Quinisext Council, Canon 14.previous | next
Let the Canon of our holy and God-bearing Fathers be observed also in respect to this, that a Presbyter may not be ordained before he is thirty years old, though the man be thoroughly worthy; but, instead, let him be obliged to wait. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized when He was thirty years old, and then He began teaching. Likewise, let no Deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five years old, nor a Deaconess before she is forty years old.
(c. XIX of the 1st; c. XV of the 4th; c. XI of Neocaes.; c. XXI of Car.)
The present Canon ingeminates word for word the fifteenth of the C. in Neocaesarea. Accordingly, it decrees that no one must be ordained a presbyter until he has reached the age of thirty, even though the candidate for ordination be otherwise quite deserving of holy orders; on the contrary, let him await his time. For even the Lord was baptized in His thirtieth year and began to teach the preachment of the Gospel. (“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,” says Luke, 3:23). Certainly He ought to be imitated by presbyters, who are ordained through the presbytery to act as teachers of the faithful. Likewise neither can anyone be ordained a deacon until he has reached the age of twenty-five. That is exactly what c. XXI of Carthage also says. Nor can a woman become a deaconess until she has reached the age of forty. But may God be lenient in regard to the present-day transgression of these Canons. And even though the transgressors of these Canons are not abashed by the sacred and God-bearing and holy Fathers, let them at any rate be abashed by a mundane layman such as was Emperor Justinian, who in his Novel 123 says: “We do not allow a man to become a presbyter below the age of thirty, nor a deacon below the age of twenty-five, nor a subdeacon below the age of twenty.” Read also c. XIX of the 1st, and the Footnote to c. XI of Neocaesarea.
 See also St. Gregory the Theologian in his Discourse on the Lights, where he says: “Jesus was purified when thirty years old, and so how is it that you are trying to teach old men before you have even grown a beard, or you believe that you are teaching them, though have neither the age nor the skill to command respect? What a Daniel, and so and so, modern judges, and plenty of examples at their tongue’s end (for every wrongdoer is ready to produce excuses). But rarities are not laws of the Church, any more than one swallow makes it spring.”
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