a love feast shall carry nothing away with him; for this would bring his order into shame.


Van Espen translates: "no one holding any office in the Church, be he cleric or layman," and appeals to the fact that already in early times among the Greeks many held offices in the Church without being ordained, as do now our sacristans and acolytes. I do not think, however, with Van Espen, that by "they of the priesthood" is meant in general any one holding office in the Church, but only the higher ranks of the clergy, priests and deacons, as in the preceding twenty-fourth canon the presbyters and deacons alone are expressly numbered among the hieratikois and distinguished from the other (minor) clerics. And afterwards, in canon XXX., there is a similar mention of three different grades, hieratikoi, klerikoi, and asketai.

The taking away of the remains of the agape is here forbidden, because, on the one hand, it showed covetousness, and, on the other, was perhaps considered a profanation.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLII., c. iii.


It is not permitted to hold love feasts, as they are called, in the Lord's Houses, or Churches, nor to eat and to spread couches in the house of God.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXVII.

Beds shall not be set up in churches, nor shall love feasts be held there.


Eusebius (H. E., Lib. IX., Cap. X.) employs the expression kuriaka in the same sense as does this canon as identical with churches. The prohibition itself, however, here given, as well as the preceding canon, proves that as early as the time of the Synod of Laodicea, many irregularities had crept into the agape. For the rest, this Synod was not in a position permanently to banish the usage from the Church; for which reason the Trullan Synod in its seventy-fourth canon repeated this rule word for word.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Disk XLII., c. iv.

Canon XXIX.

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIX.

A Christian shall not stop work on the Sabbath, but on the Lord's Day.


Here the Fathers order that no one of the faithful shall stop work on the Sabbath as do the Jews, but that they should honour the Lord's Day, on account of the Lord's resurrection, and that on that day they should abstain from manual labour and go to church. But thus abstaining from work on Sunday they do not lay down as a necessity, but they add, "if they can." For if through need or any other necessity any one worked on the Lord's day this was not reckoned against him.

Canon XXX.

None of the priesthood, nor clerics [of lower rank] nor ascetics, nor any Christian or layman, shall wash in a bath with women; for this is the greatest reproach among the heathen.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXX.

It is an abomination to bathe with women.

This canon was renewed by the Synod in Trullo, canon lxxvii.

Zonaras explains that the bathers were entirely nude and hence arose the objection which was also felt by the heathen.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXXXI, c. xxviii.

Canon XXXI.

It is not lawful to make marriages with all [sorts of] heretics, nor to give our sons and daughters to them; but rather to take of them, if they promise to become Christians.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXI.

It is not right to give children in marriage to heretics, but they should be received if they promise to become Christians.

Van Espen.

By this canon the faithful are forbidden to contract marriage with heretics or to join their children in such; for, as both Balsamon and Zonaras remark, "they imbue them with their errors, and lead them to embrace their own perverse opinions."

Canon XXXII.

It is unlawful to receive the eulogiæ of heretics, for they are rather alogiai [i.e., follies], than eulogiæ [i.e., blessings].


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXII.

The blessings of heretics are cursings.

To keep the Latin play upon the words the translator has used bene-dictiones and male-dictiones, but at the expense of the accuracy of translation.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars II., Causa II., Quæst. I., Can. lxvi.


No one shall join in prayers with heretics or schismatics.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXIII.

Thou shalt not pray with heretics or schismatics.

Van Espen.

The underlying principle of this canon is the same as the last, for as the receiving of the Eulogiæ which were sent by heretics as a sign of communion, signified a communion with them in religious matters, so the sharing with them common prayer is a declaration of the same communion, and therefore to be avoided. This is also set forth in Apostolical Canon number xlv.

Canon XXXIV.

No Christian shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn to false martyrs, that is, to those of the heretics, or those who formerly were heretics; for they are aliens from God. Let those, therefore, who go after them, be anathema.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXIV.

Whoso honours an heretical pseudo-martyr let him be anathema.


This canon forbids the honouring of martyrs not belonging to the orthodox church. The number of Montanist martyrs of Phrygia was probably the occasion of this canon.

The phrase which I have translated "to those who formerly were heretics" has caused great difficulty to all translators and scarcely two agree. Hammond reads "those who have been reputed to have been heretics;" and with him Fulton agrees, but wrongly (as I think) by omitting the "to." Lambert translates "to those who before were heretics" and correctly. With him agrees Van Espen, thus, vel eos qui prius heretici fuere.

Canon XXXV.

Christians must not forsake the Church of God, and go away and invoke angels and gather assemblies, which things are forbidden. If, therefore, any one shall be found engaged in this covert idolatry, let him be anathema; for he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and has gone over to idolatry.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXV.

Whoso calls assemblies in opposition to those of the Church and names angels, is near to idolatry and let him be anathema.

Van Espen.

Whatever the worship of angels condemned by this canon may have been, one thing is manifest, that it was a species of idolatry, and detracted from the worship due to Christ.

Theodoret makes mention of this superstitious cult in his exposition of the Text of St. Paul, Col. ii. 18, and when writing of its condemnation by this synod he says, "they were leading to worship angels such as were defending the Law; for, said they, the Law was given through angels. And this vice lasted for a long time in Phrygia and Pisidia. Therefore it was that the synod which met at Laodicea in Phrygia, prohibited by a canon, that prayer should be offered to angels, and even to-day an oratory of St. Michael can be seen among them, and their neighbours."

In the Capitular of Charlemagne, a.d. 789 (cap. xvi.), it is said, "In that same council (Laodicea) it was ordered that angels should not be given unknown names, and that such should not be affixed to them, but that only they should be named by the names which we have by authority. These are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael." And then is subjoined the present canon. The canon forbids "to name" (onomazein) angels, and this was understood as meaning to give them names instead of to call upon them by name.

Perchance the authors of the Capitular had in mind the Roman Council under Pope Zachary, a.d. 745, against Aldebert, who was found to invoke by name eight angels in his prayers.

It should be noted that some Latin versions of great authority and antiquity read angulos for angelos. This would refer to doing these idolatrous rites in corners, hiddenly, secretly, occulte as in the Latin. But this reading, though so respectable in the Latin, has no Greek authority for it.

This canon has often been used in controversy as condemning the cultus which the Catholic Church has always given to the angels, but those who would make such a use of this canon should explain how these interpretations can be consistent with the cultus of the Martyrs so evidently approved by the same council; and how this canon came to be accepted by the Fathers of the Second Council of Nice, if it condemned the then universal practice of the Church, East and West. Cf. Forbes, Considerationes Modestæ.

Canon XXXVI.

They who are of the priesthood, or of the clergy, shall not be magicians, enchanters, mathematicians, or astrologers; nor shall they make what are called amulets, which are chains for their own souls. And those who wear such, we command to be cast out of the Church.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXVI.

Whoso will be priest must not be a magician, nor one who uses incantations, or mathematical or astrological charms, nor a putter on of amulets.

Some interesting and valuable information on charms will be found in Ducange (Glossarium, s.v. Phylacterea).


"Magicians" are those who for any purpose call Satan to their aid. "Enchantors" are those who sing charms or incantations, and through them draw demons to obey them. "Mathematicians" are they who hold the opinion that the celestial bodies rule the universe, and that all earthly things are ruled by their influence. "Astrologers" are they who divine by the stars through the agency of demons, and place their faith in them.

Van Espen.

Zonaras also notes that the science of mathematics or astronomy is not at all hereby forbidden to the clergy, but the excess and abuse of that science, which even more easily may happen in the case of clergymen and consecrated persons than in that of laymen.


It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them.


It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.

Canon XXXIX.

It is not lawful to feast together with the heathen, and to be partakers of their godlessness.


Ancient Epitome of Canons XXXVII., XXXVIII, and XXXIX.

Thou shalt not keep feasts with Hebrews or heretics, nor receive festival offerings from them.


Read canon lxx. and canon lxxi. of the Holy Apostles, and Canon lx. [197] of the Synod of Carthage.


Light hath no communion with darkness. Therefore no Christian should celebrate a feast with heretics or Jews, neither should he receive anything connected with these feasts such as azymes and the like.


[197] So both Zonaras and Balsamon give the number, but in this they follow the Latin numbers of the African Code, the Greek number is lxiii.

Canon XL.

Bishops called to a synod must not be guilty of contempt, but must attend, and either teach, or be taught, for the reformation of the Church and of others. And if such an one shall be guilty of contempt, he will condemn himself, unless he be detained by ill health.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XL.

Whoso summoned to a synod shall spurn the invitation, unless hindered by the force of circumstances, shall not be free from blame.


By anomalia, illness is commonly understood, and Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore translated it, the former ægritudinem, and the latter infirmitatem. But Balsamon justly remarks that the term has a wider meaning, and, besides cases of illness includes other unavoidable hinderances or obstacles.

This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XVIII., c. v.

Canon XLI.

None of the priesthood nor of the clergy may go on a journey, without the bidding of the Bishop.

Canon XLII.

None of the priesthood nor of the clergy may travel without letters canonical.


Ancient Epitome of Canons XLI. and XLII.

No clergyman shall undertake a journey without canonical letters or unless he is ordered to do so.

Van Espen.

(On Canon xli.)

It is well known that according to the true discipline of the Church no one should be ordained unless he be attached to some church, which as an ecclesiastical soldier he shall fight for and preserve. As, then, a secular soldier cannot without his prefect's bidding leave his post and go to another, so the canons decree that no one in the ranks of the ecclesiastical military can travel about except at the bidding of the bishop who is in command of the army. A slight trace of this discipline is observed even to-day in the fact that priests of other dioceses are not allowed to celebrate unless they are provided with Canonical letters or testimonials from their own bishops.

(On Canon xlii.)

The whole subject of Commendatory and other letters is treated of in the note to Canon VIII. of the Council of Antioch.

Canon xlj. is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars III., Dist. V., De Consecrat, can. xxxvi.

Canon xlii. is appended to the preceding, but, curiously enough, limited to laymen, reading as follows: "a layman also without canonical letters," that is "formed letters," should not travel anywhere. The Roman Correctors remark that in the Greek order this last is canon xli., and the former part of Gratian's canon, canon xlii. of the Greek, but such is not the order of the Greek in Zonaras nor in Balsamon. The correctors add that in neither canon is there any mention made of laymen, nor in Dionysius's version; the Prisca, however, read for canon xlj., "It is not right for a minister of the altar, even for a layman, to travel, etc."

Canon XLIII.

The subdeacons may not leave the doors to engage in the prayer, even for a short time.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLIII.

A subdeacon should not leave the gates, even for a short time, to pray.

On this canon the commentators find nothing to say in addition to their remarks on Canons xxi., and xxii., except that the "prayer" is not their own private prayer, but the prayer of the Liturgy. It has struck me that possibly when there was no deacon to sing the litany outside the Holy Gates while the priest was going on with the holy action within, subdeacons may have left their places at the doors, assumed the deacon's stole and done his part of the office, and that it was to prevent this abuse that this canon was enacted, the "prayer" being the litany. But as this is purely my own suggestion it is probably valueless.

Canon XLIV.

Women may not go to the altar.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLIV.

The altar must not be approached by women.

Van Espen.

The discipline of this canon was often renewed even in the Latin Church, and therefore Balsamon unjustly attacks the Latins when he says; "Among the Latins women go without any shame up to the altar whenever they wish." For the Latins have forbidden and do forbid this approach of women to the altar no less than the Greeks; and look upon the contrary custom as an abuse sprung of the insolence of the women and of the negligence of bishops and pastors.


If it is prohibited to laymen to enter the Sanctuary by the lxixth canon of the Sixth synod [i.e. Quinisext], much more are women forbidden to do so who are unwillingly indeed, but yet truly, polluted by the monthly flux of blood.

Canon XLV.

[Candidates] for baptism are not to be received after the second week in Lent.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLV.

After two weeks of Lent no one must be admitted for illumination, for all such should fast from its beginning.

Van Espen.

To the understanding of this canon it must be remembered that such of the Gentiles as desired to become Catholics and to be baptized, at first were privately instructed by the catechists. After this, having acquired some knowledge of the Christian religion, they were admitted to the public instructions given by the bishop in church; and were therefore called Audientes and for the first time properly-speaking Catechumens. But when these catechumens had been kept in this rank a sufficient time and had been there tried, they were allowed to go up to the higher grade called Genuflectentes.

And when their exercises had been completed in this order they were brought by the catechists who had had the charge of them, to the bishop, that on the Holy Sabbath [Easter Even] they might receive baptism, and the catechumens gave their names at the same time, so that they might be set down for baptism at the coming Holy Sabbath.

Moreover we learn from St. Augustine (Serm. xiii., Ad Neophitos,) that the time for the giving in of the names was the beginning of Lent.

This council therefore in this canon decrees that such as do not hand in their names at the beginning of Lent, but after two weeks are past, shall not be admitted to baptism on the next Holy Sabbath.

Canon XLVI.

They who are to be baptized must learn the faith [Creed] by heart, and recite it to the bishop, or to the presbyters, on the fifth day of the week.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLVI.

Vide infra.


It is doubtful whether by the Thursday of the text was meant only the Thursday of Holy Week, or every Thursday of the time during which the catechumens received instruction. The Greek commentators are in favour of the latter, but Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, and after them Bingham, are, and probably rightly, in favour of the former meaning. This canon was repeated by the Trullan Synod in its seventy-eighth canon.

Canon XLVII.

They who are baptized in sickness and afterwards recover, must learn the Creed by heart and know that the Divine gifts have been vouchsafed them.


Ancient Epitome of Canons XLVI. and XLVII.

Whoso is baptised by a bishop or presbyter let him recite the faith on the fifth feria of the week. Also anyone baptized clinically a short while afterwards.


Some unbelievers were baptized before they had been catechized, by reason of the urgency of the illness. Now some thought that as their baptism did not follow their being catechumens, they ought to be catechized and baptized over again. And in support of this opinion they urged Canon XII. of Neocæsarea, which does not permit one clinically baptized to become a priest rashly. For this reason it is that the Fathers decree that such an one shall not be baptized a second time, but as soon as he gets well he shall learn the faith and the mystery of baptism, and to appreciate the divine gifts he has received, viz., the confession of the one true God and the remission of sins which comes to us in holy baptism.


They who are baptized must after Baptism be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the Kingdom of Christ.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLVIII.

Those illuminated should after their baptism be anointed. Van Espen.

That this canon refers to the anointing with chrism on the forehead of the baptized, that is to say of the sacrament of confirmation, is the unanimous opinion of the Greek commentators, and Balsamon notes that this anointing is not simply styled "chrism" but "the heavenly chrism," viz.: "that which is sanctified by holy prayers and through the invocation of the Holy Spirit; and those who are anointed therewith, it sanctifies and makes partakers of the kingdom of heaven."


(Lib. i., Observat. cap. xv.)

Formerly no one was esteemed worthy of the name Christian or reckoned among the perfect who had not been confirmed and endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The prayers for the consecration of the Holy Chrism according to the rites of the East and of the West should be carefully read by the student. Those of the East are found in the Euchologion, and those of the West in the Pontificale Romanum, De Officio in feria v. Coena Domini.

Canon XLIX.

During Lent the Bread must not be offered except on the Sabbath Day and on the Lord's Day only.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XLIX.

In Lent the offering should be made only on the Sabbath and on the Lord's day.


This canon, which was repeated by the Trullan Synod in its fifty-second canon, orders that on ordinary week days during Lent, only a Missa Præsanctificatorum should take place, as is still the custom with the Greeks on all days of penitence and mourning, when it appears to them unsuitable to have the full liturgy, and as Leo Allatius says, for this reason, that the consecration is a joyful act. A comparison of the above sixteenth canon, however, shows that Saturday was a special exception.

To the Saturdays and Sundays mentioned by Hefele must be added the feast of the Annunciation, which is always solemnized with a full celebration of the Liturgy, even when it falls upon Good Friday.

Canon L.

The fast must not be broken on the fifth day of the last week in Lent [i.e., on Maunday Thursday], and the whole of Lent be dishonoured; but it is necessary to fast during all the Lenten season by eating only dry meats.


Ancient Epitome of Canon L.

It is not right on the fifth feria of the last week of Lent to break the fast, and thus spoil the whole of Lent; but the whole of Lent should be kept with fasting on dry food.

That long before the date of the Quinisext Synod the fasting reception of the Holy Eucharist was the universal law of the Church no one can doubt who has devoted the slightest study to the point. To produce the evidence here would be out of place, but the reader may be referred to the excellent presentation of it in Cardinal Bona's De Rebus Liturgicis.

I shall here cite but one passage, from St. Augustine:

"It is clear that when the disciples first received the body and blood of the Lord they had not been fasting. Must we then censure the Universal Church because the sacrament is everywhere partaken of by persons fasting? Nay, verily; for from that time it pleased the Holy Spirit to appoint, for the honour of so great a sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a Christian; and it is for this reason that the custom referred to is universally observed. For the fact that the Lord instituted the sacrament after other food had been partaken of does not prove that brethren should come together to partake of that sacrament after having dined or supped, or imitate those whom the Apostle reproved and corrected for not distinguishing between the Lord's Supper and an ordinary meal. The Saviour, indeed, in order to commend the depths of that mystery more affectingly to his disciples, was pleased to impress it on their hearts and memories by making its institution his last act before going from them to his passion. And, therefore, he did not prescribe the order in which it was to be observed, reserving this to be done by the Apostles, through whom he intended to arrange all things pertaining to the churches. Had he appointed that the sacrament should be always partaken of after other food, I believe that no one would have departed from that practice. But when the Apostle, speaking of this sacrament, says, `Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another, and if any man hunger let him eat at home, that ye come not together unto condemnation,' he immediately adds, `And the rest will I set in order when I come.' Whence we are given to understand that, since it was too much for him to prescribe completely in an epistle the method observed by the Universal Church throughout the world it was one of the things set in order by him in person; for we find its observance uniform amid all the variety of other customs." [198]

In fact the utter absurdity of the attempt to maintain the opposite cannot better be seen than in reading Kingdon's Fasting Communion, an example of special pleading and disingenuousness rarely equalled even in controversial theological literature. A brief but crushing refutation of the position taken by that writer will be found in an appendix to a pamphlet by H. P. Liddon, Evening Communions contrary to the Teaching and Practice of the Church in all Ages.

But while this is true, it is also true that in some few places the custom had lingered on of making Maundy Thursday night an exception to this rule, and of having then a feast, in memory of our Lord's Last Supper, and after this having a celebration of the Divine Mysteries. This is the custom which is prohibited by this canon, but it is manifest both from the wording of the canon itself and from the remarks of the Greek commentators that the custom was condemned not because it necessitated an unfasting reception of the Holy Eucharist, but because it connoted a feast which was a breaking of the Lenten fast and a dishonour to the whole of the holy season.

It is somewhat curious and a trifle amusing to read Zonaras gravely arguing the point as to whether the drinking of water is forbidden by this canon because it speaks of "dry meats," which he decides in the negative!


Those, therefore, who without being ill, fast on oil and shell-fish, do contrary to this law; and much more they who eat on the fourth and sixth ferias fish.


[198] Aug. Epist. ad Januar.

Canon LI.

The nativities of Martyrs are not to be celebrated in Lent, but commemorations of the holy Martyrs are to be made on the Sabbaths and Lord's days.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LI.

Commemorations of Martyrs shall only be held on Lord's days and Sabbaths.

By this canon all Saints-days are forbidden to be observed in Lent on the days on which they fall, but must be transferred to a Sabbath or else to the Sunday, when they can be kept with the festival service of the full liturgy and not with the penitential incompleteness of the Mass of the Presanctified. Compare canon xlix. of this Synod, and canon lii. of the Quinisext Council.


The whole of Lent is a time of grief for our sins, and the memories of the Saints are not kept except on the Sabbaths.

Van Espen remarks how in old calendars there are but few Saints-days in those months in which Lent ordinarily falls, and that the multitude of days now kept by the Roman ordo are mostly of modern introduction.

Canon LII.

Marriages and birthday feasts are not to be celebrated in Lent.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LII.

Marriage shall not be celebrated in Lent, nor birthdays.


By "birthday feasts" in this canon the natalitia martyrum is not to be understood as in the preceding canon, but the birthday feasts of princes. This, as well as the preceding rule, was renewed in the sixth century by Bishop Martin of Bracara, now Braga, in Portugal.

Canon LIII.

Christians, when they attend weddings, must not join in wanton dances, but modestly dine or breakfast, as is becoming to Christians.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LIII.

It is unsuitable to dance or leap at weddings.

Van Espen.

This canon does not call for explanation but for reflexion, and greatly it is to be desired that it should be observed by Christians, and that through like improprieties, wedding-days, which should be days of holy joy and blessing, be not turned, even to the bride and groom themselves, into days of cursing. Moreover the Synod of Trent admonishes bishops (Sess. xxiv., De Reform. Mat., cap. x.) to take care that at weddings there be only that which is modest and proper.

Canon LIV.

Members of the priesthood and of the clergy must not witness the plays at weddings or banquets; but, before the players enter, they must rise and depart.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LIV.

Priests and clerics should leave before the play.


Christians are admonished to feast modestly when they go to weddings and not to dance nor ballizein , that is to clap their hands and make a noise with them. For this is unworthy of the Christian standing. But consecrated persons must not see the play at weddings, but before the thymelici begin, they must go out.

Compare with this Canons XXIV. and LI., of the Synod in Trullo.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars III., De Consecrat. Dist. v., can. xxxvii.

Canon LV.

Neither members of the priesthood nor of the clergy, nor yet laymen, may club together for drinking entertainments.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LV.

Neither a layman nor a cleric shall celebrate a club feast.

These meals, the expenses of which were defrayed by a number clubbing together and sharing the cost, were called "symbola" by Isidore, and by Melinus and Crabbe "comissalia," although the more ordinary form is "commensalia" or "comessalia." Cf. Ducange Gloss., s.v. Commensalia and Confertum.

This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XLIV., c. x. (Isidore's version), and c. xii., (Martin of Braga's version).

Canon LVI.

Presbyters may not enter and take their seats in the bema before the entrance of the Bishop: but they must enter with the Bishop, unless he be at home sick, or absent.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LVI.

A presbyter shall not enter the bema before the bishop, nor sit down.

It is difficult to translate this canon without giving a false idea of its meaning. It does not determine the order of dignity in an ecclesiastical procession, but something entirely different, viz., it provides that when the bishop enters the sanctuary he should not be alone and walk into a place already occupied, but that he should have with him, as a guard of honour, the clergy. Whether these should walk before or after him would be a mere matter of local custom, the rule juniores priores did not universally prevail.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. XCV., can. viii.

Canon LVII.

Bishops must not be appointed in villages or country districts, but visitors; and those who have been already appointed must do nothing without the consent of the bishop of the city. Presbyters, in like manner, must do nothing without the consent of the bishop.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LVII.

A bishop shall not be established in a village or in the country, but a periodeutes. But should one be appointed he shall not perform any function without the bishop of the city.

On the whole subject of Chorepiscopi see the Excursus to Canon VIII. of Nice, in this volume.


Compare the eighth and tenth canons of the Synod of Antioch of 341, the thirteenth of the Synod of Ancyra, and the second clause of the sixth canon of the Synod of Sardica. The above canon orders that from henceforth, in the place of the rural bishops, priests of higher rank shall act as visitors of the country dioceses and country clergy. Dionysius Exiguus, Isidore, the Greek commentators, Van Espen, Remi Ceillier, Neander, and others thus interpret this canon; but Herbst, in the Tübingen Review, translates the word (periodeutai ) not visitors but physicians--physicians of the soul,--and for this he appeals to passages from the Fathers of the Church collected by Suicer in his Thesaurus.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian's Decretum, Pars I., Dist. LXXX., c. v.

Canon LVIII.

The Oblation must not be made by bishops or presbyters in any private houses.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LVIII.

Neither a bishop nor a presbyter shall make the offering in private houses.

Van Espen.

By "the oblation" here is intended the oblation of the unbloody sacrifice according to the mind of the Greek interpreters. Zonaras says: "The faithful can pray to God and be intent upon their prayers everywhere, whether in the house, in the field, or in any place they possess: but to offer or perform the oblation must by no means be done except in a church and at an altar."

Canon LIX.

No psalms composed by private individuals nor any uncanonical books may be read in the church, but only the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LIX.

Psalms of private origin, or books uncanonical are not to be sung in temples; but the canonical writings of the old and new testaments.


Several heretics, for instance Bardesanes, Paul of Samosata, and Apollinaris--had composed psalms, i.e., Church hymns. The Synod of Laodicea forbade the use of any composed by private individuals, namely all unauthorized Church hymns. Lüft remarks that by this it was not intended to forbid the use of all but the Bible psalms and hymns, for it is known that even after this Synod many hymns composed by individual Christians, for instance, Prudentius, Clement, Ambrose, came into use in the Church. Only those not sanctioned were to be banished.

This idea was greatly exaggerated by some Gallicans in the seventeenth century who wished that all the Antiphons, etc., should be in the words of Holy Scripture. A learned but somewhat distorted account of this whole matter will be found in the Institutions Liturgiques by Dom Prosper Guéranger, tome ii., and a shorter but more temperate account in Dr. Batiffol's Histoire du Bréviaire Romain, Chap. vi.

Canon LX.

[N. B.--This Canon is of most questionable genuineness.]

These are all the books of Old Testament appointed to be read: 1, Genesis of the world; 2, The Exodus from Egypt; 3, Leviticus; 4, Numbers; 5, Deuteronomy; 6, Joshua, the son of Nun; 7, Judges, Ruth; 8, Esther; 9, Of the Kings, First and Second; 10, Of the Kings, Third and Fourth; 11, Chronicles, First and Second; 12, Esdras, First and Second; 13, The Book of Psalms; 14, The Proverbs of Solomon; 15, Ecclesiastes; 16, The Song of Songs; 17, Job; 18, The Twelve Prophets; 19, Isaiah; 20, Jeremiah, and Baruch, the Lamentations, and the Epistle; 21, Ezekiel; 22, Daniel.

And these are the books of the New Testament: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; The Acts of the Apostles; Seven Catholic Epistles, to wit, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; Fourteen Epistles of Paul, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LX.

But of the new, the four Gospels--of Matthew, of Mark, of Luke, of John; Acts; Seven Catholic epistles, viz. of James one, of Peter two, of John three, of Jude one; of Paul fourteen, viz.: to the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Galatians one, to the Ephesians one, to the Phillipians one, to the Colossians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Hebrews one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, and to Philemon one.

It will be noticed that while this canon has often been used for controversial purposes it really has little or no value in this connexion, for the absence of the Revelation of St. John from the New Testament to all orthodox Christians is, to say the least, as fatal to its reception as an ecumenical definition of the canon of Holy Scripture, as the absence of the book of Wisdom, etc., from the Old Testament is to its reception by those who accept the books of what we may call for convenience the Greek canon, as distinguished from the Hebrew, as canonical.

We may therefore leave this question wholly out of account, and merely consider the matter from the evidence we possess.

In 1777 Spittler published a special treatise [199] to shew that the list of scriptural books was no part of the original canon adopted by Laodicea. Hefele gives the following resume of his argument: [200]

(a) That Dionysius Exiguus has not this canon in his translation of the Laodicean decrees. It might, indeed, be said with Dallæus and Van Espen, that Dionysius omitted this list of the books of Scripture because in Rome, where he composed his work, another by Innocent I. was in general use.

(b) But, apart from the fact that Dionysius is always a most faithful translator, this sixtieth canon is also omitted by John of Antioch, one of the most esteemed and oldest Greek collectors of canons, who could have had no such reasons as Dionysius for his omission.

(c) Lastly, Bishop Martin of Braga in the sixth century, though he has the fifty-ninth, has also not included in his collection the sixtieth canon so nearly related to it, nor does the Isidorian translation appear at first to have had this canon. [201]Herbst, in the Tübingen Review, also accedes to these arguments of Spittler's, as did Fuchs and others before him. Mr. Ffoulkes in his article on the Council of Laodicea in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities at length attempts to refute all objections, and affirms the genuineness of the list, but his conclusions can hardly be accepted when the careful consideration and discussion of the matter by Bishop Westcott is kept in mind. (History of the Canon of the New Testament, IIId. Period, chapter ii. [p. 428 of the 4th Edition.])


[199] See new edition of his collected works, vol. viii., pp. 66 et seqq. [200] Hefele. Hist. of the Councils, Vol. II., pp. 323, 324. [201] Leonis, Opp., Ed. Ballerini, tom. iii., p. 441, n. xlviii.

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