Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 7: 7.07.16 Constitutions of the Apostles - Book 8 - Part 2

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Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 7: 7.07.16 Constitutions of the Apostles - Book 8 - Part 2

TOPIC: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 7 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 7.07.16 Constitutions of the Apostles - Book 8 - Part 2

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Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. (Cont.)

Book VIII. (Cont.)

Sec. V. - All the Apostles Urge the Observance of the Order of the Church.

XLVI. That Every One Ought to Remain in That Rank Wherein He Is Placed, but Not Snatch Such Offices to Himself Which Are Not Entrusted to Him.

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 heareth you, heareth me; and he that heareth me, heareth Him that sent me.” And, “He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me.” (Luk_10:16; Mat_10:40; Joh_13:20) 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, “Thou hast set them a bound which they shall not pass;” (Psa_104:9) and again, concerning the sea, “I have set bounds thereto, and have encompassed it with bars and gates; and I said to it, Hitherto shalt thou come, and thou shalt go no farther;” (Job_38:10, Job_38:11) how much more ought ye 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, (Num_16:1-50; 2Ch_26:1-23) 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 spake face to face, as if a man spake to his friend;” (Num_12:7, Num_12:8; Exo_33:11, Exo_33:17) to whom He said, “I know thee above all men;” to whom He spake 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, (1Sa_13:1-23) 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, (2Ch_26:1-23) 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 amongst us, you yourselves are not ignorant of them. For ye 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; (1Ki_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,”83 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 500 kick against the pricks;”84 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.85 High priests, priests, and Levites were ordained by Moses, (Exo_28:1-43 and Exo_29:1-46) the most beloved of God. By our Saviour86 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, (Act_6:1-15 and Act_7:1-60) 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 Philip87 our deacon, and Ananias (Act_8:1-40 and Act_9:1-43) 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. The Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles.88

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.89

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 corn, or ears of wheat, or bunches of grapes in their season.90

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 deacon91 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.92

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.93

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 501 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.94

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,95 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.96

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.97

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.98

25. Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who is taken in fornication, or perjury, or stealing, be deprived, but not suspended; far the Scripture says: “Thou shall not avenge twice for the same crime by affliction.”99

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.100

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.”101

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.102

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. 502

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.103

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 ye 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.104

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.105

43. If a sub-deacon, 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.106 503

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 hath a believer with an infidel?”107

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.108

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.109

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 ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Do ye, 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.110

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,” (Gen_1:31) and that “God made man male and female,” (Gen_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.111

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 repenteth.” (Luk_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,” (1Ti_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.112

55. If any one of the clergy abuses his bishop unjustly, let him be deprived; for says the Scripture, “Thou shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” (Exo_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.113

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.114

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.115

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, 504 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.116

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. (Gen_9:1-29; Lev_17:1-16) But if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended.117

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.118

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.119

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.120

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.121

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.122

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.123

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.124

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.125

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.126

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.127

75. Do not ye 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.”128

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.129

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.130

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 hath 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.131 505

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.132

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.133 Either therefore let him agree not to do so, or let him be deprived. For, “no one can serve two masters,” (Mat_6:24) according to the Lord’s admonition.134

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.135

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.”136

84. Whosoever shall abuse the king137 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.138

Let these canonical rules be established by us for you, O ye bishops; and if you continue to observe them, ye 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 Thee, 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.



(The Bidding Prayer, etc.)

The Pauline Norm.139

1. Supplications.

2. Prayers, Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.

3. Intercessions.

4. General Thanksgiving. The Kiss of Peace.

5. Anaphora.140

The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread:

And when He had given thanks, He brake it,

And said, Take, eat: this is my Body, which is broken for you:

This do in remembrance of Me.

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped,

Saying, This cup is the New Testament in my Blood:

This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.

For as often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.

6. Our Father, etc.141

7. Communion.

Let us note also that the Apostle had “delivered” unto the Corinthians (1Co_11:23), as doubtless to others (1Co_7:17), certain institutions which he ordained in all the churches, and for departing from which he censures the Corinthians in this place (ver. 17 compared with ver. 2) in certain particulars. In 1Co_14:1-40. at ver. 40, he refers to these ordinances as a τάξις, in the performance of which they were to proceed (κοσμίως) with due order, becomingly; not with mere decency, but with a beautiful decorum of service.

Finally, let me suggest that there are fragments of the Apostle’s (παράδοσεις) instructions everywhere scattered through his Epistles, such as the minute canon142 concerning the veiling of women in acts of worship, insisting upon it with a length of argument which in one of the Apostolic Fathers would be considered childish. He also insisted that his τάξις is from the Lord.

507 Fragments of the primitive hymns are also scattered through the Apostles’ writings, as, e.g., -

Ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων,

καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν,

καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός. (Eph_5:14)

Of such passages the formula (διὸ λέγει) “It saith” seems to be a frequent index.

May we not conclude also that the sublime prayer and doxology of Eph_3:14-21 is a quotation from the Apostle’s own eucharistic τάξις for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant?

Might not the same be more constantly used in our days as an intercession for the whole flock of the one Shepherd?


(Fulfil His constitution)

The Pauline Norm being borne in mind, we shall best comprehend this Clementine liturgy, as to its primitive claims, by taking the testimony of Justin, writing in Rome to the Antonines a.d. 160. Referring to the Apology in our first volume, we observe that the order kept up in his day was this: -

1. Prayers for all estates of men.

2. The kiss of peace.

3. Oblation of bread and wine.

4. Thanksgiving.

5. Words of institution.

6. The prayer ending with Amen.

7. Communion.

Now, a century later, we may suppose the original of this Clementine to have taken a fuller shape; of which still later this Clementine is the product.143

Bear in mind that the early Roman use was (Greek) borrowed wholly from the East;144 and, comparing the testimony of Justin with the Pauline Norm, may we not suppose that this norm in Rome was augmented by the Eastern uses, and so preserves a true name in that of the first Bishop of Rome, who accepted it from Jerusalem or Antioch?


(That He may show this bread, etc.)

From a recent essay by Dr. Williams, the erudite bishop of Connecticut, I am permitted to cite, as follows: -

Compare the original texts thus: -

CLEMENTINE.145 IRENÆUS.146 ὀπως άποφηνῃ τὸν ἁρτον τοῦτον σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ σου καὶ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτον αἰμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ σου ινα οἱ μεταλαβόντες, κ.τ.λ. ὅπως άποφηνῃ τὴν θυσίαν ταύτην, καὶ τὸν ἄρτον σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τὸ ποτήριον τὸ αἰμα του Χριστοῦ ἵνα οἱ μεταλαβόντες, κ.τ.λ.


Bishop Williams then proceeds to inquire: -

“How is this striking agreement to be explained? Does Irenæus quote from the Clementine, or the Clementine from him? Or is it not much more likely that they are independent witnesses to primitive uses, going back to the period of the persecutions, and extending ‘far beyond the limits of Syria or Palestine’?”147

I shall recur to these passages in the elucidations to Early Liturgies (infra): but here I beg the reader to consult Pfaff, to whom we owe the discovery of the fragment cited from Irenæus; also Grabe, in the same volume of Pfaff, whom I have already introduced to the reader.148


The American editor had been promised the aid of his beloved friend the Rev. Dr. Hobart in the elucidation of the liturgies; but a sudden and almost fatal prostration of his health has deprived the reader of the admirable comments with which he would have enriched these pages, had Providence permitted.


83 1Co_14:33. [See p. 500, note 87, infra.]

84 Act_9:5. [See Act_26:14, where the clause is genuine. In Act_9:5 it is a later interpolation of the Vulgate and Erasmus. - R.]

85 The Coptic adds, “the Son of God, and true God.”

86 The Coptic adds “God.”

87 One V. ms. has the following note: “that he who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch was not the Apostle Philip, but one of those who were chosen along with St. Stephen to be deacons, and who also had four daughters, as says Luke in the Acts.” [See pp. 452, 492, supra.]

88 [The brief notes on these canons have been mainly derived from the text and notes appended to Hefele’s History of Christian Councils, vol. i. pp. 450-492, Edinburgh translation. - R.]

89 [Comp. Apostolic Constitutions, iii. 20, viii. 4, 27, on these two canons. - R.]

90 [This canon, and the two following ones, which explains it, point to some early heretical customs. The Apostolic Constitutions furnish no exact parallel. Canon 4 was joined with 3 in the Greek text. Dionysius divided them: hence a variation in number exists from this point. - R.]

91 [Dionysius omits aut diaconus. - R.]

92 [Comp. Apostolic Constitutions, ii. 6, - R.]

93 [This points to a discussion in the third century. - R.]

94 [Canons 9-16 agree those of the Council of Antioch, a.d. 341; but there is a difference of opinion on the question of priority. - R.]

95 Dionysius Exiguus translates “communicanus,” in which case the Greek reading must be δεκτός, or “who can be received.”

96 [Canons 17, 18, 20, agree with Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 17, ii. 6. - R.]

97 [After Origen. Comp. Melito, vol 8., this series.]

98 [Canons 21-24 agree with the first of the Nicene Council (Hefele, Christian Councils, i. pp. 375, 376). Some hold that canon to refer to these: others find in the enlarged application of Canon 24 a proof of the later date of this collection. - R.]

99 Nah_1:9. [Canons 25,26, are referred to by Basil the Great (Ad Amphilochium, iii.). In the Greek collection 26 is joined with 25. - R.]

100 [Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 17. - R.]

101 1Pe_2:23. [This canon seems of late origin; probably from Synod of Constantinople, a.d. 394. - R.]

102 [The closing clause points to a comparatively late date, as do the contents of Canon 31. - R.]

103 [Canons 32-41 also agree with those of Antioch; see note on Canon 9. Some of the regulations have, however, an earlier date: whether they existed in this form before that time, is open to discussion. - R.]

104 [This canon is divided by most editors of the Greek text; froming, in their enumeration, Canons 38 and 39. - R.]

105 [Hefele, and others regard Canons 42-44 as among the most ancient of this collection, and of unknown origien. - R.]

106 [The substance of this canon is very ancient, Hefele thinks; but Drey derives it from Canons 9, 33, 34, of the Synod of Laocicea, about a.d. 363. - R.]

107 2Co_6:5. [Drey regards this as very ancient; but Hefele derives it and the following one from the Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 15. - R.]

108 [Very ancient, of unknown origin; repeated in canons of Elvira and Aries. - R.]

109 [From Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 11, 26. - R.]

110 [This Canon, the last of those in the collection of Dionysius, is regarded as among the most recent. Of unknown origin. - R.] At the end of the canon, in the collection of John of Antioch, the following words are added: “Let him that is baptized be taught that the Father was not crucified, nor endured to be born of man, nor indeed that the Holy Spirit became man, or even endured suffering, for He was not made flesh; but the only begotten Son ransomed the world from the wrath which lay upon it: for He became man through His love of man, having fashioned a body for Himself from a virgin. For Wisdom built a house for herself as a Creator; but He willingly endured the cross, and rescured the world from the wrath that lies on it, namely, those who are baptized into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But let those who do not thus baptize be suspended, as being ignorant of the mystery of piety.” The same collection gives the following as Canon 51: “He who says that the Father suffered is more impious than the Jews, nailing along with Christ the Father also. He who denies that the only begotten Son was made flesh for us, and endured the cross, fights with God, and is an enemy of the saints. He that names the Holy Spirit Father or Son, is ignorant and foolish; for the Son is Creator along with the Father, and has the same throne, and is Lawgiver along with Him, and Judge, and the cause of the resurrection; and the Holy Spirit is the same in substance: for the Godhead had three Persons, the same in substance. For in our day Simon the magician gave forth his doctrines, drawing the speechless, delusive, unstable, and wicked spirit to himself, and babbling that there is one God with three names, and sometimes erasing the passion and birth of Christ. Do you, then, most beloved ones, baptize into one Father, and Son, and the Holy Spirit as third, according to the will of the Lord, and our constitution made in the spirit.”

111 [Canons 51-53 are from the Apostolic Constituions; the first from vi. 8, 10, 26; the second from ii. 12, 13; the third from v. 20. - R.]

112 [Canons 54-57 are of unknown origin: the first is deemed ancient, while the conduct forbidden in the others points to a more recent date. Drey thinks the distinctions of the clergy also point to a later date. - R.]

113 [Canon 58 is supposed to refer to the absence of bishops at the imperial city, which prevailed in the middle of the fourth century. - R.]

114 [Canon 59 resembles the twenty-fifth canon of Synod of Antioch: see on Canon 9. - R.]

115 [Of doubtful origin, but resembling Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 16, though probably of later date. - R.]

116 [Canons 61, 62, are of unknown origin. - R.]

117 [Canon 53 is regarded as very ancient. - R.]

118 [Canon 64 is numbered 66 in Hefele’s edition, being preceded by Canons 65 and 66 as given above. It is from Apostolic Constitutions, v. 20. - R.]

119 [Canon 65 is from Apostolic Constitutions, ii. 61. - R.]

120 [Of unknown but probably late origin. - R.]

121 [Drey makes this one of the most recent canons of the collection. - R.]

122 [Of unknown origin, probably recent. - R.]

123 [Drey considers Canon 69 to be bery ancient, but also intimates that it and Canon 70 were taken from the pseudo-Ignatian Epistle to the Philippians: see the same, chap. xiii., latter half, vol 1. of this series. - R.]

124 [With Canons 70, 71, compare Synod of Elvira (a.d. 305 or 306), Canons 49, 50, in Hefele, vol. i. pp. 158, 159. Drey, however, derives them from Canons 37-39 of Laodicea (a.d. 363). - R.]

125 Lev_5:16. [It is argued from the theft forbidden that this canon is more recent: its origin is unknown. - R.]

126 [The wealth here implied points to a comparatively late origin: Hefele assigns it to the second half of the third century, but Drey gives a later date. - R.]

127 [Hefele things both this and the follwoing canon to be later than the Nicæan Council. Drey, however, derives Canon 74 from the council at Chalcedon (a.d. 451), a view opposed by both Bickell and Hefele. - R.]

128 Deu_19:15. [According to Drey this canon is from the Council of Constantinople (sixth canon), in a.d. 381. - R.]

129 [Drey derives this from Canon 23, Synod of Antioch, a.d. 341. - R.]

130 [Hefele: “The Canons 77-79, inclusive, belong to the first three centuries of the Church; their origin is unknown.” - R.]

131 [Comp. Apostolic Constitutions, viii. 32, p. 495, from which this may have been taken. - R.]

132 [Drey regards Canon 80, as an imitation of the second canon of Nicæa, which is, however, much fuller: comp. Hefele, i. p. 377. On this principle, comp. 1Ti_3:6 and similar passages. - R.]

133 Can. iv. prius.

134 [The contents of this canon point to a late date. Drey regards it as an abridgment of the third canon of Chalcedon (a.d. 451). - R.]

135 [Of unknown origin and date. - R.]

136 Mat_22:21. [This also Dreay traces to the Council of Chalcedon, a.d. 451 (Canon 7); but Hefele opposes this view here, as in the case of the other canons (30, 67, 74, 81) which Drey derives from that source. - R.]

137 [Or rather, “the emperor” (βασιλέα having that sense). Hefele refers this to the time of the Arian struggle, when the emperors were involved in ecclesiastical controversies. - R.]

138 [Hefele: “This is probably the least ancient canon in the whole collection.” With this opinion there is general concurrence, since the mention of the Constitutions among the canonical books indicates the hand fo the last compiler of that collection of writings. Whoever he was, he was not Clement of Rome. - R.]

139 1Ti_2:1-3. Compare (ποιεῖσθαι) the Greek here with that of the LXX. in Exo_29:36, Exo_29:38, Exo_29:39, Exo_29:41; also Exo_10:25, and so throughout the Old Testament. Note also Eph_5:19 and Col_3:16; and the kiss, 1Co_16:20.

140 1Co_11:23. To me there is a great significance in the fact that the Apostle received this as an original Gospel from the Lord Himself. Truly (2Co_11:5) he was not “a whit behind” even that chief Apostle who inclined in the bosom of the Great High Priest and adorable Lamb of God as He instituted the feast.

141 Mat_6:9. for this we have the important testimony of Gregory the Great, as preserved to his day: that the Apostles (SS. Peter and Paul must have been primarily in his mind, of course) delivered no other “custom” to the churches (i.e.; as essential) than the words of Institution and the Lord’s Prayer. He says: -

“Orationem Dominicam, mox post precem, dicimus, quia neos Apostolorum erat, ad ipsam selummodo orationem oblationis hostiam consecrare.” - Epist. ad Joann, Episc. Syrac., lib. ix. Opp., tom. p. 958, ed. Migne.

Now, for the sense of post precem in the above, we have Justin Martyr for a primative witness of Roman usage. He speaks of the words of Institution expressly (vol. 1. cap. lxvi. p. 185.) as “the Prayer of the Logos” (δι ̓ ἐυχῆς Λόγου), in the use of which he makes the essential act of the Oblation to consist. Liturgic fulness may o