Henry wace, D. D

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Volume XIV


General Introduction

Bibliographical Introduction

Appended Note on the Eastern Editions of Synodical Literature

Excursus on the History of the Roman Law and Its Relation to the Canon Law

The First Ecumenical Council; The First Council of Nice

Historical Introduction

The Nicene Creed

Excursus on the Word Homousios

Excursus on the Words Gennhqevta Ouj Poihqevnta

The Canons of the 318 Holy Fathers Assembled in the City of Nice, in Bithynia

Excursus on the Use of the Word "Canon."

Excursus on the Word Prosfevrein

Excursus on the Extent of the Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome Over the Suburbican Churches

Excursus on the Rise of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Excursus on the Chorepiscopi

Excursus on the Public Discipline or Exomologesis of the Early Church

Excursus on the Communion of the Sick

Excursus on the Translation of Bishops

Excursus on Usury

Excursus on the Deaconess of the Early Church

Excursus on the Number of the Nicene Canons

The Captions of the Arabic Canons Attributed to the Council of Nice

Proposed Action on Clerical Celibacy

The Synodal Letter

On the Keeping of Easter

Excursus on the Subsequent History of the Easter Question

The Canons of the Councils of Ancyra, Gangra Neocaesarea, Antioch and Laodicea

Introductory Note to the Canons of the Provincial Synods

The Canons of the Council of Ancyra

Historical Note

Excursus on Second Marriages, Called Digamy

The Council of Neocaesarea

Historical Note

The Council of Gangra

Historical Introduction

Synodical Letter of the Council of Gangra

The Canons of the Holy Fathers Assembled at Gangra


The Synod of Antioch in Encaeniis

The Synodal Letter

The Canons of the Blessed and Holy Fathers Assembled at Antioch in Syria

Synod of Laodicea

Historical Introduction

The Canons of the Synod Held in the City of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana

Excursus on the Choir Offices of the Early Church

Excursus on the Worship of the Early Church. (Percival, H. R.: Johnson’s Universal Cyclopoedia, Vol. V., S. V. Liturgics.)

Excursus on the Vestments of the Early Church

Excursus on the Minor Orders of the Early Church. (Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius, Vol. I., P. 258.)

The Second Ecumenical Council. The First Council of Constantinople

Historical Introduction

The Holy Creed Which the 150 Holy Fathers Set Forth, Which is Consonant with the Holy and Great Synod of Nice

Introductory Note

Historical Excursus on the Introduction into the Creed of the Words "And the Son."

Historical Note on the Lost "Tome" Of the Second Council

Letter of the Same Holy Synod to the Most Pious Emperor Theodosius the Great, to Which are Appended the Canons Enacted by Them

Introduction on the Number of the Canons

Canons of the One Hundred and Fifty Fathers

Excursus on the Heresies Condemned in Canon I

Excursus on the Authority of the Second Ecumenical Council. (Hefele, History of the Councils, Vol. II., Pp. 370, Et Seqq.)

Council of Constantinople: the Synodical Letter

The Third Ecumenical Council.; The Council of Ephesus

Historical Introduction

Extracts from the Acts. Session I

The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius

Extracts from the Acts. Session I. (Continued)

Historical Introduction to St. Cyril’s Anathematisms

The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius with the XII. Anathematisms

The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril Against Nestorius

Excursus on the Word Qeotovko"

Excursus on How Our Lord Worked Miracles

Extracts from the Acts. Session I. (Continued)

Decree of the Council Against Nestorius. (Found in All the Concilia in Greek with Latin Versions.)

Extracts from the Acts. Session II

The Letter of Pope Coelestine to the Synod of Ephesus

Extracts from the Acts. Session II. (Continued.)

Extracts from the Acts. Session III

The Canons of the Two Hundred Holy and Blessed Fathers Who Met at Ephesus

Excursus on the Conciliabulum of John of Antioch

Excursus on Pelagianism

Excursus on the Words Pivstin jEpevran

The Letter of the Same Holy Synod of Ephesus, to the Sacred Synod in Pamphylia Concerning Eustathius Who Had Been Their Metropolitan

The Letter of the Synod to Pope Celestine

The Definition of the Holy and Ecumenical Synod of Ephesus Against the Impious Messalians

Decree of the Synod in the Matter of Euprepius and Cyril

The Fourth Ecumenical Council.; The Council of Chalcedon

General Introduction

Extracts from the Acts. Session I

Extracts from the Acts. Session II

The Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch

Extracts from the Acts. Session II. (Continued)

The Tome of St. Leo

Extracts from the Acts Session II. (Continued)

Session III

The Condemnation Sent by the Holy and Ecumenical Synod to Dioscorus

Extracts from the Acts. Session IV

Session V

The Definition of Faith of the Council of Chalcedon

Extracts from the Acts. Session VI

Decree on the Jurisdiction of Jerusalem and Antioch. Session VII

The Decree with Regard to the Bishop of Ephesus. Session XII

Decree with Regard to Nicomedia. Session XIII

The XXX Canons of the Holy and Fourth Synods, of Chalcedon

Excursus on the Later History of Canon XXVIII

Extracts from the Acts. Session XVI

The Fifth Ecumenical Council. The Second Council of Constantinople

Historical Introduction

Excursus on the Genuineness of the Acts of the Fifth Council

Extracts from the Acts. Session I

Extracts from the Acts. Session VII

The Sentence of the Synod

The Capitula of the Council

Excursus on the XV Anathemas Against Origen

The Anathemas Against Origen

The Anathematisms of the Emperor Justinian Against Origen

The Decretal Epistle of Pope Vigilius in Confirmation of the Fifth Ecumenical Synod

Historical Note

The Sixth Ecumenical Council.; The Third Council of Constantinople

Historical Introduction

Extracts from the Acts. Session I

The Letter of Agatho, Pope of Old Rome, to the Emperor

The Letter of Agatho and of the Roman Synod of 125 Bishops

Extracts from the Acts. Session VIII

The Sentence Against the Monothelites. Session XIII

Session XVI

The Definition of Faith

The Prosphoneticus to the Emperor

Letter of the Council to St. Agatho

Excursus on the Condemnation of Pope Honorius

The Imperial Edict Posted in the Third Atrium of the Great Church Near What is Called Dicymbala

The Canons of the Council in Trullo; Often Called the Quinisext Council

Introductory Note

The Canons of the Council in Trullo

Excursus on the Marriage of the Clergy

The Canons of the Synods of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, and Carthage

Introductory Note

The Council of Sardica

Introduction on the Date of the Council

The Canons of the Council of Sardica

Excursus on the Other Acts of the Council

Excursus as to Whether the Sardican Council Was Ecumenical

The Canons of the CCXVII Blessed Fathers Who Assembled at Carthage

Introductory Note

An Ancient Introduction

Council of Constantinople Held Under Nectarius

Introductory Note

The Council of Carthage Held Under Cyprian

Introductory Note

The Synod Held at Carthage Over Which Presided the Great and Holy Martyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage.A.D. 257

Epistle LXX

The Seventh Ecumenical Council. The Second Council of Nice


The Divine Sacra Sent by the Emperors Constantine and Irene to the Most Holy and Most Blessed Hadrian, Pope of Old Rome

The Imperial Sacra. Read at the First Session

Extracts from the Acts. Session I

Extracts from the Acts. Session II

Part of Pope Hadrian’s Letter

Extracts from the Acts. Session III

Extracts from the Acts. Session IV

Extracts from the Acts. Session VI

Epitome of the Definition of the Iconoclastic Conciliabulum

Excursus on the Conciliabulum Styling Itself the Seventh Ecumenical Council, But Commonly Called the Mock Synod of Constantinople

The Decree of the Holy, Great, Ecumenical Synod, the Second of Nice

Excursus on the Present Teaching of the Latin and Greek Churches on the Subject

The Canons of the Holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council

The Letter of the Synod to the Emperor and Empress

Excursus on the Two Letters of Gregory II. To the Emperor Leo

Excursus on the Reception of the Seventh Council

Examination of the Caroline Books

Excursus on the Council of Frankfort, A.D., 794

Excursus on the Convention Said to Have Been Held in Paris, A.D. 825

Historical Note on the So-Called "Eighth General Council" And Subsequent Councils


Prefatory Note

The Apostolical Canons


The Letter of the Blessed Dionysius, the Archbishop of Alexandria to Basilides the Bishop

The Canons of the Blessed Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Martyr, Which are Found in His Sermon on Penitence

The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory

The Epistle of St. Athanasius to the Monk Ammus

The Epistle of the Same Athanasius Taken from the XXXIX. Festal Epistle

The Epistle of St Athanasius to Ruffinian

The First Canonical Epistle of Our Holy Father Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia to Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium

The Second Canonical Epistle of the Same

The Third Epistle of the Same to the Same

From an Epistle of the Same to the Blessed Amphilochius on the Difference of Meats

Of the Same to Diodorus Bishop of Tarsus, Concerning a Man Who Had Taken Two Sisters to Wife

Of the Same to Gregory a Presbyter, that He Should Separate from a Woman Who Dwelt with Him

Of the Same to the Chorepiscopi, that No Ordinations Should Be Made Contrary to the Canons

Of the Same to His Suffragans that They Should Not Ordain for Money

From Chapter XVII. Of the Book St. Basil Wrote to Blessed Amphilochius on the Holy Ghost

From the Letter of Basil the Great to the Nicopolitans

The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, to St. Letoius, Bishop of Melitene

From the Metre Poems of St. Gregory Theologus, Specifying Which Books of the Old and New Testament Should Be Read

From the Iambics of St. Amphilochius the Bishop to Seleucus, on the Same Subject

The Canonical Answers of Timothy

The Prosphonesus of Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, When the Holy Epiphanies Happened to Fall on a Sunday

The Commonitory of the Same Which Ammon Received on Account of Lycus

Of the Same to Agatho the Bishop

Of the Same to Menas the Bishop

The Narrative of the Same Concerning Those Called Cathari

The Canonical Epistle of Our Holy Father Among the Saints, Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, on the Hymns

Cyril to Domnus

Of the Same to the Bishops of Libya and Pentapolis

The Encyclical Letter of Gennadius


The work intrusted to me of preparing this volume evidently can be divided into two separate parts. The first, the collecting of the material needed and the setting of it before the reader in the English tongue; the other, the preparation of suitable introductions and notes to the matter thus provided. Now in each of these departments two courses were open to the editor: the one, to be original; the other, to be a copyist. I need hardly say that of these the former offered many temptations. But I could not fail to recognize the fact that such a course would greatly take from the real value of the work, and therefore without any hesitation I have adopted the other alternative, and have endeavoured, so far as was at all possible, to keep myself out of the question altogether; and as a general rule even the translation of the text (as distinguished from the notes) is not mine but that of some scholar of well-established reputation.

In the carrying out of this method of procedure I have availed myself of all the translations which I could find, and where, after comparing them with the original, I have thought them substantially accurate, I have adopted them and reproduced them. Where I have thought that the translation was misleading, I have amended it from some other translation, and, I think, in no case have I ventured a change of translation which rests upon my own judgment alone. A very considerable portion, however, of the matter found in this volume is now translated into English for the first time. For some of this I am indebted to my friends, who have most kindly given me every assistance in their power, but even here no translation has been made from the Greek without careful reference being had to the traditional understanding, as handed down in the Latin versions, and wherever the Latin and Greek texts differ on material points the difference has been noted. I have not thought it necessary nor desirable to specify the source of each particular translation, but I have provided for the use of the reader a list of all the translations which I have used. I should also add that I have not considered any one text sufficiently well established as to command any deference being paid to it, and that I have usually followed (for my own convenience rather than for any other reason) the text contained in Labbe and Cossart’s Concilia. No doubt Hardouin and Mansi are in some respects superior, but old prejudices are very strong, and the reader will remember that these differing Concilia gave rise to a hard-fought battle in the history of the Gallican Church. I should add, however, that where more recent students of the subject have detected errors of importance in Labbe’s text, I have corrected them, usually noting the variety of reading. With regard then to the text I entirely disclaim any responsibility, and the more so as on such a matter my opinion would be entirely valueless. And with regard to the translation my responsibility goes no further than the certifying the reader that, to all intents and purposes, the meaning of the original is presented to him in the English language and without interpretation being introduced under the specious guise of translation. Some portions are mere literal translations, and some are done into more idiomatic English, but all—so far as I am able to judge—are fair renderings of the original, its ambiguities being duly preserved. I have used as the foundation of the translation of the canons of the first four synods and of the five Provincial Synods that most convenient book, Index Canonum, by the Rev. John Fulton, D.D., D.C.L., in which united to a good translation is a Greek text, very well edited and clearly printed.

In preparing the other division of the book, that is to say, the Introduction and Notes, I have been guided by the saine considerations. Here will be found no new and brilliant guesses of my own, but a collection of the most reliable conclusions of the most weighty critics and commentators. Where the notes are of any length I have traced the source and given the exact reference, but for the brief notes, where I have not thought this necessary, the reader may feel the greatest confidence that he is not reading any surmises of mine, but that in every particular what he reads rests upon the authority of the greatest names who have written on the subject. In the bibliographical table already referred to I have placed the authorities most frequently cited.

I think it necessary to make a few remarks upon the rule which I have laid down for myself with regard to my attitude on controverted questions bearing upon doctrine or ecclesiastical discipline. It seems to me that in such a work as the present any expression of the editor’s views would be eminently out of place. I have therefore confined myself to a bare statement of what I conceive to be the facts of the case, and have left the reader to draw from them what conclusions he pleases. I hope that this volume may be equally acceptable to the Catholic and to the Protestant, to the Eastern and to the Western, and while I naturally think that the facts presented are clearly in accordance with my own views, I hope that those who draw from the same premises different conclusions will find these premises stated to their satisfaction in the following pages. And should such be the case this volume may well be a step toward “the union of all” and toward “the peace of all the holy churches of God,” for which the unchanging East has so constantly prayed in her liturgy.

I wish to explain to the reader one other principle on which I have proceeded in preparing this volume. It professes to be a translation of the decrees and canons of certain ecclesiastical synods. It is not a history of those synods, nor is it a theological treatise upon the truth or otherwise of the doctrines set forth by those synods in their legislation. I have therefore carefully restricted my own historical introductions to a bare statement of such facts as seemed needed to render the meaning of the matter subsequently presented intelligible to the reader. And with regard to doctrine I have pursued the same course, merely explaining what the doctrine taught or condemned was, without entering into any consideration of its truth or falsity. For the history of the Church and its Councils the reader must consult the great historians; for a defence of the Church’s faith he must read the works of her theologians.

I need hardly say that the overwhelming majority of the references found in this volume I have had no opportunity of verifying, no copy of many of the books being (so far as I know) to be found in America. I have, however, taken great pains to insure accuracy in reproducing the references as given in the books from which I have cited them; this, however, does not give me any feeling of confidence that they may be relied on, especially as in some cases where I have been able to look them up, I have found errors of the most serious kind.

It now only remains that I thank all those who have assisted me in this work, and especially I must mention his Excellency the High Procurator of the Holy Governing Synod of Russia, who directed the bibliographical table of Russian editions of the Canons, etc., which is found in this volume, to be prepared for me by Professor Glubokoffski of the Ecclesiastical Academy at St. Petersburgh. My special thanks are due to the learned professor just named for the very admirable manner in which he has performed the work, and to Mr. W. J. Birkbeck, who has added one more to his numerous labours for making the West better acquainted with the East by translating the Russian ms. into English. I cannot but pause here to remark how deep my regret is that my ignorance of the Russian and Slavic tongues has prevented me from laying before my readers the treasures of learning and the stores of tradition and local illustration which these volumes must contain. I am, however, extremely well pleased in being able to put those, who are more fortunate than myself in this respect, in the way of investigating the matter for themselves, by supplying them with the titles of the books on the subject. I desire also to offer my thanks to Professor Bolotoff for the valuable information he sent me as well as for a copy of his learned (and often most just) strictures upon Professor Lauchert’s book, “Die Kanones der wichtigsten altkirchlichen Concilien nebst den Apostolischen Kanones.” (Freiburg in B. und Leipzig, 1896.)

The Rev. Wm. McGarvey has helped me most kindly by translating parts of the Second Council of Nice, and one or more of the African Canons; and by looking over the translation of the entire African Code.

The Rev. F. A. Sanborn translated two of St. Cyril’s letters, and the Rev. Leighton Hoskins the Sardican Canons. To these and many other of my friends, who in one way or another helped me, I wish to return my deep thanks; also to the Nashotah Theological Seminary and to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Mr. Airy, Philadelphia, for having placed their libraries entirely at my disposal; nor can I end this list without mention of my sister, who has assisted me most materially through the entire progress of the work, and without whom I never could have undertaken it.When I think of the great number of authors cited, of the rapidity with which most of the translation has had to be done, of the difficulty of getting access to the necessary books, and of the vast range of subjects touched upon (including almost every branch of ecclesiastical and theological learning), I feel I must throw myself and my work upon the reader’s indulgence and beg him to take all this in consideration in making his estimate of the value of the work done. As for me, now that it is all finished, I feel like crying out with the reader, in deep shame at the recollection of the many blunders he has made in reading the lesson,—“Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis!”

In conclusion I would add that nothing I have written must be interpreted as meaning that the editor personally has any doubt of the truth of the doctrines set forth by the Ecumenical Councils of the Christian Church, and I wish to declare in the most distinct manner that I accept all the doctrinal decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Synods as infallible and irreformable.

Henry R. Percival.

Pentecost, 1899.

General Introduction

I. Method of Treatment

It is absolutely necessary that a few words should be said on the general arrangement of the work. The reader will find given him in the English tongue, so far as they have come down to us, all the doctrinal definitions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils (councils which have always, and still do, receive the unqualified acceptance of both East and West), and all the canons, disciplinary and doctrinal, which were enacted by them. To these has been added a translation in full of all the canons of the local synods which received the approval and sanction of the aforesaid Ecumenical Councils. Besides this, as throwing light upon the subject, large extracts from the Acta have been given, in fact all that seemed to illustrate the decrees; and, that nothing might be lacking, in an appendix has been placed a collection of all the non-synodal canons which have received the sanction of the Ecumenical Synods, the “Canons of the Apostles” (so called) being given in full, and the others in a shortened form, for the most part in the words of the admirable and learned John Johnson.

This then is the text of the volume; but it is manifest that it stood in need of much comment to make its meaning clear to the reader, even if well informed on ordinary matters. To provide for this, to each synodal canon there has been added the Ancient Epitome.

Directory: files -> english -> texts -> ecf
ecf -> Philip schaff, D. D., LL. D., Professor in the union theological seminary, new york. In connection with a number of patristic scholars of europe and america
ecf -> Philip schaff, D. D., LL. D., Professor in the union theological seminary, new york. In connection with a number of patristic scholars of europe and america
ecf -> Ante-nicene fathers
ecf -> Henry wace, D. D
ecf -> Philip schaff, D. D., LL. D., Professor of church history in the union theological seminary, new york. In connection with a number of patristic scholars of europe and america
ecf -> Philip schaff, D. D., LL. D., Professor in the union theological seminary, new york. In connection with a number of patristic scholars of europe and america
ecf -> Philip schaff, D. D., LL. D., Professor in the union theological seminary, new york. In connection with a number of patristic scholars of europe and america
ecf -> Ante-nicene fathers
ecf -> Henry wace, D. D

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