Quinisext Council, Canon 33.previous | next
Since we have learned as a matter of fact that in the country of the Armenians only those who are of hieratical (or priestly) lineage are eligible to the clergy, pursuantly to Jewish customs, in an attempt to practice these, and that some of them do not even tonsure their Psalts and Anagnosts when installing them in the divine Temple, we have seen fit to concur in decreeing that from now on those who wish to promote certain persons to the clergy are not allowed to pay any regard to the lineage of the ordinee. But, on the contrary, after first testing them as to whether they are worthy according to the definitions laid down in the sacred Canons to be enrolled in the clergy, they shall ordain them ecclesiastics, whether they have been born of ancestors who were priests, or not. Nor, furthermore, shall they permit anyone to speak from the pulpit to the laity the divine words, in accordance with the order of enrollment in the clergy, unless such person has something to show in the way of a priestly tonsure and receives the blessing canonically from the proper pastor. If anyone be caught acting contrary to the rules prescribed, let him be excommunicated.
(Ap. c. LXXVII; c. XIV of the 4th; c. XXIII of Laodicea; c. XXII of Carthage.)
This Canon too corrects those who inhabit the country of the Armenians, who not only made priests only of those who were descended from a priestly line, following the custom of the Jews, who made priests only of those who were descendants of the tribe of Levi, but also appointed psalts and anagnosts in the church with the formality of the bishop’s laying his hands on them. Decreeing that henceforth they are not to pay regard to whether the candidate for ordination is or is not descended from a priestly line, but are to test him as to whether he is in truth worthy to become a member of the clergy, the Fathers of this Council further decree that they must not let anyone read on the pulpit the divine words to the laity unless he first receives the canonical seal of an anagnost from the prelate. If anyone does anything contrary to these rules, let him be excommunicated.
Canon IV of the 7th also prohibits anyone from reading from the pulpit, even though he be a monk, without having received a chirothesy, or imposition of the hands, from the bishop. Canon XXII of Carthage, on the other hand, forbids anagnosts to bow to the laity after reading. Read also Ap. c. LXXVIL.
 Note that, according to Book II, ch. 57, of the Apostolic Injunctions, the Anagnost used to read the other words of the Divine Scriptures to the laity while standing on a high place in the middle; but as for the Gospels, the deacon or the president read them, according to St. Gregory the Theologian, or, as some say, the anagnost reads also the Gospels. For he himself appears to say, in his Stricture No. 1 against Julian: “But what, was not the one who was once the reader (or lector) of the divine words, and the one deemed worthy of the honor of the great Bema (i.e., Julian), going to know these things (sc. the Evangelical commandments) exactly?” But perhaps the divine words which he used to read were other Scriptures, but not the Gospels, which the saint indeed says that he used to read, without, however, asserting that he read them as a lector, though the context would seem to indicate this to be the meaning of his words. Or it may be that the Theologian said this because of the fact that in the reading done by lectors in church, or anagnosts, there are also many passages of the Gospel interspersed therein.