Monday, April 11, 2011

Antioch - Canon 16

If any bishop without a see shall throw himself upon a vacant church and seize its throne, without a full synod, he shall be cast out, even if all the people over whom he has usurped jurisdiction should choose him.  And that shall be a full synod, in which the metropolitan is present.

Right off I want to state that the word "throne" is disconcerting, but in relation to the early church, it was a literal seat reserved for the spiritual authority.  Should an overseer attempt to move into a vacant church, even for altruistic reasons, and begin exercise authority without a proper synod (at which a metropolitan was present) for installation, that overseer was deposed.  This canon prevented an opportunistic overseer from attempting to gain greater influence by moving into a vacant spot.  It also gave proper protocol for moving someone into that position in an orderly manner.

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