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 XXV
p. 121 Canon XXV.
Let the bishop have power over the funds of the Church, so as to dispense them with all piety and in the fear of God to all who need. And if there be occasion, let him take what he requires for his own necessary uses and those of his brethren sojourning with him, so that they may in no way lack, according to the divine Apostle, who says, “Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content.” And if he shall not be content with these, but shall apply the funds to his own private uses, and not manage the revenues of the Church, or the rent of the farms, with the consent of the presbyters and deacons, but shall give the authority to his own domestics and kinsmen, or brothers, or sons, so that the accounts of the Church are secretly injured, he himself shall submit to an investigation by the synod of the province. But if, on the other hand, the bishop or his presbyters shall be defamed as appropriating to themselves what belongs to the Church, (whether from lands or any other ecclesiastical resources), so that the poor are oppressed, and accusation and infamy are brought upon the account and on those who so administer it, let them also be subject to correction, the holy synod determining what is right.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XXV.
The bishop shall have power over ecclesiastical goods. But should he not be content with those things which are sufficient for him but shall alienate the goods and revenues of the church, without the advice of the clergy, penalties shall be exacted from him in the presence of the synod. But if he has converted to his own uses what was given for the poor, of this also let him give an explanation to the synod.
Compare with this canon Apostolic Canon number XLI.
This Canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratians Decretum, Pars II., Causa XII., Quæst I., can. XXIII. and with this should be compared canon XXII. immediately preceding.
At the end of this canon in Labbes version of Dionysius we find these words added. “And thirty bishops signed who were gathered together at this Synod.” Isidore Mercator has a still fuller text, viz.: “I, Eusebius, being present subscribe to all things constituted by this holy Synod. Theodore, Nicetas, Macedonius, Anatolius, Tarcodimantus, Æthereus, Narcissus, Eustachius, Hesychius, Mauricius, Paulus, and the rest, thirty bishops agreed and signed.” Van Espen after noting that this addition is not found in the Greek, nor in Martin Bracarensis, adds “there is little probability that this clause is of the same antiquity as the canons.”
Next: Synod of Laodicea.
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