Canons of the Synod of Epaon


Canons of the Synod of Macon

581 AD

translation by John Wijngaards



Source: MANSI IX, 934  

Canon 12. De puellis vero quae se Deo voverint, & praeclarae decore aetatis ad terrenas nuptias transierint, id custodiendum esse decrevimus, ut si quae puella voluntarie, aut parentibus suis rogantibus, religionem professa, vel benedictionem fuerit consecuta, & postea ad conjugium, aut illecebras saeculi quod potius stuprum est quam conjugium judicandum, transgredi praesumpserit, usque ad exitum, cum ipso qui se huiusmodi consortio miscuerit, communione privetur.
Quod si se paenitentia ducti sequestraverint, quamdiu episcopi loci illius visum fuerit, a communionis gratia suspendantur ita tamen ut propter infirmitatem, aut subitaneum transitum viaticum illis miserationis intuitu non negetur.

Canon 12. “ With regard to girls who have vowed themselves to God, and on account of the glamour of a notorious age have gone over to an earthly marriage, we decree that this needs to be observed, namely that if the girl has professed her religious state voluntarily or at the request of her parents, or if she has obtained ordination (lit. blessing), and afterwards has presumed to go over to matrimony, that is to say to the seductions of this world that should be judged adultery rather than matrimony, she should be deprived of communion until death, together with the man who entered into such a union with her.

But if, inspired by regret, they have separated from each other, they should still be suspended from communion for as long as the bishop of that place decides, but under this provision that because of ilness or sudden departure (from life) the last rites should not be denied to them on compassionate grounds.


Comment: 'Obtaining a blessing' is here clearly distinguished from just receiving the veil of virginity. The blessing seems to refer to real 'ordination' as in so many other texts, and in particular the ordination to the diaconate.

A woman deacon was expected to embrace celibacy, just like a women receiving the veil of virginity and the same rules of punishment & reconciliation apply to her if she breaks her promise. The same provision was made in the Council of Vannes.


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