Bishops as pater familias

St. Apollinare in Classe, 1stBishopRavenna, Ravenna, Italy-Apse, mosaic-Sixth century

Hieromartyr Apollonarius (Apollinaris, Apollinare), consecrated as 1st Bishop of Ravenna, Italy by St. Peter (+ c. 75; commemorated 23 July). Sixth century mosaic portraying the Saint as a shepherd, apse of the Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe (near Ravenna).

We are all likely familiar with the analogy Jesus Christ drew between Himself and a shepherd: "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14; cf. Heb. 12:20 and 1 Pet. 5:4 among others). Because of the nature of the ministry bestowed on bishops by God at their consecration, this analogy holds for them as well, as also evidenced by Scripture; consider: "For ye were 'as sheep being led astray,' but were turned about now to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" (1 Pet. 2:25), and also "Be taking heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit set you for Himself as bishops, to shepherd the Church of the Lord and God, which He preserved for Himself through His own blood" (Acts 20:28). But what of bishops in the role of a father? To explore this idea I will begin with an introduction of what the idea of "father" meant in the social context of the Roman empire at the time of Christ.

In the 5th century B.C., the Roman government promulgated a set of laws known as the "Twelve Tables." Among other things, these laws established the family household as the basic economic and legal unit of society. By way of a very brief summary, the concept of a family was twofold: familia iure proprio (membership based on a political, economical or religious unit) and familia domestica (membership based on kinship and co-residence). In charge of this household was a pater (father; but note this person may not be the biological father, genitor, of those in his household). The pater familias (father of the family) was the sole person of this basic societal unit—of either type—that held sui iuris (sui juris), or legal capacity, and thus they were the only ones who could enter into valid contracts. Under this legal capacity, the pater familias had both auctoritas (authority) and potestas (analogous in kind though lesser in degree to military power), basically, to direct his household to do anything he wanted. For example, the pater familias had the authority to approve or reject marriages of his sons and daughters (although an edict of the Emperor Caesar Augustus greatly constrained this right). It also meant he had the power of life and death over all members in his household. Furthermore, all property acquired by male adults was on behalf of the pater, and he, not they, had ultimate authority to dispose of it.

So what was the impact of this code of law on Christianity, particularly in the early days when the Tables were still fairly intact and, so, represented legitimate civil authority? Well, if you have read much from the "Prologue" or "Synaxaristes" (lives of the Saints) you have no doubt come across tortures and martyrdoms where family members were subject to the potestas of the pater familias because they refused to bow to his auctoritas and worship his gods, or refused to marry his choice, etc. This follows from obedience to Scripture which clearly teaches obedience to civil authority (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-18, Romans 13:1-7) except insofar as it requires a denial of the Faith, in which case we may—as a calling and grace from God—suffer unjustly under such civil law for righteousness sake, following Christ as our example, who also so suffered for us (cf. 1 Peter 2:19-24 ff.).

What I find particularly interesting in all this is, however, the idea of a bishop as a type of pater familias, where the faithful under his omophorion are his family (a type of familia iure proprio). This idea can be found in Scripture. Consider what St. Paul said: "For if ye have myriads of tutors in Christ, yet ye have not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begot you through the Gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15). This notion can also be found when reading the first letter of St. Paul to Timothy. From 1 Tim. 5:1-2 we read: "Do not rebuke an elder, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, elder women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity." Ruling over this fictive kinship group or family is a bishop (cf. 1 Tim. 3:5). In his commentary on 1 Timothy [1], St. John Chrysostom even states "For the Church is, as it were, a small [micro] household, and as in a house there are children and wife and domestics, and the man has rule over them all..." (Καὶ γὰρ τοῦτό ἐστιν ἡ Ἐκκλησία, ὡσανεὶ μικρὰ οἰκία· καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ εἰσὶ παιδία, γυνὴ, οἰκέται, καὶ πάντων ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀνῄρηται τὴν ἀρχήν...). Other scattered comparisons of this sort can be found in Scripture beyond the letters to St. Timothy. For example, Acts 4:34-37 describes the selling of property to provide funds for the common good under the authority of the Apostles themselves (cf. Acts 11:27-28).

The idea that Christian family takes precedence over blood relatives ultimately stems from the reality that we, Orthodox Christians, have been adopted by water (Holy Baptism) to be members of Christ's body—while non-Orthodox have not and are not—as originally taught to us by our Lord. It all began when Jesus' followers left their families and attendant responsibilities to follow Jesus (Mark 1:16-20; 10:28-30). Consider also the following Scriptures: "Then came His Mother and His brethren; and they stood outside, and sent off word to Him, calling Him. And a crowd was sitting about Him; and they said to Him, 'Behold, Thy Mother and Thy brethren outside are seeking for Thee.' And He answered them, saying, 'Who is My mother or My brethren?' And He looked round about on those who sat about Him in a circle, and said, 'Behold, My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother and My sister and My mother.'" (Mark 3:31-35; cf. Matthew 12:46-50) "Never think that I came to cast peace on the earth; I came not to cast peace, but a sword. For I came to divide in two a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies shall be those of his own household. The one who loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:34-37; cf. Mark 13:12, Luke 12:51-53 and Luke 21:16) Contrary to the old 12th c. German proverb that states that "blood is thicker than water," I suggest that such Scriptures teach us that "water (of Holy Baptism) is thicker than blood."

For those of us who are concerned (consumed, even, as we should be) with the salvation of our souls, we should be involved in a deep, day-in, day-out personal commitment toward seeking out God's Truth (not man's). But this is not to be a self-centered, ego trip. It is important for our salvation to participate as a member of Christ's Body, the Church, "For also by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free..." (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. 1 Cor 12:1-31)again, a type of familia iure proprio. Note that this participation is not intended to be a loose affiliation, but a restoration to oneness that does not exist for fallen human nature, for consider that Christ prayed "that all may be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee" (John 17:21). In a practical sense, this means that we have a responsibility to find and place ourselves under the spiritual authority (omophorion) of a faithful Orthodox bishop, to join his familia iure proprio so to speak. To clarify, by faithful I mean a bishop who is doing his God-aided best to uphold the vows he made at his consecration as a bishop-elect [2]. By Orthodox I mean faithful in particular to the three vows (confessions and promises) quoted below, allowing for minor differences in verbage—but not meaning—due to the language or translation used, and a change in the name of the actual synod involved in the consecration. (The confessions quoted here below are from those used by the Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America. Cf. Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church, Isabel Florence Hapgood, trans., Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1906, pp. 323-331. Also cf. The Great Book of Needs, Vol. 1, St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, South Canaan, PA, 2000, pp. 271-275.)

The first confession (the Symbol of Faith):

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; being of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right of the Father; and shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end; And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen."

The second confession:

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: For He is without beginning, unbegotten, and without cause, and is the natural beginning and cause of the Son and of the Spirit. And I believe in His Only-begotten Son, begotten of Him without procession and outside of time, being of one essence with Him by Whom all things were made. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the same Father, and with Him is glorified, as coeternal, enthroned together with Him, coessential, and the Author of creation. I believe that one of the same super-essential and life-giving Trinity, the Only-begotten Son, came down from Heaven, for us men, and for our salvation, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, that is to say, became a perfect man, yet remaining God, and in no way changing His divine essence by His participation in the flesh, neither being changed into anything else. But, without change accepting man's nature, in it He endured suffering and death, being free in His divine nature from every suffering. And on the third day He arose from the dead; and ascending into Heaven, He sat at the right of God the Father. And further, I confess the one Hypostasis, the Word made flesh; and I believe and proclaim that Christ is the one and the same in two natures after His incarnation, preserving those things which were in them and from them. Consequently, therefore, I venerate also two wills, in that each nature retains its own will and its own action. And I believe those traditions and interpretations of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church which are from God and men of God. I venerate, relatively, but not in the way of worship, the divine icons, worthy of veneration, of Christ Himself, and of the Most-pure Mother of God, and of all the Saints, transferring the honor manifested before them to the prototype. And those who consider otherwise about them, I reject and anathematize as proclaiming strange teachings. And I properly and truly confess our Sovereign Lady, Mary the Theotokos, as having given birth in the flesh to One of the Trinity, Christ our God. And may she be for me a helper, protectress, and defender all the days of my life. Amen."

The third confession:

"In this my confession of the Holy Faith, I promise to keep and preserve the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the pious Provincial Councils, as well as the Canons of the Holy Fathers. And all things they have accepted, I also accept; and whatever they have rejected, I also reject. I promise also to keep unchanged the traditions of the Church, and all the holy regulations and orders of the Catholic Eastern Orthodox Church. I promise also to preserve the peace of the Church, and firmly to hold, and not to devise anything whatsoever which is contrary to the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Christian Faith all the days of my life; and that I will, in all things, follow and always obey the Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America; and to be, in all things, of one mind with the Most-reverend Archbishops my brethren, and together with them submissive to the divine laws, and to the sacred Canons of the holy Apostles and holy Fathers; and with all fervor to have spiritual love for them, and to respect them as brethren. And I promise to rule the flock entrusted to me in the fear of God and in devoutness of life, and fervently to teach it, striving with all zeal to guard it against all heresies. And furthermore, I also confess, neither by the promise nor the gift of gold or silver have I come to this ministry; but, on the contrary, through the election of the Most Holy Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America. And hereby I promise also to do nothing through constraint, whether coerced by powerful persons, or by a multitude of the people, even though they should command me, under pain of death, to transgress the divine and sacred canons; nor will I liturgize in a diocese not my own, nor exercise any other priestly function without the permission of the Bishop of that diocese; nor will I ordain either a Priest, or a Deacon, or any other clergy in another's diocese, nor receive such into my diocese without letters of dismissal from their own Bishops. I promise to visit the flock entrusted to me, after the manner of the apostles, and watch over it, whether they remain faithful to the Faith, and in the exercise of good works, but, especially, the priests; and to inspect with diligence, to instruct and prohibit, that no schisms, superstitions, and heresies are increased, and that no customs contrary to Christian piety and a good character may bring harm to a Christian way of life. I will deal with opponents of the Holy Church with understanding and meekness, according to the Apostle Paul: "And there is no need for a slave of the Lord to fight, but to be gentle toward all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves, if perhaps God might give them repentance to a full knowledge of the truth." [2 Tim. 2:24-26] And all those things which I have vowed today, I promise to fulfill until my final breath, for the sake of the future good things. And may God Who knowest the heart be the witness of my vow. And may our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself, be my helper, in my true and zealous governance and performance thereof, to Whom, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory and dominion, honor and worship, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

So then, it is by these responses during his consecration, these confessions, these promises, that a bishop is made and known. These capture, by analogy, the "Twelve Tables" that govern the bishop as pater familias and the church of his diocese as familia iure proprio. These define what it means to be a canonical, right-believing, and so faithful Orthodox bishop.

St. John Chrysostom tells us (read here for more detail) that there are basically two types of bishops:

Type 1. "...those who curry favor with all, of those who desire to sleep, of those who advance to this office as for repose" who "...slay and devour." (Cf. Ezek. xxxiv. 1-10.) Those who " after this [the office of bishop], just as we do after the dignities of the world. That we may have glory with men, we lose ourselves with God. What profit in such honor? How self-evident its nothingness is!"

Of this category we have many Scriptural warnings as well. Consider just a few: "But be on guard against the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within they are rapacious wolves." (Matt. 7:15) "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." (Matt. 10:16a) "For many shall come in My name, saying,‘I am the Christ,’ and they shall lead astray many." (Mark 13:6) "For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock, and among your own selves men shall rise up, speaking things which have been perverted, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Acts 20:29-30)

Type 2. "...those who watch for your souls, who consider the safety and welfare of those under them before their own."

However, it is also important to recognize that of the second type—those who are actually trying to watch out for the well being of their flock—St. John also has this warning: "I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish: and the reason is, that it is an affair that requires a great mind. Many are the exigencies which throw a man out of his natural temper;" in my interpretation, this means that bishops tend to fold under the stresses of the office by making compromises (i.e., violate the Canons).

There is a purpose in all this, however. As St. Paul said "For indeed, first, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be schisms among you, and in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that the approved might become manifest among you." (1 Cor. 11:18-19) Many warnings of this type can be found throughout the Scriptures. The challenge for us—those who are not bishops—is to be "Become therefore wise as the serpents and guileless as the doves." (Matt. 10:16b) In other words, we, as Orthodox christians have a responsibility to know the Scriptures and Canons, and on that basis we should endeavor, as said earlier, to find, place, and keep ourselves under the spiritual authority of a faithful Orthodox bishop. However, if, God forbid, we find ourselves under the authority of a bishop who is teaching a heresy we are to immediately separate ourselves from him. As St. Paul put it: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw yourselves from every brother who walketh disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they received from us." (2 Thess. 3:6) In a very real sense, if we are under a non-canonical bishop, we are under the authority of an anti-Christ (and all that that implies); "...what partnership hath righteousness and lawlessness? ...what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? ..." (2 Cor. 6:14-18) I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a "child" in a family where I am liable to be a burnt offering unto Baal, figuratively or otherwise (cf. Lev. 20:2 [3])! Canonically the idea of separating ourselves from heresy is expressed as:

...But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Councils, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it barehead in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions. (Canon XV of the First-And-Second Council held in the Temple of the Holy Apostles)

A point of clarification is in order here: the idea of "heresy" as found in this Canon is expressed as "piety and righteousness" in Canon XXXI of the Holy Apostles. Or, in the words of St. Theodore the Studite, "It is not possible to teach the word of truth completely if one thinks that he has the right Faith, but is not guided by the divine Canons." (Epistle I.30) By some accounts this idea is found explicitly in the Canons promulgated by the Council of Sardica [4] as:

He who arrogantly tries to unsettle those constitutions which have been well and religiously enacted is no bishop.

Or, as contained in the Synodicon of the Holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council which is annually recited on the Sunday of Orthodoxy:

To them who do not correctly understand the divine voices of the holy teachers of the Church of God and who attempt to misinterpret and pervert those things clearly and manifestly spoken in them by the grace of the Holy Spirit, Anathema, Anathema, Anathema.

Combining these ideas, uncanonical actions, or inaction in fulfilling the canons, on the part of a bishop is a canonically valid motivation for breaking communion with him. Note that the Canons also define how charges against bishops are to be handled, including definition of the numbers and qualification of witnesses, who they can be judged by, etc. And if a conciliar or synodal verdict Canonically deposes a bishop for wrong doing then, of course, we are no longer under their authority.

Concerning being "guileless as the doves:" this article began with the analogy of Christ as Shepherd and Bishop and drew a parallel to those who were consecrated as bishops. "And no one taketh the honor to himself, but he who is called by God, even as also Aaron." (Heb. 5:4) Furthermore, note that this honor is not empty or for show, but rather the Lord said to His Apostles (and so to those in true Apostolic succession) “The one who heareth you heareth Me, and the one who rejecteth you rejecteth Me, and the one who rejecteth Me rejecteth the One Who sent Me forth.” (Luke 10:16) What higher honor could there be? Rightly, of course, did St. Paul say: "And we ask you, brethren, to know those who labor among you, and who are set over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to be esteeming [honoring] them exceedingly in love on account of their work." (1 Thess. 5:12-13a) "For this word therefore so do; and as knowing that whatever honour anyone gives to a bishop the same honour passes to Christ himself, from whom also they shall receive their reward an hundredfold." (Patriarch Nicon in William Palmer, The Patriarch and the Tsar, Vol. I, London, 1871, p. 246.) On the other hand, we are warned against dishonoring God's anointed: "Touch not Mine anointed ones, and to My prophets do no evil." (1 Supplements 16:22; Ps. 104:15) Or consider: "And Abessa son of Sarouia answered and said, 'Shall not Semei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed? '" (2 Reigns 19:22(21)) The records of St. David's life are full of similar warnings. Even St. Paul apologized after he spoke ill of the Jewish high priest: "And Paul, having looked intently on the sanhedrin, said, 'Men, brethren, I, in all good conscience, have conducted myself as a citizen to God even to this day.' But the high priest Ananias ordered those standing by him to smite his mouth. Then Paul said to him, 'God is about to smite thee, thou whitewashed wall. And thou sittest judging me according to the law, and acting contrary to the law thou commandest me to be smitten!' And those having stood by said, 'Revilest thou the high priest of God?' And Paul said, 'I did not know, brethren, that he is high priest; for it hath been written, ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of a ruler of thy people.’'" (Acts 23:1-5)

In summary, as Orthodox Christians, we are not called to live a life on our own, that is, under our own cognizance. Rather we are called to join with and become adoptive members (through Holy Baptism) of a Christian family under the rule of an Orthodox bishop, to whom as pater familias, in effect, we give due honor (cf. Matt. 15:4). However, we are not to serve in our role in blind obedience, nor by our own understanding and ego (which leads to prelest; i.e., spiritual delusion or deception), but by increasing our knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Canons and Fathers of the Church, through such Grace as we receive of the Holy Spirit, and by acting on the same. Likewise the bishop fulfills his role as set forth by God (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28-29). If, however, either party (a family member or the head of the family) deliberately chooses to act contrary to these guides, refuses correction, and remains unrepentant, they are choosing to cut themselves off from the Church—the Body of Christ—and so from Life.


[1] St. John Chrysostom, "Homily X (1 Timothy iii. 1-4)," Saint Chrysostom: Homilies On Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, And Philemon. A Select Library Of The Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers Of The Christian Church, [First Series], Vol. xiii, Philip Schaff, ed., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1956, pp. 438-439.

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[2] From The Rudder
Of The
 Metaphorical Ship Of The One Holy Catholic And
 Apostolic Church
 Of The Orthodox Christians
All The Sacred And Divine
 Monks Agapius and Nicodemus, ed., 
D. Cummings, trans., Orthodox Christian Educational Society, Chicago, Illinois,
 1957, pp. 429-431 and pp. 617-618:

CANON II of The Twenty-Two Canons of The Holy And Ecumenical Seventh Synod.

Since as a matter of fact we are binding ourselves to God by chanting: “I will meditate in thy rights; I will not forget they [sic] words” (Ps. 119:16), it behoves all Christians to keep this for their own salvation, but more eminently so those invested with a sacerdotal dignity. Hence we decree that anyone who is about to be promoted to the rank of bishop shall by all means know the psalter, in order that he may be able to admonish all the clergy about him to become initiated; and that he be scrupulously examined by the metropolitan as to whether he is cheerfully willing to read searchingly and not cursorily the sacred Canons and the holy Gospel, the book of the divine Apostle, and all the divine Scripture, and in accordance with the divine commandments to hold intercourse with and teach the laity about him. For the essentiality of our prelacy is the words taught by God, or, at any rate, the true science of the divine Scriptures, just as great Dionysius declared. But if he should be in doubt, and not care to do and teach thus, he must not be ordained. For God has said prophetically: “Because you have rejected knowledge I will also reject thee from acting as my priest” (Hos. 4:6)

Interpretation. While all Christian laymen ought to meditate in the rights of God, and not forget His words, just as they chant and promise every day with the prophet, this is eminently so in the case of those in holy orders. For this reason the present Canon decrees that anyone who intends to become a bishop must without fail be acquainted with the thoughts in the psalter, in order to teach his laity therefrom so that they may learn them too. Likewise any such person must be examined by the metropolitan scrupulously as to whether he is cheerfully willing to read, not superficially and as to the words alone, but with regard to depth and with understanding of the thoughts, the sacred Canons, which we have enumerated above, the holy Gospel, the Apostle, and all the divine Scripture, and not only to know these, but also to conduct himself both publicly and privately just as they prescribe, and to teach his fold in accordance with them. For, as Dionysios the Areopagite declares, the essence and structure of the ecclesiastical prelacy is the words taught by God, or, more precisely speaking, the true comprehension and exact knowledge of the divine Scriptures. If not, and he is in doubt, and is not minded to do these things himself, and to teach others too, let him not be made a bishop; for God says through the prophet Hosea (in paraphrase): “Since thou hast spurned knowledge of my laws, I too will spurn thee as a priest of mine.”

Concord. In agreement with the present Canon, c. XXIV of Carthage expresses the following decree: that those who intend to ordain a bishop, or a clergyman, must first teach him the Canons of the sacred Councils, in order that, by acting in accordance with the definitions and canons of the Fathers, they who are to be ordained may not repent later, as transgressors of them. For this reason, too, God commands the one who has become a ruler of the people not only to read the book of Deuteronomy throughout his life, in order to learn therefrom to fear the Lord, and to keep all His commandments, but He even makes it necessary for him to copy it himself with his own hand. “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this Deuteronomy in a book obtained from the priests who are Levites” (Deut. 17:18). And the reason why He commands him to copy it himself is that a person who merely reads it easily forgets the thoughts that are read, whereas a person who also writes it impresses the thoughts upon his memory, because he takes time and leisure to think about each particular one of them, and until he has comprehended a sentence well he takes care not to write another: thus does Philo Judaeus interpret the matter. And if God compels secular rulers to do this, much more does He the ecclesiastical prelates who are the shepherds of his people.”

Footnote 2 in Cummings. Novel 123 of Justinian, too, commands that a person intending to become a prelate be taught the divine Scriptures and the sacred Canons for tree months; and that anyone who has not been ordained in such a manner be depsed from office, and that the one who ordained him be suspended; since it is a shameful and illogical thing for one who ought to teach others to be taught by others after his ordination. But also (page 440 of Jus Graeco-Romanum) where after the Creed (or Symbol of the Faith) every bishop at the time of his ordination utters also the following commitment: "In addition I accept the seven holy and Ecumenical Councils which convened for the purpose of safeguarding the venerable dogmas, solemnly promising to recognize and keep the Canons decreed by them, and all the holy ordinances that have been formulated at various times by our sacred Fathers, accepting all which they accept and rejecting all that they reject.

CANON XXIV of The 141 Canons Of The Regional Holy Synod Held In Carthage.

It has pleased the Council to decree that when a Bishop or a Cleric is to be ordained, the decisions arrived at by the Councils as official pronouncements shall first be dinned into their ears, lest, when acting in accordance with the rules of the Council, they should come to repent.

Interpretation. Anybody who is ordaining a bishop or a cleric ought, according to this Canon, before commencing the ordination proper, to tell them what has been laid down as rules and definitions by the holy Councils, Ecumenical as well as Regional, both as concerning the right faith and as concerning the right kind of life, and ecclesiastical decorum (or good order) and constitution (or established state), in order that by means of this teaching the candidates for ordination may learn the rules and definitions and Canons laid down by the Fathers of the Church, and when acting and living, both publicly and privately in accordance therewith, they may not repent like transgressors, if canonized (i.e., punished canonically) and Conciliarly reprimanded (or compelled to undergo ecclesiastical penalties) during the course of their present life, nor if chastised in the future life (since it is written, and in accordance with the definitions and rules of the Councils the real meaning of the words is clearer when expressed as follows: lest they repent, either in the present or in the future, if perchance they do anything contrary to the Canons and rules and definitions taught them, on the ground that they are sinning knowingly and wittingly).

[In a gloss subjoined to that of Balsamon, prior to those of Zonaras and Aristin we read: “From this present canon probably the form was introduced that they who are to be ordained bishops must before their ordination write or subscribe to in the register of their ordainer the holy symbol of the faith and the rest of the sacred dogmas. For I have seen a bishop in great danger because he had not carefully and according to the custom so made his written profession. But that clerks in general should be taught the sacred dogmas is canonical and right. But that they should make a written profession we have not known hitherto to be required.” William Beveridge, Συνοδικον (Synodikon), 1704, as quoted in William Palmer, The Patriarch and the Tsar, Vol. I, London, 1871, p. 152.]

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[3] Cf. Deut. 12:31; 2 Ki. 16:3; 17:31; 23:10; Jer. 7:30-32; Jer. 19; and Ezek. 16:20-21.

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[4] "By some accounts" I refer to the fact that the Kormchay (Russian or Slavonic Nomocanon) and William Beveridge's Synodikon (Synodikon sive Pandectæ canonum SS. apostolorum, et conciliorum ab ecclesia Græca receptorum, Oxford, William Wells & Robert Scott, 1672) both give 21 Canons for Regional Council held in Sardica, Illyria (convened 347 A.D.), while the Pedalion (Rudder) of Agapius and Nicodemus only provides 20. The 21st Canon of is presented in the text here as translated from the Russian by William Palmer, The Patriarch and the Tsar, Vol. I, London, 1871, p. 38. An alternate, parallel rendering of this phrase in English is available from the NPNF series as "If any bishop tries out of pride to do away with what has been decreed admirably, and in a manner pleasing to God, he shall lose his episcopate." ("Ancient Epitome of Canon XX, The Canons of the Council of Sardica," The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees, together with the Canons of all the Local Synods which have Received Ecumenical Aceptance, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Vol. xiv, Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1916, pp. 433.)

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