Quinisext Council, Canon 6.previous | next
Inasmuch as it has been declared in the Apostolic Canons that of those being promoted to the Clergy only Anagnosts and Psalts may marry, we too, in keeping with this prohibition, decree that henceforth no Subdeacon, or Deacon, or Presbyter at all, after the ordination bestowed upon him, has permission to contract a matrimonial relationship for himself: if he should dare to do this, let him be deposed from office. But if anyone wants to contract a legal marriage with a woman before being admitted to the Clergy as a Subdeacon, or a Deacon, or Presbyter previous to ordination, let him do so.
(Ap c. XXVI; cc. XIV, XV of the 4th; c. XIII of Ancyra; and cc. XIX, XXXIII of Carthage.)
Since Canon XXVI of the Holy Apostles decrees that only Anagnosts and Psalts may marry after being ordained, the Fathers of this Council confirm that Canon by means of the present, and decree that from now on no Subdeacon, or Deacon, or Presbyter, after being ordained shall be permitted to marry. If he should do so anyhow, let him be deposed. But if any of these wants to marry, let him marry before being ordained a subdeacon, deacon, or presbyter.
 That is why the second ordinance of Title I of the Novels (Photius, Title IX, ch. 28) decrees that the ordinator of an unmarried man must ask him whether he can live with sobriety and virginity; and that any bishop is to be deprived of his bishopric and episcopate if he gives permission to a subdeacon or deacon to marry after ordination: and also why Novel 6 of Leo adds that if the candidate replies in the affirmative to the question asked him by the prelate, he may be ordained; but if anyone gives permission for a deacon to marry after ordination, he is to be deposed from office. Ordinance 44 of Title III decrees that children begotten by priests, deacons, and subdeacons who have married after ordination are not to be accounted cither as natural or as spurious children, but neither are they to receive anything from their such fathers, either in the way of heritage or as a gift or pretended loan or any other conveyance, either themselves or their mothers: but, instead, all their property is to be given to the Church to which they belong. Such lawbreakers, after being divested of holy orders, can neither be raised to any mundane office or dignity nor be enlisted in the army, but, on the contrary, are obliged to spend all their lifetime as private citizens and plebeians (Phot., ibid.). But why is it that such persons cannot be allowed to marry after ordination? The reason is told in the third Novel of Leo the Wise, which states it as follows: “It is not right and proper, after they have been elevated to a spiritual ascent of holy orders from the carnal humbleness of matrimony, for them to return back to it again; but, indeed, the contrary ought to be done.” That is to say, in other words, after the carnal humbleness of matrimony (i.e., after they marry) they may mount to the sublime ascent of the divine state of holy orders; but those who refuse to do so, shall be deposed. (See the same views expressed in Balsamon’s Reply 36 on page 381 of the Corpus Juris.) Note in addition to these facts that which is the sternest of all, to wit, that Novels 7 and 8 of Leo decree that clergymen and monks who discard their habit (or garb) and become laymen shall be compelled to wear it against their will.
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