Friday, March 18, 2011

Antioch - Canon 6

If any one has been excommunicated by his own bishop, let him not be received by others until he has either been restored by his own bishop, or until, when a synod is held, he shall have appeared and made his defense, and, having convinced the synod, shall have received a different sentence.  And let this decree apply to the laity, and to presbyters and deacons, and all who are enrolled in the clergy-list.

This canon accords with scripture: deal with the outcast with the idea of reconciliation and restoration.  The formal defense after excommunication seems peculiar, since the logical step in the United States would be to have the tribunal before dismissal.  This may be a case of cultural application since the American judicial system assumes innocence.  Within the church of this era, the approach may have been to deal with questionable doctrine or impiety until a synod could be formed to gain collective wisdom on the matter.  This would protect the church though the outcast would be in a hopeless position until the synod could be convened.

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