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A Hstory Of The Councils Of The Church Volumes 1 to 5 by Charles Joseph Hefele D.D.



SEC. 58. Date of the Synod of Sardica

OUR inquiries concerning the Synod of Sardica must begin with a chronological examination of the date of this assembly. Socrates and Sozomen place it expressly in the year 347 A.D., with the more precise statement that it was held under the Consuls Rufinus and Eusebius, in the eleventh year after the death of Constantine the Great; therefore after the 22d of May 347, according to our way of reckoning.

This was the most general view until, rather more than a hundred years ago, the learned Scipio Maffei discovered at Verona the fragment of a Latin translation of an old Alexandrian chronicle (the Historia Acephala, already cited in p. 50), and edited it in the third volume of the Osservazioni Letterarie in 1738. This fragment contains the information that on the 24th Phaophi (October 21), under the Consuls Constantius IV. and Constans II., in the year 346, Athanasius had returned to Alexandria from his second exile. As it is universally allowed, however, as we shall presently show more clearly, that this return certainly only took place about two years after the Synod of Sardica, Mansi hence saw the necessity of dating this synod as early as the year 344. In this he is confirmed by S. Jerome, in the continuation of the Eusebian chronicle, who, in accordance with the Historia Acephala, has assigned the return of S. Athanasius to the tenth year of the reign of the Emperor Constantius, in 346.

Many learned men now followed Mansi, the greater number blindly; others, again, sought to contradict him: at first the learned Dominican, Mamachi; then Dr. Wetzer (Professor at Freiburg); and latterly, we ourselves in a treatise, “Controversen über die Synode von Sardika,” in the Tübinger Theol. Quartalschrift, 1852.

Soon after there was a fresh discovery. Some of the Paschal Letters of S. Athanasius, which until then were supposed to be lost, were discovered in an Egyptian monastery, with a very ancient preface translated into Syriac, and were published in that language by Cureton in London, and in the year 1852 in German by Professor Larsow at the Grey Friars Convent in Berlin.

Among these Festal Letters, the nineteenth, intended for Easter 347, and therefore composed in the beginning of that year, had been re-written in Alexandria, as the introduction expressly states. This confirms the statement of the Historia Acephala, that Athanasius was already returned to Alexandria in October 346, and confirms the chief points of Mansi’s hypothesis; while, on the other hand, it unanswerably refutes, by Athanasius’ own testimony, the statements of Socrates and Sozomen (which, from their dependence on each other, only count as one) with reference to the date 347.

As we said, Mansi placed this Synod in the year 344; but the old preface to the Festal Letters of S. Athanasius dates it in the year 343, and in fact we can now only hesitate between the dates 343 and 344. If the preface were as ancient and as powerfully convincing as the Festal Letters themselves, then the question concerning the date of the Council of Sardica would be most accurately decided. As, however, this preface contains mistakes in several places, especially chronological errors,—for instance, regarding the death of Constantine the Great,—we cannot unconditionally accept its statement as to the date 344, but can only do so when it corresponds with other dates concerning that time.

Let us, at all events, assume that Athanasius came to Rome about Easter 340. As is known, he was there for three whole years, and in the beginning of the fourth year was summoned to the Emperor Constans at Milan. This points to the summer of 343. From thence he went through Gaul to Sardica, and thus it is quite possible that that Synod might have begun in the autumn of 343. It probably lasted, however, until the spring; for when the two envoys, Euphrates of Cologne and Vincent of Capua, who were sent by the Synod to the Emperor Constans, arrived in Antioch, it was already Easter 344. Stephen, the bishop of the latter city, treated them in a truly diabolical manner; but his wickedness soon became notorious, and a synod was assembled, which deposed him after Easter 344. Its members were Eusebians, who therefore appointed Leontius Castratus as Stephen’s successor, and it is indeed no other than this assembly which Athanasius has in mind, when he says it took place three years after the Synod in Encæniis, and drew up a very explicit Eusebian confession of faith, the μακρόστιχος.

The disgraceful behaviour of Bishop Stephen of Antioch for some time inclined the Emperor to place less confidence in the Arian party, and to allow Athanasius’ exiled clergy to return home in the summer of 344. Ten months later, the pseudobishop, Gregory of Alexandria, died (in June 345, as we shall show later), and Constantius did not permit any fresh appointment to the See of Alexandria, but recalled S. Athanasius by three letters, and waited for him more than a year. Thus the See of Alexandria remained unoccupied for more than a year, until the last six months of 346. At length in October 346 Athanasius returned to his bishopric.

We see, then, that by accepting the distinct statements of the Paschal Letters of S. Athanasius and the preface, we obtain a satisfactory chronological system, in which the separate details cohere well together, and which thus recommends itself. One great objection we formerly raised ourselves against the date 344 can now be solved. It is certainly true that in 353 or 354 Pope Liberius wrote thus: “Eight years ago the Eusebian deputies, Eudoxius and Martyrius (who came to the West with the formula μακρόστιχος), refused to anathematize the Arian doctrine at Milan.” But the Synod of Milan here alluded to, and placed about the year 345, was not, as we before erroneously supposed, held before the Synod of Sardica, but after it. We are somewhat less fortunate as regards another difficulty. The Eusebians assembled at Philippopolis (the pseudo-Synod of Sardica) say, in their synodal letter: “Bishop Asclepas of Gaza was deposed from his bishopric seventeen years ago.” This deposition occurred at an Antiochian Synod. If we identified this Synod with the well-known one of 330, by which Eustathius of Antioch also was overthrown, we should, reckoning the seventeen years, have the year 346 or 347, in which to place the writing of the Synodal Letter of Philippopolis, and therefore the Synod of Sardica. There are, however, two ways of avoiding this conclusion: either we must suppose that Asclepas had been already deposed a year or so before the Antiochian Synod of 330; or that the statement as to the number seventeen in the Latin translation of the Synodal Letter of Philippopolis (for we no longer possess the original text) is an error or slip of the pen. But in no case can this Synodal Letter alter the fact that Athanasius was again in Alexandria when he composed his Paschal Letter for the year 347, and that the Synod of Sardica must therefore have been held several years before.

SEC. 59. Object of the Synod of Sardica

As the Synod itself says, it was assembled by the two Emperors, Constans and Constantius, at the desire of Pope Julius, with a threefold object: first, the removal of all dissensions, especially concerning Athanasius, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Paul of Constantinople; secondly, the rooting out of all false doctrine; and thirdly, the holding fast by all of the true faith in Christ.

The Synod, in another letter, says somewhat differently, that the three points concerning which they had to treat were: (1) the false doctrine taught by some; (2) the deposition of several bishops; and (3) the cruel acts of violence practised upon many bishops, priests, and other clerics. We easily see that in both these passages the second and third points hang together; and the object of the Emperors, as well as that of all those who had taken any part in assembling the Synod, was therefore the following:—first, that as the Western and Eastern bishops had hitherto considerably differed in their judgments of Athanasius and others, so now a great Ecumenical Council should give a final decision on this matter, in order that peace might be restored in Church and State; secondly, that as the continual machinations of the Eusebians, and especially their great levity in drawing up four different creeds in the course of a few months, had destroyed all the security and stability of the Church’s faith, and made it appear as variable as the fashions, there was urgent need for a great synod to give a distinct decision upon this point also.

In order, if possible, to secure the presence of many members at such a synod, Sardica or Serdica was chosen as the place of assembly; because this town, though indeed belonging to the portion of the Emperor Constantius, was situated nearly on the borders of the two divisions of the empire, and in the centre of the great whole.

SEC. 60. Members and Presidency of the Synod of Sardica

The first to arrive at Sardica were the Western bishops, to whom many Greek bishops, zealous in the Nicene cause, had joined themselves; but the Eusebian party also, in obedience to the imperial summons, set out without delay, confident of being able there, too, to maintain their former decisions against Athanasius and their other adversaries. In this they relied chiefly upon the protection of the Emperor Constantius, and two officers of high standing, Musanius and Hesychius, whom he had sent with them to Sardica.

The ancient writers differ very much as to the numerical strength of the two parties present; but by comparison it can be decided with at least approximate accuracy. The Eusebians themselves in their synodal letter assert that they were eighty in number. Among the signatures to the letter, there appear, indeed, only seventy-three names; but these do not include the bishops, Maris of Chalcedon, Macedonius of Mopsuestia, and Ursacius of Singidunum, who, as we know from other sources, were present at Sardica. If we add these names, we have the number seventy-six on which Socrates and Sozomen are entirely agreed, the former of whom, moreover, appeals to the still earlier testimony of Sabinus of Heraclea. The most important of these Eusebians were Stephen of Antioch, Acacius of Cæsarea in Palestine, Theodore of Heraclea, Marcus of Arethusa, Eudoxius of Germanicia, Basil of Ancyra (afterwards the head of the Semi-arians), Valens of Murcia, Demophilus of Berœa, and the previously mentioned Maris of Chalcedon, Macedonius, and Ursacius; Dianius of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, who was not exactly a Eusebian, and the notorious Ischyras, were also in their company.

Far more uncertain are the statements regarding the Western bishops, or rather the orthodox Nicene party, of whom Socrates and Sozomen report that about 300 bishops were present, and Socrates appeals for this to Athanasius. The latter, in his Apology against the Arians, says that “more than 300 bishops had agreed to what was decided in his favour at Sardica.” In another part of the same Apology, at the end of the Synodal Letter of Sardica, cited by himself, Athanasius gives the names of 282 bishops; but he says plainly in the preceding words, “that the decisions of Sardica were sent also to absent bishops, and received by them, and that the names of those who signed at the Synod, and of the others, were as follows.” Further on, at the end of c. 50, he adds, that “even earlier, before the Council of Sardica, about sixty-three bishops, i.e. in all 344, had declared for him.” We see from this whence Socrates and Sozomen derived their statements; but at the same time we see that they wrongly reckoned among the number those bishops also who, though not present in person at the Council, accepted and signed the decrees of Sardica.

In another place Athanasius says that “about 170 bishops from the East and West had come together at Sardica;” and the context shows that by the Eastern bishops he understands the Eusebians, and therefore his words cannot have the meaning which Fuchs assigns to them in his Bibliothek der Kirchenversammlungen, i.e. that the number 170 did not include the Eusebian bishops, so that with these (who were about eighty) the whole number would be 250, as Theodoret states it.

If we, however, adhere to the statement of S. Athanasius, which is above all others worthy of credit, that the Eastern and Western bishops at Sardica numbered in all about 170, and then deduct from that number the 76 Eusebian (Eastern) bishops, we have 94 still remaining for the orthodox party.

There would be no need for this inquiry if the signatures to the synodal acts had come down to us whole and complete. But unhappily they were entirely lost, with the exception of one very defective list of fifty-nine bishops’ names, which S. Hilary, in his second Fragment, has appended to the Letter of the Synod of Sardica to Pope Julius. It is clear that this list is imperfect, from the fact that the names of bishops, whose presence at Sardica is otherwise known, are wanting. Later copyists and compilers appended this list to the Canons of Sardica also, and thus arose the statement which appears here and there,—for instance, in the Corpus Juris Canonici,—that the Canons of Sardica had been published by 59, 60, or 61 bishops; for some codices, instead of unus de sexaginta, as Hilary says, read unus et sexaginta, while others also include a Bishop Alexander of Acia (Achaia) in the list, whom Hilary leaves out.

Two other documents containing signatures of Sardica, one a letter from the Synod to the Christians in Mareotis, and the other a letter to them from Athanasius, were discovered about one hundred and forty years ago by Scipio Maffei in the library at Verona. The latter letter has sixty-one, and the former twenty-six or twenty-seven names of bishops; but that all the members of the Synod did not sign, is distinctly said in the Synodal Letter, for Bishop Vincent, in this list, remarks that he signed for the others also. The Ballerini had these documents printed in their edition of the works of S. Leo I.; and by making use of these two lists of signatures, and the two others previously mentioned (at the end of the Synodal Letter to Pope Julius, and in Athanas. Apol. c. Arian. c. 50), as well as other statements, they made a list certainly very near the truth, according to which 97 bishops of the orthodox party were present at Sardica. This number agrees so well with that which we obtained before, by subtracting the 80 Eusebian bishops from the 170 members of the Synod mentioned by Athanasius, that the result may now be considered as fairly certain. It also agrees admirably with the fact that the first list of bishops, given by Athanasius in his often cited Apology, without naming any locality, accords almost entirely with the list obtained by the Ballerini; so that we can see that Athanasius had there noted, as was most natural, first those bishops present at Sardica, and afterwards those who had signed afterwards.

These orthodox bishops present at Sardica belonged, as the Synodal Letter to the Alexandrians says, to the following provinces and countries: Rome, Spain, Gaul, Italy, Africa, Sardinia, Pannonia, Mysia, Dacia, Noricum, Tuscany, Dardania, the second Dacia, Macedonia, Thessaly, Achaia, Epirus, Thrace, Rhodope (a part of Thrace), Palestine, Arabia, Crete, and Egypt. But in the signatures to the Encyclical Synodal Letter, in Theodoret, the following provinces are also named: Asia, Caria, Bithynia, Hellespont, Phrygia, Pisidia, Cappadocia, Pontus, the other Phrygia, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia, the Cyclade Islands, the Thebaid, Libya, and Galatia. We might indeed allege in favour of this fuller list, that Athanasius himself says that there had been bishops present at Sardica from more than thirty-five provinces; but the Ballerini brothers have nevertheless declared this larger list to be false: first, because at that time Phrygia was not yet divided into two provinces, and there was therefore no second Phrygia; and secondly, because the bishops of those provinces, which are added in the larger list, were Eusebians.

Pope Julius did not appear in person, but sent two priests, Archidamus and Philoxenus, as his representatives, and he excused his absence by such cogent reasons, that the Synod, in their letter to him, say that “he had excused his non-appearance in the best and fullest way, on the ground that neither schismatics nor heretics should take advantage of his absence from Rome to work mischief, nor the serpent spread the poison of blasphemy; for it was best and most fitting that the priests (bishops) of all provinces should bring their reports to the head, namely, the chair of S. Peter.”

On account of the absence of the Pope, Hosius took the presidency, and was head of the Synod. In this capacity he proposed the various canons, and signed the acts before all the others; and Athanasius speaks expressly of “the holy Synod, whose president (προήγορος) was the great Hosius.” Shortly before, he had declared that “the bishops at Sardica had Hosius for their father;” and Theodoret, agreeing with him, writes, “This Hosius was bishop of Cordova; he was celebrated at the Synod of Nicæa, and took the first place (πρωτεύσας) among those assembled at Sardica.” Sozomen further designates the orthodox party at Sardica as οἱ ἀμφὶ τὸν Ὅσιον, and the Eusebians also express themselves quite in the same way, always declaring Hosius and Protogenes of Sardica to be the heads of the orthodox Bishops. Why they name the latter with Hosius is doubtful; perhaps because, as Bishop of Sardica, where the Synod was held, he specially influenced it, or perhaps because, from his age (he had been also at the Council of Nicæa) and personal worth, he stood out prominently; for his Episcopal See gave him no such special pre-eminence.

But if Hosius was president at the Synod of Sardica, the reasons may have been the same this time as before at the Synod of Nicæa, i.e. that he had a special commission for it from the Pope, and perhaps also from the Emperors; for neither did his Episcopal See give him any such pre-eminence. On the contrary, several of those present—for instance, Gratus of Carthage, Protasius of Milan, Verissimus of Lyons, and Maximus of Trèves—held quite as important, and some even more important, Sees, to say nothing of S. Athanasius, Exarch of Alexandria, who, as being accused, could not preside. But, besides Hosius, the two Roman priests before mentioned probably took part in the presidency, somewhat in the character of assistants, as was also the case before at Nicæa; for which reason, in the list given by Athanasius, they signed immediately after Hosius.

Among the orthodox bishops of the Synod of Sardica, we find, besides Hosius, five more Spaniards: Anianus of Castolona, Castus of Saragossa, Domitian of Asturica, Florentius of Emerita, and Prætestatus of Barcelona. Gaul was represented by the bishops already mentioned, Verissimus of Lyons, and Maximus of Trèves; Italy, by Protasius of Milan, S. Severus of Ravenna, Januarius of Beneventum (not the renowned S. Januarius of Beneventum, who had been martyred in 305), Fortunatian of Aquileia, Lucius of Verona, Sterconius from Apulia, Ursacius of Brescia, and Vincent of Capua. Macedonia and Achaia (Greece proper) had sent very many bishops; for instance, Athenodorus of Platæa, Dionysius of Elis, Hermogenes of Sicyon, Plutarch of Patras, and others. From Palestine we find two bishops, one of whom was named Arius; from Arabia, one bishop named Asterius; lastly, from the Asiatic island Tenedos, the Bishop Diodorus. Of bishops who had suffered persecution, Athanasius, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Asclepas of Gaza were present; Socrates names also Paul of Constantinople, but this is manifestly wrong, as is evident from a passage in the Synodal Letter of the Eusebians, which says that “the followers of Hosius hold communication with Paul also through Asclepas, and receive from and send letters to him.”

SEC. 61. The Eusebians take no part in the Synod

While still on the road to Sardica, as soon as they learnt that Athanasius, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Asclepas had arrived there, the Eusebians took a step intended to frustrate all conciliatory designs. They held cabals of their own, and by threats extorted from all their adherents the promise, under certain circumstances, to take no part whatever in the Synod.

For when they found that Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra were come to Sardica, they could not but fear that, as both had been already acquitted at Rome under Pope Julius in 341, the sentence of deposition, passed upon them by the Eusebians, would be regarded as null, and, so long as nothing fresh could be proved against them, both would be received into fellowship by the Council. If this happened, they could not help further foreseeing that Athanasius and his comrades in misfortune would soon change the defensive for the aggressive, and would bring heavy charges against the Eusebians themselves. They therefore resolved to insist on Athanasius and the others deposed by them at Sardica being treated from the very first as excommunicate, on the ground that their reception would be a violation of the reverence due to the Eastern Synods, and entirely contrary to all Church rule. Besides this, they said, many of the former judges, accusers, and witnesses against Athanasius were dead, so that a fresh investigation was sure to end too favourably for him.

Walch is of opinion that Athanasius had unquestionably a just cause, but that equity demanded that he and his companions, Marcellus and Asclepas, should still be excluded at first from the Synod. But (1) the Roman Synod of 341, which declared these men to be innocent, and received them into the communion of the Church, must necessarily have had as much weight as the Antiochian Synod of the same year. (2) To this must be added, that the Emperors had themselves given permission to the Synod of Sardica to reinvestigate the whole matter, and this was, in fact, the object of the assembly. This implied that all judgments hitherto pronounced for and against Athanasius and his adherents, including that of Antioch, should be considered as suspended. Therefore the Synod of Sardica was bound to ignore all former proceedings, and to regard the matter as a res integra, and to treat Athanasius and his colleagues as if no sentence had yet anywhere been pronounced against them. (3) If, however, at Sardica, Athanasius and his friends had been treated as a party, then, in all fairness, their enemies, of whom they complained, must have been treated in the same way, and the exclusion of one party would have necessitated the exclusion of the other. (4) Lastly, not only was there a fully sufficient number of the former judges, accusers, and witnesses against Athanasius still living,—many more than were required for giving evidence,—but actually many of the most important of them were in the ranks of the Eusebians; for instance, Ischyras and those envoys whom the Synod of Tyre had sent to Mareotis. One of these six was dead, but all the others were present, as the Eusebian Synodal Letter itself relates. The voluminous Mareotic Acts of Inquiry, which contained the testimonies of so many witnesses, as also the Acts of the Synods of Tyre and Antioch, were certainly still available; and the Synod of Rome in 341 had heard and examined the testimony of no less than eighty bishops on the affair of Athanasius, so that there was clearly sufficient legal evidence at hand for a final decision. To all this the Eusebians might appeal, if they chose to proceed against Athanasius at the Synod, besides bringing their own charges against him.

In order to appear at Sardica as a firm and compact party, and to be able to hinder the accession of any of their colleagues to the Synod, the Eusebians had so arranged that they all occupied one house in the town. Notwithstanding this, two bishops who had come with them, Asterius from Arabia, and Arius (also named Macarius) from Palestine, immediately went over to the Synod, and related the intrigues already formed on the journey by the Eusebians. They affirmed at the same time that many other orthodox bishops were come in the company of the Eusebians, who would gladly have joined the Synod, if they were not hindered by violence and false representations. Naturally, the desertion of these two was highly inconvenient to the Eusebians, and therefore Athanasius rightly says that they were struck with fear. In fact, they did not long delay taking revenge on both, and immediately after the Synod of Sardica procured their banishment, through the Emperor Constantius. That the Synod of Sardica was entirely free, and not managed by imperial officials, was, moreover, in the highest degree contrary to the wishes of the Eusebians, as no court influence in their favour could be hoped for. The consternation of the Eusebians, however, was complete when they learnt that Athanasius and many others, bishops and priests, were ready to appear as their accusers, and witnesses of their violent conduct, and that there were even chains and irons forthcoming which would testify to this.

The Eusebians, on their side, say that “immediately upon their arrival at Sardica, they had heard that Athanasius, Marcellus, and other justly condemned offenders, who had been already deposed by synodal decision, were sitting in the midst of the church with Hosius and Protogenes, disputing with them, and, even worse, celebrating the holy mysteries. They had therefore demanded of those who were with Protogenes and Hosius (in fact commanded them, mandavimus) that they should shut out the condemned from their assembly, and hold no communion with sinners. When this was done, they should meet together with them, the Eusebians, and hear what had been decided by earlier synods against Athanasius and the others. The adherents of Hosius, however, opposed this idea, and would not give up communion with those persons. This troubled them even to tears; for they could not, as they say, sit in an assembly with those whom their predecessors condemned, neither could they take part with profane persons in the sacraments. They therefore again and again repeated their demand to the Orthodox, begging them not to confound divine right, violate the tradition of the Church, give occasion for divisions, and place the many Oriental bishops and holy synods on a lower footing than that party. But the companions of Hosius paid no heed, but rather sought to assume the part of judges over the judges (at the former synods), and to bring the Eusebians themselves to trial.” We see from this, also, that the Eusebians would not allow to the Council the right of trying afresh the sentences of the Synods of Tyre and Antioch, etc. During these quarrels, five Eusebian bishops, who had formerly been members of the deputation sent to Mareotis, proposed that a new commission of inquiry, composed of members of both parties (Eusebian and Orthodox), should be sent into those places where Athanasius had committed his offences, and should it be shown that they (the five bishops) had falsely accused him, they would unhesitatingly submit to condemnation; but if, on the contrary, their accusations were shown to be well-founded, then the five deputies of the Orthodox party, as well as the defenders and well-wishers of Athanasius and Marcellus, should be thrust out of communion. The Eusebians further affirm that Hosius, Protogenes, and their friends had not, however, agreed to this proposal, but had rather sought by reference to the wishes and written edicts of the Emperor to frighten the Eusebians, and to force them through fear to take part in the Synod. Therefore they, the Eusebians, had now decided to return to their own homes, and, before leaving Sardica, to give a report of what had taken place to the rest of Christendom. That they did not speak the truth in this last point, but issued their circular letter from Philippopolis, and not from Sardica, will appear later: it is enough here to supplement the above account of the Eusebians by the following communications from the orthodox side.

The Orthodox bishops greatly desired that the Eusebians should appear at the Synod. They therefore repeatedly invited them, both by word of mouth and by letter, and represented to them in how bad a light they placed themselves by their non-appearance, as it must be supposed that they had no proof to bring of their charges against Athanasius, but were rather slanderers, as indeed they would have to be declared by the Synod. They were repeatedly told that Athanasius and his friends were ready to refute the charges raised against them, and to convict their enemies of slander. Hosius made yet another special attempt, which he thus relates in a subsequent letter to the Emperor Constantius: “When the enemies of Athanasius came to me in the church, where I generally was, I requested them to bring forward their proofs against Athanasius, and promised them all possible security and justice, observing that, in case they did not like to bring their proofs before the whole Synod, they should at least communicate them to me alone. I even added a promise, that if Athanasius was proved guilty, he should be rejected by us all; but if he was innocent, and could convict them of slander, and still they would not hold communion with him, I would induce him to travel with me to Spain.” Hosius adds, that Athanasius accepted these conditions without any hesitation; but that the Eusebians, not having confidence in their own cause, refused them.

Athanasius himself says: “The Eusebians thought that under such circumstances (that is to say, if the whole affair was to be investigated anew, and the decisions of Tyre and Antioch no longer regarded as unalterable) flight was for them the lesser evil; for it was better to leave Sardica, than to be there formally convicted of slander. And if, after all, sentence was pronounced against them, the Emperor Constantius was their protector, and would certainly not allow their deposition.” In order, however, to have a fitting pretext for their flight, the Eusebians sent word by the priest Eustathius of Sardica to the Orthodox party, that the Emperor had sent them by letter the news of his victory over the Persians, and that this compelled their immediate departure (probably to offer him their congratulations). But Hosius was not deceived by this, and sent word to them: “If you do not appear and clear yourselves as regards the slanders which you have spread, and the accusations which have been brought against you, be assured that the Synod will condemn you as guilty, but will declare Athanasius and his associates to be innocent.” The Eusebians were, however, deaf to these words, and fled by night from Sardica.

SEC. 62. Energetic Action of the Synod of Sardica

With the flight of the accusers, the whole proceeding against Athanasius and his friends might easily have been considered as finished; but in order to fulfil all justice, and to cut off from the Eusebians every possible pretext for further objections, the Synod resolved most carefully to investigate the whole affair, with all the testimonies already given, for and against Athanasius. The acts showed that the accusers were pure slanderers; that Theognis of Nicæa had, as was attested by several of his own former deacons, addressed malicious letters to the Emperors, in order to excite them against Athanasius; that Arsenius, said to have been killed by Athanasius, was still living; and that no chalice had been broken by the Athanasian priest Macarius. The Synod ascertained this through the testimony of many Egyptians, who had come to Sardica, and by an ancient Synodal Letter which had been addressed to Pope Julius by no less than eighty Egyptian bishops, in defence of Athanasius. No less was it shown that the Mareotic acts were very one-sided; that only one party—the enemies of Athanasius—were heard; that catechumens, and even heathens, were therein brought forward as witnesses against priests, their statements, however, being for the most part in direct contradiction to one another. Two former Meletian priests at the same time declared to the Synod that Ischyras, whose chalice Macarius was said to have broken (by order of Athanasius), had never been a priest, and that Meletius had had no church in that country (Mareotis). The Synod also saw, from a letter written by Ischyras’ own hand, that he himself declared that at the time when, during divine service, his chalice was said to have been broken, he could not leave his bed on account of illness, and therefore could have held no service.

The Synod at once proceeded to examine, secondly, into the complaints brought forward against Marcellus of Ancyra, causing his treatise to be read aloud, from which it discovered the wicked intrigues of the Eusebians, who had set down as decided and positive statements what Marcellus had said merely by way of inquiry (ζητῶν). That which preceded and followed the incriminated passages was also read aloud, and the Synod was convinced of the orthodoxy of Marcellus, and that he had not, as they said, ascribed to the divine Logos a beginning from Mary, or maintained that His kingdom was not eternal. Marcellus had, as we saw before, made a distinction between the Logos and the Son: by the Son he understood the union of the Godhead with human nature, or the God-man, and to Him he ascribed His origin from Mary; whereas he declared the Logos to be eternal, and in the Father from all eternity (in fact, impersonal). According to this, it appeared to him that the kingdom of the Logos only was eternal, and that that of the Son ceases with the end of the world, since then all human corporeality ends.

The third person whose affairs were investigated by the Synod of Sardica was Asclepas, Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, whom the Eusebians had deposed at Antioch. He produced the acts of the Antiochian Synod which had condemned him, and proved his innocence by the very words of his judges. At the same time, it appeared that the Eusebians had not only received back many who before had been lawfully deposed on account of Arianism, but had promoted them to higher offices in the Church; that they had practised many acts of violence against the orthodox, occasioned the destruction of many churches, imprisonments, executions, and mutilations of holy virgins and the like, and had stirred up the Arian heresy afresh. The Synod therefore declared innocent Athanasius, Marcellus, Asclepas, and their companions, especially the Alexandrian priests Aphton, Athanasius the son of Capiton, Paul and Plution, who had been deposed and banished by the Eusebians, and restored them all to their former offices and dignities, and proclaimed this publicly, in order that from henceforth no one should consider those who had intruded into their places, Gregory at Alexandria, Basil at Ancyra, Quintian at Gaza, as rightful bishops. At the same time, the Synod pronounced the sentence of deposition and even excommunication upon the heads of the Eusebians, Theodore of Heraclea, Narcissus of Neronias, Acacius of Cæsarea, Stephen of Antioch, Ursacius of Singidunum, Valens of Murcia, Menophantes of Ephesus, and George of Laodicea, who, from fear, had not appeared at the Synod because they had adopted the Arian madness, and had, besides, been guilty of other offences (slander and violence). Athanasius remarks incidentally in one place, that the Synod also deposed Bishop Patrophilus of Scythopolis, but he does not seem here to have spoken accurately; and the statement of Theodoret, that Maris, Valens, and Ursacius had confessed their unfair dealings as deputies at Mareotis, and had demanded pardon of the Synod, is probably as little worthy of reliance. We shall see further on, that with regard to both these bishops something of the sort took place some years later, whence it may be conjectured that Theodoret is here guilty of an anachronism.

SEC. 63. The pretended Creed of Sardica

It was, as we know, the further task of the Synod of Sardica to give a definite explanation of the orthodox faith, which had become uncertain. Athanasius relates that some had sought to move the Synod to draw up a new creed, on the pretext that the Nicene was not full enough; but that the Synod did not agree to this, and, on the other hand, absolutely determined to draw up no new formula, declaring that of Nicæa to be sufficient, and entirely faultless and pious. Nevertheless, a pretended Sardican Creed soon got into circulation, which, however, Athanasius and those bishops assembled with him at Alexandria in 362 warned people against, and declared to be false. Bishop Eusebius of Vercellæ (now Vercelli) was also present at this Alexandrian Synod, and added to his signature a remark in which he expressly declared himself against the pretended formula of Sardica. Theodoret gives a copy of this so-called Sardican formula at the end of the Encyclical Letter of the Synod; but the Historia Tripartita adopted a Latin translation of it, the work of the scholar Epiphanius. Its sense is throughout orthodox, and directed against the Arians, notwithstanding which, the expression ὑπόστασις is confounded with οὐσία, and thus to the Three Persons of the Trinity only one hypostasis is ascribed; there are also mis-statements with regard to Valens and Ursacius, as though they had been Sabellians.

This Sardican formula is also mentioned by Sozomen; but it is only recently that any clear light has been thrown upon this matter, since Scipio Maffei discovered in the library at Verona an old Latin translation of nearly all the Sardican Acts, and his discovery was made known by the Ballerini and Mansi. In this translation, immediately following the Canons of Sardica, there is a short letter from Hosius and Protogenes to Pope Julius, and it is plainly this letter of which Sozomen gives a fairly detailed account. In this letter it is said, and it quite accords with Sozomen’s account, “that at Sardica the Nicene formula was accepted; but in order to make sophistical interpretations impossible to the Arians, it was further explained.” The Latin translation of the Encyclical Letter of Sardica follows this short letter, and to this is appended a translation of the Sardican formula in question. Though there are some passages in this version where the Greek text of Theodoret is plainly more correct, yet, on the other hand, it just removes that difficulty regarding the one hypostasis, as here it rightly stands, “unam esse substantiam, quam ipsi Græci Usiam appellant,” etc. On the other hand, the mis-statement with regard to Valens and Ursacius is also found here.

What is, however, far more important, is that, since this discovery, we can without hesitation join the Ballerini in their conjecture, that probably Hosius and Protogenes were of opinion that a fuller exposition of the Nicene formula ought to be drawn up at Sardica. Such a form they had already sketched out with this view, as well as a appropriate letter to Pope Julius. The Synod, however, did not agree to their plan; but, nevertheless, their draft came into the Acts, and was thus early considered by many as a genuine Synodal document, as, for instance, by the fourth General Council at Chalcedon, in its address to the Emperor Marcian.

The Synod had now completed the three duties laid upon it: it had declared itself concerning the right faith, and given a decision upon the deposition of Athanasius and his friends, and concerning the acts of violence which had been practised upon them. But it desired also to provide for the discipline of the Church, and therefore drew up a set of canons, many of which have become very famous, and obtained permanent force in the Church.

SEC. 64. The Sardican Canons

According to the unanimous conclusion arrived at through the inquiries of late scholars, especially Spittler and the Ballerini, there can be no doubt that the canons of Sardica were originally drawn up in both languages, Latin and Greek, as they were intended both for Latins and Greeks. The Greek text is preserved to us in the collection of John of Constantinople, of the sixth century, and in several other manuscripts, from which it was first given to the press by the French Bishop Tilius in 1540, and later by Beveridge, Hardouin, and all modern collectors. Comments upon it were made in the Middle Ages by three learned Greeks, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus, whose works Beveridge has adopted in his famous Synodicon. On the other hand, we meet with the original Latin text in the three most celebrated ancient collections of Canons of the West, the Prisca, that of Dionysius Exiguus, and Isidore, the genuine and the false. These three, while differing distinctly from each other in the Latin translation of those canons which existed originally only in Greek, yet agree so strikingly here, that all three must have been based on one and the same original copy. These three Latin copies, moreover, while agreeing so remarkably with each other, yet so strikingly differ from the Greek text, even in the order of sequence, that their difference can only be sufficiently explained by supposing that from the first there existed two distinct originals, that is to say, an original Latin and an original Greek copy of the canons.

In the Greek text, and in the Latin of Dionysius Exiguus, these canons run thus:

Ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος ἡ ἐν Σαρδικῇ συγκροτηθεῖσα ἐκ διαφόρων ἐπαρχιῶν ὥρισε τὰ ὑποτεταγμένα

CAN. 1

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος πόλεως Κορδούβης εἷπεν• Οὐ τοσοῦτον ἡ φαύλη συνήθεια ὅσον ἡ βλαβερωτάτη τῶν πραγμάτων διαφθορὰ ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν θεμελίων ἐστὶν ἐκριζωτέα, ἵνα μηδενὶ τῶν ἐπισκόπων ἐξῆ ἀπὸ πόλεως μικρᾶς εἰς ἑτέραν πόλιν μεθίστασθαι• ἡ γὰρ τῆς αἰτίας ταύτης πρόφασις φανερά ἐστι, διʼ ἣν τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐπιχειρεῖται• οὐδεὶς γὰρ πώποτε εὑρεθῆναι ἐπισκόπων δεδύνηται, ὃς ἀπὸ μείζονος πόλεως εἰς ἐλαχιστοτέραν πόλιν ἐσπούδασε μεταστῆναι, ὅθεν συνέστηκε διαπύρῳ πλεονεξίας τρόπῳ ὑπεκκαίεσθαι τοὺς τοιούτους καὶ μᾶλλον τῇ ἀλαζονείᾳ δουλεύειν, ὅπως ἐξουσίαν δοκοῖεν μείζονα κεκτῆσθαι. εἰ πᾶσι τοίνυν τοῦτο ἀρέσκει, ὥστε τὴν τοιαύτην σκαιότητα αὐστηρότερον ἐκδικηθῆναι; ἡγοῦμαι γὰρ μηδὲ λαϊκῶν ἔχειν τοὺς τοιούτους κρῆναι κοινωνίαν• πάντες οἱ ἐπίσκοποι εἶπον• Ἀρέσκει πᾶσιν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Non minus mala consuetudo, quam perniciosa corruptela funditus eradicanda est, ne cui liceat episcopo de civitate sua ad aliam transire civitatem. Manifesta est enim causa, qua hoc facere tentant, cum nullus in hac re inventus sit episcopus, qui de majore civitate ad minorem transiret. Unde apparet, avaritiæ ardore eos inflammari, et ambitioni servire, et ut dominationem agant. Si omnibus placet, hujusmodi pernicies sævius et austerius vindicetur, ut nec laicam communionem habeat, qui talis est. Responderunt universi: Placet.”

We see at a glance that this canon is nothing more than a severer rendering of the fifteenth canon of Nicæa, which, indeed, also forbade the translation from one See to another, but in no wise inflicted the heavy punishment of the denial even of lay communion (the placing among public penitents). Van Espen, who has given a good commentary on the canons of Sardica, as on those of other synods, remarks that “already, some years before the Synod of Sardica, Pope Julius (in his letter before mentioned) reproached the Eusebians with their frequent change of place, and their hunting after wealthier Sees;” and in all probability this canon was purposely drawn up with reference to the Eusebians. The first part of the same canon was received in the Corpus Jur. Can. c. ix., “De Clericis non residentibus” (iii. 4).

CAN. 2

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Εἰ δέ τις τοιοῦτος εὑρίσκοιτο μανιώδης ἢ τολμηρὸς, ὡς περι τῶν τοιούτων δόξαι τινὰ φέριν παραίτησιν, διαβεβαιούμενον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλήθους ἑαυτὸν κεκομίσθαι γράμματα, δῆλόν ἐστιν, ὀλίγους τινὰς δεδυνῆσθαι μισθῷ καὶ τιμήματι διαφθαρέντας ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ στασιάζειν, ὡς δῆθεν ἀξιοῦντας τὸν αὐτὸν ἔχειν ἐπίσκοπον• καθάπαξ οὖν τὰς ῥᾳδιουργίας τὰς τοιαύτας καὶ τέχνας κολαστέας εἶναι νομίζω, ὥστε μηδένα τοιοῦτον μηδὲ ἐν τῷ τέλει λαϊκῆς γοῦν ἀξιοῦσθαι κοινωνίας• εἰ τοίνυν ἀρέσκει ἡ γνώμη αὕτη, ἀποκρίνασθε• ἀπεκρίναντο• Τὰ λεχθέντα ἤρεσεν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Etiam si talis aliquis exstiterit temerarius, ut fortassis excusationem afferens asseveret, quod populi literas acceperit, cum manifestum sit, potuisse paucos præmio et mercede corrumpi, eos, qui sinceram fidem non habent, ut clamarent in ecclesia et ipsum petere viderentur episcopum; omnino has fraudes damnandas esse arbitor, ita ut nee laicam in fine communionem talis accipiat. Si vobis omnibus placet, statuite. Synodus respondit: Placet.”

The addition in the Latin text, qui sinceram fidem non habent, is found both in Dionysius Exiguus and in Isidore and the Prisca, and its meaning is as follows: “In a town, some few, especially those who have not the true faith, can be easily bribed to demand this or that person as bishop.” The Fathers of Sardica plainly had here in view the Arians and their adherents, who, through such like machinations, when they had gained over, if only a small party in a town, sought to press into the bishoprics. The Synod of Antioch, moreover, in 341, although the Eusebians, properly speaking, were dominant there, had laid down in the twenty-first canon a similar, only less severe, rule. It is to be observed also, that in the Isidorian collection this second canon is not separated from the first and counted as the second. In Corpus Juris Canon, c. 2, “De Electione” (i. 6), it has the further addition, nisi hoc pœnituerit, i.e. “such an one shall not, on his deathbed, receive even lay communion, except he has repented of his fault.” But neither the Greek text, Dionysius, Isidore, nor the Prisca, contain this additional mitigating clause; and it was probably added by Raymund of Pennaforte, when he was collecting the decretals, in order to conform the canon to the later practice in this respect.

CAN. 3

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο προστεεθῆναι ἀναγκαῖον, ἵνα μηδεὶς ἐπισκόπων ἀπὸ τῆς ἐνυτοῦ ἐπαρχίας εἰς ἑτέραν ἐπαρχίαν, ἐν ᾗ τυγχάνουσιν ὄντες ἐπίσκοποι, διαβαίνῃ, εἰ μήτοι παρὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν τῶν ἑαυτοῦ κληείη, διὰ τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν ἡμᾶς τὰς τῆς ἀγάπης ἀποκλείειν πύλας.

Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ὡσαύτως προνοητέον ὥστε ἐὰν ἔν τινι ἐπαρχίᾳ ἐπισκόπων τις ἄντικρυς ἀδελφοῦ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ συνεπισκόπου πρᾶγμα σχοίη, μηδέτερον ἐκ τούτων ἀπὸ ἑτέρας ἐπαρχίας ἐπισκόπους ἐπιγνώμονας ἐπικαλεῖσθαι.

Εἰ δὲ ἄρα τις ἐπισκόπων ἔν τινι πράγματι δόξῃ κατακρίνεσθαι καὶ ὑπολαμβάνει ἑαυτὸν μὴ σαθρὸν ἀλλὰ καλὸν ἔχειν τὸ πρᾶγμα, ἵνα κιὰ αὖθις ἡ κρίσις ἀνανεωθῇ• εἰ δοκεῖ ὑμῶν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, Πέτρου τοῦ ἀποστόλου τὴν μνήμην τιμήσωμεν καὶ γραφῆναι παρὰ τούτων τῶν κρινάντων Ἰουλίῳ τῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Ῥώμης, ὥστε διὰ τῶν γειτνιώντων τῇ ἐπαρχίᾳ ἐπισκόπων, εἰ δέοι, ἀνανεωθῆναι τὸ δικαστήριον καὶ ἐπιγνώμονας αὐτὸς παράσχοι• εἰ δὲ μὴ συστῆναι δύναται τοιοῦτον αὐτοῦ εἶναι τὸ πρᾶγμα ὡς παλινδικίας χρῇζειν, τὰ ἅπαξ κεκριμένα μὴ ἀναλύεσθαι, τὰ δὲ ὄντα βέβαια τυγχάνειν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Illud quoque necessario adjiciendum est, ut episcopi de sua provincia ad aliam provinciam, in qua sunt episcopi, non transeant, nisi forte a fratribus suis invitati, ne videamur januam claudere caritatis. Quod si in aliqua provincia aliquis episcopus contra fratrem suum episcopum litem habuerit, ne unus e duobus ex alia provincia advocet episcopum cognitorem. Quod si aliquis episcoporum judicatus fuerit in aliqua causa, et putat se bonam causam habere, ut iterum concilium renovetur: si vobis placet, Sancti Petri apostoli memoriam honoremus, ut scribatur ab his, qui causam examinarunt, Julio Romano episcopo, et si judicaverit renovandum esse judicium, renovetur et det judices; si autem probaverit, talem causam esse, ut non refricentur ea, quæ acta sunt, quæ decreverit confirmata erunt. Si hoc omnibus placet? Synodus respondit: Placet.”

As is evident, the contents of this canon are divided into three parts, and the collection of Isidore has indeed made three different canons of it,—a second, third, and fourth,—while Dionysius and the Prisca, in accordance with the Greek text, comprise all three parts in one.

The first clause, or the first rule of our canon, is a repetition of the thirteenth Antiochian, which, as being both clearer and more circumstantial, may be used as a commentary on it. Both direct that no bishop shall go into another Church province for the purpose of performing any spiritual office, especially that of ordination, unless he is called upon to do so by the metropolitan and the bishops of that province; in which case it shall, however, be allowed, “that it may not appear as if the Synod wished to cut off from the bishops the opportunity of rendering each other any service of love.” Thus the last words of the first part are to be understood: διὰ τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν ἡμᾶς τὰς τῆς ἀγάπης ἀποκλείειν πύλας: ne videamus januam claudere caritatis; but not as Fuchs translated them: “otherwise peace and love will be disturbed,” that is, if any one interferes in a strange province.

Instead of in qua sunt episcopi, a Roman codex reads: in qua non sunt episcopi, thus giving the synodal order this meaning, that “a bishop should not perform any spiritual office in a strange province, even if that province has no bishops of its own.” This reading, which is not supported by the Greek or the other Latin manuscripts, nor by the Greek commentators, Zonaras, etc., is defended by Van Espen, although it contradicts the further words of the canon: “unless he is called upon by his brethren,” i.e. the bishops of the province in question, as appears from the thirteenth canon of Antioch. In order to do away with this contradiction, Van Espen quite gratuitously interprets the latter words thus: “unless he is called by his brethren to become bishop of this hitherto unoccupied province.”

The second part of the canon is connected with the fifth of Nicæa, which also directs that the quarrels of the bishops in the province itself shall be decided by the Provincial Synod, without the assistance of foreign bishops. This true meaning, however, is altered by some Latin translations in the collection of Dionysius, especially in that printed by Justellus, where, instead of ne unus, stands unus, without the negation, which so alters the sense, as to make it in direct contradiction to the whole ancient law of the Church.

The third part of the canon makes, in one instance, an exception to the above rule (the second),—i.e. that the right of judging a bishop belonged to the comprovincial bishops,—as it provides a court of second appeal to revise the sentence of the comprovincial bishops of the court of first appeal. This clause, however, and the two following canons connected with it, concerning appeals to Rome, have been, up to our day, the subject of violent controversies between canonists; and therefore we before ventured to publish the result of our studies on these subjects in the Tübinger Quartalschrift, of the year 1852.

The meaning of this direction is: “If a bishop is condemned (that is, deposed, as appears from the fourth canon), but thinks his case a good one, so that a fresh sentence ought to be pronounced, then, out of respect to the memory of the Apostle Peter, a letter shall be addressed to Rome to Pope Julius, so that, if necessary, he may appoint a new court composed of the bishops near the province in question, and may himself appoint the judges. If it is not proved, however, that the affair requires a fresh inquiry, then the first sentence (of the Provincial Synod) shall not be annulled, but shall be confirmed by the Pope.”

The further examination of this canon and of the disputes regarding it, will only be possible to us when we have first made clear the meaning of the two next canons. We remark, further, that Gratian also has received it into the Corp. Jur. Can. i. 7, causa vi. quæst. 4.

CAN. 4

Γαυδέντιος ἐπίσκος εἷπεν• Εἰ δοκεῖ, ἀναγκαῖον προστεθῆναι ταύτῃ τῇ ἀποφάσει, ἥντιμα ἁγάπης εἰλικρινοῦς πλήρη ἐξενήνοχας, ὥστε ἐαν τις ἐπίσκοπος καθαιρεθῇ τῇ κρίσει τούτων τῶν ἐπισκόπων τῶν ἐν γειτνίᾳ τυγχανόντων, καὶ φάσκῃ πάλιν ἑαυτῷ ἀπολογίας πρᾶγμα ἐπιβάλλειν, μὴ πρότερον εἰς τὴν καθέδραν αὐτοῦ ἕτερον ὑποκαταστῆναι ἐὰν μὴ ὁ τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐπίσκοπος ἐπιγνοὺς περὶ τούτου ὅρον ἐξενέγκῃ.

“Gaudentius episcopus dixit: Addendum si placet huic septentiæ, quam plenam sanctitate protulisti, ut cum aliquis episcopus depositus fuerit eorum episcoporum judicio, qui in vicinis locis commorantur, et proclamaverit agendum sibi negotium in urbe Roma; alter episcopus in ejus cathedra post appellationem ejus, qui videtur esse depositus, omnino non ordinetur, nisi causa fuerit in judicio episcopi Romani determinata.”

This canon, proposed by Gaudentius, Bishop of Naissus in Dacia, according to the Greek literally runs thus: “Bishop Gaudentius said: ‘If pleasing to you, it shall be added to this judgment, which you, Hosius, have brought forward, and which is full of pure love, that if a bishop has been deposed by sentence of those bishops who are in the neighbourhood, and he desires again to defend himself, no other shall be appointed to his See until the Bishop of Rome has judged and decided thereupon.’ ” In all essentials the Latin text of Dionysius, Isidore, and the Prisca agree with this; but, concerning the explanation of the words of the text, two parties have arisen, in direct opposition to each other, one of which alone can be right, and this latter, armed with old and new arguments, shall first speak for itself.

The preceding canon had declared that if a bishop, deposed by the Provincial Synod, desired a second appeal, Rome should, decide whether the demand should be granted or not. This decided, the further question necessarily arose, “What should meanwhile he done with the bishop in question?” The natural answer was, that, “until the new decision, he may, on his part, undertake no episcopal function; but neither may any other be appointed to his See.” This answer was so natural, that it might perhaps have appeared superfluous to state it expressly in a special canon, if it had not been that a few years before, at the Synod of Antioch, the Eusebians, although they themselves and Athanasius had appealed to Rome and demanded a second decision by a great synod, had appointed a new bishop, Gregory of Cappadocia, for Alexandria. In the face of these and other like facts, it was necessary to add: “but if a bishop deposed by the court of first appeal adopts the course indicated above (in can. 3), his See may not be given over to another until the Pope has either confirmed the sentence of the court of first appeal, or has instituted a second.” We see that the connection of these two canons (three and four), the nature of the case, and the course of events (that which the Eusebians had done), render such an interpretation of the words of the text necessary, and in the words themselves there is nothing to compel us to adopt any other meaning. And yet this has several times been attempted; first, indeed, simply and entirely through a misunderstanding of the words: “If he is deposed by the sentence τῶν ἐπισκόπων τῶν ἐν γειτνίᾳ τυγχανόντων, i.e. episcoporum, qui in vicinis locis commorantur.” In our opinion, this means those bishops who were neighbours of the accused, that is, his comprovincials; but because the third canon speaks of bishops who are “neighbours” of the Province in question, many scholars have confused these two expressions, and have taken the word “neighbours” in the fourth canon also in the latter sense, and have therefore given it the following meaning: “Even if the court of second appeal, consisting of the bishops of the neighbouring province, has pronounced the accused guilty, he still has one more appeal to the court of third instance, namely Rome.”

Such a commentary upon the canon was given by the Greeks, Zonaras and Balsamon; and among Latin scholars by the Ballerini, Van Espen, Palma, Walter, and others; but especially by Natalis Alexander, who, in this whole question, rather agrees with the Curialists than with the Gallicans.

But in spite of these many authorities we cannot accept the fourth canon in the second sense, but can only understand it in the first. It must be added to the reasons before mentioned (i.e. the connection with the preceding canon, the course of events, etc.):

1. That it certainly would be very curious if in the third canon mention was made of the appeal to Rome as following the judgment of the court of first instance; in the fourth, after that of the court of second instance; and again in the fifth, after the judgment of the court of first instance.

2. That if the Synod had really intended to institute a court of third appeal, it would have done so in clearer and more express terms, and not only have, as it were, smuggled in the whole point with the secondary question, as to “what was to be done with the bishop’s See.”

3. Further, that it is quite devoid of proof that the expression “neighbouring bishops” is identical with “Bishops in the neighbourhood of the said Province;” that, indeed, this identification is throughout unwarrantable and wrong, and it is far more natural to understand by the neighbouring bishops, the comprovincials, therefore the court of first instance.

4. That by this interpretation we obtain clearness, consistency, and harmony in all three canons.

5. That the word πάλιν in the fourth canon presents no difficulty; for even one who has only been heard in the court of first instance may say he desires again to defend himself, because he has already made his first defence in the court of first instance.

Peter de Marca, Tillemont, Dupin, Fleury, Remi Ceillier, Neander, Stolberg, Eichhorn, Kober, and others, understand the fourth canon in the same sense as ourselves; while some, like Fuchs,1 Kohrbacher,1 Ruttenstock,1 etc., do not enter into any discussion about its meaning. Finally, we remark that this explanation does not the least affect the right of appealing to the Pope, and we shall presently show the untenableness of the Gallican argument against this right from the Sardican canons.

CAN. 51

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Ἤρεσεν, ἵνʼ εἴ τις ἐπίσκοπος καταγγελθείη, καὶ συναθροισθέντες οἱ ἐπίσκοποι τῆς ἐνορίας τῆς αὐτῆς του βαθμοῦ αὐτὸν ἀποκινήσωσι, καὶ ὥσπερ ἐκκαλεσάμενος καταφύγῃ ἐπὶ τὸν μακαριώτατον τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐκκλησίας ἐπίσκοπον, καὶ βουληθείη αὐτοῦ διακοῦσαι, δίκαιόν τε εἶναι νομίσῃ ἀνανεώσασθαι αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξέτασιν τοῦ πράγματος, γράφειν τούτοις τοῖς συνεπισκόποις καταξιώσῃ τοῖς ἀγχιστεύουσι τῇ ἐπαρχίᾳ, ἵνα αὐτοὶ ἐπιμελῶς καὶ μετὰ ἀκριβείας ἕκαστα διερευνήσωσι καὶ κατὰ τὴν τῆς ἀληθείας πίστιν ψῆφον περὶ τοῦ πράγματος ἐξενέγκωσιν. εἰ δέ τις ἀξιῶν καὶ πάλιν αὐτοῦ τὸ πρᾶγμα ἀκουσθῆναι, καὶ τῇ δεήσει τῇ ἑαυτοῦ τὸν Ῥωμαίων ἐπίσκοπον δόξειεν [κινεῖν δόξῃ ἵνʼ ἀπὸ] ἀπὸ τοῦ ἰδίου πλευροῦ πρεσβυτέρους ἀποστείλοι, εἶναι ἐν τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου, ὅπερ ἂν καλῶς ἔχειν δοκιμάσῃ καὶ ὁρίσῃ δεῖν, ἀποσταλῆναι τοὺς μετὰ τῶν ἐπισκόπων κρινοῦντας, ἔχοντάς τε τὴν αὐθντίαν τούτου παρʼ οὗ ἀπεστάλησαν• καὶ τοῦτο θετέον. εἰ δὲ ἐξαρκεῖν νομίσῃ πρὸς τὴν τοῦ πράγματος ἐπίγνωσιν καὶ ἀπόφασιν τοῦ ἐπισκόπου, ποιήσει ὅπερ ἂν τῇ ἐμφρονεστάτῃ αὐτοῦ βουλῇ καλῶς ἔχειν δόξῃ. ἀπεκρίναντο οἱ ἐπίσκοποι• Τὰ λεχθέντα ἤρεσεν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Placuit autem, ut si episcopus accusatus fuerit et judicaverint congregati episcopi regionis ipsius, et de gradu suo eum dejecerint, si appellaverit qui dejectus est, et confugerit ad episcopum Romanæ Ecclesiæ et voluerit se audiri: si justum putaverit, ut renovetur judicium (vel discussionis examen), scribere his episcopis dignetur, qui in finitima et propinqua provincia sunt, ut ipsi diligenter omnia requirant et juxta fidem veritatis definiant. Quod si is, qui rogat causam suam iterum audiri, deprecatione sua moverit episcopum Romanum, ut de latere suo presbyterum mittat, erit in potestate episcopi, quid velit et quid æstimet; et si decreverit mittendos esse, qui præsentes cum episcopis judicent, habentes ejus auctoritatem a quo destinati sunt, erit in suo arbitrio. Si vero crediderit episcopos sufficere, ut negotio terminum imponant, faciet quod sapientissimo consilio suo judicaverit.”

The meaning is: “If a bishop deposed by his comprovincials (the bishops of the same region) has appealed to Rome, and the Pope considers a fresh examination necessary, then he (the Pope) shall write to the bishops living nearest the province in question, that they may thoroughly investigate the matter, and give sentence in accordance with the truth. But if the appellant can induce the Bishop of Rome to send priests of his own to constitute, with the appointed bishops, the court of second instance, and thereby to enjoy the authority belonging to himself (the Pope),—i.e. to preside in the court, as even the Gallican Marca allows to be the meaning,—it shall be open to the Pope to do so. But should he think the bishops alone sufficient for this court of appeal, he shall do what seems to him good.”

A comparison of this canon with the third part of the third canon shows that it only gives a more accurate exposition of the earlier one, and more precisely defines the method of conducting the appeal. First, if in the third canon it is only said that the judges of the first court may refer the matter to Rome, this canon supplements it by saying that the accused bishop also may himself appeal to Rome. Secondly, for completeness’ sake, what was, however, a matter of course, is added: that in case the Pope summoned bishops of the neighbouring province to the court of second instance, he should give them notice by letter. But it is an entirely new and essential modification of the third canon, that the Pope should not only have the power of adding some Roman priests to the court of second instance, but of authorizing these legates to preside at it.

Clear as the meaning of those three canons may seem after what has been said, yet a violent controversy has arisen between the Gallican and Curialist theologians, in which neither party regarded the text from a quite impartial point of view, but each sought chiefly to make capital out of it, for their own particular system of canon law.

The first question which arose was to this effect, whether the rights ascribed to the Pope in these canons had been newly given to him by the Synod of Sardica, when he had not possessed them at all before. This was affirmed by the Gallicans; for instance, by Peter de Marca, Quesnel, Du-Pin, Richer, and others, as also by Febronius and his followers. It seems to me that Natalis Alexander, though himself a Gallican, and after him the Ballerini, Palma, Roskovany1 (now Bishop of Neutra in Hungary), and others, have conclusively shown that this was not the case, but rather that the right of the Pope to receive appeals was involved in the idea of the Primacy as a divine institution, and had in fact been exercised before the Synod of Sardica, which only expressly defined and declared it. The formula, si placet, has not here the meaning often ascribed to it by synods, i.e. “if pleasing to you, we will introduce a new thing,”—in dogmatic expressions such a meaning would indeed be heterodox,—but: “if pleasing to you, we will declare and pronounce this or that.” In like manner, in the words of the third canon: Sancti Petri Apostoli memoriam honoremus, there is no good ground for supposing that the Synod had here conferred upon the Pope an entirely new right; for every direct acknowledgment even of an ancient papal right is always made out of reverence to S. Peter, as the person upon whom the primacy was conferred by Christ. Moreover, this right of appealing to Rome was not universally acknowledged at the time of the Synod of Sardica; on the contrary, the Eusebians themselves had only recently disputed this prerogative with Pope Julius, and they also plainly call it in question, in their Encyclical from Philippopolis, in the words: ut Orientales episcopi, etc.

The second controversy as to the meaning of this canon was again occasioned by the Gallicans through the assertion of the well-known syndic of the Sorbonne, Edmund Richer, that as in the third canon Pope Julius was expressly mentioned, therefore the prerogative there spoken of was assigned to this Pope only in his own person, and not to his successors. This has been well refuted by the famous Protestant, Spittler, in these words: “It is said that these Sardican decisions were simply provisional, and intended for the present necessity; because Athanasius, so hardly pressed by the Arians, could only be rescued by authorizing an appeal to the Bishop of Rome for a final judgment. Richer, in his History of the General Councils, has elaborately defended this opinion, and Horix also has declared in its favour. But would not all secure use of the canons of the Councils be done away with if this distinction between provisional and permanent synodal decisions were admitted? Is there any sure criterion for distinguishing those canons which were only to be provisional, from the others which were made for all future centuries? The Fathers of the Synod of Sardica express themselves quite generally; is it not therefore most arbitrary on our part to insert limitations? It is beyond question that these decisions were occasioned by the very critical state of the affairs of Athanasius; but is everything only provisional that is occasioned by the circumstances of individuals? In this way the most important of the ancient canons might be set aside.”

We further add, that in the fourth and fifth canons, which speak of the same prerogative of Rome, the Bishop of Rome generally is mentioned, not Pope Julius in particular; and secondly, that the Sardican Fathers, even if they had desired simply to help Athanasius, could not possibly have ensured their end by assigning that prerogative to Julius alone, as he might have died within a few months, and then could no longer have protected the oppressed.

The third controversy touches the character of the prerogative which these canons ascribe to the Pope. The Gallicans, as also Van Espen and Febronius, maintain that no real appeal to Rome is there admitted, but that it only treats of a revision of the first sentence, and that only the right of ordering such a revision is assigned to the Pope. That this was so, they proved from the fact that the judges of the court of first instance might also sit on the court of appeal, but strengthened by bishops from another province. In fact, it is of the essence of a court of appeal that the judges of the first court should have no voice in it; that is, the appeal is a means of obtaining justice by devolution. If, then, it were really true that the canons of Sardica allowed the judges of the first court to take part in the sentence pronounced by the second, this would certainly be no case of appeal. But it is not so; the canons undeniably say quite the reverse, and plainly exclude the judges of the first court from the second, so that only great prejudice could have given rise to such a confusion, which had already been refuted by Natalis Alexander, the Ballerini, Palma, and others. The Gallicans, however, can only bring forward on their side Hincmar of Rheims, who has indeed fallen into the same error, but is not able to substantiate his view.

The second feature in the character of an appeal is, that it acts suspensively, that is, that the former judges cannot proceed, nor the sentence of the first court be put in force, until the appeal is rejected, or the sentence of the second court is pronounced. But the fourth canon shows that the prerogative which these canons ascribe to the Pope bears also this mark of a true right of appeal. Moreover, the fifth canon gives to these words, “to apply to the Pope,” the express title of an appeal, ἐκκαλεσάμενος, appellaverit; and lastly, the fact that the Pope was to appoint the judges of the second court, and send his own legates, plainly shows that this second court was really his own, not a foreign one, but one appointed by him,—a circumstance which points to a formal appeal, not only a revision.

Having so far combated the Gallicans, we must now turn round upon the Curialists. First of all, this statement of Palma’s is incorrect: “Of the canons of Sardica, the most celebrated were those in quibus de appellationibus agitur, a quolibet Episcoporum judicio ad Romanum Pontificem deferendis.” This is not true. The canons of Sardica only speak of an appeal in one case, namely, when a bishop was deposed by his comprovincials; other cases are not mentioned at all, and, as a glance at the text of the canons unquestionably shows, in all other cases the appeal is neither affirmed nor denied.

The Ballerini and Palma further maintain that these canons also ascribe to the Pope the right of transferring the whole process, with its investigation, upon such an appeal being made, to Rome, and of himself deciding, therefore, without the presence of the neighbouring bishops. The canons nowhere say this; what they expressly insist upon is, that to the Pope belongs the appointment of a second court, for which he is to designate bishops from the neighbouring province, but may also appoint legates of his own. Even when in those three canons a decision of Rome is spoken of in general terms only, as for instance at the end of the fourth, this cannot be understood in a sense favourable to Palma and the Ballerini; for the true meaning is, that the Pope alone, and in his own person, decides whether the appeal shall be allowed, and a second judgment ordered or not. In this last case he confirms the sentence of the first court; in the other, he orders the second investigation; but that he himself, instead of the court appointed by him, should conduct the investigation of the second court, is nowhere said. Further on, indeed, at the end of the fifth canon, these words occur: “The Pope shall do what seems to him good;” but neither by this are we to understand that the Pope should himself conduct the second investigation, but that he should decide whether or not to send his own legates to the court of appeal.

There remains one more point on which I cannot agree with the Ballerini and Palma. They have conceded to the Gallicans that the third canon does not speak of the actual appeal, but only of the revision, and that the appeal is first treated of in the fourth and fifth canons. The first ground for this concession is their embarrassment as to the words: Si vobis placet, Sancti Petri Apostoli memoriam honoremus. They were of opinion that these words meant that a prerogative was here granted to the Pope which he had not de jure, but only as a matter of courtesy, and therefore that this prerogative could not be the right of appeal which was juris divini. They said, therefore, that a fresh examination of the complaint, that is, a revision, might have taken place at a new and greater synod, even without the papal intervention, as is clear from the fourteenth Antiochian canon; but that the Synod of Sardica had also in this case given to the Pope the power of intervention, in order that the revision might more surely take place. I believe, however, that this expedient is unnecessary: the words memoriam … honoremus are, as we showed above, in nowise so dangerous; while the third and fifth canons agree so well together, that if in the latter a real appeal is meant, then the former must have the same meaning. The fifth canon treats of the sentence of the first court of comprovincials as does the third canon. The fifth canon, like the third, treats of the appeal from it to the Pope. In the fourth canon the Pope appoints bishops from the neighbouring province as judges in the second court, as in the third canon. And yet they say that the fifth canon speaks of a real appeal, and not the third, simply because, according to the fifth canon, the condemned bishop himself demands the interposition of Rome, while, according to the third, this is done by the judges of the first court at the desire of the bishop! This is not credible. Besides this, the appeal of Palma and the Ballerini to the fourteenth Antiochian canon is most infelicitous. First, because that canon only allows a second investigation in case of the judges of the first court (the comprovincials) being divided among themselves, while in the case of their being unanimous, the fifteenth canon of Antioch expressly forbids it. On the other hand, the Sardican canon allows the right of appeal in all cases, and therefore in the case of the sentence of the first court having been given unanimously. Thus the Sardican canon allows what the Antiochian canon forbids, and it is wrong to conclude that a second investigation was already sanctioned by the fourteenth Antiochian canon. Secondly, according to the fourteenth Antiochian canon, the court of appeal was again to consist of the comprovincial bishops, i.e. of the same judges as the first court, with only the addition of a few foreign bishops. This second court ordered by the Antiochian Synod is therefore quite different from that of which the Sardican canon treats; and consequently it is not correct to say that a second court of that description was already ordered by the Synod of Antioch. Moreover, thirdly, according to the third canon also, the Pope was not only to decide as to the necessity or not of a second court, but was himself to name the judges who were to form it, as in the fifth canon. Thus this second court, as we have before shown in refuting the Gallicans, was not to be a foreign one, but one appointed by the Pope, that is, his own court.

The Ballerini and Palma have, besides, a still further reason for supposing the third canon not to refer to the actual appeal, and this lies in their interpretation of the fourth canon. As we showed just now, they gave it this meaning, that even after the sentence of the second court of bishops from the neighbouring province, another appeal to Rome might take place, and that in this case the Pope alone should decide. But if they wanted to discover here an appeal after the sentence of the second court, they could not venture to interpret the third canon also of an actual appeal, or they would have been involved in the absurdity of two appeals to Rome, so that the Pope, having pronounced judgment in the second court, would have been again appealed to in the third court; thus the appeal would have been from the Pope to himself.

In order to avoid this, and not to abandon the meaning given by themselves to the fourth canon, it was necessary for them not to recognise any actual appeal in the third canon. They were bent, however, on maintaining their explanation of the fourth canon, in order to gain some ground for the assertion that the Pope might also himself decide at Rome, since they, quite arbitrarily, interpreted the words already mentioned at the end of the fourth canon, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐπίσκοπος, κ.τ.λ., in this way.

To sum up then, we obtain the following result from these three canons:—

1. When a bishop has been deposed by his comprovincials at the Provincial Synod, but still thinks his cause a good one, he may, according to the fifth canon, either appeal to Rome himself, or through the judges of the first court.

2. Rome now decides whether the appeal shall be allowed or not. In the latter case, it confirms the sentence of the first court; in the former, it appoints a second court.

3. Rome nominates as judges for the second court bishops from the neighbourhood of the province in question.

4. To this court the Pope may, however, also send legates of his own, who will then take the presidency in his name.

5. In case a bishop deposed by the first court appeals to Rome, his See may not be given to another until Rome has decided, that is, has either confirmed the sentence of the first court, or appointed a court of appeal. In the latter case it is, of course, understood that the sentence of the second court must be awaited before anything can be decided as to any fresh appointment to the See.

Finally, we add (1) that, as is well known, Pope Zosimus, in the discussion with the African bishops on the affair of the presbyter Apiarius of Sicca (417–418 A.D.), appealed to these Sardican decrees, holding them to be Nicene, and calling them so; and (2) that, as is well known, the Church discipline contained in the Sardican canons has in course of time been altered again, and the right of deposing a bishop, even in the first court, has been taken from the provincial synods, and entirely transferred to Rome as a causa major. We meet with this mediæval alteration of the Sardican discipline, which was occasioned by the circumstances of the age, for the first time, in the Hincmar quarrels of the ninth century, concerning Rothad of Soissons and Hincmar the younger of Laon, and it found its full expression in the pseudo-Isidorian decrees.

CAN. 6

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Ἐὰν συμβῇ ἐν μιᾷ ἐπαρχιᾳ, ἐν ᾗ πλεῖστοι ἐπίσκοποι τυγχάνουσιν, ἔνα ἐπίσκοπον ἀπομεῖναι, κἀκεῖνος κατά τινα ἀμέλειαν μὴ βουληθῇ συνελθεῖν καὶ συναινέσαι τῇ καταστάσει τῶν ἐπισκόπων, τὰ δὲ πλήθη συναθροισθέντα παρακαλοῖεν γίγνεσθαι τὴν κατάστασιν τοῦ παρʼ αὐτῶν ἐπιζητουμένου ἐπισκότου χρὴ πρότερον ἐκεῖνον τὸν ἐναπομείναντα ἐπίσκοπον ὑπομιμνήσκεσθαι διὰ γραμμάτων τοῦ ἐξάρχου τῆς ἐπαρχίας, λέγω δὴ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου τῆς μητροπόλεως, ὅτι ἀξιοῖ τὰ πλήθη ποιμένα αὐτοῖς δοθῆναι ἡγοῦμαι καλῶς ἔχειν καὶ τοῦτον ἐκδέχεσθαι, ἵνα παραγένηται εἰ δὲ μὴ διὰ γραμμάτων ἀξιωθεὶς παραγένηται, μήτε μὴν ἀντιγράφοι, τὸ ἱκανὸν τῇ βουλήσει τοῦ πλήθους χρὴ γρνέσθαι.

Χρὴ δὲ ταὶ μετακαλεῖσθαι καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς πλησιοχώρου ἐπαρχίας ἐπισκόπους πρὸς τὴν κατάστασιν τοῦ τῆς μητροπόλεως ἐπισκόπου.

Μὴ ἐξεῖναι δὲ ἁπλῶς καθιστᾶν ἐπίσκοπον ἐν κώμῃ τινὶ ἢ βραχείᾳ πόλει, ᾗτινι καὶ εἷς πρεσβύτερος ἐπαρκεῖ• οὐκ ἀναγκαῖον γὰρ ἐπισκόπους ἐκεῖσε καθίστασθαι, ἵνα μὴ κατευτελίζηται τὸ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου ὄνομα καὶ ἡ αὐθεντία, ἀλλʼ οἱ τῆς ἐπαρχίας ὡς προσῖπον ἐπίσκοποι ἐν ταύταις ταῖς πόλεσι καθιστᾶν ἐπισκόπους ὀφείλουσιν, ἔνθα καὶ πρότερον ἑτύγχανον γεγονότες ἐπίσκοποι• εἰ δὲ εὑρίσκοιτο οὕτω πληθύνουσά τις ἐν πολλῷ ἀριθμῷ λαοῦ πόλις, ὡς ἀξίαν αὐτὴν καὶ ἐπισκοπῆς νομίζεσθαι, λαμβανέτω. εἰ πᾶσιν ἀρέσκει τοῦτο; ἀπεκριναντο πάντες• Ἀρέσκει.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Si contigerit, in una provincia, in qua plurimi fuerint episcopi, unum forte remanere episcopum, ille vero per negligentiam noluerit (ordinare) episcopum, et populi convenerint, episcopi vicinæ provinciæ debent illum prius convenire episcopum, qui in ea provincia moratur, et ostendere, quod populi petant sibi rectorem, et hoc justum esse, ut et ipsi veniant, et cum ipso ordinent episcopum; quod si conventus literis tacuerit et dissimulaverit nihilque rescripserit, satisfaciendum esse populis, ut veniant ex vicina provincia episcopi et ordinent episcopum.

“Licentia vero dauda non est ordinandi episcopum aut in vico aliquo aut in modica civitate, cui sufficit unus presbyter, quia non est necesse ibi episcopum fieri, ne vilescat nomen episcopi et auctoritas. Non debent illi ex alia provincia invitati facere episcopum, nisi aut in his civitatibus, quæ episcopos habuerunt, aut si qua talis aut tam populosa est civitas, quæ mereatur habere episcopum. Si hoc omnibus placet? Synodus respondit: Placet.”

This canon is divided into two parts, distinguished by Dionysius and others completely from each other; the first of which, in the Greek text, has quite a different meaning from the Latin. The Greek text supposes the case of a province where there are a great many bishops, of whom one remains behind, and from carelessness neglects to attend an election of a bishop in another part of the province where the people of the town desire a bishop. The question then is, Shall this wish be granted without delay, and the new bishop be appointed without awaiting the arrival of his absent colleague?

This the Synod forbids, probably because in the fourth Nicene canon the right of the bishops to take part in all episcopal elections in the province was already acknowledged. In order that this right of the absent bishop should not be prejudiced, the Synod orders that “before steps are taken as to the choice of a bishop for the vacant See, the exarch of the province, i.e. the bishop of the metropolis, shall intimate by letter to the absent bishop that the people desire a pastor, that they shall wait a certain time to enable him to come; but if, after receiving this letter, he does not come or send any answer, the wishes of the people shall be complied with.” Appended to this is the further rule, which is entirely omitted in the Latin, that “at the appointment of a metropolitan, the bishops of the neighbouring provinces shall also be invited;” probably in order to give greater solemnity to the act.

The Latin text, which differs essentially, says: “If there is Only one bishop left in a province where there were formerly many (for instance, in consequence of a pestilence or war), and he neglects to consecrate any other bishop, but the people have recourse to the bishops of the neighbouring province, in order through them to obtain other bishops, these bishops must place themselves in communication with the sole remaining bishop of that province, and represent to him that the people desire a shepherd and pastor; and then in union with him they shall consecrate a new bishop. If he, however, gives no answer to their letter, and thus refuses to take part in the consecration, they shall grant the wishes of the people, and perform it without him.”

In this way our Latin text is interpreted by Van Espen, Christianus Lupus, and others; and the latter adds that, according to Flodoard’s History of the Church of Rheims, the Gallican church also formerly acted upon the canon in this sense. This interpretation is also quite unmistakeably indicated in the text of the canon which Gratian received into the Corpus Juris.

The meaning given to the canon by the old Greek scholiast Zonaras, occupies an intermediate place between the meaning of the Greek and the Latin text, as just denned. According to his view, it means: “If a province once numbered many bishops, but some are dead, others deposed, others absent, so that besides the metropolitan only one remains, and he neglects to be present at the consecration of new bishops, the metropolitan shall then summon him by letter; and if he still does not come, shall grant the wish of the people, and appoint a new bishop.” In like manner does another Greek of the Middle Ages, Harmenopulus, interpret the canon. Whether, in such case, the metropolitan might himself alone consecrate the new bishop, in contradiction to the fourth Nicene canon, Zonaras does not say; but Harmenopulus expressly maintains this, and argues it from the τὸ ἱκανὸν, κ.τ.λ.

The old Latin translation of the Greek text which Maffei found in a codex at Verona has something quite peculiar to itself. It also gives the words: “If in a province only one bishop is left besides the metropolitan,” and therefore so far agrees with Zonaras. On the other hand, it interprets the fatal plurimi quite differently from all other texts, in adding ordinandi, so that the meaning becomes: “If in this province several new bishops are to be consecrated,” of course because besides the metropolitan only one is left. “If this one does not appear at the consecration, the metropolitan shall invite him by letter,” etc.; here it agrees with our Greek text. “If, even after this invitation, he does not appear, the metropolitan shall summon bishops of the neighbouring province, and in union with them shall perform the consecration.” We see that the Greek text from which this old translation is taken agrees far more closely with the last words of the Latin text of Dionysius, etc., than with our Greek text, and thus we are no longer perplexed by finding mention made suddenly, in a little half sentence, of something quite new, and without any connection with the context, namely, the consecration of a metropolitan. On this account the Ballerini have given preference to this way of reading the Greek text, now lost, and represented by this old translation.

This first part of the canon, which we have now been discussing, is said to have been quoted as Nicene by the bishops assembled at Constantinople in 382. So think Hardouin, Mansi, the Ballerini, and others. Spittler contradicts them, and is of opinion that the bishops at Constantinople may perhaps have had in view the fourth Nicene canon. Let us examine who is in the right. The Fathers of Constantinople say in the passage in question, that the Nicene rule had come into practice, that in every province the provincial bishops might consecrate, and, if they wished, also call to their assistance the neighbouring bishops (of another province). Now it is clear that, according to the Greek text, this Sardican canon says something quite different; but according to the Latin, something similar, though not exactly the same. The fourth Nicene canon, on the contrary, orders that, “at the consecration of a bishop, all the bishops of the province shall be there; but if this cannot well be, at least three shall be present.” It is evident that here something quite different is meant from that to which the bishops of Constantinople refer. Spittler is of opinion that the meaning of the Nicene canon was that the three bishops, who were sufficient for the consecration, were to be taken from the neighbourhood of the place where the consecration was held. Therefore he says that they might at Constantinople have been fitly designated as finitimi, and that the passage referred to by the Constantinopolitans speaks, too, only of finitimis, of neighbouring bishops, but not bishops of the neighbouring province, as did the Synod of Sardica. This is true; but in the first place, the three finitimi episcopi of the Nicene canon perform the consecration alone, because the other comprovincials are absent. The finitimi of the Constantinopolitan rule, on the contrary, assist the comprovincials who are present, and only strengthen them. Hence it follows, secondly, that the finitimi of the Constantinopolitan rule do not belong to the same province, but to another; because, as the text plainly shows, they act with the comprovincials, but not in their stead, or as their commissaries, as the Nicene canon orders. It is therefore quite impossible that the bishops of Constantinople can here have had in view the fourth canon of Nicæa; and Spittler is, only so far right in saying that they do not quote the Sardican canon accurately, but give it far too wide a scope in giving universal permission for the assistance of foreign bishops, while the Synod of Sardica confines this to one particular case. There is, moreover, in the si velint of the Constantinopolitans, and in πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον (for the sake of utility), a restriction, as these passages mean that those neighbours were only to be summoned if the good of the Church required it, and the comprovincials so decided.

From all this we gather something further. Not only does the Latin text of Dionysius and others, as we before remarked, say something of the same kind as the Fathers of Constantinople, but the old Latin translation of the Greek text above mentioned also gives this meaning, and hence it follows that the bishops of Constantinople must have had a Greek text which, differing from our present one, gave the canon the meaning which we laid down in page 132; or, in other words, that the old Latin translation in question represents the most ancient Greek text as it was arranged a few years after the Synod of Sardica. We may therefore consider this Greek text as the genuine and original one, because it is far easier to make this than our present Greek text harmonize with the Latin original text.

The second part of our canon, in Dionysius and in the Prisca the sixth canon, in Isidore the last half of the sixth canon, offers fewer difficulties. Its meaning is: “In order that the episcopal dignity may not suffer, it is not allowed to appoint a bishop in a village or small town where one priest suffices; but the bishops of the province shall only appoint one for those places where there have been bishops before. If, however, a town is so populous as to appear worthy of a bishop, it shall obtain one.”

Instead of “bishops of the province,” the Latin text in Dionysius, Isidore, and the Prisca has, ex alia provincia invitati episcopi; and the old Latin translation from the Greek agrees with this, as it reads, episcopi vicinæ provinciæ. This clause is thus placed in still closer connection with the preceding part, as it declares that, “If, as was supposed in the preceding part, a province has no more bishops left, and therefore bishops from the neighbouring province have to be summoned to consecrate new pastors, yet even then they shall not appoint bishops to small towns and villages which have had none hitherto.” We see, moreover, that the main substance of this rule is the same in the Greek as in the Latin text.

CAN. 7

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Ἡ ἀκαιρία ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ πολλὴ συνέχεια καὶ αἱ ἄδικοι ἀξιώσεις πεποιήκασιν ἡμᾶς μὴ τοσαύτην ἔχειν χάριν καὶ παῤῤησίαν, ὅσην ὀφείλομεν κεκτῆσθαι• πολλοὶ γὰρ τῶν ἐπισκόπων οὐ διαλείπουσιν εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον παραγενόμενοι, καὶ μάλιστα οἱ Ἄφροι, οἵτινες καθὼς ἔγνωμεν παρὰ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ ἀδελφοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ συνεπισκόπου Γράτου τὰς σωτηριώδεις συμβουλὰς οὐ παραδέχονται, ἀλλὰ καταφρονοῦσιν οὕτως, ὡς ἕνα ἄνθρωπον εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον πλείστας καὶ διαφόρους καὶ μὴ δυναμένας ὠφελῆσαι τὰς ἐκκλησίας δεήσεις διακομίξεις, καὶ μὴ, ὡς ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι καὶ ὡς προσῆκόν ἐστι, τοῖς πένησι καὶ τοῖς λαϊκουῖς ἤ ταῖς χήραις συναίρεσθαι καί ἐπικουρεῖν, ἀλλὰ κοαμικὰ ἀξιώματα καὶ πράξεις περιονοεῖν τισιν• αὕτη τοίνυν ἡ σκαιότης τὸν θραυσμὸν οὐκ ἄνευ σκανδάλου τινὸς ἡμῖν καὶ καταγνώσεως προξενεῖ• πρεπωδέστερον δὲ εἶναι ἐνόμισα, ἐπίσκοπον τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βοήθειαν παρέχειν ἐκείνῳ‚ ὅστις ἂν ὑπό τινος βιάζηται ἢ εἴ τις τῶν χηρῶν ἀδικοῖτο ἢ αὖ πάλιν ὀρφανός τις ἀποστεροῖτο τῶν αὐτῷ προσηκόντων, εἴπερ ἄρα καὶ ταῦτα τὰ ὀνόματα δικαίαν ἔχει τὴν ἀξίωσιν. εἰ τοίνυν, ἀγαπητοὶ ἀδελφοὶ, πᾶσι τοῦτο δοκεῖ, ἐπικρίνατε μηδένα ἐπίσκοπον χρῆναι εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον παραγίνεσθαι, παρεκτὸς τούτων, οὓς ἂν ὁ εὐλαβέστατος βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ γράμμασι μετακαλοῖτο. ἀλλʼ ἐπειδὴ πολλάκις συμβαίνει τινὰς οἴκτου δεομένους καταφυγεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, διὰ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἁμαρτήματα εἰς περιορισμὸν ἤ νῆσον καταδικασθέντας ἢ δʼ αὖ πάλινοἱᾳδηποτοῦν ἀποφάσει ἐκδεδομένους, τοῖς τοιούτοις μὴ ἀρνητέαν εἶναι τὴν βοήθειαν, ἀλλά χωρὶς μελλησμοῦ καὶ ἄνευ τοῦ διστάσαι τοῖς τοιούτοις αἰτεῖσθαι συγχώρησιν• εἰ τοίνυν καὶ τοῦτο ἀρέσκει, σύμψηφοι γίνεσθε ἅπαντες. ἀπεκρίναντο ἅπαντες• Ὁριζέσθω καὶ τοῦτο.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Importunitates et nimia frequentia et injustæ petitiones fecerunt, nos non tantam habere vel gratiam vel fiduciam, dum quidam non cessant ad comitatum ire episcopi, et maxime Afri, qui (sicut, cognovimus) sanctissimi fratris et coëpiscopi nostri Grati salutaria consilia spernunt atque contemnunt, ut non solum ad comitatum multas et diversas Ecclesiæ non profuturas perferant causas, neque ut fieri solet aut oportet, ut pauperibus aut viduis aut pupillis subveniatur, sed et dignitates seculares et administrationes quibusdam postulent. Hæc itaque pravitas olim non solum murmurationes, sed et scandala excitat. Honestum est autem, ut episcopi intercessionem his præstent qui iniqua vi opprimuntur aut si vidua affligatur aut pupillus exspolietur, si tamen isthæc nomina justam habeant causam aut petitionem. Si ergo vobis, fratres carissimi, placet, decernite, ne episcopi ad comitatum accedant, nisi forte hi, qui religiosi imperatoris literis vel invitati vel evocati fuerint. Sed quoniam sæpe contingit, ut ad misericordiam Ecclesiæ confugiant, qui injuriam patiuntur, aut qui peccantes in exilio vel insulis damnantur; aut certe quamcunque sententiam excipiunt, subveniendum est his et sine dubitatione petenda indulgentia. Hoc ergo decernite, si vobis placet. Universi dixerunt: Placet et constituatur.”

This canon, which has also been partly taken into the Corpus Juris Canonici, forbids the bishops to visit the Court and present petitions, and says: “Bishop Hosius said: our troublesome and oft-repeated importunities and unjust petitions have caused us to stand in less favour, and hindered our being able to be as free-spoken, as ought to be the case. For many bishops are in the habit of coming to the Imperial Court, especially the Africans, who, as we have heard, do not accept the wholesome advice of our colleague and brother Bishop Gratus, but so utterly despise it that some continually bring many different, and for the Church utterly useless, petitions; not, as it should be, for the care of the poor, the laity, and the widows, but in order to gain some worldly honours and advantages. This disorderly conduct occasions us harm, and brings scandal and evil repute, and I held it to be more fitting that a bishop should lend his help to one who suffers violence from another, to a widow to whom injustice has been shown, or an orphan robbed of his possessions, as these are fair grounds for a petition. If then, dear brothers, this seems good to you all, direct that no bishop shall come to the Court, with the exception of those whom our pious Emperor himself by letter summons thither. But as it often happens that persons in need of mercy, who on account of their crimes have been sentenced to transportation, or are bound by some other sentence, take refuge in the church, they must not be denied help, but without scruple or hesitation petition shall be made for their pardon. If this pleases you, then let all agree. And all answered: Let this also be decided.”

CAN. 8

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο ἡ ἀγχίνοια ὑμῶν κρινάτω, ἵνʼ ἐπειδὴ ἔδοξε διὰ τὸ μὴ πίπτειν ὑπὸ κατάγνωσίν τινα τῶν ἐπισκόπων ἀφικνούμενον εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον, εἴ τινες ἀυτῶν τοιαύτας ἔχοιεν δεήσεις, οἵων ἐπάνω ἐπεμνήσθημεν, διὰ ἰδίου διακόνου ἀποστέλλοιεν• τοῦτο γὰρ ὑπηρέτου τὸ πρόσωπον οὐκ ἐπίφθονον τυγχάνει, καὶ τὰ παρασχεθησόμενα θᾶττον διακομισθῆναι δυνήσεται. ἀπεκρίναντο πάντες• Καὶ τοῦτο ὁριζέσθω.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Hoc quoque providentia vestra tractare debet, quia decrevistis, ne episcoporum improbitas nitatur (better notetur in Isidore), ut ad comitatum pergant. Quicumque ergo quales superius memoravimus preces habuerint vel acceperint, per diaconum suum mittant; quia persona ministri invidiosa non est, et quæ impetravit celerius poterit referre.”

Bishop Hosius proposed another addition to the rule about the Court, saying: “When it has been decided that a bishop shall incur no blame, if he has to bring petitions to the Court for those unfortunate people above mentioned, this shall also be decided by your wisdom, that in such a case he shall send a deacon for this purpose to the Court. For the person of a servant does not raise any jealousy, and he can return quicker with the commission given him by the Emperor. And all answered: Let this be decided.” This canon has not been taken into the Corpus Juris Can.

CAN. 9

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο ἀκόλουθον νομίζω εἶναι, ἵνα ἐὰν ἐν οἱᾳδηποτοῦτν ἐπαρχίᾳ ἀπίσκοποι πρὸς ἀδελφόν καὶ συνεπίσκοπον ἑαυτῶν ἀποστέλλοιεν δεήσεις, ὁ ἐν τῇ μείζονι τυγχάνων πόλει, τοῦτιʼ ἔστι τῇ μητροπόλει, αὐτὸς καὶ τόν διάκονον αὐτοῦ κιὰ τὰς δεήσεις ἀποστέλλοι, παρέχων αὐτῷ καὶ συστατικὰχ ἐπιστολὰς, γράφων δηλονότι κατὰ ἀκολουθίαν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς κιὰ συνεπισκόπους ἡμῶν, εἴ τινες ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ ἐν τοῖς τόποις ἢ ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι διάγοιεν, ἐν αἶς ὁ εὐσβέστατος βασιλεὺς τὰ δημόσια πράγματα διακυβερνᾷ.

Εἰ δὲ ἔχοι τις τῶν ἐπισκόπων φίλους ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ τοῦ παλατίου καὶ βούλοιτο περί τινος ὅπερ πρεπωδέστερον εἴη ἀξιῶσαι, μὴ κωλύοιτο διὰ τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ διακόνου καὶ ἀξιῶσαι καὶ ἐντείλασθαι τούτοις, ὥστε τὴν αὐτῶν ἀγαθὴν βοήθειαν ἀξιοῦντι αὐτῷ παρέχειν.

Οἱ δὲ εἰς Ῥώμην παραγινόμενοι, καθὼς προείρηκα, τῷ ἀγαπητῷ ἀδελφῷ ἡμῶν καὶ συνεπισκόπῳ Ἰουλίῳ τὰς δεήσεις, ἃς ἔχοιεν διδόναι, ὀφείλουσι παρέχειν, ἵνα πρότερος αὐτὸς δοκιμάζῃ• εἰ μή τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀναισχυντοῖεν, καὶ οὕτω τὴν ἑαυτοῦ προστασίαν καὶ φροντίδα παρέχων εἰς τὸ στρατόπεδον αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλοι ἅπαντες οἱ ἐπίσκοποι ἀπεκρίναντο, ἀρέσκειν αὐτοῖς, καὶ περπωδεστάτην εἶναι τὴν συμβουλὴν ταύτην.

“Et hoc consequens esse videtur, ut de qualibet provincia episcopi ad eum fratrem et coëpiscopum nostrum preces mittant, qui in metropoli consistit, ut ille et diaconum ejus et supplicationes destinet, tribuens commendatitias epistolas pari ratione ad fratres et coëpiscopos nostros, qui in illo tempore in his regionibus et urbibus morantur, in quibus felix et beatus Augustus rempublicam gubernat.

“Si vero habet episcopus amicos in palatio, qui cupit aliquid quod tamen honestum est impetrare, non prohibetur per diaconum suum rogare ac significare his, quos scit benignam intercessionem sibi absenti posse præstare.

“X. Qui vero Romam venerint, sicut dictum est, sanctissimo fratri et coëpiscopo nostro Romanæ Ecclesiæ preces quas habent tradant, ut et ipse prius examinet, si honestæ et justæ sunt, et præstet diligentiam atque sollicitudinem, ut ad comitatum perferantur. Universi dixerunt, placere sibi et honestum esse consilium.

“Alypius episcopus dixit: Si propter pupillos et viduas vel laborantes, qui causas non iniquas habent, susceperint peregrinationis incommoda, habebunt aliquid rationis; nunc vero cum ea postulent præcipue, quæ sine invidia hominum et sine reprehensione esse non possunt, non necesse est eos ire ad comitatum.”

Again, on the proposal of Hosius, a further addition to the rule with regard to the Court was made, namely: “If a bishop sends his petition to the Court to the metropolitan, the latter shall despatch a deacon with petitions to the Emperor, giving him, of course, at the same time letters of recommendation to those bishops who may then be at the Court.” This rule partly cancels the preceding one, as here the metropolitan despatches the deacon to the Emperor. The affair is probably to go through the hands of the metropolitan, in order, on the one hand, that he may be informed of what is occurring throughout the whole province, and at the same time be able to reject unfit petitions which any of his suffragans desire to bring to the Emperor; on the other hand, because he is in a position to give more weight to the just petitions. Zonaras, Balsamon, and Aristenus explained this canon somewhat differently, thus: “If a bishop desires to send his petitions addressed to the Emperor to the bishop of the town where the Emperor is then staying, he shall first send them to the metropolitan of that province (according to Aristenus, his own metropolitan), and the latter shall send his own deacon with letters of recommendation to the bishop or bishops who may be at the Court.” This difference rests upon the various meanings of πρὸς ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεπίσκοπον in the beginning of the canon. We understand by this his own metropolitan, and treat the words: ὁ ἐν τῇ μείζονι τυγχάνων πόλει, τοῦτιʼ ἔστι τῇ μητροπόλει, as a more exact definition of συνεπίσκοπος, and the participle τυγχάνων as equivalent to τυγχάνει, and make the principal clause begin at αὐτὸς καὶ τὸν διάκονον. Beveridge translated the canon in the same way. Zonaras and others, on the contrary, understood by συνεπίσκοπος, the bishop of the Emperor’s residence for the time being, and regarded the words: ὁ ἐν τῇ μείζονι; κ.τ.λ., not as a clearer definition of what had gone before, but as the principal clause, in the sense of “then the metropolitan shall,” etc. According to this interpretation, the words conveying the idea that “the bishop must have recourse to the metropolitan” are entirely wanting in the canon. The additional statement, “that the συνεπίσκοπος was the bishop of the Imperial residence,” is also entirely wanting, and there is nothing to authorize our regarding this explanation as implied as a matter of course in the beginning of the canon. Besides this, the interpretation of the Greek scholiasts differs too much from the Latin text, while ours agrees with it sufficiently well; and lastly, at the end of this paragraph mention is made of several συνεπισκόποις, and not only of that one to whom Zonaras and Balsamon would have the first word of the canon refer.

The second paragraph of the canon says: “If, however, a bishop has personal friends at the Court, and wishes to urge a proper request through one of them, he shall not be hindered from applying to them in the matter through his deacon, and getting them to promise him their support.”

Lastly, the third paragraph, which in Dionysius and the Prisca forms the first part of the tenth canon, while Isidore’s arrangement here agrees with the Greek, runs thus: “Those bishops who come to Rome in order to present petitions to the Emperor there, must first deliver them to our colleague and beloved brother Bishop Julius, that he may examine whether any among them are improper, and then send them to the Court with his recommendation and support.”

The rest of the Latin text, which in Dionysius and the Prisca forms half of the tenth canon, but which in Isidore forms the entire tenth canon, is plainly no synodal decree, but only a well-meant suggestion on the subject by Bishop Alypius of Megaris, in Achaia. The meaning of this addition is, that “if the bishops undertake the fatigue of the journey for the sake of widows, orphans, and unfortunates whose cause is good, they have ground for going to the Court; but if, as at the present time, they chiefly petition for things provoking jealousy and blame, it is quite unnecessary that they should do so.”

CAN. 10

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε. Καὶ τοῦτο ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι νομίζω, ἵνα μετὰ πάσης ἀκριβείας καὶ ἐπιμελείας ἐξετάζοιτο, ὥστε ἐάν τις πλούσιος ἢ σχολαστικο͂ς ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγορᾶς ἀξιοῖτο ἐπίσκοπος γίνεσθαι, μὴ πρότερον καθίστασθαι, ἐὰν μὴ καὶ ἀναγνώστου καὶ διακόνου καὶ πρεσβυτέρου ὑπηρεσίαν ἐκτελέσῃ, ἵνα καθʼ ἕκαστον βαθμὸν, ἐάνπερ ἄξιος νομισθείη, εἰς τὴν ἀψίδα τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς κατὰ προκοπὴν διαβῆναι δυνηθείη• ἕξει δὲ ἑκάστου τάγματος ὁ βαθμὸς οὐκ ἐλαχίστου δηλονότι χρόνου μῆκος, διʼ οὗ ἡ πίστις αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ τῶν τρόπων καλοκαγαθία καὶ ἡ στεῤῥότης καὶ ἡ ἐπιείκεια γνώριμος γενέσθαι δυνήσεται• καὶ αὐτός, ἄξιος τῆς θείας ἱερωσύνης νομισθὶς, τῆς μεγίστης ἀπολαῦσαι τιμῆς• οὔτε γὰρ προσῆκόν ἐστιν οὔτε ἡ ἐπιστήμη οὔτε ἡ ἀγαθὴ ἀναστροφὴ ἐπιδέχεται, τολμηρῶς καὶ κούφως ἐπὶ τοῦτο ἰέναι, ὥστε ἢ ἐπίσκοπον ἢ πρεσβύτερον ἢ διάκονον προχείρως καθίστασθαι• οὔτω γὰρ ἂν εἰκότως νεόφυτος νομισθαίη, ἐπειδὴ μάλιστα καὶ ὁ μακαριώτατος ἀπόστολος, ὃς καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν γεγένηται διδάσκαλος, φαίνεται κωλύσας ταχείας γίνεσθαι τὰς καταστάσεις• τοῦ γὰρ μηκίστου χρόνου ἡ δοκιμασία τὴν ἀναστροφὴν καὶ τὸν ἑκάστου τρόπον οὐκ ἀπεικότως ἐκτυποῦν δυνήσεται. ἅπαντες εἶπον ἀρέσκειν αὐτοῖς καὶ καθάπαξ μὴ δεῖν ἀνατρέπειν ταῦτα.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Et hoc necessarium arbitror, ut diligentissime tractetis, si forte aut dives aut scholasticus de foro aut ex administratore episcopus fuerit postulatus, ut non prius ordinetur, nisi ante et lectoris munere et officio diaconi aut presbyteri fuerit perfunctus, et ita per singulos gradus, si dignus fuerit, ascendat ad culmen episcopatus. Potest enim per has promotiones, quæ habebant utique prolixum tempus, probari qua fide sit, quave modestia, gravitate et verecundia. Et si dignus fuerit probatus, divino sacerdotio illustretur, quia conveniens non est nec ratio vel disciplina patitur, ut temere et leviter ordinetur aut episcopus aut presbyter aut diaconus, qui neophytus est, maxime cum et magister gentium beatus apostolus, ne hoc fieret, denunciasse et prohibuisse videatur; sed hi, quorum per longum tempus examinata sit vita, et merita fuerint comprobata. Universi dixerunt, placere sibi hæc.”

The meaning is: “Should a rich man or a lawyer be proposed as bishop, he shall not be appointed until he has first discharged the office of reader, deacon, and priest, so that if he shows himself worthy, he may ascend by successive steps to the dignity of the episcopate. He shall, however, remain in each grade of the ministry for a considerable time, that his faith, the purity of his morals, his stedfastness and modesty may be known, and thus, after being found worthy of the holy priesthood, he may attain to the highest dignity. For it is not fitting or consistent with reason and good discipline that these offices should be undertaken boldly and with levity, so that a man should be lightly ordained bishop, or priest, or deacon; for in that case he might justly be considered a ‘neophyte,’ whereas the holy apostle, the doctor of the Gentiles, seems strictly to have forbidden such hasty appointments. A lengthened probation, however, will serve to mould the character and conduct of each one with tolerable certainty.”

The Synod of Nicæa in its second canon had made the same rule (see vol. i. p. 377), and these rules were also inserted in the Corpus Juris Can., the Sardican, c. 10, dist. 61, and the Nicene, c. 1, dist. 48. There is no material difference in the Latin and Greek text of this canon. Van Espen has given a systematic exposition of it.

CAN. 11

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ὁρίσαι ὀφείλομεν, ἵνα ἐπίσκοπος, ὅταν ἐξ ἑτέρας πόλεως παραγένηται εἰς ἑτέραν πόλιν ἢ ἀπὸ ἑτέρας ἐπαρχίας εἰς ἑτέραν ἐπαρχίαν, κόμπου χάριν ἐγκωμίοις οἰκείοις ὑπηρετούμενος ἢ θρησκείας καθοσιώσει, καὶ πλείονα χρόνον βούλοιτο διάγειν, καὶ μὴ ὁ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης ἐπίσκοπος ἔμπειρος ᾖ διδασκαλίας, μὴ καταφρονῇ ἐκείνου καὶ συνεχέστερον ὁμιλῇ, καταισχύνειν καὶ κατευτελίζειν τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ αὐτόθι ἐπισκόπου σπουδάζων• αὔτη γὰρ ἡ πρόφασις εἴωθε ταράχους ποιεῖν• καὶ ἐκ τῆς τοιαύτης πανουργίας τὴν ἀλλοτρίαν καθέδραν ἑαυτῷ προμνηστεύεσθαι καὶ παρασπᾶσθαι σπουδάζῃ, μὴ διστάζων τὴν αὐτῷ παραδοθεῖσαν ἐκκλησίαν καταλιμπάνειν καὶ εἰς ἑτέραν μεθίστασθαι• ὁριστέον τοίνυν ἐπὶ τούτῳ χρόνον, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸ μὴ ὑποδέχεσθαι ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ἀπανθρώπων καὶ σκαιῶν εἶναι νενόμισται• μέμνησθε δὲ καὶ ἐν τῷ προάγοντι χρόνῳ τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν κεκρικέναι, ἵνα εἴ τις λαϊκὸς ἐν πόλει διάγων τρεῖς κυριακὰς ἡμέρας ἐν τρισὶν ἑβδομάσι μὴ συνέρχοιτο, ἀποκινοῖτο τῆς κοινωνίας• εἰ τοίνυν περὶ τῶν λαϊκῶν τοῦτο τεθέσπισται, οὐ χρὴ οὐδὲ πρέπει ἀλλʼ συμφέρει ἐπίσκοπον, εἰ μηδεμίαν βαρυτέραν ἀνάγκην ἔχοι ἢ πρᾶγμα δυσχερὲς, ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἀπολείπεσθαι τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἐκκλησίας καὶ λυπεῖν τὸν ἐμπεπιστευμένον αὐτῷ λαόν. ἅπαντες οἱ ἐπίσκοποι εἰρήκασι• Καὶ ταύτην τὴν γνώμην σφόδρα εἶναι πρεπωδεστάτην ὁριζόμεθα.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Et hoc quoque statuere debetis, ut episcopus, si ex alia civitate convenerit ad aliam civitatem vel ex provincia sua ad aliam provinciam, et ambitioni magis quam devotioni serviens voluerit in aliena civitate multo tempore residere: forte enim evenit episcopum loci non esse tam instructum neque tam doctum; is vero, qui advenit, incipiat contemnere eum et frequenter facere sermonem, ut dehonestet et infirmet illius personam, ita ut ex hac occasione non dubitet relinquere assignatam sibi ecclesiam et transeat ad alienam. Definite ergo tempus, quia et non recipi episcopum in-humanum est, et si diutius resideat perniciosum est. Hoc ne fiat, providendum est. Memini autem superiore concilio fratres nostros constituisse, ut si quis laicus in ea in qua commoratur civitate tres dominicos dies, id est per tres septimanas, non celebrasset conventum, communione privaretur. Si ergo hæc circa laicos constituta sunt, multo magis episcopum nec licet nec decet, si nulla sit tam gravis necessitas quæ detineat, ut amplius a supra scripto tempore absens sit ab ecclesia sua. Universi dixerunt placere sibi.”

This canon directs: “If a bishop goes from one town or from one province to another, from a feeling of pride, more to serve his own ambition than the cause of godliness, and wishes to remain there a considerable time, although the bishop of that town may not be a learned man, yet the former shall not hold him in contempt, nor by preaching often put him to shame and cause him to be despised; for such conduct only gives rise to quarrels, and suggests a suspicion that he is seeking by such artful means to obtain the foreign See for himself, without scruple about leaving the church committed to him, and going over to another. There must therefore be a limit of time fixed for this sojourn in a foreign town; for not to receive a bishop at all would be cruel and unfriendly. Remember that our fathers have already directed that a layman, who is staying in a town, and does not appear at divine service for three Sundays, shall be excommunicated; and if this is ordered with regard to the laity, no bishop can be allowed to absent himself for a longer time from his church, or leave the people entrusted to him, except from necessity, or for some urgent business.”

With regard to the bishops, the fourteenth (alias thirteenth) apostolic canon contains a similar order, as does the fifteenth (alias fourteenth) with regard to priests and deacons; but what was said above concerning the laity was decreed at Elvira, and renewed and extended to deacons, priests, and bishops at the Quinisext. Concerning this duty of a bishop being present at divine service in his own parish, as declared in this canon, Van Espen may be consulted.

CAN. 12

Ὄσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Ἐπειδὴ οὐδέν ἐστι παραλειπτέον, καὶ τοῦτο ὁρισθήτω• τινὲς τῶν ἀδελφῶν καὶ συνεπισκόπων ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν, ἐν αἷς ἐπίσκοποι καθίστανται, δοκοῦσι κεκτῆσθαι σφόδρα ὀλίγα ὑπάρχοντα ἴδια, ἐν ἑτέροις δὲ τόποις κτήσεις μεγάλας, ἐξ ὧν καὶ ἐπικουρεῖν δυνατοί εἰσι τοῖς πένησιν• οὕτως οὖν αὐτοῖς συγχωρητέον εἶναι κρίνω, ἵνα εἰ μέλλοιεν εἰς τὰς ἑαυτῶν παραγίνεσθαι κτήσεις καὶ τὴν συγκομιδὴν τῶν καρπῶν ποιεῖσθαι, τρεῖς κυριακὰς ἡμέσεις καὶ τὴν συγκομιδὴν τῶν καρπῶν ποιεῖσθαι, τερῖς κυριακὰς ἡμέρας, τοῦτʼ ἔστι τρεῖς ἑβδομάδας, ἐν τοῖς ἑαυτῶν κτήμασιν αὐτοὺς διάγειν, καὶ ἐν τῃ, ἀγχιστευούσῃ ἐκκλησίᾳ, ἐν ᾗ πρεσβύτερος συνάγοι, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ χωρὶς συνελεύσεως αὐτὸν δοκεῖν εἶναι, συνέρχεσθαι καὶ λειτουργεῖν, καὶ μὴ συνεχέστερον εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἐν ᾗ ἐστιν ἐπίσκοπος παραγίγνοιτο• τοῦτον γὰρ τὸν τρόπον καὶ τὰ οἰκεῖα αὐτοῦ πράγματα παρὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπουσίαν οὐδεμίαν ὑπομενεῖ ζημίαν, καὶ τὸ τῆς ἀλαζονείας καὶ τοῦ τύφου ἐκκλίνειν δόξει ἔγκλημα. ἄπαντες οἱ ἐπίσκοποι εἶπον• Ἀρέσκει καὶ αὕτη ἡ διατύπωσις.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Quia nihil prætermitti oportet, sunt quidam fratres et coëpiscopi nostri, qui non in ea civitate resident, in qua videntur episcopi esse constituti, vel quod parvam rem illic habeant, alibi autem idonea prædia habere cognoscuntur, vel certe affectione proximorum, quibus indulgeant; hactenus permitti eis oportet, ut accedant ad possessiones suas et disponant vel ordinent fructum laboris sui, ut post tres dominicas, id est post tres hebdomadas, si morari necesse est, in suis potius fundis morentur: aut si est proxima civitas, in qua est presbyter, ne sine ecclesia videatur facere diem dominicum, illuc accedat, ut neque res domesticæ per absentiam ejus detrimentum sustineant, et non frequenter veniendo ad civitatem, in qua episcopus moratur, suspicionem jactantiæ et ambitionis evadat. Universi dixerunt placere sibi.”

On the proposal of Hosius, the Synod decided upon a milder addition to the preceding canon, to this effect:—“Some bishops possess only a very little property in the towns to which they are appointed, but a good deal in others, so that they are able from it to support the poor. Therefore they shall be allowed, for the purpose of collecting their rents, to spend three Sundays, that is, the space of three weeks, upon those estates, in which case they shall appear at divine service in the neighbouring church, where there is a presbyter, and shall themselves officiate, that they may not omit to take part in the service; but in a town where the bishop of the diocese resides, they shall not often appear. In this way their affairs will suffer no harm, as they can themselves be present, while at the same time avoiding all suspicion of pride and vainglory,” i.e. because not officiating in the cathedral of the other bishop. Compare the foregoing canon.

CAN. 13

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο πᾶσιν ἀρεσάτω ἵνα εἴ τις διάκονος ἤ πρεσβύτερος ἤ καὶ τις τῶν κληρικῶν ἀκοινώνητος γένηται καὶ πρὸς ἕτερον ἐπίσκοπον τὸν εἰδότα αὐτὸν καταφύγοι, γινωσκόντα ἀποκεκινῆσθαι αὐτὸν τῆς κοινωνίας παρὰ τοῦ ἰδίου ἐπισκόπου, μὴ χρῆναι τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ καὶ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ὕβριν ποιοῦντα παρέχειν αὐτῷ κοινωνίαν• εἰ δὲ τολμήσοι τις τοῦτο ποιῆσαι γινωσκέτω συνελθόντων ἐπισκόπων ἀπολογίᾳ ἑαυτὸν ὑπεύθυνον καθιστάναι• ἄπαυτες οἱ ἐπισκόποι εἶπον• αὕτη ἡ κρίσις καὶ τὴν εἰρήνην πάντοτε διαφυλάξει καὶ διατηρήσει τὴν πάντων ὁμόνοιαν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Hoc quoque omnibus placeat, ut sive diaconus sive presbyter sive quis clericorum ab episcopo suo communione fuerit privatus, et ad alteram perrexerit episcopum, et scierit ille ad quem confugit, eum ab episcopo suo fuisse abjectum, non oportet ut ei communionem indulgeat. Quod si fecerit, sciat se convocatis episcopis causas esse dicturum. Universi dixerunt: Hoc statutum et pacem servabit, et concordiam custodiet.”

What is here ordered is in reality only a repetition of the sixth Antiochian canon; and its principal points had already been included in the fifth canon of Nicæa. The meaning is, that “a deacon, priest, or other cleric excommunicated by his own bishop may not be received into communion by any other bishop; and any bishop who receives him, knowing of the circumstances, must answer for it to the synod.”

CAN. 14

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Τὸ δὲ πάντοτέ με κινοῦν ἀποσιωπῆσαι οὐκ ὀφείλω. εἴ τις ἐπίσκοπος ὀξύχολος εὑρίσκοιτο, ὅπερ οὐκ ὀφείλει ἐν τοιούτῳ ἀνδρὶ πολιτεύεσθαι, καὶ ταχέως ἀντικρὺ πρεσβυτέρου ἢ διακόνου κινηθεὶς ἐκβαλεῖν ἐκκλησίας αὐτὸν ἐθελήσοι, προνοητέον ἐστὶ μὴ ἀθρόον τὸν τοιοῦτον κατακρίνεσθαι καὶ τῆς κοινωνίας ἀποστερεῖσθαι. πάντες εἰρήκασιν• Ὁ ἐκβαλλόμενος ἐχέτω ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον τῆς μητροπόλεως τῆς αὐτῆς ἐπαρχίας καταφυγεῖν• εἰ δὲ ὁ τῆς μητροπόλεως ἄπεστιν, ἐπὶ τὸν πλησιόχωρον κατατρέχειν καὶ ἀξιοῦν, ἵνα μετὰ ἀκριβείας αὐτοῦ ἐξετάζηται τὸ πρᾶγμα• οὐ χρὴ γὰρ μὴ ὑπέχειν τὰς ἀκοὰς τοῖς ἀξιοῦσι• κἀκεῖνος δὲ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ὁ δικαίως ἢ ἀδίκως ἐκβαλὼν τὸν τοιοῦτον, γενναίως φέρειν ὀφείλει, ἵνα ἡ ἐξέτασις τοῦ πράγματος γένηται, καὶ ἢ κυρωθῇ αὐτοῦ ἡ ἀπόφασις ἢ διορθώσεως τύχῃ• πρὶν δὲ ἐπιμελῶς καὶ μετὰ πίστεως ἕκαστα ἐξετασθῇ, ὁ μὴ ἔχων τὴν κοινωνίαν πρὸ τῆς διαγνώσεως τοῦ πράγματος ἑαυτῷ οὐκ ὀφείλει. ἐκδικεῖν τὴν κοινωνίαν• ἐὰν δὲ συνεληλυθότες τῶν κληρικῶν τινες κατίδωσι τὴν ἱπεροψίαν καὶ τὴν ἀλαζονείαν αὐτοῦ, ἐπειδὴ οὐ προσῆκόν ἐστιν ὕβριν ἢ μέμψιν ἄδικον ὑπομένειν, πικροτέροις καὶ βαρυτέριος ῥήμασιν ἐπιστρέφειν τὸν τοιοῦτον ὀφείλουσιν, ἵνα, τῷ τὰ πρέποντα κελεύοντι ὑπηρετῶνται καὶ ὑπακούωσιν• ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος τοῖς ὑπηρέταις εἰλικρινῆ ὀφείλει τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν διάθεσιν παρέχειν, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ οἱ ὑποτεταγμένοι ἄδολα τοῖς ἐπισκόποις τὰ τῆς ὑπηρεσίας ἐκτελεῖν ὀφείλουσιν.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Quod me adhuc movet, reticere non debeo. Si episcopus quis forte iracundus (quod esse non debet) cito et aspere commoveatur adversus presbyterum sive diaconum suum et exterminare eum de ecclesia voluerit, providendum est, ne innocens damnetur aut perdat communionem. Et ideo habeat potestatem is, qui abjectus est, ut episcopos finitimos interpellet et causa ejus audiatur ac diligentius tractetur, quia non oportet ei negari audientiam roganti. Et ille episcopus, qui aut juste aut injuste eum abjecit, patienter accipiat, ut negotium discutiatur, ut vel probetur sententia ejus a plurimis vel emendetur. Tamen priusquam omnia diligenter et fideliter examinentur, eum, qui fuerit a communione separatus, ante cognitionem nullus alius debet præsumere, ut communioni societ. Hi vero qui conveniunt ad audiendum, si viderint clericorum esse fastidium et superbiam, quia jam non decet ut episcopus injuriam vel contumeliam patiatur, severioribus eos verbis castigent, ut obediant honesta præcipienti episcopo; quia sicut ille clericis sincerum debet exhibere amorem caritatis, ita quoque vicissim ministri infucata debent episcopo suo exhibere obsequia.”

Hosius proposed, that “if a bishop is of a passionate temperament, which ought not to be the case, and being very angry with a priest or deacon wants to cast him out of the Church, care shall be taken that such an one be not too hastily condemned, and deprived of communion.” All said: “He who has been excommunicated shall be allowed to have recourse to the metropolitan, or in his absence shall go to the nearest bishop, and pray that his cause may be thoroughly investigated; for the petitioner may not be refused a hearing. And the bishop who, rightly or wrongly, has decreed the excommunication shall not take it amiss that the affair should be investigated, and his sentence confirmed or amended. But until all has been thoroughly and faithfully investigated, and the consequent decision given, the excommunicated shall not demand communion. If, however, any clerics assembled for judgment observe in him haughtiness and pride, they shall reprimand him sharply and severely, so that the reasonable commands of a bishop may be obeyed, as he is not bound to tolerate arrogance and unjust blame. For as the bishop should show a sincere love and affection to his subordinates, so also must they fulfil the duties of their ministry towards him with uprightness.”

Similar rules had been already laid down in the fifth canon of Nicæa, and in the twentieth canon of the Antiochian Synod of 341.

In all three Latin texts of the Sardican canons, canon 18 now follows, which number harmonizes with the Latin chronological order.

CAN. 18 (the Latin)

“Januarius episcopus dixit: Illud quoque statuat sanctitas vestra, ut nulli episcopo liceat alterius episcopi civitatis ministrum ecclesiasticum sollicitare et in suis parochiis ordinare. Universi dixerunt: Placet, quia ex his contentionibus solet nasci discordia, et ideo prohibet omnium sententia, ne quis hoc facere audeat.”

Januarius, who was, as appears from the Synodical signatures, bishop of Beneventum in Campania, proposed this rule, the meaning of which is, that “no bishop is allowed to decoy away a minister of the church belonging to another bishop, and ordain him for his own diocese.” Our Greek text has not this canon; but it seems formerly to have had a place in the Greek copies, as we gather from the old translation, in which it is found.

The Council of Nicæa, moreover, had ordered the like in its sixteenth canon; and the contents of the next canon, which the Greek and Latin texts have in common, are the same. Therefore, in the Corpus Juris Can., these two canons, the eighteenth and nineteenth of the Latin text, are put into one.

CAN. 15

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπε• Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ πάντες ὁρίσωμεν, ἵνα εἴ τις ἐπίσκοπος ἐξ ἑτέρας παροικίας βουληθῇ ἀλλότριον ὑπηρέτην χωρὶς τῆς συγκαταθέσεως τοῦ ἰδίου ἐπισκόπου εἴς τινα βαθμὸν καταστῆσαι, ἄκυρος καὶ ἀβέβαιος ἡ κατάστασις ἡ τοιαύτη νομίζοιτο• εἴ τινες δʼ τοῦτο ἑαυτοὶς ἐπιτρέψειαν, παρὰ τῶν ἀδελφῶν καὶ συνεπισκόπων ἡμῶν καὶ ὑπομιμνήσκεσθαι καὶ διορθοῦθαι ὀφείλουσιν. ἅπαντες εἰρήκασι• Καὶ οὗτος ὅρος στήτω ἀσάλευτος.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Et hoc universi constituimus, ut, quicumque ex alia parochia voluerit alienum ministrum sine consensu episcopi ipsius et sine voluntate ordinare, non sit rata ordinatio ejus. Quicumque autem hoc usurpaverit, a fratribus et coëpiscopis nostris et admoneri debet et corrigi.”

On the proposal of Hosius it is here ordered: that, “if the bishop of another diocese ordains a minister of the Church without the consent of his own bishop, such an ordination shall be invalid; and if some have presumed to do this, they shall be admonished and reprimanded by our colleagues and brother bishops.”

Fuchs, in his Bibliothek der Kirchenversammlungen, thinks he has discovered a difference between this canon and the exclusively Latin one preceding it, in that the latter supposes the case of a bishop ordaining a foreign cleric, over whom he has no jurisdiction, to a higher grade, with the view of retaining him for his own diocese; while the other—fifteenth or nineteenth canon—treats of a case where such an ordination takes place without the ordaining bishop intending to keep the person ordained for his own diocese. Van Espen is of another opinion, and maintains that both canons obviously refer to one and the same case, for which reason the Greek text has only inserted one of them. It is certain that the text of both canons, as we have it, does not clearly indicate the difference conjectured by Fuchs, but that it may easily be found there.

Van Espen further adds, that in both canons only the higher ordination of one already ordained (a minister of the Church) is meant; but that conferring ordination upon a layman from another diocese is not there expressly forbidden. Nevertheless, Bishop Gratus of Carthage, at the Carthaginian Council in 348 (canon 5), applied the contents of the canon to the laity also; and this interpretation was universally received, as appears from the fifty-fourth African canon.

CAN. 16

Ἀέτιος ἐπίσκοπος εἷπεν• Οὐκ ἀγνοεῖε ὁποία καὶ πηλίκη τυγχάνει ἡ τῶν Θεσσαλονικέων μητρόπολις• πολλάκις τοιγαροῦν εἰς αὐτὴν ἀπὸ ἐτέρων ἐπαρχιῶν πρεσβύτεροι καὶ διάκονοι παραγίνονται, καὶ οὐκ ἀρκούμενοι βραχέος διαγωγῇ χρόνου ἐναπομένουσι καὶ ἅπαντα τὸν χρόνον αὐτόθι ποιοῦντες διατελοῦσιν, ἢ μόλις μετὰ πλεῖτον χρόνον εἰς τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπανιέναι ἐκκλησίας ἀναγκάζονται• περὶ τούτων οὗν ὁριστέον. Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Οὗτοι οἱ ὅροι, οἱ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπισκόπων ὡρισμένοι, φυλαττέσθωσαν καὶ ἐπὶ τούτων τῶν προσώπων.

“Aetius episcopus dixit: Non ignoratis, quanta et qualis sit Thessalonicensium civitas; saepe ad eam veniunt ex aliis regionibus presbyteri et diaconi et non sunt contenti brevi tempore morari, sed aut resident ibi aut certe vix post longa spatia ad sua redire coguntur. Universi dixerunt: Ea tempora, quæ constituta sunt circa episcopos, et circa has personas observari debent.”

Aetius, bishop of Thessalonica, represented to the Synod, that in consequence of the size of his city many priests and deacons from elsewhere very often stayed there for a long time. The Synod therefore decided, on the motion of Hosius, that what was ordered above in canon 11 with regard to the bishops, namely, that they may spend three weeks in a place away from home, should also apply to the persons in question.

CAN. 17

Ὑπερβάλλοντος καὶ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ ἡμῶν Ὀλυμπίου καὶ τοῦτο ἤρεσεν, ἵνα εἴ τις ἐπίσκοπος βίαν ὑπομείνας ἀδίκως ἐκβληθῇ ἢ διὰ τὴν ἐπιστήμην ἢ διὰ τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας ἢ διὰ τὴν τῆς ἀληθείας ἐκδικίαν, καὶ φεύγων τὸν κίνδυνον ἀθῶος καὶ καθωσιωμένος ὢν, εἰς ἑτέραν ἔλθοι πόλιν, μὴ κωλυέσθω ἐκεῖ ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον διάγειν, ἕως ἂν ἐπανέλθῃ ἢ τῆς ὕβρεως τῆς γεγεννημένης αὐτῷ ἀπαλλαγὴν εὑρέσθαι δυνηθῇ• σκληρὸν γὰρ καὶ βαρύτατον, ἐλασίαν ἄδικον ὑπομεμενηκότα μὴ ὑποδέχεσθαι ὑφʼ ἡμῶν• πλείστῃ γὰρ καλοκαγαθἱᾳ καὶ φιλοφρονήσει ὀφείλει παραδέχεσθαι ὁ τοιοῦτος. πάντες εἰρήκασιν• Ἤρεσε καὶ τοῦτο.

“Osius episcopus dixit: Suggerente fratre et coëpiscopo nostro Olympio etiam hoc placuit, ut si aliquis vim perpessus est et inique expulsns pro disciplina et Catholica confessione vel pro defensione veritatis, effugiens pericula, innocens et devotus ad aliam venerit civitatem, non prohibeatur immorari, quamdiu aut redire possit aut injuria ejus remedium acceperit; quia durum est eum qui persecutionem patitur non recipi; etiam et larga benevolentia et humanitas ei est exhibenda. Omni synodus dixit: Universa, quæ constituta sunt, Catholica Ecclesia in universo orbe diffusa custodiet.

“Et subscripserunt, qui convenerant episcopi omnes diversarum provinciarum sic: Ego N. episcopus civitatis N. et provinciæ N. ita credo sicut supra scriptum est.”

As Olympius, bishop of Aenus in Thrace, further suggested, it was decreed that “if a bishop is banished unjustly, on account of his learning, or his belief in the Catholic faith, or for defending the truth, and being an innocent victim goes into another town to escape danger, he shall not be hindered from remaining there until he can return, or be freed from the ill-treatment to which he has been subjected.”

CAN. 18 (wanting in the Latin)

Γαυδέντιος ἐπίσκοπος εἶπεν• Οἶδας, ἀδελφὲ Ἀέτιε, ὡς τὸ τηνικαῦτά ποτε κατασταθέντος σου ἐπισκόπου ἡ εἰρήνη λοιπὸν ἐβράβευσεν• ἵνα μή τινα λείψανα διχονοίας περὶ τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν ἐναπομείνῃ, ἔδοξε καὶ τοὺς παρὰ Μουσαίου κατασταθέντας καὶ τοὺς παρὰ Εὐτυχιανοῦ, ἐπειδὴ αὐτῶν οὐδεμία αἰτία εὑρίσκοιτο, πάντας ὑποδεχθῆναι.

Gaudentius, bishop of Naissus in Dacia, is already known to us by the fourth canon, of which he was also the proposer. The present one runs: “Bishop Gaudentius said: Thou knowest, my brother Aetius (bishop of Thessalonica), that ever since thine appointment as bishop, peace has reigned. Now, therefore, in order that no more divisions may exist among the clergy, let it be decreed that both those appointed by Musæus and Eutychian shall be received, as no blame rests on them.”

Concerning the meaning of this canon, cf. the following one, which is closely connected with it.

CAN. 19 (wanting in the Latin)

Ὅσιος ἐπίσκοπος εἰπε• Τῆς ἐμῆς μετριότητος ἡ ἀπόφασίς ἐστιν αὕτη• ἐπειδὴ ἥσυχοι καὶ ὑπομονητικοὶ ὀφείλομεν εἶναι κιὰ διαρκῆ τὸν πρὸς πάντας ἔχειν οἶκτον, ἅπαξ τοὺς εἰς κλῆρον ἐκκλησιαστικὸν προαχθέντας ὑπό τινων ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν, ἐὰν μὴ βούλοιντο ἐπανέρχεσθαι εἰς ἃς κατωνομάσθησαν ἐκκλησίας, τοῦ λοιποῦ μὴ ὑποδέχεσθαι, Εὐτυχιανὸν δὲ μήτε ἐπισκόπου ἑαυτῷ διεκδικεῖν ὄνομα, ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ Μουσαῖον ὡς ἐπίσκοπον νομιζεσθαι• εἰ δὲ λαϊκὴν κοινωνίαν ἀπαιτοῖεν, μὴ χρῆναι αὐτοῖς ἀρνεῖσθαι πάντες• εἶπον• Αρέσκει.

Bishop Hosius said: “It is my humble opinion, since we must be gentle and patient, and show compassion to all, that those who have at any time been raised by any of our brothers to a higher order in the ministry, if they will not return to the churches to which they were appointed, should for the future not be received; and that Eutychian should not assume the episcopal title, nor Musæus be considered a bishop, but that if they desire the communio laicalis (the spiritual rights of the laity, or status ecclesiasticus communis), it should not be refused them.” All said: “So let it be.”

It appears from these canons that, before the appointment of Aetius as bishop of Thessalonica, disturbances and divisions in the Church had taken place there. At this time Eutychian and Musæus came forward to claim the episcopal chair, and both ordained other ministers. Neither of these two, however, but Aetius, obtained the See of Thessalonica, and peace was again restored. As is shown by the eighteenth canon, Aetius excluded these two pretenders and the clerics appointed by them from communion. A milder treatment was now proposed by Gaudentius, namely, that as no further blame attached to those ordained by Musæus and Eutychian, they should be again received. What he understood by this receiving again (ὑποδεχθῆναι) is doubtful, as we have no other account of the whole affair at Thessalonica. In the first place, we do not know whether Musæus and Eutychian were themselves really consecrated bishops or not; if they were consecrated, the proposal of Gaudentius may mean that those ordained by them should be restored to their spiritual offices. If, however, Musæus and Eutychian had not received episcopal consecration,—and the old Greek scholiasts suppose this to have been the case,—it could only be proposed that those (nec licite nec valide) ordained by them should be received again as laymen into the communion of the Church. At the best, the wish might be entertained that they should eventually receive valid ordination. Whether the Synod approved of the proposal of Gaudentius is also not clear; we can only conclude that such approbation was probable from the close connection of the eighteenth canon with the nineteenth, and from the Synod giving its placet to the latter. It may be asked, however, what is the relation of the nineteenth to the eighteenth canon. The last half of the nineteenth canon is plainly in connection with the eighteenth, inasmuch as Hosius here supplements the proposal of Gaudentius with another, that Eutychian and Musæus themselves should only be admitted to lay communion. From this we gather that Hosius approved of the proposal of Gaudentius, and only desired that the heads of the schismatical parties should be excluded from among the clergy, as was decided at Nicæa with regard to the Meletians. But the remaining clerics of those parties—of course after having previously submitted to their lawful bishop—were to retain their offices, only on condition of betaking themselves to those churches for which they were first ordained. I am therefore of opinion that the first half of the nineteenth canon also refers to the subject mentioned in the eighteenth canon; while Tillemont, and after him Remi Ceillier, are of opinion that Hosius, in the first part of the nineteenth canon, had made an addition to the sixteenth, and not the eighteenth canon.

From all this it is clear that the reason why these two canons do not exist in the Latin text is, that they did not apply to the Latin Church, and only contained a special rule for Thessalonica.

CAN. 20

Γαυδέντιος ἐπίσκοπος εἷπε• Ταῦτα σωτηριωδῶς και ἀκολούθως ὁρισθέντα καὶ πρεπόντως τῇ ἐπιτιμίᾳ ἡμῶν τῶν ἱερέων καὶ Θεῷ ἀρέσαντα καὶ ἀνθρώποις, τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὴν ἰσχὺν ἑαυτῶν κατασχεῖν οὐ δυνήσονται, ἐὰν μὴ καὶ φόβος ταῖς ἐξενεχθείσαις ἀποφάσεσιν ἀκολουθήσῃ• ἴσμεν γὰρ καὶ αὐτοὶ, πλεονάκις διὰ τὴν ὀλίγων ἀναισχυντίαν τὸ θεῖον καὶ σεβασμιώτατον ὄνομα τῆς ἱερωσυνης εἰς κατάγνωσιν ἐληλυθέναι• εἰ τοίνυν τις παρὰ τὰ πᾶσι δόξαντα τολμήσοι, σπουδάζων τύφῳ μᾶλλον καὶ ἀλαζονείᾳ ἢ τῷ Θεῷ ἀρέσαι, ἕτερόν τι διαπράξασθαι, ἤδη γιγνωσκέτω ἐγκλήματι ἀπολογίας ἑαυτὸν ὑπεύθυνον καθιστᾶν, καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὸ ἀξίωμα τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ἀποβάλλειν. ἅπαντες ἀπεκρίναντο• Πρέπει καὶ ἀρέσκει ἡμῖν ἡ τοιαύτη γνώμη.

Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ἐκεῖθεν μάλιστα γνώριμον γενήσεται καὶ πληρωθήσεται, ἐὰν ἕκαστος ἡμῶν τῶν ἐν ταῖς παρόδοις ἤτοι καναλιῳ καθεστώτων ἐπισκόπων, θεασάμενος ἐπίσκοπον, ἐπιζητοίη τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς παρόδου καὶ ποῦ τὴν πορείαν ποιεῖται• καὶ ἐὰν μὲν εὕρῃ αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ στρατὸπεδον ἀπιόντα, ἐπιζητήσει τὰς αἱρέσεις τὰς ἐπάνω προκειμένας• κἂν κεκλημένος ἀφικνῆται, ἀπιόντι αὐτῷ μηδὲν ἐμπόδιον γίγνοιτο• εἰ δὲ ἐπιδείξεως χάριν, καθὼς προείρηται τῇ ὑμετέρᾳ ἀγάπῃ, ἢ διά τινων ἀξιώσεις σπουδάζοι ἐπὶ τὸ στρατόπεδον, μήτε τοῖς γράμμασιν αὐτοῦ ὑπογράφειν μήτε κοινωνεῖν τῷ τοιούτῳ. ἅπαντες εἶπον• Ὀριζέσθω καὶ τοῦτο.

“Gaudentius episcopus dixit: Ea quæ salubriter providistis convenientia et æstimationi omnium et Deo placitura et hominibus, tenere hactenus firmitatem possunt, si metus huic sententiæ conjungatur. Scimus enim et ipsi sæpissime propter paucorum impudentiam religiosum sacerdotale nomen fuisse reprehensum. Si igitur aliquis contra omnium sententiam nisus voluerit ambitioni magis placere quam Deo, is debet scire, causis redditis honorem dignitatemque se amissurum: quod ita demum compleri poterit, si unusquisque nostrum, qui in canali constitutus est, cum progredientem episcopum viderit, inquirat transitum ejus, causas videat, quo tendat agnoscat, et si quidem eum invenerit ire ad comitatum, requirat et illud, quod superius comprehensum est, ne forte invitatus sit, ut ei facultas eundi permittatur. Si vero, ut superius memoravit sanctitas vestra, propter desideria et ambitiones ad comitatum pergat, neque in literis ejus subscribatur, neque in communionem recipiatur. Si vobis placet, omnium sententia confirmari debet. Universi dixerunt, honestum esse et placere sibi hanc constitutionem.”

On the motion of Bishop Gaudentius, it was decreed: “From henceforth, if a bishop presumes to act contrary to what has been universally decided, out of pride and ambition rather than the desire of pleasing God, he shall be called to account, and deprived of his episcopal dignity. And this rule will be best made known, and most surely carried out, if each one of us bishops, who live near a high road, upon seeing a bishop pass by, inquires the object of his journey, and whither he is going. And if he finds that the bishop is on his way to the Imperial Court, he shall make inquiry concerning the circumstances mentioned above in the seventh canon. If he is travelling thither at the summons of the Emperor, no hindrance shall be put in his way; but if from vanity, as you were pleased to say before, or on account of certain petitions, his letters shall not be undersigned, nor shall any one hold communion with him.”

As we before remarked, the Latin text gives this canon quite another place, namely, immediately after the rules for restraining the passion of bishops for travelling to the Imperial Court (canons 7–9). From its meaning, it plainly belongs to that set of rules.

Finally, this canon is followed in the Latin text by another short canon, No. 12, which is wanting in the Greek, and which runs thus:—

CAN. 12 (of the Latin text)

“Osius episcopus dixit: Sed et moderatio necessaria est, dilectissimi fratres, ne adhuc aliqui nescientes, quid decretum sit in synodo, subito veniant ad civitates eas, quæ in canali sunt. Debet ergo episcopus civitatis ipsius admonere eum et instruere, et ex eo loco diaconum suum mittat; admonitus ipse tamen redeat in parœciam suam.”

According to Van Espen’s just remark, the Greek text probably omitted this passage because it only contained a proposal of Hosius, without the direct approbation of the Synod. Moreover, the rule therein contained was only temporary, and simply to serve for the interval, until the decisions of Sardica became more generally known.

SEC. 65. Rule concerning the Celebration of Easter

We have information concerning the further doings of the Synod of Sardica in the preface to the newly-discovered Paschal Letters of S. Athauasius, where it is said, under the date of 343, that “a plan was agreed upon at Sardica with regard to the feast of Easter.” A period of fifty years was fixed, during which time the Romans and Alexandrians were to celebrate Easter on a common day.

As is known, the Synod of Nicæa had not finally decided the difference between the Alexandrian and Roman regulation of Easter. It commanded, indeed, that Easter should always be kept after the spring equinox; but the equinox itself was placed by the Romans on the 18th, by the Alexandrians on the 21st March, and regarding this difference the Council of Nicæa gave no decision. It was indeed practically settled by the order that the Bishop of Alexandria should calculate the time of Easter, and should give notice of it to the Pope for general publication. Theoretically, however, the difference remained, and necessarily soon afterwards entailed a fresh negotiation.

According to the testimony of the preface, this took place at Sardica; but even here the difference was not entirely, but only temporarily removed by a mutual understanding between the Greeks and Romans as to the time of Easter for the next fifty years; not, therefore, by the appointment of a new and common cycle, but only by an agreement for the next fifty years to meet present exigencies. Doubtless, in this matter, both sides had to make concessions from time to time, of which we know the following. According to the Alexandrian computation, Easter for the year 346 should have fallen on the 27th Phamenoth, 23d March; but Athanasius, in his eighteenth Paschal Letter, says that “the holy Synod of Sardica had discussed this question, and all had agreed that Easter should be celebrated eight days later, on the 4th Pharmuthi, 30th March, the Roman time.”

There was a second difference between the Romans and Alexandrians touching the year 349. According to the Alexandrian computation, Easter should that year have fallen on the 28th Pharmuthi, 23d April. The Romans, however, as says the preface to the Festal Letters of S. Athanasius, stated that “they possessed a tradition as ancient as the time of St. Peter, that they were not to go beyond the 26th Pharmuthi, 21st April;” and, for the sake of peace, the Alexandrians with the Romans agreed to place Easter on the 30th Phamenoth, 26th March. But soon after this, harmony was again disturbed, and already in the years 350, 360, and 368 the Roman and Alexandrian calculation of Easter again varied, so that the decision of Sardica, as to the fifty years’ uniformity of celebrating Easter, was never fully carried out.

SEC. 66. The Sardican Documents

Besides all those hitherto mentioned, we possess three important documents proceeding from the Synod of Sardica. The first and fullest of these is the Encyclical Letter, to which we have so often referred, from the Synod to all the bishops of Christendom, preserved by Athanasius in Greek, and by Hilary of Poitiers in Latin; and it is not improbable that this was drawn up and published in both languages by the Synod itself. It was indeed intended alike for the East and West, and the Synod itself consisted of about an equal number of Greeks and Latins.

The chief contents of the Encyclical Letter in question, of which we give the sense though not the exact words, are as follows: “The godly Emperors have summoned the Synod of Sardica for the three purposes already known, and the Eastern bishops (the Eusebians) have also made their appearance, partly in obedience to the Imperial command, and partly for the purpose of substantiating afresh their former charges against. Athanasius and Marcellus. But when they saw these two, as well as Bishop Asclepas of Gaza, present, they feared to enter into an investigation, although they were repeatedly invited and challenged to do so. What alarmed them still further was, that other bishops and priests, who had been ill-treated by them, intended, some in person and others through acquaintances, to raise complaints against them, and even to produce the chains with which they had been bound. For the rage of the Eusebians had been carried so far, that many bishops—for instance Theodulus (probably of Trajanople)—could only save themselves from death by flight. Besides this, deputies from several communities also appeared at Sardica to report the acts of violence which had been perpetrated among them in driving away the orthodox bishops and priests, and introducing others of Arian views. Under such circumstances, the Eastern bishops found it advisable to leave Sardica, thus sufficiently betraying the badness of their cause. Notwithstanding this, the whole affair was carefully examined by the Synod, and the acts themselves showed the Eusebians to be malicious slanderers and false accusers, since Arsenius still lives, and no chalice is broken; but the Mareotic acts were drawn up with gross unfairness. The attack upon the orthodoxy of Marcellus was shown to be equally unjust, and Asclepas was also able to prove his innocence, from the acts drawn up by his enemies. Moreover, it appeared that the Eusebians had not only received back many who had been legitimately deposed for Arianism, but had even raised them to higher offices in the Church. The heads of this party are, Theodore of Heraclea, Narcissus of Neronias, Stephen of Antioch, George of Laodicea, Acacius of Cæsarea, Menophantes of Ephesus, Ursacius of Singidunum, and Valens of Murcia, who even on the journey to Sardica formed private cabals and hindered the other Eastern bishops from joining the Synod, as two of their number, the bishops Macarius and Asterius, who came over to the Synod, testified. Now that the Eusebians have again left Sardica, and their offences, consisting of slanders, acts of violence, false letters, blows, imprisonments, insults of holy virgins, and destruction of churches, have been proved, and—what is worst of all—after they have again revived the Arian heresy, the Synod has declared Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas innocent, and deposed and excommunicated the chief of the Eusebians. From this time, then, no one shall hold any communion with them; and every bishop shall subscribe the decision of the Synod of Sardica as though he had been there present in spirit, in order that peace may be preserved everywhere and by all the servants of the sanctuary.”

The second document left to us by the Synod of Sardica is their letter to the diocese of Alexandria, which Athanasius again gives in Greek, while it is omitted by Hilary. It runs as follows: “Their evil conscience did not allow the friends of Arianism to take part in the Synod; and the sentence of Pope Julius (at the Roman Synod) in favour of Athanasius, which was based on the testimony of eighty bishops, was justified. Therefore all the members of the Synod acknowledged the lawfulness of communion with Athanasius, while the Eusebians, on the contrary, had hesitated to take part in it unless Athanasius was from the very first excluded. But the Mareotic acts were too false and one-sided; Ischyras had himself exposed their untruthfulness. The charge against Arsenius was also proved false; but nevertheless, his enemies had not been quiet, but had invented new and malicious accusations. Athanasius and the Synod had demanded an investigation concerning this, but their accusers had taken flight, thus plainly showing their evil consciences. The Alexandrians, who have already suffered so much for the true faith, should persevere in this constancy, even if they should be persecuted afresh by the Arians. The Synod has done its part in caring for them, and has therefore applied to the Emperors, with petitions that those hitherto persecuted may obtain freedom, and that no secular powers shall be able to judge ecclesiastics, and oppress the faithful on religious pretexts. The Alexandrians are exhorted by the Synod by no means to acknowledge Gregory, who has never been a lawful bishop, and was deposed at Sardica, but to receive Athanasius on his return with joy. The Synod further declares to them that the priests Aphthon, Athanasius the son of Capito, Paul, and Plution, who were driven away by the Eusebians, have also been again received by the Synod, and declared innocent; they too should therefore receive those persons with kindness. Finally, they might see what was finally decided against the heads of the Eusebians from the supplement to the Encyclical Letter given above.”

The Synod addressed similar letters to the other churches whose bishops they had declared innocent, and ordered to be reinstated.

The third Synodal document is the letter from the Sardican bishops to Pope Julius. “The Pope had had good reasons for not being present in person at the Synod, and it was best and fittest that the priests (bishops) from all the provinces should make their reports to the head, that is, the chair of St. Peter. But as all which took place at Sardica had been partly recorded in the acts communicated to the Pope, and could be in part accurately reported by the deputies, the priests Archidamus and Philoxenus, and the deacon Leo, it seemed superfluous to treat of it in this letter also. The Orientals, who called themselves bishops, although many among them were tainted with the deadly poison of the Arian heresy, had, from mistrust of their own cause, refused to appear at the Court, as they had done before also at the Roman Synod. But it would have been unjust to give way to them and to refuse communion with Athanasius and Marcellus, to whom so many bishops gave favourable testimony. The Synod had had to treat of three subjects, for even the august Emperors had allowed a fresh investigation of everything. First of all, the true faith was to be treated of; then the case of those persons who had been deposed, and the justice of whose deposition was to be examined; and finally, the violence practised by the Eusebians upon many, of whom those who had died under it were undoubtedly to be regarded as martyrs. There were even then some in prison for no other fault than that they had rejected the Arian and Eusebian heresies, and would have no communion with their adherents. The Eusebians, however, had not only received back those who had been lawfully deposed, but had promoted many of them to higher offices in the Church. The Pope might hear also what was decided with regard to the ungodly and foolish youths (adolescentibus) Ursacius and Valens. Both had pertinaciously sown the seeds of false doctrine, besides which Valens had left his See and attempted to force himself into another (probably Aquileia), thereby raising a tumult, in which a brother bishop, named Victor (or Viator), who could no longer fly, was trampled upon, and died in that town a few days after. The Pope would sanction the letter from the Synod to the Emperors, and he might, moreover, make known the acts of the Synod to the bishops of Sicily, Sardinia, and Italy. Marcellus, Athanasius, and Asclepius (Asclepas) had been received into communion by the Synod, but Ursacius and the others had been deposed and excommunicated.” How joyfully Pope Julius agreed to these decisions we see from his letter to the Alexandrians in the oft-mentioned Apology of S. Athanasius.

There is a doubt about the genuineness of the three so-called Sardican documents translated into Latin, which Scipio Maffei has discovered in the codex at Verona, often before mentioned. The first of these is a letter from the Synod to the Christians at Mareotis, of which the contents run thus:—“From the Synodal Letter to the Alexandrian Church (see above, p. 162) you will already know what took place at Sardica. The Synod, however, has written a special letter to you to comfort you, because you have suffered so much from the heretics, especially from Gregory (the pseudo-bishop of Alexandria). You should bear all these troubles patiently, as did the Apostle Paul. The Mareotic priest Ingenius has indeed also shown much courage, and better times are now coming, for the Synod has already applied to the Emperors that they should no longer allow such things. The Synod has declared Athanasius innocent, and deposed others. Concerning Gregory (of Alexandria) it is needless to write; he has been long since deposed, and whoever has been hitherto deceived by him should repent.” The second document is an alleged letter from S. Athanasius to the same Mareotic Churches:—“The Synod had praised the stedfastness of the faithful in Mareotis, and had had much sympathy with them. It had written to them also separately, although the letter to the Alexandrian Church applied as well to the Christians in Mareotis (as belonging to the See of Alexandria).” The foregoing document is copied almost word for word, and only transferred from the oratio directa to the indirecta. At the close it is signed not only by Athanasius, but also by a great number of the other bishops present at Sardica. The third document is another letter from S. Athanasius, but addressed to the Church at Alexandria. In it he thanks God that his innocence had been acknowledged, and then speaks of the wickedness of his enemies; how they had not had the courage to take part in the Synod of Rome in 341; of their subsequent behaviour at Sardica, and how they had been deposed. It is here said, among other things, that they had said in so many words: “What have we in common with you? You are Christians, but we are enemies of Christ.” The Alexandrians should not have allowed themselves to be misled by such people; but now that the Synod had spoken, those who had been led away should return. At the end the deposition of the Eusebians is again mentioned, and the conclusion of the first letter is repeated here as in the second.

These extracts show, I think, quite sufficiently the spuriousness of these documents. Is it possible that the Eusebians would have said of themselves: “We are enemies of Christ”? But apart from this, the whole contents of these three letters are lame and feeble. The constant repetition of the same words is intolerable, and the whole style pointless and trivial. To this it must be added, that the whole of Christian antiquity knew nothing of these three documents, which only exist in the codex at Verona, so that we cannot acknowledge them as genuine.

SEC. 67. The Cabal of the Eusebians at Philippopolis

In strong contrast to the genuine Synodal Letter of Sardica is the Encyclical published by the Eusebians from Philippopolis after their separation from the Synod, and which is also preserved to us by S. Hilary. It is addressed first of all immediately to Gregory (the Eusebian bishop) of Alexandria, Amphion of Nicomedia, Donatus (the schismatic) bishop of Carthage, and others, and then generally to all the bishops, priests, and deacons of Christendom. In the very beginning, the thesis which the Eusebians insisted upon in their quarrel with the Orthodox at Sardica is brought forward, namely, that a sentence once pronounced by the Church, especially regarding the appointment and deposition of a bishop, should remain unalterable. It is then stated that Marcellus of Ancyra, that terrible heretic, had put forth and published in a book fearful blasphemies against Christ, ascribing to the kingdom of Christ a beginning and an end, as though He Himself had only become the Image of God by the Incarnation; that Marcellus had falsely interpreted the Holy Scriptures, and had united the errors of Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, and Montanus; that he had already been admonished on this account by the Synod of Constantinople in 335, under the Emperor Constantine, and when this proved useless, had been condemned; that Protogenes of Sardica and the bishop of Syracuse had also signed the document which was published at that time by the bishops against Marcellus, and yet they had now received him into communion. Marcellus, it was added, when anathematized in the East, had sought his fortune in a foreign land, where he might deceive the simple; but no one should hold communion with him or his companions.

The Encyclical here turns to Athanasius, saying that he had profaned the divine mysteries, had broken in pieces a holy chalice and altar, overthrown a bishop’s chair, destroyed a church (belonging to Ischyras), and imprisoned a priest; also that he was accused of many acts of violence, such as the murder of a bishop and the like, and had, during the holy days of Easter, raged like a tyrant in Alexandria, and sought by military and civil force—i.e. by imprisonments and corporal punishments—to obtain the victory for his party. He did not appear at the Synod of Cæsarea, but had been condemned at Tyre; he had appealed to the Emperor, who had, however, recognised his guilt and exiled him. After his return from exile he had acted worse than before, had reinstated condemned bishops, even promoted unbelievers (that is to say, those who had only shortly before been baptized) to bishoprics, and set at nought all law; nay, when through the Synodal decree at Antioch another was appointed in his place, he had, with the help of the heathen, set fire to a church, destroyed an altar, and then taken flight. It was added that, after their return from banishment, Paul of Constantinople and Marcellus of Ancyra had perpetrated most terrible outrages; the latter had caused priests to be stripped and dragged about the forum, had hung the sacred Host round their necks and desecrated it, and had publicly robbed of their clothes and put to shame virgins dedicated to God. At Gaza, Asclepas had destroyed an altar, and occasioned many disturbances; and at Adrianople, Lucius, after his return, had caused the Hosts consecrated by (Arian) priests to be thrown to the dogs. Athanasius had deceived Pope Julius and other Italian bishops by false letters, so that they had received him into communion (at Rome in 341), and because they had incautiously done this, for their own sakes they would not now abandon him. Asclepas had been deposed from his See seventeen years before, and after him Paul and Lucius; and now, after many of the former judges, accusers, and witnesses were dead, they artfully demanded a fresh trial in foreign parts, and wanted those very Western bishops, who had their own interests to guard, because they had received them so incautiously, to be their judges. This was, however, contrary to all ecclesiastical discipline, and they were seeking to introduce something quite new, namely, ut Orientales episcopi ab Occidentalibus judicarentur. Athanasius had while still bishop agreed to the deposition of Asclepas, and Marcellus also would hold no communion with him. Further, Paul had been present when they deposed Athanasius in 341, and had been one of those who signed the sentence against him; now, however, they were all united, and each forgave the other. Athanasius had hoped after the death of his former judges to obtain a more favourable sentence, and Julius, Hosius, and Maximus of Trèves had for this purpose brought about the meeting of the Synod of Sardica. They themselves, the Orientals, had appeared there, but had been compelled to separate, because the other party had from the first received Athanasius and Marcellus into communion, and had rejected all their proposals. A great number of impious men from Constantinople and Alexandria had been present at Sardica to support the cause of the murderer, church destroyer, chalice breaker, etc. What kind of synod this was, had already been proved by the fact that Protogenes of Sardica, who had formerly joined in the anathema against Paul and Marcellus, now held communion with them. In like manner they had granted a place in the synod to Dionysius of Elis, whom they had themselves deposed; Bassus of Diocletianapolis, banished for his crimes to Syria, had been by them consecrated bishop; and Protogenes now held communion with John (or Aetius?) of Thessalonica, although he had formerly shunned all communion with him as a concubinarius. The orthodox party had desired to force them, by reference to the edicts of the Emperors, to take part in the Synod, but this had been impossible; they could not possibly receive Athanasius and Marcellus into communion. Their order now was that no one should hold communion with Hosius, Protogenes, Athanasius, Marcellus, Asclepas, Pope Julius, and their associates, nor write to them, or receive letters from them. Let the Synod rather, in accordance with the most ancient laws of the Church, condemn Bishop Julius of Rome, Hosius, Protogenes, Gaudentius (of Naissus), and Maximus of Trèves on account of their communion with Athanasius, Marcellus, Paul of Constantinople, and other offenders, and because they had introduced a new heresy, namely, that of Marcellus. At the end of this Encyclical the Eusebians add their confession of faith, which, without counting an unimportant addition, is word for word identical with the fourth Antiochian formula. Finally, anathema is pronounced against strict Arians, against those who teach the doctrine of three Gods, or who do not distinguish between the Persons of the Trinity, or who say that the Son was not born, or that Christ is not God, or, that He is of the nature and not of the will of the Father.

Socrates relates that the Eusebians had retreated from Sardica to Philippopolis, and had there held a cabal, and rejected the ὁμοούσιος, but had embodied the formula and doctrine of ἀνόμοιος in their letters, which they sent everywhere. This is so far wrong, that the Eusebian symbol not only does not contain the expression ἀνόμοιος, but undeniably has hardly even a tinge of Semi-Arianism, and certainly not that decided Arian hue which belongs to the expression ἀνόμοιος. On the contrary, precisely the chief point of Anomæan doctrine—i.e. that the Son is ἑτέρας οὐσίας from the Father—is there anathematized, and S. Hilary of Poitiers, in his work De Synodis, did not scruple to interpret this symbol in an orthodox sense.

The words of the Eusebians themselves: placuit nobis de Sardica scribere, which we read in this Encyclical, contradict the statement of Socrates, that they had issued it from Philippopolis. Tillemont and Remi Ceillier maintain that the Eusebians here convict themselves of a lie, as in another part of their letter they intimate that it had been composed later than the Encyclical of the orthodox; and as the latter speaks of the previous departure of the Eusebians from Sardica, it is impossible that it could have been written there. But in our opinion this argument does not hold good, for the words of the Eusebians: iique (the orthodox) vulgo omnibusque gentibus id quod inter nos fuerat referebant, do not necessarily refer exactly to the Encyclical of the orthodox; they might previously and in other ways have spread the news. Besides, in the passage in question, even the text itself is not quite certain, and perhaps instead of gentibus should be read gentilibus, which would agree quite well with what immediately precedes it, and with a former statement that Athanasius had promoted heathens to bishoprics.

It is, moreover, universally known that the Eusebians first issued their Encyclical not from Sardica, but from Philippopolis, and the dispute is only as to whether they so far acted bona fide, considering themselves to be the true Sardican Synod, or whether they purposely intended to deceive and to impose upon the readers of their Encyclical, by representing their changeling as the genuine offspring of Sardica. It is usually said that they were successful in this in Africa, where, in consequence of their cunning, only a Semi-Arian Council of Sardica was known. The case then stands thus: As the orthodox bishop of Carthage, Gratus, was himself present at the Council of Sardica, the Eusebians, as we know, sent their Encyclical to the Donatist bishop of Carthage. To this the Donatists referred later, stating that the Synod of Sardica had recognised them; while S. Augustine, on the other hand, could only remark: Sardicense Concilium Arianorum fuit. It is concluded from this that he only knew of an Eusebian Synod of Sardica, and nothing of an orthodox Synod. However true this may be, it was not in consequence of the cunning of the Eusebians in dating their letter from Sardica; for Augustine, in his letter to Eleusius, plainly says, that until then he had not seen the Encyclical in question, and in a hasty reading of it had only observed that the Synod had rejected Athanasius and Pope Julius. He would, however, examine this document at greater leisure. If he did so, he must have found from the Eusebians’ own letter that a Synod of the orthodox had also taken place at Sardica; and as every one who read the Encyclical itself must have arrived at this conclusion, the supposition that the Eusebians wanted thereby quietly and cunningly to put the orthodox Synod out of sight, and substitute themselves, is not borne out. The truth is rather, that, without denying the existence of the opposite party, they laid claim to having formed the true Synod of Sardica themselves.

SEC. 68. Is the Synod of Sardica Œcumenical?

Finally, it must be asked whether the Synod of Sardica is to be reckoned among the General Councils or not; a question which has already been much agitated, and which I have expressly discussed in the Tübinger Theologischer Quartalschrift of the year 1852, where I have shown that the œcumenical character of this Synod certainly cannot be proved. It is indeed true that it was the design of Pope Julius, as well as of the two Emperors, Constantius and Constans, to summon a General Council at Sardica, but we do not find that any such actually took place; and the history of the Church points to many like cases, where a Synod was probably intended to be œcumenical, and yet did not attain that character. In the present case, the Eastern and Western bishops were indeed summoned, but by far the greater number of the Eastern bishops were Eusebians, and therefore Semi-Arians, and, instead of acting in a better mind in union with the orthodox, they separated themselves and formed a cabal of their own at Philippopolis.

We cannot indeed agree with those who maintain that the departure of the Eusebians in itself rendered it impossible for the Synod to be œcumenical, or it would be in the power of heretics to make an Œcumenical Council possible or not. We cannot, however, overlook the fact that, in consequence of this withdrawal, the great Eastern Church was far more poorly represented at Sardica, and that the entire number of bishops present did not even amount to a hundred. So small a number of bishops can only form a General Council, if the great body of their absent colleagues subsequently give their express consent to what has been decided. This was not, however, the case at the Synod of Sardica. The decrees were no doubt at once sent for acceptance and signature to the whole of Christendom, but not more than about two hundred of those bishops who had been absent signed, and of these, ninety-four, or nearly half, were Egyptians. Out of the whole of Asia only a few bishops from the provinces of Cyprus and Palestine signed, not one from the other Eastern provinces; and even from the Latin Church in Africa, which at that time numbered at least three hundred bishops, we meet with very few names. We cannot give much weight to the fact that the Emperor Constantius refused to acknowledge the decrees of Sardica; it is of much greater importance that no single later authority declared it to be a General Council. Natalis Alexander is indeed of opinion that because Pope Zosimus, in the year 417 or 418, cited the fifth canon of Sardica as Nicene, and a Synod held at Constantinople in 382 cited the sixth as Nicene, the Synod must evidently have been considered as an appendix to that of Nicæa, and therefore its equal, that is, must have been honoured as œcumenical. But we have already shown how Zosimus and the bishops of Constantinople had been led into this confusion from the defects of their manuscript collections of the canons.

Athanasius, Sulpicius Severus, Socrates, and the Emperor Justinian were cited in later times for the œcumenical character of this Synod. Athanasius calls it a μεγάλησύνοδος; Sulpicius Severus says it was ex toto orbe convocata; and Socrates relates that “Athanasius and other bishops had demanded an Œcumenical Synod, and that of Sardica had been then summoned.” It is clear at the first glance that the two last authorities only prove that the Synod had been intended to be a general one, and the expression “great Synod,” used by Athanasius, cannot be taken as simply identical with œcumenical. While, however, the Emperor Justinian, in his edict of 346, on the three chapters, calls the Synod of Sardica œcumenical, he yet in the same edict (p. 303), as well as in other places, does not reckon it among the General Councils, of which he counts four. To this must be added, first, that the Emperor is not the authority entitled to decide as to the character of an Œcumenical Synod; and secondly, that the expression universale concilium was employed in a wider sense in speaking of those Synods which, without being general, represented a whole patriarchate, as we have already explained above.

The Trullan Synod and Pope Nicholas the First are further appealed to. The former in its second canon approved of the Sardican canons, and Pope Nicholas said of them: omnis Ecclesia recipit eos. But this in no way contains a declaration that the Synod of Sardica was œcumenical, for the canons of many other Councils also—for instance, Ancyra, Neocæsarea, and others—were generally received without those synods themselves being therefore esteemed œcumenical. Nay, the Trullan Synod itself speaks for us; for had it held the Synod of Sardica to be the second General Council, it would have placed its canons immediately after those of Nicæa, whereas they are placed after the four ancient General Councils, and from this we see that the Trullan Synod did not reckon the Sardican among those Councils, but after them.

To this it must be added, that the highest Church authorities speak most decidedly against the Synod being œcumenical. We may appeal first to Augustine, who only knew of the Eusebian assembly at Sardica, and nothing at all of an orthodox Synod in that place; which would have been clearly impossible, if it had at that time been counted among the œcumenical synods. Pope Gregory the Great and S. Isidore of Seville speak still more plainly. They only know of four ancient General Councils—those of Nicæa, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. The objection of the Ballerini, that Gregory and Isidore did not intend to enumerate the most ancient general synods as such, but only those which issued important dogmatic decrees, is plainly quite arbitrary, and therefore without force.

Under such circumstances, it is natural that among the later scholars by far the greater majority should have answered the question, whether the Synod of Sardica is œcumenical, in the negative, as have Cardinal Bellarmin, Peter de Marca, Edmund Richer, Fleury, Orsi, Sacharelli, Tillemont, Du-Pin, Berti, Ruttenstock Rohrbacher, Remi Ceillier, Stolberg, Neander,1 and others.

On the other hand, Baronius,1 Natalis Alexander,1 the brothers Ballerini, Mansi, and Palma, have sought to maintain the œcumenical character of the Synod; but as early as the seventeenth century the Roman censors condemned the direct assertion of Natalis Alexander on the subject.

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