Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XIV/The Seventh Ecumenical Council/Canons/Canon XIV
That no one without ordination ought to read in the ambo during the synaxis.
That there is a certain order established in the priesthood is very evident to all, and to guard diligently the promotions of the priesthood is well pleasing to God. Since therefore we see certain youths who have received the clerical tonsure, but who have not yet received ordination from the bishop, reading in the ambo during the Synaxis, and in doing this violating the canons, we forbid this to be done (from henceforth,) and let this prohibition be observed also amongst the monks. It is permitted to each hegumenos in his own monastery to ordain a reader, if he himself had received the laying on of hands by a bishop to the dignity of hegumenos, and is known to be a presbyter. Chorepiscopi may likewise, according to ancient custom and with the bishop’s authorization, appoint readers.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XIV.
No one shall read from the ambon unless he has been ordained by the bishop. And this shall be in force also among monks. The superior of a monastery, if he has been ordained by the bishop, may ordain a lector but only in his own monastery. A chorepiscopus also can make a lector.
I say therefore from this present canon and from canon xix. that they may properly be made superiors, who have never received holy orders; since women may be placed in such positions in our monasteries. And as these women do not hear confessions, nor make readers, so neither do superiors do this who are neither monks nor priests, nor could they
Van Espen (l. c. p. 469 sqq., and Jus Canon., t. i. pt. xxxi. tit. 31, c. 6), professes to show (a) that at that time there was no special benediction of abbots (different from their ordination as priests), and that therefore the words, “if he (the superior of the monastery) himself is consecrated by the bishop to the office of hegumenus,” and “evidently is a priest,” mean the same; (b) that at the time of our Synod every superior of a monastery, a prior as well as an abbot, had the power of conferring upon the monks of his monastery the order of lector; but (c) that the way in which Anastasius translated the canon (si dumtaxat Abbati manus impositio facta noscatur ab episcopo secundum morem præficiendorum abbatum), and the reception of this translation into the Corpus juris canonici, c.l., Dist. lxix., gave occasion to concede the right in question, of ordaining lectors, only to the solemnly consecrated (and insulated) abbots.
This canon is found (as just noted) in the Corpus Juris Canonici, Pars I., Dist. LXIX, c.j.
- Bev. adds in the Latin “by imposition of hands.”