The First Ecumenical Council, Canon 6.
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Let the ancient customs prevail which were in vogue in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, to allow the bishop of Alexandria to have authority over all these parts, since this is also the treatment usually accorded to the bishop of Rome. Likewise with reference to Antioch, and in other provinces, let the seniority be preserved to the Churches. In general it is obvious that in the case in which anyone has been made a bishop without the Metropolitan’s approval, the great Council has prescribed that such a person must not be a Bishop. If, however, to the common vote of all, though reasonable and in accordance with an ecclesiastical Canon, two or three men object on account of a private quarrel, let the vote of the majority prevail.
(Ap. c. XXXIV; cc. II of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XXVIII of the 4th; c. XXXVI of the 6th; c. XIX of Laodicea; c. XIII of Carthage.)
The present Canon ordains that the old customs of the three Patriarchs are to be kept in vogue, chiefly and mainly as regarding the Patriarch of Alexandria, and secondly as regarding the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Patriarch of Rome, succinctly and comprehensively. (Concerning the Patriarch of Jerusalem the present Council devote special and separate treatment in its c. VII; and concerning the Patriarch of Constantinople the Second Council set forth its views in its c. III). So that the Patriarch (whom it calls a Bishop here, owing to the fact that it had not yet become customary to designate one by calling him the Patriarch) of Alexandria came to have authority over all the bishops and metropolitans in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis. In fact, the same custom also came to prevail with regard to the Patriarch of Rome in that he was allowed to have authority and presidency over all the occidental bishops and metropolitans. Likewise the Patriarch of Antioch is given authority over the bishops and metropolitans of Syria, of Middle Syria, of each of the two regions called Cilicia, of Mesopotamia, and of all the other dioceses subject to his jurisdiction. The present Canon, in fact, commands that not only the privileges of these Patriarchs are to be preserved, but even the privileges of other provinces and churches that are subject to the metropolitans. What is said of the Patriarchs in existence is also true of the independent Patriarchs, then and now — that is to say, the autocephalous Patriarchs, such as those of Asia, of Pontus, of Thrace, of Cyprus, of Africa, and of other countries. (Though others say that the Canon names here also other provinces, embraced, concisely speaking, in the dioceses subordinate to the other two Patriarchs, of Constantinople and of Jerusalem; and that of metropolitans it names only patriarchs. But the first interpretation is better; see also Dositheus, in the Dodecabiblus, pp. 117, 123.) Thus the effect of this Canon is that nothing relating to the administration of church affairs can be done without their consent and approval or sanction. Now, inasmuch as the greatest and chiefest of all ecclesiastical affairs is ordination, the Canon accordingly adds that if anyone is made a bishop without the approval of his own metropolitan, as this great Council has decreed, he is not to be a bishop, because in spite of the fact that the multitude of bishops voted for the bishop, the ratification of the election had to be made by the Metropolitan, and whoever was approved by the Metropolitan had to be made a bishop (and see the footnote to the present Council’s c. IV). Yet if all the bishops in common elect a candidate to an episcopate in accordance with ecclesiastical Canons, but two or three object to his election, not for a good reason and justly, but cavilously and spitefully, the vote of the majority shall decide the matter. Canon XIX of Antioch decrees the same thing. Canon XIII of Carthage says that if any one of those who took part in the voting and signed should afterwards oppose his own confession and signature, he shall deprive himself of the honor of (being) a bishop. Read also the Interpretation of Ap. c. XXXIV.
 The reason why the present Canon was issued by the Council was as follows. It used to be the custom with bishops of Egypt and of Libya and of Pentapolis to have the bishop of Alexandria as their chief, and without his approval not to engage in any ecclesiastical action, as Epiphanius says in his Haer. 61. By exercising this authority, Peter the sacred martyr, who was Bishop of Alexandria, deposed Meletius, a Bishop of Lycopolis in Thebais, as Athanasius the Great bears witness in his second apology. The same saint notes further that before Peter’s time, since some bishops in Pentapolis in Upper Libya had accepted the opinion of Sabellius, and his spurious doctrines came to prevail so widely that the Son of God was hardly being preached in the churches, when Dionysius of Alexandria learned about this, he dispatched envoys to them for the purpose of converting them to the orthodox doctrine of the Church. From these facts it becomes evident indeed that even before this First Council was held the Bishop of Alexandria enjoyed Patriarchal privileges also by virtue of an ancient custom (which, in fact, prevailed in consequence of Ap. c. XXXIV, which says that the bishops of each nation ought to recognize one of their number as their chief, and so forth). He had authority not only to govern the ecclesiastical affairs of the provinces and dioceses there, but also to depose bishops and metropolitans of that clime. But because the said Meletius had been deposed by the Bishop of Alexandria, he attempted to violate this custom and to dare to ordain other bishops in the diocese of Alexandria, this present Nicene Council renewed the ancient custom by the terms of the present Canon and again ratified the rule giving the Bishop of Alexandria authority over all the bishops in Egypt, etc. And this was the meaning attached to the present Canon by the Bishops from Egypt at the Council held in Chalcedon, in Act 4 (according to Dositheus, in the Dodecabiblus). This authority is also conferred in c. XXX of the 4th.
 For the name Patriarch first began being used in the time of Theodosius the Little. For seeing that the Patriarchs had formerly been called specially Bishops of the Apostolic thrones, this Theodosius first called the Biship of Rome a Patriarch, and also applied the term to St. Chrysostom, according to what is stated by Socrates in Book VII, ch. 31. This appellation was also mentioned in the Council held in Chalcedon; and it was indeed by Justinian that patriarchs were actually and officially called Patriarchs. This noun signifies two different things: either the bishops who were made superintendents and exarchs in some provinces and dioceses by a common synod, as this was done also by the Second Ecum. Council, according to Socrates (Book V, ch.
. One of such bishops was St. Gregory of Nyssa, being subject to the Bishop of Caesarea. These prelates were called Patriarchs not by reason of any superiority of their throne, but as a result of a conciliar decision in order that they might have greater authority to exercise for the purpose of implanting and uprooting, because of their being equal to the other Patriarchs. That is why, in writing to Flavian of Antioch, against the Bishop of Caesarea who had treated him scornfully, the Bishop of Nyssa said: “If the dignity be judged sacerdotally, the privilege of both of us has been made equal and one by the Council, but rather it may be said that the care taken in correcting common matters depends upon having the benefit of equality. Or it properly signifies the bishops who have the first honor in the Church by reason of the superiority of their own thrones and the chief office, not being a personal one like that of those, but belonging to their thrones by succession, which were five in number, namely, that of Rome, that of Constantinople, that of Alexandria, that of Antioch, and that of Jerusalem. These bishops were called on the principle of acrostic, Caraj (or in Greek, Karai). For the letter C stands for Constantinople, the first letter a for Alexandria, the letter r for Rome, the second letter a for Antioch, and the letter j for Jerusalem. But because of the fact that the one first mentioned (i.e., the so-called Pope of Rome) bolted the reins, the Patriarch of Constantinople was left as the first among the remaining four. Later a fifth Patriarch was added, namely, the Patriarch of Greater Moscow (i.e., of Russia). But he too is no longer. Although it is a fact that Peter of Antioch in writing to the Bishop of Aquileia said that he alone was specially designated as Patriarch, to which Balsamon assented, yet we do not pay regard to what bishops say about themselves, but to what the catholic Church says about them. Dionysius, too, and Timothy Ailourus called the Bishop of Ephesus a Patriarch, but the Fourth Ecumenical Council disregarded this. Theodore the historian also called the Bishop of Thessalonica a Patriarch, but he addressed him thus either in accordance with the style of address accorded to exarchs, as did the Second Council, as we have said, or, as others say, on account of the many episcopates which he had, totalling some forty in all. (Dositheus in the Dodecabiblus.)
 Those belonging to the Roman Church do not interpret this Canon correctly. Hence Pope Felix in a dispute with the Patriarch of Constantinople Acacius, after corrupting it, asserted that the Bishop of Rome possessed sovereign authority in every council, as the Canon (meaning the present one) of the Council in Nicaea intended. Even before him Paschasinus, the legate of Pope Leo, cited the same Canon pervertedly in the Fourth Council. Nevertheless, we can ascertain the true meaning of this Council by considering the words themselves of the Canon. We assert, then, because Meletius trespassed upon the rights of the Bishop of Alexandria, as we have said, he gave occasion to this Council to formulate the present Canon and to ordain nothing new, but merely to confirm the practices which had been preserved from an ancient custom, not only in connection with Patriarchs, but also in connection with Metropolitans, and not only in connection with ordinations, which Meletius had abused, but also in the matter of every other right that belongs to Patriarchs and Metropolitans with respect to the churches subject to their jurisdiction. These facts being presupposed, the Canon says: Let the ancient customs prevail which were in vogue in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, so that the Bishop in Alexandria will enjoy the privilege of exercising authority over all these territories, since this sort of privilege is allowed also to the Bishop in Rome. At this point note that the pronoun “touto” in the Greek text of the Canon, translated hereinabove “this,” refers to nothing else than the custom, for the sake of brevity of speech. “Since this is also the treatment usually accorded to the Bishop of Rome,” it says. What treatment is that? That of allowing him to have authority over all persons and territories subject to his jurisdiction. For just as the Bishop of Rome possesses this customary privilege like the Bishop of Alexandria, in like manner he possesses the same authority as does the latter. That this is the meaning of the Canon is attested also by the Arabic translation of the same Canons, available in the Alexandrian edition. Joseph the Egyptian also attests the same fact, who is an ancient annotator of the Canons of this Council. The same fact is also attested by Dionysius Exiguus in the Latin translation which he made. The fact is further attested and confirmed by the edition of Isidorus of Mercantor; and lastly it is also confirmed by the translation made by Tyrannius Rufinus the presbyter of Aquileia. So, inasmuch as this is the truth of the matter, and the diocese of Rome is limited like that of Alexandria, it is in vain that the Romans imagine that this Canon entitles them to unlimited authority over the whole world. Note further that owing to the fact that the seniority of Rome had remained intact, the present Canon did not renew it. If it had not been the same as it said concerning the Bishop of Alexandria, it would have explained the matter as concerning Rome too. (Dositheus, in the Dodecabiblus.)
 Note that the seniority and privileges of the Bishops of Rome, of Alexandria, and of Antioch spoken of by the Canon here are not those of a metropolitan, as certain writers have asserted, but those of a patriarch; for both Balsamon and the Anonymous annotator of the Canons assert that the Canons are speaking of patriarchs. Moreover, John of Antioch, in the Collection of the Canons, and John Scholasticus, in the Nomocanon, in reference to the present Canon, as well as (the same Council’s) c. VII, and c. II of the 2nd, and c. VIII of the 3rd, use the heading: “Concerning the honor accorded to Patriarchs by the Canons,” and the paraphrasis which Joseph the Egyptian made of the present Canon says the same thing. And the edition of Melchitae of the Arabic text calls the bishops of Alexandria and of Rome patriarchs here (Dositheus, ibid.). Only the Patriarchs were privileged to wear sacks, chasubles adorned with multiple crucifixes, and tunics bearing letters of the alphabet and triangles, and not any other persons, according to Balsamon (p. 449 of the Juris). (According to Zonaras, however, chasubles adorned with multiple crucifixes alone were allowed also to the bishops of Caesarea, of Cappadocia, of Ephesus, of Thessalonica, and of Corinth; and see the footnote to c. IX of the 4th). They held divine services (i.e., celebrated liturgy) but thrice a year with the sacks, to wit, on Easter Sunday, on the day of Pentecost, and on Christmas, according to Demetrius Chomatianus (p. 318 of the Juris). The word patriarch is defined by Leo and Constantine the emperors thus: “A patriarch is a living image of Christ and animate, therein characterizing the truth by deeds and words. Finally, upon the patriarch depends the salvation of the souls entrusted to him, and it is for him to live according to Christ and to be crucified to the world. It is the nature of the patriarch to be didactic, and to level himself to equality without embarrassment with all other men high as well as low” (Title III of the selection of laws, p. 8, of the second book of the Juris).http://jbburnett.com/resources/canons/1can/1can06.html