Concerning those who have denied the faith in persecution and have been promoted to the clergy
10. If any among the lapsed 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 denied the faith and are numbered among the laity
11. 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.
Concerning those who have made a renunciation and then returned to the world
12. Those who have been called by grace, have given evidence of first fervor 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 fears 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 prayers, and the bishop is competent to decide even more favorably 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 those who seek communion at the point of death
13. 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, she shall be among those who take part in prayer only until the term fixed by this great ecumenical synod has been completed. But as a general rule in the case of anyone whosoever who is departing and seeks to share in the Eucharist, the bishop upon examining the matter shall give him a share in the offering.
Return to a Short History of Canon Law