Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The First Ecumenical Council: The First Council of Nice.: Canon XI
Concerning those who have fallen without compulsion, without the spoiling of their property, without danger or the like, as happened during the tyranny of Licinius, the Synod declares that, though they have deserved no clemency, they shall be dealt with mercifully. As many as were communicants, if they heartily repent, shall pass three years among the hearers; for seven years they shall be prostrators; and for two years they shall communicate with the people in prayers, but without oblation.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XI.
As many as fell without necessity, even if therefore undeserving of indulgence, yet some indulgence shall be shown them and they shall be prostrators for twelve years.
On the expression “without oblation” (χωρις προσφορᾶς) see the notes to Ancyra, Canon V. where the matter is treated at some length.
The usual position of the hearers was just inside the church door. But Zonaras (and Balsamon agrees with him), in his comment on this canon, says, “they are ordered for three years to be hearers, or to stand without the church in the narthex.”
I have read “as many as were communicants” (οἱ πιστοὶ) thus following Dr. Routh. p. 25 Vide his Opuscula. Caranza translates in his Summary of the Councils “if they were faithful” and seems to have read εἰ πιστοὶ, which is much simpler and makes better sense.
The prostrators stood within the body of the church behind the ambo [i.e. the reading desk] and went out with the catechumens.
Next: Excursus on the Public Discipline or Exomologesis of the Early Church.
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