Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Canons of the Councils of Ancyra, Gangra, Neocæsarea, Antioch and Laodicea, which Canons were Accepted and Received by the Ecumenical Synods.: Canon VII
A presbyter shall not be a guest at the nuptials of persons contracting a second marriage; for, since the digamist is worthy of penance, what kind of a presbyter shall he be, who, by being present at the feast, sanctioned the marriage?
Ancient Epitome of Canon VII.
A presbyter ought not to be present at the marriage of digamists. For when that one 126 implores favour, who will deem him worthy of favour.
The meaning of the canon is as follows: “If the digamist, after contracting his second marriage, comes to the priest to be told the punishment he has to undergo, how stands the priest himself who for the sake of the feast has become his accomplice in the offence?”
The present canon again shews that although the Church never disapproved of, nor reputed second or still later marriages illicit, nevertheless the Fathers enjoined a penance upon digamists and those repeating marriage, because by this iteration they shewed their incontinence. As he that contracted a second marriage did not sin properly speaking, and committed no fault worthy of punishment, therefore whatever was amiss was believed to be paid off by a lighter penance, and Zonaras supposes that the canons inflicted a mulct upon digamists, for saith he, “Digamists are not allowed for one year to receive the Holy Gifts.”
Zonaras seems to indicate that the discipline of the canon was not in force in his time, for he says, “Although this is found in our writings, yet we ourselves have seen the Patriarch and many Metropolitans present at the feast for the second nuptials of the Emperor.”
Bp. Beveridge for “that one” translates “the digamist.” The meaning is very obscure at best.
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