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Canon XCII.  (Greek xcv.)

Form of convening the Donatists.

That bishop of that church said:  What by the authority of that most ample see we shall have impetrated, we ask your gravity to have read, and that you order it to be joined to the acts and carried into effect.  When the jussio had been read and joined to the acts, the bishop of the Catholic Church,470470    i.e. Carthage.  Migne reads “of that Church” and differs in what follows. said:  Vouchsafe to listen to the mandate to be sent through your gravity to the Donatists, and to insert it in the acts, and to carry it to them, and informs us in your acts of their answer.  “We, sent by the authority of our Catholic Council, have called you together, desiring to rejoice in your correction, bearing in mind the charity of the Lord who said:  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God; and moreover he admonished through the prophet those who say they are not our brothers, that we ought to say:  Ye are our brethren.  Therefore you ought not to despise this pacific commonitory coming of love, so that if ye think we have any part of the truth, ye do not hesitate to say so:  that is, when your council is gathered together, ye delegate of your number certain to whom you intrust the statement of your case; so that we may be able to do this also, that there shall be delegated from our Council who with them delegated by you may discuss peacefully, at a determined place and time, whatever question there is which separates your communion from us; and that at length the old error may receive an end through the assistance of our Lord God, lest through the animosity of men, weak souls, and ignorant 488people should perish by sacrilegious dissension.  But if ye shall accept this proposition in a fraternal spirit, the truth will easily shine forth, but if ye are not willing to do this, your distrust will be easily known.”  And when this had been read, all the bishops said:  This pleases us well, so let it be.  And they subscribed:  I, Aurelius, bishop of the Carthaginian Church, have consented to this decree, and having read it, have subscribed it.  Likewise also the rest of the bishops signed.

This synod sent a legation to the Princes against the Donatists.

The most glorious emperor Honorius Augustus, being consul for the sixth time, on the Calends of July, at Carthage in the basilica of the second region.  In this council Theasius and Euodius received a legation against the Donatists.  In this council was inserted the commonitorium which follows.

Notes.

Ancient Epitome of Canon XCII.

What things should be said to the Donatists are these:  “We greatly desire to rejoice in your conversion; for we have been commanded to say even to those not desiring to be our brethren, ‘Ye are our brothers.’  We come therefore to you and we exhort you that if you have any defence to make, ye should appoint certain persons to whom this should be entrusted, who, at a fixed time and place, shall urge your case; otherwise your distrust wilt be thenceforward patent.”

This canon is Canon ij. of the Synod of Carthage of August 25, a.d. 403.


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