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Canons of the Orthodox Church


"Taken by themselves, the canon laws of the Church can be misleading and frustrating, and therefore superficial. People will say 'either enforce them all or discard them completely.' But taken as a whole within the wholeness of Orthodox life — theological, historical, canonical, and spiritual — these canons do assume their proper place and purpose and show themselves to be a rich source for discovering the living Truth of God in the Church. In viewing the canons of the Church, the key factors are Christian knowledge and wisdom which are borne from technical study and spiritual depth. There is no other 'key' to their usage; and any other way would be according to the Orthodox faith both unorthodox and unchristian.” 

— From An Explanation of Canon Law - Orthodox Church in America


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Articles

The Canonical Tradition of the Orthodox Church - Origins and characteristics of Orthodox Canon Law.

The Early Church Fathers - Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

Canons and Canonical Consciousness - By Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev.

Introduction to the Sacred Canons: What is a Canon? - By Hieromonk Agapius and St. Nicodemus of Mt. Athos. [Note: Appears in The Rudder, Orthodox Christian Education Society, Chicago, 1983, p. LIV]


The Canons

of the Holy  Orthodox Church 

 

The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles - From the web site of the St. Pachomius Orthodox Library. Translated by Charles H. Hoole.

The 85 Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles, plus the Canons of the First through Fourth Ecumenical Councils (see links further down this page) constitute what is known as “The Rudder.”

Ecumenical Councils - To navigate, use the “forward” and “back” buttons at the top and bottom of each page, or return to the Table of Contents with the “TOC” button at the top of each page.

The First Ecumenical Council -  The First Council of Nice A.D. 325, called by Emperor Constantine, Pope Silvester. The council met to deal with the schism created by Arianism. The Arians wished to avoid the heresy of Sabellius who believed in a divine monad which, by expansion, projected itself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit—a form of Modalism. The Arians separated the Son from God entirely so that they believed he was a creature having a beginning. "There was when he was not." The Son was but God's first creation, yet out of nothing and hence has preeminence over the rest of creation.  The symbol answers the question, "Who is Jesus Christ"? Its answer: God.

The Canons of the Councils of Ancyra, Gangra Neocaesarea

The Canons of Antioch and Laodicea - These Canons were accepted and received by the Ecumenical Synods - The Provincial Synods

Council of Sardica - 343 A.D. Canon V. Sardica was the first synod which asserted, in some sense, Roman primacy in the Church. From the Fordham University (Roman Catholic) web site.

The Second Ecumenical Council - The First Council of Constantinople A.D. 381, Emperor Theodosius, Pope Damasus.

The Third Ecumenical Council - The Council of Ephesus A.D. 431, Emperors Theodosius II And Valentinian III, Pope Celestine I

The Fourth Ecumenical Council - The Council of Chalcedon A.D. 451, Emperors Marcian and Pulcheria (in the East) and Valentinian III. (in the West), Pope Leo I. Definition of the Council at Chalcedon.

The Fifth Ecumenical Council - The Second Council of Constantinople A.D. 553, Emperor Justinian I, Pope Vigilius

The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople - 553 A.D. Also known as the The Capitula of the Council.

The Sixth Ecumenical Council  - The Third Council of Constantinople A.D. 680-681, Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, Pope Agatho I

The Canons of the Council in Trullo - Often Called the Quinisext Council, A.D. 692  |  Another Site - The 102 Canons, from the Fordham University (Roman Catholic) web site.

The Canons of the Synods of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, and Carthage - These canons were received by the council in Trullo and ratified by the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council - The Second Council of Nice A.D. 787, Emperors Constantine VI And Irene, Pope Hadrian

Historical Note on the So-Called “Eighth General Council” and Subsequent Councils

Appendix - Containing Canons and Rulings Not Having Conciliar Origin but approved by name in Canon II of the Synod in Trullo. Prefatory Note

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