The Letter of the Blessed Dionysius, the Archbishop of Alexandria to Basilides the Bishop who made Enquiries on Various Subjects, to which Dionysius made Answer in this Epistle, which Answers have been received as Canons. 582
Canon I. 583
When the Paschal fast is to be broken depends on the precise hour of our Saviours resurrection, and this was not certainly to be known from the Four Evangelists; therefore they who have not fasted the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before Easter, do no great thing if they fast the Friday and Saturday, and so till past three on Easter morning. But they who have fasted the whole six days, are not to be blamed if they break their fast after midnight. Some do not fast any of these days.
Menstruous women ought not to come to the Holy Table, or touch the Holy of Holies, 584 nor to the churches, but pray elsewhere.
Balsamon notes how the canon educes the example of the woman who had had an issue of blood for twelve years and who therefore did not dare to touch the Lord, but only the “hem of his garment.” He also notes that the question proposed, was whether Christian women should be excluded from the church and need follow the example of the Hebrews, who “when the menstrual flux was upon them, sat in a solitary place by themselves and waited for seven days to pass, and their flux should be over.” The answer given is as above.
The Saint ends this canon with these words: “I have given opinion on the points about which you have consulted me, not as a doctor, but in all simplicity as it is suitable the relation between us should be. And when you have examined, my most learned son, what I have written you will let me know what seems to you better or whether you agree with my opinions. Farewell, dear son, may your ministry be in the peace of the Lord.”
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