Canons of Laodicea

In the second canon of the Quinisextum Council held at Constantinople (692), reflecting an Eastern stance over against Rome, the sources for canon law were specified in a list of synods. Standing between that of Antioch (341) and Constantinople (381) is the otherwise unidentifiable synod at Laodicea in Phrygia from which come sixty canons, about one-third of all those datable before 381, and sufficiently repetitious to suggest a compilation of even older collections. The twelfth-century Gratian* speaks of thirty-two bishops present, and a Theodosius as their chief author. These canons of Laodicea are concerned with relationships of Christians to non- Christians, Jews, and heretics; with conditions and requirements for the clergy; and with worship practices in general, but including in addition preparation for baptism, fasting before Easter, and penance. Regarding bishops, the canons declare against the widespread practice of rural appointments, and against the mob making the choice. There are references also to female presbyters, and the necessity to prohibit clergy from being “magicians, enchanters, mathematicians, or astrologers.” The concluding canon, which may be an appendage, provides one of several lists of Scripture known from the fourth century; it omits most notably Revelation, and the Apocrypha of the OT.

See English translation in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, rep. 1956).