The Canons of Hippolytus 9781463219369

The fifth or sixth century document known as the 'Canons of Hippolytus' is a set of thirty-eight canons with a

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The Canons of Hippolytus

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T h e Canons of Hippolytus

Gorgias Liturgical Studies


This series is intended to provide a venue for studies about liturgies as well as books containing various liturgies. Making liturgical studies available to those who wish to learn more about their own worship and practice or about the traditions of other religious groups, this series includes works on service music, the daily offices, services for special occasions, and the sacraments.

The Canons of Hippolytus

Edited by Paul Bradshaw Translated by

Carol Bebawi



gorgias press 2010

Gorgias Press LLC, 180 Centennial Ave., Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA Copyright © 2010 by Gorgias Press LLC Originally published in All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior written permission of Gorgias Press LLC. 2010


ISBN 978-1-60724-347-2

ISSN 1937-3252

Published first in the U.K. by Grove Books, 1987.

Printed in the United States of America


Introduction Translation


5 11

ABBREVIATIONS Apostolic Constitutions Edward Yarnold, The Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation (Slough, 1972) Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus Canons of Hippolytus E. C. Whitaker, Documents ofthe Baptismal Liturgy (S.P.C.K, London, 2nd edn. 1970) KRQ W. Riedel, Die Kircbenrechtsquellen des Patriacbats Alexandrien (Leipzig, 1900) LEW F. E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western (Oxford 1896, reprinted 1965). MPG J. P. Migne, Patrobgia Graeca (Paris, 1857-1866). Sar Sacramentaiy of Sarapion SP Studia Patristica TD Testamentum Domini AC AIR AT CH DBL

Introduction T h e document known as the 'Canons of Hippolytus', a collection of thirty-eight canons with a concluding sermon, is now extant only in Arabic 1 , but it is generally agreed that this is derived from a lost Coptic version, which was in turn translated from an original Greek text Although J. M. Vansleb drew attention to it in the seventeenth century 2 , it was only in the nineteenth century that a full text, with a Latin translation, was published by Daniel von Haneberg, Bishop of Speyer. 3 This was based on only two manuscripts from the same family. From this text a new Latin version, with many doubtful conjectures, was prepared by two Orientalists, H. Vielhaber and L Stern, and published by Hans Achelis in 1891.4 Achelis accepted the attribution to Hippolytus as genuine and arrived at the conclusion that CH was the third-century original from which all the other Church Orders containing similar material (AC, AT, and TD) were derived. As a consequence of this, interest was aroused in the document a m o n g liturgical scholars, and Haneberg"s Latin translation was reproduced in an appendix to some early editions of Louis Duchesne's, Origines du culte chrétien.5 A German version from earlier and better manuscripts was produced by Wilhelm Riedel in 1900.6 However, after the researches of Eduard Schwartz and R. H. Connolly demonstrated that AT was in reality the original document of the group, and CH merely a later derivative of it7, interest in it rapidly declined, and its place was taken in the fifth edition of Duchesne's work by extracts from AT. DATE

Connolly judged the original version of CH to be 'not earlier than the middle of the fourth century, and perhaps dating from the fifth or sixth century' 1 , while Gregory Dix in his edition of AT thought that it showed a knowledge of AC and


Statements concerning the existence of an Ethiopie version which appear in a number of works are misleading: all that has ever been found is a reference to CH in the list of contents of certain manuscripts of the Ethiopie Sínodos. 2 J. M. Vansleb, Histoire de l'Eglise d'Alexandrie (Pans, 1677), pp.280-2. 3 D. B. von Haneberg Cañones S. Hippolyti arabice (Munich, 1870). 4 H. Achelis, Die Cánones Hippolyti (Leipzig 1891: Texte und Untersuchungen 6.4). 5 3 rd edn, Paris 1902ff. Eng. trans.: L Duchesne, Christian Worship its origin and evolution (London 1904ff.) 6 KRQ pp. 193-230. 7 E. Schwartz, Uber die pseudoapostolische Kirchenordnung (Strasbourg 1910); R. H. Connolly, The So-called Egyptian Church Order and derived documents (Cambridge, 1916). 8 Connolly, pp. 132-3. Introduction


could 'hardly be older than the fifth century. T h e end of the fifth or the sixth century seems on the whole a reasonable date to assign to its composition.' 1 Being thus considered as the latest of the group of related Church Orders, it received little further attention from scholars. However, in 1956 Dom Bernard Botte argued that it had been composed in Egypt around the middle of the fourth century 2 , and in 1966 a critical edition of the text with a French translation was produced by René-Georges Coquin, w h o took u p and amplified Botte's arguments. 3 H e believed that a n u m b e r of the additions and modifications made by CH to the text of AT placed its composition after the Peace of Constantine, especially the changes made in the occupations permitted to candidates for baptism (see Canons 10-15). On the other hand, trie primitive nature of monastic life presented in the second half of the concluding sermon suggested a date not later than the fourth century. Furthermore, the theological preoccupations of the author confirmed its origin as being between 313 and 400: Canons 1 and 19 insisted on the equality of the persons of the Trinity, and the original Greek of Canon 1 appeared to have used the term bomoousios, which would place the work between tne councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople(381). T w o additions made to the baptismal interrogation at AT in Canon 19—'who came for the salvation of the h u m a n race' and 'the Paraclete flowing from the Father and the Son'—were also characteristic of the formulae of the councils held between Nicea and Constantinople, and there was no trace of the doctrinal elaborations made at Constantinople, which in turn suggested a date prior to t h a t A particular detail of liturgical organization permitted the dating to be narrowed still further. CH distinguishes two types of fast in Canons 20 and 22: (a) the Wednesday, Friday, and the forty-day fast; and (b) the Holy Week fast The author does not say when the forty-day fast took place, but he does present it as independent of the Holy Week fast It is known that the Alexandrian church originally observed a forty-day fast immediately after the feast of the Epiphany, in imitation of Christ's fasting in the wilderness after his baptism, at the close of which new converts were initiated into the Church, and that it was Athanasius who integrated this fast into the Paschal cycle after AD.330, though not 1

2 3

Gregory Dix, The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St Hippolytus of Rome (London, 1937), p.lxxviiL His grounds for thinking that CH knew AC are scarcely convincing, since he could find only two points of similarity, (a) their insertion of the same two occupations in the list of those forbidden to prospective Christians in AT 16, and (b) their addition of a similar clause, 'if they are not restrained with a tighter rein', to the statement concerning the persistence of human passions in AT 10: see CH 15. He admitted that the first of these could have been the result of the two documents sharing a common manuscript tradition, but denied that this could account for the second. Since he gave no reasons to support this latter assertion, it is hard to see why it could not be the case. In any case, the critical edition of CH has revealed that the similarities are not quite as close as Dix then supposed. Bernard Botte, 'L'origine des Canons d'Hippolyte' in Melanges en thonneur deMgrMichel Andrieu (Strasbourg, 1956) pp. 53-63. René-Georges Coquin, Les Canons d'Hippolyte (Paris, 1966: Patrologia Orientalis 31.2),



Canons of Hippolytus

without encountering resistance. 1 Moreover, Canon 1 mentioned only the Christological heresies which gave rise to the Council of Nicea and not those which flourished after 340, and the reference in the Canon to 'a bad death, as some heretics' could well have been an allusion to the death of Arius in 336. Coquin claimed that this suggested a date for CH between A.D.336 and A.D.340. 2 If this is correct, it makes CH not the latest derivative of AT, but the earliest, antedating both AC (c 375) and TD (fifth century), and almost certainly also the Latin translation of AT (probably c. A.D.400). C o q u i n s conclusions appear to have been accepted by other scholars, though so far there has been no reconsideration of the extent to which this earlier dating may increase the value of CH in determining the original text of AT. This important task still remains to be undertaken, and all that can be offered in the accompanying commentary are a few tentative suggestions in that direction. PLACE OF O R I G I N

Coquin considered that the indications about the date of the work also pointed to Alexandria as the place of composition. 3 H e believed that there was one possible piece of counter-evidence to tnis, in that the Canon 22 spoke of the Christian Easter as being'during the week of the Passover of the Jews', whereas Alexandria did not follow the Jewish computation of the date of Easter in the fourth century. However, J. M. Hanssens dismissed this objection, saying that the phrase was simply the traditional Alexandrian term for Holy Week, and did not necessarily imply that the date of Easter was fixed by reference to the Jews. 4 On the other hand, Heinzgerd Brakmann has challenged the idea that CH was composed in the city itself, and argued that it originates from a much smaller and less developed church in northern Egypt than Alexandria is known to have been in t h e f o u r t n century. 5 T h e contents of the Canons certainly seem to bear out this contention, especially as the prayer-texts display very little similarity to those of the later Coptic rites.6 Like those in the Sacramentary of Sarapion (Sar), which also appears to have been compiled in northern Egypt later in the fourth century 7 , they seem to reflect a local tradition which did not survive the increasing 1

1 3 4




For further details, see T h o m a s J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Pueblo, N e w York, 1986), pp.168-170, 190-218. Coquin, pp.60-61. Ibid, pp.61-63. J. M. Hanssens, 'L'édition critique des C a n o n s d'Hippolyte' in Orientalia Christiana Periodica 32 (1966), p.540. Heinzgerd Brakmann, 'Alexandreia und die Kanones des Hippolyt' in JahrbucbfûrAntike und Cbristentum 22 (1979), pp.139-149. S o m e material in the latter part o f the ordination prayer for a bishop constitutes a notable exception to this: see C a n o n 3. English translation in John Wordsworth, Bishop Sarapion s Prayer-Book (London, 1900), 2 n d edn 1923, reprinted H a m d e n CT, 1964). For the origin o f this work see Bernard Botte, 'L'Euchologe d e Serapion est-il authentique?' in Oriens Christianas 48 (1964), pp.50-56; but cf. G. J. Cuming, 'Thmuis Revisited: Another look at the prayers of Bishop Serapion' in Theological Studies 41 (1980), pp. 565-575.



standardization of liturgical practice. T h e only serious q u e s t i o n i n g of an Egyptian p r o v e n a n c e for t h e w o r k has c o m e f r o m G e o r g Kretschmar, w h o claims to see instead points of contact with Asia Minor, a n d m o r e precisely w i t h t h e circle of Eustathius of Sebaste (c 300-377) 1 , b u t h e has n o t so far p r e s e n t e d a n y evidence for this. AUTHORSHIP

C o q u i n asserted t h a t t h e C a n o n s w e r e certainly t h e w o r k of a priest rather t h a n a bishop, since presbyteral t e n d e n c i e s could be seen in various places, a n d p e r h a p s also a convert f r o m J u d a i s m . 2 T h e evidence for t h e f o r m e r claim is n o t so convincing as h e s u p p o s e d (see t h e C o m m e n t a r y below, for example, for an alternative explanation for t h e presbyteral p r o m i n e n c e in C a n o n 2), a n d t h o u g h it is true that t h e a u t h o r does treat certain Old T e s t a m e n t prescriptions as b i n d i n g (see C a n o n 18), this t e n d e n c y was n o t u n c o m m o n in early Christianity (cf Didascalia 26), a n d does n o t necessarily m e a n t h a t he had been a J e w himself. T h u s little can be said a b o u t t h e a n o n y m o u s individual w h o was responsible for this revision of AT, a n d indeed it is possible t h a t he was only t h e last of a n u m b e r of people w h o h a d been gradually m o d i f y i n g t h e text since its first a p p e a r a n c e m o r e t h a n a c e n t u r y b e f o r e (see, for example, t h e C o m m e n t a r y to C a n o n 6). SOURCES

A l t h o u g h AT is obviously t h e p r i m a r y source of CH, C o q u i n considered t h a t t h e a u t h o r also k n e w t h e Didascalia (originating f r o m Syria in t h e t h i r d century) a n d probably t h e Apostolic Church Order ( t h o u g h t to h a v e reached its final f o r m in Egypt a r o u n d A.D.300), and he listed s o m e parallels with o t h e r f o u r t h - c e n t u r y works, b u t a d m i t t e d that these similarities w e r e n o t sufficiently great to d e m o n s t r a t e direct d e p e n d e n c y . 3 However, even t h e relationship t o the Didascalia a n d the Apostolic Church Order d o e s n o t seem as firmly assured as C o q u i n judged it to be, and it could be t h a t in these cases t o o C H is d r a w i n g o n a c o m m o n source or on c o m m o n ideas o r sayings, a n d t h a t in s o m e of t h e o t h e r instances t h e d e p e n d e n c y is t h e o t h e r w a y r o u n d , with C H b e i n g t h e source utilized by o t h e r writers. T h e C o m m e n t a r y , therefore, will merely indicate t h e m o r e n o t a b l e parallels a n d similarities between CH and o t h e r works, w i t h o u t a t t e m p t i n g t o suggest what, if any, t h e c o n n e c t i o n between t h e m m i g h t be. T H E I N T E G R I T Y OF T H E T E X T

D o e s t h e Arabic version faithfully r e p r o d u c e t h e original G r e e k text of CH? A l t h o u g h c o m p l e t e certainty is naturally impossible to answer to this question, nevertheless C o q u i n m a i n t a i n e d that t h e r e w e r e n o obvious signs of interpolation or omission in t h e text, especially as it c o n t a i n e d a l m o s t t h e w h o l e of t h e c o n t e n t s of AT in o n e f o r m or another, a n d so o n e w o u l d have to m a k e t h e 1 2 3


Georg Kretschmar, 'La liturgie ancienne dans les recherches historiques actuelles' in La Maison-Dieu 149 (1982), p.58, n.2. Coquin, pp. 50-3. Ibid, pp.40.50. The Canons of


improbable assumption that any omissions m a d e by the Coptic or Arabic translators were entirely confined to those portions a d d e d to AT by t h e a u t h o r of t h e Greek original of CH. 1 It is true that there are a few variations in the order in which t h e material f r o m AT is reproduced, b u t it seems likely that most of these reflect the arrangement of the text of AT as it reached the a u t h o r of CH rather than any s u b s e q u e n t dislocation of CH by translators or copyists. O n e of these variations is shared with t h e Ethiopic version of AT: b o t h place t h e prologue of AT next to the section of t h e work dealing with the Paschal f a s t t h e Ethiopic before C a n o n 40 of its text, which deals with this matter, CH after C a n o n 22, suggesting that they both derive f r o m a manuscript in which it was thus displaced. T h e origin of another is more difficult to determine: chs. 4 0 and 41 of t h e Latin version of AT, which concern t h e cemetery and the hours of prayer, appear in CH between chs. 34 and 36 of t h e Latin version's order, replacing ch. 35, which is in any case a doublet of 41. Is it possible that this was the original order of AT? T h e main difference, however, is in the block of material in t h e Latin version of AT comprising the last part of ch. 21 through to ch. 32, which in CH n o w comes at t h e very end of the material taken f r o m AT, Le. the end of C a n o n 29 through to C a n o n 36. Although Coquin admitted that t h e possibility of an accidental displacement of pages in one of the intermediate versions could n o t be completely discounted, ne believed that once again CH may have preserved the original order of AT here. 1 Against this, however, m u s t be considered the fact that the so-called Canons of Basil, a d o c u m e n t which in its final f o r m appears to have circulated in Egypt in the sixth century and to have used CH as o n e of its sources, places t h e quotation f r o m Rev. 2.17, f o u n d in Canon 30 of C H at t h e end of its baptismal material, as in ATs order. 1 S o m e of the titles of the Canons also appear to be a little o u t of place: the end of C a n o n 8 would be better as the beginning of C a n o n 9, the e n d of 17 as the beginning of 18, t h e end of 29 as t h e beginning of 30, and the end of 33 as the beginning of 34. Since it is unlikely that tne original text of AT had any divisions in i t they would have been introduced wherever they seemed appropriate either by t h e a u t h o r of C H or alternatively by a later copyist or translator. T h e latter conjecture is strengthened by the fact that t h e titles of t h e Canons sometimes use a somewhat different vocabulary f r o m the body of the text For example, t h e title of C a n o n 29 uses t h e word 'priests' instead of'presbyters'. O n the other hand, the possibility of accidental displacement again cannot be entirely ruled o u t

1 2 3

Ibid., pp.3 3 ff. ¡bid, pp. 38-9. Canons ofBasil 106: text in KRQ, p. 283. Georg Kretschmar, 'Beiträge zur Geschichte der Liturgie, inbesondere der Taufliturgie, in Ägypten', in Jabrbucbfür Liturgik und Hymnologie 8 (1963), p.39, n, 78, argued from this that the Canons ofBasil must have used AT and not CH; but other parallels with material found in CH but not in AT (especially CH 1 and 29) suggest otherwise. Introduction



Apart f r o m t h e section d e a l i n g w i t h baptism, w h i c h E. C. W h i t a k e r i n c l u d e d in DBL (pp. 87-90) in a translation m a d e f r o m t h e Latin version p u b l i s h e d by Achelis, this is t h e first English translation of t h e w o r k to a p p e a r in p r i n t It is complete, except f o r t h e o p e n i n g list of t h e titles of t h e individual C a n o n s . It is based on C o q u i n ' s Arabic text, b u t n o a t t e m p t has been m a d e t o r e p r o d u c e h e r e t h e details of variant m a n u s c r i p t readings: f o r serious textual study, C o q u i n ' s edition m u s t still b e consulted. S q u a r e brackets have been placed r o u n d w o r d s in t h e translation w h i c h are a b s e n t f r o m t h e Arabic text b u t w h i c h t h e sense requires t o be supplied. T h e C o m m e n t a r y on each C a n o n indicates t h e equivalent c h a p t e r of AT used by C H as its source, following t h e n u m b e r i n g of Botte's edition, w h i c h is also t h a t of G e o f f r e y C u m i n g ' s English translation. 1 A c o m p a r i s o n ot t h e t w o versions will easily e n a b l e t h e reader to see t h e c h a n g e s m a d e by C H in o r d e r to a d a p t t h e prescriptions of AT t o t h e circumstances of its t i m e a n d its o w n ecclesiastical tradition, t h o u g h t h e C o m m e n t a r y itself has tried to d r a w a t t e n t i o n t o t h e m o r e significant of these, a n d to indicate a n y corroborative evidence f r o m o t h e r sources f o r t h e practices described. W h a t e m e r g e s is a fascinating picture of liturgical d e v e l o p m e n t in t h e early f o u r t h century, a b o u t w h i c h w e are o t h e r w i s e n o t well i n f o r m e d , as t h e Christian C h u r c h m o v e d i n t o t h e C o n s t a n t i n i a n era a n d gradually a d j u s t e d to its n e w situation.

' Bernard Botte, La Tradition apostolique de saint Hippolyte, (Münster, 1963,4th edn, 1972: Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen und Forschungen 39); G. J. Cuming Hippolyte A Text for Students (Grove Books, Nottingham, 1976: Grove Liturgical Study No. 8). 10

Tbe Canons of


Translation with Commentary C A N O N 1. C O N C E R N I N G T H E H O L Y F A I T H

Before all else we speak of the holy and true faith in our Lord Jesus C hrist, Son of the living God. And we have set it down faithfully, and we are firmly in agreement [with it], and we say, we, that the Trinity, equal and perfect in honour, is equal in glory. He has no beginning nor end, the Word, the Son of God, and he is also the creator of every creature, visible and invisible. This we have set down and we truly agree witb it And those who have dared to say what they ought not about the Word of God, according to what our Lord Jesus Christ said concerning them, we have assembled ourselves, being the great majority, in the power of God, and we have cut them off because they are not in accord with the holy Scriptures, the word of God, nor with us, the disciples of the Scriptures. That is why we have cut them off from the Church, and we have handed over their case to God, who judges eveiy creature with justice. Tnose who do not know them, we teach them those things without ill-will, so that they may not fall into a bad death, as some heretics, but may be worthy of eternal life, and teach their children and those who will come after them this holy faith. CANON 2 CONCERNING BISHOPS

Let the bishop be chosen by all the people, and let him be without reproach, as it is written concerning him in the Apostle. The week when he is ordained, all the clergy and the people say, 'We choose him'. There shall be silence in all the flock after the approbation, and they are all to pray for him and say, 'O God, behold

C O M M E N T A R Y and N O T E S 1. T h i s C a n o n has no direct parallel in AT, a n d s e e m s to be referring to the C o u n c i l o f Nicea ( A D . 3 2 5 ) : see also above, p .6. T h e Canons of Basil similarly begin with an extensive doctrinal s t a t e m e n t ( K R Q , pp.234-5). 2 = A T 2. T h e absence o f any reference to the involvement o f other bishops in the procedure until the very last sentence should probably not b e interpreted as a sign of what Dix in his edition o f AT(p.lxxviii) called 'theoretical presbyterianism' on the part of the author o f C H , but rather as an indication that the original text of AT as known to nim did not mention the participation o f other bishops in this act at all, a n d that, like the redactors of the other versions, he w a s forced to insert a reference to them where he saw fit: see Paul F. Bradshaw, ' T h e participation o f other bishops in the ordination of a bishop in the Apostolic Tradition of H i p p o l y t u s ' ( f o r t h c o m i n g in SP 18). As in most later Eastern rites, and in contrast to AT, only the minister reciting the prayer lays his hand on the candidate. Apostle] 1 T i m . 3.2; T i t u s 1.6-7. week] It s e e m s unlikely that such an imprecise expression belongs to the original: C o q u i n suggests (p.83) tnat the intermediate C o p t i c translation had intended it to be 'Saturday', since the s a m e word can have both meanings in that language, though whether the G r e e k itself s p o k e o f ' S a t u r d a y ' o r ' S u n d a y , as in AT, is o f course an open question.

Translation with Commentary


him whom you have prepared for us.' They are to choose one of bishops and presbyters; ne lays his hand on the head and prays, saying: C A N O N 3. P R A Y E R O V E R H I M W H O B E C O M E S B I S H O P , A N D O R D E R O F T H E LITURGY

'O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all comfort, dwelling on high and looking upon the lowly, knowing everything before it comes to pass, you who have fixed the boundaries of the Church, who have decreed from Adam that there should exist a righteous race—by the intermediary of this bishop—that is [the race] of great Abraham, who have established authorities and powers, look upon N. with your power and mighty Spirit, which you have given to the holy apostles by our Lora Jesus Christ, your only Son, those who have founded the Church in every place, for the honour and glory of your holy name. Since you know the heart of everyone, make him shepherd your people blamelessly, so that he may be worthy of tendingyour great and holy flocks make his life higher than [that] of all his people, without dispute; make him envied by reason o f his virtue by everyone; accept his prayers and his offerings which he will offer you day and night; and let tnem be for you a sweet-smelling savour. Give him, Lord, the episcopate, a merciful spirit, and the authority to forgive sins; give him power to loosen every bond of the oppression of demons, to cure presbyters) In addition to the general word for'priest', Arabic also has a word which refers exclusively to the second order of the Christian ministry, no doubt derivingultimately from the distinction in Greek between biereus and presbyter. In this translation the former has been rendered by 'priest' and the latter Dy 'presbyter'. 3=AT 3-6. This is the only prayer from AT which has been substantially adopted in this work; all the others have been either completely omitted or extensively modified, presumably because they did not conform to the euchology of the author s own tradition. Does its inclusion mean, therefore, that there was no firm indigenous tradition for the form of prayer to be recited at the ordination of a bishop, perhaps because of the extreme rarity of its use? On the other hand, although it is heavily dependent on the equivalent prayer in AT, yet some significant changes have been made in it All Old Testament typology for the episcopal order is omitted: the sentence 'you appointed princes and priests, and did not leave your sanctuary without a ministry' finds no place in this version; and 'to exercise the high-priesthood before you', 'to propitiate your countenance unceasingly", and 'the spirit of high-priesthood' are not included among the gifts sought for the new bishop. Even 'to confer orders' does not appear in this list of episcopal functions, but 'to cure the sick and crush Satan under his feet swiftly* (cf Rom. 16.20) is added instead This suggests a somewhat different concept of the bishop's office, for which the cultic language of :he Old Testament was not thought appropriate, and in which the ministry of healing played a more prominent part Botn these are also characteristic of later Eastern ordination prayers, whereas the West tended to follow the path established by AT. There are some echoes of the latter part of this prayer in the intercession for the patriarch in the later Coptic eucharistic rite (see LEW, pp.161, 171), which suggest that both may derive from a common euchological tradition. Adam] Coquin suggests (p.83) that this is probably the result of a copyist's error, the words for 'Adam' and 'beginning' (as in AT) being very similar in Arabic 12

The Canons of Hippolytus

the sick and crush Satan under his feet swiftly; through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.' And all the people say, 'Amen.' After that they are all to turn towards him and give him the kiss of peace, because he is worthy of it Then the deacon brings the offerings, and he who has become bishop lays his hand on the offerings with the presbyters, saying, 'The Lord be with all.' The people reply, 'And with your spirit' He says, 'Lift up your hearts.' They reply, 'We have [them] to the Lord.' He says, 'Let us give thanks to the Lord.' They reply, 'It is fitting and right', that is to say, 'it is fitting". After that, he says the prayer and completes the liturgy. If there is any oil, he prays over it in this manner, though not the same expressions, but the same meaning. If there are any firstfruits, anything edible, which someone has brought, he prays over it, and blesses the fruit which is brought to him, in his prayer. In each prayer which is said over each thing, there is said at the end of the prayer, 'Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.' C A N O N 4. C O N C E R N I N G T H E O R D I N A T I O N O F P R E S B Y T E R S

When a presbyter is ordained, one is to do for him everything which one does for the bishop, except the sitting on the seat One is to pray over nim all the prayer of

ATs eucharistic prayer, and the prayers over the oil, cheese, and olives are entirely omitted, presumably because they did not correspond sufficiently with those in use in CWs own tradition for them to be acceptable. Tne introductory dialogue of the eucharistic prayer, however, is retained, and suggests some slight variations were customary in that tradition: in the initial greeting'all' replaces 'you', as is the case in the Liturgy of St Mark (see LEW, p. 125); and the form of the final response appears to be familiar, and so needs explaining as the equivalent of the local version, 'that is the say, "it is fitting".' For other allusions to the Eucharist, see Canons 6, 19, 28-32, 37. the deacon] The use of the singular rather than the plural here and at other points in CH (Canons 7, 10, 19) seems to suggest that the presence of several deacons may have been unusual (but cf. Canons 21 and 37 where the plural is used). 4 = AT7. The prayer from AT is entirely omitted, apparently because CH was confused by the enigmatic direction in AT that the bishop was to'say according to what was said above, as we said before about the bishop', and interpreted it to mean that the same prayer was to be used over a candidate for the presbyterate as was used for a candidate for the episcopate, except for the word 'bishop'. It would seem that here, as in AC 8.16.2 and all later Eastern ntes, and in contrast to AT, the bishop alone was to lay hands on the candidate, the sitting on the seat] This is the earliest clear allusion to the inclusion of a ritual seating in the ordination of a bishop. The practice is later mentioned in AC 8.5.10; Synesius Ep. 67 (MPG. 66 141 Iff.).

Translation with Commentary


the bishop, except only the name of bishop. The presbyter is equal to the bishop in everything except the seat and ordination, because to him is not given the power to ordain. C A N O N 5. C O N C E R N I N G THF. O R D I N A T I O N O F D E A C O N S

When a deacon is ordained, one is to do for him according to the same rules, and one is to say this prayer over him. He is not appointed for the presbyterate, but for the diaconate, as a servant of God. He serves the bishop ana the presbyters in eveiything, not only at the time of the liturgy, but he serves also the sick of the people, those who have nobody, and he informs the bishop so that he may pray over them or give to them what they need, or also to people whose poverty is not apparent but who are in need. They are to serve also those who have the alms of the bishops, and they are able to give to widows, to orphans, and to the poor. H e is to perform all the services. So this in truth is the deacon of whom Cnrist has said, 'He who serves me, my Father will honour him.' The bishop lays his hand on the deacon and prays over him, saying: 'O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we beseech you, pour out your Holy Spirit on N.; count him among those who serve you according to all your will like Stephen and his companions; fill him with power and wisdom like Stephen; make him triumph over all the powers of the Devil by the sign of your cross with which you sign him; make his life without sin before all men and an example for many, so that he may save a multitude in the holy Church without shame; and accept all his service; through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spiit, to the ages of ages. Amen.'

5=AT8. The prayer for a deacon bears little resemblance to that in AT. It does not use the servanthood of Christ as the model for the diaconate, but instead it identifies Stephen and his companions in Acts 6 as the first deacons, and asks for the same gifts of power and wisdom as Stephen possessed (Acts 6.8,10): this identification is first found in Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 3.12.10; 4.15.1), and it also figures in a number of other later ordination prayers, including AC 8.18; Sar. 12. The prayer does not refer explicitly to the liturgical functions of the deacon, as AT appears to have done (at least according to the Ethiopic version, our only witness to the full text of its prayer), but stresses rather the quality of life of the minister and the pastoral aspect of his office, as does the explanation of the nature of the diaconate preceding the prayer. and the presbyters] An addition to AT, where the deacon is the servant of the bishop alone. A similar development can also be seen in AC 3.20.2; 8.46.10. Christ has said] John 12.26. the sign of your cross with which you sign him] This implies that the rite included the making of the sign of the cross over the candidate, something which is found in later Eastern practice, and which seems to have been known at Antioch in the fourth century: see John Chrysostom, Horn, in Matt 54 (MPG 58.537).


The Canons of Hippolytus


W h e n s o m e o n e has been worthy o f appearing before an assembly because o f the faith, and o f enduring p u n i s h m e n t because o f Christ, and has then been freed by the help o f grace, that man in this way has been worthy o f the order o f the presbyterate from God. S o he is not to be ordained by the bishop, because his confession is his ordination. But if he b e c o m e s bishop, he is to be ordained. W h e n s o m e o n e has confessed [the faithl but has not undergone punishment, he has b e c o m e worthy o f the presbyterate, but he is to be ordained by the bishop. If the slave o f a n y o n e has endured p u n i s h m e n t because o f Christ, that m a n thus is presbyter o f t h e flock: even though he has not received t h e mark o f the presbyterate, he has received the spirit o f the presbyterate. T h e bishop has not to pray reciting, but by the Holy Spirit. C A N O N 7 C O N C E R N I N G THF. C H O I C E O F R E A D E R A N D O F S U B D E A C O N

W h e n o n e chooses a reader, he is to have the virtues of the deacon. O n e is not to lay t h e hand on him before, but the bishop is to give him the Gospel. T h e subdeacon [is to be appointedl according to this arrangement: h e is n o t to be ordained still celibate and if he has not married, unless his neighbours bear

6=AT9. The provision that confessors are to be accounted as presbyters without ordination is not only retained from AT, albeit in a freely paraphrased form, but even expanded, so as explicitly to include slaves, though one would have thought that by this date the whole matter was largely an academic issue, since it was more than twenty years since the persecution of Christians had ceased. Is this a sign that the material in CH is not sim ply the product of a single redaction of AT made in the fourth century, but that it had been evolving gradually over a much longer period? See also the beginning of Canon 19. The drastic abbreviation of the section on extemporization from AT in the final sentence has left it unclear whether the intention is to continue to permit the practice or to prohibit it 7=AT 11, 13. The fact that the reader is to have the virtues of the deacon' (an addition to AT) suggests that his was by no means viewed as an inferior office: see also Canon 37 The giving of the Gospel implies that its reading was not yet restricted to the diaconate: Cyprian reveals that in Africa in the third century it might be done by a reader (Ep. 33.4), but by the fifth century at Alexandria it was the exclusive prerogative of the archdeacon (Sozomen, Hist Eccl 7.19): see also Canons of Basil 97 (KRQ p.273). CH adds to AT a reference to the possible celibacy of subdeacons, and then seems to extend his remarks to all the orders conferred by the imposition of hands. This juxtaposition, together with the use of the term 'ordain' with reference to the subdeacon, may conceivably be an indication (pace Botte, 'L'origine', p.61; Coquin, p.93) that subdeacons too were here ordained by imposition of hands, a practice which differs from AT but which is found in AC 8.21 and in otner later rites. CH is evidently not enthusiastic about young men being ordained before they have had opportunity to test whether or not they wish to remain celibate, since it was an established tradition of the Church, based on 1 Cor. 7.21, 24, that those ordained should remain throughout their ministry in the same state—married orsingle—in which they were at ordination: cf. AC6.17; Socrates, Hist Eccl 1.11; Roger Gryson, Les origines du célibat ecclésiastique (Gembloux, 1970), pp.84-94. Translation with Commentary


witness for him and testify that he has kept himself away from w o m e n during the time of his maturity. One is not to lay the nand on someone in the state of celibacy, unless he has reached his maturity or is entering into mature age and is thought [worthy], when one bears witness for him. T h e subdeacon and the reader, w h e n they pray alone, are to keep themselves behind, and the subdeacon is to serve behind the deacon. C A N O N 8. C O N C E R N I N G T H E G I F T S OF H E A L I N G

If someone asks for his ordination, saying,' I have received the gift of healing', he is to be ordained only w h e n the thing is manifest and if the healing done by him comes from God. A presbyter, w h e n his w i f e has given birth, is not to be excluded. C A N O N 9. C O N C E R N I N G T H E P R E S B Y T E R W H O L I V E S IN A F O R E I G N P L A C E , A N D OF T H E F U N C T I O N OF W I D O W S

If a presbyter goes to live in a foreign place and the clergy of that place accept him, the bishop of his see is to be questioned, f o r fear that he is fleeing for some reason. If his town is distant, let one examine first if he is instructed—that is the sign of presbyters—and after that, he is to be accepted and given a double honour. Then, one is not to ordain the w i d o w s w h o are appointed—there are in effect f o r them the precepts of the Apostle. T h e y are not to be ordained, but one is to pray over them, because ordination is for men. T h e function of w i d o w s is important by reason of all that is incumbent upon them: frequent prayer, the ministry of the sick, and frequent fasting.

8=AT 14. The gift of healing now seems to have been thought of as belonging exclusively to the ordained ministry, for CH appears to understand the statement from AT that there is to be no formal appointment for those claiming to have received such a gift to be saying that the claim was not to be considered as conferring the right to be ordained unless its divine origin could be established. The last sentence has no parallel in AT: the presbyter is not to be suspended from his ministry, since he is not rendered ritually impure by this event, even though his wife is considered to be so (see below, Canon 18). 9=AT 10. The first half of this Canon has no parallel in AT. Although the movement of clergy from one city to another had been forbidden in Canons 15 and 16 of the Council of Nicea, CH adopts a more lenient approach and insists only that their credentials should be adequately established. The second half is transferred from an earlier position in AT, immediately before the direction concerning readers, so that it now comes after all instructions concerning liturgical ministers, and several changes are made. Reference to testing is deleted, and the reason given for not ordaining widows is modified: 'ordination is for men' replaces 'ordination is for the clergy, on account of their liturgical duties'. Widows are prayed over and not just appointed 'byword only'. The care of the sick is a new addition to their duties from AT, but is also found in Apostolic Cburch Order 21 and Didascalia 15. double honour] 1 Tim. 5.17. Aposde] 1 Tim. 5.3-15.

16 The Canons of Hippolytus

C A N O N 10. C O N C E R N I N G T H O S E W H O B E C O M E C H R I S T I A N S

Those who come to the Church in order to become Christians are to be examined with all rigour—for what motive have they abandoned their religion?—for fear lest tney enter out of mockery. If he comes with a true faith, he is to be received with joy, questioned about his occupation, and instructed by the deacon. In this manner he is to be instructed in the Scriptures, so that he may renounce Satan and all his service. All the time he is being catechized, he is from now on reckoned with the people. But if he is a slave and his master idolatrous, and his master forbids him, he is not to be baptized but it suffices that he is a Christian; even if he dies without having received the gift, he is not excluded from the flock C A N O N 11. C O N C E R N I N G H I M W H O M A K E S I D O L S A N D I M A G E S , S C U L P T O R OR P A I N T E R


Every craftsman is to be told not to make any image, or any idol, whether he is a sculptor, silversmith, or painter, or of any other art If they happen after baptism to make any such thing, except what the people need, they are to be excluded until they repent C A N O N 12. P R O H I B I T I O N O F S E V E R A L O C C U P A T I O N S : H E W H O IS I N V O L V E D IN T H E M IS O N L Y T O BE R E C E I V E D A F T E R R E P E N T A N C E

Whoever becomes director of a theatre, or a wrestler, or a runner, or teaches music, or plays before the processions, or teaches the art of the gladiator, or a hunter, or a hairdresser, or fights with savage beasts, or a priest of idols, all these, one is not to reveal to them any of the holy word, until they are purified first from these impure occupations. Then, duringforty days they are to near the word, and

1 0 = A T 15. In c o n t r a s t to AT, catechetical instruction is n o w c l e r i c a l i z e d a n d in t h e h a n d s o f t h e d e a c o n instead o f ' t h e teachers'. T h e provision for a ' b a p t i s m o f desire' in the c a s e o f a s l a v e w h o s e m a s t e r is o p p o s e d to his c o n v e r s i o n to Christianity h a s no parallel in AT, but a similar idea d o e s e m e r g e in o t h e r patristic writings: s e e W i l l i a m R. Rusch, ' B a p t i s m o f desire in A m b r o s e a n d A u g u s t i n e ' in SP 15 (1984), pp. 374-8. 11 = AT 16. T h e possibility of r e a d m i s s i o n after p o s t - b a p t i s m a l lapse is n o t m e n t i o n e d in AT. 1 2 = A T 16. C H c o n s i d e r a b l y m o d i f i e s the p r o h i b i t e d o c c u p a t i o n s o f AT in this a n d the f o l l o w i n g C a n o n s , reflecting the c h a n g e d social c o n d i t i o n s o f the Church, tortv daysl T h e three-year c a t e c h u m e n a t e o f AT has s h r u n k dramatically here. It is a p p a r e n t l y n o t a pre-paschal p e r i o d b e c a u s e t h e E g y p t i a n forty-day fast, at the close o f which b a p t i s m s w e r e p e r f o r m e d , w a s originally n o t p a n o f the p a s c h a l cycle, but t o o k place i m m e d i a t e l y after E p i p h a n y : see above, p.6.

Translation with Commentary


if they are worthy they are to be baptized'. The teacher of the Church is the one who judges this matter. A schoolmaster who teaches little children, if he has not a livelihood by which to live except for that, may educate, if he reveals at all times to those he teaches and confesses that what the Gentiles call gods are demons, and says before them every day there is no divinity except the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit If he can teach his pupils the excellent word of the poet, and better still if he can teach them the faith of the word of truth, for that he shall have a reward. C A N O N 13. C O N C E R N I N G T H E M A G I S T R A T E A N D T H E S O L D I E R : T H E Y ARE N O T T O K I L L A N Y O N E , E V E N IF T H EY R E C E I V E T H E O R D E R : T H E Y ARE N O T T O WEAR W R E A T H S . W H O E V E R HAS A U T H O R I T Y A N D D O E S N O T D O T H E R I G H T E O U S N E S S OF T H E G O S P E L IS T O BE E X C L U D E D A N D IS N O T T O PRAY WITH THE BISHOP

Whoever has received the authority to kill, or else a soldier, they are not to kill in any case, even if they receive the order to kill They are not to pronounce a bad word. Those who have received an honour are not to wear wreaths on their heads. Whoever is raised to the authority of prefect or to the magistracy and does not put on the righteousness of the Gospel is to be excluded from the flock and the bishop is not to pray with him. C A N O N 14 A C H R I S T I A N IS N O T T O B E C O M E A S O L D I E R

A Christian must not become a soldier, unless he is compelled by a chief bearing the sword. H e is not to burden himself with the sin of blood. But if he has shed blood, he is not to partake of the mysteries, unless he is purified by a punishment, tears, and wailing. He is not to come forward deceitfully but in the fear of God.

teacher of the Church] Is this a reference to Christ himself, to w h o m this title is s o m e t i m e s given in patristic literature, or to a 'lay' minister, to the bishop, to the deacon mentioned in C a n o n 10, or to o n e of a recognizable g r o u p of'presbyter-teachers' w h o a p p e a r to have existed at one time in Alexandria, and probably also elsewhere? See Paul F. Bradshaw, Liturgical Presidency in the Early Church ( G r o v e Books, N o t t i n g h a m , 1983: G r o v e Liturgical S t u d y No. 36), pp. 18-19. T h e sentence has no parallel in AT, but a p p e a r s again at the end o f C a n o n 17. 1 3 = A T 1 6 . In contrast to AT, C H allows a Christian to a s s u m e public office, provided tha he d o e s not deny his faith. T h i s implies a time after the Peace o f C o n s t a n t i n e b u t before the e m p i r e b e c a m e fully Christian: cf. A C 8.32.10, where the climate s e e m s entirely different bad word] T h e military oath m a y he m e a n t put on the righteousness] A c o m m o n biblical image: see, e.g., J o b 29.14; Is. 59.17; Eph. 6.14. 1 4 = A T 16. As in the preceding Canon, C H modifies AT, reflecting the need of the Church to c o m e to terms with the use o f power in the Constantinian age. C o q u i n suggests (p. 100) that the original G r e e k of the first two sentences m a y have been: 'A Christian m u s t not b e c o m e a soldier, unless he is compelled. A chief bearing the sword is not to burden himself with the sin of blood.'


The Canons of Hippolytus

C A N O N 15. S E V E R A L O C C U P A T I O N S W H I C H O N E M U S T N O T F O L L O W

A fornicator or one who lives on the proceeds of fornication, or an effeminate and especially o n e who speaks of shameful [things], or an idler, or a profligate, or a magician, or an astrologer, or a diviner, or an interpreter of dreams, or a snakecharmer, or an agitator who agitates the people, or one who makes phylacteries, or a usurer, or an oppressor, or one who loves the world, or o n e who loves swearing, that is oaths, or one w h o makes reproaches against people, or one w h o is a hypocrite, or a slanderer of people, or w h o decides if the hours and the days are favourable, all these and the like, d o not catechize them a n d baptize them, until they have renounced all occupations of this sort, and three witnesses have testified for them that they really have renounced all these vices, because often a man remains in his passions until his old age, unless he is enabled by a great power. If they are f o u n d after baptism in vices of this sort, they are to be excluded from the Church until they repent with tears, fasting, and alms. C A N O N 16. C O N C E R N I N G T H E C H R I S T I A N W H O H A S A C O N C U B I N E A N D IS MARRIED TO A N O T H E R

A Christian who has a concubine, especially if she has had a child by him, if he marries another, it is a homicide unless he catches her in fornication. C A N O N 17 C O N C E R N I N G T H E F R E E W O M A N : W H A T S H E [ M U S T ] D O

A free w o m a n is not to wear jewellery in church, even if it is a custom sanctioned by her husband. S h e is not to leave her hair loose, that is waving, in the house o f God. S h e is not to wear fringes on the head when she wishes to partake of the holy mysteries. S h e is not to give her children, she who has borne them, to nurses, Dut she is to raise them herself according to the law of marriage. She is not to neglect her housework. S h e is not to answer her husband back in anything, even if she knows m o r e than he, but she is to remember G o d at all times; and [if] s h e knows more than men, she is not to reveal [it] to anyone, but she is to serve her husband like a master. S h e is to concern herself with the poor, her neighbours; she is to concern herself with the first offerings, in place of a vain adorning, because you will not find a w o m a n adorned witn precious stones as beautiful as one like this w h o is beautiful in her nature and excellence alone. Let this m a k e 15=AT 16. Once again, CH allows the possibility of readmission after repentance for post-baptismal sin, something which is not found in AT. three witnessesl Cf. Deut 19.15; Matt 18.16; 2 Cor. 13.1. because often, etc.] This clause is found in AT 10 in relation to widows; see also above, p. 12, n.9. 16=AT 16. There is some similarity here to the gnome which the Coptic tradition attributes to the Council of Nicea: see Coquin, p.49. 17=AT 17. There is no parallel in AT for this Canon, except for the final sentence concerning the catechumen. The rest seems to be influenced primarily by 1 Tim. 2.9-12 and/or 1 Peter 3.1-4, though again there are slight similarities to the gnome of Nicea: see Coquin. pp.48-49. jewellery] The text is uncertain here, and a veil may be meant instead: see Coquin, p.103 Translation

with Commentary


them careful to be pure and not love pleasure; they are not to be inclined to laugh and are not to talk at all in church, because the house of God is not a place for talk but a place of prayer and reverence. Anyone who talks in church is to be expelled and is not to partake that time of the mysteries. The catechumen who is worthy of the light, the time is not to be an obstacle for him, because his conduct is a proof: the teacher of the Church is the one who judges this matter. CANON 18. C O N C E R N I N G T H E M I D W I V E S A N D T H E S E P A R A T I O N OF W O M E N F R O M M E N D U R I N G PRAYER: T H E G I R L S ARE T O V E I L T H E I R HEAD: CONCERNING THE WOMEN WHO GIVE BIRTH

After the teacher has finished instructing each day, they are to pray separated from the Christians. The midwives are not to partake of the mysteries, until they have been purified. Their purification shall be thus: if the child which they have delivered is male, twenty days; if it is female, forty days. They are not the neglect the confinements, but tney are to pray to Gocf for her who is confined. If sne goes to the house of God before being purified, she is to pray with the catechumens who have not yet been received and have not been [judged] worthy to be accepted. The women are to be separated in a place. They are not to give the kiss to any man. The teacher is to lay the hand on the catechumens before dismissing them. The girls, when the degree of their youth is accomplished, are to cover the head, like the adult women, with their shawl, not with a thin cloth. The woman who has given birth stays outside the holy place forty days if the child which she has borne is male, and if it is female, eighty days. If sne enters the church, she is to pray with the catechumens. The midwives are to be numerous so that they may not be outside all their life.

the teacher o f the C h u r c h . . . matter] This same remark has already appeared in the middle o f C a n o n 12. 1 8 = A T 1 8 - 1 9 a This Canon has a rather disjointed appearance, with directions concerning midwives and those who give birth interpolated into the directions concerning catechumens taken from AT, since both these groups, like the catechumens, are unable to participate in the prayers o f t h e faithful. T h e rules concerning impurity are based on Lev. 12.1-5, and t h e s a m e distinction between the periods o f time required for purificaion after the birth o f a male or female child continues to be observed in later C o p t i c practice, they are to prayl Although the subject is not expressed, the catechumens are clearly meant the kiss] T h e kiss o f peace in the liturgy. outside] i.e. the church, because o f their continual impurity.


Tbe Canons of Hippolytus


W h e n a c a t e c h u m e n is arrested b e c a u s e of w i t n e s s a n d killed b e f o r e h a v i n g been baptized, h e is to b e b u r i e d w i t h all t h e martyrs, b e c a u s e h e has b e e n b a p t i z e d in his o w n b l o o d . C H A P T E R OF T H E


T h e c a t e c h u m e n , w h e n h e is baptized, a n d h e w h o p r e s e n t s h i m attests t h a t h e has b e e n z e a l o u s f o r t h e c o m m a n d m e n t s d u r i n g t h e t i m e of his c a t e c h u m e n a t e , t h a t h e has visited t h e sick o r given t o t h e needy, t h a t h e has k e p t h i m s e l f f r o m every w i c k e d a n d d i s g r a c e f u l w o r d , t h a t he has h a t e d vainglory, d e s p i s e d pride, a n d c h o s e n f o r h i m s e l f humility, a n d h e c o n f e s s e s to t h e b i s h o p t h a t h e [takes] responsibility f o r himself, so t h a t t h e b i s h o p is satisfied a b o u t h i m a n d c o n s i d e r s h i m [worthy] of t h e mysteries, a n d t h a t h e nas b e c o m e truly pure, t h e n h e r e a d s o v e r h i m t h e G o s p e l at t h a t time, a n d asks h i m several times, 'Are y o u in t w o m i n d s , or u n d e r p r e s s u r e f r o m anything, or d r i v e n by c o n v e n t i o n ? F o r n o b o d y m o c k s t h e k i n g d o m of heaven, b u t it is given to t h o s e w h o love it w i t h all t h e i r heart' T h o s e w h o are t o be b a p t i z e d a r e t o b a t h e in w a t e r o n t h e f i f t h d a y of t h e w e e k a n d e a t T h e y are to fast o n Friday. If t h e r e is a w o m a n a n d s h e has h e r m e n s t r u a l period, s h e is n o t t o b e b a p t i z e d o n t h a t occasion b u t s h e is to w a i t u n t i l s h e is purified. 19=AT 19b-21, and 33 a. The baptismal rite exhibits a number of developments from that in AT, the most significant of which are noted below. Several of them reveal affinities with Syrian practice, suggesting that the idigenous Egyptian liturgical tradition had already begun to be affected by the westward extension of Syrian influence. On the other hand, the sequence of days from AT (fasting on Friday, exorcism on Saturday, baptism at cockcrow on Sunday—or Saturday, depending upon how one interprets the text: cf. Canons of Basil 101=KRQ, p.278) is preserved here, in spite of the fact that it was the ancient Egyptian tradition to baptize at the close of the forty-day post-Epiphany fast (see above, p.6). Is CH merely displaying fidelity to its source, or does this indicate that there was some accommodation in practice to ATs timetable? he is to be buried with all the martyre] An addition to AT, but relating to a situation prior to the Peace of Constantine, and so probably made at an earlier date than the final redaction of CH: see also Canon 6. The catechumen, when he is baptized] The directions in AT20 for a regular examination of the lives of the candidates and a daily exorcism during the final period of their preparation are here converted into a single scrutiny of the candiates, apparently without exorcism, shortly before the day of their baptism. Reference is made to this in a later Egyptian source: see L Villecourt, 'La lettre de Macaire, èvêque de Memphis, sur la liturgie antique du chrême et du baptême à Alexandrie in Muséon 36 (1923) pp 35 38. ' and eat] An addition to AT, which seems to confirm that baptism was here not conferred at Zaster, since there was fasting throughout Holy Week: see Canon 22. Translation

with Commentary


On Saturday the bishop assembles those w h o are to be baptized. H e makes them bow the head towards the east, extends his hand over them, and prays and expels every evil spirit from them by his exorcism, and these never return to t h e m from that t i m e on through their deeds. W h e n he has finished exorcizing them, he breathes on their face and signs their breast, their forehead, their ears, and their nose. T h e y are to spend all their night in t h e sacred word and prayers. O n e is to position them at c o c k c r o w near tne water, water from a river, running and pure, prepared and sanctified. T h o s e w h o reply for the little children are to strip them o f their clothes first; then those w h o are capable o f answering for themselves; then the w o m e n are to be the last o f all to divest themselves o f their clothes: they are to r e m o v e their jewels, whether they are o f gold or others, and loosen the hair o f their h e a d , for fear that s o m e t h i n g o f the alien spirits should go down with them into t h e water o f the second birth. T h e bishop blesses t h e oil o f exorcism and gives it to a presbyter; then he blesses the oil o f anointing, that is the oil o f thanksgiving, a n a gives it to a n o t h e r resbyter. H e w h o holds the oil o f exorcism stands on the left o f the bishop, and e w n o holds the oil o f anointing stands on t h e right o f the bishop. H e w h o is to be baptized turns his face towards the west and says, 'I r e n o u n c e you, Satan, and all y o u r service.' W h e n he has said that, the presbyter anoints nim with the oil o f exorcism which has been blessed, so that every evil spirit m a y depart from him. H e is handed over by a deacon to t h e presbyter w h o stands near the water. A presbyter holds his right hand and makes him turn his face towards the east, near t h e water. Before going down into the water, his face towards the east and standing near t h e water, he says this after having received the oil o f exorcism; 'I believe, and I s u b m i t myself to you and to all y o u r service, O Father, Son, and H o l y S p i r i t '


their breast] Another addition to AT, also found in TD 2.7, though the order there is different forehead, nose, breast, and ears, oil of exorcism] A term copied from AT, but foreign to the ancient Egyptian tradition, where the pre-baptismal unction was not primarily exorcistic in character: see, e.g„ Sar. 15. oil of anointing] This term seems more familiar to the author of CH than ATs 'oil of thanksgiving', and is aso found in Didascalia 16 and in other fourth-century writings (Basil, DeSpir. Sanct 27; Theodore of Mopsuestia, Catechetical Homilies 13.17,14.8: see AIR pp.186, 194), though in relation to pre-baptismal unction, turns his face towardes the west] This was the customary practice during the act of renunciation in the fourth century: see AIR, p. 17. by a deacon] This is the only reference to a deacon in the baptismal rite: here presbyters and not deacons hold the oils. Before going down into the water] I n com mon with Syrian custom, CH includes an 'Act of Adhesion' or syntaxis made facing east prior to baptism: see AIR, p. 18. A similar practice is also found in the later Coptic rite: see DBL, p.94. after having received the oil of exorcism] The later Coptic tradition tended to place the prebaptismal anointing after the syntaxis.


Tbe Canons of Hippolytus

T h u s h e descends into t h e waters: t h e presbyter places his h a n d on his h e a d and questions him, saying, ' D o you believe in G o d t h e Father Almighty?' H e w h o is baptized replies, 'I believe.' T h e n he i m m e r s e s him in t h e w a t e r once, his h a n d on his head. H e questions h i m a second time, saying, ' D o y o u believe in J e s u s Christ, Son of G o d , w h o m t h e virgin M a r y bore by t h e H o l y Spirit, w h o c a m e for t h e salvation of t h e h u m a n race, w h o w a s crucified in t h e t i m e of Pontius Pilate, w h o died a n d was raised f r o m t h e dead t h e third day, ascended into heaven, is seated at t h e right h a n d of t h e Father, a n d will c o m e to j u d g e t h e living a n d t h e dead?' H e replies, 'I believe.' T h e n h e i m m e r s e s h i m in t h e w a t e r a second time. H e q u e s t i o n s him a third time, saying, ' D o y o u believe in t h e H o l y Spirit, t h e Paraclete f l o w i n g f r o m t h e Father and t h e Son?' W h e n he replies, 'I believe,' h e i m m e r s e s h i m a third t i m e in t h e water. A n d h e says each time, 'I baptize y o u in t h e n a m e of t h e Father, of t h e Son, a n d of t h e H o l y Spirit, equal Trinity.' T h e n he c o m e s u p f r o m t h e water. T h e presbyter takes t h e oil of thanksgiving and signs his f o r e h e a d , his m o u t h , a n d his breast, and a n o i n t s all his body, his

questions him] The presence of the triple interrogation and response in Egyptian baptismal practice is attested in the third century by Dionysius of Alexandria (Eusebius, Hist EccL 7.9). who came for the salvation of the human race] An addition to AT, characteristic of fourthcentury creeds: see above, p.6. the Paraclete flowing from the Father and the Son] Another addition to AT, which Coquin claims (p. 113) would not have been understood in the technical sense of a procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. And he says each time] CH adds to the credal interrogation the indicative baptismal formula which is usually thought to have originated in Syria: see E. C. Whitaker, 'The History of the Baptismal Formula' in Journal of Ecclesiastical History 16(1965), pp. 1-12. Its appearance here indicates that it must have been exported to Egypt at an earlier date than had previously been supposed. Its combination with the triple profession of faith accompanying the triple immersion seems to have presented something of a problem, and CH has resorted to repeating it three times, whereas the later Coptic tradition, and Western rites where it was also ultimately adopted, would solve the difficulty by transferring the profession of faith to a point prior to the immersion (see DBL, pp.94-5). The conclusion of the formula, 'equal Trinity', although not otherwise attested, is also found in an Egyptian baptismal rite which may date from the sixteenth century: see A Baumstark, 'Eine ägyptische Mess—und Taufliturgie vermutlich des 6. Jahrhunderts', Oriens Cbristianus 1 (1901), p.43. signs his forehead his mouth, and his breast] An addition to AT, with some similarity to the practice described by Cyril of Jerusalem, Myst Cat 3 4 (AIR, pp.81-2). Is this a sign of Egyptian influence on tnejerusalem liturgy? See G.J. Cuming, 'Egyptian Elements in the Jerusalem Liturgy', Journal of Theological Studies 25 (1974), pp.117-24. Although Kretschmar(as in n.3, on p.9 above), pp.43-50, has shown that other early evidence of a post-baptismal anointing in Egypt is at best ambiguous, Sar. 16 is a prayer over the chrism with which the baptized are to be anointed with the sign of the cross, and an elaborate anointing of various parts of the body with the sign of the cross also appears in the later Coptic tradition (see DBL, p.96). Translation

with Commentary


head, and his face, saying, 'I anoint you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' And he wipes him with a cloth, which he keeps for him. He dresses him in his clothes, and takes him into the church. The bishop lays his hand on all the baptized and prays thus: 'We bless you, Lord God almighty, for that you have made these worthy to be born again, that you pour your Holy Spirit on them, and to be one in the body of the Churcn, not being excluded Dy alien works; but, just as you have granted them forgiveness for their sins, grant them also the pledge of your kingdom; through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, to ages of ages. Amen.' Next he signs their forehead with the oil o f inointing and gives them the kiss, saying, 'The Lord be with you.' And those who have been baptized also say, 'And with your spirit' He does this to each of the baptized. After that they pray with all the people of the faithful and they give them tne kiss and rejoice witn them with cries o f gladness. Then the deacon begins the liturgy and the bishop completes the Eucharist of the body and blood of the Lord. When he was finished, he communicates the people, he himself standing near the table of the body and blood of the Lord and the presbyters holding the cups of the blood of Christ and other cups of milk and honey, so that those who partake may know that they are bom again like little children, because little children partake of milk and honey. If there are no presbyters to hold them, the deacons are to hold them. And so the bishop gives them tne body of Christ, saying, 'This is the body of Christ' They reply, 'Amen.' He who gives them from the cup says, 'This is the blood of Christ' They reply, 'Amen.' Then they partake of the milk and honey, in remembrance of the age to come, and of the sweetness of its blessings, which does not return to bitterness and does not fade away.

and prays thus] The prayer differs considerably from that in AT, which suggests that the author is drawing upon his local tradition here instead. It also differs from Sat: 11, and the later Coptic rite (DBL, p.97). pledge of your kingdom] Le. the Holy Spirit: cf. 2 Cor. 1.22; 5.5; Eph. 1.14. A similar phrase also occurs in the formula used at the post-baptismal anointing in the sixth-century rite published by Baumstark, which was referred to above, and in the later Coptic rite. signs their forehead with the oil of anointing] One ms. substitutes'the sign of love' for'the oil of anointing1, and Hanssens (as in n. 15, p. 12 above), pp.542-3, argues that this reading is to be preferred as the original, which would mean that the rite had only the more usual single post-baptismal anointing If this is correct, it may even be an indication that the original text of AT did not include the second anointing found in the later versions and translations, the deacon] Singular again, as in canon 3. milk and honeji Traces of this practice can still be seen in later Egyptian usage (see Villecourt, op cit, p.38; H. Denzinger,ftift/i Onentahum (Wurzburg, 1863/4, reprinted 1961) I, p.232), though whether it antedated CH in that tradition or was introduced through it is impossible to determine.


Tbe Canons of Hippolytus

T h u s they have b e c o m e c o m p l e t e Christians a n d have been fed with t h e b o d y of C h r i s t T h e y will strive in wisdom, so that their life m a y shine w i t h virtue, n o t b e f o r e each o t h e r [only], b u t also b e f o r e t h e Gentiles so that they m a y imitate t h e m a n d b e c o m e Christians a n d see that t h e progress of t h o s e w h o h a v e been illuminated is high a n d better than t h e c o m m o n behaviour of people. As for t h o s e w h o have been baptized a n d t h o s e also w h o have fasted with t h e m , they are n o t to taste a n y t h i n g before p a r t a k i n g of t h e b o d y of Christ, because that will n o t be c o u n t e d to t h e m as a fast b u t as a sin. H e w h o tastes anyt h i n g before p a r t a k i n g of t h e body, disobeys a n d despises G o d . But w h e n t h e liturgy is finished, he can eat w h a t h e wishes. All t h e c a t e c h u m e n s are to assemble o n e with another, and a single teacher is to be sufficient for them, w h o will instruct t h e m sufficiently. T h e y are to pray and b o w t h e knee. T h e y are not to taste a n y t h i n g before t h o s e w h o h a v e been baptized have received t h e b o d y and t h e blood. C A N O N 20. C O N C E R N I N G T H E FAST O F W E D N ESDAY, O F FRIDAY, A N D O F T H E FORTY

T h e fast days w h i c h have been fixed are W e d n e s d a y , Friday, and t h e Forty. H e w h o a d d s to this will receive a reward, a n d w h o e v e r diverges f r o m it, except for illness, c o n s t r a i n t or necessity, transgresses t h e rule a n d disobeys G o d w h o fasted o n o u r behalf. T h e r e is to be sent by t h e b i s h o p to the c a t e c h u m e n s bread purified by prayer, so that they m a y share in t h e fellowship of t h e C h u r c h .

As for those who have been baptized] This sentence appears to be an adaptation of the first sentence of AT 3 3, which refers to the pre- paschal fast, but the remainder of the Canon has no parallel in AT, and has a rather confused appearance, with its return to the question of the instruction of the catechumens, already dealt with in Canon 18. 20. The first part of this Canon has no equivalent in AT, which does not mention any regular days of fasting. The existence of the Wednesday and Friday fast in the Egyptian tradition is confirmed by the Canons of Bishop Peter of Alexandria, issued A.D.306: see Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (eds.), Ante-Nicene Fathers 6 (New York 1926), p.278. As explained above, p.6, the forty-day fast was not originally a pre-paschal season in Egypt, but a post-Epiphany period, in imitation of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. The second part of the Canon has some affinity with AT 26. God who fasted on our behalf] An expression which reflects Alexandrian Christology. Translation

with Commentary



The presbyters are to assemble each day at the church, and the deacons, the subdeacons, the readers, and all the people at the time when the cock crows. They are to perform the prayer, the psalms and the reading of Scripture and the prayers, according to the precept of the Apostle who saia, 'Apply yourself to the reading until I come.' H e who stays behind the clergy, except for illness, and does not hurry, is to be excluded. The sick also, it is a healing for them to go to the church to receive the water of prayer and the oil of prayer, unless the sick person is seriously ill and close to death: the clergy shall visit him each day, those who know him. C A N O N 2 2 . C O N C E R N I N G T H E W E E K O F T H E P A S S O V E R O F T H E JEWS, D U R I N G W H I C H ONE SETS ASIDE JOY: C O N C E R N I N G W H A T ONE EATS T H E N , AND CONC E R N I N G H I M W H O WAS ABROAD AND DID N O T K N O W T H E PASCHA

During the week of the Passover of the Jews all the people are to take care with great vigilance to fast then from every desire One is not to say even a word with joy but with sadness, knowing that the Lord of all, the impassible, suffered for us at this time, so that by [his] undergoing suffering we should escape the suffering

21. T h i s canon has no direct parallel in AT, although the first p a n has s o m e affinity with AT 39. Cockcrow appears as a t i m e of private prayer in t h e text of AT41 ( t h o u g h this m a y be a later interpolation: see Paul F. Bradshaw, Daily Prayer in the Early Church, S.P.C.K., London, 1981/New York, 1982, pp.5 3-5), and also as an h o u r of prayer in s o m e later monastic sources, including J o h n Cassian's account of the Egyptian desert m o n k s (De Inst Com. 3.5), but is unusually early in the m o r n i n g for a public assembly. It is m e n t i o n e d again in canon 27. T h e phrase, 'the prayer, the psalms, and t h e reading of Scripture and the prayers', suggests a definite order of service, which once again resembles Cassian's description of the synaxis of the Egyptian m o n k s (ibid 2.5-12), b u t differs f r o m accounts of daily m o r n i n g worship of the p e n o d outside Egypt by its inclusion of Bible readings (see Bradshaw, Daily Prayer, ch. 4; H a n s Quecke, Untersucbungen zum koptische Stundengebet, Louvain 1970, pp. 10-12). Is it possible that monastic practice has affected both the t i m e and t h e content of the m o r n i n g service here, or alternatively that the u n u s u a l customs described here are actually the source of the monastic tradition? Apostle] 1 Tim. 4.13. water of prayer and oil of prayer) cf. the prayers of blessing of water and oil for t h e sick in AC 8.29; Sar. 5, 17. 22=AT 33. T h e pre-paschal fast of two days in AT has been increased to a full week here, a practice evidenced in t h e third century in Syria by Didascalia 21 and in Egypt by Dionysius of Alexandria: s e e C . L Feltoe, The Letters and Other Remains oj'Dionysius of Alexandria (Cambridge, 1904). pp. 101 ff. the impassible suffered for us] A n o t h e r expression characteristic of Alexandrian theology: cf. C a n o n 20 above. share in the s u f f e r i n g . . . in his kingdom] Cf. Rom. 8.17; Phil. 3.10-11; 2 Tim. 2.12; 1 Peter 4.13.


Tbe Canons of Hippolytus

which we deserve because of our sins. Let us also take a share in the suffering which he accepted for us, so as to have a share with him in his kingdom. Food during the Pascha is bread and salt only and water. If someone is ill or in a region where there are no Christians and the time of the Pascha ends without him having known its date, or because of a sickness, these people are to fast after Pentecost and observe the Pascha with discipline. Let their intention be clear: they are not late through lack of reverence; they do not fast in order to observe their own Pascha, to establish another foundation than that which has been laid. C A N O N 23. C O N C E R N I N G K N O W L E D G E : T H A T IT IS G R E A T E R T H A N T H E SEA A N D T H A T I T IS N E C E S A R Y T O BE Z E A L O U S I N ITS P U R S U I T

Our brothers the bishops have arranged things in their cities in conformity to the commandments of our fathers the Apostles, of which we have not been able to make mention because of the imperfection of our work. Whoever comes after us is not to modify them, because it has been said of knowledge, 'It is greater than the sea and has no end.' That is why we are to be zealous in pursuing knowledge in every way. Let us accept it when we find it C A N O N 24. C O N C E R N I N G T H E V I S I T O F T H E B I S H O P T O T H E S I C K ; W H E N A S I C K P E R S O N H A S P R A Y E D IN C H U R C H A N D H A S A H O M E , H E IS T O G O THERE

A deacon is to accompany the bishop at all times to inform him of everyone's condition. He is to inform him about each sick person, because it is important for the sick person that the high- priest visits him. He is relieved of his sickness when the bishop goes to him, especially when he prays over him, because the shadow of Peter healed the sick, unless his lifespan is over. The sick are not to sleep in the dormitory, but rather the poor. That is why he who has a home, if he is sick, is not to be moved to the house of God. Rather he is only to pray and then return home.

during the Pascha] As in Didascalia 21, the term Pascha is applied to the pre-paschal week. bread and salt only and water] The same prescriptions are also found in Didascalia 21. another foundation than that which has been laid] A possible allusion to 1 Cor. 3.11? 23= This has some slight similarity to AT 1, which is also displaced in the Ethiopic version of AT to a position similar to this: see above, p.9. it has been said] Cf. Is.l 1.9. 24= AT 34. the shadow of Peter healed the sick] Acts 5.15. rather the poor] A similar prescription is found in the Canons ofAthanasius 80: 'if they have wherewithal to live, tney shall not be a burden upon the church. But if they are poor, the steward of the church shall care for those who sleep there like his children ' (W Riedel and W. E. Cru m. The Canons of Atha?iasius of Alexandria (London, 1904) p.49).

Translation with Commentary



The steward is the one who has care of the sick. The bishop is to support them; even the vessel of clay necessary for the sick, the bishop is to give it to the steward. Each person in the order of Christians is to pray when he rises from sleep, in the morning—they are to wash their hands when they wish to pray—before doing anything. Tney are to pray again at the third hour, for it is the time when the Saviour Jesus was crucified voluntarily for our salvation, so as to set us free. And again at the sixth hour they are to pray, because it is the time when the whole creation shook because of the evil deed which the Jews did to him. At the ninth hour again they are to pray, because Christ prayed and surrendered his spirit into the hands of his Father at that time. Again at the time when the sun sets they are to pray, because it is the end of the day. Again when one lights the lamps in the evening, they are to pray, because David said, 'in the night I meditate.' Again in the middle of the night they are to pray because David also did that; and Paul and Silas, the servants of Christ prayed in the middle of the night and praised God. CANON 26. C O N C E R N I N G THE HEARING OF T H E WORD IN C H U R C H AND PRAYER THERE

When there is in a church an assembly for the word of God, every one is to hurry and assemble there. They are to know that to hear the word of God is better for them than all the glory of this world. They are to reckon it a great loss to them when a necessity prevents them from hearing the word of G o a On the contrary, they are to devote their time to the church frequently and [so] be able to expel hatred of their enemy, especially if someone can read, because it is more profitable to hear what one does not know. For the Lord, in the place where [his]

25=AT 40-41. For the change of order here from AT, see above, p.9. ATs prescription concerning the cemetery has been transformed into a reference to the bishop's support of the sick There is also a rearrangement within the material from AT41, the details of the hours of prayer now preceding the reference to the daily instruction in church—probably the result of an accidental displacement in the manuscript of AT used by CH. At the ninth hour] C H here substitutes an allusion to Luke 23.46 for that to M a t t 27.49 in AT. when t h e sun sets... when one lights the lamps] AT does not mention either of these times, but only prayer before sleep. Prayer at the time of lamplighting was generally observed in the fourth century (see Bradshaw, Daily Prayer, pp.75-6,80,116), but a separate time of prayer at sunset is otherwise u n k n o w n in ancient Christian tradition. C H may perhaps have been confused by the allusion to t h e end of the day attached to the ninth hour in AT, and thought that it was referring to a time of prayer at sunset In t h e night I meditate] Ps. 77.6. David also did that] Ps. 119.62 Paul and Silas] Acts 16.25. 26= AT 41. 28

Tbe Canons of


majesty is remembered, makes the Spirit dwell in those who are assembled and gives his grace to all. Those who are in two minds among them, be reassured concerning them because you have heard some of them in the Spirit Those whose mind is preoccupied at home are not to forget what they have heard in church. That is why each one is to make it his concern to go to church every day when there are prayers. CANON 27. C O N C E R N I N G HIM WHO DOES NOT GO TO C H U R C H , EACH DAY HE IS TO READ THE SCRIPTURES—EACH TIME YOU PRAY, WASH YOUR HANDS— AND C O N C E R N I N G THE EXHORTATION TO PRAYER IN T H E MIDDLE OF T H E N I G H T AND AT THE TIME WHEN T H E COCK CROWS

Each day when there is no prayer in church, take a Bible and read from it Let the sun see the Bible on your knees at each dawn. The Christian is to wash his hands each time he prays. He who is bound by marriage, even if he rises from beside his wife, he is to pray because marriage is not im pure and there is no need of a bath after second birth, except for the washing of tne hands only, because the Holy Spirit marks the body of the believer and purifies him completely. Every one is to be concerned to pray with great vigilance in the middle of the night, because our fathers have saia that at that hour all creation gives itself over to glorify God, all the ranks of angels and the souls of the righteous blessing God. The Lord bears witness to this, saying, 'In the middle of the night there will be a cry: Lo, the bridgeroom has come; come out to meet him.' At the time when the cock crows, again it is a time when there are prayers in the churches, for the Lord says, 'Watch, for you do not know at what time the master come, in the evening, or in the middle of the night, or at cockcrow, or in the morning,' that is to say that we must remember God at each hour. And when one is lying on his bed, he must pray to God in his heart Let us do that and instruct one another with the catechumens, in the service of God, and the demons will not be able to sadden us, if we remember Christ at each hour.

2 7 = A T 41. Let the s u n . . . each dawn] This statement also appears in Pseudo-Athanasius, De Virginitate 12, and in Evagrius of Pontus, Exhortation to a virgin. The Lord bears witness] M a t t 25.6. when the cock crows] See also Canon 21 the Lord says] Mark 13.35.

Translation witb Commentary




The clergy are to stand with all their attention on the altar when it has been prepared. Tney are to stand watching over it, so that no insect climbs on to it and nothing falls into the cup: that would be a mortal sin for the presbyters. That is why every one is to stand watching over the holy place: he who gives the mysteries ana those w h o partake are to watch with great care that nothing falls on the ground, for fear that an evil spirit should have power over it One is not to speak at all inside the veil, except a prayer only and the things necessary for the service. One is not to do anything [else] in this place. After having finished communicating the people, tney are to enter. Tney are to sing hymns each time they enter, because of the powers of the holy place. The psalms

2 8 = A T 36-37. C H has u n d e r s t o o d AT 37 a n d 38 (see next canon) to be referring not to c o m m u n i o n f r o m the reserved sacrament at home, but to t h e reception of the sacrament in church. According to Basil (EP. 93), t h e f o r m e r c o n t i n u e d to be widely practised in Egypt in the fourth century, t h o u g h t h e reliability of his evidence has been questioned (see A r m a n d Veilleux, La liturgie dans le cënobitismepacbômien au quatrième siècle (Rome, 1968) p.235. T h e reference to the reception of c o m m u n i o n of days of fasting(an addition to AT: see also C a n o n 20) might appear to imply, therefore, that t h e eucharist was regularly celebrated o n those days as well as o n those days as well as on Sundays. According to Socrates (Hist 5.22), the services at Alexandria of W e d n e s d a y s a n d Fridays did not include the 'celebration of the mysteries', but it has been suggested that there was c o m m u n i o n f r o m the pre-sanctified gifts, and that m a y also b e w h a t is m e a n t here: see Robert Taft, ' T h e Freq u e n c y of the Eucharist t h r o u g h o u t History' in Concilium 152 (1982), p. 16= idem, Beyond East and Wisi (Washington, D.C., 1984), p.67. 2 9 = A T 3 8 , 4 2 , and 21 (end). T h e second paragraph has no parallel in AT, b u t resembles Canons of Basil 96 (KRQ, p.272). inside the vei|] T h e sanctuary veil is also m e n t i o n e d in C a n o n 36, and by Athanasius, Hist Arian 56. bells] Exodus 28.35.


The Canons of Hippolytus

are to replace for them the bells which were on the garment of Aaron. N o one is to sit down in that place. [One is] only [to do there] prayer, genuflexion, and prostration before the altar. The dust which is swept from the holy place is to be thrown into the water of a flowing stream, and one is not to delay for fear that it will be trodden on by people. Be pure at all times and mark your forehead with the sign of the cross, being victorious over Satan and glorifying in your faith. Moses did that with the blooa of the lamb with which he smeared the lintels and the two doorposts, and it healed whoever lived there. How should the blood of Christ not purify more and protect more those who believe in him and manifest the sign of the salvation which is for all the world, which has been healed by the blood of the perfect lamb, Christ? All the mysteries concerning life, resurrection, and the sacrifice, the Christians alone [are] those who hear them. This is because they have received the seal of baptism because they are the participants [in it], CANON 30. C O N C E R N I N G THE C A T E C H U M E N S

The catechumens are to hear the word concerning the faith and the teaching only. It is the judgment of which John speaks: 'No one knows it except he who receives it' On Sunday, at the time of the liturgy, if the bishop is able, he is to communicate all the people from his hand. If a presbyter is sick, the deacon is to take the mysteries to him, and the presbyter is to take [them] himself. CANON 31. C O N C E R N I N G THE BISHOP AND THE PRESBYTER, WHEN THEY ORDER THE DEACON TO COMMUNICATE THE PEOPLE, HE IS TO COMMUNICATE [THEM]

The deacon is to communicate the people when the bishop or the presbyter allows him.

Moses] Exodus 12.7. 3 0 = A T 2 1 (end) and 22. The custom of deacons administering communion to presbyters at the eucharist, described in AT22, had been condemned in Canon 18 of theCouncil of Nicea. C H therefore has interpreted it as referring to the communion of a sick presbyter. John] Rev. 2.17. 31. Since TD 2.10 has a similar sentence to this, it may possibly be derived from an authentic part of AT, even though it does not appear in the Ethiopic version of AT 22, the only other witness to this portion of the text

Translation with Commentary



T h e virgins and the widows are to fast often and pray in the church. T h e clergy are to fast according to their choice and their opportunity. T h e bishop is not to be held to the fast, unless the clergy fast with him. I f someone wants to make an offering if there is not a presbyter present in the church, the deacon is to replace him in everything, except for the offering o f the great sacrifice alone and the prayer. If one gives an offering to be given as alms to the poor, it is to be distributed before sunset to the poor o f the people. But if there is more than is needed, one is to give [it] the next day, and if anything remains, the third day. Nothing is to be credited to the donor alone. He is not to receive [anything], because the bread o f the poor remained in his house by his negligence. If there is a meal or supper made by someone for the poor—it is [a supper] o f the Lord—the bishop is to be present at the time when one lights a lamp. T h e deacon is to light it, and the bishop is to pray over them and over him wno has invited them. I t is necessary [to do] for tne poor the thanksgiving at the beginning o f the liturgy. They are to be dismissed so that they depart before dark, and they are to recite psalms before their departure. CANON 33. C O N C E R N I N G THE 'ANALEMPSIS' W H I C H ONE PERFORMS FOR THOSE W H O ARE DEAD, AND IT IS N O T TO BE ON A SUNDAY

If there is an analempsis which one performs on behalf o f those who are dead, they are to receive first the mysteries before sitting down. It is not to be on a Sunday. After the offering one is to give them the bread o f exorcism before they sit down. None of the catechumens is to sit down with them for the supper of the Lord. They are to eat and drink sufficiently, not to the point o f drunkenness, but peacefully, to the glory o f God.

32=AT 23-25. The agape here has ceased to be a community supper and has become a meal given by an individual for the poor, by his negligence] Perhaps better translated 'by accident', of the Lordfcf. 1 Cor. 11.20. the thanksgiving at the beginning of the liturgy] This probably does not mean that the whole eucharistic prayer was to be said, but just a prayer of thanksgiving similar to the introductory dialogue and preface. It would appear from the Ethiopic version of AT, our only witness to it at this point, that something like that was in the original text of AT 25. 33 Only a part of this has any parallel in AT 26-28a. analempsis] This Greek word is common in apocryphal literature, where it means ascension (as in Luke 9.51) or simply death. Here it apparently refers to a liturgical rite for the dead. For other references to such rites, see Didascalia 26; AC 6.30.2.


The Canons of Hippolytus


No one is to talk too much and shout, lest anyone laughs at you and you are a scandal for the people and he who invited you is insulted, because you are disorderly. But he himself, let him be allowed to participate and all his household, and see the decency of each one of us, and receive a great blessing such as he sees in us, and he will pray that the saints come under his roof, because our Saviour said, 'you are the salt of the earth.' When the bishop says a word, being seated, they are to gain benefit from it and [he also] is to gain profit [from it]. If the bishop is not present and the presbyter is present, they are all to pay attention to him, because he is higher than them in God. They are to honour him with the honour with which the bishop is honoured, ana are not to dare to oppose him. He is to give them the bread of exorcism before they sit down, so that God may free their meal from the disturbance of the enemy and they may rise well in peace. C A N O N 3 5. C O N C E R N I N G A D E A C O N P R E S E N T A T A M E A L I N T H E A B S E N C E O F A P R E S B Y T E R . H E IS T O R E P L A C E H I M F O R T H E P R A Y E R A N D T H E B R E A K I N G O F T H E B R E A D , F O R T H E B L E S S I N G A N D N O T F O R T H E BODY. C O N C E R N I N G THE DISMISSAL OF THE W I D O W S BEFORE EVENING

A deacon at a meal in the absence of a presbyter is to replace the presbyter for the prayer over the bread; he is to break it and give it to the guests. With regard to the layman, it is not given to him to sign the bread but to break it only, if there is no cleric there. Each one is to eat what he brings with every thanksgiving in the name of the Lord, so that the Gentiles may see your purpose ana envy you. When someone wishes to feed widows, he is to feed them and send them away before sunset If they are numerous, lest they should be excited and not manage to depart before evening, he is to give each of them enough to eat and drink, and they are to depart before night comes. C A N O N 36. C O N C E R N I N G T H E F I R S T F R U I T S O F T H E E A R T H , T H E F I R S T O F T H E I R F L O O R S A N D T H E I R P R E S S E S : OIL, H O N E Y , M I L K , W O O L , A N D T H E R E S T W H I C H O N E B R I N G S T O T H E B I S H O P F O R H I M T O BLESS I T

Whoever has the firstfruits of the earth is to bring them to the church, the first of their floors and the first of their presses, oil, honey, milk, wool, and the first of the produce of the work of their hands, all this they are to bring to the bishop, and

3 4 = A T 28. O u r S a v i o u r said] M a t t 5.13. 3 5 = A T 28 ( e n d ) , 29, a n d 30. 3 6 = A T 31-32. T h i s prayer, like t h e o t h e r s in C H , d i f f e r s c o n s i d e r a b l y f r o m t h a t in AT.

Translation with Commentary


the first of their trees. The priest who takes them is to give thanks to G o d for them, first outside the veil, ne who has brought them remaining standing. The priest says: 'We give thanks to you, Lord, almighty God, because you have made us worthy to see these fruits which the earth has produced this year. Bless, Lord, the crown of the year which is of your bounty, and may they satisfy the poor of your people. Your servant N., who has brought these things which are yours, because he fears you, bless him from your holy heaven, and all his house, and pour upon him your holy mercy, that he may know your will in everything, and cause him to inherit heavenly things; through our Lord Jesus Christ, you dear Son, and the Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.' Every vegetable, all the fruits of the trees, and all the fruits of the cucumber fields are to be blessed, and [also] him who brings them, with a blessing. C A N O N 37. C O N C E R N I N G T H E F A C T T H A T EVERY T I M E T H E B I S H O P O F F E R S T H E M Y S T E R I E S , T H E D E A C O N S A N D T H E P R E S B Y T E R S ARE T O J O I N ( H I M ] , C L O T H E D IN W H I T E G A R M E N T S , M O R E M A G N I F I C E N T T H A N [ T H O S E OF] A L L T H E PEOPLE: SIMILARLY T H E READERS

Every time the bishop offers the mysteries, the deacons and the presbyters are to join him, clothed in white garments, more magnificent than [those of] all the people, and [they are to be] more luminous still by their good deeds than [by their] garments. The readers are also to be magnificent like them. They are to stand in the place of reading and are to succeed one another until all the people have assembled, and then the bishop is to pray and complete the liturgy.

give t h a n k s . . . remaining standing] C o q u i n suggests (p.141) that the text m a y originally have read: 'give thanks to G o d for them first, he w h o has brought t h e m remaining standing outside the veil'. T h e sanctuary veil is also mentioned in C a n o n 29. the crown o f the y e a r . . . your bounty] Ps. 65.11. Cf. also a similar petition in the Liturgy of S t M a r k (LEW, p. 167), 37. T h i s C a n o n has no parallel in AT. white garments] Cf. Athanasius, Hist Arian. 60; S o z o m e n , Hist EccL 2.22; Canons of Athanasius 28 (Riedel and C r u m , p.31); Canons of Basil 96 (KRQ, p.273). T h e readers are also to be magnificent like them] Another sign o f the importance attached to this office: see C a n o n 7. until all the p e o p l e have assembled] Canon of Basil 97 (KRQ p.273) refers to psalms being read while the people are arriving for the celebration of the S u n d a y eucharisL 34

The Canons




As for the night of the resurrection of our Lord, one is to take great care that absolutely no one sleeps until morning. They are to wash their bodies with water before celebrating the Pascha, and all the people are to be illuminated, because at this hour the Saviour made all creation free and subdued heaven and earth and all that is in them, because he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, and he will come in the glory of his Father and of his angels, andne will reward each according to his deeds, those who have done good [with the] resurrection of life, and those who have done evij [with the] resurrection of condemnation, as it is written. That is why it is necessary that we are vigilant at all times, and that we do not give our eye to sleep nor our eyelid to slumber until we find a place for the Lord. May it not be that one should say, 'I have been baptized and received the body of the Lord', and feel confident and say, 'I am a Christian', and then be stricken with love of things which he desires and does not heed the commandments of Christ Such a one as this is like one who enters the baths covered with dirt and comes out without rubbing himself and his dirt still on him, for he has not received the burning of the Spirit As the blessed Apostle says, 'We burn with the Spirit' All who have a mind tnat is not vigilant, it will be consumed, that is to say not alive in goodness, but dead in desires. They are balls, that is to say, a game for Satan to play with. For in the beginning they said wilth their lips, 'We reject you, Satan', and now they hasten towards him with their evil deeds. Indeed you do not find Satan as happy with those who are with him and counted as his as he is with those who are with us in the flesh but with him in spirit, concerning whom the Apostle said, T h e y declare that they know God ana renounce him Dy their deeds.' It is said concerning them in Proverbs, 'As a dog returns to its own vomit

38. This Canon has no parallel in AT, and develops into a homily on the Christian life. Although it contains numerous biblical allusion, only direct quotations are generally identified in the notes. no one sleeps until morning] They are to attend the paschal vigil: cf Didascalia 21. wash their bodies with water] Was this simply because tney had presumably also abstained from the bath during the pre-paschal week of fasting (see Canon 22), or did it have some ritual significance? illuminated] Is this a reference to the carrying of lights at this festival? he will come . . . according to his deeds] M a t t 16.27. those who have done good . . . condemnation] John 5.29. give our eye . . . for the Lord] Ps. 132.4-5. burn with the Spirit] Rom. 12.11. They declare their deeds] Tit 1.16. As a dog . . . to his sins| Prov. 26.11.

Translation with Commentary


so is the ignorant man in his iniquity when he returns to his sins.' Blessed Peter says concerning them, 'They are like a sow that bathes and then rolls in its mud.' It is no small sin that one should say before God, 'I will do all your will', and decide to serve Satan too in disgusting desires, like a soldier who formally agrees to be a soldier but has no concern for military equipment or uniform. He would be exposed, even if he calls himself a soldier, because he has no uniform, but is only called a soldier as a formality. So it is with one who says of himself that he is a Christian, but does not put on the deeds. He is called a devil by God and men, because he does not hate the deeds of the devils, but rather is confirmed in them. Therefore he receives the name due to them here and the fate due to them in the other place. The Saviour says to them on that day, 'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his angels', for just as they loved his deeds on earth and remained associated with him in their life, so they will be in hell if they die in their unclean desires. For the Christian must walk in the commands of Christ, resembling God like beloved children, resembling Christ in everything. He shall not be abusive He shall not be an adulterer, nor be scornful or a scandalmonger, nor accuse people of vain things, nor be a deceiver. He shall not desire perishable things, nor be obstinate, or a lover of gain, or disdainful of anyone. He should not be a grumbler, nor play the judge in the affairs of others He should not spend his inheritance on things in which there is no salvation, nor do that which should not be done. He should not be unmerciful, nor bear witness, nor love to be shown honour, nor be given to scolding, or a drunkard or a glutton or a lover of the world or a lover of women; rather he should marry one womaa He should not be envious, or slack in church attendance. He should bringup his children in the fear of God and not flee from temptations. He should read and meditate on what he hears and be content He should not be oppressive or quick to give a beating. Rather he shoul d quickly pay anything he owes lest the name of God be cursea He should not be lazy, nor forget those in need who ask him for help. He should not divulge secrets, nor change boundaries. He should not be a usurer, but rather a lover of strangers. He should not deal contemptuously with his slaves, but count them as his children. He should not be difficult in giving and receiving, and should not have two scales or two measures. He should not be slow to bring offerings and the firstfruits. He should have no dealings with the Gentiles nor mix with them. He should be a worker in the service of God, not departing from the commands of the gospel of God, whose good news the whole creation under the sun has heard. If the Christian is firmly established in all this, that is, resembles Christ, he will be at his right hand, and be sent with the angels and receive honour from him, because he has obtained the beautiful crown, fulfilled the charge, kept the faith, and will receive the crown of life about which he told those who love him.

They are like a sow . . . mud] 2 Peter 2.22. Depart from me . . . his angels] Matt. 25.41. 36

Tbe Canons of


If the Christian wishes to be in an angelic rank, let him keep away from women completely and decide in his heart not to look at them or eat with them. Let him quickly distribute all his accumulated possessions to the weak and impose on himself the rule o f the angels in humility of heart and body. Let him support himself and be like the birds that have no tools. Let him give to the poor [wnat he earns] from the work o f his hands and offerings and much prayer and much fasting. Let him keep his family away and bear all the suffering that comes to him for the sake o f God. Let him carry his cross and follow the Saviour and be ready to die at any moment for the sake o f Christ, in faith. For it is inevitable that the man who seeks perfection should be tempted as your Lord Jesus was tempted by those three temptations—gluttony, pride, and love o f gold. For the temptor turned his attention to our Saviour when he was fasting and said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, say that these stones should become bread.' And you too, O ascetic, you fast your own fast by your own intention. Do not accept his thoughts, for he will persuade you to break your customs, especially if it is a fast o f religion. Rather reply to your thoughts and say like your master that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth o f God. T h e saying, 'that these stones should become bread', has another interpretation, for he misleads those who love possessions and causes them to tell the stones to become possessions, and they love possessions, [whether they be] stones or sand, and he makes them think that they will live by them, like bread, so that the word of the Lord may be remembered that says that if one's possessions increase he will not find his life in them. Therefore love not silver, you lovers o f God, for the root of all evil is the love o f silver, and let your mind be without care. It is said, ' W e have food and clothing, let us be content with that' But hear the words o f blessed David when he says, 'Cast your care on the Lord and he will support you', especially since the Apostle Peter says, 'Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you.'

birds that have no tools] Cf. Luke 12.24. For it is inevitable] There are some similarities in the following paragraphs to the interpretation of the temptations of Christ found in John Cassian, Conferences 5.6, and in Evagrius of Pontus, De malignis cogitationibus (MPG 79.1200-1201—attributed to Nilus of Ancyra), and some slight parallel with certain phrases in Pseudo-Athanasius, De Virginitate 7, 8, and 22: see Coquin, pp.43-7. If you are. . . bread] Matt 4.3. fast of religion] Or 'a fast to repay a debt', i.e. a vow. man does not live . . . mouth of God] Matt 4.4. if one's possessions... life in them] Luke 12.15, in the Sahidic version: see G. W. Horner, The Coptic version of tbe New Testament in the southern dialect (Oxford, 1911), voL 2 p.242. for the root. . . silver] 1 Tim. 6.10. We have food . . . content with that] 1 Tim. 6.8. Cast your care . . . support you] Ps. 55.22. Cast all your cares . . . cares for you] 1 Peter 5.7. Translation with Commentary


When the evil one sees that a man's faith is such as this, the second temptation comes to him, for he set him on a pinnacle of the temple, which is perfection in the virtues, and [tried to] persuade his heart to reject tnem all; [the meaning of] 'throw yourself down from here.' He tells him, 'virtue is hard and you will not be able to endure this suffering for the whole earth.' He does not allow him to think of the Saviour, who said, 'Have no care for the morrow.' For whoever raises himself up by virtue, it is said that he is brought by Satan to the holy city, but they do not remain [there] because they have not acquired virtues for God but rather for the sake of vainglory, which is [the meaning of] the serpent saying, 'so that they shall be honoured by men.' So they throw themselves down from the pinnacle of the temple and are split open internally and what is inside them comes out and they are more empty than they were at the beginning. Therefore, in the hour when a man makes a covenant before God and worships him, let him be firmly on his guard lest he fall. It is written, 'God is not mocked', and 'God is not to be tempted.' If a man is not vigilant and does not constantly remember God at every hour, he falls into the worship of idols, without knowing that the worship of idols is only that a man should think that he alone is chosen and that he is better than everyone else. This is the pride that is unclean in God's reckoning. If Satan persuades someone that he is better than anyone else, it is this that constitutes his falling down and worshipping him, because he does not know the word that the Lord said, '1 am meek and humble of heart', and he does not understand the saying, 'You worship the Lord your God alone and serve him.' Therefore, beloved, flee from the worship of idols, which is pride. Let us love one another and be loving to strangers and lovers of knowledge, and flee from every evil partner and hasten towards the servants of God and devote ourselves to serve [God] with them. For Abigail said to David, 'This is your servant, ready to be a servant to you, to wash the feet of those who serve you', in order that we too should wash the feet of the saints. Let us listen to him who is greater than David, Jesus C hrist, our Lord, your blessed model, for he will respond to everyone who keeps his commandments well, 'O good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little. I am setting you over much. Enter into the joy of your Lord.' He truly says to each of us gathered in his name, 'Come, O blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared foryou before the

Have no care for the morrow] Matt 6.34. so that they shall be honoured by men] Matt 6.2. God is not mocked] Gal. 6.7. God is not to be tempted] Deut 6.16; Matt 4.7. I am meek and humble of heart] Matt. 11.29. You worship . . . serve him] Matt 4.10. This is your servant... who serve you] 1 Sam. 25.41 ; literal rendering of the Sahidic vers-


The Canons of Hippolytus

foundation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you gave me shelter. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was a prisoner and you attended to me.' He spoke, and the righteous replied and said, O Lord, when did we see you hungry and fed you, ana so on?' And he answered and said, 'truly, I say to you, but you have done it to these little brothers, and I am the one to whom you have done it.' Whoever keeps these canons, the peace of the Lord be upon him, and mercy upon the whole Israel of God. The enemy will find no rest in them. Rather they will find rest with all the pure ones in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom be glory to the Father and the Holy Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen. The apostolic Canons of St Hippolytus, Archbishop of Rome, are completed in the peace of the Lord, to whom be thanks and glory always. Amen.

Come, O blessed, etc] M a t t 25.34-40. peace . . . Israel of God] Cf. GaL 6.16. T h e apostolic Canons, etc.] This conclusion appears to have heen a d d e d by either the Coptic or t h e Arabic translator.

Translation with Commentary