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 VII
Persons converted from heresies, that is, of the Novatians, Photinians, and Quartodecimans, whether they were catechumens or communicants among them, shall not be received until they shall have anathematized every heresy, and particularly that in which they were held; and afterwards those who among them were called communicants, having thoroughly learned the symbols of the faith, and having been anointed with the holy chrism, shall so communicate in the holy Mysteries.
Ancient Epitome of Canon VII.
Novatians and Photinians, and Quartodecimans, unless they anathemathize their own and other heresies, are not to be received. When they have been anointed, after their abjuration, let them communicate.
I have allowed the word “Photinians” to stand in the text although whether it is not an interpolation is by no means certain. They certainly were heretical on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and therefore differed from the other dissidents mentioned in the canon, all of whom were orthodox on this matter. It is also worthy of note that the word is not found in Ferranduss Condensation (Breviatio Canonum, n. 177) nor in Isidores version. Moreover there is a Latin codex in Lucca, and also one in Paris (as is noted by Mansi, v. 585; ij. 591) in which it is lacking. It was rejected by Baronius, Binius, and Remi Ceillier.
The word “Catechumens” is wanting in many Greek mss. but found in Balsamon, moreover, Dionysius and Isidore had it in their texts.
This canon possesses a great interest and value to the student from a different point of view. Its provisions, both doctrinal and disciplinary, are in contrariety with the provisions of the council held at Carthage in the time of St. Cyprian, and yet both these canons, contradictory as they are, are accepted by the Council in Trullo and are given such ecumenical authority as canons on discipline ever can possess, by the Seventh Ecumenical. This is not p. 128 the only matter in which the various conciliar actions adopted and ratified do not agree inter se, and from this consideration it would seem evident that it was not intended that to each particular of each canon of each local synod adopted, the express sanction of the Universal Church was given, but that they were received in block as legislation well calculated for the good of the Church. And that this must have been the understanding at the time is evinced by the fact that while the Trullan canons condemned a number of Western customs and usages, as I shall have occasion to point out in its proper place, no objection was made by the Roman legates to the canon of the Seventh Ecumenical which received them as authoritative.
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