p. 601 II.
The Canons of the Blessed Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Martyr, 585 which are found in his Sermon on Penitence.
The fourth Easter from the beginning of the persecution was now come; and orders, that they who did not fall till after they had endured severe torments, and have already been “Mourners” three years, after forty days fast, are to be admitted to communion, although they have not been before received [to penance]. 586
They that used evasion, and did not right down subscribe the abnegation, or with their own hands incense the idols, but sent a heathen to do it for them, are enjoined six months penance, though they have been pardoned by some of the Confessors.
That they who prayed for them who fell after long torments, be connived at, and we pray together with them, since they lament for what they have done, with anguish and mortification. 587
Nor should we accuse those who ran away, and left all, though others left behind might fare the worse for it. 588
That they who endured tortures, and afterwards, when they were deprived of speech and motion, had their hands forced into the fire, to offer unholy sacrifice, be placed in the Liturgy [i.e., in the diptychs] among the Confessors.
Wednesday is to be fasted, because then the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us. We keep the Lords Day as a day of joy, because then our Lord rose. Our tradition is, not to kneel on that day.
This canon contains the legend, refuted by St. Jerome, that St. John the Baptist was taken by St. Elizabeth away from the danger of Herods edicts against the Innocents and escaped by flight, his father, Zacharias, the meanwhile, being slain between the temple and the altar.
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