The Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory

The Canonical Epistle of St. GregoryThe Canonical Epistle of St. Gregory

Archbishop of Neocaesarea, Who is Called Thaumaturgus

Concerning Them That, During the Incursion of the Barbarians, Ate of Things Offered to Idols and Committed Certain Other Sins.(1)

Canon I.

That they who have been taken captives by the barbarians, and have eaten with them, be not treated as persons that have eaten things offered to idols; especially because it is universally reported, that they do not sacrifice to idols; nor shall those women who have been ravished by them, be treated as guilty of fornication, unless they were before of lewd lives.

Canon II.

That those Christians who plundered their brethren during the invasion. be excommunicated, lest wrath come on the people, and especially on the presidents,(2) who enquire not into these matters.

Canons III., IV., V.

The pretence of having found those goods, or that they themselves lost things of equal value, shall stand them in no stead, but that they be excluded from prayer.(3)

Canon VI.

Against those who detain them prisoners who had escaped from the barbarians, the holy man(4) expects that such should be thunder-struck, and therefore desires that some enquiry be made upon the spot by persons sent for this purpose.

Canon VII.

That they who joined the barbarians in their murder and ravages, or were guides or informers to them, be not permitted to be hearers, till holy men assembled together do agree in common upon what shall seem good, first to the Holy Ghost, then to themselves.

Canon VIII.

But if they discover themselves, and make restitution, they shall be admitted to be Prostrators.

Canon IX.

They that are convicted to have found (though in their own houses) anything [of their neighbours' ] left by the barbarians shall also be Prostrators; but if they shall confess themselves they shall communicate in prayer.

Canon X.

This last privilege is restrained to such as demand nothing as a reward for their discovery, and salvage, or under any pretence whatsoever.

Canon XI.

The station of Mourners is without the gate of the oratory; the station of the Hearers is within the oratory, in the porch with the catechumens; the station of Prostrators is within the door of the temple; the station of Co-slanders is among the communicants; the last is the participation of Holy Mysteries.(5)