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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:
The Canons of the Synods of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, and Carthage Under St. Cyprian, Which Canons Were Received by the Council in Trullo and Ratified by II. Nice.: Canon XV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XV.


Bishop Hosius said:  And let us all decree this also, that 399 if any bishop should ordain to any order the minister of another from another diocese without the consent of his own bishop, such an ordination should be accounted invalid and not confirmed.  And if any take upon themselves to do this they ought to be admonished and corrected by our brethren and fellow-bishops.

All said:  Let this decree also stand unalterable.


Bishop Hosius said:  This also we all decree, that if any [bishop] should ordain the minister of another from another diocese without the consent and will of his own bishop, his ordination be not ratified.  And whoever shall have taken upon himself to do this ought to be admonished and corrected by our brethren and fellow-bishops.

p. 430 Notes.

Ancient Epitome of Canon XV.

If one places a foreign minister without the knowledge of his own bishop in any grade (ἔμβαθμον, in aliquo gradu), he has indeed made the appointment, but it is without force.

This is Canon XIX. in the Latin.


Fuchs, in his Bibliothek der Kirchenversammlungen (Pt. II., p. 123, note 125) 400 , thinks he has discovered a difference between this canon and the exclusively Latin one preceding it, in that the latter supposes the case of a bishop ordaining a foreign cleric, over whom he has no jurisdiction, to a higher grade, with the view of retaining him for his own diocese; while the other—fifteenth or nineteenth canon—treats of a case where such an ordination takes place without the ordaining bishop intending to keep the person ordained for his own diocese.  Van Espen is of another opinion, and maintains that both canons obviously refer to one and the same case, for which reason the Greek text has only inserted one of them.  It is certain that the text of both canons, as we have it, does not clearly indicate the difference conjectured by Fuchs, but that it may easily be found there.

Van Espen.

If the reading of all the Latins and Greeks is decisive, this canon only treats of the ordination of those already ministers or clerics, and so the Greek commentators Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenus understood it, as is evident from their annotations.  But Gratus, Bishop of Carthage, and Primate of Africa, in the First Synod of Carthage testified that in this canon it was decreed, that without the licence of his own bishop, a layman of another diocese was not to be ordained, and this interpretation or rather extension of the Canon, was received everywhere, as is demonstrated by the fifty-sixth of the African Code.

This together with Canon XIX. of the Latin text are found as one in the Corpus Juris Canonici (Gratian’s Decretum, P. I., Dist. lxxj.), c. j.



The Greek text of Bev. begins here.


The reference is given incorrectly in the English Hefele.

Next: Canon XVI

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