Note: Ancient Form for holding Church Synods. 415

Note, see page 399.

It may be well to insert here the whole of the formulary for the opening of a synod, as it is given by Isidore, and from him by Hardouin in the Preface to his "Concilia," t. i. col. 6-10.

The order according to which the sacred Synod should be held in the

Name of God.

At the first hour of the day, before sunrise, let all be cast out of the Church and, the entrances being barred, let all the door-keepers stand at the one door, through which the Prelates are to enter. And let all the Bishops, assembling, go in together, and take their seats according to the time of their consecration. When all the Bishops have come in and taken their places, next let those Presbyters be summoned, whose admission the nature of the case in hand seems to warrant. And let no Deacon intrude himself among them. After these, may be admitted the more eminent among the Deacons, whose presence is required by the regular form of proceeding. And a circle being made of the Bishops' seats, let the Presbyters sit down behind them: those, namely, whom the Metropolitan has selected to be his assessors; such, of course, as may act with him both in judging and in pronouncing sentence. Let the Deacons stand in sight of the Bishops: then let the laity also enter, who, by choice of the Council, have obtained the privilege of being there. Moreover, the Notaries must also come in, as is directed by the regular form, for reading documents and taking notes. Then, the doors being fastened, and the Prelates sitting in long silence, and lifting up their whole heart to the Lord, the Archdeacon shall say, Pray ye. And presently they shall all fall on their faces to the earth, as well the Bishops as the Presbyters; and they continuing long in silent prayer, with weepings and mournings, one of the elder Bishops shall arise, and pour out a supplication aloud unto the Lord, they all lying still on the ground. He shall say,

"Behold, we are here, O Lord the Holy Ghost, we are here: bound indeed by our sinful nature as men, yet in Thy name especially assembled together. Come to us, and be Thou with us, and deign to pour Thyself

into our hearts; teach us what we are doing, whither we are going; and shew us what measures it is our duty to take: that, by Thine own aid, we may be able to please Thee in all things. Be Thou alone both the Prompter and the Executor of our decisions, Who alone, with God the Father and His Son, art Possessor of the glorious Name. Suffer us not to be perverters of justice, Thou, Who most exceedingly delightest in equity. Let not ignorance draw us the wrong way, nor favour bias us, nor acceptation of gift or person corrupt; but unite us to Thyself effectually, by the gift of that grace which is Thine only: that we may be one in Thee, and in nothing swerve from the truth; so that, as we are assembled in Thy Name, we may in all things uphold Justice under the sway of Religion; so that here our sentence may in nothing depart from Thee, and in future for things well done we may obtain eternal rewards."

In this supplication, the prayer of Our Father' is not to be recited, nor the Blessing, but the supplication only itself to be confirmed [by an 'Amen.']

But when there are more Metropolitans than one, then by another the following prayer is repeated.

"O Lord, Who commandest us to speak justice, and to judge the things that are right; grant unto us, that neither iniquity be found in our mouth, nor corruption in our mind; that with a pure heart we join discourse yet more carefully purified; that justice may go forth in our doings, and no guile be found in our tongue."

And by the third Metropolitan, in the third place, the following prayer is recited.

"O Lord Jesu, Who hast promised by the sacred oracle of Thy Word, that where two or three are gathered together in Thy Name, Thou wouldest vouchsafe to be present in the midst of them; be Thou graciously present in our assembly, and illuminate our hearts by Thy mercy; that we may so keep the straight path of righteousness, as not in any measure to err from the excellency of mercy."


"Unbind, O Lord, the chain of our souls, aud break the bond of wickedness wherein we are held; that for our deliverance we may render praise to Thee, whose chastisement we fear for our transgressions.

"God, Who willest that the truth should be spoken by the sons of men, and whose delight is, that they should deal purely in judgment;

vouchsafe unto us to have an upright mind, that we may be able to utter with our lips the true justice."

The supplication being ended, and all having answered 'Amen,' the Archdeacon says again, 'Stand up.' Immediately let all arise, and with all fear of God, and orderly discipline, let Bishops and Presbyters both take their seats. And thus, all in their places sitting silently, a Deacon, wearing the Albe, bringing forward in the midst the Book of the Canons, reads aloud the chapters on the manner of holding Councils; i. e. from the Third Council of Toledo, No. 18: also, from the Canons of the Oriental Fathers, which Martin, [Bishop of Braga,] translated into Latin; No. 18, Of the manner of holding a Synod. Also from the Fourth of Toledo, No. 3. Also from the Council of Chalcedon, No. 18. Also from the Council of Agatha, (Agde in Languedoc,) No. 25 or 26: or any other of the Canons, which may seem to the Metropolitan fitter to be read. And the extract from the Canons being ended, the Metropolitan Bishop shall address the Council with an exhortation, thus saying:

"Behold, most holy Prelates, having first offered our prayer to God, I present myself to your brotherhood with words of affectionate exhortation, and by the name of God beseech you, that whatsoever things you shall hear spoken by us, concerning the Deity, and concerning sacred orders, or religious conduct, you will receive with all piety, and with entire reverence strive to fulfil. Should it so happen that some one of you should differ from any opinion expressed, when we come all of us to mutual conference, let him, without any scruple about making disturbance, propose, to be conferred on again, the subjects of his scruple: in order that by God's favour he may either give or receive instruction. In the next place, with the like adjuration, I approach and entreat you, that none of you in judgment either accept persons, or depart from the truth, smitten by fear or favour. Take care that you handle so religiously whatever shall occur to be judged of by our assembly, that neither peevish contention, to the overthrow of justice, find any place among us, nor yet in long searching for equity, the vigour and vigilance of our order begin to grow lukewarm."

After this exhortation, wherewith the Metropolitan is wont to address the whole synod, presently the King, with his nobles, enters into the Council; and first, dismissing the attendant Bishops to a station behind him, turning to the altar, there says a prayer; and the prayer being over, he turns to the Council and speaks. And, falling on his face to the ground, and then raising himself, he both recommends himself to


the prayers of the Bishops, and also, addressing the whole Council, with religious exhortation urges on them the duty of acting by the highest rule of justice. His exhortation being ended, the Deacon says, 'Let us pray.'

Then, the King having turned to the east, let all the Prelates together fall prostrate as before; and so let the following prayer, with the Lord's Prayer, be recited.

"O God our King, who swayest the dominion of kings, by Whose governance it is exalted, and by Whose abandonment it groweth frail; let Thy servant N. have Thee present as his Director. Give unto him, O Lord, a right and firm faith, and never to grow weary of watching over Thy law. Let him so excel in uprightness of life, that he may be pleasing in the eyes of Thy Majesty: so rule over the nations in this life, that after his departure he may be crowned with the elect. Our Father," &c.

The Blessing.

"Be thou blessed, most serene Prince, by the Lord of all Powers, and the Almighty God. Amen. May He inspire thee to do mercy, and [therewith] to temper justice. Amen. He who hath assigned to thee the kingdom, may He Himself keep thine heart unharmed from the mischiefs of all people. Amen. And thou in whose sight our assembly is venerable for the Lord's sake, mayest thou, with all thine, after long ages, receive the crown. Amen. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, with God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, One God, is glorified for ever."

This Blessing having been pronounced, the Deacon says to him, ' In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, depart in peace.' Thereupon all shall answer, Thanks be to God.' And immediately the King retires from the assembly of the Council.

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After the departure therefore of the King, and the exhortation of the Archbishop before mentioned, shall enter in all who are Priests, Deacons, or in religious orders of any kind, to the hearing of doctrinal discussion. Then the Archdeacon shall read the Canon of the Eleventh Council of Toledo, (No. I.) against tumultuous excitement in Councils. After the reading of this Canon, the proceedings of the Council of Ephesus shall be regularly read over; then a comparison and explanation shall take place concerning the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and also concerning the orders which relate to [ecclesiastical] offices; to ascertain whether

or no unity be maintained in all the sees of the aforesaid assembly. In relation also to those causes, as the time of day may allow, shall be read the Epistles of Pope Leo to the Bishop Flavianus, concerning the errors of Eutyches and the mystery of the Trinity; the Canons also concerning unity of offices. Nor shall the Council pass to any other business, until all these have been gone through. Provided always that in the whole three days of solemn supplication nothing else be transacted or discussed, but only the comparison [before mentioned] concerning the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, and concerning sacred orders, or regulations of offices, so as that these subjects be entirely gone through in the course of those three entire days: that, as aforesaid, nothing else be done, but simply the inquiry carried on which relates to the aforesaid matters: provided also that in every case the proceedings commence with the reading of some document suitable to the order and cause which is to be discussed.

A Prayer to be said on the second day at the opening of the Council.

"We bow unto Thee, O Lord, the knees of our hearts, and beseech Thee that we may obtain the blessings which we most need at Thy hands; namely, that walking in watchful care before Thee, we may be of exact judgment in the arduous discrimination [of doctrine], and loving mercy, may be eminent by zeal in such a course as shall please Thee."

Also a Prayer, on the third day, rehearsed at the opening of the Council.

"From Thee, O Lord, with the words of an inward cry, we ask with one accord, that, being strengthened by the countenance of Thy grace, we may be made fearless heralds of the Truth, and have power to speak Thy word with all boldness."

After these things, on the fourth day, other causes shall be admitted in order. And thereupon all the religious persons, who on the former days had been present in the Council for spiritual instruction's sake, shall go out; some Presbyters keeping their seats in the Council, whom the Metropolitan shall have appointed to that honour.

In any case, throughout the aforesaid three Litany days, both Bishops and Presbyters, with the Minister who bids the prayers, shall begin by prostrating themselves in supplication. And then, after a collect, or a recapitulation of their prayers by the Metropolitan, they shall arise, and discuss, as was said, divine things only. But on other days, all standing

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