Apostolic Canons

Eighty-five canons attributed to the apostles are contained in book 8 of the Apostolic Constitutions (c.381). They deal both with the election, ordination, official responsibilities, and moral conduct of clergy and with Christian life in general. Deposition and excommunication of offenders are given as sanctions. They are first referred to as a set at the Council of Constantinople in 394, but some are paralleled by canons of the Synod of Antioch (341). Canon 85 provides a list of sacred books; the Apocalypse is omitted, but included are three books of the Maccabees, three letters of Clement, and the Apostolic Constitutions themselves. Dionysius Exiguus* translated canons 1-50 into Latin and included them among his larger collections of canons. This formed the basis of Western canon law. The East accepted all the canons while rejecting the Apostolic Constitutions as a whole at the Trullan Council (692).