Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 193
Canon 12 of the council of Hippo (North Africa, AD 393), preserved in the "Breviarium Hipponense" (AD 397), prohibits the children of bishops and clerics from marrying pagans, heretics, or schismatics.
Canon 12
Vt gentilibus uel haereticis et schismaticis filii episcoporum uel quorumlibet clericorum matrimonio non coniungantur.
(ed. Munier 1974: 37)
Canon 12
The children of bishops or any other clerics should not marry pagans or heretics and schismatics.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


"Filii" should be understood as children of both sexes, not only sons. There are some Old Testament parallels describing a particularly bad influence of foreign wives on Jewish monarchs (see e.g. 1 Kings 11,8), but obviously in Christian times the main danger for the faith was seen in giving away daughters to non-Christian families. The practice was explicitly prohibited for all Christians (not only clergymen) by Canons 15, 16 and 17 of the Council of Elvira (ca AD 306).
When the canon was read at the Council of Carthage in 525 AD, the sex of the object of the prohibition was changed: "Vt gentilibus et haereticis filiae episcoporum et clericorum non nubant" (ed. Munier, 264), that is "The daughters of bishops or any other clerics should not marry pagans or heretics".

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Title: Breuiarium Hipponense
Origin: Carthage (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The bishops of Byzacena arrived too early for the African plenary council at Carthage in AD 397. Since they had to leave the city before the actual beginning of the proceedings Aurelius of Carthage charged them with editing the decisions of the Council of Hippo of AD 393. The document drafted in this way and accepted on 13 August 397 was called the "Breviarium Hipponense", and it was included later in the Canons in causa Apiarii from AD 419, Registri Ecclesiae Carthaginensis Excerpta, Breviarium of Ferrandus and Statuta Ecclesiae Antiqua.
C. Munier ed., Concilia Africae a. 345-a. 525, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 149, Turnhoult 1974, 23-53.  


Family life - Offspring
    Described by a title - Clericus
      Relation with - Heretic/Schismatic
        Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER193,