Local Council of Gangra
325 – 381 AD
Translation from the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Series II, vol. XIV. For a complete electronic copy, visit the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the New Advent Library. Italics in the text by John Wijngaards.
The main purpose of the local Council of Gangra was to assess and condemn the teaching of Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste.
- Marriage may not be condemned
- Marriage not be renounced out of contempt for it
- Women should not wear male clothes
- Women should not cut off their hair
Canon I. IF any one shall condemn marriage, or abominate and condemn a woman who is a believer and devout, and sleeps with her own husband, as though she could not enter the Kingdom [of heaven] let him be anathema.
Note. This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian’s Decretum, Pars I., Distinc. xxx., c. xii. (Isidore’s version), and again Dist. xxxi., c. viii. (Dionysius’s version).
Canon IX. IF any one shall remain virgin, or observe continence, abstaining from marriage because he abhors it, and not on account of the beauty and holiness of virginity itself, let him be anathema.
Note. This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian’s Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. v., and again Dist. xxxi., c. ix.
Canon XIII. IF any woman, under pretence of asceticism, shall change her apparel and, instead of a woman’s accustomed clothing, shall put on that of a man, let her be anathema.
Note. Eustathian heretics had recommended women to assume male, that is probably monk’s attire, in order to show that for them, as the holy ones, there was no longer any distinction of sex; but the Church, also from ascetical reasons, forbade this change of attire, especially when joined to superstition and puritanical pride.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian’s Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. vi.
Canon XVII. IF any woman from pretended asceticism shall cut off her hair, which God gave her as the reminder of her subjection, thus annulling as it were the ordinance of subjection, let her be anathema.
Note. The apostle Paul, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, xi. 10, represents the long hair of women, which is given them as a natural veil, as a token of their subjection to man. We learn from the Synod of Gangra, that as many Eustathian women renounced this subjection, and left their husbands, so, as this canon says, they also did away with their long hair, which was the outward token of this subjection.
This canon is found in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Gratian’s Decretum, Pars I., Dist. xxx., c. ij.
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