The Didascalia Apostolorum
Collection of pseudo-apostolic church laws, North Syria; 3rd cent. AD
The source of this text has been: G. Homer, The Didascalia Apostolorum. The Syriac Version Translated, Oxford 1929.Another translation, R. Hugh Connolly, Didascalia Apostolorum. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929 is now available on the internet here: http://www.bombaxo.com/didascalia.html
The Didascalia is a treatise which pretends to have been written by the Apostles at the time of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), but which is in reality a pastoral treatise composed in the third century. The original was in Greek, and this can be to some extent restored by a comparison with the Apostolic Constitutions, the first eight books of which are simply a revised and enlarged edition of the Didascalia. In 1854, a Syriac version, based on ancient manuscripts was published. In 1900 a Latin version, perhaps of the fourth century, was discovered, more than half of which had perished. The Arabic and Ethiopian versions have obviously incorporated additional text deriving from the Apostolic Constitutions so that they may not be a safe guide to the original text of the Didascalia itself.
- Widows should not explain complicated doctrine to outsiders
- Women, especially widows, should not teach
- Widows should stay at home
- Suitable women should be ordained as deaconesses
- Deaconesses should instruct women converts
- Deacons (and deaconesses) are to care for people
- Deacons and deaconesses should work closely with the Bishop
- Rabbinical rules of ‘uncleanness’ should be abandoned by Christians
- The Holy Spirit remains with a woman during her monthly period
- Giving in to Rabbinical taboos and rules opens the way for the wrong spirit
- The normal fluids of sex and intercourse in marriage are clean
- Men should not reject women during their monthly periods
THE CATHOLIC DIDASCALIA
THAT IS TEACHING
OF THE TWELVE HOLY APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES OF OUR SAVIOUR
Only women of a suitable age should be appointed widows
Chapter 14. [iii. I] Appoint as a widow one that is not under fifty years old [1Tim 5.9], who in some sort, by reason of her years, shall be remote from the suspicion of taking a second husband. But if you appoint one who is young to the widows’ order, and she endure not widowhood because of her youth, and marry, she will bring a reproach upon the glory of widowhood; and she shall render an account to God, first, because she has married a second husband; and again, because she promised to be a widow unto God, and was receiving (alms) as a widow, but did not continue in widowhood. But if there be one who is young, who has been a short time with her husband, and her husband die, or for any other cause there be a separation, and she continue by herself alone, having the honour of widowhood: she shall be blessed of God; for she is likened to the widow of Sarepta of Sidon with whom rested the holy angel, the prophet of God. Or again, she shall be like Anna, who hailed the coming of Christ and received a (good) testimony; and she shall be honoured for her virtue, winning honour on earth from men, and praise from God in heaven.
[iii. 2] But let not young widows be appointed to the widows’ order: yet let them be taken care of and helped, lest by reason of their being in want they be minded to marry [] a second time, and some harmful matter ensue. For this you know, that she who marries one husband may lawfully marry also a second; but she who goes beyond this is a harlot [cf. 1Cor 7.39; Rom 7.2-3]. [iii. 3] Wherefore, assist those who are young, that they may persevere in chastity unto God. And do thou accordingly, O bishop, bestow care upon these. And be mindful also of the poor, and assist and support them, [iii. 4] even though there be among them those who are not widowers or widows, yet are in need of help through want or sickness or the rearing of children, and are in distress. It behoves thee to be careful of all and heedful of all. And hence it is that they who give gifts do not themselves with their own hands give them to the widows, but bring them to thee, that thou who art well acquainted of those who are in distress mayest, like a good steward, make distribution to them of those things which are given to thee: for God knows who it is that gives, even though he does not chance to be present. And when thou makest distribution, tell them the name of him who gave, that they may pray for him by name. For in all the Scriptures the Lord makes mention of the poor, and gives command concerning them; …and even if they be married persons. And he adds further by Isaiah and says thus: Break (p. 63) thy bread to the hungry: and the poor [] man, that hath no roof, bring into thine house; and when thou seest the naked, cover him: and thou shalt not despise one that is of thine own flesh [Isa 58.7]. By all means therefore be careful of the poor.
Chapter 15. Every widow therefore ought to be meek and quiet and gentle. And let her also be without malice and without anger; and let her not be talkative or clamorous, or forward in tongue, or quarrelsome, And when she sees anything unseemly done, or hears it, let her be as though she saw and heard it not. For a widow should have no other care save to be praying for those who give, and for the whole Church. And when she is asked a question by any one, let her not straightway give an answer, except only concerning righteousness and faith in God; but let her send them that desire to be instructed to the rulers. And to those who question them let them (the widows) make answer only in refutation of idols and concerning the unity of God. But concerning punishment and reward, and the kingdom of the name of Christ, and His dispensation, neither a widow nor a layman ought to speak; for when they speak without the knowledge of doctrine, they will bring blasphemy upon the word. For our Lord likened the word of His tidings to mustard; but mustard, unless it be skilfully tempered, is bitter and sharp to those who use it. Wherefore our Lord said in the Gospel, to widows and to all the laity: Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample upon them and turn against you and rend you. For when the Gentiles who are being instructed hear the word of God not fittingly spoken, as it ought to be, unto edification of eternal life—and all the more in that it is spoken to them by a woman—how that our Lord clothed Himself in a body, and concerning the passion of Christ: they will mock and scoff, instead of applauding the word of doctrine; and she shall incur a heavy judgement for sin.
Chapter 15, cont. It is neither right nor necessary therefore that women should be teachers, and especially concerning the name of Christ and the redemption of His passion. For you have not been appointed to this, 0 women, and especially widows, that you should teach, but that you should pray and entreat the Lord God. For He the Lord God, Jesus Christ our Teacher, sent us the Twelve to instruct the People and the Gentiles; and there were with us women disciples, Mary Magdalene and Mary the daughter of James and the other Mary; but He did not send them to instruct the people with us. For if it were required that women should teach, our Master Himself would have commanded these to give instruction with us. But let a widow know that she is the altar of God; and let her sit ever at home, and not stray or run about among the houses of the faithful to receive. For the altar of God never strays or runs about anywhere, but is fixed in one place.
Syriac Chapter 15, cont. A widow must not therefore stray or run about among the houses. For those who are gadabouts and without shame cannot be still even in their houses; for they are no widows, but ‘wallets’, and they care for nothing else but to be making ready to receive. And because they are gossips and chatterers and murmurers, they stir up quarrels; and they are bold and shameless. Now they that are such are unworthy of Him who called them; for neither in the common assembly of rest of the Sunday, when they have come, are such women or men watchful, but they either fall asleep or prate about some other matter: so that through them others also are taken captive by the enemy Satan, who suffers not such persons to be watchful unto the Lord. And they who are such, coming in empty to the Church, go out more empty still, since they hearken not to that which is spoken or read to receive it with the ears of their hearts. Such persons, then, are like those of whom Isaiah Is said: Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not see, for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and with their ears they hear heavily, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, aud hear with their ears.
So in like manner the ears of such widows’ hearts are stopped, because they will not sit beneath the roof of their houses and pray and entreat the Lord, but are impatient (p. 65) to be running after gain; and by their chattering they execute the desires of the Enemy. Now such a widow does not conform to the altar of Christ; for it is written in the Gospel: If two shall agree together, and shall ask concerning any thing whatsoever, it shall be given them [Mt 18.19]. And if they shall say to a mountain that it be removed and fall into the sea, it shall so be done [cf. Mt 17.20; 21.21, etc].
[] Now we see that there are widows who esteem the matter as one of traffic, and receive greedily; and instead of doing good (works) and giving to the bishop for the entertainment of strangers and the refreshment of those in distress, they lend out on bitter usury; and they care only for Mammon, whose god is their purse and their belly: for where their treasure is, there is also their heart [Php 3.19; Mt 6.21]. For she who is in the habit of roaming abroad and running about to receive takes no thought for good works, but serves Mammon and ministers to filthy lucre. And she cannot please God, nor is she obedient to His ministry, so as to be constantly praying and making intercession, because her mind is quite taken captive by the greed of avarice. And when she stands up to pray, she remembers whither she may go to receive somewhat; or else that she has forgotten to tell some matter to her friends. And when she stands (in prayer), her mind is not upon her prayer, but upon that thought which has occurred to her mind. Now the prayer of such a one is not heard in regard to any thing. But she soon interrupts her prayer by reason of the distraction of her mind; for she does not offer prayer to God with all her heart, but goes off with the thought suggested by the Enemy, and talks with her friends about some unprofitable matter. For she knows not how she has believed, or of what order she has been accounted worthy.
But a widow who wishes to please God sits at home and meditates upon the Lord day and night, and without ceasing at all times offers intercession and prays with purity before the Lord [cf. 1Tim 5.5]. And she receives whatever she asks, because her whole mind is set upon this. For her mind is not greedy to receive, [] nor has she much desire to make large expenses; nor does her eye wander, that she should see aught and desire it, and her mind be withdrawn; nor does she hear evil words to give heed to them, because she does not go forth and run about abroad. Therefore her prayer suffers no hindrance from any thing; and thus her quietness (p. 66) and tranquillity and modesty are acceptable before God, and whatsoever she asks of God, she presently receives her request. For such a widow, not loving money or filthy lucre, and not avaricious nor greedy, but constant in prayer, and meek and unperturbed, and modest and reverent, sits at home and works at (her) wool, that she may provide somewhat for those who are in distress, or that she may make a return to others, so that she receive nothing from them. For she bethinks her of that widow of whom our Lord gave testimony in the Gospel, who came and cast into the treasury two mites, which is one dinar: whom when our Lord and Teacher, the trier of hearts, saw, He said to us: O my disciples, this poor widow hath cast in more alms than anyone; for everyone hath cast in of that which was superfluous to him: but this, of all that she possessed she hath laid her up treasure [Mk 12.41-44; cf. Mt 6.20].
[iii. 8] Widows ought then to be modest, and obedient to the bishops and the deacons, and to reverence and respect and fear the bishop as God. And let them not act after their own will, nor desire to do any thing apart from that which is commanded them, or without counsel to speak with any one by way of making answer, or to go to anyone to eat or drink, or to fast with anyone, or to receive aught of anyone, or to lay hand on and pray over anyone without the command of the bishop or the deacon. But if she do aught that is not commanded her, let her be rebuked for having acted without discipline. For whence knowest thou, O woman, from whom [] thou receivest, or from what ministry thou art nourished, or for whom thou fastest, or upon whom thou layest hand? For knowest thou not that concerning everyone of these thou shalt render an account to the Lord in the day of judgement, seeing that thou communicatest in their works? But thou, O widow who art without discipline, seest thy fellow widows or thy brethren in sickness, and hast no care to fast and pray over thy members, and to lay hand upon them and to visit them, but feignest thyself to be not in health, or not at leisure; but to others, who are (p. 67) in sins or are gone forth from the Church, because they give much, thou art ready and glad to go and to visit them. You then who are such ought to be ashamed; for you wish to be wiser and to know better, not only than the men, but even than the presbyters and the bishops. Know then, sisters, that whatsoever the pastors with the deacons command you, and you obey them, you obey God; and with whomsoever you communicate by the command of the bishop, you are without blame before God; and so is every brother of the laity who obeys the bishop and submits to him: for they (the bishops) are to render an account for all. But if you obey not the mind of the bishops and deacons, they indeed will be quit of your offences, but you shall render an account of all that you do of your own will, whether men or women.
Now whosoever prays or communicates with one that is expelled from the Church, must rightly be reckoned with him; for these things lead to the undoing and destruction of souls. For if one communicate and pray with him who is expelled from the Church, and obey not the bishop, he obeys not God; and he is defiled with him (that is expelled). And moreover he suffers not that man to repent. For if no one communicate with him, he will feel compunction and weep, and will ask and beseech to be received (again); and he will repent of what he has done, and will be saved.
[] [iii. 9] That a woman should baptize, or that one should be baptized by a woman, we do not counsel, for it is a transgression of the commandment, and a great peril to her who baptizes and to him who is baptized. For if it were lawful to be baptized by a woman, our Lord and Teacher Himself would have been baptized by Mary His mother, whereas He was baptized by John, like others of the people. Do not therefore imperil yourselves, brethren and sisters, by acting beside the law of the Gospel.
[iii. 10] But concerning envy or jealousy, or slander and fault-finding, or contention and ill-will, and carping or rivalry, we have already told you that these things ought not to be found in a Christian; but among widows it is not fitting that anyone of them should so much as be named. Yet because the author of evil (p. 68) has many wiles and devices, he enters into those who are no widows and boasts himself in them. For there are some indeed who profess themselves widows, but do not works worthy of their name. For not for the name of widowhood are they found worthy to enter into the kingdom, but for faith and works. For if one practise good works, she shall be praised and accepted; but if she practise evil works and do the works of the Evil One, she shall be blamed and cast out of the kingdom everlasting: because she has left the things eternal and desired and loved those that are temporal. Now we see and hear that there are widows in whom there is envy one towards another. For when thy fellow aged woman has been clothed, or has received somewhat from some one, thou oughtest, O widow, on seeing thy sister refreshed — if thou be a widow of God — to say: ‘Blessed be God, who hath refreshed my fellow aged woman,’ and to praise God; and afterwards (to praise) him that ministered, and say: ‘May his work be acceptable in truth,’ and: ‘Remember him, Lord, for good in the day of Thy recompense, and my bishop who hath ministered well before Thee and hath [] dispensed the alms fairly; for my fellow aged woman was naked, and hath been provided: and add unto him glory, and give him also a crown of glory in the day of the manifestation of Thy coming.’ And likewise also the widow who has received an alms of the Lord, let her pray for him that provided this ministration, suppressing his name like a wise woman, that his righteousness may be with God and not with men [cf. Mt 6.1], — as He said in the Gospel: When thou doest an alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth [Mt 6.3] — lest, when thou pronounce and reveal his name in praying for him that gave, his name be disclosed and come to the ears of a heathen, and the heathen, being a man of the left hand, know it. Or it may even chance that one of the faithful, hearing thee, will go out and talk: and it is not expedient that those things which are done or spoken in the Church should come abroad and be revealed; for he that divulges and speaks of them disobeys God, and becomes a betrayer of the Church. But do thou in praying for him suppress his name; and so shalt thou fulfil that which is written, thou and the widows who are such (as thou): for you are the holy altar of God, (even of) Jesus Christ.
But now we hear that there are widows who do not behave according to the commandment, (p. 69) but care only for this, that they may stray and run about asking questions. And moreover she who has received an alms of the Lord — being without sense, in that she discloses (the matter) to her that asks her — has revealed and declared the name of the giver; and the other, hearing it, murmurs and finds fault with the bishop who has dispensed, or with the deacon, or with him [] who has made some gift, saying: ‘Knewest thou not that I was nearer to thee and in more distress than she?’ And she knows not that it was not by man’s will that this was done, but by the command of God. For if thou protest and say to him: ‘I was nearer to thee, and thou knewest that I was more naked than she:’ it behoved thee to know who it was that commanded, and to be silent and not find fault with him that ministered, but to go into thy house and fall upon thy face and give thanks to God for thy fellow widow; and to pray likewise for him that gave and for him that ministered, and to beseech the Lord that He would open to thee also the door of His favour. And the Lord would presently have heard thy prayer bountifully, and have sent thee more favour than thy fellow widow, from whence thou never thoughtest to receive a ministry; and (such) proof of thy patience would have been praiseworthy. Or know you not that it is written in the Gospel: When thou doest an alms, sound not the trumpet before men to be seen of them, as the hypocrites do. For verily I say unto you, they have received their reward [Mt 6.2].
Now if God has commanded that a ministry be ministered in secret, and he that ministered did so minister: why then dost thou, who hast received in secret, proclaim it openly? Or thou, again (who hast not received), why dost thou question it? For thou not only findest fault and murmurest, as one who is no widow, but even utterest a curse like the heathen. Or hast thou not heard what the Scripture saith: Everyone that blesseth, is blessed; and everyone that curseth, is cursed [cf. Num 24.9; Gen 27.29]? And again in the Gospel He saith: Bless them that curse you [Lk 6.28 (cf. Mt 5.44)]; and again: When ye enter into a house, say: Peace be in this [] house. And if that house be worthy of peace, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return unto you [Mt 10.12-13]. [iii. 11] (p. 70) If then peace returns to them that send it, much more will a curse return upon those who utter it idly: because that he upon whom it was sent does not merit to receive a curse. For everyone who curses a man idly, curses himself, since it is written in Proverbs: As birds and fowl fly, so do idle curses return [Prov 26.2]. And again He saith: They that utter curses are void of understanding [Prov 10.18]. For we are set forth in a parable by the example of the bee, as the Lord saith: Go to the bee, and learn how she worketh. For her work she performeth in wisdom; and there is brought of her labour to be food for rich and poor. Beloved and praiseworthy is she, albeit she is little in strength [Prov 6.8 LXX]. As then the bee is little in strength, and when she has stung a man she loses her sting, and becomes barren and presently dies; so also we the faithful in like manner: whatever evil we do to another, we do it to ourselves; for, Whatsoever thou hatest that it should be done to thee, thou shalt not do to another [cf. Tob 4.15; Did 1.2]. Wherefore, everyone that blesseth is blessed [cf. Num 24.9].
Do you therefore admonish and rebuke those (widows) who are undisciplined and likewise exhort and encourage and help forward those who conduct themselves rightly. And let widows keep themselves from cursing, for they have been appointed to bless. Wherefore, let not the bishop, nor a presbyter, nor a deacon, nor a widow utter a curse out of their mouth, that they may not inherit a curse but a blessing [1Pt 3.9]. And let this also be thy care, O bishop, that not even one of the laity utter from his mouth a curse: for thou hast the care of all. []
Chapter 16. Wherefore, O bishop, appoint thee workers of righteousness as helpers who may co-operate with thee unto salvation. Those that please thee out of all the people thou shalt choose and appoint as deacons: a man for the performance of the most things that are required, but a woman for the ministry of women. For there are houses whither thou canst not send a deacon to the women, on account of the heathen, but mayest send a deaconess. Also, because in many other matters the office of a woman deacon is required. In the first place, when women go down into the water, those who go down into the water ought to be anointed by a deaconess with the oil of anointing; and where there is no woman at hand, and especially no deaconess, he who baptizes must of necessity anoint her who is being baptized. But where there is a woman, and especially a deaconess, it is not fitting that women should be seen by men: but with the imposition of hand do thou anoint the head only. As of old the priests and kings were anointed in Israel, do thou in like manner, with the imposition of hand, anoint the head of those who receive baptism, whether of men or of women; and afterwards—whether thou thyself baptize, or thou command the deacons or presbyters to baptize—let a woman deacon, as we have already said, anoint the women. But let a man pronounce over them the invocation of the divine Names in the water.
Chapter 16, cont. And when she who is being baptized has come up from the water, let the deaconess receive her, and teach and instruct her how the seal of baptism ought to be (kept) unbroken in purity and holiness. For this cause we say that the ministry of a woman deacon is especially needful and important. For our Lord and Saviour also was ministered unto by women ministers, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the daughter of James and mother of Jose, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee, with other women beside. And thou also hast need of the ministry of a deaconess for many things; for a deaconess is required to go into the houses of the heathen where there are believing women, and to visit those who are sick, and to minister to them in that of which they have need, and to bathe those who have begun to recover from sickness.
Chapter 16, cont. And let the deacons imitate the bishops in their conversation: nay, let them even be labouring more than he. And let them not love filthy lucre; but let them be diligent in the ministry. And in proportion to the number of the congregation of the people of the Church, so let the deacons be, that they may be able to take knowledge (of each) severally and refresh all; so that for the aged women who are infirm, and for brethren and sisters who are in sickness—for every one they may provide the ministry which is proper for him. But let a woman rather be devoted to the ministry of women, and a male deacon to the ministry of men.
Chapter 16, cont. But let a woman rather be devoted to the ministry of women, and a male deacon to the ministry of men. And let him be ready to obey and to submit himself to the command of the bishop. And let him labour and toil in every place whither he is sent to minister or to speak of some matter to any one. For it behoves each one to know his office and to be diligent in executing it. And be you (bishop and deacon) of one counsel and of one purpose, and one soul dwelling in two bodies. And know what the ministry is, according as our Lord and Saviour said in the Gospel: Whoso among yon desireth to be chief, let him be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. So ought you the deacons also to do, if it fall to you to lay down your life for your brethren in the ministry which is due to them. For neither did our Lord and Saviour Himself disdain (to be) ministering to us, as it is written in Isaiah: To justify the righteous, who hath performed well a service for many. If then the Lord of heaven and earth performed a service for us, and bore and endured everything for us, how much more ought we to do the like for our brethren, that we may imitate Him. For we are imitators of Him, and hold the place of Christ. And again in the Gospel you find it written how our Lord girded a linen cloth about his loins and cast water into a wash-basin, while we reclined (at supper), and drew nigh and washed the feet of us all and wiped them with the cloth. Now this He did that He might show us (an example of) charity and brotherly love, that we also should do in like manner one to another. If then our Lord did thus, will you, O deacons, hesitate to do the like for them that are sick and infirm, you who are workmen of the truth, and bear the likeness of Christ ? Do you therefore minister with love, and neither murmur nor hesitate; otherwise you will have ministered as it were for men’s sake and not for the sake of God, and you will receive your reward according to your ministry in the day of judgement. It is required of you deacons therefore that you visit all who are in need, and inform the bishop of those who are in distress; and you shall be his soul and his mind; and in all things you shall be taking trouble and be obedient to him.
Chapter 26. . . . . “But if there be any who are precise and desire, after the Second Legislation, to observe the wonted courses of nature and issues and marriage intercourse: first let them know that, as we have already said, together with the Second Legislation they affirm the curse against our Saviour and do condemn themselves to no purpose. And again, let them tell us, in what days or in what hours they keep themselves from prayer and from receiving the Eucharist, or from reading the Scriptures—let them tell us whether they are void of the Holy Spirit. For through baptism they receive the Holy Spirit, who is ever with those that work righteousness, and does not depart from them by reason of natural issues and the intercourse of marriage, but is ever and always with those who possess Him, and keeps them; as the Lord said in Proverbs: If thou sleep, he keepeth thee; and when thou awakes, he will speak with thee. And in the Gospel also our Lord said: Every one that has, there shall be given to him, and shall be added unto him; but from him that hath not, even that which he thinketh he hath shall be taken away. To those therefore who have, yea, it shall be added unto them; but from those is who think that they have not, even that which they think they have shall be taken away. ”
Chapter 26, cont. “For if thou think, O woman, that in the seven days of thy flux thou art void of the Holy Spirit; if thou die in those days, thou wilt depart empty and without hope. But if the Holy Spirit is always in thee, without (just) impediment dost thou keep thyself from prayer and from the Scriptures and from the Eucharist. For consider and see, that prayer also is heard through the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist through the Holy Spirit is accepted and sanctified, and the Scriptures are the words of the Holy Spirit, and are holy. For if the Holy Spirit is in thee, why dost thou keep thyself from approaching to the works of the Holy Spirit ? as those who say: Whosoever sweareth by the altar, sinneth not; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, sinneth. As our Lord said: Fools and blind, which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? ‘ Everyone therefore that sweareth by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all that is upon it. And every one that sweareth by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And every one that sweareth by the heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. If therefore thou possess the Holy Spirit, but keep thyself from His fruits so that thou approach not to them, thou also shalt hear from our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Fool and blind, whether is greater, the bread, or the Spirit that (sanctifieth the bread )? ‘ Therefore, if the Holy Spirit thou possessest: fool, thou keepest vain observances. But if the Holy Spirit is not in thee, how canst thou work righteousness? For the Holy Spirit continues ever with those who possess Him; but from whom He departs, to him an unclean spirit joins himself. For the unclean spirit, when he is gone out from a man, departeth and goeth ahout in waterless places— that is, men who go not down into the water (of baptism)—and when he hath found him no rest, he saith: I will return to my former house, whence I came out. If therefore he come and find it empty and swept and garnished, then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits worse than himself, and they come and dwell in that man; and his last state is made worse than theirs”.
Chapter 26, cont. “ Learn now, why, when the unclean spirit is gone out, he finds in him no rest in any place: because every man soever is filled with a spirit, one with the Holy Spirit, and one with an unclean spirit. A believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, and an unbeliever with an unclean spirit: and his nature does not receive an alien spirit. He therefore who has withdrawn and separated himself and departed from the unclean spirit by baptism, is filled with the Holy Spirit; and if he do good works, the Holy Spirit continues with him, and he remains fulfilled; and the unclean spirit finds no place with him, for he who is filled with the Holy Spirit does not receive him. For all men are filled with their own spirit; and the unclean spirits depart not even a little from the heathen, while yet they are heathens, even though they imagine that they do good works; for there is no other power whereby the unclean spirit may depart save by the pure and holy Spirit of God. Thus, then, when he has nowhere found him a place to enter, he returns and comes to him from whom he went forth; because one who is filled with the Holy Spirit does not receive him.”
Chapter 26, cont. “ Thou then, O woman, according as thou sayest, (if) in the days of thy flux thou art void, thou shalt be filled with unclean spirits. For when the unclean spirit returns to thee and finds him a place, he will enter and dwell in thee always: and then will there be entering in of the unclean spirit and going forth of the Holy Spirit, and perpetual warfare. Wherefore, O foolish (women), these misfortunes befall you because of your imaginings; and because of the observances which you keep, and on account of your imaginings, you are emptied of the Holy Spirit and filled with unclean spirits: and you are cast out from life into the burning of everlasting fire. But again I will say to thee, O woman: In the seven days of thy flux thou accountest thyself unclean according to the Second Legislation [=rabbinical rules]: after seven days, therefore, how canst thou be cleansed without baptism [=ritual washing]? But if thou be baptized [=washed in rabbinical purification] for that which thou supposest, thou wilt undo the perfect baptism of God which wholly forgave thee thy sins, and wilt be found in the evil plight of thy former sins; and thou shalt be delivered over to eternal fire. But if thou be not baptized, according to thine own supposition thou remainest unclean, and the vain observing of the seven days has availed thee nothing, but is rather hurtful to thee; for according to thy supposition thou art unclean, and as unclean thou shalt be condemned. ”
Chapter 26, cont. “ Be thus minded therefore concerning all those who observe issues and the intercourse of marriage; for all these observances are foolish and hurtful. For if, when a man use matrimony, or is blood come forth from him, he be baptized, let him also wash his couch: and he will have this labour and vexation incessantly; he will be baptizing and will be washing his clothes and his couch, and will be able to do nothing else. Now if thou be baptized from an issue and from marriage or intercourse according to the Second Legislation, thou owest it when thou treadest upon a mouse . . . And if thou tread upon a bone, or enterest a tomb thou ought to be baptized . . . . etc. ”
Chapter 26, cont. “Do not load yourselves again with that our Lord and Saviour has lifted from you. And do not observe these things, nor think them uncleanness; and do not refrain yourselves on their account, nor seek after sprinklings, or baptisms, or purification for these things. For in the Second Legislation, if one touch a dead man or a tomb, he is baptized [=needs purification]; but do you not, according to the Gospel and according to the power of the Holy Spirit, come together even in the cemeteries, and read the holy Scriptures, and without demur perform your ministry and your supplication to God; and offer an acceptable Eucharist, the likeness of the royal body of Christ, both in your congregations and in your cemeteries and on the departures of them that sleep—pure bread that is made with fire and sanctified with invocations— and without doubting pray and offer for them that are fallen asleep? For they who have believed in God, according to the Gospel, even though they should sleep, they are not dead; as our Lord said to the Sadducees: Concerning the Resurrection of the Dead, have ye not read that whtch is written: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And he is not the God of the dead, but of the living!And Elisha the prophet also, after he had slept and was a long while (dead), raised up a dead man; for his body touched the body of the dead and quickened and raised it up. But this could not have been were it not that, even when he was fallen asleep, his body was holy and filled with the Holy Spirit. For this cause therefore do you approach without restraint to those who are at rest [=the deceased], and hold them not unclean. ”
Chapter 26, cont. “In like manner also you shall not separate those (women) who are in the wonted courses; for she also who had the flow of blood was not chidden when she touched the skirt of our Saviour’s cloak, but was even vouchsafed the forgiveness of all her sins. And when (your wives) suffer those issues which are according to nature, have a care that, in a manner that is right, you cleave to them; for you know that they are your members, and do you love them as your soul: as it is written in the Twelve Prophets, (in) Malachi who was called the Angel: 7he Lord hath borne witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, whom thou hast left, thy partner, and she the wife of thy covenant. . . . .and the wife of thy youth thou shalt not leave. Wherefore, a woman when she is in the way of women, and a man when an issue comes forth from him, and a man and his wife when they consort and rise up one from another: let them assemble without restraint, without bathing, for they are clean. But if a man should corrupt and defile another’s wife after baptism, or be polluted with a harlot, and rising up from her should bathe in all the seas and oceans and be baptized in all the rivers, he cannot be made clean. ”
Note. Chapter 26 is partly repeated in Apostolic Constitutions, VI, 27.
On the appointment of Deacons and Deaconesses.
[iii. 12] Wherefore, O bishop, appoint thee workers of righteousness as helpers who may co-operate with thee unto salvation. Those that please thee out of all the people thou shalt choose and appoint as deacons: a man for the performance of the most things that are required, but a woman for the ministry of women. For there are houses whither thou canst not send a deacon to the women, on account of the heathen, but mayest send a deaconess. Also, because in many other matters the office of a woman deacon is required. In the first place, when women go down into the water, those who go down into the water ought (p. 71) to be anointed by a deaconess with the oil of anointing; and where there is no woman at hand, and especially no deaconess, he who baptizes must of necessity anoint her who is being baptized. But where there is a woman, and especially a deaconess, it is not fitting that women should be seen by men: but with the imposition of hand do thou anoint the head only. As of old the priests and kings were anointed in Israel, do thou in like manner, with the imposition of hand, anoint the head of those who receive baptism, whether of men or of women; and afterwards — whether thou thyself baptize, or thou command the [] deacons or presbyters to baptize — let a woman deacon, as we have already said, anoint the women. But let a man pronounce over them the invocation of the divine Names in the water. And when she who is being baptized has come up from the water, let the deaconess receive her, and teach and instruct her how the seal of baptism ought to be (kept) unbroken in purity and holiness. For this cause we say that the ministry of a woman deacon is especially needful and important. For our Lord and Saviour also was ministered unto by women [] ministers, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the daughter of James and mother of Jose, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee [Mt 27.56], with other women beside. And thou also hast need of the ministry of a deaconess for many things; for a deaconess is required to go into the houses of the heathen where there are believing women, and to visit those who are sick, and to minister to them in that of which they have need, and to bathe those who have begun to recover from sickness.
[iii. 13] And let the deacons imitate the bishops in their conversation: nay, let them even be labouring more than he. And let them not love filthy lucre [1Tim 3.8]; but let them be diligent in the ministry. And in proportion to the number of the congregation of the people of the Church, so let the deacons be, that they may be able to take knowledge (of each) severally and refresh all; so that for the aged women who are infirm, and for brethren and sisters who are in sickness — for every one they may provide the ministry which is proper for him.
But let a woman rather be devoted to the ministry of women, and a male deacon to the ministry of men. And let him be ready to obey (p. 72) and to submit himself to the command of the bishop. And let him labour and toil in every place whither he is sent to minister or to speak of some matter to anyone. For it behoves each one to know his office and to be diligent in executing it. And be you (bishop and deacon) of one counsel and of one purpose, and one soul dwelling in two bodies. And know what the ministry is, according as our Lord and Saviour said in the Gospel: Whoso among you desireth to be chief, let him be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a [] ransom for many [Mt 20.26-28]. So ought you the deacons also to do, if it fall to you to lay down your life for your brethren in the ministry which is due to them. For neither did our Lord and Saviour Himself disdain (to be) ministering to us, as it is written in Isaiah: To justify the righteous, who hath performed well a service for many [Isa 53.11]. If then the Lord of heaven and earth performed a service for us, and bore and endured everything for us, how much more ought we to do the like for our brethren, that we may imitate Him. For we are imitators of Him, and hold the place of Christ. And again in the Gospel you find it written how our Lord girded a linen cloth about his loins and cast water into a wash-basin, while we reclined (at supper), and drew nigh and washed the feet of us all and wiped them with the cloth [Jn 13.4-5]. Now this He did that He might show us (an example of) charity and brotherly love, that we also should do in like manner one to another [cf. Jn 13.14-15]. If then our Lord did thus, will you, O deacons, hesitate to do the like for them that are sick and infirm, you who are workmen of the truth, and bear the likeness of Christ? Do you therefore minister with love, and neither murmur nor hesitate; otherwise you will have ministered as it were for men’s sake and not for the sake of God, and you will receive your reward according to your ministry in the day of judgement. It is required of you deacons therefore that you visit all who are in need, and inform the bishop of those who are in distress; and you shall be his soul and his mind; and in all things you shall be taking trouble and be obedient to him. []
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