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NPNF2-14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils
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Canon XXXIII.  (Greek xxxvi.)

That presbyters should not sell the goods of the Church in which they are constituted; and that no bishop can rightly use anything the title to which vests in the ecclesiastical maternal centre (μάτρικος).

It also seemed good that presbyters should not sell the ecclesiastical property where they are settled without their bishop’s knowledge; and it is not lawful for bishops to sell the goods of the Church without the council or their presbyters being aware of it.  Nor should the bishop without necessity usurp the property of the maternal (matricis) Church [nor should a presbyter usurp the property of his own cure (tituli)].435435    Only found in the Latin.

Notes.

Ancient Epitome of Canon XXXIII.

A presbyter is not to sell ecclesiastical property without the consent of the bishop.  A bishop is not to sell without the approbation of his synod a country property.

Fuchs (Biblioth. der Kirchenvers., vol. iij., p. 5) thinks the text is corrupt in the last sentence and should be corrected by Canon x. of the Council of Carthage of 421, so as to read, “that which is left by will to a rural church in the diocese must not be applied to the Mother Church through the usurpation of the bishop.”

Johnson.

“Or title.”  So I turn the Lat. Titulus for want of a proper English word.  It denotes a lesser church in any city or diocese, served by a priest.

“The Mother Church,” i.e., The cathedral, the Church in which the bishop resides.

Moreover at this Synod we read all the conciliar decrees of all the Province of Africa in the different synods held in the time of Bishop Aurelius.436436    These interludes or “Digressions,” as Van Espen calls them, are found in Dionysius and in the Greek texts.

Concerning the Synod which assembled in Hippo Regio.

Under the most illustrious consuls, the most glorious Emperor Theodosius Augustus for the third time, and Abundantius, on the viij. Ides of October, at Hippo Regio, in the secretarium of the Church of Peace.  And the rest of the acts of this Synod have not been written down here because these constitutions are found set forth above.

Of the Council of Carthage at which the proconsular bishops were appointed legates to the Council at Adrumetum.

In the consulate of the most glorious emperors—Arcadius for the third time and Honorius for the second time, Augustuses, on the vith437437    In the Greek this reads xvith. day before the Calends of July, at Carthage.  In this council the proconsular bishops were chosen as legates to the Council of Adrumetum.

Of a Council of Carthage at which many statutes were made.

In the consulate of those most illustrious men, Cæsarius and Atticus, on the vth day before the Calends of September in the secretarium of the restored basilica, when Aurelius the bishop, together with the bishops, had taken his seat, the deacons also standing by, and Victor the old man of Puppiana, Tutus of Migirpa and Evangel of Assuri.

The Allocution of Aurelius the bishop of Carthage to the bishops.

Aurelius, the bishop, said:438438    The text here I suspect is much corrupted.  The Greek and Latin do not agree.  After the day fixed for the council, as ye remember, most blessed brethren, we sat and waited for the legations of all the African provinces to assemble upon the day, as I have said, set by our missive; but when the letter of our Byzacene bishops had been read, that was read to your charity, which they had discussed with me who had anticipated the time and day of the council; also it was read by our brethren Honoratus and Urban, who are to-day present with us in this council, sent as the legation of the Sitifensine Province.  For our brother Reginus of the Vege [t]selitane439439    In Gustavus Willmann’s Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. viii., p. 47, the reading is given as Vegeselitanæ, in one word.  The town was Vegesela, and unfortunately there were two towns having the same name and not far one from the other.  Cf. map 20, Spruner-Sieglin, Atlas Antiquus. Church,440440    The verb is lacking.  The Ed. of Migne’s Dion. Exig. suggests legit. the letters sent to my littleness by Crescentian and Aurelius, our fellow-bishops, of the first sees of the [two] Numidias, in which writings your charity will see with me how they promised that either they themselves would be good enough to come or else that they would send legates according to custom to this council; but this it seems they did not do at all, the legates of Mauritania Sitifensis, who had come so great a distance gave notice that they could stay no longer; and, therefore, brethren, if it seem good to your charity, let the letters of our Byzacene brethren, as also the breviary, which they joined to the same letter, be read to this assembly, so that if by any chance they are not entirely satisfactory to your charity, such things in the breviary may be changed for the better after diligent examination.  For this very thing our brother and fellow-bishop of the primatial see, a man justly conspicuous for his gravity and prudence, Mizonius, demanded in a letter he addressed to my littleness.  If therefore it meets with your approval, let there be read the things which have been adopted and let each by itself be considered by your charity.


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