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The Apostolic Constitutions or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (Latin: Constitutiones Apostolorum) is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to the Church Orders, a genre of early Christian literature, that offered authoritative "apostolic" prescriptions on moral conduct, liturgy and Church organization.The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenance is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch. The author is unknown, even if since James Ussher it was considered to be the same author of the letters of Pseudo-Ignatius, perhaps the 4th-century Eunomian bishop Julian of Cilicia.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.
Ancient Church Orders is a genre of early Christian literature, ranging from 1st to 5th century, which has the purpose of offering authoritative "apostolic" prescriptions on matters of moral conduct, liturgy and Church organization. These texts are extremely important in the study of early liturgy and served as the basis for much ancient ecclesiastical legislation.
The Apostolic Constitutions contains eight treatises on Early Christian discipline, worship, and doctrine, intended to serve as a manual of guidance for the clergy, and to some extent for the laity. It purports to be the work of the Twelve Apostles, whose instructions, whether given by them as individuals or as a body.
The structure of the Apostolic Constitutions can be summarized:
The Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles is a 4th century Syrian Christian text. It is an Ancient Church Order, a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, allegedly written by the Apostles first found as the last chapter of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions. Like the other Ancient Church Orders, the Apostolic Canons use a pseudepigraphic form.
Didascalia Apostolorum, or just Didascalia, is a Christian treatise which belongs to the genre of the Church Orders. It presents itself as being written by the Twelve Apostles at the time of the Council of Jerusalem; however, scholars agree that it was actually a composition of the 3rd century, perhaps around 230 AD.
The Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise written in Koine Greek, dated by most modern scholars to the first century. The first line of this treatise is "The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the twelve apostles". The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. The opening chapters describe the virtuous Way of Life and the wicked Way of Death. The Lord's Prayer is included in full. Baptism is by immersion, or by affusion if immersion is not practical. Fasting is ordered for Wednesdays and Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are given. Church organization was at an early stage of development. Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as "chief priests" and possibly celebrating the Eucharist. Meanwhile, local bishops and deacons also have authority and seem to be taking the place of the itinerant ministry.
The Apostolic Tradition is an early Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. It has been described as of "incomparable importance as a source of information about church life and liturgy in the third century".
The best manuscripthas Arian leanings, which are not found in other manuscripts because this material would have been censured as heretical.
The Apostolic Constitutions is an important source for the history of the liturgy in the Antiochene rite. It contains an outline of an anaphora in book two, a full anaphora in book seven (which is an expansion of the one found in the Didache), and the complete Liturgy of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which is the oldest known form that can be described as a complete divine liturgy.
In antiquity, the Apostolic Constitutions were mistakenly supposed to be gathered and handed down by Clement of Rome, the authority of whose name gave weight to more than one such piece of early Christian literature (see also Clementine literature).
The Church seems never to have regarded this work as of undoubted Apostolic authority. The Apostolic Constitutions were rejected as canonical by the Decretum Gelasianum. The Quinisext Council in 692 rejected most part of the work on account of the interpolations of heretics. Only that portion of it to which has been given the name Canons of the Apostles was received in the Eastern Christianity. Even if not regarded as of certain Apostolic origin, however, in antiquity the Apostolic Constitutions were held generally in high esteem and served as the basis for much ecclesiastical legislation.The Apostolic Constitutions were accepted as canonical by John of Damascus and, in a modified form, included in the 81 book canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Even if the text of the Apostolic Constitutions was extant in many libraries during the Middle Age, it was almost unknown. In 1546 a Latin version of a text was found in Crete and published.The first complete edition of the Greek text was printed in 1563 by Turrianus.
William Whiston in the 18th century devoted the third volume of his Primitive Christianity Revived to prove that "they are the most sacred of the canonical books of the New Testament; "for "these sacred Christian laws or constitutions were delivered at Jerusalem, and in Mount Sion, by our Saviour to the eleven apostles there assembled after His resurrection."
Today the Apostolic Constitutions are of the highest value as a historical document, as they reveal the moral and religious conditions, as well as the liturgical observances of 3rd and 4th centuries.They are part of the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection.
The forty-seventh and last chapter of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions contains the eighty-five Canons of the Apostles, which present themselves as being from an apostolic Council at Antioch. These canons were later approved by the Eastern Council in Trullo in 692 but rejected by Pope Constantine. In the Western Church only fifty of these canons circulated, translated to Latin by Dionysius Exiguus on about 500 AD, and included in the Western collections and afterwards in the Corpus Juris Canonici .
Canon n. 85 is a list of canonical books:a 46-book Old Testament canon which essentially corresponds to that of the Septuagint, 26 books of what is now the New Testament (excludes Revelation), two Epistles of Clement, and the Apostolic Constitutions themselves, also here attributed to Clement, at least as compiler.
It is also known as the Epitome, and usually named Epitome of the eighth Book of the Apostolic Constitutions (or sometime titled The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles concerning ordination through Hippolytus or simply The Constitutions through Hippolytus) containing a re-wording of chapters 1-2, 4-5, 16-28, 30-34, 45-46 of the eighth book.The text was first published by Paul de Lagarde in 1856 and later by Franz Xaver von Funk in 1905. This epitome could be a later extract even if in parts it looks nearer to the Greek original of the Apostolic Tradition, from which the 8th book is derived, than the Apostolic Constitutions themselves.
Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, Protestants consider them apocryphal. Thus, Protestant bibles do not include the books within the Old Testament but have often included them in a separate section, usually called the Apocrypha. Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means "false attribution".
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
The Apostolic Fathers were Christian theologians who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, who are believed to have personally known some of the Twelve Apostles, or to have been significantly influenced by them. Their writings, though popular in Early Christianity, were not included in the canon of the New Testament. Many of the writings derive from the same time period and geographical location as other works of early Christian literature which came to be part of the New Testament. Some of the writings found among the Apostolic Fathers appear to have been highly regarded as some of the writings which became the New Testament.
The New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings by early Christians that give accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. Some of these writings have been cited as scripture by early Christians, but since the fifth century a widespread consensus has emerged limiting the New Testament to the 27 books of the modern canon. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches generally do not view these New Testament apocrypha as part of the Bible.
Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. Although the term liturgy is used to mean public worship in general, the Byzantine Rite uses the term "Divine Liturgy" to denote the Eucharistic service.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, during which the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Greek-speaking Eastern Christianity. In western Christian traditions which have a comparable rite, the Anaphora is more often called the Roman Canon in the Latin liturgy, or the Eucharistic Prayer for the three additional modern anaphoras. When the Roman Rite had a single Eucharistic Prayer, it was called the Canon of the Mass.
Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite designates the family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
The Apostolic Church-Ordinance is an Orthodox Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated at the end of 3rd century CE. The provenience is usually regarded as Egypt, or perhaps Syria. The author is unknown.
The Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition, also known as the Anaphora of Hippolytus, is an ancient Christian Anaphora which is found in chapter four of the Apostolic Tradition. It should not be confused with the Syriac Orthodox Anaphora of the Twelve Apostles, which is similar, and may be one of several liturgies derived from this Anaphora, yet is considerably longer and more ornate.
A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word "canon" comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". Christians became the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the idea as Jewish.
The Liturgy of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions is a complete text of the Christian Divine Liturgy and found in the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions. It is the oldest known form that can be described as a complete liturgy and can be dated to the second half of the 4th century. It belongs to the Antiochene Rite.
The Alexandrine Sinodos is a Christian collection of Church Orders. This collection of earlier texts dates from the 4th or 5th century CE. The provenience is Egypt and it was particularly used in the ancient Coptic and Ethiopian Christianity.
The Verona Palimpsest is a manuscript, dated about the 494 CE, which contains a Christian collection of Church Orders in Latin. The manuscript, which contains many lacunae, is the only source of the Latin version of the Apostolic Tradition.
The Orthodox Tewahedo churches within the Oriental Orthodox Church currently have the largest and most diverse biblical canon in traditional Christendom. Western scholars have classified the books of the Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon into two categories — the narrower canon, which consists mostly of books familiar to the west, and the broader canon. While the main purpose of this article is to discuss and highlight the books that are exclusive to the broader canon, it is impossible to do this without at least some discussion of the narrower canon. The Orthodox Tewahedo broader canon in its fullest form includes the narrower canon in its entirety, as well as nine additional books. It is not known to exist at this time as one published compilation. Some books, though considered canonical, are nonetheless difficult to locate and are not even widely available in the churches' home countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea.