Apostolic Constitutions, Book Eight
76 min read
76 min read
I. Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, delivered to us the great mystery of godliness, and called both Jews and Gentiles to the acknowledgment of the one and only true God His Father, as Himself somewhere says, when He was giving thanks for the salvation of those that had believed, I have manifested Your name to men, I have finished the work You gave me; John 17:6, 4 and said concerning us to His Father, Holy Father, although the world has not known You, yet have I known You; and these have known You. With good reason did He say to all of us together, when we were perfected concerning those gifts which were given from Him by the Spirit: Now these signs shall follow them that have believed in my name: they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall by no means hurt them: they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:17-18 These gifts were first bestowed on us the apostles when we were about to preach the Gospel to every creature, and afterwards were of necessity afforded to those who had by our means believed; not for the advantage of those who perform them, but for the conviction of the unbelievers, that those whom the word did not persuade, the power of signs might put to shame: for signs are not for us who believe, but for the unbelievers, both for the Jews and Gentiles. For neither is it any profit to us to cast out demons, but to those who are so cleansed by the power of the Lord; as the Lord Himself somewhere instructs us, and shows, saying: Rejoice not because the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 Since the former is done by His power, but this by our good disposition and diligence, yet (it is manifest) by His assistance. It is not therefore necessary that every one of the faithful should cast out demons, or raise the dead, or speak with tongues; but such a one only who is vouchsafed this gift, for some cause which may be advantage to the salvation of the unbelievers, who are often put to shame, not with the demonstration of the world, but by the power of the signs; that is, such as are worthy of salvation: for all the ungodly are not affected by wonders; and hereof God Himself is a witness, as when He says in the law: With other tongues will I speak to this people, and with other lips, and yet will they by no means believe. Isaiah 28:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21 For neither did the Egyptians believe in God, when Moses had done so many signs and wonders; nor did the multitude of the Jews believe in Christ, as they believed Moses, who yet had healed every sickness and every disease among them. Nor were the former shamed by the rod which was turned into a living serpent, nor by the hand which was made white with leprosy, nor by the river Nile turned into blood; nor the latter by the blind who recovered their sight, nor by the lame who walked, nor by the dead who were raised. The one was resisted by Jannes and Jambres, the other by Annas and Caiaphas. Thus signs do not shame all into belief, but only those of a good disposition; for whose sake also it is that God is pleased, as a wise steward of a family, to appoint miracles to be wrought, not by the power of men, but by His own will. Now we say these things, that those who have received such gifts may not exalt themselves against those who have not received them; such gifts, we mean, as are for the working of miracles. For otherwise there is no man who has believed in God through Christ, that has not received some spiritual gift: for this very thing, having been delivered from the impiety of polytheism, and having believed in God the Father through Christ, this is a gift of God. And the having cast off the veil of Judaism, and having believed that, by the good pleasure of God, His only begotten Son, who was before all ages, was in the last time born of a virgin, without the company of a man, and that He lived as a man, yet without sin, and fulfilled all that righteousness which is of the law; and that, by the permission of God, He who was God the Word endured the cross, and despised the shame; and that He died, and was buried, and rose within three days; and that after His resurrection, having continued forty days with His apostles, and completed His whole constitutions, He was taken up in their sight to His God and Father, who sent Him: he who has believed these things, not at random and irrationally, but with judgment and full assurance, has received the gift of God. So also has He who is delivered from every heresy. Let not, therefore, any one that works signs and wonders judge any one of the faithful who is not vouchsafed the same: for the gifts of God which are bestowed by Him through Christ are various; and one man receives one gift, and another another. For perhaps one has the word of wisdom, and another the word of knowledge; another, discerning of spirits; another, foreknowledge of things to come; another, the word of teaching; another, long-suffering; another, continence according to the law: for even Moses, the man of God, when he wrought signs in Egypt, did not exalt himself against his equals: and when he was called a god, he did not arrogantly despise his own prophet Aaron. Nor did Joshua the Son of Nun, who was the leader of the people after him, though in the war with the Jebusites he had made the sun stand still over against Gibeon, and the moon over against the valley of Ajalon, because the day was not long enough for their victory, insult over Phineas or Caleb. Nor did Samuel, who had done so many surprising things, disregard David the beloved of God: yet they were both prophets, and the one was high priest, and the other was king. And when there were only seven thousand holy men in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, 1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4 Elijah alone among them, and his disciple Elisha, were workers of miracles. Yet neither did Elijah despise Obadiah the steward, who feared God, but wrought no signs; nor did Elisha despise his own disciple when he trembled at the enemies. 2 Kings vi Moreover, neither did the wise Daniel who was twice delivered from the mouths of the lions, nor the three children who were delivered from the furnace of fire, despise the rest of their fellow Israelites: for they knew that they had not escaped these terrible miseries by their own might; but by the power of God did they both work miracles, and were delivered from miseries. Wherefore let none of you exalt himself against his brother, though he be a prophet, or though he be a worker of miracles: for if it happens that there be no longer an unbeliever, all the power of signs will thenceforwards be superfluous. For to be pious is from any one’s good disposition; but to work wonders is from the power of Him that works them by us: the first of which respects ourselves; but the second respects God that works them, for the reasons which we have already mentioned. Wherefore neither let a king despise his officers that are under him, nor the rulers those who are subject. For where there are none to be ruled over, rulers are superfluous; and where there are no officers, the kingdom will not stand. Moreover, let not a bishop be exalted against his deacons and presbyters, nor the presbyters against the people: for the subsistence of the congregation depends on each other. For the bishops and the presbyters are the priests with relation to the people; and the laity are the laity with relation to the clergy. And to be a Christian is in our own power; but to be an apostle, or a bishop, or in any other such office, is not in our own power, but at the disposal of God, who bestows the gifts. And thus much concerning those who are vouchsafed gifts and dignities.
II. We add, in the next place, that neither is every one that prophesies holy, nor every one that casts out devils religious: for even Balaam the son of Beor the prophet did prophesy, though he was himself ungodly; as also did Caiaphas, the falsely-named high priest. Nay, the devil foretells many things, and the demons, about Him; and yet for all that, there is not a spark of piety in them: for they are oppressed with ignorance, by reason of their voluntary wickedness. It is manifest, therefore, that the ungodly, although they prophesy, do not by their prophesying cover their own impiety; nor will those who cast out demons be sanctified by the demons being made subject to them: for they only mock one another, as they do who play childish tricks for mirth, and destroy those who give heed to them. For neither is a wicked king any longer a king, but a tyrant; nor is a bishop oppressed with ignorance or an evil disposition a bishop, but falsely so called, being not one sent out by God, but by men, as Ananiah and Samœah in Jerusalem, and Zedekiah and Achiah the false prophets in Babylon. And indeed Balaam the prophet, when he had corrupted Israel by Baal-peor, suffered punishment; and Caiaphas at last was his own murderer; and the sons of Sceva, endeavouring to cast out demons, were wounded by them, and fled away in an unseemly manner; and the kings of Israel and of Judah, when they became impious, suffered all sorts of punishments. It is therefore evident how bishops and presbyters, also falsely so called, will not escape the judgment of God. For it will be said to them even now: O you priests that despise my name, I will deliver you up to the slaughter, as I did Zedekiah and Achiah, whom the king of Babylon fried in a frying-pan, as says Jeremiah the prophet. We say these things, not in contempt of true prophecies, for we know that they are wrought in holy men by the inspiration of God, but to put a stop to the boldness of vainglorious men; and add this withal, that from such as these God takes away His grace: for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Now Silas and Agabus prophesied in our times; yet did they not equal themselves to the apostles, nor did they exceed their own measures though they were beloved of God. Now women prophesied also. Of old, Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron, Exodus 15:20 and after her Deborah, Judges 4:4 and after these Huldah 2 Kings 22:14 and Judith Judith 8 — the former under Josiah, the latter under Darius. The mother of the Lord did also prophesy, and her kinswoman Elisabeth, and Anna; and in our time the daughters of Philip; Acts 21:9 yet were not these elated against their husbands, but preserved their own measures. Wherefore if among you also there be a man or a woman, and such a one obtains any gift, let him be humble, that God may be pleased with him. For says He: Upon whom will I look, but upon him that is humble and quiet, and trembles at my words? Isaiah 66:2
III. We have now finished the first part of this discourse concerning gifts, whatever they be, which God has bestowed upon men according to His own will; and how He rebuked the ways of those who either attempted to speak lies, or were moved by the spirit of the adversary; and that God often employed the wicked for prophecy and the performance of wonders. But now our discourse hastens as to the principal part, that is, the constitution of ecclesiastical affairs, that so, when you have learned this constitution from us, you who are ordained bishops by us at the command of Christ, may perform all things according to the commands delivered you, knowing that he that hears us hears Christ, and he that hears Christ hears His God and Father, Luke 10:16 to whom be glory forever. Amen.
IV. Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give you in charge those divine constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being present with us Paul the chosen vessel, our fellow-apostle, and James the bishop, and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven deacons. In the first place, therefore, I Peter say, that a bishop to be ordained is to be, as we have already, all of us, appointed, unblameable in all things, a select person, chosen by the whole people, who, when he is named and approved, let the people assemble, with the presbytery and bishops that are present, on the Lord’s day, and let them give their consent. And let the principal of the bishops ask the presbytery and people whether this be the person whom they desire for their ruler. And if they give their consent, let him ask further whether he has a good testimony from all men as to his worthiness for so great and glorious an authority; whether all things relating to his piety towards God be right; whether justice towards men has been observed by him; whether the affairs of his family have been well ordered by him; whether he has been unblameable in the course of his life. And if all the assembly together do according to truth, and not according to prejudice, witness that he is such a one, let them the third time, as before God the Judge, and Christ, the Holy Ghost being also present, as well as all the holy and ministering spirits, ask again whether he be truly worthy of this ministry, that so in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Matthew 18:16 And if they agree the third time that he is worthy, let them all be demanded their vote; and when they all give it willingly, let them be heard. And silence being made, let one of the principal bishops, together with two others, stand near to the altar, the rest of the bishops and presbyters praying silently, and the deacons holding the divine Gospels open upon the head of him that is to be ordained, and say to God thus :—
V. O You the great Being, O Lord God Almighty, who alone art unbegotten, and ruled over by none; who always is, and was before the world; who stands in need of nothing, and art above all cause and beginning; who only art true, who only art wise; who alone art the most high; who art by nature invisible; whose knowledge is without beginning; who only art good, and beyond compare; who know all things before they are; who art acquainted with the most secret things; who art inaccessible, and without a superior; the God and Father of Your only begotten Son, of our God and Saviour; the Creator of the whole world by Him; whose providence provides for and takes the care of all; the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation; 2 Corinthians 1:3 who dwellest in the highest heavens, and yet lookest down on things below: You who appointed the rules of the Church, by the coming of Your Christ in the flesh; of which the Holy Ghost is the witness, by Your apostles, and by us the bishops, who by Your grace are here present; who hast fore-ordained priests from the beginning for the government of Your people — Abel in the first place, Seth and Enos, and Enoch and Noah, and Melchisedec and Job; who appointed Abraham, and the rest of the patriarchs, with Your faithful servants Moses and Aaron, and Eleazar and Phineas; who chose from among them rulers and priests in the tabernacle of Your testimony; who chose Samuel for a priest and a prophet; who did not leave Your sanctuary without ministers; who delighted in those whom You chose to be glorified in. Pour down, by us, the influence of Your free Spirit, through the mediation of Your Christ, which is committed to Your beloved Son Jesus Christ; which He bestowed according to Your will on the holy apostles of You the eternal God. Grant by Your name, O God, who search the hearts, that this Your servant, whom You have chosen to be a bishop, may feed Your holy flock, and discharge the office of an high priest to You, and minister to You, unblameably night and day; that he may appease You, and gather together the number of those that shall be saved, and may offer to You the gifts of Your holy Church. Grant to him, O Lord Almighty, through Your Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, that so he may have power to remit sins according to Your command; to give forth lots according to Your command; to loose every bond, according to the power which You gave the apostles; that he may please You in meekness and a pure heart, with a steadfast, unblameable, and unreprovable mind; to offer to You a pure and unbloody sacrifice, which by Your Christ You have appointed as the mystery of the new covenant, for a sweet savour, through Your holy child Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, through whom glory, honour, and worship be to You in the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for all ages. And when he has prayed for these things, let the rest of the priests add, Amen; and together with them all the people. And after the prayer let one of the bishops elevate the sacrifice upon the hands of him that is ordained, and early in the morning let him be placed in his throne, in a place set apart for him among the rest of the bishops, they all giving him the kiss in the Lord . And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, and our Epistles, and Acts, and the Gospels, let him that is ordained salute they Church, saying, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ , the love of God and the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all; and let them all answer, And with Your Spirit. And after these words let him speak to the people the words of exhortation; and when he has ended his word of doctrine (I Andrew the brother of Peter speak), all standing up, let the deacon ascend upon some high seat, and proclaim, Let none of the hearers, let none of the unbelievers stay; and silence being made, let him say:—
VI. You catechumens, pray, and let all the faithful pray for them in their mind, saying: Lord, have mercy upon them. And let the deacon bid prayers for them, saving: Let us all pray unto God for the catechumens, that He that is good, He that is the lover of mankind, will mercifully hear their prayers and their supplications, and so accept their petitions as to assist them and give them those desires of their hearts which are for their advantage, and reveal to them the Gospel of His Christ; give them illumination and understanding, instruct them in the knowledge of God, teach them His commands and His ordinances, implant in them His pure and saving fear, open the ears of their hearts, that they may exercise themselves in His law day and night; strengthen them in piety, unite them to and number them with His holy flock; vouchsafe them the laver of regeneration, and the garment of incorruption, which is the true life; and deliver them from all ungodliness, and give no place to the adversary against them; and cleanse them from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and dwell in them, and walk in them, by His Christ; bless their goings out and their comings in, and order their affairs for their good. Let us still earnestly put up our supplications for them, that they may obtain the forgiveness of their transgressions by their admission, and so may be thought worthy of the holy mysteries, and of constant communion with the saints. Rise up, you catechumens, beg for yourselves the peace of God through His Christ, a peaceable day, and free from sin, and the like for the whole time of your life, and your Christian ends of it; a compassionate and merciful God; and the forgiveness of your transgressions. Dedicate yourselves to the only unbegotten God, through His Christ. Bow down your heads, and receive the blessing. But at the naming of every one by the deacon, as we said before, let the people say, Lord, have mercy upon him; and let the children say it first. And as they have bowed down their heads, let the bishop who is newly ordained bless them with this blessing: O God Almighty, unbegotten and inaccessible, who only art the true God, the God and Father of Your Christ, Your only begotten Son; the God of the Comforter, and Lord of the whole world; who by Christ appointed Your disciples to be teachers for the teaching of piety; do Thou now also look down upon Your servants, who are receiving instruction in the Gospel of Your Christ, and give them a new heart, and renew a right spirit in their inward parts, that they may both know and do Your will with full purpose of heart, and with a willing soul. Vouchsafe them a holy admission, and unite them to Your holy Church, and make them partakers of Your divine mysteries, through Christ, who is our hope, and who died for them; by whom glory and worship be given to You in the Holy Spirit forever. Amen. And after this, let the deacon say: Go out, you catechumens, in peace. And after they are gone out, let him say: You energumens, afflicted with unclean spirits, pray, and let us all earnestly pray for them, that God, the lover of mankind, will by Christ rebuke the unclean and wicked spirits, and deliver His supplicants from the dominion of the adversary. May He that rebuked the legion of demons, and the devil, the prince of wickedness, Mark 5:9; Zechariah 3:2 even now rebuke these apostates from piety, and deliver His own workmanship from his power, and cleanse those creatures which He has made with great wisdom. Let us still pray earnestly for them. Save them, O God, and raise them up by Your power. Bow down your heads, you energumens, and receive the blessings. And let the bishop add this prayer, and say:—
VII. You, who has bound the strong man, and spoiled all that was in his house, who has given us power over serpents and scorpions to tread upon them, and upon all the power of the enemy; Matthew 12:29; Luke 10:19 who has delivered the serpent, that murderer of men, bound to us, as a sparrow to children, whom all things dread, and tremble before the face of Your power; who has cast him down as lightning from heaven to earth, not with a fall from a place, but from honour to dishonour, on account of his voluntary evil disposition; whose look dries the abysses, and threatening melts the mountains, and whose truth remains for ever; whom the infants praise, and nursing babies bless; whom angels sing hymns to, and adore; who looks upon the earth, and makes it tremble; who touches the mountains, and they smoke; who threatens the sea, and dries it up, and makes all its rivers as desert, and the clouds are the dust of His feet; who walks upon the sea as upon the firm ground; You only begotten God, the Son of the great Father, rebuke these wicked spirits, and deliver the works of Your hands from the power of the adverse spirit. For to You is due glory, honour, and worship, and by You to Your Father, in the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Go out, you energumens. And after them, let him cry aloud: You that are to be illuminated, pray. Let all us, the faithful, earnestly pray for them, that the Lord will vouchsafe that, being initiated into the death of Christ, they may rise with Him, and become partakers of His kingdom, and may be admitted to the communion of His mysteries; unite them to, number them among, those that are saved in His holy Church. Save them, and raise them up by Your grace. And being sealed to God through His Christ, let them bow down their heads, and receive this blessing from the bishop:—
VIII. You who has formerly said by Your holy prophets to those that be initiated, Wash and become clean, Isaiah 1:16 and hast appointed spiritual regeneration by Christ, do Thou now also look down upon these that are baptized, and bless them, and sanctify them, and prepare them that they may become worthy of Your spiritual gift, and of the true adoption of Your spiritual mysteries, of being gathered together with those that are saved through Christ our Saviour; by whom glory, honour, and worship be to You, in the Holy Ghost, forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Go out, you that are preparing for illumination. And after that let him proclaim: You penitents, pray; let us all earnestly pray for our brethren in the state of penitence, that God, the lover of compassion, will show them the way of repentance, and accept their return and their confession, and bruise Satan under their feet suddenly, Romans 16:20 and redeem them from the snare of the devil, and the ill-usage of the demons, and free them from every unlawful word, and every absurd practice and wicked thought; forgive them all their offenses, both voluntary and involuntary, and blot out that handwriting which is against them, Colossians 2:13-14 and write them in the book of life; Philippians 4:3 cleanse them from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1 and restore and unite them to His holy flock. For He knows our frame. For who can glory that he has a clean heart? And who can boldly say, that he is pure from sin? Proverbs 20:9 For we are all among the blameworthy. Let us still pray for them more earnestly, for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, Luke 15:7 that, being converted from every evil work, they may be joined to all good practice; that God, the lover of mankind, will suddenly accept their petitions, will restore to them the joy of His salvation, and strengthen them with His free Spirit; that they may not be any more shaken, but be admitted to the communion of His most holy things, and become partakers of His divine mysteries, that appearing worthy of His adoption, they may obtain eternal life. Let us all still earnestly say on their account: Lord, have mercy upon them. Save them, O God, and raise them up by Your mercy. Rise up, and bow your heads to God through His Christ, and receive the blessings. Let the bishop then add this prayer:—
IX . Almighty, eternal God, Lord of the whole world, the Creator and Governor of all things, who hast exhibited man as the ornament of the world through Christ, and gave him a law both naturally implanted and written, that he might live according to law, as a rational creature; and when he had sinned, You gave him Your goodness as a pledge in order to his repentance: Look down upon these persons who have bended the neck of their soul and body to You; for You desire not the death of a sinner, but his repentance, that he turn from his wicked way, and live. Ezekiel 18 and 33 You who accepted the repentance of the Ninevites, who wills that all men be saved, and come to the acknowledgment of the truth; Jonah 3; 1 Timothy 2:4 who accepted of that son who had consumed his substance in riotous living, Luke xv with the bowels of a father, on account of his repentance; accept now the repentance of Your supplicants: for there is no man that will not sin; for if You, O Lord, mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with You there is propitiation. And restore them to Your holy Church, into their former dignity and honour, through Christ our God and Saviour, by whom glory and adoration be to You, in the Holy Ghost, forever. Amen. Then let the deacon say, Depart, you penitents; and let him add, Let none of those who ought not to come draw near. All we of the faithful, let us bend our knee: let us all entreat God through His Christ; let us earnestly beseech God through His Christ.
X . Let us pray for the peace and happy settlement of the world, and of the holy churches; that the God of the whole world may afford us His everlasting peace, and such as may not be taken away from us; that He may preserve us in a full prosecution of such virtue as is according to godliness. Let us pray for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which is spread from one end of the earth to the other; that God would preserve and keep it unshaken, and free from the waves of this life, until the end of the world, as founded upon a rock; and for the holy parish in this place, that the Lord of the whole world may vouchsafe us without failure to follow after His heavenly hope, and without ceasing to pay Him the debt of our prayer. Let us pray for every episcopacy which is under the whole heaven, of those that rightly divide the word of Your truth. And let us pray for our bishop James, and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Clement, and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Euodius, and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Annianus, and his parishes: that the compassionate God may grant them to continue in His holy churches in health, honour, and long life, and afford them an honourable old age in godliness and righteousness. And let us pray for our presbyters, that the Lord may deliver them from every unreasonable and wicked action, and afford them a presbyterate in health and honour. Let us pray for all the deacons and ministers in Christ, that the Lord may grant them an unblameable ministration. Let us pray for the readers, singers, virgins, widows, and orphans. Let us pray for those that are in marriage and in child-bearing, that the Lord may have mercy upon them all. Let us pray for the eunuchs who walk holily. Let us pray for those in a state of continence and piety. Let us pray for those that bear fruit in the holy Church, and give alms to the needy. And let us pray for those who offer sacrifices and oblations to the Lord our God, that God, the fountain of all goodness, may recompense them with His heavenly gifts, and give them in this world an hundredfold, and in the world to come life everlasting; Matthew 19:29 and bestow upon them for their temporal things, those that are eternal; for earthly things, those that are heavenly. Let us pray for our brethren newly enlightened, that the Lord may strengthen and confirm them. Let us pray for our brethren exercised with sickness, that the Lord may deliver them from every sickness and every disease, and restore them sound into His holy Church. Let us pray for those that travel by water or by land. Let us pray for those that are in the mines, in banishments, in prisons, and in bonds, for the name of the Lord. Let us pray for those that are afflicted with bitter servitude. Let us pray for our enemies, and those that hate us. Let us pray for those that persecute us for the name of the Lord, that the Lord may pacify their anger, and scatter their wrath against us. Let us pray for those that are without, and are wandered out of the way, that the Lord may convert them. Let us be mindful of the infants of the Church, that the Lord may perfect them in His fear, and bring them to a complete age. Let us pray one for another, that the Lord may keep us and preserve us by His grace to the end, and deliver us from the evil one. and from all the scandals of those that work iniquity, and preserve us unto His heavenly kingdom. Let us pray for every Christian soul. Save us, and raise us up, O God, by Your mercy. Let us rise up, and let us pray earnestly, and dedicate ourselves and one another to the living God, through His Christ. And let the high priest add this prayer, and say:—
XI. O Lord Almighty, the Most High, who dwellest on high, the Holy One, that restest among the saints, without beginning, the Only Potentate, who hast given to us by Christ the preaching of knowledge, to the acknowledgment of Your glory and of Your name, which He has made known to us, for our comprehension, do Thou now also look down through Him upon this Your flock, and deliver it from all ignorance and wicked practice, and grant that we may fear You in earnest, and love You with affection, and have a due reverence of Your glory. Be gracious and merciful to them, and hearken to them when they pray unto You; and keep them, that they may be unmoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable, that they may be holy in body and spirit, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that they may be complete, and none of them may be defective or imperfect. O our support, our powerful God, who does not accept persons, be the assister of this Your people, which You have redeemed with the precious blood of Your Christ; be their protector, aider, provider, and guardian, their strong wall of defense, their bulwark and security. For none can snatch out of Your hand: John 10:29 for there is no other God like You; for on You is our reliance. Sanctify them by Your truth: for Your word is truth. John 17:17 You who does nothing for favour, You whom none can deceive, deliver them from every sickness, and every disease, and every offense, every injury and deceit, from fear of the enemy, from the dart that flies in the day, from the mischief that walks about in darkness; and vouchsafe them that everlasting life which is in Christ Your only begotten Son, our God and Saviour, through whom glory and worship be to You, in the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen. And after this let the deacon say, Let us attend. And let the bishop salute the church, and say, The peace of God be with you all. And let the people answer, And with your spirit; and let the deacon say to all, Salute one another with the holy kiss. And let the clergy salute the bishop, the men of the laity salute the men, the women the women. And let the children stand at the reading-desk; and let another deacon stand by them, that they may not be disorderly. And let other deacons walk about and watch the men and women, that no tumult may be made, and that no one nod, or whisper, or slumber; and let the deacons stand at the doors of the men, and the sub-deacons at those of the women, that no one go out, nor a door be opened, although it be for one of the faithful, at the time of the oblation. But let one of the sub-deacons bring water to wash the hands of the priests, which is a symbol of the purity of those souls that are devoted to God .
XII. And I James, the brother of John, the son of Zebedee, say, that the deacon shall immediately say, Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of the unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here . You who have prayed the foregoing prayer, depart. Let the mothers receive their children; let no one have anything against any one; let no one come in hypocrisy; let us stand upright before the Lord with fear and trembling, to offer. When this is done, let the deacons bring the gifts to the bishop at the altar; and let the presbyters stand on his right hand, and on his left, as disciples stand before their Master. But let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups. Let the high priest, therefore, together with the priests, pray by himself; and let him put on his shining garment, and stand at the altar, and make the sign of the cross upon his forehead with his hand, and say: The grace of Almighty God, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. And let all with one voice say: And with your spirit. The high priest: Lift up your mind. All the people: We lift it up unto the Lord. The high priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord. All the people: It is meet and right so to do. Then let the high priest say: It is very meet and right before all things to sing an hymn to You, who art the true God, who art before all beings, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; Ephesians 3:15 who only art unbegotten, and without beginning, and without a ruler, and without a master; who standest in need of nothing; who art the bestower of everything that is good; who art beyond all cause and generation; who art always and immutably the same; from whom all things came into being, as from their proper original. For You are eternal knowledge, everlasting sight, unbegotten hearing, untaught wisdom, the first by nature, and the measure of being, and beyond all number; who brought all things out of nothing into being by Your only begotten Son, but begot Him before all ages by Your will, Your power, and Your goodness, without any instrument, the only begotten Son, God the Word, the living Wisdom, the First-born of every creature, the angel of Your Great Counsel, and Your High Priest, but the King and Lord of every intellectual and sensible nature, who was before all things, by whom were all things. For You, O eternal God, made all things by Him, and through Him it is that You vouchsafe Your suitable providence over the whole world; for by the very same that You bestowed being, did You also bestow well-being: the God and Father of Your only begotten Son, who by Him made before all things the cherubim and the seraphim, the æons and hosts, the powers and authorities, the principalities and thrones, the archangels and angels; and after all these, by Him made this visible world, and all things that are therein. For You are He who framed the heaven as an arch, and stretch it out like the covering of a tent, and founded the earth upon nothing by Your mere will; who fixed the firmament, and prepare the night and the day; who brought the light out of Your treasures, and on its departure brought on darkness, for the rest of the living creatures that move up and down in the world; who appointed the sun in heaven to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and inscribed in heaven the choir of stars to praise Your glorious majesty; who made the water for drink and for cleansing, the air in which we live for respiration and the affording of sounds, by the means of the tongue, which strikes the air, and the hearings which co-operates therewith, so as to perceive speech when it is received by it, and falls upon it; who made fire for our consolation in darkness, for the supply of our want, and that we might be warmed and enlightened by it; who separated the great sea from the land, and rendered the former navigable and the latter fit for walking, and replenished the former with small and great living creatures, and filled the latter with the same, both tame and wild; furnished it with various plants, and crown it with herbs, and beautify it with flowers, and enrich it with seeds; who ordained the great deep, and on every side made a mighty cavity for it, which contains seas of salt waters heaped together, Job xxxviii yet You every way bounded them with barriers of the smallest sand; Jeremiah 5:22 who sometimes raises it to the height of mountains by the winds, and sometimes smooths it into a plain; sometimes enrages it with a tempest, and sometimes stills it with a calm, that it may be easy to seafaring men in their voyages; who encompassed this world, which was made by You through Christ, with rivers, and water it with currents, and moisten it with springs that never fail, and bound it round with mountains for the immoveable and secure consistence of the earth: for You have replenished Your world, and adorned it with sweet-smelling and with healing herbs, with many and various living creatures, strong and weak, for food and for labour, tame and wild; with the noises of creeping things, the sounds of various sorts of flying creatures; with the circuits of the years, the numbers of months and days, the order of the seasons, the courses of the rain clouds, for the production of the fruits and the support of living creatures. You have also appointed the station of the winds, which blow when commanded by You, and the multitude of the plants and herbs. And You have not only created the world itself, but hast also made man for a citizen of the world, exhibiting him as the ornament of the world; for You said to Your Wisdom: Let us make man according to our image, and according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the heaven. Genesis 1:26 Wherefore also You have made him of an immortal soul and of a body liable to dissolution — the former out of nothing, the latter out of the four elements — and hast given him as to his soul rational knowledge, the discerning of piety and impiety, and the observation of right and wrong; and as to his body, You have granted him five senses and progressive motion: for You, O God Almighty, by Your Christ planted a paradise in Eden, Genesis 2:8 in the east, adorned with all plants fit for food, and introduced him into it, as into a rich banquet. And when You made him, You gave him a law implanted within him, that so he might have at home and within himself the seeds of divine knowledge; and when You had brought him into the paradise of pleasure, You allowed him the privilege of enjoying all things, only forbidding the tasting of one tree, in hopes of greater blessings; that in case he would keep that command, he might receive the reward of it, which was immortality. But when he neglected that command, and tasted of the forbidden fruit, by the seduction of the serpent and the counsel of his wife, You justly cast him out of paradise.
Yet of Your goodness You did not overlook him, nor allow him to perish utterly, for he was Your creature; but You subjected the whole creation to him, and granted him liberty to procure himself food by his own sweat and labours, while You caused all the fruits of the earth to spring up, to grow, and to ripen. But when You had laid him asleep for a while, You with an oath called him to a restoration again, loosed the bond of death, and promise him life after the resurrection. And not this only; but when You had increased his posterity to an innumerable multitude, those that continued with You You glorified, and those who did apostatize from You You punished. And while You accepted of the sacrifice of Abel Genesis iv as of an holy person, You rejected the gift of Cain, the murderer of his brother, as of an abhorred wretch. And besides these, You accepted of Seth and Enos, Sirach 49:16 and translated Enoch: for You are the Creator of men, and the giver of life, and the supplier of want, and the giver of laws, and the rewarder of those that observe them, and the avenger of those that transgress them; who brought the great flood upon the world by reason of the multitude of the ungodly, and delivered righteous Noah from that flood by an ark, 1 Peter 3:20 with eight souls, the end of the foregoing generations, and the beginning of those that were to come; who kindled a fearful fire against the five cities of Sodom, and turned a fruitful land into a salt lake for the wickedness of them that dwelt therein, but snatched holy Lot out of the conflagration. You are He who delivered Abraham from the impiety of his fore-fathers, and appointed him to be the heir of the world, and discovered to him Your Christ; who aforehand ordained Melchisedec an high priest for Your worship; who rendered Your patient servant Job the conqueror of that serpent who is the patron of wickedness; who made Isaac the son of the promise, and Jacob the father of twelve sons, and increased his posterity to a multitude, and bring him into Egypt with seventy-five souls. You, O Lord, did not overlook Joseph, but granted him, as a reward of his chastity for Your sake, the government over the Egyptians. You, O Lord, did not overlook the Hebrews when they were afflicted by the Egyptians, on account of the promises made unto their fathers; but You delivered them and punish the Egyptians. And when men had corrupted the law of nature, and had sometimes esteemed the creation the effect of chance, and sometimes honoured it more than they ought, and equalled it to the God of the universe, You did not, however, suffer them to go astray, but raised up Your holy servant Moses, and by him gave the written law for the assistance of the law of nature, and showed that the creation was Your work, and banished away the error of polytheism. You adorned Aaron and his posterity with the priesthood, and punished the Hebrews when they sinned, and receive them again when they returned to You. You punished the Egyptians with a judgment of ten plagues, and divided the sea, and bring the Israelites through it, and drown and destroy the Egyptians who pursued after them. You sweetened the bitter water with wood; You brought water out of the rock of stone; You rained manna from heaven, and quails, as meat out of the air; You afforded them a pillar of fire by night to give them light, and a pillar of a cloud by day to overshadow them from the heat; You declared Joshua to be the general of the army, and overthrew the seven nations of Canaan by him; You divided Jordan, and dry up the rivers of Etham; You overthrew walls without instruments or the hand of man. For all these things, glory be to You, O Lord Almighty. You do the innumerable hosts of angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, and powers, Your everlasting armies, adore. The cherubim and the six-winged seraphim, with two covering their feet, with two their heads, and with two flying, say, together with thousand thousands of archangels, and ten thousand times ten thousand of angels, incessantly, and with constant and loud voices, and let all the people say it with them: Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts, heaven and earth are full of His glory: be blessed forever. Amen. Isaiah 6:3; Romans 1:25 And afterwards let the high priest say: For You are truly holy, and most holy, the highest and most highly exalted forever. Holy also is Your only begotten Son our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who in all things ministered to His God and Father, both in Your various creation and Your suitable providence, and has not overlooked lost mankind. But after the law of nature, after the exhortations in the positive law, after the prophetical reproofs and the government of the angels, when men had perverted both the positive law and that of nature, and had cast out of their mind the memory of the flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughters of the inhabitant of Palestine, and being just ready to perish universally after an unparalleled manner, He was pleased by Your good will to become man, who was man’s Creator; to be under the laws, who was the Legislator; to be a sacrifice, who was an High Priest; to be a sheep, who was the Shepherd. And He appeased You, His God and Father, and reconciled You to the world, and freed all men from the wrath to come, and was made of a virgin, and was in flesh, being God the Word, the beloved Son, the first-born of the whole creation, and was, according to the prophecies which were foretold concerning Him by Himself, of the seed of David and Abraham, of the tribe of Judah. And He was made in the womb of a virgin, who formed all mankind that are born into the world; He took flesh, who was without flesh; He who was begotten before time, was born in time; He lived holily, and taught according to the law; He drove away every sickness and every disease from men, and wrought signs and wonders among the people; and He was partaker of meat, and drink, and sleep, who nourishes all that stand in need of food, and fills every living creature with His goodness; He manifested His name to those that knew it not; John 17:6, 4 He drove away ignorance; He revived piety, and fulfilled Your will; He finished the work which You gave Him to do; and when He had set all these things right, He was seized by the hands of the ungodly, of the high priests and priests, falsely so called, and of the disobedient people, by the betraying of him who was possessed of wickedness as with a confirmed disease; He suffered many things from them, and endured all sorts of ignominy by Your permission; He was delivered to Pilate the governor, and He that was the Judge was judged, and He that was the Saviour was condemned; He that was impassible was nailed to the cross, and He who was by nature immortal died, and He that is the giver of life was buried, that He might loose those for whose sake He came from suffering and death, and might break the bonds of the devil, and deliver mankind from his deceit. He arose from the dead the third day; and when He had continued with His disciples forty days, He was taken up into the heavens, and is sat down on the right hand of You, who art His God and Father.
Being mindful, therefore, of those things that He endured for our sakes, we give You thanks, O God Almighty, not in such a manner as we ought, but as we are able, and fulfil His constitution: For in the same night that He was betrayed, He took bread 1 Corinthians 11:23 in His holy and undefiled hands, and, looking up to You His God and Father, He broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, This is the mystery of the new covenant: take of it, and eat. This is my body, which is broken for many, for the remission of sins. In like manner also He took the cup, and mixed it of wine and water, and sanctified it, and delivered it to them, saying: Drink all of this; for this is my blood which is shed for many, for the remission of sins: do this in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show forth my death until I come. Being mindful, therefore, of His passion, and death, and resurrection from the dead, and return into the heavens, and His future second appearing, wherein He is to come with glory and power to judge the quick and the dead, and to recompense to every one according to his works, we offer to You, our King and our God, according to His constitution, this bread and this cup, giving You thanks, through Him, that You have thought us worthy to stand before You, and to sacrifice to You; and we beseech You that You will mercifully look down upon these gifts which are here set before You, O God, who standest in need of none of our offerings. And accept them, to the honour of Your Christ, and send down upon this sacrifice Your Holy Spirit, the Witness of the Lord Jesus’ sufferings, that He may show this bread to be the body of Your Christ, and the cup to be the blood of Your Christ, that those who are partakers thereof may be strengthened for piety, may obtain the remission of their sins, may be delivered from the devil and his deceit, may be filled with the Holy Ghost, may be made worthy of Your Christ, and may obtain eternal life upon Your reconciliation to them, O Lord Almighty. We further pray unto You, O Lord, for your holy Church spread from one end of the world to another, which You have purchased with the precious blood of Your Christ, that You will preserve it unshaken and free from disturbance until the end of the world; for every episcopate who rightly divides the word of truth. We further pray to You for me, who am nothing, who offer to You, for the whole presbytery, for the deacons and all the clergy, that You will make them wise, and replenish them with the Holy Spirit. We further pray to You, O Lord, for the king and all in authority, 1 Timothy 2:2 for the whole army, that they may be peaceable towards us, that so, leading the whole time of our life in quietness and unanimity, we may glorify You through Jesus Christ, who is our hope. We further offer to You also for all those holy persons who have pleased You from the beginning of the world — patriarch, prophets, righteous men, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, readers, singers, virgins, widows, and lay persons, with all whose names You know. We further offer to You for this people, that You will render them, to the praise of Your Christ, a royal priesthood and an holy nation; 1 Peter 2:9 for those that are in virginity and purity; for the widows of the Church; for those in honourable marriage and child-bearing; for the infants of Your people, that You will not permit any of us to become castaways. We further beseech You also for this city and its inhabitants; for those that are sick; for those in bitter servitude; for those in banishments; for those in prison; for those that travel by water or by land; that You, the helper and assister of all men, will be their supporter. We further also beseech You for those that hate us and persecute us for Your name’s sake; for those that are without, and wander out of the way; that You will convert them to goodness, and pacify their anger. We further also beseech You for the catechumens of the Church, and for those that are vexed by the adversary, and for our brethren the penitents, that You will perfect the first in the faith, that You will deliver the second from the energy of the evil one, and that You will accept the repentance of the last, and forgive both them and us our offenses. We further offer to You also for the good temperature of the air, and the fertility of the fruits, that so, partaking perpetually of the good things derived from You, we may praise You without ceasing, who gave food to all flesh. We further beseech You also for those who are absent on a just cause, that You will keep us all in piety, and gather us together in the kingdom of Your Christ, the God of all sensible and intelligent nature, our King that You would keep us immoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable: for to You belongs all glory and worship, and thanksgiving, honour and adoration, the Father, with the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, both now and always, and for everlasting, and endless ages forever. And let all the people say, Amen. And let the bishop say, The peace of God be with you all. And let all the people say, And with your spirit. And let the deacon proclaim again:—
XIII. Let us still further beseech God through His Christ, and let us beseech Him on account of the gift which is offered to the Lord God, that the good God will accept it, through the mediation of His Christ, upon His heavenly altar, for a sweet-smelling savour. Let us pray for this church and people. Let us pray for every episcopate, every presbytery, all the deacons and ministers in Christ, for the whole congregation, that the Lord will keep and preserve them all. Let us pray for kings and those in authority, that they may be peaceable toward us, that so we may have and lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Timothy 2:2 Let us be mindful of the holy martyrs, that we may be thought worthy to be partakers of their trial. Let us pray for those that are departed in the faith. Let us pray for the good temperature of the air, and the perfect maturity of the fruits. Let us pray for those that are newly enlightened, that they may be strengthened in the faith, and all may be mutually comforted by one another. Raise us up, O God, by Your grace. Let us stand up, and dedicate ourselves to God, through His Christ. And let the bishop say: O God, who art great, and whose name is great, who art great in counsel and mighty in works, the God and Father of Your holy child Jesus, our Saviour; look down upon us, and upon this Your flock, which You have chosen by Him to the glory of Your name; and sanctify our body and soul, and grant us the favour to be made pure from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1 and may obtain the good things laid up for us, and do not account any of us unworthy; but be our comforter, helper, and protector, through Your Christ, with whom glory, honour, praise, doxology, and thanksgiving be to You and to the Holy Ghost forever. Amen. And after that all have said Amen, let the deacon say: Let us attend. And let the bishop speak thus to the people: Holy things for holy persons. And let the people answer: There is One that is holy; there is one Lord, one Jesus Christ, blessed for ever, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will among men. Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed be He that comes in the name of the Lord, being the Lord God who appeared to us, Hosanna in the highest. Luke 2:14; Matthew 21:9 And after that, let the bishop partake, then the presbyters, and deacons, and sub-deacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows; then the children; and then all the people in order, with reverence and godly fear, without tumult. And let the bishop give the oblation, saying, The body of Christ; and let him that receives say, Amen. And let the deacon take the cup; and when he gives it, say, The blood of Christ, the cup of life; and let him that drinks say, Amen . And let the thirty-third psalm be said, while the rest are partaking; and when all, both men and women, have partaken, let the deacons carry what remains into the vestry. And when the singer has done, let the deacon say:—
XIV. Now we have received the precious body and the precious blood of Christ, let us give thanks to Him who has thought us worthy to partake of these His holy mysteries; and let us beseech Him that it may not be to us for condemnation, but for salvation, to the advantage of soul and body, to the preservation of piety, to the remission of sins, and to the life of the world to come. Let us arise, and by the grace of Christ let us dedicate ourselves to God, to the only unbegotten God, and to His Christ. And let the bishop give thanks:—
XV. O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Your Christ, Your blessed Son, who hear those who call upon You with uprightness, who also know the supplications of those who are silent; we thank You that You have thought us worthy to partake of Your holy mysteries, which You have bestowed upon us, for the entire confirmation of those things we have rightly known, for the preservation of piety, for the remission of our offenses; for the name of your Christ is called upon us, and we are joined To You. O You who has separated us from the communion of the ungodly, unite us with those that are consecrated to You in holiness; confirm us in the truth, by the assistance of Your Holy Spirit; reveal to us what things we are ignorant of, supply what things we are defective in, confirm us in what things we already know, preserve the priests blameless in Your worship; keep the kings in peace, and the rulers in righteousness, the air in a good temperature, the fruits in fertility, the world in an all-powerful providence; pacify the warring nations, convert those that are gone astray, sanctify Your people, keep those that are in virginity, preserve those in the faith that are in marriage, strengthen those that are in purity, bring the infants to complete age, confirm the newly admitted; instruct the catechumens, and render them worthy of admission; and gather us all together into Your kingdom of heaven, by Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You, in the Holy Ghost, forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down to God through His Christ, and receive the blessing . And let the bishop add this prayer, and say: O God Almighty, the true God, to whom nothing can be compared, who art everywhere, and present in all things, and art in nothing as one of the things themselves; who art not bounded by place, nor grown old by time; who art not terminated by ages, nor deceived by words; who art not subject to generation, and wantest no guardian; who art above all corruption, free from all change, and invariable by nature; who inhabitest light inaccessible; 1 Timothy 6:16 who art by nature invisible, and yet art known to all reasonable natures who seek You with a good mind, and art comprehended by those that seek after You with a good mind; the God of Israel, Your people which truly see, and which have believed in Christ: Be gracious to me, and hear me, for Your name’s sake, and bless those that bow down their necks unto You, and grant them the petitions of their hearts, which are for their good, and do not reject any one of them from Your kingdom; but sanctify, guard, cover, and assist them; deliver them from the adversary and every enemy; keep their houses, and guard their comings in and their goings out. For to You belongs the glory, praise, majesty, worship, and adoration, and to Your Son Jesus, Your Christ, our Lord and God and King, and to the Holy Ghost, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen. And the deacon shall say, Depart in peace . These constitutions concerning this mystical worship, we, the apostles, do ordain for you, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons .
XVI. Concerning the ordination of presbyters, I who am loved by the Lord make this constitution for you the bishops: When you ordain a presbyter, O bishop, lay your hand upon his head, in the presence of the presbyters and deacons, and pray, saying: O Lord Almighty, our God, who hast created all things by Christ, and in like manner takes care of the whole world by Him; for He who had power to make different creatures, has also power to take care of them, according to their different natures; on which account, O God, You take care of immortal beings by bare preservation, but of those that are mortal by succession — of the soul by the provision of laws, of the body by the supply of its wants. Do Thou therefore now also look down upon Your holy Church, and increase the same, and multiply those that preside in it, and grant them power, that they may labour both in word and work for the edification of Your people. Now look down also upon this Your servant, who is put into the presbytery by the vote and determination of the whole clergy; and replenish him with the Spirit of grace and counsel, to assist and govern Your people with a pure heart, in the same manner as You looked down upon Your chosen people, and commanded Moses to choose elders, whom You filled with Your Spirit. Do Thou also now, O Lord, grant this, and preserve in us the Spirit of Your grace, that this person, being filled with the gifts of healing and the word of teaching, may in meekness instruct Your people, and sincerely serve You with a pure mind and a willing soul, and may fully discharge the holy ministrations for Your people, through Your Christ, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You, and to the Holy Ghost, forever. Amen.
XVII. Concerning the ordination of deacons, I Philip make this constitution: You shall ordain a deacon, O bishop, by laying your hands upon him in the presence of the whole presbytery, and of the deacons, and shall pray, and say:—
XVIII. O God Almighty, the true and faithful God, who art rich unto all that call upon You in truth, who art fearful in counsels, and wise in understanding, who art powerful and great, hear our prayer, O Lord, and let Your ears receive our supplication, and cause the light of Your countenance to shine upon this Your servant, who is to be ordained for You to the office of a deacon; and replenish him with Your Holy Spirit, and with power, as You replenished Stephen, who was Your martyr, and follower of the sufferings of Your Christ. Render him worthy to discharge acceptably the ministration of a deacon, steadily, unblameably, and without reproof, that thereby he may attain an higher degree, through the mediation of Your only begotten Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
XIX. Concerning a deaconess, I Bartholomew make this constitution: O bishop, you shall lay your hands upon her in the presence of the presbytery, and of the deacons and deaconesses, and shall say:—
XX . O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who replenished with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who did not disdain that Your only begotten Son should be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, ordained women to be keepers of Your holy gates — do Thou now also look down upon this Your servant, who is to be ordained to the office of a deaconess, and grant her Your Holy Spirit, and cleanse her from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1 that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to Your glory, and the praise of Your Christ, with whom glory and adoration be to You and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
XXI. Concerning the sub-deacons, I Thomas make this constitution for you the bishops: When you ordain a subdeacon, O bishop, you shall lay your hands upon him, and say: O Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things that are therein; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony appointed overseers and keepers of Your holy vessels; do Thou now look down upon this Your servant, appointed a subdeacon; and grant him the Holy Spirit, that he may worthily handle the vessels of Your ministry, and do Your will always, through Your Christ, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
XXII. Concerning readers, I Matthew, also called Levi, who was once a tax-gatherer, make a constitution: Ordain a reader by laying your hands upon him, and pray unto God, and say: O Eternal God, who art plenteous in mercy and compassions, who hast made manifest the constitution of the world by Your operations therein, and keepest the number of Your elect, do Thou also now look down upon Your servant, who is to be entrusted to read Your Holy Scriptures to Your people, and give him Your Holy Spirit, the prophetic Spirit. You who instructed Esdras Your servant to read Your laws to the people, do Thou now also at our prayers instruct Your servant, and grant that he may without blame perfect the work committed to him, and thereby be declared worthy of an higher degree, through Christ, with whom glory and worship be to You and to the Holy Ghost forever. Amen.
XXIII. And I James, the son of Alphæus, make a constitution in regard to confessors: A confessor is not ordained; for he is so by choice and patience, and is worthy of great honour, as having confessed the name of God, and of His Christ, before nations and kings. But if there be occasion, he is to be ordained either a bishop, priest, or deacon. But if any one of the confessors who is not ordained snatches to himself any such dignity upon account of his confession, let the same person be deprived and rejected; for he is not in such an office, since he has denied the constitution of Christ, and is worse than an infidel. 1 Timothy 5:8
XXIV. I, the same, make a constitution in regard to virgins: A virgin is not ordained, for we have no such command from the Lord; 1 Corinthians 7:25 for this is a state of voluntary trial, not for the reproach of marriage, but on account of leisure for piety .
XXV. And I Lebbæus, surnamed Thaddæus, make this constitution in regard to widows: A widow is not ordained; yet if she has lost her husband a great while, and has lived soberly and unblameably, and has taken extraordinary care of her family, as Judith and Anna — those women of great reputation— let her be chosen into the order of widows. But if she has lately lost her yokefellow, let her not be believed, but let her youth be judged of by the time; for the affections do sometimes grow aged with men, if they be not restrained by a better bridle .
XXVI. I the same make a constitution in regard to an exorcist. An exorcist is not ordained. For it is a trial of voluntary goodness, and of the grace of God through Christ by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For he who has received the gift of healing is declared by revelation from God, the grace which is in him being manifest to all. But if there be occasion for him, he must be ordained a bishop, or a presbyter, or a deacon .
XXVII. And I Simon the Canaanite make a constitution to determine by how many a bishop ought to be elected. Let a bishop be ordained by three or two bishops; but if any one be ordained by one bishop, let him be deprived, both himself and he that ordained him. But if there be a necessity that he have only one to ordain him, because more bishops cannot come together, as in time of persecution, or for such like causes, let him bring the suffrage of permission from more bishops.
XXVIII. Concerning the canons I the same make a constitution. A bishop blesses, but does not receive the blessing. He lays on hands, ordains, offers, receives the blessing from bishops, but by no means from presbyters. A bishop deprives any clergyman who deserves deprivation, excepting a bishop; for of himself he has not power to do that. A presbyter blesses, but does not receive the blessing; yet does he receive the blessing from the bishop or a fellow presbyter. In like manner does he give it to a fellow presbyter. He lays on hands, but does not ordain; he does not deprive, yet does he separate those that are under him, if they be liable to such a punishment. A deacon does not bless, does not give the blessing, but receives it from the bishop and presbyter: he does not baptize, he does not offer; but when a bishop or presbyter has offered, he distributes to the people, not as a priest, but as one that ministers to the priests. But it is not lawful for any one of the other clergy to do the work of a deacon. A deaconess does not bless, nor perform anything belonging to the office of presbyters or deacons, but only is to keep the doors, and to minister to the presbyters in the baptizing of women, on account of decency. A deacon separates a subdeacon, a reader, a singer, and a deaconess, if there be any occasion, in the absence of a presbyter. It is not lawful for a subdeacon to separate either one of the clergy or laity; nor for a reader, nor for a singer, nor for a deaconess, for they are the ministers to the deacons.
XXIX . Concerning the water and the oil, I Matthias make a constitution. Let the bishop bless the water, or the oil. But if he be not there, let the presbyter bless it, the deacon standing by. But if the bishop be present, let the presbyter and deacon stand by, and let him say thus: O Lord of hosts, the God of powers, the creator of the waters, and the supplier of oil, who art compassionate, and a lover of mankind, who hast given water for drink and for cleansing, and oil to give man a cheerful and joyful countenance; do Thou now also sanctify this water and this oil through Your Christ, in the name of him or her that has offered them, and grant them a power to restore health, to drive away diseases, to banish demons, and to disperse all snares through Christ our hope, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You, and to the Holy Ghost, forever. Amen.
XXX . I the same make a constitution in regard to first-fruits and tithes. Let all first-fruits be brought to the bishop, and to the presbyters, and to the deacons, for their maintenance; but let all the tithe be for the maintenance of the rest of the clergy, and of the virgins and widows, and of those under the trial of poverty. For the first-fruits belong to the priests, and to those deacons that minister to them.
XXXI. I the same make a constitution in regard to remainders. Those eulogies which remain at the mysteries, let the deacons distribute them among the clergy, according to the mind of the bishop or the presbyters: to a bishop; four parts; to a presbyter, three parts; to a deacon, two parts; and to the rest of the sub-deacons, or readers, or singers, or deaconesses, one part. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, that every one be honoured according to his dignity; for the Church is the school, not of confusion, but of good order.
XXXII. I also, Paul, the least of the apostles, do make the following constitutions for you, the bishops, and presbyters, and deacons, concerning canons . Those that first come to the mystery of godliness, let them be brought to the bishop or to the presbyters by the deacons, and let them be examined as to the causes wherefore they come to the word of the Lord; and let those that bring them exactly inquire about their character, and give them their testimony. Let their manners and their life be inquired into, and whether they be slaves or freemen. And if any one be a slave, let him be asked who is his master. If he be slave to one of the faithful, let his master be asked if he can give him a good character. If he cannot, let him be rejected, until he show himself to be worthy to his master. But if he does give him a good character, let him be admitted. But if he be household slave to an heathen, let him be taught to please his master, that the word be not blasphemed. If, then, he have a wife, or a woman has an husband, let them be taught to be content with each other; but if they be unmarried, let them learn not to commit fornication, but to enter into lawful marriage. But if his master be one of the faithful, and knows that he is guilty of fornication, and yet does not give him a wife, or to the woman an husband, let him be separated; but if anyone has a demon, let him indeed be taught piety, but not received into communion before he be cleansed; yet if death be near, let him be received. If any one be a maintainer of harlots, let him either leave off to prostitute women, or else let him be rejected. If a harlot come, let her leave off whoredom, or else let her be rejected. If a maker of idols come, let him either leave off his employment, or let him be rejected. If one belonging to the theatre come, whether it be man or woman, or charioteer, or dueller, or racer, or player of prizes, or Olympic gamester, or one that plays on the pipe, on the lute, or on the harp at those games, or a dancing-master or an huckster, either let them leave off their employments, or let them be rejected. If a soldier come, let him be taught to do no injustice, to accuse no man falsely, and to be content with his allotted wages: Luke 3:14 if he submit to those rules, let him be received; but if he refuse them, let him be rejected. He that is guilty of sins not to be named, a sodomite, an effeminate person, a magician, an enchanter, an astrologer, a diviner, an user of magic verses, a juggler, a mountebank, one that makes amulets, a charmer, a soothsayer, a fortune-teller, an observer of palmistry; he that, when he meets you, observes defects in the eyes or feet of the birds or cats, or noises, or symbolic sounds: let these be proved for some time, for this sort of wickedness is hard to be washed away; and if they leave off those practices, let them be received; but if they will not agree to that, let them be rejected. Let a concubine, who is slave to an unbeliever, and confines herself to her master alone, be received; but if she be incontinent with others, let her be rejected. If one of the faithful has a concubine, if she be a bond-servant, let him leave off that way, and marry in a legal manner: if she be a free woman, let him marry her in a lawful manner; if he does not, let him be rejected. Let him that follows the Gentile customs, or Jewish fables, either reform, or let him be rejected. If any one follows the sports of the theatre, their huntings, or horse-races, or combats, either let him leave them off, or let him be rejected. Let him who is to be a catechumen be a catechumen for three years; but if any one be diligent, and has a good-will to his business, let him be admitted: for it is not the length of time, but the course of life, that is judged. Let him that teaches, although he be one of the laity, yet, if he be skilful in the word and grave in his manners, teach; for they shall be all taught of God. John 6:45 Let all the faithful, whether men or women, when they rise from sleep, before they go to work, when they have washed themselves, pray; but if any catechetic instruction be held, let the faithful person prefer the word of piety before his work. Let the faithful person, whether man or woman, treat servants kindly, as we have ordained in the foregoing books, and have taught in our epistles.
XXXIII. I Peter and Paul do make the following constitutions. Let the slaves work five days; but on the Sabbath day and the Lord’s day let them have leisure to go to church for instruction in piety. We have said that the Sabbath is on account of the creation, and the Lord’s day of the resurrection. Let slaves rest from their work all the great week, and that which follows it — for the one in memory of the passion, and the other of the resurrection; and there is need they should be instructed who it is that suffered and rose again, and who it is permitted Him to suffer, and raised Him again. Let them have rest from their work on the Ascension, because it was the conclusion of the dispensation by Christ. Let them rest at Pentecost, because of the coming of the Holy Spirit, which was given to those that believed in Christ. Let them rest on the festival of His birth, because on it the unexpected favour was granted to men, that Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, should be born of the Virgin Mary, for the salvation of the world. Let them rest on the festival of Epiphany, because on it a manifestation took place of the divinity of Christ, for the Father bore testimony to Him at the baptism; and the Paraclete, in the form of a dove, pointed out to the bystanders Him to whom testimony was borne. Let them rest on the days of the apostles: for they were appointed your teachers to bring you to Christ, and made you worthy of the Spirit. Let them rest on the day of the first martyr Stephen, and of the other holy martyrs who preferred Christ to their own life.
XXXIV. Offer up your prayers in the morning, at the third hour, the sixth, the ninth, the evening, and at cock-crowing: in the morning, returning thanks that the Lord has sent you light, that He has brought you past the night, and brought on the day; at the third hour, because at that hour the Lord received the sentence of condemnation from Pilate; at the sixth, because at that hour He was crucified; at the ninth, because all things were in commotion at the crucifixion of the Lord, as trembling at the bold attempt of the impious Jews, and not bearing the injury offered to their Lord; in the evening, giving thanks that He has given you the night to rest from the daily labours; at cock-crowing, because that hour brings the good news of the coming on of the day for the operations proper for the light. But if it be not possible to go to the church on account of the unbelievers, you, O bishop, shall assemble them in a house, that a godly man may not enter into an assembly of the ungodly. For it is not the place that sanctifies the man, but the man the place. And if the ungodly possess the place, avoid it, because it is profaned by them. For as holy priests sanctify a place, so do the profane ones defile it. If it be not possible to assemble either in the church or in a house, let every one by himself sing, and read, and pray, or two or three together. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Let not one of the faithful pray with a catechumen, no, not in the house: for it is not reasonable that he who is admitted should be polluted with one not admitted. Let not one of the godly pray with an heretic, no, not in the house. For what fellowship has light with darkness? Let Christians, whether men or women, who have connections with slaves, either leave them off, or let them be rejected.
XXXV. I James, the brother of Christ according to the flesh, but His servant as the only begotten God, and one appointed bishop of Jerusalem by the Lord Himself, and the Apostles, do ordain thus: When it is evening, you, O bishop, shall assemble the church; and after the repetition of the psalm at the lighting up the lights, the deacon shall bid prayers for the catechumens, the energumens, the illuminated, and the penitents, as we have formerly said. But after the dismission of these, the deacon shall say: So many as are of the faithful, let us pray to the Lord. And after the bidding prayer, which is formerly set down, he shall say:—
XXXVI. Save us, O God, and raise us up by Your Christ. Let us stand up, and beg for the mercies of the Lord, and His compassions, for the angel of peace, for what things are good and profitable, for a Christian departure out of this life, an evening and a night of peace, and free from sin; and let us beg that the whole course of our life may be unblameable. Let us dedicate ourselves and one another to the living God through His Christ. And let the bishop add this prayer, and say:—
XXXVII. O God, who art without beginning and without end, the Maker of the whole world by Christ, and the Provider for it, but before all His God and Father, the Lord of the Spirit, and the King of intelligible and sensible beings; who hast made the day for the works of light, and the night for the refreshment of our infirmity — for the day is Yours, the night also is Yours: You have prepared the light and the sun, — do Thou now, O Lord, Thou lover of mankind, and Fountain of all good, mercifully accept of this our evening thanksgiving. You who has brought us through the length of the day, and hast brought us to the beginnings of the night, preserve us by Your Christ, afford us a peaceable evening, and a night free from sin, and vouchsafe us everlasting life by Your Christ, through whom glory, honour, and worship be to You in the Holy Spirit forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down for the laying on of hands. And let the bishop say: O God of our fathers, and Lord of mercy, who formed man of Your wisdom a rational creature, and beloved of God more than the other beings upon this earth, and gave him authority to rule over the creatures upon the earth, and ordained by Your will rulers and priests— the former for the security of life, the latter for a regular worship, — do Thou now also look down, O Lord Almighty, and cause Your face to shine upon Your people, who bow down the neck of their heart, and bless them by Christ; through whom You have enlightened us with the light of knowledge, and have revealed Yourself to us; with whom worthy adoration is due from every rational and holy nature to You, and to the Spirit, who is the Comforter, forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Depart in peace. In like manner, in the morning, after the repetition of the morning psalm, and his dismission of the catechumens, the energumens, the candidates for baptism, and the penitents, and after the usual bidding of prayers, that we may not again repeat the same things, let the deacon add after the words, Save us, O God, and raise us up by Your grace: Let us beg of the Lord His mercies and His compassions, that this morning and this day may be with peace and without sin, as also all the time of our sojourning; that He will grant us His angel of peace, a Christian departure out of this life, and that God will be merciful and gracious. Let us dedicate ourselves and one another to the living God through His Only-begotten. And let the bishop add this prayer, and say:—
XXXVIII. O God, the God of spirits and of all flesh, who is beyond compare, and stands in need of nothing, who has given the sun to have rule over the day, and the moon and the stars to have rule over the night, do Thou now also look down upon us with gracious eyes, and receive our morning thanksgivings, and have mercy upon us; for we have not spread out our hands unto a strange God; for there is not among us any new God, but You, the eternal God, who is without end, who has given us our being through Christ, and given us our well-being through Him. Vouchsafe us also, through Him, eternal life; with whom glory, and honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down for the laying on of hands. And let the bishop add this prayer, saying:—
XXXIX . O God, who art faithful and true, who has mercy on thousands and ten thousands of them that love You, the lover of the humble, and the protector of the needy, of whom all things stand in need, for all things are subject to You; look down upon this Your people, who bow down their heads to You, and bless them with spiritual blessing. Keep them as the apple of an eye, preserve them in piety and righteousness, and vouchsafe them eternal life in Christ Jesus Your beloved Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Depart in peace. And when the first-fruits are offered, the bishop gives thanks in this manner:—
XL . We give thanks to You, O Lord Almighty, the Creator of the whole world, and its Preserver, through Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, for the first-fruits which are offered to You, not in such a manner as we ought, but as we are able. For what man is there that can worthily give You thanks for those things You have given them to partake of? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and of all the saints, who made all things fruitful by Your word, and commanded the earth to bring forth various fruits for our rejoicing and our food; who hast given to the duller and more sheepish sort of creatures juices — herbs to them that feed on herbs, and to some flesh, to others seeds, but to us grain, as advantageous and proper food, and many other things — some for our necessities, some for our health, and some for our pleasure. On all these accounts, therefore, are You worthy of exalted hymns of praise for Your beneficence by Christ, through whom glory, honour, and worship be to You, in the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen. Concerning those that are at rest in Christ: After the bidding prayer, that we may not repeat it again, the deacon shall add as follows:—
XLI. Let us pray for our brethren that are at rest in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and may be merciful and gracious to him, and give him his lot in the land of the pious that are sent into the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence all sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished. Let us arise, let us dedicate ourselves and one another to the eternal God, through that Word which was in the beginning. And let the bishop say: O You who is by nature immortal, and has no end of Your being, from whom every creature, whether immortal or mortal, is derived; who made man a rational creature, the citizen of this world, in his constitution mortal, and added the promise of a resurrection; who did not suffer Enoch and Elijah to taste of death: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, who art the God of them, not as of dead, but as of living persons: for the souls of all men live with You, and the spirits of the righteous are in Your hand, which no torment can touch; Matthew 22:32; Wisdom 3:1 for they are all sanctified under Your hand: do Thou now also look upon this Your servant, whom You have selected and received into another state, and forgive him if voluntarily or involuntarily he has sinned, and afford him merciful angels, and place him in the bosom of the patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, and of all those that have pleased You from the beginning of the world, where there is no grief, sorrow, nor lamentation; but the peaceable region of the godly, and the undisturbed land of the upright, and of those that therein see, the glory of Your Christ; by whom glory, honour, and worship, thanksgiving, and adoration be to You, in the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down, and receive the blessing. And let the bishop give thanks for them, saying as follows: O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance, which You have purchased with the precious blood of Your Christ. Feed them under Your right hand, and cover them under Your wings, and grant that they may fight the good fight, and finish their course, and keep the faith 2 Timothy 4:7 immutably, unblameably, and unreprovably, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
XLII. Let the third day of the departed be celebrated with psalms, and lessons, and prayers, on account of Him who arose within the space of three days; and let the ninth day be celebrated in remembrance of the living, and of the departed; and the fortieth day according to the ancient pattern: for so did the people lament Moses, and the anniversary day in memory of him. And let alms be given to the poor out of his goods for a memorial of him.
XLIII. These things we say concerning the pious; for as to the ungodly, if you give all the world to the poor, you will not benefit him at all. For to whom the Deity was an enemy while he was alive, it is certain it will be so also when he is departed; for there is no unrighteousness with Him. For the Lord is righteous, and has loved righteousness. And, Behold the man and his work. Isaiah 62:11
XLIV. Now, when you are invited to their memorials, do you feast with good order, and the fear of God, as disposed to intercede for those that are departed. For since you are the presbyters and deacons of Christ, you ought always to be sober, both among yourselves and among others, that so you may be able to warn the unruly. Now the Scripture says, The men in power are passionate. But let them not drink wine, lest by drinking they forget wisdom, and are not able to judge aright. Wherefore both the presbyters and the deacons are those of authority in the Church next to God Almighty and His beloved Son. We say this, not they are not to drink at all, otherwise it would be to the reproach of what God has made for cheerfulness, but that they be not disordered with wine. For the Scripture does not say, Do not drink wine; but what says it? Drink not wine to drunkenness; and again, Thorns spring up in the hand of the drunkard. Nor do we say this only to those of the clergy, but also to every lay Christian, upon whom the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is called. For to them also it is said, Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has uneasiness? Who has babbling? Who has red eyes? Who has wounds without cause? Do not these things belong to those that tarry long at the wine, and that go to seek where drinking meetings are? Proverbs 23:29-30
XLV. Receive those that are persecuted on account of the faith, and who fly from city to city, Matthew 10:23 as mindful of the words of the Lord. For, knowing that though the spirit be willing, the flesh is weak, Matthew 26:41 they fly away, and prefer the spoiling of their goods, that they may preserve the name of Christ in themselves without denying it. Supply them therefore with what they want, and thereby fulfil the commandment of the Lord.
XLVI. Now this we all in common do charge you, that every one remain in that rank which is appointed him, and do not transgress his proper bounds; for they are not ours, but God’s. For says the Lord: He that hears you, hears me; and he that hears me, hears Him that sent me. And, He that despises you, despises me; and he that despises me, despises Him that sent me. For if those things that are without life do observe good order, as the night, the day, the sun, the moon, the stars, the elements, the seasons, the months, the weeks, the days, and the hours, and are subservient to the uses appointed them, according to that which is said, You have set them a bound which they shall not pass; and again, concerning the sea, I have set bounds thereto, and have encompassed it with bars and gates; and I said to it, Hitherto shall you come, and you shall go no farther; Job 38:10-11 how much more ought you not to venture to remove those things which we, according to God’s will, have determined for you! But because many think this a small matter, and venture to confound the orders, and to remove the ordination which belongs to them severally, snatching to themselves dignities which were never given them, and allowing themselves to bestow that authority in a tyrannical manner which they have not themselves, and thereby provoke God to anger (as did the followers of Corah and King Uzziah, who, having no authority, usurped the high-priesthood without commission from God; and the former were burnt with fire, and the latter was struck with a leprosy in his forehead); and provoke Christ Jesus to anger, who has made this constitution; and also grieve the Holy Spirit, and make void His testimony: therefore, foreknowing the danger that hangs over those who do such things, and the neglect about the sacrifices and eucharistical offices which will arise from their being impiously offered by those who ought not to offer them; who think the honour of the high-priesthood, which is an imitation of the great High Priest Jesus Christ our King, to be a matter of sport; we have found it necessary to give you warning in this matter also. For some are already turned aside after their own vanity. We say that Moses the servant of God (to whom God spoke face to face, as if a man spoke to his friend; to whom He said, I know you above all men; to whom He spoke directly, and not by obscure methods, or dreams, or angels, or riddles) — this person, when he made constitutions and divine laws, distinguished what things were to be performed by the high priests, what by the priests, and what by the Levites; distributing to every one his proper and suitable office in the divine service. And those things which are allotted for the high priests to do, those might not be meddled with by the priests; and what things were allotted to the priests, the Levites might not meddle with; but every one observed those ministrations which were written down and appointed for them. And if any would meddle beyond the tradition, death was his punishment. And Saul’s example does show this most plainly, who, thinking he might offer sacrifice without the prophet and high priest Samuel, drew upon himself a sin and a curse without remedy. Nor did even his having anointed him king discourage the prophet. But God showed the same by a more visible effect in the case of Uzziah, 2 Chronicles xxvi when He without delay exacted the punishment due to this transgression, and he that madly coveted after the high-priesthood was rejected from his kingdom also. As to those things that have happened among us, you yourselves are not ignorant of them. For you know undoubtedly that those that are by us named bishops, and presbyters, and deacons, were made by prayer, and by the laying on of hands; and that by the difference of their names is showed the difference of their employments. For not every one that will is ordained, as the case was in that spurious and counterfeit priesthood of the calves under Jeroboam; 1 Kings 13:33 but he only who is called of God. For if there were no rule or distinction of orders, it would suffice to perform all the offices under one name. But being taught by the Lord the series of things, we distributed the functions of the high-priesthood to the bishops, those of the priesthood to the presbyters, and the ministration under them both to the deacons; that the divine worship might be performed in purity. For it is not lawful for a deacon to offer the sacrifice, or to baptize, or to give either the greater or the lesser blessing. Nor may a presbyter perform ordination; for it is not agreeable to holiness to have this order perverted. For God is not the God of confusion, that the subordinate persons should tyrannically assume to themselves the functions belonging to their superiors, forming a new scheme of laws to their own mischief, not knowing that it is hard for them to kick against the pricks; for such as these do not fight against us, or against the bishops, but against the universal Bishop and the High Priest of the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord. High priests, priests, and Levites were ordained by Moses, the most beloved of God. By our Saviour were we apostles, thirteen in number, ordained; and by the apostles I James, and I Clement, and others with us, were ordained, that we may not make the catalogue of all those bishops over again. And in common, presbyters, and deacons, and sub-deacons, and readers, were ordained by all of us. The great High Priest therefore, who is so by nature, is Christ the only begotten; not having snatched that honour to Himself, but having been appointed such by the Father; who being made man for our sake, and offering the spiritual sacrifice to His God and Father, before His suffering gave it us alone in charge to do this, although there were others with us who had believed in Him. But he that believes is not presently appointed a priest, or obtains the dignity of the high-priesthood. But after His ascension we offered, according to His constitution, the pure and unbloody sacrifice; and ordained bishops, and presbyters, and deacons, seven in number: one of which was Stephen, that blessed martyr, who was not inferior to us as to his pious disposition of mind towards God; who showed so great piety towards God, by his faith and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ, as to give his life for Him, and was stoned to death by the Jews, the murderers of the Lord. Yet still this so great and good a man, who was fervent in spirit, who saw Christ on the right hand of God, and the gates of heaven opened, does nowhere appear to have exercised functions which did not appertain to his office of a deacon, nor to have offered the sacrifices, nor to have laid hands upon any, but kept his order of a deacon unto the end. For so it became him, who was a martyr for Christ, to preserve good order. But if some do blame Philip our deacon, and Ananias our faithful brother, that the one did baptize the eunuch, and the other me Paul, these men do not understand what we say. For we have affirmed only that no one snatches the sacerdotal dignity to himself, but either receives it from God, as Melchisedec and Job, or from the high priest, as Aaron from Moses. Wherefore Philip and Ananias did not constitute themselves, but were appointed by Christ, the High Priest of that God to whom no being is to be compared.
XLVII .1. Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops.
2. A presbyter by one bishop, as also a deacon, and the rest of the clergy.
3. If any bishop or presbyter, otherwise than our Lord has ordained concerning the sacrifice, offer other things at the altar of God, as honey, milk, or strong beer instead of wine, any necessaries, or birds, or animals, or pulse, otherwise than is ordained, let him be deprived; excepting grains of new grain, or ears of wheat, or bunches of grapes in their season.
4. For it is not lawful to offer anything besides these at the altar, and oil for the holy lamp, and incense in the time of the divine oblation.
5. But let all other fruits be sent to the house of the bishop, as first-fruits to him and to the presbyters, but not to the altar. Now it is plain that the bishop and presbyters are to divide them to the deacons and to the rest of the clergy.
6. Let not a bishop, a priest, or a deacon cast off his own wife under pretence of piety; but if he does cast her off, let him be suspended. If he go on in it, let him be deprived.
7. Let not a bishop, a priest, or deacon undertake the cares of this world; but if he do, let him be deprived.
8. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon shall celebrate the holiday of the passover before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deprived.
9. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or any one of the catalogue of the priesthood, when the oblation is over, does not communicate, let him give his reason; and if it be just, let him be forgiven; but if he does not do it, let him be suspended, as becoming the cause of damage to the people, and occasioning a suspicion against him that offered, as of one that did not rightly offer.
10. All those of the faithful that enter into the holy church of God, and hear the sacred Scriptures, but do not stay during prayer and the holy communion, must be suspended, as causing disorder in the church.
11. If any one, even in the house, prays with a person excommunicate, let him also be suspended.
12. If any clergyman prays with one deprived as with a clergyman, let himself also be deprived.
13. If any clergyman or layman who is suspended, or ought not to be received, goes away, and is received in another city without commendatory letters, let both those who received him and he that was received be suspended. But if he be already suspended, let his suspension be lengthened, as lying to and deceiving the Church of God.
14. A bishop ought not to leave his own parish and leap to another, although the multitude should compel him, unless there be some good reason forcing him to do this, as that he can contribute much greater profit to the people of the new parish by the word of piety; but this is not to be settled by himself, but by the judgment of many bishops, and very great supplication.
15. If any presbyter or deacon, or any one of the catalogue of the clergy, leaves his own parish and goes to another, and, entirely removing himself, continues in that other parish without the consent of his own bishop, him we command no longer to go on in his ministry, especially in case his bishop calls upon him to return, and he does not obey, but continues in his disorder. However, let him communicate there as a layman.
16. But if the bishop with whom they are undervalues the deprivation decreed against them, and receives them as clergymen, let him be suspended as a teacher of disorder.
17. He who has been twice married after his baptism, or has had a concubine, cannot be made a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or indeed any one of the sacerdotal catalogue.
18. He who has taken a widow, or a divorced woman, or an harlot, or a servant, or one belonging to the theatre, cannot be either a bishop, priest, or deacon, or indeed any one of the sacerdotal catalogue.
19. He who has married two sisters, or his brother’s or sister’s daughter, cannot be a clergyman.
20. Let a clergyman who becomes a surety be deprived.
21. Let an eunuch, if he be such by the injury of men, or his virilia were taken away in the persecution, or he was born such, and yet is worthy of episcopacy, be made a bishop.
22. Let not him who has disabled himself be made a clergyman; for he is a self-murderer, and an enemy to the creation of God.
23. If any one who is of the clergy disables himself, let him be deprived, for he is a murderer of himself.
24. Let a layman who disables himself be separated for three years, for he lays a snare for his own life.
25. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who is taken in fornication, or perjury, or stealing, be deprived, but not suspended; for the Scripture says: You shall not avenge twice for the same crime by affliction.
26. In like manner also as to the rest of the clergy.
27. Of those who come into the clergy unmarried, we permit only the readers and singers, if they have a mind, to marry afterward.
28. We command that a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who strikes the faithful that offend, or the unbelievers who do wickedly, and thinks to terrify them by such means, be deprived, for our Lord has nowhere taught us such things. On the contrary, when Himself was stricken, He did not strike again; when He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not.
29. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who is deprived justly for manifest crimes, does venture to meddle with that ministration which was once entrusted to him, let the same person be entirely cut off from the Church.
30. If any bishop obtains that dignity by money, or even a presbyter or deacon, let him and the person that ordained him be deprived; and let him be entirely cut off from communion, as Simon Magus was by me Peter.
31. If any bishop makes use of the rulers of this world, and by their means obtains to be a bishop of a church, let him be deprived and suspended, and all that communicate with him.
32. If any presbyter despises his own bishop, and assembles separately, and fixes another altar, when he has nothing to condemn in his bishop either as to piety or righteousness, let him be deprived as an ambitious person; for he is a tyrant, and the rest of the clergy, whoever join themselves to him. And let the laity be suspended. But let these things be done after one, and a second, or even a third admonition from the bishop.
33. If any presbyter or deacon be put under suspension by his bishop, it is not lawful for any other to receive him, but for him only who put him under suspension, unless it happens that he who put him under suspension die.
34. Do not receive any stranger, whether bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, without commendatory letters; and when such are offered, let them be examined. And if they be preachers of piety, let them be received; but if not, supply their wants, but do not receive them to communion: for many things are done by surprise.
35. The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
36. A bishop must not venture to ordain out of his own bounds for cities or countries that are not subject to him. But if he be convicted of having done so without the consent of such as governed those cities or countries, let him be deprived, both the bishop himself and those whom he has ordained.
37. If any bishop that is ordained does not undertake his office, nor take care of the people committed to him, let him be suspended until he do undertake it; and in the like manner a presbyter and a deacon. But if he goes, and is not received, not because of the want of his own consent, but because of the ill temper of the people, let him continue bishop; but let the clergy of that city be suspended, because they have not taught that disobedient people better.
38. Let a synod of bishops be held twice in the year, and let them ask one another the doctrines of piety; and let them determine the ecclesiastical disputes that happen — once in the fourth week of Pentecost, and again on the twelfth of the month Hyperberetæus.
39. Let the bishop have the care of ecclesiastical revenues, and administer them as in the presence of God. But it is not lawful for him to appropriate any part of them to himself, or to give the things of God to his own kindred. But if they be poor, let him support them as poor; but let him not, under such pretences, alienate the revenues of the Church.
40. Let not the presbyters and deacons do anything without the consent of the bishop, for it is he who is entrusted with the people of the Lord, and will be required to give an account of their souls. Let the proper goods of the bishop, if he has any, and those belonging to the Lord, be openly distinguished, that he may have power when he dies to leave his own goods as he pleases, and to whom he pleases; that, under pretence of the ecclesiastical revenues, the bishop’s own may not come short, who sometimes has a wife and children, or kinsfolk, or servants. For this is just before God and men, that neither the Church suffer any loss by the not knowing which revenues are the bishop’s own, nor his kindred, under pretence of the Church, be undone, or his relations fall into lawsuits, and so his death be liable to reproach.
41. We command that the bishop have power over the goods of the Church; for if he be entrusted with the precious souls of men, much more ought he to give directions about goods, that they all be distributed to those in want, according to his authority, by the presbyters and deacons, and be used for their support with the fear of God, and with all reverence. He is also to partake of those things he wants, if he does want them, for his necessary occasions, and those of the brethren who live with him, that they may not by any means be in straits: for the law of God appointed that those who waited at the altar should be maintained by the altar; since not so much as a soldier does at any time bear arms against the enemies at his own charges.
42. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who indulges himself in dice or drinking, either leave off those practices, or let him be deprived.
43. If a subdeacon, a reader, or a singer does the like, either let him leave off, or let him be suspended; and so for one of the laity.
44. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who requires usury of those he lends to, either leave off to do so, or let him be deprived.
45. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who only prays with heretics, be suspended; but if he also permit them to perform any part of the office of a clergyman, let him be deprived.
46. We command that a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who receives the baptism, or the sacrifice of heretics, be deprived: For what agreement is there between Christ and Belial? Or what part has a believer with an infidel?
47. If a bishop or presbyter rebaptizes him who has had true baptism, or does not baptize him who is polluted by the ungodly, let him be deprived, as ridiculing the cross and the death of the Lord, and not distinguishing between real priests and counterfeit ones.
48. If a layman divorces his own wife, and takes another, or one divorced by another, let him be suspended.
49. If any bishop or presbyter does not baptize according to the Lord’s constitution, into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but into three beings without beginning, or into three Sons, or three Comforters, let him be deprived.
50. If any bishop or presbyter does not perform the three immersions of the one admission, but one immersion, which is given into the death of Christ, let him be deprived; for the Lord did not say, Baptize into my death, but, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, O bishops, baptize thrice into one Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the will of Christ, and our constitution by the Spirit.
51. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or indeed any one of the sacerdotal catalogue, abstains from marriage, flesh, and wine, not for his own exercise, but because he abominates these things, forgetting that all things were very good, Genesis 1:31 and that God made man male and female, Genesis 1:26 and blasphemously abuses the creation, either let him reform, or let him be deprived, and be cast out of the Church; and the same for one of the laity.
52. If any bishop or presbyter does not receive him that returns from his sin, but rejects him, let him be deprived; because he grieves Christ, who says, There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. Luke 15:7
53. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon does not on festival days partake of flesh or wine, let him be deprived, as having a seared conscience, 1 Timothy 4:2 and becoming a cause of scandal to many.
54. If any one of the clergy be taken eating in a tavern, let him be suspended, excepting when he is forced to bait at an inn upon the road.
55. If any one of the clergy abuses his bishop unjustly, let him be deprived; for says the Scripture, You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people. Exodus 22:28
56. If any one of the clergy abuses a presbyter or a deacon, let him be separated.
57. If any one of the clergy mocks at a lame, a deaf, or a blind man, or at one maimed in his feet, let him be suspended; and the like for the laity.
58. Let a bishop or presbyter who takes no care of the clergy or people, and does not instruct them in piety, be separated; and if he continues in his negligence, let him be deprived.
59. If any bishop or presbyter, when any one of the clergy is in want, does not supply his necessity, let him be suspended; and if he continues in it, let him be deprived, as having killed his brother.
60. If any one publicly reads in the Church the spurious books of the ungodly, as if they were holy, to the destruction of the people and of the clergy, let him be deprived.
61. If there be an accusation against a Christian for fornication, or adultery, or any other forbidden action, and he be convicted, let him not be promoted into the clergy.
62. If any one of the clergy for fear of men, as of a Jew, or a Gentile, or an heretic, shall deny the name of Christ, let him be suspended; but if he deny the name of a clergyman, let him be deprived; but when he repents, let him be received as one of the laity.
63. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or indeed any one of the sacerdotal catalogue, eats flesh with the blood of its life, or that which is torn by beasts, or which died of itself, let him be deprived; for this the law itself has forbidden. But if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.
64. If any one of the clergy be found to fast on the Lord’s day, or on the Sabbath day, excepting one only, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.
65. If any one, either of the clergy or laity, enters into a synagogue of the Jews or heretics to pray, let him be deprived and suspended.
66. If any one of the clergy strikes one in a quarrel, and kills him by that one stroke, let him be deprived, on account of his rashness; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.
67. If any one has offered violence to a virgin not betrothed, and keeps her, let him be suspended. But it is not lawful for him to take another to wife; but he must retain her whom he has chosen, although she be poor.
68. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, receives a second ordination from any one, let him be deprived, and the person who ordained him, unless he can show that his former ordination was from the heretics; for those that are either baptized or ordained by such as these, can be neither Christians nor clergymen.
69. If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, or reader, or singer, does not fast the fast of forty days, or the fourth day of the week, and the day of the Preparation, let him be deprived, except he be hindered by weakness of body. But if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.
70. If any bishop, or any other of the clergy, fasts with the Jews, or keeps the festivals with them, or accepts of the presents from their festivals, as unleavened bread or some such thing, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.
71. If any Christian carries oil into an heathen temple, or into a synagogue of the Jews, or lights up lamps in their festivals, let him be suspended.
72. If any one, either of the clergy or laity, takes away from the holy Church an honeycomb, or oil, let him be suspended, and let him add the fifth part to that which he took away.
73. A vessel of silver, or gold, or linen, which is sanctified, let no one appropriate to his own use, for it is unjust; but if any one be caught, let him be punished with suspension.
74. If a bishop be accused of any crime by credible and faithful persons, it is necessary that he be cited by the bishops; and if he comes and makes his apology, and yet is convicted, let his punishment be determined. But if, when he is cited, he does not obey, let him be cited a second time, by two bishops sent to him. But if even then he despises them, and will not come, let the synod pass what sentence they please against him, that he may not appear to gain advantage by avoiding their judgment.
75. Do not receive an heretic in a testimony against a bishop; nor a Christian if he be single. For the law says, In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.
76. A bishop must not gratify his brother, or his son, or any other kinsman, with the episcopal dignity, or ordain whom he pleases; for it is not just to make heirs to episcopacy, and to gratify human affections in divine matters. For we must not put the Church of God under the laws of inheritance; but if any one shall do so, let his ordination be invalid, and let him be punished with suspension.
77. If any one be maimed in an eye, or lame of his leg, but is worthy of the episcopal dignity, let him be made a bishop; for it is not a blemish of the body that can defile him, but the pollution of the soul.
78. But if he be deaf and blind, let him not be made a bishop; not as being a defiled person, but that the ecclesiastical affairs may not be hindered.
79. If any one has a demon, let him not be made one of the clergy. Nay, let him not pray with the faithful; but when he is cleansed, let him be received; and if he be worthy, let him be ordained.
80. It is not right to ordain him bishop presently who is just come in from the Gentiles, and baptized; or from a wicked mode of life: for it is unjust that he who has not yet afforded any trial of himself should be a teacher of others, unless it anywhere happens by divine grace.
81. We have said that a bishop ought not to let himself into public administrations, but to attend on all opportunities upon the necessary affairs of the Church. Either therefore let him agree not to do so, or let him be deprived. For, no one can serve two masters, Matthew 6:24 according to the Lord’s admonition.
82. We do not permit servants to be ordained into the clergy without their masters’ consent; for this would grieve those that owned them. For such a practice would occasion the subversion of families. But if at any time a servant appears worthy to be ordained into an high office, such as our Onesimus appeared to be, and if his master allows of it, and gives him his freedom, and dismisses him from his house, let him be ordained.
83. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who goes to the army, and desires to retain both the Roman government and the sacerdotal administration, be deprived. For the things of Cæsar belong to Cæsar, and the things of God to God.
84. Whosoever shall abuse the king or the governor unjustly, let him suffer punishment; and if he be a clergyman, let him be deprived; but if he be a layman, let him be suspended.
85. Let the following books be esteemed venerable and holy by you, both of the clergy and laity. Of the Old Covenant: the five books of Moses— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; one of Joshua the Son of Nun, one of the Judges, one of Ruth, four of the Kings, two of the Chronicles, two of Ezra, one of Esther, one of Judith, three of the Maccabees, one of Job, one hundred and fifty psalms; three books of Solomon — Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; sixteen prophets. And besides these, take care that your young persons learn the Wisdom of the very learned Sirach. But our sacred books, that is, those of the New Covenant, are these: the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the fourteen Epistles of Paul; two Epistles of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; two Epistles of Clement; and the Constitutions dedicated to you the bishops by me Clement, in eight books; which it is not fit to publish before all, because of the mysteries contained in them; and the Acts of us the Apostles.
Let these canonical rules be established by us for you, O you bishops; and if you continue to observe them, you shall be saved, and shall have peace; but if you be disobedient, you shall be punished, and have everlasting war one with another, and undergo a penalty suitable to your disobedience.
Now, God who alone is unbegotten, and the Maker of the whole world, unite you all through His peace, in the Holy Spirit; perfect you unto every good work, immoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable; and vouchsafe to you eternal life with us, through the mediation of His beloved Son Jesus Christ our God and Saviour; with whom glory be to You, the God over all, and the Father, in the Holy Spirit the Comforter, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.
The end of the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles by Clement, which are the Catholic doctrine.
Translated by James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.