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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. II: The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen.: Canons appointed by the Council; Paphnutius, a certain Confessor, restrains the Council from forming a Canon enjoining Celibacy to all who were about to be honored with the Priesthood.

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Chapter XXIII.—Canons appointed by the Council; Paphnutius, a certain Confessor, restrains the Council from forming a Canon enjoining Celibacy to all who were about to be honored with the Priesthood.

Zealous of reforming the life of those who were engaged about the churches, the Synod enacted laws which were called canons. 1133 While they were deliberating about this, some thought that a law ought to be passed enacting that bishops and presbyters, deacons and subdeacons, should hold no intercourse with the wife they had espoused before they entered the priesthood; but Paphnutius, 1134 the confessor, stood up and testified against this proposition; he said that marriage was honorable and chaste, and that cohabitation with their own wives was chastity, and advised the Synod not to frame such a law, for it would be difficult to bear, and might serve as an occasion of incontinence to them and their wives; and he reminded them, that according to the ancient tradition of the church, those who were unmarried when they took part in the communion of sacred orders, were required to remain so, but that those who were married, were not to put away their wives. Such was the advice of Paphnutius, although he was himself unmarried, and in accordance with it, the Synod concurred in his counsel, enacted no law about it, but left the matter to the decision of individual judgment, and not to compulsion. The Synod, however, enacted other laws regulating the government of the Church; and these laws may easily be found, as they are in the possession of many individuals.


Footnotes

256:1133

Soc. i. 11. Cf. the perverted text of the Canones Nicæni, in Ruf. H. E. i. 6.

256:1134

Soc. i. 11.


Next: Concerning Melitius; the Excellent Directions made by the Holy Council in his Complications.

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