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Canons of the Church of Alexandria.

Wrongly ascribed to Hippolytus.20752075    De Magistris, Acta Martyrum ad Ostia Tiberina, Rome, 1795, fol. Append., p. 478. [Bunsen, vol. ii. p. 302.]

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Those are the canons of the Church, ordinances which Hippolytus wrote, by whom the Church speaketh; and the number of them is thirty-eight canons. Greeting from the Lord.

Canon First. Of the Catholic faith.  Before all things should we speak of the faith, holy and right, regarding our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and we have consequently placed that canon in the faith (the symbol); and we agree in this with all reasonable certitude, that the Trinity is equal perfectly in honour, and equal in glory, and has neither beginning nor end. The Word is the Son of God, and is Himself the Creator of every creature, of things visible and invisible. This we lay down with one accord, in opposition to those who have said boldly, that it is not right to speak of the Word of God as our Lord Jesus Christ spake. We come together chiefly to bring out the holy truth20762076    [Ad proferendum sancte. A very primitive token.] regarding God; and we have separated them, because they do not agree with the Church in theology, nor with us the sons of the Scriptures. On this account we have sundered them from the Church, and have left what concerns them to God, who will judge His creatures with justice.20772077    [Note this mild excommunication of primitive ages.]  To those, moreover, who are not cognisant of them, we make this known without ill-will, in order that they may not rush into an evil death, like heretics, but may gain eternal life, and teach their sons and their posterity this one true faith.

Canon Second. Of bishops. A bishop should be elected by all the people, and he should be unimpeachable, as it is written of him in the apostle; in the week in which he is ordained, the whole people should also say, We desire him; and there should be silence in the whole hall, and they should all pray in his behalf, and say, O God, stablish him whom Thou hast prepared for us, etc.

Canon Third. Prayer in behalf of him who is made bishop, and the ordinance of the Missa.20782078    Ordinatio missæ. [Missa. See note 6, p, 256, supra.] O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, etc.

Canon Fourth. Of the ordination of a presbyter.

Canon Fifth. Of the constituting a deacon.

Canon Sixth. Of those who have suffered for the faith.

Canon Seventh. Of him who is elected reader and sub-deacon.

Canon Eighth. Of the gift of healings.

Canon Ninth. That a presbyter should not dwell in unbefitting places; and of the honour of widows.

Canon Tenth. Of those who wish to become Nazarenes (Christians).

Canon Eleventh. Of him who makes idols and images, or the artificer.

Canon Twelfth. Of the prohibition of those works, the authors of which are not to be received but on the exhibition of repentance.

Canon Thirteenth. Of a prince or a soldier, that they be not received indiscriminately.

Canon Fourteenth. That a Nazarene may not become a soldier unless by order.

Canon Fifteenth. Enumeration of works which are unlawful.

Canon Sixteenth. Of him who has a lawful wife, and takes another beside her.

Canon Seventeenth. Of a free-born woman, and her duties. Of midwives, and of the separation of men from women. Of virgins, that they should cover their faces and their heads.

Canon Eighteenth. Of women in childbed, and of midwives again.

Canon Nineteenth. Of catechumens, and the ordinance of Baptism and the Missa.

258Canon Twentieth. Of the fast the six days, and of that of Lent.

Canon Twenty-first. Of the daily assembling of priests and people in the church.

Canon Twenty-second. Of the week of the Jews’ passover, wherein joy shall be put away, and of what is eaten therein; and of him who, being brought up abroad, is ignorant of the Calendar.20792079    Connection, textum.

Canon Twenty-third. Of doctrine, that it should be continuous, greater than the sea, and that its words ought to be fulfilled by deeds.

Canon Twenty-fourth. Of the bishop’s visitation of the sick; and that if an infirm man has prayed in the church, and has a house, he should go to him.

Canon Twenty-fifth. Of the procurator appointed for the sick, and of the bishop, and the times of prayer.

Canon Twenty-sixth. Of the hearing of the word in church, and of praying in it.

Canon Twenty-seventh. Of him who does not come to church daily,—let him read books; and of prayer at midnight and cock-crowing, and of the washing of hands at the time of any prayer.

Canon Twenty-eighth. That none of the believers should taste anything, but after he has taken the sacred mysteries, especially in the days of fasting.

Canon Twenty-ninth. Of the keeping of oblations which are laid upon the altar,—that nothing fall into the sacred chalice, and that nothing fall from the priests, nor from the boys when they take communion; that an evil spirit rule them not, and that no one speak in the protection,20802080    Sanctuary [Guettée, p. 424. Within the chancel-rails.] except in prayer; and when the oblations of the people cease, let psalms be read with all attention, even to the signal of the bell; and of the sign of the cross, and the casting of the dust of the altar into the pool.20812081    [Bells first used in the fourth century by Paulinus in Campania.]

Canon Thirtieth. Of catechumens and the like.

Canon Thirty-first. Of the bishop and presbyter bidding the deacons present the communion.

Canon Thirty-second. Of virgins and widows, that they should pray and fast in the church. Let those who are given to the clerical order pray according to their judgment. Let not a bishop be bound to fasting but with the clergy.  And on account of a feast or supper, let him prepare for the poor.20822082    And of the preparing a table for the poor.

Canon Thirty-third. Of the Atalmsas (the oblation), which they shall present for those who are dead, that it be not done on the Lord’s day.

Canon Thirty-fourth. That no one speak much, nor make a clamour; and of the entrance of the saints into the mansions of the faithful.

Canon Thirty-fifth. Of a deacon present at a feast at which there is a presbyter present,—let him do his part in prayer and the breaking of bread for a blessing, and not for the body; and of the discharge of widows.

Canon Thirty-sixth. Of the first-fruits of the earth, and the first dedication of them; and of presses, oil, honey, milk, wool, and the like, which may be offered to the bishop for his blessing.

Canon Thirty-seventh. As often as a bishop takes of the sacred mysteries, let the deacons and presbyters be gathered together, clothed in white robes, brilliant in the view of all the people; and in like manner with a reader.

Canon Thirty-eighth. Of the night on which our Lord Jesus Christ rose. That no one shall sleep on that night, and wash himself with water; and a declaration concerning such a one; and a declaration concerning him who sins after baptism, and of things lawful and unlawful.

The sacred canons of the holy patriarch Hippolytus, the first patriarch of the great city of Rome,20832083    [A very strange title in many respects. But see p. 239, supra.] which he composed, are ended; and the number of them is thirty-eight canons. May the Lord help us to keep them. And to God be glory for ever, and on us be His mercy for ever.  Amen.


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