Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Antioch - Canon 9

It behooves the bishops in every province to acknowledge the bishop who presides in the metropolis, and who has to take thought for the whole province; because all men of business come together from every quarter to the metropolis.  Wherefore it is decreed that he have precedence in rank, and that the other bishops do nothing extraordinary without him, (according to the ancient canon which prevailed from our Fathers) or such things only as pertain to their own particular parishes and the districts subject to them.  For each bishop has authority over his own parish, both to manage it with the piety which is incumbent on every one, and to make provision for the whole district which is dependent on his city; to ordain presbyters and deacons; and to settle everything with judgment.  But let him undertake nothing further without the bishop of the metropolis; neither the latter without the consent of the others.

This canon specified the sphere of authority within the ecclesiastical hierarchy for a country overseer in relation to the metropolitan or in metropolitan overseers to one another.  At the top was not one above all as Rome purported but a college of oversight for the guidance of the church.

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