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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. William Bleiziffer. Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium: moments and stages of the codification process,.

The long codification process, started just before the opening of Vatican Council I , represented a constant effort to research, systematize and interpret the Eastern canonical sources of the first Christian millennium, as well as the imperial, civil and pontifical legislation related to these churches.

The concrete interventions of the Pontifical Romans, as well as the positions of the different High Prelates of the Oriental Churches who maintain communion with the Roman Seat, in favor of a body of norms that have the same value as the Codex Iuris Canonici, mark the most important stages of the process. Keywords: sacri canones, canonical sources, common code, revision, drafting, preparatory commission, authority, approval, canonical evolution.

Analyzing the volume of the princeps edition of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium fontes annotatione auctus,1 we can be impressed by the abundance of information we find inside it. Starting with its content we observe a work of great value not only canonical but also historical.

The analysis of the critical apparatus, with the presentation of the sources that underpin such a dense work, opens the prospects for a closer study on the roots and bases of such a rich volume.

The volume has a special value not only from an operational point of view, but also from a scientific point of view as well, containing the first complete publication of the canonical sources of the Eastern Churches.

Sacri canones. The legates sent by my predecessor, Hadrian I presided. The Pope was referring directly to those canons that constitute the first and fundamental source for drafting the code.

The codification of the code began in , shortly after the promulgation of the Pio-Benedictine code desired by Pope Pius X and promulgated by Benedict XV in , and the efforts of drafting and revising the canons were carried out for a long time, being marked.

In fact, part of this work was partially published by Pius XII between , and the final text, as we have already mentioned, had to wait for In this study we propose an overview of the main moments that marked the laborious process of codicial editing, starting from an extensive bibliography, but especially from a frequent and constant consultation of Nuntia, the official body of the Pontificia Commissio Codicis Iuris Canonici Orientalis Recognoscendo.

The birth of new scenarios in reporting on the discipline in use in the Latin Church offered to the Roman Pontiffs and the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, who supervised the relations between these Churches, the possibility of publishing new norms that correspond to the oriental character and their own identity of these Churches. Given the diversity and complexity of the various Eastern ecclesiastical communities that belong to the five great Liturgical Traditions Alexandrine, Antiochian, Armenian, Constantinopolitan and Chaldean , it is not surprising that their canonical sources are very varied.

This wonderful variety highlights on the one hand the catholicity of the Church and brings into question the disciplinary 4 On the exact number of these canonical Churches they do not have an unanimously accepted opinion: see W. An analysis of the latest issue of Annuario Pontificio, however, dispels such doubt. Nilo, Grottaferata Roma, Fascicolo IX, t. The study of these canonical sources, the stages of systematization and their interpretation, represents a research effort that offers to all interested parties the opportunity to understand the spirit of the CCEO and the interpretation of its legislation.

And just these common canons10 represent the sum of canons that make up the sacred canons patrimony, and to which, in the codification work, they are joined by a whole series of canonical collections and imperial or pontifical norms, decrees or instructions of the different Roman Congregations, decisions and decrees of The Synods of the Eastern Churches approved or recognized by the Holy See, the canonical legislation composed of the 4 own motu proprio of Pius XII, and not least the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

The involvement of Pius IX in the clarification of this situation is known; In a series of interventions regarding our theme, the idea and necessity of equipping these Churches with their own Code crystallized. If the VI Commission of Missions and Oriental Churches the preparatory of the Council Comissione delle Missioni e Chiese orientali preparatoria al Concilio saw through the voice of consultants the necessity to equip the Eastern Churches with an authoritarian and unitary code, which to answer to the demands of the time, two other interventions of the same Pope created the premises even more for the coding work to be performed.

First, it is the task of Benedictine Giovanni Battista Pitra to research the eastern sources, the result consisting in the publication of two volumes entitled Iuris Ecclesiastici Graecorum historia et monumenta12; they contained the result of his researches in a complete and organic work. The same pope then constituted, through the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontefices January 6, , a special group of Cardinals, Congregazione per la Propagazione della fede per gli affi di Rito orientale, with the task of continuing the work initiated by Pitra and reorganizing the sources of the Canon Law of the Christian East.

Moreover, the idea of an Eastern canonical codification in parallel with the elaboration of a Code of Latin law was raised in the perspective of Vatican Council I. However, members of the Eastern Churches present at the Council understood that in order to preserve their own identity, there was a need for a code of laws, even though the issue of the possibility of having three variants of code remained unresolved due to the abrupt interruption of the Council.

In the immediately following period the conclusion of the Council, with the pontificate of Leo XIII , a number of Churches began to draft their own canonical codification in accordance with the principle tot codices quod ritus, these efforts being actually accepted by the Propaganda Fide Congregation, which oversaw the development of these codifications Synod of the Syrian Church ; of the Coptic Church, ; of the Armenian Church and ; of the Ruthenian Church In this Synod the sacri canones are the foundation of the 16 J.

His position, obviously influenced by the conception of prestantia ritus latinae, will be subsequently rectified by the decisions of the Second Vatican Council which, in the decree of Orientalium ecclesiarum, declares full equality pari dignitas between all the Churches, so that no one can claim any superiority over the others OE 3. Wernz, Ius decreatlium, I, ed.

Given the precarious situation from the canonical standpoint, where the Eastern Catholic Churches were at the time, - on the point of completely forgetting the common patrimony of the sacri canones sacred canons 30 - were striving to have their own canon laws approved by the Holy See.

Benedict XV had the inspiration to repeatedly come to their behalf through a series of concrete actions. The expression is explicitly contained in two papal documents: The Apostolic Constitution Etsi pastoralis May 26, and the encyclical letter Allattae sunt June 26, XXVII , Peter in primacy over the universal Church.

They are consequently of equal dignity, so that none of them is superior to the others as regards rite and they enjoy the same rights and are under the same obligations, also in respect of preaching the Gospel to the whole world cf.

Communicationes 26 , Through a series of interventions, which can be considered milestones, the Pontiff strengthens and consolidates the entire activity aimed at achieving the future Code. If, in the hearing given to the cardinal secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Church, on August 3, , the Pope considers the codification process not only necessary, but also one of the most urgent issues, assuming the presidency of the respective commission32, on July 13, the Pope establishes a commission which was to deal with the coding process.

The Commission for Preparatory Studies for the Eastern Canonical Codification, under the chairmanship of four cardinals,33 synthesized under the name of Fonti della Codificazione Orientale the whole series of canonical sources that will inspire the future Code.

The activity of the Commission had an alert pace and was followed very closely by both Pius XI and his successor, Pius XII , under which the first parts of the Code appeared. After many drafting efforts, the draft of the future Code, repeatedly sanctioned, was presented "ad promulgationem" to the pope in March The pontifical decision to publish the Code on parts was materialized, - until a date prior to the work of the Vatican Council.

II - more precisely in the period , in the publication of the following Motu proprio: Crebrae allatea sunt AAS 41 [], containing canons relating to the sacrament of marriage, on February 22, ; Sollecitudinem nostram 32 Prefazio, The author presents the list of these sources and, together with the small brochure, offers electronic support containing the entire collection in.

In order to obtain legislation that corresponds, both in form and in content, to the character of the Orientals, it was necessary to consult carefully chosen experts from the respective Churches. See Nuntia 10 , , but also the synthesis provided by L. Finally, it played an important role in the same process, even if at a later stage and especially regarding the elaboration of the decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum, the bishop Vasile Cristea; see R.

AAS 42 [], , containing the canons on judgments, on January 6, ; Postquam apostolicis litteris AAS 44 [] , containing canons on monks, the temporal goods of the Church and on the meaning of words, on February 9, ; Cleri sanctitati AAS 49 [], , containing the canons about rites and about persons on June 2, All other canons, more precisely , remained in the archive of the Congregation. However, the commission retained some important functions, two of which are worth mentioning: the task of interpreting the texts of the canons already published; and the task of continuing to systematize the sources of Eastern canon law.

Paul has as well and compared to those who are made to all 1 Cor. For more details on the process of publishing these parts of the code see A. It is worth noting that among the 70 members of the commission that was made up of representatives of all the churches sui iuris there are also two Romanians: Rev.

Benedict Stefan and Rev. The principles are the result of an assiduous collaboration between different specialists in canon law, especially among the professors of the Pontificio Istituto Orientale.

In ten working sessions, starting in June , they conducted a first study on the guiding principles of revision of the Code as a starting point in the realization of the document Norme per la ricognizione del diritto canonico orientale. Prima recognitio, which was the first stage of study and revision of canon texts, analyzes after the establishment of 10 working groups ceotus , a series of 8 scheme, over a period of 10 years. For all these groups the period of revision of the texts in the scheme ends in about years, except for the De Sacra Hierarchia group which ends in Therefore, if the start time of this first recognitio is the same for all the scheme, the completion of the scheme which had to be proposed to the supreme authority for obtaining obstructed nihil obstat differs.

It should be emphasized that this canonical endeavor was necessary for these scheme to be communicated to the various consultative bodies, - that is, to all the bishops of the Eastern Churches, to the Dicasterial of the Roman Curia, to the Universities of higher studies in Rome and the Unions of the General Superiors of the Religious and Monks - with the purpose of receiving relevant comments especially from the specialists and thus highlighting the collegial character of the revision of the Code.

Unique code for all Eastern Churches; 2. Authentic Eastern Code; 3. Authentic Ecumenical Code; 4. Code of a legal nature; 5. Pastoral Code; 6. Code based on the principle of subsidiarity; 7. Private Rites and Churches; 8. Lay people; 9. Processibus canons; and The canons de delictis. To elaborate and approve these principles Nuntia 30 , On the general state of the revision work until , less the De Sacra Hierarachia scheme, can be seen Nuntia 17 , The third stage of the final revision of the Code is the period beginning from the aforementioned date of October 17, and ends with the surrender of the Schema novissimum iuxta placito Patrum Commissionis amendatum of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium to the Holy Father at the hearing on January 28, Characteristic during this period53 it was the fact that each decision regarding the text of the canons belonged exclusively to the members themselves.

The group of advisers, including the "coordination", could only propose whether to accept the individual comments, with the addition of a new wording of the canon text if they were favorable, while in the case of "non-acceptance" they had to and state the reasons for this choice.

Before Christmas , after a series of meetings in which PCCICOR made a series of changes to the text as a result of the comments proposed by the consulted members, the text "Schema novissimum iuxta placita Patrum commissionis emendatum atque Summo Pontificia praesentatum" was broadly established. This text was multiplied by ten copies and presented to the Pope on January 28, at a hearing when, together with the text of the Schema of the future Code, the request for its promulgation was accompanied, along with a detailed report on the directives drawn up by the Plenary Assembly.

The Pope "was very pleased that the task entrusted to the Commission was successfully fulfilled. The fidelity to the common tradition of the Christian East did not exclude the renewal of the Christian life that the Second Vatican Council has instilled in the whole Church.

The fundamental purpose of any canonical provision is, as already known, salus animarum, and the norms of the Code, faithful to the specific oriental traditions, have been drafted and revised considering the continuous development of the Churches and their pastoral and spiritual needs.

It can be observed today, from the analysis of the drafting process of the Code, that the norms present in it are not inert or static, devoid of vitality; on the contrary, they correspond to contemporary demands, presenting legal realities capable of adapting to the rapid and continuous changes imposed by the current local conditions. The prudence and wisdom with which such a large project has been realized is primarily due to the conscientiousness with which each stage of coding has been passed.

Essential and meritorious was the role and effort of the Higher Authority, the Hierarchs and those specialists, canonists, historians By promulgating the Code, we have for the first time in the Catholic Church a corpus iuris canonici, complete and common to all the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The publication of the CCEO was a unique moment in the bi-millennial history of the Church and resulted in a relevant legislative episode, which offers the possibility of a historical analysis of the entire canonization process.

In addition to this possible analysis, the Code also offers ample spaces to deepen the different topics covered in its content, as well as to interpret the points of intersection between the different traditions, cultures, institutions and ecclesiological aspects, both between the diversified oriental traditions and with respect to the Latin one: the model of double codification in the history of the Church offers many points in analyzing, deepening and clarifying the relations between the two Codes corresponding to the Western and Eastern traditions.

The publication of the Eastern Code emphasized, besides the wide possibility of interpreting the texts of the two codes in parallel, and the total "aequalitas Ecclesiarum Orientis et Occidentis". In the first decade of the existence and application of the CIC in the Church , a second Code was promulgated, and the first effect created by this act was obvious: CIC was no longer the only canonical text of the Catholic Church, but was seconded by a new Code, diverse, but with the same dignity and force.




Christifideles sunt, qui per baptismum Christo incorporati in populum Dei sunt constituti atque hac ratione muneris Christi sacerdotalis, prophetici et regalis suo modo participes secundum suam cuiusque condicionem ad missionem exercendam vocantur, quam Deus Ecclesiae in mundo implendam concredidit. Haec Ecclesia in hoc mundo ut societas constituta et ordinata subsistit in Ecclesia catholica a successore Petri et Episcopis in communione cum eo gubernata. Speciali ratione cum Ecclesia conectuntur catechumeni, qui Spiritu Sancto movente expetunt explicita voluntate, ut eidem incorporentur, ideoque hac ipsa voluntate et vita fidei, spei et caritatis, quam agunt, coniunguntur cum Ecclesia, quae eos iam ut suos fovet. Catechumenorum specialem curam habet Ecclesia, quae, dum eos ad vitam evangelicam ducendam invitat eosque in participationem Divinae Liturgiae, sacramentorum et laudum divinarum introducit, eisdem varias iam largitur praerogativas, quae christianorum sunt propriae. Christifideles obligatione tenentur sua cuiusque agendi ratione ad communionem semper servandam cum Ecclesia.


Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

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