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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:
The Fourth Ecumenical Council.  The Council of Chalcedon.: Canon XXX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XXIX.

It is sacrilege to degrade a bishop to the rank of a presbyter; but, if they are for just cause removed from episcopal functions, neither ought they to have the position of a Presbyter; and if they have been displaced without any charge, they shall be restored to their episcopal dignity.

And Anatolius, the most reverend Archbishop of Constantinople, said:  If those who are alleged to have been removed from the episcopal dignity to the order of presbyter, have indeed been condemned for any sufficient causes, clearly they are not worthy of the honour of a presbyter.  But if they have been forced down into the lower rank without just cause, they are worthy, if they appear guiltless, to receive again both the dignity and priesthood of the Episcopate.

And all the most reverend Bishops cried out:

The judgment of the Fathers is right.  We all say the same.  The Fathers have righteously decided.  Let the sentence of the Archbishops prevail.

And the most magnificent and glorious judges said:

Let the pleasure of the Holy Synod be established for all time.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXIX.

He is sacrilegious who degrades a bishop to the rank of a presbyter.  For he that is guilty of crime is unworthy of the priesthood.  But he that was deposed without cause, let him be [still] bishop.

What precedes and follows the so-called canon is abbreviated from the IVth Session of the Council (L. and C., Conc., Tom. IV., col. 550).  I have followed a usual Greek method of printing it.


This so-called canon is nothing but a verbal copy of a passage from the minutes of the p. 291 fourth session in the matter of Photius of Tyre and Eustathius of Berytus.  Moreover, it does not possess the peculiar form which we find in all the genuine canons of Chalcedon, and in almost all ecclesiastical canons in general; on the contrary, there adheres to it a portion of the debate, of which it is a fragment, in which Anatolius is introduced as speaking.  Besides it is wanting in all the old Greek, as well as in the Latin collections of canons, and in those of John of Antioch and of Photius, and has only been appended to the twenty-eight genuine canons of Chalcedon from the fact that a later transcriber thought fit to add to the genuine canons the general and important principle contained in the place in question of the fourth session.  Accordingly, this so-called canon is certainly an ecclesiastical rule declared at Chalcedon, and in so far a κανών, but it was not added as a canon proper to the other twenty-eight by the Synod.

From the Fourth Session of the same Holy Synod, having reference to the matter of the Egyptian Bishops.

The most magnificent and glorious judges, and the whole Senate, said:

Next: Canon XXXI

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