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

BOOK VI

THE SYNODS OF LAODICEA AND GANGRA

SEC. 93. Synod of Laodicea

IN very many old collections of the Councils which have had their origin since the sixth, or even in the fifth, century, we find the acts of the Synod of Laodicea in Phrygia (Phrygia Pacatiana) placed after those of Antioch of 341, but before those of the second General Council of 381. Some, for instance Matthew Blastares, with somewhat more precision, place this Synod after that of Sardica: the Trullan Synod, however, and Pope Leo IV. place it immediately before the second General Council. Notwithstanding which, Baronius thought that this Synod should be placed much earlier, even before that of Nicæa; and for the following reasons: first, that in the last canon of Laodicea the Book of Judith is not mentioned among the books of the Bible, while, according to S. Jerome, the Synod of Nicæa had already declared it to be canonical; secondly, that several canons of Laodicea are identical with the Nicene, though with no mention of Nicæa, which would certainly have been made had this Synod borrowed from that of Nicæa, while, on the other hand, if the Synod of Laodicea was earlier than that of Nicæa, and if the latter received some canons from that comparatively unimportant Synod, the fact that Nicæa is not mentioned is easily explained.

The weakness of this latter argument is self-evident, and neither will the first hold good; for we have already shown in the history of the Nicene Council that the words of Jerome are not to be taken to mean that the Synod drew up a decree or canon concerning the Book of Judith, but rather that it is highly probably that it was merely quoted in passing in some discussion or other, and so to a certain extent tacitly approved. Nay, if the Council had pronounced a formal decision concerning the Book of Judith, Jerome himself would certainly not in another place have expressed himself so uncertainly as to its authority. But if it did not pronounce any express decision about the Book, the whole argument of Baronius falls through. Besides this, the Laodicean canons, which contain so many detailed rules and orders as to the manner of living and conducting divine service, belong more to a time further removed from the persecutions, and when the Church had for some time been advancing peacefully. Thus we find among the Laodicean canons rules concerning the Church vestments, but no longer rules concerning the lapsi. This plainly points more to the last half than the beginning of the fourth century.

The seventh canon of Laodicea, in which the baptism of the Photinians is declared invalid, seems to offer a sure chronological land-mark. Now we know that Bishop Photinus began to attract notice about the middle of the fourth century, and was first anathematized by the Eusebians at the Synod of Antioch in 344 (in the μακρόστιχος formula); by the orthodox at Milan in 345; then again by the Eusebians in 351 and 355, at the Synods of Sirmium and Milan; besides which, he was repeatedly banished, and in 366 he died in exile. As it is, however, as we shall presently see, doubtful whether the word Φωτεινιανῶν in the seventh canon is genuine, unfortunately no certain conclusion can be drawn from this. Somewhat more light is thrown on the subject by the fact that, in the introduction to the Laodicean canons, the Greek text after the word Phrygia adds Πακατιανῆς; and this points to a geographical division which appears not to have existed at the time of the Synod of Sardica in 343.

Peter de Marca tried to prove that the Synod of Laodicea took place in 365; but he was refuted by Pagi, who agreed with Gothofred’s hypothesis (in his notes on Philostorgius) that it had been occasioned by Theodosius, an Arian bishop of Lydia about the year 363. Philostorgius relates that, after the death of the Apostate Julian (in 363), Theodosius, a bishop of Lydia, summoned a small Synod, at which the consecration of Aetius and the ordinations performed by him were declared invalid. The Epitomist of Philostorgius (Photius) designates this Theodosius a vehement Eunomian, and it is therefore doubtful whether he is the same Theodosius, bishop of Philadelphia in Lydia, whom Epiphanius places among the Semi-Arians. Moreover, a passage in the Corpus Juris Canonici, the author of which is unknown, states that Bishop Theodosius, who, however, is not more precisely described, was the chief originator of the Laodicean decrees. Gothofred and Pagi identify him with the Theodosius mentioned by Philostorgius, and seek to confirm their supposition by maintaining that the Synod of Laodicea took a rigidly ascetic line, especially on sexual questions, and that Philostorgius, in strict agreement with this, speaks of the great abhorrence Bishop Theodosius had of all sexual intercourse.

But, in the first place, the Synod of Laodicea showed no sort of abhorrence of marriage or any such like hyper-ascetic tendency; and, secondly, the statement that this Theodosius was an ascetic is wholly incorrect, for the words of Philostorgius, as rightly interpreted by Valesius, prove quite the contrary, namely, that Theodosius had been himself implicated in unlawful relations, and had “led an irregular life” (ἐκθεσμοῦ πολιτείας). A man, however, of this kind, who, as Philostorgius also says, in order to escape answering for his bad manner of life, could betake himself with a few friends and companions to a conciliabulum, with the view of overthrowing those whom he feared, is certainly not the author of decisions so earnest, strict, and dignified as are those of Laodicea; apart from the fact that this Synod was never accounted Arian, which, according to Gothofred’s conjecture, it would have been. To this must be added, first, that Philostorgius says not a word of the cabal got up by Theodosius having issued rules of discipline also; and, secondly, that not one of the Laodicean canons contains a distinct reference to Aetius. Even if, therefore, the above statement of the Corpus Juris is to hold good, the Theodosius who occasioned the Synod of Laodicea must certainly not be confounded with the other of the same name mentioned by Philostorgius, and we have still gained nothing as to the date of this Synod.

Under such circumstances, it is best, with Remi Ceillier, Tillemont, and others, to place the meeting of the Synod of Laodicea generally somewhere between the years 343 and 381,—i.e. between the Sardican and the second General Council,—and to give up the attempt to discover a more exact date. The entirely disciplinary contents of the canons seems to show that, at the time the Synod was held, there must have been a sort of truce in the dogmatic (Arian) conflict of that period.

The sixty canons of the Synod of Laodicea were composed in Greek, and have come down to us in the original language. There were also early Latin translations, for instance one by Dionysius Exiguus, which we likewise still possess, and commentaries on them were published in the Middle Ages, chiefly by Balsamon, Zonaras, Aristenus, and more recently by Van Espen, and Professor Herbst in the Tübingen Review.

A short preface by one of the old collectors precedes the Laodicean canons, and runs thus:

“The Holy Synod, which was assembled at Phrygia Pacatiana from different provinces of Asia, has drawn up the following ecclesiastical regulations:—

“CAN. 1. We have decreed, in accordance with the rules of the Church, that those who have lawfully and regularly entered upon a second marriage, and not formed a secret union, shall, after a short period of prayer and fasting, be pardoned and again received into communion.”

We see that the Synod of Laodicea here defends Christian freedom with regard to second marriage, as the Council of Nicæa (Can. 8), and to a certain extent also the Synods of Neocæsarea (Can. 3 and 7) and Ancyra (Can. 19), had already done. By this, however, a second marriage is not exempted from all stain; on the contrary, an expiation of this weakness by prayer and fasting is declared necessary. Nay, the words “after a short period” (ὀλύγου χρόνου παρελθόντος) plainly indicate that a digamist shall not be received into communion, and especially not admitted to the Holy Eucharist, immediately after contracting a second marriage, but shall be excluded for a short time, or placed in the aphorismus minor.

Further, as we have already shown in the translation, the words κατὰ τὸν ἐκκλησιαστικὸν κάνονα must be connected with ἀποδίδοσθαι αὐτοῖς τὴν κοινωνίαν, so that the meaning stands: “in accordance with the rule of the Church they must be received;” but if, as Dionysius Exiguus has done, we connect the words in question with συναφθέντας δευτέροις γάμοις, it would be a mere tautology, as the word νομίμως itself implies that the second marriage must be a lawful one. What, however, is the meaning of the words, “and have not formed a secret union”? The three above-mentioned commentators of the Middle Ages rightly interpret this to mean that the digamist must not have already had intercourse (before marriage) with the person with whom he contracts a second marriage; for if so, he would come under the punishment of fornication, and in that case he could not be again so soon received into communion.

Lastly, it is hardly necessary to observe that this canon only speaks of a digamist who marries again after the death of his first wife. This is plainly indicated in the words, “the second marriage must be lawfully (νομίμως) entered upon,” and second marriage during the lifetime of the first wife would not have been considered by the ancient Church a lawful marriage, but abominable adultery. The ancient Church had great difficulty in maintaining as permissible second marriage, even after the death of one party; so strict was the custom in this particular. On this compare what Van Espen remarks in opposition to Justellus.

CAN. 2. “That sinners of various kinds, if they have persevered in the public confession and penance, and have entirely turned from evil, after a time of penance fixed in proportion to their fall, shall, in consideration of the pity and goodness of God, be again received into communion.”

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

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

In the Isidorian translation, this canon was inserted in the Corpus Juris Canonici.

CAN. 3. “That those only lately baptized shall not be promoted to the clerical office.”

The same rule had been laid down by the Council of Nicæa.

CAN. 4. “That clerics may not practise usury or take interest.”

This prohibition also was enacted at Nicæa (Can. 17), and all that is necessary on this subject has therefore been already said. Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore designated this canon as the fifth of Laodicea, and the fifth of the Greek text, the following one, as the fourth. This canon is also found in the Corpus Jur. Can. in the Decretum of Gratian.

CAN. 5. “That ordinations may not take place in the presence of the audientes.”

As the penitents (audientes) might not be present at the whole of divine service, so especially not at ordinations. Balsamon and Zonaras, however, refer this canon to the election and not to the ordination of new clerics, and were of opinion that the audientes were not allowed to be present at such an election, because on such occasions the faults of the candidates of the clerical order came under discussion, and naturally it was desired that these should be made as little public as possible, and especially not discussed before those who for their own sins were placed among the penitents.

CAN. 6. “That it is not permitted to heretics, so long as they continue in heresy, to set foot in the house of God.”

The Council of Laodicea is here more strict in its decisions than are other Synods which gladly suffer the presence of heathens, Jews, and heretics at the Missa Catechumenorum, i.e. the church lessons and sermons, in the hope of possibly winning them. This, for instance, is the rule of the so-called fourth Council of Carthage in 398.

CAN. 7. “That heretics returning from the Novatian, Photinian, or Quartodeciman heresies, whether they have been reckoned among the [catechumens] or the faithful, shall not be received until they have anathematized all heresies, and more especially those in which they were themselves implicated. These, as soon as they have learnt the creed, and received the anointing of the holy chrism, shall share in the holy mysteries.”

It is undeniable that the Synod held the baptism of the sects here enumerated to be valid, and therefore, upon the return of a former member of any of these sects, did not require re-baptism. In the case of the Novatians and Quarto-decimans, this would be the more obvious, as it is well known that their difference from the Church had no reference to the doctrine of the Trinity: they were not, indeed, strictly heretics but schismatics, and could only have been numbered sensu latiori among the heretics by the Synod of Laodicea, as αἵρεσις is here used in a general sense as identical with party or sect.

The mention of the Photinians was more suspicions. Their specific heresy concerned the Trinity, and therefore the validity of their baptisms could by no means be unhesitatingly recognised. Moreover, a Synod at Arles in 452 ordered Photiniacos, sive Paulianistas, secundum patrum statuta baptizari oportere. And if we add that the word Photiniani is not to be found in the Breviatio Canonum of Ferrandus, n. 177 (548) in the old translation of Isidore, in a Lucca or in a Paris codex of Latin canons, its genuineness is at least rendered extremely doubtful. It was vigorously contested by Baronius, Binius, Remi Ceillier, and others.

Lastly, it must also be observed that there is an omission in the Greek text of this canon, as the word “catechumens,” which we have inserted between brackets in our translation, is wanting, plainly only through the fault of a copyist. It stood in the copies of Dionysius, Exiguus, Isidore, and other ancients, as well as in Balsamon.

CAN. 8. “Those who return from the heresy of the so-called Phrygians (Montanists), even though of the number of the pretended clergy, and held in the greatest esteem, must be catechized with all care and baptized by the bishops and priests of the Church.”

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

In conclusion, it must be observed that Balsamon and Zonaras rightly understood the words in our text, εἰ καὶ μέγιστοι λέγοιντο, “though they be held in the highest esteem,” to refer to the most distinguished clergy and teachers of the Montanists.

CAN. 9. “Members of the Church shall not be allowed to frequent cemeteries or chapels dedicated to so-called martyrs belonging to any heretics for prayer or divine service. Those who do this, if of the number of the faithful (not merely catechumens), shall be excommunicated for a time; but if they do penance and acknowledge their fault, they shall be again received.”

The Synod here, in condemning one kind of communio in sacris, speaks of chapels dedicated to “so-called martyrs,” because the heretics honoured as such those of their number who died in any persecution; but the Church could not, of course, concede this honour to them, as Eusebius shows in his Church History.

CAN. 10. “Members of the Church shall not indiscriminately give their children in marriage to heretics.”

With reference to the expression ἀδιαφόρως, “indiscriminately,” Fuchs quite correctly observes: “Not as if they might be given in marriage to some heretics, and not to others; but that it should not be considered a matter of indifference whether they were married to heretics or orthodox.” The Synod of Elvira had already given the same rule in can. 16: Hæretici si se transferre nolucrint ad Ecclesiam Catholicam, nec ipsis Catholicas dandas esse puellas; and the fourth General Council of Chalcedon, in its fourteenth canon, especially enjoined this rule on the lower ministers of the Church, which gave rise to the opinion held by the Greek commentators, Zonaras and Balsamon, that this canon also only forbade the ministers of the Church to give their children in marriage to heretics. Van Espen has, however, shown that the rule was to be generally applied.

CAN. 11. “The appointment of the so-called female elders or presidents shall not take place in the church.”

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

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

Supposing now that this canon simply treats of deaconesses, a fresh doubt arises as to how the last words—“they are not ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ καθίστασθαι”—are to be understood. For it may mean that “from henceforth no more deaconesses shall be appointed;” or, that “in future they shall no more be solemnly ordained in the church.” The first interpretation would, however, contradict the fact that the Greek Church had deaconesses long after the Synod of Laodicea. For instance, in 692 the Synod in Trullo (Can. 14) ordered that “no one under forty years of age should be ordained deaconess.” Consequently the second interpretation, “they shall not be solemnly ordained in the church,” seems a better one, and Neander decidedly prefers it. It is certainly true that several later synods distinctly forbade the old practice of conferring a sort of ordination upon deaconesses, as, for instance, the first Synod of Orange (Arausicanum I. of 441, Can. 26), in the words: diaconæ omnimodis non ordinandæ; also the Synod at Epaon in 517 (Can. 21), and the second Synod at Orleans in 533 (Can. 18); but in the Greek Church at least, an ordination, a χειροτονεῖσθαι, took place as late as the Council in Trullo (Can. 14). But this canon of Laodicea does not speak of solemn dedication, and certainly not of ordination, but only of καθίστασθαι. These reasons induce us to return to the first interpretation of this canon, and to understand it as forbidding from that time forward the appointment of any more chief deaconesses or “presbytides.”

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

The Roman revisers of the Corpus Juris, in their note on canon 19 (where the Isidorian translation of the canon is adopted), agree with this interpretation of the canon, and so also does Van Espen afterwards. But the Isidorian translation, as it was inserted in the Corpus Juris, is quite peculiar in giving to the expression “presbytides” the same meaning as we have done under the guidance of Epiphanius, while yet, like Neander, it attributes to καθίστασθαι the pregnant sense of ordination. It runs thus:—Mulieres quæ apud Græcos presbyteræ appellantur, apud nos autem viduæ seniores (the oldest among the deaconesses, equivalent to viduæ) univiræ et matriculariæ nominantur, in ecclesia tanquam ordinatas constitui non debere. Finally, Dionysius Exiguus translates more briefly: quod non oportet eas, quæ dicuntur presbyteræ vel prœsidentes, in ecclesiis ordinari; thus leaving it doubtful to which interpretation he gives the preference.

CAN. 12. “The bishops must be appointed for the government of the Church by the decision of the metropolitans and the surrounding bishops (comprovincials), after they have given sufficient proof of their orthodoxy, as well as of their orderly behaviour.”

CAN. 13. “The choice of those to be appointed to the priesthood shall not rest with the multitude.”

It may be asked, whether by this rule it was intended that the people should be deprived of all share in the appointment of the clergy? Van Espen positively denies this, and shows that even after the Synod of Laodicea the people still took part in their election. This may be true, but still, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that in the Greek Church the people were early deprived of this right, namely, by the eighth General Council. This change in the canon law and in the manner of election did not take place in the West till the eleventh century. Moreover, by the term ἱερατεῖον in this canon must be understood not only the order of presbyters, but also the episcopate, as the Greek commentators Balsamon, etc., and at a later date Van Espen, rightly observed.

CAN. 14. “At Easter the Host shall no more be sent into foreign dioceses as eulogia.”

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

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

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

CAN. 15. “Besides the appointed singers, who mount the ambo and sing from the book, others shall not sing in the church.”

That by the κανονικοῖς ψάλταις are meant the singers appointed by the Church, and belonging in a wider sense to the clergy, appears from what has already been said of the words ἐν κανόνι ἐξεταζόμενοι in the sixteenth canon of Nicæa. The only question is whether this Synod forbade the laity to take any part in the Church music, as Binius and others have understood the words of the text, or whether it only intended to forbid those who were not cantors taking the lead. Van Espen and Neander in particular were in favour of the latter meaning, pointing to the fact that certainly in the Greek Church after the Synod of Laodicea the people were accustomed to join in the singing, as Chrysostom and Basil the Great sufficiently testify. Bingham propounded a peculiar opinion, namely, that this Synod did indeed forbid the laity to sing in the church, or even to join in the singing, but this only temporarily, for certain reasons. I have no doubt, however, that Van Espen and Neander take the truer view.

CAN. 16. “On Saturday, the Gospels and other portions of the Scripture shall be read aloud.”

Neander remarks that this canon is open to two interpretations. It may mean that on Saturday, as on Sunday, the Holy Scriptures shall be read aloud in the church, and therefore solemn public service shall be held; and canon 49 is in favour of this interpretation. It was also the custom in many provinces of the ancient Church to observe Saturday as the Feast of the Creation.

But, as Neander further supposes, it might be possible that some few Judaizing congregations had retained the practice of only reading portions of the Old Testament on Saturday, and not chapters from the Gospels, and that tins is here forbidden. He, however, himself remarks, that in that case the article should be prefixed to εὐαγγέλια and ἑτέρων γραφῶν as distinguished from each other, and that instead of the vague expression ἑτέρων γραφῶν, the—in this case more significant—expression τῆς παλαίας διαθήκης might be expected. Moreover, I may add that about the middle, or at least in the last half of the fourth century, Judaizing no longer flourished, and probably no single Christian congregation held such Ebionite, un-Evangelical views. For the rest, cf. Can. 29.

CAN. 17. “At the Church services the psalms shall not be sung continuously one after the other, but after each psalm there shall be a lesson read.”

On this Van Espen justly remarks, that the rule in its substance is observed in our breviary also, in the nocturns.

CAN. 18. “The same service of prayer, shall take place everywhere at the ninth hour, as in the evening.”

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

CAN. 19. “After the homily of the bishop, first the prayer for the catechumens shall be said separately, and after the departure of the catechumens the prayer for the penitents, and when these also have received the imposition of hands and have withdrawn, then in like manner shall three prayers for the faithful be said: the first in silence, but the second and third repeated aloud. Hereupon the kiss of peace is given. And after the priests have given the kiss of peace to the bishop, the laity shall give the same to one another, and the Holy Sacrifice (προσφορά) shall be offered. And the clerics (ἱερατικοί) alone shall be permitted to approach the altar of sacrifice (θυσιαστήριον) and to take part in it.”

Van Espen is of opinion that this canon does not speak of the prayer said by the bishop in the congregation over the catechumens and penitents, but of the prayer which the penitents, etc., themselves offered. It seems to me, however, far more probable that the liturgical prayers are here meant, which occur in the old liturgies after the homily, and are said over and for the different classes; the originals of our present general prayer after the sermon. So also Dionysius Exiguus understood it when he translated: orationes super catechumenos—and super eos, qui sunt in pœnitentia. Only of the prayers for the people he does not say super populum or super fideles, but translates orationes fidelium, probably because the fideles themselves joined in these prayers said for them from the liturgies. Here also the liturgical prayers super populum are meant. Isidore’s translation, however, is in favour of Van Espen’s interpretation: orent etiam hi, qui in pœnitentia sunt constituti.

Further, it is somewhat remarkable that the Greek text says that the priests shall give the bishop the kiss of peace, while Dionysius Exiguus (but not Isidore), in conformity with the Latin practice, translates: episcopus presbyteris dederit osculum pacis.

The opinion of Zonaras agrees with the above, namely, that, as the priests had to give the kiss of peace to the bishop, so the laity had to give the kiss of peace to the priests; but by this he understands that the priests were to hasten into the arms of the bishop, and the laity into the arms of the priests, and must really embrace them.

Finally, the last word in this canon, κοινωνεῖν, probably means that the clergy alone might be immediately present at the altar during service, and there receive the Holy Communion.

CAN. 20. “A deacon may not sit in the presence of a priest, unless bidden to do so by the priest. The deacons shall in like manner be honoured by the ministers (ὑπηρετῶν) and all clerics.”

The Apostolic Constitutions prescribed the same rule. But by the ministers, mentioned in the canon, as distinguished from other clerics, the sub-deacons are probably meant, as appears more plainly from the following canons:—

CAN. 21. “The ministers (sub-deacons) shall not have their place in the diaconicum, nor touch the sacred vessels.”

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

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

This canon is also inserted in the Corpus Juris.

CAN. 22. “A minister (sub-deacon) may not wear the orarium, nor leave his place at the door.”

The orarium answers to the stole of the present day, which the sub-deacons are even now forbidden to wear. As we see, one of the principal offices of the latter was to keep the doors during service, i.e. to see that catechumens and penitents departed at the right time, and that order was maintained among those present.

In the Corpus Juris this canon has been inserted with the mistranslation of hostias instead of ostia.

CAN. 23. “The readers and cantors may not wear the orarium, or read and sing in the same.”

CAN. 24. “No clerics from the presbyters to the deacons, and so on in ecclesiastical order, down to the ministers (sub-deacons), readers, cantors, exorcists, doorkeepers, or any of the ascetic class, shall enter a public-house.”

A similar rule is given in the fifty-fourth (fifty-third) of the Apostolic Canons, where the only exception allowed is in the case of a journey.—Gratian adopted this canon, c. 2, Dist. xlvi.

CAN. 25. “The ministers (sub-deacons) may not distribute the bread, or bless the chalice.”

According to the Apostolic Constitutions, the communion was administered in the following manner: the bishop gave to each the holy bread, with the words: “the Body of the Lord,” and the recipient said, “Amen.” The deacon then gave the chalice with the words: “the Blood of Christ, the chalice of life,” and the recipient again answered, “Amen.” This giving of the chalice with the words: “the Blood of Christ,” etc., is called in the Canon of Laodicea a “blessing” (εὐλογεῖν). The Greek commentator Aristenus, in accordance with this, and quite rightly, gives the meaning of this canon in the words: οὐδὲ ἄρτον ἢ ποτήριον διδόασι τῷ λαῷ. On this compare the eighteenth canon of Nicæa, as explained above.

Van Espen attempted to give a peculiar, but certainly mistaken, interpretation of the benedicere, namely, that as the deacons even now at the offertory give the celebrant the chalice to be blessed, and thus, as it were, co-operate in the blessing, so in former times the sub-deacons had taken this on themselves.

This canon is to be found in the Corpus Juris.

CAN. 26. “Whoever is not authorized by the bishop may not exorcise either in the churches or in houses.”

Balsamon here takes exorcism (ἐξορκίζειν) to be identical with the “catechizing of unbelievers” (κατηχεῖν ἀπίστους), and Van Espen remarks on this that the demons possessed a twofold power over men, both outward and inward; and as through the latter the man was among other things fast bound in unbelief, catechetical instruction was also an exorcism.

CAN. 27. “Neither the higher nor lower clergy, nor the laity when summoned to the agape, shall take any portion of it away with them, as this brings dishonour upon the office of the clergy.”

Van Espen translates: “no one holding any office in the Church, be he cleric or layman,” and appeals to the fact that already in early times among the Greeks many held offices in the Church without being ordained, as do now our sacristans and acolytes. I do not think, however, with Van Espen, that by ἱερατικοῖς is meant in general any one holding office in the Church, but only the higher ranks of the clergy, priests and deacons, as in the preceding twenty-fourth canon the presbyters and deacons alone are expressly numbered among the ἱερατικοῖς, and distinguished from the other (minor) clerics. And afterwards, in canon 30, there is a similar mention of three different grades: ἱερατικοί, κληρικοί, and ἀσκηταί.

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

CAN. 28. “The so-called agape shall not be held in the Lord’s houses (κυριακοῖς) or churches, and no one shall eat or place couches in the house of God.”

Eusebius employs the expression κυριακά in the same sense as does this canon, as identical with churches. The prohibition itself, however, here given, as well as the preceding canon, proves that as early as the time of the Synod of Laodicea, many irregularities had crept into the agape. For the rest, this Synod was not in a position permanently to banish the usage from the Church; for which reason the Trullan Synod in its seventy-fourth canon repeated this rule word for word. It was also adopted by Gratian. Concerning the agape and its abolition Binterim may be consulted.

CAN. 29. “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.”

CAN. 30. “None of the higher or lower clerics and ascetics, nor any laymen, in a word no Christian, may bathe in the same bath with females, for this is the greatest reproach among the heathen.”

This canon was also repeated by the Trullan Synod, in its seventy-seventh canon, and by Gratian.

CAN. 31. “Christians shall not marry heretics. They shall neither take them nor their children in marriage, nor shall they give their sons or daughters in marriage to them, until they promise to become Christians.”

The first half of this canon is identical with the tenth, but the last half is a somewhat milder addition.

CAN. 32. “The eulogiæ of the heretics shall not be accepted, for they are rather ἀλογίαι than eulogiæ.”

The word ἀλογίαι means follies, unreasonablenesses, but the old Latin translators, Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, chose the expression maledictiones to imitate the play of words in the Greek original.

Gratian has adopted this canon.

CAN. 33. “No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics.”

A similar rule is contained above in the ninth canon, and in the forty-fifth (forty-fourth) apostolic canon.

CAN. 34. No Christians shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn to false martyrs, i.e. those of the heretics, or to the heretics themselves before mentioned, for they are far from God. Whoever, therefore, goes over to them shall be held excommunicate.

This canon forbids the honouring of martyrs not belonging to the orthodox Church. The number of Montanist martyrs of Phrygia was probably the occasion of this canon. The ninth canon had already laid down a similar rule.

CAN. 35. “Christians shall not forsake the Church of God and turn to the worship of angels, thus introducing a cultus of the angels. This is forbidden. Whoever, therefore, shows an inclination to this hidden idolatry, let him be anathema, because he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and gone over to idolatry.”

The Apostle Paul had before found it needful in his Epistle to the Colossians (2:18), which was probably addressed also to the Laodiceans, to warn the Christians of Phrygia against a worship of angels, which was contrary to the faith. Notwithstanding which, however, this superstitious worship of angels still continued in those countries, the very native home of this Synod, for in the fifth century Theodoret of Cyrus bears witness to it in his commentary on the passage of S. Paul just quoted, observing that the Synod of Laodicæa had forbidden “praying to the angels” (τὸ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις προσεύχεσθαι), but that, in those regions of Phrygia and Pisidia “Michael-Churches” were to be met with as late as his own time. The basis of this worship of angels was the idea that God was too high to be immediately approached, but that His good will must be gained through the angels.

It hardly needs to be observed that this canon does not exclude a regulated worship of angels, such as is usual in the Church, although on the Protestant side it has often been so interpreted. Augustine and Eusebius have long ago given the true view of this. If the ancient Church allowed the worship of martyrs, why should she have entirely forbidden the worship of angels? This canon expresses the idea of the worship of angels by ὀνομάζειν ἀγγέλους, which gave occasion for the statement in a capitulary of Charlemagne of the year 789, that “the Synod of Laodicea had forbidden the giving of other names to the angels than those authorized: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.” Perhaps, however, the capitulary in question had in view a Roman Synod under Pope Zacharias in 745, which, in contradistinction to the eight angels invoked by the heretic Adelbert (at the time of S. Boniface, the apostle of the Germans), only allowed the names of the angels above mentioned.

Lastly, it must be observed that, after the example of several codices of the translation by Dionysius in Merlin’s edition of the Councils, instead of angelos was written angulos, which of course was originally a mere clerical error.

CAN. 36. “Neither the higher nor the lower clergy may be magicians, conjurors, mathematicians, or astrologers, nor shall they make so-called amulets, which are chains for their own souls. And those who wear these amulets shall be shut out from the Church.”

Concerning ἱερατικοί and κληρικοὶ, compare the remarks above on canon 27, but the expression μαθηματικοί must, of course, be taken in the old sense as identical with astrologers, casters of horoscopes, and such like; as, for instance, we often meet with it in Suetonius. More is said concerning the amulets and other charms in the Tübingen Review.

CAN. 37. “No one shall accept festal presents from Jews and heretics, or keep the festivals with them.”

CAN. 38. “No one shall accept unleavened bread from the Jews, or take part in their profanity.”

CAN. 39. “No one shall share in the feasts of the heathen, or take part in their impiety.”

CAN. 40. “Bishops who are summoned to a Synod shall not consider it of small importance, but shall appear there, in order to teach or be taught that which is to the advantage of the Church and of others (possibly the infideles). If any one, however, disdain to appear, he is his own accuser, unless he is hindered by something unusual, διʼ ἀνωμαλίαν.”

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

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris.

CAN. 41. “No higher or inferior cleric shall travel without canonical letters.”

A similar rule was laid down in the Apostolic Canons, Nos. 13 (12) and 34 (32), and also by the Antiochian Synod of 341, in its seventh canon. The fourth General Council of Chalcedon, in its thirteenth canon, renewed this rule.

CAN. 42. “The higher and inferior clerics shall make no journey without an order from the bishop.”

CAN. 43. “The ministers (sub-deacons) may not leave the doors even for a short time to pray.”

CAN. 44. “Women may not approach near the altar.”

CAN. 45. “After the second week of Lent, no more persons shall be received for baptism.”

The reception of the competentes (φωτιζόμενοι) took place at the beginning of Lent.

CAN. 46. “Those to be baptized shall learn the creed (Symbolum) by heart, and recite it on Thursday before the bishop or the priests.”

It is doubtful whether by the Thursday of the text was meant only the Thursday of Holy Week, or every Thursday of the time during which the catechumens received instruction.

The Greek commentators are in favour of the latter, but Dionysius Exiguus and Isidore, and after them Bingham, are, and probably rightly, in favour of the former meaning. This canon was repeated by the Trullan Synod in its seventy-eighth canon.

CAN. 47. “Those who have received baptism during an illness, if they recover, shall learn the creed by heart, and be made to understand that a divine gift has been vouchsafed to them.”

CAN. 48. “The baptized shall, after baptism, be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the kingdom of Christ.”

Tertullian had already spoken of such an anointing; but “heavenly” here signifies “holy,” “consecrated.”

CAN. 49. “During Lent, the bread shall not be offered, except on Saturday and Sunday.”

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

CAN. 50. “The fast shall not be relaxed on the Thursday of the last week of Lent, thus dishonouring the whole season, but the fast shall be kept throughout the whole period.”

CAN. 51. “During Lent, no feasts of the martyrs shall be celebrated, but the holy martyrs shall be commemorated on the Saturdays and Sundays of Lent.”

For the obvious reason that on these days there was full and solemn service.

CAN. 52. “No wedding or birthday feast shall be celebrated during Lent.”

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

Gratian adopted this canon.

CAN. 53. “Christians, when they attend weddings, shall not jump and dance, but shall partake of the meal or breakfast with a modesty becoming Christians.”

CAN. 54. “The higher and inferior clergy shall not join in witnessing any dramatic performance at weddings or feasts, but before the actors appear they shall rise and go.”

The Trullan Synod in its twenty-fourth canon made a similar rule, and Gratian has adopted this canon.

CAN. 55. “The higher and inferior clergy, and also the laity, shall not put together their contributions and hold feasts in common.”

Adopted by Bishop Martin of Braga and by Gratian.

CAN. 56. “The priests shall not enter and take their seats in the bema before the entrance of the bishop, but they shall always enter after the bishop, unless the latter is ill or absent.”

CAN. 57. “In villages and in the country no bishops may be appointed, but visitors (περιοδευταί); and those who are already appointed shall do nothing without the consent of the bishop of the town, as also the priests may do nothing without the consent of the bishop.”

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

Binterim, in his Denkwürdigkeiten, speaks in detail of the χωρεπίσκοποι, where he tries to show that these rural bishops were real bishops, and entitled to perform strictly pontifical acts. Augusti is of the same opinion; but Thomassin makes two classes of chorepiscopi, of whom the one were real bishops, while the other only had the title without consecration. Holzer endeavoured to show that subsequently to the directions of this Synod the chorepiscopi had not been real bishops, but simply priests, and this only in the episcopal town and not in the country. I do not, however, feel able entirely to agree with him; it seems rather that the rules of Laodicea were not fully carried out, for as late as the fifth century we meet with very many real chorepiscopi in the country towns and villages of Africa.

This canon is found in the Corpus Juris.

CAN. 58. “No sacrifices shall be offered in houses (προσφορὰς γίνεσθαι) by bishops or priests.”

That the Eucharistic sacrifice is here meant is obvious (for the Christian may, of course, pray anywhere), and the Greek commentators also say this very expressly.

CAN. 59. “No psalms composed by private individuals or uncanonical books may be read in the church, but only the canonical books of the Old and New Testament.”

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

CAN. 60. “These are all the books of the Old Testament which may be read aloud: (1) Genesis, (2) Exodus, (3) Leviticus, (4) Numbers, (5) Deuteronomy, (6) Joshua, (7) Judges, Ruth, (8) Esther, (9) First and Second Book of Kings, (10) Third and Fourth Book of Kings, (11) First and Second Book of Paraleipomena (Chronicles), (12) First and Second Book of Ezra, (13) the Book of the 150 Psalms, (14) the Proverbs of Solomon, (15) Ecclesiastes (the Preacher), (16) the Song of Songs, (17) Job, (18) The twelve Prophets, (19) Isaiah, (20) Jeremiah and Baruch, the Lamentations and Letters (according to Zonaras, ‘the Letter’), (21) Ezekiel, (22) Daniel. The Books of the New Testament are these: four Gospels according to S. Matthew, S. Mark, S. Luke, and S. John; the Acts of the Apostles; the seven Catholic Epistles, namely, one by S. James, two by S. Peter, three by S. John, one by S. Jude; the fourteen Epistles of S. Paul,—one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon.”

In this list of the canonical books, which approaches that given in the Apostolic Canons, No. 85 (84), are wanting of the Old Testament, the books of Judith, Tobias, Wisdom, Jesus the son of Sirach, Maccabees; of the New Testament, the Apocalypse of S. John. Such an omission is, however, the less remarkable, as it is known that in the fourth century it was the custom, even among the Fathers of the Church (for instance, Athanasius), to reckon in the catalogue of the Holy Scriptures only the proto-canonical, and not the deutero-canonical books. The same applies to the Revelation of S. John, which was also in the fourth century thought not to be genuine by a large number of Greeks.

A special treatise concerning the genuineness of this canon was published by Spittler in 1777, in which he seeks to show that it did not emanate from the Synod of Laodicea, but was only added later, and taken fromt he eighty-fifth Apostolic Canon. His principal reasons are:—

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

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

(c) Lastly, Bishop Martin of Braga in the sixth century, though he has the fifth-ninth, has also not included in his collection the sixtieth canon so nearly related to it, nor does the Isidorian translation appear (?) at first to have had this canon. Herbst, in the Tübingen Review, also accedes to these arguments of Spittler’s, as did Fuchs and others before him. But Schrockh at least, even if somewhat hesitatingly, has raised the objection, that if this Synod in its fifty-ninth canon ordered that only the canonical books should be read, an explanation was obviously needed as to which are the canonical books.1 To this I may further add, first, that the Laodicean Canon of Scripture and that of the Canones Apost. are by no means identical, as Spittler assumes, but differ essentially both in the Old and New Testament;1 secondly, that the two argumenta ex silentio which Spittler alone employs in favour of his assertion, namely, the silence of Dionysius, John of Antioch, and Martin of Braga, are not in my opinion sufficient to outweigh the many manuscripts and quotations which support the sixtieth canon. And that only fifty-nine Laodicean canons are cited by many of the ancient Fathers proves nothing for Spittler, because, as he himself states, in very many old manuscripts the fifty-ninth and sixtieth canons were written as one, as the latter does in fact belong to the former.

SEC. 94. Synod at Gangra

A second Synod, also in Asia Minor, of uncertain date, but about the same time as that of Laodicea, was held about the middle of the fourth century at Gangra, the metropolis of Paphlagonia, of which we still possess twenty canons, and a Synodal Letter addressed to the bishops of Armenia. In the heading of the latter the Bishops Eusebius, Ælianus, Eugenius, Olympius, Bithynicus, Gregory, Philetus, Pappus, Eulalius, Hypatius, Proairesius, Basil, and Bassus give their names as members of the Synod of Gangra, but there is no intimation of the Episcopal Sees of any of them. Other names appear in some manuscripts of the Latin translation of this Synodal Letter, made by Dionysius Exiguus, among which occurs, e.g., that of Hosius of Corduba, certainly wrongly, as neither the Greek, the many Latin codices, nor the Prisca have it: moreover, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, Hosius was without doubt dead. Baronius and Binius were therefore certainly wrong in maintaining that Hosius presided at this Synod in the name of the Pope; for even if the Latin codices which insert his name had been right, no inference whatever could be drawn in favour of his presidency, as they only mention his name somewhat late, and not primo loco.

The Libellus Synodicus mentions another president of the Synod of Gangra, namely, a certain Dius. The Ballerini think that it should be Βίος, and that this again is only an abbreviation by copyists of Εὐσέβιος, who is named primo loco in the heading of the Synodal Letter. Which Eusebius is here meant is indeed doubtful, and depends upon the view taken as to the time when the Synod was held. Some take him to be the well-known Eusebius of Constantinople, formerly in Nicomedia; others the Eusebius, Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia (362–370), the predecessor of S. Basil the Great.

The Synodal Letter of Gangra says that “the Synod assembled on account of certain necessities of the Church, and for the investigation of the affair of Eustathius; and having found that many improprieties had been committed by the Eustathians, it therefore sought to remove the evils occasioned by him, Eustathius.” It then enumerates the following disorders occasioned by the Eustathians:—

(1.) “As the Eustathians condemn marriage, and maintain that no married person has hope with God, they have dissolved many marriages; and as those separated lacked the gift of continence, they have given occasion to adultery.

(2.) “They caused many to forsake the public assemblies for divine service, and to organize private conventicles.

(3.) “They despise the ordinary dress, and introduce a new (ascetic, monastic) dress.

(4.) “The first-fruits which are given to the Church they claim for themselves, as being par excellence the saints.

(5.) “Slaves run away from their masters and despise them, presuming upon their new dress.

(6.) “Women now assume men’s clothes, and think themselves thereby justified; nay, many shave their heads under the pretext of piety.

(7.) “They fast on Sundays, but eat on the fast-days of the Church.

(8.) “Some forbid all animal food.

(9.) “They will not pray in the houses of married people.

(10.) “They will not take part in sacrifices (Eucharistic sacrifices) in the houses of married people.

(11.) “They despise married priests, and take no part in their worship.

(12.) “They despise the services (masses) in honour of the martyrs, as well as those who join in them.

(13.) “They maintain that the rich who do not forsake all have no hope of being saved.

“Besides this, much else that is wrong is taught by them, while they are not at unity among themselves, and each one adds what comes into his own mind. The Council accordingly condemns them, and declares them shut out from the Church; but in the case of their coming to a better mind and anathematizing their errors, they shall be again received.”

In this passage the chief contents of the canons of Gangra are already given; for they are in substance no more than anathemas of the above-mentioned errors and irregularities of the Eustathians. They run thus:—

CAN. 1. “If any one despises wedlock, abhorring and blaming the woman who sleeps with her husband, even if she is a believer and devout, as if she could not enter the kingdom of God, let him be anathema” (that is, without further judgment shut out from the Church).

Gratian has twice adopted this canon in his collection, the first time according to the Isidorian translation, the second time according to the translation of Dionysius Exiguus. In the latter place he wrongly refers it to the prohibition of the marriage of priests, and as wrongly thinks that it was directed against the Manicheans, while in truth Eustathius and his exaggerated veneration of the vita monastica gave occasion for it.

CAN. 2. “If any one condemns one who eats meat, though he abstains from blood, idolatrous sacrifices, and things strangled, and is faithful and devout, as if in so doing he had no hope of salvation, let him be anathema.”

This canon also, like the preceding one, is not directed against the Gnostics and Manicheans, but against an unenlightened hyper-asecticism, which certainly approaches the Gnostic-Manichean error as to matter being Satanic. We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force, as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by S. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days.

Gratian adopted this canon.

CAN. 3. “If any one teaches a slave, under pretext of piety, to despise his master, to forsake his service, or not to serve him with good-will and entire respect, let him be anathema.”

As appears from this, and from the fifth article of the Synodal Letter, which is in accordance with it, many Christian slaves assumed the habitus monasticus, and left the service of their masters of their own accord to lead an ascetic life. The rule of this Synod harmonizes with 1 Tim. 6:1 and Tit. 2:9, 10. In the Corpus Jur. Can. this canon is found twice, viz. in the Isidorian translation, and the collection of Bishop Martin of Braga.

CAN. 4. “If any one maintains that, when a married priest offers the sacrifice, no one should take part in the service, let him be excommunicated.”

As is well known, the ancient Church, as now the Greek Church, allowed those clergy who were married before their ordination to continue to live in matrimony. Compare what was said above in the history of the Council of Nicæa, in connection with Paphnutius, concerning the celibacy and marriage of priests in the ancient Church. Accordingly this canon speaks of those clergy who have wives and live in wedlock; and Baronius, Binius, and Mitter-Müller gave themselves useless trouble in trying to interpret it as only protecting those clergy who, though married, have since their ordination ceased to cohabit with their wives.

The so-called Codex Ecclesiæ Romanæ published by Quesnel, which, however, as was shown by the Ballerini, is of Gallican and not Roman origin, has not this canon, and consequently it only mentions nineteen canons of Gangra.

CAN. 5. “If any one teaches that the house of God is to be despised, and likewise the services there held, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 6. “If any one, avoiding the churches, holds private meetings, and in contempt of the Church performs that which belongs only to her, without the presence of a priest with authority from the bishop, let him be anathema.”1

Both these canons forbid the existence of conventicles, and conventicle services. It already appears from the second article of the Synodal Letter of Gangra, that the Eustathians, through spiritual pride, separated themselves from the rest of the congregation, as being the pure and holy, avoided the public worship, and held private services of their own. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles of the Synodal Letter give us to understand that the Eustathians especially avoided the public services when married clergy officiated. We might possibly conclude, from the words of the sixth canon: “μὴ συνόντος τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου κατὰ γνώμην τοῦ ἐπισκόπου,” that no priest performed any part in their private services; but it is more probable that the Eustathians, who did not reject the priesthood as such, but only abhorred the married clergy, had their own unmarried clergy, and that these officiated at their separate services. And the above-mentioned words of the canon do not the least contradict this supposition, for the very addition of the words κατὰ γνώμην τοῦ ἐπισκόπου indicate that the sectarian priests who performed the services of the Eustathians had received no permission to do so from the bishop of the place. Thus did the Greek commentators, Balsamon, etc., and likewise Van Espen, interpret this canon.

CAN. 7. “If any one appropriates to himself the tithes of fruit (oblations) belonging to the Church, or distributes them outside the Church, that is, to those who are not ministers of the Church, without the consent of the bishop, or without being authorized by him, and will not act according to his will, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 8. “If any one gives or receives such offerings without the consent of the bishop, or one appointed by him for the administration of charities, the giver as well as the receiver shall be anathematized.”

Compare on this the fourth article of the Synodal Letter of Gangra, the fourth Apostolic, and the twenty-fourth Antiochian canon of the year 341.

CAN. 9. “If any one lives unmarried or in continence, avoiding marriage from contempt, and not because of the beauty and holiness of virginity, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 10. “If any one of those who for the Lord’s sake remain single, in pride exalts himself above those who are married, let him be anathema.”

That virginity without humility has no worth, had already been taught by the apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, and Ignatius of Antioch. Gratian adopted both these canons.

CAN. 11. “If any one despises those who in the faith solemnize the agape, and for the honour of the Lord invite their brethren to it, and will take no part in these invitations because he lightly esteems the matter, let him be anathema.”

The Synodal Letter of Gangra does not mention this point, as neither do Socrates and Sozomen, although they point out the other errors of the Eustathians. But, as Van Espen remarks, by the agape must not here be understood the ancient Church ceremony of that name, but such love-feasts as were given by wealthy Christians to the poor.

CAN. 12. “If any man from supposed asceticism wears the peribolæum (the pallium of philosophers and monks), and as if he were thereby made righteous, despises those who in piety wear upper garments (βήρους), and make use of other common and ordinary clothing, let him be anathema.”

The βήροι (lacernæ) were the common upper garments worn by men over the tunic; but the περιβόλαια were rough mantles worn by philosophers to show their contempt for all luxury. Socrates, and the Synodal Letter of Gangra in its third article, say that Eustathius of Sebaste wore the philosopher’s mantle. But this canon in no way absolutely rejects a special dress for monks, for it is not the distinctive dress, but the proud and superstitious over-estimation of its worth, which the Synod here blames. In Gratian this canon is found in c. 15, Dist. xxx.

CAN. 13. “If a woman from pretended asceticism alters her dress, and instead of the customary female dress assumes male attire, let her be anathema.”

The Synodal Letter in its sixth article also speaks of this. Exchange of dress, or the adoption by one sex of the dress of the other, was forbidden in the Pentateuch (Deut. 22:5), and was therefore most strictly interdicted by the whole ancient Church. Such change of attire was formerly adopted mainly for theatrical purposes, or from effeminacy, wantonness, the furtherance of unchastity, or the like. The Eustathians, from quite opposite and hyper-ascetical reasons, had recommended women to assume male, that is, probably monk’s attire, in order to show that for them, as the holy ones, there was no longer any distinction of sex; but the Church, also from ascetical reasons, forbade this change of attire, especially when joined to superstition and puritanical pride.

CAN. 14. “If a woman leaves her husband and separates herself, from an abhorrence of the marriage state, let her be anathema.”

Compare the first article of the Synodal Letter. It is plain, and Van Espen has expressly pointed out, that the question here is not of divorce in its real sense (a vinculo), but of a separation quoad thorum. Whether this separation from table and bed took place with or without the mutual consent of both parties is of no importance, for in either case it was the result of a false dogmatic reason, i.e. the opinion mentioned in the Synodal Letter, that a married person could not be saved. Therefore this canon cannot in any way be employed in opposition to the practice of the Catholic Church. For though the Church allows one of a married couple, with the consent of the other, to give up matrimonial intercourse, and to enter the clerical order or the cloister, still this is not, as is the case with the Eustathians, the result of a false dogmatic theory, but takes place with a full recognition of the sanctity of marriage.

Gratian adopted this canon from the Isidorian translation, which wrongly says: soluto vinculo conjugali.

CAN. 15. “If any one forsakes his children, and does not educate them, and, as far as he can, train them in fitting habits of piety, but neglects them under the pretext of asceticism, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 16. “If children, especially those of Christian parents, forsake them, under the pretext of piety, and do not show them due honour, on the plea of esteeming piety as the higher duty, let them be anathema.”

It appears from the translation given, that the words προτιμωμένης δηλονότι παρʼ αὐτοῖς τῆς θεοσεβείας—“thus plainly esteeming piety the higher duty”—are spoken in the sense of the Eustathians, and contain the pretext with which they defended their wrong behaviour towards their parents, as did the Pharisees of whom Christ says: “But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your traditions” (Matt. 15:5, 6).

CAN. 17. “If a woman from pretended asceticism cuts off her hair given her by God to remind her of her subjection, thus renouncing the command of subjection, let her be anathema.”

The Apostle Paul, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, 11:10, represents the long hair of women, which is given them as a natural veil, as a token of their subjection to man. We learn from the Synod of Gangra, that as many Eustathian women renounced this subjection, and left their husbands, so, as this canon says, they also did away with their long hair, which was the outward token of this subjection. An old proverb says: duo si faciunt idem, non est idem. In the Catholic Church also, when women and girls enter the cloister, they have their hair cut off, but from quite other reasons than those of the Eustathian women. The former give up their hair, because it has gradually become the custom to consider the long hair of women as a special beauty, as their greatest ornament; but the Eustathians, like the ancient Church in general, regarded long hair as the token of subjection to the husband, and, because they renounced marriage and forsook their husbands, they cut it off. On this compare Van Espen, and the sixth article of the Synodal Letter of Gangra. Gratian has adopted this passage also, after Isidore’s inaccurate translation.

CAN. 18. “If any one from pretended asceticism fasts on Sunday, let him be anathema.”

Compare the seventh article of the Synodal Letter, and in Gratian, c. 7, Dist. xxx.

CAN. 19. “If an ascetic, as possessing perfect understanding, and without bodily necessity, out of pride does not keep the fasts universally commanded, and observed by the whole Church, let him be anathema.”

The words, ἀποκυροῦντος ἐν αὐτῷ τελείου λογισμοῦ, present a certain amount of difficulty. I translated: “possessing full understanding,” and supposed the words in question spoken in the spirit of the Eustathians. Van Espen also understands them thus, as he translates, perfectâ in eo residente ratione, and remarks that this refers to the pride of the Eustathians, who laid claim to a better understanding of Christianity than any others. The Greek commentator Zonaras also agrees with this. But Hardouin and Mansi interpret the passage differently, and translate: si deliberato consilio hæc jejunia improbet, i.e. “if the Eustathian deliberately rejects the Church fasts.”

In Gratian this canon occurs in c. 8, Dist. xxx., again mistranslated, but differing from Isidore and Dionysius Exiguus.

CAN. 20. “If any one out of pride and scorn censures the σννάξεις of the martyrs or the services there held, and the commemoration of the martyrs, let him be anathema.”

Van Espen is of opinion that the Eustathians had generally rejected the common service as only fit for the less perfect, and that the martyr chapels are only mentioned here, because in old times service was usually held there. According to this view, no especial weight need be attached to the expression μαρτύρων. But this canon plainly speaks of a disrespect shown by the Eustathians to the martyrs. Compare the twelfth article of the Synodal Letter. Fuchs thought that, as the Eustathians resembled the Aerians, who rejected the service for the dead, the same views might probably be ascribed to the Eustathians. But, in the first place, the Aerians are to be regarded rather as opposed than related in opinion to the Eustathians, being lax in contrast to these ultra-rigorists. Besides which, Epiphanius only says that they rejected prayer for the salvation of the souls of the departed, but not that they did not honour the martyrs; and there is surely a great difference between a feast in honour of a saint, and a requiem for the good of a departed soul. Why, however, the Eustathians rejected the veneration of martyrs is nowhere stated; perhaps because they considered themselves as saints κατʼ ἐξοχήν, exalted above the martyrs, who were for the most part only ordinary Christians, and many of whom had lived in marriage, while according to Eustathian views no married person could be saved, or consequently could be an object of veneration.

Lastly, it must be observed that the first meaning of σύναξις is an assembly for divine service, or the service itself; but here it seems to be taken to mean συναγωγή, the place of worship, so that the συνάξεις τῶν μαρτύρων seems to be identical with martyria, and different from the λειτουργίαι held in them, of which the latter words of the canon speak.

To these twenty canons the Synod of Gangra added an epilogue, which is often cited in the old manuscripts as the twenty-first canon, and the object of which was to prevent any misinterpretations of the decrees. It runs thus:

“We write (order) this, not in order to shut out those who in the Church of God, and in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, desire to lead ascetic lives, but those who make asceticism a pretext for pride, exalt themselves above those who lead simpler lives, and introduce innovations contrary to the Holy Scriptures and the canons of the Church. We, too, admire the virginity which is accompanied with humility, and approve continence when joined to dignity and virtue. We approve the renunciation of worldly affairs, if done with humility, and honour married intercourse as seemly, nor do we despise riches if united with righteousness and benevolence. We praise that simplicity and uncostliness of dress, which without ornament only serves for the needs of the body, and do not approve the effeminate and luxurious advance in dress. We also honour the house of God, and the assemblies held therein; but we do not confine holiness to these houses alone, but honour every place which is built in the name of God (therefore also the martyria). We approve the common service in the Church of God for the good of the community, and value the immense charities of the brethren, which, in accordance with traditional order, are bestowed upon the poor through the Church; and, to sum up all, we wish that everything handed down in the Holy Scriptures and the Apostolic Traditions (that is, rules and usages) delivered to us (παρδοθέντα—παραδοσέων) should be observed in the Church.” Gratian divided this Epilogue into two canons.

As we have seen, the Synod of Gangra was occasioned by the proud hyper-asceticism of Eustathius and his followers. Socrates and Sozomen both maintain that this Eustathius was no other than the well-known Bishop of Sebaste bearing the same name, with whom we became acquainted among the heads of the Semi-Arians. They also describe him as a strictly ascetic man, who introduced monasticism into Asia Minor and Armenia, gave rules for a strict life, as to dress and food, but who fell into foolish practices contrary to the laws of the Church. They then go on to ascribe to him in detail the very same ultra-rigorist and hyper-ascetic views which were censured by the Synod of Gangra, and their testimony has the more weight as both of them were only two generations younger than Eustathius, and he was one of those renowned personages who are spoken of long after their death.

This distinct statement of Socrates and Sozomen is further confirmed by Basil the Great, who also ascribes to Eustathius of Sebaste a tendency to monasticism, and subsequently quarrelled with him, his former friend, on account of several irregularities. To this must be added that Eustathius was bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, and that it was precisely to the bishops of Armenia that the Synod of Gangra directed its Synodal Letter. Under such circumstances, the statement of Baronius, Du Pin, and others (supported by no single ancient testimony), that another Eustathius, or possibly the monk Eutactus, is here meant, deserves no serious consideration, though Tillemont did not express himself otherwise than in favour of it.

It may be further questioned whether the errors and irregularities which the Council of Gangra rejected, should be attributed to Eustathius of Sebaste himself, or rather to his pupils, and the latter opinion found many supporters in the time of Sozomen. Among later writers, the Benedictines especially pronounced in favour of it. But the Synod of Gangra in its Synodal Letter not only speaks of the followers of Eustathius (τῶν κατʼ Εὐστάθιον), but especially of Eustathius himself (ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ).

In accordance with the decisions of Gangra, Eustathius is said to have laid aside his peculiarities, and again dressed himself like other ecclesiastics (not as a monk); but Sozomen describes this as a mere unwarranted report.

It now remains to decide the date of the Synod of Gangra. Socrates places it after the Synod of Constantinople of 360; but Sozomen, though certainly in a very vague and loose manner, places it before the Antiochian Synod of 341.1 The fact that in many old collections of canons, especially that of Dionysius, the canons of Gangra precede those of Antioch, agrees with this latter view, and not a few scholars have therefore placed the Synod of Gangra between those of Nicæa and Antioch, i.e. between 325 and 341; besides which, the Synod of Gangra mentions Eustathius without the title of bishop, which probably it would not have omitted if he had already at that time been raised to the episcopate.

Remi Ceillier has suggested another hypothesis as to the date of the Synod of Gangra, i.e. that, as in the letters in which S. Basil the Great complains of Eustathius (Ep. 226, 257) he never in any way mentions that the Synod had also declared against him, therefore it is more likely that it was held after those letters were written, in 376. Moreover, S. Basil’s youngest brother, S. Peter, became bishop of Sebaste in 380. This would agree perfectly with the opinion that Eustathius was deposed from the See of Sebaste by the Synod of Gangra shortly before the year 380, and Peter appointed as his successor.

Lastly, the Ballerini are of opinion that this Synod took place between 362 and 370 A.D., and for this reason, that Bishop Eusebius, who is first named in the heading of the Synodal Letter, and was plainly the president of the Synod, was probably no other than the Archbishop Eusebius of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, the predecessor of S. Basil, to whom, in accordance with the prerogative of his See, the primacy over the provinces of Pontus, Paphlagonia, and Armenia belonged. This period between 362 and 370 would also agree with the statement of Socrates, that the Synod of Gangra came later than that of Constantinople in 360; and the Libellus Synodicus also, in stating that Dius was the president of the Synod of Gangra, probably indicates this Eusebius. But this hypothesis also is based upon the unproved assumption that the Eusebius of the Synodal Letter was the Archbishop Eusebius of Cæsarea; and after all has been said, we can arrive at no certain conclusion as to the date of the Synod of Gangra.








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