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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 XCVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Canon XCVII.  (Greek c.)

That there be sought from the Emperor the protection of Advocates in causes ecclesiastical.

It seemed good that the legates who were about leaving, viz., Vincent and Fortunatian, should in the name of all the provinces ask from the most glorious Emperors to give a faculty for the establishment of scholastic defensors, whose shall be the care of this very kind of business:  so that as the priests 477 of the province, they who have received the faculty as defensors of the Churches in ecclesiastical affairs, as often as necessity arises, may be able to enter the private apartments of the judges, so as to resist what is urged on the other side, or to make necessary explanations.


Ancient Epitome of Canon XCVII.

That there be asked of the Emperor the appointment of Patrons for ecclesiastical heads, whose care it should be to defend the Church in its affairs, and who as priests could easily refer what things were urgent.

(Greek ci.)

That the legation be free.

It seemed good that the chosen legates should have at the meeting freedom of action (legationem liberam).

p. 492 The protest of the Mauritanian bishops against Primosus.

It is evident that those of Mauritania Cæsariensis gave evidence in their own writings that Primosus had been summoned by the chiefs of the Thiganensian city, that he should present himself to the plenary council according to the imperial constitutions, and, when sought for, as was right, Primosus was not found, at least so the deacons reported.  But since the same Mauritanians petitioned that letters be sent from the whole synod to the venerable brother, the aged Innocent, it seemed good that they should be sent, that he might know that Primosus had been sought at the council and not found at all.


Ancient Epitome.



The contents of this canon being special are useless, therefore no explanation has been given.

This Canon is Canon iij. of Carthage, a.d. 407.


See can. 75 (78) and note on Can. Chalced., 23.

These officers [i.e. “defensors”] seem to be called “executores” in the acts of synod just before this canon.

The “priest of the province” was one chosen out of the body of advocates to be counsel to the province, to act and plead in their behalf; and that he might do it more effectually he was allowed to have private conference with the judge.



Mansi notes that this refers to the heathen priests, and quotes Cod. Theod. 47, de decurionibus.

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