Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 187
The Council of Hippo (North Africa, AD 393) regulates the rules of emancipation of minors by clergy.
Canon 1
Quare censendum est, si placet uestrae caritati, ut semper filii sint in potestate parentum adque disciplinae regulam ab ipsis uel maxime episcopis seu clericis redigantur, nullum in minoribus annis filium debere ab episcopo uel clerico emancipatione a potestate patria liberari, nisi tantummodo illum cuius uitam moresque probauerit, ut iam legibus cum fuerit et uoluntatis suae arbiter, peccato ipse proprio possit astringi, ne eius malae conuersationis macula quisquam episcopus uel clericus pergatur.
(ed. Munier 1974: 20)
Canon 1
Therefore, if your charities agree, it should be established that sons remain always in the power (potestas) of their parents, and that they be instructed in the rules of the discipline by them or if need be by bishops or clerics; no minor should be emancipated by a bishop or a cleric from paternal power (patria potestas), unless someone whose life and mores have been proven, and who is able to be a judge of his own will, following the laws, so that he is able to abstain from sins, and no bishop or cleric is disturbed by the stain of his [the boy's] bad way of life.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The canon discusses the emancipation of children from the patria potestas, and the dangers that come with it: since the father is no longer legally responsible for the misdoings of his sons, the odium can fall on the clerics that presided over the emancipation. What interests us is that not only bishops, but also other clerics (presumably presbyters in the first place) were entitled to perform this legal action.
The canon was repeated in Registri Ecclesiae Carthaginensis Excerpta as Canon 34.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Title: Council of Hippo 393, Concilium Hipponense a. 393
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The first of the plenary councils of African bishops masterminded by Augustine of Hippo (at the time only a presbyter) and Aurelius of Carthage, was aimed at revitalising the Catholic Church in Africa and defeating the Donatist schism. Most of its decisions were preserved in the "Breviarium Hipponense".
C. Munier ed., Concilia Africae a. 345-a. 525, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 149, Turnhoult 1974, 20-21.  
 C. Munier, "Cinq canons inédits du concile d’Hippone du 8 octobre 393", Revue de Droit canonique 12 (1968), 16–29.


Described by a title - Clericus
    Disrespected by
      Public functions and offices after ordination
        Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER187,