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Introduction to Orthodox Canon Law

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Based on course notes of forty years of teaching, this Introduction to Orthodox Canon Law is a foundational text for students. Chapters cover basic issues for anyone interested in canon law: its sources; the organization, structure, and governance of the Church; the qualifications for ordination, as well as its impediments; and issues of church membership, including reception of non-Orthodox and marriage. Throughout the Introduction, the canonical tradition is presented and thoroughly explained.“

Introduction to Orthodox Canon Law is clearly a labor of love, stamped by years of experience and devotion to the theological enterprise. Through his lucid and eloquent linguistic skills, Dr. Lewis Patsavos imparts an appreciation for the essential pastoral nature of the holy canons. The divine truths deposited in the Church are embedded in her liturgical and canonical tradition. They are meant to help both persons and communities realize the highest excellence. ”
— Fr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas,
Professor of Liturgics, Emeritus

Lewis J. Patsavos is Professor of Canon Law, Emeritus at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, where he has taught since 1974. The author of many articles, his two previously published books, Spiritual Dimensions of the Holy Canons and A Noble Task: Entry into the Clergy in the First Five Centuries, are essential reading in Orthodox Canon Law. He served as Vice President of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches (2017-2022) and continues as a member of its Board. During his teaching career he was canonical consultant to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other Orthodox jurisdictions.


Forward p. 8
Preface p. 11
Note on Source Material p. 15
Abbreviations p. 16
General Principles p. 17
Definitions p. 17
Related Fields p. 22
Methods of Study and Interpretation p. 24
I. Sources of Canon Law p. 27
1.1 sources of the First Period (Institution of the Church to 325) p. 28
1.2 Sources of the Second Period (325-867) p. 32
1.3 Sources of the Third Period (867-1453) p. 37
1.4 Sources of the Fourth Period (1453-Present) p. 39
1.5 Collections of Canon Law p. 42
1.6 Application of Canons p. 43
1.7 Abrogation of Canons p. 45
II. Organization and Polity of the Church p. 50
2.1 Distinctions of Members of the Church p. 50
2.2 Polity of the Church p. 61
III. Administration of the Church p. 74
3.1 Ecclesiastical Penitential Law p. 75
3.2 Ecclesiastical Property Law p. 87
IV. Life of the Church p. 91
4.1 Membership in the Church p. 91
4.2 Law of Marriage p. 98
V. Governance of the Local Church p. 109
5.1 History of the Governance of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America p. 109
VI. Relations of the Church to Non-Orthodox Christians p. 126
6.1 Orthodoxy and Ecumenism p. 126
Appendix A. Guidelines for Orthodox Christians in Ecumenical Relations p. 131
Appendix B. Related Publications of the Author p. 146
Bibliography p. 149
Index of Names p. 153
Index of Canonical References p. 158
Index of Subjects p. 161

Product Description


182 Pages


Holy Cross Orthodox Press



Product Dimensions:

6 x 9 in


Lewis J. Patsavos

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