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Canon LIII. (Greek lvii.)
That dioceses should not receive a bishop except by the consent of its own bishop.
Epigonius, the bishop, said: In many councils it has been decreed by the sacerdotal assembly that such communities as are contained in other dioceses and ruled by their bishops, and which never had any bishops of their own, should not receive rulers, that is bishops, for themselves except with the consent of the bishop under whose jurisdiction they have been. But because some who have attained a certain domination abhor the communion of the brethren, or at least, having become depraved, claim for themselves domination with what is really tyranny, for the most part tumid and stolid presbyters, who lift up their heads against their own bishops or else win the people to themselves by feasting them or by malignant persuasion, that they may by unlawful favour wish to place themselves as rulers over them; we indeed hold fast that glorious desire of your mind, most pious brother Aurelius, for thou hast often opposed these things, paying no heed to such petitioners; but on account of their evil thoughts and basely conceived designs this I say, that such a community, which has always been subject in a diocese, ought not to receive a rector, nor should it ever have a bishop of its own. Therefore if this which I have proposed seems good to the whole most holy council, let it be confirmed.
Aurelius, the bishop, said: I am not in opposition to the proposition of our brother and fellow bishop: but I confess that this has been and shall be my practice concerning those who were truly of one mind, not only with regard to the Church of Carthage, but concerning every sacerdotal assemblage. For there are many who, as has been said, conspire with the people whom they deceive, tickling their ears and blandly seducing them, men of vicious lives, or at least puffed up and separated from this meeting, who think to watch over their own people, and never come to our council for fear that their wickedness should be discussed. I say, if it seems good, that not only should these not keep their dioceses, but that every effort should be made to have them expelled by public authority from that church of theirs which has evilly favoured them, and that they be removed even from the chief sees. For it is right that he who cleaves to all the brethren and the whole council, should possess with full right not only his church but also the dioceses. But they who think that the people suffice them and spurn the love of the brethren, shall not only lose their dioceses, but (as I have said,) they shall be deprived by public authority of their own cures as rebels. Honoratus and Urban, the bishops, said: The lofty provision of your holiness obtains the adherence of the minds of all of us, and I think that by the answer of all what you have deigned to propose will be confirmed. All the bishops said: Placet, placet.
Ancient Epitome of Canon LIII.
Whoso shall neglect his call to a synod, and shall despise the charity of his brethren, putting his trust in the multitude who are with him, let him be deprived of them by the imperial authority.
468This canon is Canon v. of the Synod of Carthage of August 28th, a.d. 397, beginning with the second clause.
It is very evident that a diocese here signifies some town or village lying remote from the Bishop’s City, but belonging to his jurisdiction; and is to be understood to be a place distinct from the bishop’s church or cathedral.
See also Can. 56 and Decr. Anast., 6.
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