Excerpts from the Canons

of the Orthodox Church

Following you will find a few of the many canons that pertain to Orthodox Clergy and when the canons require they be deposed, anathematized or excommunicated.

85 c.

1 - A bishop must be ordained by 2 or 3 other bishops

Please note: There is at least one canon that specifically addresses the minimum number of bishops required to "ordain" a bishop. See this Canon.

Note: Later canons say 3 or more bishops and letters from other synod bishops are required, such as c. 58 of the 141 c. and c. 19 of the 25 both listed below.

6. A Bishop, Priest, or Deacon must not undertake worldy cares. If he does, let him be deposed from office.

7. EASTER: If any Bishop. Priest, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox, let him be deposed. The First Canon of the Council of Antioch says likewise.

10. If anyone pray in company with one who has been excommunicated, he shall be excommunicated himself.

11. If anyone who is a clergyman pray in company with a deposed clergyman, he shall be deposed too.

12. If any clergyman, or layman, who has been excommunicated, or who has not been admitted to penance, shall go away and be received in another city, without commendatory letters, both the receiver and the one received shall be excommunicated.

13. If he has been excommunicated, let his excommunication be augmented, on the ground that he has lied and that he has deceived the Church of God.

28. If any Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon, who has been justly deposed from office for proven crimes, should dare to touch the liturgy which had once been put in his hands, "let him be cut off from the Church altogether".

Note: "shall be excommunicated from the Church entirely".

31. *Any clergyman who condems his own bishop and sets up another altar, let him be deposed.

55. *If any Clergyman should insult the Bishop, let him be deposed from office. For "thou shalt not speak ill of thy people's ruler."

56. If any Clergyman shall insult a Priest, or Deacon, let him be excommunicated.

76. It is decreed that no Bishop shall be allowed to ordain whomsoever he wishes to the office of the Episcopate. If anyone shall do this, let the ordination be invalid and void, and let the bishop himself be penanced with excommunication.

80. It is not right to ordain a man a bishop immediately after he has joined the Church and been baptized.

7 c.

6. Forasmuch as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order, do contentiously and slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox bishops who have the administration of the Churches, intending nothing else than to stain the reputation of the priests and and raise up disturbances amongst the peaceful laity...

Moreover, if there be any who have been condemned for faults and cast out of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the laity, neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the bishop, until they have cleared away the charge against them.

...and they shall not produce their allegations before they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penality to be exacted from themselves, if, in the course of the examination, they shall be proved to have slandered the accused bishop.

30 c.

2. If any Bishop ordain anyone for money or a view for gain he shall be deposed.

6. Those ordained at large shall be null and void and the ordainees shall not be allowed to officiate anywhere, to the dishonor of the ordainer.

9. If any Clergyman has a dispute with another, let him not leave his own Bishop and resort to secular courts. If any Bishop has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople

21. *Clergyman or layman accusing Bishops or Clergyman are not to be allowed to file charges against them promiscuously and without investigation until their own reputation has been examined into.

102 c.

69. Let it not be permitted to anyone among the laity to enter within the sacred altar.

70. Let it not be permissible for women to talk during Holy Mass.

102. Those who have received from God authority to bind and to loose must take into consideration the quality of the sin, and the willinness and readiness of the sinner to return, and thus offer a treatmment suited to the sin in question.

22 c.

1. *The representations of canonical ordinances amount to testimonies and directions. Accordingly, we to anathematize whomsoever they consign to anathema; and we to depose whomsoever they consign to deposition; and we excommunicate whomsoever they consign to excommunication.

3. Every appointment of a bishop. priest or deacon made by civil rulers shall remain void (in accordance with the canon that states) let him be deposed from office and let him be excommunicated, and all those who communicate with him too.

17 c.

11. *The divine and sacred canons impose the penality of deposition on priests or deacons who undertake secular offices or wordly cares.

14. **If any Bishop, on the allegation that charges of crime lie against his own Metropolitan, shall secede or apostatize from him before a conciiar or synodal verdict has been issued against him, and fail to mention his name, in accordance with consuetude, in the course of the divine mystagogy, the holy Council has decreed that he shall be deposed from office, if merely by seceding from his own Metropolitan he shall create a schism.

3 c.

3. Interpretation regardng Bishops. A bishop who has resigned from the prelacy and has been lowered to the habit of a monk cannot perform even the duties of a priest since this unlawful resignation which he has submitted is enough to reprove him daily.

Also; He that honors a Bishop will be honored by God therefore, will he that dishonors him be chastised by God.

21 c.

5. If anyone teaches that the Lord's house is contemptable, and that so are the synaxeis (or gatherings) therein, let him be anathema.

6. **If anyone conducts a church of his own apart from the Church, and scorning the Church, wishes to perform the functions of the Church, without a priest's helping "with the approval and consent of a bishop" let him be anathema.

25 c.

4. If any Bishop, deposed by a synod should dare to perform any act of liturgy, let it no longer be possible for him to have any hope of reinstatement even in another Synod or Council, nor let him be allowed to present an apology in his own defense, but, on the contrary, let all of those who even commune with him be cast out of the Church.

15. If any Bishop accused of any crimes shall be tried by all the Bishops in the province, and all pronounced one decision in complete agreement, let him no more be tried again by others, but let the verdict stand.

*19. No Bishop shall be ordained without a Synod, and the presence of the Metropolitan of the province.

141 c.

*58. The ancient form shall be kept, in order that not less than three of the Bishops required for ordination shall suffice.

115. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever shall apply to the Emperor for a trial in public courts of justice, shall be deprived of his own honor.

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The above canons are taken from the Pedalion

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It should be noted that to have the authority and jurisdiction to remove a priest that priest must be under the jurisdiction of the bishop or the synod. For a Bishop to be removed that bishop must have been on that synod. If the bishop resigns, leaves the synod and joins another without permission or commits a severe violation of the sacred and Divine Canons of the Orthodox Church a Council or Synod must vote to remove that bishop. One bishop cannot excommunicate or depose another bishop.

When a bishop leaves the Church he leaves all authority since a bishops authority is derived from the Church. When a priest leaves a bishop he leaves all (his) authority since a priest derives his authority from his bishop.

According to the Canons listed above one who has been deposed, excommunicated or anathematized cannot bring charges against a Bishop. If the one wanting to bring charges slanders, defames or attacks the bishop in public or attempts to go into a public court (instead of an ecclesiastical court) he is deposed... in accordance with canons shown above.