Quinisext Council, Canon 97.previous | next
As regards those who are living with a wife or are otherwise indiscreetly commonizing sacred places and treating them contemptuously, and thus domiciling therein, we command them to be evicted even from the catechumenates in the religious houses. In case anyone should fail to observe this rule, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.
The Canon does not employ the expression “sacred places” here to designate the divine temples, but the habitations connected with the divine temple, such as the so-called catechumenates, in which some persons dwelt with their wives and which they treated like other, ordinary places, indiscreetly, that is to say, without drawing any distinction between a holy and a profane place. On this account it commands that such persons be ousted from them. Anyone failing to observe this rule, if he be a clergyman, let him be deposed from office; or if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.
That is why Book V of the Basilica, Title I, ch. 12, in agreement with the present Canon decrees that those who, on account of any cowardice or other wickedness, take refuge in a church building, throwing away their weapons at the same time, shall enjoy security and safety as far as the boundaries of the church. But they are not to have any right to eat, or to drink, or to sleep inside the temple, but are to stay in the gardens or grounds outside of it, or else in the vaults, or in the courtyards, or in the residences which are roundabout attached to the temple (in Photius, Title V, ch. 2). According to Armenopoulos, no one could remove persons that took refuge within the confines of a church and take them away, except only if they were murderers or adulterers or had ravished virgins (according to ch. 21 of Book V of the Basilica).
 St. Nicephorus says, in his c. III, that if anyone should happen to remain for a short time, say for twenty-four hours, in the narthex of a church building of necessity, he is not to be condemned; but if he should stay there for a long time, let him be ousted from there, and let the temple be restored to its rights, to the condition, that is to say, of not being turned into a common and plain house. The imperial laws command further that whoever should seize by dint of exercise of overpowering force and authority any person that has taken refuge in the church should be flogged and have hos head of hair shorn off, and afterwards be exiled. The bishops and ecdici (or officers) are in duty bound, however, to record the names of refugees, and the reasons why they sought an asylum, and to divulge these to the civil authorities in order that the latter may institute the proper proceedings.
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