Bishop Hosius said: Since no case should be left unprovided for, let this also be decreed. 395 Some of our brethren and fellow-bishops are known to possess very little private property in the cities in which they are placed as bishops, but have great possessions in other places, with which they are, moreover, able to help the poor. I think then permission should be given them, if they are to visit their estates and attend to the gathering of the harvest, to pass three Sundays, that is, to stay for three weeks, on their estates, and to assist at divine worship and celebrate the liturgy in the nearest church in which a presbyter holds service, in order that they may not be seen to be absent from worship, and in order that they may not come too frequently to the p. 427 city in which there is a bishop. In this way their private affairs will suffer no loss from their absence and they will be seen to be clear from the charge of ambition and arrogance.
Bishop Hosius said: Since no case should be left unprovided for [let this also be decreed]. There are some of our brother-bishops, who do not reside in the city in which they are appointed bishops, either because they have but little property there, while they are known to have considerable estates elsewhere, or, it may be, through affection for kith and kin and in complaisance to these. Let this much be permitted them, to go to their estates to superintend and dispose of their harvest, and [for this purpose] to remain over three Sundays, that is, for three weeks, if it be necessary, on their estates; or else, if there is a neighbouring city in which there is a presbyter, in order that they may not be seen to pass Sunday without church, let them go thither, so that [in this way] neither will their private affairs suffer loss from their absence, nor will they, by frequent going to the city in which a bishop is resident, incur the suspicion of ambition and place-seeking. All said that this was approved by them.
If a bishop has possessions outside his diocese, and visits them, let him be careful not to remain there more than three Lords days. For thus his own flock will be enriched by him, and he himself will avoid the charge of arrogance.
As Balsamon notes, this canon is an appendix to that which goes before, and the context of the canon indicates this clearly enough; for while the last canon decrees that no bishop is to be absent from his diocese for more than three Lords days, without grave necessity, in this canon a certain modification is introduced with regard to certain bishops.
According to the Latin text of Dionysius, it is: “Some bishops do not reside in their Cathedral town, etc.” Isidore and the Prisca, however, are nearer the Greek text, as instead of resident they more rightly read possident.
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