Bishop Hosius said: This also I think necessary. 393 Ye should consider with all thoroughness and care, that if some rich man or professional advocate be desired for bishop, he be not ordained until he have fulfilled the ministry of reader, deacon, and presbyter, in order that, passing by promotion through the several grades, he may p. 425 advance (if, that is, he be found worthy) to the height of the episcopate. And he shall remain in each order assuredly for no brief time, that so his faith, his reputable life, his steadfastness of character and considerateness of demeanour may be well-known, and that he, being deemed worthy of the divine sacerdotal office [sacerdotium, i.e., the episcopate] may enjoy the highest honour. For it is not fitting, nor does discipline or good conversation allow to proceed to this act rashly or lightly, so as to ordain a bishop or presbyter or deacon hastily; as thus he would rightly be accounted a novice, especially since also the most blessed Apostle, he who was the teacher of the Gentiles, is seen to have forbidden hasty ordinations; for the test of [even] the longest period will not unreasonably be required to exemplify the conversation and character of each [candidate].
Bishop Hosius said: This also I think it necessary for you to consider most carefully, that if perchance some rich man or professional advocate or ex-official be desired for bishop, he be not ordained until he have fulfilled the ministry of a reader and the office of deacon and presbyter, and so ascend, if he have shown himself worthy, through the several grades to the height of the episcopate. For by these promotions which in any case take a considerable length of time can be tested his faith, his discretion, his gravity and modesty. And if he be found worthy, let him be honoured with the divine sacerdotal office [i.e. the episcopate]. For it is not fitting, nor does order or discipline allow, that one be rashly or lightly ordained bishop, presbyter or deacon, who is a novice, especially since also the blessed Apostle, the teacher of the Gentiles, is seen to have expressly forbidden it. But those [should be ordained] whose life has been tested and their merit approved by length of time.
No lawyer, teacher, or gentleman (πλούσιος) shall be made a bishop without passing through the holy orders. Nor shall the space of time between the orders be made too brief, that there may be a better proof of his faith and good conversation. For otherwise he is a neophyte.
By Scholasticus de foro [“professional advocate”] must be understood an eloquent pleader of difficult causes, who being bound up in forensic disputes and strifes, may be presumed to be little fitted for the priesthood, and therefore to need a more strict examination.
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