Catholic Encyclopedia
Church Fathers
Classics Library
Church Documents
Prayer Requests
Ray of Hope
Social Doctrine

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



SEC. 101. Synods at Aquileia and Milan in 381

IN the same year as the second General Council a Synod was also held at Aquileia. Two Illyrian bishops, Palladius and Secundianus, whose Sees are unknown, would not acknowledge themselves to he Arians; they had, however, been accused by the other Western bishops of heresy, and had therefore already in 378, or the beginning of 379, when Gratian was sole regent of the whole empire, requested him to assemble a great General Council of Eastern and Western bishops to inquire into the matter. In so doing, they of course set their hopes on the many Arianizing bishops of the East. Gratian wished at first to comply with their desire, but was persuaded by S. Ambrose of Milan only to command the neighbouring bishops to assemble at a Synod at Aquileia, while all the rest, especially the Eastern bishops, were left free to appear or not. In the summer of 381, therefore, thirty-two bishops were collected from different countries of the West, from Italy, Pannonia, Gaul, and Africa, many of whom acted singly as plenipotentiaries for whole provinces. Spain and Rome alone were not represented, the latter probably because Ursinus was just then disputing possession of the Apostolic See with Pope Damasus, as we have already seen. The most celebrated of the assembled bishops were S. Valerian of Aquileia, the president of the Synod, and S. Ambrose, who was the most active member, and the soul of the whole affair. Abundantius of Trent, Theodorus of Octodurum, the apostle of Wallis, and the well-known Philastrius of Brescia, had also appeared.

After they had for a considerable time, in August 381, held several preliminary confidential discussions with Palladius and Secundianus,—at which, as nothing was committed to paper, they gave tolerably free expression to their errors,—the formal proceedings began, or the actual Synod was opened, on the third of September 381. At the desire of Ambrose, who was the chief speaker of the orthodox, the letter of Arius to his bishop, Alexander of Alexandria, was read aloud, and Palladius was asked whether or not he agreed to these blasphemies against the Son. He gave no direct answer, but rather complained that Ambrose had hindered a General Council from taking place, and insisted upon the presence of his brethren the Eastern bishops. Besides this, he tried all sorts of evasions, and did not join in the anathema which the other bishops pronounced upon all the leading points of the Arian doctrine. Such were also the tactics of Secundianus and the priest Attalus, who belonged to the same party, and they demanded the adjournment of the Synod until a greater number of the laity should also have arrived. But on the proposal of Ambrose, the Synod on the same day, the 3d September, at one o’clock in the afternoon, pronounced the anathema and sentence of deposition upon Palladius, Secundianus, and Attalus, and sent immediate tidings of this in a circular to all the bishops of the West. The Synod sent a circumstantial account of what had taken place to the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian IL, and Theodosius, and prayed them to lend the aid of the secular arm for the actual deposition of the condemned, and the appointment of orthodox bishops in their stead. It should also be made an impossibility for the teacher of Attalus, Julianus Valens (perhaps Bishop Valens of Mursa), any further to disturb the peace of the Church, or to travel about from one town to another; and lastly, the Photinians should no longer be allowed to hold assemblies at Sirmium. In a third letter the Synod prayed the Emperors, especially the Emperor Gratian, to whose jurisdiction Rome belonged, to lend no ear to the anti-Pope Ursinus and his calumnies against Damasus. Lastly, in a fourth letter, also addressed to the Emperors, the Synod interceded for Paul of Antioch and Timothy of Alexandria (against whom an opposition party had likewise arisen), and demanded that the Emperors should assemble a great Council at Alexandria to decide the disputes existing among the orthodox themselves. Palladius and his friends were, of course, very dissatisfied with the result of this Synod. They complained that all had not been written down as they had spoken it; they brought accusations especially against Ambrose; protested afresh against being confounded with the Arians; and demanded that a new Council should be held at Rome.

We still possess two letters of an Italian Synod to the Emperor Theodosius, about which it is doubtful whether they emanate from the Council at Aquileia just mentioned, or from one held somewhat later at Milan. The fact that S. Ambrose presided points to Milan. In the first of these letters the Latins justify their desire expressed at Aquileia for a great Synod, by which the schisms, especially that of the Meletians, should be extinguished, the erroneous doctrine of Apollinaris inquired into, and the Apollinarians themselves heard. And in the second letter to the same Emperor, the Synod complains that after the death of Meletius a new bishop had been chosen for Antioch, and that Paulinus was not universally acknowledged. This, it is added, was done by the advice of Nectarius of Constantinople, who was himself not a rightful bishop, as the episcopal chair of that city belonged to (the Cynic) Maximus; also that Gregory of Nazianzus had been unlawfully made Bishop of Constantinople, and that all this had been done by those who had hindered a General Council from taking place. By this they mean the Eastern bishops at the second General Council, whom they accused of having held a local Synod consisting of Greeks only, notwithstanding the invitation to a General Council. In conclusion, they demand the restoration of Maximus to the See of Constantinople, and that a General Council of the Easterns and Westerns should be held at Rome.

SEC. 102. The Synods at Constantinople and Rome in 382

In accordance with the desire of the Synod of Aquileia, the Emperor Theodosius, soon after the close of the second General Council, summoned the bishops of his empire to a fresh Synod,—not, however, as the Latins had wished, at Alexandria, but at Constantinople. He also twice invited S. Gregory of Nazianzus, but he excused himself on account of weak health, and said that in his experience such assemblies promised very little good. There were assembled here, in the beginning of the summer of 382, very nearly the same bishops who had been present at the second General Council. On their arrival at Constantinople, they received a letter from the Synod of Milan above mentioned, inviting them to a great General Council at Rome. They did not, however, go there, because, as they say in the Synodal Letter, they had only made arrangements for a shorter journey, and were, moreover, only authorized by their colleagues to act at Constantinople, and it was no longer possible in the short interval allowed them to obtain fresh authority, and prepare for so distant a journey. They remained, therefore, at Constantinople, and sent as an assurance of their friendship and unity of faith three bishops of their number, Syriacus, Eusebius, and Priscian, with a Synodal Letter to Pope Damasus, Archbishop Ambrose, and the other bishops assembled in Council at Rome. In this letter they first describe the numberless persecutions to which they and their Churches had been lately exposed under the Emperor Valens. They had now entered upon a better time, and their return to their Sees had become possible, yet even now the flock were still incessantly threatened by the wolves (the Arians). They proceed to excuse themselves for not being able to come to the Roman Synod, and affirm their adherence to the Nicene faith as being the oldest, and immediately connected with holy baptism (πρεσβυτάτην οὖσαν καὶ ἀκόλουθον τῷ. βαπτίσματι), saying: “By it we are taught to believe in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and consequently in one and the same Godhead, power, and essence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and in the same dignity, and the same eternal dominion in three absolutely perfect hypostases, or three perfect Persons, so that neither can the heresy of Sabellius, which confounds the hypostases,—that is, does away with their separate personality,—find any room, nor the blasphemy of the Eunomians, Arians, and Pneumatomachians be admitted, which divides the Being, or the Nature, or the Godhead, and joins on to the uncreated Trinity, equal in being and eternity, a later born, created, or strange (ἑτερουσίου) nature.” In view of the importance of this confession of faith, which was often erroneously ascribed to the Synod of Constantinople of about a year earlier—i.e. the second General Council—and which so far has an œcumenical character that, although only drawn up by the Eastern Church, it yet confirms the consensus fidei omnium orbis Ecclesiarum, it may be well to add the original text: διδάσκουσαν ἡμᾶς πιστεύειν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, δηλαδὴ θεότητός τε καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ οὐσίας μιᾶς τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος πιστευομένης, ὁμοτίμου τε τῆς ἀξίας, καὶ συναϊδίου τῆς βασιλείας, ἐν τρισὶ τελειοτάταις ὑποστάσεσιν, ἤτουν τρισὶ τελείοις προσώποις• ὡς μήτε τὴν Σαβελλίου νόσον χώραν λαβεῖν, συγχεομένων τῶν ὑποστάσεων, ἤγουν τῶν ἰδιοτήτων ἀναιρουμένων• μήτε μὲν τὴν τῶν Εὐνομιανῶν καὶ Ἀρειανῶν καὶ πνευματομάχων τὴν βλασφημίαν ἰσχύειν, τῆς οὐσίας ἢ τῆς φύσεως ἢ τῆς θεότητος τεμνομένης, καὶ τῇ ἀκτίστῳ καὶ ὁμοουσίῳ καὶ συναϊδίῳ τριάδι μεταγενεστέρας τινὸς ἢ κτιστῆς ἢ ἑτερουσίου φύσεως ἐπαγομένης. This confession speaks also very strongly and correctly of the Incarnation: “We also hold unchanged the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Lord, not allowing the economy of the flesh to be either without soul or without reason, or imperfect, acknowledging the Logos of God perfect from eternity, and who for our salvation in the last times became perfect Man” (καὶ τὸν τῆς ἐνανθρωπήσεως δὲ τοῦ κυρίου λόγον ἀδιάστροφον σώζομεν, οὔτε ἄψυχον οὔτε ἄνουυ ἤ ἀτελῆ τῆς σαρκὸς οἰκονομίαν παραδεχόμενοι• ὅλον δὲ εἰδότες τέλειον μὲν ὄυτα πρὸ αἰώνων θεοῦ λόγον, τέλειον δὲ ἄνθρωπον ἐπʼ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν γενόμενον). “Further details on this matter,” continue the Greeks, “the Latins might see from the Tome of the Antiochian Synod of 378, and from the Tome which the General Council of Constantinople (381) drew up the year before.” Lastly, the Greek Fathers seek to justify, by appealing to a canon of Nicæa, the elevation of Nectarius to the See of Constantinople, and Flavian to the See of Antioch, adding that they recognize S. Cyril as Bishop of Jerusalem, and pray the Westerns for their cheerful consent.

Finally, the Synod of Constantinople of 382 also drew up at least two canons, which have been erroneously adopted as the fifth and sixth canons of the second General Council, and of which we have already spoken.

The Roman Synod, to which the Easterns addressed the Synodal Letter, was the fifth held under Damasus, and, besides the Pope, there were present the Bishops Ambrose of Milan, Britton (perhaps of Trèves), Ascholius of Thessalonica, Anemius of Sirmium, Basil (whose See is unknown), and several others. S. Jerome, S. Epiphanius (Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus), the Eustathian Bishop Paulinus of Antioch, and the three deputies of the Synod of Constantinople, were also there. No acts of this assembly have come down to us, and we have but few certain accounts of its proceedings. Its principal result is said to have been the condemnation of the Apollinarian heresy. Also, by the wish of Pope Damasus, Jerome had to compose a confession of faith, which the Apollinarians were to sign, if they desired to return to the Church, and which spoke of Christ as Homo Dominicus. Besides this, the Synod is said to have excommunicated Bishop Flavian of Antioch, and the two Bishops who consecrated him, Diodorus of Tarsus, and Acacius of Berœa, but, after having received more accurate information, to have no longer supported the Cynic Maximus.

SEC. 103. Synod of Constantinoplein 383

The continued efforts of the Arians and Pneumatomachians to spread their doctrines, in spite of the ecclesiastical and imperial prohibitions, led the Emperor Theodosius in 383 to summon the bishops of the different parties to a great assembly, in the hope, perhaps, thereby of also securing their dogmatic union. This Synod took place in June 383, under the consuls Merobaudes II. and Saturninus; and before the actual proceedings began, the Emperor communicated to the Bishop Nectarius of Constantinople his intention that those assembled should discuss the differences of faith. Nectarius, disturbed at this, consulted the Novatian Bishop Agelius, who agreed with him in doctrine, and was held in high esteem on account of his personal piety. Agelius did not feel himself quite qualified for such a disputation, but he had a very clever reader Sisinnius, who possessed great eloquence, and was in the highest degree skilled in theology and philosophy, and to him he desired to entrust the disputation with the Arians. Sisinnius was, however, of opinion that peace was not to be obtained thus, but that, on the contrary, it might only increase the divisions; and this he stated also before Nectarius, adding that, instead of disputing, it would be better to produce the testimonies of the old Fathers of the Church on the doctrine of the Son, and first of all to ask the heads of the several parties whether they accepted these patristic testimonies, or whether they desired to anathematize the Fathers from whom they emanated. A presumption of this sort would be followed by their own rejection on the part of the people; but if they declared themselves ready to accept these testimonies, it would then be the duty of the orthodox to produce their proofs from the Fathers.

Nectarius imparted this to the Emperor, and he gladly agreed to the plan. When, therefore, the bishops of the different parties appeared, he put this question to them: Did they respect the teachers who had lived before the Arian division? They answered in the affirmative; and he then put the second question: Did they also acknowledge them to be sound and trustworthy witnesses of the true Christian doctrine? Concerning the answer to this, however, divisions arose, not only between the different parties, but even among members of the same party, and it was evident that the sectaries were only determined upon having a disputation. This displeased the Emperor in the highest degree, and he now ordered that each party should draw up a written confession of its faith. When the best qualified man of each party had done this, the bishops were summoned on a certain day to the Imperial palace, Nectarius and Agelius as the heads of the orthodox, Demophilus (formerly Bishop of Constantinople) as representative of the Arians, Eleusius of Cyzicus on the side of the Pneumatomachians, and Eunomius as spokesman of the Anomœans. The Emperor received them with kindness, took from them their written confessions, and retired with these into an apartment, where he prayed God for enlightenment, and rejected and destroyed all of them except the orthodox one, because they introduced a division in the Holy Trinity.

Of these creeds, only that of Eunomius has come down to us, which is found in several old manuscripts of the works of Gregory of Nyssa against Eunomius, and was first given to the press by Valesius, and afterwards by Mansi. Here Eunomius very openly and emphatically stated his doctrine, called only the Father God, and placed the Son among the creatures as the First-born of all creation, denying His participation in the Divine Being and the Divine Glory. The Holy Ghost he placed still lower, as created (γενόμενον) through the Son, and subject to the Son in everything, but higher than all (other) creatures, the greatest, best, and most beautiful creation of the Only-begotten. In conclusion, Eunomius threatened his opponents with the judgment of God.

When the sectaries saw the resolute conduct of the Emperor, they sorrowfully returned home, and endeavoured by letters to their adherents to comfort them, chiefly as to the fact that so many now went over to the Nicene faith, and deserted their party. For, they observed, there were many called, but few chosen. Socrates adds that, when the majority of the people, from fear of authority (under Constantius and Valens), were still on their side, they had used very different language. The Emperor now, however, forbade all sectaries, excepting the Novatians,—who, on account of their conduct at the Synod, were allowed to retain possession of their churches,—to hold divine service anywhere for the future, or to publish their doctrines, or to ordain clergy, etc., and threatened them also with severe civil punishment; not, as Sozomen affirms, with the intention of really carrying out these threats, but to frighten them, and thus make them more desirous of unity.

Lastly, at this Synod the Antiochian schism also came again under discussion, and unfortunately on this subject no agreement could be attained among the orthodox themselves, as the bishops of Egypt, Arabia, and Cyprus recognised Paulinus as the rightful bishop, and demanded the banishment of Flavian, while those of Palestine, Phœnicia, and Syria were in favour of the latter.

SEC. 104. Synods at Bordeaux (Burdigalensis) in 384, and at Trèves in 385

Notwithstanding the censure pronounced by the Synod of Saragossa in 380 on Priscillianism, the adherents of that heresy by the use of bribery still secured the powerful protection of several high officers of State, and through them of the Emperor Gratian himself, so that their chief opponents and accusers, the two Spanish bishops Idacius and Ithacius, were persecuted in various ways, and even driven away. But, on the 25th August 383, Gratian was murdered at Lyons, and Maximus, who had before been general, made himself Emperor of the West. When, in the beginning of the year 384, he came to Trèves, Ithacius laid before him a complaint against Priscillian and his adherents, upon which he commanded the sectaries to be brought before a Synod at Bordeaux. This was done, and Instantius, the second leader of the Priscillianists, was the first to speak in their defence, but with so little success that the Synod declared him to be unworthy of his office. Fearing the same usage for himself, Priscillian refused to acknowledge the competence of the Synod, and appealed to the Emperor, whereupon both accusers and accused were brought to the Imperial Court at Trèves.

S. Martin of Tours, who was there just then, blamed the passionate conduct of Ithacius, and begged the Emperor to shed no blood, not even that of the guilty, but to rest satisfied with the judgment of the bishops pronouncing them heretics; the more so, as it was something quite new and unheard of for a secular judge to take cognisance of an ecclesiastical matter. The Emperor paid regard to these representations, but Ithacius was so furious that he wished to bring S. Martin under suspicion of heresy, as he also in his fanaticism charged many who fasted and prayed much with Priscillianism. When S. Martin had again left Trèves, the Emperor allowed himself to be induced by Ithacius and two other bishops, Magnus and Rufus, after an investigation conducted by Evodius, the prefect of the Gauls, to have Priscillian and his clergy, Felicissimus and Armenius, beheaded, as well as his friend the learned Euchrocia, widow of the rhetor Delphidius of Bordeaux, and some others, while Instantius and other Priscillianists were banished, some to Gaul, and some to the island Sylina, on the coast of Britain.

The Synod at Trèves in 385 sanctioned the conduct of Ithacius, which was blamed by many, and induced the Emperor Maximus to take still further steps against the Priscillianists, so that he resolved upon sending special commissioners to Spain, and punishing all these sectaries with confiscation of property and death. At this time, S. Martin of Tours came again to Trèves for the purpose of interceding for some former servants of the late Emperor (Gratian), who had been condemned to death. At the same time, he besought the Emperor not to send the commissioners into Spain, and held aloof entirely from the Ithacian Synod which he had just assembled. When, however, the Emperor threatened to have all those for whom Martin had interceded put to death, if he did not immediately take part in the Synod, the saint yielded, and appeared at the assembly just when it was in the act of appointing Felix, who according to Sulpicius Severus was a very worthy man, Bishop of Trèves. On this, the Emperor promised not to send the officers to Spain; but S. Martin returned the next day to Tours, grieved to have been obliged to hold communion with the Ithacians, even though only for one day, and from that time he was never again present at any Synod.

SEC. 105. Synods at Rome in 386, and at Telepte or Zelle about 418

We learn from a Synodal Letter of Pope Siricius to the bishops of Africa, that, in January 386, a Synod at Rome consisting of eighty bishops re-enacted various older laws of the Church; for instance:—

(1.) No consecration (of a bishop) shall take place without the consent of the Apostolic See, i.e. the primate.

(2.) As has already been ordered in the fourth canon of Nicæa, no single bishop shall take upon himself to consecrate another.

(3.) He who after baptism has served in war, may not become a cleric.

(4.) A cleric (of the lower orders) may not marry a widow.

(5.) He who, as a layman, has married a widow, may not be received among the clergy.

(6.) No one may ordain one belonging to another Church.

(7.) A deposed cleric may not be admitted into another Church.

(8.) Those who come over from the Novatians or Montenses shall be received back by imposition of hands only, because they rebaptize.

The Council of Nicæa, in its eighth canon, lays down a similar rule, according to which the present one must be understood thus: “If Novatian clergy”—for it is of clergy and not of laymen that the preceding canon treats—“wish to enter the Church, they must not be actually re-ordained, but they must nevertheless receive a fresh imposition of hands, after the manner of laymen who have been baptized by heretics.” Ex eo quod rebaptizant, is given as a reason for this. The Ballerini conjecture the right reading to be præter eos, quos rebaptizant, taking as their authority for this Pope Innocent I., who re-enacted this rule nearly word for word, and thus understood the short sentence in question: præter eos si qui forte a nobis ad illos transeuntes rebaptizati sunt.

(9.) Finally, we advise (suademus) that the priests and Levites should not live with their wives.

The Synodal Letter of Pope Siricius, which contains these nine canons, has only been preserved to us by an African Synod (at Tele) of the beginning of the fifth century (probably of the year 418), where it was read. Many doubts were, however, raised about its genuineness, especially by P. Quesnel and Bower, while it is maintained by Constant, Remi Ceillier, and above all by the Ballerini.

(a) It is true that the African Synod, where this instruction of Siricius was re-enacted, could not, as the greater number of codices state, have taken place at Tele, for Tele is in proconsular Africa, and the bishops present at the Synod belonged to the Byzacene province. But some very good codices read Concilium Teleptense, which agrees very well, as Telepte was the metropolis of the Byzacene province. Remi Ceillier therefore decided in favour of this reading. But the Ballerini, on the other hand, endeavoured to show, by appealing to critical authorities, that Zellense should be read, and that Zelle was a city of the Byzacene province. It is true that the letters T and Z were often confounded by the Africans; but whether the Ballerini or Remi Ceillier are right, Quesnel has in any case been too hasty in inferring the spuriousness and falsehood of the whole matter from the word Tellense.

(b) It is true that in the letter of Pope Innocent I. to Bishop Victricius of Rouen, part of the same text is found as in the Synodal Letter of Siricius. But it does not follow from this that the latter is spurious, for, as Hincmar of Rheims rightly observed, Hic est enim mos Apostolicæ Scdis pontificibus, ut verba decessorum suorum quasi propria in suis ponant epistolis.

(c) It has been again objected that, in the ninth canon of the letter of Siricius, the celibacy of the priests is only advised, while at the time of Siricius it had already become a law, and was strictly enforced by him in other places as such. But the suademus of the Latin text not only means,” We advise that to be done which is not commanded,” but may also mean, “We entreat and exhort you to follow that which is commanded,” just as the preacher often exhorts and advises men to observe the laws of God.

(d) Lastly, the contents of the first canon in this document, which ascribes the confirmation of all elections of bishops to the Pope, forms no ground for assuming its spuriousness.

Several codices declare that the Synodal Letter of Siricius was an encyclical, and by no means addressed only to the Africans. It was natural that the original copy, which was intended primarily for the Italian bishops, should contain the rule that “no bishop should be appointed without the consent of the Apostolic See;” for this was the established rule of the Church. But, for other countries, the text had to be accommodated to the laws there prevailing. Thus, e.g., Pope Innocent I. in his letter to Victricius of Rouen changed the rule of Siricius to this, Ut extra conscientiam metropolitani episcopi nullus audeat ordinate. In Africa, however, the title of metropolitan did not exist, but there were instead primates or bishops primæ sedis; and for this reason probably, in the copy of the epistle of Siricius belonging to the Africans, the expression primatis was first inserted either by Siricius himself or by them.

SEC. 106. Synods at Antioch, Sida, and Carthage

Formerly, the Synod of Nimes was generally placed in this same year, 386, or in 389; recently, however, it has been shown to belong to the year 394, and therefore we shall have to speak of it later.

Sozomen speaks further of an Antiochian Provincial Synod of 388 or 389, which forbade the sons of S. Marcellus to revenge their father’s death upon the heathen. Marcellus, Bishop of Apamea in Syria, by the desire of the Emperor Theodosius, had several heathen temples destroyed, and upon one of these occasions he was thrown into the fire by the enraged heathen at Aulon, on this account.

At about the same time (according to others, in 390), it is said that another small Antiochian Synod under Flavian, and a somewhat larger Synod of twenty-five bishops at Sid a in Pamphilia, under Amphilochius of Iconium, condemned the heresy of the Massalians, and excommunicated them. The existence of these two Synods is, however, doubtful.

Two Synods at Carthage of 386 or 389, and 387 or 390, the first of which was only an introduction to the second, were of no great importance. From the latter only have any acts come down to us, and thence alone do we obtain any information about the Synod held in the previous year. The second Synod, under Bishop Genethlius of Carthage, has left thirteen canons:—

Can. 1. (in reality the introduction to the whole rather than an actual canon) declares the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

Can. 2. binds bishops, priests, and Levites to abstain from their wives.

Can. 3. Priests may not undertake the consecration of the chrism, the benediction of virgins (nuns), or the reconciliation of penitents.

Can. 4. Only when the bishop is hindered, may a priest with his permission undertake the reconciliation of a penitent.

Can. 5. If a district has hitherto had no bishop, neither shall it have one in the future. But where a bishop has hitherto been, there also shall one be in the future.

Can. 6. Persons of evil repute shall not be allowed to appear as accusers of bishops and priests.

Can. 7. Whoever receives into his Church one excommunicated elsewhere shall himself be excommunicated.

Can. 8. If a priest has been excommunicated or punished by his superior, he can complain to the neighbouring bishops (apud vicinos episcopos conqueri), that they may hear his affair (appeal), and reconcile him again to his bishop. If he does not do this, but from pride separates himself from the communion of his bishop, occasions a schism, and offers the sacrifice, he shall lose his post and incur anathema. He must also be far removed from the place where he has hitherto lived, that he may not mislead the simple.

Can. 9. If a priest officiates anywhere without the permission of the bishop (agenda voluerit celebrare), he shall be deprived of his dignity.

Can. 10. A bishop can only be judged by twelve bishops, a priest by six, a deacon by three bishops (besides his own).

Can. 11. No bishop may interfere in another diocese.

Can. 12. No new bishop may be appointed without the consent of the primate.

Can. 13. If a bishop violates these rules, which he himself has subscribed, he shall be shut out (deposed).

SEC. 107. The Synods at Rome and Milan in 390

These Synods were occasioned by Jovinian and his heresy. Jovinian was a monk, whether at Milan or elsewhere is uncertain, and had for a considerable time practised great ascetic severity. But about 388 he approached nearly the same views concerning good works as Luther, and taught (1) that virginity, widowhood, and married life were equally meritorious; (2) also that fasting was not more meritorious than eating, provided the latter was done with thanksgiving; (3) that all who with full faith were born again in baptism, could not be overcome by the devil; (4) that all who are saved by the grace of baptism may expect an equal reward in heaven (a consequence of the former views, i.e. that there are no different degrees of moral virtue); lastly, (5) that Mary indeed conceived Christ as a virgin, but did not bear Him as a virgin, for through child-bearing her virginity ceased; for otherwise we must say, with the Manicheans, that the body of Christ was not real, but only appeared so. He, in fact, accused the orthodox of the Manichean and Docetic errors.

In conformity with this doctrine, Jovinian changed his former ascetic life for one of easy luxury, and endeavoured to spread his errors partly by books and partly by other methods of proselytism. For this purpose he repaired under Pope Siricius to Rome, and persuaded several consecrated virgins and ascetics to marry, asking them: “Are you better than Sarah, Susanna, Anna, and many other holy women and men of the Bible?” He could not, however, draw any priests to his side; nay, several illustrious laymen, especially Pammachius, well known through the Letters of S. Jerome, came forward against him, and demanded of Pope Siricius the condemnation of the heretic. Upon this Siricius, in 390, assembled his clergy at a Synod, and declared the doctrine of Jovinian to be contrary to the Christian law, and therefore that the leading teachers of the error—Jovinian, Auxentius, Genialis, Germinator, Felix, Plotinus, Martianus, Januarius, and Ingeniosus—were by divine sentence and the judgment of the Synod condemned and expelled from the Church. At the same time, the Pope sent three priests, Crescens, Leopard, and Alexander, with this decision to Milan to inform S. Ambrose, who had already come forward as a very zealous opponent of Jovinian, of what had taken place, and to invite his consent.

Ambrose now, without delay, held a Provincial Synod at Milan, which in its Synodal Letter (without doubt the work of Ambrose, and still extant) highly praised the Pope for his care of the Church, gave a short explanation of the errors of Jovinian and the orthodox doctrine opposed to them, and also itself anathematized those persons who had been condemned at Rome.

The same Milanese Synod also very probably, in accordance with Siricius, declared against the Ithacians and rejected Bishop Felix of Trèves, who had been appointed by them, though he was personally a very worthy man. We do not, indeed, possess any original documents concerning this; but the Synod held only a few years later, at Turin, speaks in its sixth canon of letters issued by Ambrose and the Pope against Felix.

SEC. 108. Synod at Capua in 391

In 391, according to Tillemont’s reckoning, the not unimportant Synod of Capua was held, which is called by the ancients plenaria. Its chief object was to be the termination of the Meletian schism. Paulinus, one of the two orthodox Bishops of Antioch, had died in 388; but in order that the schism should not die out, he had first appointed as bishop for his small community the priest Evagrius, although it had long been forbidden by the canons that a bishop should himself nominate his successor. Besides this, Evagrius, in violation of another ancient rule of the Church, was not consecrated by three bishops. Opposed to him on the other side was Bishop Flavian, the successor of Meletius, whose appointment also, as we have seen, was not quite regular. These circumstances prompted the Emperor Theodosius, upon his return to Constantinople from the West (in 391), to consider some means for the removal of the schism, and he therefore proposed to Bishop Flavian, who stood in high favour with him, and whom he had sent for to Constantinople, to appear in person at the Synod at Capua, where the whole matter should be impartially investigated. Flavian excused himself on account of the winter, which was already setting in, and thus satisfied the Emperor; the Synod of Capua would not, however, decide definitely in the absence of both parties, but entrusted the jus cognitionis to Archbishop Theophilus of Alexandria and his suffragans, because they had remained neutral, and had not sided with either party. Thus relates S. Ambrose in his letter to Theophilus, from which we also learn that this attempt at a pacification did not produce the desired result.

The second matter which occupied the Synod of Capua was the erroneous doctrine of Bishop Bonosus of Sardica, who had denied the perpetual virginity of Mary, and maintained that she had borne several sons besides Jesus. The Synod came to a similar decision as with regard to the Meletian schism, and entrusted the fuller examination and decision of the affair of Bonosus to his neighbours, the bishops of Macedonia, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Thessalonica. Further details are not known, for the only authority on this is a short letter from an unknown person which is appended to another letter, probably written by Ambrose.

Finally, the Synod of Capua also published several rules of discipline, of which the Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Africanæ mentions the following: “No one may be a second time baptized, or a second time ordained, and bishops shall not be translated from one See to another.”

SEC. 109. Synod at Hippo in 393

Of considerably greater importance was the great African Synod which took place in 393 at Hippo Regius, the first of those numerous and renowned assemblies of the Church at which Aurelius, Archbishop of Carthage since the year 391, presided. Besides him, very many other bishops of different provinces in Africa were present, so that Possidius, in his Life of S. Augustine, called this Synod a plenarium totius Africæ Concilium. He adds, that at the desire of the bishops, S. Augustine, then still a priest at Hippo, delivered before the Synod his discourse De Fide et Symbolo, which is preserved to us in his work bearing the same title. The Byzacene metropolitan, Musonius, however, who was probably himself present at this Synod, explained its object by saying that “it had effected a salutary amendment of discipline.”

The complete acts of the Synod have been lost, but we still possess its heading, which runs thus: “Gloriosissimo Imperatore Theodosio Augusto III. et Abundantio viris clarissimis consulibus, VIII., Idus Octobris, Hippone Regio in secretario Basilicæ Pacis.” We see hence that the Synod was held on October 8, 398, in the Secretarium of the Basilica of Peace at Hippo Regius. These words are found in the Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Africanæ, as a later African Synod had all the canons of the Council held under Aurelius read again. But unfortunately Dionysius Exiguus, who collected these African canons, inserted only the heading of the acts of Hippo, and not the canons.

For further particulars concerning the Synod of Hippo we are, however, indebted to the third Carthaginian Synod in 397. To this Synod the bishops of the Byzacene province were also invited; they, however, contented themselves with sending their declaration in writing to the primate, Aurelius of Carthage, adding to this letter an abridgment (breviatio or breviarium) of the canons of Hippo, and expressing a desire for their renewal. The third Synod of Carthage granted this wish, and had this abridgment of the canons read out. Through it we learn the chief contents of the canons of Hippo; but the real text of this breviatio was itself very doubtful, until the Ballerini, by the use of extremely ancient and excellent codices, succeeded in restoring its original form.

This abridgment contains in the first line a Latin version of the Nicene Creed (without the additions of Constantinople), which was published anew and approved by the Synod at Hippo. Then follow first four, and then thirty-nine abridged canons of Hippo, so arranged that they form two distinct collections. The second series has even a heading of its own, Incipit brevis statutorum, but these words are a later addition, and both alike belong to the same Synod of Hippo.

The four first canons run thus:—

1. All African provinces shall be guided by the Church of Carthage with regard to the feast of Easter, concerning which an error has arisen.

2. The Bishop Cresconius of Villa Regis shall be content with his Church, and shall not lay claim to the See of Tubunæ; and, in general, no one shall assume rights over another diocese.

3. Mauretania Sitifensis may have a primate of its own.

4. As the bishops of the first Sees (primæ sedes) agree, the primates of the other provinces also shall, if disputes arise, be appointed in accordance with the advice of the Bishop of Carthage.

The second series contains the following:—

1. The readers may not pronounce the form of salutation to the people. No one may be ordained, nor any virgin consecrated, under twenty-five; only persons well instructed in the Holy Scriptures shall be promoted to the clerical office.

2. The Synodal laws shall be enjoined upon the bishops and clergy.

3. During the holy days of Easter the catechumens shall have nothing consecrated (sacramentum) given them except the customary salt, quia si fideles per illos dies sacramentum non mutant, nec catechumenos oportet mutare (i.e., as in the days of Easter the faithful only bring for consecration the customary wine and bread, not honey, milk, etc., so also there shall be no change with regard to the catechumens).

4. The Eucharist shall not be given to dead bodies, nor baptism conferred upon them.

5. Every year a Council shall take place, to which all ecclesiastical provinces shall send their deputies. But from Tripolis one only need come, on account of the poverty of its bishops.

6. A bishop must be accused before the primate of the province, and he may not be suspended without further proceedings, unless, having been summoned by the primate, he has not appeared within a month.

7. But if the accused will not appear at the annual Concilium Universale (the African General Council), he is excommunicated, and may not communicate even in his own diocese. The same punishment is incurred by the accuser if, when summoned to prove his charge, he does not appear.

8. If a priest is accused, the bishop, with five neighbouring colleagues, shall investigate the matter; but if it concerns a deacon, with two colleagues. Accusations against others the bishop alone investigates and decides.

9. If a bishop or any cleric despises the ecclesiastical court, and brings his cause before a secular court, he shall, if it is a criminal case, be deposed; but if a civil case, he must yield the advantage gained, if he would retain his office.

10. If an appeal is made from an ecclesiastical court to a higher ecclesiastical tribunal, this shall not injure the judges of the court of first instance, unless it can be proved that they have been purposely unjust. But if, with the consent of both parties, arbiters have been appointed, no appeal takes place.

11. The sons of the bishops and clergy may not join in secular plays, or witness them.

12. The sons of the bishops and clergy shall not marry heathens, heretics, or schismatics.

13. Bishops and clergy shall not make their sons independent too early, before their morals are firmly established.

14. Bishops and clergy shall not make any one their heir who is not a Catholic Christian, not even if he is a relation.

15. Bishops, priests, and deacons shall not be agents (procuratores) for others, nor shall they undertake any office which might oblige them to travel, and keep them from their ecclesiastical duties.

16. Strange women may not live with clerics.

17. No one may be ordained bishop, priest, or deacon, who has not first made all his household Catholic Christians.

18. When the readers have attained the age of puberty, they must either marry or make a vow of continence.

19. No one may keep or promote a strange cleric or reader in his church without the consent of the bishop.

20. No one may be ordained who has not been approved, either by examination or by the testimony of the people.

21. In prayer, no one shall address the Son instead of the Father, or the Father instead of the Son, except at the altar, when prayer shall always be addressed to the Father. No one shall make use of strange forms of prayer, without having first consulted well-instructed brethren (nisi prius eas cum instructioribus fratribus contulerit).

22. No cleric shall receive back more than he has lent.

23. At the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, nothing shall be offered but bread and wine mixed with water.

24. The unmarried clergy (of inferior orders) may not visit virgins or widows without the permission of the bishops or priests, and even then not alone. Neither may bishops and priests visit such persons alone, but only in the company of clerics or worthy laymen.

25. The bishop of a prima sedes shall not be called princeps sacerdotum or summus sacerdos, but simply primœ sedis episcopus.

26. Clerics may not enter inns to eat or drink, except when travelling.

27. Bishops may not travel across the sea (to Europe) without the consent of the bishop of the prima sedes, from whom they must also have the litteræ formatæ.

28. The sacrament of the altar shall always be celebrated fasting, except on the anniversary of its institution, Cæna Domini (Maundy Thursday).

29. Bishops and clergy shall have no meals in the church, unless when necessary for the refreshment of guests, and then none of the people shall be admitted.

30. The time of penance shall be appointed by the bishop in proportion to the greatness of the sin. Priests may not absolve (reconcile) any penitents, without the consent of the bishop, unless the bishop is absent, and it is a case of necessity. If an offence is publicly known, the penitent shall receive the imposition of hands before the apsis (therefore in public).

31. If virgins dedicated to God have no parents, they shall be entrusted by the bishop or priest to respectable women, with whom they must live, in order not to injure their reputation.

32. Sick persons, no longer able to speak, but whose relations testify that they had desired baptism, shall be baptized.

33. Actors and apostates who return to the faith shall not be refused reconciliation.

34. A priest may not consecrate virgins without the consent of the bishop, and he must never consecrate the chrism.

35. Clerics shall not stay in a strange town, unless the bishops or priests of the place have recognised the sufficiency of their reasons for so doing.

36. Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read, in the church, under the title of “divine writings.” The canonical books are:—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two books of Paraleipomena (Chronicles), Job, the Psalms of David, the five books of Solomon, the twelve books of the (Minor) Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. The books of the New Testament are:—the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of S. Paul, one Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews, two Epistles of S. Peter, three Epistles of S. John, the Epistle of S. James, the Epistle of S. Jude, the Revelation of S. John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted. On the anniversaries of martyrs, their acts shall also be read.

37. The old rule of the Councils, that no Donatist ecclesiastic shall be received into the Church otherwise than among the laity, remains in force, except as regards those who have never rebaptized, or those who desire to join the Church with their congregations (that is, such shall retain their clerical office). But the transmarine Church shall be consulted on this point, as also on the question whether the children of Donatists, who have received Donatist baptism, not of their own free will but at the desire of their parents, are to be excluded from being accepted for the service of the altar, on account of the error of their parents.

Further information about this Synod is supplied by an African Council held in 525, under Boniface of Carthage, at which several of its decisions were read out and renewed. According to this, two Mauretanian bishops, Cæcilian and Theodorus, proposed at the Synod of Hippo, that in future the Bishop of Carthage should annually announce by letter to the bishops of the higher Sees the day appointed for the feast of Easter; and when Bishop Aurelius, as president of the Synod, had made inquiry all round as to whether the proposition was approved, it was unanimously accepted. As we have already seen, the Epitome of the canons of Hippo also contains this decision.

The same Bishop Cæcilian, in union with his colleague Honoratus, also a Mauretanian, made a second proposition, that the Bishop of Sitifi should be appointed episcopus primœ sedis for Mauretania. He was to be chosen by the Provincial Synod, but his election was to be signified to the Bishop of Carthage, from whom he would receive instructions. Aurelius of Carthage brought this question also under discussion. The Bishops Epigonius of Bulla Regia, and Megalius of Calama in Numidia, took part in it, and it was at last unanimously resolved that each province might have its episcopus primœ sedis, on condition that none should be appointed without the knowledge of the Bishop of Carthage, so that the authority of his See should remain intact. These bishops were also always to give account of their acts to the Bishop of Carthage.

We further learn from the African Codex that, at a later African Synod, perhaps the third of Carthage, the Bishop Epigonius remarked that “nothing should be added to the Breviarium” of the Synod of Hippo, except that the day appointed for Easter should always be given notice of during the annual General Council, and not afterwards by letter. From the fifty-third, seventy-third, and ninety-fourth canons of the same Codex, we learn that this Synod also ordered that an African General Council should be held annually on the 23d August, and that each province should then be visited. Lastly, the Carthaginian deacon Ferrandus, a well-known collector of canons of the sixth century, cites a few more canons supposed to be of the Synod of Hippo.

SEC. 110. Synod at Nîmes in 394

The Gallican National Synod at Nîmes, of which Sulpicius Severus speaks in his second Dialogue, and after him Venantius Fortunatus, in his Life of S. Martin, belongs to the year 394. Sulpicius Severus relates that S. Martin refused to be present at a synod apud Nemausum (since he joined with the Ithacians in making Felix bishop of Trèves, he would never again take part in any synod), but that he was informed by an angel of all that took place there. This happened when Martin was at sea with Sulpicius Severus; and it appeared on further inquiry that the Synod of Nîmes was held on that very day, and that what was told him by the angel had actually been resolved upon.—No more was known of this Synod till, in 1743, Ignatius Roderique brought its acts to light in his Correspondance des Savans, printed at Cologne. They were also printed three years later, in a work published at Leipzig. This publication remained almost entirely unnoticed, so that it was believed that Dr. Knust had first discovered the Acts of the Synod of Nîmes in a manuscript of the sixth century, formerly belonging to the library at Cologne, but now to that of Darmstadt; and this was my own view when my first edition of this history appeared. They were originally communicated by Dr. Knust to the Bulletin of the Société de l’Histoire de France of 1839, and from thence found their way into the Freiburg Theological Magazine in 1844. As these Acts are not found in any collection of Councils, they were inserted, with the notes of Knust and the notice of them in the Bulletin, in the second volume of the first edition of this work, and this led Professor Abbé Lévêque of Nîmes to publish a little monograph on that Council. Many of the remarks and suggestions for the amendment of the text made use of here have also been brought forward by Dr. Nolte in his criticism of the little work of Lévêque.

According to Knust, the Acts run thus:—

“Incipit sancta Synodus quæ convenit in civitatem Nemausensem, Kal. Octobris, dominis Archadio et Honorio Augustis consulibus.

“Episcopis per Gallias et septem provincias salutem. Cum ad Nemausensem Ecclesiam, ad tollenda Ecclesiarum scandala discessionemque sanandam (in Roderique, dissensionem sedandam) pacis studio venissemus, multa utilitati congrua, secundum regulam disciplinæ, placuit provideri.

“I. In primis quia multi, de ultimis Orientis partibus venientes (the Manicheans) presbyteros et diaconos se esse confingunt, ignota cum suscriptione apostholia ignorantibus ingerentes, quidam (perhaps qui dum) spem infidelium (instead of ‘spem infidelium,’ read specie fidelium) sumptum stepemque captantur (read captant), sanctorum communione speciæ (read speciem) simulatæ religionis (add sibi) inpræmunt (inprimunt): placuit nobis, (add ut) si qui fuerint ejusmodi, si tamen communis Ecclesiæ causa non fuerit, ad ministerium altarii (altaris) non admittantur.

“II. Illud ætiam a quibusdam suggestum est, ut contra apostolicam disciplinam incognito usque in hoc tempus in ministerium feminæ nescio quo loco levviticum videantur adsumptæ; quod quidem, quia indecens est, non admittit ecclesiastica disciplina; et contra rationem facta talis ordinatio distruatur (read destruatur): providendum, ne quis sibi hoc ultra præsumat.”

This canon is directed against the Priscillianists.

“III. Illud etiam repetere secundum canonem placuit, ut nullus episcopus sive clericum sive laicum, a suo episcopo judicatum, in communionem admittat inlicitam.

“IV. Neque sibi alter episcopus de clerico alterius, inconsulto episcopo cujus minister est, judicium vindicet.

“V. Additum ætiam est, ut, quia multi, sub specie peregrinationis, de ecclesiarum conlatione luxoriant, victura (victuaria) non omnibus detur (dentur); unusquisque voluntarium, non indictum, habeat de hac præstatione judicium.

“VI. Ministrorum autem quicunque peregrina quibuscunque necessitatibus petunt, ab episcopis tantum apostolia suscribantur.

“VII. Addi etiam placuit, ut, quia frequenter Ecclesiis de libertorum tuitione inferuntur injuriæ, sive qui a viventibus manumittuntur, sive quibus libertas ultima testatione conscribitur: placuit Synodo, ut si fidelis persona contra fidem et contra defunctorum voluntatem venire temptaverit, communicantes, qui contra Ecclesiam veniunt, extra Ecclesiam fiant; catechumenis vero nisi inreligiositate pietatem mutaverint, gratia considerata secundum Deum per inspectionem tradatur” (important for the history of the abolition of slavery).

“Ego Aprunculus subscripsi.

Ego Ursus subscripsi.

“Ego Genialis pro me, et pro fratre Syagrio, subscripsi.

Ego Alitius pro me, et pro fratre Apro, subscripsi.

Ego Fœlix subscripsi.

Ego Solinus subscripsi

Ego Adelfus subscripsi.

Ego Remigius subscripsi.

Ego Epetemius subscripsi.

Ego Modestus subscripsi.

Ego Eusebius1 subscripsi

Ego Octavius1 subscripsi.

Ego Nicesius1 subscripsi.

Ego Evantius1 subscripsi

Ego Ingenuus1 subscripsi.

Ego Aratus subscripsi.

Ego Urbanus subscripsi.

Ego Melanius subscripsi.

Ego Treferius subscripsi.

Explicit. Episcopi numero xxi.”

From the heading of this Synod it appears that it was held under the Consuls Arcadius and Honorius. These two Emperors were, however, three times consuls together, in 394, 396, and 402. This last date will not suit; for, according to what has just been said, S. Martin was still living at the time of the Synod of Nîmes, and he died in the year 400. Thus there remain only the dates 394 and 396, and of these the former is the more probable, because in the heading of the Acts iterum does not follow consulibus.

SEC. 111. The Four First Carthaginian Synods under Aurelius, and the Synods of Adrumetum and Constantinople

As we have seen, Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage opened his series of Synods with that of Hippo in 393. These were followed, during his time of office, by twenty more, almost all held at Carthage itself, which had already in ancient times come to be separately numbered. The first of them belongs to the year 394; we, however, know no more of it than that several bishops from Proconsular Africa were chosen to go as envoys to the Synod of Adrumetum. It is thence inferred that this Synod of Carthage was only a provincial one, while that of Adrumetum was an African General Synod. More than this is not known.

In the same year, 394, a Synod also took place at Constantinople under the presidency of the Archbishop Nectarius, to decide between the claims of two bishops, Gebadius and Agapius, to the See of Bostra in Arabia; a matter which really belonged to the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch. On this occasion it was decided that in future a bishop could only he deposed by a greater synod, and by the sentence of the bishops of the province, and not simply by three other bishops.

If we turn again to Carthage, we shall find that two Synods, often not properly distinguished from each other, were held there in 397. One of these (the Second of Carthage) was held under Aurelius on the 26th of June, the other (the Third of Carthage) on the 28th of August. Of the first we have only one piece of information in the African Codex, between the numbers 56 and 57, which says that it was held on the sixth of the Kalends of July, under the Consuls Cæsarius and Atticus, and that it prescribed that no bishop should make a sea voyage without litteræ formatæ from the primate. But from the third Carthaginian Synod, of the 28th August 397, Acts have come down to us. In accordance with the rule of Hippo, this Synod was announced for the 23d August; but as the deputies of several African provinces did not immediately appear, the opening was postponed for some days. The deputies of Mauretania Sitifensis, however, declared that on account of the distance they could not wait so long. Like them, the bishops of the Byzacene province, with Musonius or Mizonius at their head, had arrived considerably earlier, and had already, on the Ides of August, held an assembly with Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage—a preliminary Synod—in which they rejected the abridgment of the decisions of Hippo, already well known to us, and gave him a letter, still extant, which they and Aurelius together addressed to the approaching African General Synod.

When they were assembled on the 28th of August, the Synod had these documents read aloud, gave its consent to the Breviarium, renewed the decisions it contained (as well as the Nicene formula), and added some fresh rules without distinguishing them from those of the Breviarium by special numbers. There are, however, but few of these additions. In the first the Bishops Honoratus and Urbanus, as envoys of the Mauretanian Province of Sitifi, again complain of Bishop Cresconius of Villa Regis, who, in spite of the decision of Hippo (canon 2), still retained possession of the See of Tubunæ, and beg for permission to invoke the aid of the civil governor of the province against him (an appeal to the secular arm). The Synod granted their request.

In the second the same bishops propose that it should be directed that a bishop may only be consecrated by twelve others. On the motion of Aurelius, however, this was not agreed to; but the Nicene rule was renewed, according to which at least three bishops were necessary to consecrate another.

The third treats of a case in which the fitness of a newly-elected bishop is questioned, and orders that the matter shall be investigated, and the consecration shall not take place till the inquiry is over.

The fourth renews the decisions of Hippo as to the feast of Easter, and the annual visitation of each province to take place at the time of the General Council.

In the fifth, Bishop Epigonius said that nothing should be added to that which was inserted in the Breviarium by the Synod of Hippo, except that the time appointed for Easter should always be announced at the Council. The rest refers to the appointment of new bishops, and forbids the confirmation of those priests who from pride seek to separate their parishes from the diocese to which they have hitherto belonged, in order themselves to become bishops. But those bishops who separate themselves from their colleagues, and entirely refuse to appear at the Synods, shall not only not be allowed to retain their dioceses undivided, but they must with the help of the public authority (brachium seculare) he banished from their Sees.

The sixth (in Mansi wrongly given as the seventh) is no more than the application of the nineteenth canon of Hippo to a special case.

Lastly, the seventh confirms the prerogative of the Bishop of Carthage with regard to the appointment and consecration of other bishops, and acknowledges his right to transfer the clergy from one diocese to another for the good of the Church.

At the end, forty-three bishops in all subscribed the decrees, among whom was S. Augustine. The Acts of this Synod were first accurately reproduced by the Ballerini, after whom Mansi adopted them in an amended form in his Collection of Councils.

One hundred and four canons (Baluze thinks 105) are ascribed to a fourth Carthaginian Synod in 398 (Honorio IV. et Eutychiano consulibus), according to the heading of which 214 bishops were present; and these canons are found in the old Spanish, as well as in the pseudo-Isidorian collection, and in Hardouin. Christopher Justellus, however, and other ancient scholars have raised objections to the real existence of this Synod; and the Ballerini have shown that many old codices did not ascribe this collection of 104 canons to a Council of Carthage, but gave them the general title of Statuta Ecclesiæ Antiqua, or a similar one. These codices also give the canons in a different, indeed the original order, as the Ballerini again show; while the Spanish collection has arranged the separate canons more in accordance with their contents. The conclusion obtained from the researches of the Ballerini is, that these 104 canons are certainly very old, but that the heading which ascribes them to the Carthaginian Synod of 398 is spurious. A synod of 214 bishops would have been the greatest and most remarkable among the African Synods, and yet nothing is known of such an one in 398. It is not mentioned either by Dionysius Exiguus, or by Ferrandus, or by the Carthaginian Synod of 525, which renewed so many canons of more ancient African Synods. Besides this argumentum ex silentio, there is also positive evidence against the Synod in question. For instance, the first canon (according to another arrangement the proœmium) plainly refers to Pelagianism, and even to Nestorianism and Monophysitism; besides which, the same canon speaks of metropolitans, which expression was not used in Africa. As we have already seen, primœ sedis episcopus, senex, and primas were used instead. To this must be added that Donatian of Telepte (Talabricensis), who in the signatures to the 104th canon appears as episcopus primœ sedis, did not in 398 possess this dignity. Moreover, the 104 canons do not proceed from one and the same Synod, nor even from several Carthaginian Synods, but the whole is the compilation of a private individual, who collected that number of ancient canons, partly from African and partly from other Synods, of which many were Eastern ones, for which reason in the Italian manuscripts his work obtained the title of Statuta Orientis. Probably this collection originated after the commencement of the Pelagian and Monophysite controversies, but still before the end of the sixth century, when it was adopted into other collections.

The often quoted canons of this supposed fourth Synod of Carthage run thus:—

1. He who is to be ordained bishop must first be examined whether he is prudent, teachable, of gentle manners, etc.; above all, whether he openly acknowledges the chief points of the faith, i.e. that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, that Christ has two natures, and yet is only one Person; whether he believes that the Old and New Testaments have only one Author and God; that the devil is not wicked by nature, but of his own free will; whether he believes in the resurrection of this flesh, and in the judgment; whether he does not disapprove marriage, or condemn second marriages, or the eating of flesh; whether he has communion with reconciled penitents, and believes that in baptism all sins, original sin as well as wilful sins, are remitted, and that extra Ecclesiam Catholicam nullus salvatur. If he passes the examination he shall be consecrated bishop, with the consent of the clergy and laity, in the presence of all the bishops of the province, and especially with the authority of the metropolitan. He must also be of the prescribed age.

2. When a bishop is consecrated, two bishops must hold the book of the gospels over his head and his neck, and while one pronounces the blessing over him, all the other bishops lay their hands on his head.

3. When a presbyter is ordained, and the bishop in blessing him lays his hand upon his head, all the priests present also lay their hands on his head.

4. When a deacon is ordained, only the bishop who blesses him lays his hand upon his head.

5. When a sub-deacon is ordained, he receives no imposition of hands, but the bishop delivers to him the paten and chalice empty, and the archdeacon gives him the little can with water, the mantile and manutergium (perhaps we should read urceolum cum aquamanile [= little plate], et manutergium).

6. When an acolyte is ordained, the bishop instructs him how he is to behave himself in his office. The archdeacon gives him the candlestick with the tapers, etc.

7. When an exorcist is ordained, the bishop gives him the book in which the exorcisms are written, with the words: Accipe et commenda memoriæ, etc. (just as now in conferring the power of exorcism).

8. When a reader is ordained, the bishop makes a discourse to the people upon him, his faith and his life, and then delivers to him the codex from which he is to read, saying, Accipe, etc. (as is still the practice).

9. When a doorkeeper (ostiarius) is ordained, the bishop delivers to him the keys of the church, saying, Sic age, etc. (as is still the practice).

10. A psalmist may receive his office by the command of the presbyter only, without the previous knowledge of the bishop. The presbyter thus addresses him, Vide ut quod ore cantas, corde credas, et quod corde credis, operibus comprobes. (This form is still used in ordaining a lector)

11. If a virgin is to be presented to the bishop for consecration, it must be in the same clothes which, in accordance with her sacred calling, she will henceforth wear.

12. Widows or virgins consecrated to God, who are to be employed at the baptism of women, must be competent to instruct rude and ignorant women how to answer at their baptism and how to live afterwards.

13. A bride and bridegroom shall be presented to the priest by their parents, or those representing them, for benediction. Out of respect to the blessing received, they shall remain the following night in virginity.

14. The bishop shall live close to the church.

15. A bishop shall have but little household furniture, and a frugal table.

16. A bishop shall read no heathen books, and heretical books only when necessary.

17. The affairs of widows, orphans, and strangers shall not be transacted personally by the bishop, but through the archpresbyter or archdeacon.

18. A bishop shall not take upon himself to act as executor.

19. A bishop shall not go to law in secular matters, even if he is provoked.

20. He shall not occupy himself with household cares, but with reading, prayer, and preaching.

21. Without urgent necessity a bishop shall not allow himself to be kept away from synods; he may, however, send his legates instead, ready salva fidei veritate to accept all that the synod may decide.

22. He shall not ordain any one without the advice of his clergy, and is bound civium conniventiam et testimonium quærere.

23. A bishop shall undertake no judicial action except in the presence of his clergy, otherwise his sentence is invalid.

24. Whoever leaves the church during the sermon of the priest shall be excommunicated.

25. Bishops who are at strife with one another shall be reconciled by the synod.

26. The bishops shall exhort clergymen or laymen, who are at strife, to peace rather than to law proceedings.

27. Neither a bishop nor any other ecclesiastic shall go from a smaller to a more important place. But if the good of the Church demands it, the translation (of a bishop) must take place at the synod, upon the written request of clergy and people. Other clerics only need (for their translation) the permission of their bishops.

28. An unjust sentence of a bishop (probably pronounced upon one of his clergy) is invalid, and must be reversed by the synod.

29. If a bishop accuses a clergyman or layman of a crime, he shall prove it before the synod.

30. Ecclesiastical judges may pass no sentence in the absence of the accused.

31. The bishop must regard Church property as his trust only,—not as his possession.

32. If a bishop gives away, sells, or exchanges any portion of Church property without the consent and signature of his clergy, it is invalid.

33. If a bishop or priest goes to visit the church of another, he must be received according to his rank, and invited to preach as well as to offer the holy sacrifice.

34. When the bishop is seated, he shall allow no priest to remain standing.

35. In the church and in the council of priests, the bishop shall have a higher seat; but at home he must conduct himself as a colleague of the priests.

36. The priests of country churches shall not demand the chrism (before Easter) from any casual bishop, but from their own, and not through any young cleric, but either in person or through him qui sacrarium tenet.

37. A deacon must understand that he is the priests’ as well as the bishop’s servant.

38. “When obliged by necessity, the deacon, in the absence of the priest, and by his command, shall administer the Eucharist (Eucharistia Corporis Christi) to the people.

39. At the bidding of the priest, a deacon shall take his seat wherever he is told.

40. If a deacon is asked to speak in the assembly of the priests, he shall do so.

41. A deacon shall only wear the alb tempore oblationis vel lectionis.

42. A cleric who zealously does the duties of his office under persecutions (tentationes) shall be advanced.

43. A Catholic Christian, suffering persecution for the Catholic faith, must be held in all honour by the priests, and his sustenance must be conveyed to him by a deacon.

44. Clericus nec comam nutriat nec barbam.

45. The dress and behaviour of the clergy shall be such as befit their office, and they shall not affect adornment in their clothes and shoes.

46. The clergy shall not live with strange women (cum extraneis mulieribus).

47. The clergy shall not walk about the streets and public places (per andronas) if their duties do not positively compel them to do so.

48. A clergyman who, without wanting to buy anything, frequents the markets or the forum, shall be degraded.

49. A clergyman who, without being ill, absents himself from the night offices, shall be deprived of his stipend.

50. A clergyman who, during persecution, forsakes his post or discharges his duties negligently, shall be deprived.

51. Even the learned clergy shall gain their living by a trade (artificium).

52. The clergy shall gain their food and clothing by a trade or by agriculture, without prejudice to their office.

53. All clerics who are capable of work shall learn a trade besides their regular studies.

54. A cleric who is envious of his brethren may not be advanced.

55. One who accuses a brother shall be excommunicated by the bishop. If he amends, he shall be received again into communion, but not replaced among the clergy.

56. A clergyman who deals in flattery and treachery shall he degraded from his office.

57. A clergyman who speaks evil, especially against priests, must beg for forgiveness, or he will he degraded.

58. The testimony of one who often goes to law, and is fond of accusing others, may not he accepted without strict examination.

59. Those of the clergy who live in enmity with each other the bishop shall restore to peace by exhortation or by force; the disobedient shall be punished by the synod.

60. Those who indulge in buffoonery, or use indecent language, shall be deprived of their office.

61. Those of the clergy who swear by creatures must be most severely reprimanded. If they persist in the fault, they shall be excommunicated.

62. A clergyman who sings during meals shall be punished in like manner.

63. A clergyman, who, without urgent necessity (inevitabilis necessitas), breaks the fasts, shall be degraded to a lower rank.

64. He who fasts on Sunday is not accounted a Catholic (against the Priscillianists).

65. Easter must be celebrated everywhere at the same time.

66. If a clergyman considers the sentence of his bishop against him to be unjust, he must have recourse to the synod.

67. Rebels, usurers, and revengeful persons may not be ordained.

68. A penitent, even if he is a good man, may not be ordained. If this is done per ignorantiam episcopi, the person ordained must be deposed (deponatur a clero), because at his ordination he concealed the fact. But if the bishop has knowingly ordained such a person, he forfeits his right of ordination.

69. The same punishment is incurred by a bishop who knowingly ordains a man married to a widow or divorced person, or who has been twice married.

70. The clergy must avoid the entertainments and society of heretics and schismatics.

71. The conventicles of heretics shall not be called churches, but conciliabula.

72. It is not permitted to pray or to sing psalms with heretics.

73. He who holds communion or prays with an excommunicated person shall be excommunicated himself.

74. The priest shall place all those who desire to do penance under the penitential laws.

75. Careless penitents shall only be received after a length of time.

76. If a sick person desires penance, but on the arrival of the priest can no longer speak, or has lost his understanding, then those who heard his wish shall testify to it, and he shall, receive the penance. If it is thought that he is about to die, he shall be reconciled through imposition of hands, and the Holy Eucharist shall be given to him. If he lives, the witnesses before mentioned shall assure him that his wish has been fulfilled, and he must be placed under the penitential discipline for as long as the priest thinks good.

77. Sick penitents shall receive the viaticum.

78. Penitents who have received the Holy Eucharist during an illness may not think, if they recover, that they are absolved without imposition of hands; that is, they must be bound through imposition of hands to do the works of penance.

79. If penitents who have shown themselves zealous die accidentally on a journey or at sea, where no one can come to their assistance, they shall yet be prayed for and the sacrifice offered in their behalf.

80. In every Lent the penitents must receive imposition of hands from the priests.

81. The penitents must bring the dead to church and bury them.

82. The penitents must bend the knee even diebus remissionis (on feasts and holidays).

83. The poor and the old are to be more honoured in the church than others.

84. The bishop shall hinder no one, whether heathen, heretic, or Jew, from entering the church, and hearing the word of God, usque ad misam catechumenorum.

85. Those who desire to be baptized must give their names, and when they have been proved by abstinence from wine and flesh, and by repeated imposition of hands, they shall be baptized.

86. Newly baptized persons shall for a time abstain from luxurious feasts, from the theatre, and from intercourse with their wives.

87. If a Catholic brings his quarrel, just or unjust, before the tribunal of a heretic, he shall be excommunicated.

88. He who neglects divine service on festivals, and goes instead to the theatre, shall be excommunicated.

89. He who deals in auguries (soothsaying) and incantations (conjuring) must be shut out of the Church, as must those also who join in Jewish superstition.

90. The exorcists shall lay their hands daily on the energumens.

91. The energumens shall sweep out the church.

92. The energumens who remain in the house of God must have their daily food given them at the right time by the exorcists.

93. The offerings of brethren who live in mutual enmity may neither be received in the sacrarium nor in the gazophylacium.

94. The presents of those who oppress the poor are to be refused by the priests.

95. Those who withhold from the Church the oblationes defunctorum, or make difficulties about giving them, shall be excommunicated as murderers of the poor.

96. At a court of justice the conduct and religion of accuser and accused must be inquired into.

97. A superior of consecrated women shall be examined by the bishop.

98. A layman may not teach in the presence of the clergy, except at their command.

99. A woman, however learned and holy, may not take upon herself to teach in an assembly of men.

100. A woman may not baptize.

101. Young and sickly widows are to be supported at the cost of the Church.

102. The bishop or parish priest is responsible if young widows or nuns are brought, on account of their bodily sustenance, into familiarity with clerics.

103. Widows who are maintained at the cost of the Church must be zealous in the service of God.

104. If a widow, who has dedicated herself to God and taken the religious habit, marries again, she shall be entirely shut out from the communion of Christians.

105. (Found by Baluze in a manuscript.) A clergyman who brings discord into the Church shall be deposed, and a laymen so doing shall be excommunicated.

Another Synod of Carthage, which, according to the conclusion we have arrived at, must be called the fourth, was held on the 27th April 399 (V. Kal. Maias), after the consulate of Honorius IV. and Eutychianus, in the Secretarium Basilicæ Restitutæ. Only one single decree, however, remains to us; i.e. that the Bishops Epigonius and Vincent should be sent to the Emperor to beg for the churches the right of asylum.

SEC. 112. Synods at Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Toledo

In the same year, 399, some synods touching the Origenist controversy were also held; and first, that of Alexandria under Archbishop Theophilus, whose Synodal Letter was first published by Ballarsi in his edition of the works of S. Jerome, and after him by Mansi. What was formerly held to be a fragment of this Synod, belongs to a later document by Theophilus.

Soon afterwards, a synod was also held at Jerusalem against the Origenists, which gave its assent to the above-mentioned Alexandrian Council.

About the same time, S. Epiphanius assembled a third Synod at Cyprus, also for the purpose of anathematizing Origen; and the only question is, whether these two last assemblies belong to the year 401, as Pagi thinks, or to 399, as Mansi, Walch, and others believe.

In the year 400 we have three synods: one at Constantinople, assembled by S. Chrysostom, for the deposition of Bishop Antoninus of Ephesus; a second at Ephesus, which, under the presidency of Chrysostom, deposed six Asiatic bishops, and made Heraclides Bishop of Ephesus; and lastly, the first Synod of Toledo, assembled by the Archbishop Patronus or Patruinus, and attended by eighteen other bishops, in September of the year 400. In the name of this Synod we have twenty canons, a creed directed against the Priscillianists, and two other documents touching the reception of Priscillianist bishops, etc.; it is, however, certain that the confession of faith belongs to a later Synod at Toledo, and we shall therefore treat of it further on.

The contents of the canons are as follows:—

1. Those deacons or priests who, before the law of celibacy was published by the Lusitanian bishops, have had intercourse with their wives, shall not be promoted to higher posts.

2. A penitent shall not be received among the clergy.

3. A reader (lector) who marries a widow can at the most only become a sub-deacon.

4. A sub-deacon who, after the death of his wife, marries a second time, shall be degraded to the office of an ostiarius or reader, and may not read the epistle and gospel. But if he marries a third time (quod nec dicendum aut audiendum est) he must do penance for two years, and even then, after being reconciled, may only communicate with the laity.

5. Every cleric must daily attend divine service.

6. A virgin dedicated to God shall hold no communication with men with whom she is not nearly related, especially not with a reader or confessor (= cantor).

7. If the wife of a cleric sins, her husband shall keep her in confinement, and impose fasts and the like upon her.

8. Those who have served in war may become clerics, but may not be raised to the diaconate.

9. A virgin dedicated to God, or a widow, may not, in the absence of the bishop, sing the Antiphons at home in company with her servants or a confessor. Neither may the Lucernarium (vespers) be held without a bishop, priest, or deacon.

10. Clerics who are not entirely free may not be ordained without consent of their patrons.

11. If a powerful man plunders a clergyman, monk, or poor person, and refuses to answer for it to the bishop, letters shall be at once addressed to all the bishops of the province, and any others who are in any way accessible, so that the person in question may everywhere be treated as excommunicate, until he has submitted and given back the stolen property.

12. A cleric may not forsake his bishop to take service with another.

13. Those who never communicate in the church shall be shut out.

14. Those who do not really consume the Holy Eucharist which they have received from the priest, shall be treated as “sacrilegious.”

15. No one may hold intercourse with an excommunicated person.

16. If a virgin dedicated to God falls (into sexual sin), she can only be readmitted to communion after ten years of penance. The same punishment is incurred by the partner of her guilt. But if such a virgin marries, she can only be admitted to penance on her giving up conjugal intercourse with her husband.

17. If a Christian has a believing wife and also a concubine, he may not be admitted to communion; but if he has no wife and only one concubine, he may be admitted.

18. If the widow of a bishop, priest, or deacon marries a second time, she shall be shut out from the Church, and may only receive the sacrament on her deathbed.

19. If the daughter of a bishop, priest, or deacon, who has dedicated herself to God, sins and marries, her parents may no longer hold any intercourse with her, and she herself shall be excommunicated, and may only receive the sacrament on her deathbed.

20. Only a bishop, not a priest, may consecrate the chrism (and he may do so on any day); but before Easter, deacons or sub-deacons shall fetch the chrism from him.

SEC. 113. The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh African Synods at Carthage and Mileve, and a Synod at Turin

The fifth century opened with two new Carthaginian Synods, the fifth and sixth, a correct account of which was again first given by the Ballerini.

There are fifteen canons of the fifth Carthaginian Synod in the pseudo-Isidorian collection, and Baronius discovered from a manuscript that this Synod took place on the sixth of the Kalends of June, after the consulate of Cæsarius and Atticus, i.e. in 398. But a fresh comparison of manuscripts showed that XVI. or XVII. Kal. Julias post consulatum Stiliconis was the right reading, and this gives us the 15th or 16th of June of the year 401. This agrees admirably with the fact that Dionysius Exiguus, in his Codex Can. Eccl. Afric. after canon 56, also mentions a Carthaginian Synod of the same date, of which he gives in part the same account as we find in the pseudo-Isidore. I say, in part; for of the fifteen canons given by the pseudo-Isidore, only the two first belong to this Synod, while the other thirteen belong to the sixth Carthaginian Synod, also held in 401. This appears from the fact that the more accurate Dionysius Exiguus ascribes the two first canons (Nos. 59 and 62 of the African collection) to the one Carthaginian Synod, and the other thirteen (Nos. 63–75) to the other Synod of the year 401. We have, however, not only these two, but seven other canons of the Synod held in June 401, which Dionysius has again preserved to us under the numbers—57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65. The contents of these nine canons of the fifth Carthaginian Synod are as follows:—

Bishop Aurelius of Carthage, in an introductory address, speaks of the prevailing dearth of clergy in Africa, and says that an envoy should be sent to the bishops on the other side of the ocean, especially to Pope Anastasius and Bishop Venerius of Milan, to beg their assistance in this distress.

CAN. 1 (57 in the Codex Can. Eccl. Afric.). Children of Donatists may, as has been already declared, be ordained after joining the Church.

CAN. 2 (58). The Emperors shall be entreated to have the heathen temples still existing in Africa destroyed.

CAN. 3 (59). If a lawsuit is brought before an ecclesiastical court, and one party is not satisfied with the ecclesiastical decision, the ecclesiastic who has been the judge may not be summoned as witness in the matter before the secular court. In general, no ecclesiastic may be compelled to appear as witness before a secular court. (This is the first of the fifteen canons in pseudo-Isidore.)

CAN. 4 (60). No heathen banquets may take place for the future.

CAN. 5 (61). On Sundays and feast-days no plays may be performed.

CAN. 6 (62). No one may defend a cleric deposed by sentence of the bishops. (Can. 2 in pseudo-Isidore.)

CAN. 7 (63). An actor who has become a Christian may not be brought back or compelled by any one to return to his former occupation.

CAN. 8 (64). The Emperor shall be prayed to grant the emancipation of slaves in Ecclesia in Africa also.

CAN. 9 (65). The condemnation of Bishop Equitius is repeated.

About three months after the fifth Carthaginian Synod the sixth took place, again in the Secretarium Basilicæ Restitutæ, on the Ides of September, under the Consuls Vincent and Flavius, viz. on the 13th September 401. The Ballerini have collected its Acts by a comparison of pseudo-Isidore, Dionysius, Ferrandus, and the quotations of the Carthaginian Council of 525.

Dionysius gives the proœmium of the Acts before No. 66 of the African Codex, and this contains the date, and the information that at the opening of the Synod Bishop Aurelius of Carthage read aloud a letter of Pope Anastasius, in which he exhorted the Africans to remain stedfast in the contest against the Donatists.

CAN. 1 also discusses the subject of the Donatists. It appears from Ferrandus that what Dionysius divides into two numbers (Nos. 66 and 67) originally formed only one canon, which ordered that the Donatists should be dealt with gently; but that at the same time the secular judges should be requested to take judicial protocols concerning the violent acts of the Maximianists (a party among the Donatists).

CAN. 2 (No. 68 in Dionysius). Donatist clergy shall, if necessary for the restoration of peace in the Church, retain their position, although a Council of the Transmarine Bishops has given a stricter decision.

CAN. 3 (No. 69). Emissaries shall be sent to the Donatists to induce them to return to the Church. It shall also be represented to them that they should practise the same mild treatment towards their sectaries, the Maximianists, as that for which they so greatly blamed the Catholic Church.

CAN. 4 (No. 70 in Dionysius; No. 3 in pseudo-Isidore). Bishops, priests, and deacons may have no intercourse with their wives, or they will be deposed from their office. The rest of the clergy, however, are not bound to such continence.

CAN. 5 (not found in Dionysius; No. 4 in pseudo-Isidore). No Church property may be sold without the consent of the primate of the province.

CAN. 6 (No. 71 in Dionysius; No. 5 in pseudo-Isidore). No one may forsake his Church in order to pass over to another, or neglect it for any length of time.

CAN. 7 (No. 72 in Dionysius; No. 6 in pseudo-Isidore). Children of whom it is uncertain whether they have been baptized, shall be baptized without delay.

CAN. 8 (No. 73 in Dionysius; No. 7 in pseudo-Isidore). The day for the feast of Easter shall be universally published by literæ formatæ; with regard to the General Council, it shall take place at the time determined upon by the Synod at Hippo, viz. on the 23d of August, and the primates of the several provinces shall so arrange their Provincial Synods that they may not interfere with the holding of the General Council.

CAN. 9 (74 in Dionysius; 8 in pseudo-Isidore). If a bishop is also administrator (z) of another diocese, he may not hold this office for more than a year.

CAN. 10 (75 in Dionysius; 9 in pseudo-Isidore). The Emperors shall be prayed to appoint, in union with the bishops, protectors (defensores) for the Church.

CAN. 11 (76 in Dionysius; 10 in pseudo-Isidore). The bishops shall not, without reason, be absent from the Councils; every primate (metropolitan) shall divide his province into two or three districts, and shall send deputies from each of them to the General Council. Those who cannot give any excuse for their absence must be satisfied with the communion of their own Church (i.e. they are not actually excommunicated, but excluded for a time from intercourse with their colleagues). Dionysius adds as No. 77 the following canon: Cresconius, Bishop of Villa Regis, shall be summoned to appear without fail at the next General Council. Isidore and Ferrandus, however, have not this canon, and in all probability it only formed an appendix to canon 11.

CAN. 12 (27 in Dionysius, who placed it among the canons of the African Synod of 419; 11 in pseudo-Isidore). Deposed priests or deacons may not receive the laying on of hands, as do the penitents or the faithful laity (that is, out of consideration for their office they may not be placed under any public penance); a rebaptized person may on no account be ordained.

CAN. 13 (79 in Dionysius; 12 in pseudo-Isidore). Ecclesiastics against whom charges are brought must defend themselves within the space of a year. No. 78 in Dionysius probably formed an appendix to this canon or the preceding one, and orders that a commission (among whom was S. Augustine) should be sent to Hippo-Diarrhytus (Dirutum) to set in order the Church of that place, disturbed by the crimes of Bishop Equitius, and to appoint a bishop there.

CAN. 14 (80 in Dionysius; 13 in pseudo-Isidore). A bishop may not ordain a monk from a strange monastery (belonging to another diocese), nor may he make him the superior of his own monastery.

CAN. 15 (81 in Dionysius; not found in pseudo-Isidore). A bishop may not make heathen or heretical relations his heirs under pain of anathema, to which he shall become subject even after his death. He shall also take care in good time that his heirs by law do not inherit, if they are heathens or heretics.

CAN. 16 (82 in Dionysius; wanting in pseudo-Isidore). The Emperor shall be prayed to allow the emancipation of slaves in Ecclesia.

CAN. 17 (83 in Dionysius; 14 in pseudo-Isidore). No memoriæ martyrum (martyr chapels) shall be tolerated that do not contain relics of the martyr in question, or do not bear some distinct historical relation to him, as being the place of his birth, death, etc.

CAN. 18 (84 in Dionysius; 15 in pseudo-Isidore). The Emperors shall be prayed everywhere to exterminate the remnants of idolatry.

CAN. 19 (85 in Dionysius). The Synodal Letters shall be dictated and signed by the Bishop of Carthage in the name of all.

As we have already seen, this sixth Carthaginian Synod took place on the 13th September 401; in the same year, on the 22d September, a synod was also held at Turin, which used to be wrongly ascribed to the year 397. Of this synod we possess another Synodal Letter addressed to the Gallican bishops, containing the following eight canons:—

CAN. 1. The Bishop Proculus of Marseilles, who claims the primacy of the second Provincia Narbonensis, shall have this precedence only in his own person, not for his See; for his city does not belong to that province.

CAN. 2. With regard to the dispute of the Bishops of Vienne and Arles concerning the primatial dignity, the Synod decided that he should he primate who could prove his city to be the metropolis.

CAN. 3. Irregular ordinations are most strictly forbidden.

CAN. 4. The sentence of Bishop Triferius (his See is unknown) against the layman Palladius, who had injured a priest of the name of Spanus, is confirmed.

CAN. 5. The sentence of the same Bishop Triferius against the priest Exuperantius, who had reviled his bishop, and therefore by him communione dominica privatus erat (according to Kellner, communione clericali), is also confirmed.

CAN. 6. Those Gallican bishops who renounced communion with Felix of Trèves (the friend of the Ithacians) shall be received into the communion of the Synod, in accordance with the letter of Ambrose of blessed memory, and of the Pope.

CAN. 7. No bishop may receive a strange or deposed cleric into his Church.

CAN. 8. No one who has been ordained irregularly, or has begotten children while discharging the ministry of the Church, may be promoted to any higher grade.

The Synod held at Mileve on the 27th August 402, under Archbishop Aurelius, before the Carthaginian Synod under Boniface, is designated as the seventh African Synod. Its canons are cited by Dionysius Exiguus and pseudo-Isidore; but the latter has erroneously joined the decisions of three later Synods at Carthage, in 405, 407, and 418, with the canons of Mileve, and has made a spurious addition to the preface of the Synod.

We find the genuine Acts of this Synod in Dionysius, in Nos. 85–90 of the African Codex, and in part also in the citations of the Carthaginian Synod under Boniface, abridged by Ferrandus. In the proœmium, which is designated by Ferrandus the first canon, it is said that the Synod was held on the 27th August, when the two Emperors Arcadius and Honorius were consuls for the fifth time (in 402), in the Secretarium of the Basilica at Mileve, under the presidency of Aurelius of Carthage, as a Concilium Universale (sc. Africæ). Aurelius opened it with an address, and then caused the Acts of the Synods of Hippo and Carthage (probably of 401) to be read, and they were once more accepted and signed. It was then decided in canon 1 that the younger bishops should not assume superiority over the elder ones, and were not to act without their advice; also that the register and the archives of Numidia should be preserved in the prima sedes as well as in the (civil) metropolis (Constantine).

CAN. 2 (87 and 88 of the Codex Can. Eccl. Afric.). Bishop Quodvultdeus, who would not answer before the Synod, shall be shut out; but he must not be deposed until his affair has been investigated. Bishop Maximian of Vaga (Vagiensem, not Bagajensem, is the right reading) shall resign his post, and the community shall elect another.

CAN. 3 (89). In order that in future there may be no more disputes among the bishops as to seniority, the date shall be given in exact chronological order in the registers of ordinations.

CAN. 4 (90). He who has officiated as reader in a church, even if it be only once, may not be received by another into the clerical body.

SEC. 114. Roman Synod under Innocent I. in 402

At about the same time as the Synod at Mileve a Synod was also held at Rome, under Pope Innocent I., of which we still possess sixteen canons, containing answers to questions of the Gallican bishops.

CAN. 1. If a virgin who has taken the veil has committed an act of unchastity, or, in order to hide her sin, has called the partner of her guilt “husband,” a penance of many years shall be imposed upon her.

CAN. 2. A virgin who has not yet taken the veil, but has resolved to remain in virginity, and has nevertheless had intercourse with a man, shall also have a long penance imposed upon her.

CAN. 3. Bishops, priests, and deacons must remain unmarried.

CAN. 4. Those who, after becoming Christians, have served in war shall not be ordained, because of the loose morals associated with the life of a soldier.

CAN. 5. Persons baptized in childhood who have always remained chaste, or those baptized as adults who have remained modest and only married once, may become ecclesiastics, but not those who have (since their baptism) been unchaste. This is the practice of the Roman Church.

CAN. 6. One creed and one discipline shall prevail among all Catholic bishops.

CAN. 7. During Eastertide the presbyter and the deacon may baptize in place of the bishop; but at other times, in a case of necessity, only the priest may baptize, not the deacon.

CAN. 8 is not very comprehensible on account of the corruption of the text, but it treats of the exorcism of the oil to be consecrated.

CAN. 9. No Christian may marry his deceased wife’s sister, nor besides his wife have a concubine.

CAN. 10. Those who have filled a magisterial office may not—on account of the sins almost necessarily involved in it—become ecclesiastics without previously doing penance.

CAN. 11. It is not permitted to marry the wife or the son of an uncle.

CAN. 12. No one shall be consecrated bishop without previous clerical ordination.

CAN. 13. A bishop who passes over to a strange Church shall be deposed.

CAN. 14. A strange cleric who has been deposed by his own bishop may not be elsewhere received, even to lay communion.

CAN. 15. No bishop may interfere in the diocese of another, or ordain earlier than others, or hinder the metropolitan in his business.

CAN. 16. Laymen excluded by their own bishop may not be elsewhere received among the clergy.

SEC. 115. Persecution of S. Chrysostom; “Synodus ad Quercum” in 403, and Synod at Constantinople in 404

We have already seen Theophilus of Alexandria to be an opponent of the Origenists. At a synod at Alexandria in 399, he had anathematized the doctrines of Origen and his adherents, i.e. the Long Brothers, with the exception of Dioscurus, and had soon afterwards driven from their homes more than three hundred Egyptian monks of Origenist views. The greater number fled to Palestine; but about fifty, among whom were the Long Brothers, went to Constantinople (401), where they were very kindly received and supported by S. Chrysostom, who also interceded for them with Theophilus, but he would not admit them to the holy communion, because they were banished by their own bishop. Theophilus refused to pardon them, and sent instead persons authorized to accuse them to Constantinople, and was displeased with S. Chrysostom, because he had been told, wrongly, that he had formally received the monks into communion. As, however, the monks who had fled to Constantinople brought heavy accusations against Theophilus to the ears of the Emperor Arcadius, he demanded that Theophilus should himself come thither to justify himself against these accusations before Chrysostom; but in the meantime the accusers, as they could not bring sufficient proof against Theophilus, were kept in prison until their opponent should appear, and it should be proved whether they had slandered him or not. Theophilus purposely delayed his departure for Constantinople, and persuaded the over-zealous Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis in Cyprus, then ninety years old, to go on before him and open the campaign against the Origenists in Constantinople. This happened in the winter of 402. Immediately upon the arrival of Epiphanius, Chrysostom sent the clergy to meet him; but he entirely refused to enter into communion with him, until he had driven away the Long Brothers, and subscribed to the anathema upon Origen. Chrysostom replied that “the coming Synod should decide the question.” Epiphanius, however, endeavoured to draw the other bishops then at Constantinople away from Chrysostom to his own side, and would even have preached publicly against him. But Chrysostom had it represented to him how easily the people might ill-treat him for so doing, and Epiphanius then not only relinquished his purpose, but even became reconciled to the Long Brothers, declared that he had been instigated to attack them, and at once took ship again for Cyprus, but died while still at sea in 403. Soon after this Theophilus came himself to Constantinople, bringing with him a considerable number of Egyptian bishops; and entering into a secret understanding with the enemies of Chrysostom (of whom there were many), especially with the Empress Eudoxia, and the Bishops Acacius of Berœa, Antiochus of Ptolemais, Severian of Gabala, and others, he gained over in a few weeks many of the most powerful men at Court, and finally, instead of appearing as the accused before Chrysostom, obtained permission from the Emperor to assemble a Synod himself, and summon Chrysostom to appear before it. But as the latter was exceedingly beloved in his diocese, it was thought advisable that the Synod directed against him should not be held at Constantinople, but near Chalcedon, on an estate ad quercum (ἐπὶ δρῦν) which belonged to the Imperial Prefect Rufinus, and comprised a palace, a large church, and a monastery. Here assembled thirty-six bishops, under the presidency of the Exarch Paul of Heraclea, all personal enemies of Chrysostom. Socrates as well as Sozomen state that at this Synod the subject of Origenism was never discussed, but that the monks who had fled from Egypt were called upon to beg Theophilus for pardon and reception, and that they were weak enough to do so; which would certainly not have been the case if Dioscurus and Ammonius, or any of the Long Brothers, had been present. But Dioscurus had died before the opening of this Synod. Ammonius had indeed arrived ad quercum, but so ill that he died there in the monastery almost immediately. This made such an impression upon Theophilus, that he even pronounced great panegyrics upon him after his death.

The second business of the Synod was, according to Sozomen, the investigation directed against S. Chrysostom, concerning which Photius, who had read the Acts of the Synod, relates as follows:—

This Synod, at which the accusers were both judges and witnesses, had thirteen sessions, twelve of which were directed against Chrysostom, and the last against Heraclides, whom he had consecrated Bishop of Ephesus. The Synod could not, however, accomplish his deposition. The chief accuser of Heraclides was Macarius, and of Chrysostom, his deacon John. The latter brought forward the following charges:—

1. Chrysostom had unjustly shut him out because he had beaten his servant Eulalius.

2. A certain monk, John, had been beaten by order of Chrysostom, and chained like a demoniac.

3. Chrysostom had sold many valuable articles (belonging to the Church).

4. Also the marble intended by his predecessor Nectarius for the church of Anastasia.

5. He had reviled the clergy.

6. He had called S. Epiphanius a fool and a demon.

7. He had formed intrigues against Severian (Bishop of Gabala), and set the decani against him.

8. He had written a book full of abuse of the clergy.

9. At an assembly of all the clergy he had summoned three deacons, and accused them of having stolen his ὠμοφόριον (stole).

10. He had consecrated Antonius bishop; although he violated people’s graves.

11. He had betrayed the Count John in a meeting of soldiers.

12. He did not pray either on entering or leaving the church.

13. He had ordained priests and deacons without an altar (not standing at the altar).

14. He had consecrated four bishops at once.

15. He received visits from women without the presence of witnesses.

16. He had sold the inheritance bequeathed by Thecla.

17. No one knew to what purpose the revenues of the Church were applied.

18. He had ordained Serapion priest at a time when the latter had still to clear himself of an accusation.

19. He had imprisoned persons who were in communion with the whole world, and when they died in prison had not even provided for their burial.

20. He had treated Acacius (Bishop of Berœa) with arrogance, and spoken no word to him.

21. He had delivered the priest Porphyry to the Imperial officer Eutropius for banishment.

22. Also the priest Berenius.

23. He bathed alone.

24. He had ordained many without witnesses.

25. He ate alone, and as immoderately as a Cyclops.

26. He was himself accuser, witness, and judge, as was shown in the case of the proto-deacon Martyrius and the Bishop Proairesius of Lycia.

27. He had still celebrated divine service after having struck Memnon in the face, in the Church of the Apostles, so that he bled at the mouth.

28. He unrobed on the episcopal throne, and ate a “pastile.”

29. He made the bishops whom he consecrated presents of money, in order thus (by this expenditure) to oppress the clergy.

After these charges had been brought forward, Chrysostom was four times cited, as Photius briefly states. Palladius, the biographer of Chrysostom, who relates this more fully, says that Theophilus sent three members of his Synod to Constantinople to invite Chrysostom, and they delivered to him the following very laconical letter:—

“The holy Synod at the Oak to John. Letters complaining of countless offences committed by you have been delivered to us. Appear, therefore, and bring with you the priests Serapion and Tigrius, for they are wanted.”

But Chrysostom also had assembled forty bishops at a Synod, and they now sent three of their number and two priests with the following letter to Theophilus: “He should not disturb the Church; and if, in spite of the Nicene rule, he wanted to settle a dispute beyond his diocese, still he should come to Constantinople, and not, like Cain, entice Abel into the field. He should first be called to account himself, for there was an indictment against him containing seventy charges. There were also more bishops assembled at Constantinople than at the Oak, where there were thirty-six, almost all from one province (Egypt), while at Constantinople there were forty, and among them seven metropolitans. Besides this, Chrysostom also wrote privately to the bishops at the Oak, that “if they desired that he should appear, they should first of all exclude from the Synod his declared enemies, i.e. Theophilus of Alexandria, Acacius of Berœa, Severian of Gabala, and Antiochus of Ptolemais. If these were sent away, he would most surely appear wherever they desired; but if not, he would not appear, even if they sent ten thousand times to him.”

Soon after this a notary came to him with an Imperial decree, to the intent that “he must appear at the Synod;” and at the same time, two disloyal ecclesiastics of his own diocese, the priest Eugenius (immediately afterwards, as a reward for his treachery, made Bishop of Heraclea) and the monk Isaac, brought a fresh summons from the Synod. Chrysostom complained of this in a brief and dignified manner, and sent his authorized representatives to the Synod. They were roughly treated, and the process against him was put into full swing.

As Photius further relates, the first and second charges were now investigated, when the monk John, mentioned just now, came forward and accused Bishop Heraclides of being an Origenist, and of having been apprehended at Cæsarea in Palestine for having stolen the clothes of the deacon Aquilinus, notwithstanding which Chrysostom had consecrated him Bishop of Ephesus. He then directed his complaints against Chrysostom, at whose command he had been made to suffer much from the priest Serapion, on account of the Origenists. This led to a discussion of the ninth and twenty-seventh charges. Bishop Isaac then came forward, accused Heraclides of Origenism, and affirmed that S. Epiphanius had held no communion with him. At the same time, he handed in the following list of charges against S. Chrysostom:—

1. The monk John had been beaten and put in chains on account of the Origenists.

2. Also, on account of the Origenists, Epiphanius would hold no communion with Chrysostom.

3. Chrysostom ate alone every day, and used no hospitality.

4. He used expressions (from heathen poetry) in church, such as, “The table is full of furies;” and

5. “I burn with love, and am mad.”

6. Such expressions ought to be explained.

7. He gave permission to sin, for he taught: “If thou hast sinned again, repent again;” and, “As often as thou hast sinned, come to me and I will heal thee.”

8. He had blasphemously maintained that “Christ’s prayer was not heard, because He did not pray aright.”

9. He excited the people to rebellion even against the synods.

10. He had received several heathens, great enemies of the Christians, and given them protection and defence in the church (when in peril of death they sought asylum there).

11. He consecrated bishops in strange provinces.

12. He had treated bishops with arrogance.

13. He had ill-treated clerics in quite new ways, and by force appropriated to himself inheritances bequeathed to others.

14. He had held ordinations without assembling the clergy, and without their consent.

15. He had received the Origenists; while, on the other hand, he would not release from prison persons who were in communion with the Church, and came to him with letters of recommendation, nor even acknowledge them after their death.

16. He had consecrated as bishops foreign slaves, not yet emancipated.

17. He had often ill-treated the accusèr (Isaac) himself.

Of these fresh accusations the first had really been already discussed, therefore the second and seventh charges were specially investigated, and then the third of the former list, in which the arch-presbyter Arsacius (afterwards the successor of Chrysostom) and the priests Atticus and Elpidius came forward as witnesses against him. They and the priest Acacius also gave evidence on the fourth charge.

After these had been heard, Bishop Paul of Heraclea, as President of the Synod, demanded that each member should state his opinion; and from Bishop Gymnasius, who voted first, to the last, Theophilus, they unanimously decided on the deposition of Chrysostom. There were in all now forty-five of them. A Synodal Letter was forthwith issued to the clergy at Constantinople concerning the deposition of Chrysostom, and also a letter to the Emperor, with still further charges against him. Thus ended the twelfth session; the thirteenth treated of the affair of Heraclides of Ephesus.

Thus Photius relates; Palladius, however, says that the Synodal Letter to the Emperor (addressed in the official form to both Emperors) ran thus: “Because John (Chrysostom), when accused of several offences, being conscious of his guilt would not appear, he has been, in accordance with the law, deposed (for contumacy). But the charges against him also involve the crime of high treason. Therefore of your goodness command that he may be banished, and may suffer the punishment of high treason; for the investigation of this point does not belong to us.”

Theophilus sent a commission to inform Pope Innocent also of the synodal decision. He, however, disapproved of what had been done, as is proved by a letter from him to Theophilus, which we still possess. But the Emperor Arcadius pronounced the sentence of banishment upon Chrysostom, which roused such indignation among the inhabitants of Constantinople, that the holy bishop, in order to hinder a threatened insurrection of the people, secretly escaped from his devoted adherents who had assembled round him in the church, and gave himself up voluntarily to the police officer who was to take him in charge. He was first shipped over to the town of Prænetos in Bithynia, where further arrangements concerning him were to be made; but a disturbance among the people, and an earthquake which had just taken place, and which was regarded as the judgment of God, so alarmed the Emperor, and still more the Empress, that the latter in an autograph letter besought the exile to return with the utmost speed. Thus a few days after his departure Chrysostom again returned to Constantinople, and was received with great rejoicings. He would not, however, resume his office until he should have been declared innocent by a larger synod. He therefore retired, to a country place near Constantinople; but the people obliged him to return to the city, conducted him into the church, and did not rest until he again ascended the episcopal throne. He still continued to repeat his desire for a synod, until the Emperor promised to grant his request; but Theophilus and the other accusers fled, and thus, greatly to his disadvantage, the much wished for assembly did not take place.

Only two months after this a fresh storm broke out against Chrysostom, which resulted in a second synod directed against him. Close to his episcopal church (of S. Sophia) a magnificent silver statue of the Empress had been erected amid noisy festivities, plays and dances, and the servile disposition of the Orientals found vent in semi-idolatrous acts of reverence before the statue. Chrysostom declaimed against this in a sermon, and thus offended afresh the hardly reconciled princess. The feast of the Beheading of S. John the Baptist (Aug. 29) fell soon afterwards, and a fresh sermon poured oil on the flames, as Chrysostom, it is said, distinctly compared the Empress to Herodias, who demanded the head of S. John—his own name being John.

The consequence was, that the synod, which he had always demanded in vain, was now at once summoned to Constantinople; and not only his own enemies, but even many who were indifferent, and in true Byzantine fashion were guided by the breath of the Court, appeared against him. Theophilus of Alexandria did not indeed himself appear, but he had given the synod evil advice which it faithfully followed: it did not enter at all into the points of complaint against Chrysostom, but deposed him by the canonical previous question, viz. by application of the fourth and twelfth canons of the Antiochian Synod of 341. According to these, a bishop who, after being deposed by one synod, reascends his throne without being reinstated by another synod, is to be for ever deposed.

Chrysostom challenged the authority of this Synod, as being an Arian one; but the majority without further discussion pronounced his deposition, and the Emperor confirmed the sentence. Imperial officers informed him of this sentence, bearing at the same time the command that for the present he should not leave his house, or again enter the church. The people at Constantinople, however, decidedly took his part, and only frequented the services held by clergy who were his adherents. So came the Easter of 404; and on Easter Eve, when many thousands were assembled in the church with the candidates for baptism, the military forced their way in and hunted out the Johannites, as the adherents of Chrysostom were called, amid revolting deeds of violence and much bloodshed. Similar scenes were repeated on the following days; and Chrysostom himself was in danger of being assassinated in his own house. At last, five days after Pentecost, on the 9th of June 404, he was sent into exile, where he died in 407.

SEC. 116. From the Eighth to the Fifteenth Carthaginian Synods, 403 to 410

During and immediately after these events in Constantinople, several synods were again held in Africa, the first of which was the eighth, under Aurelius, at Carthage, in the Basilica of Regio Secunda, on the 25th August (VIII. Kal. Sept.) 403, under the consulate of the Emperors Theodosius and Rumoridus. What we still possess of this Synod is preserved in the African Codex, Nos. 90–92. From thence we learn that S. Augustine was also present, and that the Synod began with an inquiry as to whether, in accordance with the decisions of former Councils, the prescribed number of bishops deputed from the several provinces of Africa were present. The two decrees still extant (91 and 92 of the African canons) refer to the Donatists, and rule as follows:—

CAN. 1 (No. 91). Every bishop shall in his own city, either alone or in union with a neighbouring colleague, enter into communication with the heads of the Donatists, and, with the assistance of the secular judges and magistrates, command them to choose on their side also deputies for a religious discussion. The letter to be addressed to the secular judges shall be signed by the Bishop of Carthage in the name of all.

CAN. 2 (92). At the same time, Archbishop Aurelius submitted for acceptance the letter of summons to be issued to the Donatists, the purport of which was that Donatists as well as Catholics, each party at its own Council, should make choice of deputies who should treat in common concerning the points of difference, and, where it was possible, come to a brotherly agreement.

We observe that in this canon the church of Carthage, as holding the common primacy of all Africa, is called κατʼ ἐξοχήν the Ecclesia Catholica, and the African General Council a Concilium Catholicum.

In June of the following year the ninth Carthaginian Synod took place, which again occupied itself with the affair of the Donatists, on whose account it sent the two bishops, Theasius and Evodius, to the Emperors Arcadius and Honorius. Of the Acts of this Synod we still possess, besides the proœmium, the instruction given to the synodal deputies just mentioned, to this effect: “They should inform the Emperors (properly Honorius, as Emperor of the West) that the Donatists had not accepted the offer made to them in the previous year, and had chosen no deputies, but had, on the contrary, indulged in all kinds of acts of violence against bishops, clergy, and churches of the Catholics. To this should be joined the petition that the Emperors would extend their protection to the Church and its ministers, and that they would again enforce the penal laws against the heretics, issued by their father Theodosius.” These deputies were at the same time entrusted with a letter from the Synod to the Emperors, signed by Aurelius in the name of all. In a second letter the secular judges were requested for the present, until an Imperial order was made, to protect the Catholics. Besides this, the deposition of Equitius, Bishop of Hippo-Diarrhytus, was again pronounced; and lastly, letters of recommendation to the Bishop of Rome, and in general to the bishops of the place where the Emperor was then staying, were also given to the deputies of the Synod.

Before these deputies reached Honorius he had already been induced by the brutal deeds of the Donatists to publish a severe edict against them, and had threatened the Donatist laity with fines, and their clergy with exile. Immediately after this, in February 405, he published a series of still more severe edicts, and especially commanded that the churches of the Donatists should be taken from them. The consequence was, that at Carthage there were numerous conversions from Donatism; and on the 23d August 405 the tenth Carthaginian Synod was held, which, in the interest of a more comprehensive union, demanded that all provinces should send their deputies with full powers (libera legatio) to the projected Council of Union. It was also resolved to request the secular judges to take steps in other provinces as well as Carthage for effecting a union of the Donatists with the Church. Letters of thanks for the exclusion of the Donatists (decreed by the Emperor) were also to be sent to the Court, and delivered by two Carthaginian ecclesiastics. Lastly, a letter of Pope Innocent I., no longer extant, was read, which said that “bishops should not lightly undertake journeys by sea,” and to this the Synod agreed.

We learn all this from the extract of the Synodal Acts, which is given in the African Codex. But the Ballerini suppose that another canon belongs to this Synod, viz. that which Isidore ascribes to the Synod of Mileve as its twenty-third.

We have fuller accounts of the eleventh Carthaginian Synod, which was again held in the Basilica of the Second Region on the 13th June 407, the Acts of which are found in the African Codex. The decrees are as follows:—

CAN. 1 (No. 95 in the African Codex). As the rule of the Council of Hippo, that a General Synod should be held annually, is too burdensome for the bishops, in future one shall be held only when necessary for the whole of Africa, and wherever appears most convenient. But the necessities of the several provinces shall be provided for at the Provincial Synods.

CAN. 2 (96) is divided into three parts: (a) If there is an appeal from a sentence, both parties must appoint the judges of the new court; but there shall be no further appeal. (b) The embassies from Numidia are most thankfully received. (c) For the necessities of the Churches, five executores or exactores shall be demanded of the Emperor to collect the revenues of the Church.

CAN. 3 (No. 97). The Synodal deputies, Vincent and Fortunatius, sent to the Emperor, shall also beg that special advocates may be appointed for the Church. The deputies sent to the Court shall have a free legatio, i.e. full powers; and as Bishop Primosus, deputy of Mauretania Cæsariensis, did not appear, information shall be given to Innocent, the primate (senex) of that province.

CAN. 4 (98). Communities which never had a bishop shall not possess one in future, except with the consent of the Plenary Council of each province, the Primate, and the Bishop to whose diocese the Church in question has hitherto belonged.

CAN. 5 (99). Communities which on their return from the sect of the Donatists had bishops of their own, may keep them without further permission; but after the death of their former bishop they may give up forming a diocese of their own, and may join another diocese. Those bishops who, before the publication of the Imperial edict of union, have brought back Donatist communities to the Church may henceforth keep them; but after the publication of this law all communities, whether converted or unconverted, shall be claimed by the bishops of the place to which they formerly, while still heretics, (de jure) belonged. The same rule applies to the church utensils and rights.

CAN. 6 (100). The Council appoints judges in the affair of Bishop Maurentius.

CAN. 7 (101). Letters shall be addressed to Pope Innocent with regard to the division between the Roman and Alexandrian Churches (caused by the deposition of Chrysostom), that peace may be again restored.

CAN. 8 (102). Married people who have been separated may not marry again, but shall either be reconciled or live as divorced persons. A petition shall also be made for an Imperial decree on this subject.

CAN. 9 (103). Only such forms of prayer as have been examined by the Synod, and compiled by enlightened persons, shall be used.

CAN. 10 (104). If an accused ecclesiastic demands of the Emperor secular judges, he shall be deposed from his dignity; but he may of course demand of the Emperor an episcopal tribunal.

CAN. 11 (105). He who, having been excommunicated in Africa, creeps into communion elsewhere on the other side of the sea, shall be shut out of the clerical body.

CAN. 12 (106). Those who wish to travel to the Imperial Court must first obtain litteræ formatæ to the Bishop of Rome, and from him similar letters to the Court. These letters must state the reasons for the journey, and the date of the feast of Easter. The deputies of the Council sent to the Emperor on account of the Donatists shall endeavour to obtain from him as much as they shall think good, and all Synodal Letters shall be signed by the Bishop of Carthage.

Of the twelfth and thirteenth Carthaginian Synods, which took place in 408, the one on the 16th June and the other on the 13th October, we only know that they decided to send deputies to the Emperor regarding the affair of the Donatists. This short account is preserved in the African Codex, between canons 106 and 107.

Here is also mentioned the fourteenth Carthaginian Synod, which took place in June 409, but which was only a provincial and not a general one. Only one decree is mentioned, viz. that one bishop alone should not give a decision.

In June of the following year, 410, the fifteenth Carthaginian Synod was celebrated, the only account of which is given in the African Codex, after canon 107. It was again decided to send an embassy to the Emperors, in order to obtain the recall of the edict of tolerance given by Honorius to all religious parties, including the Donatists. The Emperor granted this request.

SEC. 117. Synods at Seleucia, Ptolemais, and Braga

According to Oriental accounts, in February of the same year, 410, in the eleventh year of the reign of the Persian king Isdegerdes, a Persian Synod was held at Seleucia-Ctesiphon. The occasion of it is thus related in an old biography of Archbishop Isaac of Seleucia: “King Isdegerdes, who so long and cruelly persecuted the Christians, became very ill, and in this distress he prayed the Emperor Arcadius to send him a skilful physician. The Emperor sent him the Bishop Maruthas from Roman Mesopotamia, with a letter in which he prayed for mercy towards the Christians. The king recovered, and being full of gratitude, at the request of Maruthas he allowed the restoration of the Christian Church. Patriarch Isaac of Seleucia-Ctesiphon then immediately summoned forty Persian bishops to his cathedral for a Synod, at which Maruthas was also present.”

If doubts occur to us about this account, and therefore in general about the existence of this Synod (Arcadius having died in 408, could not therefore in 410 have sent an embassy and a letter to Isdegerdes), the supposed twenty-seven canons of the Synod are much more doubtful, and the learned Muratori conjectured that Cardinal Frederick Borromeo of Milan, who bought a Latin translation of these pretended canons from a Syrian, had been imposed upon. The contents of these canons point to a forgery. Thus, e.g., in the second canon the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son is directly stated, and other canons are plainly moulded on those of Nicæa, as for instance the fourth concerning the eunuchs, the fifth concerning the συνεισακτοί, and the third concerning the ordination of a bishop by at least three others. Besides, at a Synod of such great importance as this must have been, more important matters would surely have come under discussion.

The Synod held by the renowned Bishop Synesius at Ptolemais in the Pentapolis (Africa), on account of the excommunication of the Governor Andronicus of Cyrenaica, belonged to the year 411; this, however, was only a diocesan Synod.

In the collections of Councils ad annum 411 are also generally found the Acts of the Collatio Carthaginensis, that religious discussion so remarkable in the history of the Donatist controversies, which took place in that year. As it did not, however, bear the character of a synod, it does not come within the range of this inquiry.

We shall not either consider the short Acts of a Synod at Braga (in Spain, now belonging to Portugal) of 411, as they are universally acknowledged to be spurious.

SEC. 118. Synods concerning the Pelagians at Carthage, Jerusalem, Diospolis, Rome, and Mileve

The Pelagian controversies, just arisen, occasioned a series of new synods, and the first of these assemblies probably took place as early as 411. The Ballerini have proved this date with tolerable accuracy, while Quesnel has decided for the year 412, and has drawn many historians to his side.

Cælestius, the confidential friend of Pelagius, had gone from Rome, where, from the beginning of the fifth Christian century, they had together propagated their new doctrines, to Carthage, in order to become a priest there; but several zealous Catholics had warned Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage against him as a false teacher, and he now assembled a synod in his episcopal city, at which Cælestius was to appear. Its Acts have not been handed down to us complete, but two fragments of them were bequeathed us by S. Augustine and Marius Mercator. The Milanese deacon Paulinus, the same who shortly afterwards, at the desire of Augustine, wrote the Life of S. Ambrose, appeared as the chief accuser of Cælestius. He handed to the Archbishop Aurelius of Carthage a written account of the heresies of Cælestius, which Marius Mercator still possessed, and which, as he says, mentioned the following six chief points of error:—

1. Adam would have died, even if he had not sinned (Adam mortalem factum, qui sive peccaret sive non peccaret, moriturus fuisset).

2. The sin of Adam injured himself alone, and not all mankind (quoniam peccatum Adæ ipsum solum læsit, non genus humanum).

3. New-born children are in the same condition in which Adam was before the Fall (quoniam parvuli, qui nascuntur, in eo statu sunt, in quo fuit Adam ante prævaricationem).

4. It is not true that because of the death and sin of Adam all mankind die; neither is it true that because of Christ’s resurrection all men rise again (quoniam neque per mortem vel prævaricationem Adæ omne genus hominum moriatur, nec per resurrectionem Christi omne genus hominum resurget).

5. The Law leads to heaven as well as the Gospel (quoniam Lex mittit ad regnum cælorum quomodo et Evangelium).

6. Even before the coming of Christ there were men who were entirely without sin (quoniam et ante adventum Domini fuerunt homines impeccabiles, i.e. sine peccato).

Cælestius was examined on these points, and we still find in Augustine two fragments recording the discussions on this subject, the first of which contains the examination on the second of the above-mentioned points. Archbishop Aurelius had this proposition read aloud, upon which Cælestius declared that it was doubtful whether sin were inherited (tradux peccati), and that he had even heard different opinions on this subject expressed by priests of the Church. Paulinus commanded that he should name them, and he mentioned the priest Rufinus of Rome, but could not name any others, although again challenged by Paulinus to do so.

A second fragment given by Augustine deals with the discussion on the third proposition. After this had been read, Cælestius demanded that Paulinus should declare how he understood the words, “before the Fall.” The latter, however, proposed the alternative that Cælestius should either deny that he had taught this, or then reject it. When Cælestius would not agree to this, Archbishop Aurelius, as President of the Synod, interposed, himself explained the words under discussion, and put the question thus: “Did Cælestius maintain that unbaptized children were in the same state as Adam was before the Fall, or were they burdened with the guilt of the transgression of the divine command?” Cælestius, however, made no answer to this either, but only again declared that the orthodox were not agreed concerning the tradux peccati, and that it was an open question. And, moreover, as he maintained the necessity of baptism, what could they ask more?

Nothing more exact is known of the transactions of the Synod; but Marius Mercator says that the assembled bishops had demanded that Cælestius should recant, and as he refused this, they had pronounced excommunication upon him, but that he appealed to Rome.

Cælestius at once repaired to Ephesus to obtain the desired dignity of the priesthood, which he received. Pelagius, however, had gone to Palestine, where he had found an opponent in S. Jerome, and where also his errors had brought him into notice. About the same time S. Augustine sent his pupil, the Spanish priest Orosius, to Bethlehem, to put S. Jerome and others on their guard against the dangers of Pelagianism. The result was, that in June 415 a diocesan Synod assembled in that city under the presidency of Bishop John of Jerusalem, of which we still possess an account by Orosius. Immediately after the opening of the Synod, Orosius reported what had taken place with regard to Cælestius in Africa, referred to the work, De Natura et Gratia, written by Augustine against Pelagianism, and read aloud Augustine’s letter to Hilary, with reference to the Pelagian views emerging in Sicily. Upon this, at the command of Bishop John of Jerusalem, Pelagius himself was obliged to appear before the Synod. Immediately upon his entrance the priests asked him whether he had really propounded the doctrine which Augustine opposed. He replied, “What have I to do with Augustine?” This rudeness towards a man so highly venerated so angered the priests, that they exclaimed that Pelagius must not only be excluded from the assembly, but shut out from the whole Church. Bishop John, however, allowed him to be seated, and said: “I am Augustine, that is, I now represent the person of Augustine.” Orosius remarks that he did this in order that he might be able to forgive Pelagius his insolent expression against Augustine. In so doing, however, Bishop John had to endure from Orosius the pointed remark: “If you are Augustine, then follow his views.” Bishop John then demanded that the complaints against Pelagius should be brought forward, and Orosius said: “Pelagius has maintained against me that man may be without sin, if only he desires it.” When Pelagius admitted this, Orosius went on: “This very doctrine was rejected by the Synod of Carthage, by Augustine, and by S. Jerome.” Further discussion was interrupted by Bishop John, who desired that Orosius and those who held with him should formally declare themselves accusers of Pelagius, and acknowledge him, Bishop John, as the judge; to which they did not agree. Neither would Orosius be induced by Bishop John to affirm that God had made the nature of man evil. Pelagius, however, upon further questioning from John, declared that he did not maintain that man could be without any sin by nature, but that each one who strove for it received from God the power of being entirely sinless; but without the help of God it was not possible to be sinless. Orosius also maintained the same; but as he only spoke Latin, and Bishop John Greek, they could only understand one another through an interpreter, who translated many things wrongly. On this account, and because he observed the ill-will of Bishop John, Orosius demanded that, as Pelagius as well as his opponents were Latins, the decision concerning this heresy should be left to the Latins. Some members of the Synod supported this demand, and so Bishop John decided to send deputies and letters to Pope Innocent, declaring that his decision would be generally accepted. All present agreed to this, and the assembly ended in peace.

Some months later, in December of the same year, 415, the Pelagian controversy occasioned a second Synod in Palestine at Diospolis, or Lydda, at which fourteen bishops were present. Of these, Eulogius of Cæsarea is mentioned as holding the first place, and John of Jerusalem the second; so that the former probably presided on account of the metropolitan dignity of his See. Besides these, the following names are given: Ammoniacus, Porphyry, Eutonius, a second Porphyry, Fidus, Zosimus, Zobœnus, Nymphidius, Chromatius, Jovinus, Eleutherius, and Clematius. One of the chief defenders of Pelagius was the deacon Anianus. The occasion for this Synod was afforded by two Gallican bishops, Heros of Arles and Lazarus of Aix, who being, unjustly no doubt, driven from their Sees had come to Palestine, and, probably in agreement with Jerome, gave Bishop Eulogius of Cæsarea a letter of complaint, containing a list of errors from the writings of Pelagius and Cælestius. On the appointed day, however, neither of them could appear at the Synod on account of illness; and besides this, Orosius, bitterly reviled and persecuted by Bishop John, had already departed, so that Pelagius, who duly appeared at the assembly, found no chief accuser to take up the case against him in person. In order to show himself in the most favourable light possible, he read aloud several friendly letters addressed to him by illustrious bishops, also one from Augustine, in which he in a few lines, but very courteously, acknowledged the receipt of a letter from Pelagius. On the other hand, the letter of complaint of Heros and Lazarus was not read in extenso; but as the assembled bishops did not understand Latin, the different points of complaint were only selected by an interpreter. The difficulty of language was a hindrance to a closer investigation of the matter, and must have been so much the more to the advantage of Pelagius that he understood Greek himself perfectly, and was able to converse in that language with the members of the Synod, and to refute their suspicions.

The first charge was, that he had maintained in one of his books that “no one could be without sin but he who possessed the knowledge of the law.” The Synod demanded, “Hast thou taught this?” and he replied, “I did not say that he who has the knowledge of the law cannot sin, but that he is helped by the knowledge of the law not to sin.” The Synod declared this statement to be in accordance with the teaching of the Church.

The second passage from the same work of Pelagius, which was read by command of the Synod, was as follows: “Every one is governed by his own will;” and Pelagius explained these words also to the satisfaction of the Council. This was also the case with the third passage: “In the day of judgment all sinners will be punished with everlasting fire.” These words seemed, to a certain extent, to contradict the truth that for Christ’s sake sinners are forgiven; but Pelagius appealed to Matt. 25:46, accusing all who taught otherwise of Origenism; and he again obtained the assent of the Synod.

The fourth accusation was, that he had maintained that “evil did not even enter into the thoughts of the just,” but he said that he only meant “that the Christian must make an effort to think no evil;” and this was again approved. Afterwards Pelagius explained two other propositions from his books—viz. that “the kingdom of heaven is also promised in the Old Testament,” and that “man can, if he will, be entirely without sin”—to the satisfaction of the Synod, and repudiated as untrue two other accusations, viz. that in a letter to a widow he had addressed her in flattering terms as sinless, and had ascribed to himself perfect freedom from sin; whereupon the Synod expressed great indignation towards his accusers.

It was then asserted that already at the Synod at Carthage in 411 the following had been shown to be the doctrine of Cælestius: “Adam was created mortal, and would have died whether he had sinned or not; the sin of Adam injured himself alone, and not the whole human race; the Law leads to the kingdom of God as well as the Gospel; even before the coming of Christ there were men who were entirely sinless; the regenerate are in the same condition as Adam was before the fall; neither the death of Adam nor his sin are the cause of all men dying, nor is the resurrection of Christ the cause of all rising again.” It was also said that Augustine, in his answer to Hilary, in which he refuted the pupils of Cælestius in Sicily, brought forward the following propositions of Cælestius: “Man can, if he chooses, be without sin; children, even if unbaptized, enjoy eternal life; rich men cannot enter the kingdom of God unless they renounce all.” Pelagius replied that he had already made answer with regard to the proposition that man might be without sin, and that it was indeed true that, even before the birth of Christ, there had been persons who were entirely without sin. The remaining propositions, however, were not his, and he had not therefore to answer for them. But in order fully to satisfy the Synod, he would reject them; and this declaration seemed quite sufficient.

To the further accusation, that he had maintained that “the Church was, even upon earth, without spot or wrinkle,” he replied: “Yes, it was cleansed in baptism from all spot and wrinkle, and it was the will of the Lord that it should so remain;” and the Synod approved this also. Then the following passage from the work of Cælestius was read: “We do more than is commanded in the Law and the Gospel.” Pelagius declared that he had said this in reference to the unmarried state, which was not commanded, and was yet observed; and the Synod exclaimed: “The Church also teaches this.” With regard to the further propositions of Cælestius, that “the Divine grace and help is not granted to individual acts, but consists in free will, and in the giving of the Law and the doctrine,” and that “the grace of God is given according to our deserts, and God would be unjust if He granted it to sinners, whence it is in our power to deserve it or not—for if all our actions were wrought only by the grace of God, then if we sinned, the grace of God, and not ourselves, would be overcome, and the guilt of the sin would fall upon God, who either could not or would not preserve us from it”—Pelagius left it undecided whether they were propositions of Cælestius or not, but for his own part rejected them.

Another statement of Cælestius, that “every one might possess all virtues and graces,” Pelagius explained thus: that “God gave to him who deserved it all the gifts of grace, as to the Apostle Paul;” and the Synod again declared that this was also “in accordance with the mind of the Church.”

Bishop John of Jerusalem further relates that when some bishops (at the Synod) murmured that Pelagius did not consider the Divine assistance necessary, he, John, declared that this seemed to him also to contradict the teaching of S. Paul, who said: “I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). Pelagius, he adds, had then declared: “I also believe this, and let him be anathematized who says that, without the Divine assistance, man can advance in all virtue.” Augustine, who mentions this, adds that John was not quite correct here, for Pelagius did not say: “I also believe this.”

Finally, the following propositions were selected from the work of Cælestius: “No one can be called a child of God but he who is entirely without sin, and therefore S. Paul, according to his own confession (Phil. 3:12), was no child of God; ignorance and forgetfulness are not sins; man has free will to do anything, or to leave it undone, but if the assistance of God is necessary, free will no longer exists; if man triumphs over evil, that is his own merit; we are partakers of the Divine nature, and therefore, if the soul could not be without sin, neither could God be without sin, for the soul is a part of Him (pars Ejus); penitents receive forgiveness, not of grace, but of their own merits.” Pelagius rejected these doctrines as not being his, and anathematized all who opposed the doctrines of the holy Catholic Church; upon which the Synod, in conclusion, declared him worthy of communion. No wonder that S. Jerome, in a letter to Augustine, calls this Synod miserabile. A special treatise on it was published by the learned French Jesuit Daniel. It is also treated of by all historians of Pelagianism, such as Cardinal Noris, Vossius, Garnier, and others.

Heros and Lazarus sent word by Orosius to acquaint the bishops of proconsular Asia with the result of this unhappy Synod at Diospolis, while they were assembled in 416 at a Synod at Carthage under the presidency of Aurelius. The decisions pronounced against Cælestius five years before at the Synod of 411 were therefore here confirmed afresh, and were announced to Pope Innocent I. in a detailed Synodal Letter. This is the only document which has come down to us from this Synod, and it is printed among the letters of Augustine, as well as in the Collections of the Councils. We see from this that no less than sixty-eight bishops, whose names are mentioned in this document, were present. All belonged to proconsular Africa, and therefore S. Augustine, the celebrated champion against the Pelagians, was not among them, as Hippo-Regius belonged to the ecclesiastical province of Numidia.

The Numidians, however, immediately followed the example of their proconsular neighbours, and a short time after this they also held a Synod at Mileve, in the same year, 416, under the presidency of the senior bishop (primœ sedis episcopus) Silvanus. Of this Synod also we possess only the Synodal Letter to Pope Innocent, according to which fifty-nine bishops, and among them S. Augustine, were present there. In this letter they begged the Pope that, “as God had favoured him with such exceeding honour, and placed him in the Apostolic Chair, he would, in the present great danger of the Church, show his faithfulness as a shepherd, and hinder the spreading of the Pelagian errors. He would see that the Pelagian doctrine contradicted many statements of Holy Scripture, and especially those words of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our trespasses, and lead us not into temptation.’ ”

Some time afterwards, five other African bishops, among whom was Augustine, again made a special appeal to Innocent concerning the Pelagians. In the beginning of 417 he sent answers to those bishops who had assembled at Carthage and those who had met at Mileve, as well as to the five who had especially appealed to him, and these letters are still extant. He fully agreed with the sentence passed upon Cælestius and Pelagius by the Carthaginian bishops, praised the Africans for their discernment, confirmed the sentence of excommunication pronounced upon Pelagius and Cælestius, threatened with the same punishment all their adherents, and found in the work of Pelagius many blasphemies and censurable doctrines.

Innocent’s successor, Zosimus, who in the commencement of his reign in 417 was deceived by the ambiguous confession of faith of Pelagius and Cælestius, adopted another line. He had not long entered upon his office when Cælestius, who had gone from Ephesus to Constantinople, but had been again driven away from thence, gave him a confession of faith, of which we still possess fragments. Zosimus immediately assembled a Roman Synod, at which Cælestius in general terms condemned what Pope Innocent had already condemned, and what the Apostolic See would always condemn, but did not enter into the details of the erroneous doctrines with which he had been reproached at Carthage; he so influenced the Pope in his favour, that, in a letter to the African bishops, he declared Cælestius to be orthodox, blamed their former conduct, and represented Heros and Lazarus, Cælestius’ chief opponents, as very wicked men, whom he had punished with excommunication and deposition.

Shortly after this Zosimus also received the confession of faith which Pelagius had already addressed, together with a letter, to Pope Innocent I. Besides this, a letter in favour of Pelagius from Praylus, the new Bishop of Jerusalem, had reached Rome, and Zosimus not only had this document read at his Synod, but at once addressed a second letter to the Africans, to the effect that Pelagius, like Cælestius, had most completely justified himself, and that both recognised the necessity of grace. Heros and Lazarus, on the contrary, were bad men, and the Africans were much to blame for having suffered themselves to be influenced by such contemptible slanderers.

In consequence of these letters, the second of which was written in September 417, the African bishops, in the autumn of 417 or in the beginning of 418, assembled in all haste at a Synod at Carthage, and in a Synodal Letter to the Pope they declared “that he should hold to the sentence pronounced by Pope Innocent against Pelagius and Cælestius, until both of them distinctly acknowledged that for every single good action we need the help of the grace of God through Jesus Christ; and this not only to perceive what is right, but also to practise it, so that without it we can neither possess, think, speak, or do anything really good and holy.”

They sent this Synodal Letter by the sub-deacon Marcellinus, and the result was a letter from Pope Zosimus of the 21st March 418, in which he affirmed that he had already given the affair of the Pelagians his mature consideration, but added that he had transmitted all the documents to the Africans for the purpose of common consultation.

SEC. 119. The African General Synod, the sixteenth at Carthage, in 418

This letter, as is stated at the end, reached the hands of the Africans towards the end of April 418, and on the 1st of May of the same year they opened a new great or General Synod in the Secretarium of the Basilica of Faustus at Carthage, which is often, as by the Carthaginian Synod of 525, designated the sixteenth under Aurelius, although, as what has gone before shows, it should be known under a higher number. Bishops were present not only from all the provinces of Africa, but even from Spain, in all no less than two hundred. They composed eight or nine canons against Pelagianism, and eleven others, partly directed against the Donatists and partly concerning general matters.

CAN. 1 (109 in the Cod. Can. Eccl. Afric.). “If any man says that Adam, the first man, was created mortal, so that whether he sinned or not he would have died, not as the wages of sin, but through the necessity of nature, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 2 (110). “If any man says that new-born children need not be baptized, or that they should indeed be baptized for the remission of sins, but that they have in them no original sin inherited from Adam which must be washed away in the bath of regeneration, so that in their case the formula of baptism ‘for the remission of sins’ must not be taken literally, but figuratively, let him be anathema; because, according to Rom. 5:12, the sin of Adam (in quo omnes peccavcrunt) has passed upon all.”

After this second canon several manuscripts and editions, especially the very ancient codex of the Ballerini, place the following third canon: “If any man says that in the kingdom of heaven or elsewhere there is a certain middle place, where children who die unbaptized live in bliss (beate vivant), whereas without baptism they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, that is, into eternal life, let him be anathema.” As neither Isidore nor Dionysius have recognised this canon, its genuineness has been often disputed; the Ballerini, however, by appealing to Photius and Ferrandus, have defended it very successfully; and, according to their view, this Synod published not eight, but nine canons against the Pelagians. In what follows, however, we retain the usual numbering.

CAN. 3 (111). “If any man says that the grace of God, by which man is justified through Jesus Christ, is only effectual for the forgiveness of sins already committed, but is of no avail for avoiding sin in the future, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 4 (112). “If any man says that this grace only helps not to sin, in so far that by it we obtain a better insight into the Divine commands, and learn what we should desire and avoid, but does not also give the power gladly to do and to fulfil what we have seen to be good, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 5 (113). “If any man says that the grace of justification was given us in order that we might the more easily fulfil that which we are bound to do by the power of free will, so that we could, even without grace, only not so easily, fulfil the Divine commands, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 6 (114). “If any man understands the words of the Apostle: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,’ to mean that we must acknowledge ourselves to be sinners only out of humility, not because we are really such, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 7 (115). “If any man says that the saints pronounce the words of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘forgive us our trespasses,’ not for themselves, because for them this petition is unnecessary, but for others, and that therefore it is, ‘forgive us,’ not ‘me,’ let him be anathema.”

CAN. 8 (116). “If any man says that the saints only pronounce these words, ‘forgive us our trespasses,’ out of humility, not in their literal meaning, let him be anathema.”

CAN. 9 (117). “It has already been ordered by a former plenary Council, that those communities which became Catholic before the Imperial laws against the Donatists were issued by Honorius, are to remain in the dioceses of those bishops through whom they became Catholic; but that if they entered into communion with the Church after the publication of those laws, they shall be made over to that diocese to which they, while they were still Donatists, belonged (de jure). But as many disputes have arisen and do arise among the bishops from this cause, it is now decided that if in any place a Donatist and a Catholic community have existed side by side, and belonged to different dioceses, both shall be made over to the diocese to which the Catholic section belonged, whether the conversion of the Donatists took place before or after the publication of those Imperial decrees.”

CAN. 10 (118). “If the Donatist bishop has himself become Catholic, the two bishops (he and the Catholic one) shall divide equally between them the two communities now united, so that one portion of the towns shall belong to one, and the other to the other bishop. The bishop who has been longest in office shall make the division, but the other shall have the choice. If there is only one township of this description, then it shall belong to whichever See is nearest to it; but if there are two equally near, the people shall decide it by the majority of votes. If the votes are equal, the elder bishop has the preference. If, however, the towns to which both parties belonged are of unequal number, so that they cannot be equally divided, the remaining one shall be dealt with as was prescribed above, in the preceding canon, with regard to a single town.”

CAN. 11 (119). “If, after the publication of this edict, a bishop has brought back a place to Catholic unity, and has held undisputed jurisdiction over it for three years, it may not be taken away from him. But if a Donatist bishop is converted, no disadvantage shall accrue to him from this arrangement, but for three years after his conversion he has the right of demanding back those places which belonged to his See.”

CAN. 12 (120). “If a bishop seeks to get into his power a diocese to which he thinks he has a claim, not through an episcopal decision, but by other means, and is opposed by another, he thereby forfeits his claim.”

CAN. 13 (121). “If a bishop takes no pains to win over to Catholic unity those places which belong to his jurisdiction, he shall be exhorted to do so by the neighbouring bishops. If he does not do so within six months from this warning, they shall belong to the bishop who wins them to the Church.… In disputed cases, arbiters shall be chosen by the primate or by the parties themselves.”

CAN. 14 (122). “There can be no further appeal from judges who have been unanimously elected.”

CAN. 15 (123). “If the bishop of a mother-diocese shows no zeal against the heretics, he shall be warned by the neighbouring bishops; and if in six months from that time he does not bring back the heretics, although those deputed to carry out the Imperial decree of union have been in his province, he shall be deprived of communion until he does so.”

CAN. 16 (124). “If, however, he falsely asserts that he has brought back the heretics into communion, when this is not true, he forfeits his See.”

CAN. 17 (125). “If priests, deacons, and inferior clerics complain of a sentence of their own bishop, they shall, with the consent of their bishop, have recourse to the neighbouring bishops, who shall settle the dispute. If they desire to make a further appeal, it must only be to their primates or to African Councils. But whoever appeals to a court on the other side of the sea (Rome), may not again be received into communion by any one in Africa.”

CAN. 18 (126). “If a virgin is in danger of losing her virginity, because a great man demands her in marriage, or some one desires to violate her, or because she fears to die before receiving the veil, and the bishop, at the desire of her parents, gives her the veil before she has reached the age of twenty-five, the synodal decision with regard to this age shall not hinder him.”

CAN. 19 (127). “In order that all the bishops present at the Council should not be detained too long, it was decided that the General Council should make choice of three persons invested with full powers from each province. From the province of Carthage were chosen Vincent, Fortunatian, and Clarus; from Numidia, Alypius, Augustine, and Restitutus; from the Byzacene province, besides the saintly old man, the Primate Donatian, the Bishops Cresconius, Jocundus, and Æmilianus; from Mauretania Sitifensis, Severian, Asiaticus, and Donatus; from the province of Tripoli, as usual only one, Plautius. These, with the senex, namely, the Primate Aurelius, shall decide everything. The Synod also prayed that Aurelius would sign all the documents to be published.”

About the same time as this Carthaginian Synod, probably a few months earlier, the African Council at Telepte, or more rightly Zelle, seems to have been held, of which we have already treated, without, however, being able to ascribe to it any great importance. We there also mentioned the canons of the Roman Synod under Pope Siricius, which were renewed at the Council of Telepte.

SEC. 120. Dispute concerning the Appeal to Rome. African Synods concerning it

Before the Pelagian affair was fully decided, quite another matter, and one which had no connection with it, occasioned several new African Synods, which have attained great celebrity in the history of canon law. They concerned the right of Rome to receive appeals, of which we have already had to speak in the history of the Synods of Nicæa and Sardica.

The priest Apiarius, of Sicca in proconsular Africa, had, on account of various offences, been deposed and excommunicated by his bishop, Urban of Sicca, a pupil of Augustine. He went to Rome, and sought the help of Pope Zosimus, who accepted his appeal, and demanded his reinstatement. This greatly displeased the Africans, and in the seventeenth canon of their General Council of May 1, 418, they ordered, probably with special reference to this, that no priest, deacon, or inferior cleric should on any account appeal to a court on the other side of the sea.

When Pope Zosimus heard of the displeasure of the Africans, he sent three legates, Bishop Faustinus of Potentina in the March of Ancona, and the two Roman priests, Philip and Asellus, to Carthage. Archbishop Aurelius at once assembled the neighbouring bishops at a small Synod (in the same year, 418), before which the Papal legates at first only verbally delivered their commission; but on the repeated demand of the Africans, they also produced their written instruction (commonitorium) directing them to treat with the Africans on four points,—first, concerning the appeal of bishops to Rome; secondly, that so many bishops should not travel to the Court; thirdly, that the affairs of priests and deacons, who were unjustly excommunicated by their own bishops, should be dealt with by neighbouring bishops; and fourthly, that if Bishop Urban of Sicca did not correct himself (viz. his sentence upon Apiarius), he should be excommunicated or summoned to Rome.

The second of these points was not entered upon by the Synod; but the first and third the Pope had founded upon pretended Nicene canons, which, however, as we have already seen, were really Sardican. Thus it was that the African bishops had not these Nicene canons in their copy of the Acts of Nicæa, because, as we have already seen, none of the Acts of the orthodox Synod of Sardica were known in Africa. Out of respect for Rome, however, they made a written declaration to Pope Zosimus, still in 418, that for the present, until a further investigation of the Nicene decrees, they would observe the two pretended canons of Nicæa.

But the matter did not end here; on the contrary, the Papal legates remained at Carthage, and there carried on their negotiations, the details of which are not known to us. The death of Pope Zosimus, on the 26th December 418, naturally occasioned some delay; but his successor Boniface took up the matter afresh, and after friendly relations were again established between the Africans and the Papal legates, no less than 217 African bishops assembled in the Church of Faustus at Carthage, May 25, 419, under the presidency of Aurelius, for a General Synod, which is generally called the sixth, but by the Ballerini the seventeenth, Carthaginian Synod. Already, at the former discussions in the autumn of 418, the Africans had declared a more exact investigation of the Nicene Acts to be necessary, on account of the canons quoted by the Pope; and the requisite steps for this were to be taken at this Synod. On the motion of Archbishop Aurelius, it was therefore decided that first of all the copy of the Nicene Acts should be read, which was preserved at Carthage, having been brought there by Archbishop Cæcilian, who was himself present at Nicæa. In like manner, those documents in which the earlier African bishops had confirmed the Nicene canons, and prescribed rules in conformity with them to their own clergy, were to be produced. This was at once done by the notary Daniel; but the legate Faustinus interrupted him while reading them, and demanded that the instruction (commonitorium) which Pope Zosimus had given to his legates should first be read, and the Nicene and other documents not till afterwards. Archbishop Aurelius agreed to this, and the notary Daniel then read aloud the instruction as follows: “Bishop Zosimus to his brother Faustinus, and his sons the priests Philip and Asellus. Yon know the commission we entrust to you. Do all therefore just as if we were ourselves present. For greater security, we add the words of the canons which bear on the subject. It was decided at the Council of Nicæa, with regard to the appeal of bishops, that if a bishop deposed by his comprovincials appeals to Rome, etc.”

More than this one canon was not then read from the commonitorium; but we have seen that it contained several, and this is also indicated by the plural, verba canonum.

Bishop Alypius of Tagaste, it appears, interrupted the further reading of the commonitorium, by the proposal that, as the canon in question was not contained in the copy of the Nicene Acts kept at Carthage, and the original Acts of Nicæa were understood to be at Constantinople, Archbishop Aurelius should send deputies to the Bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, and request from them authentic copies of these Acts. At the same time a letter should be addressed to the Roman Bishop Boniface, begging him to send deputies on his part also to the three Churches just mentioned, with the view of obtaining authentic and genuine copies. Meanwhile, until these arrived, the canon brought forward by the Roman legates should be observed; but at the same time, the copy preserved at Carthage of the Nicene Acts should be used in the present discussion.

The Roman legate Faustinus replied, that “the Synod ought not to pronounce against the Roman Church because Alypius considered the canons doubtful, but should rather write and ask the Pope himself to institute an investigation into the genuine Nicene canons, and then enter again into negotiation with the Africans. It would suffice if the Pope and the Africans, each side for themselves, should undertake this investigation; but to institute inquiries in foreign cities would present the appearance of divisions prevailing in the Western Churches. When the Pope had answered and communicated the result of his investigation, the Synod should then in brotherly love consider what was best to be observed.”

Without giving any direct reply to this, Archbishop Aurelius observed that all the transactions of the Synod were to be communicated to the Pope, and that the discussion should now proceed. To this the Synod agreed; and Bishop Novatus, the deputy from Mauretania Sitifensis, said that he remembered that the commonitorium also contained a canon referring to the appeal of priests to the neighbouring bishops, which was not to be found in the Nicene Acts, and asked that this should also be read. By command of Archbishop Aurelius, the notary Daniel read aloud this part of the commonitorium, also the fourteenth, or according to the Latin version, the seventeenth canon of Sardica.

After the reading, Augustine, as deputy of Numidia, said: “We promise meanwhile to observe this canon also, until some result is obtained from the closer investigation of the Nicene Acts.” The whole Synod agreed to this view, with the limitation that “what was decided at Nicæa has our approbation.”

The Papal legate Faustinus again spoke; but this second speech of his is even more obscure than the first, and the text is most undoubtedly corrupt. The sense is probably, that “as according to the statements made this canon is also questioned, mention must be made of this also to the Pope, that he may examine whether this rule concerning the appeal of the inferior clergy (priests, etc.) is to be found in the genuine Acts.”

To this second speech of the legate, as to the first, no direct reply was made; but on the proposal of Archbishop Aurelius, it was decided that the copy of the Nicene Acts, brought by Cæcilian to Carthage, together with the rules of the former African Synods, should be added to the Acts of this Synod, and that Aurelius should write to the Bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, to obtain genuine copies of the Acts of Nicæa. If these contained the two canons quoted in the commonitorium, they should be recognised; if not, the matter should be further discussed at the coming Synod. The notary Daniel then read aloud the Creed and the canons of Nicæa from the Carthaginian copy, and when this was done a series of older African decrees were repeated and renewed.

SEC. 121. The Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Africanæ

All these together form the Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Africanæ, so often mentioned already, which is divided into several sections. The first series, including Nos. 1–28 of the Codex, contains the following:—

CAN. 1. Introduction.

CAN. 2. Confession of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. From the Carthaginian Council under Genethlius, in 390.

CANS. 3 and 4. Law of celibacy for the bishops, priests, Levites, and all servants of the altar. From the same Council.

CAN. 5. Rule against covetousness, unjust gain, and usury for laity and clergy. From the Carthaginian Synod under Gratus, in 345–348. Cans. 10, 13.

CAN. 6. Priests may not consecrate the chrism, nor solemnize the benediction of virgins and the reconciliation of penitents. From the Council of 390. Can. 3.

CAN. 7 = Can. 4 of the Carthaginian Council of 390.

CAN. 8 = Can. 6 of the same Council.

CAN. 9 = Can. 7 ibid.

CANS. 10, 11 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 12 = Can. 10 ibid.

CAN. 13 = Can. 12 ibid.

CAN. 14. Divided into two parts—the first from Can. 5 of the Synod of Hippo of 393 (already repeated at the Council of Carthage in 397), the second from Can. 8 of the same Council.

CAN. 15 = Cans. 9, 10, 11 ibid.

CAN. 16 = Cans. 15, 18, 22, and Can. 1 (of the second series) ibid.

CAN. 17 = Can. 3 of the first series of the decrees of Hippo in 393.

CAN. 18 = Cans. 2, 4, 5 of the second series of the decrees of Hippo in 393.

CAN. 19 = Can. 6, 7 ibid.

CAN. 20 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 21 = Can. 12 ibid.

CAN. 22 = Can. 14 ibid.

CAN. 23 = Can. 27 ibid.

CAN. 24 = Can. 36 ibid.

CAN. 25 = Can. 4 of the Carthaginian Synod of Sept. 13, 401; with the addition that sub-deacons as well as deacons were forbidden to have intercourse with their wives. The same canon is again mentioned as No. 70.

CAN. 26 = Can. 5 of the Carthaginian Synod of the 13th September 401.

CAN. 27 = Can. 12 ibid.

CAN. 28 = Can. 17 of the Carthaginian Synod of 418 (No. 125 in the Codex Canon.), only with this difference, that in the sentence: “Non provocent ad transmarina judicia, sed ad primates suarum provinciarum, aut ad universalc concilium, sicut et de episcopis sæpe constitutum est,” the words printed in italics do not emanate from the Synod of the year 418. It was precisely these words, however, that made this canon an apple of discord, for it was taken to mean that many old African Synods had already forbidden not only priests but also bishops to appeal to Rome. But as we find no trace of such a command concerning bishops in the old African Councils, the Ballerini are probably right in understanding the words in question thus: “Priests are forbidden to appeal to Rome; but they may from henceforth appeal first to the primates, and secondly to the General Council, as such an appeal to the General Council was formerly often granted to the bishops.” On this view the canon does not in any way refer to the appeal of bishops to Rome. This first division is followed by a second, containing only five canons, which probably emanate from the Synod assembled in 419 about the affair of Apiarius, and are not found in any of the older African Councils.

CAN. 29 is an imitation of the well-known fourth Antiochian canon, and runs thus: “A bishop or any other cleric who is excommunicated on account of an offence, and seeks to thrust himself again into communion without having been tried, has condemned himself.”

CAN. 30. If either accuser or accused fears any act of violence on the part of the people in the place where the accused resides, he may choose another neighbouring place for the trial, where the witnesses can come without difficulty.

CAN. 31. If a bishop deems it necessary to call deacons or inferior clergy to a higher office in his church, and they will not obey, they may no longer discharge their former duties.

CAN. 32. If bishops, priests, deacons, or any other of the clergy, who at the time of their ordination possessed no property, have since procured to themselves fields or land, they shall be regarded as robbers of Church property, if on being admonished they do not make over these possessions to the Church. If, however, property has come to them by inheritance, or by a gift, they may decide to do with it as they please (faciant inde, quod eorum proposito congruit). But if they afterwards alter their decision, they shall be deprived of their ecclesiastical dignity.

CAN. 33. “Priests may not, without the knowledge of the bishop, sell any portion of the property of the Church to which they are appointed, as in like manner the bishops may not sell any Church property without the knowledge of the Council (Diocesan Synod) or their priests. Without necessity, therefore, no bishop may misemploy anything which is entered in the roll of the Church.”

After these five canons of its own the Synod repeated a great number of older canons, reaching to No. 127 of the Codex. First, between the numbers 33 and 34, are given the proœmia of the Synods of Hippo in 393, and of Carthage in 394, and of August 28, 397.

Thus CAN. 34 is the beginning of Can. 5 of the Synod of Carthage of August 28, 397.

CAN. 35 = Can. 13 of the Synod of Hippo in 393.

CAN. 36 = Can. 17 ibid.

CAN. 37 = Can. 23 ibid.

CAN. 38 = Can. 24 ibid.

CAN. 39 = Can. 25 ibid.

CAN. 40 = Can. 26 ibid.

CAN. 41 = Can. 28 ibid.

CAN. 42 = Can. 29 ibid.

CAN. 43 = Can. 30 ibid.

CAN. 44 = Can. 31 ibid.

CAN. 45 = Cans. 32, 33 ibid.

CAN. 46 = end of Can. 36 ibid.

CAN. 47 from Can. 37 ibid., and from Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of August 28, 397.

CAN. 48 from Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of August 28, 397.

CAN. 49 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 50 = Can. 3 ibid.

CAN. 51 = Can. 4 ibid. First part.

CAN. 52 = Can. 4 ibid. Last part.

CAN. 53 = Can. 5 ibid., beginning at the second sentence. (The first sentence is contained above in No. 34.)

CAN. 54 = Can. 6 ibid.

CAN. 55 = Can. 7 ibid. First part.

CAN. 56 = Can. 7 ibid. Second part.

Then follow the headings (proœmia) and short accounts of the Synods of Carthage of June 26, 397, April 27, 399, and June 15 (16), 401. To these are added:

CAN. 57 = Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of June 15 (16), 401.

CAN. 58 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 59 = Can. 3 ibid.

CAN. 60 = Can. 4 ibid.

CAN. 61 = Can. 5 ibid.

CAN. 62 = Can. 6 ibid.

CAN. 63 = Can. 7 ibid.

CAN. 64 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 65 = Can. 9 ibid.

Before CAN. 66 the Codex again gives a proœmium, that of the Synod of Carthage of September 13, 401, followed by Canons 66 and 67 = Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of September 13, 401.

CAN. 68 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 69 = Can. 3 ibid.

CAN. 70 = Can. 4 ibid.

CAN. 71 = Can. 6 ibid.

CAN. 72 = Can. 7 ibid.

CAN. 73 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 74 = Can. 9 ibid.

CAN. 75 = Can. 10 ibid.

CAN. 76 = Can. 11 ibid.

CAN. 77 most likely formerly an appendix to Can. 11 ibid.

CAN. 78 probably formerly an appendix to Can. 13 ibid.

CAN. 79 = Can. 13 ibid.

CAN. 80 = Can. 14 ibid.

CAN. 81 = Can. 15 ibid.

CAN. 82 = Can. 16 ibid.

CAN. 83 = Can. 17 ibid.

CAN. 84 = Can. 18 ibid.

CAN. 85 = Can. 19 ibid.

Between Canons 85 and 86 we find the proœmium of the Synod of Mileve of August 27, 402, and then follow:

CAN. 86 = Can. 1 of the Synod of Mileve.

CAN. 87, 88 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 89 = Can. 3 ibid.

CAN. 90 = Can. 4 ibid.

The next proœmium, and the propositions of several bishops connected with it, belong to the Synod of Carthage of August 25, 403, and also the two following canons:—

CAN. 91= Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage; and

CAN. 92 = Can. 2 ibid.

Then follows the proœmium of the Synod of Carthage of June 404, and

CAN. 93, containing the instructions for the deputies sent by that Synod to the Emperor.

The new proœmium and CAN. 94 are taken from the Synod of Carthage of August 23, 405. To this again is added the proœmium of the Synod of Carthage of June 13, 407, and the following canons taken from the same Council:—

CAN. 95 = Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of 407.

CAN. 96 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 97 = Can. 3 ibid.

CAN. 98 = Can. 4 ibid.

CAN. 99 = Can. 5 ibid.

CAN. 100 = Can. 6.

CAN. 101 = Can. 7 ibid.

CAN. 102 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 103 = Can. 9 ibid.

CAN. 104 = Can. 10 ibid.

CAN. 105 = Can. 11 ibid.

CAN. 106 = Can. 12 ibid.

Further on we meet with the proœmia of the two Synods of Carthage, of June 16 and October 13, 408.

In CAN. 107, and immediately following it, the proœmia of the Synods of Carthage of June 15, 409, and June 14, 410; and in

CAN. 108, the proœmium of the Synod of Carthage of May 1, 418, to which are added—

CAN. 109 = Can. 1 of the Synod of Carthage of 418.

CAN. 110 = Can. 2 ibid.

CAN. 111 = Can. 3.

CAN. 112 = Can. 4 ibid.

CAN. 113 = Can. 5 ibid.

CAN. 114 = Can. 6 ibid.

CAN. 115 = Can. 7 ibid.

CAN. 116 = Can. 8 ibid.

CAN. 117 = Can. 9.

CAN. 118 = Can. 10 ibid.

CAN. 119 = Can. 11 ibid.

CAN. 120 = Can. 12 ibid.

CAN. 121 = Can. 13 ibid.

CAN. 122 = Can. 14 ibid.

CAN. 123 = Can. 15 ibid.

CAN. 124 = Can. 16 ibid.

CAN. 125 = Can. 17 ibid.

CAN. 126 = Can. 18 ibid.

CAN. 127 = Can. 19 ibid.

This much was done by the Synod of Carthage of 419, in its first session, on the 25th May. On the 30th May, however, in the same year it assembled for the second time, and laid down a few more rules, which form the continuation of the African Codex. The proœmium of this new session is to be found between Canons 127 and 128; and we learn from it that many of the 217 bishops who had been present at the former session announced that they could now no longer remain, and received permission from the Synod to return to their Churches. But the bishops of each province had to choose deputies, who were obliged to remain. In their presence the following decrees were enacted:—

CAN. 128. “As former synods have already discussed the point as to who may bring a charge against an ecclesiastic, we order that no excommunicated person, whether clerical or lay, shall be allowed to make such an accusation.”

CAN. 129. “Neither may slaves nor freedmen come forward as accusers, nor any who on account of public offences are by law excluded from bringing an accusation, nor any who bear any mark of infamy, i.e. actors or persons on whom any other stigma rests, nor heretics, heathens, or Jews. But in their own cause (i.e. if they have themselves been injured by a clergyman) they may come forward as accusers.”

CAN. 130. “If any one, having brought several accusations against an ecclesiastic, cannot prove one of the first, he shall not be allowed to proceed to the proof of the rest.”

CAN. 131. “Those who are disqualified from bringing forward charges cannot act as witnesses, as neither may those whom the accuser brings with him from his own house. No one under thirteen years of age may be a witness.”

CAN. 132. “If a bishop says that some one has confessed a certain crime to him privately, and the person denies it, and will perform no penance, the bishop shall not consider it an insult if his word alone is not believed, even though he says that his conscience will not allow him any longer to hold communion with such a liar.”

CAN. 133. “If, nevertheless, the bishop excommunicates such an one, so long as he maintains this excommunication the other bishops shall hold no communion with him (the bishop), in order that all bishops may be careful not to make any statements against a person which they cannot prove.”

Aurelius then closed the Synod with a short address, and signed the Acts, together with Valentinus the Primate of Numidia, Faustinus the papal legate, Alypius of Tagaste, Augustine and Possidius of Calama, the deputies of the province of Numidia, eighteen other bishops, and the two Roman priests Philip and Asellus.

SEC. 122. Continuation of the Controversy concerning Appeals to Rome

The African bishops at this Synod, moreover, addressed a Synodal Letter to Pope Boniface, to the effect that “they desired to inform him of what had been decided with the consent of the Synod and of the Papal legates, and which would have rejoiced Zosimus, were he still living. Apiarius had asked forgiveness for his fault, and had been again received into communion. Even before this, Bishop Urban of Sicca had, without hesitation, complied with the demands of the Pope. In order, however, to avoid all strife for the future, it had been decided that Apiarius, while still retaining his priestly rank, should be dismissed from the Church at Sicca; but he had received a letter to the effect that he might exercise his priestly office wherever he desired or could do so. Before this affair was thus settled, they had after a wearisome discussion requested the Roman legates to produce their instructions in writing, which they had done, and had read aloud their commonitorium, directing them to treat with the Africans on four points:—

1. Concerning the appeal of bishops to Rome.

2. Concerning the too frequent journeys of bishops to the Court.

3. Concerning the appeal to neighbouring bishops of priests and deacons excommunicated by their own bishops.

4. Concerning Urban, Bishop of Sicca, and his excommunication or citation to Rome, in case he did not retract it.

With regard to the first and third points, they had already the year before declared to Pope Zosimus their readiness to observe them until a fuller examination of the Nicene Acts had been made. They would now declare the same to Pope Boniface, and he should take care that in Africa, and also in Italy, the two canons (supposed to be Nicene, but in reality those of Sardica) concerning the appeal of bishops and priests were observed. They had, in the meantime, caused them to be inserted in the Acts until they should receive genuine copies of the Acts of the Nicene Council. But if they were found to be contained there in the same form as in the commonitorium, still no one would desire to impose so heavy a burden upon the Africans, and they were firmly persuaded that as long as Boniface was Pope, they would not be treated with such arrogance. But they had not found these canons in any copy of the Nicene Acts, nor in any Greek or Latin codex, and they had therefore decided to send for exact copies from the East. The Pope might do the same, and might write with this object to Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, or wherever he pleased. Until these genuine copies should arrive, they promised faithfully to observe the two canons. The legates would inform the Pope of the other decisions of the Synod.”

The Africans addressed another letter to S. Cyril of Alexandria, and through the priest Innocent begged him for a faithful copy of the decrees of Nicæa. Cyril at once granted their request, as his short letter on this subject, still extant, testifies, which at the same time, in reply to the Africans, states that next Easter would fall on the 15th of April.

We also possess a similar letter from Bishop Atticus of Constantinople, who likewise sent the Africans a copy of the Nicene Acts, and on the 26th November 419 they sent these copies to Pope Boniface.

SEC. 123. Synods at Ravenna, Corinth, and Seleucia

About the same time, or somewhat earlier, an assembly of bishops took place at Ravenna, which, without forming an actual synod, was, by command of the Emperor Honorius, to decide the disputed papal election between Boniface and Eulalius. They could not, however, come to any agreement, and therefore left the decision to the Emperor.

Another synod took place in the same year, 419, at Corinth, concerning the election of Perigenes as archbishop of that city. Perigenes had been appointed Bishop of Patras by his metropolitan the Archbishop of Corinth. As the inhabitants of Patras would not receive him, he returned to Corinth, and at the death of the metropolitan was himself raised to the archiepiscopal See. The Council of Corinth confirmed this election, and Pope Boniface I. also sanctioned it, in virtue of his supreme right over the Illyrian provinces. Many bishops, however, were dissatisfied, and maintained that it was unlawful to translate a bishop to another See; and they complained to Archbishop Rufus of Thessalonica (the Papal vicar), and to Pope Boniface I. himself, and when this was of no avail, wished to hold a synod against Perigenes at Thessalonica. To this, however, Pope Boniface objected most strongly, because the Illyrian bishops might not assemble without their superior, the Archbishop of Thessalonica, and because a papal decision might not be again submitted to the decision of a synod. The documents relating to this affair were read again more than a hundred years afterwards at the third Roman Synod under Boniface II. in 531.

A third Synod was held at Seleucia-Ctesiphon in Persia, in 420, which occupied itself with the confirmation of earlier canons, so that, like the Synod of Carthage of 419, it led to the making of a whole collection of canons, which are still in use in the East.

SEC. 124. The Synods at Carthage, in Numidia, Cilicia, and Antioch

On the 13th June of the following year, 421, a synod again assembled at Carthage under Archbishop Aurelius, designated by the Ballerini as the eighteenth, which drew up ten canons still extant, or, properly speaking, renewed earlier ones, as follows:—

CAN. 1. “If an excommunicated bishop or cleric, while still under sentence, pretends to communion, he has condemned himself.”

CAN. 2 = Can. 30 in the African Codex.

CAN. 3 = Can. 31 ibid.

CAN. 4. “If bishops or priests give away any of the property of their Church to another place, the bishops shall give account of it to the synods, and the clergy to the bishops. If they can give no reason, they shall be treated as thieves.”

CAN. 5 = Can. 32 in the African Codex, the fourth of the Synod of Carthage of May 25, 419.

CAN. 6 = Cans. 128, 129 in the African Codex, the first and second canons of the Synod of Carthage of May 30, 419.

CAN. 7 = Cans. 130, 131 in the African Codex, i.e. Cans. 3 and 4 of the same Synod of Carthage.

CAN. 8 = Can. 132 in the African Codex, Can. 5 of the above-mentioned Synod.

CAN. 9, similar to the first part of Can. 33 in the African Codex, i.e. Can. 5 of the Synod of Carthage, with this difference only, that here it runs: “the bishop may not sell any Church property without the knowledge of the synod or of the primates.” The text of the earlier Synod of 419 has “priests” instead of “primates.”

CAN. 10, similar to the last part of Can. 33 in the Codex.

Two years afterwards, in 423, we meet with a Numidian Synod, which deposed the wicked Bishop Anton of Fussala, and also one in Cilicia against the Pelagian Julian. We have, however, no accurate accounts of either Synod. This is also the case with a Synod at Antioch in 424, which banished Pelagius from that city.

SEC. 125. Fresh Synod at Carthage (the twentieth) concerning Appeals

In the same year, 424, a Synod (the twentieth) at Carthage again took into consideration the affair of Apiarius and the appeal to Rome, and issued a Synodal Letter to Celestine I., to the effect that “Apiarius had demanded a fresh investigation, at which shocking actions committed by him had come to light. The Papal legate Faustinus had, notwithstanding this, in a very rude manner demanded that the Africans should receive him into their communion, because he had appealed to the Pope, and had been received into communion by him. But this was precisely what should not have been done. Apiarius had at last himself confessed all his crimes. They begged that the Pope would in future lend no such willing ear to those who came to Rome from Africa as he had to Apiarius, nor receive into communion excommunicated persons, whether bishops or priests, according to the order given by the Council of Nicæa in its fifth canon, which applies to bishops also. The receiving of appeals at Rome was an attack upon the rights of the African Church, and what was alleged in its favour as a Nicene rule was not Nicene, and could not be found in the genuine copies of the Acts of Nicæa, which had been obtained from Constantinople and Alexandria. They requested the Pope in future to send no more judges to Africa; and, as Apiarius had now been excommunicated for his offences, the Pope would surely not expect the African Church any longer to endure the insolence of the legate Faustinus. They prayed that God would long preserve the Pope, and that he would pray for the Africans.”

SEC. 126. Synod against Leporius, and smaller Synods

A new Synod at Carthage, about 426, was occasioned by the monk Leporius of Marseilles, who combined with his Pelagian errors those of the Nestorians (before Nestorius), and had therefore been banished from Gaul, but was converted in Africa by Aurelius and Augustine, and now laid before the Synod of Carthage a written confession, retracting his former errors. This the Synod sent, with an accompanying letter, to the bishops of Gaul.

In it Leporius says that he acknowledges his error, but that he had not knowingly offended, but had believed his error to be the simple truth. He had not denied that Christ, the Son of God, was born of Mary; but in order not to humanize the Divine, he had not wished absolutely to say, “God Himself is born of Mary,” but rather, “with God the perfect man is born of Mary.” He had ascribed seorsum quæ Dei sunt soli Deo, and seorsum quæ sunt hominis soli homini (thus avoiding the communicatio idiomatum), and had therefore plainly introduced a fourth Person into the Trinity. To Christ (the Man) he had referred all labour, all devotion, all merit, faith, etc., because all this did not befit God; had maintained that Christ had gone through all His sufferings as perfect Man, in no way supported by His Godhead, and that in proof of this He had cried: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He, Leporius, had also maintained that Christ, as man, was. ignorant of the day of judgment, and of other things. All which Leporius here recounts as constituting his former errors, and retracts, is plainly not Pelagianism but Nestorianism, or in the spirit of Theodore of Mopsuestia, as Neander has very justly remarked. Neither in the positive confession of faith which Leporius now laid down is there anything concerning the doctrine of grace; but Cassian and Gennadius, who are certainly competent judges in the matter, so distinctly designate Leporius as a Pelagian, that we must presume that he united Pelagian with Nestorian errors.

The remainder of what is entered in the Collections of Councils, under the title of Acts of African Synods of this period, is only a part, about three-quarters, of the African Codex. Only at Hippo, in 426, a sort of Synod was held, viz. an assembly of several bishops, in order to give S. Augustine a coadjutor in the person of the priest Heraclius.

Also in 426 a Synod was held at Constantinople, by command of the Emperor Theodosius II., partly on account of the elevation of Sisinnius to the Patriarchal See of that city, and partly for the purpose of condemning the Massalian error. We now only possess a fragment of this Synodal Letter. With regard to a great Gallican Synod, held in 429, on account of Pelagianism, probably at Troyes, and which requested the Bishops Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes to visit England about this matter, no documents, but only some private reports, have come down to us.

Here then ends the series of Synods preceding the conflict concerning Christology, which lasted for two centuries, and gave occasion again to a great number of new and highly important Councils.

Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com