Canon 1. DE HIS QUI POST BAPTISMUM IDOLIS IMMOLAVERUNT.
Placuit inter eos: Qui post fidem baptismi salutaris adulta aetate ad templum idoli idolaturus accesserit, et fecerit quod est crimen capitale, quia est summi sceleris, placuit nec in finem eum communionem accipere.
A baptized adult who commits the capital crime of sacrificing to the idols is not to receive communion even when death approaches.
If an adult who has been baptized has sacrificed to idols, and has thus committed a capital crime, he cannot be received into communion, even at the end of his life.
Canon 2. DE SACERDOTIBUS GENTILIUM QUI POST BAPTISTMUM IMMOLAVERUNT.
Flamines, qui post fidem lavacri et regenerationis sacrificaverunt, eo quod geminaverint scelera accedente homicidio, vel triplicaverint facinus cohaerente moechia, placuit eos nec in finem accipere communionem.
Flamens (a priest in a temple) who have been baptized but who then offer sacrifices will double their guilt by adding murder (if they organize public games) or even triple it with sexual immorality, and they cannot receive communion even when death approaches.
Canon 3. DE EISDEM SI IDOLIS MUNUS TANTUM DEDERUNT.
Item flamines qui non immolaverint, sed munus tautum dederint, eo quod sea funestis abstinuerint sacrificiis, placuit in finem eis praestare communionem, acta tamen legitima poenitentia. Item ipsi si post poenitentiam fuerint moechati, placuit ulterius his non esse dandam communionem, ne illusisse de dominica communione videantur.
Flamens who have not offered sacrifices but who have presided at public games have kept themselves from complete destruction and may receive communion when death approaches if they have done the required penance. If they commit sexual offenses after completing the penance, they shall be denied any further communion since receiving communion would make a mockery of the Sunday communion.
Canon 4. DE EISDEM SI CATECHUMENI ADHUC IMMOLANT QUANDO BAPTIZENTUR.
Item flamines si fuerint catechumeni et sea sacrificiis abstinuerint, post triennii tempora placuit ad baptismum admitti debere.
Flamens who have been catechumens for three years and who have abstained from sacrifices may be baptized.
The office of a flamen in the provinces of the Roman Empire consisted either in offering sacrifices to the gods, or in preparing the public games. It was hereditary in many families; and as it entailed many expenses, he who was legally bound to fill it could not give it up, even if he became a Christian, as is proved by the Code of Justinian, and S. Jeromeís work De Vita Hilarionis. It followed from this, that the members of these families of flamines kept their office even when they were catechumens or had been baptized; but they tried to give up the duties which it imposed, especially the sacrifices. They consented still to continue to prepare the public games. In the time of a persecution, the people generally wished to oblige them to offer sacrifices also. Tiffs Synod decided on what must be done with these flamines in the different cases which might arise. a. If they had been baptized, and if they had consented to fulfill all their duties, they had by that act alone (a) sacrificed to idols; (b) they had taken part in murders, by preparing for the games (in the games of gladiators), and in acts of immorality (in the obscene acts of certain plays) Their sin was therefore double and triple. Then they must be refused the communion as long as they lived. b. If they had been baptized, but if, without sacrificing, they had only given the games, they might be received into communion at the close of their life, provided that they should have first submitted to a suitable penance. But if, after having begun to do penance (that is the sense, and not after the accomplishment of the penance), they should again be led into any act of immorality (that is to say, if as flamines they should allow themselves to organize obscene plays), they should never more receive the communion. c. If a flamen was only a catechumen, and. if, without sacrificing, he had fulfilled his duties (perhaps also given the games), he might be baptized after three years of trial.
Canon 5. SI DOMINA PER ZELUM ANCILLAM OCCIDERIT.
Si qua foemina furore zeli accensa flails verberaverit ancillam suam, ita ut intra tertium diem animam cum cruciatu effundat, eo quod incertum sit voluntate an casu occiderit; si voluntate, post soptem annos, si casu, post quinquennii tempora, acta legitima poenitentia, ad communionem placuit admitti; quod si intra tempora constituta fuerint infirmata, accipiat communionem.
If a woman beats her servant and causes death within three days, she shall undergo seven years’ penance if the injury was inflicted on purpose and five years’ if it was accidental. She shall not receive communion during this penance unless she becomes ill. If so, she may receive communion.
If, in anger, a woman should strike her servant, so that the latter should die at the end of three days, the guilty woman shall undergo a seven yearsí penance if she struck so violently on purpose, and a five yearsí penance if she did not do so on purpose to kill: she shall not be received into communion till after this delay. If she should fall ill during the time of her penance, she may receive the communion.
This canon was inserted in the Corpus juris can.
Canon 6. SI QUICUNQUE PER MALEFICIUM HOMINEM INTERFECERIT.
Si quis vero maleficio interficiat alterum, eo quod sine idololatria perflcere scelus non potnit, nec in finem impertiendam illi esse communionem.
If someone kills another by sorcery or magic, that person shall not receive communion, even at the time of death, for this action is a form of idolatry.
By maleficio is here to be understood the deceits of magic or sorcery, which they considered necessarily connected with idolatry.
Canon 7. DE PAENITENTIBUS MAECHICE SI RURSUS MAECHAVERINT.
Si quis forte fidelis post lapsum moechiae, post tempora constituta, acta poenitentia, denuo fuerit fornicatus, placuit nec in finem habere eum communionem.
If a Christian completes penance for a sexual offense and then again commits fornication, he or she may not receive communion even when death approaches.
Canon 8. DE FOESMINIS QUOE RELICTIS VIRIS SUIS ALIIS NUBUNT.
Item foeminae, quae nulla praecedente causa reliquerint viros suos et alteris se copulaverint, nec in finem accipiant communionem.
Women who without acceptable cause leave their husbands and join another man may not receive communion even when death approaches.
Some interpreters have thought that the question here was that only of a Christian woman leaving her husband, still a pagan, without any reason; for under no pretext could she leave a Christian husband to marry another. But the following canon proves conclusively that the eighth canon speaks of a Christian couple. If it adds without reason, that does not mean that there exist any cases in which a woman could leave her husband to marry another: the canon decrees only a more severe punishment if she should abandon her husband without reason; whilst the following canon prescribes what punishment to inflict in case she should leave her husband not entirely without a cause (if, for example, the husband is an adulterer).
Canon 9. DE FOEMINIS QUCE ADULTEROS MARITOS RELINQUUNT ET ALIIS NUBUNT.
Item foemina fidelis, quae adulterum maritum reliquerit fidelem et alterum ducit, prohibeatur ne ducat; si duxerit, non prius accipiat communionem, nisi quem reliquit de saeculo exierit, nisi forsitan necessitas infirmitatis dare compulerit.
A baptized woman who leaves an adulterous husband who has been baptized, for another man, may not marry him. If she does, she may not receive communion until her former husband dies, unless she is seriously ill.
The ninth canon, which has also been inserted in the Corpus juris canon.
Canon 10. DE RELICTA CATECHUMENI SI ALTERUM DUXERIT.
Si ea quam catechumenus relinquit duxerit mariturn, potest ad fontem lavacri admitti: hoc et circa foeminas catechumenas erit observandum. Quodsi fuerit fidelis quae ducitur ab eo qui uxorem inculpatam relinquit, et quum scierit illum habere uxorem, quam sine causa reliquit, placuit in finem hujusmodi daft communionem.
If an unbaptized woman marries another man after being deserted by her husband who was a catechumen, she may still be baptized. This is also true for female catechumens. If a Christian woman marries a man in the knowledge that he deserted his former wife without cause, she may receive communion only at the time of her death.
Canon 11. DE CATECHUMENA SI GRAVITER AEGROTAVERIT.
Intra quinquennii autem tempera catechumena si graviter fuerit infirmata, dandum ei baptismum placuit non denegari.
If a female catechumen marries a man in the knowledge that he deserted his former wife without cause, she may not be baptized for five years unless she becomes seriously ill.
These two canons are difficult to explain, because the section between the two does not occupy its proper place. They treat of two quite different cases, and each of these cases is subdivided into two others. 1 . a. If a catechumen, without any cause, should leave his wife, who has not yet been baptized, and if the latter should marry another husband, she may be baptized. b. In the same way, if a female catechumen should, without reason, leave her husband, still unbaptized, and that he should marry again, he may be baptized.
Such is the first case. It supposes that the party who is left without cause is not baptized. Here the tenth canon should stop. What follows treats of another question, viz. if the party who has unlawfully left the other can be married again. The canon does not mention whether the party to be married is baptized, or only a catechumen, and it establishes the following: 2 . a. If a Christian woman rarefies a mar, whom she knows to have illegally divorced his wife, she may communicate only on her deathbed. As a Christian, she ought to have known that, according to S. Paul, a Christian (and the catechumen is here considered as such) cannot put away his partner, though an unbeliever, if the latter wishes to continue to live with him. b. If a femme catechumen marries a man who has illegally divorced his wife, her baptism shall be put off five years longer (a further period of trial), and she can be baptized before that time only in case of a serious illness.
We think we have thus clearly and accurately explained the sense of these two canons, which have given so much trouble to commentators.
Canon 12. DE MULIERIBUS QUOE LENOCINIUM FECERINT.
Mater vel patens vel quaelibet fidelis, si lenocinium exercuerit, eo quod. alienum vendiderit corpus vel potius suum, placuit eam nec in finem accipere communionem.
Parents and other Christians who give up their children to sexual abuse are selling others’ bodies, and if they do so or sell their own bodies, they shall not receive communion even at death.
We might have remarked on the two preceding canons, that their titles are not quite adapted to their contents. It is the same with this one. It threatens with perpetual excommunication those fathers and mothers who should give up their children to prostitution, as well as all those who follow this shameful trade. The words vel potius suum corpus, etc., however, evidently apply only to the parents of the young prostitute: in fact, they sell their own flesh and blood in selling their daughter.
Canon 13. DE VIRGINIBUS DEO SACRATIS SI ADULTERAVERINT.
Virgines quae se Deo dicaverunt, si pactum perdiderint virginitatis atque eidem libidini servierint, non intelligentes quid admiserint, placuit nec in finem els dandam esse communionem. Quod si semel persuasae aut infirmi corporis lapsu vitiatae omni tempore vitae suae hujusmodi foeminae egerint poenitentiam, ut abstineant se a coitu, eo quod lapsae potius videantur, placuit eas in finem communionem accipere debere.
Virgins who have been consecrated to God shall not commune even as death approaches if they have broken the vow of virginity and do not repent. If, however, they repent and do not engage in intercourse again, they may commune when death approaches.
When virgins consecrated to God (whether nuns properly so called, or young girls who have consecrated their youth to God, still remaining in their families) have committed a carnal sin without acknowledging their offense, and so continuing obstinately in their blindness (for it is thus that we must understand non intelligentes quid admiserint), they must remain permanently excommunicated; but if they should acknowledge their sin, and do perpetual penance, without falling again, they may receive the communion at the end of their life. This canon was inserted in the Corpus juris can.
Canon 14. DE VIRGINIBUS SAECULARIBUS SI MOECHAVERINT.
Virgines quae virginitatem suam non custodierint, si eosdem qui eas violaverint duxerint et tenuerint maritos, eo quod solas nuptias violaverint, post annum sine poenitentia reconciliari debebunt; vel si alios cognoverint viros, eo quod moechatae suni, placuit per quinquennii tempera, acta legitima poenitentia, admitti eas ad communionem oportere.
If a virgin does not preserve her virginity but then marries the man, she may commune after one year, without doing penance, for she only broke the laws of marriage. If she has been sexually active with other men, she must complete a penance of five years before being readmitted to communion.
If a young girl who has made no vows has committed a carnal sin, and if she marries him with whom she has been led away, she shall be reconciled at the end of one year, without being condemned to penance; that is to say, that she may receive the communion at the end of one year, because she has violated only the marriage law, the rights of which she usurped before they were conferred upon her.
Some manuscripts read, post peonitentiam unius anni reconcilientur; that is to say, that one yearís penance should be imposed upon her. The difference between this reading and ours is not important, for our reading also imposes on the guilty one minor excommunication for a year; that is to say, privation of the communion, which we know was also a degree of penance, namely, the fourth. The canon only exempts her from the most severe degrees of excommunication, to which were attached positive works of penance. The other reading says nothing more. If this woman should marry any one except him with whom she had fallen, she would commit a sort of adultery, and ought to submit to five years of penance.
Canon 15. DE CONJUGIO EORUM QUI EX GENTILITATE VENIUNT.
Propter copiam puellarum gentilibus minime in matrimoninum dandae sunt virgines Christianae, ne aetas in flore tureens in adulterium animae resolvatur.
Christian girls are not to marry pagans, no matter how few eligible men there are, for such marriages lead to adultery of the soul.
Canon 16. DE PUELLIS FIDELIBUS NE INFIDELIBUS CONJUNGANTUR.
Haeretici si se transferre noluerint ad Ecclesiam catholicam, nec ipsis catholicas dandas esse puellas; sed neque Judaeis neque haereticis dare placuit, eo quod nulla possit esse societas fideli cum infideli: si contra interdictum fecerint parentes, abstineri per quinquennium placet.
Heretics shall not be joined in marriage with Catholic girls unless they accept the Catholic faith. Catholic girls may not marry Jews or heretics, because they cannot find a unity when the faithful and the unfaithful are joined. Parents who allow this to happen shall not commune for five years.
Canon 17. DE HIS QUI FILIAS SUAS SACERDOTIBUS GENTILIUM CONJUNGUNT.
Si qui forte sacerdotibus idolorum filias suas junxerint, placuit nec in finera iis dandam esse communionem.
If parents allow their daughter to marry a pagan priest, they shall not receive communion even at the time of death.
Canon 18. DE SACERDOTIBUS ET MINISTRIS SI MOECHAVERINT.
Episcopi, presbyteres (!) et diacones si in ministerio positi detecti fuerint quod sint moechati, placuit propter scandalum et propter profanum crimen nec in finem cos communionem accipere debere.
Bishops, presbyters, and deacons, once they have taken their place in the ministry, shall not be given communion even at the time of death if they are guilty of sexual immorality. Such scandal is a serious offense.
We must here, as in other places, understand by moechare, not only adultery in specic, but all fornication in general.
Canon 19. DE CLERICIS NEGOTIA ET MUNDINAS SECTANTIBUS.
Episcopi, presbyteres (!) et diaeones de locis suis negotiandi causa non discedant, nec circumeuntes provincias quaestuosas nundinas sectentur: sane ad victum sibi conquirendum aut filium aut libertum aut mercenarium aut amicum a ut quemlibet mittant, et si voluerint negotiari, intra provinciam negotientur.
Bishops, presbyters, and deacons shall not leave the area where they work, or travel in the provinces, in order to engage in profitable ventures. If it is an economic necessity, let them send a son, a freedman, an employee, a friend, or someone else. They should engage only in business activities within their own area.
S. Cyprian, in his work de Lapsis, also complains that, many bishops left their churches and went into foreign provinces for the sake of merchandise, and to give themselves up to trade.
Canon 20. DE CLERICIS ET LAICIS USURARIIS.
Si quis clericorum detectus fuerit usuras accipere, placuit eum degradari et abstineri. Si quis etiam laicus accepisse probatur usuras, et promiserit correptus jam se cassaturum nec ulterius exacturum, placuit ei veniam tribui: si vero in ea iniquitate duraverit, ab ecclesia esse projiciendum.
If any clergy are found engaged in usury, let them be censured and dismissed. If a layman is caught practicing usury, he may be pardoned if he promises to stop the practice. If he continues this evil practice, let him be expelled from the church.
When we consider fire seventeenth Nicene canon, which also forbids lending money at interest, we shall speak of the judgment of the ancient Church on this matter. The first part of our canon has been inserted by Gratian in the Corpus juris canon.
Canon 21. DE HIS QUI TARDIUS AD ECCLESIAM ACCEDUNT.
Si quis in civitate positus tres dominicas ad ecclesiam non accesserit, pauco tempore abstineatur, ut correptus esse videatur.
If anyone who lives in the city does not attend church services for three Sundays, let that person be expelled for a brief time in order to make the reproach public.
As we have said before, Hosius proposed and had passed at the Council of Sardica a like statute against those who neglected to go to church. It is the eleventh canon of the Greek and the fourteenth of the Latin text of the decrees of Sardica.
Canon 22. DE CATHOLICIS IN HOERESIM TRANSEUNTIBUS, SI REVERTANGUR.
Si quis de catholica Ecclesia ad haeresim transitum fecerit rursusque recurrerit, placuit huie poenitentiam non esse denegandam, eo quod cognoverit peccatum suum; qui etiam decem annis agat poenitentiam, cui post decem annos praestari communio debet; si vero infantes fuerint transducti, quod non sue vitio peccaverint incunctanter recipi debent.
If people fall from the Catholic church into heresy and then return, let them not be denied penance, since they have acknowledged their sin. Let them be given communion after ten years’ penance. If children have been led into heresy, it is not their own fault, and they should be received back immediately.
Canon 23. DE TEMPORIBUS JEJUNIORUM.
Jejunii superpositiones per singulos menses placuit celebrari, exceptis diebus duorum mensium Julii et Augusti propter quorumdam infirmitatem.
In order to help those who are weak, the rigorous fasting that requires no eating for a whole day shall be dropped during the months of July and August.
The superponere (uJperti>qesqai ), or the superpositio (uJpe>rqesiv ), was a degree of austerity which was added to the ordinary fast. It consisted in eating absolutely nothing for a whole day.
Canon 24. DE HIS QUI IN PEREGRE BAPTIZANTUR, UT AD CLERUM NON VENIANT.
Omnes qui in peregre fuerint baptizati, eo quod eorum minime sit cognita vita, placuit ad clerum non esse promovendos in alienis provinciis.
Individuals shall not be admitted as clergy in a province other than the one where they were baptized. Otherwise their life would not be known by those who examine them.
None could be admitted into the ranks of the clergy out of the province in which he had been baptized. This canon passed into the Corpus jut. can.
Canon 25. DE EPISTOLIS COMMUNICATORIIS CONFESSORUM.
Omnis qui attulerit literas confessorias, sublato heroine confessoris, eo quod omnes sub hac nominis gloria passim concutiant simplices, communicatorae ei dandle sunt litteae.
Those who have letters of recommendation referring to them as “confessors” should obtain new letters affirming them as “communicants” instead. Simple people are deceived by the honored title of “confessor.”
This canon has been interpreted in three ways. Mendoza, Baronius, and others, when commenting upon it, thought of the letters of peace (libelli pacis) which the martyrs and confessors gave to the lapsi, to procure for them a speedy reception into the Church. These libelli pacis, indeed, induced many a bishop to admit a lapsus too promptly; but our canon does not speak of this abuse: it does not complain that these letters deceived the bishops: it says, concutiant simplices. If the canon had been intended to warn the bishops against these libelli pacis, it would certainly not have said that they should give to the lapsis communicatorias literas; for this was what was wrong, that they were admitted too soon to communion.
Aubespine and Herbst were of the opinion that the canon had reference to some Christians who, before going a journey, did not ask for letters of communion from their bishop, but preferred letters of recommendation given by their confessor, regarding these as more important, and that this practice was forbidden by one synod. This, again, is a mistake. The meaning of the canon is this: If a Christian, wishing to take a journey, submits to his bishop the draught of a letter of recommendation, in which it is said that the bearer is a confessor, the bishop must erase the word confessor, sublato nomine confessoris, because many simple people are deceived by this title, and rite bishop shall give common letters communicatorias.
Canon 26. UT OMNI SABBATO JEJUNETUR.
Errorem platuit corrigi, ut omni sabbati die superpositiones celebremus.
The rigorous form of fasting is to be followed every Saturday. This will correct a mistake in our present practice.
The meaning of this canon also is equivocal. The rifle seems to imply that it orders a severe fast every Saturday, and the suppression of the contrary practice followed up to that time. It is thus explained by Garsias in Binius and Mendoza. However, as the sixty-fifth apostolic canon prescribes that, except Holy Saturday, no Saturday should be a fast-day, our canon may also mean, The ancient error of fasting strictly every Saturday must be abolished: that is to say, the superpositio is ordered only for Holy Saturday; and for other Saturdays, as for Fridays, the static, only, that is to say, the half-fast is ordered. But in comparing this canon with the forty-third, where the same expressions are again found, we see that the ut determines what was to be henceforth observed, and not in what the error consisted. According to that, our decree would mean that the superpositio must be observed every Saturday, and we must adopt the explanation of Garsias.
Canon 27. DE CLERICIS UT EXTRANEAS FOEMINAS IN DOMO NON HABEANT.
Episcopus vel quilibet alius clericus nut sororem aut filiam virgintem dicatam Deo tantum secum habeat; extraneam nequaquam habere placuit.
A bishop or other cleric may have only a sister or a daughter who is a virgin consecrated to God living with him. No other woman who is unrelated to him may remain.
This canon is more severe than the third similar canon of the Council of Nicaea. It allows the clergy to have with them in their house (a) only their sisters, or their own daughters; (b) and also that these must be virgins, and consecrated to God, that is, having vowed their virginity to God.
Canon 28. DE OBLATIONIBUS EORUM QUI NON COMMUNICANT.
Episcopum placuit ab eo, qui non communicat, munus accipere non debere.
A bishop may not receive the offerings of those who are not allowed to receive communion.
In the same way as in the first canon, we must here understand by those qui non communicant, Christians who, like penitents or catechumens, are not in the communio (community), and who therefore do not receive the holy Eucharist. The meaning of the canon is: The bishop cannot accept at the altar the offerings (oblata) of those who do not communicate.
Canon 29. DE ENERGUMENIS QUALITER HABEANTUR IN ECCLESIA.
Energumenus qui ab erratico spiritu exagitur, hujus nomen neque ad altare cum oblatione esse recitandum, nec permittendum ut sun manu in ecclesia ministret.
Persons who have an erratic spirit shall not have their name added to the list of those making offerings, nor shall they be allowed to exercise any form of ministry in the congregation.
This canon, like the seventy-eighth apostolic canon, excludes demoniacs possessed by the evil spirit from active participation in divine service: they cannot present any offerings; their names cannot be read among those who are inscribed in the diptychs as offering the sacrifice (diptychis offerentium); and they must not be permitted to hold any office in the Church.
Canon 30. DE HIS QUI POST LAVACRUM MOECHATI SUNT, NE SUBDIACONES FIANT.
Subdiaconos eos ordinari non debere qui in adolescentia sua fuerint moechati, eo quod postmodum per subreptionem ad altiorem gradum promoveantur: vel si qui suni in praeteritum ordinati, amoveantur.
Those who sinned sexually as youth may not be ordained as subdeacons. This will guard against their being promoted to higher offices later on. If they have already been ordained, they shall be removed from their office.
Canon 31. DE ADOLESCENTIBUS QUI POST LAVACRUM MOECHATI SUNT.
Adolescentes qui post fidem lavacri salutaris fuerint moechati, cum duxerint uxores, acta legitima poenitentia placuit ad communionem cos admitti.
Young men who have been baptized and then are involved in sexual immorality may be admitted to communion when they marry if they have fulfilled the required penance.
Canon 32. DE EXCOMMUNICATIS PRESBYTERIS UT IN NECESSITATE COMMUNIONEM DENT.
Apud presbyterum, si quis gravi lapsu in ruinam morris inciderit, placuit agere poenitentiam non debere, sed potius apud episcopum: cogente tamen infirmitate necesse est presbyterem (!) communionem praestare debere, et diaconem si ei jusserit sacerdos.
Anyone who has fallen into mortal ruin because of sin must seek penance from the bishop and not a presbyter. In extreme illness a presbyter may offer communion or may direct a deacon to do so.
This canon is quite in conformity with the ancient custom, according to which the bishop only, and not a priest, could receive a penitent into the Church. It was only in a case of extreme necessity that a priest, or, according to the orders of a priest, a deacon, could give a penitent the communion, that is, could administer to him the eucharistic bread in sign of reconciliation: deacons often gave the communion in the ancient Church. The title of the canon is evidently wrong, and ought to be thus worded: De presbyteris ut excommunicatis in necessitate, etc. It is thus, indeed, that Mansi read it in several manuscripts.
Canon 33. DE EPISCOPIS ET MINISTRIS UT AB UXORIBUS ABSTINEANT.
Placuit in totum prohibere episcopis, presbyteris et diaconibus vel omnibus clericis positis in ministerio abstinere se a, conjugibus suis et non generare filios: quieunque vero fecerit, ab honore clericatus exterminetur.
Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and others with a position in the ministry are to abstain completely from sexual intercourse with their wives and from the procreation of children. If anyone disobeys, he shall be removed from the clerical office.
This celebrated canon contains the most ancient command of celibacy. The bishops, priests, and deacons, and in general all the clergy, qui in ministerio positi sunt, that is, who are specially employed in the service of the altar, ought no longer to have any conjugal intercourse with their wives, under pain of deposition, if they were married when they took orders. The history of the Council of Nicaea will give us the opportunity of considering the question of celibacy in the primitive Church. We will only add here, that the wording of our canon is defective: prohibere abstinere et non generare. The canon seems to order what, on the contrary, it would prohibit, viz.: It is forbidden that the clergy should abstain from their wives. A similarly inexact expression is found in the eightieth canon.
Canon 34. NE CERCI IN COEMETERIIS INCENDANTUR.
Cereos per diem placuit in coemeterio non incendi, inquietandi enim sanctorum spiritus non sunt. Qui haec non observaverint arceantur ab Ecclesiae communione.
Candles are not to be burned in a cemetery during the day. This practice is related to paganism and is harmful to Christians. Those who do this are to be denied the communion of the church.
It is forbidden to light wax candles during the day in cemeteries, for fear of troubling the spirits of the saints. Garsias thus explains this canon: for fear of troubling and distracting the faithful, who pray in the cemeteries. He thus makes sancti the synonym of faithful. Binterim has taken it in the same sense: sanctorum with him is synonymous with sancta agentium; and he translates it, so that the priests, who fulfill their holy offices, may not be distracted. Baronius, on the contrary, says: Many neophytes brought the custom from paganism, of lighting many wax candles upon tombs. The Synod forbids this, because metaphorically it troubles the souls of the dead; that is to say, this superstition wounds them. Aubespine gives a fourth explanation. He begins with the supposition that the bishops of Elvira partook of the opinion, then very general, that the souls of the dead hovered over their tombs for some time. The Synod consequently forbade that wax candles should be lighted by day, perhaps to abolish a remnant; of paganism, but also to prevent the repose of the souls of the dead from being troubled.
Canon 35. NE FOEMINCE IN COEMETERIIS PERVIGILENT.
Placuit prohiberi ne foeminae in coemeterio pervigilent, eo quod saepe sub obtentu orationis latenter scelera committunt.
Women are not to remain in a cemetery during the night. Some engage in wickedness rather than prayer.
Canon 36. NE PICTUROE IN ECCLESIA FIANT.
Placuit picturas in ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur in parietibus depingatur.
Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.
These canons are easy to understand: we have elsewhere explained why the ancient Church did not tolerate images. Binterim and Aubespine do not believe in a complete exclusion: they think that the Church in general, and the Synod of Elvira in particular, wished to proscribe only a certain kind of images. Binterim believes that this Synod forbade only one thing, namely, that any one might hang images in the Church according to his fancy, and often therefore inadmissible ones. Aubespine thinks that; our canon forbids only images representing God (because it says adoratur), and not other pictures, especially those of saints. But the canon also says colitur, and the prohibition is conceived in very general terms.
Canon 37. DE ENERGUMENIS NON BAPTIZATIS.
Eos qui ab immundis spiritibus vexantur, si in fine morris fuerint constituti, baptizari placer: si fideles fuerint, dandam esse communionem.
Those who have suffered from an evil spirit may be baptized as death approaches. If they have been baptized, they may be given communion. Such people are not, however, to light the church candles in public. If they do so, they are to be denied communion.
Prohibendum etiam ne lucernas hi publice accendant; si facere contra interdictum voluerint, abstineatur a communione.
This canon, like the 29th, speaks of demoniacs. If they are catechumens, they may be baptized when at the point of death (in articulo mortis), but not before that. If they are baptized, the communion may be administered to them when at the point of death, but not before. However, as the 29th canon had before forbidden any ministry in the Church to demoniacs, ours particularly adds that they could not fulfill the least service in the Church, not even light the lamps. Perhaps it may have been the custom to have the lamps of the Church lighted by those who were to be baptized, or by those who were to communicate, on the day when they were to receive this sacrament; and the Synod forbids that demoniacs should do so, even if, in spite of their illness, they were able to receive a sacrament. The inscription of the canon does not correspond to its whole tenor.
Canon 38. UT IN NECESSITATE ET FIDELES BAPTIZENT.
Logo peregre navigantes aut si ecclesia proximo non fuerit, posse fidelem, qui lavacrum suum integrum habet nec sit bigamus, baptizare in necessitate infirmitatis, positum, catechumenun, ita ut si supervixerit ad episcopum eum perducat, ut per manus impositionem perfici possit.
A baptized Christian who has not rejected the faith nor committed bigamy may baptize a catechumen who is in danger of death, if they are on a sea voyage or if there is no church nearby. If the person survives, he or she shall go to the bishop for the laying on of hands.
During a sea voyage, or in general, if no church is near, a layman who has not soiled his baptismal robe (by apostasy), and is not a bigamist, may baptize a catechumen who is at the point of death; the bishop ought afterwards to lay hands on the newly baptized, to confirm him.
Canon 39. DE GENTILIBUS SI IN DISCRIMINE BAPTIZARI EXPETUNT.
Gentiles si in infirmitate desideraverint sibi manure imponi, si fuerit corum ex aliqua parte honesta vita, placuit eis manum imponi et fieri Christianos.
A pagan who requests the laying on of hands at a time of illness, may receive the imposition of hands and become a Christian if his or her life has been reasonably honest.
This canon has been interpreted in two different ways. Binius, Katerkamp, and others, hold that the imposition of hands spoken of in this canon does not mean confirmation, but a ceremony by means of which any one was admitted into the lowest class of catechumens. These interpreters appeal principally to the pretended seventh carton of the second Ecumenical Council. We there read: We admit them only as pagans: the first day we make them Christians (in the widest sense); the second, catechumens; the third, we exorcise them, etc. etc. According to that, our canon would say: When a heathen, having a good name, desires during an illness that hands should be laid upon him, it ought to be done, that he may become a Christian . That is to say, he ought by the imposition of hands to be admitted among those who wish to be Christians, consequently among the Christians in the widest sense. The forty-fifth canon also takes the word catechumenus as synonymous with Christian.
Besides, we find Constantine the Great received the imposition of hands at the baths of Helenopolis before his baptism: a ceremony of this kind then preceded the reception of the first sacrament. Relying upon these considerations, the commentators we mentioned say that the canon of Elvira does not speak of baptism, because this could not be administered until after much longer trial. The provost of the Cathedral at Ko1n, Dr.
Munchen, gives another explanation in his dissertation upon the first Synod of Arles. According to him, a. As the thirty-seventh canon allows the baptism of demoniacs, it is not probable that they would be more severe with respect to ordinary sick persons in the thirty-ninth canon. On the contrary, the Church has always been tender towards the sick: she has always hastened to confer baptism upon them, because it is necessary to salvation; and for that reason she introduced clinical baptism. b. In the thirty-eighth canon the Church allows a layman to baptize one who should fall seriously ill during a sea voyage, but not to confirm him. She certainly, then, would allow this sick person to be confirmed if a bishop were present in the ship. c. As for one who should fall ill upon land, he could easily call a bishop to him; and therefore the case foreseen by the thirty-eighth canon does not apply to him: it would be easy to confer baptism and confirmation on him. d. The thirty-ninth canon, then, means: Whoso shall fall ill upon land, and who can summon a bishop to him, may receive baptism and confirmation at the same time. e. Understood in this way, the canon is more in unison with the two preceding, and with the practice of the ancient Church towards the sick.
Canon 40. NE ID QUOD IDOLOTHYTUM EST FIDELES ACCIPIANT.
Prohibere placuit, ut quum rationes suas accipiunt possessores, quidquid ad idolum datum fuerit, accepto non ferant; si post interdictum fecerint, per quinquennii spatia temporum a communione esse arcendos.
Landlords may not receive as rent anything that has already been offered to idols. If they do so, they shall be excluded from communion for five years.
That is to say: When the proprietors of lands and houses receive their rents (rationes ), for example, fruits from their farmers, who perhaps are still pagans, they ought not to admit any firing which had been sacrificed to the gods, under pain of five yearsí excommunication.
Canon 41. UT PROHIBEANT DOMINI IDOLA COLERE SERVIS SUIS.
Admoneri placuit fideles, ut in quantum possunt prohibeant ne idola in domibus suis habeant; si vero vim metuunt servorem, vel se ipsos puros conservent si non fecerint, alieni ab ecclesia habeantur.
Christians are to prohibit their slaves from keeping idols in their houses. If this is impossible to enforce, they must at least avoid the idols and remain pure. If this does not happen, they are alienated from the church.
The preceding canon had shown that many Christians had farmers who were pagans; the present canon supposes the case of a Christian having heathen slaves, and it enacts: a. That he ought not, even in this case, to tolerate idols in his house. b. That if he cannot conform to this rule, and must fear the slaves on account of their number, he may leave them their idols; but he must so much the more keep at a distance from them, and watch against every approach to idolatry.
Canon 42. DE HIS QUI AD FIDEM VENIUNT QUANDO BAPTIZENTUR.
Eos qui ad primam fidem credulitatis accedunt, si bonae fuerint conversationis, intra biennium temporum placuit ad baptismi gratiam admitti debere, nisi infirmitate compellente coegerit ratio velocius subvenire periclitanti vel gratiam postulanti.
Those with a good reputation who seek to become Christians shall remain as catechumens for two years before being baptized. Should they become seriously ill, they may request and receive baptism earlier.
He who has a good name, and wishes to become a Christian, must be a catechumen for two years: then he may be baptized. If he should fall ill, and desire the grace of baptism, it may be granted to him before the expiration of two years.
Canon 43. DE CELEBRATIONE PENTECOSTES.
Pravam institutionem emendari placuit juxta auctoritatem Scripturarum, ut cuncti diem Pentecostes celebremus, ne si quis non fecerit, novam haeresim induxisse notetur.
In accordance with the Scripture we shall celebrate Pentecost and not continue the false practice [of celebrating the fortieth day after Easter rather than the fiftieth]. If one does not accept this practice, it will be considered a new heresy.
Some parts of Spain had allowed the bad custom of celebrating the fortieth day after Easter, not the fiftieth; consequently the Ascension of Christ, and not Pentecost. Several ancient manuscripts, indeed, contain this addition: non quadragesimam. The same addition is found in an ancient abridgment of the canons of Elvira, with which Mansi makes us acquainted: post Pascha quinquagesima teneatur, non quadragesima.
We learn also from Cassian, that in the primitive Church some Christians wished to close the paschal season with the feast of the Ascension, that is, at the fortieth day. They regarded all Easter-time only as a remembrance of Christís sojourn among His disciples during the forty days which followed His resurrection; and therefore they wished to close this period with the feast of the Ascension. Herbst supposes that a Montanist party in Spain wished to suppress the feast of Pentecost altogether, because the Montanists believed that the Holy Spirit did not descend until He came in Montanus, who was regarded by his followers as the Comforter.
Canon 44. DE MERCTRICIBUS PAGANIS SI CONVERTANTUR.
Meretrix quae aliquando fuerit et postea habuerit maritum, si postmodum ad credulitatem venerit; incunctanter placuit esse recipiendam.
A former prostitute who has married and who seeks admission to the Christian faith shall be received without delay.
If a pagan courtezan has given up this abominable way of life, and is married, being still a pagan, there is no particular obstacle to her admission into the Church. She ought to be treated as other pagan women.
Canon 45. DE CATECHUMENIS QUI ECCLESIAM NON FREQUENTANT.
Qui aliquando fuerit catechumenus et per infinita tempora nunquam ad ecclesiam accesserit, si eum de clero quisque cognoverit esse Christianum, ant testes aliqui extiterint fideles, placuit ei baptismum non negari, eo quod veterem hominem dereliquisse videatur.
A catechumen who has stayed away from the church for a long time may be baptized if one of the clergy supports his or her claim to be a Christian, or if some of the faithful attest to this, and it appears that the person has reformed.
The case is here imagined of a catechumen who has not been to church for a long time, probably because he did not wish to be known as a Christian during a time of persecution; but afterwards his conscience awakes, and. he asks to be baptized. The canon ordains that if he is known to the clergy of the Church to which he belongs, and they know him to be a Christian, or if some of the faithful can attest this, he shall be admitted to baptism, because he appears to have put off the luke warmness of the old man.
Aubespine gives another interpretation which appears forced, and shows that he most probably had not the text before him. According to him, the meaning of the canon would be: When a catechumen has fallen away for a long time, and still after all desires baptism and to become a Christian, if he should suddenly lose speech, for example, from illness (the canon says not a word of all that), he may be baptized, provided a clergyman or several of the laity attest that he has desired baptism, and has become a real Christian. The Abbe Migne has placed this explanation in his Dictionary of the Councils.
Canon 46. DE FIDELIBUS SI APOSTAVERINT QUAMDIU POENITEANT.
Si quis fidelis apostata per infinita tempora ad ecclesiam non accesserit, si tamen aliquando fuerit reversus nee fuerit idolater, post decem annos placuit communion accipere.
If a Christian gives up the faith and stays away from the church for a long time, provided he or she has not become an idolater, he or she may be received back and commune after ten years of penance.
The sin of a Christian who should absent himself from church for a long time was naturally much greater than that of a catechumen. For this reason, the baptized Christian who has in fact apostatized is only received to the communion after a ten yearsí penance, and even then if he has not sacrificed to the gods. It appears to us that this canon alludes to the time of Diocletianís persecution; for during that terrible time more than one cowardly Christian did not go to church, gave no sign of Christian life, and thus apostatized in fact, without positively offering sacrifice to the idols.
Canon 47. DE EO QUI UXOREM HABENS SAPIUS MOECHATUR.
Si quis fidelis habens uxorem non seine sed saepe fuerit moechatus in fine morris est conveniendus: quod si se promiserit cessaturum, detur ei communio: si resuscitatus rursus fuerit moechatus, placuit ulterius non ludere eum de communione pacis.
If a baptized married man commits adultery repeatedly, he is to be asked as he nears death whether or not he will reform should he recover. If he so promises, he may receive communion. If he recovers and commits adultery again, he may not commune again, even as death approaches.
If a Christian who is married, and has been often guilty of adultery, is near death, they must go to see him (est conveniendus), and ask him whether, if he should recover, he promises to amend his ways. If he promises, the holy communion should be administered to him; if he should recover, and should again be guilty of adultery, the holy communion must not be allowed to be thus despised, it must henceforth be refused to him, even in articulo mortis. The, sixty-ninth and seventy-eighth canons complete the meaning of this one.
Canon 48. DE BAPTIZATIS UT NIHIL ACCIPIAT CLERUS.
Emendari placuit ut hi qui baptizantur, ut fieri solebat, numos in concha non mittant, ne sacerdos quod gratis accepit pretio distrahere videatur.
Those being baptized are not to place money in the baptismal shell since it seems to indicate that the priest is selling what is a free gift. The feet of the newly baptized are not to be washed by the priests or clerics.
Neque pedes eorum lavandi sunt a sacerdotibus vel clericis.
This canon forbids at the same time two things relative to baptism: 1 . It was the custom in Spain for the neophytes, at the time of their baptism, to put an offering into the shell which had been used at the baptism. This offering, afterwards called the stole-rights, was to be suppressed. 2 . The second part of the canon shows that there was the same custom in certain parts of Spain as at Milan and in Gaul, but which, from the testimony of St. Ambrose, did not exist at Rome, viz. that the bishop and clergy should wash the feet of the newly baptized when they left the baptismal font. Our Synod forbids this, and this canon has passed into the Corp. jur. can.
Canon 49. DE FRUGIBUS FIDELIUM NE A JUDAEIS BENEDICANTUR.
Admoneri placuit possessores, ut non patiantur fructus sues, quos a Deo percipiunt cum gratiarum actione, a Judaeis benedici, ne nostram irritam et infirmam faciant benedictionem: si quis post interdictum facere usurpaverit, penitus ab ecclesia abjiciatur.
Landlords are not to allow Jews to bless the crops they have received from God and for which they have offered thanks. Such an action would make our blessing invalid and meaningless. Anyone who continues this practice is to be expelled completely from the church.
The Jews were so numerous and so powerful in Spain during the first centuries of the Christian era, that they might at one time have hoped to be able to Judaize the whole country. According to the monuments which, however, are of doubtful authority they established themselves in Spain in the time of King Solomon. It is more, likely that they crossed from Africa to the Spanish peninsula only about a hundred years before Christ.
There they soon increased in number and importance, and could energetically carry on their work of proselytizing. This is the reason that the Synod of Elvira had to forbid to the priests and the laity all intimate intercourse with Jews (can. 50), and especially marriage (can. 16); for there is no doubt that at this period many Christians of high rank in Spain became Jews, as Jest shows in his work.
Canon 50. DE CHRISTIANIS QUI CUM JUDAEIS VESCUNTUR.
Si veto quis clericus vol fidelis cum Judaeis cibum sumpserit, placuit eum a communione abstineri, ut debeat emendari.
If any cleric or layperson eats with Jews, he or she shall be kept from communion as a way of correction.
Canon 51. DE HAERCTICIS UT AD CLERUM NON PROMOVEANTUR.
Ex omni haeresi fidelis si venerit, minime est. ad clerum promovendus: vel si qui suni in preteritum ordinati, sine dubio deponantur.
If a baptized person has come from heresy, he must not become a cleric. One who has already been ordained is to be removed from office immediately.
Canon 52. DE HIS QUI IN ECCLESIA LIBELLOS FAMOSOS PONUNT.
Hi qui inventi fuerint libellos famosos in ecclesia ponere anathematizentur.
Anyone who writes scandalous graffiti in a church is to be condemned.
This canon forbids the affixing of satires (libellos famosos) in churches, or the reading of them. It has been inserted in the Corp. jur. can.
Canon 53. DE EPISCOPIS QUI EXCOMMUNICATO ALIENO COMMUNICANT.
Placuit cunctis ut ab eo episcopo quis recipiat communionem a quo abstentus in crimine aliquo quis fuerit; quod si alius episcopus praesumpserit eum admitti, fillo adhuc minime faciente vel consentiente a quo fuerit communione privatus, sciat se hujusmodi causas inter fratres esso cum status sui periculo praestaturum.
A person who has been excluded from communion for an offense can be readmitted only by the bishop who ordered the excommunication. Another bishop who readmits him or her without obtaining the consent of the first bishop is liable to bring tension among his brothers and may be removed from office.
One excommunicated by a bishop can only be restored by the bishop who condemned him. Another bishop receiving him into communion, unless the first bishop acts at the same time, or approves of the reconciliation, must answer for it before his brethren, that is to say, before the provincial synod, and must run the danger of being deprived of his office (status).
Canon 54. DE PARENTIBUS QUI FIDEM SPONSALIORUM FRANGUNT.
Si qui parentes fidem fregerint sponsaliorum, triennii tempore abstineantur; si tamen idem sponsus vol sponsa in gravi crimine fuerint deprehensi, erunt excusati parentes; si in iisdem fuerit vitium et polluerint se, superior sententia servetur.
Parents who fail to keep the betrothal agreement and who break their child’s engagement are to be kept from communion for three years. If the bride or groom has committed a serious crime, the parents are justified in such an action. If both the bride and groom are involved in the sin, the first rule applies and the parents may not interfere.
If the parents of those who are betrothed fail to keep the promises made at the betrothal, these parents shall be excluded from the communion for three years, unless either of the betrothed persons be convicted of a very serious fault. In this case, the parents may break the engagement. If the betrothed have sinned together, the first arrangement continues; that is, the parents cannot then separate them. This canon is found in the Corp. juris can.
Canon 55. DE SACERDOTIBUS GENTILIUM QUI JAM NON SACRIFICANT.
Sacerdotes qui tantum coronas portant, nec sacrificant nec de suis sumptibus aliquid ad idola praestant, placuit post biennium accipere communionem.
Priests who continue to wear the secular wreath [as former flamens] but who do not perform sacrifices or make offerings to idols may receive communion after two years.
It may be asked whether the word sacerdotes is to be understood as referring to pagan priests who wished to be admitted as Christians, or to Christians who, as we have seen above (can. 2), still bore the office of flamines. Aubespine is of the latter opinion, and according to him the canon would have this meaning: The Christian who bears the office of flamen, and wears the distinctive sign that is, the crown without having sacrificed himself, or having contributed money to pagan sacrifices, must be excluded from eucharistic communion for two years. Aubespine gives the two following reasons in support of his explanation: (a.) When a pagan priest wished to become a Christian, he was not kept longer or more strictly than others as a catechumen, even when he had himself offered sacrifice. (b.) If it had referred to a pagan priest wishing to become a Christian, the Synod would have said, placuit post biennium accepere lavacrum (baptism), and not accipere communionem. This latter expression is used only for those who have been excluded for some time from the Church, and are admitted afresh into her bosom.
For our part, we think that this fifty-fifth canon is nothing but a complement of the second and third canons, and that it forms with them the following gradation: Can. 2. Christians who, as flamines, have sacrificed to idols, and given public-pagan games, cannot receive the communion, even when at the point of death. Can. 3. If they have not offered sacrifices, but have had the games celebrated, they may communicate at the close of theft life, after a previous penance.
Canon 55. If they have not offered sacrifice, nor contributed by theft fortune to pagan sacrifices (and to such public games), they may receive the communion after two years of penance.
This gradation is continued in the two following canons, the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh: they refer to Christians who have not been flamines, but who have. borne other offices in a heathen state, and so have been brought into relation with paganism.
The fifty-fifth canon evidently alludes to a former and not far distant time of persecution, during which Christians feared to refuse the office of flamines which fell to theft lot and by a half compliance wore the distinctive mark of their office, the crown, in order to pass uninjured through the time of persecution.
Canon 56. DE MAGISTRATIBUS ET DUUMVIRIS.
Magistratus vero uno anno quo agit duumviratum, prohibendum placet ut se ab ecclesia cohibeat.
Magistrates are not to enter the church during the year in which they serve as duumvir [the government official who presides at public occasions and national feasts].
What the consuls were at Rome, the duumviri were, on a small scale, in the Roman municipalities: their office also lasted only a year. These duumviri were obliged, by virtue of their office, to watch over pagan priests, personally, and the temples of the town; they had to preside at public solemnities, in processions, etc., which, like all the other national feasts of the Romans, had always more or less a semi-religious and pagan character.
For this reason the Synod forbade the duumviri to enter the Church as long as they were in office. In limiting itself to this prohibition, it gave proof of great moderation and of wise consideration, which we ought to appreciate.
An absolute prohibition to hold this office would have given up the charge of the most important towns to pagans. But the Council is much more severe in the following canon.
Canon 57. DE HIS QUI VESTIMENTA AD ORNANDAM, POMPAM DEDERUNT.
Matronae vel earum mariti vestimenta sua ad ornandam saeculariter pompam non dent; et si fecerint, triennio abstineantur.
Women and men who willingly allow their clothing to be used in secular spectacles and processions shall be denied communion for three years.
This canon is directed against Christians who should lend their garments for worldly shows, i.e. for public, half-heathenish religious processions.
They are punished with three years of excommunication. But why are they treated so much more severely than the duumviri? Because these men and women were not obliged to lend their attire, whilst the duumviri were fulfilling their public duty as citizens. Perhaps also some gave their garments, that they might not be suspected during the persecutions.
Canon 58. DE HIS QUI COMMUNICATORIAS LITTERAS PORTANT, UT DE FIDE INTERROGENTUR.
Placuit ubique et maxime in eo loco, in quo prima cathedra constituta est episcopatus, ut interrogentur hi qui communicatorias litteras tradunt an omnia recte habeant sue testimonio comprobata.
In all places, and especially where the bishop resides, those who bring letters indicating their right to commune shall be examined to affirm the testimony.
In Africa no metropolitan rights were attached to particular towns: they always belonged to the oldest bishop of the province, whose bishopric was then called prima sedes. Carthage only was the metropolitan see. It appears to have been the same in Spain before Constantine the Great divided that country into seven political provinces, which entailed the division into ecclesiastical provinces. This may explain why the Bishop of Acci presided at the Synod of Elvira: he was probably the oldest of all the bishops; present. What is elsewhere called prima sedes in our canon is prima cathedra; and the bishops of the prima cathedra were to question Christian travelers about their respective dioceses, the latter were to present their recommendatory letters, and weíre to be asked if they could affirm that all was in a satisfactory state.
Canon 59. DE FIDELIBUS NE AD CAPITOLIUM CAUSA SACRIFICANDI ASCENDANT.
Prohibendum ne quis Christianus ut gentilis ad idolum Capitolii causa sacrificandi ascendat et videat; quod si fecerit, pari crimine teneatur: si fuerit fidelis, post decem annos acta poenitentia recipiatur.
A Christian may not go to the capitol and watch the pagans offer their sacrifices. If a Christian does, he or she is guilty of the same sin and may not commune before completing ten years of penance.
Like Rome, many municipalities had a capitol, in the court of which sacrifices were offered to the gods, and many Christians were present at the ceremonies of the pagan worship. Was it from curiosity? was it in or let to shelter themselves from inquiry, not to be known during the persecution, and to pass for heathen? This is what we are unable to decide. At any rate, the Synod declared that a. Any Christian, either baptized or a catechumen, who should be present at the sacrifices, should be considered as having offered sacrifice himself. b. Consequently any Christian who has been present at these sacrifices shall be excommunicated and a penitent for ten years. The Synod says nothing about the punishment of guilty catechumens: in every case they were in general punished less severely than the faithful, and perhaps the fourth canon was applied to them by analogy.
Canon 60. DE HIS QUI DESTRUENTES IDOLA OCCIDUNTUR.
Si quis idola fregerit et ibidem fuerit occisus, quatenus in Evangelio scriptum non est neque invenietur sub apostolis unquam factum, placuit in numero eum non recipi martyrum.
If someone smashes an idol and is then punished by death, he or she may not be placed in the list of martyrs, since such action is not sanctioned by the Scriptures or by the apostles.
It happened sometimes that too zealous Christians would destroy the idols, and have to pay for their boldness with their life. The Synod decrees that they must not be considered as martyrs, for the gospel does not require deeds of this kind, and the apostles did not act in this way; but they considered it praiseworthy if a Christian, whom they might wish to oblige to offer sacrifice to an idol, should overthrow the statue, and break it, as Prudentius Clemens relates with commendation of Eulalia, who suffered martyrdom in Spain in 304, and therefore a short time previous to this Synod.
Canon 61. DE HIS QUI DUABUS SORORIBUS COPULANTUR.
Si quis post obitum uxoris suae sororem ejus duxerit et ipsa fuerit fidelis, quinquennium a communione placuit abstineri, nisi forte velocius dari pacem necessitas coegerit infirmitatis.
A man who, after his wife’s death, marries her baptized sister may not commune for five years unless illness requires that reconciliation be offered sooner.
When S. Basil the Great ascended the archiepiscopal throne of Caesarea, he forbade that a husband, after the death of his wife, should marry her sister; and when some one, of the name of Diodorus, reproached him upon this subject, Basil defended himself in a letter, which has been preserved, and proved that such marriages had always been prohibited at Caesarea. The Spanish Fathers of Elvira shared S. Basilís opinions, as also did the Synod of Neocaesarea of 314, can. 2, as we shall see hereafter. It is well known that, according to canon law, these marriages are both forbidden and declared to be invalid.
Canon 62. DE AURIGIS ET PANTOMIMIS SI CONVERTANTUR.
Si auriga ant pantomimus credere voluerint, placuit ut prius artibus suis renuntient, et tunc demure suscipiantur, ita ut ulterius ad ea non revertantur, qui si facere contra interdictum tentaverint, projiciantur ab ecclesia.
Chariot racers or pantomimes must first renounce their profession and promise not to resume it before they may become Christians. If they fail to keep this promise, they shall be expelled from the church.
The Apostolical Constitutions contain the same decree. On the subject of the repugnance of the ancient Church for all these pantomimic scenes, cf. Hefele, Rigorismus in dem Leben und den Ansichten der alien Christen (Severity in the Lives and Opinions of the early Christians), an essay published in the Tubinger Theol. Quartalschrift, 1841 (S. 396 ff.).
Canon 63. DE UXORIBUS QUOE FILIOS EX ADULTERIO NECANT.
Si qua per adulterim absente marito suo coniceperit, idque post facinus occiderit, placuit nec in finem dandam esse communionem, eo quod geminaverit scelus.
If a woman conceives in adultery and then has an abortion, she may not commune again, even as death approaches, because she has sinned twice.
Canon 64. DE FOEMINIS QUOE USQUE AD MORTEM CURE ALIENIS VIRIS ADULTERANT.
Si qua usque in finem mortis suae cum alieno viro fuerit moechata, placuit, nee in finem dandam ei esse communionem. Si veto eum reliquerit, post decem annos accipiat commnionem acta legitima poenitentia.
A woman who remains in adultery to the time of her death may not commune. If she breaks the relationship, she must complete ten years’ penance before communing.
Canon 65. DE ADULTERIS UXORIBUS CLERICORUM.
Si cujus clerici uxor fuerit moechata et scierit earn maritus suus moechari et non earn statim projecerit, nee in fluent accipiat communionem, no all his qui exemplum bonae conversationis esse debent; ab eis videantur scelerum magisteria procedere.
If a cleric knows of his wife’s adultery and continues to live with her, he shall not receive communion even before death in order not to let it appear that one who is to exemplify a good life has condoned sin.
The Shepherd of Hermas had before, like this canon, stringently commanded not only the clergy, but all Christians, not to continue to live conjugally with an adulterous spouse, who would not amend his ways, but would persevere in sin. Dr. Herbst says, that what made the sixty-fifth canon necessary was probably the very frequent case of married men having taken orders, and not being able to have conjugal intercourse with their wives, who were therefore on that very account easily tempted to forget themselves.
Canon 66. DE HIS QUI PRIVIGNAS SUAS DUCUNT.
Si quis privignam suam duxerit uxorem, eo quod sit incestus, placuit nec in finem dandam esse communionem.
A man who marries his stepdaughter is guilty of incest and may not commune even before death.
Canon 67. DE CONJUGIO CATECHUMENAE FOEMINAE.
Prohibendum ne qua fidelis vel catechumena aut comatos aut viros cinerarios habeant: quaecumque hoc fecerint, a communione arceantur.
A woman who is baptized or is a catechumen must not associate with hairdressers or men with long hair. If she does this, she is to be denied communion.
If we attach any importance to the title of this canon, it must be thought to indicate that Christian women, whether catechumens or baptized, were forbidden to marry those designated by the name of cinerarios and comatos. In other manuscripts we read cornices and cenicos. If the latter reading is the true one, the meaning of the canon is very clear A Christian woman must not marry an actor; and this prohibition would explain the aversion of the ancient Church to the theater, which has been before mentioned. But it is probable that, not having been able to find out the meaning of the words comati and cinerarii, later copyists have altered them, and changed them into comici and scenici. Imagining that here was a prohibition of marriage, they could not understand why a Christian woman was not to marry a man having long hair, or even a hairdresser. We believe that Aubespine is right when he reminds us that many pagan women had foreign slaves, and especially hairdressers, in their service, who ministered not only to the needs of luxury, but to the secret satisfaction of their passions. Perhaps these effeminate slaves these spadenos encouraging the licentiousness of their mistresses, wore long hair, or, coming from foreign countries for instance, from Gallia comata where long hair was always worn, they introduced this name of comati.
Tertullian speaks of the cinerarii (peregrinae proceritatis), and describes them as foreigners, with slight figures, and forming part of the suite of a woman of the world. He mentions them in connection with the spadenos, who were ad licentiam secti, or, as S. Jerome says, in securam libidinem exsecti. Juvenal has not forgotten to signalize these relations of Roman women with eunuchs: Sunt, quas eunuchi imbelles et mollia semper Oscula delectent.
Martial denounces them, if possible, still more energetically. Perhaps these eunuchs wore long hair like women in order that they might be called comati. Let us finally remark, that in the Glossary cinerarius is translated by dou~lov eJtai>rav. If this second explanation of the sixty-seventh canon is accepted, it can be easily imagined why it should be placed in a series of canons treating of carnal sins.
Canon 68. DE CATECHUMENA ADULTERA GUOE FILIUM NECAT.
Catechumena, si per adulterium conceperit et praefocaverit, placuit earn in fine baptizari.
A catechumen who conceives in adultery and then suffocates the child may be baptized only when death approaches.
If a catechumen should conceive by an adulterer, and should procure the death of the child, she can be baptized only at the end of her life.
Canon 69. DE VIRIS CONJUGATIS POSTEA IN ADULTERIUM LAPSIS.
Si quis forte habens uxorem semel fuerit lapsus, placuit eum quinquennium agere debere poenitentiam et sic reconciliari, nisi necessitas infirmitatis coegerit ante tempus dari communionem: hoc et circa foeminas observandum.
A married person who commits adultery once may be reconciled after five years’ penance unless illness necessitates an earlier reconciliation.
Adultery committed once was punishable with five years of penance.
Canon 70. DE FOEMINSIS QUOE CONSCIIS MARITIS ADULTERANT.
Si cure conscientia mariti uxor fuerit moechata, placuit nec in finem dandam ei communionem; si vero eam reliquerit, post decem annos accipiat communionem, si earn cam sciret adulteram aliquo tempore in domo sua retinuit.
A husband who knows of his wife’s adultery and who remains with her may not commune even prior to death. If he lived with his wife for a period of time after her adultery and then left her, he may not commune for ten years.
If a woman should violate conjugal fidelity with her husbandís consent, the latter must not be admitted to communion, even at the end of his life. If he separated from his wife, after having lived with her at all since the sin was committed, he was excluded for ten years.
Canon 71. DE STUPRATORIBUS PUERORUM.
Stupratoribus puerorum nec in finem dandam esse communionem.
Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune even when death approaches.
Sodomites could not be admitted to communion, even on their deathbeds.
Canon 72. DE VIDUIS MOECHIS SI EUMDEM POSTEA MARITURN DUXERINT.
Si qua vidua fuerit moechata et eumdem postea habuerit maritum, post quinquennii tempus acta legitima poenitentia, placuit eam communioni reconeiliari: si alium duxerit relicto illo, nec in finem dandam esse communionem; vel si fuerit ille fidelis quem accepit, communionem non accipiet, nisi post decem annos acta legitima poenitentia, vel si infirmitas coegerit velocius dari communionem.
If a widow has intercourse and then marries the man, she may only commune after five years’ penance. If she marries another man instead, she is excluded from communion even at the time of death. If the man she marries is a Christian, she may not receive communion until completing ten years’ penance, unless illness makes earlier communion advisable.
When a widow had sinned, and had married her accomplice, she was condemned to five years of penance; if she should marry another man, she could never be admitted to communion, even on her deathbed; and if her husband were baptized, he was subject to a penance for ten years, for having married a woman who, properly speaking, was no longer free. This canon was inserted in the Corp. jut. can. The following canons treat of informers and false witnesses.
Canon 73. DE DELATORIBUS.
Delator si quis extiterit fidelis, et per delationem ejus aliquis fuerit proscriptus vel interfectus, placuit eum nee in finem accipere communionem; si levior cause fuerit, intra quinquennium accipere poterit communionem; si catechumenus fuerit, post quinquennii tempera admittetur ad baptismum.
A Christian who denounces someone who is then ostracized or put to death may not commune even as death approaches. If the case was less severe, he or she may commune in less than five years. If the informer was a catechumen, he or she may be baptized after five years.
This canon has been inserted in the Corp. jur. can.
Canon 74. DE FALSIS TESTIBUS.
Falsus testis prout est crimen abstinebitur; si tamen non fuerit mortale quod objecit, et probaverit quo non (other manuscripts have diu) tacuerit, biennii tempore abstinebitur: si autem non probaverit convento clero, placuit per quinquennium abstineri.
Those who are false witnesses commit a crime and are to be excluded. If their action did not bring about death, and they explain the reasons for their testimony, they shall be excluded for two years. If their explanation is not accepted by the assembled clergy, they are excluded for five years.
A false witness must be excluded from the communion for a time proportionate to the crime of which he has given false witness. Should the crime be one not punishable with death, and if the guilty one can demonstrate that he kept silence for a long time (diu), that is, that he did not willingly bear witness, he shall be condemned to two years of penance; if he cannot prove this, to five years. The canon is thus explained by Mendoza, Remi Ceillier in Migneís Dictionary, etc., all preferring the reading diu. Burchard had previously read and quoted the canon with this variation, in his Collectio canonum. But Aubespine divides it into three quite distinct parts. The first, he says, treats of false witnesses; the second, of those who are too slow in denouncing a crime. They must be punished, but only by two years of penance, if they call prove that they have not (non) kept silence to the end. The third condemns those to five years of penance, who, without having borne false witness, still cannot prove what they affirm. We confess that none of these explanations is quite satisfactory: the first would be the most easily admissible; but it is hardly possible to reconcile it with the reading non tacuerit, which, however, is that of the best manuscripts.
Canon 75. DE HIS QUI SACERDOTES VEL MINISTROS ACCUSANT NEC PROBANT.
Si quis autem episcopum vel presbyterum vel diaconum falsis criminibus appetierit et probate non potuerit, nec in finem dandam ei esse communionem.
If someone falsely accuses a bishop, presbyter, or deacon of a crime and cannot offer evidence, he or she is excluded from communion even at the time of death.
Canon 76. DE DIACONIBUS SI ANTE HONOREM PECCASSE PROBANTUR.
Si quis diaconum se permiserit ordinari et postea fuerit detectus in crimine mortis quod aliquando commiserit, si sponte fuerit confessus, placuit eum acta legitima poenitentia post triennium accipere communionem; quod si alius eum detexerit, post quinquennium acta poenitentia accipere communionem laicam debere.
If a deacon confesses that he had committed a mortal crime before ordination, he is excluded from communion and must complete three years’ penance. If, however, the sin is disclosed by someone else, he must complete five years’ penance before being accepted as a layman to receive communion.
If any one should succeed in being ordained deacon, and it should be subsequently discovered that he had before that committed a mortal sin: a. In case he was the first to make known his fault, he must be received into communion (as a layman) at the end of three years of penance. b. In ease his sin was discovered by another, at the end of five years. In both cases he was for ever suspended from his office of deacon.
Canon 77. DE BAPTIZATIS QUI NONDUM CONFIRMATI MORIUNTUR.
Si quis diaconus regens plebem sine episcopo vel presbytero aliquos baptizaverit, episcopus cos per benedictionem perficere debebit: quod si ante de saeculo recesserint, sub fide qua quis credidit peterit esse justus.
If a deacon serving a community without a bishop or presbyter baptizes, the bishop shall then give his blessing to those baptized. If someone dies before receiving the blessing, that person is to be regarded as justified by his or her faith.
When Christianity spread from the large towns, where it had been at first established, into the country, the rural churches at first formed only one parish with the cathedral church of the town. Either priests, or Chorepiscopi, or simple deacons, were sent to these rural assemblies, to exercise, within certain limits, the ministerial power. The solemnity of consecrating the Eucharist, and all that had reference to penance, was reserved for the bishop of the town.
The 77th canon refers to such deacons, and it ordains: a. That baptism administered by the deacon ought to be completed, finished by the bishopís benediction (that is to say, by ceirotovi>a, or confirmation). b. That if one who had been baptized by a deacon should die before having received this benediction from the bishop, he may notwithstanding be saved, by virtue of the faith which he professed on receiving baptism.
Canon 78. DE FIDELIBUS CONJUGATIS SI CUM JUDOEA VEL GENTILI MOECHATOE (I) FUERINT.
Si quis fidelis habens uxorem cure Judaea vel gentili fuerit moechatus, a communione arceatur: quod si alius eum detexerit, post quinquennium acta legitima poenitentia poterit dominicae sociari communioni.
If a Christian confesses adultery with a Jewish or pagan woman, he is denied communion for some time. If his sin is exposed by someone else, he must complete five years’ penance before receiving the Sunday communion.
The 47th and 69th canons have already treated of adultery between Christians: the present canon speaks of a particular case of adultery committed with a Jewish or pagan woman, and decrees a penance of five years if the guilty one has not confessed himself. If he has made a spontaneous confession, the canon only gives this vague and general command, Arceatur, that is, that he should be excommunicated, but it does not say for how long a time: it might be supposed for three years, according to the analogy with the 76th canon. However, it would be strange that adultery with a Jewish or pagan woman should be punished only by three years of penance, while the 69th canon decrees, in a general way, five years punishment to every adulterer. It is still more difficult to explain why real adultery should be less severely punished in the 78th canon than the evidently less criminal offense of a widow with a man whom she afterwards marries.
Canon 79. DE HIS QUI TABULAM LUDUNT.
Si quis fidelis aleam, id est tabulam, luserit numis, placuit eum abstineri; et si emendatus cessaverit, post annum poterit communioni reconciliari.
Christians who play dice for money are to be excluded from receiving communion. If they amend their ways and cease, they may receive communion after one year.
The thimbles of the ancients had not any points, or figures upon their sides (tabula), like ours, bug drawings, pictures of idols; and whoever threw the picture of Venus, gained all, as Augustus says in Suetonius: quos tollebat universos, qui Venerem jecerat. It is on this account that the ancient Christians considered the game of thimbles to be not only immoral as a game, of chance, but as having an essentially pagan character.
Canon 80. DE LIBERTIS.
Prohibendum ut liberti, quorum patroni in saeculo fuerint, ad clerum non promoveantur.
Slaves who have been freed but whose former masters are yet alive may not be ordained as clergy.
He who should give a slave his freedom remained his patron; he had certain rights and a certain influence over him. The freedman continued to be dependent upon his former master; for this reason freedmen whose patrons were heathens could not take orders. This canon was placed in the Corp. jut. can.
Canon 81. DE FOEMINARUM EPISTOLIS.
Ne foeminae suo potius absque marlforum nominibus laicis scribere andeant, quae (qui) fideles sunt vel literas alicujus pacificas ad suum solum nomen scriptas accipiant.
A woman may not write to other lay Christians without her husband’s consent. A woman may not receive letters of friendship addressed to her only and not to her husband as well.
If we should read qui instead of quoe, as Mendoza makes it, on the authority of several manuscripts, our canon is easy to understand. It then divides itself into two parts: a. Women must not write in their own name to lay Christians, laicis qui fideles sunt; they may do so only in the name of their husbands. b. They must not receive letters of friendship (pacificas) from any one, addressed only to themselves. Mendoza thinks that the canon means only private letters, and that it is forbidden in the interests of conjugal fidelity.
Aubespine gives quite another sense to the word litteras: he supposes that the Council wishes only to forbid the wives of bishops giving litteras communicatorias to Christian travelers in their own name, and that it also forbids them to receive such addressed to them instead of to their husbands. If we read quoe, we must attach the words quoe fideles sunt to foeminoe, and the meaning continues on the whole the same.