The Canons The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.
Chapter 1. The Two Ways; The First Commandment
There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, your neighbour as yourself; and all things whatsoever you would should not occur to you, do not also do to another. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there, if you love those who love you? Do not also the Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If someone gives you a blow upon your right cheek, turn to him the other also, and you shall be perfect. If someone impresses you for one mile, go with him two. If someone takes away your cloak, give him also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, ask it not back, for indeed you are not able. Give to every one that asks you, and ask it not back; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he that gives according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receives; for if one having need receives, he is guiltless; but he that receives not having need, shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what, and, coming into straits (confinement), he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape thence until he pay back the last farthing. Matthew 5:26 But also now concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.
Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Gross Sin Forbidden
And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, Exodus 20:13-14 you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, Exodus 20:15 you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten. You shall not covet the things of your neighbour, Exodus 20:17 you shall not forswear yourself, Matthew 5:34 you shall not bear false witness, Exodus 20:16 you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbour. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.
Chapter 3. Other Sins Forbidden
My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads the way to murder; neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper; for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, be not a lustful one; for lust leads the way to fornication; neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye; for out of all these adulteries are engendered. My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads the way to idolatry; neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to took at these things; for out of all these idolatry is engendered. My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads the way to theft; neither money-loving, nor vainglorious, for out of all these thefts are engendered. My child, be not a murmurer, since it leads the way to blasphemy; neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered. But be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, Luke 18:14 nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. The workings that befall you receive as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.
Chapter 4. Various Precepts
My child, him that speaks to you the word of God remember night and day; and you shall honour him as the Lord; for in the place whence lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And you shall seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. You shall not long for division, but shall bring those who contend to peace. You shall judge righteously, you shall not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether it shall be or no. Be not a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give. If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you give; for you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. You shall not turn away from him that is in want, but you shall share all things with your brother, and shall not say that they are your own; for if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? You shall not remove your hand from your son or from your daughter, but from their youth shall teach them the fear of God. Ephesians 6:4 You shall not enjoin anything in your bitterness upon your bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest ever they shall fear not God who is over both; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1 for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but unto them whom the Spirit has prepared. And you bondmen shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear. Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22 You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. Forsake in no way the commandments of the Lord; but you shall keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom . Deuteronomy 12:32 In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.
Chapter 5. The Way of Death
And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of curse: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rapines, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing requital, not pitying a poor man, not labouring for the afflicted, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him that is in want, afflicting him that is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.
Chapter 6. Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols
See that no one cause you to err from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teaches you. For if you are able to bear all the yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, what you are able that do. And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly on your guard; for it is the service of dead gods.
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism
And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.
Chapter 8. Concerning Fasting and Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer)
But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; Matthew 6:16 for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. Thrice in the day thus pray.
Chapter 9. The Thanksgiving (Eucharist)
Now concerning the Thanksgiving (Eucharist), thus give thanks. First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David Your servant, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. And concerning the broken bread: We thank You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom; for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever. But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving (Eucharist), but they who have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs. Matthew 7:6
Chapter 10. Prayer After Communion
But after you are filled, thus give thanks: We thank You, holy Father, for Your holy name which You caused to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. You, Master almighty, created all things for Your name’s sake; You gave food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to You; but to us You freely gave spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Your Servant. Before all things we thank You that You are mighty; to You be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, Your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it; for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maran atha. Amen. But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire.
Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets
Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit eats not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; and every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
Chapter 12. Reception of Christians
But let every one that comes in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward you shall prove and know him; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be. But if he wills to abide with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat; 2 Thessalonians 3:10 but if he has no trade, according to your understanding see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep aloof from such.
Chapter 13. Support of Prophets
But every true prophet that wills to abide among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Matthew 10:10; cf. Luke 10:7 Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have not a prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day
But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.
Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof
Therefore, appoint for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 1 Timothy 3:4 and truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel; Matthew 18:15-17 but to every one that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.
Chapter 16. Watchfulness; The Coming of the Lord
Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord comes. Matthew 24:42 But often shall you come together, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you be not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; Matthew 24:11-12 for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, Matthew 24:10 and then shall appear the world-deceiver as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.
THE APOSTOLIC CANONS
THE APOSTOLIC DISCIPLINARY
THE BYZANTINE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH
With Standing Dispensations by the Metropolitan Primate
These are the canons of this church. The Dispensations and clarifications are in parentheses. If the canon is marked with “Dispensed.” it has been entirely discarded.
These are the Primary and Supreme Canons. No other canon shall contradict the Dispensations contained herein. No other canon shall contradict the canons contained herein that have been allowed to stand. The Dispensation note is the current Canon Law.
The Apostolic Canons
Note: The entry in bold print is the dominant regulation for members and clergy of this metropolitan ArchEparchy and affiliated entities worldwide unless they have been acknowledged as autocephalous for their rite.
1 A Bishop must be ordained by two or three other Bishops.
2 A Presbyter must be ordained by a single Bishop, and so must a Deacon.
3 If any Bishop or Presbyter, contrary to the Lord’s ordinance relating to sacrifice, offers anything else at the sacrificial altar, whether it be honey, or milk, or artificial liquor instead of wine, chickens, or any kind of animals, or vegetables, contrary to the ordinance, let him be deposed from office: except ears of new wheat or bunches of grapes, in due season. let it not be permissible to bring anything else to the sacrificial altar but oil for the lamp, and incense at the time of the holy oblation.
4 Let all other fruit be sent home to the Bishop and Presbyters as first fruits, but not to the sacrificial altar. It is understood that the Bishop and Presbyters shall distribute a fair share to the Deacons and other Clergymen.
5 No Bishop, Presbyter, or Deacon shall put away his own wife under pretext of reverence. If, however, he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persist in so doing, let him be deposed from office.
6 A Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon must not undertake worldly cares (political office). If he does, let him be deposed from office. (He is able to hold a secular job and perform honorable work as did St. Paul.)
7 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrates the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him he deposed. (This Jurisdiction adopts the Revised Julian Calendar)
8 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else in the sacerdotal list, fail to partake of communion when the oblation has been offered, he must tell the reason; and if it is good excuse, he shall receive a pardon. But if he refuses to tell it, he shall be excommunicated, on the ground that he has become a cause of harm to the laity and has instilled a suspicion as against the offerer of it that the latter has failed to present it in a sound manner.
9 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. (Dispensation: The matter is to be investigated by the Metropolitan. Excommunication is not automatic.)
10 If anyone pray in company with one who has been excommunicated, he shall be excommunicated himself. (This article is dispensed, it will not apply in this jurisdiction.)
11 If any clergyman pray in company with a deposed clergyman, let him also be deposed.
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.
(Excommunication must have been from this see.)
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.
14 A Bishop shall not abandon his own parish and go outside of it to interlope to another one, even though urged by a number of persons to go there, unless there be a good reason for doing so, on the ground that he can be of greater help to the inhabitants there, by reason of his piety. And even then he must not do so of his own accord, but in obedience to the judgment of many Bishops and at their urgent request.
(Dispensation: Our bishops may travel anywhere in the world to preach the Gospel and recruit believers, clergy and administer the sacraments.)
15 If any Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all in the Sacerdotal List, abandoning his own province, departs to another, and after deserting it entirely, sojourns in another, contrary to the opinion of his own Bishop, we bid him to officiate no longer; especially if his Bishop summons him to return, and he has not obeyed and persists in his disorderliness, he may, however, commune there as a layman.
16 If, on the other hand, the Bishop with whom they are associating, admits them as clergymen in defiance of the deprivation prescribed against them, he shall be excommunicated as a teacher of disorder.
17 Whoever has entered into two marriages after baptism, or has possessed himself of a concubine, cannot be a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or anything else in the Sacerdotal List. (Dispensation: The Metropolitan Archbishop may grant an annulment for the marriage(s) and they are not counted as real marriages. An annulment from another see may be accepted. If a clergy becomes a widower, he may be permitted to remarry).
18 No one who has taken a widow, or a divorced woman, or a harlot, or a house maid, or any actress as his wife, may be a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, or hold any other position at all in the Sacerdotal List. (Dispensation: Any decent woman may be taken as a wife.)
19 Whoever marries two sisters, or a niece, may not be a clergyman.
20 Any Clergyman that gives surety shall be deposed from office. (Dispensed)
21 A Eunuch, whether he became such by influence of men, or was deprived of his virile parts under persecution, or was born thus, may, if he is worthy, become a Bishop.
22 Let no one who has mutilated himself become a clergyman; for he is a murderer of himself, and an enemy of God’s creation
23 If anyone who is a clergyman should mutilate himself, let him be deposed from office. For he is a self-murderer.
- Any layman who has mutilated himself shall be excommunicated for three years. For he is a plotter against his own life.
25 Any Bishop, or presbyter, or Deacon that is taken in the act of committing fornication, or perjury, or theft, shall be deposed from office, but shall not be excommunicated. For Scripture says: “Thou shalt not exact revenge twice for the same offense.” The same rule applies also to the rest of the clergymen. (Dispensation: May repent and continue in office.)
26 As to bachelors who have entered the clergy, we allow only anagnosts and psalts to marry. if they wish to do so. (Dispensation: Any man may marry at any time regardless of office with permission of one bishop in this jurisdiction).
27 As for a Bishop, or Presbyter, 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 from office. 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. (Dispensation: Members may defend themselves, their families and anyone in the community. They may enter into military service and carry weapons. We also remember our Lord’s violent cleansing of the Temple with a whip.)
28 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, 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. (Dispensation: He may repent and continue in office.)
29 If any Bishop become the recipient of this office by means of money, or any Presbyter, 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 Peter. (Dispensation: We do not charge fees for ordinations. We may charge for travel to the location of the ordination plus expenses.) (If a man travels to us for ordination, it is free.)
30 If any Bishop comes into possession of a church by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated. And all those who communicate with him too. (Note: this is historical; at the time it was written it meant that government officials helped take possession of the church building and property.)
31 If any Presbyter, condemning his own bishop, draw people aside, and set up another altar, without finding anything wrong with the Bishop in point of piety and righteousness, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is an office-seeker. For he is a tyrant. Let the rest of clergymen be treated likewise, and all those who abet him. But let the laymen be excommunicated. Let these thieves be done after one, and a second and a third request of the Bishop.
32 If any Bishop excommunicates any Presbyter or Deacon, these men must not be incardinated by anyone else but the one who excommunicated them. Unless by a coincidence the Bishop who excommunicated them should decease.
33 None of the foreign Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons shall be received without letters commendatory. Even when they bear such, they shall be examined. And if they really are preachers of piety, they shall be received; but if they are not, after furnishing them what they have need of, they shall not be admitted to communion. For many things are done with a view to rapine. (Bishops may be received from any jurisdiction. Priests and deacons must have excardinations from their bishop to this see.)
34 It behooves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognize him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
35 A Bishop shall not dare to confer ordinations outside of his own boundaries, in cities and territories not subject to him. If he be proved to have done so against the wishes of those having possession of those cities or territories, let him be deposed, as well as those whom he ordained. (Dispensation: Our bishops may travel anywhere in the world to perform an ordination if it will promote the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.)
36 In case any Bishop who has been ordained refuses the office and the care of the laity which has been entrusted to him, he shall be excommunicated and remain so until such time as he accepts it. Likewise as touching a Presbyter and a Deacon. But if, upon departing he fall to accept it, not contrary to his own inclination, but because of the spitefulness of the laity, let him be a bishop, but let the clergy of that city be excommunicated, since no one can correct such an insubordinate laity.
37 Twice a year let a council of bishops be held, and let them examine one another in regard 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. (Dispensation: Our bishops meet when it is convenient. We communicate by email and telephone.)
38 Let the Bishop have the care of all ecclesiastical matters and let him manage them on the understanding that God is overseeing and supervising. Let him not be allowed to appropriate anything there from or to give God’s things to his relatives. If they be indigent, let him provide for them as indigents, but let him not trade off things of the Church under this pretext. (Addendum: And if the church does not have any money, let the bishop provide it. The bishop may charge professional fees for his services since “a servant is worthy of his wages.”)
39 Let Presbyters 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.
40 Let the Bishop’s own property (if, indeed, he has any) be publicly known, and let the Lord’s be publicly known. In order that the Bishop may have authority to dispose of his own property when he dies, and leave it to whomsoever he wishes and as he wishes. And lest by reason of any pretext of ecclesiastical property that of the Bishop be submerged, be it that he has a wife and children, or relatives, or house servants. For it is only just with God and men that neither the church should suffer any loss owing to ignorance of the Bishop’s property, nor the Bishop, or his relatives, should have their property confiscated on the pretext that it belonged to the church. Or even to have trouble with those who are quarreling over his property, and to have his death involved in aspersions.
41 We command that the Bishop have authority over the property of the church. For if the precious souls of human beings ought to be entrusted to him, there is little need of any special injunction concerning money, so that everything may be entrusted to be governed in accordance with his authority, and he may grant to those in need through the presbyters and deacons with fear of God and all reverence, while he himself may partake thereof whatever he needs (if he needs anything) for his necessary wants, and for brethren who are his guests, so as not to deprive them of anything, in any manner. For God’s law has enjoined that those who serve at the altar are to be maintained at the altar’s expense. The more so in view of the fact that not even a soldier ever bears arms against belligerents at his own expense. (Note: This is the rationale for charging professional fees when the church can not pay the clergy because it is so poor.)
42 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon wastes his time by playing dice, or getting drunk, ether let him desist therefrom or let him be deposed from office. (Note: This means gambling not playing board games. “Getting drunk” does not mean moderate social drinking.)
43 Let any Subdeacon, or Anagnost, or Psalt, who does like things either desist or be excommunicated. likewise any Layman. (Note: The bishops rule the church–not the flock!)
44 Let any Bishop or Presbyter or Deacon who demands interest on money lent to others either cease doing so or be deposed from office. (Dispensation: We allow our clergy to work in the secular world. If it is their business, it is acceptable as long as it is lawful under the civil laws.)
45 Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed. (Dispensation: We allow our clergy to pray with anyone at any time.)
46 We order any Bishop, or Presbyter, that has accepted any heretic’s Baptism or sacrifice, to be deposed; for “what consonancy hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath the believer with an infidel?” (Dispensation: A priest or bishop may accept any baptism done in the Trinitarian formula: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” with pouring or immersion of any major part of the body. Normally, unless an emergency, this will be the head.)
47 If a Bishop or Presbyter baptize anew anyone that has had a true baptism, of 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 railing to distinguish priests from pseudo priests.
(Dispensation: If there is any doubt about the validity “sub condition” baptism may be performed at the discretion of the priest or deacon.)
48 If any layman who has divorced his wife takes another, or one divorced by another man let him be excommunicated. (Dispensation: He must apply for a church annulment to the Metropolitan Primate. If his case is justified he will not be excommunicated.)
49 If any Bishop or Presbyter 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 excommunicated.
50 TRINE IMMERSION IS REQUISITE FOR BAPTISM
If any Bishop or Presbyter does not perform three immersions (literally “three baptisms”) in making one baptism (literally “one initiation “), but (only) a single immersion (literally, “a single baptism ), that given into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed (from office). For the Lord did not say, “Baptize ye into my death,” but, “Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt.. 28:19).
51 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all on the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or meat, or wine, not as a matter of mortification, but out of an abhorrence thereof, forgetting that all things are exceedingly good, and that God made man male and female, and blasphemously misrepresenting God’s work of creation, either let him mend his ways or let him be deposed from office and expelled from the Church. Let a layman be treated similarly.
52 If any Bishop or Presbyter shall refuse to welcome back anyone returning from sin, but, on the contrary, rejects him, let him be deposed from office, since he grieves Christ, who said: “There is joy in heaven over a single sinner who repents.”
53 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, 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 from office, on the ground that he has his own conscience seared and has become a cause of scandal to many.
54 If any clergyman be caught eating in a tavern or any restaurant where intoxicating beverages are served, let him be excommunicated, except only in case it happens to be at a wayside inn where he has put up for the night by necessity. (Dispensation: Our members and clergy may eat anywhere that they want.)
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 should insult a Presbyter or a Deacon, let him be excommunicated.
57 If any Bishop or Presbyter neglects the Clergy or the laity, and fails to instruct them in piety, let him be excommunicated: but if he persists in his negligence and indolence, let him be deposed from office.
58 If any Bishop or Presbyter 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.
(Dispensation: Our clergy are expected to work at a secular job to support themselves, their families and their ministry. If they cannot do this they should request to return to the state of a layman. Our church has no funds to support clergy.)
59 If a charge of fornication, or of adultery, or of any other forbidden act be brought against a faithful one, and be proved, let him not be promoted to the clergy. (Dispensation: He may become clergy if he has repented.)
60 If any Clergyman, for fear of any human being, whether the latter be a Jew or a Greek or a heretic, should deny the name of Christ, let him be cast out and rejected; or if he deny the name of clergyman, let him be deposed; and if he repent, let him be accepted as a layman.
61 If any accusation be brought against a believer of fornication or adultery, or any forbidden action, and he be convicted, let him not be promoted to the clergy. (Dispensation: He may go to the ranks of the clergy if he has repented.)
62 If any of the clergy, through fear of men, whether Jew, heathen, or heretic, shall deny the name of Christ, let him be cast out. If he deny the name of a clergyman, let him be deposed. If he repent, let him be received as a layman.
63 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the sacerdotal list at all, eat meat in the blood of its soul, or that has been killed by a wild beast, or that has died a natural death, let him be deposed. For the Lord has forbidden this. But if any layman do the same, let him be excommunicated. (Dispensation: Our members and clergy may eat anything that is generally approved for human consumption.)
64 If any Clergyman be found fasting on Sunday, or on Saturday with the exception of one only, let him be deposed from office. If, however, he is a layman, let him be excommunicated.
(Dispensation: Our members and clergy may fast on Saturday.)
65 If any Clergyman, or Layman, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated. (Dispensation: Our members and clergy may pray anywhere, at any time.)
66 If any Clergyman strikes anyone in a fight, and kills by a single blow, let him be deposed from office for his insolence. But if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.
(Dispensation: Members and clergy may defend the self, family, community and country.)
67 If anyone is keeping a virgin whom he has forcibly raped, though she be not engaged to another man, let him be excommunicated. And let it not be permissible for him to take another, but let him be obliged to keep her whom he has made his choice even though she happen to be indigent. (Dispensation: Men who have sex with a woman must marry her and take care of her.)
68 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon accepts a second ordination from anyone, let him and the one who ordained him be deposed. Unless it be established that his ordination has been performed by heretics. For those who have been baptized or ordained by such persons cannot possibly be either faithful Christians or clergymen.
(Dispensation: If there is any doubt about the validity of the ordination, a subconditione ordination must be performed. We reserve the right to declare any ordination that was not Orthodox heretical and choose to perform a subconditione ordination. The determination is made by the Metropolitan see.)
69 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or Subdeacon, or Anagnost, or Psalt fails to fast throughout the forty days of Holy Lent, or on Wednesday, or on Friday, let him be deposed from office. Unless he has been prevented from doing so by reason of bodily illness. If, on the other hand, a layman fail to do so. Let him be excommunicated. (Dispensation: Fasting is left to the conscious of the individual. It is better to eat moderately all year than to fast for brief times and be a glutton for the rest of the year.)
70 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone at all who is on the list of clergymen, fasts 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 from office. If a layman do likewise, however, let him be excommunicated.
(Dispensation: Members and clergy may celibate with anyone with a good heart and good intentions.)
71 If any Christian conveys oil to a temple of heathen, or to a synagogue of Jews their festivals, or lights lamps for them, let him be excommunicated.
72 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 to boot.
73 Let no one appropriate any longer for his own use any golden or silver vessel that has been sanctified, or any cloth: for it is unlawful to do so. If anyone be caught in the act, let him be punished with excommunication.
74 When a Bishop has been accused of something by trustworthy men, he must be summoned by Bishops; and if he answers and confesses, or is found guilty, let the penalty be fixed. But if when summoned he refuses to obey, let him be summoned a second time by sending two Bishops to him. If even then he refuses to obey, let him be summoned a third time, two Bishops again being sent to him; but if even then he shows contempt and fails to answer, let the synod decide the matter against him in whatever way seems best, so that it may not seem that he is getting the benefit by evading a trial. (Dispensation: the Metropolitan Primate have the final say regard any bishop or clergy of this jurisdiction.)
75 As a witness against a bishop no heretic shall be accepted, but neither shall one faithful alone: for “every charge shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses” (Deut. 17:6; Matt.. 18:16).
76 It is decreed that no Bishop shall be allowed to ordain whomsoever he wishes to the office of the Episcopate as a matter of concession to a brother, or to a son, or to a relative. For it is not right for heirs to the Episcopate to be created, by subjecting God’s things to human passion; for God’s Church ought not to be entrusted to heirs. If anyone shall do this, let the ordination remain invalid and void, and let the bishop himself be penanced with excommunication.
77 If any cripple, or anyone with a defect in an eye or in a leg, is worthy of the episcopate, let him be made a bishop. For it is not an injury to the body that defiles one but a pollution of the soul.
78 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.
79 If anyone is possessed of a demon, let him not be made a Clergyman, nor even be allowed to pray in company with the faithful. But after he has been cleansed thereof, let him be received, and if worthy be made one. (Dispensation: Only the Council of Bishops of the Metropolitan can declare a person demon possessed. An evaluation by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist will be required.)
80 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.
81 We have said that a Bishop, or a Presbyter, must not descend himself into public offices, but must attend to ecclesiastical needs. Either let him be persuaded, therefore, not to do so, or let him be deposed. For no one can serve two masters, according to the Lord’s injunction.
(Dispensation: Our clergy may serve in public, civil, military or government office. They must not neglect their ministry in doing so.)
82 We do not permit house servants to be ordained to the clergy without the consent of their masters, to the sorrow of the masters owning them. For such a tiling causes an upheaval in the households. But if any house servant should appear to be worthy to be ordained to any rank, as our own Onesimus did, and their masters are willing to permit it, and grant them their freedom and allow them to leave home, let him be so ordained.
83 If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon is engaged in military matters, and wishes to hold both a Roman (i.e., civil) and a sacerdotal office, let him be deposed. For “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt.. 22:21). (Dispensation: Our clergy may serve in public, civil, military or government office. They must not neglect their ministry in doing so.)
84 If anyone insults an emperor or king, or any other ruler, contrary to what is right and just, let him pay the penalty. Accordingly, if he is a clergyman, let him be deposed; But if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated. (Note: Insults need to justified by the truth.)
85 To all you Clergymen and Laymen let the following books be venerable and sacred: Of the Old Testament, the five of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; the one of Jesus of Nave (Joshua); the one of Judges; the one of Ruth; the four of the Kingdoms; two Paralipomena or the Book of Days; two of Esdras; one of Esther; three of the Maccabees; one of Job; one Psalter ; three of Solomon, namely, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; twelve of the Prophets; one of Isaiah; one of Jeremiah; one of Ezekiel; one of Daniel; outside of these it is permissible for you to recount in addition thereto also the Wisdom of very learned Sirach by way of teaching your younger folks. Our own books, that is to say. those of the New Testament, comprising four Gospels, namely, that of Matthew, of Mark. of Luke, and of John; fourteen Epistles of Paul; two Epistles of Peter, three Epistles of John; one of James; one of Jude; two Epistles of Clement; and the Injunctions addressed to you Bishops through me, Clement, in eight books, which ought not to be divulged to all on account of the secret matters they contain) and the Acts of us Apostles.
(Dispensation: The letters of Clement and the other bishops may be examined in detail and used for the edification of the faithful.)
THE CANONS OF THE BYZANTINE ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE APOSTOLIC DISCIPLINARY
THE BYZANTINE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Disciplinary Canons of The Byzantine Orthodox Catholic Church
Metropolitan +Anthony Macfonse Akinnugba, OSB, D.D
Metropolitan + Pierre Tang, OSB
These Apostolic Disciplinary Canons has the approval of the Curia, the Council of Metropolitans and the Synod of Bishops of The Byzantine Orthodox Catholic Church, Inc.
Holy Metropolis of Saint Andrew
Hagia Sophia Monastery
3420 N Street
PART 1 ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH
Canon: 01-01-10-Church Name and Canonical Jurisdiction
Canon: 01-02-10-Church Leadership
Canon: 01-03-10-Church Offices
Canon: 01-04-10-Ecclesiastical Dignities [Form of proper Address]:
Canon: 01-05-10-The Patriarch
Canon: 01-06-10-Metropolitans General:
Canon: 01-08-10-The Council of Metropolitans
Canon: 01-09-10-The Spiritual Court:
Canon: 01-10-10-The Bishops
Canon: 01-14-10-Religious Orders
Canon: 01-15-10-Female Religious Orders
PART II THE SACRAMENTS OF THIS CHURCH
Canon: 02-01-10-Baptism 14
Canon: 02-02-10-Confirmation and First Communion
Canon: 02-03-10-Matrimony 15
Canon 02-04-10-Holy Eucharist
Canon: 02-06-10-Holy Orders
Canon: 02-07-10-Rules and Regulations Regarding Minor Orders:
Canon: 02-08-10-Holy Unction
PART III CLERICAL CONDUCT
Canon 03-01-10-Civil and Criminal Laws
Canon 03-02-10-Violence Against Fellow Clergy
Canon 03-03-10-Married Clergy
Canon 03-04-10-Married Laity
Canon 03-04-10-Retirement or Resign
Canon 03-05-10-Disrespect and Disobedience
Canon 03-06-10-Drugs and Alcohol
Canon 03-07-10-Tithes and Reports
Canon 03-08-10-Security Investigations 23
Canon 03-09-10-Travel and Proper Letters
Canon 03-10-10-Jury Duty and Court Witnessing
PART V MEMBERSHIP
Canon 04-02-10-Approved Scriptures
Canon 04-03-10-Disposition of Mortal Remains
PART V PROVINCES-MISSIONS-CANON OF NECESSITY
Canon 05-01-10-Provinces, Missions,
PART VI GENERAL CANONS
Canon 06-01-10-Mergers/Communion/Inter-Communions and Uniates.
Canon 06-02-10-Binding of the Laws
Canon 06-04-10-Work and Life
Canon 06-05-10-Church Debts
Canon 06-06-10-Privacy of Information
Canon 06-08-10-Other Religious Practices
Canon 06-09-10-Return of Deposed (etc.) Clergy
PART VII HABITURE OF THE CLERGY
Canon 07-01-10-The Patriarch
Canon 07-02-10-Metropolitan Bishop/Archbishop
Canon 07-03-10-Bishop/Archbishop, Non-Metropolitan
Canon 08-01-10-The Procedure
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH
Church Name and Canonical Jurisdiction
1.The Incorporated name of this Church is BYZANTINE ORTHODOX CHURCH in Africa and Byzantine Catholic Church in America. Hence Byzantine Orthodox Catholic Church
- The Byzantine Orthodox Church is an autocephalous jurisdiction. we are Orthodox-Catholic in Faith of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are an Oriental Eastern Rite jurisdiction, with an Eastern Rite Liturgy and a Western Orthodox Rite Liturgy.
- The Byzantine Orthodox Church was established on the Pentecost day in 38AD ruled by the patriarchate of Constantinople, granted autocephaly to Russia Orthodox Church.
- The Russia Orthodox Church established the America Orthodox Church through Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh and hence this Jurisdiction came into existence as self ruled.
5.This Autocephalous Jurisdiction is in full communion with the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch, and honor the Patriarch of Antioch as Patriarch.
- This is a Universal Canonical Autocephalous Jurisdiction of the Oriental Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, and hence derived our Apostolic Succession through St Andrew the Apostle who established the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 38 AD. And through St Peter who established the Patriarchate of Antioch in 34 AD.
Aims and Objective
- To preach the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ as taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and preached by the apostles and practiced by the early Christians Communities of the first 3 centuries which includes:
- To declare the authenticity of the word God
- To win souls for Christ and transform lives to the image of Christ
- To establish a strong and vibrant mission to give hope to the needy
- To establish Schools and other institute of educations to improve standards of life and teach the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ
- To provide solutions for various needs of the youth and recommend solutions where appropriate using available resources. (scholarship and bursary where applicable)
- To promote sustainable and integral human development using a wholistic empowerment approach to enhance effective structural transformation of the society without any form of discrimination as stipulated in Article One of the Conventional Declaration of Human Rights.
- To promote training and education of communities and community health care givers for improved care on health challenges.
- To co-operate, liaise and work in conjunction with the local communities and relevant organs
- To affiliate or become affiliated to any national or international charitable body having charitable objectives
- To focus on the Restoration of Human Dignities and Values through Self Discovery Exercise.
- To bring the good news to the downtrodden and liberate them through vocational education.
- To come to the plight of the poor in every neighboring communities, through education and charitable means.
- To raise funds through fundraising activities
- To promote Natural Medicine for a healthy living and Vocational Training that empowers the members and every children of God
- Church Leadership:
FIRST AND ABOVE ALL IS GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT; THE MOST HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY.
Section 2.p.a.-Second His Holiness our beloved Patriarch.
Section 3.p.a –Thirdly His Eminence our Metropolitan Primate
Section 4.p.a – Fourthly The Archbishops and Bishops of Various Eparchy and other designated by the Holy Patriarch
- Church Offices:
- Patriarchal Legate
- Metropolitan Primate
3a. Primate Legate
- The Council of Archbishops
- The Synod of Bishops
- The Chief Justice of The Spiritual Court of Metropolitans
- The Vicar General
8 The Apostolic Chancellor
- The Patriarchal See Secretary
- The Metropolitans
- The Archbishops
12 The Bishops
- The Treasurer
- Mitered Monsignors, Archimandrites, Archpriests, Abbots, Bishops-Elect
- Non-mitered Monsignors, Archimandrites, Archpriests, Abbots.
- Lay Ministers
- Mother Deaconesses
- Nuns/Sisters (Religious)
- Brothers (Religious/Student Priests in Minor Orders)
- Church Honor Guard
- Lay Members
- Ecclesiastical Dignities [Form of proper Address]:
- The Patriarch: His Holiness, Your Holiness.
- The Metropolitan Primate: His Beatitude, Your Beatitude
- The Archbishops: , Your Eminence, His Eminence, His Excellency, Your Excellency Archbishop N., And The Most Reverend N.
- The Bishop: His Grace, Your Grace, Bishop N., And The Most Reverend N.
- The Mitered Clergy: His Reverence, Your Reverence, Monsignor N.
- The Archimandrites, Abbots: The Very Reverend, Archimandrite N., Abbot N.
- The Monsignors: The Right Reverend, Monsignor.
- The Archpriests: The Right Reverend, Archpriests.
- The Priest: Reverend Father, Father, and Reverend.
- The Deacons, Permanent Deacons: Reverend Deacon, Deacon.
- The Sub-Deacons, Lay Ministers, Eucharistic Ministers: Reverend Mr..
- Minor Orders: Reverend Brother.
- Chief Deaconess, Deaconess: Reverend Deaconess, Reverend Mother, Mother General, and Deaconess.
- Abbess: Reverend Mother, Abbess.
- Religious Orders of Brothers: Venerable Reverend Brother, Brother, Novice.
- Religious Orders of Nuns/Sisters: Venerable Reverend Sister, Mother Superior, Sister, and Novice.
- The Byzantine Church shall recognize the Patriarch, canonically consecrated with the co-operation of the Metropolitan Primate.
- The Metropolitan Primate shall remain with complete autonomy, authority, and order, of the Curia, Metropolitan Council, The Synod of Bishops, all religious Orders, parishes, churches, religious, honor guard, church name and/or whatever else he may decree for the good of this Church, his word is LAW.
- NO one can use this Church Name and/or Seal for any reason whatsoever without the full written approval of the Metropolitan Primate.
- The term of office for the Metropolitan Primate is for his full LIFETIME or he may opt to retire to the title and station of Primate Emeritus, after having appointed a Metropolitan General and/or a special administrator for the Church.
- The Metropolitan Primate may, upon accepting the Office, assume a new religious name and/or names. He will either keep this name for life, or change it if warranted. If he changes the name, he must inform all of the clergy and membership worldwide, excluding uniates and communions at large.
Note: Changing his birth name requires a civil court order to that effect.
- It is to be understood that all Consecrations to Bishop, Appointments of Metropolitan Generals, Metropolitans, Archbishops, or any other promotions within the Prelates must have the approval of the Primate.
- The Primate retains the right to remove any appointments for whatever reason he may wish.
- The only exceptions are grades of Major Orders, which because of the indelible mark these actions place upon the soul, can never be removed by any human agency, but can become inactive within this jurisdiction for cause.
- The above provision for Major Orders’ immutability is rendered null and void if the individual in question took these Holy Orders with improper intent, or under deception. This improper intent or deception must be proven before action is warranted.
- The Metropolitan Primate is not to be declared or understood to be “infallible” in any manner whatsoever.
- However, the Byzantine Episcopal Synod pronouncements on faith, morals, and discipline is binding, for such is the last word, for the clergy and religious by way of their vows, the other members as via the Dogmatic Canon Laws.
- The throne of Metropolitan Primate will cease to exist once a Patriarch is consecrated for the church.
- The powers of the Metropolitan include the consecration of Prelates, presiding over the Episcopal Synod, declaring its decisions and implementing them, conducting administration as representative of the Synod and consecrating the Holy Oil.
- Patriarchal Legate, a dignitary appointed by the Patriarch for this Jurisdiction. He act as deputy of the Patriarchal See with Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops and other Clergy under their supervision.
The Council of Metropolitans:
- These men are selected and appointed by the Metropolitan Primate to serve as the senior advisory body to the Metropolitan. All Metropolitan Archbishops worldwide are members of this Council.
- As a body, ONLY the Council of Archbishops has the right of election of the Metropolitan.
- The Archbishops are taken from among the Bishops to oversee group of Eparchies and their Bishop.
- Metropolitan Primate may preside over the meeting of this Council, or may appoint a Metropolitan in his place. In this case a report of this meeting shall be given to the Metropolitan Primate.
- There shall be a Archbishop from the Council appointed as Metropolitan-Protector, whose primary function is to oversee the interests of the Religious Orders, Congregations, etc. This does NOT include the Order of the Cross or the Honor Guard. He serves as “watchdog” only, exercising no jurisdiction over them.
- There shall be a Metropolitan Vicar, who stands in for the Metropolitan Primate at liturgical functions that the Metropolitan is unable to attend.
- There shall be a Archbishop of Virtues, to watch over and bring information to the Metropolitan See about moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, as these qualities are expressed (or missing) among the Clergy and Laity of this Church.
- At the time and place appointed for the meeting of the Council, the Metropolitan Primate or his designated representative shall call the Council to Order.
- The Secretary-Treasurer shall record the Bishops present. If there be a quorum present, two or more, the Secretary-Treasurer shall so certify, and the Council shall be declared as open.
33.Notice of the annual meetings shall be sent out thirty (30) days in advance of the meeting, by mail to all the Bishops of this Church. If any Metropolitan cannot appear at the meeting, then he registers his proxy vote, where appropriate, and deliver it into the hands of a clergyman who will be present. This must be reported to the Metropolitan Primate in writing.
- Voting shall be by secret ballot, unless the Council decides to use some other method. A majority vote is required to send each measure thus voted on to the Metropolitan Primate for his approval or ratification.
- If an agenda of the Council’s deliberations is sent out ahead of time, the Bishop may send in his registered vote on the measure therein. If however, other matters come up in the course of the meeting, and then the Bishop, by not being present, has thus given up his right to vote on any of those matters.
- The right to call meetings of the Council is vested solely in the Metropolitan Primate. The Vicar General shall be required to see to the issuing of Summons for such meetings, and for designating the time and place thereof.
- This Council will receive measures that has past the Synod of Bishops, for their approval before the measure or measures is sent on to the Metropolitan Primate for his approval or veto.
The Spiritual Court:
- The Spiritual Court shall be comprised of not less than three (3) members, and not more then seven (7) members, as appointed by the Chief Justice of the Spiritual Court.
- This Court shall hear and try all qualified cases regarding discipline within the Church. Appeals from this Court shall be allowed upon application to the Metropolitan Primate See in writing, and only on the proviso that the decision reach by His Holiness shall be final and without further appeal.
- Any Clergy and/or religious shall be liable for presentment and trial if charged with any of these listed below offenses:
- Teaching publicly or privately any doctrine contrary to that, which is revealed, to the whole Apostolic and Orthodox Catholic Faith via the Holy Scriptures, the Sacred Canons of this Church and the Sacred Traditions.
- Any conduct and/or actions deemed to be unbecoming a Priest or Religious, including but not limited to public immorality, and/or civil crimes which would tarnish the image of Christianity and this Church.
- Violations of our Holy Canons.
- Violations of the Vows one took to God upon entering the religious life.
- Habitual neglect of exercise of one’s ministerial offices and duties.
- Attempting to forbid the entry of the Metropolitan Primate or any lawful Superior into one’s place of assignment, one’s Parish/Church, Monastery, etc. The lawful Ordinary of a jurisdiction, including the Metropolitan Primate worldwide jurisdiction, has the de facto right to see any and all financial records, books, account balance sheets, etc., upon demand, of any entity of this Church. To forbid one’s Superior entrance to a Church property or Church financial records are a direct violation of the Dogmatic Canons, these Canons and one’s Vows.
- The Chief Justice shall be appointed and/or removed by the Metropolitan Primate at his will.
- The Court shall be responsible for assuring that the rights of the accused are kept intact at all times, and that they do not need to state anything that would incriminate them.
- The Court is responsible for allowing the accused to state owns case in person or by way of legal counsel of his or her own choice and cost.
- The accuser may be any Clergyman or Religious of this Church: If there is sufficient evidence of misconduct, the Court shall hear the case. If however, the charges prove groundless and false, then the accuser must himself stands trial as a perjurer. This individual shall be brought before the Metropolitan Primate, and His Beatitudes shall take whatever action he feels is suitable and justified. The accuser and the accused are forbidden to sit on the Court, as is any person related to the case in question.
- All judgments of the Court shall be issued over the seal of the Chief Justice of this Court. If the party or parties in question does not appeal, the seal of the court is added, thus closing the case forever. Upon appeal/perjury as before stated the judgment come from the Metropolitan Primate his seal is over the judgment.
- Any person convicted by this Court of teaching publicly or privately any kind of doctrine contrary to that which is held by the Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Traditions and Scriptures may, in addition to any sentence handed down by the Court, be subject to an Edict of Excommunication, depending on each case.
- Bishop in most cases is taken from among the Priests, by Metropolitan Primate See decision, and is consecrated to the Office and Rank of Bishop for life, and must be 35 years of age, before consecration, unless there is a dispensation given, for a very good reason from the Patriarch only.
- The Bishop, if Eparchial , is responsible for the administration of a territory called a Eparchy, which may contain Churches, Monasteries, Missions, etc., which are all under the control of this Church Incorporation (non-profit). The Eparchial Bishop may or may not be suffragan to an Archbishop.
- The Bishop, if titular, has no Eparchial duties, but works in administration to the Metropolitan Primate See and is given the rank so that he may speak with authority of a Bishop in his dealings with others.
- The Bishop may, upon decision of the Metropolitan Primate, be deposed from the practice of his Office, but the rank of Bishop may never be removed by anyone, as it is an indelible mark upon the soul. He would then become an illicit or irregular Bishop, without jurisdiction in this Church.
51.There shall be a Synod of Bishops, which meet once a year. ALL members of the Synod must vote and NO vote by proxy shall be permitted. Archbishops and Bishops who are on the Council of Metropolitans are also members of the Synod and must appear. Any and all matters that the Council of Metropolitans sends down for the Synod Vote, which receives a 2/3 vote of rejection from the Synod is thus overturned by the Council. This vote is also subject to Metropolitan Primate See approval. This Synod is to be presided over by the senior consecrated Bishop present.
- The Eparchial Bishop shall carry on the Administration of the Eparchies under their care subject to the supervision of the Metropolitan.
- An Eparchial Bishop has no right to ordain a member of another Eparchy or perform any administrative act within the limits of another Eparchy without the request or consent of the Bishop of that Eparchy.
- The Expenses of the Eparchial Bishop on his visit to the churches of his Eparchy shall be borne by such churches.
Chorebishop / Mitered Clergy:
- It is the prerogative of the Bishop to miter any Monsignor, Archimandrite, Archpriest, and Abbot. This is NOT a Consecration proper, and does not confer the canonical authority of the full Bishopric upon the recipient.
- This Mitering grants the right to wear the habiture of a Bishop and to be addressed with the dignity of a Bishop; the individual can also be appointed as Bishop-Elect at this time if the Metropolitan wills it.
- The Mitered Clergy have the authority to ordain students up to and including the level of Sub-deacon, but only within their assigned jurisdiction and with the approval of their Bishop.
- The Chore bishop can be Consecrated a Bishop if becomes widower or if required by the church, a dispensation will be granted by the Patriarch.
- It is the right of the Bishop to award the title and dignity of Monsignor to any Priest in his Eparchy who distinguishes himself in the service of the Church, or who is the senior pastor of a large parish with multiple Priests. Copies of the Bishop’s Letter of Appointment to this dignity shall be forwarded to the Patriarchal See for the files. The title Monsignor is NOT a level of Orders, but a title of honor
- No Bishop can ordain a clergy to major order without the written consent of the Metropolitan Primate.
- In every Metropolitan See, Archeparchy, Eparchy, Province or other designated territory, there shall be a clergyman assigned to advise in the selection of any applicants for admission as Candidates for Ordination into the Priesthood. Such Candidates must have fulfilled the requirements of these Canons. Then, they will be placed into Minor Orders for training with an eye toward the Major Holy Orders.
- Each Candidate shall be interviewed to ascertain his personal readiness for Ordination into Major Holy Orders after training in the Minor Orders is completed, and this interview report shall be sent to the Bishop of that Eparchy.
- Reports regarding the Candidate’s education, along with recommendations from the rector shall also be sent to the Eparchy for review. All reports that are given regarding Candidates shall have copies made and sent to the Metropolitan Primate See, for the files.
- ALL Candidates for the Priesthood of this Church must go into three years training within a Religious Order, or on the job training depending on past education; they will accept their training and vows without dissent or reservation. It is to be understood that the training will most likely be difficult and arduous, not easy and smooth, and that the Candidate will probably be doing some things that he feels are unrelated to the Priesthood. However, one should remember that the training is to produce a well-rounded Priest.
- The Candidate must show all other personal records, such as Baptismal and Ordination Certificates, and have copies made of them, etc. for our records.
- Every Candidate is graded on a 3-month probation period known as Aspirancy Program, as well as the Candidate’s personal past for the previous ten years. Subsequent Formation Program shall be as follows:
3 Months Aspirancy Program
6 Months Postulancy
1 year Novitiate – vow
1 Year Apostolate – renewal of vows
3 Years Seminary – minor orders
1 Year Pastoral – major orders
Incardinating members of clergy and senior seminarians, with ex religious needs only to proof his knowledge through examination and shall be admitted into orders.
- The only crimes, which can bar one from Holy Orders, are violent crimes like killing, rape, treason, having a proven Child sex crime record or there could be previous complications proving the Candidate’s inability to cope with work and/or discipline. This does not necessarily rule out becoming a Monastic Religious except for the civil major crimes.
- Priests, once ordained may be assigned to administrative or Parish works.
- Liturgical Priests may serve in Religious Orders or where assigned.
- The Priest serving in an administrative capacity shall assume whatever duties and authorities assigned to him by his Superior, as long as these conform to the Canon and Civil Laws.
- No one will be ordained until they first have a profession and are self-supported. The funds of the Holy Church will never be used to give the clergy an exuberant lifestyle. The only exception will be if a parish in general is willing to pay the clergy in order for them to be full-time staff.
- The Exception: Of Clerics Called by a Bishop without benefit of Seminary training after having completing a course of study and examined by the Bishop and permission from the Metropolitan Primate, by way of the following:
Reading For Orders
- Standards of learning. The requirements of the standards of learning may be modified, but not in every case. The Bishop must receive satisfactory evidence that the Candidate:
- A. Understands the office and work of a Deacon and of a Priest and is
Ready to serve in that Order to which the Candidate is called;
- B. Has adequate knowledge of the contents of the Old and New
Testaments, The Church Holy Canons, The Clergy Guide Book, Church History and of the Church’s teaching as set forth in the Creeds and in An Outline of the Faith, called the Catechism; and
- C. Is familiar with the Eastern and Western Liturgy and Horologion and has the Ability to read the Holy Scriptures and conduct the service of the Church in an intelligible and reverent fashion
- The Bishop shall require and supervise the continuing education of each person ordained under the provisions of this Canon, and keep a record of the same.
- In all cases of the ordination under this Canon of with modified requirements of learning, a record of the modifications shall be kept by the Bishop, and every Member of the Clergy thus ordained shall be reported to the Recorder with the other matters required to the Patriarchal See.
- Required certificates. 1. The Ordination certificates is required by the Canons
shall be signed and dated by:
- The Bishop that ordained the person/ with the Seals.
- By not less than 1 witness /with printed name and address.
- The Metropolitan Primate is the only one who can approve or found any Religious Order of Bishops, Priests, Brothers, Sisters (Nuns), to serve whatever purpose he may deem necessary.
- The Metropolitan may also found individual Houses such as Abbeys, Monasteries, Priories, etc.
- If and when a new Religious Order is set up or formed, the Metropolitan See will develop a proper habiture and a rule for the Order.
77a. The current Religious Orders within the Byzantine Orthodox Church are as follows:
Order of Saint Basil. OSB, For Bishops
Order of St John Chrysostom. OSJ, For Priests
Missionary of Byzantine Fathers, Missionary Priests
Missionary of Byzantine Brothers, Missionary Brothers
Missionary of Byzantine Sisters, Missionary Sisters
Order of Saint Mary, Nuns
Order of Saint Anthony. OSA, Monks
Order of Saint Panteilemon. OSP, For Health workers
Order of Saint Nicholas of Myra. OSN, Married Couples
Community of St Joseph. CSJ, Married Couples
Order of the Cross, Security
Female Religious Orders:
- There is proper ranks, offices and titles with responsibility for women.
- Mother Deaconess-Serves either in monastic or Eparchial duties as overseer of other Deaconess, and may be single or Third Order married.
- Deaconesses-Serve either in monastic or Eparchial duties as laid down by their Bishop or Superior.
- Arch-Abbess-Serves in a monastic setting, as the head of a Religious House containing more than one community, and oversees the activities of the Abbesses therein.
- Abbesses-Serve as heads of a monastic community.
- Nuns/Sisters-Women under Vows serving in a Religious Order.
THE PARISH CHURCH
- a) The Parish Pastoral Council
- Each Parish shall have a Board of Directors known as Parish Pastoral Council comprised of lay persons and/or clerics that are to be empowered to rule on minor issues of interest to the Parish as long as these actions remain within Canon and Civil laws.
- This board’s actions, votes and rulings are all subject to the approval of the Priest assigned as Pastor of this said parish, and may not assume to be enforced until approved by the Bishop of the Eparchy
- All men and women who are members of a parish, who confess and receive Holy Eucharist at least once a year, and who have completed the age of twenty one years may become members of the Parish Pastoral Council.
- There shall be a Parish Pastoral Council Register containing the names and particulars of Parish Pastoral Council, a Tithe book that shall contains the name and the amount of tithe paid by members and a Holy Confession Register containing the names and particulars of those who have confessed.
- A member of one Parish Church can either become permanent member of another Parish Church or if he resides temporarily in another place for profession or other-wise become temporary member of the Parish Church there, with the permission of the Parish Priest, he joins and the respective Parish Priests shall report to the respective Eparchial Bishops about such leaving and joining. In the event of the Parish Priest refusing permission for such transfer the Eparchial Bishop may be petitioned and all concerned shall abide by his decision. Those who have joined a Parish temporarily will not have, as long as they continue so, the right to participate in the Parish Pastoral Council of the Parish Church in which they are permanent members or exercise their vote there.
- If a member of a Parish Pastoral Council fails to pay for a period of six months any amount on any account due from him to the Parish or to the Church, that members will not have the right to take part or exercise his vote in any Parish Pastoral Council. If he continues in arrears, without paying such amounts for one year his name shall be removed from the Parish Pastoral Council Register. A member so removed from the Parish Pastoral Council Register will forfeit the right to be a member either of his own or any other Parish Pastoral Council, until he has paid up all his arrears. The Parish Priest shall write to the Bishop of the Eparchy as to what shall be done thereafter with that member, and deal with him according to the written order of the Bishop.
- A member who has been removed as above, as also a member who shall newly join a Parish, will not have the right to exercise his vote in the Parish Pastoral Council before the expiry of three months after the former has paid up his arrears and the latter joined the Parish.
- The Parish Priest shall convene the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting by announcing in the Parish Church during service on two Sundays before the meeting, either by himself or as directed by him by the priest who conducts the service, about the meeting and the agenda thereof, and the meeting may be conducted either on the second Sunday of the announcement itself or any other day following. The Vicar or on his direction, the Secretary shall publish on the first Sunday of the announcement by posting on the notice board or otherwise, a list of those who have the right to take part and vote in the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting. If needed, the Parish Pastoral Council may be held after giving one week’s notice in writing to all members of the Parish Pastoral Council, by the Vicar or Secretary under the direction of the Vicar. If there be other churches or chapels under the auspices of the Parish Church, such churches or chapels shall be informed of the meeting in such manner as may be prescribed by the Parish Pastoral Council. With the sanction of the Eparchial Bishop, the Parish may be divided into wards and members of the Parish Pastoral Council from respective wards may elect one or more of them to represent them at the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting, and any decisions taken in the meeting of such representative shall be deemed to the decision of the Parish Pastoral Council.
- There shall be no quorum for the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting without a Parish Priest or his designated representative clergy.
- The Parish Pastoral Council shall meet at least once a month. The Parish Priest shall convene the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting when he deems it necessary or at the request of the Managing Committee or at that of twenty percent of the Parish Pastoral Council Members.
- The Eparchial Bishop, if he finds it necessary, May after announcing in the Church himself or causing such an announcement to be made convene the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting on any subsequent day and the Eparchial Bishop shall preside over the meeting so convened.
- If the Parish Priest does not convene a meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council at the request of any party entitled to make such a request, the Eparchial Bishop may be petitioned and the decision of the Eparchial Bishop shall be implemented.
- The Parish Priest shall be the President and other Parish Priests if there are any, shall be the Vice-Presidents of the Parish Pastoral Council. The Parish Priest shall preside over the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting except when it shall be convened by the Eparchial Bishop, as stated in section 13 above or by the Byzantine ArchEparchial Archbishop as stated in section 98 **.
- If for any reason the Parish Priest is unable to preside, one of the Vice- Presidents present, and if there be no Vice-Presidents present, any member of the Parish Pastoral Council, May on the direction in writing of the Parish Priest, may preside over the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting.
- The Byzantine ArchEparchial Archbishop may officially visit all the Parishes of the Byzantine Church and if found necessary, he may convene the Parish Pastoral Council and the Eparchial Pastoral Council after informing the Eparchial Bishop
- There shall be a Secretary for the Parish Pastoral Council, who shall be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting, and he shall record and maintain the minutes of the Parish Pastoral Council Meeting. Without assigning any reason, the Parish Pastoral Council with the approval of the Eparchial Bishop removes the Secretary from office. When the Eparchial Bishop shall come to the church on his Parish visit the minutes shall be got signed by him.
- The duties of the Parish Pastoral Council shall include the election of the ‘Catechist’ (Pastoral Assistant), the Secretary and the members of the Managing Committee; the removal of them if necessary with the approval of the Eparchial Bishop; the passing of the budget for the year; the appointment of auditor or auditors and the consideration of their report; the adoption of the yearly account and the consideration and decision on matters required for the Parish.
- The Parish Priest shall send or cause to be sent by the Secretary the decisions of the Parish Pastoral Council to the Eparchial Bishop whenever such are made.
- The Eparchial Bishop may be appealed to against any decision of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Priest shall simultaneously be informed in writing of such appeal. If the Eparchial Bishop agrees with the decision of the Parish Pastoral Council, he shall dismiss the appeal, but if he disagrees, he shall within three months after the receipt of the appeal, place the same before the Eparchial Council and he shall in consultation with the Council decide the appeal matter.
- Until a decision is made on the appeal, the Eparchial Bishop may at his discretion stay the implementation of the decision of the Parish Pastoral Council by sending stay order. The decision of the Parish Pastoral Council shall come in to effect, if the aggrieved party fails to inform the Parish Priest in writing about the appeal within five days after the decision of the Parish Pastoral Council or if no order of stay is received within two weeks of it.
- If the Eparchial Bishop is satisfied that the decision of the Parish Pastoral Council is not right or that it is beyond the limits of the Parish Pastoral Council, he shall have authority even if no appeal has been made, to adopt the procedures stated in sections 19 and 20 above with regard to such decision and settle the matter.
- After setting apart the portion referred to in Section 101 ** hereunder, the balance shall be spent on the following items, in the following order of priority and only any balance remaining over may be spent for other needs of the Parish and the Church in general:-
- a) Day-to-day expenses in connection with the Holy Divine Liturgy, festivals and other ministrations of the Church.
- b) Expenses in connection with the maintenance and upkeep of the Parish Church and other Parish buildings.
- c) Stipends of the Parish Priests, the other Priests, the Deacon etc;
- d) Payments due to the Church Centre and the Eparchial
- e) Expenses for the Schools, Charitable Hospitals, Orphanages, Sunday Schools, Prayer meetings, Gospel work and the like conducted by the Parish Church.
101: Out of the annual gross income of a Church including its properties, 25% shall be sent every quarter to the Byzantine Metropolitan ArchEparchial See. If the percentage as stated above of any church is less than 100usd, not less than 100usd shall be sent from that Church to the Byzantine Metropolitan under this item.
- The acquisition of any immovable property for the Parish Church or the sale or creation of any charge on the immovable property of the Parish Church, shall be in pursuance of the decision thereto made by the Parish Pastoral Council and the written consent of the Eparchial Bishop and shall be done by the Parish Priest and the Catechist (Pastoral Assistant) jointly, and such documents shall be transferred to the Bishop.
- b) Parish Managing Committee
- For every Parish Pastoral Council there shall be a Parish Managing Committee
- The members of the Parish Managing Committee excluding the priests shall be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council and their term of office shall be one year. Every Parish Managing Committee shall have a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 members excluding the Priests. The Parish Pastoral Council shall decide the needed number of members within these limits. If any Parish requires more than 15 members for its Parish Managing Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council may with the approval of the Eparchial Bishop elect the additional members required. If the Parish is divided into wards as provided in section 12 above, the Parish Pastoral Council may elect the Parish Managing Committee members on such ward basis. In the event of any vacancy arising in the Parish Managing Committee, the remaining members of the committee may fill up such vacancy by cooption from the members of the Parish Pastoral Council. If in any circumstances special to any Parish, it is found necessary to extend the term of the Parish Managing Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council may with the special permission of the Eparchial Bishop extend the term of office of that Parish Managing Committee to a period for three years.
- The Parish Priest shall be the President of the Parish Managing Committee; other Priests if any shall be the Vice-presidents. The Catechist and the Secretary for the current year and the outgoing Catechist of the previous year shall be members of the Parish Managing Committee.
- The Parish Priest shall report to the Eparchial Bishop about the election of the Catechist, the Secretary and other members of the Parish Managing Committee with in a week’s time along with a copy of the Parish Pastoral Council proceedings and his written approval obtained for the same. If no (order) of approval of the Eparchial Bishop is received within three weeks of forwarding the report, it shall be deemed that the Eparchial Bishop has approved such election.
- The Parish Priest or on his direction the Secretary shall convene the meeting of the Parish Managing Committee by giving written notice and the Parish Priest shall preside over the meeting. If for any reason the Parish Priest is unable to preside, one of the Vice-presidents, if any, and if there be no Vice-President a member of the Parish Managing Committee may on the direction in writing of the Parish Priest, preside over the meeting.
- The Parish Priest shall convene the meeting of the Parish Managing Committee when he deems it necessary or when requested by the Catechist or at the request of one third of the members of the Parish Managing Committee or on the direction of the Eparchial Bishop. The Parish Managing Committee shall meet not less than 6 times a year. If found necessary the Parish Pastoral Council may decide a quorum for the Parish Managing Committee meeting.
- The Secretary of the Parish Pastoral Council shall also be the Secretary of the Parish Managing Committee. The Secretary shall record and keep the minutes of the Parish Managing Committee, and when the Eparchial Bishop comes to the church on his Parish visit the minutes shall be got signed by him.
- The duties of the Parish Managing Committee shall include the preparation of the yearly budget and the presentation of it to the Parish Pastoral Council, the execution of the matters authorized by the Parish Pastoral Council, the consideration and recommendation to the Parish Pastoral Council of matters necessary for the Parish and the examination of the accounts presented by the Catechist.
- c) Catechist (Pastoral Assistant)
- Every Parish Church shall have a Catechist who shall be the joint-steward along with the Parish Priest of all the assets of the Parish Church. When the Catechist goes out of office his stewardship will also terminate. The Parish Pastoral Council may, if found necessary, elect not more than two Catechist with joint responsibility. In all legal proceedings on behalf of the Parish Church it shall be sufficient if the Pastoral Assistant is made party.( If there –be two Catechist for a Parish Church, any reference to one Catechist in the constitution shall be deemed to apply to both the Catechists).
- The Catechist shall be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council and his term of office shall be one year.
- The Parish Pastoral Council may without assigning any reason remove the Catechist from office with the approval of the Eparchial Bishop
- The duties of the Catechist shall include recording and maintaining correct accounts of the Parish; receiving the income and making the expenditure of the Parish according to the direction of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Managing Committee; preparing the yearly accounts of the Parish every six months and presenting the same to the Parish Managing Committee and thereafter presenting the same to the Parish Pastoral Council. When the Eparchial Bishops comes to the Church on his Parish visit the account books of the Parish shall be got signed by him.
- The Vicar shall send or cause to be sent by the Secretary two copies of the summarized statement of accounts passed at the Parish Pastoral Council to the Eparchial Bishop for his approval.
- For every Parish there shall be a register of the movable and immovable properties of the Parish Church and it shall be made up-to-date every year and signed by the Parish Priest and the Catechist and kept in the custody of Catechist, and when the Eparchial Bishop comes to the Church on his Parish visit the same shall be got signed by him. All documents relating to the assets of the Parish and all records except those for the current year to be kept by the Secretary and the Catechist or those to be kept by the Parish Priest shall be kept under the joint-responsibility of the Parish Priest and the Catechist.
- All Original copies of deeds of assignments and other relevant documents shall be kept at the Eparchial Chancery.
- There shall be a Parish Priest for every Parish Church; other Priests, if any shall be assistants of the Parish Priest.
- The Parish Priest shall celebrate the Holy Divine Liturgy at least once a week and on the Feast day of the Church and as designated by the Local Bishop. He may celebrate more than one Liturgy a day depending on the need of the congregation.
- The Parish Priest shall act in accordance with the instructions of the local Bishop, and may not act without his consent and permission. No new project or program is to be planned or executed without the written permission of the local ordinary. He is an assistant to the Bishop in his Parish and must not make new decisions without the written consent of the Bishop.
- The Parish Priest shall be the joint-steward with the Catechist of the assets of the Parish. The monies of the Parish shall be deposited to the Account of the Byzantine Orthodox Church, or the Parish Bank Account if there is any. But the Catechist may retain with him an amount as fixed by the Parish Managing Committee. The Eparchial Bishop, the Parish Priest and the Catechist shall be the signatories to the Parish Account
- The Eparchial Bishop has authority to appoint, remove or transfer the Parish Priest or other priests. When the Parish Priest is so removed or transferred his stewardship will also terminate.
- If a priest belonging to one Eparchy is to be transferred to another Eparchy, such transfer shall be decided by the Bishops of the two Eparchy concerned in consultation with each other.
- In addition to the Baptism Register, the Marriage Register, the Burial Register, the Tithe register, the Parish Pastoral Council Register and Clergy Register, there shall be a Parish Register containing the names and other particulars of all men and women of the Parish entered regularly under the responsibility of the Parish Priest and kept in his custody. When the Eparchial Bishop comes to the Church on his Parish visit these shall be got signed by him. The Parish Priest shall keep also the files of Holy orders and other documents received from higher authorities of the Church.
- The Parish Priest shall be the custodian of the movable articles required for the day to day use in Church Services and those not so used shall be in the joint custody of the Parish Priest and Catechist.
- Any Clergy of this Church may purchase, or be given real property or Money for religious uses. This said property or and Money must be put in the name of The Byzantine Orthodox Church, and a copy of this title must be retained in the Metropolitan See files, while the original Copy resides with the Archbishop for such country. This Canon does not refer to personal property or inheritance.
- Any member of Clergy may receive Monetary Donation for the development of this church, he/she may not spend the money on the church without the written consent of the Bishop. Such money is to be paid into the account of the Church and inform the Bishop who will direct its expenditures.
- If any Parish, Eparchy, Religious House, or any other entity of this Church is lawfully disbanded, dissolved, or has the Charter revoked, etc. then all legally acquired or accumulated funds, moneys, and property shall revert to The Byzantine Orthodox Church, Inc.
- No Parish, Eparchy, Religious House, etc. shall be liquidated, and title to property shall not be transferred or sold without the written consent of the Metropolitan Primate and Council or Metropolitans.
- Any donated property must have legal documents made in the name of the Byzantine Orthodox Church and such title is not transferable, it is the permanent gift of God.
- THE INCOME AND PROPERTY OF THE BYZANTINE ORTHODOX CHURCH. whosoever derived shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objectives of the Church as set forth in the RULES AND REGULATIONS/CONSTITUTION and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly, by way of in dividend, bonus or otherwise nor by way of profit, to the members of the Church.
- PROVIDED that nothing shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper remuneration to any officer or servant of the Church in return for any service actually rendered to the Church, but so that no member of the council of Management or Governing Body shall be appointed to any salaried office of the Church or any officer of the Church paid by the fees and that no remuneration or other benefit in money or money shall be given by the Church to any member of such council or Governing Body except repayment of out-of pocket expenses, a reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let to the Church.
- Each level of Authority shall maintain book keeping of the incomes and expenditures of funding. The Bishop shall maintain the account of the Jurisdiction, the Bishops that of their Eparchy, Religious Superiors that of their congregation and Priests that of their Parish.
- Each level shall be accountable to the Hierarchy within their jurisdiction.
- The Church shall operate current or savings Account in any Bank approved by the Bishop.
- Auditors shall be appointed at the Council of Metropolitans, who shall audit the account of the Church from time to time. The auditors shall submit yearly report to the Metropolitan Primate
- The Metropolitan Primate shall approve scholarships and grants program to raise fund to build Church and in support of the underprivileged and the poor communities from time to time. Such funds shall be set aside for such sole purposes only.
- a) Eparchial Pastoral Council
- The Byzantine Orthodox Church shall have an Association by name “Byzantine Orthodox ArchEparchial Assembly”.
- The following shall be members of the Byzantine Orthodox Catholic Church Assembly (Byzantine Assembly) viz.
- a) Members of the existing Managing Committee Provided that the nominated members of the Managing Committee, if any shall not be entitled to vote at the election of the Metropolitan, Byzantine Metropolitan or any other holder of office who is to be elected by the Assembly.
- b) A priest from each Parish Church elected by the Parish Pastoral Council, provide that if in any Parish Church, there is only one priest, he shall be the priest representative of the Parish Church without the need of an election
(i) One layman member to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of each Parish Church whose membership does not exceed 100 members.
(ii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 100 members but not exceeding 250 members
(iii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 250 members but not exceeding 500 members
(iv) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 500 members but not exceeding 750 members
(v) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 750 members but not exceeding 1000 members
(vi) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1000 members but not exceeding 1250 members
(vii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1250 members but not exceeding 1500 members
(viii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1500 members but not exceeding 1750 members
(ix) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having membership exceeding1750 members but not exceeding 2000 members
(x) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Pastoral Council of a Parish Church having a membership of more than 2000members
- d) The term of members elected under clause (b) and (c) above shall be five years.
- e) The Managing Committee shall be elected every five years soon after the election of the member under clause (b) and (c).
Members in the Article 71 as amended above refer to members as contemplated by and as mentioned in clause (7) of the 1934 Constitution (which deals with Parish Church and Parish Pastoral Council)
Note 1: The membership of each Parish Church shall be determined with reference to the entries in the relevant register maintained by each Parish Church.
- The Metropolitan shall be the President and the remaining prelates having administrative charge of Eparchys shall be Vice-Presidents of the Assembly.
- The Metropolitan shall preside over meetings of the Assembly. When it is inconvenient for him one of the Vice-Presidents by his nomination, and if the office is vacant the Vice-President who is the “Senior Archbishop” shall preside. In this constitution “Senior Archbishop” means the Archbishop who is oldest among the Vice- presidents.
- The Metropolitan shall convene the Assembly and if the office is vacant, two of the Vice-Presidents or if they fail, half of the members of the Managing Committee may convene the Assembly.
- There shall be a Secretary for the Assembly. The Assembly Managing Committee shall elect the Secretary and if the Byzantine Metropolitan ratifies the election it shall be valid. The Assembly Managing Committee has the right to remove the Secretary from the office without assigning any reason.
- There shall be a register for the movable and immovable properties of the Community and it shall be kept by the Secretary up to date and signed every year by the Byzantine Metropolitan and two members of the Committee.
- The duties of the Secretary shall include recording and maintaining of the accounts of the income and expenditure from the assets of the Community and the revenue of the Byzantine Arch Eparchy, preparing and presenting up to date Statements of Accounts at the meetings of the Assembly and the Managing Committee.
- b) Assembly Managing Committee
- There shall be a Managing Committee for the Association.
- The members of the Managing Committee shall be, exclusive of the Assembly Secretary and the Community Trustees, 43 priests and 86 laymen elected by the Association. The term of office of the members of the Managing Committee shall be five years. The Assembly may at its discretion increase the membership of the Managing Committee. The Managing Committee may fill up any vacancy arising during its tern of office by co-option. The Byzantine Metropolitan may, if he feels it needed, nominate not more than 30 persons (10 priests and 20 laymen) as members. When the Association shall increase the number of members of the Managing Committee the number of the members to be nominated by the Byzantine Metropolitan shall also be increased.
- The Metropolitan shall be the President of the Managing Committee and the remaining prelates having administrative charge shall be Vice-Presidents.
- The Metropolitan shall convene the Assembly Managing Committee and preside at the meeting. If the office of the Byzantine Metropolitan is vacant, two of the Vice-Presidents or if they fail half of the members of the Committee may convene the Committee and in such cases the Senior Metropolitan among the Vice-Presidents shall preside. The Association Managing Committee shall meet at least twice a year.
- The Association Secretary shall also be the Secretary of the Committee.
- If any expenditure from the monies of the Byzantine Eparchy is to be made the majority of the Byzantine Episcopal Synod and the majority of the Managing Committee members other than the Prelates shall agree.
- For the income and expenditure of the Community a budget shall be prepared by the Committee in the beginning of the year and any expenditure exceeding the same shall only be incurred with the consent of the Committee. However in case of any urgency the Byzantine Metropolitan may spend an amount not exceeding Five Hundred usd and such expenditure shall be reported to the Committee at its next session.
- If any property is to be purchased for the Community or if any property of the Community is to be alienated or any charge created over the same it shall be so decided by the majority of the Managing Committee and the Byzantine Episcopal Synod and the deed therefore shall be executed by the Byzantine Metropolitan and the Assembly Trustees if the property belongs to the Joint Trust properties and by the Byzantine Metropolitan alone if it belongs to the Byzantine Metropolitan Trust.
- Sub-Committees may be appointed with the approval of the Byzantine Episcopal Synod by the Managing Committee for education, finance and other similar matters needed for the church. The President of every such Sub-Committee shall be a Prelate.
- The Association Managing Committee shall have a Working Committee consisting of not more than ten members and that body shall execute matters as decided by the Managing Committee. In case of urgent necessity the Working Committee may act on behalf the Managing Committee in anticipation of its approval. All matters so done shall be reported to the Managing Committee and its approval obtained. The President of the Working Committee shall be the Byzantine Metropolitan. A Prelate elected by the Byzantine Episcopal Synod, the Community Trustees and the Association Secretary shall be members of the Working Committee. The remaining members shall be appointed by the Byzantine Metropolitan in consultation with them. Members of the Working Committee who are not already members of the Managing Committee, so long as they continue to be members of the Working Committee shall be members of the Managing Committee.
- The Working Committee referred to in Section 87 shall also be the Consultative Committee of the Byzantine Metropolitan.
- The Assembly Secretary shall also be the Secretary of the Byzantine Metropolitan’s Consultative Committee.
- The Byzantine Metropolitan may have an Assistant. If such an Assistant is not elected by the Assembly, he may be nominated by the Byzantine Metropolitan. The Assistant shall be ex-officio member of the Managing Committee and the Working Committee.
- c) The Community Trustees
- With the Byzantine Metropolitan there shall be three persons, the Eparchial Bishop, a Parish priest and a layman who shall be the Trustees for the (Trust Fund) and the Seminary and the income which have accrued or shall be accruing there from.
- The Byzantine Metropolitan shall be the Trustee for the rest of the Community properties if they are not subject to other special provisions.
- The Assembly shall elect the Associate Trustees. The term of office of the Assembly Trustees shall be co-terminus as that of the period of election of the Association members. The office of the associate trustee will continue until another trustee was elected and assumed office. The Assembly may remove them and appoint others without assigning any reason.
- d) Metropolitan Primate.
- The Prime jurisdiction regarding the temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the Byzantine Church is vested in the Metropolitan Primate subject to provisions of this constitution.
- In case it happens that there is no Eparchial Bishop in any Eparchy that Eparchy shall be under the direct administration of the Metropolitan Primate.
- Common institutions and similar matters in the Byzantine Church which do not specifically belong to a particular Eparchy shall be directly under the supervision of the Metropolitan Primate.
- The Metropolitan Primate shall be elected to that office by the Assembly.
- The Metropolitan General may also hold the office of the Metropolitan Primate. As the Metropolitan Primate he shall be the President of the Assembly and the Managing Committee and the Metropolitan Trustee of the Community properties. The Metropolitan Primate may officially visit all the parish churches of the Byzantine Church and if found needed, he may convene the Parish Pastoral Council and the Eparchial Pastoral Council after giving information to the Eparchial Bishop. When the Catholicos and the Metropolitan Primate happen to be two individuals, regulations needed shall be made about their respective rights and powers.
- b) Eparchial Council
- Every Eparchy shall have a Eparchial Council.
- Two Priests and four laymen elected by the Eparchial Pastoral Council and the Eparchial Secretary shall be the members of the Council. Their term of office shall be three years. If in the meantime any vacancy arises in the Council the remaining members have the right to co-opt another instead.
- The Secretary of the Eparchial Pastoral Council shall be the Secretary of the council also.
- The Eparchial Bishop shall convene the Council and shall preside over the meeting. The Bishop and three members shall constitute a quorum. The Eparchial Council shall meet at least twice a year.
- In case any expenditure out of the Eparchial monies is to be made the Eparchial Bishop and the majority of the remaining members of the Council shall agree.
- The Eparchial Council shall prepare a budget for the Income and Expenditure of the Eparchy and the Secretary shall incur expenditure only as provided in the budget. If additional expenditure is to be made it shall be incurred only with the approval of the Council. But in the event of any urgency the Secretary may spend under the orders of the Eparchial Bishop an amount not exceeding 100 usd. Any such expenditure incurred without authority of the Council shall be reported at the next meeting of the Council.
- Appeal may be made to the Byzantine Archbishop against any decision of the Eparchial Bishop and the Byzantine Archbishop shall hear the appeal matter before his Advisory Council and make decision in consultation with the Council. If Byzantine Archbishop deems it fit, he may issue a stay order that the decision of the Eparchial Bishop shall not be implemented till the decision of the appeal matter, and the Eparchial Bishop shall abide by such order.
- The clergy of each Eparchy shall meet to discuss their welfare and the development of the Eparchy and the Spiritual growth of the Eparchy at least 4 times a year.
THE SACRAMENTS OF THIS CHURCH
- All converts of this faith must show proof of Baptism, having been baptized in accordance with Matt. 28:19. Baptism may be granted ONLY to un-baptized converts, or those NOT baptized in the proper forms, in accordance with the Holy Scripture, or if there be a valid question as to the validity of the previous baptism. Baptism may only be done ONCE, unless the repeat is sub-conditione.
- Children and infants born into, or coming to, this faith, shall be baptized according to the rite of this Church (if not baptized already in proper form).
- Baptism and Confirmation (Chrismation) may be performed together by a Priest of this Church; however, upon request, a Bishop may perform the Confirmation later in our Western Orthodox Rite. This occurs when the child is seven years of age, and First Communion is delayed until then.
- Baptism is the first Sacrament administered in a person’s life, and may be administered by ALL clergy (using the approved form by church), or evens a layperson in case of grave emergency or danger of death.
- In case of immediate danger of death, Baptism and/or Confirmation is to be immediately administered. The baptism may be given sub-conditione if there is any question of a former baptism’s possible validity. If possible and you are a Priest, Holy Communion should also be given, with a full Confession, but never to a dead or unconscious person.
Confirmation and First Communion:
- The Sacrament of Confirmation (Chrismation) is used for properly baptized persons only.
- When a child has reached the age of reason (7yrs), he or she shall begin formal instruction in the Faith.
- No adult shall be confirmed or baptized in our rites, except in case of grave emergency, without first having formal instructions in the Byzantine Orthodox Faith.
- The Chrism used in the Rite of Confirmation must be properly blessed by one of our Bishops, for this purpose, and must carry the approval of the Metropolitan See.
- In the Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Rite, a Priest or Bishop may perform the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Byzantine Western Orthodox Rite, only a Bishop may perform this Sacrament.
- Every Priest or Bishop must conform to the civil laws of the State or Nation regarding marriage, though Church Law is primary in all cases.
- It shall be within the discretion of any Priest or Bishop to decline to solemnize any proposed marriage.
- A Priest may not perform the Sacrament of Matrimony without the consent and written approval of the Bishop.
- When marital unity is imperiled by dissension, it shall be the duty of both parties to lay the matter before the Priest or Bishop; the parties have the right to the next superior in this Church if the Priest or Bishop is unable to resolve the matter to their satisfaction.
- All parties in a proposed marriage must have the proper papers and blood tests as required by their state of residence. These papers denoting the civil right to marry shall be given over to the Priest or Bishop, with the results of the blood tests, papers that also prove that they are baptized in the Byzantine, Orthodox or Catholic Faith and/or any other papers as required by the City/State/County/Country, etc.
- Mixed marriages of members of this Church to non-members may be permitted, with permission of the Bishop and with a written and signed agreement that the children of such a marriage are to be raised in our Byzantine Catholic Faith. If this marriage fails, it is the prerogative of the Metropolitan Primate to exercise the Pauline Privilege (marriage to a non-Christian) if it warrants such an action and dissolve the marriage without the ban of divorce against the individuals’ remarrying.
- No Priest, Bishop, clergy, of this Church may or shall solemnize a marriage between persons one or both of which were a spouse to any other person still living, so long as the marriage was blessed by the Church, unless a written decree from the Metropolitan Court shall declare the previous marriage(s) annulled.
- It is to be understood that any person or persons, may not set the laws of consanguinity aside. This would be incest.
- The third Sacrament, matrimony, is allowed to be performed by all clergy of the rank of Priest or above.
- ONLY baptized and Confirmed (Chrismated) Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic and the members of jurisdictions we have active communion/uniate status with may partake of Holy Communion at our Altars.
This because of the fact that most people who are not Orthodox or Catholic in some form do not fully understand the doctrine of the Transubstantiation: that is to say, they most likely do not know, or even believe, that they are thusly taking the living Body and Blood of Christ in communion.
- ALL lay members desiring to partake of the Body and Blood of our Lord must be in the state of grace through the Sacrament of Penance, if they are above the age of reason (7yrs).
- ALL the faithful of the Byzantine (Eastern) Rite, including infants may receive Holy Communion (those in the Western Byzantine Rite must wait until Confirmation). Such practice of Communicating infants is taken directly from the Word of Our Lord in John 6:53 in which He states “TRULY, TRULY, I SAY UNTO YOU, UNLESS YOU EAT THE BODY OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOURSELVES.”
- ALL lay members over the age of reason (7yrs) are required to attend the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year, during the Holy Week of Easter Season.
- While the above is preferred it is also permitted that a person goes directly to God in Confession. However, it is encouraged to confess to God in the presence of a priest and receive your penance and absolution, from the priest.
- No solicitation of any kind in the Confessional is permitted.
- NO confessor, Priest or Bishop, may make ANY inquiry as to the identity of the penitent or the accomplice (if any) in the sins being confessed.
- THE SEAL OF THE CONFESSIONAL IS ABSOLUTE! NO ONE MAY EVER DIVULGE ANYTHING HEARD OR EVEN OVERHEARD IN THE CONFESSIONAL, EVEN ON THE PAIN OF DEATH! REGARDLESS OF THE SINS CONFESSED, OR THE INTENT OF FUTURE SIN (EVEN CONTEMPLATED MURDER), THE CONFESSOR MAY NEVER, NEVER, REVEAL ANYTHING HE HAS HEARD OR OVERHEARD DIRECTLY OR EVEN INDIRECTLY, ANY TIME, TO ANY PERSON, FOR ANY REASON.
ALSO IT IS A GRAVE SIN TO BREAK THE SEAL OF THE CONFESSIONAL, AND REMOVAL FROM THE CHURCH MAY COME TO PASS.
- In the case of grave danger of death, the Priest or Bishop is required to give this Sacrament regardless of personal danger to himself.
- ALL clergymen are required to attend verbal confession before EVERY celebration of the Liturgy (Mass). If the cleric is question is unable to find another cleric of this faith, then he is required to perform a very sincere Act of Contrition and to submit himself to the same penance that he would lay upon any other person for the same sins, and then as soon as possible must seek out confession with one of our Priests.
- The Sacrament of Penance is NOT permitted to be given to a known heretic, schismatic, agnostic, and the like, without absolution from one of our Bishops.
- Absolution may NOT be given for ANY sins contemplated by any penitent in future tense.
- ANY person found to have told lies in their confession has committed sacrilege and is therefore de facto excommunicated, and neither the Absolution nor the Seal of the Confessional are in fact in effect.
- NO child, under the age of reason (7yrs) shall be made or coerced to confess, or to perform any kind of penance imposed via such an illegal confession.
- Penance, the fifth Sacrament, is allowed to be performed by ALL clergy of the rank of Priest and above.
- The first act of conferring of Orders is the Tonsuring by which a young person is set aside from the world as a Cleric.
- The first level of the four- (4) grades of Minor Orders is the Order of Porters (Doorkeepers), also known as Ostiaries.
- The second level is the Order of Lectors (Readers). The duties of a Lector includes the reading of the Fathers of the Church in public during the during the Liturgy, and the Lector may sing the Epistle during a Missa Cantata.
- The third level of Minor Orders is grade of Exorcist. The exorcism implied in the title is purely INTERNAL; within the Candidate’s own soul in preparation for serving at the Altar of God.
- The fourth and final grade of Minor Orders is Acolyte. The individuals serve at the altar and are sometime referred to as “altar servers/altar boys.”
- The stage between Minor and Major Holy Orders is the Office of Sub-Deacon. This person is to prepare the sacred vessels for the Divine Liturgy (Mass), to assist at the Solemn Divine Liturgies (Masses), to pour the water into the Chalice at the Offertory of the Liturgy (Mass), and to say or sing the Epistle. The Sub-Deacon is also at this stage where the person must state if they are going to marry or not.
- The first level of Holy Major Orders, and the first to carry the indelible mark upon the soul, is that of Deacon, called the Diaconate. The duties of the Deacon are to assist the Priest at the Liturgy (Mass) and sometimes to preach and baptize. The Deacon is not permitted to marry if he is single without a dispensation for the Metropolitan See. The transitory Deacon cannot remain a Deacon for longer than five (5) years, before ordination to the Priesthood.
- The second level of Holy Major Orders to carry the indelible mark upon the soul is that of the Priest, also called the Presbyter. The Priest is the minister of Divine Worship, one on whom the power of offering the Sacrifice of the Divine Holy Liturgy (Mass), of blessing, of giving absolution, and of preaching has been conferred.
- The last level of the Holy Major Orders, the fullness of the Priesthood, is that of Bishops (the Episcopate). The Bishop is a member of the hierarchy of the Church, and has one or any of the following dignities:
- Auxiliary-One rose to the dignity and Office of Bishop who does NOT enjoy jurisdiction by reason of his consecration, but receives it from the Bishop whom he assists in the duties assigned to him in his Episcopal office.
- Coadjutor-One raised to the dignity and Office of Bishop and given jurisdiction in part to govern the Eparchy of another Bishop who is partially or totally incapacitated. The Coadjutor Bishop normally has right of succession in this Eparchy.
- Itinerant- A Bishop whose area has no fixed See, but who roams from Parish to Parish within the territory.
- Suffragan-One who is given ecclesiastical jurisdiction within his own Eparchy, but whose Eparchy may part of the ArchEparchy of the Archbishop.
- Titular-One who is consecrated to a Eparchy, which once existed but has now died out and is gone, who works in administrative offices needing the weight of a Bishop’s authority.
6.Chorebishop-A Married Priest elevated to assist his Bishop within the Eparchy, he performs the duties of a Bishop except ordination to Major Orders.
- At the will of the Metropolitan, a Priest may be consecrated for a special jurisdiction, and is only answerable to the Metropolitan See.
- In the event that any person enters Holy Orders without a true Vocation, solely to please family, friends, or in obedience to an erroneous order from Superiors, then the Orders are null and void due to a tacit lack of proper intent.
Rules and Regulations Regarding Minor Orders:
- All persons in Minor Orders shall be placed under the direct supervision of a Bishop and his staff.
- No person under eighteen (18) shall be set aside into Minor Orders.
Nor any female under eighteen (18) shall be admitted in any Religious Orders or Monastery
- Every person desiring to be admitted as a Candidate for Holy Major Orders shall have demonstrated the ability to accept and practice the discipline of Minor Orders.
- The guidance of all Candidates for Holy Orders, both as to their daily life, and as to the direction of their theological studies, is the responsibility of the local Bishop and his Staff.
The Candidate may be trained with (OJT) “on the job training”, and/or with home studies if there is such a need, as long as the Bishop follows the courses as laid down by this Church. In the exercise of this guidance, the Bishop shall be directed by the Patriarchal See through the courses approved at St Athanasius Seminary.
- Under no circumstance will a Candidate be exempt from canonical examination, and he must have an average grade of “C” or better before the Candidate enters Major Orders, and the person must keep to his studies, until he has the average that is required, in the following subjects:
- The Holy Scriptures from our approved Bible.
- The Church History, Oriental, Byzantine (eastern) and Western.
- Orthodox Theology.
- Ethics and Moral Theology.
- The Liturgies (Masses) Oriental, Byzantine and Western.
- The Theory and Practice of Orthodox Catholic Ministry.
- The Duties required by Priests and Prelates.
- The official Hierarchy and their formal address of this Church.
- The Church Holy Canons
- NO one may serve in the Orders of Subdeacon or Deacon for more than five (5) five consecutive years without being designated a Lay Minister or a Permanent Deacon by the Bishop, with the date of such action being placed in the records.
- NO Cleric shall be admitted to the Diaconate until nineteen (19) years of age has been reached.
- NO Deacon shall be Ordained Priest until the age of twenty-three (23) has been reached.
- NO Priest shall be Consecrated a Bishop until the age of thirty-year (25) has been reached.
- Ordinations and/or Consecrations shall be held only on Sundays and/or the four Ember Saturdays.
- NO decree or mandate, or requests for any kind of Ordination and/or Consecration of any Candidate shall be granted until the Bishop or Bishops has had due notice in writing with the requirements of the Canons being fulfilled, and that the proposed action if it be a Consecration is approved by the Metropolitan See.
- The Certificate of a Bishop’s Consecration to be held as valid must carry the seal of the Metropolitan See approval.
- The Certificate of Ordination must carry the personal Seal of the Bishop who has ordained the Priest in question.
- The Bishop must see that the following Vows are properly taken by the Candidate in Minor Orders and in Major Holy Orders; these Vows are in effect in their religious life and their personal life, and they shall be in print and signed and copies sent to their file and to the Metropolitan See.
- Candidates must understand, that these Vows are taken to God, the Church, The Patriarch and to their Superiors forever, and that clergy cannot just resign as if they were a part of a lay business. To leave the Church they must request the Bishop to raise their Vows, and have a good reason for leaving, if they leave in any other way it would be wrong and action would be taken. Then it is up to the Bishop, to or not to let you go depending on the reason, or if it can be worked out together in Christian Love.
- Obedience-to obey, as one would one’s own parents as a good child, one’s Superiors in all matters, and to obey the Holy Scriptures as best as one is able, and to obey the Canons of this Church in all things.
- Stability-to remain stable and sure, and not a fly by-by-night person.
- Allegiance-to remain devoted and loyal to God, to The Byzantine Catholic Church, Inc. to our Patriarch, and to the Canons of this Church.
- Celibacy/Chastity-This is a voluntary vow, and refers to the state of not committing any actions of lust arising from a sexual impulse. It also refers, for married clergy, to the state of remaining faithful to the vows of marriage. Monks and Nuns take a Perpetual Vow of Celibacy.
- Charity-to treat all persons with the Love of Christ, and to provide help when and where possible, with the exception of giving money to persons while walking down the street, this is no longer permitted, for the safety of the Cleric/Religious.
- Poverty-another voluntary vow, which states that the cleric in question will not have or keep large sums of money, or property etc.
- The laying on of hands, the anointing of the sick with Holy Oils and prayers, and possible Confession and Absolution (when used in this context with a dying person, it is called the Last Rites). All the Clergy of the Church administer this Sacrament.
Civil and Criminal Laws
- This Church supports civil and criminal laws as being necessary for the maintenance of a civilized and orderly society. We acknowledge Christ’s words to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. We must make it perfectly clear, however, that we will resist and regard as null and void any law which attempts to rob persons of their right to worship in their own manner, or any law which attempts to downgrade human dignity and/or which takes life unnecessarily, or which seeks to abridge the ancient Law of Sanctuary.
- Any Clergy or Religious of any degree, who is arrested for any charge, must submit to the civil court, and the court imposes if, found guilty shall serve whatever sentence. Then, after freedom is obtained, he or she must report to the Metropolitan See for further action, if any. It is to be remembered that the primary debt to society and punishment has been paid with the civil sentence.
- If the charge (s) against the Clergy or Religious are found to be of a violent or a sexual crime, then the Clergy or Religious will have to stand before the Spiritual Court of Metropolitans.
- This jurisdiction has a ZERO tolerance and a “one-strike-you’re-out'” policy for any kind of sex acts with children (under 18 year old or younger), if it is ever found out, whoever it may be, of whatever rank, they shall be turned over to Church Spiritual Court of Metropolitans for action if they are a clergyman or religious, if found guilty they will be turned over to the Police and deposed from the Church no appeal permitted.
However, for the above acts with children, if it be a layman he/she shall be turned over to the Police at once.
Violence Against Fellow Clergy
- Any Clergy or Religious found guilty of violence against fellow Clergy or Religious, exclusive of self-defense as defined herein, shall immediately be considered deposed, silenced, and set aside from the Church until such time as he or she is publicly reconciled with the individual who was the victim.
- Self-defense is defined as the defense of one’s own person from reasonable threat of violence and/or attack, AFTER the aggressor has thrown the first strike. Thusly justified self-defense is allowed by any Clergy or Religious of this Church.
This rule of self-defense also applies to defending a third party who is helpless or infirm, etc.
- Any potential Clergy who wish to be married must do so before being ordained to the Diaconate and must be self sufficient, either by gainfully employed or self employed.
- No Clergy may marry without a dispensation from the Metropolitan. Married Clergy may be considered for the Episcopate, with a dispensation from the Primate.
Section 2- p.c.- If a married Clergy of any degree seeks a divorce in secret shall, when discovered, be immediately and totally deposed and laicized, and also barred from returning to any Office in this Church for forty (40) years.
- If the spouse (of whichever gender) of a Clergymen’s files for civil divorce, the Church shall decide what is to be done about the spouse. This could include excommunication.
- Every Married Clergy shall work to raise fund to support his/her family and pay tithe to his Bishop. Bishops must in turn send their tithes to the Metropolitan Primate.
- In the case that laity wish a divorce, every effort will be made to reconcile them, as Our Lord expressly forbids divorce in the Holy Scriptures.
- Marriages may be annulled on the following grounds:
- Irreconcilable differences.
- Spousal abuse.
- Non-consummation of the marriage.
- Protection of the children in cases of proven child abuse.
- Age if under 18years old.
Retirement or Resign
- The canonical age of free will retirement is eighty-five years (85), and no requests for retirement will be granted before that age unless for proven medical reasons.
- There is no age at which one MUST retire, but may reduce workload. Yet retirement cannot be forced by any superior.
- Illness is grounds for retirement, but only if a request is made in writing to the Metropolitan See including a medical report recommending the retirement.
Disrespect and Disobedience
- Any Clergyman of whatever degree, or person in this Church, who shall by word or deed show disrespect and/or disobedience toward any Clergy set above in Office and dignity, shall be by the very act deposed.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Any Clergy or Religious of whatever degree, found to be a drug addict, or who sells any kind of substance which is an illegal drug, shall be ordered into treatment. If after three such orders he or she still refuses treatments, then he or she shall be deposed from all Office and remanded to the civil authorities.
- Any Clergy who uses an alcoholic concoction so as to cause loss of reason, and this usage is habitual, shall also be ordered into treatment under the above provisions.
Tithes Offering and Reports
- Two collection box shall be put at the entrance of the church, first for people’s offering and the second for charity, a third one shall be kept near the iconostasis for special offering and tithe offering. There shall also be a basket to collect food and other gift items offered by the faithful. Offering shall be collected from the faithful at every Liturgy. Thanksgiving offering can be arranged with the parish priest.
- The 10% of the total income of each parish is sent to the ArchEparchial Account every month together with the entire tithe paid. The charity fund is for assisting the poor among the local community and a detail record must be kept for this purpose.
- General collection shall be collected on Sundays as follows:
- 1st Sunday offering shall be made in Support of the project of Holy See
- 2nd Sunday offering shall be made in Support of the Archdiocesan See
- 3rd Sunday Offering shall be made in support of the Seminarians and the Seminary Projects
- 4th Sunday Offering shall be made for the Poor, Widows and under privilege
- Whenever there is fifth Sunday, the offering shall be made in support of the resident Clergy
- Tithe offering box is to be built and kept in every church, the tithe goes to the Archdiocesan Chancery
- 25% of church offering including that of the Harvest except building project fee should be sent forward every quarter for the development of the Archeparchy.
- Every Church must keep account of offerings and contributions.
Associations and Societies
- There shall be established within the Eparchy, Eparchial Associations and there shall be established within the Parish, Christian Associations and Prayers league to foster the growth of the parish and the Eparchy in all aspects of life i.e. spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.
- Any full member or clergy can form such association by applying to the Eparchial Bishop who will give approval and appoint a patron saint for the association.
- Such association within three months of formation shall send their by-constitution to the Eparchial Bishop for ratification and shall be binding after such signature is affixed.
- The President and Secretary of such association shall be members of the Parish Pastoral Council during their tenure.
- Annual Report of such society or association shall be sent to the Parish Priest who in turn shall compile his report and send to the Bishop including financial report and budget for the new fiscal year.
- A report of all parishes, congregations, dependencies, and/or jurisdictions within this Church must be prepared on a monthly basis by the pertinent person, on the proper forms, and sent to the Bishop, who then sends it to the Metropolitan See. These reports are required to conform to requirements of the civil government.
- Every entity and person must set aside 10% of official income after overhead expenses have been met, and send this amount to their Bishop for the development of the Eparchy. The Bishop, after meeting overhead expenses, shall deduct 10% from that remainder and send it to the Metropolitan See.
- An overall fiscal report from each Parish, Eparchy, Monasteries and Religious Order must be sent to the Metropolitan See through the local Bishop for the files annually.
- Only a Clergyman can collect tithe 10% from members of this holy Church and forward it to the Bishop. The Bishop keeps account of the tithe, pays stipends and meet seminarians and other Eparchial expenditures from that same account.
- There shall be a Sovereign Order of the Cross, which shall be established by the Metropolitan whose responsibility is to protect the Church, they take vows to do this to death.
- The Sovereign Order of the Cross shall raise funds and make donations to the Church for the development of the church and shall contribute more assistance toward the establishment of the church, its growth and protection.
- All Clergy must, on demand, submit to an investigation, which will be carried out by the Sovereign Order of Cross as authorized by the Metropolitan Primate.
Travel and Proper Letters
- All Clergy and/or Religious who are traveling outside their area must have a letter of travel from their Parish Priest, Abbot, Abbess, Bishop, or other lawful Superior. This letter shall contain all pertinent information, such as itinerary, dates of travel, recent photographs, etc.
Such a letter is not required for travel within one’s Eparchy.
- The Letter of Travel is to be construed as the Church’s permission to leave and return, and any Clergy found to have traveled outside the Eparchy without one would be censured.
- Clergy and Religious may take two weeks vacation annually, at their own expense, with written notice thirty days in advance, carrying the required Letters of Travel.
Jury Duty and Court Witnessing
- No Clergy or Religious may serve on a civil jury, in obedience to the Scriptural precept forbidding one to sit in judgment of others.
- Clergy and Religious may volunteer or obey subpoena to appear as material or third-party witnesses. The Seal of the Confessional is still in effect at all times.
- Every clergy must have a handiwork and a professional work, this shall be acquire during formation and put into practice for self support and the support of the church.
- All men and women who have received Holy Baptism and believe in the divinity of the Holy Trinity, the incarnation of the Son, the procedure of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Church and the application of the Nicene Creed there-in-all, the divine inspiration of the Holy Traditions, the mediation of the Mother of God and the Saints, the commemoration of the departed ones, the administration of the seven sacraments and the Canonical observances like fasting etc and have accepted the obligation to observe them, will be members of this church.
- Membership in the Byzantine Orthodox Catholic Church is open to ALL who have a willingness to publicly confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior the Son Of God, and who will strive to better themselves and grow in the Faith and knowledge that this Church teaches. No one is refused membership because of race, national origin, sexual orientation, skin color, or previous religious affiliation.
- The approved readings from the Holy Scriptures shall be from the following versions and/or translations. The Lamsa Bible (from the Eastern Peshitta Codex), the Douay Translation, or the New Jerusalem Bible, The New King James Version for the New Testament, Orthodox Study Bible, these are approved versions of the Scripture.
- No member, laity or Clergy/Religious, is to take single verses out of their context: one must read the entire chapter to truly understand what is being said, meant, or inferred. The clergies are trained to guide the faithful in understanding the scriptures.
Disposition of Mortal Remains
- Any laypersons or students in Minor Orders are to be placed on a casket with their feet towards the Altar.
- Those in Orders above Acolyte are to be placed with their heads towards the Altar.
- Whenever possible, the mausoleum built for the Clergy must be above ground.
- The remains of clergy are buried in an acquired property of the church dedicated for such purposes.
- The remains of the Baptized and Chrismated members who are In GOOD STANDING are buried in a consecrated property for such purpose.
- In the event of a suicide of a member of this Church, there shall be an inquest by the Court of Metropolitans.
- If the result of this inquest proves that the person was rational, and committed suicide deliberately and with full knowledge of the consequences involved, then there shall be no Liturgy or burial in consecrated ground.
- If, however, the inquest proves that the person was despondent, or otherwise not fully rational at the time of the suicide, then there shall be a full Requiem Liturgy with pleas that the sin is forgiven, and the person shall be lovingly buried in hallowed ground.
- Abortion means the intentional removal of an embryo or fetus from the womb of a pregnant woman as a result of chemical agents or surgical procedure. The Orthodox Church has always opposed the practice of abortion and condemnations have been recorded in the writings of Church Fathers from apostolic times. In the second Century, Tertullian (2c.) stated that “prevention of birth is precipitation of murder; it does not matter whether one takes away a life when formed, or drive it away while forming. He also is a man who is about to be one. Even every fruit already exists in its seed” (Apology 9).
St. Basil the Great (4c.) who also wrote on the subject, addresses abortion as premeditated murder. He writes in canons 2 and 8: “She who purposely destroys the fetus shall suffer the punishment of murder.” He goes on to elaborate that there is no distinction between a fetus that is formed or unformed. The earliest Synodal decision on abortion was the 63rd canon of the Synod of Elvira in . The Synod restricts the Holy Eucharist from women guilty of abortion until on their deathbed. The 21st canon of the regional Synod of Ankara (314 AD) decreed that offenders be given a penance of abstinence from Holy Communion for a long period of time and be permitted to attend the Divine Liturgy in contrition and only from the exterior of the church. Abortion is clearly condemned as murder, and consenting pregnant mothers and abortionists as murderers in Canon 91 of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council. In practice, it must be noted that the Orthodox Church has been compassionate to mothers whose lives were jeopardized without an abortion.
St. Gregory of Nyssa (4c.) formulated a theory based on the principle that an organism is given life and grows from the moment of its existence. The mind of the Church on the subject of abortion, it must be noted, is rooted in an understanding which is implicit in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and celebrated within the full context of the liturgical life of the Church. The Feasts which bring focus to the subject include: the Conception of St. John the Baptist (Sept. 24), of the Holy Virgin Mother of God (Dec. 8), and of our Lord Himself (Mar. 25). Among the references of scripture the Psalmist records: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
In conclusion, it can be said that: human beings are first conceived, receive life at inception, develop and grow as persons created in the image and likeness of God.
PROVINCES-MISSIONS-CANON OF NECESSITY
Provinces, Missions, Etc.
- The Council of Metropolitans, with the deputation from the Metropolitan See, shall determine which areas shall comprise Archeparchy, Eparchy, Vicariate, Deanery and Provinces, and Mission Territories, and each country shall have an Metropolitan Archbishop, followed by Provincial Archbishops, then Archbishops and Bishops in that order.
- A new Eparchy shall comprise of at least 12 Priests within a region who has twelve parishes with congregation not less than 10,000 people, and shall be able to provide for herself and support the Holy Metropolis through a self sufficiency program. A Eparchy shall have at least one seminary, one novitiate, one Monastery and one community of Saint Basil.
A new Eparchy may still put to use the ArchEparchial Seminary till a new one is established within the locality of the ordinary.
- Organization structure of the church administration and establishment of new Eparchy shall be determined as follows:
Metropolitan Archbishop shall have jurisdiction over a country
Provincial Archbishop shall have jurisdiction over Provinces comprises at least 3 and not more than 7 Archeparchy
Archbishop shall have jurisdiction over at least 3 and not more than 7 Eparchy
Bishop shall have Jurisdiction over at least 3 and not more than 7 Vicariates
Archpriest / Archimandrite / Protopresbyter shall have at least 7 and not more than 21 Deaneries
Parish Priest shall have jurisdiction over at least 1 parish and not more than 7 mission territories.
A standard parish must contain at least 1 School, 1 healthcare, I vocational School
No Eparchy shall be created to depend on the ArchEparchy for resources and fund.
- The Canon of Necessity is a general rule, which allows the Metropolitan Primate to erect such territories where there is danger of the Church losing ground in membership, etc. Where there is grave necessity, the Metropolitan Primate may perform (or deputize) any Ordination, Consecration, or Elevation as needed, whether or not the individual meets all of the Canonical requirements; the individual MUST then work to immediately fulfill all the requirements.
- There shall be an Episcopal Synod in every country.
- All Prelates in that country shall be members of this Synod.
- 292. The Metropolitan Archbishop shall be the President of the Synod.
- The Metropolitan Archbishop shall convene the Synod and preside over the Synod.
- When there is no Metropolitan or if there is any accusation against the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan does not convene the Synod for considering such accusation, the Senior Metropolitan shall convene the Synod and preside over the Synod.
- The Episcopal Synod shall have the authority to decide matters concerning faith, order and discipline. When the Synod shall meet for this purpose the Synod may select such persons as the Synod may deem needed for consultation.
- No one shall have the right to alter the faith of the Church. But in case there may arise any dispute as to what is faith, the Episcopal synod above said may decide the matter and the final decision about this shall vest with the Ecumenical Synod.
- The Episcopal Synod may in consultation with the Assembly Managing Committee appoint sub-committees for the purpose of Theological Education, Mission Work, Sunday school and similar matters.
Deacons and Priests
- A candidate for ordination should have at least passed the Degree Examination.
- Those desiring to be ordained shall on the recommendation of the Parish Pastoral Council or on their own apply to the Eparchial Bishop and he after due inquiry if he feels no objection shall send them to the Byzantine Metropolitan and he according to the convenience shall send them to the Theological Seminary of the community and if needed theological study the Rector of the Seminary certifies that they are fit for ordination, the Eparchial Bishop or the Byzantine Metropolitan will at their discretion ordain them. But after three years of theological studies if a certificate is issued by the Rector the ordination of Reader may be administered.
- b) High Priests (Prelates)
- The Metropolitan shall consecrate with the co-operation of the Episcopal Synod the required number of Bishops and Metropolitans for the Byzantine Church. On the occasion of consecration of a Bishop or a Metropolitan such Bishop or Metropolitan shall submit a statement regarding faith and submission to the Metropolitan, the President of the Synod. The Metropolitan shall give a certificate of consecration to the Prelate so consecrated.
- If anyone is to be consecrated a Bishop or Metropolitan he shall be elected to such office by the Assembly. If such election is approved by the Episcopal Synod, the Metropolitan shall consecrate the candidate canonically with the co-operation of the Synod. For such election by the Assembly, there shall be separate majority of the priests and of the laymen present at the Assembly.
- If anyone shall be consecrated as Metropolitan he shall be elected to that office by the Association. If such election is approved by the Episcopal Synod, the Synod shall consecrate the person as Metropolitan. If there be a Patriarch recognized by the Byzantine Church the Patriarch shall be invited when the Metropolitan shall be consecrated and if the Patriarch arrives he shall as the President of the Synod consecrate the Metropolitan with the co-operation of the Synod.
COMPLAINTS AND DECISIONS
- A complaint against a layman, a deacon or a priest shall be made to the Bishop of the Eparchy to which he may belong.
- The Bishop shall bring the complaint before the Eparchial Council and after giving notice to both parties and receiving their evidence and hearing arguments shall decide in consultation with the members of the Eparchial Council. Until such a decision is taken the Eparchial Bishop may take such actions by himself as he deems necessary.
- Appeal may be made to the Byzantine Metropolitan against the decisions of the Eparchial Bishop and he shall bring such appeal before the Episcopal Synod and after giving notice to both the parties and hearing them, the Synod shall pronounce the decision in accordance with the opinion of the majority of its members. While the Synod is in session for this purpose such members of the Managing Committee as are deemed needed may be invited for consultation. The Byzantine Metropolitan may stay order against the decision of the Eparchial Metropolitan.
- Complaint against prelates shall be made to the President of the Episcopal Synod and the President shall bring it before the Synod and after giving notice to both the parties and receiving evidence and hearing arguments the President shall pronounce the decision in accordance with the majority opinion of the Synod. If the complaint is against the Metropolitan, the Patriarch if there is a Patriarch recognized by the Byzantine Church shall also be invited and in the event of his arriving he shall be the President of the Synod and if he does not arrive the Synod shall pronounce the decision. While the Synod meets for these purposes such members of the Association Managing Committee as are deemed needed may be invited for consultation.
- When Prelates are tried two persons who have acquired proficiency in canons and Theology and two persons who are versed in law may be invited for consultation. They shall be members of the Byzantine Orthodox Church.
- The Parish Priest of every Parish Church shall collect “Annual Duty” at the rate of $5 usd every year from every family, and $3 from every adult member who has passed the age of twenty one years, and shall send the same to the Bishop.
- The rates and similar matters regarding dues receivable by Churches or priests may with the approval of the Episcopal Synod be decided by the Managing Committee.
- Out of the annual gross income of a church including income from its properties, investments and institutions, 25% of total income shall be sent every year to the Metropolitan Primate.
- The Metropolitan Primate shall allot the income derived as above at the rate of 4 out of ten to the Eparchial Bishop, 2 to the Eparchial Fund,1 to the Metropolitan Primate and 3 to the Byzantine Eparchial Fund.
- Monasteries or similar institutions shall be established only with the approval of the Episcopal Synod and all such institutions shall be subject to the authority of the Episcopal Synod.
- If any or all members of any of the above institutions leave this Church for another, all rights of such in the institutions or over other assets shall thereupon lapse and the institutions and their assets shall remain forever in the ownership of this Church.
- There shall be a Rule Committee appointed by the Association Managing Committee to make amendments to this Constitution as are necessary to suit the times and the conveniences. The President of the Rule Committee shall be a Prelate.
- The Rule Committee shall submit the amendments to the Association Managing Committee and those passed by the Association Managing Committee shall be in force till altered by the Association and the Episcopal Synod.
- The Parish Pastoral Council, the Parish Managing Committee, the Eparchial Pastoral Council, the Eparchial Council the Byzantine Assembly or the Assembly Managing Committee shall have no authority to pass any resolution concerning faith, order or discipline.
- Byelaws which are not inconsistent with the principles contained in this Constitution may be passed from time to time by the Parish Pastoral Council, the Eparchial Pastoral Council or the Eparchial Council and submitted to the Managing Committee through the Rule Committee and brought in to force with the approval of the Managing Committee.
- Anybody or office, although the Constitution provides for limitation of its duration, shall continue to function until such time the next body or office begins to function.
- If elected members of a committee absent themselves continuously for three sittings of the committee without proper reason their membership shall be lost. Each such committee shall have the right to decide whether the reason is proper or not.
- All agreements, offices and practices which are not consistent with the provisions of this Constitution are hereby made ineffective and are annulled.
- In this Constitution the word ‘Eparchial Bishop’ shall denote any prelate who has administration of a Eparchy.
Mergers/Communion/Inter-Communions and Uniates.
- Whenever a congregation of Christians who are holding to the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith as set forth in the Dogmatic Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and also recognize the Scriptures as containing the things necessary for their salvation may request to Merge with this jurisdiction as required by our Canons, and approved by the Metropolitan Primate.
- Any Priest, Religious, or Clergy who have not received Episcopal Consecration, but who wish to serve such congregation in a merger must conform to the provisions of these Canons and the Patriarchal See.
- Communion or Inter-communions are not permitted any longer, the communion and inter-communions that this jurisdiction has at the time of this writing shall remain intact.
- A jurisdiction may request to be a Uniate to this Jurisdiction.
Binding of the Laws
- The Canons are binding upon this Church from the moment they are accepted by the Metropolitan See and the printing date of these Canons.
- As of the date of these Canons in 1967, any and all Canonization’s shall be performed by the Patriarch after due examination of the merits of the case by the Curia.
Work and Life
- All members, students, Clergy and Religious must be willing to give their work, life, and support to the Church in the service of God.
- All members that are working are expected to support the church and the clergy with what they have for the Glory of God and contribute at least 10% of their earnings.
- All clergy and Religious are encouraged to work and support the church and their Eparchy with 10% of their income.
- All clergy that are involved in Health Apostolate shall work in collaboration with the Church Program and will not be entitled to payments of Bonus from those Network, but receives like any other clergy Stipends appropriated to the rank.
- Any clergy who leaves the Church through dismissal or own volition has no claim whatsoever to the properties of the church or compensation from the Church.
- No person of any rank or Office may create debts against this Church, or in the name of this Church. The sole exception to this law is the person of the Patriarch.
- Any such debts incurred, which were not authorized by the Metropolitan will NOT be honored by the Church and will devolve to the person who incurred the debt.
- Any Clergy who use their position to gain moneys for their personal use shall be brought before the Court on charges.
Privacy of Information
- Information is not released from the Metropolitan See or Eparchial Chancery Offices to any outside agency without the permission of the individual about whom information is sought, or by court order.
- Exorcisms may be performed by any Clergy at least a Priest with the permission of his Bishop, and as long as it is realized that this is done at his own risk.
Other Religious Practices
- The Eastern Prayer Beads, Rosary, The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, public and private Novenas, and other devotional and Votive Liturgies are permissible for use for the edification of the faithful.
Return of Deposed (etc.) Clergy
- Any Clergy who have been removed and who wish to return must fulfill the following conditions:
- Express, in writing, their wishes to the Metropolitan See.
- Understand that for a period of not than less than one year, they will be on probation.
- They must also understand that they will not be returned immediately to all Office and rank that they held before. They will work in whatever capacity or duty that is assigned to them for the probationary period.
- There are no exceptions.
- If the individual in question was dismissed from another jurisdiction, then the former Superiors in question will be contacted for an explanation. If we feel the explanation to be inadequate, then we will ignore the bans. If, however, we are convinced of the rightness of the action against the person, then we will wait for the former Superior to lift the bans. If this is not done within three months, the bans will be set aside anyway.
- We re-confirm the Holy Sanctuary of the Church as has been the custom for centuries. We state here that we have Sanctuary for persons who seem to be in danger of any kind from an unjust and/or unchristian cause or Government anywhere in the world. However, we will NOT shelter known fugitives from criminal law.
HABITURE OF THE CLERGY
- Street Wear: A black or red clerical shirt with a black suit and black shoes. Also, a ruby ring and pectoral cross as the Metropolitan.
401a. Non-Liturgical Ceremonial Wear: A red cassock with matching mozzetta, red sash and zucchetto, ruby ring and pectoral cross with Kamilavka.
401b. Liturgical Wear: Cassock, alb, cincture, stole, chasuble and/or cope, miter, etc.
- Street Wear: black or purple clerical shirt with black suit and shoes, amethyst ring and pectoral cross worn either pendant or tucked into the left pocket of the shirt with the chain draped across the chest.
402a Non-Liturgical Ceremonial Wear: Violet cassock, mozzetta, sash, zucchetto, amethyst ring and pectoral cross.
Liturgical Wear: As a Metropolitan.
- Street Wear: Black clerical shirt with black suit and shoes. No ring or cross.
403a Non-Liturgical Ceremonial Wear: Black cassock with purple trim, buttons, etc. Purple sash and black zucchetto and kamilavka.
403b. Liturgical Wear: Ryassa, Cassock, alb, cincture, stole, chasuble.
- Street Wear: As Monsignor
404a Non-Liturgical Ceremonial Wear: As Monsignor, without purple trim (etc.) and with black sash.
Liturgical Wear: As Monsignor.
- Deacons wear the same as Priests in all except Liturgical; for Liturgy they substitute the Deacon’s stole and Dalmatian instead of the Priest’s stole and chasuble.
(NOTE: Refer to the Rule of individual Religious Orders for their habiture requirements)