Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Fourth Ecumenical Council. The Council of Chalcedon.: Canon II
If any Bishop should ordain for money, and put to sale a grace which cannot be sold, and for money ordain a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or presbyters, or deacons, or any other of those who are counted among the clergy; or if through lust of gain he should nominate for money a steward, or advocate, or prosmonarius, or any one whatever who is on the roll of the Church, let him who is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let him who is ordained be nothing profited by the purchased ordination or promotion; but let him be removed from the dignity or charge he has obtained for money. And if any one should be found negotiating such shameful and unlawful transactions, let him also, if he is a clergyman, be deposed from his rank, and if he is a layman or monk, let him be anathematized.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XIX.
Whoso buys or sells an ordination, down to a Prosmonarius, shall be in danger of losing his grade. Such shall also be the case with go-betweens, if they be clerics they shall be cut off from their rank, if laymen or monks, they shall be anathematized.
A great scandal in the “Asian diocese” had led to St. Chrysostoms intervention. Antoninus, bishop of Ephesus, was charged, with “making it a rule to sell ordinations of bishops at rates proportionate to the value of their sees” (Palladius, Dial. de vita Chrysost., p. 50). Chrysostom held a synod at Ephesus, at which six bishops were deposed for having obtained their sees in this manner. Isidore of Pelasium repeatedly remonstrated with his bishop Eusebius on the heinousness of “selling the gift” of ordinations (Epist. I., 26, 30, 37); and names Zosimus, a priest, and Maron, a deacon, as thus ordained (ib. 111, 119). A few years before the council, a court of three bishops sat at Berytus to hear charges brought against Ibas, bishop of Edessa, by clerics of his diocese. The third charge was thus curtly worded: “Moreover he receives for laying on hands” (Mansi, vii. 224). The xxvijth Trullan canon repeated this canon of Chalcedon against persons ordained for money, doubtless in view of such a state of things as Gregory the Great had heard of nearly a century earlier, “that in the Eastern Churches no one comes to holy order except by the payment of premiums” (Epist. xi. 46, to the bishop of Jerusalem; compare Evagriuss assertion that Justin II. openly sold bishoprics, V. 1). It is easy to understand how the scruples of ecclesiastics could be abated by the courtly fashion of calling bribes “eulogiæ” (Fleury, XXVI, 20), just as the six prelates above referred to had regarded their payments as an equivalent for that “making over of property to the Curia,” which was required by a law of 399 (Cod. Theod., xii. 1, 163, see notes in Transl. of Fleury, i. 163, ij. 16).
The ἔκδικος, “defensor,” was an official Advocate or counsel for the Church. The legal force of the term “defensor” is indicated by a law of Valentinian I. “Nec idem in eodem negotio defensor sit et quæsitor” (Cod. Theod., ii. 10, 2). In the East the office was held by ecclesiastics; thus, John, presbyter and “advocate” was employed, at the Council of Constantinople in 448, to summon Eutyches (Mansi, vii. 697). About 496, Paul the “Advocate” of Constantinople saved his archbishop from the sword of a murderer at the cost of his own life (Theodor., Lect. ii. 11). In the list of the functionaries of St. Sophia, given by Goar in his Euchologion (p. 270), the Protecdicos is discribed as adjudicating, with twelve assessors, in smaller causes, on p. 269 which he afterwards reports to the bishop. In Africa, on the other hand, from a.d. 407 (see Cod. Theod., xvi. 2, 38), the office was held by barristers, in accordance with a request of the African bishops (Cod. Afric., 97; Mansi, iii., 802), who, six years earlier, had asked for “defensores,” with special reference to the oppression of the poor by the rich (Cod. Afric., 75; Mansi, iii. 778, 970). The “defensores” mentioned by Gregory the Great had primarily to take care of the poor (Epist., v. 29), and of the church property (ib., i. 36), but also to be advocates of injured clerics (ib., ix. 64) and act as assessors (ib., x. 1), etc.
The next office is that of the Prosmonarius or, according to a various reading adopted by many (e.g. Justellus, Hervetus, Beveridge, Bingham), the Paramonarius. Opinions differ as to the functions intended. Isidore gives simply “paramonarius:” Dionysius (see Justellus, Biblioth., i., 134) omits the word; but in the “interpretatio Dionysii,” as given in the Concilia, freedom has been taken to insert “vel mansionarium” in a parenthesis (vii. 373; see Beveridge, in loc.). Mansionarius is a literal rendering; but what was the function of a mansionarius? In Gregory the Greats time he was a sacristan who had the duty of lighting the church (Dial., i. 5); and “ostiarium” in the Prisca implies the same idea. Tillemont, without deciding between the two Greek readings, thinks that the person intended had “some charge of what pertained to the church itself, perhaps like our present bedells” (xv. 694). So Fleury renders, “concièrge” (xxviij. 29); and Newman, reading “paramonarion,” takes a like view (note in Transl. of Fleury, vol. iii., p. 392). But Justellus (i. 91) derives “paramonarius” from μονή “mansio,” a halting-place, so that the sense would be a manager of one of the churchs farms, a “villicus,” or, as Bingham expresses it, “a bailiff” (iii. 3, 1). Beveridge agrees with Justellus, except in giving to μονή the sense of “monastery” (compare the use of μονή in Athan., Apol. c. Arian, 67, where Valesius understands it as “a station” on a road, but others as “a monastery,” see Historical Writings of St. Athanasius, Introd., p. xliv.). Bingham also prefers this interpretation. Suicer takes it as required by “paramonarios” which he treats as the true reading: “prosmonarios” he thinks would have the sense of “sacristan.”
According to Van Espen, however, who here supports himself upon Du Cange, by “prosmonarios” or “mansionarius,” in the same way as by “oiconomos,” a steward of church property was to be understood.
The canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratians Decretum, Pars II., Causa I., Quæst. i., can. viij.
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