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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIV:
Appendix containing Canons and Rulings not having Conciliar Origin but Approved by Name in Canon II. of the Synod in Trullo.: The Canons of the Blessed Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Martyr, which are found in his Sermon on Penitence.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 601 II.

The Canons of the Blessed Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Martyr, 585 which are found in his Sermon on Penitence.

Canon I.

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

Canon II.

But if they endured imprisonment only, without torments, let a year be added to their former penance.

Canon III.

If they fell voluntarily, without torments or imprisonments, but are come to repentance, four years are added to their former penance.

Canon IV.

The case of them who do not repent pronounced desperate.

Canon V.

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.

Canon VI.

Slaves forced by their masters to incense idols, and doing it in their master’s stead, are enjoined a year’s penance.

Canon VII.

The masters who forced them to it, are enjoined three years’ penance, as being hypocrites, and as forcing their slaves to sacrifice.

Canon VIII.

They who first fell, and afterwards recovered themselves, by professing themselves Christians, and endured torments, are forthwith admitted to communion.

Canon IX.

That they who provoked the magistrates to persecute themselves and others are to be blamed, yet not to be denied communion.

Canon X.

That clergymen, who run themselves into persecution, and fell, though they did afterward recover themselves, and suffer torments, yet are not to be admitted to perform the sacred offices.

Canon XI.

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

Canon XII.

That they who with money purchased their ease and freedom, are to be commended.

Canon XIII.

Nor should we accuse those who ran away, and left all, though others left behind might fare the worse for it. 588

Canon XIV.

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.

Canon XV.

Wednesday is to be fasted, because then the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us.  We keep the Lord’s Day as a day of joy, because then our Lord rose.  Our tradition is, not to kneel on that day.



According to Johnson, St. Peter of Alexandria was martyred a.d. 311 in the persecution in the time of Diocletian, carried on by Maximian.


In Beveridge will be found Balsamon’s and Zonaras’s notes.


Johnson remarks, “The truth is, there is occasion for a critic, for the Greek is certainly corrupted.”


This canon contains the legend, refuted by St. Jerome, that St. John the Baptist was taken by St. Elizabeth away from the danger of Herod’s edicts against the Innocents and escaped by flight, his father, Zacharias, the meanwhile, being slain between the temple and the altar.

Next: The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory, Archbishop of Neocæsarea, who is called Thaumaturgus, concerning Them that, During the Incursion of the Barbarians, Ate of Things Offered to Idols and Committed Certain Other Sins.

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