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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:
The Canons of the Synods of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, and Carthage Under St. Cyprian, Which Canons Were Received by the Council in Trullo and Ratified by II. Nice.: Canon XI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XI.


Bishop Hosius said:  This also we ought to decree, that 394 when a bishop comes from one city to another city, or from one province to another province, to indulge boastfulness, ministering to his own praises rather than serving religious devotion, and wishes to prolong his stay [in a city], and the bishop of that city is not skilled in teaching, let him [the visiting bishop] not do despite to the bishop of the place and attempt by frequent discourses to disparage him and lessen his repute (for this device is wont to cause tumults), and strive by such arts to solicit and wrest to himself another’s throne, p. 426 not scrupling to abandon the church committed to him and to procure translation to another.  A definite limit of time should therefore be set in such a case, especially since not to receive a bishop is accounted the part of rude and discourteous persons.  Ye remember that in former times our fathers decreed that if a layman were staying in a city and should not come to divine worship for three [successive] Sundays [that is], for three [full] weeks, he should be repelled from communion.  If then this has been decreed in the case of laymen, it is neither needful, nor fitting, nor yet even expedient that a bishop, unless he has some grave necessity or difficult business, should be very long absent from his own church and distress the people committed to him.

All the bishops said:  We decide that this decree also is most proper.


Bishop Hosius said:  This also ye ought to determine.  If a bishop comes from one city to another city, or from his own province to another province, and serving ambition rather than devotion, wishes to remain resident for a long time in a strange city, and then (as it perchance happens that the bishop of the place is not so practised or so learned as himself) he, the stranger, should begin to do him despite and deliver frequent discourses to disparage him and lessen his repute, not hesitating by this device to leave the church assigned him and remove to that which is another’s—do ye then [in such a case] set a limit of time [for his stay in the city], because on the one hand to refuse to receive a bishop is discourteous, and on the other his too long stay is mischievous.  Provision must be made against this.  I remember that in a former council our brethren decreed that if any layman did not attend divine service in a city in which he was staying three Sundays, that is, for three weeks, he should be deprived of communion.  If then this has been decreed in the case of laymen, it is far less lawful and fitting that a bishop, if there be no grave necessity detaining him, should be absent from his church longer than the time above written.

All said that such was their pleasure.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XI.

A bishop when called in by another bishop, if he that called him is unskilled, must not be too assiduous in preaching, for this would be indecorous to the unlearned bishop, and an attack upon his bishopric.  And both improper.  Without grave necessity it is undesirable for a bishop to be absent from his church.

This is Canon XIV. of the Latin.

Van Espen.

To understand this canon it must be again remembered that in the first ages of the Church bishops were wont to be appointed at the demand of the people; wherefore whoever were going around after the episcopate, were accustomed to solicit the hearts of the people, and to make it their study to win their affections.



Here begins the Greek text, according to Bev.

Next: Canon XII

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