Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Canons of Carthage - A.D. 419

Edited from a variety of translations (mentioned in the preface) by H. R. Percival

THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS Resources Online and in Print


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

110 Pages

Page 2

"Councils were nowhere more frequently called in the Primitive Times than in Africa. In the year 418-19, all canons formerly made in sixteen councils held at Carthage, one at Milevis, one at Hippo, that were approved of, were read, and received a new sanction from a great number of bishops, then met in synod at Carthage. This Collection is the Code of the African Church, which was always in greatest repute in all Churches next after the Code of the Universal Church. This code was of very great authority in the old English Churches, for many of the Excerptions of Egbert were transcribed from it. And though the Code of the Universal Church ends with the canons of Chalcedon, [417] yet these African Canons are inserted into the Ancient Code both of the Eastern and Western Churches. These canons though ratified and approved by a synod, yet seem to have been divided or numbered by some private and unlearned hand, and have probably met with very unskilful transcribers, by which means some of them are much confounded and obscured, as to their sense and coherence. They are by Dionysius Exiguus and others entituled The Canons of the Synod of Africa. And though all were not originally made at one time, yet they were all confirmed by one synod of African bishops, who, after they had recited the Creed and the twenty canons of the Council of Nice, proceeded to make new canons, and re-enforce old ones."

In his "Library of Canon Law" (Bibliotheca Juris Canonici) Justellus gives these canons, and, in my opinion, gives them rightly, the title "The Code of Canons of the African Church" (Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Africanae), although Hefele [418] describes them as "the collection of those African Canons put together in 419 by Dionysius Exiguus." Hefele says that the title Dionysius gave them in his collection was "The Statutes of an African Council" (Statuta Concilii Africani) which would certainly be wholly inadequate and misleading; but in the edition of Dionysius in Migne's Patrologia Latina (Tom. LXVII., col. 181) in the Codex Canonum Ecclesiasticorum no such title occurs, but the perfectly accurate one, "A Synod at Carthage in Africa, which adopted one hundred and thirty-eight canons." This is an exact description of what took place and of the origin of these most important dogmatic and disciplinary enactments. Hefele must have been thinking of Dionysius's Preface where the expression does occur but not as a title.

(Beveridge. Synodicon, Tom. II., p. 202.)

[417] I do not understand what Johnson means by this statement. Vide Can. j. of Chalcedon.

[418] Hefele. Hist. of the Councils, vol. ii., p. 468, Note 1.

First Page ||| Next Page of Carthage - A.D. 419
The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I
Home of the Ecumenical Councils ||| More Church Fathers

Elpenor's Free Greek Lessons
Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Greek Literature - Ancient, Medieval, Modern

Home Page of the Ecumenical Councils   Ecumenical Councils in Print

Learned Freeware

Reference address :