FROM THE RUDDER
THE APOSTOLIC CANONS
Shame on those who degrade the importance of the Rudder for it is destructive to Orthodoxy. Without the Rudder, the Orthodox will evolve into Protestants, each choosing what he wishes to believe. Only Holy Scripture is before the Rudder, and both are a part of our written Tradition. We selected some Canon handed down to us from the Holy Apostles, who firmly warn us not to ignore these Canons. These are taken from the Rudder, and it easily seen that they deal with everyday matters, forbidding some things, and allowing some things.The Canons are a most vital part of Orthodox Written Tradition.
SOME OF THE 85 APOSTOLIC CANONS
CANON 1 BISHOPS
Two or three other Bishops are needed to ordain a Bishop.
CANON 2 PRIESTS
A Priest must be ordained by a single Bishop, and so must a Deacon and other Clergymen.
CANON 6 WORLDLY CARES
A Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon must not undertake worldly cares. If he does, let him be deposed.
CANON 7 PASCHA AFTER PASSOVER
If any Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.
CANON 9 HOLY COMMUNION
All those faithful who enter and listen to the Scriptures, but do not stay for prayer and Holy Communion must be excommunicated, on the ground that they are causing the Church a breach of order.
CANON 10 PRAYING WITH
One who prays with the excommunicant, shall himself be excommunicated.
CANON 11 PRAYING WITH
A clergyman who prays in company with a deposed clergyman shall\ also be deposed.
CANON 17 CANNOT BE ORDAINED
Whoever has entered into two marriages after baptism, or has possessed himself of a mistress, cannot be a Bishop, or a Priest, or a Deacon, or anything else in the list of clerics.
CANON 19 FORBIDDEN MARRIAGE
Whoever marries two sisters, or a niece, may not be a clergyman.
CANON 25 FORNICATION
Any Bishop, or priest, or Deacon that is taken in the act of committing fornication, or perjury, or theft, shall be deposed, but shall not be excommunicated, for Scripture says: “You shall not exact revenge twice for the same offense.” The same rule applies also to the rest of clergymen.
CANON 27 CLERGY MUST NOT STRIKE A PERSON
As for a Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon that strikes believers for sinning, or unbelievers for wrong-doing, with the idea of making them afraid, we command that he be deposed. For the Lord has nowhere taught that; on the contrary, He Himself when struck did not strike back; when reviled, He did not revile His revilers; when suffering, He did not threaten.
CANON 29 SIMONY PURCHASING THEIR OFFICE
If any Bishop become the recipient of this office by means of money, or any Priest, or any Deacon, let him be deposed as well as the one who ordained him, and let him be cut off entirely even from communion, as was Simon the Sorcerer by me Peter.
CANON 30 BECOMING CLERIC THROUGH SECULAR POWERS
If any Bishop comes into possession of a church by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed, and let him be excommunicated, and also all those who communicate with him.
CANON 37 SYNODS TO BE HELD BY BISHOPS TWICE A YEAR
Twice a year let a synod of bishops be held, and let them examine one another in regards to dogmas of piety, and let incidental ecclesiastical contradictions be eliminated: the first one, in the fourth week of Pentecost; the second one, on the twelfth of Hyperberetaeus (October).
CANON 39 PRIESTS AND DEACONS SUBJECT TO BISHOPS
Let Priests and Deacons do nothing without the consent of the Bishop. For he is the one entrusted with the Lord’s people, and it is from him that an accounting will be demanded with respect to their souls.
CANON 42 CLERGY WHO GAMBLE OR DRINK
If any Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon wastes his time by playing dice, or getting drunk, either let him desist from this or let him be deposed.
CANON 45 PRAYER WITH THOSE OUTSIDE CHURCH – FORBIDDEN
Let any Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon that only joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as clergy let him be deposed.
CANON 46 BAPTISM CANNOT EXIST OUTSIDE THE CHURCH
We order any Bishop or Priest, that has accepted any heretic’s baptism or sacrifice be deposed; for “what consonance has Christ with Belial? Or what part has the believer with an unbeliever?”
CANON 47 ONLY TRUE BAPTISM CANNOT BE REPEATED
If a Bishop or Priest baptize anew anyone that has had a true Baptism, or fail to baptize anyone that has been polluted by the impious, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is mocking the Cross and Death of the Lord and for failing to distinguish priests from pseudo-priests.
CANON 48 DIVORCE
If any layman who has divorced his wife takes another, or one divorced by another man, let him be excommunicated.
CANON 49 BAPTISM MUST OBEY THE LORD
If any Bishop or Priest baptize anyone not into the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Lord’s ordinance, but into three beginningless beings or into three sons or into three comforters, let him be deposed.”
CANON 50 THREE IMMERSIONS AND THREE EMMERSINS NECESSARY
If any Bishop or Priest does not perform three immersions (baptisms) in making one baptism, but only a single immersion (baptism) that given into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed. For the Lord did not say, Baptize into my death, but,“ Go you and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
CANON 53 MUST NOT LOATHE MEAT AND WINE
If any Bishop, Priest or Deacon, on the days of feasts will not partake of meat and wine, because he loathes these things, and not on account of asceticism, let him be deposed, on the ground that he has his own conscience seared and has become a cause of scandal to many.
CANON 55 INSULTING BISHOP
If any Clergyman should insult the Bishop let him be deposed. For “you shall not speak badly about your people’s ruler”
CANON 56 INSULTING PRIEST OR DEACON
If any Clergyman should insult a Priest or a Deacon, let him be excommunicated.
CANON 58 ALL CLERGY MUST INSTRUCT PIETY
If any Bishop or Priest neglects the Clergy or the laity, and neglects to instruct them in piety, let him be excommunicated: but if he persists in his negligence and indolence, let him be deposed.
CANON 59 SUPPLYING NECESSITIES
If any Bishop or Priest fails to supply necessities when any of the clergy is in want, let him be excommunicated. If he persists, let him be deposed, as having murdered his brother.
CANON 61 FORNICATOR CANNOT BE ORDAINED TO CLERGY
If a charge of fornication, or of adultery, or of any other forbidden act be brought against one of the faithful, and be proved, let him not be promoted to the clergy.
CANON 64 FASTING FORBIDDEN ON SUNDAY AND SATURDAY
If any Clergyman is found to be fasting on the Lord’s Day (Sunday), or on Saturday with the exception of one only, let him be deposed. If he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
CANON 65 PRAYING WITH JEWS OR THOSE OUTSIDE CHURCH
If any Clergyman, or Layman, enter a synagogue of Jews or of heretics to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.
CANON 69 FASTS MUST BE KEPT– NOT A CHOICE
If any Bishop, or Priest, or Deacon, or Subdeacon, Readers, or Psalti fails to fast throughout the forty days of the Great Fast, or on Wednesday, or on Friday, let him be deposed, unless he has been prevented from doing so by reason of bodily illness. If, on the other hand, any layman fail to do so, let him be excommunicated
CANON 70 MUST NOT CELEBRATE OR TAKE GIFTS
If any Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen, fast together with Jews, or celebrates a holiday together with them, or accepts from them holiday gifts or favors, such as unleavened wafers, or anything of the like, let him be
deposed. If a layman do likewise, however, let him be excommunicated.
CANON 72 STEALING FROM THE CHURCH
If any Clergyman, or Layman, takes a wax candle or any oil from the holy church, let him be excommunicated and be compelled to give back what he took, together with a fifth part of its value as well.
CANON 75 WITNESSES ARE NEEDE3D
No heretic shall be accepted as a witness against a bishop, but neither shall one faithful alone: for “every charge shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses.
CANON 78 DEAF AND BLIND NOT TO BE MADE BISHOP
Let no one that is deaf nor anyone that is blind be made a Bishop, not on the ground that he is deficient morally, but lest he should be embarrassed in the exercise of ecclesiastical functions.
CANON 80 NEWCOMERS NOT TO BE ORDAINED
It is not right to ordain a man a bishop immediately after he has joined the Church and been baptized, if he has hitherto been leading a heathenish life, or has been converted from wicked behavior. For it is wrong to let one without experience become the teacher of others, unless in some special case this be allowed as a matter of divine favor and grace.
//The complete Apostolic Canons with their interpretation and concordance with other canons are found in the Rudder under APOSTOLIC CANONS.