COUNCIL OF SERDICA 343-344
The Primacy of the Roman Pontiff *
57b [Authentic text] [Can. 3] (Isid. 4). Caius the bishop said: That also, that a bishop may not cross from one province into another province, in which there are bishops, unless perchance on the invitation of his brothers, lest we seem to have shut the door of charity. –That too should be provided; if perchance in any province some bishop has a dispute with a brother bishop, let no one of these summon the bishops from another province.-But if any bishop has been judged in some case, and he thinks he has a good case, so that a new trial may be given, if it seems good to you, let us honor the memory of the most holy Apostle, PETER: either let those who have examined the case or the bishops who reside in the next province write to the Roman bishop; and if he should judge that the judicial investigation ought to be repeated, let it be repeated, and let him appoint judges. But if he should determine that the case is such, that what has been finished should not be reopened, his decree shall be confirmed. Is this agreeable to all? The synod replied: It is agreeable.
(Isid. 5). Gaudentius the bishop said: To this very holy opinion which you have offered, if it is agreeable, we ought to add: when any bishop has been deposed by the judgment of those bishops who abide in the neighboring places, and when he has proclaimed that he must plead his case in the city of Rome, another bishop may not be ordained for his place in the same office after the appeal of him who seems to have been deposed, unless his case has been decided by the judgment of the bishop of Rome.
57d [Can. 3b] (Isid. 6.) Osius the bishop said: However it has been agreed, that, if a bishop has been accused, and the assembled bishops of the same province have judged and deprived him of his office, and he appears to have appealed, and has taken refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church and has desired to be heard, and he has thought it just that an examination be made anew, let him deign to write to these bishops who are in the adjoining and neighboring province so that they themselves may diligently make all inquiries and decide according to their pledge of truth. But if anyone asks that his case be heard again and by his plea moves the Roman bishop to send a presbyter from his own side, what he [the presbyter] wishes or what he determines will be in the power of the bishop; and if he decrees those ought to be sent who in person may judge with the bishops and who have the authority [of him] by whom they have been appointed, it [this decree] will be within his decision. But if he believes that the bishops suffice to put an end to the affair, he will do that which he decides in accordance with his own very wise deliberation.
57b [Greek version] 3. Hosius the bishop said: It is necessary to declare this in order that no bishop may keep crossing from his own province into a different province in which there are bishops, unless perchance he should be invited by his brothers, so that we may not seem to close the doors of charity. And this too, one must provide for, that, if in any province one of the bishops should have trouble with his brother and fellow-bishop, neither of these two call to his aid as judges the bishops of another province. Yet on the other hand, if one of the bishops should think that he is being condemned in some trouble, and thinks that he has not an unsound, but a good case, in order that a new trial may be held, if it seems good to your charity, let us honor the memory of Peter the apostle, and let these judges write to Julius the bishop of Rome so that through the bishops who border on the province, if it should be necessary, the trial be reopened, and he himself should furnish the judges. But if it cannot be proven that this matter is of such a nature as to need a new trial, let not the decisions made once be set aside, but let them be confirmed.
- Gaudentius the bishop said: If it is decided, we ought to add to this decision which you have offered full of pure charity: that, if a bishop has been deposed by the judgment of these bishops who are in the neighborhood, and he alleges that the business of defense will again fall upon himself, another may not be ordained to his office unless previously the bishop of Rome has come to a decision concerning him and has published his judgment.
57d 5. Hosius the bishop said: It has been agreed that, if a bishop has been accused, and the assembled bishops of the same region have deposed him from his rank, and in as much as he has appealed and taken refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he has wished to hear him, if he thinks it is just to renew the examination of his difficulty, let him deign to write to these bishops who live in the neighboring province so that they themselves may examine carefully and with exactness each matter and declare their vote on the problem according to their pledge of truth. But if anyone should ask that his case be heard again, and by his prayer seems to move the bishop of Rome to dispatch elders from his side; what be decides is good is in the power of the bishop himself, and if he determines that it is necessary to send those who will judge with the bishops and who have the absolute authority of him by whom they were sent, this also must be granted. But if he should consider it sufficient by reason of the examination of the difficulty and the sentence of the bishop, he will do what he thinks is good according to his very wise deliberation. The bishops gave an answer. What was said was agreeable.
From the epistle “Quod semper” by which the synod transmitted its acts to St. Julius] *
57e For this will seem to be best and most fitting indeed, if the priests from each and every province refer to the head, that is, to the chair of PETER the apostle.
Concerning the Baptism of Heretics, see St. SIRICIUS [n. 88]