Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 518
Canon 8 of the First Council of Vaison (Gaul, AD 442) decrees how to proceed when a bishop learns about some cleric`s corruption.
[Titulum secundum codd. A et R] VIII. De correptionibus clericorum.
[Titulum secundum cod. M] V (sic!). Vt epis alienis clris consilium cognouerit secretis correptionis ad conpunctionem meritis elaboret.
[Titulum secundum coll. Hispanam] VIII. Vt episcopus alienum clericum peccantem redarguat.
Quod si se tantum episcopus alieni sceleris conscium nouit, quamdiu potest nihil proferat, sed cum ipso ad compunctionem eius secretis correptionibus elaboret; qui si correptus pertinacior fuerit et se communioni publicae ingesserit, etiamsi episcopus in redarguendo illo quem reum iudicat probationibus deficiat, indemnatus licet ab his qui nihil sciunt secedere ad tempus pro persona maioris auctoritatis iubeatur, illo, quamdiu probari nihil potest, in communione omnium, praeterquam eius qui reum eum iudicat, permanente.
(ed. Munier 1963: 100, 103-104)
[Title according to codd. A and R] VIII. Concerning rebukes [administered] to clerics.
[Title according to cod. M] V (sic!). That [if] a bishop learns in conversation [something] of other clerics, he should strive to rebuke them secretly to [cause] repentance.
[Title according to the Hispana collection] VIII. That a bishop should rebuke another cleric [if he] sins.
If a bishop is the only one who knows of the offence of another [bishop?], he shall not bring anything of the matter forward, so long as he can prove nothing, but shall endeavour to awaken penitence in the offender by private exhortations. If this is unavailing, and he becomes only more defiant, and mixes himself in public communion, then, even if the accusing bishop can produce no proof, and he cannot be condemned by those who do not certainly know of his offence, yet he shall be required to withdraw for a time because a person of distinction has accused him. But so long as nothing is proved, he remains in Church communion with all, except him who knows of his guilt.
(trans. Hefele 1883: 166 – text of the canon; J. Szafranowski – titles)


Hefele's translation that is provided here was described by him as "somewhat free", as it is a "most obscure and difficult canon, which was not generally understood". One of the most serious doubts concerns the correct understanding of the word alienus ("the other") used at the beginninig – to whom might it refer? Hefele identifies this person with another bishop who has been corrupted. However, in all the existing codices which accompany this canon with a title, said titles mention explicitly that the person accused by a bishop is a "cleric" (clericus).

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Vaison

About the source:

Title: First Council of Vaison 442, Concilium Vasense I anno 442
Origin: Vaison (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The First Council of Vaison was held on the Ides of November (i.e. 13th of November) in 442 under Bishop Auspicius of Vaison. Twenty-three bishops were either present or had sent their representatives.
Ch. Munier ed., Concilia Galliae a. 314-a. 506, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 148, Turnhoult 1963.
Translation: Ch.J. Hefele, A History of the Councils, v. III: A.D. 431 to A.D. 451, Edinburgh 1883.


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER518,