Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Fourth Ecumenical Council. The Council of Chalcedon.: Canon I
The XXX Canons of the Holy and Fourth Synods, of Chalcedon.
We have judged it right that the canons of the Holy Fathers made in every synod even until now, should remain in force.
Ancient Epitome of Canon I.
The canons of every Synod of the holy Fathers shall be observed.
Before the holding of the Council of Chalcedon, in the Greek Church, the canons of several synods, which were held previously, were gathered into one collection and provided with continuous numbers, and such a collection of canons, as we have seen, lay before the Synod of Chalcedon. As, however, most of the synods whose canons were received into the collection, e.g. those of Neop. 268 cæsarea, Ancyra, Gangra, Antioch, were certainly not Ecumenical Councils, and were even to some extent of doubtful authority, such as the Antiochene Synod of 341, the confirmation of the Ecumenical Synod was now given to them, in order to raise them to the position of universally and unconditionally valid ecclesiastical rules. It is admirably remarked by the Emperor Justinian, in his 131st Novel, cap. j.; “We honour the doctrinal decrees of the first four Councils as we do Holy Scripture, but the canons given or approved by them as we do the laws.”
It seems quite impossible to determine just what councils are included in this list, the Council in Trullo has entirely removed this ambiguity in its second canon.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratians Decretum, Pars II., Causa XXV., Quæst. 1, can. xiv.
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