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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 XXXIX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 461 Canon XXXIX.  (Greek xlii.)

That a bishop should not be called the chief of the priests. 441

That the bishop of the first see shall not be called Prince of the Priests or High Priest (Summus Sacerdos) or any other name of this kind, but only Bishop of the First See.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXIX.

The first bishop shall not be called Prince of the Priests nor High Priest but Bishop of the first see.

This canon is Canon xxv. of the Synod of Hippo, a.d. 393.


“The bishop of the Prime See,” i.e., The primate.  So Xantippus is called bishop of the Prime.  So in Numidia, Nicetius in Mauritania, in the original Latin between Can. 85, and Can. 86, and see Can. 86.

N.B.  Justellus on this canon shews, that Tertullian, Optatus, and Augustine, did apply these titles to their own African bishops; and therefore supposes, that the meaning of the canon was to suppress the flame of vain glory, which proceeded from these sparks of lofty titles.



The Greek reads for “bishop,” “a Primate.”

Next: Canon XL

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