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 XIX
p. 136 Canon XIX.
After the sermons of the Bishops, the prayer for the catechumens is to be made first by itself; and after the catechumens have gone out, the prayer for those who are under penance; and, after these have passed under the hand [of the Bishop] and departed, there should then be offered the three prayers of the faithful, the first to be said entirely in silence, the second and third aloud, and then the [kiss of] peace is to be given. And, after the presbyters have given the [kiss of] peace to the Bishop, then the laity are to give it [to one another], and so the Holy Oblation is to be completed. And it is lawful to the priesthood alone to go to the Altar and [there] communicate.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XIX.
After the prayers of the catechumens shall be said those of the Penitents, and afterwards those of the faithful. And after the peace, or embrace, has been given, the offering shall be made. Only priests shall enter the sanctuary and make there their communion.
The Greek commentators throw but little if any light upon this canon. A question has been raised as to who said the prayers mentioned. Van Espen, following Isidores translation “they also pray who are doing penance,” thinks the prayer of the penitents, said by themselves, is intended, and not the prayer said by the Bishop. But Hefele, following Dionysiuss version—“the prayers over the catechumens,” “over those who are doing penance”—thinks that the liturgical prayers are intended, which after the sermon were wont to be said “over” the different classes. Dionysius does not say “over” the faithful, but describes them as “the prayers of the faithful,” which Hefele thinks means that the faithful joined in reciting them.
Next: Excursus on the Worship of the Early Church.
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