Canons From Laodicea

In another article, we examined the Council of Laodicea, which has implications for the seventh-day Sabbath (CLICK HERE to read this article). While there are canons against the Sabbath, most Christians continued to observe it for over one hundred years after it was enacted (CLICK HERE to learn more). Here is a list of all the other canons from the Council of Laodicea.

Can. 1. “We have decreed, in accordance with the rules of the Church, that those who have lawfully and regularly entered upon a second marriage, and not formed a secret union, shall, after a short period of prayer and fasting, be pardoned and again received into communion.”

Can. 2. “That sinners of various kinds, if they have persevered in the public confession and penance, and have entirely turned from evil, after a time of penance fixed in proportion to their fall, shall, in consideration of the pity and goodness of God, be again received into communion.”

Can. 3. “That those only lately baptized shall not be promoted to the clerical office.”

Can. 4. “That clerics may not practice usury or take interest.”

Can 5. “That ordinations may not take place in the presence of the audientes.”

Can. 6. “That it is not permitted to heretics, so long as they continue in heresy, to set foot in the house of God.”

Can. 7. “That heretics returning from the Novatian, Photinian, or Quartodeciman heresies, whether they have been reckoned among the [catechumens] or the faithful, shall not be received until they have anathematized all heresies, and more especially those in which they were themselves implicated. These, as soon as they have learnt the creed, and received the anointing of the holy chrism, shall share in the holy mysteries.”

Can. 8. “Those who return from the heresy of the so-called Phrygians (Montanists), even though of the number of the pretended clergy, and held in the greatest esteem, must be catechized with all care and baptized by the bishops and priests of the Church.”

Can. 9. “Members of the Church shall not be allowed to frequent cemeteries or chapels dedicated to so-called martyrs belonging to any heretics for prayer or divine service. Those who do this, if of the number of the faithful (not merely catechumens), shall be excommunicated for a time; but if they do penance and acknowledge their fault, they shall be again received.”

Can. 10. “Members of the Church shall not indiscriminately give their children in marriage to heretics.”

Can. 11. “The appointment of the so-called female elders or presidents shall not take place in the church.”

Can. 12. “The bishops must be appointed for the government of the Church by the decision of the metropolitans and the surrounding bishops (comprovincials), after they have given sufficient proof of their orthodoxy, as well as of their orderly behavior.”

Can. 13. “The choice of those to be appointed to the priesthood shall not rest with the multitude.”

Can. 14. “At Easter the Host shall no more be sent into foreign dioceses as eulogia.”

Can. 15. “Besides the appointed singers, who mount the ambo and sing from the book, others shall not sing in the church.”

Can. 16. “On Saturday, the Gospels and other portions of the Scripture shall be read aloud.”

Can. 17. “At the Church services the psalms shall not sung continuously one after the other, but after each psalm there shall be a lesson read.”

Can. 18. “The same service of prayer shall take place everywhere at the ninth hour, as in the evening.”

Can. 19. “After the homily of the bishop, first the prayer for the catechumens shah be said separately, and after the departure of the catechumens the prayer for the penitents, and when these also have received the imposition of hands and have withdrawn, then in like manner shah three prayers for the faithful be said: the first in silence, but the second and third repeated aloud. Hereupon the kiss of peace is given. And after the priests have given the kiss of peace to the bishop, the laity shall give the same to one another, and the Holy Sacrifice shall be offered. And the clerics alone shah be permitted to approach the altar of sacrifice and to take part in it.”

Can. 20. “A deacon may not sit in the presence of a priest, unless bidden to do so by the priest. The deacons shall in like manner be honored by the ministers and all clerics.”

Can. 21. “The ministers (sub-deacons) shall not have their place in the diaconicum, nor touch the sacred vessels.”

Can. 22. “A minister (sub-deacon) may not wear the orarium, nor leave his place at the door.”

Can. 23. “The readers and cantors may not wear the orarium, or read and sing in the same.”

Can. 24. “No clerics from the presbyters to the deacons, and so on in ecclesiastical order, down to the ministers (sub-deacons), readers, cantors, exorcists, doorkeepers, or any of the ascetic class, shah enter a public-house.”

Can. 25. “The ministers (sub-deacons) may not distribute the bread, or bless the chalice.”

Can. 26. “Whoever is not authorized by the bishop may not exorcise either in the churches or in houses.”

Can. 27. “Neither the higher nor lower clergy, nor the laity when summoned to the agape, shall take any portion of it away with them, as this brings dishonor upon the office of the clergy.”

Can. 28. “The so-called agape shall not be held in the Lord’s houses or churches, and no one shah eat or place couches in the house of God.”

Can. 29. “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.”

Can. 30. “None of the higher or lower clerics and ascetics, nor any laymen, in a word no Christian, may bathe in the same bath with females, for this is the greatest reproach among the heathen.”

Can. 31. “Christians shall not marry heretics. They shall neither take them nor their children in marriage, nor shall they give their sons or daughters in marriage to them, until they promise to become Christians.”

Can. 32. “The eulogiae of the heretics shall not be accepted, for they are rather alogiae than eulogioe.”

Can. 33. “No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics.”

Can. 34. No Christians shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn to false martyrs, i.e. those of the heretics, or to the heretics themselves before mentioned, for they are far from God. Whoever, therefore, goes over to them shall be held excommunicate.

Can. 35. “Christians shall not forsake the Church of God and turn to the worship of angels, thus introducing a cultus of the angels. This is forbidden. Whoever, therefore, shows an inclination to this hidden idolatry, let him be anathema, because he has forsaken our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and gone over to idolatry.”

Can. 36. “Neither the higher nor the lower clergy may be magicians, conjurors, mathematicians, or astrologers, nor shall they make so-called amulets, which are chains for their own souls. And those who wear these amulets shall be shut out from the Church.”

Can. 37. “No one shall accept festal presents from Jews and heretics, or keep the festivals with them.”

Can. 38. “No one shall accept unleavened bread from the Jews, or take part in their profanity.”

Can. 39. “No one shall share in the feasts of the heathen, or take part in their impiety.”

Can. 40. “Bishops who are summoned to a Synod shall not consider it of small importance, but shall appear there, in order to teach or be taught that which is to the advantage of the Church and of others (possibly the infideles). If any one, however, disdain to appear, he is his own accuser, unless he is hindered by something unusual, di anomalian.”

Can. 41. “No higher or inferior cleric shall travel without canonical letters.”

Can. 42. “The higher and inferior clerics shall make no journey without an order from the bishop.”

Can. 43. “The ministers (sub-deacons) may not leave the doors even for a short time to pray.”

Can. 44. “Women may not approach near the altar.”

Can. 45. “After the second week of Lent, no more persons shall be received for baptism.”

Can. 46. “Those to be baptized shall learn the creed (Symbolum) by heart, and recite it on Thursday before the bishop or the priests.”

Can. 47. “Those who have received baptism during an illness, if they recover, shall learn the creed by heart, and be made to understand that a divine gift has been vouchsafed to them.”

Can. 48. “The baptized shall, after baptism, be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the kingdom of Christ.”

Can. 49. “During Lent, the bread shall not be offered, except on Saturday and Sunday.”

Can. 50. “The fast shall not be relaxed on the Thursday of the last week of Lent, thus dishonoring the whole season, but the fast shall be kept throughout the whole period.”

Can. 51. “During Lent, no feasts of the martyrs shall be celebrated, but the holy martyrs shah be commemorated on the Saturdays and Sundays of Lent.”

Can. 52. “No wedding or birthday feast shall be celebrated during Lent.”

Can. 53. “Christians, when they attend weddings, shall not jump and dance, but shall partake of the meal or breakfast with a modesty becoming Christians.”

Can. 54. “The higher and inferior clergy shall not join in witnessing any dramatic performance at weddings or feasts, but before the actors appear they shall rise and go.”

Can. 55. “The higher and inferior clergy, and also the laity, shall not put together their contributions and hold feasts in common.”

Can. 56. “The priests shall not enter and take their seats in the bema before the entrance of the bishop, but they shall always enter after the bishop, unless the latter is ill or absent.”

Can. 57. “In villages and in the country no bishops may be appointed, but visitors; and those who are already appointed shall do nothing without the consent of the bishop of the town, as also the priests may do nothing without the consent of the bishop.”

Can. 58. “No sacrifices shall be offered in houses by bishops or priests.”

Can. 59. “No psalms composed by private individuals or uncanonical books may be read in the church, but only the canonical books of the Old and New Testament.”

Can. 60. “These are all the books of the Old Testament which may be read aloud: (1) Genesis, (2) Exodus, (3) Leviticus, (4) Numbers, (5) Deuteronomy, (6) Joshua, (7) Judges, Ruth, (8) Esther, (9) First and Second Book of Kings, (10) Third and Fourth Book of Kings, (11) First and Second Book of Paraleipomena (Chronicles), (12) First and Second Book of Ezra, (13) the Book of the 150 Psalms, (14) the Proverbs of Solomon, (15) Ecclesiastes (the Preacher), (16) the Song of Songs, (17) Job, (18) The twelve Prophets, (19) Isaiah, (20) Jeremiah and Baruch, the Lamentations and Letters (according to Zonaras, ‘the Letter’), (21) Ezekiel, (22) Daniel. The Books of the New Testament are these: four Gospels according to S. Matthew, S. Mark, S. Luke, and S. John; the Acts of the Apostles; the seven Catholic Epistles, namely, one by S. James, two by S. Peter, three by S. John, one by S. Jude; the fourteen Epistles of S. Paul, — one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philip-plans, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon.”

Taken from: Hefele, Charles Joseph. A History of the Councils of the Church, from the original documents. Vol II. Translated by Henry Nutcome Oxenham. Edinburgh, 1876. pp 295-323.