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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 XIX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XIX.  (Greek xxii.) 425

That if any bishop is accused the cause should be brought before the primate of his own province.

Aurelius, the bishop, said:  Whatever bishop is accused the accuser shall bring the case before the primates of the province to which the accused belongs, and he shall not be suspended from communion by reason of the crime laid to his charge unless he fails to put in an appearance on the appointed day for arguing his cause before the chosen judges, having been duly summoned by the letters; that is, within the space of one month from the day in which he is found to have received the letters.  But should he be able to prove any true necessity which manifestly rendered it impossible for him to appear, he shall have the opportunity of arguing his case within p. 452 another full month; but after the second month he shall not communicate until he is acquitted.

But if he is not willing to come to the annual general council, so that his cause may there be terminated, he himself shall be judged to have pronounced the sentence of his own condemnation at the time in which he does not communicate, nor shall he communicate either in his own church or diocese.

But his accuser, if he has not missed any of the days for pleading the cause, shall not be shut out from communion; but if he has missed some of them, withdrawing himself, then the bishop shall be restored to communion and the accuser shall be removed from communion; so, nevertheless, that the possibility of going on with the case be not taken from him, if he shall prove that his absence was caused by lack of power and not by lack of will.

And this is enacted, that if the accuser turn out to be himself a criminal when the case against the bishop has come to argument, he shall not be allowed to testify unless he asserts that the causes are personal and not ecclesiastical.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XIX.

A bishop accused and haled to judgment shall have the space of two months; if there is any excuse 426 for his delay from the other side.  But after this he shall be excommunicated if he does not appear.  But if when the accused is present the accuser flees, then the accuser shall be deprived of communion.  But the accuser who is infamous shall not be an accuser at all.

This canon is made up from Canons VI. and VII. of the last mentioned second series of the enactments of Hippo, 393.


See Can. Afr. 28 and Can. Ap. 11 (14).

By this [“Universal Synod”] is meant a National Synod of Africa.

See Can. Constantinople 6.



For Greek xx. and xxi. see Latin Canon XVIII.


It would seem that this must be the meaning.

Next: Canon XX

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