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18Canonical Epistle.121121    Of the holy Gregory, archbishop of Neo-Cæsareia, surnamed Thaumaturgus, concerning those who, in the inroad of the barbarians, ate things sacrificed to idols, or offended in certain other matters. Gallandi, iii. p. 400. [Written a.d. 258 or 262.] There are scholia in Latin by Theodorus Balsamon and Joannes Zonaras on these canons. The note of the former on the last canon may be cited:—The present saint has defined shortly five several positions for the penitent; but he has not indicated either the times appointed for their exercise, or the sins for which discipline is determined. Basil the Great, again, has handed down to us an accurate account of these things in his canonical epistles. [Elucidation II.] Yet he, too, has referred to episcopal decision the matter of recovery through penalties [i.e., to the decision of his comprovincial bishops, as in Cyprian’s example. See vol. v. p. 415, Elucidation XIII.; also Elucidation I. p. 20, infra.

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Canon I.

The meats are no burden to us, most holy father,122122    [Elucidation III. p. 20.] if the captives ate things which their conquerors set before them, especially since there is one report from all, viz., that the barbarians who have made inroads into our parts have not sacrificed to idols. For the apostle says, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.”123123    1 Cor. vi. 13. But the Saviour also, who cleanseth all meats, says, “Not that which goeth into a man defileth the man, but that which cometh out.”124124    Matt. xv. 11. And this meets the case of the captive women defiled by the barbarians, who outraged their bodies. But if the previous life of any such person convicted him of going, as it is written, after the eyes of fornicators, the habit of fornication evidently becomes an object of suspicion also in the time of captivity. And one ought not readily to have communion with such women in prayers. If any one, however, has lived in the utmost chastity, and has shown in time past a manner of life pure and free from all suspicion, and now falls into wantonness through force of necessity, we have an example for our guidance,—namely, the instance of the damsel in Deuteronomy, whom a man finds in the field, and forces her and lies with her. “Unto the damsel,” he says, “ye shall do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: the damsel cried, and there was none to help her.”125125    Deut. xxii. 26, 27.


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