Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Canons of the Councils of Ancyra, Gangra, Neocæsarea, Antioch and Laodicea, which Canons were Accepted and Received by the Ecumenical Synods.: Canon VIII
If anyone, except the bishop or the person appointed for the stewardship of benefactions, shall either give or receive the revenue, let both the giver and the receiver be anathema.
Ancient Epitome of Canon VIII.
Whoso gives or receives offered fruits, except the bishop and the economist appointed to disburse charities, both he that gives, and he that receives shall be anathema.
(In his Address to the Synod of Rome a.d. 504. Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, tom. iv., col. 1373.)
In the canons framed by Apostolic authority [i.e., by the authority of the Apostolic See of Rome, cf. Ffoulkes, Smith and Cheetham, Dict. Christ. Antiq., art. Gangra] we find it written as follows concerning the offerings of fruits which are due to the clergy of the church, and concerning those things which are offered for the use of the poor; “If anyone shall presume, etc.” [Canon VII.] And again at the same council, “If anyone except the bishop, etc.” [Canon VIII.] And truly it is a crime and a great sacrilege for those whose duty it is chiefly to guard it, that is for Christians and God-fearing men and above all for princes and rulers of this world, to transfer and convert to other uses the wealth which has been bestowed or left by will to the venerable Church for the remedy of their sins, or for the health and repose of their souls.
Moreover, whosoever shall have no care for these, and contrary to these canons, shall seek for, accept, or hold, or shall unjustly defend and retain the treasures given to the Church unless he quickly repent himself shall be stricken with that anathema with which an angry God smites souls; and to him that accepts, or gives, or possesses let there be anathema, and the constant accompaniment of the appointed penalty. For he can have no defence to offer before the tribunal of Christ, who nefariously without any regard to religion has scattered the substance left by pious souls for the poor.
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