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This council opened on 19 June in the presence of the emperor, but it is uncertain who presided over the sessions. In the extant lists of bishops present, Ossius of Cordova, and the presbyters Vitus and Vincentius are listed before the other names, but it is more likely that Eustathius of Antioch or Alexander of Alexandria presided. (see Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner S.J.)
The bold text in the profession of faith of the 318 fathers constitutes, according to Tanner "The additions made by the council to an underlying form of the creed", and that the underlying creed was most likely "derived from the baptismal formula of Caesarea put forward by the bishop of that city Eusebius" or that it "developed from an original form which existed in Jerusalem or at any rate Palestine". "A direct descent from the creed of Eusebius of Caesarea is manifestly out of the question." Vol 1, p2)
The figure of 318 given in the heading below is from Hilary of Poitier and is the traditional one. Other numbers are Eusebius 250, Eustathius of Antioch 270., Athanasius about 300, Gelasius of Cyzicus at more than 300.
We believe in one God the Father all powerful, maker of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten begotten from the Father, that is from the substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia] of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten [Gr. gennethenta, Lat. natum] not made [Gr. poethenta, Lat. factum], CONSUBSTANTIAL [Gr. homoousion, Lat. unius substantiae (quod Graeci dicunt homousion)] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both those in heaven and those in earth; for us humans and for our salvation he came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the holy Spirit.
And those who say
"there once was when he was not", and "before he was begotten he was not", and that
he came to be from
things that were not, or
from another hypostasis [Gr. hypostaseos] or substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia],
affirming that the Son of God is subject to change or alteration these the catholic and apostolic church anathematises.
If anyone in sickness has undergone surgery at the hands of physicians or has been castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy. But if anyone in good health has castrated himself, if he is enrolled among the clergy he should be suspended, and in future no such man should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this refers to those who are responsible for the condition and presume to castrate themselves, so too if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians or by their masters, but have been found worthy, the canon admits such men to the clergy.Since, either through necessity or through the importunate demands of certain individuals, there have been many breaches of the church's canon, with the result that men who have recently come from a pagan life to the faith after a short catechumenate have been admitted at once to the spiritual washing, and at the same time as their baptism have been promoted to the episcopate or the presbyterate, it is agreed that it would be well for nothing of the kind to occur in the future. For a catechumen needs time and further probation after baptism, for the apostle's words are clear: "Not a recent convert, or he may be puffed up and fall into the condemnation and the snare of the devil". But if with the passage of time some sin of sensuality is discovered with regard to the person and he is convicted by two or three witnesses, such a one will be suspended from the clergy. If anyone contravenes these regulations, he will be liable to forfeit his clerical status for acting in defiance of this great synod.This great synod absolutely forbids a bishop, presbyter, deacon or any of the clergy to keep a woman who has been brought in to live with him, with the exception of course of his mother or sister or aunt, or of any person who is above suspicion.It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops of the province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan bishop.Concerning those, whether of the clergy or the laity, who have been excommunicated, the sentence is to be respected by the bishops of each province according to the canon which forbids those expelled by some to be admitted by others. But let an inquiry be held to ascertain whether anyone has been expelled from the community because of pettiness or quarrelsomeness or any such ill nature on the part of the bishop. Accordingly, in order that there may be proper opportunity for inquiry into the matter, it is agreed that it would be well for synods to be held each year in each province twice a year, so that these inquiries may be conducted by all the bishops of the province assembled together, and in this way by general consent those who have offended against their own bishop may be recognised by all to be reasonably excommunicated, until all the bishops in common may decide to pronounce a more lenient sentence on these persons. The synods shall be held at the following times: one before Lent, so that, all pettiness being set aside, the gift offered to God may be unblemished; the second after the season of autumn.The ancient customs of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome. Similarly in Antioch and the other provinces the prerogatives of the churches are to be preserved. In general the following principle is evident: if anyone is made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, this great synod determines that such a one shall not be a bishop. If however two or three by reason of personal rivalry dissent from the common vote of all, provided it is reasonable and in accordance with the church's canon, the vote of the majority shall prevail.Since there prevails a custom and ancient tradition to the effect that the bishop of Aelia is to be honoured, let him be granted everything consequent upon this honour, saving the dignity proper to the metropolitan.Concerning those who have given themselves the name of Cathars, and who from time to time come over publicly to the catholic and apostolic church, this holy and great synod decrees that they may remain among the clergy after receiving an imposition of hands. But before all this it is fitting that they give a written undertaking that they will accept and follow the decrees of the catholic church, namely that they will be in communion with those who have entered into a second marriage and with those who have lapsed in time of persecution and for whom a period [of penance] has been fixed and an occasion [for reconciliation] allotted, so as in all things to follow the decrees of the catholic and apostolic church. Accordingly, where all the ordained in villages or cities have been found to be men of this kind alone, those who are so found will remain in the clergy in the same rank; but when some come over in places where there is a bishop or presbyter belonging to the catholic church, it is evident that the bishop of the church will hold the bishop's dignity, and that the one given the title and name of bishop among the so-called Cathars will have the rank of presbyter, unless the bishop thinks fit to let him share in the honour of the title. But if this does not meet with his approval, the bishop will provide for him a place as chorepiscopus or presbyter, so as to make his ordinary clerical status evident and so prevent there being two bishops in the city.If any have been promoted presbyters without examination, and then upon investigation have confessed their sins, and if after their confession men have imposed hands upon such people, being moved to act against the canon, the canon does not admit these people, for the catholic church vindicates only what is above reproach.If any have been promoted to ordination through the ignorance of their promoters or even with their connivance, this fact does not prejudice the church's canon; for once discovered they are to be deposed.Concerning those who have transgressed without necessity or the confiscation of their property or without danger or anything of this nature, as happened under the tyranny of Licinius, this holy synod decrees that, though they do not deserve leniency, nevertheless they should be treated mercifully. Those therefore among the faithful who genuinely repent shall spend three years among the hearers, for seven years they shall be prostrators, and for two years they shall take part with the people in the prayers, though not in the offering.Those who have been called by grace, have given evidence of first fervour and have cast off their [military] belts, and afterwards have run back like dogs to their own vomit, so that some have even paid money and recovered their military status by bribes -- such persons shall spend ten years as prostrators after a period of three years as hearers. In every case, however, their disposition and the nature of their penitence should be examined. For those who through their fear and tears and perseverance and good works give evidence of their conversion by deeds and not by outward show, when they have completed their appointed term as hearers, may properly take part in the prayers, and the bishop is competent to decide even more favourably in their regard. But those who have taken the matter lightly, and have thought that the outward form of entering the church is all that is required for their conversion, must complete their term to the full.Concerning the departing, the ancient canon law is still to be maintained namely that those who are departing are not to be deprived of their last, most necessary viaticum. But if one whose life has been despaired of has been admitted to communion and has shared in the offering and is found to be numbered again among the living, he shall be among those who take part in prayer only [here a variant reading in Les canons des conciles oecumeniques adds "until the term fixed by this great ecumenical synod has been completed"]. But as a general rule, in the case of anyone whatsoever who is departing and seeks to share in the eucharist, the bishop upon examining the matter shall give him a share in the offering.Concerning catechumens who have lapsed, this holy and great synod decrees that, after they have spent three years as hearers only, they shall then be allowed to pray with the catechumens.On account of the great disturbance and the factions which are caused, it is decreed that the custom, if it is found to exist in some parts contrary to the canon, shall be totally suppressed, so that neither bishops nor presbyters nor deacons shall transfer from city to city. If after this decision of this holy and great synod anyone shall attempt such a thing, or shall lend himself to such a proceeding, the arrangement shall be totally annulled, and he shall be restored to the church of which he was ordained bishop or presbyter or deacon.Any presbyters or deacons or in general anyone enrolled in any rank of the clergy who depart from their church recklessly and without the fear of God before their eyes or in ignorance of the church's canon, ought not by any means to be received in another church, but all pressure must be applied to them to induce them to return to their own dioceses, or if they remain it is right that they should be excommunicated. But if anyone dares to steal away one who belongs to another and to ordain him in his church without the consent of the other's own bishop among whose clergy he was enrolled before he departed, the ordination is to be null.Since many enrolled [among the clergy] have been induced by greed and avarice to forget the sacred text, "who does not put out his money at interest", and to charge one per cent [a month] on loans, this holy and great synod judges that if any are found after this decision to receive interest by contract or to transact the business in any other way or to charge [a flat rate of] fifty per cent or in general to devise any other contrivance for the sake of dishonourable gain, they shall be deposed from the clergy and their names struck from the roll.It has come to the attention of this holy and great synod that in some places and cities deacons give communion to presbyters, although neither canon nor custom allows this, namely that those who have no authority to offer should give the body of Christ to those who do offer. Moreover it has become known that some of the deacons now receive the eucharist even before the bishops. All these practices must be suppressed. Deacons must remain within their own limits, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and subordinate to the presbyters. Let them receive the eucharist according to their order after the presbyters from the hands of the bishop or the presbyter. Nor shall permission be given for the deacons to sit among the presbyters, for such an arrangement is contrary to the canon and to rank. If anyone refuses to comply even after these decrees, he is to be suspended from the diaconate.Concerning the former Paulinists who seek refuge in the catholic church, it is determined that they must be rebaptised unconditionally. Those who in the past have been enrolled among the clergy, if they appear to be blameless and irreproachable, are to be rebaptised and ordained by the bishop of the catholic church. But if on inquiry they are shown to be unsuitable, it is right that they should be deposed. Similarly with regard to deaconesses and all in general whose names have been included in the roll, the same form shall be observed. We refer to deaconesses who have been granted this status, for they do not receive any imposition of hands, so that they are in all respects to be numbered among the laity.Since there are some who kneel on Sunday and during the season of Pentecost, this holy synod decrees that, so that the same observances may be maintained in every diocese, one should offer one's prayers to the Lord standing.
The bishops assembled at Nicaea, who constitute the great and holy synod, greet the church of the Alexandrians, by the grace of God holy and great, and the beloved brethren in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis.
Since the grace of God and the most pious emperor Constantine have called us together from different provinces and cities to constitute the great and holy synod in Nicaea, it seemed absolutely necessary that the holy synod should send you a letter so that you may know what was proposed and discussed, and what was decided and enacted.
First of all the affair of the impiety and lawlessness of Arius and his followers was discussed in the presence of the most pious emperor Constantine. It was unanimously agreed that anathemas should be pronounced against his impious opinion and his blasphemous terms and expressions which he has blasphemously applied to the Son of God,
"he is from things that are not", and
"before he was begotten he was not", and
"there once was when he was not",
saying too that
by his own power the Son of God is capable of
evil and
and calling him
a creature and a work.
Against all this the holy synod pronounced anathemas, and did not allow this impious and abandoned opinion and these blasphemous words even to be heard.
Of that man and the fate which befell him, you have doubtless heard or will hear, lest we should seem to trample upon one who has already received a fitting reward because of his own sin. Such indeed was the power of his impiety that Theonas of Marmarica and Secundus of Ptolemais shared in the consequences, for they too suffered the same fate.
But since, when the grace of God had freed Egypt from this evil and blasphemous opinion, and from the persons who had dared to create a schism and a separation in a people which up to now had lived in peace, there remained the question of the presumption of Meletius and the men whom he had ordained, we shall explain to you, beloved brethren, the synod's decisions on this subject too. The synod was moved to incline towards mildness in its treatment of Meletius for strictly speaking he deserved no mercy. It decreed that that he might remain in his own city without any authority to nominate or ordain, and that he was not to show himself for this purpose in the country or in another city, and that he was to retain the bare name of his office.
It was further decreed that those whom he had ordained, when they had been validated by a more spiritual ordination, were to be admitted to communion on condition that they would retain their rank and exercise their ministry, but in every respect were to be second to all the clergy in each diocese and church who had been nominated under our most honoured brother and fellow minister Alexander; they were to have no authority to appoint candidates of their choice or to put forward names or to do anything at all without the consent of the bishop of the catholic church, namely the bishop of those who are under Alexander. But those who by the grace of God and by our prayers have not been detected in any schism, and are spotless in the catholic and apostolic church, are to have authority to appoint and to put forward the names of men of the clergy who are worthy, and in general to do everything according to the law and rule of the church.
In the event of the death of any in the church, those who have recently been accepted are thereupon to succeed to the office of the deceased, provided that they appear worthy and are chosen by the people; the bishop of Alexandria is to take part in the vote and confirm the election. This privilege, which has been granted to all others, does not apply to the person of Meletius because of his inveterate seditiousness and his mercurial and rash disposition, lest any authority or responsibility should be given to one who is capable of returning to his seditious practices.
These are the chief and most important decrees as far as concerns Egypt and the most holy church of the Alexandrians. Whatever other canons and decrees were enacted in the presence of our lord and most honoured fellow minister and brother Alexander, he will himself report them to you in greater detail when he comes, for he was himself a leader as well as a participant in the events.
The following is not found in the latin text, but is found in the greek text :
We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you. Rejoicing then in these successes and in the common peace and harmony and in the cutting off of all heresy, welcome our fellow minister, your bishop Alexander, with all the greater honour and love. He has made us happy by his presence, and despite his advanced age has undertaken such great labour in order that you too may enjoy peace.
Pray for us all that our decisions may remain secure through almighty God and our lord Jesus Christ in the holy Spirit, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

First Council of Constantinople - 381

In the year 380 the emperors Gratian and Theodosius I decided to convoke this council to counter the Arians, and also to judge the case of Maximus the Cynic, bishop of Constantinople. The council met in May of the following year. One hundred and fifty bishops took part, all of them eastern Orthodox, since the Pneumatomachi party had left at the start.
After Maximus had been condemned, Meletius, bishop of Antioch, appointed Gregory of Nazianzus as the lawful bishop of Constantinople and at first presided over the council. Then on Meletius's sudden death, Gregory took charge of the council up to the arrival of Acholius, who was to table Pope Damasus's demands: namely, that Maximus should be expelled as an interloper, and that the translation of bishops should be avoided. But when Timothy, bishop of Alexandria, arrived he declared Gregory's appointment invalid. Gregory resigned the episcopacy and Nectarius, after baptism and consecration, was installed as bishop and presided over the council until its closure.
No copy of the council's doctrinal decisions, entitled tomos kai anathematismos engraphos (record of the tome and anathemas), has survived. So what is presented here is the synodical letter of the synod of Constantinople held in 382, which expounded these doctrinal decisions, as the fathers witness, in summary form: namely, along the lines defined by the council of Nicaea, the consubstantiality and coeternity of the three divine persons against the Sabellians, Anomoeans, Arians and Pneumatomachi, who thought that the divinity was divided into several natures; and the enanthropesis (taking of humanity) of the Word, against those who supposed that the Word had in no way taken a human soul. All these matters were in close agreement with the tome that Pope Damasus and a Roman council, held probably in 378, had sent to the East.
Scholars find difficulties with the creed attributed to the council of Constantinople. Some say that the council composed a new creed. But no mention is made of this creed by ancient witnesses until the council of Chalcedon; and the council of Constantinople was said simply to have endorsed the faith of Nicaea, with a few additions on the holy Spirit to refute the Pneumatomachian heresy. Moreover, if the latter tradition is accepted, an explanation must be given of why the first two articles of the so-called Constantinopolitan creed differ considerably from the Nicene creed.
It was J. Lebon, followed by J. N. D. Kelly and A. M. Ritter, who worked at the solution of this problem. Lebon said that the Nicene creed, especially since it was adapted to use at baptism, had taken on a number of forms. It was one of these which was endorsed at the council of Constantinople and developed by additions concerning the holy Spirit. All the forms, altered to some extent or other, were described by a common title as "the Nicene faith". Then the council of Chalcedon mentioned the council of Constantinople as the immediate source of one of them, marked it out by a special name "the faith of the 150 fathers", which from that time onwards became its widely known title, and quoted it alongside the original simple form of the Nicene creed. The Greek text of the Constantinopolitan creed, which is printed below, is taken from the acts of the council of Chalcedon.
The council of Constantinople enacted four disciplinary canons: against the Arian heresy and its sects (can. 1), on limiting the power of bishops within fixed boundaries (can. 2), on ranking the see of Constantinople second to Rome in honour and dignity (can. 3), on the condemnation of Maximus and his followers (can. 4). Canons 2-4 were intended to put a stop to aggrandisement on the part of the see of Alexandria. The two following canons, 5 and 6, were framed at the synod which met in Constantinople in 382. The 7th canon is an extract from a letter which the church of Constantinople sent to Martyrius of Antioch.
The council ended on 9 July 381, and on 30 July of the same year, at the request of the council fathers, the emperor Theodosius ratified its decrees by edict .
Already from 382 onwards, in the synodical letter of the synod which met at Constantinople, the council of Constantinople was given the title of "ecumenical". The word denotes a general and plenary council. But the council of Constantinople was criticised and censured by Gregory of Nazianzus. In subsequent years it was hardly ever mentioned. In the end it achieved its special status when the council of Chalcedon, at its second session and in its definition of the faith, linked the form of the creed read out at Constantinople with the Nicene form, as being a completely reliable witness of the authentic faith. The fathers of Chalcedon acknowledged the authority of the canons -- at least as far as the eastern church was concerned -- at their sixteenth session. The council's dogmatic authority in the western church was made clear by words of Pope Gregory I: "I confess that I accept and venerate the four councils (Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon) in the same way as I do the four books of the holy Gospel...."
The bishop of Rome's approval was not extended to the canons, because they were never brought "to the knowledge of the apostolic see''. Dionysius Exiguus knew only of the first four -- the ones to be found in the western collections. Pope Nicholas I wrote of the sixth canon to Emperor Michael III: "It is not found among us, but is said to be in force among you''.
The English translation is from the Greek text, which is the more authoritative version.
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The exposition of the 150 fathers
We believe in one God the Father all-powerful, maker of heaven and of earth, and of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all the ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through whom all things came to be; for us humans and for our salvation he came down from the heavens and became incarnate from the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, became human and was crucified on our behalf under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried and rose up on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; and he went up into the heavens and is seated at the Father's right hand; he is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead; his kingdom will have no end. And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding forth from the Father, co-worshipped and co-glorified with Father and Son, the one who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the forgiving of sins. We look forward to a resurrection of the dead and life in the age to come. Amen.
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A letter of the bishops gathered in Constantinople [1]
To the most honoured lords and most reverend brethren and fellow-ministers, Damasus, Ambrose, Britton, Valerian, Acholius, Anemius, Basil, and the rest of the holy bishops who met in the great city of Rome: the sacred synod of orthodox bishops who met in the great city of Constantinople sends greetings in the Lord.
It may well be unnecessary to instruct your reverence by describing the many sufferings that have been brought upon us under Arian domination, as if you did not know already. Nor do we imagine that your piety considers our affairs so trivial that you need to learn what you must be suffering along with us. Nor were the storms which beset us such as to escape your notice on grounds of insignificance. The period of persecution is still recent and ensures that the memory remains fresh not only among those who have suffered but also among those who have through love made the lot of those who suffered their own. It was barely yesterday or the day before that some were freed from the bonds of exile and returned to their own churches through a thousand tribulations. The remains of others who died in exile were brought back. Even after their return from exile some experienced a ferment of hatred from the heretics and underwent a more cruel fate in their own land than they did abroad, by being stoned to death by them in the manner of the blessed Stephen. Others were torn to shreds by various tortures and still carry around on their bodies the marks of Christ's wounds and bruises. Who could number the financial penalties, the fines imposed on cities, the confiscations of individual property, the plots, the outrages, the imprisonments? Indeed all our afflictions increased beyond number: perhaps because we were paying the just penalty for our sins; perhaps also because a loving God was disciplining us by means of the great number of our sufferings.
So thanks be to God for this. He has instructed his own servants through the weight of their afflictions, and in accordance with his numerous mercies he has brought us back again to a place of refreshment The restoration of the churches demanded prolonged attention, much time and hard work from us if the body of the church which had been weak for so long was to be cured completely by gradual treatment and brought back to its original soundness in religion. We may seem on the whole to be free from violent persecutions and to be at the moment recovering the churches which have long been in the grip of the heretics. But in fact we are oppressed by wolves who even after expulsion from the fold go on ravaging the flocks up and down dale, making so bold as to hold rival assemblies, activating popular uprisings and stopping at nothing which might harm the churches. As we have said, this made us take a longer time over our affairs.
But now you have shown your brotherly love for us by convoking a synod in Rome, in accordance with God's will, and inviting us to it, by means of a letter from your most God-beloved emperor, as if we were limbs of your very own, so that whereas in the past we were condemned to suffer alone, you should not now reign in isolation from us, given the complete agreement of the emperors in matters of religion. Rather, according to the word of the apostle, we should reign along with you'. So it was our intention that if it were possible we should all leave our churches together and indulge our desires rather than attend to their needs. But who will give us wings as of a dove, so we shall fly and come to rest with you? This course would leave the churches entirely exposed, just as they are beginning their renewal; and it is completely out of the question for the majority. As a consequence of last year's letter sent by your reverence after the synod of Aquileia to our most God-beloved emperor Theodosius, we came together in Constantinople. We were equipped only for this stay in Constantinople and the bishops who remained in the provinces gave their agreement to this synod alone. We foresaw no need for a longer absence, nor did we hear of it in advance at all, before we gathered in Constantinople. On top of this the tightness of the schedule proposed allowed no opportunity to prepare for a longer absence, nor to brief all the bishops in the provinces who are in communion with us and to get their agreement. Since these considerations, and many more besides, prevented most of us from coming, we have done the next best thing both to set matters straight and to make your love for us appreciated: we have managed to convince our most venerable and reverend brethren and fellow-ministers, Bishops Cyriacus, Eusebius and Priscian to be willing to undertake the wearisome journey to you. Through them we wish to show that our intentions are peaceful and have unity as their goal. We also want to make clear that what we are zealously seeking is sound faith.
What we have undergone -- persecutions, afflictions, imperial threats, cruelty from officials, and whatever other trial at the hands of heretics -- we have put up with for the sake of the gospel faith established by the 318 fathers at Nicaea in Bithynia. You, we and all who are not bent on subverting the word of the true faith should give this creed our approval. It is the most ancient and is consistent with our baptism. It tells us how to believe in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit: believing also, of course, that the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit have a single Godhead and power and substance, a dignity deserving the same honour and a co-eternal sovereignty, in three most perfect hypostases, or three perfect persons. So there is no place for Sabellius's diseased theory in which the hypostases are confused and thus their proper characteristics destroyed. Nor may the blasphemy of Eunomians and Arians and Pneumatomachi prevail, with its division of substance or of nature or of Godhead, and its introduction of some nature which was produced subsequently, or was created, or was of a different substance, into the uncreated and consubstantial and co-eternal Trinity. And we preserve undistorted the accounts of the Lord's taking of humanity, accepting as we do that the economy of his flesh was not soulless nor mindless nor imperfect. To sum up, we know that he was before the ages fully God the Word, and that in the last days he became fully man for the sake of our salvation.
So much, in summary, for the faith which is openly preached by us. You can take even more heart concerning these matters if you think fit to consult the tome that was issued in Antioch by the synod which met there as well as the one issued last year in Constantinople by the ecumenical synod. In these documents we confessed the faith in broader terms and we have issued a written condemnation of the heresies which have recently erupted.
With regard to particular forms of administration in the churches, ancient custom, as you know, has been in force, along with the regulation of the saintly fathers at Nicaea, that in each province those of the province, and with them-should the former so desire -- their neighbours, should conduct ordinations as need might arise. Accordingly, as you are aware, the rest of the churches are administered, and the priests [= bishops] of the most prominent churches have been appointed, by us. Hence at the ecumenical council by common agreement and in the presence of the most God-beloved emperor Theodosius and all the clergy, and with the approval of the whole city, we have ordained the most venerable and God-beloved Nectarius as bishop of the church newly set up, as one might say, in Constantinople -- a church which by God's mercy we just recently snatched from the blasphemy of the heretics as from the lion's jaws. Over the most ancient and truly apostolic church at Antioch in Syria, where first the precious name of "Christians" came into use, the provincial bishops and those of the diocese of the East came together and canonically ordained the most venerable and God-beloved Flavian as bishop with the consent of the whole church, as though it would give the man due honour with a single voice. The synod as a whole also accepted that this ordination was legal. We wish to inform you that the most venerable and God-beloved Cyril is bishop of the church in Jerusalem, the mother of all the churches. He was canonically ordained some time ago by those of the province and at various times he has valiantly combated the Arians.
We exhort your reverence to join us in rejoicing at what we have legally and canonically enacted. Let spiritual love link us together, and let the fear of the Lord suppress all human prejudice and put the building up of the churches before individual attachment or favour. In this way, with the account of the faith agreed between us and with christian love established among us, we shall cease to declare what was condemned by the apostles, "I belong to Paul, I to Apollo, I to Cephas"; but we shall all be seen to belong to Christ, who has not been divided up among us; and with God's good favour, we shall keep the body of the church undivided, and shall come before the judgment-seat of the Lord with confidence.
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The profession of faith of the holy fathers who gathered in Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be abrogated, but it is to remain in force. Every heresy is to be anathematised and in particular that of the Eunomians or Anomoeans, that of the Arians or Eudoxians, that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, that of the Sabellians that of the Marcellians, that of the Photinians and that of the Apollinarians.
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Diocesan bishops are not to intrude in churches beyond their own boundaries nor are they to confuse the churches: but in accordance with the canons, the bishop of Alexandria is to administer affairs in Egypt only; the bishops of the East are to manage the East alone (whilst safeguarding the privileges granted to the church of the Antiochenes in the Nicene canons); and the bishops of the Asian diocese are to manage only Asian affairs; and those in Pontus only the affairs of Pontus; and those in Thrace only Thracian affairs. Unless invited bishops are not to go outside their diocese to perform an ordination or any other ecclesiastical business. If the letter of the canon about dioceses is kept, it is clear that the provincial synod will manage affairs in each province, as was decreed at Nicaea. But the churches of God among barbarian peoples must be administered in accordance with the custom in force at the time of the fathers.
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Because it is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honour after the bishop of Rome.
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Regarding Maximus the Cynic and the disorder which surrounded him in Constantinople: he never became, nor is he, a bishop; nor are those ordained by him clerics of any rank whatsoever. Everything that was done both to him and by him is to be held invalid.
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Regarding the Tome [2] of the Westerns: we have also recognised those in Antioch who confess a single Godhead of Father and Son and holy Spirit.
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There are many who are bent on confusing and overturning the good order of the church and so fabricate, out of hatred and a wish to slander, certain accusations against orthodox bishops in charge of churches. Their intention is none other than to blacken priests' reputations and to stir up trouble among peace- loving laity. For this reason the sacred synod of bishops assembled at Constantinople has decided not to admit accusers without prior examination, and not to allow everyone to bring accusations against church administrators -- but with- out excluding everyone. So if someone brings a private (that is a personal) complaint against the bishop on the grounds that he has been defrauded or in some other way unjustly dealt with by him, in the case of this kind of accusation neither the character nor the religion of the accuser will be subject to examination. It is wholly essential both that the bishop should have a clear conscience and that the one who alleges that he has been wronged, whatever his religion may be, should get justice.
But if the charge brought against the bishop is of an ecclesiastical kind, then the characters of those making it should be examined, in the first place to stop heretics bringing charges against orthodox bishops in matters of an ecclesiastical kind. (We define "heretics" as those who have been previously banned from the church and also those later anathematised by ourselves: and in addition those who claim to confess a faith that is sound, but who have seceded and hold assemblies in rivalry with the bishops who are in communion with us.) In the second place, persons previously condemned and expelled from the church for whatever reason, or those excommunicated either from the clerical or lay rank, are not to be permitted to accuse a bishop until they have first purged their own crime. Similarly, those who are already accused are not permitted to accuse a bishop or other clerics until they have proved their own innocence of the crimes with which they are charged. But if persons who are neither heretics nor excommunicates, nor such as have been previously condemned or accused of some transgression or other, claim that they have some ecclesiastical charge to make against the bishop, the sacred synod commands that such persons should first lay the accusations before all the bishops of the province and prove before them the crimes committed by the bishop in the case. If it emerges that the bishops of the province are not able to correct the crimes laid at the bishop's door, then a higher synod of the bishops of that diocese, convoked to hear this case, must be approached, and the accusers are not to lay their accusations before it until they have given a written promise to submit to equal penalties should they be found guilty of making false accusations against the accused bishop, when the matter is investigated.
If anyone shows contempt of the prescriptions regarding the above matters and presumes to bother either the ears of the emperor or the courts of the secular authorities, or to dishonour all the diocesan bishops and trouble an ecumenical synod, there is to be no question whatever of allowing such a person to bring accusations forward, because he has made a mockery of the canons and violated the good order of the church.
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Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristae, Quartodeciman or Tetradites, Apollinarians-these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematise every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, catholic and apostolic church of God. They are first sealed or anointed with holy chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. As we seal them we say: "Seal of the gift of the holy Spirit". But Eunomians, who are baptised in a single immersion, Montanists (called Phrygians here), Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son and make certain other difficulties, and all other sects -- since there are many here, not least those who originate in the country of the Galatians -- we receive all who wish to leave them and embrace orthodoxy as we do Greeks. On the first day we make Christians of them, on the second catechumens, on the third we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and their ears, and thus we catechise them and make them spend time in the church and listen to the scriptures; and then we baptise them.
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Namely the synod of Constantinople in 382
This tome has not survived; it probably defended Paul of Antioch

The Council Of Ephesus - 431 A.D.

Second letter of Cyril to Nestorius - approved
Second letter of Nestorius to Cyril - condemned
Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius - approved
Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus
The judgment against Nestorius
Synodical letter about the expulsion of the eastern bishops (et al.)
Definition of the faith at Nicaea [6th session 22 July 431]
Definition against the impious Messalians or Euchites
Resolution : that the bishops of Cyprus may themselves conduct ordinations
Formula of union between Cyrill and John of Antioch
Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch about peace
Excerpt from the Council of Chalcedon accepting the Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch about peace.
Nestorius, who had been condemned in a council at Rome on 11 August 430, asked the emperor Theodosius II to summon this council. The emperor therefore decided to summon it together with his co-emperor Valentinian III and with the agreement of Pope Celestine I. Theodosius's letter of 19 November 430 requested all those who had been summoned to be present at Ephesus on 7 June 431, the feast of Pentecost.
On 22 June, however,
before the arrival either of the Roman legates or the eastern bishops led by John of Antioch,
Cyril of Alexandria began the council.
Nestorius was summoned three times but did not come.
His teaching was examined and judgment passed upon it, which 197 bishops subscribed at once and others later accepted.
Shortly afterwards John of Antioch and the easterners arrived: they refused communion with Cyril and set up another council. The Roman legates (the bishops Arcadius and Projectus and the priest Philip), on arriving, joined Cyril and confirmed the sentence against Nestorius. Then the council in its fifth session on 17 July excommunicated John and his party.
The documents of the Cyrilline council, the only one which is ecumenical, are included below and are as follows.
The central dogmatic act of the council is its judgment about whether the second letter of Cyril to Nestorius, or Nestorius's second letter to Cyril, was in conformity with the Nicene creed which was recited at the opening of the council's proceedings.
Cyril's letter was declared by the fathers to be in agreement with Nicaea,
Nestorius's was condemned
Both are here printed. Mention is made of Cyril's letter in the definition of Chalcedon.
The 12 anathemas and the preceding explanatory letter, which had been produced by Cyril and the synod of Alexandria in 430 and sent to Nestorius, were read at Ephesus and included in the proceedings.
The decision about Nestorius.
The letter of the council advising all the bishops, clergy and people about the condemnation of John of Antioch; and some paragraphs dealing with the discipline of the Nestorian party.
A decree on the faith, approved in the sixth session on 22 July, which confirmed the Nicene creed, ordered adherence to that alone and forbade the production of new creeds.
A definition against the Messalians.
A decree about the autonomy of the church of Cyprus.
Both councils sent legates to the emperor Theodosius, who approved neither and sent the bishops away. Nestorius had already been given permission to revisit his monastery at Antioch, and on 25 October 431 Maximianus was ordained patriarch at Constantinople. The decrees of the council were approved by Pope Sixtus III shortly after his own ordination on 31 July 432.
The reconciliation between the Cyrilline party and the eastern bishops was not easy. In the end, on 23 April 433, Cyril and John of Antioch made peace. John's profession of faith was accepted by Cyril and became the doctrinal formula of union. It is included here, together with Cyril's letter in which he at some length praises John's profession and accepts it, adding to it some explanation about his own expressions; this letter is mentioned in the definition of Chalcedon. Shortly afterwards, probably in 436, Nestorius was definitely sent into exile by the emperor .
The English translation is from the Greek text, which is the more authoritative version.
Second letter of Cyril to Nestorius
[Declared by the council of Ephesus to be in agreement with Nicaea]
Cyril sends greeting in the Lord to the most religious and reverend fellow-minister Nestorius
I understand that there are some who are talking rashly of the reputation in which I hold your reverence, and that this is frequently the case when meetings of people in authority give them an opportunity. I think they hope in this way to delight your ears and so they spread abroad uncontrolled expressions. They are people who have suffered no wrong, but have been exposed by me for their own profit, one because he oppressed the blind and the poor, a second because he drew a sword on his mother, a third because he stole someone else's money in collusion with a maidservant and since then has lived with such a reputation as one would hardly wish for one's worst enemy. For the rest I do not intend to spend more words on this subject in order not to vaunt my own mediocrity above my teacher and master or above the fathers. For however one may try to live, it is impossible to escape the malice of evil people, whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness and who will have to defend themselves before the judge of all.
But I turn to a subject more fitting to myself and remind you as a brother in Christ always to be very careful about what you say to the people in matters of teaching and of your thought on the faith. You should bear in mind that to scandalise even one of these little ones that believe in Christ lays you open to unendurable wrath. If the number of those who are distressed is very large, then surely we should use every skill and care to remove scandals and to expound the healthy word of faith to those who seek the truth. The most effective way to achieve this end will be zealously to occupy ourselves with the words of the holy fathers, to esteem their words, to examine our words to see if we are holding to their faith as it is written, to conform our thoughts to their correct and irreproachable teaching.
The holy and great synod, therefore, stated that
1. the only begotten Son, begotten of God the Father according to nature, true God from true God, the light from the light, the one through whom the Father made all things, came down, became incarnate, became man,
2. suffered, rose on the third day and ascended to heaven.1. We too ought to follow these words and these teachings and consider what is meant by saying that the Word from God took flesh and became man. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, nor that he was turned into a whole man made of body and soul. Rather do we claim that the Word in an unspeakable, inconceivable manner united to himself hypostatically flesh enlivened by a rational soul, and so became man and was called son of man, not by God's will alone or good pleasure, nor by the assumption of a person alone. Rather did two different natures come together to form a unity, and from both arose one Christ, one Son. It was not as though the distinctness of the natures was destroyed by the union, but divinity and humanity together made perfect for us one Lord and one Christ, together marvellously and mysteriously combining to form a unity. So he who existed and was begotten of the Father before all ages is also said to have been begotten according to the flesh of a woman, without the divine nature either beginning to exist in the holy virgin, or needing of itself a second begetting after that from his Father. (For it is absurd and stupid to speak of the one who existed before every age and is coeternal with the Father, needing a second beginning so as to exist.) The Word is said to have been begotten according to the flesh, because for us and for our salvation he united what was human to himself hypostatically and came forth from a woman. For he was not first begotten of the holy virgin, a man like us, and then the Word descended upon him; but from the very womb of his mother he was so united and then underwent begetting according to the flesh, making his own the begetting of his own flesh.2. In a similar way we say that he suffered and rose again, not that the Word of God suffered blows or piercing with nails or any other wounds in his own nature (for the divine, being without a body, is incapable of suffering), but because the body which became his own suffered these things, he is said to have suffered them for us. For he was without suffering, while his body suffered. Something similar is true of his dying. For by nature the Word of God is of itself immortal and incorruptible and life and life-giving, but since on the other hand his own body by God's grace, as the apostle says, tasted death for all, the Word is said to have suffered death for us, not as if he himself had experienced death as far as his own nature was concerned (it would be sheer lunacy to say or to think that), but because, as I have just said, his flesh tasted death. So too, when his flesh was raised to life, we refer to this again as his resurrection, not as though he had fallen into corruption--God forbid--but because his body had been raised again.
So we shall confess one Christ and one Lord. We do not adore the man along with the Word, so as to avoid any appearance of division by using the word "with". But we adore him as one and the same, because the body is not other than the Word, and takes its seat with him beside the Father, again not as though there were two sons seated together but only one, united with his own flesh. If, however, we reject the hypostatic union as being either impossible or too unlovely for the Word, we fall into the fallacy of speaking of two sons. We shall have to distinguish and speak both of the man as honoured with the title of son, and of the Word of God as by nature possessing the name and reality of sonship, each in his own way. We ought not, therefore, to split into two sons the one Lord Jesus Christ. Such a way of presenting a correct account of the faith will be quite unhelpful, even though some do speak of a union of persons. For scripture does not say that the Word united the person of a man to himself, but that he became flesh. The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that he partook of flesh and blood like us; he made our body his own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside his deity, or his generation from God the Father, but rather in his assumption of flesh remaining what he was.
This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word or his godhead received the origin of their being from the holy virgin, but because there was born from her his holy body rationally ensouled, with which the Word was hypostatically united and is said to have been begotten in the flesh. These things I write out of love in Christ exhorting you as a brother and calling upon you before Christ and the elect angels, to hold and teach these things with us, in order to preserve the peace of the churches and that the priests of God may remain in an unbroken bond of concord and love.
Second letter of Nestorius to Cyril
[condemned by the council of Ephesus]
Nestorius sends greeting in the Lord to the most religious and reverend fellow-minister Cyril. I pass over the insults against us contained in your extraordinary letter. They will, I think, be cured by my patience and by the answer which events will offer in the course of time. On one matter, however, I cannot be silent, as silence would in that case be very dangerous. On that point, therefore avoiding longwindedness as far as I can, I shall attempt a brief discussion and try to be as free as possible from repelling obscurity and undigestible prolixity. I shall begin from the wise utterances of your reverence, setting them down word for word. What then are the words in which your remarkable teaching finds expression ?
"The holy and great synod states that the only begotten Son, begotten of God the Father according to nature, true God from true God, the light from the light, the one through whom the Father made all things, came down, became incarnate, became man, suffered, rose."
These are the words of your reverence and you may recognise them. Now listen to what we say, which takes the form of a brotherly exhortation to piety of the type of which the great apostle Paul gave an example in addressing his beloved Timothy: "Attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. For by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers". Tell me, what does "attend" mean? By reading in a superficial way the tradition of those holy men (you were guilty of a pardonable ignorance), you concluded that they said that the Word who is coeternal with the Father was passible. Please look more closely at their language and you will find out that that divine choir of fathers never said that the consubstantial godhead was capable of suffering, or that the whole being that was coeternal with the Father was recently born, or that it rose again, seeing that it had itself been the cause of resurrection of the destroyed temple. If you apply my words as fraternal medicine, I shall set the words of the holy fathers before you and shall free them from the slander against them and through them against the holy scriptures.
"I believe", they say, "also in our Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son". See how they first lay as foundations "Lord" and "Jesus" and "Christ" and "only begotten" and "Son", the names which belong jointly to the divinity and humanity. Then they build on that foundation the tradition of the incarnation and resurrection and passion. In this way, by prefixing the names which are common to each nature, they intend to avoid separating expressions applicable to sonship and lordship and at the same time escape the danger of destroying the distinctive character of the natures by absorbing them into the one title of "Son". In this Paul was their teacher who, when he remembers the divine becoming man and then wishes to introduce the suffering, first mentions "Christ", which, as I have just said, is the common name of both natures and then adds an expression which is appropriate to both of the natures. For what does he say ? "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped", and so on until, "he became obedient unto death, even death on a cross". For when he was about to mention the death, to prevent anyone supposing that God the Word suffered, he says "Christ", which is a title that expresses in one person both the impassible and the passible natures, in order that Christ might be called without impropriety both impassible and passible impassible in godhead, passible in the nature of his body.
I could say much on this subject and first of all that those holy fathers, when they discuss the economy, speak not of the generation but of the Son becoming man. But I recall the promise of brevity that I made at the beginning and that both restrains my discourse and moves me on to the second subject of your reverence. In that I applaud your division of natures into manhood and godhead and their conjunction in one person. I also applaud your statement that God the Word needed no second generation from a woman, and your confession that the godhead is incapable of suffering. Such statements are truly orthodox and equally opposed to the evil opinions of all heretics about the Lord's natures. If the remainder was an attempt to introduce some hidden and incomprehensible wisdom to the ears of the readers, it is for your sharpness to decide. In my view these subsequent views seemed to subvert what came first. They suggested that he who had at the beginning been proclaimed as impassible and incapable of a second generation had somehow become capable of suffering and freshly created, as though what belonged to God the Word by nature had been destroyed by his conjunction with his temple or as though people considered it not enough that the sinless temple, which is inseparable from the divine nature, should have endured birth and death for sinners, or finally as though the Lord's voice was not deserving of credence when it cried out to the Jews: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.'' He did not say, "Destroy my godhead and in three days it will be raised up."
Again I should like to expand on this but am restrained by the memory of my promise. I must speak therefore but with brevity. Holy scripture, wherever it recalls the Lord's economy, speaks of the birth and suffering not of the godhead but of the humanity of Christ, so that the holy virgin is more accurately termed mother of Christ than mother of God. Hear these words that the gospels proclaim: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham." It is clear that God the Word was not the son of David. Listen to another witness if you will: "Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ. " Consider a further piece of evidence: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, she was found to be with child of the holy Spirit." But who would ever consider that the godhead of the only begotten was a creature of the Spirit? Why do we need to mention: "the mother of Jesus was there"? And again what of: "with Mary the mother of Jesus"; or "that which is conceived in her is of the holy Spirit"; and "Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt"; and "concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh"? Again, scripture says when speaking of his passion: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh"; and again "Christ died for our sins" and "Christ having suffered in the flesh"; and "This is", not "my godhead", but "my body, broken for you".
Ten thousand other expressions witness to the human race that they should not think that it was the godhead of the Son that was recently killed but the flesh which was joined to the nature of the godhead. (Hence also Christ calls himself the lord and son of David: " 'What do you think of the Christ ? Whose son is he ?' They said to him, 'The son of David.' Jesus answered and said to them, 'How is it then that David inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand"?'". He said this as being indeed son of David according to the flesh, but his Lord according to his godhead.) The body therefore is the temple of the deity of the Son, a temple which is united to it in a high and divine conjunction, so that the divine nature accepts what belongs to the body as its own. Such a confession is noble and worthy of the gospel traditions. But to use the expression "accept as its own" as a way of diminishing the properties of the conjoined flesh, birth, suffering and entombment, is a mark of those whose minds are led astray, my brother, by Greek thinking or are sick with the lunacy of Apollinarius and Arius or the other heresies or rather something more serious than these.
For it is necessary for such as are attracted by the name "propriety" to make God the Word share, because of this same propriety, in being fed on milk, in gradual growth, in terror at the time of his passion and in need of angelical assistance. I make no mention of circumcision and sacrifice and sweat and hunger, which all belong to the flesh and are adorable as having taken place for our sake. But it would be false to apply such ideas to the deity and would involve us in just accusation because of our calumny.
These are the traditions of the holy fathers. These are the precepts of the holy scriptures. In this way does someone write in a godly way about the divine mercy and power, "Practise these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress''. This is what Paul says to all. The care you take in labouring for those who have been scandalised is well taken and we are grateful to you both for the thought you devote to things divine and for the concern you have even for those who live here. But you should realise that you have been misled either by some here who have been deposed by the holy synod for Manichaeism or by clergy of your own persuasion. In fact the church daily progresses here and through the grace of Christ there is such an increase among the people that those who behold it cry out with the words of the prophet, "The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the water covers the sea". As for our sovereigns, they are in great joy as the light of doctrine is spread abroad and, to be brief, because of the state of all the heresies that fight against God and of the orthodoxy of the church, one might find that verse fulfilled "The house of Saul grew weaker and weaker and the house of David grew stronger and stronger".
This is our advice from a brother to a brother. "If anyone is disposed to be contentious", Paul will cry out through us to such a one, "we recognize no other practice, neither do the churches of God". I and those with me greet all the brotherhood with you in Christ. May you remain strong and continue praying for us, most honoured and reverent lord.
Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius
[Read at the council of Ephesus and included in the proceedings . We omit the preface of the letter]
We believe in one God . . .[Nicene Creed]
Following in all points the confessions of the holy fathers, which they made with the holy Spirit speaking in them, and following the direction of their opinions and going as it were in the royal way, we say that the only-begotten Word of God, who was begotten from the very essence of the Father, true God from true God, the light from the light and the one through whom all things in heaven and earth were made, for our salvation came down and emptying himself he became incarnate and was made man. This means that
he took flesh from the holy virgin and made it his own, undergoing a birth like ours from her womb and coming forth a man from a woman.
He did not cast aside what he was, but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in nature and truth.
We do not say that his flesh was turned into the nature of the godhead or that the unspeakable Word of God was changed into the nature of the flesh. For he (the Word) is unalterable and absolutely unchangeable and remains always the same as the scriptures say. For although visible as a child and in swaddling cloths, even while he was in the bosom of the virgin that bore him, as God he filled the whole of creation and was fellow ruler with him who begot him. For the divine is without quantity and dimension and cannot be subject to circumscription.
We confess the Word to have been made one with the flesh hypostatically, and we adore one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We do not divide him into parts and separate man and God in him, as though the two natures were mutually united only through a unity of dignity and authority; that would be an empty expression and nothing more. Nor do we give the name Christ in one sense to the Word of God and in another to him who was born of woman, but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own flesh. As man he was anointed with us, even though he himself gives the Spirit to those who are worthy to receive it and not in measure, as the blessed evangelist John says.
But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt as in an ordinary man born of the holy virgin, in order that Christ may not be thought of as a God-bearing man. For even though "the Word dwelt among us", and it is also said that in Christ dwelt "all the fullness of the godhead bodily", we understand that, having become flesh, the manner of his indwelling is not defined in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints, he was united by nature and not turned into flesh and he made his indwelling in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.
There is therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, but not with the sort of conjunction that a man might have with God as unity of dignity or authority. Equality of honour by itself is unable to unite natures. For Peter and John were equal in honour to each other, being both of them apostles and holy disciples, but they were two, not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be one of juxtaposition for this is not enough for natural union. Nor yet is it a question of relative participation, as we ourselves, being united to the Lord, are as it is written in the words of scripture "one spirit with him". Rather do we deprecate the term "conjunction" as being inadequate to express the idea of union.
Nor do we call the Word from God the Father, the God or Lord of Christ. To speak in that way would appear to split into two the one Christ and Son and Lord and we might in this way fall under the charge of blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For, as we have already said, the Word of God was united hypostatically with the flesh and is God of all and Lord of the universe, but is neither his own slave or master. For it is foolish or rather impious to think or to speak in this way. It is true that he called the Father "God" even though he was himself God by nature and of his being, we are not ignorant of the fact that at the same time as he was God he also became man, and so was subject to God according to the law that is suitable to the nature of manhood. But how should he become God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man and as far as it was fitting for him within the limits of his self-emptying it is said that he was subject to God like ourselves. So he came to be under the law while at the same time himself speaking the law and being a lawgiver like God.
When speaking of Christ we avoid the expression: "I worship him who is carried because of the one who carries him; because of him who is unseen, I worship the one who is seen." It is shocking to say in this connexion: "The assumed shares the name of God with him who assumes." To speak in this way once again divides into two Christs and puts the man separately by himself and God likewise by himself. This saying denies openly the union, according to which one is not worshipped alongside the other, nor do both share in the title "God", but Jesus Christ is considered as one, the only begotten Son, honoured with one worship, together with his own flesh.
We also confess that the only begotten Son born of God the Father, although according to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, suffered in the flesh for us according to the scriptures, and was in his crucified body, and without himself suffering made his own the sufferings of his own flesh, for "by the grace of God he tasted death for all". For that purpose he gave his own body to death though he was by nature life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his own unspeakable power, he might first in his own flesh become the firstborn from the dead and "the first fruits of them that sleep". And that he might make a way for human nature to return to incorruption by the grace of God, as we have just said, "he tasted death for all" and on the third day he returned to life, having robbed the underworld. Accordingly, even though it is said that "through man came the resurrection of the dead", yet we understand that man to have been the Word which came from God, through whom the power of death was overcome. At the right time he will come as one Son and Lord in the glory of the Father, to judge the world in justice, as it is written.
We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death according to the flesh of the only begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, and professing his return to life from the dead and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody worship [sacrificii servitutem] in the churches and so proceed to the mystical thanksgivings and are sanctified having partaken of the holy flesh [corpus] and precious blood of Christ, the saviour of us all. This we receive not as ordinary flesh, heaven forbid, nor as that of a man who has been made holy and joined to the Word by union of honour, or who had a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and real flesh of the Word [ut vere vivificatricem et ipsius Verbi propriam factam.]. For being life by nature as God, when he became one with his own flesh, he made it also to be life-giving, as also he said to us: "Amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood" . For we must not think that it is the flesh of a man like us (for how can the flesh of man be life-giving by its own nature?), but as being made the true flesh [vere proprium eius factam] of the one who for our sake became the son of man and was called so.
For we do not divide up the words of our Saviour in the gospels among two hypostases or persons. For the one and only Christ is not dual, even though he be considered to be from two distinct realities, brought together into an unbreakable union. In the same sort of way a human being, though he be composed of soul and body, is considered to be not dual, but rather one out of two. Therefore, in thinking rightly, we refer both the human and divine expressions to the same person. For when he speaks about himself in a divine manner as "he that sees me sees the Father", and "I and the Father are one", we think of his divine and unspeakable nature, according to which he is one with his own Father through identity of nature and is the "image and impress and brightness of his glory". But when, not dishonouring the measure of his humanity, he says to the Jews: "But now you seek to kill me, a man who has spoken the truth to you", again no less than before, we recognise that he who, because of his equality and likeness to God the Father is God the Word, is also within the limits of his humanity. For if it is necessary to believe that being God by nature he became flesh, that is man ensouled with a rational soul, whatever reason should anyone have for being ashamed at the expressions uttered by him should they happen to be suitable to him as man ? For if he should reject words suitable to him as man, who was it that forced him to become a man like us? Why should he who submitted himself to voluntary self-emptying for our sake, reject expressions that are suitable for such self-emptying? All the expressions, therefore, that occur in the gospels are to be referred to one person, the one enfleshed hypostasis of the Word. For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures.
Even though he is called "the apostle and high priest of our confession", as offering to the God and Father the confession of faith we make to him and through him to the God and Father and also to the holy Spirit, again we say that he is the natural and only-begotten Son of God and we shall not assign to another man apart from him the name and reality of priesthood. For he became the "mediator between God and humanity" and the establisher of peace between them, offering himself for an odour of sweetness to the God and Father. Therefore also he said: "Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body you have prepared for me; [in burnt offerings and sacrifice for sin you have no pleasure]. Then I said, 'Behold I come to do your will, O God', as it is written of me in the volume of the book". For our sake and not for his own he brought forward his own body in the odour of sweetness. Indeed, of what offering or sacrifice for himself would he have been in need, being as God superior to all manner of sin? For though "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", and so we are prone to disorder and human nature has fallen into the weakness of sin, he is not so and consequently we are behind him in glory. How then can there be any further doubt that the true lamb was sacrificed for us and on our behalf? The suggestion that he offered himself for himself as well as for us is impossible to separate from the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at all, nor did he sin in any way. What sort of offering would he need then since there was no sin for which offering might rightly be made?
When he says of the Spirit, "he will glorify me", the correct understanding of this is not to say that the one Christ and Son was in need of glory from another and that he took glory from the holy Spirit, for his Spirit is not better than he nor above him. But because he used his own Spirit to display his godhead through his mighty works, he says that he has been glorified by him, just as if any one of us should perhaps say for example of his inherent strength or his knowledge of anything that they glorify him. For even though the Spirit exists in his own hypostasis and is thought of on his own, as being Spirit and not as Son, even so he is not alien to the Son. He has been called "the Spirit of truth", and Christ is the truth, and the Spirit was poured forth by the Son, as indeed the Son was poured forth from the God and Father. Accordingly the Spirit worked many strange things through the hand of the holy apostles and so glorified him after the ascension of our lord Jesus Christ into heaven. For it was believed that he is God by nature and works through his own Spirit. For this reason also he said: "He (the Spirit) will take what is mine and declare it to you". But we do not say that the Spirit is wise and powerful through some sharing with another, for he is all perfect and in need of no good thing. Since he is the Spirit of the power and wisdom of the Father, that is the Son, he is himself, evidently, wisdom and power.
Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh (for "the Word was in the beginning and the Word was God and the Word was with God", and he made the ages and is coeternal with the Father and craftsman of all things), but because, as we have said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth according to the flesh from her womb. This was not as though he needed necessarily or for his own nature a birth in time and in the last times of this age, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, in order that seeing that it was a woman that had given birth to him united to the flesh, the curse against the whole race should thereafter cease which was consigning all our earthy bodies to death, and in order that the removal through him of the curse, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children", should demonstrate the truth of the words of the prophet: "Strong death swallowed them Up", and again, "God has wiped every tear away from all face". It is for this cause that we say that in his economy he blessed marriage and, when invited, went down to Cana in Galilee with his holy apostles.
We have been taught to hold these things by
the holy apostles and evangelists and by
all the divinely inspired scriptures and by the true confession of
the blessed fathers.
To all these your reverence ought to agree and subscribe without any deceit. What is required for your reverence to anathematise we subjoin to this epistle.
Twelve Anathemas Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus
1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, let him be anathema.
2. If anyone does not confess that the Word from God the Father has been united by hypostasis with the flesh and is one Christ with his own flesh, and is therefore God and man together, let him be anathema.
3. If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema.
4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.
5. If anyone dares to say that Christ was a God-bearing man and not rather God in truth, being by nature one Son, even as "the Word became flesh", and is made partaker of blood and flesh precisely like us, let him be anathema.
6. If anyone says that the Word from God the Father was the God or master of Christ, and does not rather confess the same both God and man, the Word having become flesh, according to the scriptures, let him be anathema.
7. If anyone says that as man Jesus was activated by the Word of God and was clothed with the glory of the Only-begotten, as a being separate from him, let him be anathema.
8. If anyone dares to say that the man who was assumed ought to be worshipped and glorified together with the divine Word and be called God along with him, while being separate from him, (for the addition of "with" must always compel us to think in this way), and will not rather worship Emmanuel with one veneration and send up to him one doxology, even as "the Word became flesh", let him be anathema.
9. If anyone says that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Spirit, as making use of an alien power that worked through him and as having received from him the power to master unclean spirits and to work divine wonders among people, and does not rather say that it was his own proper Spirit through whom he worked the divine wonders, let him be anathema.
10. The divine scripture says Christ became "the high priest and apostle of our confession"; he offered himself to God the Father in an odour of sweetness for our sake. If anyone, therefore, says that it was not the very Word from God who became our high priest and apostle, when he became flesh and a man like us, but as it were another who was separate from him, in particular a man from a woman, or if anyone says that he offered the sacrifice also for himself and not rather for us alone (for he who knew no sin needed no offering), let him be anathema.
11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving and belongs to the Word from God the Father, but maintains that it belongs to another besides him, united with him in dignity or as enjoying a mere divine indwelling, and is not rather life-giving, as we said, since it became the flesh belonging to the Word who has power to bring all things to life, let him be anathema.
12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema.
The judgment against Nestorius
The holy synod said: As, in addition to all else, the excellent Nestorius has declined to obey our summons and has not received the holy and God-fearing bishops we sent to him, we have of necessity started upon an investigation of his impieties. We have found him out thinking and speaking in an impious fashion, from his letters, from his writings that have been read out, and from the things that he has recently said in this metropolis which have been witnessed to by others; and as a result we have been compelled of necessity both by
the canons and by
the letter of our most holy father and fellow servant Celestine, bishop of the church of the Romans, to issue this sad condemnation against him, though we do so with many tears.
Our lord Jesus Christ, who has been blasphemed by him, has determined through this most holy synod that the same Nestorius should be stripped of his episcopal dignity and removed from the college of priests.
Synodical letter about the expulsion of the eastern bishops (et al.)
The holy and ecumenical synod, gathered together in Ephesus at the behest of the most pious princes, [sends greeting] to the bishops, priests, deacons and the whole people in every province and city.
When we had gathered together in accordance with the pious decree in the metropolis of Ephesus, some separated themselves from us, a little more than thirty in number. The leader of this apostasy was John, bishop of Antioch, and their names are as follows: First the same John, bishop of Antioch in Syria, [the names of 33 other eastern bishops follow]
These men, despite the fact that they were members of the ecclesiastical community, had no licence either to do harm through their priestly dignity or to do good, because some among their number had already been deposed. Their support of the views of Nestorius and Celestius was clearly shown by their refusal to condemn Nestorius together with us. By a common decree the sacred synod has expelled them from ecclesiastical communion and deprived them of the exercise of their priestly office, through which they have been able to harm some and help others.
Since it is necessary that those who were absent from the synod and remained in the country or the city, on account of their own church affairs or because of their health, should not be ignorant of the decisions formulated concerning these matters, we make it known to your holinesses that if any metropolitan of a province dissents from the holy and ecumenical synod and attaches himself to the assembly of the revolters, or should do so later, or should he have adopted the opinions of Celestius, or do so in the future, such a one is deprived of all power to take steps against the bishops of his province. He is thereby cast out by the synod from all ecclesiastical communion and is deprived of all ecclesiastical authority. Instead he is to be subjected to the bishops of his own province and the surrounding metropolitans, provided they be orthodox, even to the extent of being completely deposed from the rank of bishop.
If any provincial bishops have absented themselves from the holy synod and have either attached themselves or attempted to attach themselves to the apostasy, or after subscribing the deposition of Nestorius have returned to the assembly of apostates, these, according to the decision of the holy synod, are to be deprived of the priesthood and deposed from their rank.
If any clerics either in city or country have been suspended by Nestorius and those with him from their priesthood because of their orthodoxy, we have thought it right that these should regain their proper rank; and in general we decree that those clerics who are in agreement with the orthodox and ecumenical synod should in no way be subject to those bishops who have revolted or may revolt from it. If any clerics should apostatise and in private or in public dare to hold the views of Nestorius or Celestius, it is thought right that such should stand deposed by the holy synod.
Whoever have been condemned of improper practices by the holy synod or by their own bishops, and have been uncanonically restored to communion and rank by Nestorius or his sympathisers, with their habitual lack of discrimination, such persons we have decreed gain nothing by this and are to remain deposed as before.
Similarly if anyone should wish in any way to upset the decisions in each point taken in the holy synod of Ephesus, the holy synod decides that if they are bishops or clerics they should be completely deprived of their own rank and if they are laity they should be excommunicated.
Definition of the faith at Nicaea [6th session 22 July 431]
The synod of Nicaea produced this creed: We believe ... [the Nicene Creed follows]
It seems fitting that all should assent to this holy creed. It is pious and sufficiently helpful for the whole world. But since some pretend to confess and accept it, while at the same time distorting the force of its expressions to their own opinion and so evading the truth, being sons of error and children of destruction, it has proved necessary to add testimonies from the holy and orthodox fathers that can fill out the meaning they have given to the words and their courage in proclaiming it. All those who have a clear and blameless faith will understand, interpret and proclaim it in this way.
When these documents had been read out, the holy synod decreed the following.
It is not permitted to produce or write or compose any other creed except the one which was defined by the holy fathers who were gathered together in the holy Spirit at Nicaea.
Any who dare to compose or bring forth or produce another creed for the benefit of those who wish to turn from Hellenism or Judaism or some other heresy to the knowledge of the truth, if they are bishops or clerics they should be deprived of their respective charges and if they are laymen they are to be anathematised.
In the same way if any should be discovered, whether bishops, clergy or laity, thinking or teaching the views expressed in his statement by the priest Charisius about the incarnation of the only-begotten Son of God or the disgusting, perverted views of Nestorius, which underlie them, these should be subject to the condemnation of this holy and ecumenical synod. A bishop clearly is to be stripped of his bishopric and deposed, a cleric to be deposed from the clergy, and a lay person is to be anathematised, as was said before.
Definition against the impious Messalians or Euchites
The most pious and religious bishops Valerian and Amphilochius came together to us and made a joint enquiry about the so called Messalians or Euchites or Enthusiasts, or whatever name this appalling heresy goes under, who dwell in the region of Pamphylia. We made investigation and the god-fearing and reverent Valerian produced a synodical document concerning these people, which had been drawn up in great Constantinople in the time of Sisinnius of blessed memory. When this had been read out in the presence of all, it was agreed that it had been well made and was correct. We all agreed, as did the most religious bishops Valerian and Amphilochius and all the pious bishops of the provinces of Pamphylia and Lycaonia, that what had been inscribed in the synodical document should be confirmed and in no way disobeyed, clearly without prejudice to the acts of Alexandria. Consequently those anywhere in that province who subscribed to the heresy of the Messalians or Enthusiasts, or who were suspected of the disease, whether clerical or lay, are to come together; if they sign the anathemas according to what was promulgated in the aforementioned synod, should they be clergy they should remain such and if laity they are to remain in communion. But if they decline and do not anathematise, if they are presbyters or deacons or hold any other rank in the church, they are to forfeit their clerical status and grade and communion, and if they are laity let them be anathematised.
In addition, those who have been condemned are not to be permitted to govern monasteries, lest tares be sown and increase. The vigorous and zealous execution of all these decrees is enjoined upon the reverent bishops Valerian and Amphilochius and the other reverent bishops throughout the whole province. Furthermore it seemed good that the filthy book of this heresy, which has been published and is called by them Asceticon, should be anathematised, as being composed by heretics, a copy of which the most pious and religious Valerian brought with him. Any other production savouring of the like impiety which is found anywhere is to be treated similarly.
In addition, when they come together, they should commit clearly to writing whatever conduces to the creation of concord, communion and order. But if any discussion should arise in connexion with the present business among the most godly bishops Valerian, Amphilochius and the other reverent bishops in the province, and if something difficult or ambiguous crops up, then in such a case it seems good that the godly bishops of Lycia and Lycaonia should be brought in, and the metropolitan of whatever province these choose should not be left out. In this way the disputed questions should through their means be brought to an appropriate solution.
Resolution : that the bishops of Cyprus may themselves conduct ordinations.
The holy synod declared:
The most reverent bishop Rheginus and with him Zenon and Evagrius, revered bishops of the province of Cyprus, have brought forward what is both an innovation against the ecclesiastical customs and the canons of the holy fathers and concerns the freedom of all. Therefore, since common diseases need more healing as they bring greater harm with them, if it has not been a continuous ancient custom for the bishop of Antioch to hold ordinations in Cyprus--as it is asserted in memorials and orally by the religious men who have come before the synod -- the prelates of the holy churches of Cyprus shall, free from molestation and violence, use their right to perform by themselves the ordination of reverent bishops for their island, according to the canons of the holy fathers and the ancient custom.
The same principle will be observed for other dioceses and provinces everywhere. None of the reverent bishops is to take possession of another province which has not been under his authority from the first or under that of his predecessors. Any one who has thus seized upon and subjected a province is to restore it, lest the canons of the fathers be transgressed and the arrogance of secular power effect an entry through the cover of priestly office. We must avoid bit by bit destroying the freedom which our lord Jesus Christ the liberator of all people, gave us through his own blood. It is therefore the pleasure of the holy and ecumenical synod to secure intact and inviolate the rights belonging to each province from the first, according to the custom which has been in force from of old. Each metropolitan has the right to take a copy of the proceedings for his own security. If any one produces a version which is at variance with what is here decided, the holy and ecumenical synod unanimously decrees it to be of no avail.
Formula of union between Cyrill and John of Antioch
We will state briefly what we are convinced of and profess about
the God-bearing virgin and
the manner of the incarnation of the only begotten Son of God --
not by way of addition but in the manner of a full statement, even as we have received and possess it from of old from
the holy scriptures and from
the tradition of the holy fathers,
adding nothing at all to the creed put forward by the holy fathers at Nicaea.
For, as we have just said, that creed is sufficient both for the knowledge of godliness and for the repudiation of all heretical false teaching. We shall speak not presuming to approach the unapproachable; but we confess our own weakness and so shut out those who would reproach us for investigating things beyond the human mind.
We confess, then, our lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God perfect God and perfect man of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the virgin, according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her. As to the evangelical and apostolic expressions about the Lord, we know that theologians treat some in common as of one person and distinguish others as of two natures, and interpret the god-befitting ones in connexion with the godhead of Christ and the lowly ones with his humanity.
Letter of Cyril to John of Antioch about peace
Having read these holy phrases and finding ourselves in agreement (for "there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism"), we have given glory to God who is the saviour of all and rejoice together that our churches and yours are at one in professing the same faith as the inspired scriptures and the tradition of our holy fathers. But since I discovered that there are some always eager to find fault, who buzz around like angry wasps and spit forth evil words against me, to the effect that I say that the holy body of Christ came down from heaven and not from the holy virgin, I thought it necessary in answer to them to say a little about this matter to you.
O fools, whose only competence is in slander! How did you become so perverted in thought and fall into such a sickness of idiocy? For you must surely know that almost all our fight for the faith arose in connexion with our insistence that the holy virgin is the mother of God. But if we claim that the holy body of our common saviour Christ is born from heaven and was not of her, why should she still be considered God-bearer? For whom indeed did she bear, if it is untrue that she bore Emmanuel according to the flesh? It is rather they who speak such nonsense against me who deserve to be ridiculed. For the holy prophet Isaiah does not lie when he says, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is interpreted God with us". Again the holy Gabriel speaks total truth when he says to the blessed virgin: "Do not fear, Mary. You have found favour with God, and behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will call his name Jesus . For he will save his people from their sins".
But when we say that our lord Jesus Christ came from heaven and above, we do not apply such expressions as "from above" and "from heaven" to his holy flesh. Rather do we follow the divine Paul who clearly proclaimed: "The first man was of the earth, earthly, the second man is the Lord from heaven".
We also recall our Saviour who said: "No one has gone up into heaven except him who came down from heaven, the son of man". Yet he was born, as I have just said, from the holy virgin according to the flesh.
But since God the Word, who came down from above and from heaven, "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave", and was called son of man though all the while he remained what he was, that is God (for he is unchangeable and immutable by nature), he is said to have come down from heaven, since he is now understood to be one with his own flesh, and he has therefore been designated the man from heaven, being both perfect in godhead and perfect in humanity and thought of as in one person. For there is one lord Jesus Christ, even though we do not ignore the difference of natures, out of which we say that the ineffable union was effected. As for those who say that there was a mixture or confusion or blending of God the Word with the flesh, let your holiness see fit to stop their mouths. For it is quite likely that some should spread it abroad that I have thought or said such things. But I am so far from thinking anything of the kind that I think that those are quite mad who suppose that "a shadow of change" is conceivable in connexion with the divine nature of the Word. For he remains what he is always and never changes, nor could he ever change or be susceptible of it. Furthermore we all confess that the Word of God is impassible though in his all-wise economy of the mystery he is seen to attribute to himself the sufferings undergone by his own flesh. So the all-wise Peter speaks of "Christ suffering for us in the flesh" and not in the nature of his unspeakable godhead. For in order that he might be believed to be the saviour of all, in accordance with our economic appropriation, as I said, he refers to himself the sufferings of his own flesh, in much the same way as is suggested through the voice of the prophet coming as it were from him in advance: "I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to blows; I hid not my face from shame and spitting" .
Let your holiness be persuaded and let no one else cherish any doubt, that we everywhere follow the opinions of the holy fathers especially those of our blessed and glorious father Athanasius, with whose opinions we differ not in the slightest. I would have added many of their testimonies, proving my opinions from theirs, had I not feared that the length of the letter would be made tedious thereby. We do not permit anyone in any way to upset the defined faith or the creed drawn up by the holy fathers who assembled at Nicaea as the times demanded. We give neither ourselves nor them the licence to alter any expression there or to change a single syllable, remembering the words: "Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set".
For it was not they that spoke, but the Spirit of God the Father, who proceeds from him and who is not distinct from the Son in essence. We are further confirmed in our view by the words of our holy spiritual teachers. For in the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "When they came to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them". And the divine Paul writes as follows: "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. And anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him". When, therefore, any of those who love to upset sound doctrine pervert my words to their way of thinking, your holiness should not be surprised at this, but should remember that the followers of every heresy extract from inspired scripture the occasion of their error, and that all heretics corrupt the true expressions of the holy Spirit with their own evil minds and they draw down on their own heads an inextinguishable flame.
Since therefore we have learnt that even the letter of our glorious father Athanasius to the blessed Epictetus, which is completely orthodox, has been corrupted and circulated by some, with the result that many have been injured therefore, thinking it both useful and necessary for the brethren, we have despatched to your holiness accurate copies of the original, unadulterated writings which we have.
Excerpt from the Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon "has accepted the synodical letters of the blessed Cyril, pastor of the church in Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Orientals, as being well-suited to refuting Nestorius's mad folly and to providing an interpretation for those who in their religious zeal might desire understanding of the saving creed.".

The Council of Chalcedon - 451 A.D.

It was the emperor Marcian who, after the "robber" council of Ephesus (449), commanded this council to meet. Pope Leo I was opposed to it. His view was that all the bishops should repent of their ways and individually sign his earlier dogmatic letter to Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, and so avoid a new round of argument and debate. Moreover, the provinces of the West were being laid waste by Attila's invasions. But before the pope's view became known, the emperor Marcian had, by an edict of 17 May 451, convoked the council for 1 September 451. Although the pope was displeased, he sent legates: Paschasinus bishop of Lilybaeum, Bishop Lucentius, the priests Boniface and Basil, and Bishop Julian of Cos. No doubt Leo thought that the council would cause people to leave the church and go into schism. So he wanted it to be postponed for a time, and he implored the emperor that the faith handed down from ancient times should not become the subject of debate. The only business should be the restoration of the exiled bishops to their former positions.
The council was convoked at Nicaea but later transferred to Chalcedon, so as to be close to Constantinople and the emperor. It began on 8 October 451. The legates Paschasinus, Bishop Lucentius and the priest Boniface presided, while Julian of Cos sat among the bishops. By their side were the imperial commissars and those serving on the Senate, whose responsibility was simply to keep order in the council's deliberations.
The lists we have of those present are unsatisfactory. According to Leo there were 600 bishops at the council, whereas according to a letter to him there were 500.
The "Definition of the faith" was passed at the council's fifth session, and was solemnly promulgated at the sixth session in the presence of the emperor and the imperial authorities. The formula accepted in the decree is: Christ is one in two natures. This is in agreement with Leo's letter to Flavian of Constantinople, and Leo's letter is expressly mentioned in the Definition of the faith .
The council also issued 27 disciplinary canons (it is unclear at which session).
What is usually called canon 28 (on the honour to be accorded the see of Constantinople) is in fact a resolution passed by the council at the 16th session. It was rejected by the Roman legates.
In the ancient Greek collections, canons 29 and 30 are also attributed to the council:
canon 29 is an extract from the minutes of the 19th session; and
canon 30 is an extract from the minutes of the 4th session.
Because of canon 28, which the Roman legates had opposed, the emperor Marcian and Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople, sought approval for the council from the pope. This is clear from a letter of Anatolius which tries to defend the canon, and especially from a letter of Marcian which explicitly requests confirmation. Because heretics were misinterpreting his withholding approval, the pope ratified the doctrinal decrees on 21 March 453, but rejected canon 28 since it ran counter to the canons of Nicaea and to the privileges of particular churches.
The imperial promulgation was made by Emperor Marcian in 4 edicts of February 452.
Apart from Pope Leo's letter to Flavian, which is in Latin, the English translation is from the Greek text, since this is the more authoritative version.
The letter of Pope Leo to Flavian, bishop of Constantinople, about Eutyches
Surprised as we were at the late arrival of your charity's letter, we read it and examined the account of what the bishops had done. We now see what scandal against the integrity of the faith had reared its head among you. What had previously been kept secret now became clearly revealed to us. Eutyches, who was considered a man of honour because he had the title of priest, is shown to be very rash and extremely ignorant. What the prophet said can be applied to him: He did not want to understand and do good: he plotted evil in his bed. What can be worse than to have an irreligious mind and to pay no heed to those who are wiser and more learned? The people who fall into this folly are those in whom knowledge of the truth is blocked by a kind of dimness. They do not refer to
the sayings of the prophets, nor to
the letters of the apostles, nor even to
the authoritative words of the gospels,
but to themselves. By not being pupils of the truth, they turn out to be masters of error. A man who has not the most elementary understanding even of the creed itself can have learnt nothing from the sacred texts of the New and Old Testaments. This old man has not yet taken to heart what is pronounced by every baptismal candidate the world over!
He had no idea how he ought to think about the incarnation of the Word of God; and he had no desire to acquire the light of understanding by working through the length and breadth of the holy scriptures. So at least he should have listened carefully and accepted the common and undivided creed by which the whole body of the faithful confess that they believe in
God the Father almighty and in
Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary.
These three statements wreck the tricks of nearly every heretic. When God is believed to be both almighty and Father, the Son is clearly proved to be co-eternal with him, in no way different from the Father, since he was born God from God, almighty from the Almighty, co-eternal from the Eternal, not later in time, not lower in power, not unlike in glory, not distinct in being. The same eternal, only-begotten of the eternal begetter was born of the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary. His birth in time in no way subtracts from or adds to that divine and eternal birth of his: but its whole purpose is to restore humanity, who had been deceived, so that it might defeat death and, by its power, destroy the devil who held the power of death. Overcoming the originator of sin and death would be beyond us, had not he whom sin could not defile, nor could death hold down, taken up our nature and made it his own. He was conceived from the holy Spirit inside the womb of the virgin mother. Her virginity was as untouched in giving him birth as it was in conceiving him.
But if it was beyond Eutyches to derive sound understanding from this, the purest source of the christian faith, because the brightness of manifest truth had been darkened by his own peculiar blindness, then he should have subjected himself to the teaching of the gospels. When Matthew says, The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, Eutyches should have looked up the further development in the apostolic preaching. When he read in the letter to the Romans, Paul, the servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for God's gospel, which he had formerly promised through his prophets in the holy writings which refer to his Son, who was made for him of David's seed according to the flesh, he should have paid deep and devout attention to the prophetic texts. And when he discovered God making the promise to Abraham that in your seed shall all nations be blessed, he should have followed the apostle, in order to eliminate any doubt about the identity of this seed, when he says, The promises were spoken to Abraham and his seed . He does not say "to his seeds"--as if referring to a multiplicity--but to a single one, "and to thy seed " which is Christ. His inward ear should also have heard Isaiah preaching Behold, a virgin will receive in the womb and will bear a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which is translated "God is with us". With faith he should have read the same prophet's words, A child is born to us, a son is given to us. His power is on his shoulders. They will call his name "Angel of great counsel, mighty God, prince of peace, father of the world to come". Then he would not deceive people by saying that the Word was made flesh in the sense that he emerged from the virgin's womb having a human form but not having the reality of his mother's body.
Or was it perhaps that he thought that our lord Jesus Christ did not have our nature because the angel who was sent to the blessed Mary said, The holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you, and so that which will be born holy out of you will be called Son of God, as if it was because the conception by the virgin was worked by God that the flesh of the one conceived did not share the nature of her who conceived it? But uniquely wondrous and wondrously unique as that act of generation was, it is not to be understood as though the proper character of its kind was taken away by the sheer novelty of its creation. It was the holy Spirit that made the virgin pregnant, but the reality of the body derived from body. As Wisdom built a house for herself, the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us: that is, in that flesh which he derived from human kind and which he animated with the spirit of a rational life.
So the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person. Lowliness was taken up by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by eternity. To pay off the debt of our state, invulnerable nature was united to a nature that could suffer; so that in a way that corresponded to the remedies we needed, one and the same mediator between God and humanity the man Christ Jesus, could both on the one hand die and on the other be incapable of death. Thus was true God born in the undiminished and perfect nature of a true man, complete in what is his and complete in what is ours. By "ours" we mean what the Creator established in us from the beginning and what he took upon himself to restore. There was in the Saviour no trace of the things which the Deceiver brought upon us, and to which deceived humanity gave admittance. His subjection to human weaknesses in common with us did not mean that he shared our sins. He took on the form of a servant without the defilement of sin, thereby enhancing the human and not diminishing the divine. For that self-emptying whereby the Invisible rendered himself visible, and the Creator and Lord of all things chose to join the ranks of mortals, spelled no failure of power: it was an act of merciful favour. So the one who retained the form of God when he made humanity, was made man in the form of a servant. Each nature kept its proper character without loss; and just as the form of God does not take away the form of a servant, so the form of a servant does not detract from the form of God.
It was the devil's boast that humanity had been deceived by his trickery and so had lost the gifts God had given it; and that it had been stripped of the endowment of immortality and so was subject to the harsh sentence of death. He also boasted that, sunk as he was in evil, he himself derived some consolation from having a partner in crime; and that God had been forced by the principle of justice to alter his verdict on humanity, which he had created in such an honourable state. All this called for the realisation of a secret plan whereby the unalterable God, whose will is indistinguishable from his goodness, might bring the original realisation of his kindness towards us to completion by means of a more hidden mystery, and whereby humanity, which had been led into a state of sin by the craftiness of the devil, might be prevented from perishing contrary to the purpose of God.
So without leaving his Father's glory behind, the Son of God comes down from his heavenly throne and enters the depths of our world, born in an unprecedented order by an unprecedented kind of birth. In an unprecedented order, because one who is invisible at his own level was made visible at ours. The ungraspable willed to be grasped. Whilst remaining pre-existent, he begins to exist in time. The Lord of the universe veiled his measureless majesty and took on a servant's form. The God who knew no suffering did not despise becoming a suffering man, and, deathless as he is, to be subject to the laws of death. By an unprecedented kind of birth, because it was inviolable virginity which supplied the material flesh without experiencing sexual desire. What was taken from the mother of the Lord was the nature without the guilt. And the fact that the birth was miraculous does not imply that in the lord Jesus Christ, born from the virgin's womb, the nature is different from ours. The same one is true God and true man.
There is nothing unreal about this oneness, since both the lowliness of the man and the grandeur of the divinity are in mutual relation. As God is not changed by showing mercy, neither is humanity devoured by the dignity received. The activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles the other sustains acts of violence. As the Word does not lose its glory which is equal to that of the Father, so neither does the flesh leave the nature of its kind behind. We must say this again and again: one and the same is truly Son of God and truly son of man. God, by the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; man, by the fact that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God, by the fact that all things were made through him, and nothing was made without him, man, by the fact that he was made of a woman, made under the law. The birth of flesh reveals human nature; birth from a virgin is a proof of divine power. A lowly cradle manifests the infancy of the child; angels' voices announce the greatness of the most High. Herod evilly strives to kill one who was like a human being at the earliest stage the Magi rejoice to adore on bended knee one who is the Lord of all. And when he came to be baptised by his precursor John, the Father's voice spoke thunder from heaven, to ensure that he did not go unnoticed because the divinity was concealed by the veil of flesh: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Accordingly, the same one whom the devil craftily tempts as a man, the angels dutifully wait on as God. Hunger, thirst, weariness, sleep are patently human. But to satisfy five thousand people with five loaves; to dispense living water to the Samaritan woman, a drink of which will stop her being thirsty ever again; to walk on the surface of the sea with feet that do not sink; to rebuke the storm and level the mounting waves; there can be no doubt these are divine.
So, if I may pass over many instances, it does not belong to the same nature to weep out of deep-felt pity for a dead friend, and to call him back to life again at the word of command, once the mound had been removed from the four-dayold grave; or to hang on the cross and, with day changed into night, to make the elements tremble; or to be pierced by nails and to open the gates of paradise for the believing thief. Likewise, it does not belong to the same nature to say I and the Father are one, and to say The Father is greater than I. For although there is in the Lord Jesus Christ a single person who is of God and of man, the insults shared by both have their source in one thing, and the glory that is shared in another. For it is from us that he gets a humanity which is less than the Father; it is from the Father that he gets a divinity which is equal to the Father.
So it is on account of this oneness of the person, which must be understood in both natures, that we both read that the son of man came down from heaven, when the Son of God took flesh from the virgin from whom he was born, and again that the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, since he suffered these things not in the divinity itself whereby the Only-begotten is co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of the human nature. That is why in the creed, too, we all confess that the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and was buried, following what the apostle said, If they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of majesty. And when our Lord and Saviour himself was questioning his disciples and instructing their faith, he says, Who do people say 1, the son of man, am? And when they had displayed a variety of other people's opinions, he says, Who do you say I am ? --in other words, I who am the son of man and whom you behold in the form of a servant and in real flesh: Who do you say I am? Whereupon the blessed Peter, inspired by God and making a confession that would benefit all future peoples, says, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. He thoroughly deserved to be declared "blessed" by the Lord. He derived the stability of both his goodness and his name from the original Rock, for when the Father revealed it to him, he confessed that the same one is both the Son of God and also the Christ. Accepting one of these truths without the other was no help to salvation; and to have believed that the Lord Jesus Christ was either only God and not man, or solely man and not God, was equally dangerous.
After the Lord's resurrection--which was certainly the resurrection of a real body, since the one brought back to life is none other than the one who had been crucified and had died--the whole point of the forty-day delay was to make our faith completely sound and to cleanse it of all darkness. Hence he talked to his disciples and lived and ate with them, and let himself be touched attentively and carefully by those who were in the grip of doubt; he would go in among his disciples when the doors were locked, and impart the holy Spirit by breathing on them, and open up the secrets of the holy scriptures after enlightening their understanding; again, he would point out the wound in his side, the holes made by the nails, and all the signs of the suffering he had just recently undergone, saying, Look at my hands and feet--it is I. Feel and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. All this was so that it would be recognised that the proper character of the divine and of the human nature went on existing inseparable in him; and so that we would realise that the Word is not the same thing as the flesh, but in such a way that we would confess belief in the one Son of God as being both Word and flesh.
This Eutyches must be judged to be extremely destitute of this mystery of the faith. Neither the humility of the mortal life nor the glory of the resurrection has made him recognise our nature in the only-begotten of God. Nor has even the statement of the blessed apostle and evangelist John put fear into him: Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is from God, and every spirit which puts Jesus asunder is not from God, and this is Antichrist. But what does putting Jesus as under consist in if not in separating his human nature from him, and in voiding, through the most barefaced fictions, the one mystery by which we have been saved? Once in the dark about the nature of Christ's body, it follows that the same blindness leads him into raving folly about his suffering too. If he does not think that the Lord's cross was unreal and if he has no doubt that the suffering undergone for the world's salvation was real, then let him acknowledge the flesh of the one whose death he believes in. And let him not deny that a man whom he knows to have been subject to suffering had our kind of body, for to deny the reality of the flesh is also to deny the bodily suffering. So if he accepts the christian faith and does not turn a deaf ear to the preaching of the gospel, let him consider what nature it was that hung, pierced with nails, on the wood of the cross. With the side of the crucified one laid open by the soldier's spear, let him identify the source from which blood and water flowed, to bathe the church of God with both font and cup.
Let him heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ's blood; and let him not skip over the same apostle's words, knowing that you have been redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your fathers, not with corruptible gold and silver but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without stain or spot. Nor should he withstand the testimony of blessed John the apostle: and the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, purifies us from every sin; and again, This is the victory which conquers the world, our faith. Who is there who conquers the world save one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God ? It is he, Jesus Christ who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood. And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies. For there are three who give testimony--Spirit and water and blood. And the three are one. In other words, the Spirit of sanctification and the blood of redemption and the water of baptism. These three are one and remain indivisible. None of them is separable from its link with the others. The reason is that it is by this faith that the catholic church lives and grows, by believing that neither the humanity is without true divinity nor the divinity without true humanity.
When you cross-examined Eutyches and he replied, "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union, but I confess one nature after the union", I am amazed that such an absurd and corrupt declaration of faith was not very severely censured by the judges; and that an extremely foolish statement was disregarded, as if nothing whatever offensive had been heard. It is just as wicked to say that the only-begotten Son of God was of two natures before the incarnation as it is abominable to claim that there was a single nature in him after the Word was made flesh. Eutyches must not suppose that what he said was either correct or tolerable just because no clear statement of yours refuted it. So we remind you, dearest brother, of your charity's responsibility to see to it that if through God's merciful inspiration the case is ever settled, the rash and ignorant fellow is also purged of what is blighting his mind. As the minutes have made clear, he made a good start at abandoning his opinion when, under pressure from your statement, he professed to say what he had not previously said, and to find satisfaction in the faith to which he had previously been a stranger. But when he had refused to be party to the anathematising of his wicked doctrine, your fraternity would have realised that he was persisting in his false belief and that he deserved a verdict of condemnation. If he is honestly and suitably sorry about this, and acknowledges even at this late stage how rightly episcopal authority was set in motion, or if, to make full amends, he condemns every wrong thought he had by word of mouth and by his actual signature, then no amount of mercy towards one who has reformed is excessive. Our Lord, the true and good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, and who came not to destroy but to save the souls of men and women, wants us to be imitators of his goodness, so that whilst justice represses sinners, mercy does not reject the converted. The defence of the true faith is never so productive as when false opinion is condemned even by its adherents.
In place of ourself, we have arranged for our brothers, Bishop Julius and the priest Renatus of the church of St Clement, and also my son, the deacon Hilary, to ensure a good and faithful conclusion to the whole case. To their company we have added our notary Dulcitius, of proven loyalty to us. We trust that with God's help he who has fallen into error might condemn the wickedness of his own mind and find salvation.
God keep you safe, dearest brother.
Definition of the faith
The sacred and great and universal synod by God's grace and by decree of your most religious and Christ-loving emperors Valentinian Augustus and Marcian Augustus assembled in Chalcedon, metropolis of the province of Bithynia, in the shrine of the saintly and triumphant martyr Euphemia, issues the following decrees.
In establishing his disciples in the knowledge of the faith, our lord and saviour Christ said: "My peace I give you, my peace I leave to you"', so that no one should disagree with his neighbour regarding religious doctrines but that the proclamation of the truth would be uniformly presented. But the evil one never stops trying to smother the seeds of religion with his own tares and is for ever inventing some novelty or other against the truth; so the Master, exercising his usual care for the human race, roused this religious and most faithful emperor to zealous action, and summoned to himself the leaders of the priesthood from everywhere, so that through the working of the grace of Christ, the master of all of us, every injurious falsehood might be staved off from the sheep of Christ and they might be fattened on fresh growths of the truth.
This is in fact what we have done. We have driven off erroneous doctrines by our collective resolution and we have renewed the unerring creed of the fathers. We have proclaimed to all the creed of the 318; and we have made our own those fathers who accepted this agreed statement of religion -- the 150 who later met in great Constantinople and themselves set their seal to the same creed.
Therefore, whilst we also stand by
the decisions and all the formulas relating to the creed from the sacred synod which took place formerly at Ephesus,
whose leaders of most holy memory were Celestine of Rome and Cyril of Alexandria
we decree that
pre-eminence belongs to the exposition of the right and spotless creed of the 318 saintly and blessed fathers who were assembled at Nicaea when Constantine of pious memory was emperor: and that
those decrees also remain in force which were issued in Constantinople by the 150 holy fathers in order to destroy the heresies then rife and to confirm this same catholic and apostolic creed.
The creed of the 318 fathers at Nicaea.
And the same of the 150 saintly fathers assembled in Constantinople.
This wise and saving creed, the gift of divine grace, was sufficient for a perfect understanding and establishment of religion. For its teaching about the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit is complete, and it sets out the Lord's becoming human to those who faithfully accept it.
But there are those who are trying to ruin the proclamation of the truth, and through their private heresies they have spawned novel formulas:
some by daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord's economy on our behalf, and refusing to apply the word "God-bearer" to the Virgin; and
others by introducing a confusion and mixture, and mindlessly imagining that there is a single nature of the flesh and the divinity, and fantastically supposing that in the confusion the divine nature of the Only-begotten is passible.
Therefore this sacred and great and universal synod, now in session, in its desire to exclude all their tricks against the truth, and teaching what has been unshakeable in the proclamation from the beginning,
decrees that the creed of the 318 fathers is, above all else, to remain inviolate. And because of those who oppose the holy Spirit, it
ratifies the teaching about the being of the holy Spirit handed down by the 150 saintly fathers who met some time later in the imperial city
-- the teaching they made known to all,
not introducing anything left out by their predecessors, but clarifying their ideas about the holy Spirit by the use of scriptural testimonies against those who were trying to do away with his sovereignty.
And because of those who are attempting to corrupt the mystery of the economy and are shamelessly and foolishly asserting that he who was born of the holy virgin Mary was a mere man, it has accepted
the synodical letters of the blessed Cyril, [already accepted by the Council of Ephesus]
pastor of the church in Alexandria, to Nestorius and to the Orientals, as being well-suited to refuting Nestorius's mad folly and to providing an interpretation for those who in their religious zeal might desire understanding of the saving creed.
To these it has suitably added, against false believers and for the establishment of orthodox doctrines
the letter of the primate of greatest and older Rome,
the most blessed and most saintly Archbishop Leo, written to the sainted Archbishop Flavian to put down Eutyches's evil-mindedness, because it is in agreement with great Peter's confession and represents a support we have in common.
It is opposed to those who attempt to tear apart the mystery of the economy into a duality of sons; and
it expels from the assembly of the priests those who dare to say that the divinity of the Only-begotten is passible, and
it stands opposed to those who imagine a mixture or confusion between the two natures of Christ; and
it expels those who have the mad idea that the servant-form he took from us is of a heavenly or some other kind of being; and
it anathematises those who concoct two natures of the Lord before the union but imagine a single one after the union.
So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us.
Since we have formulated these things with all possible accuracy and attention, the sacred and universal synod decreed that no one is permitted to produce, or even to write down or compose, any other creed or to think or teach otherwise. As for those who dare either to compose another creed or even to promulgate or teach or hand down another creed for those who wish to convert to a recognition of the truth from Hellenism or from Judaism, or from any kind of heresy at all: if they be bishops or clerics, the bishops are to be deposed from the episcopacy and the clerics from the clergy; if they be monks or layfolk, they are to be anathematised.
We have deemed it right that the canons hitherto issued by the saintly fathers at each and every synod should remain in force.
If any bishop performs an ordination for money and puts the unsaleable grace on sale, and ordains for money a bishop, a chorepiscopus, a presbyter or a deacon or some other of those numbered among the clergy; or appoints a manager, a legal officer or a warden for money, or any other ecclesiastic at all for personal sordid gain; led him who has attempted this and been convicted stand to lose his personal rank; and let the person ordained profit nothing from the ordination or appointment he has bought; but let him be removed from the dignity or responsibility which he got for money. And if anyone appears to have acted even as a go-between in such disgraceful and unlawful dealings, let him too, if he is a cleric, be demoted from his personal rank, and if he is a lay person or a monk, let him be anathematised.
It has come to the notice of the sacred synod that some of those enrolled in the clergy are, for sordid gain, acting as hired managers of other people's property, and are involving themselves in worldly business, neglecting the service of God, frequenting the houses of worldly persons and taking over the handling of property out of avarice. So the sacred and great synod has decreed that in future no one, whether a bishop, a cleric or a monk, should either manage property or involve himself as an administrator of worldly business, unless he is legally and unavoidably summoned to take care of minors, or the local bishop appoints him to attend, out of fear of the Lord, to ecclesiastical business or to orphans and unprovided widows and persons in special need of ecclesiastical support. If in future anyone attempts to transgress these decrees, he must be subject to ecclesiastical penalties.
Those who truly and sincerely live the monastic life should be accorded appropriate recognition. But since there are some who don the monastic habit and meddle with the churches and in civil matters, and circulate indiscriminately in the cities and even are involved in founding monasteries for themselves, it has been decided that no one is to build or found a monastery or oratory anywhere against the will of the local bishop; and that monks of each city and region are to be subject to the bishop, are to foster peace and quiet, and attend solely to fasting and prayer, staying set apart in their places. They are not to abandon their own monasteries and interfere, or take part, in ecclesiastical or secular business unless they are perhaps assigned to do so by the local bishop because of some urgent necessity. No slave is to be taken into the monasteries to become a monk against the will of his own master. We have decreed that anyone who transgresses this decision of ours is to be excommunicated, lest God's name be blasphemed. However, it is for the local bishop to exercise the care and attention that the monasteries need.
In the matter of bishops or clerics who move from city to city, it has been decided that the canons issued by the holy fathers concerning them should retain their proper force.
No one, whether presbyter or deacon or anyone at all who belongs to the ecclesiastical order, is to be ordained without title, unless the one ordained is specially assigned to a city or village church or to a martyr's shrine or a monastery. The sacred synod has decreed that the ordination of those ordained without title is null, and that they cannot operate anywhere, because of the presumption of the one who ordained them.
We decree that those who have once joined the ranks of the clergy or have become monks are not to depart on military service or for secular office. Those who dare do this, and do not repent and return to what, in God, they previously chose, are to be anathematised.
Clerics in charge of almshouses and monasteries and martyrs' shrines are, in accordance with the tradition of the holy fathers, to remain under the jurisdiction of the bishop in each city. They are not to be self-willed and rebellious towards their own bishop. Those who dare to break a rule of this kind in any way whatever, and are not obedient to their own bishop, are, if they are clerics, to be subject to the canonical penalties; and if they are monks or layfolk they are to be made excommunicate.
If any cleric has a case to bring against a cleric, let him not leave his own bishop and take himself off to the secular courts, but let him first air the problem before his own bishop, or at least, with the permission of the bishop himself, before those whom both parties are willing to see act as arbiters of their lawsuit. If anyone acts in a contrary fashion, let him be subject to canonical penalties. If a cleric has a case to bring either against his own or against another bishop, let him bring the case to the synod of the province. If a bishop or a cleric is in dispute with the metropolitan of the same province, let him engage either the exarch of the diocese or the see of imperial Constantinople, and let him bring his case before him.
A cleric is not allowed to be appointed to churches in two cities at the same time: to the one where he was originally ordained, and to another more important one to which he has betaken himself out of desire to increase a baseless reputation. Those who do this are to be sent back to their own church in which they were ordained at the beginning, and only there are they to serve. But if some have already been transferred from one church to another, they are not to take part in any of the affairs of their former church, or of the martyrs' shrines or almshouses or hospices that come under it. The sacred synod has decreed that those who, subsequent to this decree of this great and universal synod, dare to do anything that is now forbidden are to lose their personal rank.
We have decreed that, subject to examination, all paupers and needy persons are to travel with ecclesiastical letters or letters of peace only, and not of commendation, since it befits only reputable persons to be provided with letters of commendation.
It has come to our notice that, contrary to the ecclesiastical regulations, some have made approaches to the civil authorities and have divided one province into two by official mandate, with the result that there are two metropolitans in the same province. The sacred synod therefore decrees that in future no bishop should dare do such a thing, since he who attempts it stands to lose his proper station. Such places as have already been honoured by imperial writ with the title of metropolis must treat it simply as honorary, and that goes also for the bishop who is in charge of the church there, without prejudice of course to the proper rights of the real metropolis.
Foreign clerics and readers without letters of commendation from their own bishop are absolutely forbidden to serve in another city.
Since in certain provinces readers and cantors have been allowed to marry, the sacred synod decrees that none of them is permitted to marry a wife of heterodox views. If those thus married have already had children, and if they have already had the children baptised among heretics, they are to bring them into the communion of the catholic church. If they have not been baptised, they may no longer have them baptised among heretics; nor indeed marry them to a heretic or a Jew or a Greek, unless of course the person who is to be married to the orthodox party promises to convert to the orthodox faith. If anyone transgresses this decree of the sacred synod, let him be subject to canonical penalty.
No woman under forty years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny. If after receiving ordination and spending some time in the ministry she despises God's grace and gets married, such a person is to be anathematised along with her spouse.
It is not permitted for a virgin who has dedicated herself to the Lord God, or similarly for a monk, to contract marriage. If it is discovered that they have done so, let them be made excommunicate. However, we have decreed that the local bishop should have discretion to deal humanely with them.
Rural or country parishes belonging to a church are to stay firmly tied to the bishops who have possession of them, and especially if they have continually and peacefully administered them over a thirty-year period. If, however, within the thirty years any dispute about them has arisen, or should arise, those who are claiming to be wronged are permitted to bring the case before the provincial synod. If there are any who are wronged by their own metropolitan, let their case be judged either by the exarch of the diocese or by the see of Constantinople, as has already been said. If any city has been newly erected, or is erected hereafter, by imperial decree, let the arrangement of ecclesiastical parishes conform to the civil and public regulations.
The crime of conspiracy or secret association is entirely prohibited even by the laws of the land; so all the more properly is this forbidden in the church of God. So if any clerics or monks are found to be either forming a conspiracy or a secret society or hatching plots against bishops or fellow clergy, let them lose their personal rank completely.
We have heard that in the provinces the synods of bishops prescribed by canon law are not taking place, and that as a result many ecclesiastical matters that need putting right are being neglected. So the sacred synod decrees that in accordance with the canons of the fathers, the bishops in each province are to foregather twice a year at a place approved by the bishop of the metropolis and put any matters arising to rights. Bishops failing to attend who enjoy good health and are free from all unavoidable and necessary engagements, but stay at home in their own cities, are to be fraternally rebuked.
As we have already decreed, clerics who are serving a church are not permitted to join a church in another city, but are to be content with the one in which they were originally authorised to minister, apart from those who have been displaced from their own country and been forced to move to another church. If subsequent to this decision any bishop receives a cleric who belongs to another bishop, it is decreed that both the received and the receiver are to be excommunicate until such time as the cleric who has moved returns to his own church.
Clerics or layfolk who bring allegations against bishops or clerics are not to be admitted to make their charges without more ado and before any examination, but their reputation must first be investigated.
It is not permitted for clerics, following the death of their own bishop, to seize the things that belong to him, as has been forbidden even by earlier canons. Those who do this risk losing their personal rank.
It has come to the notice of the sacred synod that certain clerics and monks who have no employment from their own bishop and have sometimes even been excommunicated by him, are frequenting imperial Constantinople and spending long periods there causing disturbances, upsetting the ecclesiastical establishment and ruining people's homes. So the sacred synod decrees that such people are first to be warned by the public attorney of the most holy Constantinopolitan church to get out of the imperial city; and if they shamelessly persist in the same kinds of behaviour, they are to be expelled by the same public attorney even against their will, and are to betake themselves to their own places.
Monasteries once consecrated in accordance with the will of the bishop are to remain monasteries in perpetuity, and the effects which belong to them are reserved to the monastery, and they must not be turned into secular hostelries. Those who allow this to happen are to be subject to the canonical penalties.
According to our information, certain metropolitans are neglecting the flocks entrusted to them and are delaying the ordination of bishops, so the sacred synod has decided that the ordination of bishops should take place within three months, unless the period of delay has been caused to be extended by some unavoidable necessity. If a metropolitan fails to do this, he is to be subject to ecclesiastical penalties. The income of the widowed church is to be kept safe by the administrator of the said church.
According to our information, in some churches the bishops handle church business without administrators; so it has been decided that every church which has a bishop is also to have an administrator, drawn from its own clergy, to administer ecclesiastical matters according to the mind of the bishop concerned so that the church's administration may not go unaudited, and that consequently the church's property is not dispersed and the episcopate not exposed to serious criticism. If he does not comply with this, he is to be subject to the divine canons.
The sacred synod decrees that those who carry off girls under pretext of cohabitation, or who are accomplices or co-operate with those who carry them off, are to lose their personal rank if they are clerics, and are to be anathematised if they are monks or layfolk.
28 [in fact a resolution passed by the council at the 16th session but rejected by the Pope]
Following in every way the decrees of the holy fathers and recognising the canon which has recently been read out--the canon of the 150 most devout bishops who assembled in the time of the great Theodosius of pious memory, then emperor, in imperial Constantinople, new Rome -- we issue the same decree and resolution concerning the prerogatives of the most holy church of the same Constantinople, new Rome. The fathers rightly accorded prerogatives to the see of older Rome, since that is an imperial city; and moved by the same purpose the 150 most devout bishops apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome, reasonably judging that the city which is honoured by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equalling older imperial Rome, should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her. The metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, but only these, as well as the bishops of these dioceses who work among non-Greeks, are to be ordained by the aforesaid most holy see of the most holy church in Constantinople. That is, each metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses along with the bishops of the province ordain the bishops of the province, as has been declared in the divine canons; but the metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, once agreement has been reached by vote in the usual way and has been reported to him.
29 [an extract from the minutes of the 19th session]
The most eminent and illustrious officials asked: What does the sacred synod advise in the case of the bishops ordained by the most reverend Bishop Photius and removed by the most reverend Bishop Eustathius and consigned to be priests after losing the episcopacy? The most reverend Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius and the priest Bonifatius, representatives of the apostolic see of Rome, replied: It is sacrilege to reduce a bishop to the rank of priest. But if whatever cause there is for removing those persons from the exercise of episcopacy is just, they ought not to occupy the position even of a priest. And if they have been removed from office and are without fault, they shall be restored to the episcopal dignity. The most reverend archbishop of Constantinople, Anatolius, replied: If those who are said to have descended from the episcopal dignity to the rank of priest have been condemned on what are reasonable grounds, they are clearly not worthy to hold even the office of a priest. But if they have been demoted to the lower rank without reasonable cause, then as long as they are seen to be innocent, they have every right to resume the dignity and priesthood of the episcopacy .
30 [an extract from the minutes of the 4th session]
The most eminent and illustrious officials and the exalted assembly declared: Since the most reverend bishops of Egypt have up to now put off subscribing to the letter of the most holy Archbishop Leo, not because they are in opposition to the catholic faith, but because they claim that it is customary in the Egyptian diocese not to do such things in contravention of the will and ordinance of their archbishop, and because they consider they should be given until the ordination of the future bishop of the great city of Alexandria, we think it reasonable and humane that, retaining their present rank in the imperial city, they should be granted a moratorium until such time as an archbishop of the great city of Alexandria is ordained. Most reverend Bishop Paschasinus, representative of the apostolic see, said: If your authority demands it, and you order that some measure of kindness be shown them, let them give guarantees that they will not leave this city before Alexandria receives its bishop. The most eminent and illustrious officials and the exalted assembly replied: Let the resolution of the most holy Bishop Paschasinus be upheld. So let the most reverend bishops of the Egyptians maintain their present rank and, either providing guarantees if they can, or pledging themselves on solemn oath, let them await the ordination of the future bishop of the great city of Alexandria.

Second Council of Constantinople - 553 A.D.

Sentence against the "Three Chapters"
Anathemas against the "Three Chapters"
The emperor Justinian and Pope Vigilius decided to summon this council after the latter withdrew his "Judgment" condemning the "Three Chapters" of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret and Ibas. This "Judgment" had been issued on 11 April 548 but the bishops of the west and especially of Africa unanimously opposed it. The council was summoned by Justinian to Constantinople, although Vigilius would have preferred to convene it in Sicily or Italy so that western bishops might be present. It assembled on 5 May 553 in the great hall attached to Hagia Sophia cathedral.
Since the Roman pontiff refused to take part in the council, because Justinian had summoned bishops in equal numbers from each of the five patriarchal sees, so that there would be many more eastern than western bishops present, Eutychius, patriarch of Constantinople, presided. The decrees of the council were signed by 160 bishops, of whom 8 were Africans.
On 14 May 553 Pope Vigilius issued his "Constitution", which was signed by 16 bishops (9 from Italy, 2 from Africa, 2 from Illyricum and 3 from Asia Minor). This rejected sixty propositions of Theodore of Mopsuestia, but spared his personal memory and refused to condemn either Theodoret or Ibas since, on the testimony of the council of Chalcedon, all suspicion of heresy against them had been removed. Nevertheless, the council in its 8th session on 2 June 553 again condemned the "Three Chapters", for the same reasons as Justinian had done so, in a judgment which concludes with 14 anathemas.
After carefully considering the matter for six months, Vigilius ,weighing up the persecutions of Justinian against his clergy and having sent a letter to Eutychius of Constantinople, approved the council, thus changing his mind "after the example of Augustine". Furthermore he anathematized Theodore and condemned his writings and those of Theodoret and Ibas. On 23 February 554, in a second "Constitution", he tried to reconcile the recent condemnation with what had been decreed at the council of Chalcedon.
The council did not debate ecclesiastical discipline nor did it issue disciplinary canons. Our edition does not include the text of the anathemas against Origen since recent studies have shown that these anathemas cannot be attributed to this council.
For the 14 anathemas (pp. 114-122) the translation is from the Greek text, since this is the more authoritative version.
Sentence against the "Three Chapters"
Our great God and saviour Jesus Christ, as we are told in the parable in the gospel, gives talents to each one according to his ability, and at the proper time asks for an account of what has been done by each one. If the person to whom only one talent has been given is condemned because he has not worked and increased it, but has only preserved it without diminishment, how much more serious and more frightening must be the condemnation to which the person is subjected who not only fails to look after himself but scandalizes others and is a cause of offence to them ? It is clear to all believers that when a problem about the faith comes up it is not only the heretical person who is condemned but also the person who is in a position to correct the heresy of others and fails to do so. To those of us to whom the task has been given of governing the church of the Lord, there comes a fear of the condemnation which threatens those who neglect to do the Lord's work. We hurry to take care of the good seed of faith protecting it from the weeds of heresy which have been planted by the enemy. We observed that the pupils of Nestorius were trying to bring their heresy into the church of God by means of the heretical Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia and his books as also by the writings of the heretical Theodoret and the disgraceful letter which is alleged to have been sent by Ibas to Mari the Persian. Our observations prompted us to correct what was happening. We assembled in this imperial city, summoned here by the will of God and the command of the most religious emperor.
The most religious Vigilius happened to be present in this imperial city and took part in all the criticisms against the three chapters. He had frequently condemned them by word of mouth and in his writings. Later he gave a written agreement to take part in our council and to study with us the three chapters so that we could all issue an appropriate definition of the true faith. The most pious emperor, prompted by what was acceptable to us, encouraged a meeting between Vigilius and ourselves because it is proper that the priesthood should impose a common conclusion to matters of common concern. Consequently we asked his reverence to carry out his written undertakings. It did not seem right that the scandal over these three chapters should continue and that the church of God should be further disturbed. In order to persuade him, we reminded him of the great example left us by the apostles and of the traditions of the fathers. Even though the grace of the holy Spirit was abundant in each of the apostles, so that none of them required the advice of another in order to do his work, nevertheless they were loathe to come to a decision on the issue of the circumcision of gentiles until they had met together to test their various opinions against the witness of the holy scriptures.
In this way they unanimously reached the conclusion which they wrote to the gentiles: It has seemed good to the holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.
The holy fathers, who have gathered at intervals in the four holy councils, have followed the examples of antiquity. They dealt with heresies and current problems by debate in common, since it was established as certain that when the disputed question is set out by each side in communal discussions, the light of truth drives out the shadows of lying.
The truth cannot be made clear in any other way when there are debates about questions of faith, since everyone requires the assistance of his neighbour. As Solomon says in his proverbs: A brother who helps a brother shall be exalted like a strong city; he shall be as strong as a well-established kingdom. Again in Ecclesiastes he says: Two are better than one, for they have a good reward for their toil. And the Lord himself says: Amen I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Vigilius was frequently invited by us all, and most distinguished judges were sent to him by the most pious emperor. Eventually he promised to give judgment personally on the three chapters. When we heard this promise, we remembered the warning of the Apostle that each of us shall give an account of himself to God. We were afraid of the condemnation which threatens those who scandalize one of the least important, and of the much more serious one which threatens those who scandalize so very christian an emperor, the people and all the churches. We also remembered what was said by God to Paul: Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not be silent; for I am with you, and nobody shall be able to harm you. When we met together, therefore, we first of all briefly made a confession of the faith which our lord Jesus Christ true God, handed down to his holy apostles and by means of them to the holy churches, the same faith which those who afterwards were holy fathers and doctors handed down to the people entrusted to them. We confessed that we believe, protect and preach to the holy churches that confession of faith which was set out at greater length by the 318 holy fathers who met in council at Nicaea and handed down the holy doctrine or creed. The 150 who met in council at Constantinople also set out the same faith and made a confession of it and explained it. The 200 holy fathers who met in the first council of Ephesus agreed to the same faith. We follow also the definitions of the 630 who met in council at Chalcedon, regarding the same faith which they both followed and preached. We confessed that we held to be condemned and anathematized all those who had been previously condemned and anathematized by the catholic church and by the aforesaid four councils. When we had made this confession in this way, we made a start on the examination of the three chapters. First, we considered Theodore of Mopsuestia. When all the blasphemies in his works were exposed, we were astonished at God's patience, that the tongue and mind which had formed such blasphemies were not straightaway burned up by divine fire. We would not even have allowed the official reader of these blasphemies to continue, such was our fear of the anger of God at even a rehearsal of them (since each blasphemy was worse than the one before in the extent of its heresy and shook to their foundation the minds of their listeners), if it had not been the case that those who revelled in these blasphemies seemed to us to require the humiliation which their exposure would bring upon them. All of us, angered by the blasphemies against God, burst into attacks and anathemas against Theodore, during and after the reading, as if he had been living and present there. We said: Lord, be favourable to us; not even the demons themselves have dared to speak such things against you.
O his intolerable tongue! O the wickedness of the man ! O the proud hand he raised against his creator! This disgraceful man, who had made a promise to understand the scriptures, did not remember the words of the prophet Hosea: Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! They have become notorious because of their impiety towards me. They spoke evil things about me, and after they had considered them, they spoke even worse things against me. They will fall into a trap because of the depravity of their tongues. Their contempt will be turned inwards on themselves, because they have broken my covenant and acted impiously against my law. The impious Theodore deserves to come under these curses. He dismissed the prophecies about Christ and he vilified, as far as he could, the great mystery of the arrangements that have been made for our salvation. In many ways he tried to demonstrate that the divine word was nothing but fables composed for the amusement of the gentiles. He ridiculed the other condemnations of the impious made by the prophets, especially the one in which holy Habakkuk says of those who teach false doctrines: Woe to him who makes his neighbours drink of the cup of his wrath, and makes them drunk, to gaze on their caverns. This refers to their teachings which are full of darkness and quite separate from the light.
Why ought we to add anything more? Anyone who wishes can consult the volumes of the heretical Theodore or the heretical chapters from his heretical books which have been included in our acts. Anyone can see his unbelievable folly and the disgraceful utterances made by him. We fear to continue and to rehearse again those shameful things. The writings of the holy fathers against him were also read out to us. We heard what had been written against his folly which was more than all the other heretics, and the historical records and imperial laws which set out his heresy from its beginning. Despite all this, those who defended his heresy, delighting in the insults offered by him to his creator, declared that it was improper to anathematize him after his death. Although we were aware of the ecclesiastical tradition concerning heretics, that they are anathematized even after death, we deemed it necessary to go into this matter as well and it can be found in the acts how several heretics were anathematized after they were dead. In many ways it has become clear to us that those who put forward this argument have no concern for God's judgments, nor for the pronouncements of the apostles, nor for the traditions of the fathers. We would willingly question them concerning what they would say about the Lord, who said of himself: He who believes in him is not condemned, he who does not believe in him is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And about that claim of the Apostle: Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. As we said earlier, I repeat once more: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed.
Since the Lord declares that the person is judged already, and the Apostle curses even the angels if they instruct in anything different from what we have preached, how is it possible even for the most presumptuous to assert that these condemnations apply only to those who are still alive? Are they unaware, or rather pretending to be unaware, that to be judged anathematized is just the same as to be separated from God? The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: As for someone who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.
It was in the spirit of this text that Cyril of holy memory, in the books which he wrote against Theodore, declared as follows: "Whether or not they are alive, we ought to keep clear of those who are in the grip of such dreadful errors. It is necessary always to avoid what is harmful, and not to be worried about public opinion but rather to consider what is pleasing to God". The same Cyril of holy memory, writing to bishop John of Antioch and to the synod which met there about Theodore who was condemned with Nestorius, says, "It was necessary that a brilliant festival should be kept since all those who had expressed opinions in accordance with Nestorius had been rejected, whoever they were. Action was taken against all those who believed, or had at any time believed, in these mistaken views. This is exactly what we and your holiness pronounced: 'We anathematize those who assert that there exist two sons and two Christs. He who is preached by you and us is, as was said, the single Christ, both Son and Lord, the only-begotten as man, as learned Paul says'". Moreover in his letter to the priests and fathers of monks, Alexander, Martinian, John, Paregorious and Maximus, and to those who were living as solitaries along with them, he says: "The holy synod of Ephesus, meeting in accordance with the will of God, has pronounced sentence against the heresy of Nestorius and has condemned according to justice and with accuracy both Nestorius himself and all those who might later, in inane fashion, adopt the same opinions as he held, and those who had previously adhered to the same opinions and who were bold enough to put them in writing, placing upon them all an equal condemnation. It was quite logical that when a condemnation was issued against one person for such stupidity in what he said, then that condemnation should apply not only to that person alone but also, so to speak, against all those who spread the heresies and untruths. They express these falsehoods against the true dogmas of the church, offering worship to two sons, trying to divide what cannot be divided, and introducing to both heaven and earth the offence of the worship of man. But the sacred band of heavenly spirits worship along with us only one lord Jesus Christ". Moreover, several letters of Augustine of sacred memory, who was particularly outstanding among the African bishops, were read in which he indicates that it is correct to condemn heretics even after their death. Other most reverend bishops of Africa have also observed this church custom; moreover the holy church of Rome has issued anathemas against certain bishops even after they were dead, although they had not been accused on matters of faith while they were alive; the acts of our deliberations bear witness to both these cases. Since the followers of Theodore and his heresy, who are plainly opposed to the truth, have tried to adduce some sections of the writings of Cyril and Proclus of holy memory, as though these were in favour of Theodore, it is appropriate to apply to these attempts the observation of the prophet when he writes: The ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. These followers have willfully misunderstood what the holy fathers wrote, even though it was true and appropriate; they have quoted these writings, dissembling excuses for their own iniquities. It seems that the fathers did not lift the anathema against Theodore but rather used the language of concession in order to lead away from their mistake those who offered some defence of Nestorius and his heresy; their aim was to lead them to perfection and to instruct them that not only was Nestorius, the disciple of heresy, condemned but also his teacher Theodore. The fathers indicate their intention in this matter despite the conciliatory forms used: Theodore was to be anathematized. This has been very clearly shown to be the case by us in our acts from the works of Cyril and Proclus of blessed memory in respect of the condemnation of Theodore and his heresy. This conciliatory attitude is also to be found in the holy scriptures. The apostle Paul employed this tactic at the start of his ministry when he was dealing with those who had been Jews; he circumcised Timothy so that by this conciliation and concession he might lead them to perfection. Afterwards, however, he ruled against circumcision, writing on the subject to the Galatians: Now I Paul say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. We found that the defenders of Theodore have done exactly what the heretics were accustomed to do. They have tried to lift the anathema on the said heretical Theodore by omitting some of the things which the holy fathers had written, by including certain confusing falsehoods of their own, and by quoting a letter of Cyril of blessed memory, as if all this were the evidence of the fathers. The passages which they quoted made the truth absolutely clear once the omitted sections were put back in their proper place. The falsehoods were quite apparent when the true writings were collated. In this matter those who issued these empty statements are those who, in the words of scripture, rely on lies, they make empty pleas; they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, they weave the spider's web.
After we had investigated in this way Theodore and his heresy, we took the trouble to quote and include in our acts a few of Theodoret's heretical writings against true faith, against the twelve chapters of holy Cyril and against the first synod of Ephesus. We also included some of Theodoret's writings on the side of the heretical Theodore and Nestorius so that it would be made clear, to the satisfaction of anyone reading our acts, that these opinions had been properly rejected and anathematized.
Thirdly, the letter which is alleged to have been written by Ibas to Mari the Persian was brought under scrutiny and we discovered that it too ought to be officially read out. When the letter was read out, its heretical character was immediately apparent to everyone. Until this time there had been some dispute as to whether the aforesaid three chapters ought to be condemned and anathematized. Since the supporters of the heretics Theodore and Nestorius were conspiring to strengthen in another way the case of these men and their heresy, and were alleging that this heretical letter, which approves and defends Theodore and Nestorius, had been accepted by the holy council of Chalcedon, it was therefore necessary for us to demonstrate that that holy synod was unaffected by the heresy which is present in that letter, and that clearly those who make such allegations are doing so not with the assistance of the holy council but so as to give some support to their own heresy by associating it with the name of Chalcedon. It was demonstrated in our acts that Ibas was previously accused of the same heresy which is contained in this letter. This accusation was levelled first by Proclus of holy memory, bishop of Constantinople, and afterwards by Theodosius of blessed memory and Flavian, the bishop there after Proclus, both of whom gave the task of examining the whole matter to Photius, bishop of Tyre, and to Eustathius, bishop of the city of Beirut. When Ibas was later found to be blameworthy, he was deposed from the episcopate. This being the state of affairs, how could anyone be so bold as to allege that that heretical letter was accepted by the holy council of Chalcedon or that the holy council of Chalcedon agreed with it in its entirety? So as to prevent those who misrepresent the holy council of Chalcedon in this way from having any further opportunity to do so we instructed that there should be a formal reading of the official pronouncements of the holy synods, namely the first of Ephesus and that of Chalcedon, on the subject of the letters of Cyril of holy memory and of Leo of blessed memory, formerly pope of older Rome. We gathered from these authorities that nothing which has been written by anyone ought to be accepted unless it has been shown conclusively that it is in accord with the true faith of the holy fathers. Therefore we broke off from our deliberations so as to reiterate in a formal declaration the definition of faith which was promulgated by the holy council of Chalcedon. We compared what was written in the letter with this official statement. When this comparison was made, it was quite apparent that the contents of the letter were quite contradictory to those of the definition of faith. The definition was in accord with the unique, permanent faith set out by the 318 holy fathers, and by the 150, and by those who gathered for the first council at Ephesus. The heretical letter, on the other hand, included the blasphemies of the heretical Theodore and Nestorius and even gave support to them and describes them as doctors, while it condemns the holy fathers as heretics. We make it quite clear to everyone that we do not intend to omit what the fathers had to say in the first and second investigations, which are adduced by the supporters of Theodore and Nestorius in support of their case. Rather these statements and all the others were formally read out and what they contained was submitted to official scrutiny, and we found that they had not allowed the said Ibas to be accepted until they had obliged him to anathematize Nestorius and his heretical doctrines which were affirmed in that letter. This was the view not only of the two bishops whose interventions some have tried to misapply but also of the other religious bishops of that holy council. They also acted thus in the case of Theodoret and insisted that he anathematize those opinions about which he was accused. If they would permit the acceptance of Ibas only if he condemned the heresy which was to be found in his letter, and on condition that he subscribed to a definition of faith set out by the council, how can an attempt be made to allege that this heretical letter was accepted by the same holy council? We are rightly told: What partnership has righteousness with iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What participation has the temple of God with idols?
Now that we have given the details of what our council has achieved, we repeat our formal confession that we accept the four holy synods, that is, of Nicaea, of Constantinople, the first of Ephesus, and of Chalcedon. Our teaching is and has been all that they have defined concerning the one faith. We consider those who do not respect these things as foreign to the catholic church. Furthermore, we condemn and anathematize, along with all other heretics who have been condemned and anathematized by the same four holy councils and by the holy, catholic and apostolic church, Theodore, formerly bishop of Mopsuestia, and his heretical writings, and also what Theodoret heretically wrote against the true faith, against the twelve chapters of holy Cyril and against the first synod of Ephesus, and we condemn also what he wrote defending Theodore and Nestorius. Additionally, we anathematize the heretical letter which Ibas is alleged to have written to Mari the Persian. This letter denies that God the Word was made incarnate of the ever virgin Mary, the holy mother of God, and that he was made man. It also condemns as a heretic Cyril of holy memory, who taught the truth, and suggests that he held the same opinions as Apollinarius. The letter condemns the first synod of Ephesus for deposing Nestorius without proper process and investigation. It calls the twelve chapters of holy Cyril heretical and contrary to the orthodox faith, while it supports Theodore and Nestorius and their heretical teachings and writings. Consequently we anathematize the aforesaid three chapters, that is, the heretical Theodore of Mopsuestia along with his detestable writings, and the heretical writings of Theodoret, and the heretical letter which Ibas is alleged to have written. We anathematize the supporters of these works and those who write or have written in defence of them, or who are bold enough to claim that they are orthodox, or who have defended or tried to defend their heresy in the names of holy fathers or of the holy council of Chalcedon.
These matters having been treated with thorough-going exactness, we bear in mind what was promised about the holy church and him who said that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics); we also bear in mind what was prophesied about the church by Hosea when he said, I shall betroth you to me in faithfulness and you shall know the Lord; and we count along with the devil, the father of lies, the uncontrolled tongues of heretics and their heretical writings, together with the heretics themselves who have persisted in their heresy even to death. So we declare to them: Behold all you who kindle a fire, who set brands alight! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the brands which you have kindled! Since we are under command to encourage the people with orthodox teaching and to speak to the heart of Jerusalem, that is the church of God, we very properly hurry to sow in righteousness and to reap the fruit of life. In doing this we are lighting for ourselves the lamp of knowledge from the scriptures and the teachings of the fathers. It has therefore seemed necessary to us to sum up in certain statements both our declarations of the truth and our condemnations of heretics and their heretical teachings.
Anathemas against the "Three Chapters"
If anyone will not confess that the Father, Son and holy Spirit have one nature or substance, that they have one power and authority, that there is a consubstantial Trinity, one Deity to be adored in three subsistences or persons: let him be anathema. There is only one God and Father, from whom all things come, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one holy Spirit, in whom all things are.If anyone will not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, that which is before all ages from the Father, outside time and without a body, and secondly that nativity of these latter days when the Word of God came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, mother of God and ever-virgin, and was born from her: let him be anathema.If anyone declares that the [Word] of God who works miracles is not identical with the Christ who suffered, or alleges that God the Word was with the Christ who was born of woman, or was in him in the way that one might be in another, but that our lord Jesus Christ was not one and the same, the Word of God incarnate and made man, and that the miracles and the sufferings which he voluntarily underwent in the flesh were not of the same person: let him be anathema.If anyone declares that it was only in respect of grace, or of principle of action, or of dignity or in respect of equality of honour, or in respect of authority, or of some relation, or of some affection or power that there was a unity made between the Word of God and the man, or if anyone alleges that it is in respect of good will, as if God the Word was pleased with the man, because he was well and properly disposed to God, as Theodore claims in his madness; or if anyone says that this union is only a sort of synonymity, as the Nestorians allege, who call the Word of God Jesus and Christ, and even designate the human separately by the names "Christ" and "Son", discussing quite obviously two different persons, and only pretending to speak of one person and one Christ when the reference is to his title, honour, dignity or adoration; finally if anyone does not accept the teaching of the holy fathers that the union occurred of the Word of God with human flesh which is possessed by a rational and intellectual soul, and that this union is by synthesis or by person, and that therefore there is only one person, namely the lord Jesus Christ, one member of the holy Trinity: let him be anathema. The notion of "union" can be understood in many different ways. The supporters of the wickedness of Apollinarius and Eutyches have asserted that the union is produced by a confusing of the uniting elements, as they advocate the disappearance of the elements that unite. Those who follow Theodore and Nestorius, rejoicing in the division, have brought in a union which is only by affection. The holy church of God, rejecting the wickedness of both sorts of heresy, states her belief in a union between the Word of God and human flesh which is by synthesis, that is by a union of subsistence. In the mystery of Christ the union of synthesis not only conserves without confusing the elements that come together but also allows no division.If anyone understands by the single subsistence of our lord Jesus Christ that it covers the meaning of many subsistences, and by this argument tries to introduce into the mystery of Christ two subsistences or two persons, and having brought in two persons then talks of one person only in respect of dignity, honour or adoration, as both Theodore and Nestorius have written in their madness; if anyone falsely represents the holy synod of Chalcedon, making out that it accepted this heretical view by its terminology of "one subsistence", and if he does not acknowledge that the Word of God is united with human flesh by subsistence, and that on account of this there is only one subsistence or one person, and that the holy synod of Chalcedon thus made a formal statement of belief in the single subsistence of our lord Jesus Christ: let him be anathema. There has been no addition of person or subsistence to the holy Trinity even after one of its members, God the Word, becoming human flesh.If anyone declares that it can be only inexactly and not truly said that the holy and glorious ever-virgin Mary is the mother of God, or says that she is so only in some relative way, considering that she bore a mere man and that God the Word was not made into human flesh in her, holding rather that the nativity of a man from her was referred, as they say, to God the Word as he was with the man who came into being; if anyone misrepresents the holy synod of Chalcedon, alleging that it claimed that the virgin was the mother of God only according to that heretical understanding which the blasphemous Theodore put forward; or if anyone says that she is the mother of a man or the Christ-bearer, that is the mother of Christ, suggesting that Christ is not God; and does not formally confess that she is properly and truly the mother of God, because he who before all ages was born of the Father, God the Word, has been made into human flesh in these latter days and has been born to her, and it was in this religious understanding that the holy synod of Chalcedon formally stated its belief that she was the mother of God: let him be anathema.If anyone, when speaking about the two natures, does not confess a belief in our one lord Jesus Christ, understood in both his divinity and his humanity, so as by this to signify a difference of natures of which an ineffable union has been made without confusion, in which neither the nature of the Word was changed into the nature of human flesh, nor was the nature of human flesh changed into that of the Word (each remained what it was by nature, even after the union, as this had been made in respect of subsistence); and if anyone understands the two natures in the mystery of Christ in the sense of a division into parts, or if he expresses his belief in the plural natures in the same lord Jesus Christ, God the Word made flesh, but does not consider the difference of those natures, of which he is composed, to be only in the onlooker's mind, a difference which is not compromised by the union (for he is one from both and the two exist through the one) but uses the plurality to suggest that each nature is possessed separately and has a subsistence of its own: let him be anathema.If anyone confesses a belief that a union has been made out of the two natures divinity and humanity, or speaks about the one nature of God the Word made flesh, but does not understand these things according to what the fathers have taught, namely that from the divine and human natures a union was made according to subsistence, and that one Christ was formed, and from these expressions tries to introduce one nature or substance made of the deity and human flesh of Christ: let him be anathema. In saying that it was in respect of subsistence that the only-begotten God the Word was united, we are not alleging that there was a confusion made of each of the natures into one another, but rather that each of the two remained what it was, and in this way we understand that the Word was united to human flesh. So there is only one Christ, God and man, the same being consubstantial with the Father in respect of his divinity, and also consubstantial with us in respect of our humanity. Both those who divide or split up the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ and those who introduce into that mystery some confusion are equally rejected and anathematized by the church of God.If anyone says that Christ is to be worshipped in his two natures, and by that wishes to introduce two adorations, a separate one for God the Word and another for the man; or if anyone, so as to remove the human flesh or to mix up the divinity and the humanity, monstrously invents one nature or substance brought together from the two, and so worships Christ, but not by a single adoration God the Word in human flesh along with his human flesh, as has been the tradition of the church from the beginning: let him be anathema.If anyone does not confess his belief that our lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified in his human flesh, is truly God and the Lord of glory and one of the members of the holy Trinity: let him be anathema.If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinarius Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their heretical books, and also all other heretics who have already been condemned and anathematized by the holy, catholic and apostolic church and by the four holy synods which have already been mentioned, and also all those who have thought or now think in the same way as the aforesaid heretics and who persist in their error even to death: let him be anathema.If anyone defends the heretical Theodore of Mopsuestia, who said that God the Word is one, while quite another is Christ, who was troubled by the passions of the soul and the desires of human flesh, was gradually separated from that which is inferior, and became better by his progress in good works, and could not be faulted in his way of life, and as a mere man was baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, and through this baptism received the grace of the holy Spirit and came to deserve sonship and to be adored, in the way that one adores a statue of the emperor, as if he were God the Word, and that he became after his resurrection immutable in his thoughts and entirely without sin. Furthermore this heretical Theodore claimed that the union of God the Word to Christ is rather like that which, according to the teaching of the Apostle, is between a man and his wife: The two shall become one. Among innumerable other blasphemies he dared to allege that, when after his resurrection the Lord breathed on his disciples and said, Receive the holy Spirit, he was not truly giving them the holy Spirit, but he breathed on them only as a sign. Similarly he claimed that Thomas's profession of faith made when, after his resurrection, he touched the hands and side of the Lord, namely My Lord and my God, was not said about Christ, but that Thomas was in this way extolling God for raising up Christ and expressing his astonishment at the miracle of the resurrection. This Theodore makes a comparison which is even worse than this when, writing about the acts of the Apostles, he says that Christ was like Plato, Manichaeus, Epicurus and Marcion, alleging that just as each of these men arrived at his own teaching and then had his disciples called after him Platonists, Manichaeans, Epicureans and Marcionites, so Christ found his teaching and then had disciples who were called Christians. If anyone offers a defence for this more heretical Theodore, and his heretical books in which he throws up the aforesaid blasphemies and many other additional blasphemies against our great God and saviour Jesus Christ, and if anyone fails to anathematize him and his heretical books as well as all those who offer acceptance or defence to him, or who allege that his interpretation is correct, or who write on his behalf or on that of his heretical teachings, or who are or have been of the same way of thinking and persist until death in this error: let him be anathema.If anyone defends the heretical writings of Theodoret which were composed against the true faith, against the first holy synod of Ephesus and against holy Cyril and his Twelve Chapters, and also defends what Theodoret wrote to support the heretical Theodore and Nestorius and others who think in the same way as the aforesaid Theodore and Nestorius and accept them or their heresy and if anyone, because of them, shall accuse of being heretical the doctors of the church who have stated their belief in the union according to subsistence of God the Word; and if anyone does not anathematize these heretical books and those who have thought or now think in this way, and all those who have written against the true faith or against holy Cyril and his twelve chapters, and who persist in such heresy until they die: let him be anathema.If anyone defends the letter which Ibas is said to have written to Mari the Persian, which denies that God the Word, who became incarnate of Mary the holy mother of God and ever virgin, became man, but alleges that he was only a man born to her, whom it describes as a temple, as if God the Word was one and the man someone quite different; which condemns holy Cyril as if he were a heretic, when he gives the true teaching of Christians, and accuses holy Cyril of writing opinions like those of the heretical Apollinarius ;which rebukes the first holy synod of Ephesus, alleging that it condemned Nestorius without going into the matter by a formal examination; which claims that the twelve chapters of holy Cyril are heretical and opposed to the true faith; and which defends Theodore and Nestorius and their heretical teachings and books. If anyone defends the said letter and does not anathematize it and all those who offer a defence for it and allege that it or a part of it is correct, or if anyone defends those who have written or shall write in support of it or the heresies contained in it, or supports those who are bold enough to defend it or its heresies in the name of the holy fathers of the holy synod of Chalcedon, and persists in these errors until his death: let him be anathema.
Such then are the assertions we confess. We have received them from
holy Scripture, from
the teaching of the holy fathers, and from
the definitions about the one and the same faith made by the aforesaid four holy synods.
Moreover, condemnation has been passed by us against the heretics and their impiety, and also against those who have justified or shall justify the so-called "Three Chapters", and against those who have persisted or will persist in their own error. If anyone should attempt to hand on, or to teach by word or writing, anything contrary to what we have regulated, then if he is a bishop or somebody appointed to the clergy, in so far as he is acting contrary to what befits priests and the ecclesiastical status, let him be stripped of the rank of priest or cleric, and if he is a monk or lay person, let him be anathema.

Third Council of Constantinople : 680-681 A. D.

To make an end of the Monothelite controversy, Emperor Constantine IV asked Pope Donus in 678 to send twelve bishops and four western Greek monastic superiors to represent the pope at an assembly of eastern and western theologians. Pope Agatho, who meanwhile had succeeded Donus, ordered consultation in the west on this important matter. Around Easter 680 a synod in Rome of 125 Italian bishops, with Pope Agatho presiding, assessed the replies of the regional synods of the west and composed a profession of faith in which Monothelitism was condemned. Legates of the pope took this profession to Constantinople, arriving at the beginning of September 680.
On 10 September 680 the emperor issued an edict to Patriarch George of Constantinople, ordering a council of bishops to be convoked. The council assembled on 7 November in the hall of the imperial palace in Constantinople. It immediately called itself an ecumenical council. There were 18 sessions, at the first eleven of which the emperor presided.
In the 8th session, on 7 March 681, the council adopted the teaching of Pope Agatho in condemnation of Monothelitism. Patriarch Macarius of Antioch was one of the few who refused his assent; he was deposed in the 12th session.
The doctrinal conclusions of the council were defined in the 17th session and promulgated in the 18th and last session on 16 September 681. The acts of the council, signed both by 174 fathers and finally by the emperor himself, were sent to Pope Leo II, who had succeeded Agatho, and he, when he had approved them, ordered them to be translated into Latin and to be signed by all the bishops of the west. Constantine IV, however, promulgated the decrees of the council in all parts of the empire by imperial edict. The council did not debate church discipline and did not establish any disciplinary cannons.
Exposition of faith
The only Son and Word of God the Father, who became a man like us in all things but sin, Christ our true God, proclaimed clearly in the words of the gospel; I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life, and again, My peace I leave to you, my peace I give you. Our most mild emperor, champion of right belief and adversary of wrong belief, guided in godly wisdom by this teaching of peace spoken by God, has brought together this holy and universal assembly of ours and set at one the whole judgment of the church.
Wherefore this holy and universal synod of ours, driving afar the error of impiety which endured for some time even till the present, following without deviation in a straight path after the holy and accepted fathers, has piously accorded in all things with the five holy and universal synods: that is to say, with
the synod of 318 holy fathers who gathered at Nicaea against the madman Arius, and
that which followed it at Constantinople of 150 God-led men against Macedonius, opponent of the Spirit, and the impious Apollinarius; similarly too, with
the first at Ephesus of 200 godly men brought together against Nestorius, who thought as the Jews and
that at Chalcedon of 630 God-inspired fathers against Eutyches and Dioscorus, hateful to God; also, in addition to these, with
the fifth holy synod, the latest of them, which was gathered here against Theodore of Mopsuestia, Origen, Didymus and Evagrius, and the writings of Theodoret against the twelve chapters of the renowned Cyril, and the letter said to have been written by Ibas to Mari the Persian.
Reaffirming the divine tenets of piety in all respects unaltered, and banishing the profane teachings of impiety, this holy and universal synod of ours has also, in its turn, under God's inspiration, set its seal on the creed which was made out by the 318 fathers and confirmed again with godly prudence by the 150 and which the other holy synods too accepted gladly and ratified for the elimination of all soul-corrupting heresy
We believe in one God ...[Creed of Nicaea and of Constantinople 1]
The holy and universal synod said:
This pious and orthodox creed of the divine favour was enough for a complete knowledge of the orthodox faith and a complete assurance therein. But since from the first, the contriver of evil did not rest, finding an accomplice in the serpent and through him bringing upon human nature the poisoned dart of death, so too now he has found instruments suited to his own purpose--namely Theodore, who was bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, who were bishops of this imperial city, and further Honorius, who was pope of elder Rome, Cyrus, who held the see of Alexandria, and Macarius, who was recently bishop of Antioch, and his disciple Stephen -- and has not been idle in raising through them obstacles of error against the full body of the church sowing with novel speech among the orthodox people the heresy of a single will and a single principle of action in the two natures of the one member of the holy Trinity Christ our true God, a heresy in harmony with the evil belief, ruinous to the mind, of the impious Apollinarius, Severus and Themistius, and one intent on removing the perfection of the becoming man of the same one lord Jesus Christ our God, through a certain guileful device, leading from there to the blasphemous conclusion that his rationally animate flesh is without a will and a principle of action.
Therefore Christ our God has stirred up the faithful emperor, the new David, finding in him a man after his own heart, who, as the scripture says, did not allow his eyes sleep or his eyelids drowsing until through this holy assembly of ours, brought together by God, he found the perfect proclamation of right belief; for according to the God-spoken saying, Where there are two or three gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.
This same holy and universal synod, here present, faithfully accepts and welcomes with open hands the report of Agatho, most holy and most blessed pope of elder Rome, that came to our most reverend and most faithful emperor Constantine, which rejected by name those who proclaimed and taught, as has been already explained, one will and one principle of action in the incarnate dispensation of Christ our true God; and likewise it approves as well the other synodal report to his God-taught serenity, from the synod of 125 bishops dear to God meeting under the same most holy pope, as according with the holy synod at Chalcedon and with the Tome of the all-holy and most blessed Leo, pope of the same elder Rome, which was sent to Flavian, who is among the saints, and which that synod called a pillar of right belief, and furthermore with the synodal letters written by the blessed Cyril against the impious Nestorius and to the bishops of the east.
Following the five holy and universal synods and the holy and accepted fathers, and defining in unison, it professes our lord Jesus Christ our true God, one of the holy Trinity, which is of one same being and is the source of life, to be perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity, like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, who is properly and truly called mother of God, as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no separation, no division; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single subsistent being [in unam personam et in unam subsistentiam concurrente]; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, Word of God, lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as Jesus the Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the holy fathers handed it down to us.
And we proclaim equally two natural volitions or wills in him and two natural principles of action which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, in accordance with the teaching of the holy fathers. And the two natural wills not in opposition, as the impious heretics said, far from it, but his human will following, and not resisting or struggling, rather in fact subject to his divine and all powerful will. For the will of the flesh had to be moved, and yet to be subjected to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius. For just as his flesh is said to be and is flesh of the Word of God, so too the natural will of his flesh is said to and does belong to the Word of God, just as he says himself: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me, calling his own will that of his flesh, since his flesh too became his own. For in the same way that his all holy and blameless animate flesh was not destroyed in being made divine but remained in its own limit and category, so his human will as well was not destroyed by being made divine, but rather was preserved, according to the theologian Gregory, who says: "For his willing, when he is considered as saviour, is not in opposition to God, being made divine in its entirety." And we hold there to be two natural principles of action in the same Jesus Christ our lord and true God, which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, that is, a divine principle of action and a human principle of action, according to the godly-speaking Leo, who says most clearly: "For each form does in a communion with the other that activity which it possesses as its own, the Word working that which is the Word's and the body accomplishing the things that are the body's". For of course we will not grant the existence of only a single natural principle of action of both God and creature, lest we raise what is made to the level of divine being, or indeed reduce what is most specifically proper to the divine nature to a level befitting creatures for we acknowledge that the miracles and the sufferings are of one and the same according to one or the other of the two natures out of which he is and in which he has his being, as the admirable Cyril said. Therefore, protecting on all sides the "no confusion" and "no division", we announce the whole in these brief words: Believing our lord Jesus Christ, even after his incarnation, to be one of the holy Trinity and our true God, we say that he has two natures [naturas] shining forth in his one subsistence[subsistentia] in which he demonstrated the miracles and the sufferings throughout his entire providential dwelling here, not in appearance but in truth, the difference of the natures being made known in the same one subsistence in that each nature wills and performs the things that are proper to it in a communion with the other; then in accord with this reasoning we hold that two natural wills and principles of action meet in correspondence for the salvation of the human race.
So now that these points have been formulated by us with all precision in every respect and with all care, we definitely state that it is not allowable for anyone to produce another faith, that is, to write or to compose or to consider or to teach others; those who dare to compose another faith, or to support or to teach or to hand on another creed to those who wish to turn to knowledge of the truth, whether from Hellenism or Judaism or indeed from any heresy whatsoever, or to introduce novelty of speech, that is, invention of terms, so as to overturn what has now been defined by us, such persons, if they are bishops or clerics, are deprived of their episcopacy or clerical rank, and if they are monks or layfolk they are excommunicated.

Second Council of Nicaea - 787 A.D.

A recommendation to summon an ecumenical council, in order to correct the iconoclast heretics, had been addressed to Empress Irene, then acting as regent for her son Emperor Constantine VI (780-797) who was still a minor, both by Patriarch Paul IV of Constantinople (who had repented of his earlier iconoclast views) before his abdication from the see in 784 and by his successor as patriarch, Tarasius. The aim was to unite the church and to condemn the decrees passed by the council of 338 bishops held at Hiereia and St Mary of Blachernae in 754.
The convocation of the council was announced to Pope Hadrian I (772-795) in a letter of Constantine VI and Irene, dated 29 August 784. They urged him either to attend in person or to send legates. Patriarch Tarasius sent the same message in synodal letters to the pope and the three eastern patriarchs. Pope Hadrian I gave his approval for the convocation of the council, stipulating various conditions, and sent as his legates the archpriest Peter and Peter, abbot of the Greek monastery of St Sabas in Rome.
The council, which was summoned by an imperial edict in the summer of 786, met for the first time on 1 August 786, in the presence of Emperor Constantine and Empress Irene. When the proceedings were interrupted by the violent entry of iconoclast soldiers, faithful to the memory of Emperor Constantine V (741-775), the council was adjourned until the arrival of a reliable army under Staurakios. It assembled again at Nicaea on 24 September 787, the papal legates having been recalled from Sicily.
After the bishops suspected of heresy had been admitted, 263 fathers embraced the doctrine concerning the cult of sacred images as explained in the letters of Pope Hadrian I, which were read out at the second session.
The question of the intercession of saints was dealt with in the fourth session.
Once all these matters had been approved, a doctrinal definition was decreed at the seventh session.
At the eighth and last session, which was held at the request of Constantine and Irene in the Magnaura palace in Constantinople, the definition was again decreed and proclaimed and 22 canons were read out. The papal legates presided over the council and were the first to sign the acts; but in reality it was Patriarch Tarasius who presided, and it was he, at the command of the council, who informed Pope Hadrian I about it: "the occasion when the letters of your fraternal holiness were read out and all acclaimed them".
Pope Hadrian I wrote no letter in reply, yet the defence he made of the council in 794 against Charlemagne shows that he accepted what the council had decreed, and that he had sent no acknowledgement because the concessions which he had requested in his letter of 26 October 785 to Constantine and Irene had not been granted to him, especially concerning the restoration of the papacy's patrimony to the state at which it had been prior to 731, that is, before Illyricum had been confiscated by the emperor Leo III. Emperor Constantine VI and his mother Irene signed the acts of the council but it is unclear whether or not they promulgated a decree on the matter.
The translation is from the Greek text, since this is the more authoritative version. {Material in curly parentheses ,{ }, paragraphing, italicizing and bolding, are added by the hypertext editor. The material in square brackets [ ] is found in the hardcopy book from which the translation was taken.}
The holy, great and universal synod, by the grace of God and by order of our pious and Christ-loving emperor and empress, Constantine and his mother Irene, assembled for the second time in the famous metropolis of the Nicaeans in the province of the Bithynians, in the holy church of God named after Wisdom, following the tradition of the catholic church, has decreed what is here laid down.
{The council bases itself on the inspiration of Tradition & of itself}
The one who granted us the light of recognizing him, the one who redeemed us from the darkness of idolatrous insanity, Christ our God, when he took for his bride his holy catholic church, having no blemish or wrinkle, promised he would guard her and assured his holy disciples saying, I am with you every day until the consummation of this age. This promise however he made not only to them but also to us, who thanks to them have come to believe in his name. To this gracious offer some people paid no attention, being hoodwinked by the treacherous foe they abandoned the true line of reasoning, and setting themselves against the tradition of the catholic church they faltered in their grasp of the truth. As the proverbial saying puts it, they turned askew the axles of their farm carts and gathered no harvest in their hands. Indeed they had the effrontery to criticise the beauty pleasing to God established in the holy monuments; they were priests in name, but not in reality. They were those of whom God calls out by prophecy, Many pastors have destroyed my vine, they have defiled my portion. For they followed unholy men and trusting to their own frenzies they calumniated the holy church, which Christ our God has espoused to himself, and they failed to distinguish the holy from the profane, asserting that the icons of our Lord and of his saints were no different from the wooden images of satanic idols.
Therefore the Lord God, not bearing that what was subject to him should be destroyed by such a corruption, has by his good pleasure summoned us together through the divine diligence and decision of Constantine and Irene, our faithful emperor and empress, we who are those responsible for the priesthood everywhere, in order that the divinely inspired tradition of the catholic church should receive confirmation by a public decree. So having made investigation with all accuracy and having taken counsel, setting for our aim the truth, we neither diminish nor augment, but simply guard intact all that pertains to the catholic church.
{Recapitulation and re-affirmation of everything taught by any previous ecumenical council}
Thus, following the six holy universal synods, in the first place that assembled in the famous metropolis of the Nicaeans {{1}Nicea I}, and then that held after it in the imperial, God-guarded city: {i.e. {2} Constantinople I} We believe in one God ...[the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed follows]. We abominate and anathematize - Arius and those who think like him and share in his mad error; also Macedonius and those with him, properly called the Pneumatomachi; we also confess our Lady, the holy Mary, to be really and truly the God-bearer, because she gave birth in the flesh to Christ, one of the Trinity, our God, just as the first synod at {3}Ephesus decreed; it also expelled from the church Nestorius and those with him, because they were introducing a duality of persons. Along with these synods, we also confess the two natures of the one who became incarnate for our sake from the God-bearer without blemish, Mary the ever-virgin, recognizing that he is perfect God and perfect man, as the synod at {4}Chalcedon also proclaimed, when it drove from the divine precinct the foul-mouthed Eutyches and Dioscorus. We reject along with them Severus Peter and their interconnected band with their many blasphemies, in whose company we anathematize the mythical speculations of Origen, Evagrius and Didymus, as did the fifth synod, that assembled at {5}Constantinople. Further we declare that there are two wills and principles of action, in accordance with what is proper to each of the natures in Christ, in the way that the sixth synod, that at {6}Constantinople, proclaimed, when it also publicly rejected Sergius, Honorius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Macarius, those uninterested in true holiness, and their likeminded followers.
To summarize, we declare that we defend free from any innovations all the
written and
ecclesiastical traditions that have been entrusted to us.
{Council formulates for the first time what the Church has always believed regarding icons}
One of these is the production of representational art; this is quite in harmony with the history of the spread of the gospel, as it provides confirmation that the becoming man of the Word of God was real and not just imaginary, and as it brings us a similar benefit. For, things that mutually illustrate one another undoubtedly possess one another's message.
Given this state of affairs and stepping out as though on the royal highway, following as we are
the God-spoken teaching of our holy fathers and
the tradition of the catholic church --
for we recognize that this tradition comes from the holy Spirit who dwells in her--
we decree with full precision and care that,
like the figure of the honoured and life-giving cross,
the revered and holy images,
whether painted or
made of mosaic
or of other suitable material,
are to be exposed
in the holy churches of God,
on sacred instruments and vestments,
on walls and panels,
in houses and by public ways,
these are the images of
our Lord, God and saviour, Jesus Christ, and of
our Lady without blemish, the holy God-bearer, and of
the revered angels and of
any of the saintly holy men.
The more frequently they are seen in representational art, the more are those who see them drawn to remember and long for those who serve as models, and to pay these images the tribute of salutation and respectful veneration. Certainly this is not the full adoration {latria} in accordance with our faith, which is properly paid only to the divine nature, but it resembles that given to the figure of the honoured and life-giving cross, and also to the holy books of the gospels and to other sacred cult objects. Further, people are drawn to honour these images with the offering of incense and lights, as was piously established by ancient custom. Indeed, the honour paid to an image traverses it, reaching the model, and he who venerates the image, venerates the person represented in that image.
So it is that the teaching of our holy fathers is strengthened, namely, the tradition of the catholic church which has received the gospel from one end of the earth to the other.
So it is that we really follow Paul, who spoke in Christ, and the entire divine apostolic group and the holiness of the fathers, clinging fast to the traditions which we have received.
So it is that we sing out with the prophets the hymns of victory to the church: Rejoice exceedingly O daughter of Zion, proclaim O daughter of Jerusalem; enjoy your happiness and gladness with a full heart. The Lord has removed away from you the injustices of your enemies, you have been redeemed from the hand of your foes. The Lord the king is in your midst, you will never more see evil, and peace will be upon you for time eternal.
Therefore all those who dare to think or teach anything different, or who follow the accursed heretics in rejecting ecclesiastical traditions, or who devise innovations, or who spurn anything entrusted to the church (whether it be the gospel or the figure of the cross or any example of representational art or any martyr's holy relic), or who fabricate perverted and evil prejudices against cherishing any of the lawful traditions of the catholic church, or who secularize the sacred objects and saintly monasteries, we order that they be suspended if they are bishops or clerics, and excommunicated if they are monks or lay people.
Anathemas concerning holy images
If anyone does not confess that Christ our God can be represented in his humanity, let him be anathema.
If anyone does not accept representation in art of evangelical scenes, let him be anathema.
If anyone does not salute such representations as standing for the Lord and his saints, let him be anathema.
If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the church, let him be anathema.
For those to whom the priestly dignity is allotted, the guide-lines contained in the canonical regulations are testimonies and directives. We accept them gladly and sing out to the Lord God with David, the revealer of God: In the path of your testimonies I have taken delight, as with all manner of wealth; and, You have enjoined justice, your testimonies are for ever; instruct me to give me life. And if the prophetic voice orders us for all eternity to observe the messages of God and to live in them, it is obvious that they remain unshakeable and immoveable; thus Moses, who looked on God, declares, To these there is no addition, and from these there is no subtraction. The divine apostle takes pride in them when he cries out, These things which the angels long to gaze upon, and, If an angel brings you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed.
Since these things really are such and have been testified to us in these ways, we exult in them as a person would if he were to come across a great mass of booty. We joyfully embrace the sacred canons and we maintain complete and unshaken their regulation, both those expounded by those trumpets of the Spirit, the apostles worthy of all praise, and those from the six holy universal synods and from the synods assembled locally for the promulgation of such decrees, and from our holy fathers. Indeed all of these, enlightened by one and the same Spirit, decreed what is expedient. In the case of those whom they sent away under an anathema, we also anathematize them, those whom they suspended, we also suspend; those whom they excommunicated, we also excommunicate; those whom they placed under penalties, we also deal with in the same way. Let your conduct be free from avariciousness, contenting yourself with what you have, cried out with all explicitness the divine apostle Paul, who mounted to the third heaven and heard words that cannot be uttered.
Since we make an undertaking before God as we sing, I shall meditate on your judgments, I shall not neglect your words, it is essential to our salvation that every Christian should observe these things, but more especially those who have been invested with priestly dignity. Therefore we decree that
everyone who is to be advanced to the grade of bishop should have a thorough knowledge of the psalter, in order that he may instruct all the clergy subordinate to him, to be initiated in that book.
He should also be examined without fail by the metropolitan to see if he is willing to acquire knowledge--a knowledge that should be searching and not superficial--of the sacred canons, the holy gospel, the book of the divine apostle, and all divine scripture;
also if he is willing to conduct himself and teach the people entrusted to him according to the divine commandments.
"The substance of our hierarchy are the words handed down from God", that is to say, the true knowledge of the divine scriptures, as the great Dionysius made plain. If someone is doubtful and ill at ease with such conduct and teaching, let him not be ordained. For God said through the prophet: You rejected knowledge, and I shall reject you, so that you may not serve me in a priestly function.
Any election of a bishop, priest or deacon brought about by the rulers is to be null and void in accordance with the canon that says: "If any bishop, through the influence of secular rulers, acquires responsibility for a church because of them, let him be suspended and let all those who are in communion with him be excommunicated".
It is necessary that the person who is to be advanced to a bishopric should be elected by bishops, as has been decreed by the holy fathers at Nicaea in the canon that says: "It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all [the bishops] in the province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan".
The herald of the truth, Paul, the divine apostle, laying down a sort of rule for the presbyters of Ephesus, or rather for the whole priestly order, declared firmly: I have not coveted silver or gold or anybody's clothing; I have made completely plain to you that it is by working in this fashion that we should provide for the weak being convinced that it is blessed to give.
Therefore we also, having been taught by him, decree that a bishop should never have any sort of design on foul profit, inventing excuses for his sins, nor demand any gold or silver or anything similar from the bishops, clerics and monks subject to him. For the apostle says: The unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God; and, It is not children who should heap up treasures for their parents, but parents for their children.
So if it is discovered that somebody, because of a demand for gold or something similar, or because of some private infatuation of his own, has excluded from the liturgy or excommunicated one of the clerics under his authority, or has closed off one of the holy churches, preventing the celebration of God's liturgies in it, pouring out his own madness against insensible things, then he is truly senseless himself and he should be subjected to suffer what he would inflict and the penalty imposed by him will turn upon his own head, because he has transgressed both the law of God and the rulings of the apostles. For Peter also, the spokesman of the apostles, urges: Be pastors to the flock of God entrusted to you, not under compulsion, but willingly as pleasing to God, not for sordid gain but with enthusiasm, not as men who lord it over those entrusted to you, but as being models for the flock. Then when the chief shepherd is disclosed, you will carry off the imperishable crown of glory.
It is a sin leading to death when sinners remain uncorrected, but still worse is it when people flaunt their sin as they override holiness and truth, both preferring mammon to obedience to God and neglecting his legally formulated instructions. The Lord God is not present among such persons unless they humbly turn from their fault. Their duty is to approach God with a contrite heart and implore his forgiveness for their sin and his pardon, rather than to take pride in an unholy distribution of gifts: For the Lord is close to the contrite of heart. Therefore in the case of those who boast that they have been appointed in the church by distributing gifts of gold, and who pin their hopes on this evil custom, which alienates a person from God and from all priesthood, and who take this as a reason for deriding quite shamelessly and openly those who have been chosen by the holy Spirit and appointed for the virtue of their lives, without any distribution of gifts of gold, when they first do this each should take the lowest rank in his order, and if they persist they should be corrected with a penalty.
If someone is found to have done this at any time in connection with an ordination, let matters proceed in accordance with the apostolic canon which says: "If some bishop or priest or deacon has obtained his dignity by means of money, let him and the person who performed the ordination be suspended, and let them be excluded completely from the communion, as Simon Magus was by me, Peter".
Similarly, in accordance with canon 2 of our holy fathers at Chalcedon, which says "If any bishop performs an ordination for money and puts the unsaleable grace on sale, and ordains for money a bishop, a chorepiscopus, a presbyter or deacons or some others of those numbered among the clergy; or appoints a manager, a legal officer or a warden for money, or any other ecclesiastic at all for personal sordid gain; let him who has attempted this and been convicted stand to lose his personal rank, and let the person ordained profit nothing from the ordination or appointment he has bought; but let him be removed from the dignity or responsibility which he got for money. And if anyone appears to have acted even as a go-between in such disgraceful and unlawful dealings, let him too, if he is a cleric, be demoted from his personal rank, and if he is a lay person or a monk, let him be anathematized".
Although there is indeed a canon which says, "In each province the canonical investigations should take place twice yearly by means of a gathering of the bishops", because of the trouble and because those attending the meetings lack the resources for such journeys, the holy fathers of the sixth synod decreed "they should be held in any case and despite all excuses, once a year, and all that is incorrect should be put right". We also renew this canon, and should a ruler be found who prevents its observance, let him be excommunicated; however if one of the metropolitan bishops neglects its fulfillment, let him be subject to canonical penalties, unless it is a case of necessity, constraint or some other reasonable cause.
When such a synod is held to discuss canonical and evangelical matters, the gathered bishops should pay particular care and attention to the divine and life-giving laws of God: There is a great reward for their observance; for a law is a lamp, a regulation is a light, and reproof and discipline are the path of life indeed the law of the Lord gives light to the eyes. However, the metropolitan bishop does not have the right to demand anything that a bishop may have brought with him, such as a beast or some other thing; and if he is convicted of doing so, let him pay back fourfold.
The divine apostle Paul said: The sins of some people are manifest, those of others appear later. Some sins take the front rank but others follow in their footsteps. Thus in the train of the impious heresy of the defamers of Christians, many other impieties appeared. Just as those heretics removed the sight of venerable icons from the church, they also abandoned other customs, which should now be renewed and which should be in vigour in virtue of both written and unwritten legislation. Therefore we decree that in venerable churches consecrated without relics of the holy martyrs, the installation of relics should take place along with the usual prayers. And if in future any bishop is found out consecrating a church without relics, let him be deposed as someone who has flouted the ecclesiastical traditions.
Since some of those who come from the religion of the Hebrews mistakenly think to make a mockery of Christ who is God, pretending to become Christians, but denying Christ in private by both secretly continuing to observe the sabbath and maintaining other Jewish practices, we decree that they shall not be received to communion or at prayer or into the church, but rather let them openly be Hebrews according to their own religion; they should not baptize their children or buy, or enter into possession of, a slave. But if one of them makes his conversion with a sincere faith and heart, and pronounces his confession wholeheartedly, disclosing their practices and objects in the hope that others may be refuted and corrected, such a person should be welcomed and baptized along with his children, and care should be taken that they abandon Hebrew practices. However if they are not of this sort, they should certainly not be welcomed.
All those childish baubles and bacchic rantings, the false writings composed against the venerable icons, should be given in at the episcopal building in Constantinople, so that they can be put away along with other heretical books. If someone is discovered to be hiding such books, if he is a bishop, priest or deacon, let him be suspended, and if he is a lay person or a monk, let him be excommunicated.
As some clerics, who despise the canonical ordinance, abandon their own dioceses and run off into other dioceses--something that happens with special frequency in this imperial, God-guarded city--and there they lodge with rulers, celebrating the liturgy in their chapels, let it not be permitted for them to be received in any house or church without the approval of their own bishop and that of the bishop of Constantinople. If they do so and persist therein, they are to be suspended.
In the case of those who do this with the approval of the above-mentioned prelates, it is not permitted for them to assume worldly and secular responsibilities, since they are forbidden to do so by the sacred canons; and if someone is misled into occupying himself with the responsibility of the so-called high stewards, he is to desist or be suspended. Rather let him busy himself with the teaching of the children and servants, lecturing them on the divine scriptures because it is for such activity that he received the priesthood.
Since we are obliged to observe all the sacred canons, we ought also to maintain in all its integrity the one that says that there should be administrators in each church. Therefore if each metropolitan bishop installs an administrator in his own church, that is well and good; but if not, the bishop of Constantinople on his own authority has the right to appoint one over the other's church, and similarly with metropolitan bishops, if the bishops under them do not choose administrators to hold these posts in their own churches. The same rule is also to be observed with respect to monasteries.
If it is discovered that a bishop or a monastic superior is transferring episcopal or monastic farmland to the control of the ruler, or has been conceding it to another person, the transaction is null and void in accordance with the canon of the holy apostles which stipulates: "Let the bishop take care of all ecclesiastical affairs, and let him administer them as if under God's inspection. It is not permitted him to appropriate any of these things, nor to make a present of the things of God to his own relatives. Should the latter be poor, let him care for them as for other poor people, but let him not use them as an excuse for selling off the church's possessions." However, if he pretends that the land is a loss and brings in no profit at all, let him make a present of the place to clerics or landworkers, but even in these circumstances it should not be given to the local rulers. If they use evil cunning and the ruler buys up the land from the landworker or the cleric in question, this sale shall also be null and void in such circumstances, and the land should be restored to the bishopric or monastery. And the bishop or monastic superior who acts thus should be expelled, the bishop from the episcopal house and the monastic superior from the monastery, because they wickedly waste what they have not gathered.
On account of the disaster which came about in the churches due to our sins certain venerable houses--episcopal buildings as well as monasteries--were seized by certain men and became public inns. Now if those who hold them choose to restore them, so that they are established once more as formerly they were, this is good and excellent. However if such is not the case, should they be inscribed in the list of priests, we order that they be suspended, and if they are monks or lay persons, that they be excommunicated, seeing that they are criminals condemned by the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, and let them be assigned there where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched, because they oppose the voice of the Lord declaring, You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade.
It is perfectly clear to everyone that a certain order has been established in the priesthood, and that it is God's good pleasure that the appointment to priestly offices should be observed with care. However we have noticed that some, without the imposition of hands, are adopting the clerical tonsure while still youngsters, and without having received the imposition of hands from the bishop they are undertaking to read publicly from the ambo during the church service, even though they are acting uncanonically. We urge therefore that this be discontinued, and that the same regulation be observed among monks.
Each monastic superior has permission for the imposition of hands on a reader for his own monastery, and only for that monastery, provided that the monastic superior has himself received from the bishop the imposition of hands to rule there, and obviously provided that he is himself a priest. Similarly it is an ancient custom that chorepiscopi, with the permission of the bishop, should appoint readers.
From now on, no cleric should be appointed to office in two churches. Such a procedure savours of commerce and sordid profit-making, and is quite foreign to ecclesiastical custom. We have learned from the Lord's own voice: No one can serve two masters, because either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Therefore, following the advice of the apostle, Each should stay where he has been called, and remain in one church. In ecclesiastical matters, whatever is done for the sake of sordid gain constitutes something alien to God. But as far as the needs of this present life are concerned, there are various gainful occupations; each may use these, as he prefers, to procure what is needed for the body. As the apostle said: These hands of mine have provided for my own needs and for the persons accompanying me. These are the regulations for this God-protected city; for what concerns places in the country, a concession may be granted because of the lack of population.
All indulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order. Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished. The same holds for those who use perfumes. However, since the root of bitterness has sprouted, there has appeared in the catholic church the plague of a heresy which delights in the defamation of Christians. Those who adopt this heresy not only heap insults on representational art, but also reject all forms of reverence and make a mockery of those who live pious and holy lives, thus fulfilling in their own regard that saying of scripture, For the sinner piety is an abomination. So if persons are found who make fun of those who wear simple and respectful clothing, they should be corrected with punishment. Indeed, from the earliest times all those ordained to the priesthood have been accustomed to present themselves in public dressed in modest and respectful clothing, and anyone who adds to his apparel for the sake of decoration and not out of necessity deserves, as the great Basil remarked, to be accused of "vainglory". Neither did anyone dress in variegated clothes made of silk, nor did they add various coloured ornaments to the fringes of their garments. They had heard the tongue that spoke God's words declare, Those who dress in soft clothes are in the houses of kings.
Some monks abandon their own monasteries because they desire to be in authority and disdain obeying others, and then they attempt to found houses of prayer, although they lack adequate resources. If somebody undertakes to do this, let him be prevented by the local bishop. If someone possesses adequate resources, however, his plans should be brought to completion. The same ruling holds for both laity and clerics.
Be irreproachable even for those outside, says the divine apostle. Now for women to live in the houses of bishops or in monasteries is a cause for every sort of scandal. Therefore if anybody is discovered to be keeping a woman, whether a slave or free, in the bishop's house or in a monastery in order to undertake some service, let him be censured, and if he persists let him be deposed. Should it happen that women are living in the suburban residence and the bishop or monastic superior wishes to journey there, no woman should be allowed to undertake any sort of work during the time that the bishop or monastic superior is present; she should stay on her own in some other area until the bishop has retired, in order to avoid all possible criticism.
The blight of avarice has spread to such an extent among ecclesiastical authorities that even some so called pious men and women, forgetting the Lord's commands, have been tricked into authorizing, for the sake of cash payments, the entry of those presenting themselves for the priestly order and the monastic life. Thus it happens, as the great Basil says, "when people begin wrongly, all they do is to be rejected", for it is not possible to serve God through mammon. So, if somebody is found out to be doing this, if he is a bishop or a male monastic superior or one of the priests, let him stop or be deposed, in accordance with canon 2 of the holy council of Chalcedon. If the person is a female monastic superior, let her be expelled from the monastery and put under obedience in another monastery, and similarly for a male monastic superior who has not received priestly ordination.
With regard to gifts given by parents under the concept of dowries for their children, or with regard to the personally acquired goods that the latter present provided that those presenting them declare that these are gifts offered to God, we have decreed that these gifts are to remain in the monastery, whether the person stays or leaves, in accordance with their explicit undertaking, unless there is a reprehensible cause on the part of the person in charge.
We decree that from now on no more double monasteries are to be started because this becomes a cause of scandal and a stumbling block for ordinary folk. If there are persons who wish to renounce the world and follow the monastic life along with their relatives, the men should go off to a male monastery and their wives enter a female monastery, for God is surely pleased with this.
The double monasteries that have existed up to now should continue to exist according to the rule of our holy father Basil, and their constitutions should follow his ordinances. Monks and nuns should not live in one monastic building, because adultery takes advantage of such cohabitation. No monk should have the licence to speak in private with a nun, nor any nun with a monk. A monk should not sleep in a female monastery, nor should he eat alone with a nun. When the necessary nourishment is being carried from the male area for the nuns, the female superior, accompanied by one of the older nuns, should receive it outside the door. And if it should happen that a monk wishes to pay a visit to one of his female relatives, let him speak with her in the presence of the female superior, but briefly and rapidly, and let him leave her quickly.
It is not right for a monk or a nun to leave his or her own monastery and transfer to another. However should this occur, it is obligatory that hospitality be given but such a person should not be accepted as a member without the agreement of his or her monastic superior.
It is very important to dedicate everything to God and not to become slaves of our own desires; for whether you eat or drink, the divine apostle says, do all for the glory of God. Now Christ our God has instructed us in his gospels to eradicate the beginnings of sins. So not only adultery is rebuked by him, but also the movement of one's intention towards the performance of adultery, when he says: He who looks on a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Thus instructed we should purify our intentions: For if all things are lawful, not all things are expedient, as we learn from the words of the apostle. Now everybody is certainly obliged to eat in order to live, and in the case of those whose life includes marriage and children and the conditions proper to layfolk it is not reprehensible that men and women should eat in one another's company; though they should at least say grace to thank the giver of their nourishment, and they should avoid certain theatrical entertainments, diabolical songs, the strumming of lyres and the dancing fit for harlots, against all such there is the curse of the prophet which says, Woe on those who drink their wine to the sound of lyre and harp, those who pay no attention to the deeds of the Lord and have never a thought for the works of his hands. If ever such people are found among Christians, they should reform, and if they do not, let the canonical sanctions established by our predecessors be imposed on them.
Those whose mode of life is contemplative and solitary should sit and be silent, because they have entered into a contract with the Lord that the yoke they carry will be a solitary one. Indeed, all those who have chosen the life of priests are certainly not free to eat privately in the company of women, but at the most in the company of certain God-fearing and pious men and women, in order that such a meal taken in common may draw them to spiritual betterment. Let the same be done in the case of relatives.
As for another situation, if a monk or even a man in priestly orders happens to be making a journey and is not carrying with him his indispensable provisions, and then wishes to satisfy his needs in a public inn or in someone's house, he is allowed to do so when it is a case of pressing necessity.

Fourth Council of Constantinople : 869-870

This council, designated as the eighth ecumenical council by western canonists, is not found in any canonical collections of the Byzantines; its acts and canons are completely ignored by them. Modern scholars have shown that it was included in the list of ecumenical councils only later, that is, after the eleventh century. We have decided to include the council, for the sake of historical completeness.
Emperor Basil I and the patriarch Ignatius, after being restored to his see of Constantinople, asked Pope Nicholas I to call a council to decide about the bishops and priests who had been ordained by Photius. It was held at Constantinople after the arrival of legates from Pope Hadrian II, who had meanwhile succeeded Nicholas. These legates were Donatus, Stephen and Marinus and they presided at the council. It began in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia on 5 October 869. The tenth and last session was held on 28 February 870, when 27 canons were read out and approved by the council. All who were willing to sign the Liber satisfactionis, which had been sent by Pope Hadrian II, were admitted to the council. The account made by Anastasius contains the authentic list of those who signed the acts of the council. Emperor Basil I and his sons, Constantine and Leo, signed the acts after the patriarchs and in the same year they promulgated the council's decisions, after drawing up a decree for this purpose.
As regards the canonical authority of these deliberations, various facts regarding the council held in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia in November 879, so that Photius might be restored to the see of Constantinople, should be remembered. Peter, a Roman cardinal, presided at this council. It took account of a letter of Pope John VIII, which had been sent to the emperor and translated into Greek. This reads (chapter 4): "We declare that the synod held at Rome against the most holy patriarch Photius in the time of the most blessed pope Hadrian, as well as the holy synod of Constantinople attacking the same most holy Photius (i.e., in 869-870), are totally condemned and abrogated and must in no way be invoked or named as synods. Let this not happen". Some people have thought that this text had been altered by Photius; but in the so-called "unaltered" text of the letter this passage is replaced by dots (. . .), and the following passage reads: "For the see of blessed Peter, the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom, has the power to dissolve, after suitable appraisal, any bonds imposed by bishops. This is so because it is agreed that already many patriarchs, for example Athanasius .. .. after having been condemned by a synod, have been, after formal acquittal by the apostolic see, promptly reinstated". Ivo of Chartres explicitly affirms: "The synod of Constantinople which was held against Photius must not be recognised. John VIII wrote to the patriarch Photius (in 879): We make void that synod which was held against Photius at Constantinople and we have completely blotted it out for various reasons as well as for the fact that Pope Hadrian did not sign its acts". Ivo adds from the instructions that John VIII gave to his legates for the council in 879: "You will say that, as regards the synods which were held against Photius under Pope Hadrian at Rome or Constantinople, we annul them and wholly exclude them from the number of the holy synods". For these reasons there is no ground for thinking that the text was altered by Photius.
An authentic copy of the acts of the council of 869-870 was sent to Rome, as of right. Anastasius, the librarian, ordered a complete copy to be made for himself. Then, when the legates' copy was stolen, he translated his own copy into Latin, on Pope Hadrian's orders, making a word for word translation. Anastasius also makes it plain that the Greeks adopted every means to distort the acts, "by abbreviating here and by expanding or changing there". He adds: "Whatever is found in the Latin copy of the acts of the eighth synod is completely free from the alloy of falsehood; however, whatever more is found in the Greek text is thoroughly infected with poisonous lies".
The Greek text has been partly preserved from total destruction in the summary of an anonymous writer who copied out anti-Photian texts. This summary has 14 canons, as opposed to the 27 of Anastasius, and only contains excerpts, dealing with the most important points, of these canons. Where comparison is possible, the Latin version of Anastasius hardly departs from the Greek text. Indeed it is so literal that at times it can only be understood by comparison with the Greek text, and when the latter is missing we must sometimes rely on conjecture.
The documents printed below are taken from the following: the "Definition" from the Roman edition, (Concilia generalia Ecclesiae catholicae [Editio Romana], Rome 4 vols, 1608-1612) 3, 284-287; the canons from Les canons des conciles oecumeniques, ed. P-P. Jouannou (Pontificia commissione per la redazione del codice di diritto canonico orientale. Fonti. Fasc. IX: Discipline generale antique [IIe-IXe s.] tome 1 part 1), Grottaferata 1962 289-342.
The English translation is from the Latin text, for the reasons mentioned above. The material in curly brackets { } has been added by the hypertext editor, as also has some of the formatting
[Definition of the holy and universal eighth synod]
The holy, great and universal synod, which was assembled by God's will and the favour of our divinely approved emperors Basil and Constantine, the holy friends of Christ, in this royal and divinely protected city and in the most famous church bearing the name of holy and great Wisdom, declared the following.
The Word, of one nature with the almighty God and Father, is he who established heaven like a vault and fixed the ends of the earth and the place of all other things. He made it to be contingent and he rules, preserves and saves it. He says through the voice of the prophet, Isaiah: Lift up your eyes to heaven, because heaven has been fashioned like smoke, but the earth shall wear out like a garment; its inhabitants shall perish like them; but my salvation shall last for ever and my justice shall not fail. He was made like us for our sake and has established on earth heavenly justice and said, Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away. He said to all who believed in him: If you continue in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.
It was our God and Lord of infinite power alone who, just like a farmer of supreme wisdom and power, uprooted and scattered and rightfully obliterated many others from an earlier time and from long ago who, given over to lies and in opposition to the truth, were sowing -- to use the gospel image -- evil tares in his field, that is, in the church, and were trying to overwhelm the pure grain of divine justice. He always prepared his manner of deliverance so as to give warning, he established his justice and revealed it with greater clarity. But nevertheless, in our time too, the sower of tares is trying to make the field of the church useless through some utterly depraved and impious people. With that one and the same providence, he has shown that this field is worthy of compassion and snatched it from the filth of iniquity and called it back to its ancient purity. For, to destroy injustice and reinforce divine justice, he has raised up, as an unwavering follower of his commandments, a person proved to be incorrupt in both his knowledge and his maintenance of the truth, our most devout and serene emperor, who is a friend of divine justice and an enemy of injustice. He, by means of the divine help and the overall favour of the church, has gathered together architects from the ends of the earth into this royal city, which must be built up by God, and has assembled a universal synod which, while guarding the strong defences of
the gospel sanctions,
the laws of Moses and the prophets together with
the commands of the apostles
and fathers as well as of
the councils,
has revived the established forms of right conduct and proclaimed truth and justice in the courts of the church.
{Now the customary recapitulation and reassertion of all previous ecumenical councils}
Consequently, all of us bishops who have come to take part in the synod and to strengthen the true and undefiled faith of Christians and the teaching of orthodox religion, we declare our belief in one God, in three persons consubstantial, divine and autonomous, as, for example, we may look at the one nature of light in three suns not unlike each other or in the same number of dazzling objects. We confess, indeed, God to be one, unique in respect of substance, but threefold or three if we are speaking of him in respect of persons, and we declare he has not received from himself that he has been made, nor in any way whatsoever from anyone else; but that he is alone, ever existing without beginning, and eternal, ever the same and like to himself, and suffering no change or alteration, that he exists as the maker and source of all beings endowed with intelligence and feeling. For the holy and great synod of { 1 } Nicaea spoke thus when expounding the creed: Light from light, true God, clearly declaring the Son to be from the Father who is true God, and the rest as the catholic church received it. We too, accepting this in the identical meaning, anathematize as of unsound mind and an enemy of the truth, Arius and all who, with him and following him, speculate with faulty perceptions on the term "hetero-substantial", that is otherness of substance and unlikeness, with reference to the divinely-ruling and blessed Trinity. But no less do we accept the second, holy and universal synod {2 Constantinople I}, and we anathematize that adversary of the Spirit or rather adversary of God, Macedonius; for we admit in the distinction of persons no difference of substance between the Father, the Son and the divine and autonomous Spirit, as the aforementioned heresiarchs did, nor do we confuse, like the lunatic Sabellius, the persons in one and the same substance. Moreover, we also confess that the unique Word of God became incarnate and was made like us for our sake, for it was not an angel or an envoy but the Lord himself who came and saved us and was made Emmanuel with us; and he was true God, God of Israel and saviour of all, in accordance with the divine and prophetic utterances. For this reason we confess that Mary, most holy and without experience of marriage, who bore him, is properly and truly mother of God, just as the third universal synod, which first assembled at { 3 } Ephesus, proclaimed. In union with that council we too anathematize Nestorius, that worshipper of the man and most self-opinionated individual who possessed a Jewish mentality. We teach that the one and same Christ and Lord is twofold, that is, perfect God and perfect man, possessing in one person the differences of each nature but keeping their properties always unchangeable and unconfused, just as the fourth, holy and universal synod {4 Chalcedon } solemnly taught. In accepting this synod together with the three councils previously enumerated, just like the quadruplicity of the holy gospels, we anathematize the insane Eutyches and the mad Dioscorus. In addition, proclaiming the two natures in the one Christ, according to the still clearer teaching of the fifth, holy and universal synod { 5 Constantinople II}, we anathematize Severus , Peter and Zoharas the Syrian, as well as Origen with his useless knowledge, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Didymus along with Evagrius, who also, although of the same or different opinions, were ensnared in the same pit of damnation.
Further, we accept the sixth, holy and universal synod {6 Constantinople III}, which shares the same beliefs and is in harmony with the previously mentioned synods in that it wisely laid down that in the two natures of the one Christ there are, as a consequence, two principles of action and the same number of wills. So, we anathematize Theodore who was bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, the unholy prelates of the church of Constantinople, and with these, Honorius of Rome, Cyrus of Alexandria as well as Macarius of Antioch and his disciple Stephen, who followed the false teachings of the unholy heresiarchs Apollinarius, Eutyches and Severus and proclaimed that the flesh of God, while being animated by a rational and intellectual soul, was without a principle of action and without a will, they themselves being impaired in their senses and truly without reason. For if the one and same Christ and God exists as perfect God and perfect man, it is most certain that none of the natures which belong to him can exist partially without a will or without a principle of action, but that he carried out the mystery of his stewardship when willing and acting in accordance with each substance; this is how the chorus of all God's spokesmen, having knowledge of it from the apostles down to our own time, have constructed a colourful representation of that human form, assigning to each part of the one Christ natural properties distinct from each other, by which the meanings and conceptions of his divine nature and of his human nature are believed beyond all doubt to remain without confusion.
We also know that the seventh, holy and universal synod, held for the second time at { 7 } Nicaea, taught correctly when it professed the one and same Christ as both invisible and visible lord, incomprehensible and comprehensible, unlimited and limited, incapable and capable of suffering, inexpressible and expressible in writing. In agreement with that synod, this holy and universal synod publicly anathematizes Anastasius , Constantine and Nicetas , that irrational prelature whose name stinks, or, to put it better, that plain corruption; so too Theodosius of Ephesus, Sisinnius Pastilas and Basil Tricacabus, not forgetting Theodoret, Antony and John, once prelates of new Rome, the royal city of Christians, but better called defamers of Christ. They declared by word and deed that, despite what the list of prophets proclaimed about Christ, he had been incapable of destroying the statues of the idols. Furthermore, we also anathematize Theodore, who was called Krithinos, whom this great and holy synod summoned and condemned and loudly dinned an anathema into his ears. Similarly we anathematize all those who agreed with or supported those who said that the Word of the divine incarnation came about and existed by fantasy and supposition, indeed that through the removal of the image of our Christ and saviour there came the simultaneous removal of the accepted form of the true body which bore God within it. Everything which cannot be grasped by the imagination is surely to be understood in two ways, either as not existing or as in fact existing but minimally understandable, inasmuch as being invisible and hidden.
Therefore, if anyone happens to have taught any of these things about Christ the God and saviour of us all, he will be clearly proclaimed an enemy of true religion, since the first of these declares that Emmanuel was not truly made man and the second declares that he was indeed man but lacked human qualities, laid aside the flesh he assumed and had recourse in everything to his divine [nature] and to his incomprehensibility; this is alien to all the divinely inspired scriptures, which also clearly state that he will come once more as judge of all, and he is to be seen in the same way as he was seen by his disciples and apostles when he was taken up into heaven.
That theory is full of Manichaean ideas and ungodliness inasmuch as it foolishly declares that a saying of the divinely inspired David was spoken about Christ, in which it says, He has set his tabernacle in the sun, since this impiety supposes that the casting off and laying aside of the Lord's deified body is meant. But the word of truth confidently says, both concerning the well-named Manes and all those who share his thought and are authors of the heresy about the destruction of icons and all other heresiarchs and enemies of religion: They have not known nor understood, but they walked in darkness. 0 you who abandon the right way and walk in the way of darkness, who rejoice in wrongdoing and exult in evil conversion; O you whose paths are evil and steps crooked so that they take you far from the right way and make you foreign to right thinking! Again, those who sowed what was corrupted by the wind have received destruction as their reward; and again, He that trusts in lies feeds the winds: and the same person runs after birds that fly away. For he has abandoned the rows of his vines, he wanders in the furrows of his field; for he wanders through a waterless desert and a great parched plain, yet gathers no fruit in his hands.
For this reasons [the church] brands all these with an anathema and, besides recognizing the seven, holy and universal synods already enumerated by us, has gathered together this eighth universal synod through the grace of our all powerful Christ and God and the piety and zeal of our most serene and divinely strengthened emperor, to cut down and destroy the shoots of injustice that have sprung up against those synods, together with the evil stirrings and influences, in order to bring about peaceful order in the church and stability in the world. For it is not only the removal of true teaching which knows how to destroy those of evil mind and to agitate and disturb the church, but also quibbling over the meaning of the divine commandments equally brings the same destruction on those who are not vigilant, and the world is filled with storms and disturbances by those who are reckoned as Christians.
{Now the council strikes out on its own}
This is what happened in recent times through the folly, cunning and evil machinations of the wretched Photius. He entered the sheepfold not through the door but through a window, and, like a thief or a robber, a destroyer of souls, as the Lord's words indicate, has tried, on every occasion and by every means, to steal, slaughter and destroy the right-thinking sheep of Christ and, by engineering all manner of persecution, he has not ceased from contriving numerous arrests and imprisonments, confiscations of property, protracted periods of exile and, in addition to these, accusations, charges, false testimonies and forgeries against all who worked for true religion and fought for the truth. For he, like another Severus or Dioscorus, engineered the expulsion of the most just, lawful and canonically appointed high priest of the church of Constantinople, namely the most holy patriarch Ignatius, and like an adulterous robber, breaking into his see and repeatedly submitting him to a thousand charges involving dethronement and as many anathemas, he roused continuous turmoil and storms for all the churches of Christ our saviour, in a multiplicity of ways.
However, the salt of the earth has not lost its savour, nor has the eye of the church become completely darkened, nor has the light of true religion been extinguished by the spirits of wickedness; nor has the fire of divine charity lost its destroying and burning power over sinful and worthless material, nor has the word of the Lord, which is sharper than a two-edged sword and a discerner of thoughts, been found ineffectual, nor did the foundation of solid stone collapse when submerged by swollen waters and floods of rivers and storms, but the precious cornerstone, which was laid down in Sion, that is, in the church, upon which the foundation stone of the apostles and prophets was laid for the building up of the church, in our time has sent out from every one of the church's established ranks, even into the ruling city, the new Rome, many other stones rolling over the land, as the prophet says, to destroy and lay waste the intrigues of those who desired and attempted to destroy truth and divine justice.
But with greater force and particular significance, Nicholas, the most blessed and aptly-named pope of old Rome, was sent from above as another cornerstone for the church, preserving as far as possible the figurative likeness, as from an exalted and pre-eminent place, to confront the carefully organised opposition of Photius. By the missiles of his letters and speeches, he struck down the powerful leading supporters of Photius and, reflecting a story of the old Testament, after the manner of the zealot Phinehas, he pierced Photius with the lance of truth as if he were another Midianite defiling the assembly of Israel; and he completely destroyed him on his not [added in Hrd [1]] agreeing to accept the remedies of a healing discipline aimed at treating the scars and healing the adulterous wound, and just as another Peter dealt with Ananias and Sapphira, who stole what belonged to God, by an anathema included as it were in his priestly dignity, he committed him to death.
Following these directives and decrees, the most religious friend of Christ, our emperor, whom the heavenly Emperor and Lord of majesty has raised up for the salvation of the world, has consigned Photius to a suitable place and recalled the most holy patriarch Ignatius to his rightful seat. Furthermore, for the perfect discernment and definition of what is agreed to be good and is beneficial, he has gathered together vicars from all the patriarchal seats and the whole college of bishops which is under his authority. Those of us who came together have celebrated this great and universal synod and, with much examination, testing and discussion, with due care and consistency, we have cut out with the sword of the spirit the roots of scandals and weeds along with their shoots, as we establish the truly innocent and most holy patriarch Ignatius in the controlling seat, while we condemn Photius, the interloper and illegal occupier with all his supporters and promoters of evil. For almighty God says somewhere by the mouth of a prophet: Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will do no more to love them. Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit; and again: Canaan, there is a deceitful balance in his hand, he has loved oppression. And Ephraim said: But yet I am become rich, I have found for myself a place of repose: all his labours shall not find me, despite the iniquities that I have committed; and again: And the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. The house of Jacob shall be afire and the house of Joseph aflame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor to the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.
For the wretched Photius was truly like the person who did not make God his refuge; but trusted in the abundance of his cunning and sought refuge in the vanity of his iniquities, following the example of Ephraim of old, in turning his back on the divine mercy; the word of the prophet mocks and derides him, saying: Ephraim is become as bread baked under ashes, that is not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength and he knew it not, grey hairs also are spread upon him, and he is ignorant of it. He shall be humbled by the insult of Israel before his face; and in all this he has not returned to the Lord, his God. Ephraim is become as a dove, that called upon the table of Egypt and went to the Assyrians. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them as upon the birds of the air; I will bring them down, I will strike them to make their tribulation heard. For Photius was lifted up to the heights of arrogance in attacking the most blessed pope of old Rome, Nicholas, and he vomited out the poison of his evil. He gathered together false vicars from three supposedly eastern sees, set up what was thought to be a synodical council, and, making lists of the names of accusers and witnesses, fashioning profiles and speeches which seemed to be suited to each person who plays a part in a synodical investigation, and making up, writing down and organizing forged records as accounts of those proceedings, he had the audacity to anathematize the aforementioned most blessed pope Nicholas and all those in communion with him. Photius did this in such a way that as a result all the existing bishops and priests, that is, the other patriarchal sees and all the clerics within them, were included in the same anathema, for all were most certainly in communion with the leading bishop, and amongst them himself and his followers. The word of the prophet condemns and refutes him when it says: They have multiplied their transgressions, they have enacted extraneous laws and invoked their confession; and again: They conceived in their heart lying words and turned justice back, and righteousness has stood afar off from them; for truth has been destroyed in their streets and they have been unable to follow the right path. Truth has disappeared and changed their mind so that it cannot understand. And: He who turns from evil is attacked, and the Lord saw and it displeased him because there was no judgment, and again: Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Judah and for four, I will grant them no reprieve; because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his statutes. Therefore, as regards the man who has acted in this way and has disturbed and shaken the whole holy, catholic and apostolic church with so many brazen attacks of this kind, has utterly refused to be converted and repent, and has refused to submit to the decrees and judgment of the holy patriarchal sees, just as long ago the most blessed pope Nicholas and then his successor, the most holy pope Hadrian,
anathematized him, so too this holy and universal synod has reproved him and put him under an ever severer anathema while addressing to him, in the person of all God's people, the words of the prophet Isaiah: Just as a garment soiled in blood will not be clean, so you will not be clean, for you have defiled the church of Christ and have been a source of scandal and destruction to the people of God on many counts and in many ways. We command that those who do not share this view, but give Photius their willing support, if they are bishops or clerics, must be deposed for ever; we anathematize monks or lay people, until such time as they are converted from their false ways and wickedness.
If we wish to proceed without offence along the true and royal road of divine justice, we must keep the declarations and teachings of the holy fathers as if they were so many lamps which are always alight and illuminating our steps which are directed towards God. Therefore, considering and esteeming these as a second word of God, in accordance with the great and most wise Denis, let us sing most willingly along with the divinely inspired David, The commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes, and, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths; and with the author of Proverbs we say, Your commandment is a lamp and your law a light, and like Isaiah we cry to the lord God with loud voice, because your commands are a light for the earth. For the exhortations and warnings of the divine canons are rightly likened to light inasmuch as the better is distinguished from the worse and what is advantageous and useful is distinguished from what is not helpful but harmful.
Therefore we declare that we are preserving and maintaining the canons which have been entrusted to the holy, catholic and apostolic church by the holy and renowned apostles, and by universal as well as local councils of orthodox [bishops], and even by any inspired father or teacher of the church. Consequently, we rule our own life and conduct by these canons and we decree that all those who have the rank of priests and all those who are described by the name of Christian are, by ecclesiastical law, included under the penalties and condemnations as well as, on the other hand, the absolutions and acquittals which have been imposed and defined by them. For Paul, the great apostle, openly urges us to preserve the traditions which we have received, either by word or by letter, of the saints who were famous in times past.
Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as persons who will have to give account, commands Paul, the great apostle. So, having both the most blessed pope Nicholas as the instrument of the holy Spirit and his successor, the most holy pope Hadrian, we declare and order that everything which has been expounded and promulgated by them in a synod at various times, both for the defence and well-being of the church of Constantinople and of its chief priest, namely Ignatius, its most holy patriarch, as well as for the expulsion and condemnation of Photius, the upstart and usurper, should be maintained and observed together with the canons there set forth, unchanged and unaltered, and no bishop, priest or deacon or anyone from the ranks of the clergy should dare to overturn or reject any of these things.
Whoever, then, shall be found, after these directives of ours, despising any of the articles or decrees which have been promulgated by these popes, must be stripped of his dignity and rank, if he is a priest or cleric; a monk or lay person, of whatever dignity, must be excommunicated until he repents and promises to observe all the decrees in question.
We decree that the sacred image of our lord Jesus Christ, the redeemer and saviour of all people, should be venerated with honour equal to that given to the book of the holy gospels. For, just as through the written words which are contained in the book, we all shall obtain salvation, so through the influence that colours in painting exercise on the imagination, all, both wise and simple, obtain benefit from what is before them; for as speech teaches and portrays through syllables, so too does painting by means of colours. It is only right then, in accordance with true reason and very ancient tradition, that icons should be honoured and venerated in a derivative way because of the honour which is given to their archetypes, and it should be equal to that given to the sacred book of the holy gospels and the representation of the precious cross.
If anyone then does not venerate the icon of Christ, the saviour, let him not see his face when he comes in his father's glory to be glorified and to glorify his saints', but let him be cut off from his communion and splendour; similarly the image of Mary, his immaculate mother and mother of God, we also paint the icons of the holy angels just as divine scripture depicts them in words; we also honour and venerate those of the highly renowned apostles, prophets, martyrs and holy men as well as those of all the saints. Let those who are not so disposed be anathema from the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit.
In tearing up by the roots the love of power, as being an evil root nourishing the scandals which have arisen in the church, we condemn, with a just decree, him who boldly, cunningly and unlawfully, like a dangerous wolf, leapt into the sheepfold of Christ; we are speaking about Photius, who has filled the whole world with a thousand upheavals and disturbances. We declare that he never was nor is now a bishop, nor must those, who were consecrated or given advancement by him to any grade of the priesthood, remain in that state to which they were promoted. Moreover, we debar from this kind of preferment those who received from Photius the customary rescripts for promotion to special office.
As for the churches which Photius and those who were ordained by him are thought to have consecrated and the altars which they are thought to have renovated after they had been torn down, we decree that they are to be consecrated, anointed and renovated again. In sum, everything that was done in his person and by him, for the establishing or penalizing of the sacerdotal state, has been abrogated. For the God of the whole universe says through his prophet: Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me and, You have forgotten the laws of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they bloat their souls with their iniquities. And again he says: Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they have become to him altars for sins; 1 will write copiously about them.
Since we desire to ensure, in Christ, that the stability of the canons should always remain firm in the churches, we renew and confirm the limits and conditions which were formerly decreed by the holy apostles and our holy fathers and which made it a law in the church that nobody, who is a neophyte in the faith or priestly office, should be made a bishop, lest he be puffed up and fall into the judgment and snare of the devil, as the Apostle says. Therefore, in accordance with the previous canons, we declare that nobody of senatorial rank or a secular way of life, who has recently been admitted to the tonsure with the intention or expectation of the honour of becoming a bishop or patriarch, and who has been made a cleric or monk, should rise to such a level, even if he is shown to have completed a considerable time in each stage of the divine priesthood. For it is clear that the tonsure was not received for religious reasons, love of God or hope of progressing along the path of the virtues, but for love of glory and honour. We exclude such people still more rigorously if they are pushed forward by imperial backing.
However, if someone gives no suspicion of seeking the worldly benefits just mentioned, but, prompted by the actual good of a humility which is centered on Christ, renounces the world and becomes a cleric or monk and, while passing through every ecclesiastical grade, is found without reproach and of good character during the periods of time currently established, so that he completes one year in the order of lector, two in that of subdeacon, three as deacon and four as priest, this holy and universal synod has decreed that such a one may be chosen and admitted. As for those who have remained religiously in the order of cleric or monk and have been judged worthy of the dignity and honour of the episcopacy, we reduce the aforesaid period of time to that which the superiors of these bishops approved at the time. If, however, anyone has been advanced to this supreme honour contrary to this directive of ours, he must be condemned and completely excluded from all priestly functions, because he has been elevated contrary to the sacred canons.
It appears that Photius, after the sentences and condemnations most justly pronounced against him by the most holy pope Nicholas for his criminal usurpation of the church of Constantinople, in addition to his other evil deeds, found some men of wicked and sycophantic character from the squares and streets of the city and proposed and designated them as vicars of the three most holy patriarchal sees in the east. He formed with these a church of evil-doers and a fraudulent council and set in motion accusations and charges entailing deposition against the most blessed pope Nicholas and repeatedly, impudently and boldly issued anathemas against him and all those in communion with him. The records of all these things have been seen by us, records which were cobbled together by him with evil intent and lying words, and all of which have been burnt during this very synod.
Therefore, to safeguard church order, we anathematize first and foremost the above-mentioned Photius for the reason given; next everyone who henceforth acts deceitfully and fraudulently and falsifies the word of truth and goes through the motions of having false vicars or composes books full of deceptions and explains them in favour of his own designs. With equal vigour Martin, the most holy pope of Rome, a valiant contender for the true faith, rejected behaviour of this kind by a synodal decree.
Moses, the divine spokesman, clearly declares in his law that what is right should also be rightly executed, since a good act is not good unless it is carried out in accordance with reason. So it is indeed good and very advantageous to paint holy and venerable images as also to teach others the disciplines of divine and human wisdom. But it is not good nor at all profitable for any of these things to be done by those who are unworthy.
For this reason we declare and proclaim that those declared anathema by this holy and universal synod may not, on any account, work on sacred images in holy places of worship nor teach anywhere at all, until they are converted from their error and wickedness. Whoever, therefore, after this directive of ours, admits them in any way to paint sacred images in churches, or to teach, must be removed from office if he is a cleric; if he is a lay person, he must be excommunicated and debarred from taking part in the divine mysteries.
The great apostle Paul says somewhere: All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial. Therefore, we ought to do everything for the advantage and perfection of the holy church of God and nothing at all to promote controversy and vainglory. Since a report has come to our ears that not only heretics and those who have wrongly obtained the patriarchate of Constantinople, but also the orthodox and legitimate patriarchs, demand and extract from the order of priests guarantees, written in their own hands, which are designed for the security, benefit and, as it were, permanence of the above persons, it has therefore seemed good to this holy and universal synod that nobody at all should do this from now on, with the exception of what is demanded at the time of episcopal consecrations, according to rule and custom, in order to witness to the purity of our faith; every other way of doing it is completely inappropriate and has no part in the building up of the church. So whoever dares to nullify this directive of ours, either by asking for such a document or by providing it to those who ask, shall lose his own office.
From the very beginning the wretched Photius brought about in the church of Constantinople an abundance of all kinds of wickedness. We have learnt that even before his tyrannical period in office he used to give documents, signed by his own hand, to his followers who were learning the wisdom that has been made foolish by God, even though this system was clearly a new invention and thoroughly alien to our holy fathers and doctors of the church.
Since therefore they direct us to loose every bond of wickedness and to make void enforced contracts, the holy and universal synod has declared that nobody, from now on, should hold or keep such a contract, but all, without hindrance, hesitation or fear, may both teach and study if they are competent for either task, with the exception of those who are found to be enslaved to error or heretical beliefs since we strictly forbid such persons to teach or to pursue studies. If anyone shall be found rejecting and transgressing against this directive, he shall lose his rank if he is a cleric; if a lay person, he shall be excommunicated as one who does not believe the Lord's word which says, Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven .
As divine scripture clearly proclaims, Do not find fault before you investigate, and understand first and then find fault, and does our law judge a person without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?. Consequently this holy and universal synod justly and fittingly declares and lays down that no lay person or monk or cleric should separate himself from communion with his own patriarch before a careful enquiry and judgment in synod, even if he alleges that he knows of some crime perpetrated by his patriarch, and he must not refuse to include his patriarch's name during the divine mysteries or offices.
In the same way we command that bishops and priests who are in distant dioceses and regions should behave similarly towards their own metropolitans, and metropolitans should do the same with regard to their own patriarchs. If anyone shall be found defying this holy synod, he is to be debarred from all priestly functions and status if he is a bishop or cleric; if a monk or lay person, he must be excluded from all communion and meetings of the church until he is converted by repentance and reconciled.
Though the old and new Testament teach that a man or woman has one rational and intellectual soul, and all the fathers and doctors of the church, who are spokesmen of God, express the same opinion, some have descended to such a depth of irreligion, through paying attention to the speculations of evil people, that they shamelessly teach as a dogma that a human being has two souls, and keep trying to prove their heresy by irrational means using a wisdom that has been made foolishness.
Therefore this holy and universal synod is hastening to uproot this wicked theory now growing like some loathsome form of weed. Carrying in its hand the winnowing fork of truth, with the intention of consigning all the chaff to inextinguishable fire, and making clean the threshing floor of Christ, in ringing tones it declares anathema the inventors and perpetrators of such impiety and all those holding similar views; it also declares and promulgates that nobody at all should hold or preserve in any way the written teaching of the authors of this impiety. If however anyone presumes to act in a way contrary to this holy and great synod, let him be anathema and an outcast from the faith and way of life of Christians.
The apostolic and conciliar canons clearly forbid the nomination and consecration of bishops which have come about as a result of the power and intrigues of the civil authorities. Therefore we declare and proclaim, in full agreement with them, that if any bishop has received his consecration through the manipulation and constraint of such persons, he should be deposed absolutely as one who has desired and consented to have the gift of God not from the will of God and ecclesiastical law and decree, but from human beings and through their machinations as a result of the prompting of carnal desire.
The divine word says, The worker is worthy of his pay For this reason we too decree and proclaim that the clerics of the great church [of Constantinople], who have served in the lower orders, may rise to the higher grades and, if they have shown themselves worthy, may deservedly enjoy higher dignities, since some of those who now enjoy them either will be called through promotion to more important duties or will vacate them by dying. But those who do not belong to this particular clergy and yet insinuate themselves into it, must not receive the dignities and honours due to those who have laboured in it a long time, for in that case the clerics of the church [of Constantinople] would be found to have no promotion.
Those who manage the houses or estates of leading persons must by no means have the possibility of being admitted or inducted into the clergy of the great church [of Constantinople]: No soldier on service for God gets entangled in civilian pursuits. If indeed anyone, contrary to the directive we have now issued, is promoted to any dignity whatsoever in this great church, he must be excluded from all ecclesiastical dignity as one who has been promoted contrary to the decision of the great synod.
We declare that those who are called by divine grace to the office of bishop, since they bear the image and likeness of the holy hierarchies in heaven, that is of the angels, in accordance with what is clearly an hierarchical dignity and function, should be held as worthy of all honour on the part of everyone, rulers and ruled alike.
We also declare that they must not go to meet a general or any other high official a long way from their churches, nor should they dismount from their horses or mules a long way off or bow down in fear and trembling and prostrate themselves; nor should they go to table for dinner with secular dignitaries and show the same honours as they do to generals, but according to what is in keeping with their own spiritual dignity and honour, they should render to everyone his due: Tribute to whom tribute is due, honour to whom honour is due. They must show that the confessors of the emperors, who are friends of Christ, and those who have the same dignity, deserve great respect from the leading persons of those emperors. Thus the bishop will have the courage to reprimand generals and other leading officials and all other secular authorities as often as he finds them doing something unjust or unreasonable, and in this way to correct them and make them better.
But if some bishop, after the holy directive of this council, shall ignore the honour duly and canonically bestowed on him, and permits something to happen according to the old, debased and disordered custom which is contrary to what has now been declared, he must be suspended for a year and the official involved is to be considered unworthy to take part in the mysteries or the means of grace for two years.
This holy and universal synod, in renewing the canons of the apostles and fathers, has decreed that no bishop may sell or in any way dispose of precious objects or consecrated vessels except for the reason laid down long ago by the ancient canons, that is to say, objects received for the redemption of captives. They must not hand over endowments of churches by emphyteutic leases nor put on sale other agricultural properties, thereby damaging ecclesiastical revenues. We decree that such revenues are for church purposes, the feeding of the poor and the assistance of pilgrims. However, bishops have full powers to improve and enlarge, as opportunity offers, the ecclesiastical properties which produce these revenues. Moreover, they have the right to apportion or bestow their own property on whomsoever they wish and choose, in accordance with their own powers and rights of ownership.
Now that this decree has been made, whoever appears to have acted in a way contrary to this holy and universal synod, must be deposed on the grounds of violating divine law and precepts. Any sale which was made by the bishop, either in writing or otherwise, must be made entirely void, as well as any emphyteutic lease or any other act disposing of precious objects or endowments. Whoever buys or acquires any of the aforementioned precious objects or endowments and does not restore to the church what belongs to it and does not hand over for burning the bills of sale or leases, is anathema until he does what has been determined by this holy and universal synod.
If a bishop is found guilty of having built a monastery with the revenues of a church, he must hand over the monastery to the same church. But if he built it from his own money or other sources, he may have it for his whole life under his own jurisdiction and direction; he may also bequeath it after his death to whomsoever he wishes, but it may not be used as a secular dwelling.
A matter which merits great sorrow, even many tears, has come to our ears from many of the faithful. They say that under the previous emperor some laymen of the senatorial order were seen to plait their hair and arrange it on their heads, and to adopt a kind of priestly dignity in accordance with their different ranks at the emperor's court. They did this by wearing various ornaments and articles of clothing which are proper to priests and, as it was thought, made themselves out to be bishops by wearing a pallium over their shoulders and every other piece of episcopal dress. They also adopted as their patriarch the one who took the leading role in these buffooneries. They insulted and made a mockery of a variety of holy things, such as elections, promotions and consecrations of bishops, or by bringing up subtle but false accusations against bishops, and condemning and deposing them, switching in turn from distress to collusion as prosecutors and defendants.
Such a way of behaving has never been heard of since time began, even among the pagans. It shows that those we have now brought to light are in a worse and more wretched state than the pagan nations. The sacred and universal synod, therefore, has declared and promulgated that these attempts to do evil must be condemned as crimes, and no member of the faithful who bears the name of Christian should henceforth attempt to do or tolerate such a thing, or to protect by silence anyone who has committed such an impious act. If any emperor or any powerful or influential person should attempt to mock holy things in such a way, or with evil intent to carry out or permit such a great wrong to be done against the divine priesthood, he must first be condemned by the patriarch of the time, acting with his fellow bishops, and be excommunicated and declared unworthy to share in the divine mysteries, and then he must accept certain other corrective practices and penances which are judged appropriate. Unless he repents quickly, he must be declared anathema by this holy and universal synod as one who has dishonoured the mystery of the pure and spotless faith.
However, if the patriarch of Constantinople and his suffragan bishops come to know of any others who have committed crimes of this kind and neglect to act against them with the necessary zeal, they must be deposed and debarred from the dignity of their priesthood. Those who in any way have shown, or shall show in future, such impious conduct and have not confessed it in any way and received the appropriate penance, are declared excommunicate by this synod for three years; during the first year they must remain outside the church as public penitents, during the second year they may stand inside the church among the. ranks of the catechumens, during the third year they may join the faithful and thus become worthy of the sanctifying effects of the holy mysteries.
The first, holy and universal synod of Nicaea orders that the ancient custom should be preserved throughout Egypt and the provinces subject to her, so that the bishop of Alexandria has them all under his authority; it declares, "Because such a custom has prevailed in the city of Rome". Therefore this great and holy synod decrees that in old and new Rome and the sees of Antioch and Jerusalem the ancient custom must be preserved in all things, so that their prelates should have authority over all the metropolitans whom they promote or confirm in the episcopal dignity, either through the imposition of hands or the bestowal of the pallium; that is to say, the authority to summon them, in case of necessity, to a meeting in synod or even to reprimand and correct them, when a report about some wrongdoing leads to an accusation.
But since some metropolitans give as an excuse for not responding to the summons of their apostolic prelate that they are detained by their temporal rulers, it has been decided that such an excuse will be utterly invalid. For since a ruler frequently holds meetings for his own purposes, it is intolerable that he should prevent leading prelates from going to synods for ecclesiastical business or hold some back from their meetings. We have learnt, however, that such an obstacle and alleged refusal of permission can come about in various ways at the suggestion of the metropolitan.
Metropolitans have had the custom of holding synods twice a year and therefore, they say, they cannot possibly come to the chief one, that of the patriarch. But this holy and universal synod, without forbidding the meetings held by the metropolitans, is conscious that the synods summoned by the patriarchal see are more necessary and profitable than the metropolitan ones, and so demands that they take place. A metropolitan synod affects the good order of only one province, a patriarchal synod often affects the good order of a whole civil diocese, and in this way the common good is provided for. So it is fitting that the common good take priority over a particular one, especially when the summons to meet has been issued by those of greater authority. The fact is that certain metropolitans seem to regard with contempt the ancient custom and canonical tradition, by their not meeting together for the common good. Therefore the laws of the church demand, with severe penalties and leaving no loop-hole, that they comply with the summons of their patriarchs whether they are summoned as a body or individually.
We refuse to listen to the offensive claim made by some ignorant people that a synod cannot be held in the absence of the civil authorities. The reason for this is that the sacred canons have never prescribed the presence of secular rulers at synods but only the presence of bishops. Hence we find that they have not been present at synods but only at universal councils. Furthermore, it is not right that secular rulers should be observers of matters that sometimes come before the priests of God.
Therefore, if any metropolitan ignores his patriarch and disobeys his summons, whether addressed to him alone or to several or to all, unless prevented by a genuine illness or a pagan invasion, and for two whole months after notice of the summons makes no attempt to visit his patriarch, or if he hides in some way or pretends he has no knowledge of the patriarch's summons, he must be excommunicated. If he shows the same stubbornness and disobedience for a year, he must be unconditionally deposed and suspended from all sacerdotal functions and excluded from the dignity and honour that belong to metropolitans. If any metropolitan disobeys even this directive, let him be anathema.
This holy and great synod has decided that the goods or privileges which belong to the churches of God as a result of long enduring custom and have been granted, whether in writing or not, by emperors of revered memory or by other religious people and possessed by the churches for thirty years, must in no way be removed by force on the part of any secular person, or taken away by him on any pretext whatsoever, from the jurisdiction of the prelate who has them. Whatever is known to have been possessed by the churches for thirty years must remain subject to the control and use of the prelate of the church. Any secular person who acts in a way contrary to this present decree shall be ad judged as one who commits sacrilege and, until he reforms himself and restores or gives back the privileges and goods belonging to the church, let him be anathema.
Paul, the great apostle, condemns greed as another form of idolatry and wants all who unite under the name of Christian to abstain from every form of shameful love of gain. It is all the more wrong, therefore, for those who have the ministry of the priesthood to burden their fellow-bishops and suffragans in any way whatsoever.
For this reason this holy and universal synod has decreed that no archbishop or metropolitan should leave his own church and visit other churches under the pretext of an official visitation, nor abuse his authority over other churches and consume the revenues which they have at their disposal and for feeding the poor, and thus, by a form of greed, be a burden to the consciences of our brothers and fellow ministers. An exception is made in the case of hospitality, which may sometimes arise on account of necessary travel. But even then he must accept, with reverence and fear of God, nothing else than what is found prepared from that which is currently at hand. He should quickly continue the journey he has undertaken without asking or demanding any at all of the things which belong to that church or the suffragan bishop. For if the sacred canons decree that every bishop should be sparing in his use of what belongs to his own church, and should no way spend or consume the ecclesiastical revenues in an unfitting or unreasonable way for his own advantage, what kind of impiety do you think he will be found guilty of if he has no scruples about going around and burdening the churches entrusted to other bishops and thereby incurring the charge of sacrilege ?
Whoever attempts to do such a thing, after this directive of ours, shall incur from the patriarch of the time the punishment commensurate with his unjust and greedy behaviour, and shall be deposed and excommunicated as the sacrilegious person he is or, to put it otherwise, as an idolater, according to the teaching of the great Apostle.
It has come to the ears of this holy synod that in certain places some, on their own authority and without the agreement of those who are entrusted with such decisions, callously and mercilessly expel people who have received some of their lands by emphyteusis, on the pretext that the contract about the agreed rent has been broken.
This must not be allowed to happen unless the person who made the emphyteutic contract first listens to the objections through the mediation of some suitable and trustworthy persons. Then, if the leaseholder has not paid for three years the rent due, he may be expelled from his lands. But it is necessary, after the rent has been unpaid for three years, to go to the authorities of the city or region and bring before them a charge against the person who obtained the emphyteutic lease, and to show how he has defaulted. Only then, after the decision and judgment of the officials, may the church take back its property. Nobody may effect the confiscation of the aforesaid lands on his own initiative and authority, since this would be a sign of the worst form of profiteering and greed.
So, if any bishop or metropolitan, contrary to this directive of ours, confiscates any property from anyone, thinking he is protecting his own church, let him be suspended by his patriarch for a time, having first restored what he took away. If he persists in his disobedience to the decision of this holy universal synod, he must be completely removed from office.
We believe that the saying of the Lord that Christ addressed to his holy apostles and disciples, Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever despises you despises me, was also addressed to all who were likewise made supreme pontiffs and chief pastors in succession to them in the catholic church. Therefore we declare that no secular powers should treat with disrespect any of those who hold the office of patriarch or seek to move them from their high positions, but rather they should esteem them as worthy of all honour and reverence. This applies in the first place to the most holy pope of old Rome, secondly to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. Furthermore, nobody else should compose or edit writings or tracts against the most holy pope of old Rome, on the pretext of making incriminating charges, as Photius did recently and Dioscorus a long time ago. Whoever shows such great arrogance and audacity, after the manner of Photius and Dioscorus, and makes false accusations in writing or speech against the see of Peter, the chief of the apostles, let him receive a punishment equal to theirs.
If, then, any ruler or secular authority tries to expel the aforesaid pope of the apostolic see, or any of the other patriarchs, let him be anathema. Furthermore, if a universal synod is held and any question or controversy arises about the holy church of Rome, it should make inquiries with proper reverence and respect about the question raised and should find a profitable solution; it must on no account pronounce sentence rashly against the supreme pontiffs of old Rome.
This holy and universal synod declares and decrees, in agreement with earlier councils, that the promotion and consecration of bishops should be done by means of an election and decision of the college of bishops. So it promulgates as law that no lay authority or ruler may intervene in the election or promotion of a patriarch, a metropolitan or any bishop, lest there be any irregularity leading to improper confusion or quarrelling, especially since it is wrong for any ruler or other lay person to have any influence in such matters. Rather he should be silent and mind his own business until the election of the future bishop has been completed with due process by the ecclesiastical assembly. But if any lay person is invited by the church to join in the discussion and to help with the election, he is permitted to accept the invitation with respect, if he so wishes. For in this way he may be able to promote a worthy pastor in a regular manner, to the benefit of his church.
If any secular authority or ruler, or a lay person of any other status, attempts to act against the common, agreed and canonical method of election in the church, let him be anathema- this is to last until he obeys and agrees to what the church shows it wants concerning the election and appointment of its leader.
We have also learnt that some bishops, at the request of certain people, have unreasonably made a gift of properties belonging to other churches. Thus they usurp the authority of other bishops, so far as they can. This conduct will clearly bring on them the curse of the prophet who says, Woe to those who add house to house and field to field in order to defraud their neighbour, and it has made them guilty of sacrilege. For this reason, this great and universal synod has decided that no brother of ours in the episcopate or anyone else may transact such a wicked property deal, nor, if asked by someone, dispose of any property belonging to other churches, nor install priests or any other clerics in churches that are not under his jurisdiction, without the permission of the bishop responsible for the church in question. Furthermore, no priests or deacons, who are consecrated for holy functions, should perform, of their own accord and decision, any sacred functions in churches to which they have not been appointed from the beginning. This behaviour is unlawful and utterly alien to the canonical regulations.
Whoever, after this declaration of ours, shall be seen to do any of these things which have now been forbidden, must be excommunicated for a period of time, and the contractual arrangements, whether written or not, must be completely dissolved and abrogated because they were made in contravention of the canons. Likewise, the priest or deacon is to be suspended until he withdraws from the church to which he does not belong. But if he ignores the suspension, he must be got rid of completely and dispossessed of every sacred office.
Divine scripture says, Cursed is everyone who does the work of the Lord with slackness Yet some metropolitans have fallen into the depths of negligence and sloth. They summon the bishops subject to their jurisdiction and commit to them the divine offices of their own church as well as litanies and all the sacred ministries which are personal to themselves. The consequence is that they celebrate through the agency of these bishops everything they should readily do themselves. In this way they make those who have merited the dignity of bishop seem like clerics in their service.
These metropolitans, contrary to church law, give themselves to secular business and administration, failing to persevere in prayers and petitions for their own sins and the ignorance of their people. Some excuse this behaviour even though it is utterly and completely contrary to canonical regulations. What is still more serious, it is said that the bishops are told to complete the above ministries at allotted times each month at their own expense. This is totally alien to all apostolic sanction. All this makes such people worthy of the most severe condemnation possible, for they are shown by their actions to be infected by a form of satanic pride and arrogance.
Any metropolitan who, after this directive of the holy and universal synod, is consumed by a similar pride, arrogance or contempt and does not carry out with fear, promptitude and a good conscience the necessary ministries in his own city, but seeks to carry them out through his suffragan bishops, must be punished by his patriarch and be either reformed or deposed.
The holy synod has duly decided that the bishops, priests, deacons and subdeacons of the great church [of Constantinople], who received their consecration from Methodius and Ignatius, the most holy patriarchs, and became hard of heart like the arrogant and unfeeling heart of Pharaoh, and even now are in complete disagreement with this holy and universal synod and, while rejecting harmony with us in the word of truth, have wholeheartedly supported the cause of the usurper Photius, must be deposed and suspended from all sacerdotal functions, just as the most blessed pope Nicholas decreed not long ago. On no account are such men to be readmitted into the ranks of the clergy, even if they wish in future to change their ways. An exception will be made in regard to receiving the means of holiness, and it is only our mercy which makes us think that they are worthy of this. They do not deserve to have the opportunity of being restored by their repentance to their former status, as is illustrated by the case of the odious Esau, though he begged in tears for that favour.
This holy synod has also decided that any priest or deacon who has been deposed by his bishop for some crime, or who alleges he has suffered some kind of injustice and is not satisfied with the judgment of his bishop, saying that he does not trust him and that he has been wronged, either because of the enmity which the bishop has for him or because of favours the bishop wants to bestow on certain others, such a person has the right to have recourse to the metropolitan of his province and to denounce his deposition from office, which he thinks is unjust, or any other injury. The metropolitan should be willing to take up such cases and to summon the bishop who has deposed the cleric or injured him in any way. He should examine the case himself, with the help of other bishops, so as either to confirm the deposition of the cleric beyond all doubt, or to quash it by means of a general synod and the judgment of many persons.
In the same way we decree that bishops may have recourse to the patriarch, their head, if they complain that they have suffered similar things from their metropolitan, so that the business in question may receive a just and right decision from their patriarch and the metropolitans under him. No metropolitan bishop may be judged by his neighbouring metropolitan bishops, even though it is alleged that he has committed serious crimes, but he may only be judged by his own patriarch; we decree that this judgment will be just and beyond suspicion because a number of esteemed people will be gathered around the patriarch, and for this reason his judgment will be fully ratified and confirmed. If anyone does not, agree with what we have promulgated, let him be excommunicated.
We decree that, in ecclesiastical promotions and consecrations, the marks which signify the rank to which each person belongs, should be kept, in accordance with the traditional usages of each province, region and city. Thus bishops who have been permitted to wear the pallium at certain times, may wear it at those times and places but should not abuse so great and honourable a garment through pride, vainglory, human conceit and self-love, by wearing it unnecessarily throughout the divine sacrifice and every other ecclesiastical ceremony. We decree that those who have devoutly embraced the monastic life and merited the dignity of a bishop, should keep the appearance and garments of the monastic habit and that holy way of life. None of them has the right to lay aside that type of dress out of pride and wilful arrogance, lest he is found thereby to violate his personal vows. Just as the continual wearing of the pallium shows the bishop as given to ostentation and vainglory, so the laying aside of the monastic habit exposes him to the same charges.
Therefore, any bishop who wears the pallium outside the occasions stipulated in writing, or lays aside the monastic dress, must either be corrected or be deposed by his patriarch.
[1] J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima adp. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis ..., 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715

First Lateran Council 1123 A.D.

In 1123, during the pontificate of Pope Callistus II, a general Roman council was held "for various important matters of the church", as Callistus himself says in the letter of convocation which he sent on 25 June 1122 to bishop Baldric of Doll. A great number of bishops, abbots and religious, numbering at least 300, gathered in Rome from the western churches, although none that we know of came from the eastern churches {1 } . There is no evidence that legates of the emperor Henry V took part. The council began on 18 March 1123, with the pope presiding. There were at least two sessions. The council ended before 6 April, probably on 27 March.
This council is often called "general" in the letters and decrees of Pope Callistus II. It is reasonable, however, to doubt its ecumenicity. Indeed the manner in which the council was called and conducted by the pope and the fathers differed from that of the older councils. Moreover several other councils, similar to Lateran I, were convened in the 11th and 12th centuries but were not termed ecumenical. The ecumenicity of this council seems, as far as we can tell, to have been confirmed later by the tradition of the Roman church.
There had long been conflict between church and state, though some sort of a solution had been reached a short time before at the Concordat of Worms (September 1122). Thus, questions concerning the investiture of prelates and the freedom of the church were a major concern of the council. The said concordat was approved and confirmed by the council's authority, though not without opposition on the part of many, as Gerhoh of Reichersberg {2 } testifies; canons 3-4, 8 and 12 make mention of this debate. Thereby a measure of peace and discipline was restored to the church.
The fathers devoted themselves principally to the reform of the church, to the abolition of simony and to the correction of ecclesiastical abuses. There were a few other matters of lesser importance. Also, the struggle for the Corsican episcopacy between the churches of Genoa and Pisa was a considerable problem, and a commission of twenty-four fathers had to be created by the pope in order to resolve the matter; for this see canons 1, 7, and also canons 2, 5-6, 9, 11, 16. Thus pope Callistus, following as closely as he could the examples of Gregory VII and Urban II {3 } , and supported by the approval of the council, brought to a successful conclusion matters which had engrossed the whole church's effort and zeal for almost fifty years.
A number of canons were ratified by the council fathers, perhaps at the session on 27 March. Many of these were included in Gratian's Decrees (c. 1140), namely canons 1, 3-4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 16B, 19-22B, and part of 8, 18B. As far as we know, Baronius was the first to print others which Gratian did not accept (Br {4 } 12, 1607, 149-150; ed. Theiner 18, 1869, 343-344). Twelve more follow in the Roman edition (Rm {5 } 4, 1612, 16- 17), where a complete text of the canons may be found. We have examined all the canons in the following: Bn {6 } 3/2 (1618) 464-465; ER {7 } 27 (1644) 37-43; S. Baluze, in P. de Marca, Dissertationum de concordia sacerdotii et imperii ...libri II Paris l663, 363 (=BdM); LC10 {8 } (l67l) 896-900; Hrd {9 } 6/2 (1714) 1111-1114; Cl {10 } 12 (1730) 1333-1337; E. Martene and U. Durand, in Veterum scriptorum et monumentorum ... collectio, VII Paris 1733, 68-69, four canons only (= MD); Msi {11 } 2 (1748) 355-358; Msi 21 (1776) 281-286; G.H. Pertz, in MGH {12 } , Leges in f.ø, II/2 Hanover 1837, 182-183 (= Pertz); PL 163 (1854) 1361-1365; L. Weiland, in MGH, Const., I Hanover 1893, 574-576 (= MGH).
The text of the canons presents some difficulties. Bn 2, ER, LC, Hrd, Cl and Msi must have printed the same text as that used by Rm (though with some differences). This commonly accepted version, which we call B, consists of 22 canons and seems to derive from two manuscript codices (not from Rm, since this has the different readings). In addition, seven canons (2, 5, 10-11, 13, 15, 17) printed by Br seem to relate to B, even though they often do not agree with 13 in their readings. A second version of the canons, "from an ancient manuscript codex of the monastery of Aniane", which is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, was published by BdM. The order of the canons in it, and often the readings, are different from B; moreover six canons (11 and the last five, 18-22B) are missing and two (15-16) are completely different from B. Regarding this other version, which we call alpha, MD published four canons (6, 12, 15- 16) "from a manuscript of the marquis of Laubes", and Pertz published sixteen canons (15 and 18-22B are missing, in place of which are what appear to be two rubrics) from Vienna MS. Codex of Canon Law 91 (now 2178). Migne transcribed the text of Pertz. LC took several readings of (alpha and included them in B[eta] as variant readings. Finally, the text printed by Msi "from a Pistoia codex of canons", as well as the order of canons in it, appear similar to alpha; although canons 15-16 are preserved according to the B text and 18-19 are added to B. If alpha is earlier than B, then the text of Msi seems to date from an earlier time and to have been corrected occasionally from B; therefore we conclude that this text belongs to alpha.
We believe the (alpha version is older than B[eta].For, the canons from alpha(except ll-12, 15-17) are mentioned in Simeon of Durham's "Historia Regum" {13 } (= S), which is contemporaneous. This point has not been noticed by scholars. In addition, Gratian's Decrees ascribe the last 5 canons to the earlier pontificate of Urban II (1088-99) and not to the time of Lateran I, as Br noted; therefore alpha seems right to omit these five canons. The document on which Br and possibly Rm depend is a Vatican codex "which contains the Collection of Anselm [of Lucca], in which the canons of this council are included as an appendix after chapter 55". Maybe, therefore, our B should be attributed to this peculiar version in Anselm of Lucca's text. Certainly all the known manuscript codices are related to alpa, so far as we are aware {14 } , including the 12th century Vatican Reginensis lat. 987 (= R), which was the first to be examined by us. We think that little confidence can be placed in MGH, which is the only critical edition so far made. Its editor, Weiland, divided the sources into three groups: the "Parisian", more correctly called the "Roman"- the Pistoian codex; and the codices used by BdM and Pertz. But he completely ignored the similarities between the three groups, and in the end collated only the two sources of the third group, omitting for no reason canon 17. We have collated together R and all the other editions, and have prepared our text with the alpha version as the basis. We think that R and BdM are the most reliable sources. We have relegated the alternative version of canons 15-16 to a footnote, and the last five canons to an appendix. We have not used the MGH text except in a few instances. There is a preface to the canons in R, S, BdM and Msi vol 1, but we do not reproduce it.
BIBLIOGRAPHY H-L 5/1 (1912) 630-634; DThC 8/2 (1925) 2628-2637; DDrC 6 (1957) 344-346; LThK 6 (vol 2 1961) 815-816; NCE 8 (1967) 406; HC 3 (1980) 401-402; U. Robert, Histoire du pape Calixte II, Paris-Besancon 1891, 162-177, A. Hauck, Die Rezeption und Umbildung der allgemeinen Synode im Mittelalter, Historische Vierteljahrschrifl 10 (1907) 468 ff.; G. Meyer von Knonau, Jahrbucher des deutschen Reiches . . ., VII Leipzig 1909, 228-239; G Tangl, Die Teilnehmer an den allgemeinen Konzilien des Mittelalters, Weimar 1922, 196-205; H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, St. Louis, Mo. --London 1937, 177-194; A. Eliche, La reforme gregorienne et la reconquete chretienne (Histoire de l'Eglise 8), Paris 1950, 390-393; G. Eranzen, L'ecclesiologie des conciles medievaux, in Le concile, 125-141; R Eoreville, Latran I, II, III et Latran IV (Histoire des Conciles 6), Paris 1965; M. Mollat and P. Tombeur, Les conciles Latran I a Latran IV: Concordance, index, listes de frequence, tables comparatives (Conciles oecumeniques medievaux 1), Louvain 1974.
1. Following the examples of the holy fathers and renewing them as we are bound by our office, by the authority of the apostolic see we altogether forbid anyone to be ordained or promoted in the church of God for money. If anyone indeed should have been ordained or promoted in the church in such a fashion, let him be utterly deprived of the office acquired. {15 }
2. {16 } We absolutely forbid those excommunicated by their own bishops to be received into communion by other bishops, abbots and clergy {17 }
3. {18 } No one may consecrate as a bishop someone who is not canonically elected. If anyone should presume to do this, let both consecrator and consecrated be deposed {19 } beyond hope of restoration.
4 {20 } Absolutely no archdeacon, archpriest {21 } , provost or dean {22 } may grant to anyone the care of souls or prebends in a church without the decision or consent of the bishop. Rather, as it is constituted by the holy canons, let the care of souls and the dispensing of ecclesiastical affairs remain in the decision and power of the bishop. Indeed, if anyone presumes to do something against this, or to claim for himself the power which pertains to the bishop, let him be banished from the bounds of the church
5. {23 } The ordinations made by the heresiarch Burdinus {24 }, after he was condemned by the Roman church, and whatever was afterwards done by pseudo-bishops ordained by him, we judge to be null and void.
6. {25 } No one except a priest {26 } may be ordained to the office of provost, archpriest or dean; no one except a deacon may be ordained to the office of archdeacon. {27 } {28 }
7. {29 } We absolutely forbid priests, deacons or subdeacons to live with concubines and wives, and to cohabit with other women, except those whom the council of Nicaea permitted to dwell with them solely on account of necessity, namely a mother, sister, paternal or maternal aunt, or other such persons, about whom no suspicion could justly arise
8. {30 } We further resolve, in accordance with the statute of the most blessed pope Stephen, that lay persons, however religious they may be, have no power to dispose of any ecclesiastical business; but following the apostolic canons, let the bishop have the care of all ecclesiastical matters, and let him manage them as in the sight of God. Therefore {31 } if any prince or other lay person should arrogate to himself the disposition or donation {32 } of ecclesiastical things or possessions, let him be regarded as sacrilegious.
9. {33 } We prohibit unions between blood relatives, because both the divine and secular laws prohibit them. For, the divine laws not only cast out those doing this and their progeny but also call them accursed; the secular laws call such people disreputable and deprive them of inheritance. We, therefore, following our fathers, mark them with infamy and judge them to be infamous.
10. {34 } To those who set out for Jerusalem and offer effective help towards the defence of the christian people and overcoming the tyranny of the infidels, we grant the remission of their sins, and we place their houses and families and all their goods under the protection of blessed Peter and the Roman church, just as has been decreed by our lord pope Urban. Whoever dares to distrain or carry off their houses, families and goods, while they are on their way, shall be punished with excommunication. {35 } Those who have put crosses on their clothes, with a view to journeying to Jerusalem or to Spain, and have later taken them off, we command by our apostolic authority to wear the crosses again and to complete the journey between this Easter and the following Easter. Otherwise, from that moment we cut them off from entry into church and forbid divine services in all their lands, apart from the baptism of infants and confessions for the dying.
11. {36 } With the advice of our brothers and of the whole curia, and also with the wish and consent of the prefect, we order the abolition of that immoral practice hitherto obtaining with respect to the dead Porticani, so that the goods of Porticani dwellers dying without heirs are not to be dispersed against the wishes of those dying. This, however, is to the extent that the Porticani remain obedient and faithful to the Roman church and to us and our successors. {37 }
12. {38 } In accordance with the canons of the holy fathers, we absolutely forbid and prohibit the laity, under the penalty of anathema, to remove the offerings from the most sacred and revered altars of blessed Peter and of the Saviour and of St Mary Rotunda and of St Nicholas of Bari, of St Giles {39 } , or from the altars or crosses of all the other churches. By {40 } apostolic authority we forbid the fortification or taking hold of churches by {41 } lay persons {42 } . {43 }
13. {44 } Whoever knowingly makes or intentionally spends counterfeit money shall be separated from the communion of the faithful as one accursed, an oppressor of the poor and a disturber of the state.
14. {45 } If anyone tries to attack pilgrims to Rome and foreigners {46 } visiting the shrines of the apostles and the oratories of other saints, or to rob them of the things they bring, or to trouble merchants {47 } with new exactions of tolls and fees, let him be deprived of christian communion until he makes reparation.
15. {48 } We confirm, with the authority of the holy Spirit, whatever has been determined by the Roman pontiffs our predecessors concerning the peace and truce of God or arson or the public highways.
Msi (as canon 14) and B (as canon 13) have a different text namely
If anyone should violate a truce, he is to be admonished up to three times by the bishop to make reparation. If he acts in contempt of the third admonition to make reparation, the bishop, either with the counsel of the metropolitan {49 } or with two or one of the neighbouring bishops, shall declare the sentence of anathema on the rebel, and denounce him in writing to the bishops all around
16. {50 } Following in the footsteps of the holy fathers, we order by general decree, that monks be subject to their own bishops {51 } with all humility, and show due obedience and devoted submission to them in all things, as if to masters and shepherds of the church of God. They may not celebrate masses in public anywhere. Moreover, let them completely abstain from public visitations of the sick, from anointings and even from hearing confessions, for these things in no way pertain to their calling. Indeed, in the churches where their ministry is recognized, they may only have priests who were ordained by their own bishop, to whom they will answer for the care of souls which they have assumed.
In Pertz there is only "We absolutely forbid anointings and visits to the sick and public masses by monks" and then : "The examples of Leo to Dioscorus, that on the day of the resurrection there may be a levitical and a sacerdotal ordination, ch 19. That on Sunday mnorning, continuing the fast of Saturday, there can be an ordination, ch 20".
Msi (as canon 18) and B (as canon 17) have a different text, namely :
We forbid abbots and monks to give public penances, to visit the sick, to perform anointings and to chant public masses. They shall receive chrism, holy oil, consecrations of altars and ordinations of clerics from the bishops in whose dioceses they reside.
17. {52 } In our desire to preserve in peace, by the grace of God, the possessions of the holy Roman church, we strictly forbid, under pain of anathema, any military {53 } person to presume to seize or hold by force Benevento, the city of blessed Peter. If anyone should dare otherwise, he shall be bound by the chain of anathema.
The remaining canons are missing in alpha, and Msi has canons 18-19 together with canon 16. The first part of this canon (Priests ... pertain to the bishop) may belong to canon 16 (B).
18. Priests are to be appointed to parish churches by the bishops, to whom they shall answer for the care of souls and for those matters which pertain to the bishop. They may not receive tithes or churches from lay persons without the consent and wish of the bishops; and if they presume to do otherwise, they shall be subject to the canonical penalty. {54 }
19. We allow the service which monasteries and their churches have paid from the time of {55 } pope Gregory VII until now. We altogether forbid abbots and monks to have the possessions of churches and bishops by a thirty {56 } years provision. {57 }
20. Having in mind the examples in the traditions of the fathers, and discharging the duty of our pastoral office, we decree that churches and what belongs to them, both persons and possessions, namely clerics, monks and their lay brothers, as well as those who come to pray and what they bring with them, are to be under protection and not be harmed. If anyone dares to act contrary to this and after recognizing his villainy, has not properly made amends within the space of thirty days, let him be banished from the bounds of the church and be smitten with the sword of anathema.
21. We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, subdeacons and monks to have concubines or to contract marriages. We adjudge, as the sacred canons have laid down, that marriage contracts between such persons should be made void and the persons ought to undergo penance.
22. We condemn the alienations which have been made everywhere, especially by Otto {58 } , Jeremias, and perhaps Philip {59 } , of the property of the exarchate of Ravenna. Moreover, we declare in general to be invalid the alienations made in whatever fashion by all persons, whether they were intruded or were canonically elected in the name of a bishop or an abbot, who should be consecrated in accordance with the usage of his own church, and the ordinations conferred by them without the consent of the clergy of the church or through simony. We also forbid absolutely that any cleric should presume to alienate in any way his prebend or any ecclesiastical benefice. Any such action in the past or the future shall be invalid and subject to canonical penalty."
1 There are no surviving acts of the council. On the number of fathers, see K.J. Hefele, Histoire des conciles d'apres les documents originaux, trans. and continued by H. Leclerq, 11 vols. 1907-1952., 5/1, 631 n. 2; and also Simeon of Durham Opera Omnia ..., II ed. T. Arnold (Rolls series 75), London 1885, 272; Annali genovesi di Caffaro ..., ed. L. Belgrano (Fonti per las storia d'Italia 11), I Rome-Genoa 1890, 19
2 See Gerhoh of Reichersberg, Libellus de ordine donorum sancti Spiritus, ed. E. Sackur, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Hannover and Berlin 1826-, Libelli, III Hanover 1897, 280; see also Hefele 5/1, 631
3 See also canon 10 on the recovery of the holy Land, and canons 14-15 on peace among Christians.
4 C. Baronius (continued by O. Raynaldi), Anales ecclesiastici, ed. J. D. Mansi, 38 vols. Lucca 1728-1759)
5 Ton hagion iokoumenikon synodon tes katholikes ekklesias apanta. Concilia generalia Ecclesiae catholicae [Editio Romana], 4 vols. Rome 1608-1612.
6 S. Binius, Concilia generalia et provincialia ..., 5 vols. Cologne 1609; 9 vols. ibid [ed. 2] . 1618; 11 vols. Paris[ed. 3] 1636.
7 Conciliorum omnium generalium et provincialium collectio [Editio Regia], 37 vols. Paris 1644.
8 P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae nunc quarta parte prodit auctior studio Philippi Labbei et Gabrielis Cossartii ..., 17 vols. Paris 1671-1672
9 J. Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima ad p. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis ..., 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715
10 N. Coleti, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae olim quarta parte prodiit ... longe locupletior et emendatior exhibeture ..., 23 vols. Venice 1728-1733
11 J. D. Mansi (continued by J.B. Martin and L. Petit), Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio ..., 53 vols. Florence, Venice, Paris and Leipzig 1759-1927
12 in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Hannover and Berlin 1826-,
13 See Simeon and Durham., Opera Omnia ..., II 270-272
14 We have not seen Olmutz Chapter Codex 205; see Pertz, Archiv 10 (1849) 682.
15 Council of Toulouse (1119), canon 1 (Msi 21, 226); ch. 10 C. I q. 1 (Fr 1, 360); see Schroeder 179 n. 4
16 Canon 3 in Msi, 9 in B
17 See council of Melfi (1089), canon 15 (Msi 20, 724)
18 Canon 2 in Msi, 10 in B
19 condemned Pertz
20 Canon 5 in Msi, 7 in B
21 priest Msi
22 deacon Msi
23 Canon 9 in Msi, 6 in B
24 Maurice Burdinus, antipope Gregory VIII (1118-1121)
25 Canon 4 in Msi, 2 in B
26 or a deacon added in alpha except S
27 Council of Toulouse (119), canon 2 (Msi 21, 226);
28 no one ... deacon omitted in Pertz
29 Canon 3 in B
30 Canon 6 in Msi, 4 in B
31 included in canon 9 in Pertz
32 domination in Pertz and variant reading in B
33 Canon 8 in Msi, 5 in B
34 Canon 12 in Msi, 12 in B
35 included in canon 13 in Msi, Pertz
36 Omitted in R S BdM; canon 12 in B, 14 in Pertz
37 This, however ... our successors omitted in Baronius
38 Omitted in S; Canon 11 in BdM, 14 in B, 15 in Msi vol 1
39 and of St Nicholas ... St Giles omitted in Msi 1 B.
40 included in canon 12 in B
41 omitted in B
42 omitted in B
43 by ... persons omitted in E. Martene and U. Durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum seu collectio monumentorum ..., 5 vols. Paris 1717.
44 Canon 16 in Msi, 15 in B
45 Canon 17 in Msi, 16 in B
46 or merchants added in R, BdM
47 omitted in R, BdM, B (in B as variant reading)
48 Omitted in S, Pertz
49 with ...metropolitan] the metropolitan Br and variant reading in B
50 Omitted in S;
51 omitted in R
52 Omitted in S; Canon 10 in Msi, 11 in Pertz, 8 in B
53 omitted in Baronius and variant reading in B
54 and if ... penalty omitted in Msi; see canon 19
55 holy (?saint) added in Msi
56 3 years Msi
57 But if they presume to do otherwise they shall be subject to canonical penalty added in Msi
58 Atto variant reading in B
59 dissident archbishops of the church of Ravenna in 12th century

Second Lateran Council - 1139 A.D.

In Lent of 1139 a general council was summoned by Pope Innocent II and held in the Lateran basilica {1} . As we know, the synod had been convoked the previous year; for the papal legates in England and Spain pressed the bishops and abbots to go to the council. Thus, a good number of fathers, at least five hundred, met in Rome. One of these came from the East, the patriarch of Antioch, but he was a Latin. With the pope presiding the council began on 2 April and it seems to have ended before 17 April, as far as we can judge from the sources.
This council is called "general" in the records and more frequently "plenary" by Innocent himself. However, there is a doubt as to its ecumenicity for the same reasons that affect Lateran I.
The Roman church, which for a long time had been divided in its obedience between Innocent II (1130-1143) and Anacletus II (1130-1138), seems to have overcome schism and factionalism, and indeed to have recovered its peace. This was due to the death of Anacletus in 1138 and the efforts of Bernard of Clairvaux, who had fought with the utmost zeal on behalf of Innocent for the restoration of unity. But Innocent, perhaps upset by the agreements which Anacletus had arrived at, vigorously cited and condemned Anacletus's part in the evil affair {2} , an action which seems to have provoked a complaint from Bernard.
Some heretics were also condemned by the fathers, namely those who followed the monk Henry, and canons were enacted concerning the reform of the church. The pope and the council fathers, following the example and mind of Pope Gregory VII, took up a good many canons which had been established by previous councils, with a view to restoring ecclesiastical discipline to an unblemished state. They furnish a sort of body of precepts for the whole church, taken from councils in the times of Gregory VII (canon 10), Urban II (canons 3, 21-22), Callistus II (canons 3, 7, 23-25) and especially Innocent II (canons 1, 4-7, 9-12, 14-20). Gratian included many of them shortly afterwards in his Decrees (canons 2, 4-6, 8, 19-21, 26-28 and parts of 7, 10, 12, 15-16, 18, 22). Orderic Vitalis, however, was sceptical about their effectiveness in practice.
Baronius was the first to print the thirty canons (Annales ecclesiastici 12,1607, 277-280), having taken them from two manuscript codices ("a register of the Vatican library and a Vatican codex of decrees"). The Roman editors shortly after produced a more accurate version (Rm {3} 4, 1612, 21 -23), from "manuscript codices of the Vatican library and of Anthony Augustine of Tarragona"; this was copied by all later editions, as we have verified, though with some errors. These later editions are as follows: Bn2 {4} 3/2 (1618) 487-489; ER {5} 17 (1644) 123-133; LC {6} 10 (1671) 1002-1009; Hrd {7} 6/2 (1714) 1207-1214; Cl {8} 12 (1730) 1497-1507;Msi {9} 21 (1776) 526-533.The canon which E.Martene and U.Durand published (Thesaurus novus anecdotorum, IV, Paris 1717, 139-140) as being "omitted in the editions, from a manuscript of St Vincent of Bisignano", is in fact the same as canons 15 and 30. Having collated together all these editions, we have followed the text of the Roman edition.
1. We decree that if anyone has been ordained simoniacally, he is to forfeit entirely the office which he illicitly usurped.
2. If anyone has acquired, through payment, a prebend, priory, deanery or any ecclesiastical honour or preferment, or a holy thing of the church of any kind, such as chrism or holy oil, or the consecrations of altars or churches, where the execrable passion of avarice has been the motive, let him be deprived of the honour which he wrongly acquired, and let the buyer and seller and intermediary be stigmatised with the mark of infamy. And let nothing be demanded for sustenance or under the pretext of any custom from anyone before or afterwards, nor should the person himself presume to give anything, since this is simony; but let him enjoy freely and without any diminution the dignity and benefice which has been conferred on him
3. We utterly prohibit those who have been excommunicated by their bishops to be received by others. Indeed, whoever knowingly presumes to communicate someone who has been excommunicated, before he is absolved by the one who excommunicated him, is to be held liable to the same sentence.
4. We also enjoin that bishops as well as clergy take pains to be pleasing to God and to humans in both their interior and exterior comportment. Let them give no offence in the sight of those for whom they ought to be a model and example, by the excess, cut or colour of their clothes, nor with regard to the tonsure, but rather, as is fitting for them, let them exhibit holiness. If after a warning from the bishops they are unwilling to change their ways, let them be deprived of their ecclesiastical benefices.
5. We enjoin that what was laid down in the sacred council of Chalcedon be rigidly adhered to, namely, that the goods of deceased bishops are not to be seized by anyone at all, but are to remain freely at the disposal of the treasurer and the clergy for the needs of the church and the succeeding incumbent. Therefore, from now on, let that detestable and wicked rapacity cease. Furthermore, if anyone dares to attempt this behaviour henceforth, he is to be excommunicated. And those who despoil the goods of dying priests or clerics are to be subject to the same sentence.
6. We also decree that those in the orders of subdeacon and above who have taken wives or concubines are to be deprived of their position and ecclesiastical benefice. For since they ought to be in fact and in name temples of God, vessels of the Lord and sanctuaries of the holy Spirit, it is unbecoming that they give themselves up to marriage and impurity.
7. Adhering to the path trod by our predecessors, the Roman pontiffs Gregory VII, Urban and Paschal, we prescribe that nobody is to hear the masses of those whom he knows to have wives or concubines. Indeed, that the law of continence and the purity pleasing to God might be propagated among ecclesiastical persons and those in holy orders, we decree that where bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, canons regular, monks and professed lay brothers have presumed to take wives and so transgress this holy precept, they are to be separated from their partners. For we do not deem there to be a marriage which, it is agreed, has been contracted against ecclesiastical law. Furthermore, when they have separated from each other, let them do a penance commensurate with such outrageous behaviour.
8. We decree that the selfsame thing is to apply also to women religious if, God forbid, they attempt to marry.
9. Moreover, the evil and detestable practice has grown, so we understand, whereby monks and canons regular, after receiving the habit and making their profession, are learning civil law and medicine with a view to temporal gain, in scornful disregard of the rules of their blessed teachers Benedict and Augustine. In fact, burning with the fire of avarice, they make themselves the advocates of suits; and since they have to neglect the psalmody and hymns, placing their trust in the power of fine rhetoric instead, they confuse what is right and what is wrong, justice and iniquity, by reason of the variety of their arguments. But the imperial constitutions testify that it is truly absurd and reprehensible for clerics to want to be experts in the disputes of law courts. We decree by apostolic authority that lawbreakers of this kind are to be severely punished. There are also those who, neglecting the care of souls, completely ignore their state in life, promise health in return for hateful money and make themselves healers of human bodies. And since an immodest eye manifests an immodest heart, religion ought to have nothing to do with those things of which virtue is ashamed to speak. Therefore, we forbid by apostolic authority this practice to continue, so that the monastic order and the order of canons may be preserved without stain in a state of life pleasing to God, in accord with their holy purpose. Furthermore, bishops, abbots and priors who consent to and fail to correct such an outrageous practice are to be deprived of their own honours and kept from the thresholds of the church.
10. We prohibit, by apostolic authority, that the tithes of churches be possessed by lay people where canonical authority shows these were assigned for religious purposes. For whether they accept them from bishops or kings, or any person whatsoever, let them know that they are committing the crime of sacrilege and incurring the threat of eternal damnation, unless they hand them back to the church. We also direct that lay people who are in possession of churches must either restore them to the bishops or become subject to excommunication. We reiterate our decision that nobody is to hold the office of archdeacon or dean unless he is ordained deacon or priest; and archdeacons, deans or provosts who are without these orders are to be deprived of the honour they have received, if through disobedience they refuse to be ordained. Moreover, we forbid the aforesaid honours to be conferred on youths or those not yet in sacred orders; let them be conferred rather on those who are outstanding in prudence and integrity of life. We also enjoin that churches are not to be entrusted to hired priests and that each and every church with sufficient means is to have its own priest
11. We also prescribe that priests, clerics, monks, pilgrims, merchants and peasants, in their coming and going and their work on the land, and the animals with which they plough and carry seeds to the fields, and their sheep {10} , be left in peace at all times.
12. We decree that the truce {11} is to be inviolably observed by all from sunset on Wednesday until sunrise on Monday, and from Advent until the octave of the Epiphany, and from Quinquagesima until the octave of Easter. If anyone tries to break the truce, and he does not comply after the third warning, let his bishop pronounce sentence of excommunication on him, and communicate his decision in writing to the neighbouring bishops. Moreover let none of the bishops receive into communion the excommunicated person, but rather let each confirm the sentence received in writing. If anyone presumes to infringe this, he will do so at the risk of his position. Since a threefold cord is not quickly broken, we enjoin bishops, having regard for God alone and the salvation of the people, and laying aside all timidity, to furnish each other with mutual counsel and help towards firmly maintaining peace, and not to omit this duty by reason of any affection or aversion. For if anyone is found to be lukewarm in this work of God, let him incur the loss of his dignity
13. Furthermore, we condemn that practice accounted despicable and blameworthy by divine and human laws, denounced by Scripture in the old and new Testaments, namely, the ferocious greed of usurers; and we sever them from every comfort of the church, forbidding any archbishop or bishop, or an abbot of any order whatever or anyone in clerical orders, to dare to receive usurers, unless they do so with extreme caution; but let them be held infamous throughout their whole lives and, unless they repent, be deprived of a christian burial.
14. We entirely forbid, moreover, those abominable jousts and tournaments in which knights come together by agreement and rashly engage in showing off their physical prowess and daring, and which often result in human deaths and danger to souls. If any of them dies on these occasions, although penance and viaticum are not to be denied him when he requests them, he is to be deprived of a church burial.
15. In the same way we have decided to legislate that if anyone, at the instigation of the devil, incurs the guilt of the following sacrilege, that is, to lay violent hands on a cleric or a monk, he is to be subject to the bond of anathema; and let no bishop presume to absolve such a person unless he is in immediate danger of death, until he has been presented before the apostolic See and submits to its decision. We also prescribe that nobody dare to lay hands on those who flee to a church or cemetery. If anyone does this, let him be excommunicated.
16. It is undoubtedly the case that since ecclesiastical honours depend not on blood-relationships but on merit, and since the church of God awaits successors not on the basis of any right of inheritance, nor according to the flesh, it requires virtuous, wise and devout persons for its administration and the distribution of its offices. Therefore we prohibit, by apostolic authority, anyone to exercise a claim over or to demand, by hereditary right, churches, prebends, provostships, chaplaincies or any ecclesiastical offices. If anyone, unjustly and guilty of ambition, dares to attempt this, he will be duly punished and deprived of the object of his suit.
17. With good reason we entirely prohibit unions within the bounds of consanguinity; for the teachings of holy fathers and the holy church of God detest incestuous behaviour of this kind, which (under the influence of the enemy of the human race) is engaged in nowadays. Even the secular laws pronounce those born of such a union infamous, and refuse them the right of inheritance
18. We completely detest and forbid, by the authority of God and the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, that most dreadful, devastating and malicious crime of incendiarism For this pernicious and inimical calamity surpasses all other kinds of destruction. Nobody is unaware of the extent to which it is injurious to the people of God and the damage it brings to souls and bodies. It is necessary, therefore, to oppose it and to labour with all one's might, that so great a harm and danger be eradicated and suppressed for the sake of the people. If anyone, then, after the publication of this prohibition of ours, from some wicked design born of hate or vengeance, starts a fire or causes it to be started, or knowingly provides counsel or help to those starting one, let him be excommunicated. And when an arsonist dies, he is to be deprived of a christian burial. Nor is he to be absolved unless, having first made reparation for the loss according to his means, he swears that he will never raise a fire again. Moreover, let him be given the penance of remaining a whole year in Jerusalem or Spain in the service of God.
19. If any archbishop or bishop relaxes this decree, he is to make restitution for the loss and abstain from his episcopal office for a year.
20. As is right, we do not deny to kings and princes the power to dispense justice, in consultation with the archbishops and bishops.
21. We decree that sons of priests are to be removed from the ministries of the sacred altar unless they are living religiously in monasteries or canonries.
22. Because there is one thing that conspicuously causes great disturbance to holy church, namely, false penance, we warn our brothers in the episcopate and priests not to allow the souls of the laity to be deceived or dragged off to hell by false penances. It is agreed that a penance is false when many sins are disregarded and a penance is performed for one only, or when it is done for one sin in such a way that the penitent does not renounce another. Thus it is written: Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point, has become guilty of all of it; this evidently pertains to eternal life. Therefore, just as a person who is entangled in all sins will not enter the gate of eternal life, so also if a person remains in one sin {12} . False penance also occurs when the penitent does not resign a position at a court or in business which cannot be carried on without sin, or if hate is harboured in his heart, or if the person does not make amends to whomever he offended, or if an injured party does not pardon the offender, or if anyone unjustly carries arms.
23. Those who, simulating a kind of religiosity, condemn
the sacrament of the Lord's body and blood,
the baptism of children,
the priesthood and other ecclesiastical orders, and
legitimate marriages,
we expel from the church of God and condemn as heretics, and prescribe that they be constrained by the secular powers. We also bind up their defenders in the fetter of the same condemnation. {13}
24. We also prescribe that no sale-price is to be demanded for chrism, holy oil and burials.
25. If anyone receives provostships, prebends or other ecclesiastical benefices from the hand of a lay person, let him be deprived of the benefice unworthily received. For the decrees of the holy fathers state that lay people, no matter how devout they may be, have no power of disposal over ecclesiastical property.
26. We decree that the pernicious and detestable custom which has spread among some women who although they live neither according to the rule of blessed Benedict, nor Basil nor Augustine, yet wish to be thought of by everyone as nuns, is to be abolished. For when, living according to the rule in monasteries, they ought to be in church or in the refectory or dormitory in common, they build for themselves their own retreats and private dwelling-places where, under the guise of hospitality, indiscriminately and without any shame they receive guests and secular persons contrary to the sacred canons and good morals. Because everyone who does evil hates the light, these women think that, hidden in the tabernacle of the just {14} , they can conceal themselves from the eyes of the Judge who sees everything; so we prohibit in every way this unrighteous, hateful and disgraceful conduct and forbid it to continue under pain of anathema.
27. In the same way, we prohibit nuns to come together with canons or monks in choir for the singing of the office.
28. Since the decrees of the fathers prohibit churches to be left vacant for more than three months, we forbid under anathema the canons of the episcopal see to exclude religious men from the election following on the death of the bishop; but let a virtuous and suitable person be elected as bishop with their advice. Because if an election is held with these religious persons excluded, where this is done without their knowledge and consent, it is null and void.
29. We prohibit under anathema that murderous art of crossbowmen and archers, which is hateful to God, to be employed against Christians and Catholics from now on.
30. We render void the ordinances enacted by Peter Leoni and other schismatics and heretics, and deem them null.
1 There are no surviving acts of the council and very little can be surmised from the records and chronicles. The sources are collected in Hefele, Histoire des conciles d'apres les documents originaux, trans. and continued by H. Leclerq 1907-52., 5/1, 721-722; but see also, Bernhardi Jahrbuecher der deutschen Geschichte, I Leipzig 1883, 154-160.
2 his earlier name was Peter Pierleoni. See canon 30
3 Ton hagion iokoumenikon synodon tes katholikes ekklesias apanta. Concilia generalia Ecclesiae catholicae [Editio Romana], 4 vols. Rome 1608-1612.
4 Binius, Concilia generalia et provincialia ..., 5 vols. Cologne 1609; 9 vols. ibid [ed. 2] . 1618; 11 vols. Paris[ed. 3] 1636
5 Conciliorum omnium generalium et provincialium collectio [Editio Regia], 37 vols. Paris 1644
6 P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae nunc quarta parte prodit auctior studio Philippi Labbei et Gabrielis Cossartii ..., 17 vols. Paris 1671-1672
7 . Hardouin, Conciliorum collectio regia maxima ad p. Philippi Labbei et p. Gabrielis Cossartii e Societate Jesu labores haud modica accessione facta et emendationibus pluribus additis ..., 12 vols. Paris 1714-1715
8 N. Coleti, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae olim quarta parte prodiit ... longe locupletior et emendatior exhibeture ..., 23 vols. Venice 1728-1733
9 J. D. Mansi (continued by J.B. Martin and L. Petit), Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio ..., 53 vols. Florence, Venice, Paris and Leipzig 1759-1927
10 and the animals ... sheep omitted in Baronius
11 of God added in Baronius
12 Therefore ... sin omitted in Baronius
13 Cathars
14 of the just variant reading in Rm Bn, of the unjust others

Fourth Lateran Council : 1215

Confession of Faith
On the error of abbot Joachim
On Heretics
On the pride of the Greeks towards the Latins
The dignity of the patriarchal sees
On yearly provincial councils
The correction of offences and the reform of morals
On inquests
On different rites within the same faith
On appointing preachers
On schoolmasters for the poor
On general chapters of monks
A prohibition against new religious orders
Clerical incontinence
Clerical gluttony and drunkeness
Decorum in the dress and behaviour of clerics
Dissolute prelates
Clerics to dissociate from shedding-blood
That profane objects may not be stored in churches
Chrism and the Eucharist to be kept under lock and key
On yearly confession to one's own priest, yearly communion, the confessional seal
Physicians of the body to advise patients to call physicians of the soul
Churches are to be without a prelate for no more than 3 months
Democratic election of pastors
Invalid elections
Nominees for prelatures to be carefully screened
Candidates for the priesthood to be carefully trained and scrutinized
Who asks to resign must resign
Multiple benefices require papal dispensation
Penalties for bestowing ecclesiatical benefices on the unworthy
Canons' sons cannot be canons where their fathers are
Parish priests to have adequate incomes
Renumeration for visitations to be reasonable
Prelates forbidden to procure ecclesiastical services at a profit
On appeal procedures
On interlocutory sentences
On Summons by Apostolic Letter
Written records of trials to be kept
On knowingly receiving stolen goods
True owner is the true possessor even if not possessing the object for a year
No one is to knowingly prescribe an object to the wrong party
Clerics and laity are not to usurp each others rights
Clerics cannot be forced to take oaths of fealty to those from whom they hold no temporalities
Only clerics may dispose of church property
Penalties for patrons who steal church goods or physically harm their clerics
Taxes cannot be levied on the Church, but the Church can volunteer contributions for the common good
On unjust excommunication
Challenging an ecclesiastical judge
Penalties for excommunication out of avarice
Prohibition of marriage is now perpetually restricted to the fourth degree
Clandestine marriages forbidden
On rejecting evidence from hearsay at a matrimonial suit
On those who give their fields to others to be cultivated so as to avoid tithes
Tithes should be paid before taxes
Tithes are to be paid on lands acquired, notwithstanding privileges
A parish priest shall not lose a tithe on account of some people making a pact
Interpreting the words of privileges
On the same in favour of bishops
Religious cannot give surety without permission of his abbot and convent
Abbots not to encroach on episcopal office
Religious may not receive tithes from lay hands
Regarding saint's relics
On simony
Simony with regards to monks and nuns
Simony and extortion
Simony and avarice in clerics
Jews and excessive Usury
Jews appearing in public
Jews not to hold public offices
Jewish converts may not retain their old rite
Crusade to recover the holy Land
During the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216) there appears to have occurred much growth in the reform of the church and in its freedom from subservience to the empire as well as in the primacy of the bishop of Rome and in the summoning of ecclesiastical business to the Roman curia. Innocent himself, turning his whole mind to the things of God, strove to build up the christian community. Spiritual things, and therefore the church, were to have first place in this endeavour; so that human affairs were to be dependent upon, and to draw their justification from, such considerations.
The council may therefore be regarded as a great summary of the pontiff's work and also as his greatest initiative. He was not able, however, to bring it to completion since he died shortly afterwards (1216) . Christian disasters in the holy Land probably provided the occasion for Innocent to call the council. Thus the pontiff ordered a new crusade to be proclaimed. But he also used the crusade as an instrument of ecclesiastical administration, combined with reform of the church, namely in a fierce war against heretics which he thought would restore ecclesiastical society.
The council was summoned on 19 April 1213 to meet in November 1215. All the bishops and abbots of the church as well as priors and even (which was new) chapters of churches and of religious orders -- namely Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Hospitallers and Templars -- and the kings and civil authorities throughout Europe were invited. The bishops were explicitly asked to propose topics for discussion at the council, something which does not seem to have happened at the preceding Lateran councils. This was done by the legates who had been dispatched throughout Europe to preach the crusade. In each province only one or two bishops were allowed to remain at home; all the rest were ordered to be present. The purposes of the council were clearly set forth by Innocent himself : "to eradicate vices and to plant virtues, to correct faults and to reform morals, to remove heresies and to strengthen faith, to settle discords and to establish peace, to get rid of oppression and to foster liberty, to induce princes and christian people to come to the aid and succour of the holy Land... ". It seems that when Innocent summoned the council he wished to observe the customs of the early ecumenical councils, and indeed this fourth Lateran council was regarded as an ecumenical council by all learned and religious men of the age.
When the council began in the Lateran basilica in November 1215 there were present 404 bishops from throughout the western church, and from the Latin eastern church a large number of abbots, canons and representatives of the secular power. No Greeks were present, even those invited, except the patriarch of the Maronites and a legate of the patriarch of Alexandria. The bond with the Greek church was indeed neglected, and matters became more serious through the actions of Latin bishops living in the east or through the decrees of the council.
The council began on 11 November with the pontiff's sermon. He was especially looking for a religious outcome to the council. Soon, however secular matters and power politics came to the fore. At the second session (on 20 November) the struggle for the empire between Frederick II and Otto IV was brought before the council and gave rise to a bitter and contentious debate. This affected the nature of the council in a way that had not been foreseen and revealed a certain ineffectiveness in Innocent's plans for governing the church. Finally, the third session (on 30 November) was devoted to reading and approving the constitutions, which were proposed by the pontiff himself. The last decree dealt with preparations for a crusade -- "Jesus Christ's business" -- and fixed 1 June 1217 for its start, though this was prevented by the pontiff's death.
The seventy constitutions would seem to give proof of the council's excellent results. The work of Innocent appears clearly in them even though they were probably not directly composed by him. He regarded them as universal laws and as a summary of the jurisdiction of his pontificate. Few links with earlier councils survive, those with the third Lateran council being the only relevant ones of which we know.
the first constitution is regarded as a new profession of faith.
The second and third constitutions, which deal with heretics and contain dogmatic statements, are new.
The remainder, which deal with the reform of the church, appear for the most part to be new either in form or in content. They deal with
the church's discipline (6-13) ,
the reform of clerical morals (14-22) ,
episcopal elections and the administration of benefices (23-32) ,
exaction of taxes (33-34) ,
canonical suits (35-49) ,
matrimony (50-52) ,
tithes (53-61) ,
simony (63-66) , and
Jews (67-70) .
The constitutions were first edited by Cr 2 (1538) CLXv-CLXXIIv, the text of which was used in Cr 2 (1551) 946-967, Su 3 (1567) 735-756, and Bn 3/2 (1606) 1450-1465. Roman editors produced a more accurate edition (Rm 4 [1612] 43-63) , collating the common text "with manuscript codices from the Vatican". Rm was followed by Bn 3/2 (1618) 682-696 and ER 28 (1644) 154-225. LC 11/1 (1671) 142-233 provided a text "in Greek and Latin..... from a Mazarin codex" (=M) with various readings from a d'Achery codex (=A) . The Greek translation, however, which LC had thought to be contemporary, does not provide a complete text and was taken from a later codex. LC was followed by Hrd 7 (1714) 15-78, Cl 13 (1730) 927-1018, and Msi 22 (1778) 981-1068. There are many surviving manuscripts of the constitutions, as has been shown by Garcia, who is preparing a critical edition. That is to say, twenty manuscripts containing the constitutions and twelve others containing the constitutions together with commentaries; and probably there are others which are not yet known. The constitutions were taken into Compilatio IV, except 42 and [71], and into Decretalia of Gregory IX, except 42, 49 and [71]. The present edition follows the Roman edition, but all the variant readings that have so far been brought to light by scholars have been cited with {n} referring to the endnotes.
1. Confession of Faith
We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable, Father, Son and holy Spirit, three persons but one absolutely simple essence, substance or nature {1} . The Father is from none, the Son from the Father alone, and the holy Spirit from both equally, eternally without beginning or end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal, co-omnipotent and coeternal; one principle of all things, creator of all things invisible and visible, spiritual and corporeal; who by his almighty power at the beginning of time created from nothing both spiritual and corporeal creatures, that is to say angelic and earthly, and then created human beings composed as it were of both spirit and body in common. The devil and other demons were created by God naturally good, but they became evil by their own doing. Man, however, sinned at the prompting of the devil.
This holy Trinity, which is undivided according to its common essence but distinct according to the properties of its persons, gave the teaching of salvation to the human race through Moses and the holy prophets and his other servants, according to the most appropriate disposition of the times. Finally the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who became incarnate by the action of the whole Trinity in common and was conceived from the ever virgin Mary through the cooperation of the holy Spirit, having become true man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh, one person in two natures, showed more clearly the way of life. Although he is immortal and unable to suffer according to his divinity, he was made capable of suffering and dying according to his humanity. Indeed, having suffered and died on the wood of the cross for the salvation of the human race, he descended to the underworld, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He descended in the soul, rose in the flesh, and ascended in both. He will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, to render to every person according to his works, both to the reprobate and to the elect. All of them will rise with their own bodies, which they now wear, so as to receive according to their deserts, whether these be good or bad; for the latter perpetual punishment with the devil, for the former eternal glory with Christ.
There is indeed one universal church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice. His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been changed in substance, by God's power, into his body and blood, so that in order to achieve this mystery of unity we receive from God what he received from us. Nobody can effect this sacrament except a priest who has been properly ordained according to the church's keys, which Jesus Christ himself gave to the apostles and their successors. But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity -- namely Father, Son and holy Spirit -- and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the church. If someone falls into sin after having received baptism, he or she can always be restored through true penitence. For not only virgins and the continent but also married persons find favour with God by right faith and good actions and deserve to attain to eternal blessedness.
2. On the error of abbot Joachim
We therefore condemn and reprove that small book or treatise which abbot Joachim published against master Peter Lombard concerning the unity or essence of the Trinity, in which he calls Peter Lombard a heretic and a madman because he said in his Sentences, "For there is a certain supreme reality which is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, and it neither begets nor is begotten nor does it proceed". He asserts from this that Peter Lombard ascribes to God not so much a Trinity as a quaternity, that is to say three persons and a common essence as if this were a fourth person. Abbot Joachim clearly protests that there does not exist any reality which is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit-neither an essence nor a substance nor a nature -- although he concedes that the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit are one essence, one substance and one nature. He professes, however, that such a unity is not true and proper but rather collective and analogous, in the way that many persons are said to be one people and many faithful one church, according to that saying : Of the multitude of believers there was one heart and one mind, and Whoever adheres to God is one spirit with him; again He who plants and he who waters are one, and all of us are one body in Christ; and again in the book of Kings, My people and your people are one. In support of this opinion he especially uses the saying which Christ uttered in the gospel concerning the faithful : I wish, Father, that they may be one in us, just as we are one, so that they may be made perfect in one. For, he says, Christ's faithful are not one in the sense of a single reality which is common to all. They are one only in this sense, that they form one church through the unity of the catholic faith, and finally one kingdom through a union of indissoluble charity. Thus we read in the canonical letter of John : For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father and the Word and the holy Spirit, and these three are one; and he immediately adds, And the three that bear witness on earth are the spirit, water and blood, and the three are one, according to some manuscripts.
We, however, with the approval of this sacred and universal council, believe and confess with Peter Lombard that there exists a certain supreme reality, incomprehensible and ineffable, which truly is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, the three persons together and each one of them separately. Therefore in God there is only a Trinity, not a quaternity, since each of the three persons is that reality -- that is to say substance, essence or divine nature-which alone is the principle of all things, besides which no other principle can be found. This reality neither begets nor is begotten nor proceeds; the Father begets, the Son is begotten and the holy Spirit proceeds. Thus there is a distinction of persons but a unity of nature. Although therefore the Father is one person, the Son another person and the holy Spirit another person, they are not different realities, but rather that which is the Father is the Son and the holy Spirit, altogether the same; thus according to the orthodox and catholic faith they are believed to be consubstantial. For the Father, in begetting the Son from eternity, gave him his substance, as he himself testifies : What the Father gave me is greater than all. It cannot be said that the Father gave him part of his substance and kept part for himself since the Father's substance is indivisible, inasmuch as it is altogether simple. Nor can it be said that the Father transferred his substance to the Son, in the act of begetting, as if he gave it to the Son in such a way that he did not retain it for himself; for otherwise he would have ceased to be substance. It is therefore clear that in being begotten the Son received the Father's substance without it being diminished in any way, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance. Thus the Father and the Son and also the holy Spirit proceeding from both are the same reality.
When, therefore, the Truth prays to the Father for those faithful to him, saying I wish that they may be one in us just as we are one, this word one means for the faithful a union of love in grace, and for the divine persons a unity of identity in nature, as the Truth says elsewhere, You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect {2} , as if he were to say more plainly, You must be perfect in the perfection of grace, just as your Father is perfect in the perfection that is his by nature, each in his own way. For between creator and creature there can be noted no similarity so great that a greater dissimilarity cannot be seen between them. If anyone therefore ventures to defend or approve the opinion or doctrine of the aforesaid Joachim on this matter, let him be refuted by all as a heretic. By this, however, we do not intend anything to the detriment of the monastery of Fiore, which Joachim founded, because there both the instruction is according to rule and the observance is healthy; especially since Joachim ordered all his writings to be handed over to us, to be approved or corrected according to the judgment of the apostolic see. He dictated a letter, which he signed with his own hand, in which he firmly confesses that he holds the faith held by the Roman church, which is by God's plan the mother and mistress of all the faithful.
We also reject and condemn that most perverse doctrine of the impious Amalric, whose mind the father of lies blinded to such an extent that his teaching is to be regarded as mad more than as heretical.
3. On Heretics
We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy raising itself up against this holy, orthodox and catholic faith which we have expounded above. We condemn all heretics, whatever names they may go under. They have different faces indeed but their tails are tied together inasmuch as they are alike in their pride. Let those condemned be handed over to the secular authorities present, or to their bailiffs, for due punishment. Clerics are first to be degraded from their orders. The goods of the condemned are to be confiscated, if they are lay persons, and if clerics they are to be applied to the churches from which they received their stipends. Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person. Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics. Let secular authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defence of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the church in good faith. Thus whenever anyone is promoted to spiritual or temporal authority, he shall be obliged to confirm this article with an oath. If however a temporal lord, required and instructed by the church, neglects to cleanse his territory of this heretical filth, he shall be bound with the bond of excommunication by the metropolitan and other bishops of the province. If he refuses to give satisfaction within a year, this shall be reported to the supreme pontiff so that he may then declare his vassals absolved from their fealty to him and make the land available for occupation by Catholics so that these may, after they have expelled the heretics, possess it unopposed and preserve it in the purity of the faith -- saving the right of the suzerain provided that he makes no difficulty in the matter and puts no impediment in the way. The same law is to be observed no less as regards those who do not have a suzerain.
Catholics who take the cross and gird themselves up for the expulsion of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgence, and be strengthened by the same holy privilege, as is granted to those who go to the aid of the holy Land. Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics. We strictly ordain that if any such person, after he has been designated as excommunicated, refuses to render satisfaction within a year, then by the law itself he shall be branded as infamous and not be admitted to public offices or councils or to elect others to the same or to give testimony. He shall be intestable, that is he shall not have the freedom to make a will nor shall succeed to an inheritance. Moreover nobody shall be compelled to answer to him on any business whatever, but he may be compelled to answer to them. If he is a judge sentences pronounced by him shall have no force and cases may not be brought before him; if an advocate, he may not be allowed to defend anyone; if a notary, documents drawn up by him shall be worthless and condemned along with their condemned author; and in similar matters we order the same to be observed. If however he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater be the punishment. If any refuse to avoid such persons after they have been pointed out by the church, let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction. Clerics should not, of course, give the sacraments of the church to such pestilent people nor give them a christian burial nor accept alms or offerings from them; if they do, let them be deprived of their office and not restored to it without a special indult of the apostolic see. Similarly with regulars, let them be punished with losing their privileges in the diocese in which they presume to commit such excesses.
"There are some who holding to the form of religion but denying its power (as the Apostle says) , claim for themselves the authority to preach, whereas the same Apostle says, How shall they preach unless they are sent? Let therefore all those who have been forbidden or not sent to preach, and yet dare publicly or privately to usurp the office of preaching without having received the authority of the apostolic see or the catholic bishop of the place", be bound with the bond of excommunication and, unless they repent very quickly, be punished by another suitable penalty. We add further that each archbishop or bishop, either in person or through his archdeacon or through suitable honest persons, should visit twice or at least once in the year any parish of his in which heretics are said to live. There he should compel three or more men of good repute, or even if it seems expedient the whole neighbourhood, to swear that if anyone knows of heretics there or of any persons who hold secret conventicles or who differ in their life and habits from the normal way of living of the faithful, then he will take care to point them out to the bishop. The bishop himself should summon the accused to his presence, and they should be punished canonically if they are unable to clear themselves of the charge or if after compurgation they relapse into their former errors of faith. If however any of them with damnable obstinacy refuse to honour an oath and so will not take it, let them by this very fact be regarded as heretics. We therefore will and command and, in virtue of obedience, strictly command that bishops see carefully to the effective execution of these things throughout their dioceses, if they wish to avoid canonical penalties. If any bishop is negligent or remiss in cleansing his diocese of the ferment of heresy, then when this shows itself by unmistakeable signs he shall be deposed from his office as bishop and there shall be put in his place a suitable person who both wishes and is able to overthrow the evil of heresy.
4. On the pride of the Greeks towards the Latins
Although we would wish to cherish and honour the Greeks who in our days are returning to the obedience of the apostolic see, by preserving their customs and rites as much as we can in the Lord, nevertheless we neither want nor ought to defer to them in matters which bring danger to souls and detract from the church's honour. For, after the Greek church together with certain associates and supporters withdrew from the obedience of the apostolic see, the Greeks began to detest the Latins so much that, among other wicked things which they committed out of contempt for them, when Latin priests celebrated on their altars they would not offer sacrifice on them until they had washed them, as if the altars had been defiled thereby. The Greeks even had the temerity to rebaptize those baptized by the Latins; and some, as we are told, still do not fear to do this. Wishing therefore to remove such a great scandal from God's church, we strictly order, on the advice of this sacred council, that henceforth they do not presume to do such things but rather conform themselves like obedient sons to the holy Roman church, their mother, so that there may be one flock and one shepherd. If anyone however does dare to do such a thing, let him be struck with the sword of excommunication and be deprived of every ecclesiastical office and benefice.
5. The dignity of the patriarchal sees
Renewing the ancient privileges of the patriarchal sees, we decree, with the approval of this sacred universal synod, that after the Roman church, which through the Lord's disposition has a primacy of ordinary power over all other churches inasmuch as it is the mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful, the church of Constantinople shall have the first place, the church of Alexandria the second place, the church of Antioch the third place, and the church of Jerusalem the fourth place, each maintaining its own rank. Thus after their pontiffs have received from the Roman pontiff the pallium, which is the sign of the fullness of the pontifical office, and have taken an oath of fidelity and obedience to him they may lawfully confer the pallium on their own suffragans, receiving from them for themselves canonical profession and for the Roman church the promise of obedience. They may have a standard of the Lord's cross carried before them anywhere except in the city of Rome or wherever there is present the supreme pontiff or his legate wearing the insignia of the apostolic dignity. In all the provinces subject to their jurisdiction let appeal be made to them, when it is necessary, except for appeals made to the apostolic see, to which all must humbly defer.
6. On yearly provincial councils
As is known to have been ordained of old by the holy fathers, metropolitans should not fail to hold provincial councils each year with their suffragans in which they consider diligently and in the fear of God the correction of excesses and the reform of morals, especially among the clergy. Let them recite the canonical rules, especially those which have been laid down by this general council, so as to secure their observance, inflicting on transgressors the punishment due. In order that this may be done more effectively, let them appoint for each diocese suitable persons, that is to say prudent and honest persons, who will simply and summarily, without any jurisdiction, throughout the whole year, carefully investigate what needs correction or reform and will then faithfully report these matters to the metropolitan and suffragans and others at the next council, so that they may proceed with careful deliberation against these and other matters according to what is profitable and decent. Let them see to the observance of the things that they decree, publishing them in episcopal synods which are to be held annually in each diocese. Whoever neglects to carry out this salutary statute is to be suspended from his benefices and from the execution of his office, until his superior decides to release him.
7. The correction of offences and the reform of morals
By this inviolable constitution we decree that prelates of churches should prudently and diligently attend to the correction of their subjects' offences especially of clerics, and to the reform of morals. Otherwise the blood of such persons will be required at their hands. In order that they may be able to exercise freely this office of correction and reform, we decree that no custom or appeal can impede the execution of their decisions, unless they go beyond the form which is to be observed in such matters. The offences of canons of a cathedral church, however, which have customarily been corrected by the chapter, are to be corrected by the chapter in those churches which until now have had this custom, at the instance and on the orders of the bishop and within a suitable time-limit which the bishop will decide. If this is not done, then the bishop, mindful of God and putting an end to all opposition, is to go ahead with correcting the persons by ecclesiastical censure according as the care of souls requires, and he shall not omit to correct their other faults according as the good of souls requires, with due order however being observed in all things {3} . For the rest, if the canons stop celebrating divine services without manifest and reasonable cause, especially if this is in contempt of the bishop, then the bishop himself may celebrate in the cathedral church if he wishes, and on complaint from him, the metropolitan, as our delegate in the matter, may, when he has learned the truth, punish the persons concerned in such fashion that for fear of punishment they shall not venture such action in the future. Let prelates of churches therefore carefully see that they do not turn this salutary statute into a form of financial gain or other exaction, but rather let them carry it out assiduously and faithfully, if they wish to avoid canonical punishment, since in these matters the apostolic see, directed by the Lord, will be very vigilant.
8. On inquests
"How and in what way a prelate ought to proceed to inquire into and punish the offences of his subjects may be clearly ascertained from the authorities of the new and old Testament, from which subsequent sanctions in canon law derive", as we said distinctly some time ago and now confirm with the approval of this holy council.
"For we read in the gospel that the steward who was denounced to his lord for wasting his goods heard him say : What is this that I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be my steward. And in Genesis the Lord says : I will go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me. From these authorities it is clearly shown that not only when a subject has committed some excess but also when a prelate has done so, and the matter reaches the ears of the superior through an outcry or rumour which has come not from the malevolent and slanderous but from prudent and honest persons, and has come not only once but frequently (as the outcry suggests and the rumour proves) , then the superior ought diligently to seek out the truth before senior persons of the church. If the seriousness of the matter demands, then the fault of the offender should be subjected to canonical punishment. However, the superior should carry out the duty of his office not as if he were the accuser and the judge but rather with the rumour providing the accusation and the outcry making the denunciation. While this should be observed in the case of subjects, all the more carefully should it be observed in the case of prelates, who are set as a mark for the arrow. Prelates cannot please everyone since they are bound by their office not only to convince but also to rebuke and sometimes even to suspend and to bind. Thus they frequently incur the hatred of many people and risk ambushes. Therefore the holy fathers have wisely decreed that accusations against prelates should not be admitted readily, without careful provision being taken to shut the door not only to false but also to malicious accusations, lest with the columns being shaken the building itself collapses. They thus wished to ensure that prelates are not accused unjustly, and yet that at the same time they take care not to sin in an arrogant manner, finding a suitable medicine for each disease : namely, a criminal accusation which entails loss of status, that is to say degradation, shall in no wise be allowed unless it is preceded by a charge in lawful form. But when someone is so notorious for his offences that an outcry goes up which can no longer be ignored without scandal or be tolerated without danger, then without the slightest hesitation let action be taken to inquire into and punish his offences, not out of hate but rather out of charity. If the offence is grave, even though not involving his degradation, let him be removed from all administration, in accordance with the saying of the gospel that the steward is to be removed from his stewardship if he cannot give a proper account of it".
The person about whom the inquiry is being made ought to be present, unless he absents himself out of contumacy. The articles of the inquiry should be shown to him so that he may be able to defend himself. The names of witnesses as well as their depositions are to be made known to him so that both what has been said and by whom will be apparent; and legitimate exceptions and responses are to be admitted, lest the suppression of names leads to the bold bringing false charges and the exclusion of exceptions leads to false depositions being made. A prelate should therefore act the more diligently in correcting the offences of his subjects in proportion as he would be worthy of condemnation were he to leave them uncorrected. Notorious cases aside, he may proceed against them in three ways : namely, by accusation, denunciation and inquest. Let careful precaution nevertheless be taken in all cases lest serious loss is incurred for the sake of a small gain. Thus, just as a charge in lawful form ought to precede the accusation, so a charitable warning ought to precede the denunciation, and the publication of the charge ought to precede the inquest, with the principle always being observed that the form of the sentence shall accord with the rules of legal procedure. We do not think, however, that this order needs to be observed in all respects as regards regulars, who can be more easily and freely removed from their offices by their own superiors, when the case requires it.
9. On different rites within the same faith
Since in many places peoples of different languages live within the same city or diocese, having one faith but different rites and customs, we therefore strictly order bishops of such cities and dioceses to provide suitable men who will do the following in the various rites and languages : celebrate the divine services for them, administer the church's sacraments, and instruct them by word and example. We altogether forbid one and the same city or diocese to have more than one bishop, as if it were a body with several heads like a monster. But if for the aforesaid reasons urgent necessity demands it, the bishop of the place may appoint, after careful deliberation, a catholic bishop who is appropriate for the nations in question and who will be his vicar in the aforesaid matters and will be obedient and subject to him in all things. If any such person behaves otherwise, let him know that he has been struck by the sword of excommunication and if he does not return to his senses let him be deposed from every ministry in the church, with the secular arm being called in if necessary to quell such great insolence.
10. On appointing preachers
Among the various things that are conducive to the salvation of the christian people, the nourishment of God's word is recognized to be especially necessary, since just as the body is fed with material food so the soul is fed with spiritual food, according to the words, man lives not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It often happens that bishops by themselves are not sufficient to minister the word of God to the people, especially in large and scattered dioceses, whether this is because of their many occupations or bodily infirmities or because of incursions of the enemy or for other reasons-let us not say for lack of knowledge, which in bishops is to be altogether condemned and is not to be tolerated in the future. We therefore decree by this general constitution that bishops are to appoint suitable men to carry out with profit this duty of sacred preaching, men who are powerful in word and deed and who will visit with care the peoples entrusted to them in place of the bishops, since these by themselves are unable to do it, and will build them up by word and example. The bishops shall suitably furnish them with what is necessary, when they are in need of it, lest for want of necessities they are forced to abandon what they have begun. We therefore order that there be appointed in both cathedral and other conventual churches suitable men whom the bishops can have as coadjutors and cooperators not only in the office of preaching but also in hearing confessions and enjoining penances and in other matters which are conducive to the salvation of souls. If anyone neglects to do this, let him be subject to severe punishment.
11. On schoolmasters for the poor
Zeal for learning and the opportunity to make progress is denied to some through lack of means. The Lateran council therefore dutifully decreed that "in each cathedral church there should be provided a suitable benefice for a master who shall instruct without charge the clerics of the cathedral church and other poor scholars, thus at once satisfying the teacher's needs and opening up the way of knowledge to learners". This decree, however, is very little observed in many churches. We therefore confirm it and add that not only in every cathedral church but also in other churches with sufficient resources, a suitable master elected by the chapter or by the greater and sounder part of it, shall be appointed by the prelate to teach grammar and other branches of study, as far as is possible, to the clerics of those and other churches. The metropolitan church shall have a theologian to teach scripture to priests and others and especially to instruct them in matters which are recognized as pertaining to the cure of souls. The income of one prebend shall be assigned by the chapter to each master, and as much shall be assigned by the metropolitan to the theologian. The incumbent does not by this become a canon but he receives the income of one as long as he continues to teach. If the metropolitan church finds providing for two masters a burden, let it provide for the theologian in the aforesaid way but get adequate provision made for the grammarian in another church of the city or diocese.
12. On general chapters of monks
In every kingdom or province let there be held every three years, saving the right of diocesan bishops, a general chapter of those abbots, and priors who do not have abbots over them, who have not been accustomed to hold one. All should attend, unless they have a canonical impediment, at one of the monasteries which is suitable for the purpose; with this limitation, that none of them brings with him more than six mounts and eight persons. Let them invite in charity, at the start of this innovation, two neighbouring Cistercian abbots to give them appropriate advice and help, since from long practice the Cistercians are well informed about holding such chapters. The two abbots shall then coopt without opposition two suitable persons from among them. The four of them shall then preside over the whole chapter, in such a way however that none of them assumes the leadership; so that they can if necessary be changed after careful deliberation. This kind of chapter shall be held continuously over a certain number of days, according to Cistercian custom. They shall treat carefully of the reform of the order and the observance of the rule. What has been decided, with the approval of the four presiding, is to be observed inviolably by all without any excuse or contradiction or appeal. They shall also decide where the next chapter is to be held. Those attending shall lead a common life and divide out proportionately all the common expenses. If they cannot all live in the same house, let them at least live in groups in various houses.
Let religious and circumspect persons be appointed at the chapter who will make it their business to visit on our behalf all the abbeys of the kingdom or province, of both monks and nuns, according to the manner prescribed for them. Let them correct and reform what seems to need correction and reform. Thus if they know of the superior of a place who should certainly be removed from office, let them denounce the person to the bishop concerned so that he may see to his or her removal. If the bishop will not do this, let the visitors themselves refer the matter to the apostolic see for examination. We wish and command canons regular to observe this according to their order. If there emerges out of this innovation any difficulty that cannot be resolved by the aforesaid persons, let it be referred, without offence being given, to the judgment of the apostolic see; but let the other matters, about which after careful deliberation they were in agreement, be observed without breach. Diocesan bishops, moreover, should take care to reform the monasteries under their jurisdiction, so that when the aforesaid visitors arrive they will find in them more to commend than to correct. Let them be very careful lest the said monasteries are weighed down by them with unjust burdens, for just as we wish the rights of superiors to be upheld so we do not wish to support wrongs done to subjects. Furthermore, we strictly command both diocesan bishops and those who preside at chapters to restrain by ecclesiastical censure, without appeal, advocates, patrons, lords' deputies, governors, officials, magnates, knights, and any other people, from daring to cause harm to monasteries in respect of their persons and their goods. Let them not fail to compel such persons, if by chance they do cause harm, to make satisfaction, so that almighty God may be served more freely and more peacefully.
13. A prohibition against new religious orders
Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God's church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders. We forbid, moreover, anyone to attempt to have a place as a monk in more than one monastery or an abbot to preside over more than one monastery.
14. Clerical incontinence
In order that the morals and conduct of clerics may be reformed for the better, let all of them strive to live in a continent and chaste way, especially those in holy orders. Let them beware of every vice involving lust, especially that on account of which the wrath of God came down from heaven upon the sons of disobedience, so that they may be worthy to minister in the sight of almighty God with a pure heart and an unsullied body. Lest the ease of receiving pardon prove an incentive to sin, we decree that those who are caught giving way to the vice of incontinence are to be punished according to canonical sanctions, in proportion to the seriousness of their sins. We order such sanctions to be effectively and strictly observed, in order that those whom the fear of God does not hold back from evil may at least be restrained from sin by temporal punishment. Therefore anyone who has been suspended for this reason and presumes to celebrate divine services, shall not only be deprived of his ecclesiastical benefices but shall also, on account of his twofold fault, be deposed in perpetuity. Prelates who dare to support such persons in their wickedness, especially if they do it for money or for some other temporal advantage, are to be subject to like punishment. Those clerics who have not renounced the marriage bond, following the custom of their region, shall be punished even more severely if they fall into sin, since for them it is possible to make lawful use of matrimony.
15. Clerical gluttony and drunkeness
All clerics should carefully abstain from gluttony and drunkenness. They should temper the wine to themselves and themselves to the wine. Let no one be urged to drink, since drunkenness obscures the intellect and stirs up lust. Accordingly we decree that that abuse is to be entirely abolished whereby in some places drinkers bind themselves to drink equal amounts, and that man is most praised who makes the most people drunk and himself drains the deepest cups. If anyone shows himself worthy of blame in these matters, let him be suspended from his benefice or office, unless after being warned by his superior he makes suitable satisfaction. We forbid all clerics to hunt or to fowl, so let them not presume to have dogs or birds for fowling {4} .
16. Decorum in the dress and behaviour of clerics
Clerics should not practice callings or business of a secular nature, especially those that are dishonourable. They should not watch mimes, entertainers and actors. Let them avoid taverns altogether, unless by chance they are obliged by necessity on a journey. They should not play at games of chance or of dice, nor be present at such games. They should have a suitable crown and tonsure, and let them diligently apply themselves to the divine services and other good pursuits. Their outer garments should be closed and neither too short nor too long. Let them not indulge in red or green cloths, long sleeves or shoes with embroidery or pointed toes, or in bridles, saddles, breast-plates and spurs that are gilded or have other superfluous ornamentation. Let them not wear cloaks with sleeves at divine services in a church, nor even elsewhere, if they are priests or parsons, unless a justifiable fear requires a change of dress. They are not to wear buckles or belts ornamented with gold or silver, or even rings except for those whose dignity it befits to have them. All bishops should wear outer garments of linen in public and in church, unless they have been monks, in which case they should wear the monastic habit; and let them not wear their cloaks loose in public but rather fastened together behind the neck or across the chest.
17. Dissolute prelates
We regretfully relate that not only certain lesser clerics but also some prelates of churches pass almost half the night in unnecessary feasting and forbidden conversation, not to mention other things, and leaving what is left of the night for sleep, they are barely roused at the dawn chorus of the birds and pass away the entire morning in a continuous state of stupor. There are others who celebrate mass barely four times a year and, what is worse, do not bother to attend; if they happen to be present when it is being celebrated, they flee the silence of the choir and pay attention to conversations of the laity outside and so while they attend to talk that is unnecessary for them, they do not give an attentive ear to the things of God. We altogether forbid these and similar things on pain of suspension. We strictly command such persons, in virtue of obedience, to celebrate the divine office, day and night alike, as far as God allows them, with both zeal and devotion.
18. Clerics to dissociate from shedding-blood
No cleric may decree or pronounce a sentence involving the shedding of blood, or carry out a punishment involving the same, or be present when such punishment is carried out. If anyone, however, under cover of this statute, dares to inflict injury on churches or ecclesiastical persons, let him be restrained by ecclesiastical censure. A cleric may not write or dictate letters which require punishments involving the shedding of blood, in the courts of princes this responsibility should be entrusted to laymen and not to clerics. Moreover no cleric may be put in command of mercenaries or crossbowmen or suchlike men of blood; nor may a subdeacon, deacon or priest practise the art of surgery, which involves cauterizing and making incisions; nor may anyone confer a rite of blessing or consecration on a purgation by ordeal of boiling or cold water or of the red-hot iron, saving nevertheless the previously promulgated prohibitions regarding single combats and duels.
19. That profane objects may not be stored in churches
We are unwilling to tolerate the fact that certain clerics deposit in churches their own and even others' furniture, so that the churches look like lay houses rather than basilicas of God, regardless of the fact that the Lord would not allow a vessel to be carried through the temple. There are others who not only leave their churches uncared for but also leave the service vessels and ministers' vestments and altar cloths and even corporals so dirty that they at times horrify some people. Because zeal for God's house consumes us, we strictly forbid objects of this kind to be allowed into churches, unless they have to be taken in on account of enemy incursions or sudden fires or other urgent necessities, and then in such a way that when the emergency is over the objects are taken back to where they came from. We also order the aforesaid churches, vessels, corporals and vestments to be kept neat and clean. For it seems too absurd to take no notice of squalor in sacred things when it is unbecoming even in profane things.
20. Chrism and the Eucharist to be kept under lock and key
We decree that the chrism and the eucharist are to be kept locked away in a safe place in all churches, so that no audacious hand can reach them to do anything horrible or impious. If he who is responsible for their safe-keeping leaves them around carelessly, let him be suspended from office for three months; if anything unspeakable happens on account of his carelessness, let him be subject to graver punishment.
21. On yearly confession to one's own priest, yearly communion, the confessional seal
All the faithful of either sex, after they have reached the age of discernment, should individually confess all their sins in a faithful manner to their own priest at least once a year, and let them take care to do what they can to perform the penance imposed on them. Let them reverently receive the sacrament of the eucharist at least at Easter unless they think, for a good reason and on the advice of their own priest, that they should abstain from receiving it for a time. Otherwise they shall be barred from entering a church during their lifetime and they shall be denied a christian burial at death. Let this salutary decree be frequently published in churches, so that nobody may find the pretence of an excuse in the blindness of ignorance. If any persons wish, for good reasons, to confess their sins to another priest let them first ask and obtain the permission of their own priest; for otherwise the other priest will not have the power to absolve or to bind them. The priest shall be discerning and prudent, so that like a skilled doctor he may pour wine and oil over the wounds of the injured one. Let him carefully inquire about the circumstances of both the sinner and the sin, so that he may prudently discern what sort of advice he ought to give and what remedy to apply, using various means to heal the sick person. Let him take the utmost care, however, not to betray the sinner at all by word or sign or in any other way. If the priest needs wise advice, let him seek it cautiously without any mention of the person concerned. For if anyone presumes to reveal a sin disclosed to him in confession, we decree that he is not only to be deposed from his priestly office but also to be confined to a strict monastery to do perpetual penance.
22. Physicians of the body to advise patients to call physicians of the soul
As sickness of the body may sometimes be the result of sin -- as the Lord said to the sick man whom he had cured, Go and sin no more, lest something worse befall you -- so we by this present decree order and strictly command physicians of the body, when they are called to the sick, to warn and persuade them first of all to call in physicians of the soul so that after their spiritual health has been seen to they may respond better to medicine for their bodies, for when the cause ceases so does the effect. This among other things has occasioned this decree, namely that some people on their sickbed, when they are advised by physicians to arrange for the health of their souls, fall into despair and so the more readily incur the danger of death. If any physician transgresses this our constitution, after it has been published by the local prelates, he shall be barred from entering a church until he has made suitable satisfaction for a transgression of this kind. Moreover, since the soul is much more precious than the body, we forbid any physician, under pain of anathema, to prescribe anything for the bodily health of a sick person that may endanger his soul.
23. Churches are to be without a prelate for no more than 3 months
Lest a rapacious wolf attack the Lord's flock for want of a shepherd, or lest a widowed church suffer grave injury to its good, we decree, desiring to counteract the danger to souls in this matter and to provide protection for the churches, that a cathedral church or a church of the regular clergy is not to remain without a prelate for more than three months. If the election has not been held within this time, provided there is no just impediment, then those who ought to have made the election are to lose the power to elect for that time and it is to devolve upon the person who is recognized as the immediate superior. The person upon whom the power has devolved, mindful of the Lord, shall not delay beyond three months in canonically providing the widowed church, with the advice of his chapter and of other prudent men, with a suitable person from the same church, or from another if a worthy candidate cannot be found in the former, if he wishes to avoid canonical penalty.
24. Democratic election of pastors
On account of the various forms of elections which some try to invent, there arise many difficulties and great dangers for the bereaved churches. We therefore decree that at the holding of an election, when all are present who ought to, want to and conveniently can take part, three trustworthy persons shall be chosen from the college who will diligently find out, in confidence and individually, the opinions of everybody. After they have committed the result to writing, they shall together quickly announce it. There shall be no further appeal, so that after a scrutiny that person shall be elected upon whom all or the greater or sounder part of the chapter agree. Or else the power of electing shall be committed to some suitable persons who, acting on behalf of everybody, shall provide the bereaved church with a pastor. Otherwise the election made shall not be valid, unless perchance it was made by all together as if by divine inspiration and without flaw. Those who attempt to make an election contrary to the aforesaid forms shall be deprived of the power of electing on that occasion. We absolutely forbid anyone to appoint a proxy in the matter of an election, unless he is absent from the place where he ought to receive the summons and is detained from coming by a lawful impediment. He shall take an oath about this, if necessary, and then he may commit his representation to one of the college, if he so wishes. We also condemn clandestine elections and order that as soon as an election has taken place it should be solemnly published.
25. Invalid elections
Whoever presumes to consent to his being elected through abuse of the secular power, against canonical freedom, both forfeits the benefit of being elected and becomes ineligible, and he cannot be elected to any dignity without a dispensation. Those who venture to take part in elections of this kind, which we declare to be invalid by the law itself, shall be suspended from their offices and benefices for three years and during that time shall be deprived of the power to elect.
26. Nominees for prelatures to be carefully screened
There is nothing more harmful to God's church than for unworthy prelates to be entrusted with the government of souls. Wishing therefore to provide the necessary remedy for this disease, we decree by this irrevocable constitution that when anyone has been entrusted with the government of souls, then he who holds the right to confirm him should diligently examine both the process of the election and the character of the person elected, so that when everything is in order he may confirm him. For, if confirmation was granted in advance when everything was not in order, then not only would the person improperly promoted have to be rejected but also the author of the improper promotion would have to be punished. We decree that the latter shall be punished in the following way : if his negligence has been proved, especially if he has approved a man of insufficient learning or dishonest life or unlawful age, he shall not only lose the power of confirming the person's first successor but shall also, lest by any chance he escapes punishment, be suspended from receiving the fruits of his own benefice until it is right for him to be granted a pardon. If he is convicted of having erred intentionally in the matter, then he is to be subject to graver punishment. Bishops too, if they wish to avoid canonical punishment, should take care to promote to holy orders and to ecclesiastical dignities men who will be able to discharge worthily the office entrusted to them. Those who are immediately subject to the Roman pontiff shall, to obtain confirmation of their office, present themselves personally to him, if this can conveniently be done, or send suitable persons through whom a careful inquiry can be made about the process of the election and the persons elected. In this way, on the strength of the pontiff's informed judgment, they may finally enter into the fullness of their office, when there is no impediment in canon law. For a time, however, those who are in very distant parts, namely outside Italy, if they were elected peaceably, may by dispensation, on account of the needs and benefit of the churches, administer in things spiritual and temporal, but in such a way that they alienate nothing whatever of the church's goods. They may receive the customary consecration or blessing.
27. Candidates for the priesthood to be carefully trained and scrutinized
To guide souls is a supreme art. We therefore strictly order bishops carefully to prepare those who are to be promoted to the priesthood and to instruct them, either by themselves or through other suitable persons, in the divine services and the sacraments of the church, so that they may be able to celebrate them correctly. But if they presume henceforth to ordain the ignorant and unformed, which can indeed easily be detected, we decree that both the ordainers and those ordained are to be subject to severe punishment. For it is preferable, especially in the ordination of priests, to have a few good ministers than many bad ones, for if a blind man leads another blind man, both will fall into the pit.
28. Who asks to resign must resign
Certain persons insistently ask for permission to resign and obtain it, but then do not resign. Since in such a request to resign they would seem to have in mind either the good of the churches over which they preside or their own well-being, neither of which do we wish to be impeded either by the arguments of any people seeking their own interests or even by a certain fickleness, we therefore decree that such persons are to be compelled to resign.
29. Multiple benefices require papal dispensation
With much foresight it was forbidden in the Lateran council for anyone to receive several ecclesiastical dignities and several parish churches, contrary to the regulations of the sacred canons, on pain of both the recipient losing what he had received and the conferrer being deprived of the power to confer. On account of the presumption and covetousness of certain persons, however, none or little fruit is resulting from this statute. We therefore, desiring to remedy the situation more clearly and expressly, ordain by this present decree that whoever receives any benefice with the cure of souls attached, if he was already in possession of such a benefice, shall be deprived by the law itself of the benefice held first, and if perchance he tries to retain this he shall also be deprived of the second benefice. Moreover, the person who has the right to confer the first benefice may freely bestow it, after the recipient has obtained a second benefice, on someone who seems to deserve it. If he delays in conferring it beyond three months, however, then not only is the collation to devolve upon another person, according to the statute of the Lateran council, but also he shall be compelled to assign to the use of the church belonging to the benefice as much of his own income as is established as having been received from the benefice while it was vacant. We decree that the same is to be observed with regard to parsonages adding that nobody shall presume to hold several dignities or parsonages in the same church even if they do not have the cure of souls. As for exalted and lettered persons, however, who should be honoured with greater benefices, it is possible for them to be dispensed by the apostolic see, when reason demands it.
30. Penalties for bestowing ecclesiatical benefices on the unworthy
It is very serious and absurd that prelates of churches, when they can promote suitable men to ecclesiastical benefices, are not afraid to choose unworthy men who lack both learning and honesty of behaviour and who follow the urgings of the flesh rather than the judgment of reason. Nobody of a sound mind is ignorant of how much damage to churches arises from this. Wishing therefore to remedy this ill, we order that they pass over unworthy persons and appoint suitable persons who are willing and able to offer a pleasing service to God and to the churches, and that careful inquiry be made about this each year at the provincial council. Therefore he who has been found guilty after a first and second correction is to be suspended from conferring benefices by the provincial council, and a prudent and honest person is to be appointed at the same council to make up for the suspended person's failure in this matter. The same is to be observed with regard to chapters who offend in these matters. The offence of a metropolitan, however, shall be left by the council to be reported to the judgment of the superior. In order that this salutary provision may have fuller effect, a sentence of suspension of this kind may not be relaxed at all without the authority of the Roman pontiff or of the appropriate patriarch, so that in this too the four patriarchal sees shall be specially honoured.
31. Canons' sons cannot be canons where their fathers are
In order to abolish a very bad practice that has grown up in many churches, we strictly forbid the sons of canons, especially if they are illegitimate, to become canons in the secular churches in which their fathers hold office. If the contrary is attempted, we declare it to be invalid. Those who attempt to make such persons canons are to be suspended from their benefices.
32. Parish priests to have adequate incomes
There has grown up in certain parts a vicious custom which should be eradicated, namely that patrons of parish churches and certain other people claim the incomes from the churches wholly for themselves and leave to the priests, for the appointed services, such a small portion that they cannot live fittingly on it. For in some regions, as we have learnt for certain, parish priests receive for their sustenance only a quarter of a quarter, that is to say a sixteenth, of the tithes. Whence it comes about in these regions that almost no parish priest can be found who is even moderately learned. As the mouth of the ox should not be muzzled when it is treading out the grain, and he who serves at the altar should live from it, we therefore decree that, notwithstanding any custom of a bishop or a patron or anyone else, a sufficient portion is to be assigned to the priest. He who has a parish church is to serve it not through a vicar but in person, in the due form which the care of that church requires, unless by chance the parish church is annexed to a prebend or a dignity. In that case we allow that he who has such a prebend or dignity should make it his business, since he must serve in the greater church, to have a suitable and permanent vicar canonically instituted in the parish church; and the latter is to have, as has been said, a fitting portion from the revenues of the church. Otherwise let him know that by the authority of this decree he is deprived of the parish church, which is freely to be conferred on someone else who is willing and able to do what has been said. We utterly forbid anyone to dare deceitfully to confer a pension on another person, as it were as a benefice, from the revenues of a church which has to maintain its own priest.
33. Renumeration for visitations to be reasonable
Procurations which are due, by reason of a visitation, to bishops, archdeacons or any other persons, as well as to legates or nuncios of the apostolic see, should by no means be exacted, without a clear and necessary reason, unless the visitations were carried out in person, and then let them observe the moderation in transport and retinue laid down in the Lateran council. We add the following moderation with regard to legates and nuncios of the apostolic see : that when it is necessary for them to stay in any place, and in order that the said place may not be burdened too much on their behalf, they may receive moderate procurations from other churches and persons that have not yet been burdened with procurations of their own, on condition that the number of procurations does-not exceed the number of days in the stay; and when any of the churches or persons have not sufficient means of their own, two or more of them may be combined into one. Those who exercise the office of visitation, moreover, shall not seek their own interests but rather those of Jesus Christ, by devoting themselves to preaching and exhortation, to correction and reformation, so that they may bring back fruit which does not perish. He who dares to do the contrary shall both restore what he has received and pay a like amount in compensation to the church which he has thus burdened.
34. Prelates forbidden to procure ecclesiastical services at a profit
Many prelates, in order to meet the cost of a procuration or some service to a legate or some other person, extort from their subjects more than they pay out, and in trying to extract a profit from their losses they look for booty rather than help in their subjects. We forbid this to happen in the future. If by chance anyone does attempt it, he shall restore what he has extorted and be compelled to give the same amount to the poor. The superior to whom a complaint about this has been submitted shall suffer canonical punishment if he is negligent in executing this statute.
35. On appeal procedures
In order that due honour may be given to judges and consideration be shown to litigants in the matter of trouble and expenses, we decree that when somebody sues an adversary before the competent judge, he shall not appeal to a superior judge before judgment has been given, without a reasonable cause; but rather let him proceed with his suit before the lower judge, without it being possible for him to obstruct by saying that he sent a messenger to a superior judge or even procured letters from him before they were assigned to the delegated judge. When, however, he thinks that he has reasonable cause for appealing and has stated the probable grounds of the appeal before the same judge, such namely that if they were proved they would be reckoned legitimate, the superior judge shall examine the appeal. If the latter thinks the appeal is unreasonable, he shall send the appellant back to the lower judge and sentence him to pay the costs of the other party; otherwise he shall go ahead, saving however the canons about major cases being referred to the apostolic see.
36. On interlocutory sentences
Since the effect ceases when the cause ceases, we decree that if an ordinary judge or a judge delegate has pronounced a comminatory or an interlocutory sentence which would prejudice one of the litigants if its execution was ordered, and then acting on good advice refrains from putting it into effect, he shall proceed freely in hearing the case, notwithstanding any appeal made against such a comminatory or interlocutory sentence, provided he is not open to suspicion for some other legitimate reason. This is so that the process is not held up for frivolous reasons.
37. On Summons by Apostolic Letter
Some people, abusing the favour of the apostolic see, try to obtain letters from it summoning people to distant judges, so that the defendant, wearied by the labour and expense of the action, is forced to give in or to buy off the importunate bringer of the action. A trial should not open the way to injustices that are forbidden by respect for the law. We therefore decree that nobody may be summoned by apostolic letters to a trial that is more than two days' journey outside his diocese, unless the letters were procured with the agreement of both parties or expressly mention this constitution. There are other people who, turning to a new kind of trade, in order to revive complaints that are dormant or to introduce new questions, make up suits for which they procure letters from the apostolic see without authorization from their superiors. They then offer the letters for sale either to the defendant, in return for his not being vexed with trouble and expense on account of them, or to the plaintiff, in order that by means of them he may wear out his adversary with undue distress. Lawsuits should be limited rather than encouraged. We therefore decree by this general constitution that if anyone henceforth presumes to seek apostolic letters on any matter without a special mandate from his superior, then the letters are invalid and he is to be punished as a forger, unless by chance persons are involved for whom a mandate should not in law be demanded.
38. Written records of trials to be kept
An innocent litigant can never prove the truth of his denial of a false assertion made by an unjust judge, since a denial by the nature of things does not constitute a direct proof. We therefore decree, lest falsehood prejudice truth or wickedness prevail over justice, that in both ordinary and extraordinary trials the judge shall always employ either a public official, if he can find one, or two suitable men to write down faithfully all the judicial acts -- that is to say the citations, adjournments, objections and exceptions, petitions and replies, interrogations, confessions, depositions of witnesses, productions of documents, interlocutions {5} , appeals, renunciations, final decisions and the other things that ought to be written down in the correct order -- stating the places, times and persons. Everything thus written down shall be given to the parties in question, but the originals shall remain with the scribes, so that if a dispute arises over how the judge conducted the case, the truth can be established from the originals. With this measure being applied, such deference will be paid to honest and prudent judges that justice for the innocent will not be harmed by imprudent and wicked judges. A judge who neglects to observe this constitution shall, if some difficulty arises from his negligence, be punished as he deserves by a superior judge; nor shall presumption be made in favour of his handling of the case except insofar as it accords with the legal documents.
39. On knowingly receiving stolen goods
It often happens, when a person has been unjustly robbed and the object has been transferred by the robber to a third party, that he is not helped by an action of restitution against the new possessor because he has lost the advantage of possession, and he loses in effect the right of ownership on account of the difficulty of proving his case. We therefore decree, notwithstanding the force of civil law, that if anyone henceforth knowingly receives such a thing, then the one robbed shall be favoured by his being awarded restitution against the one in possession. For the latter as it were succeeds the robber in his vice, inasmuch as there is not much difference, especially as regards danger to the soul, between unjustly hanging on to another's property and seizing it.
40. True owner is the true possessor even if not possessing the object for a year
It sometimes happens that when possession of something is awarded to the plaintiff in a suit, on account of the contumacy of the other party, yet because of force or fraud over the thing he is unable to obtain custody of it within a year, or having gained it he loses it. Thus the defendant profits from his own wickedness, because in the opinion of many the plaintiff does not qualify as the true possessor at the end of a year. Lest therefore a contumacious party is in a better position than an obedient one, we decree, in the name of canonical equity, that in the aforesaid case the plaintiff shall be established as the true possessor after the year has elapsed. Furthermore, we issue a general prohibition against promising to abide by the decision of a layman in spiritual matters, since it is not fitting for a layman to arbitrate in such matters.
41. No one is to knowingly prescribe an object to the wrong party
Since whatever does not proceed from faith is sin, and since in general any constitution or custom which cannot be observed without mortal sin is to be disregarded, we therefore define by this synodal judgment that no prescription, whether canonical or civil, is valid without good faith. It is therefore necessary that the person who prescribes should at no stage be aware that the object belongs to someone else.
42. Clerics and laity are not to usurp each others rights
Just as we desire lay people not to usurp the rights of clerics, so we ought to wish clerics not to lay claim to the rights of the laity. We therefore forbid every cleric henceforth to extend his jurisdiction, under pretext of ecclesiastical freedom, to the prejudice of secular justice. Rather, let him be satisfied with the written constitutions and customs hitherto approved, so that the things of Caesar may be rendered unto Caesar, and the things of God may be rendered unto God by a right distribution.
43. Clerics cannot be forced to take oaths of fealty to those from whom they hold no temporalities
Certain laymen try to encroach too far upon divine right when they force ecclesiastics who do not hold any temporalities from them to take oaths of fealty to them. Since a servant stands or falls with his Lord, according to the Apostle, we therefore forbid, on the authority of this sacred council, that such clerics be forced to take an oath of this kind to secular persons.
44. Only clerics may dispose of church property
Lay people, however devout, have no power to dispose of church property. Their lot is to obey, not to be in command. We therefore grieve that charity is growing cold in some of them so that they are not afraid to attack through their ordinances, or rather their fabrications, the immunity of ecclesiastical freedom, which has in the past been protected with many privileges not only by holy fathers but also by secular princes. They do this not only by alienating fiefs and other possessions of the church and by usurping jurisdictions but also by illegally laying hands on mortuaries and other things which are seen to belong to spiritual justice. We wish to ensure the immunity of churches in these matters and to provide against such great injuries. We therefore decree, with the approval of this sacred council, that ordinances of this kind and claims to fiefs or other goods of the church, made by way of a decree of the lay power, without the proper consent of ecclesiastical persons, are invalid since they can be said to be not laws but rather acts of destitution or destruction and usurpations of jurisdiction. Those who dare to do these things are to be restrained by ecclesiastical censure.
45. Penalties for patrons who steal church goods or physically harm their clerics
Patrons of churches, lords' deputies and advocates have displayed such arrogance in some provinces that they not only introduce difficulties and evil designs when vacant churches ought to be provided with suitable pastors, but they also presume to dispose of the possessions and other goods of the church as they like and, what is dreadful to relate, they are not afraid to set about killing prelates. What was devised for protection should not be twisted into a means of repression. We therefore expressly forbid patrons, advocates and lords' deputies henceforth to appropriate more in the aforesaid matters than is permitted in law. If they dare to do the contrary, let them be curbed with the most severe canonical penalties. We decree, moreover, with the approval of this sacred council, that if patrons or advocates or feudatories or lords' deputies or other persons with benefices venture with unspeakable daring to kill or to mutilate, personally or through others, the rector of any church or other cleric of that church, then the patron shall lose completely his right of patronage, the advocate his advocation, the feudatory his fief, the lord's deputy his deputyship and the beneficed person his benefice. And lest the punishment be remembered for less time than the crime, nothing of the aforesaid shall descend to their heirs, and their posterity to the fourth generation shall in nowise be admitted into a college of clerics or to hold the honour of any prelacy in a religious house, except when out of mercy they are dispensed to do so.
46. Taxes cannot be levied on the Church, but the Church can volunteer contributions for the common good
The Lateran council, wishing to provide for the immunity of the church against officials and governors of cities and other persons who seek to oppress churches and churchmen with tallages and taxes and other exactions, forbade such presumption under pain of anathema. It ordered transgressors and their supporters to be excommunicated until they made adequate satisfaction. If at some time, however, a bishop together with his clergy foresee so great a need or advantage that they consider, without any compulsion, that subsidies should be given by the churches, for the common good or the common need, when the resources of the laity are not sufficient, then the above-mentioned laymen may receive them humbly and devoutly and with thanks. On account of the imprudence of some, however, the Roman pontiff, whose business it is to provide for the common good, should be consulted beforehand. We add, moreover, since the malice of some against God's church has not abated, that the ordinances and sentences promulgated by such excommunicated persons, or on their orders, are to be deemed null and void and shall never be valid. Since fraud and deceit should not protect anyone, let nobody be deceived by false error to endure an anathema during his term of government as though he is not obliged to make satisfaction afterwards. For we decree that both he who has refused to make satisfaction and his successor, if he does not make satisfaction within a month, is to remain bound by ecclesiastical censure until he makes suitable satisfaction, since he who succeeds to a post also succeeds to its responsibilities.
47. On unjust excommunication
With the approval of this sacred council, we forbid anyone to promulgate a sentence of excommunication on anyone, unless an adequate warning has been given beforehand in the presence of suitable persons, who can if necessary testify to the warning. If anyone dares to do the contrary, even if the sentence of excommunication is just, let him know that he is forbidden to enter a church for one month and he is to be punished with another penalty if this seems expedient. Let him carefully avoid proceeding to excommunicate anyone without manifest and reasonable cause. If he does so proceed and, on being humbly requested, does not take care to revoke the process without imposing punishment, then the injured person may lodge a complaint of unjust excommunication with a superior judge. The latter shall then send the person back to the judge who excommunicated him, if this can be done without the danger of a delay, with orders that he is to be absolved within a suitable period of time. If the danger of delay cannot be avoided, the task of absolving him shall be carried out by the superior judge, either in person or through someone else, as seems expedient, after he has obtained adequate guarantees. Whenever it is established that the judge pronounced an unjust excommunication, he shall be condemned to make compensation for damages to the one excommunicated, and be nonetheless punished in another way at the discretion of the superior judge if the nature of the fault calls for it, since it is not a trivial fault to inflict so great a punishment on an innocent person -- unless by chance he erred for reasons that are credible -- especially if the person is of praiseworthy repute. But if nothing reasonable is proved against the sentence of excommunication by the one making the complaint, then the complainant shall be condemned in punishment, for the unreasonable trouble caused by his complaint, to make compensation or in some other way according to the discretion of the superior judge, unless by chance his error was based on something that is credible and so excuses him; and he shall moreover be compelled upon a pledge to make satisfaction in the matter for which he was justly excommunicated, or else he shall be subject again to the former sentence which is to be inviolably observed until full satisfaction has been made. If the judge, however, recognizes his error and is prepared to revoke the sentence, but the person on whom it was passed appeals, for fear that the judge might revoke it without making satisfaction, then the appeal shall not be admitted unless the error is such that it may deserve to be questioned. Then the judge, after he has given sufficient security that he will appear in court before the person to whom the appeal had been made or one delegated by him, shall absolve the excommunicated person and thus shall not be subject to the prescribed punishment. Let the judge altogether beware, if he wishes to avoid strict canonical punishment, lest out of a perverse intention to harm someone he pretends to have made an error.
48. Challenging an ecclesiastical judge
Since a special prohibition has been made against anyone presuming to promulgate a sentence of excommunication against someone without adequate warning being given beforehand, we therefore wish to provide against the person warned being able, by means of a fraudulent objection or appeal, to escape examination by the one issuing the warning. We therefore decree that if the person alleges he holds the judge suspect, let him bring before the same judge an action of just suspicion; and he himself in agreement with his adversary (or with the judge, if he happens not to have an adversary) shall together choose arbiters or, if by chance they are unable to reach agreement together, he shall choose one arbiter and the other another, to take cognisance of the action of suspicion. If these cannot agree on a judgment they shall call in a third person so that what two of them decide upon shall have binding force. Let them know that they are bound to carry this out faithfully, in accordance with the command strictly enjoined by us in virtue of obedience and under the attestation of the divine judgment. If the action of suspicion is not proved in law before them within a suitable time, the judge shall exercise his jurisdiction; if the action is proved, then with the consent of the objector the challenged judge shall commit the matter to a suitable person or shall refer it to a superior judge so that he may conduct the matter as it should be conducted. As for the person who has been warned but then hastens to make an appeal, if his offence is made manifest in law by the evidence of the case or by his own confession or in some other way, then provocation of this kind is not to be tolerated, since the remedy of an appeal was not established to defend wickedness but to protect innocence. If there is some doubt about his offence, then the appellant shall, lest he impedes the judge's action by the subterfuge of a frivolous appeal, set before the same judge the credible reason for his appeal, such namely that if it was proved it would be considered legitimate. Then if he has an adversary, let him proceed with his appeal within the time laid down by the same judge according to the distances, times and nature of the business involved. If he does not prosecute his appeal, the judge himself shall proceed notwithstanding the appeal. If the adversary does not appear when the judge is proceeding in virtue of his office, then once the reason for the appeal has been verified before the superior judge the latter shall exercise his jurisdiction. If the appellant fails to get the reason for his appeal verified, he shall be sent back to the judge from whom it has been established that he appealed maliciously. We do not wish the above two constitutions to be extended to regulars, who have their own special observances. '
49. Penalties for excommunication out of avarice
We absolutely forbid, under threat of the divine judgment, anyone to dare to bind anyone with the bond of excommunication, or to absolve anyone so bound, out of avarice. We forbid this especially in those regions where by custom an excommunicated person is punished by a money penalty when he is absolved. We decree that when it has been established that a sentence of excommunication was unjust, the excommunicator shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure to restore the money thus extorted, and shall pay as much again to his victim for the injury unless he was deceived by an understandable error. If perchance he is unable to pay, he shall be punished in some other way.
50. Prohibition of marriage is now perpetually restricted to the fourth degree
It should not be judged reprehensible if human decrees are sometimes changed according to changing circumstances, especially when urgent necessity or evident advantage demands it, since God himself changed in the new Testament some of the things which he had commanded in the old Testament. Since the prohibitions against contracting marriage in the second and third degree of affinity, and against uniting the offspring of a second marriage with the kindred of the first husband, often lead to difficulty and sometimes endanger souls, we therefore, in order that when the prohibition ceases the effect may also cease, revoke with the approval of this sacred council the constitutions published on this subject and we decree, by this present constitution, that henceforth contracting parties connected in these ways may freely be joined together. Moreover the prohibition against marriage shall not in future go beyond the fourth degree of consanguinity and of affinity, since the prohibition cannot now generally be observed to further degrees without grave harm. The number four agrees well with the prohibition concerning bodily union about which the Apostle says, that the husband does not rule over his body, but the wife does; and the wife does not rule over her body, but the husband does; for there are four humours in the body, which is composed of the four elements. Although the prohibition of marriage is now restricted to the fourth degree, we wish the prohibition to be perpetual, notwithstanding earlier decrees on this subject issued either by others or by us. If any persons dare to marry contrary to this prohibition, they shall not be protected by length of years, since the passage of time does not diminish sin but increases it, and the longer that faults hold the unfortunate soul in bondage the graver they are.
51. Clandestine marriages forbidden
Since the prohibition against marriage in the three remotest degrees has been revoked, we wish it to be strictly observed in the other degrees. Following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we altogether forbid clandestine marriages and we forbid any priest to presume to be present at such a marriage. Extending the special custom of certain regions to other regions generally, we decree that when marriages are to be contracted they shall be publicly announced in the churches by priests, with a suitable time being fixed beforehand within which whoever wishes and is able to may adduce a lawful impediment. The priests themselves shall also investigate whether there is any impediment. When there appears a credible reason why the marriage should not be contracted, the contract shall be expressly forbidden until there has been established from clear documents what ought to be done in the matter. If any persons presume to enter into clandestine marriages of this kind, or forbidden marriages within a prohibited degree, even if done in ignorance, the offspring of the union shall be deemed illegitimate and shall have no help from their parents' ignorance, since the parents in contracting the marriage could be considered as not devoid of knowledge, or even as affecters of ignorance. Likewise the offspring shall be deemed illegitimate if both parents know of a legitimate impediment and yet dare to contract a marriage in the presence of the church, contrary to every prohibition. Moreover the parish priest who refuses to forbid such unions, or even any member of the regular clergy who dares to attend them, shall be suspended from office for three years and shall be punished even more severely if the nature of the fault requires it. Those who presume to be united in this way, even if it is within a permitted degree, are to be given a suitable penance. Anybody who maliciously proposes an impediment, to prevent a legitimate marriage, will not escape the church's vengeance.
52. On rejecting evidence from hearsay at a matrimonial suit
It was at one time decided out of a certain necessity, but contrary to the normal practice, that hearsay evidence should be valid in reckoning the degrees of consanguinity and affinity, because on account of the shortness of human life witnesses would not be able to testify from first-hand knowledge in a reckoning as far as the seventh degree. However, because we have learned from many examples and definite proofs that many dangers to lawful marriages have arisen from this, we have decided that in future witnesses from hearsay shall not be accepted in this matter, since the prohibition does not now exceed the fourth degree, unless there are persons of weight who are trustworthy and who learnt from their elders, before the case was begun, the things that they testify : not indeed from one such person since one would not suffice even if he or she were alive, but from two at least, and not from persons who are of bad repute and suspect but from those who are trustworthy and above every objection, since it would appear rather absurd to admit in evidence those whose actions would be rejected. Nor should there be admitted in evidence one person who has learnt what he testifies from several, or persons of bad repute who have learnt what they testify from persons of good repute, as though they were more than one and suitable witnesses, since even according to the normal practice of courts the assertion of one witness does not suffice, even if he is a person resplendent with authority, and since legal actions are forbidden to persons of bad repute. The witnesses shall affirm on oath that in bearing witness in the case they are not acting from hatred or fear or love or for advantage; they shall designate the persons by their exact names or by pointing out or by sufficient description, and shall distinguish by a clear reckoning every degree of relationship on either side; and they shall include in their oath the statement that it was from their ancestors that they received what they are testifying and that they believe it to be true. They shall still not suffice unless they declare on oath that they have known that the persons who stand in at least one of the aforesaid degrees of relationship, regard each other as blood-relations. For it is preferable to leave alone some people who have been united contrary to human decrees than to separate, contrary to the Lord's decrees, persons who have been joined together legitimately.
53. On those who give their fields to others to be cultivated so as to avoid tithes
In some regions there are intermingled certain peoples who by custom, in accordance with their own rites, do not pay tithes, even though they are counted as christians. Some landlords assign their lands to them so that these lords may obtain greater revenues, by cheating the churches of the tithes. Wishing therefore to provide for the security of churches in these matters, we decree that when lords make over their lands to such persons in this way for cultivation, the lords must pay the tithes to the churches in full and without objection, and if necessary they shall be compelled to do so by ecclesiastical censure. Such tithes are indeed to be paid of necessity, inasmuch as they are owed in virtue of divine law or of approved local custom.
54. Tithes should be paid before taxes
It is not within human power that the seed should answer to the sower since, according to the saying of the Apostle, Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but rather he who gives the growth, namely God, who himself brings forth much fruit from the dead seed. Now, some people from excess of greed strive to cheat over tithes, deducting from crops and first-fruits the rents and dues, which meanwhile escape the payment of tithes. Since the Lord has reserved tithes unto himself as a sign of his universal lordship, by a certain special title as it were, we decree, wishing to prevent injury to churches and danger to souls, that in virtue of this general lordship the payment of tithes shall precede the exaction of dues and rents, or at least those who receive untithed rents and dues shall be forced by ecclesiastical censure, seeing that a thing carries with it its burden, to tithe them for the churches to which by right they are due.
55. Tithes are to be paid on lands acquired, notwithstanding privileges
Recently abbots of the Cistercian order, assembled in a general chapter, wisely decreed at our instance that the brethren of the order shall not in future buy possessions from which tithes are due to churches, unless by chance it is for founding new monasteries; and that if such possessions were given to them by the pious devotion of the faithful, or were bought for founding new monasteries, they would assign them for cultivation to other people, who would pay the tithes to the churches, lest the churches be further burdened on account of the Cistercians' privileges. We therefore decree that on lands assigned to others and on future acquisitions, even if they cultivate them with their own hands or at their own expense, they shall pay tithes to the churches which previously received the tithes from the lands, unless they decide to compound in another way with the churches. Since we consider this decree to be acceptable and right, we wish it to be extended to other regulars who enjoy similar privileges, and we order prelates of churches to be readier and more effectual in affording them full justice with regard to those who wrong them and to take pains to maintain their privileges more carefully and completely.
56. A parish priest shall not lose a tithe on account of some people making a pact
Many regulars, as we have learnt, and sometimes secular clerics, when letting houses or granting fiefs, add a pact, to the prejudice of the parish churches, to the effect that the tenants and vassals shall pay tithes to them and shall choose to be buried in their ground. We utterly reject pacts of this kind, since they are rooted in avarice, and we declare that whatever is received through them shall be returned to the parish churches.
57. Interpreting the words of privileges
In order that privileges which the Roman church has granted to certain religious may remain unimpaired, we have decided that certain things in them must be clarified lest through their not being well understood they lead to abuse, on account of which they could deservedly be revoked. For, a person deserves to lose a privilege if he abuses the power entrusted to him. The apostolic see has rightly granted an indult to certain regulars to the effect that ecclesiastical burial should not be refused to deceased members of their fraternity if the churches to which they belong happen to be under an interdict as regards divine services, unless the persons were excommunicated or interdicted by name, and that they may carry off for burial to their own churches their confraters whom prelates of churches will not allow to be buried in their own churches, unless the confraters have been excommunicated or interdicted by name. However, we understand this to refer to confraters who have changed their secular dress and have been consecrated to the order while still alive, or who in their lifetime have given their property to them while retaining for themselves as long as they live the usufruct of it. Only such persons may be buried at the non-interdicted churches of these regulars and of others in which they have chosen to be buried. For if it were understood of any persons joining their fraternity for the annual payment of two or three pennies, ecclesiastical discipline would be loosened and brought into contempt. Even the latter may, however, obtain a certain remission granted to them by the apostolic see. It has also been granted to such regulars that if any of their brethren, whom they have sent to establish fraternities or to receive taxes, comes to a city or a castle or a village which is under an interdict as regards divine services, then churches may be opened once in the year at their "joyous entry" so that the divine services may be celebrated there, after excommunicated persons have been excluded. We wish this to be understood as meaning that in a given city, castle or town one church only shall be opened for the brethren of a particular order, as mentioned above, once in the year. For although it was said in the plural that churches may be opened at their "joyous entry", this on a true understanding refers not to each individual church of a given place but rather to the churches of the aforesaid places taken together. Otherwise if they visited all the churches of a given place in this way, the sentence of interdict would be brought into too much contempt. Those who dare to usurp anything for themselves contrary to the above declarations shall be subjected to severe punishment.
58. On the same in favour of bishops
We wish to extend to bishops, in favour of the episcopal office, the indult which has already been given to certain religious. We therefore grant that when a country is under a general interdict, the bishops may sometimes celebrate the divine services, behind closed doors and in a lowered voice, without the ringing of bells, after excommunicated and interdicted persons have been excluded, unless this has been expressly forbidden to them. We grant this, however, to those bishops who have not given any cause for the interdict, lest they use guile or fraud of any sort and so turn a good thing into a damaging loss.
59. Religious cannot give surety without permission of his abbot and convent
We wish and order to be extended to all religious what has already been forbidden by the apostolic see to some of them : namely that no religious, without the permission of his abbot and the majority of his chapter, may stand surety for someone or accept a loan from another beyond a sum fixed by the common opinion. Otherwise the convent shall not be held responsible in any way for his actions, unless perchance the matter has clearly redounded to the benefit of his house. Anyone who presumes to act contrary to this statute shall be severely disciplined.
60. Abbots not to encroach on episcopal office
From the complaints which have reached us from bishops in various parts of the world, we have come to know of serious and great excesses of certain abbots who, not content with the boundaries of their own authority, stretch out their hands to things belonging to the episcopal dignity : hearing matrimonial cases, enjoining public penances, even granting letters of indulgences and like presumptions. It sometimes happens from this that episcopal authority is cheapened in the eyes of many. Wishing therefore to provide for both the dignity of bishops and the well-being of abbots in these matters, we strictly forbid by this present decree any abbot to reach out for such things, if he wishes to avoid danger for himself, unless by chance any of them can defend himself by a special concession or some other legitimate reason in respect of such things.
61. Religious may not receive tithes from lay hands
It was forbidden at the Lateran council, as is known, for any regulars to dare to receive churches or tithes from lay hands without the bishop's consent, or in any way to admit to the divine services those under excommunication or those interdicted by name. We now forbid it even more strongly and will take care to see that offenders are punished with condign penalties. We decree, nevertheless that in churches which do not belong to them by full right the regulars shall, in accordance with the statutes of that council, present to the bishop the priests who are to be instituted, for examination by him about the care of the people; but as for the priests' ability in temporal matters, the regulars shall furnish the proof unto themselves. Let them not dare to remove those who have been instituted without consulting the bishop. We add, indeed, that they should take care to present those who are either noted for their way of life or recommended by prelates on probable grounds.
62. Regarding saint's relics
The christian religion is frequently disparaged because certain people put saints' relics up for sale and display them indiscriminately. In order that it may not be disparaged in the future, we ordain by this present decree that henceforth ancient relics shall not be displayed outside a reliquary or be put up for sale. As for newly discovered relics, let no one presume to venerate them publicly unless they have previously been approved by the authority of the Roman pontiff. Prelates, moreover, should not in future allow those who come to their churches, in order to venerate, to be deceived by lying stories or false documents, as has commonly happened in many places on account of the desire for profit. We also forbid the recognition of alms-collectors, some of whom deceive other people by proposing various errors in their preaching, unless they show authentic letters from the apostolic see or from the diocesan bishop. Even then they shall not be permitted to put before the people anything beyond what is contained in the letters.
We have thought it good to show the form of letter which the apostolic see generally grants to alms-collectors, in order that diocesan bishops may follow it in their own letters. It is this : "Since, as the Apostle says, we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive according to what we have done in the body, whether it be good or bad, it behooves us to prepare for the day of the final harvest with works of mercy and to sow on earth, with a view to eternity, that which, with God returning it with multiplied fruit, we ought to collect in heaven; keeping a firm hope and confidence, since he who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully unto eternal life. Since the resources of a hospital may not suffice for the support of the brethren and the needy who flock to it, we admonish and exhort all of you in the Lord, and enjoin upon you for the remission of your sins, to give pious alms and grateful charitable assistance to them, from the goods that God has bestowed upon you; so that their need may be cared for through your help, and you may reach eternal happiness through these and other good things which you may have done under God's inspiration. "
Let those who are sent to seek alms be modest and discreet, and let them not stay in taverns or other unsuitable places or incur useless or excessive expenses, being careful above all not to wear the garb of false religion. Moreover, because the keys of the church are brought into contempt and satisfaction through penance loses its force through indiscriminate and excessive indulgences, which certain prelates of churches do not fear to grant, we therefore decree that when a basilica is dedicated, the indulgence shall not be for more than one year, whether it is dedicated by one bishop or by more than one, and for the anniversary of the dedication the remission of penances imposed is not to exceed forty days. We order that the letters of indulgence, which are granted for various reasons at different times, are to fix this number of days, since the Roman pontiff himself, who possesses the plenitude of power, is accustomed to observe this moderation in such things.
63. On simony
As we have certainly learnt, shameful and wicked exactions and extortions are levied in many places and by many persons, who are like the sellers of doves in the temple, for the consecration of bishops, the blessing of abbots and the ordination of clerics. There is fixed how much is to be paid for this or that and for yet another thing. Some even strive to defend this disgrace and wickedness on the grounds of long-established custom, thereby heaping up for themselves still further damnation. Wishing therefore to abolish so great an abuse, we altogether reject such a custom which should rather be termed a corruption. We firmly decree that nobody shall dare to demand or extort anything under any pretext for the conferring of such things or for their having been conferred. Otherwise both he who receives and he who gives such an absolutely condemned payment shall be condemned with Gehazi and Simon.
64. Simony with regards to monks and nuns
The disease of simony has infected many nuns to such an extent that they admit scarcely any as sisters without a payment, wishing to cover this vice with the pretext of poverty. We utterly forbid this to happen in the future. We decree that whoever commits such wickedness in the future, both the one admitting and the one admitted, whether she be a subject or in authority, shall be expelled from her convent without hope of reinstatement, and be cast into a house of stricter observance to do perpetual penance. As regards those who were admitted in this way before this synodal statute, we have decided to provide that they be moved from the convents which they wrongly entered, and be placed in other houses of the same order. If perchance they are too numerous to be conveniently placed elsewhere, they may be admitted afresh to the same convent, by dispensation, after the prioress and lesser officials have been changed, lest they roam around in the world to the danger of their souls. We order the same to be observed with regard to monks and other religious. Indeed, lest such persons be able to excuse themselves on the grounds of simplicity or ignorance, we order diocesan bishops to have this decree published throughout their dioceses every year.
65. Simony and extortion
We have heard that certain bishops, on the death of rectors of churches, put these churches under an interdict and do not allow anyone to be instituted to them until they have been paid a certain sum of money. Moreover, when a knight or a cleric enters a religious house or chooses to be buried with religious, the bishops raise difficulties and obstacles until they receive something in the way of a present, even when the person has left nothing to the religious house. Since we should abstain not only from evil itself but also from every appearance of evil, as the Apostle says, we altogether forbid exactions of this kind. Any offender shall restore double the amount exacted, and this is to be faithfully used for the benefit of the places harmed by the exactions.
66. Simony and avarice in clerics
It has frequently been reported to the apostolic see that certain clerics demand and extort payments for funeral rites for the dead, the blessing of those marrying, and the like; and if it happens that their greed is not satisfied, they deceitfully set up false impediments. On the other hand some lay people, stirred by a ferment of heretical wickedness, strive to infringe a praiseworthy custom of holy church, introduced by the pious devotion of the faithful, under the pretext of canonical scruples. We therefore both forbid wicked exactions to be made in these matters and order pious customs to be observed, ordaining that the church's sacraments are to be given freely but also that those who maliciously try to change a praiseworthy custom are to be restrained, when the truth is known, by the bishop of the place.
67. Jews and excessive Usury
The more the christian religion is restrained from usurious practices, so much the more does the perfidy of the Jews grow in these matters, so that within a short time they are exhausting the resources of Christians. Wishing therefore to see that Christians are not savagely oppressed by Jews in this matter, we ordain by this synodal decree that if Jews in future, on any pretext, extort oppressive and excessive interest from Christians, then they are to be removed from contact with Christians until they have made adequate satisfaction for the immoderate burden. Christians too, if need be, shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, without the possibility of an appeal, to abstain from commerce with them. We enjoin upon princes not to be hostile to Christians on this account, but rather to be zealous in restraining Jews from so great oppression. We decree, under the same penalty, that Jews shall be compelled to make satisfaction to churches for tithes and offerings due to the churches, which the churches were accustomed to receive from Christians for houses and other possessions, before they passed by whatever title to the Jews, so that the churches may thus be preserved from loss.
68. Jews appearing in public
A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress -- seeing moreover that this was enjoined upon them by Moses himself, as we read. They shall not appear in public at all on the days of lamentation and on passion Sunday; because some of them on such days, as we have heard, do not blush to parade in very ornate dress and are not afraid to mock Christians who are presenting a memorial of the most sacred passion and are displaying signs of grief. What we most strictly forbid however, is that they dare in any way to break out in derision of the Redeemer. We order secular princes to restrain with condign punishment those who do so presume, lest they dare to blaspheme in any way him who was crucified for us, since we ought not to ignore insults against him who blotted out our wrongdoings.
69. Jews not to hold public offices
It would be too absurd for a blasphemer of Christ to exercise power over Christians. We therefore renew in this canon, on account of the boldness of the offenders, what the council of Toledo providently decreed in this matter : we forbid Jews to be appointed to public offices, since under cover of them they are very hostile to Christians. If, however, anyone does commit such an office to them let him, after an admonition, be curbed by the provincial council, which we order to be held annually, by means of an appropriate sanction. Any official so appointed shall be denied commerce with Christians in business and in other matters until he has converted to the use of poor Christians, in accordance with the directions of the diocesan bishop, whatever he has obtained from Christians by reason of his office so acquired, and he shall surrender with shame the office which he irreverently assumed. We extend the same thing to pagans.
70. Jewish converts may not retain their old rite
Certain people who have come voluntarily to the waters of sacred baptism, as we learnt, do not wholly cast off the old person in order to put on the new more perfectly. For, in keeping remnants of their former rite, they upset the decorum of the christian religion by such a mixing. Since it is written, cursed is he who enters the land by two paths, and a garment that is woven from linen and wool together should not be put on, we therefore decree that such people shall be wholly prevented by the prelates of churches from observing their old rite, so that those who freely offered themselves to the christian religion may be kept to its observance by a salutary and necessary coercion. For it is a lesser evil not to know the Lord's way than to go back on it after having known it.
71. Crusade to recover the holy Land
It is our ardent desire to liberate the holy Land from infidel hands. We therefore declare, with the approval of this sacred council and on the advice of prudent men who are fully aware of the circumstances of time and place, that crusaders are to make themselves ready so that all who have arranged to go by sea shall assemble in the kingdom of Sicily on 1 June after next : some as necessary and fitting at Brindisi and others at Messina and places neighbouring it on either side, where we too have arranged to be in person at that time, God willing, so that with our advice and help the christian army may be in good order to set out with divine and apostolic blessing. Those who have decided to go by land should also take care to be ready by the same date. They shall notify us meanwhile so that we may grant them a suitable legate a latere for advice and help. Priests and other clerics who will be in the christian army, both those under authority and prelates, shall diligently devote themselves to prayer and exhortation, teaching the crusaders by word and example to have the fear and love of God always before their eyes, so that they say or do nothing that might offend the divine majesty. If they ever fall into sin, let them quickly rise up again through true penitence. Let them be humble in heart and in body, keeping to moderation both in food and in dress, avoiding altogether dissensions and rivalries, and putting aside entirely any bitterness or envy, so that thus armed with spiritual and material weapons they may the more fearlessly fight against the enemies of the faith, relying not on their own power but rather trusting in the strength of God. We grant to these clerics that they may receive the fruits of their benefices in full for three years, as if they were resident in the churches, and if necessary they may leave them in pledge for the same time.
To prevent this holy proposal being impeded or delayed, we strictly order all prelates of churches, each in his own locality, diligently to warn and induce those who have abandoned the cross to resume it, and them and others who have taken up the cross, and those who may still do so, to carry out their vows to the Lord. And if necessary they shall compel them to do this without any backsliding, by sentences of excommunication against their persons and of interdict on their lands, excepting only those persons who find themselves faced with an impediment of such a kind that their vow deservedly ought to be commuted or deferred in accordance with the directives of the apostolic see. In order that nothing connected with this business of Jesus Christ be omitted, we will and order patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and others who have the care of souls to preach the cross zealously to those entrusted to them. Let them beseech kings, dukes, princes, margraves, counts, barons and other magnates, as well as the communities of cities, vills and towns -- in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, the one, only, true and eternal God -- that those who do not go in person to the aid of the holy Land should contribute, according to their means, an appropriate number of fighting men together with their necessary expenses for three years, for the remission of their sins in accordance with what has already been explained in general letters and will be explained below for still greater assurance. We wish to share in this remission not only those who contribute ships of their own but also those who are zealous enough to build them for this purpose. To those who refuse, if there happen to be any who are so ungrateful to our lord God, we firmly declare in the name of the apostle that they should know that they will have to answer to us for this on the last day of final judgment before the fearful judge. Let them consider beforehand, however with what conscience and with what security it was that they were able to confess before the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, to whom the Father gave all things into his hands, if in this business, which is as it were peculiarly his, they refuse to serve him who was crucified for sinners, by whose beneficence they are sustained and indeed by whose blood they have been redeemed.
Lest we appear to be laying on men's shoulders heavy and unbearable burdens which we are not willing to lighten, like those who say yes but do nothing behold we, from what we have been able to save over and above necessities and moderate expenses, grant and give thirty thousand pounds to this work, besides the shipping which we are giving to the crusaders of Rome and neighbouring districts. We will assign for this purpose, moreover, three thousand marks of silver, which we have left over from the alms of certain of the faithful, the rest having been faithfully distributed for the needs and benefit of the aforesaid Land by the hands of the abbot patriarch of Jerusalem, of happy memory, and of the masters of the Temple and of the Hospital. We wish, however, that other prelates of churches and all clerics may participate and share both in the merit and in the reward. We therefore decree, with the general approval of the council, that all clerics, both those under authority and prelates, shall give a twentieth of their ecclesiastical revenues for three years to the aid of the holy Land, by means of the persons appointed by the apostolic see for this purpose; the only exceptions being certain religious who are rightly to be exempted from this taxation and likewise those persons who have taken or will take the cross and so will go in person. We and our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, shall pay a full tenth. Let all know, moreover, that they are obliged to observe this faithfully under pain of excommunication, so that those who knowingly deceive in this matter shall incur the sentence of excommunication. Because it is right that those who persevere in the service of the heavenly ruler should in all justice enjoy special privilege, and because the day of departure is somewhat more than a year ahead, crusaders shall therefore be. exempt from taxes or levies and other burdens. We take their persons and goods under the protection of St Peter and ourself once they have taken up the cross. We ordain that they are to be protected by archbishops, bishops and all prelates of the church, and that protectors of their own are to be specially appointed for this purpose, so that their goods are to remain intact and undisturbed until they are known for certain to be dead or to have returned. If anyone dares to act contrary to this, let him be curbed by ecclesiastical censure.
If any of those setting out are bound by oath to pay interest, we ordain that their creditors shall be compelled by the same punishment to release them from their oath and to desist from exacting the interest; if any of the creditors does force them to pay the interest, we command that he be forced by similar punishment to restore it. We order that Jews be compelled by the secular power to remit interest, and that until they do so all intercourse shall be denied them by all Christ's faithful under pain of excommunication. Secular princes shall provide a suitable deferral for those who cannot now pay their debts to Jews, so that after they have undertaken the journey and until there is certain knowledge of their death or of their return, they shall not incur the inconvenience of paying interest. The Jews shall be compelled to add to the capital, after they have deducted their necessary expenses, the revenues which they are meanwhile receiving from property held by them on security. For, such a benefit seems to entail not much loss, inasmuch as it postpones the repayment but does not cancel the debt. Prelates of churches who are negligent in showing justice to crusaders and their families should know that they will be severely punished.
Furthermore, since corsairs and pirates greatly impede help for the holy Land, by capturing and plundering those who are travelling to and from it, we bind with the bond of excommunication everyone who helps or supports them. We forbid anyone, under threat of anathema, knowingly to communicate with them by contracting to buy or to sell; and we order rulers of cities and their territories to restrain and curb such persons from this iniquity. Otherwise, since to be unwilling to disquiet evildoers is none other than to encourage them, and since he who fails to oppose a manifest crime is not without a touch of secret complicity, it is our wish and command that prelates of churches exercise ecclesiastical severity against their persons and lands. We excommunicate and anathematize, moreover, those false and impious Christians who, in opposition to Christ and the christian people, convey arms to the Saracens and iron and timber for their galleys. We decree that those who sell them galleys or ships, and those who act as pilots in pirate Saracen ships, or give them any advice or help by way of machines or anything else, to the detriment of the holy Land, are to be punished with deprivation of their possessions and are to become the slaves of those who capture them. We order this sentence to be renewed on Sundays and feast-days in all maritime towns; and the bosom of the church is not to be opened to such persons unless they send in aid of the holy Land the whole of the damnable wealth which they received and the same amount of their own, so that they are punished in proportion to their offence. If perchance they do not pay, they are to be punished in other ways in order that through their punishment others may be deterred from venturing upon similar rash actions. In addition, we prohibit and on pain of anathema forbid all Christians, for four years, to send or take their ships across to the lands of the Saracens who dwell in the east, so that by this a greater supply of shipping may be made ready for those wanting to cross over to help the holy Land, and so that the aforesaid Saracens may be deprived of the not inconsiderable help which they have been accustomed to receiving from this.
Although tournaments have been forbidden in a general way on pain of a fixed penalty at various councils, we strictly forbid them to be held for three years, under pain of excommunication, because the business of the crusade is much hindered by them at this present time. Because it is of the utmost necessity for the carrying out of this business that rulers of the christian people keep peace with each other, we therefore ordain, on the advice of this holy general synod, that peace be generally kept in the whole christian world for at least four years, so that those in conflict shall be brought by the prelates of churches to conclude a definitive peace or to observe inviolably a firm truce. Those who refuse to comply shall be most strictly compelled to do so by an excommunication against their persons and an interdict on their lands, unless their wrongdoing is so great that they ought not to enjoy peace. If it happens that they make light of the church's censure, they may deservedly fear that the secular power will be invoked by ecclesiastical authority against them as disturbers of the business of him who was crucified.
We therefore, trusting in the mercy of almighty God and in the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, do grant, by the power of binding and loosing that God has conferred upon us, albeit unworthy, unto all those who undertake this work in person and at their own expense, full pardon for their sins about which they are heartily contrite and have spoken in confession, and we promise them an increase of eternal life at the recompensing of the just; also to those who do not go there in person but send suitable men at their own expense, according to their means and status, and likewise to those who go in person but at others' expense, we grant full pardon for their sins. We wish and grant to share in this remission, according to the quality of their help and the intensity of their devotion, all who shall contribute suitably from their goods to the aid of the said Land or who give useful advice and help. Finally, this general synod imparts the benefit of its blessings to all who piously set out on this common enterprise in order that it may contribute worthily to their salvation.
three persons ... nature omitted in Cr.
as if ... perfect omitted in Cr.
and he ... things omitted in A.M.
We forbid ... fowling omitted in Cr M.
confessions ... interlocutions omitted in Cr.
Cr = P.Crabbe, Concilia omnia, tam generalia, quam particularia ..., 2 vols. Cologne 1538; 3 vols. ibid 1551
M = the Mazarin codex used by P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae nunc quarta parte prodit auctior studio Philippi Labbei et Gabrielis Cossartii ..., 17 vols. Paris 1671-72
A = the d'Achery codex used by Labbe and Cossart

First Council of Lyons - 1245 A.D.

Bull Deposing The Emperor Frederick II
On rescripts
Those to whom cases should be entrusted
Curtailing legal expenses
On challenging elections etc.
Only unconditional votes valid
Jurisdiction of conservators
Legates and benefices
Judge delegates
On peremptory exceptions
The objection of robbery
No-show plaintiffs
On early possession for the sake of preservation
On the acceptability of negative assertions
The exception of major excommunication
On Judges Who Give Dishonest Judgment
On appeals
On the same
On employing assassins
On excommunication 1
On excommunication 2
On excommunication 3
On excommunication 4
Management of church debts
On help for the empire of Constantinople
Admonition to be made by prelates to the people in their charge
On the Tartars
On the crusade
The dispute, distinctive of the Middle Ages, between the papacy and the empire became very serious under Pope Innocent IV and Emperor Frederick II. Already in 1240 Pope Gregory IX had tried to define the questions between the two powers by calling a general council, but Frederick II by arms had prevented the council from meeting. When Innocent IV succeeded as pope in 1243 he gave his earnest attention to renewing this policy. He was able to make his way in 1244 to Lyons, which was outside the direct authority of the emperor, and there proclaimed a council. Some letters of summons exist, dated 3 January 1245 and the days following, in which the purpose of the council is stated thus: "That the church, through the salutary counsel of the faithful and their fruitful help, may have the dignity of its proper position; that assistance may speedily be brought to the unhappy crisis in the holy Land and the sufferings of the eastern empire; that a remedy may be found against the Tartars and other enemies of the faith and persecutors of the christian people; further, for the issue between the church and the emperor; for these reasons we think that the kings of the earth, the prelates of the church and other princes of the world should be summoned". The chief purposes for which the council was called -- and from the beginning it was called "general" -- seem to have been political ones.
When the council opened on 26 June 1245, in a meeting which was probably only preparatory, there were present three patriarchs and about 150 bishops besides other religious and secular persons, among whom was the Latin emperor of Constantinople. Emperor Frederick II sent a legation headed by Thaddaeus of Suessa. Many bishops and prelates were unable to attend the council because they had been prevented by the invasions of the Tartars in the east or the attacks of the Saracens in the holy Land, or because Frederick II had intimidated them (especially the Sicilians and Germans). Thus it was that the four chief parties of the council were the French and probably the Spanish, English and Italian. In the three sessions which were held during the council (26 June, 5 and 17 July) the fathers, not without hesitation and dispute, had to treat especially of Frederick II. There seems to have been a bitter conflict between Innocent IV on the one side and Thaddaeus of Suessa on the other. The sources, especially the Brevis nota and Matthew Paris, tell us clearly about the nature of the discussion and the determined attitude of the pope, who induced the council to depose the emperor at the session on 17 July 1245, a matter that appeared unprecedented to the fathers themselves. The council on this question shows us clearly the critical position reached by the medieval theory and practice of ruling a christian state, which rested on a double order of authority.
In the same session of 17 July the council also approved some strictly legal constitutions and others on usury, the Tartars and the Latin east. But the council, unlike the previous councils of the Middle Ages, did not approve canons concerning the reform of the church and the condemnation of heresy. Enthusiasm for the Gregorian reform movement seems to have died down completely. The council, however, concerned itself with promoting and confirming the general canonical legislation for religious life.
The transmission of the text of the constitutions is involved and still partly obscure. Only in recent times has it been realised that the authentic and definitive drawing up of the constitutions, and their promulgation, took place after the council. This collection consists of 22 constitutions, all of which are of a legal nature, and was sent to the universities by Innocent IV on 25 August 1245 (Coll. I). A second collection of 12 decrees was published by Innocent IV on 21 April 1246 (Coll. II). A final collection (Coll. I + II and 8 other decrees) was issued on 9 September 1253 (Coll. III), and was included (except for const. 2) in Liber Sextus in 1298. Coll. I, however, is not identical with the constitutions of the council. For in it can be found neither the condemnation of Frederick II, which seems to have been the chief matter of the council, nor the five constitutions pertaining to the important questions introduced by Innocent IV at the opening of the council, namely those concerned with the Tartars, the Latin east and the crusades.
Stephen Kuttner has shown that the constitutions have been transmitted to us through three versions: the conciliar version (= M), known principally from the chronicle of Matthew of Paris (const. 1-19, and the const. on the crusade corresponding to R 17); the intermediate version ( = R), known from the register of Innocent IV (const. 1-17, of which const. 1-12 correspond to M 1-10); and the definitive version ( = Coll. I), containing two constitutions (18 and 22) which are absent from the other versions, but lacking the constitutions not directly concerned with the law (R 13-17).
Indeed, the origins of the constitutions must be placed before the council, as is shown by an earlier version of constitutions M 13, 15 and 19, antedating the council. Evidently the council fathers were discussing matters which had already been partly worked out, and it was somewhat later that the constitutions acquired their more accurate and definite legal form.
The constitutions taken from Matthew Paris were edited in Bn[1] III/2 (1606) 1482-1489. Those from the register of Innocent IV were edited in Rm IV (1612) 73-78. All later editions followed Rm. However, I. H. Boehmer and Msi[1] 2 (1748) 1073-1098 (afterwards in Msi 23 (1779) 651-674) printed Coll. III. in addition. Coll. I, as such, has never been edited; but there exists both an indirect transmission (Coll. I + II, Coll. III, Liber Sextus) and a direct, single-family transmission through eight manuscript codices: Arras, Bibl. Municipale 541; Bratislava, formerly Cathedral Library, 13; Innsbruck, Universitaetsbibl., 70, fos. 335v-338v (= I); Kassel, Landesbibl., Iur. fol. 32; Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibl., Lat. 8201e, fos. 219v-220r, and Lat. 9654; Trier, Stadtbibl., 864; Vienna, Nationalbibl., 2073, fos. 238v-242v (= W).
Our edition of the constitutions tries to give all the documents truly belonging to the council. Coll. I has been taken as the base, and variants from M and R are set out in the critical apparatus. The text of Coll. I has been established from codices I and W, which we have seen in microfilm. With regard to M, the edition of H.R. Luard has been used. With regard to R, we have examined directly the register of Innocent IV. We think, moreover, that the last five constitutions in R (13-17, 17 is also in M and Annales de Burton) should also be included among the constitutions of the council, even though they were not included in Coil. I. We have printed the text of these five constitutions from the register of Innocent IV;as regards const. 17 we have also compared M and Annales de Burton ( = Bu).
We think that the bull of deposition of the emperor Frederick II must be considered a statute of the council, and we place this in front of the constitutions. The transmission of the text of the bull is involved, and the editions are very faulty. There are three copies of the bull: Vatican Archives, AA. Arm. I-XVIII, 171 (= V); Paris, Archives Nationales, L 245 no. 84 (= P); Lyons, Archives du Rhone, Fonds du chap. primat., Arm. Cham. vol. XXVII no. 2 (= L). Of these only V has been published. Other transcriptions of the bull are given in the register of Innocent IV, in some chronicles (Matthew of Paris, Annals of Plasencia, Annals of Melrose), in collections of decretals, and in some more recent publications (Bzovius). Our edition takes as its base V, P and L.
{The headings are added by the hypertext editor. Endnotes are given in parenthesis {}. They should be noted for variant readings and numberings.}
Bull Deposing The Emperor Frederick II
Innocent {1}, bishop, servant of the servants of God, in the presence of the holy council, for an everlasting record.
Raised, though unworthy, to the highest point of the apostolic dignity, by the will of the divine majesty, we ought to exercise a watchful, diligent and wise care of all Christians, to examine with close attention the merits of individuals and to weigh them in the balance of prudent deliberation, so that we may raise by suitable favours those whom a rigorous and just examination shows to be worthy, and depress the guilty with due penalties, weighing always the merit and the reward in a fair scale, repaying to each the amount of penalty or favour according to the nature of his work. Indeed since the terrible conflict of war has afflicted some countries of the christian world for a long time, as we desired with our whole heart the peace and tranquillity of the holy church of God and of all the christian people in general, we thought that we should send special ambassadors, men of great authority, to {2} the secular prince who was the special cause of this discord and suffering. He was the man whom our predecessor of happy memory, Pope Gregory {3}, had bound by anathema because of his excesses. The ambassadors we sent, men eager for his salvation, were our venerable brethren Peter of Albano {4}, at that time bishop of Rouen, William of Sabina {5}, at that time bishop of Modena, and our beloved son William {6}, cardinal-priest of the basilica of the Twelve Apostles and at that time abbot of Saint Facundus. Through them we proposed to him, because we and our brethren desired to have peace with him and with all people, as far as lay in our power, that we were ready to grant peace and tranquillity to him and also to the rest of the whole world.
Because the restitution of the prelates, clerics and all others whom he kept in captivity, and of all both clerics and laymen whom he had taken in the galleys7, could especially lead the way to peace, we asked and begged him through our said ambassadors to set these prisoners free. This both he and his envoys had promised before we had been called to the apostolic office. Further we informed him that our ambassadors were ready on our behalf to hear and treat of peace, and even of satisfaction, should the emperor be ready to make it with regard to all those things for which he had incurred excommunication; and besides to offer him that if the church had injured him in anything contrary to justice-though it did not believe it had done so -- it was ready to put it to rights and restore the proper position. If he said that he had harmed the church in nothing unjustly, or that we had harmed him contrary to justice, we were ready to call the kings, prelates and princes, both ecclesiastical and lay, to some safe place where either by themselves or by official representatives they might come together, and that the church was ready on the advice of the council to satisfy him if in anything it had harmed him, and to recall the sentence of excommunication if it had been brought unjustly against him, and with all clemency and mercy, in so far as it could be done without offence to God and its own honour, to receive satisfaction from him for the injuries and wrongs done to the church itself and its members through him.
The church also wished to secure peace for his friends and supporters and the enjoyment of full security, so that for this reason they should never incur any danger. But though in our relations with him, for the sake of peace, we have always taken care to rely on paternal admonitions and gentle entreaty, yet he, following the hardness of Pharaoh and blocking his ears like an asp, with proud obstinacy and obstinate pride has despised such prayers and admonitions. Furthermore on the Maundy Thursday previous to that which has just passed, in our presence and that of our brother cardinals, and in the presence of our dear son in Christ, the illustrious emperor of Constantinople {8}, and of a considerable gathering of prelates, before the senate and people of Rome and a very large number of others, who on that day because of its solemnity had come to the apostolic see from different parts of the world, he guaranteed on oath, through the noble count Raymond of Toulouse, and Masters Peter de Vinea and Thaddaeus of Suessa, judges of his court, his envoys and proctors who had in this matter a general commission, that he would keep our commands and those of the church. However afterwards he did not fulfil what he had sworn. Indeed it is likely enough that he took the oath, as can be clearly gathered from his following actions, with the express intention of mocking rather than obeying us and the church, since after more than a year he could not be reconciled to the bosom of the church, nor did he trouble to make satisfaction for the losses and injuries he had caused it, even though he was asked to do this. For this reason, as we are unable without giving offence to Christ to bear any longer his wickedness, we are compelled, urged on by our conscience, justly to punish him.
To say nothing about his other crimes, he has committed four of the greatest gravity, which cannot be hidden by evasion. For, he has often failed to keep his oath; he deliberately broke the peace previously established between the church and the empire; he committed a sacrilege by causing the arrest of cardinals of the holy Roman church and of prelates and clerics of other churches, both religious and secular, who were coming to the council which our predecessor had decided to summon; he is also suspect of heresy, by proofs which are not light or doubtful but clear and inescapable.
It is clear that he has often been guilty of perjury. For, once when he was staying in Sicily, before he had been elected to the dignity of emperor, in the presence of Gregory of happy memory, cardinal deacon of Saint Theodore {9} and legate of the apostolic see, he took an oath of loyalty to our predecessor Pope Innocent10 of happy memory and his successors and the Roman church, in return for the grant of the kingdom of Sicily made to him by this same church. Likewise, as is said, after he had been elected to that same dignity and had come to Rome, in the presence of Innocent and his brother cardinals and before many others, he renewed that oath, making his pledge of hommage in the pope's hands. Then, when he was in Germany he swore to the same Innocent, and on his death to our predecessor Pope Honorius {11} of happy memory and his successors and the Roman church itself, in the presence of the princes and nobles of the empire, to preserve as far as was in his power, the honours, rights and possessions of the Roman church, and loyally to protect them, and without difficulty to see to the restoration of whatever came into his hands, expressly naming the said possessions in the oath: afterwards he confirmed this when he had gained the imperial crown. But he has deliberately broken these three oaths, not without the brand of treachery and the charge of treason. For against our predecessor Gregory and his brother cardinals, he has dared to send threatening letters to these cardinals, and in many ways to slander Gregory before his brother cardinals, as is clear from the letters which he then sent to them, and almost throughout the whole world, as it is said, he has presumed to defame him.
He also personally caused the arrest of our venerable brother Otto {12}, bishop of Porto, at that time cardinal deacon of Saint Nicholas in Carcere Tulliano, and James of happy memory, bishop of Palestrina {13}, legates of the apostolic see, noble and important members of the Roman church. He had them stripped of all their goods, and after more than once being led shamefully through different places, committed to prison. Furthermore this privilege which our lord Jesus Christ handed to Peter and in him to his successors, namely, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, in which assuredly consists the authority and power of the Roman church, he did his best to diminish or take away from the church itself, writing that he did not fear Pope Gregory's condemnations. For, not only by despising the keys of the church he did not observe the sentence of excommunication pronounced against him, but also by himself and his officials he prevented others from observing that and other sentences of excommunication and interdict, which he altogether set at nought. Also without fear he seized territories of the said Roman church, namely the Marches, the Duchy, Benevento, the walls and towers of which he has caused to be demolished, and others with few exceptions in parts of Tuscany and Lombardy and certain other places which he holds, and he still keeps hold of them. And as if it were not enough that he was clearly going against the aforesaid oaths by such presumption, either by himself or through his officials he has forced the inhabitants of these territories to break their oath, absolving them in fact, since he cannot do it in law, from the oaths of loyalty by which they were bound to the Roman church, and making them nonetheless forswear the said loyalty and take an oath of loyalty to himself.
It is absolutely clear that he is the violator of the peace. For, previously at a time when peace had been restored between himself and the church, he took an oath before the venerable John of Abbeville {14}, bishop of Sabina, and Master Thomas {15}, cardinal priest of the title of Saint Sabina, in the presence of many prelates, princes and barons, that he would observe and obey exactly and without reserve all the commands of the church with regard to those things for which he had incurred excommunication, after the reasons of that excommunication had been set out in order before him. Then, when remitting every sanction and penalty to the Teutonic knights, the inhabitants of the kingdom of Sicily and any others who had supported the church against him, he guaranteed on his soul through Thomas, count of Acerra, that he would never wrong them or cause them to be wronged on the ground that they had supported the church. But he did not keep the peace and violated these oaths without any sense of shame that he was guilty of perjury. For afterwards he caused some of these very men, both nobles and others, to be captured; and after stripping them of all their goods, he had their wives and children imprisoned; and contrary to the promise he had made to bishop John of Sabina and cardinal Thomas, he invaded the lands of the church without hesitation, even though they promulgated in his presence that henceforth he would incur sentence of excommunication if he broke his promise. And when these two ecclesiastics, by their apostolic authority, ordered that neither by himself nor through others should he hinder postulations, elections or confirmations of churches and monasteries in the kingdom of Sicily from being held freely in future according to the statutes of the general council; that henceforth nobody in the same kingdom should impose taxes or collections on ecclesiastical persons or their property; that in the same kingdom no cleric or ecclesiastical person should in future be brought before a lay judge in a civil or criminal case, except for a suit in civil law over feudal rights; and that he should make adequate compensation to the Templars, Hospitallers and other ecclesiastical persons for the loss and injury inflicted upon them; he nevertheless refused to obey these commands.
It is clear that in the kingdom of Sicily eleven or more archiepiscopal and many episcopal sees, abbacies and other churches are at present vacant, and through his agency, as is patent, these have long been deprived of prelates, to their own grave loss and the ruin of souls. And though perhaps in some churches of the kingdom elections have been held by chapters, since however they have elected clerics who are Frederick's dependants, it can be concluded in all probability that they did not have a free power of choice. Not only has he caused the possessions and goods of churches in the kingdom to be seized at his pleasure, but also the crosses, thuribles, chalices and other sacred treasures of theirs, and silk cloth, to be carried off, like one who sets at nought divine worship, and although it is said that they have been restored in part to the churches, yet a price was first exacted for them. Indeed clerics are made to suffer in many ways by collections and taxes, and not only are they dragged before a lay court but also, as it is asserted, they are compelled to submit to duels and are imprisoned, killed and tortured to the disturbance and insult of the clerical order. Satisfaction has not been made to the said Templars, Hospitallers and ecclesiastical persons for the loss and injury done to them.
It is also certain that he is guilty of sacrilege. For when the aforesaid bishops of Porto and Palestrina, and many prelates of churches and clerics, both religious and secular, summoned to the apostolic see to hold the council which Frederick himself had previously asked for, were coming by sea, since the roads had been entirely blocked at his command, he stationed his son Enzo with a large number of galleys and, by means of many others duly placed long beforehand, he laid an ambush against them in the parts of Tuscany on the coast; and so that he might vomit forth in more deadly fashion the poison which had long gathered within him, by an act of sacrilegious daring he caused them to be captured; during their seizure some of the prelates and others were drowned, a number were killed, some were put to flight and pursued, and the rest were stripped of all their possessions, ignominiously led from place to place to the kingdom of Sicily, and there harshly imprisoned. Some of them, overcome by the filth and beset by hunger, perished miserably.
Furthermore, he has deservedly become suspect of heresy. For, after he had incurred the sentence of excommunication pronounced against him by the aforesaid John, bishop of Sabina, and cardinal Thomas, after the said pope Gregory had laid him under anathema, and after the capture of cardinals of the Roman church, prelates, clerics and others coming at different times to the apostolic see; he has despised and continues to despise the keys of the church, causing the sacred rites to be celebrated or rather, as far as in him lies, to be profaned, and he has consistently asserted, as said above, that he does not fear the condemnations of the aforesaid pope Gregory. Besides, he is joined in odious friendship with the Saracens; several times he has sent envoys and gifts to them, and receives the like from them in return with expressions of honour and welcome; he embraces their rites; he openly keeps them with him in his daily services; and, following their customs, he does not blush to appoint as guards, for his wives descended from royal stock, eunuchs whom it is seriously said he has had castrated. And what is more loathsome, when he was in the territory overseas, after he had made an agreement, or rather had come to a wicked understanding with the sultan, he allowed the name of Mahomet to be publicly proclaimed day and night in the Lord's temple. Recently, after the sultan of Babylon and his followers had brought serious loss and untold injury to the holy Land and its christian inhabitants, he caused the envoys of the sultan to be honourably received and lavishly entertained throughout the kingdom of Sicily with, it is said, every mark of honour being paid to the sultan. Using the deadly and hateful service of other unbelievers against the faithful, and securing a bond by friendship and marriage with those who, wickedly making light of the apostolic see, have separated from the unity of the church, he brought about by assassins the death of the famous duke Ludwig of Bavaria {16}, who was specially devoted to the Roman church, with disregard of the christian religion, and he gave his daughter in marriage to Vatatzes {17}, that enemy of God and the church who, together with his counsellors and supporters, was solemnly separated by excommunication from the communion of the faithful.
Rejecting the customs and actions of christian princes and heedless of salvation and reputation, he gives no attention to works of piety. Indeed to say nothing of his wicked acts of destruction, though he has learnt to oppress, he does not care mercifully to relieve the oppressed, and instead of holding out his hand in charity, as befits a prince, he sets about the destruction of churches and crushes religious and other ecclesiastical persons by constant affliction. Nor is he seen to have built churches, monasteries, hospitals or other pious places. Surely these are not light but convincing proofs for suspecting him of heresy? The civil law declares that those are to be regarded as heretics, and ought to be subject to the sentences issued against them, who even on slight evidence are found to have strayed from the judgment and path of the catholic religion. Besides this the kingdom of Sicily, which is the special patrimony of blessed Peter and which Frederick held as a fief from the apostolic see, he has reduced to such a state of utter desolation and servitude, with regard to both clergy and laity, that these have practically nothing at all; and as nearly all upright people have been driven out, he has forced those who remain to live in an almost servile condition and to wrong in many ways and attack the Roman church, of which in the first place they are subjects and vassals. He could also be rightly blamed because for more than nine years he has failed to pay the annual pension of a thousand gold pieces, which he is bound to pay to the Roman church for this kingdom.
We therefore, after careful discussion with our brother cardinals and the sacred council on his wicked transgressions already mentioned and many more besides, since though unworthy we hold on earth the place of Jesus Christ, and to us in the person of the blessed apostle Peter has been said, whatever you bind on earth etc., denounce the said prince, who has made himself so unworthy of the empire and kingdoms and every honour and dignity and who also, because of his crimes, has been cast out by God from kingdom and empire; we mark him out as bound by his sins, an outcast and deprived by our Lord of every honour and dignity; and we deprive him of them by our sentence. We absolve from their oath for ever all those who are bound to him by an oath of loyalty, firmly forbidding by our apostolic authority anyone in the future to obey or heed him as emperor or king, and decreeing that anyone who henceforth offers advice, help or favour to him as to an emperor or king, automatically incurs excommunication. Let those whose task it is to choose an emperor in the same empire, freely choose a successor to him. With regard to the aforesaid kingdom of Sicily, we shall take care to provide, with the counsel of our brother cardinals, as we see to be expedient.
Given at Lyons on 17 July in the third year of our pontificate.
1.On rescripts
Since in many articles of law failure to define their scope is blameworthy, after prudent consideration we decree that by the general clause "certain others" which frequently occurs in papal letters, no more than three or four persons are to be brought to court. The petitioner should state the names in his first citation, lest by chance a place is left for fraud if the names can be freely altered {18}.
2. {19} Those to whom cases should be entrusted
By {20} the present decree we ordain that the apostolic see or its legates should not entrust cases to any persons except those who possess a dignity or belong to cathedrals or other collegiate churches of high standing; and such cases are to be conducted only in cities or large and well-known places where are to be found many men learned in the law. Judges who, contrary to this statute, cite either one or both parties to other places may be disobeyed without penalty, unless the citation takes place with the consent of both parties.
3. {21} Curtailing legal expenses
As we wish, to the best of our power, to curtail the expenses of lawsuits by shortening the legal process, extending the decree of Innocent III of happy memory on this matter, we decree that if anyone wishes to bring several personal claims against another, he must be careful to gain letters on all these claims to the same judges and not to different ones. If anyone acts contrary to this, his letters and the processes initiated by them are to lack all validity; besides if he has caused inconvenience to the defendant by them, he is to be condemned to pay the legal expenses. Also if the defendant during the course of the same trial declares that he has a charge against the plaintiff, he ought, through benefit either of reconvention or of convention, if he prefers to obtain letters against him, to have his case tried before the same judges, unless he can reject them as being suspect. If he acts contrary to this, he should suffer the same penalty.
4. {22} On challenging elections etc.
We decree that if anyone attacks an election, postulation or provision already made, bringing some objection to the form or the person, and should happen to appeal to us in this matter, both the objector and the defendant, and in general all those who are concerned and whom the case affects, either by themselves or by their procurators instructed for the case, should make their way to the apostolic see within a month of the lodging of the objection. But if one party {23} does not come after twenty days, and the other party has arrived and is waiting, the case about the election may proceed according to law, notwithstanding the absence of anyone. We wish and command that this is to be observed in dignities parsonages and canonries. We {24} also add that anyone who does not fully prove the objection he has brought regarding the form, shall be condemned to pay the expenses which the other party claims to have incurred on this account. But anyone who fails to prove his objection against the person, should know that he is suspended from ecclesiastical benefices for three years, and if within that time he continues to act with similar reckless conduct, that by the law itself he is deprived of these benefices for ever, and he is to have no hope or confidence of mercy in this matter, unless it is established by the clearest proof that a probable and sufficient cause excuses him from a malicious accusation.
5. {25} Only unconditional votes valid
In {26} elections, postulations and ballots, from which the right of election arises, we completely disapprove of conditional, alternative and indefinite votes, and we decree that the said votes are to be held invalid, and that the election is to be determined by unconditional votes; for the power of decision of those who do not express a clear opinion is transferred to the others {27}.
6. {28} Jurisdiction of conservators
We decree that conservators, whom we frequently appoint, may defend from manifest injury and violence those whom we entrust to their protection, but that their power does not extend to other matters which require a judicial investigation.
7. {29} Legates and benefices
We are required by our office to watch for remedies for our subjects, because while we relieve their burdens and remove their stumbling blocks, so we rest in their ease and enjoy their peace. Therefore we enact by the present decree that legates of the Roman church, however much they hold the full power of legates whether they have been sent by us or claim the dignity of that office on behalf of their own churches, have no power from the office of legate of conferring benefices, unless we have judged that this is specially to be granted to a particular one. We do not, however, wish this restriction to hold with our brother cardinals while acting as legates, because just as they rejoice in a prerogative of honour, so we wish them to exercise a wider authority.
8. {30} Judge delegates
The law seems to be clear that a judge delegate, unless he has received a special concession for the purpose from the apostolic see, cannot order either of the parties to appear in person before him, unless it be a criminal case or, in order to obtain a statement of the truth or an oath regarding calumny, the necessity of the law demands that the parties appear before him.
9. {31} On peremptory exceptions
The objection of a peremptory exception or of any major defence concerning the trial of a case, raised before the contestation of the suit, shall not prevent or hold up the contestation, unless the objector makes an exception concerning a matter already judged or concluded or brought to a solution, even though the objector says that the rescript would not have been granted if the grantor had been aware of the things which are adverse to the plaintiff.
10. {32} The objection of robbery
We are well aware of the frequent and persistent complaint that the exception of robbery, sometimes maliciously introduced in trials, hinders and confuses ecclesiastical cases. For while the exception is admitted, sometimes appeals are introduced. Thus the hearing of the chief case is interrupted and often comes to nothing. Thus we who are ever ready to take labours upon ourselves so that we may win peace for others, wishing to limit lawsuits and to remove material for malicious accusations, decree that in civil suits a judge is not to hold up the proceedings of the major issue on account of an objection of robbery brought by anyone except the plaintiff. But if the defendant declares in civil suits that he has been robbed by the plaintiff, or in criminal cases by anyone at all, then he must prove his assertion within fifteen days after the day on which the claim is put forward; otherwise he is to be condemned to pay the expenses which the plaintiff has incurred on this account, after a judicial estimate has been made, or let him be punished otherwise if the judge thinks right. By the word "robbed" we wish to be understood in this case a criminal accusation whereby someone declares that he has been stripped by violence of all his substance or a greater part of it. This we think is the only honest interpretation of the canons, for we ought not to meet our opponents either naked or without arms. For the one stripped has the advantage that he cannot be stripped again. Among the schoolmen the matter is debated, whether one who has been robbed by a third party can bring an exception against his accuser, or whether a time should be granted him by the judge within which he should ask for restitution, lest perchance he should wish to continue in this state in order to evade every accuser, and this we think is fully according to justice. If he does not seek restitution within the time granted, or does not bring his case to a conclusion even though he could do so, then he can be accused regardless of the exception of robbery. In addition to this we decree that robbery of private goods cannot in any way be brought up against one for ecclesiastics or vice versa.
11. {33} No-show plaintiffs
A plaintiff who does not take the trouble to come on the date for which he has caused his appeal to be cited, should be condemned on his arrival to pay the expenses incurred by the defendant on account of this, and he is not to be admitted to another citation unless he gives a sufficient surety that he will appear on the date.
12. {34} On early possession for the sake of preservation
We decree that a person who, in order to obtain a dignity, parsonage or ecclesiastical benefice, brings a suit against the possessor, may not be admitted to possession of it for the sake of its preservation, on the grounds of the other's contumacy; this is to prevent his entering upon it from appearing irregular. But in this case the divine presence may make up for the absence of the contumacious one, so that though the suit is not opposed, the matter may be brought to the proper conclusion after a careful examination.
13. {35} On the acceptability of negative assertions
We decree that negative assertions, which can only be proved by the admission of the opponent, may be accepted by the judges if they see this to be expedient in the interests of equity.
14. {36} The exception of major excommunication
After due consideration our holy mother the church decrees that the exception of a major excommunication should hold up the suit and delay the agents, in whatever part of the proceedings it is produced. Thus ecclesiastical censure will be the more feared, the danger of communion avoided, the vice of contumacy checked, and those excommunicated, while they are excluded from the acts of the community, may the more easily be brought, through a sense of shame, to the grace of humility and reconciliation. But with the growth of human evil what was provided as a remedy has turned to harm. For while in ecclesiastical cases this exception is frequently brought up through malice, it happens that business is delayed and the parties worn out by toil and expense. Therefore, since this has crept in like a general plague, we think it right to apply a general remedy. Thus if anyone brings up the objection of excommunication, he should set out the kind of excommunication and the name of the person who imposed the penalty. He must know that he is bringing the matter into public notice, and he must prove it with the clearest evidence within eight days, not counting the day on which he brings it forward. If he does not prove it, the judge should not fail to proceed in the case, condemning the accused to repay the sum which the plaintiff shows he has incurred, after an estimate has been made. If however later, while the hearing continues and the proof is progressing, an exception is made either with regard to the same excommunication or another and is proved, the plaintiff is to be excluded from the proceedings until he has deserved to gain the grace of absolution, and all that has gone before shall nevertheless be regarded as valid; provided that this exception is not put forward more than twice, unless a new excommunication has arisen or a clear and ready proof has come to light concerning the old. If such an exception is brought forward after the case has been decided though it will prevent the execution it will not weaken the verdict, with the qualification that, if the plaintiff has been publicly excommunicated, and the judge knows this at any time, then even if the accused shall not make an exception on this score, the judge should not delay in removing the plaintiff from his office.
15. {37} On Judges Who Give Dishonest Judgment
Since before the judgment seat of the eternal king a person will not be held guilty when a judge unjustly condemns him, according to the words of the prophet, the Lord will not condemn him when he is judged, ecclesiastical judges must take care and be on the watch that in the process of justice dislike has no power, favour does not take an undue place, fear is banished, and reward or hope of reward does not overturn justice. Let them bear the scales in their hands and weigh with an equal balance, so that in all that is done in the court, especially in forming and giving the verdict, they may have God only before their eyes following the example of him who when entering the tabernacle referred the complaints of the people to the Lord to judge according to his command. If any ecclesiastical judge, whether ordinary or delegated, careless of his reputation and seeking his own honour, acts against his conscience and justice in any way to the injury of one party in his judgment, whether from favour or from base motives, let him know that he is suspended from the exercise of his office for a year and he is to be condemned to pay to the injured party the damages incurred; further, let him know that if during the period of his suspension he sacrilegiously takes part in the sacred rites of the church, he is caught in the noose of irregularity according to the canonical sanctions, from which he can be freed only by the apostolic see, saving the other constitutions which assign and inflict punishment on judges who give dishonest judgment. For it is right that he who dares to offend in so many ways should suffer a multiple penalty.
16. {38} On appeals
It is our earnest wish to lessen lawsuits and to relieve subjects of their troubles. Therefore we decree that if anyone thinks that he should appeal to us in a court of law or outside it because of an interlocutory decree or a grievance, let him at once put in writing the reason for his appeal, seeking a writ which we order to be granted him. In this writ the judge is to declare the reason for the appeal, and why the appeal has not been granted or whether it was granted out of respect for a superior. After this let time be granted to the appellant, according to distance and the nature of the persons and the business, to follow up his appeal. If the appellee wishes it and the principals petition for it, let them approach the apostolic see, either by themselves or through agents who have been instructed and given a commission to act, bringing with them the reasons and documents relating to the case. Let them come so prepared that if it seems good to us, when the matter of the appeal has been dealt with or committed to the parties for agreement, the principal case may proceed, insofar as it can and should by law; without however any change in what tradition has ordained about appeals from definitive sentences. If the appellant does not observe the above provisions, he is not to be reckoned an appellant and he must return to the examination of the former judge, and is to be condemned to pay the legitimate expenses. If the appellee disregards this statute, he shall be proceeded against as contumacious, as regards both the costs and the case, in so far as this is allowed by the law. Indeed it is right that the laws should raise their hands against someone who mocks the law, judge and litigant.
17. {39} On the same
When reasonable grounds for suspicion have been noted against a judge, and arbitrators have been chosen by the parties according to the form of law to investigate it, it often happens that when the two arbitrators fail to agree and do not summon a third one, with whom both or one of them can proceed to settle the matter as they are obliged, the judge brings a sentence of excommunication against them, which they through dislike or favour for long disregard. Thus the case itself, interrupted more than it should be, does not proceed to a settlement of the principal business. As it is our wish therefore to apply a necessary remedy for a disease of this nature, we decree that a fitting time-limit should be fixed by the judge for the two arbitrators, so that within it they may either agree or by consent summon a third one, with whom both or one of them may put an end to the suspicion. Otherwise the judge thenceforth shall proceed in the principal business.
18. {40} On employing assassins
The son of God, Jesus Christ, for the redemption of the human race descended from the height of heaven to the lowest part of the world and underwent a temporal death. But when after his resurrection he was about to ascend to his Father, that he might not leave the flock redeemed by his glorious blood without a shepherd, he entrusted its care to the blessed apostle Peter, so that by the firmness of his own faith he might strengthen others in the christian religion and kindle their minds with the ardour of devotion to the works of their salvation. Hence we who by the will of our Lord, though without merit of our own, have been made successors of this apostle and hold on earth, though unworthy, the place of our Redeemer, should always be careful and vigilant in the guarding of that flock and be forced to direct our thoughts continuously to the salvation of souls by removing what is harmful and doing what is profitable. Thus casting off the sleep of negligence and with the eyes of our heart ever vigilant, we may be able to win souls to God with the cooperation of his grace. Since therefore there are people who with a terrible inhumanity and loathsome cruelty thirst for the death of others and cause them to be killed by assassins, and thus bring about not only the death of the body but also of the soul, unless the abundant divine grace prevents it, we wish to meet such danger to souls, so that the victims may be defended beforehand by spiritual arms and all power may be bestowed by God for justice and the exercise of right judgment, and to strike those wicked and reckless people with the sword of ecclesiastical punishment, so that the fear of punishment may set a limit to their audacity. We do so especially since some persons of high standing, fearing to be killed in such a way, are forced to beg for their own safety from the master of these assassins, and thus so to speak to redeem their life in a way that is an insult to christian dignity. Therefore, with the approval of the sacred council, we decree that if any prince, prelate or any ecclesiastical or secular person shall cause the death of any Christian by such assassins, or even command it -- even though death does not follow from this-or receives, defends or hides such persons, he automatically incurs the sentence of excommunication and of deposition from dignity, honour, order, office and benefice, and these are to be conferred on others by those who have the right to do so. Let such a one with all his worldly goods be cast out for ever by all christian people as an enemy of religion, and after it has been established by reasonable evidence that so loathsome a crime has been committed, no other sentence of excommunication, deposition or rejection shall in any way be needed.
19. {41} On excommunication 1
Since the aim of excommunication is healing and not death, correction and not destruction, as long as the one against whom it is pronounced does not treat it with contempt, let an ecclesiastical judge proceed with caution, so that in pronouncing It he may be seen as one who acts with a correcting and healing hand. Whoever pronounces an excommunication, therefore, should do this in writing and should write down expressly the reason why the excommunication was pronounced. He is bound to hand over a copy of this written document to the one excommunicated within a month after the date of sentence, if requested to do so. As to this request, we wish a public document to be drawn up or testimonial letters to be furnished, sealed with an official seal. If any judge rashly violates this constitution, let him know that he is suspended for one month from entering a church or attending divine services. The superior to whom the one excommunicated has recourse, should readily remove the excommunication and condemn the judge who pronounced it to repay the expenses and all losses, or punish him in other ways with a fitting penalty, so that judges may learn by the lesson of punishment how serious it is to hurl the bolt of excommunication without due consideration. We wish the same to be observed in sentences of suspension and interdict. Let prelates of churches and all judges take care that they do not incur the foresaid penalty of suspension. But if it happens that they take part m divine offices as before, they will not escape irregularity according to the canonical sanctions, in a matter where dispensation cannot be granted except by the sovereign pontiff.
20. {42} On excommunication 2
The question is sometimes asked whether, when a person who asks to be absolved by a superior by way of precaution, asserting that the sentence of excommunication pronounced against him is void, the act of absolution should be performed for him without objection; and whether one who declares before such absolution that he will prove in a court of law that he was excommunicated after a legitimate appeal, or that an intolerable mistake was clearly expressed in the sentence, should be avoided in all things except in what concerns the proof. To the first question we decree that the following is to be observed: absolution is not to be refused to the petitioner, even though the pronouncer of the sentence or the adversary opposes it, unless he says that the petitioner was excommunicated for a manifest offence, in which case a limit of eight days is to be granted to the one saying this. If he proves his objection, the sentence is not to be set aside unless there is sufficient guarantee of amendment or an adequate assurance that the petitioner will appear in court if the offence with which he is charged is still doubtful. To the second question, we decree that he who is allowed to submit a proof, as long as the matter of proof is in dispute, is to be avoided in all matters in the court in which he is engaged as an agent, but outside the court he may take part in offices, postulations, elections and other lawful acts.
21. {43} On excommunication 3
We decree {44} that no judge should presume to pronounce, before a canonical warning, a sentence of major excommunication upon persons who associate, in speech or other ways by which an associate incurs a minor excommunication, with persons already excommunicated by the judge; saving those decrees which have legitimately been promulgated against those who presume to associate with one condemned for grievous crime. But it the excommunicated person becomes hardened in speech or other ways by which an associate incurs a minor excommunication, the judge can, after canonical warning, condemn such associates with a similar censure. Otherwise excommunication pronounced against these associates is not to have any binding power, and those who pronounce it may fear the penalty of the law.
22. {45} On excommunication 4
Since there is danger that bishops and their superiors in the execution of their pontifical office, which is often their duty, may incur in some case an automatic sentence of interdict or suspension, we have thought it right, after careful consideration, to decree that bishops and other higher prelates in no way incur, because of any decree, sentence or order, the aforesaid sentence by reason of the law itself, unless there is express mention in them of bishops and superiors. In the constitution Solet a nonnullis, previously promulgated by us, it is laid down that when someone offers in court to prove that a sentence of excommunication was passed against him after a legitimate appeal, he is not to be avoided during the period of proof in matters which lie outside the court, such as elections, postulations and offices. To this we add that this constitution should not be extended to the sentences of bishops and archbishops, but what was previously observed in such actions should be observed in the future for these too.
1. {46} Management of church debts
Our pastoral care incites and urges us to look to the interest of those churches which have fallen into debt, and to provide by a salutary constitution that this should not happen for the future. The abyss of usury has almost destroyed many churches, and some prelates are found to be very careless and remiss in the payment of debts, especially those contracted by their predecessors, too ready to contract heavier debts and mortgage the property of the church, slothful in guarding what has been acquired, and preferring to win praise for themselves by making some small innovation than to guard their possessions, recover what has been thrown away, restore what is lost and repair damage. For this reason, so that they may not be able for the future to excuse themselves for an inefficient administration and to throw the blame on their predecessors and others, we lay down the following rules, with the approval of the present council. Bishops, abbots, deans and others who exercise a lawful and common administration, within one month after they have assumed office, having first informed their immediate superior, so that he may be present either in person or through some suitable and faithful ecclesiastical person, in the presence of the chapter or convent especially summoned for this purpose, must see that an inventory is made of the goods that belong to the administration they have taken up. In this the movable and immovable goods, books, charters, legal instruments, privileges, ornaments or fittings of the church, and all things which belong to the equipment of the estate, whether urban or rural, as well as debts and credits, are to be carefully written down. Thus, what was the condition of the church or the administration when they took it up, how they governed it during their incumbency, and what was its state when they laid it down by death or withdrawal, may be clearly known to the superior, if necessary, and those who are appointed for the service of the church. Archbishops who have no superior except the Roman pontiff, are to see to it that for this purpose they summon one of their suffragans, either in person or through another, as is expressed above, and abbots and other lesser exempt prelates, a neighbouring bishop, who is to claim no right for himself in the exempt church. The said inventory is to be furnished with the seals of the new incumbent and his chapter, and of the archbishop's suffragan or the neighbouring bishop called for the purpose. It is to be preserved in the archives of the church with due safeguards. Moreover a transcript of this inventory is to be given to both the new incumbent and the prelate summoned for the above purpose, and is to be similarly sealed. Existing goods are to be carefully guarded, their administration carried out in a worthy manner, and the debts which have been found are to be speedily paid, if possible, from the movable possessions of the church. If these movable goods are not sufficient for a speedy payment, all revenues are to be directed to the payment of debts that are usurious or burdensome; only necessary expenses are to be deducted from these revenues, after a reasonable estimate has been made by the prelate and his chapter. But if the debts are not burdensome or usurious, a third part of these revenues is to be set aside for this obligation, or a greater part with the agreement of those whom we have said must be summoned to take the inventory.
Further we strictly forbid, with the authority of the same council, those mentioned above to mortgage to others their persons or the churches entrusted to them, or to contract debts on behalf of themselves or the churches which may be a source of trouble. If evident necessity and the reasonable advantage of their churches should persuade them, then prelates with the advice and consent of their superiors, and archbishops and exempt abbots with the advice and consent of those already mentioned and of their chapter, may contract debts which, if possible, are not usurious and which are never in fairs or public markets. The names of the debtors and creditors and the reason why the debt was contracted are to be included in the written contract, even if it is turned to the advantage of the church, and for this purpose we wish that in no way ecclesiastical persons or churches should be given as security. Indeed the privileges of churches, which we command should be faithfully guarded in a safe place, are never to be given as securities, nor are other things, except for necessary and useful debts contracted with the full legal forms mentioned above.
That this salutary constitution should be kept unbroken, and the advantage which we hope from it may be clearly seen, we consider that we must lay down by an inviolable decree that all abbots and priors as well as deans and those in charge of cathedrals or other churches, at least once a year in their chapters, should render a strict account of their administration, and a written and sealed account should be faithfully read out in the presence of the visiting superior. Likewise archbishops and bishops are to take care each year to make known to their chapters with due fidelity the state of administration of the goods belonging to their households, and bishops to their metropolitans, and metropolitans to the legates of the apostolic see, or to others to whom the visitation of their churches has been assigned by the same see. Written accounts are always to be kept in the treasury of the church for a record, so that in the accounts a careful comparison can be made between future years and the present and past; and the superior may learn from this the care or negligence of the administration. Let the superior requite any negligence, keeping God only before his eyes and putting aside love, hate and fear of humans, with such a degree and kind of correction that he may not on this account receive from God or his superior or the apostolic see condign punishment. We order that this constitution is to be observed not only by future prelates but also by those already promoted.
2. {47} On help for the empire of Constantinople
Though we are engaged in difficult matters and distracted by manifold anxieties, yet among those things which demand our constant attention is the liberation of the empire of Constantinople. This we desire with our whole heart, this is ever the object of our thoughts. Yet though the apostolic see has eagerly sought a remedy on its behalf by earnest endeavour and many forms of assistance, though for long Catholics have striven by grievous toils, by burdensome expense, by care, sweat, tears and bloodshed, yet the hand that extended such aid could not wholly, hindered by sin, snatch the empire from the yoke of the enemy. Thus not without cause we are troubled with grief. But because the body of the church would be shamefully deformed by the lack of a loved member, namely the aforesaid empire, and be sadly weakened and suffer loss; and because it could rightly be assigned to our sloth and that of the church, if it were deprived of the support of the faithful, and left to be freely oppressed by its enemies; we firmly propose to come to the help of the empire with swift and effective aid. Thus at the same time as the church eagerly rises to its assistance and stretches out the hand of defence, the empire can be saved from the dominion of its foes, and be brought back by the Lord's guidance to the unity of that same body, and may feel after the crushing hammer of its enemies the consoling hand of the church its mother, and after the blindness of error regain its sight by the possession of the catholic faith. It is the more fitting that prelates of churches and other ecclesiastics should be watchful and diligent for its liberation, and bestow their help and assistance, the more they are bound to work for the increase of the faith and of ecclesiastical liberty, which could chiefly come about from the liberation of the empire; and especially because while the empire is helped, assistance is consequently rendered to the holy Land.
Indeed, so that the help to the empire may be speedy and useful, we decree, with the general approval of the council, that half of all incomes of dignities parsonages and ecclesiastical prebends, and of other benefices of ecclesiastics who do not personally reside in them for at least six months, whether they hold one or more, shall be assigned in full for three years to the help of the said empire, having been collected by those designated by the apostolic see. Those are exempt who are employed in our service or in that of our brother cardinals and of their prelates, those who are on pilgrimages or in schools, or engaged in the business of their own churches at their direction, and those who have or will take up the badge of the cross for the aid of the holy Land or who will set out in person to the help of the said empire; but if any of these, apart from the crusaders and those setting out, receive from ecclesiastical revenues more than a hundred silver marks, they should pay a third part of the remainder in each of the three years. This is to be observed notwithstanding any customs or statutes of churches to the contrary, or any indulgences granted by the apostolic see to these churches or persons, confirmed by oath or any other means. And if by chance in this matter any shall knowingly be guilty of any deceit, they shall incur the sentence of excommunication.
We ourselves, from the revenues of the church of Rome, after first deducting a tenth from them to be assigned to the aid of the holy Land, will assign a tenth part in full for the support of the said empire. Further, when help is given to the empire, assistance is given in a very particular way and directed to the recovery of the holy Land, while we are striving for the liberation of the empire itself. Thus trusting in the mercy of almighty God and the authority of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, from the power of binding and loosing which he conferred upon us though unworthy, we grant pardon of their sins to all those who come to the help of the said empire, and we desire they may enjoy that privilege and immunity which is granted to those who come to the help of the holy Land.
3. {48} Admonition to be made by prelates to the people in their charge
In the belief that it is for ever our native country, from times long past all the children of the church have not only poured out countless sums of money but have also freely shed their blood to recover the holy Land, which the Son of God has consecrated with the shedding of his own blood. This we learn, sad at heart, from what has happened across the sea where the unbelievers fight against the faithful. Since it is the special prayer of the apostolic see that the desire of all for the redemption of the holy Land may, if God so wills, be speedily accomplished, we have made due provision, in order to win God's favour, to arouse you to this task by our letter. Therefore we earnestly beg all of you, commanding you in our lord Jesus Christ, that by your pious admonitions you should persuade the faithful committed to your care, in your sermons or when you Impose a penance upon them, granting a special indulgence, as you see it to be expedient, that in their wills, in return for the remission of their sins, they should leave something for the help of the holy Land or the eastern empire. You are carefully to provide that what they give for this support by way of money, through reverence of our crucified Lord, is faithfully preserved in definite places under your seal, and that what is bequeathed for this purpose in other forms is accurately recorded in writing. May your own devotion carry out this work of piety, in which the only aim is God's cause and the salvation of the faithful, so readily that with full assurance you may look at least for the reward of glory from the hand of the divine judge.
4. {49} On the Tartars
Since we desire above all things that the christian religion should be spread still further and more widely throughout the world, we are pierced with the deepest sorrow when any people by aim and action go against our wishes, and strive with all their might to blot out utterly this religion from the face of the world. Indeed the wicked race of the Tartars, seeking to subdue, or rather utterly destroy the christian people, having gathered for a long time past the strength of all their tribes, have entered Poland, Russia, Hungary and other christian countries. So savage has been their devastation that their sword spared neither sex nor age, but raged with fearful brutality upon all alike. It caused unparalleled havoc and destruction in these countries in its unbroken advance; for their sword, not knowing how to rest in the sheath, made other kingdoms subject to it by a ceaseless persecution. As time went on, it could attack stronger christian armies and exercise its savagery more fully upon them. Thus when, God forbid, the world is bereaved of the faithful, faith may turn aside from the world to lament its followers destroyed by the barbarity of this people. Therefore, so that the horrible purpose of this people may not prevail but be thwarted, and by the power of God be brought to the opposite result, all the faithful must carefully consider and ensure by their earnest endeavour that the Tartar advance may be hindered and prevented from penetrating any further by the power of their mailed arm. Therefore, on the advice of the holy council, we advise, beg, urge and earnestly command all of you, as far as you can, carefully to observe the route and approaches by which this people can enter our land, and by ditches, walls or other defences and fortifications, as you think fitting, to keep them at bay, so that their approach to you may not easily be open. Word of their arrival should previously be brought to the apostolic see. Thus we may direct the assistance of the faithful to you, and thus you may be safe against the attempts and raids of this people. For to the necessary and useful expenses which you should make for that purpose, we shall contribute handsomely, and we shall see that contributions are made in proportion by all christian countries, for in this way we may meet common dangers. Nevertheless, in addition to this, we shall send similar letters to all Christians through whose territories this people could make its approach.
5 [On the crusade{50}]{51}
Deeply sorrowful at the grievous dangers of the holy Land, but especially at those which have recently happened to the faithful settled there, we seek with all our heart to free it from the hands of the wicked. Thus with the approval of the sacred council, in order that the crusaders may prepare themselves, we lay it down that at an opportune time, to be made known to all the faithful by preachers and our special envoys, all who are ready to cross the sea should gather at suitable places for this purpose, so that they may proceed from there with the blessing of God and the apostolic see to the assistance of the holy Land. Priests and other clerics who will be in the christian army, both those under authority and prelates, shall diligently devote themselves to prayer and exhortation, teaching the crusaders by word and example to have the fear and love of God always before their eyes, so that they say or do nothing that might offend the majesty of the eternal king. If they ever fall into sin, let them quickly rise up again through true penitence. Let them he humble in heart and in body, keeping to moderation both in food and in dress, avoiding altogether dissensions and rivalries, and putting aside entirely any bitterness or envy, so that thus armed with spiritual and material weapons they may the more fearlessly fight against the enemies of the faith, relying not on their own power but rather trusting in the strength of God. Let nobles and the powerful in the army, and all who abound in riches, be led by the holy words of prelates so that, with their eyes fixed on the crucified one for whom they have taken up the badge of the cross, they may refrain from useless and unnecessary expenditure, especially in feasting and banquets, and let they give a share of their wealth to the support of those persons through whom the work of God may prosper; and on this account, according to the dispensation of the prelates themselves, they may be granted remission of their sins. We grant to the aforesaid clerics that they may receive the fruits of their benefices in full for three years, as if they were resident in the churches, and if necessary they may leave them in pledge for the same time.
To prevent this holy proposal being impeded or delayed, we strictly order all prelates of churches, each in his own locality, diligently to warn and induce those who have abandoned the cross to resume it, and them and others who have taken up the cross, and those who may still do so, to carry out their vows to the Lord. And if necessary they shall compel them to do this without any backsliding, by sentences of excommunication against their persons and of interdict on their lands, excepting only those persons who find themselves faced with an impediment of such a kind that their vow deservedly ought to be commuted or deferred in accordance with the directives of the apostolic see. In order that nothing connected with this business of Jesus Christ be omitted, we will and order patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and others who have the care of souls to preach the cross zealously to those entrusted to them. Let them beseech kings, dukes, princes, margraves, counts, barons and other magnates, as well as the communes of cities, vills and towns -- in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, the one, only, true and eternal God -- that those who do not go in person to the aid of the holy Land should contribute, according to their means an appropriate number of fighting men together with their necessary expenses for three years, for the remission of their sins, in accordance with what has already been explained in general letters and will be explained below for still greater assurance. We wish to share in this remission not only those who contribute ships of their own but also those who are zealous enough to build them for this purpose. To those who refuse, if there happen to be any who are so ungrateful to our lord God, we firmly declare in the name of the apostle that they should know that they will have to answer to us for this on the last day of final judgment before the fearful judge. Let them consider beforehand, however, with what knowledge and with what security it was that they were able to confess before the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, to whom the Father gave all things into his hands, if in this business, which is as it were peculiarly his, they refuse to serve him who was crucified for sinners, by whose beneficence they are sustained and indeed by whose blood they have been redeemed.
We therefore decree, with the general approval of the council, that all clerics, both those under authority and prelates, shall give a twentieth of the revenues of their churches for a full three years to the aid of the holy Land, by means of the persons appointed by the apostolic see for this purpose; the only exceptions being certain religious who are rightly to be exempted from this taxation and likewise those persons who have taken or will take the cross and so will go in person. We and our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, shall pay a full tenth. Let all know, moreover, that they are obliged to observe this faithfully under pain of excommunication, so that those who knowingly deceive in this matter shall incur the sentence of excommunication. Because it is right that those who persevere in the service of the heavenly ruler should in all justice enjoy special privilege, the crusaders shall therefore be exempt from taxes or levies and other burdens. We take their persons and goods under the protection of St Peter and ourself once they have taken up the cross. We ordain that they are to be protected by archbishops, bishops and all prelates of the church of God, and that protectors of their own are to be specially appointed for this purpose, so that their goods are to remain intact and undisturbed until they are known for certain to be dead or to have returned. If anyone dares to act contrary to this, let him be curbed by ecclesiastical censure.
If any of those setting out are bound by oath to pay interest, we ordain that their creditors shall be compelled by the same punishment to release them from their oath and to desist from exacting the interest; if any of the creditors does force them to pay the interest, we command that he be forced by similar punishment to restore it. We order that Jews be compelled by the secular power to remit interest, and that until they do so all intercourse shall be denied them by all Christ's faithful under pain of excommunication. Secular princes shall provide a suitable deferral for those who cannot now pay their debts to Jews, so that after they have undertaken the journey, and until there is certain knowledge of their death or of their return, they shall not incur the inconvenience of paying interest. The Jews shall be compelled to add to the capital, after they have deducted their necessary expenses, the revenues which they are meanwhile receiving from property held by them on security. For, such a benefit seems to entail not much loss, inasmuch as it postpones the repayment but does not cancel the debt. Prelates of churches who are negligent in showing justice to crusaders and their families should know that they will be severely punished. Furthermore, since corsairs and pirates greatly impede help for the holy Land, by capturing and plundering those who are travelling to and from it, we bind with the bond of excommunication them and their principal helpers and supporters. We forbid anyone, under threat of anathema, knowingly to communicate with them by contracting to buy or to sell; and we order rulers of cities and their territories to restrain and curb such persons from this iniquity. Otherwise, since to be unwilling to disquiet evildoers is none other than to encourage them, and since he who fails to oppose a manifest crime is not without a touch of secret complicity, it is our wish and command that prelates of churches exercise ecclesiastical severity against their persons and lands. We excommunicate and anathematise, moreover, those false and impious Christians who, in opposition to Christ and the christian people, convey {52} arms and iron and timber for galleys; and we decree that those who sell them galleys or ships, and those who act as pilots in pirate Saracen ships, or give them any help or advice by way of machines or anything else, to the detriment of the holy Land, are to be punished with deprivation of their possessions and are to become the slaves of those who capture them. We order this sentence to be renewed publicly on Sundays and feast-days in all maritime towns; and the bosom of the church is not to be opened to such persons unless they send in aid of the holy Land all that they received from this damnable commerce and the same amount of their own, so that they are punished in proportion to their sins. If perchance they do not pay, they are to be punished in other ways in order that through their punishment others may be deterred from venturing upon similar rash actions. In addition, we prohibit and on pain of anathema forbid all Christians, for four years, to send or take their ships across to the lands of the Saracens who dwell in the east, so that by this a greater supply of shipping may be made ready for those wanting to cross over to help the holy Land, and so that the aforesaid Saracens may be deprived of the not inconsiderable help which they have been accustomed to receiving from this.
Although tournaments have been forbidden in a general way on pain of a fixed penalty at various councils, we strictly forbid them to be held for three years, under pain of excommunication, because the business of the crusade is much hindered by them at this present time. Because it is of the utmost necessity for the carrying out of this business that rulers and christian peoples keep peace with each other, we therefore ordain, on the advice of this holy and general synod, that peace be generally kept in the whole christian world for four years, so that those in conflict shall be brought by the prelates of churches to conclude a definitive peace or to observe inviolably a firm truce. Those who refuse to comply shall be most strictly compelled to do so by an excommunication against their persons and an interdict on their lands, unless the malice of the wrongdoers is so great that they ought not to enjoy peace. If it happens that they make light of the church's censure, they may deservedly fear that the secular power will be invoked by ecclesiastical authority against them, as disturbers of the business of him who was crucified.
We therefore, trusting in the mercy of almighty God and in the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, do grant, by the power of binding and loosing that God has conferred upon us, albeit unworthy, unto all those who undertake this work in person and at their own expense, full pardon for their sins about which they are heartily contrite and have spoken in confession, and we promise them an increase of eternal life at the recompensing of the just. To those who do not go there in person but send suitable men at their own expense, according to their means and status, and likewise to those who go in person but at others' expense, we grant full pardon for their sins. We grant to share in this remission, according to the amount of their help and the intensity of their devotion, all who shall contribute suitably from their goods to the aid of the said Land or who give useful advice and help regarding the above. Finally, this holy and general synod imparts the benefit of its prayers and blessings to all who piously set out on this enterprise in order that it may contribute worthily to their salvation.
1 Pope Innocent IV
2 F(rederick) added in P
3 Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241)
4 Peter of Colmeiu, cardinal 1244-1253
5 William of Savoy, cardinal 1244-1251
6 William of Talliante, cardinal 1244-1250
7 On 3 May 1241
8 Baldwin II, Latin emperor in the east (d. 1261)
9 Gregory of Crescentio, cardinal 1205-1226
10 Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)
11 Honorius III (1216-1227)
12 Otto of Montferrat, cardinal 1227-1251
13 James of Pecoraria, cardinal 1231-1244
14 John Halgrin, cardinal 1227-1238
15 Thomas de Episcopo, cardinal 1216-1243
16 Ludwig I, duke of Bavaria (1183-1231)
17 John III Vatatzes, Greek emperor in the east (1222-1254)
18 The petitioner ... altered omitted in M.
19 const. 4 in M, 2 in R
20 In the conduct of cases uncertainty is insidious, and the renown of persons and places is very advantageous. Therefore by added in M.
21 const. 6 in M, 8 in R
22 const. 11 in M, omitted in R
23 the party which appealed W
24 const. 12 in M, omitted in R
25 const. 9 in M, 3 in R
26 Since legitimate acts are not tied to particular days and conditions by a legal sanction, and among legitimate acts the election of bishops is important, since by it the electors and the one elected are bound together by the ties of a spiritual marriage added in M.
27 for ... others omitted in M.
28 const. 10/11 in M, 4 in R
29 const. 13 in M, omitted in R
30 const. 7 in M, 5 in R.
31 const. 3 in M, 6 in R
32 const. 14 in M, omitted in R
33 const. 5 in M, 7 in R.
34 const. 2 in M, 9 in R.
35 const. 8 in M, 10 in R.
36 const. 15 in M, omitted in R
37 const. 16 in M, omitted in R
38 const. 17 in M, omitted in R
39 const. 11 in R, omitted in M
40 const. 22 in W, omitted in M R
41 const. 18 in M W, omitted in R
42 const 19 in M W, omitted in R
43 const. 1 in M, 12 in R, 20 in W
44 Judges damnably abuse an ecclesiastical censure when they use it rashly to try to expel innocent persons from the bosom of mother church on account of someone else's fault; thereby the persons illegally named are not harmed, and the censure is said to fall on the issuer on account of his misuse of the keys. Wishing to prevent such rashness we ordain by this decree added in M.
45 const 21 in W, omitted in M R
46 const. 13 in R, omitted in others
47 const. 14 in R, omitted in others
48 const. 15 in R, omitted in others
49 const. 16 in R, omitted in others
50 omitted in R
51 const 17 in R, omitted in others
52 to the Saracens added in M Bu.

Second Council of Lyons - 1274

Constitution I
Constitution II
1. On the supreme Trinity and the catholic faith
2. On election and the power of the elected person
15. On the circumstances of ordination and the quality of ordinands
16. On bigamists
17. On the office of ordinary judge
19. On pleading
21. On prebends and dignities
22. On not alienating the property of the church
23. On religious houses, that they are to be subject to the bishop
24. On taxes and procurations
25. On the immunity of churches
26. On usury
28. On wrongs and the loss caused
29. On the sentence of excommunication
After the death of Pope Clement IV (29 November 1268) almost three years passed before the cardinals were able to elect a new pope, Gregory X (1 September 1271). The political aspect of Europe in those times was undergoing great change. The popes themselves in their struggles with the German emperors had sought help from various states and had placed Charles of Anjou on the throne of Sicily. This long conflict, which the popes fought in order to protect their freedom and immunity, had finally upset the traditional system of government in Christendom. This system depended on two institutions, the papacy and the empire. In the East, moreover, the emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus had captured Constantinople in 1261 and brought the Latin empire there to an end.
Since the state of affairs was undoubtedly complex and difficult, Gregory X had conceived a very broad plan involving the whole christian world. In this plan the eastern question was of the highest importance. The pope sought to conclude a treaty with Michael VIII Palaeologus and to unite the eastern and western churches. For if the churches were united and the strength of all christian peoples were combined, the problem of the holy Land could be resolved and the Roman church could flourish with fresh authority and influence in the western states.
Gregory X, therefore, when he convoked the general council on 31 March 1272, outlined three themes: union with the Greeks, the crusade, and the reform of the church. Regarding the third theme, which was not only traditional in medieval councils but was also required by the actual state of ecclesiastical morals, the pope in March 1273 sought the opinion of all christian people and asked for their help. Some reports sent to him for this purpose are still extant. After long preparatory arrangements the council assembled at Lyons and opened on 7 May 1274. Probably there were present about 300 bishops, 60 abbots and a large number of other clergy, many of whom apparently were theologians (Thomas Aquinas died while on his journey to Lyons), as well as king James of Aragon and the delegates sent by the rulers of France, Germany, England and Sicily. The Greeks arrived late, on 24 June, since they had been shipwrecked. Meanwhile a delegation of Tartars had also arrived. Although the number of participants does not seem to have been especially large, the whole christian world was present either in person or through representatives, and it was evident that the council, as Gregory X had wished, was universal and ecumenical.
The council had six general sessions: on 7 and 18 May, 4 or 7 June, 6, 16 and 17 July. In the fourth session the union of the Greek church with the Latin church was decreed and defined, this union being based on the consent which the Greeks had given to the claims of the Roman church. In the last session the dogmatic constitution concerning the procession of the holy Spirit was approved, this question having been a cause of disagreement between the two churches. The union however appears to have been imposed, on the Greek side by the emperor Michael VIII. He wanted the support of the pope in order to deter Charles of Anjou from an attack on the Byzantine empire, while the majority of the Greek clergy opposed the union. The union was therefore fleeting, either because in the East the clergy steadily resisted it, or because the popes after Gregory X changed their plan of action.
The weakness of the union with the Greeks also rendered a crusade impossible. Gregory X won the approval of the principal states of Europe for the undertaking and was able, in the second session, to impose heavy taxes (a tenth for six years) in order to carry it out (const. Zelus fidei, below pp. 309-314). The council however merely decided to engage in the crusade; no start was made at getting things done and the project came to nothing. Moreover Gregory died soon afterwards (10 January 1276), and he was not sufficiently influential or powerful to bring to a conclusion his plans for church and state.
With regard to the reform of the church, Gregory complained in the council's last session that discussion had not been sufficient to pass any definite decree. However, he was able to bring about that certain constitutions relating to the parish should be delegated to the curia. For the rest, some constitutions concerning church institutions were approved in various sessions. The most important one prescribed that a pope should be elected by the college of cardinals assembled in conclave (const. 2); constitution 23 attempts to adjust relations between secular clerics and religious; constitutions 26-27 treat of usury; and others treat of particular questions about the reform of morals and of the church.
There are at least two redactions (conciliar and post-conciliar) of the council's constitutions, as S. Kuttner has shown. In the second session the fathers had approved the decree Zelus fidei, which was rather a collection of constitutions about the holy Land, the crusade, the war against Saracens and pirates, and the order and procedure to be observed in the council (here for the first time the nations appear as ecclesiastical parts of a council). Next, twenty-eight constitutions were approved in the following sessions: const. 3-9, 15, 19, 24, 29-30 in the third, const. 2, 10-12, 16-17, 20-22, 25-28, 31 in the fifth, const. 1, 23 in the sixth session. The pope promulgated a collection of the council's constitutions on 1 November 1274, sent this to the universities with the bull Cum nuper, and informed all the faithful in the encyclical Infrascriptas. In this collection, however, three of the thirty-one constitutions are post-conciliar (const. 13-14, 18). These concern the parish, on which subject the pope and the council fathers had decided in the last session of the council that some decrees should be made later on. Moreover the constitution Zelus fidei is missing from the collection, perhaps because it contained no juridical statutes of universal validity; and the other constitutions had been subjected to the examination of the curia and emended, notably as far as we know const. 2 on the conclave and const. 26-27 On usury.
The collection of constitutions promulgated by Gregory X was incorporated into Boniface VIII's Liber Sextus (1298) . It also survives, together with the encyclical Infrascriptas, in Gregory X's register (=R), on which we have based our text. The conciliar redaction, however, is known only in part. The constitution Zelus fidei was discovered first by H. Finke in an Osnabruck codex (= O), and then by S. Kuttner, without its beginning, in a Washington codex (= W), it is also extant in three English cartularies, which we have not examined; our edition relies on the transcriptions of Finke (= F) and Kuttner (= K). The other constitutions of the conciliar redaction we know only from W and, as regards const. 2, from eight scrolls containing the approval of the council fathers for this constitution (Vatican Archives, AA. arm. I-XVIII, 2187-2194 = V I-8). We therefore give the conciliar redaction on the basis of V and W; but W is very incomplete, having only 20 constitutions (const. 2-8, 9 mutilated, 10-12 16-17, 20, 22-23, 25-27, 31), and is full of errors. As the best solution at this intermediate stage, we therefore give the constitution Zelus fidei (below pp. 309-314) separately from the post-conciliar collection (below pp. 314-331), and we note in the critical apparatus the latter the variant readings of the conciliar redaction. In the main editions of the council's acts only the collection of constitutions promulgated by Gregory X is to be found; all these editions depend on Rm (4, 95-104), which is taken from R (R was edited later by Guiraud).
[1a]. Zeal for the faith, fervent devotion and compassionate love ought to rouse the hearts of the faithful, so that all who glory in the name of Christian grieved to the heart by the insult to their redeemer, should rise vigorously and openly in defence of the holy Land and support for God's cause. Who, filled with the light of the true faith and thinking over with filial affection the marvellous favours conferred on the human race by our saviour in the holy Land, would not burn with devotion and charity, and sorrow deeply with that holy Land, portion of the Lord's inheritance ? Whose heart will not soften with compassion for her, from so many proofs of love given in that land by our creator? Alas! the very land in which the Lord deigned to work our salvation and which, in order to redeem humanity by payment of his death, he has consecrated by his own blood, has been boldly attacked and occupied over a long period by the impious enemies of the christian name, the blasphemous and faithless Saracens. They not only rashly retain their conquest, but lay it waste without fear. They slaughter savagely the christian people there to the greater offence of the creator, to the outrage and sorrow of all who profess the catholic faith. "Where is the God of the Christians ?" is the Saracens' constant reproach, as they taunt them. Such scandals, which neither mind can fully conceive nor tongue tell, inflamed our heart and roused our courage so that we who from experience overseas have not only heard of those events but have looked with our eyes and touched with our hands, might rise to avenge, as far as we can, the insult to the crucified one. Our help will come from those afire with zeal of faith and devotion. Because the liberation of the holy Land should concern all who profess the catholic faith, we convoked a council, so that after consultation with prelates, kings, princes and other prudent men, we might decide and ordain in Christ the means for liberating the holy Land. We also proposed to lead back the Greek peoples to the unity of the church; proudly striving to divide in some way the Lord's seamless tunic, they withdrew from devotion and obedience to the apostolic see. We purposed also a reform of morals, which have become corrupt owing to the sins of both clergy and people. In everything we have mentioned he to whom nothing is impossible will direct our acts and counsels; when he wills, he makes what is difficult easy, and levelling by his power the crooked ways, makes straight the rough going. Indeed, in order the more readily to effect our plans, having regard to the risks from wars and dangers of journeys for those whom we judged should be summoned to the council, we did not spare ourself and our brothers but rather sought hardships so that we might arrange rest for others. We came to the city of Lyons with our brothers and curia, believing that in this place those summoned to the council might meet with less exertion and expense. We came undertaking various dangers and troubles, running many risks, to where all those summoned to the council were assembled, either in person or through suitable representatives. We held frequent consultations with them about help for the holy Land, and they, zealous to avenge the insult to the Saviour, thought out the best ways to succour the said Land and gave, as was their duty, advice and insight. [ I b].
Having listened to their advice, we rightly commend their resolutions and praiseworthy enthusiasm for the liberation of that Land. Lest, however, we seem to lay on others' shoulders heavy burdens, hard to bear, which we are unwilling to move with our finger, we begin with ourself; declaring that we hold all we have from God's only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, by whose gift we live, by whose favour we are sustained, by whose blood even we have been redeemed. We and our brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, shall pay fully for six successive years a tenth of all our ecclesiastical revenues, fruits and incomes for the aid of the holy Land. With the approval of this sacred council, we decree and ordain that for the said six years, beginning from the next feast of the birthday of blessed John the Baptist, all ecclesiastical persons of whatever rank or pre-eminence, condition, order, or religious state or order-and we wish none to invoke for themselves and their churches any privileges or indults, in whatever form of words or expression these were granted, rather we recall completely those we have granted till now--shall pay wholly and without any reduction a tenth of all ecclesiastical revenues, fruits and incomes of each year in the following way: that is, half on the feast of the Lord's birth and the other half on the feast of blessed John the Baptist. In order to observe more carefully the reverence due to him whose undertaking this is, in himself and in his saints and especially in the glorious Virgin whose intercession we ask in this and in our other needs, and in order that there may be a fuller subsidy for the holy Land, we order that the constitution of Pope Gregory our predecessor of happy memory against blasphemers be inviolably observed. The fines prescribed in this constitution are to be exacted in full through the authorities of the place where blasphemy is committed, and through others who exercise temporal jurisdiction there. Coercive measures, if necessary, are to be taken through diocesan and other local ordinaries. The money is to be assigned to the collectors for the subsidy. Moreover, we strictly command confessors who hear confessions by ordinary jurisdiction or by privilege to prompt and enjoin on their penitents to give the said money to the holy Land in full satisfaction for their sins; and they should persuade those making wills to leave, in proportion to their means, some of their goods for aid to the holy Land. We direct also that in each church there should be placed a box fitted with three keys, the first to be kept in the possession of the bishop, the second in that of the priest of the church, the third in that of some conscientious lay person. The faithful are to be instructed to place their alms, as the Lord inspires them, in this box for the remission of their sins. Mass is to be sung publicly in the churches once a week, on a certain day to be announced by the priest, for the remission of such sins and especially of those offering alms. Besides these measures, to provide more assistance for the holy Land, we exhort and urge kings and princes, marquises, counts and barons, magistrates, governors and other secular leaders to arrange that in the lands subject to their jurisdiction each of the faithful pays a coin to the value of a tournois or of one sterling in accordance with the customs or circumstances of the region, and they should order a further small tax of no burden to anyone for the remission of sins; these contributions are to be made each year in aid of the holy Land, so that just as nobody may excuse himself from compassion for the wretched state of the holy Land, nobody may be dismissed from contributing or shut out from meriting. Also, lest these prudent arrangements concerning the subsidy to the holy Land be hindered by anyone's fraud or malice or craft, we excommunicate and anathematise one and all who knowingly offer hindrance, directly or indirectly, publicly or secretly, to the payment, as described above, of the tithes in aid of the holy Land.
Furthermore, since corsairs and pirates greatly impede those travelling to and from that Land, by capturing and plundering them, we bind with the bond of excommunication them and their principal helpers and supporters. We forbid anyone, under threat of anathema, knowingly to communicate with them by contracting to buy or sell. We also order rulers of cities and their territories to restrain and curb such persons from this iniquity; otherwise it is our wish that prelates of churches exercise ecclesiastical severity in their land. We excommunicate and anathematise, moreover, those false and impious Christians who, in opposition to Christ and the christian people, convey to the Saracens arms and iron, which they use to attack Christians and timber for their galleys and other ships; and we decree that those who sell them galleys or ships, and those who act as pilots in pirate Saracen ships, or give them any help or advice by way of machines or anything else to the detriment of Christians and especially of the holy Land, are to be punished with deprivation of their possessions and are to become the slaves of those who capture them. We order this sentence to be renewed publicly on Sundays and feast-days in all maritime towns; and the bosom of the church is not to be opened to such persons unless they send in aid of the holy Land all that they received from this damnable commerce and the same amount of their own, so that they are punished in proportion to their sins. If perchance they do not pay, they are to be punished in other ways in order that through their punishment others may be deterred from venturing upon similar rash actions. In addition, we prohibit and on pain of anathema forbid all Christians, for six years, to send or take their ships across to the lands of the Saracens who dwell in the east, so that by this a greater supply of shipping may be made ready for those wanting to cross over to help the holy Land, and so that the aforesaid Saracens may be deprived of the considerable help which they have been accustomed to receiving from this. Because it is of the utmost necessity for the carrying out of this business that rulers and christian peoples keep peace with each other, we therefore ordain, with the approval of this holy and general synod, that peace be generally kept in the whole world among Christians, so that those in conflict shall be led by the prelates of churches to observe inviolably for six years a definitive agreement or peace or a firm truce. Those who refuse to comply shall be most strictly compelled to do so by a sentence of excommunication against their persons and an interdict on their lands, unless the malice of the wrongdoers is so great that they ought not to enjoy peace. If it happens that they make light of the church's censure, they may deservedly fear that the secular power will be invoked by ecclesiastical authority against them as disturbers of the business of him who was crucified. We therefore, trusting in the mercy of almighty God and in the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, do grant, by the power of binding and loosing that God has conferred upon us, albeit unworthy, unto all those who undertake this work of crossing the sea to aid the holy Land, in person and at their own expense, full pardon for their sins about which they are truly and heartily contrite and have spoken in confession, and we promise them an increase of eternal life at the recompensing of the just. To those who do not go there in person but send suitable men at their own expense, according to their means and status, and likewise to those who go in person but at others' expense, we grant full pardon for their sins. We wish to grant to share in this remission, according to the nature of their help and the intensity of their devotion, all who shall contribute suitably from their goods to the aid of the said Land, or who give useful advice and help regarding the above, and all who make available their own ships for the help of the holy Land or who undertake to build ships for this purpose. Finally, this dutiful and holy general synod imparts the benefit of its prayers and blessings to all who piously set out on this enterprise in order that it may contribute to their salvation. ' [Id].
Not to us but to the Lord we give glory and honour; let us also thank him that to so sacred a council a very great number of patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors provosts, deans, archdeacons and other prelates of churches, both personally and by suitable procurators, and the procurators of chapters, colleges and convents, have assembled at our call. However, although for the happy pursuit of so great an enterprise their advice would be useful, and their presence as beloved sons is so delightful, filling us in a certain way with spiritual joy, there are difficulties for some as to staying on. Various inconveniences result from their great number; we do not wish them to suffer any longer the squeezing of the enormous crowd; and their absence may be harmful to them and their churches. A certain prudent love moves us to decide with our brothers' advice how to lighten the burden of these representatives, while pursuing our object no less ardently or zealously. We therefore have decided that all patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, abbots and priors whom we summoned specially and by name are to remain, they are not to depart without our special leave before the council ends. The other non-mitred abbots and priors and the other {1} abbots and priors, who were not summoned by us specially and by name, and the provosts, deans, archdeacons and other prelates of churches, and the procurators of any prelates, chapters, colleges and convents, have our gracious leave to depart with the blessing of God and our own. We commission all who so depart to leave enough procurators, as described below, to receive our commands and both the decrees of our present council and any other decrees that may, with God's inspiration, be issued in the future. Thus, all so departing are to leave behind the following adequate number of procurators: namely, four from the realm of France, four from the realm of Germany, four from the realms of the Spains, four from the realm of England one from the realm of Scotland {2} , two from the realm of Sicily, two from Lombardy, one from Tuscany, one from the states of the church, one from the realm of Norway, one from the realm of Sweden, one from the realm of Hungary {3} , one from the realm of Dacia, one from the realm of Bohemia, one from the duchy of Poland. Furthermore {4} , it has come to our ears that some archbishops, bishops and other prelates, when they were summoned by us to the council, asked an excessive contribution from their subjects and committed great extortion, imposing heavy taxes on them. Some of these prelates, although they made great exactions, did not come to the council. Since it neither was nor is our intention that prelates in coming to the council should associate the virtue of obedience with the oppression of their subjects, we admonish prelates one and all with great firmness, that none may presume to use the council as a pretext for burdening his subjects with taxes or exactions. If in fact some prelates have not come to the council and have made demands on the pretext of coming, it is our will and precise command that they make restitution without delay. Those however who have oppressed their subjects, demanding excessive contributions, should take care to make amends to them without creating difficulties, and so fulfil our commands that we do not have to apply a remedy by our authority.
1. On the supreme Trinity and the catholic faith{5}
1. We profess faithfully and devotedly that the holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle; not by two spirations, but by one single spiration. This the holy Roman church, mother and mistress of all the faithful, has till now professed, preached and taught; this she firmly holds, preaches, professes and teaches; this is the unchangeable and true belief of the orthodox fathers and doctors, Latin and Greek alike. But because some, on account of ignorance of the said indisputable truth, have fallen into various errors, we, wishing to close the way to such errors, with the approval of the sacred council, condemn and reprove all who presume to deny that the holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, or rashly to assert that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles and not as from one.
2. On election and the power of the elected person {6}
2. {7} Where there is greater danger, there must certainly be greater foresight. We learn from the past how heavy are the losses sustained by the Roman church in a long vacancy, how perilous it is; we see this all too clearly when we wisely consider the crises undergone. Reason therefore openly challenges us, while we devote ourselves skilfully to the reform of lesser evils, certainly not to leave without appropriate remedy those of greater danger. We judge therefore that everything wisely instituted by our predecessors and especially by Pope Alexander III of happy memory, for avoiding discord in the election of the Roman pontiff, should remain altogether intact. We intend in no way to detract from this legislation, but to supply by the present constitution what experience has shown to be missing.
With the approval of the sacred council {8} , we decree that if the pope dies in a city where he was residing with his curia, the cardinals present in that city are obliged to await the absent cardinals, but for ten days only. When these days have passed, whether those absent have arrived or not, all are to assemble in the palace where the pope lived. Each is to be content with one servant only, clerical or lay, at choice. We allow however those in evident need to have two, with the same choice. In this palace all are to live in common in one room, with no partition or curtain. Apart from free entry to a private room, the conclave is to be completely locked, so that no one can enter or leave. No one may have access to the cardinals or permission to talk secretly with them, nor are they themselves to admit anyone to their presence, except those who, by consent of all the cardinals present, might be summoned only for the business of the imminent election. It is not lawful for anyone to send a messenger or a written message to the cardinals or to any one of them. Whoever acts otherwise, sending a messenger or a written message, or speaking secretly to one of the cardinals, is to incur automatic excommunication. In the conclave some suitable window is to be left open through which the necessary food may be served conveniently to the cardinals, but no entry for anyone is to be possible through this way.
If, which God forbid, within three days after the cardinals have entered the said conclave, the church has not been provided with a shepherd, they are to be content for the next five days, every day both at dinner and supper, with one dish only. If these days also pass without the election of a pope, henceforth only bread, wine and water are to be served to the cardinals until they do provide a pope. While the election is in process, the cardinals are to receive nothing from the papal treasury, nor any other revenue coming from whatever source to the church while the see is vacant. Everything during this period remains in the custody of him to whose faithfulness and care the treasury has been entrusted, to be kept by him for the disposal of the future pope. Those who have accepted something are obliged from then on to abstain from receiving any of the revenues due to them until they have made full restitution of what they have accepted in this way. The cardinals are to devote their time so carefully to hastening the election as to occupy themselves with no other business whatever unless perhaps there occurs such an urgent necessity as the defence of the states of the church or some part of them, or there be threat of such a great and evident danger that it seems to each and all the cardinals present, by general consent, that they should quickly counteract it.
Of course if one of the cardinals does not enter the conclave, which we have described above, or having entered leaves without evident cause of illness, the others, without in any way searching for him and without re-admitting him to the election, may proceed freely to elect the next pope. If in fact, owing to sudden illness, one of them leaves the conclave, the election may proceed without the need for his vote, even while the illness lasts. But if after regaining his health or even before, he wishes to return, or even if other absentees, for whom a wait of ten days should be made as we have said, come on the scene while the election is still undecided, that is, before the church has been provided with a shepherd, they are to be admitted to the election in the state in which they find it; they are to keep the rules with the others as regards enclosure, servants, food and drink and everything else.
If the Roman pontiff happens to die outside the city in which he resided with his curia, the cardinals are obliged to assemble in the city in whose territory or district the pontiff died, unless perhaps the city lies under interdict or persists in open rebellion against the Roman church. In which case they are to meet in another city, the nearest which is neither under interdict nor openly rebellious. In this city also, the same rules about waiting for absentees, living together, enclosure and everything else, in the episcopal palace or any other residence specified by the cardinals, are to be observed as above when the pope dies in the city where he resided with his curia.
Moreover, since it is not enough to make laws unless there is someone to see that they are kept, we further ordain that the lord and other rulers and officials of the city where the election of the Roman pontiff is to be held, by the power given to them by our authority and the approval of the council, are to enforce the observance of everything prescribed above in every detail, fully and inviolably without any deceit and trickery, but they may not presume to restrict the cardinals beyond what has been said. As soon as the said lord, rulers and officials hear of the supreme pontiff's death, they are to take an oath as a body, in the presence of the clergy and people specially mustered for the purpose, to observe these prescriptions. If it happens that they commit fraud in this matter or do not observe the regulations with care, of whatever pre-eminence, condition or status they may be, they lose all privileges; they are automatically subject to the bond of excommunication and are forever infamous; and they are permanently excluded from all honours, nor may they be admitted to any public office. We have decreed that over and above this they are automatically deprived of the fiefs goods and all they hold from the same Roman church or any other churches, this property returns fully and freely to the churches themselves, to be without any opposition at the disposal of the administrators of those churches. The city itself is to be not only laid under interdict but also deprived of its episcopal dignity.
Furthermore {9} , since when a disordered passion enslaves the will or some pledge compels it to one way of acting, the election is null from lack of freedom, we implore the cardinals through the tender mercy of our God', and we call them to witness through the sprinkling of his precious blood, that they consider very carefully what they are about to do. They are electing the vicar of Jesus Christ, the successor of Peter, the ruler of the universal church, the guide of the Lord's flock. They are to lay aside all the disorder of private affection, to be free from any bargain, agreement or pledge; they are not to consider any promise or understanding, to have no regard for their mutual advantage or that of their friends. They are not to look after their own interests or their individual convenience. Without any constraint on their judgment other than God, they are to seek purely and freely the public good, with the election alone in mind. They are to use every endeavour and care that is possible. Their one aim is to provide, by their service and speedily, what is so useful and necessary for the whole world, a fitting spouse for the church. Those who act otherwise are subject to the divine retribution, their fault never to be pardoned except after severe penance. We invalidate all bargains, agreements, pledges, promises and understandings, whether confirmed by oath or any other bond; we nullify all these and decree that such have no force whatever. No one is constrained in any way to observe them, nor anyone to fear that by transgressing them he is breaking faith. Rather he deserves praise, for even human law testifies that such transgressions are more acceptable to God than the keeping of the oath.
Since the faithful should rely not so much on human resource, however solicitous, than on the urgency of humble and devoted prayer, we make an addition to this decree. In all the cities and important places, as soon as the death of the pope becomes known, solemn exequies are to be celebrated for him by clergy and people. After this, every day until undoubted news is brought that the church truly has her pastor, there is to be humble and devoted prayer to the Lord, that he who makes peace in his high heaven may so unite the hearts of the cardinals in their choice that provision may be made for the church swiftly, harmoniously, unanimously and beneficially, for the salvation of souls and the advantage of the whole world. And lest this salutary decree be disregarded on pretext of ignorance, we strictly order patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, other prelates of churches, and all who have faculties to explain the word of God, that they should often gather together the clergy and people for the purpose of urging them in sermons to pray earnestly and repeatedly for a swift and happy outcome of the conclave. With the same authority they should prescribe not only frequent prayer but also, as circumstances recommend, the observance of fasting.
3 {10} That we may, as far as possible, close the way to evil practices in ecclesiastical elections, postulations and provisions, and that churches may not have long and dangerous vacancies or the provision of parsonages, dignities and other ecclesiastical benefices be delayed, we make this perpetual decree. When opponents to elections, postulations or provisions raise difficulties against the form of the election, postulation or provision, or against the persons of the electors or of the one elected or of him for whom the provision was to be made or has been made, and for these reasons make an appeal, the appellants are to express in a public document or letter of appeal every individual objection they intend to make against the form or persons. They shall do this in the presence of a qualified person or persons bearing witness to the truth on the above points, and they shall personally swear that they believe what they say to be true and can prove it. If this is not done, both the objectors and, during the time of appeal or afterwards, their adherents are to know that the power of objecting anything not expressed in these letters or documents is forbidden to them, unless there is some new evidence or there suddenly appears means of proving the former objections, or some facts of the past have newly come to the knowledge of the objectors, facts of which at the time of the appeal the appellants probably could have been, and in fact were, ignorant. They are to establish their good faith concerning this ignorance and the subsequent possibility of proof by taking an oath personally, adding in the same oath that they believe they have sufficient proof. It is our will certainly that the penalties imposed by Pope Innocent IV of happy memory on those who do not fully substantiate their objections against the form or the person, shall remain in force.
4 {11} Blind greed and criminal, dishonest ambition, seizing on certain minds, drive them to the rash attempt to usurp by ingenious fraud what they know is forbidden to them by the law. Some, indeed, are elected to the government of churches and, because the law forbids any interference in the administration of churches before the election has been confirmed, contrive to have the churches entrusted to themselves as procurators and managers. Since it is not good to give way to human trickery, we wish to take wider precautions in this general constitution. We decree that none may henceforth presume, before confirmation of his election, to conduct or accept the administration of an office to which he has been elected, or to interfere in it, under the pretext of management or procuratorship or some other newly invented disguise, in things spiritual or temporal, directly or through others, in part or in whole. We decree that all who act otherwise are by that very fact deprived of the right they would have acquired by the election.
5. {12} Not only do the laws bear witness but also experience, that effective teacher of reality, makes clear how damaging to churches is their vacancy, how dangerous it usually is to souls. Desirous, then, of counteracting the long duration of vacancies by suitable remedies, we make a perpetual decree that after there has been an election in any church, the electors are obliged to inform the elect as soon as conveniently possible and to ask his consent. The elect in his turn is to give it within a month from the day of being informed. If the elect delays beyond this, he is to know that from then on he is deprived of the right he would have acquired from his election, unless perhaps his condition is such that he cannot consent to his election without his superior's leave, on account of a prohibition or some disposition of the apostolic see {13} . The elect or his electors must then earnestly seek and gain the superior's leave as quickly as his presence or absence will permit. Otherwise, if the time has expired, even with the allowance made for the presence or absence of the superior, and permission has not been obtained, the electors are then free to proceed to another election. Furthermore, any elect must ask for confirmation of his election within three months after giving consent. If without lawful impediment he omits to do this within such a three-month period, the election is by that very fact null and void.
6. {14} We declare, with the force of a perpetual decree, that they who in an election vote knowingly for an unworthy candidate are not deprived of the power of electing, unless they have so far persisted as to make the election depend on their votes, even though in nominating an unworthy person they have deliberately acted against their consciences and may rightly fear divine retribution and a punishment, in accordance with the offence, from the apostolic see.
7. {15} We decree that nobody, after voting for someone whose election follows, or after giving consent to an election made by others, may oppose him concerning the election itself, except for reasons coming to light afterwards, or unless the elect's evil character previously hidden from the objector is now disclosed, or the existence of some other hidden vice or defect, of which in all probability he could have been ignorant, is revealed. He is however to guarantee his good faith regarding this lack of knowledge by oath.
8. {16} If after two scrutinies one part of the electors is to be found more than double the number of the other, we by this decree take away from the minority all power of imputing lack of zeal, merit or authority to the majority or their candidate. We do not however forbid such objections as would render null, in virtue of the law itself, the election of the candidate so opposed.
9. {17} The constitution of Pope Alexander IV, our predecessor of happy memory, rightly includes cases about episcopal elections, and those arising therefrom, in the category of major cases and asserts that their judicial inquiry subsequent to any appeal falls to the apostolic see. We, however, wishing to curb both the rash boldness and unbridled frequency of appeals, have considered that we should make provision by this general constitution. If someone appeals extrajudicially with an evidently frivolous motive in the aforesaid elections or in others which concern dignities higher than the episcopate, such an appeal is by no means to go before the apostolic see. When however in the business of such elections an appeal is made in writing, judicially or extrajudicially, from a credible motive which on proof ought to be considered legitimate, such business is to be brought to the apostolic see. Furthermore, it is lawful for the parties in these cases, provided there is no malice, to withdraw from such appeals before they are laid before the said see. Subordinate judges, who were competent for these cases, should on withdrawal of the appeal first of all inquire carefully whether there has been any irregularity. If they find such, they are to have no further dealings with the case itself, but shall set for the parties a suitable fixed term in which they are to present themselves with all their acts and records to the apostolic see. I
10. {18} If among other objections against the elect or nominee or candidate to be promoted in any other way to some dignity, it is said that he clearly lacks the requisite knowledge or has some other obvious personal defect, we decree that there is to be an invariable order in discussing the objections. The candidate is to be examined first of all concerning the alleged defect, the outcome deciding whether other objections are to be considered or not. If the result of the said examination shows that the objections concerning the alleged defect are devoid of truth, we exclude the objectors altogether from pursuing further the case in which they have made their objections, and we decree that they are to be punished exactly as if they had thoroughly failed to prove any of their objections.
11. {19} All those who presume to oppress clerics or any other ecclesiastical persons having the right of election in certain churches, monasteries or other pious places, because they have refused to elect the person for whom they were asked or urged to vote, or who presume to oppress their relatives or the said churches, monasteries or other places, robbing them of benefices or other property, either directly or through others, or taking revenge in other ways, are to know that they incur automatic excommunication.
12 20 We decree by a general constitution that one and all, however high their rank, who try to usurp the royal privileges, the custody or guard, or the title of advocate or defender, in churches, monasteries and any other pious places, and presume to take possession of their property during a vacancy, lie under automatic sentence of excommunication. The clerics of the churches, the monks of the monasteries, and the other persons in the above places, who abet these offences, are automatically excommunicated in the same way. We indeed strictly forbid those clerics who do not oppose, as they ought, those who act in such a way, to receive any income from these churches or places during the time they have allowed the usurpation to happen without opposition. Those who claim these rights by the foundation of the churches or of the other places, or by reason of ancient custom, are prudently to avoid abusing their rights and take care that their agents do not abuse them, so that they appropriate nothing beyond what pertains to the fruits or revenues accruing during the vacancy, and do not allow the dilapidation of the other property of which they claim to be the guardians but preserve it in good condition.
13. The canon promulgated by Pope Alexander III, our predecessor of happy memory, decreed among other things that nobody is to be appointed parish priest until he is twenty-five and approved as to knowledge and morals; and that after his appointment, if he has not been ordained priest within the time fixed by the canons, despite being warned to this effect, he is to be removed from office and it is to be conferred on someone else. Since many neglect to observe this canon, we wish their dangerous negligence to be made good by observance of the law. We therefore decree that nobody is to be appointed parish priest unless he is suitable by knowledge, morals and age. Any appointments from now of those younger than twenty-five are to lack all validity. The person appointed is obliged to reside in the parish church of which he has become rector, in order that he may take more diligent care of the flock entrusted to him. Within a year of being appointed to his charge he is to have himself ordained to the priesthood. If within that time he has not been ordained, he is deprived of his church, even without previous warning, by authority of the present constitution. As to residence, as above described, the ordinary may grant a dispensation for a time and for a reasonable cause.
14. No one may henceforth presume to give a parish church "in commendam" to anyone under the lawful age and not ordained priest. Such a commendatory may have only one parish church and there must be an evident need or advantage for the church itself. We declare, however, that such a commendam, even when properly made, is not to last more than six months. We decree that any contrary procedure relating to commendams of parish churches is invalid by law.
15. On the circumstances of ordination and the quality of ordinands
15. {21} We decree that those who knowingly or with affected ignorance or on any other pretext presume to ordain clerics of another diocese without permission of the ordinands' superior, are suspended for a year from conferring any orders. The penalties prescribed by law against those so ordained are to remain in full vigour. We also grant the faculty to clerics of the dioceses of bishops thus suspended, after their suspension has become public, freely to receive orders meanwhile from neighbouring bishops, even without their own bishop's leave, but in other respects canonically.
16. On bigamists
16. {22} Putting an end to an old debate by the present declaration, we declare that bigamists are deprived of any clerical privilege and are to be handed over to the control of the secular law, any contrary custom notwithstanding. We also forbid bigamists under pain of anathema to wear the tonsure or clerical dress.
17. On the office of ordinary judge
17. {23} If canons wish to suspend the celebration of divine worship, as is their claim from custom or otherwise in certain churches, they are obliged, before taking any steps to suspend the celebration, to express their reasons for this in a confirmation of authenticity. They are to consign this document or letter to the person against whom the suspension is directed. They are to know that if they suspend services without this formality or the reason expressed is not canonical, they shall restore all the income they have received, during the time of the suspension, from the church in which the suspension has taken place. They shall in no way receive anything owing to them for that period but make it over to the church in question. They will, moreover, be obliged to make restitution for the loss or injustice done to the person whom they intended to punish. If however their cause is judged to be canonical, the one who occasioned the suspension is to be sentenced to compensate the said canons and the church from which divine service has been withdrawn through his fault. The superior is to adjudicate the compensation and it is to be used for the benefit of divine worship. Nevertheless we utterly rebuke the detestable abuse and horrible impiety of those who treating with irreverent boldness crucifixes and images or statues of the blessed Virgin and other saints, throw them to the ground in order to emphasise the suspension of divine worship, and leave them under nettles and thorns. We forbid severely any sacrilege of this kind. We decree that those who disobey are to receive a hard retributive sentence which will so chastise the offenders as to suppress the like arrogance in others.
18. Local ordinaries must strictly compel their subjects to produce the dispensations by which they hold canonically, as they assert, several dignities or churches to which is annexed the cure of souls, or a parsonage or dignity together with another benefice to which a similar cure is annexed. These dispensations are to be shown within a time proportionate to the situation as judged by the ordinaries themselves. If without just reason no dispensation has been shown within that time, the churches, benefices, parsonages or dignities which it is now obvious are held unlawfully without dispensation, are to be conferred freely on suitable persons by those who have the right. If on the other hand the dispensation shown seems clearly sufficient, the holder is not to be troubled in any way in the possession of these benefices canonically obtained. The ordinary is however to make provision that neither the care of souls in those churches, parsonages or dignities is neglected nor the benefices themselves are defrauded of the services owing to them. If there is doubt whether the dispensation is sufficient, recourse should be had to the apostolic see, to which judgment belongs concerning its benefices. Ordinaries, moreover, in bestowing parsonages, dignities and other benefices involving the cure of souls, are to take care not to confer one on someone already holding several similar benefices, unless an obviously sufficient dispensation is shown for those already held. Even then, we wish the ordinary to confer the benefice only if it appears from the dispensation that the beneficiary may lawfully retain this parsonage, dignity or benefice together with those he already holds, or if he is prepared freely to resign those he already holds. If not, the bestowing of such parsonages, dignities and benefices is to be of no consequence whatever. '
19. On pleading
19 {24} It seems that we must counteract promptly the crafty dragging-out of lawsuits. We hope to do this effectively by giving suitable remedial directives to those who offer their services in legal matters. Since the things that have been beneficially provided by legal sanction concerning advocates seem to have fallen into disuse, we renew the same sanction by the present constitution, with some addition and modification. We decree that each and every advocate in the ecclesiastical forum, whether before the apostolic see or elsewhere, is to swear on the holy gospels that in all ecclesiastical causes and others in the same forum, of which they have assumed or will assume the defence, they will do their utmost for their clients in what they judge to be true and just. They are also to swear that at whatever part of the process they find out that the cause which they had accepted in good faith is unjust, they will cease to defend it; they will rather abandon it altogether, having nothing further to do with it, and will inviolably observe the rest of the above sanction. Proctors also are to be bound by a similar oath. Both advocates and proctors are obliged to renew this oath every year in the forum in which they have assumed office. Those who come before the apostolic see or to the court of some ecclesiastical judge, in which they have not yet taken such an oath, in order to act as advocate or proctor in some individual case, are to take a like oath, in each case, at the beginning of the litigation. Advocates and proctors who refuse to swear in the above way are forbidden to practise while their refusal persists. If they deliberately violate their oath, counsellors who have knowingly encouraged an unjust cause incur, in addition to the guilt of perjury, the divine and our malediction, from which they cannot be absolved unless they restore double the amount they accepted for such evil work as advocate, proctor or counsel. They are moreover obliged to make restitution for the loss caused to the parties wronged by their unjust ministry. Furthermore, lest insatiate greed drive some into contempt for these sound decrees, we strictly forbid an advocate to accept more than twenty tournois pounds for any case, a proctor more than twelve, as salary or even on the pretext of a reward for winning. Those who accept more are not in any way to acquire ownership of the excess, but are obliged to restitution; none of this penalty of restitution can be remitted in evasion of the present constitution. In addition, advocates who thus violate the present constitution are to be suspended from their office for three years. Proctors, on the other hand, shall be denied permission to exercise their office in a court of law.
20. On what is done by force or because of fear
20. {25} We annul by authority of this constitution any absolution from sentence of excommunication or any recall of it, or of suspension or even of interdict, which has been extorted by force or fear. Lest boldness increase when violence goes unpunished, we decree that those who have extorted such an absolution or withdrawal by force or fear lie under sentence of excommunication.
21. On prebends and dignities
21. {26} We have decreed that the statute of Pope Clement IV, our predecessor of happy memory, that dignities and benefices which become vacant in the Roman curia are to be conferred by nobody other than the Roman pontiff, is to be modified as follows. Those who have the conferring of these benefices and dignities may confer them validly, notwithstanding the said statute, but not till a month after the day on which the dignities and benefices have become vacant, and then only by themselves personally or, if they are at a distance, through their vicar-generals in their dioceses, to whom this charge has been canonically entrusted . 5
22. On not alienating the property of the church
22. {27} By this well-considered decree we forbid each and every prelate to submit, subject or subordinate the churches entrusted to him, their immovable property or rights, to lay people without the consent of his chapter and the special leave of the apostolic see. It is not a question of granting the property or rights in emphyteusis or otherwise alienating them in the form and in the cases permitted by the law. What is forbidden is the establishment or recognition of these laity as superiors from whom the property and rights are held, or making them the protectors, an arrangement which is called in the vernacular of certain places "to avow", that is, the laity are appointed patrons or advocates of the churches or their property, either perpetually or for a long period. We decree that all such contracts of alienation, even when fortified by oath, penalty or any other confirmation, which are made without the above leave and consent, and any consequences of these contracts, are entirely null; no right is conferred, no cause for prescription is provided. We decree moreover that prelates who disobey are automatically suspended for three years from office and administration, and clerics who know that the prohibition has been violated but fail to give notice of it to the superior, are automatically suspended for three years from receiving the fruits of benefices they hold in the church so oppressed. The laity indeed, who have hitherto forced prelates, chapters of churches or other ecclesiastical persons to make these submissions, are to be bound by sentence of excommunication, unless after suitable admonition, having given up the submission they exacted through force or fear, they set free the churches and return the property thus surrendered to them. Those also who in future shall compel prelates or other ecclesiastical persons to make such submissions are also to be excommunicated, whatever be their condition or status. Even when contracts have been or will be made with the due leave and consent, or on the occasion of such contracts, the laity are not to transgress the limits set by the nature of the contract itself or the law on which the contract is based. Those indeed who act otherwise, unless after lawful admonition they desist from such usurpation restoring also what they have usurped, incur automatic excommunication, and henceforward the way is open, if need be, to lay their land under ecclesiastical interdict.
23. On religious houses, that they are to be subject to the bishop
23 {28} A general council by a considered prohibition averted the excessive diversity of religious orders, lest it might lead to confusion. Afterwards, however, not only has the troublesome desire of petitioners extorted their multiplication, but also the presumptuous rashness of some has produced an almost unlimited crowd of diverse orders, especially mendicant, which have not yet merited the beginnings of approval. We therefore renew the constitution, and severely prohibit that anyone found henceforth a new order or form of religious life, or assume its habit. We perpetually forbid absolutely all the forms of religious life and the mendicant orders founded after the said council which have not merited confirmation of the apostolic see, and we suppress them in so far as they have spread. As to those orders, however, confirmed by the apostolic see and instituted after the council, whose profession, rule or constitutions forbid them to have revenues or possessions for their fitting support but whose insecure mendicancy usually provides a living through public begging, we decree that they may survive on the following terms. The professed members of these orders may continue in them if they are willing not to admit henceforth anyone to profession, nor to acquire a new house or land, nor to have power to alienate the houses or land they have, without special leave of the apostolic see. We reserve these possessions for the disposal of the apostolic see, to be used for aid to the holy Land or for the poor or to be turned to other pious uses through local ordinaries or others commissioned by the apostolic see. If the above conditions are violated, neither the reception of persons nor the acquisition of houses or land nor the alienation of these or other property is valid, and in addition excommunication is incurred. We also forbid absolutely to members of these orders, in regard to externs, the office of preaching and hearing confessions and the right of burial. Of course we do not allow the present constitution to apply to the orders of Preachers and Minors; their approval bears witness to their evident advantage to the universal church. Furthermore, we grant that the order of Carmelites and that of the Hermits of Saint Augustine, the institution of which preceded the said general council {29} , may remain as they are, until other regulations are made for them. We intend in fact to provide both for them and for the other orders, even the non-mendicants, as we shall see to be for the good of souls and for the good state of the orders. We grant also a general permission to members of orders to which this present constitution applies, to pass to the other approved orders on this condition: no order is to transfer itself wholly to another, no community is to transfer itself and its possessions wholly to another, without special permission from the apostolic see. '
24. On taxes and procurations
24 {30} The boldness of wicked people demands that we should not be satisfied with merely forbidding offences, but should inflict punishment on the offenders. The constitution of Pope Innocent IV, our predecessor of happy memory, forbade procurations to be received in the form of money, or the acceptance of gifts by pastoral visitors and their attendants. It is said that many rashly transgress this constitution. We wish it to be inviolably observed and have decreed that it should be strengthened by adding a penalty. We decree that one and all who presume, because of the procuration owing to them by reason of a visitation, to exact money or even to accept money from someone willing; or to violate the constitution in another way by accepting gifts or, without making the visitation, accepting procurations in food or anything else; are obliged to give back double of what they have received to the church from which they received it, and this within a month. If they do not, from that time patriarchs, archbishops and bishops who put off restoration of the double payment beyond the said period, are to know that entry into the church is forbidden them; and lower clergy are to know that they are suspended from office and benefice until they have made full satisfaction of this double to the burdened churches; the remission, liberality or kindness of the givers is to avail nothing.
25. On the immunity of churches
25 {31} Holiness befits the house of the Lord; it is fitting that he whose abode has been established in peace should be worshipped in peace and with due reverence. Churches, then, should be entered humbly and devoutly; behaviour inside should be calm, pleasing to God, bringing peace to the beholders, a source not only of instruction but of mental refreshment. Those who assemble in church should extol with an act of special reverence that name with is above every name, than which no other under heaven has been given to people, in which believers must be saved, the name, that is, of Jesus Christ, who will save his people from their sins. Each should fulfil in himself that which is written for all that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious name is recalled, especially during the sacred mysteries of the mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head. In churches the sacred solemnities should possess the whole heart and mind; the whole attention should be given to prayer. Here where it is proper to offer heavenly desires with peace and calm, let nobody arouse rebellion, provoke clamour or be guilty of violence. The consultations of universities and of any associations whatever must cease to be held in churches, so also must public speeches and parliaments. Idle and, even more, foul and profane talk must stop; chatter in all its forms must cease. Everything, in short, that may disturb divine worship or offend the eyes of the divine majesty should be absolutely foreign to churches, lest where pardon should be asked for our sins, occasion is given for sin, or sin is found to be committed. No more business is to be conducted in churches or their cemeteries, especially they are not to have the bustle of markets and public squares. All noise of secular courts must be stilled. The laity are not to hold their trials in churches, more especially criminal cases. The church is not to be a place for lay judicial inquiries. Local ordinaries should see that all this is observed, persuade where persuasion is needed, suppress by their authority what is forbidden by this canon. They should also depute for this purpose persons in the churches who are most assiduous and suitable for the above aims. Moreover, the proceedings of secular judges, and in particular the sentences passed in these sacred places, are to lack all validity. Those indeed who impudently defy the above prohibitions, in addition to the sanctions imposed by ordinaries and their deputies, will have to fear the sternness of the divine retribution and our own until, having confessed their guilt, they have firmly resolved to avoid such conduct for the future.
26. On usury
26. {32} Wishing to close up the abyss of usury, which devours souls and swallows up property, we order under threat of the divine malediction that the constitution of the Lateran council against usurers be inviolably observed. Since the less convenient it is for usurers to lend, the more their freedom to practise usury is curtailed, we ordain by this general constitution as follows. Neither a college, nor other community, nor an individual person, of whatever dignity, condition or status, may permit those foreigners and others not originating from their territories {33} , who practise usury or wish to do so, to rent houses for that purpose or to occupy rented houses or to live elsewhere. Rather, they must expel all such notorious usurers from their territories within three months, never to admit any such for the future. Nobody is to let houses to them for usury, nor grant them houses under any other title {34} . Those indeed who act otherwise, if they are ecclesiastical persons, patriarchs, archbishops or bishops, are to know that they incur automatic suspension; lesser individual persons, excommunication, colleges or other communities, interdict. If they remain obdurate throughout a month, their territories shall lie henceforth under ecclesiastical interdict as long as the usurers remain there. Furthermore, if they are layfolk, they are to be restrained from such transgression through their ordinaries by ecclesiastical censure, all privileges ceasing {35}
27 {36} Although notorious usurers give orders in their wills that restitution be made for their usurious gains, either in express terms or in general, ecclesiastical burial is nevertheless to be refused until full restitution has been made as far as the usurer's means allow, or until a pledge has been given of fitting restitution. This pledge is to be given to those to whom restitution is due, if they themselves or others who can receive for them are present. If they are absent, the pledge is to be given to the local ordinary or his vicar or the rector of the parish where the testator lives, in the presence of trustworthy persons from the parish (the ordinary, vicar and rector, as just mentioned, shall have permission to receive such pledge in their name by authority of the present constitution, so that these ecclesiastics have the right to action). The pledge may also be given to a public servant commissioned by the ordinary. If the sum owing from usury is openly known, we wish this sum always to be expressed in the pledge, if the amount is not clearly known, the sum is to be determined by the receiver of the pledge {37} . The receiver must make his estimate at not less than the probable amount; if he does otherwise, he is obliged to restitution for anything still owing. We decree that all religious and others who presume to grant ecclesiastical {38} burial to notorious usurers, contrary to this decree, are subject to the penalty promulgated against usurers at the Lateran council . Nobody is to assist at the wills of notorious usurers or hear their confessions or absolve them, unless they have made restitution for their usury or have given a fitting guarantee, as far as they can, as described above. The wills made in any other way by notorious usurers have no validity, but are by law null and void. {39}
28. On wrongs and the loss caused
28. {40} The distraints which in the vernacular are called "reprisals", by which some people are burdened in place of others, have been forbidden by the civil constitution as oppressive and contrary to the laws and natural equity. In order, however, that offenders may have greater fear of breaking the law where ecclesiastical persons are concerned, in accordance with the more particular prohibition of reprisals against them, we severely forbid the granting of reprisals against ecclesiastical persons or their goods. By this present decree we also forbid the extension of such reprisals, perhaps granted universally on pretext of some custom which we would prefer to call an abuse, to these persons. Those who act otherwise, by granting distraints or reprisals against such persons or extending the grant to include them, unless they revoke such presumption within a month, incur sentence of excommunication, if they are individuals; they are to be laid under ecclesiastical interdict, if they are a community.
29. On the sentence of excommunication
29. {41} The constitution of Pope Innocent IV, our predecessor of happy memory, forbids that those who communicate with excommunicated persons in matters carrying only a minor excommunication should be bound, without first receiving canonical admonition, by a major excommunication; the sentence of excommunication thus promulgated does not bind. In order to remove any scruple of ambiguity, we declare that the admonition is canonical only if, after all other formalities have been duly observed, it names the persons admonished. We decree also that in the course of the admonitions required for the sentence to be promulgated canonically, the judges, whether they give three admonitions or one for all three, should observe fitting intervals of some days, unless the urgency of the situation counsels otherwise.
{42} 30. By the present general decree we declare that the benefit of provisional absolution does not in any way apply to cities, villages or any other places against which a general interdict has been promulgated.
31. {43} Whoever, from the fact that a sentence of excommunication, suspension or interdict has been promulgated against kings, princes, barons, nobles, bailiffs or their agents or anyone else, gives leave to someone to kill, capture or molest, in their persons or goods or in those of their relatives, those who have published such sentences, or on whose account the sentences were published, or who observe such sentences or refuse to communicate with those so excommunicated, unless they revoke in time such permission, automatically fall under sentence of excommunication. If property has been seized on the occasion of such permission, the same sentence is incurred unless the goods are returned within eight days or satisfaction is made for the loss. All who have dared to make use of the permission, or commit on their own initiative any of the above crimes for which we have forbidden permission to be given, are bound by the same sentence. Those who remain under this sentence of excommunication for two months cannot henceforth obtain absolution except through the apostolic see.
{1} non-mitred ... other omitted in W
{2} one from the realm of Scotland omitted in W
{3} tow from the realm of Sicily ... Hungary omitted in o.
{4} Furthermore ... by our authority omitted in O.
{5} const. 29 in BN
{6} To all who by God's mercy (by God's mercy omitted in V 8) will see this present letter ... (the names follow, for which see Actenstuecke zur Geschichte des deutschen Reiches ..., ed. F. Kaltenbrunner (Mitteilungen aus dem Vaticanischen Archive, I), Vienna 1869, no. 52; Kuttner, Conciliar Law ... , 62. The scrolls are signed by the bishops of the individual nations, namely Italy, France, Germany, Ireland and Britain, Spain and Portugal, Provence, and the East, and by the abbots and priors of religious orders.) greetings in the author of salvation (the same words in a different order in V 3, 5). By this writing we bear witness that we have seen and carefully examined the constitution of the most holy father (the most holy father omitted in V 1, 7-8), our lord the lord Gregory X by divine providence pope, of the following tenor V
{7} const. 14 in BN
{8} With the approval ... council omitted in V W
{9} Furthermore ... fasting i.e. to the end of the constitution is omitted in V W, which have instead: On each and all of these points we reserve for us and our successors full freedom to declare (to change added in V 3, 5, 7-8), to add or to subtract, as will seem expedient for the common good. We therefore note the holy and pious intention of the same supreme pontiff, since in the said constitution he is concerned only with pleasing God and providing for the universal church. In it (In it omitted in V 1, 4, 6, 8) the supreme pontiff is not pursuing any private interest of his own, especially since the effect of the constitution extends to the time when he will no longer be among mortals. We also note how many dangers arose from the recent prolonged vacancy of the Roman church. For these reasons we accept, approve and expressly consent to the same constitution which obviates so many dangers. In testimony of which we set our seal to the present document. Continued in V 1-7: Given at Lyons on Friday
{10} const. 2 in BN
{11} const 3. in BN
{12} const 4. in BN
{13} on account ... see omitted in W
{14} const 5. in BN
{15} const. 6 in BN
{16} const. 7 in BN
{17} const. 8 in BN
{18} const. 15 in BN
{19} const. 18 in BN 20 const. 21 in B
{21} const. 10 in BN
{22} const. 22 in BN
{23} const. 16 in BN
{24} const. 9 in BN
{25} const. 17 in BN
{26} const. 27 in BN
{27} const. 26 in BN
{28} const. 28 in BN
{29} the institution ... council] which claim to have been founded before the said council W
{30} const. 11 in BN
{31} const. 23 in BN
{32} const. 24 in BN
{33} foreigners ... territories omitted in W
{34} Nobody ... title omitted in W
{35} In addition, sentence of excommunication is incurred by all who let houses to notorious usurers for usury or who allow houses to be granted under any other title W
{36} const. 25 in BN
{37} receiver ... pledge] ordinary himself W
{38} confession or absolution or communion or added in W
{39} Nobody ... void omitted in W
{40} const. 19 in BN
{41} const. 12 in BN
{42} const. 13 in BN
{43} const. 20 in BN

Council of Vienne 1311-1312 A.D.

Vox in excelso - 22 MARCH 1312
Ad providam - 2 MAY 1312
Considerantes - 6 MAY 1312
Nuper in concilio - 16 MAY 1312
1 DEC 1312
Licet dudum - 18 DEC 1312
31 DEC 1312
Licet pridem - 13 JAN 1313
[1] - the rational or intellectual soul is the form of the human body of itself and essentially
[28] - the Beghards or Beguines - 8 errors
[29] - usury is a sin
The general council of Vienne was summoned by pope Clement V with the bull Regnans in caelis, which he had written on 12 August 1308 at Poitiers (the Roman pontiff had remained in France from the year of his election, thus beginning the period of the church's history known as the Avignon captivity). The pope was subject to forceful pressure from the European states, particularly from France. Philip IV of France, the king who had opposed Boniface VIII so bitterly, had so much power over Clement V that he seems to have been able to change the whole state of ecclesiastical affairs at will. The council of Vienne is seen as an outstanding example of this political pressure, although the pope energetically defended the liberty of the church as far as circumstances allowed and he himself had the power. The council had been summoned for 1 October 1310 at Vienne. This city did not belong to the kingdom of France, though Philip IV in 1310 had occupied nearby Lyons by force. There were no general summonses and only 231 ecclesiastics were invited; the others however could employ a procurator .
The complaint against the Templars seems to have been the first and greatest concern of the council. Thus the bull convoking the council was written at the same time as Clement V summoned the Templar order to a canonical enquiry. Through the whole of Europe cases were heard concerning the order and individual Templars. This work had not been completed by 1310 and so the pope deferred the opening of the council to 1 October 1311. Events had moved, however, in such a way that the Templars' condemnation and Philip's victory seemed very probable. This placed the authority and freedom of the council under severe constraint.
The council began at Vienne on the 16 October 1311 in the presence of 20 cardinals, 4 patriarchs, about 100 archbishops and bishops, and a number of abbots and priors. From the sermon given in the first session by Clement V, three questions were seen as of greatest importance: the case of the Templars, the business of the holy Land, and the reform of the church. Clement-himself gave an account of the allegations which had been made against the Templar order. The work of the council was carried on outside the full assembly, that is to say, through a consistory of cardinals together with the pope, and through a committee which was elected by the council fathers from their own body and which seems to have acted in place of the whole council, the full assembly merely confirmed the decrees and bulls, promulgating them in the second and third sessions. A commission of cardinals was appointed in order to probe the grievances and advice put forward by the bishops and other fathers on the subject of church reform.
The council fathers gave long and careful consideration to the case of the Templars. It is likely that they preferred the order to be allowed to defend itself against the accusations than to condemn it too easily and without sure proof. However, "all the difficult questions which were considered in the council seemed to be left doubtful or unsettled, or else to be treated". So when the case was still unresolved in January 1312, the fathers devoted themselves to the business of the holy Land and to decrees which seemed timely for the reform of ecclesiastical morals. Regarding the former, the delegates of the king of Aragon thought the city of Granada should first be attacked and occupied in order that the enemy might be enfeebled by a threat to each flank. Other fathers and ambassadors favoured an expedition to the east only. As far as we know, however, after an agreement by kings and princes that a crusade to the holy Land was opportune and necessary, and the imposition of a tithe on all ecclesiastical provinces, no decision was taken.
Meanwhile in March 1312 Philip IV held a general assembly of his kingdom in Lyons, his object being to disturb and steamroller the minds of the council fathers and of the pope himself. Secret bargains had been made between Clement V and the envoys of Philip IV from 17 to 29 February 1312; the council fathers were not consulted. By this bargaining Philip obtained the condemnation of the Templars. It is most likely he used the threat that he would bring a public action against Boniface VIII. The king of France made for Vienne on 20 March, and after two days Clement V delivered to the commission of cardinals for approval the bull by which the order of Templars was suppressed (the bull Vox in excelso). In the second session of the council, which took place on 3 April 1312, this bull was approved and the pope announced a future crusade. The Templars' property, of immense value, was entrusted to other persons by the bulls Ad providam of 2 May and Nuper in concilio of 16 May. The fate of the Templars themselves was decided by the bull Considerantes of 6 May. In the bulls Licet dudum (18 Dec. 1312), Dudum in generali concilio (31 Dec. 1312) and Licet pridem (13 Jan. 1313) Clement V gave further treatment to the question of the Templars' property.
In the third session of the council, which was held on 6 May 1312, certain constitutions were promulgated. We do not know their text or number. In Mueller's opinion, what happened was this: the constitutions, with the exception of a certain number still to be polished in form and text, were read by the council fathers; Clement V then ordered the constitutions to be corrected and arranged after the pattern of decretal collections. This text, although read in the consistory held in the castle of Monteux near Carpentras on 21 March 1314 was not promulgated, since Clement V died a month later. It was pope John XXII who, after again correcting the constitutions, finally sent them to the universities. It is difficult to decide which constitutions are the work of the council. We adopt Mueller's opinion that 38 constitutions may be counted as such, but only 20 of these have the words "with the approval of the sacred council". The texts that we publish are taken from Hefele's edition (see above p. 334, n. 17) for the bull Vox in excelso, and from the edition of the Vatican register (= Regestum) for the other bulls; for the text of the constitutions, we have used Friedberg's edition of Corpus Iuris Canonici (= Fr).
[Where there is considerable doubt that a document is the work of the council it is in smaller print]
[Bulls and ordinances of the Roman curia concerning the order of the Templars and the business of the holy Land]
[1]. Clement, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting record. A voice was heard from on high, of lamentation and bitter weeping, for the time is coming, indeed has come, when the Lord shall complain through his prophet: This house has aroused my anger and wrath, so that I will remove it from my sight because of the evil of its sons, for they have provoked me to anger turning their backs to me, not their faces, and setting up their idols in the house in which my name is invoked, to defile it. They have built the high places of Baal in order to consecrate their sons to idols and demons. They have sinned deeply as in the days of Gibeah. When I learnt of such deeds of horror, at the dread of such notorious scandal -- for who ever heard of such infamy? who ever saw the like? -- I fell down at hearing it, I was dismayed at seeing it, my heart grew embittered and darkness overwhelmed me. Hark, a voice of the people from the city! a voice from the temple! the voice of the Lord rendering recompense to his enemies. The prophet is compelled to exclaim: Give them, Lord, a barren womb and dry breasts. Their worthlessness has been revealed because of their malice. Throw them out of your house, and let their roots dry up; let them not bear fruit, and let not this house be any more a stumbling block of bitterness or a thorn to hurt.
Not slight is the fornication of this house, immolating its sons, giving them up and consecrating them to demons and not to God, to gods whom they did not know. Therefore this house will be desolate and in disgrace, cursed and uninhabited, thrown into confusion and levelled to the dust, lowly, forsaken, inaccessible, spurned by the anger of the Lord, whom it has despised; let it not be lived in but reduced to a wilderness. Let everyone be astonished at it and hiss at all its wounds. For the Lord did not choose the people on account of the place, but the place on account of the people. Therefore the very place of the temple was made to share in the punishment of the people, as the Lord proclaimed openly to Solomon when he built the temple for him, to Solomon who was filled with wisdom like a river: But if your sons turn aside from me, not following and honouring me but going instead after strange gods and worshipping them, then I will cut them off from before me and expel them from the land which I have given to them; and the temple which I have consecrated to my name I will cast out of my sight, and it will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and shall hiss, and shall say, "Why has the Lord done thus to this temple and to this house?" And they will say : "Because they forsook the Lord their God who bought and redeemed them, and followed instead Baal and other gods, worshipping and serving them. Therefore the Lord has brought all this evil upon them'".
Indeed a little while ago, about the time of our election as supreme pontiff before we came to Lyons for our coronation, and afterwards, both there and elsewhere, we received secret intimations against the master, preceptors and other brothers of the order of Knights Templar of Jerusalem and also against the order itself. These men had been posted in lands overseas for the defence of the patrimony of our lord Jesus Christ, and as special warriors of the catholic faith and outstanding defenders of the holy Land seemed to carry the chief burden of the said holy Land. For this reason the holy Roman church honoured these brothers and the order with her special support, armed them with the sign of the cross against Christ's enemies, paid them the highest tributes of her respect, and strengthened them with various exemptions and privileges; and they experienced in many and various ways her help and that of all faithful Christians with repeated gifts of property. Therefore it was against the lord Jesus Christ himself that they fell into the sin of impious apostasy, the abominable vice of idolatry, the deadly crime of the Sodomites, and various heresies. Yet it was not to be expected nor seemed credible that men so devout, who were outstanding often to the shedding of their blood for Christ and were seen repeatedly to expose their persons to the danger of death, who even more frequently gave great signs of their devotion both in divine worship and in fasting and other observances, should be so unmindful of their salvation as to commit such crimes. The order, moreover, had a good and holy beginning; it won the approval of the apostolic see. The rule, which is holy, reasonable and just, had the deserved sanction of this see. For all these reasons we were unwilling to lend our ears to insinuation and accusation against the Templars; we had been taught by our Lord's example and the words of canonical scripture.
Then came the intervention of our dear son in Christ, Philip, the illustrious king of France. The same crimes had been reported to him. He was not moved by greed. He had no intention of claiming or appropriating for himself anything from the Templars' property; rather, in his own kingdom he abandoned such claim and thereafter released entirely his hold on their goods. He was on fire with zeal for the orthodox faith, following in the well marked footsteps of his ancestors. He obtained as much information as he lawfully could. Then, in order to give us greater light on the subject, he sent us much valuable information through his envoys and letters. The scandal against the Templars themselves and their order in reference to the crimes already mentioned increased. There was even one of the knights, a man of noble blood and of no small reputation in the order, who testified secretly under oath in our presence, that at his reception the knight who received him suggested that he deny Christ, which he did, in the presence of certain other knights of the Temple, he furthermore spat on the cross held out to him by this knight who received him. He also said that he had seen the grand master, who is still alive, receive a certain knight in a chapter of the order held overseas. The reception took place in the same way, namely with the denial of Christ and the spitting on the cross, with quite two hundred brothers of the order being present. The witness also affirmed that he heard it said that this was the customary manner of receiving new members: at the suggestion of the person receiving the profession or his delegate, the person making profession denied Jesus Christ, and in abuse of Christ crucified spat upon the cross held out to him, and the two committed other unlawful acts contrary to christian morality, as the witness himself then confessed in our presence.
We were duty-bound by our office to pay heed to the din of such grave and repeated accusations. When at last there came a general hue and cry with the clamorous denunciations of the said king and of the dukes, counts, barons, other nobles, clergy and people of the kingdom of France, reaching us both directly and through agents and officials, we heard a doleful tale: that the master, preceptors and other brothers of the order as well as the order itself had been involved in these and other crimes. This seemed to be proved by many confessions, attestations and depositions of the master, of the visitor of France, and of many preceptors and brothers of the order, in the presence of many prelates and the inquisitor of heresy. These depositions were made in the kingdom of France with our authorisation, edited as public documents and shown to us and our brothers. Besides, the rumour and clamour had grown to such insistence that the hostility against both the order itself and the individual members of it could not be ignored without grave scandal nor be tolerated without imminent danger to the faith. Since we though unworthy, represent Christ on earth, we considered that we ought, following in his footsteps, to hold an inquiry. We called to our presence many of the preceptors, priests, knights and other brothers of the order who were of no small reputation. They took an oath, they were adjured urgently by the Father, Son and holy Spirit; we demanded, in virtue of holy obedience, invoking the divine judgment with the menace of an eternal malediction, that they tell the pure and simple truth. We pointed out that they were now in a safe and suitable place where they had nothing to fear in spite of the confessions they had made before others. We wished those confessions to be without prejudice to them. In this way we made our interrogation and examined as many as seventy-two, many of our brothers being present and following the proceedings attentively. We had the confessions taken down by notary and recorded as authentic documents in our presence and that of our brothers. After some days we had these confessions read in consistory in the presence of the knights concerned. Each was read a version in his own language; they stood by their confessions, expressly and spontaneously approving them as they had been read out.
After this, intending to make a personal inquiry with the grand master, the visitor of France and the principal preceptors of the order, we commanded that the grand master, the visitor of France and the chief preceptors of Outremer, Normandy, Aquitaine and Poitou be presented to us while we were at Poitiers. Some of them, however, were ill at the time and could not ride a horse nor conveniently be brought to our presence. We wished to know the truth of the whole matter and whether their confessions and depositions, which were said to have been made in the presence of the inquisitor of heresy in the kingdom of France and witnessed by certain public notaries and many other good men, and which were produced in public and shown to us and our brothers by the inquisitor, were true. We empowered and commanded our beloved sons Berengar, cardinal, then with the title of Nereus and Achilleus, now bishop of Frascati, and Stephen, cardinal priest with the title of saint Cyriacus at the Baths, and Landulf, cardinal deacon with the title of saint Angelo, in whose prudence, experience and loyalty we have the fullest confidence, to make a careful investigation with the grand master, visitor and preceptors, concerning the truth of the accusations against them and individual persons of the order and against the order itself. If there was evidence, it was to be brought to us; the confessions and depositions were to be taken down in writing by a public notary and presented to us. The cardinals were to grant absolution from the sentence of excommunication, according to the form of the church, to the master, visitor and preceptors -- a sentence incurred if the accusations were true -- provided the accused humbly and devoutly requested absolution, as they ought to do.
The cardinals went to see the grand master, the visitor and the preceptors personally and explained the reason for their visit. Since these men and other Templars resident in the kingdom of France had been handed over to us because they would freely and without fear of anyone reveal the truth sincerely to the cardinals, the cardinals by our apostolic authority enjoined on them this duty of telling the truth. The master, the visitor and the preceptors of Normandy, Outremer, Aquitaine and Poitou, in the presence of the three cardinals, four notaries and many other men of good repute, took an oath on the holy gospels that they would tell the truth, plainly and fully. They deposed one by one, in the cardinals' presence, freely and spontaneously, without any compulsion or fear. They confessed among other things that they had denied Christ and spat upon the cross at their reception into the order of the Temple. Some of them added that they themselves had received many brothers using the same rite, namely with the denial of Christ and the spitting on the cross. There were even some who confessed certain other horrible crimes and immoral deeds, we say nothing more of these at present. The knights confessed also that the content of their confessions and depositions made a little while ago before the inquisitor was true. These confessions and depositions of the grand master, visitor and preceptors were edited as a public document by four notaries, the master and the others being present and also certain men of good repute. After some days, the confessions were read to the accused on the orders and in the presence of the cardinals; each knight received an account in his own language. They persisted in their confessions and approved them, expressly and spontaneously, as they had been read out to them. After these confessions and depositions, they asked from the cardinals absolution from the excommunication incurred by the above crimes; humbly and devoutly, on bended knee, with hands joined, they made their petition with many tears. Since the church never shuts her heart to the sinner who returns, the cardinals granted absolution by our authority in the customary form of the church to the master, visitor and preceptors on abjuration of their heresy. On their return to our presence, the cardinals presented to us the confessions and depositions of the master, visitor and preceptors in the form of a public document, as has been said. They also gave us a report on their dealings with these knights.
From these confessions, depositions and report we find that the master, the visitor and the preceptors of Outremer, Normandy, Aquitaine and Poitou have often committed grave offences, although some have erred less frequently than others. We considered that such dreadful crimes could not and should not go unpunished without insult to almighty God and to every Catholic. We decided on the advice of our brothers to hold an enquiry into the above crimes and transgressions. This would be carried out through the local ordinaries and other wise, trustworthy men delegated by us in the case of individual members of the order; and through certain prudent persons of our considered choice in the case of the order as a whole. After this, investigations were made both by the ordinaries and by our delegates into the allegations against individual members, and by the inquisitors appointed by us into those against the order itself, in every part of the world where the brothers of the order have usually lived. Once made and sent to us for examination, these investigations were very carefully read and examined, some by us and our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church others by many very learned, prudent, trustworthy and God-fearing men, zealous for and well-trained in the catholic faith, some being prelates and others not. This took place at Malaucene in the diocese of Vaison.
Later we came to Vienne where there were assembled already very many patriarchs, archbishops, selected bishops, exempt and non-exempt abbots, other prelates of churches, and procurators of absent prelates and of chapters, all present for the council we had summoned. In the first session we explained to them our reasons for calling the council. After this, because it was difficult indeed almost impossible, for the cardinals and all the prelates and procurators gathered for the council to meet in our presence in order to discuss how to proceed in the matter of the Templars, we gave orders as follows. Certain patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, exempt and non-exempt abbots, other prelates of churches, and procurators from all parts of Christendom, of every language nation and region, were concordantly chosen out of all the prelates and procurators at the council. The choice was made from those believed to be among the more skilful, discreet and apt for consultation on such an important affair and for discussing it with us and the above-mentioned cardinals. After this we had the attestations received during the inquiry read publicly in the presence of the prelates and procurators. This reading went on during several days, for as long as they wished to listen, in the place assigned for the council, namely the cathedral church. Afterwards the said attestations and the summaries made from them were considered and examined, not in a perfunctory manner but with great care, by many of our venerable brethren, by the patriarch of Aquileia, by archbishops and bishops of the present sacred council who were specially chosen and delegated for the purpose, and by those whom the whole council had chosen very carefully and earnestly.
We convoked therefore the said cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, the exempt and non-exempt abbots, and the other prelates and procurators elected by the council to consider this affair, and we asked them, in the course of a secret consultation in our presence, how we should proceed, taking special account of the fact that certain Templars were presenting themselves in defence of their order. The greater part of the cardinals and nearly the whole council, that is those who were elected by the whole council and were representing the whole council on this question, in short the great majority, indeed four-fifths among every nation taking part, were firmly convinced, and the said prelates and procurators advised accordingly, that the order should be given an opportunity to defend itself and that it could not be condemned, on the basis of the proof provided thus far, for the heresies that had been the subject of the inquiry, without offence to God and injustice. Certain others on the contrary said that the brothers should not be allowed to make a defence of their order and that we should not give permission for such a defence, for if a defence were allowed or given there would be danger to a settlement of the affair and no small prejudice to the interests of the holy Land. There would be dispute, delay and putting off a decision, many different reasons were mentioned. Indeed although legal process against the order up to now does not permit its canonical condemnation as heretical by definitive sentence, the good name of the order has been largely taken away by the heresies attributed to it. Moreover, an almost indefinite number of individual members, among whom are the grand master the visitor of France and the chief preceptors, have been convicted of such heresies, errors and crimes through their spontaneous confessions. These confessions render the order very suspect, and the infamy and suspicion render it detestable to the holy church of God, to her prelates, to kings and other rulers, and to Catholics in general. It is also believed in all probability that from now on there will be found no good person who wishes to enter the order, and so it will be made useless to the church of God and the carrying on of the undertaking to the holy Land, for which service the knights had been destined. Furthermore, the putting off of a settlement or arrangement of this affair of the Templars, for which we had set ourselves a final decision or sentence to be promulgated in the present council, would lead in all probability to the total loss, destruction and dilapidation of the Templars' property. This has for long been given, bequeathed and granted by the faithful for the aid of the holy Land and to oppose the enemies of the christian faith.
There were therefore two opinions: some said that sentence should immediately be pronounced, condemning the order for the alleged crimes, and others objected that from the proceedings taken up to now the sentence of condemnation against the order could not justly be passed. After long and mature deliberation, having in mind God alone and the good of the holy Land without turning aside to right or to left, we elected to proceed by way of provision and ordinance, in this way scandal will be removed, perils avoided and property saved for the help of the holy Land. We have taken into account the disgrace, suspicion, vociferous reports and other attacks mentioned above against the order, also the secret reception into the order, and the divergence of many of the brothers from the general behaviour, way of life and morals of other Christians. We have noted here especially that when new members are received, they are made to swear not to reveal the manner of their reception to anyone and not to leave the order; this creates an unfavourable presumption. We observe in addition that the above have given rise to grave scandal against the order, scandal impossible to allay as long as the order continues to exist. We note also the danger to faith and to souls, the many horrible misdeeds of so many brothers of the order, and many other just reasons and causes, moving us to the following decision.
The majority of the cardinals and of those elected by the council, a proportion of more than four-fifths, have thought it better, more expedient and advantageous for God's honour and for the preservation of the christian faith, also for the aid of the holy Land and many other valid reasons, to suppress the order by way of ordinance and provision of the apostolic see, assigning the property to the use for which it was intended. Provision is also to be made for the members of the order who are still alive. This way has been found preferable to that of safeguarding the right of defence with the consequent postponement of judgment on the order. We observe also that in other cases the Roman church has suppressed other important orders for reasons of far less gravity than those mentioned above, with no fault on the part of the brethren. Therefore, with a sad heart, not by definitive sentence, but by apostolic provision or ordinance, we suppress, with the approval of the sacred council, the order of Templars, and its rule, habit and name, by an inviolable and perpetual decree, and we entirely forbid that anyone from now on enter the order, or receive or wear its habit, or presume to behave as a Templar. If anyone acts otherwise, he incurs automatic excommunication. Furthermore, we reserve the persons and property for our disposition and that of the apostolic see. We intend with divine grace, before the end of the present sacred council, to make this disposition to the honour of God the exaltation of the christian faith and the welfare of the holy Land. We strictly forbid anyone, of whatever state or condition, to interfere in any way in this matter of the persons and property of the Templars. We forbid any action concerning them which would prejudice our arrangements and dispositions, or any innovation or tampering. We decree that from now on any attempt of this kind is null and void, whether it be made knowingly or in ignorance. Through this decree, however, we do not wish to derogate from any processes made or to be made concerning individual Templars by diocesan bishops and provincial councils, in conformity with what we have ordained at other times. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone ...
Given at Vienne on 22 March in the seventh year of our pontificate.
[2]. For an everlasting record. It belongs to Christ's vicar, exercising his vigilant care from the apostolic watch-tower, to judge the changing conditions of the times, to examine the causes of the affairs which crop up and to observe the characters of the people concerned. In this way he can give due consideration to each affair and act opportunely; he can tear out the thistles of vice from the field of the Lord so that virtue may increase; and he can remove the thorns of false dealing so as to plant rather than to destroy. He transfers slips dedicated to God into the places left empty by the eradication of the harmful thistles. By thus transferring and uniting in a provident and profitable way, he brings a joy greater than the harm he has caused to the people uprooted; true justice has compassion for sorrow. By enduring the harm and replacing it profitably, he increases the growth of the virtues and rebuilds what has been destroyed with something better.
A little while ago we suppressed definitively and perpetually the order of the Knights Templar of Jerusalem because of the abominable, even unspeakable, deeds of its master, brothers and other persons of the order in all parts of the world. These men were spattered with indecent errors and crimes, with depravity- they were blemished and stained. We are silent here as to detail because the memory is so sad and unclean. With the approval of the sacred council we abolished the constitution of the order, its habit and name, not without bitterness of heart. We did this not by definitive sentence, since this would be unlawful according to the inquiries and processes carried out, but by apostolic provision or ordinance. We issued a strict prohibition that nobody might henceforth enter the order or wear its habit or presume to behave as a Templar. Anyone doing otherwise incurred automatic excommunication. We commanded, by our apostolic authority, that all the property of the order be left to the judgment and disposition of the apostolic see. We strictly forbade anyone, of whatever state or condition, to interfere in any way regarding the persons or property of the order or to act in prejudice of the direction or disposition of the apostolic see in this matter, or to alter or even to tamper; we decreed all attempts of this kind to be henceforth null and void, whether made knowingly or in ignorance.
Afterwards we took care lest the said property, which over a long period had been given, bequeathed, granted and acquired from the worshippers of Christ for the help of the holy Land and to assail the enemies of the christian faith, should be left without management and perish as belonging to nobody or be used in ways other than those intended by the pious devotion of the faithful. There was the further danger that tardiness in our arrangements and dispositions might lead to destruction or dilapidation. We therefore held difficult, lengthy and varied consultations and discussions with our brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, with patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and prelates, with certain outstanding and distinguished persons, and with the procurators at the council of the chapters, convents, churches and monasteries, and of the remaining absent prelates, in order that, through this painstaking deliberation, a wholesome and beneficial disposal of the said property might be made to the honour of God, the increase of the faith, the exaltation of the church, the help of the holy Land, and the salvation and peace of the faithful. After especially long carefully thought out, deliberate and complete consultations, for many just reasons, we and the said fathers and patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, other prelates, and the outstanding and distinguished persons, then present at the council, finally came to a conclusion. The property should become forever that of the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem, of the Hospital itself and of our beloved sons the master and brothers of the Hospital, in the name of the Hospital and order of these same men, who as athletes of the Lord expose themselves to the danger of death for the defence of the faith, bearing heavy and perilous losses in lands overseas.
We have observed with the fullness of sincere charity that this order of the Hospital and the Hospital itself is one of the bodies in which religious observance flourishes. Factual evidence tells us that divine worship is fervent, works of piety and mercy are practised with great earnestness, the brothers of the Hospital despise the attractions of the world and are devoted servants of the most High. As fearless warriors of Christ they are ardent in their efforts to recover the holy Land, despising all human perils. We bear in mind also that the more plentifully they are supplied with means, the more will the energy of the master and brothers of the order and Hospital grow, their ardour increase and their bravery be strengthened to repel the insults offered to our Redeemer and to crush the enemies of the faith. They will be able to carry more lightly and easily the burdens demanded in the execution of such an enterprise. They will therefore, not unworthily, be made more watchful and apply themselves with greater zeal.
In order that we may grant them increased support, we bestow on them, with the approval of the sacred council, the house itself of the Knights Templar and the other houses, churches, chapels, oratories, cities, castles, towns, lands, granges, places, possessions, jurisdictions, revenues, rights, all the other property, whether immovable, movable or self-moving, and all the members together with their rights and belongings, both beyond and on this side of the sea, in each and every part of the world, at the time when the master himself and some brothers of the order were arrested as a body in the kingdom of France, namely in October 1308. The gift is to include everything which the Templars had, held or possessed of themselves or through others, or which belonged to the said house and order of Knights Templar, or to the master and brothers of the order as also the titles, actions and rights which at the time of their arrest belonged in any way to the house, order or persons of the order of Knights Templar, or could belong to them, against whomsoever of whatever dignity, state or condition, with all the privileges, indults, immunities and liberties with which the said master and brothers of the house and order of Knights Templar, and the house and order itself, had been legitimately endowed by the apostolic see or by catholic emperors, kings and princes, or by other members of the faithful, or in any other way. All this we present, grant, unite, incorporate, apply and annex in perpetuity, by the fullness of our apostolic power, to the said order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and to the Hospital itself.
We except the property of the said former order of Knights Templar in the kingdoms and lands of our beloved sons in Christ, the illustrious kings of Castile, Aragon, Portugal and Majorca, outside the kingdom of France. We reserve this property, from the said gift, grant, union, application, incorporation and annexation, to the disposal and regulation of the apostolic see. We wish the prohibition made a little while ago by other proceedings of ours to remain in full force. Nobody of any state or condition may intervene in any way as regards these persons and property in prejudice to the regulation or disposition of the apostolic see. We wish that our decree concerning these persons and property in the kingdoms and lands of the above kings should remain in full force until the apostolic see makes another arrangement.
Occupiers and unlawful detainers of the property, irrespective of state, condition, eminence or dignity, even if this is pontifical, imperial or royal, unless they abandon the property within a month after it is called for by the master and brothers of the Hospital, or by any of them, or by their procurators [. . .]. The property must be fully and freely restored to the order of Hospitallers and to the said Hospital, or to the master, priors, preceptors or brothers of the said Hospital, in any regions or provinces, or to any of them individually, or to their procurator or procurators, in the name of the said order of Hospitallers, even if the priors, preceptors and brothers and their procurators or any one of them have no special mandate from the master of the Hospital, provided that the procurators hold or show a special commission from the priors and preceptors or from any one of them, in the provinces or regions in which these priors and preceptors have been delegated. The priors, preceptors and brothers are obliged to give a full reckoning to the master concerning everything: conduct, actions, receipts and negotiations. The procurators are to render a similar account to the priors and preceptors, and to each one of them, by whom they were delegated. All who have knowingly given counsel, aid or favour to the occupiers and detainers mentioned above concerning such occupation or detention, publicly or secretly, lie under excommunication. Chapters, colleges or governing bodies of churches and monasteries, and the corporations of cities, castles, towns and other places, as well as the cities, castles, towns and other places themselves which were at fault in this, and the cities, castles and places in which the detainers and occupiers hold temporal lordship, if such temporal lords place obstacles to the giving up of the property and its restoration to the master and brothers of the Hospital, in the name of the Hospital, not desisting from such conduct within a month after the property is called for, are automatically laid under interdict. They cannot be absolved from this until they offer full satisfaction. Moreover the occupiers and detainers and those who have given them counsel, aid or favour, whether individuals or the chapters, colleges or governing bodies of churches or monasteries, as also the corporations of cities, castles, lands or other places, incur, in addition to the above-mentioned penalties, automatic deprivation of everything they hold as fiefs from the Roman or other churches. These fiefs are to revert freely without opposition to the churches concerned, and the prelates or rulers of those churches may dispose of the fiefs at will, as they judge will be to the advantage of the churches. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone . . .
Given at Vienne on 2 May in the seventh year of our pontificate.
Continued in E:
We therefore commission you by our apostolic letters, that acting together or in pairs or singly, directly or through one or more others, you induct the master or priors or preceptors or brothers of the Hospital, or any individual member, or their procurator or procurators, in the name of the Hospital, into possession of the house of the Knights Templar and of their other houses, churches, chapels, oratories, cities, castles, towns, lands, granges, places, possessions, jurisdictions, revenues and rights to all their other movable, immovable and self-moving property, with all their members, rights and belongings, both on the near and far side of the sea and in every part of the world, which the order, master and brothers of the Knights Templar had, held or possessed, directly or through others, at the time of their arrest. The Hospitallers are to be inducted by our authority and defended afterwards; occupiers, detainers, administrators and conservators are to be removed. You are to ask a full account from those who have been delegated by apostolic authority and any other, including those sub-delegated, to care for the aforesaid property. The account is to comprise all the fruits, revenues, incomes, rights and accretions. The occupiers or detainers, administrators, conservators and others, unless within the prescribed time they abandon the property and revenues, and restore them freely and fully to the order of the Hospital and to the same Hospital, or to the master, prior, preceptors or brothers of the Hospital, in the regions and provinces in which the property has been, including to each of them individually, or to their procurator or procurators, in the name of the Hospital, as said above, as well as those who give help, counsel or favour to the occupiers, detainers, administrators or conservators, are to be excommunicated by you, if they are individuals; but if they are chapters, colleges, convents or corporations, as well as the cities, castles, towns and places themselves at fault in this, and those in which the detainers and occupiers have temporal dominion and are obstructive when asked to abandon the property and restore it to the master and brothers of the Hospital, in the name of the Hospital, and refuse to desist from such conduct within a month, you are to lay them under interdict. The offenders are also to be deprived of all property which they hold in fief from the Roman or any other church. You will give notice everywhere where you think it useful and have it announced by others that the excommunicated persons are to be strictly avoided until they have made suitable satisfaction and merited absolution. No exception is to be made on account of any indult from the apostolic see to the effect that they cannot be laid under interdict, suspended or excommunicated by apostolic letters which do not make an express, full and word for word declaration. You are also to suppress any other objectors, if there be such, by ecclesiastical censure, disregarding appeals. It is our will also and we decree by our apostolic authority, that with the present instruction you all and singly are given power and jurisdiction in every detail of this matter. You may from now proceed freely as if this same jurisdiction were perpetuated by citation or by any other lawful way. The jurisdiction shall be considered perpetuated as though the case were no longer undecided. Each of you may continue the part which has been left unfinished by one of your colleagues, in spite of his opposition and unhampered, notwithstanding the constitution of pope Boniface VIII, our predecessor of happy memory, as often and whenever this is suitable. Given as above.
[3]. Clement, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for assurance in the present and for future record. The inquiries and various processes commissioned not long ago by the apostolic see through all parts of Christendom against the former order of Knights Templar and its individual members, concerning accusation of heresies, brought them into grave disrepute. In particular there was the accusation that the brothers of the former order at, and sometimes after, their reception denied Christ and spat in his dishonour on a cross held out to them, and sometimes trampled it underfoot. The master of the order, the visitor of France, the chief preceptors and many brothers of the order confessed at their trial to these heresies. The confessions cast grave suspicion on the order. In addition, the widespread disgrace, the strong suspicion, and the clamorous charges of the prelates, dukes, communes, barons and counts of the kingdom of France also gave grave scandal which could hardly be allayed without suppression of the order. There were many other just reasons mentioned in the legal process which influenced us. We therefore, with the approval of the sacred council, our heart filled with great bitterness and sorrow, suppressed and abolished the said former order of the Temple and its constitution, habit and name and we forbade its restoration. We did this, not by definitive sentence since we could not legally do this according to the inquiries and processes mentioned above, but by apostolic provision and ordinance. We reserved the persons and property of the order to the decision and disposal of the apostolic see. In doing so, however, we had no intention of derogating from the processes made or to be made concerning individual persons or brothers of the said former order by diocesan bishops and provincial councils, as we have ordained elsewhere.
Now therefore we wish to provide more suitably for individual persons or brothers. We reserved lately for our own disposition the master of the former order, the visitor of France and the chief preceptors of the holy Land, Normandy, Aquitaine, Poitou and the province of Provence, as well as brother Oliver de Penne, a knight of the said former order, whom henceforth we reserve to the disposition of the apostolic see. We have decided that all the other brothers should be left to the judgment and disposition of provincial councils, as we have indeed done until now. We wish judgment to be given by these councils in accordance with the different cases of individuals. Thus those who have been legally acquitted, or will be acquitted in the future, shall be supplied with the goods of the former order whereby they can live as becomes their state. With those who have confessed concerning the above errors, we wish the provincial councils prudently to temper justice with mercy: the situation of these men and the extent of their confessions are to be duly weighed. With regard to those who are impenitent and have relapsed, if any -- which God forbid -- be found among them, justice and canonical censure are to be observed. As for those who even when questioned have denied their involvement in the above errors, the councils are to observe justice and equity according to the canons. With the approval of the sacred council, we hereby cite those who have not yet been questioned and who are not held by the power or authority of the church but are perhaps fugitives, to appear in person before their diocesans within a year from today. This we assign them as a precise and final limit. They are to undergo an examination by their diocesans, receiving a just judgment from the said councils according to their deserts. Great mercy however is to be shown and observed both to these last and to those previously mentioned, except the relapsed and impenitent. They should also be provided from the property of the order with the necessities of life; all the brothers of the former order, whenever they return to the obedience of the church and as long as they persist in that obedience, shall be maintained as becomes the circumstances of their state. All of them shall be placed in houses of the former order or in monasteries of other religious, at the expense however of the former order itself according to the judgment of the said provincial councils; but many of them shall not be placed together at the same time in one house or monastery.
We order also and strictly command all those with whom and by whom the brothers of the former order are detained, to surrender them freely whenever required to do so by the metropolitans and the ordinaries of the brothers. If within the year those cited do not appear before the diocesans, as stated above, they incur automatically sentence of excommunication; and because in a case especially concerning the faith, contumacy adds strong presumption to suspicion, the contumacious who stubbornly remain excommunicate for a year are henceforth to be condemned as heretics. This citation of ours is made of set purpose and we wish the brothers to be obliged by it as if they had received a special citation personally, for as vagabonds they can in no way be found or at least not easily. In order, then, to prevent all subterfuge, we publish our edict in the present sacred council. And in order to bring this citation more assuredly to the knowledge of the brothers themselves and to the general knowledge of all, we shall have papers or parchments containing the citation and sealed with our bull hung or fastened to the doors of the principal church of Vienne. This will secure a loud and widespread publication of this citation, so that the brothers whom the citation concerns can claim no excuse that the citation has not reached them or that they were ignorant of it, since it is improbable that what is so openly made public to all can remain unknown or hidden to them. Furthermore, in order to observe greater precaution, we order the local diocesans to make public this edict of our citation, as soon as conveniently possible, in their cathedrals and in the churches at the most conspicuous places in their dioceses.
Given at Vienne on 6 May 1312 in the seventh year.
[4]. To all the administrators and guardians of the property of the former house and order of the Knights Templar, delegated by apostolic and any other authority. Recently we held, as the Lord so disposed, a general council at Vienne. There we gave long and careful consideration to the disposal of the former house and order of the Knights Templar. We thought it more acceptable to the most High, more honourable to those who worship in the true faith, and more useful for the aid of the holy Land, to grant this property to the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem, rather than to give it or even attach it to a new order to be created. There were some, however, who asserted that it would be better to confer the property on an order to be newly created than to attach it to the order of the Hospital, and so we were unable to obtain the result we hoped for. At last, however, by God's favour, on 2 May of this present month, with the approval of the sacred council, we judged that the property should be granted and attached and even united to the said Hospital or order. We made an exception, for certain reasons, of the Templars' property in the kingdoms and lands of our beloved sons in Christ, the illustrious kings . . . of Castile, . . . of Aragon, . . . of Portugal, and . . . of Majorca', outside the kingdom of France. We reserved this property for our disposition and that of the apostolic see, until some other arrangement be made by us and the apostolic see for its use to aid the holy Land.
We therefore strictly command all of you, by apostolic ordinance, to restore in full, in the name of the said Hospital and order, this property with the revenue gathered from it, after all expenses have been paid, to the master and brothers of the Hospital, or to restore individual items to the said Hospital's individual priors or preceptors of the provinces or cities or dioceses or places in which the property lies, or to the procurator or procurators of one or more of them, according to the terms of your commission, within a month of being so required. For this the master, brothers, priors and preceptors, or their procurator or procurators, shall fittingly commend you, and we shall rightly acknowledge your prompt and devoted obedience.
Given at Livron in the diocese of Valence on 16 May in the seventh year.{1}
[5].{2} Our redeemer, the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, loved so much the daughter of Zion, the holy Land, that he chose her as his inheritance and his own patrimony. He therefore, clothed with our flesh, honoured her with his presence and consecrated her by the shedding of his precious blood. But we mourn and bitterly lament that so noble an inheritance of our redeemer has been turned over to strangers and laid low by the frenzy of the Babylonian persecutor, trampled underfoot by the feet of the defiled. She is dishonoured by the vile grasp of the unclean Saracens, faithless enemies of the christian name. She has been occupied and wretchedly retained, the christian people have been savagely slaughtered. To the insult of the creator, to the outrage and sorrow of all Christendom, the name of Christ is horribly blasphemed by the filthy and detestable conduct of the enemy. This sad region therefore weeps under the lash and repeatedly laments to the vicar of Christ about this intolerable persecution. Wounded by her disgrace, she pleads with christian princes and the catholic people. She uncovers her wounds to those from whom she awaits the work of the healer. She demands liberation from those for whose salvation the author of salvation bore within her borders the suffering of the cross. All this and more besides, which the mind cannot fully conceive nor the tongue tell, rose to our heart and roused our mind as soon as we were called by divine favour, though unworthy, to the summit of apostolic dignity. We gazed tenderly at the doleful state of the holy Land and we applied ourselves to think out remedies by which, with the aid of heaven, that Land, freed from the enemy's criminal hands, might see, after the darkness of so many tribulations, the bright times of longed-for peace
For this and other holy works acceptable to God, to be advanced by his almighty power, we convoked a general council in the city of Vienne{3}. Then, together with our brothers the cardinals of the holy Roman church, the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and other prelates and our beloved sons in Christ the illustrious kings Philip of the Franks and Louis of Navarre, who were present at the council, as also some other eminent men and the procurators of the remaining absent prelates and of chapters, convents, churches and monasteries, assembled at the council, we held a long, complete and careful discussion on bringing aid to the holy Land. At last we resolved, with the council's approval, to succour the holy Land by a general crusade. Intending to use our apostolic power zealously to this end, and having duly weighed all we have said, we judged, with the approval of the sacred council, that a tithe should be imposed by our apostolic authority on all ecclesiastical revenues and incomes throughout the world. Only the persons and places belonging to the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and the other military orders were to be exempted. The tithe was to be collected and paid for six years to be reckoned from 1 January last, in fixed installments, as we should find best, and to be directed to helping the holy Land and opposing the infidels and the enemies of the catholic faith.{4}
But actually we reflected of late that our letters concerning the imposition, collection and payment of the tithe had not reached you by I January, nor could easily do so in a short time, on account of the great distance of those parts from the Roman curia. Wishing, then, to consult your ease and convenience, we have decreed that the six years are to begin in your region on I October next. We therefore ask, admonish and earnestly exhort you, also commanding you strictly by apostolic ordinance in virtue of obedience, to pay without difficulty the tithe for six years beginning from I October. The tithe is to be paid in the customary way, namely for the first half of the first year on 1 October next, and for the second half on I April immediately following, and in the same way for each of the remaining five years. Each of you is to pay it in full from your ecclesiastical revenues and incomes. If you fail to pay the tithe within the above periods, each of you automatically incurs sentences similar to those pronounced for nonpayment by you or by the suitable and trustworthy persons delegated by you to collect the tithe in your cities and dioceses.
Furthermore, you are to collect the tithe from our beloved sons, the abbots, priors, deans, archdeacons, provosts, archpriests and other prelates of churches, the chapters, colleges and convents of the Cistercians, Cluniacs, Premonstratensians, of saint Benedict and saint Augustine, of the Carthusians, Grandmontines and other orders, and other non-exempt secular and regular ecclesiastical persons, in your cities and dioceses, that is, each of you in each city and diocese. The priors, preceptors, masters and other persons and the places of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and of the other military orders are to be the only exceptions made. The tithe is to be collected by you or by other suitable and trustworthy persons delegated by you for this service in each of your cities and dioceses. It is altogether our wish and command that you should delegate such persons. We entrust to them and command them by this document to claim and collect it in full by our authority, in each of the cities and dioceses where they are delegated, from our beloved sons the abbots, priors, deans, provosts, archdeacons, archpriests and other prelates of churches, and the exempt chapters, colleges and convents of the above-mentioned orders, in your cities and dioceses. Only the priors, preceptors, masters, persons and places of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and of the said other military orders are to be excepted.
The tithe is to be claimed and collected in full from the ecclesiastical revenues and incomes, by our authority, in the customary way according to the years and periods mentioned above. The delegates are to collect it from both the exempt and the non-exempt: each is to hand over and assign it for each period to the person among you by whom he was delegated, without delay or as soon as he conveniently can. You are to compel them by ecclesiastical censure, without any appeal, to give you an account of the money claimed and collected from the aforesaid non-exempt persons, as well as to hand over and assign the tithe claimed and collected from both the exempt and the non-exempt. Public instruments are to be drawn up and other due precautions taken concerning the handing over and assigning of the tithe. In this way, when needed, it can be established how much, from whom, when and for what period the delegates received the money and how much, when and for what period they handed over and assigned it to each of you.
The money which has been duly claimed and collected by you and your delegates from the exempt and non-exempt persons and has been handed over to you, including that which has been claimed and collected by your delegates from the said exempt persons, as mentioned above, and also the money which you will pay from your own revenues and incomes, is to be put away by each of you, together with your cathedral chapter, beneath the church or even elsewhere, as you think best, in some more becoming and safe place. Here, at your expense and that of the chapter, you will have it guarded carefully and faithfully, to be consigned by each of you to our delegates as and when shall seem good to us, for the business of the holy Land and the service of the faith.
In order that you may more easily and effectively collect this tithe, we grant by this document full and unrestricted power to each of you to constrain by ecclesiastical censure directly or through your delegates, disregarding any appeal, the abbots, priors, deans, provosts and other aforesaid non-exempt persons, in your cities and dioceses. We grant the same power to your delegates, in each city or diocese for which they have been delegated, with regard to the abbots, priors, deans, provosts and other aforesaid exempt persons. This power may also be used to constrain any opponents and rebels. In addition, we grant full and unrestricted power to you to absolve in your cities and dioceses, after satisfaction has been made, the aforesaid non-exempt persons, and to your delegates regarding the aforesaid exempt persons who, because of non-payment of the tithe in due time, are bound by sentences of excommunication, suspension or interdict; also to dispense from irregularity contracted by celebrating divine worship or taking part in it while bound by one or more of the above sentences. In order that you and your delegates may have a reward for the labours undertaken, we enjoin on you the above things in remission of your sins.
The tithe is to be paid even if the apostolic see has granted an indult to you or some of you, or to the abbots, priors and other aforesaid exempt or non-exempt persons, or to anyone else, that you are not obliged and compelled to pay, or that you cannot be laid under interdict, suspension or excommunication by apostolic letters which have not made full and express mention of this indult and its tenor word for word, or of the names of your orders, localities and persons. The same applies to any privileges, indulgences, exemptions and apostolic letters which have been granted generally or specially in any form of words by the said apostolic see to any dignities, orders, places or persons, and of which and their whole tenor there should be made in our letters word for word, special, full and express mention. Consider, besides, that in these duties you are engaged in God's business, and that you are acting in the sight of him who sees all. You will therefore be obliged to render an account to him and to us; we intend to use all diligence in this matter. You will receive due reward from both him and us. You should therefore act prudently and carefully, not only to avoid the danger of punishment and confusion, but also to gain the glory of praise and well-deserved reward.
It is our wish also that each of you oblige the persons delegated by you for collecting the tithe, to swear that they will be diligent and careful in their work and to use this formula: "I swear . . . by you, lord . . ., who am delegated by the authority of the apostolic see and by the same see itself to claim, collect and receive a tithe of all ecclesiastical revenues and incomes from all exempt and non-exempt ecclesiastical persons in your city and diocese, that I will faithfully claim, collect, receive and guard this tithe which has been imposed by the apostolic see for the business of the holy Land and of the catholic faith. Only the priors, preceptors masters and other persons and places of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and of the other military orders are excepted. I shall not give way in this to any person, of whatever dignity, status or condition, whether from entreaty, fear, gratitude, favour or any other cause. I shall restore and consign the full tithe to you at your order. I shall render a final and integral account concerning everything in detail, namely to you regarding what I have claimed, collected and received from non-exempt persons, and to the delegate or delegates of the holy see regarding exempt persons. If you lay down your office in this matter, I shall do the same according to the orders of your successor. So may God help me and these holy gospels of God."
Given at Avignon on 1 December in the eighth year.
[6]. For future record. Not long ago, in the general council at Vienne, we transferred, with the approval of the sacred council, the property, rights, privileges, indults, immunities and liberties of the former order of the Temple to the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem. For the sake of greater peace and concord between prelates of churches and other clergy on the one hand, and the brothers of the order of the Hospital on the other, as also for other justifiable reasons, we suspended, in the last session of the council, all the privileges granted to the Hospital by the apostolic see, and with them as a necessary consequence the privileges of the former Temple, which should be thought of as belonging to the said Hospital and transferred to it. We excepted the privilege of exemption, if they had any. We wished these privileges to be suspended at our good pleasure. There are some, however, who assert on insufficient grounds that the suspension of these privileges of the Hospital does not extend to the privileges of the former order of the Temple. Although there is not the faintest reason for such an assertion, we wish to remove from their minds the slightest doubt that it was our intention, by the said suspension of the privileges of the order of the Hospital, to suspend the privileges of the former Temple, which have become by the transference those of the Hospital itself. We declare therefore by our apostolic authority and decree that these, like the other privileges of the Hospital, are and remain suspended.
Indeed, before the suspension, it was said in general by some of our brothers cardinals of the holy Roman church, to many of the prelates assembled at the general council, that there would be a suspension of the Hospital's privileges until everything that was still uncertain among the said prelates and other clergy, with regard to concord, lawsuits and disputes, had been completely settled. We observed, however, that if it was necessary to await the end of all these lawsuits and disputes, one little case might generate grave prejudice against the Hospitallers, and great loss might result from the continuing suspension of their privileges. We reflected that this might provide material for many misrepresentations. In the last session of the council, therefore, wishing to obviate such greater dangers, we judged it fitting to make known orally, clearly and openly, even for a third time, so that each and all might clearly understand, that we wished the said suspension of the privileges of the order of the Hospital to continue until we willed otherwise. We intend with the Lord's help to consider what is good for both sides and to make provision for both prelates and other clergy on the one hand, and the Hospitallers on the other, so that neither will have reason for complaint but both will receive due satisfaction. Let nobody therefore ...
Given at Avignon on 18 December in the eighth year.
[7]. For an everlasting record. Not long ago, under the Lord's providence, we held a general council at Vienne, at which we suppressed the former order of the Knights Templar of Jerusalem. We granted, attached and joined the Templar possessions, with the approval of the sacred council, to the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem, for the help of the holy Land; with the exception, for certain reasons, of their property lying in the kingdoms and lands of our beloved sons in Christ, the illustrious kings . . . of Castile, . . . of Aragon, . . . of Portugal and . . . of Majorca, outside the kingdom of France, which we reserved for our disposal and that of the apostolic see until we made other arrangements. Then, in the same council, we made some sound provisions for furthering the cause of the holy Land and others by which quarrels, scandals and discord might be prevented, and continuous peace and concord be established, between prelates of churches and other clergy on the one hand and the brothers of the Hospital on the other. We also made provision on other points relating to the reform of the order of the Hospital.
Actually, business has pressed upon us. It is like an ocean pouring into the apostolic see. The waters of care constantly harass our heart. We have not been permitted until now, and are still not permitted, to put into execution the arrangements we desire. In order that the fruit of such sound proposals may not perish through oblivion or pressure of business, but rather may be gathered up, by the Lord's will, at the opportune time, we have had the headings of these projected decrees inserted into the present document. Their drift is as follows. We wish that the transfer of property of the former order of the Temple to the order of the Hospital may, by our provision, be of advantage to the holy Land. We also wish that quarrels, scandals and discord be prevented between prelates and other clergy on the one hand and the brothers of the order on the other; that lasting concord be established between them; and that the order and its members be reformed, if and as this seems good. We have therefore made three special provisions regarding the order of the Hospital.
The first has to do with the holy Land. We shall have an exact and careful enquiry made into the past and present possessions of the order of the Hospital and their exact annual value. We shall wish to know fully the annual value of each old and new house of the order, and how much this represents each year in terms of assistance to the holy Land. On completion of this valuation, and taking into account the necessary local expenditure, we shall oblige the order to maintain continuously in the holy Land a certain number of brothers and knights. These brothers and knights are to labour effectively and strive to win the holy Land and keep it, as far as God grants. We shall arrange and provide that very few brothers of the order remain on this side of the sea. These shall be only those required to govern the houses of the order and those who are old, sick or unfit for war. The young and the strong, who are able to fight, shall be required to go and stay overseas so that the holy Land may have its needs met. The order will thus pursue the purpose for which it was instituted, as is only right and fitting. In this way it will not reserve for itself great wealth or many persons of quality. Rather, the order will lose all occasion for pride or the prosecution of idle enterprises, since the brothers and knights who drag their feet on this side of the sea will be far fewer than before. The property remaining behind will also be heavily and more than usually burdened as a result of our above-mentioned provisions.
We cannot impose on our successors the continuation of the above policy. Yet, in order to make this course of action possible and easier for them, we shall have the annual value of each house registered exactly in the Roman curia, and also the service which it will be able to provide each year for the holy Land, and the fixed number of brothers and knights required to stay overseas. We shall arrange that the registered material be kept permanently with the papal registers under our bull. Further, that there be no lack of carefulness or caution in this matter, we shall send the registered material under our bull to all christian kings to be permanently kept by them in order that if it should happen -- though may it not -- that this ordinance is not observed by the Hospitallers, the kings themselves, being informed in the above manner, may more quickly and fully know where the observance of this ordinance has ceased. As a result, they will also be moved to take care that it is observed.
Secondly, in order to establish tranquility and peace, as was said above, between the churches with their prelates and the order of the Hospital, we shall see that all the privileges of the order are fully shown to us. And although we have no intention whatsoever of taking away its exemption, if the order has such, or of granting exemption, if the order has none, we shall altogether take away any privileges, if such there be, which are odious or provide matter for quarrels, discord or scandals. If we happen to find areas of uncertainty which it is not advisable to remove, we shall clarify. In addition, we shall delegate in each province two of its prelates and one of our clerics or another cleric to provide more fully for concord, giving them full and unrestricted powers, so that simply and easily, and without the din of a court of law, they may hear and settle or make peace between the parties in all disputes and cases that have arisen or might arise for any reason between the aforesaid order and the churches and any ecclesiastics with regard to churches, tithes, first-fruits, procurations and any property or rights whatsoever. This is to include questions concerning the property and rights of the former order of the Temple. The parties may be summoned or not as they wish; charges may be laid or not, as they please. Before or after the delegates' decision there can be no appeal. Whatever they do or decide shall altogether be regarded as done or decided by us.
We shall also grant to them the power of regulating the procurations owed by the order to the bishops in different places so that, when and as seems good to them, they are converted into an annual payment as money to be paid by the order to the bishops. The bishops, on receiving such payments, are bound to visit at their own expense, at a time suitable for them, the places making them. If this regulation does not seem useful, the bishops will receive on visitation the procurations owed to them by the churches of the order, if these are able to pay them. If a church cannot pay the full procuration, the above delegates will make an estimate of the amount payable to the bishop as the procuration for that church. We shall also ordain that all churches which have annexed to them the cure of souls and belonged to the order of the Hospital on account of any right of the Temple, or even on account of any other rights which belong or shall belong to the Hospital, shall be subject in all spiritual matters to their diocesans, notwithstanding any privilege of exemption. Indeed, in order that everything decreed above may be fulfilled more quickly and without evasion on the part of the order, and that our good will may appear to everyone, we suspend entirely from now all the privileges for long granted by the apostolic see to the order, except for the privilege of exemption, if possessed, and we wish them to remain suspended at our pleasure.
Thirdly, concerning the order of the Hospital itself, we shall be making decrees regarding its regulation and reform. We shall be seeing and examining carefully the rules, statutes, form of government and progress of the order itself and of its members. We shall approve and confirm what is good. We shall clarify doubtful points that we find in need of revision in the order itself and in its personnel, both head and members. We shall restore the norm of truth, justice and regular observance with the equilibrium of reason and equity, to the advantage and welfare of the order and for the help of the holy Land. In this way the order itself will be preserved from decay and kept in a healthy and prosperous condition.
The prelates of France, after the above intentions had been explained to them, petitioned that we should take away the privilege of exemption, if the order of the Hospital possessed it, or at least suspend such exemption, just as we have decreed the suspension of the order's other privileges. These prelates also declared that, as long as the unlettered and simple brothers of the order remain under the care of their simple priests, and the prelates themselves are unacquainted with the brothers' deeds and consciences, they can be in grave danger of losing their souls through having the privilege of exemption, if they do in fact possess it. Our reply is that because of shortness of time we are unable here to formulate a full and determinate decree. As soon as we can conveniently do so we shall with the Lord's help decree and provide in this matter. Also, as these prelates earnestly petitioned us, it is our will and decree that just as individual catholic kings shall receive in writing the valuation of the order's revenues and the other relevant information, so each province ought to have and shall have the same document.
Also, in accordance with the petition of these prelates, we decree and determine that the compositions pending or made within the last ten years, which were extorted from churches and ecclesiastics through fear of the order of the Hospital and the order of the former Temple, do not disadvantage or harm the said churches and ecclesiastics in any way, and that if two prelates and a non-prelate delegated by us cannot reach agreement, then whatever is decided by one of the prelates and the non-prelate, or decreed by them by way of composition or agreement, shall have effect and full validity. Also, we wish to be as gracious as possible to the said prelates. Therefore we shall allow the two prelates delegated by us to raise in ready money the procurations of their dioceses while absent, and we shall have the non-prelate provided for in money from the property of the former order of the Temple. We shall also decree in accordance with the petition of the prelates of France, that Hospitallers who publicly receive excommunicated persons or those under interdict or notorious usurers for ecclesiastical burial, or for solemnizing their marriages or having them solemnized or permitting them to be solemnized in their churches against the law, or for administering the sacraments to outside parishioners or permitting this in their churches, incur automatic excommunication. And we strictly forbid the Hospitallers to trouble anyone unduly by use of apostolic letters. We shall also decree, in accordance with the petition of the same prelates, against the building of new churches or chapels, the erecting of bell-towers and the making of cemeteries; we shall provide adequate laws on these subjects to be observed by the Hospitallers.
Given at Avignon on 31 December in the eighth year of our pontificate {5}
[8]. For an everlasting record. Some time ago, in the general council held at Vienne under the Lord's inspiration, we suppressed the former order of the Temple for certain good reasons as explained in the letter of suppression. After long and careful deliberations with our brothers and the whole council, we bestowed on the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem, on the Hospital itself and on our beloved sons, the master and brothers of the Hospital, in the name of the Hospital and of the order of these men, who as the Lord's athletes expose themselves unfailingly to the danger of death in defence of the faith and have borne and still bear heavy loss overseas, the house of the Knights Templar and their other houses, churches, chapels, oratories, cities, castles, towns, lands, granges and all their other movable, immovable and self-moving property, together with all the members and rights and all that belongs to them, beyond and on this side of the sea and in all parts of the world, which the former order and its master and brothers had and comprised at the time when the master himself and some of the brothers were arrested as a body in the kingdom of France, namely in October 1308.
The property includes that which the Templars had of themselves or through others, and anything belonging to them in any way, with all their rights, privileges, indults, immunities, liberties, honours and charges. We donated and united all this forever to the Hospital and incorporated it into the Hospital, with the approval of the sacred council and from the fullness of our apostolic power, for the help of the holy Land. However, whatever rights belonged to kings, princes, prelates, barons, nobles and any other Catholics, before the arrest of the master of the former order of the Temple and of some other brothers, were to remain. We excepted from the said donation, union and incorporation the property of the former order of the Temple in the kingdoms and lands of our beloved sons in Christ, the illustrious kings ... of Castile, ... of Aragon, ... of Portugal, and ... of Majorca, lying outside the kingdom of France, which we reserved with good reason for the disposal of the apostolic see.
In the letter of donation, union and incorporation, however, through the carelessness, neglect or engagements of the scribe or secretary, mention was omitted of the non-violation of the rights of kings, princes, prelates and other persons concerned. Lest therefore any doubt arises in the future from such an omission concerning these charges and rights, and any prejudice be generated against the said kings, princes, prelates, barons, nobles and other persons, we, who desire that everyone retains his rights unimpaired, wishing to provide a suitable remedy in the matter for the said kings, princes, prelates, barons, nobles and any other Catholics, declare that we have made the above donation, union and incorporation to the order of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem, and to the Hospital itself and its master and brothers, in the name of the said Hospital and order, in the way expressed above. We determine and decree of our certain knowledge that, without violation of the property of the former order of the Temple donated to the order of the Hospital, together with all its privileges, indults, immunities, liberties, rights, honours and charges, for the help of the holy Land, nevertheless whatever rights belonged to kings, princes, prelates, barons, nobles and any other Catholics, at the time of the said arrest of the master and some brothers of the Temple, remain intact, unimpaired and exactly as they would be in everything as if they had been distinctly and expressly mentioned in the said letter of donation, union and incorporation. Let nobody therefore . . .
Given at Avignon on 13 January in the eighth year.{6}
[1]. Adhering firmly to the foundation of the catholic faith, other than which, as the Apostle testifies, no one can lay, we openly profess with holy mother church that the only begotten Son of God, subsisting eternally together with the Father in everything in which God the Father exists, assumed in time in the womb of a virgin the parts of our nature united together, from which he himself true God became true man: namely the human, passible body and the intellectual or rational soul truly of itself and essentially informing the body. And that in this assumed nature the Word of God willed for the salvation of all not only to be nailed to the cross and to die on it, but also, having already breathed forth his spirit, permitted his side to be pierced by a lance, so that from the outflowing water and blood there might be formed the one, immaculate and holy virginal mother church, the bride of Christ, as from the side of the first man in his sleep Eve was fashioned as his wife, in this way, to the determinate figure of the first and old Adam, who according to the Apostle is a type of the one who was to come, the truth might correspond in our last Adam, that is to say in Christ. This, we say, is the truth, fortified by the witness of that huge eagle which the prophet Ezechiel saw flying over the other gospel animals, namely blessed John the apostle and evangelist, who relating the event and order of this sacrament, said in his gospel : But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness - his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe.
We, therefore, directing our apostolic attention, to which alone it belongs to define these things, to such splendid testimony and to the common opinion of the holy fathers and doctors, declare with the approval of the sacred council that the said apostle and evangelist, John, observed the right order of events in saying that when Christ was already dead one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear. Moreover, with the approval of the said council, we reject as erroneous and contrary to the truth of the catholic faith every doctrine or proposition rashly asserting that the substance of the rational or intellectual soul is not of itself and essentially the form of the human body, or casting doubt on this matter. In order that all may know the truth of the faith in its purity and all error may be excluded, we define that anyone who presumes henceforth to assert defend or hold stubbornly that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body of itself and essentially, is to be considered a heretic.
All are faithfully to profess that there is one baptism which regenerates all those baptized in Christ, just as there is one God and one faith'. We believe that when baptism is administered in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, it is a perfect means of salvation for both adults and children. Yet because, as regards the effect of baptism in children, we find that certain theologians have held contrary opinions, some saying that by baptism guilt is indeed remitted in infants but grace is not conferred, others on the contrary asserting that both guilt is remitted and the virtues and sanctifying grace are infused with regard to habit though for the time being not with regard to use, we, considering the general efficacy of Christ's death, which through baptism is applied in like manner to all the baptised, choose, with the approval of the sacred council, the second opinion, which says that sanctifying grace and the virtues are conferred in baptism on both infants and adults, as more probable and more in harmony with the words of the saints and of modern doctors of theology.
[2]. Abbots and other religious holding any major ecclesiastical office may not, when it is a question of priories or other places subject to them, bring an action against anyone on the authority of letters of the apostolic see or its legates, except in such places and before such persons as is permitted to the priors and other persons in charge of the priories and other places. Nor is anything else of this kind permissible in the case of places belonging to the table maintenance of these abbots and other religious, except when these places have special officials in charge of them. If anyone presumes to molest someone in contravention of the above, he is to be condemned by the judge of the case to pay the expenses and for any damage. Any process contrary to this decree is null and void.
[3]. Although the chief official of a bishop, or a religious obtaining the office of conventual prior (even though that office is not customarily elective), may be delegated by the apostolic see or its legate, nevertheless we do not wish this to be observed in the cases of an official-forane or of a religious who is the claustal prior of his monastery.
[4]. Since prelates of religious orders occasionally neglect to fill vacant priories, churches, offices or other benefices pertaining to their disposition within the time prescribed by the Lateran council, the local diocesan bishops shall supply for this negligence by their own authority in the case of the non-exempt, and by apostolic authority in the case of the exempt. Those which have customarily been governed by the secular clergy shall be conferred on secular clerics, those which have usually been entrusted to or conferred on only religious shall be conferred on the religious of the monasteries whose prelates were negligent. The diocesan bishops, by the same authority, shall in no way permit the said prelates to apply such priories, churches, offices or benefices to their table maintenance, to impose new payments or to increase the old ones any new ones imposed or old ones increased shall be paid back. By the said priories, churches, offices and benefices we mean those that are not for the table maintenance of their prelates and customarily have their own priors, administrators or rectors, even though these priors and administrators can be freely recalled, if necessary, to the cloister.
In this matter we have decided to uphold the constitution of our predecessor pope Boniface VIII, which prohibits the property of vacant benefices to be appropriated by prelates or anyone else, as well as that other constitution of the same Boniface which forbids any religious to have several priories or churches with the cure of souls, even though the cure is exercised by someone other than himself and there is no danger to souls for the priories.
[5]. So that those who are obliged to divine office in cathedrals or secular collegiate churches, or will be so obliged in the future, may be more readily moved to receive sacred orders, we decree that nobody henceforth may have in such churches a voice in the chapter, even though this is freely granted to him by the others, unless he has received at least the subdiaconate. Moreover, those who now hold peacefully dignities, parsonages, offices or prebends to which certain orders are annexed, or will hold them in future, shall have no voice in the chapter unless, having no just impediment, they receive the corresponding orders within a year. They shall receive only half the payment made to those who assist at certain hours, all customs and statutes to the contrary notwithstanding. The penalties, moreover, which are decreed by law against those refusing to be promoted to orders, are to remain in force.
[6]. We wish to check, in the cases mentioned below, the expensive prolongation of lawsuits which, as experience teaches us, arises sometimes from overprecise observance of judicial order. We therefore decree that in cases concerning elections, postulations, or provisions, concerning dignities, parsonages, offices, canonries, prebends or any other church benefices, concerning tithes, even when those obliged to pay them have been admonished and can be corrected by ecclesiastical censure, and concerning matrimony or usury and anything connected with it, that a simple, easy process shall be valid without the noise and rhetoric of a court of justice. We wish this decree to apply not only to future business but also to the present, and even to cases awaiting appeal.
[7].Although it is generally forbidden by the sacred canons for a bishop to exercise jurisdiction in a diocese other than his own, we nevertheless make an exception for bishops who have been driven from their sees by the insolence of the ungodly and do not dare, from fear of their persecutors, to reside in their cities and dioceses or in any part of them, nor to exercise their jurisdiction there directly or through others. Lest the wrong done to their churches by their expulsions remains unpunished, we have considered it necessary to permit that in other dioceses, from cities or other prominent places near their churches, where they will be able to reside securely and to exercise freely their jurisdiction they may freely proceed against their expellers and their counsellors and supporters, as justice shall advise. (The cities and places must be such as are untroubled by these expellers and their counsellors and supporters. They are to be cited personally or to the bishop's house, if this can be done safely; if not, they are to be cited publicly in the cathedral church of the place or of their domicile.) If however the bishops have not dared to cite their expellers or their counsellors or supporters in this way, or if these have maliciously frustrated their being cited, it is lawful for the bishops to cite the expellers, counsellors and supporters, or to have them cited, on Sundays and festivals when the people assemble for divine worship, so that the accused may be presumed in all probability to have learned of the citation. This shall take place publicly in the churches of the cities or other prominent places, and then the bishops shall proceed against their persecutors, if they refuse to appear in the bishops' presence within a suitable fixed time, just as if the citation had been made legally elsewhere. We grant also to those bishops, lest justice suffer, authority to exercise full jurisdiction over their subjects from the other dioceses in which they have to stay, provided that they cannot or dare not do this, either directly or through someone else, in their own dioceses. The subjects, however, excluding the expellers or their counsellors and supporters, should not have to travel more than two days' journey from the boundary of their diocese. It is our will also that the bishops first seek permission from the diocesans of their places of exile; if they are not able to obtain this, they may nevertheless proceed as we have said. Of course if the said bishops have asserted that they did not dare to cite the expellers or their counsellors and supporters, personally or to the bishop's house, or publicly in their cathedral church, as has been said, or that they maliciously prevented the citation, or that the bishops cannot or dare not exercise jurisdiction in their dioceses either directly or through someone else against these persecutors, then we wish these assertions to be reliable, strictly enjoining the bishops, under threat of the divine judgment, that they do not assert or invent anything false or deceptive. The neighbouring bishops, when asked by the exiled bishops, should give notice or have notice given throughout their dioceses of the verdicts and the legal processes which the exiled bishops have judged necessary. No prejudice shall arise from the passage of time, or for any other reason, to the local ordinaries or to anyone else having jurisdiction in these places where the expelled bishops also exercise jurisdiction.
[8]. We strictly command local ordinaries to admonish by name three times clerics who publicly and personally engage in the butcher's trade or conduct taverns, that they cease to do so within a reasonable time to be fixed by the ordinary and never resume such trades. If after admonition they do not leave off or if they resume them at any time, then as long as they persist in the above ways of life those who are married shall automatically lose all clerical privileges, and those who are unmarried shall automatically lose their clerical privileges relating to things, and if the latter go about in every way as laymen they shall also lose automatically their personal privileges as clerics. As for other clerics who apply themselves publicly to secular commerce and trade or any occupation inconsistent with the clerical state, or who carry arms, the ordinaries are to be diligent in observing the canons, so that these clerics may be restrained from such miscon duct and they themselves may not be guilty of reprehensible negligence.
[9]. Since he who abandons the dress proper to his order, and puts on other clothes and wears them in public, without a good reason, renders himself unworthy of the privileges of that order, we ordain by the present constitution that any cleric wearing striped or variegated clothes in public, without a good reason, is automatically suspended, if he is beneficed, from receiving the revenues of his benefices for a period of six months. If however he does not have a benefice but is in sacred orders below the priesthood, he becomes automatically disqualified for the same period from obtaining an ecclesiastical benefice. The same penalty applies to other clerics having the tonsure yet wearing such clothes in public. He who holds a dignity, a parsonage or another benefice to which the cure of souls is annexed, as also any other priests and religious, whose outward garb should reveal their inner integrity, who without reasonable cause wear such clothing in public, or appear thus with a woollen band or linen cap on their heads, are, if beneficed, automatically suspended for a year from receiving the revenues of their benefices. Such other priests and religious are also disqualified for the same period from obtaining any ecclesiastical benefices. These and any other clerics who wear a gown or tabard which is furred to the edge and so short that the lower garment is clearly seen, if they are secular clergy or religious with administrative posts, are obliged to give the gown to the poor within a month. The other religious who do not have administrative posts are obliged within the same period to consign the gown to their superiors, to be used for some pious purpose. If this is not done, the above penalties, of suspension in the case of the beneficed clergy and of disqualification in the case of the rest, are incurred for the above period of time. To this penalty we add that clerics, especially those with benefices, may not wear in public chequered, red or green boots.
[10]. The following decretal, published a little while ago by our predecessor pope Boniface VIII, was revoked by our predecessor pope Benedict XI. Since, as results have proved, the revocation did not bring with it the peace hoped for by its author, but rather stimulated the discord which it was designed to allay, we annul it altogether and renew, with the insistence and approval of the sacred council, the said decretal published by Boniface which runs as follows.
"Boniface, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting record.
"Having been placed by the divine clemency on the chair of pastoral preeminence, burdened though we are by the many arduous affairs which flow like a torrent from all directions into the Roman curia, summoned by many cares distracted by many proposals, we nevertheless aim ardently and devote ourselves with ever-active solicitude so that, to the glory of the divine name, the exaltation of the catholic faith and the profit of faithful souls, after the thornbushes of disagreement have been rooted out and the intricacies of quarrels removed, the tranquility of peace may thrive with the ardour of charity, and unity of heart and mind may grow and persist, between the bishops charged with the care and rule of the Lord's flock and other persons in the clerical state. We know, and experience teaches us, that only in time of peace is the author of peace duly worshipped, nor are we ignorant that dissensions and scandals prepare the way to wicked acts, stir up rancour and hatred, and give boldness to evil living. For a long time past there has existed between prelates and rectors or priests and clerics of parish churches throughout the different provinces of the world on the one hand, and the friars Preacher and Minor on the other, grave and dangerous discord, produced by that enemy of peace, the sower of cockle, in the matters of preaching to the faithful, hearing their confessions, enjoining penances, and burying the dead who choose to be buried in the churches or lands of the friars.
"As an affectionate father rightly suffers with his children, we carefully considered and turned over in our mind the great danger and loss that such discord brings, and how detestable it is in the sight of the divine majesty. We therefore intend with all the energy of fatherly care to eradicate and remove it wholly, so that with the Lord's favour it may never revive in the future. We desire greatly that this business, so close to our heart, may be beneficially and speedily completed by apostolic sagacity. After careful deliberation with our brothers, we decree and ordain, with the advice of our brothers and by our apostolic authority, to the honour of God and the exaltation of the catholic faith and for the peaceful condition of the aforesaid parties and the salvation of the souls of the faithful, that the friars of the said orders may freely preach and explain the word of God to the clergy and the people in their churches and other places as also in public places, except at that hour only when the local prelates wish to preach or have someone to give a special sermon in their presence; at this hour they shall not preach, except the prelates decide otherwise and give special permission. In institutes of general studies, where it is customary to give a special sermon to the clergy on certain days, at funerals, and on special feasts of the friars, they are at liberty to preach, unless perhaps during the hour when it is customary to preach to the clergy in the above places the bishop or a higher prelate should summon the clergy in general to his presence, or for some urgent reason should assemble them. In parish churches, however, the said friars may not preach or explain God's word, unless invited or called to do so by the priests of the parishes, and with their good will and assent, or having asked and obtained permission, unless the bishop or higher prelate should through them commission a friar to preach.
"By the same authority we also decree and ordain that in each city and diocese in which the friars have houses, or in neighbouring cities and dioceses where they have no houses, the masters and priors provincial of the Preachers or their vicars, and the ministers general and provincial and the guardians of the Minors, should gather in the presence of the prelates of those places either personally or through friars whom they judge will be suitable delegates, and humbly request that friars chosen for the purpose may freely hear the confessions of those of the prelates' subjects who wish to confess to them, may impose salutary penances as they shall think right in God's eyes, and may grant absolution to them, with the leave, favour and good will of the prelates. The masters, priors, provincials and ministers of the orders are then to choose diligently sufficient persons who are suitable, of approved life, discreet, modest and skilled for such a salutary ministry and office. These they are to present or have presented to the prelates that by their leave, favour and good will, they may hear the confessions of those wishing to confess to them in the prelates' cities and dioceses, impose salutary penances and grant absolution, as has been said above. They are by no means to hear confessions outside the cities and dioceses for which they were appointed. We want them to be appointed for cities and dioceses, not for provinces. The number of persons to be chosen for this ministry ought to be in proportion to that which the number of clergy and people demands.
"If the prelates grant the permission requested for hearing confessions, the said masters, ministers and others shall receive it with thanks, and the persons chosen should carry out the duties entrusted to them. If the prelates do not accept one of the friars presented to them, another may and should be presented in his place. But if the prelates issue a general refusal to the friars chosen, we graciously grant, from the fullness of our apostolic power, that they may freely and lawfully hear the confessions of those wishing to confess to them and impose salutary penances, and then impart absolution. By this permission, however, we by no means intend to give more ample power to such friars than is granted by law to the parish clergy, unless perhaps the prelates of the churches think that such power should be given to them.
"To this decree and regulation of ours we add that the friars of the said orders may provide free burial everywhere in their churches and cemeteries, that is they may receive for burial all who have chosen these places for their burial. Yet, lest parish churches and their clergy, whose office it is to administer the sacraments and to whom it belongs by law to preach God's word and to hear the confessions of the faithful, should be denied their due and necessary benefits, since the labourer deserves his wages, we decree and ordain by the same apostolic authority, that the friars are obliged to give the parish clergy a fourth part of all the income from funerals and from everything left to them, expressly or not, for whatever definite purpose, even from such bequests of which a fourth or canonical part is not claimed by custom or by law, and also a fourth part of bequests made at the death or at the point of death of the giver, whether directly or through a third party. We set and also limit this amount to the fourth part by our apostolic authority. The friars are to see to it that bequests are not left to others from whom this fourth part is not owed, to the advantage or interest of the friars themselves, nor go in this way as gifts to these others; and that they do not arrange for that which would be given at death or in illness to the friars, to be given to themselves while the donors are healthy. We intend to prevent anything of this kind by binding the friars' consciences, so that if, which God forbid, any deceit or fraud has been practised by the friars themselves, contrary to their obligation to the said priests, rectors and pastors, a strict account will be demanded at the last judgment. The rectors of parishes, pastors and prelates may not, however, exact more than this portion, nor are the friars obliged to pay more, nor may they be compelled by anyone to do so.
"In order that everything may go forward evenly and peacefully with the Lord's favour, we revoke, void, annul and invalidate completely all the privileges, favours and indults granted orally or in writing, in any form or expression of words, by ourself or our predecessors as Roman pontiffs to any of the said orders, and also customs, agreements and contracts, in so far as these are contrary to the above provisions or any one of them. We declare all such privileges to be null and void. Furthermore, by this present decree, we earnestly ask and exhort, indeed we strictly command, all prelates of churches, of whatever pre-eminence, status or dignity, and the parish priests, pastors and rectors, out of their reverence for God and the apostolic see, to show friendliness to these orders and their members, not being difficult, severe, hard or austere to the friars, but rather gracious, favourable and kind, showing them a spirit of holy generosity. They should accept the friars as suitable fellow-workers in the office of preaching and explaining God's word and in everything else mentioned above, admitting them with ready kindness and affection to a share in their labours, so as to increase their reward of eternal happiness and the fruitful harvest of souls. Nor let them be unaware that if perhaps they act otherwise, the kindness of the apostolic see, which honours these orders and their members with great favour and holds them in its heart, will with good reason be roused against them, nor can it tolerate with good will such behaviour without applying a suitable remedy. The indignation, moreover, of the heavenly king, the just rewarder, whom the friars serve with all earnestness, will not be lacking."
[11]. There are religious who presume to usurp by cunning fraud, or under a feigned title, tithes on newly tilled land or other tithes owing to churches, to which they have no legal claim, or who do not permit or even forbid tithes to be paid to the churches on animals belonging to their familiars and shepherds or others whose animals intermingle with their flocks, or on animals which they buy in many places and then hand over to the keeping of sellers or others, thus defrauding the churches, or on land the cultivation of which they have entrusted to others. If such religious, after claim has been made by those whom it concerns, do not desist within a month from the above practices, or if they do not make fitting satisfaction to the defrauded churches within two months, they are and remain suspended from their offices, administrative posts and benefices until they have desisted and made satisfaction, as stated above. If these religious have no administrative posts or benefices, they incur, in place of suspension, the sentence of excommunication, from which they cannot receive absolution before making due satisfaction, notwithstanding privileges to the contrary. We do not wish, however, this decree to apply where animals are held by oblates of the religious, provided that these oblates have given themselves and their possessions to the religious.
[12]. If a tithe on the benefices of anyone be granted for a time, the tithe can and should be raised in accordance with the customary valuing of the tithe in the regions in which the grant is made, and in the money generally current. We do not wish the chalices of churches, books and other equipment destined for divine worship to be taken or received as security or distraint by the collectors, raisers or exactors of the tithe, nor are such objects to be distrained or seized in any way.
[13]. In order that those who profess poverty in any order may persevere more readily in the vocation to which they have been called, and that those who have gone over to a non-mendicant order may apply themselves to live there more peacefully the more the ambition which produces discord and division is checked, we decree, with the approval of the sacred council, that any mendicants, who even with apostolic authority shall go over to non-mendicant orders in the future or have hitherto done so, even though they now hold the office of prior or obedientiary or other offices, or have any care or government of souls in the non-mendicant order, shall have no voice or place in the chapter, even though this be granted freely to them by the others. They may not continue to hold the office of prior or obedientiary or other offices previously held, even as vicar or minister or deputy, nor may they have the care or government of souls either directly or on behalf of others. All actions contrary to this decree shall be automatically null and void, notwithstanding any privilege whatsoever. We do not however wish this constitution to extend to those mendicant orders which the apostolic see has allowed to continue on condition that they admit no more persons to profession, and to which it has granted a general permission for passing to other approved orders.
[14]. That nothing unbecoming or corrupt find its way into that field of the Lord, namely the sacred order of the black monks, or anything grow into a ruinous crop, but rather that the flowers of honour and integrity may there produce much fruit, we decree as follows.
We forbid the monks all excess or irregularity with regard to clothes, food, drink, bedding and horses. We decree that the upper garment next to their habit should be black, brown or white, according to the custom of the region in which they live. The quality of the cloth should not exceed monastic moderation, nor should they seek what is expensive and fine, but what is practical. The garment itself should be round and not slit, neither too long nor too short; it should have broad sleeves extending to the hands, not sewn or buttoned in any way. The monks should be content with an almuce of black cloth or fur in place of a hood together with the hood of the habit which they wear, or by arrangement of the abbot they may wear unpretentious hoods which are open over the shoulders. They should not wear silk in place of fur. They may use large summer shoes or high boots for their footwear. None shall presume to wear an ornate belt, knife or spurs, or ride a horse with the saddle highly ornamented with nails or sumptuous in any other way, or with a decorative iron bridle.
In communities in which there are twelve monks or more, the abbot, prior or other superior may wear within the monastery walls a frock of the cloth customarily used for the frocks and cowls of the monastery; other monks in monasteries where frocks are customarily worn should use them also. In other monasteries, however, and in houses and priories where there is a smaller community, they should wear cowls which are closed and of becoming appear ance. When the abbots, priors or other superiors and other monks set footoutside the monastery, they should wear a frock or a cowl or a closed cloak; if they wear the cloak, they should wear underneath it a cowl or, if they prefer, a scapular. When they put on albs or sacred vestments in order to minister at the divine offices, or when they are engaged in work, they may wear the scapular. Lest any uncertainty arises from the different meanings in different regions of the world of the words cowl and frock, we declare that by cowl we understand a long and full habit without sleeves, and by frock we understand a habit with long full sleeves.
At least once every month, both inside and outside the monastery, each and all of the monks must go to confession, and on the first Sunday of each month they should receive communion in the monastery, except for some reason which they should make known to the abbot, prior or confessor in the monastery; they should abide by his decision. When the rule is read in chapter, it is to be explained in the vernacular by him who presides, or by someone else appointed by him, for the sake of the younger monks. The novices shall have a competent instructor in the divine offices and in regular observance.
All shall always abstain from hunting and fowling. They shall not be present at them, nor presume to have hunting-dogs or birds of prey in their keeping or in that of others, nor permit familiars living with them to keep them, unless the monastery has woods, game preserves or warrens, or has the right to hunt on property belonging to others, in which there might be rabbits or other wild animals. They are then permitted to keep such dogs and birds, as long as they do not keep the hunting-dogs in the monastery or the houses in which they live or within the cloister, and the monks themselves do not appear at the hunt.
If someone rashly violates the above regulations, he shall be subject to the regular discipline. If he presumes to wear unlaced high shoes, or a hood not open as aforesaid, he is also suspended from conferring benefices for a year, if he is an abbot or a prior who does not have an abbot above him; if anyone else, he is suspended for a year from administrative office, if he holds any. If he has no administrative office, he is automatically disqualified for a year from holding such office or an ecclesiastical benefice. If any are deliberately present at rowdy hunting or fowling or occupied in other ways with dogs and birds, they incur automatic suspension and disqualification, according to the above distinction of persons, for two years. If the abbot or prior has been suspended from conferring benefices, this devolves, with the counsel and assent of the community or its greater part, on the claustral prior.
Some monks, as we hear, throw off the sweet yoke of regular observance and leave their monasteries, feigning that they cannot securely remain there, or under some other pretext, to wander about the courts of princes. Unless these monks' superiors grant them the pension or subsidy which they ask for, the monks conspire against their superiors, betray them or otherwise oppress them, bring about their capture and imprisonment, have their own monasteries burned, and occasionally even presume to seize in whole or in great part the property of the monastery. We wish to counter such unprincipled audacity. We forbid, by this perpetual edict, that monks and canons regular who are not administrators should presume, without special leave of their superiors, to betake themselves to the courts of princes. If, in order to do harm to their superiors or monasteries, they presume to go to such courts, we determine that they incur automatic excommunication. We nevertheless strictly enjoin on their superiors to restrain them with all diligence from visiting the said courts and from any wandering about; they are to correct severely those who do not obey. We decree that monks who keep arms inside their monastery, without leave of their abbot, incur the same sentence.
Following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we forbid by a perpetual edict that monks presume to live alone in houses and priories of which they have charge. If the incomes of such priories and houses do not suffice for the support of two, then, unless the abbots make them sufficient, let the local ordinaries, with the advice and consent of the abbots, unite these houses and priories with neighbouring places belonging to the monasteries, or with offices of the monasteries, or with one another, as will be most convenient. The monks of the places which will be united to others are first to be recalled to their monastery, and due provision is to be made, from the incomes of the said places, for the clergy who are to serve there. Furthermore, conventual priories cannot be conferred or entrusted to anyone under twenty-five, and non-conventual priories having the care of souls, even if that care is exercised by secular priests, to anyone under twenty. Those who hold priories of either kind are to have themselves ordained priest within a year from the time of their collation or commission and taking possession, or before the age of twenty-five if they are entrusted with or collated to non-conventual priories when they are under that age. If they have not done this, and are without reasonable excuse, they are deprived of the said priories, even without previous admonition, and the priories may not be conferred on them again that time. Nobody may be given or entrusted with a priory or an administrative post unless he has previously made profession in a monastic order. Those appointed to priories or administrative posts outside the monastery are not permitted to remain in the monastery and are obliged to reside where they hold office, notwithstanding any contrary custom, unless they are excused for a time from this residence for some reasonable cause, such as studies. In order to promote divine worship, we decree that every monk, at the command of his abbot, should have himself raised to all the sacred orders, unless there is some lawful excuse. Further, in order that the monks may not be deprived of the opportunity to make progress in knowledge, there should be in each monastery which has sufficient means a suitable master to instruct them carefully in the primary branches of knowledge.
All the foregoing, and those things which our predecessor pope Innocent III of happy memory decreed for greater religious observance in the monastic state, regarding clothing, poverty, silence, the eating of meat, the triennial chapter, and anything else, we approve, renew and expressly wish and decree to be strictly observed.
[15]. Considering that where discipline is despised, religion suffers shipwreck, we have thought it especially necessary to provide that such contempt produces nothing discordant in those who have dedicated themselves to Christ by vow, staining the good name of religious life and offending the divine majesty. We therefore, with the approval of this sacred council, have judged it wise to decree that every convent of nuns should be visited each year by their ordinary as follows: exempt convents subject to the apostolic see alone, by the authority of that see; non-exempt convents by the ordinary's authority, and other exempt convents, by the authority to whom they are subject. The visitors are to be very careful that the nuns -- some of whom, to our sorrow, we have heard are transgressors -- do not wear silk, various furs or sandals; do not wear their hair long in a horn-shaped style, nor make use of striped and multicoloured caps, do not attend dances and the banquets of seculars, do not go walking through the streets and towns by day or night; and do not lead a luxurious life in other ways. They shall carefully withdraw the nuns from the excesses and allurements of this world and persuade them to devote themselves in their convents to the cultivation of the virtues which is due to the Lord. We order the visitors to compel the nuns to observe all this by suitable measures, notwithstanding exemptions and privileges of any kind, without prejudice however to these exemptions in other respects. We also decree that anyone chosen for the office of abbess in those convents where it is customary for abbesses to be blessed, should receive that blessing within a year from the time of her confirmation in office. If she does not, unless there be reasonable cause, she has completely lost her right, and provision is to be made canonically for the monastery to be provided with an abbess by those to whom this belongs. We also order, by our apostolic authority, that those women who are commonly called secular canonesses and who lead a life like that of secular canons, making no renunciation of private property and no profession, should be visited by the local ordinaries, who are to visit the non-exempt on their own authority and the exempt on the authority of the apostolic see. By this, however, we are not intending to approve the status, rule or order of secular canonesses. We command the visitors, in making their visitation, to be content with two notaries and two persons from their own church and four other men of undoubted honour and maturity. Those who presume to hinder the visitors in their task or any part of it, unless they repent on being admonished, incur automatic excommunication, notwithstanding any privileges, statutes and customs to the contrary. '
[16]. The women commonly known as Beguines, since they promise obedience to nobody, nor renounce possessions, nor profess any approved rule are not religious at all, although they wear the special dress of Beguines and attach themselves to certain religious to whom they have a special attraction. We have heard from trustworthy sources that there are some Beguines who seem to be led by a particular insanity. They argue and preach on the holy Trinity and the divine essence, and express opinions contrary to the catholic faith with regard to the articles of faith and the sacraments of the church. These Beguines thus ensnare many simple people, leading them into various errors. They generate numerous other dangers to souls under the cloak of sanctity. We have frequently received unfavourable reports of their teaching and justly regard them with suspicion. With the approval of the sacred council, we perpetually forbid their mode of life and remove it completely from the church of God. We expressly enjoin on these and other women, under pain of excommunication to be incurred automatically, that they no longer follow this way of life under any form, even if they adopted it long ago, or take it up anew. We strictly forbid, under the same penalty, the religious mentioned above, who are said to have favoured these women and persuaded them to adopt the Beguinage way of life, to give in any way counsel, help or favour to women already following this way of life or taking it up anew; no privilege is to avail against the above. Of course we in no way intend by the foregoing to forbid any faithful women, whether they promise chastity or not, from living uprightly in their hospices, wishing to live a life of penance and serving the Lord of hosts in a spirit of humility. This they may do, as the Lord inspires them.
[17]. It happens now and then that those in charge of hospices, leper-houses almshouses or hospitals disregard the care of such places and fail to loosen the hold of those who have usurped the goods, possessions and rights of these places. They indeed permit them to slip and be lost completely and the buildings to fall into ruin. They have no care that these places were founded and endowed by the faithful so that the poor and lepers might find a home and be supported by the revenues. They have the barbarity to refuse this charity, criminally turning the revenues to their own use, even though that which has been given by the faithful for a certain purpose should, except by authority of the apostolic see, be applied to that purpose and no other. Detesting such neglect and abuse, we decree, with the approval of the sacred council, that they to whom the duty belongs by right or by statute laid down at the foundation of these places, or by lawful custom, or by privilege of the apostolic see, should strive to reform these places in all that has been referred to above. They are to restore what has been seized, lost and alienated. They should compel the persons in charge to receive the poor people and maintain them in accordance with the resources and revenues of the places. If they are remiss in this, we enjoin on the local ordinaries, even if the institutions enjoy the privilege of exemption, to fulfil each and all of the foregoing, either directly or through others, and to compel the nonexempt rectors by their own authority and the exempt and otherwise privileged rectors by the authority of the apostolic see. Those who object, of whatever state or condition they may be, and those who give them counsel, help or favour, are to be checked by ecclesiastical censure and other legal remedies. By this, however, we do not impair the validity of exemptions or privileges in relation to other matters.
In order that the above may be more readily observed, none of these places shall be conferred as benefices on secular clerics, even though this may have been observed as a custom (which we utterly condemn), unless it was otherwise determined at the foundation or unless the post is to be filled by election. But let these institutions be governed by prudent suitable men of good repute, who have the knowledge, good will and ability to rule the institutions, to take care of their property and defend their rights to advantage, to distribute their revenues faithfully for the use of needy persons, and who are not likely to divert the property to other uses. We lay these responsibilities on the consciences of those entrusted with these places, calling on the witness of the divine judgment. Those who are entrusted with the government or administration of such places shall also take an oath, after the manner of guardians, and make inventories of the property belonging to the place, and give an account each year of their administration to the ordinaries or others to whom these places are subject, or to their representatives. If anyone attempts to act otherwise, we decree that the appointment, provision or arrangement is null and void.
We do not wish, however, the foregoing to apply to the hospices of military or religious orders. For these hospices we order those in charge of them, in virtue of holy obedience, to provide in them for the poor in accordance with the institutes and ancient observances of their orders, and to show themselves duly hospitable. They shall be compelled to do this by strict disciplinary measures of their superiors, notwithstanding any statute or custom. Furthermore, our intention is that, if there are hospices which have had from old times an altar or altars and a cemetery, with priests who celebrate divine services and administer the sacra ments to the poor, or if the parish priests have been accustomed to do this, theseancient customs are to be retained.
[18]. We wish the constitution to be observed which forbids that anyone even at the presentation of exempt religious, be admitted to some church, contrary custom notwithstanding, unless a portion of the revenues of that church has been assigned to him in the presence of the diocesan bishop, wherewith he may be able to meet his obligations to the bishop and have a suitable means of livelihood. We are therefore taking care, with the approval of the sacred council, to explain the constitution and to add certain considerations. Thus we strictly forbid, adjuring the divine judgment, diocesan bishops to admit anyone presented by any ecclesiastical person having the right of presentation to some church, unless within a certain suitable period, set beforehand by the bishop for the presenter, the one presented is assigned, in the bishop's presence, a suitable portion of the revenues. If the one presenting neglects to assign this within the period, we decree, lest this neglect harm the presentee, that the bishop should then admit him, unless there is some other canonical obstacle, and the power of assigning is to devolve on the bishop as a penalty against the presenter. We admonish however the diocesan bishops, adjuring the divine judgment, and we lay it on their consciences, that they act justly in assigning this portion, nor are they to be knowingly swayed by hatred or favour or in any other way to assign more or less than what is due. Of course in the churches of priories or of other places, regular as well as secular, in which religious or others, to whom the revenues belong, have been accustomed to carry the burdens mentioned above the above instructions are not to be observed; but the said religious and others are obliged to undertake all the burdens which would lie upon the permanent priests or vicars if the portion had been assigned to them, to treat the priests and vicars correctly, and to provide them with adequate and fitting sustenance. We wish the diocesan bishops to compel the religious and others by ecclesiastical censure to full observance of all this, including the assignation of a just portion by the bishop if the religious and others fail to do this themselves, notwithstanding any exemptions, privileges, customs or statutes, which we wish to be of no avail to the religious and others with regard to the above.
[19]. Since it is only reasonable that those who enjoy advantages should not refuse the burdens connected with them, we decree by the following inviolable constitution that any religious who have in any way obtained monasteries or churches, should take care to pay the procurations of legates of the apostolic see and the obligations to bishops and others which were in force before they took possession, unless they are excused by privilege of the apostolic see, exemption or other lawful cause. We do not wish, however, that such privileges or exemptions should be extended to monasteries or churches which they may happen to acquire in the future.
[20]. We have heard with sorrow that prelates visiting the monasteries of the Cistercian order, although charitably received and courteously served with all that is needful, are nevertheless not content with the food prescribed by the monastic rule. Contrary to the privileges of the said order they demand meat and if it is not served to them, they obtain it by force. Although they receive suitable alms in these monasteries, the prelates procure more for themselves against the will of the religious, sometimes even in places where neither custom nor law provide a title to procurations. They demand and extort money for their horses to be shoed, even when this is unnecessary, and their cooks demand and extort money by reason of their office; nor do they observe the arrangements made between the prelates and the monks concerning procurations.
In receiving the procurations they are so oppressive that in one short hour they consume what would last the community for a long time. They have with them, while they are receiving the procurations, their hunting-dogs, falcons and hawks. Unless their demands are met, the doors of monasteries or churches are often violently broken and the ornaments of the church are carried off. Without any privilege from the apostolic see they receive several procurations in one day occasionally paid in money, even without making a visitation; and on the occasion of these procurations they often demand from the monks what these are not obliged to pay them, laying on the monks an intolerable burden. There are also some prelates who impose on exempt and other religious the greater part of procurations due to nuncios of the apostolic see and other extraordinary burdens, in order to free themselves and secular priests, without any consultation with the religious about dividing the load. In many other ways the said prelates oppress exempt monasteries and churches which are subject to these monasteries in both civil and canon law, in receiving their procurations and in imposing unaccustomed burdens.
We wish therefore to provide a suitable remedy for this state of affairs. We decree, with the approval of the sacred council, that if the bishops come to the said monasteries not for visitation but for hospitality, they should receive graciously the refreshment offered in charity to them. But if the bishops come to these monasteries and receive the procurations due to them by common law custom, privilege or any other law, they may if they wish be served with meat on days when it is permitted, in the houses of the monasteries if these are available, but outside the monastic precincts, notwithstanding any privilege to the contrary; if the houses are not available, they may be served within the monastic precincts but not inside the religious door, as it is called. Nor do we consider it unbecoming if the fragments which are collected from the tables of the bishops and the members of their households are collected up and given by the bishops' almoners to the poor of the area. The prelates are carefully to refrain from all the other oppressions mentioned above, if they wish to avoid the indignation of God and of the apostolic see.
[21]. By the present constitution we order local ordinaries, when the matter becomes known to them, to publish or have published by their subjects the sentences of excommunication and interdict pronounced by law against those who, either on their own initiative or at the command of others, exact or extort tolls or imposts, to the danger of their own souls and the disadvantage of those they oppress, from churches or ecclesiastical persons for goods that are their own, which they are not carrying or having carried or sending for the purposes of trade. They shall continue to publish such sentences until restitution is made for the exactions and fitting satisfaction is given.
[22]. We are gravely disturbed that, owing to the negligence of some rectors, their subjects fear no punishment and so are encouraged in bad behaviour. Many ministers of churches have cast aside clerical modesty. They ought to offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of their lips, in purity of conscience and devotion of mind. Instead they presume to say or chant the canonical hours in a hurried manner, omitting parts, mingling with them conversation which is mostly vain, profane and unbecoming. They come late to choir, or often leave the church without good reason before the end of the office, occasionally carrying birds or having them carried and bringing hunting-dogs with them. As if regardless of their clerical obligations, they presume to celebrate or be present at office, even though tonsured and vested, with an utter lack of devotion. There are some, both clergy and laity, especially on the vigil of certain feasts when they ought to be in church persevering in prayer, who are not afraid to hold licentious dances in the cemeteries of the churches and occasionally to sing ballads and perpetrate many excesses. From this sometimes there follows the violation of churches and cemeteries, disgraceful conduct and various crimes; and the liturgical office is greatly disturbed, to the offence of the divine majesty and the scandal of the people nearby. In many churches also the vessels, vestments and other articles necessary for divine worship are, considering the churches' means, unworthy.
We do not wish these transgressions to increase and become a bad example to others. We therefore, with the approval of the sacred council, forbid these practices. We decree that those whose duty it is -- namely the local ordinaries for the non-exempt and the superiors for the exempt and otherwise privileged-must exercise watchful, care to get rid of all negligence and carelessness, to reform the above-mentioned things and to correct each of them. Also, the day and night office is to be devoutly chanted at the proper hours in cathedrals and in regular and collegiate churches, and in other churches it is to be fittingly and duly celebrated, if ordinaries and superiors wish to avoid the indignation of God and of the apostolic see. They are to curb, if they have jurisdiction, those who oppose correction, by ecclesiastical censure and other suitable remedies. In this and other matters which concern the worship of God and the reform of morals, and also the honourable reputation of churches and cemeteries, they are to see to it, as far as duty binds them, that the sacred canons are inviolably observed, and they shall take care to be well acquainted with these canons.'
[23]. We think it altogether right and fitting that clerics, both religious and others, who belong to the household of a cardinal of the holy Roman church or of any bishop in communion with the apostolic see, should join with them in the divine office. We therefore concede, with the approval of the sacred council, that these clerics may lawfully say the same office as the cardinal or bishop, nor are they obliged to say any other.
[24]. Among the cares lying heavily on us there is one on which we reflect constantly: how we may lead the erring into the way of truth and win them for God with the help of his grace. This is what we seek earnestly and longingly, to this we direct our mind with great zeal, to this we are alert with an ever-attentive enthusiasm. We are in no doubt that to attain our desire, the word of God should be fittingly explained and preached to great advantage. Nor are we unaware that the word of God is learned in vain and returns empty to the speaker if it is directed to the ears of those ignorant of the speaker's language. We are therefore following the example of him whom we, though unworthy, represent on earth. He wished that his apostles, going through the whole world to evangelize, should have a knowledge of every tongue. We desire earnestly that holy church should be well supplied with catholic scholars acquainted with the languages most in use by unbelievers. These scholars should know how to train unbelievers in the christian way of life, and to make them members of the christian body through instruction in the faith and reception of sacred baptism.
In order, then, that skill in these languages be attained by suitable instruction, we have stipulated, with the approval of the sacred council, that schools be established for the following languages wherever the Roman curia happens to reside and also at Paris, Oxford, Bologna and Salamanca: that is, we decree that in each of these places there should be catholic scholars with adequate knowledge of Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldaic. There are to be two experts for each language in each place. They shall direct the schools, make faithful translations of books from these languages into Latin, and teach others those languages with all earnestness, passing on a skilful use of the language, so that after such instruction these others may, God inspiring, produce the harvest hoped for, propagating the saving faith among the heathen peoples. The salaries and expenses of these lecturers in the Roman curia will be provided by the apostolic see, those at Paris by the king of France, and those at Oxford, Bologna and Salamanca by the prelates, monasteries, chapters, convents, exempt and nonexempt colleges, and rectors of churches, of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, of Italy, and of Spain respectively. The burden of contributing shall be imposed on each in accordance with the needs of the faculties, notwithstanding any contrary privileges and exemptions, which however we do not wish to be impaired in other respects.
[25]. It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to christian princes where Saracens live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place, in the hearing of both Christians and Saracens and there make public declarations in his honour. There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. A great number of Saracens flock there quite openly from far and near. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated any further without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council's approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in christian lands. We enjoin on catholic princes, one and all, who hold sovereignty over the said Saracens and in whose territory these practices occur, and we lay on them a pressing obligation under the divine judgment that, as true Catholics and zealous for the christian faith, they give consideration to the disgrace heaped on both them and other Christians. They are to remove this offence altogether from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet. They shall also forbid anyone in their dominions to attempt in future the said pilgrimage or in any way give countenance to it. Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.
[26]. The apostolic see has received many complaints that some inquisitors, appointed by it to suppress heresy, have overstepped the limits of the power given to them. They occasionally so enlarge their authority that what has been wisely provided by the apostolic see for the growth of the faith, oppresses the innocent under pretext of piety and results in harm to the faithful. The work of the inquisition will be the more successful the more solemnly, diligently and cautiously its investigations are prosecuted. We decree therefore, for the glory of God and the increase of the faith, that this work will be done by both diocesan bishops and by inquisitors appointed by the apostolic see. All worldly affection hatred and fear shall be put aside, as also any seeking of temporal advantage. We decree that the bishops and the inquisitors may act independently of one another. They may summon, arrest or hold for sake-keeping, even securing those arrested hand and foot if it seems necessary. For this we hold them responsible. They may also inquire about those concerning whom inquiry seems right before God and just. The bishop, however, without the inquisitor, or the inquisitor without the diocesan bishop or his officer or the delegate of the chapter when the see is vacant, may not commit to harsh or close imprisonment, which seems more like punishment than custody, or subject anyone to torture or pronounce sentence on anyone, if they can have access to each other within eight days after seeking it; any contravention of this has no legal validity. If nevertheless the bishop, or the delegate of the chapter when the see is vacant, cannot or will not personally meet the inquisitor, or if the inquisitor cannot or will not personally meet either of the other two, the matter may be entrusted to their proxies or settled by counsel and consent through letters.
In regard to the custody of prisons for heretics, commonly called walls in certain regions, we have realized that much deceit has been practised of late, and we wish to obviate this. We decree that any such prison or wall, which we wish for the future to be for the joint use of bishop and inquisitor, shall have two principal guards, discreet, diligent and trustworthy, one to be appointed and provided for by the bishop, the other by the inquisitor. Each of these guards may have a loyal and trustworthy assistant. For each room of the prison there will be two different keys, one held by each guard. He may entrust or subdelegate his key to his assistant for the purpose of ministering to the prisoners. Furthermore, the guards, before they assume office, shall, in the presence of both the bishop, or the chapter while the see is vacant, and the inquisitor, or their substitutes, take an oath on the holy gospels, which they shall touch, that they will use all diligence and care in their duty of guarding those placed or to be placed in their custody on account of the crime of heresy; that one guard shall say nothing in secret to a prisoner out of hearing of the other guard; that they will administer faithfully and without any deduction the provisions which the prisoners receive from the administration and those that they may be offered by relatives, friends or other trustworthy persons, unless there is an order to the contrary from the bishop and the inquisitor or their deputies, and that in this matter there will be no fraud. The assistants of the guards shall take the same oath in the presence of the same persons before exercising their office. And since it often happens that bishops have their own prisons, not shared with inquisitors, we wish and strictly command that the guards appointed by the bishop, or by the chapter while the see is vacant, and their assistants, shall take a similar oath before the inquisitors or their substitutes. Notaries of the inquisition shall also swear in the presence of the bishop and the inquisitor or their substitutes, to exercise the office of notary faithfully. The same shall hold good of other persons necessary for the carrying out of this duty.
While it is a grave offence not to work for the extermination of heresy when this monstrous infection requires action, it is also a grave offence and deserving of severe punishment to impute maliciously such wickedness to the innocent. We therefore order bishops, inquisitors and their substitutes, in virtue of holy obedience and under threat of eternal damnation, that they proceed discreetly and promptly against those suspected of heresy, while not imputing maliciously or deceitfully such a disgraceful crime to an innocent person, or accusing him of hindering them in the execution of their office. If they fail, because of hatred, favour, affection, money or temporal advantage, to proceed against someone when they ought, against justice and their conscience, then the bishop or superior is suspended from office for three years and others incur automatic excommunication, in addition to other punishments imposed in accordance with the gravity of the offence. The same penalties apply if they presume for the same reasons to disturb someone with the imputation that he is a heretic or has hindered them in their duties. They shall obtain absolution from this excommunication only from the Roman pontiff, except at the hour of death, and then after making satisfaction. No privilege shall avail in this matter. We wish of course, with the approval of the sacred council, that any other rulings made by our predecessors concerning the office of the inquisition and not in conflict with the above are to remain in full force.
[27]. We do not wish the splendour of the faith to be obscured, as it were by a dark shadow, by the indiscreet and wicked acts of any inquisitors of heresy. We therefore decree, with the approval of this sacred council, that nobody below the age of forty may be entrusted with the office of inquisitor. We enjoin very strictly on all commissaries of inquisitors or of bishops or, in vacant sees, of chapters that they do not, under pretext of the office of the inquisition, extort money by any unlawful means from anyone, or knowingly attempt to apply the property of churches, on account of the offences of clerics, even to the treasury of a church. If the commissaries disobey, we place them automatically under sentence of excommunication. They cannot be absolved, except at the moment of death, until they have made full satisfaction to those from whom they have extorted the money; all privileges, pacts and remissions are of no avail. Notaries and officials of the inquisition, as also the brethren and associates of the inquisitors and commissaries, who have secret knowledge that the inquisitors and commissaries have committed such extortions, if they wish to avoid the indignation of God and of the apostolic see as well as offence to both, shall strive to correct the culprits severely in secret. If they have such knowledge as to be able to offer proof if need be, they should earnestly report the matter to the relevant superiors of the inquisitors and commissaries, and these superiors are obliged to remove from office those found guilty and then duly to punish or correct them in other ways. Superiors of inquisitors who fail to do this are to be informed of this decree by the local ordinaries, whom we strictly order in virtue of holy obedience to make known these affairs to the apostolic see. Furthermore, we strictly forbid the inquisitors themselves to abuse in any way the concession to carry arms, or to have any but the necessary officials for accomplishing the duties of their office.
[28]. We entertain in our heart a deep longing that the catholic faith prosper in our time and that the perverseness of heresy be rooted out of christian soil. We have therefore heard with great displeasure that an abominable sect of wicked men, commonly called Beghards, and of faithless women, commonly called Beguines, has sprung up in the realm of Germany. This sect, planted by the sower of evil deeds, holds and asserts in its sacrilegious and perverse doctrine the following errors.
First, that a person in this present life can acquire a degree of perfection which renders him utterly impeccable and unable to make further progress in grace. For, as they say, if someone could always make further progress, he could become more perfect than Christ.
Secondly, that it is not necessary to fast or pray after gaining this degree of perfection, for then the sensitive appetite has been so perfectly subjected to the spirit and to reason that one may freely grant the body whatever pleases it.
Thirdly, that those who have reached the said degree of perfection and spirit of liberty, are not subject to human obedience nor obliged to any commandments of the church, for, as they say, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Fourthly, that a person can gain in this life final beatitude in every degree of perfection that he will obtain in the life of the blessed.
Fifthly, that any intellectual nature in itself is naturally blessed, and that the soul does not need the light of glory to elevate it to see God and enjoy him blissfully.
Sixthly, that the practice of the virtues belongs to the state of imperfection and the perfect soul is free from virtues.
Seventhly, that to kiss a woman is a mortal sin since nature does not incline one to it, but the act of intercourse is not a sin, especially in time of temptation, since it is an inclination of nature.
Eighthly, that at the elevation of the body of Jesus Christ, they ought not to rise or show reverence to it; it would be an imperfection for them to come down from the purity and height of their contemplation so far as to think about the ministry or sacrament of the eucharist, or about the passion of Christ as man.
With the counterfeit appearance of sanctity they say and do other things also that offend the eyes of the divine majesty' and constitute a grave danger to souls. Since the duty of the office committed to us obliges us to exstirpate from the catholic church this detestable sect and the above execrable errors, lest they be further propagated and corrupt the hearts of the faithful, we condemn and utterly reject, with the approval of the sacred council, the sect itself and the errors described above, and we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to hold, approve or defend the errors. We decree that those who act otherwise are to be punished with canonical censure. The diocesans and the inquisitors of heresy for the regions where these Beghards and Beguines live, are to exercise their office with special care concerning them, making inquiries about their life and behaviour and about their beliefs in relation to the articles of faith and the sacraments of the church. They are to impose due punishment on those whom they find guilty, unless there is voluntary abjuration of the above errors and repentance with fitting satisfaction.
[29]. Serious suggestions have been made to us that communities in certain places, to the divine displeasure and injury of the neighbour, in violation of both divine and human law, approve of usury. By their statutes, sometimes confirmed by oath, they not only grant that usury may be demanded and paid, but deliberately compel debtors to pay it. By these statutes they impose heavy burdens on those claiming the return of usurious payments, employing also various pretexts and ingenious frauds to hinder the return. We, therefore, wishing to get rid of these pernicious practices, decree with the approval of the sacred council that all the magistrates, captains, rulers, consuls, judges, counsellors or any other officials of these communities who presume in the future to make, write or dictate such statutes, or knowingly decide that usury be paid or, if paid, that it be not fully and freely restored when claimed, incur the sentence of excommunication. They shall also incur the same sentence unless within three months they delete from the books of their communities, if they have the power, statutes of this kind hitherto published, or if they presume to observe in any way these statutes or customs. Furthermore, since money-lenders for the most part enter into usurious contracts so frequently with secrecy and guile that they can be convicted only with difficulty, we decree that they be compelled by ecclesiastical censure to open their account books, when there is question of usury. If indeed someone has fallen into the error of presuming to affirm pertinaciously that the practice of usury is not sinful, we decree that he is to be punished as a heretic; and we strictly enjoin on local ordinaries and inquisitors of heresy to proceed against those they find suspect of such error as they would against those suspected of heresy.
[30]. Complaints, loud, frequent and incessant come to us from certain religious that very many prelates -- bishops, their superiors and others-unjustly disturb in many ways the peace of the religious. Some of them seize and imprison exempt religious when the law does not permit this. Some, by threat of severe penalties, hinder those who owe tithes or revenues to exempt religious from paying and prevent people from hearing their masses. They suspend, interdict and excommunicate without reasonable cause the millers of the religious, their cooks, servants, vassals, and members of household, and anyone who has any relation with them, occasionally also seizing unlawfully their goods. They in no way submit to the appeals which the said exempt religious sometimes make with good reason, because of the foregoing or other oppressions. They now and then seize the appellants on the occasion of these appeals, or they have them seized and thrown into prison.
There are some prelates, moreover, who without lawful cause do not permit chaplains to celebrate nor to administer the sacraments to the parishioners in churches belonging fully and lawfully to the exempt religious. There are even some prelates who with indiscreet haste unjustly suspend, excommunicate, seize and imprison exempt abbots, monks and laybrothers, as also clerics legally subject to them, and lay under interdict their churches and houses, if they do not obey even in matters where there is no obligation. In addition, the prelates exceed all measure in claiming charitable aid from the exempt religious themselves and from those subject to them. Contrary to law they make demands which are unjust and unusual. They lay new taxes and unfair burdens on parish churches in which exempt religious have the right of patronage. They do not permit legal actions and decisions justly made in favour of the exempt religious, by delegates of the apostolic see or by conservators, to be made public or to be put into execution by their subjects. They restrain public notaries from drawing up instruments, judges from administering justice, and lawyers from giving counsel or aid in the suits or legal business of the exempt religious.
The prelates also refuse to admit to orders or benefices those presented by exempt religious who have the right of presentation, unless the presenters profess obedience in the greeting of the letter of presentation. Furthermore, these prelates, when the churches for which monasteries have the right of patronage become vacant, turn away the suitable persons presented to them and appoint people who are incompetent and unworthy. Certain prelates confer churches, which have the cure of souls and belong to the table maintenance of abbots, and the revenues of which they sometimes hand over for a rent to secular clerics, on their own clergy at the death of those secular clerics, even though the churches because of this are not truly vacant. Some prelates appropriate unjustly for themselves the rights of monks in churches belonging to monasteries, and so regulate the disposal of the revenues that not enough remains for the livelihood of the rectors.
Some prelates, armed and with standards hoisted, destroy the mills and other property of exempt religious, disregarding all justice, even when the religious have been in possession from time immemorial. Prelates also often send their relatives and nephews to the monasteries in their cities and dioceses, occasionally with their animals and herdsmen, with the demand that they be provided for. Often also prelates compel abbots and priors of monasteries to grant the possessions of their monasteries or priories to their kindred and nephews either perpetually or for a period; these grants or pensions we wish to be of no consequence in law. They also compel the abbots and priors to present to them for vacant churches in which the monks have the right of patronage, and occasionally to receive into their order, their friends, kindred and nephews. Frequently also they permit and tacitly consent to the seizure, in the prelates' temporal domains, of movable and immovable property of the monasteries in cases not permitted by law, by the prelates' soldiers, vassals and secular officials. They also outrage in various other ways both the clerical and lay persons of the monasteries.
Besides, the prelates occasionally deprive unjustly of their benefices abbots, priors and others, so that if they can take the revenues of the benefices in the first year, under pretext of a privilege which they claim to have, then they may be able to receive the first year's revenues of vacant benefices for a certain time. Not content with this, they seize unlawfully horses, cattle, treasure and other property of monasteries and vacant benefices which should be reserved for posterity. Some prelates sell for a time to knights and other powerful persons the revenues and incomes of their dignities, in order to oppress the neighbouring exempt religious more heavily by means of these people. Some even destroy monasteries without just cause. Others often seize houses, hospitals and other property of the monasteries, both movable and immovable, and retain what they have seized. Many times also, without just cause, they prevent exempt religious from repairing their houses. Certain prelates enact statutes derogatory to the privileges of the exempt religious. And in general, very many prelates unjustly inflict grave injury and loss on religious, especially on those who are exempt and have privileges: on their persons, property and rights, both spiritual and temporal.
Since however there is for both regulars and seculars, for superiors and subjects, for exempt and non-exempt, one universal church, outside of which there is no salvation, for all of whom there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism, it is right that all who are of the same body should be of one will, and as brethren bound to one another by the bond of charity. It is right therefore that both prelates and others, exempt and non-exempt, should be content with their rights and abstain from inflicting injury or loss on one another. We therefore strictly command, by the present decree, all prelates of churches that they desist altogether from the oppression described above, and see to it that their subjects do likewise. They are to treat religious men, whether exempt or having privileges or non-exempt, both mendicant and non-mendicant, with charity, and they are to encourage them. They are to respect their rights and privileges as inviolable. And since what is specially forbidden is feared more than what is forbidden merely in general, we forbid most strictly that prelates presume to hinder in any way abbots, priors and other religious from going to their general or provincial chapters.
[31 ]. Religious who presume to administer the sacrament of extreme unction or the eucharist to clerics or lay people or to solemnise marriages, without the special leave of the parish priest, or to absolve those excommunicated by canon law, except in cases expressed in law or granted to them by privilege of the apostolic see, or those excommunicated by sentences promulgated by provincial or synodal statutes, or (to use their own words) to absolve anyone from punishment and guilt, incur automatic excommunication. They are to be absolved only by the apostolic see. The local ordinaries are to announce publicly that they are excommunicated, once this is established, until notified of their absolution. The religious can make no valid appeal in this matter to any exemption or privilege. We also strictly forbid religious, in virtue of holy obedience and under threat of eternal malediction, to disparage prelates in their sermons or to draw the laity away from their churches, to publish false indulgences, to restrain testators, when present at the making of their wills, from making due restitutions or legacies to their mother churches, or to bring about that money legacies, or money owed or perhaps unjustly taken, should come or be bequeathed to themselves or to other individuals of their order, or to their houses, to the detriment of other people. Nor are they to absolve anyone in cases reserved to the apostolic see or to the local ordinaries. They are not to annoy unreasonably ecclesiastical persons who prosecute justice against them, especially before judges delegated by us, nor are they to bring them to court in more than one place, especially if these places are distant.
Those who presume to act contrary to this decree are subject for two months to the penalties usually imposed by their rule or statutes on those who commit grave crimes or faults. Dispensation shall not be granted without manifest necessity. Their superiors, besides, unless after these excesses they make full satisfaction within a month to the churches or ecclesiastical persons harmed or offended, after being required to do so, incur automatic suspension until they have made due satisfaction, notwithstanding statutes or privileges of whatever tenor. Of course the religious who have been granted permission by the aposto lic see to administer the sacraments to members of their household or to the poorin their hospices, are not affected by this decree.
[32]. With the approval of the sacred council, we grant by this present constitution to an archbishop passing through, or perhaps turning aside, to exempt localities of his diocese to have the cross carried openly before him, to bless the people, to hear the divine offices there privately or publicly, also to celebrate them in pontificals and to have them celebrated in his presence without pontificals, notwithstanding any contrary privilege. In like manner we grant to a bishop that in exempt localities of his diocese he may bless the people, hear the divine offices and celebrate them there, as also have them celebrated in his presence. Under pretext of this concession, however, the archbishop or bishop may exercise no other jurisdiction in the exempt or privileged localities. He is not to annoy the exempt or privileged persons, there should be no cause for complaint and nothing prejudicial to the exemption or privileges of the religious. The archbishop or bishop does not acquire by this decree any other right.
[33]. If anyone at the instigation of the devil has committed the sacrilege of wrongfully and rashly striking a bishop, or of seizing or banishing him, or has ordered these things to be done, or approved them when done by others, or been an accomplice, or given advice or shown favour, or knowingly defended the guilty, and has not incurred excommunication by canons already published, he is excommunicated by this our present constitution, notwithstanding any custom to the contrary. Indeed, with the approval of the sacred council, we consider such a custom to be a corruption, and the culprit may be absolved by the supreme pontiff only, except at the moment of death. In addition, he shall lose all fiefs, leases, offices and benefices, whether spiritual or temporal, which he holds from the church over which the offended bishop presides. All these shall revert freely to that church. The offender's descendants in the male line to the second generation shall be disqualified, without hope of dispensation, from holding ecclesiastical benefices in the city and diocese of the bishop. The offender's estates also, when within one diocese, shall lie under interdict until he has made due satisfaction. The place where the captured bishop is detained shall likewise be under interdict for as long as he remains detained. If the criminal's estates include two or more dioceses, then the diocese of his principal domicile and the diocese where the crime was committed, if the land is his, and two other dioceses which belong to his territory and are nearest to the place of the crime, shall he under the same interdict.
Since his confusion will increase the more his offence is known, his excommunication will be announced in public, with the ringing of bells and candles burning, until he has made due satisfaction, in all the places where the crime was committed, as also in the churches of the neighbouring cities and dioceses, on all Sundays and feast days. And when he is to receive absolution, let him be well prepared to undergo the punishment imposed and, with the help of God, to perform the penance enjoined on him. The city, moreover, that has committed any of the crimes described above against its bishop, shall be placed under the above-mentioned interdict until it has made satisfaction. The authorities, counsellors, bailiffs, magistrates, advocates, consuls, governors and officials of any description who are at fault in this affair, are likewise subject to excommunication from which they can be absolved only in the manner stated above. All these instructions shall be observed all the more strictly in dealing with those who kill bishops, since they should be punished more severely than the offenders already mentioned and merit greater indignation.
Let nobody be surprised that we do not inflict heavier punishment on those who perpetrate the above crimes. Alas! shameful to relate, these crimes are of frequent occurrence, and for the many men of violence an example is needed. The punishment of the offender ought to be in proportion to the dignity of the person wronged. Bishops are called most holy, are Christ's ambassadors, spiritual fathers, our brothers and fellow bishops, the acknowledged pillars of the church. The punishment, then, ought to be heavy, proportionate to the guilt of one who violates the dignity of such an eminent person. However, we wish to mitigate the severity of the punishment for the present, being prepared to impose other penalties if we see that the offenders' insolence demands such action. If of course anyone involved in the above cases has been absolved at the moment of death from excommunication, he shall incur automatically the same sentence if after recovery he does not, as soon as conveniently possible, present himself before the Roman pontiff in order to receive humbly his commands, as justice shall advise. Although this has been fully enough provided for elsewhere in the law, we thought it well to make this addition, lest someone from ignorance of the law should busy himself to find excuses.
[34]. Many serious complaints have reached us that some who hold temporal power do not hesitate to capture ecclesiastics frequently and detain them with sacrilegious audacity until they resign their benefices, nor to prevent those summoned to the apostolic see by someone or by law from going there, for the most part seizing them as they depart. In view of the great offence to our honour and that of the apostolic see, as also to the peace and welfare of ecclesiastical persons, not to speak of the damnable scandal, we, with the approval of the sacred council, decree that, in addition to the penalty attached by the canon to such deeds, those who bring them about, if prelates, are suspended for three years from receiving the revenues of their churches. If they are lower clergy, they are automatically deprived of their benefices. Those who have brought about their own capture by the secular power -- this, we have heard, sometimes occurs -- as a pretext for not obeying a summons to the apostolic see, are to incur the same penalty. Resignations of benefices extorted in the above manner, although accepted and ratified by the prelates of those who resign, have no validity whatever. We enjoin on local ordinaries that, after learning that subjects of theirs have incurred these penalties, they do not delay in publishing them and, as far as it concerns them, they put the penalties into execution.
[35]. Desiring to restrain those whom the rewards of virtue do not induce to observe the law, by the addition of new penalties and by fear of those to be added, we decree that transgressors of the constitution which forbids mendicant religious to acquire houses or places of any kind, or to exchange those already acquired or transfer them to others under any title of alienation, are automatically subject to excommunication.
The same sentence of excommunication is incurred by those religious who presume in their sermons or otherwise to restrain their hearers from due payment of tithes to churches. And since it is not enough to abstain from evil unless good is done, we enjoin on all religious, invoking the divine judgment and under threat of eternal malediction, that whenever they preach to the people on the first, fourth and last Sundays of Lent, and on the feasts of the Ascension of the Lord, Pentecost, the Birthday of blessed John the Baptist, the Assumption and the Birthday of the most blessed virgin Mary, the mother of God, they take care to exhort their hearers expressly, if required by the rectors or vicars of the churches or those taking their place, and also to inform the consciences of their penitents in confession, that they have the obligation to pay tithes. If the religious knowingly evade this duty in their sermons on the above-mentioned days, they are to receive a severe rebuke from their superiors. We also strictly command the superiors, in virtue of holy obedience, to enact laws in accordance with which they may so severely punish transgressors that their punishment may be an example for others. The constitution of our predecessor of happy memory pope Gregory IX, dealing with this matter, is to remain in full force. Those who knowingly have neglected to inform the consciences of penitents with regard to payment of these tithes, are automatically to remain suspended from preaching until they inform the consciences of their penitents, if they can conveniently do this. They are to incur automatic excommunication if they presume to preach without atoning for their neglect as above. We do not however wish this to apply to the religious of monasteries, or the rectors of churches, who are in receipt of tithes.
Rash violators of the constitution which forbids religious and secular clerics to induce anyone to vow, swear, pledge or otherwise promise that they will choose a burial place beside their churches or, having made this choice, that they will not alter it, incur automatically the same sentence of excommunication (the penalty in the said constitution is to remain in force); they are not to be absolved except by the apostolic see, except at the moment of death, notwithstanding any privileges or statutes of whatever tenor.
[36]. Grave complaint has been made to us by prelates that certain nobles and temporal lords, when their territory has been laid under ecclesiastical interdict, have masses and other divine offices celebrated publicly and solemnly not only in the chapels of their houses, but also in collegiate churches and other churches of prominent places. They invite and, what is worse, sometimes compel now these, now those, to celebrate the offices. Not content with these excesses, they have people summoned, even those under interdict, by the ringing of bells and by the public crier, to hear these masses. Some of the lords and nobles are not afraid to order people, for the most part their own subjects, although they are publicly under excommunication and interdict, not to leave the churches while mass is being celebrated, even though the celebrants urge their departure. It therefore happens frequently that mass is left unfinished to the offence of God and the scandal of clergy and people. In order, then, that excesses so grave may not be imitated because the transgressors are left unpunished, we excommunicate, with the approval of the sacred council, all those who shall presume to compel anyone in any way in places under interdict to celebrate the divine offices, or to summon people in the above way to hear them, especially those under excommunication or interdict. The same penalty is imposed on those who forbid persons publicly excommunicated or under interdict to leave the church during mass when warned to do so by the celebrant, also on those publicly excommunicated and those under interdict who presume to remain in church when named by the celebrant and warned that they must leave. The excommunications can be remitted only by the apostolic see.
[37]. The friars Minor receive into their churches to hear the divine offices in time of interdict brothers and sisters of the third order, instituted by blessed Francis; they are called continent or of penance. Since this practice generates scandal in the minds of others who are excluded, thus debasing ecclesiastical censure and weakening the force of an interdict, we strictly forbid the friars Minor to admit henceforth in any way to their churches for the divine offices in time of interdict any of the above-mentioned persons, even if they or the friars have privileges of any kind in this matter; we in no way favour such privileges. If the friars infringe this decree, they lie under automatic excommunication, from which they can only be absolved by the Roman pontiff or, if they have made satisfaction, by the local bishops, whom we wish to act in this matter by our authority.
[38]. I came out of paradise, I said: I will water my garden of plants. Thus speaks the heavenly cultivator, who is truly the source of wisdom, God's Word, begotten by the Father from eternity, yet remaining in the Father. In these last days, made flesh in the womb of a virgin by the operation of the holy Spirit, he went forth to the arduous work of redeeming the human race, giving himself to humanity as the model of a heavenly life. But because so often people, overcome by the anxieties of this mortal life, turned their mental gaze away from such a model, our true Solomon has made in the realm of the church militant, among other gardens, a garden of delight, far from the stormy waves of the world, in which people might devote themselves with greater peace and security to contemplating and imitating the works of the exemplar, and he himself entered this world that he might refresh it with the fertile waters of his spiritual grace and teaching.
This garden is the holy religion of the friars Minor which, enclosed within the firm walls of regular observance, is content with God alone and is constantly enriched with fresh shoots, her sons. Entering this garden, the beloved Son of God gathers the myrrh and spices of mortification and penance which by their marvellous fragrance diffuse to everyone the perfume of an attractive sanctity. This is that form and rule of the heavenly life sketched by that eminent confessor of Christ, saint Francis, who taught his sons its observance by both word and example. The observers of that holy rule, men of zeal and devotion, as both pupils and true sons of so great a father, aspired and still ardently aspire to observe that rule faithfully in all its purity and fullness. They perceived certain particulars of which the interpretation was doubtful, and they prudently had recourse to the apostolic see for clarification. Receiving assurance from that see, to which their very rule proclaims allegiance, they were able to serve the Lord, free from all doubt, in the fullness of charity. Several Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, rightfully heeded their pious and just requests; they defined doubtful points, promulgating certain interpretations and making some concessions, as they thought good for the consciences of the friars and the purity of religious observance. But because there are devout consciences which very often fear sin where it does not exist, and dread any turning in the way of God, the previous clarifications have not fully quietened the consciences of all the friars. There are still some points belonging to their rule and state of life where doubts arise, as many have often told us in public and private consistories. For this reason the friars themselves have humbly entreated us to clarify opportunely the doubts which have arisen and those which may arise in the future, thus applying a remedy by the kindness of the apostolic see.
We have from a tender age had a warm devotion to those who profess this rule and to the whole order. Now that, though unworthy, we bear the office of universal pastor, we are the more roused to cherish them and to honour them more kindly and attentively, the more often we consider and reflect on the plentiful harvest reaped continually from their exemplary lives and wholesome teaching for the good of the universal church. Moved by the pious intentions of the petitioners, we have directed our efforts to carry out diligently what they ask. We have had a careful examination made of these doubts by several archbishops, bishops, masters in theology and other learned, prudent and discreet men.
At the beginning of the rule it is said: "The rule and life of the friars Minor is this, to observe the gospel of our lord Jesus Christ, by living in obedience without property and in chastity"2. Also, further down: "Having completed a year of probation, let them be received to obedience, promising always to observe this life and rule"3. Also, towards the end of the rule: "Let us observe poverty, humility and the gospel of our lord Jesus Christ, which we have firmly promised"4. There was uncertainty whether the friars of the order were obliged to all the precepts and counsels of the gospel by profession of their rule. Some said they were obliged to all. Others, however, asserted that they were obliged to three only, namely "to live in obedience, in chastity and without property", and to what was stated as obligatory in the rule. With regard to this article we follow in the footsteps of our predecessors and, giving this article further clarification, we answer the doubt as follows. Since every determinate vow must have a defined object, he who vows to follow the rule cannot be considered obliged by his vow to those evangelical counsels which are not mentioned in the rule. And indeed this is shown to have been the intention of blessed Francis the founder, from the fact that he laid down certain counsels in the rule but omitted others. For if by those words, "The rule and life of the friars Minor is this" etc. he had intended to oblige them to all the evangelical counsels, it would have been superfluous and futile to include some of them and not others.
However, since the nature of a restrictive term demands the exclusion of everything foreign to it but includes everything belonging to it, we declare that the friars are bound by the profession of their rule not only to those three vows simply and solely, but also to everything related to them expressed in the rule itself. For if the friars were obliged to observe the three vows precisely and no more, in their promise to observe the rule by living in "obedience, chastity and without property", and not also to observe everything contained in the rule that is relevant to those vows, then the words "I promise to observe always this rule" would be useless, as implying no obligation. We must not think, however, that blessed Francis intended to impose on those who profess this rule the same obligation regarding everything in the rule relating to the three vows, or anything else contained in the rule. Rather, he made a clear distinction: in some matters his words imply that transgression is a mortal sin, in others not, since he applies to some the word "precept" or its equivalent, while elsewhere he is content to use other expressions.
Besides those things laid down in the rule expressly in words of precept or exhortation or admonition, there are some things in the imperative mood in either a negative or an affirmative form. Concerning these, there has been up to now some doubt as to whether they are of precept. This doubt is not made less but rather increased by the declaration of our predecessor pope Nicholas III' of happy memory, that the friars are obliged by rule to those evangelical counsels which the rule expresses in form of precept or prohibition or equivalent words and, in addition, to the observance of everything that the rule imposes in words of obligation. The friars therefore begged that we would, for their peace of conscience, graciously define which of these matters should be considered equivalent to precepts and obligatory. We therefore, delighted by their sincerity of conscience, observing that in matters affecting salvation the safer path is to be taken in order to avoid grave remorse of conscience, say that, although the friars are not obliged to observe everything expressed by the rule in the imperative mood in the way that they are obliged to observe matters which are explicitly or equivalently of precept, it is right for them, if they are to observe the rule strictly in its purity, to acknowledge that they are bound to observe in this way the injunctions noted below.
In order to summarise these things which appear equivalent to precepts, in virtue of the words or at least of the subject-matter, or of both, we declare the following to be of obligation for the friars, as expressed in the rule: not having more tunics than one "with a hood, and one without a hood"2, not wearing shoes, and not riding a horse except in case of necessity; that the friars "wear cheap clothes"5; that they fast "from the feast of all saints to Christmas"6 and on Fridays; that "clerics recite the divine office according to the rite of the holy Roman church"7; that ministers and guardians take great care "of the needs of the sick and of the friars' clothing"8, that, "if a friar falls ill, the other friars are to wait on him"9; that "the friars are not to preach in the diocese of a bishop when he has forbidden them this"; that "nobody ventures at all to preach to the people unless he has been examined, approved and appointed for this by the minister general" or by others having authority according to the aforesaid declaration; that "friars who know that they cannot observe the rule in detail, may and should have recourse to their ministers"3; and everything laid down in the rule regarding the form of the habit of both novices and professed friars, the manner of reception, and profession, except for the habit of novices with regard to those admitting them (here the rule which says "according to God it may seem otherwise"4 may be followed). The order generally has judged, holds and has held from of old that wherever in the rule there occurs the words "they shall be bound", there is a precept and the friars ought to act as bound by precept.
The confessor of Christ, when prescribing the practice of the friars and their ministers in relation to the reception of those entering the order, said in the rule: "The friars and their ministers shall take care not to be solicitous about their temporal goods, but leave them free to do with them whatever the Lord inspires them to do; the ministers may have leave, however, to send them to some God-fearing men, if counsel be needed, who may advise them how to give their goods to the poor"5. Many of the friars were uncertain, and still are, whether they may receive anything from those who enter, if it is given; whether they may without fault persuade them to give to individuals and friaries; and whether the ministers themselves or the friars ought to give advice concerning the disposal of property, when there are other suitable advisers to whom the entrants can be sent. We observe attentively that saint Francis intended to banish from his disciples, whose rule he had based on a very strict poverty, all affection for the temporal goods of those entering the order, especially in using the above words in order that, on the part of the friars, reception into the order might appear holy and pure. They should be seen to have no eye to their temporal goods, but only to deliver the novices up to the divine service. We say that both ministers and friars ought to abstain from persuasion to give them the property, and also from advice as to its distribution. They should send those who seek counsel to God-fearing men of another state, not to friars. In this way all will see them truly as zealous and perfect observers of their father's sound tradition. Since however the rule itself wishes those entering to be free to do as the Lord inspires concerning their property, it does not seem unlawful for the friars to receive something, in view of their needs and in accordance with the aforesaid declaration, if the entrant freely wishes to give it, as he would to other poor people by way of alms. The friars however do well to take care, in accepting such offerings, that they do not create an unfavourable impression by the amount they receive.
The rule says that "those who have promised obedience should have one tunic with a hood, and another without a hood, those who wish to have it"; also, that "all the friars should wear cheap clothes"' . We have declared that the said words are equivalent to precepts. In order to express this more clearly, however, we say that it is not lawful to have more tunics, except when this is necessary in accordance with the rule, as our said predecessor has more fully explained. As for the poverty of the clothes, both of the habit and of the inner clothing, it is to be judged in relation to the customs and observances of the country, as to the colour of the cloth and the price. There cannot be one standard for every region. We think that this poverty in dress should be entrusted to the judgment of the ministers and guardians; they must form their own consciences, but see to it that poverty in dress is maintained. In the same way we leave it to the judgment of the ministers and guardians as to when the friars have need to wear shoes.
The rule refers to two periods: "from the feast of all saints until Christmas", and especially in Lent, when the friars are obliged to fast. We find inserted in the rule: "at other times they are not obliged to fast, with the exception of Fridays"3. From these statements some have concluded that the friars are not obliged to observe any other fasts except from propriety. We declare that they are not obliged to fast at other times except at the times established by the church. For it is not probable that either he who instituted the rule or he who confirmed it intended to dispense the friars from observing the fasting days to which the general law of the church obliges other Christians.
When St Francis, wishing his friars to be completely detached from money, commanded "firmly all the friars not to accept money in any manner, either directly or through some other person"4, this same predecessor of ours, in his interpretation, defined the cases and the ways in which the friars cannot and ought not to be called receivers of money against the rule and sincerity of their order. We declare that the friars must take the greatest care that they have no recourse to those who give money or their agents in ways other than those defined by our said predecessor, lest they deservedly be called transgressors of the precept and rule. For when there is a general prohibition, anything not expressly granted is understood to be refused. For this reason, all collection of money and acceptance of offerings in church or elsewhere, boxes for storing offerings or gifts of money, and any other recourse to money or those who have it which is not allowed by the said declaration, is, we say, completely and absolutely forbidden. Recourse to special friends is expressly allowed in only two cases, according to the rule. These are "the needs of the sick and the clothing of the friars"'. Our said predecessor kindly and wisely extended this permission, in view of their needy life, to other wants of the friars which can occur or even be pressing when there are no alms. The friars however are to observe that for no other reasons except the above or those of a similar kind, may they have recourse to such friends, either on the road or elsewhere, whether their friends themselves give the money or their representatives, messengers or trustees, whatever name they are given, even if the ways granted by the above declaration are entirely observed.
The confessor of Christ wished above all that those who professed his rule should be completely detached from love and desire of earthly things, and in particular from money and its use, as is proved by his constantly repeating in the rule the prohibition of accepting money. When, therefore, the friars need, for the reasons mentioned above, to have recourse to those who have money, destined for their needs, whether they are their principal benefactors or their envoys, these friars should so behave in the eyes of all as to show that they are completely unconcerned as regards money, as indeed it does not belong to them. Therefore such actions as to order that the money be spent and in what way, to exact an account, to ask for the return of the money in any way, to put it away or have it put away, and to carry a money-box or its key, are unlawful for the friars. These actions belong properly to the owners who gave the money and to their agents.
When the saint expressed the manner of the friars' poverty in the rule, he said: "The friars should make nothing their own, neither house nor land nor anything, but go confidently to seek alms as pilgrims and strangers serving the Lord in poverty and humility"2. This is also the renunciation defined by certain of our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, to be understood both specifically and in general. These pontiffs have therefore accepted for themselves and for the Roman church the absolute ownership of everything granted, offered or given to the friars, leaving them simply the right of use. Yet we have been asked to examine certain practices that are said to go on in the order and seem repugnant to the vow of poverty and the sincerity of the order.
The following are the practices which we believe are in need of remedy. The friars not only allow themselves to inherit, but even bring this about. They sometimes accept annual revenues so high that the friaries concerned can live completely on them. When their affairs, even of a temporal kind, are debated in the courts, they assist the advocates and procurators; in order to encourage them, they present themselves in person. They accept the office of executor of wills and carry it out. They sometimes meddle with settlements involving usury or unjust acquisition and the restitution to be made. Sometimes they have not only extensive gardens but also large vineyards, from which they collect great quantities of vegetables and wine to sell. At the time of harvest they collect so much corn and wine by begging or buying, storing them in their cellars and granaries, that they can live off them without begging for the rest of the year. They build churches or other edifices, or have them built, of such size, style and costliness that they seem to be the abodes of the wealthy not of the poor. The friars in very many places have so many church ornaments and so obviously precious ones as to surpass in this the great cathedrals. They also accept indiscriminately horses and arms offered to them at funerals.
Yet the community of friars, and in particular the rulers of the order, asserted that the above abuses, or most of them, did not exist in the order and any friars found guilty in such matters are punished rigorously. Moreover, very strict laws were passed long ago in the order to prevent such abuses. Wishing, therefore, to provide for the consciences of the friars and to remove, as far as we can, all doubt from their hearts, we give the following replies.
For a way of life to be authentic, outward actions must correspond to the interior attitude of mind. The friars, therefore, who have torn themselves away from temporal possessions by so great a renunciation, must abstain from all that is or may seem to be contrary to that renunciation. Now, heirs acquire not only use of their inheritance but, in time, ownership also, and the friars cannot acquire anything for themselves in particular or for their order in general. We therefore declare that the absoluteness of their vow renders the friars altogether incapable of such inheritance, which of its nature extends both to money and to other movable and immovable goods. Nor may they allow themselves to be left or accept as a legacy the value of such inheritance, or a great part of it, so that it could be presumed that this was done by deceit; indeed, we absolutely forbid this.
Since annual revenues are considered by law as immovable goods, and are contrary to poverty and mendicancy, there is no doubt that the friars may not accept or have revenues of any kind, given their state of life, just as they may not have possessions or even their use, since this use is not granted to them.
Further, not only what is known to be evil, but also everything which has the appearance of evil, should be specially avoided by perfect men. Now, to be present in court and urge their case, when the law is concerned with matters of advantage to them, leads people to believe from external appearances that the friars present are seeking something as their own. In no way, therefore, ought the friars who profess this rule and vow, to meddle in legal processes in such courts. By abstention they will be thought well of by outsiders, and they will live up to the purity of their vow and avoid scandal to their neighbour. Indeed, the friars are to be complete strangers not only to the acceptance, possession, ownership or use of money, but even to any handling of it, as our said predecessor has repeatedly and clearly said in his interpretation of the rule. Also, the members of this order cannot go to law for any temporal thing. The friars may therefore not lend themselves to such legal processes, but rather consider them forbidden by the purity of their state, because these activities cannot be concluded without litigation and the management or administration of money. Nevertheless they do not act in a manner contrary to their state if they give advice for the execution of these affairs, since this advice does not confer upon them any jurisdiction or legal authority or administration with regard to temporal goods.
Certainly it is not only lawful but very reasonable that the friars who devote themselves to the spiritual works of prayer and study should have gardens and open spaces for recollection and recreation, and sometimes in order to provide a bodily distraction after their spiritual labours, as also to cultivate vegetables for their needs. To keep gardens, however, in order to cultivate vegetables and other garden produce for sale, and vines likewise, is inconsistent with the rule and purity of their order. Our said predecessor has declared and also ordained that if, for this kind of use, someone were to leave a field or a vineyard or something of this nature to the friars, they should refrain absolutely from accepting it, since to have such things in order to receive the price of the produce in season is similar to having an income.
Again, saint Francis has shown, both by the example of his life and by the words of his rule, that he wishes his brothers and sons, relying on divine providence, to cast their burden on the Lord, who feeds the birds of the air, which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. It is not likely, then, that he would have wished them to have granaries or wine-cellars, when they hope to live by daily begging. And for that reason they should not lay by provisions from some slight fear, but only when it is very probable from experience that they will not otherwise find the necessities of life. We therefore consider that the decision should be left to the consciences of the ministers and guardians, both as a body and separately in their offices and guardianships, acting with the advice and consent of the guardian and two discreet older priests from a house of the order in the area.
The saint wished to establish his friars in the greatest poverty and humility, both in inclination and in fact, as practically the whole rule proclaims. It is only right, then, that they should in no way build, or allow to be built, churches or edifices of any kind which, in relation to the numbers of friars living there, might be considered excessive in number or in size. We therefore wish that, everywhere in the order, the friars should be satisfied with buildings which are modest and humble, lest outward appearances, which strike the eye, should contradict the great poverty promised by the heart.
Although church ornaments and vessels are ordained to the honour of God's name, for which purpose God created everything, yet he who discerns what is secret looks chiefly at the heart of those who serve him, not at their hands. He does not wish to be served through things which jar with the professed life-style of his servants. The friars should therefore be content with vessels and church ornaments which are seemly in appearance and sufficient in size and number. Excess, costliness or over-elaboration in these or in anything else does not become the friars' profession or state of life. Everything which smacks of treasure and abundance detracts, in the eyes of people, from the profession of such great poverty. We therefore wish and command the friars to observe what we have said.
As for the presents of horses and arms, we decree that everywhere and in everything the aforesaid declaration concerning alms of money be observed.
From the above matters, however, there has arisen among the friars an uneasy question, namely, whether their rule obliges them to a strict and meagre use of things. Some of the friars believe and say that, just as they are vowed to a very strict renunciation of ownership, they are also enjoined the greatest restraint in the use of things. Other friars on the contrary assert that by their profession they are not obliged to any restrained use that is not expressed in the rule; they are however obliged to a temperate use, in the same way as other Christians and even more fittingly. Wishing, then, to give peace to the friars' consciences and to put an end to these disputes, we declare that the friars Minor in professing their rule are obliged specially to the strict and restrained use expressed in the rule. To say, however, as some are said to assert, that it is heretical to hold that a restricted use of things is or is not included in the vow of evangelical poverty, this we judge to be presumptuous and rash.
Finally, when the rule states by whom and where the minister general should be elected, it makes no mention at all of the election or appointment of provincial ministers. There can arise some uncertainty among the friars on this point. We wish them to be able to go forward with clarity and security in all they do. We therefore declare, decree and ordain in this constitution of perpetual validity, that when a province is to be provided with a minister, his election belongs to the provincial chapter. It shall hold the election the day after assembling. The confirmation of the election belongs to the minister general. If this election is made by ballot, and the votes are divided in such a way that several ballots are made without agreement, then the choice made by the numerical majority of the chapter (leaving aside considerations of zeal or merit), notwithstanding objections of any kind from the other side, is to be confirmed or invalidated by the minister general. Having first given careful consideration to the matter, in accordance with his office, he shall take counsel with discreet members of the order, so that a decision is made which is pleasing to God. If the minister general invalidates the election, the provincial chapter shall vote again. If the chapter does not elect its minister on the day mentioned, the minister general shall freely provide a provincial minister. There are, however, certain provinces -- Ireland, Greece and Rome -- which are said to have had until now, for just reasons, another way of providing the provincial minister. In these cases, if the minister general and the general chapter judge, with good reason, that the provincial minister should be appointed by the minister general, with the advice of good religious of the order, rather than by the election of the provincial chapter, this shall be done without dispute for the provinces of Ireland, Rome and Greece when the previous provincial minister dies or is relieved of office on this side of the sea; there shall be no deceit, partiality or fraud, the burden resting on the consciences of those who decide the appointment. As for the dismissal of provincial ministers, we wish the order to retain the procedure which has been customary up to now. For the rest, if the friars are without a minister general, his duties shall be carried out by the vicar of the order until there is a new minister general. Further, if there be any attempted violation of this decree concerning the provincial minister, such action shall be automatically null and void.
Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ...'
16 May 1312, from Regestum 7952The introductory address given in Regestum 9983 is omitted here because many other introductory addresses are known of (see Regestum VIII, pp. 416-420). Regestum gives two versions of the letter. The one used here as the base text (Regestum 9983) is addressed to each and all of the bishops. The other is addressed to king Philip of France (= P), see Regestum 8986 (19 Dec. 1312).P adds: Indeed our beloved son in Christ, Philip the illustrious king of the Franks, who together with our beloved son in Christ, Louis the illustrious king of Navarre, was present at the council, showed himself to be the most christian of princes. He had the cause of the holy Land very much at heart. He burned with zeal of faith and devotion to rescue the holy Land from the hands of the impious and to right the wrongs there of him who underwent disgrace and shame for the sake of our redemption. He so directed and still directs the desires of his heart, that he undertook in the council the business of the general crusade ordained by us intending therefore to take for a certain time the sign of the life-giving cross, with the deliberate purpose of sailing personally with his forces to the aid of the holy Land.But actually we . . . holy gospels of God"] And at last, commending in the Lord this purpose of the king, so acceptable to God, we thought it fitting and most proper that we and the church ought to assist such a glorious prince in proceeding with this great enterprise. We observed especially that because the cities and other places once held by the faithful had been laid waste by the wild rage of the enemy, there was no place left to admit the champions of the faith. The enterprise would be more costly than formerly when some of the king's ancestors and other christian princes had sailed to the aid of the holy Land; then the cities and places were prosperous and could produce and admit catholic warriors. We therefore judged that the tithe for six years, namely that on the ecclesiastical revenues and incomes of France, which used to be paid in times past in that kingdom, should be granted to the king to help him in his enterprise, so that he might use it for the aid of the holy Land. 
We therefore ask, admonish and exhort earnestly all our venerable brothers, the archbishops and bishops, our beloved chosen sons, the abbots, priors, deans, provosts, archdeacons, archpriests and other prelates of churches, the chapters, colleges and convents of the Cistercians, Cluniacs, Premonstratensians, of saints Benedict and Augustine, of the Carthusians, Grandmontines and other orders, and other secular and regular ecclesiastical persons, exempt and non-exempt, in the kingdom of France, with the exception only of the persons and places belonging to the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and of the other military orders, by our other letters, and also enjoining on them strictly by apostolic ordinance and in virtue of obedience, to pay the tithe, each and all of them, out of reverence for God, the apostolic see and us, for six years, which we wish to be reckoned from the next feast of blessed Mary Magdalen. We enjoin further on each archbishop and bishop to claim and collect from each and all of the abbots, priors, deans, provosts, archdeacons, archpriests and other prelates of churches, the chapters, colleges and convents, and other non-exempt secular and regular ecclesiastical persons, in their cities and dioceses, except for the persons and places of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and of the other military orders. The collection is to be made directly or through other persons appointed by them in each city and diocese, from the ecclesiastical revenues and incomes, in the usual manner for the periods stated below, namely for half of the first year on the next feast of blessed Mary Magdalen and for the remaining half on the coming feast of the purification of the blessed virgin Mary, and so on for the remaining five years. The tithe should be collected without difficulties being made and by our authority. We empower and command, by our aforesaid letters, the persons delegated by the archbishops and bishops to make this collection, to claim and collect this tithe by our authority from the abbots, priors, deans, provosts, archdeacons, archpriests and other prelates of churches, the chapters, colleges and convents, and other exempt secular and regular ecclesiastical persons, with the exception of the persons and places of the Hospital of saint John of Jerusalem and the other military orders. The tithe is to be collected for the years and periods mentioned above. The archbishops and bishops, as also their delegates, are to take care to transfer to you, our deputies, their own tithe and that of others as collected by themselves or their delegates for each of the six years. You are to assign the collection to the king of France or his delegate or delegates for the purpose of the crusade. In order that you may more easily and effectively collect and assign this tithe, we grant you by the present document free and unrestricted power, in virtue of our authority, to compel the archbishops and bishops and their delegates, disregarding any appeal, to the fulfilment and collection of this tithe and its assignation, as prescribed. We also grant you the same full power in imparting absolution to those archbishops and bishops bound by sentences of excommunication, suspension or interdict for not paying the tithe in due time, after they have made satisfaction, and of dispensing with those bound by such sentences who have contracted irregularity by celebrating or taking part in divine worship. P31 December; from Regestum 998413 January 1313; from Regestum 8973

Council of Constance 1414-18

[This is the introduction given by Tanner in Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils]
This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund. It began on 5 November 1414 in the cathedral of Constance, with many bishops from all parts of Europe. Business in the council was transacted in a way that was largely new for an ecumenical council, namely votes were cast not by Individual persons but by nations.
The council, from the very beginning, proposed the following three topics:
1. To bring unity back to the church and to make an end to the schism which had divided the church since 1378 and which the council held at Pisa in 1409 had not healed but rather aggravated when it elected Alexander V as a third pope. When the council of Constance opened, Christians owed obedience to three different popes: some owed obedience to Gregory XII of the Roman party others to Benedict XIII of the Avignon party, and others to John XXIII, who had been elected after the death of Alexander V. John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council, Gregory XII voluntarily resigned. Then Martin V was elected pope on 11 November 1417 and he was regarded as the legitimate pontiff by the church as a whole.
2. To eradicate heresies, especially those spread by John Wyclif in Britain and by John Hus and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia.
3. To reform the corrupt morals of the church. This, however, was only partly accomplished in the final sessions of the council.
With regard to the ecumenical nature of the sessions, there is dispute about those before the election of Martin V and also about the significance and force of the approval which he gave to the matters transacted by the council. The decrees notably those of sessions 3-5 and the decree Frequens (session 39), appear to proceed from the council's teaching. Objection has been made to them on the grounds of the primacy of the Roman pontiff. There is no doubt, however, that in enacting these decrees there was solicitude and care to choose the true and sure way ahead in order to heal the schism, and this could only be done by the authority of a council.
The acts of the council of Constance were first published by Jerome of Croaria at Hagenau in 1500 (Acta scitu dignissima docteque concinnata Constantiensis concilii celebratissimi = Asd), from the epitome of the acts which the council of Basel had ordered to be compiled and publicly accepted in 1442. This edition of the Basel epitome was followed by all general collections of the councils (including Editio Romana, IV 127-300, even though it ignores the council of Basel). These collections, down to Mansi (27, 529-1240), added various appendices. H. von der Hardt, in his great collection of the sources of the council of Constance, made an edition of the acts and decrees of the council according to the earliest trustworthy documents (Magnum oecumenicum Constantiense concilium, in six tomes, Frankfurt-Leipzig 1696-1700; tome IV, Corpus actorum et decretorum magni Constantiensis concilii de Ecclesiae refor matione, unione ac fide = Hardt). We have followed von der Hardt's edition throughout and have noted only the principle variants provided by Asd. We indicate only, and do not print, the decrees pertaining to the internal administration of the council and of the church and to judicial acts.
Second Introduction
[By the e-text editor]
I have given the conventional session numbers for "the" Council of Constance so as to make cross referencing with other editions easier. However it is very misleading to do so. One should not speak of "the" Council of Constance, but of the councils of Constance. There was a council of bishops [and others] beginning 16 November 1414 which styled itself ecumenical, but which the true pope of the day did not recognize as such. There was another council [even if its members were those of the first] which he convoked, by proxy, on 4 July 1415 and did recognize as ecumenical. The ratification of "the" council by Martin the fifth, given in a footnote to session 45, was a ratification of everything determined "in a conciliar way ... by this present council of Constance", i.e. of the one convoked on 4 July 1415. The intent of the words "in a conciliar way" is, on my reading, to distinguish the true [ecumenical] council from the false one.
The matter is crucial to the possibility of the catholic doctrine of the infallibility of ecumenical councils, since the teachings of Vatican 1 on papal primacy are inconsistent with those of the first [non-ecumenical] Council of Constance [in particular the famous session 5, Haec Sancta, which taught conciliarism] , but not with those of the second [ecumenical] one
Crucial to my claim is the question of who the true pope was and when a genuinely ecumenical council came into existence. I shall quote from Phillip Hughes (the footnotes here included are from Hughes' text) :
"Just five weeks after Baldassare Cossa so meekly accepted the council's sentence, the fathers met to receive the solemn abdication of Gregory XII. He was in fact, and to the end he claimed to be in law, the canonically elected representative of the line that went back to Urban VI, the last pope to be acknowledged as pope by Catholics everywhere [2 ] . The abdication was arranged and executed with a care to safeguard all that Gregory claimed to be; and this merits - and indeed, requires - much more detailed consideration than it usually receives. [3 ]
Gregory XII sent to Constance as his representatives his protector Carlo Malatesta, the Lord of Rimini, and the Dominican cardinal, John Domenici -- to Constance indeed, but not to the General Council assembled there by the authority, and in the name, of John XXIII. The envoys' commission was to the emperor Sigismund, presiding over the various bishops and prelates whom his zeal to restore peace to the Church had brought together. To these envoys -- and to Malatesta in the first place-Gregory gave authority to convoke as a General Council -- to convoke and not to recognise -- these assembled bishops and prelates ; [4 ] and by a second bull [5 ] he empowered Malatesta to resign to this General Council in his name.
The emperor, the bishops and prelates consented and accepted the role Gregory assigned. And so, on July 4, 1415. Sigismund, clad in the royal robes, left the throne he had occupied in the previous sessions for a throne placed before the altar, as for the president of the assembly. Gregory's two legates sat by his side facing the bishops. The bull was read commissioning Malatesta and Domenici to convoke the council and to authorise whatever it should do for the restoration of unity and the extirpation of the schism -- with Gregory's explicit condition that there should be no mention of Baldassare Cossa, [6 ] with his reminder that from his very election he had pledged himself to resign if by so doing he could truly advance the good work of unity, and his assertion that the papal dignity is truly his as the canonically elected successor of Urban VI.
Malatesta then delegated his fellow envoy, the cardinal John Domenici, to pronounce the formal operative words of convocation [7 ] ; and the assembly -- but in its own way -- accepted to be thus convoked, authorised and confirmed in the name "of that lord who in his own obedience is called Gregory XII" [8 ] . The council next declared that all canonical censures imposed by reason of the schism were lifted, and the bull was read by which Gregory authorised Malatesta to make the act of abdication [9 ] and promised to consider as ratum gratum et firmum, and forever irrevocable, whatever Malatesta, as his proxy, should perform. The envoy asked the council whether they would prefer the resignation immediately, or that it should be delayed until Peter de Luna's decision was known. The council preferred the present moment. It ratified all Gregory XII's acts, received his cardinals as cardinals, promised that his officers should keep their posts and declared that if Gregory was barred from re-election as pope, this was only for the peace of the Church, and not from any personal unworthiness. Then the great renunciation was made [10 ] , " . . . renuncio et cedo . . . et resigno . . . in hac sacrosancta synodo et universali concilio, sanctam Romanam et universalem eccleciam repraesentante"and the council accepted it [11 ] , but again as made "on the part of that lord who in his own obedience was called Gregory XII". The Te Deum was sung and a new summons drawn up calling upon Peter de Luna to yield to the council's authority.
The work of Pisa was now almost undone, and by this council which, in origin, was a continuation of Pisa. It had suppressed the Pisan pope whom Pisa, with biting words, had rejected as a schismatic and no pope."
Phillip Hughes A History of the Church, p289-291
SESSION 1 - 16 November 1414
[On the matters to be treated in the council, in which order and by which officials [12 ]]
John, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for future record. Wishing to carry out those things which were decreed at the council of Pisa [13 ] by our predecessor of happy memory, pope [14 ] Alexander V, regarding the summoning of a new general council, we earlier convoked this present council by letters of ours, the contents of which we have ordered to be inserted here:
John, bishop ... [15 ]
We have therefore come together with our venerable brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, and our court to this city of Constance at the appointed time. Being present here by the grace of God, we now wish, with the advice of this sacred synod, to attend to the peace, exaltation and reform of the church and to the quiet of the christian people.
In such an arduous matter it is not right to rely on one's own strength, but rather trust should be placed in the help of God. Therefore, in order to begin with divine worship, we decreed, with the approval of this sacred council, that a special mass for this purpose should be said today. This mass has now been duly celebrated, by the grace of God. We now decree that such a mass shall be celebrated collegially in this and every other collegiate church of this city whether secular or regular, once a week, namely each Friday, for the duration of this sacred council. Moreover, in order that the faithful may devote themselves to this holy celebration most fervently, whereby they will feel themselves refreshed by a more abundant gift of grace, we relax, mercifully in the Lord, the following amounts of enjoined penance to each and every one of them who is truly penitent and has confessed: for each mass, one year to the celebrating priest and forty days to those present at it. Furthermore, we exhort our venerable brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, as well as patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, and our beloved chosen sons, abbots and others in the priesthood, devoutly to celebrate this mass once every week, in order that the aforesaid divine aid may be implored; and we grant the same indulgences to the celebrant and to those present at the mass. We exhort in the Lord, moreover, each and all who glory in the name of Christ, in order that the desired outcome to so great a matter may be obtained, to give themselves diligently to prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other pious works, so that God may be placated by our and their humility, and so deign to grant a happy outcome to this sacred gathering.
Considering, moreover, that a council should specially treat of those matters which concern the catholic faith, according to the praiseworthy practices of the early councils, and aware that such things demand diligence, sufficient time and study, on account of their difficulty, we therefore exhort all those who are well versed in the sacred scriptures to ponder and to treat, both within themselves and with others, about those things which seem to them useful and opportune in this matter. Let them bring such things to our notice and to that of this sacred synod, as soon as they conveniently can, so that at a suitable time there may be decided what things, it seems, should be held and what repudiated for the profit and increase of the same catholic faith.
Let them especially ponder on the various errors which are said to have sprouted in certain places at various times, especially on those which are said to have arisen from a certain John called Wyclif.
We exhort, moreover, all Catholics assembled here and others who will come to this sacred synod that they should seek to think on, to follow up and to bring to us, and to this same sacred synod, those matters by which the body of Catholics may be led, if God is willing, to a proper reformation and to the desired peace. For it is our intention and will that all who are assembled for this purpose may say, consult about and do, with complete freedom, each and all of the things that they think pertain to the above.
In order, however, that a rule may be observed in the procedure of this sacred synod with regard to what things are to be said and decided, the action to be taken and the regulating of customs, we think that recourse should be had to the practices of the ancient fathers, which are best learned from a canon of the council of Toledo, the contents of which we have decided to insert here [16 ] :
Nobody should shout at or in any way disturb the Lord's priests when they sit in the place of blessing. Nobody should cause disturbance by telling idle stories or jokes or, what is even worse, by stubborn disputes. As the apostle says, if anyone thinks himself religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, then his religion is vain. For, justice loses its reverence when the silence of the court is disturbed by a crowd of turbulent people. As the prophet says, the reverence due to justice shall be silence. Therefore whatever is being debated by the participants, or is being proposed by persons making an accusation, should be stated in quiet tones so that the hearers' senses are not disturbed by contentious voices and they do not weaken the authority of the court by their tumult. Whoever thinks that the aforesaid things should not be observed while the council is meeting, and disturbs it with noise or dissensions or jests, contrary to the things forbidden here, shall leave the assembly, dishonourably stripped of the right to attend, according to the precept of the divine law (whereby it is commanded: drive out the scoffer, and strife will go out with him), and he shall be under sentence of excommunication for three days.
Since it may happen that some of the participants will not be in their rightful seats, we decree, with this sacred council's approval, that no prejudice shall arise to any church or person as a result of this seating arrangement.
Since certain ministers and officials are required in order that this council may proceed, we therefore depute, with this sacred council's approval, those named below, namely our beloved sons... [17 ]
SESSION 2 - 2 March 1415
[John XXIII publicly offers to resign the papacy]
SESSION 3 - 26 March 1415
[Decrees on the integrity and authority of the council, after the pope s flight [18 ]]
For the honour, praise and glory of the most holy Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit, and to obtain on earth, for people of good will, the peace that was divinely promised in God's church, this holy synod, called the sacred general council of Constance, duly assembled here in the holy Spirit for the purpose of bringing union and reform to the said church in its head and members, discerns declares, defines and ordains as follows.
First, that this synod was and is rightly and properly summoned to this city of Constance, and likewise has been rightly and properly begun and held.
Next, that this sacred council has not been dissolved by the departure of our lord pope from Constance, or even by the departure of other prelates or any other persons, but continues in its integrity and authority, even if decrees to the contrary have been made or shall be made in the future.
Next, that this sacred council should not and may not be dissolved until the present schism has been entirely removed and until the church has been reformed in faith and morals, in head and members.
Next, that this sacred council may not be transferred to another place, except for a reasonable cause, which is to be debated and decided on by this sacred council.
Next, that prelates and other persons who should be present at this council may not depart from this place before it has ended, except for a reasonable cause which is to be examined by persons who have been, or will be, deputed by this sacred council. When the reason has been examined and approved, they may depart with the permission of the person or persons in authority. When the individual departs, he is bound to give his power to others who stay, under penalty of the law, as well as to others appointed by this sacred council, and those who act to the contrary are to be prosecuted.
SESSION 4 - 30 March 1415
[Decrees of the council on its authority and integrity, in the abbreviated form read out by cardinal Zabarella]
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit Amen. This holy synod of Constance, which is a general council, for the eradication of the present schism and for bringing unity and reform to God's church in head and members, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit to the praise of almighty God, ordains, defines, decrees, discerns and declares as follows, in order that this union and reform of God's church may be obtained the more easily, securely, fruitfully and freely.
First, that this synod, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council, representing the catholic church militant, has power immediately from Christ, and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith and the eradication of the said schism. [19 ]
Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII may not move or transfer the Roman curia and its public offices, or its or their officials, from this city to another place, nor directly or indirectly compel the persons of the said offices to follow him, without the deliberation and consent of the same holy synod; this refers to those officials or offices by whose absence the council would probably be dissolved or harmed. If he has acted to the contrary in the past, or shall in the future, or if he has in the past, is now or shall in the future fulminate any processes or mandates or ecclesiastical censures or any other penalties against the said officials or any other adherents of this council, to the effect that they should follow him then all is null and void and in no way are the said processes, censures and penalties to be obeyed, inasmuch as they are null and void, and they are invalid. The said officials are rather to exercise their offices in the said city of Constance, and to carry them out freely as before, as long as this holy synod is being held in the said city.
Next, that all translations of prelates, and depositions of the same, or of any other beneficed persons, revocations of commendams and gifts, admonitions, ecclesiastical censures, processes, sentences, acts and whatever has been or will be done or accomplished by our aforesaid lord and his officials or commissaries, from the time of his departure, to the injury of the council or its adherents, against the supporters or participants of this sacred council, or to the prejudice of them or any one of them, in whatever way they may have been or shall be made or done, against the will of the persons concerned, are in virtue of the law itself null, quashed, invalid and void, and of no effect or moment, and the council by its authority quashes, invalidates and annuls them.
[Next, it was declared and decided that three persons should be chosen from each nation who know both the reasons of those wishing to depart and the punishments that ought to be inflicted on those departing without permission. [20 ]]
Next, that for the sake of unity new cardinals should not be created. Moreover, lest for reasons of deceit or fraud some persons may be said to have been made cardinals recently, this sacred council declares that those persons are not to be regarded as cardinals who were not publicly recognised and held to be such at the time of our lord pope's departure from the city of Constance.
SESSION 5 - 6 April 1415
The famous Haec Sancta decree contradicting Vatican 1 on papal primacy/infallibility.
[Decrees of the council, concerning its authority and integrity, which had been abbreviated by cardinal Zabarella at the preceding session, against the wishes of the nations, and which are now restored, repeated and confirmed by a public decree]
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit. Amen. This holy synod of Constance, which is a general council, for the eradication of the present schism and for bringing unity and reform to God's church in head and members, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit to the praise of almighty God, ordains, defines, decrees, discerns and declares as follows, in order that this union and reform of God's church may be obtained the more easily, securely, fruitfully and freely.
First it declares that, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.
Next, it declares that anyone of whatever condition, state or dignity, even papal, who contumaciously refuses to obey the past or future mandates, statutes, ordinances or precepts of this sacred council or of any other legitimately assembled general council, regarding the aforesaid things or matters pertaining to them, shall be subjected to well-deserved penance, unless he repents, and shall be duly punished, even by having recourse, if necessary, to other supports of the law.
Next, the said holy synod defines and ordains that the lord pope John XXIII may not move or transfer the Roman curia and its public offices, or its or their officials, from the city of Constance to another place, nor directly or indirectly compel the said officials to follow him, without the deliberation and consent of the same holy synod. If he has acted to the contrary in the past, or shall in the future, or if he has in the past, is now or shall in the future fulminate any processes or mandates or ecclesiastical censures or any other penalties, against the said officials or any other adherents of this sacred council, to the effect that they should follow him, then all is null and void and in no way are the said processes, censures and penalties to be obeyed, inasmuch as they are null and void. The said officials are rather to exercise their offices in the said city of Constance, and to carry them out freely as before, as long as this holy synod h being held in the said City.
Next, that all translations of prelates, or depositions of the same, or of any other beneficed persons, officials and administrators, revocations of commendams and gifts, admonitions, ecclesiastical censures, processes, sentences and whatever has been or will be done or accomplished by the aforesaid lord pope John or his officials or commissaries, since the beginning of this council, to the injury of the said council or its adherents, against the supporters or participants of this sacred council, or to the prejudice of them or of any one of them, in whatever way they may have been or shall be made or done, against the will of the persons concerned, are by this very fact, on the authority of this sacred council, null, quashed, invalid and void, and of no effect or moment, and the council by its authority quashes, invalidates and annuls them.
Next, it declares that the lord pope John XXIII and all the prelates and other persons summoned to this sacred council, and other participants in the same synod, have enjoyed and do now enjoy full freedom, as has been apparent in the said sacred council, and the opposite has not been brought to the notice of the said summoned persons or of the said council. The said sacred council testifies to this before God and people. [21 ]
SESSION 6 - 17 April 1415
[At this session there were, among other minor deliberations, decrees about admitting the office of proctor in the matter of pope John XXIII's renunciation of the papacy and about the citing of Jerome of Prague.]
SESSION 7 - 2 May 1415
[At this session it was decreed that pope John should be publicly summoned and that the summons of Jerome of Prague, now charged with contumacy, should be repeated.]
SESSION 8 - 4 May 1415
This most holy synod of Constance, which is a general council and represents the catholic church and is legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, for the eradication of the present schism and the elimination of the errors and heresies which are sprouting beneath its shade and for the reform of the church, make this perpetual record of its acts.
[Sentence condemning various articles of John Wyclif]
We learn from the writings and deeds of the holy fathers that the catholic faith without which (as the Apostle says) it is impossible to please God , has often been attacked by false followers of the same faith, or rather by perverse assailants, and by those who, desirous of the world's glory, are led on by proud curiosity to know more than they should; and that it has been defended against such persons by the church's faithful spiritual knights armed with the shield of faith. Indeed these kinds of wars were prefigured in the physical wars of the Israelite people against idolatrous nations. Therefore in these spiritual wars the holy catholic church, illuminated in the truth of faith by the rays of light from above and remaining ever spotless through the Lord's providence and with the help of the patronage of the saints, has triumphed most gloriously over the darkness of error as over profligate enemies. In our times, however, that old and jealous foe has stirred up new conflicts so that the approved ones of this age may be made manifest. Their leader and prince was that pseudo-christian John Wyclif. He stubbornly asserted and taught many articles against the christian religion and the catholic faith while he was alive. We have decided that forty-five of the articles should be set out on this page as follows.
1. The material substance of bread, and similarly the material substance of wine, remain in the sacrament of the altar.
2. The accidents of bread do not remain without their subject in the said sacrament.
3. Christ is not identically and really present in the said sacrament in his own bodily persona.
4. If a bishop or a priest is in mortal sin, he does not ordain or confect or consecrate or baptise.
5. That Christ instituted the mass has no basis in the gospel.
6. God ought to obey the devil.
7. If a person is duly contrite, all exterior confession is superfluous and useless for him.
8. If a pope is foreknown as damned and is evil, and is therefore a limb of the devil, he does not have authority over the faithful given to him by anyone, except perhaps by the emperor.
9. Nobody should be considered as pope after Urban VI. Rather, people should live like the Greeks, under their own laws.
10. It is against sacred scripture for ecclesiastics to have possessions.
11. No prelate should excommunicate anyone unless he first knows that the person has been excommunicated by God; he who does so thereby becomes a heretic and an excommunicated person.
12. A prelate excommunicating a cleric who has appealed to the king or the king's council is thereby a traitor to the king and the kingdom.
13. Those who stop preaching or hearing the word of God on account of an excommunication issued by men are themselves excommunicated and will be regarded as traitors of Christ on the day of judgment.
14. It is lawful for any deacon or priest to preach the word of God without authorisation from the apostolic see or from a catholic bishop.
15. Nobody is a civil lord or a prelate or a bishop while he is in mortal sin.
16. Secular lords can confiscate temporal goods from the church at their discretion when those who possess them are sinning habitually, that is to say sinning from habit and not just in particular acts.
17. The people can correct sinful lords at their discretion.
18. Tithes are purely alms, and parishioners can withhold them at will on account of their prelates' sins.
19. Special prayers applied by prelates or religious to a particular person avail him or her no more than general prayers, if other things are equal.
20. Whoever gives alms to friars is thereby excommunicated.
21. Whoever enters any religious order whatsoever, whether it be of the possessioners or the mendicants, makes himself less apt and suitable for the observance of God's commands.
22. Saints who have founded religious orders have sinned in so doing.
23. Members of religious orders are not members of the christian religion.
24. Friars are bound to obtain their food by manual work and not by begging. [22 ]
25. All are simoniacs who bind themselves to pray for people who help them in temporal matters.
26. The prayer of someone foreknown as damned profits nobody.
27. All things happen from absolute necessity.
28. Confirming the young, ordaining clerics and consecrating places have been reserved to the pope and bishops because of their greed for temporal gain and honour.
29. Universities, places of study, colleges, degrees and academic exercises in these institutions were introduced by a vain pagan spirit and benefit the church as little as does the devil.
30. Excommunication by a pope or any prelate is not to be feared since it is a censure of antichrist.
31. Those who found religious houses sin, and those who enter them belong to the devil.
32. It is against Christ's command to enrich the clergy.
33. Pope Silvester and the emperor Constantine erred in endowing the church.
34. All the members of mendicant orders are heretics, and those who give them alms are excommunicated.
35. Those who enter a religious or other order thereby become incapable of observing God's commands, and consequently of reaching the kingdom of heaven, unless they leave them.
36. The pope with all his clerics who have property are heretics, for the very reason that they have property; and so are all who abet them, namely all secular lords and other laity.
37. The Roman church is Satan's synagogue; and the pope is not the immediate and proximate vicar of Christ and the apostles.
38. The decretal letters are apocryphal and seduce people from Christ's faith, and clerics who study them are fools.
39. The emperor and secular lords were seduced by the devil to endow the church with temporal goods.
40. The election of a pope by the cardinals was introduced by the devil.
41. It is not necessary for salvation to believe that the Roman church is supreme among the other churches. [23 ]
42. It is ridiculous to believe in the indulgences of popes and bishops.
43. Oaths taken to confirm civil commerce and contracts between people are unlawful.
44. Augustine, Benedict and Bernard are damned, unless they repented of having owned property and of having founded and entered religious orders; and thus they are all heretics from the pope down to the lowest religious.
45. All religious orders alike were introduced by the devil.
[Condemnation of Wyclif's books]
This same John Wyclif wrote books called by him Dialogus and Trialogus and many other treatises, works and pamphlets in which he included and taught the above and many other damnable articles. He issued the books for public reading, in order to publish his perverse doctrine, and from them have followed many scandals, losses and dangers to souls in various regions, especially in the kingdoms of England and Bohemia. Masters and doctors of the universities and houses of study at Oxford and Prague, opposing with God's strength these articles and books, later refuted the above articles in scholastic form. They were condemned, moreover, by the most reverend fathers who were then the archbishops and bishops of Canterbury, York and Prague, legates of the apostolic see in the kingdoms of England and of Bohemia. The said archbishop of Prague, commissary of the apostolic see in this matter, also judicially decreed that the books of the same John Wyclif were to be burnt and he forbade the reading of those that survived.
After these things had again been brought to the notice of the apostolic see and a general council, the Roman pontiff condemned the said books, treatises and pamphlets at the lately held council of Rome [24 ] , ordering them to be publicly burnt and strictly forbidding anyone called a Christian to dare to read, expound, hold or make any use of any one or more of the said books, volumes, treatises and pamphlets, or even to cite them publicly or privately, except in order to refute them. In order that this dangerous and most foul doctrine might be eliminated from the church's midst, he ordered, by his apostolic authority and under pain of ecclesiastical censure, that all such books, treatises, volumes and pamphlets should be diligently sought out by the local ordinaries and should then be publicly burnt; and he added that if necessary those who do not obey should be proceeded against as if they were promoters of heresy.
This sacred synod has had the aforesaid forty-five articles examined and frequently considered by many most reverend fathers, cardinals of the Roman church, bishops, abbots, masters of theology, doctors in both laws and many notable persons. After the articles had been examined it was found, as indeed is the case, that some of them, indeed many, were and are notoriously heretical and have already been condemned by holy fathers, others are not catholic but erroneous, others scandalous and blasphemous, some offensive to the ears of the devout and some rash and seditious. It was also found that his books contain many other similar articles and introduce into God's church teaching that is unsound and hostile to faith and morals. This holy synod, therefore, in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, in ratifying and approving the sentences of the aforesaid archbishops and of the council of Rome, repudiates and condemns for ever, by this decree, the aforesaid articles and each one of them in particular, and the books of John Wyclif called by him Dialogus and Trialogus, and the same author's other books, volumes, treatises and pamphlets (no matter what name these may go under, and for which purpose this description is to be regarded as an adequate listing of them). It forbids the reading, teaching, expounding and citing of the said books or of any one of them in particular, unless it is for the purpose of refuting them. It forbids each and every Catholic henceforth, under pain of anathema, to preach, teach or affirm in public the said articles or any one of them in particular, or to teach, approve or hold the said books, or to refer to them in any way, unless this is done, as has been said, for the purpose of refuting them. It orders, moreover, that the aforesaid books, treatises, volumes and pamphlets are to be burnt in public, in accordance with the decree of the synod of Rome, as stated above. This holy synod orders local ordinaries to attend with vigilance to the execution and due observance of these things, insofar as each one is responsible, in accordance with the law and canonical sanctions.
[Condemnation of 260 other articles of Wyclif] [25 ]
When the doctors and masters of the university of Oxford examined the aforesaid written works, they found 260 articles in addition to the 45 articles that have been mentioned. Some of them coincide in meaning with the 45 articles, even if not in the forms of words used. Some of them, as has been said, were and are heretical, some seditious, some erroneous, others rash, some scandalous, others unsound, and almost all of them contrary to good morals and the catholic truth. They were therefore condemned by the said university in correct and scholastic form. This most holy synod, therefore, after deliberating as mentioned above, repudiates and condemns the said articles and each one of them in particular; and it forbids, commands and decrees in the same way as for the other 45 articles. We order the contents of these 260 articles to be included below [26 ] .
[The council pronounces John Wyclif a heretic, condemns his memory and orders his bones to be exhumed]
Furthermore, a process was begun, on the authority or by decree of the Roman council, and at the command of the church and of the apostolic see, after a due interval of time, for the condemnation of the said Wyclif and his memory. Invitations and proclamations were issued summoning those who wished to defend him and his memory, if any still existed. However, nobody appeared who was willing to defend him or his memory. Witnesses were examined by commissaries appointed by the reigning lord pope John and by this sacred council, regarding the said Wyclif's final impenitence and obstinacy. Legal proof was thus provided, in accordance with all due observances, as the order of law demands in a matter of this kind, regarding his impenitence and final obstinacy. This was proved by clear indications from legitimate witnesses. This holy synod, therefore, at the instance of the procurator-fiscal and since a decree was issued to the effect that sentence should be heard on this day, declares, defines and decrees that the said John Wyclif was a notorious and obstinate heretic who died in heresy, and it anathematises him and condemns his memory. It decrees and orders that his body and bones are to be exhumed, if they can be identified among the corpses of the faithful, and to be scattered far from a burial place of the church, in accordance with canonical and lawful sanctions.
SESSION 9 - 13 May 1415
[Pope John is publicly summoned for the second time and an inquiry against him is decreed.]
SESSION 10 - 14 May 1415
[John XXIII is summoned for the third time, he is accused of contumacy and is suspended from the papacy.]
SESSION 11 - 25 May 1415
[Pope John XXIII is publicly charged and forty-four articles against him are produced.]
SESSION 12 - 29 May 1415
[Decree stating that the process for electing a pope, if the see happens to be vacant, may not begin without the council's express consent [27 ] ]
This most holy general synod of Constance, representing the catholic church, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, for the eradication of the present schism and errors, for bringing about the reform of the church in head and members, and in order that the unity of the church may be obtained more easily, quickly and freely, pronounces, determines, decrees and ordains that if it happens that the apostolic see becomes vacant, by whatever means this may happen, then the process of electing the next supreme pontiff may not begin without the deliberation and consent of this sacred general council. If the contrary is done then it is by this very fact, by the authority of the said sacred council, null and void. Nobody may accept anyone elected to the papacy in defiance of this decree, nor in any way adhere to or obey him as pope, under pain of eternal damnation and of becoming a supporter of the said schism. Those who make the election in such a case, as well as the person elected, if he consents, and those who adhere to him, are to be punished in the forms prescribed by this sacred council. The said holy synod, moreover, for the good of the church's unity, suspends all positive laws, even those promulgated in general councils, and their statutes, ordinances, customs and privileges, by whomsoever they may have been granted, and penalties promulgated against any persons, insofar as these may in any way impede the effect of this decree.
[Sentence deposing pope John XXIII]
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit Amen. This most holy general synod of Constance, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, having invoked Christ's name and holding God alone before its eyes, having seen the articles drawn up and presented in this case against the lord pope John XXIII, the proofs brought forward, his spontaneous submission and the whole process of the case, and having deliberated maturely on them, pronounces, decrees and declares by this definitive sentence which it commits to writing: that the departure of the aforesaid lord pope John XXIII from this city of Constance and from this sacred general council, secretly and at a suspicious hour of the night, in disguised and indecent dress, was and is unlawful, notoriously scandalous to God's church and to this council, disturbing and damaging for the church's peace and unity, supportive of this long-standing schism, and at variance with the vow, promise and oath made by the said lord pope John to God, to the church and to this sacred council; that the said lord pope John has been and is a notorious simoniac, a notorious destroyer of the goods and rights not only of the Roman church but also of other churches and of many pious places, and an evil administrator and dispenser of the church's spiritualities and temporalities; that he has notoriously scandalised God's church and the christian people by his detestable and dishonest life and morals, both before his promotion to the papacy and afterwards until the present time, that by the above he has scandalised and is scandalising in a notorious fashion God's church and the christian people; that after due and charitable warnings, frequently reiterated to him, he obstinately persevered in the aforesaid evils and thereby rendered himself notoriously incorrigible; and that on account of the above and other crimes drawn from and contained in the said process against him, he should be deprived of and deposed from, as an unworthy, useless and damnable person, the papacy and all its spiritual and temporal administration. The said holy synod does now remove, deprive and depose him. It declares each and every Christian, of whatever state, dignity or condition, to be absolved from obedience, fidelity and oaths to him. It forbids all Christians henceforth to recognise him as pope, now that as mentioned he has been deposed from the papacy, or to call him pope, or to adhere to or in any way to obey him as pope. The said holy synod, moreover, from certain knowledge and its fullness of power, supplies for all and singular defects that may have occurred in the above-mentioned procedures or in any one of them. It condemns the said person, by this same sentence, to stay and remain in a good and suitable place, in the name of this sacred general council, in the safe custody of the most serene prince lord Sigismund, king of the Romans and of Hungary, etc., and most devoted advocate and defender of the universal church, as long as it seems to the said general council to be for the good of the unity of God's church that he should be so condemned. The said council reserves the right to declare and inflict other punishments that should be imposed for the said crimes and faults in accordance with canonical sanctions, according as the rigour of justice or the counsel of mercy may advise.
[Decree to the effect that none of the three contenders for the papacy may be re-elected as pope]
The said holy synod decrees, determines and ordains for the good of unity in God's church that neither the lord Baldassare de Cossa, recently John XXIII, nor Angelo Correr nor Peter de Luna, called Gregory XII and Benedict XIII by their respective obediences, shall ever be re-elected as pope. If the contrary happens, it is by this very fact null and void. Nobody, of whatever dignity or pre-eminence even if he be emperor, king, cardinal or pontiff, may ever adhere to or obey them or any one of them, contrary to this decree, under pain of eternal damnation and of being a supporter of the said schism. Let those who presume to the contrary, if there are any in the future, also be firmly proceeded against in other ways, even by invoking the secular arm. [28 ]
SESSION 13 - 15 June 1415
[Condemnation of communion under both kinds, recently revived among the Bohemians by Jakoubek of Stribro]
In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit, Amen. Certain people, in some parts of the world, have rashly dared to assert that the christian people ought to receive the holy sacrament of the eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine. They communicate the laity everywhere not only under the form of bread but also under that of wine, and they stubbornly assert that they should communicate even after a meal, or else without the need of a fast, contrary to the church's custom which has been laudably and sensibly approved, from the church's head downwards, but which they damnably try to repudiate as sacrilegious. Therefore this present general council of Constance, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, wishing to provide for the safety of the faithful against this error, after long deliberation by many persons learned in divine and human law, declares, decrees and defines that, although Christ instituted this venerable sacrament after a meal and ministered it to his apostles under the forms of both bread and wine, nevertheless and notwithstanding this, the praiseworthy authority of the sacred canons and the approved custom of the church have and do retain that this sacrament ought not to be celebrated after a meal nor received by the faithful without fasting, except in cases of sickness or some other necessity as permitted by law or by the church. Moreover, just as this custom was sensibly introduced in order to avoid various dangers and scandals, so with similar or even greater reason was it possible to introduce and sensibly observe the custom that, although this sacrament was received by the faithful under both kinds in the early church, nevertheless later it was received under both kinds only by those confecting it, and by the laity only under the form of bread. For it should be very firmly believed, and in no way doubted, that the whole body and blood of Christ are truly contained under both the form of bread and the form of wine. Therefore, since this custom was introduced for good reasons by the church and holy fathers, and has been observed for a very long time, it should be held as a law which nobody may repudiate or alter at will without the church's permission. To say that the observance of this custom or law is sacrilegious or illicit must be regarded as erroneous. Those who stubbornly assert the opposite of the aforesaid are to be confined as heretics and severely punished by the local bishops or their officials or the inquisitors of heresy in the kingdoms or provinces in which anything is attempted or presumed against this decree, according to the canonical and legitimate sanctions that have been wisely established in favour of the catholic faith against heretics and their supporters.
[That no priest, under pain of excommunication, may communicate the people under the forms of both bread and wine]
This holy synod also decrees and declares, regarding this matter, that instructions are to be sent to the most reverend fathers and lords in Christ, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and their vicars in spirituals, wherever they may be, in which they are to be commissioned and ordered on the authority of this sacred council and under pain of excommunication, to punish effectively those who err against this decree. They may receive back into the church's fold those who have gone astray by communicating the people under the forms of both bread and wine, and have taught this, provided they repent and after a salutary penance, in accordance with the measure of their fault, has been enjoined upon them. They are to repress as heretics, however, by means of the church's censures and even if necessary by calling in the help of the secular arm, those of them whose hearts have become hardened and who are unwilling to return to penance.
From this point on the council becomes a duly convened ecumenical council, all previous sessions being ultra-vires.
SESSION 14 - 4 July 1415
[29 ]
[Uniting of the followers of pope Gregory XII and of the former pope John XXIII, now that both men have abdicated]
In order that the reunion of the church may be possible and that a beginning may be made which is fitting and pleasing to God, since the most important part of any matter is its beginning, and in order that the two obediences--namely the one claiming that the lord John XXIII was formerly pope and the other claiming that the lord Gregory XII is pope--may be united together under Christ as head, this most holy general synod of Constance, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit and representing the catholic church, accepts in all matters the convoking, authorising, approving and confirming that is now being made in the name of the lord who is called Gregory XII by those obedient to him, insofar as it seems to pertain to him to do this, since the certainty obtained by taking a precaution harms nobody and benefits all, and it decrees and declares that the aforesaid two obediences are joined and united in the one body of our lord Jesus Christ and of this sacred universal general council, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.
[Decree stating that the election of the Roman pontiff is to be made in the manner and form to be laid down by the sacred council, and that the council shall not be dissolved until the election of the next Roman pontiff has been made]
The most holy general synod of Constance, etc., enacts, pronounces, ordains and decrees, in order that God's holy church may be provided for better, more genuinely and more securely, that the next election of the future Roman pontiff is to be made in the manner, form, place, time and way that shall be decided upon by the sacred council; that the same council can and may henceforth declare fit, accept and designate, in the manner and form that then seems suitable, any persons for the purposes of this election, whether by active or by passive voice, of whatever state or obedience they are or may have been, and any other ecclesiastical acts and all other suitable things, notwithstanding any proceedings, penalties or sentences; and that the sacred council shall not be dissolved until the said election has been held. The said holy synod therefore exhorts and requires the most victorious prince lord Sigismund, king of the Romans and of Hungary, as the church's devoted advocate and as the sacred council's defender and protector, to direct all his efforts to this end and to promise on his royal word that he wishes to do this and to order letters of his majesty to be made out for this purpose.
[The council approves Gregory XII's resignation]
The most holy general synod of Constance, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, representing the universal catholic church, accepts, approves and commends, in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, the cession renunciation and resignation made on behalf of the lord who was called Gregory XII in his obedience, by the magnificent and powerful lord Charles Malatesta. here present, his irrevocable procurator for this business, of the right, title and possession that he had, or may have had, in regard to the papacy. [30 ]
SESSION 15 - 6 July 1415
[Sentence condemning 260 articles Wyclif] [31 ]
The books and pamphlets of John Wyclif, of cursed memory, were carefully examined by the doctors and masters of Oxford university. They collected 260 unacceptable articles from these books and pamphlets and condemned them in scholastic form. This most holy general synod of Constance, representing the catholic church, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit for the purpose of extirpating schism, errors and heresies, has had all these articles examined many times by many most reverend fathers, cardinals of the Roman church, bishops, abbots, masters of theology, doctors of both laws, and very many other notable persons from various universities. It was found that some, indeed many, of the articles thus examined were and are notoriously heretical and have already been condemned by holy fathers, some are offensive to the ears of the devout and some are rash and seditious. This holy synod, therefore, in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, repudiates and condemns, by this perpetual decree, the aforesaid articles and each one of them in particular; and it forbids each and every Catholic henceforth, under pain of anathema, to preach, teach, or hold the said articles or any one of them. The said holy synod orders local ordinaries and inquisitors of heresy to be vigilant in carrying out these things and duly observing them, insofar as each one is responsible, in accordance with the law and canonical sanctions. Let anyone who rashly violates the aforesaid decrees and sentences of this sacred council be punished, after due warning, by the local ordinaries on the authority of this sacred council, notwithstanding any privilege. [32 ]
[Articles of John Wyclif selected from the 260]
1. Just as Christ is God and man at the same time, so the consecrated host is at the same time the body of Christ and true bread. For it is Christ's body at least in figure and true bread in nature; or, which comes to the same thing, it is true bread naturally and Christ's body figuratively.
2. Since heretical falsehood about the consecrated host is the most important point in individual heresies, I therefore declare to modern heretics, in order that this falsehood may be eradicated from the church, that they cannot explain or understand an accident without a subject. And therefore all these heretical sects belong to the number of those who ignore the fourth chapter of John: We worship what we know.
3. I boldly foretell to all these sects and their accomplices that even by the time Christ and all the church triumphant come at the final judgment riding at the trumpet blast of the angel Gabriel, they shall still not have proved to the faithful that the sacrament is an accident without a subject.
4. Just as John was Elias in a figurative sense and not in person, so the bread on the altar is Christ's body in a figurative sense. And the words, This is my body, are unambiguously figurative, just like the statement "John is Elias".
5. The fruit of this madness whereby it is pretended that there can be an accident without a subject is to blaspheme against God, to scandalise the saints and to deceive the church by means of false doctrines about accidents.
6. Those who claim that the children of the faithful dying without sacramental baptism will not be saved, are stupid and presumptuous in saying this.
7. The slight and short confirmation by bishops, with whatever extra solemnised rites, was introduced at the devil's suggestion so that the people might be deluded in the church's faith and the solemnity and necessity of bishops might be believed in the more.
8. As for the oil with which bishops anoint boys and the linen cloth which goes around the head, it seems that this is a trivial rite which is unfounded in scripture; and that this confirmation, which was introduced after the apostles, blasphemes against God.
9. Oral confession to a priest, introduced by Innocent [33 ] , is not as necessary to people as he claimed. For if anyone offends his brother in thought, word or deed, then it suffices to repent in thought, word or deed.
10. It is a grave and unsupported practice for a priest to hear the confessions of the people in the way that the Latins use.
11. In these words, You are clean, but not all are, the devil has laid a snare of the unfaithful ones in order to catch the Christian's foot. For he introduced private confession, which cannot be justified, and after the person's malice has been revealed to the confessor, as he decreed in the law, it is not revealed to the people.
12. It is a probable conjecture that a person who lives rightly is a deacon or a priest. For just as I infer that this person is John, so I recognise by a probable conjecture that this person, by his holy life, has been placed by God in such an office or state.
13. The probable evidence for such a state is to be taken from proof provided by the person's deeds and not from the testimony of the person ordaining him. For God can place someone in such a state without the need of an instrument of this kind, no matter whether the instrument is worthy or unworthy. There is no more probable evidence than the person's life. Therefore if there is present a holy life and catholic doctrine, this suffices for the church militant. (Error at the beginning and at the end.)
14. The bad life of a prelate means that his subjects do not receive orders and the other sacraments. They can receive them from such persons, however, when there is urgent need, if they devoutly beseech God to supply on behalf of his diabolical ministers the actions and purpose of the office to which they have bound themselves by oath.
15. People of former times would copulate with each other out of desire for temporal gain or for mutual help or to relieve concupiscence, even when they had no hope of offspring; for they were truly copulating as married persons. [34 ]
16. The words, I will take you as wife, are more suitable for the marriage contract than, I take you as wife. And the first words ought not to be annulled by the second words about the present, when someone contracts with one wife in the words referring to the future and afterwards with another wife in those referring to the present.
17. The pope, who falsely calls himself the servant of God's servants, has no status in the work of the gospel but only in the work of the world. If he has any rank, it is in the order of demons, of those who serve God rather in a blameworthy way.
18. The pope does not dispense from simony or from a rash vow, since he is the chief simoniac who rashly vows to preserve, to his damnation, his status here on the way. (Error at the end.)
19. That the pope is supreme pontiff is ridiculous. Christ approved such a dignity neither in Peter nor in anyone else.
20. The pope is antichrist made manifest. Not only this particular person but also the multitude of popes, from the time of the endowment of the church, of cardinals, of bishops and of their other accomplices, make up the composite, monstrous person of antichrist. This is not altered by the fact that Gregory and other popes, who did many good and fruitful things in their lives, finally repented.
21. Peter and Clement, together with the other helpers in the faith, were not popes but God's helpers in the work of building up the church of our lord Jesus Christ.
22. To say that papal pre-eminence originated with the faith of the gospel is as false as to say that every error arose from the original truth.
23. There are twelve procurators and disciples of antichrist: the pope, cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, officials, deans, monks, canons with their two-peaked hats, the recently introduced pseudo-friars, and pardoners.
24. It is clear that whoever is the humbler, of greater service to the church, and the more fervent in Christ's love towards his church, is the greater in the church militant and to be reckoned the most immediate vicar of Christ.
25. Whoever holds any of God's goods unjustly, is taking the things of others by rapine, theft or robbery.
26. Neither the depositions of witnesses, nor a judge's sentence, nor physical possession, nor inheritance, nor an exchange between persons, nor a gift, nor all such things taken together, confer dominion or a right to anything upon a person without grace. (An error, if it is understood as referring to sanctifying grace.)
27. Unless the interior law of charity is present, nobody has more or less authority or righteousness on account of charters or bulls. We ought not to lend or give anything to a sinner so long as we know that he is such, for thus we would be assisting a traitor of our God.
28. Just as a prince or a lord does not keep the title of his office while he is in mortal sin, except in name and equivocally, so it is with a pope, bishop or priest while he has fallen into mortal sin.
29. Everyone habitually in mortal sin lacks dominion of any kind and the licit use of an action, even if it be good in its kind.
30. It is known from the principles of the faith that a person in mortal sin, sins mortally in every action.
31. In order to have true secular dominion, the lord must be in a state of righteousness. Therefore nobody in mortal sin is lord of anything.
32. All modern religious necessarily become marked as hypocrites. For their profession demands that they fast, act and clothe themselves in a particular way, and thus they observe everything differently from other people.
33. All private religion as such savours of imperfection and sin whereby a person is indisposed to serve God freely.
34. A private religious order or rule savours of a blasphemous and arrogant presumption towards God. And the religious of such orders dare to exalt themselves above the apostles by the hypocrisy of defending their religion.
35. Christ does not teach in scripture about any kind of religious order in antichrist's chapter. Therefore it is not his good pleasure that there should be such orders. The chapter is composed, however, of the following twelve types: the pope, cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, officials, deans, monks, canons, friars of the four orders, and pardoners.
36. I infer as evident from the faith and works of the four sects--which are the caesarean clergy, the various monks, the various canons, and the friars-that nobody belonging to them is a member of Christ in the catalogue of the saints, unless he forsakes in the end the sect which he stupidly embraced.
37. Paul was once a pharisee but abandoned the sect for the better sect of Christ, with his permission. This is the reason why cloistered persons, of whatever sect or rule, or by whatever stupid vow they may be bound, ought freely to cast off these chains, at Christ's command, and freely join the sect of Christ.
38. It is sufficient for the laity that at some times they give tithes of their produce to God's servants. In this way they are always giving to the church, even if not always to the caesarean clergy deputed by the pope or by his dependents.
39. The powers that are claimed by the pope and the other four new sects are pretended and were diabolically introduced in order to seduce subjects; such are excommunications by caesarean prelates, citations, imprisoning, and the sale of money rents.
40. Many simple priests surpass prelates in such power. Indeed, it appears to the faithful that greatness of spiritual power belongs more to a son who imitates Christ in his way of life than to a prelate who has been elected by cardinals and similar apostates.
41. The people may withhold tithes, offerings and other private alms from unworthy disciples of Christ, since God's law requires this. The curse or censure imposed by antichrist's disciples is not to be feared but rather is to be received with joy. The lord pope and bishops and all religious or simple clerics, with titles to perpetual possession, ought to renounce them into the hands of the secular arm. If they stubbornly refuse, they ought to be compelled to do so by the secular lords.
42. There is no greater heretic or antichrist than the cleric who teaches that it is lawful for priests and levites of the law of grace to be endowed with temporal possessions. The clerics who teach this are heretics or blasphemers if ever there were any.
43. Temporal lords not only can take away goods of fortune from a church that is habitually sinning, nor is it only lawful for them to do so, but indeed they are obliged to do so under pain of eternal damnation.
44. God does not approve that anyone be judged or condemned by civil law.
45. If an objection is made against those who oppose endowments for the church, by pointing to Benedict, Gregory and Bernard, who possessed few temporal goods in poverty, it may be said in reply that they repented at the end. If you object further that I merely pretend that these saints finally repented of their falling away from God's law in this way, then you may teach that they are saints and I will teach that they repented at the end.
46. If we ought to believe in sacred scripture and in reason, it is clear that Christ's disciples do not have the authority to exact temporal goods by means of censures, and those who attempt this are sons of Eli and of Belial.
47. Each essence has one suppositum, following which another suppositum, equal to the first, is produced. This is the most perfect immanent action possible to nature.
48. Each essence, whether corporeal or incorporeal, is common to three supposita; and the properties, the accidents and the operations inhere in common in all of them.
49. God cannot annihilate anything, nor increase or diminish the world, but he can create souls up to a certain number, and not beyond it.
50. It is impossible for two corporeal substances to be co-extensive, the one continuously at rest in a place and the other continuously penetrating the body of Christ at rest.
51. Any continuous mathematical line is composed of two, three or four contiguous points, or of only a simply finite number of points; and time is, was and will be composed of contiguous instants. It is not possible that time and a line, if they exist, are composed of in this way. (The first part is a philosophical error, the last part is an error with regard to God's power.)
52. It must be supposed that one corporeal substance was formed at its beginning as composed of indivisibles, and that it occupies every possible place.
53. Every person is God.
54. Every creature is God.
55. Every being is everywhere, since every being is God.
56. All things that happen, happen from absolute necessity.
57. A baptised child foreknown as damned will necessarily live long enough to sin in the holy Spirit, wherefore it will merit to be condemned for ever. Thus no fire can burn the child until that time or instant.
58. I assert as a matter of faith that everything that will happen, will happen of necessity. Thus if Paul is foreknown as damned, he cannot truly repent; that is, he cannot cancel the sin of final impenitence by contrition, or be under the obligation not to have the sin.
[Sentence against John Hus]
The most holy general council of Constance, divinely assembled and representing the catholic church, for an everlasting record. Since a bad tree is wont to bear bad fruit, as truth itself testifies, so it is that John Wyclif, of cursed memory, by his deadly teaching, like a poisonous root, has brought forth many noxious sons, not in Christ Jesus through the gospel, as once the holy fathers brought forth faithful sons, but rather contrary to the saving faith of Christ, and he has left these sons as successors to his perverse teaching. This holy synod of Constance is compelled to act against these men as against spurious and illegitimate sons, and to cut away their errors from the Lord's field as if they were harmful briars, by means of vigilant care and the knife of ecclesiastical authority, lest they spread as a cancer to destroy others. Although, therefore, it was decreed at the sacred general council recently held at Rome [35 ] that the teaching of John Wyclif, of cursed memory, should be condemned and the books of his containing this teaching should be burnt as heretical; although his teaching was in fact condemned and his books burnt as containing false and dangerous doctrine; and although a decree of this kind was approved by the authority of this present sacred council [36 ] ; nevertheless a certain John Hus, here present in person at this sacred council, who is a disciple not of Christ but rather of the heresiarch John Wyclif, boldly and rashly contravening the condemnation and the decree after their enactment, has taught, asserted and preached many errors and heresies of John Wyclif which have been condemned both by God's church and by other reverend fathers in Christ, lord archbishops and bishops of various kingdoms, and masters in theology at many places of study. He has done this especially by publicly resisting in the schools and in sermons, together with his accomplices, the condemnation in scholastic form of the said articles of John Wyclif which has been made many times at the university of Prague, and he has declared the said John Wyclif to be a catholic man and an evangelical doctor, thus supporting his teaching, before a multitude of clergy and people. He has asserted and published certain articles listed below and many others, which are condemned and which are, as is well known, contained in the books and pamphlets of the said John Hus. Full information has been obtained about the aforesaid matters, and there has been careful deliberation by the most reverend fathers in Christ, lord cardinals of the holy Roman church, patriarchs archbishops, bishops and other prelates and doctors of holy scripture and of both laws, in large numbers. This most holy synod of Constance therefore declares and defines that the articles listed below, which have been found on examination, by many masters in sacred scripture, to be contained in his books and pamphlets written in his own hand, and which the same John Hus at a public hearing, before the fathers and prelates of this sacred council, has confessed to be contained in his books and pamphlets, are not catholic and should not be taught to be such but rather many of them are erroneous, others scandalous, others offensive to the ears of the devout, many of them are rash and seditious, and some of them are notoriously heretical and have long ago been rejected and condemned by holy fathers and by general councils, and it strictly forbids them to be preached, taught or in any way approved. Moreover, since the articles listed below are explicitly contained in his books or treatises, namely in the book entitled De ecclesia and in his other pamphlets, this most holy synod therefore reproves and condemns the aforesaid books and his teaching, as well as the other treatises and pamphlets written by him in Latin or in Czech, or translated by one or more other persons into any other language, and it decrees and determines that they should be publicly and solemnly burnt in the presence of the clergy and people in the city of Constance and elsewhere. On account of the above, moreover, all his teaching is and shall be deservedly suspect regarding the faith and is to be avoided by all of Christ's faithful. In order that this pernicious teaching may be eliminated from the midst of the church, this holy synod also orders that local ordinaries make careful inquiry about treatises and pamphlets of this kind, using the church's censures and even if necessary the punishment due for supporting heresy, and that they be publicly burnt when they have been found. This same holy synod decrees that local ordinaries and inquisitors of heresy are to proceed against any who violate or defy this sentence and decree as if they were persons suspected of heresy.
[Sentence of degradation against J. Hus]
Moreover, the acts and deliberations of the inquiry into heresy against the aforesaid John Hus have been examined. There was first a faithful and full account made by the commissioners deputed for the case and by other masters of theology and doctors of both laws, concerning the acts and deliberations and the depositions of very many trustworthy witnesses. These depositions were openly and publicly read out to the said John Hus before the fathers and prelates of this sacred council. It is very clearly established from the depositions of these witnesses that the said John has taught many evil, scandalous and seditious things, and dangerous heresies, and has publicly preached them during many years. This most holy synod of Constance, invoking Christ's name and having God alone before its eyes, therefore pronounces, decrees and defines by this definitive sentence, which is here written down, that the said John Hus was and is a true and manifest heretic and has taught and publicly preached, to the great offence of the divine Majesty, to the scandal of the universal church and to the detriment of the catholic faith, errors and heresies that have long ago been condemned by God's church and many things that are scandalous, offensive to the ears of the devout, rash and seditious, and that he has even despised the keys of the church and ecclesiastical censures. He has persisted in these things for many years with a hardened heart. He has greatly scandalised Christ's faithful by his obstinacy since, bypassing the church's intermediaries, he has made appeal directly to our lord Jesus Christ, as to the supreme judge, in which he has introduced many false, harmful and scandalous things to the contempt of the apostolic see, ecclesiastical censures and the keys. This holy synod therefore pronounces the said John Hus, on account of the aforesaid and many other matters, to have been a heretic and it judges him to be considered and condemned as a heretic, and it hereby condemns him. It rejects the said appeal of his as harmful and scandalous and offensive to the church's jurisdiction. It declares that the said John Hus seduced the christian people, especially in the kingdom of Bohemia, in his public sermons and in his writings; and that he was not a true preacher of Christ's gospel to the same christian people, according to the exposition of the holy doctors, but rather was a seducer. Since this most holy synod has learnt from what it has seen and heard, that the said J