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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 LXXVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon LXXVI.  (Greek lxxix.)

Of bishops who do not put in an appearance at Council.

Item, it seemed good that as often as the council is to be assembled, the bishops who are impeded neither by age, sickness, or other grave necessity, come together, and that notice be given to the primates of their several provinces, that from all the bishops there be made two or three squads, and of each of these squads there be elected some who shall be promptly ready on the council day:  but should they not be able to attend, p. 480 let them write their excuses in the tractory, 465 or if after the coming of the tractory certain necessities suddenly arise by chance, unless they send to their own primate an account of their impediment, they ought to be content with the communion of their own Church.


Ancient Epitome of Canon LXXVI.

Those who do not attend the annual synod, unless they be involuntarily prevented, must be satisfied with the communion of their own churches.

This is Canon xj., of Carthage, September, 401.


“Tractory” has several significations; here it seems to denote the written return made by the Primate of the province to the synodical letter sent by the Bishop of Carthage.  In the acts inserted between canon 90th and 91st “Tractoria” seems to denote the letter of the Primate to the inferior bishops for choosing legates, if it do not rather denote the Bishop of Carthage’s circular-letter to all the primates, as it does in the next paragraph.

[The penalty in the last clause is] a very singular sort of censure, and very moderate.  See Can. 80 (83).



All mention of the “tractory” is omitted in the Greek version.

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